It follows that U.S. supermarkets are big supporters of food stamps, but this article is the first one I've seen that puts pencil to paper and calculates just how big food stamps are for retailers.

 From the story:

Driven by high unemployment, food-stamp use nationally has soared by two-thirds since the end of 2007 to more than 46 million recipients, about a seventh of the U.S. population. The government spent a record $71.8 billion on the program in the last fiscal year, or about 12 percent of the national grocery bill, underscoring the benefit’s importance as revenue for grocers led by Kroger Co., Safeway Inc. and Supervalu Inc., the three biggest U.S. chains by sales.

TK: Food stamp recipients account for 20% of supermarket sales in some regions. No wonder that KFC, Taco Bell and others have tried to persuade some states to permit food stamp use at fast food restaurants.They recently quit that effort because of the objections of USDA officials, but don't think that push is over for good.

Harmony at the dinner table translates to a clean plate. Recent research shows that meals free from arguments resulted in higher calorie intake among children.

From the study "Arguments at Mealtime and Child Energy Intake" by Daniel Bunier and Lise Dubois

Mealtimes that are free of arguments, specifically between parents and children, appear to associate with high daily energy intakes in children, even after controlling for other factors, including a child’s level of physical activity, eating in front of the television, mother’s educational level, and number of overweight parents, among others.

TK: Hmm.. Perhaps the maxim to "pick your battles" with your kids is sound advice. And prodding children to eat their veggies may not be a winning approach, despite the best of maternal intentions.

The USDA Foreign Agricultural Service has issued a report about Costa Rica and biotechnology. In the report, there were a couple of references to fresh produce crops under development there. From the report: 

Costa Rican researchers are working on the development of genetically modified rice (resistance to virus and herbicides), bananas (resistance to black Sigatoka), and more recently, pineapples (higher content of antioxidants). The development of these products is at the field trial stage. According to sources familiar with the research, the most advanced project is in bananas, but it is not expected to come to market during the next year.

Also, the USDA FAS report on South Africa citrus is worth noting. On the growth of easy peelers in South Africa:

Post expects the area planted to soft citrus in 2010/11 will reach 5,000 ha based on growing consumer demand in new markets. Of the citrus types, the soft citrus is attractive to producers as it has very good export margins on its easy peeling and seedless characteristics. Post revised the 2009/10 area planted to soft citrus at 4,960 ha based on industry reports. Although the cost of establishing new orchards in increasing, the returns from the growing demand in the United States and other markets is offsetting the costs. Industry officials expect area planted to continue expanding over the next three to five years.

Fresh Talk hot links....

Lowest traffic deaths in 60 years

Costa Rica biotech

South Africa citrus

Morocco citrus

Members sought for technical review committee

CBP Year in Review

Arguments at meal time

Record cereal crop foreast

Display for food bags

Harry and David post surety bond to operate in the produce business

Latest trade data

Mintel festive facts

Bitter gene in broccoli

Rise of outsourcing

PACA employment bond posted in California

Corruption undermining land use

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