Ahold To Sell U.S. Foodservice
Dutch conglomerate Royal Ahold NV announced plans to sell its U.S. Foodservice division as part of a new strategic plan to improve profits and boost shareholder values.

The plan calls for reducing operating costs by 500 million euros ($638 million) by the end of 2009 as the company focuses on the local retail food markets in the United States and Europe.

Ahold says it would follow its divestment of the Tops stores in the U.S. state of Ohio by selling the remaining operations in New York and Pennsylvania, which the company says would allow it to refocus its resources on remaining retail businesses.

The company has also announced the appointment of new chief operating officers in the U.S. and Europe to lead its restructured continental organizations.

"Since the crisis in 2003, we have completed a comprehensive revitalization program," says Ahold President and CEO Anders Moberg. "We have implemented a successful repositioning program at Albert Heijn and ICA and recovered significant value in U.S. Foodservice.

"It is now time for us to focus our efforts on strengthening our retail competitive position, particularly in the U.S."

FMI, GMA Honor Data Sync Leaders
The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) presented Excellence in Data Synchronization Awards to 24 food manufacturers and retailers last month at the first Data Synchronization Summit in Las Vegas.

With nearly 270 attendees, this was the first time that FMI and GMA, in conjunction with 1SYNC, sponsored an industry-wide data synchronization event.

"Getting new customers to the data pool is not the main focus anymore. Today data synchronization is about integrating with other processes in an organization and increasing connections," says Bob Noe, CEO of 1SYNC, Chicago.

"The industry's participation at this event proves that the adoption and implementation of data synchronization is on the rise."

Awards were announced under three categories:

  • Excellence awards to suppliers who are synchronizing with 10 retailers or more. Winners were: The 3M Co.; Cadbury Schweppes Americas Beverages; Colgate-Palmolive; ConAgra Foods; Campbell Soup Co.; Clorox Co.; Coca-Cola Co.; Dean Foods; Georgia Pacific; Hershey Co.; HJ Heinz Co.; Johnson & Johnson; Kimberly-Clark; Kraft Foods; Nestle; Procter & Gamble Co.; PepsiCo; Sara Lee,; J.M Smucker Co.; and Unilever.
  • Excellence awards to retailers who are synchronizing with more than 500 suppliers. Winners were: Wegmans; Supervalu; Wal-Mart; and Lowe's.
  • The Rapid Adoption Award to a trading partner who dramatically adopted data synchronization in 2006. This award went to Lowe's, which expanded the number of vendors in its data synchronization efforts from 37 at the beginning of the year to more than 600 suppliers now.

Today, Lowe's has more than 60,000 GTINs published.