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A Canadian Save-a-Lot, the end of FMI Connect and more

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A Canadian company appears to be in the running to buy the American discount chain Save-a-Lot.

Toronto-based Onex Corp. made the best offer in an auction for Save-a-Lot, according to Reuters.

Save-a-Lot is owned by Minnesota-based grocer Supervalu. It considering either spinning off Save-a-Lot or an outright sale.

Save-a-Lot operated nearly 500 stores with close to another 900 run by licensees in the southern and eastern U.S.

Onex Corp. is a private equity firm whose CEO, Gerald Schwartz, is one of Canada’s richest men. Onex has holdings in a diverse set of industries including electronics, building products, and insurance.

FMI Connect no more

Some industry events last; some don’t. You can now put the FMI Connect conference and show into the latter bucket. The Food Marketing Institute last week confirmed it’s ditching the Connect conference, which was scheduled for next June.

Leslie Sarasin, FMI’s president and CEO, noted that the event in recent years had “fallen short” of the “precise formula” required to meet industry needs. The last show in June drew 6,500 people and 491 exhibitors.

One problem with Connect, Sarasin noted was that to succeed organizers had to “fill football fields’ worth of space” with trade show booths. Future FMI events, Sarasin would need to have a different formula.

As anyone who has attended FMI recently will know, the show was co-located with the United Fresh Produce Association’s show, called United Fresh. That event will continue next year, June 13 to 15, the association said.

Pop goes the tax

Fatty food taxes? Soda taxes? Governments around the world have pondered such taxes as a way to convince people to eat better by hitting their pocketbooks every time the load up on junk.

Some, such as Denmark’s tax on saturated fats, flopped. Mexico, on the other hand, can claim some success with its sugary beverage tax, with reports suggesting sales of such drinks are down, especially among the poor.

Not everyone is sure Mexico’s tax is working and those folks will surely speak up as people in San Francisco prepare to vote on whether that city should impose a tax on soda. Two other U.S. have approved such taxes: Philadelphia and Berkeley, Calif.

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