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August 17, 2020

Giant Food Announces Expansion of Jessup, MD Warehouse

 Giant Food, the leading greater Washington D.C. regional grocery chain, today announced the expansion of its distribution warehouse in Jessup, Maryland which serves all 163 Giant Food stores throughout Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia and Delaware. The expansion will add over 95,000 sq. ft., a 23% increase in footprint, which will increase efficiency and add capacity for high-demand categories like organics, fresh produce, meat and seafood as well as other merchandise including fresh cut floral and seasonal products.
 "The efficiency improvements and enhanced space for housing and distributing thousands of items at the warehouse will further our ability to grow to meet the needs of our communities," said Joe Urban, Vice President of Distribution Operations at Giant. "We're committed to continuing to innovate our operations to bring the highest quality of products to our shoppers."
 Additional improvements include space for cross-docking to make the most of storage areas and efficiently transition items from inbound to outbound in one trip for key products including Giant own-brand products. The facility will now house 106 dock doors, nearly a 20% increase, to further streamline day-to-day operations. The new warehouse space will also be armed with the latest equipment and technology to manage high capacity operations. Improved traffic flow and warehousing efficiencies will enhance productivity as well as augment Giant's safety operating practices.
 Furthering omnichannel growth and capabilities, the warehouse will also supply product for Giant's home delivery service, Giant Delivers, available to shoppers through the brand's integrated eCommerce shopping experience on
 The expansion will create 30 new jobs across various positions for the community. The facility, which began expansion construction in January, will be completed and fully operational later this month.

August 14, 2020

Dollar General Unveils Exciting, New and Differentiated Retail Store

 Dollar General is unveiling its newest retail store concept: popshelf. This new store aims to engage customers with a fun, affordable and stress-free shopping experience where they can find on-trend seasonal and home décor, health and beauty must-haves, home cleaning supplies, party goods, entertaining needs and much more—with approximately 95 percent of items priced at $5 or less!
 Customers can visit these innovative stores when the first two popshelf locations open near Nashville, Tennessee this fall.
 “We are excited to introduce popshelf from a position of strength, further highlighting our innovative spirit and building on our proven track record of store format innovation,” said Todd Vasos, Dollar General’s Chief Executive Officer. “We have leveraged robust consumer insights to create a unique store that we believe will resonate with new customers, while providing Dollar General with even more opportunities for growth in the years ahead.”
 “Building on the success, learnings and insights from Dollar General’s non-consumables initiative (NCI), we are excited to unveil popshelf following our work to research, create and define the brand and merchandising offerings,” added Emily Taylor, Dollar General’s Executive Vice President and Chief Merchandising Officer. “At popshelf, customers will find a differentiated retail concept that seeks to bring joy to their shopping experiences, with surprising deals in targeted non-consumable product categories. We are excited to welcome customers into these stores.”
 Although grounded in the extensive NCI merchandising learnings and real estate and operational excellence at Dollar General, popshelf is a differentiated store and shopping experience. Each approximately 9,000 sq. ft. popshelf store is focused on delivering a combination of continually-refreshed merchandise, seasonal specials and limited-time items while also surpassing price and value expectations. popshelf shelves will also carry a highly-curated crossover assortment of Dollar General’s private brands, many of which have been recently rebranded. Customers can enjoy popshelf’s stress-free and guilt-free shopping experience as they find the items they want while being delighted by unique special products that deliver joy and happiness!
 popshelf plans to debut its first two locations near Nashville, Tennessee in the Hendersonville and Clarksville communities with current plans to have approximately 30 locations in various markets by the end of fiscal year 2021. Initial targeted customers are primarily female and are located in diverse suburban communities with a total household annual income ranging from $50,000 to $125,000.
 Each popshelf is expected to create up to 15 new jobs and employ team members passionate about helping customers enjoy their shopping experience. At popshelf, team members will have the opportunity to join an invigorating retail environment that brings to life the new brand’s mission of making shopping exciting and fun for everyday purchases and unique finds.

August 13, 2020

Banana Wave is Taking Over the Alternative Milk Category

 Banana Wave is taking over the alternative milk category with its newest non-dairy, plant-based banana milk formula, Banana Wave Mango. Launching August 2020, Banana Wave Mango will join the brand’s existing beverage offerings – Banana Wave Original, Chocolate and Strawberry, available at Whole Foods, Jewel Osco, H-E-B, Food Lion and more. Featuring a naturally sweet and creamy consistency that can be compared to a banana milk shake, Banana Wave is the only banana milk brand to offer multiple flavor options with all-natural ingredients.
 Made of real, whole bananas and fiber-rich oat milk, Banana Wave Mango adds juicy mango to the mix for a sweet, tropical taste. Each Banana Wave product is dairy-free, gluten-free, fat-free and non-GMO, and is packed with essential vitamins A, B12, C, D, as well as fiber and potassium. Unlike other alternative milk brands, Banana Wave can be consumed on its own, or in smoothies, shakes, cereal, oatmeal and more.

August 12, 2020

White Castle Surprises Kroger Employees in Four Cities with Delivery of Free Sliders

 White Castle has been delivering complimentary Sliders to Kroger employees in Columbus, Cincinnati, Detroit and Louisville as a way to thank them for their service during the COVID-19 pandemic.
 Known as America’s first fast-food hamburger chain, White Castle expects to provide 1,500 Sliders through the food drops, which began in mid-May and will continue throughout July.
 “Grocery store and retail food workers have been working throughout the pandemic, making their commitment to providing food options for their neighbors and friends their top priority,” said Jamie Richardson, vice president at White Castle. “As a family owned business, White Castle has always believed in the importance of supporting our communities, so we’re proud and humbled to offer our thanks with a bit of nourishment for these dedicated front-line workers.”
 The Kroger food drops are an extension of White Castle’s larger initiative the past few months to support essential and front-line workers. Between mid-March and mid-July, White Castle has given away more than $1 million worth of free meals and delivered more than 12,700 complimentary Sliders to healthcare workers and first responders in the 14 markets where it has restaurants. In addition, it has provided significant discounts to all front-line workers and has given over 3,300 Sliders to grocery store and other retail food workers. In the past couple of weeks, for example, White Castle brought Sliders to employees at three Walgreens stores in the Chicago area.
 Kroger and White Castle have been long-time retail partners, with Kroger selling White Castle’s Sliders in its freezer aisles for more than 30 years. Kroger officials said they appreciate White Castle’s support of its workers.
  “We are so thankful to businesses like White Castle for their generosity to our store teams,” said Erin Grant, corporate affairs and media relations manager. “It is uplifting to see so much community support as we all manage through these incredible times.”

August 11, 2020
■ 'Be a Game Changer for those with Autism'

The Dan Marino Foundation and Badia Spices Partner to Raise Autism Awareness

 The Dan Marino Foundation and Badia Spices are again partnering to launch an on-going awareness and fundraising campaign, "Be a Game Changer for those with Autism," in support of those with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Starting August 2020, when consumers purchase a 1L or 33.8 FL OZ bottle of Badia Extra Virgin Olive Oil or 1L or 34 FL OZ bottle of Badia Extra Virgin Olive Oil Organic at any retailer in the United States where Badia Spices are sold, Badia will donate 5% of the proceeds from the sales to the Dan Marino Foundation.
 "We are always working to deliver life-changing programs," said Dan Marino, Chairman of the Dan Marino Foundation. "Claire and I are thankful to the Badia team and their customers for supporting our programs by participating in this campaign which also raises awareness and acceptance of individuals with autism."
 Badia Spices, Inc. is one of the fastest-growing family-owned Hispanic food companies. Badia manufactures, packages, and distributes spices, seasoning blends, marinades, sauces, teas, health items, and other products to more than 90 countries around the world. Through these annual fundraisers, to date, Badia Spices has raised over $800,000 for the Dan Marino Foundation.
 "Badia is proud to partner with the Dan Marino Foundation in support of their unparalleled efforts to empower individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities in their journey to independence," said Joseph "Pepé" Badia, President of Badia Spices, Inc. Badia Extra Virgin Olive Oil comes from the finest quality olive groves. It has an excellent flavor and aroma, as it is naturally extracted from the first cold press. Various recipes using Badia Extra Virgin Olive Oil can be found at

Photo: NFL Hall of Famer Dan Marino, CEO of Dan Marino Foundation Mary Partin and President of Badia Spices, Inc. Joseph “Pepé” Badia. Starting August 2020, when consumers purchase select Badia Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Badia Extra Virgin Olive Oil Organic at any retailer in the United States where Badia Spices are sold, Badia will donate 5% of the proceeds from the sales to the Dan Marino Foundation.

August 10, 2020

"White Claw" Expands Across New England with Healthy Boozy Water Appeal

 NOCA, the health-conscious spiked water brand that is pioneering a new category of refreshing beverages, today announced its expansion to Connecticut, Maine, Rhode Island and Vermont.
 Never had a NOCA? Think hard seltzer but no bubbles; yup, just boozy water. NOCA was conceived to fill a longstanding void in the alternative beverage category: traditional non-carbonated spiked beverages were sugary, complicated, and heavy, and lighter carbonated hard seltzer beverages brought along the bloaty side effects of bubbles. Clean, simple and refreshing, NOCA offers distinctive fruit flavors such as Dragonfruit Mango, Triple Berry and Watermelon Lime and a smooth finish at only 95 calories and 4.5% ABV.
 With this new expansion, NOCA is now available in every state in its native New England region. Originally founded in New Hampshire by New England natives and UNH classmates Alex Febonio, Galen Hand and Richard Roy, NOCA quickly became a hit with the founders’ friends and families for gatherings, sunny days on the water and afternoons on the golf course alike. After reaching more than 750 locations in New Hampshire and Massachusetts, the NOCA team saw an opportunity to expand its footprint into neighboring states: Connecticut, Maine, Rhode Island and Vermont.
 “We saw how much everyone has enjoyed hard seltzers, and took the opportunity to create an alternative without the bubbles,” said Galen Hand, co-founder of NOCA. “The response in our current markets has been excellent and we are excited to bring NOCA to consumers throughout the rest of New England.”
 In the last year, the hard seltzer category has grown dramatically as consumers look for refreshing and healthier alternatives to beer, wine and spirits. The market segment has seen 215% growth rate in U.S. markets, and as a unique player in this segment, NOCA anticipates a busy summer of sales, particularly for their popular 12-count variety pack. Consumers are excited to get out of their homes to enjoy summer activities as states and businesses begin to reopen and loosen social distancing restrictions, and as the weather warms, you can bet you will be seeing ice-cold NOCAs in coolers across New England this summer.

August 7, 2020

Southeastern Grocers and American Heart Association strive to beat heart disease and stroke

 Southeastern Grocers, Inc. (SEG), parent company and home of BI-LO, Fresco y Más, Harveys Supermarket and Winn-Dixie grocery stores, announces its continued partnership with the American Heart Association (AHA) in the fight against heart disease and stroke through Life Is Why We Give, the organization’s fundraising campaign, to protect the health of individuals and communities, especially those with increased risks impacted by COVID-19.
 Now through August 25, BI-LO, Fresco y Más, Harveys Supermarket and Winn-Dixie customers can choose to simply round up their purchase to the nearest dollar or make a contact-free donation of their choice at the register while grocery shopping. Each cent raised through the three-week program will help save and improve lives through innovative research for new treatments, programs and services for survivors and their families, and to help more people lower their risk of heart disease and stroke.
 Elizabeth Thompson, EVP and Chief People Officer of Southeastern Grocers, said, “The health of our associates, customers and communities is at the heart of our business, especially as the country continues to adapt in the face of the evolving pandemic. We are proud to stand with the American Heart Association to encourage our neighbors to educate themselves and make their health and wellbeing a priority. Our customers can support heart and brain health by rounding up their grocery bills at checkout and together, we will continue the fight against heart disease and stroke to cultivate stronger and healthier communities.”
 The Life Is Why We Give campaign aims to amplify, educate and inspire consumers to honor their reasons to live healthier, longer lives through giving. Heart disease and stroke are the No. 1 and No. 5 killer of Americans, according to the AHA. In fact, someone dies from heart disease, stroke or another cardiovascular disease every 40 seconds in this country. This effort is also a part of SEG’s Positive Change Round Up Campaign to help minimize the impact of the current nationwide coin shortage while also providing support to various charitable organizations committed to serving individuals and families in need.
 Amber Wilson, Executive Director of American Heart Association - First Coast, said, “We are so excited for the continued support of Southeastern Grocers and the incredible generosity of their guests and team members who have contributed more than $650,000 for the Life is Why We Give campaign since 2019. This campaign allows the American Heart Association to discover breakthroughs and to raise funds for research, education and prevention programs to create a world of longer and healthier lives.”
 In its second year partnering with the AHA, the grocer continues to empower customers to take control of their health and increase awareness of heart disease and stroke during the current in-store community donation program. In 2019, BI-LO, Fresco y Más, Harveys Supermarket and Winn-Dixie stores raised nearly $660,000 for the AHA with the help of their generous customers. Additionally, customers can access a variety of health and wellness resources in all BI-LO, Fresco y Más, Harveys Supermarket and Winn-Dixie in-store pharmacies. This includes free blood pressure readings to learn their numbers and expert advice from pharmacists for customized and convenient care they can count on.

August 6, 2020

Perdue Farms Grant Provides Food Bank New Refrigerated Tractor-Trailer

To Support Food Distribution Amid Pandemic

 Perdue Farms and the Food Bank of the Albemarle in Elizabeth City, N.C. have unveiled a new refrigerated tractor-trailer to support the organization's distribution of food within the 15 counties the food bank serves in northeast North Carolina. The tractor-trailer was funded through a $100,000 grant by Franklin P. and Arthur W. Perdue Foundation, the charitable giving arm of Perdue Farms, in conjunction with the company's 100th anniversary.
 "This most generous gift from the Franklin P. and Arthur W. Perdue Foundation enabled the Food Bank to purchase a 53-foot refrigerated tractor-trailer that will help make transformational change year-over-year as we're able to provide more nutritious protein and produce to the communities we serve," said Liz Reasoner, executive director of the Food Bank of the Albemarle. "The trailer, which has been in service since March, is an indispensable asset to our current COVID-19 relief efforts, and this gift will have an incredible impact on food bank operations for years to come."
 The trailer provides additional storage and transportation capacity and enables the food bank to source and distribute an additional 700,000 pounds (2.8 million servings) of healthy and nutritious product annually. Since March, the Food Bank has utilized the trailer to store 200,000 pounds of food, distribute more than 100,000 pounds, and pick up an estimated 60,000 pounds of product this year from local produce farmers.
 The Perdue Foundation gift aligns with the company's "Delivering Hope To Our Neighbors" hunger relief initiative focused on providing access to nutritious protein for people struggling with hunger and making meaningful progress toward ending hunger. In January, the Perdue Foundation announced a $1 million donation to support 10 of its Feeding America-affiliated food bank partners in celebration of the company's 100th anniversary.
 "At Perdue Farms, we're committed to doing all that we can to support the communities we call home, and value our ability to help address the issue of food insecurity," said Kim Nechay, executive director of the Perdue Foundation. "We're proud that we can expand our partnership with the Food Bank of the Albemarle through this gift and improve their ability to help meet the needs of our neighbors, especially during this uncertain time."
 Since 2017, Perdue Farms has donated more than 182,803 pounds - or the equivalent of 731,212 servings - of nutritious protein through its partnership with the Food Bank of the Albemarle.

August 5, 2020
■ Teachers Take the Spotlight

Juicy Juice '100% Thankful Teacher Contest' Nationwide Contest

 Year after year, teachers step up for their students by working overtime and dipping into their own savings to outfit their classrooms with back-to-school supplies. When remote learning took over this year, they had to lean in to their own resources even more to keep students motivated and engaged, upping their superhero status tenfold as an essential worker. And as families around the country prepare to go back to school this fall, whether virtual, in-person or a combination of both, one thing remains constant: teachers' support for their students. This school year, Juicy Juice, the iconic kids' beverage brand, is recognizing teachers who navigated the new normal of schooling through the 100% Thankful Teacher Contest and rewarding them with more than $30,000 in prizing.
 During the month of August, parents can nominate their kids' teachers who consistently go above and beyond, especially when schooling went virtual. By visiting, parents can submit a brief nomination detailing how their kids' teacher made a difference in their education. The top 20 entries will be shared online for the entire country to read, be inspired and vote for their favorite. The two winners who receive the most votes will each win a $10,000 grand prize to help them have the best school year yet. All finalists will win a custom prize pack of school year necessities, a supply of Juicy Juice 100% Juice and a Michaels' gift card to help ease supply woes.
 To help parents and teachers prepare for a school year unlike any other, Juicy Juice is partnering with Lanesha Tabb of Education with an Apron, a K-2 educator with more than 14 years of classroom experience and two elementary students of her own. Through tips and advice found on Juicy Juice's website, Lanesha will inspire and motivate parents through lessons, resources and relatable experiences as their little students return to school.
 "This school year will certainly be an adjustment for parents," says Tabb, "I'm proud to partner with Juicy Juice as they honor teachers around the country who are working tirelessly to adjust their lesson plans, classrooms and personal lives to make their students' learning experience as seamless as possible this year."
 "Year after year, we see teachers go above and beyond to make sure students have a productive and engaging classroom experience," said Ilene Bergenfeld, chief marketing officer at Harvest Hill Beverage Company. "Lanesha is the embodiment of giving 100% to her class, which makes her the ideal partner to help us spotlight teachers and act as a resource to parents during this back-to-school season, no matter what it may look like for them."
 Juicy Juice 100% juice has been enjoyed by families as a back-to-school lunch and snack staple for more than 40 years. Available in 15 juicy flavors, Juicy Juice 100% juice is made with no added sugar, ever, and the delicious sweetness comes straight from the fruit. Each 8 oz. serving packs one cup of fruit and is an excellent source of Vitamin C, making it a great choice that moms and dads can be 100% thankful for this back to school season.
 For more information on how families are navigating the back-to-school season and honoring school teachers, follow Juicy Juice on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Learn more about beverage options for back to school ranging from 100% juice to lower-sugar and organic at and follow along with the 100% Thankful Teacher contest at

August 4, 2020
■ BeanCon21

U.S. Dry Bean Council to Host Inaugural Global Dry Bean Buyer Event

 7 Eleven, Inc. is pleased to announce it has entered into an agreement to acquire Speedway, a leading convenience store chain, from Marathon Petroleum Corp. As part of the agreement, 7 Eleven will acquire approximately 3,900 Speedway stores located in 35 states, for $21 billion in cash.
 "This acquisition is the largest in our company's history and will allow us to continue to grow and diversify our presence in the U.S., particularly in the Midwest and East Coast," said Joe DePinto, President and Chief Executive Officer of 7 Eleven. "By adding these quality locations to our portfolio, 7 Eleven will have the opportunity to bring convenience to more customers than ever before."
Accelerates 7 Eleven's growth trajectory and diversifies presence in the U.S. Speedway and 7 Eleven have complementary geographic footprints with little overlap. 7 Eleven currently has over 9,800 stores in the United States and Canada and with Speedway's high-quality portfolio of approximately 3,900 stores, this acquisition will bring 7 Eleven's total number of stores to approximately 14,000 in the U.S. and Canada. Following the transaction, 7 Eleven will have a presence in 47 of the top 50 most populated metro areas in the U.S., positioning the company as a clear industry leader in a fragmented industry with favorable macroeconomic trends.
Strengthens financial profile to position company for continued success. Speedway, with annual pre-synergy run-rate EBITDA of approximately $1.5 billion prior to the acquisition, is an exceptional business with significant opportunities for future growth. 7 Eleven expects to achieve $475 million to $575 million of run-rate synergies through the third year following closing, while maintaining financial flexibility and a strong balance sheet. Upon closing, 7–Eleven will be even better positioned to continue to pursue profitable growth opportunities.
Combined store network significantly enhances economies of scale. Upon closing, 7 Eleven and Speedway will share best practices to deliver products and promotions based upon customer demand and continue both companies' legacy of innovation. In addition, the combined company will be well-positioned to maximize efficiencies and optimize relationships with vendors and business partners.
Commitment to ensuring a successful integration. 7 Eleven plans to form an integration steering committee with representatives from the leadership of both 7–Eleven and Speedway. Brand 7 Eleven looks forward to welcoming the approximately 40,000 members of the Speedway team into the 7 Eleven family and integrating best practices of both companies.
Commitment to environmental stewardship. 7 Eleven reaffirms and expands the company's existing commitment to important environmental priorities as a part of its broader Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) efforts. Together, the combined company will set mutual and shared 2027 targets to reduce CO2 emissions, to utilize more ecofriendly packaging and sustainable food supplies, and to drive reduction in plastic usage. All of these measures will work together to enhance long-term corporate value.
Compelling financial impact. On a pro forma basis, the transaction reflects an attractive EBITDA multiple of 7.1x after taking into account expected impacts from the transaction, including $475 million to $575 million of run-rate synergies, $3 billion of tax benefits and $5 billion of net sale leaseback proceeds. The transaction is expected to produce compound annual growth in 7–Eleven's operating income and EBITDA of over 15% through the first three years following the close of the acquisition. 7 Eleven expects to reduce its debt-to-EBITDA ratio to less than 3.0x within two years following the close of the acquisition.
 The transaction is subject to customary regulatory approvals and closing conditions and is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2021.
 Nomura Securities International, Inc. and Credit Suisse are acting as 7 Eleven's financial advisors. Both Nomura and Credit Suisse provided 7 Eleven's Board of Directors with a fairness opinion.
 Affiliates of Credit Suisse and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) provided committed financing for the acquisition. SMBC and SMBC Nikko also provided financial advisory services to Seven & i Holdings Co., Ltd. in regards to the financing consideration.

August 3, 2020

7-Eleven, Inc. Transforms its U.S. Store Network Through Acquisition of Speedway

 7 Eleven, Inc. is pleased to announce it has entered into an agreement to acquire Speedway, a leading convenience store chain, from Marathon Petroleum Corp. As part of the agreement, 7 Eleven will acquire approximately 3,900 Speedway stores located in 35 states, for $21 billion in cash.
 "This acquisition is the largest in our company's history and will allow us to continue to grow and diversify our presence in the U.S., particularly in the Midwest and East Coast," said Joe DePinto, President and Chief Executive Officer of 7 Eleven. "By adding these quality locations to our portfolio, 7 Eleven will have the opportunity to bring convenience to more customers than ever before."
Accelerates 7 Eleven's growth trajectory and diversifies presence in the U.S. Speedway and 7 Eleven have complementary geographic footprints with little overlap. 7 Eleven currently has over 9,800 stores in the United States and Canada and with Speedway's high-quality portfolio of approximately 3,900 stores, this acquisition will bring 7 Eleven's total number of stores to approximately 14,000 in the U.S. and Canada. Following the transaction, 7 Eleven will have a presence in 47 of the top 50 most populated metro areas in the U.S., positioning the company as a clear industry leader in a fragmented industry with favorable macroeconomic trends.
Strengthens financial profile to position company for continued success. Speedway, with annual pre-synergy run-rate EBITDA of approximately $1.5 billion prior to the acquisition, is an exceptional business with significant opportunities for future growth. 7 Eleven expects to achieve $475 million to $575 million of run-rate synergies through the third year following closing, while maintaining financial flexibility and a strong balance sheet. Upon closing, 7–Eleven will be even better positioned to continue to pursue profitable growth opportunities.
Combined store network significantly enhances economies of scale. Upon closing, 7 Eleven and Speedway will share best practices to deliver products and promotions based upon customer demand and continue both companies' legacy of innovation. In addition, the combined company will be well-positioned to maximize efficiencies and optimize relationships with vendors and business partners.
Commitment to ensuring a successful integration. 7 Eleven plans to form an integration steering committee with representatives from the leadership of both 7–Eleven and Speedway. Brand 7 Eleven looks forward to welcoming the approximately 40,000 members of the Speedway team into the 7 Eleven family and integrating best practices of both companies.
Commitment to environmental stewardship. 7 Eleven reaffirms and expands the company's existing commitment to important environmental priorities as a part of its broader Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) efforts. Together, the combined company will set mutual and shared 2027 targets to reduce CO2 emissions, to utilize more ecofriendly packaging and sustainable food supplies, and to drive reduction in plastic usage. All of these measures will work together to enhance long-term corporate value.
Compelling financial impact. On a pro forma basis, the transaction reflects an attractive EBITDA multiple of 7.1x after taking into account expected impacts from the transaction, including $475 million to $575 million of run-rate synergies, $3 billion of tax benefits and $5 billion of net sale leaseback proceeds. The transaction is expected to produce compound annual growth in 7–Eleven's operating income and EBITDA of over 15% through the first three years following the close of the acquisition. 7 Eleven expects to reduce its debt-to-EBITDA ratio to less than 3.0x within two years following the close of the acquisition.
 The transaction is subject to customary regulatory approvals and closing conditions and is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2021.
 Nomura Securities International, Inc. and Credit Suisse are acting as 7 Eleven's financial advisors. Both Nomura and Credit Suisse provided 7 Eleven's Board of Directors with a fairness opinion.
 Affiliates of Credit Suisse and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) provided committed financing for the acquisition. SMBC and SMBC Nikko also provided financial advisory services to Seven & i Holdings Co., Ltd. in regards to the financing consideration.

July 31, 2020

2020 NACS Show Canceled

New Virtual Experience to be Introduced

 As part of daily communications with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA), NACS was informed that the 2020 NACS Show, scheduled for October 11-14, cannot be held due to the ongoing pandemic.
 “It is with heavy heart that we make this announcement,” said NACS President and CEO Henry Armour. “We had worked closely with the health department with jurisdiction, the LVCVA, our official partners, vendors and other stakeholders to develop a world-class ‘city within a city’ that prioritized safety for our attendees and staff. At the same time, there are issues beyond our control that led to this decision.”
 “We know that this decision is disappointing to our entire community of retailer and supplier attendees, as well as our NACS Show supporting partner organizations PEI, PMAA and Conexxus,” Armour added. He said that NACS will be directly communicating to registered attendees and exhibitors no later than August 7 to quickly facilitate full refunds for the event.
 “Given all the disruption we have faced in 2020, it’s also essential to keep our industry moving forward,” said Armour, announcing a new virtual experience.
 “We invested in new platforms that we intended to roll out in 2021 to supplement our robust education and networking offer. We have fast-tracked implementation of this comprehensive series of virtual offerings to support our industry’s pressing need to stay connected and to bring our community together until we are able to resume in-person events,” said Armour.
 The NACS virtual experience will take the three most important elements of the in-person event—education, access to new products and retailer/supplier connections—and incorporate them into innovative tools for users to meaningfully engage and improve their businesses.
 “The NACS Show is where we come together to share ideas, make each other better and plan for the coming year. We know that we can’t simply transfer the live, in-person experience of the NACS Show to a virtual offer. Instead, we are replicating the elements that can deliver the most value in a digital environment,” said Armour.
 The virtual experience, available this fall, will include on-demand education with real-time interactions, a virtual product showcase and direct appointment settings. NACS will announce details about the comprehensive experience and registration information in August.
 “More than anything this year, our industry demonstrated that it is an essential business for what we sell and how we serve our communities. We’ve been inspired by positive stories about how our industry has innovated to adapt to quickly changing times. We look forward to continuing this momentum with our virtual experience so we can do even more together, sharing ideas and finding new solutions to our current environment that requires constant new pivots,” said Armour.

July 30, 2020

Southeastern Grocers Partners with Coca-Cola to Share a Meal with Families in Need

 Southeastern Grocers, Inc. (SEG), parent company and home of BI-LO, Fresco y Más, Harveys Supermarket and Winn-Dixie grocery stores, together with the SEG Gives Foundation, today announces the Share a Meal program in partnership with The Coca-Cola Company. The campaign provides customers with a seamless opportunity to share a meal* with families in need through the simple purchase of a participating meal. To kick off the Share a Meal partnership, and help combat summer hunger, the SEG Gives Foundation will donate more than $100,000 to Feeding America through its network of food banks. Additionally, the grocer encourages customers to round up their total grocery bill at the register to benefit Feeding America during the current nationwide coin shortage.
 Now through Dec. 31, 2021, customers can help feed families in need by purchasing a Share a Meal combo at any BI-LO, Fresco y Más, Harveys Supermarket and Winn-Dixie deli department. With each purchase of participating deli items and participating Coca-Cola products, 10 cents, or one meal, will be donated to Feeding America food banks throughout SEG’s seven-state footprint. The Share a Meal Program offers deli meal combinations including rotisserie chicken, mixed eight-piece baked chicken or mixed eight-piece fried chicken, with Coca-Cola products including Gold Peak Tea or smartwater.
 Anthony Hucker, President and CEO of Southeastern Grocers, said, “At Southeastern Grocers, we are committed to making a difference in the communities we serve. We are honored to partner with The Coca-Cola Company on the Share a Meal program to aid Feeding America in the ongoing fight against hunger. Our customers will now proudly be able to have a meal donated on their behalf with each participating purchase. We are stronger together, and we appreciate our customers who help us spread kindness throughout our communities.”
 Pam Stewart, The Coca-Cola Company Senior Vice President, National Retail Sales, said, “Our partnership with Southeastern Grocers and Feeding America demonstrates Coca-Cola’s commitment to act on our purpose to make a difference, while supporting our valued customers. Through the Share a Meal program, we are working together to help fight food insecurity, which is especially critical in communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.”
 Food insecurity is an ongoing issue that impacts 1 in 6 families throughout the Southeast. This year, more than 54 million people may face hunger due to work furloughs and industry layoffs because of the coronavirus pandemic – an estimated 46% increase from the 37 million people who struggled with food insecurity prior to the pandemic‡. Through Share a Meal, The Coca-Cola Company and SEG will help offset the effects of food insecurity by providing customers throughout the Southeast with the opportunity to support their communities in an impactful way.
 Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, CEO of Feeding America, said, “As a result of the pandemic, food banks across the country have seen an increase in need for food assistance. At the same time, the charitable food system has faced hosts of challenges, including a decline in food donations, volunteers and other resources. Feeding America is grateful to Southeastern Grocers and The Coca-Cola Company for their support and commitment to helping our neighbors in need."
 Additionally, Southeastern Grocers has launched the SEG Positive Change Round Up Campaign to help minimize the impact of the nationwide coin shortage while also providing support to people in need as its associates, customers and neighbors continue to navigate the effects of COVID-19. Customers are encouraged to round up their total grocery bill to the nearest dollar at check out in support of various charitable organizations through the remainder of 2020. All spare change donated today through Aug. 4 will benefit Feeding America in its fight against hunger.
 This latest community effort is an expansion of the grocer’s ongoing commitment to support its longstanding partner, Feeding America, through various initiatives that cultivate strong relationships between its stores and local food banks, including associate volunteer efforts, community campaigns, food contributions and collaborations with partners like The Coca-Cola Company. In addition to the SEG Gives Foundation’s more than $100,000 donation to kick off Share a Meal, Southeastern Grocers helped the country face the surge of COVID-19 earlier this year with a $250,000 donation to Feeding America as well as a contribution of nearly 258,000 $5 hunger relief bags equaling more than $1.28 million worth of food. The grocer, its foundation and generous customers have donated more than $2.5 million in addition to tens of millions of pounds of food to Feeding America through various charitable programs since 2017.

July 29, 2020
■ The Rockefeller Foundation

Calls for Transformation of the U.S. Food System to Address the Hunger and Nutrition Crisis

 With levels of hunger and nutrition insecurity exploding during the pandemic and resulting economic downturn, The Rockefeller Foundation today issued a call to action to transform the U.S. food system to meet immediate needs while also putting in motion the systemic shifts necessary to make the food system more resilient, nourishing, sustainable and equitable in the long-run. Among the immediate steps called for by The Rockefeller Foundation are: ensuring that school meal programs have the ability to feed all children whether their schools are open or closed, and including regional and local food systems in stimulus packages with a particular focus on Black, Indigenous and communities of color, which have been harder hit by the effects of the pandemic.
 The Rockefeller Foundation today released its latest paper entitled "Reset the Table: Meeting the Moment to Transform the U.S. Food System." In addition to immediate steps, the paper identifies three fundamental, longer-term shifts that need to be made in the U.S. food system towards: an integrated nutrition security system; reinvigorated regional systems to better balance the nationwide food system; and equitable prosperity throughout the supply chain. "Hunger and nutrition insecurity are at crisis levels in the United States and is likely to get worse, particularly with regard to children, as we move toward the fall," said Dr. Rajiv J. Shah, President of The Rockefeller Foundation. "This crisis has aggravated shortcomings in the U.S. food system that have been clear for some time, and now is the moment for us to work together to resolve them and to ensure access to healthy food for all."
 Prior to the pandemic, the USDA had estimated that 37 million people in the U.S. struggled with hunger. Last month, the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern reported that since the pandemic began, food insecurity had doubled overall and tripled among households with children. The increase has been even more pronounced among Black and Hispanic households, with the increase in food insecurity for Black households at double the rate as for white households.
 As the hunger and nutrition crisis grew this spring, The Rockefeller Foundation convened a series of virtual roundtables and other conversations with more than 100 leaders and experts from farmers and food industry executives to social justice, environmental, health and nutrition advocates. The conversations focused on what was being learned about the U.S. food system during Covid-19, including the underlying, systemic challenges that are impacting the system's response to the pandemic and how those challenges can be resolved. The disproportionate negative impacts of the pandemic, including the economic downturn and rising levels of hunger and nutrition insecurity among Black, Indigenous and people of color, was a recurring theme throughout these conversations. The insights and ideas generated by these roundtables and conversations informed the Foundation's paper.
 In addition to identifying these three fundamental shifts in the U.S. food system, the paper also identifies a series of immediate actions, including enabling schools to provide free meals to all children and putting in place programs to ensure that children do not miss meals even when schools are closed. Other immediate actions include rapidly expanding equitable access to Produce Prescription programs, medically tailored meals and other programs that enable healthcare providers to connect patients with healthy food. The Foundation also called for relief and stimulus policies to fund improvements in the resilience of supply chains and strengthening of local food systems with a specific focus on Black, Indigenous and communities of color that have been disproportionately impacted by Covid-19.
 "This paper is just the beginning," said Dr. Shah. "We offer some immediate actions here, but all of us need to work together over the coming months and years to write the transformation playbook together. Whether you care most about child hunger or workforce protections, family farmers or fair wages, market efficiencies or racial equality, climate change or national security, all of us should be fighting for a food system that's sustainable, nourishing, equitable and just."

July 28, 2020

Statement from the U.S. Coin Task Force on the Coin Circulation Issue

 Coin circulation has emerged as a new disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many have referred to this as a shortage; however it is not. There is approximately $48 billion in coin already in circulation, most of which is sitting dormant inside America’s 128 million households. As people have changed their spending habits, and coin-intensive businesses and financial institution lobbies have been less accessible, the nation’s coin is pooling in change jars, in car cup holders and in shuttered businesses, making it difficult for the businesses of this country to get the coin that they need to support cash transactions. To address the circulation problem, the United States Mint and Federal Reserve established a U.S. Coin Task Force in July 2020 that includes representatives of critical parts of the coin supply chain.
 “The weak circulation affects most everyone but the hardest hit are small cash-dependent businesses and those who are least well off” says Hannah vL. Walker, a Task Force member and Vice President with FMI – The Food Industry Association. “For millions of Americans, cash is the only form of payment.”
 If just a fraction of the coin sitting dormant in households is redeemed, this problem can be solved.
 While the U.S. Coin Task Force is completing their work, the Task Force urges the American public to:
• Start spending their coin;
• Deposit coin at their financial institutions; and
• Redeem coin at coin kiosks
• Use the hashtag #getcoinmoving in your own social media posts to promote awareness and understanding of this issue
 As important as it is to #getcoinmoving, consumer safety is paramount, and the Task Force encourages everyone to follow CDC recommendations regarding personal safety when visiting retailers, small businesses, banks, grocery stores, and credit unions.

July 27, 2020

Thomas' Expands Fan-Favorite Mini Croissants Nationwide

 As more consumers crave quick-fix meals with ingredients they can feel good about, the Thomas' brand, creators and bakers of the original Nooks & Crannies English Muffins, today announced the national expansion of Thomas' Mini Croissants, the latest addition to the brand's growing list of innovative breakfast offerings.
 Crafted with mess-free dough, Thomas' Mini Croissants bring a soft and rich flavor to the kitchen table for a no-cook breakfast fix, a delectable mid-day treat or a delightful complement to any meal. Now available at grocery stores and other major food retailers nationwide for a suggested retail price of $4.49, Thomas' Mini Croissants are the perfect option for busy households, letting families spend less time cooking and more time enjoying mealtime with loved ones. Thomas' Mini Croissants can be found in the bread aisle alongside the Thomas' brand's iconic lineup of breakfast classics including the original Nooks & Crannies English Muffins, Bagels and Swirl Breads.
 "Today's typical mealtime looks significantly different than it did a few years ago," said Eduardo Zarate, Senior Director of Marketing for Thomas'. "As a leading breakfast brand, we would be remiss if we did not evolve our line of breakfast offerings as the needs and demands of our loyal customers progress over time. With the national expansion of our Thomas' Mini Croissants, we find comfort in knowing that families across the country can enjoy this delicious on-the-go option without sacrificing real, high-quality ingredients."
 Thomas' dates back to 1880 when Samuel Bath Thomas created his original English Muffin in New York City using a secret process that included griddle baking to create a Nooks and Crannies English Muffin. The company has since added bagels and breakfast breads, including a line of swirl breads, to its breakfast offerings. Today, Thomas' sells the #1 English Muffin and #1 grocery bagel in the U.S.

July 24, 2020

Bashas’ Family of Stores Expands Participation in Double Up Food Bucks Program

 Food City supermarkets in Yuma and San Luis are now incentivizing shoppers to make healthy choices, as Arizona’s hometown grocer expands its participation in the Double Up Food Bucks Arizona program, following a successful pilot at its Bashas’ Diné Market in Window Rock.
 According to Double Up Food Bucks Arizona, the timing could not be better for Bashas’ Family of Stores to expand its involvement as many Arizonans are in need of a hand up, now more than ever, and grocery shoppers overall are looking to eat healthier. The expansion of this program was a natural next step.
 Double Up Food Bucks Arizona doubles the benefit of the food stamp program – or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) – at participating locations. For every dollar that shoppers spend on healthy foods using a SNAP EBT card, they receive an additional dollar to spend on healthy foods during their next visit. Eligible healthy foods include fresh fruits and vegetables, food-producing plants, and dried beans with no added ingredients.
 “We’re always looking for ways to support and encourage healthy choices,” said Edward “Trey” Basha, CEO of Bashas’ Family of Stores, the family-owned grocer that operates Food City, AJ's Fine Foods, Eddie's Country Store, and both Bashas' and Bashas' Diné supermarkets . “A program like this one – which encourages nutritious food consumption – builds on our commitment to provide access to healthy options for Arizonans. We look forward to helping this program grow to more of our store locations.”
 Customers can earn Double Up Food Bucks each day, in the form of coupons that print at the register, which can be used during their next visit. Coupons expire two months after printing.
 “Double Up is a win-win,” said Adrienne Udarbe, Executive Director of Pinnacle Prevention, which brought Double Up to Arizona in 2016. “Families bring home healthier foods, and more food dollars stay in the local economy. It has a ripple effect of benefits across the community.”
 The Bashas’ Diné Market on Highway 264 and NR12 in Window Rock was one of the first supermarkets in Arizona to participate in the Double Up program.
 “We received such a positive response to Double Up in Window Rock that we decided to expand our participation to some of our Food City stores,” said Basha. “Shoppers have told us that their participation in the program has truly changed how they shop, cook and eat.”
 The Food City store on Main Street in San Luis, and two Food City stores in Yuma (on 8th Street and on 16th Street) now participate in the program.
 Since its launch in Arizona in 2016, Double Up has grown to more than 25 participating locations, including grocery stores, corner stores, farmers markets, farm stands, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) sites, food banks and mobile markets. Double Up will continue to expand to serve more regions throughout the state.
 Funding for Double Up comes from the Arizona Department of Economic Security’s Nutrition Assistance Produce Incentive Program (NAPIP) and USDA’s Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive Program (FINI).

July 23, 2020

Southeastern Grocers Updated Mask Policy

 At Southeastern Grocers, we put people at the center of each and every decision we make for our stores. Our decisions have always been shaped by listening to our people and our communities.
 As we have navigated through the complexities and challenges of the pandemic, we have progressively shaped our operations and are continuing to update our policies to best protect all those who depend upon us. This unprecedented period requires a willingness to be adaptable and flexible to ever-changing circumstances, and we will continue to adjust as needed over time.
 The majority of our stores are under either a local or state government mandate, and given the continued rise of positive COVID cases in our communities across the Southeast, beginning Monday, July 27, we will be requiring masks to be worn by customers to help reduce the spread of the disease. Our communities count on us, and we are counting on our customers to show kindness as we go through these challenging times together.
 We believe that the enforcement should be placed upon our state and federally elected officials, and we will continue to work with our peers in the retail industry to advocate for this sensible mandate to be passed into law to remove the burden from employers and their heroic frontline associates.

July 22, 2020

Plastic Film Producers Catch Temporary Break in Retail Bag Demand Due to COVID-19

 COVID-19 has led to suspension of state and local bans of single-use plastic items, including film-intensive products like retail bags. Despite the ongoing shift away from plastic single-use items due to their negative environmental profile, the pandemic has altered perceptions of plastic bags, which are considered safer and more hygienic than reusable types. In fact, in some parts of the US, reusable bag use has been banned in grocery stores due to concerns about the spread of coronavirus.
 This is providing some temporary respite for plastic film suppliers who've been facing declining film demand in retail bag applications, which totaled 950 million pounds in 2019. However, gains from the suspension of these policies will be offset by ripple effects in other areas, such as trash/garbage bags and can liners, which were benefitting from plastic bag bans, as many consumers often reuse retail bags for these purposes.

July 21, 2020
■ Survey:

Small Business Owners Support Extending Unemployment Benefits

Say National Reopening Plan Would Help Survival Odds & Want Mask Mandates

Small Business for America’s Future national survey of 1,500 small business owners finds 80% think Covid will disrupt business operations for all of 2020 or longer; 56% support extending enhanced unemployment benefits; 77% support government policies requiring masks; 66% say a national plan for opening safely would give business a better chance of surviving the pandemic. Small business owners available for comment

 A national survey of small business owners finds Main Street entrepreneurs overwhelmingly support extending enhanced unemployment benefits and mask mandates, and say a national plan for opening safely would give them a better chance at long-term survival--views that break sharply from the Trump Administration’s handling of the pandemic.
 “The administration is failing to lead on containing the virus. It has bungled small business relief packages and politicized the wearing of masks, putting millions of small business owners and their employees at risk,” said Frank Knapp, Jr., co-chair of Small Business for America’s Future. “As always, small business owners are very practical. They see the need for following science and the need to continue putting money in the pockets of the two-thirds of workers who lost their jobs because of the pandemic and have not been rehired. The grave concern is that the lack of Washington leadership could result in their businesses closing again putting their future in further jeopardy. We need action. The future of our Main Street economies depend on it.”
 The survey of small business owners in Small Business for America’s Future’s network, fielded from July 10-17 with more than 1,544 small business respondents, found that 80% of small business owners expect Covid-19 to disrupt business for the rest of 2020, if not longer, informing their views on the handling of a number of long-term health and economic issues. The survey found:
• 56% support extending enhanced unemployment benefits, which are set to expire on July 31
• 56% are concerned letting enhanced unemployment benefits expire will harm consumer spending
• Just 20% say employees are not returning to work because they make more money on unemployment
• 68% say we need a nationwide plan for reopening safely
• 66% say such a plan would give businesses a better chance at surviving the pandemic
• 77% support government orders mandating masks in businesses, 58% strongly support it
• 87% say business owners have the right to deny entrance to customers without masks
• 76% are willing to close or comply with health recommendations that contain the spread of Covid-19 even if it reduces customer traffic if they have government support such as grants or long-term, low-interest loans to help their businesses and employees survive financially
• 27% have considered closing their business permanently due to Covid-19
• 21% are facing the possibility of bankruptcy due to Covid-19
• 58% have taken on debt due to Covid-19, nearly half (49%) have taken on $50,000 or more in debt, 30% have taken on more than $100,000 in debt
• 56% have spent money on reopening expenses related to Covid-19
• 29% blame people who don’t follow health guidelines such as wearing masks or practicing social distancing
• 27% blame the president and his administration
• 25% blame state and local officials
• 16% blame the media
• 3% blame other groups
 “This is a crisis of leadership. The lack of a national plan to reopen safely has led to a resurgence of the virus. Business openings across the country are being rolled back. Unemployment benefits for our employees are about to run out. It has hurt me and many other small business owners I know,” said Candace Combs, owner of In-symmetry Spa in San Francisco. “We need action. Without more unemployment benefits and small business grants people are going to walk out their front door when this is all over and it's going to be a ghost town. All the small businesses you know and love will be gone.”

July 20, 2020

King Arthur Baking Company Rebrands to Celebrate Commitment to Baking

 The country's oldest flour company is now King Arthur Baking Company. The rebrand of King Arthur Flour reflects what the company has always been: a company of bakers who believe in the power of baking to forge community and bring joy. The new logo, which features a wheat crown, celebrates the brand's commitment to baking.
 Since its start in 1790, King Arthur has evolved from America's first flour company to the leading baking resource, providing bakers with hundreds of ingredients, baking mixes, and tools, and a thousands-strong library of free recipes and resources. In recent months, baking has become a national pastime, with 80 percent of infrequent bakers – those who previously baked a few times a year - now baking at least a few times a month. King Arthur responded rapidly to keep bakers baking by placing an enhanced focus on its already robust baking education resources, refreshing its digital presence to better engage bakers and fulfill direct to consumer sales, and introducing a new 3-pound bag of flour to get product to consumers faster. These shifts have empowered the brand to introduce baking to more people than ever before, and to engage with bakers everywhere in a meaningful and educational way.
 "King Arthur has always been a baking company at heart. The rebrand reaffirms our belief in the power of baking, and our commitment to inspiring bakers through every single touchpoint including our teaching and our products," said Karen Colberg, King Arthur Baking Company's Co-CEO. "Our mission is rooted in building stronger communities, fostering the connections that come from baking and sharing. The new positioning as a baking company will enable us to continue to grow and welcome all bakers, from passionate life-long bakers to beginners."
 The King Arthur Baking Company rebrand is the product of a rigorous 18-month brand research and creative strategy process, centered on our commitment to sharing the love and joy of baking.
 "We set out to design a logo that's equal parts premium, authentic, and joyful to reflect the essence of the brand and strengthen the emotional connection bakers have with us. The logo, combined with our name change, harnesses who we are. We are bakers and we revel in the joy of baking," said Ruth Perkins, Senior Creative Director at King Arthur Baking Company. To celebrate the rebrand, King Arthur Baking Company is launching a digital campaign. Consumers can share photos of their baking creations with new GIFs and stickers on social media or try out the new Crown filter on Facebook and Instagram.
 The new logo and company name are officially live on the King Arthur Baking Company website and new product packaging will be rolling out in stores throughout the fall.

July 17, 2020

Convenience Stores Continue to Add Safety Protocols, New Pickup Options

 Convenience retailers say that are continuing to enhance store operations to address new consumer preferences related to safety protocols and convenient shopping options that have emerged from the coronavirus pandemic.
 Nine in 10 stores (89%) have installed plexiglass barriers at checkout, and 87% provide hand sanitizer inside the store. Convenience stores sell an estimated 80% of the fuel purchased in the country, and 24% of stores are offering hand sanitizer at the fuel island, according to a national survey of U.S. convenience store owners conducted by NACS.
 “Customers really appreciate observing our associates cleaning, continually wiping down high-touch points in the store and keeping our fueling dispensers clean and in tip-top shape. I think the pandemic has really made it necessary for convenience stores to enhance a ‘culture of cleanliness’ throughout the property, both inside and at the pump,” said Dennis McCartney, director of operations at Landhope Farms (Kennett Square, Pennsylvania). “This will continue to be an important issue and an important continuing aspect to our everyday business.”
 Retailers are also anticipating even more change. Rainbo Oil Co. (dba Kwik Stop) is focusing on safety and protecting employees by ensuring adequate supply of PPEs and disinfecting/cleaning supplies throughout the pandemic, according to Lori Thielen with the Dubuque, Iowa-based company.
 Retailers recognize that as essential businesses, they play an important role in serving local communities. Overall, 98% of respondents say their stores have remained open: 64% of stores have kept the same hours, and 34% have stayed open but with reduced hours.
 Many retailers also say they are driving forward new convenience offers that respond to customer demands, such as new payment options that have accelerated within the industry: 40% say they have introduced or increased contactless payment options inside stores, and 62% say fewer customers are paying by cash, reflecting a broader retail trend. In terms of product pickup, 33% of stores have introduced or expanded curbside pickup, 29% have increased a drive-thru element to their operations and 21% increased delivery.
 Retailers say they are embracing these new conveniences. Marshall Dujka, owner of Timewise Food Stores in Houston, Texas, says that he will continue to explore how to better anticipate new customer buying habits and behaviors.
 Meanwhile, High’s is expanding its frictionless payment program, as well as curbside pick-up and delivery options, according to Brad Chivington, senior vice president of the Baltimore, Maryland-based company.
 In addition to serving customers, retailers are supporting their communities. Nearly two in three retailers (63%) say they are supporting medical/healthcare personnel, first responders or others affected by the crisis. Other companies are recognizing local heroes during the industry-wide 24/7 Day (July 24) that honors first responders, medical personnel and American Red Cross volunteers.
 “We’re looking forward to bringing the community back together,” said Edwin Piper, general manager at Willits General Store in Basalt, Colorado.

July 16, 2020

NRF Calls on Retailers to Set Nationwide Mask Policy

 The National Retail Federation issued the following statement encouraging all retailers to adopt a nationwide policy that requires customers to wear face coverings or masks to protect the health and well-being of customers, associates and partners during the coronavirus pandemic:
 The health and safety of associates and customers is retailers' number one priority and wearing a face covering or mask is scientifically proven to reduce the spread of COVID-19. NRF applauds the leadership of companies like Walmart, Starbucks, Best Buy, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Apple, Qurate Retail Group, Costco and others that have implemented nationwide mask mandates.
 We hope today’s announcement by Walmart – the world’s largest retailer – that it will be enforcing a policy requiring customers to wear a mask to shop in their stores is a tipping point in this public health debate. Workers serving customers should not have to make a critical decision as to whether they should risk exposure to infection or lose their jobs because a minority of people refuse to wear masks in order to help stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
 Since the onset of the pandemic, retailers of all sizes have been on the front lines safely serving customers and supporting their communities. Stores are private businesses that can adopt policies permitted by law for the health and safety of their associates and their customers. Shopping in a store is a privilege, not a right. If a customer refuses to adhere to store policies, they are putting employees and other customers at undue risk.

July 14, 2020

Giant Food Donates Over $1.2 Million to USO of Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore

  USO of Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore announces today the donation receipt of $1,208,846 from Giant Food, the leading greater Washington D.C. regional grocery chain.
 For the fifth consecutive year, USO-Metro served as one of the main charity beneficiaries of the 2020 Giant National Capital Barbecue Battle which was a month-long virtual event due to the COVID-19 pandemic. USO-Metro was also the beneficiary of funds raised through in-store event promotions across Giant's 163 stores from Memorial Day Weekend through June.
 "USO-Metro is truly honored to have a partner like Giant Food supporting our service members year after year," said Elaine Rogers, President and CEO of USO-Metro. "The Giant National Capital Barbecue Battle and Giant's month long in-store campaign are one of our largest and most successful fundraisers of the year. Now, more than ever, funding like this makes all the difference in the world. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began back in March, USO-Metro has been able to continue offering programs and services to our active duty military and their families across the region, and partners like Giant Food along with Giant's amazing customers make our mission possible during times like these."
 This year's Giant National Capital Barbecue Battle Virtual Experience was one of the first virtual food festivals in the world and saw over 100,000 viewers from across the country. The website featured several cooking competitions, contests, giveaways, and live music.
 "We are proud to be close partners with USO-Metro and to support military service members and their families," said Ira Kress, President of Giant Food. "I'd like to thank the Giant store associates and our amazing customers across the region who all stood together in support of our local military to make this year's in-store campaign such a tremendous success. I'm also delighted with the success of the Giant National Capital Barbecue Battle Virtual Experience as it brought the community together for a great cause while cheering on our barbecue legends and celebrating delicious food. We are already looking forward to next year."
 As part of its commitment to supporting the local community including military service members, Giant has donated over $3.5 million to USO-Metro to-date since 2016.

July 13, 2020

The Farmer's Cow Summer Beverages Are Back

 Just as the summer season heats up, The Farmer’s Cow is ready to quench thirsts with six delicious flavors of lemonades and iced teas. Our fresh products will begin arriving in stores this week. Connecticut shoppers can find it in the produce section at Stop & Shop stores statewide as well as The Creamery at Fort Hill Farm in Thompson and The Farmer’s Cow Calfé & Creamery in Mansfield.
 Original recipes for The Farmer’s Cow Summer Beverages are made with all natural ingredients, no preservatives, and no high fructose corn syrup. All six flavors are blended and bottled locally in Connecticut:
Strawberry Lemonade
Watermelon Lemonade
Iced Tea
Unsweetened Iced Tea
‘Mixed Together’ Tea & Lemonade
 “Naturally, we are best known for our milk, but nothing hits the spot in summer like one of our cold, refreshing summer drinks,” says Jim Smith, Managing Member of The Farmer’s Cow. “The not-too-sweet taste is just right over ice or as a float with a scoop of our ice cream.” The Farmer’s Cow Summer Beverages also make delicious read-to-pour mixers for easy cocktails and mocktails. With just 2 or 3 simple ingredients, refreshing “COWtails” are a breeze to make and very tasty!
 The Farmer’s Cow Summer Beverages are available in convenient half gallons.

July 10, 2020

Food Lion Becomes Only U.S. Company to Receive ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year Award

In Support of Communities Amid COVID-19 Crisis

 When you shop at Food Lion, you may have noticed doors on dairy and produce cases to contain cold temperatures and motion sensors on the freezer cases that turn the lighting on and off. These are just some of the many ways Food Lion is delivering on its promise to be a better neighbor for the towns and cities we serve by caring for the environment. It is also what led to being Food Lion recently being named ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year for a 19th consecutive year.
 Since 2000, Food Lion's energy reductions in carbon emissions are equivalent to supplying the energy needed to charge more than 75.3 billion smart phones or providing 70,717 neighbors homes’ energy for one year. An example of an energy-saving technique used is upgrading our in-store lighting to LED’s. So far, more than 400 stores have been upgraded within our 10-state footprint.
 “Food Lion has won the ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year award 19 years consecutively, achieving the Sustained Excellence distinction for the last 17 of those years,” said Stephan Sylvan, director of communications for the climate protection partnerships division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. “Food Lion has received this honor more times than any other company.”
 The Energy Star Partner of the Year awards are given to organizations to recognize their contributions to reducing greenhouse gas emissions through superior energy efficiency achievements. The EPA presents the Sustained Excellence Award to partners that have already received ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year recognition for a minimum of two consecutive years and have gone above and beyond the criteria needed to qualify for recognition. “We are honored to serve as a leader in energy conservation and efficiency,” said Matt Yates, vice president of Brand Strategy for Food Lion. “Our energy savings help us lower our costs, so we can keep our prices low for our customers."
 As part of its commitment to caring for its neighbors and caring for our planet, Food Lion has routinely set and achieved a number of sustainability goals. In addition to energy conservation, Food Lion also has industry-leading sustainable sourcing standards, increased recycling to divert more waste from landfills and has donated the equivalent of more than 300 million meals through its pioneering Food Lion Feeds food rescue effort, through which food is donated to local hunger relief organizations and 30 food banks across the grocer’s 10-state footprint before it perishes to feed neighbors in need.

July 9, 2020

Perdue Farms Delivers More Than 1.5 Million Pounds of Protein

In Support of Communities Amid COVID-19 Crisis

 Perdue Farms has delivered more than 1.5 million pounds of protein — or six million servings — to food banks and hunger-relief efforts, exceeding its commitment to donate a minimum of one million pounds of protein to support communities where it conducts business in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The effort is part of Perdue's "Delivering Hope To Our Neighbors" hunger-relief initiative.
 Perdue has directed its nutritious protein donations to Feeding America-affiliated food banks serving its communities, including in California, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia. Perdue has also directed product donations to help frontline healthcare workers and first responders, and support community-based hunger-relief programs.
 Some of the most recent donations are supporting: Central Texas Food Bank, Feeding America, Kentucky's Heartland, Feed More (Virginia), Food Bank of Delaware, Food Bank of the Siouxland (Iowa), Maryland Food Bank and Northern Illinois Food Bank.
 "The Perdue donation was received at the right time. Many individuals and families who are in need, and possibly food insecure, often cannot afford to purchase chicken and other protein items on their own," said Jamie Sizemore, executive director of Feeding America, Kentucky's Heartland in Elizabethtown, Ky. "Perdue has helped us to meet these needs and distribute good, nutritious protein across our service area."
 "Our community has experienced a tremendous increase in Siouxlanders becoming food insecure and needing to rely on the safety net system," said Linda Scheid, executive director of the Food Bank of the Siouxland in Sioux City, Iowa. "Protein is always a product in high demand, so donations like these are incredibly important and valuable. Only with great support from donors, both financial supporters and food donors, such as Perdue, have we been able to provide the food that is so critical for us all."
 U.S. food banks continue to struggle with an ever-increasing demand for food by individuals and families trying to make ends meet during the COVID-19 crisis.
 "Every day, our neighbors within our communities and throughout the U.S. are relying more on their local food banks and pantries to put a meal on the table for their families amid the pandemic," said Randy Day, CEO of Perdue Farms. "As a food company, we have the resources and a responsibility to help those struggling with food insecurity, especially during an unprecedented time like this. It's the right thing to do."

July 8, 2020
■ Northgate González Market Hosted

Special Graduation Ceremonies and Virtual Celebration

Featuring Former Dodger Adrian Gonzalez

 Walking down the produce aisle in her cap and gown with co-workers cheering her on was not how Harley Hernandez envisioned celebrating her high school graduation. But like thousands of other graduates this year, ceremonies and family gatherings were cancelled due to the Coronavirus. It was an emotional moment for Hernandez, who walked with her mom in tears.
 The family at Northgate González Market wanted their associates to know how proud they were of them by hosting a special celebration in their honor. On June 24, California’s leading Latino grocery store cheered on 151 graduates at various locations and gifted each one with a $100 VISA gift card, a customized lei and one complimentary cake for them to take home to their families.
 In addition, there was a virtual celebration bringing together all of the company’s graduates with a special message from the owners and former Dodger Adrian González, who shared a few inspiring words for the students.
 In the video, Gonzalez reminded the class of 2020 they are a “unique and strong generation for having overcome many challenges to get here.”
 This year, Northgate Market had four college graduates and one student graduating with an MBA from USC.
 “The virus could not diminish the pride we have in these students,” said Oscar Gonzalez, Co-president of Northgate Market. “We see our associates as part of our extended family, and we were happy to share in the excitement of their graduation.”

July 7, 2020

Bugsy & Meyer's Steakhouse at Flamingo Las Vegas Now Open

 One of the most anticipated openings of the year, Bugsy & Meyer's Steakhouse at Flamingo Las Vegas is now open. The $10 million destination steakhouse embraces the resort's nearly 75-year history, while presenting it in an elevated, modern way.
 The restaurant's name is a nod to Flamingo Las Vegas founders, Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel and business partner Meyer Lansky, who famously created the first resort-style hotel on the Strip back in 1946 and forever changed Las Vegas.
 On the evening of Thursday, July 2, Lansky's grandson, Meyer Lansky II, stopped in to experience the all-new steakhouse. He noted that one of the last things Siegel said to his grandfather was, "don't give up on Las Vegas," and that is evident with the opening of Bugsy & Meyer's.
 From menu, design, and atmosphere, Bugsy & Meyer's takes notes from the past and adds fresh and elevated twists. Guests are transported from the moment they arrive, as they enter through the bakery façade, and pass the kitchen and dry aged meat cooler, giving the illusion of discreetly entering through the back as many did decades ago. From there, there are six unique experiences for guests in the space—the patio and lounge, the centerpiece bar, private dining in one of three private dining rooms perfect for groups, the raw bar, the ornate dining room and the hidden speakeasy—The Count Room.
 Far removed from the typical steakhouse mold, the showstopping design from Studio K Creative out of Chicago and renowned designer Jonathan Adler, pairs lighter natural tones, with vibrant colors, art deco inspiration, and intricate details. Bugsy & Meyer's partnered with SHE HIT PAUSE art consultants out of New York City to create a specialty curated art collection with exotic wildlife as the heroes, including a custom beaded flamingo piece created by Adler that took nearly 100 hours to make.
 The Bugsy & Meyer's menu features steakhouse classics and throwbacks with modern enhancements. Bugsy & Meyer's in-house dry aged program is showcased in the restaurant in a glass encased show cooler. Hand selected cuts include domestic prime, wet aged, dry aged prime, imported wagyu and more.
 Entrée enhancements include a single lobster tail, Alaskan king crab, foie gras, B&M scampi, Point Reyes cheese fondue and more. Traditional sides are included on the menu, but guests won't want to miss signature sides like The Heater…Baked & Stuffed with white cheddar, The House sausage, and caramelized onion; truffle potato puree; and lobster mac & cheese. Seafood is a cornerstone of the menu, especially with the raw bar kitchen in the main dining room. Enjoy premium shellfish towers with charcoal grilled enhancements, shellfish cocktails and crudo. Other dish highlights include prime rib roasts, American wagyu short ribs, pan roasted lamb loin, fresh Dover sole meuniere and more. Dessert is no slouch with staples like The Big Apple, made with a white chocolate yuzu mousse, caramelized apples, soft caramel, and hazelnut café crumble.
 Joining the stunning steakhouse's talented culinary team is the winner of the Food Network competition series, "Vegas Chef Prizefight," Lamar Moore. Moore hails from Chicago, Illinois, and notably competed in the toughest job interview of his life, trying to impress a panel of judges, like Anne Burrell and Scott Conant, for the title of Head Chef at Bugsy & Meyer's. While Moore is putting hard work in the kitchen, guests might be able to sway him into the dining room for a photo. Moore joins Executive Chef, Honorio Mecinas, who brings with him more than 15 years of Las Vegas Strip experience.
 The cocktail menu pays homage to the past while presenting new takes on the classics and originals. Hailing from the Caribbean and a favorite spirit of the 1940s, rum cocktails are heavily featured. Notable cocktails include The Apply Tamed made with Old Forester rye, Pére Magloire calvados VSOP, Lustau Palo cortado sherry, Benedictine liqueur, peychaud's bitters, angostura bitters, apple chips and lemon swath; The Jungle Bird made with Cruzan black strap rum, Campari, pineapple juice, lime juice, simple syrup with a pineapple wedge and leaf; and the build-your-own Old Fashioned. Other creations include prohibition-era libations and unique contemporary cocktails. Bugsy & Meyer's also offers a vast wine list with selections by the glass and bottle.
 Bugsy & Meyer's follows Caesars Entertainment's previously announced enhanced health and safety protocols, which build on existing plans and practices. Caesars management is focused on the well-being of team members, guests and the community, and is working to create an environment with enhanced standards of sanitization and physical distancing practices. Examples of these protocols in the restaurant include, but are not limited to, the following:
• Appropriate social distancing with tables 6 ft. apart;
• Restaurant occupancy reduced to 50% of fire code capacity in accordance with government directives;
• Place settings have been removed and will be brought throughout the meal;
• Team members are required to wear masks. Guests will also be provided masks and are required to wear them at all times, except when eating or drinking;
• Hand sanitizer will be provided at multiple points.
 Bugsy & Meyer's Steakhouse is open Thursday- Monday from 5-10 p.m., closed Tuesday-Wednesday. It is located across from the Flamingo Wildlife Habitat main entrance.

July 6, 2020

Safeway Foundation Award $570,500 in COVID-19 Grants to Fight Hunger

 Safeway Foundation in Safeway’s Eastern Division has awarded $570,500 in the second round of grants from the HELP FEED FAMILIES DURING THE CRISIS fundraiser. 54 non-profit organizations in Virginia, Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Delaware received funds to help fight hunger in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
 The HELP FEED FAMILIES DURING THE CRISIS fundraiser, part of the Safeway Foundations’ Nourishing Neighbors initiative, was established to help local families impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Funds raised during the month of May outpaced funds raised during April and are being used to support local organizations providing meals to school children, seniors, and others in need of assistance. Programs eligible for funding can include (but are not limited to) support for: emergency meal distribution programs for students; families in need through gift cards or food distribution; providing meals and food to seniors and helping families access federal food programs like WIC and SNAP.
 Hunger relief programs are stretched beyond capacity due to the necessary measures that schools, businesses and governments have taken to curb the spread of COVID-19. Grant recipients have seen a massive increase in the need for their services.
 Below are some examples of the organizations and initiatives that the donations will support:
 Capital Area Food Bank (CAFB) and Maryland Food Bank (MFB) are the region’s food assistance hubs and each organization is working with hundreds of local partners whose needs have multiplied astronomically.
 In addition to keeping essential food pantry services operational, Adventist in Maryland has added distribution locations for weekend food packages and will use their Safeway Foundation support for a pop-up distribution site at Galway Elementary School where they will serve families of children who take part in their free annual summer camp.
 Blessings in a Backpack volunteers are distributing bags of nutritious, non-perishable food each week to children without access to consistent nutrition throughout the COVID-19 school closures and beyond, in some Virginia and Maryland locales.
 Catholic Charities USA will use their grant to provide food and basic supplies via their network of food pantries in D.C., Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia, for those most severely impacted by COVID-19. The number of people seeking their food assistance has increased by more than 60%.
 National Housing Trust Communities (NHT), a national non-profit that owns and operates 12 affordable to low-income D.C. apartment communities. Many of their residents now lack access to regular and nutritious food. Safeway Foundation’s grant will help NHT will work towards providing at least one healthy and appetizing no-cost meal a day to 80-120 children in two D.C. apartment communities.
 And as many families have lost income and access to childcare, grant Martha’s Table’s emergency food distribution efforts are ensuring that neighbors in need can obtain no-cost nutritious groceries, including fresh produce, in a dignified manner at more than 20 sites in the District each week.

July 3, 2020

Briannas Fine Salad Dressings Introduces Two New Flavors

 With the weather warming up and more families eating and cooking at home, US-based, global fan favorite Briannas Fine Salad Dressing has introduced two new premium dressing flavors perfect for summer, Blueberry Balsamic Vinaigrette and Organic Apple Cider Vinaigrette.
 “These two flavors pack a rich profile and offer a great variety to mix up salads or marinate meat before popping on the grill,” said Jeffrey Sadler, Vice President of Sales. “By using high quality ingredients to produce great-tasting dressings, you can also feel good about what you are eating.”
 The dressings contain no artificial flavors, no gluten, no high fructose corn syrup, no trans-fat, and no MSG.
 Blueberry Balsamic Vinaigrette is a refreshing blend of oil and Balsamic Vinegar of Modena with blueberries, U.S. Grade A honey and black pepper. It is available in a 12-ounce bottle and only 90 calories per serving.
 Organic Apple Cider Vinaigrette is a delightful blend of apple cider vinegar with mother and spices. It is non-GMO, certified USDA Organic, and Kosher, and is available in a 10-ounce bottle with only 45 calories per serving.
 The flavors are available now in retailers throughout the United States.

July 2, 2020

Hormel Foods Opens State-of-the-Art Health Center for Team Members

  Hormel Foods Corporation, a global-branded food company, is opening its state-of-the-art health center, situated close to its global headquarters and flagship production facility. In partnership with Premise Health, who will operate the facility, it will improve access to high-quality, affordable healthcare for Hormel Foods team members and their dependent family members. The health center builds on the existing relationship between Hormel Foods and the renowned Mayo Clinic. With this dedicated health center and additional resources provided by Mayo Clinic, such as radiology and specialty service referrals for things like cardiology, orthopedics, dermatology and behavioral health, employees of Hormel Foods and their dependents will have full access to care when they need it.
 The center will provide convenient access to a full spectrum of world-class healthcare services, including primary care, physical therapy, condition management, lab services and limited pre-packaged pharmacy services. It will be staffed by a physician, nurse practitioner, condition management registered nurse, physical therapist, two medical assistants and a medical receptionist. In total, the center will serve approximately 4,700 eligible individuals on the company's health plans, including team members, their dependents ages two and older, and retirees under age 65.
 "We are thrilled to be able to offer this incredible benefit to our inspired people. This addition is a testament to our commitment to ensuring our team members have easy access to high-quality healthcare," said Janet Hogan, senior vice president of human resources at Hormel Foods. "This health center will be a tremendous resource for both our team members and our company."
&nbp;"Hormel Foods and Premise Health are dedicated to creating a healthy future for team members and their families," said Premise president Jami Doucette. "The nearsite health center, combined with access to services provided by Mayo Clinic Health System such as community-based specialists, surgeries and procedures, and emergency-room care, promotes the overall health and wellbeing of their teams. We are excited to partner with Hormel Foods to deliver significant value to their organization."
 The Premise nearsite access model provides value to Hormel Foods team members and their dependents by bringing care closer to where they live, work and play. Similar to Hormel Foods, Premise also has a collaboration with Mayo Clinic, which includes a Center of Excellence model via the Mayo Clinic Complex Care Program. Hormel Foods team members will be able to take advantage of this program, which provides access to Mayo Clinic in Rochester for those with high-risk diagnoses that require the highest level of care.
 The dedicated health center expands the comprehensive benefits offerings from Hormel Foods, which includes comprehensive medical, prescription drug, dental, vision, retirement plans, profit sharing, adoption assistance and generous paid-time-off allowances.

July 1, 2020

Fourth of July Celebration Begins at Doris Italian Market & Bakery

 Fire up those grills and get ready for a Fourth of July cookout because Doris Italian Market & Bakery has you covered. The locations in Coral Springs, Sunrise, Boca Raton, Pembroke Pines and North Palm Beach are offering two packages from Wednesday, July 1 through Tuesday, July 7:
DORIS SPECIAL CLAM BAKE: two pounds of large peeled & deveined shrimp, two pounds of large Prince Edward Island mussels, four dozen littleneck clams, four corn on the cob, two pounds of red potatoes, chicken stock, Moretti La Rossa beer, butter and special seasoning priced at $59.95 (cooking instructions included).
FRANK & PATTIE PACKAGE: four sausage burgers, four beef sirloin burgers, four chicken burgers and 10 Doris all beef jumbo hot dogs priced at $30.

June 30, 2020
■ CNBC Documentaries:

“Supermarket Shock: Crisis in America’s Food Supply”

Premieres Tuesday June 30

 On Tuesday, June 30 at 10pm ET/PT, CNBC presents “Supermarket Shock: Crisis in America’s Food Supply,” an in-depth look at how the supply chain in the U.S. was abruptly disrupted and forever transformed by the novel coronavirus pandemic.
 In March 2020, as COVID-19 began to spread rapidly across the country, fears of extended food shortages sent consumers flocking to supermarkets in an unprecedented surge of panic buying, emptying shelves of household staples such as toilet paper, pasta, milk and meat. This hour-long original documentary tells the stories of the people who fought to restore the supply chain and keep it moving—from factory and farmworkers to wholesalers and retailers–all the while putting themselves at personal risk of contracting the virus.
 “Supermarket Shock: Crisis in America’s Food Supply,” explores how the $682-billion supermarket industry struggled to keep its employees and customers safe from a potentially deadly and easily transmittable disease while it raced to restock. Grocery wholesalers and major suppliers describe the challenge of moving products from factory floor to store shelves amid sudden and unforeseeable spikes in demand, while egg, dairy and other farmers reveal what led to some of the most widely-reported shortages. And in April, large numbers of workers at meatpacking plants began testing positive for COVID-19, raising concerns about plant safety and dangers to public health. Multiple plant closures added strain to the supply chain, as well as financial losses for beef, pork and poultry farmers.
 Widespread fear of contracting the virus has also dramatically altered how Americans now shop, as millions have turned to online ordering, store pickup and home delivery. Although online grocery shopping services experienced difficulties adapting to increased demand, industry experts suggest many shoppers will continue to rely on them beyond the pandemic.
 “Supermarket Shock: Crisis in America’s Food Supply” highlights the vulnerability of the supply chain in the U.S. when facing an unprecedented global health threat, the supermarket industry’s uneasy reliance on traditional distribution models, and the need for innovation to protect future disruptions. It also illustrates the determination and courage of the millions of workers who put their safety on the line to keep America running.
 For additional information and to view early clips from the documentary, visit:

Photo: MARLIN MYERS Inspecting stacked crates prior to disbursement.

June 29, 2020

FreshDirect Expands Service Offerings to Enhance Shopping and Delivery Experience

 FreshDirect, the Northeast’s premier online grocer, today announced the launch of FreshDirect Express – two-hour on-demand delivery in Manhattan, Brooklyn and parts of Queens. This new service gives customers the option to shop for what they want and when they want it, choosing from a curated selection of FreshDirect’s best products, delivered to their doorsteps within two hours, in a 60-minute window. Express service can be accessed via a toggle on the FreshDirect app or the upper left corner of the website.
 Express is just one example of the many customer-centric service offerings FreshDirect has developed in response to the unprecedented demand for fast, fresh and seasonal grocery options, providing shoppers with a one-stop shop option for all of their grocery needs.
 FreshDirect also has significantly increased same-day and next-day delivery timeslots across all boroughs of New York City, added capacity in the suburban areas of New Jersey, Westchester, Connecticut, and Long Island, and expanded summer delivery to the Hamptons and the Jersey Shore – all to meet growing demand. Additionally, FreshDirect is offering contactless order pickup with no delivery fee in high-demand areas including New Jersey, the Hamptons, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., and at their Bronx headquarters, with more sites to come. Customers can place orders online, select their desired pickup location and, upon arrival, have their order placed directly into their open trunk.
 “COVID-19 has changed the way people think about shopping for food and cooking for their families in almost every way imaginable - from the sudden and significant need for grocery delivery, to the newfound comfort of homemade meals,” said David McInerney, CEO, FreshDirect. “This is truly a time of unprecedented demand, and also of discovery. To address this shift, we have been laser-focused on making the FreshDirect model faster, easier and safer for all. Our team has risen to the task brought on by this significant surge in an extraordinary way – by designing innovative and effective ways to meet our customers’ needs and implementing them in real time.”
 As FreshDirect moves into the summer season, customers can enjoy a vast array of high-quality, great tasting foods available for Express delivery through these expanded service offerings. Fresh best-in-season seafood such as wild Alaskan salmon, local prime grass-fed steaks, and great local fruits and vegetables from its farmer partners, plus a wide selection of rosés, seasonal beers and spirits are just a sampling of the best-in-class food and products that FreshDirect customers have come to know, love and expect.
 McInerney added, “We’ve seen a 50% increase in new shoppers converting to loyal customers, and those numbers continue to rise. Customers are realizing they can access the best food in the world without a trip to the store.”

June 26, 2020

EG Group Convenience Stores and Disabled American Veterans Partner

To Help Change the Lives of Veterans

 EG America and the 1,682 convenience stores it operates will launch a national campaign to raise funds for DAV (Disabled American Veterans). EG donations will help DAV ensure that injured and ill veterans can access the full range of benefits available to them.
 The convenience stores participating in the promotion include Cumberland Farms, Certified Oil, Fastrac, Kwik Shop, Loaf 'N Jug, Minit Mart, Quik Stop, Tom Thumb and Turkey Hill. Their goal is to raise over $250,000 for DAV, an organization that changes the lives of more than one million veterans, of all eras, every year.
 Beginning June 24 and through the month of July, store employees will ask customers to donate an amount of their choosing to DAV during checkout. During the campaign, the stores will offer a free cup of coffee to service members and veterans as a "thank you" for their sacrifices.
 "We know many of our team members and guests are veterans and believe it is important to recognize and give back to those who have served our country," said George Fournier, President of EG America. "Partnering with DAV gives our store teams a collective purpose and allows them to connect with the communities where they live and work in a meaningful way."
 "Last year, EG America shattered its goal during a wildly successful campaign to raise funds directly supporting the vital programs we provide to the men and women who served," said DAV CEO Marc Burgess. "I can't thank EG America enough for continuing to support DAV in this upcoming promotion, which showcases their compassion, graciousness and genuine reverence for America's ill and injured veterans at this particularly challenging time for our nation."

June 25, 2020

Grocery Outlet Announces Tenth Annual 'Independence from Hunger' Campaign

 Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, extreme-value grocery retailer, today launched its tenth consecutive Independence from Hunger Food Drive to combat food insecurity. From June 24 – July 31, 2020, the campaign will collect cash donations and pre-made bags of nonperishable foods in-store at Grocery Outlet's 350 locations that will be distributed to local food agencies partners. In addition to the local store donations, Grocery Outlet has initiated a "Million Dollar Match," a pledge to match up to 1 million dollars of donations made to the stores to multiply Independence from Hunger's effort to support food agencies across the nation. Additionally, online donations made at will support Grocery Outlet's San Francisco bay area partner, Alameda County Community Food Bank.
 According to the USDA's latest analysis of Food Insecurity in America, 11 million households suffer limited access to food sources and suffer from food insecurity (USDA, Household Food Security in the United States in 2018). Each independently owned and operated Grocery Outlet store is committed to giving back to the local community and have partnered locally to bring the community together in providing families nutritious food. This year, food agencies have experienced a growing need to provide food for children who have been prematurely released from annual school schedules, due to COVID-19. This has resulted in record lows for food bank inventories across the country.
 "We feel it is more important than ever to help lessen the number of families across America at risk for food insecurity. This year, Grocery Outlet has pledged to match up to 1 million dollars to support and expand the program's effort." said Eric Lindberg, CEO at Grocery Outlet, Inc. "Last year, with the overwhelming help of our community, our campaign funded over 2 million dollars to those in need. In our tenth year, we are dedicated to make a greater impact."
&nbps;Since its launch in 2011, the Independence from Hunger campaign efforts have collected more than $5 million nationwide. Customers can make a difference by visiting their local Grocery Outlet and participating in one of these easy steps:
Give $5, get $5. Donate $5 or more in a single transaction in-store or online and you will receive a coupon for $5 off a future purchase of $25 or more.
Purchase a pre-made bag that is complete with an assortment of groceries selected by the local food agency and then place it in a collection bin at the front of the store.
Make an in-store donation at the register. Donations will benefit that store's local food agency partner. Donate $1, $5 or round up your change.
Donate online by visiting Online donations support the San Francisco bay area community through Grocery Outlet's partnership with Alameda County Community Food Bank.
 "With school closures resulting in record lows for food bank inventories across the country, we are once again reaching out to our loyal customers, employees and partners to join us and help support our neighbors in need." said Lindberg. "Our goal is to continue providing access to high-quality and nutritious food for our local communities in need and this year have promised to match up to 1 million dollars to support our store's efforts."

June 24, 2020

Celebrate Independence Day with Unique Pretzels and Support Folds of Honor

 Independence Day is approaching quickly and many families are looking forward to celebrating with socially distanced picnics and backyard barbeques. Many families will also take time to recognize the importance of our independence and all the men and women who have served and fought so bravely throughout the years to protect our freedoms. To help recognize the families that have contributed so much to our nation, Unique Pretzel Bakery, Inc. is continuing its support for Folds of Honor, a foundation providing scholarships to the spouses and children of fallen and disabled service-members.
 For each purchase of specially marked Original “Splits” Pretzel 11-ounce packages, Unique Pretzels donates five cents to Folds of Honor. This promotion runs through August and specially branded packages of Unique Splits are available at major retail partners, including Whole Foods Market, Giant Martins, Tops Market, Giant Eagle, The Fresh Market, Giant Foods, Weis, Redners, Karns, and Boyers. The Folds of Honor branded packages are also available on, all military base commissaries in the nation through the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) and on Unique Pretzel’s website throughout the year.
 Last year, Unique Pretzel’s campaign raised $6,600, and the company expects to exceed that amount in 2020 due to an increase in participating in-network partners.
 “Families have been trapped inside or separated by mandated stay-at-home orders over the last few months. As we return to the outdoors and celebrate our independence with our families, it is important to remember the service members who have and continue to fight for our freedoms. This is especially true for the families that have suffered the loss of a fallen soldier or who have a family member that was disabled in the line of service,” stated Justin Spannuth, Chief Operating Officer at Unique Pretzel Bakery, Inc. “These families have made tremendous sacrifices, and our program demonstrates our appreciation and helps individuals across the nation support our service members and their families.”
 Since 2007, Folds of Honor Foundation has paid homage to America’s heroes by providing educational scholarships to the spouses and children of fallen and disabled service members. To date, the foundation has awarded approximately 24,500 scholarships. During the 2019-2020 school year, the foundation awarded 4,500 scholarships to military families, providing $22 million in needed educational support.
 The campaign supporting Folds of Honor Foundation is one of numerous initiatives Unique Pretzels conducts throughout the year to support local and national organizations, as well as the broader community. Unique Pretzels has also supported multiple COVID-19 relief efforts, that include launching a Giving with a Twist program to support charities and nonprofits, donating specialty products to support the efforts of local food banks and partnering with Bikes & Beers to support the Social Distancing virtual bike ride.
 To learn more about Unique Pretzels and its healthy snacks made using simple ingredients, please visit To learn more about Folds of Honor Foundation, or to make a donation, please visit

June 23, 2020

Krispy Kreme to Release First Range of Snack Products

 Doughnut chain Krispy Kreme is releasing the brand's first line of packaged snack offerings at Walmart locations across the US next month. The line includes Doughnut Bites in original glazed, apple cinnamon and chocolate flavors as well as Mini Crullers in blueberry and original glazed.
 The Krispy Kreme Doughnut Bites are bite-size donut holes in original glazed, chocolate and apple cinnamon flavors. The bites are available in five sleeves of four bites per box for $3.97.
 The Krispy Kreme Mini Crullers feature an enhanced recipe of the company’s cruller donuts available in original glazed and blueberry varieties. The crullers come in four sleeves of two for $3.97 or in a 12-oz box for $3.88.
 Additionally, Krispy Kreme will offer seasonal flavors of the new offerings, including strawberry Doughnut Bites and lemon Mini Crullers, available for a limited time this summer. More new varieties are in the pipeline for later this year, Krispy Kreme said.
 “For over 80 years, fans all across America have asked us to bring the great taste of Krispy Kreme to their neighborhood,” said Dave Skena, chief marketing officer for Krispy Kreme. “Now, with the help of our partners at Walmart we are able to do just that.”

June 22, 2020
■ "Go To Your Skippy Place"

Skippy Peanut Butter Team Announces New Advertising Campaign

 There are as many versions of "happy places" as there are people who have them, but if you're a peanut butter lover, only one escape will do: Go To Your Skippy Place.
 That's the premise of the new ad campaign launched today by the makers of Skippy peanut butter. The national campaign was created to remind people that no matter what else is going on, you deserve to give yourself an occasional timeout and a peanut butter snack.
 "More than ever, we realize that sometimes all you need is a little break or a reminder to slow down and take a minute to yourself," said Jennesa Kinscher, Brand Manager for Skippy peanut butter.
 The campaign's spots – airing nationally today throughout the United States – are fueled with music and rich images of some of life's special moments. Who can resist puppies and kids? Spoiler alert: Both make an appearance, creating a bit of adorable mayhem in the process. And suddenly, a simple scoop or smear of Skippy peanut butter transports the lead characters to a place of relaxation and indulgence.
 "This campaign does an amazing job of recognizing some everyday situations that could be stressful, but when you're able to take a quick break from reality with something as simple as Skippy peanut butter, you give yourself a few stolen moments in which to forget about the chaos," Kinscher said.
 The Go To Your Skippy Place campaign, developed with BBDO Minneapolis, is rolling out with two spots: "Puppy Parenting" and "Fun Aunt." They are airing on national television and various digital and social channels.

June 19, 2020

Inno Foods Launches New Division for Manufacturing Mask-Making Machines

 Inno Foods, a global confectionery producer and distributor in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada, has just announced a new division for machine automation. This newly created division will start off with producing machines that manufacture personal protective equipment (PPE) and masks in different varieties to offset the shortage of PPE equipment in North America.
 Inno Foods has an excellent team of engineers and machine fabrication technicians who have been developing machines for the production of their line of healthy snacks for years. More than fifty per cent of the machines they use in their factories have been developed in-house.
 Using their engineering expertise, know-how and experience, they partnered with a Korean machine manufacturer and recently co-developed an automated mask machine, which is the first in Canada. Working together, they can build high-quality North American standard machines that can be distributed in the market at reasonable prices.

June 18, 2020

Subway Restaurants Adds 50,000 Jobs in Communities Across North America

 With record unemployment levels across the country, Subway Restaurants announced its local Franchise Owners seek to hire approximately 50,000 jobs in North American restaurants. This effort further deepens the brand's community connections as Subway can be found in almost every community across the U.S. and Canada, and directly addresses some of the devastating effects of the COVID-19 crisis.
 Subway recognizes the importance of supporting its communities and providing safe, reliable job opportunities to those seeking employment – now more than ever. Starting this summer at participating North America restaurants, thousands of job opportunities will be available ranging from entry-level to management.
 "As our business continues to see a growing demand for our value offerings, curbside pick-up and delivery, we are happy to support such a large-scale employment opportunity to meet the demands of our guests," said Aidan Hay, Subway VP of Operations for North America. "We've been fortunate that a majority of Subway restaurants remained open the past few months and are so appreciative to the Franchise Owners and their employees who have made that possible. For existing and new employees, it is important to us that each one feel valued and safe when working in our restaurants."
 Subway continues to roll out appropriate safety procedures that protect restaurant employees and guests alike. Over the past several months, Subway has been a leader in enhancing its operational procedures to keep restaurants safe and clean. Measures such as closing its dining rooms, working with third-party delivery partners to ensure contactless delivery, providing over one million masks for restaurant employees, requiring appropriate social distancing guidelines in restaurants among employees and guests, increasing food safety procedures and providing its Franchise Owners with guidelines for employee wellness checks have allowed Subway to keep its restaurants running safely. As the brand moves forward with new employment opportunities, safety will remain its top priority.

June 17, 2020

Millennials Reduced Their Spending as a Result of Pandemic

 The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting social distancing guidelines prompted Americans to reassess their spending habits. Across different generations, millennials were a prime example of consumers adjusting their spending on travel, food, and alcohol.
 Sixty percent (60%) of millennials decreased their spending habits as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new survey from Clutch, a B2B ratings and reviews platform.
 Only 5% of millennials spent more money in March and April.
 The top four expenses for millennials during the coronavirus pandemic are:
1. Groceries (40%)
2. Alcohol (13%)
3. Restaurants (8%)
4. Health and beauty (3%)
 An article in Business Insider describes millennials as "the generation paying for things that were previously seen as taboo by their parents," such as rentals, plastic surgery, and ridesharing. Their spending habits are also seen as a result of technological and economic advancements.
 This generation has also experienced fallout from two recessions.
 Millennials factored necessities into their budgets but found themselves cutting back on different luxuries and adjusted their plans accordingly.
 As travel regulations took effect, 40% of millennials stopped making vacation plans for 2020. Twenty percent (20%) of millennials canceled scheduled trips, and only 15% continued making travel plans for the rest of the year.
 Mason Miranda, a credit industry specialist at Credit Card Insider, and his wife found hiking and sightseeing to be perfect opportunities for adventure that fit within their budgets and within social distancing guidelines. Small car trips might be the new normal for the travel industry as regulations continue to adapt.
 Although millennials spent less dining out at restaurants, 50% are still eating takeout and ordering delivery during the coronavirus pandemic.
 "In March and April, I was cooking and eating from home a lot more than usual, but in May, I got tired of cooking and ate out a lot more," said Tess Robison, a content specialist at Money Done Right.
 Only 28% of millennials did not use pickup and delivery options for their meals. Those who continued ordering out had different reasons for their decisions. Some felt that it was hard to recreate some of their favorite dishes. Others ordered takeout to support their local businesses, like Michael James Nuells, who was furloughed by Disney at the start of the pandemic: "I've been making an effort to eat out more and order takeout to support my local economy," he said.
 The U.S. has begun efforts to reopen the country, but Americans should consider what changes they'll continue to create smarter spending habits that will last a lifetime.
 Read the full report here:

June 16, 2020

Del Monte Fresh Produce Debuts ‘Can Do Done Daily’ Campaign

 Del Monte Fresh Produce N.A., Inc., one of North America’s leading marketers and distributors of high-quality fresh and fresh-cut fruit and vegetables, is proud to today introduce its new ‘Can Do Done Daily’ campaign, which aims to highlight its dedicated workforce, who have been going above and beyond during these trying times. The new campaign, which features stories from Del Monte Fresh Produce employees in all sectors – from warehouse operations to merchandising and more – showcases the exemplary work Del Monte Fresh Produce’s staff has remained committed to executing throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, despite the challenges they have faced.
 Del Monte Fresh Produce employees from across the continent were asked by the company to share stories highlighting their hard work amidst this new normal for the campaign. These dedicated essential workers bravely shared details on their work, shining a spotlight on the ways each member of the company has been going above and beyond as part of the Del Monte Fresh Produce family to ensure that consumers continue to receive access to fresh fruits and vegetables in their communities. From helping to stock supermarket shelves to quickly adapting to shipping and storage changes, Del Monte Fresh Produce’s workforce has displayed a tried and true commitment to freshness, quality and innovation.
 “We are so proud to share the stories collected for the Can Do Done Daily campaign with our consumers,” said Elana Gold, Chief Marketing Officer, Del Monte Fresh Produce. “So many members of the Del Monte Fresh Produce family have been working around the clock to keep our operation going; our employees have gone above and beyond and given their all, despite how challenging things have been. Showcasing their passion, commitment and the hard work they’ve been doing in this way is the least we can do to thank them for their outstanding efforts, and it is our hope that our consumers will join in on thanking them, too.”

June 15, 2020

Necco Wafers Return to Store Shelves to Delight Fans

 Just when we could all stand for some good old-fashioned fun, Spangler Candy Company has announced the return of Necco Wafers, The Original Candy Wafer, to store shelves. Created in 1847, Necco Wafers are one of the oldest candy brands in existence. The iconic, wax paper rolls filled with assorted flavored discs have quite literally been enjoyed the world over – carried in pockets stateside, shipped to armed forces overseas and even transported by intrepid explorers on Arctic journeys. Due to its enduring popularity, the original recipe for the Necco Wafer has remained essentially unchanged over the years, and now is no exception. Spangler purchased the brand out of bankruptcy two years ago and has been working on its return ever since.
 There are eight all-time favorite flavors and colors in the Necco Wafers' comeback collection: lemon (yellow), lime (green), orange (orange), clove (light purple), cinnamon (white), wintergreen (pink), licorice (dark grey) and chocolate (brown). Seven of the eight flavors were designed to identically match the originals. True Necco Wafers connoisseurs may detect a richer cocoa flavor in the chocolate wafers due to a minor improvement made in the cooking process.
 Necco Wafers are rolling out across the nation throughout the summer.

June 12, 2020

Chubby Organics Debuts No Junk Nut Butter and Jam Sandwiches

 Chubby Organics, a Los Angeles based Nut Butter & Jam company, announced the launch of their grab-and-go packaged superfood sandwiches today. Their variety of flavor combinations can be purchased online at and at local cafes throughout Los Angeles.
 By swapping out the junk and preservatives for high quality, organic, whole food ingredients, these locally made sandwiches are an upgrade to tradition. Chilled for freshness and to promote the quality of its ingredients, these NB&Js boast nutritional macros rivaling your favorite protein bar.
 "Our marquee flavor, Blueberry Jam & Almond Butter, contains 13G of Protein, 20G of organic whole grain net carbs (incl. 9G of Fiber), and only 5G of natural sugar sweetened by Medjool Dates," says Dillon Ceglio, Chubby Organics Founder.
 Chubby Organics has 4 delicious flavors hitting the market today:
• Blueberry Jam & Almond Butter
• Blueberry Jam & Hazelnut Butter
• Strawberry Jam & Almond Butter
• Strawberry Jam & Sunflower Butter
 The team makes their superfood sandwiches fresh in small batches in Los Angeles on a weekly basis. Served refrigerated, they will stay fresh for up to 45 days; if you're on the move, no sweat, they are perfect for on-the-go. These conveniently packaged sandwiches are great for your post workout snack, after school treat, or to kickstart your day as breakfast.

June 11, 2020

Martin's Potato Rolls Now Available Through Dot Foods

 Martin's announces that their famous potato rolls and bread products are now available through Dot Foods.
 Martin's works with broad line distributors to take their products across the nation to restaurants and food service institutions. Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the industry, it is important that food service customers are able to buy in smaller quantities to help recover and build their businesses back up. Dot Foods can help Martin's customers do that.
 Dot Foods is North America's largest food industry redistributor that services wholesalers and distributors across a broad range of products. Their online ordering portal, Dot Expressway, is currently offering 16 Martin's products available for purchase. They have seven stocked items and nine special order items. Stocked items include: Martin's 12-Sliced Slider Potato Rolls, Martin's Sandwich Potato Rolls, Martin's 4-Inch and 5-Inch Potato Rolls, Martin's Long Potato Rolls (ie., hot dog buns), Martin's Dinner Potato Rolls, and Martin's sesame-seeded Big Marty's.
 "This partnership will help restaurants, regardless of size, acquire Martin's Potato Roll and Bread products. We are excited to offer this additional sourcing option to our current and potential customers," says Terry Lushbaugh, food service manager of Martin's.
 Martin's products have long been a favorite among food service venues due to their soft, pillowy texture and buttery-sweet flavor profile that pairs very well with many recipes, especially iconic barbeque and burger recipes. Martin's focuses on baking the best products by using the highest quality ingredients, such as high protein, unbleached wheat flour, real milk, potatoes, butter, and pure cane sugar. They refuse to use high fructose corn syrup and other cheaper ingredients because they believe that high quality ingredients make a better, tastier, healthier product. These premium ingredients result in a plush, slightly-sweet bun that complements both savory and sweet sandwiches and meals.
 Martin's Famous Pastry Shoppe, Inc. is a family owned and operated consumer goods company headquartered in Chambersburg, PA, with a second bakery in Valdosta, GA. The Martin's company focuses on baking high-quality bread and roll products using high-quality ingredients. They are rigorously dedicated to extraordinary taste, quality, and customer service that proudly represents their legacy of cherished eating experiences and truly sets them apart from their competitors. Since the 1950s, the business has expanded from a home garage business into two commercial baking plants and continues to grow and flourish in areas of established distribution.

June 10, 2020

Emerging Data Suggest COVID-19 is Driving up Hunger in Vulnerable Countries

 Initial and ongoing assessments by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) provide strong indications that the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts are driving up hunger in countries that were already experiencing high levels of food insecurity prior to the disease's outbreak.
 "The COVID-19 pandemic poses a clear and present danger to food security and nutrition, especially to the world's most vulnerable communities, FAO Director-General QU Dongyu said today at the opening of a high-level UN event on humanitarian action. The Director-General told the virtual event that while assessments were taking place at country level as ongoing agricultural seasons unfolded, the impact of COVID-19 was already being seen in some of the world's food crisis hotspots.
 Recent data from the FAO-hosted Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) initiative indicates that in Afghanistan, food insecurity - already alarmingly high - has now been aggravated by the impact of coronavirus. The latest estimates show that 10.3 million people there are now dealing with crisis levels of acute hunger or worse.
 The trend is similar in the Central African Republic, where about 2.4 million people are now facing crisis or worse levels of acute food insecurity - an 11 percent increase compared with pre-pandemic times, according to the IPC.
 In Somalia, 3.5 million people are projected to face crisis or worse in the coming months - three times the number at the start of the year.
 "We risk a looming food crisis unless measures are taken fast to protect the most vulnerable, keep the global agricultural supply chains alive, and mitigate the pandemic's impacts across the food system," the FAO Director-General said.
 Rural women are among the most vulnerable and the first to lose their incomes, Qu noted. Today's Humanitarian Affairs Segment (HAS) of the UN's Economic and Social Council was aimed at reinforcing humanitarian assistance as the UN marks its 75th anniversary in a context of expanding needs. It brought together UN Member States, UN organizations, humanitarian and development partners, the private sector and affected communities.
 Qu's message came ahead of the release of a new policy brief by UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, who warned that food systems are failing the world's most vulnerable and the COVID-19 pandemic was making it far worse.
 FAO and other UN agencies are concerned that COVID-19's multiple impacts on economic activity and supply chains are limiting people's ability to access food, increasingly restricting the cash liquidity of farmers, and handicapping farmers' ability to produce and market food - which in the longer term could seriously degrade their livelihoods.
 QU said local food availability was already emerging as a critical risk as many farmers had reduced income and resources to invest in the next planting season.
 But so far, the need to support livelihoods is largely being ignored in the response to the pandemic, he warned - although the cost benefit analysis of such interventions is positive. Last year, for example, FAO's emergency distribution of seeds accounted for one-quarter of the cereals produced in South Sudan. Without that relatively cheap investment, millions more South Sudanese would now be reliant on much more costly humanitarian food assistance.
 Before the pandemic, 135 million people worldwide were already coping with acute hunger caused by conflict, climate shocks, and economic downturns, according to the 2020 edition of the Global Report on Food Crises, produced by FAO, the European Union and 13 other partners.
 Another 183 million were at risk of being pushed into extreme hunger if faced with an additional stressor.
 As part of the revised UN Humanitarian Appeal for COVID-19, FAO has asked for $350 million to support a range of activities aimed at helping poor farmers continue to operate, safeguard the continuity of food supply chains and markets, and prevent the food sector from being a vector of transmission for the disease.

June 9, 2020

"Farmers to Families" Boxes Provide Much Needed Relief to Floridians

 FiveStar Gourmet Foods has been crafting delicious, fresh and healthy products since 1999, and for the past four years has operated a state-of-the-art East Coast processing facility in Naples, Florida. FiveStar didn't realize until now what an important grassroots contribution they would make in the local community. Working with the Feeding America food bank network, FiveStar, the maker of Simply Fresh branded products—longtime consumer favorites—is now on the frontlines distributing fresh and wholesome foods directly to the community as part of a massive USDA-funded program known as "Farmers to Families." FiveStar committed to providing hundreds of thousands of boxes filled with high quality, fresh, healthy products through the end of June. FiveStar's Farmers to Families boxes include generous portions of Caesar Salad, Coleslaw Salad, Sweet Onion Broccoli Sauté Kit, Asian Stir-fry Kit, Almond Cranberry Salad, and Crisp Sliced Apples.
 Distribution through local food banks, churches, parks, and community resource centers has been critical to getting the boxes "from truck to trunk" into the hands of families in need of fresh, wholesome food. "We have proudly served the Florida market for years, we are part of the community and at this moment we knew we had to take immediate action to help," says Tal Shoshan CEO of FiveStar Gourmet Foods.
 "When the opportunity to work with the USDA on this amazing project came about it was an easy decision to make to help bring fresh foods from our farmers to the families that desperately need them. It is a win-win that aligns perfectly with our company's mission each and every day. While not easy because of the massive scale of this project, and having only a few days to get it off the ground, it's been very rewarding to know that our efforts will make a positive impact in so many lives, as well as helping our grower partners," says Shoshan.
 One example of this orchestrated distribution effort with local food banks could be found at the South District Neighborhood Resource Unit (NRU) where officers braved adverse weather conditions to successfully distribute over 1,500 boxes to families. It was the collaborative partnership between Feeding Florida and FiveStar Gourmet Foods which played an integral part. Community partners at the True Deliverance Church along with the NRU were able to give the community what it needed most.
 "Giving is in our nature. This is the right time and right thing for us to step up, and even more so in our local Florida communities, to be of greatest possible service," says Shoshan.

Photo: FiveStar Gourmet Foods’ is on the frontlines distributing fresh and wholesome foods directly to local residents in Naples, Florida is part of a massive USDA-funded program known as “Farmers to Families.” In a collaborative partnership between the USDA, Feeding Florida, and local community resources, FiveStar is ensuring the community receives Simply Fresh branded food items from “truck to trunk.”

June 8, 2020

COVID-19 is Reshaping the $4 Trillion Global Foodservice Industry

 COVID-19 is reshaping the nearly $4 trillion global foodservice industry, with a number of permanent effects expected. Not only is the pandemic accelerating growth of existing trends like online food delivery and curbside pickup, it is giving rise to new ones, such as expanded sanitation protocols and social-distancing dining. While creative fads are unlikely to go mainstream, foodservice establishments must find ways to adapt to market challenges such as limited-capacity seating and quell consumer concerns about contagion in order stay competitive.
 A new Freedonia Group analysis examines the short- and long-term impacts of COVID-19 on global foodservice revenues, which are forecast to rise 3.7% per year to $4.4 trillion in 2024.
Asia/Pacific to account for 64% of global revenue gains through 2024
 The Asia/Pacific region is to drive global market growth through 2024, supported by rapidly expanding foodservice markets in large developing countries such as China, India, and Indonesia, where rising incomes and Westernizing dining customs are driving new demand for foodservice. Regional revenue growth will also be supported by healthy (if more moderate) advances in mature markets such as Australia and Japan.
Cloud kitchens expand the possibilities of online food delivery in COVID era
 Cloud kitchens are nonpublic brick-and-mortar foodservice facilities exclusively dedicated to producing and dispatching meals ordered online, which gained a boost of importance during shutdowns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. Even before the pandemic, the ability of cloud kitchens to enhance online food delivery business was leading to broad expansion efforts globally. For example, Grab (Singapore), Uber (US), and Rebel Foods (India) have announced plans to expand cloud kitchen facilities in various markets and traditional foodservice brands – including Chick-fil-A and Inspire Brands – are investing in cloud kitchen capacity.
Want to learn more?
 Global Foodservice is now available from The Freedonia Group. This study analyzes global foodservice revenues by segment (i.e., full service, fast food & fast casual, other eating & drinking places, and other foodservice establishments), region, and country. Historical data for 2009, 2014, and 2019 and forecasts for 2024 are provided for global foodservice revenues. The study also provides corporate analysis of leading foodservice brands by country.

June 5, 2020

ALDI Expanding Curbside Pickup

 ALDI is expanding its Curbside Grocery Pickup to offer even more options to customers. After a successful pilot in select markets, Curbside Grocery Pickup will be available in nearly 600 ALDI stores across the country by the end of July.
 "Our Curbside Grocery Pickup pilot was quickly embraced by our customers and demand for this service has continued to increase. We're pleased to be bringing this service to customers across 35 states over the next several weeks," said Jason Hart, CEO, ALDI U.S. "We are always looking for ways to make the ALDI shopping experience even more convenient and accessible for everyone. Whether shopping in-store, or online for delivery or pickup, we'll continue to be here to safely serve our customers."
 At, customers can access the full selection of ALDI exclusive products and exciting ALDI Finds. To find the nearest ALDI store that offers Curbside Grocery Pickup, please visit or open the ALDI mobile app. Shoppers simply fill their online carts with fresh and affordable products and select a pickup time and location at checkout. Designated parking spots are clearly marked when they arrive at their ALDI and an employee will load groceries into their car.*

*Curbside and delivery to limited geographic areas only. Prices may vary depending on the platform used. Additional fees apply to curbside and delivery orders. Items on sale in the store may not be on sale through the Instacart platform. Prices and availability are subject to delays or errors and may change without notice. As a result, the in-store price of a particular item at the time a purchase is made, including for weighted items, may differ from what is available through the Instacart platform. Additional fees apply to online orders.i>

June 4, 2020

Catalyst Pet: A New Sustainable Cat Litter with Superior Performance

 Love your pet and change the planet at the same time. Catalyst Pet is a new, completely sustainable, high-performance cat litter made with upcycled soft wood – making it both a superior cat litter and an opportunity to care for the earth.
 Like cat litter made from clay, Catalyst’s product is permeable and clumps for easy scooping. But that is where the similarities end. Catalyst stops odor in its tracks giving the litter box a fresh, crisp wood smell instead of the unpleasant odor of perfumed clay. This new litter is soft underfoot and cats take to it quickly. Pet parents prefer it because it is lightweight and less litter is needed: one pound of Catalyst does the work of three pounds of clumping clay.
 But to the makers of Catalyst, it is much more than a high-performance cat litter—it’s a mission. “Walking into the small offices at Catalyst, you get a different feeling,” said Jonah Levine, Product Manager. “You immediately get the sense this is a small group of people joined by the singular purpose of making a better planet for tomorrow. We know we are outmatched by huge multi-national conglomerates that dominate the cat litter market with big budgets and entrenched brands. But we have a powerful message: you don’t have to sacrifice performance to have sustainability. Our motto around here is right on every package: Love your pet, change your planet.”
 Most cat lovers are not aware that traditional clay litters are usually made of sodium bentonite, a mineral that is strip-mined and not biodegradable. A 2017 report reveals that more than five billion pounds of sodium bentonite is mined each year just for cat litter with the vast majority ending up in landfills—more than 125,000 truckloads each year.
 Catalyst solves this problem because it is biodegradable and does not require precious resources for its manufacture. In fact, the upcycled soft wood fiber used to make the litter is collected from wood processing facilities that would otherwise send it to a landfill. Because one pound of Catalyst does the work of three pounds of clumping clay litter, it also reduces pollution and carbon emissions that result from production and transportation.
 Even with the company’s mission to be environmentally sustainable, performance remains a key focus for the Catalyst team. “Our research indicates that while most people have tried and prefer to use a natural litter solution, they ultimately switch back to clay because of performance issues,” said Jim Gallman, Vice President of Marketing.
 Catalyst is available in a variety of formulas, including Healthy Cat, Multi Cat and Unscented. Offered in both a 10-pound bag that retails for $12.99 and a 20-pound bag that retails for $21.99.

June 3, 2020

Study Shows Food Insecurity Reached Lowest Levels Since its Inception 10 Years Ago

 After nearly ten years, food insecurity levels for most communities across the country had reached their lowest levels in 2018, according to a study released by Feeding America. Map the Meal Gap, released today by Feeding America, is the only study that provides local-level estimates of food insecurity across the United States. Feeding America, the nation's largest domestic hunger-relief organization, has released the report for ten consecutive years to offer insights on how food insecurity and food costs vary at the local level.
 In conjunction with the Map the Meal Gap study, which uses the most recent data from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Census Bureau, Feeding America has released an interactive map based on its recently released study, The Impact of the Coronavirus on Local Food Insecurity, which used the Map the Meal Gap model to predict changes to food insecurity rates for the overall population and children in response to projected changes to poverty and unemployment in the wake of the coronavirus (COVD-19) pandemic. That analysis shows that progress made to food insecurity in the U.S. this past decade will likely be wiped out and food insecurity rates will climb higher than the peak of the Great Recession of 50 million people, potentially going from more than 37 million people facing hunger in 2018 up to more than 54 million in 2020.
 "Map the Meal Gap shows once again that not one single county in this country is free from hunger," said Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, chief executive officer of Feeding America. "In the decade before the pandemic, we made progress in finally returning to pre-Great Recession levels of food insecurity, though that number was still regrettably high. That fragile progress has given way under the weight of this crisis. The Feeding America network of food banks knows all too well the precarious nature of household budgets. We also know that the work that we do has great potential to help and we cannot make meaningful progress alone. Our vision is an America where no one is hungry. Join us in making that mission a reality for the tens of millions of people out there who need us now more than ever."
 Per Map the Meal Gap 2020, all 3,142 counties and county equivalents as well as 436 congressional districts in all 50 states are home to people who struggle with hunger. The percentage of the population estimated to be food insecure in 2018 ranges from a low of 3.6% of the population in Burke County, North Dakota up to 30.4% in Jefferson County, Mississippi. Child food insecurity rates range from 2.4% in Falls Church City, Virginia to 43.7% in East Carroll Parish, Louisiana.
 According to the COVID-19 impact analysis, the food insecurity rates for all counties across the country will likely see increases. For example, Jefferson County, Mississippi, the county with the highest overall food insecurity rate is projected to increase from 30.4% to 34.2% this year. Burke County, North Dakota, which had the lowest overall food insecurity rate in 2018, is projected to see a food insecurity rate (9.2%) more than 2.5 times its most recent rate (3.6%). In East Carroll Parish, Louisiana, more than half the child population is projected to be food insecure, with the rate going from 43.7% to 52.5% because of the pandemic.
 While food insecurity affects every community, people of color and African Americans, in particular, are disproportionately impacted as a result of structural disparities. In 2018, food insecurity among African American households was more than twice that of white, non-Hispanic households according to the USDA. Structural and institutional racism have positioned communities of color as particularly vulnerable to the economic fallout and health consequences of this pandemic. Systemic barriers to jobs less likely to be affected by the pandemic, lower than average wages, and greater employment instability all contribute to African American workers being more at risk of experiencing food insecurity. Both pre-pandemic and in 2020, counties with the highest rates of food insecurity are overrepresented by counties with a majority African American population. For example, in Jefferson County, Mississippi, which has the highest food insecurity rate in 2018 and highest projected rate in 2020, 86% of the population is African American.
 These Feeding America studies underscore the extent of need that remains in communities across the United States. Food insecurity is a measure defined by the USDA as lack of access, at times, to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members.

June 2, 2020

Jif Launches Squeeze Peanut Butter

 Jif announced the launch of the latest breakthrough innovation in peanut butter – Jif Squeeze Creamy Peanut Butter. Soon, peanut butter lovers everywhere will be able to enjoy their beloved Jif peanut butter in a new squeezable pouch, making it easier for kids to serve themselves a yummy treat, measuring accurate amounts in recipes, or when you need precise spreading for that perfect "ants on a log" snack or pairing with an apple or celery slice – all without needing a knife or other utensil! This is a whole new way to Jif with a new easy-to-squeeze pouch, with the same irresistible peanut butter people would do anything for, now ready whenever and wherever you need it.
  Jif Squeeze Creamy peanut butter will be available online and at retailers nationwide starting in July. To be notified the moment this squeezable, peanut-buttery goodness is available, visit and sign up for an email notification.
 "Jif lovers enjoy their Jif in a variety of ways—in smoothies and snacks, as a key ingredient in cooking and baking, or even eating it 'straight up' with a spoon," said Rebecca Scheidler, Vice President, Marketing for the Jif Brand. "With our new squeezable pouch, we're making it even easier and quicker for Jif lovers everywhere to get their Jif fix. No more 'peanut butter knuckles' when you're trying to get the last ounce of goodness from the bottom of the peanut butter jar – No knife. No spoon. No problem!"
 Jif Squeeze Creamy Peanut Butter comes in a 13oz. pouch (multiple servings in the pouch).

June 1, 2020

Kashi GO Expands in Frozen Aisle with New Line of Protein Waffles

 Kashi, a pioneer in natural foods, debuts new protein-packed waffles under its GO line of products. Available in three flavors, Wild Blueberry, Cinnamon Brown Sugar and Vanilla Buttermilk, the waffles deliver double-digit protein, single-digit sugar and 100% whole grains per serving. The new waffles will be available nationwide at Walmart, Amazon, Ahold, Food Lion, Giant Eagle, Hannaford, HEB, Market Basket, Shoprite and Woodmans, with additional stores coming later this year.
 Kashi GO's Non-GMO Project Verified Protein Waffles deliver the convenience of a quick breakfast, everyday snack, or a base for recipe creations and lead the category in protein. The protein is derived from a mix of hemp seeds, cage-free eggs, soy and whey protein. Each box contains eight waffles to be heated in a toaster or microwave, to create fluffy and crispy, ready-to-enjoy waffles.
 "Our Kashi GO line is all about offering products that fuel an active lifestyle and we saw a need to create a waffle with protein to jumpstart the day," said Jeanne Wilson, Director of Marketing for Kashi. "The existing Kashi waffles are a fan favorite and we wanted to supplement those with a new line that delivers nourishment, unparalleled taste, and convenience!"
 To celebrate the launch, Kashi will be featuring weekly recipe takeovers with leading tastemakers to share their #WaffleWednesday creations on social media.

May 29, 2020

Dry Soda Company Debuts Limited-Edition 2020 Dry Botanical Bubbly

 DRY Soda Company, creator of DRY Botanical Bubbly, a beautifully-flavored, lightly-sweet line of non-alcoholic beverages, has debuted its limited-edition 2020 Summer Celebration bottles in Pineapple and Watermelon. With beautiful summer-inspired packaging incorporating DRY’s new product name and look, which were announced earlier this year, these 750-mL shareable Celebration bottles are deliciously fresh zero-proof substitutes for rosé or sugary mixed drinks, providing refreshing summertime sips without the alcohol.
 “Summer is a time for celebration with friends and family, whether that’s at home creating memories or outside soaking up the sun,” said Sharelle Klaus, founder and CEO of DRY Soda Company. “We’re excited to debut our limited-edition line of summery, zero-alcohol craft beverages that everyone can enjoy, with festive packaging inspired by the season.”
 DRY Botanical Bubbly Summer Celebration bottles bring the vibrant, joyful feels of summer to life in crisp, thirst-quenching zero-proof beverages. The bottles feature whimsical watercolor designs painted by artist Catalina Estrada that pop with bright colors and honor the real ingredients used in the beverages: sliced watermelons and pineapples.
 DRY Botanical Bubbly Watermelon and Pineapple Summer Celebration bottles contain just four ingredients and are inspired by the real, juicy and vibrant flavors of watermelon and pineapple. Founded in 2005 by Klaus, who believes that every party, bar and restaurant should be working to improve how they serve, host and toast those who choose to not drink alcohol, DRY was crafted to be worthy of meal pairing, premium non-alcoholic mixology and sipping on its own in place of a cocktail or wine. Perfect for sharing, easy to sip solo or mix into a zero-proof cocktail, like all of DRY’s beverages, both Summer Celebration bottle flavors are Non-GMO Project Verified, caffeine-free, gluten-free, OU Kosher and sodium-free, with only 45-70 calories per 12-ounce serving and about half the sugar and calories of sodas and juices.
 Additional details include:
• DRY Botanical Bubbly Pineapple Summer Celebration bottle – ripe, citrusy flavor that resembles a tropical paradise; pairs well with grilled chicken, chopped salads, fish and tacos.
• DRY Botanical Bubbly Watermelon Summer Celebration bottle – refreshing and mouth-watering zest of melon; pairs well with kebabs, barbecue, caprese, shrimp and vegetables.
 DRY’s Summer Celebration bottles are available with an SRP of $5.99

May 28, 2020

Malt-O-Meal Survey Shows Moms Are Multitasking Amid Pandemic

 Since the beginning of the pandemic, an overwhelming 95% of moms are multitasking, for an average of nearly 8 hours a day, which means moms are squeezing in at least a whole extra day's work every single day. This data is among the findings from a new national Malt-O-Meal "Moms Need a Break!" survey conducted by Wakefield Research. Long a champion of moms, the Malt-O-Meal (MOM) brand of ready-to-eat cereals created the survey to understand how the pandemic is affecting moms and their outlook in the coming months.
 The survey also found:
More work taking a toll: More than half of U.S. moms (55%) have seen their workloads increase at home — and for nearly 9 in 10 (89%), that increase has taken a toll on their well-being. More than 3 in 5 moms (61%) report feeling more stressed, 48% are more anxious, 46% worry more often, 27% get sad more often and 26% are easier to anger.
No "me" time: With added responsibilities as teachers, coaches, playmates, short-order cooks and more, moms are finding it hard to make time to care for themselves. Nearly a third (32%) say that they only have one hour a day for self-care. And more than 1 in 8 moms (13%) say that they have no time for self-care at all.
Running on empty: When asked about the ways they are destressing, 60% of moms say they are binge-watching TV or movies, 43% are eating more, 38% are exercising, 35% are sleeping more, 35% are baking more, 24% are drinking more and 24% are crafting more. But 7% of moms haven't had a chance to destress at all since the outbreak's beginning.
• Avoidance tactics: Moms are finding it so difficult to take a moment to themselves that they're resorting to desperate measures. Nearly half of all moms (48%) say that they have avoided or hidden from their children in order to get some time to relax. For moms working from home, that number increases to 61%.
• Stressed to the max: And moms' emotional well-being isn't going to improve as they continue to worry about the world around them. Top contributors to moms' stress and burnout include finances (33%), home-schooling (32%), feeling isolated from friends and family (28%), health and wellness (19%), and work (18%).
• But still loving their kids to the max: Despite all of the hardships and extra time spent with their kids since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, 69% of moms say that changing 100 dirty diapers a week would be worse than continuing to shelter in place with their kids all summer. Even though being a mom is really, really hard right now, there's nothing like being there for your kids.
 "It's clear that moms are burnt out and in need of a much-deserved break," said Jessica Wobschall, Senior Brand Manager of Malt-O-Meal, and mother of two with another on the way. "As a brand that has been there for moms for over 100 years, we wanted our survey to draw attention to the job of being a mom, which for many has expanded significantly right now, and find some way to provide a little relief."
 To honor all of the important and extra work moms across the country are doing right now, Malt-O-Meal is giving away $30,000 worth of personalized gifts to moms (two $500 gifts each day for 30 days), plus Malt-O-Meal cereal for each winner's pantry, via a "MOM to the Rescue" social contest on the brand's Facebook and Instagram pages.
 Now through June 25, moms are invited to share their challenges and solutions from the home front for the chance to win a customized gift, curated from local businesses in their communities. Whether it's a take-out date night from a beloved local restaurant or a future day of relaxation at a favorite spa, moms need relief, and Malt-O-Meal is making it happen.
 "Our survey found that 66% of moms would prefer to get a gift they can use right now during this crisis, and 34% would prefer a gift they can look forward to after a return to a more normal schedule," Wobschall said. "We want moms to know they are appreciated, and we thought that it would be nice to help local businesses in their communities that may have been hurt during this time too."
 Nearly 3 in 4 moms (72%) think daily life will continue to be impacted by the pandemic for three or more months, with the average estimated length of time being nearly seven months (6.96). And when asked what will lead them to believe that daily life is actually returning to "normal," 1 in 5 moms (20%) say that "nothing will lead me to believe that daily life is actually returning to normal."
 As restrictions begin to ease and as summer break begins for many, moms shared their perspective on what they think might happen and how their behaviors may or may not change as a result:
Maintaining the way they eat: 94% of moms expect to continue the food routines they've adopted since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak over the summer.
 ◦71% of moms expect to continue to do more home cooking
 ◦ 47% expect to eat out less at restaurants23% expect more take-out
 ◦ Only 4% expect more eating out at restaurants
 ◦ Only 3% expect to be doing less home cooking
Summer state of mind: 77% of moms say it's unlikely that their children will attend a one-week program like camp or daycare this summer. That means one of the reprieves many moms have is off the table all summer long.
Most looking forward to: Surprisingly, considering all of the together time during state stay-at-home and shelter-in-place orders, 38% of moms say they are most looking forward to taking a trip with the family when daily life returns to normal. Other activities moms are looking forward to as restrictions ease include:
 ◦Meeting up with a loved one they cannot see right now (22%)
 ◦Going to a favorite restaurant (18%)
 ◦Having some time alone (11%)
 ◦Taking a self-care trip alone, such as to a spa (9%)
 For more information on how to enter the contest and see how Malt-O-Meal is helping moms, visit the brand's Facebook or Instagram pages.

May 27, 2020

Ben & Jerry's Launches New Flavor... Into the Stratosphere!

 3...2...1...blast off! To celebrate its newest flavor with Netflix, Ben & Jerry's is headed to the stars.
 No, not a high-profile, Hollywood party. And not the Walk of Fame. The ice cream maker literally launched a pint aiming towards space almost 20 miles above the earth and with good reason. There's no better way to launch a flavor called "Boots on the Moooo'n"!
 In a continued partnership with Netflix that has already introduced two fan-favorite flavors this year, Ben & Jerry's unveils "Boots on the Moooo'n." The ice cream is an ode to the newest Netflix comedy series, Space Force, which premieres this Friday, May 29. The flavor, which features a universe of milk chocolate ice cream with fudge cows and toffee meteor clusters orbiting a sugar cookie dough core, takes inspiration from the Space Force goal to get "boots on the moon" by adding a bovine themed moooo into the mix.
 Space Force, one of the most anticipated Netflix series of the year, from co-creators Steve Carell and Greg Daniels (The Office) is a new kind of workplace comedy, where the stakes are sky high and the ambitions even higher. John Malkovich, Lisa Kudrow, Diana Silvers, Tawny Newsome, Ben Schwartz, Jimmy O. Yang, Alex Sparrow and Don Lake also star.
 Actor and comedian Jimmy O. Yang, who plays Dr. Chan Kaifang the lead scientist on the Space Force team, partnered with Ben & Jerry's to get a sneak peek and taste of the new offering. "I'm excited to join forces with Ben & Jerry's on this Space Force flavor launch. How cool is it that we have our own ice cream?! Especially because it's super delicious. Can't wait for everyone to try it and watch Space Force at the same time," said Yang.
 Boots on the Moooo'n will be available on shelves as a Limited Batch flavor with a suggested MSRP of $4.99 per pint.

May 20, 2020

SunnyD Limited Edition Summer Flavors Now Available

 SunnyD, the iconic fridge staple, has re-released two limited-time only summer flavors at retailers nationwide. New Watermelon and Lemonade varieties are now available for a second year after selling out in limited release during 2019. Known for its boldly original taste, the brand’s legions of teen fans are in for a treat with can’t-miss Watermelon taste and perfectly tangy Lemonade twang.
 SunnyD Watermelon and Lemonade flavors will be available in 6.75-oz., single-serve bottles for on-the-go sipping and 64-oz. multi-serve carafes to sustain long summer days at big box retailers, supermarkets and c-stores nationwide.

May 19, 2020

USDA, FDA Strengthen U.S. Food Supply Chain Protections During COVID-19 Pandemic

The following statement is attributed to Mindy Brashears, Ph.D., USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety, and Frank Yiannas, FDA Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response.

  As the COVID-19 pandemic response continues, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have been working around the clock on many fronts to support the U.S. food and agriculture sector so that Americans continue to have access to a safe and robust food supply. As a next step in carrying out Executive Order 13917, the USDA and FDA today announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to help prevent interruptions at FDA-regulated food facilities, including fruit and vegetable processing.
 This is an important preparedness effort as we are approaching peak harvesting seasons, when many fruits and vegetables grown across the U.S. are sent to be frozen or canned. The MOU creates a process for the two agencies to make determinations about circumstances in which the USDA could exercise its authority under the Defense Production Act (DPA) with regard to certain domestic food resource facilities that manufacture, process, pack, or hold foods, as well as to those that grow or harvest food that fall within the FDA's jurisdiction.
 While the FDA will continue to work with state and local regulators in a collaborative manner, further action under the DPA may be taken, should it be needed, to ensure the continuity of our food supply. As needed, the FDA will work in consultation with state, local, tribal and territorial regulatory and public health partners; industry or commodity sector; and other relevant stakeholders (e.g. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Occupational Safety and Health Administration) to chart a path toward resuming and/or maintaining operations while keeping employees safe.
 We are extremely grateful to essential workers for everything they do every day to keep our pantries, refrigerators and freezers stocked. All of the food and agriculture sector -- whether it is regulated by the USDA or FDA - are considered critical infrastructure, and it is vital for the public health that they continue to operate in accordance with guidelines from the CDC and OSHA regarding worker health and safety. As we work to get through the current challenge together, we remain committed to workers' safety, as well as ensuring the availability of foods, and that our food remains among the safest in the world.
 On April 28, 2020, President Donald J. Trump signed Executive Order 13917, Delegating Authority Under the Defense Production Act with Respect to the Food Supply Chain Resources During the National Emergency Caused by the Outbreak of COVID-19, delegating the powers of the President under the DPA to the Secretary of Agriculture to ensure continuity of operations for our nation's food supply chain. The Executive Order gave the Secretary of Agriculture the authority to utilize the DPA if needed to require the fulfillment of contracts at food processing facilities. The MOU makes clear that the FDA will work with stakeholders to monitor the food supply for food resources not under the USDA's exclusive jurisdiction in order to prevent interruptions at FDA-regulated food facilities.
 This action is another in a series of proactive steps the USDA and FDA have taken to maximize food availability following unprecedented disruptions the COVID-19 pandemic has caused to food supply chains that have been established and refined for decades.
 Our nation's food and agriculture facilities and workers play an integral role in the continuity of our food supply chain.
 The USDA and FDA have been working to ensure that frontline workers in food facilities and retailers that have remained on the job during this crisis have the information and resources they need for business continuity and to continue working safely, which includes mitigating the risk of spreading COVID-19. We continue to provide information and update frequently asked questions on both the FDA and USDA's websites.
 We will continue to work with facilities and farms, CDC, OSHA, and state, tribal, and local officials to ensure facilities and farms are implementing practices consistent with federal worker safety guidelines to keep employees safe and continue operations.
 We are working with our federal partners who have the authority and expertise over worker safety to develop information on protecting worker health. We are also working with other federal partners to assist the food and agriculture industry in addressing shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE), cloth face coverings, disinfectants and sanitation supplies.
 Throughout the pandemic, the USDA and FDA have been closely monitoring the food supply chain for shortages in collaboration with industry and our federal and state partners. We are in regular contact with food manufacturers and grocery stores.
 We have issued guidances to ensure regulatory flexibility to safely reroute food that typically would be bought in bulk by food facilities and restaurants, like eggs and flour, directly to consumers.
 As we continue to respond to COVID-19, we want to remind consumers that there is no evidence that COVID-19 has been transmitted by food or food packaging, as well as the importance of taking precautionary food safety steps to protect against foodborne illness pathogens such as Salmonella and E. Coli.
 With respect to the safety of food across the U.S., both the USDA and FDA continue to use their respective authorities, including conducting inspections, as appropriate. The agencies also continue to monitor foods for hazards, work with industry on any potential or reported issues in their facilities, and conduct food recalls when appropriate. This applies to both domestically produced food and food that is imported from other countries.
 Unlike foodborne gastrointestinal (GI) viruses like norovirus and hepatitis A that often make people ill through contaminated food, foodborne exposure is not known to be a route of transmission for SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19.
 With respect to foodborne pathogens, the CDC, FDA and FSIS continue to work with state and local partners to investigate foodborne illness and outbreaks. During this coronavirus outbreak, we will continue to operate to prepare for, coordinate and carry out response activities to incidents of foodborne illness in both human and animal food.

May 18, 2020

New Pop-Tarts Frosted Confetti Cake Bites

Remind Fans of '90s Birthday Parties at the Roller Rink or Arcade with Every Bite

 Fans of Pop-Tarts who grew up with slap bracelets, ripped jeans and neon shirts can reach for a new favorite snack that's fresh like the many colors of spring: Pop-Tarts Frosted Confetti Cake Bites.
 Packed with cake flavor and blinged out with edible glitter, Pop-Tarts Frosted Confetti Cake Bites are "all that" and a "totally fly" new snacking option that will appeal to anyone who appreciates '90s culture. The celebratory flavor will make you think it's your birthday with every bite — whether you're at the mall, the arcade or just chillin' at home.
 "At Pop-Tarts, we're always looking for the next flavor innovation, and with the popularity of '90s nostalgia culture, new Frosted Confetti Cake Bites will be a hit with fans looking for a taste of the past," said Sarah Reinecke, Director of Brand Marketing for Kellogg's Portable Wholesome Snacks. "These colorful snacks taste like you're eating a slice of birthday cake on the go, no baking required."
 Pop-Tarts Frosted Confetti Cake Bites will be available this month at retailers nationwide in a five-count box, and a 10-count box at Walmart stores.

May 15, 2020

NGA Supports Modernization of Hours of Service Rules

 The National Grocers Association (NGA) today applauded an announcement by the Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) of the publication of final Hours of Service (HoS) rule for commercial motor vehicle drivers. The proposed rule, published in detail in August 2019, received over 2,800 comments.
 “Commercial vehicle drivers are an essential part of our food supply chain and the independent grocery industry,” said NGA Director of Government Relations Robert Yeakel. “The final rule serves to both maintain the safety of our roads and highways and protect commercial drivers, while also allowing for additional flexibilities to let drivers get the job done.”
 The four key revisions included in the final HoS rule modernize the regulations while protecting drivers by preventing operators from driving for more than eight consecutive hours without a break.

May 14, 2020

Publix Pharmacy Begins Home Delivery of Prescriptions

 Publix Pharmacy and ScriptDrop are collaborating to offer home delivery of prescriptions within a 5-mile radius of each in-store Publix Pharmacy for a $5 delivery fee. There are no limits on the number of prescriptions ordered for delivery; however, age-restricted products, controlled substances and prescriptions needing refrigeration are excluded. Prescription home delivery is not available for individuals with Medicare Part B and Medicaid insurance.
 “As a health care provider, Publix Pharmacy has adopted business practices that support the social distancing guidance provided by the CDC,” said Publix Vice President of Pharmacy Dain Rusk. “We believe this service provides a convenient option for customers who are age 65 and over, have compromised immune systems or require medications but are limiting trips outside their homes.”
 “Being a Tennessean myself, I’ve seen the critical role Publix plays in serving the community, especially in times of crisis,” said ScriptDrop CEO Nick Potts. “I am excited for ScriptDrop to be a part of that effort through helping deliver prescriptions to Publix customers.” Customers who receive a text message when prescriptions are ready will receive a link to prepay for their prescriptions and choose delivery. Prescriptions are delivered weekdays after 2 p.m. To receive same-day delivery, orders must be placed before 11 a.m. Orders placed after 11 a.m. will be delivered the following weekday. If an order is placed after 11 a.m. Friday, the customer will receive the order on Monday. Customers wishing to transfer prescriptions to take advantage of this service should call their nearest Publix Pharmacy. Prescription transfers cannot be initiated through ScriptDrop.
 Although the service is being introduced during the coronavirus pandemic, Publix Pharmacy plans to continue prescription delivery beyond the crisis. To locate a pharmacy, request refills or sign up for text notifications, customers can visit or sign in to the Publix Pharmacy app. For questions regarding prescription home delivery, customers should call their local Publix Pharmacy.

May 13, 2020

Lefty's Continues Michigan Expansion with Five New Eateries

 The fast-growing and emerging Lefty's Famous Cheesesteaks Hoagies & Grill brand has now expanded to five new communities in the Michigan market in 2020, reporting record-breaking grand openings in Ann Arbor, Woodhaven, Auburn Hills, Vernor and Taylor. "We are excited to feel so welcome by the neighborhoods of our five new locations, and are fully committed to making a difference in each community," proclaimed Founder and President Sam Berry.
 Now with 15 locations in the Southeast Michigan metro market, the Lefty's location growth track has outperformed expectations on its national franchise rollout plans. "Our Lefty's team has carefully listened to and responded to the changing demands of customers especially during the pandemic and we are posting sales growth of 50% or more, even at all of the new locations opened earlier year," shared CEO Allie T. Mallad. "We have now expanded our locations footprint by 50% in the first five months of 2020, which is well ahead of where we thought we would be, and a great indication of where we are going," continued Mallad.
 The company has already signed leases for six additional Lefty's franchisee locations to open by mid-summer as the company aggressively moves forward. Coming soon are Lefty's locations in Westland, Roseville, Warren, Royal Oak, West Dearborn and St. Clair Shores.
 Lefty's stands tall among all fast-casual brands because of their quality grade A food, first-class service and the exceptional cleanliness in all restaurants. "Our customers crave and love our value-priced menu, and routinely express their enthusiasm on social media, which we really appreciate," proclaimed Berry, himself a master food innovator who constantly refreshes the Lefty's menu. Berry disclosed plans to offer an all-new breakfast menu at select Lefty's locations.
 As the consumer world moves forward, pick-up convenience, curbside service and drive-through will be the new norms of eating out, all of which are strengths of the Lefty's operational model. Especially at a time when cash-strapped consumers are starting to venture outside looking for value offerings, Lefty's is in prime position to grow their share. Lefty's growth in popularity during the pandemic crisis is a sure clue of future potential trending of what and how people eat. Lefty's Famous Cheesesteaks Hoagies and Grill expects to increase the number of open locations to 35 by the end of 2020, then double to a minimum of 75 locations by end of 2021. The company indicated it has significant franchisee interest in Florida, California and Texas to achieve these plans, and already is actively engaged in site selection in those markets.
 Having extensive experience in national franchising and himself an icon in scaling national restaurant brands, Mallad believes, "Lefty's will claim national chain status within the next six months as we break ground in new states where we know we will be enormously popular."

May 12, 2020

Veggies Made Great Honors Healthcare Heroes

 The GIANT Company announced the more than 100 recipients of its emergency grant program. Announced last month in partnership with Team Pennsylvania, The GIANT Company originally designated $250,000 for the program, but due to the overwhelming response, the company decided to double the amount of funding available to $500,000. In all, the company is awarding 110 grants to help support small businesses in Pennsylvania’s food supply chain impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
 “Reviewing more than 500 applications from small businesses across the Commonwealth confirmed what we knew in our hearts: that the pandemic is having a devastating impact on our small business community,” said Nicholas Bertram, president, The GIANT Company. “We’re inspired by the strength and stories of these local businesses that, in many cases, have been serving our communities for generations. As a company focused on connecting families for a better future, doubling the funding to $500,000 was an easy decision because it meant we could provide more hope and help to these hard-working families and let them know that they are not alone.”
 More than 500 applications were received during the two-week application period, with more than 60 in the first 24 hours. The 110 recipients span the entire Commonwealth and represent multiple areas of the food supply chain including: dairy farms; beef, pork and poultry farms; processors; orchards; produce farms; apiaries; maple syrup producers; artisan cheesemakers; craft breweries, winemakers and cider producers; specialty yogurt, snack, sauce and condiment manufacturers; a coffee roastery and confectioner.
 “Our team was honored to work together with GIANT to truly make a difference for small businesses in the commonwealth as they answer the call to feed fellow Pennsylvanians,” said Ryan Unger, President and CEO, Team Pennsylvania. “Reading through the applications it is crystal clear that we all need to find ways to support these critical cogs in our agricultural supply chain. Their experiences will inform us as we work with our economic development and public sector partners to reopen and recover.”
 In addition, with grants ranging from $2,500 up to $15,000, 55% of grants awarded are going to PA Preferred companies and special designations (LGBT-owned, veteran-owned, women-owned, minority-owned, USDA defined beginner rancher/farmer, USDA defined socially disadvantaged and limited resource farmer) account for more than half of the grants awarded.
 The following Pennsylvania small businesses are the recipients of an emergency grant from The GIANT Company:
• Allegheny Yogurt, Mohnton
• Anderson Family Farm, Inc., Tionesta
• Asher’s Chocolate Co., Souderton
• Bakery 52/Longos, Hazleton
• Bear Mountain Orchard, Inc., Aspers
• Bella Lucia, Inc., Altoona
• Bella Mushroom, Landenberg
• The Black Urban Gardeners & Farmers of Pittsburgh Co-op, Pittsburgh
• Braund Valley Farms, Troy
• Bream Orchards Inc., Orrtanna
• Brenckle’s Organic Farm and Greenhouse, Zelienople
• Brian Campbell Farms, Berwick
• Brookmere Winery, Belleville
• Brown’s Orchards & Farm Market, Loganville
• Brubaker Farms, LLC, Mount Joy
• Bumbleberry Farms, LLC, Somerset
• Caputo Brother’s Creamery, LLC, Spring Grove
• Central Penn Distilling, Inc. DBA Mason Dixon Distillery, Gettysburg
• Cherry Valley Organics, Burgettstown
• Clair D. Thompson & Sons, Inc., Jersey Shore
• Clear Spring Farm LLC, Easton
• Copley’s Fresh Start Farm LLC, Waterford
• Crust Vegan Bakery, Philadelphia
• Danikacatering LLC DBA Danika’s, Dover
• Dawg Gone Bees, LLC, Hanover
• David W. Pool – Fantasyland Holsteins, Robesonia
• DnD Farm LLC, Philadelphia
• Dries Orchards, Inc., Paxinos
• Duda’s Farm Inc., Brownsville
• Epic Pickles LLC, Dallastown
• Eric Dersch, DBA Dersch Farms, Springboro
• Excelsior Farm, Schnecksville
• Fallen Aspen Farm, Volant
• Farmer Fred’s, Towanda
• Fiddle Creek Dairy, Quarryville
• First Light Project, Philadelphia
• Founders Market & Co., Lancaster
• Franklin Hill Vineyards, Inc., Bangor
• French Street Farms, Erie
• Fruit Hollow Farms LLC, Biglerville
• Funk Brewing Company, Emmaus
• Garretson Orchards, Inc., Aspers
• God’s Country Creamery, Ulysses
• Grand Illusion Hard Cider, Carlisle
• Guilside Farm, Chambersburg
• Gypsy Hill, Wyalusing
• Hackenberg Apiaries, Lewisburg
• Harrisburg Dairies, Inc., Harrisburg
• Haven Farmstead, Tripoli
• Hollabaugh Bros., Inc, Biglerville
• Hughes Farm, La Jose
• Huntingdon Farm, Alexandria
• Isabelle’s Kitchen Inc., Harleysville
• J&M Farms, Windber
• Josie Porter Farm, Stroudsburg
• Jubilee Hilltop, Roaring Spring
• Kasanicky Farm, Leechburg
• Keswick Creamery at Carrock Farm, LLC, Newburg
• Kurt Weiss Greenhouse, Mt. Carmel
• Lancaster Hummus Co., Lancaster
• McMullen Cattle, Ashville
• Mellow Mink Brewing, Inc., Mechanicsburg
• Mickey’s Wholesale Pizza, York
• MicroValley Farms, Hellertown
• Miller Charm Farm LLC, Tamaqua
• Mystic Meadows, Ulster
• The Nesting Box LLC, Kempton
• One Village Coffee, Souderton
• Pardoe’s Perky Peanuts, Inc., Montandon
• Paulus Mt. Airy Orchard, Mechanicsburg
• Penn Dairy, Winfield
• Pennvale Farm, Columbia Cross Roads
• Philly Pretzel Factory, State College
• Pineybrook LLC, Markleton
• R&S Flinchbaugh LLC, Hellam
• Rettland Farms LLC, Gettysburg
• Riverside Brewing, LLC (DBA Howles Maple Farm), Cambridge Springs
• Roy Adams & Son, Inc., Sunbury
• Roy Pitz Brewing Company, Chambersburg
• RTZN Brands/Righteous Felon Craft Jerky, West Chester
• Saylor’s Dairy Farm, Wellsville
• SBK dba Small Batch Kitchen, Harleysville
• Sechrist Farms Inc., Canton
• Shawmut Valley Holsteins, Smethport
• Short Hill Farm, Westfield
• Simply Ghee LLC, Lancaster
• SkyBlu Farms, Inc., Felton
• Sleeper Hill Farm, Warren Center
• Slick Dairy Farm, Edinburg
• Snowcrest Farm, Milan
• Snyders Beef & Blueberries, Centerville
• SOD Family Farm, Coudersport
• Someday Farms LLC, Salisbury
• Star Super Bakery, Emigsville
• Stello Foods, Inc., Punxsutawney
• Strong Roots Organic Farm, Woodward
• Sturges Orchard, Fombell
• Susquehanna Mills, Muncy
• Sweet Mama’s Mambo Sauce Jen Heasley’s Cooking With the Pros LLC, York
• Tait Farm Foods INC, Centre Hall
• Taylor-Pride Farm, Lawrenceville
• Terranetti’s Italian Bakery, Mechanicsburg
• Three Springs Fruit Farm, Aspers
• TorchBearer Sauces LLC, Mechanicsburg
• Tucker Hess Dairy Farm, Middlebury Center
• Way-Har Farm Market LLC, Bernville
• Weavers Orchard, Morgantown
• Weaver’s Way, Philadelphia
• The Winery at Wynridge, Dallastown
• Worth the Wait Farm, Stevens
 “We have been in business since 1887 and we are a 5th generation family run business. We've been through the Great Depression, floods and fire but this is by far the worst in modern memory because not only does it affect us but it affects ALL of our customers - no one is left out,” said Karen Thompson, Clair D. Thompson's and Son's Inc. in Jersey Shore, PA and one of the grant recipients. “It has been very stressful, and this grant has helped to alleviate some of that pressure. We are extremely grateful and appreciate The GIANT Company for this grant that we shall use to continue our employees’ insurance benefits during the time they are forced off work, to help with expenses to continue additional sanitation and to upgrade our facility to meet this new market demand for individual packaging.”
 The GIANT Company and Team Pennsylvania also worked with the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, the Pennsylvania Chamber, and Pennsylvania Food Merchants Association to develop the program.

May 11, 2020

White Castle Head Chef Releases First-Ever
“Top 10 List of Slider-Based Recipes”

 May is National Hamburger Month. In recognition of this annual celebration honoring these beef patties on a bun, White Castle’s head chef and director of product innovation Phillip Bach is releasing the fast-food restaurant’s first-ever Top 10 List of Slider-Based Recipes.
 The inaugural list includes recipes that have come from customers as well as recipes that were created in White Castle’s test kitchen. Each recipe features The Original Slider® or a version of it. Some of the recipes in the Top 10 List have been around for years, while others are relatively new. All of the recipes can use either Sliders from the drive-thru or from grocery store freezer aisles.
 “You can make some really hot and tasty meals using our Sliders,” said Jamie Richardson, vice president at White Castle. “We have 50 amazing recipes on our website, and our in-house chef chose these Top 10 for their taste, simplicity and popularity among the Craver Nation.”
 Americans will, no doubt, appreciate having these new recipes as they continue to hunker down at home this spring. They’re cooking more often, trying to come up with simple, affordable and delicious meals their families will enjoy. These recipes fit the bill.
 In no particular order, the White Castle Top 10 List of Slider-Based Recipes for National Hamburger Month includes:
1. White Castlerole – The simple but delicious casserole is a timeless classic featuring just four ingredients – Sliders, cheese, milk, eggs – and a little seasoning. Cravers can watch Chef Phillip prepare the White Castlerole onYouTube.
2. Castle Con Queso Dip – This version of classic con queso dip features Jalapeño Sliders and includes cheese, salsa and refried beans.
3. Stuffed Mushrooms Parmigiana – This tasty appetizer uses mushrooms, pepperoni and bell pepper in addition to Sliders.
4. Queen’s Breakfast Casserole – Fit for royalty, this breakfast casserole includes mushrooms, eggs, milk, onion and shredded cheese.
5. White Castle Vidalia Dip – A whole lot of Vidalia onions are added to Sliders, mayo, Swiss cheese and bacon to create a delectable dip to serve on crackers.
6. Loaded Mac & Cheese Sliders – Cheese Sliders are enhanced with bacon, mac & cheese and avocado slices.
7. Stuffed Peppers for a Crowd – Sliders are the main ingredient in this classic dish, which also includes rice, tomato sauce and green peppers, of course.
8. Hawaiian Castle Bake – A little rice, Macadamia nuts, teriyaki sauce, green bell pepper and crushed pineapple turn Sliders into a Hawaiian treat.
9. Ultimate Stuffed Pasta Shells – Sliders mixed with Italian sausage, cheese, sweet onion and a few other ingredients make a perfect filling for pasta shells covered in spaghetti sauce.
10. Brazilian Bruschetta – Cheese Sliders mixed with chorizo sausage and avocado aioli are the keys to this Brazilian-inspired dish.
 “These days, families have more time than ever to cook and eat together,” Chef Phillip said. “As a family owned business, White Castle wants to help families create memorable moments. That’s why we’re introducing our Top 10 recipes – so families can enjoy these delicious meals together.”
 Chef Phillip shows how to make the White Castlerole in the first in a series of cooking videos that White Castle is sharing with fans on its YouTube channel. White Castle will release more Chef Phillip videos over the next few months.

May 8, 2020

Veggies Made Great Honors Healthcare Heroes

 To honor our healthcare heroes on the front line every day, Veggies Made Great launches the Healthcare Heroes program. For the month of May, #VegHead community members can nominate a health care worker for a chance to win free Veggies Made Great products!
 Veggies Made Great products are a perfect way to get more veggies into your diet. The product line creatively combines clean and simple ingredients to create a remarkably delicious array of veggie-rich prepared foods for everyday snacks and meals. All Veggies Made Great products are allergy friendly (gluten free, soy free, peanut and tree nut free, with many dairy free options) and always made with veggies as the first and primary ingredient.
 During this time, Health Care Workers are risking their lives every day to help save the lives of others. Veggies Made Great wants to reciprocate by offering consumers a chance to spread the love by nominating a Health Care worker to receive free samples of Veggies Made Great products! The process is simple! Just sign up to be #VegHead community member and then tell us about a Health Care Worker you would like us to send Veggies Made Great to! At the end of the mission (5/31/20) 20 random #VegHead entries will be selected to receive an assortment of Veggies Made Great. The winner will be emailed for their confirmation and mailing address information for their nominee.
 Veggies Made Great has been donating product to healthcare workers and hospitals during these uncertain to support and nourish them. Some of those hospital heroes include the Doctors, Nurses, Technicians and staff in Veggies Made Great Home State of New Jersey such as University Radiology Group, and Hospital Networks including RWJ St Barnabus Health and Hackensack Meridian Health.
 All Veggies Made Great products are loaded with nutrient-rich veggies and use vegetables as the first and primary ingredient. Whether the vegetables are hidden, like zucchini and carrots in the Muffins, or used to highlight the product, like kale, carrots and cauliflower, in the Superfood Veggie Cakes, Veggies Made Great makes eating your veggies delicious! The products are manufactured in a gluten free, peanut-free, tree nut-free, soy-free facility and every product in the Veggies Made Great product line is both allergy friendly and are made using clean and simple ingredients.

May 7, 2020

Walmart Introduces Express Delivery

 Walmart is announcing Express Delivery, a new service that delivers more items from the store than ever before to customers’ doors in less than two hours.
 Walmart has accelerated the development of the service in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, piloting Express Delivery in 100 stores since mid-April. The service will expand to nearly 1,000 stores in early May and will be available in nearly 2,000 total stores in the following weeks. Express Delivery allows customers to order across more than 160,000 items from Walmart’s food, consumables and general merchandise assortment such as groceries, everyday essentials, toys and electronics.
 “We know our customers’ lives have changed during this pandemic and so has the way they shop,” said Janey Whiteside, chief customer officer, Walmart. “We also know when we come out of this, customers will be busier than ever, and sometimes that will call for needing supplies in a hurry. COVID-19 has prompted us to launch Express Delivery even faster so that we’re here for our customers today and in the future.”
 Walmart’s Express Delivery joins the retailer’s popular pickup and delivery offerings, all three of which are no-contact services for the customer. It relies on the retailer’s team of 74,000 personal shoppers who will pick customers’ orders. This includes additional personal shoppers hired specifically for Express Delivery. Walmart will utilize its existing lineup of delivery providers to take orders from a store to customers’ doors. The service will cost $10 on top of the existing delivery charge. Walmart’s Delivery Unlimited customers’ will simply pay a $10 fee per Express Delivery. Like Walmart’s pickup and delivery services, there is no markup on items – an item is priced the same as it is on the shelf.
 Express Delivery also builds on the existing inventory of pickup and delivery slots available to customers, creating more opportunity for customers to shop Walmart when and how they want.
 “We have an opportunity to serve our customers no matter what life calls for,” said Tom Ward, Senior Vice President, Customer Product. “Whether it be a last-minute ingredient, medicine when a fever hits, or the item you didn’t know you needed when checking off your chore list, time matters. Express is a solve for that.”
 To get started, customers go to or the Walmart app and search their zip code to see if Express Delivery is offered in their area. Here’s how it works:
USER FRIENDLY SHOPPING: When customers are creating their order, the search feature at the top of the screen makes it easy to directly search for the exact item they need to add to their cart.
AT CHECKOUT, SELECT EXPRESS: Customers proceed to check out, selecting Express Delivery. They will then pay for their order and sit back and wait for their delivery to arrive!
DELIVERY: A delivery driver picks the order up at the store. They deliver to the customer within two hours. No money is exchanged at the door.

May 6, 2020

Publix Donates Over 1M Pounds of Produce and 100,000 Gallons of Milk in First Two Weeks to Support Farmers

 Publix’s initiative to support farmers and feed those in need reached a milestone after two weeks. The company announced it has purchased more than 1 million pounds of fruits and vegetables and more than 100,000 gallons of milk to donate to Feeding America member food banks.
 “We’re proud of the success this initiative has had in supporting farmers and families affected by the pandemic,” said Publix CEO Todd Jones. “As a food retailer, feeding families is our greatest opportunity to give back, and we are grateful to be able to do so while supporting produce and dairy farmers. During such challenging times, we are even more committed to supporting those in need and doing good, together.”
 Launched on April 22, the initiative aims to help farmers and families struggling due to the coronavirus pandemic by purchasing fruits, vegetables and milk from Florida produce farmers and southeastern dairies to donate directly to Feeding America member food banks throughout the company’s seven-state operating area. Feeding America estimates an additional 17 million people will experience food insecurity due to the pandemic, many of whom are turning to Feeding America member food banks to feed their families. At the same time, farmers are feeling the effects of an unexpected decrease in demand, and some are being forced to discard produce and milk due to the closures of schools, restaurants and other establishments.
 “There are some things you can’t plan for, and this is one of them,” said 5 Brothers Produce Senior Sales Associate Thomas Torbert. “You just hope that you can find the right people to work with, people who can come up with the right solutions to help you make it through. We found that right partner in Publix.”

May 5, 2020

Bravo Supermarkets Gives Away Facemasks to Employees and Customers

 Recently, the CDC strongly suggests the use of cloth face coverings to help slow the spread of COVID-19. The wearing of masks is going to be our new reality well into fall/winter. Grocery and other businesses owners may want to consider how this new accessory fits into their uniforms.
 Bravo now is going to dedicate a section in front of the store exclusively for retailing these masks with many different designs. These are becoming fashion statements and a way for customers to show their personality. This has become a huge unintended profit center for stores. Foxyware offers various sport designs, skull, happy face, kitten face, dog faces, clown, sayings along with a full line of all over rhinestone masks.
  “Bravo Supermarkets, absolutely loved the idea of giving these branded masks to all of their employees and customers. We made these in Bravo's colors with their logo. The owner, Luis Marejo, told us how appreciative his employees and customers were.” Foxyware spokesperson told TODAY’S GROCER.  In addition to giving these away to employees and customers, there are fun stock designs offered in retail packaging for resale.
 He called back to reorder for his customers. He noticed some customers were walking into the store without any face-coverings or with (well-intended) but poor homemade masks. Luis told me he wanted to give away as many as he could to help those in need. We want all of our customers to feel safe when they come into our stores. Giving our customers in need a free face mask is a no-brainer!
 Foxyware, a major supplier of custom logo apparel and accessories, has rolled out branded face masks with these owners in mind.
 Foxyware offers two styles of masks. Both are reusable and washable. One style offers 2 layers of protection and the other style offers a replaceable filter which gives 5 layers of protection. Both styles can be printed in full color at no additional charge.
 Aside from the obvious safety and health benefits, owners should also consider the branding benefits. A branded mask is a walking billboard for your store! This has become one of the best ways to advertise. Customers and employees will be wearing this everywhere promoting your brand. (It’s better advertising than a T-shirt by far. This is eye level and used everyday and everywhere a customer goes!)
 These masks will come attractively retail packaged and retail between $6.95-$9.95.

May 4, 2020

Quirch Foods Greensboro Location Donates Over 1,200 Pounds of Poultry to Local Food Bank

 Quirch Foods, LLC, donated 1,200 pounds of poultry to Out Of The Garden Project, Greensboro, in an effort to provide assistance for the growing demand for food in the local community. This charity has seen a steady increase in the demand for food products due to COVID-19 and they were happy to hear that we were in a position to help.
 “We recognize the growing need for local foods banks to remain open and provide help to affected members of the local community. We’re fortunate to have been in the position to donate the product to this organization and we strongly recognize their efforts during these times”, said Jorge Roza, Director of Marketing for Quirch Foods.

May 1, 2020

Boyer’s Food Markets Becomes the First Grocery Chain in the Country to Use New EEASY Lid

 Consumer Convenience Technologies (CCT) announced the first availability of its EEASY Lid – the first major jar lid innovation in over 75 years – to customers at Boyer’s Food Markets. Boyer’s is using the new EEASY Lid on its Darci’s brand pasta sauce at all 18 of its Pennsylvania stores.
 Boyer’s is the first grocery chain in the country to use the new EEASY Lids.
 The Darci’s jars have been updated with CCT’s new technology, which makes opening vacuum-sealed jars up to 40 percent easier. The patented EEASY Lid allows consumers to vent a jar by simply pressing a button on the lid; that activates a tiny slit that releases the vacuum seal, dramatically reducing the effort needed to twist off the lid.
 “By using the new EEASY Lid on our Darci’s brand, we are providing our shoppers with a simple solution to opening jars, something that has frustrated people for decades. We are confident in the product and think our customers are going to love it,” said Anthony Gigliotti, Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Boyer’s.
 The EEASY Lid also opens up the market by reaching the 30% of the population who are unable to open a jar - people dealing with arthritis, tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, recovering from a surgical procedure, or just growing older. In Pennsylvania alone, there are nearly 3 million people living with arthritis and more than 2 million people aged 65 or older.
 “We developed the EEASY Lid with convenience and inclusivity in mind,” said James Bach, managing partner at CCT. “We found a great partner in Boyer’s to introduce consumers to the EEASY Lid and provide them with a better experience.”

April 30, 2020

Tosca's Reusable Grocery Totes Support the Challenges of Explosive
E-Commerce Sales Growth

 Tosca, an innovator in reusable packaging and supply chain solutions, introduced its reusable grocery totes to U.S. retailers this week. The solution enables grocers to quickly implement and streamline their e-commerce operations with containers specifically designed to simplify the instore picking and delivery processes.
 Tosca's reusable grocery totes ensure a more streamlined system through every step in the grocery e-commerce process. They facilitate the in-store fulfilment process with bag hooks on the top rim to keep bags open, ergonomic handholds on all four sides, as well as a solid base that ensures up to nearly half a gallon of any spilt liquid is contained. Most grocery stores were not built with the space to operate as a fulfilment center, so Tosca's reusable grocery totes are strong enough to stack, easy to clean and can be conveniently nested or folded when empty. Once filled, groceries remain in the container all the way through the delivery process until they reach customers with the confidence that contents have been protected from damage within a durable plastic container.
 "We are always looking for ways to improve the process of transporting perishables efficiently and this solution is no different. We acquired Polymer Logistics in December and expanded our product portfolio, including adding online grocery products. The success Polymer has had in Europe with e-commerce container solutions, made us very excited to bring this solution to the U.S." said Tosca President and CEO Eric Frank. "McKinsey predicts a 15% increase in grocery e-commerce sales over last year and I am proud Tosca has a solution that will drive operational efficiencies for our retail partners, especially during this time of explosive online growth."
 Tosca's customers immediately benefit by an increase in labor efficiency with this solution. During unique times like these, the ability for in-store workers to get products off the shelves and into the hands of consumers as fast and efficiently as possible is growing more important every day.
 Tosca's reusable grocery totes are a quick implementation that can help you streamline your e-commerce operations and move more groceries in an exploding e-commerce system.

April 28, 2020

Del Mar Wine Seltzer Elevates Category with Wine-Based Hard Seltzer Offering

 Del Mar Wine Seltzer announced its entry into the wildly popular $1 billion hard seltzer category with a unique wine-based offering made in Napa Valley from premium California grapes. Black Cherry, Grapefruit, White Peach and Watermelon flavors are debuting in 355mL cans sold in four-packs for $8.99. The 4 percent ABV offering is now shipping nationally from the Trinchero Family Estates wine & spirits portfolio.
 "As a family-owned Napa Valley winery with a legacy of giving consumers what they want, we made the decision to enter the space with a light, refreshing and sophisticated wine-based seltzer to challenge malt-based seltzers within the category," said Dave Derby, senior vice president marketing for Trinchero Family Estates. "We are confident that consumers will appreciate our decision to leverage our 72 years of winemaking experience to create a grape-based seltzer made from transparent ingredients that they know and love."
 With simple ingredients, natural flavors and no added sugar at 95 calories per can, Del Mar Wine Seltzer was designed with wellness in mind. Black Cherry – made from California white wine – incorporates a hint of lavender in the blend. Grapefruit – made from California Rosé wine – fittingly delivers a hint of rose. White Peach – made from California white wine – has a hint of honeysuckle. And Watermelon – made from California Rosé wine – offers a hint of mint. Each of the four refreshing flavors captures the essence of delicious fruit, with a touch of natural sweetness that wine – not added sugar – provides.
 Like its namesake oceanfront city, Del Mar Wine Seltzer evokes a beachside state-of-mind. Popping the top of Del Mar brings memories of sun on your shoulders, friends by your side and toes in the sand. Kick off your spring, bring on your summer and reach for the beach with Del Mar – an all-new crisp and refreshing seltzer made from premium California grapes and natural flavors that you can trust.

April 27, 2020
■ “Coffee by 32 Women”

Portland Coffee Roasters Debuts Coffee to Promote Gender Equality

 Portland Coffee Roasters has launched “Coffee by 32 Women,” a limited-edition coffee grown by Sumac Warmi, a group of 32 women growers in the well-established growing region of San Ignacio, Cajamarca, Peru. The new product is available through the end of May.
 Sumac Warmi, which means “Beautiful Women'' in the ancient Incan Quechua language, is part of the Union y Fe cooperative founded in 2014. Union y Fe continually distinguishes itself as a pioneering organization in Peru, offering top-quality coffees and innovative micro lots. Located in the Andes Mountains, Cajamarca’s high altitude and fertile soil contribute to the coffee’s quality, producing a sought-after, fair trade, organic micro lot.
 “We developed ‘Coffee by 32 Women’ specifically to raise awareness about talented and dedicated women professionals in the coffee growing trade,” explained Mark Stell, founder and managing partner of Portland Coffee Roasters. “Purchasing this roast not only supports these growers, but also promotes gender equality in the coffee supply chain.”
 Monica Terveer is the Director of Sales for Sustainable Harvest, Portland Coffee Roasters’ importing partner. Sustainable Harvest imports exquisite specialty coffees from around the world, using an innovative sourcing approach to disrupt commodity-driven trade. The company focuses on creating transparent relationships that increase value throughout the supply chain, all while fostering greater sustainability.
 According to Terveer, women are the backbone of coffee production in Latin America, and “Coffee by 32 Women” helps them control their own futures. While women generally manage most of the labor of producing coffee, they are not always the legal owners of the land they work on, nor are they direct recipients of the income their families bring in from coffee.
 “What makes women's cooperatives, or women's groups within cooperatives, so significant is that they put the power, and the money, into the hands of women,” said Terveer. “When women are in control of their own coffee, it can provide a path toward autonomy in their decision making, oftentimes leading to the income from coffee being used in a way that brings greater benefit to their families and their communities.”
 “Coffee by 32 Women” is a Certified Fair Trade Organic light roast, medium-bodied coffee with notes of fig and honey. It is available now through May 31, 2020 and can be purchased online at, which is currently offering a buy two, get one free promotion. In the Portland Metropolitan area, it is also available in bulk at New Seasons Markets and in 12-ounce bags at select Fred Meyer stores.

April 24, 2020

Publix Launches Initiative to Help Farmers

Feed Those in Need During Pandemic

 Publix announced a new initiative to purchase fresh produce and milk to assist farmers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Publix will donate these products directly to Feeding America member food banks in its operating area. The initiative will support Florida produce farmers, southeastern dairy farmers and the growing number of families looking to Feeding America for fresh fruits, vegetables and milk during the coronavirus pandemic. Kicking off today, the initiative is expected to run for several weeks.
 “As a food retailer, we have the unique opportunity to bridge the gap between the needs of families and farmers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic,” said Publix CEO Todd Jones. “In this time of uncertainty, we are grateful to be able to help Florida’s produce farmers, southeastern dairies and families in our communities.”
 According to Feeding America, an estimated 17.1 million additional people will experience food insecurity due to school closures and rising unemployment during the pandemic. “As we respond to the coronavirus pandemic, Publix understands that more families are turning to us to help put food, especially fresh produce and milk, on their tables,” said Feeding South Florida President & CEO Paco Velez. “We’re grateful to Publix for not only supporting growers, but also for their years of support of Feeding South Florida.”
 With numerous reports of farmers discarding produce and milk that isn’t being sold — mostly as a result of school, restaurant and hotel closures — Publix hopes to address the needs of both the farming community and its local partner food banks through this initiative.
 “We are thrilled about Publix’s initiative to buy additional milk from Southeast Milk for processing and donation to Feeding America member food banks,” said Southeast Milk Inc. President Joe Wright. “It’s a win-win for our farmers who are feeling the impact of decreased demand and the families who are in need of nutrient rich milk during this pandemic.”
 “Like so many others right now, Florida farmers are in a time of need. We are humbled Publix is purchasing additional fresh vegetables from us and other local farms to donate to food banks throughout the Southeast,” said Pero Family Farms Food Co. CEO Peter F. Pero IV.
 “Thank you to Publix, the participating food banks and their volunteers for making this initiative possible for those less fortunate while supporting local farms.”
 “In addition to providing much needed produce and milk to food banks, this initiative provides financial support to farmers during this challenging time,” Publix’s Jones said. “We’re honored to be able to work with these groups and do good together for our communities.”
 Throughout the company’s history, Publix has supported organizations working toward alleviating hunger in our neighborhoods. Since 2009, Publix has donated more than $2 billion in food to people in need and has pledged an additional $2 billion in food donations over the next 10 years.
 Publix Super Markets Charities recently made donations totaling $2 million to support Feeding America member food banks during the pandemic.

April 23, 2020

The Giant Company to Hire Additional 3,000 Team Members

To Meet Surging Demand for Groceries

 The GIANT Company announced intends to hire an additional 3,000 team members, nearly 10% of its total workforce, to meet the surging demand for groceries as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Over the past month, GIANT has hired approximately 4,000 temporary and part-time team members across its family of brands which includes GIANT, MARTIN’S, GIANT Direct, MARTIN’S Direct and GIANT Heirloom Market.
 “At The GIANT Company, our purpose is to connect families for a better future, and our mission is more vital now than ever before,” said Matthew Lutcavage, Vice President of Human Resources, The GIANT Company. “We’re committed to serving our communities and customers during this extraordinary time while helping our neighbors who are looking for work.”
 The company is hiring for multiple in-store positions plus fulfillment center selectors and drivers to support GIANT Direct, its online grocery service that offers pickup and delivery.
 “Over the past two months, our incredible in-store and e-commerce team members have worked tirelessly to serve families, but the demand for online grocery keeps growing stronger,” continued Lutcavage.
 To meet this demand, the company will phase in tech enhancements to the GIANT Direct platform with the goal of adding order capacity and increasing time slots. GIANT Direct offers contactless pickup service at more than 130 GIANT and MARTIN’S stores. Customers across 90% of the company’s footprint have access to this online grocery ordering and delivery service.
 In addition to tech enhancements to increase online order capacity, digital enhancements to the company’s website and app are being rolled out this week. These enhancements will help further personalize the shopping experience with product recommendations, introduce a bolder interface, and include a robust search and filter capability that connects to the Guiding Stars nutrition guidance program.
 To place an order with GIANT Direct, customers can use any device to visit or the GIANT app, enter their zip code and begin shopping. Before checking out, they’ll be asked to select how they would like to receive their order – delivery or pickup.
 To also support social distancing, customers can now pick up prescriptions using the GIANT Direct parking spaces at their local store. For senior customers who cannot come into the store, a complimentary USPS delivery option is also available.

April 22, 2020

California Pear Farmers Set to Begin Harvest in Early July

 As the nation’s food industry is working hard to keep food on our tables, California pear farmers are preparing to harvest a crop of fresh pears in early July.
 “California pear harvest appears to be on a normal schedule this year after two years of late harvest timing,” said Matt Hemly of Greene and Hemly in Courtland. “We’ve seen pear category sales affected in recent years during July because of our late harvest. This year we expect to be picking Bartlett pears in the River District within the first weeks in July. Retailers will have no problem getting American grown pears into their stores this year.”
 “We want to thank retailers and all of their employees for keeping our food supply moving during this difficult time,” said Richard Elliot of Stillwater Orchards. “As we move out of this pandemic, we hope that retailers will support local growers, families and communities to put America first.”
 California pear growers are taking extra steps in the orchards and packing facilities to ensure a safe, healthy supply of fresh pears during this time.
 “We employ 450 people in our farms and packing house,” explains Chiles Wilson, owner of Rivermaid Trading Company, based in Lodi, CA. “We want to make sure we can give them their jobs back this year. It's not just about us as farmers but all the people we employ and their families."
 “Flavor is most important to consumers,” explains Pat Scully of Scully Packing in Lake County. “California pear farmers take care to pick pears at a point when they have plenty of sugar, and we never treat our pears with anti-ripening products like 1-MCP.”
 1-MCP is a product that impedes fruit ripening. Producers in many growing regions use 1-MCP to extend a pear’s storage life. Unfortunately, a 1-MCP treated pear may not ever ripen properly. It may turn yellow and appear to be ripe but never soften. This disappoints consumers and prevents repeat sales.
 “What we’ve found in repeated experiments in our lab is that pears treated with 1-MCP take as long as three weeks to ripen and, in fact, they may never get soft and juicy,” explains Dr. Beth Mitcham, a postharvest researcher at the University of California, Davis.
 “We don’t believe that 1-MCP is a smart choice for pears like Bartletts that must ripen off the tree,” said Rivermaid Trading company’s Wilson. “We know 1-MCP inhibits the fruit’s ability to ripen, meaning no flavor and no softening. With the increased use over the past few years, we think there is a direct correlation to retail pear category decline.”
 Because Bartlett pears are picked green off the tree, they ship well and will ripen naturally. Once a consumer brings them home, they will become a ripe juicy flavorful piece of fruit.
 “We’re committed to producing pears that offer the best eating experience for our consumers,” said Hemly. “In early July, shoppers should begin seeing new crop Bartlett pears in-store grown by local farmers. Our California Pear Advisory Board representatives will soon be reaching out to retailers — even if it’s only virtually — to set up promotions for the new season.”

April 21, 2020

Yuengling Pledges $100,000 to Support COVID-19 Relief Organizations

 D.G. Yuengling & Son, Inc., America's Oldest Brewery, announced a commitment of $100,000 to provide Americans relief during the COVID-19 public health crisis. Through initial donations, Yuengling will support the Gary Sinise Foundation and its Emergency COVID-19 Combat Service campaign to assist individuals on the front lines of fighting the coronavirus. Yuengling is also a Founding Donor of the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association's (PRLA) newly established Hospitality Assistance Response of Pennsylvania (HARP) fund, which supports hospitality workers, including restaurant staff, servers and bartenders, who have been financially impacted by the pandemic.
 "As America's Oldest Brewery, for nearly 200 years, we have survived a number of highs and lows throughout our nation's history. We have learned that the best way to get through tough times is to stick together and support one another. We firmly believe in these efforts to assist our communities as they grapple with the unprecedented impact of COVID-19," said Wendy Yuengling, Chief Administrative Officer and 6th generation family member, D.G. Yuengling & Son, Inc. "We are proud to work alongside nonprofit partners who are able to support heroes on the front lines and our communities in need, including the Gary Sinise Foundation and HARP. Together, we will overcome this challenge and come out stronger and more united than ever."
 Yuengling is donating to the Gary Sinise Foundation's dedicated campaign called the Emergency COVID-19 Combat Service, which will go exclusively towards providing grants to first responders within Yuengling's 22-state footprint. The grants will assist first responders, especially those within volunteer organizations that have limited resources, in purchasing personal protective equipment (PPE) and essential gear needed when answering COVID-19 service calls. Through the Gary Sinise Foundation's Emergency COVID-19 Combat Service, financial assistance is also available to healthcare professionals, service members, veterans, first responders, and their families who have been impacted by the novel coronavirus.
 "Through the tremendous support and generosity of Yuengling, we are honored to help first responders battling this historic pandemic," said Elizabeth Fields, COO of the Gary Sinise Foundation. "Just as our first responders and all of those on the front lines are working so hard to protect us, we want to do everything we can to protect and support them. The Emergency COVID-19 Combat Service is an extension of the Gary Sinise Foundation's mission to serve and protect those who so bravely protect our nation, 365 days a year."
 Yuengling will match donations made to the Gary Sinise Foundation's Emergency COVID-19 Combat Service, dollar for dollar, up to $45,000. Double your impact today by making a donation at
 As part of its COVID-19 relief efforts, Yuengling also places importance on helping communities within its home state of Pennsylvania. In partnership with PRLA, Yuengling is a Founding Donor of the newly established HARP fund, which will provide immediate emergency funding to frontline employees of Pennsylvania's hospitality businesses, bartenders, servers and waitstaff who are experiencing significant hardships due to the abrupt closure of their bars, restaurants and hotels. For consumers interested in helping, donations can be made directly to HARP by visiting
 "We are profoundly grateful to Yuengling for quickly stepping in as a Founding Sponsor of Hospitality Assistance Response of Pennsylvania (HARP). Pennsylvania's hospitality industry has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and our employees are experiencing significant hardships as a result," said John Longstreet, PRLA president & CEO. "HARP was created to swiftly provide financial assistance to those individuals who have been impacted COVID-19."
 During this public health emergency, Yuengling will continue to work closely with its employees, stakeholders and community partners to help support those in most need. Yuengling is also coordinating with its brand ambassadors, including country singers Lauren Alaina and Cliff Cody, professional soccer player Rose Lavelle, celebrity chef Kelsey Barnard Clark and Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Aaron Nola, to support additional community COVID-19 relief efforts and to engage consumers who are staying safe at home. For more information about Yuengling's COVID-19 relief efforts, and how you can donate, visit

April 20, 2020

Sprouts Farmers Market to Expand Grocery Pickup Offering Nationally

 Sprouts Farmers Market will expand its grocery pickup service with Instacart to all of its more than 340 stores by early May as an added convenience for shoppers during this incredible time of need. The rapid expansion will first roll out to Los Angeles and Central California locations. Additional local market expansion details will be announced later. Before this announcement, Sprouts offered pickup at 55 stores and grocery delivery in all major markets via Instacart.
 Sprouts shoppers from Los Angeles to Fresno can schedule convenient curbside pickup at 25 stores. Customers can shop among more than 12,000 fresh, natural and organic products at to be picked up at participating Sprouts stores.
 The service, in partnership with Instacart, allows customers to plan grocery pick up for the same day or to schedule several days in advance, subject to availability. Customers are alerted when their order is prepared by a Sprouts team member and ready for pickup. Their personal Sprouts shopper will bring the groceries to a designated pickup parking spot when the customer arrives and checks in.
 This grocery pickup service is in addition to local grocery delivery by Instacart to select zip codes, expanding access to the healthy products that shoppers trust Sprouts to provide.

April 17, 2020

Lexie Jauregui Wins National 2020 Sodexo Future Chefs Challenge

 In a cooking challenge designed to engage school students in creating and enjoying healthier eating habits, Lexie Jauregui, a fourth grader from Kennewick, Washington, was selected as the national winner of the 10th annual 2020 Sodexo Future Chefs Challenge. The theme of this year's competition was "Your Favorite Lunch Meal - Reimagined". Jauregui, with her "Nacho School Lunch", provided a healthy and sustainable twist to a school lunchroom favorite as a plant-based alternative featuring Beyond Meat as an ingredient.
  "While the COVID-19 pandemic forced us to cancel our public events around the Sodexo Future Chefs Challenge this year, the passion, creativity, and resilience demonstrated by the students was as inspiring as ever," explained Stephen Dunmore, CEO Schools, Sodexo North America. "Lexie's winning recipe speaks to the trends we're seeing across the culinary world – with her healthier, meat-alternative spin on a comfort food."
 Celebrating its 10th year, the Sodexo Future Chefs Challenge encourages healthier eating habits by actively involving students in good nutrition. Students participating in the program represent more than 1,400 Sodexo-served elementary schools, in 256 school districts from 31 states. In a modified format, a panel of judges reviewed the recipes and evaluated them based on originality, healthy attributes, ease of preparation, kid-friendliness and plate presentation. Jauregui won the challenge in her home school district, then beat competing recipes among the Top 40 entries from around the U.S. before narrowly edging out four other students in the regional round to secure the title as national winner. In addition to receiving $1,000 worth of prizes, Jauregui's "Nacho School Lunch" recipe will be ad ded to school lunch menus across the United States.
The other regional winners were:
• Jaxston Lovett, Cottonwood- Oak Creek School District, AZ (Peanut Butter and Fruit Tacos)
• Callie Walkuski, Naugatuck Public Schools, CT (Meatball Dipper)
• Michaela Brown, Richland School District, SC (Rainbow Veggie Grilled Cheese)
• Blake Matthews, Harrah Public Schools, OK (Venchiladas)

April 16, 2020

Island Pacific Supermarket Launches “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Campaign

 Amid the coronavirus pandemic Island Pacific has made the health and safety of its customers, employees, and community its top priority. Island Pacific Supermarket has launched its “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Campaign by becoming the first Filipino Supermarket chain to provide online shopping with same day grocery delivery in the United States.
 By shopping at Island Pacific Online everything that you can find in an Island Pacific Supermarket will be available at your fingertips. You will be able to shop a wide array of groceries, fruits, vegetables, and prepared foods Island Pacific is known for. Our full-service meat and seafood department will also be available online where you can request your meat and seafood prepared just the way you want it! Even free fish frying is available in Island Pacific Online Grocery. With this amazing service you can order ahead and skip the long lines in the supermarket.
 When you shop at Island Pacific Online you will have your own personal shopper that are experts in picking the best meat, seafood, and produce for your household. All throughout the shopping process your shopper will be connected with you from the time you place the order, while your order is being picked, and when your order is being delivered. We have also created contactless delivery option to promote social distancing and curtail the spread of the virus - groceries can be left at your door saving you from making a trip to the supermarket. In the spirit of our “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Campaign, we are proud to declare that you no longer need to go to an Island Pacific since Island Pacific is now available in your home.
 What deters some members of our community from shopping online are the high cost of service fees which can run up to 5% of total receipt and the high cost of delivery fees. Island Pacific Founder, Nino Jeff Lim, has always emphasized the importance of serving the community before any profit objectives. In this spirit, during the duration of the company's "Stay Home, Stay Safe" campaign Island Pacific will be waiving all service fees when customers enter promo code "BAYANIHAN” before checking out. The word “bayanihan” refers to the Filipino Culture emphasizing the importance of communal unity to achieve a common goal. Island Pacific is also constantly exploring ways to lower the delivery cost charged by 3rd party providers. We have recently engaged Postmates since they have the largest network and have the most competitive delivery rates to support our deliveries.

April 15, 2020

Toad Hollow Vineyards Joins Third Leaf Wines

 Alex Pagon, Managing Partner of Third Leaf Wines, announced that Toad Hollow Vineyards will join Third Leaf's stable of brands beginning May 1, 2020. Frankie Williams, who founded Toad Hollow with her late husband Todd in 1994, says, "This move is one that allows us to both continue the expansion of Toad while allowing me to concentrate on my personal pursuits. I'm very much looking forward to this next chapter as it draws on the last 26 years of progress with Toad Hollow."
  Based in Healdsburg, Sonoma County, California, Toad Hollow Vineyards produces around 70,000 cases annually. "Francine's Selection" Unoaked Chardonnay from Mendocino County has historically been the winery's driver. The winery's portfolio, known for its quality to price relationship, also includes a highly acclaimed Sonoma County Dry Rosé of Pinot Noir, Monterey County Pinot Noir, Sonoma County Merlot, and Lodi Cabernet. Additionally, the winery imports two sparkling wines with grapes sourced from the South of France: the Amplexus Sparkling Cremant Brut and Risqué Sweet & Sparkling Wine. "Our focus has always been a light-hearted approach to offering serious wines. Each wine expressing the regional terroir while exceedingly approachable," notes Frankie.
 "The addition of Toad Hollow now solidifies our place in the US wine market," says Alex Pagon. He adds, "Toad Hollow has an unprecedented history of making unique wines that have helped set stylistic changes. The unoaked Chardonnay was one of the first of its kind in the US and the Dry Rosé of Pinot Noir was produced long before the recent Rosé craze."
 "I have been watching Toad Hollow for over a dozen years and have been impressed by what Frankie and Toad Hollow partner and CFO, Erik Thorson have accomplished. I'm very excited to finally be a part of this team, their wonderful history, and now future," adds Bob Guinn, Vice President of Third Leaf Wines.
 Third Leaf Wines owns and represents such iconic brands as Mulderbosch from Stellenbosch, South Africa; Empire Estate, and Vinny from Finger Lakes, NY; Waters from Walla Walla, WA; and Sake from Japan.

April 14, 2020

Greenbar Distillery Produces 30,000 Liters of Hand Sanitizer for CA Grocers Association

 Almost overnight, Los Angeles' Greenbar Distillery pivoted from producing spirits to producing hand sanitizer in an effort to help combat COVID-19 by providing much-needed product to organizations with workers on the front lines. Greenbar Distillery has produced 40,000 liters (40 totes) of hand sanitizer to date, and through working with Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti’s office has coordinated the distribution to organizations that need it most.
  Thirty totes (9,990,000 uses worth at 3ml per use) are going directly to the California Grocers Association, while the remaining product will be divided between City of Hope Hospital, LA Housing Authority, Edwards Airforce Base, LA Sheriff's Dept, the Rancho Cucamonga California Highway Patrol, and other front line workers and first responders.

April 13, 2020

Farm Rich Celebrates Grocery Workers

Honoring America's 'Snacktion Heroes'

 Food for our families, vitamins to stay healthy, medications, formula, pet food and more…no matter the need, grocery store employees are now on the frontlines making sure shelves are stocked and America has access to essential items.
 Starting this week, Farm Rich is asking people to nominate a deserving grocery store employee, shopper, truck or delivery driver – anyone who helps get groceries to families and individuals – for the chance to be spotlighted as the week's "Snacktion Hero." Farm Rich will randomly select five employees a week to be recognized across social and make a $500 donation for each "Hero" to a local food bank or pantry of their choice. Plans call for up to 20 Snacktion Heroes to be selected and honored during April and May, and a collective $10,000 donated to organizations across the country who are providing important resources right now.
 "We are all so incredibly grateful for the dedicated, hardworking grocery store employees across the country who are helping to get food on tables during this quarantine period," said Ciera Womack, Farm Rich Senior Marketing Manager. "Snacktion Heroes is just one small way we can celebrate their commitment while also providing food for families who may be in need at this time."
 Want to nominate a grocery "Snacktion Hero" in your town? Fill out a nomination form at by May 1, 2020 with the name of the person you're nominating, an email address, job position and details on why they're your Snacktion Hero.
 During this time, Farm Rich has also been making food donations to hunger relief organizations across the country to address critical needs in the wake of COVID-19, including donations to The Atlanta Community Food Bank, MidSouth Food Bank, Second Harvest of Coastal Georgia and others.

April 12, 2020

The Giant Company Announces $250,000 Emergency Grant Program

To Support Small Businesses During Covid-19 Pandemic

 The Giant Company announced today a $250,000 emergency grant program, in partnership with Team Pennsylvania, to support small businesses in Pennsylvania’s food supply chain impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
 “As Pennsylvania’s second-largest private employer and as a company that has been able to continue operating during the coronavirus pandemic, The Giant Company has a responsibility to help mitigate the economic impact in the Commonwealth,” said Nicholas Bertram, president, The Giant Company. “From family farms to local food artisans and manufacturers throughout the rest of the supply chain, small businesses are hurting, and livelihoods are at risk. These men and women are instrumental in feeding Pennsylvanians, and we want to do our part to help them in their time of need.”
 Applications are now being accepted online through April 24 from any small business involved in growing, making or processing food within the Commonwealth. The Giant Company and Team Pennsylvania worked with the Pennsylvania Department of Economic and Community Development, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, the Pennsylvania Chamber, and Pennsylvania Food Merchants Association to develop the program.
 “Bringing the public and private sectors together to solve our biggest challenges is what we do at Team Pennsylvania,” said Ryan Unger, president and CEO, Team Pennsylvania. “We are proud and grateful to partner with The Giant Company on this endeavor that will provide some relief to companies in the Commonwealth working tirelessly to keep our agricultural economy and food supply going.”
 “This amazing effort by The Giant Company and Team Pennsylvania demonstrates the critical importance of forming public-private partnerships to support our communities,” said Dennis M. Davin, Pennsylvania Secretary of the Department of Community and Economic Development. “This kind of leadership--combined with the Wolf Administration’s efforts to bolster the supply chain, protect small businesses, and support the food and wellness needs of all Pennsylvanians--is exactly the path forward to sustaining our communities and overcoming this unprecedented and challenging time.”
 "The Giant Company and Team Pennsylvania have been invaluable partners in good times,” Pennsylvania Secretary of the Department Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said. “Their leadership will help position Pennsylvania agriculture to emerge from this challenging time ready to recover and grow together.”
 For additional information on criteria and to apply for an emergency grant from The Giant Company online, visit: Recipients will be notified in early May.
 “Our collaboration with Team Pennsylvania is the latest effort Giant is undertaking as we do our part to help the Commonwealth through the pandemic,” added Bertram. “With these emergency grants, we hope to provide some relief to keep people employed, strengthen businesses, and keep Pennsylvanians fed – now and in the future.”

April 11, 2020

Quirch Foods Donates Over 26,000 lbs. of Protein to Three South Florida Food Banks

  Miami-based Quirch Foods, LLC, has donated over 26,000 pounds of combined Poultry and Seafood to three local foods bank in an effort to provide assistance for the growing demand for food in local communities. Feeding South Florida, Miami Food Bank and West Palm Beach County Food Bank each have seen a big increase in the demand for product due to COVID-19 and Quirch Foods was happy to be in a position to help.
 “We recognize the growing need for local foods banks to remain open and provide help to affectedmembers of the local community. We’re fortunate to have been in the position to donate the food products to these organizations and we strongly recognize their efforts during these times”, said Jorge Roza, Director of Marketing for Quirch Foods.

April 10, 2020

Goya Foods Makes Initial Donation of Over 200,000 Pounds of Food

Over 20,000 Masks Nationwide During COVID-19 Pandemic

 Goya Foods, America's largest Hispanic owned food company, has made an initial donation of over 200,000 pounds of food, equivalent to over 170,000 meals, to organizations, food banks, food pantries and soup kitchens, as well as over 20,000 protective masks across the nation. Goya will continue to donate to those facing hardships during the COVID-19 pandemic.
 "We are faced with an unprecedented national crisis and Goya has always stepped up to the plate in times of desperate need. As an essential business, our Goya teams are working 24/7 to meet the overwhelming demand for food and ensure that supermarket shelves nationwide are stocked with nourishing products, while also providing food to communities who are food insecure or not able to get to supermarkets," said Bob Unanue, President of Goya Foods.
 Donations were made directly to Catholic Charities of New York and Newark, Food Education Fund, The Sisters of Life, The NY Common Pantry in partnership with New York City FC, City Harvest in New York City, The Community FoodBank of New Jersey, Secaucus Food Pantry, families of Cristo Rey High School, Jersey City Medical Center, The City of Jersey City for the Homeless, Holy Name Hospital, and Kingsborough Community College; Caring for Friends in Philadelphia; Feeding South Florida; The Houston Food Bank, Latino Learning Centers Inc., Tejano Center for Community Concerns, Texas Feeding Alliance and Catholic Charities of San Antonio in Texas; The Salvation Army Little Village, Catholic Charities Casa Latina and Children's Hunger Fund in Chicago. With the support of each organization, the food has been and will continue to be distributed to families, children, homeless and the elderly communities.
 "We are so grateful for Goya Foods who enable us to serve those most in need, no matter the circumstances. We have never seen a crisis like this and we are truly grateful for Goya's leadership and quick response to provide nourishing food to families, children and our elderly communities," said Antonio Fernandez, President & CEO Catholic Charities of San Antonio.
 COVID 19 has dramatically impacted the livelihood of communities, businesses, places of worship and organizations that normally provide food on a daily basis to those who are homeless, elderly and food insecure. Unemployment has sky-rocketed, and the need for nourishing food is at its highest demand.

April 9, 2020

Tyler Perry Teams up with Winn-Dixie

Helps Louisiana Shoppers During COVID-19

 Winn-Dixie and Tyler Perry teamed up to provide food and essentials to elderly and high-risk people throughout the state.
 The well-known filmmaker and actor who hails from New Orleans, partnered with the neighborhood grocer on Wednesday, April 8 during the Senior and High-Risk Shopping Hour to purchase groceries for customers at all 29 Louisiana stores.
 Perry’s generous act addresses the widespread need for resources in a community that has been drastically impacted by COVID-19.
  Perry’s generosity extended throughout all Louisiana Winn-Dixie stores.

April 8, 2020

How COVID-19 Is Changing Americans’ Lives

National Survey Tracks 18 Day-to-Day Consumer Activities

 The coronavirus (COVID-19) is having significant effects on what was traditionally thought to be typical day-to-day consumer behavior.
 Nearly eighty percent (78%) of 18 daily activities surveyed showed significant increases in consumer participation due to the coronavirus and social, economic, and global disruption.
 The study was conducted by Brand Keys, Inc., the New York-based brand loyalty and customer engagement research consultancy ( and TheCustomer ( a weekly newsletter covering intelligence from the customer insight universe, in conjunction with Suzy (, the on-demand consumer research software platform.
 The coronavirus pandemic and social disruption has had a profound impact on daily life. “Some changes are self-evident, and all are COVID-19 cause-and-effects,” said Robert Passikoff, Brand Keys Founder and President, “But they will ultimately change the consumer lifestyle and brand loyalty trajectory.”
 Daily and generally routine activities have been upended, with consumers indicating much higher levels of the following:
• Working from home (+34%)
• Online activities (excluding shopping) (+26%)
• Watching movies (+23%)
• Watching news shows (+19%)
• Shopping Online (+17%)
• Texting (+16%)
• Eating (+15%)
• Personal Care (+15%)
• Making personal phone calls (+15%)
• Managing daily tasks (+13%)
• Reading (+13%)
• Snacking (+13%)
• Sleeping (+12%)
• Exercising (+11%)
• Sexual intimacy (+8%)
• Drinking alcohol (+6%)
• Social (Distant) Interactions (+6%)
• Shopping (brick-and-mortar) (+4%)
 “We recognize that the coronavirus is fashioning a ‘new normal’ as regards compulsory, volunteer, and invented behavior on the part of the consumer,” noted Passikoff, “We normally look at brands first, but it’s premature to ask about changes in brand preference and purchase activities when the customer paradigm is being altered.
 “We believe that changes in consumer behavior will both identify and create a new landscape in which brands will have to compete in the near and long-term. Emotional engagement comes before any meaningful market activation. Tracking panic buying – bleach, hand sanitizer, masks, gloves, toilet paper, or canned soup – does not truly portray consumer loyalty or brand engagement,” said Mike Giambattista, publisher of TheCustomer.
 Economists have been using the analogy of the Great Depression regarding the coronavirus and anticipated changes to consumers’ world-view and behaviors. “But when it comes to consumers and the customer paradigm, we’re dealing with a vastly different standard in the 21st century,” noted Passikoff. “Younger consumers were born hot-wired to the Internet. Everybody has a smartphone, and consumers talk to each other before they talk to brands.”
 This wave of research was just the first in a series of on-going surveys. Brand Keys and TheCustomer look forward to reporting what’s really on the horizon and how marketers and their brands can navigate this new landscape. TheCustomer will be updating weekly metrics on its site.

April 7, 2020

Milo’s Tea Supports Healthcare Professionals and First Responders
During COVID-19 Crisis

 To offer support to healthcare professionals during the coronavirus disaster, Milo’s Tea Company is giving away up to 2,000 free gallons of its tea and lemonade to first responders battling against and treating the coronavirus.
 “In this tumultuous time, our hearts go out to all who have been affected by the outbreak of COVID-19,” said Tricia Wallwork, Milo’s CEO. “The world is confronting an issue of enormous scale and human impact, and the Milo’s team is committed to people first, which includes supporting the communities in which we live and work.”
 The giveaway program is available for fireman, policeman, national guard, FEMA, paramedics, doctors, nurses, and hospital and nursing home staff until April 30. Individuals can sign up to receive a free gallon while supplies last at
 For larger donation requests please visit

March 16, 2020
■ What You Can do to Help…

Giant Food Addresses the Question

 As a local supermarket that has served the Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia and Delaware area for 84 years, Giant Food understands the vital role that we play in providing for our communities, particularly when they are faced with difficult circumstances or hardships. We want to ensure our customers that we are continuing to work hard to provide for their needs, but it has not been without challenges. Our stores, distribution centers, national supply chains and vendor partners are being pushed to their limits, but we are all working together, across the industry, to make sure that our communities have the products and services they need for their families and themselves during the COVID-19 pandemic.
 Our customers have been incredibly understanding despite encountering a shopping experience that is not expected or ideal, and our amazing associates have been working tirelessly to help keep our stores and distribution centers running. We know communities come together in difficult times, and we are inspired by the ways our customers, vendor partners, and associates have worked together to manage through these unprecedented times. Here are some of our thoughts on how we can continue to help one another as we manage through current challenges:
Continue to show care and concern for your neighbors.
 Again, we are extremely grateful for how unbelievably supportive our customers have been when dealing with our associates and each other. Even with the increased demand for items on the shelves, customers have shown a positive attitude realizing the tireless efforts our associates are making to meet the needs of our customers.
Try to bring your reusable bags to shop.
 The increased shopping has put a strain on shopping bag supplies. Though we continue to have bags available and will continue to replenish our bag supply, it would be helpful for us, and our environment, if customers remember to bring reusable bags when shopping.
Try to purchase only what you need right now.
 We are working tirelessly to restock our shelves. Our customers can rest assured that if an item is out of stock, we are in contact with our suppliers and partners to replenish it as quickly as possible. We kindly ask that our customers limit their purchase to what they need right now in order to provide products to as many people as possible.
 There is still some uncertainty as to how communities will navigate the next several weeks.
 Once again, we want to thank all our shoppers for the way they have treated each other and our hard-working associates, as well as their patience and understanding as we work to bring our stores back to our normal operational standards. Together, as a community, we will get through this and be stronger for it.

March 15, 2020

A Message from Sedano's Supermarkets

 As the COVID-19 situation evolves, at Sedano's Supermarkets, we assure our customers and associates that we continue to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, as well as local protocols.
 We have reinforced heightened cleaning and sanitation procedures across all stores and are also working nonstop to replenish high-demand products.
 Our stores remain open with regular business hours and continue to offer online services to customers via our Sedano's Online app and website. However, due to the significantly high volume of online orders and to ensure that every customer's order is fully and accurately fulfilled, we have limited the number of online orders.
 At Sedano's, as your proud local Hispanic supermarket, we are steadfast in our commitment to provide a safe and welcoming shopping experience for the community - our family - as well as a healthy work environment for our valued associates.
 We are closely monitoring this situation and adjusting operations and policies as required.
 Thank you for your understanding.
 Stay safe and healthy!

March 4, 2020

Community Coffee Company Now Available in CVS Stores

 Community Coffee Company, the number one family-owned retail coffee brand in America, announces that its smooth, rich coffee is now available in nearly 5,000 CVS stores across the U.S.
 Community Coffee’s premium Breakfast Blend and American Classic coffees are hitting CVS shelves in the East Region, extending as far west as Colorado this month. Both of these delicious blends are available in 12-ounce bags and 12-count single-serve boxes featuring Community Coffee’s new, refreshed branding.
 “We believe everyone deserves a great-tasting cup of coffee,” says Ryan Schemmel, Senior Vice President of Sales and Ecommerce at Community Coffee Company. “As one of the fastest-growing retail coffee brands in America, we’re excited to partner with CVS and make that belief a reality. We can’t wait to provide even more customers with a high-quality coffee that has over 100 years of family expertise behind it.”
 Founded in 1919 and operated by four generations of the Saurage family, Community Coffee Company offers an expansive line of premium coffees, coffee beverages and teas in a variety of formats.

March 3, 2020

Pollo Tropical Becomes Official Partner of The Miami HEAT

 The heat is on at Pollo Tropical as the brand has signed on to become an Official Partner of the Miami HEAT basketball team in an agreement that includes a 3-year partnership with in-game, in-market and community service events.
 "Pollo Tropical is proud to partner with the Miami HEAT in our shared love for the city of Miami. We are Miami, so it's a natural fit for us to join forces with an organization that embodies the spirit of this city, just as we do through our authentic flavors and quality food. We're fans of the HEAT just like our guests are and we can't wait to bring everyone in South Florida many exciting events to cheer about for years to come," said Richard Stockinger, President and Chief Executive Officer of Fiesta Restaurant Group, parent company of Pollo Tropical.
 Pollo Tropical and the Miami HEAT share a common bond – both were founded in Miami 32 years ago and have loyal fans in the community. Now, HEAT fans will have the opportunity to engage with Pollo Tropical in and out of the arena. The partnership includes in-game promotions during every home game, special offers for Pollo Tropical loyalty members and Miami HEAT fans, and activities related to many of the charitable initiatives for which both organizations are known.
 "Just like the Miami HEAT, Pollo Tropical was founded in 1988 and has become an unforgettable staple for a generation of South Floridians," said Glen Oskin, Vice President of Corporate Sales for the Miami HEAT. "We're thrilled to team up and enhance the fan experience in-arena as well as provide South Floridians with memorable activations that will have a positive impact on our community."
 Not wasting any time, the partnership kicked off with a celebration last week, as the Miami HEAT treated Pollo Tropical guests in Doral to a surprise lunch on Wednesday, as part of the Miami HEAT's Random Acts of Kindness week. During the event, guests were served by Miami HEAT mascot Burnie, the HEAT Hoop Troop and the Miami HEAT dancers.

February 26, 2020

NGA Awards “Outstanding Marketer” to K-VA-T Food Stores, Food City and “Outstanding Merchandiser” to Brookshire Grocery Company

 The “Outstanding Marketer” and “Outstanding Merchandiser” in the Creative Choice Awards were announced today during the Super Breakfast Session at the 2020 NGA Show. Outstanding Marketer was awarded to K-VA-T Food Stores, Food City for their Grand Opening in Abingdon, Virginia. The event generated excitement in the community, resulting in strong traditional media and social media coverage of the grand opening.
 Outstanding Merchandiser was awarded to Brookshire Grocery Company for their Big Grocery Cart that is over 12 feet in height and can carry 1,000 bags of groceries. The cart is used by Brookshire Grocery Company to travel throughout communities in which they serve. So far, the cart has traveled 16,000 miles across the country. The Big Grocery Cart gained extensive media coverage and generated excitement among costumers, leading to Brookshire Grocery Company fielding over 150 requests to attend parades, festivities, grand openings, and food drives.
 The Creative Choice Awards honor the best merchandising and marketing programs in the grocery industry that increase and positively impact overall store sales or provide a unique benefit to the community.
 The contest, sponsored by Kellogg’s and Unilever, features 10 different categories with two winners for each, one entry from a one to 15 store operator and one entry from a store operator with 15 or more supermarkets.

February 25, 2020
■ Surprise!

Kit Kat Launching Birthday Cake Flavor

 It's finally confirmed, Kit Kat Birthday Cake is coming! The launch of this new flavor marks the first time that a Kit Kat Bar will include sprinkles. This new limited-edition bar is a celebration of delicious birthday cake flavored white crème and the beloved crisp wafers we know and love, accented by a colorful assortment of sprinkles. This new Kit Kat Bar is available nationwide starting in April 2020.
 "Kit Kat as a brand is internationally recognized for its inventive flavors," said Susanne Prucha, Marketing Director, Kit Kat. "Our U.S. Kit Kat lovers have continued to voice a longing for new and imaginative flavors and that's exactly what we're giving them in 2020. We've kicked off the year with not one, but three new flavor innovations and can't wait to announce what else we have in store!"
 Kit Kat Bars have been bursting with flavor recently with flavor innovations including Kit Kat Duos Mint + Dark Chocolate, Sweet Cinnamon, and Pumpkin Pie. This release marks the third new limited-edition flavor announced in 2020, following the success of Raspberry Crème and Lemon Crisp. These flavor revolutions come from the Kit Kat flavor innovation team who is constantly working to create new and exciting flavors throughout the year and are just a taste of what's to come.
 "Kit Kat Brand takes flavor seriously and aims to deliver for our fans who are just as passionate about the endless flavor possibilities," said Justin Kukura, Senior Manager Chocolate Product Development at The Hershey Company. "Kit Kat Birthday Cake delivers on the universal love of the layers of birthday cake flavor and aroma of frosting perfectly paired with the surprise crunch of sprinkles."
 The new Kit Kat Birthday Cake Bar is making all our wishes come true this year with its deliciously sweet birthday cake flavor, so when you see them in-stores in April get one while you can! Kit Kat Birthday Cake comes in a standard 1.5 oz. bar (SRP $1.09).

February 19, 2020

Vallarta Supermarkets Announces New Meat-Less Menu Items
Just in Time for Lent

 Vallarta Supermarkets announces additional menu offerings in various departments just in time for Lent (February 26 to April 12), adding numerous delicious options for those observing Lent.
 Customers can now enjoy tasty meatless alternatives to the familiar foods they love even when following a Lenten diet or looking to reduce their meat consumption.
 “Many of our customers give up eating meat during Lent,” said Andrew Lewis, Vice President of Marketing, Vallarta Supermarkets. “Now they’ll be able to enjoy their traditional favorites, like tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and more without giving up taste and still observing Lent.”
 The new menu items will be available across all 50 stores and various in-store departments: La Cocina, Cevichería, Pescadería, Grab & Go, and the Cremería.
 Starting February 17, Beyond Meat will be offered as a protein substitute option at La Cocina at all Vallarta Supermarkets. Menu items such as a carnitas torta or carne asada tacos can be substituted with Beyond Beef. Although launched for Lent, Beyond Meat will be available year-round for those limiting their meat consumption. It is currently available in the grocery freezer aisle for those who prefer to cook at home.
 A Lent favorite, Vallarta’s La Cocina will offer Tortas de Camarón (shrimp patties) as well as other seafood options such as battered or grilled fish and shrimp in crispy tacos, burritos, tortas and quesadillas. These are available a la carte or in dinner combos with rice, pico de gallo, beans, creamy slaw, chips and avocado sauce. La Cocina’s Lent menu will be available from February 26 through March 1,2020, after that the items will be available Friday-Sunday.
 The Pescadería (seafood department) regularly offers refreshing varieties of ceviche, from fish, shrimp, imitation crab, and seafood mixtures. Available at all store locations:
Fajita Style Shrimp
Shrimp al Chipotle
Creamy Garlic Shrimp
Shrimp al Ajillo
Shrimp Veracruzano
Shrimp a la Diabla
Lemon Pepper Shrimp
 The Pescadería also offers stir fry items for costumers to take home, heat for a few minutes, serve and enjoy.
 New items will also be found at the popular Cevichería (ceviche section), where the ceviche is made fresh daily in store, several times throughout the day. Free samples are available so customers can choose their favorite.
 New Lent menu items at the Cevichería include:
Shrimp Ceviche a la Diabla
Shrimp, Avocado & Mango Ceviche
Shrimp & Scallop Ceviche
Ceviche Peruano
Shrimp Ceviche Aguachile
Ceviche Negro
 Another Lent favorite, Milk Capirotada (bread pudding), will also be available on weekends (Fri-Sun) in Vallarta’s in-house kitchen, La Cocina. Other new Cremería items such as shrimp cake, potato cake and seafood cake will be available all Lent season. Traditional favorites returning are Nopal Salad, Crab & Shrimp Louie Salad; Tuna Salad, Imitation Crab Salad, Macaroni Salad, Potato Salad and Premium Crab Salad.
 Ready Grab & Go featured new items include:
Stuffed Avocado Ceviche, with options of shrimp, fish or crab
Ceviches in a cup, already prepared in a ready-to-go cup. The variety of options include a la Diabla, Shrimp Avocado & Mango, Shrimp & Scallop, Campechana, etc.
 The limited-time Lent menu will launch store-wide on February 26 and will last the entire Lent season through April 12, 2020.
 For more information, please visit

February 18, 2020

Hilco Fixed Asset Recovery to Liquidate All from Earth Fare Stores and Corporate Office

 Hilco Fixed Asset Recovery ("HFAR") today announced that it has been engaged by Earth Fare to liquidate all store and corporate office furniture, fixtures and equipment ("FF&E"). The FF&E liquidation sales start immediately at all locations and includes, but is not limited to, all store fixtures, shelving, refrigeration and baking equipment as well as corporate office furniture and telecommunication equipment.
 Earth Fare, the natural and organic grocer, announced liquidation sales at all of its stores on February 3, and filed for chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code in the District of Delaware on February 4, 2020.
 "Interested parties should contact HFAR immediately as this is a great opportunity to acquire store fixtures, furniture, and equipment from stores that were recently built or renovated, at value pricing," said Ed Stepp, Managing Director of HFAR. "We anticipate strong interest in these assets, so we are encouraging FF&E buyers to contact us quickly in order to get the best selection."

February 17, 2020

100 Years of Maple Production in Quebec

 The 2020 sugar season is shaping up to be a banner year, if the maple tapping ceremony held this morning is any indicator. The ceremony, an annual industry tradition that officially kicks off the sugaring-off season, took on a festive air this morning at the sugar bush in Quebec City's Bois-de-Coulonge Park as attendees celebrated the 30th anniversary of the joint plan for maple production. André Lamontagne, the Quebec Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, took part in the tapping ceremony along with a number of provincial MPs. QMSP representatives also took the opportunity to launch the book Si l'érable m'était conté, which recounts 100 years of maple production history in Quebec.
 2020 marks the 30th anniversary of the creation of the joint plan for maple production. To mark the occasion, the Quebec Maple Syrup Producers wanted to tell their story and share a part of the province's heritage with as many people as possible. That's how the book, Si l'érable m'était conté : 1920 – 2020, 100 ans d'acériculture au Québec, came to be. Serge Beaulieu, who has been QMSP President since 2007 and was involved in the industry in 1989 when the joint plan was created, had this to say: "Becoming a full-time maple syrup producer and making it your profession was almost impossible to imagine from the 1950s up to the 1980s. But now in 2020, maple syrup has become the main type of agricultural production in many regions in Quebec. Today, maple syrup production translates to 10,000 full-time jobs and $600 million for the Quebec economy. The collective effort of the 11,300 maple syrup producers across the board has made it possible to create a stable environment in which the maple syrup industry can flourish. Our organization was born out of a desire shared by many to grow this once-ancillary production business into an economic sector in its own right. Our predecessors believed—and we still believe today—that when we all work together to move forward collectively, we get a lot farther."
 Si l'érable m'était conté, 1920 - 2020 : un siècle d'acériculture au Québec consists of 16 chapters, interspersed with photos of maple producing families, that explain what it was like for maple producers in the 1920s and the collective action that led to the creation of the Quebec maple syrup production system. It tells the story of the passionate people who succeeded in making Quebec the world leader in maple production.
 Ministre de l'Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l'Alimentation André Lamontagne, drill in hand, had the honour of officially kicking off the season today with a ceremonial first tapping. "Maple syrup is a key ingredient in Quebec's cultural and culinary identity," he said. "The work that was started today makes it clear just how ingrained this product is in our collective psyche and in Quebec's heritage. This liquid gold is an invaluable resource produced only in northeastern North America and particularly in Quebec, which accounts for 90% of Canada's maple syrup and 70 % of the world's supply. We are well aware of the major role the industry plays in our economy and the expertise of Quebec's maple syrup producers is a point of national pride."
 A hot maple mocktail was served and everyone toasted to the 2020 season, which, depending on the temperature, should begin in the next few days in more southern regions and a little later in the regions further east and north of the St. Lawrence River.
 Ricardo Larrivée, Alexandre Taillefer, Josée di Stasio, Yvon Deschamps, Judi Richards and Mario Dumont talked about their love of maple in a video highlighting the work of maple syrup producers. They noted how proud they are of the people who have shaped the history of maple syrup production in Quebec and helped make the province the world leader in maple syrup production.

February 3, 2020

Earth Fare Pursues Sale of Stores

Inventory Liquidation Sales Begin

 Earth Fare, the authentic specialty natural and organic grocery store and full-service supermarket, announced today that it will begin inventory liquidation sales at all of its stores. Pursuant to the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN), all employees have been notified of the impending closure of the company's stores and corporate office. During this time, the company will continue to pursue a sale of assets, in whole or in parts.  "Earth Fare has been proud to serve the natural and organic grocery market, and the decision to begin the process of closing our stores was not entered into lightly. We'd like to thank our Team Members for their commitment and dedication to serving our customers, and our vendors and suppliers for their partnership," according to an Earth Fare spokesperson.
 Over the course of the past few years, the Company has implemented numerous strategic initiatives aimed at growth and expansion and enhancing the customer experience.
 "While many of these initiatives improved the business, continued challenges in the retail industry impeded the company's progress as well as its ability to refinance its debt. As a result, Earth Fare is not in a financial position to continue to operate on a go-forward basis. As such, we have made the difficult, but necessary decision to commence inventory liquidation sales while we continue to engage in a process to find potential suitors for our stores," the Earth Fare spokesperson added.
 The inventory liquidation sales will feature a truly outstanding assortment of merchandise at very significant price reductions. We encourage shoppers to visit their nearby location now and take advantage of these savings before it's too late. Store fixtures are also available for sale as part of this process.

February 2, 2020

America's Favorite Valentine's Day Chocolate Filling Revealed

 Chocolate and candy are an iconic part of modern-day Valentine's Day traditions. In fact, an overwhelming 87 percent of consumers across the country say they're planning to celebrate the holiday by sharing a gift of chocolate or candy. But while many people enjoy a piece of chocolate from a heart-shaped box during the Valentine's Day season, not every consumer approaches selection in the same way.
 Just 50 percent of chocolate lovers use the "map" in a heart-shaped box of chocolates to find their favorites while 31 percent pick at random. The remainder bites the corner to determine the chocolate's filling (13 percent) or pokes at the bottom of the piece of chocolate (6 percent) to determine its contents. When it comes to the most sought-after filling, consumers largely chose caramel (32 percent), closely followed by nuts (24 percent) or a chocolate-based filling (21 percent).
 "No matter your preference, sharing confectionery products on Valentine's Day is a celebration of the power of chocolate and candy to bring people together," John Downs, president & CEO of the National Confectioners Association, said. "Gifting these treats on Valentine's Day is as iconic and tied to this moment as the heart-shaped box that so often marks the season."
 As with past holiday seasons, the National Confectioners Association is providing fun facts and resources on Valentine's Day Central as part of the confectionery industry's commitment to helping people manage their sugar intake by providing consumers with smaller pack sizes, clear calorie labels and more information online.

January 30, 2020

Consumers to Spend $17.2 Billion on Super Bowl LIV in 2020

 The latest consumer spending data from NRF and Prosper Insights & Analytics’ annual Super Bowl survey suggests this may be one of the strongest Super Bowls yet, with nearly 194 million adults saying they have plans for the big game. Those watching the event expect to spend an average $88.65 on food and beverages, merchandise and party supplies, for a total $17.2 billion nationwide.
 As the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs prepare to face off, here’s how consumers are getting ready. See the data in our infographic and explore NRF’s Super Bowl Dashboard for historical data and trends.

January 29, 2020

Snickers Unveils the Largest Snickers Bar Weeks Before Super Bowl LIV

 Mars Wrigley unveiled the largest Snickers bar ever created during a Guinness World Records title attempt at the company's Waco, TX., plant. The Snickers bar, weighing more than two metric tons, is a small version of something even bigger the brand has planned for Super Bowl LIV.
 The record-setting bar features the same classic ingredients that has made Snickers one of America's favorite treats —but on a much larger scale—including more than 1,200 pounds of caramel, peanuts and nougat combined and nearly 3,500 pounds of chocolate.
 "It's a big year for the Snickers brand," said Josh Olken, Brand Director, Snickers. "We're not only celebrating the 90th anniversary of the brand, but the Super Bowl will also mark ten years since the iconic "Game" spot launched the award-winning 'You're Not You When You're Hungry' campaign. What better time than the Super Bowl to satisfy something on the biggest scale yet?"
 With more than 600 Associates, the Waco Mars Wrigley plant that created this modern satisfaction marvel is also responsible for producing millions of Snickers bars each year. The special, Guinness World Records title-setting bar is equivalent to more than 41,000 single-size Snickers bars, truly emphasizing that everything is bigger in Texas.
 Once consumed, the giant Snickers bar will officially be recognized and recorded by Guinness World Records as the largest chocolate nut bar.

PHOTO: Guinness World Record adjudicator Michael Empric presents a title certificate to Mars Wrigley representative Ruud Engbers for the largest chocolate nut bar ever created Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020, in Waco, Texas. The more than two tons Snickers bar was made using a 1200 pound combination of caramel, nougat and peanuts, and 3500 pounds of chocolate.

December 19, 2019

Welch’s Limited-Edition Christmas Fruit Snacks

 Welch’s limited-edition Christmas Fruit Snacks are perfect for this holiday season!
 The 28-count and 5-count Welch’s Fruit Snacks Christmas-themed offering features custom pieces in seasonal shapes including an ornament, Christmas tree, snowman, Santa Claus and a snowflake. These festive fruit snacks are the perfect snack for parties or to gift in any stocking this season!
 More info below – please let me know if you are interested in samples, additional information or high res images.
 Welch’s Limited-edition Christmas Fruit Snacks are made with real fruit. They are gluten-free, no preservatives and fat-free. The 5-count box retail for $1.00 and 28-count box for $4.99.

December 18, 2019

Northgate Gonzalez Market’s 23rd Annual Toy Giveaway

 Northgate González Market kicked off Las Posadas celebrations this weekend with its 23rd Annual Toy Giveaway, bringing smiles to more than 47,600 boys and girls throughout Southern California.
 “It’s one of our favorite times of year for everyone at Northgate Gonzalez Market. Seeing children’s eyes light up at the sight of Santa Claus and watching our store associates dress like elves and hand out toys make it all worthwhile,” said Co-President Miguel González. “We’d like to give a big thank you to our supporting partners Coca Cola, PepsiCo. and Dr. Pepper Snapple Group.”
 Families were also able to shop to prepare for their Las Posadas festivities while taking pictures with Santa. The 41 Northgate Gonzalez Markets in Southern California has everything someone needs for their holidays -- like a variety of tamales, sweet masa made with pineapple or ingredients for traditional Mexican hot beverages like Ponche, Champurrado, and Atole.
 The annual toy giveaway is one way the González family shares their gratitude to the stores’ loyal customers. The stores are more than just a place for families to buy food. For nearly 40 years, Northgate Gonzalez Markets strives to make every store a valued part of the community where they do business.

December 3, 2019

Thanksgiving Weekend Draws Nearly 190 Million Shoppers, Spending Up 16 Percent

 A record 189.6 million U.S. consumers shopped from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday this year, an increase of 14 percent over last year’s 165.8 million, the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics said today.
 “Americans continue to start their holiday shopping earlier in the year, and Thanksgiving is still a critical weekend for millions,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Whether they’re looking for something unique on Main Street, making a trip to the store or searching for the best deals from their mobile device, this is when shoppers shift into high gear. With the condensed holiday season, consumers are feeling the pressure to get their shopping done in time. Even those who typically wait until the last minute to purchase gifts turned out in record numbers all weekend long.”
 Shoppers spent an average $361.90 on holiday items over the five-day period, up 16 percent from $313.29 during the same period last year. Of the total, $257.33 (71 percent) was specifically spent on gifts. The biggest spenders were 25- to 34-year-olds at $440.46, closely followed by those 35-44 at $439.72.
 The survey found that 124 million people shopped in stores while 142.2 million shopped on retailers’ websites; demonstrating today’s seamless shopping world, 75.7 million did both. Consumers who shopped in both channels spent an average $366.79, spending at least 25 percent more than those who shopped in only one or the other.
 Black Friday was the busiest day for in-store activity, with 84.2 million shoppers, followed by Small Business Saturday (59.9 million), Thanksgiving Day (37.8 million), Sunday (29.2 million) and Cyber Monday (21.8 million). Of those shopping on Saturday, 73 percent were likely to shop specifically for Small Business Saturday.
 For the first time, Black Friday topped Cyber Monday as the busiest day for online at 93.2 million shoppers compared with 83.3 million. Saturday followed at 58.2 million, Thanksgiving Day at 49.7 million and Sunday at 43.1 million.
 With online and in-store shopping increasingly intermingled, free shipping was the biggest reason for shoppers to make a purchase they were otherwise hesitant about, cited by 49 percent, up from 42 percent last year. And the ability to order online and pick up in-store was cited by 20 percent, up from 15 percent last year. Other top factors included limited-time sales or promotions (36 percent) and an easy-to-use website or app (21 percent).
 Thirty-nine percent of consumers looked to emails from retailers for information on deals and promotions, edging out conventional advertising circulars, which were tied with online search at 38 percent. Mobile devices played a significant role, used by 75 percent to research products, compare prices or make purchases, up from 66 percent last year.
 “The growth in online retail sales is a tide that lifts everybody,” Prosper Executive Vice President of Strategy Phil Rist said. “When consumers are buying from retailers online but picking up or making returns in-store, it is more and more difficult to distinguish between the sales retailers make in their stores and the ones they make on their websites.”
 Top gift purchases over the weekend included apparel (bought by 58 percent of those surveyed), toys (33 percent), electronics (31 percent), books/music/movies/video games (28 percent) and gift cards (27 percent).
 Shopping destinations included department stores (visited by 50 percent of those surveyed), clothing stores (36 percent), grocery stores (34 percent), electronics stores (32 percent) and discount stores (29 percent).
 On average, consumers had completed 52 percent of their shopping, up from 44 percent during the same weekend last year, although Thanksgiving came six days earlier in 2018. The survey found only 39 percent of shoppers believe deals seen over the Thanksgiving weekend will get better throughout the rest of the season.
 The popularity of Thanksgiving weekend shopping continues even as earlier NRF surveys found that 56 percent said they had already started as of the first week of November.
 NRF defines the holiday season as November 1 through December 31 and has forecast that sales will total between $727.9 and $730.7 billion. Consumers expect to spend an average $1,047.83 – including purchases made earlier – for an increase of 4 percent over last year, according to NRF’s annual survey released in October.

November 1, 2019

Limited Edition Sprite Winter Spiced Cranberry Available Now

 Sprite Winter Spiced Cranberry is a limited time only holiday flavor, providing cranberry with the perfect blend of spices to complement the boldness of Sprite.
 Sprite Winter Spiced Cranberry infuses the well-balanced, crisp lemon lime flavor of Sprite with a warm spice blend and tart Cranberry.
 The Cranberry Spice profile was created from the best possible flavor combinations that consumers agreed was the most appealing for Sprite as a holiday flavor.
 In 2013, Sprite launched the brand's first holiday flavor innovation in the U.S. with Sprite Cranberry.
 Sprite Winter Spiced Cranberry is a new twist on consumer favorite Sprite Cranberry that delivers the essence of the "thirstiest time of the year."
 Sprite Winter Spiced Cranberry is now available in 20 oz. PET bottles, 2 Liters, 12 oz. cans and 6 pack mini cans.

October 31, 2019

Holiday Shoppers Plan to Spend 4 Percent More this Year

 Consumers say they will spend an average of $1,047.83 this holiday season, up 4 percent from the $1,007.24 they said they would spend last year, according to the annual survey released today by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics. Shoppers between the ages of 35 and 44 plan to spend the most at $1,158.63.
 “Consumers are in good financial shape and willing to spend a little more on gifts for the special people in their lives this holiday season,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Retailers are fully prepared to meet the needs of holiday shoppers looking for that perfect mix of sales, quality and selection.”
 Shay noted that retailers are expected to import near-record volumes of merchandise ahead of the tariffs that are scheduled to take effect on a wide range of consumer goods from China on December 15.
 The consumer survey comes on top of NRF’s annual holiday spending forecast, which takes into account a variety of economic factors to project overall spending rather than per-consumer spending. The forecast estimated that holiday retail sales in November and December will be up between 3.8 percent and 4.2 percent over 2018 for a total of between $727.9 billion and $730.7 billion.
 Consumers will spend in three main categories during the holidays – gifts for family, friends and co-workers, at an average $658.55; non-gift holiday items such as candy and food, decorations, greeting cards and flowers at $227.26; and other non-gift purchases that take advantage of the deals and promotions throughout the season at $162.02.
 “Younger consumers are helping drive the spending increase this year,” Prosper Insights Executive Vice President of Strategy Phil Rist said. “They’re not just spending on their immediate family members, they’re also treating their larger circle of co-workers and friends to gifts.”
 More than half of shoppers between the ages of 25 and 34 (52 percent) plan to purchase gifts for co-workers, and 82 percent of those between 18 and 24 plan to purchase gifts for their friends.
 Holiday shoppers plan to spread their shopping across multiple channels and types of stores. More than half (56 percent) say they will shop online. Among online shoppers, 92 percent plan to take advantage of free shipping and 48 percent will use buy online, pick-up in store or ship to store services, and 16 percent plan to use same-day delivery, which has doubled since 2015. The youngest online shoppers (ages 18 to 24) are the most likely to say they plan to use same-day delivery at 32 percent.
 The majority of shoppers, 53 percent, will also shop in department stores and 51 percent will go to discount stores, while 44 percent will go to grocery stores, 34 percent to clothing and accessory stores and 23 percent each to electronics stores and local small businesses.
 Similar to previous years, 39 percent of holiday shoppers said they would start buying holiday items before November, while 43 percent are waiting until at least November and 18 percent are waiting until December.
 Sales and discounts remain the largest factor in choosing a particular retailer during the holidays, cited by 70 percent. Quality merchandise was the next-largest factor (cited by 59 percent), followed by selection of merchandise (57 percent), free shipping and shipping promotions (46 percent) and convenient location (44 percent).
 For the 13th year in a row, gift cards remain the most popular items on wish lists, requested by 59 percent of those surveyed, followed by clothing and accessories at 52 percent, books/movies/music/video games (35 percent), electronics (29 percent), home décor (24 percent), jewelry (23 percent), personal care or beauty items (21 percent), sporting goods (18 percent) and home improvement items (17 percent).
 The survey of 7,782 adult consumers was conducted October 1-10 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.2 percentage points.

October 30, 2019

Bubbies Offers a Taste of the Holidays with Release of Mochi Ice Cream

 To kick off the most wonderful time of the year Bubbies Homemade Ice Cream & Desserts is bringing back its popular seasonal mochi ice cream flavors - Chocolate Egg Nog, Gingerbread, and Peppermint Candy for a limited time. The holiday flavors will be available in self-serve freezers and retail boxes in select retailers nationwide.
 "By tapping into the flavors of freshly baked gingerbread, peppermint candies, and delicious egg nog, Bubbies seasonal flavors provide a nostalgic and satisfying flavor experience," said Rick Schaffer, CEO of Bubbies Ice Cream. "Using the highest quality ingredients, we have replicated genuinely authentic flavors in bite-sized servings allowing consumers to mindfully indulge on their favorite holiday flavors."
 The holiday mochi line is wrapped in delicate rice dough filled with premium ice cream. Each Bubbies Mochi is fewer than 100 calories, gluten-free, created with kosher dairy, contains no rbst, and does not use ingredients genetically modified using modern biotechnology. Consumers can enjoy popular holiday flavors:
CHOCOLATE EGG NOG: It's the taste of the holidays with creamy egg nog ice cream wrapped in sweet chocolate mochi dough – the perfect festive treat.
GINGERBREAD: Enjoy the sweet spice of gingerbread with no baking required! Notes of cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg are infused into our ice cream and covered with sweet mochi to create the perfect addition to any holiday treat platter.
PEPPERMINT CANDY: Bubbies decadent premium ice cream blended with crushed peppermint candy and wrapped in sweet mochi dough is a delectable take on a holiday classic.

October 25, 2019

Community Coffee Expands to Bed Bath & Beyond Stores Nationwide

 Community Coffee Company has announced its expansion to 930 Bed Bath & Beyond stores across the nation.
 Community’s top-selling blends, Signature Blend and Breakfast Blend, are available in 18-count single-serve cup boxes on Bed Bath & Beyond shelves across the nation and online.
 “We’re excited to provide Bed Bath & Beyond shoppers everywhere with the rich and smooth flavor of Community coffee, backed by 100 years of coffee roasting expertise,” says Ryan Schemmel, Senior Vice President of Sales and Ecommerce at Community Coffee Company. “As the number one family-owned retail coffee brand in America, we’re looking forward to continuing to expand our trusted premium coffee brand nationwide.”
 To celebrate this expansion, consumers can experience the great taste of Community coffee with a limited time promotional offer in-store and online at
 Community Coffee Company is rapidly expanding across the country. For more information, visit

October 21, 2019

Free Turkeys are Back at Giant Food Stores

 Giant Food Stores customers can begin earning rewards points toward a free turkey certificate every time they shop in-store using their BonusCard. New this year, customers enrolled in Giant Choice Rewards can earn their free turkey by redeeming points online and earn free side dishes, desserts and more to round out their holiday meal by using the Giant or Martin’s app.
 “Thanksgiving is all about bringing family and friends together to share a special meal but with the hustle and bustle of everyday life, we know that’s easier said than done,” said John Ruane, chief merchandising officer, Giant Food Stores. “At Giant, we want to do everything we can to make Thanksgiving easier for our customers. Through our brand-new Giant Choice Rewards program, we’re giving our customers a chance to redeem points for free sides and desserts, as well as a free turkey, saving them both time and money, so they can focus on the people gathered around their table instead of what’s being served on it.”
 Customers who earn 400 rewards points from October 11 through November 28 can choose to redeem the points for a free turkey certificate. Paper reward certificates can be redeemed from November 15 through November 28 at any Giant or Martin’s Food Market location; digital reward certificates can be redeemed during that same period online or in-store. Customers can also choose to substitute their free turkey certificate towards a free family size lasagna or tofurkey or for $1 off per pound of the turkey brand of their choice.
 The more engaged customers are with Giant’s digital platforms, the greater the rewards they have an opportunity to earn. Customers who are digitally engaged in the Giant Choice Rewards program through the Giant or Martin’s app can also redeem points on up to 14 free items including King’s Hawaiian rolls, Ocean Spray cranberry sauce, Russet potatoes, Giant brand ice cream and Giant’s fresh-baked holiday pies.
 A current tally of a customer’s extra rewards points can be found at the bottom of their receipt or via the Giant or Martin’s app. Customers are encouraged to check their store for specific program details and eligibility or contact Giant/Martin’s Customer Support at 1-888-814-4268.
 In addition, customers also have the opportunity to help their neighbors by donating their free turkey certificate to a local regional food bank at any Giant or Martin’s store or online.

October 18, 2019

Jarlsberg Cheese Snacks Make Perfect Halloween Treats

 The nationally recognized brand Jarlsberg Cheese has announced a wildly successful new addition to their iconic cheese family: Jarlsberg Cheese Snacks perfect for that healthy “treat” for Halloween. These individually wrapped Cheese Snacks package the deliciously classic mild, mellow, & nutty taste of Jarlsberg cheese into delightfully portable cheese sticks. Jarlsberg Cheese Snacks are now available nationwide at SRP between $4.99-$5.99 in a 6-ounce bag.
 Jarlsberg is a semi-soft cheese that has been a versatile staple in U.S. households and is famous for its original 60 year old Norwegian recipe. Jarlsberg Cheese Snacks are naturally lactose and gluten-free, and have the same mild, mellow, & nutty flavor as the classic Jarlsberg Cheese, so the whole family can enjoy.
 Fans can now enjoy the delicious classic taste of Jarlsberg Cheese in this delightful, portable snack. The individually wrapped Cheese Snacks are ¾ oz “cheese sticks” and come in portion controlled bags. This is the first time Jarlsberg is available nationwide in a cheese stick format; the go-to snacking option for all ages.

October 10, 2019

Frito-Lay’s Limited-Edition Reflective Trick-or-Treat Bag Filled with Snacks

 While Halloween may be one of the most highly-anticipated holidays of the year for families, safety hazards often stand in the way of fun when excited children hit the streets after dark. That’s why Frito-Lay Variety Packs is partnering with Safe Kids Worldwide to raise awareness around the issue of children’s safety with the introduction of its first-ever limited-edition reflective trick-or-treat bag.
 Designed to help families “Get Spotted” this Halloween, the reflective bag helps to increase a child’s visibility or the likelihood of being seen at night when reflecting a vehicle’s headlights or other source of light against the bag.
 Families can also visit and look for the Halloween-themed “Get Spotted” display in stores where Frito-Lay Variety Packs are sold to learn how they can redeem free reflective stickers to personalize their costumes or trick-or-treat bags.
 “With Frito-Lay Variety Packs in nearly half of family homes nationwide, we are proud to help remind parents and kids alike of the importance of staying safe this Halloween,” said Rhasheda Boyd, Senior Marketing Director, Frito-Lay North America. “From the reflective bag and stickers to safety tips from our partners at Safe Kids Worldwide, each aspect of the Frito-Lay Variety Packs ‘Get Spotted’ program is designed to make safety precautions fun and easy to follow for the entire family.”
 “We are always striving to bring childhood safety to the forefront of the conversation, especially on Halloween when children face double the pedestrian risks than they do on any other day of the year,” said Torine Creppy, President of Safe Kids Worldwide. “We look forward to working with Frito-Lay Variety Packs to raise awareness about important safety topics for everyone come Halloween night – whether you’re a child trick-or-treating, a parent getting the kids ready, or simply a neighbor driving after dark.”
  The reflective trick-or-treat bag is filled with an 18-count of Frito-Lay’s Flavor Mix Variety Pack for $19.99 and is available to purchase online at and The bag’s kid-friendly size allows trick-or-treaters to easily collect their favorite Halloween treats and is made from sturdy, premium materials so it can be reused by families for years to come.

October 8, 2019

Publix Atlanta Division Vice President to Retire

New Vice President Announced

 After more than 44 years of dedicated service, Publix Super Markets’ Atlanta Division Vice President Joe DiBenedetto has announced his decision to retire at the end of the year.
 DiBenedetto began his Publix career in 1975 as a front service clerk in Cape Coral, Florida. After working in different capacities at several stores in southwest Florida and Orlando, he was promoted to store manager in 1986 and district manager in 1992. He was also Publix’s first district manager in South Carolina. He was promoted to regional director in the Atlanta Division in 1995 and to his current position in 2011.
 “Joe has been instrumental in the continued growth and success of our Atlanta Division,” said Publix President Kevin Murphy. “Throughout his career, Joe has worked to develop leaders for future opportunities. We wish him well as he begins the next chapter of his life.”
 DiBenedetto and his wife, Cindy, will remain in Atlanta area, and are looking forward to spending more time with family, friends and on their hobbies.
 With this retirement, Publix is pleased to announce the promotion of Kris Jonczyk, to Atlanta Division Vice President effective January 1, 2020.
 Jonczyk began his Publix career in 1986 as a front service clerk in Tequesta, Florida. He became a store manager in 2000 and district manager in 2012. He was promoted to regional director in the Atlanta Division in 2016.
 “Kris is a strong operational leader who is committed to training and developing associates,” said Murphy. “We are excited that he is ready to take the next step in his career.” Jonczyk, and his wife, Cammie, will relocate to Atlanta.

October 4, 2019

The UN World Food Programme Launches a Global Movement to Help Fight Food Waste

 Be it a moldy piece of cheese or an old carrot, there is often some frightful foodstuff festering at the back of our fridge. But very often, these seemingly spoiled items can be rescued and included in a tasty dish. That is why the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) announced the launch of Stop the Waste, a global campaign to raise awareness about the huge amounts of edible food that is daily discarded – a habit that must be overcome if we are to make real progress in eradicating global hunger.
 As part of this campaign, WFP has enlisted top restaurateurs and celebrity chefs from around the globe to join the movement by making their own pledge to #StopTheWaste
 While there is enough food in the world to feed everyone, one third of the 4 billion metric tons of food we produce each year is lost or wasted, costing the global economy nearly US$1 trillion annually. At the same time, war and unrest are forcing more people to flee their homes than at any time since the Second World War, making it difficult for millions of people to grow their own food or buy it at an affordable price.
 A recent report by the World Resources Institute confirmed that halving the rate of food loss and waste is an important strategy that would contribute to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals, meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change, and sustainably feeding the planet by 2050. WFP’s goal is a world with Zero Hunger. Part of achieving that goal is preventing food loss. WFP does this by helping smallholder farmers through the provision of new technologies for storage and transportation that prevent crops from spoiling prematurely and by connecting them with markets.
 “#StopTheWaste is a campaign that appeals to everyone along the chain from farm to fork,” said Corinne Woods, Chief Marketing Officer for the World Food Programme. "Food waste is a global issue but everyone can play their part in building a sustainable solution. Whether you are a farmer in Nigeria, losing your crops after harvest or a restaurant diner in New York, wasting the leftovers from your meal, you really can help to #StoptheWaste.”
 In the U.S., award-winning chef Andrew Zimmern has joined the movement by creating his own recipe using food that would normally go to waste and has pledged #StopTheWaste in hopes of inspiring his followers to do the same.
 “Feeding those in need requires a dozen different action steps as part of a multi-pronged solution to reduce, and hopefully eliminate food waste,” said Andrew Zimmern, four-time James Beard Award-winning TV personality, chef, writer and teacher. “This is a global problem at every level: from the farm to the wholesaler to the grocery store to your house and we can all do our part to help. By taking simple steps at home to reduce food waste is good for your wallet and the environment, and supporting organizations that rescue perfectly good landfill bound produce is vital for feeding those in need.”
 The World Food Programme has also launched a 30-second animated video as part of the campaign. The animation aims to spotlight food waste and highlight simple solutions we can take to prevent it by educating people on how to get involved.

Follow these simple steps to pledge #StopTheWaste:

1. Search your fridge or pantry for a food item that is nearing its expiration date and safe to eat
2. Snap a selfie with your item (do not forget to eat it)
3. Share your photo on social using #StopTheWaste and challenge three friends by tagging them in your post
4. Take your pledge one step further by sharing your food waste recipes or host a dinner party and encourage others to do the same.
 For more information and to get involved with the World Food Programme, please visit

October 3, 2019

Smarties Celebrates 70 Years and Creator Edward Dee’s 95th Birthday!

 Smarties Candy Company, the home of America's favorite candy roll, celebrates its 70th Anniversary on October 2. This marks a huge milestone for the quintessential candy company that has been a family-owned and operated enterprise since its inception by creator Edward Dee in 1949, and also marks a milestone for Edward, who celebrates his 95th birthday as well.
 The iconic candy company came from humble beginnings, with Edward bringing his family from England to New Jersey on January 10 1949, to start what is now known as Smarties Candy Company.
 Edward, followed by his sons Jonathan and Michael, helped to grow the company to the great success it is today, with two North American factories and 200 employees producing over 2 billion Smarties candy rolls per year. The brand regularly adds new products to its assortment such as Mega Smarties, Tropical Smarties, X-treme Sour Smarties, theater boxes, Smarties Lollies, Smarties candy necklaces, Smarties Love Hearts and more. The original Smarties candy roll has remained the company's best-selling product since its creation.
 "Smarties Candy Company is more than just our livelihood, it's part of our family's legacy," said Edward Dee. "Celebrating 70 years of candy-making is something I am so proud to be able to do, with my granddaughters by my side."
 Smarties is currently run by three co-presidents - Liz Dee, Jessica Dee Sawyer, and Sarah Dee - who are the creator's grandchildren. Since being appointed, the Dee's have strived to maintain the 70-year-old company's iconic status within the industry and with American consumers while also staying relevant through new innovations. Most recent is the updated packaging and logo that was implemented a year ago and is available on shelves today.
 "I am so honored to be able to work alongside my family every day, producing an iconic treat that has brought joy to many generations," said Smarties Co-President Liz Dee. "Smarties is a true representation of an American dream, and it's a joy to be able to continue the work that my grandfather started."
 To learn more about the Company and its 70-year journey please visit

Photo Caption: Smarties founder Edward Dee and his three granddaughters, Smarties Candy Company co-presidents Liz Dee, Jessica Dee Sawyer, and Sarah Dee.

October 2, 2019
■ October is National Pasta Month

Celebrate with Healthy and Delicious Recipes to Fit Your Diet

 An estimated 45 million people make healthy lifestyle changes every year by integrating foods in their diet that offer unique health benefits. Luckily, pasta is a great staple to accommodate many other healthy foods like fresh veggies and lean proteins, and fits into so many diets and lifestyles. Its nutrition value, cooking ease, low cost, and delicious taste make it a go-to meal for many families all over the world. In honor of National Pasta Month, we're pulling out a recipe for every type of diet to demonstrate that pasta fits into a healthy lifestyle.
 "Pasta is one of my favorite foods to recommend as a nutritionist because of its versatility and ease to fit into many different dietary needs and restrictions," says DC-based registered dietitian, Diane Welland. "You can customize a pasta meal as much as you want – there really are no wrong combinations." Welland offers the following tips on how to fit pasta into your specific diet:
MEDITERRANEAN DIET – Pasta is a mainstay in the Mediterranean Diet, which is characterized by an abundance of plant-based foods like vegetables, beans, lentils, nuts, and grains. The Mediterranean Diet has been linked to countless health benefits like a reduced risk of both heart disease and cancer.
• Mediterranean Diet recipe: Spaghetti with Pomodoro Crudo
DASH DIET – Designed to prevent high blood pressure, this diet focuses on foods with low sodium and rich in nutrients. Six to eight servings of grains are recommended per day, alongside four to five servings of fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes.
• DASH diet recipe: Kale and Whole Wheat Rotini Pasta
MIND DIET – A fusion between the Mediterranean Diet and the DASH diet, the MIND diet prioritizes three servings of whole grains a day, which can come in the form of pasta.
MIND diet recipe: Chicken Pasta Power Bowls with Avocado Dressing
VEGETARIAN DIET – Pasta is a vegetarian staple meal. Instead of adding meat, try loading up your pasta dish with healthy veggies and nuts for added protein you might not get otherwise.
• Vegetarian diet recipe: Power Crunch Pasta Salad
VEGAN DIET – Made from grains, pasta itself is a vegan food. It's easy to keep meals vegan by avoiding adding in any dairy or meat products.
• Vegan diet recipe: Vegan Bolognese Sauce Over Rigatoni
GLUTEN-FREE DIET – Countless people follow a gluten-free diet, but that doesn't mean they have to skip pasta. There are plenty of gluten-free recipes choose from, all using gluten-free pasta.
• Gluten free diet recipe: Poached Salmon and Pasta Shells
DAIRY-FREE DIET – Skip the cheese and cream and you're golden to stick to a dairy-free diet while eating pasta!
• Dairy-free diet recipe: Smoked Chicken, Artichoke, Wilted Arugula and Lemon Bucatini
 If you're looking for creative pasta recipes to fit in your day-to-day life, visit and sort the recipes by category. You can also sort by cook time and cuisine type to find exactly what you're looking for. Share your recipes with us using #mypastafits.

October 1, 2019

GoGo Squeez Introduces Limited Edition Halloween Packs

 As parents and kids prep for the spookiest time of the year, GoGo squeeZ, the leading brand in healthy portable and squeezable snacks for kids, has released new Halloween seasonal packs to offer parents a guilt-free alternative to candy that trick-or-treaters will love.
 The limited-edition packs are available nationwide this October and will feature fun Halloween-themed designs in some of GoGo squeeZ's best-selling flavors, AppleApple, AppleStrawberry, and AppleBanana.
 Made from 100% fruit, no added sugar and no high-fructose corn syrup or other added colors or flavors, GoGo squeeZ is the perfect snack to fuel your trick-or-treaters' adventures.
 "At GoGo squeeZ, we want to make it easier for kids and families to be healthier and happier every day, and what better time to do that than during Halloween," said Helene Caillate, Chief Marketing Officer for GoGo squeeZ. "We're excited to offer families a convenient and fun snack option that also provides the nourishment kids need to explore, imagine and play."
 GoGo squeeZ remains committed to equipping parents with tools and snacks they need to nourish the overall health and well-being of their kids, which includes giving them time to be this Halloween.
 GoGo squeeZ is GMO-free, vegan-friendly, kosher and free of common allergens, including gluten, nuts and dairy, making it a classroom snack you can share without worry.

September 30, 2019

Social Media Influencing Near-Record Halloween Spending

 U.S. consumers are looking to social media for Halloween costume and decoration ideas as spending is expected to reach a near-record amount this year, according to the National Retail Federation’s annual survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics.
 Shoppers say they will spend an average $86.27, down just slightly from last year’s record $86.79. That works out to $8.8 billion in total spending, down from last year’s $9 billion. This year’s total is expected to be the third-highest in the survey’s 15-year history, after the record $9.1 billion set in 2017. A total of 172 million people plan to celebrate Halloween – 68 percent of those surveyed – down from 175 million last year.
 “Spending hasn’t changed much over the past few years, but we are seeing a noticeable increase in consumers whose Halloween purchases are inspired by their friends, neighbors and even celebrities on social media,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Retailers expect to have another strong Halloween season and have stocked up on candy, decorations and the season’s most popular costumes.”
 Online search remains the top source of Halloween inspiration, cited by 35 percent of consumers surveyed, followed by browsing in stores at 28 percent, and ideas from friends and family at 20 percent. Inspiration from social media has increased across several platforms since 2015. Pinterest was cited by 18 percent, up from 13 percent in 2015; 14 percent cited both YouTube (up from 8 percent) and Instagram (up from 7 percent).
 Men and women prefer different social media channels for Halloween inspiration. Pinterest was the choice of 25 percent of women but only 12 percent of men, while YouTube was cited by 19 percent of men and only 10 percent of women. Instagram was almost evenly split at 15 percent of men and 14 percent of women.
 According to the survey, consumers plan to spend $3.2 billion on costumes (purchased by 67 percent of Halloween shoppers), $2.6 billion on candy (95 percent), $2.7 billion on decorations (72 percent) and $390 million on greeting cards (34 percent).
 Among those celebrating, 69 percent plan to hand out candy, 49 percent plan to decorate their home or yard, 47 percent will dress in costume, 44 percent will carve a pumpkin, 32 percent will throw or attend a party, 29 percent will take their children trick-or-treating, 22 percent will visit a haunted house and 17 percent will dress their pets in costume.
 To buy Halloween merchandise, 42 percent of shoppers will go to a discount store, 36 percent to a specialty Halloween or costume store, 25 percent will shop online, another 25 percent will go to a grocery store and 23 percent will visit a department store.
 The ongoing trade war with China is causing uncertainty among American consumers, and 14 percent of those surveyed said their concerns about the economy would impact their Halloween plans. Most Halloween merchandise was in the country before 15 percent tariffs on consumer goods took effect September 1.
 ’“Halloween celebrations are primarily for children, and we see many of the same costume choices year after year,” Prosper Insights Executive Vice President for Strategy Phil Rist said. “Grownups who celebrate may be looking for new ideas, but for children, princesses and superheroes are perennial favorites.”
 The survey found 3.1 million children plan to dress up as their favorite princess, 2.4 million as their favorite superhero, 2 million as Spider-Man,1.5 million as an Avengers character other than Spider-Man and 1.4 million as Batman.
• Princess – 7.9 %
• Superhero – 6 %
• Spider-Man – 5.2 %
• Avengers character (excluding Spider-Man) – 3.9 %
• Batman – 3.5 %
• Witch – 3.3 %
• Ghost – 2.8 %
• Vampire – 2.2 %
• Frozen (Elsa, Anna) – 2.2 %
• Pirate – 2.1 %
 The survey found 5 million adults plan to dress like a witch, 2 million as a vampire, 1.8 million as a superhero, 1.5 million as a pirate and 1.4 million as a zombie.
• Witch – 8.9 %
• Vampire – 3.6 %
• Superhero – 3.1 %
• Pirate – 2.7 %
• Zombie – 2.5 %
• Ghost – 2 %
• Avengers character (excluding Spider-Man) – 2 %
• Princess – 1.9 %
• Cat – 1.8 %
• Spider-Man – 1.7 %
 The survey found that 29 million people plan to dress their pets in costume for Halloween.
• Pumpkin – 9.3 %
• Hot dog – 7.2 %
• Superhero – 7.2 %
• Bumble Bee – 3.9 %
• Cat – 3.2 %
• Witch – 2.5 %
• Lion – 2.2 %
• Dog – 2.1 %
• Devil – 2 %
• Shark – 1.7 %
 The survey of 7,419 consumers was conducted September 3-10 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.2 percentage points.

September 27, 2019

Fresco y Más Launches Community Donation Program

Benefiting the League Against Cancer

 In support of Hispanic Heritage Month and ahead of Cancer Awareness Month in October, Fresco y Más has launched its second Community Donation Program this year benefiting the League Against Cancer (Liga Contra el Cancer), a non-profit organization that helps cancer patients without financial resources or health insurance receive free medical treatment. Now through October 15, customers who shop at any of the 23 Fresco y Más locations in South Florida can contribute and help the organization raise the funds it needs to continue helping thousands of South Floridians battle cancer.
 The Community Donation Program is live in stores now during Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations, taking place through October 15, which include events showcasing Hispanic culture. The variety of events include, domino tournaments, a color-by-number community mural interpreting Hispanic food culture by Hispanic artist Marlon Pruz, live music performances and cooking demonstrations courtesy of La Fe Foods for customers to enjoy.
 Sergio Benitez, Director of Operations for Fresco y Más, said, “Fresco y Más is pleased to support the League Against Cancer. Many of our South Florida residents have been or will be affected by cancer, or having a loved one diagnosed with cancer. By financially supporting the organization, we can help ensure excellent screenings and treatment services are easily accessible to residents in need living in our community.”
 Since 1975, the League Against Cancer has been dedicated to saving lives in South Florida, providing free medical care to more than 66,000 cancer patients in need. According to the organization, cancer treatments can amount to as much as $50,000 per patient, even more in some cases. The League Against Cancer, which depends on grants and donations from the public and private sector to carry out its lifesaving work, uses funds to provide treatment to low-income cancer patients who would otherwise have no access to medical care.
 Adriana Cora, Executive Vice President of the League Against Cancer, said, “The League Against Cancer’s patients, staff and volunteers are very grateful to Southeastern Grocers and Fresco y Más for their continued support over the years. We invite the community to shop at their local Fresco y Más store and support our very important cause. Community contributions will allow us to continue providing low-income, uninsured cancer patients with lifesaving medical treatment."
 Southeastern Grocers, Inc., parent company of Fresco y Más and Winn-Dixie stores, is a longtime friend of the organization. The nearly 40-year relationship between the League Against Cancer and Winn-Dixie has resulted in more than $3 million in donations for the non-profit. In 2018, Fresco y Más became the League Against Cancer’s official community partner. This past June, Fresco y Más presented a check for $105,000 to the League Against Cancer during its live telethon. The amount was raised through generous customer donations and additional contributions made by Fresco y Más|Contribuye during the month of May. More than 25 Fresco y Más employees also volunteered their time and support to the League Against Cancer during the highly anticipated annual event. Since 2016, Fresco y Más has donated more than $300,000 to the organization.
 To learn more about the League Against Cancer and how you can support the organization, visit

September 26, 2019

Kroger Opens Two-Level Store in Cincinnati with First-Ever Food Hall

 The Kroger Co. opened a new, 52,000 sq. ft. urban format store in downtown Cincinnati, offering the grocer's first-ever food hall, named ‘On The Rhine Eatery.’ The experience features Cincinnati eateries Django Western Taco, DOPE! Asian Street Fare, Eli's BBQ and Queen City Whip, as well as Kitchen 1883 Café and Bar, Kroger's American food restaurant concept.
 "Kroger is thrilled to introduce our first food hall and offer a one-of-its-kind shopping experience in our hometown of Cincinnati, providing a convenient location to experience delicious, quality meals and foods. This innovative destination highlights Kroger's food-first culture," said Rodney McMullen, Kroger's Chairman and CEO. "Kroger's new store offers something for everyone. We invite all to visit the store to meet our wonderful associates, shop for fresh groceries and discover their new favorite restaurant."
 The new two-level Kroger store features grab-and-go and ready-to-heat meals for lunch and dinner, in addition to fresh fruits and vegetables and a traditional grocery shopping experience. The store offers an exclusive Starbucks coffee blend as well as a walk-up window for beverage orders. Located in the city's central business district and accessible to downtown workers and residents as well as customers from the historic Over-the-Rhine and West End neighborhoods, the store anchors an 18-story residential high-rise and is located a block away from Kroger's national headquarters.
 ’On The Rhine Eatery’ can accommodate up to 200 customers and offers indoor and outdoor seating as well as a full-service bar, offering signature cocktails, local beers, tasteful wines and Kentucky bourbons. Featured restaurants and dishes at the food hall include:
KITCHEN 1883 CAFÉ AND BAR: Kroger's second location of its American food restaurant that offers dishes like flatiron steak panini, Brussel sprouts salad and coconut milk smoothies. The restaurant also offers breakfast and weekend brunch.
DOPE! ASIAN STREET FARE: a restaurant that offers ramen, dumplings, bao buns and more, all inspired by street food throughout Asia, along with Vietnamese iced coffee and global libations.
DJANGO WESTERN TACO: Mexican food with a flair of American cuisine, starring homemade tortillas produced with Ohio corn, jackfruit carnitas and jerk chicken quesadillas. The restaurant also serves handcrafted margaritas, breakfast and weekend brunch.
ELI'S BBQ: a Cincinnati favorite with a cult following that offers hickory-smoked pork sandwiches topped with homemade barbecue sauce plus ribs, smoked turkey and sides like jalapeno cheddar grits and macaroni and cheese.
QUEEN CITY WHIP: a popular local food truck offering its first brick-and-mortar location at the food hall, featuring made-to-order burgers, chili dogs and milkshakes.
 "On The Rhine Eatery features emerging restaurants and true tastes of Cincinnati – all handpicked by Kroger's culinary team to create a popular hangout for meals, cocktails and community," said Teri Rose, Kroger's senior director of culinary development. "Cincinnati is Kroger's hub for culinary innovation and experimentation, and the food hall is an example of the types of concepts and ideas we're creating every day."
 Cincinnati was named one of the top 50 best places to live by U.S. News and World Report in 2018 and cited by The New York Times as one of "52 Places to Go in 2018." National food and travel magazine SAVEUR recently selected Cincinnati as the host city for its 2019 social awards, a three-day event that will bring influencers together from around the country and beyond to explore the city's food scene.
 "Cincinnati's dining scene isn't just up-and-coming; it's here and happening now," said Susan Lomax, Executive Director of Source Cincinnati, a collaboration of city organizations that share the Cincinnati region's stories. "Kroger's new grocery store in downtown Cincinnati and its On The Rhine Eatery are welcome additions to the city's growing list of unique culinary experiences."
 The new Kroger store is located at 100 East Court Street in Cincinnati and open daily from 6 a.m. – 10 p.m. The store will offer grocery delivery with plans to add restaurant delivery.

September 25, 2019

FUD Celebrates Real Hispanic Heroes During Hispanic Heritage Month

 During Hispanic Heritage Month, we celebrate culture, customs, and the achievements of Latinos living in the United States. For the second consecutive year, FUD (which stands for Fine, Unique, and Delicious) is recognizing a group of Latinos as "Real Hispanic Heroes" for their inspiring success stories and efforts to improve themselves and their communities.
 FUD, a brand owned by Sigma, was born in Mexico nearly 70 years ago. In the late 90's, FUD began to expand its reach into the U.S. by marketing meat and cheese products.
 "FUD is a Hispanic brand and we know the challenges of reaching a culturally different country, of adapting to the circumstances, because we have experienced these situations and that is why we want to acknowledge these heroes," says Rafael Amezcua, member of the marketing team at FUD in the U.S.
 Sergio Sandoval is one of the Real Hispanic Heroes recognized by FUD. Sergio is a NASA Aerospace Engineer who works at the Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) in Pasadena, California. To fulfill his dream of reaching the stars, Sergio had to live away from his family and learn a new language and new customs while maintaining his sense of self and Hispanic heritage.
 FUD recognizes Sergio because on his journey to achieving his dream of working at NASA, he relied heavily on the support of the Hispanic community. He received the strength and inspiration that motivated him to overcome challenges because he knew he was not alone.
 "NASA is not a U.S. organization, NASA is world organization, because everything we discover changes textbooks in any country. It is an example of what we can do when we are united," said Sergio.
 To learn more about FUD's Real Hispanic Heroes of 2019, visit and FUD USA on Facebook every week, from September 15th until October 15th.

September 24, 2019

Krasdale Begins Rolling Out Redesigned Private-Label Logo

Offers Fresh Look while Honoring the Company's Rich Past

 Krasdale Foods, the 111-year-old, privately-owned company providing grocery distribution, merchandising and marketing to independent grocery stores, recently completed a redesign of its private-label logo—the first update in several decades—and has already begun rolling out new product.
 The new logo design is simpler and more streamlined, featuring white font on a red background in keeping with Krasdale's original color palette. To highlight the company's long history, the redesign includes a reference to the year Krasdale was founded, 1908.
 "We wanted to modernize it and make it have a more current feel while still honoring the past," said Dennis Hickey, Chief Merchandising Officer at Krasdale Foods "As a 111-year-old brand, we recognize the importance of evolving with the times, staying relevant in an ever-changing environment."
 With nearly 1,000 private-label products, Krasdale has already started to convert to the redesigned items, replacing old products as they move off store shelves. The company expects to complete the process by January 2020.
 In addition to the redesigned logo, Krasdale is also updating its packaging to include new colors and a fresh look.

September 18, 2019

Bud Light Produces Special Edition Alien-Themed Cans

 Bud Light is producing an alien-themed Bud Light Can to share with any alien that leaves the sanctuary of Area 51 on September 20th.
 In July, Bud Light had pledged free beer for all aliens who escaped and promised to create a limited-edition alien pack if this tweet received 51K retweets. While the tweet fell just short of 51K RTs, Bud Light aims to please and the consumer response was so great, they decided to make it anyway. The favorite light lager of American Earthlings has followed through and created the Bud Light alien cans for legal drinking aged humans and extraterrestrials to enjoy together.
 A Bud Light operative unable to disclose their name for security purposes said, "The way we see it, we'd much rather people crack open a crisp Bud Light with alien visitors rather than storm Area 51. Nothing says we come in peace like sharing a beer with friends from another place or another galaxy. We promised to have beer waiting for any alien that wants it and we plan to deliver on that promise. Our hope is that humans stock up too because you never know when you might need some Bud Lights to welcome intergalactic neighbors."
 Fans in Nevada, Arizona, and California will be able to purchase the Bud Light alien cans to celebrate the potential release of our otherworldly friends. The special-edition aluminum cans feature a green alien and black background as well as a new crest welcoming all extraterrestrials from near and far to crack a cold one.
 For any aliens that escape or decide to visit Earth, Bud Light produced an alien-friendly fridge that's stocked with plenty of Bud Light alien cans. The fridge is locked and includes an alien finger scan in order to open, to ensure the beer supply is available only to our extraterrestrial friends. Bud Light is staging the fridge in a coveted Las Vegas club's VIP section at the Luxor Hotel and Casino that will be roped off and reserved exclusively for aliens to live it up. The VIP table invites aliens, 21 years or older, to join the party from September 13 - September 20 and toast to their escape while making a few new human friends over alien-themed Bud Lights. Bud Light is also sponsoring the Area 51 Celebration music festival on September 19 at the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center.
 To bring the raid to fans everywhere, Bud Light is also producing a line of limited-edition merch to match the alien-themed Bud Light Cans. Starting today, legal drinking aged fans can purchase items online from the Merch includes koozies, shirts, hat and bomber jackets and prices range from $100 or less.

September 17, 2019

Smithfield Racin’ for Bacon 1 Million Slice Giveaway

 The Smithfield brand is offering racing fans and food enthusiasts a chance to take home the bacon with its first-ever Racin’ For Bacon 1 Million Slice Giveaway*. Ten lucky grand prize winners will receive 100,000 slices of Smithfield bacon, totaling 6,250 packages per person, if Aric Almirola, driver of the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing, places first at Talladega Superspeedway next month. To enter, fans can visit now through October 13, 2019.
 With an exciting final-lap pass in overtime, Almirola secured the first-place finish in the fall Talladega stock car race in 2018, so the pressure is on to see if he can once again come out on top. On Sunday, October 13, fans will be on the edge of their seats as they cheer on Almirola to see if they will be also collecting their share of winnings.
 “I am beyond excited for the chance to make bacon lovers’ dreams come true with the Racin’ For Bacon 1 Million Slice Giveaway,” Almirola said. “It is awesome enough to have the opportunity to compete at Talladega again, but to share this experience with my fans makes it that much more memorable.”
 “As a proud member of the racing community, Smithfield is delighted to unite the sport’s committed fanbase with bacon enthusiasts to rally support for the Stewart-Haas No. 10 Racing Team,” said Tim Zimmer, chief marketing officer for Smithfield Foods. “Through our Racin’ For Bacon 1 Million Slice Giveaway, we are putting fans in the passenger seat alongside Aric to root for him as he contends in one of racing’s biggest events of the year!”
 For official rules and to enter the sweepstakes, visit For more information about Smithfield and race-day recipe ideas and inspiration, visit or follow the brand on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

*NO PURCHASE OR PAYMENT IS NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A PURCHASE OR PAYMENT WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. Sweepstakes ends 11:59 p.m. ET on 10/13/19. Open to legal residents of 50 U.S. states and D.C. who are 18 or older. Void where prohibited. For complete Official Rules, visit Sponsor: Smithfield Foods, Inc.

September 16, 2019

Benihana and RA Sushi Restaurants Help Victims of Hurricane Dorian

 Benihana and RA Sushi Florida Restaurants will donate ten percent of revenues for Saturday, September 21 and Sunday, September 22 to aid relief efforts for Bahamians recovering from Hurricane Dorian. These proceeds will benefit the people of the Bahamas through the Bahamas Red Cross Society.
 "As a company, we are fully committed to our community. As such, Benihana and RA Sushi will help our neighbors in the Bahamas recover and gain strength in the wake of Hurricane Dorian's devastation," said Benihana Chief Executive Officer and President, Tom Baldwin. "We hope the funds raised with the help of our Benihana and RA Sushi guests, fans and families will help their rebuild their beautiful country."
 Bahamas Red Cross Society is dedicated to mobilizing and deploying resources assisting those responding to and recovering from Hurricane Dorian.
 "Hurricane Dorian has caused catastrophic damages to the island of Abaco, its Cays and Grand Bahama. The needs are great and Benihana and RA Sushi's support of this effort will go a long way to assist in the restoration efforts," said Terez Curry, President, Bahamas Red Cross Society. "We are in the process of our relief efforts to satisfy the urgent needs of those displaced with food, water and clothing. The Bahamas Red Cross Society is here to help before, during and after the storm and with this generous donation we will be able to meet our mandate."
 "We chose to work with the Bahamas Red Cross Society because their core mission is to 'prevent and alleviate suffering wherever it may be found'," said Baldwin. "This becomes especially poignant during times of devastation. We hope our efforts will have a meaningful impact in helping the Red Cross and the people of the Bahamas restore their country to its natural beauty."
 All Benihana and RA Sushi restaurants in Benihana's home state of Florida will be participating.

September 13, 2019

StarKist Donates $25,000 to Help Families Affected by Hurricane Dorian

 In response to the widespread destruction caused by Hurricane Dorian, Atlantis, Paradise Island and Brookfield Asset Management announced a $3 million pledge to benefit Hurricane Dorian relief efforts. The pledge is in addition to the grass roots efforts that started prior to and immediately after the storm, and will benefit a combination of funds and organizations who are on the ground providing aid and assistance to the Bahamian people.
 "All of us here at Atlantis are deeply saddened by the devastation of our sister islands Abaco and Grand Bahama. We are thankful that Hurricane Dorian did not directly impact Nassau and Paradise Island and we are in a position to help our fellow Bahamians" said Audrey Oswell, President and Managing Director, Atlantis, Paradise Island. "Now our focus is on how we can contribute to the rebuilding of lives and communities in the affected areas," Oswell continued.
 Together, Atlantis and Brookfield, are committing a minimum of $3 million to the relief efforts. Efforts to provide aid and relief started prior to the storm with Atlantis' partnership with chef José Andrés and his World Central Kitchen team, staging and assembling much needed meals in Atlantis' kitchens. Meals continue to be delivered to Abaco and Grand Bahama and volunteers from Atlantis' staff continue to assist in assembly and delivery. These efforts will continue as long as they are needed.
 In a notice that was shared with Atlantis Team Members last week, Atlantis announced the $3 million pledge as well as these additional fundraising and relief initiatives:
 Donation sites at Brookfield Place in New York and Atlantis' offices in Plantation Florida have been set up to collect much needed supplies which will be delivered to relief organizations.
 Atlantis has coordinated the shipment of medical supplies donated by Baptist Health.
 Atlantis has established a Go Fund Me site with 100% of the proceeds going to the Bahamas Red Cross. The goal is to reach $1 million.
 Brookfield is setting up a donation fund and will match contributions made by its employees worldwide. This fund will benefit Atlantis' partner chef José Andrés' World Central Kitchen, a non-profit organization.
 Atlantis has established an employee assistance fund to aid in the relocation or renovation expenses for the families of Atlantis team members.
 Atlantis continues to work diligently with many of its suppliers and other business partners to obtain additional assistance. We will be announcing some of these partnerships in the upcoming weeks.

September 10, 2019

Atlantis, Paradise Island and Brookfield Announce $3M Pledge

To Benefit Hurricane Dorian Relief Efforts

 In response to the widespread destruction caused by Hurricane Dorian, Atlantis, Paradise Island and Brookfield Asset Management announced a $3 million pledge to benefit Hurricane Dorian relief efforts. The pledge is in addition to the grass roots efforts that started prior to and immediately after the storm, and will benefit a combination of funds and organizations who are on the ground providing aid and assistance to the Bahamian people.
 "All of us here at Atlantis are deeply saddened by the devastation of our sister islands Abaco and Grand Bahama. We are thankful that Hurricane Dorian did not directly impact Nassau and Paradise Island and we are in a position to help our fellow Bahamians" said Audrey Oswell, President and Managing Director, Atlantis, Paradise Island. "Now our focus is on how we can contribute to the rebuilding of lives and communities in the affected areas," Oswell continued.
 Together, Atlantis and Brookfield, are committing a minimum of $3 million to the relief efforts. Efforts to provide aid and relief started prior to the storm with Atlantis' partnership with chef José Andrés and his World Central Kitchen team, staging and assembling much needed meals in Atlantis' kitchens. Meals continue to be delivered to Abaco and Grand Bahama and volunteers from Atlantis' staff continue to assist in assembly and delivery. These efforts will continue as long as they are needed.
 In a notice that was shared with Atlantis Team Members last week, Atlantis announced the $3 million pledge as well as these additional fundraising and relief initiatives:
 Donation sites at Brookfield Place in New York and Atlantis' offices in Plantation Florida have been set up to collect much needed supplies which will be delivered to relief organizations.
 Atlantis has coordinated the shipment of medical supplies donated by Baptist Health.
 Atlantis has established a Go Fund Me site with 100% of the proceeds going to the Bahamas Red Cross. The goal is to reach $1 million.
 Brookfield is setting up a donation fund and will match contributions made by its employees worldwide. This fund will benefit Atlantis' partner chef José Andrés' World Central Kitchen, a non-profit organization.
 Atlantis has established an employee assistance fund to aid in the relocation or renovation expenses for the families of Atlantis team members.
 Atlantis continues to work diligently with many of its suppliers and other business partners to obtain additional assistance. We will be announcing some of these partnerships in the upcoming weeks.

September 9, 2019

Harris Teeter Distributes Free Water and Ice

To Charleston Community Members Affected by Hurricane Dorian

 Harris Teeter recently distributed free water and ice distribution to community members affected by the recent storm. Distributions were held, September 7 at select Charleston, SC Harris Teeter locations. The free distribution occurred as long as supplies lasted. Available items included 24-packs of bottled water and/or gallon jugs of water and 10-pound bags of ice.
 Distributions took place at the following locations:
• St. Andrews Shopping Center Harris Teeter located at 975 Savannah Hwy. in Charleston, SC
• Folly Road Crossing Harris Teeter located at 1985 Folly Rd. in Charleston, SC
• James Island Center Harris Teeter located at 1739 Maybank Hwy. in Charleston, SC
• Harbor View Shopping Center Harris Teeter located at 1005 Harbor View Rd. in Charleston, SC
 Harris Teeter would like to thank its valued associates for their assistance before, during and after the storm. The company also appreciated the patience of its shoppers during the distribution process.

September 6, 2019

Publix Charities Donates $250K to Support Hurricane Dorian Relief Efforts

 Publix Super Markets Charities is making a $250,000 donation to the American Red Cross and United Way to help fund relief efforts for areas impacted by Hurricane Dorian.
 In addition, Publix is activating a register campaign to allow customers to assist those affected by the storm by donating any amount during checkout at any Publix store. One hundred percent of donated funds will go to the American Red Cross. Donations will enable the American Red Cross to respond to and help people recover from this disaster.
 The end date for the program will be determined based on customer response.
 “The damage and impact caused by Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas has been devastating, and its path continues to affect Publix customers and associates in our coastal areas,” said Maria Brous, Director of Media and Community Relations. “We have a long-standing history of providing support during times of need, and it is our privilege to do what we can to help those impacted by this storm.”
 Publix is privately owned and operated by its more than 200,000 employees, with 2018 sales of $36.1 billion. Currently, Publix has 1,226 stores in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia. For 22 consecutive years, the company has been named one of Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For, and Publix ranked No. 1 on Fortune’s inaugural list of Best Big Companies to Work For in 2019. In addition, Publix’s dedication to superior quality and customer service is recognized among the top in the grocery business. For more information, visit the company’s website,

September 5, 2019
■ Southeastern Grocers Launches

Donation Program for Hurricane Dorian Recovery

Grocer and Customers Partner to Raise Funds for the American Red Cross

 Southeastern Grocers, Inc. (SEG), parent company and home of BI-LO, Fresco y Más, Harveys Supermarket and Winn-Dixie grocery stores, together with the Southeastern Grocers Gives Foundation, has announced plans to provide a simple way for loyal customers and dedicated associates to support their neighbors who have been impacted by Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas, the east coast of Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas.
 Customers are encouraged to make donations at all BI-LO, Fresco y Más, Harveys Supermarket and Winn-Dixie stores to help those affected by the impact of Hurricane Dorian. Every dollar raised throughout all Southeast stores will go directly to the American Red Cross’ Disaster Relief program, which enables the organization to help families and individuals recover from natural disasters by providing food, shelter, counseling and other needed assistance.
 Anthony Hucker, President and CEO of Southeastern Grocers, said, “Our thoughts and prayers are with those in the Bahamas as they embark on the long road of recovery following the destruction of Hurricane Dorian. We put our associates, customers and communities at the heart of everything we do, and we believe our greatest responsibility is to help our neighbors during the times they need us most. Every dollar donated in our stores will make a difference in the lives of not only our coastal neighbors in need, but also our Bahamian neighbors, as we all begin to rebuild and recover from the devastating effects of the storm.”
 Southeastern Grocers has a long-standing partnership with the American Red Cross, a national nonprofit dedicated to preventing and alleviating human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors. In response to disasters such as the recent hurricane faced by the Bahamas and areas of North Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas, Southeastern Grocers is honored to team up with the American Red Cross to help relief efforts and provide aid to local communities, support recover efforts and train volunteers.
 Anna Trefethen, American Red Cross Vice President Humanitarian Services, Southeast & Caribbean Division, said, “We are so grateful to Southeastern Grocers for activating their Neighbors Helping Neighbors community donation program, whenever we need them the most. It is because of their generosity and quick response we are able to help those impacted by these unpredictable storms.”
 Southeastern Grocers and the American Red Cross have established a strong relationship over the last five decades, and together with devoted customers and associates, have raised more than $10 million through community donation programs, foundation contributions and corporate initiatives. Individuals can help those affected by disasters by making a gift to American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Donations to Disaster Relief enable the American Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters - big and small. Southeastern Grocers customers can donate in-store, or on the American Red Cross website:

September 4, 2019

Pepsi Spotlighting Football Fan and Player Celebrations All Season Long

With Launch of NFL 100th Season Campaign

 100 seasons of the National Football League (NFL) means 100 seasons of game winning touchdowns, fans repping their favorite teams, and unforgettable moments of celebration. From the most memorable endzone dances to a fan's 15 seconds of fame on the jumbotron, Pepsi, the official soft drink of the NFL for more than 17 seasons, salutes those who unapologetically celebrate the sport of football with its latest campaign, "Always be Celebrating."
 "The NFL has generated some incredible moments over the years, creating a celebratory spirit among its fans and players that is unrivaled. Whether it's an energetic spike, a choreographed end zone dance, or a 'shout out loud' moment in your living room, football consistently brings out some of the most unapologetic celebrations – both on and off the field. The passion of its fans and players alike is what fuels the season and inspired our latest campaign," said Todd Kaplan, Vice President, Marketing - Pepsi. "Celebrating 100 seasons of the NFL this season is the perfect time for Pepsi to partner with our league, team, and player partners to create and showcase even more of these moments for our fans."
Here's how Pepsi will "Always be Celebrating" throughout the season:
"THE TOUCHDOWN SLIDE" Pepsi TV Advertisement: Pepsi will debut a national television ad this season set to the iconic tune of DJ Casper, aka Mr. C The Slide Man's, "Cha Cha Slide." The spots feature a range of epic touchdown and fan celebrations overlaid with dynamic animation elements. Pepsi will unveil a second iteration of the commercial later this month.
"PEPSI CAUSE FOR CELEBRATION" Program with United Way Worldwide: Pepsi will expand upon its efforts with the NFL and United Way this season to launch "Pepsi Cause for Celebration" - for every touchdown celebration from Kickoff to Thanksgiving, Pepsi will donate funds, equivalent to 100 meals, to the team's local United Way. Fans will also have the opportunity to get involved in the initiative throughout the season, by visiting: Fans should also follow Pepsi's and United Way's social media channels to find out more on how they can participate in their local community. "Pepsi Cause for Celebration" will support the NFL's Huddle for 100 initiative, a season-long campaign that encourages 1 million fans around the nation to give 100 minutes back to their communities during the celebration of the NFL's 100th season.
"CELEBRATING THE CHAMPS" Kickoff Event and Collectible Can: At the start of the NFL season, Pepsi will celebrate the Super Bowl LIII Champion New England Patriots and their fans with an epic celebration at Gillette Stadium featuring their newest Super Bowl trophy, Patriots Free Safety Devin McCourty and a performance by platinum selling country star Chris Lane. To honor the 6X champions, Pepsi designed a small batch of commemorative Patriots cans, uniquely textured and shaped like a football, which fans on-site will have an opportunity to win.
"CELEBRATING THE PEPSI SUPER BOWL HALFTIME SHOW": Pepsi is celebrating its three-year renewal as sponsor of the Super Bowl Halftime Show and is excited to partner with Roc Nation, JAY-Z and the NFL to create an unforgettable experience for fans around the world.
"CELEBRATING SUNDAY NIGHT" Pepsi x NBC Sunday Night Football Partnership: For the second year, Pepsi is partnering with NBC's "Sunday Night Football," and will be featured in the show open, starring Carrie Underwood, who welcomes Joan Jett, to perform a new rendition of the original "Waiting All Day for Sunday Night" music. "Sunday Night Football" has been primetime television's No. 1 program for an unprecedented eight consecutive years.
"PEPSI TEAM CELEBRATIONS": Pepsi is proudly partnering with 15 of the League's best teams including the newest addition of the Los Angeles Rams. All season long, Pepsi will feature a range of team specific celebrations, including a tailgate celebration with the Miami Dolphins and Publix to kick off Hispanic Heritage Month on Sept 15th, headlined by singer Ally Brooke.
"PEPSI PLAYER CELEBRATIONS": Pepsi is celebrating our partnership with 26 of the top NFL players this season showcasing how they celebrate on unique retail POS all season long. Fans can look out for their favorite players in "Always be Celebrating" retail promotions and fun social media content throughout the season. Players include Tight End Travis Kelce, New York Giants Running Back Saquon Barkley, Dallas Cowboys Quarterback Dak Prescott, Minnesota Vikings Tight End Kyle Rudolph and many more.
"CELEBRATING THE PEPSI NFL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR": For the 17th consecutive season, Pepsi will be sponsoring the Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year Award and celebrating the top NFL rookies every single week. Pepsi has additionally welcomed Washington Redskins' stand-out rookie, QB Dwayne Haskins Jr. to the brand's roster of NFL players.
 Throughout the season, fans can join the conversation across social and show what it means to #AlwaysBeCelebrating their favorite football moments with @Pepsi and visit to check out the latest TV ads, exclusive content and more.

September 3, 2019

Snickers Shares Some Bling with the National Football League's 'Hungriest' Players

Brand Unveils New Chain to Celebrate Exceptional On- and Off-Field Performance

 For the National Football League (NFL) 100th season, Snickers wants to ensure no fan can miss the league's hungriest players. Today, the brand unveiled a new branded, iced-out chain created by famed jeweler Ben Baller, that's sure to capture the eye of the league's hungriest players and fans alike.
 Each week during the NFL season, the chain will be passed from one player to another player, who has not only shown hunger for more with a huge game or play on the field, but who is also driven to do more off the field. Towards the end of the regular season, Snickers will invite fans to weigh in on which 'Hungriest Player' is the hungriest. That player will then award proceeds from the chain to a charity of his choice.
 "Snickers serve as the ultimate reward for players and fans who are hungry for more on and off the field," said Josh Olken, Brand Director, Snickers. "This chain was specifically designed to embody that same spirit and will serve as a reward for the league's hungriest players this season."
 The hand-crafted chain by Ben Baller features a pendant with more than 47 carats of brilliant-cut diamonds, blue sapphires and red rubies, highlighting the "S" from the iconic brand's logo.
 "When Snickers hit me up about collaborating on a chain to honor the hungriest players in the NFL this season, I was immediately all in," said Baller. "Just like players are always upping their game, I'm always hungry to push the caliber of all my crafts to the limit … especially when it comes to my chains. The idea of passing this Snickers chain to a different player each week is just crazy, so I knew we'd have to come up with something next level to make sure it served as the ultimate reward for hustle and success."
 Snickers has enlisted NFL legend DeMarcus Ware – who personified everything the chain stands for during his iconic career – to pass the chain to the first recipient after this weekend's games.

July 16, 2019

Record Spending Expected for School and College Supplies

 As students gear up to go back to school and college, families plan to spend more than ever on supplies ranging from pencils and backpacks to computers and dorm refrigerators, according to the annual survey released by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights and Analytics.
 “Consumers are in a strong position given the nation’s growing economy, and we see this reflected in what they say they will spend on back-to-class items this year,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “We’re expecting record spending and retailers are ready to provide students with all the items they need for a successful school year.”
 Families with children in elementary school through high school plan to spend an average $696.70. That’s up from $684.79 last year and tops the previous record of $687.72 set in 2017. With fewer families surveyed saying they have children in grades K-12, spending is expected to total $26.2 billion, down from last year’s $27.5 billion despite the increase in per-household spending.
 Families with college students are expected to spend an average $976.78, which is up from last year’s $942.17 and tops the previous record of $969.88 set in 2017. With fewer survey respondents saying they are attending college, spending is expected to total $54.5 billion, down from last year’s record $55.3 billion.
 Total spending for K-12 schools and college combined is projected to reach $80.7 billion, down from last year’s $82.8 billion largely because of the decreased number of households with children in elementary through high school.
 According to the survey, clothing and accessories will top K-12 families’ expenses at an average $239.82, followed by electronics such as computers, calculators and phones ($203.44); shoes ($135.96) and supplies such as notebooks, pencils, backpacks and lunch boxes ($117.49). K-12 families plan to do most of their shopping at department stores (53 percent), discount stores (50 percent), online (49 percent), clothing stores (45 percent) and office supply stores (31 percent).
 Among K-12 shoppers, teens are expected to spend an average $36.71 of their own money, up from $30.88 10 years ago, while pre-teens should spend $26.40, up from $11.94 10 years ago.
 “Members of Generation Z are clearly becoming more involved with back-to-school purchasing decisions rather than leaving the choices up to mom and dad,” Shay said. “Over the years, both teens and pre-teens are spending more of their own money on back-to-school items.”
 College shoppers plan to spend the most on electronics ($234.69), followed by clothing and accessories ($148.54), dorm and apartment furnishings ($120.19) and food items ($98.72). They plan to do most of their shopping online (45 percent), followed by department stores (39 percent), discount stores (36 percent), college bookstores (32 percent) and office supply stores (29 percent).
 “College shoppers are really showing their school spirit when it comes to buying collegiate gear this year,” Shay said. Spending on college-branded items is expected to average $62.22, up 17 percent from last year.
 For online purchases, 90 percent of K-12 and 85 percent of college shoppers plan to take advantage of free shipping.
 “Back-to-class shoppers still have the bulk of their shopping to do and are waiting to see what the best deals and promotions will be at a variety of different retailers,” Prosper Insights Executive Vice President of Strategy Phil Rist said. The survey found 89 percent of both K-12 and college shoppers still had half or more of their purchases left to complete. Of those, 49 percent were waiting for the best deals for items on their lists.
 The survey of 7,660 consumers was conducted July 1-July 8 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.2 percentage points.

July 15, 2019

Giant Food Launches Community Bag Program Powered by Bags 4 My Cause

 Giant Food, the leading greater Washington D.C. regional grocery chain, is launching the Community Bag Program, a program designed to empower customers to support local nonprofit organizations while working to reduce single-use paper and plastic waste in the environment. Each reusable Community Bag comes with an attached Giving Tag. The Giving Tag allows customers to designate a $1 donation to a locally active nonprofit of their choice. The reusable Community Bags with attached Giving Tags are available at all Giant Food stores and retail for $2.50 per bag.
" The Community Bag Program is a way we can bring our community together to support the organizations that make a difference in our own backyard while also encouraging actions that reduce our carbon footprint," said Ira Kress, Interim President of Giant Food. "Giant has always been committed to being a better neighbor, and the Community Bag Program is a perfect fit to furthering our mission."
 Customers looking to designate their $1 donation after purchasing the reusable Community Bag should remove the scratch-off layer on their Giving Tag to reveal a unique identifier code. They can then visit, enter the code into the form on the website and select the nonprofit that they would like to receive the $1 donation. A list of over 2,500 nonprofits active throughout the areas Giant serves in Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia and Delaware has been pre-populated for customers to choose from. Customers may alternatively select a new nonprofit for consideration.
 If a customer does not direct the donation within seven days from the date of purchase, it will be donated to the default nonprofit of the month selected by the local store where the Community Bag was purchased from.
 To learn more about the Community Bag Program and track the various organizations supported and the number of shopping bags saved, visit The Community Bag Program is a reusable bag program powered by Bags 4 My Cause. To learn more about Bags 4 My Cause, please visit

July 3, 2019

Fill Up On Hot Dog Facts for National Hot Dog Month

 Hot dogs have a unique tie to American history. They came to America as edible immigrants from Europe in the 1800s and soon became the all-American food that has been served by presidents, enjoyed by astronauts on the moon and relished in backyards throughout the country. They are synonymous with our nation's independence as Americans are expected to eat 150 million hot dogs on July 4 alone.
 Despite this, hot dogs are among our most misunderstood foods. That is why a quarter century ago, the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council (NHDSC) was formed to answer the range of questions people have about hot dogs, their ingredients, history and more. To celebrate its 25th anniversary, the NHDSC is teaming with the Beef Checkoff to unveil 25 hot dog facts for July's National Hot Dog Month.
 "At the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council we've learned that Americans' appetite for hot dog facts is nearly as great as their appetite for hot dogs themselves," said NHDSC Hot Dog Top Dog Eric Mittenthal. "Today there are hot dogs for everyone with millions of different possible hot dog and topping combinations that meet a broad spectrum of nutrition needs, tastes, budgets and personal preferences."
 Like other meats, Americans can enjoy hot dogs as part of a healthy diet. A standard beef hot dog is 190 calories, offers 7 grams of protein and 30 percent of our Daily Value of Vitamin B12, a crucial nutrient for normal metabolism, brain development in children and mental clarity in adults.
 But for many, the true benefit of a hot dog is the happiness they bring. Other hot dog facts shared by the NHDSC include:
• Mickey Mouse's first on screen words were "Hot Dog!"
• President Franklin D. Roosevelt served hot dogs to King George and Queen Elizabeth. The king ate two.
• Americans say the celebrity they'd most like to enjoy a hot dog with is 97 year old Betty White.
• A hot dog is not a sandwich.
 The full list of 25 facts plus 25 quotes about hot dogs are available at The NHDSC also will be sharing them throughout the month using #HotDogMonth in social media.

July 2, 2019

Survey: Americans Ice Cream Habits & Goodness Experiences

 July is National Ice Cream Month and Loacker, a global premium wafer and confection brand, is getting to the bottom of how Americans eat their ice cream and bring extra goodness into their days…
 The brand just revealed the results from their 2019 Loacker National Ice Cream Month Survey! Did you know …
• Three-quarters of Americans reported that they like to add a crunchy topping to their frozen treat.
• Virgos go out for ice cream the most.
• 79% of consumers love flavor combinations for their sweet treat, including adding salty, tangy, and spicy additions.
• 39% of millennials will buy their frozen treats from a specialized store, half as many baby boomers will do the same.
• Californians are the most likely to love a frozen treat in a cup, while Texans prefer dairy-based frozen treats more than any other Americans.

June 2, 2019

Krasdale's Longtime Retail Development Lead is Promoted to EVP

 Krasdale Foods, a 110-year-old, privately owned company providing grocery distribution, merchandising, and marketing to independent grocery store owners, has announced that Dennis Wallin, the company's longtime head of retail development has been promoted from Vice President to Executive Vice President of Alpha 1 Marketing, Krasdale's merchandising and marketing affiliate.
 Wallin, who joined Krasdale in 1991, will continue to serve as the company's eyes and ears on the street, regularly visiting with store owners and scouting neighborhoods across the tri-state area and Florida to understand the competitive landscape and identify new opportunities.
 "Dennis has an encyclopedic knowledge of the independent grocery space," said Krasdale President and COO Steven Silver. "Over the past 28 years, he has built deep relationships with our customers and their families. We are grateful to have him on our team and know that he will continue to drive growth for both our customers and the company."
 During his 50+ year career, Wallin has worked in both in-store operations and development. He began his career at 16, with Co-oP Supermarkets, where he remained for 25 years. Wallin initially joined Krasdale as a retail counselor and later took over as director of operations at C-Town, before transitioning into business development.
 "Dennis always puts the customer first," said Thatcher Krasne, President and CEO of Alpha 1 Marketing. "He goes above and beyond to make sure our customers are well-positioned for growth. We are proud to have him representing us in the field."
 On any given day, Dennis spends most of his time visiting customers at their stores, making sure they have all the tools they need to thrive.
 "Our goal is to make sure our store owners are successful," Wallin said. "One of the things I like to do is to listen and find ways in which we can help. If something isn't working, we'll figure out a strategy. It feels good to identify ways to make our store owners more successful, like instant gratification."
 Wallin was instrumental in helping the company expand into Florida. The first person to hit the ground in the region, Wallin surveyed and identified optimal locations. Fifteen years later, Krasdale has over 50 banner stores in Florida, with seven more expected to open in the coming months. The brand's largest banner in the state, Bravo, continues to outperform in the market even as new entrants move in and competition increases. Likewise, Wallin remains a key force in the region, working closely with owners to optimize store layouts and identify prime areas for expansion.

June 1, 2019

Father’s Day Spending Expected to Reach All-time High of $16 Billion

&nsbp;The Mendelson family has sold Nate'n Al Delicatessen to long-time customers Shelli Americans are expected to spend more than ever on gifts for Father’s Day this year, according to the National Retail Federation’s annual survey conducted by Prosper Insight & Analytics. Total spending for the holiday is estimated to reach $16 billion, up from last year’s $15.3 billion.
 “Fathers, husbands and sons can expect to feel the love this Father’s Day,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Over the past decade, spending on Father’s Day gifts has increased significantly. Retailers are ready with gifts that will have no problem impressing dad.”
 Father’s Day spending has grown 70 percent, approximately $6.6 billion, since 2009. The biggest drivers of Father’s Day spending are growth in spending by consumers ages 35-44, and spending on clothing, special outings and gift cards. This year, 75.9 percent of people plan to celebrate and are expected to spend a record $138.97, up from last year’s $132.82, and up from $91 in 2009.
 Consumers ages 35-44 plan to spend the most at an average $197.66, over $100 more than this age group spent 10 years ago. Men planned to spend the most for Mother’s Day this year and are also likely to spend more than women for Father’s Day at $160.74 compared with $118.29.
 “It’s important to consumers of all ages that their gift for dad is unique and creates a special memory,” Prosper Vice President of Strategy Phil Rist said. “For example, subscription box services have become a popular unique gift option, particularly among younger consumers.”  When searching for the perfect gift, 39 percent of consumers will head to department stores, 34 percent will shop online, 24 percent will shop at a discount store, 23 percent at a specialty store, 11 percent at a specialty clothing store and 2 percent via catalog. Over half (57 percent) of smartphone/tablet owners plan to use their device to assist in Father’s Day gifting decisions, with 38 percent using their mobile device to research products and compare prices.
 More than half of those surveyed plan to buy for their fathers or stepfathers (53 percent) while others will shop for their husbands (27 percent) or sons (9 percent) among other dads in their lives.
 The survey of 7,591 consumers was conducted May 1-9 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.2 percentage points.

May 24, 2019

World Famous Nate'n Al Delicatessen Changes Hands from One Family to Another

&nsbp;The Mendelson family has sold Nate'n Al Delicatessen to long-time customers Shelli and Irving Azoff. "As a cornerstone of Beverly Hills, CA, it has been with great pleasure and pride that we have been a part of your family's meals, holidays, celebrations, and businesses for four generations. We thank our wonderful customers – your loyalty to Nate'n Al has been a great joy," said Mark Mendelson, former co-owner of Nate'n Al Delicatessen.
 "Over the years, many potential buyers have expressed interest in us. Finding the right owners that value our staff, some whom have been with us for 30-42 years, as much as our brand was paramount and essential. The Azoffs have been loyal customers for over 30 years and have a love and passion for Nate'n Al and our food. My brother David and I are proud to have them carry on our grandparents' legacy of excellent service, serving only the finest delicatessen food," continued Mendelson.
 The Azoffs plan to keep Nate'n Al Deli in Beverly Hills, bringing with them the staff, legendary brand, and their delicious recipes. The Mendelsons will help with the ownership transition, to advise on the business' operation.
 Since 1945 Nate'n Al has a long and wonderful history and tradition of serving delicious meals while bringing together great friends and honoring one simple commitment: to offer the finest deli favorites prepared with the best ingredients. The Mendelsons are happy for the Azoffs to carry on this Nate'n Al tradition for many generations to come.

May 23, 2019

Callisons Mixes in Some Fun with House of Flavor Concept

 For more than 100 years, Callisons has provided flavor solutions to the largest names in oral care, confection, and beverages. Now, Callisons is serving these flavors and aromas up fresh from their new House of Flavor, located in Cincinnati, OH.
 :Callisons House of Flavor is an open concept workspace designed to give customers a seat at the table. With an in-house kitchen and laboratory, partners are able to taste test flavors in real time.
 "There is science to flavoring, but there are also the human elements of craftsmanship and the four senses," said Jim Burgett, fourth generation family member and President of Callisons. "With the House of Flavor, we're pulling up chairs and serving up tastes and making it possible for our clients and flavorists to really handcraft these products together."
 With an artisan approach, Callisons House of Flavor makes it possible to sample in small batches. Goods can be produced and taste tested in-house, then, production can be scaled up to meet national or even global distribution needs. And as these brands continue to diversify their offerings, Callisons is leading the way in flavor and aroma solutions for many exciting new categories.
 "Opening our House of Flavor in Cincinnati was a strategic move," said Bob Motta, Chief Business Development Officer for Callisons. "Not only is Cincinnati regarded as a flavor hub nationally, it's also easily accessed and provides proximity to sector leaders in oral care, confection, and beverages."
 With roots in mint dating back to 1903, Callisons sources naturally, cultivating relationships with growers and taking the freshest approach to flavoring and aromas. The result is relationships with household brands and familiar flavors that all start with Callisons.

May 16, 2019

Smashmallow S'more Better Tour Returns to Showcase Premium Mallows

 Smashmallow, the makers of premium snackable marshmallows and crispy rice treats, is set to hit the road again this summer with their cross-country "S'more Better" Tour starting, May 15. The Smashmallow truck will be touring select events, retailers, and neighborhoods sharing favorite s'more smash-ups and creations in partnership with Chocolove chocolate through Labor day weekend.
 With s'mores being the #1 usage occasion for marshmallows, and summertime campfires being the place most people envision enjoying them, Smashmallow is inspiring fans of the sweet treat with the delicious possibilities, showcasing their natural and organic mallows in fun and creative ways. The tour will feature four signature flavors from the brand: cinnamon churro, strawberries & cream, mint chocolate chip, and cookie dough, served with an elevated twist using premium chocolate in ways that can be made any time of year - no campfire required.
 "Last year, we didn't really know what to expect or how the tour was going to be received. However, it was clear very early on that people were embracing our fun, creative take on the nostalgic s'more and we loved hearing and seeing the feedback on social media and from consumers at the stores and events we visited," says Smashmallow VP of Marketing Stephanie McGregor. "People love our fun flavors and better-for-you attributes, and we believe that those qualities are truly what takes a traditional s'more from great to absolutely magical. As we continue to share our story and encourage consumers to rethink this nostalgic treat, we are happy to be able to bring this experience directly to the fans who have contributed to our success."
 The S'more better tour will be hitting up major markets across the US this summer including new additions this year Chicago, Austin and Denver. The entire tour schedule is available at Smashmallow snackable marshmallows are available in 7 everyday flavors, are made with natural, non GMO and organic ingredients and are a gluten-free sweet tooth satisfying snack.

May 15, 2019

Mercadona to Automate Fresh Food Distribution at Four Distribution Centers with Cimcorp

 Cimcorp, a manufacturer and integrator of turnkey robotic order fulfillment and tire-handling solutions, announces it has received its largest order ever in the intralogistics market from Mercadona, one of Spain’s leading grocery retailers. Under the deal, worth over 120 million euros (~$134 million), Cimcorp will automate the distribution of fresh food at Mercadona’s new distribution centers located in Huévar (Seville), Sagunto (Valencia), San Isidro (Alicante) and Zaragoza.
 The four distribution centers will serve over 600 of the retailer’s 1,630 supermarkets, so Cimcorp’s automated systems will ensure that fresh foods are available to some 2 million of the over 5 million households that shop at Mercadona. Javier Blasco, Warehouse Purchasing Coordinator for Mercadona, explained, “The main objective of these four centers will be to meet the demands of our stores, secure growth in perishable product sales and eliminate the overexertion that results from the manual handling of orders.”
 Cimcorp previously supplied automation to Mercadona back in 2013, when it implemented a fully automated order picking system for fresh produce at the retailer’s distribution center in Guadix, near Granada. However, this new project will be the first time that Cimcorp has acted as a system integrator. Blasco commented, “Our previous experience with Cimcorp was positive, and the company’s professionalism—along with the support of a strong parent company like Murata Machinery—has led us to put our trust in Cimcorp as a partner for a project of this scale.”
 Kai Tuomisaari, Vice President, Sales, Cimcorp, said, “We provide reliable intralogistics solutions for rapid order fulfillment, and thereby optimize product shelf life. This means that customers get their fruit, vegetables and other fresh products faster, ensuring they stay fresh for longer in the home. We are delighted to be working with Mercadona again. There is an excellent spirit of partnership, open communication and mutual trust between our two companies.”
 All four of the new facilities will have two climate zones for fresh food: +3 degrees Celsius (~37 degrees Fahrenheit) for packed meat products and +12 degrees Celsius (~54 degrees Fahrenheit) for fruit and vegetables. “This order will cover several independent automation modules within each distribution center,” added Tuomisaari, “and all of the automation will be controlled by Cimcorp software, which integrates various technologies into a seamless system. If one module is out of operation for a while—such as when cleaning is performed—the others continue in operation to take care of the material flow.”

April 26, 2019

Krasdale Foods Promotes Gus Lebiak to Chief Operating Officer of Alpha 1 Marketing

 Krasdale Foods, a 110-year-old, privately owned company providing grocery distribution, merchandising, and marketing to independent grocery store owners, announced that Gus Lebiak has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer of Alpha 1 Marketing, an affiliate of Krasdale Foods Inc.
 Lebiak, who joined the company over six years ago, will continue to oversee key departments such as advertising, digital services, customer service, community relations, retail operations, marketing, meat and produce, merchandising, as well as retail regulatory compliance and training. In his new role, Lebiak will work on unifying the departments starting with a focus on merging skill sets of employees with various backgrounds and experience levels.
 "Gus' extensive industry background has been a significant asset to our team," said Thatcher Krasne, CEO and President of Alpha 1 Marketing, Krasdale's marketing and merchandising division. "He brings a unique perspective from his years working on all sides of the grocery industry and, in his time at Krasdale, has helped to spearhead key programs for both our employees and customers."
 As part of the ongoing strategic plan for the company, Lebiak will continue to focus on implementing new value-added programs to improve overall efficiency and drive brand growth.
 "We're thankful to Gus for his expert leadership of the Alpha 1 Marketing team, which has helped us meet our growth goals," said Steve Silver, Krasdale President and COO. "With this elevated role, we know that Gus will continue to build and expand the Krasdale brand in both the East Coast and Florida markets, putting us on a path toward another century of success."
 With over 38 years of grocery industry experience, Lebiak has a diverse skillset that has made him indispensable within many areas of the business. He began his career working in-store at Mayfair Supermarkets before moving to the wholesale side of the business as a category manager at Twin County Grocers. From there, Lebiak assisted in the launch of Allegiance Retail Services, a supermarket cooperative, serving as Director of Grocery and then Vice President of Center Store, before leaving to join Krasdale Foods as a Vice President.
 "I'm tapping into the lessons I've learned working in both in-store and wholesale operations to create a cohesive strategy that ultimately benefits all sides of the business," Lebiak said. "As I step into this new role, my goal is to aid in the consistent, long-term growth of both new and existing markets throughout the East Coast."
 A fully integrated grocery service and supplier, Alpha 1 Marking is one of several companies affiliated with parent company, Krasdale Foods. Others include, Beta II Marketing, Consolidated Supermarket Supply, and KoolTemp Foods.

April 25, 2019

UNFI Integrates Its Organizational Structure Into One Company

Names Sean Griffin Chief Operating Officer

 United Natural Foods, Inc. has announced a number of organizational changes. It has appointed James Muehlbauer, an experienced financial and strategic executive, to its Board of Directors effective April 22. This appointment furthers UNFI's commitment to expand the size of its Board and bring on additional expertise in areas that serve UNFI's new strategic objectives following the recent SUPERVALU acquisition. With the addition of Muehlbauer, UNFI's Board now has nine members.
 Muehlbauer joins the Board having most recently served from 2013 to 2017 as the Executive Vice President, Chief Financial and Administrative Officer for The Valspar Corporation, a manufacturer and distributor of paints, coatings and related products. Valspar generated approximately $4.4 billion in revenues prior to its acquisition by The Sherwin-Williams Company in June 2017. Before joining Valspar, Muehlbauer served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Best Buy Co., Inc., a multinational consumer electronics retailer, from 2007 to 2013, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Best Buy's domestic businesses from 2003 to 2007 and Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Musicland from 2002 to 2003. In addition to his corporate roles, since 2011, Muehlbauer has served on the Board of Overseer's for the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota.
 "Jim's extensive financial background with strong commercial and leadership skills will make him a valuable addition to our Board of Directors," said Steven L. Spinner, UNFI Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "His knowledge and experience in broad strategic transitions and large-scale integration efforts directly aligns with the qualifications and expertise identified through our Board refreshment process."
 UNFI also announced that to accelerate its integration of SUPERVALU to one organization it will now operate under a national UNFI leadership team. This change will advance both UNFI's execution of its long-term strategic objectives and short-term synergy, revenue and EBITDA growth objectives.
 Effective April 22, 2019, Sean Griffin will take on the expanded role of Chief Operating Officer in addition to serving as SUPERVALU CEO. In this capacity, Griffin will oversee all UNFI's sales, services, operations, merchandising and retail functions.
 During his nine-year tenure with UNFI, Griffin has served in several senior leadership roles including Chief Operating Officer from 2014 to 2018. He has served as SUPERVALU CEO since October 2018. Prior to joining UNFI, Griffin was East Region Broadline President of Performance Food Group. He has also held various leadership roles of increasing responsibility in the foodservice distribution industry with U.S. Foodservice, Alliant Foodservice and Sysco Corporation.
 Commenting on this appointment, Spinner said, "We feel very good about the work accomplished over the last six months to integrate UNFI and SUPERVALU, to align our people and to implement the necessary process and systems changes. As such, we're now well positioned to accelerate our migration to one company. Sean is the ideal candidate to assume his previous role as our Chief Operating Officer where he'll influence and guide sales and operations across our entire organization."

April 4, 2019

Sprouts Plans Rapid Expansion Across the Southeast and East Regions

 Sprouts Farmers Market plans to open 13 stores during the second half of 2019, including five Florida locations and its first store in Virginia. Since opening its doors nearly two decades ago, Sprouts has appealed to everyday shoppers interested in fresh, natural and organic products at affordable prices. By the end of the year, Sprouts will operate 340 stores in 22 states.
 Sprouts stores opening in the second half of 2019 are: Bel Air, MD – 680 Marketplace Dr.; Deerfield Beach, FL – 930 South Federal Hwy.; Greensboro, NC – 3357 Battleground Av.; Herndon, VA – 494 Elden St.; Jacksonville, FL – 4873 Town Center Pkwy.; Jupiter, FL – 3757 Military Trail; Lake Forest, CA – 24332 Rockfield Blvd.; Laveen, AZ – 59th Av. and Baseline Rd.; New Port Ritchey, FL – 8840 Strength Av.; Riverview, FL – Summerfield Crossing and Hwy 301.; Vista, CA – 1400 East Vista Way; West Covina, CA – Citrus Street and Workman Av. and West Hollywood, CA – 8550 Santa Monica Blvd.
 The Deerfield Beach, New Port Ritchey, Jacksonville, Jupiter and West Covina stores will feature Sprouts’ newest operational and design enhancements that highlight department destinations and promote customer engagement throughout the store. Sprouts continues to grow as a destination for high-quality meat and seafood, and guests will enjoy eye-catching marquee signage and display cases at The Butcher Shop and Fish Market that emphasize the department’s knowledgeable and personal service. Additionally, The Market Corner Deli in the enhanced stores will feature a detached, rectangular island to optimize customer service and convenience by offering made-to-order sandwiches, a salad bar, prepared foods, sushi made in-store and fresh juice.
 Each new store will bring approximately 140 new career opportunities to its local neighborhood. Sprouts offers competitive pay, team member discounts, a fun and rewarding culture, and numerous career advancement opportunities.

April 2, 2019
■ Publix Vice Chairman

Barney Barnett to Retire

 After 50 years of dedicated service, Vice Chairman of Publix Barney Barnett announced he will retire from Publix on April 30. He is one of only 20 Publix associates who have achieved this milestone.
 While Barnett has announced his plans to retire as Vice Chairman of Publix, he will remain on the board of Publix Super Markets Charities. The Publix board of directors has also named him Vice Chairman Emeritus and will recognize him at this year’s annual meeting of stockholders.
  “We are grateful for Barney’s 50 years of service to Publix, our associates, our customers and the communities we serve. His commitment to our culture has helped pave the path for our future successes,” said Publix CEO Todd Jones. “It has been an honor and privilege to work alongside him. We will miss him but also wish him well as he starts this next chapter of his life.”
 Many organizations have recognized Barnett throughout his Publix career for his leadership and commitment to the community. The United Way of Central Florida named him Philanthropist of the Year in 2016 and presented him with the Alexis de Tocqueville Society Award in 2002. He received the Governor’s Business Leader Award in 2010 and was inducted into the Tampa Bay Business Hall of Fame in 2002.
 Barnett began his Publix career in 1969 as an internal auditor in Lakeland, Florida. He was promoted to controller in 1977 and vice president of administration in 1986. In 1988, he was promoted to executive vice president, and in 1998, he moved into his current role.
 Barnett is looking forward to spending more time with his wife, Carol Jenkins Barnett, and continuing to support the communities they’ve served for so long.

March 19, 2019
■ Wine Expert

Gabriel Geller Shares His Top Picks for Passover Seders and Festive Meals

 Wine is essential to Passover, when Jewish people around the world gather with family and friends to recount the story of the Exodus from Egypt and share a festive meal. It is customary for all (adults) to drink four cups of wine at the Seder. That’s a lot of wine for one meal!
 This year Passover begins on the night of April 19, which is somewhat later than usual. But it’s great news for wine lovers, according to Royal Wine’s PR Director, Gabriel Geller. In the runup to Passover 2019, Geller recommends new bottlings to explore for the “Feast of Freedom” – the commemoration of the redemption of the Jewish people, some 3,500 years ago, from centuries of slavery in Egypt. His suggestions pair exceptionally well at the Seder table or any other special occasion, and run the gamut of varieties and price points.
 According to Geller, some outstanding new 2018 rosé wines were released in time for Passover 2019, and the new vintage is promising. "I enjoy starting the Seder with a glass of cold, fresh rosé, so the timing is perfect.”
 Smooth and easy to drink, rosés are best consumed young and fresh. He cites the Herzog Lineage Rosé from Clarksburg, CA (SRP $19.99) as a delicious, fruity, and herbal complement to light starters. Other good bets include Gush Etzion and Flam (SRP $24.99 and 34.99 respectively). These wineries, both located in Israel’s Judean Hills, were among the first out of the gate with their new rosés this year.
 “As soon as the main course is served,” Geller said, “I will typically move on to a more multi-layered wine such as the Carmel Limited Edition 2014 (SRP $79.99), a Bordeaux-style blend from Israel." Also of note is Domaines Rollan de By, owned by Jean Guyon. The extravagant designer just released the first-ever new kosher run from his estates: Chateau de By Medoc 2016 (SRP $27.99). “Well-balanced and medium-bodied, this Bordeaux from an exceptional vintage is silky in the mouth and pairs well with many types of dishes,” claims Geller. “It would be a good choice for the Passover Seder.”
LINEAGE CHOREOGRAPH a field blend of more than a dozen different grapes comes from an experimental plot on the Herzog estate vineyard -- the wine is soft and inviting while at the same time complex and flavorful, and very reasonably priced (SRP$20.00).
HERZOG WINE CELLARS also recently released Herzog Special Reserve Quartet 2015, a blend of varieties grown in prime regions of California. The wine, as its name indicates, comprises 4 grape varieties: Malbec, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. Full-bodied, rich, complex, and spicy, it impresses with its remarkable balance, while showcasing the unique characteristics of each variety (SPR: $39.99).
 Geller also noted that Italian wines have been gaining in popularity among kosher consumers. Wine Spectator recently awarded the Terra di Seta Chianti Classico Riserva (SRP $34.99) an impressive 93 points. Now that the 2013 has made its way to the shelves, Geller predicted that this superior vintage will outperform its predecessor.
 A long meal such as the Passover Seder also requires some fine dessert wine to end the night on a sweet note. Chateau Guiraud, which was absent from the kosher scene since 2001, recently made a comeback with two new wines available for the first time in a kosher version.
 G de Guiraud 2017 (SRP $39.99) is a satisfying, dry blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, while the chateau’s second Sauternes, Petit Guiraud 2017, is a luscious, wonderful dessert wine (SRP $74.99).
 Herzog Late harvest Orange Muscat 2018 - don’t be fooled by this wine’s orange tinge and floral near orange aromas. Its 100% Orange Muscat Grape has great lively acidity and sweetness, all rolled into this floral, long-lasting luscious wine (MSRP $22.99).
• Hacienda de Chihuahua Sotol Anejo
 Sotol is from the northern state of Chihuahua in Mexico. Sotol is not made out of Blue Agave like tequila, but Dasylirion wheeleri, otherwise known as Desert Spoon, or Sotol in Spanish (My wife translated that for me).
 This Anejo Sotol is rich and smoky with slight hints of Grapefruit.
• Hacienda de Chihuahua Sotol Reposado
 Like a typical Reposado from Mexico this is aged only for 6 months. A special uniqueness to Sotol is the oak used for ageing the product is Virgin oak unlike tequila which does used bourbon barrels. The fresh oak gives added tannins and spice to this tasty item.
• Zachlawi Dry Arak
 Arak, which means perspiration in Arabic, is the spirit drink of choice in the countries of the middle east. Abe Shrem, founder of Zachlawi, brought his family’s old Syrian recipe back to life here in the USA. Bold Anise aromas shine through with delicious licorice finish.
• Elite Arak
 Elite Arak is one of the leading Israeli producers of this centuries-old spirit. Every Friday afternoon, a day off for many Israelis, men and women sit outside together with friends while sipping a cold shot of Elite Arak.
• Alouf Arak
 The most popular Arak in Israel, Alouf Arak is silky smooth with notes of sweet anis and fig.
• Godet Fine de Cognac
 A wonderful blend of eau-de-vie from the Grande Champagne and Petite Champagne growing regions. These two growing regions have very chalky soil which helps to make a very aromatic eau-de-vie, which is distilled to make this special cognac.
 There’s a common ‘urban legend’ that wine is rendered kosher after being blessed by a Rabbi – that is incorrect. Actually, for a wine to be made kosher there are strictly supervised purity guidelines that need to be followed from the moment the grapes enter the winery to when the wine is bottled.
 To be considered kosher, Sabbath-observant Jews must supervise and sometimes handle the entire winemaking process, from the time the grapes are crushed until the wine is bottled. Any ingredients used, including yeasts and fining agents must be kosher.
 Some Kosher wines are processed as Mevushal, which means ‘cooked’ in Hebrew. Some wineries produce their Mevushal wines by heating the must (grape juice) prior to fermentation, while others apply that procedure on the final product, prior to bottling.
 When kosher wine is produced, marketed and sold commercially, it will bear kosher certification granted by a specially-trained rabbi who is responsible for supervision from start to finish.

March 7, 2019

Krasdale Foods Honors Women on International Women's Day

Krasdale Foods Gathers Together Businesswomen and Entrepreneurs to Raise Funds for Homeless Women and Children in New York City

 Krasdale Foods, a 110-year-old, privately-owned company providing essential services to supermarket operators, including grocery distribution, merchandising and marketing, today announced it will hold its first annual ladies luncheon and casino event on International Women's Day, March 8, to honor its female storeowners and businesswomen in the grocery space.
 The event will bring together storeowners, store employees, members of the corporate team, vendors and others for a fun and charitable afternoon. Proceeds and optional donations from the event will support Win and its mission to help New York's homeless women and their children rebuild their lives.
 "We have always made it a priority to highlight the outstanding women at Krasdale," said Dylana Silver, Director of Marketing at Alpha I Marketing, an affiliate of Krasdale Foods Inc. "While we celebrate women every day at Krasdale, this specific day provides us an opportunity to come together for a good cause."
 Guests at the event will have an opportunity to gamble with play money, redeemable for raffle tickets for chances to win Broadway tickets, jewelry, gift cards and more. Attendees can also choose to engage in inspiring conversations aimed at elevating women in the industry. Special guest KTU personality, music artist and Bronx local Judy Torres will share her personal story of growth and the various obstacles she has overcome to get where she is today.
 This event fits with Krasdale's ongoing mission to nurture young women and help them develop into successful businesswomen. For the past three years, Krasdale has participated in Her Honor, a mentoring program that offers paid internships to seniors at White Plains High School. By working with mentors at the company's corporate headquarters, the young women learn the skills to succeed at college and beyond.

March 6, 2019

Food Lion to Remodel 92 Stores

$158 M Investment Benefits Stores in Greater Myrtle Beach, Florence, Columbia and Charleston, SC

 Consistent with Food Lion’s "Easy, Fresh and Affordable... You Can Count on Food Lion Every Day!" strategy, the company announced today that it will remodel 92 stores in the greater Myrtle Beach, Florence, Columbia and Charleston, SC, markets in 2019. The $158 million capital investment Food Lion will make in its stores will go toward remodeling the stores, lowering prices, and expanding the assortment of products available at each store. Food Lion is also expecting to hire nearly 2,000 new associates at these stores as part of its commitment to enhancing the customer experience.
 "Food Lion is proud to have been a part of the many towns and cities we serve throughout South Carolina for 43 years and we are even more excited to bring exciting new offerings, services and a new look to these markets," said Food Lion President Meg Ham. "We look forward to making significant investments in our stores, our associates and our communities to offer a new grocery shopping experience. Our mission is to ensure our customers can easily find fresh, quality products to nourish their families at affordable prices every day, delivered with caring, friendly service every time they shop. We look forward to reintroducing our renovated stores later this summer."
 Additionally, the stores will offer an expanded variety and assortment of products that are relevant to customers in each store and each community, such as more local, natural, organic and gluten-free items. The stores will also feature enhanced deli/bakery service and an enhanced customer service, which is the result of new customer-centric training for associates at every store.
 Additional enhancements that will be featured include:
• Six stores will have walk-in produce coolers designed to keep produce fresher, longer. These stores are in the towns of Andrews, SC, Columbia, SC, Dillon, SC, Florence, SC, Georgetown, SC and Ravenel, SC
• In-store made hand-battered fried chicken in the deli bakery department.
• More local products such as beer and wine, and natural and organic selections.
 Each of the 92 stores will remain open during normal operating hours during the remodel process. Once complete, these locations will offer fresh, new experiences designed to be easier to navigate and shop so customers can get in, out and on their way quickly. Food Lion would have remodeled 80 percent of its network of more than 1,000 stores across its 10-state operating area once these renovations are complete.

March 5, 2019
■ Remembering:


Longtime Head of U.S. Sugar Corp.

 The Food Industry mourns the recent death of J. Nelson Fairbanks at the age of 83. Fairbanks passed away peacefully February 18, 2019 in Orlando, Florida. He was born September 27, 1935 in Jonesville, Louisiana to Stephen and Onie Fairbanks. He was predeceased by his parents and his sister, Velda Brasher.
 Fairbanks graduated from Louisiana State University in 1957 with a B.S. in Animal Science and went on to serve in the U. S. Army as Staff Sergeant until 1962. He returned to LSU and earned a M.S. in Agriculture Economics and Business in 1964.
 He served as Assistant County Agent for East Baton Rouge, LA and was an economist with the American Sugar Cane League in Thibodaux, Louisiana. In 1966, he moved to Clewiston, Florida to join the Florida Sugar Cane League as Vice President and General Manager. He met, fell in love and married Anita Lee Cowart in Pahokee, Florida on May 13, 1967.
 In 1978, Fairbanks joined United States Sugar Corporation as Vice President, Corporate Development and later became Executive Vice President. When John B. Boy retired from U.S. Sugar at the end of 1987, Fairbanks was named President and Chief Executive Officer and served in this capacity until his retirement in 2000.
 During his time with U.S. Sugar, Fairbanks was instrumental in establishing the ESOP retirement plan for U. S. Sugar employees in 1983. Also, in 1983, the company purchased South Central Florida Express Railroad. Under Fairbanks, cattle operations were converted to citrus groves in 1986 and the company built the newest and most efficient citrus processing plant of the time. He was influential in the development of the Everglades Forever Act in 1994. Fairbanks and the employees of U. S. Sugar, along with retirees, growers and many community members led the sugar industry in defeating a statewide penny-a-pound sugar tax in 1996. Governor Lawton Chiles appointed Fairbanks to the Governor's Commission that later developed the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan. He oversaw U.S. Sugar's transition to one hundred percent mechanical sugarcane harvesting and the addition of refined sugar production with the construction of the Clewiston Refinery.
 Fairbanks was very active in Tallahassee and Washington D.C. in protecting sugarcane farmers and the Clewiston community. He also served as a director for several organizations, including the Florida Council of 100, the Florida Sugar Cane League and the Florida Council on Economic Education. He received the Northwood University "Outstanding Business Leader" award for his lifetime support of education.
 Above all, he was a devoted Christian and family man with the highest ethical values. He was a member of First United Methodist Church in Clewiston until moving to Orlando. He became a member of St. Luke's United Methodist Church and was a dedicated member of the Greater Good Men's Discussion Group, a gathering open to men who are committed to faith, growth, and encouragement at his church. He and his wife were active in different organizations providing assistance to families in need in the Orlando area. His was a life spent helping others in his community.
 Fairbanks has always been known for his love of sports and his love of the Clewiston community. For the past five years, the J. Nelson Fairbanks/U. S. Sugar Golf Tournament held in his honor has raised more than $216,000 for Clewiston's golf course and recreational programs. In 2016, the City of Clewiston unveiled a plaque christening the back nine holes, "The Fairbanks Back Nine." As a final honor, recognizing his lifetime love of golf and support of the Clewiston Golf Course, a memorial gift rather than a tournament will be made this year.
 Fairbanks lived in Clewiston for over forty years and raised his family there. After retirement, he and his wife moved to Windermere, Florida to be near his family. He is survived by his beloved wife of nearly 52 years, Anita, his children: Vanessa Fairbanks (John) Hodak of Orlando, Florida and Jay (Olga Penton) Fairbanks of Boone, North Carolina and his grandchildren: Hanna Hodak and Dylan Hodak and Preston Fairbanks and Lilly Fairbanks.  He also leaves behind nieces and nephews; Cora Brakhage, Diana Dueease, Edward Brasher and Freda White.
 Internment took place at Ridgelawn Cemetery in Clewiston.

February 28, 2019

New Meijer Store, Restaurants and Other Businesses Coming to Michigan Development

 Woodward Corners by Beaumont, a 117,000 sq. ft. commercial development located at the intersection of Thirteen Mile Road and Woodward Avenue in Royal Oak, MI., has new retailers on board including the property’s largest tenant, Woodward Corner Market.
The redevelopment plan features six buildings, including a five-story hotel and an array of restaurants and other retail offerings in an attractive setting with green space, landscape gardens and community gathering areas. The first businesses will open this summer.
  “It’s exciting to see all of the progress at Woodward Corners by Beaumont,” Carolyn Wilson, Beaumont Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, said. “A community survey of local residents, our employees and patients guided our development of the property. And, we are still looking for a few more businesses that might be interested in the project.”  Woodward Corner Market will be a 40,000 sq. ft. neighborhood grocery store operated by Meijer. The store will focus on offering customers a unique grocery shopping experience, much like the retailer’s first small format store, Bridge Street Market, which opened in August 2018 in Grand Rapids. Woodward Corner Market will feature a vast assortment of fresh food; local, artisan groceries; and Meijer and national brand products at low prices.
 “Meijer is excited to open Woodward Corner Market as part of this exciting development along iconic Woodward Avenue,” Meijer President and CEO Rick Keyes said. “Our mission has always focused on providing quality products, outstanding customer service and exceptional value to the communities we serve. Woodward Corner Market builds upon the commitment the Meijer family made in Metro Detroit more than 40 years ago with a convenient and unique grocery experience.”
 Woodward Corners will connect with the Beaumont Hospital campus through easily accessible walking paths. That connection will help enhance the experience for the surrounding community and for the up to 13,000 people who visit Beaumont, Royal Oak each day, according to hospital President Nancy Susick.
 “As a destination medical center that includes a Proton Therapy Center, we care for local, out-of-state and international patients and families,” Susick said. “Woodward Corners by Beaumont will be a place where patients, families, community members, Beaumont staff, volunteers and physicians can take a break, relax, share a meal or do some shopping.”

WOODWARD CORNERS BY BEAUMONT (pictured above), a 117,000 sq. ft. commercial development located at the intersection of Thirteen Mile Road and Woodward Avenue in Royal Oak, MI., has new retailers on board including the property’s largest tenant, Woodward Corner Market.

February 26, 2019

Kroger and Ocado Set Two Additional Sites for High-Tech CFC’s

Central Florida and Mid-Atlantic selected as locations for innovative robotics warehouse facilities

 The Kroger Co. and Ocado have announced Central Florida and Mid-Atlantic as the newly-named regions for America's next two customer fulfillment centers (CFC).
 "Kroger is excited to partner with Ocado—one of the most innovative, advanced companies in the world—to redefine the grocery shopping experience for customers along the East Coast," said Rodney McMullen, Kroger's chairman and CEO. "We are incredibly excited to introduce customer fulfillment centers in this region to deliver on our Restock Kroger vision to serve America through food inspiration and uplift."
 Kroger has committed to building 20 CFCs, powered by Ocado, to accelerate its ability to provide customers with anything, anytime and anywhere. The CFC model – an automated warehouse facility with digital and robotic capabilities, also known as a "shed" – will be replicated to serve customers across America. In November 2018, Kroger announced its first CFC will be constructed in Monroe, OH, a suburb north of Cincinnati.
 "Kroger is developing the retail model of the future through our exciting partnership with Ocado, a UK-based company with global ties," said Alex Tosolini, Kroger's senior vice president of new business development. "We will co-innovate with Ocado to develop the best possible experiences for our customers, leveraging advanced robotics technology and creative solutions."
 "This announcement marks another important step toward combining Kroger's long-standing dedication to innovative and world-class grocery services with Ocado's unique, industry-leading technology," said Luke Jensen, CEO of Ocado Solutions. "As the U.S. retail landscape continues to change, these CFCs will play a crucial role in helping Kroger offer its customers a superior online shopping experience in these two major markets."

KROGER’S first customer fulfillment center (pictured) – an automated warehouse facility with digital and robotic capabilities, also known as a “shed” – will be constructed in Monroe, OH, a suburb north of Cincinnati.

February 11, 2019

Product of the Year USA Announces 2019 Award Winners

 Product of the Year USA, the world's largest consumer-voted award for product innovation, proudly announced the highly-anticipated winners of the 2019 Product of the Year Awards. Determined by a national study of 40,000 consumers conducted by Kantar, a global leader in consumer research, the 36 winning products have been awarded as the most innovative products of the year in their respective categories.
 For over 30 years globally, and 11 years in the US, Product of the Year has guided consumers to the best products on the market by recognizing companies and brands for quality and product innovation.
 The 36 winners of the 2019 Product of the Year Awards were announced at last night's annual Product of the Year Awards Show at the Edison Ballroom in New York City and can be found online at The night kicked off with a red carpet, hosted by Sara Gore, which led into the awards show, hosted by Ross Mathews and Ali Wentworth, and was followed by an after party sponsored by Strongbow.  "Backed by the votes of over 40,000 everyday consumers, the distinctive Product of the Year logo helps shoppers identify the best new products in the supermarket, and saves them valuable time and money during the shopping experience," said Mike Nolan, CEO of Product of the Year. "In an increasingly competitive and saturated marketplace, the Product of the Year seal of approval gives our winning products a powerful tool proven to increase product trial, consumer awareness, distribution and sales."
 Product of the Year accepts entries each year from consumer packaged goods that demonstrate innovation, and were launched within the previous year. The entries span a wide breadth of product categories, such as food, beverages, personal care, household care and more, with one product being chosen as a winner in its category through a nationally representative online study of 40,000 consumers conducted by Kantar.
 The 36 winners of the 2019 Product of the Year Award are:
• AIR CARE | Air Wick Essential Mist - Reckitt Benckiser
• ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE | Strongbow Hard Ciders, 100 Cal Slim Cans - Heineken USA
• BETTER-FOR-YOU SNACK | Gold Emblem abound White Cheddar Flavored Bite-sized Quinoa & Rice Cakes - CVS Health
• BREAD | ALDI Specially Selected Sliced Sourdough Round – ALDI, Inc.
• BREAKFAST | Del Monte Fruit & Oats - Del Monte Foods
• CAFFEINATED PRODUCT | Java House Cold Brew - Dual Use Liquid Pods - Heartland Food Products Group
• CANDY BAR | Butterfinger – The Ferrara Candy Company, an affiliate of Ferrero Group
• CAR CARE | Rain-X Waterless Car Wash & Rain Repellent - ITW GLOBAL BRANDS
• CAT CARE | Fresh Step Clean Paws - The Clorox Company
• CONVENIENCE MEAL | BUSH'S Savory Beans - Bush Brothers & Company
• COOKIE | OREO THINS BITES - Mondelēz International
• DISH BOOSTER | FINISH Jet-Dry - Reckitt Benckiser
• DOG CARE | Comfort Zone Calming Vest for Dogs - Central Garden & Pet
• FEMININE CARE | Playtex Simply Gentle Glide - Edgewell Personal Care
• FRESH ENTRÉE | Cooked Perfect Fresh Meatballs - Home Market Foods
• FROZEN ENTRÉE | Lean Cuisine Origins - Nestlé USA
• GUM | Tic Tac Gum - Ferrero
• HEALTH SYSTEMS | CONTOUR NEXT ONE Smart Meter and App System - Ascensia Diabetes Care
• HEALTHY BEVERAGE | ZYN – Holistic Wellness Beverage
• HOUSEHOLD CLEANING | Scrubbing Bubbles Bubbly Bleach Gel Toilet Bowl Cleaner - SC Johnson
• HOUSEHOLD ESSENTIALS | Reynolds KITCHENS Quick Cut Plastic Wrap - Reynolds Consumer Products
• ICE CREAM | Nightfood Ice Cream - Nightfood
• IMMEDIATE RELIEF | HALLS KIDS - Mondelēz International
• KIDS NOVELTY SNACK | Kinder Joy - Ferrero U.S.A.
• LAUNDRY BOOSTER | Purex Crystals New & Improved Formula - Henkel
• LAUNDRY PACS | Tide PODS Ultra Oxi - Procter & Gamble
• LIQUID DISH SOAP | Dawn Platinum - Procter & Gamble
• LIQUID LAUNDRY | Tide Fresh Coral Blast - Procter & Gamble
• ORAL CARE | Crest Gum Detoxify - Procter & Gamble
• PAPER TOWELS | Brawny Tear-A-Square - Georgia Pacific
• SIDE DISH | Idahoan Family Size Flavored Mashed Potatoes - Idahoan Foods, LLC.
• SKIN PROTECTION | Honu Sunscreen - Starco Brands
• SUGAR CONFECTIONS | Black Forest Gummy Bears - Ferrara Candy Company
• VEGETARIAN ENTRÉE | ALDI Earth Grown Chickenless Patties or Tenders – ALDI, Inc.
• WINE | ALDI Intermingle Red Blend – ALDI, Inc.

February 4, 2019
■ This Valentine's Day

No Shortage of Ways to Send Your Love

Give Brach’s Conversation Hearts

 Despite recent news of a shortage in America's favorite Valentine's Day candy, a broad variety of Brach's Conversation Hearts are currently available at a wide array of retailers around the country, helping ensure everyone can share the love this year. Brach's, the No. 1 conversation heart producer and the overall leading non-chocolate brand at Valentine's Day, offers heartfelt messages in a wide variety of classic and inventive flavors, sizes and packages.
 "Brach's is and has been the leader in the conversation hearts category for years. In 2018, Brach's had 55 percent market dollar share among the top four brands in the segment. In terms of pounds sold, we outpaced our nearest former competitor nearly three to one. Brach's size, texture, colors, sayings, flavors and quality provide the perfect sweet solution for those conversation heart lovers who are lamenting over reports that this Valentine's favorite is not available this year," stated Hans Becher, General Manager Brach's and Seasonal Confections at Ferrara Candy Company.
 Brach's Tiny Conversation Hearts are available in classic flavors including wintergreen, banana, orange, lemon, cherry and grape as well as on-trend flavors including Tropical Fruit, Very Berry and Sweet and Sour.
 To further tap into trends, Brach's has added new culturally relevant phrases and colloquialisms to Conversation Hearts on a regular basis, ensuring contemporary expressions, acronyms and emoticons are brought to life. Newer sayings include TTYL (Talk To You Later), Adorbz, BFF, and LYMY (Love You Miss You). These, combined with other contemporary expressions such as Text Me, Yowsa, and ILU, bring this classic Valentine's Day candy conversation into the 21st century. These newer sayings join timeless and perennially popular phrases that are more common to the category, such as Be Mine, Love You, Let's Kiss, Miss You and Hug Me. Brach's Conversation Hearts first appeared in the 1960s and have been a Valentine's staple ever since.
 "The reason our seasonal brands lead the market lies in the way we combine iconic, time-honored classics with innovative, on-trend elements to deliver candy that helps today's consumer celebrate, bake and decorate with their friends and families," Becher adds.

February 1, 2019

Tom Brady Introduces TB12 Plant-Based Protein

 With the Super Bowl almost here, the timing of this new product introduction is perfection. TB12 Plant-Based Protein shakes up the protein game as a great-tasting and sustainable plant-based protein made from peas. Why peas? Peas pack a powerful protein punch — they are rich in lysine (an essential amino acid that is a key to muscle recovery) and arginine (a semi-essential amino acid that promotes healing and blood flow). This balanced amino acid profile provides your body with the daily protein that it needs to support your lifestyle while promoting muscle recovery and growth.
 Available in chocolate and vanilla, each bag of TB12 Plant-Based Protein contains 30 servings. Each serving contains 24 grams of protein and 0 grams of sugar and is made with only 7 ingredients (6 ingredients for vanilla). Our protein is always made with the highest-quality ingredients and without any preservatives, fillers, or artificial flavors — so you get all of what you need, and none of what you don’t.
 TB12 Plant-Based Protein is:
• Organic, Vegan
• Non-GMO
• Allergen friendly
• Sustainably sourced and environmentally friendly
• Grown and made in the USA
The product will be sold exclusively on
$40 ($36 for monthly subscription)

January 29, 2019
■ Valentine’s Day Central:

More Reasons to Love a Sweet Holiday

 What’s sweeter than sharing treats with others – especially at Valentine’s Day? According to a National Confectioners Association survey, 80 percent of Americans say they plan to share chocolate and candy with friends, family and loved ones during this holiday season. And with 92 percent of Americans in agreement that chocolate and candy are a treat, it’s a perfect gift to give in February.
 “We know that most Americans enjoy chocolate and candy two to three times per week, including at special candy moments like Valentine’s Day,” said John Downs, president and CEO of the National Confectioners Association. “The gift giving tradition spans generations and is a highlight of the holiday. But we know that people are also interested in understanding how they can make informed choices about the treats they enjoy at the holiday – and throughout the year.”
 For consumers seeking to manage their sugar intake, NCA has launched a new digital hub with a focus on balance and mindful treating, called Valentine’s Day Central. The resources found on Valentine’s Day Central include tools to reinforce the unique role that chocolate and candy can play around the holiday.
 “We are so proud of our industry’s efforts to support consumers as they enjoy their favorite treats,” Downs said. “We work hard to ensure that everyone can feel good about sharing chocolate and candy with the special people in their lives, helping to make Valentine’s Day a fun holiday for all.”
 To help people keep balance in mind seasonally and throughout the year, America’s leading chocolate and candy companies are working alongside the Partnership for a Healthier America to provide consumers with more information, options and support as they enjoy their favorite treats.
 For more information about chocolate and candy during the Valentine’s Day season, including storage tips, history and fun facts, please visit

January 24, 2019
■ The Big Day is Almost Here and

Consumers Say They’ll Spend Big on Super Bowl

 American adults say they will spend an average $81.30 for a total of $14.8 billion as they watch the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams meet up in the Super Bowl next month, according to the annual survey released today by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics.
 “You don’t have to be a football fan to celebrate the Super Bowl,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Whether it’s to see who wins, watch the halftime show and commercials or just get together with friends, this is the biggest party since New Year’s Eve. Spending is expected to be at one the highest levels we’ve seen. And retailers are ready whether you need food, team jerseys, decorations or a new TV.”
 The average spending is virtually unchanged from last year’s $81.17 and is the second-highest in the history of the survey after a record of $82.19 set in 2016. The total amount is down from last year’s $15.3 billion, primarily because fewer people plan to watch the game – 182.5 million this year compared with 188.5 million last year. The overall spending is still the third-highest on record, after last year’s figure and $15.5 billion in 2016.
 The biggest spenders are those ages 35-44 at an average $123.26 while the lowest are those 65 and older at $40.97. Viewers in the Northeast plan to spend the most, at an average $94.89, followed by the West at $84.01, the South at $79.09 and the Midwest at $69.24.
 The survey found that 72 percent of adults plan to watch the game, down from 76 percent last year. Among those watching, 79 percent plan to buy food and beverages, 10 percent team apparel and accessories, 7 percent decorations, also 7 percent for new televisions, and 4 percent furniture such as entertainment centers.
 Close to a quarter (24 percent or 61 million) plan to attend a party, while 17 percent (44 million) will throw one while 5 percent (13 million) will watch in a bar or restaurant. The largest share of those watching (43 percent) say the game is the most important part of the event, but 23 percent cite the commercials, 14 percent getting together with friends, 13 percent the halftime show and 7 percent the food.
 :The survey found that 76 percent see the commercials as entertainment and that only 10 percent say they are influenced to make a purchase, but the ads carry more weight among younger viewers. Of those ages 18-24, 17 percent say the commercials influence them to buy and 16 percent are prompted to search online for more information.
 “The numbers vary from year to year, but regardless of the economy, politics or the weather, most Americans manage to take a break every year for the Super Bowl,” Prosper Vice President of Strategy Phil Rist said. “The big game is a day for big spending regardless of who plays or wins.”
 The survey of 7,384 adults 18 and older was conducted January 2-9, before it was known which teams would play, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.2 percentage points. The viewership numbers may differ from other figures such as official TV ratings because they include all individuals who say they will watch regardless of how or where.

January 23, 2019
■ "Waze for Groceries"

Unveils Super Bowl Spending & Savings

 Andy Ellwood led development at Waze, and has now taken on groceries.
 Basket – the app that allows you to punch in your entire grocery list and comparison shop all the stores in your area to see where you can get your items for the lowest price possible – is focusing on football.
 Powered by their real-time and always-current data, Basket dove into the prices paid by Americans for the 2018 Super Bowl, and are forecasting what shoppers can expect to spend on their Super Bowl parties this year.
 The average cost to host a Super Bowl party went up 4% last year, from $313 to $324. Prices in the South decreased by 12% for chicken wings.
 In the Northeast, shoppers saved 22% on chips and dips at Walmart, opposed to Safeway.  What does this mean for the rest of the season? Basket forecasts that shoppers in February can expect the following:
 The South is (still) winging it – Chicken wings saw an overall price decrease of ~12% in the South, so Basket encourages party hosts below the Mason-Dixon to take advantage of major savings on everyone’s favorite Super Bowl staple.
 Walmart is the go-to for all your snacking needs. Let’s be honest. Chips & dip are the best part of the Super Bowl, and Walmart has the market cornered on salty savings. There is no competition here.

January 18, 2019

General Mills Feeding Better Futures Scholars Program Seeking Young Innovators

 General Mills launched the second year of its Feeding Better Futures Scholars Program, a platform encouraging today's youth to share their solutions to fight hunger, reduce food waste, and grow food more sustainably. Young innovators across North America are invited to submit their ideas for a chance to win $50,000 to further their program, and receive industry mentorship and exposure at the prestigious Aspen Ideas Festival.
 According to recent estimates, food production will need to increase by 70 percent to feed the world's growing population, which is projected to surpass 9 billion people by 2050.
 "Feeding future generations sustainably is a complicated problem, and we recognize the need to find solutions now," said Jeff Harmening, chairman and CEO, General Mills. "As a global food leader for over 150 years, we're proud of our efforts to alleviate hunger and promote environmentally responsible practices across our supply chain, but we can't solve these issues alone."
 To get involved in this year's program, young people ages 13-21 are invited to enter the solutions they're leading in their communities by submitting a short video or photos to now through February 26, 2019. General Mills will announce three program finalists in April 2019.
 Finalists from last year's General Mills Feeding Better Futures Scholars Program include:
KATIE STAGLIANO (Grand Prize Winner): Ten years ago, Katie, 19, started Katie's Krops with the mission to empower youth to grow vegetable gardens and donate the harvest to help feed people in need. Today there are more than 100 Katie's Krops gardens growing across the country.
JACK GRIFFIN: Jack developed an app called FoodFinder that connects families with local food pantries. To date, the app has cataloged over 25,000 food pantries in all 50 states.
JOY YOUWAKIM: Joy created a solution to use vacant landfill space to grow quality, nutritious produce.
KATE INDRELAND: Kate worked diligently on her own ranch to implement regenerative agriculture, new processes to restore important nutrients back to the soil.
BRAEDEN MANNERING: Braeden's program, 3B Brae's Brown Bags, helps homeless and low-income populations get access to healthy food and clean water through brown bag donations. He also seeks to empower other young people and has activated over 3,600 volunteers across the country.
 General Mills has been active in hunger relief, soil health and sustainable agriculture for years, serving as a leader in promoting environmentally and socially responsible practices across its supply chain, as well as providing resources to food insecure communities. Some of these initiatives include:
• Partnering with USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service to restore and protect pollinator habitat across hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland in North America.
• Committing to sustainably source all 10 of the company's priority ingredients by 2020. The company is currently 76 percent of the way there.
• Serving as a founding partner of Feeding America, the Global Foodbanking Network and Partners in Food Solutions, and enabling more than 201 million meals through food donations globally since 2010.
 Partnering with MealConnect to recover and distribute more than 575 million pounds of surplus food in partnership with 90 food banks, facilitate more than 1.2 million food pickups and support more than 4,200 nonprofit hunger relief organizations since 2014.
 For official rules or to enter in-action solutions for the General Mills Feeding Better Futures Scholars Program, visit

January 14, 2019

Litehouse Retail Promotion Brings Big Flavor to the Big Game

 With less than one month until the Big Game, Litehouse, Inc., a 100 percent employee-owned company and the No. 1 Refrigerated Salad Dressing (RSD) brand in the combined U.S. and Canada, will kick off its annual retail promotion on January 20. The “Big Game Big Flavor” promotion will highlight two fan favorites – Homestyle Ranch and Chunky Blue Cheese dressings and dips – and support retailers by driving sales with discounted pricing during an important time period.
 The market leader in ranch and blue cheese dressing, Litehouse Homestyle Ranch and Chunky Blue Cheese dressing sales are up a combined 24 percent year-over-year, and retailers promoting with Litehouse typically see a 40 percent increase in sales. This strong performance, and the demand for versatile dressings and dips during the Big Game, illustrate a powerful opportunity for retailers to promote with Litehouse.
 “This promotion will help increase sales and grow the basket ring for our retail partners, while also inspiring consumers to add big flavor to their game day spread,” said Camille Balfanz, senior brand manager at Litehouse. “Our classically-delicious Chunky Blue Cheese and Homestyle Ranch dressings are the perfect complement to hot wings and fresh veggies, pizza, burgers and other popular Big Game fare.”
 A delicious combination of fresh herb and vegetable flavors, Litehouse Homestyle Ranch was declared the best-tasting ranch dressing by consumers during a blind sensory test against competing brands. Made with fresh buttermilk, homemade mayonnaise, and the perfect blend of spices, Litehouse Chunky Blue Cheese combines Litehouse’s original blue cheese recipe with loads of award-winning artisan blue cheese chunks. These Litehouse dressings are refrigerated, gluten-free, contain no high fructose corn syrup, and are made without any artificial flavors, colors or preservatives.
 “Big Game Big Flavor” runs January 20 through February 9 and will be supported by offline and online initiatives, including: Consumer savings and promotional pricing at select retailers; In-store signage and sampling; A satellite media tour hosted by a lifestyle expert; Content and recipes from bloggers and social media influencers and Online consumer sweepstakes.
 Beginning January 18, consumers can visit the Litehouse website to enter the “Big Game Big Flavor” sweepstakes for a chance to win a 65-inch flat screen television. To learn more about the sweepstakes and promotion, follow Litehouse online or visit

January 11, 2019
■ National Pastrami Day Celebrates

Pastrami’s Enduring Role in American Culture

 January 14 marks National Pastrami Day, and to celebrate pastrami’s role in American culture, the North American Meat Institute and Beef Checkoff released new video recipes that showcase this succulent beef’s versatility.
 Americans’ love of pastrami dates back to its arrival in the late 1800s, when it was first served in New York City by Lithuanian immigrant Sussman Volk, who was given the recipe by his Romanian friend in repayment of a favor. By the 1920s and 30s, delis in New York City’s theater district helped further popularize pastrami, often serving stacks of the delicious meat on rye with a pickle on the side. The pastrami sandwich became closely linked with Jewish culture and celebration, and pastrami was commonly served at weddings and bar mitzvahs – again, only on rye.
 The new video recipes show that today’s pastrami is not just for stacking on rye. They feature innovative pastrami dishes for each meal, including pastrami, egg and cheese for breakfast; pastrami tacos for lunch; pastrami-inspired barbecue for dinner and a pastrami boosted burger.
 “Our love of pastrami has been the subject of hit songs, famous movie scenes and global festivals,” said North American Meat Institute Vice President of Public Affairs Eric Mittenthal. “Today, creative chefs have developed many unique ways to serve pastrami, but it doesn’t take a culinary degree to use it to boost the flavor of many dishes.”
 In addition to the new videos, the Meat Institute and Beef Checkoff developed an online Guide to Pastrami complete with fun facts, trivia, interesting preparation ideas and a sampling of unique pastrami offerings from across the country. The guide also includes details on the differences between pastrami and corned beef and a variety of pastrami options that fit into different nutrition categories such as “low fat.”
 The Meat Institute and Beef Checkoff will be highlighting all of these resources and more using #NationalPastramiDay on January 14.

January 10, 2019

The World of Flavors and Spices is Changing Fast

 While salt and pepper remain staples in every kitchen, consumer’s taste buds are demanding new and exciting flavors. Even garlic has expanded its portfolio to now include roasted and black garlic for their distinctive roasted and sweet smoky flavor.
 Chefs and home cooks have busted down the ethnic borders of spices to create unique and delicious meals. New flavors like Sriracha, Zataar, Sumac, Mojo Citrus rubs, Curries, Cardamom, Kale Flakes are being embraced by foodies now more than ever.
 For example, Hummus and Couscous sounded just as exotic 25 years ago; they are now in every supermarket in America. Aside from the growth of Hispanic, Indian, Asian and other ethnic cuisines, cooks are now handpicking flavors from each culinary culture to create their own fusion of flavors.
 Sesame Seeds, as an example, are now more present in foods than on just a burger bun. From seared tuna to stir fry meats, sautéed vegetable dishes and salads, these little guys crossed over to mainstream.
 Not only do people want new and delicious foods, many have their own direction in the kitchen from cooking for health benefits with Turmeric, Hemp, Flax and Cayenne or to using only Organics, which its growth is the leading segment in this fast changing category. Many want to add an element with texture to their meals with Sliced Almonds, Flax Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds or Pine Nuts.
 Coconut Milk, Ghost Pepper sauce along with Capers and Olives are also jumping into the arena to add an exciting new flavor for your taste buds.
 While spices are less than 1% of the cost of a meal, they are 99% of the flavor. Spices are the signature flavor of the cook.
 Chicken can now be made 1000 ways!
 Stay tuned, Specialty Salts, Peppers and many other exotic flavors are on their way to your dinner plate.
 Wake up your flavor!

January 9, 2019

Stop & Shop Acquires King Kullen

 Stop & Shop has agreed to acquire King Kullen Grocery Co., Inc. The agreement includes King Kullen’s 32 supermarkets, five Wild by Nature stores and the use of its corporate office located in Bethpage, NY.
  “King Kullen is a well-respected grocery chain in the Long Island market that has an 88-year tradition of excellent customer service,” said Mark McGowan, President of Stop & Shop. “We look forward to bringing our quality, selection and value to more communities in Nassau and Suffolk Counties.”
 The acquisition is currently expected to close during the first quarter of 2019, subject to customary closing conditions.
 "In 1930, Michael J. Cullen opened the first King Kullen and ushered in the era of the great American supermarket,” said Brian Cullen, Co-President of King Kullen Grocery Co. “As a family-owned and operated business, we are very proud of our heritage and extremely grateful to all of our associates and customers for their support over the years. We are confident the Stop & Shop brand will carry on our legacy of service in the region."
 The Food Partners, LLC served as the financial and strategic advisor to Stop & Shop. JP Morgan served as the financial and strategic advisor to King Kullen.

January 3, 2019

Krasdale Foods Promotes Steve Silver to President

 Krasdale Foods has elevated Steve Silver to the role of President as part of the 110-year old company’s succession plan.
 Silver has been with Krasdale 37 years and, in addition to his new role, will continue to serve as Chief Operating Officer and as a member of the Board of Directors. Over the years, he has played a major role in expanding Krasdale into the largest grocery distributor in New York City while also building out its vertically integrated structure.
 “Steve is such an important part of our company’s success,” said Charles Krasne who will continue on in his role as CEO and Chairman of the Board of Krasdale Foods. “He is deeply involved in all aspects of the business and has earned the respect of our employees, customers and partners. I know he is eager to continue to drive future growth for the company.”
 Krasdale has grown from a New York-centric brand to a multi-state grocery servicer and supplier, providing personalized counseling, and business and marketing support to multiple generations of entrepreneurs.
 “I look forward to leading and working alongside our highly experienced Executive Management Team whose decades of industry experience will continue to build on the values and vision of the Krasne family,” Silver said. “Our Executive Management Team has the vision, leadership and business acumen to ensure that Krasdale continues to give independent store owners all the tools they need to succeed.”
 “Together with Steve, the Executive Management Team and the entire Krasne family we will continue to carry out our mission of empowering independent food retailers,” said Thatcher Krasne, a third-generation owner and member of the Board of Directors who serves as President and CEO of Alpha 1 Marketing, the company’s merchandising and marketing arm.
 With its headquarters in White Plains, NY, and distribution center in the Bronx, Krasdale services more than 300 independent supermarkets with many of them operating under the C-Town and Bravo banners in the Northeast and Florida, along with hundreds of smaller markets that are located in the New York area. A fully integrated grocery servicer and supplier, Krasdale is comprised of several affiliated companies including Alpha 1 Marketing, Beta II Marketing, Consolidated Supermarket Supply, and KoolTemp Foods.

January 2, 2019
■ Palladium Equity Partners Announces

Investment in Partnership with Family Founders of Quirch Foods

 Palladium Equity Partners, LLC, a private investment firm with approximately $3 billion in assets under management, has announced that one of its affiliated private equity funds has made a significant investment in Quirch Foods, Co., a leading distributor and exporter of protein and Hispanic food products based in the U.S. Palladium's investment was made in partnership with the owners and management of Quirch. Terms were not disclosed.
 Founded in 1967 by the Quirch family, the Company utilizes multiple distribution centers across the U.S. to distribute beef, pork, poultry, seafood and other retail products to independent and ethnic grocers in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, U.S. national retailers, and Latin American export markets. Quirch's extensive portfolio of owned and licensed brands includes Panamei Seafood, Mambo and Chiquita Frozen.
 Palladium will partner with the Quirch family and management team with the goal of expanding the Company's market reach via a series of growth initiatives including expansion into new product offerings and geographies, and potential acquisitions in the food distribution industry.
 Palladium's current and past investments in the food industry include Spice World, a garlic and spice company; Kar's Nuts, a snack nut and trail mix product company; Del Real Foods, a Hispanic refrigerated foods company; GoodWest Industries, a provider of beverage dispensing solutions; Teasdale Foods, a producer of bean and hominy products; Sahale Snacks, a manufacturer and marketer of premium, branded nut and fruit snacks; Wise Foods, a manufacturer and marketer of salty snacks; and Castro Cheese, a manufacturer and distributor of premium, authentic Hispanic cheeses and other dairy products.
 Luis Zaldivar, a Senior Managing Director of Palladium, said, "Quirch represents a unique opportunity for Palladium to leverage its experience investing in the U.S. Hispanic market, founder-owned businesses, and fragmented industries. We are excited to partner with Quirch's management team along with the Quirch family to help support the Company's next phase of growth."
 Frank Grande, President of Quirch, told TODAY’S GROCER, "The partnership with Palladium will allow Quirch to better serve our customers and accelerate our growth – while upholding the legacy and core values instilled by the Quirch family that have made Quirch a success since its founding."
 Mauricio Quirch, a member of the Quirch family, said, "We are excited to partner with Palladium, which shares our vision of maintaining the Company's legacy as a strong business with proud heritage and identity. We believe this partnership with Palladium will be beneficial in the Company's next chapter."

December 3, 2018

Hiland Dairy Adds Custard Flavored Milk for the Holidays

 Hiland Dairy Foods Company, a leading farmer-owned dairy producer, has announced a new holiday flavor, Custard has launched and is available where most Hiland products are available.
 Custard is new to the Hiland Dairy holiday lineup this year. So, what is custard? Hiland Dairy Custard is a seasonal favorite at our locations in the mid-south. It is made from fresh Hiland milk, eggs and sugar. The ingredients are combined and slowly heated until thickened and then chilled and packaged.
 What makes Custard different from Hiland Dairy Eggnog? Eggnog is made with rich Hiland Dairy cream, eggs and nutmeg. We're often told that custard tastes like melted ice cream. According to Rick Beaman, Vice President, Hiland Dairy, "We are excited to bring this holiday favorite to all of our markets. And we're willing to bet that fans of both our eggnog and the custard will disagree as to which is the best, so we are launching a fun consumer contest during December on our Facebook page to let the votes determine the favorite."
 Both Hiland Dairy Eggnog and Hiland Dairy Custard are now available at a suggested retail price of $2.79 each.

December 2, 2018

Convenience Stores Sell the Most Coveted Holiday Gift: Time

 The holiday shopping season kicked off with a bang, with an estimated 164 million people shopping during the five days from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday, according to information from the National Retail Federation.
 However, the record number of holiday shoppers during those five days is eclipsed by the estimated 165 million people who shop at a convenience store every day, according to a new report released by the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS).
 Time To Shop, a new report recently released by NACS, documents how Americans shop at convenience stores. The report features data collected from national consumer surveys conducted this year by public opinion research firm PSB.
 Americans rely on convenience stores to refuel their vehicles, or to grab a quick snack, beverage or meal—in less than four minutes. These shoppers are all visiting convenience stores for the convenience of a one-stop shopping experience with fast speed of service. Most of all, stores fulfill an immediate need to fuel up or fill up: Convenience stores sell 80% of the gas purchased in the United States and inside the store 83% of the food, drinks and snacks shoppers buy are consumed within an hour of purchase.
 “Half of America stops at a convenience store every day, though people may not even think about the experience because it is so quick and convenient,” said NACS Vice President of Strategic Industry Initiatives Jeff Lenard. “Throughout the remainder of the year plenty of holiday shoppers will visit convenience stores to fill up their cars, grab a quick drink or snack as they hit the roads, or even buy gift cards and stocking stuffers at c-stores.”
 Here are a few insights into how Americans shop at convenience stores:
• Convenient locations: 93% of Americans live within 10 minutes of a convenience store, including 86% of those living in rural areas. Convenient location was cited as the top convenience attribute by consumers (33%), outpacing other convenience offerings including “no lines” (30%), plenty of parking spots close to the store (9%) and the ability to order online (6%).
• One-stop shopping: 48% of gas customers say they went inside the store the last time they purchased fuel. Of those purchasing an item, 53% say they went inside primarily to purchase a beverage.
• Speed of service: Nearly half of all customers (45%) said they were in and out of the store with a purchase in under 3 minutes. Meanwhile, 21% spent more than 5 minutes inside the store, most likely because they were ordering prepared food or dining inside the store.
• New convenience opportunities exist: Frequent convenience store customers are most likely to embrace retailers that offer instant pay or cashier-less checkout solutions. Both online ordering for in-store pickup and ordering items from other stores that could be picked up at in-store lockers were also heavily favored by frequent convenience store customers.

November 21, 2018
■ Turkey, Stuffing, and Pumpkin Pie

Pringles Brings Back Thanksgiving-Inspired Favorites

 Last Thanksgiving, Pringles showed the world they deserve a seat at the table when they launched the Pringles Thanksgiving Dinner. The limited time only offering gave snackers the chance to taste eight new innovative, Thanksgiving-inspired flavors. This year, Pringles is upping the ante and giving fans a chance to get their hands on a can (or three) of favorites from last year’s lineup: Turkey, Stuffing, and Pumpkin Pie.
 Pringles, known for their insanely accurate and innovative flavors, is offering three delicious Thanksgiving tastes to select consumers nationwide. Turkey Pringles are a take on the traditional oven roasted turkey flavor, which instantly became one of last year’s favorites. Stuffing is just like the herb-y side dish that you always seem to pile high on your dinner plate. Last, and by no means least, Pumpkin Pie is sweet and spiced just like your grandma’s recipe. From the Friendsgiving spread, to hostess gifts, to your celebrated family potluck, Pringles Thanksgiving Crisps are perfect for all your holiday social events.
 "When we launched Pringles Thanksgiving Dinner last year, it was so exciting to see Pringles fans’ positive reactions celebrating how insanely accurate the flavors were,” said Yuvraj Arora, Senior Vice President of Marketing for Kellogg’s U.S. Snacks division. “We knew that we had to get Pringles Thanksgiving flavors in more people’s hands this year—particularly hearing that Turkey, Stuffing and Pumpkin Pie not only were delicious, but truly tasted like the real deal.”
 Designed, sealed and delivered to mimic the canned goods in your pantry around the holidays, Pringles Thanksgiving Crisps come in mini Pringles cans. Feel free to stack them, snack them, and share with friends (but only people on the “nice” list).
 Consumers can purchase a 3-pack of Pringles Thanksgiving crisps for $14.99 at Supplies are limited and are on a first-come, first-serve basis.

November 12, 2018

Lucky’s Market Announces Additional Signed Leases for New Store Locations

Natural Foods Grocer Continues Expansion Plans

 Lucky’s Market, a growing natural and organic foods grocer that offers affordable options for every day foods and specialty choices, announces solid growth and new signed leases for additional store locations in Florida.
 Growing at a steady rate, Lucky’s Market has signed leases for new stores in the following Florida locations: Boca Raton (two locations), Kendall, Bradenton, Brandon and Clearwater. New stores in these cities are scheduled to open in the next 18 to 24 months.
 Lucky’s Market recently announced that the company will also open two new stores in its home state of Colorado as well new stores in the following locations in Florida: Oakleaf, Bonita Springs, Cape Coral, Naples, Fort Myers, Port Charlotte, Venice, Dania Beach, Downtown Orlando, Vineland, Colonial Landing, Lake Mary, Port St. Lucie, Pensacola and Ormond Beach.
 Earlier this month, Lucky’s Market opened two new stores in the Orlando-area – Hunters Creek and Winter Park. Lucky’s Market currently operates 33 stores, 15 of which are in Florida.
 Lucky’s Market was started in 2003 by two chefs with the goal to offer everyone top-quality products at affordable prices with genuine personal service. Lucky’s unique concept includes a wide variety of specialty foods such as: in-house smoked bacon, house-made sausages, fresh seafood, a large selection of fresh, local produce, and a decadent bakery at the store. Lucky’s in-house butcher serves “never ever” meats, which have never been treated with antibiotics or artificial growth hormones. Staying true to Lucky’s culinary roots, customers will also find a department filled with ready-to-eat meals, made from scratch daily inside the store as well as fresh grab-and-go sushi options, hot ramen bars, and hundreds of cheeses from all over the world. Lucky’s Market stores also include juice bars, bulk foods, apothecary departments, beer and wine, inviting café areas and the company’s famous “Sip ‘n Stroll” program where customers can grab a $2 pint of local beer or a $3 glass of wine to enhance their shopping experience.

November 11, 2018

Alfonso Ribeiro Partners with Bob Evans Farms

To Create "Really” Gourmet Sides This Thanksgiving

 “I want to spend all day in the kitchen fussing over my holiday side dishes,” said no one ever. That’s why this holiday season Alfonso and Angela Ribeiro are teaming up with Bob Evans Farms, Inc. to launch “Step One: Done” – a recipe video series that helps even the rookie meal preparer become the MVP of the Thanksgiving meal.
 The Ribeiro’s “Step One: Done” videos, available at along with other holiday recipes and tips, use Bob Evans Farms Original Mashed Potatoes to show how to make “really” gourmet side dishes out of refrigerated mashed potatoes in minutes because, in reality, people want to spend less time on sides and more time with their family and friends during holiday meals.
 “We believe the most important part of hosting Thanksgiving dinner is finding a way to not ruin the turkey. My wife and I are excited to partner with Bob Evans to help invite more home cooks across the country to focus on the turkey instead of the sides,” said Alfonso Ribeiro. “The videos were fun to make, and they may definitely seem silly, but Bob Evans Mashed Potatoes really do taste just like homemade and we can successfully trick our friends into thinking they are homemade by throwing just one delicious ingredient on top.”
 The Ribeiro family isn’t unlike many Americans who use prepared sides to make holiday dinners easier. In fact, according to an actual survey conducted by Bob Evans Farms, more than one in three Americans use prepared sides to make preparing meals quicker. The same study found that 20% of those who use prepared sides tell their guests that the dish was homemade by taking credit for the dish.
 Bob Evans Farms’ survey also found that Gen X and Millennial age groups were much more likely to use prepared sides: 40% and 44% of respondents respectively. Likewise, the study found that men are much more likely to use prepared sides (41%) compared to their female counterparts (31%).
 “The Ribeiros are hilarious and real, so we knew Alfonso and Angela would be the perfect partners to joke about all the time and stress that goes into prepping for holiday meals,” said Chris Lambrix, SVP Retail Business Development at Bob Evans Farms. “From our family to yours, we hope our mashed potatoes can give you time to focus on what really matters: your guests and a flawless turkey.”
 Consumers can enter to win* free Bob Evans Farms products for a year by sharing their favorite “one-step” mashed potato recipe at the The sweepstakes ends on November 19, 2018.
 Bob Evans offers a variety of family-favorite prepared side dishes in an assortment of flavors that are perfect for Thanksgiving, including Mashed Potatoes, Macaroni and Cheese, Glazed Apples, and Homestyle Stuffing. For more information, recipes and tips on hosting the perfect holiday meal, visit

*Official rules:

November 2, 2018

Southeastern Grocers Honors Veterans and U.S. Military Families

Grocer Launching Community Partnership and Discount for Veterans Day

 To salute America’s veterans, military and military families, Southeastern Grocers, Inc. (SEG), parent company and home of BI-LO, Fresco y Más, Harveys Supermarket and Winn-Dixie grocery stores, is proud to announce a community partnership with Folds of Honor to celebrate America’s fallen heroes and their families. In addition, an 11 percent discount on qualifying grocery purchases will be offered to veterans and active military this Veterans Day, November 11.
 Now through November 12, customers can join Southeastern Grocers to honor veterans, military and their families by making a donation to Folds of Honor while shopping at any BI-LO, Harveys Supermarket or Winn-Dixie store. By standing with Folds of Honor, Southeastern Grocers and customers are honoring the sacrifice of fallen and disabled servicemen and women by providing educational scholarships for the spouses and children left behind in the pursuit to protect American freedoms.
 Anthony Hucker, President and CEO of Southeastern Grocers, said, “Those who have served our country have made sacrifices that can never be fully repaid. At Southeastern Grocers, we are committed to honoring those sacrifices and we’re very proud to partner with Folds of Honor as we honor veterans, military and military families leading up to Veterans Day.”
 Major Dan Rooney, Founder and CEO of Folds of Honor said, “Supporting military families through educational opportunities takes a team effort. It is because of the commitments from the great Patriotic partners, Southeastern Grocers associates and customers, that we’re able to continue to carry out our mission at Folds of Honor.”
 The Southeast has some of the largest military veteran populations in the country, with more than 4.1 million retired military men and women living in the seven states Southeastern Grocers serves. In the Southeast alone, Folds of Honor has awarded nearly 1,500 scholarships and over $6.5 million in life changing scholarships to deserving U.S. military families this fall.
 Southeastern Grocers has also pledged to donate one dollar to the United Service Organization (USO) for every dozen premium roses and Celebrate America Bouquet sold between November 7 - 13.

November 1, 2018

SpartanNash Commemorates Veterans Day

Offers Discounts to Veterans, Members of Armed Forces

 SpartanNash will honor current members and veterans of the Armed Forces this Veterans Day by offering an 11 percent discount on all eligible products in its more than 135 corporate-owned retail stores in eight states. The 11 percent discount will be offered Sunday, November 11 and Monday, November 12.
 All active duty, Reserve, National Guard and veterans who present proper identification at any SpartanNash corporate-owned store on Nov. 11 or 12 will receive an 11 percent discount*.
 Participating banners include D&W Fresh Market, Dan’s Supermarket, Dillonvale IGA, Econofoods, Family Fare Supermarkets, Family Fresh Market, Forest Hills Foods, No Frills, Pick’n Save, SunMart, Supermercado Nuestra Familia, ValuLand and VG’s.
 “As a leading distributor of grocery products to U.S. military commissaries around the world, SpartanNash is committed to serving our military heroes and their families, both at home and abroad,” said Meredith Gremel, Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Communications. “Our commitment to those who served or continue to serve is evident throughout the year, but especially on Veterans Day. We are honored to show our appreciation to these men and women.”  SpartanNash stores with flag poles will hold flag-raising ceremonies at 11 a.m. on November 12, which are open to the public and led by local veterans groups or Boy Scout troops.
 In addition to the 11 percent discount, stores will hold a moment of silence at 11 a.m. and host other in-store commemorations to honor and thank veterans throughout the afternoon.
 SpartanNash proudly employs more than 700 self-identified veterans and is committed to hiring, training and retaining current and former members of the Armed Forces and their family members. Because of this, SpartanNash was named a silver-level Veteran-Friendly Employer by the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency and a Military Friendly Employer by VIQTORY.
 “On Veterans Day, and throughout the year, we hope our veteran associates and store guests, as well as those still serving, know how grateful we are for their time in uniform,” said Kathy Mahoney, President of MDV, SpartanNash’s military division, and SpartanNash Chief Legal Officer. “One of our company’s core values is patriotism, and we are proud to be a company that understands the skills and experience service members, veterans and their families bring to our SpartanNash workforce.”
 On Veterans Day 2015, SpartanNash began collecting old, worn, frayed and/or faded American flags at each of its retail grocery stores, 19 distribution centers, food processing facilities and four service centers. Each company location then partners with a local veterans service organization to ensure the proper retirement of the flags. More than 2,500 flags have been retired through the SpartanNash program.

*Note: The discount does not apply to pharmacy, alcohol, tobacco, lottery, stamps, sales tax, gift cards, bottle deposits, already reduced promotional items and other service counter items.

October 22, 2018

UNFI Completes Acquisition of SUPERVALU

 United Natural Foods, Inc. has completed the previously announced acquisition of SUPERVALU INC. for $32.50 per share in cash, or approximately $2.9 billion, including the assumption of outstanding debt and liabilities. The completion follows the satisfaction of all closing conditions including approval of the transaction by SUPERVALU shareholders and receipt of all necessary antitrust approvals.
 "Today is an important milestone for UNFI. We will take the best from both businesses to create North America's premier food wholesaler with significant scale, reach and choices for our customers. We are pleased to welcome our new colleagues from SUPERVALU as well as their customers and suppliers to UNFI. Our companies share customer-centric cultures and dedicated associates who are committed to continuous improvement, which will help drive our integration programs," said Steve Spinner, UNFI's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.
 "We are excited to continue to further build out the store to a more diverse customer base across the country, with both broad better-for-you natural, organic brands and fresh perimeter offerings, as we capitalize on opportunities to cross-sell and realize the benefits of the greater scale we now have as a combined company," said Sean Griffin, Chief Executive Officer of SUPERVALU and Head of the Integration Committee. "Work has already begun for the Company to realize the significant projected run-rate cost synergies associated with this transaction – more than $175 million by year three and more than $185 million by year four – and we are committed to improving profitability into the future. We believe that we can achieve these targets and leverage scalable systems to streamline our processes, more efficiently meet the needs of our customers and reduce future capital expenditures. We look forward to providing an update on our integration efforts at our January 16, 2019 Investor Day."
 UNFI's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Steve Spinner will lead the combined entity, supported by the following executives, who will continue to report to him:
• Chris Testa, President of UNFI
• Danielle Benedict, Chief Human Resources Officer
• Eric Dorne, Chief Administrative Officer & Chief Information Officer
• Paul Green, Chief Supply Chain Officer
• Jill Sutton, Chief Legal Officer, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary
• Mike Zechmeister, Chief Financial Officer
 Sean Griffin, previously UNFI's Chief Operating Officer, will serve as Chief Executive Officer of SUPERVALU and Head of the Integration Committee. This committee includes executives from both companies to drive the implementation of best practices from each company and delivery of synergies as well as a rapid and smooth integration. The following executives will support the SUPERVALU business operations and report directly to Sean Griffin:
• Anne Dament, EVP Retail, Marketing and Private Brands
• Mike Stigers, EVP Wholesale

October 22, 2018

Publix Announces Top Level Changes, Promotions

Kevin Murphy to Become President

 Publix CEO & President Todd Jones has announced officer promotions, effective January 1, 2019.
 Kevin Murphy, Senior Vice President of Retail Operations (pictured), will be promoted to President. Murphy, 48, began his career in 1984 as a front service clerk in Margate, Florida. He worked in various positions before being promoted to store manager in 1995. He was promoted to Jacksonville Division district manager in 2003, Atlanta Division regional director in 2009, Miami Division vice president in 2014 and to his current position in 2016.
 In addition to her current role, Laurie Douglas, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer, will assume additional responsibilities as Chief Digital Officer. Douglas, 55, joined the company in 2006. Prior to joining Publix, she was senior vice president/chief information officer of FedEx Kinko’s Office and Print Center Inc. Before joining FedEx Kinko’s, she was vice president of information and e-business technology at The Home Depot. Dale Myers, 66, Vice President of Retail Business Development, has announced he will retire after 44 years of dedicated service.
 With Myers’ retirement, Bob Bechtel, Miami Division Vice President, will be promoted to Vice President of Customer Experience. Bechtel, 55, began his career in 1978 as a front service clerk in Sarasota, Florida. He worked in various positions before being promoted to store manager in 1991. He was promoted to Lakeland Division District Manager in 1995, Lakeland Division Regional Director in 2008 and to his current position in 2016.
 With Bechtel’s promotion, John Goff, Miami Division Regional Director, will be promoted to Miami Division Vice President. Goff, 45, began his career in 1991 as a front service clerk in Jacksonville, Florida. He worked in various positions before being promoted to Store Manager in 2005. He was promoted to Jacksonville Division District Manager in 2010 and to his current position in 2014.
 Casey Suarez, 59, Vice President of Distribution, has announced he will retire after 40 years of dedicated service.
 With Suarez’s retirement, Mike Lester, Director of Warehousing, will be promoted to Vice President of Distribution. Lester, 53, began his career in 1983 as a warehouse selector in Lakeland, Florida. He worked in various positions before being promoted to warehouse superintendent in 2000. He was promoted to distribution manager in 2008 and to his current position in 2014.
 “We are thankful for the more than four decades that Dale and Casey have served our company,” said Publix CEO & President Todd Jones. “We thank them for their contributions and wish them well in the next chapters of their lives. We are also excited to announce the promotions of Kevin, Laurie, Bob, John and Mike. For our company to have continued success, we need associates who are ready to take the next step in their Publix careers. These promotions continue to perpetuate our Publix culture of developing associates by preparing them for opportunity.”
 Jones will continue as Publix’ CEO.

August 14, 2018

Meijer Welcomes 45,000 College Freshmen to "Meijer Mania"

 Midwest retailer Meijer is getting ready to welcome more than 45,000 incoming college freshmen as they head to campus this fall during widely-popular shopping celebrations dubbed "Meijer Mania."
 The annual Back-to-College events celebrate incoming students in style during a night of fun—complete with a DJ, photo booth and interactive contests—while helping them collect their last-minute dorm and classroom essentials. The retailer kicks off Meijer Mania this week, hosting a total of 22 events for 19 colleges across the Midwest through early September.
 "Our Meijer Mania events provide students the opportunity to shop for their first living spaces away from home and share a fun-filled bonding experience with classmates," said Cathy Cooper, Senior Director of Promotions and Sponsorships at Meijer. "We are pleased to partner with so many colleges and universities to help ease the transition of moving into a new living environment for these students."
 Meijer began throwing in-store events for incoming college freshmen more than 15 years ago to give students a chance to get to know their peers in a fun atmosphere, and introduce the Meijer brand to those who may not have grown up shopping at the Midwest supercenter—some of whom may need to learn how to pronounce the retailer's name for the first time, Cooper said.
 In total, more than 45,000 students—anywhere from 300 to 6,500 freshmen per event—will bus from campuses to their local Meijer store for a night of festivities. Typically, a DJ will get the crowd pumped up while students participate in interactive games and contests, snap pictures in the photo booth, and stock their carts with snacks and school supplies. Meijer also provides samples and coupons, and occasionally hosts big-ticket giveaways.
 One of retail's leading shopping seasons, back-to-school and college is a $82.8 billion industry, according to the National Retail Federation. Meijer Mania events help spread out the spending during a time when college students and their families are busy preparing for the school year.

August 9, 2018
■ Dorm Room Eating 101:

Ibotta Reveals Best Days to Buy Ramen, Frozen Pizza and College Fridge Essentials

 Ibotta, the starting point for rewarded shopping on mobile, today announced the findings of its Dorm Room Eating 101 study, offering students invaluable tips and tricks to save money on the most popular college cuisine. The analysis highlights the continued growth of college-aged Ibotta users, which has nearly doubled since 2016.
 According to the Hechinger Report, an eight-month meal plan at a U.S. college costs an average of $4500, double what meal plans cost a decade ago. This is also roughly $600 more than what a single person spends on a food in an entire year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
 "Ibotta users have earned more than $375 million in cash rewards, but most college students I know would be thrilled with just an extra $5 every week," said Bryan Leach, Founder and CEO of Ibotta. "Becoming a savvy shopper is easier than students think, and letting Ibotta reward you with cash back is great way for them to build good shopping habits. Whether you're saving for your future, or just in need of a late-night pizza, every little bit adds up."
BEST DAYS TO BUY COLLEGE FOOD  After analyzing more than 233 million receipts from 2015 - 2018, Ibotta researchers found college-aged shoppers are doing a majority of their grocery shopping on Sundays, compared to most Ibotta users who shop on Saturdays. They’re also more likely to be wandering grocery aisles after 6pm compared to Ibotta users overall.
 For the Dorm Room Eating 101 analysis, researchers compared the shopping behavior of shoppers aged 18-22 and found, unsurprisingly, they were buying boxed meals, frozen foods, gum and candy at a higher clip than other demographics. The analysis also identified the best days to save on classic dorm room delicacies, including:
RAMEN - four percent cheaper on Tuesday vs. Wednesday, the worst day to buy.
CHIPS AND POPCORN - two percent cheaper on Thursday vs. Sunday, the worst day to buy. SOUP - two percent cheaper on Saturday vs. Monday, the worst day to buy.
MAC & CHEESE - three percent cheaper on Thursday vs. Tuesday, the worst day to buy.
PASTA – two-and-a-half percent cheaper on Thursday vs. Monday, the worst day to buy.
 Ibotta researchers also found that Sunday was the best day to buy coffee, sports and energy drinks, and frozen pizza.
 Ibotta researchers also identified the savviest shopping states for college-aged users. Utah, Idaho and California topped the list, while Colorado, New Hampshire and Florida finished at the bottom of states with the most college-aged Ibotta users.

August 1, 2018

Vernors Celebrates Iconic Michigan Lighthouses

On Collectible Cans

 Vernors is once again partnering with Pure Michigan to celebrate the Great Lakes State's coastal landmarks, with limited edition cans featuring seven iconic Michigan lighthouses. The lighthouses showcased during the promotion include Forty Mile Point (Rogers City), Old Mackinac Point (Mackinaw City), Point Iroquois (Brimley), Point Betsie (Frankfort), Little Sable Point (Mears), St. Joseph and the oldest lighthouse in the state, Fort Gratiot (Port Huron).
 This is the second year Vernors has teamed with Pure Michigan, an organization that promotes travel and tourism for the state, to highlight the famous lighthouses on cans. Last year, the collectible series showcased five other Michigan lighthouses including Big Sable Point, Crisp Point, Eagle Harbor, Grand Haven and Tawas Point.
 "Vernors is a Michigan original with a proud 152-year heritage and a devoted following in the state unlike any other soft drink, and we want to celebrate what makes this state such a special place to both live and visit," said Beth Hensen, market development manager for Keurig Dr Pepper, which owns and licenses the Vernors brand. "Through this promotion, we hope our fans will enjoy these keepsakes and be inspired to visit and take pride in these one-of-a-kind coastal treasures."
 "We're delighted to be partnering once again with Vernors to feature our state's picturesque lighthouses," said Dave Lorenz, vice president of Travel Michigan, part of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. "With 129 lighthouses standing along 3,200 miles of Great Lakes coastline, we are proud of these iconic landmarks that make Michigan unique."
 The lighthouse cans are being sold in 12-packs of Vernors and Diet Vernors at retailers now through mid-October 2018.

July 26, 2018
■ TODAY’S GROCER Breaking News…

United Natural Foods to Acquire Supervalu

 United Natural Foods, Inc. and Supervalu Inc. have entered into a definitive agreement under which UNFI will acquire Supervalu for $32.50 per share in cash, or approximately $2.9 billion, including the assumption of outstanding debt and liabilities.
 "This transaction accelerates UNFI's "Build out the Store" growth strategy by immediately enhancing our product range, equipping us to bring an attractive, comprehensive product portfolio to an expanded universe of customers," said Steve Spinner, UNFI's Chief Executive Officer and Chairman. "Combining our leading position in natural and organic foods with Supervalu's presence in fast-turning products makes us the partner of choice for a broader range of customers. Together, we can provide our "better for you" products as well as other high-growth segments, improving customers' competitive advantages in a dynamic marketplace. These benefits, plus our increased efficiency and productivity, will enable us to create value for our shareholders, enhance opportunities for our suppliers, provide a broader assortment for our customers and create new prospects for our associates over the long term."
 "The combination of UNFI and Supervalu provides a substantial premium and delivers certainty of value to our stockholders, meaningful benefits to our customers, expanded opportunities for our employees, and the ability for us and our vendors to efficiently serve a varied customer base," said Mark Gross, Supervalu's Chief Executive Officer. "We have been executing an ambitious strategic transformation for over two years. We believe that this transaction is the best and natural next step for our stockholders, customers and employees. I am very proud of the unwavering commitment and focus of our employees in driving our strategic transformation and serving our customers. I am confident that, together, Supervalu and UNFI will be well positioned to succeed – and to help our customers succeed – in today's grocery landscape."
 Diversifies customer base: The transaction will greatly expand UNFI's customer base and exposure across channels, including those where demand for "better for you" products is increasing and UNFI is under-represented. It will also unlock new opportunities through a comprehensive product portfolio.
ENABLES CROSS-SELLING OPPORTUNITIES: UNFI will benefit from its ability to deliver comprehensive and expanded offerings, including the addition of high-growth perimeter categories such as meat and produce to UNFI's natural and organic products.
EXPANDS MARKET REACH AND SCALE: The wider geographic reach and greater scale of the combined entity is expected to increase efficiencies and effectiveness.
Enhances technology, capacity and systems: The combined entity plans to leverage scalable systems to streamline its processes, more efficiently meet the needs of its customers and reduce future capital expenditures.
DELIVERS SIGNIFICANT SYNERGIES: Through this combination, UNFI will be positioned to realize run rate cost synergies of more than $175 million by year 3.
ACCELERATING GROWTH: After year one, the transaction is projected to be accretive to Adjusted EPS in year 1 with double-digit Adjusted EPS growth after year 1, excluding one-time costs.
 UNFI Chief Executive Officer and Chairman Steven Spinner will lead the combined entity. Sean Griffin, UNFI Chief Operating Officer, will lead the Supervalu integration efforts, post close and lead an integration committee comprised of executives from both companies to drive the implementation of best practices from each company and the delivery of important synergies and a rapid and smooth integration.

July 24, 2018

Alejandro Rodriguez Bas Named Acosta President

Gary Chartrand Continues as Executive Chairman

 Acosta has announced the appointment of Alejandro Rodriguez Bas as President and Chief Executive Officer. With deep experience at both consumer packaged goods companies and retailers, Rodriguez Bas brings a unique blend of strong strategic and operational expertise, having successfully launched new categories, refined go-to-market models, and optimized sales strategies.
 Gary Chartrand remains Acosta’s Executive Chairman of the Board and will work closely with Rodriguez Bas during the transition and beyond. Chartrand has a 35-year history with Acosta, having served as its CEO, Executive Chairman of the Board, and, most recently, the added responsibility of its interim CEO.
  “After a thorough and extensive search by our Board of Directors, Alejandro’s appointment marks an exciting milestone in Acosta’s history,” said Chartrand. “Alejandro is an astute and accomplished leader with strong relationships in our industry. These relationships, coupled with his impressive record of driving growth, innovation and operational excellence, will enable him to effectively lead Acosta. We’re looking forward to Alejandro’s leadership and building upon our momentum as we continue to innovate and drive results for our clients and customers.”
 Rodriguez Bas brings more than 20 years of CPG and retail industry leadership to Acosta. Prior to joining Acosta, he was Executive Vice President of New Business and Market Development for C&S Wholesale Grocers, the nation’s largest wholesale grocery supply company, which delivers more than 140,000 different food and grocery items to 14,000+ independent and chain stores across the U.S. During his time at C&S, Rodriguez Bas led the creation of a division that serves the natural, organic, specialty, gourmet and international, ethnic and local markets.
 Rodriguez Bas was also CEO of Grupo LALA Mexico & Central America, Latin America’s largest dairy company. In this role, he led the company through an initial public offering valued at $5 billion, the largest IPO of a CPG company in Latin America. Prior to his time at Grupo LALA, Rodriguez Bas spent nearly a decade at PepsiCo in various leadership roles, culminating with CEO, Australia & New Zealand.
 “I am excited and privileged to join a forward-thinking company that is taking a lead role in creating innovative technologies and solutions that deliver results for its CPG partners and retailers,” said Rodriquez Bas. “Acosta’s broad expertise, top talent, and passion for delivering best-in-class results are the right ingredients for longevity and success in this complex, ever-changing industry.”
 Rodriguez Bas received his bachelor’s degree from Universidad Panamericana in Mexico and master’s degree from Harvard Business School.

July 10, 2018

It's 7-Eleven Day!

 Every year, 7-Eleven stores throw a BIG party to celebrate its birthday on – what else?! – 7-Eleven Day, better known as July 11 (7/11) on the calendar. Instead of cake and candles, the world's largest convenience retailer celebrates with FREE Slurpee drinks, inviting millions to the party. The company introduced convenience retailing 91 years ago and is now the largest convenience chain in the world.
 The Slurpee celebration followed by "seven deals in seven days" also give hungry Slurpee drink fans an opportunity to try some of the newest 7-Eleven fresh food menu items from artisan sandwiches to decadent brownies.
 Participating U.S. stores will give away an estimated 9 million free small Slurpee drinks from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time, Wednesday, July 11 (7/11), while supplies last. The featured Slurpee flavor is Cap'n Crunch's Crunch Berries, recreated as a delicious frozen treat from one of America's most beloved cereal brands.
 "Free Slurpee day may be the most anticipated day of the year for millions of 7-Eleven customers and new customers alike," said Raj Kapoor, 7-Eleven Senior Vice President for Fresh Food and Proprietary Beverages. "7-Eleven Day is a celebration, not only of our birthday, but more importantly, of our customers. I encourage everyone to look around the store, grab an old favorite like a Big Bite hot dog to enjoy with their free Slurpee drink or maybe try something they haven't. We have lots of delicious new choices in stores."
 7-Eleven is celebrating its birthday – and the "dog days" of summer – with $1 Big Bite hot dogs on its July 11 birthday, and a week later on National Hot Dog Day, July 18. The featured Big Bite flavor is The Reaper, a seriously spicy 7-Eleven exclusive hot dog made with 100 percent beef and topped with Carolina Reaper seasoning blend. Customers can dress their dogs for free at participating stores with chili, cheese, pickles, onions, jalapenos, relish, pico de gallo and more at the condiment bars near the grill.
 For 7Rewards members, great deals continue the entire birthday week, with a new one each day:
July 12: FREE 7-Select Pure water with purchase of a BODYARMOR sports drink
July 13: FREE Big Gulp fountain drink with purchase of a share-size Snickers candy bar
July 14: FREE 7-Select popcorn with purchase of a 20-ounce Smartwater
July 15: FREE single-size Reese's candy with purchase of a share-size bag of 7-Select Gummies
July 16: FREE 20-ounce Coca-Cola with purchase of any flavor Cheez-It baked snack crackers
July 17: FREE single-serve bag of 7-Select chips with purchase of any fresh sandwich
July 18: FREE single-serve 7-Select tortilla chips with purchase of any 7-Select nuts
 For hungry customers wanting to try something new, 7-Eleven has introduced 7-Eleven Bistro sandwiches.
 The new 7-Eleven Bistro sandwiches, made with premium quality ingredients on fresh-baked bread, are available nationwide at participating stores. The Trio contains black forest ham, smoked turkey, roast beef, provolone cheese, lettuce and tomato with spicy mustard and mayo on an onion roll. Purchase of a 7-Eleven Bistro sandwich with single-serve bag of 7-Select chips earns 400 7Rewards points. Participating locations will also offer one or more regional premium options. Each sandwich contains at least 4 ounces of meat and is hand-wrapped.
 But, wait! There's s'more! New in the fresh bakery case is everyone's favorite campfire treat in brownie form. The S'mores brownie is a classic fudge brownie baked over a layer of graham crackers and topped with toasted mini marshmallows. Suggested retail price for the limited-time item is $1.99, and each purchase through the summer earns 200 7Rewards bonus points through the 7-Eleven app.
 7-Eleven, the first convenience store, began its run in 1927 when a Southland Ice Company employee began selling bread, milk and eggs on an ice dock in a Dallas suburb. Since that inauspicious start, "convenience" has become a big business. The small ice company has grown into a major international retailing chain with almost 12,000 7-Eleven stores in North America and more than 66,000 stores worldwide.
 Every year, July 11 marks the day that the world's No. 1 convenience retailer observes its birthday and other company milestones. 7-Eleven introduced its iconic frozen carbonated beverage in 1966, and it was an immediate hit. The next year, the company's advertising director coined the word "Slurpee" to describe the sound the drink made traveling through the straw. And a star was born. The retailer started the free Slurpee drink birthday tradition in 2002.
 Wacky flavor names and quirky radio spots created a drink craze among teens and young adults, the same demographic group that today makes up the drink's biggest fans. Slurpee drinks enjoy worldwide popularity, with more than 7.5 billion Slurpee drinks sold during its colorful history, enough for everyone on earth to enjoy one.
 The 7-Eleven mobile app is available via the App Store or Google Play. After downloading, customers can register to become a 7Rewards members and earn free drinks and points on every purchase.

June 28, 2018

Nathan’s Famous Launches New All Natural Hot Dog for 4th of July

 Nathan’s Famous is giving cooks nationwide another reason to break out the grill this summer. Just in time for the Fourth of July, the makers of America’s favorite hot dog are excited to introduce a new All Natural 100 percent beef hot dog.
 The new franks have the same great quality as the original Nathan’s Famous premium hot dogs and are minimally processed, uncured, and are free of nitrates and nitrites. The hot dogs will be available year-round at MSRP $4.79 per 6-pack. Consumers can grab the Nathan’s Famous All Natural hot dogs at most mass grocery retailers nationwide to start the sizzle this summer.

June 13, 2018

Supervalu Announces Proposed Holding Company Structure to Advance Transformation Stragedy

 Supervalu Inc. announced a proposal to reorganize the Company’s corporate structure to further facilitate the Company’s strategic transformation, among other benefits to stockholders. This proposal, as outlined in Supervalu’s preliminary proxy statement/prospectus filed recently, would result in a reorganization of the Company’s corporate structure into a holding company structure. The holding company structure is being proposed to:
• Organize and further segregate Supervalu’s wholesale and retail operations in an operationally efficient and strategic manner, including to separate the wholesale and retail operations held by Supervalu Inc., our current public company entity;
• Facilitate the Company’s previously announced strategic transformation plan to sell certain retail assets to third parties;
• Better segregate the liabilities of the Company into their respective business segments; Increase Supervalu’s strategic, business and financial flexibility; and
• Enable the Company to achieve its strategic transformation plan in a tax efficient manner that may facilitate the ability to utilize a material portion of Supervalu’s capital loss carry forward, which could generate approximately $300 million of cash tax benefits for the Company over the next approximately 15 years.
 “We have been executing a strategic transformation of our business over the last two years to become the wholesale supplier of choice for grocery retailers across the United States, while also executing initiatives to deliver long-term stockholder value,” said Mark Gross, Supervalu’s President and CEO. “The proposed holding company structure is another significant and important undertaking by our team that would support and advance our transformation by further separating our wholesale and retail operations in a tax efficient manner.”
 Supervalu stockholders are being asked to consider and vote upon the Holding Company Proposal at the Company’s 2018 Annual Meeting of Stockholders. The Holding Company Proposal and realizing the desired benefits from the reorganization are subject to certain conditions and future events, including approval by our stockholders.

June 13, 2018

Kroger Plans to Exit Raleigh-Durham Market

 Kroger Mid-Atlantic will exit the Raleigh-Durham market on or about August 14, closing its 14 stores.
 “After a thorough evaluation of the market for a significant time period, we have decided to close our stores in the highly competitive Raleigh-Durham market,” said Jerry Clontz, President of the Mid-Atlantic Division of Kroger. “While we have had some success, we have not been able to grow our business the way we would like in this market.
 “The retail environment is challenging and changing in Raleigh-Durham,” added Clontz. “Many retail analysts say the Raleigh-Durham market is overstored.”
 The closings will impact approximately 1,500 associates, more than half of which are part-time. “We’ve been a part of the Raleigh-Durham market since 1989, and our associates have provided customers with top-notch service,” said Clontz. “Helping them through this transition is our number one priority.
 “We’re making every effort to assist our associates in finding employment,” said Clontz. “We will offer job fairs and job placement services to associates. Our associates also have access to our employee assistance programs to help them manage through this process.”
 Kroger is selling all 14 stores which are expected to close on August 14. The Company is currently under contract with Food Lion for one store, Crunch Fitness for one store and Harris Teeter for eight stores. “We are continuing discussions and exploring potential options for the remaining stores,” said Clontz.
 Locations of the eight stores that Harris Teeter has agreed to acquire are: 202 W. NC Hwy 54, Durham; 3457 Hillsborough Rd., Durham; 5116 N. Roxboro Rd., Durham; 1273 N.W. Maynard Rd., Cary; 8345 Creedmoor Rd., Raleigh; 940 US Hwy 64, Apex; 1802 North Point Dr., Durham and 1371 E. Broad St., Fuquay-Varina.  Crunch Fitness will acquire the store at 6300 Creedmoor Rd., Ste. 150, Raleigh. Food Lion will acquire the store at 7905 Falls of Neuse Road, Raleigh. The transactions described remain subject to customary closing conditions.
 Kroger Mid-Atlantic worked with The Food Partners, a Washington, D.C.-based, grocery industry focused investment banking firm, as a strategic adviser for the divestiture of these stores.
 Kroger Mid-Atlantic operates 108 additional stores in Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Ohio.

June 11, 2018
■ Survey Finds -

84% of People Care More about Mother's Day than Father's Day

 Man Crates, the ultimate men's gifting company, is helping families everywhere create memories with the special guys in their lives this Father's Day. Following a shocking survey which found that 40 percent of people are more likely to shop for Mother's Day than Father's Day, and the National Retail Federation reported that consumers spent nearly $8.1 billion more on Mother's Day than Father's Day in 2017.
 Not only are dads less likely to receive a gift, but the survey also found:
• Sixty-five percent of respondents admitted to purchasing boring gifts like ties, belts, etc.
• Eighty-four percent of people in the U.S. care more about Mother's Day and Father's Day.
• People are almost twice as likely to spend money for Mother's Day as compared to Father's Day.
• Eighty-three percent of people are more likely to create a special event for Mother's Day than Father's Day.
 "This Father's Day we want to save dads from being forgotten altogether, or worse, getting another pair of socks" says Jon Beekman, Man Crates Founder and CEO. "Over the past few years, people have shifted toward giving their loved ones experiences rather than just physical gifts. We're big on making memories that last a lifetime, so we design every Man Crates gift to be an interactive experience that the giver and recipient can share together. When he pries open a Man Crate with a crowbar, he'll get a bunch of cool products just for him, but more importantly, everyone will have an exciting, unique experience they'll treasure for years to come.
 While over 80 percent of people are more likely to create a special event for Mother's Day than Father's Day, customers have a chance to give dad something he'll actually love this year. Just in time for Father's Day, Man Crates is releasing an array of new product offerings that are designed to create memories.
 Man Crates is building upon the already extensive product categories, including: personalized gifts, eating and drinking, cooking and grilling and project kits, and new categories for the literary minded and wine enthusiasts. Top new gifts for Father's Day include:
• Storied Crates feature the perfect pairing of book and drink, to be savored and enjoyed together. Inspired by classic novels, each crate features all you need to craft your perfect cocktail.
• Wine explorations gifts with options for the guy who sniffs and spits, who thinks outside the bottle or who pairs food, wine and friends.
• Guys who grill will love the new steak-centric gifts, while new food and drink crates will thrill those with an adventurous palette, including the Breakfast Rations Ammo Can, Alaskan Fish and Chips Crate and Smokin' Old Fashion Crate.
• DIY Dads will enjoy the extended line of project kits, including Scrimshaw Knife Kit, Lure Making Kit, Sausage Making Kit and Winemaking Kit.

May 16, 2018

April Retail Sales Increased 2.8% Over Last Year

 April retail sales increased 0.4 percent seasonally adjusted over March and 2.8 percent year-over-year as consumers continued to spend, the National Retail Federation reports. The numbers exclude automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants.
 “Retail sales growth remains solid and on track as households benefit from tax cuts even though they have faced unseasonable weather and bumpy financial markets,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “The tax cuts and higher savings levels should help consumers afford the recent surge in gasoline prices. And a solid job market, recent wage gains and elevated confidence translate into ongoing spending support.”
 The three-month moving average was up 4.1 percent over the same period a year ago, which is in line with NRF’s forecast that 2018 retail sales will grow between 3.8 percent and 4.4 percent over 2017.
 The April results build on improvement seen in March, which was up 0.3 percent monthly and 5.2 percent year over year.
 NRF’s numbers are based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau, which said overall April sales – including automobiles, gasoline and restaurants – were up 0.3 percent seasonally adjusted from March and up 4.7 percent year-over-year.
Specifics from key retail sectors during April include:
• Online and other non-store sales were up 12.2 percent year-over-year and up 0.6 percent over March seasonally adjusted.
ֳ• Furniture and home furnishings stores were up 5.8 percent year-over-year and up 0.8 percent from March seasonally adjusted.
• Building materials and garden supply stores were up 5.6 percent year-over-year and up 0.4 percent from March seasonally adjusted.
• Electronics and appliance stores were up 2.2 percent year-over-year but down 0.1 percent from March seasonally adjusted.
• Health and personal care stores were up 0.2 percent year-over-year but down 0.4 percent from March seasonally adjusted.
• Grocery and beverage stores were down 0.1 percent year-over-year but up 0.4 percent from March.
• Clothing and clothing accessory stores were down 0.4 percent year-over-year but up 1.4 percent from March seasonally adjusted.
• General merchandise stores were down 0.8 percent year-over-year but up 0.3 percent from March seasonally adjusted.
• Sporting goods stores were down 3.8 percent year-over-year and down 0.1 percent from March seasonally adjusted.

April 10, 2018

Kroger Family of Stores Hiring 11,000 Employees

Company Has Created Nearly 100,000 American Jobs Since 2007

 The Kroger Co. recently announced that its family of stores is hiring to fill an estimated 11,000 positions in its supermarket divisions, including nearly 2,000 management positions.
 Interested candidates are encouraged to apply at
 The Kroger family of stores created 10,000 new jobs in 2017 and 12,000 in 2016. These figures do not include jobs created as a result of capital investment, such as temporary construction jobs, nor do they include increases due to the company's mergers. Kroger and its subsidiaries today employ nearly half a million associates.
 "Over the last decade, Kroger has added 100,000 new jobs in communities across America," said Tim Massa, Kroger's Group Vice President of Human Resources and labor relations. "In addition to fueling the U.S. economy, many of our supermarket jobs are an opportunity for associates to grow and advance their careers."
 In addition to job creation, Kroger is investing an incremental $500 million in associate wages, training and development over the next three years, as part of Restock Kroger. Last month in Cincinnati, for example, Kroger associates ratified a labor agreement with the UFCW 75 that set the stage for starting wage and overall wage increases in multiple markets across the country. The agreement raised starting wages to at least $10 per hour, and accelerated wage progressions to $11 an hour after one year of service, for associates in the Cincinnati/Dayton division.
 Kroger has also committed to invest a significant portion of the tax benefit it received from the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in associates' future, which the company plans to announce in detail this month.
 "Kroger is a place where you can come for a job and stay for a career," Mr. Massa added. "We are committed to creating great entry-level jobs and investing in our associates so they can reach their full potential."

April 2, 2018

My/Mo Mochi Ice Cream Launches Ice Cream Pints and Vegan Frozen Dessert

 My/Mo Mochi Ice Cream has announced the launch of two new lines, My/Mo Ice Cream with Mochi Bits and My/Mo Cashew Cream Frozen Dessert.
MY/MO ICE CREAM WITH MOCHI BITS (SRP $5.99) - Mochi lovers rejoice: there’s a new way to enjoy your favorite combination of sweet mochi dough and rich ice cream. An extension of the brand’s commitment to offering creative and colorful snacking options, My/Mo Ice Cream with Mochi Bits brings innovation to the ice cream pint category and provides consumers with a new opportunity to snack on ice cream. Each carefully crafted pint contains a miraculous match of mouthwatering ice cream surrounding pillowy pieces of sweet rice mochi. The new pint-size treats are available in five flavor varieties: Strawberry, Mango, Green Tea, Chocolate and Salted Caramel.
MY/MO CASHEW CREAM FROZEN DESSERT (SRP $6.99) - My/Mo Mochi Ice Cream’s new vegan frozen dessert answers consumers’ demands for a dairy-free alternative to their colorful, pop-able and portable snacks. My/Mo Mochi Cashew Cream Frozen Dessert is a carefully crafted vegan treat made with a scoop of premium dairy-free cashew cream, wrapped in delectably soft rice dough. The new 6-pack boxes are available in four flavor varieties and each ball is only 100 calories each! The four new additions will hit retail shelves soon, with flavors including: Strawberry, Vanilla, Chocolate and Salted Caramel.

March 16, 2018

Southeastern Grocers Initiates Financial Restructuring

• 582 stores to continue operating in the ordinary course; 94 stores will close.
• All general unsecured claims, including supplier partners and trade creditors, to be paid in full in ordinary course.

 Southeastern Grocers has entered into a Restructuring Support Agreement with a group of creditors collectively holding 80% of its 8.625%/9.375% Senior PIK Toggle Notes due September 2018 and its private equity sponsor regarding the terms of a comprehensive financial restructuring that will position the company for long-term financial health. SEG will continue operating throughout this process, and the company's associates remain focused on exceeding the needs of customers and consistently delivering great service, quality and value in SEG's stores.
 Anthony Hucker, President and Chief Executive Officer of SEG, said, "The agreement is an important step in Southeastern Grocers' transformation to put our company in the best position to succeed in the extremely competitive retail market in which we do business. With a foundation built on iconic, heritage banners, and with the strong support of our leadership team, we will work through this process as quickly and efficiently as possible. We are excited to emerge with the optimal store footprint and greater financial flexibility to invest in Southeastern Grocers' growth."
 Consummating the transactions contemplated under the RSA is expected to significantly strengthen the company's balance sheet. The restructuring will decrease overall debt levels by over $500 million and maintain the company's strong liquidity position under the new post-emergence Revolving Credit Facility. The significant reduction in debt will result in reduced interest expense, allowing the company to invest more cash flow back into the business in the form of increased capital expenditures for store remodels and new stores.
 Hucker continued, "Southeastern Grocers is faced with a critical milestone in its transformation and we have made choices for our future and long-term growth potential. We conducted a thorough review of our strategic options and determined that this financial restructuring is in the best interests of our associates, customers, supplier partners and the communities in which we serve. Southeastern Grocers is a strong, viable business and is building momentum with robust performance and new store concepts that resonate with our associates, customers and communities. This course of action enables us to continue writing the story for our company and our iconic, heritage b