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Grocers, Brands Mark Memorial Day

Businesses ramp up seasonal programs ahead of long holiday weekend
Lynn Petrak, Progressive Grocer
Kroger memorial day
Kroger is offering Memorial Day menus with scaling prices as shoppers gather for the holiday weekend.

As grocers expect a spike in traffic ahead of Memorial Day weekend, many are touting new products and programs that help shoppers kick off summer and mark the occasion that honors service members who lost their lives in the line of duty.

Retailers often take a two-pronged approach to the occasion in recognizing the sacrifice of soldiers and promoting new products and programs for the warm-weather season. Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen puts it this way: "Kroger is immensely grateful for the courageous men and women who have sacrificed for our nation and all our veterans and active-duty military personnel for their service and bravery. As families come together in tribute on this day of remembrance, we join our customers in honoring our heroes, and we are here to make their gathering extra special with holiday staples that are affordable, fresh and delicious."

[Read more: "Getting Ready for Grilling Season"]

To McMullen’s point, Kroger shared that it has contributed more than $41 million to the USO through both company and customer donations. In addition, the grocer is offering curated menus for Memorial Day this year, with $5, $7.50 and $10 per-person bundles featuring favorites like proteins for grilling, side dishes, salty snacks and desserts. In non-foods, Kroger is promoting summer products such as store brand sunscreen, propane tanks, charcoal briquets and more.

Other grocers and brands are welcoming Memorial Day with their own offers and offerings related to the occasion and to the season in general:

  • SpartanNash is holding its annual in-store fundraiser from now through June 4 to support the groups Honor and RememberOperation Homefront and Convoy of Hope. Shoppers can donate $1, $5 or $10 at checkout or round up to give to those partner organizations. "Thanks to the generosity of our store guests and our associates, we are honored to extend the spirit of Memorial Day to support our troops, veterans, their families and those in need," said SpartanNash EVP and Chief Customer Officer David Sisk, who also serves on the board of directors for Honor and Remember.
  • Fresh Thyme Market announced Memorial Day deals on grilling fare such as Angus steaks from $13.99 to $17.99 per pound, store brand pepper jack cheese slices for $2.99 per 8-oz. package and sweet corn priced at three for $1.
  • St Pierre Bakery launched grilling season on National Brioche Day on May 14 and is showcasing summer merchandising solutions like Eiffel Tower displays, new racks, table toppers and knee knockers. "Grilling season is the perfect opportunity for retailers to cross-merchandise and increase basket spend in other key areas such as meats and cheeses. As the cost of living continues to rise, U.S. shoppers are savvy with their spends and the perception of 'value' is key. Increasingly discerning shoppers will spend a little extra on products guaranteed to provide a better quality product because the 'little extra' in a low value category is affordable luxury,” said Neil Pittman, director of U.S. sales. “However, a shopper who upgrades to St Pierre is also more likely to upgrade in other grilling essentials and by cross-merchandising premium quality products, retailers can drive increased basket spend and ultimately sales."
  • Fresh chicken stalwart Perdue is rolling out Perdue Beer Can Chicken Beer, a summer ale brewed with classic grilled chicken seasonings like rosemary, thyme, and pink peppercorn to help backyard grillers make the perfect beer can chicken. The drink was created in tandem with Torch & Crown Brewing Co. and is available at Beercanchicken.beer while supplies last. The company is also releasing a whole chicken in limited-edition packaging at retail, too, as summer begins.

Cincinnati-based Kroger has almost 2,800 retail food stores under a variety of banner names. The company is No. 4 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.PG also named Kroger one of the Retailers of the Century. Grand Rapids, Mich.-based SpartanNash operates two complementary business segments – food wholesale and grocery retail. Its global supply chain network serves wholesale customers that include independent and chain grocers, national retail brands, e-commerce platforms, and U.S. military commissaries and exchanges. On the retail side, SpartanNash operates 145 brick-and-mortar grocery stores, primarily under the banners of Family Fare, Martin's Super Markets and D&W Fresh Market, in addition to dozens of pharmacies and fuel centers. The company is No. 41 on The PG 100.  With 71 stores in 10 states throughout the Midwest, Downers Grove, Ill.-based Fresh Thyme Market is No. 87.

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