News Briefs

  • 11/7/2022

    Wakefern Expands Online EBT SNAP Payments Via Instacart

    ShopRite Storefront Teaser

    Retailer-owned cooperative Wakefern Food Corp. has made its Electronic Benefits Transfer Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (EBT SNAP) available as an accepted payment method for orders placed through Instacart from ShopRite, Fairway Market, Gourmet Garage and The Fresh Grocer stores in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware and Maryland. Additionally, the co-op’s online shopping service, which is available on its banner brands’ websites, accepts EBT SNAP payments.

    “Expanding online shopping EBT SNAP payment options beyond our retail digital channels will make fresh foods and essentials even more accessible for families in need,” noted Elizabeth Goodbread, director of digital commerce at Wakefern. “This is an important additional step in advancing the fight against food insecurity in the communities our stores serve.”

    To subsidize costs for EBT SNAP participants, San Francisco-based Instacart will waive delivery and pickup fees on the first three EBT SNAP orders through Dec. 31 for customers using a valid EBT card associated with their Instacart account.

    “We share Wakefern’s mission to provide more people across the Northeast with greater access to nutritious food,” said Sarah Mastrorocco, VP and general manager of Instacart Health. “At Instacart, we believe online grocery can be a major tool to address nutrition security. We look forward to increasing affordability and accessibility through our expanded partnership with Wakefern.”

    Keasbey, N.J.-based Wakefern comprises more than 40 members that independently own and operate 360-plus supermarkets under the ShopRite, Price Rite Marketplace, The Fresh Grocer, Dearborn Market, Gourmet Garage and Fairway Market banners in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. Together with its member companies, Wakefern employs nearly 80,000 people. The company is No. 25 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 listing of North America’s top food and consumables retailers in North America.

  • 11/8/2022

    Smart & Final Sets Opening Date for San Jose Store

    Smart & Final is moving into a San Jose, Calif., space that once housed a Lucky grocery store. According to a report on, the grocer is set to open a warehouse at 430 Blossom Hill Road on Dec. 14, featuring more than 3,000 bulk items and a wide assortment of grocery staples.

    “We’re thrilled to expand Smart & Final’s presence in San Jose with the new location on Blossom Hill Road,” the store’s general manger, Carlos Santa Cruz, said in a release shared with the local news site. “The new Smart & Final in San Jose will offer the community the quality and selection of a grocery warehouse store in a smaller and faster setting.”

    Smart & Final currently operates four other warehouses in San Jose, in addition to its locations throughout the greater Bay area that includes San Francisco and Oakland.

    As it expands its footprint, Smart & Final has widened its presence in the omnichannel. Earlier this year, the retailer teamed up with Uber Technologies, Inc. to offer on-demand and scheduled grocery delivery, including the delivery of alcoholic beverages.

    A 150-year-old grocery business, Smart & Final was acquired in 2021 by a subsidiary of Mexican supermarket operator Grupo Comercial Chedraui. The Commerce, Calif.-based Smart & Final operates more than 250 locations, including larger-format stores under the Smart & Final Extra! banner that combine a warehouse-store format with traditional grocery offerings. Grupo Comercial Chedraui is No. 40 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.

  • 11/8/2022

    Major CPG Execs Join N!CK’S Board

    Nicks logo

    Dessert and snack brand N!CK’S has brought on a trio of high-level executives to help foster its expansion and future. The three new board members are independent industry experts who will contribute to the brand’s goal of empowering people to make better food choices while simultaneously indulging their cravings.

    Founded in Sweden with U.S. offices in Los Angeles, N!CK'S is a food tech innovator that produces Swedish-style light ice cream and better-for-you snacks using a proprietary blend of sweeteners and exclusive patent-protected ingredients. The company raised $100 million in Series C funding last year.

    [Read more: "Mission Produce Shares Sales, Marketing Changes"]

    The new board members include the following professionals:

    • Henry Karamanoukian most recently served as president of digital commerce, global and president of go-to-market operations for China at Procter & Gamble before retiring from the company in 2021. A 34-year P&G team member, he held leadership roles in several of P&G’s major markets across North America, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. He currently shares his knowledge as a senior advisor for The Boston Consulting Group.

    • Rebecca Messina was Uber's first global chief marketing officer. She also served as CMO at spirits company Beam Suntory and spent 22 years in marketing at The Coca-Cola Co. across several roles in North America, Europe, Australia and South America. Today, she is an advisor for McKinsey & Co. and serves on the Vive Organics, Outdoor Voices and Zico Coconut Water board.

    • Rob Bellezza is the current COO at Curio Wellness. Before Curio, he held a variety of key supply roles at Unilever for 24 years, including stints as head of operations and manufacturing at Ben & Jerry's and the head of M&A integration at Unilever in North America.

    "We are very excited to welcome Henry Karamanoukian, Rebecca Messina and Rob Bellezza to the board, who have already proven their impressive leadership skills that will help profitably grow our company," said Stefan Lagerqvist, CEO of N!CK'S. "As independent industry experts, each unique in their way, the entire team at N!CK'S is proud to have attracted this exceptional talent to the board, and we will only grow from here."

  • 11/8/2022

    Save Mart Rings in Holidays With Food Drive

    Save Mart

    The Save Mart Cos. is kicking off its holiday food drive. Starting Wed., Nov. 9, shoppers at Save Mart, Lucky and FoodMaxx banners in California and northern Nevada can take part in a register campaign benefiting area food banks.

    The “Friends Feeding Friends” drive will continue through the end of the holiday season on Dec. 31. At checkout, participating customers can choose a bag worth $15 or $25 to be filled with grocery essentials. The tax-deductible contribution will be included on the receipt.

    According to the food retailer, 100% of all donations will go toward area food relief efforts. “Our community food banks and local food pantries serve thousands of families and individuals in our neighborhoods each month and this holiday season we want to help end hunger close to home,” said Donovan Ford, SVP retail operations at The Save Mart Cos. “The compassionate support from our shoppers will go a long way to toward supporting our friends and neighbors during the holidays who are struggling with hunger and any difficulty with feeding their families.”

    Based in Modesto, Calif., The Save Mart Cos. operates more than 200 retail stores under the banners of Save Mart, Lucky California and FoodMaxx. In addition to its retail operation, the company also operates SMART Refrigerated Transport and is a partner in Super Store Industries, which owns and operates a distribution center in Lathrop, Calif., and the Sunnyside Farms dairy-processing plant in Turlock, Calif. Save Mart is No. 55 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America

  • 11/8/2022

    FMI Foundation Reveals Food Safety Auditing Scholarship Recipients

    FMI SQFI Scholarship Christina Wormald-Allingham Teaser

    The FMI Foundation, together with The Safe Quality Food Institute (SQFI), a division of FMI – The Food Industry Association, has revealed the 15 recipients of the 2022 Food Safety Auditing Scholarship. The $3,000 scholarship comes with an educational travel grant to the SQF Unites Global Conference. Students currently enrolled in food and agricultural science programs were eligible to apply for the scholarship and education travel grant.

    “A career in food safety auditing is a noble endeavor, and those committed to such critical work deserve to be celebrated,” said David Fikes, executive director of the Arlington, Va.-based foundation. “Out of 64 impressive applicants, 15 received this year’s scholarship, based on their outstanding academic ability, leadership potential and passion for the auditing profession. The FMI Foundation is proud to support these essential scholars and applauds their commitment to maximize public health through a safe and secure food supply chain.” 

    The recipients are as follows:

    • Aishwarya Vengatesan, Rutgers University
    • Amrit Pal, University of Georgia
    • Aryany Leticia Pena Gomez, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
    • Bhaswati Chowdhury, South Dakota State University
    • Camryn Grace Cook, Virginia Tech
    • Christina Lynn Wormald-Allingham, University of Massachusetts, Amherst (pictured)
    • Cyril Nsom Ayuk Etaka, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
    • Julysa Abril Benitez, Texas A&M University
    • Kenisha Odessa Gordon, Mississippi State University
    • LaTaunya Tillman, University of Florida
    • Amalia Beary, Cornell University
    • Marisa Lee Bacon, Michigan State University
    • Supriya Daulatrao Korade, Illinois Institute of Technology
    • Surabhi Wason, University of Arkansas
    • Zonia Elizabeth Caro Carvajal, Mississippi State University

    “The specialized contributions of food safety auditors are the foundation for trust between consumers and the food industry,” noted Gigi Vita, SQFI chief food safety assessment officer and SVP. “This year’s scholarship recipients will fortify that trust by helping to prevent foodborne illnesses and enhance food security for the next generation of consumers."

  • 11/6/2022

    NGA Bolsters Advocacy Team

    NGA Ryan Cagney John Richard New Hires

    The National Grocers Association (NGA), the trade organization representing the independent supermarket industry, has added two new members to its advocacy team: John Richard in the role of senior manager of government relations and policy analysis, and Ryan Cagney in the position of manager of political affairs and fundraising.

    Richard (at left in photo) has joined NGA from the Aluminum Association, where, as a policy analytics associate, he worked on such policy issues as trade, recycling, workforce, energy and supply chains. Before that, Richard worked at the National Restaurant Association, using data analytics to drive success with state partners, and as an intern for U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz.

    Cagney (at right in photo) was previously a Houston-based political consultant, working on grass-roots campaigns for various issues and candidates, as well as a government affairs advisor for the Houston Professional Firefighter Association and the Texas Cigar Merchants Association. Cagney also worked on the campaigns of U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.

    “John and Ryan bring a wealth of experience to NGA in policymaking, political affairs and grass-roots campaigns,” noted Chris Jones, SVP of government relations and counsel at Washington, D.C.-based NGA. “Their skills will be an asset to independent community grocers as they work to advance NGA’s policy initiatives on behalf of the industry.”

    In other NGA people news, Eric Payne, a member of the association’s marketing and communications team for the past four years, has been promoted to the role of senior manager of communications. Payne’s key duties include administering the association’s member newsletters, scheduling all online content and coordinating NGA’s social media activities.

    “Eric is an integral part of NGA’s communications team who continues to pursue new and better ways to enhance our member outreach and communications,” said Laura Strange, SVP of communications and external affairs at the organization.

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