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  • 12/5/2022

    Dollar General Hires 3 VPs

    Dollar General Kokoska dela Cruz New Hires Teaser

    Dollar General has revealed three new hires to take on leadership roles across the company.

    Ariel dela Cruz (pictured right) has joined Dollar General as divisional VP of store operations, bringing more than 20 years of experience to the retailer, including expertise in continuous improvement and P&L management. In his new role, he will provide support across the company’s store operations network, with a focus on employee-centric initiatives.

    Tim Jagneaux has come aboard as VP of construction, in which role he’ll provide leadership for the field construction teams responsible for new store openings, relocations and remodels. Jagneaux has more than 20 years of experience across various construction industries.

    Megan Kokoska (pictured left) has been hired as VP of digital engagement, in which capacity she’ll work to personalize the digital experience and increase digital engagement with customers. Kokoska brings more than 20 years of digital marketing and communications experience to her latest position, including leadership of digital customer engagement, digital advertising, e-commerce, content marketing, digital product management, user experience and integrated marketing campaigns.

    For its third quarter ended Oct. 28, Dollar General reported a strong performance, despite challenges within its internal supply chain and higher-than-anticipated costs. Year-over-year, the quarter brought a net sales increase of 11.1% to $9.5 billion, and a same-store sales increase of 6.8%. Operating profit rose 10.5% to $735.5 million, diluted EPS increased 12% to $2.33, and year-to-date cash flows from operations totaled $1.2 billion. 

    Goodlettsville, Tenn.-based Dollar General operated 18,818 stores in 47 states as of Oct. 28. The company is No. 15 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.

  • 12/5/2022

    Frozen Food Hall of Fame Gets 3 New Members

    Zerocrat logo

    Three industry professionals are being honored honored for their solid commitment to the frozen food sector. The Harrisburg, Pa,-based National Frozen and Refrigerated Foods Association (NFRA) and the Arlington, Va.-based American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI) have revealed the trio of new members to be inducted into the Frozen Food Hall of Fame.

    The 2023 class consists of the following individuals:

    • Ed Flanagan, the former president and CEO of frozen wild blueberry and fruit processor Jasper Wyman & Son, who led that organization for 24 years before his retirement in 2017. He worked at the Maine-based company for 42 years in all and played a key role in managing exports to international markets. Flanagan also chaired AFFI’s board of directors from 2010 to 2011 and was named its Advocate of the Year in 2017, among many other accomplishments.
    • Leslie Sarasin, who has been president and CEO of Arlington, Va.-based FMI – The Food Industry Association since 2008. Before that, she spent 19 years at AFFI, where she held the role of president and CEO for nine years. In addition to her work championing the industry at FMI, she is credited with strengthening AFFI’s advocacy and supporting the global growth of the frozen ingredient trade show.
    • Dave Yanda retired in 2016 from a 40-year career at frozen fruit and vegetable company Lakeside Foods, in Manitowoc, Wis.  He was Lakeside’s president and CEO for more than eight years and spearheaded the growth of the business into a leading international private label food processor. Yanda served several terms on AFFI’s board and on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Fruit and Vegetable Advisory Committee, in addition to other industry leadership roles.

    Flanagan, Sarasin and Yanda will be inducted into the Frozen Food Hall of Fame on Feb. 27, during the AFFI-CON 2023 event in San Diego. The Hall of Fame began in 1990 by the Distinguished Order of Zerocrats, an industry group promoting the image and advancement of the frozen food industry.

  • 12/5/2022

    Publix Honored for Habitat Restoration Support

    Audubon Florida winners

    Publix doesn’t just create a welcoming environment for in-store shoppers. The Florida grocer has also been recognized for its work in creating sustainable, healthy habitats.

    Audubon Florida, part of the National Audubon Society, recently bestowed its 2022 Distinguished Philanthropist Award on Publix for its support of the group’s conservation efforts. Last year, for example, Publix shared plans to support the restoration of 500 acres of marsh and prairie wetlands at the state’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary with a multiyear commitment of more than $1 million.

    “We’re honored to receive this award and proud of the continued work we’re doing to preserve our natural resources,” said Michael Hewett, director of environmental and sustainability programs for Publix. “As part of our mission to be involved as responsible citizens in our communities, we remain committed to supporting conservation efforts throughout our operating area.”

    Audubon Florida commended Publix for its donations that will help improve nutrient pollution from groundwater, hold floodwaters during severe weather events and reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires. “Audubon Florida and Publix share a commitment to protecting water and habitat for people and wildlife. Our environment is our economy, and we are thrilled to have the leadership of Publix on this important conservation project in the Western Everglades,” the organization noted.

    Publix continues to make strides toward its sustainability goals. In November, the retailer was awarded the best overall recycling champion for 2022 by the Florida Recycling Partnership Foundation.

    Employee-owned and -operated Publix has close to 1,300 supermarkets in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia. Publix is also moving forward in expanding its footprint into KentuckyThe company is No. 12 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.

  • 12/5/2022

    Consumers Will Keep It Close to Home in ’23

    FreshDirect Bag Teaser

    ’Tis the season for predictions for the coming year, and online grocer FreshDirect is out with its take on 2023 food trends. The Ahold Delhaize-owned company shared its outlook on consumer behaviors in what has shaped up to be a transformative decade.

    Some of the effects of the pandemic are lingering, according to FreshDirect, including the cook-at-home lifestyle. The digital grocer projects that DIY at home will be big, propelled by mini-trends like charcuterie-inspired boards for everything from butter to dessert, and people’s desire to entertain others at home.

    Likewise, the pull of nostalgia continues. FreshDirect pointed to the growing popularity of nostalgic novelty treats, like mini powdered doughnuts, coffee cakes and throwback cocktails.

    The draw of sticking close to home extends to purchasing habits, too. FreshDirect noted that locally sourced products will be a hallmark of 2023, as consumers enjoy discovery as much as they want to support local economies in challenging times.

    Such values-driven shopping – which began to accelerate in 2020 – is full steam ahead. According to the curators at FreshDirect, customers’ interest in transparency will influence more of their purchases from brands built on values that reflect commitments to communities, the environment and other causes.

    Finally, as inflation took a lot of the spotlight in 2020 and seems set to remain at least somewhat elevated in 2023, FreshDirect noted that the recent shopper preference for private label will carry through the next 12 months. Not viewed by shoppers as generic, these private label products span fresh and shelf-stable and are chosen for both value and quality, FreshDirect pointed out. The company also said that it will expand the number of its private label offerings.

    “Our extensive and long-standing relationships with farmers, fishermen, artisans and producers, combined with our proprietary data systems, enable us to determine the next wave of industry innovation and the latest in customer interests and needs. 2023 will usher in a new year of online grocery trends that underscores the ever-growing need for convenience, value and, most of all, the best in fresh quality,” said FreshDirect Chief Merchandising Officer Scott Crawford.

    Bronx, N.Y.-based FreshDirect services the New York City metro area. Its parent company, Ahold Delhaize USA, is No. 10 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America

  • 12/6/2022

    Save A Lot Helping Customers Save Money Ahead of Christmas

    Save A Lot deals teaser

    Discount retailer Save A Lot is launching its 12 Deals of December program in an effort to help its customers save money on holiday staples. Deals will be available on a different item each day between Dec. 14 and Dec. 20, and six different daily items from Dec. 21 to Dec. 24. Customers can find and download coupons valid only at participating locations for all offers by visiting or checking their weekly ad.

    Among the items included in the grocer’s discount program are butter, bacon, shredded cheese, chicken leg quarters, ground beef and russet potatoes. Coupons for the discounted items are available through and in weekly ads.

    “We know everyone is looking [for] ways to save money anywhere they can right now,” said Tim Schroder, chief sales and marketing officer at Save A Lot. “Our 12 Deals of December brings hot deals on holiday must-have items.”

    Save A Lot has more than 850 stores in 32 states. The Earth City, Mo.-based company is No. 60 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.

  • 12/5/2022

    OTA Snags Record Funding to Promote U.S. Organic Worldwide

    Organic Food Section Teaser

    The Organic Trade Association (OTA) has received a record level of funding of more than $1 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Market Access Program (MAP) to promote U.S. organic products globally in 2023. The award is an almost 10% increase from 2022, as well as the largest MAP award ever received by OTA. 

    “The Organic Trade Association is proud to have been an official cooperator in USDA’s Market Access Program for more than 20 years, leading to huge wins for the organic industry,” said Sarah Gorman, international trade manager for Washington, D.C.-based OTA. “Our market promotion efforts have created opportunities that have generated millions of dollars in new sales and expanded global market access for our participating businesses, establishing new organic customers around the world.”   

    According to Department of Agriculture statistics, the value of U.S. organic exports nearly doubled between 2011 and 2021, growing from around $400 million to a little more than $700 million, including an almost 10% increase from 2020 to 2021. Canada and Mexico are the United States’ largest export partners, with Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, the European Union and United Arab Emirates all making the top 10 list for U.S. organic exports.  

    The association will highlight American-produced organic products to a global audience in the coming year at various international promotional events, among them Biofach, Food & Hotel Asia, and buyers’ missions at Natural Products Expo West, Natural Products Expo East and the Organic Produce Summit.

    OTA represents more than 9,500 organic businesses across 50 states. Its members include growers, shippers, processors, certifiers, farmers’ associations, distributors, importers, exporters, consultants and retailers. 

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