News Briefs

  • 6/12/2023

    Rite Aid Appoints Chief Legal Officer

    Rite Aid Thomas Sabatino Teaser

    Thomas Sabatino has joined Rite Aid as EVP and chief legal officer. A member of the company’s executive leadership team, Sabatino oversees the company’s legal affairs, including enterprise risk management, compliance, regulatory affairs and privacy.

    “As we continue to accelerate our performance and grow our capabilities, we are pleased to welcome Tom to the Rite Aid team,” said Elizabeth “Busy” Burr, Rite Aid’s interim CEO, to whom Sabatino reports. “We believe Tom’s proven leadership and extensive background in the health care industry and company transformations will help us further our mission to provide whole health for life to all of our customers.”

    Sabatino brings to his latest role four decades of experience in the legal field navigating complex business needs, most recently as EVP and general counsel at automotive components company Tenneco Inc. His health care experience includes executive roles at Aetna, Walgreen Boots Alliance, Schering Plough Corp. and Baxter International Inc., where in each instance he drove large-scale growth and operational effectiveness.

    “This is an exciting time to join Rite Aid and be part of a performance-driven workforce focused on revitalizing operations and making a meaningful impact on improving health outcomes for all people,” noted Sabatino. “I look forward to supporting these efforts while strengthening our internal legal, compliance, and governance-related capabilities so that Rite Aid remains uniquely positioned to realize its vision for the modern pharmacy.”

    Employing more than 6,300 pharmacists, Philadelphia-based Rite Aid operates 2,300-plus retail pharmacy locations across 17 states. The company is No. 22 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. Deerfield, Ill.-based Walgreens, which operates nearly 9,000 retail locations across the United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, is No. 5 on PG’s list.

  • 6/12/2023

    WinCo Planning Large-Scale Warehouse Operation in Washington

    WinCo Foods Offering New Blackhawk Network Gift Cards

    Idaho-based WinCo Foods is looking to build a large distribution warehouse that would service its stores throughout the Pacific Northwest. According to a local report, the grocer has filed permit requests for the facility, which will be located in Ellensburg, Wash., and will include storage for dry goods, frozen foods and refrigerated foods.

    WinCo is proposing to build a 1.12-million-square-foot grocery distribution warehouse on a 108-acre site, which would also include an on-site gas station, a 48,000-square-foot truck returns warehouse and check-in buildings.

    [Read more: "Consumers Weigh In on Most Trustworthy Grocers, Brands"]

    WinCo currently operates distribution centers in Boise, Idaho; Denton, Texas; Modesto, Calif.; and Phoenix. A separate facility was tentatively planned for Seattle, but that never came to fruition.

    WinCo is an employee-owned company based in Boise, Idaho, that employs more than 20,000 individuals and operates 138 stores in the states of Washington, Idaho, Nevada, California, Oregon, Arizona, Utah, Oklahoma, Montana and Texas. The company is No. 42 on the PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.

  • 6/12/2023

    Illinois Brings Back 1% Grocery Tax

    grocery bill teaser

    Illinois is rolling back a grocery tax suspension set in place in mid-2022 at a time of high gas and food prices and during an election year. On July 1, the state will resume its 1% grocery tax on items meant to be consumed offsite. The tax did not apply to liquor, foods with cannabis, candy or soda.

    Illinois is one of 13 states and the only one out of the top 10 most populous states to levy a grocery tax. According to the Illinois Department of Revenue, the grocery tax hiatus saved consumers about $185 million between July 2022 and March 2023.

    [Read more: "For Consumers, Value Means More Than Price"]

    Elsewhere in the U.S., state legislators in Alabama passed a bill to eventually halve the state’s grocery tax from 4% to 2%. Currently on the governor’s desk, the tax rate would be cut to 3% in September and reduced another percentage point within a year if certain conditions are met. 

    In addition to Illinois and Alabama, other states that currently impose a grocery tax include Mississippi, South Dakota, Missouri, Virginia, Utah, Arkansas, Hawaii, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Idaho and Kansas.

    As states continue to weigh grocery taxes, the next report on food inflation will be released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on June 13. Earlier this month, the Biden Administration published a blog on the White House website on how food inflation, while still elevated over pre-pandemic, seems to be easing. 

  • 6/9/2023

    The Wonderful Company Welcomes New SVP of Marketing

    Benal Serin

    The Wonderful Company, which encompasses brands including FIJI Water, POM Wonderful, Wonderful Pistachios, Wonderful Halos, Wonderful Seedless Lemons, Teleflora and JUSTIN and Landmark wines, has appointed Benal Serin as SVP of marketing. She will lead marketing efforts across the company’s portfolio to expand its $2.1 billion in annual retail sales.

    As The Wonderful Company broadens its brand offerings, Serin will also oversee flavor innovations, packaging changes, retail marketing and brand partnerships She reports to Michael Perdigao, president of advertising and corporate communications.

    [Read more: "Jones Soda Names New President and CEO"]

    Serin comes to Wonderful from her most recent position as chief marketing officer for Profectus Beauty LLC. She has also served as VP of marketing, global and North America, at Revlon and worked in various capacities at British CPG company Reckitt. She is a graduate of Koc University in Istanbul, Turkey, and Georgetown University's School of Business.

    “Benal is an exceptional leader with a strong track record of success, and I am confident that with her leadership and passion for our vision, she will take our consumer-centricity, innovation, brand and marketing strategies, and capabilities to a new level,” said Perdigao.

    Serin said she is ready to contribute to the company’s growth. “I am humbled to join this iconic company at such a pivotal time and look forward to learning and growing the business with my future colleagues as we collectively build on this work to lead Wonderful into its next chapter,” she declared.

  • 6/9/2023

    Consumers Say This Grocery Aisle Is Essential to Every Shopping Trip

    Dairy Aisle

    Most U.S. adults (70%) say the dairy aisle is essential on every grocery trip, according to an Atomik study for the National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association (NFRA).

    U.S. adults frequently shop in the dairy aisle for a variety of reasons. Some are looking for  cooking and baking essentials such as eggs, butter and milk. For families with children, almost two-thirds of parents (63%) find their favorite snacks in the dairy aisle. The dairy aisle is also home to plant-based alternatives. The research found that well over a third of Millennials consistently buy plant-based milk from the dairy aisle.

    [Read more: "What Grocery Foot Traffic Tells Us About 2023 So Far"]

    NFRA’s study revealed that 88% of U.S. consumers believe they are likely to find options that fit their lifestyle in the dairy aisle.

    Consumers are also stopping in this space to buy nondairy products such as orange juice, coffee creamer, iced coffee and tea, and rolls and croissants.

    "As consumer trends and preferences shift over time, the dairy aisle continues to innovate and remains a constant in U.S. consumers' shopping trips," said Tricia Greyshock, EVP/COO at NFRA. "Nearly three in five U.S. consumers (56%) report that products from the dairy aisle take up half or more than half of the space in their refrigerator."

    Harrisburg, Pa.-based NFRA is a nonprofit trade association representing all segments of the frozen and refrigerated food industry. NFRA sponsors national promotions like June Dairy Month.

  • 6/9/2023

    Hy-Vee to Hold Quarterly Best of Local Brands Summit in August

    Hy-Vee Sign Teaser

    Hy-Vee Inc. will host its next quarterly Best of Local Brands Summit in August to expand and enhance the product offerings at its stores in Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Since these summits began in early 2021, 125-plus new brands have been made available to Hy-Vee customers.

    The upcoming summit will consist of 15- to 30-minute virtual presentations from selected suppliers on Wednesday, Aug. 2.

    [Read More: “Hy-Vee Doubles Down on Expansion in Tennessee”]

    The grocer is accepting submissions for its Best of Local Brands Summit online starting Monday, June 12 in the categories of retail-ready products: grocery, produce, deli, general merchandise, frozen, dairy, and health and beauty care. The submission deadline is Monday, June 26.

    ECRM and RangeMe are helping Hy-Vee source, qualify and connect with suppliers. All product submissions will be made through RangeMe, an online product discovery and sourcing platform, and all meetings will be held on ECRM’s virtual meeting platform, ECRM Connect. Suppliers not selected for participation in this upcoming summit will still be accessible through RangeMe and may be reviewed by Hy-Vee again in the future.

    Employee-owned Hy-Vee operates more than 285 retail stores across eight Midwestern states, with sales of more than $13 billion annually. The West Des Moines, Iowa-based company has a team of more than 80,000 employees and is No. 36 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. PG also named Hy-Vee as a 2023 Top Regional.

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