News Briefs

  • 7/17/2023

    German Food Importer Carl Brandt Names New President/CEO

    Carl Brandt Teaser

    Stanley Mazepa has been appointed president and CEO (USA) at Fairfield, Conn.-based Carl Brandt Inc., an importer and distributor of German food products. Mazepa succeeds Susanne Settineri, who, with her father, was involved in the founding of the company in 1989 and key to its success. A 30-year veteran of the food industry, Mezepa will continue Settineri’s work developing exclusive European brands as she transitions to retirement.

    “Carl Brandt Inc. will be further solidified as a leading expert in developing imported brands and providing world-class services to manufacturers in terms of efficiency, expertise and relationships in the industry,” noted Mazepa. 

    [Read More: “Baldor Specialty Foods President to Retire”]

    “We stand by Stanley Mazepa and all the employees in Fairfield as a competent partner and look forward to supporting a strong team with our extensive expertise from the European market,” said Jan Dominik Gunkel, CEO of the Brandt Zwieback-Schokoladen Group, which provides support to Carl Brandt Inc. 

    From baked goods and confectionery to canned goods, beverages and other specialty products, Carl Brandt Inc. offers an extensive assortment that appeals to the needs and preferences of a broad consumer base.

  • 7/17/2023

    Harps Acquires Louisiana Indie

    Former Harps Food Stores Chairman and CEO Dies Gerald L. Harp

    Harps Food Stores, Inc. is adding to its portfolio with the acquisition of an independent market in Louisiana. The employee-owned Harps is taking over Janise's Supermarket in the town of Sunset in St. Landry Parish.

    “We are thrilled to welcome Janise's Supermarket into the Harps Food Stores family. This acquisition aligns perfectly with our strategic growth plans and allows us to expand our footprint in Louisiana. We are committed to honoring Janise's Supermarket's legacy and serving the Sunset community with the same level of excellence they have come to expect,” said Kim Eskew, chairman and CEO of Harps.

    [Read more: "Brookshire Grocery Sells Its Pharmacies to Walgreens"]

    Store employees will be kept on, according to the grocers.  “We firmly believe that this partnership will be immensely beneficial to the residents of Sunset, Louisiana, and the surrounding area," said Michael Dwayne Janise of Janise’s. "As an ESOP company, we are delighted to offer our employees a remarkable opportunity for career growth in the grocery industry. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to all our valued customers and dedicated employees for their unwavering support and patronage throughout our 49-year journey.”

    Founded in 1930, Harps runs 146 stores across Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Mississippi, Louisiana and Kansas.

  • 7/17/2023

    Supermarkets in North Carolina to Add DMV Kiosks

    dmv kiosks teaser

    Grocery stores in North Carolina will offer a new service for shoppers this fall. The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is set to install kiosks in supermarkets and other places around the state in an effort to reduce physical visits to DMV offices.

    The pilot program will allow drivers to, among other things, print license-plate renewal stickers.

    [Read more: “Dollar General Testing Checkout-Free Operations in North Carolina”]

    "They go to the grocery store and order their DMV service, their renewals or whatever it may be, while they're shopping for groceries," said Wayne Goodwin, North Carolina’s DMV commissioner

    The new kiosks come after months of complaints from the public over poor customer service at the DMV, reported The Carolina Journal. The state agency has received growing customer complaints from drivers who are waiting months for an appointment. The backlog has led to hours-long lines and frustrated drivers across the state. The long wait times are attributed to a shortage of workers and not enough people using online services.

    Other states currently using the DMV kiosks include Virginia, Georgia, Indiana, California, Colorado and Nevada.

    There will be a transaction fee to use the kiosks, which would cover their costs.

  • 7/17/2023

    Wynshop Certified for SNAP/EBT Payments Online

    SNAP EBT Sign Teaser

    Wynshop, a provider of digital commerce and fulfillment solutions for local store-based retailers, is now a USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) -approved SNAP/EBT payments processing partner, through Aurus. The company can now facilitate expedited processing of FNS procedures for any retailers that wish to offer EBT benefits through Wynshop.

    As online grocery has grown in popularity, the FNS has worked to expand access to EBT payments via online grocers, but the certification process is complex and time-consuming, which has limited the ability of smaller food retailers to fully connect with these customers.

    [Read More:  “Tops Adopts EBT SNAP Online on Flashfood App Via Forage”]

    “Until now, when grocers wanted to accept online EBT benefits, they had to go through a grueling approval process with FNS that could take months,” noted Barry Clogan, chief product evangelist at Miami-based Wynshop. “We’ve set things up so that they no longer need to do any of the heavy lifting. When a grocer on the Wynshop platform decides that they want to accept EBT payments, we provide them with easy-to-use templates that reduce both friction and time to approval.”

    The FNS must review and approve any solution that enables online payments using SNAP/EBT. To streamline the application process for retailers, Wynshop collaborated with FNS for six months to create a procedure and documentation templates that grocers can customize for their EBT applications. FNS’ subsequent approval of Wynshop’s EBT/SNAP solution and methodology for retailers is poised to dramatically reduce the time, cost and complexity of this process for grocers.

    Wynshop’s mission is to give SNAP beneficiaries access to more choices, and local grocers a greater share of government subsidy dollars, helping these retailers grow their online businesses and bolster their relationships with loyal customers.

  • 7/14/2023

    2,000 Organizations Urge Swift Passage of PBM Reform Measures While Preserving States’ Rights

    Walmart Pharmacy Teaser

    Nearly 2,000 employers, patient advocates, pharmacies, providers and businesses sent a letter to Congress on July 12 strongly urging passage of pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) reform legislation that would address the anticompetitive practices of some PBMs while bringing greater transparency to the pharmaceutical supply chain.

    In the letter, which was led by FMI – The Food Industry Association and the National Community Pharmacists Association, the organizations encouraged lawmakers to significantly reform the PBM industry to achieve a health care system that prioritizes patient well-being, promotes competition and transparency, ensures fair pricing and access to essential medications, and reduces costs to plan sponsors. 

    [Read more: “Brookshire Grocery Sells Its Pharmacies to Walgreens”]

    Additionally, the letter expressed the need to ensure federal PBM reform legislation preserves the rights of states. Many of the nearly 2,000 companies and organizations that signed on care deeply about providing health insurance to employees and appreciate the importance of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), but agree with the U.S. Supreme Court that ERISA does not prevent states from enacting policies that address the relationship between PBMs and pharmacies. The letter also emphasized that, despite claims to the contrary, there has been no evidence that health insurance costs have increased faster in states that have implemented PBM reform.

    The organizations stated, “By passing PBM reform measures that also preserve the rights of states, Congress has the power to lower prescription drug costs and alleviate the financial burden on patients and the health care system at large, while enhancing access to affordable medications for our employees and promoting a healthier, more competitive business environment. We stand ready to continue supporting you in these efforts and eagerly await the positive impact that PBM reform can have on the lives of all Americans.”

  • 7/12/2023

    Grocery Prices Unchanged in June

    inflation teaser

    While overall inflation ticked up 0.2% in June, new data from the U.S. Census Bureau showed that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for food at home was unchanged. The 0.0% rate comes after a slight 0.1% bump in May and consecutive decreases in March and April.

    Within the grocery sector, prices fell across several categories, including meats, poultry, fish and eggs (-0.4%), dairy and related products (-0.3%) and nonalcoholic beverages (-0.1%). Foods that fall into the “other” category also experienced a sales dip, down 0.2% in June.

    [Read more: "Store-Brand Dollar Share Reaches Record Level"]

    The CPI in two of the six major grocery categories did go higher during the first month of summer. Fruit and vegetable prices rose 0.8% and cereal and bakery products went up 0.1% for the month. On a year-over-year (YoY) basis, the CPI for food at home is up 4.7% over 2022, compared to 7.7% for food away from home.

    On that note, consumers continue to shell out more at foodservice locations, as the CPI for food away from home climbed 0.4% in June. That continues a trend, as the restaurant sector has yet to post a CPI decline or even a 0% rate in 2023.

    The increase in the overall inflation rate was driven by higher prices in shelter, new vehicles, transportation and electricity. As summer travel season kicked off, gas prices edged higher again in June by 1% after falling 5.6% in May.

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