Continuing its diversity and inclusion efforts, Meijer is donating $1 million to local affiliates of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. The funds will be divided among 17 Chambers in the Midwest, including city-based and regional groups across Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin.
Among other things, the financial support will be used to improve the economic growth and development of Hispanic-owned businesses. According to company information, part of Meijer’s D&I goal is to create opportunities and bolster intergenerational wealth in its service areas.
"By investing in these Hispanic Chambers, we hope to empower Hispanic business owners and create an economic impact that's felt throughout our communities," explained Tim Williams, VP of diversity and inclusion at Meijer.
Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Meijer operates 257 supercenters and grocery stores throughout Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin. The company is No. 18 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food retailers in North America.
Whole Foods Market Opens 2nd Store With Just Walk Out Tech
The Sherman Oaks store also incorporates Whole Foods’ commitment to offering local products. The store’s assortment is hand-picked by the "local forager" for Whole Foods’ Southern Pacific region, Elena Garcia.
To give back to the Sherman Oaks community, Whole Foods will host multiple School Spirit Days in May, from which 5% of the proceeds will support local schools, including Dixie Canyon Elementary School, Riverside Drive Charter Elementary School, The Science Academy STEM Magnet and Wonderland Ave.
The first certified-organic national grocer, Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods has more than 500 stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. The company is No. 26 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top retailers of food and consumables in the United States, while its parent company, Seattle-based Amazon, is No. 2 on PG’s list.
Peapod Digital Labs Improves Transparency of Private Brands
Peapod Digital Labs is leveraging a cloud-based platform from Trace One, a provider of business solutions for CPGs, for product and packaging specifications of private-brand products across all of the companies of Ahold Delhaize USA. Beginning with a pilot that launched in early March, the Trace One PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) will manage product formulation, labeling statements and claims, quality and testing parameters, and packaging substrate data to promote regulatory compliance, satisfy company standards and meet consumer expectations.
“The Private Brands team has worked hard to remove unwanted ingredients from its portfolio of private label products to promote transparency and sustainable practices, and to reduce our plastic and packaging waste,” said Danielle Harper, director of product excellence, private brands, Peapod Digital Labs. “Partnering with Trace One is an important next step in ensuring that we meet consumers’ expectations about visibility to the ingredients in a product, where it was made, and if sustainable and/or ethical practices were used in production.”
The application will benefit vendors by creating one single source of validated and approved private label portfolio data. The solution also ensures accurate labeling, helps identify opportunities for alignment and increases efficiency in reporting on improvements toward sustainability objectives.
Starting in June 2022, all suppliers of Peapod Digital Labs private-brand products will be required to use the new system.
Canada-based Vejii Holdings Ltd., an online marketplace for plant-based and sustainable products, has signed a consignment and fulfillment services agreement with Unreal Deli Inc., which makes premium plant-based deli meat.
Unreal Deli will provide inventory into Vejii Fulfillment Services for sale on Vejii Express, and through its own direct-to-consumer channel (D2C). Under the terms of the agreement, Vejii will pick, pack and ship orders for ShopVejii.com and for Unreal Deli's own e-commerce platform, unrealdeli.com, further expanding the services that the company can offer its partners.
"With five distribution points across the U.S., Vejii can reach 100% of the continental United States and Hawaii with ground delivery,” said Darren Gill, president, and COO of Vejii. “We're proud to further support our brand partners by providing access to our distribution network, and helping to solve some of the business challenges that our CPG brand partners face in a market where cold-chain distribution for D2C shipping has become more challenging. We will not only be handling storage, pick, pack and ship for Unreal Deli, but also undertaking sample distribution, which we've identified as a key opportunity to support our brand partners. This provides a new revenue stream for the company but also deepens our relationship with new and innovative brands like Unreal Deli, which is already a top-selling SKU for Vejii.”
Securing on investment from Mark Cuban on Shark Tank for her authentic New York- style deli meat, Unreal Deli founder Jenny Goldfarb has since gained distribution with retailers like Whole Foods Market and Publix Super Markets.
Amazon Brings Its Fresh Food Fest to Southern California
Amazon Fresh stores in Southern California are celebrating the retailer’s Fresh Food Fest now through March 27. The 10 stores will host 12 days filled with book signings, professional chef demonstrations, samples, discounts, live music and more.
Special appearances will be made by Ludo Lefebvre of Petit Trois Le Valley and Ludo Bird; Jess Damuck, author of “Salad Freak;” Bricia Lopez, co-owner of Guelaguetza and author of “Oaxaca: Home Cooking from the Heart of Mexico;” Valerie Gordon, owner of Valerie’s Confections; Jason Wrobel, author of “Eaternity;” and Maria Provenzano, author of “Everyday Celebrations from Scratch.”
The Fresh Food Fest celebration will be extended to Amazon Fresh stores in the Chicagoland area beginning April 13.
Food technology company GrubMarket has completed the acquisition of tech-driven fresh produce supplier SunFed, one of the top importers of squash into the United States. The full-service food distribution and wholesale business has a 65,000-square-foot warehouse and state-of-the-art processing facilities.
“We are excited to join the GrubMarket team and welcome the opportunities brought forth by GrubMarket’s robust technology platform and strong e-commerce supply and demand network,” said Craig Slate, CEO of Nogales, Ariz.-based SunFed. “We are constantly striving to deliver on our promise of Perfect Produce to our customers throughout North America, and also seek to strengthen and grow our best-in-class grower network. We are thrilled to learn that GrubMarket shares this same goal and has built out such a well-integrated and much-needed e-commerce and technology-enabled platform to bring fresh food to so many important customers across the country.”
Mike Xu, CEO of San Francisco-based GrubMarket, added: “SunFed is one of the most trusted brands in the nation for squashes and other dry vegetables, watermelons, cantaloupe, and honeydews. … [T]he exceptional team at SunFed have scaled the company to over $100 million in annual revenues with a strong profitability profile. In addition, they are mission-driven with strong sustainability and food safety practices, which match GrubMarket’s goals and ambitions. This acquisition enables GrubMarket to further strengthen our presence in key markets like Texas and Arizona, while solidifying our position in the food supply chain industry as a technology enabler.”
As a part of GrubMarket’s portfolio, SunFed can make use of its proprietary WholesaleWare, a software-as-a-service platform providing food wholesalers and distributors with financial management, sales and online ordering features, inventory management, lot traceability and tracking, grower accounting, and automated routing and logistics tools.