As a way to support Iowa’s effort in providing meals for those located in war-torn areas in Ukraine, Hy-Vee Inc. will host a public event called Unite for Ukraine, in partnership with faith-related organization Meals from the Heartland.
At the April 26 event, which will take place at Hy-Vee’s Ron Pearson Center on 5820 Westown Parkway in West Des Moines, the two organizations will package 300,000 meals for Ukraine.
The grocer will donate $50,000 from the company’s One Step charitable program to fund the event. The donation is in addition to Hy-Vee's current Food Bank Fridays initiative, which raises funds to supply local food banks in Iowa and across the Midwest.
“When the opportunity presented itself to open our doors to a public packaging event to help those in Ukraine, we knew this was something we had to do,” said Randy Edeker, Hy-Vee's chairman and CEO. “For years, we have helped combat food insecurity both here at home as well as across the world. We know countless people are in need of food right now, and as the state’s largest grocer, it’s our duty to answer the call for help.”
Hy-Vee has partnered with West Des Moines-based Meals from the Heartland since 2011, and provided funding for more than 13.5 million meals to those in need.
Hy-Vee is just one of many food retailers that have shown support for Ukraine, and like other companies, the grocer has donated both meals and critical supplies. Among the supermarket operators that have supported Ukraine through various donations and fundraising campaigns are The Fresh Market, Publix and SpartanNash.
Festival Foods is moving into another market in Wisconsin. According to local media reports, a new store will be built in Chippewa Falls in the northwest part of the state.
Slated to open in late 2023, the store is part of the Chippewa Crossing site developed by Milwaukee-based Wangard Partners, Inc. “We are very excited to have Festival Foods as the anchor for our Chippewa Crossing development,” said Stewart Wangard, Wangard’s CEO and chairman of the board. “Festival Foods is a very successful, Wisconsin-based grocery brand, and their presence in Chippewa Falls will be an impactful option for the community.”
Currently, Festival Foods operates 39 grocery stores in Wisconsin. The company recently added to its portfolio with the purchase of former Trig’s locations in the towns of Wausau, Weston and Stevens Point.
“Our customers are at the center of everything we do,” noted Adam Salgado, Cardenas’ chief marketing officer. “Whether shopping in-store or online, Cardenas Markets is committed to ensuring an excellent and convenient shopping experience for our customers.”
To use curbside pickup, Cardenas customers can visit Instacart’s website and click the Pickup icon for a Las Vegas Cardenas store location. Upon completing the online order, they choose a pickup time, and a Cardenas Markets associate will prepare and ensure the order is ready for pickup at the selected time. Customers park in the area designated for curbside pickup and use the Instacart app to notify the store of their arrival.
Ontario, Calif.-based Cardenas operates 52 stores under the Cardenas banner and seven stores under the Cardenas Ranch Markets banner. The company operates in California, Nevada and Arizona.
Amazon’s Just Walk Out Tech Available at Minute Maid Park
Amazon has collaborated with the Houston Astros to bring the e-tailer’s checkout-free Just Walk Out technology to two food and beverage stores at Minute Maid Park, just ahead of the first home game of the season, on April 18.
The Astros’ stadium is the first in Major League Baseball to adopt Just Walk Out, and it’s using the same slightly modified system that Amazon offers at select Whole Foods Market and Amazon Fresh stores. Just Walk Out shopping is made possible by using similar types of technologies used in self-driving cars, computer vision, sensor fusion and deep learning.
Amazon’s technology is available at the stadium’s 19th Hole store, located on the Concourse level, and the Market store, located on the Honda Club level. Both stores offer a selection of snacks, soda, candy and ready-to-drink alcoholic beverages, with the Concourse-level store also offering pre-packaged salads, wine bottles and souvenirs.
Both locations require a customer to insert their credit card at the entry gate to begin shopping. Items will be added to their virtual cart after being grabbed off the shelf, and anything returned to the shelf will be taken out of their virtual cart.
Each store also features staff to greet customers and offer in-store assistance. To buy alcohol, customers will still have to show ID to a store attendant.
“Our technology is designed to deliver a fast and frictionless shopping experience, so we’re thrilled to help eliminate checkout lines for fans when they need to refuel during games and between innings,” said Dilip Kumar, VP of physical retail and technology at Amazon.
A new independent grocer is set to open in Florence, Ala., in the north part of the state. Coming in mid-2022, Cottonwood Farm & Grocery will sell fresh meats, produce, bulk grains, flowers, cheeses, grab-and-go meals and snacks and housewares, among other products.
Many items will be locally sourced from farmers and growers in the Tennessee Valley, and the retailer will team up with natural and organic wholesaler UNFI to carry organic brands such as Annie’s, Amy’s, Beyond Meat and Evol. Located at 318 N. Court Street in the downtown district, the market also will feature an assortment of vegan and gluten-free products and offer DoorDash delivery service and the use of EBT payments. As part of its community-focused efforts, Cottonwood Farm owners Hope and Brian Williamson are planning to provide items that are nearing their end date and haven’t sold yet to a local center for those in need.
“We opened this storefront to give local farmers a place to sell their goods, and we’ve succeeded,” said Brian Williamson. “And, keeping the shelves stocked with other organic items is something the community vocalized, so we’re trying to meet that need.”
As Blue Apron continues to add new offerings like breakfast and single-serve items to its portfolio, it’s also growing its product team. The meal kit company has appointed Josh Friedman as chief product officer, effective April 18.
In this recently-created c-suite role, Friedman will head up Blue Apron’s product strategy across several functions. He will oversee efforts in the areas of fulfillment, culinary and digital product, among other responsibilities.
Friedman joins Blue Apron from The Neiman Marcus Group, where he served as head of digital products. His retail background also includes positions at JCPenney and Dell, where he led product, digital, e-commerce, marketing analytics and omnichannel operations and teams.
A graduate of the MBA and undergraduate accounting programs at The University of Texas at Austin, Friedman served on the advisory board for the Digital Council at the National Retail Federation, and the University of North Texas Global Digital Retailing Research Center.
“Josh’s strengths in weaving digital experiences around unique physical products combined with his experience growing e-commerce, fulfillment environments as well as transforming a product-driven culture cross-functionally will be a great addition to our established leadership team,” said Linda Findley, Blue Apron’s president and CEO to whom Friedman will report. “His exceptional record in team building, leadership, growing direct businesses, marketing technology, and data-driven product strategy will be an asset, and I look forward to his contribution to the business.”
Friedman, for his part, said that he is looking forward to joining Blue Apron at a time of growth and expansion, both from a product and reach standpoint. “The team has established a strong foundation for the business and I am excited to work with them to build on top of the great work that has already been done,” he remarked.