News Briefs


Fortun’s Delivers Custom Chowder Bars to Grocers

Fortun’s Delivers Custom Chowder Bars to Grocers

Fortun's Finishing Touch Soups and Sauces is offering a new “chowder bar” for grocery seafood departments. Retailers can offer custom-branded clam chowder, lobster bisque and Alaskan seafood chowder displayed in a three-unit kettle.

In addition to the hot products, Fortun’s chowder bar program includes cold soups to go. With this turnkey setup, shoppers can sample the premium chowders and bisques before buying them for at-home use. Fortun Foods is touting the program as a way to enhance brands, increase loyalty and boost profits for retail seafood areas.

The soups are made with real stock and cream and fresh vegetables. The Kirkland, Wash.-based Fortun Foods, Inc. was started more than 10 years ago by Kevin Fortun, former founder and president of Stockpot Soups.


Revol Greens Grows With New Marketing Pro

Jessica Dillon

Lettuce company Revol Greens has brought on a new head of marketing as it expands its brand and presence around the country. Jessica Dillon will lead all marketing initiatives for the Medford, Minn.-based greenhouse grower.

A graduate of the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth and Boston University, Dillon has a strong background in marketing for fresh food companies, previously serving in marketing roles for Land O’Lakes and Fairlife. During her tenure at those CPGs, she promoted new brands, guided consumer research and spearheaded paid marketing plans, among other duties.

She joins Revol at a time of significant growth. Last year, the grower added several products to its portfolio of lettuces and mixes and began using a 100% plant-based fertilizer alternative for its Plant-Fed Organic line.

“Jess brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise in crafting and curating messaging around consumer marketing activation. Her background in categories that have undergone shifts due to trends toward plant protein sources and broader dairy category disruption has many parallels to fresh produce, she is well-poised to make a great impact here at Revol Greens in communicating what Controlled Environment Agriculture is as we continue to expand into new markets,” said Tom Thompson, Revol Greens’ chief revenue officer.

Dillon weighed in on her new position. “Revol Greens is a brand I’ve admired for a while. They are truly at the forefront of agriculture technology and changing the landscape of what it looks like to farm today,” she remarked. “I’m here to help share advancements as they happen, in real-time. And it’s happening quickly.”


Hy-Vee to Host Public Event Providing 300K Meals for Ukraine

Hy-Vee Holding 4th ‘Best of Local Brands’ Summit in November The W Nail Bair

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.

Operating more than 285 retail stores in eight Midwestern states West Des Moines-based Hy-Vee is No. 34 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.


Festival Foods Coming to Northwest Wisconsin

Festival Foods teaser

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.

De Pere, Wis.-based Skogen's Festival Foods is an employee- and family-owned company.


Cardenas Markets Offering Curbside Pickup in Vegas

Cardenas Markets Las Vegas Curbside Pickup Teaser

Cardenas Markets has rolled out curbside pickup at all five of its Las Vegas locations, through the Hispanic grocer’s partnership with San Francisco-based Instacart

“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

Minute Maid Park Teaser

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.

Seattle-based Amazon is No. 2 on Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America, while Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods, its wholly owned subsidiary, is No. 26 on PG's list.