Publix recently honored six associates with a community service award named after the company’s founder. George Jenkins, affectionately known throughout the organization as “Mr. George,” was an advocate for helping others; the company started the Mr. George Awards in 1995.
This year’s winners include the following Publix team members:
Ben Robb, store manager, Madison, Ala.
Kelsey Palmer, assistant customer service manager, Mt. Pleasant, S.C.
Rhett Bagwell, store manager, Tallahassee, Fla.
Stacy Bidwell, assistant customer service manager, North Port, Fla.
Erika Serkin, store manager, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
Melanie Bonanno, director of employment law and investigations
Publix CEO Todd Jones lauded the associates’ commitment to a range of important causes. “As a company, part of our mission is to be involved as responsible citizens in our communities. Mr. George’s philosophy was simply to give, without receiving anything in return. The work these extraordinary associates perform continue his legacy of giving back,” he said.
Privately owned and operated by its more than 225,000 employees, Lakeland, Fla.-based Publix has 1,281 stores in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia. The grocer is No. 11 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.
Grocery Outlet, Instacart Partnership Goes National
Grocery Outlet is expanding its e-commerce partnership with Instacart by offering same-day delivery from nearly 400 stores in California, Oregon, Washington, Pennsylvania, Idaho, Nevada and New Jersey.
Instacart first brought Grocery Outlet onto its app back in October, making online shopping and delivery available to Grocery Outlet customers for the first time. The initial pilot ran for six months across nearly 70 retail stores in California.With this national expansion, more Grocery Outlet customers can now access products online and have orders delivered in as fast as an hour.
“We know accessibility matters, and our successful pilot proved the value delivery in as fast as an hour provides Grocery Outlet customers,” said Chris Rogers, VP of retail at San Francisco-based Instacart. “As consumers continue to seek value, selection and convenience, we’re proud to support Grocery Outlet as the retailer continues to build an engaging online experience for their customers.”
“We remain excited about the long-term potential of our e-commerce initiative and partnership with Instacart enabling us to expand our customer reach,” said Eric Lindberg, CEO of Grocery Outlet. “Following positive results from our pilot, we recently completed a rollout to nearly all stores. While it’s only been a few weeks since the rollout, we are pleased with the smooth execution and the favorable response from independent operators and customers so far.”
Fair Trade USA, a nonprofit organization and third-party certifier of fair-trade products in the United States, has joined Amazon’s Climate Pledge Friendly initiative.
Climate Pledge Friendly highlights products that are certified by one of the sustainability certifications featured on Amazon’s certification page or by the company's own Compact by Design certification. With Fair Trade USA joining the pledge, this would allow Fair Trade Certified products to be more easily discoverable on Amazon’s e-commerce sites.
“We are thrilled consumers have access to a wider assortment of more sustainable products through our partnership with Climate Pledge Friendly,” said Paul Rice, founder and CEO of Oakland, Calif.-based Fair Trade USA. “We applaud Amazon for creating ways for customers to shop for more sustainable products and addressing climate change head-on through initiatives such as their climate pledge.”
Inspired by Amazon’s commitment to be net zero carbon by 2040, the Climate Pledge Friendly initiative highlights products that support its efforts to preserve the natural world. Fair Trade Certified products with universal product codes (UPC) will receive the Climate Pledge Friendly badge identifying items that meet sustainability standards.
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.
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
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.