News Briefs


Rouses Stays Official Supermarket of New Orleans Saints

New Orleans Saints Teasers

Rouses Markets has once more been named the official supermarket of the New Orleans Saints, with the additional designation of presenting sponsor of Saints Training Camp. Through the deal, Rouses customers will receive early access to training camp practices with a Fast Pass Lane.

“Saints fans are some of the most passionate and proud sports fans in the country, and I’m one of them,” noted Rouses’ Donny Rouse. “There is a loyal Saints fan base in every market we serve across the Gulf Coast. This partnership is good for everyone, especially the fans. We will be creating a Saints experience throughout our stores and in our advertising year-round.”

The long-term partnership includes fan and community activations, with on-field fan features including the Tunnel Team experience, in which fans are selected to participate before each home game, and Kick-Off Kids, an opportunity for youngsters to be junior tee retrievers. There will also be retail promotions especially for Rouses customers, as well as sweepstakes to win tickets and autographed merchandise.

"As part of this important partnership, we are going to work with Rouses Markets on a wonderful project called Tackle Hunger," said New Orleans Saints owner Gayle Benson. "We will be encouraging all of our fans to donate nonperishable food at any Rouses Market, that will go to food pantries and community centers throughout the Gulf Coast.”

Throughout the Saints Season, the Saints and Rouses Tackle Hunger Truck with Saints alumni, Saints mascots and the Saints cheer krewe will travel across Louisiana to collect nonperishable food and donations in person.

Rouses and the Saints signed a multiyear partnership back in 2017.

Thibodaux, La.-based Rouses Markets operates 64 supermarkets in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. It is No. 84 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. 


NGA Augments Advocacy, Member Services Teams

NGA New Hires Teaser

The National Grocers Association (NGA), the trade organization representing the independent grocery industry, has revealed several new hires to strengthen its advocacy and member services teams.

Stephanie Johnson (far left in photo) joined Washington, D.C.-based NGA as VP of government relations, in which she’ll be responsible for the organization’s food and nutrition issues, and will advise the NGA Foundation on federal nutrition program grant work. Johnson previously worked in the office of U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., as a legislative assistant. A registered dietitian, Johnson brings food policy and public health experience to NGA. She also spent four years working for two independent grocery stores, where she saw firsthand how federal policies, including the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program, affect community grocery stores and their customers.

Max Wengroff (second from left), NGA’s new executive assistant, will provide support for the leaders of the association’s government relations, industry relations and communications teams. He was previously a federal legislative associate for environmental policy group Environment America.

Kelly Hanson (second from right) has come aboard as the new project assistant for the NGA Foundation. Hanson has experience in project management and early-childhood nutrition. She worked as a program specialist for the Iowa Association for the Education of Young Children and as a public health nutritionist for the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

Josh Anderegg (far right), the new project manager for the NGA Foundation’s Technical Assistance Center, previously ran a mobile food market for the Pittsburgh Food Bank that offered nutrition incentives, among other endeavors.


Robomart to Launch The Ice Cream Shop

Robomart The Ice Cream Shop Teaser

Robomart, which offers a pioneering store-hailing service fleet of on-demand mobile mini-marts, has teamed with Englewood Cliffs, N.J.-based Unilever to offer a virtual storefront, The Ice Cream Shop. Unilever will deploy a fleet of Ice Cream Robomarts this summer in Los Angeles, featuring treats from such Unilever ice cream brands as Ben & Jerry’s, Breyers, Good Humor, Magnum ice cream, and Talenti. 

Using a patented one-tap grocery ordering technology, consumers can hail The Ice Cream Shop Robomarts to their location using the company’s proprietary mobile app. When the vehicle arrives, the user swipes across the app to open the door. A checkout-free system allows consumers to remove their selected products and walk away without physically checking out or swiping a credit card.

“We’re excited to work with Unilever – the world’s largest ice cream maker – to pilot The Ice Cream Shop as one of the flagship storefronts on our new marketplace,” said Ali Ahmed, CEO and co-founder of Santa Monica, Calif.-based Robomart, which originally launched in Los Angeles in 2021. “Putting a spin on the classic ice cream truck by bringing it to consumers on-demand, we have pioneered a new way for everyone to get their favorite ice cream treats in as little as two minutes. This rollout brings to life the original vision my co-founder and I had over a decade ago while working at Unilever to create ‘The Everywhere Store’ – the fastest and most accessible way to get all your essentials.”

“Our pilot program with Robomart is revolutionizing ice cream delivery for consumers and making it even faster to get our beloved brands to our ice cream fans,” said Russel Lilly, general manager, Unilever North American ice cream. “What better way to shop for your favorite ice cream than just a few steps from your front door?"


H-E-B Starts Construction on Central Texas Store

H-E-B Starts Construction on Central Texas Store

H-E-B has started construction on a new store in Georgetown, Texas, which will replace an existing location less than a mile away. The new store will have a larger footprint and provide customers with an expanded product selection, along with more services and features.

The new H-E-B store will be located at 1010 W. University Avenue in the Wolf Lakes Village neighborhood. It is expected to be complete sometime in spring 2023 and will replace the 67,000-square-foot store at 1100 South I35, which opened in 1989. That location will remain operational until the new store opens.

At 121,000 square feet, the new store will reportedly have the feel of a European village, relating to the character of the surrounding neighborhood, and feature two entry towers and pedestrian-friendly surroundings. The store will tout a two-story True Texas BBQ, H-E-B’s barbecue restaurant. Other amenities will include a pharmacy with two-lane drive-thru, patient education and nutritional services; a full-service bakery and tortilleria; a Meal Simple area with chef-inspired options for quick meal planning; Sushiya, offering handmade sushi selections made in-store daily; Texas Backyard, offering products for grilling, gardening and outdoor entertaining; a fuel station and car wash; and H-E-B Curbside and Home Delivery.

All H-E-B employees will be given the opportunity to transfer to the new location once it is complete. H-E-B plans to hire another 100 associates to staff the new store, employing more than 450 associates in total.

In celebration of the new store’s groundbreaking, H-E-B donated $5,000 each to several area organizations.  

With approximately 400 stores in Texas and Mexico, San Antonio-based H-E-B is No. 13 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.


The Fresh Market Announces Free Food Sweepstakes

The Fresh Market Announces Free Food Sweepstakes

The Fresh Market is going on a giveaway spree as part of an incentive campaign. The retailer announced a sweepstakes for members of its Ultimate Loyalty Experience that awards “fresh food and more” for a year.

Participating shoppers can enter via transactions that occur between now and June 28. One guest at each of the grocer’s 160 stores will win a $200 reloadable gift card for The Fresh Market for 12 consecutive months. The prize also includes an $800 cash award paid by check.

Customers can also enter without making a purchase by logging into their member account and submitting a free entry form online during the sweepstakes period. Winners will be announced in July.

"Imagine getting free money each month for an entire year to spend on all the things you love best about The Fresh Market — top-quality meat and produce, fresh-from-the-bakery desserts, ready-to-eat meals and more," declared Jeff Snyder, the retailer's director of loyalty and email marketing.

In addition to special offers and digital coupons, The Fresh Market’s loyalty program features purchase frequency programs dubbed “The Club Hub.” Guests can earn free items or savings on favorite items in five categories, including the Market Meal Kit Club, Artisan Cheese Club, Whole Panini Club, Floral Club and Coffee by the Cup Club.

The Fresh Market, based in Greensboro, N.C., operates 160 stores in 22 states and is No. 76 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer's 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America


H-E-B Launches Shopper Education Video Platform

HEB Loop

Bringing storytelling and educational information to the beer and wine aisle, Texas grocer H-E-B has rolled out the Loop video platform to 120 of its stores. The videos will share producer stories as well as topics like nutrition, tasting notes and pairing suggestions.

The Loop platform, introduced by shopper education firm Looma, uses a network of smart tablets to help retailers inform purchasing decisions and further connect shoppers with their products. The system rolled out at Schnuck Markets last year and is also utilized at Harris Teeter and Lowes Foods.

"Working with H-E-B has been an immense privilege," said Cole Johnson, founder and CEO at Durham, N.C.-based Looma. "The care and attention to detail with which they evaluated our partnership from day one has affirmed Loop's effectiveness and product-market fit; while lending us industry-leading counsel as we've sought to refine and evolve our offering."

With approximately 400 stores in Texas and Mexico, San Antonio-based H-E-B is No. 13 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.