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05/11/2022

Online Grocery Inflation Rising as Market Gap Narrows, Report Finds

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Online Grocery Inflation Rising as Market Gap Narrows, Report Finds

Grocery prices are still climbing, according to a report from data and tech company Numerator, and online grocery and dollar store inflation also shows no signs of slowing down.

For the four weeks ending May 1, Numerator reports that grocery prices were up 12.4% over the previous year, also showing a rise over the nearly 8% increase already taking hold at the beginning of the year. Prices for health and beauty products were up 8.4% in the same time period, showing signs of stabilization, and household items inflation were up 13.8%, a lift from prior weeks.

Online grocery inflation has grown steadily since fall 2021 and has now overtaken dollar channel inflation with an increase of 17.2% over the previous year. Club store grocery prices are up only 7.6%, representing less than half of the increase seen in online and dollar channels.

Consumers across rural, urban and suburban areas are now seeing similar effects from inflationary prices, whereas suburban customers saw the brunt of price increases for the first part of this year. Members of Generation Z experienced the biggest inflation rate for the four weeks ending May 1, followed by Generation X, millennials and baby boomers.

Numerator found that the inflation rates of Black shoppers have now overtaken those of Asian shoppers, though 50.6% of Black consumers reported a positive financial outlook.

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05/11/2022

Moser’s Opens New Location With Drive-Thru Chicken Restaurant

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Champs Chicken_Moses Drive Thru

Missouri-based independent grocer Moser’s opened its newest location in Columbia last week with a first-of-its-kind attached restaurant. The drive-thru Champs Chicken has a double-line kitchen layout as well as digital drive-thru menu boards and mobile app technology.

Champs Chicken has more than 400 locations in both convenience stores and grocery stores. Through this partnership, customers can purchase Champs Chicken at the Moser’s in-store hot case, through the restaurant drive-thru or by ordering on the restaurant’s app or third-party ordering apps for pick-up or delivery.

“Communities will always need grocery stores and comfort food, that’ll never change,” said Moser’s owner Roger Moser. “But what has changed in my 40-plus years in the industry is how customers want to get it.”

“The grocery store drive-thru model has been a vision of our founder for many years,” said Jim Spratt, VP of project management for Champs Chicken parent Holts Summit, Mo.-based PFSbrands. “As we’ve worked in lockstep with grocery stores throughout the country for the last two decades, we’ve seen an increase in consumer demand for convenience and multiple paths to purchase ... like grocery store pickup and mobile food ordering."

05/10/2022

Where Food Comes From Becomes Exclusive 3rd-Party Verifier of Paleo Certification

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Where Food Comes From Becomes Exclusive 3rd-Party Verifier of Paleo Food Certification

The Paleo Diet LLC has partnered with Where Food Comes From Inc. to provide third-party verification of food certification for Paleo nutrition.

The Paleo Diet revealed earlier in May that it had developed a new food certification program so that retailers and CPGs can easily show consumers which foods adhere to the regimen.Through the new partnership, Castle Rock, Colo.-based Where Food Comes From has agreed to be the exclusive third-party verifier of the certification program, which is the only certification recognized by Dr. Loren Cordain, the founder of the modern paleolithic nutrition movement.

The Paleo Diet food certification program offers two certifications:

• Foods certified as TRUEPALEO are foods in full compliance with Cordain's Paleo Diet program, which features sustainably sourced vegetables, fruits, natural meats, seafood, nuts and seeds. Foods that earn TRUEPALEO certification meet rigorous science-based standards for human-friendly nutrition.

• PaleoFLEX certification standards recognize that balancing modern life and ancient eating can be a challenge, so foods that earn this certification still follow Paleo principles, but the criteria are more flexible. PaleoFLEX certification helps consumers identify and enjoy better-for-you foods that still fit their healthy-eating lifestyle.

The Paleo Diet certifications were developed over years by Cordain's first and last graduate students, Dr. Mark J. Smith and Trevor Connor, M.S., alongside industry experts from the areas of food labeling, consumer packaged goods and sustainability.

“Where Food Comes From verifies claims related to sustainability, organic and gluten-free, all of which complement our science-based standards for the healthfulness of foods,” said Trevor Connor, CEO of The Paleo Diet, which is based in Boulder, Colo. “Through our partnership with Where Food Comes From, our new food certifications will make it easier for consumers, manufacturers and retailers to identify better-for-you foods on crowded store shelves and online.”

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05/10/2022

Loblaw Completes Lifemark Acquisition

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Loblaw Completes Lifemark Acquisition

Known as Canada's food and pharmacy leader, Loblaw Cos. Ltd. has closed its acquisition of Lifemark Health Group from Audax Private Equity.

Loblaw said in March that its wholly owned subsidiary Shoppers Drug Mart Inc. agreed to acquire Lifemark for aggregate cash consideration of CAD $845 million. Lifemark is a provider of outpatient physiotherapy, massage therapy, occupational therapy, chiropractic, mental health and other ancillary rehabilitation services through its more than 300 clinics across Canada. The Toronto-based health provider has 3 million patient visits annually, and employs more than 5,000 highly trained clinicians, medical experts and team members.

With the acquisition of Lifemark, Loblaw adds to its own growing role as a health care service provider with a network of health-and-wellness solutions, accessible in-person and digitally.

Led by Shoppers Drug Mart, Loblaw offers full-service pharmacies and a range of services such as prescriptions, med checks, vaccinations, minor-ailment diagnoses and nutrition consultations in more than 1,800 locations in 10 provinces and two territories, including at Shoppers Drug Mart, PharmaPrix, Loblaw pharmacy, DRUGStore Pharmacy and CENTRESante locations.

Loblaw Cos. Ltd. operates more than 2,400 corporate, franchised and associate-owned locations in Canada. The Brampton, Ontario-based company is No. 12 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.

05/10/2022

Walgreens Switching to 100% Cage-Free Eggs by Year-End

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Walgreens Store Teaser

Drug store chain Walgreens has accelerated progress toward its commitment to sell 100% cage-free shell and liquid eggs by 2025 to the end of 2022. The updated public commitment ramps up the timeline for cage-free eggs across the retailer’s 9,102 U.S. stores by three years.

“We applaud Walgreens for its decision to switch to cage-free eggs much sooner than initially planned,” said Vicky Bond, president of The Humane League, which is based in Rockville, Md. “This step will reduce the suffering of countless egg-laying hens. Socially responsible companies like Walgreens will no longer source eggs from hens kept in cruel battery cages, and we hope that companies like Rite Aid will follow the lead of Walgreens and CVS, which also pledged to sell only cage-free eggs by the end of this year.” 

To date, some of the largest companies around the world have made commitments to sell only cage-free eggs, including Nestlé, Aldi, InterContinental Hotels, Sodexo, Kraft Heinz, Compass Group, Shake Shack, Famous Brands, Costa Coffee, Burger King, Dunkin’, Krispy Kreme, Unilever, and Barilla. Among retailers specifically, Sprouts Farmers Market recently revealed that it’s now sourcing all shell and liquid eggs sold at its 370-plus stores from cage-free, organic or free-range farms. The grocer’s Our Brands eggs have been “cage-free or better” since 2016, offering such attributes as being pasture-raised. 

Deerfield, Ill.-based Walgreens is No. 5 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. With more than 2,100 stores across 38 states, Batavia, Ill.-based Aldi U.S. is No. 24 on PG’s list, while Phoenix-based Sprouts Farmers Market, which has more than 370 stores in 23 states, is No. 48.     

05/09/2022

What Are This Year’s Best Specialty Food Products?

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The Specialty Food Association has crowned its next crop of new and outstanding foods. Winners of this year’s sofi Awards, which are celebrating their 50th year, run the gamut from a red wine and rosemary cracker kit and Japanese barbecue sauce to plant-based salmon patties and everything bagel-flavored goat cheese.

The awards are open to product-qualified members of the Specialty Food Association and were judged at the Rutgers University Food Innovation Center. Judges undertook anonymous tastings across 47 categories using criteria including flavor, appearance, texture, aroma, ingredient quality and innovation. A total of 102 products were awarded Gold or New Product trophies.

“For 50 years the sofi Awards have been recognizing the best of the best in the specialty food industry,” said Laura Lozada, VP of membership for the Specialty Food Association. “Our members are the foundation of our industry and we are proud to honor their innovation, growth, and creativity.”

Other products honored this year include bake-and-serve Wake-N-Bagels from Little Shop of Bagels, Callie's Hot Little Biscuit Sausage Biscuit and Cassava Chips from Turbana Corp. Scamps Toffee Duo took the Gold award in the Chocolate Candy Category and Bee Razzled Honey Shrub won the Gold award among Alcoholic Beverages & Cocktail Mixes. A full list of winners is on the Specialty Food Association's website.

Product of the Year Award and New Product of the Year Awards will be handed out on June 12 during the Summer Fancy Food Show, which will be held at the Javits Center in New York City.