News Briefs


Buehler’s to Open Liquor Agency in Ohio

Buehler’s Lets Customers Determine ‘Best Time to Shop’

Buehler’s Fresh Foods has released plans for a Liquor Agency in Galion, Ohio, with a scheduled opening date in late spring. The Galion Liquor Agency will be located in the Galion West Shopping Plaza, just one door down from a Buehler’s Fresh Foods grocery store that opened in October 2021.

In Ohio, liquor sales are handled by state-licensed “agents” that contract with public/private partnership Ohio Liquor (OHLQ)  to sell these products (this excludes beer and wine, which can be sold in supermarkets).

“We appreciate the opportunity to continue our investment in Galion and the surrounding communities, and look forward to bringing an additional service to our Buehler’s Galion supermarket customers,” said Mike Davidson, CEO and president of Wooster, Ohio-based Buehler’s Fresh Foods.

In addition to liquor, Buehler’s Galion Liquor Agency will include an assortment of more than 300 beers and 400 wines. Customers who mix and match six or more wines will receive a 10% discount.

“We are proud to offer our customers the convenience of one-stop shopping,” said Ron James, Buehler’s director of beer, wine and liquor. “In addition to liquor, we will also offer a selection of snacks, sodas and mixers, glassware, barware, and premium cigars.”

The hours of operation for Buehler’s Galion Liquor Agency will be Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. It will be closed on Sundays.

Buehler’s Fresh Foods was founded in 1929 by E.L. Buehler and his wife, Helen. In 2017, Buehler’s went through a management buyout and formed an employee stock ownership plan. Buehler’s operates 14 supermarkets, seven liquor agencies, outside catering, coffee shops and a Food Truck named Ferris.


RSA America Adds to Leadership Roster

RSA headshots

Grocery tech firm RSA America is enhancing its executive team, naming Robert Easley as chief growth officer and Mark Osborne as director of retail execution.

Those roles are pivotal at RSA America, which provides integrated digital solutions for independent grocers that encompass pricing, couponing, marketing and loyalty information. Easley and Osborne will help independent retailers create positive and often customized shopping experiences while saving on marketing and advertising costs.

Both leaders have extensive industry backgrounds. Easley was an SVP of operations, chief change officer and chief marketing officer at H-E-B and will leverage his expansive industry knowledge and experience to lead all strategic business development and sales partnerships for RSA.

“By adding Rob Easley to our team, we bring the vision of the industry with us. He will continue to propel RSA America forward as a true differentiator in the market,” said Rob Belcore, RSA’s co-founder and chief customer officer.

Likewise, Osborne brings strong grocery ties to his new position. The former VP/director or operations at Sprouts Farmers Market, Reasor's and Earth Fare has been tapped to lead RSA’s initiatives at the store level to improve sales, profit and customer experiences.

“RSA America has always been a true grocers’ software. We do not believe we can fix problems from the other end of a webinar. As an operations director for at a number of the nation's premier independent retailers his entire life, Mark has driven operational excellence across multiple different grocery concepts,” Belcore remarked.


Volpi Launches 1st Compostable Package for Deli Meats

Volpi logo

As the push for more sustainable packaging continues – and as consumers look to CPGs and retailers to offer solutions – one brand is introducing a compostable package for deli meats. Volpi Foods recently teamed up with supplier C-P Flexible Packaging to offer the category’s first fully compostable package for its cured meat products.

The material is deemed certified compostable by the Biodegradable Products Institute. Post-use, the package degrades into carbon dioxide, water and biomass, which is then considered natural compost.

This is the latest green move by Volpi, which started reducing the amount of plastic used in its packaging about two years ago. The company recently reported that it diverted more than 45 tons of single-use plastic from landfills in 2021 through its “eco-pack” innovations.

“When we decided to rebrand, we wanted to set the stage for our strategic direction also. Incorporating our Responsibly Raised Pork Program and marrying that together with our artisanal production methods was paramount to the company. The final implementation was the use of less plastic in our packaging,” explained Lorenza Pasetti, CEO of the St. Louis, Mo.-based Volpi Foods. "We wanted to make a statement that all companies can have a positive effect on the environment by reducing the amount of plastic used. C-P worked with us to ensure this strategic goal was made a reality.”


Online Grocery Inflation Rising as Market Gap Narrows, Report Finds

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.


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

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."


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

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.”