News Briefs


RILA Advances Exec to EVP of Government Affairs

Austen Jensen

The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) promoted Austen Jensen to EVP of government affairs.

Jensen has worked for the association since 2016. He leads a government affairs team, manages RILA’s payments portfolio and handles financial services issues that fall under the jurisdiction of Securities and Exchange Commission, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Federal Reserve and other key regulators. As sustainability has become a greater priority for retailers, his role has expanded to include environmental issues.

Among other endeavors, he worked with the FTC and Federal Reserve to ensure the enforcement of legislation passed under the Dodd-Frank Act protecting the merchant community. In addition, he also pressured the federal government to drop tariffs on China that have reportedly cost consumers more than $350 billion since 2018.

Prior to joining RILA, Jensen worked on Capitol Hill for more than a decade, serving as chief of staff and deputy chief of staff for various members of the U.S. House of Representatives.

“Austen is an exceptional advocate for leading retailers,” said Michael Hanson, senior EVP of public affairs for the Washington, D.C.-based RILA. “His keen insights, political acumen, dedication, and knowledge of the retail industry drive results for RILA’s members and the retail industry at large. Equally important, he is a caring and motivating leader and guided the RILA government affairs team through extraordinary circumstances during the pandemic. It’s a privilege to work with him, and I’m thrilled to recognize his contributions and value with this promotion.”     


US Foods Readies New Chef’Store in South Carolina

US Foods Chef Store

US Foods is opening a new Chef'Store in Spartanburg, S.C. Welcoming customers this fall, the 33,000-square-foot store will include products for foodservice operators, community groups and “at-home chefs” looking for supplies and ingredients.

Among other offerings, the latest Chef’Store carries fresh meat, produce, dairy, deli items and frozen seafood. Center store items such as baking-ingredients and beverages are available, too.

This is the fourth warehouse-format Chef’Store in South Carolina and the 83rd in the country. After acquiring Smart Foodservice Warehouse stores in 2020, US Foods rebranded them as Chef’Stores in February 2021. Already this year, US Foods has opened Chef-Store locations in Visalia, Calif., and Lynchburg, Va.

“We are excited to join the ‘Hub City’,” said John Mathews, VP of sales and marketing for the Rosemont, Ill.-based US Foods. “Spartanburg is a thriving city with a vibrant restaurant and culinary scene, and we look forward to serving the community with competitively priced, restaurant-quality products.”


‘Carbon Reduced Chicken’ Now Available in Philadelphia Food Stores

Do Good Chicken

The circular chicken economy is coming home to roost at select grocery stores in the Philadelphia area. Do Good Foods is launching its “carbon reduced chicken” there, produced by birds that were nourished by nutrient-dense, upcycled feed.

That chicken feed was made in part by surplus food diverted from grocery stores. Do Good Foods started the program to provide consumers with high quality chicken while keeping otherwise-healthy grocery food from ending up in landfills.

"Food waste is a massive problem with approximately 40% of the food we grow in the U.S. going to waste. We believe this can be solved with what we are doing at Do Good Foods by upcycling surplus grocery food, creating a closed loop system, and providing accessible great tasting chicken to consumers. We are bringing real sustainability to scale and empowering everyone to be a part of the solution" explained Justin Kamine, co-CEO and co-founder of Do Good Foods. "We're thrilled to make our first retail market Philadelphia – also home to our very first production facility – giving everyone an easy way to Do Good and start making an immediate impact on our planet right from their own kitchen."

According to Do Good Foods, each Do Good Chicken product saves about 4 pounds of surplus groceries from being thrown away. That, in turn, prevents the emission of approximately three pounds of greenhouse gases.

In the Philadelphia market, shoppers can find the products in the poultry case at the Shaw’s, Safeway and Acme banners of Albertsons Cos. and at Giant stores. 


Lipari Foods Acquires Deli-Boy to Expand Distribution Footprint

Lipari Foods Truck Teaser

Lipari Foods, a Warren, Mich.-based specialty food distributor, has reached an agreement to acquire New York-based distributor Deli-Boy and its subsidiary Big Apple. The opportunity will expand Lipari’s distribution footprint throughout the adjacent markets of Pennsylvania, Virginia, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Connecticut and New York.

Based in Syracuse and Rochester, N.Y., respectively, Deli-Boy and Big Apple have been servicing retailers along the East Coast for more than 60 years. The organizations supply a combined 1,000-plus retailers across eight states, with about 165 employees in total.

“We are excited to welcome Deli-Boy and Big Apple into our family, and will continue their commitment of providing quality products and great customer service to retailers and foodservice establishments in their marketing area,” said Lipari Foods CEO Thom Lipari. “Deli-Boy and Big Apple are trusted leaders in the industry, and adding their expertise to all that Lipari provides means greater opportunities for their customers.”

“In Lipari we found a partner we could trust with the company’s legacy of exceptional customer service and quality products,” noted John Petosa, CFO and general counsel of Deli-Boy, which began in 1960. “Our companies share similar values, with a strong focus on the customer, growing the business and focus on our teams.”

Added Steve Capizzi, VP at Big Apple, which was incorporated in 1975: “We are excited to join the Lipari Foods team, given their commitment to the customer and growth.” 

Petosa and Capizzi will join the Lipari team, continuing in their roles as leaders of Deli-Boy and Big Apple, respectively.

Founded in 1963, Lipari Foods is an independent “perimeter of the store” distributor, delivering a wide range of bakery, dairy, deli, packaging, seafood, meat, grocery, foodservice, confectionery, and convenience food and beverage products to 10,000-plus customers in 27 states. 


Frozen Food Executives Gather for Government Action Summit

NFRA Reveals 2021 Golden Penguin Winners

The American Frozen Food Institute’s (AFFI) held its annual Government Action Summit May 10-12, with industry executives gathering virtually to discuss frozen food contributions and promote science-based public policy solutions that will address issues facing the industry and its consumers.

AFFI members participated in 60 meetings with Congressional offices and key committees throughout the week and drove home the need for science- and risk-based approaches to food safety, shared the role of frozen food in tackling hunger, nutrition insecurity and food waste, and also shared their strategies for mitigating supply chain disruptions while keeping frozen foods on consumers’ tables.

“Frozen food provides millions of American families with abundant choices for safe, delicious, nutritious and convenient food year-round,” said Alison Bodor, president and CEO of Arlington, Va.-based AFFI.

“AFFI and our member organizations take that responsibility seriously. That’s why we came together this week to meet with policymakers and advocate for responsible solutions that embrace sound science and a transparent regulatory process, to fight food insecurity and to help ensure the continued availability of frozen food products that consumers trust and enjoy,” Bodor continued.

AFFI is the member-driven national trade association representing all segments of the frozen food supply chain from manufacturers to suppliers and distributors. The organization advocates on the industry’s behalf, serves as the voice for the industry and convenes industry leadership to create an environment where frozen foods are essential in a dynamic marketplace.


Coborn's Debuts Own Hardwood Smoked Entrees

Coborn's Debuts Own Hardwood Smoked Entrees

Coborn’s, Inc. has launched Four Brothers BBQ entrees exclusively sold in the Coborn’s, Cash Wise and Marketplace Foods banners. The new product assortment includes hardwood smoked pulled pork, chicken, ribs and brisket along with new chef-created sides available in the stores’ deli or meat departments.

The original recipes are branded with the company’s own Four Brothers label, paying tribute to the four Coborn Brothers: Bob, Dan, Bill and Ron — third-generation family members who worked at the flagship family grocery store in Sauk Rapids, Minn., and led the company’s rapid expansion. The company has increased the Four Brothers assortment considerably in recent years, expanding the product line to include unique offerings in bakery, grocery, deli and meats.

“This exciting, new assortment of fresh smoked meats and sides will provide our guests with delicious and craveable meal options,” said Marti Sunderlin, Coborn's VP of fresh merchandising. “This product assortment is exclusively ours and is created using our own Four Brothers BBQ sauces and made fresh daily.” 

The Four Brothers BBQ line will be available hot or cold, fresh or packaged. Many of the company’s stores even have an in-store smoker to add to the sensory experience for shoppers.

St. Cloud, Minn.-based Coborn's, Inc. is a 101-year-old employee-owned grocery retailer with nearly 10,000 employees and 66 grocery stores across Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Michigan under the Coborn’s, Cash Wise Foods, Marketplace Foods, Hornbacher’s and Tadych’s Marketplace Foods banners. Coborn’s also owns liquor, fuel and pharmacy locations. The company is No. 86 The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.