News Briefs


Sprouts Farmers Market Names New Director

Hari - Sprouts

Sprouts Farmers Market has added to its board of directors with the appointment of Hari Avula, the chief financial and strategic officer at Clif Bar & Company.  He joins seven other directors who have worked for high-profile businesses such as PepsiCo, Inc. and Five Below.  

Avula has served in his current role at Clif Bar since May 2021. He joined that company from Walgreens Boots Alliance, where he was CFO of global business transformation. He spent 22 years of his career at PepsiCo, where he ascended from various financial and strategic positions to CFO at Frito Lay North America.  

“I’m excited to welcome Hari to our board,” said Jack Sinclair, CEO and a fellow director on the Sprouts board. “Hari’s financial acumen and strategic experience at companies of scale will be highly valuable as we continue to grow.”

Avula, for his part, declared, “I have long-admired Sprouts for supporting wellness in its communities, and I look forward to working with the board and management team as Sprouts continues to fulfill its mission of broadening access to healthy living options.”

Sprouts recently reported its first quarter earnings for fiscal 2022. The retailer boosted net sales by 4% over the first quarter of 2021 and saw a 1.6% increase in comparable store sales. 

Phoenix-based Sprouts Farmers Market, which employs approximately 31,000 team members at more than 370 stores in 23 states, is No. 53 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America


Bob’s Red Mill Advances 2 to Leadership Team

bobs red mill

Organic and gluten-free bakery product manufacturer Bob's Red Mill is amping up its executive roster, filling two VP roles that are key to internal and external growth. Meghan Keeley (right) is company’s new VP of supply chain and Cheryl Collins (left) is stepping into the VP of people position.

Keeley will oversee supply chain, quality assurance and sustainability at a time when all three functions are high priority. She was promoted from her most recent role as director of quality assurance, where she was credited with elevating production and manufacturing processes, including certification under Global Food Safety Initiative standards. Before joining Bob’s Red Mill, she worked for organic food company Amy’s Kitchen and Pacific Northwest fruit and vegetable processor RainSweet.

Collins was tapped for the human resources leadership position based on her work as a longtime consultant to Bob’s. As the 100% employee-owned company focuses on employee experiences, she will lead the HR team using her extensive industry knowledge and background, which includes roles as chief people officer and CEO at Ninkasi Brewing Co.

“We couldn’t be happier to have Meghan and Cheryl joining the leadership team to help drive the company forward,” said Trey Winthrop, CEO of the Milwaukie, Ore.-based Bob’s Red Mill. “I have had the opportunity to work with both of them in different capacities over the past several years and have been so impressed with their professional and thoughtful approach to maintaining a collaborate, positive work environment while pursuing our mission of providing high quality products to our customers.”


Big Lots Kicks Off Summer With Inflation-Busting Discounts

Big lots teaser

With discount grocers getting a closer look among many price-conscious consumers, Big Lots, Inc. is going big on summer specials. The discount retailer announced that it is offering outdoor goods like patio furniture and accessories at savings of 25 to 50%.

In addition to outdoor living pieces, Big Lots is touting 25%-off deals on outdoor cooking equipment, including grills and fire pits. The “Price Crush Summer Sale” runs through June 4.

"We know inflation and gas prices are on everyone's minds right now, and it's important that customers know we're here for them, as we've always been. Helping them live big and save lots is our mission and built into everything we do," said Bruce Thorn, president and CEO of Big Lots. "Stacking our inflation-busting discounts on top of already low prices is a significant opportunity for savings."

As Big Lots slashes prices, the retailer is also launching a new ad campaign focusing on cost-effective ways to create an outdoor oasis. Actress Wendy McLendon-Covey of “The Goldbergs” and “Bridesmaids” will appear in the ads.

To get maximum savings, consumers can sign up to be a BIG Rewards member.

With more than 1,400 retail stores in 47 states, Columbus, Ohio-based Big Lots is No. 52 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the the top food and consumables retailers in North America. Big Lots comes in at No. 54 on the newly-released Axios-Harris Poll 100 list of the companies with the best corporate reputation.


MOM’s Organic Market Bulks Up on Premium Oils and Vinegars

MOM's Organic Market Teaser

MOM’s Organic Market has teamed up with food company Saffi Saana to bring sustainably made, ethically sourced and unadulterated premium oils and vinegars to bulk shoppers on the East Coast. 

“I’ve been a bulk shopper for years,” said Sascha Dhanjal Eifler, founder of Madison, Wis.-based Saffi, which creates high quality, undiluted oils and vinegars free of fillers, sweeteners and other additives, and provides sustainable, zero-waste packaging options. “I found myself frustrated because it was hard to find quality bulk liquids. I’m proud to provide a solution where living sustainably doesn’t mean compromising on the quality of your oils and vinegars.”

Saffi’s organic olive oil, dark balsamic, white balsamic, canola oil and apple cider vinegar will be available in the following 11 MOM’s stores beginning this month: Cherry Hill, N.J.; Center City Philadelphia; Abington, Pa.; Bryn Mawr, Pa.; Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.; White Marsh/Nottingham, Md.; Hampden/Baltimore, Md.; College Park, Md.; Gaithersburg, Md.; Rockville, Md.; and Alexandria, Va. 

“For the longest time, companies have put the responsibility of recycling on the consumer,” added Eifler. “I believe the responsibility is one that needs to be shared and that companies and corporations should take ownership. MOM’s is leading the charge on this front with their mission of protecting and restoring the environment. We’re excited to be partnering with them as we work to make premium, traceable ingredients accessible to every kitchen – all while being kind to the Earth.”

Founded in 1987 by Scott Nash as a home delivery business out of his mother’s garage, Rockville, Md.-based Mom's Organic Market now operates 22 stores in five states and the District of Columbia, employing more than 1,000 people.


Natural Grocers Touts ‘Always Affordable Pricing’ During Record Inflation

Natural Grocers Touts ‘Always Affordable Pricing’ During Record Inflation

Amid rising prices from gas stations to department stores, Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage Inc. has maintained its commitment to provide high-quality organic and natural products at affordable prices — even during record inflation.  

Our parents founded Natural Grocers in 1955 with the belief that everyone should have access to affordable healthy natural and organic foods, nutrition education and live in a thriving, regenerative environment. This includes the food we all put on our tables,” said Heather Isely, Natural Grocers' EVP. “'Always Affordable Pricing' is one of our Five Founding Principles to which we have stayed committed for over 67 years. We work hard to generate long-term relationships with vendors and farmers to secure the best possible pricing on wholesome natural foods and supplements. These types of partnerships have historically helped us to maintain premium quality and offer accessibly priced nutritious foods and vitamins, even when families have been impacted by inflation.”

For more ways to save, Natural Grocers advises customers to choose lower-priced store brands, sign up for its {N}power member loyalty program for exclusive discounts, and take advantage of free nutritional health coaching and in-store nutrition classes.

Meanwhile, Natural Grocers reported a strong showing in the second quarter of fiscal 2022, prompting the company to raise its outlook for the fiscal year. For the period ended March 31, the grocer saw net sales increase 4.9% to $271.8 million, with daily average comparable-store sales up 4.3%, compared with the same time period in fiscal 2021. Net income increased 35.1%, and adjusted EBITDA was up 11.8% to $16.1 million.

Lakewood, Colo.-based Natural Grocers has more than 160 stores in 20 states. The company is No. 95 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.


Meijer Goes Greener With Hydroponic Lettuce Offerings

Meijer Goes Greener With Hydroponic Lettuce Offerings

Meijer is turning to a neighbor to provide its customers with sustainably produced greens. The Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer has teamed up with Revolution Farms, based in nearby Caledonia, to widen its offering of hydroponically grown lettuce products.

Revolution Farms’ offerings, including lettuce and salad greens, will now be sold in all 262 Meijer locations. The products are grown using 90% less water, 90% less land and 95% closer to shoppers’ homes and are packaged onsite within a couple of days of harvest.

In another facet of the partnership, Revolution Farms is growing the lettuce for the retailer’s “Fresh from Meijer” salad kits. The kits are available in several varieties including Caesar, Cobb, Harvest, Southwest and BLT.

“Supporting local farms and carrying the freshest, most nutritious ingredients is important to us and to our customers,” said Sarah Jennings, Meijer’s produce buyer. “As a Michigan family company, we are committed to being good stewards of our community by not only constantly enhancing our own sustainable practices, but also by using our shelves as a platform to promote brands that share our passion.”

John Green, founder and CEO of Revolution Farms, noted the companies’ plans and goals are aligned. “Food tastes better when it’s grown closer to you. Meijer is our hometown retail partner, so partnering with them to expand their local greens selection, as well as growing the lettuce for their salad kits, will help more families easily find sustainably grown, nutrient-rich greens. Our recent greenhouse expansion has given us the ability to grow even more lettuce varieties, as well as become a Meijer Fresh partner.”

Meijer operates supercenters and grocery stores throughout Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin. It is No. 20 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food retailers in North America.