News Briefs


URM Foods Execs Receive NGA Spirit of America Award

NGA Spirit of America Award URM Foods Teaser

National Grocers Association (NGA) President and CEO Greg Ferrara has presented NGA’s Spirit of America Award to Ray Sprinkle, president and CEO of Spokane, Wash.-based distributor URM Foods, and Mike McShane, URM’s VP of procurement and profit centers. The executives received the honor at the Washington Food Industry Association’s Connect! Meeting, in Tacoma.  

Since 1982, the Spirit of America Award has been presented to individuals who provide leadership in the areas of community service and government relations, and are committed to a free and independent food distribution system.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, industry leaders like Ray Sprinkle and Mike McShane have dedicated their time and expertise to tell our industry’s story to lawmakers, moving the needle towards solutions that benefit America’s independent community grocers,” noted Ferrara. “They have focused on urging lawmakers and federal agencies to enforce existing antitrust trust laws that protect independent grocers from anti-competitive tactics. NGA’s success toward reviving and enforcing the Robinson-Patman Act can be directly attributed to the hard work of industry leaders like Ray and Mike.”

“Mike and Ray’s efforts have been valuable during NGA’s efforts and strong voice over the last several years urging Congress and FTC to enforce antitrust laws and explaining how the supply chain works so that members of Congress and the public can understand this often complex issue,” added Chris Jones, SVP of government relations and counsel at Washington, D.C.-based NGA. “They told the story of how rural communities rely on their local independent grocers and the impact that the growth of power buyers has had on retailers, local communities and suppliers.” 

There have been more than 550 recipients of the NGA Spirit of America Award, including past U.S. presidents George Bush and Gerald Ford, former Vice President Dan Quayle, former Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Colin Powell, and former Speaker of the House Tom Foley. This past March, Randy Arceneaux,  president and CEO of Amarillo, Texas-based wholesaler Affiliated Foods, received the award for his efforts to advance antitrust reform, as well as the guidance he provided to independent grocers amid the pandemic. 


Carrefour Adds Plastic Bag Alternatives in UAE


Following a new government policy that bans single-use plastic in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Carrefour is introducing plant-based bags made of starch across locations in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Each bag will cost 25 fils, or about 7 cents, and take less than six months to fully decompose.

The grocer, owned and operated by Majid Al Futtaim in the UAE, will make the bags available in Abu Dhabi on June 1 and in Dubai on July 1. Carrefour will also have reusable bags made of paper, woven, juco, and canvas materials, and has partnered with the Emirates Nature-World Wildlife Fund on three limited-edition reusable bags.

“Of all the plastic ever made, half has been produced in the last 15 years, which is why we were the first UAE retailer to introduce reusable bags back in 2007. We have come a long way since then and, since 2019, we have sold 4 million reusable bags at Carrefour stores across the UAE,” said Bernardo Perloiro, COO, UAE, at Majid Al Futtaim Retail. “With the implementation of the new policies in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, it is our duty to ensure customers have the most convenient, cost-efficient options.

“The starch bag, which costs only 25 fils, is an industry first in this region and we are confident that it will be widely implemented by more retailers in the future,” Perloiro continued. “We fully embrace the new government direction, which bans single-use plastic bags in Abu Dhabi. Through constant innovation and close collaboration with our government and partners, we can continue to deliver the best shopping experience for our customers.” 

Carrefour hopes to incentivize customer purchases of new reusable bags through its loyalty program by offering bonus SHARE points.


Grocery Store Audio Ad Provider Reveals Series B Funding

Hy-Vee Secures Audio Out-of-Home Partnership

National retail audio advertising provider Vibenomics has raised $12.3 million in Series B funding to facilitate the launch of additional national networks in grocery stores, pharmacies and convenience stores. The round was led by tech venture fund Panoramic Ventures. 

Vibenomics established itself in the audio-out-of-home market after teaming with Kroger in May 2020. Last year, Vibenomics saw its most significant growth, introducing its first proprietary media player to deliver music, messaging and programmatic advertisements to each network partner’s individual locations. By mid-2021, the company had rolled out various demand-side platforms to become what it said was the first and only programmatic digital audio-out-of-home solution for advertisers. 

“This funding validates our investors’ belief in the future of Vibenomics and what we’re building,” noted Brent Oakley, CEO of Indianapolis-based Vibenomics, which has 180 advertisers in 15,000-plus locations across 49 states, reaching more than 250 million unique monthly listeners. “AOOH’s value, impact and ability to scale allows retailers to provide a positive, in-store customer experience. We’re anticipating another record-breaking year in 2022, and these funds will enable us to continue innovating and accelerating product developments, building on our momentum.” 

Earlier this year, the company joined forces with Hy-Vee, adding another 400 locations across the Midwest. Vibenomics plans to expand to more than 20,000 locations by end of 2023. 

“We believe that Vibenomics’ innovative approach to in-store audio advertisements in that industry gives us significant leverage to capitalize on a growing market,” said Paul Iaffaldano, general partner at Atlanta-based Panoramic Ventures.

With nearly 40 employees at present, Vibenomics anticipates increasing its workforce by 25%, specifically in sales and marketing, by the end of this year.

Cincinnati-based Kroger is No. 4 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America, while West Des Moines, Iowa-based Hy-Vee is No. 30 on PG’s list.


New Gourmet Grocer Planned for Arizona


A new upscale grocery store is coming to Scottsdale, Ariz. Set to open this summer, Gastromé Market will carry an array of specialty products and include an onsite café and education space.

The 5,000-square-foot location at 7704 E. Doubletree Ranch Road is geared to gourmands. In addition to specialty foodstuffs, shoppers can browse a unique cheese case, pick out candies from a confectionery counter and shop for charcuterie spreads and goods. Locally foraged produce and other fresh produce will be available as well.

In the café, shoppers turn to patrons as they can order charcuterie boards and other menu items. Classes will be held in that space, dedicated to different topics and tastings.

The store and restaurant are opened by Tiffany Chavez and Jenny Le, who previously worked at Formaggio Kitchen in Boston.



Tops Expands Shop + Scan App to 5 More Stores

Tops Buffalo Teaser

Tops Markets LLC has expanded its Tops Shop + Scan app to five more stores. Already available at 19 upstate New York locations, the app can now be used at Tops supermarkets in Dunkirk (3955 Vineyard Drive), Cheektowaga (3865 Union Road), Williamsville (5274 Main Street), Hamburg (4250 McKinley Parkway) and Ithaca, N.Y. (2300 North Triphammer Road).

Shop + Scan enables customers to scan products with their phones and bag the items as they shop. While doing so, the user will see a running total, with savings and rewards automatically applied.  When finished, customers can visit any pay station for an expedited checkout, allowing them to get in and out of the store quickly.

“We are excited to continue the expansion of this innovative new technology and provide it to even more customers throughout our service area,” said Jill Sirica, Tops’ manager, digital marketing.  “It’s so easy to use. All you need to do is download the Tops Shop + Scan app, connect to our free in-store Wi-Fi, enter your Tops BonusPlus card number, and you are ready to shop. Our hope is to continue the momentum and add additional locations in the near future.”

Based in Williamsville, N.Y., Tops Friendly Markets operates 150 grocery stores in New York, northern Pennsylvania and western Vermont, including five that are run by franchisees, and has more than 14,000 associates. Parent company Northeast Grocery Inc. is No. 44 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. 


Diebold Nixdorf Helps Retailers Reduce Printed Receipts

Diebold Nixdorf Helps Retailers Reduce Printed Receipts

Diebold Nixdorf Inc. has launched Vynamic Digital Receipt, a sustainable solution to reduce the amount of thermal paper receipts.

Based on technology from anybill, Diebold Nixdorf has integrated Vynamic Digital Receipt into its POS solution ecosystem of the cloud-native Vynamic Retail Platform, performing as a sustainable interface to the customer. Thus, customers aren't limited to only printed receipts, and retailers have the ability to present a QR code on a customer-facing screen at the point of sale. Customers can subsequently scan this code without the need to be registered. The digital receipt can then be stored on the customer mobile device.

According to the company, a typical supermarket can reduce 1 ton of waste, 50,000 liters of water, 10,000 kilowatt-hours of energy and 1 ton of carbon dioxide per year when all receipts are created digitally. 

Alternatively, digital receipts can be integrated into existing retailer apps, and customers can be invited to join a loyalty program. Each time customers make a purchase, they scan the customer card that's displayed via consumer app or their digital wallet and benefit from loyalty rewards when those rewards are linked to their loyalty card.

With U.S. operations based in Hudson, Ohio, Diebold Nixdorf automates, digitizes and transforms the way people bank and shop. The company’s integrated solutions connect digital and physical channels conveniently, securely and efficiently for millions of consumers each day.