News Briefs


Largest Puerto Rico Grocery Chain Teams With Local Express

Econo ToGo Teaser

The largest grocery store chain in Puerto Rico, Supermercados Econo, is upgrading its current e-commerce platform, Econo ToGo, with technology from Local Express, a software-as-a-service (SaaS) vertical platform that enables brick-and-mortar food and beverage companies to own their entire e-commerce offering end to end, from purchase to delivery.

“We chose the Local Express platform because they integrate a full spectrum of technical capabilities which will provide our e-commerce consumers with a unique shopping experience while also helping us improve our back-end operational processes,” explained Esteban Colón, CMO of Econo. “From easier order entry for our shoppers to optimized delivery routing, their technology has a proven ability to quickly create exceptional ROI.”

Among Local Express’ capabilities is a “drop and play” marketing content management module that facilitates the quick incorporation of retail media marketing into the e-commerce platform. The solution also provides bilingual content for every level of the e-commerce operation, including live customer service assistance in both English and Spanish. Local Express will provide on-location comprehensive training to store staff to ensure customer success and a seamless transition from the current e-commerce platform. 

“We are thrilled to provide the great team at Econo with an all-inclusive technology for their e-commerce business, with enhanced digital marketing automation built for easy shopper adoption and ever-increasing basket sizes,” said Bagrat Safarian, CEO of Glendale, Calif.-based Local Express, adding that the company “stands ready to continue helping [Econo’] long-term growth vision through collaborative development and customization.” 

Canóvanas-based Supermercados Econo operates 64 stores in 48 municipalities throughout Puerto Rico, with a workforce of more than 8,000 employees. 


Target Rolls Out Line of RTD Craft Cocktails

Target Rolls Out Line of RTD Craft Cocktails

Target is getting the summer party started with the launch of a featured line of ready-to-drink craft cocktails. Part of the Target Wine & Spirits Selects collection, the new Casa Cantina products include Classic Margarita, Strawberry Margarita and Piña Colada varieties and are sold in 1.5-liter bottles and 3-liter boxes.

The addition to the unique-to-Target curated adult beverage assortment reflects growing consumer interest in such products. Market research firm Mintel reports that total volume sales of RTD cocktails skyrocketed by more than 225% from 2016 to 2021, while Beverage Marketing Corp. found those items have grown nearly 50% over the past two years, fueled in part by people drinking more at home during the pandemic.

Casa Cantina cocktails signal other trends as well, including the move towards accessible premiumization. The products are made with quality ingredients like real strawberry puree, pineapple and coconut and do not contain high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners and flavors. The majority of items are priced below $10 and the full Casa Cantina assortment can be rung up for under $18.

“We know our guests are increasingly looking for convenient adult beverage offerings. That's why we're excited to introduce Casa Cantina, an assortment of ready-to-drink craft cocktails that delivers great taste and high quality at an incredible value,” said Rick Gomez, the retailer’s EVP and chief food and beverage officer. “At Target, our approach is to help guests discover the joy of food during life’s everyday moments.”

In addition to availability at more than 1,200 Target locations, the RTD craft cocktails can be ordered for pickup, drive-up and same-day delivery with Shipt via stores that offer adult beverages.

Minneapolis-based Target Corp. is No. 6 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America, with nearly 2,000 locations.


Plant-Based Expert Joins All Y’alls Foods

Elysabeth Alfano

Plant-based company All Y'alls Foods is welcoming industry pro Elysabeth Alfano to its advisory board. The company behind such products as It’s Jerky Y’all and It’s Big Crunchy Bacony Bits Y’all will leverage Alfano’s expertise and experience as it works to scale and expand its brand.

A category investor, consultant and frequent media contributor, Alfano hosts her own talk show, “The Plant-Based Business Hour.” She is also the co-founder and CEO of VegTech Invest and the exchange trade fund (ETF) that includes 37 publicly traded plant-based, animal-free organizations.

"We are excited to add Elysabeth to our board of advisors and are grateful to have her on the team. She brings an energy, ability and passion to every interaction and her commitment to removing animals from the plate is one so perfectly aligned with All Y'alls mission," said Brett Christoffel, founder and CEO of the Texas-based All Y’alls Foods. Among other objectives, the company’s mission includes donating a portion of proceeds from each bag sold to the Rowdy Girl Sanctuary that helps rescued animals.


Southeastern Grocers Opens Up Annual Grant Program Fostering Racial Equity, Food Security

SEG winner pic

Southeastern Grocers and the SEG Gives Foundation are accepting applications for the Romay Davis Belonging, Inclusion and Diversity Grant. Nonprofit organizations can submit entries online now through Sept. 30.

The grant, named for Southeastern Grocers associate Romay Davis, supports groups that provide services to underserved populations throughout the retailers’ footprint in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi. Specifically, the program was created to foster a more equitable society by funding efforts to address racial disparities in health care, food insecurity and education.

The grants range from $5,000 to $25,000. Since the program was launched in 2020, Southeastern Grocers and the SEG Gives Foundation have bestowed $385,000 to 33 organizations and causes.

This year’s grant winners will be announced on Oct. 27 ahead of Davis’ 103rd birthday on Oct. 29. A Winn-Dixie associate, Davis served in the only all-Black Women Army Corps unit overseas and went on to become a multi-degree scholar at New York University. She worked in real estate and fashion before joining Winn-Dixie at the age of 80 in Montgomery, Ala. She was recently presented with the Silver Service Medallion by the National WWII Museum in New Orleans for service to her country in the Second World War.  

SEG has honored its distinguished employee in other ways. The SEG Gives Foundation is funding a $20,000 Three Star Student Leadership Academy Sponsorship, a scholarship that allows one student to attend The National WWII Museum's 2023 Student Leadership Academy for high school and undergraduate students.

Interested nonprofit groups can learn more and apply at

Jacksonville, Fla.-based Southeastern Grocers is one of the largest conventional supermarket companies in the United States, with grocery stores, liquor stores and in-store pharmacies. Its banners include Fresco y Más, Harveys Supermarket and Winn-Dixie grocery stores. The company is No. 39 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer's 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.


SocialShelf to Debut at Select Harris Teeter Stores

Harris Teeter Teaser

Fourteen Harris Teeter stores in the Charlotte, N.C., metro area will pilot A3 MediaCo LLC’s SocialShelf solution. The 90-day market test kicks off this month.

SocialShelf is an in-aisle and e-commerce consumer engagement tool that supplies shoppers with relevant information on smaller and midsize brands before they make their final buying decision. 

“Nothing is forced on the consumer or intrusive in any way,” explained Frank Gussoni, co-owner and CEO of Trooper, Pa.-based A3 MediaCo. “It’s on-demand and very social in nature. It’s not meant to be slick or salesy.”

The solution is an advertising resource that aims to build brand loyalty and allow smaller quality companies to compete with larger national brands while paying only for actual results. Retailers that use SocialShelf in their stores can gain greater insights on consumer shopping patterns as well as receiving additional consumer information. “The data provided to retailers using the service allows them to track customer flow, shopping behaviors and customer interests all on a daily or product basis” noted Gussoni.

SocialShelf was piloted in The Giant Co. stores in December 2021. The solution has also been executed in one of New Jersey’s largest chain alcohol locations, Bourbon Street Wine & Spirits. Currently, SocialShelf is in negotiations to introduce SocialShelf in the alcohol aisles of an as-yet-undisclosed “major retailer” in 150-plus stores across several states, beginning in the fourth quarter of 2022. 

Matthews, N.C.-based Harris Teeter, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Kroger Co., employs about 35,000 associates at 250 stores and 60 fuel centers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Maryland, Delaware, Florida and the District of Columbia. 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. Carlisle, Pa.-based The Giant Co.'s parent company, Ahold Delhaize USA, is No. 10 on The PG 100. 


Erewhon Partners With Grand Wailea Resort

Grand Wailea Teaser

Upscale organic food market Erewhon has teamed up with luxurious Hawaiian resort Grand Wailea, located on the island of Maui, to bring exclusive resort benefits to enrollees in Erewhon’s newly expanded membership program and offer select Erewhon goods and offerings on the property. Grand Wailea is the first hotel partner in Erewhon’s membership program. 

“Much like Grand Wailea, Erewhon is more than just a place; it’s an elevated lifestyle destination and extraordinary community centered on world-class experiences and optimal well-being,” said JP Oliver, Grand Wailea’s managing director. “We strive to provide our guests the most thoughtfully curated, premiere wellness and nutrition options, and Erewhon’s offerings are second to none.”

The membership program provides such bespoke benefits as a point accrual program, and exclusive access to upscale brand offers and promotions. As a partner, Grand Wailea will offer a $100 resort credit per night booked, up to seven nights, as well as a complimentary one-category upgrade available for Erewhon members only. Later this year, Grand Wailea and Erewhon will release a limited-edition co-branded beverage inspired by the flavors of Maui for Erewhon Los Angeles locations.

Adding to the resort’s nutritious dining options, Grand Wailea will soon offer such Erewhon favorites as dried chili lime mango, spirulina popcorn and chocolate chip oatmeal cookies throughout the property. Further, gourmet takeaway outlet Café Kula and pop-up-style food truck Aloha Trick Pony will offer “Curated by Erewhon” menus with Toodaloo Trail Mix, French Squirrel protein bites and other popular items that can’t be purchased elsewhere in Hawaii. Grand Wailea and Erewhon will continue to build upon this partnership throughout 2022, with plans to roll out activations and promotions in Los Angeles and Hawaii later this year.

Erewhon is an independent family-owned market with seven locations across Los Angeles and three currently planned future locations in Beverly Hills, Culver City and Pasadena.