News Briefs


New Software Improves Connectivity Between Fresh Produce Suppliers and Buyers

Produce teaser

To free up the fresh supply chain and make it more transparent during a pivotal time, tech firm Procurant has introduced a new Open Link service that allows fresh food suppliers to electronically receive and fulfill orders with a large network of grocery buyers. The feature is available as an add-on service for suppliers already on the Procurant One platform and as a stand-alone subscription option.

Connections are already set up for major retailers including Walmart Inc., Target Corp. and Wakefern Food Corp., according to information from Procurant. The cloud-based software company’s network spans more than 1,000 suppliers and can be used by any retail or wholesale buyer with a published EDI connection.

While buyers previously had to use Procurant as their purchasing system to complete orders, the Open Link service enables suppliers to manage order with buyers regardless of the systems they use for purchasing.

“Making the produce order management process clean, simple and less expensive is a big goal for us here at Procurant. Open Link helps suppliers maintain a single view on all their sales without the expense and hassle of maintaining multiple systems,” explained Kevin Brooks, chief marketing officer for the Watsonville, Calif.-based Procurant.

The new service is the latest effort by Procurant to help smooth out the perishable food supply chain. This spring, the company added weekly commodity pricing for beef, pork and veal to its Procurant Connect service for retail and wholesale perishable buyers and suppliers.

Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart U.S. is No. 1 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. Minneapolis-based Target Corp. is No. 6 and Keasbey, N.J.-based Wakefern is No. 25.


More Physical Loyalty Cards Go Digital

Klarna teaser

Retail bank, payment and shopping service Klarna has introduced a new app feature that enables users to store and access their physical loyalty cards as digital versions. The feature is powered by mobile wallet provider Stocard and supports more than 8,000 loyalty programs around the world, including those offered by grocers.

The solution allows shoppers to continue to collect rewards points through the digital version of their physical card, if they forgot or don’t have their actual card with them. Klarna determined the need for the feature following a recent survey it conducted showing that 31% of consumers avoided signing up for a loyalty program in the past because they don’t want to carry another card with them. That survey also revealed that 59% of shoppers do not carry all of their loyalty cards with them when browsing and buying. 

To access the feature, users can click on a loyalty card icon on the Klarna app and choose from a list of supported merchants and loyalty programs. From there, they scan the barcode on their physical card with the camera on their mobile device. The app will then create a digital copy and store it in the reward space in the Klarna App. For cards that don't have a barcode, users can manually type their membership number. 

"Physical loyalty cards are an inconvenience in today's digital world and are therefore often left at home, resulting in consumers missing out on deals and merchants losing a prime opportunity to reinforce brand loyalty,” remarked Björn Goss, product director at Klarna and Stocard's founder.


Dawn Foods Names VP, Global People and Culture

Felisa Stockwell Teaser

Bakery manufacturer and ingredients supplier Dawn Foods has promoted Felisa Stockwell to the position of VP, global people and culture.   

Since joining Dawn in 2017, Stockwell has continuously delivered impactful programs to elevate the employee experience and move the organization forward. In 2020, she led the formalization of the organization’s global diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) strategy, and put together a team focused on developing Dawn’s culture and talent worldwide.

“Felisa has a profound impact on our entire organization by driving positive, effective change across Dawn’s global regions,” said Jason Lioy, chief people officer at Jackson, Mich.-based Dawn. “She is a strong collaborator and integrator and skilled at bringing people together to drive initiatives that truly make a difference in the lives of our team members.”

Stockwell and her team will continue to focus on DE&I initiatives, as well as strategies to support talent management and development throughout the company. 

“I am proud to continue to grow my career at an organization that prioritizes its team members and is committed to supporting all people throughout their own careers at Dawn,” said Stockwell. “It is an honor to lead a high-performing and inspiring team that is focused on our people strategy and continuing to make Dawn a great place to work.”  

In addition to her work at Dawn, Stockwell takes part in many industry events to promote DE&I efforts, among them the American Bakers Association NextGen Baker Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Working Group. 

Dawn has more than 4,000 employees globally and provides bakery products to 50,000-plus customers in more than 100 countries.


Harmons Expands Custom Greeting Card Offerings


As it marks its 90th anniversary, Harmons Neighborhood Grocer is leveraging e-commerce technologies to keep it close to home for shoppers. The Utah-based family-owned independent grocer is teaming up with Card Isle to offer personalized greeting cards.

Through this e-commerce platform, Harmons eShop customers can choose, personalize and have a premium physical greeting card added to their pickup or delivery order. Harmons has expanded a two-store pilot program with Card Isle to all of its 17 locations.

The partnership allows the indie grocer to offer a better option for custom greeting cards and provide a point of differentiation. “Effectively merchandising physical cards online has traditionally been a challenge at Harmons. The Card Isle solution has made it possible to provide a phenomenal experience for our eShop customers over the Mother’s Day holiday,” reported Jessie Hansen, Harmons’ eShop merchandiser.

Adam Donato, Card Isle’s CEO, said that the recent holidays of Mother's Day and Father’s Day underscored demand for such a service, as the platform continues to expand in the grocery sector. “We are excited to add Harmons as a customer. Harmons is the premier neighborhood grocer in Utah and we are excited about offering our unique personalized, print on demand greeting cards to their customers,” he remarked.


The Fresh Market Kicks Off July With 40th Anniversary Celebration

The Fresh Market Kicks Off July With 40th Anniversary Celebration

The Fresh Market Inc. (TFM) will commemorate its 40th anniversary beginning on July 1 with an array of special deals, a 4th of July meal and exclusive products for its customers – including a chance to win a golden ticket.

The retailer is selling a curated collection of exclusive items created in partnership with its vendors that can only be found at The Fresh Market for a limited time. Those include:

Special Anniversary Wine: Exit 96 Anniversary Edition
Special Anniversary Ruby Red Bouquet
• Poppy Hand-Crafted Pimento Cheese Honey Butter Popcorn
Homestead Raspberry Lemonade
TFM Celebration Crunch Snack Mix
Anniversary Elevated Bacon Cheddar Burger
Le Fermier Lavender Yogurt
Killer Brownie Cookies and Cream Special Edition

A complete list of anniversary products, including recipes and a history of the company, can be found in The Fresh Market Magazine’s July edition.

“Our goal at The Fresh Market is to make every season special for our guests, and our 40th anniversary is one we want to make especially memorable!” said CEO Jason Potter. “Our team has curated these one-of-a-kind commemorative products and offers that not only embody the origins of our brand, but more importantly, we know guests will really enjoy.”

Beginning July 5 and while supplies last, The Fresh Market will also introduce two Anniversary Chocolate Bars in Dark Chocolate Himalayan Sea Salt and Toffee Pretzel Sea Salt flavors. Shoppers can win a $40 TFM gift card if their package contains a golden ticket.

The grocer also recently introduced its first loyalty program, the Ultimate Loyalty Experience, which enables customers to save even more on items throughout the store with special loyalty pricing.                                  

Greensboro, N.C.-based The Fresh Market operates 160 stores in 22 states. The company is No. 78 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer's 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.


Kroger, Unique Logistics Int’l Agree to 12-Month Contract

Kroger Sign Teaser

The Kroger Co. and Unique Logistics International Inc., a global logistics and freight-forwarding company, have agreed to a 12-month-long ocean freight contract as Kroger becomes a new customer of the company.

The services provided by Unique Logistics are managed by its network of trained employees and integrated information systems enabling customers like Kroger to share data regarding their international vendors and purchase orders and information under their operating instructions, provide visibility to the flow of goods from factory to distribution center or store, and update their inventory records.

“This is an exciting new partnership for Unique Logistics,” said Sunandan Ray, CEO of the Jamaica, N.Y.-based company. “Serving the retail industry is our company’s strength, and our team looks forward to working with Kroger to solve problems and provide innovative solutions to strengthen Kroger’s supply chain performance.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Unique Logistics will serve as an ocean transport and logistics provider for Kroger from the Asia-Pacific region to North America through April 2023. The contract agreement came after Kroger revealed the expansion of its presence and delivery network in south Florida and central Ohio with the addition of state-of-the-art Ocado-powered fulfillment centers in those regions. 

Kroger also had a strong first-quarter earnings report, in which the grocer noted that it was rolling out its Boost membership program offering customers fuel points on every dollar spent, extra savings on Kroger’s private brands, and free two-hour or next-day delivery. The grocer additionally launched a farmers market in Atlanta with partner Market Wagon, offering delivery-only items such as fresh produce and artisan-style offerings from nearby farmers, bakers and food entrepreneurs.

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.