News Briefs


New Whole Foods Market to Open in SoCal

whole foods market sign

JULY 29 UPDATE: Whole Foods changed the Culver City store opening to Aug. 31.

Whole Foods Market will open a new 51,413-square-foot store, located at 3377 La Cienega Boulevard in Culver City, Calif., on Aug. 10. The store features artistic designs and colors to pay tribute to the creativity of Culver City, which is soaked in moviemaking history. Whole Foods store design highlights city staples, including artwork of the Baldwin Hills Overlook and a bird’s eye-view painting of Culver City.

The new location’s product assortment features more than 1,000 local items from Southern California, handpicked by Elena Garcia, local forager for Whole Foods’ Southern Pacific Region. Local options include goat gouda from Central Coast Creamery, small-batch artisanal meats from Gusto, black mussels from Carlsbad Aquafarm, sablefish from Giovanni’s Fish Market, chicken from Mary’s Free Range Chickens and turkey from Diestel Ranch.

A taproom, The Cul Bar, offers 24 beers on tap, with a large selection of local options. The taproom will offer indoor and outdoor seating as well as happy hour and daily specials. Additionally, a prepared food section will feature hot and cold food bars, a pizza station, a chef’s case with seasonal entrées and sides, a charcuterie selection, a sandwich station, and a Market Cocina concept that offers burritos, bowls and tacos.

Customers who visit the store on opening day can enjoy complimentary samples from local suppliers. Also, the first 300 guests will receive a custom tote bag with local supplier samples.

Besides Culver City, other new Whole Foods locations slated to open soon include Woodcliff Lake, N.J., on July 27 and Grand Rapids, Mich., on Aug. 17.

Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods has more than 500 stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Seattle-based Amazon, which is No. 2 on The PG 100,  Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.


Hy-Vee Brings Test-to-Treat COVID-19 Services to Its Pharmacies

Hy-Vee Holding 4th ‘Best of Local Brands’ Summit in November The W Nail Bair

Under new FDA authorization, all Hy-Vee, Inc., pharmacy locations are now offering the COVID-19 antiviral Paxlovid to treat mild to moderate cases of the virus. Eligible patients include those over the age of 12 who are at high risk of a severe case of COVID-19. 

Patients must test positive for COVID-19 to be prescribed the medication, then will be screened by a Hy-Vee pharmacist to determine eligibility for the treatment. Hy-Vee offers rapid PCR testing at select locations and all of its pharmacies sell at-home COVID-19 tests. Additionally, each individual covered under private insurance or Medicare Part B can receive up to eight free at-home COVID-19 tests each month under a Biden administration ruling.

Employee-owned Hy-Vee has a team of more than 93,000 employees. The West Des Moines, Iowa-based company is No. 30 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.


Ocado Retail CEO Stepping Down

Melanie Smith, Ocado

Ocado Retail Chief Executive Melanie Smith (pictured) has announced her departure from the U.K.-based company, effective Aug. 31. Lawrence Hene, who previously served as deputy CEO at Ocado Retail and has served on the company’s board as a non-executive director since 2019, will take over the role on an interim basis.

Smith was instrumental in the formation of the joint venture between Ocado Group and Marks & Spencer, which was established in August 2019. A permanent replacement will be named in due time, according to Ocado Retail.

"The last two years have been extremely challenging with a pandemic to contend with affecting the grocery market in ways that we could never have predicted,” said Tim Steiner, chairman of Ocado Retail. “Mel has steered this business through with incredible energy and I would like to thank her for all she has done. There is no question that Mel leaves the business well prepared for faster growth in the years to come. We wish her well in her future endeavors.

"We are pleased to confirm that Lawrence Hene will take the role of interim CEO, and I know he will bring his extensive knowledge of Ocado Retail and provide the leadership required in these turbulent market conditions,” Steiner continued. “We will now commence the search for a permanent new CEO to take Ocado Retail through the next steps of our growth as a critical part of the strategy for both Ocado Group and Marks & Spencer."

Online supermarket was established in 2000 and is one of Britain’s leading online retailers, and since 2019 is part of a 50:50 joint venture between Ocado Group and Marks & Spencer Group plc.


CVS Gets in on Deals for Shoppers

CVS rewards teaser

Mindful that consumers are seeking savings at a time of still-escalating inflation, CVS is offering two weeks of deals for its app users. The annual #ExtraCareExtraThanks event continues through July 23.

Members of the CVS ExtraCare rewards program who link their account to the CVS Pharmacy app can score several daily gifts that are available digitally to redeem online or in-store. This year’s deals include free skin care gifts, beverage gifts, snacks and store-branded immunity support tablets, among other offerings. On July 22, users can earn more ExtraBucks rewards when shopping with their loyalty card.

CVS confirmed that shoppers are indeed adjusting their behavior as they watch their budgets. The retailer reported a 40% increase in coupons sent to its users’ ExtraCare cards from the app over the past year.

With its CVS Pharmacy subsidiary operating almost 10,000 locations nationwide, Woonsocket, R.I.-based CVS Health is No. 7 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America


Trader Joe’s Chosen as 2022 Innovation Leader

Trader Joe's Storefront Teaser

Discount grocer Trader Joe’s has been selected by consumers as one of nine food brands that they consider innovation leaders. This list is a subset of the 50 brands that merited recognition as innovators in the 2022 Most Innovative Brands survey, conducted by Brand Keys Inc., a New York-based brand loyalty and engagement consultancy.

“The 11th annual survey is the only assessment of brand innovation conducted entirely from a consumer perspective,” noted Brand Keys Founder and President Robert Passikoff. “When it comes to innovation, consumers are the ultimate jury. Their expectations are constantly on the rise, and true innovation takes place within that framework. Expectation is the gateway to innovation.”

Added Passikoff: “It really doesn’t matter to consumers how many promises are made on earnings calls or patents a brand holds or the profits they post. Consumers don’t look at innovation that way. When it comes to the food category, innovation provides social and cultural opportunities for brands to expand into new markets and helps to shape and evolve consumer shopping habits.”

This year’s top food brands, ranked by innovation acumen, were:

1. Beyond Meat
2. Pringles (Kellogg’s)
3. Doritos (PepsiCo)
4. Impossible Foods
5. Coca-Cola
6. Starbucks
7. Trader Joe’s
8. Oatly
9. Amy’s Kitchen

Other food brands that consumers thought of as innovative but that didn’t rank in the top 50 this year included ­Chobani, Pepsi, Puris, Sweetgreen and Tyson. Trader Joe’s was the only grocer to make the list.

This year, 7,420 consumers (50:50 male/female, 16 to 65 years of age) identified companies and brands they saw as the biggest innovators of 2022 for Brand Keys’ survey. The 50 brands fell into eight industry sectors: consumer goods, entertainment, food, health care, social networking, software, technology and transportation.

With more than 500 stores in 40-plus states, Monrovia, Calif.-based Trader Joe’s is No. 27 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America


New SVP of Marketing at Bob’s Red Mill

allyson borozan

Organic and gluten-free company Bob's Red Mill has brought on Allyson Borozan as SVP of marketing. She is tasked with helping to elevate the brand and optimizing business strategy within the marketing, new product development and customer engagement departments.  

She brings more than two decades of marketing experience to her role at the employee-owned Bob’s Red Mill. Prior to stepping into this new role, Borozan spent 12 years at Kellogg Co., where she is credited with helping the brand grow new product lines in the snack and breakfast categories.

“We are thrilled to welcome Allyson as our new SVP of marketing and to add her as part of the executive leadership team,” said Trey Winthrop of CEO of the Milwaukie, Ore.-based Bob’s Red Mill. “Her consumer packaged goods experience and enthusiastic approach to innovative marketing, along with her deep respect for the brand and our employee-owned culture, makes her the perfect person for this role.” Winthrop stepped into the CEO role earlier this year, promoted from his role as CFO.