The National Grocers Association (NGA), the trade association representing the independent supermarket industry, is currently accepting entries for its annual Creative Choice Awards, which recognize the top marketing and merchandising programs launched by indies in the past year.
The new lineup of 2023 award categories is as follows:
• Connections Through Omnichannel • Traditional Media: TV Radio and Print • Community Engagement • Grand Opening or Remodel
• Local, Specialty or Emerging Products • Seasonal Event or Campaign • Center Store/Frozen/GM/HBC • Fresh Departments
Along with the main categories, two special-recognition categories highlight prominent industry initiatives, with each holding significance for its respective sponsor:
• Kellogg’s Excellence in ESG Award, which recognizes those campaigns that focus on well-being, people, community and sustainability. • Unilever’s People Positive Award, which honors efforts that promote workplace diversity and inclusion.
“We all witnessed independent community grocers emerge from the pandemic having demonstrated their ability to pivot, innovate and think outside the box,” said Laura Strange, SVP, communications and external affairs at Washington, D.C.-based NGA. “Now it is time to recognize the outstanding innovation, creativity and persistence we’ve seen across our industry through the Creative Choice Awards.”
Retailers, wholesalers, suppliers, manufacturers and advertising agencies that create marketing and merchandising programs for independent grocery stores may submit entries, but the Creative Choice Awards contest is a retailer competition, so the retailer that implements the campaign will receive the award. Events, campaigns or promotions held between Dec. 1, 2021, and Dec. 1, 2022, are eligible.
All completed entries are due Friday, Dec. 9. Entries will be judged based on creativity, clarity and effectiveness. From the category winners, one Outstanding Marketer and one Outstanding Merchandiser will be chosen by the public via online voting. These will be revealed during the 2023 NGA Show and recognized all year long.
Meijer Donates $25K to Fight Childhood Hunger Following Golf Tournament
After a record-setting LPGA Classic golf tournament, Meijer is donating $25,000 to Kids' Food Basket in Grand Rapids, Mich. The donation is being made on behalf of tournament champion Jennifer Kupcho, who was able to give the money to the hunger relief program of her choice.
In 2021, tournament winner Nelly Korda also chose to give the $25,000 donation to Kids' Food Basket. Overall this year, the tournament made a record $1.25 million donation to Meijer’s Simply Give program, and the Classic set attendance records with more than 60,000 spectators.
"It speaks volumes to the spectacular community support these players feel during tournament week that two consecutive champions would choose to keep their donation in Grand Rapids," Meijer President and CEO Rick Keyes said. "Our spectators, volunteers and business partners make the tournament experience one of the best on the tour – not just for our community but clearly for the players, as well."
Privately owned Meijer operates more than 260 supercenters and grocery stores in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin. The Grand Rapids, Mich.-based company is No. 20 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food retailers in North America.
AWG, DoorDash Offer On-Demand Grocery Delivery to Indies
Associated Wholesale Grocers Inc. (AWG) has entered into a channel partnership agreement with DoorDash to provide on-demand grocery delivery solutions to independent grocers through the DoorDash marketplace app and website. These grocers can leverage the DoorDash platform to create a comprehensive local e-commerce program.
The agreement will permit indies to grow their businesses, attract new customers and offer greater convenience to existing local customers. Shoppers can order their groceries and essentials on DoorDash’s marketplace app and website with no time slot, queues or minimum order size required.
“Our relationship with DoorDash is another way that we fulfill our mission to our member-retailers by providing all the tools, products and services they need to compete favorably in all markets served,” noted AWG VP of Sales, Support and Solutions Stacy Bowen. “It will make it easier for independent retailers to offer online grocery ordering and delivery. We know demand for this functionality continues to be very strong, and to remain competitive, retailers need solutions that offer simple setup and increased convenience for customers.”
“We are excited to work with AWG to empower independent grocers to grow their businesses with e-commerce solutions that meet consumers’ growing desire for convenience,” said Fuad Hannon, VP of new verticals at San Francisco-based DoorDash. “Local grocers will now have the opportunity to leverage the tools and resources they need to expand their delivery areas and offer consumers access to on-demand delivery of the groceries and essentials they need.”
Kansas City, Kan.-based AWG is the nation’s largest cooperative food wholesaler to independently owned supermarkets, serving more than 1,100 member companies and 3,400 locations in 31 states from nine wholesale divisions
Stop & Shop Campaign Raises $1.2M for Regional Food Banks
Along with Unilever’s Knorr brand, Stop & Shop has raised $1.2 million for hunger relief through its annual Food for Friends campaign. One-hundred percent of the donations will benefit 12 regional food banks focused on combating summer hunger throughout their communities.
Shoppers made donations at checkout at Stop & Shop’s more than 400 stores in the month of June throughout Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York and New Jersey. Knorr also donated $10,000 and 5,000 rice and pasta sides to Feeding Westchester to help support the campaign.
“This month-long campaign serves to renew hope for so many families that are currently struggling [to let their kids] enjoy a fun and healthy summer of play and time outdoors rather than worrying about where their next meal will come from,” said Gordon Reid, president of Stop & Shop. “This program also shows the value of communities coming together to support one another, and Stop & Shop’s steadfast commitment to helping our food bank partners provide nutritious food to families in need.”
Stop & Shop Supermarket Co. LLC is an Ahold Delhaize USA company that employs 58,000 associates and operates more than 400 stores throughout Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York and New Jersey. Ahold Delhaize USA, a division of Zaandam, Netherlands-based Ahold Delhaize, is No. 10 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.
Ahold Delhaize has appointed Jan Ernst de Groot its chief sustainability officer. In this newly created role, de Groot will be accountable for the success of Ahold Delhaize’s integral vision, strategy and goals in regard to environmental sustainability, healthy eating, social impact, ethics, human rights and governance.
“For a long time, sustainability has [had] a central position in our organization,” noted Ahold Delhaize CEO Frans Muller. “It is one of our four key strategic focus areas, and a critical driver of our purpose: Eat well. Save time. Live better. Our activity and performance in this area are attracting increasing interest from customers, (future) associates, investors and other stakeholders. With the appointment of Jan Ernst, we ensure that the full scope and dimension of sustainability and ESG are holistically represented at the executive committee level.”
Well known in the Dutch and international sustainability community, de Groot brings to his new role a track record of leading transformative sustainability programs at companies, and supervisory roles at NGOs and civil society organizations. In addition to taking on this position, he will retain his other, separate duties as Ahold Delhaize’s chief legal officer, an executive committee role he has held since 2016.
“At Ahold Delhaize, we want to lead the transition to a sustainable food system,” said de Groot. “I look forward to working with Daniella Vega, our SVP health and sustainability, and other senior leaders across our organization to further define the right, ambitious and future-oriented strategy and ensure execution and delivery of our targets, for the betterment of society as a whole.”
The North American Sustainable Refrigeration Council (NASRC), a 501(c)(3) environmental nonprofit working to advance climate-friendly natural refrigerants in supermarkets, has published a free refrigerant transition hub to help retailers navigate regulation changes implemented by the American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act. Enacted in 2020, the AIM Act authorizes the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to phase down hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerant greenhouse-gas emissions by 85% by 2036.
“HFC regulations from the AIM Act and several states are pressuring retailers to transition to climate-friendly refrigerants,” said Danielle Wright, executive director of Mill Valley, Calif.-based NASRC. “Retailers need neutral information to help them make the right decisions. NASRC works in partnership with the supermarket industry, so we are uniquely positioned to identify the gaps in available resources.”
The federal phasedown of HFCs is expected to result in refrigerant shortages and significant price increases. In Europe, refrigerant prices increased by 900% following a similar HFC phasedown. Also, new legislation introduced in states such as California has proposed to ban the sale and distribution of virgin HFC refrigerants as early as 2025, further driving the need for natural refrigerant solutions.