Those looking for a bright spot following a cascade of bad inflation news and recession predictions can find it in the latest Consumer Confidence Index released this week. The Conference Board, a member-driven think tank, reported that consumer confidence rose in August, stemming a three-month period of declines.
Consumers’ more positive – or at least less negative – take on current market conditions is also reflected in a higher Consumer Expectations Index. That index is based on people’s short-term outlook for income, business and labor market conditions.
The Conference Board’s research shows that 19.2% of consumers think that business conditions are good, up from 16.3% last month. Looking ahead, 17.5% expect business conditions to improve six months from now, up from 13.7% in July. On the flip side, 22.3% think that conditions will deteriorate, lower than the 26.2% rate last month.
“Purchasing intentions increased after a July pullback, and vacation intentions reached an eight-month high. Looking ahead, August’s improvement in confidence may help support spending, but inflation and additional rate hikes still pose risks to economic growth in the short term,” said Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at The Conference Board, which is based in New York.
To Franco’s point, there are still some significant headwinds in the overall economy. “Concerns about inflation continued their retreat but remained elevated,” she noted.
Labor challenges also remain top of mind, if a bit mixed. Nearly half – 48% – of consumers reported that jobs were plentiful, down from 49.2% in July. At the same time, 11.4% said that jobs were hard to get, down from the previous 12.4% mark.
The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey is conducted online for The Conference Board by Norwalk, Conn.-based tech company Toluna.
Following the exit of its longtime top sales officer, The Hershey Co. has elevated Marlene Creighton to fill that role. She succeeds 26-year Hershey veteran Phil Stanley, who is moving on to pursue his next opportunity after a successful career with the Hersey, Pa.-based organization.
Creighton has been a VP at Hershey since 2018. Her two decades of CPG experience also includes key roles at Unilever and Procter & Gamble, where she worked closely with retail partners.
“In her four years at Hershey, Marlene has led incremental growth with our retail partners and is spearheading our commercial strategy as part of our company’s Snacking Powerhouse vision. Her energy and passion for building diverse and inclusive teams, developing people and driving new capabilities are a perfect match for our growth ambition and employee experience,” said Michele Buck, Hershey’s president and CEO. “I want to thank Phil for the legacy he has built here at Hershey to set us up for success in the future. From his earliest days on the retail floor to building our category management capabilities and partnering with our longstanding retail partners, his energy and influence have been felt across the company.”
Added Creighton: “As Hershey’s chief global sales officer, alongside our extremely talented sales organization, I am committed to continuing to strengthen our relationships across the business and with our retail partners. I want to thank Phil for all he has done to shape our sales team and lead our category. Building from a position of strength, we have so much potential in front of us, and I can’t wait to get started.”
Ahold Delhaize USA VP Receives Georgia Food Industry Association’s Legacy Award
Teross Young, VP, government and regulatory affairs for Ahold Delhaize USA, has received the Georgia Food Industry Association’s (GFIA) 2022 Legacy Award, which was presented at the organization’s 2022 convention in Orlando, Fla. The annual award honors an individual who has made a measurable difference in their community and to the food industry.
Representing the companies of Ahold Delhaize USA and the grocery retail industry at the federal, state and local levels, Young volunteers on several national and state business boards. He is currently treasurer for the North Carolina Retail Merchants Association Board, serves on the board of the Public Affairs Council and sits on the FMI government relations committee. He’s also on the board of directors of GFIA, an organization that he’s worked with for more than 20 years.
“GFIA is a great organization that understands how to build relationships,” noted Young. “It’s turned into an extended family. Together, we’ve worked on many important industry issues, such as advancing the Sunday Sales legislation and improving the federal nutrition program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for Georgia families in need.”
In addition to his professional and board service, Young volunteers with his church, fraternity and in his local community. He’s also mayor of Troutman, N.C., since 2013 – the town’s first-ever Black mayor.
“Teross is the consummate professional and is respected across the country,” said Kathy Kuzava, president of Smyrna, Ga.-based GFIA.
Following a recent back-to-school register campaign, Southeastern Grocers (SEG) is donating $340,000 to schools across its retail footprint. More than 400 educational institutions will benefit from the funds, which will be dispersed to efforts supporting students, teachers and staff.
The three-week donation program was held at SEG banners in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi. Shoppers gave to the cause by rounding up their bills to the nearest dollar at checkout and buying reusable community bags in stores.
“We are profoundly grateful to our generous customers and associates who supported this vital cause through our community donation program, which furthers our commitment to enrich local schools and empower the leaders of tomorrow. Our schools serve as the foundations of our communities, and we believe it’s our responsibility to inspire students to become their best selves and uplift dedicated teachers as they guide them through another school year,” said Raymond Rhee, SEG’s chief people officer.
As part of its overall charitable efforts, SEG is committed to improving educational opportunities in its service area. In addition to the school year kickoff campaign, the grocer recently awarded $70,000 in college scholarships to 28 associates to help further their education and careers.
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 serving communities throughout Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi. 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 the top food and consumables retailers in North America.
Hy-Vee to Hold Next Quarterly ‘Best of Local Brands’ Summit
Hy-Vee Inc. will host its next quarterly Best of Local Brands Summit Nov. 2-4 to expand and improve the product offerings at its stores in Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Since these summits began in early 2021, more than 100 new brands have ended up on the shelves of Hy-Vee stores.
This year, Hy-Vee is focused on identifying suppliers with diverse backgrounds and urges minority-owned and women-owned businesses to apply for the quarterly summits.
The upcoming November event will consist of 20-minute virtual interviews with selected suppliers.
Hy-Vee is currently accepting submissions for the summit online in the following categories of retail-ready products: grocery, deli, general merchandise, frozen, dairy, and health and beauty care. The submission deadline is Sept. 12.
All product submissions will be made through RangeMe, the online product discovery and sourcing platform of Solon, Ohio-based ECRM, and all meetings will take place via ECRM’s virtual meeting platform, ECRM Connect. Suppliers not selected to take part in the summit will still be accessible through RangeMe and may be reviewed by Hy-Vee again in the future.
Employee-owned Hy-Vee operates more than 285 retail stores across eight Midwestern states and 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.
It’s not too early to talk turkey. Butterball has released its outlook for Thanksgiving and confirms that while the pandemic is abating, this year’s holiday may be affected by other global factors.
According to the turkey brand’s new report, 90% of Americans are planning to celebrate Thanksgiving this year but recent high food inflation is spurring some to think more about costs. Nearly half (44%) of those planning to host the big meal this year say they are concerned about inflation, specifically at grocery stores (87%) and gas stations (75%).
To gather without blowing their food budget, 55% of respondents said they plan to shop for deals for parts of the meal. Those concerned about inflation cited other possible ways to curb food costs, like cooking more from scratch, making their celebration less formal or asking guests to bring a side dish. Only 8% of inflation-wary hosts say they might cut their guest list to keep a lid on costs.
"While people are eager to gather with friends and loved ones this Thanksgiving, we are seeing external factors like inflation that will influence the way people celebrate," said Rebecca Welch, director of retail brand marketing at Butterball. "But we also see celebrators planning to get creative with ways to cut costs that won't compromise a memorable Thanksgiving. We know people want to celebrate with a turkey at the center of the table, and as always, the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line is here to share its 41 years of Thanksgiving expertise."
On that note, the venerable Butterball Turkey Talk-Line will open for the year on Nov. 1, taking inquiries via traditional telephone calls as well as by text, online chat or Amazon’s Alexa service. Turkey remains the center of the Thanksgiving table, as Butterball’s latest report shows that 85% of hosts will serve turkey for the holiday and 90% plan to buy the same size bird or a larger one than last year.