Tops Markets LLC has promoted Rusty Ames to the role of meat/seafood specialist in the grocer’s east region. Formerly assistant category business manager – seafood, Ames will now be responsible for the Rochester and Fingerlakes/Syracuse West districts in upstate New York, where he will oversee all aspects of operations and merchandising for the meat and seafood departments.
Ames joined Tops in 1995 and over the course of his career has held such roles as seafood manager, meat manager, assistant store manager, and meat and seafood specialist. He lives in Middleport, N.Y., with his family.
Williamsville, N.Y.-based Tops Markets LLC operates 150 supermarkets, including five franchise stores, and employs more than 14,000 associates in New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont. The banner’s parent company, Northeast Grocery Inc., is No. 44 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.
Consumer Brands Hires Senior Director of SmartLabel
Consumer Brands Association has expanded its consumer transparency efforts by hiring a new senior director of its SmartLabel digital platform, Rishi Banerjee. Succeeding Julie Savoie, Banerjee joins Washington, D.C.-based Consumer Brands from Amazon, where he headed external engagement with the consumer packaged goods industry.
Bringing almost 15 years of regulatory and government affairs experience and a background in e-commerce and food safety to his latest role, Banerjee will devise a strategic plan to accelerate SmartLabel’s footprint at a pivotal time for consumer transparency.
Consumer Brands launched SmartLabel in 2015 to offer national brands and retailers in key grocery categories the opportunity to go beyond the label, providing consumers with more detailed product information than can fit on a package. Through a QR code on packaging or an online search, SmartLabel offers consistent display across participating brands and almost 100,000 products in the food, beverage, household cleaning, pet care, personal care, dietary supplements and over-the-counter medications categories.
On Sept. 28, the White House will hold a Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health, with a major focus on empowering all consumers to make and access nutritional choices. Consumer Brands recently submitted comments to the White House, in which SmartLabel was presented as a way to support this crucial conference pillar.
North Texans hungry for a different shopping experience just got some satisfaction with the news that a long-planned H-E-B store in Frisco will welcome shoppers on Wednesday, Sept. 21. On Sept. 5, the Texas retailer dropped fresh details about the official grand opening in the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) Metroplex.
The 110,000-square-foot location at 4800 Main Street in Frisco will be open seven days a week from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. As with H-E-B stores located in other parts of Texas, this one is stocked with a range of traditional groceries and everyday items, including products from several Lone Star brands and the grocer’s signature store-made tortillas, served up warm in the bakery area.
Other highlights include an expansive meat counter, a Healthy Living department, and a large-footprint wine section with sampling stations. A household essentials department and a pharmacy also cater to residents’ needs.
The store will deliver on cravings with various foodservice-at-retail offerings. In addition to prepared foods such as H-E-B Meal Simple Items and sushi from the a Sushiya counter, customers can order up barbecue favorites at an on-site True Texas BBQ restaurant, which also includes drive-thru service.
As H-E-B opens its doors in Frisco this month, the retailer continues to work on other expansions in the DFW area. Plans for a new store in Mansfield were revealed in August, and construction on H-E-B locations in Plano, Allen and McKinney are underway.
The North American Sustainable Refrigeration Council (NASRC), a Mill Valley, Calif.-based 501(c)(3) environmental nonprofit working to advance climate-friendly natural refrigerants in supermarkets, has opened registration for its Sustainable Refrigeration Summit. Scheduled for Oct. 24-28, the free virtual event will feature solutions to climate-damaging refrigerants.
“We have a huge opportunity to solve one of the biggest environmental problems facing supermarkets,” said NASRC Executive Director Danielle Wright. “To do this, we need all stakeholders at the table, ready to drive solutions.”
The summit sessions will address the latest regulatory and industry trends, natural technologies, and the benefits and challenges of adopting sustainable solutions. Attendees will hear directly from the supermarkets, industry experts and policymakers shaping the future of sustainable refrigeration.
Under the American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act, federal regulations must phase down hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerant emissions by 85% by 2036, with several states also formulating HFC regulations. As a result, supermarkets are under pressure to switch from high global-warming HFCs to climate-friendly alternatives. Natural refrigerants such as ammonia, CO2 and propane have zero or near-zero global-warming potential and are considered future-proof from a regulatory standpoint, but market barriers have stymied widespread adoption in U.S. supermarkets.
“This is one of the rare climate issues where the technology solution exists today,” continued Wright. “To overcome the challenges and make meaningful progress, we need all hands on deck, and that’s what this summit is designed to do.”
The free summit is sponsored by such refrigeration companies as Flowery Branch, Ga.-based Bitzer US and St. Louis-based Emerson.
NASRC collaborates with stakeholders from across the industry, including more than 38,000 food retail locations, to eliminate the barriers to natural refrigerants in supermarkets.
Unilever’s The Ice Cream Shop Available Nationwide via Instacart
Consumers can now shop Unilever’s The Ice Cream Shop nationwide for the first time ever through its new partnership with San Francisco-based tech company Instacart. The partnership expands the virtual restaurant’s delivery service from select major metro areas to the entire United States, with deliveries received in as fast as 30 minutes via Instacart’s retail partners.
Unilever’s The Ice Cream Shop enables shoppers to have their favorite ice cream brands sent directly to their homes. The extensive selection of brands from the Englewood Cliffs, N.J.-based CPG company includes Ben & Jerry’s, Breyers, Good Humor, Klondike, Magnum, Popsicle, and Talenti.
Additionally, Instacart’s special categories, such as Best Sellers, Classics, Chocolate & Vanilla, Chunks & Swirls, Gluten Free, Peanut Free, and Frozen Novelties, make it even easier for consumers to find what they’re looking for.
Grocery Outlet’s Board Leader, Former CEO to Retire
The vice chairman of Grocery Outlet Holding Corp.'s board and former co-CEO, S. MacGregor Read Jr., has retired. The company veteran started his career as an intern in 1993 and worked in several capacities for Grocery Outlet over nearly three decades, including roles in purchasing, retail merchandising real estate and construction.
Read, tapped as co-CEO in 2006, helped guide the discount retailer to significant growth during his tenure. He was named executive vice chairman of the board in 2018, and transitioned to vice chair in 2020.
“After 16 years of service on our board and nearly 30 years as part of the Grocery Outlet team, the impact MacGregor has had on the trajectory and success of our business is unmatched,” said Grocery Outlet CEO Eric Lindberg. “MacGregor has been a steadfast and strategic partner to me and the rest of the leadership team, helping build and solidify the most unique aspects of our business model – how we buy and how we sell.”
Read expressed gratitude to the organization and his colleagues for his long career at Grocery Outlet. “I want to thank Eric and the entire Grocery Outlet family for the best three decades of my life,” he said. “While I step away and enjoy this next chapter, I look forward to watching the continued success of Grocery Outlet. I have the utmost confidence in the leadership team, our unique model and independent operators who bring our treasure-hunt shopping experience to customers across the country each day.”
Emeryville, Calif.-based Grocery Outlet offers products sold through a network of independently operated stores at more than 400 stores in California, Washington, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Idaho, Nevada, New Jersey and Maryland. The company is No. 70 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.