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News Briefs

09/13/2022

Grocers Spotlight Producers, Organizations for Hispanic Heritage Month

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In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, both Target Corp. and FreshDirect are showcasing Hispanic vendors and their products. Tops Friendly Markets, meanwhile, is giving donations to several organizations within its footprint that support Hispanic culture.

Target’s featured collection of more than 90 products across multiple categories was created in partnership with Latino artists, businesses and Target team members. Each item was selected or designed to pay homage to the rich heritage and diversity of Latino culture, including food items such as grain-free tortilla chips from Siete, Concina54’s gluten-free empanadas and more.

[Read more: "Hy-Vee Rolls Out the Red Carpet for Family Meals, Hispanic Heritage"]

Online grocer FreshDirect is also showing appreciation for its Hispanic vendors on its website. Featured products include desserts from Gina’s Paticceria, tortillas from Vista Hermosa, cured foods from New York City-based Charlito’s Cocina and more.

Williamsville, N.Y.-based Tops and its vendor partners are showing their support with donations to several local organizations, including Grupo Cultural Latinos en Rochester, La Liga, Hispanos Unidos de Buffalo and Putnam Cap.

Minneapolis-based Target Corp. is No. 6 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America, with nearly 2,000 locations. FreshDirect is owned by Netherlands-based Ahold Delhaize, which is No. 10 on The PG 100, and Tops' parent company Northeast Grocery Inc. is No. 44 on the list. 

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09/13/2022

Rite Aid Promotes From Within for Chief Accounting Role

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Rite Aid Chooses Within as Digital Media Agency of Record

Rite Aid Corp. has promoted VP of Financial Accounting Steve Bixler to be the companys new chief accounting officer. Bixler will step into the role on Jan. 13, 2023, following the retirement of Brian Hoover, who has held the role for the past three years during his 27 years with Rite Aid.

Bixler will report to CFO Matt Schroeder.

[Read more: "Rite Aid’s New HQ Embraces 'New Normal' Work Life"]

“We look forward to a seamless transition and the leadership Steve will bring as we continue our journey toward a modern full-service pharmacy company,” said Schroeder. “We are grateful for Brian’s many years of service and dedication to our company, and wish him a well-deserved retirement.”

Bixler has held accounting roles at Rite Aid for the past 21 years and was promoted to his current role as VP in 2020. He joined Rite Aid as an inventory specialist immediately after earning his bachelor’s degree from Juniata College, in Huntingdon, Pa., in 2001.

Rite Aid employs 6,400-plus pharmacists and operates more than 2,350 retail pharmacy locations across 17 states. The Philadelphia-based company is No. 21 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.

09/13/2022

US Foods Completes Expansion of Louisiana Distribution Center

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Teamsters Reach Agreement With US Foods, Safeway

Foodservice distributor US Foods Holding Corp. has completed the expansion of its distribution center in Marrero, La. Now nearly triple its former size, the facility houses a full assortment of broadline items, a full-service demonstration kitchen and training center to support culinary innovation, and an interactive technology center where US Foods customers can learn about the company’s web-based business solutions. US Foods acquired Marrero-based F. Christiana in 2017 and began expanding the distribution center two years later. 

In line with the company’s commitment to reducing the environmental footprint of its operations, the facility expansion meets Silver Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification sustainability requirements. Among the eco-friendly improvements at the facility are energy-efficient refrigeration systems, energy-saving LED lighting, optimized HVAC systems and water-efficient landscaping. 

[Read more: "US Foods Opens Its Most Environmentally Sustainable Facility to Date"]

“This is an important milestone for our growing Louisiana team as we continue to partner with local foodservice operators who support our vibrant and thriving New Orleans community,” said US Foods Market VP Dan Hildreth. “We value our role in helping our local restaurants ‘Make It’ with our differentiated and expanded resources and services, and look forward to serving additional markets with our growing service footprint.” 

The company plans to host an official grand-opening celebration in November for area customers, vendors and community members. The event will include facility tours and culinary demonstrations. 

US Foods works with about 250,000 restaurants and foodservice operators. With more than 70 broadline locations and 80-plus cash and carry stores, the Rosemont, Ill.-based company and its 28,000 associates provide customers with a broad, innovative food offering and a comprehensive suite of e-commerce, technology and business solutions. 

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09/13/2022

Sifter Debuts Scan By Diet Mobile Technology

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Sifter Graphic Teaser

Sifter SP Inc. has released Scan By Diet, a mobile app and technology that enables shoppers to scan any food or supplement barcode to see whether it matches the shopper’s personal diet. Now, millions of consumers with multiple dietary considerations can depend on Scan By Diet’s instantaneous, accurate and consistent results while grocery shopping.   

For example, a person with a gluten intolerance, allergies to dairy and diabetes can create a custom diet profile, scan any product barcode, and immediately see a green checkmark if the food fits, or a red “x” with the reason that it doesn’t fit.

Sifter’s comprehensive grocery product database allows Scan By Diet to work on virtually any mobile device in any grocery store in the United States. The database’s dietary filters are built on evidence-based nutrition care practices and public-health guidance, in alignment with food regulations. Further, grocers and health care businesses with existing mobile apps can integrate Sifter Scan By Diet tech to better accommodate consumers who prefer in-store shopping. 

“Deciphering nutrition labels while grocery shopping is time-consuming and headache-inducing,” noted Andrew Parkinson, co-founder and CEO of Evanston, Ill.-based Sifter, which recently revealed a $5 million series seed round to ramp up growth of its nutrition-as-a-service platform and the rollout of Sifter Retailer Solutions. “The Scan By Diet feature is super-easy and fast for shoppers to find the right food, and Sifter APIs make it easy and affordable for retailers and health organizations to integrate its power into their  existing apps and personal health platforms.”

Sifter Scan By Diet is available in both the App Store and Google Play.

09/12/2022

C&S Goes High Tech for Distribution

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California C&S Warehouse Workers Ratify 7-Year Contract

C&S Wholesale Grocers, Inc. is tackling its sustainability and efficiency goals by investing in new technologies. The company recently announced that it has engaged Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) to build a new cloud-based operations platform.

The platform will help C&S improve the customer experience while curbing waste and maximizing fuel. By using AI and machine learning, C&S will monitor traffic patterns and identify optimal distribution routes. In addition to cutting down on food and fuel waste, the system enables C&S to migrate its data center workloads to the carbon-natural infrastructure of Google Cloud.

The new model will allow for self-service solutions to information technology and customer service touchpoints. Company officials also note that the deployment offers C&S the scalability needed to drive long-term business growth.

“With more than 104 years in the rapidly changing grocery industry, the foundation of C&S’s success has been our ability to adapt and innovate ahead of market trends to better serve our customers. It’s this legacy that drives our unrelenting focus on innovative go-to-market strategies and customer service,” said C&S CEO Bob Palmer. “We like to challenge the status quo and need partners who can do the same. Both TCS and Google Cloud are making it possible to implement a platform that supports our operational sustainability goals to ensure a healthy planet now and for future generations.”

Echoed Amit Bajaj, president of TCS North America: “The TCS-designed platform will enable more predictable deliveries, especially during seasonal peaks, helping distributors and retailers better manage their inventory while ensuring that the products most in demand are supplied on-time.

Founded in 1918 as a supplier to independent grocery stores, Keene, N.H.-based C&S Wholesale Grocers now services customers of all sizes, supplying more than 7,500 independent supermarkets, chain stores, military bases and institutions with 100,000-plus products, in addition to operating corporate stores. The company is No. 17 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.

09/12/2022

Online Grocery Prices Hit Annual High in August

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Grocery shoppers remain undeterred by high e-commerce grocery prices, according to the latest Adobe Digital Price Index, spending $64.6 billion in August. Though that number was up 6.5% from the same time period last year, Adobe also found that grocery prices saw their highest annual online price increase in August, up 14.1% year-over-year.

According to Adobe, grocery prices have been on the rise for 31 consecutive months, with grocery being the only category to move in lockstep with the Consumer Price Index on a long-term basis. Personal care products also saw an increase in online prices of 2.7% in August, with Adobe reporting that demand for those items has steadily risen along with online grocery demand.

[Read more: "Report Sheds New Light on Omnichannel Shoppers"]

“The modest uptick we see in online prices for August was driven in large part by rising food costs that show no signs of abating, just as seasonal discounts in a category like apparel phased out through the end of summer,” said Patrick Brown, VP of growth marketing and insights at Adobe. “Consumer demand for e-commerce also remains steady and will keep prices elevated, especially for growing categories such as groceries, pet products and other consumer staples.”

Overall online prices in August increased 0.4%year-over-year and 2.1% month-over-month. Of the 18 categories Adobe tracks, 12 of them saw increasing prices. Electronics, jewelry, books, toys, computers and sporting goods were among the categories experiencing a drop in prices for August.