News Briefs


US Foods Completes Expansion of Louisiana Distribution Center

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. 


Sifter Debuts Scan By Diet Mobile Technology

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.


C&S Goes High Tech for Distribution

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.


Online Grocery Prices Hit Annual High in August

Grocery CEOs Among Those Urging Congress to Address Organized Retail Crime

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.


Kroger Precision Marketing Wades Into Streaming

Kroger Debuts Private Programmatic Advertising Marketplace

In another effort to meet consumers where they are and engage them with relevant advertising, Kroger Precision Marketing is adding new video and connected television (CTV) capabilities. The retail media business arm of The Kroger Co. powered by 84.51° is teaming up with several ad exchange/inventory providers to deliver personalized content based on the retailer’s sales data.

The move comes as consumers continue to stream more shows at home.  “Streaming is the number-one way people consume TV today,” said Cara Pratt, SVP at Kroger Precision Marketing. “That means the majority of TV viewing hours can now be optimized in the programmatic environment. Our retail data precisely reaches households such as lapsed or infrequent brand buyers and then matches advertising exposure to store sales to measure brand impact.”

Kroger Precision Marketplace introduced its private marketplace last year. This latest addition to the self-service platform for ad agencies and brands opens up new opportunities for them to execute campaigns across more channels in a centralized private marketplace. The enhanced programmatic capabilities also allow advertisers to measure the effectiveness of their campaigns against attributable retail sales and household penetration.

“The scale and quality of Kroger’s first-party data has enabled us to optimize CTV delivery for our advertisers against actual stores sales. We are effectively driving in-store sales via television in a tangible way,” said Kelly Metz, managing director, Advanced TV at Omnicom Media Group.

The program is now live, with services offered by video and CTV inventory suppliers including Magnite, OpenX, PubMatic and Xander.

Serving 60 million households annually nationwide through a digital shopping experience, and almost 2,800 retail food stores under a variety of banner names, Cincinnati-based Kroger is No. 4 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.


Former Tops Executive Dies

Tops Teaser

Victor A. Marrale Sr., a onetime Tops Markets executive, died Sept. 5 at Mercy Hospital in East Aurora, N.Y., from complications following surgery, according to a published report. Marrale was 87. 

The Buffalo, N.Y., native began his career after high school as a car salesman and by the early '60s had joined the general merchandising division of Williamsville, N.Y.-based Tops Markets. He rose through the ranks to the role of VP and director of general merchandising at the Tops subsidiary G&G Sales and Service, and later became president. Marrale also played a key role in launching Vix Discount Drugstores, another Tops subsidiary, which was named after him. 

He left Tops in 1987 and began his own business, Marrale Marketing, a general merchandising distributor of household goods, toys, and health and beauty items. After his retirement in 1995, he became an active volunteer in his local community and served on his village board. Marrale also served for many years as a deacon at his church.

Survivors include his wife, the former J. Cairn Eastman, a retired nurse practitioner; four sons; two daughters; 11 grandchildren; and several great-grandchildren.

Services were held Saturday, Sept. 10 at Fellowship Wesleyan Church, in West Seneca, N.Y.