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09/06/2022

North American Sustainable Refrigeration Council to Hold Free Summit

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Refrigerated Cases Teaser

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.

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09/06/2022

Unilever’s The Ice Cream Shop Available Nationwide via Instacart

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Unilever's The Ice Cream Shop Instacart Teaser

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.

09/02/2022

Grocery Outlet’s Board Leader, Former CEO to Retire

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MacGregor Read

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.

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09/02/2022

H-E-B Tops YouGov’s 2022 Recommend Rankings

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YouGov Teaser

YouGov, which tracks 2,000 brands through its BrandIndex tool, has released its annual Recommend Rankings, based on the percentage of a brand’s customers who would recommend it to a friend or colleague, and Texas grocer H-E-B has topped the list as the most recommended brand in the United States, with an average score of 89.5 from its customers. 

Also making the top 10 most recommended U.S. brands were Trader Joe’s, at No. 3, with a score of 87.4, and Aldi, at No. 5, with a score of 86.6; last year, Aldi and Trader Joe’s jointly took the top spot for U.S. brands, with a score of 89.6, and H-E-B didn’t appear in the top 10. Among Canadian brands, Costco came in fifth in 2022, with a score of 83.1, up three spots from its eighth-place ranking 2021, when it scored 81.9.

Also in 2021, Save A Lot appeared among the top U.S. improvers, at No. 8, after its score rose from 69.4 to 75.7, while in Canada, Loblaw’s Joe Fresh apparel brand came in second in the improvers ranking, after its score rose from 60.0 to 68.0. 

With U.S. locations in Redwood City, Calif.; San Francisco; Cheshire, Conn.; Chicago; New York; and Portland, Ore., YouGov has one of the world’s largest research networks. At the core of its platform is a growing source of consumer data that has been amassed over 20 years of operation, which it calls Living Data. All of YouGov’s products and services draw upon this detailed understanding of its 20 million registered panel members to deliver accurate, actionable consumer insights. 

The largest privately held employer in Texas, San Antonio-based H-E-B has more than 420 stores and 145,000 employees in Texas and Mexico. The company is No. 16 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. Brampton, Ontario-based Loblaw Cos. Ltd. is No. 11Costco’s Ottawa, Ontario-based Canadian division is No. 19; Batavia, Ill.-based Aldi U.S. is No. 24; Monrovia, Calif.-based Trader Joe’s is No. 27; and Earth City, Mo.-based Save A Lot is No. 60 on PG’s list.

09/02/2022

Kroger Foundation Named As Leader in Fight Against Food Insecurity

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Kroger Is Building a Grocery Ecosystem for the Future

The Kroger Co. Foundation has been recognized as a 2022 Hunger Leadership Award winner by the Washington, D.C.-based Congressional Hunger Center because of the grocer's commitment to fighting hunger across the country.

The foundation, which was established in 1987, has invested in the next generation of diverse and inclusive leaders for the past five years by supporting Congressional Hunger Center Bill Emerson National Hunger Fellows. Eight fellows who worked to improve food security in the United States through advocacy, public policy and direct engagement with hunger organizations have been sponsored to date.

"We appreciate this honor from the Congressional Hunger Center, which recognizes our corporate affairs leaders' effective stewardship of foundation funds to create communities free of hunger and waste," said Keith Dailey, Kroger's group VP of corporate affairs and president of The Kroger Co. Foundation. "The foundation is committed to advancing Kroger's Zero Hunger | Zero Waste vision, driving both social impact and environmental sustainability through impact giving."

For its part, Kroger's Zero Hunger | Zero Waste social and environmental impact plan has directed more than 2.3 billion meals to feed people in communities across America, and is working toward a goal to donate at least 3 billion meals by 2025.

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.

09/01/2022

Mars Adds Product Portfolios to Instacart

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M&Ms

Instacart is making room for the full portfolio of products from Mars. The global CPG company said this week that it’s making products from more than 40 brands available on the instant-needs platform.

Instacart users can now order items from such brands as M&Ms, Snickers, Ben’s Original, Seeds of Change, Pedigree and Iams, covering a broad swath of categories.

“At Mars, we know that today’s savvy consumers are shopping on digital platforms like Instacart for choice for choice, convenience and time-saving benefits. Our innovative partnership with Instacart enables Mars to continue to reach consumers where they choose to shop,” said Kelly Goering, VP of sales at McLean, Va.-based Mars.

Added Kasey Jamison, senior director of brand partnerships at San Francisco-based Instacart: “Online shopping and same-day delivery are critical for brands looking to accommodate consumers’ busy schedules. From snacks to pet food, we’re excited to help Mars enhance its consumers’ shopping experience by offering a flexible, fast and hassle-free way to shop.”

Included on the Instacart platform are some new products from Mars brands, including M&M’s Crunchy Cookie and Nu-Tro So Simple dog food.

As it makes its products more accessible to consumers, Mars is planning for growth in other ways. Earlier this summer, the corporation revealed that current CEO Grant F. Reid is retiring after 34 years in the industry. He will be succeeded by Paul Weihrauch, currently the global president at Mars Petcare.

For its part, Instacart continues to expand its platform to more brands, retailers and partners. The grocery technology company recently enhanced online ordering and delivery for catered items and added a solution for same-day delivery of large, bulky items like grills and electronics.