News Briefs


Home Chef Launches Ready-to-Bake Pizzas, Flatbreads

Home Chef Pizza Flatbread

Continuing its commitment to bring ease and convenience to home cooking, meal solution company Home Chef, a subsidiary of The Kroger Co., has revealed its newest in-store offerings: Pizzas and Flatbreads. These ready-to-bake items take only 15-17 minutes to cook.

The lineup includes varieties such as Italian-Style Supreme Pizza, packed with pepperoni, sausage, green and red bell peppers, mushrooms, and red onion; a classic Margherita Flatbread with a combination of fresh mozzarella, roasted cherry tomatoes and basil; and Hawaiian Pizza with a sweet and salty combo of sliced Canadian bacon, bacon and pineapple.

[Read more: “Home Chef Reveals Biggest Collab With Queen of Quick Meals”]

There’s also a pie-style take on the Philly Cheesesteak, a pizza topped with sliced steak, mushrooms, green pepper and caramelized onion; and a Chicken Bacon Ranch Flatbread with grilled chicken, onion ranch and a tangy barbecue sauce. 

Home Chef's pizzas and flat breads are hitting shelves at select Kroger Family stores nationwide starting in mid-October. 

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.


Texas-Based H-E-B Increases Footprint, Upgrades Departments of La Grange Store

H-E-B La Grange Texas Teaser

H-E-B has unveiled the renovations that it made to its almost 50-year-old store in La Grange, Texas. Renovations began in May 2021 and include a larger footprint and upgraded departments.

With the renovations, the store added an additional 12,000 square feet of space, bringing the store’s total to 47,000 square feet. In addition to some of the store’s existing services, such as H-E-B Curbside pickup and H-E-B Pharmacy drive-thru, the store now has upgraded and new departments such as:

• A full-service seafood counter
A Healthy Living department with bulk food items, sports nutrition products and supplements
A bakery and tortilleria that offers a wide selection of artisan breads, fresh tortillas made in-house, and large varieties of desserts, pastries and cakes
• Sushiya, featuring handmade sushi selections made in-store daily
• Texas Front Porch, offering products for grilling, gardening and outdoor entertaining
• An expanded beer and wine section
• A floral department with bouquets, individual flowers and plants
• H-E-B Meal Simple, with fresh, convenient chef-inspired meals prepared in store
• A beauty department with a wide selection of cosmetics and other beauty items.

The store remained open throughout the renovation process. 

[Read more: "H-E-B Finally Cuts Ribbon on 1st DFW Location"]

To commemorate the renovated La Grange store, H-E-B gave a total of $7,500, with donations of $1,500 each to the AMEN Food Pantry, Second Chance Emporium, La Grange Independent School District, Fayette County Community Theater and La Grange Animal Shelter.

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.


Lidl Readies 1st D.C. Store

Lidl teaser

Lidl is officially opening its doors in the nation’s capital. The discount chain is welcoming shoppers on Sept 27 to its first store in the District of Columbia.

The latest Lidl is an anchor of the Skyland Town Center, a mixed-use development built to shore up a community that was once considered a food desert. “We are ready — and the community is ready — to welcome Lidl to Ward 7. This grocery store has been a long time coming, and it is going to help make Skyland into a true town center,” said D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser in a statement.

[Read more: "Lidl to Open 1st Store in Brooklyn"]

The developer also touted the addition of the food retailer. "The opening of Lidl is one of many important milestones that will truly make Skyland Town Center the heartbeat of Wards 7 and 8," remarked Henry Fonvielle, president of Rappaport.  "From the very beginning we understood the importance of bringing a wide variety of food options – particularly fresh produce and other healthy food products to this community. Our partnership with Lidl at Skyland Town Center will create an avenue for residents to shop within their neighborhood for years to come.”

Construction is underway on another D.C. Lidl, with a planned 2023 opening. The German-based chain runs several stores in bordering communities in Virginia, Maryland and Delaware, and has its U.S. headquarters in nearby Arlington, Va.

Neckarsulm, Germany-based Lidl operates around 11,550 stores and is active in 32 countries, employing more than 341,000 employees globally. The grocer operates about 170 stores in nine East Coast states. Lidl US is No. 89 on the PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.


Food Lion Expands To-Go Service in Kentucky, North Carolina

Food Lion To Go teaser

Beginning Sept. 26, Food Lion is launching its to-go service at 24 additional locations in Kentucky and North Carolina. This expansion will make Food Lion To Go available at more than 600 stores across the grocer’s 10-state footprint.

Customers new to the service can place pick-up orders through the Food Lion website or app, and their first to-go order will be free. Shoppers can also place orders for beer and wine.

[Read more: "Food Lion Steps Up BOPIS Service"]

“Our customers have embraced the convenience of Food Lion To Go so we’re excited to expand this easier experience to even more customers so they can spend more time on what matters most to them,” said Evan Harding, Food Lion’s director of digital and e-commerce. “We want to give our neighbors the option to shop through the channel they prefer, in-store or online, while still ensuring they have access to the freshest groceries at affordable prices.”

Salisbury, N.C.-based Food Lion has more than 1,100 stores in 10 Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic states, and employs more than 82,000 associates. Its parent company, Ahold Delhaize USA, a division of Zaandam, Netherlands-based Ahold Delhaize is No. 10 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.


SpartanNash Brings on Chief HR Officer

SpartanNash HR

Veteran CPG executive Nicole Zube is joining food solutions company SpartanNash as its SVP, chief human resources officer, effective immediately. Zube previously spent a decade working for the Kellogg Co., most recently as head of human resources for the U.S. commercial business.

Prior to Kellogg, Zube worked in various HR positions at Procter & Gamble. She was recognized as a 2016 Top Women in Grocery by Progressive Grocer, a 2020 and 2021 Top 10 Global Diversity HR Champion by the Global Diversity List, and the 2021 LEAD Ambassador of the Year by LEAD Network Europe.

“Nicole is an accomplished people leader with invaluable experience managing a large-scale, global workforce within the food industry,” said SpartanNash CEO Tony Sarsam. “Throughout her career, Nicole has demonstrated passion and commitment to creating an outstanding associate experience, and we are thrilled to have her join SpartanNash as we continue our work to put People First.”

SpartanNash’s core businesses include distributing grocery products to independent and chain retailers, its corporate-owned retail stores, and U.S. military commissaries and exchanges, as well as fresh produce distribution and fresh food processing. No. 41 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America, the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based company serves customer locations in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, Europe, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Honduras, Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Djibouti. SpartanNash also operates 145 supermarkets and employs 17,500 associates.


Reinvigorating a Declining Category

White Claw Teaser

There’s been a lot of talk about the demise of hard seltzers. After years of explosive growth, sales of hard seltzers are indeed leveling off.

According to Ann Arbor, Mich.-based AdAdapted’s year-over-year alcohol analysis released in June, sales of category leader White Claw saw their highest increase (498%) in April 2020. By the same period in 2021, however, this number had fallen by 35%. In the first four months of 2022, it’s fallen another 20%. This trend extends to the entire seltzer category as well.

[Read more: "What’s New in Beer, Hard Cider, Seltzers"]

Nonetheless, manufacturers aren’t giving up on these beverages as they try to reinvigorate the segment. For example, Chicago-based White Claw launched Hard Seltzer Refrshr Lemonade in distinct packaging in May. White Claw Refrshr debuted with four lemonade flavors: Lemonade Limón with a hint of Calamansi, a citrus found in Japan; Lemonade Blood Orange, with a hint of black raspberry; Lemonade Blackberry, with a dash of red cherry; and Lemonade Strawberry, with a touch of kiwi.

Over at Chicago-based Molson Coors, the company recently invested $65 million in a facility in Fort Worth, Texas, to grow its capabilities and increase its in-house hard-seltzer production. The investment is expected to allow the Fort Worth brewery to remove third-party vendors for final pack assembly, which the company believes will help alleviate shipping costs and improve time to market. The new warehouse may also be used for future brands that the company develops as part of its goal to expand its portfolio beyond the beer aisle. 

Boston Beer Co. is also rethinking its seltzer strategy. The company is working to turn around the trends on its Truly Hard Seltzer brand, starting by reformulating its core flavors and adding real fruit juice.