News Briefs


Amazon Tech Powers Checkout-Free Store at DFW Airport

Amazon Grab & Fly DFW Airport Teaser

Grab & Fly, a checkout-free shopping experience powered by Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology, recently made its debut at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport. The new store lets air travelers grab what they need – cold drinks, snacks, travel accessories, electronics, souvenirs and more – and leave the store without having to wait in checkout lines. 

To enter Grab & Fly, travelers insert their credit card at the entry gate. Once inside, anything they take off the shelf is automatically added to their virtual cart, and anything they put back comes out of their virtual cart. After shoppers leave the store, their credit card will be charged for the items they took. Store associates are on hand to help customers, answer questions and restock shelves.

“We are very excited to bring this checkout-free store to DFW, one of the busiest airports in the world, so travelers can get what they need and skip the checkout line,” said Gilbert Aranza, president of Dallas-based Star Concessions Ltd., which partnered with Amazon on Grab & Fly. “We selected Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology because of the fast and frictionless experience it enables, and we look forward to hearing how busy travelers like the experience.” 

“Dallas Fort Worth International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the United States, so we’re thrilled to collaborate with Star Concessions to enable a fast and frictionless shopping experience for their guests in Terminal D,” said Dilip Kumar, VP, AWS Applications.

Grab & Fly is open from 6 a.m. to last flight out (typically 10 p.m. CDT) at DFW Airport’s Terminal D South.

Just Walk Out technology has also been deployed at Amazon brick-and-mortar supermarkets and select Whole Foods Market locations, as well as at several sports venues and Nashville International Airport. 

Seattle-based Amazon is No. 2 on The PG 100,  Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.


Big Y Marks 1 Year of myPicks Online

Big Y myPicks Logo Teaser

This fall marks the one-year anniversary of myPicks Online Ordering, Big Y’s e-commerce platform. The grocer was inspired to launch the service after observing a sharp rise in online ordering and higher customer demand for another way to shop. 

“We understand just how busy people are these days and want to make sure we are offering our customers another option for shopping,” said Christian D’Amour, Big Y’s director of e-commerce. D’Amour added that the company was continuing to gather valuable feedback from customers and is using it to develop new ways to improve the customer’s online experience.

The myPicks platform recently launched an upgraded website with improved functionality that will enable services such as home delivery powered by San Francisco-based Instacart, and the ability to accept payments via EBT and SNAP benefits. The platform also now offers same-day order and pickup, and it continues to expand fresh and local product offerings. “We continue to listen and learn, and are excited to be able to offer in the near future some of the enhancement our customers have been asking for,” noted D’Amour. 

According to the executive, myPick’s greatest success in its first year is “that in a small part, we are helping to make our customers’ busy lives a little easier.”

Big Y currently offers myPicks at 11 Massachusetts Big Y locations: Wilbraham, Ludlow, Longmeadow, East Longmeadow, Springfield, Chicopee, Westfield (East Silver Street), Westfield Shops (East Main Street), West Springfield, Big Y at Fresh Acres, and South Hadley.

One of the largest independently owned supermarket chains in New England, Springfield, Mass.-based Big Y operates 84 locations throughout Massachusetts and Connecticut, with almost 12,000 employees. The company is No. 75 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.


Vast Majority of Americans Will Celebrate Halloween: NCA

Halloween candy

This All Hallows’ Eve, a whopping 93% of Americans are planning to mark the occasion by indulging in their favorite chocolate and candy products, according to a new survey from the National Confectioners Association (NCA).

“The past few years have proven that the confectionery industry is resilient, and Americans remain enthusiastic about enjoying their favorite treats during seasonal celebrations like Halloween with friends and family,” noted John Downs, president and CEO of Washington, D.C.-based NCA. “Chocolate and candy play a special role during the Halloween season in communities across the country – and this Halloween promises to be especially impressive as chocolate and candy companies bring consumers classic, innovative and great-tasting products that enhance the season.”

The confectionery industry trade group is projecting a 5% increase in chocolate and candy sales for the 2022 Halloween season as consumers across the country ramp up their spooky celebrations, with some starting earlier than in years past.

NCA also noted that chocolate and candy manufacturers are working to provide more transparency, choice and portion guidance options, with 85% of chocolate and candy currently sold coming in packaging that contains 200 calories or fewer per pack. That number includes individually wrapped products or multipacks that contain smaller packages inside – an appropriate size for the 97% of Americans who say they greet trick-or-treaters with chocolate and candy. 

The national online survey was conducted by San Antonio-based 210 Analytics on behalf of NCA. The research was fielded Jan. 17-31 among a sample of 1,573 U.S. adults between the ages of 18 and 75. The margin of error associated with the survey is +/- 2.5% at the 95% confidence level.

In other Halloween news, data from Fishers, Ind.-based audio experience solution provider Vibenomics showed that 68% of consumers rely on grocery stores for their Halloween needs


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.