On Sept. 29, the health care division of The Kroger Co. provided Express Scripts, Inc. written notice of its intention to terminate their pharmacy provider agreement for commercial customers. According to Kroger Health, it has attempted on dozens of occasions since February to negotiate in good faith with Express Scripts – seeking a more equitable and fair contract that lowers cost, increases access, and delivers greater transparency – but there has been little to no progress to date.
"Kroger is doing everything possible to deliver greater value for our customers and navigate this ongoing period of record inflation. We do not believe Kroger customers should have to pay higher costs to increase Express Scripts' profits," said Colleen Lindholz, president of Kroger Health.
"We took the necessary step of announcing our intention to terminate our contract with Express Scripts because the current arrangement does not enable Kroger to improve health access, deliver greater pricing transparency, and keep prices affordable for our more than 17 million patients," continued Lindholz. "So far, our efforts to negotiate in good faith have not delivered an agreement in the best interest of our customers – especially members of the military and their families receiving benefits through Tricare – that protects them from rising costs amid record inflation. Kroger remains willing to negotiate any contract with Express Scripts that results in a fair, transparent agreement at a rate that benefits everyone – particularly our customers – and prevents any disruption of services."
If a new agreement is not reached by Dec. 31, most Express Scripts' commercial customers around the country will no longer be able to fill prescriptions at pharmacies within the Kroger family of companies.
Blue Apron CFO Randy Greben has resigned from his position, which he was named to in January 2021, effective Oct. 17. The meal kit company has appointed Mitchell Cohen to serve as interim CFO while it identifies a permanent replacement.
“Randy has played an important role at Blue Apron as we developed our new strategy to pursue growth alongside a path to profitability,” said Linda Findley, Blue Apron president and CEO. “I’d like to thank him for his contributions on behalf of everybody at Blue Apron. We wish him the very best in his future endeavors.”
According to Blue Apron, Cohen has more than 30 years of financial, operations and general business experience and will immediately start working with the company and Greben to facilitate a smooth transition. Spencer Stuart will conduct a search for the company’s next CFO.
“Mitch will be an asset to Blue Apron during this transitional period given his extensive public company experience, and understanding of subscription and ecommerce models,” said Findley. “As we continue to balance growth, our planned path to profitability and managing through inflationary periods, Mitch’s decades of experience can help us continue to execute The Next Course strategy outlined earlier this year."
Northgate González Market Honors Associates, Community Leaders
Hispanic grocery store Northgate González Market recently honored 12 store associates and community leaders for embodying the same generous spirit and community commitment as the founders of Northgate Market. Part of the grocer’s Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15) observances, the Juntos Awards recognize individuals while awarding a total of $24,000 in grants to local nonprofits designated by the honorees.
“When my family opened the doors to Northgate Market in 1980, we committed to give back to our customers,” said Co-President Miguel González. “We have been blessed to have store associates, vendors and other community partners who go above and beyond in helping us be there for the Southern California community.”
This past year, Northgate Market teamed with more than 200 community organizations to address food security, provide free health screenings, and offer chronic-disease and nutrition education. The retailer’s Familia González Reynoso Foundation also gave more than $2 million in community donations and scholarships.
Each honoree of the 2022 Juntos awards chose a nonprofit or community organization to receive a $2,000 grant to continue its community work.
The 2022 recipients of the Northgate Market Juntos Award are:
• Albert Ayala, store team leader, Northgate Gonzalez Market • Hon. Al Rios, mayor of the city of South Gate • Cheryl Kennick, senior director of corporate philanthropy, City of Hope • Hon. Doug Chaffee, chairman, Orange County Board of Supervisors • Lupillo Ramirez, senior director of innovation and product development, Northgate González Market • Linda Franks, executive director, Kid Healthy Orange County • Manuel Martinez, key account manager, Constellation Brands • Kevin Mattson, CEO, San Ysidro Health • Richard Streza, managing partner, Brown & Streza LLP • Soledad Rivera, director of business development, Families Together of Orange County • Hon. Nora Vargas, San Diego County Board of Supervisors • Wendy Robinson, director of sales for the Southwest, Mission Foods
The organizations each receiving $2,000 grants are City of Hope, Families Together of Orange County, Hispanas Organized for Political Empowerment (HOPE), Joya Scholars, Kid Healthy, Nueva Esperanza, Olive Crest, Orange County Rescue Mission, San Ysidro Health, South Gate Kiwanis Club and St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital
Anaheim, Calif.-based Northgate Market operates 43 stores in Orange, Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Diego counties.
Gopuff Introduces Goodnow Private Label Health-and-Wellness Line
Instant-needs platform Gopuff has launched Goodnow, a private label line of health-and-wellness products designed to help customers feel better faster for less money.
“Health and wellness – an $80-plus billion market in the U.S. – has been one of Gopuff’s fastest-growing categories,” noted Jessica Glendenning, director of private label at Philadelphia-based Gopuff. “As consumers become increasingly interested in private label products, Gopuff is uniquely positioned to develop new brands curated specifically for our customers. Informed by data, insights and feedback, … Goodnow is an inherent fit for our customers and the Gopuff platform.”
When surveyed, customers identified over-the-counter medications as a great fit for Gopuff. They also expressed interest in getting pain relievers, cold and flu remedies, allergy medications, and first aid from the platform. Now Gopuff customers can order Goodnow pain (ibuprofen, acetaminophen, naproxen, headache relief); allergy (loratadine, cetirizine, diphenhydramine); cold; flu and sinus congestion relief; sleep aid products; and at-home diagnostic test kits (UTI, BV, herpes) for delivery in minutes. Additional Goodnow products, among them electrolyte drinks, bandages, antihistamines and antacids, will launch nationwide over the coming months.
All Goodnow products are produced and controlled in accordance with quality standards and manufactured in a third-party GMP-certified facility.
Goodnow builds on the early success of Gopuff’s first private label offering, Basically, which came out in January and is consistently among the platform’s top 10 brands for Gopuff.
Following successful launches in 12 other major U.S. cities, Too Good To Go is now available in the greater Los Angeles area to help residents save money on surplus food. The free mobile app saves consumers one-third of the retail price for meals and groceries.
The Too Good To Go app connects users with grocery stores, restaurants, bakeries, cafes and more, so that excess food doesn't go to waste. App users can browse, reserve and pay for a Surprise Bag on the app. Then, they go to the store during the pick-up window to collect their surprise.
The content of each Surprise Bag purchased through the Too Good To Go app varies and users can expect to get a range of products, always at one-third of the retail value. Depending on the store chosen, the bags can contain anything from fresh produce or pantry items to ready-to-eat foods.
Presenting an ideal alternative for businesses with surplus food, the marketplace app helps its partners contact more users, find a new showcase for their products, reduce their losses, optimize their resources, and play an important role in the food rescue ecosystem.
Founded in 2016, the certified B-Corp company has already saved over 164 million meals across 17 countries, which is the equivalent to 361-plus million pounds of food.
"In a reality where food prices are a huge challenge for people, Too Good To Go offers a meaningful and sustainable alternative to get delicious food at accessible prices all while slowing global warming through the reduction of food waste, which accounts for 10% of all GHG emissions globally," said Chris MacAulay, U.S. managing director.
Following its launch in Los Angeles, Copenhagen-based Too Good To Go has further plans to expand to other major U.S. cities.
Quick-commerce platform Gorillas recently opened a central distribution center in the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens, a New York City borough. With technology provided by New York-based Fabric, the 17,000-square-foot facility will manage the storage and daily pick of produce for distribution to Gorillas’ network of micro-fulfillment centers across the Big Apple.
“The warehouse and distribution model allows for a more efficient delivery model to each location, which decreases the amount of inventory that is held in each store, reducing the amount of waste,” said Alex Gabriel, head of public and governmental affairs at New York-based Gorillas. “To create the most efficient distribution operation, Gorillas has partnered with Da Vinci for their warehouse management system, optimizing speed and accuracy in the warehouse that better supports Q commerce.”
Gabriel added that as well as providing full-time positions for people living in nearby communities, the new central distribution center aligns with the company’s core values of reducing the carbon footprint and reducing food waste.