News Briefs


Badger Technologies Teams With BRdata Software to Transform Grocery Ops

Badger Technologies Teams with BRdata Software Solutions

Robotics pioneer Badger Technologies, a product division of Jabil, has teamed with BRdata Software Solutions to assist grocers in attaining actionable data and aggregated analytics to improve store profitability, operational efficiencies and shopping experiences. Real-time inventory, pricing and trend data collected by Badger multipurpose autonomous robots can be ingested by Melville, N.Y.-based BRdata’s cloud-based retail software to quickly identify discrepancies and resolve on-shelf product and pricing problems across order fulfillment, warehouse, inventory, point of sale, and e-commerce systems.

“We are excited to collaborate with BRdata to provide grocers with a comprehensive view into what’s really happening on their store shelves every day,” said William “BJ” Santiago, CEO of Nicholasville, Ky.-based Badger Technologies. “Independent grocers, in particular, will benefit from the integration of our robot-collected data and dashboards with BRdata’s enterprise retail software to maximize sales and profits.”

[Read more: "Vallarta Supermarkets Adds Robots to 6 Stores"]

At the BRdata World user conference, taking place Oct. 2-6 in Hauppauge, N.Y., Woodman’s Markets is highlighting its use of Badger Technologies’ autonomous robots, as well as the opportunity to combine in-store data with BRdata’s enterprise software suite. An employee-owned grocery chain with 19 stores throughout Wisconsin and Illinois, Woodman’s is known for its product selection, which typically spans 100,000 items at each location.

“Our automated shelf scans have not only improved Woodman’s inventory strategies, but we also gain critical trending insights to better forecast and manage third-party suppliers,” said Kristin Popp, EVP at Janesville, Wis.-based Woodman’s. “Combining the data gathered by the Badger robots with the capabilities across the BRdata cloud ecosystem will enhance our mission to provide the widest variety of grocery items at the best prices.”


Buyk Assets and IP Up for Sale

Buyk Doubles NYC Presence to 20 Dark Stores

Following the shuttering of its operations earlier this year – in part because of the war in Ukraine and because of slowing demand in the last-mile delivery space – Russian-backed Buyk is putting itself on the market. The company announced this week that it is taking offers for its intellectual property, technology and physical assets through Hilco Fixed Asset Recovery and Sherwood Partners.

The business was building for the future when it abruptly closed down, leaving several new assets that were intended for use in at least 39 dark stores. The assets are currently stored in three warehouses and include never-used equipment such as two-door coolers and freezers, chest freezers, backroom shelving, stocking/pick carts with bins and office furniture, among other items.

Also available: Buyk’s in-house IP and technology that includes an enterprise software platform, domain name, trademark and additional data.  According to Buyk, the enterprise software platform supports all business functions, from development through customer service.

"This offering from Buyk is an exciting opportunity for established delivery providers expanding into ultra-fast delivery or for retailers wanting to break into the rapidly growing delivery market,” said Brad Goldsmith of Sherwood Partners. “Acquiring this IP, established technology and robust enterprise system is a fast-track to market entry or expansion.”

Added Ed Stepp, managing director of Hilco Fixed Asset Recovery: “The fixtures and equipment will provide great value to existing grocery deliver providers, food service businesses, grocery stores, convenience stores and similar businesses, given the breadth and quality of the items for sale. We expect that all items for sale will move quickly and interested parties should take advantage of this unique opportunity.”

Interested buyers can reach out to Goldsmith ([email protected]) or Stepp ([email protected]) directly.


Empire Co.'s Loyalty Program Rollout Continues Across Canada

Freshco Scene+ Teaser

Canadian conglomerate Empire Co. Ltd. is rolling out the Scene+ loyalty program to stores in the province of Ontario, following successful launches in Atlantic and Western Canada.

Empire became a co-owner of Scene+ in June 2022, along with Scotiabank and Cineplex. The three iconic brands are transforming Scene+ into the country’s pre-eminent loyalty program, enabling members to earn and redeem points on groceries and across a broad spectrum of partners.

“The Western Canada launch of Scene+ brought us some exciting firsts, including the introduction of a loyalty program in our discount banner FreshCo. We’re thrilled with how customers in the West and Atlantic Canada have embraced the new Scene+,” said Sandra Sanderson, SVP of marketing at Empire Co. “We want to build on this momentum and look forward to launching the program at our stores and Voilà delivery in Ontario next month.”

In Ontario, Scene+ will be introduced on Nov. 3 at Empire banners Sobeys, Foodland, Voilà by Sobeys, FreshCo and Chalo! FreshCo.

Empire first introduced Scene+ to its shoppers in Atlantic Canada on Aug. 11. The program’s regional rollout will continue across Canada through the remainder of 2022 and into early 2023 at Sobeys, Safeway, Foodland, IGA, FreshCo and Chalo! FreshCo, Voilà, Thrifty Foods, Les Marchés Tradition Rachelle Béry, and company liquor stores.

For every 1,000 Scene+ points earned, customers at participating locations can save $10 off their select purchases at Empire’s banner stores.

Stellarton, Nova Scotia-based Empire's key businesses are food retailing, through wholly owned subsidiary Sobeys Inc., and related real estate. With approximately CAD $30.2 billion in annual sales and CAD $16.6 billion in assets, Empire and its subsidiaries, franchisees and affiliates employ approximately 130,000 people. The company is No. 22 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America


Where Do the All the Foodies Live?


It’s no secret that consumers were exploring new foods even before the pandemic that spurred a renaissance in at-home cooking. Now, a new analysis confirms that there are a whole lot of foodies in the marketplace.

According to a report on "2022’s Best Foodie Cities in America" from financial website WalletHub, today’s foodies are balancing their love of food and drink with realistic budgets in the wake of high inflation – often getting creative in the process. “Americans today apply the term ‘foodie’ to anyone who loves gourmet dining. But foodie culture isn’t limited to restaurants. Foodies enjoy discovering new and unique flavors wherever they can find them, including in their own kitchens and less prominent establishments like street food stalls. For these people, the experience of eating is elevated to a hobby or even a lifestyle,” asserted WalletHub’s financial writer Adam McCann

The company’s researchers compared more than 180 of the largest cities in the U.S. across 29 key metrics that assessed affordability, accessibility, food-related events and local establishments. The top 10 foodie cities include the following, in descending order: Portland, Ore.; Orlando, Fla.; Miami; San Francisco; Austin, Texas; Sacramento, Calif.; Seattle; Tampa, Fla.; Las Vegas; and San Diego.

From a retail perspective, the data shows that Orlando, Fla., is home to the most specialty food stores per square root of population. Rounding out the top five cities for specialty grocers are St. Louis, Honolulu, Cincinnati and Tampa, Fla.

The report also took a look at food costs and revealed that the lowest cost of groceries are in Brownsville, Texas, followed by Corpus Christi, Texas, Fort Wayne, Ind., Raleigh, N.C. and Knoxville Tenn. The highest cost of groceries are in San Jose, Calif., New York, N.Y., Juneau, Ala., Honolulu and Pearl City, Hawaii.


Walmart Wellness Day to Feature Immunizations, Resources

Walmart Wellness Day_teaser

In an effort to bring affordable immunizations to communities across the U.S., Walmart is holding its annual Wellness Day on Oct. 8. Customers at more than 4,600 Walmart pharmacies will be able to receive flu, pneumonia, shingles, HPV and other immunizations, as well as COVID-19 bivalent boosters with no out-of-pocket costs.

The following health resources will be available:

• Affordable immunizations, including flu, pneumonia, shingles, HPV, measles, mumps, whooping cough (TDAP), Hep A & B and others.
• Wellness resources and the opportunity to talk with pharmacists.
• Demos, giveaways and product sampling (in select stores).

“As we move into the fall and winter seasons, we want to do our part in helping families remain protected through immunizations,” said Kevin Host, Walmart’s SVP of pharmacy. “Wellness Day is such an impactful event because it allows customers an opportunity to check in on health priorities, meet our incredible pharmacists and engage in conversations around wellness. Along with our pharmacies, we also deliver care through Walmart Health Virtual Care and Walmart Health Centers, which highlights our commitment to improving access to quality, affordable healthcare.”

Each week, approximately 230 million customers and members visit Walmart’s more than 10,500 stores and numerous e-commerce websites under 46 banners in 24 countries. The Bentonville, Ark.-based company employs approximately 2.3 million associates worldwide. Walmart U.S. is No. 1 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.


Albertsons Cos. Relaunches Private Seafood Brand

Albersons seafood

To mark National Seafood Month, Albersons Cos. is relaunching its Waterfront Bistro brand of seafood products. Each item in the line is responsibly sourced and traceable, and also features the Responsible Choice logo indicating that it meets Albertsons’ Responsible Seafood Policy.

Additionally, Albertsons’ Waterfront Bistro brand is third-party audited to ensure every fish, shrimp or shellfish has been raised or caught in ways that help safeguard future supplies and keep ecosystems thriving. The private brand was originally launched in 2009, and product options range from frozen fin fish and shrimp to heat-and-serve meals and jarred sauces.

“We’re excited to reintroduce Waterfront Bistro as an elevated and responsible option for our shoppers,” said Katie Ceclan, VP of own brands for Albertsons. “With Waterfront Bistro, we’re making it easier than ever to access affordable, high-quality and responsibly sourced seafood ingredients so our customers can create restaurant-worthy dishes in the comfort of their own kitchens and feel good about the ingredients they’re using.”

Many Waterfront Bistro products include recipe ideas on the packaging, and additional inspiration can be found on the Albertsons website and through its Meal Plans tool. Customers can also scan a QR code for meal solutions, as well as helpful seafood tips, tricks and serving ideas.

Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons operates more than 2,200 retail stores with 1,700-plus pharmacies, 402 associated fuel centers, 22 dedicated distribution centers and 20 manufacturing facilities. It has stores across 34 states and the District of Columbia under 24 well-known banners, among them Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s, Acme, Tom Thumb, Randalls, United Supermarkets, Pavilions, Star Market, Haggen, Carrs, Kings Food Markets and Balducci’s Food Lovers Market. Albertsons is No. 9 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.