News Briefs


Fresh Thyme Earmarks $350K for Hunger Relief

Fresh Thyme Farmers Market Invests in CBD

Fresh Thyme Market is supporting food banks across its footprint with a $350,000 donation to Feeding America. Groups benefiting from the funds include the St. Louis Food Bank, Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin, Second Harvest Heartland, Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana, Forgotten Harvest and Mid-Ohio Food Bank, among others.

Shoppers contributed to the effort by rounding up at the register and purchasing pre-bagged groceries at checkout that go directly to nearby food banks. This was the first year that the “Grab and Give” option was offered.

"The month of September marks Hunger Action Month and to show our appreciation towards the communities in which we serve, we are thrilled to donate funds to help alleviate hunger," said Liz Zolcak, president of Fresh Thyme Market. "With the culminated efforts of both the Fresh Thyme family and our customers, together we can aid in providing our local communities with the resources needed to promote access to proper nutrition."

This is the latest partnership between Fresh Thyme and Feeding America. Earlier this year, the retailer shared that it has given more than $800,000 to Feeding America’s network of food banks via fundraising campaigns. 

Downers Grove, Ill.-based Fresh Thyme Market is No. 91 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.



Drinks With DoubleDash Debuts

Drinks With DoubleDash Teaser

DoorDash customers can now pair alcoholic beverages with their meals, thanks to Drinks with DoubleDash, which enables them to get food from one place and alcoholic drinks from another, all in a single order and with no additional delivery fee or order minimum.

Once the customer has selected their meal from a restaurant, they can scroll to the bottom of the menu to browse alcohol options available from nearby liquor, convenience or grocery stores. They can add the drinks to their order and continue to checkout. Customers 21 years old and over must meet their Dasher in person and have their ID ready for verification.

“We are excited to unveil the latest DoubleDash innovation with the introduction of Drinks, giving customers the opportunity to pair their perfect drink with any meal on DoorDash, conveniently bundled all in one order,” noted Ben Damon, product manager at San Francisco-based DoorDash. “As we continue on our mission to be the one-stop shop for all local commerce needs, we’re excited by the endless possibilities with DoubleDash to connect customers to new categories in a seamless way, while providing incremental growth opportunities for our local convenience, grocery and liquor store merchants.” 

The company has seen that more than half of DoubleDash users are ordering from merchants they’ve never ordered from before (August 2021 – June 2022). Through Drinks with DoubleDash, merchants can reach new customers looking to complement meals with appropriate drink pairings. Since launching its alcohol offering last year, DoorDash has more than doubled the number of alcohol stores on the DoorDash platform, with 130% store growth in the category (September 2021 – June 2022).


Trader Joe’s Samples Make a Triumphant Return

TJ customer

Consumers on the path to discovery at Trader Joe’s can once again get a taste of products that pique their interest. According to the latest “Inside Trader Joe’s” podcast, the pandemic-related hiatus on sampling is over.

“Demo is back!” asserted company crew members during the podcast episode.  The podcast was recorded during the recent Captains Meeting of store leaders held in Los Angeles.

Going forward, sampling at Trader Joe’s stores will take a different tack.  “We want to focus a little more on new products. Things not necessarily on your shopping list, but things we’re excited to share,” noted Matt Sloan, VP of marketing at the grocer.

A store leader named Ken from the Trader Joe’s in Somerville, Mass. explained the approach in more detail: “I think one of the hardest things is we have all these new products that we can talk about with our customers, but we want our customers to try it … I think demo is kind of that next shared experience with food, and in our culture, food is everything.”

Also during the Captains Meeting, winners of the Trader Joe’s Golden Potsticker awards were revealed. The award recognizes locations and crews that exhibit strong connections with their customers and neighborhoods – in other words, stores that are especially nice. Winners include Store 5-5-9 in Staten Island, N.Y.; Store 5-7-1/Bridgemarket in New York City; and Store 5-5-2 in Oceanside, N.Y.

With more than 500 stores in 40-plus states, Monrovia, Calif.-based Trader Joe’s is No. 27 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America


Pete and Gerry’s Organics Gets New CEO

Flocco headshot

Pete and Gerry's Organics LLC is bringing on a seasoned CPG executive as its new CEO. Tom Flocco, most recently the president and COO of Utz Brands, is taking the reins of the Monroe, N.H.-based organic, free-range and pasture-raised egg provider.

Flocco’s 35-year background in the CPG industry and other sectors also includes a stint as president and CEO of distilled spirits company Beam Suntory. In addition, he is chairman of Everglades Boats and was a partner at McKinsey & Co. in its consumer practice.

“We are thrilled to have Tom join Pete and Gerry's leadership team as CEO. Tom is an impressive executive with a wealth of experience across food and consumer businesses that will help us accelerate the company's growth and further its mission,” noted Adam Waglay, co-founder of Los Angeles-based Butterfly Equity, which holds a majority interest in Pete and Gerry’s.

Flocco, who started his career at Procter & Gamble, said that he is looking forward to guiding Pete & Gerry’s at a time increased consumer interest in such products. “Pete and Gerry’s is a pioneer in the premium egg category, with tremendous growth potential as consumers demand more nutritious, sustainable and humanely raised eggs. I look forward to working with our team members, our family farmers and our customers to continue on this incredible journey,” he observed.

Pete and Gerry’s portfolio includes Pete and Gerry’s Organic, Nellie’s Free Range and Consider Pastures eggs. The company became the first Certified Humane egg producer in the United States in 2003, and a decade later, it was the first egg producer in the world to achieve Certified B Corporation status.



Hy-Vee Focuses on Gluten-Free Awareness in October

Hy-Vee Rolls Out Seafood Supplier Code of Conduct

In honor of National Gluten-Free Awareness Month, Hy-Vee’s registered dietitians will offer a variety of programming throughout October that focuses on living a gluten-free lifestyle. Among the events available to customers are a gluten-free health fair, store tours and virtual freezer meal workshops.

Scheduled for Oct. 15 at more than 100 participating Hy-Vee stores, the free in-person health fair will offer gluten-free product and health service resources, as well as samples and coupons from event sponsors. The on-demand virtual store tour will cover the basics of gluten-free eating, shopping tips and product recommendations in both English and Spanish.

The grocer’s dietitians have also put together a four-week menu program for individuals looking to support a balanced lifestyle with one-on-one support. The plan includes simple recipes, grocery lists, balanced meals and snacks, along with weekly one-on-one visits to track progress. Two types of virtual freezer meal workshops will also take place: gluten- and dairy-free and traditional.

Complimentary Wellness Wednesday classes will also be offered each week in October, with topics including Fall Pasta: Dairy-Free Edition, Love Your Lunch, Spooky Snacks, and Allergy-Friendly Sweet Trick or Treats.

Employee-owned Hy-Vee operates more than 285 retail stores across eight Midwestern states and has a team of more than 93,000 employees. The West Des Moines, Iowa-based company is No. 30 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.


Kowalski’s Markets Showcases Private Label Offerings

Kowalski's signature teaser

The waning of the pandemic means that many in-store tasting experiences are back. Kowalski’s Markets, in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, is celebrating A Taste of Kowalski’s on Oct. 15 between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

At this in-store event, shoppers can check out the latest additions to the regional grocer’s private label line and sample an array of store-brand favorites. Kowalski’s will also share recipes using private label and other products.

The independent grocer continues to expand its private label offerings. In September, Kowalski’s introduced a new blueberry small-batch jam, organic Crunchy Munchy Mix, and additional Maple Oat and Triple Berry varieties of granola.  

Operating 11 stores across the Twin Cities, Woodbury, Minn.-based Kowalski’s was founded in 1983 by Mary Anne and the late Jim Kowalski, and is currently run by Mary Anne and her daughter, CEO Kris Kowalski Christiansen. It’s the only grocery store in the area with a department devoted to gifts.