Fast-growing brand Kodiak Cakes is onboarding a new CEO. Valerie Oswalt has been tapped for the leadership position and will succeed co-founder and most recent CEO Joel Clark, and co-founder and president Cameron Smith.
As the founders move to roles on the company’s board of directors, Oswalt will step up to build on recent business momentum. The brand, backed by investment firm L Catterton, reported more than 30% topline growth over the past year and gained attention when actor/producer Zac Efron joined the Park City Utah-based company as a board member and chief brand officer.
Oswalt brings extensive experience to her new role at Kodiak. Most recently, she served as president of the snacks division at Campbell Soup Co. and, before that, as a Campbell EVP. In addition, she was CEO of privately-held Century Snacks and worked in several executive positions at Mondelez International and Kraft Foods.
“Valerie’s people-first leadership style and deep industry experience uniquely position her to lead Kodiak into its next phase of growth,” said Clark. “I’m thrilled to pass the baton to someone our team unanimously felt was the right person for the job."
Added Smith: “Building the Kodiak brand alongside Joel for over a decade has been such a rewarding experience. We have been fortunate to work alongside some great people that have helped build the culture, which has made Kodiak a very special place. We chose Valerie for this role because her approach to leadership mirrors those values that are so important to the culture at Kodiak.”
Southeastern Grocers to Hand Out Thanksgiving Meal Items
Thousands of people will be able to celebrate a bigger Thanksgiving dinner with the help of Southeastern Grocers. The retailer and its SEG Gives Foundation are donating 7,000 turkeys and Thanksgiving meal essentials to local food banks.
Southeastern Grocers, in tandem with the Feeding America network of food banks, is giving out the turkeys and side dishes at 13 food distribution events across its regional footprint. Sites include the company’s hometown of Jacksonville, Fla., as well as parts of the Florida Panhandle, central Florida, south and southwest Florida, the New Orleans area and Birmingham, Ala. In addition to working with Feeding America food banks, Southeastern Grocers is engaging military nonprofit partner the USO to assist with donations.
“We know holiday festivities are centered around the family table, and we want to give back to our communities through our turkey donations and drive-through food pantry events. This is the season of giving, and we couldn’t be more grateful to have the opportunity to help our neighbors in need celebrate Thanksgiving with the people they love, while creating cherished memories during the holiday,” remarked Raymond Rhee, chief people officer.
While the retail chain helps community residents in need, Southeastern Grocers is also helping its employees celebrate the holiday with their loved ones. All of its Fresco y Más, Harveys Supermarket and Winn-Dixie stores will be closed Thanksgiving Day.
Jacksonville, Fla.-based Southeastern Grocers is one of the largest conventional supermarket companies in the United States, with grocery stores, liquor stores and in-store pharmacies serving communities throughout Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi. Its banners include Fresco y Más, Harveys Supermarket and Winn-Dixie grocery stores. The company is No. 39 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer's 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.
Study Uncovers Gaps Between Shoppers’ Aspirations and Actual Purchases
In its new “Aspirational Compass” study examining shopper behavior, Corvallis, Ore.-based behavioral research firm InsightsNow found significant differences between what consumers desire (their aspirations) and what they actually buy when shopping in stores.
Among the key findings of the study:
• One of the largest gaps between shopper aspirations and shopper realities was in the area of sustainability, with 42% of shoppers aspiring to shop for sustainably sourced products, but only 5% able to actually do this.
• 68% of shoppers aspire to shop in accordance with price value, but just 38% are able to shop that way in reality.
• Meanwhile, 30% of shoppers are seeking high-protein foods to meet their nutritional goals, with only 14% of this group not achieving that aspiration.
The study used a reaction-based mobile research approach in which study participants received a list of key aspirational characteristics about the foods they would buy, and then were asked about what they actually do in real-life shopping experiences.
The “Aspirational Compass” study was conducted in August 2022 among 2,891 U.S.-based primary shoppers, with the aim of helping brands identify current and future consumer goals, as well as to understand where consumers are in their buying journeys and where they’ll be in the future.
Known for its inventive gourmet flavors, Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream has a new business leader. Stacy Peterson is taking on the role of CEO following the departure of John Lowe, who served as CEO for 13 years.
Peterson joins Jeni’s from her most recent position as chief revenue officer at Wingstop. As Wingstop's CRO and, earlier, as chief experience office and chief digital and technology officer, she helped grow the restaurant chain from 550 to 1,900 locations. During her career, she also held leadership jobs at Service King, FedEx Office and CBRE.
Lowe, who will remain on the company’s board of directors, said that Peterson is a good fit for the Columbus, Ohio-based company founded in 2022 by James Beard-winning ice cream maker Jeni Britton. “The company will benefit from her thoughtful approach and deep expertise in fast growth brands. She loves helping people succeed and I’m excited to see her coach and mentor the 1,800 members of Team Jeni’s. I know her leadership will help ensure we are a force for good for years to come. And I’m excited that Stacy, her husband and boys will join our Columbus community.”
“I’m excited to join Team Jeni’s and help carry on their commitment to making better ice creams and bringing people together,” said Peterson, who will take the reins in December. "What Jeni created, with quality as the company’s North Star and a tremendous focus on customer experience and a team commitment to be a Force for Good, will continue to be what differentiates this company from our competition.”
Jeni’s ice cream is available at grocery stores around the U.S. The company also operates nearly 70 scoop shops and an e-commerce business at jenis.com.
Capital One, Uber Offer Free Uber One Membership Along With Cashback
Thanks to a new partnership between Uber and Capital One, Savor and SavorOnecardholders can now get an unlimited 10% cashback on Uber and Uber Eats, plus a complimentary Uber One membership – valued at up to $239 – through Nov. 14, 2024. The offer is also available for SavorOne Student and Quicksilver Student cardholders.
To access the free Uber One membership, the cardholders can enroll for an Uber One monthly membership in the Uber or Uber Eats app, or on the dedicated websites. Once the cardholders create an account and set their eligible Capital One card as form of payment for their Uber One membership, they will receive a monthly statement credit, through the end of the offer.
According to the companies, it’s easy for Savor, SavorOne, SavorOne Student and Quicksilver Student cardholders to earn unlimited rewards on Uber purchases, without having to deal with confusing caps or restrictions. Also, since SavorOne, SavorOne Student and Quicksilver Student are no-fee cards, those cardholders won’t have to pay an annual fee to unlock benefits.
As part of this partnership, Quicksilver, Quicksilver Student and Quicksilver Secured cardholders will also enjoy up to six months of an Uber One monthly membership statement credit, valued at $9.99, through Nov. 14, 2024.
Uber One membership provides:
• Unlimited $0 delivery fee on eligible food, groceries and other Uber Eats orders. Customers must place a $15 minimum order at participating restaurants to receive the $0 delivery fee and a $30 minimum on other participating stores for the $0 delivery fee.
• Up to 10% off eligible orders with Uber Eats.
• Up to 5% off eligible rides with Uber. This discount will not apply to shared rides or rides booked 30 minutes or more in advance.
• Member-only perks and promotions.
What Does Retail Foot Traffic Say About Holiday Spending?
Following a tough September, retail foot traffic made a rebound in October, signaling a very merry start to the 2022 holiday season. According to new data from Placer.ai, each retail category saw increased foot traffic last month when compared to the same pre-pandemic time period in 2019.
For the food retail segment, visits were up 4.3% in October year over three year from 2019. Discount and dollar stores saw foot traffic increase from 14.5% in September to 19.9% in October, while superstore foot traffic rose from 0.8% to 4.6% in the same period.
While many retail segments saw visits drop when compared to year-over-year foot traffic numbers, Placer.ai’s Ethan Chernofsky wrote that pent-up demand from 2020 and early 2021 led to major retail visit surges in 2021. Now, he wrote, foot traffic in many segments is simply normalizing.
Additionally, month-over-month increases for this year are not as sharp as those seen last year, but the customer-driven extension of the holiday season beyond November despite inflation and tighter budgets is a positive sign for the coming season, Chernofsky asserted.
“[T]his year, the holiday season is both starting early and expected to continue all the way through, which should give retailers even more time than last year to serve consumers looking to make the most of this year’s holidays,” wrote Chernofsky. “If current trends continue, then, 2022’s extended holiday shopping season may well outperform 2021’s.”