News Briefs


Hannaford Reusable-Bag Campaign Surpasses $2M in Community Donations

Hannaford Helps Hunger Reusable Bag Teaser

One of Hannaford Supermarkets’ signature charitable campaigns, the Hannaford Helps Reusable Bag Program, has revealed more than $2 million in total donations to community organizations across its market area of New England and New York state.

The program invites shoppers to purchase special Fight HungerandCommunity reusable shopping bags at checkout. For each bag sold, Hannaford donates $1 to a local hunger relief agency or nonprofit organization.

[Read more: "Hannaford Supermarkets Unveils Easy Meal Options in New York"]

Since the program began in 2014, more than 2.7 million reusable bags benefiting 5,600-plus nonprofits have been sold at Hannaford, replacing the need for more than 82 million single-use plastic bags. Further, almost 9.4 million meals have been provided through the purchase of the bags.

The Hannaford Helps Reusable Bag Program has two facets: the Fight Hunger bag (pictured), which supports hunger relief organizations in the five states where Hannaford operates; and the Communitybag, which aids area nonprofits dedicated to a variety of causes, among them health and wellness, and child and family development. The program was developed in collaboration with PS It Matters, a Portsmouth, N.H.-based organization that helps to administer the initiative.

The Hannaford Helps Reusable Bag Program is also an extension of Hannaford’s commitment to sustainability. In the mid-1980s, the company became the first grocer in the nation to offer reusable bags to its customers.

Scarborough, Maine-based Hannaford operates over 180 stores in five Northeast states, employing nearly 30,000 associates. Parent company Ahold Delhaize USA, a division of Zaandam, Netherlands-based Ahold Delhaize, is No. 10 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.


Kroger Awards $300K in Scholarships to Associates’ Children

College student

Kroger is paying it forward literally when it comes to their employees. The Kroger Co. Foundation announced the winners of this year’s scholarship program benefiting the children of its associates.

The retailer awarded $300,000 to 120 students, who will receive $2,500 toward any accredited two- or four-year college, university or vocational program. The scholarships were based on criteria including volunteer work, civic service, academic performance, work experience and extra-curricular activities. According to Kroger, this year’s class of Kroger Scholars will pursue their education at more than 80 institutions around the U.S.

[Read more: "Grocery Initiatives Should Always Focus on Helping People"]

"We are proud to recognize this year's Kroger Scholars for their commitment to academic excellence and service to their schools and communities," said Patty Leesemann, head of philanthropy at Kroger. "We hope these funds make it a little easier for our associates and their children as they transition studies beyond high school, ultimately building a brighter future for us all."

Recipient Averie Rutter, who plans to earn a degree in animal science, expressed gratitude for the recognition. "I feel as though I have grown up at Kroger," Rutter said. "My parents have worked there for the last 30 years. This will help me not only further my education, but it will also help me pursue my passion."

Since its inception in 2008, the Kroger Scholars program has doled out more than $4.5 million in scholarship funds. Biological, adopted and stepchildren of Kroger associates with more than two years of service and a work schedule of at least 1,000 hours a year are eligible. In addition to the program for workers’ children, Kroger offers a tuition reimbursement program for both part-time and full-time associates.

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.


Robomart Is Now Conjure

Conjure Logo Robomart Teaser

Store-hailing service Robomart has changed its name to Conjure. According to the rebranded company, the word, which means “to summon as if by magic,” better reflects its patented store-hailing experience: “delivery so fast, it’s like magic.” The service is set to go live on Jan. 15, 2023, in Hollywood, Calif.

“We have had amazing success as Robomart, but felt the name didn’t clearly articulate the emotional connection our store-hailing service elicits with consumers,” explained Ali Ahmed, CEO and co-founder of Los Angeles-based Conjure. “Feedback we regularly heard from consumers was how unbelievably fast our mobile shops would show up, with many noting it was like magic. The name Conjure better embodies our revolutionary store-hailing experience as we embark on the next chapter of our business.” 

[Read more: "Mobile Smart Stores Launch With Retailers"]

Along with the name change, Conjure is focusing on ice cream as its anchor category, and its new mobile shop will feature products from Englewood Cliffs, N.J.-based partner Unilever, maker of such well-known ice cream brands as Ben & Jerry’s, Talenti and Magnum. With 75% of Americans eating ice cream more than once a week, the company described this move as “a tremendous opportunity to meet consumer demand.” Additionally, shoppers don’t have to worry about melting treats, since Conjure can deliver a store filled with frozen ice cream products directly to consumers in as little as two minutes.

Consumers will be able to hail a mobile shop to their location using Conjure’s proprietary app. When the mobile shop arrives, the user swipes across the app to open its side door. Conjure’s patented checkout-free system allows shoppers to choose their products and then walk away, without physically checking out and paying. Products are tracked and the credit card on file is charged, and a receipt is sent shortly afterwards.


New CEO Joins Kodiak Cakes

Kodiak CEO

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.

[Read more: "The Scoop on Jeni’s New CEO"]

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

SEG Thanksgiving drive

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.

[Read more: "Winn-Dixie Offers $30 ‘Thanks-Winning’ Meals"]

“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

InsightsNow Teaser

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.