News Briefs


Weis Markets Promotes Maria Rizzo to VP of Advertising and Marketing

Weis Markets Maria Rizzo

Weis Markets has promoted Maria Rizzo to the role of VP of advertising and marketing. Rizzo succeeds Ron Bonacci, who’s retiring at the end of the year.

In her new role, Rizzo will oversee management of Weis’ advertising, marketing and public/community relations activities. Among her key responsibilities are customer relationship management, marketing, and print, digital and electronic advertising.

Rizzo, who joined the company in 2006, worked as category manager, senior manager of private brands and specialty foods before taking on her most recent role, that of director of marketing, in 2015.

Sunbury, Pa.-based Weis Markets operates 197 stores in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Virginia and West Virginia. The company is No. 61 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. PG also named it as one of the Top 10 Regional Operators to Watch in 2022.


Instacart Unveils Suite of Shopper Improvements

Instacart Support Teaser

In an effort to improve and simplify the shopper experience, Instacart is introducing new features on its platform, including a more organized shopping experience and easier returns and reimbursements.

On the returns front, if a customer is not available to accept their alcohol or prescription delivery, the shopper can now manage the entire return directly within the Instacart app instead of needing to contact the company’s care team. The app will then guide the shopper back to the store to make the return, upon which the shopper will automatically receive a return payment.

[Read more: "Instacart Is Ready for the ‘Groceryssance’"]

For shoppers that need to use a personal payment card, Instacart is also making it easier for them to be reimbursed. Shoppers will receive an automatic push notification to begin the process of being reimbursed, and all previously uploaded receipts will be automatically attached.

Finally, two new app updates will help shoppers stay organized while fulfilling orders. The new move item feature will help ensure customers receive all of the items in their order by alerting shoppers to mistakes made while checking out, especially in multi-order batches. New shopping list filters will allow shoppers to easily view an individual customer’s shopping list at a glance to ensure they’ve gotten all of the right items for each customer.

“We’re introducing these new product updates to provide even more support to shoppers while they shop on the Instacart platform,” said John Adams, VP of shopper and fulfillment product at Instacart. “We’re dedicated to developing important updates that simplify the shopping experience and make earning on our platform as easy as possible."


Allegiance Retail Services Mourns Passing of CEO

Daniel Katz.Allegiance

Daniel Katz, 56, chairman and CEO of the Iselin, N.J.-based cooperative Allegiance Retail Services, LLC has died following a battle with cancer. Katz, who held the dual roles since 2019, was a longtime grocer and co-owner of Allegiance member PSK Operating, LLC. He, his brother, Noah, and father built a 13-store grocery operation in the New York area under the Foodtown, Freshtown and Pathmark banners and he led the company’s transition in 2021 to an employee-owned organization.

“This is a profound loss," said John T. Derderian, president and COO of Allegiance Retail Services. "The strength of Dan’s leadership, wisdom and insight can be seen in the confidence with which our co-op members operate. Dan believed in family – his own, his PSK family and that of our cooperative members. He continually looked for ways to strengthen bonds and to serve the best interests of the co-op.”

Katz’s obituary read: “He cared deeply about the well-being of everyone at the PSK company. He formulatedbonus programs for the associates, safety protocols during the pandemic that led to procedures thatwere used across the country, payments for people’s health care. He also crafted retirement plansfor associates, personal loan programs, health care programs to better people, and so much more.Daniel was passionate about negotiating deals, striving to make every business deal a win-win forboth parties.”

Katz is survived by his wife, Laura, four children, parents and brother, among other family members. The family is planning to create a foundation in his honor and, in the meantime, is accepting contributions in his memory at on the Allegiance Retail Services website.

Following a special board meeting, Allegiance announced that Katz will be succeeded by Lou Scaduto, Jr., the president of Food Circus Supermarkets. Scaduto shared his grief at Katz’s passing and lauded his accomplishments. “Dan’s contribution to Allegiance as both an operating member and CEO and chairman, can be characterized in one word – outstanding,” he remarked. “His commitment to, and vision for the cooperative was inspiring.”


Fresh Thyme Features Tiesta Tea Kiosk at All Stores

Tiesta Tea Tea-Osk Fresh Thyme Market Teaser

Fresh Thyme Market has rolled out a kiosk highlighting the premium loose teas of Tiesta Tea in all 71 of the food retailer’s stores across 10 states. Found in the bulk foods section, the Tea-Osk offers a selection of bulk loose-leaf teas that can be purchased by the ounce, as well as a wide selection of tea infusers, loose-leaf teas in reusable tea canisters, and matcha green tea sourced directly from Japan.

“Fresh Thyme Market is the Midwest’s grocery leader in natural product assortment,” said Patrick Tannous, president and co-founder of Chicago-based Tiesta. “With the recent decline of retail stores solely focused on premium tea, we are excited to offer the Fresh Thyme shopper direct access to a premium tea experience in their own local grocery store, and to offer a great value in comparison to stand-alone tea stores.” 

“Tea is the second most consumed beverage in the world next to water and can be found in almost 80% of all U.S. households,” noted Robert Abdee, category manager at Downers Grove, Ill.-based Fresh Thyme, which is No. 91 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. “The cold-weather months in the Midwest make tea a great product to warm our guests. Our partnership with Tiesta Tea shows our commitment to both premium tea and strong partnerships with locally owned Midwest companies.” 


FARE, Sifter Team on Grocery Shopping Tech for Food Allergy Community

FARE Sifter Teaser

FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education), a nonprofit engaged in food allergy advocacy and the largest private funder of food allergy research, and Sifter SP Inc., a provider of food and nutrition digital technology, have joined forces to help make grocery shopping easier and less time-consuming for the more than 85 million Americans with food allergies and intolerances.

Using Sifter’s science-based shopping platform, food-allergic individuals and families can make better food decisions and save hours of time when grocery shopping. The partnership also recognizes that many people with food allergies are also living with other diet-related health conditions. Sifter’s platform, available on the FARE homepage, will enable a consumer with complex diet needs — for instance, a dairy intolerance, a nut allergy and diabetes — to identify a wider variety of appropriate foods when shopping online or in-store.

[Read more: "Sifter Snags $5M in Funding"]

Created by a team of Sifter nutrition experts and software developers, the platform is powered by algorithms that support dietary standards of practice.

“Grocery shopping for members of the food allergy community has always been challenging due to the scrutiny necessary in reading ingredient labels,” said Sung Poblete, CEO of McLean, Va.-based FARE. “With the technology behind Sifter’s new platform, the chore of food shopping won’t be so difficult.”

“FARE is an ideal partner for Sifter,” asserted Judy Seybold, chief nutrition officer at Chicago-based Sifter. “Their commitment to helping people with food allergies perfectly aligns with Sifter’s mission of making healthy eating easy for everyone. The FARE-Sifter partnership will help millions of people shop with ease and confidence for allergen-free foods.” 


Baldor Expands DC-Area Ops With New Maryland Warehouse

Baldor Hargrove Industrial Campus Teaser

Baldor Specialty Foods, one of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic’s largest produce and specialty foods distributors, has signed a lease for a new facility in Lanham, Md., to significantly expand and enhance its Washington, D.C.-area operations.

Located in the Hargrove Industrial Campus on 4450 Hargrove Drive, the 100,000-square-foot facility features 35 dock doors that will enable Baldor to essentially double its number of routes over the next few years and provide quicker, earlier deliveries to restaurant and foodservice customers. It will also allow the company to add more area farms and vendors to its roster of fresh, local sources.

[Read more: "What Are the Top Specialty Food Trends for 2023?"]

“At Baldor, we see our customers’ success as our success, and delivering for them means providing the best possible ingredients and the best possible service every single day,” said Mike Muzyk, president of Bronx, N.Y.-based Baldor. “As our customer base has grown in D.C., Maryland and Virginia, we recognized the need for more space, and in particular, a location that allows us to get more trucks out, and out faster. This expansion reflects Baldor’s commitment to our customers in this region.” 

“The Lanham property also represents a continued investment in the economy of the area,” added Krenar Jusufi, Baldor’s VP of engineering, a HelloFresh veteran who helped identify the new facility, which he described as ideal “not only for the size of the property, but also proximity to major highways, which will allow us to deliver efficiently to all surrounding areas, as well as its local community to draw from for employment opportunities.”  

Baldor is looking to hire upwards of 100 employees to work at the site, including drivers and warehouse workers. The company manages major restaurant, foodservice, retail and corporate accounts, offering 6,000-plus fresh produce and specialty food items from Portland, Maine, to Richmond, Va.