News Briefs


How Thanksgiving Plates Reflect Dueling Demands


For consumers, balance remains the name of the game, both in everyday shopping and special occasions. As the Thanksgiving holiday descends on a country that’s largely returning to pre-pandemic ways of celebrating, The Kroger Co. shared some ways that its customers are balancing nostalgia, convenience and taste.

Kroger reports that tradition and sentiment are strong for this Thanksgiving. Cranberries, for example, remain a holiday staple with an estimated 6.2 million pounds to be sold. Pumpkin, apple and pecan pies continue to be tops in desserts, while the pull of nostalgia is reflected in popular cocktails like maple old-fashioned and cranberry mules.

[Read more: "Kroger CEO Believes Inflation Is Beginning to Slow Down"]

That said, convenience is driving interest in some Thanksgiving solutions, according to Kroger. The retailer added a new half-pumpkin, half-pecan pie this year for consumers interested in a little bit of both flavors. Kroger is also offering ready-to-heat and ready-to-eat options for the holiday repast as part of its Our Brands private label line; examples include Private Selection Petite Sweet Potatoes with Brown Sugar and Cayenne, Kroger Family Size Broccoli and Cauliflower Au Gratin, Private Selection Cheesecake Bites, Simple Truth Salad Starters and Simple Truth Organic Butternut Squash Soup.

"Thanks to our amazing team of associates, Kroger is prepared to help our shoppers make holiday memories this season with all of their favorite family recipes and Thanksgiving staples — including 55 million pounds of turkey," said Stuart Aitken, Kroger’s SVP and chief merchant and marketing officer. "As families and friends gather this Thanksgiving, we are here to help them make it a meal they will remember – whether they're recreating longstanding traditions or creating new – no matter how they choose to celebrate."

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.


Gopuff Rolls Out New Features Ahead of Holiday Season

Beats Flex All-Day Wireless Earphones Flame Blue Teaser

In time for the holidays, quick-commerce platform Gopuff has introduced four new features in response to customer feedback, with the aim of delivering greater flexibility and more options: 24-hour online ordering, scheduled delivery, gifting, and buy online, pickup in store (BOPIS).

[Read more: "Gopuff Ads Launches Off- and On-Site Ad Integration"]

Details are as follows:

• 24-hour ordering, which enables customers to place an order even when Gopuff is closed, with delivery as soon as the company reopens.
• Scheduled delivery, permitting customers to schedule orders in advance for a specific date and time. 
• Gifting, which streamlines the process for customers using Gopuff to send products to friends and family members in other locations.
• BOPIS, available at many Gopuff locations for customers on the go. 

“Since 2013, we have constantly refined and expanded what it means to deliver to our customers when and how they want,” noted Philadelphia-based Gopuff. “These four new features continue that commitment – we’re here whenever and however you need us.” 

Additionally, Gopuff has designated Nov. 25 as Blue Friday, with up to 50% off on all things blue for one day only. Hot-ticket items like Beats Flex All-Day Wireless Earphones in Flame Blue (pictured) will be 43% off on Gopuff on that day. 

From Frosted Flakes to Dawn Dish Soap and everything blue in between, the discounts on blue household products are endless, and with Gopuff, you can get them delivered straight to your door,” the company said.

Gopuff is No. 79 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.


Hugo’s Buys Palubicki’s Family Market Store

Hugo's Family Marketplace Teaser

Hugo’s Family Marketplace has purchased Palubicki’s Family Market, in Fosston, Minn.

In 1975, Jim and Nina Palubicki moved to Fosston and bought the grocery store, which they called Palubicki’s Red Owl. The couple’s four daughters and five grandchildren have worked for the business in various capacities throughout the years. In 2006, the Palubickis’ daughter Leah bought the store and entered the fuel business with Palubicki’s Express in 2012. In 2016, Palubicki’s Family Market and Spirits opened, doubling the size of the old grocery store and adding a pharmacy, a Caribou Coffee location and a liquor store.

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“We are excited to purchase this store and become members of the Fosston community,” said Kristi Magnuson Nelson, president/CEO of Grand Forks, N.D.-based Hugo’s. “Leah and her family have built an impressive company rooted in family values, which makes this new addition to our family of supermarkets so special. We are committed to maintaining the great tradition, quality and service that the Palubicki family has built.”

“I am thankful and grateful for all the wonderful staff throughout the years,” said Leah Palubicki. “We are proud of what we have accomplished in Fosston and are excited for Hugo’s and the future of Fosston.”

Nelson expects the ownership transition to be seamless for the shoppers and employees of Palubicki’s, noting that Hugo’s will retain all of Palubicki’s management team and employees who currently work at the store.

Founded by Hugo and Dorothy Magnuson in 1939, Hugo’s was operated by Curt Magnuson until his death in 2007; Nelson, his daughter, then succeeded him. With the addition of the Fosston store, the grocer will operate 12 supermarkets, seven liquor stores, two pubs, four pharmacies and nine Caribou Coffee shops throughout North Dakota and Minnesota.


Biodegradable Water Bottles Coming Soon to LA Stores

Compostable bottle teaser

A sustainable water bottle is coming to store shelves in California. Starting Dec. 1, Los Angeles family-owned grocer Erewhon will begin carrying biodegradable water bottles developed by material innovation company Cove.

The bottle has been in the works for nearly four years. Cove’s plastic-free, renewable bottle is made from PHA, a natural, non-toxic material that is said to break down by microorganisms in nature.

[Read more: "Line of Grocery Bags Certified as Biodegradable"]

“Erewhon has celebrated the amazing benefits of naturally grown foods and the importance of preserving the earth for more than 50 years and continues to lead the way in conscious consumption today,” said Vito Antoci, EVP of Erewhon Markets, which operates six locations across the greater Los Angeles area. “When we were introduced to Cove, we were incredibly excited to be part of this innovative and potentially world-changing moment for CPG – the world’s first fully biodegradable water bottle is something we are very proud to be launching at Erewhon.”

“Cove entering retail is a significant milestone for the company and it was important for us to find a mission-aligned retail partner to debut Cove. We’ve found that in Erewhon and are excited to take a big step forward in our mission to create a sustainable material world.” said Alex Totterman, founder and CEO of Cove. “Erewhon will also offer a valuable end of life option for our customers by allowing them to deposit their used Cove bottles into their bins for compostables, which will then be routed to a local compost operation for biological recycling.”

Following the launch at Erewhon stores, Cove plans to expand distribution to other retail partners in the coming months as it ramps up its manufacturing capability. The LA-based company is backed by high-profile investors such as Valor Equity, Marc Benioff, James Murdoch, Tony Robbins and Peter Rahal.


Nashville Arena Debuting Amazon’s Just Walk Out Tech, Amazon One at 2 Stores

Bridgestone Arena Store Photo Teaser

A store featuring Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology and Amazon One will debut on Friday, Nov. 25 at Bridgestone Arena – a first for a Nashville sports and entertainment venue – with another store powered by both frictionless shopping solutions slated to open at the same arena in early 2023. Bridgestone Arena is home to the NHL’s Nashville Predators.

The Twice Daily store opening this week, operated by Buffalo, N.Y.-based foodservice and retail partner Delaware North, is located near section 323, while the second Twice Daily location will be in section 114. Offerings will include an assortment of packaged beer, spiked seltzers, soda, bottled water, chips, candies and sundries. 

[Read more: "Amazon Tech Powers Checkout-Free Store at DFW Airport"]

Delaware North employees will serve as greeters and provide in-store assistance as needed. Guests buying alcohol will need to show valid ID to a store attendant for age verification.

“This new technology will offer added convenience and quicker transactions at our Twice Daily stores, allowing fans to spend more time watching their event and less time standing in line,” noted Nashville Predators and Bridgestone Arena SVP of Operations Dave Urso.

“Bridgestone Arena has been recognized as a world-class arena, and we are thrilled to continue to elevate the sports and entertainment experience for guests of the famous Nashville landmark with Just Walk Out technology and Amazon One,” said Dilip Kumar, VP, AWS Applications. “Fans watching the Predators and other live events can now enjoy a seamless experience when they grab refreshments and return to their seats in record time.”

Seattle-based Amazon is No. 2 on The PG 100,  Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.


Flashfood Appoints Global Food Marketing Leader to Board

flashfood logo teaser

The app-based marketplace Flashfood, which helps retailers cut down on food waste and move discounted food nearing its best-by date, has a new board member. The company announced the appointment of Jordan Schenck as a director, joining the four other members: Josh Domingues, Rob Gierkink, James McCann and Chuck Templeton.

[Read more: "Flashfood Hits Milestone of 50M+ Pounds of Food Diverted From Landfills"]

Co-founder and chief revenue officer of Sunwink, Schenck has led that company to become one of the fastest-growing ready-to-drink beverage makers on the market. Her experience also includes a role as head of consumer marketing for Impossible Foods, where she launched the company’s product into foodservice chains including Burger King. She was included on Forbes’ 2021 list of the “Most Innovative Chief Marketing Officers.”

"With an extensive career in the food and retail industry, Jordan brings strategic depth to our board in her ability to scale visionary consumer brands with a purpose," said Domingues, founder and CEO at Toronto-based Flashfood. "Right now, we are at a critical juncture for growth across North America and having Jordan's oversight and guidance positions us to deliver on our vision to expand our presence, multiply our food waste impact, and offer grocery savings to more shoppers."

Schenck said she is looking forward to making a difference at Flashfood as it rapidly expands its presence. "I am passionate about mission-driven companies that deliver positive impacts for people and our planet, and Flashfood is doing just that by tangibly reducing food waste and saving shoppers money," she remarked. "I am excited to be a part of Flashfood's growth journey as they expand and accelerate their impact."

Flashfood marketplaces are available in more than 1,450 grocery locations in the U.S. and Canada.