Fittingly enough during National Frozen Food Month, the American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI) announced that it has named Mary Emma Young as its VP of communications.
Young is tasked with leading AFFI’s integrated communications strategy, overseeing media relations, social media, executive communications, crisis management and online and internal communications. She takes over the role from Adrienne Seiling, who was elevated to SVP of industry affairs and member services at AFFI.
The new communications leader most recently worked for the Pet Food Institute, where she was senior director of communications and strategic planning. Young also served as director of communications and marketing at CropLife America and was a senior account executive at the TheWadeGroup, Inc.
“I am pleased to welcome Mary Emma to the AFFI team,” said Alison Bodor, president and CEO of the Arlington, Va.-based AFFI. “Sharing frozen food’s compelling story with policymakers, influencers, journalists and the entire frozen food chain is an essential part of our mission and in her new role Mary Emma will work with AFFI and its members to develop and execute an impactful communications strategy that informs and educates those key audiences about the benefits of frozen food.”
Young said she is looking forward to working in the industry at a time of reinvigoration across many frozen food categories. “In the midst of these challenging times, the frozen food industry’s role in feeding millions of consumers in the U.S. and around the world has never been more important and I look forward to being part of this unique industry sector and advancing the AFFI mission,” she remarked.
Gelson’s Markets will host a virtual tasting with Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, an iconic Napa Valley wine producers, on March 24 at 6 p.m. Participants in the interactive live experience will be tasting two bottles: Stag Leap Wine Cellars Karia Chardonnay and Artemis Cabernet Sauvignon, paired with Gelson’s Beef Filet and Creamy Horseradish Canapes; Shrimp and Pesto Canapes; Artichoke and Boursin Bites served with Brie, Gouda, and Roquefort cheeses; fresh grapes; and berries.
Featured wines will be specially priced to buy in-store on March 23 and March 24, the Chardonnay for $26.99 and the Cabernet Sauvignon in the $59.99.
Attendees can RVSP and pre-pay to attend the virtual tasting online. The last day to RSVP is March 20.
Encino, Calif.-basedGelson’s operates 27 full-service specialty grocery stores in Southern California. Each Gelson’s features the full amenities of a traditional supermarket, with the local flavor of a neighborhood market.
New Fresh Food Store Arrives in Chicago Food Desert
Some notable growth is sprouting in a food desert on Chicago’s South Side. This week marked the grand opening of the Go Green Community Fresh Market in the Englewood neighborhood.
The two-level store at 1207 W. 63rd Street includes a variety of fresh foods and prepared meals for individuals and families in the area who have long faced food insecurity. Locally-made and produced products are available as well, and the store will offer a membership plan with benefits for residents and vendors.
Go-Green Community Fresh Market is the result of a joint effort between various community groups, spearheaded by the Inner-City Muslim Action Network as part of its flagship Corner Store Campaign. This store – said to be more than 25 years in the making – is part of a broader revitalization of that particular stretch of 63rd Street through an initiative known as Go Green on Racine.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot was on hand for the ribbon cutting. “While I am ecstatic to be here, while we should continue to be celebrating, I think it’s important for us to reflect on what it is that we’re celebrating,” said Lightfoot. “How much blood, sweat and tears it took to get to this moment, and what we can do to commit ourselves so that it doesn’t happen again.”
According to Chicago media reports, the store was $5 million project funded by an array of nonprofit organizations, foundations and state agencies. The City of Chicago invested more than $1.5 million in the effort.
Sam’s Club has made Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants available as a payment option within Scan & Go shopping on its mobile app. Scan & Go allows members to bypass the traditional checkout line inside a club. Sam’s Club is the first retailer to support digital EBT payment for physical in-club transactions.
Sam’s Club coordinated with many teams internally to ensure a simple, accessible and seamless solution. The retailer worked with its checkout service that takes care of Sam’s Club’s interactions with the payment processors that manage each state’s EBT SNAP program. It also worked with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service throughout the project to review the solution and experience.
EBT via Scan & Go is available at participating locations.
Sam’s Club highlighted the Scan & Go service in its ad debut during the Big Game of the year.Starring actor, comedian and entrepreneur Kevin Hart, the "Like a VIP" spot followed Hart shopping like a VIP with Scan & Go, unaware that the feature is available to everyone.
Sam’s Club, a division of Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart Inc., operates nearly 600 clubs in the United States and Puerto Rico. Walmart operates about 10,500 stores under 48 banners in 24 countries, and e-commerce websites. Walmart U.S. is No. 1 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America, while Sam’s Club ranks ninth.
As app-based platforms continue to flood the market, that sector’s leaders have come together to create a trade group called Flex. The new industry association was founded by several tech companies that have made inroads in the digital food and grocery channel, including DoorDash, Gopuff, Grubhub, Instacart, Shipt and Uber, in addition to the ride-share app HopSkipDrive.
According to the founding members, the rapid acceleration of the market led to the need for such a trade group. More than 52 million workers are now part of the app-based platform business.
"Millions of businesses, communities, and workers count on app-based platforms every day. Flex will give a voice to an industry driving the new American economy forward," said Kristin Sharp, the new group’s CEO. "With innovative, app-based technology at our fingertips, we have an incredible opportunity to continue to solve problems. Whether it's getting around town, shuttling kids to school, or just connecting people with dinner or the groceries they need, our member companies help seamlessly fill gaps in our day-to-day lives. That's why it's so important for Flex to advocate for the everyday heroes driving this economic evolution."
Among other functions, the association will advocate for solutions on a range of issues that impact workers, consumers, businesses and other stakeholders within the app-based economy. One if its first projects is the launch of an educational campaign with the theme"Independence Works."
In addition to Sharp, Flex’s other leaders include board chair Steve Benjamin, the former mayor of Columbia, S.C., and board members representing each founding member company. The organization will be based in Washington, D.C.
On March 4, Food City officials broke ground on a new store at 1388 Tesla Boulevard, in Alcoa, Tenn. The more than 54,000-square-foot supermarket, which will serve as a replacement for the existing location, is expected to open in early fall.
The location includes an in-store bakery/deli, complete with a hot food bar, large 40-plus café seating area, fresh sushi, fireplace, wok/Asian hot food bar, hickory smoker, pizza oven, fresh food bar, and full-service catering and event planning. Full-service meat and seafood departments offer pre-marinated and seasoned oven-ready products, with in-house meat cutters available to cut steaks and fresh meat by hand. The Food City Floral Boutique will be staffed with a designer seven days a week, offering an assortment of fresh-cut floral arrangements, bouquets, gift items and more. For added convenience, the location includes a Starbucks café, a Food City Pharmacy, a Food City Gas n’ Go with a large five-pump station, and GoCart curbside pickup and home delivery. Energy-saving concepts at the store range from energy-efficient glass cooler doors, parking lot lights and refrigeration systems to motion sensors and 100% LED lighting, as well as an open-rafter ceiling design.
Abingdon, Va.-based K-VA-T Food Stores, Food City’s parent company, operates 138 retail outlets throughout southeast Kentucky, southwest Virginia, east Tennessee, north Georgia and Alabama. K-VA-T is No. 70 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.