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News Briefs

11/21/2022

Publix Gains High Marks for Recycling Efforts

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While Publix Q1 Sales Increased, Net Earnings Decreased 59%

Publix Super Markets has been recognized by the Florida Recycling Partnership Foundation as the best overall company on its list of 2022 Recycling Champions. Award winners are chosen from companies, organizations, government entities or individuals that display a noteworthy impact on the recycling industry in the Sunshine State.

The grocer is committed to recycling education, including a plastic bag recycling campaign to educate customers, and has an internal Green Routine program that encourages associates to make sustainable choices. Publix recycled more than 615 million pounds of cardboard and more than 21 million pounds of soft plastics in 2021.

[Read more: "Publix Wraps Up Choppy Q3"]

“Publix remains committed to being responsible citizens in our communities, which includes caring for the environment,” said Publix Director of Environmental and Sustainability Programs Michael Hewett. “We continuously examine processes in our stores, warehouses and offices, looking for additional ways to recycle.”

Employee-owned and -operated Publix has close to 1,300 supermarkets in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia. Publix is No. 12 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.

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11/18/2022

New Fareway Open for Business in Central Iowa

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Ogden Fareway

Fareway Stores is filling a grocery gap in Ogden, Iowa. The regional retailer has opened a new location in that central Iowa town, which has been without a grocery store for more than three years after a previous market was destroyed in a fire.

The latest Fareway at 302 West Walnut spans 8,700 square feet and offers an assortment of pantry and everyday essentials in addition to a full-service meat counter and fresh produce. In keeping with growing demand for new ways of shopping, the store offers self-serve checkout areas and online ordering with curbside pickup.

“We are excited to open this new downtown Ogden store and want to thank local officials and the State of Iowa who helped make this project possible,” said Fareway CEO Reynolds W. Cramer. “Communities depend on a local grocer to offer high quality products and unmatched service and help keep Iowa communities vibrant. We look forward to serving area residents and serving as their go-to neighborhood grocery store.”

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on Nov. 15, an event that drew many local leaders and residents. “We are truly thankful that Fareway chose Ogden for the site of a new store – it is great to have a full-service grocery store back in town,” declared Mayor Mark Trueblood.  “We appreciate the L.A. Good Trust Board, Ogden Municipal Utilities, Ogden Telephone Co., and our local and state economic development groups for supporting this project.”

Other business leaders in Ogden also welcomed the move. “It’s going to be wonderful. We always go to Boone to get all our meat and all our supplies. Now it will be great just to walk down or drive down to the Fareway in Ogden,” said Laura Grieser, owner of the Lucky Pig Pub and Grill, to Des Moines news station KCCI-TV.

Fareway has more than 130 stores located in Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska and South Dakota. The Boone, Iowa-based company is No. 77 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.

11/18/2022

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

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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.

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11/17/2022

Kroger Awards $300K in Scholarships to Associates’ Children

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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.

11/17/2022

Robomart Is Now Conjure

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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.

11/16/2022

New CEO Joins Kodiak Cakes

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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.”