Independent cooperatively owned grocery wholesaler Associated Food Stores is installing digital displays from Mesmerize, an out-of-home media company specializing in patient education at the point of care, in 40 stores owned and operated by the co-op under the Macey’s, Lin’s and Fresh Market banners.
Prominently placed in the waiting and pickup/drop-off areas of each store’s pharmacy, Mesmerize’s digital displays will feature editorial and educational content, including information on general health and wellness, symptoms, disease states, and treatment options. Associated Food Stores will have access to Mesmerize’s full-service digital signage studio and collaborate with the company on custom messaging to educate customers about clinical services available at the stores’ pharmacies.
“Associated Food Stores is committed to supporting the communities we serve through more than groceries,” noted Denise Kunkel, Rx clinical programs manager at Salt Lake City-based Associated Food Stores. “We look forward to working with Mesmerize to connect our customers with valuable health-and-wellness education and access to resources.”
Added Ian Stone, SVP of business development at New York-based Mesmerize: “As a progressive pharmacy retailer, Associated Food Stores is ahead of the curve with their clinical services and programs that they offer to their pharmacy customers. We look forward to enhancing their stores with targeted custom content and patient education about services such as test and treat and vaccines to enhance the patient experience and drive sales.”
Healthy snack maker Crispy Green, Inc. is welcoming a new COO. The Fairfield, N.J.-based freeze-dried fruit company announced that Eric Shellenback is taking on the COO role in which he will manage the day-to-day business and report to founder and CEO Angela Liu.
He brings with him more than 25 years of experience in the CPG industry, including stints at The Quaker Oats Co., Nestlé, Preferred Meals and Häagen-Dazs retail, where he was divisional president. He also co-owned a small bakery company, purchasing it in 2010, growing it and selling it to a PE group in 2020.
“Eric’s wealth of knowledge in the food business, particularly in sales and marketing, his leadership skills, and his experience in growing a company of similar size to Crispy Green, is exactly what we need at this time. We couldn’t have found a more ideal candidate for the position of COO for Crispy Green,” Liu remarked.
Shellenback, who earned an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, said he is looking forward to working in the better-for-you space. “During my career I have had the privilege of working with top consumer goods companies and brands, but Crispy Green has given me the opportunity to work with natural, good for you products that I truly feel passionate about. Angela has built a successful business with a great company culture. I’m honored that Angela has the trust in me to hand me the COO position and to help her take the company to the next level," he declared.
Partnership Bolsters Privacy-Compliant Data for Alcohol Ads
New advertising technology is emerging to help CPG brands gain more insights on their beer, wine and spirits customers. Ad tech company AdAdaptedis teaming up with global media measurement and analytics company Comscore to provide privacy-compliant mobile audience behavior data.
Compliance is important in the category, given legal drinking age (LDA) parameters for alcohol advertising. The Distilled Spirit Council sets the industry standards for adult beverage advertisers, requiring that at least 71.6% of an advertiser’s audience to be reasonably expected to be of legal age to purchase alcohol.
The new capability allows AdAdapted to discover and analyze more shopper data that drives purchase intent and provides LDA scoring of its ad network, according to the company. “At AdAdapted, we are always continuing to invest in capabilities to better serve our growing customer base,” said Molly McFarland, co-founder and CRO, AdAdapted. “Our partnership with Comscore makes it easier than ever for alcohol advertisers to trust and rely on our platform as a partner of choice, effectively getting their brands onto lists and into carts.”
Added Tania Yuki, chief marketing officer at Comscore: “As marketers in the alcohol industry continue to lean in towards dependable, cookie-free solutions, it is more important than ever to find innovative ways to grow. We are excited to partner with AdAdapted in verifying its audiences to further ensure that marketers can spend with confidence.”
To accommodate the rising importance of prepared foods at supermarkets and other food retailers, eGrowcery, developer of a leading white-label e-commerce platform, has expanded its technology to provide the specific capabilities necessary for digital foodservice operations. These include features that help shoppers and retailers manage order lead time requirements, order sizing, upselling, optional “made to order” preferences and other fulfillment efficiencies. Additionally, retailers can use the platform just for prepared foods or as a fully integrated extension of the retailer’s grocery e-commerce ecosystem.
“Supermarket operators are responding to consumer demand for convenience and quality by escalating their meal solution offerings, and we have purpose-built our platform to meet the new market requirements,” noted Patrick Hughes, CEO of Bloomfield Hills, Mich.-based eGrowcery. “Our team worked with current retail customers and other industry experts to ensure that shoppers can easily and effectively order prepared foods all within a singular, integrated shopper login.”
La Bonita Markets, a seven-store chain in Las Vegas, is among the food retailers highlighting its selection of prepared foods and superior service. The independent grocer is now offering Hispanic specialties such as tacos, burritos and menudo online using the eGrowcery prepared foods module to integrate these offerings into the overall digital experience.
“The use of online ordering for our kitchen items, which is a bit different from groceries because of the timing, has been really well received,” said Armando Martinez, co-owner of La Bonita. “The volume for prepared foods is still smaller than the grocery business, but it’s growing at a faster rate and we expect that to continue.” Martinez added that the eGrowcery system is key to that future growth.
Brighter Bites, a national nonprofit organization delivering fresh fruits and vegetables directly to families, has expanded further within the Washington, D.C., area.
Present in Maryland’s Prince George’s County since 2017, the program is now expanding its reach to hundreds of families in the D.C. Public Schools District. This year, the organization is working with 16 schools in Prince George’s County and two in the District, including Browne Education Campus and Wheatley Education Campus, both located in Washington, D.C.’s underserved Ward 5.
Brighter Bites’ expansion in the region is made possible through such key partners as 4P Foods, a weekly grocery delivery service covering communities in Washington, D.C.; Virginia; and Maryland.
“We believe that fresh, healthy, delicious food should be the norm, not the exception – a right, not a privilege,” said Tom McDougall, founder and CEO of 4P Foods. “Working together with Brighter Bites allows us to build towards that mission with every single delivery. This program not only provides wonderful food to families that might not otherwise have access to it, but it is showing what’s possible when we rethink what the future food system must look like. It is an opportunity to work with a large network of community leaders, families, farmers, educators, children and others to build towards a better food system, one that is regional, regenerative, equitable and delicious. We’re honored to be a part of it.”
Since its launch in 2012, Brighter Bites has distributed more than 50 million pounds of produce and hundreds of thousands of nutrition education materials to 500,000-plus individuals through schools, after-school programs and summer camps in the following areas: Houston; Austin; Dallas; New York; Washington, D.C.; southwest Florida; Salinas, Calif.; Los Angeles; and Bakersfield, Calif.
A leader of Publix’s hometown area is stepping down. The Florida-based grocer announced that Sam Pero (pictured), VP of its Lakeland division, will retire at the end of this calendar year.
Pero, 60, is the definition of a longtime employee, starting at the company in 1977 as a part-time service clerk in Pembroke Pines, Fla. During the course of his 45-year career, he steadily ascended through the company ranks, promoted to store manager, district manager and regional director. He has served in his current role since 2016. In 1999, he received the President’s Award for fostering diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
“Sam has been an energetic leader having made significant contributions in three of our five divisions. He has been responsible for growing and serving our diverse market area. In his 45 years, he has trained and mentored countless associates and has been committed to serving his customers and communities in times of need. We are thankful for Sam’s leadership and wish him a happy retirement," remarked Publix President Kevin Murphy.
Marsha Singh will succeed Pero in the VP position for the Lakeland division. She, too, is a long-serving team member following her initial hiring in 1993 as a part-time cashier in Palm Bay, Fla. Singh moved up to store manager, district manager and regional director and continued Pero’s commitment by wining the President's Award for her diversity and inclusion efforts in 2017.
“Marsha is a dynamic leader who focuses on coaching, training and developing associates,” Murphy asserted. “She has made a positive impact on the lives of those around her by helping them achieve their personal best. She is also focused on operational excellence and continuous quality improvement. Marsha is a great merchant who is passionate about service. I am proud of what she has been able to accomplish so far and excited to see the contributions she will continue to make at Publix.”