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News Briefs

12/08/2022

Sprouts Farmers Market Brings on New Marketing Chief

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Sprouts Farmers Market Surpasses Expectations in Q2

Alisa Gmelich has joined Sprouts Farmers Market as the grocer’s new SVP, chief marketing officer. Gmelich will be responsible for overseeing marketing, advertising and customer engagement, and will report directly to President and COO Nick Konat.

Gmelich most recently served as chief brand officer at Auntie Anne’s, and previously spent 15 years in the restaurant industry with companies including IHOP and Burger King.

[Read more: "It's Go Time at Sprouts Farmers Market"]

“I am extremely humbled to join Sprouts, a brand that I’ve long admired for innovation and purpose,” said Gmelich. “Providing communities access to healthy, affordable foods is more important today than ever before, and I look forward to helping the brand connect even further with customers nationwide in meaningful ways with the products they need and desire.”

“We’re thrilled to welcome Alisa to the Sprouts team,” said Konat. “Her experience in building brands and growing customer engagement will be instrumental in shaping Sprouts’ marketing strategy to support our expansion and deepen loyalty with our customers.”

Phoenix-based Sprouts Farmers Market employs approximately 31,000 associates and operates approximately 380 stores in 23 states nationwide. The company is No. 53 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.

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12/08/2022

Shipt, PetSmart Form Nationwide Partnership

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PetSmart Teaser

Shipt and PetSmart have rolled out a new same-day delivery partnership, expanding access to delivery of pet care products to consumers across the United States from 1,300-plus locations. The pet store chain is Shipt’s 200th retail partner.

“With each of our retail partners, our dedicated partner success managers work hand-in-hand to drive incremental sales for a retailer’s business,” said Rina Hurst, Chief Business Officer at Birmingham, Ala.-based Shipt. “We know, from PetSmart’s recent data, that this holiday season, over half of pet parents plan to spend more time shopping for pets than some of their own family members. We’re excited to partner with PetSmart to ensure pet parents get all the gifts they need in time for the holidays and beyond.”  

[Read more: "The Next Evolution of Shipt"]

“With nearly half of Shipt customers being pet parents, we knew this would be a great partnership to help bring PetSmart’s offerings to even more pet parents,” said Cherise Ordlock, SVP of digital at Phoenix-based PetSmart. “Same-day delivery is a key component of our omnichannel strategy, and it’s important to expand our e-commerce offerings as demand for convenient shopping options continues to grow. We’re excited to partner with Shipt to help deliver pet food, supplies, accessories and other necessities straight to pet parents’ doors – and even offer those who love pet parents an easy holiday gift delivery option.” 

This year, Shipt has partnered with 26 retailers and seen its delivery orders rise by 11%.

Shipt connects personal shopping and delivery to 80% of households in more than 5,000 U.S. cities. The company is an independently operated, wholly owned subsidiary of Minneapolis-based Target Corp., which is No. 6 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America, with nearly 2,000 locations.

12/07/2022

SCS Global Services Authorized as Bee Better Certifier

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Bee Better Certification Teaser

Third-party certification provider SCS Global Services has been approved as an authorized certification body to the Bee Better Certification Standard. Bee Better Certifiedis the only third-party certification program focused on pollinator health on farms.

The program was originally launched in 2017 by the Portland, Ore.-based Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, with support from the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, to protect bees and other pollinators. Bee Better program certification ensures that a grower has dedicated a part of its farm to pollinator habitat and incorporated Integrated Pest Management practices to protect crop pollinators. 

“As a trusted leader in third-party environmental, sustainability and social audits, SCS is proud to partner with Xerces to bring the Bee Better Certification program to farms that adopt pollinator-friendly agricultural practices,” said Josh Edge, senior technical manager of the food and agriculture division at Emeryville, Calif.-based SCS. “We provide the added benefit of being an approved certification body in many related programs, including the Equitable Food Initiative, Sustainably Grown, Regenerative Organic Certification, SMETA and GLOBALG.A.P.– services that can be bundled with Bee Better Certification.”

Walmart revealed last year that by 2025, 100% of its fresh produce and floral purchases for its in-store produce departments will be from farms that have achieved certifications such as Bee Better Certified. Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart U.S. is No. 1 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.

In November, SCS Global Services rolled out its Plant-Based Certification Program, which incorporates a new standard from nonprofit body SCS Standards to distinguish plant-based brands based on strict auditing, testing and labeling requirements. 

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12/07/2022

Blue Apron to Debut Limited-Time Seasonal Meal Kit

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Blue Apron Fireside Feast Box Teaser

Meal kit company Blue Apron has launched the Fireside Feast Box as a limited-time seasonal offering. Available to order now, the meal kit is part of Blue Apron’s occasion-based offerings designed to make at-home entertaining easier.

Blue Apron’s Fireside Feast Box offers an upscale dinner party solution for cozy winter nights spent indoors. The French-inspired fare features a cassoulet of duck confit and slow-cooked pork belly, accompanied by a range of sides, including a romaine lettuce salad with orange and pistachio to balance out the richness of the main dish. The full menu serves four and consists of:

• Duck Confit Cassoulet with Pork Belly, Beans & Thyme Breadcrumbs
• Parmesan & Garlic-Herb Bread
• Orange & Pistachio Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette
• Chocolate Chip & Almond Biscotti with Peppermint-Chocolate Dipping Sauce

“Our culinary team created an express lane to a show-stopping cassoulet,” noted John Adler, VP of culinary at New York-based Blue Apron. “In a typical restaurant setting, this menu would require 50 plus hours of preparation time and advanced culinary skills. We’ve created an impressive menu with only one hour of estimated active cooking time that’s designed to be easy for customers of all skill levels to prepare.” 

Shipping Jan. 2 through February, the Fireside Feast Box can be ordered as part of a subscription via Blue Apron’s website and mobile app, and without a subscription on the Blue Apron Market, Walmart.com and Amazon.com.

Blue Apron’s seasonal meal kits provide recipes incorporating “best of the season” proteins, produce and ingredients for a premium experience.

Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart U.S. is No. 1 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.

12/06/2022

Frozen Food Hall of Fame Gets 3 New Members

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Zerocrat logo

Three industry professionals are being honored honored for their solid commitment to the frozen food sector. The Harrisburg, Pa,-based National Frozen and Refrigerated Foods Association (NFRA) and the Arlington, Va.-based American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI) have revealed the trio of new members to be inducted into the Frozen Food Hall of Fame.

The 2023 class consists of the following individuals:

  • Ed Flanagan, the former president and CEO of frozen wild blueberry and fruit processor Jasper Wyman & Son, who led that organization for 24 years before his retirement in 2017. He worked at the Maine-based company for 42 years in all and played a key role in managing exports to international markets. Flanagan also chaired AFFI’s board of directors from 2010 to 2011 and was named its Advocate of the Year in 2017, among many other accomplishments.
  • Leslie Sarasin, who has been president and CEO of Arlington, Va.-based FMI – The Food Industry Association since 2008. Before that, she spent 19 years at AFFI, where she held the role of president and CEO for nine years. In addition to her work championing the industry at FMI, she is credited with strengthening AFFI’s advocacy and supporting the global growth of the frozen ingredient trade show.
  • Dave Yanda retired in 2016 from a 40-year career at frozen fruit and vegetable company Lakeside Foods, in Manitowoc, Wis.  He was Lakeside’s president and CEO for more than eight years and spearheaded the growth of the business into a leading international private label food processor. Yanda served several terms on AFFI’s board and on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Fruit and Vegetable Advisory Committee, in addition to other industry leadership roles.

Flanagan, Sarasin and Yanda will be inducted into the Frozen Food Hall of Fame on Feb. 27, during the AFFI-CON 2023 event in San Diego. The Hall of Fame began in 1990 by the Distinguished Order of Zerocrats, an industry group promoting the image and advancement of the frozen food industry.

12/06/2022

Publix Honored for Habitat Restoration Support

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Audubon Florida winners

Publix doesn’t just create a welcoming environment for in-store shoppers. The Florida grocer has also been recognized for its work in creating sustainable, healthy habitats.

Audubon Florida, part of the National Audubon Society, recently bestowed its 2022 Distinguished Philanthropist Award on Publix for its support of the group’s conservation efforts. Last year, for example, Publix shared plans to support the restoration of 500 acres of marsh and prairie wetlands at the state’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary with a multiyear commitment of more than $1 million.

“We’re honored to receive this award and proud of the continued work we’re doing to preserve our natural resources,” said Michael Hewett, director of environmental and sustainability programs for Publix. “As part of our mission to be involved as responsible citizens in our communities, we remain committed to supporting conservation efforts throughout our operating area.”

Audubon Florida commended Publix for its donations that will help improve nutrient pollution from groundwater, hold floodwaters during severe weather events and reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires. “Audubon Florida and Publix share a commitment to protecting water and habitat for people and wildlife. Our environment is our economy, and we are thrilled to have the leadership of Publix on this important conservation project in the Western Everglades,” the organization noted.

Publix continues to make strides toward its sustainability goals. In November, the retailer was awarded the best overall recycling champion for 2022 by the Florida Recycling Partnership Foundation.

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