Schnuck Markets, Inc. has been named “Proud Grocery Partner” for the new St. Louis FC soccer club’s upcoming season. The grocer will sponsor a “Player Pals” program during each home game, which will allow local children to accompany players as they walk out onto the pitch and stand with them during pre-game ceremonies.
“As St. Louis’ hometown grocer, Schnucks is excited to welcome St. Louis CITY SC to our great sports city and proud to be a part of their inaugural season,” said Schnucks Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Bill Bradley. “We look forward to cultivating a longstanding partnership with the club and to celebrating professional soccer with CITY fans.”
Schnucks also plans to collaborate with the team on community outreach projects throughout the region. The company’s other current sponsorship partners include the St. Louis Cardinals, St. Louis Blues, Saint Louis University, University of Missouri, University of Illinois, World Wide Technology Raceway and others.
“St. Louis CITY SC is already inspiring our next generation of soccer players,” said Schnucks Brand Manager Zach Collins. “Our hope is to watch a St. Louis kid go from being a Schnucks-sponsored Player Pal alongside CITY’s starting eleven today, to wearing the St. Louis CITY SC kit on the pitch with the first team tomorrow.”
The Raley’s Cos. is investing in a new Bashas’ support center. Located in Bashas’ hometown of Chandler, Ariz., the office will provide the division’s support and administrative associates with updated features and an open-concept layout designed to facilitate collaboration. This coming spring, employees will move from their current location on 22402 South Basha Road to the new facility on 2650 West Geronimo Place.
The support center will serve as a merchandising and operations hub for Bashas’, Food City, AJ’s Fine Foods, Eddie’s Country Store and Bashas’ Diné grocery stores across Arizona and New Mexico.
“We are committed to preserving and enhancing the Bashas’ brands, and this includes our investment in an office that fosters innovation and collaboration,” said Raley’s President and CEO Keith Knopf. “This modern workspace will provide new amenities and create an environment to inspire existing and future team members.”
“It goes without saying that Chandler has built a very close relationship with Bashas’ over the decades, and it was a top priority for us to keep these quality office jobs in our community,” added Chandler Mayor Kevin Hartke. “We appreciate The Raley’s Cos.’ proactive outreach to city leadership early on in the real estate process, and we want to congratulate the team on its beautiful new office in the heart of Price Corridor.”
The Hass Avocado Board has named four new executive committee board members who will replace outgoing members as their tenure concludes. For the 2023 board year, the board welcomes Sergio Chavez (at top left), an importer who will take over as treasurer; Jorge Hernandez (at top right), an importer from London Fruit who will serve as chairperson; Susan Pinkerton (at bottom left), a California producer who will step in as secretary; and C.J. Shade (at bottom right), a California producer who will be vice chairperson.
“It is an honor and a privilege to be elected as chairperson for 2023,” said Hernandez. “I am looking forward to continuing to support Hass Avocado Board and its efforts alongside my fellow industry members, especially in an expanded role. As the only independent avocado organization, Hass Avocado Board is dedicated to the success of the entire industry, and we look forward to continuing our mission of making fresh Hass avocados America’s favorite fruit.”
The board meets for times a year to help guide the group’s policies and direction. According to the avocado organization, Hass Avocado Board’s structure is unique in that its board meetings include international representation.
According to Hass Avocado Board, the avocado industry is a $7 billion industry in the U.S.In November, the group shared results of a new study showing that the first quarter is the new peak for avocado retail sales.
Barilla Group, known for its Italian heritage and brands, is expanding its portfolio with the acquisition of the Back to Nature line from B&G Foods, a branded foods holding company out of Parsippany, N.J. With this addition, the Parma, Italy-headquartered Barilla Group will now offer a variety of plant-based, non-GMO snacks to U.S. retailers, including cookies, granola, nuts and trail mix products.
According to the parent company, the acquisition aligns with Barilla's quest to build a strong multi-brand bakery platform in the U.S. “This operation reminds me of when we first started our journey with pasta over 25 years ago and we are now the market leader. The acquisition of Back to Nature is a key step for this exciting journey,” remarked Guido Barilla, chairman of the Barilla Group. “We focus all our business activities and products on health and indulgence and hence Back to Nature was a natural choice.”
The Back to Nature assortment fills out Barilla’s bakery business in North America. Among other items, the company currently offers the Wasa brand of crispbreads and a variety of European bakery products.
The Barilla Group is a fourth-generation family-owned business that distributes products to more than 100 countries. Its brands include Barilla, Mulino Bianco, Pan di Stelle, Gran Cereale, Harrys, Pavesi, Wasa, Filiz, Yemina and Vesta, Misko, Voiello, Academia Barilla, First, Catelli, Lancia, Splendor, Tolerant and Pasta Evangelists.
Meanwhile, B&G Foods will continue to operate its dozens of other brands, such as Cream of Wheat, Crisco, Green Giant, Ortega, Joan of Arc and SnackWell’s, among others. “Our decision to sell Back to Nature is part of a broader effort at B&G Foods to focus our portfolio on businesses that are core to our long-term strategy as we transition to a business unit structure,” explained Casey Keller, president and CEO. “The divestiture will also allow us to reduce long-term debt, while providing Barilla America with a great brand.”
Little Red Box Grocery Working to End Food Deserts in Houston
Small-format community market Little Red Box Grocery, which is located in Houston’s underserved Second Ward, has teamed up with The Arena Foundation, the philanthropic arm of The Woodlands, Texas-based Arena Energy LLC, an independent oil and gas exploration company focused on the Gulf of Mexico Shelf, to tackle the pervasive issue of food deserts.
“We wanted to build a store for everyone,” explained Samuel Newman, who opened the 800-square-foot retail location this past May. “A true gathering spot for Second Ward residents, and a counterpoint to current neighborhood grocery offerings that are either inconvenient or offer high costs and poor choices, specifically when it comes to fresh produce and pantry essentials. Little Red Box is grateful to have this sustained and committed support from The Arena Foundation, which will help us offer more products to — and provide better service for — our customers and our community.”
“The Little Red Box Grocery store is bringing healthy, affordable and convenient food to an area that has gone without for too long,” said Arena Foundation President Ben Pigati. “Arena’s roots in Houston run deep, and we are proud to support Little Red Box Grocery as they work to fight food deserts here in our hometown and beyond as they expand into future areas of need. Approximately 40 million Americans, including 5 million Texans, live in food deserts with little access to healthy food options. This must be addressed, and we are grateful the Little Red Box Grocery team is working towards a solution.”
The perception of neighborhood grocery stores as both a hub and heart of communities – especially underserved communities – was affirmed in a recent survey. According to insights from technology and telecommunications companySurgePays, Inc., an overwhelming 94% of consumers say that their local independent grocery, c-store or bodega is important to their friends and neighbors.
It's a fairly even split on the degree of importance. About a third (34%) of survey respondents said that nearby indie locations are very important, while another 34% said they are somewhat important and 26% said those retailers are extremely important.
The results speak to the important role of local grocers in underserved neighborhoods. SurgePays, which provides mobile broadband to low-income consumers and works with corner stores to become tech hubs for underbanked areas, enlisted its survey firm to oversample for adults with a household income under $25,000 and without bank accounts or credit cards.
SurgePays’ survey also found that consumers in underbanked and underserved areas are twice as likely to go to a nearby c-store almost every day (14%) compared to the general population. More than a third take part in SNAP. As for what they are buying, the survey revealed that top categories are snack food (71%), coffee/beverages (50%) everyday foods and meals (48%), milk (47%) and lottery tickets (32%).
Shopping is a personal experience for those who frequent corner stores. The poll shows that 37% of customers who patronize nearby independently-owned or operated c-stores say they know the name of their favorite clerk or owner.