Invafresh, which provides a cloud-based fresh retail platform for grocers, has named Sarah Sandberg as its first chief customer officer. She joins the company’s executive team to spearhead the scaling of its customer engagement strategy across the business at a time of ongoing expansion.
Most recently, Sandberg served as SVP of customer success at Lightspeed Commerce. Before that, she was an SVP of customer success at NuOrder, which was acquired by Lightspeed in 2021. Sandberg's background also includes senior roles with Etail Solutions and Fuel Cycle.
“Her passion and drive for customer success is evident in her leadership experience,” said Tim Spencer, CEO of the Mississauga, Ontario-based Invafresh. “We’re committed to delivering a best-in-class experience for our customers, and this newly created position is demonstration of our focus on being a trusted partner to our customers. With her customer-first approach, Sarah has proven experience to build upon the exceptional level of customer care we’ve created.”
Sandberg said she’ll hit the ground running to make a positive impact on how grocers use technology to provide shoppers with optimal fresh experiences. “My focus will be to ensure our customers get the most value out of their investment with Invafresh by understanding their business needs and providing data science backed actionable insights to their operations. I look forward to visiting our customers to learn more about their business goals when it comes to their Fresh operations,” she declared.
Earlier this month, Invafresh shared its outlook for the top five grocery industry trends in 2023. Among those trends: more investments in AI and machine learning for forecasting and automation; a greater focus on sustainability; the growth of commissary kitchens and centralized production planning; the rise of data-driven decision making with prescriptive analytics; and migration from on-premises software to the cloud.
Weis Markets Offers Same-Day Grocery Delivery Via Instacart
Weis Markets Inc. and Instacarthave formed a partnership to offer same-day grocery delivery from 133 Weis locations in Pennsylvania, New York and Delaware.
“We are committed to offering our customers more convenient grocery options, from in-store shopping to online ordering with pickup or delivery,” said Weis Markets VP of Marketing and Advertising Maria Rizzo, who was recently promoted from the role of director of marketing. “This partnership unlocks new ways for customers in Pennsylvania, New York and Delaware to shop online with Weis Markets.”
San Francisco-based Instacart offers same-day grocery delivery and pickup services in as fast as an hour. The company partners with more than 1,000 national, regional and local retail banners, including unique brand names, to deliver from more than 75,000 stores across more than 13,000 cities in the United States – including all 50 states – and Canada.
Post-transaction ad platform AdsPostX has revealed a global retail media partnership with CitrusAd that empowers retailers to provide relevant ads through a customer’s complete shopping experience, to the confirmation page after they check out.
AdsPostX delivers personalized offers through Nexos, a proprietary targeting technology. E-commerce businesses can enhance their retail media offering andgenerate incremental revenue by serving endemic and non-endemic ads on their purchase confirmation page.
Jon Nolz, the former head of Groupon’s retail media network and now CEO of Seattle-based AdsPostX said: “Our company offers retailers an easy-to-integrate ad platform that drives high-yielding revenue from advertisers they don’t currently get access to, on top of providing opportunities to existing advertisers. We are using machine learning to enhance a retailer’s shopping experience after checkout, increasing shopper retention and trip frequency to keep a retailer’s customers coming back.
“We are excited that a category leader such as CitrusAd has chosen our technology and our team to be their post transaction partner,” added Nolz. “We look forward to doing our part in helping their retailers maximize their potential and drive incrementality in the retail media space.”
CitrusAd launched in 2017 and was acquired by Publicis in 2021. With its on-site ad-serving platform, CitrusAd provides technology and retail media support with retail partners across the world, including GoPuff, Hy-Vee and Wakefern. Powered by Epsilon, CitrusAd offers identity-led, off-site advertising that drives traffic to retailers’ platforms.
“We are always looking for ways to innovate and offer something new to our clients, either building ourselves or bringing in partners with technology experts in their respective fields,” said David Haase, CEO of St. Petersburg, Fla.-based CitrusAd Americas. “We did our research, and AdsPostX is an exciting extension to our capabilities and our hundreds of global retail partners, providing a new monetization tool for retailers, and advertising opportunity for brands and advertisers.”
Natalie Knight, CFO of Ahold Delhaize since 2020, has informed the company that she will leave to pursue another career opportunity in the U.S., giving six months’ notice. The company has begun searching for a successor. Knight’s upcoming role wasn’t identified.
“Although her time at Ahold Delhaize has been short, I respect Natalie’s decision to move her family back to the U.S. after more than 25 years in Europe,” noted Ahold Delhaize President and CEO Frans Muller. “During her tenure here, Natalie has had a positive impact on our company, driving greater alignment across the finance function, fueling our Save for our Customers program, and taking financial reporting and communication to the next level. Her passion for sustainability and diversity has supported advancing these topics across our business. I look forward to our continued collaboration through the next months as we further implement our Leading Together strategy.”
“It has been an honor to serve this great company and its associates during a time when the COVID-19 pandemic showed us the importance of grocery retail in the communities we serve,” said Knight. “I am proud that throughout it all, we’ve been able to deliver not only strong financial results, but also ensure financial stability of the company, advance e-commerce profitability and increase our future-focused investments such as sustainability. I look forward to [working] with Frans and the team to ensure a smooth transition and to help identify my successor.”
Ahold Delhaize USA, a division of Zaandam, Netherlands-based Ahold Delhaize that operates more than 2,000 stores across 23 states under the Food Lion, Giant Food, The Giant Co., Hannaford, and Stop & Shop brands, as well as e-grocer FreshDirect, is No. 10 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in the United States.
Hometown Food Co., which owns several baking brands, has acquired another one. The Chicago-based company is adding Birch Benders to its portfolio after a deal with Sovos Brands, Inc.
The acquisition boosts Hometown Food's presence in the better-for-you baking category. Birch Benders produces keto, paleo and organic products including pancake and waffle mixes, toaster waffles, pancake and baking cups, baking mixes and frostings, cookies and syrups. Those items are being added to Hometown Foods’s roster of well-known baking brands such as Pillsbury Baking, Funfetti, Hungry Jack, Arrowhead Milles and more.
"The Birch Benders acquisition is a wonderful addition to Hometown Food Co.'s portfolio of brands and it increases our footprint in the better-for-you, breakfast and baking categories," said Tom Polke, president and CEO of Hometown Food Co.
Added Henk Hartong, chairman and CEO of Brynwood Partners, the private equity firm that backs Hometown Food Co.: “Birch Benders was a pioneer in the health and wellness space and natural baking channel and we are excited to further our commitment to the pancake and baking mix categories. This acquisition is complementary to our existing brand in the space, Arrowhead Mills, and reinforces our commitment to and industry position in the better-for-you category." The Greenwich, Conn.-based Brynwood formed Hometown Food Co. in 2018 as it acquired a series of brands from The J.M. Smucker Co.
La Brea Bakery Closes Flagship Locations to Focus on Grocery Business
La Brea Bakery closed its La Brea Bakery Café locations in Los Angeles and the Downtown Disney District in Anaheim, Calif., on Jan. 9, having made the strategic decision to exit the restaurant business and continue to focus on expanding the La Brea Bakery business through the retail grocery and foodservice channels. The Aspire Bakeries human resources team began working directly with affected employees at the two locations.
The franchised La Brea Bakery kiosks in the Reno International Airport in Nevada and New York’s JFK Airport will remain open.
“We are so thankful and hold a tremendous amount of appreciation for our employees, and for our customers who have frequented La Brea Bakery Café over the years,” noted Tyson Yu, CEO of Los Angeles-based Aspire Bakeries, which owns La Brea Bakery. “Our flagship café location on La Brea Avenue in Los Angeles is where the La Brea Bakery magic started 34 years ago. These humble beginnings are an integral part of the brand history, and we will forever be grateful to the local community for their support over the years. While we will no longer be operating the cafés in Los Angeles or at Disneyland Resort, you can still find our delicious La Brea Bakery artisan breads in your local grocery in-store bakery and at other locations that serve artisan breads.”
La Brea Bakery began at a restaurant on La Brea Avenue in Los Angeles, growing into the No. 1 artisan bread brand nationally. Still made using its original custom sourdough starter, the La Brea Bakery recipe hasn’t changed in 34 years. The company bakes artisan bread daily at its bakeries in California and New Jersey.