News Briefs


Farm Boy to Open 8th Location in Downtown Toronto

Farm Boy Teaser

Canada’s Farm Boy has released plans for the Feb. 9 opening of its Sugar Wharf store in downtown Toronto. This marks the eighth location in Toronto for the The Empire Co. Ltd. banner.

Farm Boy currently operates 46 locations in Ontario and is widely known for its local farm-fresh produce as well as butcher-quality meats, artisan cheese, fresh dairy and an extensive grab-and-go section. It recently celebrated the grand opening of its Aurora store on Jan. 19.

“We’re excited to welcome customers to our Sugar Wharf location to get a taste of the signature Farm Boy experience,” said Shawn Linton, president and general manager of Ottawa, Ontario-based Farm Boy. “We will continue to offer a wide range of freshly made grab-and-go options for customers looking for a quick and tasty breakfast, lunch or dinner, as well as the freshest seasonal produce and highest-quality meat options. Our team is focused on providing customers an exceptional in-store experience with outstanding service that is truly all about the food.”

Located on the second level of 100 Queens Quay East in the same building as the new Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) location, the new 29,600-square-foot location will employ 125 people in the community. Culinary options include a made-to-order burger station, fresh sushi and a juicer. Hundreds of Farm Boy private label products and plenty of fresh locally sourced foods will also be available.

Stellarton, Nova Scotia-based Empire’s key businesses are food retailing, through wholly owned subsidiary Sobeys Inc., and related real estate. With approximately CAD $30.5 billion in annual sales and CAD $16.3 billion in assets, Empire and its subsidiaries, franchisees and affiliates employ approximately 130,000 people. The company is No. 22 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America


Bowery Farming Hires SVP of Sales

Bowery Farm Teaser

Bowery Farming, the largest U.S. vertical-farming company, is continuing to expand its leadership team with the addition of Glenn Wells as SVP of sales.

Cincinnati-based Wells brings to his new role extensive produce industry experience in startup revenue generation, strategic account growth, go-to-market sales strategy, and customer development. He joins Bowery from Fifth Season, a Pittsburgh-based vertical-farming company, where he was SVP of sales. Before that, Wells was SVP of sales and marketing at Curation Foods; VP of sales, North America at Dole Food Co.; and director, grocery customer teams at Welch’s. He has a degree in business management from Texas A&M University. 

“Bowery is growing fast, and I’m thrilled to join the team at such a pivotal moment,” said Wells. “As Bowery expands to new geographic farm locations in Georgia, Texas and beyond, and continues to grow its product portfolio with chef-inspired salad kits, I’m excited to support the company’s national retail expansion, bringing Bowery’s fresh flavors to more people in more places.”

In December, the company hired Robert Ybarra as director of business development

These executive moves come at a time of accelerated growth for New York-based Bowery, which has doubled revenue for the second consecutive year and is now available at more than 1,400 stores and e-commerce partners. The company has also expanded beyond leafy greens and into new categories of pesticide-free produce, including strawberries and salad kits. Bowery currently has five farms in operation, including a state-of-the-art R&D and innovation farm for pioneering indoor agriculture science, and two commercial farms under development that will more than double the company’s total production by 2023. 


Trader Joe’s Eyes New Locations

Trader Joe's Conn. Teaser

Trader Joe’s is adding to its presence in Connecticut, readying its ninth store in that state. The specialty grocer will officially welcome shoppers to its latest store in the town of Glastonbury on Thursday, Feb. 2 at 8 a.m.

Located at 400 Hebron Avenue, this Trader Joe’s outpost spans about 9,500 square feet and will be staffed by more than 80 team members. The Glastonbury grand opening follows the early November debut of another New England store in Providence, R.I.

[Read more: "Trader Joe’s Tops for Emotional Connections With Shoppers"]

Trader Joe’s is setting its sights on other parts of the country, too. Earlier this month, the retailer announced that it is heading to Draper, Utah, for a location expected to open sometime this year.

In other news, Trader Joe’s stores in Colorado will begin carrying wine, following voter approval of Proposition 125 that was on the ballot in November. The retailer's popular Charles Shaw brand fondly known for years as "Two-Buck Chuck" will be in the lineup. 

With more than 500 stores in 40-plus states, Monrovia, Calif.-based Trader Joe’s is No. 27 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America


Southeastern Grocers Debuts Fresco y Más Liquor Store

Fresco Y Mas

Shoppers in south Florida are toasting the opening of a new Fresco y Más liquor store. Parent company Southeastern Grocers held a grand opening for that location – the first standalone adult beverage store for the banner – in Miami on Jan. 18.

Located at 3897 NW 7th Street in Miami’s Central Shopping Center, the store’s varied product assortment includes more than 1,400 liquor products, more than 500 wines and a wide selection of rums. Accompaniments such as drinkware and mixers are also available.

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“We are dedicated to evolving with our communities to offer our customers the best products and services they desire. After serving this local community for six years, we’re excited to increase our offerings and expand our presence in Miami. We pride ourselves on offering our Miami neighbors a wide selection and price-match guarantee to ensure a great shopping experience every time they visit,” said Sergio Benitez, director of operations for Fresco y Más,

Fresco y Más Liquor will be open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. and on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Jacksonville, Fla.-based Southeastern Grocers is one of the largest conventional supermarket companies in the United States, with about 420 grocery stores, approximately 140 liquor stores and more than 200 in-store pharmacies serving communities throughout Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi. Its banners include Fresco y Más, Harveys Supermarket and Winn-Dixie grocery stores. The company is No. 39 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.


Peapod Digital Labs Seeks Diverse-Owned Suppliers

Diverse supplier

Peapod Digital Labs, the digital engine of Ahold Delhaize, has opened its virtual program that connects diverse-owned businesses to the company’s U.S. brands. Now in its second year, the initiative enables underrepresented suppliers to showcase and share information about their products with merchants at banners such as Food Lion, Giant Food, The Giant Co., Hannaford and Stop & Shop.

The virtual events, kicking off in April and also scheduled for June, August and October, are powered by ECRM and RangeMe. Last year, Ahold Delhaize’s U.S. merchants met with 100-plus suppliers and fully onboarded 20 of them to one or more of its brands. Additional suppliers are still in that process. 

This time around, Peapod Digital Labs is also working with women-owned business PowerToPitch to offer participating suppliers a free pitch coaching service ahead of the meeting. “We worked with PowerToPitch during our Incubator program in 2022 and participants found the support and resources tremendously beneficial,” explained Andjela Petrovic, director of supplier diversity for Peapod Digital Labs. “It’s an investment to develop a skill that lasts well beyond this one meeting or event. We hope this program will continue to support and facilitate new relationships between diverse-owned suppliers and the companies of Ahold Delhaize USA.”

Certified, minority-, LGBTQ-, woman-, veteran- and disability-owned businesses with products listed in the application can apply through Feb. 3 for consideration. 

Last July, Peapod Digital Labs launched its incubator program for diverse-owned suppliers to develop new items for its private brands portfolio. The 2022 winner was Whole & Free Foods, a Chicago-based certified, women-owned business that produces foods free from the top 14 allergens, corn and sugar. 

Ahold Delhaize USA, a division of Zaandam, Netherlands-based Ahold Delhaize, operates more than 2,000 stores across 23 states and is No. 10 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in the United States.


Food Retail Consolidation Especially High in Rural Areas: Report

USDA ERS Report Teaser

The food retail sector has experienced substantial consolidation and structural change over the past three decades. To understand how the change in concentration might affect consumers, researchers would ideally focus on geographic markets that mimic where consumers actually shop.

That’s what the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service has sought to do in its latest report. “A Disaggregated View of Market Concentration in the Food Retail Industry” investigates the changes in food retailing market concentration — a measure of the extent to which market shares are concentrated between companies of the retail food sector at the national, state, metropolitan statistical area and county levels in the United States over the 1990–2019 period.

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A few key findings from the January report include:

• Market concentration at the county level is considerably higher than at the national, state and metropolitan statistical area levels, and rose 94% from 1990 to 2019.
• Food retailing markets in rural and small nonmetro counties are considerably more concentrated than food retailing markets in metro and large nonmetro counties.

The report also found that two key factors have led to increasing food retail market concentration: the entry and rapid expansion into the food retail sector of large nontraditional food retailers, such as warehouse clubs, superstores and supercenters, and mergers and acquisitions of existing traditional supermarkets.

For more detailed information, click here for the full report.