News Briefs


Wild Fork Debuts 1st Retail Store in Wisconsin

Wild Fork

While snowbirds in Wisconsin typically head south for winter, one retail chain has headed north this month. The South Florida-based Wild Fork Meat and Seafood Market, part of protein conglomerate JBS USA, celebrated the grand opening of its latest store in Glendale, Wisc., on Feb. 2.

Located at 635 W. Silver Spring Drive just north of Milwaukee in a retail development that also includes a Trader Joe’s, this Wild Fork outpost carries a wide variety of frozen meats and side dishes. The products are grouped by protein type and cut, and span value cuts of ground meat to high-end Wagyu Tomahawk steaks. A separate case marked “Easy” offers several selections for heat-and-eat quick meals.

[Read more: "Allegiance Premieres Latest Green Way Markets Store"]

Wild Fork touts its vertical integration as a differentiator, a structure that that allows it to control steps throughout the farm-to-fork chain to ensure quality and variety. During a recent visit to the store by Progressive Grocer, signage at the Glendale location also highlighted the company’s dedication to sustainability, detailing its commitment to animal welfare, its 100% CFC-free freezers and portioned packaging that reduces waste.

This month, the new Glendale store is offering several specials, including Valentine’s Day bundles and options for 2023 Super Bowl entertaining.

Wild Fork has been on the march since launching its first brick-and-mortar store in 2018. The company now runs storefronts in South Florida, Central Florida, Texas, Northern Illinois, Southern California, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and now, Wisconsin. The company also operates a comprehensive e-commerce site.


Kroger Expands Farmers Market Concept

Kroger Farmers Market teaser

The Kroger Co. is growing its partnership with Market Wagon to bring its digital farmers market concept to more customers. Kroger Farmers Market, which was developed as an e-commerce marketplace for local farmers and businesses, is now available to shoppers in the Columbus, Ohio, and Knoxville, Tenn., markets.

Kroger Farmers Market offers a wide range of fresh products from across its market areas, with the delivery service in Columbus offering a unique assortment of more than 1,400 products from more than 75 vendors, including local farmers, bakeries and food artisans.

[Read more: "Kroger Earns Recognition for Early-Career Hiring"]

"Kroger’s e-commerce business is flourishing and we are always seeking new ways to bring value to our customers’ lives," said Kroger Columbus Division President Dana Zurcher. "The digital farmers market experience eliminates barriers for those eager to support local businesses by making it easy to order fresh goods online and have them delivered straight from farm to doorstep. We are excited about the expansion of the collaboration to Columbus where it will be available to 2.4 million people in 14 counties.”

“The local food movement wins every time we connect a farmer with a new customer,” added Nick Carter, Market Wagon’s co-founder and CEO. “That’s why I’m so excited that Kroger, America’s grocer, and Market Wagon can partner and create a stronger market for local food producers in Central Ohio.”

The program began in June 2022 with a pilot in Atlanta that built on Kroger’s seamless ecosystem.

Serving 60 million households annually nationwide through a digital shopping experience, and almost 2,800 retail food stores under a variety of banner names, Cincinnati-based Kroger is No. 4 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.


Harris Teeter to Host Supplier Diversity Summit

Harris Teeter Selling Hunter Farms Dairy Business Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association Inc.

Harris Teeter is inviting diverse product suppliers to apply to join a virtual Supplier Diversity Summit scheduled for March 28-30. The regional grocer aims to identify and boost sourcing from suppliers that are at least 51% owned, operated and managed by people who are disadvantaged, disabled, LGBTQ+, military veterans, minorities and/or women.

“Our goal is for Harris Teeter – our people and our products – to reflect the diversity of the communities we serve,” noted Harris Teeter Director of Corporate Affairs Danna Robinson. “Through the identification and support of minority-owned businesses, Harris Teeter will cultivate new vendor relationships to empower diverse suppliers and enhance economic growth.”

[Read more: "SocialShelf to Debut at Select Harris Teeter Stores"]

Eligible businesses with retail-ready products in the perishable, nonperishable, nonfood, health and beauty care, and general merchandise categories can apply by Friday, Feb. 10 for consideration. 

Harris Teeter is teaming with online product sourcing platform RangeMe, an ECRM company, to manage all product submissions. Upon receiving the applications, Harris Teeter will review and select the vendors to meet with virtually through the ECRM Connect meeting platform. Suppliers not chosen for the event will still be accessible via RangeMe and may be reviewed by Harris Teeter again in the future. 

Vendors that don’t qualify for the summit can submit information for consideration through the retailer’s Supplier Community page.

Matthews, N.C.-based Harris Teeter, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Kroger Co., employs approximately 35,000 associates and operates stores in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Maryland, Delaware, Florida and the District of Columbia. Serving 60 million households annually nationwide through a digital shopping experience, and almost 2,800 retail food stores under a variety of banner names, Cincinnati-based Kroger is No. 4 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.


Brighter Bites Launches 10th Location: San Antonio

Brighter Bites Teaser

Brighter Bites, a national nonprofit that delivers fresh fruits and vegetables directly into families’ hands, has launched its 10th location, in San Antonio. This semester, Brighter Bites will serve six schools within Harlandale Independent School District (ISD), which will directly affect around 720 families and provide 115,200 pounds of fresh produce to its participants.

“I’m so excited our students will be able to receive a hands-on experience of what healthy choices actually look like,” said Juan Aguilar, physical educator at Harlandale ISD. “With the launch of Brighter Bites programming, the kids will be able to try new vegetables and fruits that they normally wouldnt have access to on a regular basis. It is my hope this will also help families ease their food expenses, as prices of groceries have increased dramatically within the last year.”

[Read more: "Brighter Bites Grows in D.C."]

The first distribution in San Antonio began last week and will continue each week through the end of May. Brighter Bites plans to further expand its reach into more schools within the Harlandale school district for the fall semester. The generous support and partnership from Harlandale ISD and Student Health Advisory Committee, UnitedHealthcare, and FreshPoint San Antonio have made this expansion possible.

Brighter Bites creates communities of health through fresh food with the goal of changing behavior among children and their families to prevent obesity and achieve long-term health. Since 2012, it has provided 50 million-plus pounds of produce and millions of nutrition education materials to more than 500,000 individuals (including teachers) in Houston; Dallas; Austin, Texas; New York City; the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area; Southwest Florida; Salinas, Calif.; Los Angeles; Bakersfield, Calif., and San Antonio.


Northern New Jersey to Welcome Locally Sourced Produce

Lindeken Farm Store

Family-owned and -operated Alstede Farms will open its fourth brick-and-mortar store in Jefferson Township, N.J., on April 1, providing residents year-round access to fresh locally grown produce.  

Located at 54 State Route 15 and Berkshire Valley Road, the new Alstede Fresh at Lindeken Farms will offer seasonal locally grown fruits and vegetables direct from Alstede's 800-acre farm fields in Chester, N.J. Baked goods and other grocery items will also be available. Patrons can additionally purchase Christmas trees in December, sign up for the Community Supported Agriculture program, and access free online recipes for healthy meals and snacks.

[Read more: “Kensington Community Food Co-op Reopens”]

The new Alstede Fresh at Lindeken Farms' retail space was formerly occupied by Lindeken Farms, which was operated by the Stanlick family and provided locally grown produce to the area for generations. It closed permanently on Dec. 24, 2022.

Major building renovations and an architectural refresh are underway to better reflect the Alstede Farms brand, but "the spirit of the building remains," said Kurt Alstede, founder of Alstede Farms. "Our family and our team members are proud to continue Lindeken Farms' tradition and keep the Stanlick legacy alive in the community."

The Stanlick family opened Lindeken Farms in 1949.

"We can't wait to share with families the goodness of what we grow," said Kurt Alstede. "That we make this goodness accessible to everyone, every day, matters to us.  We look forward to being an important part of the local community."

Alstede Farms has nourished New Jersey families for 40 years. While Kurt Alstede is a first-generation farmer, his wife, Mary Thompson-Alstede, comes from a family that has farmed in Chester for more than 100 years. Their children plan to remain in the business.

Alstede Fresh at Lindeken Farms will be open year-round. Additional details, including hours of operation, will be revealed soon.


KeHE Marks Return of In-Person Summer Show

KeHE show

Sure, ice, snow and wind chills are gripping many parts of the country right now, but most grocers are deep into planning for summer and beyond. KeHe Distributors, for its part, shared details about its 2023 Summer Show, to be held in person at Music City Center in Nashville, Tenn., from Feb. 7-8 and online from Feb. 1-15 via the KeHE Connect digital platform.

The annual Summer Show spotlights new products and trends for the upcoming summer season. According to the natural, organic and specialty distributor, more than 845 exhibitors will take part in the in-person and virtual events, doling out information and samples.  

“Summer is just around the corner, so now is the time for retailers to curate their summer product portfolios and source leading-edge innovation to support industry trends. We are grateful for our network of supplier partners that enable the largest manifestation of the KeHE brand,” remarked Ari Goldsmith, KeHE's VP of marketing and digital media.

In addition to the exhibits, this year’s Summer Show features a Next Generation Innovation Showcase featuring emerging brands that aren't yet available on the market, along with a fresh marketplace. KeHE's retailer and supplier partners can also attend a session on evolution in leadership hosted by Brandon Barnholt and Deb Conklin, current and future president and CEO of KeHE, respectively. Conklin starts her new position on April 1, as Barnholt transitions to the role of executive chairman.

Outstanding brands will be honored at the event as well. Seventeen winners of KeHe’s On Trend awards will be announced, based on their innovation, purpose, taste, promotions, packaging and people.

This year marks a return to KeHe's in-person Summer Show. The event was virtual-only in 2021 and 2022 during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Naperville, Ill.-based KeHE provides products to more than 30,000 natural food stores, chain and independent grocery stores, e-commerce retailers and other specialty products retailers throughout North America. The Certified B Corporation has more than 6,800 employee-owners.