News Briefs


Kroger Union Associates in Atlanta Receive Wage Increase

kroger ohio teaser

The Kroger Co. employees in Atlanta and Savannah, Ga., represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) 1996 will receive a wage increase thanks to a mutual agreement between the grocer and the union. Starting wages will rise to $14.50 an hour for clerks, and early increases in hourly wages will be given to all eligible associates.

Existing clerks earning less than $14.50 per hour will have their wages increased, according to a joint statement from Kroger UFCW 1996, and courtesy clerk hourly wages will rise to $11.75. Effective Feb. 5, all other associates will receive their next scheduled increase, which was originally set to take place on June 25.

[Read more: "Are Kroger and Albertsons Closer to Store Divestitures?"]

“The company and union agree that these wage increases will be an investment in associates. These wage increases, as well as existing pensions for retirement, and affordable, competitive healthcare are some of the outstanding benefits negotiated for you between the union and the company,” the joint statement read. “Other than these changes, all other terms and conditions of the collective bargaining agreements stay the same.”

The Atlanta and Savannah agreements cover 22,000 workers, all of which will see a pay increase. While the union says paycheck updates will take several weeks to be implemented, all increased pay will be retroactive to Feb. 5.

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


Kevin’s Natural Foods Awarded B Corp Certification

Kevin's B Corp

Kevin's Natural Foods is officially a B Corp. The Stockton, Calif.-based manufacturer of clean-label entrees, sides and sauces recently earned B Corp certification affirming that it meets high verified standards for social and environmental performances, transparency and accountability.

The company joins almost 4,000 B Corp organizations across 150 industries and 74 countries. The B Corp evaluation processes measures performance in governance, workers, customers, community and the environment.

[Read more: "Nonprofit Groups Launch ‘Little Labels, Big Impact’ Campaign"]

In addition to providing clean, nutrient-rich products and sustainable packaging, Kevin’s Natural Foods supports its employees through living wages, programs that provide financial security and health and wellness offerings. That holistic approach helped the company earn B Corp status, according to co-founder and president Kevin McCray.

"The most important aspect of our company is the people," McCray said. "Our consumers and employees play a crucial role in the business and with this recognition we are honored to join the list of like-minded brands using business as a force for good to better our communities as a whole. Being certified as a B Corp signifies the hard work our team has put in and while we still have areas to improve on we can now rely on this new community to make even better business decisions as a whole and continue our mission of providing healthy, convenient and flavorful meals to all."

Kevin’s Natural Foods products are available at food retailers around the country, including Whole Foods Market, Costco, Meijer, Kroger-owned banners and Amazon, among many others.  


Giant Co. to Launch Social Shelf Solution

Social Shelf PR Picture Teaser

Following a successful test in 2022, The Giant Co. has entered into an agreement with A3 Mediaco LLC to bring the latter’s Social Shelf solution to the grocer’s locations that carry adult beverages. The rollout is scheduled for this coming May.

Social Shelf is a shelf tag technology-based advertising tool that provides product information to consumers right at the aisle. “No advertising is forced on the consumers.” said Frank Gussoni, co-owner and CEO of Trooper, Pa.-based A3 Mediaco. “Shoppers now have the opportunity to choose the brands they want to learn more about while making their purchasing decisions.”

Social Shelf brands can speak to a consumer one-on-one and deliver a “social feel” differentiating message that’s authentic. “I don’t believe there is a more opportune time to speak to shoppers,” added Gussoni. “They are requesting brand information while shopping.”

The Social Shelf solution is available for retail use throughout the United States.

With more than 35,000 associates supporting more than 190 stores, 130-plus pharmacies, 107 fuel stations, and 180-plus online pickup hubs and a grocery delivery service in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and New Jersey, Carlisle, Pa.-based The Giant Co. encompasses the following banners: Giant, Martin’s, Giant Heirloom Market, Giant Direct and Martin’s Direct. Parent company Ahold Delhaize USA, a division of Zaandam, Netherlands-based Ahold Delhaize, is No. 10 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.


Lidl Planning New Ground-Up Warehouse in Pennsylvania

Lidl sign teaser

Lidl seems to be primed for expansion, following its purchase of nearly 70 acres in Bucks County, Pa. The German-owned chain, which has been steadily growing its footprint in the East Coast, confirmed that it recently bought acreage for a future warehouse at the site of the Keystone Trade Center.

Spokesperson Jessica Shangle didn’t give specifics about the sale pegged to be close to $145 million but did note that a project is in the works. “We are still in the early planning phase for the site and will have more to share over the coming months,” she remarked.

[Read more: "Lidl to Debut 1st Stand-Alone Ground-Up Store in New York"]

Lidl acquired the property from NorthPoint Development, which owns the 1,800-acre campus on which the warehouse will sit. According to local media, the campus will eventually include more than 20 buildings. 

Lidl currently operates several stores in Pennsylvania, including locations in Philadelphia, Lancaster and Reading. The construction of a warehouse comes as Lidl is set to build out a store in the town of Warminster in Bucks County. In January, Lidl held a grand opening for its newest 36,000-square-foot location in Long Island, N.Y.

Neckarsulm, Germany-based Lidl operates around 11,550 stores and is active in 32 countries, employing more than 341,000 employees globally. The grocer runs about 170 stores in nine East Coast states. Lidl US is No. 89 on the PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.


Shipt Gains Chief People and Community Officer

Shipt Amy Benson Headshot Teaser

Shipt has hired Amy Benson as its chief people and community officer. In her new role, Benson will lead the company’s comprehensive human resources function, including diversity, equity and inclusion, supporting Shipt’s 1,500-plus employees. She will also head up national and local corporate giving, economic development and community engagement initiatives.

“Amy brings remarkable knowledge and experience to Shipt,” said Shipt CEO Kamau Witherspoon to whom Benson will report. “Amy’s reputation as a strategic leader in developing talent and fostering community brings the expertise we need to continue building upon Shipt’s strong company culture.”

[Read more: "Shipt Debuts Local Accelerator Program to Help Small Businesses"]

With more than 20 years of human resources experience, Benson comes to Shipt from parent company Target, most holding the role of VP of human resources, in which capacity she led teams assisting with merchandising, strategy, product design and sourcing capabilities in the United States and internationally.

“From supporting careers to investing in the livelihood of our communities, I'm excited to help propel Shipt forward as a top place to work in tech,” noted Benson, who is based in Minneapolis. “I was drawn to Shipt’s company culture and industry-leading commitment to have the most diverse team in tech by 2025.”

Shipt 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. Founded and based in Birmingham, Ala., Shipt also maintains an office in San Francisco.


Blue Apron Files At-the-Market Equity Offering Program

Blue Apron

Meal kit company Blue Apron has filed a prospectus supplement to its existing shelf registration statement on Form S-3 with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), under which it may offer and sell shares of its Class A common stock having an aggregate offering price of up to $70 million through an “at-the-market” equity offering program.

This program is intended to provide the company with access to capital from time to time. The aggregate offering price of up to $70 million represents the remaining amount available for issuance under the company’s shelf registration statement declared effective by the SEC on Nov. 10, 2022. The number of shares to be sold, if any, under the at-the-market program will depend on, among other factors, market conditions, the company’s capital needs, and the anticipated benefits to the company and its shareholders.  

Blue Apron intends to use the net proceeds from any sales of shares under the at-the-market program for general corporate purposes, including to:

Fund working capital, operating expenses and capital expenditures;
Potentially pay down some or all of its debt; and
Provide the company with greater flexibility to pursue, evaluate and potentially execute upon other financing opportunities, a potential business combination or other strategic transaction.

The shares will be offered through Canaccord Genuity as sales agent.

Blue Apron will release its fourth-quarter and full-year 2022 financial results on March 16. In reporting its third-quarter earnings on Nov. 7, the New York-based company withdrew its previously reported revenue growth target of 7% to 13% for fiscal 2022 as pandemic-related demand for its meal kits keeps cooling off. Blue Aprons number of customers fell by 7.7% in the third quarter. Additionally, in December, Blue Apron revealed that it was cutting about 10% of its corporate workforce as part of a plan to drastically reduce expenses amid stagnant sales.