News Briefs


Retailers to Implement Expanded Afresh Solution

Afresh Expansion Teaser

Grocers such as Cub, Fresh Thyme and Heinen’s have signed up for the expansion of Afresh Technologies, already known for its produce solution, into other core fresh departments, among them meat, seafood, deli and foodservice. The holistic AI-powered platform aims to optimize store ordering and operations by providing intelligent recommendations and streamlined ordering and inventory workflows.

“Afresh has been an incredibly supportive and proactive partner as we’ve implemented their produce solution across all of our corporate stores,” noted Luke Anderson, CIO of Stillwater, Minn.-based Cub. “Having a lightweight, fully comprehensive solution that connects across other fresh departments should unlock even more benefits for our customers and store teams.”

[Read more: "Albertsons, Afresh Complete AI-Powered Platform Rollout"]

“After proving our ability to add value in thousands of stores in produce, we have been overwhelmed by demand to launch the Afresh platform in other fresh departments,” said Matt Schwartz, CEO and co-founder of San Francisco-based Afresh. “We are taking the same approach of bringing easy-to-use AI-powered tools to these historically underserved, strategically critical departments.”

In the meat department, for example, associates using Afresh can save time by placing pre-filled orders for packaged fresh products with longer shelf lives, like bacon. They can also boost order accuracy with intelligent recommendations for high-value, hyper-perishable items like fresh poultry, increasing in-stock rates and profits while reducing labor overhead.

To date, Afresh customers have seen an average 3% sales lift and 25% shrink reduction in their produce departments – a collective 31 million pounds of food waste prevented so far, according to the company.

Cub’s parent company, Providence, R.I.-based UNFI, the largest publicly traded grocery distributor in America, is No. 49 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America, while Downers Grove, Ill.-based Fresh Thymeis No. 91 on PG’s list.


Giant Eagle, Flashfood Divert 1M Pounds of Food From Landfills

Giant eagle

Giant Eagle is making real strides against food waste, announcing it has diverted more than a million pounds of food from landfills through its partnership with Flashfood. In reaching that milestone, the program that connects shoppers with heavily discounted food nearing its best-before date also saved consumers nearly $2.5 million on groceries.

"At Giant Eagle, we're constantly looking for ways to reduce in-store generated food waste and achieve carbon neutrality," said Dan Donovan, Giant Eagle spokesperson. "Flashfood has been incredibly impactful to our efforts and goals. Today's milestone is a testament to the success of the program in the communities that we serve."

Added Josh Domingues, Flashfood's founder and CEO: "This milestone is just the beginning of the impact we will continue to have in partnership with Giant Eagle. The one million pounds of food saved so far demonstrates just how much we can achieve through like-minded partnerships centered around sustainability. Giant Eagle has consistently proven their commitment to giving families access to quality, affordable foods while doing good for the planet."

Giant Eagle rolled out Flashfood Zones inside several of its stores in 2021. Shoppers at 167 locations can now use the app to buy groceries at up to a 50% discount and cut down on food waste.

The addition of the Flashfood program at Giant Eagle stores is part of the retailer’s broader sustainability initiative. That initiative set a goal of diverting 90% of waste from landfills by 2025. Overall, Giant Eagle committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2024, with a first target of 50% carbon dioxide reduction by 2030.

Pittsburgh-based Giant Eagle operates more than 490 stores throughout western Pennsylvania, north central Ohio, northern West Virginia, Maryland and Indiana. The company is No. 36 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer's 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.


Cooltrax Introduces Temperature-Monitoring Solutions for Grocery Industry

Cooltrax Teaser

Cooltrax, global provider of cold chain management solutions, has introduced its full suite of next-generation temperature monitoring solutions for the grocery industry during this week’s National Grocers Association Show in Las Vegas. The company says its advanced, affordable Fresh InTransit solutions offer real-time location tracking. They also provide refrigerated asset and product-level temperature monitoring for refrigerated trucks and trailers, as well as storage locations and mixed operations.

Roswell, Ga.-based Cooltrax works closely with food retailers and wholesalers, food/consumer packaged goods manufacturers and other industry businesses to quickly and cost-efficiently achieve full compliance with FSMA and customer requirements. According to the company, users also experience increased safety performance, stronger customer loyalty, dramatically reduced product spoilage, lower insurance costs and other benefits.

[Read more: "6 Business Imperatives for Grocers in 2023"]

Fresh InTransit solutions help grocery industry businesses master ever-evolving temperature management issues by monitoring the operation of truck and trailer-based refrigerated units, and measuring internal ambient compartment temperature, product temperature and the amount of time truck/trailer doors are open during the delivery process. The solutions communicate these measurements, in real time, through customer-defined protocols to enable users to quickly identify and address any emerging issue that could impact food safety.

The Fresh InTransit suite also includes the completely wireless, plug-and-play Cooltrax TempTracker remote temperature monitoring solution, which enables cold chain fleets to even more quickly and inexpensively achieve food safety compliance. The system, which can feed data to the Cooltrax Fresh InTransit telematics platform or work as a standalone solution, installs in just minutes.


Isom IGA’s Gwen Christon Named WGA Woman of the Year

WGA Woman of the Year Teaser

During the 2023 NGA Show, running Feb. 26-28 in Las Vegas, Women Grocers of America (WGA) presented its Woman of the Year Award to Gwen Christon, owner and operator of Isom IGA, in Isom, Ky. The award is given annually to a female grocer who shows strong leadership, a passion for the grocery industry and a commitment to her community.

“Gwen’s incredible journey began in 1973, when she began working at Isom IGA,” said Kristin Popp, WGA president and EVP at Jamesville, Wis.-based Woodman’s Markets. “She then purchased the store from previous owners in 1998, ensuring that the only grocery store in a 12-mile radius stayed in capable hands. Last summer, Gwen faced one of her greatest challenges as severe floodwaters destroyed her store and much of the surrounding community. Through her perseverance, determination and the strong community connections she had made throughout her career, the store is on track to open later this year.” 

Added Popp: “Gwen is truly an inspiration to women and young girls everywhere. I congratulate her on receiving this award and look forward to seeing what she accomplishes in the years to come.”

Additionally, during the pandemic, Christon, who was IGA Retailer of the Year in 2007, played a key role in feeding local children, teaming with a commercial kitchen to provide thousands of food boxes to neighbors in need. Christon also serves on a committee to recruit and retain teachers, custodians and other open roles.

“Gwen’s journey shows why local independent grocery stores are a linchpin for Americans,” said Greg Ferrara, president and CEO of Washington, D.C.-based NGA. “I’m inspired by Gwen’s resilience and can’t wait to see Isom IGA bounce back over the next few years.” 

Isom IGA was also named one of Progressive Grocer’s Outstanding Independents in 2023. 


H Mart Secures Another Location in Texas Capital

H Mart Teaser

Asian specialty grocer H Mart has plans to open a second location in Austin, Texas. According to the Austin Business Journal (ABJ), the retailer has leased an anchor space in a North Central Austin shopping center — not far from an H-E-B and 99 Ranch Market.

New Jersey-based H Mart leased more than 23,000 square feet at 5222 Burnet Road, near the intersection of North Loop Boulevard.

[Read more: “Multicultural Grocers Drive Sales by Catering to Increasingly Diverse America”]

Jason Jang of Total Realty Texas told the ABJ that the new location could open in spring of 2024, depending on permitting and other factors. H Mart currently operates an Austin store located at 11301 Lakeline Boulevard.

Its been a busy start to 2023 for the Asian supermarket chain. H Mart opened a store in Irvine, Calif., on Jan. 11. The grocer also expanded in its home state with a new store at the American Dream Mall in East Rutherford, N.J., on Feb. 17. And, known for its emphasis on foodservice, H Mart celebrated the reopening of its food hall at the H Mart in Edison, N.J., store on Feb. 14.

Operated by the Hanahreum Corp., H Mart opened its first store in the New York City borough of Queens in 1982, and now has more than 90 stores across the United States in Arizona, California, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia.


Cassida Pro Debuts New Cash Room Solution

cassida pro

Cash processing solutions company Cassida Pro has rolled out a new open-air cash recycler that automates cash handling procedures in a timelier, cost-effective way. The new system, the RevolAIR SR-B1, can count a cash and coin drawer in less than 45 seconds.

[Read more: "How Do Grocery Employees Rate their Large Employers?"]

According to Cassida Pro, the split recycler can be integrated into all banking and back-end software suites and through cellular or LAN API feeds and works well with high-volume multi-lane grocery setups. Among other capabilities, the system is designed to enable session-based counting, packaging and inventory recording of all on-site cash registers, tills and drawers, as well as all cash storage, such as safes and change drawers.

The RevolAIR SR-B1 is supported by the company’s cash room engineers who can assist from discovery to implementation.  The system is part of Cassida Pro’s portfolio of business-grade cash processing solutions.