News Briefs


GS1 U.S. Issues New Guidance for Food Industry Traceability

FDA HQ Teaser

Not-for-profit information standards organization GS1 US has published a new guideline to help the food industry use GS1 Standards in compliance with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) Food Traceability Final Rule, which requires additional traceability records for certain foods under Section 204 of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

[Read more: "USDA Strengthens Rules Related to Organic Products"]

Industry members of the GS1 US Foodservice and Retail Grocery Working Groups created the “Application of GS1 System of Standards to Support FSMA 204” document, which lays out the best practices for product and location identification, structured product descriptions, and the recording of common industry-defined events to support the additional traceability requirements. The Final Rule requires companies that physically handle certain foods on the FDA Food Traceability List to keep more detailed records on critical tracking events and key data elements for two years. If a recall occurs, data transfer of those records will also be required within 24 hours to expedite recalls and to help limit foodborne illness. The new guidance document shows how voluntary GS1 Standards can help prepare systems and business processes to meet the January 2026 compliance deadline.

“Through our collaboration with many stakeholders, technology providers and associations, industry now has guidance that will help them extend their investment in GS1 Standards and also support data requirements for this new Final Rule,” noted Angela Fernandez, VP of community engagement at Ewing, N.J.-based GS1 US. “This guideline will help all companies that handle food to maximize supply chain visibility and ultimately advance food safety practices.”


USDA’s Proposed Rule to Better Clarify ‘Made in the USA’ Claims

Meat Case Teaser

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has released a proposed rule with new regulatory requirements to better align the voluntary “Product of USA” label claim with consumer understanding of what the claim means. The proposed rule allows the “Product of USA” or “Made in the USA” claim to be used on meat, poultry and egg products only when they are derived from animals born, raised, slaughtered and processed in the United States.

In July 2021, USDA initiated a comprehensive review to understand what the “Product of USA” claim means to consumers. As part of its review, USDA commissioned a nationwide consumer survey that revealed the current “Product of USA” labeling claim is misleading to a majority of consumers, with a significant portion believing it means that the product was made from animals born, raised, slaughtered and processed in the United States.

[Read more: “Cuts to SNAP Benefits and What They Mean for Grocers”]

USDA’s comprehensive review shows that there is a clear need to revise the current label claim so that it more accurately conveys U.S. origin information. The increased clarity and transparency would prevent consumer confusion and help ensure that consumers understand where their food comes from.

“American consumers expect that when they buy a meat product at the grocery store, the claims they see on the label mean what they say,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “These proposed changes are intended to provide consumers with accurate information to make informed purchasing decisions. Our action today affirms USDA’s commitment to ensuring accurate and truthful product labeling.”

USDA encourages stakeholders, both domestic and international, to comment on the proposed rule, which will be open for public comment for 60 days after being published in the Federal Register. Public comments can be submitted at


Blue Apron Does Brunch

Blue Apron Brunch Box Teaser

Meal kit company Blue Apron has introduced its first-ever Brunch Box, which is available to order now. Designed to serve up to six, the limited-time seasonal offering features Blue Apron’s most popular breakfast recipes with brand-new ingredients. The full menu consists of:

• Avocado Toast with Feta, Radishes & Chives
• Brown Sugar & Maple Candied Bacon
• Cheesy Asparagus Quiche with Romesco Aioli & Marinated Artichokes
• Overnight French Toast Bake with Blueberries & Lemon Curd

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“Our Brunch Box includes recipes to make guests happy, from vibrant plant-forward options with fresh produce, to more decadent choices for the sweet tooth at the table,” said John Adler, SVP of physical product at New York-based Blue Apron. “With this menu, customers don’t have to choose. Stemming from the ongoing success of our breakfast add-ons, we’ve evolved the category to provide customers with a complete brunch offering.” 

Shipping April 3 through Mother’s Day (May 14), or while supplies last, the Brunch Box can be ordered as part of a subscription through Blue Apron’s website and mobile app, and without a subscription on the Blue Apron Market, and The company offers seasonal meal kits throughout the year that can be purchased with or without a subscription. 


Nalley Fresh to Open Within Giant Food Store

Giant Food Awards Microgrants Health and Wellness

Giant Food is testing a new foodservice-at-retail partnership. According to local media reports, a Giant Food store in Ellicott City, Md., is close to opening a Nalley Fresh outpost.

The Baltimore-based fast-casual chain specializes in salads, bowls and wraps and currently operates nine locations in Maryland, including a site at Baltimore/Washington International Airport. The first Nalley Fresh within a Giant Food store will be unveiled at the end of March at 9200 Baltimore National Pike.

[Read more: "Giant Food's Newest Maryland Store Touts Upgraded Amenities, Departments"]

The chain’s owner, Greg Nalley, told the Baltimore Business Journal that the concept may expand into other Giant Food stores. "They have a lot of stores where they want to do this," he reported. 

Based in Landover, Md., Giant Food operates 165 supermarkets in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and the District of Columbia, with approximately 20,000 associates. Included within the 165 stores are 153 full-service pharmacies, more than 80 full-service PNC Banks and 29 Starbucks locations. Parent company Ahold Delhaize USA is No. 10 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.


SpartanNash Raises $235K for Special Olympics

SpartanNash Special Olympics Teaser

SpartanNash customers recently put a fundraising effort over the finishing line, raising $205,000 for Special Olympics. The SpartanNash Foundation kicked in another $30,000 to support the organization’s athletes and State Summer Games in eight states across its retail footprint. Funds will go directly to Special Olympics affiliates in each state.

The food solutions company’s fundraiser ran Feb. 8-24 at SpartanNash-owned stores, where shoppers could round up their purchase or add $1, $5 or $10 at checkout or online through the company’s e-commerce Fast Lane platform.

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“We’re extremely proud of our ongoing partnership with the Special Olympics and our communities who show up year after year to support opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities to develop new skills and friendships,” said Adrienne Chance, SVP at SpartanNash and executive director of the SpartanNash Foundation. “As a People First company, we are honored to celebrate our own associate athletes as well as the other children and adults who demonstrate incredible courage and commitment within their sports.” To Chance’s point, 16 Special Olympics athletes are SpartanNash employees with a combined 148 years of service.

“We are always amazed, but never shocked, when the SpartanNash community turns out in support of our organization and athletes,” said Tim Hileman, president and CEO of Special Olympics Michigan. “The energy they put into this annual fundraiser, combined with the volunteer and cheer time, speaks to the Foundation’s long-standing commitment to the Special Olympics.”

SpartanNash’s core businesses include distributing grocery products to independent and chain retailers, its corporate-owned retail stores, and U.S. military commissaries and exchanges, as well as fresh produce distribution and fresh food processing. No. 41 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America, the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based also operates 147 supermarkets and employs 17,500-plus associates.  


H-E-B Remodeling San Antonio Store, Growing 110,000 Square Feet

h-e-b lincoln heights

More than two decades after it first opened its doors in San Antonio, Texas, the H-E-B in Lincoln Heights is getting a new look. The retailer has started a complete wall-to-wall remodel and expansion of its store at 999 East Basse Road.

“Our team is hard at work reinventing our Lincoln Heights store to better reflect and serve this vibrant community,” said Kyle Stevens, H-E-B group VP San Antonio. “We want to create a store our loyal customers can be proud of, and we look forward to continue offering a quality shopping experience and the best H-E-B has to offer.”

[Read more: "H-E-B and Favor Delivery Subsidiary Celebrate 5 Years of Partnership"]

Once work is complete, every department throughout the store will be expanded to serve customers, growing the store to more than 110,000 square feet. The store will feature new and upgraded departments, a larger product assortment, an expanded curbside area with more dedicated parking, and a new pharmacy drive-thru. Additionally, there are plans for a True Texas BBQ in-store restaurant, which will include indoor and outdoor seating.

The store will remain operational during the renovations.

“At H-E-B, our customers mean everything to us, and we are grateful to the Lincoln Heights customer for their continued patience during this exciting remodel,” said Elisa Gutierrez, H-E-B Lincoln Heights store leader.

The largest privately held employer in Texas, San Antonio-based H-E-B has more than 430 stores and 154,000 employees in Texas and Mexico. The grocer’s store formats include H-E-B, Central Market, Joe V’s Smart Shop and Mi Tienda. H-E-B also owns Favor Delivery, a service available in cities across Texas. The company is No. 16 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.