News Briefs


SpartanNash Planting 20K Trees

SpartanNash Earth Day Mangrove Trees Planting Ecodrive Teaser

Food solutions company SpartanNash has joined forces with sustainability solutions organization Ecodrive to plant 20,000 mangrove trees in Kenya to celebrate Earth Day on April 22. Mangroves capture and store millions of pounds of carbon dioxide in their lifetime. They also create a habitat for hundreds of organisms and protect shorelines from erosion and storm surges. For every 100 trees planted, one full workday is created for a villager in need.

Los Angeles-based Ecodrive uses on-the-ground monitoring, data verification and storage through the application of blockchain technology to improve transparency and trust in the tree-planting process. The process ensures that trees won’t be double-counted or misattributed, and allows Ecodrive to track overall survivability, measuring real climate impact over time. 

In related news, HelloFresh-owned meal-kit provider Green Chef  has partnered with  One Tree Planted to plant a tree in northern Thailand for every new and returning customer who signs up to receive a Green Chef box of meal kits in April.

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 thetop food and consumables retailers in North America, the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based company serves customer locations in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, Europe, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Honduras, Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Djibouti, Korea and Japan. SpartanNash also operates 147 supermarkets and employs 17,500-plus associates. Berlin-based  HelloFresh operates in 18 international markets and is No. 50 on The PG 100.


NJEDA Approves Food Desert Relief Tax Credit Program

New Jersey Takes Steps to Eradicate Food Deserts

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) board has approved proposed rules for a $240 million Food Desert Relief Tax Credit Program, which will help address food access challenges by attracting and retaining new supermarkets in the 50 Food Desert Communities (FDCs) designated by the NJEDA last year. Additionally, the board approved the sale of up to $50 million of the $240 million in tax credits in 2023, the proceeds of which will fund future grant, loan and technical assistance programs under the Food Desert Relief Act (FDRA). These programs will help increase availability of nutritious foods and develop new approaches to alleviate food insecurity.

“Food insecurity is a widespread and longstanding issue that has been exacerbated by the pandemic, and New Jersey is taking innovative steps to ensure no resident goes hungry,” said Gov. Phil Murphy. “By expanding grocery options in an intentional manner, more families across our state’s food desert communities will be able to put affordable and healthy food on their tables. Fighting food insecurity fosters greater well-being for countless communities and families, advancing our vision for a truly stronger, fairer New Jersey economy.”

The Food Desert Relief Tax Credit program establishes two types of tax credits that encourage resiliency of supermarkets for a lasting impact on communities. Both are available to new and rehabilitated supermarkets within the areas designated as FDCs, which span all 21 New Jersey counties and are home to more than 1.5 million residents. The Financing Gap Tax Credit will provide up to 40% of a projects costs for development of the first new supermarket located in any one FDC, and up to 20% for the second new supermarket. A complete overview of the rules and more information on the Food Desert Relief Tax Credit program can be found here.


Lidl Sets Grand Opening for Latest Virginia Store

Lidl exterior

Lidl is getting ready to lift the lid on its latest store in Virginia. The German grocer that regularly touts its low prices is set open a location at 14445 Chantilly Crossing Lane in the town of Chantilly, Va., on May 3.

The latest outpost is the 33rd Lidl in the state of Virginia. As it opens its doors in a new town, Lidl is planning a grand opening that includes giveaways, free samples and Lidl swag. The first 100 customers in line will receive store gift cards ranging from $5 to $100. The retailer is marking its entrance in the area by donating $1 to a local food bank for every shopper who signs up for the myLidl membership program.

[Read more: "Lidl Planning New Ground-Up Warehouse in Pennsylvania"]

Like other Lidl stores, this one will feature fresh produce, baked goods, grocery staples and, as the company puts it, “a rotating selection of non-food surprises and global flavors.” For digital consumers, Lidl also offers same-day home delivery through the third-party Shipt platform.

The store is hosting a sneak peek the night before the official opening. During an open house from 5 to 6 p.m. on May 2, interested consumers can check out the gleaming new store and learn more about the grocer.

The Chantilly Lidl will be open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

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.


Volpi Foods Introduces New Eco-Pack

Volpi Foods Eco-Pack Teaser

Family-owned cured meat producer Volpi Foods has rolled out a new Eco-Pack for the company’s premium charcuterie product line. The paper material used in Volpi’s Eco-Pack is curbside recyclable once separated from its thin liner. Additionally, the shelf life of the packaging is equivalent to that of the brand’s previous plastic packaging, so there’s no increase in food waste resulting from the switch to paper-based packaging.

Grocery stores across the country will start carrying Volpi products in the updated packaging this summer. A 3-ounce package of any premium variety will retail for a suggested $7.99.

[Read more: "EXCLUSIVE: How the Meat Industry Is Catching Up to Change"]

The move to Eco-Pack takes Volpi’s sustainability efforts to the next level with even more plastic reductions. In 2021, The company transitioned its entire pre-sliced line to its first Eco-Pack offering, which reduced plastic use by 70%. Since this rollout, Volpi has diverted more than 128 tons of plastic and is currently reducing plastic by 80%.

“Our goal is to reduce the use of single-use plastic packaging, and we are proud to have achieved this,” said Lorenza Pasetti, CEO of St. Louis-based Volpi. “For all of us to do our part in reducing plastic use, we know companies like ours need to make meaningful changes in how we package our products. It’s a win-win for consumers: Why not buy a delicious product that’s in eco-friendly packaging?”

The winner of a 2022 Mindful Award, Volpi sources only responsibly raised meat from local Midwest farmers, and all of its products are always all-natural, non-GMO and gluten-free; start with fresh, never frozen, meat; and are made without nitrates or nitrites. 


Insite AI Brings in Former Coca-Cola Exec Capri Brixey

Capri Brixey

Insite AI, which offers category and assortment optimization solutions for large consumer brands, has tapped seasoned CPG pro Capri Brixey as its new EVP of strategy consulting.

Brixey joins Insite AI from The Coca Cola Co., where she was VP of sales and customer leadership. Her background also includes a five-year role at Keurig Dr Pepper, where she managed the national Kroger warehouse direct portfolio, and a tenure at Delhaize America/Food Lion, where she was an assistant category manager and competitive market analyst. In her role at Insite AI, Brixey will work with CPG executives to address issues such category strategies, revenue management, product affordability and availability.

Insite AI CEO Shaveer Mirpuri welcomed Brixey to the company, as it continues to add CPG leaders to its executive roster. “Capri’s renowned experience across channels in food and beverage makes her an invaluable asset to executives at large CPGs looking to solve today’s key problems. Insite AI is thrilled to provide our global top 50 brand partners with her market intelligence and history of driving difference-making change,” said Mirpuri.

“Whether it is a sales team, category advisory team, financial team or any business unit throughout the organization, every CPG company today is having to do more with less, but you cannot continue to apply the same legacy processes and expect to accelerate volume, achieve sales growth and become category leaders with fewer resources,” Brixey declared. “CPG companies have evolved so quickly in terms of technology and data usage, but they have not caught up with how to resource against those assets appropriately. AI is where CPGs need to evolve, and Insite AI is a critical piece of this evolution.”

Bee Cave, Texas-based Insite AI completed a $19 million Series A funding round last fall and reported it has tripled in revenue over the last 15 months.


Save Mart, Lucky Rolling Out ‘Women In Wine’ Series

Wine tasting teaser

The Save Mart Cos. is spotlighting some of California’s trailblazing women winemakers this month at several Save Mart and Lucky locations. Nearly 20 vintners will be represented as their women winemakers make special appearances at in-store tastings during the new “Women in Wine” series.

The series will take place at select Lucky and Save Mart stores in California’s Greater Bay Area and Central Valley from April 14-23. Vintners featured include Apothic, Bogle, Kendall Jackson, La Crema, Louis Martini, Oak Ridge and many more.

[Read more: "Save Mart to Close Lucky Store in SF Bay Area"]

“We are very proud of our longstanding relationships with these California vintners and pleased to feature these award-winning brands which are accessible and readily available to our shoppers every day,” said Jeff Feist, director of alcohol, wine and beer for The Save Mart Cos. “This is an exciting opportunity for our shoppers to visit ‘wine country’ inside our stores and enjoy a fun and educational tasting room experience while meeting creative and innovative women winemakers at their local Save Mart and Lucky grocery store.”

Based in Modesto, Calif., The Save Mart Cos. operates more than 200 retail stores under the banners of Save Mart, Lucky California and FoodMaxx. The company also operates SMART Refrigerated Transport and is a partner in Super Store Industries. Save Mart is No. 55 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.