News Briefs


Cardenas Markets Lotería Scratcher Sweepstakes Back With $1M in Prizes

Cardenas Markets Loteria 2023 Teaser

Hispanic independent grocer Cardenas Markets has brought back its Lotería Scratcher Sweepstakes, which this year features more than $1 million in prizes, a $150,000 increase from last year’s program. The sweepstakes program runs through June 13 at all 64 Cardenas locations.

“Every day, we work hard to bring families and communities together through our fresh and authentic product offerings,” said Cardenas Chief Marketing Officer Adam Salgado. “Cardenas Markets Lotería is a very fun way to bring people of different generations together, and it’s so fitting that we bring this beloved cultural game back to our stores in an even bigger and better way.”

Through the purchase of participating sponsor products, customers will receive one scratch card with an instant-win prize, or a code for a free digital scratcher, which can be accessed online. Registering the unique code found on the digital scratcher gives a customer the chance to win such prizes as an Apple iPad, an Apple AirPod Pro, a $200 Cardenas Gift Card or home electronics. 

Participants may even have the opportunity to play in the Lotería semifinal game for a chance to win free groceries for a year, $10,000 or the grand prize of $50,000. According to the grocer, sweepstakes participants have a one-in-five chance to receive such instant-win prizes as food from Cardenas’ Cocina and Panadería.

Ontario, Calif.-based Cardenas operates 57 stores under the Cardenas Markets banner and seven stores under the Los Altos Ranch Markets banner. Cardenas is one of the largest Hispanic grocery chains in the country, with stores in California, Nevada and Arizona. 



Meijer Details Family-Friendly Activities, Amenities at Upcoming LPGA Tournament

meijer teaser

As it prepares for its annual LPGA Classic golf tournament that tees off on June 15, Meijer has revealed some updates to the event. Again this year, many of the amenities and programs are designed to be family friendly.

According to Meijer, the family care area will be expanded to two on-course locations. The air-conditioned areas will provide space and features for nursing mothers and parents.

Additionally, the popular Discovery Land area for families is returning this year, Meijer said. Located off the 18th fairway, the open-air destination offers a mini golf course, corn hole and fowling lawn games, along with card-making activities and appearances by characters from Universal Studios and PBS.

“Meijer is a family company that's committed to meeting the needs of families across the Midwest, and that commitment extends to the Meijer LPGA Classic,” said Cathy Cooper, executive director of the Meijer LPGA Classic. “We’re excited to bring back the family-focused elements of our event that children love and adults appreciate, as well as add a few new things to make this our most memorable tournament yet.”

For tournament visitors of all ages, Meijer is also bringing back its Grand Taste Concessions space. The budget-friendly menu features items like cheeseburgers and hot dogs sold for under $4.

Spectators can enjoy other fare on the course, too. Earlier this month, Meijer said that it’s expanding the J. Brewer’s food pavilion that offers all-you-can-eat dining. This year, guests can enjoy a new “Frederik’s” food experience featuring products that are part of the retailer’s Frederik’s line of premium private label items.

The 2023 Meijer LPGA Classic will be held at Blythefield Country Club near Meijer’s corporate headquarters in Grand Rapids, Mich., from June 15 through June 18. The event features 144 of the best female golfers who compete over 72 holes of stroke play. Proceeds from the tournament benefit Meijer’s Simply Give program supporting food pantries across the Midwest. Children ages 17 and under get free admission when accompanied by a ticketed adult.

Privately owned Meijer operates more than 400 supercenters, neighborhood markets and Express locations throughout Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin. The company is No. 20 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.


Louisiana Fish Fry Products Names Rookie 'Chief Fry Officer'

Marcus Spears

A provider of Louisiana-inspired ingredients has recruited a new CFO – chief fry officer.  Baton Rouge, La.-based Louisiana Fish Fry Products revealed that Marcus Spears will take on that new role, providing cooking tips, sharing recipes and serving as a brand ambassador.

Spears, who played in the National Football League as a defensive end for the Dallas Cowboys, is currently a football analyst on ESPN. Off the gridiron, he is known for his cooking prowess. In addition to lending his culinary skills to Louisiana Fish Fry Products, he will be featured in the company’s TV, radio and social media campaigns.

"I've lived all over the U.S. in my career, and cooking with Louisiana Fish Fry Products always reminds me of home," said Spears. "Growing up in Baton Rouge, I was always watching my grandmother cook for us. I would watch her fry fish in a cast iron skillet using 'the blue bag' mix, which made it so crispy and flavorful. As I got older and started cooking for myself, I quickly learned the blue bag was Louisiana Fish Fry. So I guess you could say I have a pretty impressive resume to join the team as chief fry officer."

Caroline Gray, the company’s VP of marketing, said that Spears is a natural fit for the fun educational role. "We knew our chief fry officer role needed to be filled by someone who appreciates Louisiana flavor, brings the spice to the kitchen and can pass a good time," noted Gray. 


Retail Learning Institute, Qstream Expand Food Retailer Training

Qstream Retail Learning Institute Teaser

The Retail Learning Institute and IGA Coca-Cola Institute have joined forces with microlearning provider Qstream to add its science-based approach to their lineup of learning resources and technology for independent food retailers.

Chicago-based RLI, part of the Independent Grocers Alliance (IGA), offers 600-plus industry-specific blended learning courses for onboarding, compliance, department operations training and more. It selected Qstream to offer customers science-backed knowledge reinforcement via the provider’s spaced-repetition methodology. Qstream’s bite-size on-the-go microlearning interventions test and reinforce key information from training courses to ensure that employees’ skills stay sharp. The platform’s analytics also identify knowledge gaps so HR, training teams and store operators can take action.

“To be successful in retail environments, you must focus on your front-line workers,” said Paulo Goelzer, CEO of Retail Learning Institute/IGA Coca-Cola Institute. “Qstream helps us deliver a modern and valuable learning experience for employees without pulling them out of the floor, helping organizations improve workplace safety and customer service to give them a competitive edge.”

Added Dan Whelan, CEO of Boston-based Qstream, “Reinforcement is a critical component of any training program, and we have no doubt that the retail space will benefit from utilizing our scientifically proven microlearning platform.”


Shoppers See Drug Stores as Grocery Destinations, Too


A new study from Acosta Group affirms that shoppers use trips to drug stores to stock up on everyday essentials, including groceries. According to Acosta’s "Drug Store Channel Shopper Insights Study," released ahead of the upcoming National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) meeting, 69% of drug store shoppers look for groceries, personal needs items, and other food and nonfood products for themselves or their families. That’s about equal to the 71% who go to those stores to pick up prescriptions and the 70% who shop the pharmacy area for over-the-counter items.

The survey also underscored growth and potential in this retail sector, which gained strength during the pandemic and has been fueled by consumers’ overall interest in health and wellness. "We heard repeatedly from drug store shoppers that convenient location, discounted pricing and one-stop shopping are appealing drivers in choosing drug stores over other retail options," said Kathy Risch, SVP, consumer insights and trends at Jacksonville, Fla.-based Acosta.

In a competitive retail market, brick-and-mortar drug stores are seeing traffic increases. Acosta’s survey showed that 58% of consumers visit drug stores two to three times a month, and a third of younger shoppers have increased their number of trips to such locations.

Younger shoppers, including Millennial and Gen Z customers, are also more likely to place orders on a drug store’s e-commerce site. When buying online, customers of all types are purchasing a variety of products, with 61% of survey respondents reporting that they buy groceries and other household goods from stores’ apps and websites.  

"As we work with our clients, we are focusing on the importance of the omnichannel experience to grow opportunities within small-format retail. Critical to success in drug stores is bridging the gap between the physical and digital shelf to meet the way consumers want to shop this channel," observed Shannon Hodock, SVP, client development at Acosta.

Survey participants also shared areas for improvement at both physical and online drug stores. Among other suggestions, shoppers said they would like to see more staff members, fewer out-of-stocks and more consistent online ordering experiences.


ALDI Adds Exclusive Mother’s Day Gifts to Its ‘Aisle of Fun’

Aldi Bag Teaser

ALDI is preparing for Mother’s Day with premium exclusive gifts starting at just $4. Gifts include everything from sparkling rosé and a wine-dispensing tote, to home décor and kitchen must-haves such as serving boards.

The limited-time ALDI Finds will be available in the retailer’s famous “Aisle of Fun” throughout the rest of April. Self-care gifts include slippers, bath bombs and a candle, while gifts for the home cook include a roasting pan, serving board and cheese knives. Gifts are also available for the wine lover and the home decor lover, such as a 4-pack of glassware and a vintage area rug.

Last month, ALDI unveiled its latest line of wearables that reflects its loyal fan base as well as its focus on affordability. This ALDI Gear Collection is larger than last year’s original line and includes everything from tchotchkes to accessories to clothing, all priced under $10.

ALDI is one of America’s fastest-growing retailers, serving millions of customers across the country each month. With about 2,200 stores in 38 states, Batavia, Ill.-based ALDI U.S. employs 45,000-plus associates and is No. 24 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.