News Briefs


Kroger Lauded for Associate Mental Health Access

Kroger Cashier Teaser

The Kroger Co. has been awarded the 2023 Gold Bell Seal for Workplace Mental Health by Mental Health America. The award is a first-of-its-kind workplace mental health certification that recognizes employers who create mentally healthy workplaces for their employees.

Kroger’s policies and practices in four areas were evaluated, including workplace culture, benefits, compliance and wellness programs. The grocer earned a score of 100% in the wellness programs category for its offerings, programs and perks that support associates' mental health and promote a positive workplace culture.

[Read more: "Kroger Expanding In-Store Retail Media Push"]

"The Kroger Family of Companies is committed to creating a respectful and caring environment where our associates can thrive," said Tim Massa, SVP and chief people officer. "We are honored to once again receive this recognition, and we will continue our efforts to support our associates' overall well-being, including their mental, physical and financial health."

Cincinnati-based Kroger has almost 2,800 retail food stores under a variety of banner names. The company is No. 4 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. PG also named Kroger one of the Retailers of the Century.


NotCo Brings on New Global VP of Marketing

Louise M

Food tech company NotCo announced the hiring of Louise McKerrow as global VP of marketing. In this role, she will work with Chief Marketing Officer Fernando Machado to lead integrated global marketing functions and oversee all branding communications for NotCo, which uses AI to create a food development platform to match the taste, texture and smell of animal-based proteins with plant-based ingredients.

McKerrow previously worked at Argentine e-commerce company Mercado Libre, where she bolstered brand communications for Mercado Libre and Mercado Pago in Latin America. For 10 years, she held various global marketing roles at Diageo for brands like Tanqueray, Captain Morgan and Baileys.

[Read more: "NotCo Appoints New U.S. General Manager"]

Machado said that she will be a good fit as NotCo brings its business to the next level. "At NotCo our mission is to revolutionize the food industry and we need the best of the best to fuel our growth and deliver our mission,” he said. “Louise has a demonstrated history of brand building and outperforming growth goals in the competitive worlds of consumer goods and e-commerce. With her global marketing experience and her track record building world-class teams I am really excited she is joining NotCo.”

NotCo recently added NotBurger and NotChicken products to a portfolio that launched with NotMilk in 2020. The company also teamed up Kraft Heinz on a new venture, The Kraft Heinz Not Company, to develop NotMayo and NotCheese products in the U.S.


Tops Expands Instacart Services in New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont

Tops Teaser

Tops Markets LLC has expanded its Instacart services to encompass more stores in Pennsylvania and Vermont, in addition to its robust New York offerings. This added convenience will allow shoppers to have their weekly groceries delivered right to their door.

[Read more: "Reusable Bag Promo at Tops Raises $519K+"]

Already in 139 Tops locations throughout its footprint, the home delivery feature will now be available to shoppers at the following eight new Tops locations:

• 16 W. Main Street, Hancock, N.Y.
• 273 Main Street, North Creek, N.Y.
• 82 VT Route 15W, Hardwick, Vt.
• 7544 Court Street, Elizabeth Town, N.Y.
• 11 Main Street, Wellsboro, Pa.
• 111 Bolivar Road, Wellsville, N.Y.
• 64 E. Washington Street, Ellicottville, N.Y.
• 51 W. Main Street, Randolph Plaza, Randolph, N.Y.

“We’re excited to bring even more convenience to the shoppers across our various markets,” said Jillian Sirica, manager, digital marketing for Tops. “This expansion marks our 14th expansion since Tops launched Instacart services in 2017, allowing us to serve 95% of our population.”

Williamsville, N.Y.-based Tops Markets LLC has approximately 150 supermarkets, including five franchise stores, and employs more than 14,000 associates in New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont. The banner’s parent company, Northeast Grocery Inc., is No. 45 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.


Freshmart Taps eGrowcery to Boost Digital Sales

Freshmart Teaser

Freshmart, a natural food retailer with seven stores in Puerto Rico, has adopted online sales and fulfillment solutions from white-label software-as-a-service-based e-commerce platform eGrowcery. The customized Freshmart system focuses on prepared and fresh food, along with fulfillment options that include store pickup and integrated delivery to start.

“We needed an e-commerce solution that offers a wide variety of items and speaks to our customers clearly,” said Jorge Machado, president of San Juan-based Freshmart. “eGrowcery provides us everything we require to operate a vibrant experience that meets the demands of our existing shoppers and will attract new ones.”

[Read More:Hitchcock’s Keeps Customers Coming Back With Better Digital Experience”]

Freshmart chose eGrowcery because of the solution’s flexibility, integration with the grocer’s point of sale, and custom payments integration approach to support the Puerto Rican market.

“E-commerce continues to expand in Puerto Rico, where we are seeing demand for more robust tools from retailers,” noted Patrick Hughes, CEO of Bloomfield Hills-based eGrowcery, which “is well positioned to support retailers like Freshmart in providing all of the best-in-class capabilities for a unique shopping experience. The addition of a presence in Puerto Rico is a milestone for eGrowcery. We are committed to expanding our operations within the country and bringing forward emerging and innovative technology.” 


Big Y Appoints 3rd-Generation Leader to ESG Role

Big Y Maggie D'Amour Teaser

Big Y Foods Inc.’s board of directors has named Maggie E. D’Amour to the newly created position of senior manager of environmental, social and governance. In her new position, Maggie reviews, explores and recommends environmental and sustainability options and social responsibility strategies throughout the entire company.

This involves coordinating with other teams to establish overall sustainability goals in such areas as energy sourcing, waste management and eco-friendly packaging, as well as collaborating with several groups to develop social responsibility strategies. She reports to Mathieu “Matt” L. D’Amour, VP real estate and development.

[Read more: “Big Y Promotes 5 to New Management Roles”]

In 2000, Maggie joined the company as a part-time service clerk. She then took on such roles as cashier and floral clerk before transitioning to a full-time associate as an employee services representative. In 2016, she became an assistant store director and a year later was named a store director, a role she held at several supermarkets before being appointed to her latest position.

A Progressive Grocer Top Woman in Grocery in 2021, she has earned a BA from Providence College and FMI’s Food Retailer Certification.

“As a member of the third generation of D’Amours involved in the business, Maggie is passionate about securing the longevity of Big Y while also preserving our planet,” noted Matt. “We look forward to strengthening and expanding our commitment to sustainability.”

One of the largest independently owned supermarket chains in New England, Springfield, Mass.-based Big Y operates locations throughout Massachusetts and Connecticut, including supermarkets, Table & Vine Fine Wines and Liquors, and Big Y Express gas and convenience locations with 10,000-plus employees. The company is No. 72 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.


Save Mart Ups its Retail Media Game

Save Mart

Broadening its digital reach, The Save Mart Cos. is teaming up with tech provider Swiftly to launch a retail media network. Through this venture, the parent company of Save MartLucky, and FoodMaxx banners hopes to bolster advertising opportunities for its suppliers and improve the omnichannel shopping experience for customers.

The new retail media network allows for integrated coupon clipping, loyalty/rewards experiences, product browsing, weekly ads, sign-in and store locator features, run of site, run of category, and retail media placements, among other tools.

“The Save Mart Cos.’ digital transformation journey is foundational to the company’s growth plan, including omnichannel engagement, loyalty and efficiency,” explained Tamara Pattison, SVP and chief digital officer at the grocer “Not only can we provide our CPG partners greater opportunities to expand their digital relationships with our growing customer base, but we can also enable them to drive greater performance and growth with improved targeting and measurement capabilities.”

Added Sean Turner, co-founder and CTO of Seattle-based Swiftly: “The addition of website tools, combined with the in-app experience, allows [The Save Mart Cos.] to provide a more consistent and connected digital experience to their customers while increasing reach, engagement and loyalty.”

Based in Modesto, Calif., The Save Mart Cos. operates more than 200 retail stores under the banners of Save Mart, Lucky California and FoodMaxx. In addition to its retail operation, the company also operates SMART Refrigerated Transport and is a partner in Super Store Industries, which owns and operates a distribution center in Lathrop, Calif., and the Sunnyside Farms dairy-processing plant in Turlock, Calif. Save Mart is No. 52 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.