Retailer-owned cooperative Wakefern Food Corp. has hired Parul Aggarwal to serve as VP, controller for Wakefern Financial Services. Aggarwal will oversee accounting operations, payroll, tax and compliance for the services company and report to Wakefern CFO Neil Falcone.
In her new role, Aggarwal will also head external financial reporting, including quarterly consolidations and financial statements, annual audited financial statements, and compliance. Prior to joining Wakefern, Aggarwal served as senior finance manager for Mondelēz International, and also previously held finance roles at Reckitt Benckiser, General Mills Canada and Kellogg’s Canada.
Keasbey, N.J.-based Wakefern comprises nearly 50 members that independently own and operate 360-plus supermarkets under the ShopRite, Price Rite Marketplace, The Fresh Grocer, Dearborn Market, Gourmet Garage and Fairway Market banners in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. Together with its member companies, Wakefern employs nearly 80,000 people. The company is No. 29 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.
Flagstone Foods Acquires Emerald Nuts From Campbell
Healthy snack manufacturer Flagstone Foods has acquired Emerald Nuts from Campbell Soup Co. Over its almost 20-year history, Emerald has been known for items such as grab-and-go 100 calorie packs and assorted glazed nut products.
Minneapolis-based Flagstone Foods is one of the largest manufacturers and distributors of private label snack nuts and trail mixes in North America. The company operates three plants, located in Robersonville, N.C.; El Paso, Texas; and Dothan, Ala. Flagstone's more than 800 team members source, process, package and distribute nuts, trail mixes, and other wholesome snacks to retail customers across the country. The company was acquired by Atlas Holdings in 2019 and in late 2022 hired CEO Harry Overly to accelerate the company's growth as a snacking solutions provider.
"Flagstone Foods has long been trusted by the nation's premier retailers to provide the highest quality snacks,” said Overly. “Emerald has been providing high-quality branded snack nuts since 2004 and is now the go-to option for consumers seeking better-for-you snacking on the go. Adding Emerald Nuts to our portfolio establishes a new avenue for Flagstone to service our customers with innovative snack products and unites two industry leaders with a shared commitment to the highest levels of product quality and innovation. Our Flagstone team is excited to welcome Emerald as a transformative acquisition to our portfolio and we're looking forward to continuing to drive growth for both Flagstone and our retail partners."
Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP served as legal advisor and Piper Sandler & Co. served as financial advisor to Flagstone.
Claiming to be the first indoor grower to offer salads with chicken, Local Bounti Corp. is rolling out two new grab-and-go kits. Select grocery stores in the Pacific Northwest will begin to carry Artisanal Chicken Caesar and Memphis Style BBQ Chicken salad kits in June, according to the Hamilton, Mont.-based indoor ag company.
Local Bounti uses a technology it calls “stack and flow” to provide sustainable, fresh produce on a year-round basis. The company’s lettuce varieties are used as a base for the new ready-to-eat salads with protein, which are made with other natural ingredients like antibiotic-free white meat chicken and fresh lemon.
"We doubled down on the incredible consumer demand for our existing Grab & Go Salad Kits by combining the same state-of-the-art growing techniques with chef-inspired flavors to offer two brand new and innovative products. We believe our Artisanal Chicken Caesar and Memphis Style BBQ Chicken salad kits will be a hit with consumers who are looking for fresh and convenient meal options that are also a good source of protein,” said Brian Cook, Local Bounti president.
Even as the grower is readying the new chicken salads, Local Bounti is planning more additions to the line in the coming months. The company continues to service more than 10,000 retail locations with greens grown in controlled-environment facilities that use 90% less land and 90% less water than conventional farming methods.
As H-E-B continues to build stores in the increasingly competitive Dallas-Fort Worth area, the Texas grocer is scaling up on the fulfillment side, too. The company is set to open a new e-commerce fulfillment center in Plano, as part of a hub and spoke system that will serve the growing number of physical H-E-B stores in the Metroplex.
Spanning more than 55,000 square feet, the fulfillment center is part of the H-E-B store in Plano that opened in November 2022. When it opens later this summer, the site will use automated systems, including robots on a grid setup, to pick orders for curbside and delivery. In addition to serving current stores in Plano and Frisco, the center will eventually fill orders for other planned stores in the towns of McKinney, Allen and Frisco.
This is the first e-commerce fulfillment center for H-E-B in North Texas, which operates five other facilities in the state.
Following a successful pilot, Morton Williams, a grocery retailer with 17 stores in the New York metropolitan area, has initially ordered from A2Z Smart Technologies Corp. 100 specially designed 75-liter Cust2Mate smart carts tailored for deployment in urban supermarkets. The pilot of the platform-as-a-service solution took place at Morton Williams’ West End Avenue store in the New York City borough of Manhattan.
“We are excited to expand our implementation of the Cust2Mate smart cart solution in our stores to elevate the shopping experience for our valued customers,” noted Avi Kaner, CEO of Bronx, N.Y.-based Morton Williams. “By incorporating innovative technology into our operations, we are better positioned to meet the evolving needs of our customers, saving them time and money. We believe that this partnership with A2Z Cust2Mate will further strengthen our competitive edge in the market.”
The agreement encompasses an upfront payment, a guaranteed monthly payment and a revenue-share agreement on added-value solutions such as advertising. This collaboration aims to empower Morton Williams to optimize its operations, enhance customer experiences and generate additional revenue.
“We are delighted to partner with Morton Williams, a respected leader in the food retail industry,” said Guy Mordoch, CEO of Tel Aviv-based A2Z’s subsidiary Cust2Mate. “This order reflects Morton Williams’ confidence in our Cust2Mate smart-cart solution and its ability to deliver tangible benefits to their customers and business. As we continue to expand our presence in the market, we remain committed to providing innovative technology solutions that drive growth and transformation for our clients.”
Foxtrot is bring its contemporary c-store/café format to another part of the Washington, D.C. area. The latest location at 1275 New Jersey Avenue SE in the Navy Yard neighborhood will open on June 1.
Designed by the company’s in-house design team and architects Nahra Design Group, the 3,760-square-foot store will carry a variety of grab-and-go items – including more than 150 locally-sourced products – and also features Foxtrot’s signature all-day café serving up coffee, smoothies, seasonal drinks and foods such as fresh salads, bowls and take-home lunches and dinners. As with other Foxtrot locales around the country, shoppers can browse in-store or order digitally for pickup and on-demand delivery through the proprietary store app.
On the day of the grand opening, shoppers will receive free tote bags and a cup of cold brew with any purchase. If they pay with the app, they can score other free goodies.
This is the eighth Foxtrot in the D.C. metro area. The retailer runs 26 locations in the D.C., Chicago, Dallas, and Austin, Texas, markets. The Navy Yard store is open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.