News Briefs


Constellation Brands Appoints SVP of Global Talent

Kirk Santos

Constellation Brands has tapped Kirk Santos as SVP, global talent. He is tasked with leading the beverage alcohol company’s new end-to-end global talent function that aligns with its strategy and DEI initiatives.

Santos joins Constellation Brands from his most recent role as global VP of talent management and VP of HR, financial services, at shipping company Pitney Bowes. Previously, he served as director of talent management and organizational development for the North America Beverages unit at PepsiCo. During his career, he has also held leadership roles at IBM, Caesars Entertainment and L’Oreal. He earned a bachelor’s degree in human resources management from Baruch College and a master’s degree in strategic management and human resources from Long Island University.

[Read more: "NotCo Brings on New Global VP of Marketing"]

“The recent creation of our end-to-end global talent function is one component of a broader evolution of our HR operating model designed to enable the ongoing growth of our organization,” said Kris Carey, EVP and chief human resources officer at Constellation Brands. “Kirk’s extensive HR experience aligning people and talent strategies to business needs makes him an exemplary leader to head this new team and talent-first strategy.”

Santos welcomes the opportunity. “I am thrilled to be joining Constellation’s talented HR organization and look forward to the opportunity to lead the global talent function and strategy in this next chapter of growth for the company,” he remarked.

Based in Victor, N.Y., Constellation Brands will report its first quarter fiscal 2024 earnings on June 30. In May, the beer, wine and spirits company acquired a minority stake in the alcohol-free sparkling beverage brand TÖST.


Batory Foods Acquires Tri-State Cos.

Batory Foods Tri-State Cos. Teaser

Batory Foods, a Rosemont, Ill.-based national distributor of food and fine ingredients, has acquired Tri-State Cos., a food ingredients broker, distributor and logistics provider. This acquisition bolsters Batory’s service offerings in the Northeast, Midwest and Southeast with the addition of Tri-State’s 100,000-square-foot multi-temperature zone distribution center in Ohio’s Warren County. The facility, which offers cutting-edge cold-storage solutions using advanced odor control technologies, will allow for streamlined deliveries and reduced shipping times to Batory’s customers in the aforementioned regions.

“Becoming part of a multifaceted organization like Batory Foods signifies a historic and exciting milestone for Tri-State Cos.,” said Lloyd Makstell, owner of Mason, Ohio-based Tri-State. “Through this acquisition we look forward to continuing to offer the highest-quality ingredients while together forming a stronger business, driving further growth and innovation, and creating even more value for our employees and customers.”

[Read more: "Flagstone Foods Acquires Emerald Nuts From Campbell"]

“The Batory Foods team extends heartfelt thanks to Lloyd Makstell and Nadine Whitsett for expanding the business that their father, Ed Makstell, had run since the 60s,” said Batory Foods CEO Ron Friedman. “Anyone who has done business with Tri-State knows just how committed Nadine and Lloyd are to taking care of their customers. We are honored to have been selected as the right organization to carry on their family’s legacy.” 


FMI Helping to Alleviate Continuing Coin Circulation Issues

Coin Shortage Teaser

In its capacity as a member of the U.S. Coin Task Force (USCTF), Arlington, Va.-based FMI – The Food Industry Association is asking the American public and financial institutions to help solve the ongoing challenges with coin circulation throughout the economy, including at U.S. grocery stores.

The coin circulation disruption that started in the early days of the pandemic is still happening, along with sustained consumer demand for coins. The USCTF has requested that consumers holding onto coins #getcoinmoving by depositing or exchanging them to replenish national supplies, and for financial institutions to make coin redemption easier for their customers. 

To that end, USCTF members are encouraging consumers to make purchases using exact change, deposit excess coins with their financial institution or exchange coin at a coin redemption kiosk. The coins in shoppers’ piggy banks, jars and couch cushions will help those who depend on cash transactions for household purchases and to pay bills. To reliably and responsibly facilitate commerce, prompt stabilization of coin inventories is essential to establishing equitable access to coin and improving financial inclusion within the nation’s payment system.

The organization is also requesting all depository institutions to review their coin inventories and promptly deposit any coin that exceeds the needs of their customers to the Federal Reserve. All organizations with unused coin inventories should manage their balances downward and avoid ordering coins unless they’re needed to meet customer demand. Financial institutions can use the toolkits and best practices offered by the USCTF for improving coin circulation. 


Kroger to Open Distribution Center in Northern Kentucky

Kroger Delivery

The Kroger Co. will invest more than $550,000 for a new 2,000-square-foot spoke facility in Kentucky’s Boone County, helping to expand the grocer’s e-commerce reach in the Bluegrass State.

The new facility will support the customer fulfillment center currently operating in Monroe, Ohio, and provide customers throughout Cincinnati and northern Kentucky with access to fresh food.

[Read more: "Kroger Drives Growth by Uplifting Colorado Community"]

“This expansion will mean lower prices and more choices for more people across Kentucky,” said Ben Hamilton, VP of logistics and network strategy, Kroger Delivery.  “Just like their in-store experience, customers will have access to personalized digital coupons, valuable fuel points, and the fresh, high-quality products they need, want and love.”

Kroger maintains 112 stores in Kentucky, employing more than 19,000 associates. The commonwealth is also home to four manufacturing and distribution facilities that service the company, as well as a regional headquarters in Louisville. The new spoke facility will create 98 full-time jobs.  

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.


Natural Grocers Gets Into the Grilling Spirit

NG grilling

Getting into the swing of summer, Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage, Inc. is holding an “Art of Grilling” event this month, with giveaways, fundraisers and savings on items such as humanely raised meats and 100% organic produce.

From June 2-24, shoppers can get a chance to win a Yeti cooler and Natural Grocers branded Hydro Flasks through a “Count the Burger” contest featured in the store magazine and on Instagram. Throughout the weekend of June 9-11, customers can save to 48% off on grilling-related items like Thousand Hills grass-fed ground beef, Beyond Meat Beyond Burgers and Paqui tortilla chips. 

Natural Grocers is also sharing grilling recipes and tips from its chefs and nutrition consultants.  Recipes include main dishes as well as desserts that can be prepared on the grill. Meanwhile, to give back to the community, the retailer will donate $1 to local food banks for every purchase of limited-edition “Art of Grilling” reusable bags sold for $1.99 each, from June 1-30.

As part of the grilling activities and promotions, Natural Grocers is also offering reusable bags for Father’s Day to members of the grocer’s free loyalty program. Ahead of that holiday, shoppers can also access 10% savings on alcohol purchases.

Family-operated Natural Grocers operates 166 stores in 21 states. The Lakewood, Colo.-based natural and organic grocer is No. 95 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. PG also named Natural Grocers as one of its 10 Most Sustainable Grocers


Former Food Lion CEO Dies

Food Lion Storefront Teaser

Tom Smith, the onetime CEO  of Food Lion, died in hospice care June 2 after what has been described as “ a long battle with a terminal illness,” according to published reports

Starting out at the company, then known as Food Town, as a bagger when he was a teenager, Smith spent more than six years with Del Monte Sales Co. before returning to Food Lion in 1970 as a buyer in the corporate office. In January 1986, he became CEO, succeeding founder Ralph Ketner. Like Ketner, Smith emphasized low prices and efficient service, leading Food Lion to surpass $2 billion in sales at the end of Smith’s first year as CEO.

At the time of Smith’s retirement in 1999, the company had grown to more than 1,000 stores and 100,000-plus employees.

Smith was also active in the community, and received various honors and awards from business and civic organizations.

"We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of our former CEO and leader Tom Smith, who played an instrumental role in the growth and success of Food Lion," the company said in a statement. "During his 29 years of service, he made significant contributions to the company. His dedication, hard work and passion were invaluable in propelling Food Lion forward. We extend our heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and former colleagues during this time. His legacy will forever be remembered and cherished within our Food Lion family."

Salisbury, N.C.-based Food Lion operates more than 1,100 stores with 82,000-plus associates throughout 10 Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic states. Its parent company, Ahold Delhaize USA, a division of Zaandam, Netherlands-based Ahold Delhaize, is No. 10 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. PG also named the company as one of its Retailers of the Century.