News Briefs


Supermarkets in North Carolina to Add DMV Kiosks

dmv kiosks teaser

Grocery stores in North Carolina will offer a new service for shoppers this fall. The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is set to install kiosks in supermarkets and other places around the state in an effort to reduce physical visits to DMV offices.

The pilot program will allow drivers to, among other things, print license-plate renewal stickers.

[Read more: “Dollar General Testing Checkout-Free Operations in North Carolina”]

"They go to the grocery store and order their DMV service, their renewals or whatever it may be, while they're shopping for groceries," said Wayne Goodwin, North Carolina’s DMV commissioner

The new kiosks come after months of complaints from the public over poor customer service at the DMV, reported The Carolina Journal. The state agency has received growing customer complaints from drivers who are waiting months for an appointment. The backlog has led to hours-long lines and frustrated drivers across the state. The long wait times are attributed to a shortage of workers and not enough people using online services.

Other states currently using the DMV kiosks include Virginia, Georgia, Indiana, California, Colorado and Nevada.

There will be a transaction fee to use the kiosks, which would cover their costs.


Wynshop Certified for SNAP/EBT Payments Online

SNAP EBT Sign Teaser

Wynshop, a provider of digital commerce and fulfillment solutions for local store-based retailers, is now a USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) -approved SNAP/EBT payments processing partner, through Aurus. The company can now facilitate expedited processing of FNS procedures for any retailers that wish to offer EBT benefits through Wynshop.

As online grocery has grown in popularity, the FNS has worked to expand access to EBT payments via online grocers, but the certification process is complex and time-consuming, which has limited the ability of smaller food retailers to fully connect with these customers.

[Read More:  “Tops Adopts EBT SNAP Online on Flashfood App Via Forage”]

“Until now, when grocers wanted to accept online EBT benefits, they had to go through a grueling approval process with FNS that could take months,” noted Barry Clogan, chief product evangelist at Miami-based Wynshop. “We’ve set things up so that they no longer need to do any of the heavy lifting. When a grocer on the Wynshop platform decides that they want to accept EBT payments, we provide them with easy-to-use templates that reduce both friction and time to approval.”

The FNS must review and approve any solution that enables online payments using SNAP/EBT. To streamline the application process for retailers, Wynshop collaborated with FNS for six months to create a procedure and documentation templates that grocers can customize for their EBT applications. FNS’ subsequent approval of Wynshop’s EBT/SNAP solution and methodology for retailers is poised to dramatically reduce the time, cost and complexity of this process for grocers.

Wynshop’s mission is to give SNAP beneficiaries access to more choices, and local grocers a greater share of government subsidy dollars, helping these retailers grow their online businesses and bolster their relationships with loyal customers.


2,000 Organizations Urge Swift Passage of PBM Reform Measures While Preserving States’ Rights

Walmart Pharmacy Teaser

Nearly 2,000 employers, patient advocates, pharmacies, providers and businesses sent a letter to Congress on July 12 strongly urging passage of pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) reform legislation that would address the anticompetitive practices of some PBMs while bringing greater transparency to the pharmaceutical supply chain.

In the letter, which was led by FMI – The Food Industry Association and the National Community Pharmacists Association, the organizations encouraged lawmakers to significantly reform the PBM industry to achieve a health care system that prioritizes patient well-being, promotes competition and transparency, ensures fair pricing and access to essential medications, and reduces costs to plan sponsors. 

[Read more: “Brookshire Grocery Sells Its Pharmacies to Walgreens”]

Additionally, the letter expressed the need to ensure federal PBM reform legislation preserves the rights of states. Many of the nearly 2,000 companies and organizations that signed on care deeply about providing health insurance to employees and appreciate the importance of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), but agree with the U.S. Supreme Court that ERISA does not prevent states from enacting policies that address the relationship between PBMs and pharmacies. The letter also emphasized that, despite claims to the contrary, there has been no evidence that health insurance costs have increased faster in states that have implemented PBM reform.

The organizations stated, “By passing PBM reform measures that also preserve the rights of states, Congress has the power to lower prescription drug costs and alleviate the financial burden on patients and the health care system at large, while enhancing access to affordable medications for our employees and promoting a healthier, more competitive business environment. We stand ready to continue supporting you in these efforts and eagerly await the positive impact that PBM reform can have on the lives of all Americans.”


Grocery Prices Unchanged in June

inflation teaser

While overall inflation ticked up 0.2% in June, new data from the U.S. Census Bureau showed that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for food at home was unchanged. The 0.0% rate comes after a slight 0.1% bump in May and consecutive decreases in March and April.

Within the grocery sector, prices fell across several categories, including meats, poultry, fish and eggs (-0.4%), dairy and related products (-0.3%) and nonalcoholic beverages (-0.1%). Foods that fall into the “other” category also experienced a sales dip, down 0.2% in June.

[Read more: "Store-Brand Dollar Share Reaches Record Level"]

The CPI in two of the six major grocery categories did go higher during the first month of summer. Fruit and vegetable prices rose 0.8% and cereal and bakery products went up 0.1% for the month. On a year-over-year (YoY) basis, the CPI for food at home is up 4.7% over 2022, compared to 7.7% for food away from home.

On that note, consumers continue to shell out more at foodservice locations, as the CPI for food away from home climbed 0.4% in June. That continues a trend, as the restaurant sector has yet to post a CPI decline or even a 0% rate in 2023.

The increase in the overall inflation rate was driven by higher prices in shelter, new vehicles, transportation and electricity. As summer travel season kicked off, gas prices edged higher again in June by 1% after falling 5.6% in May.


Arctic Glacier Names New CEO

Pete Laport

Arctic Glacier, a Philadelphia-based manufacturer and distributor of premium ice products and services, has tapped Peter “Pete” Laport as its new CEO. The longtime CPG pro brings more than 30 years of experience to the role, joining Arctic Glacier from his most position as U.S. division president and CEO of prepared foods company Bakkavor.

Laport also served as COO at Ready Pac Foods/Bonduelle Fresh Americas and held roles at PepsiCo and Nestle, where he led the global supply chain for Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins ice cream. He earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Purdue University and an MBA from The Johns Hopkins University, where he serves as an executive in residence.  

[Read more: "EXCLUSIVE: How Ice Can Be a Hot Differentiator"]

"We are delighted to welcome Pete to lead our growth strategy. With his proven track record, we look forward to his guidance to take us to the next level of operational excellence. He is a talented, dynamic, values-driven business leader with notable success in the global consumer goods industry. We believe his exceptional strategic capabilities and proven operational effectiveness will help position Arctic Glacier forsustainable long-term growth and operational excellence. We are at the forefront of our strategic priorities and we have every confidence in Pete’s go-forward leadership,” said Robert C. King, chairman of the board of directors at Arctic Glacier.

Added Laport: "I am excited to drive the company forward to achieve its strategic growth ambitions. I believe Arctic Glacier has the opportunity to continue to be best-in-class by empowering and equipping our leaders to execute at the highest level.”

Founded in 1886, Arctic Glacier produces and delivers more than 2.5 billion pounds of ice annually to grocery stores, mass merchants, c-stores, dollar stores, gas stations, and other commercial businesses in North America.


Grocery Delivery Catches Up to Pickup: Report

grocery delivery teaser

Grocery delivery sales are making a comeback, according to new findings from insights firm Incisiv and digital commerce and fulfillment provider Wynshop. Their Grocery Doppio "State of Digital Grocery Performance Scorecard for H1 2023" reflects the latest analysis of shopper orders.

The report found that in Q2 2023, 49.1% of all digital orders were fulfilled via home delivery, reversing a trend towards store pickup amidst record high temperatures. This compares to 48.5% in Q1.

[Read more: "Key Strategies for Retailers Facing Online Competition"]

Home delivery continues to dominate shopper preference at small grocers, claiming 66.7%. That compares to 48.6% at large grocers.

Meanwhile, total grocery sales in Q2 were $226.1 billion, up from $215.4 in Q1. About $29.5 billion of all grocery sales were digital in Q2, slightly down from $29.9 billion in Q1. 

Grocery sales through third parties fell from $5.4 billion to $5.1 billion, representing a 5.6% reduction between Q1 and Q2 2023.

"We've reached a new level of maturity in digital grocery," pointed out Charlie Kaplan, chief revenue officer of Wynshop. "As shoppers continue to demonstrate their preference to buy direct, grocers have clear opportunities to satisfy shoppers' fulfillment preferences, run digital holiday promotions, and otherwise personalize the customer journey."

The monthly "State of Digital Grocery Performance Scorecards" are built around data analysis of 1.9 million shopper orders and survey results from more than 32,500 shoppers and 3,148 U.S. grocery executives.