Progressive Grocer - June 2016

Page 1

Celebrating a Decade of Brilliance Page 30

June 2016 • Volume 95 Number 6 $10 •


FAST RESULTS. Smithfield Marinated Fresh Pork. Slow marinated and perfectly seasoned for the flavor consumers love and the convenience their busy lives demand. Smithfield — the perfect partner to deliver fast results at shelf.

For more information about Smithfeld Marinated Fresh Pork, contact your Smithfeld Sales Representative or email

Š2016 Smithfield Foods. All rights reserved.

June 2016 Volume 95, Issue 6

features 18 Category ManageMent

The Value of Certification

Companies and employees both see benefts.

grocery 140

Canned goods

In the Can

fresh food

cover story



Progressive groCer ’s 2016 retail deli review

Progressive groCer ’s 2016 toP woMen in groCery:

Any Way You Slice It

Tis year’s constellation of winners shines more brightly than ever.

Sales are on the rise, but shopper habits are hard to break.

Stellar Performance

34 senior-level executives


68 rising stars 122 store Managers


Farm Cred

It’s not just the container, but also the contents, that distinguishes these products.

refrigerated & frozen


Frozen desserts


Center of Action Natural and organic products are fueling sustainable growth in center store.


Departments establish freshness, build trust and drive sales through merchandising with a farmers’-market feel.


Cold-fashioned Consumers look for indulgence, nostalgia and simplicity in their ice cream.

ProduCe Category sPotlight

They’re Good for You At long last, avocados get the ofcial nod for nutritional excellence.

June 2016 | |


nonfoods 570 Lake Cook Rd, Suite 310, Deerfield, IL 60015 224 632-8200 •


SVP, Brand Director 201-855-7621

Wellness solutions

Learning Curve

EDITORIAL Editorial Director Joan Driggs 224-632-8211 Chief Content Editor Meg Major 724-453-3545 Editor-in-Chief James Dudlicek 224-632-8238 Managing Editor Bridget Goldschmidt 201-855-7603 Technology Editor John Karolefski 440-582-1889 Senior Editor Katie Martin 224-632-8172 Senior Editor Anna Wolfe 207-773-1154 Art Director Bill Antkowiak Contributing Editors Bob Ingram, Jenny McTaggart, Lynn Petrak, Barbara Sax, Jennifer Strailey and Christina Veiders

Food retailers test new concepts to tackle diabetes.


General Merchandise

Leading the Charge High-performance, hearing aid batteries are fueling the category.

technology 178

Point-of-sale systeMs

Holdup at Checkout Red tape impedes grocers’ EMV card implementation — with consumer data at risk.


diGital dialoGue

The Individual Versus the Household

Tese groups’ often conficting interests create challenges in personalization.


Jeff Friedman


ADVERTISING SALES & BUSINESS Midwest Marketing Manager John Huff 224-632-8174 Western Regional Sales Manager Elizabeth Cherry 310-546-3815 Eastern Marketing Manager Maggie Kaeppel 630-364-2150 • Mobile: 708-565-5350 Northeast Marketing Manager Mike Shaw 201-855-7631 • Mobile: 201-281-9100 Marketing Manager Janet Blaney (AZ, CO, ID, MD, MN, MT, NM, NV, OH, TX, UT, WY) 630-364-1601 Account Executive/ Classified Advertising Terry Kanganis 201-855-7615 • Fax: 201-855-7373 Advertising/Production Manager Jackie Batson 224-632-8183 • Fax: 888-316-7987 Classified Production Manager Mary Beth Medley 856-809-0050


Visible Touch Technology is helping grocers get a better handle on out-of-stocks at the store level.

equipment & design

EvEnts • MarkEting • Digital • rEsEarch • circulation


hVac systeMs

All Systems Go Supermarket HVAC equipment is becoming more sophisticated and efcient.



| Progressive Grocer | June 2016

VP/Custom Media Division Pierce Hollingsworth 224-632-8229 Production Manager Anngail Norris Corporate Marketing Director Bruce Hendrickson 224-632-8214 Promotion Director Robert Kuwada 201-855-7616 Director of Events Pat Benkner 973-607-1330 Director of Market Research Debra Chanil 201-855-7605 Audience Development Manager Shelly Patton 215-301-0593 List Rental The Information Refinery 800-529-9020 Brian Clotworthy Reprints and Licensing Wright’s Media 877-652-5295 Subscriber Services/Single-copy Purchases 978-671-0449 or email at CORPORATE OFFICERS Executive Chairman Alan Glass President & CEO Kollin Stagnito Chief Financial Officer Chris Stark Chief Revenue Officer Ned Bardic Chief Brand Officer Korry Stagnito Chief Digital Officer Joel Hughes

The Grocery Success Company

Omni-Channel Solutions to Drive the Success of Grocery Retail ECRS is a leading national provider to the grocery market providing operational success programs to growth directed executive teams. Through the integration of technology, consulting and business transformational services, we maximize operational efficiencies and reduce friction at every consumer touch point which enables our clients to increase overall performance and profits. Our clients operate faster, increase customer checkout accuracy, engage shoppers more seamlessly across all channels, reduce costs from third party vendors and get more strategic information through our success tools.

POS - Click & Collect - Self Checkout - Business Analytics - Loyalty & Membership - Inventory Management - Consulting & Services


publisher’s note by Jeffrey D. Friedman

Celebrating 10 Years of Top Women

W Our candidates excel not only at business, but their talent and time commitments also extend beyond their stores and boardrooms, into their communities.

hen Progressive Grocer presented its frst-ever Top Women in Grocery Awards a decade ago, there were 50 winners. Tis year, we selected 385 winners from among a record 630 entries, demonstrating not only the embracing of our awards program by the industry, but also the great strides that women have made in leadership positions over the past 10 years. As a leading advocate for talent development across the food industry, PG and its Top Women in Grocery program honor outstanding female leaders within the retailer and supplier communities in three categories: Senior-Level Executives, Rising Stars and Store Managers. Selecting our Top Women winners is an extensive process, made even more challenging by the high quality of entries — and they keep getting better every year. Our candidates excel not only at what they do in business, but their talent and time commitments also extend beyond their stores and boardrooms, into their communities. Tey serve as high-level advisers to their peers, mentors to others climbing the corporate ladder, and role models to anyone looking for examples of what to aspire to in life as well as in the workplace. To be sure, it isn’t enough for our Top Women to be in command of their own positions. Tey take it as their personal responsibility to nurture up-andcoming talent, to ensure the long-term stewardship of their companies as well as the strength of leadership to steer an industry for years to come. Once again, it’s our honor to partner with the Network of Executive Women (NEW) in presenting PG’s Trailblazer award — to be revealed at our annual gala (more on that below) — which annually recognizes a female executive who has left a lasting impression on the industry. NEW continues to drive the organization’s It’s Time campaign, urging industry leaders to advance more women leaders, and working for gender parity in the retail and consumer goods and services industry, with the goal of creating a more inclusive workplace for everyone. We feel Top Women in Grocery plays an important part in that mission. In addition to being featured in this issue of PG (starting on page 30), our winners will receive their awards at our annual gala event, now in its second year at the palatial Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress in sunny Orlando, Fla. Highlights of this year’s Top Women in Grocery event, to take place on Tursday, Nov. 10, include a new welcome reception the night before; a Welcome and Networking Breakfast in the morning, sponsored by Post Consumer Brands; and a Daytime Leadership Development Program preceding the evening’s gala event, which once again will feature a dessert party sponsored by Te Hershey Co. PG is honored to lead the celebration, which will include a few of our own top women, some of the fnest leaders in trade journalism today: Chief Content Editor Meg Major; Managing Editor Bridget Goldschmidt; Editorial Director Joan Driggs, as well as Katie Martin, editor-in-chief of sister publication Progressive Grocer Independent. We’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: To be truly progressive, a retailer must be willing to devote signifcant time and resources to the nurturing of talent across all of its ranks. PG and its Top Women in Grocery program will continue to lead that charge. PG Jeffrey D. Friedman SVP/Brand Director Stagnito Business Information + Edgell Communications


| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016

Trion Cooler Merchandising ®

AMT Adjustable Merchandising Tray ™

Organize Org ga aniz Chaos, Increase Sales Designed for yogurts; dips; spreads; puddings, gelatins and snacks; ice cream and sherbet; instant soup cups; microwave single-serves; food-to-go offerings, tubs, bottles and other difficult to organize products. ■

Small AMT adjusts from 2 11/16" to 3 5/16" wide for 4-6 ounce yogurt cups and similar small products.

Medium AMT adjusts from 3 5/16" to 3 15/16" wide for 5-6 ounce greek yogurt cups and mid-range offerings.

Large AMT adjusts from 4" to 4 5/8" wide for tub, pint, 11/2 pint, ice cream and large containers.

Width adjusts in 1/8" increments and locks in place. Two breakaways allow easy adjustment in the field from standard 22" length to 20" and 18."

Built-in manual feed allows trouble-free forwarding and facing of products for increased sales and profits.

Trays lift out for rear restocking and proper rotation.

Durable, easy-clean plastic construction for long-life, even under heavy use and in harsh environments.

Optional plain-paper label, sign and flag holder provides a protected home for product and price information and improves promotional opportunities. Proudly Made in the U.S.A.

Built-in Manual Feed Optional Label/Flag Holder

Adjustable Width Breakaway Lengths

Built-in Handles Built-in Ventilation

Paddle Extenders Sidewall Extenders

Part of the Trion® Shelf Works® System of Cooler and Storewide Merchandising Solutions.

©2014 Trion Industries, Inc. 297 Laird Street, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702-6997 Phone 570-824-1000 l Fax 570-823-4080 Toll-Free In U.S.A. 800-444-4665 Patents and patents pending. Note: Product photography is a simulation of a retail environment and is not meant to imply endorsement by or for any brand or manufacturer.


© General Mills



Leading Brands Leading Renovation Snacking Drives OVER 50% OF ALL

Eating Occasions All-Family Leader

What’s trending on …

Industry executive newsmakers were the common thread tying the top-ranked stories on during the April 16-May 16 measuring period. Generating the highest number of click-throughs during the period was the team-up of Indra Nooyi and Brian Cornell, chairman/CEOs of PepsiCo Inc. and Target Corp., respectively, to co-chair NEW’s Future Fund initiative, followed next by The Kroger Co.’s chairman/CEO Rodney McMullen’s annual letter to shareholders outlining the Cincinnati-based grocery giant’s long-term focus and strategy, followed next in website popularity by the news of Giant Eagle President/COO John Lucot’s retirement at the end of this month in after 42 years of service to the Pittsburgh-based retailer.

PepsiCo’s Nooyi, Target’s Cornelll Co-Chair NEW Future Fundd 8

Kroger Outlines Focus, Strategy to Stockholders

Giant iant Ea Eagle President/COO John Lucot to Retire

Albertsons Cos. Promotes Susan Morris to EVP, East Region

N Tom Tumb Will Highlight New Downtown Dallas Complex D

C&S Veteran James Weidenheimer Joins Supervalu

Te Fresh Market Exiting 4 States ttp://

Walmart to Discontinue Wild Oats Brand


| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016

Shrimp Paella

Š2016 Goya Foods, Inc.

Your shoppers ďŹ nd this and other great recipes at

*Nielsen Strategic Planner, Total US (dollar sales), 52 weeks ending 12/19/15

August 2016 is... National Panini Month National Peach Month National Sandwich Month National Service Dog Month National Catfish Month




National Raspberry Cream Pie Day



National Ice Cream Sandwich Day. Instagram your favorites.



National Watermelon Day. Demo recipes using watermelon.



National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day



International Beer Day. Make a big display of imported and domestic beer.



National Mustard Day

National Oyster Day


International Assistance Dog Week begins. Talk about service animals with your staff.


National Creamsicle Day


International Cat Day. Make a donation in your store’s name to a local shelter.


National Rice Pudding Day

National Zucchini Day


For Julia Child’s birthday (Aug. 15, 1912), create a cross-merchandised display of the ingredients for one of her famous recipes.


Do you have enough marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers on hand for National S’mores Day?


National Raspberry Tart Day


International Youth Day. How about offering a free treat to kids in the store today?


National Fillet Mignon Day

National Julienne Fries Day











National Bratwurst Day. Set up a grill in the parking lot and sell bratwurst for charity.

National Vanilla Custard Day. How many goodies containing vanilla custard do you carry?

National Ice Cream Pie Day

Create special sandwiches for National Sandwich Month.

National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day

National Lemon Meringue Pie Day


National Sweet Tea Day


ECRM National Organic and Specialty Foods begins in San Diego and continues through the 25th.

National Spumoni Day

National Eat a Peach Day



National Cherry Turnover Day


More Herbs, Less Salt Day. Post online recipes featuring these BFY flavor enhancers.

National Sponge Cake Day

P3 | Progressive Pet Products begins in Chicago and continues through the 25th. National Peach Pie Day


Slinky Day

National Banana Split Day

National Dog Day. Offer a discount on treats for man’s (and woman’s) best friend.

National Burger Day National Banana Lovers Day

National Cherry Popsicle Day


National Trail Mix Day. Offer discounts on ingredients for DIY verisons and on ready-made SKUs.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016

Email your calendar submissions to

Contact us today • 800-323-9380 •

Kosher Certified

Visit us at Fancy Food Summer Show Booth #2436

® ™ ©2016 Jelly Belly Candy Company JUSTICE LEAGUE and all related characters and elements © & ™ DC Comics. (s16)

Front End

Market Intelligence By The Numbers

Shelf Stoppers


Fresh Produce Largest Sales Increases in Supermarkets by The Nielsen Co. (52 Weeks Ending March 12, 2016)

Sales % Change Dollars (Millions) 2016 2015 $30.0 34.9% 20.0% 3,741.7 12.0 11.2 1,780.7 8.6 9.6 55.3 7.0 8.2 466.9 6.8 10.7 232.8 6.5 5.9 1,012.2 6.2 3.1 2,908.9 5.7 7.4 320.2 5.3 -9.8 55.4 3.2 -8.3

Kiwi Fruit-Remaining Vegetables-Remaining Garlic Spinach Herbs Tomatoes Pre-cut Salad Mix Oranges Grapefruit Total Category



% Change 2016 39.6% 15.0 6.6 -1.3 5.0 7.6 2.5 3.1 20.7 0.9



Units 2015 11.7% 12.5 8.1 7.1 7.6 5.5 0.5 4.9 -12.6 -7.9 3.2%

NielseN’s Spotlight

Consumption Index: Kiwi Behavior Stage


Cosmopolitan Affluent Comfortable Struggling Centers Suburban Country Urban Spreads Cores

Modest Working Towns

Plain Rural Living


% HHs Top Stores


Cosmopolitan centers and affluent suburban spreads together account for more than 65 percent of kiwi sales, as grocery stores are plentiful in these areas and well stocked to cater to varying tastes. in those areas where kiwi is easy to purchase, the consumption is evenly spread out across all behavior stages. Those living in rural areas, meanwhile, account for less than 2 percent of sales, likely due to the fact that kiwi isn’t readily available in smaller markets. The standouts of kiwi consumption are young transitionals and independent singles living in struggling urban cores, who overindex – 46 percent and 23 percent, respectively – compared with others living in the same areas. This could be related to young people who are moving out on their own for the first time, or to new areas for jobs and/ or school, and are seeking out specialty fruit.

startup Families









small-scale Families









Younger Bustling Families









—Carman Allison, Nielsen

Older Bustling Families










HHs with young children only <6 small HHs with older children 6+ large HHs with Children (6+), HOH <40 large HHs with children (6+), HOH 40+

NO CHILDREN: Young Transitionals









independent singles









senior singles









established Couples









empty-nest Couples









senior Couples

















Any size HHs, no children, <35 1-person HHs, no children, 35-64 1-person HHs, no children, 65+ 2+-person HHs, no children, 35-54 2+-person HHs, no children, 55-64 2+-person HHs, no children, 65+

% HHs Top Stores Very High Consumption (150+)

25.8% 39.7% 12.1% 10.4% 10.6% High Consumption (120-149)

Average Consumption=100

Source: spectra Behaviorscape



| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016

Households with higher incomes — $100,000$149,000 and $150,000-plus — consume more kiwi than their counterparts, with those in the highest income bracket purchasing 93 percent more kiwi. looking at heads of households, homes with an Asian head of household consume 138 percent more kiwi than the average household. More ONLINE Dig up actionable e research and additional al intelligence at

Meet the Original Cauliflower Crumbles

Years in development, the patent-pending Cauliflower Crumbles™ process ensures the ultimate in freshness and convenience to the consumer.

The process—which covers harvesting, processing and our proprietary packaging—yields a product with excellent shelf life, consistent color and appearance, and no waste! No prep No mess No clean up

Contact us today for more info: 831.751.3800 ¥


Green Giant, the Green Giant character, Sprout, and associated words and designs are Trademarks of B&G Foods North America, Inc.—used under license. ©2016 B&G Foods North America, Inc. Box Tops for Education and associated words and designs are trademarks of General Mills, used under license. ©General Mills

Category Management

The Value of

Certification Companies and employees both see benefits. By Daniel P. Strunk

C The CMA Certification Program enables organizations to align channel partners with similar skills, terminology and a common understanding of this important business practice.


ategory management is a collaborative practice exercised by retailers and manufacturers, in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry, to optimize the return on investment for a segment of retail geography, or “category.” Te process involves providing consumers the right product assortment, correct sizes and appropriate inventory levels to optimize the shopping experience. Retail merchants and key account sales and category management professionals are the major players in this essential industryfocused collaborative process. In 2010, the Category Management Association (CMA) introduced a set of standards to the CPG industry to govern the training and professional status of people involved in the category management process. Te standards were created through the involvement of senior category management professionals representing more than 40 companies and took two years to write. Tese standards have been in place now for six years. Tousands of people have attained certifcation at one of three levels: Certifed Professional Category Analyst (CPCA), Certifed Professional Category Manager (CPCM) and Certifed Professional Strategic Advisor (CPSA). Te CMA has gleaned a great deal of knowledge about the value of certifcation to companies during this time.

Win-win Situation First, certifcation focuses an individual and their company on professional development. When care is taken with the professional development of employees, greater job satisfaction and improved retention rates are the result. It’s easy to understand how improving the retention of just one employee, at the category analyst level, can lead to signifcant savings from reduced recruiting expense and reduced training expenses.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016

Tese savings can easily exceed $40,000. It’s important to note, however, that this fgure doesn’t account for the improved productivity that results from better-directed training and better-prepared analysts. Second, better direction of skill development at junior levels afords organizations the opportunity to optimize training programs by grouping individuals with like needs. Te resulting training efciency gives organizations the opportunity to save thousands of training dollars. Te CMA suggests that you consider having your organization assessed by an accredited training company before you begin training or certifcation. In doing so, you will beneft by grouping people, and also save your people time in undergoing training that may not be required. Te CMA Certifcation Program enables organizations to align channel partners with similar skills, terminology and a common understanding of this important business practice. It enables retailers to understand the caliber of talent providing them category management services. When we consider the improvement in performance for both parties in the channel, it’s easy to see that the return on investment for certifcation expenses can be signifcant. Let’s consider one example, using a small category with $500,000 in annual proft for a chain; the latest industry estimate is that the improved performance in that category could be as much $50,000, or a 10-to-one ratio, when compared with the certifcation cost for a 20-person team. Certifcation aims to provide all participants in category management specifc direction to optimize professional development. Clearly, we’ve learned that has indeed been the case, and that those retailers and manufacturers with certifed teams working together do realize improved results based on the use of common language, common skills and the alignment of talent. PG Daniel P. Strunk is managing director at the Center for Sales Leadership at Chicago’s DePaul University.

SAY“CIAO!” to Authentic Italian Products I

n November 2015, customers shopping at any of Wakefern’s 260 ShopRite stores in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey and New York had the chance to sample authentic Italian foods and beverages including imported pastas, tomatoes and sodas. In addition to in-store demos, the company’s Tutto Italiano campaign—launched with assistance from the Italian Trade Agency (ITA)—included an in-store recipe booklet, coupons, a digital coupon component, and a microsite on the ShopRite From Home platform. “Tis was a full 360 marketing program and the stores really got behind it,” reports William Magistrelli, procurement manager for specialty grocery at Wakefern Food Corp. “With our stores centered here in the northeast, there’s already a strong consumer base for authentic Italian products. We saw an opportunity to increase consumer awareness of our already strong

Imported Italian private label brand by building a sales event centered on our imported line and trial for additional authentic imported Italian brands.” Wakefern is just one of several retailers saying “Ciao!” to authentic Italian products, and profting in the process. Golub Corporation’s Price Chopper Supermarkets and Market 32 stores launched an Extraordinary Italian Taste promotion last October to spotlight new varieties of authentic Italian cheese, cured meats, crackers, pastry, beverages, pastas, sauces, pesto, tomatoes, vegetables, fsh, oils, vinegars, wood-fred pizza and gelato. It was the frst event planned as part of Golub’s partnership with ITA to increase the breadth and variety of its authentic Italian products. Mariano’s La Tavola Italiana Due, H-E-B’s Ciao Italia, and Schnucks’ Taste of Italy are examples of other retailer promotions created in conjunction with ITA to promote authentic Italian products.

A Love AffaIr with Italian Fare Americans have had a love afair with Italian cuisine for years, and that afair shows no signs of waning. According to the Specialty Food Association (SFA), 57 percent of specialty food consumers purchase Italian food at supermarkets and retail stores, while 52 percent order it at restaurants. New research from the National Restaurant Association (NRA) reveals even more impressive numbers. Americans embrace global cuisine, with most favoring food from Italy, the NRA’s “Global Palates: Ethnic Cuisines and Flavors in America” study shows. Overall, 80 percent of consumers eat at least one ethnic cuisine per month, and dine on ADVERTISEMENT

Italian cuisine most frequently. Sixty-one percent of those surveyed said they eat Italian food at least once a month, the NRA reports.

“Te Tutto Italiano campaign captured the NGA Creative Choice Award for Best Private Label Marketing Event in 2015,” Magistrelli says. “We are very proud of that!”

The Appeal of Authentic

“We recognize that customers are looking for authentic products with which to make traditional ‘old-world’ and new classic Italian dishes for their families,” Jerry Golub, CEO of the Golub Corporation, says. “We’re confdent that this partnership will help us to provide the best assortment of genuine Italian products available.”

Stocking grocery shelves with Italian items is nothing new. Stocking authentic pastas, sauces and more, however, has become more important for retailers seeking to capture a larger share of the Italian products category. While it is easy to fnd products that look Italian, many of them are not authentic items from Italy; instead they are products masquerading as Italian at premium prices. But because consumers know more about Italian food from traveling and from watching food tv shows, they are more aware of what authenticity means. Most important for retailers, they want authenticity from the foods they buy. As Louise Kramer, communications director of the SFA, says in a post at “Italian cuisine represents tradition and authenticity and there is growing demand in America for genuine food.” Te NRA’s “Global Palates” study confrms those fndings. “American consumers place value on authentic experiences,” the report says. In even better news for food retailers, it appears price does not stop those consumers from putting authentic products in their baskets. “More than ever before, U.S. grocery shoppers associate value with attributes that go well beyond price, taste and convenience,” stresses Doug Baker, vice president of private brands and technology for the Food Marketing Institute (FMI). “We know from our research that they want to connect with products and understand how that product came to the retail shelf.” Consumers’ response to Wakefern’s Tutto Italiano promotion underscores those fndings. “Te results and the response were fantastic. Te program raised awareness about our authentic imported Italian brands and let people know that we carry these great items in store,” Magistrelli says. “Customers don’t always realize we have these authentic Italian items in store, but when we put them on display and really marketed the line with consumer-friendly recipes and coupons, we saw a big lift in sales and an increase in the number of people buying Italian products.” So successful was the program that the National Grocers Association (NGA) also noticed.

Golub also expressed excitement about boosting the profle of its authentic Italian items.

How ITA Can Help Grocery retailers interested in boosting their image as destinations for authentic Italian products do not have to do it alone. Te ITA’s program can help in myriad ways. Buyer’s delegation trips to Italy’s prominent food areas, dedicated trade missions to Italy’s most important food-related trade exhibitions such as CIBUS in Parma and Tutto Food in Milan, culinary training for chefs in Italy and in the U.S., educational materials, and access to co-promotional funding are components of the ITA’s program to increase the availability of “Authentic Italian” products on the shelves of U.S. retail chains. Tat kind of collaborative efort is key to succeeding with trade promotions, the FMI’s Baker says. “FMI forged a partnership with the Italian Trade Agency in 2015 to help demonstrate the buying power of international foods,” says Baker, who calls that partnership “a testament to the importance of collaboration across the aisles. “U.S. shoppers are enjoying more diverse cuisines and culinary experiences, and grocery stores have responded by ensuring international foods are an integral component of every category in the aisle,” he continues. “Our partnership with the Italian Trade Agency has helped facilitate a more seamless path to accessing authentic Italian products and ensure Italian manufacturers understand the U.S. marketplace and requirements of doing business within the U.S. that don’t exist anywhere else in the world.”




Mintel Global New Products Database Category Insights

Noncarbonated Ready-to-drink Beverages

For more information, visit or call 800-932-0400.

MaRket OveRview Meal replacements and other drinks grew by eight percentage points in North America, accounting for 58 percent of the total new product launches in the 12 months to October 2015. The overall category was centered on “suitable for” claims, with brands specializing in kosher and low-/no-/reduced-allergen claims. key issues Americans’ health concerns have influenced noncarbonated RTD innovation, questioning the health impacts of widely popular iced tea. To counter negative perceptions, manufacturers have attempted to blur the overall boundaries of the category to make products appear healthier, as in the case of functional energy teas, or teas containing fruit juices. There has also been an increase in brands launching RTDs inspired by the beer sector. Many of the launches are particularly tapping into the cold-brew trend and feature eye-catching packaging designs reminiscent of those used by beer companies. Brands have innovated around kombucha in North America, launching new flavors to increase consumption. Although the ancient fermented tea beverage has faced its fair share of controversy regarding its variable alcohol content, consumers’ interest in the drink and their belief in its healthful properties suggest that kombucha is likely to fuel growth in the region.

What Does it Mean? Blurring RTDs with energy/sports drinks and fruit juices enables brands to target healthconscious consumers, and push back against the negative image of the category, by reducing the sugar content of their


offerings. Brands can also take the opportunity to formulate with other natural ingredients to encourage consumption. These RTD hybrid beverages offer brands an opportunity to stand out in a crowded market.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016

Opportunity exists for brands to help consumers slow down or switch off by launching relaxation teas. Brands may want to consider emphasizing the role tea can play in achieving this mood

state, however. Kombucha is still a niche beverage in North America, but is currently evolving into an “all-purpose health potion” that taps into such trendy eating plans as the Paleo diet.

Retail dietitians are perfectly positioned to translate nutrition recommendations into purchases that customers can feel confident will positively impact their heart health.

All’s Wellness By Molly Hembree

Eating for Heart Health Easy steps can encourage customers to take constructive action.


health concern that’s top of mind to many Americans is taking care of their hearts, which aligns well with recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that heart disease continues to be the No. 1 killer of Americans. Fortunately, the best steps in the prevention of heart disease are modifable risk factors in lifestyle, including products tossed in your shoppers’ carts. Retail dietitians are perfectly positioned to translate nutrition recommendations into purchases that customers can feel confdent will positively impact their heart health.

Strong Evidence Te onset and progression of heart disease, including hypertension (high blood pressure), heart attacks and heart failure, can be manipulated by our diets and other health behaviors. Te American Heart Association (AHA) designed a metric in 2010, Life’s Simple 7, as a tool to help improve cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20 percent, and reduce deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20 percent, by the year 2020. Tese seven pillars are not smoking, increasing physical activity, following a healthy diet, and control of body weight, cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar. Joint AHA and American College of Cardiology (ACC) guidelines say that reducing dietary sodium, following a DASH eating plan, and reducing body weight are strong predictors of heart health. DASH, or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, strongly encourages fruits, vegetables and whole grains, while also supporting beans, seeds, nuts, fsh, poultry and low-fat dairy consumption, as well as the limitation of saturated fat, red meat, added sugar and sodium.


| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016

Putting Recommendations Into Practice May was Mediterranean Diet Month (a dietary pattern that closely resembles DASH, with extra emphasis on plant-based approaches and moderate wine and olive oil consumption), and June is National Fruit and Vegetable Month. Tese promotions provide retailers with a terrifc opportunity to spotlight their promising spreads of good-for-you oferings, particularly in produce. Reconsider classic marketing approaches by engaging the beverage aisle to reinvent go-to drinks: Tink 100 percent juices or low-fat dairy/nondairy milks pureéd with greens, stone fruits or berries for exciting smoothies, or perhaps elevate the herb and spice category by suggesting a DIY melon, cucumber or citrus sparkling water laced with mint or cinnamon. Seize the opportunity by showcasing exotic, or maybe simply more uncommon, fruits and vegetables in your programming. Eye-catching fruits such as jackfruit, dragon fruit, starfruit, or even the likes of pomegranate or kiwi, can spark excitement, especially during themed sampling or recipe demos. Innovative uses of time-tested favorite vegetables — fresh or frozen — can also seize the attention of shoppers: pureéd caulifower for a mashed potato replacement, spaghetti squash as a pasta alternative, or artichoke petals in place of tortilla chips. Increasing Engagement Oldways, a Boston-based organization with positive messaging grounded in science and real food, ofers excellent Mediterranean Diet materials on its website,, while the Hockessin, Del.-based Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH), the brains behind the Fruits & Veggies — More Matters campaign, provides relevant fruit and veggie insights, tips, and recipes at Resources such as these, as well as the nutritional expertise of retail dietitians, can truly position retailers to have customers’ best interests “at heart” as a health-and-wellness destination. PG Molly Hembree is a registered dietitian and retail dietitian coordinator for Kroger and The Little Clinic.

trY a dEliciOus bLend Of veGgies, fruiTs, and Sales. • no sugaR addEd* • coNtainS 1 full servIng oF vegEtablEs** • no artiFiciaL coloRs, flavOrs oR addEd prEservAtiveS

brInginG the juicE bar to a storE neaR you. VeggiEs foR all! TM

*not a low-calorie food - see nutrition panel for sugar and calorie content. **serving = 1/2 cup.

©2016 CSC Brands LP

Cover Feature

Stellar Performance This year’s constellation of Top Women in Grocery shines more brightly than ever.

f there’s one thing we know after a decade in the making, it’s that there’s always room at the top. Tat’s why our Top Women in Grocery awards program continues to grow. Fittingly, on the occasion of the program’s 10th anniversary, our judging panel reviewed an unprecedented 630 qualifed submissions, with nearly 400 chosen as honorees. We’re often asked: What makes a Top Woman? In a nutshell, it’s the total package: a dedicated professional who routinely transcends the limits of what’s expected, both at work and in the wider world of her industry peers and her community. Top Women are also creative, resourceful, assertive, inspirational in their leadership, generous with their time and expertise, and unequivocally passionate about what they do. And A d given some of the sizable challenges they’ve had to face, they’d have to love their work, difcult as it may be at times. Te honorees on the following pages have had to deal with every issue imaginable — from the familiar, such as tight deadlines, budget constraints and short-stafng issues; to the more complex, like labor disputes, competitive onslaughts and merger integration plans; to outright emergencies in the form of natural (and other) disasters and even, in one case, an armed robbery. It’s thus remarkable to see how these Top Women overcame every obstacle with uncanny aplomb. As always, we look forward to next year’s submissions, which, based on countless prior examples, should be out-of-this-galaxy great. For our past, present and future honorees, the stratosphere’s the limit, but right now, we’re honored to have the opportunity to celebrate 10 years of Top Women in Grocery brilliance!


| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016

June 2016 | |


Congratulations to this Year's Honorees! Your hard work and dedication make it possible for us to make a difference in the lives of our customers and the communities we serve.

Diane Couchman

Elizabeth Lynch

Manager Space Planning

Manager Communications

Dawn Gates-Bishop

Jodie Daubert

Tara Fallon

Amy Hahn

SVP Merchandising

VP Talent Management & Engagement

SVP Marketing

Kristina Rota

Stacy Wiggins

Shirley Axe

VP Accounting & Controls

SVP Operations Stop & Shop NE

Magazine Manager

Megan Barrouk

Laura Braley

Karen Brassel

Category Manager

Sr Manager, Performance Management & MD

Category Manager

Julie Grant

Lisa Guinther

Jacqueline Ross

Sr Manager Portfolio

Category Manager

Sr Director Own Brands Product Development

Natalia Torres-Furtado

Silvana Baxter

Linda Crowder

Asset Protection S&S New York Metro

Sr. Director Peapod

Sr Manager Portfolio

Kristin Skovira

Diana Sorafine

Tara Sullivan

Manager of Merchandising Trade Relations

Manager NFR

Engineering Solutions

Portfolio Lead

Christa Fortier

Paulette Harland

Patricia Johnson

Stacey Kenny

Katelyn Montrony

Maura O’Brien

HR Generalist S&S New York Metro

Front End Specialist S&S New York Metro

District Director S&S New England

Deli / Bakery Specialist Giant Carlisle

Deli / Bakery Specialist S&S New York Metro

HR Manager S&S New York Metro

Julie Pinard

Lindsey Shapiro

Patricia Del Guercio

Kathy Sweigert

Produce / Floral Specialist S&S New York Metro

Wendy Zahradka-Welch

Wendy Evans

HR Manager S&S New York Metro

District Director Giant Carlisle

Store Manager Giant Carlisle

Store Manager Giant Carlisle

Store Manager Giant Carlisle

Adrienne Evans

Cindie Jones

Sue Kurta-Pavlovic

Maureen McLellan

Sherry Miller

Wanda Reed

Store Manager Giant Landover

Store Manager Giant Landover

Store Manager S&S New York Metro

Store Manager S&S New England

Store Manager Giant Carlisle

Store Manager Giant Landover

Mary Repass

Regina Sue Sweeney

Geralyn Szczurko

Ilham Tarbouz

Michelle Witcher

Store Manager S&S New England

Store Manager Giant Landover

Store Manager S&S New York Metro

Store Manager Giant Landover

Store Manager S&S New York Metro

Parent Company of:

Senior-LeveL executiveS

MarGie arion

chief human resources officer, acosta Sales & Marketing Arion created Acosta’s holistic human capital management strategy and transformed human resources operations to directly align to business needs through a human resources business partnership strategy. She transferred a decentralized, geographically dispersed human resources organization into a centralized enterprise model directly aligned to support business operations. Arion introduced a suite of measurable, core human resources processes, including succession planning and performance management, and established the 2020 Human Capital Management Strategy aligned to achieve long-term business priorities.

cheryL Maduzia

vP, Strategic advisors, acosta Sales & Marketing Maduzia developed proprietary, critical insights for clients to maximize current business and uncover new areas of growth, including a new trade promotion strategy that resulted in significant savings, and identifying white space, positioning and concepts for a new product launch. She became manager of the Advanced Analytics practice area, impacting clients’ bottom line by setting volume or margin-enhancing retail pricing, increasing the effectiveness of trade promotion budgets. Maduzia implemented efforts to enhance measurement of ROI for Strategic Advisors programs, including syndicated retail modeling shopper marketing initiatives.


MeLinda WiLLiaMS

vaLerie BernStein

vP, natural/ Specialty Sales, acosta Sales & Marketing Williams spearheaded the first national In-Store Brand Ambassador Program for Whole Foods Market’s (WFM) Global Grocery team, and trained more than 2,600 WFM associates to deliver in-store assisted selling, creating more than 50,000 consumer impressions and increased brand awareness and product knowledge among employees and customers. The initiative led to significant sales increases for both brand and retailer. She led the development and implementation of a national display compliance audit-reporting system for the global grocery team, in which its findings are used to strategize trade spend; it has since become WFM’s standard format for all brokers to submit data.

SvP Business development, advantage Solutions/ advantage Marketing Partners division

As business development lead for Advantage’s shopper marketing practice, IN Marketing, Bernstein forged a path into the new verticals of toys, premium beauty and adult beverage. By diversifying beyond CPG food, she spearheaded $15 million in new revenue in 2015 alone and opened up an 18-month pipeline of $45 million in incremental revenue. In her role of business team lead for the consumer and shopper marketing division, Bernstein provided bestin-class RFP responses and established a winning 60-day onboarding process for new clients.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016

carLen hooKer

SvP, Business Solutions, acosta Sales & Marketing As Acosta’s manager of client relationships for suppliers to Walmart, Hooker identified and implemented new methods to optimize Walmart operations, including a redesign of the retail execution model using predictive analytics, resulting in an increased ROI for retail execution. Many of these methods were deployed across the entire organization. She automated all weekly retail reporting, standardizing dashboards and introducing enhanced software, resulting in a reduction of input time. Hooker was instrumental in developing strategic partnerships to elevate Acosta’s analytics insights team in Walmart and Sam’s Club stores.

KriSti caSSidy

vP, Business development, advantage Sales & Marketing/ the Sunflower Group Cassidy devised a good/ better/best initiative to simplify sampling for nationalbrand marketing teams, tailoring their sampling plans according to the priority and strengths of each retailer, while keeping the program transparent, on budget and easy to buy for clients. Her cross-selling kept clients’ entire sampling budgets with The Sunflower Group and demonstrated the breadth of excellence available from her colleagues on the experiential team. Cassidy created an entrylevel program for new clients that features an easy-to-budget price, and her sales talent invariably led to upgrades.

Senior-LeveL executiveS

eLizabeth FoGerty

SvP, Strategic Planning, advantage Solutions/ advantage Marketing Partners Division Fogerty revamped IN Marketing’s strategy and insights function to raise the bar on delivery of shopper-centric solutions, including INpath, a proprietary approach to defining the path to purchase that uses qualitative behavioral inputs and quantitative measures to provide clients with a road map for optimal consumer activation. She developed a proprietary performance measurement, ROI and predictive analytics tools that deliver business intelligence across IN’s client base and highlight IN’s analytics expertise. She contributed to more than $14 million in new business growth in 2015.

KirSten aLForD oSborne

vP, client Services agency, advantage Solutions/ advantage Marketing Partners Division For Meijer’s Explore More platform, Osborne successfully developed and deployed an adult beverage demo program that drove incremental events and met the client’s category needs, and created and rolled out a seasonal event strategy; together, the initiatives helped the team increase the average daily event count by 33 percent. She implemented process efficiencies to reduce preparation time, improve field communications, and increase program lead times by more than 200 percent. Osborne created and implemented an enhanced operations model that resulted in a 14 percent increase in event execution and achievement of operational stability.


JiLL GriFFin

LiSa KLauSer

President, advantage Solutions/ advantage Marketing Partners Division Griffin’s accomplishments centered on growth and diversification, expansion, and industry recognition, earning her honors from “Who’s Who in Shopper Marketing Agencies” and Path to Purchase Institute, among other accolades. She grew revenue by upwards of $100 million, or more than 25 percent, won $20 million in annualized revenue on a go-forward basis in diversified industries and sectors new to the agency, and improved client portfolio diversification by 55 percent year over year. Griffin acquired significant revenue in new agencies and strategic capabilities.

President, consumer and Shopper Division, advantage Solutions/ advantage Marketing Partners Division As leader of the IN Marketing Services team, Klauser doubled revenue and won marquee CPG clients, all of which were onboarded seamlessly. She recruited an all-star team of industry veterans to offer clients access to “the best minds in the business”; this approach led to worldclass work that garnered numerous industry awards, including a Gold Effie. Klauser serves on the foundation board of the University of Connecticut, is an avid volunteer within her church community and serves as an industry mentor to many young women in the workplace.

Whitney ray

JoDie Daubert

vP, retail, advantage Solutions/advantage Marketing Partners Division

SvP, Merchandising Fresh Formats, ahold uSa

Ray led the full integration of The Sunflower Group’s key retail account services partnership with Target, including conversion of associates, operational infrastructure conversion, title and structure alignment, and the transition of all employee management solutions.

Daubert was part of the team that built from the ground up the Fresh Formats company, whose goal is to test and trial new retail concepts, opening the first two new-format bfresh stores; launched a completely new nonperishable product mix; and introduced a new prepared food and scratch bakery concept.

She headed the development of an improved training curriculum and stronger quality control measures, resulting in a strengthened client relationship through improved value-added resources and strong ongoing thought leadership.

She assembled a merchandising team that blended Ahold USA experience with new thinking and ideas; the team scored 100 percent on the Ahold engagement survey.

Ray improved overall execution rates by up to 25 percent and reduced store complaints by 50 percent.

Daubert received Ahold’s Better Place to Shop award in 2015 and supported the company’s Women in Leadership efforts; she also took part in a local middle school’s Career Day.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016

MeLiSSa oeSterreich

evP, client Services, advantage Solutions

Oesterreich led three clients through critical organizational transformations as a result of disruptive mergers and acquisitions, providing value-added consultation on outsourcing needs, retail deployment and optimization strategies. After her promotion to EVP, she developed a blueprint for delivering organizational growth with an emphasis on Advantage Cultural Pillars, including a special focus on people development, best practice sharing, needs-based solutions and developing an enterprise mentality. She led her team to more than 5 percent organic revenue growth through expansion of services with clients.

tara FaLLon

vP, engagement and talent Development, ahold uSa Fallon achieved associate engagement and communications survey participation of 95 percent, an increase of eight points, upping the communications score by five points. She grew the development score three points through two initiatives: situational leadership training for all division management associates, and the launch of a career website for each Ahold USA company, illustrating potential career paths within functions, and highlighting key roles and successes. Fallon created a new business resource group for working parents, to make the company more desirable to work for and to gather insights to increase sales.

Albertsons Companies Salutes the Top Women in Grocery Talent. Dedication. Innovation. Excellence. Cindi Aleardi Sales Manager Acme Division Vickie Babst Store Director, Philadelphia, PA Acme Division Dione Baird Manager, Floral Sales Southern Division Kathy Brady Vice President Retail Support, Deli Food Service West Region Corporate Stacey Brown Vice President Labor, Government & Employment Law Eastern Division Kate Coler Vice President Federal Government Relations Corporate

Cathy East Vice President Procurement - Meat, Seafood & Deli Corporate

Suzanne Long Vice President Corporate Initiatives Corporate

Karen Sales Vice President Shopper Marketing Corporate

Maha Eldabaja Store Director, Carrollton, TX Southern Division

Cathy Lord Vice President Corporate Human Resources Corporate

Tammy Stock Manager, Customer Service Division Front End Jewel-Osco Division

Dawn Mack Director Digital Customer Engagement Corporate

Roni Tharp Manager, Bakery Sales Southern California Division

Elizabeth Erpelding Director, Content Marketing & Social Media Corporate Cathy Fields District Manager Southern Division Mandy Fields Vice President Finance & Analytics Corporate Debra Fifes Vice President Consumer & Shopper Insights Corporate

Kim Connery Manager, Liquor Sales & Merchandising Jewel-Osco Division

Cindy Garnett Vice President Human Resources & Labor Relations Shaw’s & Star Market Division

Lori Corley Specialist, Grocery Operations Southern Division

Tina Garon Director, Marketing Jewel-Osco Division

Marissa Crabb Director, Corporate Procurement General Merchandise and HBC Corporate

Clarissa Hebert Store Director, Arlington, TX Southern Division

Gineal Davidson Director, Division Transition Corporate

Melissa Hill Director, Public Affairs & Government Relations Jewel-Osco Division

Gretchen DiChiro Manager, Marketing Shaw’s & Star Market Division

Jewel Hunt Group Vice President, Bakery Corporate

Lori Dupree Vice President Retail Support - Deli & Prepared Food East Region Corporate

Jennifer Jesser Director, Strategic Initiatives Corporate Kim Kilcoyne Manager, Floral Sales Jewel-Osco Division

Amanda Martinez Vice President Corporate Procurement Grocery, Liquor & Bakery Corporate Kathleen Mawn Store Director, Boston, MA Shaw’s & Star Market Division Holly Moorehouse Manager, Human Resources Jewel-Osco Division Susan Morris Executive Vice President Retail Operations, East Region Corporate Tamara Pattison Senior Vice President Digital Marketing & e-Commerce Corporate Melissa Plaisance Group Vice President Treasury & Investor Relations Corporate Lori Raya Division President Southern California Division Misty Rain Store Director, Silvis, IL Jewel-Osco Division Carol Roberts Manager, Marketing Community Relations and Partnership Southern Division

Phoebe Vasconcellos Manager, Human Resources Jewel-Osco Division Jennifer Villancourt Director, Finance Shaw’s & Star Market Division Sandra Vox Assistant Manager, Liquor Sales & Merchandising Jewel-Osco Division Bhargavi Whatley Senior Director Information Technology Corporate Teresa Whitney Assistant Manager, Grocery Sales Corporate Valerie Wilson Vice President Merchandising Services Southern Division Diana Wolcott Senior Director Information Technology Corporate Connie Yates Manager, Public Affairs & Communications Southern Division

Senior-LeveL executiveS

aMy hahn

SvP, Marketing, ahold uSa

Hahn developed and launched a consumer communication campaign for investment in lower shelf prices, instilling a Best Customer mindset and strategy across the organization, grounded in customer insights-driven segmentation, including first-of-its-kind mapping into loyalty systems to enable merchants, marketers and suppliers to build plans and strategies to targeted customers. She increased marketing effectiveness and investment allocation across multiple channels, delivering improved ROI, including a fourfold increase in sales from media strategy. Hahn led Ahold USA’s digital strategy and personalized marketing, resulting in doubledigit growth.

Stacey Brown vP, Labor, Government and employment Law, albertsons cos.

KriStina rota

Rota volunteered to take a lead role in Delhaize-Ahold merger activities, specifically in the actions required to gain regulatory approval to complete the deal; she also led the finance work stream for mergerrelated activities, collaborating with multiple stakeholders to coordinate the development of plans and execution of tasks.

SvP, operations, ahold uSa/Stop & Shop new england The company’s only female operations SVP, Wiggins was the only person in Ahold USA’s history to have worked in all four of its divisions, giving her the ability to create a more unified company through idea sharing.

She led and directed the corporate close process, ensuring the timeliness and accuracy of financial statements.

She successly boosted the financial results and employee engagement scores of the Carlisle and New England divisions, displaying a talent for reversing the fortunes of regions struggling to change with the culture.

Rota was accountable for corporate reporting of financial results, disclosures and key metrics for Ahold USA and its subsidiaries, along with the oversight of the external audit of the financial results.

A U.S Army veteran, Wiggins is active in the Boys and Girls Club, helping families in need and spending time with young children to teach them about teamwork, responsibility and developing relationships.

Kate coLer

Lori DuPre

vP, Federal Government relations, albertsons cos.

Brown stabilized and improved the labor-management relationship, enabling the company to operate more efficiently and flexibly; this improved relationship also extended to various state and local governments in which the Eastern division operates.

Coler was active in advancing legislation to create federal standards for informing consumers about foods that contain GMOs, to provide flexibility in regard to menulabeling regulations, and to expand supermarket pharmacists’ scope of service.

She was given oversight of all litigation and contractual matters affecting the division, resulting in a streamlined legal review process and substantial cost containments in litigation management.

She was the key information officer on Capitol Hill for the Albertsons-Safeway merger, both before and after it received final FTC approval, updating policymakers about the new company and its key business goals.

Brown led negotiations with multiple unions and political officials to obtain control over the division’s distribution center, greatly increasing supply chain capabilities and efficiencies.

Coler became chairman of Food Marketing Institute’s Government Relations Committee in 2015, facilitating collaboration among member companies.


Stacy wiGGinS

vP, accounting and control, ahold uSa

vP, retail Support, Deli and Prepared Food-east region, albertsons cos. Dupre implemented a program that helped some stores regain lost sales and others realize a completely new sales opportunity by placing presliced, grab-and-go deli meats and cheeses in free-standing refrigerated display cases. To properly introduce Own Brands and build a relationship between teams, she convened a multiday off-site meeting to introduce products and present data showing years of success and growth. Dupre is the event lead for a new corporate women’s networking group that allows others the opportunity to hone their skills related to project development and collaboration.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016

Kathy BraDy

vP, retail Support Deli Foodservice-west region, albertsons cos. As part of the Safeway acquisition, Brady rapidly deployed signature and best practice programs that generated doubledigit increases for the total deli foodservice department, the highest growth rate of any other department across the total store. Her role of coaching, training and mentoring sales managers and operations specialists led to unified collaboration across the divisions. Brady advised the Own Brands team on how best to support sales managers through division visits, asking questions and understanding the role of a sales manager in a decentralized model; as a result, divisions began accepting more Own Brand items.

cathy eaSt

vP, Procurement, Meat/Seafood/Deli, albertsons cos. East played a vital role in supporting distribution center IT integration, providing key insights and guidance for data conversion and post-conversion support roles specific to perishable procurement. She hired management staff and developed a multifaceted training program for new decentralized procurement teams representing 10 newly established independently managed distribution centers, and placed all centralized department applicants in new roles within the organization. East collaborated with cross-functional teams to reduce excess inventory across the enterprise, saving the company millions of dollars in working capital.

Senior-Level Executives

Sheila Gamble Senior Vice President Client Development

Katherine Fuller Vice President/ Managing Director Client Development

Rising Stars


Beth Faught Division Manager

Congratulations to all of the Progressive Grocer’s 2016 Top Women in Grocery, with special thanks to our honorees and all of the women at CROSSMARK who exemplify excellence every day.

Natalie Runyan NPS Program Manager Kari Sims Director of Retail Operations



Donna Mendes Store Team Leader

Carla Dieffenbach Store Team Leader



Lisa Inselman Vice President Controller

Betsy Perez Store Team Leader

Nicole Townsend Vice President

Leslie Solorzano Store Team Leader

Grass Valley

Talent Development & Communications

Gold River

Cynthia Decouto Store Team Leader Modesto


Senior-LeveL executiveS

mandy FieLdS

vP, Finance and analytics, albertsons cos.

Under Fields’ leadership, the Own Brands finance team established data sources and analytical and reporting tools that allowed the organization to seamlessly gather insights on business performance across divisions in a timely manner; during this critical first year of integration, Fields kept executive leadership apprised of Own Brands’ financial health. Her team created a system to track Own Brands products selling in the company’s divisions, which was instrumental in meeting several sales milestones. Fields was the point person for Own Brands synergies, identifying multimillion-dollar savings from integrating into Albertsons’ banners and driving incremental EBITDA.

Suzanne Long

vP, corporate initiatives, albertsons cos.

Long coordinated all integration activities for the Albertsons-Safeway merger, leading the conversion of the Southern and Houston divisions to inhouse technology within nine months of the deal’s close. She actively facilitated a culture of collaboration and cooperation between two distinct company cultures to build a strong, unified and enthusiastic team. Long’s team provided training and support for hundreds of associates to facilitate the conversions and prepare employees for large-scale change; her leadership enabled the newly combined company to execute its aggressive integration plans on schedule, with several areas outpacing expectations.

deBra FiFLeS vP, consumer and Shopper insights, albertsons cos.

Fifles’ team established a baseline of shopper perceptions for Albertsons banners and their competition across the new trading area of the merged company, and she advanced division leadership’s understanding of the drivers of loyalty, price, shopping experience and customer service.

cindy garnett

vP, human resources and Labor relations, albertsons cos./Shaw’s and Star market Working with the leadership team, Garnett developed new tools and methods to identify, source and develop high-potential employees from both inside and outside the organization.

She developed and facilitated a marketing and merchandising vision/mission/strategy session with leadership, resulting in a comprehensive strategic plan.

She and her team launched the Training Fundamentals program to provide a baseline of knowledge in the areas of customer service and financial acumen to all managementlevel employees, both at the stores and the support center.

Fifles directed her team to assess shopper reaction to a new advertising campaign to understand breakthrough, persuasion and communication, resulting in optimized launch materials for rollout.

Garnett conducted succession-planning sessions for all levels of employees, launched targeted career day events, and revitalized campus recruitment efforts, focusing on culinary and business programs.

cathy Lord

vP, corporate human resources, albertsons cos. After the Albertsons-Safeway merger, Lord worked with a new management team to restructure and reorganize the corporate offices to align with a strategic focus on decentralizing many roles and responsibilities; she executed the project, which affected hundreds of associates, with compassion and professionalism. She was a valuable partner of a small team that focused on combining the merged companies’ human resources programs and policies, including multiple contract renegotiations that yielded profitable savings. A mentor for women at the corporate offices of Albertsons and Safeway, Lord is past chair for the Single Mom’s Network Group.

amanda martinez

vP, corporate Procurement-grocery, Liquor and Bakery, albertsons cos. For the legacy Safeway distribution centers, procurement for grocery and GM/ HBC was centralized under Martinez’s leadership before the merger with Albertsons. Her team led the tracking and evaluation of key supply chain initiatives and participated in the planning process for multiple national sales events throughout the year and other cost-reduction efforts. Martinez worked with other women leaders to start an employee resource group at Albertsons corporate headquarters in Boise, Idaho, with the aim of connecting talented women across the organization.

JeweL hunt

group vP, Bakery, albertsons cos.

Upon the completion of the Albertsons-Safeway merger, Hunt, then group VP of pharmacy, was asked to return to bakery, which she had previously run with success; under her renewed leadership, bakery achieved sales growth outpacing industry growth by 350 percent, consumer experience and satisfaction improved substantially, and market share penetration increased. Hunt and her team developed multimillion-dollar cost-savings initiatives and best practices during the first year of company integration with Safeway. She helped launch, and is a board member, of a new Albertsons resource group, WIIN: Women’s Inspiration and Inclusion Network.

SuSan morriS

evP, retail operationseast region, albertsons cos. To facilitate the Denver division’s conversion to a decentralized operating model, Morris quickly built a team of seasoned professionals to manage procurement, pricing, advertising and all other key functions; she also created 5 Minute Friday, an update delivered to employees by email or smartphone on the last Friday of every month. Under her leadership, the division boosted its funding of nonprofit community organizations; she empowered store directors to choose funding partners, allocating nearly $500,000 in local grants. Morris is an active member of Colorado Concern, an association of CEOs and business leaders committed to ensuring economic growth.

June 2016 | |


Congratulations Brenda Greinke - General Ofce Director, Indirect Sourcing

Theresa Monti - General Ofce VP, Total Rewards

Courtney Jill Nelson McClure - Kroger – Central Technology Division Store Director Manager 1

Terri Rose - General Ofce Director, Floral Merchandising

Sharon Roberts - General Ofce Sr. Director, GMM Buying

Lisa Bejmowicz - Fry’s Division Store Manager

Kristi Enslinger - Dillons Division Store Manager

Portia Frost - Delta Division Store Manager

Amanda Gawron - Harris Teeter Store Manager

Amanda Glatzer-Columbus Division Store Manager

Rena Johnston - Houston Division Store Manager

Courtney McClure - Central Division Store Manager

Windy Vargas - Delta Division Store Manager

Dawn Vieth - Roundy’s Division Store Manager

Renee Vinnedge - Nashville Division Store Manager

Melissa Whaley - Nashville Division Store Manager

Heather Wheatley - Louisville Division Store Manager

Kathy Wilks - King Soopers/ City Market Division Store Manager

Larissa England - General Ofce Sr. Mgr. Corporate Supplier Diversity

Brandy Hanger - General Ofce Digital Merchandising Coordinator

Denise Haskamp - Kroger Technology Human Resources Manager

Pam Hudson – Dillons Division District Operations Coordinator

Sarah Perkins - General Ofce Produce Promotional Planner

Sherry Postel - General Ofce Corp. Retail Ops/Data Integrity Mgr.

Whitney Rice - Fry’s Division Pharmacy Clinical Sales Mgr.

Kristine Rogers - Fred Meyer Div. Merchandiser Service Deli/Bakery

Lynn Howitz - Delta Division Facility Manager

Deborah Jacobs - Atlanta Division District Manager

Kyleah Russell – Mid Atlantic Div. District Loss Prevention Mgr.

Melissa Stimac - Fry’s Division Produce Merchandiser

to our Top Women in Grocery! Thank you for your dedication and commitment to our Company and community.

Kim Borror - Columbus Division Store Manager

Michelle Burton - Fry’s Division Store Manager

Rhonda Conway - King Soopers/ City Market Division Store Manager

Donna Dunn - Atlanta Division Store Manager

Karla Mofet - Food 4 Less Division Store Manager

Pantea Naghibi - QFC Division Store Manager

Marisa Roberts - Food 4 Less Division Store Manager

Sharon Rodriguez - Harris Teeter Division Store Manager

Julia Benitez - Manufacturing Turkey Hill Dairy Site Leader

Coco Bill - Central Division Assoc. Communication & Engagement Mgr.

Nicole Bishop - Personal Finance Sr. Manager, Risk & AML Compliance

Casey Killough – Harris Teeter Division Pharmacy Operations Mgr

Kelli McGannon - King Soopers/City Market Div Community Afairs Mgr

Kate Meyer - General Ofce Main & Vine Merchandiser

Teresa Turley - Delta Division District Manager

Bufy Turner - General Ofce Senior Merchandiser

Genise Wade – Turkey Hill Dairy Director, Human Resource & Diversity

Hazelon Smith - Atlanta Division Store Manager

Angie Steinberger - Central Division Store Manager

Liz Colvin - Houston Division Drug/GM Merchandiser

Jane Dale - QFC Division Senior Food Safety Manager

Senchal Murphy - Columbus Division Talent Manager

Erin Osterfeld - Kroger Technology Manager of e-Commerce

Cindy Pater - General Ofce Process Change Manager

Julie Winner - Manufacturing Senior Leader, Central Planning

Ann Weisman - Kroger Technology Manager

Latasha Williams - Atlanta Division Recruiter

Jenny Carrender Mid-Atlantic Division Controller

Senior-LeveL executiveS

taMara PattiSon SvP, digital Marketing and e-commerce, albertsons cos. Pattison’s team launched the Just for U personalized loyalty program to new geographies, drove greater engagement in the Fuel Rewards program and developed the digital road map to support the continued growth of mobile and social program participation. She helped her team extend the existing e-commerce offering by launching grocery delivery in four West Coast markets. At Albertsons, Pattison is executive sponsor of the GenNow employee resource group, and a foundational member of the Boise, Idaho, and Pleasanton, Calif., chapters of the Women’s Inspiration & Inclusion Network (WIIN).

vaLerie WiLSon

vP, Merchandising Services, albertsons cos.

For the Albertsons-Safeway merger, Wilson oversaw space planning, schematic development, merchandising systems and data governance; her hybrid space-planning and schematic development structure allowed for local control while leveraging the scale and expertise of a national production team. Wilson’s teams built business processes and systems to support the newly merged decentralized organization. She created a company-wide merchandising execution program that significantly increased the efficiency of reset work by deploying dedicated reset teams and taking schematic development in-house, allowing more work to be done to impact sales at the shelf.


MeLiSSa PLaiSance

Lori raya

President, Southern california division, albertsons cos.

group vP, treasury and investor relations, albertsons cos.

Plaisance led a companywide process to identify incremental savings opportunities; she negotiated payments contracts, leading to millions of dollars of annual savings. She was instrumental in the Albertsons IPO process, including preparation of the S-1 and presentation materials; participated directly in the investors roadshow; was involved in raising $11 billion of debt financing; and coordinated efforts among Treasury, IT and information security on the payments side of the business. Plaisance serves as president of Bucknell University’s alumni board and is a member of the National Investor Relations Institute.

Raya successfully integrated Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions stores into one division, combining company cultures and reinventing many processes and strategies while achieving same-store sales growth and creating 1,400 new jobs. A longtime supporter of Special Olympics Southern California, she spurred her division to raise awareness and funds — $478,077 in just two weeks — for the 2015 Special Olympics World Games, for which Albertsons served as the official grocery sponsor. Following the San Bernardino, Calif., shootings, Raya led a division-wide fundraiser garnering $372,624.38 for the Arrowhead United Way’s San Bernardino Victim Fund in just nine days.

Suzy Monford

Maggie Bezart-HaLL

ceo, andronico’s community Markets

A fitness buff and certified holistic health coach, Monford created Andronico’s FitMarket department and program, which led to partnerships with community members, including nutrition consultants available to customers at no cost. She funded and developed the iTunes app Sweat.Works, a platform where FitBank participants could check in for their workouts and track their rewards. She launched events featuring yoga in Andronico’s parking lots and gardening for children, and is working with UC Berkeley on a program in which students can track their workouts for FitBank to donate money directly to local food banks.

vP, trade and Promotion, avocados from Mexico Bezart-Hall’s influence permeated the category through innovative avocado programming in more than 28,000 stores. Her leadership of customer category programming led to avocado in-store store growth of 18 percent, to 220 percent; these programs have made the category the second-largest in the produce department. She helped pioneer support of registered dietitians in the produce industry, and led the category with support of the PMA and Oldways programs, offering expert insight and detailed information on avocados’ nutritional benefits to retail and foodservice dietitians, aided by an in-house research and development team.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016

Karen SaLeS

vP, Shopper Marketing, albertsons cos.

Sales formed a department team from scratch to support the combined AlbertsonsSafeway organization, implementing policies and procedures for finance, accounting, advertising, merchandising and operations to support the new breakout of 14 divisions, and absorbing more than 100 additional stores purchased over the course of the year. She launched a centralized in-store demo solution this past February, with an expected impact of significant savings to vendor partners and increased sales for the company over the course of the next two years. Sales added and implemented five incremental national CPG-supported shopper events.

taLBott rocHe ceo/President, Blackhawk network

Blackhawk’s board of directors appointed Roche to succeed William Y. Tauscher as CEO. Before this appointment, she was the company’s president for more than five years, a role she continued to fill. Roche led Blackhawk’s aggressive growth objective, including the completion of a number of acquisitions, like that of digital commerce platform and promotions network NimbleCommerce, that added to the company’s offerings, scale and reach. One of San Francisco Business Times’ Most influential Women in Bay Area Business, she has also received such industryspecific honors as a PYMNTS Innovator Award in the Women Driving Innovation in Payments category.


Top Women in Grocery Honorees Unified is proud to have four members of our team to be recognized among the best in our industry. Their many accomplishments and successes reflect the strength of our organization and the overall quality of our people.

Jody Beasley

Debbie Allen

Maria Guido

Stephanie Steiner

Manager, Product Development

Assistant Treasurer

Executive Director of HR, Talent Management

Director of Sales and Marketing

Senior-LeveL executiveS

nancy eichLer

vP, Brownie Brittle LLc The first official employee of Brownie Brittle, with influence over all aspects of its business, Eichler set up a major strategic partnership with Mondavi that resulted in significant sales and a request from the company for another exclusive team-up. She participated in the global initiative Mentoring Monday, as well as in the South Florida Business Women’s Leadership Group, and was a judge for the CANstruction event benefiting the Palm Beach County Food Bank’s annual architectural food donation program. Responsible for all things digital on a global scale at Brownie Brittle, Eichler was a regularly requested speaker for various women’s groups and the technology industry.

KeLLy Marr

vP, retail channel Strategy and commercialization, the coca-cola co. Marr led the creation of a collaborative businessplanning process for national retail sales customers, working closely with the national retail sales organization and multiple cross-functional partners on a disciplined approach to customer planning. She developed a retail value proposition giving customers access to company insights, expertise, differentiated shopper solutions that could be activated both nationally and locally, and operational and executional excellence capabilities. Marr initiated the development of a strategy to help retail customers build a bestin-class foodservice offering and experience.


KiM aLBertSon

Lori BateS

vP, Supply chain Planning and integration, clif Bar & co. Albertson led the creation and implementation of several new processes, including those relating to sales and operations planning, five-year capacity plans and long-range shipment forecasting, as well as a variety of system and reporting enhancements. She created the role of supply chain manager, which has become indispensable in the innovation and product lifecycle management process. As Clif Bar prepared to add its first two wholly owned and operated bakeries, the company was able to draw on Albertson’s prior experience with Quaker Oats/PepsiCo to gain insight into how self-manufacture would affect processes and costs going forward.

Group Director, Sparkling commercialization, coca-cola north america, the coca-cola co.

Director, Ko Lab and Shopper experience innovation center (Seic), the coca-cola co.

Bates and her team spearheaded an extraordinary addition to the Diet Coke campaign It’s Mine that involved the production of thousands of new 12-ounce glass bottles, each with its own personal design.

Gronek-Gibbs transformed the KO Lab and the SEIC into a thriving hub of solution and innovation, starting with a complete refresh of the lab space.

Her team led internal communications for the new Coca-Cola one-brand trademark strategy, in which all beverages under the Coca-Cola umbrella — Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Coke Zero and Coca-Cola Life — moved to a one-brand approach, to ensure that all employees were on the same page for the global rollout.

For a planning meeting with a major large-store customer, she and her team delved into every part of the customer’s business and integrated discussions on historic performance and sales numbers with talks from subject-matter experts on possible partnerships, flavor innovation and shopper insight trends.

Bates was active in Big Brothers/Big Sisters, having mentored the same “little sister” for nine years.

Gronek-Gobbs received internal recognition for working to create a path to purchase through beacon technology.

chriStine MotherweLL

vP, customer Management, coca-cola Bottling co. consolidated, the coca-cola co.

anne GroneK-GiBBS

PaMeLa Stewart vP, national retail Sales, the coca-cola co.

Motherwell created a joint business planning scorecard and process with Coca-Cola Consolidated’s largest customer, resulting in strong volume and revenue growth performance for both the customer and the company.

Stewart evolved the Coke with Meals platform in her customer’s store delis, leveraging analytics, shopper insights and extensive foodservice experience; the plan she and her team created was so successful that internal parties requested to use aspects of it for other customers.

She and her team redefined Coca-Cola Consolidated’s goto-market model to support a large-store customer, leading to significant cost savings, in-stock improvement, and increased sales for both parties.

She transitioned the customer’s field team to a strategic franchise leader center of excellence, ultimately leading to mastery of auto-replenishment and strengthened pillar/ holiday event execution.

Motherwell helped launch an e-commerce platform enabling the company to support brick-and-mortar e-commerce locations opening within its footprint, and better partner and engage with key retailers.

Stewart developed a five-year customer-aligned strategic road map to drive buyer and trip conversions for the customer, focusing on research that shows where the customer can grow.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016

aMy vaLenzueLa

Group Director, category Strategic advisory, east region Large Store team, the coca-cola co. Valenzuela piloted a collaborative business-planning program to improve the opportunity assessment process for her clients, working with her customer teams on a model that was scalable and adaptable for other retailers. She standardized category reviews across the East Region, developing a template that allows for consistency across customers. Valenzuela developed a program that brought in other company departments’ leaders to talk with her employees about different topics and how they achieved success in their careers, and she volunteered to participate in a Coca-Cola leadership pilot involving virtual and in-person training.

lemon lime


cherry vanilla

be a deli celebrity add choices, increase sales


Delis ofering Coca-Cola Freestyle

are experiencing on average • 5% revenue growth • 3% trafc increases • 5% growth in total beverage sales.*

get in on the action™ *Source: TCCC Proprietary Research, CCFS Large Store Performance, Dec. 2013

congratulations to our progressive women in grocery Mary Fuhrman Vice President, Produce & Floral; Aimee O’Leary Director, Retail Design; Sheila Laing Executive Vice President, Government/Industry Relations, Chief Customer Ofcer; Christy Myers Assistant Vice President, POS; Kim Cole Store Director, West Des Moines #2; Dorrie Decker Store Director, Council Blufs #1; Wendy Hiatt Vice President, Brand & Image Marketing; Ina Cavin Store Director, Mason City #1; Courtney Brobst Store Director, Lenexa

Senior-LeveL executiveS

KatHerine FuLLer

vP/Managing director, crossmark Fuller drove top- and bottomline performance, exceeding her stretch revenue target by an additional $271,000, and leading her team to the most profitable year since its 2008 inception; she also worked with the business development team to grow revenue, a proactive effort resulting in an incremental $972,000


Gamble led the rollout of a new client go-to-market strategy, including its development, refinement and implementation.

She established strong relationships across her client portfolio, retaining an at-risk client that was key to the company’s convenience store relationship.

She headed the growth innovation summit to introduce Crossmark’s new organizational structure and processes, working with an outside company to help coordinate and facilitate the kickoff as well as related ongoing training; this included the formalization of all new job descriptions and the development of employee playbooks.

Executive leadership asked Fuller to join a client initiative to highlight the above program’s value, her efforts garnering visibility for the team’s performance and quality provided.

Gamble championed efforts to develop Net Promoter Score (NPS) within the company, marking the first formalized effort to improve clients’ satisfaction to ensure their continuing growth and innovation.

voni WoodS

vP, deli and Bakery, Giant eagle inc.

Hatcher successfully led the industry’s legislative and regulatory efforts on multiple public policy fronts, most recently in relation to menu labeling and GMO labeling proposals. When an outage by a major service provider caused massive disruptions in electronic payment systems throughout the industry, she worked nights and weekends to ensure that food retailers’ needs were addressed and that affected companies had a means of redress. Hatcher oversaw the industry’s work with Congress to reauthorize and reform the Women, Infants and Children program.

KriSti MaGnuSon neLSon

SvP/chief customer officer, Hallmark cards inc.

A passionate advocate for diversity and inclusion, Wiewel guided all aspects of Hallmark’s marketplace, workplace and workforce.

She was instrumental in generating improvements through innovative products and merchandising in bakery, leading to a net gain of more than 10 percent.

Under her leadership, the company elevated its diverse and active employee resource group community — Wiewel herself chairs the Asian-American Resource Community at Hallmark — and received a 100 percent score on the 2016 Corporate Equality Index.


SvP, Government and Public affairs, Food Marketing institute (FMi)

SaBrina WieWeL

After successfully running Giant Eagle’s deli business for many years, Woods took on additional leadership duties for the bakery business.

The recipient of numerous company and industry awards, Woods — the first-ever woman to chair the IDDBA board — founded the Giant Eagle Women’s Business Resource Group, which to date has grown to more than 700 members; her employee development efforts also included taking part in an internal video on growth opportunies at Giant Eagle.

JenniFer HatcHer

SvP, client development, crossmark

Identifying a gap in both LGBTQIA and Asian-American products, Wiewel led award-winning work to bring a customized and unique assortment to a Walgreens store in San Francisco’s LGBT-centric Castro neighborhood, and began focusing on localized retail solutions.

President/owner, Hugo’s Family Marketplace The leader of Hugo’s Family Marketplace and Hugo’s Wine & Spirits, Nelson undertook a major renovation and remodel project for five Minnesota and North Dakota stores, which added many new features, including expanded natural food sections and more deli choices, and resulted in impressive sales gains. In addition to leading an innovative and impactful social media strategy to engage and reach customers, Nelson was instrumental in teaming with a local health care facility to introduce a Healthy Living program. Nelson was recognized as one of Prairie Business Magazine’s Top 25 Women in Business in February 2016.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016

HiLary tHeSMar

vP, Food Safety Programs, Food Marketing institute (FMi) Thesmar’s work facilitated implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the biggest change to food safety laws in 70-plus years; to help with compliance, she coordinated four training sessions for food retailers and wholesalers. She regularly visited FMI members to consult on food safety best practices, including store tours during which she provided hands-on instruction and shared training methods. Thesmar worked with FMI’s Food Protection Committee to develop new publications to aid retailers’ food safety efforts, and led implementation of the “Produce Safety Best Practices Guide for Retailers.”

Mary FuHrMan

vP, Produce and Floral, Hy-vee

Under Fuhrman’s leadership, Hy-Vee’s specialty foods subsidiary experienced doubledigit growth. Having significantly expanded the chain’s international food offerings with a directimport program with Italian food companies, Fuhrman helped lead her division’s category growth for private label across many lines, as well as playing an instrumental role in doubling the scope and size of Hy-Vee’s in-store HealthMarket departments. In her current role, Fuhrman oversaw the implementation of a company-wide produce, floral and salad bar marketing program, and helped develop and execute a successful full-service, made-toorder salad bar initiative.

SpartanNash SpartanNash2016 2016Top TopWomen WomenininGrocery GroceryAward AwardWinners: Winners: Store StoreManagers Managers Renee ReneeHarris Harris Store StoreDirector Director Family FamilyFare FareLakeview, Lakeview,MIMI

Tammy Tammy Sluck Sluck Store Store Director Director Family Family Fare Fare Gaylord, Gaylord, MIMI

Rising RisingStars Stars Alisha AlishaMurray Murray Manager ManagerWorksite WorksiteWellness WellnessProgram Program

Charity Charity Kobrzycki Kobrzycki Manager Manager Merchandising Merchandising Analysis Analysis

Deann DeannWright Wright District DistrictManager Manager

Elizabeth Elizabeth Schneider Schneider Manager, Manager, Business Business Military, Military, MDV MDV Norfolk Norfolk

Tracy TracySongstad Songstad Director DirectorBusiness Business Process ProcessReengineering Reengineering

TiaTia Billups Billups Manager, Manager, Accounting, Accounting, MDV MDV Norfolk Norfolk

Senior SeniorLevel LevelAssociate Associate Meredith MeredithGremel Gremel Vice VicePresident, President,Corporate, Corporate,Afairs Afairsand andCommunications Communications Executive ExecutiveDirector, Director,SpartanNash SpartanNashFoundation Foundation

Success begins begins with withstrong strongleadership. leadership. SpartanNash SpartanNashisisproud proudtotocongratulate congratulatenine nineofofour our associates associatesfor forbeing beingrecognized recognizedasasTop TopWomen Womeninin Grocery Groceryfor fortheir theiroutstanding outstandingaccomplishments accomplishments inin2016. 2016. We Weare aregreatful greatfulfor foryour yourvision visionand andleadership. leadership.

Senior-LeveL executiveS

Wendy hiatt

vP, Brand and image Marketing, hy-vee

Under Hiatt’s leadership, HyVee saw a 228 percent increase in Instagram followers, a 138 percent growth in Twitter followers and a 50 percent increase in Facebook fans in 2015. She led the launch of Hy-Vee’s entrance into the Twin Cities, which included a fully integrated campaign consisting of numerous direct mail pieces, digital advertising, fliers and billboards, all in keeping with the grocer’s brand but designed specifically to appeal to the new market. As Hy-Vee celebrated its 85th anniversary, Hiatt and her team brought back a well-known company promotion, Brands for Brands, with an updated twist that tied into the grocer’s Fuel Saver + Perks card.

Monica BonaMego

cFo, Kings Food Markets/Balducci’s As CFO for the two companies with revenue in excess of $500 million, Bonamego, who is also a CPA, constantly challenged the status quo, providing groundbreaking solutions and valuable insights for growth. She identified, acquired and implemented a financial software system that automated internal processes, increased organizational efficiency and provided tools to improve year-over-year results by 35 percent. An active member of the real estate committee, Bonamego developed a property system of evaluation and review that ensures accurate and measurable ROI milestones and benchmarks.


SheiLa Laing

Mary Kay o’connor

evP, government/industry relations, chief customer officer, hy-vee In the short time since Laing became Hy-Vee’s chief customer officer, in June 2015, she’s made significant advances, among them doubling the size of the customer care department, the size and scope of recruiting efforts, and the size of the training and education department; in regard to the last item, she oversaw the rollouts of new employee certification programs for cheese, wine and cake design specialists. She planned strategic initiatives to realign both company-wide meetings and Hy-Vee management group and communication meetings. Laing was elected a permanent member of Hy-Vee’s executive committee and board of directors.

vP, education, international dairy-deliBakery association (iddBa) Coinciding with her 30th anniversary with IDDBA, O’Connor led the release of the 30th-anniversary issue of “What’s in Store,” a trends book and online service for manufacturer, grocery retail, distributor and broker members. She is managing editor and founder of the publication. She led the charge for the groundbreaking Safe Food Matters! Focus on Listeria campaign launched last year by IDDBA, developing new advertising, public relations and social media for the effort. O’Connor oversaw the creation of Show & Sell Center 2015 and the first-time-ever Show & Sell workshops at IDDBA’s annual Dairy-Deli-Bake conference.

JeSSica gaSSer

Brenda greinKe

SvP, talent and technology, Kings Food Markets

Promoted to her current role this past February, Gasser enjoyed many successes in the past year, among them negotiating five union contracts on behalf of Kings without any disruption to business, and at zero cost to the company. She reduced health care costs by $2 million, with minimal effect to associates’ coverage, and led the reorganization and staffing of a critical sales arm of the organization, which resulted in a top-level, high-performance team. Under her leadership and superior project management, a newly acquired company was fully integrated into the host system in a completely seamless fashion.

Senior director, indirect Sourcing, the Kroger co.

Greinke evinced a high level of adaptability by transitioning noncore work from her sourcing team to the facilities team. She and her team exceeded their savings target of $20 billion by completing large projects regarding third-party maintenance, structural steel, refrigerant, copper piping and other areas; by using her deep knowledge of store construction and operations, she was able to find many internal synergies with suppliers to add to their Kroger business and build stronger, mutually beneficial partnerships. She was a key leader in the sourcing and procurement of many new items and fixtures for Kroger’s new Main & Vine format.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016

chriStie WiLMer vP, Kroger team Sales, Kellogg co.

Overseeing a $1 billion business for 14 Kroger divisions and Harris Teeter across four Kellogg’s business units, Wilmer built a high-performing 40-member team and established a best-inclass partnership via collaborative, intuitive leadership. She was one of five global winners, out of 30,000 employees, to receive Kellogg’s highest associate award — the W.K. Kellogg Values Award, named for the company founder — via nominations from her colleagues. Wilmer created the Cincy One organization, spanning sales and distribution facilities, to focus on community engagement and reaching out to local schools for recruiting efforts, as well as to build a strong brand for Kellogg in Kroger’s hometown.

thereSa Monti vP, total rewards, the Kroger co.

Monti led the Total Rewards team in a new strategic direction: to meet associates where they are in life and offer benefits and programs that matter most across a multigenerational workforce. She particularly strove to engage the growing number of Millennial employees via programs and communication emphasizing the value of working for Kroger. Under her leadership, Kroger was named one of the “100 healthiest companies in America” in 2015 by Healthiest Employer LLC. As the point person for merger company integration, her leadership was invaluable as Kroger merged with Roundy’s, encompassing the transition of 23,000 associates.


Crafted with Original Huy Fong® Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce • Consumer demand for hotter, spicier foods continues to grow.

. (6 Year CAGR)*

• Sriracha Sauce is a $53 Million category, growing 

• Huy Fong’s Sriracha Sauce is the #1 Sriracha Sauce in the sriracha category.*

Visit us at FMI Booth


From the Makers of:

For more information, visit: or Contact Gary Petersen, Divisional Vice President: *IRI MULO 52WE 3/20/2016 Dollar Sales

Senior-LeveL executiveS

JiLL neLSon

Director, Supply chain Systems, the kroger co./ technology Nelson led efforts to modernize solutions in Kroger’s supply chain and corporate technology areas to meet such foundational objectives as agility, cost-effectiveness, security, scalability and supportability; as part of this effort, her team designed, developed and tested an application that served as a proof of technology for next-generation cloud-enabled applications.

SHaron roBertS

terri roSe Director, floral Merchandising, the kroger co.

General Merchandise Manager, apparel, the kroger co. While the apparel industry had flat to negative identicalstore sales, Roberts and her team increased sales by 7.5 percent; they accomplished this by driving key items that she championed throughout the year, including Bearpaw Boots and men’s polo shirts.

Rose drove major changes in logistics to overcome the time and temperature challenges involved in moving floral product to warehouses. The changes resulted in a one- to two-day time savings and the requirement of a more consistent temperature setting to maintain fresh product.

She oversaw the market assessment and testing of new voice technologies, and selected the company’s next-generation voice-picking solution.

She and her team joined forces with a vendor to revamp the cold-weather program for all divisions, updating the quality and fashion level of the items offered, and led the development of the first flash sale in Kroger Marketplaces, which drove firsttime sales of $650,000.

She generated double-digit sales by changing Kroger’s longstanding Consumer Bunch program, the company’s secondlargest sales commodity, to a more European program of premium products in all divisions.

Under her leadership, associate engagement scores have increased by three percentage points.

Roberts served on a YWCA fundraising committee that helped raise $100,000 annually.

Lyn rySe

Marketing Director, Market of choice

Ryse’s work was fundamental to the growth of Market of Choice, an independent, family-owned grocer in Oregon, as she directly influenced the company’s look and voice. She was heavily involved in the company’s opening of its ninth store, in Beaverton, Ore., working with the owner/president and an interior designer on fixtures and furnishings for all departments, and planning and directing ad campaigns and promotions in the new market. Ryse was pivotal in a new endeavor for the company: repurposing a historic lumber mill into an event center in just 90 days to host a major event; the renamed Venue 252 opened on time and has been in high demand since.


Rose is a member of the PMA Floral Council, the Women’s EDGE resource group at Kroger and the Produce Floral Cultural Council, among other industry associations.

HeatHer Stouffer

Lynette ackLey

vP, Merchandising, Meijer

founder/ceo, Mom Made foods LLc Within the past year, Stouffer has grown her 10-employee company’s revenue by 89 percent, filling the need for healthy, convenient frozen meals and snacks at several national retail accounts. Her mission was to bring America’s families back to the dinner table while showing them how to eat more consciously and healthfully on the go. A onetime recipient of Washington Business Journal’s Women Who Mean Business Award, Stouffer belongs to a raft of professional and community groups, including Martha’s Table, where she volunteers to help cook for and educate vulnerable children and families about healthy eating.

Ackley worked toward making Meijer a true destination location for health and wellness; her vision included overseeing the rollout of an elevated skin care and VMS (vitamins, minerals and supplements) offering to 30 target stores; the strategy involved creating an enhanced in-store shopping experience through lower-profile shelving. lighting, experiential graphics and a storewithin-a-store layout. She expanded product assortment to include more prestigious skin care brands and specialty VMS brands. Ackley was instrumental in driving sourcing growth in several categories, working through the Global Sourcing Office in Hong Kong. She also works as a mentor to her colleagues in Hong Kong.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016

cHarity HeGeL vP, finance, Litehouse inc.

Hegel, a CPA, achieved VP status at the age of 42, after 10 years of service at Litehouse, a maker of salad dressings, dips, sauces and marinades. Tasked with implementing a financial planning and analysis department at Litehouse, she helped build key performance indicators and metrics across the organization, which greatly contributed to record-breaking growth and profitability for the company. A member of many trade and professional organizations who was recognized as a Paul Harris Fellow through Rotary International, Hegel also mentored her fellow employee-owners in alignment with Litehouse’s core values, as well as the company’s culture of striving for performance and improvement.

cinDy SorenSen

vP, Business Development, Midwest Dairy association A “go-to” source for the dairy industry, Sorensen was a key presenter at the Feeding America Food Sourcing and Operations Learning Conference FED Talks in Chicago and at the Feeding America Conference. A regular contributor to industry media, she developed the Milk for My Plate purchase model. Sorensen is a member of Network of Executive Women and the research and insights operating committee of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. She is also the current VP of membership on the executive committee of the board of directors for Women Grocers of America, a program of the National Grocers Association.


We raise our mugs to you. To our own award recipient in Starbucks Channel Development, CPG,

Jenn Gamage director of customer service

We’re proud to call you a partner. Jenn transformed customer service for the Starbucks U.S. CPG business. She has implemented new processes and procedures to meet or exceed industry best practice standards. Her work has enabled double digit sales growth and record sales for Starbucks Coffee Company CPG business in the U.S.

© 2016 Starbucks Coffee Company. All rights reserved.


Kim Christie

Nicole Crites

Dagmar Diethelm

Michelle Downs

Store Director, Shoppers

Store Director, Farm Fresh

Senior Financial Analyst, Save-A-Lot

Technical Services Director

Finance Director, Shoppers

Monica Elliot

Keri Flaten

Jeannie Furlan

Laurie Glaude

Kristy Grubbs

Heather Hanscom

Safety & Food Safety Manager, Farm Fresh

Director of Retail Planning & Execution

Senior Manager, Category & Data Strategy

HR Director, Farm Fresh

Performance Consultant, SUPERVALU University

Chief Information Security Offcer

Lori Lannan

Jennifer McDonald

Ann Neff

Tammy Nollen

Kathleen Reding

Merchandising Director, West Region

Finanace Manager, Save-A-Lot

Senior Account Manager, West Region

Category Manager Dairy/Frozen, Cub

Christine Rees-Zecha

Michelle Reitan

Director of Employment Law

HR Director, East Region

Sue Saete

Brooke Schools

Leticia Thomas

Kristin Walbourn

Jennifer Weisgram

Pricing/Retail Integrity Manager, Cub

Senior Merchandiser, Bakery/Deli

HR Director, Shoppers

Senior Regulatory & Compliance Counsel

District Manager, Hornbacher’s

Sue Armstrong

Kristina Bagley

Bakery/Deli Consultant, West Region

Fresh Consultant, West Region

Christine Dwyer Store Director, Cub

Mary Ann Banholzer

Senior Finance Director, Shared Services


Taryn Anderson

Mellisa Erickson

Front End Operations Supervisor, Niemann Foods

Corporate Bakery Merchandiser, Boyer’s Food Markets Inc.

Mary-Megan DePasquale Assistant Store Director, Redner’s

Wendy Garrett

Gail Heartley

Connie Lechner

Owner/Operator, Great Valu

Store Manager, Great Valu

Store Manager, Tersteeg’s

Amanda Metcalfe

Suzanne Schmitz

Stephanie Schultz

Katherine Tatsuda

Holly Yeatts

Employee Development Director, Metcalfe’s Markets

Owner/Operator, Save-A-Lot

Senior Director of Wellness and Corporate Communications, Skogen’s Festival Foods

Chief Operating Offcer, Tatsuda’s IGA

Owner/Manager, Vista Foods

Kelli Whittington Rising Star

Cheryl Collins Store Manager

Angela Reynolds-Wiegand Rising Star

Kim Rollins Store Manager


Progressive Grocer’s 2016 Top Women in Grocery

Shari Workman Store Manager

Senior-LeveL executiveS

JaDe LaFreniere President, the Muffin Mam inc.

When LaFreniere took over her late mother’s wholesale manufacturing business for baked goods, she worked on the production line and in each department to immerse herself in the operation. She worked with her team to launch a “game-changer” item that extends shelf life up to 30 days and combines bulk packaging with individual portions that can be broken down into multipacks and grocery breakfast items. Also new under LaFreniere’s watch were an all-natural, clean-label product line made with no preservatives and offering a seven-day shelf life, and a better-for-you line focusing on calories, protein and fiber without sacrificing taste.

MarLa DauDeLin vP, Sales, Grocery channel, Pepsico/ Frito-Lay

Daudelin and her team significantly exceeded revenue targets in the U.S. grocery channel by listening to customers, bringing relevant and actionable insights, collaborating with cross-functional partners, working with other PepsiCo leaders, and aligning with key internal and external stakeholders; this strategy led Frito-Lay to top CPG supplier status in growth contribution to customers. Leader of Network of Executive Women (NEW) for Frito-Lay, she planned PepsiCo’s participation in the NEW National Meeting in Dallas. Daudelin played an active role in internal capabilitybuilding initiatives that supported the organization’s women leaders.

caryn oLSon

Divisional vP, Field Sales, nestlé Sales Division, nestlé uSa Until August 2015, Olson led the category shopper development team focused on confections; more recently, in her current role, she led her team in planning and executing Nestlé’s 150th-anniversary promotion, growing share across the Nestlé basket by 100 basis points and sales by 4.8 percent. A member of the executive team of the Women in Nestle Sales group, she led initiatives to create a more flexible workplace. Olson also joined two panel discussions and led a breakout session at the Nestlé national meeting. As a board member for the National Confectioners Association, she helped redesign the strategy of the organization for the next 10 years.

teri vaLentine

ceo, the Perfect Bite co.

While The Perfect Bite Co. grew a historic 20 percent over the past year, thanks to innovative premium appetizer products, the development of a value-added frozen vegetable segment, and increased penetration in the catalog business, Valentine also worked on redesigning/relaunching the brand, which previously had a small presence in West Coast specialty markets, propelling it to become more of a leader in the premium appetizer segment. Her team was able to increase distribution by more than 500 percent in a short period of time. Valentine led a revamp of the company’s website that helped specialty retailers better discover and receive products.

Sara WheeLer

Divisional vP, Beverage category and Shopper Development, nestlé uSa Wheeler played a key role in implementing a total beverage category strategy plan that helped expand sales and profits not only for the division, but also for Nestlé’s customers. She was part of creating a new integrated planning process for Nestlé USA, revamped the framework of the company’s category road maps, and was tapped to lead an organizational redesign effort for the Nestlé sales division. A board member of the Nestlé Women in Leadership/Diversity and Inclusion strategy, Wheeler participated in a broad range of business improvement initiatives, among them strategic and commercial planning integration, pricing optimization, and category strategy development.

KriSten WaLLen

vP, Sales, alternate channels, Post consumer Brands

Assuming her new role as part of a new organizational structure after the merger of MOM Brands and Post Foods, Wallen played a key role in directing the sales team’s integration into a cohesively knit, high-performing team. Under her guidance, the new alternate channels team grew consumer sales by more than 40 percent alongside a double-digit sales increase, most notably in natural food stores, mass-channel food retailers and dollar stores. At one account, sales gained 81 percent on strong distribution gains, thanks to the leadership of Wallen, who’s actively involved with Network of Executive Women and local animal rescue shelters.

Karen FichuK

President, nielsen north america

The first female president of Nielsen North America, Fichuk successfully revamped Nielsen’s business model, based on emerging trends and a deep understanding of the company’s clients and their needs. She oversaw the launch of several products that deliver against total consumer measurement and enable clients to garner increased insights and more effective solutions. A frequent speaker across the consumer packaged goods industry, Fichuk participated in such in high-profile events as the Food Marketing Institute Conference, Grocery Manufacturers Leadership Forum, Telsey Advisory Group’s annual Spring Consumer Conference and the Food Marketing Institute Midwinter Executive Conference.

KriSty LeWiS Founder/ceo, Quinn Foods

After a year of searching for the right supply partners and testing recipes, Lewis developed a snack called Pretzels Reimagined, a gluten-, corn- and soy-free free, Non-GMO Project pretzel made from whole grain and ancient grains, and featuring full ingredient transparency; at the same time, Quinn Popcorn transitioned to Quinn Snacks. As a result of her leadership, Quinn Foods’ revenue grew by 25 percent. Lewis was named in Fortune magazine’s list of 2015 Top 10 Most Promising Women Entrepreneurs, and at the 2015 Naturally Boulder Autumn Awards, she received the Breakout Brand Award, which is bestowed on successful up-and-comers in the natural products industry.

June 2016 | |


Senior-LeveL executiveS

LiSa inSeLman vP/controller, raley’s

Inselman joined three crossfunctional committees/initiatives, including one to find $30 million in cost savings in 100 days — something that was ultimately done in 76 days. She spearheaded an effort to find savings through process improvements that saved the company $5 million in store and administrative expenses, and has begun leading another cross-functional team in a shrink initiative to find $8 million in savings. Selected by the company’s executive committee to attend the USC Food Industry Executive Program, Inselman subsequently prepared a presentation for her team members on what she learned.

Suzanne Schmitz

owner/operator, Save-a-Lot

nicoLe townSend

vP, talent development and communications, raley’s

When she was promoted to VP, Townsend asked to become a member of the company’s executive steering committee. She implemented the company’s first learning management system, Raley’s U, to simplify the training of front-line team members and, ultimately, improve workforce skills and productivity. In the first six months of the program, 11,600 team members took more than 80,000 courses online. Townsend led the evolution of the company’s internal webpage, The Pantry, and created a 12-week leadership development program for future store team leaders to impart company leadership traits.

Tyler delivered a 10 percent increase in the average basket and a 27 percent improvement in monthly revenue at Relay Foods, an online grocer. Her efforts included a new pricing and promotion strategy, a new visual merchandising strategy, a category expansion in Relay-branded products, and, in a first for an e-grocer, the successful acquisition of a license to offer beer and wine to customers in Virginia. She also professionalized the company’s merchandising team, providing coaching and mentoring to young category managers. Active in the Charlottesville food community, Tyler played a leadership role in the American Cheese Society.

Jody mitcheLL

vP, Quality assurance, Shopper events

Cozza partnered with Walmart to redesign its instore sampling experience and maximize the impact of investment dollars and sales trhough strategic identification of focus stores.

She planned and executed a store remodel to drive customer traffic, and began planning her next Save-A-Lot supermarket.

As part of the redesign, she led an initiative to hire and onboard 2,000 Walmart field associates during the fourth quarter, as well as to increase speed to work by seven days and reduce the new-hire drop-off rates of the company’s hourly field-based talent.


vP, merchandising, relay Foods

Beth cozza

Owner and operator of a four-store chain of Save-ALot stores, Schmitz focused on driving sales and improving profitability of her store, successfully lifting sales and earnings.

Schmitz received a Business of the Month distinction in November 2015 from the Ontario, N.Y., Chamber of Commerce, and was awarded the Keys to the Village by Mount Morris, N.Y., for her work operating a store there; she’s also always willing to speak with potential and new Save-A-Lot licensees.

courtenay tyLer

Working with IT, she developed a card management and expense reconciliation tool that reduced the time to invoice on Sam’s Club and Walmart accounts by more than 50 percent, and reduced rework by 75 percent.

vP, Business development, events demo, Shopper events Mitchell, who led the team that launched the Walmart Neighborhood Market demo program, also created a fresh-focused demo program that delivered a 14:1 ROI for Walmart, improved customer perception of the retailer’s fresh departments and increased sustainability. She developed a 360-degree gluten-free shopper program for Walmart, which showed an overall 522 percent sales lift for the 14 items sampled, a 1.8 million blog reach and more than 7.9 million social impressions; the retailer has since requested that the event be held multiple times a year. Mitchell’s department drove a 98 percent growth in revenue year over year.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016

aLLiSon rouSe roySter managing Partner, rouses markets

A third-generation family member in a fast-growing family-owned company with 50 stores and 6,000 people across Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, Royster led automation initiatives, including the company’s financial reporting processes and the IT team’s project to automate employee health care enrollment and reporting. She created a specialized marine supply operations unit to provide the offshore oil services and fishing industries with dockside pickup, delivery and shopping options. Royster advised The Idea Village, host of the annual New Orleans Entrepreneur Week, which helps Rouses foster new food startups.

StePhanie SchuLtz

Senior director, wellness and corporate communications, Skogen’s Festival Foods While driving her dietitian team to find innovative ways to educate shoppers and associates about food and health, Schultz implemented the NuVal Nutritional Scoring System and developed the Eat Well at Festival Foods ad program. She headed Festival’s social media team to engage a growing audience of more than 112,000 Facebook fans, 8,300 Twitter followers and 1,600 Instagram followers, and provided insights and guidance for the grocer’s website. Under Schultz’s direction as president of the board of directors for Cerebral Palsy Inc., its recent telethon raised more than $1 million.


Jayne DeLuca Manager, Retail Inventory Systems & Development

Megan Gray Store Leader

Brooke Hodierne Director, Own Brands & Sourcing

Suzanne Olson Director, Customer Service Development

Cory Renn Director, Corporate Accounting

Jessica Szalla Manager, Technology Service Desk

Voni Woods Vice President, Deli & Bakery


Senior-LeveL executiveS

eLeanor honG

chief marketing officer, Smart & Final

Hong undertook an extensive rebranding of the Smart & Final banner and led the executive team in the creation of the company vision: Nourishing Communities, One Neighborhood at a Time. She relaunched Project 100, a program she created, under which she and her team committed to sponsor a community service project in every neighborhood where Smart & Final opens a new store for the next 100 stores. She developed the First Percent Back program, which contributes the first 1 percent of sales of Smart & Final’s flagship private label brand, First Street, to the company’s charitable foundation to help improve the communities the grocery store chain serves.

Kim BreLand

director, Supply chain-Finance, Sprouts Farmers market

PauLine oudin

managing director, uSa, Sopexa

evP, marketing and communications, Southeastern Grocers

Hired shortly after Sopexa’s privatization, Oudin led the transformation of the agency, hiring a diverse team of multicultural marketing specialists that helped secure new business and playing a major role in driving revenue to $80 million in 2015.

Cramond, in charge of all marketing activities across Southeastern Grocers’ 750 Bi-Lo, Harveys and Winn-Dixie stores, was at the forefront of the grocer’s turnaround, launching seven innovative initiatives in less than a year.

She built new retail and in-store content partnerships with some of the country’s major wholesalers and grocers, including Kroger, Whole Foods Market and Trader Joe’s, along with key technology players.

In what’s believed to be a first in U.S. corporate history, she drove the business to donate 100 percent of its profits ($3 million) on the Fourth of July to the Wounded Warrior Project.

In all, Oudin maintained a 100 percent client retention rate, and helped grow the global business by 9 percent over 2015; beyond work, she promoted entrepreneurship and investment in womenfounded and -led companies.

cynthia chiKahiSa

vP, Store operations Field capability, Sprouts Farmers market

In addition to managing supply chain finances, Breland led a finance team that supported produce operations, representing a quarter of the company’s business.

Chikahisa led store and field training and development programs for Sprouts, which is growing at an annual rate of 14 percent and recently reached 21,000 team members.

She spearheaded supply chain sustainability initiatives, which diverted approximately 14 million pounds of food to those in need, and coordinated more than 3,060 tons of corrugated cardboard recycling in 2015.

She ensured that effective training was executed in all stores, resulting in promotions for more than 20 percent of the Sprouts team member base in 2015.

She implemented a transportation system that helped manage more than $1 billion in produce procurement and sales operations activities, improved product aging by 25 percent, and lowered resource reductions by 40 percent.

Sharry cramond

Promoted to VP last year, Chikahisa proved a champion for store talent, with a passion for team member development; one of her key accomplishments was planning and executing logistics for Sprouts’ first-ever Store Manager Summit, attended by 250 people over three days.

Cramond created the Cooking with Curtis for under $10 program with Food Network chef Curtis Stone, which has sparked sales increases of as much as 200 percent on featured lines.

Kim coFFin

vP, Grocery, Sprouts Farmers market

Coffin helped streamline Sprouts’ new item submission process, and completed a strategic remerchandising initiative that allowed for the addition of 1,100 new items to each store. She created the Sprouts Signature Products program, under which the grocer teams with top-quality vendors to create exclusive grocery products that are highlighted with a special logo on the packaging. Coffin was involved in developing the Sprouts Vendor Advisory Council to help company leaders gain further insight into the natural industry and to work with top brands to drive authenticity in the natural channel.

meredith GremeL

vP, corporate affairs and communications, Spartannash co. Gremel transformed communications into a culture builder through multiple efforts, including the creation of a groundbreaking newsletter and video that connected associates in all departments/locations after the merger that formed SpartanNash. She redefined corporate social responsibility, creating engaged committees and expanding SpartanNash’s Earth Week drive to 45 retail locations, 11 distribution centers and three corporate service centers. Gremel successfully and skillfully combined the legacy Spartan and Nash Finch foundations into the best-in-class SpartanNash foundation.

diana LucaS

vP, vitamins and Body care, Sprouts Farmers market Lucas not only ignited innovation within her department through the design and execution of profitable marketing and sales programs, she also helped change the customer perception of natural vitamins and body care industry-wide. She spearheaded Sprouts’ partnership with nonprofit organization Vitamin Angels to raise $400,000 to provide more than 1.6 million children with life-saving nutrients. She initiated major marketing refreshes for several vitamin and body care programs — sparking double-digit growth — and created new training modules to enhance thousands of team members’ natural selling skills.

June 2016 | |


Senior-LeveL executiveS

HeatHer HanScom

chief information Security officer, Supervalu In 2016 alone, Hanscom and her team managed 10-plus key security projects, including PCI recertification, deploying an industry-leading Cyber Security Operations Center and enhancing the organization’s cybersecurity capabilities. Immediately upon joining Supervalu, she reviewed existing security programs, made recommendations for improvements and built a team to accomplish these goals. Hanscom and her team rolled out company-wide security and phishing training programs to ensure that all Supervalu associates knew about protecting the company’s data and assets.

cyntHia mccLouD Director, Food industry Program, university of Southern california (uSc) marshall School of Business

McCloud completely reworked and revalidated the curriculum for the 2015 food industry management (FIM) class to be more relevant for today’s food industry executives, and established a USC FIM HR Council to share best practices related to selecting, onboarding and nurturing USC FIM students. Her efforts led to the highest enrollment in the FIM USC class in more than 30 years. McCloud designed, submitted and was granted approval to introduce a Master of Science in Food Industry Management and Leadership program at the USC Marshall School of Business that will be offered in fall 2017.


anne Dament

KatHerine tatSuDa

SvP, merchandisingGrocery, target corp.

Dament co-led a crossfunctional, detailed strategic review of Target’s grocery business, resulting in significant changes to almost all aspects of the department. While working on the longterm strategic review, she also focused on perishables and customer experience, resulting in several months of comparable-store sales growth and increased profitability. Dament oversaw all grocery divisional leaders and the dayto-day operation of Target’s $19 billion grocery business, with direct management accountability for assortment, vendor relations, presentation, pricing, and grocery profit and loss.

ceo, tatsuda’s iGa

Tatsuda oversaw a complete $2.7 million makeover of Tatsuda’s 42-year-old store while keeping it open for business the entire time, replacing all refrigeration and shelving, and most of the equipment. She also expanded the store’s organic, natural and specialty foods section, as well as adding more prepared food selections. Tatsuda’s goal was to create a caring atmosphere for both customers and associates, and she was committed to finding the right personalities to work in the store, where associates are asked to not only help customers, but also each other and vendors.

HoLLy yeattS

She oversaw all operational aspects of the company, from government regulations and health department compliance to banking and insurance, dividing her time between the two stores. Active in her community, Yeatts is a member of the Bedford Chamber of Commerce, volunteers and plays the piano at events throughout the year, and created 130 food baskets for the Alta Vista Rotary Club to go to needy families this past holiday season.

vP, marketing, topco associates

Severin fielded 21 market research studies that reached more than 10,000 shoppers to cultivate a shopper-centric, data-driven approach, and updated or introduced several brands, including Simply Done, a nonfood mega-brand; Full Circle Market, an organic and natural brand; Paws Happy Life; and Food Club. She led her teams to improve packaging development speed to market by at least 34 percent in 2015, which translated into 58 extra days on the shelf for 333 new items that added $4.3 million in sales. Currently, Severin is developing several new brands, including a brand for culinary adventurers, a mainstream deli brand and a premium pet brand.

WenDy Garrett

Store owner/manager, vista Foods

Having taken over the company from her father, Yeatts grew a thriving business even in the face of increased competition from big-box retailers and dollar stores, managing two locations 30 miles apart in rural western Virginia.

LinDa Severin

vP/co-owner, Wakefield’s Great valu

Garrett’s leadership and commitment led to the biggest sales growth in the history of Wakefield’s Great Valu, which has been in operation for nearly a quarter of a century. Responsible for all areas of operation, she oversaw the store’s major remodel, which spurred a 14.3 percent increase in fiscal year 2014, and helped push out a competitor for a 15.2 percent increase in fiscal year 2015; the remodel included putting the finishing touches on a new décor package. For the past year, Garrett has been preparing her son to take over the helm of Great Valu upon her retirement in the next five to six years, resulting in a dramatic improvement in his performance.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016

Senior-LeveL nior-LeveL executiveS Of this year’s 385 Top Women in Grocery, there are 101 Senior-Level Executives representing 50 companies hailing from all over the country. Senior-Level Executives comprise the smallest number of honorees in this year’s winners’ circle, and include such titles as VP, president, SVP, EVP, COO and CEO.

I Love This Box! Consumers Prefer Tamper-Evident Hinged Containers

2 to 1 Over Current * Market Leader! *Extensive consumer interviews conducted by Metaphase Design Group, Inc. TO VIEW THE CONSUMER VIDEO, ORDER SAMPLES OR FOR MORE INFORMATION, SCAN THIS CODE OR VISIT OUR WEBSITE ANCHORPAC.COM

Watch the video at

Intuitive One-Step PINCH TO OPEN Design NO LOOSE PIECES from tear stri in other brands NO CRACKING OR SHARP EDGES to cut fingers Visible separation of HINGE SIGNALS TAMPERING Hinge becomes sure-grip EASY-OPENING TABS

Rising staRs

teRi CollaRo

ChRistine CouRtney

Director, strategy and Planning, advantage solutions/ advantage Marketing Partners Division

Rising Stars

Director, Field operations, advantage solutions/ advantage Marketing Partners Division

Collaro played a critical role in the launch of the Explore More sampling platform for all food categories at Meijer, executed through more than 90,000 events for 280 companies, and providing more than 20 million samples in shoppers’ mouths.

Courtney led the integration of The Sunflower Group’s field execution structure into Advantage’s organizational structure, which included 3,000 part-time associates, a scheduling platform conversion, and title and structure realignment.

She demonstrated strong client relationship skills, leading to more successful event integration with Meijer’s marketing campaigns.

She led the charge for acquiring and training 1,500 new hires within three months, improving overall execution rates by nearly 25 percent and reducing turnover by 10 percent.

Collaro developed a new shopper survey for key events to ensure that the agency delivered the best in-store experience for shoppers, resulting in greater sales and ROI for client programs.

Courtney activated real-time execution monitoring of all participating platforms to increase efficiency, resulting in more than 30 hours of labor savings each week.



Talking with…

Matthew Prescott Senior Food Policy Director, The Humane Society of the United States

Progressive Grocer: Why do you think so many food companies are switching to 100% cage-free eggs? Matthew Prescott: The way companies interact with the world around them can have major bottom line implications. Nowadays, consumers are searching for products that both come at a value and align with their values—including around issues like animal cruelty; they want animals to be treated well in the supply chain, and want to support companies that agree. But there’s a gap between the way consumers want animals to be treated, and what’s actually happening in some areas of agribusiness. It’s within that gap that we see, for example, egg suppliers locking chickens in cages so tightly, the animals can’t even spread their wings. Imagine being in an elevator packed wall-to-wall with other people. The elevator suddenly breaks down. People are frantically trying to escape, frantically trying to move. Then imagine the door just never opens, the people stuck languishing in the elevator for the rest of their lives. That’s what life is like for caged hens in the egg industry—and it’s simply out of step with what consumers want. To try and narrow that gap between consumer expectation and reality, many companies are taking proactive measures to show their customers that they’re aligned on this important issue. One way they’re doing that is by shifting to 100% cage-free eggs. Modern cage-free facilities allow birds the freedom to engage in their natural behaviors—to walk, fap their wings, lay their eggs in nests and more. They’re large scale, automated production systems that can churn out massive volumes of eggs all while giving animals a better quality of life—a real win-win for birds and buyers alike. PG: Is there support for shifting to cage-free eggs? MP: Regarding the growing support for animal welfare-minded sourcing policies, in 2010, Supermarket Guru Phil Lempert predicted, “There’s organic, there’s fair trade, but humane is the next big thing.” Indeed, Lempert was right. Dozens of the world’s largest food companies have now publicly pledged to

shift their supply chains to 100% cage-free eggs. Those companies—detailed in full at—include Walmart, Kroger, Albertsons, Ahold, Delhaize, Costco, Target, Giant Eagle, SUPERVALU, Trader Joe’s, BJ’s Wholesale Club, CVS, Wawa, McDonald’s, IHOP, Denny’s, Kraft Heinz, Unilever, ConAgra Foods and so many more. “As our customer base has been moving to cage-free at an increasing rate, Kroger’s goal is to transition to a 100% cage-free egg supply chain by 2025,” states the country’s largest traditional grocery operator. Reports Ahold, “Animal welfare is an issue that we care about greatly and we believe that cage-free environments are a more humane way to treat hens.” “Consumers have responded positively to the expanded choices in the egg aisle,” says Albertsons about its growing cage-free assortment. “Albertsons Companies…will be working with its suppliers toward a goal of sourcing only cage-free eggs for its store operations by 2025.” These policies make perfect sense, in a customer climate where people actively want to support companies which support their values. As the Food Marketing Institute reports: “Shopper interest in animal welfare has been consistently growing,” and “shoppers want food retailers to prioritize animal welfare” even over other issues, like the environment.” PG: How would a company go about switching to cage-free eggs? MP: Many of the country’s largest egg producers have also committed to a cage-free future, making the transition easier than it has ever been. Rose Acre Farms—the second largest table egg producer—has said it’s switching to 100% cage-free production, for example. Retailers interested in moving in this direction should feel free to reach out to me directly any time at The Humane Society of the United States is proud to partner with the world’s largest food companies, helping them navigate these issues and crafting policies and programs to create a more humane supply chain, and more humane world.

“Retailers adopting cage-free eggs sooner rather than later could gain a proft advantage.” – Bloomberg

Costco is committed to going cage-free for its egg procurement…In calendar 2016 we expect to sell over one billion cage free eggs.

Albertsons Companies sets goal for cage-free eggs

Kroger’s goal is to transition to a 100% cage-fr

Walmart U.S. and Sam’ announced their goal to transition to a 100 percent cage-fr

The Humane Society of the United States offers our appreciation to the dozens of major grocers with policies to source 100% of their eggs from cage-free hens. To Kroger, Albertsons, Costco, Ahold, Delhaize, Target, BJ’s Wholesale, Trader Joe’s, The Fresh Market, CVS, ALDI, Whole Foods and all the others: Your work addressing this important social concern is creating a cage-free future, a mor and a mor

Rising staRs

Caitie Doak

senior Manager of strategy & Planning, advantage solutions, advantage Marketing Partners Division Doak was a key lead on Meijer’s Explore More in-store event sampling and experiential platform, contributing to the retailer’s decision to hold more events. She led strategy development and implementation for two innovative programs that launched Meijer’s new private label brand, and leveraged a number of capabilities to realize and integrate an in-store engagement program. Doak’s collaboration with the market research team to develop queries and standardize reports cut work and timelines by 50 percent; she also leveraged past experience to help guide data collection and best ROI reporting structure.

Lisa HaubneR

As lead of the client services team that supports Kroger’s Delightful Discoveries in-store sampling program, Haubner oversaw tremendous financial results, including EBITDA of 42 percent to budget. She expanded engagement with Kroger’s top 100 stores and influenced positive qualitative shopper feedback, and also opened and shaped new test pilots alongside her Discoveries team in the retailer’s pharmacy, The Little Clinic, GM and HBC segments. To launch these strategic initiatives, Haubner offered coaching to the client services team, resulting in 60 percent employee turnover to higher positions, or transitions to other INEX businesses.

katie McCants

kateLyn naDeau

McCants was project lead and manager for the secondlargest 360-degree marketing platform for Kroger, bringing in $5 million-plus in revenue for Advantage and ensuring marketing support for 6,000 reports, including back-end reporting.

Nadeau developed and executed strategic solutions for external and internal clients, resulting in the creation of a new Advantage business entity that’s both financially successful and impactful from an innovation standpoint.

Director, operations and Client services, advantage solutions/ advantage Marketing Partners Division

Client team Leader, advantage solutions

As regional lead for business development, Kwon was instrumental in winning 16 new clients while expanding opportunities with existing clients into other regions, resulting in more than $5.7 million in annual commission revenue.

She took on the lead operations role for the launch of a new BJ’s Wholesale Club business platform, which included hiring and training 2,500 field staff and home-office associates in two months. McCants contributed to two revenue streams at a major client, including a program of atypical products carried by the retailer, and an adult-beverage sampling program.

Nadeau spearheaded a labor savings project that reduced the time of campaign completion by more than 10 percent delivery time/30 labor hours per week.

sHeLLy JaCoby Director, sales, advantage solutions

Jacoby exceeded sales objectives, achieving record sales and profit results, and helped win new business at BJ’s Wholesale Club.

She pioneered and developed tools and trackers, and deployed best practices, to bring efficiency and consistency to the business development process, and worked with internal teams and a client on brand development and a lucrative new item launch.

She built a best-in-class team to cover C&S Wholesale Grocers and customers in New England, exceeded her succession planning for key Advantage associates, and mentored the Advantage Leadership Development program, ensuring that the company was properly staffed for future growth; many of her mentees went on to fill important roles with Advantage.

Kwon was recognized by a client as “Best in Class,” as well as receiving Advantage’s highest honor, the Sonny King Award, for her measurable contribution to the company’s objectives.

Involved in various trade and community groups, Jacoby serves on a school budget committee and as a lacrosse coach, and supports such community charities as a foster home and charity walks.

kateLyn stokes

Director, operations, shopper Digital group, advantage solutions/ advantage Marketing Partners Division

Launching 197 digital media campaigns in support of 44 distinct CPG and retail clients with her team, she increased such initiatives by more than 518 percent in volume and 1,222 percent in revenue.


JennifeR kwon

Director, Client services, advantage solutions/ advantage Marketing Partners Division

associate Director, Marketing strategy and Development, advantage solutions

Stokes managed the rebranding of Advantage Sales & Marketing to Advantage Solutions as it transitioned from a regional food brokerage to a global entity with full enterprise services; she assembled a cross-divisional team for consensus around the new brand and ensured the support of the company’s vision. Her rebranding efforts helped fuel 35 percent yearover-year growth. With Boston University and AMP Agency, Stokes created the first fully accredited in-house course that places marketing experts with students in a class exploring the intersection of creativity, strategy and technology.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016

Mona szuMLas Director, business Development, advantage solutions

Szumlas led $4 million in new business, played an integral role in an additional $25 million in new business, and helped Advantage break into new sales categories and new business verticals. For each new client integration, she mobilized more than 1,400 sales and retail associates within 60 days, with each integration resulting in improved sales and retail results. Szumlas streamlined a new client onboarding process, and created a best practice integration toolkit to be used across the organization, including a planner of milestones, tasks, trade communications, training and legacy agency management recommendations.

Celebrating a Decade of Top Women in Grocery 10 years of Leaders 10 years of Excellence 10 years of Celebration!

In 2016, Top Women in Grocery will proudly commemorate the 10th anniversary of saluting outstanding women across all sectors of the grocery industry for above-and-beyond contributions to their companies and communities and the industry at large. Plans are now underway for a very special 10th-anniversary celebration, additional details for which will be forthcoming. We look forward to continuing a rewarding tradition of honoring the grocery industry’s leading women.

Sponsorships are available. Contact Jeff Friedman at 201-855-7621 or

Rising staRs

shiRley axe

Magazine Manager, ahold Usa

Axe spearheaded the launch of Ahold USA’s Savory, Fast, Fresh and Easy print and digital content platform and magazine, helping customers answer the question “What’s for dinner?” by giving them quick, easy meal ideas that incorporate fresh, healthy foods.

Megan BaRRoUk Category Manager, Baby, ahold Usa

Barrouk led the baby merchandising team to rebrand private label diapers, trainers and wipes for the Always My Baby platform.

She launched the Savory platform to the vendor community at Ahold’s FMI Connect After Party in June 2015, and the magazine went on to win FMI’s Gold Plate Award for Family Meals in September 2015.

She worked with internal and external partners to create and finalize the label platform logo and packaging redesign, as well as the marketing and merchandising plan for the launch, and collaborated with the legal department to get approval to feature the valuable “Up To 12 Hours Protection” claim on the Always My Baby diaper packaging.

Axe hit her budget with only four issues published, surpassing 2015 revenue with the first two 2016 issues.

The in-store launch results were up more than 13 percent in sales and nearly 15 percent in units.

silvana BaxteR

asset Protection Manager (aPM), ahold Usa/stop & shop new york Metro

laURa BRaley

senior Manager, Performance Management and Management Development, ahold Usa

Baxter oversaw four districts comprising 78 stores, versus an average of two, and was the first APM to earn certification through a loss prevention certification course, which allowed her to help her fellow team members prepare for the exam.

Braley expanded the successful Director Academy initiative with district-centric teams (DCTs) focusing on situational leadership, and further grew the program with store managers, DCTs, manager level-plus and corporate office associates.

Beyond her regular role, her special projects included providing division support during the conversion of 25 stores and ensuring a smooth transition of armored car carriers in two regions.

She co-captained The Our Family Foundation annual golf outing to support the Children’s Miracle Network, coordinating 144 golfers across several golf courses with just 10 volunteers, and raised several million dollars for the network.

For the recently created asset protection coordinator position, Baxter developed and implemented a divisionwide training program.

Braley was the 2015 Ahold USA Associate of the Year.

June 2016 | |


Rising staRs

KaRen BRassel Category Manager, Frozen, ahold Usa

Brassel drove 3 percent growth in the frozen department through ideas that positively influenced shoppers’ perceptions of frozen foods, including the “Aisle of Joy” and “Froduce” décor packages to support the ice cream and vegetable programs, respectively. She shifted promotional spend to alternative and digital; her improvements to display plans resulted in lifts of as much as 22 percent. Brassel identified key value items in her categories in which to invest in pricing strategies, and worked with vendors to increase sales and offer value, resulting in line improvement of between 9 percent and 20 percent.

Dawn gates-Bishop senior it Manger, ahold Usa

Diane CoUChMan

senior Director, peapod interactive, ahold Usa/peapod

Couchman executed the remodel/conversion of 25 A&P stores to the Stop & Shop banner, opening five stores in five weeks; one store opened in six days.

Crowder achieved revenue increases of more than 20 percent for shopper marketing programs, through increased support from existing and new partners.

She led initiatives to grow sales, profit and households for Ahold USA that required new processes and the coordination of departments that hadn’t worked together before, including the generation of more space for major initiatives, and collaboration and communication with cross-department teams.

She drove a “launch-andlearn” mindset within the teams from vendor partners to push understanding of, and innovation in, the online grocery business.

Couchman solicited food and toy donations from Giant Landover associates and vendors for a Christmas party for needy children at Baltimore’s Mercy Hospital.

Crowder co-led the development — from idea to execution in 10 weeks — of a new category of meal kits, sharing consumer insights and resources with a key partner; based on preliminary success, the kits have expanded into all key markets, with plans to grow the product line.

JUlie gRant

lisa gUintheR

senior Manager, portfolio, ahold Usa

Gates-Bishop led the U.S. finance team ahead of Ahold’s merger with Delhaize, identifying all finance impacts and coordinating the IT team to execute the project.

In her previous role of business consultant, Grant initiated key IT projects such as the GC Friday Ad Break, which resulted in labor and sales improvements.

She created a process for resource demand planning for internal and external resources, which can identify a work queue 12 months out for optimal management.

She kicked off a project that moved a major vendor to EDI invoicing and honor receiving, resulting in labor savings, guaranteed delivery and random-audit credit.

Gates-Bishop reworked the invoice validation process for a large external vendor, saving more than 5,000 labor hours and $175,000 for the company and its business partners; her leadership on the above projects earned her several iStar awards from her Ahold USA peers.

In her current role, Grant helped define “ways of working” for a new commercial organization, which was implemented and is exceeding expectation; she also received the Commercial All Star Award from the merchandising strategy and support leadership team.


linDa CRowDeR

Manager, space planning, ahold Usa

Category Manager, ahold Usa

Guinther was the strategic lead for reinvention of Ahold USA’s bakery department, including building assessments, departmental strategy, design/fixture layout, pilot, capital approval, merchandising and execution; to date, the department has seen 6 percent sales and 16 percent unit increases. She was the team lead for avian flu navigation, managing changes to assortment and pricing, supporting stores to ensure needs were being met, and maintaining or exceeding sales expectations despite flu impacts. Guinther supported the Humane Society, Ronald McDonald House and the Salvation Army’s Angels program.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016

ChRista FoRtieR human Resources generalist, ahold Usa/ stop & shop new York Metro

Fortier created a divisional engagement committee to help improve associate engagement survey results, and developed and executed a plan of action for the leadership team, exceeding goals by six points. She oversaw the divisional human resources team through the conversion of 25 A&P stores to the Stop & Shop banner, interviewing and hiring more than 3,000 associates, and onboarding more than 75 exempt managers. Fortier received ONEHR awards for Making Ideas Happen and for her work with the A&P human resources conversion team.

paUlette haRlanD

Front end specialist, ahold Usa/stop & shop new York Metro

Harland supported the conversion of 25 A&P stores to the Stop & Shop banner within six weeks; advance work included associate training, supply ordering and mentoring teams. She rolled out Operate for Less for the front end, working with the director of operations to reduce the cost of rollout by more than 50 percent by centralizing within the division the production of all components needed to support the savings effort. Harland received the 2015 People’s Choice award for being a district support leader, and the New York Metro Division’s Spirit award for leadership at work and beyond.

Rising staRs

tRicia JOHnsOn

district director, ahold usa/stop & shop new england

staceY KennY

elizaBetH lYncH

deli/Bakery sales specialist, ahold usa/ giant carlisle

internal communications Manager, ahold usa

Johnson opened a new store in an extremely seasonal district challenged with substantial volume surges and high seasonal staffing needs, creating an alignment within the region to support the plan and logistics for the opening.

Kenny tested the bakery department Thunder 7 Program in a Hagerstown, Md., pilot store, which involved the review of product mix and renovation; success meant that she could begin implementing the program in the rest of the district’s stores.

Lynch developed a communication strategy around a corporate reorganization, arming leaders with toolkits to encourage dialogue and feedback from associates; the 2015 Associate Engagement Survey showed a five-point increase in communication dimension.

She partnered with human resources for the onboarding of 1,500 new hires, teaming with sales, operations and warehousing to ensure alignment, and represented Stop & Shop in several community partnerships and chamber of commerce meetings.

She helped develop the “New Deli Associate Training Manual,” currently being implemented, and participated in, was certified for and facilitated a workshop for the Train the Trainer program, as well as training two team members to facilitate training in their respective districts.

She drove the strategy to join Ahold and its divisions together for the first-ever simulcast business meeting of 7,000 associates, leading a team of 20 associates and overseing all aspects of the event, from presentations and creative assets to vendor management and logistics.

Kenny won awards for Outstanding Performance for Best Deli EBIT to Budget Q1 and Q2 2015, and for Best Deli Sales Versus Store Total 2015.

Lynch produced a video series for the internal launch of Produce Marketplace, and drove the communication strategy celebrating winning store and produce managers.

Recipient of the 2015 District Director Award of Excellence for New England, Johnson is active in Ahold USA’s Women Adding Value resource group, and serves as a coach and mentor to many at the company.

MauRa O’BRien Human Resources Manager, ahold usa/ stop & shop new York Metro

Noting high travel charges on district profit and loss, O’Brien worked with the relevant teams to transfer associates to locations that would help the company minimize expenses; transfers and re-evaluations resulted in savings of $110,000 in travel entitlements. As a member of the newly formed Customer Experience Leadership Committee, she improved associate training and morale, with new divisional standards such as Associate of the Month programs launching throughout all Stop & Shop New York Metro stores. O’Brien received a company award for her work on the A&P store conversions.


Julie PinaRd

KatelYn MOntROnY

deli/Bakery sales specialist, ahold usa/stop & shop new York Metro In addition to increasing her district’s identical-store sales in deli and bakery, Montrony displayed a passion for people development, creating training plans for new managers that led to the promotion of some associates from parttime to full-time positions. She played a key role in the conversion of 25 A&P stores to the Stop & Shop banner, working around the clock to reopen some of the stores in just four days. Montrony worked on the initial launch of the Project Thunder bakery remodels, and set up Ahold USA’s regional show store on several occasions, also presenting at those events.

Human Resources Manager, ahold usa/stop & shop new York Metro

Jacqueline ROss

senior director, Product development, innovation and integrity Own Brands, ahold usa

lindseY sHaPiRO

A top driver of associate engagement, Pinard inspired her district to raise engagement and communication scores by four points, while associate development scores rose 10 points; she led in the region for mentoring, coaching and training new human resources managers.

Ross led a first-to-market launch of fresh meal kits into Giant Carlisle division stores, previously a market dominated by online grocers and meal delivery services. The easy recipes allow customers to create freshly cooked meals in less than 35 minutes.

Shapiro assisted in the conversion of 25 former A&P stores to the Stop & Shop banner, including converting all produce departments to a marketplace setup.

She headed the MOM’s partnership with Yale University to offer classes for associates struggling with the challenges of motherhood, including medical and child care, and balancing the needs of a job with those of a child.

She headed a “health by stealth” program focusing on reducing salt and sugar in Own Brands products, delivering an average of 6 percent sugar reduction and 15 percent salt reduction across multiple categories.

Pinard received the 2015 ONEHR Hall of Fame award and was the 2015 Ahold USA Human Resources Manager of the Year for her division.

Ross is an active member of several professional and community organizations, including Network of Executive Women.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016

Produce/Floral district sales and Merchandising specialist, ahold usa/stop & shop new York Metro

She held various associate training classes, including on cut fruit, produce excellence and sanitation, and also held a floral training class to walk floral leads through ordering, processing, upgrades, arrangements and department shrink; for the first period, produce sales were ahead of budget and shrink results on target. Shapiro has won Assistant Store Manager of the Year and Best in Class Customer Service Team awards.

Honey Taste with an Easy Sprinkle. A

The makers of Domino® Sugar and C&H® Sugar introduce an innovative sweetener – Honey Granules – free-flowing crystals of pure cane sugar and honey.

Expanding our Portfolio

Creating Innovative Products

Meeting Consumer Needs

Rising staRs

kRistin skoviRa Manager, Merchandising trade Relations, ahold Usa

Skovira established a process for Ahold USA to use a joint business-planning practice efficiently with top vendors to drive key metrics; she also helped to drive year-on-year increased spend with diverse suppliers and to put in place a strategy for better visibility and sustained growth in this area. She managed the vendor council, allowing key partners to share feedback with senior leadership to help facilitate best practices. Skovira facilitated Supplier Diversity Day to align vendors with merchandising to bring in new assortments, and helped reduce Ahold’s carbon footprint by moving Own Brand soup packaging from steel cans to aseptic cartons.

Wendy ZahRadkaWelch

district director, ahold Usa/giant carlisle

diana soRaFine

Responsible for the development, management and tracking of category strategies to minimize not-for-resale cost structures while ensuring delivery against the strategic needs of the company, Sorafine saved $8.6 million annually in floor care expenses for Ahold USA’s four divisions, which also resulted in quality and service improvements. She worked on the sourcing of the company’s entire facilities and maintenance portfolio, which led to savings of more than $4 million. Sorafine received recognition because of her role in supporting Ahold’s Better Place to Work Promise and also volunteered regularly for the Boy Scouts, to which her son belongs.

Elevating succession planning to put the right people in the right roles, she promoted eight managers to their next assignments within six months, achieving a 19.5 percent increase in EBIT performance identically.

Responsible for Own Brands throughout most of 2015 as well as the total alcohol beverage (TAB) category, she launched a successful new Own Brands campaign. Aleardi ran the tent at the NASCAR race at Dover Downs, in Delaware, and took part in many philanthropic efforts, including the Walk to Defeat ALS in Philadelphia.

natalia toRRes-FURtado

Portfolio lead, ahold Usa

As part of the Ahold-Delhaize merger, Sullivan worked closely with the global collaboration team to upgrade the video meeting facility rooms, thereby bringing unsupported systems under support and allowing system software to be upgraded to facilitate new features; this massive undertaking required the coordination of all equipment deliveries, installations, testing and training for the new hardware.

Torres-Furtado’s team established a significant ethnic/kosher offering within six weeks at 25 former A&P stores converted to Ahold USA’s Stop & Shop banner, resulting in specialty/ethnic sales that accounted for more than 20 percent of total new store revenue, with 1,000-plus new items added; she also moved specialty/ethnic to a dedicated weekly ad spot, elevating the portfolio to exceed all 2015 sales targets.

Overseeing a team of interns, she revamped the global collaboration portal, making it easier for associates to navigate for self-service help.

She formed a synergistic relationship with a high-end food manufacturer to create a best-in-class offering as a destination for the categories.

Sullivan planned, created and managed Ahold USA’s Google Apps training, including a summer collaboration training series.

Torres-Furtado completed the Cornell Food Executive Program and was a speaker at Ahold USA’s diversity fair.

dione BaiRd

taB sales Manager, albertsons cos./ acme Markets

Aleardi championed product innovations, most notably in Acme’s new Frosted Mug beer stores, making it a priority to ensure that customers could enjoy a superior product selection, and redesigning the entire procurement process to enhance vendor relationships, produce placement, pricing and promotion.


engineer ii solutions, ahold Usa

cindi aleaRdi

When Zahradka-Welch took over her current role, sales were down 1.01 percent; by year end, she had raised sales 6.6 percent by leveraging many talented associates throughout the division to deliver best practices, and providing training for and executing an enhanced merchandising initiative.

Zahradka-Welch encouraged collaboration and the sharing of ideas between stores.

taRa sUllivan

Manager, not for Resale, ahold Usa

Floral sales Manager, albertsons cos./ tom thumb Baird successfully merged two major competitors, creating double-digit increases while turning an unprofitable banner into a turnkey profitable organization. Aiming to identify with the local clientele, her team has expanded partnerships with local professional teams and charities, and worked with the bakery team to enter the wedding-planning arena. Baird completed a successful training class for 106 floral managers on balloon upgrades and candy arrangements, implemented order-writing classes for the continual education of managers and supervisors, and developed a hands-on design and upgrade class.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016

kiM conneRy

liquor sales and Merchandising Manager, albertsons cos./ Jewel-osco Connery joined forces with three winemakers to develop a line called The Three Thieves, exclusive to Jewel-Osco. The line generated such strong sales for the banner that it was eventually picked up by two other national retailers; following on the initial product rollout’s success, Connery went on to develop two additional varieties. With Millennials in mind, she created and implemented the Be Your Own Bartender program, which distributes monthly recipes and ingredients for popular cocktails. Connery spearheaded the Northern Illinois Food Bank’s A Taste That Matters culinary event in May 2015.

Congratulations to the

Top Women in Grocery winners!

There’s a card for that? A driver’s license, celebrating a big accomplishment with co-workers or getting a new furry friend – yes there is a card for that! When P.S. Hello arrives in card departments this summer, shoppers will find amazing cards to celebrate life’s big, small and in-between moments, at a great $2.99 price. It’s one more way American Greetings is working to make the world a more thoughtful and caring place.

Rising staRs

loRi CoRlEy

grocery operations specialist, albertsons Cos./tom thumb Corley assisted the District 2 manager in certifying 18 stores for Gold 8+ Standards in 2015, and successfully converted six Albertsons stores to the Safeway in-house system during the companies’ merger.

MaRissa CRab

director, Corporate procurement-general Merchandise and health beauty Care, albertsons Cos./safeway

ginEal davidson

director, division transition, albertsons Cos.

gREtChEn diChiRo

Marketing Manager, albertsons Cos./ shaw’s and star Market

She was involved in the remodel and grand reopening of Albertsons Store #70, with identical-store sales in the total store and the grocery department nearing 50 percent, and also successfully prepared the location for the Division Fall Marketing and Merchandising Show 2015.

Crab was selected for the new supply chain corporate leadership team, moving from Northern California to Idaho to review and develop best practices in procurement across 14 divisions; she supported procurement decentralization efforts as the company consolidated the distribution network.

Davidson led the integration of the Intermountain division, directing the strategic approach and day-to-day management of all merger activities for that area; within four months of the deal’s close, she had reorganized the division’s team and created processes to manage the merchandising and operations of stores realigned to the division.

For the company’s new Own Brand product line. DiChiro took it upon herself to help coordinate the transition process, bringing together multiple areas of the business, including merchandising, supply chain, space management, marketing and retail operations; as a result of her hard work, all transition milestones were met.

She led a project team to reduce excess inventory in the distribution network across the company, saving millions of dollars in six weeks.

She converted 73 legacy Albertsons and Paul’s stores to in-house systems, leading the effort to change every piece of technology.

She worked on the Vermont GE labeling law and proved instrumental in plans to be in compliance by the required date of July 1.

The recipient of the Albertsons/Tom Thumb Presidents Award 2015, Corley is a member of the Junior League of Arlington and a yearly volunteer for Dallas Rebuilding Together.

Serving on the board of Albertsons’ Women’s Inspiration and Inclusion Network, Crab chaired the group’s 2016 kickoff event to help future leaders develop and connect.

Through her leadership, Davidson has improved communication, eliminated gaps within established processes and improved visibility of errors, enabling solutions to be quickly implemented.

A team manager and chaperone for a youth synchronized skating team, DiChiro was elected to the board of directors of Team Excel, which fields 11 youth skating teams.

ElizabEth ERpElding

director, Content Marketing and social Media, albertsons Cos. Under Erpelding’s leadership, Albertsons-Safeway was one of the top grocery advertisers on Facebook in terms of reach and best-inclass creative, with more than a half-billion targeted impressions and millions of unique users reached. Her team created content for more than 1,000 shareable recipes to drive shoppers back to each banner’s website, with a relevant and unique custom landing page for further engagement. Because of Erpelding’s efforts, Albertsons-Safeway has been noticed as one of the leaders in content/social development by its CPG partners.


Cathy FiElds

tina gaRon

district Manager, albertsons Cos./ tom thumb

During 30 years with the company, Fields mentored many women, “leading by example, teaching and guiding [them] to be more confident leaders in this industry,” she explains. “This is my ultimate goal in life and in business.” She raised the customer service scores in her stores and took her district’s ranking to the top. Fields’ transition to district manager in April 2015 appeared seamless because she had taken on the role several times in the absence of her colleagues; she became one of six district managers and the only woman in her division to be promoted to this position in recent years.

director, Marketing, albertsons Cos./ Jewel-osco Launching a strategy that made Jewel-Osco a trendier, more innovative grocery retailer, Garon helped the company leap into the 21st century with her approach to ad creation, social media expansion and a Millennial perspective; she also forged exciting sports marketing partnerships with popular teams. Digital and social media reached their highest levels to date at the banner through Garon’s Word of the Day events and other content strategies. Jewel-Osco’s Own Brands and natural/organic categories saw double-digit sales growth through in-store marketing and digital support spearheaded by Garon.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016

MElissa hill

director, public affairs and government Relations, albertsons Cos./Jewel-osco

Hill was responsible for delivering an environmentally friendly alternative to a bag ban instituted by the city of Chicago, receiving accolades from Jewel-Osco customers and company leadership alike. The flagship Jewel-Osco store, currently under construction, was made possible in part by her facilitation of 100-plus community events supporting the brand, and her ability to gain approval from city council members, with whom she worked directly. When tornadoes hit central Illinois, Hill worked with the stores to help with fundraising and provided food for victims and first responders.

PLAYING IN THE DIRT never looked so chic

dening innovative gloves for innovative gar

designed with women in mind touchscreen compatible fingertips on high performance gloves DIGZGLOVES.COM



Rising staRs

JenniFeR JesseR Director, strategic initiatives, albertsons Cos.

kiM kilCoyne

Jesser led the item and vendor integration effort for Albertsons’ merger with Safeway, and directed both the strategic approach and day-today management of all item, vendor, pricing and promo conversion activities. She and her team also have supported other substantial initiatives within the company.

Kilcoyne transformed Jewel-Osco’s floral departments into Chicago’s top florist by developing new ideas and redeveloping stagnant programs, thus growing sales and profit. She developed a user-friendly order guide that automatically calculates store orders so managers are aware of weekly order counts.

Her incredible system knowledge, customer focus and ability to deliver results were instrumental in helping the company achieve its aggressive goals.

She instituted regular sessions to give floral managers hands-on training and trendy ideas to help set Jewel-Osco apart from the competition.

Jesser received numerous high-profile company awards and volunteered her time in aid of breast cancer research, education and hunger relief.

CaRol RobeRts Community Relations and Partnership Marketing Manager, albertsons Cos./ tom thumb

Roberts was the catalyst for Albertsons and Tom Thumb banners in Dallas-Fort Worth donating more than $1 million in food to local communities during the holidays to help feed those in need. She initiated a disaster relief program following several post-Christmas tornados in north Texas, getting donation-laden trucks on the road within 12 hours of the disaster. Roberts fostered great working relationships with local media providers, including TV and radio, to help broaden the banner’s media exposure and enhance its public image.


Dawn MaCk

Floral sales Manager, albertsons Cos./ Jewel-osco

Responsible for bringing the Debi Lilly home decor line to Jewel-Osco, Kilcoyne is highly regarded by management and associates for her vision, knowledge and leadership.

Director, Digital Customer engagement, albertsons Cos. Mack led consolidation of the Albertsons-Safeway digital landscape to provide a seamless digital customer journey across all channels, overseeing implementation of strategic digital customer engagement for all divisions and banners of the company. She leveraged vendors to work together across all platforms and managed the deployment of more than a dozen key digital initiatives. Mack contributed to the strategic oversight and direction provided for multiple new initiatives that broguht relevancy to Albertsons customers on their path to purchase, including a partnership with MyWebGrocer.

taMMy stoCk

Roni thaRP

Division Front end Customer service Manager, albertsons Cos./Jewel-osco

Stock raised Jewel-Osco’s average customer service score to 85.2 from 73.0, increased speed of checkout, and upped the number of items per bag to 4.0 from 2.5. She spearheaded the smooth implementation of Chicago’s ordinance banning plastic bags, subsequently reducing bag expense and landfill waste. Stock led initiatives that ensured that Jewel-Osco sold millions of dollars worth of gift cards during a 10-day period before Christmas with no out-of-stocks, and provided supplemental financial training for every cashier in the division.

bakery sales Manager-southern California Division, albertsons Cos. Tharp effectively developed team talent, providing direction and assignments to build bench strength; during the Albertsons-Safeway merger, she helped many other division sales managers with planning, development and implementation across the board. She nurtured strong relationships with suppliers and was a formidable negotiator, capturing best-quality product solutions while controlling cost of goods. Tharp’s strategic planning skills enabled her to lead the development of premium merchandising product portfolio solutions with innovative products.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016

holly MooRehouse

human Resources Manager, Districts 1 and 2, albertsons Cos./Jewel-osco Moorehouse spearheaded the hiring of key mashgiachs (supervisors) for kosher stores to drive customer loyalty and brand sustainability within a key market area. She was critical in the hiring of 200 associates after coordinating six job fairs within two districts, and worked with 18 trainees who are currently department managers across 40 stores. Moorehouse is recognized for her insight and ability to quickly analyze a situation and make decisions that are operationally savvy, such as sharing talent with other districts.

JenniFeR VaillanCouRt

Director, Finance, albertsons Co./shaw’s and star Market

Vaillancourt was responsible for the multimillion-dollar budgeting and forecasting process for 154 stores in this division. She developed an extensive profit-and-loss training program — the first of its kind for the company — to explain income statement financial reporting, from sales and gross profit to operating expenses and net earnings. Vaillancourt personally presented the above program to all store directors and operations specialists, and began streamlining the presentation to teach operations specialists to train store department heads.

fresh thinking Meijer congratulates all Top Women in Grocery, including our very own.

Lynette Ackley Crystal Collins Maureen Mitchell Jenny Coon Carol Heinowski Karen Brush Jamie Larson Jennifer Martin Renee Appert Rebecca Beketic Sandy Molosky

Rising staRs

PHoebe Vasconcellos

Human Resources Manager, Districts 9 and 10, albertsons cos./ Jewel-osco Vasconcellos’ eye for talent led her to hire 500 new employees after participating in eight store-level job fairs, and she also organized Jewel-Osco’s first outer-zone district job fair for store-level associates. She spearheaded JewelOsco’s transition from the Unicru hiring system to Taleo, developing all training materials, creating more than 3,000 requisitions and providing dayto-day support for 185 stores. Vasconcellos demonstrated active coaching, teaching and training on a daily basis, and successfully organized proassociate meetings.

Diana Wolcott

senior it Director, albertsons cos.

Wolcott oversaw the implementation of an IT ecommerce strategy and built a team to execute on a strategy designed to enable tremendous e-commerce growth. She presided over the start of a modernization of Albertsons’ technology stack supporting its company-wide loyalty program. Wolcott helped establish the technology road map for the merger of digital systems employed by both Albertsons and Safeway, as well as their strategies and programs, also building up a development capability within Albertsons that provides application solutions for enterprise-wide needs.


sanDRa Vox

bHaRgaVi WHatleY

assistant liquor sales and Merchandising Manager, albertsons cos./Jewel-osco Vox became a certified beer cicerone, an accomplishment held by few grocery buyers, distinguishing herself as an expert in the field and a crucial marketing resource for her banner. She was instrumental in the successful incorporation of the first bar into a Jewel-Osco location, doing everything from researching equipment to choosing craft beers with greatest consumer appeal. Vox helped build one of the largest selections within the Chicago metropolitan market, receiving many sales awards from beer companies and making Jewel-Osco truly competitive as a liquor retailer.

senior Director, albertsons cos.

Whitney scored a key promotional success when the division’s first 10 percent-off frozen event achieved a 13.8 percent identical-store sales lift.

To facilitate the integration process, she built and implemented an end-to-end strategy enabling validation of critical business functions across multiple complex systems, and established a test data management practice resulting in a 40 percent time savings in data service provided.

She implemented the Gold Standard program for dairy department standards and cleanliness, achieving 190 basis-point improvements in department service scores within the first three months after the program’s implementation.

Whatley developed 60 percent automation for pointof-sale and digital marketing systems to reduce the cost of running manual validations.

HeatHeR Hall

Public affairs and communications Manager, albertsons cos./tom thumb

She participated in statewide programs and activities to promote the food industry, as well as lobbying efforts at the Texas state capitol on important legislation, including the defeat of the Bottle Bill. Through Yates’ association with the North Texas Commission, which promotes and strives for the betterment of the region, she worked to resolve such issues as traffic affecting area retailers, including the approval of a strategic express-lane project.

assistant grocery sales Manager, albertsons cos./ intermountain Division

Whatley led testing and quality assurance during the Albertsons-Safeway merger for the Southern, Houston, Intermountain and Denver divisions.

connie Yates

Yates represents the company on numerous boards, whose work has a great impact on the grocery industry, either directly or indirectly.

teResa WHitneY

Rewards Marketing Manager/Marketing account ManagerMacey’s, associated Food stores (aFs)

Hall and the rewards team launched digital coupons in print ads for all rewards stores, resulting in the clipping of 5,000 e-coupons and the redemption of 3,700-plus during the first week of the campaign. Under her guidance, AFS rewards reached a total of 600,000 rewards members at more than 65 stores. Hall’s team increased penetration transaction rates by double digits at corporately owned stores by encouraging front end associates to discuss and promote the program with shoppers.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016

Whitney successfully transitioned Albertsons’ topselling pizza brand to a new private-brand name without sales loss during the key selling season of September 2015-January 2016.

saRaH Pettit

Public Relations Manager, associated Food stores (aFs) Pettit was critical to the brand development of AFS’ alternative store formats, leading on brand development, store design and all shopperfacing marketing, as well as team member culture/support materials. She helped develop Macey’s bakery brand via packaging innovations and a unique Doughnut of the Month program aimed at boosting product trial and sales in the bakery department. Pettit worked with the AFS advertising team on a digital baby ad, Baby Steps, which offered parenting tips, product coupons and other valuable parenting information, paired with baby photography.

An open letter to the Supermarket Industry From

Jack H. Brown Chairman, President and CEO (36 years) Executive Chairman (current) Stater Bros. Markets celebrating our 80th Anniversary

“Best In e West”

Dear Supermarket Mentors, former associates, valued supplier friends, union leaders (I have negotiated within 13 states), respected competition, and most of all my Stater Bros. “Family” Past, Present and Future. As I celebrate my 65 years since I “bagged” my frst bag of groceries and worked the “Bottle Shed” at Berk’s Market Spot, San Bernardino, California at twelve (12) years old…I wanted to thank each of you for helping me have a great career (which continues) and is still great! Why twelve (12)…Why so young?.. My father died when I was 8. I was an only child and all the Grandparents were gone, so I had to help mom as soon as I could. Yes, I mowed lawns and delivered newspapers like many of you. Working at “Berks” was my frst “real job.” My 26-year-old mother was an orphan and not very healthy with tuberculosis (TB) when I was born, so when dad died it was truly…just mom and me. She raised me alone, never remarried, and was home every night. Worked 8 am to 6 pm, 6 days a week in a Ladies Dress Shop at $12.50 a week and brought her alterations work home so she could earn $1.00 or so a night extra. She never called in sick, never took time oI and never took vacations. Like many single moms do today, she did it all. For anyone who has ever asked, I tell them, “My work ethic came from watching my mom struggle week to week to pay the bills.” I was so very fortunate to work for people who cared about people. I found something I really liked doing, something I was good at…and then worked really hard like many of you, 60-70 hours a week was not uncommon, but I loved it and those with whom I worked. Lat’s why I am so honored that my Stater Bros. “Family” for over 36 years has allowed me to be their Chairman, President and CEO and now Executive Chairman. If you have never been part of the Stater Bros. “Family” perhaps this song best explains how the Stater Bros. “Family” feels about each other and helped Stater’s become the largest privately owned Supermarket Company in Southern California celebrating our “80th Anniversary,” (1936-2016). From the Paramount Picture “Love Story”, Leme from Love Story (Where Do I Begin) Arranged by John Brimhall, Words by Carl Sigman and music by Francis Lai

Where do I begin to tell a story of how great a love can be, the sweet love story that is older than the sea, the simple truth about the love you bring to me? Where do I start?

America is the best fed nation in the history of the world because American Farmers – Manufacturers - Grocers all worked together to feed Americans and much of the rest of the world. You should be so PROUD…however there is still more to do to feed the world, but we are still the “Best Ever.” In 1962 I attended my frst Supermarket Institute (SMI) convention. Don Parsons was the head of SMI. He introduced a young dashing new head of SMI Michael O’Connor, followed by uncle Bob Aders, Tim Hammond and now Leslie Sarasin. Le beat goes on! I’ve had the honor to serve as a Director of FMI for over thirty (30) years and continue to serve. Serving as Vice Chairman in 1991-1992. I have been Honored with the Sidney Rabb Award among others and many Industry Awards, including the Western Association of Food Chains (WAFC), because of all of those who made me better than I could ever have been alone. I am so grateful. Consider this…Today I am writing this letter from our Stater Bros. new (8 years) Corporate Offices and Norton (Local WWII Hero) Distribution Center and our 200 acres which we own, an investment of over $500,000,000, with room to expand. Our Distribution Center is 2.6 million sq. ft. under one roof featuring a 2.1 million sq. ft. Distribution Center. We are told this is the Largest Supermarket Food Distribution Center in the Supermarket Industry, only 3 miles from Berk’s Market Spot where I bagged my frst groceries. I hope Mr. Berk is Proud. He passed at 92, but cut the ribbon to our new San Bernardino Supermarket just 7 blocks from his store before his passing. Many companies have more DC locations and are bigger in total, but not at one (1) location over 2.6 million sq. ft. and 2.1 million sq. ft. under one (1) roof on 200 owned acres. Our average haul is approximately 42 miles to one of our supermarkets (168 stores). So we only need one Distribution Center, but a really big one, which will serve our needs for decades to come and protect the jobs of our 18,000 “Family” members and their over 80,000 dependents. “Only in America”…could a Box Boy and his mother go from the…“Back Room to the Board Room!” We are now passing the…“Shopping Cart”… of America to you, the new generation of Food Executives. Handle with care! Be Proud of your Heritage. Be Proud of your Supermarket Industry. All we have been able to build we built because of a FREE America… FREEDOM IS NEVER FREE… “ALL GAVE SOME…SOME GAVE ALL.” Hire a veteran when you can… Pray every night for our Troops on stations around the world. Pray for our Troops to…“Come Home Safe…Come Home Soon.” “God Bless America” Jack H. Brown NAVY VETERAN VIETNAM ERA

“HAPPY TRAILS” Jack with Keebler

Rising staRs

MinDy Rich

heatheR Desoto

Jeni ganzMan

Rich helped create and implement the successful Dinner 1-2-3 program, which highlights the dinner sauce section to appeal to Millennials through distinct shelf signage, monthly Facebook giveaways, coupons and Pinterest recipes.

Within months of being promoted to her current role, DeSoto was able to work with retail customers to implement an online ordering system, address gaps in promotional and show plans, and aid in the conversion of two new customers.

Ganzman worked with vendor partners to simplify the advertising program’s complexity.

Under Koch’s leadership, company profits increased by 6 percent and expenses decreased by 2 percent.

She developed a protocol for securing Facebook giveaways for corporate stores to launch new products and boost brand awareness, earning each store’s Facebook page new likes, multiple comments and thousands of impressions.

She even participated in overnight resets to make sure the conversion process went smoothly.

She was instrumental in the continued success of the turnkey end cap program, which drove incremental store sales and shopper conversion.

Her work enabled AWG to realize a 40 percent increase in third-party business, reducing empty miles for the company’s fleet.

Ganzman organized the successful biennial Selling Shows, which bring together more than 1,500 retailers, vendors and corporate associates for a three-day promotional event; her leadership and strong problem-solving skills enabled VMC to have its most successful show to date.

Working with leaders from several business areas, Koch successfully executed an initiative that increased inbound produce shipments; her team also enhanced claim procedures addressing inbound discrepancies while fine-tuning a company-wide product-dating initiative.

category Manager, associated Food stores (aFs)

She exceeded overall budget projections in her categories during AFS’ nine-month fiscal year.

Mellisa eRickson

corporate Bakery Merchandiser, Boyer’s Food Markets In fiscal 2015, Erickson achieved a 47 percent improvement in contribution to overhead in the total chain’s bakery departments through aggressive merchandising, pricing, shrink control, expense control and sales growth.

sales Manager, Regional chains, associated Wholesale grocers (aWg)/VMc

She achieved 22.5 percent growth in her assigned territories — the highest sales increase at VMC — despite economic challenges and strong competition.

lauRie FaBina

Beth Faught

senior Manager, ko lab, the coca-cola co.

Fabina helped guide an innovative remodel of the KO Lab with internal stakeholders and external contractors and vendors, assisting with the development and maintenance of the project budget.

Her bakery departments achieved an 8 percent samestore sales improvement, compared with 3.25 percent total store sales growth.

She created and launched a survey for customers to provide input, giving the team access to specific insights they could use to keep improving customers’ KO Lab experiences.

Responsible for the chain’s 18 bakery departments, she and her team attained a 1.27 percent improvement to total gross profit, and a 0.75 percent reduction to payroll and supplies expense.

Fabina developed a process for setting up planning calls to ensure the sessions were as effective and efficient as possible. She created a template for the calls to ensure all action items were achieved.


Promotional Manager, associated Wholesale grocers (aWg)/VMc

Division Manager, crossmark

Collaborating with a client, Faught aligned her team’s instore activities with overarching event-programming strategies, leading to a significant increase in customer awareness for new item launches, promotions and key focus events. She implemented a sales incentive contest within her team that resulted in a 29 percent year-over-year sales lift. Faught implemented an employee recognition program for those going above and beyond, as well as delivering on key performance indicators, helping boost employee retention and satisfaction.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016

Joy koch

executive Director, corporate traffic, associated Wholesale grocers (aWg)

natalie Runyan nPs Program Manager, crossmark

Runyan rebuilt the Crossmark message after a significant company-wide restructuring and rebranding, also developing a building tour that’s relevant and impressive to clients. She played a significant role in a special project in which she helped to successfully and seamlessly roll out the company’s first-ever playbook to customer and client teams. She began the implementation of Crossmark’s Net Promoter System, allowing it for the first time to quantifiably track and manage customer and client satisfaction, and developed a process for continual surveys.

Rising staRs

KaRi siMs

Director, Retail operations, Crossmark Sims achieved her on-top revenue goal of $1.5 million, and onboarded a dozen new clients between April and December 2015. She launched a team to audit execution and display compliance for a large beverage brand, resulting in the program’s ongoing expansion across incremental markets. To help an internal team provide competitive information to a client, Sims created a monthly implemented solution enabling the client to make pricing modifications based on store-level intelligence, for an incremental spend over budget of 87 percent.

Bonita Moffett east area acting Director, Defense Commissary agency (DeCa)

Moffett organized and guided the successful launch of Flonase in the stores she oversees when it became an OTC drug. When the agency’s deli/ bakery operations contractor suddenly ceased operations, she stepped in to minimize any disruption for customers, presiding over the transformation of 44 in-store deli/bakeries from outside contractor-operated to commissary-operated in just four months. Moffett created the first agency-driven Push Promotion Program, as a result of which incremental dollar sales surpassed any previous DeCA promotion event.


asMita PahWa

MiChelle Riley

senior Director, global sourcing and Product Development, Daymon Worldwide To integrate Daymon’s import acquisition, Pahwa built a hub and spoke-sourced infrastructure across the company’s offices in various regions, changing the way it sources products. She and her team spearheaded the creation of a virtual showroom that allowed Daymon to showcase its seasonal catalogs and product assortments, addressing the need for differentiation and speed to market. Her development of an on-trend portfolio of seasonal general merchandise products helped grow the company’s customer base internationally.

Director, global innovation strategy, Daymon Worldwide

Often called upon across the organization to help shape and innovate business processes, Reynolds-Wiegand and her team worked with multiple departments on a tag-sorting method that made hanging tags more efficient chain-wide. She played a key role in the delivery of Food Lion’s Ways to Save campaign. Reynolds-Wiegand took on the additional role of director of execution and implementation, in which capacity she mentored female store managers while continuing to nurture the talent on her team.

Commissary Contract Manager, Defense Commissary agency (DeCa)

Riley created and managed Daymon’s first company-wide innovation event platform, working with the supplier, consumer insight and information technology teams to drive inspiration and innovation efforts.

Voted by her peers to the position of customer service ambassador, she held monthly meetings with a rotating audience from each store department to brainstorm customer service ideas or voice concerns.

She drove the creation and development of Daymon’s first program “kits” for retailer partners, offering 20 to 40 supplier-sourced, trend-led products to inspire and facilitate innovation in an easy, turnkey fashion.

Caskey presented to upper management a 10-minute Fill the Floor Frenzy initiative in which all available employees go out onto the sales floor to the front aisles to assist customers.

Riley led the development of an internal innovation process connecting retail partner innovation requests with Daymon’s supplier network to drive efficiency and sales.

angela ReynolDsWieganD

Retail services Manager, Delhaize america/ food lion

shaRon CasKey

Kelli Whittington

Retail talent Development Manager, Delhaize america/food lion Whittington planned, coordinated, delivered and evaluated the impact of three five-week Store Manager College classes for 60 highperforming store managers and assistant store managers in two Food Lion divisions. She helped the northern division coach retail leaders in four interactive cultural change initiatives to strengthen brand awareness, equity, loyalty and customer service for 17,000-plus associates. Whittington led divisional talent and succession planning conversations to identify, capture and recommend targeted development solutions for high-performing and at-risk retail talent.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016

She greatly reduced waste by coming up with in-store merchandising initiatives using what’s in abundance in the warehouse.

Julie liBBy

Director, Produce, Delhaize america/ hannaford Libby and her team spent significant time in the field with farmers, learning about their crops and harvesting operations. She worked with suppliers on programs that reduce food waste and transit times, and led structural and operational design work for merchandising along the East Coast. Nominated by her fellow colleagues, Libby received Hannaford’s highest honor, the John J. Russell Award, named for a longtime Hannaford officer and board member who exemplified the company’s values and ideals.

Rising staRs

RaCHel sHultz Marketing Communications Manager, eCRM

Shultz co-launched ECRM’s Content Gateway, the event company’s first content marketing platform, playing a major part in its strategy, direction and design. She developed and executed ECRM’s first corporate marketing video program, which educated event attendees and prospective attendees on how to optimize their event experience and best leverage ECRM’s process and technology. Shultz led the execution of ECRM’s 2015 corporate rebranding initiative, developing the creative and formats for a complete array of corporate marketing materials.

CoRy Renn

director, Corporate accounting, giant eagle inc. Renn played a critical role in reducing the time to close financial results during each fiscal period. She led changes for the entire accounting team’s account reconciliations process, which resulted in a significant work reduction, with overall improved efficiencies. Renn completed additional projects within account reconciliation software, which included increasing auto certification by 40 percent, and led a new vacation policy implementation to include more detailed records and calculations, thereby improving audits and validations, as well as subsequent adjustments.

Jayne deluCa

Manager, Real inventory systems and development, giant eagle inc.

BRooke HodieRne

director, own Brands and sourcing, giant eagle inc.

DeLuca produced exceptional results for several major company initiatives by developing a five-tiered plan to reduce the known inventory-loss gap by 10 percent and save more than $4 million.

Instrumental in achieving significant cost savings throughout Giant Eagle, Hodierne led the launch of an online vendor bid program for key seasonal offerings, resulting in significant sales and profit.

She created a sustainable inventory-tracking process that enabled retail department leaders to better manage inventory to reduce losses through the use of technology.

Her innovative thinking enabled Giant Eagle to launch a three-tiered approach to Own Brands strategy that further improved overall market launch.

DeLuca was integral in the rollout of a new monitoring tool that targeted some 50 fraudulent front end activities, saving the company more than $250,000.

JessiCa szalla

technology service desk Manager, giant eagle inc.

Szalla’s key role on an information technology service management project generated vast improvements and measurable efficiencies.

Hodierne’s three-year strategic growth platform increased market penetration, leading to profitable growth for Giant Eagle’s most important brands.

suzanne olson

director, Customer service development, giant eagle inc.

Olson and her team augmented conventional training by developing a video series to capture the hearts and minds of associates and guests. She led a successful chainwide initiative to participate in National Customer Service Week, which not only celebrated team members, but also brought fun into the workplace through customer service challenges, recognition systems, and clear metrics to improve customer engagement. Olson was a 2015 winner of the prestigious Giant Eagle Chairman’s Entrepreneurial Leadership and Innovation Award.

Congratulations! for being selected as 2016 Top Women in Grocery

Elaine Cole

Wendy Sokol

Anna Cucchiara

Elizabeth Stark

A mentor to her direct reports and others, Szalla facilitated the promotions of seven members of her team, exemplifying her dedication to setting her team up for success through performance goals and well-developed action plans. She led the redevelopment of the IT department’s on-thespot recognition program from a paper to a digital format, which had a positive impact on team member POV scores. •

Rising staRs

nataLie FLeming Director, Partnerships, Hampton creek

Instrumental in leading Hampton Creek’s efforts in the natural and conventional grocery channels, and serving as the key point person with the company’s major retail customers, Fleming facilitated the distribution growth of the company’s lines into 10,000 stores. She launched more than 40 new SKUs at Walmart, Kroger, Target and Whole Foods Market across six key grocery categories. Fleming helped grow revenue from her channel targets by 350 percent year over year while guiding an innovative partnership with Just Mayo in Whole Foods’ prepared food department that scaled revenue and brand presence in its initial regions.

aimee O’LeaRy

Director, Retail Design, Hy-Vee

O’Leary led the design team through a complete redesign of several Hy-Vee store departments to complement new or enhanced programs. The “Streetscape” design that she helped create and implement will be used in HyVee’s new stores, giving them a fresh and modern look with an eclectic twist. O’Leary helped shape the creative direction for Hy-Vee Market Grilles and Market Cafés, as well as the Mothers’ Rooms. Continuing to push for improvements, her designs offer a consistent yet unique shopping experience for HyVee’s customers.


stePHanie sHein BeRman

KeLLy sayKO

case Division marketing manager, Hillphonenix

team Leader, ahold Usa/ Delhaize america, the Hershey co.

Responsible for a $200 million-plus business, Berman leveraged a more than $20 million trade and shopper marketing budget to deliver profitable sales and share wins for her two key accounts. Guiding six account managers and five district retail sales managers, she spearheaded a strategic front end reinvention project to grow snack, beverage and confectionery sales by more than 10 percent annually for the next three years. Berman co-authored a white paper outlining the future of food retailing in the United States, which was integral in laying the foundation for additional strategic programs and “test-and-learn” projects.

cHRisty myeRs assistant VP, POs, Hy-Vee

In an industry striving to master destination centers and grocerant concepts, Sayko was an instrumental, behind-the-scenes influence in designing and creating successful menu and program solutions at retail.

Myers oversaw a redesign of Hy-Vee’s customer loyalty program, Hy-Vee Fuel Saver + Perks, as well as the addition of 50 new restaurants, the inclusion of digital receipts and the upgrade of new fuel dispensers.

Her vast experience and unique ability to bring disparate industry stakeholders together elevated retail foodservice programs into topperforming, solutions-driven meal centers.

When Hy-Vee expanded into the Twin Cities market, she managed the inclusion of new POS hardware. This year, her team completed a major refresh on more than 280 POS server retail systems.

Sayko worked with researchers at university food science programs to establish and execute real-world protocols for cold-chain management, retail refrigeration and lighting in stores and manufacturing processes.

Myers led her team through the application of Hy-Vee Aisles Online, making great strides and attracting the attention of media outlets.

saRaH mastROROccO


Director, global communications, interactions marketing

Director, catalog Operations, instacart

After assuming her role in April 2015, Mastrorocco spearheaded the creation of a three-tiered strategy to optimize the Instacart experience by guaranteeing data accuracy, driving scalable operational efficiencies and improving the customer experience.

Under Short’s leadership, Interactions strengthened its public profile, industry leadership and internal communications programs; specifically, the public relations program prompted national media coverage in the areas of retail, technology and consumer experience.

Under her leadership, the catalog operations team doubled in size and launched hundreds of new store locations, as well as adding millions of new products to the product catalog.

In 2015, Interactions earned seven national and international awards for agency operations, as well as for its publications, including the honor of Best Corporate Newsletter of the Year.

Mastrorocco led a catalog infrastructure overhaul to improve Instacart’s e-commerce marketplace for its retail partners.

She spearheaded the company’s public relations program and public-facing initiatives from the ground up.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016

Denise gaRcia

Director, customer Relations, club Demonstration services (cDs), an interactions company

Garcia played a key role in planning and launching an experiential marketing campaign nationwide for a major retailer across 283 locations. The campaign generated 51,000 hours of interaction by 1,500 product demonstrators, who drove trials and generated incremental sales that exceeded target expectations by 68 percent. She worked with a major CPG brand to develop the launch of an international demonstration program for a warehouse club operator. Garcia developed and executed three nationwide campaigns that generated $1.5 million in top-line revenue.

Rising staRs

lynDsay RogeRs senior Director, sales, Kellogg Co.

niCole zuBe

Leading sales for Kellogg’s snack business for The Kroger Co., Rogers was responsible for overseeing a multimillion-dollar revenue stream across both warehouse and DSD networks.

Zube demonstrated great leadership by orchestrating the largest-ever sales-restructuring effort to transform the sales organization into four business units for greater connectivity.

She produced the highest single-account growth performance in 2015 within Kellogg’s grocery sales team.

She was instrumental in establishing guiding principles by teaming with sales leads to build the new structure and subsequently lead its overall execution.

Rogers was integral in people development as a key part of an internal committee to write global sales competencies, which serve as the foundation for evaluating sales talent and career plan development, and will provide far-reaching benefits for years to come.

CaRol Donnoli Bakery Field Merchandiser, Kings Food Markets

In her role supporting bakery managers at 33 locations across two banners and five states, Donnoli helped to lead key initiatives, including remerchandising all bakery departments and procuring new fixtures. She helped lead a systemwide rollout of bakery production- planning tools that resulted in a reduction of the department’s shrink by more than 0.50 percent. Donnoli was instrumental in the creation and execution of a new demo program that dramatically raised the instore customer experience.


MiCHele gissi

Director, Human Resources, global u.s. sales, Kellogg Co.

Zube led the development of Kellogg’s new People Development Committee, focusing on career progression, development and advancement, in tandem with successful college recruiting efforts that have seeded a diversity platform to build a talent pipeline reflecting today’s diverse consumers.

interactive Marketing and PR Manager, Key Food

In addition to her core duties with the deli business, Banks teamed with Kings’ director of seafood to develop and launch salmon burgers made fresh at store level; these items produced tremendous sales results.

She set the marketing budget for all stores and helped identify opportunities to bring in vendors to help offset the budget by implementing co-promotions.

She worked with a key vendor partner to develop a new core item for the company that provided better consistency in taste profile and freed up store teams to work on other unique items. Banks also helped create other new items with cleaner ingredient profiles and improved flavor and appearance. Sales of these items have exceeded the budget.

Gissi spearheaded a number of marketing partnerships, including a joint marketing campaign with Procter & Gamble, #TheClosestRivals, featuring the New York Jets and New York Giants, as well as a new venture with the Brooklyn Nets.

MaRyann KlejMont

Research and Development Manager, Kings Food Markets/ Balducci’s

In partnership with the quality assurance and merchant teams to ensure that quality and taste profile standards were met, she was integral to the expansion of the private label program. Granston launched a private business, Boutique Sweets, a gourmet dessert catering company, which was featured on The Cooking Channel.

Research and Development Chef, Kings Food Markets

Following Key Food’s acquisition of A&P stores, Gissi helped integrate more than 20 locations, which included streamlining their digital presence under the Key Food banner.

lauRa gRanston

Responsible for overseeing prepared food R&D, Granston played a significant administrative role in ensuring that the catering system was routinely updated to reflect new menu and item development, and was a key player in a related e-commerce project.

MaRal BanKs

area Director, Kings Food Markets

A former general store manager, Klejmont became the company’s first female area director, helping to recruit, onboard, train and develop two new general store managers. She successfully led major remodels at four of her 11 locations, delivering financial results that supported the company’s return on investment year to date. Klejmont championed a new waste program, which resulted in double-digit shrink reductions in each of the perishables departments in her three focus stores.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016

Banks volunteered at the Community Food Bank of New Jersey.

julia Benitez site leader, the Kroger Co./ turkey Hill Dairy

As site leader for the 104,000-square-foot Vandervoort Dairy, Benitez maintained the highest levels of safety, quality and reliability, as well as wielding profit-andloss responsibility, which in 2015 resulted in $9.434 million in operating profit. A former U.S. Marine Corps major who joined the plant in 2013, she reduced negative consumer comments by 5.19 percent, and the dairy set all-time records for labor productivity, efficiency and cost per unit. Benitez’s team maintained a preventive maintenance compliance rate of 98.3 percent.

Rising staRs

CoCo Bill

niColE Bishop

associate Communication and Engagement Manager, the Kroger Co./ Central Division

senior Manager, Risk and anti-money laundering Compliance, the Kroger Co.

Setting the groundwork for the most transformational culture change the division has experienced in years, Bill worked on the executive committee for the Customer 1st Promise rollout.

As senior manager of both the risk and anti-money laundering teams, Bishop introduced prepaid openloop/GPR changes and EMV loss analysis procedures that improved Kroger’s risk profile and limited loss.

She assisted with the creation, selection and training of a new store community coordinator role to help key stores become bases of community activity.

Her team launched a new policy that included capping card sales at $10,000 per day, resulting in nearly $2.9 million of savings in interchange fees.

Bill led an initiative that resulted in Kroger’s Central Division being voted one of the Top Places to Work in Indianapolis in 2015, which helped with recruiting and hiring initiatives.

Bishop’s analysis revealed that nearly 75 percent of all gift card loss could be prevented by proper execution of controls currently in place at store level.


ElizaBEth Colvin

Division Controller, the Kroger Co./ Mid-atlantic Division

Drug and gM Merchandiser, the Kroger Co./southwest Division

Under Carrender’s guidance, the Mid-Atlantic division achieved identical-store sales of 4.8 percent on a budget of 4.55 percent and beat its EBITDA goal.

Colvin led the drug/GM department to annual sales of $950 million, a 7 percent increase; her departments were second in sales revenue, just behind grocery.

She was instrumental in helping every department achieve positive store sales.

She coordinated the opening of 10 new stores featuring expanded health/beauty/ cosmetic departments, as well as apparel, toy, baby seasonal, housewares and domestics areas.

Carrender participated in Kroger’s Great People Day event as part of a group of around 200 individuals identified as having high potential. She was also a steering committee member on the company’s Mid-Atlantic division Women’s EDGE resource group.

Honoring Excelence.

Colvin coached associates on back-room operations standards and shrink initiatives, and frequently taught department standards to provide a better shopping experience to customers.

From Left To Right: Maryann Klejmont, Carol Donnoli, Jessica Gasser, Monica Bonamego, Maral Banks, Laura Granston

We Are Truly Inspired By All Of Your Accomplishments

Rising staRs

Jane Dale

senior Food safety Manager, the Kroger Co./QFC Dale led her division to become the top-performing Kroger division in food safety, with an overall score that bested the company average by 102 basis points. She completed a service deli risk assessment analysis, led training for all store service deli and produce associates, helped decrease regulatory inspection violations by 12 percent, and increased country-of-origin labeling compliance in the meat, seafood and service deli departments from 75 percent to 99 percent. Dale mentors future women leaders through her involvement in QFC’s Women’s EDGE organization.

laRissa englanD

senior Manager, Corporate supplier Diversity, the Kroger Co.

England created The Kroger Co. Diverse Supplier Business interchange for more than 100 minority- and women-owned companies to meet with sourcing managers for their products, and developed an information management tool for supplier diversity. She has grown supplier diversity spend consistently for the past two years by more than 10 percent. Thanks to her work, the company is a member of the Billion Dollar Roundtable, a group of 21 corporations that spend more than $1 billion a year with diverse-owned businesses.

BRanDy HangeR

Denise HasKaMp

Hanger worked collaboratively with the merchandising departments to execute a digital overlay for a planned merchandising event, leading to two record weeks of digital engagement.

Haskamp created Kroger’s first open house for associates, which resulted in career changes for six store associates who transferred to Kroger Technology.

Digital Merchandising Coordinator, the Kroger Co.

She transitioned the second-largest packaged meat category to enterprise retail management. As a result, adjustments to the program items brought about sales growth of 3.5 percent. Hanger secured funding from five key suppliers, enabling the grocer’s meat and seafood departments to execute a successful and lucrative Fall Taste of Italy event.

Sweet, by nature.

Human Resources Manager, the Kroger Co.

She developed and facilitated the retailer’s performance management series, and also developed a partnership with Per Scholas Inc., with the intention of increasing diversity in the company. Haskamp created a development plan for leaders to use with their associates; she manages the grocer’s Hot Skills program to retain key associates.

Greenhouse-grown. Vine-ripened. Handpicked. Maybe the reason NatureSweet® tomatoes always put a smile on your customers’ faces is because they were raised to be irresistibly, deliciously sweet.

© 2016 NatureSweet Tomatoes

Rising staRs

Lynn Howitz

division Facility manager, the Kroger Co./delta division Howitz created a communication network for 152 facility engineers, technicians, mechanics and carpenters for an optimized workforce. She worked on the Energy Star Saver program and piloted a store that measures carbon dioxide hoods and includes control panel programming that monitors panes, water heaters, water usage and roofing developments. Howitz reduced facility overtime by 27 percent in the second half of the year by setting standard expectations and providing constant communication to all team members across six districts.

deboRaH JaCobs

district manager, the Kroger Co./ atlanta division Jacobs helped grow sales in her district by 4.51 percent; identical-store sales were up 3.8 percent and operating profit increased 4.75 percent. She worked to develop and promote leaders within the organization; her district was innovative in putting together sourcing teams, developing high-potential assistant managers and staffing stores in areas with low unemployment. Jacobs was instrumental in developing customer service toolkits for all of her store associates; the program was so successful that it was expanded as a best practice across the division.

Pam Hudson

district operations Coordinator, the Kroger Co./dillons Under Hudson’s guidance, District 1 achieved a

2.97 percent sales increase and ranked first in labor controls.

level-one food safety training, the We Care program and other related training.

District 1 has also delivered the best food safety results for the past two years, thanks in part to her involvement in

A charter member of Kroger’s Women’s EDGE resource group, Hudson joined its community involvement committee.

Charity For being selected as one of 2016’s Top Women in Grocery

Charity Hegel Vice President of Finance

Rising staRs

CasEy KillOugh

Pharmacy Operations Manager, the Kroger Co./ harris teeter The 26 pharmacies overseen by Killough had a 9.2 percent increase in perscription growth, a 10 percent jump in flu shots, a 38 percent increase in non-flu immunizations, and a 15.38 percent rise in sales versus the prior year. Operating profit improved 5.74 percent She increased the completion and revenue of MTM (medication therapy management) cases by implementing a special program. Killough was selected to attend a leadership course designed for executives, professionals and entrepreneurs.

ERin OstERfEld Manager, e-Commerce, the Kroger Co./ technology

Osterfeld led the pilot store implementation of the ClickList application (one of Kroger’s top five initiatives) in six months instead of the usual 18 months. Her team also cut rollout lead time from six weeks to 48 hours. She oversaw the team that developed an alternative picking solution, which could potentially save the company more than $10 million. Osterfeld is a mentor through INTERalliance, a program that helps high school students develop IT skills, and she also chairs the UC Kroger Intern Program.


KElli McgannOn


division Community affairs Manager, the Kroger Co./ King soopers City Market McGannon led efforts to block a bill that would have allowed locked-out workers to obtain unemployment benefits. She introduced a virtual food-box program, which raised more than $500,000 in a single year, providing much needed dollars to area food banks, while saving them money on warehouse space because the program allows them to access food as they need it. McGannon secured five statewide sponsorships that aligned the King Soopers City Market brand as “the hometown grocer.”

Main & Vine Merchandiser, the Kroger Co.

Meyer had a primary influence on the launch of the first-ever Main & Vine store, in Gig Harbor, Wash., determining the item selection and promotional plans in numerous departments, including executing and building an assortment of 10,000 items brand new to this concept. She used her leadership skills in working with local suppliers in Gig Harbor, as well as on the ground floor to coach and direct the store team in merchandising efforts. Meyer continued to focus on areas of improvement in the business model to take Main & Vine to the next level.

Cindy PatER

saRah PERKins

Process Change Manager, the Kroger Co.

Pater and her team achieved their front end Customer 1st savings plan budget of $21 million in 2015. She led a coupon committee comprising Kroger associates and representatives from a large CPG vendor to develop automated solutions that will help stores better manage paper coupons. Pater managed the Selfcheckout Behavior project, which emphasizes the key store associate behaviors that drive self-checkout use; as a result of this project, Kroger’s self-checkout usage increased by 1.5 percent in 2015, and is expected to improve an additional 1 percent this year.

Produce Promotional Planner, the Kroger Co.

Perkins, who recently moved from operations to merchandising, led two division produce teams to financial success; in her latest assignment, with the Fry’s and Smith’s teams, she’s responsible for managing 10.5 percent of total produce sales. She led a strategic company initiative called Fresh Deals that invests heavily in produce retails. In spite of her short time with the department, Perkins was chosen to train a new promotional planner, as well as more seasoned planners, while generating positive customer feedback, sales and profit growth.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016

sEnCha’l MuRPhy

talent Manager, the Kroger Co./ Columbus division

Murphy developed and managed a $7 million training budget, providing leadership to five district reports and mentoring six district human resources coordinators. She successfully launched a new-hire training curriculum designed to develop, motivate and retain associates. She established the first Great People Review for the Columbus division; the three-day event focused on highlighting future leaders and provided an outlet for top leadership to network with high-potential associates.

shERRy POstEl Manager, Regional data integrity Center, the Kroger Co.

Postel was responsible for smoothly and successfully transitioning the Ralphs and both Food 4 Less divisions to the Salt Lake City regional data integrity center without any interruption to services at the stores. She consistently received praise from the leadership of the divisions she services for her professionalism, level of service, and sense of urgency. Highly motivated, she advocated strongly for stores and their customers. Part of the Kroger resource group Women’s EDGE, Postel worked to grow the organization and provide an environment of personal and professional development.

THIS SUMMER, MORE THAN LIGHT WILL ADVANCE LEDVANCE is your new, yet trusted partner for SYLVANIA general lighting products – worldwide and with local expert teams. For us, advancing light is more than a promise: It’s an attitude.

For more information, visit LEDVANCE.US


Rising staRs

WHitney RiCe Pharmacy Clinical sales Manager, the Kroger Co./fry’s

Under Rice’s leadership, overall pharmacy clinical sales beat the budget by 99 percent and exceeded prioryear sales by 95 percent, with non-flu immunizations up 100 percent. She trained 120 pharmacists for a diabetes certificate program and 30 pharmacists in medication therapy management (MTM). Rice was chosen as a NextGeneration Pharmacist award finalist, Patient Care Provider, 2015. She is a member of Fry’s Pharmacy Division Accuracy and Health and Wellness committees, as well as a number of state health organizations.

teResa tuRley District Manager, the Kroger Co./ Delta Division

Under Turley’s leadership, the division saw a 4.91 percent rise in net sales; she helped store managers evaluate their in-stock positions and implement new shelfstock scanning. She made safety a priority, and as a result, accidents among associates and customers alike decreased. Spending more time with her associates allowed Turley to coach each one on the importance of customer service, leading to increased satisfaction scores. A charter member of the Delta division Women’s EDGE associate resource group, she has also received the Ambassador Award from Network of Executive Women.


KRistine RogeRs

KyleaH Russell

Merchandiser service Deli/Bakery, the Kroger Co./fred Meyer Rogers and her team successfully opened 11 Starbucks coffee shops and three Murray’s Cheese Shops, and expanded the Boar’s Head program; their division was No. 1 in sales per store for these specialty programs. She completed the Today’s Manager, Tomorrow’s Leader executive education program offered by Portland State University’s Center for Retail Leadership. She sits on the board of directors for Fred Meyer Gold Star, an assistance program that helps associates in times of need.

District loss Prevention Manager, the Kroger Co./ Mid-atlantic Division Russell recruited a highly talented customer service manager to help address ongoing cash loss in the district; this effort led to a 50 percent reduction in cash loss. She hosted a full week of loss prevention training for the Mid-Atlantic division’s loss prevention team, also helping to develop a comprehensive defensive merchandising training manual. Russell opened 118 loss prevention cases during the year, 112 of which were founded, and also handled several sensitive investigations for the division.

Buffy tuRneR

genise WaDe

senior Merchandiser, the Kroger Co.

Turner was instrumental in the overall design of Main & Vine, leading the merchandising team at Kroger’s new fresh-centric store in the Seattle area. Through collaboration, she led the team to create a game-changing go-to-market strategy. Her success was attributable in part to her ability to manage cross-functional teams throughout Kroger’s many business units. While on Kroger’s HBC team, Turner was responsible for the development of the promotional plan strategy; she’s recognized as a leader in the industry and a champion for the customer.

Director, Human Resources and Diversity, the Kroger Co./ turkey Hill Dairy Wade introduced High Performance Work Systems (HPWS) at Turkey Hill Dairy, making it a role model for the rest of the division. As part of the rollout, she designed a new organizational structure for a number of departments. She worked directly with the VP of operations to usher in HPWS and led roundtables with hundreds of associates to get their feedback. Wade was the inaugural recipient of the Spirit of Lancaster Award, which recognized her efforts in leading a successful campaign for United Way that raised more than $1 million for the charitable organization.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016

Melissa stiMaC Produce Merchandiser, the Kroger Co./fry’s

Stimac and her team helped increase identical-store sales by 5.7 percent from the year before, and beat the total division’s trend for the year. Produce shrink for the year finished at 4.64 percent, one of the strongest results across the entire Kroger enterprise. Stimac and her team encouraged associates to engage in more sampling with customers, and also created a monthy push item in the produce department, which generated an average of $500,000 in extra sales monthly.

ann WeisMan technology Manager, the Kroger Co.

As Kroger’s technology organization underwent a large reorganization, Weisman effectively restructured her team and workload across three teams while maintaining transparency with all teammates and zero loss of productivity. She reduced the overall number of applications by 26 percent, and improved end-to-end operations by defining and implementing standards for support and project delivery. Weisman took on a new role within Kroger’s Women’s EDGE resource group, that of community involvement steering committee chair.


We offer a huge range of critical temp displays to merchandise anywhere in your store…wherever there’s an electrical outlet. From fresh-cut fruits, vegetables and juices to beer, wine and cheese, just plug and fill for an attractive critical temp display! Give us a call at 800.332.5507 to make a fresh impression in your store!

140 Park Street • Milo, Maine 04463 • 800.332.5507 TEL • 207.943.5632 FAX • JSISTOREFIXTURES.COM Milo, Maine • Bangor, Maine • Suwanee, Georgia • Payson, Utah • Greenville, South Carolina • Collingwood, Ontario

Rising staRs

latasha williaMs

Division Recruiter, the Kroger Co./ atlanta Division Williams developed a sourcing team concept for the division, in which current store managers assist their divisions in implementing and developing hiring plans, actively source for candidates and assist in strategic planning. She oversaw the division’s first workforce planning session for business partners across various corporate areas; this resulted in a single strategic recruiting plan. Williams was recognized by the state of Georgia for her hiring contributions and for speaking at a workforce planning meeting for the state school boards and various nonprofit organizations.

KaRen BRush

Director, Merchandise, Meijer

Brush’s overall direction and leadership of the buying team on assortment, pricing, marketing, store presentation and product development, along with the execution of eight pet events with full marketing support, led to a sales volume of $415 million, up 5.6 percent from the previous year. She focused on meaningful new and tier-one launches by executing a successful 360-degree campaign featuring various well-known pet brands. Brush was the first external recipient of the Nestlé Purina customer service award, thanks to the strategic partnership between Meijer and Nestlé Purina.


Julie winneR

DoRi geng

senior leader, Central Planning, the Kroger Co./ Manufacturing Division Winner, a 26-year veteran at Kroger, earned the promotion to her current role because of her great work as a global sourcing leader for the manufacturing supply chain optimization team at the general office. In her previous role, she and her team worked with plants and third-party vendors to negotiate costs that saved $39 million for the company. She led and helped develop an organic dairy plan that, using four distinct strategies, aided in the identification of the right partnerships with the right suppliers, as well as addressing potential shortfalls in product.

Production lead, lund Food holdings/Mitchell Road Production Facility

Appert led the marketing strategy, campaign and visual merchandising involved in the opening of four stores in a new state for Meijer: Wisconsin.

She was the 2015 recipient of Lunds and Byerly’s Brand Champion Award, the highest honor given to company employees.

Appert reinvented the wine/spirits/beer department in 10 percent of the chain through store design and the launch of a comprehensive customer communications campaign; noted as the best in the industry by vendors, the revamp brought in an additional $1 million in top-line growth in three months.

Geng been with Lund Food Holdings for 36 years and is a volunteer with her church and in her community.

Jenny Coon

Director, Retail asset Protection, Meijer

She created a fraud mitigation team that shut down more than $3 million in cloned credit card transactions and saved $4.2 million in profit and loss by instituting a comprehensive plan leveraging vendor relationships. A recipient of an FBI award for completing the Domestic Security Executive Academy, Collins used her expertise to help the Greater Boston Food Bank upgrade its physical security.

Director, MarketingBrand, Foods and Visual Merchandising, Meijer

Geng was instrumental in the operations of Lund Food Holdings’ commissary, which serves the retailer’s 28 stores; she worked daily to ensure each store had the correct amount of product ordered. She watched each item and kept them in a rotation to provide the variety and quality that customers expected.

CRystal Collins

Collins developed and implemented a comprehensive, aggressive intruder/ active-shooter awareness program across the company to protect Meijer’s customers and associates.

Renée aPPeRt

Manufacturing Plant Manager, Meijer

Coon implemented two manufacturing lines that led to the launch of 24 new items delivered to consumers and a resulting $7.2 million in new sales, among several strategic innovation projects she completed. She spearheaded the introduction of a seasonal summer corn-packaging business, launched on a rapid timeline, that allowed for greater customer convenience. Coon won Meijer’s Customer First Award for her work with merchant partners, following her earlier Lean Forward Innovation Award from the manufacturing team leadership. She and her team can boast five years of zero lost-time accidents.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016

She lifted the impression of customer value by boosting digital savings enrollment by 23 percent.

CaRol heinowsKi Manager, logistics safety/ Compliance, Meijer

Described as a role model for women entering the logistics field, Heinowski led initiatives reducing Department of Transportation recordable accidents by more than 30 percent, leading the fleet to an unprecedented industry safety record. Under her guidance, Meijer’s private fleet CSA score was in the top 96 percent of the nation, and the team member claims-to-treatment ratio was at 4.98 at year end, down from 8.44 the previous year end, and down 50 percent in clinic visits from last year. Heinowski was named the 2015 Michigan Trucking Association Safety Professional of the Year.



Talking with…

Don Edwards Vice President of Grocery Development, ECRS

• Complex promotional combos • Transaction recall for easy re-orders, suggested orders, and personalized item promotions • Items can be easily added to the same transaction at anytime • Complete loyalty integration • Retailer controls all branding/design elements of website • Allows for direct store pickup or store delivery. Retail Leader: ECRS is bringing Catapult WebCart, a new type of click and collect system to market this spring, which you term as being data driven and having a shared business logic. What prompted your company to create and approach store pickup and delivery in this way? Was there a hole in the market just waiting to be flled? Don Edwards: Today’s tech-savvy consumers prefer options in their shopping experience, including the option of online grocery shopping. Click and Collect, online shopping offers a huge opportunity to capture new customers, particularly millennials, providing a good deal of same store growth potential for regional and independent grocers. However, the current approach of using third party systems or services to build your online store presence is really a short term solution to a long term need. These systems are typically disjointed and expensive; they tend to be very manual, cumbersome and diffcult to sustain. The result of poorly coordinated third-party eCommerce systems is a poor customer experience. ECRS took a different approach, we believe the transactions that occur online should be identical to those that occur on the retailer’s website. This means that the business logic used to execute promotions, loyalty, e-coupons, taxes and prices on the online store should be identical to what would occur if the transaction occurred at the store. We call this approach a shared POS business logic. The data driven concept behind WebCart is to make it simple and seamless to startup and maintain. Using our data driven approach, the enterprise, the store, and the web system share the same database. This means that whatever item I add to my store, I can easily add to my webcart locations. This also means that customers can have better access to their historical purchases and see live on-hand values while shopping. On the setup side, Data Driven means that a store’s web location can be up in running within hours and stay updated, with very little labor. RL: What are some of the most important benefts Catapult WebCart offers grocery retailers? For example, are there challenges it can help these retailers overcome in the area of e-retailing that other systems on the market don’t address? DE: Unifed pricing and business logic create a seamless Omnichannel experience, no matter if the customer shops online or at the store, they will receive the same transaction experience. For example Loyalty points can be accumulated or redeemed from WebCart. Another example would be that circular promotions will automatically fre on the web site just like they do at the POS, and start and stop as normally scheduled at the store. • Extremely fast and easy-to use consumer interface with multiple menu sort options (based on current sale items, past shopping preferences, item attributes, item group, etc.) • Automated system for order picking and verifcation • Accurate, real time inventory refected on website at all times, for each store • At-a-glance, color-coded product attributes and ability to easily sort by attributes (Gluten-free, vegan, locally grown, etc.)

• Multiple consumer built shopping lists. This means the customer can have a weekly list and perhaps a dinner party list. • Customer can view past transactions, even if they took place at the store and not the web. • Customer can view all of their pending e-coupons with associated special conditions and rules. • Store selection with mapping and directions. RL: What other systems does a grocery retailer need to have in place to be able to use the Catapult Web Cart application? DE: This application is part of the complete Catapult® grocer enterprise system, which has a front store and back offce software suite. RL: Can you provide an example or two of how the store order picking or fulfllment processes work in real time? DE: As online shopping for store pickup and/or delivery becomes more popular, ECRS realized that the item picking process would play a key part in keeping labor costs under control. With this in mind, we built many real-time functions into the Catapult Order Pick fulfllment system that are specifcally designed to dramatically increase productivity around this new in store activity. Here are some examples: • Pick Routing - Automatically organizes item picks in order of the store layout. • Multiple Picks - The system allows for an unlimited number of orders to be picked/ processed at one time. • Order Sorting - Automatically sorts orders by the customer’s preferred pick-up time. • Substitutions without re-ringing the sale - Order Pick allows the clerk to substitute and transact non-ordered items due to stockouts, while relying on instructional notes provided from the consumer when they placed the order. • Bag Labeling, Location, Tendering - When the clerk fnishes picking the order(s), they print a label for each bag of groceries that contains the customer’s frst/last name, the total number of bags (e.g. 1 of 5, 2 of 5, etc), the transaction number, and a bar coded version of the transaction number. The clerk then places the bags in the appropriate holding locations. When the consumer arrives to pick-up their groceries, a store employee opens the associated transaction on a mobile device, such as a tablet. Because the picking clerk entered the holding location numbers, the current employee knows exactly where the groceries are waiting. The employee then scans the barcode on one of the bag labels to open the transaction for payment. They deliver the groceries to the car where the consumer makes secure payment with a credit card or via tokenization.

June 2016 | |


Rising staRs

Jamie laRson

Jenn maRtin

director, Corporate tax, meijer

merchandise Planning manager, otC healthcare, meijer

Larson teamed with a small group of tax professionals to simplify the tax treatment of store remodels and refresh costs, which led to a Retail Industry Issue Resolution in late 2015.

Martin was a company trainer for the rollout of a new category management process, helping increase her department’s sales by more than 8.9 percent over the previous year while improving inventory turn.

Demonstrating multifaceted tax and accounting skills, as well as the practical application of data analytics, she was a strong advocate for Meijer and the retail industry. Larson was an active member and leader in the West Michigan chapter of the Tax Executive Institute, and volunteered her time with a youth hockey league as a coach and mentor.

BRigid gilmoRe

director, Portfolio/scale marketing, Category and shopper development, nestlé Usa Gilmore led a nationwide effort to support Nestlé’s 150th anniversary, uniting the Nestlé portfolio in an integrated shopper, consumer, digital and in-store program. Program results showed great consumer engagement and retailer support, as the company exceeded January financial expectations across the full portfolio for the first time in more than seven years. Gilmore was involved in a variety of organizations, including as a core team member for the Women in Nestlé Sales (WiNs) internal strategic initiative.


maUReen mitChell

director, market, grand traverse, meijer

Mitchell oversaw the opening of two new stores in her area, with a total of 300 new team members that were recruited, hired and trained under her direction.

She teamed with vendors on supply chain efficiency programs to maximize the supply chain flow while minimizing the amount of unproductive inventory.

She was instrumental in rolling out an interview and scheduling process designed to increase retention at the store level, and in the formalization of a 90 Days and Beyond program to drive career development and internal opportunities.

Martin won Meijer’s Fearless Leader award for her role in opening a Meijer pharmacy within a hospital, a first for the grocer, and is an active member of the Network of Executive Women, representing Meijer at many of its events.

Mitchell was recognized for her achievements with a 2015 Michigan Works Employer of the Year award. She drove results across the Meijer footprint by enhancing leadership job profiles and redefining the market director job.

shawna Ronald

linsey walkeR

director, sales, Club division, nestlé Usa

team leader sales-target, nestlé sales division, nestlé Usa

As part of the company’s strategic growth business unit, Ronald and her team grew market share by 80 basis points in 2015, and she was instrumental in partnering for new opportunities both with key global and regional accounts.

Walker worked to propel $212 million in direct frozen sales, with an annual positive growth of 4.7 percent. Her team achieved this annual growth even after having to pull back on promotion and encountering manufacturing challenges.

By working on multiple strategic initiatives with key accounts, she helped create new items that garnered breakthrough results for the company while enabling a new way of business.

Walker became a lead for an internal strategic initiative, Women in Nestlé Sales (WiNs) and a mentor in the sales division.

A member of the Network of Executive Women, Ronald was also active in her children’s school and aided local charities and organizations.

She was recognized in “Who’s Who in Digital Shopper Marketing” from Path to Purchase Institute and active in her division’s mentoring program.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016

amanda metCalFe

director, employee development, metcalfe’s markets Metcalfe increased staffing from 90 percent to 98 percent, spearheaded an electronic recruiting/onboarding process, created an employee appreciation program, established an online employee training program, launched a first-ever employee engagement survey and implemented a new human resources information system, among other accomplishments. She began a program, Kickin’ it with Tim & Kevin, in which Metcalfe’s co-owners work alongside employees in various departments to build engagement and improve morale. Metcalfe worked with such groups as the Wisconsin Grocers Association and the National Grocers Association.

taRyn andeRson Front end operations supervisor, niemann Foods inc.

After a supermarket burned to the ground, Anderson led team meetings, starting the night of the fire, in the store parking lot and continuing through ongoing sessions with city representatives and associates. For the next 10 months, she took care of associates’ needs, from employment at the company’s other area stores to compensation issues, all while still carrying out her primary job responsibilities. According to Anderson’s supervisor, she maintained her level of professionalism and consideration for all associates during this challenging time.


Recently, CJ Foods, a U.S.-based vendor, needed to introduce items in Mexico for the frst time. Daymon Sales Manager proposed a series of in-store events to take place over three consecutive days featuring three different products.

Mariana and a team of 40 Daymon associates supported CJ Foods with special events at each store. The vendor saw a 353 percent return on investment with a total sales lift of 2,076 percent. Minori Matsushita, Sales Manager for CJ Foods said: “We feel confdent that launching a new item has a better chance of success when the Daymon teams conduct our demos.�

To learn more, please contact our CEO, Jim Holbrook, at


Rising staRs

ChRistine hagan

senior Region manager-albertsons, north america nutrition, PepsiCo

Based on Hagan’s performance, she was promoted twice within the past year, most recently to a senior manager role in August 2015.

aliCe hUmPhRey

Humphrey personally influenced and touched more than $50 million in sales-driving activity through 2015.

While managing the Acme business, she continually exceeded all of her sales objectives, including growth of 124 percent and net revenue growth of 122 percent versus prior year.

She delivered a firstever shopper experience for a Doritos/“Batman vs. Superman” promotion, for which she created a new order approach that yielded the largest order for a single event in PepsiCo history.

Hagan also exceeded her key performance indicators, including share growth and share swing versus the competition, innovation ACV targets, and feature and display execution.

She spearheaded a firsttime partnership for a Kroger co-branded program with the Pepsi Emoji summer program, which broke new ground as a media partnership between Kroger and PepsiCo.

amy Robinson

Director, sales-Costco, north america nutrition, PepsiCo Robinson identified new areas of growth through the ready-to-eat cereal business at Costco and drove more than half of Quaker’s double-digit granola growth at her one customer through improvements in packaging and pallet design, as well as incremental and extended rotations in the customer regions. She grew the Life cereal business by more than 25 percent and worked with the customer to co-create a newto-market bar. Robinson’s ability to manage the planning year, as well as her thought leadership on longer-term growth, set Quaker up for success over the next several years at Costco.


ashley RamKeRath

senior manager, shopper marketingKroger, PepsiCo

sales analyst, north america beverages, PepsiCo

Ramkerath exceeded topline and margin contribution and variable gross-profit targets for Publix grocery and accomplished outstanding accuracy for each period for volume forecasts. She led and organized several events for the team, focusing on areas such as work-life balance, Asian Heritage Month, the Second Harvest Food Bank, Habitat For Humanity and Network of Executive Women. She served as an official PepsiCo Ambassador and was an active PepsiCo Asian Network leader for PepsiCo’s Southeast region.

aliCia ConneR

maRj bzDoK

Walmart U.s., Key account manager, Pharmavite

Conner’s efforts led to sales growth of 19 percent in a challenging and relatively flat category, due to meaningful improvements in custom innovation, feature planning and strategies that enhance consumer messaging. The Network of Executive Women recognized her as a national recipient of its Best of the Best Leadership Awards for her achievements and impact on the organization over the past year. Conner’s customer partners regularly recognized her hard work ethic, fresh and creative approach to driving the business, and willingness to tackle challenges to drive business solutions.

account executive, target, Post Consumer brands Responsible for the full scope of business for Target, Bzdok fostered positive share growth while successfully serving as the single voice of the new company and organizational structure resulting from the merger of MOM Brands and Post Foods. She developed innovative solutions to improve supply chain efficiencies, solidify distribution and create programs to formulate a solid platform for bankable future growth. A volunteer at local food banks, Bzdok made significant gains in product distribution, setting up the business for strong future growth.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016

staCie RiFFeRt

Director, sales-target, north american nutrition, PepsiCo Riffert grew the ready-toeat cereal business by more than 17 percent and repositioned the Quaker granola business at Target, resulting in 20 percent growth. She leveraged an exclusive first-to-market item for Target, Quaker Chewy, with the Girl Scouts, leading to more than 10 percent of the entire annual business being sold in two weeks and growing this business full-year. Riffert is chair of public relations for Network of Executive Women’s Twin Cities chapter.

ChRys FRomeliUs

team leader, Costco, Post Consumer brands Assuming her new role as part of a new organizational structure resulting from the merger of MOM Brands and Post Foods, Fromelius adapted quickly to lead her team to great success for an important account. Her team maintained excellent sales performance during the merger, and she worked in partnership with marketing to develop and implement new product strategies. Under Fromelius’ guidance, her team also devised new ways to improve profitability, solidify distribution and partner with Costco to develop new programs and products for continued growth.

Rising staRs

Maggi MuelleR team leader, Metro new York, Post Consumer Brands

Taking on a different role as part of a new organizational structure resulting from of the merger of MOM Brands and Post Foods, Mueller led all wholesaler and independent business in a major market, which has regained 2.2 share points since the merger. Directing a five-person team, she maintained solid share and sales in a highly challenging market. Mueller spearheaded a cross-functional team to develop new items and strategies exclusively for her territory accounts.


aliCe BeRquaM

BaRBie BlaiR

sales Director, Procter & gamble

Berquam delivered on a joint business-plan growth target of 5 percent, making Procter & Gamble Kroger’s fastest-growing billion-dollar supplier. Her team grew share of wallet across P&G categories and launched a center store acquisition program. She managed training, development and career planning for the 70-member team supporting the customer. The leader for the North American women’s sales organization, Berquam worked to improve female diversity in the sales function.

Customer team leader, Procter & gamble

Blair expanded the business by 3 percent and delivered on a joint business plan with Publix to include 65 percent fair-share growth on new initiatives and 33 percent growth in digital executions. She developed the Team Legacy award to support new employees, developing the company culture through quarterly training and team building. Blair enabled employee recognition for direct reports with the Kenny Shields Inspirational Leadership Award and the Dave Hollenbeck Community Service Award.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016

lois FRuhwiRth grocery Product supply leader, Procter & gamble

Fruhwirth delivered key supply metrics for total U.S. grocery, with a case fill rate of 99 percent and a customer service on-time rate of 87 percent. She led the company’s grocery consumer responsive network execution to deliver $17 million in inventory savings for customers and $48.6 million in value creation, working with customers to maximize new supply chain capability. Fruhwirth received Procter & Gamble’s most prestigious supply chain honor, The Magnus Award, which recognizes top performers throughout a career.

Rising staRs

JenifeR menz

senior Customer supply Chain leader, Procter & gamble Menz led her supply chain team to win both the customer business development and product supply functions’ Top Service Team awards, largely based on the transformation in service performance between Procter & Gamble and H-E-B, which was then jointly leveraged to drive additional business growth. Hers was the only North American customer team to deliver targeted customer service metrics every month in the 20 months since that award was established. Menz was a frequent volunteer and guest speaker at University of Texas supply chain classes, and she volunteered at a local women’s shelter.

amanda KeefeR director, marketing Communications, Produce for Kids

Keefer successfully coordinated several Produce for Kids programs and campaigns, including the annual flagship retail campaigns, a new Produce for Kids Club promotion, and a digital Power Your Lunchbox campaign for the back-to-school season. She worked closely with the digital marketing manager to launch the company’s first printed cookbook through, and bolstered the organization’s social media following by 96 percent. Keefer took the lead on a new partnership with Feeding America, in which Produce for Kids donated more than $270,000, the equivalent of 3 million meals, to needy families.


taRa Powell

lauRa titshaw

account executive, Procter & gamble

Working with Publix for more than a decade, Powell outpaced company growth in her business area and overdelivered versus fair share on strategic new initiatives. She was rated among the top 10 percent of her peers in the sales function and selected for the honor of the Procter & Gamble CEO Award for her exemplary business and organizational results. Powell won the Shave Top Customer Team Award for her strong sales fundamentals, which led to her exceeding expected results, as well as the Always Discreet Award for her exceptional go-to-market launch plans.

Kroger Regional account executive, Procter & gamble

senior Customer supply Chain leader, the Procter & gamble distributing Co.

Heading the Procter & Gamble portfolio for two Kroger divisions, Titshaw grew the regional team’s sales through leadership, discipline, customer penetration and selling excellence. She managed this business holistically to understand what else the regional teams required to drive the business.

Iriarte worked to deliver a 25 percent improvement in event forecast accuracy, delivered a 20 percent customer inventory reduction and 8 percent reduction in the number of trucks, and co-led an effort to improve inventory rundown, closeout and conversion management processes to reduce annual reclaim costs.

She helped reduce out-ofstocks, created tourist store distributions to manage seasonality, led the testing and expansion of on-shelf availability, and developed and delivered incremental P&G in-store marketing events.

A leader in Procter & Gamble’s Charlotte, N.C., market diversity development and support efforts, Iriarte was an active member of the company’s Women Managers Network and PS Latino Network.

Titshaw was named an Indispensable Rep for the Atlanta division.

Chelsey Jones

JaCKie dalimonte

director, sales, Pyure Brands llC

lead specialist, Chef and food experience, sobeys

Jones contributed significantly to a 100 percent growth of the business over the past 12 months; she recently added 10 points of ACV in the natural specialty channel, leading to an additional $200,000 in sales.

Charged with reimagining the overall food culture of Sobeys, Dalimonte was project lead on the creation of a national catering brochure for all of the grocer’s regions across Canada, resulting in an uptick in catering platter sales.

Thanks to her efforts, H-E-B is now the company’s second-largest retail customer. She was honored for her accomplishments with Pyure’s Superstar Award for 2015. Her data analysis and reporting was instrumental in gaining authorizations from several key retailers.

In her previous role with the company, she created the Sobeys Urban Fresh catering program from the ground up and oversaw many culinary innovations.

A member of the Pyure Promise Committee, Jones assisted with contributions to local charities.

uRsula (ula) iRiaRte

As project lead for the Nutella Café by Sobeys Urban Fresh, Dalimonte worked closely with Ferrero Inc. to successfully manage the café’s design, menu, marketing and execution.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016

Outside of the organization, she was a Special Olympics volunteer and St. Jude Hospital partner.

KaRen KoRytowsKi

general manager, supply Chain hR and lean operations, smart & final

Korytowski introduced and led the LEAN process improvement program in Smart & Final’s supply chain and corporate office, which resulted in more than $550,000 in documented savings last year. She also took over human resources responsibilities last year for all of the company’s distribution centers. Through Smart & Final’s online recognition program, she received more than 200 formal recognition notes from associates across the company. Korytowski attended the 16-week USC Food Industry Management program, where she was recognized as Student of the Year by her peer group.

Rising staRs

JuliE lEogRanDE District Merchandising Manager and temporary District Manager, smart & Final

Responsible for all financial, operational and associate-related issues within her assigned district of 19 stores, Leogrande managed the merchandising projects for five new stores in a six-month timeframe. She trained 200-plus associates within Smart & Final’s perishables departments in 2015, when her role as perishable merchandising manager was expanded. Leogrande was promoted from store manager to perishable merchandising manager, followed by a second promotion to temporary district manager last January.

tia Billups

accounting Manager, spartannash Co./MDV spartannash In addition to leading the accounts payable and miscellaneous billing departments that processed more than $2.1 billion of expenses for MDV, Billups managed the merger-related integration of office systems and processes for the entire SpartanNash military division. She designed and led associate training, led MDV’s migration to a content management platform, and headed the celebration and fun committee. Billups earned her MBA degree while working at MDV.


gEnEVa loCKE


pricing Manager, smart & Final

Locke was responsible for the quality of price execution, including prices, data, systems and people, for more than 250 stores. Her ad accuracy rate was 99.92 percent for the entire year, and she achieved 100 percent accuracy for 39 weeks. She embraces teamwork, lives the banner’s core values and emulates the philosophy of “see it, own it, do it.” An active participant in the company’s store “engagement” days, Locke visited stores to determine how she and her team could better serve them, while at the same time mentoring, developing and encouraging her team.

purchasing Manager, smart & Final

With 30 years of equipmentpurchasing experience, Redcher enhanced Smart & Final’s equipment offerings, helping to source and develop state-of-the-art fixtures for its stores. She created best practices for equipment to provide store personnel and end users with step-by-step instructions for installation, operation, maintenance and housekeeping, as well as written procedures for every job function within her department. Redcher participated in and graduated from Smart & Final’s Leadership Development Program.

ChaRity KoBRzyCKi

alisha MuRRay Manager, Worksite Wellness programs, spartannash

Merchandising analytics Manager, spartannash Co.

Kobrzycki led customercentric merchandising, providing actionable business intelligence and innovative thinking about the consumer. She revamped the category business-planning process, implemented a set of data tools for category managers to better understand their business and translated the organization’s customer strategy into category-level goals. Kobrzycki took the initiative to create SpartanNash’s first category budgets, and built them in accordance with its customer-centricity strategy, giving teams a clear road map to achieve comparablesales and growth goals.

Murray led significant changes to SpartanNash’s Choose Well. Live Well. program (available to 9,000-plus associates), such as including part-time associates, doubling the wellness incentive amounts and implementing a free Fitbit for completing program tasks. She enhanced program communications, which increased associate engagement in Choose Well. Live Well. from 1,518 participants to 2,294 in just eight months. Another of Murray’s successful initiatives was creating an opportunity for associates to earn Vitality points for volunteering.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016


Manager, new store Marketing, smart & Final

As manager of the newstores team, Wade directly affected business customer sales penetration in new stores. She led the team to open 20 stores in 2015, driving new business customers to Smart & Final stores, as well as introducing current business customers to the grocer’s Extra! concept, and coordinated all in-store demos with suppliers and demo companies to ensure a great customer experience. In addition to her usual job duties, Wade took over all of the Smart & Final charitable foundation responsibilities until a manager was hired, and helped plan and execute community events.

ElizaBEth sChnEiDER

Manager, BusinessMilitary, spartannash Co./MDV spartannash As the single point of contact for the vendors and brokers doing business with MDV, Schneider continually looked for ways to make the company and its vendors more successful partners to the military commissaries and exchanges. She was a 2015 Top Performer in sourcing new business, with more than $20 million in increased sales. Schneider contributed to a 50 percent reduction of company liability for nonsaleable inventory in 2015, and was instrumental in piloting new programs to provide customers with inventory data 24/7.

Smart & Final congratulates all of the amazing individuals named to

Progressive Grocer’s Top Women in Grocery 2016. RISING STARS

Geneva Locke

Karen Korytowski

Pricing Manager

General Manager, Supply Chain

Julie Leogrande

District Manager, Inland Empire

Renee Redcher

Purchasing Manager

Kimberly Wade

Manager, New Stores Team

Joy Swartzbaugh

Perishable Merchandising Manager



Teresa Athas

Eleanor Hong

Store Manager Westlake Village, CA


Carla Meza

Store Manager Coronado, CA

Chief Marketing Offcer Š Copyright 2016 Smart & Final Stores, Inc.

Rising staRs

tRaCy songstaD

Director, Business Process Re-engineering, spartannash Co. Songstad developed, led and implemented the One Way of Working program to identify, approve and document best practices in preparation for ISO certification. She and her Item Process Flow Improvement project team reduced numerous retail pricing issues, including weekly pre-ad issues, by 70 percent and the number of hotline issues by 47 percent. Songstad and her team inspired a company-wide retail store self-audit, and created a process to log, analyze and report on the audits, with the goal of a less than 2 percent error rate.

Deann WRight District Manager, spartannash Co.

Wright was responsible for the financial performance, associate relations and customer

service at all 14 stores in her district, representing $200 million in sales annually. Despite competition, deflation and other challenges, her district earned significantly more in EBIT dollars year over year.

Wright’s commitment to professional development, was crucial to the success of her district, which boasts Assistant Store Director Training Program graduates and has continuously achieved its customer satisfaction goals.


JennifeR gaMage

Director, Customer service and Channel Development Logistic services, starbucks Coffee Co. Gamage successfully led the restructuring of Starbucks’ customer service capabilities so as to move order management from broker to direct coverage. She implemented new processes and procedures to meet or exceed industry best practice standards, and developed and implemented Oracle system enhancements that led to productivity efficiencies in the OTC space. Her work was critical to Starbucks’ double-digit sales growth and record shares in the United States.

Connect with us to put a top performer in your healthy snacking lineup:

*Source: Nielsen Perishables Group FreshFacts®

Rising staRs

sue aRmstRong Bakery/Deli Consultant, supervalu

Representing the Champaign/Chicago marketing area, Armstrong provided guidance and expertise in new store openings and major remodels, as well as strategic operational analysis. She built a measurable business with Chicago-area Shop and Save Stores — a recently affiliated retail group — assisting with merchandising, productivity, schedule writing and product handling. After Armstrong consulted on best store bakery/deli implementation at the Salem, Ill., IGA, both departments increased their profitability.

KRistina Bagley

senior Financial analyst, supervalu/save-a-lot

Bagley participated in 46 successful Northwest store conversions as locations transitioned from Albertsons and Safeway to Haggen stores.

Responsible for the preparation and consolidation of the annual budget, Crites developed significant improvements to the annual budget process, and created a zero-based budget process for accounts that were previously developed based on trend history.

She led fresh department efforts in several locations, where — with four months less time to meet objectives than other fresh consultants — she exceeded her territory initiative goals by 14.55 percent. In the final quarter of this fiscal year, Bagley rose to the challenge of covering both the distribution center’s territories for fresh departments.


Rising Star Corporate Bakery Merchandiser

Congratulations to all of this year’s Top Women in Grocery recipients S S H O P FA



niCole CRites

sales and operations Fresh sales Consultant, supervalu

CORPORATE OFFICE 301 S. Warren St. Orwigsburg, PA 17961


DagmaR Diethelm

Director, technical services, supervalu Diethelm managed a multimillion-dollar budget and a team of direct and third-party professionals.

She mentored other financial analysts who made significant progress throughout the year.

She successfully led and completed a complex highbudget initiative on the technical side of a major systems upgrade of Supervalu’s HCM suite of applications, delivering the project on time and within scope and budget, without any significant business disruption.

Crites serves on the Save-ALot United Way and Volunteers in Action committees. She has been a Big Sister and mentor for the past four years and is a member of the MESA group at Save-A-Lot.

Diethelm identified and implemented the consolidation of the company’s disparate recruiting applications into a common platform, resulting in a multimillion-dollar cost savings for the company.

miChelle Downs Director, Finance, supervalu/shoppers Food & Pharmacy

ChRistine DwyeR

Director, Finance, supervalu/Cub Foods

Downs assumed full finance responsibilities for the Hornbacher’s retail division, becoming responsible for the financial management of two divisions of the company, including full fiscal 2017 financial planning and budgeting.

As part of an initiative to reduce expenses by $6 million, Dwyer led the development of new tools to identify areas of loss from shrink and provide better insight into labor forecasts to adjust and avoid unnecessary expense.

She developed a comprehensive daily sales planning and forecasting tool for the 54-store retail division, which improved sales-forecasting capabilities.

She developed additional analytics regarding marketarea performance that allowed merchants to target investment decisions for maximum performance.

Downs boosted the forecasting performance of multiple SG&A (selling, general and administrative) accounts for the current year’s results.

Dwyer leveraged analytical expertise to translate strategic initiatives into actionable financial plans that contribute directly to the organization’s success.

Entrust your brand with Distant Lands Coffee, the leading specialty coffee producer since 1 68 Nearly 50 years ago we began as farmers, growing specialty Arabica coffees with our hands and our hearts. As our business has evolved and grown over the years, we have learned that satisfying our customers comes from hard work, good service and providing the highest quality products available. As the world’s leading producer, we have helped them increase their overall coffee category profitability and build a loyal customer base.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Distant Lands Coffee • 800.758.4437 •

Rising staRs

MoniCa ELLiot

safety and food safety Manager, supervalu/ farm fresh In her role overseeing both occupational and customer safety, Elliot evinced a dedication and passion for food safety that set the tone for the entire Farm Fresh banner. She also played an active role in the community by participating in the Virginia Beach Mayor’s Action Challenge Committee and the Healthy Virginia Beach Steering Committee. A team player, she assisted the sister Shoppers banner during a vacancy in its safety and food safety manager role, offering training and general store assistance. Elliot helped build a corporate program on food safety certification that provided educational tools for store employees.

KRisty gRubbs

Performance Consultant, supervalu

Grubbs’ training programs helped independent customers drive sales growth, develop more efficient operations, and engage and train future store and business leaders. She implemented a training program that prepared Supervalu’s independent customers to operate the new Shoppers Value Foods format. Grubbs helped develop Supervalu University Day, spotlighting the company’s training and delivering 15 educational courses to more than 1,500 participants. She also led Supervalu’s sixmonth Department Manager Academy, which she helped develop.



JEanniE fuRLan

Director, senior Planning and Execution, supervalu

Flaten was responsible for the strategic direction and direct management of retail execution of category strategies, managing a $20 milliona-year program. She improved efficiencies and effectiveness by building, executing and managing best-in-class processes for retail execution that reduced planning time frames and leveraged outside CPG/food broker resources at store level. Flaten expanded her team to manage retail banner and regional store deployment managers and store setup coordinators to ensure flawless execution at store level that encompassed both company-wide and locally relevant requirements.

senior Manager, Category and Data strategy, supervalu Furlan led the development and advancement of Supervalu’s SVInsights data solution, providing CPGs and brokers access to internal POS data and metrics, and demonstrating how to leverage the tool to make data-driven merchandising decisions. Her category strategy and insights leadership resulted in the development of two category business plans, for bottled water and cookies/ crackers. Furlan led the cross-functional enterprise effort for the development of a beverage department strategy playbook, and the revamp of a category management business plan process.

LoRi Lannan

JEnnifER McDonaLD

Director, Employment Law, supervalu

Director, Merchandisingindependent business, supervalu

LauRiE gLauDE Human Resources Director, supervalu/farm fresh

Supporting a retail banner of 41 retail stores and about 4,000 employees, Glaude drove leadership accountability through training and skill building. In partnership with store directors, she designed a mentorship plan and action items for the 10 least engaged stores to boost morale and change the culture. Glaude created a process for consistent onboarding of new hires, rolling out a successful pilot program that included “train-the-trainer” programs to decentralize training for the deli and expedite the productivity of new employees.

ann nEff

finance Manager, supervalu/save-a-Lot

Lannan spearheaded and led a project overhauling several employment handbooks, designed to ensure that employees understand company policies and to help the company navigate complex situations.

McDonald played a lead role in establishing Supervalu as the primary supplier with a new independent retailer customer, providing support as it acquired new stores and converted them to a new format.

Neff was recently promoted to her current role for her quality work that included weekly sales and margin forecasts for the merchandising, procurement and pricing teams that allowed for quick, accurate results.

She led the company’s compliance efforts with new Fair Labor Standard Act regulations related to the proper classification status of employees across all segments of the business.

She helped solve store conversion problems and store ordering and in-stock challenges, and with her team, delivered training materials and system support for the retailer’s merchandising staff.

She developed a team that strengthens every day, converted and automated manual reports, and redeveloped forecasting models and improved the accuracy of the forecasting process.

Lannan developed and deployed extensive training on the Americans with Disabilities Act, which directly resulted in better handling of issues across the organization with concise, informative and engaging training.

McDonald’s team drove incremental sales growth of more than $140 million through such initiatives as seasonal candy programs and retailer-specific private label promotions.

Neff successfully took the lead for sales and margin planning for the annual budget, and willingly stepped in to assist with several marketing projects.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016

Rising staRs

taMMy nollen

senior account Manager, supervalu

Nollen achieved sales growth of 11 percent above projections across her territory and led the pilots of several key competitive strategies, including Supervalu’s new DSD program, the SVInsights Analytics tool, SVLinx and the implementation of strategic pricing projects.

Kathleen Reding

Category Manager, dairy/Frozen, supervalu/Cub Foods Partnering with Kemp’s Dairy, Reding created a Milk

Drive Donation program that was recognized by the National Dairy Council as a best-in-class promotion for retailers. In the frozen category, she relaunched Culinary Circle, a private label brand that saw

sales increases of nearly 50 percent in the past year. Reding provided leadership for the SV program, launching SVInsights, as well as taking ownership of communication of the SV team.

She led the National Expo project plan and execution in 2015, which included directing more than 20 functional areas like merchanding, with sales results improving by 50 percent. Nollen maximized and grew market share by coordinating activities for one customer’s new store, and a major remodel for another.

ChRistine Rees-ZeCha

human Resources director, supervalu/ independent Business Rees-Zecha successfully handled challenging labor issues in newly organized distribution centers; she and her team hired 220 employees in 15 weeks by advertising for nonproduction roles and attending a job fair at a local technical college. She developed a spreadsheet with weekly goals that factored in anticipated turnover, to achieve and retain the appropriate staffing level. Rees-Zecha creatively recruited drivers by networking at truck stops and advertising on an industry website.

to all the award winners and especially our own Mary Kay O’Connor

Mary Kay O’Connor, Vice President of Education, has played an instrumental role in delivering training, research, trends, and support to the dairy-deli-bakery industry for over 30 years. Thank you for your vision and dedication.

International Dairy·Deli·Bakery Association |

Rising staRs

miCHelle Reitan

senior Director, finance shared services, supervalu After Supervalu decided that the finance sharedservices function would be partially outsourced to a third party, Reitan assumed responsibility for the transition to the new vendor while building from scratch a new management team to provide transactional processing and information for finance and other teams.

sue saete

Saete, who maintains retail integrity in all stores and oversees competitive price checks, spearheaded Cub’s conversion to a new digital tag program, which resulted in cost savings and reduced labor, allowing associates to redirect time to customer service and active selling.

Her diligent approach included documenting every process for a planned, smooth transition of work and reporting.

During the midyear launch of the New Low Price Program, store category managers had unlimited availability to Saete and her team, leading to long hours but a successful implementation.

Reitan’s vast network helped build a management team of top-notch talent while driving toward high-quality deliverables.

Her presence at every remodel, conversion and grand opening mitigated the potential for pricing function mishaps.

KRistin WalbouRn

senior Regulatory and Compliance Counsel, supervalu

Schools and her merchandising team provided bakery and deli leadership for 875 independent retailers. In 2015, she developed and orchestrated the implementation of Supervalu’s cake/cupcake and prepared food programs into 100 percent of the target accounts. Cake/cupcake category sales improved 112 percent over the previous year, and prepared food category sales grew by 108 percent. She oversaw all areas of functional and strategic bakery and deli category management while directing the marketing team to create sales strategies, programs and events for stronger sales and profits.

bRooKe smitH

associate Category manager, Produce, topco associates

District manager, supervalu/Hornbacher’s Weisgram was project lead for two new stores, meeting with architects and construction crews, assembling store teams, communicating with vendors on equipment installations, and coordinating all in-store merchandising.

She co-led efforts to design and implement a food safety and defense governance team, now fully operational, to provide robust communication, best practice sharing and coordination among Supervalu’s business, legal and compliance departments.

She trained, coached and developed three new store directors and six new assistant store directors, filling many of the positions with internal candidates.


senior merchandiser, Deli and bakery, supervalu

JennifeR WeisgRam

Walbourn co-led strategic projects to ensure a best-inclass food safety program, and played a leading role in developing a Food Safety Modernization Act cross-functional team to ensure Supervalu’s compliance.

She played a key role in managing Supervalu’s enterprise risk management program.

bRooKe sCHools

Pricing/Retail integrity manager, supervalu/Cub foods

Her knowledge of the community and culture proved beneficial in her ability to advance strategic recommendations while she stayed abreast of the changing retail climate.

Smith secured a USDA government grant to help fund more than 50 local farmers in attaining the proper and legal food safety requirements to provide retailers with safe, locally sourced produce. She developed a relationship with the Wallace Center, which connects funders and investors with food systems research as part of championing GroupGAP food safety certification, thereby increasing opportunities for retailers to offer Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) produce. Smith met with growers to encourage GAP practices when growing produce.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016

letiCia tHomas Human Resources Director, supervalu/ shoppers food & Pharmacy

Thomas focused this year on leadership training and development by preparing successors so as to have talent ready to advance their careers within the banner. She led the effort to customize a leadership development program that focuses on key skill building to provide participants with development experience. Thomas centralized the hiring processes for storelevel employees, a big-change management effort to create consistency in hiring processes across the banner while alleviating some of the store directors’ recruiting work.

KRistin ZavislaK

associate Category manager, Center store, topco associates

Zavislak developed 70 new items in the past year, which helped lead to 14 percent growth in the frozen food categories, outpacing national average sales declines; the new items capitalized on emerging trends like premium pizza and breakfast. She regularly participated in cross-functional teams designed to improve overall functions at Topco while continuing to oversee the $90 million frozen food category. Zavislak joined teams to define a better process for new product rollouts, and also advised on the development of a packaging development project management workflow.

New Look, Same Face John Wm. Macy has combined simple, real ingredients with exceptional craftsmanship to make delicious snacks since 1976. Our family bakery celebrates forty years with a bold new look, but our focus on quality ingredients and craftsmanship hasn’t changed. With layers of real aged cheese and sourdough, baked twice to crunchy perfection, you will taste John’s enduring passion for good food and good times in every bite! Visit us at the Summer Fancy Food Show, Booth 1860.

Rising staRs

Kathleen Kennedy

director, Financial Planning and Reporting, tops Markets llC

JenniFeR Payne

Kennedy improved and accelerated Tops’ annual budgeting process, with the fiscal 2016 budget finalized a month earlier than the previous year’s, and the financial statement close process accelerated by a day.

Payne led the research implementation of an Applicant Tracking System that modernizes the applicant onboarding process to reach a more tech-savvy Millennial workforce and improve the applicant completion rate.

Her more collaborative approach to budget preparation included more involvement of leaders from all functional areas. She also played a key role in the company’s debt refinancing last year.

The new system also provides substantial cost savings of about $743,000 over a fiveyear contract.

Through enhanced analyses, Kennedy and her team improved the flow and transparency of financial information throughout the company.

Jody Beasley

Manager, Product development-Market Centre, Unified grocers Beasley successfully negotiated container volume when sourcing products from Asia, leading to increased profits for both Unified and its retailers, and is in the process of establishing an importing training session for other Market Centre business units. She grew the seasonal program from nearly $5.8 million in 2011 to a projected $16.4 million in 2016 by tenaciously ensuring retailers have the correct products for their store formats. Her expertise was also instrumental in gaining Raley’s and Save Mart’s business; Raley’s seasonal business grew from $2.6 million in 2015 to a projected $6.5 million in 2016.


taBitha RUsK

Manager, talent Management and engagement, tops Markets llC

She worked directly with the executive committee to refine the company’s vision and mission, and to define companylevel strategic objectives, as well as playing an active role in restructuring the merchandising function and administration of the employee talent assessment.

human Resources Manager, tops Markets llC

Rusk implemented a hearthealth program, which included providing a heart-healthy food option at every meal in the company cafeteria, installing a blood pressure machine and publishing a weekly heart-healthy recipe. She added the human resources functions of 12 retail stores to her existing warehouse and transportation responsibilities and implemented an online portal for management staff to easily access company information. Due to Rusk’s proper management and recordkeeping, 100 percent of human rights, EEOC and Department of Labor complaints were dismissed, and intermittent Family and Medical Leave Act use was reduced by 30 percent.

MaRia gUido

stePhanie steineR

executive director, talent Management, Unified grocers Guido realigned the human relations solutions for a more strategic focus, and evolved the learning and development strategy from a reactive to a proactive approach by revising the external nominations strategy. She partnered with a crossfunctional team of human resources and business unit leadership to identify and onboard an unprecedented number of employees within a short amount of time. Guido implemented two incentive plans for grocery/ frozen/deli and Market Centre procurement teams, which included redefining and clarifying key performance success measurements for associates.

director, sales-Market Centre, Unified grocers Steiner, who oversees the $144 million natural division, including the Natural Directions brand, grew gross sales of Natural Directions by nearly 40 percent in one fiscal year. She reinvented Natural Directions’ promotional calendar to reinforce the value of the brand’s low cost of goods. This included increased display support while keeping the brand competitive and investing in new products. Steiner created a comprehensive presentation for the retail leadership and Market Centre teams, which was cited by decision-makers as a reason that they chose Market Centre as their supplier.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016

deBBie allen assistant treasurer, Unified grocers

Allen, who oversees Unified Grocers’ $370 million revolving credit facility, played a key role in Unified’s benefits committee bulk lump-sum buyout plan, which was estimated to save about $2.5 million. She also provided financial analysis for key strategic initiatives. She developed an enhanced cash forecasting model to more accurately predict the company’s resources and use of cash that has enabled the company to better manage and lower its interest expense. Her leadership skills were on display when she promoted a 20year employee and created an opportunity for the employee to use newly acquired knowledge and advance her career.

elaine Cole director, deli and Prepared Foods, Weis Markets

Cole oversaw the introduction of a new fresh pre-sliced program that grossed more than $3.5 million by the end of the fiscal year, and is expected to more than double by the end of 2016. She implemented a hotsandwich-to-go program, featuring breakfast, chicken and fresh-fried fish sandwiches, along with popcorn chicken. Cole received Weis’ inaugural Robert F. Weis Award for Achievement for her outstanding leadership and work to increase sales in the deli and prepared food departments. She led her team to add and change menus seasonally and developed a plan to introduce a new branding program.

Rising staRs

Wendy sokoL district Manager, Weis Markets

Holding several roles for the past 18 months led to Sokol’s promotion to district manager in January 2016. Overseeing 14 stores, she led her team to achieve financial sales goals and profitability. She helped one store reduce shrink and increase sales and profitability; the programs she implemented were expanded into other stores. As regional operations specialist, Sokol assisted store managers in using merchandising to increase sales and profits, as well as serving as a liaison between the vendors and Weis operations teams to improve displays and store resets.

Rising ng staRs Of this year’s 385 Top Women in Grocery, there are 209 Rising Stars representing 41 companies located across the United States. Rising Stars represent the highest number of honorees, and include such titles as director and manager.

Beth staRk

Manager, Lifestyle initiatives, Weis Markets Promoted to her current role after nearly six years as Weis’

healthy living coordinator, Stark helped launch a pilot nutrition education shelf-tag program.

tion, Stark appeared regularly in how-to cooking videos, newscasts and a monthly local radio show.

As well as editing copy and developing healthy recipes and meal solutions for Weis’ Healthy Bites complimentary in-store publica-

She helped recruit and hire a new dietitian with responsibilities at both the corporate and store levels.

Store ManagerS

PatriCia deL gUeriCio

Store #6335, Whitehall, Pa., ahold USa/giant Carlisle

Store #6466, altoona, Pa., ahold USa/ giant Carlisle

Evans turned an “opportunity” store into a profitable one, with 4.79 percent growth over the prior year, by focusing on customer support and improving “bench strength” through employee training and coaching.

By boosting morale, meeting customers’ needs, and ensuring employees worked efficiently and appropriately to their skill sets, Evans drove a 8.13 percent sales increase.

She drove fresh sales more than 24 percent versus the previous year by implementing creative merchandising and associate training.

An active member of Ahold USA’s Women Adding Value and Excellence resource group, Evans is currently pursuing a business degree, with a minor in human resources. She is a member of the Frederick Optimist Club and promotes an active interest in good government and civic affairs to the area’s youth.

She received Better Neighbor recognition from the executive board for her work to support the A+ School Rewards, Children’s Miracle Network, Bag Hunger, United Way and Support Our Troops programs. Evans’ store successfully participated in such major corporate initiatives as Project Thunder to increase savings, service and selection.


Cindie JoneS

SUe KUrtaPavLoviC

Store #0146, Prince Frederick, Md., ahold USa/ giant Landover Jones drove positive sales growth of 3.3 percent year to date while a pricing strategy was rolling out throughout the organization. Her store was the first to introduce Bakery of the Future in Giant Landover, working closely with a sales specialist and a bakery manager on training and merchandising; the initiative increased sales more than 20 percent, improved gross profit over budget and reduced shrink. Jones improved associate engagement 11 percent from last year by taking the time to listen and understand her team; she also saw positive results on profit and loss and improved customer experience.

Store #0132, Bethesda, Md., ahold USa/ giant Landover

Del Guericio implemented and executed the district mentoring circle of bimonthly meetings to combine learning and fun to extend the skills of female management, receiving Giant’s 2015 Diversity & Inclusion Award and 2015 District Human Resources Award. She also planned and acted as MC for the 2015 Best Bagger Competition.

Del Guericio introduced a fresh shrink initiative that improved results by 0.62 percent over budget and 1.38 percent ahead of the previous year.

Wendy evanS

adrienne evanS

Store #0823, Sparta, n.J., ahold USa/Stop & Shop new york Metro Kurta-Pavlovic managed the top store in contributions to the district bottom line: 4.62 percent positive identical-store sales in 2015 and tracking for 7.58 percent sales IDs in 2016. Her customer count was up 4.47 percent, and she upped the store’s customer-tracking score in cashier friendliness by four points in one year. Associate development at her store was up 25 percent from year ago, and communication was up 9 percent; the store carried a 7.37 Plus One rating, with Own Brand shares for 2015 of 39.72 percent. Kurta-Pavlovic was the first Stop & Shop associate to be invited into a year-long New Jersey Food Council leadership program, which she completed last year.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016

Her management improved shrink by 33 basis points, earning her the Sales Award and the Process Award for her district.

MaUreen McLeLLan

Store #0455, Winchester, Mass., ahold USa/ Stop & Shop new england

McLellan achieved positive sales and strong EBITDA, surpassing her store’s nonperishable shrink goal amid an onslaught of new competition. By working closely with store associates to develop an orchestrated strategic plan to combat potential sales erosion and increase its customer base, McLellan solidified her store’s stance as “Winchester’s Stop & Shop” via extensive training, excellent service and high-profile community involvement. McLellan received the Winchester Peace & Social Justice award in February 2016.

Store ManagerS

Sherry Miller Store #6445, hatfield, Pa., ahold USa/ giant Carlisle

Miller moved to a new store in late 2015 to improve performance and boost associate morale; her previous store saw sales increases of up to 10 percent versus the prior year. Her store’s engagement scores increased by six points and budget performance rose from the prior year. Miller held regular meetings with associates to discuss sales and strategies for reducing shrink and optimizing merchandising; held employees accountable through consistency, communication and mutual respect; and increased morale with fun events and celebrations of goals met.

Wanda reed Store #0351, Salisbury, Md., ahold USa/ giant landover

Leading a team of 140 associates, Reed took her store to the top position in her division for price image among shoppers, earning plaudits from leadership for exceptional morale and store conditions. She took pride in helping others, from mentoring assistants to sharing experiences and giving honest and constructive feedback. Reed’s involvement with her store’s community included raising funds for the local elementary school and veterans group, partnering on food drives, placing special-needs adults in the workplace, and encouraging her team to volunteer.

Mary rePaSS Store #0348, Clarksville, Md., ahold USa/ giant landover

Repass’ store launched several Giant initiatives, including price cuts, product launches and new technology. She gained team support by involving associates and getting their feedback, leading to her store’s selection as the pilot for Giant’s Store of the Future. Her store held a Thanksgiving pie drive for Meals on Wheels, helped the 4H Youth Club by purchasing a prize-winning steer and held other events such as Photos with Santa. A role model for her district, Respass was always available to associates for direction and advice.

regina SUe SWeeney

Store #8101, Woodbury n.y., ahold USa/Stop & Shop new york Metro

Despite undergoing a major remodel last year, Sweeney’s store exceeded all sales goals and had record-breaking sales weeks. Through her membership in the local chamber of commerce, she kept her store involved in many community activities. Sweeney received several customer service and community service awards, as well as Stop & Shop’s Triple Winner Best of the Best award; she also served as the green captain for her district and encouraged all members of her team to be better neighbors.

Store ManagerS

Kathy Sweigert Store #6012, altoona, Pa., ahold USa/giant Carlisle

geralyn SzCzUrKo

Store #0497, westborough, Mass., ahold USa/Stop & Shop new england

ilhaM tarboUz

Store #0743, arlington, Va., ahold USa/giant landover

Through teamwork and engaging associates, Sweigert’s store achieved an 8 percent sales increase, along with record sales in pharmacy and natural and organics.

After her promotion from sales specialist, Szczurko dramatically improved employee morale, resulting in improved attendance, less turnover and reduced shrink.

Tarbouz led her store to step up its community involvement, including food drives and recycling programs, boosting the results each time.

Her store boosted Own Brand penetration, improved nonperishable shrink, increased EBIT distribution and implemented an internal food safety audit program that lifted the store’s year-to-date food safety score.

She pushed her team to think outside the box for merchandising displays, resulting in double-digit identical-store sales in natural foods and newstore lifetime sales records in the natural food category.

Leading by example with high standards and expectations, she identified qualified associates to train, coach and develop toward promotions.

Sweigert achieved an optimal work-life balance by empowering her team to be their best while being an involved mother of three young children.

Dedicated to team development, Szczurko promoted several associates to leadership roles in the industry and mentored others on their way to promotions.

Tarbouz emphasized associate recognition, selecting winners at department manager meetings and honoring them with certificates and pins at a recognition breakfast.

MiChelle witCher

Store #0639, Stratford, Conn., ahold USa/Stop & Shop new york Metro A firm believer in associate development, Witcher led her store to a very successful year that included a 27 percent reduction in nonperishable shrink and more than 1 percent perishable shrink while all categories saw 2 percent to 9 percent improvement. She mentored many employees and drove the assistant manager training program, doubling its completion rate in 2015. The associate development score improved to 72 percent in 2015 from 52 percent. Witcher was recognized by Stop & Shop for bottom-line profit and capital efficiency.




Visit us at the Health & Lifestyle Zone at FMI Connect in Chicago or contact your Unilever rep today to learn about our Agents of Change initiative.

©2016 Unilever XTM16001

stORe ManageRs

ViCkie BaBst

store Director, store #7715, Philadelphia, albertsons Cos./ acme Markets A 30-year Acme employee, Babst surpassed every financial goal set for her store, including sales, EBITDA and identical-store sales rate. Her passion for customer service and staff training was solidified when her store finished 2015 among the best in the company in customer satisfaction ratings. Babst coordinates the annual WMMR Camp Out for Hunger event at Thanksgiving and the Brent Celek Foundation for Children, and she actively supports, and has a close affiliation with, the Philadelphia Police Department.

Maha elDaBaJa

ClaRissa heBeRt

store Director, store #2590, Carrollton, texas, albertsons Cos./ tom thumb Considering her associates’ development and success one of her greatest accomlishments, Eldabaja invested time and effort in each associate to help them grow personally and professionally. Her team worked to minimize the impact of a competing grocer, leading her store to weekly sales increases and exceeding the financial plan for the year. A leader in the company’s Women’s Network Group, Eldabaja helped to train and mentor employees to attain higher positions.

store Director, store #4163, arlington, texas, albertsons Cos.

Hebert oversaw a six-month remodel, completed on time and on budget, that drove average weekly customer count from 9,900 to 12,000, a double-digit increase in sales, an average ticket increase of $3 and a five-point lift in customer satisfaction. The remodel process “allowed me the opportunity to acquire new leadership skills that I am using in becoming a better leader and employee,” she asserts. Hebert is a member of the Southern Division Store Director Council, which inputs decisions for her district of 17 stores and helps coordinate the district newsletter.

Misty Rains

Congrats Amanda

store Director, store #3088, silvis, ill., albertsons Cos./ Jewel-Osco Rains continuously raised the bar in terms of customer service, boosting district and division scores while simultaneously increasing sales and lowering the on-hand inventory within her store. During a time of center store refresh and tough competition, she kept her store at a consistent “8” by thinking outside the box in regard to staffing and maintenance. Rains’ endless energy and strong leadership skills made her a valued managementlevel employee as well as an excellent mentor for assistant directors and trainees. She also received the Customer Service Index trophy for the fourth quarter of 2015.


| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016

kathleen (kathy) MaWn

store Director, star Market #7576, Boston, albertsons Cos./ shaw’s and star Market Mawn successfully managed two high-volume Boston stores: Allston and Fenway. She led the Allston team to achieve an above-goal EBITD and, despite a competitive retailer opening across the street, guided the Fenway Star Market to achieve substantial year-over-year results. She was nominated to the Store Directors Council, chaired by the president of Shaw’s and Star Market. Mawn has received multiple Shaw’s and Star Market awards for attaining and exceeding exceptional results on the company’s customer satisfaction index model.

CaRla BaliDO

assistant Commissary Officer, Fairchild air Force Base Commissary, Wash., Defense Commissary agency (DeCa) Balido efficiently remodeled the warehouse layout by strategically rearranging contractor-stocked items and segregating vendor items to the side. When a windstorm knocked out power, she ensured that customers completed their purchases and exited the darkened building safely, and then directed the removal of chilled and frozen product into storage rooms, thereby reducing both physical and fiscal losses. Balido boosted morale by involving employees in teambuilding projects such as Red Shirt Friday in support of the troops.

Store ManagerS

eSter garCia

Fort Sam houston Commissary, texas, Defense Commissary agency (DeCa) Honored by many local organizations for her commitment and involvement, Garcia actively participated in such community functions as outreach and volunteer services for a food bank, and military-affiliated events in collaboration with sales initiatives. To support her fellow stores, she assisted in numerous store resets and VIP visits, as well as training and mentoring other managers and employees. She demonstrated a high degree of originality and creativity in executing unique ideas for store events and award-winning displays.

Shari WorkMan Store #2196, Morrisville, n.C., Delhaize america/ Food Lion

A new mom, Workman nevertheless embraced the challenge of operating a store in Food Lion’s first strategy market, where all locations received extensive capital investments, strategic training and new customerdriven initiatives to create a clean, safe environment for customers. She grew sales against significant competition, losing no associates to any of the four rivals that opened stores near hers. Workman was selected out of 162 store managers to run one of three Plus stores, which offer additional features, and mentored two new store managers.

Cynthia hernanDez

assistant Commissary officer, naval Base San Diego Commissary, Defense Commissary agency (DeCa) Thanks in large part to Hernandez’s leadership and motivation, the commissary earned more than $81 million in sales. A veteran commissary manager of 35 years’ standing, she still demonstrated innovation by reaching out to single sailors through an event bringing hundreds of them to the store to learn about the commissary benefit during a fun, informative day. Hernandez achieved successful results on a formal inventory and kept the commissary’s sales on track despite military downsizing.

CheryL CoLLinS

Store #246, ocean City, Md., Delhaize america/ Food Lion

As a result of Collins’ commitment to computer-assisted ordering execution across the store, she drove significant top-line sales growth of 4.9 percent and improved shrink performance. Her involvement with the community and local chamber of commerce enabled her to prepare properly for the increased business brought in by weekly special events on the oceanfront. Collins excelled in seasonally relevant merchandising to grow the top line and meet the needs of a highly diverse summer clientele.

kiM roLLinS Store #1371, Mint hill, n.C., Delhaize america/ Food Lion

Rollins led her store through the store openings of two competing operators in one calendar year, delivering positive same-store sales. The mother of a grown son who works as a Food Lion produce manager, Rollins cross-trained and developed associates consistently and always had employees ready for promotion, helping the region fill critical positions. She received the most votes by far from her peers to win the most recent Store Manager of the Year award in her division.

Megan gray

Store Leader, Store #72, Pittsburgh, giant eagle inc./ Market District Gray pioneered the implementation of an automatic in-store replenishment system for the grocery department, training the entire grocery team on the new process. She improved her store’s customer service scores by 7 percent. Skillfully managing the budget to produce savings in both payroll and supplies, Gray improved total store shrink ratios while growing sales by $8 million, increasing gross dollars by $3 million and reducing shrink by more than $200,000. Gray also helped develop a Food Safety Walk, which rolled out to 120 stores and improved food safety scores.

June 2016 | |


Store ManagerS

gaiL HeartLey

island Foods great Valu, chincoteague, Va., great Valu Leading her store with the singular objective of sustainable, profitable growth, Heartley held to her results-driven mantra: “That which can be measured is worth doing.” She directed the rebranding and reformulation of a failed location, whose heavy seasonal business increased 400 percent. The store returned to profitability as customer count, basket size and sales per transaction continued to grow. Heartley’s exceptional abilities to quickly determine innovative, on-demand solutions underscored her skills of continuous improvement in sales, customer satisfaction and operating results.

Dorrie Decker

Store Director, council Bluffs #2, council Bluffs, iowa, Hy-Vee Decker met an onslaught of new competition in her market head-on and with a positive attitude. Collaborating exceptionally well with department heads on sales goals and promotions, she challenged her team to deliver the same high expectations she had of herself, as evidenced by the store’s exceptional results. Department managers were tasked with getting one more item into customers’ baskets, resulting in consistent sales increases. Decker expanded her store’s social media reach by challenging her team to find one event each month to build a promotion on, in one case engaging more than 12,000 Facebook users.


courtney BroBSt

ina caVin

Store Director, Mason city #1, Mason city, iowa, Hy-Vee

Store Director, Lenexa, kan., Hy-Vee Brobst galvanized her store team’s performance, which outpaced the market in sales and profits because of the relationships she fostered with employees and customers alike. She expanded the Coffee with Cops program to include a KoolAid with Cops event for children. Also responsible for the operations of her store’s newly opened fuel station, she produced exceptional sales results and profit growth. Brobst promoted, and subsequently trained, an assistant manager to lead the kitchen department; empowering the associate helped the kitchen evolve from a struggling operation into a consistently high-performing sales and profit contributor.

Moving to a store in a larger market, Cavin led her new team to focus on an impeccable customer experience by setting high standards, well-defined expectations and lead-by-example merchandising excellence, all of which enabled her store to achieve record net profits. Under her leadership, her store has expanded its food waste diversion efforts. Cavin expanded the store’s Veterans Day breakfast, the most recent of which served free breakfasts to 622 vets, a number that ranks in the top 15 percent of the company. She also serves the community as a board member of the Mason City Chamber of Commerce.

LiSa BejMowicz

kiM Borror

Store #669, casa grande, ariz., the kroger co./ Fry’s Marketplace Under Bejmowicz’s leadership, the team at store #669 — one of Fry’s highestvolume Marketplace locations in the division — met/ exceeded customer expectations every day. She was No. 1 in customer service for her zone, and her store often held the top spot in Friendly & Fresh conditions. Under her leadership, the store also had no accidents in 2015. Bejmowicz built strong relationships with associates and customers: greeting and meeting shoppers, engaging her team to provide a highly satisfying customer experience, holding daily associate huddles, and mentoring and recognizing her team.

Store #532, Pickerington, ohio, the kroger co. Borror inspired the best work from her associates, 12 of whom were promoted to store department head or lead positions under her mentorship in 2015; she also trained her younger associates on ways to “connect” to customers in new ways. Compared with last year, her store’s year-to-date operating profit growth was 1.2 percent, year-to-date net sales growth was 8.4 percent, and customer count increased by 5.3 percent. In 2015, Borror led her team to achieve the highest and most consistent Customer Acknowledgement score (more than 90.9 percent) each period in the Columbus division.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016

kiM coLe

Store Director, west Des Moines #2, west Des Moines, iowa, Hy-Vee Cole’s steady, persistent leadership was in evidence during a major remodel of her store, which continued to perform well throughout the project’s duration. When her store was chosen as one of two for the test launch of Hy-Vee Aisles Online, Cole guided her team through an intricate groundfloor process that yielded one of the largest volumes of online customers in all of Iowa. Serving as an exemplar for other store directors to model tailored customer service to specific local customer needs, Cole also maintained her store’s exceptional performance when a new competitor opened nearby.

MicHeLLe Burton

Store #622, Mesa, ariz., the kroger co./ Fry’s Marketplace Burton’s store reached $55 million in sales, with 2015 marking the first year that the location become a milliondollar store that exceeded sales, shrink and labor goals. In 2015, the store had an operating profit of $2.5 million. At the same time, she helped increase weekly customer count and strengthened relationships with associates to best execute merchandising and operation standards. The customer count rose nearly 5 percent to 33,500 customers per week. Burton received an award for 25 years of service in 2015, and actively volunteered in the community.

Store ManagerS

rhonDa ConWay

Store #83, Denver, the Kroger Co./ King Soopers City Market

Conway finished a twoyear run as store manager of an Aurora, Colo., location, where her team outperformed their goals in sales, EBITDA and shrink. The team aslo outperformed in labor scheduling and overtime control.

Donna Dunn Store #458, Dalton, ga., the Kroger Co.

Dunn led her high-performing store team to the highest

customer satisfaction rating in a district of 23 stores, as well as the highest rating on the company’s Associates Insights Survey, and in a highly competitive market, she grew her store sales by 5 percent. She was a subject-matter

expert in the training for My E-Schedule, an online electronic schedule. Dunn’s store was consistently among the top three stores for all fundraisers within the division of 186 stores.

In July 2015, she was tapped to manage a highvolume Denver location with diverse customer and associate populations that houses a center for online ordering and home delivery services. Conway guided the African American Associate Resource Group, which she co-chairs, spearheading its involvement with several outreach activities.

KriSti enSlinger

Store #33, Wichita, Kan., the Kroger Co./ Dillons During a challenging and extensive 11-month expansion, Enslinger led her team to achieve an Associate Engagement score of 84 percent and positive sales growth that surpassed the sales goal by $200,000. In period 12, the store achieved positive sales growth of 6.28 percent, and in period 13, 2.84 percent, with nearly all departments reportiing positive sales growth. Enslinger kept her associates up to date on all of the details of the remodel through constant huddles and a communication board to ensure that staffers could communicate the changes to customers.

The World Standard For Destratification

Store ManagerS

PortIa froSt

aManda gawron

aManda glatzer

After being promoted to store manager, Frost increased her store’s weekly sales by 5 percent in the second half of the year. She also reduced overtime by improving training and increasing the number of associates on the stocking crew.

Gawron was assigned as a training store director at her location, one of the company’s management training stores, where she successfully instructed and promoted eight management development trainees, and promoted nine department manager trainees.

Glatzer focused on mentoring to help develop associates’ leadership skills; she groomed future managers via the Columbus division’s management training program.

She created a Date Check program to keep fresh product available, which decreased district shrink; the successful program rolled out to more than 100 stores.

She reversed a downward trend and led a positive sales trend of 4.5 percent on average, and bolstered customer service to mark a 105 percent increase in compliments in 2015.

Store #456, bartlett, tenn., the Kroger Co.

Frost recruited several Kroger volunteers for a Faith in Action City Cleanup Day in Memphis to help beautify streets and neighborhoods.

Courtney McClure

Store #J-824, lafayette, Ind., the Kroger Co./ Pay less McClure used her background in teaching to successfully train new assistant managers and other associates in her district’s department manager development program. Her success was due to her willingness to adjust her training processes to how different associates learn. Her store achieved the highest operating profit in its district, outperforming her wage goal by more than 2 percent, and met its shrink goal of 14 basis points. McClure’s store was also in the district’s top five for front end metrics, including speed of checkout and cash loss.


Store #30, Charlotte, n.C., the Kroger Co./ harris teeter

Gawron received Harris Teeter’s Distinguished Store Director Award last year.

Store #562, wheeling, w.Va., the Kroger Co.

She and her team were able to exceed 2014 sales by 4.33 percent; additionally, they earned fifth place in their division in EBITDA. She serves on the board of directors for the Wheeling, W.Va., House of the Carpenter food pantry, and is community involvement pillar co-chair for the Columbus division Women’s EDGE resource group.

Karla Moffet

Pantea naghIbI

Store #335, oxnard, Calif., the Kroger Co./ food 4 less

Store #858, north Seattle, the Kroger Co./QfC

Moffet oversaw the successful opening of a replacement store, which was a new design for Food 4 Less, and helped recruit 100 new associates from the community by visiting schools, churches and community centers.

Naghibi led her store to achieve a 6 percent sales increase, along with higher profitability, in 2015. She kept her team informed on business results and celebrated individual and store successes through daily huddles.

Her store was one of the top sellers in the district, with average weekly sales of $860,000, an increase of $300,000 from the old location. Additionally, the location was first in the division for sushi sales, and offered innovative bulk nutrition and organic departments.

In just one example of her commitment to the community, she and her store florists delivered flowers to their neighborhood nursing home on both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, as well as making and delivering wreaths to the cemetery for Memorial Day.

Involved in Kroger’s Women’s EDGE resource group, Moffet acted as a role model and mentor to others.

Naghibi won a company scholarship for pre-paid tuition to earn her Retail Management Certificate, in addition to a college degree.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016

rena JohnSton

Store #738, Spring, texas, the Kroger Co.

Johnston helped achieve 12.54 percent sales growth throughout a year-long $12 million expansion/remodel at her store. Strongly committed to growing future leaders for Kroger, she identified, coached and developed two department heads for the retailer’s management training program. She successfully completed her division’s High Volume Store Leader program, and was also chosen as one of only five store managers in the Houston and Dallas divisions to participate in the first Kroger Leadership Academy.

MarISa robertS Store #305, South Victorville, Calif., the Kroger Co./ food 4 less

Roberts was named the 2015 OSAT (overall customer satisfaction) champion for her district, where she actively engaged store teams to raise customer service awareness. The Divisional Cultural Council co-chair in her district, she was appointed copresident of the Ralphs/Food 4 Less Women’s EDGE (Engage, Develop, Growth and Empower) resource group. After Roberts transferrred to Victorville, the store achieved one of the highest scores on acustomer satisfaction survey : 72 percent, six points higher than the division average.

Store ManagerS

Sharon roDriguez

Store #398, alexandria, Va., the Kroger Co./ harris teeter Rodriguez oversaw the successful opening of a brand-new store; with her team’s help, she achieved exceptional financial goals, ending the year more than $7.86 million over budget. Due to her creation of a natural training environment, her location was selected to operate as a training store within six months of its opening. She’s currently working to complete the Dale Carnegie Leadership program, as well as SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) certification.

Dawn Vieth Store #6415, waukesha, wis., the Kroger Co./ Pick ‘n Save

hazelon SMith

Smith led her store to a 4 percent sales lift, and a 73 percent overall customer satisfaction score, thanks to her leadership skills and focus on high-performing teams. She promoted several associates to leadership roles, started a support group for other female store managers, organized financial seminars for her team, and was involved in the Know Women Atlanta Division organization, which identifes and develops highpotential leaders. Smith faced numerous challenges, including an armed robbery, but led with confidence and passion.

Steinberger’s store turned in the highest sales volume in her district, including a 5.64 percent lift in identicalstore sales, despite being located near newer, larger supermarkets. As she’s known for her eyeappealing displays, her store was often chosen as a “showand-tell” store for the district. Steinberger beat her shrink goal of 2.09 percent, coming in at 2.01 percent for 2015. One key to her success was holding weekly board meetings at which she heard from her department leaders, who tracked results and planned how to tackle underperforming metrics.

MeliSSa whaley

Store #588, thompson’s Station, tenn., the Kroger Co./ Kroger Marketplace Vinnedge developed future leaders among her store staff, including 15 associates who were promoted; three of these associates are female and now hold leadership positions in the company. The location was used as a division training store to develop managers.

She personally mentored and promoted a floral manager, pricing manager, leadership candidate, service operations manager and assistant store manager.

Under her guidance, the store experienced a 10.71 percent sales increase, achieving two record sales weeks — outstanding considering the tough competition in the surrounding area — and its overall customer satisfaction score led the district.


Store #J-837, warsaw, ind., the Kroger Co.

renée VinneDge

A standout manager in the company, Vieth exceeded budgeted sales by $640,000; her store saw a perishable sales increase of 124 basis points in 2015 (all perishable departments were positive to budget by $420,000) and increased gross profit by $180,000.

Vieth found creative ways to make a difference in the local community, including free produce samples for kids and partnerships with area farmers.

angie SteinBerger

Store #488, atlanta, the Kroger Co.

Vinnedge sent personal handwritten notes to thank her first 150 online customers.

Store #589, Brentwood, tenn., the Kroger Co.

While going through a major remodel, Whaley’s store achieved a 9 percent sales increase. The store also achieved an operating profit of 13 percent, the highest in the Nashville division. She was recognized as a high-potential store manager within her division and district. Her ability in merchandising and shrink management led to a sales increase of 15 percent in 2015, with weekly sales of $800,000. Whaley is the community co-chair of Kroger’s Women’s EDGE leadership team and she was recognized as one of the division and district’s highpotential store managers.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016

winDy VargaS

Store #642, north little rock, ark., the Kroger Co. Vargas rebuilt her store in a competitive market by training and developing 146 associates, mentoring department heads, slashing shrink, decreasing customer wait times, and creating a 10 percent sales increase. She earned the “district operator of the period” for six consecutive periods in measurements of labor usage, overtime hours, store accidents, shrink and cashier effectiveness. Vargas was appointed by the division to roll out the Kronos biometric time management system, assisting 20 stores to enroll all associates and providing additional support after training.

heather wheatley

Store #717, elizabethtown, Ky., the Kroger Co. After undergoing a major remodel in 2015, Wheatley’s store turned in record sales. Almost all department sales were up by double digits after the remodel, which added a Starbucks that averaged about $10,000 in sales. The store was the second in the Louisville division to roll out the ClickList service, which on the first day brought in 41 orders, tying a company record. It was the first location to have more than 100 orders in one day. Both of Wheatley’s parents worked in grocery stores and taught her the value of treating co-workers with humility and respect.

Store ManagerS

Kathy WilKS

rebeCCa beKetiC

Store #444, grand Junction, Colo., the Kroger Co./ King Soopers City Market

SanDra MoloSKy

Store Director, Store #239, oswego, ill., Meijer

Wilks closely mentored her associates and made sure they received the support and training they needed to reach their full potential. She had faith in the ability of her team and built their belief in themselves.

Beketic focused on creating and empowering a competitive team, achieving not only record sales, but also record profit. Sales increased 15.2 percent over the past three years and shrink was reduced by 230 basis points in the past year.

She and her team increased their store’s overall satisfaction score by 7.7 percent, and the store’s mystery shopper scores also improved significantly, while sales increased by 7 percent.

She was instrumental in developing talent from within: At store level, she developed and promoted seven team leaders into upper-leadership roles. Beketic is currently mentoring 35 associates.

Thanks to Wilks’ continued success, she was chosen to manage a brand-new store in Grand Junction, Colo.

Frequently appointed by senior leadership to participate in focus groups, she took the lead to drive several company initiatives in her region.

Store Director, Store #244, Davison, Mich., Meijer A talent development program, 90 Days and Beyond, that Molosky developed with another director rolled out to the region, and then across the entire organization. The program seeks out talent and promotion teams from within, with a curriculum designed to develop specific competencies. Her store completed 365 days without a lost-time accident; won an internal Triple Crown Award for success in sales, direct contributions and labor goals; and was tops in mystery shop performance. Molosky served on the board of the local United Way and volunteered at the Eastern Michigan Food Bank.

Cynthia DeCouto

Store team leader, Store #339, Modesto, Calif., raley’s A leader in innovative team building and engagement within her store, Decouto presented on the vision for Raley’s at a company-wide meeting. She went back to school to earn her Retail Management Certificate. Decouto followed through on her belief in the community through several endeavors, teaming with a local apartment complex to facilitate a barbecue for the tenants on National Night Out, and helping to sponsor a Letters to Santa fundraiser at her store to suppor local charities.




C A L L 816 813 3 3 3 7 | W W W . F O R T E P R O D U CTS O L U T I O N S . CO M

BOOTH #3310 JUNE 21-23 | CHICAGO, IL.


Store ManagerS

CarLa DieffenBaCh

Store team Leader, Store #328, Ukiah, Calif., raley’s Dieffenbach bolstered sales, increased profits and

led team-building efforts at her store. Often working all-night shifts, she and her team helped their community by providing meals to firefighters dealing with the devas-

tating forest fires in the area. Dieffenbach’s commitment to the community was further exemplified by her involvement with many local organizations, including the high school in Ukiah.

Digital transformation made simple

Donna MenDeS

Store team Leader, Store #306, Stockton, Calif., raley’s Mendes’ location was one of the company’s top stores in just about every metric within the district, and she helped other locations with merchandising products and opportunities. She motivated her team members by starting a monthly “throwdown” food challenge in which employees brought in a dish for a taste test and the winner recieved a gift card, and also initiated a Raley’s running club to run or walk the neighborhood around the store. Mendes helped support a 5K run, a local pumpkin fair, a Toys for Tots drive and partnerships with local schools. as well as suppporting several in-store events.

A complete digital advertising sign solution, from permitting to post-ad analytics, for multi-unit grocery retailers with centralized marketing.

ev locit




5757 E. Cork St., Kalamazoo, MI 49048

Marketed exclusively by:

BetSy Perez

Store team Leader, Store #213, grass Valley, Calif., raley’s

The leader at one of the company’s top-volume stores, Perez increased sales and profitability in an area with little to no population growth and continued competitive pressures. She engaged her team in innovative ways, including team events like a game of “Family Feud,” in which employees were divided into teams and answered questions based on the store’s business metrics, product knowledge, and vision and values. Perez created an outdoor barbecue venue with lunch offerings for customers to enjoy there or take home.

Store ManagerS

LeSLie SoLorzano

Store team Leader, Store #522, gold river, Calif., raley’s/bel air Markets

Mary-Megan DePaSquaLe

assistant Store Director, Store #54, bel air, Md., redner’s warehouse Markets

Solorzano encouraged creativity and a passion for topnotch work among her staff, empowering team members to take reasonable risks and make mistakes.

DePasquale played a pivotal role in managing her store’s community outreach programs, which more than doubled and led to higher customer counts.

She improved her store’s performance and profitability through such efforts as instore events and an enhanced presence with local schools, recreational sports and community clubs.

Under her leadership, the store achieved 20 percent sales growth in the past year, due in large part to her ability to sell nontraditional items.

Solorzano led the store’s customer service performance to the top position in the company by creating a fun and inspiring team focused on a common vision.

Joy Swartzbaugh Store #305, San Dimas, Calif., Smart & Final

She increased sales by more than 31 percent versus the previous year, reduced shrink by 0.89 percent, and was promoted to the role of perishable merchandiser in early 2016. An outstanding trainer and developer, Swartzbaugh identified and developed numerous associates within the district. A graduate of the Retail Management Certificate Program, she continually developed her skills through professional activities and educational programs like Portland State University’s Today’s Managers, Tomorrow’s Leaders program.


DePasquale’s work spurred excellent store conditions and customer service and, beyond the store, a doubling of community outreach programs; a new holidaygiving basket initiative, for example, garnered more than $30,000 in sales.

tereSa athaS

Store #919, westlake Village, Calif., Smart & Final Athas successfully led her team through a challenging relocation from a high-volume core store of about 17,000 square feet to a 27,000-squarefoot location with expanded selections, including full produce, bulk foods and meat departments. Even under a different operating model, the store remained successful. She graduated from Smart & Final’s 2013 Store Management Development Program and completed Dale Carnegie training. Athas and her store team received a certificate of appreciation from the Boys and Girls Club of Oxnard, Calif.

renée harriS

Store Director, Lakeview Family Fare, battle Creek, Mich., Spartannash Co./ Family Fare Representing the best in store leadership and associate engagement, Harris’ associate recognition program includes appreciation potlucks, thankyou cards, and acknowledgement of associates who go above and beyond. She improved the performance of her store through increased sales; reducing shrink; lowering labor costs, both direct and indirect; and increasing profitability. Harris connected her store with the community by organizing such events as the Supermart Sweep, and leading the store’s participation in the Cereal City Food Festival.

taMMy SLuCk

Store Director, gaylord Family Fare, gaylord, Mich., Spartannash Co./ Family Fare Sluck led the Gaylord Family Fare from defeat to become the No. 1 SpartanNash comp-sales store in northern Michigan by building a results-driven, highly motivated team. She encouraged team members to work together to build “their” store. Her leadership was a game changer, empowering associates to create a customer experience that has earned the highest positive customer feedback scores in the district. When a local pharmacy closed, Sluck led her team to improve the in-store pharmacy experience, and the department’s sales volume nearly doubled as a result.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016

CarLa Meza Store #935, Coronado, Calif., Smart & Final

Meza demonstrated superb management skills and excelled at mentoring, training and developing her associates, almost all of whom wanted to move up in the company. She helped to find and develop associates for three new stores that opened in the San Diego marketplace, and also proved strong administratively, helping the district with training and mentoring. Meza beat her shrink budget by 0.12 percent last year, is working toward her Retail Management Certificate, and participates in her local Network of Executive Women chapter.

MiCheLLe hayeS

Store #230, elk grove, Calif., Sprouts Farmers Market Under Hayes’ leadership, Sprouts Elk Grove’s weekly store sales went from $200,000-$300,000 to exceed $400,000; she drove additional store profits by adding efficiencies to team member schedules. In addition to being store manager of one of the region’s most successful stores, she assisted in training new team members for several regional store openings. Hayes was recently promoted to the position of deli/ bakery trainer-Sacramento/ East Bay region, in which capacity she will manage the deli departments and training for nine stores.

A BETTER PERIOD EXPERIENCE! Enjoy 12 hour leak-free protection, comfort and convenience with The DivaCup. • • • • •

Delivers higher sales and profits in the category! Delivers higher dollar spend and profit from each consumer! The DivaCup Model 1 ranks #12 and Model 2 ranks #21 in $SPPD! Growing by double digits ($ and units) in same-store sales! Unparalleled advertising support driving consumer demand to retailers.

*Source: IRI, Sanitary Pads and Tampons, Total US - FDMx, Latest 52 weeks ending March 20, 2016. Spins Data, Disposable Pads and Reusable Pads and Tampons, Total US - Natural Channel, 52 weeks ending 04/20/2014.


The dairy case has seen dramatic changes in recent years with the proliferation of new product segments competing with milk for space. Simultaneously, shopper behavior has changed and the retail landscape has evolved. To better understand today’s dairy case opportunities, the Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP) engaged industry experts Prime Consulting and Willard Bishop, who utilized national and proprietary research, including a major dairy milk shopper study with in-homes and shop alongs.

We invite you to learn more about the new research and the powerful insights that have the potential to help you MAXIMIZE THE DAIRY CASE • IMPROVE SHOPPER EXPERIENCE IN-STORE • DRIVE GREATER PROFIT WITH FLUID MILK • Join the webinar to unlock key growth opportunities, best practices and insights that have the potential to maximize sales and ultimately drive profit in your stores.

JUNE 15, 2016

2PM ET • 1PM CT • 11AM PT






Store ManagerS

ChriS McLaren Store #326 Wheat ridge, Colo., Sprouts Farmers Market

McLaren excelled in many areas, especially with regard to maintaining store standards and managing the overall budget. In 2015, she exceeded her wall-to-wall margin budget, was under budget on payroll and controllable expenses, exceeded her EBITDA budget by $100,000-plus, and had the No. 1 store for audits and scan accuracy. A true team player, McLaren volunteered to leave a top-performing store to take over the struggling Wheat Ridge location because, as she says, “it’s the right thing to do.”

Connie LeChner

general Manager, redwood Falls, Minn., tersteeg’s inc. Lechner, Tersteeg’s Employee of the Year in 2015, facilitated the switch to a new wholesaler while managing day-to-day operations. Knowing the importance of local in the store’s rural location, she constantly supported the people who shop in the area, and was appointed director of the Orrin S. Estebo Foundation, which donates to people and projects in need. She worked on numerous fundraising events, sat on school advisory boards and mentored many students through high school and into college.

BrooKe WiLKinS Store #314, Denver, Sprouts Farmers Market

Thanks to her dedication to the development and advancement of her team members, Wilkins’ store was designated a training location for the region. As the Sprouts Academy Professor for the north Colorado region, she trained and developed future company leaders, which contributed to the promotion of more than 20 percent of the team member base in 2015. Wilkins surpassed her 2015 sales goals by $276,000, reached her wall-to-wall margin, was under budget on controllable expenses and exceeded her EBITDA budget by $165,520.

KriS Ponzi

Store #232, Buffalo, n.Y., tops Markets LLC As she oversaw a remodel of her previous store, Ponzi imparted a sense of goodwill to her customers and associates while keeping sales the major priority. Her leadership, planning and tireless efforts during the remodel of the Arcade store led to her promotion to manager of the larger-volume Elmwood store, the position she currently holds. She received several district Key Trainer awards, and won the Shrink Improvement Award, as well as being invited to join the Millionaire’s Club for store earnings, at the 2015 Tops Annual Business Meeting.

MarY ann BanhoLzer

Store Director, Store #2641, Woodbridge, Va., Supervalu/Shoppers Food & Pharmacy Banholzer lowered shrink, increased profits and maintained sales at her store, despite new competition opening nearby. A district lead for training and developing new management, Banholzer received several district sales, shrink improvement and performance awards, as well as a High Potential award. An active member of the store’s surrounding community, she sponsored the Alexandria Elementary School, and ran training classes and store tours for Fairfax County schoolchildren.

KiM ChriStie

Store Director, Store #205, hampton, Va., Supervalu/Farm Fresh Christie initiated the successful Associates Breakfast with the Store Director, in which she invited associates to have breakfast with her and discuss Farm Fresh’s values and growth opportunities. Skilled and successful at identifying future talent, she has trained four front end managers in the past two years. Christie is dedicated to the company’s longtime fundraising efforts for Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughter, in Norfolk, Va., with her store consistently one of the top Farm Fresh contributors.

anna CuCChiara Store #231, Conshohocken, Pa., Weis Markets

Cucchiara and her team oversaw an extensive remodel, with new décor and a new in-store beer café; since the remodel, sales and net income have increased to among the best in the company. She emphasized improved customer experience, resulting in a top-five ranking in overall customer experience, and her team’s engagement scores exceeded the company average. Her store was one of three to win Weis’ award for Highest Overall Customer Experience, due to her team’s ability to deliver the best, most consistent customer service.

Store ore ManagerS Of this year’s 385 Top Women in Grocery, there are 75 Store Managers representing 18 retailers from around the nation. While the majority use the traditional store manager title, many retail organizations use the store director designation for the CEOs of the stores they oversee.

June 2016 | |



Canned Goods

In the Can It’s not just the container, but also the contents, that distinguishes these products. By Bridget Goldschmidt

C Consumer research has shown we must improve consumers’ perceptions of the nutritional benefits of canned food.” —Rich Tavoletti, Canned Food Alliance


ans may be considered passé by many in the food industry — and even by many consumers — but they’re still ubiquitous on center store shelves, as at Food Lion’s more than 1,100 locations. Te Salisbury, N.C.-based grocer ofers canned items in its private label Cha-Ching line, for example, along with analogous items from national brands. “At Food Lion, we promote the key core [canned] items frequently and create displays that are easy for our customers to understand,” notes company spokesman Benny Smith. “Corn, green beans and peas are the core vegetable items.” To further encourage shoppers to purchase these products, Smith says, “We are leveraging our current promotional strategy of BOGO, two-for-$1 and hot sale prices. Our customers have responded positively, as this helps them get the items they need at a [better] price, thus saving money.” When it comes to future rollouts of canned products, “we have concentrated on introducing new line extensions of products we already have, based on customer preferences,” he explains. “We continue to look at introducing new products later, based on customer needs.”

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016

As for advancements in the packaging form, Smith points to cans’ “becoming more eco-friendly,” like Bumble Bee Seafoods’ Wild Selections seafood line, as well as to the fact that vendors like Bumble Bee, Chicken of the Sea, ConAgra Foods, Del Monte and Goya Foods are introducing easy-open cans, “since most Millennials do not own a can opener.”

Canned Heat Such innovations are par for the course for the Washington, D.C.-based Can Manufacturers Institute (CMI), the trade association of the metal and composite can manufacturing industry and its suppliers in the United States. “Moms have, for generations, relied on canned foods to seal in the nutrition, freshness and favor of their favorite foods, and recent innovations — like easy-to-open and pull-tab lids, as well as metal cans being 100 percent recyclable — have made them even more invaluable for today’s families,” says Sherrie Rosenblatt, the institute’s VP of marketing and communications. “Te canning process provides long-term food quality, as fruits and vegetables are picked at the peak of ripeness and canned within hours, which locks in all the freshness, nutrition and favor.” To promote “the myriad benefts canned foods ofer,” CMI created Cans Get You Cooking, which, according to Rosenblatt, has led to “a sizable lift in canned food sales for those retailers partnering

with” the initiative. “Since the campaign launched in 2013, retail partners have seen canned food sales trends six points better than those who have not yet partnered with the campaign,” she adds, citing IRI research fnding that “in just Q1 2016, Cans Get You Cooking retailer partner sales trends ran a full two points better than nonpartner retailers.” One advance addressing both environmental and health concerns is the elimination of Bisphenol A (BPA), an organic synthetic compound, from can liners. “As of July 30, 2015, all ConAgra Foods canned foods made in its U.S. and Canadian facilities are packaged in cans with non-BPA liners,” asserts Chelsea Herman, associate brand manager at the Omaha, Neb.-based company. Following ConAgra’s promotion of the move via social media and its website, as well as through various media outlets, “the response has been positive,” notes Herman. “We recognize consumer interest in removing BPA from our cans and are pleased to be able to respond to that desire and ofer food that our consumers can feel confdent in.” She also points out: “Canning is an excellent way to preserve food naturally; many consumers don’t realize that no preservatives are needed, as metal cans lock in vitamins, minerals and favor. Additionally, metal cans … may be recycled over and over. Tis packaging minimizes natural product waste from fruit and vegetables, enabling food distribution and a very long shelf life.” ConAgra further enhances the freshness of its canned products by using the Flashsteam process on its Hunt’s tomatoes, which involves “simple hot water,” and then “[canning] them within hours of harvesting,” observes Herman. “Tat way, when consumers choose Hunt’s canned tomatoes, they can be sure they are getting vine-ripened tomatoes, as opposed to tomatoes in the produce section, which are often picked early and ripen in transit to the retailer.”

On the Inside As shown by Hunt’s, what’s contained in cans is just as important as the packaging itself. First, however, shoppers need to be made aware that canned food is actually good for them. “It really all starts with educating the consumer about food choices and understanding what consumers want,” says Rich Tavoletti, executive director of the Pittsburgh-based Canned Food Alliance (CFA), a consortium of steelmakers, can makers, food processors and afliate members. “Te drivers impacting food purchases include convenience, nutrition, taste and afordability. Canned Food Alliance works with its members and partners to enhance perceptions of canned food. Consumer research has shown we must improve consumers’ perceptions of the nutritional benefts of canned food. We

point to a strong foundation of university research, which proves many canned options are nutritionally comparable [to] and sometimes more nutritious than their fresh and frozen counterparts. We must consistently remind consumers that nutritious food options can be found in the center of the grocery stores.” To that end, “CFA works with retail dietitians to help educate consumers about the benefts of canned fruits, vegetables, beans, lean meats and seafood,” notes Tavoletti. “We ofer a Retail Dietitian Toolkit [that] is free to retailers — and to anyone who wants to view it. Te toolkit provides a recipe (for a cooking demonstration either in-store, during a media segment, a class, etc.); a tweetable tip; talking points; and a resource to hand out that supports the messages.” He adds: “We spread the message to supermarket dietitians both directly via a monthly newsletter, and also by participating in conferences. ... Last year, we gave ... dietitians a What’s Inside the Can display to use in conjunction with their toolkit in cooking demonstrations and table displays. Te goal [was] to help tell the story and teach people about the simple ingredients that go into canned fruits, vegetables and beans. Tere are often three ingredients or less in canned food.”

Most Millennials do not own a can opener.” —Benny Smith, Food Lion

Get Your Products

Off the Floor!






Canned Goods

CPG companies are rolling out their own comparable endeavors, “Over the last number of years, we have featured canned products in the majority of our marketing initiatives, such as working with thirdparty registered dietitians and celebrity chefs to create contemporary, quick and easy recipes,” says David Melbourne, SVP consumer marketing and corporate social responsibility at San Diego-based Bumble Bee, which is also reformulating its Snack on the Run line to feature a “clean-label” ingredient deck. “Most recently, we launched our Only Bumble Bee Albacore Will Do campaign to promote the premium quality of our product ofering and to position canned albacore tuna as a relevant, contemporary ‘go-to source’ for lean, afordable protein. Te integrated campaign is supported with TV, print, digital and in-store media vehicles, and will run through the fall.” Melbourne adds that “Bumble Bee actively pursues opportunities to work with our retail and customer partners to identify programs that can be customized to positively impact and drive the canned seafood category. For example, creating merchandising programs outside of the primary canned seafood With much of aisle, such as tie-ins with fresh produce and/or other the growth complementary meal solution products around the coming out perimeter, are defnitely proactive opportunities of the store to drive awareness and impulse purchase among perimeter today, consumers that may not always think about shopping we must look for center store on each trip. Te result can bring new opportunities consumers into the category, generate incremental to bring sales and deliver increased proftability.” Similarly, Chicken of the Sea, also based in San excitement back Diego, earlier this year launched Sea the Possibilito center store.” ties Challenge, described by Director of Marketing —David Melbourne, Maureen McDonnell as “an empowerment wellness Bumble Bee Seafoods campaign that challenged Americans to broaden their horizons through bold new foods” — the company’s product lineup now includes Sriracha Sardines and hardwood-smoked Kipper Snacks — “everyday experiences and epic adventures that can contribute to a richer, more satisfying life, both in the kitchen and beyond.” Partly inspired by the recently released Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020 — which recommends increased seafood consumption — “the campaign [aimed] to increase America’s nutritional health through greater consumption of fresh and packaged fsh,” explains McDonnell. Visitors to the campaign’s microsite could select a challenge at one of three levels and then post an original written story, photo or video showing how they met that challenge. Chicken of the Sea judged the submissions, and weekly and monthly winners were eligible to receive a grand-prize cash award that could be applied toward future adventures. How well do such programs work? Despite the “terrifc response” at retail to Only Bumble Bee Albacore Will Do, Melbourne still believes that his


| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016

“and other brands need to do a better job engaging consumers and providing them with reasons canned foods are a relevant, important, delicious, afordable part of weekly meal and snack menu planning. With much of the growth coming out of the store perimeter today, we must look for opportunities to bring excitement back to center store. A big part of this requires continued focus on our tried-and-true consumer base, but successfully becoming part of the consideration set for Millennials is also critical.” Joe Perez, SVP of Jersey City, N.J.-based Goya Foods, whose latest canned products are black olive and refried bean lines, concurs, ticking of the segment’s main advantages: “Te industry can focus on emphasizing the nutritional value, afordable price and stable shelf life of canned items, specifcally the equal benefts and nutritional value to fresh [and] frozen foods.”

Maintaining Integrity Beyond the existing nutritional profles of canned foods, many consumers are seeking products with particular attributes they perceive as healthful. According to Food Lion’s Smith, “Retailers are looking for items with no preservatives and free-from-GMO items,” in response to shopper needs, while Goya’s Perez notes “the expansion of product lines specifcally [featuring] low-sodium and organic products.” Consequently, ConAgra introduced three USDA certifed-organic Hunt’s tomato SKUs earlier this year: Diced Tomatoes, Tomato Sauce and Tomato Paste. Te items “provide more options to the 45 percent of consumers actively trying to include organic foods in their diet,” said Ryan Pintado-Vertner, senior brand manager, Hunt’s canned, when the line launched in January. “Tere are more than 1,500 varieties of canned foods available today,” observes CFA’s Tavoletti. “More and more, companies are ofering options for all types of diets and lifestyle preferences. In order to meet consumer demands, the canned food industry will have to continue to maintain the integrity of the nutritious food that is inside, as well as the technology and innovation of the can itself.” PG For more about canned goods, visit



Center of Action Natural and organic products are fueling sustainable growth in center store.


By Daniel Lohman

atural and organic products are breathing renewed life into center store. Tey’re also driving sustainable sales in almost every category as consumers continue to look for healthier alternatives throughout the store. Te notion that center store should be avoided due to all of the preservatives, artifcial colors, chemicals and hard-to-pronounce additives is no longer the case. Natural and organic products are at the center of these trends and are gaining in popularity, forcing traditional mainstream brands to clean up their acts. A growing number of shoppers (64 percent) are looking for healthier meal solutions to help manage their overall health, including reducing their need for prescription and OTC drugs. Tirty-nine percent of consumers sufer from an ailment, and 75 percent believe they can achieve better health through proper nutrition. Natural and organic shoppers are typically well educated and knowledgeable about the products they eat. Tey read and compare labels to make the best possible choices for their needs. Shoppers want greater transparency and authenticity in the food they purchase and eat. Tey want to know how and where it was produced. Tese trends are apparent in foodservice as well as at retail. Baby Boomers and Millennials alike are driving demand across health ingredients.

Te natural and organic channel is, and will always be, the incubator for such products. Many of the brands born in natural are being adopted by other channels. Shoppers are now able to fnd natural and organic products in nearly every retail channel, including drug, mass and convenience. Total store all-outlet sales are up 2.2 percent. Food, representing 60.6 percent of total store sales, is up 1.9 percent. Natural food, representing 7.7 percent of total food, is up 11 percent, while organic food is up 16.9 percent.

Center Store Sales Rankings U.S. rank

natUral rank

organiC rank

Self-stable Fruit





Pie Filling





Prepared Beans





Shelf-stable Fish





Shelf-stable Liquid Soup





Mexican Food





Shelf-stable Vegetables





Mexican Sauce





Shelf-stable Meat





Tomato Paste and Sauce






June 2016 | |

gMo rank




The natural and organic canned food categories with the highest sales growth all have a tremendous synergy with their corresponding perimeter departments.

Beyond the Perimeter Most shoppers begin their quest for better health in the store’s perimeter departments, with 66 percent eating more healthfully than before. Tis is because perimeter products have simple, easy-to-understand ingredients that can be trusted, including organic ingredients, which are non-GMO and don’t contain herbicides or pesticides. It’s critical that retailers place additional emphasis on merchandising a robust natural and organic assortment in produce, dairy, meat and seafood. Natural and organic products have tremendous synergy throughout the entire store. Shoppers are willing to pay a premium for a product that meets all of their needs as well as the needs of their families. Sixty percent of consumers now choose quality over price. Natural and organic shoppers are more inclined to purchase similar high-quality products in other departments. As a result, the natural and organic shopper typically has a much higher overall market basket. For example, a shopper purchasing whole grain organic bread is more likely to purchase a premium organic spread, organic produce, organic soup, etc.


| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016

News stories claim that organic products are higher in price. Tis isn’t always true when you consider their health benefts. For this reason, it’s important that shoppers be able to compare organic and nonorganic products side by side. For example: Organic whole grain bread merchandised next to conventional premium bread will make it easy for shoppers to choose the product that best meets their needs, even with a 30-cent price diference. Shoppers will easily trade up to the healthier alternative when you make it easy for them to appreciate the diference between the products. Shoppers will gladly pay a few cents more for products that best meet their needs. Tis is especially true when the organic alternative keeps them feeling full longer. Efective merchandising is the best way to capitalize on this important trend. Savvy retailers need to merchandise natural and organic products next to their nonorganic counterparts across all categories.

Laser Focus Center store has a large variety of natural and organic products for shoppers to choose from in almost every category. Grocery is the largest department: about 50 percent of total store sales, up 1.8 percent. Natural represents 6.2 percent of grocery, up 9.4 percent, and organic is up 19 percent. Canned goods, representing about 50 percent of total grocery sales, are up 2.7 percent. Natural is up 7.4 percent, and organic is up 20.7 percent. Mexican food, the only category outperforming total grocery as a whole, is up 2.9 percent. Almost every other category is either declining or fat. In contrast, natural and organic categories are all growing, dramatically outpacing total grocery. Shelfstable fruit, for example, is up 40.9 percent in natural and 50 percent in organic, compared with 0.8 percent in total grocery. Total grocery sales, in the absence of natural and organic products, are declining in two-thirds of the canned goods categories. Put another way, the small sliver of sales that represent natural and organic products is responsible for all of the growth in these categories. Te sales increases are even more dramatic as you drill down to the subcategory level. For example, readyto-serve soup is down 5 percent in liquid soup, while it’s up 10.4 percent in natural and 21.4 percent in organic.

Perk Up Single-Serve Sales with Certified 100% Compostable Pods At Kauai Coffee, our sustainable coffee farming reflects our respect or the land. We harness the power of the abundant tropical rains to generate electricity for our roasters. We return coffee fruit pulp to the soil to nourish our trees, reducing the need for additional fertilizer. Now, Kauai Coffee single-serve pods are certified 100% compostable so they go back to the land, not the landfill.


of single-serve coffee users

decrease consumption because of

negative environmental impact.* Certified 100% compostable pods are a breakthrough innovation that can help you capture new sales in the coffee aisle!



of single-serve coffee users want

biodegradable or compostable packaging.*



Applesauce is up 0.5 percent, and shelf-stable fruit is up 48.9 percent in natural and 69 percent in organic. Te natural and organic canned food categories with the highest sales growth all have a tremendous synergy with their corresponding perimeter departments: fruit, meat and seafood, and vegetables. Tis is largely due to their convenience and long shelf life. “More conventional food companies are ofering organic items, and pricing continues to become more afordable,” says Paul Howard, category manager for Chandler, Ariz.-based supermarket chain Bashas’. “Organic products are very important to Bashas’. We carefully evaluate each item and are determined to provide the highest-quality products at the best prices for our customers, including our private label program that is excellent for center store integration.” Lakeland, Fla.-based Publix Super Markets also has a strong commitment to natural and organic products. Publix integrates them into its mainstream sets alongside cat-


| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016

egory favorites. Te grocer focuses frst on the shopper to provide a one-stop shopping experience. Its strategy includes item callouts, a robust private label selection and a strong shopper loyalty program. Savvy retailers need to remain laser-focused on meeting the needs of their shoppers. Tat includes aggressively merchandising and promoting natural and organic products across every department. Natural and organic products need to be easy to fnd and extremely shopper-friendly. Retailers should always be looking for opportunities to crossmerchandise natural and organic products in other departments to take advantage of their synergies. Tey need to develop strategies to drive shopper traffc into the center of the store. Natural and organic products continue to grow in importance as consumers commit to healthier lifestyles. Increasing center store shopper foot trafc needs to become a priority for retailers and manufacturers to collaborate on. PG Daniel Lohman, CPSA, is an organic and CPG industry strategic adviser with Category Management Solutions (CMS4CPG.COM).

Frozen Desserts

Refrigerated & Frozen

Cold-fashioned Consumers look for indulgence, nostalgia and simplicity in their ice cream. By Jim Dudlicek


hat do consumers want in a frozen dessert? Tey want something decadent, yet good for them. Tey want something new, but that reminds them of the past. Tey want complex favors, but simple ingredients. At least that’s one way to sum up the trends that ice cream manufacturers are chasing and the paths down which they’re leading their retailer partners. “Small-batch and craft ice creams are driving innovation in the category. In addition, as we see a return to full-fat products, there is a market for ultra-indulgent varieties,” says Julie Henderson, VP of communications for the Harrisburg, Pa.-based National Frozen and Refrigerated Foods Association (NFRA). More indulgent categories are defnitely “getting more traction,” concurs Lisa Hutchinson, frozen product manager for Turkey Hill Dairy, in Lancaster County, Pa. “Yesterday’s ‘healthy alternatives,’ like light ice cream and frozen yogurt, are in a

downward spiral, giving way to a new defnition of healthy alternative, including the dairy alternative category and more natural and simple ice creams.” Consumer demand for transparency continues to be a leading trend in frozen desserts, according to Steve Pratt, VP of category and shopper development at Oakland, Calif.-based Nestlé Dreyer’s Ice Cream. “A component of this trend is the move to simpler ingredients that consumers can recognize. Across superpremium and premium ice cream, and other frozen snacks, consumers want to understand the ingredients on the label,” Pratt says. Te folks at Unilever Ice Cream, in Englewood Clifs, N.J., also see a demand for indulgent items, along with more portion-controlled and sugar-free oferings, prompting releases like snack cups and sugar-free Popsicles, notes Nick Soukas, Unilever’s director of ice cream. Nostalgia continues to be a trend for 2016, Soukas observes. “Reminiscing about childhood and memorable moments are two reasons consumers enjoy ice cream. Tis year, we’ve reimagined classic favors and pairings that cultivate great memories, like birthday cake, s’mores, and chocolate and peanut butter, to surprise and delight our ice cream fans,” he says. Kevin Riveroll, VP of sales and marketing at Boston-based Ciao Bella, notes that consumers “are looking for non-GMO Project Verifed oferings and cleaner ingredients, especially as [they] are becoming more knowledgeable about ingredients, reading ingredient labels and the efect of such ingredients on one’s health over a period of time.”

Ice Cream Opportunities June 20: National Ice Cream Soda Day July 4: Independence Day July 7: National Strawberry Sundae Day July 17: National Peach Ice Cream Day July 23: National Vanilla Ice Cream Day July 30: National Cheesecake Day

June 2016 | |


Refrigerated & Frozen

Frozen Desserts

Additionally, shoppers “are demanding quality ingredients with functional benefts and great taste,” asserts Drew Harrington, co-founder of Yasso Frozen Greek Yogurt, in Quincy, Mass.

Small-batch and craft ice creams are driving innovation in the category. In addition, there is a market for ultra-indulgent varieties.” —Julie Henderson, National Frozen and Refrigerated Foods Association

Aiming to Please Ice cream and novelties are the second- and thirdlargest categories in the frozen food department, with $6.3 billion and $4.5 billion in sales, respectively, NFRA’s Henderson notes. “Retailers should be cognizant that Millennials index low in ice cream and novelties sales,” she cautions. Of course, overall ice cream and novelty sales are highest from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and potentially peak with the National Ice Cream Month sales opportunity that grocers can leverage in July. And there are plenty of new products for retailers to showcase this season that play of the aforementioned trends. Te Healthy Choice brand, from Omaha, Neb.-based ConAgra Foods, ofers new fudge and smoothie bars in strawberry, mango peach and raspberry favors. “Te bars are made with natural ingredients, nothing artifcial and real fruit,” says Alan Brooks, associate brand manager. “Tey are





also low in fat and contain no artifcial sweeteners, artifcial colors or preservatives. Tese bars are all 80 calories or less and contain fve or seven real ingredients, most of which you have in your kitchen at home: skim milk, cane sugar, cream, natural cocoa and real fruit.” Nestlé Dreyer’s has also been rolling out products with simplifed ingredient lists, including the removal of artifcial colors and favors, high-fructose corn syrup and GMO ingredients. In all, the changes will encompass more than 100 products across the Dreyer’s, Häagen-Dazs, Outshine, Skinny Cow, Nestlé Ice Cream and Drumstick brands. Unilever is launching 17 frozen treats in 2016 under fve of its ice cream brands: Breyers, Good Humor, Klondike, Magnum Ice Cream and Popsicle. “Unilever is continuing to align with trends by expanding its varieties in Breyers Gelato Indulgences and Magnum Doubles, which now feature products like Breyers Gelato Indulgences Salted Caramel and Magnum Double Raspberry,” Soukas says. Sanders, owned by Clinton Township, Mich.based Morley Candy Makers Inc., has added six favors to its “fountain-style” ice cream line introduced a year ago. “Our initial ice cream research and development was mostly focused on reintroducing original recipes and ofering a feeling of nostalgia,” says Walter Pilon, director of sales for bakery and frozen goods. Te new favors are Mint Chocolate Chip, Loaded Peanut Butter Cookie, Blueberry Pie, Sea Salt Caramel, Caramel Latte and Lemon Twis-Tea. Oregon’s Tillamook County Creamery Association has introduced a 14-favor line of superpremium farmstyle gelatos, extra-creamy ice creams and frozen custards. Flavors feature locally grown hazelnuts, ripe strawberries and marionberries from Oregon, and pistachio butter made with California pistachios. In certain varieties, layers of sauce and toppings deliver incredible visual appeal and a complexity of favors and textures in each bite. “Te superpremium ice cream segment is booming, and Millennials in particular crave favor diversity and dimension,” says Sibel Candemir, Tillamook ice cream category manager. As part of its “Desserts with Benefts” propostion, Yasso recently launched three additional favors — Cookies n‘ Cream, Chocolate Chip and Cinnamon Bun — made with all-natural favors, and containing 5 grams of protein and 100 calories per serving. “We work closely with our retail partners to identify purchasing trends that can lead to better allocation of top sellers on shelf and innovative product oferings that tap consumer trends,” Harrington says.

Working Together NFRA’s Summer Favorites Ice Cream & Novelties promotion extends through June and July.

“Te promotion provides retailers and manufacturers with a host of marketing tools and PR opportunities to promote ice cream and novelties and engage consumers in-store and online,” Henderson explains. NFRA members will compete for the New Ice Cream & Novelties Golden Penguin Awards, which recognize excellence in marketing and merchandising the category. “We’re all fghting for shelf space,” says Ciao Bella’s Riveroll. “By leveraging relationships and using the power of the frozen treats category, we are able to make certain that our core consumers are seeing our product. Gelatos and sorbettos, along with smaller container sizes, continue to expand the category.” Nestlé is focused on communicating its key ingredient changes to retailer partners, including nonGMO ingredients and a reduction in sugar. “We are

also emphasizing the same great taste of our products,” Pratt says. “As the Millennial shopper remains critical, we are partnering with retailers to reach these shoppers through omnichannel tactics.” Unilever advises retailers to make their ice cream aisle “a fun and easy place to shop during National Ice Cream Month, as well as year-round,” says Soukas, adding that the company “encourages retailers to ensure product assortment and category management is in line with shopper expectations.” Harrington notes that Yasso is “ramping up marketing to drive buzz” leading into National Ice Cream Month. “As a smaller brand with limited funds, we ... are doing some targeted marketing programs with a few partners to drive trial and brand awareness,” he says. “We also have a mobile marketing truck tour planned to visit markets on the East Coast, which will drive existing and new customers to our retail partners in each market.” PG What’s the next big thing coming in frozen desserts? Find out at

2016 Retail Deli Review

Any wAy you

Slice it

Deli sales are on the rise, but shopper habits are hard to break. By Bruce Horovitz * Research By Debra Chanil


upermarket delis certainly seem to be hot stuf. Tat’s one clear fnding from Progressive Grocer’s exclusive 2016 survey of supermarket executives, in which more than two in three retail panelists predicted that their deli sales would increase over the next year. It’s not just sales, but profts, too, that appear to be on the rise in supermarket deli sections. Nearly six in 10 executives surveyed by PG said that they expected profts to grow over the next year. But just how hot is hot? Well, perhaps no mo-


ment in delicatessen history is hotter than the famous scene in the flm classic “When Harry Met Sally,” when Meg Ryan tries to prove to Billy Crystal that women can easily fake bedroom bliss. A delicatessen full of diners listens and watches as Ryan puts on a show that sounds far more appropriate for the boudoir than a deli. Te scene’s punchline, however, is the one-liner that an elderly female customer seated nearby utters when a waiter takes her order immediately after Ryan’s sultry demonstration: “I’ll have what she’s having.”

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016

©2016 Texas Pete® is a registered trademark of TW Garner Food Company.


NEW S UCE in town

New ¡Sabor! by Texas Pete® is the clear winner in any Mexican-style hot sauce showdown. When used on huevos rancheros, pizza, burgers, tacos, or just about anything else, perfectly seasoned ¡Sabor! takes flavor to new frontiers. Your customers will load it into their wagons and ride off happily into the sunset. Learn more about our sauces at or call 336-661-1550.

Retail Foodservice: Failing your Key Shoppers Tyson Foods’ research1,2 identified two main segments of prepared foods customers: “Balancer Parents” shop once or twice a week looking for a quick, nutritious meal for their family while “Impromptu Diners” are more frequent and impulsive prepared foods shoppers. When asked about their experiences when purchasing prepared chicken products, they reported numerous failures. According to Eric LeBlanc, director of marketing for deli and bakery at Tyson Foods, Inc. — “These two segments represent our most loyal customers, yet more than half are experiencing problems with staff, product or general department issues. If Balancer Parents don’t like what they see in the prepared foods section, they’ll walk away. When they’re unhappy, Impromptu Diners may change their shopping behavior altogether.”

Course Corrections What happens when your most frequent shoppers experience failures? In cases of staffing issues, nearly half of Impromptu Diners were likely to register a complaint with store management and 60% said they’d stop shopping for prepared foods at that store for at least some period of time, as compared to 45% of Balancer Parents. LeBlanc suggests: “ Both groups are looking for healthy, convenient, and kid-friendly prepared food products. To circumvent problems, prepared foods managers need to ensure stock is fresh at peak times and ready for grab-and-go customers; staff is knowledgeable about the products they offer; and that a variety of options are always available.” The Ripple Effect These two groups are already frequent shoppers but they’re generally not always satisfied with their prepared foods experience. Negative issues might even drive them to shop your competition.

Impromptu Diners and Balancer Parents are much more likely to stop shopping when they encounter staffing issues:

60% 45% Impromptu Diners

Balancer Parents

38% General Population

On the other hand, when Balancer Parents are happy about their prepared foods experience, 47% are extremely likely to tell others about it. Even 60% of Impromptu Diners, who notice and report problems more than any other group, are likely to recommend their primary retailer when they are satisfied. Making these customers happy results in stronger sales in the prepared foods department and throughout the whole store.

Impromptu Diners • • •

They live in urban areas and like to shop where they can get in and out of a store quickly. Meal planning is often a daily, late-afternoon task. They want to pick something up on the way home that doesn’t take them out of their way or make them wait in a long line.

Balancer Parents • •

71% Percent of prepared foods shoppers with negative shopping experiences in last 90 days

They like to walk up and down every aisle, are more likely to use coupons, look for healthy products and enjoy bulk-buying opportunities. They think of the prepared foods section of the store as an option on nights when they don’t feel like cooking or have a last-minute change of plans.

63% Get to the right place. At the right pace. Impromptu Diners

Balancer Parents

Sources: 1 Tyson Foods, Consequences of Failure Study, 2015 2 Tyson Foods, Consequences of Failure Study, 2014

®/© 2016 Tyson Foods, Inc.

2016 Retail Deli Review Deli SaleS Change 2014-2015 Increased



expeCteD Deli Same-Store SaleS Change total 2016

Stayed the Same




Stay the Same



3.8% net Change




net Change

Source: Progressive Grocer Market Research, 2016

Fast-forward to supermarket deli sections across the nation in 2016, and there’s a common thread: While sales are hot, everyone’s pretty much ordering the same thing — potato salad, macaroni salad and roasted chicken — and, in the process, keeping a lid on the potential growth that many supermarket deli managers envision.

The Basics and Beyond “We try diferent things, but the basics always sell best,” says Barry Johnson, store director at Ridley’s Family Market, in Orem, Utah. “It seems like 90 percent of what you sell is potato salad and chicken.” Dale Miller, store manager at Harding’s Friendly Market,


Two Great Flavors in One Pie! Popular Pairings • Two Terrifc Combinations: Boston Cream (Vanilla & Chocolate) Strawberries & Cream • High-quality ingredients with real chocolate, vanilla and fruit fllings

Our Snack Pies are available nationwide… Get yourself a piece!

Deli Department profits Increased


Year ago

Current 29.3%

Stayed the Same






Source: Progressive Grocer Market Research, 2016

in Schoolcraft, Mich., agrees that “old standbys are the key.” By that, he primarily means chicken, macaroni and cheese, and some basic fsh oferings. Tere’s one thing — more than anything else — that just might change this: Millennials, 42 percent of whom reported shopping in the prepared food department, versus

33 percent of Baby Boomers and 21 percent of Gen Xers, according to a recent study from the International DairyDeli-Bakery Association (IDDBA). While Millennials want their deli items quickly, they also want to spend some time reading the labels about what’s in the food, which they want fresh, natural and


Visit “JJ’s Bakery” on

Consumer Tested • 78% positive purchase intent from pie users • 55% consider DUOS exciting and unique

Deliciously Proftable • Best value in Sweet Baked Goods category • Our most important ingredient: Attractive retailer margins


JTM Foods, LLC

2126 East 33rd Street, Erie PA 16510

2016 Retail Deli Review What areas of your deli operations Will you concentrate on enhancing during 2016?

Which of the folloWing do you consider to be most influential to securing strong everyday deli department sales? engaged associates product samples signature items in-store specials active sampling/events premium brands pos coupons/discounts merchandising/experience advertising/promotions increased on-ad specials social media special offers cross-promotions extended hours of operation incentive-based discounts executive chef


year ago

84.8% 64.6 41.8 40.5 34.2 32.9 31.6 29.1 27.8 24.1 15.2 11.4 10.1 8.9 5.1

86.7% 47.9 45.9 28.4 37.8 27.5 10.5 n/a 24.4 4.1 13.0 21.8 0.0 4.6 n/a

Multiple Responses Accepted Source: Progressive Grocer Market Research, 2016

healthy, according to the Madison, Wis.-based trade group. Tat could mean a future sales boost for deli products that claim to be clean, natural, organic or locally sourced, the IDDBA report notes. At Harding’s Friendly Market, for example, Millennials are increasingly requesting GMO-free products, says Miller. What’s more, he adds, “Tey like to see the labels on everything.” Similarly, while many of the older customers at Ridley’s Family Market pick the same selections of meat and cheese every time they visit the deli counter, many younger custom-

sandWiches lunch private label premium brands soup stations hot/cold bars daily specials dinner rotisserie programs breakfast meal deals (bundled meals) catering staff training side dishes concept food stations

(i.e., asian kitchen, pasta, carving station)

antipasto bars sushi category management beverage bars


year ago

60.3% 47.4 35.9 33.3 32.1 26.9 24.4 24.4 23.1 23.1 20.5 20.5 19.2 14.1

62.2% 27.2 19.0 34.6 19.2 33.9 40.5 32.9 52.0 17.5 46.1 37.6 51.7 25.3

11.5 11.5 9.0 7.7 6.4

14.2 13.7 16.9 19.0 3.3

Multiple Responses Accepted Source: Progressive Grocer Market Research, 2016

ers, those ages 25 to 35, are experimenting more with their selections, notes Johnson. But even then, they want to see the ingredients. “Tey want to know what they’re eating,” he says. But what are the most efective ways of getting all customers — not just Millennials — to order new oferings from the deli section?

Something Special First and foremost: engaged workers, the PG survey found. But a close second is product sampling, according to nearly 65 percent of those surveyed. Tat explains why product sampling is a big draw at both Harding’s and Ridley’s. Both grocers say they sample deli products regularly. Among Ridley’s more popular recent samplings were lasagna, spaghetti, fettuccine and pot pies, according to Johnson. Further, something else has boosted business at Ridley’s: daily specials. Te market ofers all kinds of lunch and dinner specials, says Johnson. Tese daily specials started out slow, he recounts, but sales immediately picked up “once we sampled and got it into their mouths.”


| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016

UE LOVERS. Meet the new look for our great-tasting, ALL-NATURAL original cheese Fondü. And introducing our new All-In-One Fondü, a quick and convenient way to make Fondue at home. Not just for entertaining—but perfect for those everyday special occasions.

For more information visit


Grand Cru Surchoix World Champion Introducing the new big cheese on the block, Roth® Grand Cru Surchoix. Out of 23 countries and nearly 3,000 of the world’s best cheeses, Grand Cru Surchoix was named the World Champion of cheese. Recognized for perfect texture and complex flavors like caramel, fruit and mushroom, our passion for handcrafting shines through.

Adventure awaits.

2016 Retail Deli Review hAve You DeDIcAteD more sellINg spAce to Fresh prepAreD FooDs IN Your AverAge store IN the pAst YeAr? 1.4%

No, reduced the Amount of space


No, Kept the same Amount of space


Yes, significantly


Yes, modestly

Source: Progressive Grocer Market Research, 2016

Similarly, some four in 10 executives surveyed by PG said that in-house specials were an efective strategy for boosting sales. Meanwhile, at Harding’s, perhaps nothing sells better in the deli section than value. Just as long as a dish is hot, ready to go out the door — and value priced — it will sell better than just about anything else, notes Miller. At the same time, Miller says that the key competitors taking business away from the grocery deli section are local restaurants. With the local economy improving, area restaurant business has improved over the past year, he notes, and that makes it tougher on his store deli, which may help explain why retail deli executives told PG that the top item in their deli sections that they hope to “enhance” in 2016 is the humble sandwich. To that point, more than 60 percent said that they planned to improve their deli sandwich oferings. Further, nearly half of executives said that they hoped to improve lunch oferings in their deli sections.

Space Odyssey One way to do that, of course, is with more space. An impressive number of supermarket delis plan to grow their space in 2016, according to the PG survey. Some 46 percent of those surveyed said they planned to expand store deli space either modestly or signifcantly over the next year. Not that deli sections don’t share some common headaches. Key among them: attracting and keeping good employees. Tat’s certainly the toughest thing at Harding’s, admits Miller. Nationally, labor is far and away the biggest issue facing deli departments, according to the PG survey. Some 40 percent of those surveyed cited labor as their top problem, with training a distant second. When asked to rate the most serious problem they faced in the deli department — on a scale of one to 10 (with 10 being the most serious) — executives didn’t hesitate to slap their highest number, an eight, on recruiting efective employees. Te next toughest thing was attracting more shoppers to the deli. But that wasn’t the case for all supermarkets. In fact, when

Is Your DelI AreA sepArAteD From Your Fresh prepAreD FooD sellINg AreA?

68.9% No

31.1% Yes

Does Your store(s) hAve A DeDIcAteD DININg AreA For shoppers to eAt Your Fresh prepAreD oFFerINgs?

62.7% No

37.3% Yes

Source: Progressive Grocer Market Research, 2016


| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016

problems facing the Deli Deparment

Rated on a scale of 1-10, where 10=extremely serious

current Year

Year ago

recruiting effective emploYees



attracting more shoppers to Deli



emploYee training






labor costs



customer satisfaction



fooD safetY



proDuct anD/or ingreDient costs



equipment costs









other supermarket competition



proDuct qualitY levels



local/national economic conDitions



nonsupermarket competition



Source: Progressive Grocer Market Research, 2016

asked what deli products were being cross-merchandised in other parts of the store to drum up more deli business, one executive surveyed by PG bluntly said he didn’t need to so: “We are bad at this because the deli is already too darn busy.” Tat’s the proverbial deli dilemma. PG Bruce Horovitz, a freelance writer and marketing consultant, is a former USA Today marketing reporter and Los Angeles Times marketing columnist. He can be reached at


Consumers looking for easy gourmet options will love Maple Leaf Farms Duck Leg Conft, which yields restaurant-quality meals at home in minutes. Heat and serve our lightly seasoned, tender duck legs or shred to use on sandwiches, salads or pasta.

Retailers contact your sales representative for more information, or call 800-348-2812 to request a sample.

Fresh Food


Farm Cred

Produce departments establish freshness, build trust and drive sales through merchandising with a farmers’-market feel.


By Jennifer Strailey

hen it comes to top trends in fresh produce merchandising and packaging, reinforcing the connection among the farm, the grocer and the consumer is critical to spurring sales in today’s competitive marketplace. How do progressive grocers create an experience that transcends the produce aisle, connecting shoppers straight to the source? Every aspect of fresh fruit and vegetable merchandising and packaging is an opportunity for storytelling, display


elements inspired by nature, and evocative visual cues. Produce packaging has evolved in recent years to make the message mouthwatering and the freshness ring out loud and clear. “Te trend is in transparency of the package or label that allows consumers to see as much of the product as possible, as well as more natural packaging that looks like craft paper or uses wood tones and browns,” observes Kristen Yerecic, of Yerecic Label, in New Kensington, Pa. “It goes back to wanting to connect with local and an old-fashioned feel.”

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016

Fresh Food


One of the biggest things to emerge from our research is the importance of recipes, because people aren’t quite sure what to think of some produce items, and they don’t know what to do with them.” —Kristin Yerecic, Yerecic Label


| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016

Yerecic Label has conducted extensive research on fresh produce packaging and merchandising trends, in part through its sponsorship of the annual FMI “Power of Produce” report, the 2016 edition of which is slated for release later this month. “One of the biggest things to emerge from our research is the importance of recipes, because people aren’t quite sure what to think of some produce items, and they don’t know what to do with them,” notes Yerecic, who points to a recent label the company created for Kalettes, the kale-and-Brussels-sprout hybrid, which features a recipe and an enticing fnished-dish photo. Further driving the need for inspiration, in the form of recipes and food photography, is the trend of using vegetables as an ingredient. “Te use of produce as a side dish is going down, while the use of produce as an ingredient is going up, with one-pot dishes, slow-cooker meals and more,” asserts Yerecic. Recipes for these easy-to-prepare meals and snacks, as well as those for juicing and smoothies, are all resonating with shoppers, she adds. “From the research we’ve done, we also know that a fnished-dish photo on the package that gets the ‘Wow, that looks delicious!’ reaction [pulls] the consumer into trying something they haven’t before,” notes Yerecic. Yerecic Label conducted focus groups last year for a blueberry pack that featured a mufn recipe and photo. Participant feedback, which elicited responses such as “My mouth is watering,” also indicated that the recipe and photo would inspire them to buy an extra pack of blueberries. In an efort to maximize precious packaging real estate, the company created an innovative BackFlip dual-sided label specifcally for clamshell packages. Windset Farms, in British Columbia, uses the BackFlip label for its packs of Roma Tomatoes on the Vine, Concerto Grape Tomatoes and Allegro Tomatoes on the Vine. Each item features back labels, visible from inside the clamshell, with a fnished-dish photo and a link to recipes on its website. Another major trend in produce packaging and merchandising is storytelling that connects grower and consumer. One example of this is the BackFlip label that Yerecic Label created for Canada’s Loblaws Supermarkets’ Farmer’s

Broccoli Benefits From On-trend Displays Exotic and lesser-known fruits and veggies aren’t the only items that beg for inspired preparation ideas. Familiar broccoli becomes a bold new ingredient with the right positioning. “Customers want ease,” asserts Jacob Shafer, marketing communication coordinator for Mann Packing Co. Inc., in Salinas, Calif. “Getting back to their busy lives as fast as possible has never mattered more, and one of the biggest reasons for a consumer to be unsatisfied with a product is the amount of effort they have to put into it. “Basically, consumers want quick, healthy meal solutions that are also nutritious,” he adds, “so at Mann’s, we are focusing on continued innovation, striving to bring ultimate convenience and freshness to consumers.” With this in mind, Mann’s recently expanded its Culinary Cuts line of fresh, uniquely cut vegetables to include Shaved Brussels Sprouts, Cauliettes and Broccoli Clovers. The full line is supported by recipes, photos and videos available at All of the veggies are washed, ready to cook and versatile. “As we move into summer and outdoor eating becomes more

Market brand. “When you open the clamshell, it tells the grower’s story and farming practices,” explains Yerecic. “It goes hand-in-hand with that local feel that people want. “Giving growers more opportunities to tell their stories through signage, labels or packaging is the way to connect with people on a deeper level,” she afrms.

frequent, the Sliced Broccoli Clovers are ideal served as an appetizer that is both healthy and delicious,” notes Shafer. Braga Fresh Family Farms is also encouraging more creative broccoli usage with its Josie’s Organics line and a website loaded with nutritious, delicious recipes. “With Josie’s Organics, we’re encouraging people to embrace the whole vegetable,” says Chadwick Boyd, a food and lifestyle expert for the Soledad, Calif.-based brand. “The idea of using grated broccoli stalks to refresh salads, for example, is really resonating with home cooks.” While many consumers purchase broccoli and eat only the florets, Josie’s Organics is promoting increased value and sustainability. As CEO Rod Braga contends, “Through wholevegetable cooking, we extend sustainability from our family farm to family dinner tables around the country.”

Healthy Eating Made Easy “Fresh and convenience,” asserts Jennifer Barnes, of Robbie Flexibles, when asked to describe the top trends in fresh produce packaging in just two words. “Te biggest trend we are hearing about is the demand for less-processed foods, more healthy alternatives, and the desire for convenient packaging in both family size and snack size,” adds Barnes,

June 2016 | |


Fresh Food

The biggest trend we are hearing about is the demand for less-processed foods, more healthy alternatives, and the desire for convenient packaging in both family size and snack size.” —Jennifer Barnes, Robbie Flexibles


product manager for the Lenexa, Kan.-based fexible-packaging company. Today’s shoppers aren’t just tossing items into their baskets. Teir increasing discernment demands a thoughtful approach from retailers and suppliers alike. “Consumers, especially Baby Boomers, are taking the time to see if the produce is packaged in store, if it is locally grown and if it’s fresh,” continues Barnes. “Retailers are building on this awareness by ofering packaging that protects the product’s freshness and the packaging’s real estate by letting them promote words like ‘fresh’ and ‘packaged in-store,’ as well as how-to instructions.” With convenience and added value in mind, Robbie has created several new packaging solutions for the fresh produce industry. Te Fresh N Tasty Bulk Produce Pouch ofers an easy-carry handle, resealable zipper and macro perforations on both sides of the pouch for easy rinsing of the produce. Te pouches are available in four sizes, from snack to family packs. “Fresh N Tasty Bulk Pouch is an alternative for retailers wanting to provide consumers with the

Get Your Products

Off the Floor!





convenience of picking up pre-packaged produce, versus picking through bulk displays,” notes Barnes. “Consumers also love the added food safety gained with buying pre-packaged produce.” Certainly, local also remains a powerful driver in fresh produce, and Robbie has responded to the need for greater backyard messaging with a new pouch that features “Locally Grown” at the top of the package, near the handle. Robbie currently ofers the product in two sizes, but is working with retailers to gauge the need for additional pouch specs. “Consumers are paying more attention to what they eat, where their food is grown and just how safe it is,” observes Barnes. “Local food, or locally sourced, is rapidly growing from a niche market into a full, dedicated section in the produce department.” Robbie’s other new packaging addresses the trend of healthful meals made easy. “We wanted to ofer retailers a new alternative to provide consumers with a fresh addition to ready-to-eat meal solutions,” says Barnes of Robbie’s new steamable pouch for fresh-cut produce. Te pouch is designed with customized laserventing technology that allows the produce to steam evenly in the microwave while preserving the taste and nutritional benefts of the veggies. “Tis new pouch answers the demand of the consumer wanting fresh and healthy alternatives to processed foods,” adds Barnes. “For retailers, the pouch helps build awareness of products that promote freshness and packaged in-store.”

Merchandising Naturally Supermarkets that create a farmers’-market ambiance send a fresh message that may translate to increased sales of fruits and vegetables. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is in the process of resetting the produce departments of some 2,000 of its stores with wood grain reusable plastic containers (RPCs), notes Tony Mosco, North American VP

of sales for Polymer Logistics, one of two companies now supplying the Bentonville, Ark.-based mega-retailer with new RPCs. Riverside, Calif.-based Polymer rolled out its wood grain RPCs in Europe several years ago. “Consumers in Italy said they liked the way it looked, better than commercial black RPCs,” recounts Mosco. “It has a warm farmers’-market feel, and retailers said consumers are buying more produce as a result. “Te biggest trend in fresh produce merchandising is the farmers’-market look,” he continues. “It’s more eyeappealing and friendly to consumers.” Polymer, which has an exclusive agreement with Walmart for the next 18 months, plans to roll out its wood grain RPCs to other retailers upon fulfllment of its commitment.

going with the grain Polymer Logistics’ wood grain rPCs impart a farmers’-market feel to an italian supermarket.

Walmart is reportedly implementing the wood grain RPCs in phases, beginning with dry commodities like onions, potatoes, tomatoes and stone fruit, in several Bentonville locations. “Wood grain RPCs are a major innovation,”


June 2016 | |


Fresh Food

[RPCs] were and remain an innovative solution that replaced a variety of packaging options a generation ago.” —Daniel Walsh, IFCO North America



asserts Mosco, who adds that Polymer also ofers a waterfall wood grain merchandiser for end caps, to complement the naturallooking RPCs. IFCO North America is also supplying Walmart with wood grain RPCs, and while the style is new, the solution is established. “[RPCs] were and remain an innovative solution that replaced a variety of packaging options a generation ago,” notes Daniel Walsh, president of Tampa, Fla.-based IFCO. “Tey are more efcient, cost-efective, sustainable and protect food better than one-way packaging,” he continues. “Tey also allow for greater air circulation around the product, helping to maintain its freshness. All of these factors [enable] retailers and growers to provide consumers with a wide variety of quality fresh produce year-round.” Sustainability also plays an important role in conveying a farm-fresh message. “Tere is a sharp focus on several key factors right now: efciency, cost savings, product quality and sustainability,”

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016

says Walsh. “Recent Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) research shows RPCs are more sustainable in every LCA category than cardboard boxes for fresh produce packaging.” On the food safety front, IFCO recently developed and installed proprietary SmartGuardian monitoring technology in all six of its U.S. RPC service centers. SmartGuardian software monitors and controls IFCO’s RPC cleaning and sanitation process so that it meets strict company and industry standards. “In today’s complex and global supply chain,” asserts Walsh, “remaining vigilant and maintaining a commitment to continual improvement is important to ensure we provide the safest possible food.” PG

Fresh Food

Produce Category Spotlight


Good for You

At long last, avocados get the official nod for nutritional excellence. By Jennifer Strailey


vocados made headlines last month, when the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) announced it would redefne “healthy” to include good-for-you foods such as avocados, salmon and almonds, which were previously considered too high in fat to meet its criteria. “It’s huge — I think it will change the industry dramatically,” exclaims Rick Joyal, national sales manager for Calavo Salsa Lisa and specialty products, with regard to the FDA’s decision to update its guidelines for the frst time since the 1990s. “I still have nutritionists approach me at trade shows and say that they try to keep their customers away from fats, including avocados.” In fact, avocados contain “good” fats — both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated — which can lower “bad” cholesterol levels and have proved benefcial when consumed in moderation. While Joyal notes that FDA’s redefnition will take several years to fnalize, the message that avocados are part of a healthy diet is fnally going mainstream. Santa Paula, Calif.-based Calavo Growers Inc. ofers a number of new products that play to the health message. It recently launched 2-ounce portion-controlled cups of 90-calorie guacamole. “Two ounces is really that sweet spot,” asserts Joyal. “It’s enough for a sandwich or a snack.” “Labeling avocados as healthy is a very positive step,” affrms Robb Bertels, VP of marketing for Mission Produce Inc., in Oxnard, Calif. “Te consumer perception and understanding of avocados is at a very high point right now, and this will help to maintain the momentum.”

‘Beyond Guacamole’ In addition to the health message, Mission is equally invested in communicating the versatility of avocados. “Core, heavy users of avocados know about the many uses of the product — from avocado toast for breakfast, to


salads, to use on sandwiches, and, of course, as guacamole,” notes Bertels. “As the perception of avocados as a healthy fruit continues to grow, we feel that nonusers will try avocados, and light and medium users will move up the scale and expand their use beyond guacamole.” At West Pak Avocado, in Murrieta, Calif., communicating versatility also means ofering the consumer options. “We have made considerable investments in our bagging technology in the last several years,” says Marketing Manager George Henderson. “With this investment, it gives us a wide range of fexibility to be on the front end of emerging demographics and merchandising trends with our new product and consumer packaging oferings.”

Ripe and Ready Sell “Ripeness is critical to winning over customers with avocados, from coast to coast,” observes Bertels. To that end, Mission’s goal is to ofer ripe and ready avocados to its retail partners and consumers on a year-round basis by sourcing from multiple growing regions, including California, Mexico, Peru and Chile. “We also recommend merchandising multicount bags in addition to bulk,” suggests Bertels. “Tis gives consumers a choice in sizing and level of ripeness. As long as the

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016

Smooth Over a century of awesome. Since 1886, Del Monte has

been dedicated to bringing the best products from around the world


to your door. Our network of strategically located North American distribution centers lets us easily distribute green, pre-conditioned and ripe avocados, right when you need them. And as a leading pineapple and banana supplier, top avocado marketer, go-to fresh cut producer and so much more, there’s no limit to how partnering with us can help you grow your future.

The Nature of the Best Visit us at United Fresh, Booth #1205 | 1-800-950-3683 |

Š 2016 Del Monte Fresh Produce N.A., Inc.





Fresh Food

Produce Category Spotlight

displays are well stocked and maintained, that choice always equals higher velocity through the Labeling department.”

avocados as healthy is a very positive step. The consumer perception and understanding of avocados is at a very high point right now, and this will help to maintain the momentum.” —Robb Bertels, Mission Produce


California Calling About 90 percent of the nation’s avocado supply comes from California. Tis year’s crop is estimated at about 390 million pounds — about 40 percent larger than last year’s — with availability from March through September. To strengthen the connection between avocados and the Golden State in this year of abundance, the California Avocado Commission (CAC) has launched a vibrant marketing campaign. “It builds on the groundbreaking California avocado grower campaign, communicating that California avocados aren’t just made in California, but made of California,” says Jan DeLyser, VP marketing for CAC, in Irvine, Calif. Te campaign features a new theme, California by Nature, supported by consumer advertising, including traditional broadcast and in-store radio and print ads, as well as social media and digital marketing. CAC is also working with chefs, bloggers and dietitians to encourage consumption of

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016

California avocados. On the retail front, CAC is providing display bins that complement the new advertising creative. DeLyser notes that the commission’s retail marketing directors are also working with retail partners on customized marketing programs featuring California avocados. At this point, avocados have been a hot item in fresh produce for a number of years. Where does the industry go from here? “Tere is absolutely room for continued growth in avocado consumption, both in the U.S. and worldwide,” asserts DeLyser, who points to a recent IRI FreshLook household panel data study indicating that only 42 percent of U.S. households outside of California purchase avocados from retailers. “Tat leaves more than half of the potential audience untapped,” notes DeLyser. “In California, during California avocado season, retail household penetration is much higher (66 percent), but there’s still room to convert more consumers here to become avocado lovers.” When it comes to merchandising that sells, DeLyser afrms that a dedicated ripe avocado program is of the utmost importance, but promoting

taste great and are extremely versatile, as they can be used in all kinds of recipes,” he says. To promote this versatility, Avocados From Peru is once again ofering its cookbook, “Cooking with Avocados From Peru,” as a free download via its website For more inspiration and retail support, grocers can visit the Retail Marketing Support section of its website.

origin also plays a role. “Consumers look to retailers for information about the product seasonality and origin,” she adds. “Signage that calls out locally grown, or the California origin in season, provides the information consumers are looking for.” In celebration of the California-grown avocado, Mission has created a California-specifc bag strap. “Part of the initiative is to help highlight the California crop, and to also tie in with our California PLU labels,” explains Bertels. “We have specifc customers that want to call out California on the packaging, and even though we are a global supplier, this gives us the opportunity to promote the crop for our grower base and our home base in California.”

Persuing Peru Building on its campaign as the Summer Avocado, the Peruvian Avocado Commission (PAC), has planned an extensive menu of promotions for the season, which runs from June through September, featuring tagged radio and Pandora ads, and in-store demos. PAC expects Peru to export approximately 100 million pounds of avocados to the United States in 2016, as it did last year. With sizzling summertime recipes, promotions and events, the fruit is sure to sell out. “Walmart will be doing several radio-supported tasting events this summer,” notes Xavier Equihua, president and CEO of Washington, D.C.-based PAC. In one event, customers will taste an avocado smoothie made with Avocados From Peru. Equihua sees continued growth in the avocado category. “In our opinion, the primary reason for the unprecedented growth is simple: Hass avocados

To the Mex Meanwhile, Dallas-based Avocados From Mexico (AFM) creates compelling campaigns that increase avocado consumption each year. Tis past year, its promotions surrounding the Super Bowl and Cinco de Mayo both met with success. “Te Big Game is the No. 1 occasion where avocados are served, and Avocados from Mexico’s goal is to own this occasion both in-store and out of store,” asserts Stephanie Bazan, AFM market development director. AFM is currently rolling out its Grills Gone Loco summer promotion in partnership with Heineken/Tecate in an efort to leverage the peak season for outdoor barbecues and picnics. Te promotion includes cross-merchandising, a joint savings ofer, and recipe inspiration on AFM social/digital platforms. For the back-to-school occasion, AFM plans to introduce its frst shopper marketing program. “Tis program will be focused on nutritious breakfasts, encouraging moms to add avocados to their children’s morning-time meals,” notes Bazan. AFM will team with the Produce Marketing Association’s Eat Brighter! campaign, featuring “Sesame Street” characters, for this promotion, which will include displays and a money-savings ofer.

California avocados aren’t just made in California, but made of California.” —Jan DeLyser, California Avocado Commission

Social Media Sensation “We can say that, without a doubt, ‘avocado’ is a hot topic in the social media conversation right now, and that applies to all social platforms,” says Ivonne Kinser, AFM director of digital marketing. “However, the style, tone and form of the avocado conversation vary from one platform to the other.” She points to Instagram as the preferred platform for foodies, health-and-wellness enthusiasts and food industry professionals. On the other hand, AFM’s Facebook audience is hungry for avocado recipes. Tey’re also more receptive to AFM’s brand messages, such as origin, freshness and year-long availability. “Twitter is the preferred platform to share quick avo tips, and to amplify all the campaigns we deploy in digital as well as ofine,” explains Kinser. “Pinterest is key to provide avocado lovers with a broad array of avocado recipes that they can easily add to their recipe collections.” PG June 2016 | |



Wellness Solutions



Food retailers test new concepts to tackle diabetes. By Christina Veiders


he diabetes landscape — where millions of lives and billions of health care dollars are at stake — is quickly changing. Shifts in diabetes care are driven by:

Patient-focused consumerism, where the onus for health is on the individual. Increased access to health care services through community-based, patient-directed models, including retail pharmacy and health clinics. Innovative digital health technologies that broaden access and empower diabetics to take control. New insulin drugs, formulations and combination therapies for better glucose control, with advances in delivery and monitoring devices.


| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016

All require the need for better education. Supermarkets, where food is center stage and a critical component to diabetes health, have come to recognize the importance of the diabetic customer both from an economic and a community health perspective. Food retailers have tackled the disease to various degrees over the past decade. Yet to stay ahead of the diabetes trajectory, they’re testing new concepts, including integrating the total store, and employing new technologies while focusing on lowering costs and providing easy access for patients. “At retail, [where] you’ve got food and grocery, if you have other assets where you can build comprehensive solutions for the patient and really center those solutions around the patient, it just opens a phenomenal opportunity for innovation and hope-

fully bringing down that cost of [health care] GDP,” Alex Hurd, senior director of product development, growth and payer innovation, health and wellness at Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc., said last year during a webinar produced by dLife. Walmart is driving health care across its store assortment, focusing on afordability and achieving better outcomes. Te Live Well with Diabetes initiative expands into skin care, supplies and low-carb nutritional foods. Dave Wendland, VP at Hamacher Resource Group, a consumer health care consultancy based in Waukesha, Wis., says getting the assortment right is a best-in-class practice for food retailers targeting diabetes. “Not only ensure that the correct meters and related strips correspond with the health plans in the area, but look for additional product lines — OTC medications, medical supplies, lotions, food and exercise equipment — all relevant to shoppers with diabetes,” he notes. “Call attention to those products as part of the right mix.” When it comes to promoting healthy eating habits, Walmart partners with health care plans that incentivize its members with discounts of 5 percent to 10 percent on Walmart’s Good For You nutritional foods. Te mega-retailer and its health care plan partners also discount health-related products for members who complete a health risk assessment at a Walmart Pursuant Health kiosk. Further, the company is piloting a primary care clinic model that includes management of chronic conditions. Besides national food retailers like Walmart, smaller regional grocery chains are testing new concepts.

Total Store View According to Wendland, it’s important “to look at diabetes through the lens of the entire store and across all the aisles.” To that end, he recommends a total store makeover. “Category managers in nonpharmacy areas of the store need to understand the value of the patient,” Wendland observes. “Te story needs to be consistent across the spectrum of categories. Look for ways to create unique product bundles that meet the needs of diabetics.” Wakefern Food Corp., based in Keasbey, N.J., has done this with the launch of the Diabetes Wellness Center, which features more than 100 items across seven categories, including pharmacy, dedicated to diabetes. Te center, developed in conjunction with New Brunswick, N.J.-based Johnson & Johnson, is strategically located next to in-store dietitians and pharmacists. According to Chris Skyers, Wakefern’s VP HBC,

those centers are being rolled out to stores as a onestop shop for diabetes customers. Te frst one debuted last year at a ShopRite store in Flemington, N.J. It’s been reported that the set has the potential to generate $1,000 in incremental sales annually for every new diabetes customer visiting ShopRite stores. Tose customers are said to have a market basket fve times larger than nondiabetic shoppers. Te retailer co-op has been expanding its healthand-wellness platform since 2006, when it began hiring dietitians to work with pharmacists as part of its Live Right program. “We’ve always been focused on stocking all the [diabetes] products our customers need and want,” notes Skyers. “Te diference now is that we are really trying to make it easier for our customers to fnd what they need and access all the other great services we ofer, such as our retail dietitians and our pharmacists.”

Every diabetes patient has a unique set of circumstances, and these oneon-one sit-down conversations [with pharmacists] are crucial to helping people, from a holistic perspective.” —Dave Chism, Schnucks

Blend of Services St. Louis-based Schnuck Markets, with nearly 100 stores, has made diabetes a focus for more than a decade. It has also expanded the depth and breadth of services across the entire store experience, says David Chism, Schnucks’ director of pharmacy services. More than 150 Schnucks pharmacists are American Pharmacists Association-certifed diabetes specialists ofering patient-centered management services. Pharmacy teams work with diabetic patients individually to provide customized medication

Pre-diabetes on the Rise Among generally glum diabetes statistics, a glimmer of hope surfaced late last year when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the number of new diabetes cases was on the decline for the first time in decades. Still, the overall numbers — 29.1 million diabetic Americans at present — are expected to climb, along with an aging population, of which 25.9 percent of seniors currently have either diagnosed or undiagnosed diabetes. Also, 86 million Americans age 20 and older have pre-diabetes. That number rose nearly 9 percent in a two-year period, making pre-diabetes a disease subset that retailers can target. “The biggest challenge and opportunity is not only keeping pace with the growing incidence of patients diagnosed with diabetes, but I am looking for retailers to step up and provide guidance for those steeply mounting numbers of prediabetics,” says Dave Wendland, VP at Waukesha, Wis.-based consumer health care consultancy Hamacher Resource Group. “That’s where I see opportunity.” Short of a miracle cure or dramatic long-term societal lifestyle changes to help prevent type 2 diabetes, however, the condition is expected to remain a health care burden, having cost the system $176 billion in 2012 alone.

June 2016 | |



Wellness Solutions

improve their outcomes and medication compliance. Reasor’s began a partnership last year with IMWell Clinic, a Fort Smith, Ark.-based developer of primary care clinics for multiemployers. It opened a clinic in one of Reasor’s 19 locations and has another clinic of-site. “We have seen a shift to the patientcentered model, as well as a focus on employee-centered care,” notes Ince. Trough the clinic, employees get medical care and routine checkups with convenience and no out-ofpocket fees. “Te coordination of care with an on-site medical facility, registered dietitian and pharmacy in one location puts us in a position to improve health outcomes and patient satisfaction,” explains Ince.

bEST of CarE Under Golub Corp.’s Diabetes advantEdge program, diabetics have access to knowledgeable pharmacists.

therapy management (MTM) and comprehensive medication reviews. Te program aims to eliminate duplicate therapies, promote medication compliance and lower out-of-pocket costs, adds Chism. “Every diabetes patient has a unique set of circumstances, and these one-on-one sit-down conversations [with pharmacists] are crucial to helping people, from a holistic perspective,” he says. As technology continues to evolve, Schnucks will strive to be at the forefront of the curve, according to Chism. As examples, pharmacists have employed a smartphone diabetes monitoring and smart-app system to help patients control their blood sugar levels. “Enabling diabetic customers to test more conveniently at reduced cost will only drive adherence to medications and awareness of how well they are controlling blood sugar day to day,” Chism points out, adding that the retailer strives for “a unique blend of pharmacy and dietetic services, coupled with access to the newest products, that will allow our patients to achieve the best blood sugar control possible.”

Team Effort While the pharmacists’ role is central to diabetes education and management, in-store dietitians play an equally important part on the food side. Reasor’s, based in Tulsa, Okla., launched its Eat Right, Feel Great program last year in part to give its dietitians a greater presence in disease prevention and management. “We are part of the pharmacy department, and we look to strengthen the connection between pharmacist and dietitian in stores,” says Lindsey Ince, a registered dietitian at Reasor’s. Te retailer is leveraging pharmacy data to increase diabetes patient referrals to Reasor’s dietitians to


| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016

Complete Solution Schenectady, N.Y.-based Golub Corp., which operates more than 160 stores under Price Chopper and Market 32 banners, launched Diabetes AdvantEdge in 2010 to serve as a platform for a comprehensive diabetes program. “Tis program is a complete diabetes care solution that helps patients confdently manage their diabetes while providing access to free diabetes medications and supplies,” observes Kathleen Bryant, VP of pharmacy. Under the program, which is free, patients receive diabetes medications, supplies, a blood glucose meter and discounted test strips with a prescription. Some of the most common oral medications for diabetes are included. In addition, patients have access to knowledgeable pharmacists who advise on blood glucose readings and proper medication administration. As the retailer transitions its pharmacies into the Market 32 brand, Bryant says design changes are planned. “Tey will include changes that create a warm and welcoming atmosphere that is ideal for patient-centered care,” she notes. “Tis includes professional, private patient consultation ofces and a convenient separate store entrance directly to the pharmacy and wellness area.” Supporting the AdvantEdge platform are the NuVal Nutritional Scoring System for informed food choices; immunization checkups, which are important to maintain the health of diabetics; MTM services; and promotions at the pharmacy that include coupons on produce, seafood and lean meats, and blood pressure screenings. New services include a specialty pharmacy program with Pittsburgh-based Aureus Health Services and the testing of Doctor on Demand telemedicine services at fve Price Chopper locations. PG

Revitalize your category with the #1 Hand & Body Lotion manufacturer in the U.S.*

#1 Dermatologist Recommended for Dry, Cracked Skin**

Driving Topline Sales

Delivering Category Growth

Redefining Innovation

*Nielsen, xAOC, Beiersdorf $ Volume, 52 weeks ending 4/16/16, Hand & Body Lotion Category, Dollar Sales **Based on ProVoice Survey, July to September 2015

Want to learn more on how to grow? email us:


General Merchandise

Leading the


High-performance, hearing aid batteries are fueling the category.

Price-only tactics at the battery shelf will not yield category growth.” —William De Groot, Duracell



By Barbara Sax

espite slow growth in a mature category, some segments of the battery category have seen an uptick. Overall, the category has had sluggish growth at 1.5 percent for the 52 weeks ending April 17, according to IRI data. Still, Chicago-based IRI finds that higherpriced premium performance alkaline batteries, which last longer than traditional alkaline batteries, are becoming a bigger part of the category and driving profit. Rayovac’s high-performance Fusion brand incredibly grew more than 1,000 percent in the 52-week period, while Duracell’s Quantum grew 15.8 percent and Quantum Powercheck surged an impressive 51.9 percent.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016

Energizer’s Energizer EcoAdvanced, the first AA battery made with 4 percent recycled batteries — and the brand’s highest-performing alkaline battery — skyrocketed an amazing 500 percent in dollar sales for the 52-week period, proving that consumers will pay more for sustainable products as long as they perform well. St. Louis-based Energizer recently introduced Energizer Recharge, the first rechargeable AA and AAA batteries made with recycled batteries, also featuring 4 percent recycled battery material. Since consumers have been slower to adopt rechargeables, it will be an interesting product to watch. Premium batteries have had an impact on private label, which holds a 12.5 percent share of category sales, down 2.6 percent from a year ago,

according to IRI. A dependence on promotions, such as the buy-two-get-one-free recently run by Ahold USA-owned supermarket chain Giant Landover in Washington, D.C., on its Smart Living alkaline batteries, deliver turns but not dollars to the segment, which continues to face competition from higher-performing products. Merchandising around growth brands lifts the category. “Retailer merchandising needs to signpost the category and support the brands that drive higher value,” says William De Groot, assistant brand manager at Bethel, Conn.-based Duracell a Procter & Gamble brand. “Price-only tactics at the battery shelf will not yield category growth.” With so many choices and price points, consumers can be confused about which product to choose. “As we talk to consumers about the battery category, we hear that they are not aware of some of the diferences among the battery type,” notes Ann Rule, senior director of marketing, North America batteries at Rayovac, part of Madison, Wis.-based Spectrum Brands. To help consumers better understand their products, Rayovac updated its packaging to clearly communicate which batteries are best suited to specifc electronic devices. Te new packaging debuts this summer.

Can You Hear Me Now? Hearing aid batteries, fueled by an aging Boomer generation continuing to enter the segment, is growing at 2 percent to 3 percent a year. “Te growth is driven by an increase in the population of those age 65-plus who are in need of aids as hearing deteriorates; however, there are 23 million Americans over the age of 65 who have untreated hearing loss, and we are trying to educate and inspire them to take action with their hearing health to not miss important moments in their life,” asserts Duracell’s De Groot. To that end, the brand recently launched Stay Connected, a campaign that includes a video addressing the importance of treating hearing loss, kicking of the campaign in May with an appearance by John Slattery, of TV’s “Mad Men,” a.k.a. “silver fox” Roger Sterling. Since new technologies within hearing devices are being introduced regularly, and many require more battery power and put more drain on the hearing aid batteries themselves, manufacturers are launching premium batteries in this segment as well. Energizer has improved the performance of its hearing aid batteries so that they now last up to 30 percent longer than previous designs in wireless devices and are designed to prevent damaging leaks. “Our hearing aid batteries also have long tabs, making it easier for consumers to handle and insert [them] into the hearing aid,” says Michelle Atkin-

son, chief consumer ofcer at Energizer. “We are seeing consumers migrate to smaller hearing aid devices, which have made some of the smaller sizes the fastest-growing SKUs, namely size 312,” observes Rayovac’s Rule, adding that secondary displays, which are successful across the store, are particularly important for hearing aid batteries when placed near pharmacy. “Making this category easy to fnd and easy to shop is critical in converting hearing aid battery shoppers into buyers,” she notes. De Groot agrees. “We have found that display locations within the pharmacy area are best for merchandising these batteries,” he says. “However, including them in the home battery location drives maximum hearing aid battery sales.”

Portable Power Other segments can also boost sales. Flashlights, headlights and other portable power sources are important ancillary segments for emergency preparedness and can be a strong segment during the summer storm season and for outdoor activities during the warmer months. In the light segment, Energizer ofers a highperformance lightweight headlight suitable for a number of activities that require two hands. “Te Vision HD+ Focus LED Headlight, one example of [our] line of high-performance headlights, features a 250-lumen powerful beam with three light modes, including night vision, digital focus and memory recall, and a pivoting functionality to direct light where you need it,” says Atkinson. “It runs up to six hours, has a beam distance of 240 feet, [and] is water-resistant and drop-tested to stand up to harsh conditions.” Energizer has the fashlight segment covered with its 2AA LED and 3AAA LED models, both made of commercial-grade aluminum that delivers custom optics, and featuring digital switching for three modes: high, power-saver and emergency strobe. For its part, Duracell recently launched a line of mobile/portable power-charging packs under the Duracell Mobile subbrand, which includes portable power packs in a variety of sizes. PG

SouNdS Like a PLaN By making hearing aid batteries easy to shop for, grocers can boost sales of the segment.

June 2016 | |



Point-of-sale Systems


at Checkout

Red tape impedes grocers’ EMV card implementation — with consumer data at risk. By John Karolefski


oint-of-sale (POS) systems in grocery stores were supposed to be able to accept Europay Mastercard Visa (EMV) credit cards for payment at checkout beginning Oct.1, 2015. Te transition from magneticstripe cards to EMV cards with an embedded chip designed to protect consumer data looked like a good thing because of benefts to shoppers and grocers. Unfortunately, shoppers in many supermarkets still can’t use EMV cards at checkout terminals. Te main reason for this, according to experts, has less to do with grocers not having upgraded their POS terminals than with the bureaucracy surrounding the card networks.


| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016

“Te fact that grocery stores have not implemented EMV is not necessarily due to their lack of readiness. In fact, a majority of the retailers that ECRS works with are ready — and have been for some time,” asserts Ray Steele, executive director of services at ECRS, a Boone, N.C.-based provider of solutions for retail enterprise automation. Unlike in the past, according to Steele, the POS software, PIN pad manufacturers, and authorization providers must be certifed as a complete working solution by each card type. For the payment-processing network to function, no one player can unilaterally implement a change, even if all are individually ready. “It is the coordinated whole that matters,” he explains, “and that coordination is not simple at all.


Point-of-sale Systems

Each unique combination of POS system, payment device and processor must be carefully tested and certifed. When you consider that the certifcation for MasterCard, Visa, Discover and American Express are all separate, there are thousands of these combinations.”

EMV requires grocers to invest not only in new hardware, but in software integration and operation changes to support it as well.” —Ken Paull, Cayan LLC


Daunting Delay Peter Larkin, president and CEO of the Arlington, Va.-based National Grocers Association (NGA), notes that his members are frustrated with the slow pace of EMV implementation. Te vast majority of members — from singlestore operators to regional chains — invested tens of thousands of dollars in new hardware and software well before the October 1 deadline, “only to be left waiting on a massive backlog in the certifcation process, which is controlled by the card networks,” Larkin wrote in a recent essay. “Te certifcation process, which is mandated by the card networks, has experienced a number of delays that range from the card networks’ late delivery of technical code to other complications slowing the certifcation process,” Larkin said in the essay. “None of these delays are the fault of merchants, yet it’s the merchant who is facing an onslaught in new chargebacks as well as confusion among consumers who don’t understand why they can’t use their chip cards at their local supermarket.” Merchants that have made the investment to comply with the Oct. 1 deadline should be given a “safe harbor” and shielded from EMV-specifc chargebacks, according to Larkin. “It’s time for the card networks and banks to stop passing the buck onto the backs of merchants, but rather they should work together with merchants to further eliminate fraud by issuing credit cards with PINs and work to speed up the EMV certifcation process,” he wrote. ECRS’ Steele says that retailers spent a lot of money buying new payment-processing terminals for their stores despite the low adoption rate of the payment processors. “Without consideration for this expense and efort, the chargebacks began to roll in late in the year,” he observes. “Retailers and their POS partners have watched powerlessly as this practice has continued into 2016.” Other technology experts familiar with the EMV issue point to a more basic reason for the delay: cost. Bryce Austin, CISM, strategist and CEO for TCE

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016

Strategy, based in Minneapolis-St. Paul, says that the back-end systems needed to support EMV are antiquated and need a signifcant upgrade — or a complete replacement. “EMV requires grocers to invest not only in new hardware, but in software integration and operation changes to support it as well,” afrms Ken Paull, chief revenue ofcer at Cayan LLC, a Boston-based provider of payment technologies. “Every time a card is swiped, instead of reading generic data from old magnetic stripes, new smart chip-enabled devices are now communicating with chips to process their unique data.”

Ready — or Not? When will payment terminals in grocery stores be ready for EMV cards? “EMV is trending in the right direction, according to Paull, “but it is still most likely going to take most of 2016 and into 2017 for all grocers to transition to EMV. Te petroleum industry was given two additional years, until October 2017, to be subject to the chargeback liability shift, due to the complexities of implementing EMV at the pump. With the complicated ecosystem, including EBT and e-WIC, in the grocery market, possibly there should have been a greater lobbying efort to attempt to gain at least a one-year extension.” Steele, of ECRS, claims there never was — nor is there now — some specifc date when the “EMV Big Bang” will occur. In general, retailers will see diferent solution sets come online, one at a time, over the coming months. ECRS has completed certifcations for two major payment processors: First Data and WorldPay. When fnal implementation is complete, there will be signifcant advantages for grocers and shop-

pers. Steele points out that a chip-embedded card is difcult to forge, as opposed to a “mag-stripe” card, which can be reproduced relatively easily from stolen credit card information. “In an EMV card,” he explains, “security information — unique to the specifc card account and decipherable only by properly confgured computers — is embedded in the chip itself. To forge one of these cards, you’d have to steal a consumer’s account information and know the secret information that the card issuer encoded into their unique chip. Tis makes those cards very difcult — some say nearly impossible — to forge.”

Future Benefits For grocers, EMV cards provide key improvements to business-processing eforts and timing, according to Nona Cusick, SVP of consumer products, retail and distribution at Capgemini, a Paris-based global consulting and technology frm. “Grocers can expect to increase their productivity as the EMV cards facilitate ofine authentication and streamline the checkout process at POS, the cashier’s day-end book balancing, and cash handling,” notes Cusick. “In addition to fraud reduction and various

other benefts, EMV cards enable and simplify the implementation of customer retention eforts such as loyalty programs and marketing schemes. “Perhaps the greatest beneft that EMV cards provide to shoppers is increased customer satisfaction and peace of mind,” she continues. “As EMV cards pave the way for contact-less payment, the checkout process and experience will be faster and simpler for shoppers. Just as security is a huge beneft for grocers — the EMV’s card authentication, cardholder verifcation and transaction authorization features enhance overall transaction security and provide shoppers with a greater sense of security with their purchases.” Along with these benefts for grocers and their customers, there’s one glaring disadvantage of not being EMV compliant. When a counterfeit credit card was used at a store’s checkout before Oct. 1, 2015, the bank issuing the plastic took the loss. After that date, however, the liability shifted to retailers. In other words, they’ll be fnancially responsible for fraudulent transactions. Tat should be enough to prompt every grocer in the country to be EMV compliant. But that will happen only when the card networks do their job in the transition to the new card type. PG

As EMV cards pave the way for contactless payment, the checkout process and experience will be faster and simpler for shoppers.” —Nona Cusick, Capgemini

June 2016 | |


Responsibility for groceries is becoming more evenly dispersed throughout the household, and the role of the primary shopper is being replaced with multiple shoppers who divide and share responsibilities.

Digital Dialogue By Sylvain Perrier

The Individual Versus the Household These groups’ often conflicting interests create challenges in personalization.


ust a couple of years ago, users who shared Netfix accounts bafed the streaming service’s recommendation algorithm, the tool that’s supposed to learn your preferences and suggest movies and TV shows you’d like to watch from the company’s extensive catalog. But while you’re binging on “Breaking Bad,” your kids might be streaming Disney movies, leading Netfix to suggest content that might not appeal to everyone in your household. If you happen to use Netfix as it was originally intended — that is, one account, one user and one data set for making predictions — it works fantastically. Te trouble is, virtually nobody uses it that way. Te answer to this problem was simple: user profles. Tese would allow the company’s millions of subscribers to create several profles on any one account, and recommendations would be more aligned with each individual’s interests. Tis strategy seems to be working, since research suggests that 75 percent to 80 percent of what people watch using the streaming service comes from what Netfix recommends, instead of what people search for. It comes as no surprise, then, that retailers are scrambling to apply this same logic to the grocery world.

Segmentation in the Age of Big Data Today’s grocery businesses are leveraging the data and technology at their fngertips to segment customers based on historical purchases, browsing patterns, and more, allowing them to create targeted ofers for shoppers as part of an omnichannel experience. Technology-savvy consumers have come to expect — and even demand — this level of personalization, with many considering it the new norm. By grouping consumers by age, geography, gender, income and family status, marketers have been able to draw conclusions about each group’s shared interests and consumption behaviors, but the assumptions we’ve grown to accept from traditional demographic segments are becoming less reliable. A frequently cited example of this would be Ozzy Osbourne and Prince Charles: Both were born in


| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016

1948, grew up in the United Kingdom, married twice, have two children, are wealthy and like dogs. In the age of Big Data, it’s easy to dismiss segmentation as an outmoded methodology, but the segmentation of old is quite diferent from the advanced tactics used today. Rather than grouping customers based on their demographic traits, modern techniques use value and behavioral dimensions to create a multitude of microsegments that defne themselves organically through data analysis.

Balancing Needs In its most rudimentary form, a household is best described as a group of people with the same last name, living at the same address. But the traditional concept of the household is changing: Tere are more multigenerational households, and many families are delaying — or even abandoning — marriage. Beyond just recognizing that these shifts are taking place, it’s important for marketers to consider how such changes will infuence consumer culture and shape product demand. Responsibility for groceries is becoming more evenly dispersed throughout the household, and the role of the primary shopper is being replaced with multiple shoppers who divide and share responsibilities. On the one hand, this raises questions about how well each shopper represents the needs of the household they shop for. On the other, it means that marketers have more opportunities to appeal to individual customers. When it comes to balancing the needs of the individual or the household, the truth is that both must be taken into consideration. After all, in the age of the consumer, it’s all about delivering truly contextualized and highly relevant experiences — but what’s relevant to Ozzy Osbourne will likely difer from what’s relevant to the Prince of Wales. PG Sylvain Perrier is president and CEO of Mercatus Technologies, a Toronto-based enterprise-grade software company specializing in digital solutions for North American grocery.

Powering the Smart Sales Floor ™

Got Digital? Have you ever tried to communicate with another store associate and realized you’re picking up someone else’s conversation on your two-way radio? That can make it difficult to answer a customer’s question quickly. The new Motorola DLR Digital Radio is here to help. It provides clear, interference-free and private communications for up to 300K square feet. Help your customers quicker by going digital. Is your current communication system serving you well? Are you aware of the dead spots? Are your customers wandering the aisles looking for someone to answer a question?

Get a FREE audit of your sales floor technology at


MOTOROLA, MOTO, MOTOROLA SOLUTIONS and the Stylized M Logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Motorola Trademark Holdings LLC and are used under license. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. © 2015 Motorola, Inc. All rights reserved.


Supply Chain


Touch Technology is helping grocers get a better handle on out-of-stocks at the store level. By Jenny McTaggart


hen two of the world’s top retailers make signifcant changes in their operations to combat out-of-stocks (OOS), you know it’s a big problem. Both Walmart and Target have made recent news headlines because they’re cutting down on product assortment as just one potential antidote. Moreover, at Minneapolis-based Target, former fnance chief John Mulligan was moved to the post of COO to help with out-of-stocks and other supply chain issues. Since then, the retail chain has reportedly planned to tighten deadlines on deliveries to its warehouses and initiate other penalties for late or inaccurate orders. While these grand eforts underscore the fact that out-of-stocks are a huge problem for the industry — the latest estimate places the out-of-stock rate at 8 percent on average — several experts in the technology arena think that the most efective solution is actually much simpler. Tey’re encouraging retailers to take another look at their individual stores — more specifcally, the potential of store-level inventory visibility. Jef Kennedy, president of West Des Moines,


| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016


We estimate that at least three-fourths of current out-of-stocks are caused by a frustrating combination of antiquated ordering systems plus inadequate shelfmanagement processes.” —Jeff Kennedy, Itasca Retail Information Systems


Supply Chain

Iowa-based Itasca Retail Information Systems, has dedicated a lot of time to studying out-of-stocks. He was on board in the early 2000s, when Schenectady, N.Y.-based Price Chopper worked with Itasca to make its CAO (computer-automated ordering) system more comprehensive. Te new tool was able to bring out-of-stock rates down to 1.5 percent to 2.5 percent across all center store categories and to about half of its perishables, according to Retail Info Systems News in 2008. Today, Itasca is working with Sobeys, Wegmans Food Markets and other retailers across North America to address out-of-stocks. “We estimate that at least three-fourths of current out-of-stocks are caused by a frustrating combination of antiquated ordering systems plus inadequate shelf-management processes,” Kennedy tells Progressive Grocer. “Te grocery industry has been slow at adopting perpetual-inventory systems, which enable automated replenishment and its associated OOS reduction, based on past perceptions that it’s difcult to implement, labor-intensive and/or requires too much store discipline to be efective,” he adds. “We’ve been able to prove that this is a myth in 100 percent of our implementations.” In fact, Kennedy says Itasca’s solutions have solved out-of-stocks and inventory issues at store level while being labor-neutral. “Approaches that don’t include the store fail, because there’s no beneft to the store,” he maintains. “We provide an at-store solution. We employ the store personnel as our eyes and ears to let us know what’s going on. Any system will work great if the information is good. And the only way to know if the information is good is to have it validated. In many cases, it has to be done by a human being.” Itasca’s system still provides auto-replenishment, however. “We don’t envision store personnel actually writing the orders, but we do see them helping maintain the inventory,” notes Kennedy. “Te reason why we take a store approach is that we think perhaps getting that big number — the number that’s required for the manufacturer to supply the retailer — is one thing, but getting all the little numbers — in other words, if you’re a 100-store retailer, all those stores with the right amount of product — is more difcult,” he adds. “So there might be adequate inventory, [but] it just might not be in the right location.” Itasca’s solutions are tailored specifcally to the North American grocery industry, which has unique challenges such as a large variety of product sourcing and an emphasis on promotions, he notes. In one of Itasca’s most recent implementations, Rochester, N.Y.-based Wegmans is in the process of bringing the Itasca Magic Inventory Management Solution to all 88 of its stores and in most major departments. Future phases will extend the solution to the general merchandise, health and

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016

beauty care, direct-store-delivered, and perishables categories — in addition to the grocery, frozen, and dairy categories it has rolled out to chain-wide over the past year. “We are already better at ordering accuracy, staying in stock and reduced overall store inventories,” said Jack DePeters, Wegmans’ SVP of store operations, in January.

Right Inventory, Right Time Over at Dayton, Ohio-based Teradata, store-/SKUbased forecasting is the name of the game for dealing with out-of-stocks. Tim JW Simmons, general sales manager, North America, demand chain solutions and services at the company, notes, “Te key factors causing out-of-stocks are using promotion estimates that aren’t based on individual store demand and need; having new item forecasts that are based on averages, with limited focus on individual location; and having a one-size-fts-all service-level strategy.” Teradata’s solutions more accurately forecast promotion and event demand, and also incorporate seasonality, trend and new-item data into their analytics, he says. One national food retailer that recently implemented Teradata’s demand-driven forecasting and replenishment approach “signifcantly improved its ability to determine the right inventory, at the right place, in the right quantity, and at the right time across the chain,” according to Simmons. Te retailer now provides its stores with automated demand forecasts and suggested order quantities. While North America certainly has its own distinct challenges contributing to out-of-stocks, at least one global retailer is learning some lessons that

might also apply in the States. Slovenian retailer Mercator operates supermarkets, convenience stores and online operations, yet at one time, its IT systems weren’t fully integrated and didn’t adequately support its business needs. Specifcally, its ordering and replenishment systems were working in silos, and product information wasn’t held centrally or at the shelf. Palo Alto, Calif.-based Symphony EYC was able to use its Symphony GOLD technology to help the company turn its operations around and signifcantly lower its out-of-stocks, according to Donal Mac Daid, VP of marketing supply chain for Symphony GOLD. “Mercator operates with two huge systems: the supply chain management system, and the merchandising and category management system,” notes Mac Daid. “Te frst stage of the improvement program was to synchronize these systems together and integrate the business processes so the store replenishment system would be driven by live sales and inventory data. To achieve this, Mercator deployed Symphony GOLD Assortment Planning and Store Execution.” Te IT system allowed Mercator to access data at numerous points in the supply chain, including at the shelf, according to Mac Daid. Inventory levels across the supply chain could now be monitored in real time, and orders were placed automatically to suppliers, reducing the risk of out-of-stocks. So far, Mercator has rolled out the Symphony GOLD system to 483 stores in Slovenia: 22 hypermarkets, 61 supermarkets and 400 convenience stores.

Amazon’s Always in Stock Mac Daid believes that in the U.S. market as well, the frequency of inventory updates around both sales and inventory needs to increase. “Like all retailers, U.S. supermarkets need to move faster,” he says. “It used to be that grocery chains kept, on average, 28 days of stock on hand; now it’s seven days. With less days of inventory, they need more support from their IT systems.” At least one U.S.-based retailer can claim to have no out-of-stocks, namely, Seattle-based Amazon, notes Mac Daid. “With Amazon as the default standard for online delivery, retailers need to address their out-of-stock issues or risk going out of business,” he warns. “Today’s shoppers will go elsewhere if the retailer doesn’t have what they want.” Itasca’s Kennedy echoes his concerns, noting that SKU reduction as a strategy to deal with out-ofstocks may be a bad idea, when you consider the growth of online retailing. “Tat’s the wrong move,” he says. “I think that’s a move toward limiting your appeal to the consumer. In a day in which brick-andmortar stores need to compete against online operations, dropping variety is not the best strategy.”

He adds: “We take a more direct approach to the elimination of OOS, which is [to] go to the root cause — which is generally poor store orders. If we can eliminate poor orders, then we can eliminate out-of-stocks.” PG

Lessons Learned A year ago, the Food Marketing Institute/Grocery Manufacturers Association Trading Partner Alliance shed new light on the problem of out-of-stocks in an eye-opening report, “Solving the Out of Stock Problem.” Since that time, the third phase of the alliance’s journey to bring on-shelf availability to 98 percent has continued, and the team has validated several of its white paper recommendations via retailer-manufacturer learning pilots. Daniel Triot, senior director of the FMI/GMA Trading Partner Alliance, shared those findings with Progressive Grocer. Among them: 1) Collaborative Planning: Event forecast plans using one demand signal in support of market-driven events can deliver higher on-shelf availability (OSA) and customer satisfaction, while improving sales and reducing excess inventories. 2) Leveraging Metrics, Process and Technologies: Various out-of-stock metrics currently exist, leading to multiple views of the “shopper’s reality,” and confusing leaders and decision-makers upstream from store operations. Leveraging metrics and technologies to better understand the location, quantity and accuracy of promoted/nonpromoted products at the SKU-store-shelf level, determining root causes of OSA failures, and prioritized plans are key to improving OSA. Meanwhile, as part of its mission to provide education and practical tools for industry use, the alliance has collaborated with the Wake Forest University Center for Retail Innovation to develop two OSA tools. The first is a Root Causes or Ishikawa Diagram that highlights the leading causes of OSA failures across five retail functional domains: store execution, ordering and execution, forecasting, manufacturing, and category management and merchandising. The second tool provides “best practices solutions” to address OSA for the five functional areas. Both tools are scheduled to be online by June 30 at “Last but not least, acceptance and adoption of a common on-shelf availability definition should remain a critical industry objective to improve on-shelf availability,” Triot tells PG. “The Trading Partner Alliance supports the industry efforts to move, at a minimum, to a common definition of ‘zero on hand,’ which is the number of instances when an authorized item’s perpetual inventory falls to zero or below for that item, regardless of where it is located in the store.” Triot notes that the Trading Partner Alliance now has a dedicated email address for questions related to OSA:

June 2016 | |


Equipment & Design

HVAC Systems

All Systems Go

Supermarket HVAC equipment is becoming more sophisticated and efficient.

If a retailer is only monitoring the temperatures in food cases, they are missing out on the potential efficiencies and gains from also monitoring their HVAC systems.” —Paul Hepperla, Emerson Climate Technologies Retail Solutions


By Bob Ingram

ood retailers spend more than $4 per square foot annually on energy, according to Energy Star, with a large portion of this expenditure for HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems. Tis fact is noted by Greg DuChane, retail-restaurant vertical market leader at Davidson, N.C.-based Trane, who says that for an average-sized supermarket of 50,000 square feet, this equates to more than $200,000 in annual energy costs and 1,900 tons of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere. Advances in HVAC systems are aimed at reducing those fgures. “Te introduction of variable-speed technologies in light commercial rooftop units — 3 to 25 tons — provides improved energy savings, dehumidifcation and moisture control,” notes DuChane. “Previously, variable-speed technologies were only available in much larger units. Te variable-speed technology matches the HVAC unit’s capacity to the store’s varying demand, which is based upon numerous factors that include customer trafc, building occupancy and heat-emitting equipment. By adjusting speed to meet the demand, this HVAC system afords the store

greater efciency and energy savings.” Te integration of equipment controls is another advance, according to DuChane, who explains that a building automation system (BAS) allows for precisely controlled store conditions, which prevents product damage and spoilage, and enables additional energy management solutions. Trane ofers light commercial unitary rooftop units that use variable-speed technology for fans, compressors and condensers. Te HVAC systems also provide interoperability so they can communicate with other building systems like lighting and security. DuChane anticipates the continued adoption of dedicated outside-air strategies and expanded use of variable-speed technology across all HVAC platforms.

Benefits of VRF Dennis Cobb, senior director, national accounts at Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating, in Suwanee, Ga., says his company has educated supermarket architects and engineers on the benefts of variable refrigerant fow (VRF) in store designs. “Tese benefts are most obvious in areas that have proven cumbersome or challenging to properly

InCREASED SAVInGS Mitsubishi’s VRF technology enables less energy use. Photos by Terence Roberts


| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016

condition with traditional HVAC systems, such as pharmacy areas, ofces, and training or break rooms,” he notes, adding that VRF solutions ofer increased energy savings during part-load conditions, and that Mitsubishi Electric’s VRF systems are designed to vary their capacity to meet a space’s exact conditioning demands. “Te unit’s inverter-driven compressor automatically modulates its speed to provide the exact amount of conditioning needed to cool and heat the space,” he says, “rather than overshooting the desired temperature and turning of altogether once meeting the demand. Tis technology saves energy and money.” With each generation and update to Mitsubishi systems, continues Cobb, benefts like smaller unit size and more efcient performance are added. Additionally, he’s observed smarter HVAC systems meeting the needs of each facility. “More frequently, we are seeing urban renovations where existing buildings are being purchased and repurposed into supermarkets,” says Cobb. “Our technology works well in these scenarios, because of the minimal impact on the structures versus other traditional HVAC technologies.”

Keeping it Together Paul Hepperla, director, new solutions development at enterprise product management for Kennesaw, Ga.-based Emerson Climate Technologies Retail Solutions, points out that recent advances in grocery refrigeration have also led to advances in supermarket HVAC systems. “Doors on refrigerated grocery cases and air management systems are solutions that improve the shopper’s experience and comfort level,” he notes, “as well as help the HVAC system operate at the ideal temperature.” Hepperla points out that another item that afects supermarket HVAC is dehumidifcation, and that removing moisture from the air allows retail HVAC and refrigeration systems to work better while also improving shopper comfort. A third advance he highlights is the integration of all retail facility systems. “Unlike a commercial building, where HVAC systems are separate and distinct from lighting,” he explains, “the HVAC, refrigeration and lighting systems can be integrated through a facility management system, for improved control and visibility across all equipment. If a retailer is only monitoring the temperatures in food cases, they are missing out on the potential efciencies and gains from also monitoring their HVAC systems.” According Hepperla, technology solutions for food retailers incorporate monitoring and facility controls for HVAC systems, as well as connectivity throughout a store to control HVAC, refrigeration and lighting systems, as well as visibility and monitoring throughout an entire chain of stores, for facility

insights to improve operational efciency. “Displacement ventilation is on the horizon for retailers,” he predicts, explaining that a foorlevel difuser the length of a wall or a refrigeration case pushes a tremendous amount of air out at low velocity so that the air pools out onto the store foor, creating a chimney efect that takes the warmer air up and above shoppers, while the cooler air at foor level allows the refrigeration equipment to operate more efciently and maintain a comfortable shopping environment.

Remote Detection Dan Kubala, director of business development at Siemens Retail & Commercial Systems, in Austin, Texas, points out that managing HVAC systems has been advanced by two key technology enablers: enterprise analytics and data integration. “Enterprise analytics refers to cloud-based systems that automatically monitor HVAC performance over time to provide an indication of that unit or site’s operation, in comparison to the overall portfolio,” he explains. “Tis allows facility managers to become more proactive in managing a limited repair and maintenance (R&M) budget, focusing on the highest-impact problems frst.” Kubala adds that data integration refers to the ability of information produced by one enterprise application — in this case, the energy management system (EMS) — to travel seamlessly to another enterprise application — in this case, the grocer’s facility maintenance or work order dispatch management system. “Trough the use of APIs — application program interfaces — automated systemto-system communication is possible,” he notes, “facilitating improved HVAC R&M management while reducing administrative costs.” Taken together, these trends allow grocers to reduce R&M budgets by 10 percent to 15 percent, according to Kubala, on top of any energy savings from the EMS, while simultaneously improving the customer experience. “We see technology advancing so that enterprise analytic systems will not only be able to remotely detect HVAC problems,” he concludes, “but they will be able to automatically take steps to resolve issues.” PG

SMARTER SYSTEMS This Mitsubishi installation at the Market at Liberty Place in Kennett Square, Pa., automatically modulates itself.

We see technology advancing so that enterprise analytic systems will not only be able to remotely detect HVAC problems, but they will be able to automatically take steps to resolve issues.” —Dan Kubala, Siemens Retail & Commercial Systems

June 2016 | |


Food, Beverage & Nonfood Products

Barrel Breakout

Kraft Foods’ award-winning Cracker Barrel cheese brand is breaking out of the dairy case with a line of boxed macaroni and cheese. Varieties are Sharp Cheddar, Sharp White Cheddar, Sharp Cheddar & Bacon, and Cheddar Havarti, the last a unique variety that demonstrates a more sophisticated approach to the perennial kid favorite. Packets of cheese sauce — made with no dyes or artificial colors — make for easy prep. The SRP for a 14-ounce box is $3.49.

Essentials for Millennials

Sun Products Corp. recognizes that Millennials are increasingly making their center store purchases online, so Essentials laundry detergent, in Fresh Scent and Fragrance Free formulas, is available exclusively through, Walmart. com, and The sulfate- and dye-free product promises “a powerful clean” with natural enzymes appropriate for all colors. The SRP for a 30-fluid-ounce 2-pack is $10.

Ticklebelly Treats

Ticklebelly Desserts, a sister company of SROriginals, is introducing chefcrafted premium Cakebars. A patentpending process bakes moist cake onto a stick, and then envelops it in confectionery coatings and sprinkles. At 150 calories each, and free from artificial preservatives, colors or flavors, Ticklebelly Cakebars will appeal to the female audience the company is targeting. Core varieties are Dark Chocolate, Vanilla Bean, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Cookies n’ Cream, and Salted Caramel Shortbread, with seasonal items to come. The SRP is $4.99 for four.


| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016

Cottage Cheese Flavors

To expand its cottage cheese flavor line, HP Hood has launched two sweet varieties: Honey & Pear and Maple & Vanilla Flavor Added. Marketed at as healthy snack, Hood’s cottage cheese flavor line is available in dairy cases throughout the Northeast in 16-ounce containers. The two new additions join existing varieties Chive, Cucumber & Dill, Garden Vegetables, Chive & Toasted Onion, Pineapple, Peaches, and Pineapple & Cherry. The SRP is $2.75.

Bagged Beans

Verde Valle Foods Inc.’s Isadora brand refried and whole beans are packaged in lightweight stand-up pouches to retain flavor, texture and nutritional value. Isadora beans are high in fiber, protein and iron, and low in saturated fat; contain no cholesterol or trans-fats; and are GMO- and gluten-free. Varieties are Peruano (light-colored), Tex-Mex, Original Recipe, Low Fat and Black refried beans, all in a 15.2-ounce size; Whole Pinto and Whole Black beans are available in 16-ounce packages. The SRP for both package sizes is $1.49.

Gelato with a Twist

Turkey Hill Dairy is betting that a mashup of favorite desserts will be a winner with consumers. The five-SKU line of Gelato Swirls combines familiar ingredients with creamy gelato for a twisted frozen treat. Varieties are Brownie Fudge, Mint Cookie Crunch, Raspberry Chocolate, Caramel Peanut Butter and Caramel Cookie. The SRP for a 32-ounce container is $4.99.

Superior Turkey

Butterball has launched Farm to Family all-natural, antibiotic-free turkey products in Ground Turkey Breast, 93 percent lean/7 percent fat Ground Turkey, and Turkey Burger Patties varieties. Farm to Family products are American Humane Certified, and made from turkeys raised on a vegetarian diet based on whole grains containing no animal byproducts or hormones. Suggested prices vary.

Cover it in Chocolate

Upping the ante on fruit-and-nut combos, Ghirardelli, a Lindt & Sprungli subsidiary, has launched a line of wellpaired chocolate-covered snacks in Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Cashew, Milk Chocolate Sea Salt Cashew, Milk Chocolate Toasted Coconut and Dark Chocolate Blueberry varieties. Stand-up pouches, weighing in at 4.8 ounces, retail for a suggested $4.99.

June 2016 | |


Crane and Crane to Market via Chelan Fresh Crane and Crane, a grower/ packer in Brewster, Wash., will market its traditional apple and pear varieties through Chelan, Wash.-based Chelan Fresh, starting in the fall. “We have chosen to join forces in marketing our fruit with our longtime neighbors in the northern district of Washington state,” says President Rachel Crane Sullivan, fifth-generation management. “Our high-elevation location allows Crane and Crane to produce firm, highquality fruit that fits well in the Chelan Fresh program.” Tom Riggan, CEO of Chelan Fresh, adds, “We have been close friends with Crane and Crane for many years, and we know the outstanding quality of their fruit and their people. Together, we can deliver additional volume to our customers, who demand excellence.”

MasonWays Merchandising Tower Delivers Vertical Display West Palm Beach, Fla.based MasonWays ofers a molded-plastic stock display tower that can be branded with company colors, logos, graphics and a header sign to create strong brand recognition. Te vertical space allows more product at the point of sale for easy access to heavy products usually on the shelf. Its advanced no-seam construction is durable and increases consumer safety.

ECRS is Direct L3 EMV Certified With FDMS Boone, N.C.-based ECRS is now direct Level 3 EMV certifed with the world’s largest payment processor, First Data Merchant Services (FDMS), via its Rapid Connect platform. ECRS is also the frst ofthe-shelf POS solution to be Level 3-certifed with Equinox L5200 and L5300 signature capture PIN pad devices. Tese certifcations come in response to increased demand from grocery enterprises for direct, dependable, afordable and secure EMV-capable payment processing. To streamline the transition to EMV, ECRS is releasing a simple POS patch that will allow Catapult retailers using FDMS and Equinox devices to be fully EMV compliant with the minimal amount of efort and cost possible.

Hershey Acquires BarkThins Snacking Chocolate Hershey, Pa.-based Hershey Co. has purchased Ripple Brand Collective LLC, a privately held company based in Congers, N.Y., that owns the BarkTins snacking chocolate brand. “Tis acquisition enables us to expand our mass premium oferings into this growing and on-trend category,” says Michele G. Buck, Hershey’s president, North America. “Made with high-quality dark choco-

late, nuts and other ingredients, BarkTins addresses key consumer trends, such as premium, high-quality ingredients and snacking.” Ripple founder and CEO Scott Semel says he looks forward to “the next phase of accelerated growth that Hershey can provide.” Te BarkTins brand is sold in resealable packages in the club channel and select natural and conventional grocers. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.;

Land O’Frost Names Doug Skeoch VP of Sales Munster, Ind.-based packaged lunchmeat supplier Land O’Frost Inc. has hired Doug Skeoch, a 30-year food industry veteran, as its VP of sales. In his new role, Skeoch will be responsible for establishing and executing the company’s national sales strategy. He will also be actively involved in efective and efcient trade management strategies, and the superior execution of new product launches. With experience across numerous food categories, including meat, dairy, deli and frozen products, Skeoch has worked for Kraft Churny, Kraft’s Pizza Division and Oscar Mayer.


| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016


advertiser index 5 Generation Bakers Acosta Sales & Marketing, Inc. Advantage Solutions Airius AHOLD Albertsons Companies American Greeting Anchor Packaging APIO Avocados From Mexico Beiersdorf, Inc. Big Time Products Blount Fine Foods Boyer’s Food Markets Inc. California Avocado Commission Campbell Soup Company Chobani Clif Bar & Company Coca Cola NA Creekstone Farms Crossmark Datepac, LLC Daymon Worldwide DelMonte Dietz & Watson Inc. Distant Lands Coffee Diva International Inc. Domino Foods E&J Gallo ECRS Emmi Roth USA Farmland Foods Inc. FleishmanHillard Food Lion, LLC Forte Product Solutions General Mills Inc. Giant Eagle Goya Foods Inc. Green Giant Fresh Hannaford Brothers Howgood HY-Vee, Inc. Impact Safety Systems International Dairy Deli Bakery Association Italian Trade Agency Jelly Belly John Wm Macy’s Cheesesticks, Inc. JSI Store Fixtures JTM Foods Kayem Foods Kimberly-Clark Co. Kings Food Markets Kroger Litehouse LNL Systems Loving Pets Products Maple Leaf Farms Mason Ways Indestructible Plastics LLC Massimo Zanetti Beverage USA Meijer MilkPEP Webcast Muffin Mam Nature Sweet Osram Sylvania PCMS Pepsico Peri & Sons Farms Produce For Kids Prosperity Organic Foods, Inc. Pyrure Brands Raley’s Family of Fine Stores Red Gold Robbie Flexibles Sanders & Morley Candy SignArt, Inc. Smart & Final Stores LLC SpartanNash Stagnito-Edgell Starbucks Coffee Company Stater Bros. Stemilt Growers, Inc. Supervalu Inc. The Fremont Company The Happy Egg Company The Humane Society The Procter & Gamble Company Trion Industries Inc. Truly Good Foods TW Garner Food Co. Tyson Foods Unified Grocers Unilever Foods Valu Merchandisers Co. Weis Markets Well-Pict, Inc. Wholesum Family Farms Zumex Usa, Inc.

148 62 71 129 32-33 37 79 66-67 167 111 175 81 Inside Front Cover -3 114 73, 163 29 23 105 47, Back Cover 75 39 113 103 169 91 115 137 77 27 7, 101 157 4 24-25 58 133 10-11 61 13 17 135 106-107 48-49 181 117 19-22 15 119 99 154-155 146 Inside Back Cover 93 42-43 95 183 185 159 141, 164 145 83 138 127 94 97 179 65 165 126 123 124 40 53 121 149 134 112 51 72 55 85 144 56-57 131 109 68-69 35 9 170 151 152-153 45 125 87 89 161 166 162

Progressive Grocer (ISSN 0033-0787, USPS 920-600) is published monthly by Stagnito Business Information, 570 Lake Cook Rd. Deerfield IL 60015. Single copy price $10, except selected special issues. Subscription: $135 a year; Canada $164 (Canada Post Publications Mail Agreement No. 40031729. Foreign $270 (call for air mail rates). Periodicals postage paid at Deerfield, IL 60015 and additional mailing offices. Printed in USA. POSTMASTER: Send all address changes to Progressive Grocer, P.O. Box 1842 Lowell, MA 01853. Copyright ©2016 Stagnito Business Information All rights reserved, including the rights to reproduce in whole or in part. All letters to the editors of this magazine will be treated as having been submitted for publication. The magazine reserves the right to edit and abridge them. The publication is available in microform from University Microfilms International, 300 North Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. The contents of this publication may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the consent of the publisher. The publisher is not responsible for product claims and representations.

570 Lake Cook Rd, Suite 310, Deerfield, IL 60015 Phone: 224 632-8200 Fax: 224 632-8266

advertiSing SaleS & BUSineSS Staff Kollin Stagnito President & CEO 224-632-8226 Ned Bardic Chief Revenue Officer 224-632-8224 Korry Stagnito Chief Brand Officer 224-632-8171 Jeff Friedman Senior Vice President/Brand Director 201-855-7621 John Huff Midwest Regional Sales Manager 224-632-8174 Elizabeth Cherry Western Regional Sales Manager 310-546-3815 • Cell 310-990-9597 Maggie Kaeppel Eastern Marketing Manager 630-364-2150 • Cell 708-565-5350 Mike Shaw Northeast, Marketing Manager 201-855-7631 • Cell 201-281-9100 Janet Blaney Marketing Manager (AZ, CO, ID, MD, MN, MT, NM, NV, OH, TX, UT, WY) 630-364-1601 Jackie Batson Advertising Manager 224-632-8183 United StateS MarketS Convenience • Grocery/Drug/Mass Store Brands • Specialty Gourmet Multicultural • Green • Technology Hospitality • Apparel

Canadian MarketS • Convenience • Pharmacy • Foodservice

June 2016 | |


the last word

A Decade of Stargazing


ecognize, inspire, motivate and celebrate: Tese four words served as the kindling to spark the frst-year fame of Top Women in Grocery — commonly referred to as TWIG — for which we are proud to spotlight 10 brilliant years of recognizing star performers who are making their mark in the once-impassable male-dominated grocery industry. When we frst decided to launch TWIG a decade ago, our compass was hazy and we were uncertain on several points: How would TWIG be received in the market? Would women in the grocery industry welcome the acknowledgment? Would the trade support our foundational mission to recognize and celebrate extraordinary women from all facets of the industry who go above and beyond their job descriptions? And, perhaps most importantly, could TWIG stand the test of time? While our uncertainties were valid, we forged ahead, guided by the conviction that what was patently clear — that women were vastly underrepresented on all rungs of the grocery career ladder — was far more important. And here we are, 10 years prouder, wiser and more profoundly fulflled, knowing that the fare we sent up in 2007 has splendidly ignited to illuminate the advantageous role empowered women play in an increasingly competitive and rapidly changing industry. To that end, we are committed to continuing to recognize the important strides women are making with a dedicated program that not only celebrates the stellar excellence that surrounds us, but also provides future female leaders with an inspiring launch pad to keep aiming for the stars. In keeping with the resplendent evolution of Top Women in Grocery, this year’s honorees are invited to join us at the beautiful Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress, in Orlando, Fla., on Tursday, Nov. 10, to network, share, learn, relax and collaboratively celebrate their extraordinary achievements at our 10 th-anniversary gala and learning sojourn. While our recent events have been magnifcent, plans are well underway to present a star-studded soirée unlike any other, with new highlights and special surprises that promise to make our 2016 event the best ever.

In the pantheon of inspirational “women wisdom,” perhaps none is more apropos for our TWIGs than the memorable quote from past First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who asserted, “A woman is like a tea bag — you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.” With this in mind, we’re thrilled that Robin Gerber, author of the best-selling book “Leadership the Eleanor Roosevelt Way,” will serve as the keynote speaker to kick of our daytime leadership development program on Nov. 10. Detailing the valuable leadership lessons of Mrs. Roosevelt, Gerber will share the values, tactics and beliefs that enabled one of the most admired women of the 20th century to bring about tremendous change not only in herself, but also around the globe, while ofering an inspiring road map to heroic living and an unparalleled model for personal achievement. We’re also pumped to take our 2016 event to the next level with the addition of a 5K Charity Fun Run/Walk, benefting Network of Executive Women’s (NEW) Future Fund capital campaign, on Friday, Nov. 11, at 9:00 a.m. Co-chaired by Indra K. Nooyi, chairman and CEO of PepsiCo Inc., and Brian Cornell, chairman and CEO of Target Corp., NEW’s industrywide Future Fund initiative will power industry-specifc data, insights, training and collaboration tools to increase the representation of women in leadership positions, with the goal of achieving 50/50 gender parity in the retail consumer goods and services industry. You’ll be hearing much more information about our 2016 event in the coming weeks. In the meantime, we encourage you to gaze carefully at the constellation of shining stars featured in this issue, whose substantial contributions and incredible accomplishments are moving their businesses — and our entire industry — in uncharted directions. We simply can’t wait to shine a dedicated spotlight on the enduring achievements of each of the women profled on the pages of this special issue, and we invite all of our readers to join with us on Nov. 10 to celebrate 10 years of Top Women in Grocery brilliance. Te sky’s the limit, ladies. Shine on! PG

The sky’s the limit, ladies. Shine on!


| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2016

Meg Major Twitter @Meg_Major/@pgrocer

You may not realize it, but by using the name Kleenex® as a generic term for tissue, you risk erasing our coveted brand name that we’ve worked so hard for all these years. Kleenex® is a registered trademark and should always be followed by a ® and the words ‘Brand Tissue’. Just pretend it’s in permanent marker.

® Registered Trademark of Kimberly-Clark Worldwide, Inc. © KCWW.


Congratulations to the talented women of the Coca-Cola team and thank you for your remarkable contributions to the industry!

Lori Bates

Kelly Marr

Group Director, Sparkling Commercialization

VP, Retail Channel Strategy & Commercialization

Laurie Fabina

Christine Motherwell

Senior Manager, KO Lab

Region VP, Market Unit Sales

Anne Gronek-Gibbs

Pamela Stewart

Director, KO Lab and SEIC

VP, National Retail Sales

Amy Valenzuela Group Director, Category Strategic Advisory

Š 2016 The Coca-Cola Company




JUNE 2016




Sweet on Desserts4 Gelato bars, retro treats, artisan donuts and more

Bi-Rite Market taps into San Francisco’s culinary talent pool PAGE 26



THE NEW NORMAL? It doesn’t have to be.

Tyson Foods’ Consequences of Failure Study shows that the number of shoppers who experienced incidences of failure in their grocer’s prepared foods area when purchasing prepared chicken products increased from 41% in 2015 to 48% in 2016.

It's time for a new direction. Tyson Foods, Consequences of Failure Study, 2016 Tyson Foods, Consequences of Failure Study, 2015

®/© 2016 Tyson Foods, Inc.

570 Lake Cook Rd, Suite 310, Deerfield, IL 60015 • 224 632-8200 Senior Vice President 201-855-7621

Jeff Friedman

EDITORIAL Editorial Director Joan Driggs 224-632-8211 Managing Editor Elizabeth Brewster Art Director Theodore Hahn Contributing Editors Kathleen Furore, Kathy Hayden, Amelia Levin, Lynn Petrak, Jill Rivkin, Carolyn Schierhorn, Jody Shee ADVERTISING SALES & BUSINESS Midwest Marketing Manager John Huff 224-632-8174 Western Regional Sales Manager Elizabeth Cherry 310-546-3815 Eastern Marketing Manager Maggie Kaeppel 630-364-2150 • Mobile: 708-565-5350 Northeast Marketing Manager Mike Shaw 201-855-7631 • Mobile: 201-281-9100 Marketing Manager Janet Blaney (AZ, CO, ID, MD, MN, MT, NM, NV, OH, TX, UT, WY) 630-364-1601 Account Executive/ Classified Advertising Terry Kanganis 201-855-7615 • Fax: 201-855-7373 General Manager, Custom Media Kathy Colwell 224-632-8244 Classified Production Manager Mary Beth Medley 856-809-0050

EVENTS • MARKETING • DIGITAL • RESEARCH • CIRCULATION VP/Custom Media Division Pierce Hollingsworth 224-632-8229 Production Manager Anngail Norris Corporate Marketing Director Bruce Hendrickson 224-632-8214 Promotion Director Robert Kuwada 201-855-7616 Director of Events Pat Benkner 224-632-8181 Director of Market Research Debra Chanil 201-855-7605 Audience Development Manager Shelly Patton 215-301-0593 List Rental The Information Refinery 800-529-9020 Brian Clotworthy Reprints and Licensing Wright’s Media 877-652-5295 Subscriber Services/Single-copy Purchases 978-671-0449 or email at CORPORATE OFFICERS President & CEO Chief Financial Officer Integration Officer Chief Revenue Officer Chief Brand Officer

Kollin Stagnito Chris Stark Kyle Stagnito Ned Bardic Korry Stagnito



10 16

Grand fnales Sweeten grocerant sales with the trendiest new dessert confections.

DIY dinner Savvy food retailers are putting together grocerant-friendly meal kit programs.

Design strategies that set the mood Define and distinguish the grocerant area by giving it a sense of place.

20 23

Bread on the rise Premium loaves are the toast of the town.


36 26 34 38 40

Help wanted: chefs Look to the restaurant industry for culinary pros who’ll be a good fit for retail culture.

Delivery on demand Here’s why adding prepared food delivery is vital for grocerants. Back of the House: Bi-Rite Market Hot Food: Veggies shine Accent on Cuisine: Club Mediterranean Food Innovator Q&A: Gerry Ludwig

Better business models New best practices can help both efficiency and transparency.


Selling health Leveraging retail dietitians’ expertise can boost shopper trust in nutritious prepared food offerings.


Be the hero I’ve spoken at various industry events about the importance of successful grocerant programs and how meaningful they are to shoppers. The focus of my presentations varies, but I always end with the statement retailers should live by: Make the shopper the hero. Customers may be making purchases only for themselves, but they want to feel good about what they’re buying, and they want to feel they’re understood and being catered to. With our Grocerant Summit, Oct. 25-26, 2016, at the Schaumburg Convention Center in suburban Chicago, I want to spin the concept of hero onto our attendees too. Retailers at the event are in a position to make themselves the heroes, to attend with the intention of taking learned strategies and applying them to their own banners and grocerant programs. Even as you read through this issue of Grocerant Solutions, consider ways to be the hero of your own grocerant operation. Your shoppers—who will be feeling like heroes themselves—will thank you. Joan Driggs

Cover photo at Hy-Vee in Bloomington, Ill., by Vito Palmisano

Editorial Director JUNE 2016



Grand fnales BY AMELIA LEVIN

New dessert trends can help sweeten grocerant sales.

If shoppers can relax at the grocery store with a glass of wine or a craft beer, why couldn’t they do the same with a little afternoon treat or a shareable after-dinner sweet? Tat’s the question Andrea Todd, chef and consultant at Chicago-based CSSI Marketing + Culinary, is being asked by her clients as grocerant retailers look to branch out of basic baked goods into trendy treats that shoppers can purchase for take-home or instore enjoyment. Beyond ofering doughnuts and baked goods with cofee in the morning, grocerants are exploring more artful, homemade and even theatrical desserts to capture customers at diferent times of the day, particularly in the afernoon and evening hours. “Pair one of those desserts with that glass of wine, and now you have even more customers intrigued,” Todd says. Let’s take a look at some of the sweetest trends grocerants can leverage to up the pizzazz level of their dessert oferings.



JUNE 2016

Made-from-scratch/artisan As made-from-scratch, artisan, seasonal and local preferences continue to infltrate the savory sides of menus, they have also made their way into the sweet segment, with grocerant retailers vying to keep up with shopper demand for better quality and more varied treats. “Consumers these days are really looking for desserts made with real butter and sugar vs. margarine and high fructose corn syrup,” says Elias Lara, bakery category manager for West Sacramento, Calif.-based Raley’s. Te

Healthful specialties With more consumers searching out vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free meals and foods, it’s no surprise these specialty items have hit the dessert category. The challenge for grocerants with house-made products, however, is in adequately separating preparation of these items in an already-tight kitchen space to avoid cross-contamination. As a result, many retailers have sought to supplement their dessert selections with gluten-free and vegan items provided by outside vendors. “We are always researching new businesses that can supply

retailer has recently enhanced its POS capabilities to print out a list of ingredients for diferent house-made items and outsourced products should customers ask. “Most of our products come from our production plant, but we source some items from smaller, independent business partners that are par-baked, and we will bake them fresh at the store level,” Lara says. Some markets have hired their own pastry chefs to develop entire artisan dessert programs, while others partner with local bakeries to bring in products with strong brand recognition, according to Julie Dugas, a principal partner at Studio H2G retail design and branding frm in Birmingham, Mich. Still others have combined both tactics. Te idea is to ofer more authentic products, says Todd. “Consumers want real butter croissants, made in the true


us with these specialty items,” says Elias Lara, Raley’s bakery category manager. “Right now we ofer a vegan chocolate and carrot cake and a variety of dessert rolls that are gluten-free from outside vendors.” Raley’s separates these items from other desserts, labeling them with clear signage and also teaching staf members to communicate accurate information about the products. “More and more consumers are asking for these items,” Lara says. “We’ve trained our staf to easily direct them to that case.”

French style vs. frozen, yeasty things,” she says. Te artisan doughnut rage also continues to rage. “I could see retailers building their own mini doughnut shops where you could pick your own favors or toppings and pair it with some fresh-brewed cofee,” says Todd.

Shared and interactive Te shared plates phenomenon seems to have extended beyond the main meal, with restaurant diners now opting to share bites of beautiful, super-indulgent desserts. “Te restaurants and chains we work with are looking for desserts that are show-stopping and make people turn their heads when [it] comes out of the kitchen and goes across the dining room,” says Todd, a former bakery owner who

Raley’s sources some desserts from smaller, independent business partners.

JUNE 2016



5 tips for designing an instore gelato or ice cream bar Ample signage and transparency are key in any case. “Customers want to know more about the product and how it was made or where it came from,” Dugas says. “The other part of the equation is really working to get the community to know you have this product. Demos and tastings when the market is busy can help attract more customers.”

A gelato or ice cream case can add great value to a grocerant’s oferings, encouraging customers to linger in the store longer and helping a retailer compete with external restaurants and shops for dessert-based dollars. But introducing a gelato or hand-dipped ice cream bar isn’t as simple as plugging in a refrigerated display case. Julie Dugas, principal partner at Studio H2G, ofered advice on how to efectively create a gelato or ice cream bar for instore single servings.

3. Staf the station appropriately.

1. Consider the placement. Gelato and ice cream cases are smaller components, “so sometimes they get stuck somewhere more hidden rather than in a much more visible part of the store,” says Dugas. The ideal placement is in the customer’s direct sight or path. At Cantoro’s Italian Market & Trattoria, a multi-unit grocerant in suburban Detroit, Dugas positioned the gelato case so it straddles the instore restaurant, where they also serve the handmade treat, with the cofee bar and prepared food section on the other side. The produce section just beyond signals the fresh fruit used in some of the gelato favors. “Customers have to walk past the case to get to the restaurant or prepared foods area, so it gets a lot of visibility,” Dugas says. 2. Determine if you’ll make your own, or not. Gelato and hand-dipped ice creams are premium products that can be made in-house for an even stronger branding experience, or sourced from artisan vendors to ensure high quality. For grocerants with ample space, gelato and ice cream equipment surprisingly takes up little extra room, Dugas says. One gelato maker can produce eight to 10 favors in batches, and then you’ll also need extra freezer space and an extra worktable. But it’s vital that staf be able to follow precise recipes and handling instructions.



JUNE 2016

Positioning can impact stafng capability for a gelato or ice cream station. If the station is linked to a cofee bar or a deli area, staf members can be cross-trained to scoop ice cream as needed—but only during non-peak times, says Dugas. “You don’t want a customer coming to the case and then having to look for someone for help,” she says. It’s also important that everyone who is responsible for scooping ice cream or gelato is able to talk about the diferent favors and answer questions about the product. 4. Choose equipment carefully. Gelato doesn’t need the same deep-freeze as most ice creams. “Special equipment is required for [gelato] because it’s held at a diferent temperature than hard, hand-dipped ice cream,” Dugas says. Exposing some of the ice cream making equipment can add an artisan feel to the space, but most of the more traditional pieces are heavy stainless steel. Some of the newer European models, however, have more colorful, unique aesthetics that can add drama to a special creamery station. 5. Consider food safety. In light of recent listeria scares among some ice cream producers and shops, it’s important for retailers to “be diligent about knowing what the health department requirements are and maintaining them,” Dugas says. Also, consider placing the ice cream case near the prepared food section or another space where there is no raw product and staf members aren’t handling raw items such as salads.


Dedicated consultants. Tailored solutions. New marketing strategies. Who says you can’t have it all? Team up with us, and we’ll see just how far your deli can go. Get started at ©2016 Hormel Foods, LLC

has worked in fne dining hotels. “It could be a chocolate globe flled with something that you crack tableside, and it bursts open with ice cream and maybe the server pours extra sauce on top. Te big, shareable items are huge right now.” Patrick McDonnell, chef and founder of McDonnell Kinder & Associates LLC, a culinary and restaurant consultancy in Kansas City, Mo., agrees with that assessment. “I’m seeing larger desserts that a party of four or six can order and sit together at a larger communal table,” he says. “Teenagers especially will go out as a group and talk over a shared dessert.” Interactive, theatrical desserts are also taking center stage in eateries. Todd points out a restaurant in Houston that serves a bubble tea-inspired dessert, with tapioca squares set at the bottom of a glass that burst with cofee and infuse with the cream layered on top. “Chefs are thinking about diferent ways to execute familiar favors,” she says.

Individual indulgence At the other end of the spectrum, more consumers want a variety of smaller desserts that are just as creative and indulgent, to eat individually or perhaps package together for an eclectic end to a dinner party. “[Consumers] are more savvy when it comes to seeing trends online or in restaurants, and they’re bold,” says Jay Mandrillo, director of bakery merchandising for Price Chopper Supermarkets, a Schenectady, N.Y.-based chain known for its European-style Market 32 bakery and patisserie program. “Two or three years ago, the 8-inch double layer cake might be what someone would bring home for dessert, but now shoppers are looking to satisfy each individual taste profle in a group. Some like key lime pie, others like chocolate mousse. Everything is smaller but more upscale.” Fresh fruit tarts in mini—and semi-larger—form have been

fying of the shelves as of late, says Mandrillo. At the store, they bring vibrancy and life to a bakery section when lined up in an enclosed glass jewel case. Shoppers have also gravitated toward seasonal favors in diferent confgurations, from key lime tartlets in the spring to mini lemon chifon pies in the summer, cherry pies in the fall, and peppermint-spiked mousse cups in the winter. “Tey’re really looking for variety,” Mandrillo says. Te smaller sizes also make these treats a more attractive option for buying and enjoying on the spot, in the cofee shop-like atmosphere Price Chopper has created in its stores. “During the week consumers are looking for a wider variety of choices in smaller portions because they’re more concerned about their health,” adds Lara, who has noticed the petit fours and little tartlets sell most frequently. “You end up with an assortment, almost like diferent candies in a box. It’s great for family gatherings or baby showers when you want to buy a bunch of smaller desserts.”

Reinvented retro Retro desserts have stayed the course when it comes to dessert trends, but chefs are experimenting with more twists on the classics. “We’ve showed clients a brûléed lemon tart with a meringue topping and peanut crust, a tiramisu with a layer of cofee ice cream instead of cofee liqueur, a pineapple upside-down cake with mango puree in the layers, and [we] have made cookies out of brownie dough,” says McDonnell. Wafes—as in chicken and wafes—have moved beyond breakfast and hit the dessert category with sweeter toppings like chocolate and fruits, according to Todd. And building on the ever-popular salted caramel favor, more chefs are experimenting with smoked, spicy and savory elements for desserts in the form of nuts, chile peppers, lemon curd, charred grapefruit and other citrus, she says. G



JUNE 2016

DIY dinner

Savvy food retailers are putting together grocerant-friendly meal kit programs. BY K ATHY HAYDEN


Wondering if meal kits are an expanding market with a role for grocerants—or just a fash in the pan?

with total 2015 U.S. supermarket sales of $649 billion, according to Progressive Grocer research. But the meal kit delivery market also grew faster than any other foodservice market in 2015, and Technomic projects it will skyrocket into a multibillion dollar market in the United States during the next decade.

It’s true that meal kit delivery service sales are still a small piece of the food buying pie. Only 1 percent of U.S. adults—most at the $75,000-plus household income level—have used a meal kit delivery service, suggests Mintel research. A recent report from Technomic put the global meal kit delivery market at $1 billion in 2015, compared

Typical meal kits have tended to come with pricey subscription commitments, one-of meals and excessive packaging—and to bypass the supermarket entirely. Tat may be changing, however, as newcomers begin to put their own spins on the meal kit concept and fnd ways to make grocery stores an integral part of their programs.


JUNE 2016

Handpick Inc.: Catering to grocery stores “Here is the problem [with meal kit delivery]: No matter how many hundreds of millions of dollars are invested to lure consumers to subscribe to an expensive yearly plan, these consumers will still need to buy milk, cereal and [other essentials],” says Payman Nejati, an entrepreneur who’s banking on supermarket meal kits. He’s combined a CPG background and tech expertise to found San Francisco-based Handpick Inc., a business that fts meal kits into existing shopping patterns. “Consumers will still rely on their grocery stores; it’s how we shop. When customers see that their grocery store has a grab-and-go meal kit, they’ll pick it up with the rest of their groceries,” he says. His plan collects Big Data to create a food app aimed at the universal problem of what to do with ingredients. Handpick builds grocery retailer meal kit solutions that don’t require repackaging or third-party couriers, provide three meal ideas for 15 to 20 full-sized SKUs, and leverage pre-existing fulfllment systems. Consumers who buy a Handpick kit receive a pack of traditional supermarket items and the recipes to make three original meals, pulled from 2 million recipes

the company has curated from top food sites and blogs afer analyzing 1 billion social media food posts. Handpick orders can be bundled like any shopping basket online or pre-bundled for pickup at the store. Retailers decide what fulfllment and delivery procedures work for them. So far, Handpick has partnered with Te Kroger Co., run a pilot with Safeway/Albertsons in California and launched in Germany with Real/Metro, the seventh-largest worldwide retailer; it is scheduled to debut with FreshDirect delivery in the New York metro region this year. Handpick kits start at under $5 per meal, which is 50 percent less than Blue Apron’s meal kit subscription service, and for a bigger portion size, says Nejati, who sees part of his strategy as creating solutions “for the 99 percent” of consumers who can’t aford to commit to a meal subscription. “As a bigger mission, we’ve also started developing meal kits for the SNAP food stamp and the WIC program starting at $3 per meal,” Nejati says, noting that he is seeking a distribution channel that accepts food stamps.

DinnerCall: Putting family frst Another business idea that tries to solve the what’s-fordinner dilemma within the existing supermarket skill set is DinnerCall, a new app that enables users to order and pick up fully prepared family dinners or a dinner meal kit with fresh, pre-measured ingredients bundled by their supermarket. Supermarkets that sign on with DinnerCall, an Indianapolis-based public beneft corporation that aims to bring families back together around the dinner table, get access to the app and ordering technology, a plug-and-play platform that’s easy to use and puts daily or weekly menus in their customers’ hands. In late March 2016, Terre Haute, Ind.-based Baesler’s Market

became the frst grocery store to ofer DinnerCall for its three stores. With the DinnerCall app, shoppers can select favorite meals at the size needed, pay online and indicate what time they want to pick up the dinner. Customers call when they arrive, and dinner is delivered to them curbside. “With the pre-ordering feature, we capture intention and commitment, so retailers avoid making a bunch of meals that may not sell. Less food waste is a huge plus,” says Gerry Hays, co-founder and CEO of DinnerCall. As DinnerCall builds, he says, the system will aggregate demand

JUNE 2016



by zip code so that stores will be able to fne-tune their food preparation even more precisely. “We also extend the reach outside of stores through digital engagement, which grocers need to be doing more,” says Hays. “As an industry, we need to pivot to become more of a service industry and not just a commodity provider trying to provide the lowest prices. “DinnerCall is a new revenue stream that can compete with drive-thrus and takeout, while also making the most of resources that grocery stores already have,” Hays notes. As a co-founder of Charley Biggs Food Company,

a fresh “instore” foodservice and product set designed for deli foodservice and used by 750 retailers throughout North America, he knows how to maximize grocerant capabilities. “Most stores can do anything—they have smokers, holding ovens, steamers,” he says. “With the explosion of culinary meals and no fear of shrink, stores can take the lead here. Partner with local chefs for recipe development, make the most of your best-selling meals, have meals at a variety of price points and at real consumption levels to bring families back to the table.”

Giant Food Stores: Making upscale meals accessible Carlisle, Pa.-based Giant Food Stores, a division of Ahold USA, decided to jump straight into the meal kit market with the late 2015 rollout of its sophisticated line of fresh meal kits. “Our kits are currently available in select Giant Food Stores and via Peapod in select markets,” says Juan De Paoli, senior vice president, own brands for Ahold USA. “Customers can choose to pick up a box through whichever method is most convenient for them: during their instore shop, via Peapod delivery or at a Peapod pickup point. Unlike the meal order brands, this is not a subscription service, so our customers have more fexibility. Tere is no long-term commitment to buy a specifed number of meal kits.” Te kits, which cook in 35 min-

utes or less, will vary by season, including such oferings as mini Italian-style meatloaf with couscous and fresh vegetables, and pan-seared boneless pork chops with apple and honey mustard sauce, roasted Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes. A kit that serves two people is $14.99; two kits are $24.99. “At any given point, we like to ensure customers have several recipes from which to choose—a range of proteins, ingredients and favors for every taste,” says De Paoli. “Recipes are seasonally relevant and rotated every few months so customers can continue to experience something new. All our recipes are triple-tested, include seasonal fresh produce and have some prepared elements (for example, chopped onions) to save our customers time.” G

Finding niches within a niche As more startups enter the meal kit market, many will be looking to put an individual stamp on their products, much as these meal kit companies have already done:


Little Green Gourmets—healthy meals for children, delivered to the New York area

Chef’d—recipes and kits, often extravagant, based on the well-known chefs who created them

Pantry—counter-intuitively, brings the delivery meal kit into a brick-and-mortar shopping experience in the Washington Square neighborhood of Brookline, Mass.

Green Chef—frst and only fully certifed organic meal kit company shipping nationwide

PeachDish—Southern-infused and seasonally inspired recipes

GreenBlender—weekly delivery of fve new smoothie recipes and all the pre-portioned ingredients needed to make 10 smoothies

The Purple Carrot—vegetarian fare created under the guidance of former writer Mark Bittman, chief innovation ofcer


JUNE 2016

The unexpected results. Kids crave family time at the dinner table, and they’re not always getting it. Why is it important to eat dinner as a family? Brooke (15 years old):

“ I would rather sit at the dinner table than on the couch. You can talk to everyone and you’re not focused on something else.”

What will you get from more family dinners together? Brooke:

“ A lot more quality family time and connecting more with them, get to know them more.” Mom’s reaction:

“ I was sort of shocked. She never said anything about it.” Dinner is important for strong family bonding and prepared foods makes the meal easier.

Retail Foodservice:

The Demise of the

Family Dinner What happened to the evening meal around the family table? Life happened, that’s what, according to a recent Tyson Foods’ study of key family groups.1,2

Micro-Intentionals: Clear intention about how they raise their kids; proactive in bringing their intention to life.

Macro-Intentionals: Intentional parenting style but in practice are more passive, preferring to let their kids experience life for themselves with some guidance.

Present but Passive: No clear intention and are very passive about raising their kids. It’s simply the inevitable consequence of busy schedules, no time to cook and different palates to please, said the parents. But when Tyson asked kids about their perceptions of dinnertime, they got an unexpected response. They crave family time at the dinner table, and they’re not always getting it.

Retail foodservice can deliver. Retail foodservice is positioned to deliver the experience families want that fast food doesn’t satisfy and busy schedules may not otherwise allow. Yet it typically doesn’t register high in shoppers’ mindsets as a meal consideration because of consistently growing dissatisfaction with product quality, wait time, out-of-stocks, staffing issues and other department failures.

48% 41%


Failure on the Rise Shoppers reporting at least one incident of failure in the prepared foods area:



According to Christopher Brace, founder and CEO, Syntegrate Consulting – “While the emotional truths that we uncovered in the research can go a long way to driving incremental business for grocery prepared foods, the fundamental issues that need to be solved are the ones that are operational. No amount of emotional connection is going to overcome those.”

Tyson Foods’ 2016 Consequences of Failure study also revealed that only 44% of those who had experienced a problem agreed they were likely to purchase prepared chicken products from their grocers’ prepared foods section again, as compared to those who did not experience a problem (62%).

Eric LeBlanc, director of marketing for deli and bakery at Tyson Foods, Inc. suggests— “Retail foodservice is perfectly positioned to bring the family meal back in fashion – but we have work to do to get there. Simply put, retail foodservice must overcome some of its own functional shortcomings for shoppers to consider grocery deli as a realistic option to get them back to the table.”

Sources: 1 Tyson Foods, Emotional Trigger Research Study, April 2016 2 Tyson Foods, Consequences of Failure, 2015 3 Tyson Foods, Consequences of Failure, 2016

®/© 2016 Tyson Foods, Inc.

Greatest Opportunity for Retail Foodservice : 1


Communicate: Reach out to your customers where they make their mealtime decisions: outside of the store.


Facilitate: Use bundles to make it easier for shoppers to make a meal.


Deliver: Prepare and hold products that will meet shoppers’ quality expectations.

The cafe/lounge at Metcalfe’s Market in Madison, Wis., is designed to encourage relaxation and casual conversation.

A sense of place Distinctive design strategies can help grocerants create their own ambience.


If a grocerant is literally a blend of a grocery store and a restaurant, it should look and feel like it. Tat’s the consensus of experts tasked with helping supermarkets defne and distinguish their grocerant areas through the design of those spaces. “[Grocerant design] sets the tone and communicates a message to customers that they can have quality food there for lunch or take it home and have it for dinner,” says Steve Mehmert, president of Mehmert Store Settings, Sussex, Wis., which provides retail project solutions including store design and equipment. “It’s part of the total store need, as we are now creating that kind of hybrid.” Michael Lehman, vice president of marketing and product management for ConTech Lighting in Northbrook, Ill., underscores the importance of ambience for attracting—and keeping—customers in the grocerant area of a supermarket. “You get into creating an environment for the experience of it. Tat’s what Starbucks does—people buy cofee and hang out there. Why can’t grocery stores do the same thing?” he says.

Laser-cut lighting and furniture made from reclaimed lumber set the style for the cafe at Jackson Whole Grocer in Jackson Hole, Wyo.

It’s important to physically highlight the diference between the grocerant space and other merchandising areas, say experts. “Te longer you stay [in a grocerant area], you may say something like, ‘I think I’ll go get a cupcake,’” agrees Mehmert. “So it also opens things up in terms of sales because people stick around longer and buy more.”

Suppliers and designers who provide services and products to grocerants say that because this retail segment is newer, they’re seeing a dynamism and openness to what can be achieved through interior design.

Just as a grocerant’s products can elevate the supermarket from a food and beverage standpoint, the physical space can do much to boost a store’s reputation among consumers.

“Yes, it can be very exciting. Many of them are venturing in a new area to transform the customer experience and their bottom line as well,” says Jerri Trafet, retail marketing manager for Boston-based Current, powered by GE.

“When it comes to design/décor, grocerant areas have become a platform to edify the value of the store’s brand with an interactive, participatory look and feel,” says Steven Johnson, consultant and owner of Foodservice Solutions in Tacoma, Wash.

Lighten up

“Depending on the retail outlet, it includes display kitchens, custom-made salad stations, personalized made-toorder pizza and local craf microbrewed beer on tap with a growler station. Each elevates consumer interactive [experiences], freshness and sustainability in the mind’s eye of the consumer,” he says.

However and wherever a grocerant is located within a store, it’s important to physically highlight the diference between that space and other merchandising areas, say experts. “Many stores want [the grocerant area] to feel separated out, so you can see there is a transition from the general grocery store,” says Mehmert. One way to accomplish that distinction is through lighting. “Te general store has linear light, while areas with grocerants can have a layering and lowering of

Metcalfe’s Market in suburban Milwaukee displays local students’ artwork for a personal touch.

JUNE 2016



Warm lighting and decorative shades help create a comfortable atmosphere at Caputo’s Fresh Market in suburban Chicago.

lighting, with things like wall sconces and decorative pendants,” he says. “Tere is adequate lighting, but the space feels diferent.”

well-lit area, which is common in quick service areas, and sofer down lighting or specialty lighting in their full-service restaurant locations.”

Te role played by light in creating atmosphere is underscored by Trafet, who says just like home lighting, a store’s lighting is personal, based on needs and use.

Lehman also recommends “comfortable” lighting for grocerants. “You want more of a warmer color, at a lower level and with more decorative elements, like decorative shades and pendants,” he says. Lights on tables also add intimacy to a sit-down eating area, he adds.

“From our experience, grocers have specifc design styles that they are looking for in their restaurant areas. We work directly with their store design team to fnd the right aesthetic and ambience for their specifc need,” she says. “In some cases they are looking for a brighter,

Outdoor cafe seating at Jackson Whole Grocer in Jackson Hole, Wyo., gives diners more options and the ambience of natural light.



JUNE 2016

Lighting functionality, of course, goes hand in hand with design. “For easy maintenance, we have LED pendants that give omnidirectional light, and there are up to 55 diferent

shades that you can put on it,” Lehman says. Another option for grocerants is curved rail lighting, commonly used for residential lighting, which ofers a sof look with a variety of fnishes. To help determine what kind of lighting would work to best defne their space, grocerants can turn to their lighting suppliers or look for designers or consultants specializing in the retail industry. Schenectady, N.Y.-based Price Chopper, for example, enlisted the help of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Lighting Research Center when the chain opened a new store in Latham, N.Y., that includes a grocerant area called Market Bistro. Based on the center’s input and assistance, the new Price Chopper store installed a variety of theatrical lighting to highlight the role of each particular section. Meanwhile, there’s something to be said for the ambience that can be provided by natural light, says Mehmert. “Another thing we’re working hard at is getting seating areas around the perimeter of store in natural light. It’s nice to look out during the day to see sunshine or, at night, to see street lights,” Mehmert says.

Dining decor In the “traditional” part of a supermarket, shoppers are used to certain aesthetics such as bright lights, merchandising materials like clings, rail strips and other signage pieces. Music played on the store’s sound system sets a certain tone. Grocerant areas, however, ofer a broad and diferent set of décor possibilities. Here, mood is everything. Traditional interior design elements like furnishings, fooring, color and decorative accents can provide both style and substance to a space where customers can sit down and have a cup of cofee, share a meal with friends or read a book while they eat a prepared salad.

Like lighting, color and furnishings give personality to a retail space, along with a brand identity. Colors in grocerants generally need to emphasize the area’s role as a place to eat, enjoy and connect, says Mehmert. “If we’re looking at accomplishing a tranquil and peaceful place for people to eat, we let the colors, materials and fabrics lend themselves to a dining experience,” he says. Accessories also provide a personal touch that can highlight the store’s role in the community. “We really want to embrace local themes and do so right in the store,” says Mehmert. In one local store in the Milwaukee area, Mehmert worked with the retailer to include photos of historical signifcance; for another store in Jackson Hole, Wyo., the team suggested accessories that evoke themes of mountains, wildlife, skiing and other local pastimes and pursuits. Visual interest can be created or enhanced in other ways, according to Johnson, who cites some examples of stores with an outside-the-box approach to grocerant design and layout. “I like Winn-Dixie’s new concept store in Jacksonville [Fla.], Green Zebra Grocery [in Portland, Ore.], Metropolitan Market [in the Seattle area], Whole Foods, Wegmans, Ikea and Central Market [in Texas], to name a few. Tey each ofer a variety of tables, chairs and elevations, and encourage visceral meal preparation, relaxing [in an ongoing, interactive way].” G

Grocerant areas ofer a broad and diferent set of decor possibilities where mood is everything. JUNE 2016



Bread on the rise Premium varieties are the new toast of the town. BY LYNN PETRAK

To paraphrase an old saying, a grocerant cannot live by bread alone—but ofering an array of both traditional and artisan products is nonetheless essential for competing against both foodservice outlets and standalone bakeries. In fact, grocerants themselves are playing a role in setting the bar higher for grocery store breads, say experts. “Te days of having white bread and one type of whole-grain bread are gone,” says Andrew Moberly, director of fresh categories for Daymon Worldwide, Stamford, Conn. “Grocerants are taking a page from QSRs [quick service restaurants] that are also ofering a variety of breads.”



JUNE 2016

He adds that competition among retailers, and between retailers and foodservice options, is turning up the heat on creating distinctions. “Grocers who are not getting in on the [bread] trend will be losing, because their competition is quick dining,” says Moberly. Giant Eagle is one grocerant that has risen to the occasion by ofering daily specialty breads, including crusty rye loaves, hearty pretzel rolls, sprouted wheat and multigrain products, and imported French brioche bread, along with a variety of artisan breads in its sandwich program. “We have noted an increased desire for products that are specialty and artisan, made with simple and clean ingredients,” says Pittsburgh-based Giant Eagle spokesperson Jannah Jablonowski. Te growing consumer interest in quality and wholesomeness is also impacting the bread program at Phoenix-based Sprouts Farmers Markets. “Shoppers are leaning more to higher-quality breads utilizing natural

“Grocerants are taking a page from QSRs that are also ofering a variety of breads.” —Andrew Moberly, Daymon Worldwide starters, ancient grains and whole wheats,” says Mark Bramhall, Sprouts’ director of bakery. “Shoppers are also demanding more transparent labels with minimal ingredients, and they seek out breads made without preservatives, artifcial colors or additives.”

Breadth of breads Te variety of products at retailers like Giant Eagle and Sprouts refect the many types of breads customers now expect to fnd at grocerants. For example, as consumers are exposed to more favors and foods, gourmet-style breads are increasingly popular. “Premium bread options are becoming more common,” reports Eric Richard, education coordinator for the International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association (IDDBA). “Tis

includes premium breads such as wine artisan bread made from grape skin and seed four, ciabatta and naan options . . . and premium sandwich rolls with favors like Bufalo chicken, tomato basil, and brioche.” According to Aimee Harvey, food analyst for Chicago-based Technomic, breads that have some kind of story to tell are appealing to buyers. “Positioning bread as ‘artisan,’ strongly emphasizing the local-sourcing angle if the bread is procured from an area bakery, marketing the handmade aspect and freshness attribute for breads made on-site—these are all central to how bread is being promoted today,” she says. Ongoing interest in better-for-you foods is also impacting grocerant bread programs. Sprouted, multigrain and ancient grain breads are all in-demand products perceived as healthier, so they can be merchandised

JUNE 2016



Making the sale

Merchandising breads in new and nontraditional ways can help boost any grocerant’s bread sales. Sandwich programs are obvious places to sell unique breads, says Andrew Moberly, director of fresh categories for Daymon Worldwide, but he recommends other strategies as well. “I’ve seen some retailers create and put out bread bowls for soups and place single-serve rolls next to prepared foods and hot bars,” he says. “There are many complementary programs that can be put together, all led by the question, ‘What are you solving for the consumer?’” Cross-merchandising with the supermarket instore bakery, in fact, can play a major role in driving bread sales in both the grocerant area and in other departments.

particularly efectively in sandwich programs. Sharing information about these types of benefts and attributes is important, says Moberly. “People hear about ancient grains but may not know why [the grains] are good for them. Retailers can demo it and tell customers about it. Education is key,” he says. For shoppers seeking wholesome breads, Richard suggests grocerants tout bread that has been baked instore. “It can be made from a small number of ingredients, which resonates with shoppers,” he says. “Studies show that more consumers are looking for products that are ‘real,’ meaning not made with ingredient alternatives or preservatives. And these real ingredients include sugar and other components [of breads], which some consumers previously avoided.” Grocerant retailers should also keep in mind that diversity is important when it comes to combining breads with diferent foods on the menu. “Tere’s more of a ‘pairings’ sensibility happening with breads, such as which artisan breads may pair best with which artisan cheese, etc.,” says Harvey. Steven Johnson, a Tacoma, Wash.-based restaurant and hospitality consultant and owner of Foodservice Solutions, says pairings on the menu provide both opportunities and potential challenges for operators. “Consumers expect a choice of bread, and then want to pair their protein choice with the bread or the bread with protein. [But] the retailer needs to some extent to limit choice to ensure that adequate operational throughput can be achieved,” he says. G



JUNE 2016

“Given the important role that fresh departments play in a grocerant and how they’re interconnected, it makes sense for store-baked bread to be used in other departments like deli and foodservice, as well as cross-merchandised and cross-promoted with prepared, fresh and dry products,” says Eric Richard, education coordinator for the International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association (IDDBA). “The grocerant model is to create a dynamic shopping and dining experience for customers, and having a bakery bread program that’s integrated to other departments can help accomplish this.” Promoting third-party or branded breads can also stimulate shopper interest in what’s baking at the grocerant. Los Angeles-based La Brea Bakery, for example, provides supermarkets with such premium bread varieties as three cheese semolina, toasted sunfower honey, sourdough, and rosemary olive oil. Finally, you can’t beat sampling and special events to generate trial and excitement among shoppers. Says Aimee Harvey, food analyst for Technomic: “Supermarkets that host tasting events for craft and artisan food and drink are also making bread part of that specialty story. You’ll routinely see samples of craft beer being ofered alongside samples of artisan cheese and artisan breads.”

Better business models BY CAROLYN SCHIERHORN

Boost efficiency, transparency by adopting new best practices.

A hot bar, a salad bar and a few tables for dine-in customers are no longer enough for a successful supermarket grocerant, say industry experts. Grocerants need to be more creative and quality-focused to capture the attention of busy customers, and given rising minimum wage rates, foodservice operations should be more efcient, industry analysts emphasize. “Grocerants should adopt best practices that are taking hold in other sectors,” says William Rosenzweig, dean and executive director of the Culinary Institute of America’s Food Business School. “For example, one potential area for improvement would be to use tools to track and monitor the fow of purchasing, so that grocerants can better manage their inventory of prepared food items.

opposed to restaurants—have going for them that I haven’t seen leveraged successfully is the opportunity to showcase all of this fresh food in the store,” he says. For instance, signage by fresh artichokes in the produce aisle could tell customers about a prepared food dish featuring artichokes in the grocerant section and vice versa, and recipes could be displayed in both departments. In addition, Rosenzweig suggests improving coordination between the meat, produce and dairy departments and the grocerant department, so that products close to their sell-by dates are incorporated into prepared meals, lessening food waste overall.

Meals made to order To add pizzazz to and improve the freshness of their prepared food oferings, retailers should blaze trails on the new grocerant frontier of made-to-order meals and snacks, says Juan Martinez, founder and principal of

“Customers want to see that the food they’re buying is fresh—that it hasn’t been sitting out all day,” he says.

“Grocerants have...the opportunity to showcase all of this fresh food in the store.”

Grocerants can also do a better job of cross-merchandising between the prepared food and produce departments, Rosenzweig contends. “One of the things grocerants—as

— William Rosenzweig, CIA’s Food Business School

JUNE 2016



Headquartered in Schenectady, N.Y., Price Chopper embraced the made-to-order model with its Market Bistro concept: a food hall with a dozen or so stations ofering everything from subs to burgers. Although the chain has scaled back the number of stations in its new Market 32 stores, made-to-order will remain an important aspect of the retailer’s brand, says consultant Lewis Shaye of East Greenbush, N.Y., until recently Price Chopper’s vice president of culinary concepts.

Miami-based Proftality, a foodservice consultancy. “Why made to order? Because that’s what restaurants ofer,” he says. “Everyone is trying to grab millennials’ share of stomach, and members of this generation want items that are made specifcally for them as individuals. Tey also want to see what you’re doing so they know the food is fresh.” Introducing the made-to-order concept to an existing store creates challenges, Martinez acknowledges. First, extensive remodeling may be necessary. “You’re essentially opening up the kitchen and bringing the back of the store to the front of the store,” he says. “But you really use up less space if you do it right.” Second, labor costs may go up with the addition of more and better-trained employees. Kitchen staf deployed at the front need to be poised and highly skilled in order to cut vegetables, slice meat or make sandwiches while interacting with customers in a professional way. “Tat’s a diferent employee you want to have on stage,” Martinez says. But by substantially reducing food waste and driving trafc not just in the grocerant section but throughout the store, the made-to-order model provides an excellent return on investment, Martinez says. With made-to-order stations, supermarkets have greater opportunity to brand specifc prepared food items, such as Whole Foods Market has done with burritos in some of its stores, notes Rosenzweig. If well-executed, the concept can turn grocerant departments into dining destinations rather than simply convenient places to eat while grocery shopping, he says.



JUNE 2016

In developing the Market Bistro concept, Shaye strove to create an exciting environment “that stimulates all fve senses” and provides fast casual foodservice comparable in quality to and at slightly lower price points than Panera Bread, Chipotle and similar popular restaurant chains. “We saved customers time by ofering a one-stop shop where they could meet their daily or weekly grocery needs while getting prepared foods to eat in the moment or take home,” Shaye says. “We also ofered more choices than they would have at an individual Panera or Chipotle.”

Promote partnerships Rather than setting up and stafng an in-house food court, supermarkets can also form mutually benefcial partnerships with local specialty food businesses, suggests Julie Dugas, principal partner of Studio H2G, a retail design and consulting frm in Birmingham, Mich. For example, a retailer could reach out to an up-and-coming smokehouse restaurant in town that may want to expand its business but lacks the wherewithal to open a second location. Te restaurant could set up a smoker in the store to help promote its brand and generate sales while drawing customers into the grocerant.

Supermarkets can form mutually beneficial partnerships with local specialty food businesses. — Julie Dugas, Studio H2G

Shaye advises retailers to test innovations in a key store location before rolling them out to all stores in a chain. Tis site can serve as a research and development laboratory for the company, he says.

Better product consistency One challenge faced by grocerant supermarket chains with many stores is ensuring product consistency, says Brian Dunn, former corporate culinary innovation chef for Wellesley, Mass.-based Roche Bros. “Many customers shop at multiple Roche Bros. locations,” he says. “And sometimes a customer would ask me how come the black bean salad, for example, at one of our locations tasted diferent from the same type of salad at another store.”

transparent, consumers feel they are purchasing a fresher, more healthful and delicious product, Shaye says. To be competitive, grocerant supermarkets must understand their customers and their opportunities, Rosenzweig says. “You have to be distinct and diferentiated from your competition,” he says. “You have to amplify your competitive advantages and do something that your customer values.” G

From snack time to mealtime...

Te variation in prepared foods depended to a large extent on the chef and kitchen staf at a particular store, Dunn says. To minimize the diferences, Roche Bros. began preparing a lot of its salads and other products of-site in an industrial kitchen, which evolved into Hans Kissle, a wholesale commissary based in Haverhill, Mass., where Dunn is now the culinary business development manager. Purchasing prepared food from a commissary can also help reduce a supermarket’s labor costs, Dunn says. Wholesale industrial kitchens can better take advantage of automation and economies of scale when purchasing ingredients, he explains. Although buying prepared foods from a commissary seems to contradict the recommendation to make food to order, grocerant supermarkets can incorporate a balance of both models, says Shaye. He notes that while a pizza station at Price Chopper’s Market Bistro would customize the toppings for each customer, the dough was purchased premade from a wholesaler.

We make it easy. Portable packaging solutions designed for your customer’s favorite foods.

Call 1-800-4-Robbie or visit

Even if just the last steps of food preparation are customized and

JUNE 2016



The Vegan Hippy sandwich is one of Bi-Rite’s top sellers.

Back of the House:

Bi-Rite Market BY K ATHY HAYDEN Local ingredients and chef-driven culture bring restaurant quality to a pair of San Francisco stores.

With two upscale markets in San Francisco, Bi-Rite Market has easy access to chefs from some of the Bay Area’s fnest restaurants— starting with Chef Jason Rose, culinary director for the Bi-Rite Family of Businesses. Rose’s 20 years in foodservice include stints as culinary director for Dean & Deluca in nearby Napa Valley, project manager for the San Francisco-based Delfna Restaurant Group, executive chef at Whole Foods Market in Marin County’s Mill Valley, and executive sous chef at Napa’s Carneros Inn. “Tere is so much food knowledge on our staf, and not just our chefs and cooks in the kitchens,” says Rose. “Many of our buyers were former chefs and have been working in their industries for decades. Plus, we all love to eat and scope out menus wherever we fnd ourselves. Ask any staf member on the foor, and they can recommend a recipe for a specifc ingredient, or suggest a dinner option for you.” Rose and his chefs bring this reverence for ingredients to Bi-Rite’s kitchens. “Our prepared foods are how we show



JUNE 2016

our guests how much we love to cook, feed and be fed,” Rose explains. “Always seasonal and supportive of the producers we believe in, we prepare our dishes with the same responsibly sourced, high-quality, unique, seasonal foods found in our markets. Our owner Sam Mogannam’s family heritage is Palestinian, and you can see some of his family’s recipes come through our prepared foods as well.”

Celebrating food culture In this foodie-focused California city, Bi-Rite attracts the type of people who live to eat. Te stores’ prepared food programs make the most of that love by showcasing and celebrating traditional cooking practices from around the world. “Last summer we launched our house-made sushi line,” says Rose. “We realized that we could elevate the sushi we sold by showcasing the incredible, sustainable seafood in our markets, which is also the same seafood you see on our catering menus. We trained with some of San Francisco’s most renowned sushi chefs to perfect our technique, and this past winter visited Japan to dig even deeper. We are constantly educating ourselves about how best to understand and use the ingredients on hand in our prepared foods.”

Sweet success

“We all love to eat and scope out menus wherever we find ourselves.” — Chef Jason Rose, Bi-Rite culinary director

One of Bi-Rite’s top calling cards is its instore Creamery & Bakeshop, where pots de crème made from Berkeley, Calif.-based TCHO fy out of the stores. It also represents Bi-Rite’s dedication to serving the best and in the best ways possible.

Tis level of dedication carries through to monthly chefs’ meetings, which Rose describes as entirely food focused— no operational talk allowed—and designed to push cooking skills and food knowledge. Each month, the group picks a culture of food from around the world and “goes deep with it,” learning pantry essentials, basic cooking methods, classic dishes, etc. “It’s a great way to keep our guests inspired to see what we are cooking next, and for our chefs to keep learning and pushing themselves,” Rose says.

Prepared food ambassadors Food expertise doesn’t stop with Bi-Rite’s chefs. All staf members taste all new house-made items, says Rose, because he and his team want them to know and understand the products. Tese tastings promote excitement among staf members so they can be ambassadors for special products and new dishes. Te company’s close relationships with producers mean Rose can regularly take staf to visit the farmers, ranchers and producers who provide Bi-Rite’s food products. “Tey can witness frsthand where our ingredients are coming from and meet the people who are producing them,” Rose says. Bi-Rite’s customers also end up being natural ambassadors. “We include our guests in the creative process as well, ofentimes ‘beta-testing’ new dishes for our nightly dinners and gathering direct feedback from our guests,” Rose says. “We are lucky to be able to feature ingredients that our guests see on the store foor as well, creating continuity that allows us to better tell a producer’s story. We listen to our guests’ feedback and value those

“We decided to sell our classic pot de crème in 9-ounce reusable glass jars instead of plastic cups, and wow, what a good decision!” says Chef Jason Rose, culinary director for the Bi-Rite Family of Businesses in San Francisco. “This is a fantastic example of getting the quality, favor and texture of the product right, and packaging in line with our environmental mission as well.”

relationships because they push us to be even better. Having kitchens in the heart of our markets gives us the freedom for real time feedback directly from our guests.”

Learning from experience Bi-Rite also pays attention to which prepared foods are selling the most. Teir sandwich program, for example, is legendary, and the regular lunch crowd has made the Achiote Chicken Sandwich a current fan favorite. Te hotpressed creation starts with an achiote-marinated Mary’s Free Range chicken breast topped with pickled onions, provolone cheese and chipotle aioli. Another sandwich, the Vegan Hippy, piles creamy avocado, crispy-fried sweet potato, pea shoots and rum-braised green onion aioli on toasted, thick-cut seeded bread. “Tis sandwich went through much iteration before we decided it was ready to launch, and it’s now a top seller at both markets,” Rose notes. G

Located in San Francisco, Bi-Rite takes advantage of the city’s chef talent pool.

Selling health

Leveraging retail dietitians’ expertise can boost your shoppers’ trust in nutritious prepared food offerings. BY JODY SHEE

With fexible prepared food prep facilities and access to professional instore dietitians, supermarket grocerants are in a prime position to establish themselves as highly credible sources of healthy food options.

focus on the ‘diet of the day,’ but rather address . . . larger dietetic concerns people have,” says Goldberg, who is president and chief executive ofcer of Welldone Restaurant Concepts Inc., a Los Angeles-based foodservice/hospitality culinary consulting frm. “Tose on specifc diets already know what they have to manage at a grocery store to fnd what they are looking for.”

Tus, Goldberg fnds it reasonable that his local Whole Foods store (known for its healthy food ethos) operates several dietary themed help-yourself food bars: vegan, Mediterranean, organic, composed salads and an international bar. Half of retailer respondents to Progressive Grocer’s 2016 “With themed food bars, customers can make the choices retail dietitian survey, for example, indicated they employ they need to make,” he says. “In my opinion, that’s probably at least one retail dietitian, with chains employing an the safest way to address average of 21 RDs. dietary needs with the Dietitians developed the criteria for Harmons’ healthy food line. And the grocers with biggest impact.” dietitians on staf are far more engaged with customers on wellness issues than retailers without them, according to the research. A dietitian-driven healthy food program is also more likely to focus on the scientifc facts of good nutrition than a fad diet, say experts. Restaurant consultant Bart Goldberg says he’s noticed that even when supermarkets single out certain products as heart healthy or free of ingredients like gluten, dairy, nuts or meat, they don’t usually make mention of specifc diet plans. “Tey don’t want to take valuable space and


Harmons: Dietitian-driven recipes Te dietitians at West Valley City, Utah-based Harmons have developed a list of criteria on which to evaluate foods to determine if they qualify for the 17-store chain’s Dietitians Choice tag. To be eligible, an item must emphasize whole grains, fruits and vegetables and/or fber, have less sodium, saturated fat and/or added sugar, and not contain trans fat, hydrogenated oils, artifcial sweeteners or high fructose corn syrup.

Giant Eagle’s Dietitian Pick program promotes messages about healthy eating. To ensure that Harmons’ grocerants ofer a variety of Dietitians Choice prepared foods, two to four times a year the delicatessen sales director conducts a recipe contest among the chefs. Points are awarded for meeting Dietitians Choice criteria, qualifying as vegan or vegetarian, incorporating local foods, utilizing store-made products (hummus, for example), and developing a unique recipe and taste, says Jonnell Masson, a registered dietitian for two of Harmons’ stores. Department dietitians calculate the nutrition values and suggest ways to tweak the recipes to qualify for Dietitians Choice designation. All of the Harmons chefs taste and evaluate the recipes, with the top-rated foods then tested in two stores to see if they sell well. If so, they become part of the food rotation, and the chef who created them receives a gif basket of cooking items. Recent winners included a Tree Pepper Salmon Salad and the Ironman Salad, incorporating kale, blueberries, edamame, peanuts, carrots, red onion and raspberry vinaigrette. To emphasize the Dietitians Choice program with customers, two of the checkout lanes at each store forego candy and gum racks in favor of Dietitians Choice coolers containing small to-go servings of such items as prepared salads, hard-boiled eggs, nuts and fruit, says Masson. And in the grocerant area, the Dietitians Choice

Harmons conducts healthy recipe contests for its instore chefs. — Jonnell Masson, Harmons

items are grouped in a case with an identifying cling sticker on the front of the case. Harmons educates customers about the program via store fiers, instore signs and even stickers placed on to-go containers of appropriate items. Each January, the chain makes a big push for Dietitians Choice by conducting samplings to promote healthy lifestyles, Masson says.

Giant Eagle: Expanding dietitians’ infuence At Pittsburgh-based Giant Eagle, the chain has chosen to promote messages about the benefts of heart healthy, low-sodium and low-saturated fat foods, which some customers might recognize as important elements in both the Mediterranean and DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diets, according to Samantha Montgomery, manager of dietitians and nutrition education. Giant Eagle’s Dietitian Pick program calls attention to prepared foods that meet any of the criteria the program supports. To qualify for the Dietitian Pick logo, the product must be low in saturated fat with limited amounts of sodium, contain 0 grams of trans fat per serving, and be a good source of fber and vitamins A or C, calcium, iron and/or protein. In January 2016, Giant Eagle launched a Health & Wellness labeling program in the center aisles that it

JUNE 2016



Supermarkets want to “address . . . larger dietetic concerns people have.” — Bart Goldberg, Welldone Restaurant Concepts Inc. for Te Little Clinic, a wholly owned subsidiary of Kroger that operates in several Kroger markets, including King Soopers stores in the Denver and Colorado Springs areas. Te Kroger dietitians also frequently lead individual and group health condition-focused store tours that emphasize, for instance, gluten-free, heart health, diabetes awareness, lower-sodium and fruits and vegetables. In the past, they have worked with the stores’ grocerant chefs on healthful parameters for prepared foods to reduce salt, saturated fat, total fat, calories, cholesterol, trans fats and added sugar. Te dishes were marketed as “heart healthy,” with a logo adhered to the front of the food case and all qualifying dishes served with bright green spoons. “We hope to start doing this again in the near future,” Rebellon says. G hopes to expand to the prepared food department afer the nutrition analysis is complete on all prepared foods, Montgomery says. Te chain hired an outside frm to evaluate the nutrition labels of all packaged foods to determine if they qualify for any of 14 designations. Tose that qualify have colored tags next to them on shelves. For example, brown tags say “good source of protein,” orange tags say “good source of potassium,” red tags say “heart healthy” and green tags say “low sodium.” Te plan is to re-evaluate each of the called-out products every six months to make sure they still qualify.

Kroger: Getting clinical about healthy eating Te Kroger Co. has forged an even stronger link between good health and healthy food products by providing on-site counsel from dietitians for consumers who visit the company’s instore clinics. Dietitians are on hand to help bridge the gap between a customer’s specifc clinical conditions and the most appropriate corresponding food choices, says Cristina Rebellon, retail dietitian coordinator



JUNE 2016

Kroger’s Cristina Rebellon, R.D.: Dietitians provide counsel at the stores’ on-site clinics.



Look to the restaurant industry for culinary pros who’ll be a good fit for retail foodservice.

To upgrade prepared food oferings and earn a reputation for great cuisine, grocerants need to hire talented culinary school graduates and experienced chefs from the restaurant and hospitality realm, say a number of grocery industry consultants and thought leaders. “Don’t just promote the deli manager to oversee your grocerant department. Instead, bring in a culinarian who knows how to prepare and present the food and how to train foodservice staf,” urges Phil Lempert, the Santa Monica, Calif.-based editor of But fnding and keeping culinarians can be a tall order for grocerant retailers. A nationwide chef shortage is already challenging restaurateurs and hoteliers, as well as supermarket chains that are serious about their prepared food departments.

chefs Despite their penchant for dining out, relatively few millennials have gravitated toward foodservice careers, notes Chef Steven Petusevsky, a grocerant consultant and project manager based in the Miami area. “Millennials are known for not wanting to work as physically hard as previous generations or for as many long hours,” says Petusevsky, who served as the corporate chef for Whole Foods Market in Austin, Texas, for more than a decade. “Even young people who have chosen a career in the culinary industry don’t want to work as hard as we had to work rising up the ranks.” Tat gives grocerants at least one signifcant advantage when it comes to attracting millennial talent, since the hours of a supermarket chef are generally more amenable to work-life balance than those of a restaurant chef, says Petusevsky. But many aspiring and experienced chefs are unaware of opportunities in the grocery retailing world. As an alumnus of the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, N.Y., Petusevsky is spearheading a new CIA-sponsored national leadership collaborative called Appetites+Innovation that will address these and other issues confronting retail foodservice.

JUNE 2016



Get specifc Before mining the restaurant and hospitality industries for promising young or veteran chefs, however, grocerants need to determine the precise skill sets they require for various culinary jobs, notes human resources consultant Janet A. Hofmann, president of HR Aligned Design in New York City. “What I always recommend to any company is to really identify the profle of the person who is going to be successful in that position,” she says. “You need to home in on what’s important—on what’s non-negotiable in terms of the skills and qualifcations that you need.” Similarly, Petusevsky emphasizes the importance of writing a thoughtful, truthful job description prior to pursuing chef candidates. “Te job description needs to be meaningful and accurate—one that the potential hire can really depend on to be a blueprint of what to expect,” he says. “Tere have been a couple of times in my career when I’ve accepted a position based on a job description only to fnd that the job was totally diferent. And this is indicative of one of the grocerant industry’s problems: Tere is a need to be fully transparent and honest, but because it is a newly emerging feld, sometimes the details of a job can be hard to clarify.”

Restaurant culture vs. supermarket culture Petusevsky says in his experience, a quarter of the supermarket chefs hired from the restaurant or hospitality industry leave retail within a few years. To prevent turnover later on, hiring managers should candidly discuss

“Because [grocerants are] a newly emerging field, sometimes the details of a [culinary] job can be hard to clarify.” — Steven Petusevsky, grocery consultant the workplace cultural diferences between restaurants and retail foodservice during the interviewing process, he says. In general, restaurant chefs can be more creative when it comes to plate presentation, while grocerant culinarians can use their imagination in other ways, on a larger scale. A chef working in a fne restaurant may have more prestige, but a grocerant chef arguably has greater infuence on what ordinary people eat every day, according to Petusevsky. “When you’re a chef in a restaurant, you have the opportunity to feed people on special occasions and celebrate important moments of their lives with them,” he says. “But when you’re the culinary director of a large retail market and you’re planning all of the prepared food and developing those recipes and adding your own style, you’re having a tremendous impact on so many people. Tat is powerfully satisfying.” Supermarket chefs, moreover, need to have exceptional communication skills because they interact more with customers. Rather than guarding their culinary knowledge, they are expected to share recipes with consumers, provide cooking demonstrations and even help shoppers fnd ingredients. In addition, notes Chef Charlie Baggs, chief executive chef of Chicago-based Charlie Baggs Culinary Innovations, grocerant chefs work with a wider range of products and typically have tremendous breadth of product knowledge.

Building relationships To recruit up-and-coming chefs, grocerant retailers can start by building relationships with culinary schools. “You need to go to the career fairs that these schools all have for their students and graduates,” says Baggs. He recommends establishing internships as well so that chef trainees can see early on if they might enjoy a retail grocery career.



JUNE 2016

To raise awareness of such careers, supermarkets can also approach high school guidance counselors, especially at schools that have culinary programs, Hofmann says. When looking for chefs with experience, grocerants should advertise on Internet job boards—both culinary-specifc websites and comprehensive career websites that have a robust culinary presence, she says. Recruiters also need to take advantage of social media, including LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, Hofmann emphasizes. “Tere is so much going on there, with employers posting jobs and candidates posting their resumes,” she says. “You need to use all of those channels to get the word out.” Hofmann advises grocerants to search LinkedIn for “passive candidates”—those who are not currently looking for a job but who have the desired qualities. “You may be able to attract them with the benefts and opportunities at your organization,” she says. “If nothing else, you start to create some relationships.” What’s more, supermarket chains should embrace employee referral programs, Hofmann says. “If one of your managers or chefs refers someone who is qualifed, do they receive a bonus?” she asks. “People like to work with individuals they know and feel comfortable with, so referral programs can be highly efective.” G

Training to retain

Even top-notch chefs hired from the restaurant and hospitality feld will require training, because they may know a lot about their profession but very little about their new retail employer. Chef Charlie Baggs, chief executive chef of Charlie Baggs Culinary Innovations, points to Disney World as an exemplary model. “Before employees start working at Disney World, they go through extensive training so that they know everything about the company—how it originated, what the mission statement is, and so forth,” he says. “This sets employees up for success.” Ongoing training, moreover, should be more than occasional workshops, says Janet A. Hofmann, president of HR Aligned Design. “There are two things you can do well internally, and that’s ofer people diferent types of experiences and exposures,” she says. “Maybe culinary staf can travel to diferent stores in your organization to experience working with diferent executive chefs. Or maybe there is an opportunity for chefs to work on cross-functional teams to learn more about the grocery business.”

at... ¨

What’s on Trend Just Made Taste Sensible Choices Authentic Recipes


Booth # 2533

Hot Food:

Veggies get their

day in the sun BY K ATHY HAYDEN

Move over, meat: Veggies are taking root as the “it” food on menus everywhere.

From fast casual to fne dining, kale is the new bacon. But it’s not only kale: More consumers are looking at vegetables in general as delicious, varied and even indulgent meal makers rather than just virtuous diet dishes. Sales of value-added vegetables for easier meal preparation jumped 17 percent during the past year, according to Nielsen Perishables Group, and volume increased 13 percent. Pre-cut peppers and onions grew the most, followed by vegetable mixes. Nielsen also found that sales growth of value-added fruits and vegetables is twice that of regular produce, making these products ideal for grocerant programs.



JUNE 2016

Vegetables are already worth their weight in gold in the restaurant realm. At the forefront of the veg-centric menu movement is the New York City restaurant Dirt Candy, which highlights chef and owner Amanda Cohen’s motto on its website: “Anyone can cook a hamburger, leave the vegetables to the professionals.” Te menu includes Korean Fried Broccoli, described as “crack in broccoli form.” A rutabaga-ginger-sage cake is topped with mustard tuile and smoked cream cheese, and the Brussels Sprout Taco flling is served on a sizzling stone, ready to stuf into lettuce wrappers. While Dirt Candy is a vegetarian restaurant, vegetables are being lavished with just as much attention for omnivores. At Chicago’s Publican eatery, beer and meat boards are the stars, but the Barbecue Carrots and the Grilled Cucumbers with burrata cheese, poppy seeds and spring onions are

Chefs say the challenge—and fun— of vegetables is using items you already have in-house in new ways.


“Don’t just throw more vegetables out there; add vegetables in thoughtprovoking ways.” — Chef Gary Patterson, McCormick & Co. Inc.

Veggies front and center

among a host of enlightened vegetable oferings on the menu. “In many cases, vegetable dishes [at restaurants] are fnished with a small amount of meat, like some chorizo, or they are cooked in lard,” notes Gary Patterson, executive chef and manager, culinary science for Sparks, Md.-based McCormick & Co. Inc. “Adding richness is a way to get more attention for vegetables and to give diners some indulgence, but not to the point where they need to nap.”

Fresh techniques With or without a meaty boost, chefs are fnding new ways to get more favor from vegetables, says Patterson, and others agree. Chef Lauren DeMaria, director of culinary and business development at Chicago-based CSSI, a marketing and culinary consultancy, points to Chef Jose Andres’ Beefsteak fast casual concept in Washington, D.C., as a place where impeccable technique is key to elevating vegetables. “Andres uses seasonal, high-quality ingredients and perfectly executed sous vide method to cook vegetables to a perfect al dente,” says DeMaria. Patterson likes salt- or wood-roasted vegetables accented by a light dressing made with favorful vinegars or carefully selected spice blends. Roasted beets, Brussels sprouts and caulifower, and potato varietals have proven that great favors and variety can come from relatively humble ingredients with lower costs, he says.


“Tink in terms of layering favors with smoked spices, like paprika, which adds oaky notes,” he says. “Spices add favor,

Raw veggies can bring fresh crunch to a meal. COURTESY OF MCCORMICK & COMPANY

color, earthiness, complexity. I like to use the term ‘blends with benefts.’ Spice mixes with chia and matcha [tea] add great favor and bring umami—or meatiness—to meatless dishes, and also some better health. Many dried spices have anti-infammatory properties.” Patterson also likes to add roasted veggies such as mashed beets, carrots or leeks to a hummus of chickpeas or white beans for vibrant color and earthy favors.

Keeping the crunch factor At the opposite end of the vegetable cooking spectrum is pickling. “Pickling is huge, and people are extending that trend by pairing interesting vinegars and diferent spices, like turmeric and mustard seed,” Patterson says. “It’s a fresh, bright, favorful and visually interesting way to treat vegetables, and people are pickling more things.” DeMaria likes the fresh crunch that raw or pickled vegetables bring to a meal. “Texture cannot be underestimated when focusing on vegetables,” she says. “It can be a diferentiating factor, especially when bringing in a crisp and crunch.” Both chefs note that the challenge—and the fun—of vegetables is using items you already have in-house in new ways. To this end, Whole Foods has jumped on the “zoodle” (thin strips of zucchini used as “noodles”) trend. A recent Whole Foods customer newsletter describes how veggie noodles and spiralized vegetables can be used like traditional pasta or lef raw for marinating or adding to salads. Whole Foods even ofers pre-spiraled vegetables in some locations. “Te trick to introducing more vegetable dishes is to be known for something,” says Patterson. “Don’t just throw more vegetables out there; add vegetables in thought-provoking ways. Add sides beyond potato and pasta salads. Put as much attention into vegetables as your main dishes. Make sure they taste great, are seasoned properly and are well-balanced.” G

Mashed beets add vibrant color to traditional hummus.

JUNE 2016




Adding prepared food delivery is vital for grocerants, say industry observers. BY CAROLYN SCHIERHORN

on demand

Millennials are known for their passion for food. And as the frst generation to grow up using the Internet, with access to any and all information at their fngertips, they feel they can eat whatever they want whenever they want. To capture share of stomach in this crucial demographic, more and more startup companies have plunged into the meal delivery market in urban areas. Some businesses, such as San Francisco-based services Sprig and Munchery, ofer meals on demand in a growing number of cities, with their own chefs preparing food in industrial kitchens. Other companies, including GrubHub and UberEATS, team up with local restaurants to deliver meals quickly—at the touch of a button on a mobile app.

facing high blood pressure, diabetes and other chronic medical conditions—would need to cater to diferent dietary considerations.

Switching gears Although a number of supermarket chains partner with Instacart and similar services, such as DoorDash and Envoy, to deliver online-ordered groceries to customers’ homes, few if any grocerant retailers deliver individual meals on demand, observes Jeremy Johnson, education director for the International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association (IDDBA). “Supermarkets are traditionally driven by volume when it comes to delivery,” he says. Grocery industry consultant Steve Dragoo says he also hasn’t seen any supermarkets ofer delivery of prepared meals yet. “I think this is a huge opportunity for retailers who understand who they are and their clientele and operate in population-dense areas where they could ofer delivery,” says the owner of Solutions Consulting, which is based in the Nashville, Tenn., area.

“For supermarkets to be attuned to the needs of their customer base, particularly millennials, they must be in this space,” says Phil Lempert, a grocery industry analyst in Santa Monica, Calif., and editor of



Meal delivery services like San Francisco-based Munchery set a high bar for prepared food quality.

JUNE 2016


Te aging baby boomer generation is another potentially big market for modern-day mealson-wheels services, he adds, noting that dishes for this demographic—

But some infrastructure changes and branding initiatives will have to be implemented before prepared food delivery becomes feasible for grocerant retailers. GrubHub, UberEATS and similar companies have not pursued relationships with grocery stores in part because of the perceived logistical challenges of drivers having to park in large supermarket lots,

then walk through massive stores to pick up the prepared food. Companies like Instacart that do partner with supermarket chains have a different business model and are not designed to deliver fresh-prepared single meals to consumers. “I’m willing to go on Instacart and buy my $100 order and have it delivered by 2 p.m. But when I want lunch, I want lunch,” Lempert says. “What’s more, on Instacart, if your order is under $25, you’ll be charged an $11 delivery fee. Uber, on the other hand, has the tip and delivery charge included in the price, and you’re paying only $10 or $12 or so.” Restaurants and delivery services then split the proft on the orders.

Simple solutions In Lempert’s opinion, grocerant retailers need to proactively forge bonds with restaurant-focused services that use vehicles equipped to keep hot food hot and cold food cold. Some high-volume delivery services obtain menu items in bulk from restaurants at diferent times of day so meals can be delivered to customers within 10 or 15 minutes of order placement. “Tese meals are made fresh, but they’re not made to order,” Lempert notes. Grocerants would not need to ofer multiple types of meals for delivery throughout the day, he says. One or two dishes, a limited choice of beverages and a simple dessert from the store could be shown on the delivery company’s app, which would also display meals from restaurants and other retailers in the area. Te app’s menu would change at least daily—perhaps ofering different choices for lunch, dinner and late-night snacks— allowing the grocerant to promote and provide diferent dishes without becoming overwhelmed. To work with delivery services, supermarkets would have

“[Grocerant] food [for delivery] needs to be top of the line in a particular category.” — Steve Dragoo, Solutions Consulting

to establish curbside pickup or reserved parking spaces for drivers, notes Chef Charlie Baggs, chief executive chef of Chicago-based Charlie Baggs Culinary Innovations. And ideally, store employees would bring the meals out to the drivers. In addition, the meals would have to be packaged in an attractive manner that prevents leakage, promotes freshness and touts the supermarket’s brand.

Crowd pleasers A self-described fan of UberEATS, Dragoo believes Uberstyle delivery makes the most sense for grocerant retailers that have already made a name for themselves with several signature dishes. He notes that Big Y, headquartered in Springfeld, Mass., would be an ideal chain to test the meal delivery concept because they are widely recognized for their pizza, grinders and submarine sandwiches, and certain hot food dishes. “Te food needs to be top of the line in a particular category,” Dragoo says. “Delivery would be more challenging for stores that [just] do a hundred things pretty well because they wouldn’t be able to diferentiate themselves from local restaurants.” Ultimately, prepared food delivery could be an efective way to drive more store trafc, says Lempert. He maintains that consumers who order and enjoy a grocerant-prepared meal they’ve never tried before will likely think about visiting that store the next time they need to buy groceries: Te delivery business would increase store trafc and vice versa. G

JUNE 2016



Accent on Cuisine: BY K ATHY HAYDEN

Club Mediterranean Legumes are the international food of the year, hummus sales are humming, and Greek yogurt is poised to take over all dayparts. It’s safe to say that the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle Eastern regions are having a moment on American menus. More proof comes from the robust fast casual restaurant segment, where several emerging concepts apply the build-your-own model to hummus-based bowls, fatbreads, rice or salads that are piled with proteins like kebabs, shawarma (spit-roasted meatballs) and kifa (spiced meatloaf), then fnished with salads and bold sauces. Garbanzo Fresh Mediterranean, a Colorado fast casual chain, lets diners customize their meals with a dozen vegetable-based extras like spicy red pepper hummus, baba ghanoush (eggplant spread) and tabbouleh grain salad. In New York City, the Maoz chain ofers a simple vegetarian menu based entirely on a proprietary falafel that blends chickpeas, fresh vegetables, herbs and a secret spice mix called Te Maoz Magic Powder.

Plant-forward food “We’re seeing a real movement behind eating more plant-forward food, and the Mediterranean region is great for that,” says Chef David Kamen, project manager for CIA Consulting, part of Culinary Institute of

“Condiments and flavoring elements are often the first part of cuisines to emerge.” — David Kamen, CIA Consulting



Falafel is experiencing robust growth on U.S. menus.

America’s (CIA) continuing education division. Kamen is responsible for the planning and management of custom projects for professional foodservice operations. “Tis region is heavy on herbs, greens, healthy grains, seed pastes, nuts and nut pastes.” Jennifer Aranas, senior project manager at Chicago-based menu research frm Datassential, also sees better health driving the consumer appeal of Mediterranean foods. “One of the drivers for this cuisine is the wealth of research that afrms benefts of eating patterns in these areas,” she says. Aranas cites the abundance of plant-based foods, olive oil as a primary fat, high fsh and legume consumption and low red meat consumption as the healthful ingredients of Mediterranean menus. So far, olives, olive oil, eggplant, chickpeas and artichokes are the ingredients proliferating

JUNE 2016

Traditional Eastern Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavors are found in (clockwise from top left): chile and lemon, cucumber raita, onion and garlic, baba ghanoush, tabbouleh, and hummus.

on U.S. menus. Datassential fnds hummus (chickpea puree) is now included on 11 percent of all U.S. menus and has experienced 43 percent menu growth during the past four years. By comparison, falafel (fried chickpea balls or patties) is found on only 3 percent of all U.S. menus but has also experienced robust growth of 32 percent since 2010.

easily dress up any grilled meat or vegetables.” Likewise, Mediterranean sauces and spreads make excellent additions to salad bars, either on their own for toppings or for dressing chopped salads or cold grain preparations.

Flavor of the month

Tis region’s way of eating is as appealing as the favors and ingredients, says Kamen: “It’s communal, shared and presented on big platters and baskets. Instead of plated, formal eating, meals are a social event, with people taking food from big dishes onto small plates. Ofen, bread is a way to carry other foods, like fatbreads or herb salads, or [is] used for dipping hummus and other spreads.”

Beyond the health halo, Eastern Mediterranean food delivers on big, bold favors. Kamen explains that the same depth of favor and complexity that have made Sriracha and gochujang sauces popular infuences from Asian cuisines are also at work in Eastern Mediterranean sauces and spice mixes. Harissa (hot and sweet red chili paste), zaatar (fresh herb paste), chermoula (garlic-lemon-oil blend), North Africa’s Ras el hanout (chili-dried spice mix) and preserved lemon deliver a similar complexity. In Chicago, the growing chain Roti Modern Mediterranean serves clean-labeled “food that loves you back,” while also introducing fans to some of these emerging favor elements like sumac (spice) and sauces that range from a mild dill-yogurt to a medium roasted red pepper and spicy s’hug. “Condiments and favoring elements are ofen the frst parts of cuisines to emerge,” says Kamen. “Sauces make the dish and are great starting points because they can

The communal table

Tese kinds of vegetable-laden plates are popular on the menu at the emerging mid-scale chain True Food Kitchen, based in Phoenix, where a starter of crudités is served with tzatziki dip and a black olive spread. A roasted seasonal vegetable board is accompanied by Avocado Green Goddess dip and pimento cashew cheese spread. Communal vegetable dishes are also well-suited to prepared food programs, where pre-roasted vegetables or grilled meats can be a starting point for a meal of veggies, greens and grains selected from the salad bar. Customers can fnish of their DIY meal with sauces from an extensive selection and some freshly baked bread. G

JUNE 2016



Chef Q&A:

Unsung heroes at the sandwich counter From Korean barbecue and Mexican tacos to Maine lobster rolls and Chinese bao buns, sandwich mash-ups are slicing into the market for lunch and snack fare. Gerry Ludwig, consulting chef at Gordon Food Service, a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based broadline food distribution company, conducts favor expeditions across the country and sees an inspiring amount of innovation out there. He recently talked to about the most proftable ways to mix up sandwich service oferings. How do today’s “mash-ups” difer from yesterday’s “fusion food”? Gerry Ludwig: Mash-ups stick to cuisines and favor profles that pair better together. Fusion food tried to do things like apply Asian favors to classic European dishes, which didn’t always work. Today, chefs are putting slow-roasted meats into four tortillas and fnishing with favors of Korea and Latin America, which just makes a lot more sense. Tese cuisines have a lot of things in common, like sweet-saltiness, some sour elements, fresh greens, herbs. Also, pretty much anything can get wrapped in a burrito to make it portable, which is important now.

Is this just an Asian-Latin phenomenon, or do sandwich mash-ups work with other cuisines? GL: Tere are no real limits as long as you keep basic favor profles in mind. I don’t like to see people go too crazy with

favors, but there’s also no need to master a single cuisine. It’s a matter of layering two or three favors to create complexity.

Why are we seeing so many sandwich mash-ups now? GL: Again, portability and grab-and-go are important features. Also, in terms of sandwiches, you can start at the bottom and explore diferent breads and carriers. India and Malaysia [for example] have great breads for wrapping, like naan and paratha. Tey’re faky and thicker than a burrito, and are great flled with almost anything. Look at what holds ingredients well and has some durability. I’ve seen Chinese steamed bao flled with Philly cheesesteak fllings or a regional barbecue. Fried chicken sandwiches are a big trend right now and don’t have to be served on a biscuit or roll. How about regional versions, like the Nashville hot chicken or Korean double-fried, on a bread that your bakery does really well?


What kinds of condiment trends are emerging from these sandwich mash-ups?

Korean sandwiches like pork banh mi are inspiring chefs to mix and match flavor profiles.


Chef Gerry Ludwig, Gordon Food Service


JUNE 2016

GL: I can’t point to one big condiment trend, but I would say, try to avoid a “been there, done that” reaction from your customers. Now that Sriracha [sauce] is mainstream, people are seeking the next hot thing. It might not be one particular sauce, but a paste or a spread that has similar favors, with heat, garlic, some sweet-sour notes. Be original—go house-made whenever possible. — Kathy Hayden

October 25–26, 2016 • Chicago

Building the Grocerant Experience



Blount Fine Foods

Cover 4


41 grocerant-summit

Hormel Foods Corporation Progressive Grocer Grocerant Summit 2016

Robbie Flexibles


Sandridge Food Corporation


Cover 3

Cover 2, 13-15

Simplot Foods Tyson Foods

570 Lake Cook Rd, Suite 310, Deerfield, IL 60015 Phone: 224 632-8200 Fax: 224 632-8266

ADVERTISING SALES & BUSINESS STAFF Kollin Stagnito President & CEO 224-632-8226 Ned Bardic Chief Revenue Officer 224-632-8224 Korry Stagnito Chief Brand Officer 224-632-8171 Jeff Friedman Senior Vice President 201-855-7621 John Huff Midwest Marketing Manager 224-632-8174 Elizabeth Cherry Western Regional Sales Manager 310-546-3815 • Cell 310-990-9597 Maggie Kaeppel Eastern Marketing Manager 630-364-2150 • Cell 708-565-5350 Mike Shaw Northeast Marketing Manager 201-855-7631 • Cell 201-281-9100 Janet Blaney Marketing Manager (AZ, CO, ID, MD, MN, MT, NM, NV, OH, TX, UT, WY) 630-364-1601 Kathy Colwell General Manager, Custom Media 224-632-8244 UNITED STATES MARKETS Convenience • Grocery/Drug/Mass Store Brands • Specialty Gourmet Multicultural • Green • Technology Hospitality • Apparel



JUNE 2016

CANADIAN MARKETS • Convenience • Pharmacy • Foodservice

How to enhance sales of a traditional favorite

We made our Broccoli Cheddar Soup 100% organic – and 100% f lavorful. In fact, Blount has an entire line of organic soups that satisfy consumer demand for true-to-nature, simpler foods. Each is a premium-quality, artisan-crafted recipe that offers heat-and-serve convenience. Generate more sales with our soups.

With Blount, you can get more because we provide more. To learn more about our organic soups call 800.274.2526 or visit

NO ically genet red ee engin nts. ie ingred 16 oz Microwaveable Cool Grip Cup