Progressive Grocer - June 2018

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RETAIL BAKERY REVIEW: Tough times aside, in-store bakeries prep for profits GET WELL NOW Retailers evolve into true health destinations CHILL FACTOR Ice cream aims to satisfy indulgence and health needs A PRIVATE MATTER Store-brand pet products offer plenty of potential

Introducing a new slate of honorees and a fresh look for the program

June 2018 • Volume 97, Number 6

$10 •

Contents 06.18

Volume 97 Issue 6

Cover Story


Women in the Forefront

Introducing a new slate of honorees and a fresh look for the program.

Departments 8 PUBLISHER’S NOTE



Healthy 3.0 at the Grocer

Leveraging Retail Dietitian and Pharmacist Partnerships

Examples of Excellence



Fresh Produce


Fresh Bakery


Ready-to-Drink Juice


Take a Page From Independent Bookstores PROGRESSIVE GROCER June 2018


Contents 06.18

Volume 97 Issue 6

8550 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. Ste. 200, Chicago, IL 60631 Phone: 800-422-2681 Fax: 978-671-0460



Worth Doing Well

Grocers can become popular health destinations by involving the whole store. SVP, Brand Director Katie Brennan 201-855-7609 • Mobile: 917-859-3619 EDITORIAL MANAGING DIRECTOR OF CONTENT STRATEGY Joan Driggs 224-632-8211 EDITORIAL DIRECTOR James Dudlicek 224-632-8238 MANAGING EDITOR Bridget Goldschmidt 201-855-7603


DIGITAL & TECHNOLOGY EDITOR Randy Hofbauer 224-632-8240

Best of Both Worlds

SENIOR EDITOR Kat Martin 224-632-8172

Grocers cater to cravings and a collective dietary conscience with a slew of ice cream products.

CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Princess Jones Curtis, D. Gail Fleenor, Andy Frye, Jenny McTaggart, Lynn Petrak and Barbara Sax ADVERTISING SALES & BUSINESS SOUTHEAST ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Larry Cornick 224.632.8248


MIDWEST MARKETING MANAGER Angela Flatland (AR, CO, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, MI, MO, NE, ND, OK, SD, TN, WI) 224-229-0547 • Mobile: 608-320-4421

Proof of Life

SENIOR MARKETING MANAGER Judy Hayes 925-785-9665

The bakery department is facing some tough realities this year, but expectations are high.

SENIOR MARKETING MANAGER Theresa Kossack 214-226-6468


WESTERN REGIONAL MARKETING MANAGER Rick Neigher (CA, OR, WA) 818-597-9029 NORTHEAST MARKETING MANAGER Mike Shaw 201-855-7631 • Mobile: 201-281-9100 ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE/CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING Terry Kanganis 201-855-7615 • Fax: 201-855-7373 CLASSIFIED PRODUCTION MANAGER Mary Beth Medley 856-809-0050



Think Past the POS

5 ways mobile checkout apps can empower both associates and shoppers beyond the front of the store.



AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT MANAGER Shelly Patton 215-301-0593

Here Comes the Groom

LIST RENTAL MeritDirect Elizabeth Jackson 847-492-1350, ext. 318

As men become more interested in personal care, retailers stand to benefit.




Aisles of Opportunity

Creating hubs for health and beauty products can help grocers grow their category sales. 173 PG PET


Private Pet Brands on Parade Store-brand products hold great potential for retailers.







Meet the demands of today’s shoppers with fire-roasted, steel-cut, 100% Arabica coffee beans. New 1850™ brand coffee from the J.M. Smucker Company is the latest innovation to expand presence into the premium coffee space.


©/TM The Folger Coffee Company

* Source: IRI Unify Multi-Outlet – 52 Weeks Ending March 25, 2018.



Examples of Excellence year has passed since I was fortunate enough to join the Progressive Grocer team. During that time, I have met many of you at industry events and visited a large number of our sponsors and advertisers. It has been an exhilarating experience that, I must admit, has heavily influenced my grocery shopping patterns over the past year. But no experience thus far can match the excitement I felt in participating in PG’s 2017 Top Women in Grocery awards. The activities leading up to the event were eagerly anticipated by those being honored. Sponsors provided lounges, music, beauty treatments, samples and yoga sessions, culminating in a gala dinner at which winners were presented with trophies commemorating their achievements in grocery retail. As I assisted in these presentations, I could not help but notice some of the winners, accompanied by spouses and daughters, eagerly posing for pictures. The pride that they exuded was clear, and the message that they were sending to the young girls in attendance was important. These women set an example for the next generation and prove that our industry values the contributions of women in all aspects. In the sociopolitical climate of 2018, we have seen a heightened awareness of the need for gender equality and respect. One could argue that there has never been a more important time to highlight the achievements of women and their importance to business success. To that end, PG takes great pride in presenting the 2018 class of Top Women in Grocery, starting on page 28 of this issue. On Nov. 8, we will convene at The Palmer House in Chicago to pay tribute to these special individuals who personify excellence in their field, at this year’s networking and awards gathering. Congratulations to all of the winners and nominees. Please join us in celebrating with your colleagues. If you would like to attend this year’s event, feel free to email me at for more information.

Katie Brennan SVP/Brand Director


There has never been a more important time to highlight the achievements of women and their importance to business success.





STRIKES for Meal Kit Services: Let Deli Step Up to the Plate

Surprising news – shoppers really don’t like online delivery meal kits, which they’ve been led to believe will make their lives easier. In fact, they give them three strikes for being a “recipe for more stress.” 1

“Instead of striving to imitate a one-sizedoesn’t-fit-all box of ingredients that won’t satisfy a family’s needs or tastes, the prepared foods department should focus on educating and inspiring shoppers with meal plans and simple recipes using ingredients they like. The choices are abundant and readily available at the prepared foods area and throughout the store.”

Eric LeBlanc, ™/© 2018 Tyson Foods, Inc.

director of channel marketing, deli, at Tyson Foods, Inc.

Turning Misses into Hits

When we take time to listen to them, we hear what shoppers want and need, and we gain the opportunity to develop the solutions they seek.

So, if meal kit services aren’t the answer, what’s deli to do to help shoppers with meals they can be proud to serve? Seems the answer has surrounded us all along, and recent studies reinforce that conclusion.2 If we provide inspirational pre-shop messages to shoppers, along with education featuring easy recipes using products from around the store; plus offer a variety of well-executed products; we can ensure they have the incentives and ingredients to create eating occasions that are truly enjoyable.

Three Strikes for Meal Kits Challenge:



Meal kit services don’t seem affordable; recipes are complicated and require a good deal of prep time.

Inspire shoppers with easy meal ideas during the 4 p.m. dinner decision hour, use in-store signage to help them navigate, and ensure products are in high-traffic areas.


Prefab meal kits do not offer flexible options to fit the actual size or preferences of real families.

Educate shoppers about combining prepared chicken with other products to create stress-free meals for any size family or number of dinner guests.


The very things that may appeal to one family are often turn-offs to another.

Focus on execution, ensuring appealing, popular items are prepared and available at peak shopping times.

Strike One: High Cost “Wasting ingredients, wasting leftovers, the price of cooking recipes just for two people…” – Amy

Strike Two: Meal Size “If I am going to use a meal kit service, it needs to be simple and easy. They should provide meals that feed the average family of 4-5 people.” – Chapri

Strike Three: Limited, Unappealing Choices “Recipes are a little too 'twist on the classics' and trendy for me.” – Pilar

1 Sources: 1) Tyson Foods, Unconventional Shopper Connections, 2017-18 2) Tyson Foods: On The Go Foodservice Study, 2015; Prepared Foods Challenge, 2016; Emotional Trigger Research Study, 2016; Consequences of Failure Studies, 2015, 2016; Prepared Foods Attitudes & Usage Study, 2014, 2009; Prepared Foods ATR Study, 2014, 2011, 2010


Calendar S



National Service Dog Month National Catfish Month

National Panini Month National Peach Month National Sandwich Month




National Raspberry Cream Pie Day



National Ice Cream Sandwich Day



National Watermelon Day



National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day National Mustard Day

National Ice Cream Soda Day


National Oyster Day


National Root Beer Float Day


Raspberries ’n’ Cream Day


International Cat Day. Offer a special on cat toys and food.

National IPA Day

International Beer Day



National Rice Pudding Day

National S’mores Day


Offer children a free treat in honor of International Youth Day.

National Frozen Custard Day


International Lefthanders Day


National Creamsicle Day

National Filet Mignon Day

National Julienne Fries Day

National Banana Split Day



National Lemon Meringue Pie Day

National Bratwurst Day

Celebrate Julia Child’s birthday with a display of pots, pans and cooking utensils.

National Panini Day National Raspberry Tart Day

National Zucchini Day

Friendship Day


National Rum Day


National Vanilla Custard Day


National Ice Cream Pie Day

Pinot Noir Day Tell a Joke Day


National Soft-Serve Ice Cream Day National Hot & Spicy Food Day. Offer samples of your most fiery condiments.


National Bacon Lovers Day


National Sweet Tea Day


National Pecan Torte Day National Eat a Peach Day


National Cuban Sandwich Day. Run a special on this favorite sandwich in the prepared food department. National Sponge Cake Day

Potato Day

National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day

National Spumoni Day






Banana Lovers Day. Run a contest on social media for customers’ favorite ways to use the fruit.

National Burger Day

National Chop Suey Day

Slinky Day. Create displays using this favorite toy from childhoods past.

National Dog Day

National Cherry Popsicle Day


National Pots de Creme Day

National Cherry Turnover Day

More Herbs, Less Salt Day

National Toasted Marshmallow Day


National Peach Pie Day


National Whiskey Sour Day National Banana Split Day

National Waffle Day


National Trail Mix Day

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© Puratos Corp.

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Market Research

Fresh Baked WHAT DR AWS CONSUMERS TO THE IN-STORE BAKERY? Consumers of all ages frequent the in-store bakery in pretty steady numbers, but Millennials and mature/silents are the most likely to frequently shop the department, while Baby Boomers are most likely to purchase from the department only a couple of times a month. Progressive Grocer, along with sister company EIQ Research Solutions, interviewed 500 consumers who have household responsibility for grocery shopping to find out how often they shop the in-store bakery. As for what products consumers are buying from the department, bread is the most popular, but Millennials are the most likely to buy doughnuts. Survey respondents were sourced via ProdegeMR, reinventing the market research process by taking a respondent-first approach. Visit for more information.

Millennials Most Likely to Frequently Shop In-Store Bakery How frequently do you purchase fresh-baked goods from your primary supermarket? TOTAL







Once per week or more





4 4 . 8 2%



Daily (365)








A couple of times per week








About once per week








A couple of times per month








About once per month








Less often than once per month









of consumers shop the in-store bakery at least once per week. More than ¼ rate the instore bakery as excellent, with 70% rating it very good or excellent; nearly all — 96.5% — rate it good or better.

Bread Biggest Draw in Bakery In the past 30 days, which of the following fresh baked goods have you purchased at a supermarket?

Bread (e.g., sliced bread, rolls, buns, etc.)














Doughnuts (e.g., round, holes, jelly, etc.)
























Pastries (e.g., coffee cake, Danishes, strudel, etc.)
















Traditional pie (e.g., individual round pie or slice)















21.96% 22.54%

Cinnamon rolls







Cake slices (e.g., square or triangular)
















Ethnic baked goods (e.g., baklava, churros, etc.)
















Source: Progressive Grocer market research, 2018



Beverages Sweet Summer Sales.

Sweetening Summer means

Summer is for sun-brewed iced tea, sangrias and homemade lemonade. Offer consumers the ease of sweetening iced-cold beverages with ® ® flip-top sugars from Domino and C&H .

Quick Dissolve Superfine Sugar offers fast and even sweetening of beverages; perfect for using every day in lemonades and coffee. Look for our other varieties in convenient canisters for easy sprinkling: • Pourable Brown Sugar • Maple Flavored Granules • Honey Granules

Expanding our Portfolio

Creating Innovative Products

Meeting Consumer Needs


Research & Analysis

Healthy 3.0 at the Grocer WHAT CONSUMERS ARE E ATING AT HOME OR IN-STORE. Did you know that the definition of healthy has evolved? At one time, consumers sought foods with descriptors like low-calorie, sugar-free and low fat. Today, consumers are seeking functional foods that provide sustained energy, superfoods, plant-based options, and more — it’s what Datassential calls “healthy 3.0.”

Bringing healthy 3.0 to grocers

The following are four functional foods — one from each stage of Datassential’s Menu Adoption Cycle (MAC) on Superfoods, which tracks flavor trends through their lifecycle.


Kefir MAC stage: Inception — Ethnic markets, ethnic independents, and fine dining. Trends start here and exemplify originality in flavor, preparation and presentation. Sometimes known as “yogurt’s cousin,” kefir is a fermented dairy beverage recognized for its probiotic content, and part of a recent wave in popularity in beverages perceived as healthy. It can be found in everything from blended smoothies to savory ethnic dishes. On 1% of U.S. restaurant menus +101% on U.S. restaurant menus 31% of consumers know it 14% have tried it Menu Example Huitlacoche and Chorizo Quesadilla — Caravan of Dreams, New York, N.Y. House cultured cashew kefir cheese, corn, chorizo (vegan, soy-based), in a whole wheat tortilla served with watercress, and mango salad topped with lemon, salt, olive oil and chile de arbol sauce.



Prickly Pear MAC stage: Adoption — Ethnic aisle at supermarkets, casual independents, fast-casual. Adoption-stage trends grow their base via lower price points and simpler prep methods. Still differentiated, these trends often feature premium and/or generally authentic ingredients. Best known in the American Southwest, prickly pears — also known as “tunas” — are unique fruits. The fleshy fruit, covered in sharp spines, comes in shades of green, red and orange. It can be added to salads, syrups for beverages, or eaten whole. On 2% of U.S. restaurant menus +88% over the past four years 61% of consumers know it 23% have tried it Menu Example Poe’s Hangover Smoothie — Rush Bowls, Nashville, Tenn. Orange juice, apple juice, prickly pear juice, fat-free frozen yogurt, oat bran, multivitamin supplement, antioxidant supplement, hangover supplement, banana and strawberry.



Acaí MAC stage: Proliferation — Grocery deli, casual chains, QSRs. Proliferation-stage trends are adjusted for mainstream appeal. Often combined with popular applications (on a burger, pasta, etc.), these trends have become familiar to many.

Brussels Sprouts MAC stage: Ubiquity — Available everywhere — convenience stores, cafeterias, family restaurants, etc. Ubiquity-stage trends have reached maturity and can be found across all sectors of the food industry.

This small purple berry grows on palm trees and has many purported health benefits, including potential anti-aging properties. It’s commonly used in smoothies, smoothie bowls and beverages. It could also be used in desserts, thanks to its striking color and sweetness.

Thanks to the rise in popularity in kale, this leafy green vegetable has become trendy in recent years. It’s also a versatile option for many dishes and can be prepared in different ways, from grilled and charred to pan-fried and beyond.

On 3% of U.S. restaurant menus +6% over the past four years

On 13% of U.S. restaurant menus +154% over the past four years

59% of consumers know it 33% have tried it

92% of consumers know it 68% have tried it

Menu Example Superfood Salad — Kings Food Markets, Parsippany, N.J. (HQ) Kale, cabbage, blueberries, cranberries, walnuts and sunflower seeds, tossed in a pomegranate acaí dressing.

Menu Example Brussels Sprouts with Butternut and Chorizo — New Seasons Market, Portland, Ore. (HQ) This dish blends roasted Brussels sprouts with thinly sliced Spanish-style chorizo and tender chunks of butternut squash.


A CUT ABOVE THE REST. Smithfield can help your business drive greater profits* with a case ready program by delivering: Consistent, high-quality product Cost-efficient, turn-key offerings Maximum flexibility with a custom program Robust analytical and in-market support

* Source: Fresh Pork Case Ready Study, Willard Bishop 2016. Š2018 Smithfield Farmland Sales Corp. All Rights Reserved.

To learn how a Smithfield case ready program can help boost your bottom line, contact your Smithfield Sales Representative or Stephen Melton at


Shelf Stoppers

Shelf Stoppers

Frozen Vegetables TOTAL FROZEN VEGETABLE SALES REACHED $2.97 BILLION IN THE PAST YEAR (52 weeks ending April 2, 2016)

Fresh Produce

FASTEST-GROWING CATEGORIES WITHIN FRESH PRODUCE (WHERE WEEKLY STORE SALES > $100) Consumers chose Consumer frozen broccoli over Insights alternatives for

$3,500 3,000

a variety of reasons:

Which produce items have seen the largest drop 12% becausein it’s the in sales quick and easy past year?

2,500 2,000 1,500



because it tastes great

500 0 Cherries



Value-Added Vegetables

Spotlight on Frozen Broccoli

Herbs, Spices and Seasonings


Source: Nielsen FreshFacts Data, 52 weeks ending 02/24/2018 includes UPC + random-weight retailer-assigned PLU (price look-up Broccoli code) and system 2 sales volume as an ingredient is most commonly Frozen broccoli is most often used in a side consumed at dinner, followed by lunch. dish, followed by as a main entrée. 3% 9% As healthful intentions among consumers show no sign of slowing, the emergence of innovative produce offerings are driving category performance. From the arrival of snack-sized miniature produce for on-theOCCASION ITEM go consumers, to the transformation of produce into alternatives to grains orMEAL noodles, 29% TYPE CLASS 35% 61% produce is transcending traditional store borders 62% in its uses.”

-5.5% 9%

Melons because it’s healthy and nutritious


because it’s low in calories, fat and sugar

-4.2% Onions

—Jordan Rost, VP consumer insights, Nielsen




Spotlight on Fresh Produce




Stationery and school supplies present a potential opportunity for cross-merchandising or co-promotions with fresh produce — in other words, consumers of fresh produce are 12 percent more likely to purchase stationery and school supplies than the average consumer. Other complementary categories include yogurt, breakfast food and nuts. Consumers of fresh produce are more likely to purchase these categories; therefore, retailers seeking new growth opportunities should take note of these potential product pairings.

Comparison Products

Stationery and School Supplies Yogurt Breakfast Food Nuts Desserts, Gelatins and Syrup Pasta Source: Spectra, Data Version: March 2018


Percent Penetration

86.2% 81.1 77.4 80.2 77.7 83.4

-2.7% Tomatoes


112 112 111 111 110 110

-2.4% Stone Fruit Source: “Nielsen Total Consumer Report, Volume 3,” December 2017

For 125 years, Del Monte has stood as the freshest name in fruit. After all, we’re fruit fanatics. Especially fresh cut fruit. That’s why we’re also supply-chain fanatics, cutting locally to maximize freshness and extend shelf life. It’s why we’re quality fanatics and food-safety fanatics. Any way you slice it, Del Monte keeps fresh cut fresh.







FRUITFANATICS.COM ©2018 Del Monte Fresh Produce N.A., Inc.



Global New Products Database

Ready-to-Drink Juice Market Overview

The United States maintains the highest per capita consumption of juice in retail globally, reaching 38.3 liters of juice per person in 2017, but the market has remained relatively flat over the past five years. The Canadian juice market has also been stagnant, with per capita consumption reaching a total of 18.1 liters per person in 2017.

Recent product innovation in the North American juice category has centered on the environment, with top claims featured on juice product launches between February 2017 and January 2018 including recyclable and environmentally friendly packaging, as well as kosher and no additives/preservatives.

Key Issues

To combat declining juice sales in North America, brands have been innovating around category blurring. Smoothies have an opportunity to take advantage of snack occasions, with more than a quarter of juice consumers in Canada saying that smoothies would make a good meal replacement. Coconut water has risen in popularity as juice brands have been exploring other sources of water to better meet the needs of consumers, including the 44 percent of U.S. juice drinkers who consider hydration to be the most appealing attribute when purchasing juice. Functional juice has also been on many brands’ agendas in an effort to turn around declining sales, since nearly half of U.S. juice drinkers show an interest in juice with added health benefits such as vitamins.



What Does It Mean? Brands may be able to combat declining sales by focusing on developing products that satisfy various occasions and need states that fall outside the realm of traditional juice. An opportunity for innovation could be hybrid juice drinks that provide similar benefits to competing categories such as water and carbonated soft drinks. Potential also exists to promote functional attributes of juices, especially since the segment is underrepresented, with only one in five of all North American juice launches featuring some kind of functional claim in the 12 months ending January 2018.


Leveraging Retail Dietitian and Pharmacist Partnerships

ealth and wellness is one of the areas in which food retailers compete for customer loyalty and build competitive advantage. The vast majority of retailers continue to step up their efforts in this arena. Viewing them as a significant growth opportunity, supermarkets are finding new ways to leverage retail dietitian and pharmacy partnerships as part of a comprehensive health-and-wellness strategy. Health professionals at retail work together, not only to help customers manage acute and chronic health conditions, but also to help shoppers maintain health and maximize quality of life. Popular offerings include product samplings; healthy recipe demos and videos; highlights of better-for-you foods in the aisles and among prepared foods; health and lifestyle attribute shelf tags; health screenings; education via themed classes, store tours or pharmacy bag inserts, complimentary or fee-based (ranging from $10 to $280) private and group nutrition services; vaccinations; immunizations; and medication therapy management.

Trusted Allies

Notably, pharmacists and dietitians can collaborate to provide better care by referring customers to each other. The Little Clinic, Kroger’s wholly owned subsidiary of retail health care clinics, currently employs 16 registered dietitians who work closely with Kroger Pharmacy, the country’s fifth-largest pharmacy operator. According to Molly Hembree, RDN, LD, retail dietitian coordinator for The Little Clinic, the Wellness Your Way initiative integrates pharmacy, nutrition and The Little Clinic services to provide a one-stop shop for customers’ health-and-wellness needs. Kroger’s customers can receive help choosing the right foods, answers to questions about medications, personalized health care support and nutritional advice. During American Heart Month in February, customers could take part in free Kroger

heart-health screenings delivered by the pharmacy or The Little Clinic, followed by a free 30-minute personal shopping visit with a dietitian. At Schenectady, N.Y.-based Price Chopper/Market 32 Supermarkets, Senior Nutritionist Ellie Wilson has developed an infographic highlighting pharmacy services and store offerings that support heart health. The infographic is used during discussions with customers and as a handout at pharmacy and health events. Well-executed dietitian-pharmacy partnerships can extend and amplify the expertise of a retail dietitian. In addition, Wilson builds credibility through community partnerships. She supports public relations with communication resources such as taping public-health messages to air on a regional PBS station.

Building Relationships, Measuring Value

Generating awareness about a retailer’s health-and-wellness activities is essential, but it can prove challenging. According to Food Marketing Institute’s “2017 Report on Retailer Contributions to Health & Wellness,” the instore experts themselves, including registered dietitians and pharmacists, earned top ratings in perceived effectiveness in promoting healthand-wellness offerings to customers and the surrounding communities. These findings underscore the personal nature of health and wellness, as well as the importance of building relationships with customers. Equally important is measuring and communicating value in partnership efforts. Beyond vendor sponsorships and fees for service that can directly affect the bottom line, retailers regularly measure customer loyalty, sales lift, coupon redemptions, changes in shopping habits and basket size, and customer satisfaction and engagement as indicators of success.

Karen Buch, RDN, LDN, is a registered dietitian/nutritionist who specializes in retail nutrition marketing and communications. One of the first supermarket dietitians, she is now founder and principal consultant at Nutrition Connections LLC, providing consulting services nationwide. You can connect with her on Twitter @karenbuch and at


Win Over Hispanic Moms With Nostalgic Taste

©2018 Goya Foods, Inc.

Increase Their Basket Sizes by Stocking GOYA® Maria Cookies Our traditional crunchy biscuits are a childhood staple of Hispanic culture. They are a perfect all-occasion, all-ages snack, and a delicious ingredient for dessert recipes. Take advantage of this opportunity to increase sales, and delight your Hispanic shoppers, with the premier source for authentic Latino cuisine – GOYA®!

Contact your GOYA sales representative or email us at



oo often, women receive advice about overcoming career barriers that focuses on what they need to do — how they need to change. Lean in, raise your hand, speak out, reach back, bring results. It all starts to sound like a big game of Simon Says. Women do need to assert more control over their careers. One of the most powerful strategies for advancing women’s leadership isn’t related to what ambitious women can do, however. It’s about what influential men should do: mentor and sponsor high-potential women. In most companies, men still hold a large majority of decision-making roles that determine which employees are developed and promoted. By mentoring or sponsoring talented women, high-ranking men can ensure that their companies’ leadership teams are gender-diverse and reflect a range of leadership styles.

Cautious to Counsel Unfortunately, recent polls by LeanIn. Org and Survey Monkey reveal that men are less enthusiastic and less comfortable with the idea of mentoring women than they were a few months ago, before sexual harassment stepped to the forefront of the national — and workplace — conversation. Almost half of surveyed male managers are now uncomfortable participating in a common work activity, such as mentoring, working alone or socializing, with a woman. Almost 30 percent of male managers are uncomfortable working alone with a woman — more than twice the percentage of men polled before major media began reporting on sexual harassment claims against high-profile men. Male managers’ discomfort with the idea of meeting with female colleagues outside of work has become acute: Senior men were 3.5 times more likely to hesitate about having a work dinner with a junior female colleague than a male one, and five times more likely to say that they’d hesitate to take a work trip with a junior-level woman compared with a junior-level man. These attitudes “undoubtedly will decrease the opportunities women have at work,” LeanIn.Org founder Sheryl Sandberg wrote in a Facebook post. “When [men] avoid, ice out or exclude women, we pay the price. Men who want to be on the right side of this issue shouldn’t avoid women. They should mentor them.” And companies must do more to foster men mentoring women. Three tactics for promoting gender-mixed mentoring are: Make clear to all employees, if they work with, develop, promote, mentor or sponsor only people of the same gender, that’s discrimination. Make mentoring part of senior leaders’ job descriptions and compensation. Institute a formal mentoring program that pairs senior men with high-potential women, and create related goals that can be measured.


NEW also has advice for men who recognize that businesses with gender diverse leadership teams are stronger and, research shows, more profitable. When mentoring:

Sarah Alter is president and CEO of the Network of Executive Women, a learning and leadership community representing nearly 11,000 members, more than 800 companies, 100 corporate partners and 21 regional groups in the United States and Canada. Learn more at

Don’t bring traditional gender biases into the mentoring relationship. Don’t assume things like “She’s likely to start a family and won’t be fully committed to that challenging new role,” or “Moving up would mean relocating her family; she won’t want to do that.” Have humility; it’s a powerful leadership trait. Don’t assume that you know the challenges or barriers your mentee has faced. Many women experience similar workplace challenges and biases, but not every woman is the same. Ask your mentee about her career goals and what she believes has limited her ability to fulfill her potential.

Companies must do more to foster men mentoring women.” Set your mentee up for success. Before recommending a woman for a stretch assignment, ensure that she has the strong network and support needed to succeed in her new role. Mentoring is about assisting someone to grow a career, not pushing her into a job where the most qualified, highest-potential candidate is likely to crash and burn. Be open to learning from your mentee. I once reported to a man whose work and leadership styles were 180 degrees from mine. I learned from him and he learned from me, as he was the first to admit. A sound mentoring relationship will help both parties grow professionally. We will never reach gender parity — or grow our businesses — if the best talent isn’t working in the right roles. That won’t happen unless men support career paths without regard to gender.

FOR PACKAGING INSPIRATION, CONTACT US OR VISIT Bruce Jensen, TC Transcontinental VP Sales & Marketing • 866.439.6050




2018 Top Women in Grocery

Women in the Forefront Introducing a new slate of honorees and a fresh look for the program.


vents over the past couple of years have demonstrated the rising power of women, and the grocery industry is no exception. Regardless of whether you agree with the various ways that they’ve exercised that power, through such vehicles as widespread protest marches and movements against sexual misconduct in the workplace and beyond — not to mention running for public office in unprecedented numbers — what’s undeniable is that women have emerged as a force to be reckoned with, politically, socially and economically. To mark women’s increasing prominence, both in the business that PG has proudly covered for nearly a century and further afield, we felt it was time for a change in our logo, in which the silhouette of a woman now appears for the first time. Since the Top Women in Grocery program is all about recognizing those who excel in every area of their lives, the new design, which features such a striking symbol to pay tribute to all of them, made perfect sense. This year’s Top Women in Grocery also reflect this evolution, with many occupying influential and highly visible positions, ranging from managers of grocery stores that also serve as community centers and even refuges in times of disaster, to midlevel executives responsible for every facet of the business — including such previously majority-male preserves as warehouses — all the way up to founders and CEOs of their own successful companies. Our 362 honorees, painstakingly chosen from more than 650 nominees, represent the best of the industry, encompassing both supermarkets and suppliers across the country. Looking at this year’s stunning array of talent and dedication on display, it’s easy to see where current and future recruits of any gender to the grocery arena will take their inspiration.


Albertsons Companies

congratulates our Top Women in Grocery

Jane Anderson

Lynne Barrington

Bessie Berdusis

Janet Bishop

Christina Boyle

Kendal Callender

Senior Manager Environmental Compliance

Floral Buyer

Director Managed Care

Bakery Sales Manager

Senior Manager Admin Services & Facilities

Director of Digital Partnerships and Shopper Innovation


Jewel-Osco Division


Southern Division



Courtney Carranza

Kat Chin

Rosie Connolly

Beth DaCosta

Christy Duncan Anderson

Cathy East

Store Director

Sourcing Director

Human Resource Manager

Bakery Sales Manager

Executive Director

Vice President

Supply Chain

Supply Chain

Seattle Division

Albertsons Companies Foundation Corporate

Corporate Procurement Meat/Seafood/Deli

Southern California Division

Maha Eldabaja

Lindsey Ellingson

Reannon Emmot

Julie Field

Mirna Franjul

Louise Gerber

Center Store Operations Specialist

Bakery Operation Specialist

Store Director

Store Director

Sales Manager Own Brands

Director eCommerce

Southern Division

Jewel-Osco Division

Northern California Division

Southern California Division

Jewel-Osco Division


Julie Jansen

Supply Chain

Leah Giambarresi

Melissa Hill

Kim Hornett

Kathy Hosek

Amy Jankauskis

Division Pharmacy Manager

Director of Community Relations & Government Affairs

eCommerce Program Manager

NASC Real Estate Accounting Manager

Assistant Sales Manager Deli & Food Service

Store Director

Shaw’s Division

Jewel-Osco Division



Jewel-Osco Division

Southern California Division

Peggy Jones

Elana Karp

Lisa Kinneberg

Lisa Kloc

Michelle Larson

Valerie D. Lewis

Vice President Human Resources

Culinary Co-founder & Chief Culinary Officer

Store Director

Store Director

Senior Vice President Merchandising & Marketing

Assistant Vice President & Assistant Secretary



Southern California Division

Jewel-Osco Division

Southwest Division



2018 Top Women in Grocery

Top Women in Grocery Hall of Fame

Congratulations to our inaugural 2017 class of Top Women Hall of Fame inductees:


Last year, at the Top Women in Grocery Gala, in Rosemont, Ill., Progressive Grocer introduced its Top Women in Grocery Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame was an expansion of the Top Women program as it entered its second decade. It is a recognition of the women who have taken the standard of excellence to the next level by having been recognized as a Top Woman in Grocery five or more times. The inaugural class included eight outstanding women, some of whom have since retired and some who are still working but have left the industry, although many are still working to make grocery better. What they all share is that they made a significant impact in their companies and in the environment of the industry as a whole.

Editor’s Note: The 2018 class of Top Women Hall of Fame inductees will be introduced at the upcoming Top Women in Grocery Gala that will be held Nov. 8 at the Palmer House Hilton, in Chicago.


Nancy Cota Years Honored: 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015

Melissa Plaisance Years Honored: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016

Diane Dietz Years Honored: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

Lori Raya Years Honored: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017

Jewel Hunt Years Honored: 2010, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017

Larree Renda Years Honored: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015

Michele Murphy Years Honored: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015

Michele Silva Years Honored: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015

stand out

congratulations to all of the stand-out top women in grocery, especially our very own.

Robyn Afrik • Christina Buehrle • Cynthia Carbonaro Tracy Evans • Emily Henao • Nicole Kidd • Hena Patel Karen Langeland • Melody Langeland • Stephanie Naito Annette Repasch • Dessie Szklany • Carolyn Vallette


2018 Top Women in Grocery Kathy Caldwell

Senior-Level Executives

Shannon Hodock

SVP, Client Development, Acosta

Hodock has built a strategic and collaborative partnership with Clorox that has infiltrated the entire Acosta organization, working closely with the company’s marketing group for Clorox and employing an integrated marketing and sales approach. She is a steering committee member for the Edison Awards, which honor product innovations, and teaches middle school girls lacrosse in New Jersey. Hodock also currently acts as a mentor to two female co-workers: one, a new employee who proactively approached Hodock for peer mentorship, and the other, a more formal mentoring relationship fostered by Acosta.


Shannon Pennington

SVP/General Manager, Acosta

During her time in her current role, to which she brought extensive cross-functional knowledge of systems, business processes and retail execution that have enabled her to build solid relationships with key stakeholders, Pennington has established herself as a strong partner and liaison for Acosta’s largest client, Procter & Gamble. A true team player with a wide range of expertise, she recently added to her growing list of responsibilities by taking on further work to help streamline the team and processes. These innovative changes have enabled Pennington to help boost revenue for that specific customer by at least $5 million.

EVP, Client Development, Acosta

Recognizing the need for a more focused approach to client development, Caldwell designed and implemented a first-of-its-kind strategic framework enabling her team to design and customize business plans for each client to address strategic opportunities and priorities.


Maura DiMarco VP/Team Leader, Acosta

DiMarco helped Mosaic, Acosta’s marketing arm, and its dedicated Welch’s team shape the marketing plan for the Nothing but the Fruit campaign, which launched an innovative item for the brand.

While leading the Walmart team, she converted the account from a broader horizontal coverage model to a more specific vertical coverage model to allow the best focus on the customer’s specialized needs.

In her latest role, she took pains to cultivate senior-level relationships with the BJ’s Wholesale Club team and partnering clients, developing strong relationships through dedicated follow-up with connections made early on in her tenure, and exceeding the expectations of her clients, customers and colleagues.

A passionate advocate for helping animals, Caldwell joined the board of the Jacksonville, Fla., Humane Society and is an active member.

A member of the St. John the Evangelist School advisory board since 2015, DiMarco is a volunteer youth girls’ basketball coach at the school.

Jill Griffin

President, Advantage Solutions/Advantage Marketing Partners

Griffin leads Advantage’s strategic evolution to keep pace with omnichannel industry shifts, helping brands and retailers navigate significant marketplace changes. Under her leadership, the company entered new categories, including beauty and the emerging CPG brand space, and specialized agency teams were acquired and built in San Francisco and New York. Griffin oversaw the development with Google of a digital co-op solution for manufacturers and retailers that enables manufacturers to drive shoppers to participating retailers’ stores by using targeted, local search ads, thereby reaching shoppers when they’re most likely to purchase.

Bonnie Reinke

Senior Director, Client Team Services, Advantage Solutions/Advantage Marketing Partners

Reinke played a critical role in delivering 53 percent EBITDA growth, 7 percent event count growth and 12 percent national-brand growth year over year. In her latest role, which she assumed just this past April, she successfully rolled out two key Target in-store strategies, along with delivering the largest participation of a seasonal initiative; the implementation of these strategies has contributed to the strong support demonstrated by client and vendor leadership. Reinke also successfully deployed three seasonal programs that resulted in 63 percent, 43 percent and 49 percent margins, respectively.

SUCCESS BEGINS WITH STRONG LEADERSHIP Sounds like SpartanNash. Proud to congratulate 15 of our associates for being recognized as 2018 Top Women in Grocery. We are grateful for your vision and leadership.

Rising Stars

Store Managers

Kristie Bohn-Berman Mary Brunsting Karen Calligaris-Rodriguez Carlye Cordes Amy Ellis Sherry Ferebee Janis Huffman Trish Jones Lauren Mills Cassandra Nino Kenya Phillips Carrie Quigley

Connie Kalonich Mary Jo Marciniak

Senior-Level Executives Yvonne Trupiano



Katelyn Nadeau

VP, Client Success and Delivery, Advantage Solutions/ Advantage Media Solutions

Nadeau held 22 formal training sessions and 15 informal trainings, both remote and on-site; several of these trainings were reconfigured to be externally facing and provided to key clients as a value-added service. She collaborated with JM Smucker Co. analysts on a performance scorecard allowing disparate internal divisions, each supporting a different retail partner, to compare performance results from digital marketing campaigns. Nadeau is the content co-lead with the Network of Executive Women for the New England Regional Chapter, and serves as a mentor and volunteer for Boston Business Women.

Peggy Jones

VP, Human Resources, Albertsons Cos./ Corporate

An acknowledged expert at taking complex issues and coming up with simple, effective solutions that improve the bottom line, Jones spearheaded all human resources-related changes across the company, among them the initial conversion of employees to a common payroll system, time and attendance systems integration, and applicant tracking software. She led in the development of consistent human resources policies to be implemented across all 20 Albertsons banners coast to coast. Jones also negotiated a new vendor agreement that will give Albertsons employees deep discounts at both local and national companies.

2018 Top Women in Grocery Kim Riedell

SVP, Advantage Solutions/Advantage Media Solutions

Under Riedell’s guidance, Advantage Media is the industry-leading digital media and programmatic media company for CPG and retail brands, experiencing a 50 percent revenue increase year over year. Advantage’s flagship proprietary data product, MomentAware, delivering real-time shopping data to retailers and brands to find consumers at the right time and place, was expanded last year under her strategic direction. With Retailtainment, Advantage’s demonstration partnership with Walmart, her team created a video demo product that could be delivered programmatically, enhancing the partnership’s digital demonstration capabilities.

Valerie D. Lewis

Kim Hsieh

VP, Strategy and Integration, Advantage Solutions/Advantage Retail Experiential

Hsieh developed four best-in-class programs that have become foundational pillars for 2018. With a strong focus on innovation, she created two advisor programs unique to the grocery channel, one involving beauty and the other involving specialty cheese. Both proved highly successful both for the retailers and CPG brands that participated. In partnership with the adult beverage team, Hsieh worked on three new Napa experience programs, including the sold-out Sip & Savor initiative, which features a premium branded cart next to a relevant food-pairing branded cart to create an elevated experience.

Cathy Lord

Assistant VP and Assistant Secretary, Albertsons Cos./ Corporate

VP, Corporate Human Resources, Albertsons Cos./ Corporate

Lewis worked with Albertsons’ marketing and consumer protection departments on the development and implementation of a product-recall notification system for the just for U customer loyalty platform.

In addition to her regular work, Lord worked with and helped champion a small team to design a newly executed employee giving campaign, with funds provided for personal use due to national emergencies and personal catastrophes.

She helped the company meet the requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act, oversaw the implementation of compliance with the California Hazardous Waste compliance injunction program, and helped write and institute Albertsons’ chemicals policy. A member of the board of directors of the Oakland African American Chamber of Commerce, Lewis received the Chairman’s Award for her service to the chamber and the community.

Despite managing multiple departments, she took on the responsibilities of managing both the entire benefits function and the compensation committee of the board of directors. During the Southern California fires, Lord came in on weekends and contacted employees who might’ve been affected by the disasters to see what they needed help with; she also assists with community outreach efforts such as painting houses for the needy.

Ellie Taylor

President, Alabama Grocers Association

Taylor was instrumental in creating Eat at Home Alabama, which offers customers information on saving money at grocery stores and using coupons effectively, along with recipes and food safety tips. She worked with her state to expand the number of days per month that Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients could purchase groceries, creating a better shopping experience for SNAP clients. Taylor implemented the year-round Buy Alabama Best program, which educates consumers on products made, produced, manufactured and/ or based in the state, with sales proceeds benefiting Children’s Hospital of Alabama.

Susan Morris

EVP/COO, Albertsons Cos./ Corporate

Morris created the role of VP, retail operations support to act as a liaison between Albertsons’ decentralized divisions and corporate functional groups; through this, she created a platform for cross-company collaboration on front end operations, retail integrity, labor management and customer satisfaction, improving communication and results in these areas. She instituted a company-wide, cross-functional Service Council to enhance both customer and employee engagement; the results of the council’s work are being launched across the company. Morris supports local businesses, including women- and minority-owned companies, in Albertsons’ home state of Idaho.




2018 Top Women in Grocery Tami Tollefson

VP, General Merchandise/ HBC Beauty Care, Albertsons Cos./ Corporate

A guide and mentor to four national sales managers and an assistant national sales manager, Tollefson also played an instrumental role in the successful transition of the cosmetics category from warehouse to DSD. She took the lead role in tracking and recapping all JAG and Monopoly event orders to assist Albertsons’ divisions with their future sales plans. Tollefson created, organized and executed national ads for 2017, supporting nine events that generated $4.4 million in incremental general merchandise and HBC sales — a 25 percent increase — executed across 12 divisions and 2,000 stores.

Michelle Larson

SVP, Merchandising and Marketing, Albertsons Cos./ Southwest Division


Colleen Wortham

VP, Operations, Albertsons Cos./ Corporate

Wortham took over the ecommerce catalog, building a new team from scratch; within three months, she’d added 1,000-plus images per store, which is projected to drive millions of incremental sales dollars on internal platforms as well as Instacart. She was instrumental in launching a successful Plated Signature Meal Kit pilot program less than 12 weeks from the initial concept. Wortham managed the Albertsons digital communications team that delivered more than 1 billion highly personalized emails and mobile push messages; this resulted in customer engagement rates significantly exceeding industry benchmarks.

Cathy East

VP, Corporate Procurement Meat/ Seafood/Deli, Albertsons Cos./ Supply Chain

For the five-state Southwest division, Larson was instrumental in developing and implementing neighborhood-specific remodel plans for 19 locations, including assortment and unique services that enhance brand image in each market.

East has been the point person in corporate procurement to assist with the store rollout of Plated meal kits, converting them from an ecommerce-only platform to a retail-ready application within 60 days of the acquisition’s close.

She’s a champion of cross-training, mentoring and building up employees so that they can eventually move across departments and up the ladder, developing their technical and leadership skills.

She facilitated the sourcing strategy to leverage internal company resources in distribution, transportation and procurement to achieve significant synergy savings between Albertsons and Plated.

Through innovative and impactful sales promotions, Larson and her team created positive market share growth above industry trends over a 52-week period.

East is also procurement lead for multiple new concept stores for Albertsons, assisting with process evaluation and procurement setup activities as the new stores prepare to open.

Elana Karp

Culinary CoFounder and Chief Culinary Officer, Albertsons Cos./ Plated

Karp has built the company’s culinary program from the ground up, driving its mission to leverage data and technology to make it easy for people nationwide to cook more at home. In addition to expanding Plated’s recipe and serving-size options, she has been integral to leading culinary development and the Albertsons acquisition of Plated as the kits expand into physical stores; her work has yielded increased sales and greater customer retention. Karp created BAWS (BadAss Women Society) to foster ongoing dialogue about issues affecting women in the workplace, and is a mentor and adviser at food startups incubator Food Future.

Amanda Martinez

Group VP, Corporate Procurement, Albertsons Cos./ Supply Chain

Martinez launched a ground-breaking data visualization program for supply chain at Albertsons with IRI, creating new visibility regarding supply chain information to the vendor community; the platform’s features include a vendor scorecard, purchase order information by distribution center, and demand forecasts. She designed and documented measurable methods for optimizing warehouse operations efficiency by improving buying processes and procedures that contribute to more streamlined practices. Martinez established and leads a cross-functional department task force that reviews all vendor terms proposals and agrees on the right terms for the company.


Kelly Mullin

VP, Marketing and Merchandising, Albertsons Cos./ Portland Division

A creative thinker who regularly comes up with outside-of-the-box ideas, Mullin has led numerous successful process improvements, including advertising planning, introduction of a period budget review of advertising spends, and weekly sales meetings. She was instrumental in rolling out Daily Deals, a program that focuses on lowering the price of one traffic-driving item, which resulted in selling 14,000-plus pies in one day. Mullin assembled a winning team through desk-to-desk mentoring strategies and aligning people new to a role with those who have experience; she continues to help many employees grow their careers.

Jenny Marino

Co-Founder and Brand Strategist, Angelic Bakehouse

Since purchasing a small sprouted-grain bakehouse, Marino has advanced the sprouted whole grain bread and baked goods industry through her leadership and ability to turn a pantry staple into something exceptional, nutritious and delicious. She and her husband have steadily grown sales 50 percent year over year based on the belief that their sprouted-grain baked goods are superior in taste and nutrition. Marino has helped expand the bakehouse’s distribution nationwide, including such grocers as Whole Foods Market and Sprouts Farmers Market, and spearheaded the development of Angelic’s Sprouted 7 Whole Grain Veggie Wraps.



Women leaders gain visibility, but parity is still a distant goal in CPG retail.

There are studies – Harvard Business School, McKinsey & Co. – that find women’s leadership is good for business. But despite the value of that leadership, other studies – Grant Thornton, Network of Executive Women – reveal CPG retail lags other industries in promoting women into leadership positions. The recently released “The Female Leadership Crisis” report, published by the Network of Executive Women, reports the turnover rate in retail and consumer goods among women is much higher than among men, which hampers genuine engagement with the shoppers the industry serves. The study finds that turnover rates for women in first- and mid-level management are nearly double those of their male peers (24 percent vs. 13 percent). Alarmingly, at the c-suite level, the turnover rate of women is nearly four times that of men (27 percent vs. 7 percent). Behind these data are stories of women who have thrived. Progressive Grocer, in partnership with Kellogg’s, reached out to a number of past Top Women in Grocery award recipients to learn – and share – their perspectives on the value of women’s leadership to the CPG retail industry, as well as their personal experiences and how the industry can support future leadership. The insights of these CPG and grocery retail leaders are beneficial to individuals as well as companies committed to creating a stronger industry that is more representative of the shoppers we serve.


SHEILA LAING Executive Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer, Hy-Vee, Inc., West Des Moines, Iowa

SUSAN MORRIS Executive Vice President and COO, Albertsons Cos., Boise, Idaho

KIM REED Senior Vice President of Sales, Kellogg Company, Battle Creek, Mich.

CARRIE SANDER Vice President of Sales, Kellogg Company, Battle Creek, Mich.


LESLIE SARASIN President and CEO, Food Marketing Institute, Arlington, Va.

CHERYL SOMMER Owner/President, Kaune’s Neighborhood Market, Santa Fe, N.M.


How important is empowerment to women in food retailing? ■ SUSAN MORRIS: I strongly believe that food retailing can be a leader in advancing women’s empowerment. We’re one of the few industries where you can still start your career at [age] 16 and retire at 65, never having left the company. That goes for people throughout levels of leadership, from department managers through executives. ■ KIM REED: In terms of shopping power and shopper engagement, women still have a major impact and major voice in consumer preferences and consumer trends. And an important part of delivering for our consumers is having the right representation in companies like ours. Representative leadership needs to have a seat at the table and be actively engaged with the consumer and know and react to what’s important to her. ■ SHEILA LAING: How does a retailer merchandise correctly, follow trends, know what customer wants are, engage or entice shoppers without having “people like me” in the aisles, designing the marketing, creating the products and merchandising the shelves or departments? It’s my experience that having women at the table adds to the ideas, the initiatives and the experiences of the entire group. TAKE FROM THE TOP: The CPG retail industry will thrive when leadership is representative of the shopper community and actively voices the needs, wants and myriad points of view they represent.

Is there a roadmap for PG achieving representative leadership? ■ LESLIE SARASIN: At FMI, we talk often about leading where you are in your career and developing the skills needed to make your professional and personal goals attainable. While there’s no formal roadmap, strategies and tactics for encouraging growth exist in the ways we establish our corporate culture. Current leaders must maintain and foster an environment where we encourage community empowerment, we celebrate talent and even introverts can find their voice. ■ MORRIS: The operations path is probably the most solidly mapped – anyone can walk in as a

courtesy clerk while they’re still in high school and in less than 15 minutes understand the roadmap of development to eventually lead that store. I think we do a good job of identifying talented women to take on those roles. As leaders we should provide development opportunities for promising talent, no matter their background or starting point. [But] it’s important to remember that the responsibility is shared. It’s important for leaders to provide the door for women to walk through, but it’s just as critical for our emerging leaders to have the courage to walk through it. ■ REED: There is not one way of doing it, but I think it’s very important that our male counterparts are part of the solution. I’m a diverse woman and for some time have led our Kellogg African-American Resource Group. I made a recommendation that one of my white male counterparts take over, because diversity of both gender and ethnicity is important for the development of future leaders. ■ CARRIE SANDER: The continued focus by great organizations like Network of Executive Women and Progressive Grocer, along with industry business/employee resource groups, continues to keep the important focus on gaining parity in the workplace for women. ■ LAING: It would start with some basics like benefit design and human resource processes that are targeted toward attracting and retaining women and providing employee development opportunities that lead to lasting career paths. And most importantly, a company must build and foster an internal culture to support, encourage and strengthen women in all stages of their careers. TAKE FROM THE TOP: Companies should map out a general plan that attracts and supports women in the industry, as well as identifying assignments for emerging leaders.

Describe changes you’ve PG seen in the perception and reality of women’s leadership roles in the food industry.

■ CHERYL SOMMER: The change has been remarkable, based on my experience with National Grocers Association and Women Gro-

cers of America. Two years ago, the NGA board committed to diversifying its board membership, and I noticed a measurable increase in the number of women eligible for board membership, meaning their position within their company was one of upper management. More men are talking about and actually promoting the idea of empowering women in the industry. Furthermore, WGA has grown over the same time period and created a mentorship program from women in the industry. ■ REED: I was recently asked by a female recruit, “Does Kellogg have female leaders?” I was pleased to name several female presidents across our organization, including U.S. Specialty Channels, U.S. Frozen Foods, and Snacks Business Unit. And one thing that is critical is that women have to support women. It’s empowering if we can help each other, both gender and women of color. If we don’t help each other, no one else will. ■ SANDER: I was at a recent Kellogg sales meeting, and I was proud to look upon the stage and see a strong representation of female leadership at the Kellogg Company. It is a huge vote of confidence for the women at Kellogg, but it also serves as an example to the industry. ■ SARASIN: Our nation’s most loved brands, as well as emerging brands, have come into focus thanks to some innovative female leaders, and as an association, we do our best to represent their voices on priority issues facing our industry as well as our educational platforms. Most notably, our Future Leaders eXperience professional development event featured executives like Indra Nooyi of PepsiCo who have made headlines for their bold moves to cater to a new consumer. TAKE FROM THE TOP: The industry is learning the value of representative leadership, but still must work to overcome unconscious bias and address head-on the obstacles to female leadership.

What type of PG encouragement and mentoring did you receive early in your career?

■ SOMMER: I changed careers – from being an attorney to owning a grocery store. I came to

rely on some of my team members to mentor me. When my husband and I purchased the store, we were fortunate to have long-term employees who knew the operation and the industry and were able to offer guidance. One of those employees, who is female, is now my store director. I also learned a great deal from vendors and from colleagues I have met through my involvement with NGA. The lesson for me is that mentoring comes from many different sources if you are open to learn. ■ REED: I was with Pepsi for 18 years before I joined Kellogg. Very early in my career my main mentor was a black male – which you didn’t see ■ often in a big organization – so I was fortunate with that ethnicity connectivity. He counseled me to find mentors that don’t [necessarily] look like me but that I could have an authentic conversation with. From that initial connection, that’s what I’ve done. I moved to Kellogg and I didn’t know anyone, so I had to build my own brand and had to reach out to people and build relationships and partnerships to help me navigate. ■ MORRIS: I was fortunate to have some fantastic mentors early on in my career, and honestly most were men because that’s who made up most of the leadership back then. The wonderful thing about these men is that they were able to get around any unconscious biases they might have had and instead saw me in roles that didn’t fit the traditional path, and then they helped me get there. ■ SANDER: Mentors have been critical to my career. They were not always formal mentors; several have been people that I sought out and asked for help on things that I knew I needed to develop. I have also been fortunate to have great managers throughout my career that genuinely care about my development and have advocated and connected me with great mentors along the way. ■ LAING: I was the first person in my family to go to college. I needed a part-time job to earn extra money, and a friend told me how Hy-Vee worked around [students’] schedules. I worked three years as a part-time employee. In my junior year of college, my store director, Bob Kirsch, asked me to visit with him. He asked me if I had ever thought of Hy-Vee as a career, and I said no. Bob proceeded to show me what Hy-Vee was all about, he told me his story, he encouraged my curiosity, and he started to teach me other aspects of the store and company. He took the time and he asked; sometimes, we forget to do the “ask” when it could be the key to keeping great talent in the company.

■ SARASIN: My mom’s “be nice” admonitions contained overtones of my father’s strong advice to never burn any bridges. I would say my experience has borne out the grounded wisdom of their guidance. You honestly never know how the chance meeting in one place and the relationship maintained here will turn out to be a key connection in your life. This means you must nurture your contacts and nourish the connections you make. TAKE FROM THE TOP: Mentoring — both formal and informal — comes from many different sources if you are open to them. Rather than finding mentors who “look like you,” find mentors who can help you navigate the right opportunities.

What traditional and nontradiPG tional education is most valuable for women to prepare themselves for success in the grocery industry?

■ SANDER: Traditional education is certainly valuable. However there is no substitute for core values and experiences, and for me, the most valuable lessons came from my home environment. ■ LAING: Constant learning is an asset to any career and certainly to success. As far as traditional education, areas like hospitality, merchandising, marketing and business management are good areas of study. Human resources and educational tracks also lead to great careers in the retail industry. ■ REED: Formal education plays a part, but real life experiences have had a greater impact on my success than my formal education. I just went through a Harvard Executive Leadership Program, which Kellogg sponsors and which included a global team, which was unusual for me. Throughout the nine-month program, we had a mix of case studies and online sessions with professors, but the balance was working on a project that was solving a business challenge the Kellogg Company has. The connectivity of our hands-on work was better because it’s real life. ■ SOMMER: Learning to be assertive, without being offensive, as a woman is a challenge in an industry that has historically been dominated by male leadership. It is important to get along, negotiate and mediate well, and to be strong but reasonable. ■ MORRIS: SO MUCH education is available via things like Massive Open Online Courses that are free

or very low cost and help women get a foundation in helpful subjects like creative problem solving and critical thinking. Regardless if you pursue traditional paths or nontraditional education, the most important thing is to pursue your passion. TAKE FROM THE TOP: Formal education is important, but it’s more important to understand what skills and experiences can deliver and seek to obtain them.

How can industry support PG access to education and experiences for emerging leaders? ■ SARASIN: Professional societies offer opportunities for like-minded individuals to connect on the strategies and tactics that can help each other grow. I also wouldn’t discount getting involved in community groups or local politics since it’s rewarding to meet individuals as you collectively give back to society. ■ SOMMER: Conduct workshops to help build confidence skills, and make them interactive sessions rather than traditional lecture-style classes or workshops. ■ SANDER: CPGs, retailers and industry organizations can provide jobs, shadowing experiences, and valuable training to gain exposure for students who are working their way through school. ■ MORRIS: We should be flexible in how we view a person’s path through an organization. In a sense, job titles become less important than the experience a role can provide. ■ LAING: It’s important to have both internal and external programs that encourage developmental learning and to work with educational institutions. Examples of internal programs might be tuition reimbursement, sabbatical offerings, employee development curriculums and flexible scheduling. Examples of external programs might be internships, co-ops and scholarships. TAKE FROM THE TOP: Companies can audit their own knowledge gaps and make recommendations to individuals on different courses or support networks as a way to close gaps and encourage emerging leaders to understand the total business.



Ana Middleton

President and Chief Merchandising Officer, Army Air Force Exchange Service

In 2017, Middleton’s team launched the Veteran’s Online Shopping Benefit, which had required several years to bring to life, including the buildout of an ecommerce platform to support the program. In no small part due to this initiative, the exchange’s sales for Nov. 1-Dec. 31 were up 9 percent, and online sales grew by more than 85 percent year over year. Middleton’s team also focused on health and wellness in several ways, among them operating 64 Be Fit concept stores and introducing Be Fit influencers at the end of 2017 to share tips and offer encouragement via the exchange’s social media platforms.

Sharon Brown

Founder and CEO, Bonafide Provisions

Brown’s company launched award-winning drinkable veggies, which were developed to make it easier for consumers to enjoy bone broth. She has worked to give the soup category a shot in the arm, leading the innovation process for Bonafide’s new line of organic soups with bone broth, which launched this past March. Brown has continued to grow Bonafide’s core frozen bonebroth business, over 52 weeks in the natural channel, at a rate more than 80 percent faster than any of the other top brands in the frozen aisle; additionally, the brand’s distribution has doubled in the past year, and it’s now in more than 4,000 retail locations nationwide.

2018 Top Women in Grocery Terrie Baker VP/CFO, Baker’s IGA

Baker and the Baker’s organization have implemented team success planning, team meetings across all stores, and a program that puts upper management to work in the stores. Adoption of these types of programs paved the way for Baker’s to participate in the 2017 pilot of IGA Way to Care, a shopper-experience program based in employee training. Baker has made a “top-down” investment in the adoption of all IGA Way to Care behaviors, and, as a result of this, has recently seen a dramatic improvement in associate and customer satisfaction; as a result of of such results, she and her husband are 2018 IGA Hometown Proud Retailers.

Margot LaPointe

VP, Corporate Projects, C&S Wholesale Grocers

LaPointe led the project to improve a critical but underperforming distribution center, which ended up seeing marked improvement on all customer metrics. She championed the development of a PMP (project management professional) certification training study group at C&S, organizing, mentoring and supporting the first class of 29 associates companywide; more than 90 percent of the employees who took part in the program received their PMP certification. LaPointe has been selected to serve on the steering committee of C&S’ internal women’s committee, WINGS, and also sits on the board of C&S Charities Inc.

Rachel Shemirani

Suzanne Arnott

VP, Marketing, Blackhawk Network

VP of Marketing, Barons Market

Playing a vital role in all of Barons Market’s fundraising and philanthropic endeavors, Shemirani spearheaded donations to local organizations through the Backroom Beer Pairing, raising more than $26,000, and helped raise $10,000 for Feeding San Diego during a drive.

Recently, Arnott’s responsibility has grown to include executive oversight of corporate marketing, which includes public relations and communications, creative services, and research; she’s also heavily involved in Blackhawk’s incentives business.

She has been key to changing the market’s focus to trendier, clean-label goods, including plantbased products, that meet the demands of customers.

In November 2017, Blackhawk announced the renewal of its long-term contract with The Kroger Co. to provide in-store and digital gift card services, which Arnott played a key role in securing.

Shemirani manages the store’s demo program, ensuring that vendor products are displayed so that customers can easily recreate recipes at home, and timing products around holidays and seasons, based on shopper activity.

She has volunteered at the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, which provides funding for childhood cancer research, and Open Heart Kitchen, which offers nutritious meals to those in need.

Kelly Sosa

SVP/GM, Davidson Specialty Foods, C&S Wholesale Grocers

Heather McIntyre Froud

VP of Global Walmart, Campbell Soup Co.

Sosa led the acquisition and integration of Davidson Specialty Foods, with more than $100 million in annual sales revenue.

This past year, Froud led Campbell’s regional grocery business and managed the Acosta broker relationship for the company.

At Davidson, she retained existing customer relationships and acquired new chain and independent customers, growing the overall store count by 27 percent; she also expanded the company’s customer reach to the Mid-Atlantic region and the West Coast.

Her team jumped in quickly and accelerated sales within the omnichannel area; with pure-play retailers and click-and-collect brick-and-mortar stores, the team created demand-driven activities while also implementing weather triggers, helping shoppers save money on soup before the next snowstorm.

Among her service endeavors, Sosa is an invested mentor to rising talent at C&S, as well as a founding member of C&S’ women’s interest network and an active member of the network’s steering committee.

Extremely involved in the diversity and inclusion programs at Campbell, Froud also volunteers with the Boys & Girls Club and works on the executive leadership team for the March of Dimes in her region.




2018 Top Women in Grocery Sarah Ciccarello

VP of Customer Strategy, Clif Bar & Co.

With more than 20 years of grocery industry experience, Ciccarello is a consummate people developer, strategic thinker and passionate industry veteran. Company leadership and sales look to her for her quiet and humble expertise on topics covering sales and marketing; she’s extremely thoughtful and considered a mentor by many people company-wide. Cicarello is a key contributor to City of Hope and Network of Executive Women, and serves as the face and voice of both organizations at Clif Bar & Co.; she also volunteers for community service efforts through Rebuilding Together and Habitat for Humanity.

Amy Davis VP, General Manager, Crossmark

In her most recent role, Davis picked up a new portfolio of clients and established client confidence within months, which led to expanded business and improved net promoter scores. She ended 2017 at 107 percent to Crossmark’s revenue target and 109 percent to Crossmark’s earnings target for the baby, beauty and household portfolio. Davis also drove expansion of alert-driven coverage capabilities across channels to deliver a better return on investment for clients, and coordinated the rollout of Crossmark’s OneHub retail platform, ensuring a seamless transition and improved functionality for clients.


Karen Jobb VP of Sales, Clif Bar & Co.

Jobb and her team drove extraordinary results in 2017, the result three years of achieving big in-store initiatives that drove significant revenue growth for Clif Bar & Co. brands, as well as sustained growth for the brands and the category. Her customers and channels delivered a three-year compound annual growth rate of 14 percent versus total company at 8 percent, accounting for 65 percent of total company growth. Jobb led her team through an organizational restructure, during which new team leaders were added to three of her four customer teams, and several large customer negotiations requiring CEO approval.

Christine Gard VP, Daymon

Gard completed the repositioning of Daymon’s team by increasing talent and experience, and shifting the culture while improving the bottom line; she reassessed the talent to solve for growing collaborative services and insights to take the business to the next level. By steering the conversation, both internally and externally, she achieved results that led to dramatically increased customer sales. Gard was acknowledged by a retailer for the repositioning of its in-store execution business; she’s also involved with United Way of Bexar County, the Women’s Leadership Council and Bexar County 4-H.

Melody Richard

Chief Strategy Officer, Suja, The Coca-Cola Co.

Richard’s team executed a collaborative business-planning session that led to the creation of a joint business plan for 2018 to drive growth across the Coca-Cola portfolio. She and her team led efforts to launch an exclusive USO program with Sam’s Club that packed 3,556 USO kits with the club store chain for troops overseas. Richard is passionate about women’s advancement in the CPG and retail industries; she’s the VP of membership and engagement and a global ambassador for Women’s Linc, the Coca-Cola Co.’s affinity group focused on diversity and inclusion.

Kathleen Owen VP, Sales, Daymon/CDS


Shannon Durham

VP, Customer Management, Coca-Cola Co. Bottling Consolidated

Durham’s team doubled in staff number and grew in geographic territory, and as a result, she was able to execute a radical organizational shift and a new customer framework. At Kroger, her largest customer, Coca-Cola outperformed total beverage across all joint business-planning metrics, with a 4.9 percent increase in retail sales dollars versus plan and a 6.3 percent increase in unit sales versus plan. She engineered a multiyear partnership with Dollar General that resulted in the Dollar General Bowl, the only grocer-sponsored NCAA college football bowl game.

Nicole LeMaire VP, Daymon/ Interactions Marketing

Owen played a critical role in developing an entirely new marketing, analytics and scorecard platform focused entirely on communicating the value of the experiential demo, from the front end selling effort to planning unique events.

LeMaire has had an excellent track record in new business development for the past year: She successfully won three retail demo platform businesses for Whole Foods Market, Giant Eagle and Price Chopper, and had them launched within the same year.

Her changes have led to a fact-based business approach that positions demo services as a critical strategic option in any sales and distribution strategy, and are making CDS a significantly more important part of the collaborative planning process.

She also seamlessly integrated her group within the Advantage Retail Experience, which holds several key AOR appointments for demos.

The progress on this front is evidenced by the 50 strategic planning sessions already booked for 2018.

Through LeMaire’s leadership, the integration saw little to no disruption to existing accounts, and she’s already introducing new service offerings to her accounts in the wake of the partnership with Advantage.

Congratulations to this year’s honorees. Your hard work and dedication make it possible for Ahold Delhaize USA’s great local brands to make a difference for customers and communities.

Crystal LaCourse Transportation Operations Manager

Libby Christman VP, Risk Management & Safety

Kim Lyda SVP, Legal

Anne Morrone Manager II Logistics



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Leslie Atkinson Director of Brand Communications FfifififiLfifin

Erica G. Hayes Store Manager FfifififiLfifin

Jessica Fischer Store Manager GIANT/MARTIN’S

Summer Monnett Category Manager GIANT/MARTIN’S

Jennifer Scott Category Manager GIANT/MARTIN’S

Dana Sherwood Design Manager GIANT/MARTIN’S

Jacqueline Ross VP, Private Brands Innovation

Lynn Blasio Senior Director, Operations



Brandi Langford HR Business Partner FfifififiLfifin

Jamie Osborne Associate Creative Director FfifififiLfifin

Greta Simmons Store Manager FfifififiLfifin

Julie Morales VP Finance GIANT/MARTIN’S

Barbara Negley Store Manager GIANT/MARTIN’S

Kimberly O’Hara Deli/Bakery Field Merchandising Specialist GIANT/MARTIN’S

Heather Potthoff Store Manager GIANT/MARTIN’S

Kim Totaro Finance Director GIANT/MARTIN’S

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Robin L. Anderson VP Human Resources GfifinfifiFfififi

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Amy McAllister-Flynn District Director GfifinfifiFfififi

Melanie Mnich Manager, Digital & Loyalty Strategy GfifinfifiFfififi

Gloria Richardson Store Manager GfifinfifiFfififi

Cynthia Sacha Store Manager GfifinfifiFfififi

Lekeita Sedgwick-Vann Store Manager GfifinfifiFfififi

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Monica Beiler Store Manager GfifinfifiFfififi

Amy Brooks Store Manager GfifinfifiFfififi

Lily Clifford Store Manager GfifinfifiFfififi

Kelli Hall HR Business Partner GfifinfifiFfififi

Donna Marconi Store Manager GfifinfifiFfififi

Deanna L. Marion-Wilson District Director GfifinfifiFfififi

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Michelle Merchant Category Manager Sfifififi&fiShfifi

Linda Podvidz Store Manager Sfifififi&fiShfifi

Lisa Quattrucci Store Manager Sfifififi&fiShfifi

Laura Rajchel HR Business Partner Sfifififi&fiShfifi

Marsheila Spruiell Store Manager Sfifififi&fiShfifi

Jennafer Tamburri Store Manager Sfifififi&fiShfifi

Christy Vaicius Store Manager Sfifififi&fiShfifi

Sheila Walton HR Business Partner Sfifififi&fiShfifi



2018 Top Women in Grocery Marissa Jarratt

SVP of Marketing, Innovation and R&D, Dean Foods Co.

Jarratt oversaw development of the 2019-21 innovation pipeline, which includes ongoing development/feasibility assessment for 2019 initiatives to drive increased profitable growth for the company and the dairy category. She championed and oversaw the development of a first-ever customer innovation incubation project, TruMoo Indulgences, which resulted in a stronger customer relationship and changed its perception of Dean Foods as a strategic growth partner. Jarrett co-led a trade marketing implementation plan to evolve the narrative of what Dean Foods should be famous for at retail, including oversight of three pieces of thought-leadership editorial content.

Toni Mascaro

VP, Meeting Services, Food Marketing Institute

Mascaro played a leading role in the Stir it Up! fundraiser, which brought in $1.3 million for the FMI Foundation to support health, nutrition and food safety research.


Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks

President and CEO, Earth Friendly Products

In 2017, Vlahakis-Hanks led Earth Friendly Products to one of its most successful years and spearheaded initiatives to increase gender diversity. These moves led to a c-suite and senior management made up of more than 50 percent women, as well as a chemist team that is 80 percent female, and created an all-new line of safer, plant-powered home aircare products. Under Vlahakis-Hanks’ leadership, the company achieved the unprecedented Triple Crown of sustainable manufacturing: carbon neutrality, water neutrality and Platinum-level Zero Waste certification at all four of its manufacturing facilities.

Simona Faroni Owner/President, G.S. Gelato & Desserts Inc.

Kerry Farrell SVP, Sales, Eversight Inc.

Farrell’s leadership led to a doubling of revenues, and she has worked tirelessly to elevate the role of revenue growth management teams so that trade promotions live up to their potential and are compelling and engaging to customers. She advocated data-driven decision-making and transparency to enable true brand-retailer collaboration, with one manufacturer seeing a 48 percent ROI increase and another seeing 10 percent higher sales. Farrell served as a strategic adviser to her customers in sharing insights from the lessons and best practices gained from the Eversight artificial-intelligence and experimentation platform.

Angela McElwee

President, Gaia Herbs

Roxanne Kanne-Roush

VP-Training and Development, Fareway Stores Inc.

Kanne-Roush identified more opportunities than ever before for training, sending 50 retail employees to the Midwest Dairy Council and 45 assistant market managers to Tyson, organizing a Fareway Leadership Management workshop for 300 employees, and conducting corporate scanning coordinator training and a corporate produce seminar. Her team also added food safety training, and she implemented a food protection manager certification process, certifying about 70 employees. Kanne-Roush also helped implement Clearinghouse for Workbased Learning, a program that provides support and mentoring to Iowa’s youth.

Robin L. Anderson VP Human Resources, Giant Food

Faroni led several new developments that added to G.S. Gelato & Desserts’ bottom line, setting it up for a spot on the Inc. 5,000 Fastest Growing Private Companies list for the fourth year in a row.

McElwee oversaw the brand’s successful launch of the Mushroom+Herbs line, as well as the Gaia Herbs Golden Milk campaign to promote consumers’ mindfulness and establishing daily rituals.

Anderson oversaw the brand-centric reorganization of Giant, which affected 160 associates with no loss of positions — in fact, she added more than 100 new jobs, filling 95 percent of them in just four months.

She created the vision for the FreshForward event that reflected a new approach to exploring the current and future of fresh in retail. The event was held in an unconventional space that allowed for more modern ways of networking.

She manages the business and marketing aspects of the company, making the decisions about current products and future innovations, as well as staying involved with clients to ensure continued success.

She also led Gaia Herbs to become a Certified Living Wage employer in 2017, adding to the mission-driven impact of the business and leading to significant reduction in turnover of hourly employees.

She championed associate engagement, with an overall improvement of 4 percent and a 96 percent participation rate.

Mascaro created an intimate and progressive learning space for the Future Leaders Experience, FMI’s most significant event for professional and talent development.

Last year, Faroni was honored by PG’s sister magazine, Store Brands, for her contribution to G.S. Gelato & Desserts’ innovations in retail gelato and sorbet manufacturing.

During her time at Gaia, she has contributed to the tripling of net sales and the launch of 50 new products, as well as establishing the industry’s first seed-to-shelf traceability program.

Anderson coordinated a partnership among the human resources business partners, risk management and worker’s comp adjusters to review cases and create modified duties to reduce loss-of-hours claims by 16 percent, resulting in a savings to insurance premiums.

Winning ways



he window of opportunity for online grocery is wide open right now—but it won’t be for long.

Today, slightly more than one-third of U.S. households shop for groceries online, spending $13 to $28 billion annually for a 2 to 4 percent share of the total grocery market.1 However, industry projections suggest those numbers will skyrocket within the next five years: Online grocery sales will become a $100 billion market with a 20 percent share of grocery and 70 percent of households shopping digitally—close to maximum projected household penetration.2 That leaves just a few short years for retailers to scale up their online grocery operations, as new and nontraditional competitors continue to enter the market and the first mover advantage evaporates. Most grocery retailers, however, say they don’t feel prepared for the new ecommerce market. Only 7 percent believe their organizations have the skill set to succeed in digital, and less than in 1 in 4 have established a digital investment and budgeting roadmap.3

Ramping up online market share To grow online market share, it’s important, of course, to offer digital grocery shopping in the first place: Among SPONSORED CONTENT

Grocery retailers that:


22% 7%

Have established a digital investment and budgeting roadmap

Have integrated their digital marketing and merchandising assets

Believe their organizations have the skill set to succeed in digital

Source: FMI survey, retailers and manufacturers, November 2017



the 58 percent of online shoppers who don’t use their local grocer for online purchases, half say it’s because online isn’t offered by their primary store.4 Then, retailers may need to partner strategically with third parties and boost flexibility for pickup, delivery and everything in-between to meet shopper demands. Paying extra attention to stimulating fresh product sales can pay off too. Fresh produce, meat and seafood are the final frontier for at least one-third of shoppers, who say they don’t want to buy these items online.5 Fresh dairy milk, a staple product in most households with 9 in 10 Americans consuming it at least occasionally,6 can be a gateway into the fresh category, increasing a shopper’s confidence level in making a fresh purchase online.

Capturing new online shoppers In addition to keeping current online shoppers delighted, it’s also vital to draw in new shoppers to build an ecommerce advantage in the grocery arena. Eighty percent of those who shopped for groceries online in





Under $50k


64% Once a month or more


I’ve only done it once

30% 30-44

Online grocery frequency of use




Loyal online shoppers also tend to be a particularly valuable demographic for grocery retailers: They are settled, higher-income families. In fact, parents with children of any age in the house should be a key target because these households over-index for online grocery.9

A few times per year

Likely to shop online in 2018


2016 also planned to shop online in 2017,7 and 64 percent of those who grocery shop online do it once a month or more.8 When shoppers like what you’re offering online, most will keep coming back for more.

Source: “The 2018 Grocery eCommerce Forecast,” Unata, November 2017; “Food Shopping in America,” The Hartman Group, 2017




Source: FMI survey, retailers and manufacturers, November 2017




Branded milk can serve as an excellent gateway for online shoppers to explore other fresh foods. Win fresh to win long-term Fresh foods like meat/seafood, produce and dairy account for about one-third of grocery revenue overall,10 but roughly two-thirds of online shoppers say they aren’t currently likely to purchase these types of perishables online for home delivery.11 That leaves a gaping hole in online opportunities that savvy retailers can fill by overcoming consumer barriers to buying fresh online.

Top 4 factors when choosing an at-home grocery delivery service 1 Quality of the food/products 2 Variety of items offered 3 Speed of the delivery 4 Types of brands offered Source: Morning Consult poll, 2017

Branded milk can serve as an excellent gateway for consumers to explore other fresh foods during digital shopping trips. Milk is a trip driver and a staple purchase for most shoppers—especially parents with children, a key online shopping demographic—with fewer attributes to be entrusted to in-store pickers’ judgment than fresh foods like meat or produce. Consumer confidence in a retailer’s ability to deliver online milk orders can help inspire confidence in the ability to deliver other perishables too. In addition, 58 percent of shoppers say that knowing products were recently picked or packaged would motivate them to buy more fresh produce online.12 Food quality and variety, in fact, are consumers’ top considerations in selecting an at-home grocery delivery provider.13 Providing and leveraging a top-notch online shopping experience is no longer a nice-to-have for grocery retailers—it’s a must-have to maintain and grow market share. Let’s take a look at some practical solutions for increasing online basket rings overall—and boosting fresh online sales by promoting milk as a gateway.

5 ways to improve your stores’ online shopping experience 1. Lead with brands. Online grocery users, who often are more quality conscious than value conscious, are a prime audience for most CPG brand leaders. Provide high visibility to well-respected brands aligned to these settled, higher-income families who tend to make online grocery purchases.

2. Boost milk’s online shoppability. Make it easy for online grocery shoppers to find and select their favorite staple milk products. Offer a sort and filter function aligned to the attributes that shoppers use for milk, such as fat level, brand, size, flavor, etc. Include comprehensive product descriptions and nutrition information, and feature large images on your mobile site showing several angles and sizes.




3. Recommend milk as an add-on. Grocery shoppers may be going elsewhere to purchase milk in-between online grocery shopping orders. Keep milk products in their online carts by making milk a recommended add-on to almost every basket.

4. Encourage engagement with pickers. Offer shoppers the opportunity to engage with pickers as they collect groceries by providing features that consumers say they want: real time communication with pickers, such as allowing shoppers to verify milk expiration dates—51 percent

Online content features that shoppers say they want: 56% Presenting frequently bought items

56% Presenting favorites

50% Presenting alternatives

picker suggestions on substitutions for out-of-stock items—56 percent picker suggestions based on offers—52 percent


26% Suggestions to complete a meal

5. Improve the pickup experience. Boost consumer confidence in the pickup process by meeting shoppers’ requests for an “on my way” text to ensure order readiness on arrival (70 percent) and review of order during pickup (52 percent).15

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Source: “The 2018 Grocery eCommerce Forecast,” Unata, November 2017; “Food Shopping in America,” The Hartman Group, 2017

“The Digitally Engaged Food Shopper: Developing Your Omnichannel Collaboration Model,” Nielsen/Food Marketing Institute, 2018; Statista, 2018 “The Digitally Engaged Food Shopper: Developing Your Omnichannel Collaboration Model,” Nielsen/Food Marketing Institute, 2018; Statista, 2018 FMI survey, retailers and manufacturers, November 2017 “The 2018 Grocery eCommerce Forecast,” Unata, November 2017 “Food Shopping in America,” The Hartman Group, 2017 Mintel, 2016 “The 2018 Grocery eCommerce Forecast,” Unata, November 2017 “The 2018 Grocery eCommerce Forecast,” Unata, November 2017; “Food Shopping in America,” The Hartman Group, 2017 “Food Shopping in America,” The Hartman Group, 2017 , 2017 Morning Consult poll, 2017 Door to Door Organics Morning Consult poll, 2017 “The 2018 Grocery eCommerce Forecast,” Unata, November 2017 “The 2018 Grocery eCommerce Forecast,” Unata, November 2017

Content of this article provided by Dean Foods Company. Dean Foods is a leading food and beverage company and the largest processor and direct-to-store distributor of fresh fluid milk and other dairy and dairy case products in the United States. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, the Dean Foods portfolio includes DairyPure®, TruMoo®, and well-known regional dairy brands. Dean Foods also makes and distributes ice cream, cultured products, juices, teas and bottled water.


37% Personalized apps/pages


Contact: Dean Foods 2711 North Haskell Ave., Suite 3400 Dallas, TX 75204 (214) 303-3400 SPONSORED CONTENT


Julie Morales

VP Finance, Giant/ Martin’s

Morales was responsible for maintaining business as usual during her company’s reorganization to a brand-centric model; this entailed ensuring that her team remained focused and efficient, while preparing for a future with a new president and a new structure. She oversaw the staffing and selection of the entire Giant/ Martin’s finance team, and worked to develop a culture of customer service. Morales achieved associate engagement scores that were 19 points above the company average, and she also drove the development of ground-up budgeting processes for sales, shrink and labor.

Kristi Magnuson Nelson President and CEO, Hugo’s Family Marketplace

Nelson planned for Hugo’s 11th store, which is set to open this year, while also maintaining a continuous-mprovement schedule for the company’s other locations. She serves on the boards of her local chamber of commerce, her local Prairie Harvest Foundation, the Minnesota Grocers Association, the North Dakota Grocers Association and the National Grocers Association. A great supporter of independently owned grocery stores, Nelson worked closely with the director of the North Dakota Grocers Association to ensure that services were made available to all independent grocers.

Danielle Vogel Founder, Glen’s Garden Market

Vogel is deeply committed to growing small businesses, along with her own: Over the past year, she grew the number of businesses launched at Glen’s from 50 to nearly 80, of which 44 are woman-owned. She created AccelerateHERdc, a business-pitch competition designed to identify, incubate and accelerate the next great woman-owned, local, smallbatch food concept in her region. Vogel created and endowed a partnership with the Chesapeake Bay Conservancy to quantify the amount of carbon emissions incurred in the process of getting nonindigenous produce to her stores, and to plant trees.

Karen Boriskey VP, Human Resources/ Employee Development, Hy-Vee Inc.

Boriskey planned and implemented a complete restructure of Hy-Vee’s employee-longevity awards program. She took on a new workforce management system for the company, which included rolling out new hardware and software to 262 locations, as well as training employees to use the software. Hy-Vee chose to merge its human resources and training departments under Boriskey’s leadership, thanks to her vast knowledge and experience in these two areas, and she relocated much of the company’s retail functions to a new training and education center.

Rhonda DeMello Director Recruiting/Front End Operations/ Service Excellence, Harris Teeter Supermarkets

Under DeMello’s leadership, Harris Teeter reached its best service performance in the past fiscal year, as measured by customer complaints/compliments, mystery shops and customer surveys. Her team created a Career Facebook page to engage and attract potential associates; more than 30,000 applications were submitted via this platform. DeMello was recognized by her local St. Jude Dream Home for her volunteer work in raising more than $36,000 over the past year by planning and coordinating a weekend music festival to benefit the organization.

Tina Potthoff

VP, Communications, Hy-Vee Inc.

Potthoff oversees the communications team and provides counsel to 245 store directors, plus hundreds of department heads at both the corporate and store level. In December 2017, Hy-Vee teamed with Hormel and local first responders to distribute hams to families in need; with her team, Potthoff generated 61 media stories — the news equivalency value of almost $700,000, plus more than 500,000 social media hits. Under her direction, Hy-Vee and the University of Minnesota Foundation threw a Super Bowl party and media conference; patients acted as media and asked questions of several well-known football players.

Megan Klein

President and Co-Founder, Here

Klein grew Here — a new brand bringing local produce to the CPG industry — to a $1 million annual run rate in just three months without using a broker or distributor. She continued to lead the Here sales initiative while also working with her team on new flavors and categories. Klein led Here’s efforts to become a Certified B-Corp, with core endeavors related to sustainability, local sourcing, zero food waste initiatives and team member happiness; she also serves on the board of Here Foods PBC, and is a committee chair for the Network of Executive Women.

Jessica Ringena VP, Innovation/ Business Development, Hy-Vee Inc.

Ringena was central to HyVee’s Short Cuts commissary project, centralizing prep and packaging of grab-and-go produce for customer convenience; she configured all pricing, from commissary to stores, and worked with distribution to decrease time from production to delivery to stores. She was part of the development of Market Grille delivery by working with IT on the user interface and user experience for consumers and other departments. Ringena used her experience as a CPA to develop new business plans, partnerships and research into how the company could go to market with new products.




2018 Top Women in Grocery Cheryl Pick Sommer

Owner/President, Kaune’s Neighborhood Market

Sommer heads up Kaune’s Neighborhood Market, a family-run specialty market in downtown Santa Fe, N.M., that dates back to 1896; she is currently chair of the board for the National Grocers Association, and served on the board of the New Mexico Grocers Association. Sommer is a member of the board of trustees of the Louisiana Lasallian Education Corp., which oversees the operation of St. Michael’s College and four other Lasallian schools in Louisiana and Colorado. She’s also an attorney at a firm founded by her late fatherin-law.

Anne Maness

Director, Digital Site Experience, Corporate Digital Marketing, The Kroger Co./ General Office

Maness leads all of Kroger’s digital marketing strategies and operations to expand the company’s ecommerce capabilities around the United States and the world. Promoted to her current role in 2017, she has significantly increased digital engagements, exceeding 2017 goals for new digital accounts, doubling the number of ecommerce households and acquiring 6.7 million additional digital accounts in the past year; her efforts have driven sales, as digital engaged households and ecommerce customers tend to spend more per period. Maness is also an active leader on Kroger’s Cultural Council.


Kris Geier

VP, Costco International, Kellogg Co.

Geier was instrumental in achieving No. 1 sales and profit growth for Kellogg Co. through product development, customer penetration, leadership and execution; Costco Wholesale is a top-five customer of the $500 million company. Responsible for the multifunctional sales and profit leadership of Costco Wholesale globally, she developed and led a global discount channel strategy enabling more than $75 million in annual global sales. Geier used custom shopper research to lead a more than $25 million price pack architecture project, informing Kellogg’s Opening Price Point strategy.

Kate Ward

President, Kroger Personal Finance, The Kroger Co./ General Office

Known in her previous role of director of investor relations as the face of the company on Wall Street, Ward kept investors up to date on financial information and the company’s unique story; she was promoted to her current position in April 2018. Under Ward’s leadership, Kroger’s engagement with corporate governance stakeholders has grown, and she’s credited with saving the company from what it calls “serious investment battles.” Ward was recognized as the Best Investor Relations Professional in the Food Retail Industry by Institutional Investor in 2017; outside of work, she volunteers with Girl Scouts of America.

Chris Albi

VP of Operations, The Kroger Co./ Fred Meyer

Overseeing the budget for the entire Fred Meyer division and spending half of her time in store locations identifying operational opportunities and solutions, Albi led a smooth transition during a major organizational change last year, maintaining the division’s positive business results and strong team performance. She also successfully oversaw a waste integration project in her division and helped transform four Spokane, Wash.-area stores through remodeling and expansion. Albi is a member of the Salvation Army board of directors and is treasurer for the Northwest Grocers Association, among other activities.

Amy Simeri McClellan

SVP, Retail, Martin’s Super Markets Inc.

In charge of merchandising, marketing and store operations teams for family-owned Martin’s, as well as a member of the organization’s executive committee, McClellan launched strategic initiatives and new customer programs to improve the customer experience and the store’s bottom-line performance. She helped introduce the company’s click-and-collect shopping service, which is already profitable, and partnered with a local hospital to open a new Martin’s Café there. McClellan serves on the Retail-Foodservice Board of Directors for the United Fresh Produce Association, and is a volunteer for Prevent Child Abuse Indiana.


Christina Groth

VP, General Merchandise, Health and Beauty Care and Nonfoods, The Kroger Co./ General Office

Using customer insight to renew Kroger’s overall general merchandise and health and beauty care strategy, Groth helped create an exclusive brand and a reinvention of the retailer’s national-brand approach to apparel. She developed an improved customer communication strategy through an enhanced media mix, helping to market new offerings like an exclusive own-brand housewares line. Groth led an organizational redesign to centralize functions across corporate and division teams, aligning categories on the merchandising team to support the way customers shop, versus a more traditional P&L alignment.

Stephanie Naito VP, Talent Management, Meijer

Naito led the initiative to develop and implement the Meijer Competency Model, composed of 14 competencies that outline key behavior anchors for selection, performance and development at all levels. She was pivotal in the launch of the Meijer Heritage Center, part of corporate campus, which tells the company story through 12 exhibits and eight interactive media stations; in 2017, a virtual tour was launched for all associates across the grocer’s operating area. Naito implemented mTeam, a company-wide recognition and engagement platform, to encourage leaders and team members to give social- and points-based recognition.

CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL THOSE WHO SET THE STANDARD. PepsiCo salutes its Top Women in Grocery and the positive impact they make on our industry.

©2018 PepsiCo, Inc. All Rights Reserved. This ad contains valuable trademarks owned and used by PepsiCo, Inc. and its subsidiaries and affiliates to distinguish products and services of outstanding quality.


2018 Top Women in Grocery Annette Repasch

Group VP, Merchandising, Meijer

Leading the softlines division for Meijer, Repasch served as a lead on the first brick-and-mortar My Look, My Style, My Size program. She drove Meijer to be the first retailer to put plus-size clothing on the same rack as other sizes and marking it at the same price, demonstrating a company commitment to plus-size apparel; the integrated department shrinks the women’s section by 20 percent, allowing for more trends and styles on the floor. Repasch and her team were able to increase customer loyalty by more than 250,000 new customers, with an 80 percent stick rate, as a result of the many new intiatives that she introduced and influenced.

Shirin Odar

Region VP, North America Beverages/Pepsi Beverages Co., PepsiCo

Odar was a key leader for PepsiCo on the Walmart account, driving increases in net revenue (NR) and marginal contribution, exceeding goals by 9.3 percent as part of the NR mix, and gaining 13.2 miles of space as a result of resets; for her efforts, she was named 2018’s Walmart Food and Beverage Supplier of the Year. When she became South region VP, Odar improved the carbonated soft drink 20-ounce run rate by 3 percent. She gained critical space for tea and coffee in large-format stores and 3,000 shelves in coops; as a result, the South region ended 2017 as the No. 1 region for Lifewtr volume.


Michelle Mock Director, Sales Development and Operations, Nature Nate’s

Responsible for leading business planning of Nature Nate’s sales team, Mock had oversight of demand planning, forecasting, and budgeting of sales, and created a customer service initiative that will begin later this year. With Nature Nate’s experiencing tremendous growth in 2017, Mock implemented a formal integrated business-planning process to prepare for upcoming demand, which helped with procurement and production, and the process also uncovered inefficiencies. She recommended a change in the way online orders are processed, reducing the need for around 25 temporary labor hours per week.

Julie Jones

General Manager, Grocery and Home Improvement, Procter & Gamble

With a position equivalent to VP, Jones is responsible for $3.5 billion in sales and has 10 customer teams such as Meijer, Wegmans, Home Depot and Lowes; her influence extends beyond her team to the entire grocery salesforce in talent planning. Her teams were in the top five for all P&G customer teams in top- and bottom-line growth. In the past year, Jones has melded 10 diverse teams into a strong network to leverage expertise and has led the talent/ career planning of more than 300 employees; she’s also an active sponsor of P&G’s U.S. Sales Women’s Network, consisting of more than 500 women.

Jeanne Danubio EVP, U.S. Retail and Global Retail Product Leadership (Lead Markets), Nielsen Co.


Marla Daudelin SVP, Sales, South Central Region, Frito-Lay North America Division, PepsiCo

Overseeing retail practices within 17 developed markets around the world, Danubio led the creation of a syndicated data collaboration program, Walmart One Version of Truth; the companies teamed up to streamline the way that data are used in the Walmart supplier ecosystem, bringing improved efficiencies and stronger performance to the entire marketplace.

Daudelin leads the largest field sales organization within Frito-Lay, covering five states, 2,200 routes, 4,000 front-line sales employees and 38,000 customers.

She worked with Nielsen retail teams to strengthen retail relationships, including with Dollar General and Aldi, both of which expanded their relationships with Nielsen.

Daudelin provided guidance for her team through the difficult aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, implementing an emergency response plan to enable Frito-Lay to continue servicing customers; she also drove diversity in her organization and developed a culture of inclusion and engagement.

Within Nielsen, Danubio is an advocate for gender equality in the workplace.

Julie Gerdes

VP of Product Management, Quotient Technology Inc.

As the executive running Quotient’s team and improving the Retailer iQ platform’s capabilities, Gerdes led many product initiatives in 2017, including Albertsons Performance Media. She and her team built and added products on digital circulars, matching CPG coupons to store sales so that shoppers can get the best deal, and overhauled and relaunched the Coupons. com app, which, along with its website, reaches 23 million shoppers per month. Because of Gerdes’ work, shoppers selected a record 3.6 billion offers, and Quotient now has 60 million-plus households registered by Retailer iQ.

In 2017, she led her team to exceed all people metrics and sales goals, growing her business by 3.7 percent and gaining 0.8 points of savory snacks market share.

Nicky Jackson

Founder and CEO, RangeMe, an ECRM Company

Jackson directs RangeMe, which streamlines new product discovery between suppliers and retailers; under her leadership, the platform grew from 60,000 registered suppliers last year to a current 105,000, and to 350,000 active products, up from 250,000 last year. She helped drive more than 5 million views from retail buyers at some of the largest retailers, and won the 2017 Path to Purchase Institute Women of Excellence Award for Innovation. Jackson sold the company to ECRM but remained at the helm and led the launches of the premium RangeMe Verified service and a Nielsen-powered sales data integration for retailers.

We are proud to honor all of the 2018 TOP WOMEN IN GROCERY

CONGRATULATIONS to all of the 2018 Top Women in Grocery, including those from the Schwan’s team! Thank you for exemplifying excellence and authenic leadership! RISING STAR


Michelle DeLamielleure Dir Consumer Insights & Analytics Schwan’s Shared Services, LLC.


Jessica longshore Dir Field Sales Strategy Schwan's Consumer Brands, Inc.



Jennifer Holmberg

Giselle Restrepo

Angela McKeand

Sr Mgr Product Development Schwan’s Shared Services, LLC.

Sr Mgr Consumer Insights & Analytics Schwan’s Shared Services, LLC.

Dir Strategic Growth Channels Marketing Schwan's Consumer Brands, Inc.

Check us out at:

© 2018 Schwan’s Shared Service, LLC. All Rights Reserved. 0132

Congratulations to our Top Women in Grocery! Thank you for your dedication to The Kroger Co. and the communities we serve.

Chris Albi Fred Meyer Senior Executive

Jennifer Barnett Cincinnati/Dayton Rising Star

Rachel Booker Delta Rising Star

Rachel Browne Freshness & Standards Rising Star

Andrea Carson Smith’s Store Manager

Jackie Chandler Dillons Store Manager

Sonya Clagett Columbus Store Manager

Terri Coffey Cincinnati/Dayton Rising Star

Susanne Davee Central Store Manager

Felicia Delk Dallas Rising Star

Jennifer Diers QFC Store Manager

Anne DiFilippo Digital Marketing Rising Star

Kyla Enslinger Dillons Store Manager

Charlotte Ess Atlanta Rising Star

Rhonda Etnire Fred Meyer Rising Star

Isabel Gallon-Londono Ralphs Store Manager

Danielle Gordon Columbus Rising Star

Christina Groth Gen. Merch., Health & Beauty Care, Non-Foods Senior Executive

Jade Hoefer Dillons Rising Star

Megan Houck Fry’s Store Manager

Laverne Howard Houston Store Manager

Kim Hryhorchuk Houston Rising Star

Yvonne Ippolito Fred Meyer Store Manager

Mary Keeler Nashville Store Manager

Rene Kendrick Louisville Rising Star

Lyndsey Lawrence Roundy’s Store Manager

Linh Lee Ralphs Rising Star

Diann Lewis Dallas Store Manager

Cynthia Logan Louisville Rising Star

Jasmine Logan Louisville Store Manager

Anne Maness Digital Marketing Senior Executive

Rebekah Manis Finance Senior Executive

Inshirah Marchan Food 4 Less Rising Star

April Markiewitz Columbus Rising Star

Aubriana Martindale Smith’s Rising Star

Amy McCain Fry’s Store Manager

Robin Middleton Cincinnati/Dayton Store Manager

Tracy Mobley Manufacturing Rising Star

Alicia Pitocco Cost Management Rising Star

Karen Porteous Roundy’s Store Manager

Amanda Puck Mariano’s Rising Star

Haritha Reddy VitaCost Rising Star

Marci Reynolds QFC Rising Star

Emily Sebbas QFC Store Manager

Vicki Smith Atlanta Store Manager

Silay Souksavatdy Food 4 Less Store Manager

Maria St. Germain Cincinnati/Dayton Rising Star

Katie Taylor Fred Meyer Rising Star

Kendall Thomas Mariano’s Rising Star

Dee Voss King Soopers Store Manager

Kate Ward Kroger Personal Finance Senior Executive

Ranee Ward Nashville Store Manager

Janine Whelan Fry’s Rising Star

Franice Wilder Roundy’s Rising Star

Marcie Wiles Dillons Rising Star

Crista Yellot Dallas Store Manager


2018 Top Women in Grocery Libby Christman VP, Risk Management and Safety, Retail Business Services, an Ahold Delhaize USA Company

In 2017, Christman held two roles: As the globally focused VP of occupational health and safety, she worked with safety professionals throughout the company to create its first worldwide strategy and vision, while her role as VP of risk management focused on the United States. Performance indicators tracked safety in local brands worldwide; Christman and her global team defined fatalities and life-altering injuries within the company to raise visibility of the effect on the organization. Under her guidance, brands began reporting serious injuries to highlight dangers in the grocery industry.

Yvonne Trupiano

EVP, Chief Human Resources and Corporate Affairs/ Communications, SpartanNash

Under Trupiano’s leadership, Spartan Nash has won numerous accolades, including the Women’s Forum of New York Corporate Champion in recognition of the company’s efforts to advance women in leadership. She recruited and onboarded a new CFO, supply chain leader and food production general manager while also leading an effort to reshape incentive and rewards plans for employees in the company. Trupiano serves on the Heart of West Michigan United Way board and provides governance to unite community resources to reduce poverty in the region; last fall, she headed SpartanNash’s engagement in several volunteer opportunities.


Kim Lyda

SVP, Legal, Retail Business Services, an Ahold Delhaize USA Company

Lyda leads the company’s legal, government affairs, U.S. compliance, quality assurance (food safety), risk, safety and claims management teams. She spearheaded the legal team’s support of the design and timely implementation of Ahold Delhaize USA’s brand-centric operating model, including the creation of Retail Business Services, a new shared-services organization, and providing service to six East Coast brands. Lyda guided the organizational design of Retail Business Services and the transition to new leadership teams and development of new tools to ensure efficient support of Ahold Delhaize USA’s brands.

Anne Dament EVP, Retail, Marketing and Private Brands, Supervalu

A seasoned grocery industry professional, Dament is the leader of the retail operations, retail merchandising and company-wide marketing for 200 retail stores across the country, as well as dozens of private brands; she was promoted from SVP to EVP last November for her immediate contributions. Her unparalleled ability to motivate associates inspired one colleague to say about her, “Anne makes you want to run through walls for her.” Heavily committed to promoting and mentoring women at Supervalu, Dament started a women’s lunch group to share experiences and industry knowledge with female employees.

Jacqueline Ross VP, Private Brands Innovation, Retail Business Services, An Ahold Delhaize USA Company

Ross oversees the new product development of 1,500-plus items annually that translate into millions of dollars for the company. She made breakthrough innovations and significant product improvements that are making a difference in the U.S. market; for example, under her leadership, the company eliminated more than 1 million pounds of sugar in company products and more than 69,000 pounds of salt (on an annual basis) without affecting the eating experience. Ross also designed and stood up an innovation, renovation and packaging engineering team for the company, and led product development.

Sarah Louden CHRO/HR VP, Supervalu

Providing top-level human resources guidance and leadership to the organization in the CHRO role, Louden is regarded as an ace in compensation and talent management, labor relations, benefits and talent acquisition, training/development, and HR shared services. Leading the HR team in the acquisitions of Unified Grocers and Associated Grocers of Florida to facilitate the integration of those companies, Louden also oversaw the development of an important cross-functional operational wholesale logistics strategy. For Supervalu’s retail business, she spearheaded the Retail People Strategy project, which focused on creating efficiency, reducing turnover and increasing employee engagement.


Katlin Smith

Founder and CEO, Simple Mills

Since April 2017, Smith has been instrumental in nearly doubling Simple Mills’ store distribution from 6,500 to almost 12,000, with additions including Kroger, Meijer and Ahold Delhaize USA. She helped bring consumers back to grocers’ center aisles with achievements such as a 52 percent increase in shelf turns for the company’s baking mixes alone; this earned it the No. 1 rank in dollar velocity in the natural baking-mix channel over 52 weeks, according to SPINS. Smith increased grocers’ gluten- and grain-free lineup by expanding the Simple Mills portfolio to 28 SKUs, including the introduction of gluten- and grain-free cookies made only from whole-food ingredients.

Nancy Superchi

VP, HR Shared Services, Supervalu

During Supervalu’s acquisition of United Grocers, Superchi not only led the data conversion of new employee information into the company’s systems, but also had to make sure that payroll conversion was perfectly executed from day 1; her oversight of a detailed project plan helped ensure success. She advocated for a conversion to self-service so that employees could access all of their important payroll and employee data, tax information, benefits selections, and more. Superchi is deeply involved with local Chicago-area charities, and every year also personally “adopts” an entire classroom at a challenged school, for which she provides gifts and clothing.



Seasons complement everyday sales with trusted brands delivering incremental growth year-round. It’s another way we’re committed to creating shared success. Join the Conversation: @HersheyCompany The-Hershey-Company

Holiday Products Optimal Order Date: 7/13/18


2018 Top Women in Grocery Liz Llamas

VP of Human Resources, Vallarta Supermarkets

Llamas developed onboarding, management development and training programs that have significantly lowered turnover. She implemented new payroll and training departments, and made Vallarta Supermarkets one of the first grocery chains on the West Coast to have a human resources team member in every store. Llamas wrote and directed the filming of a training video, “Six Steps to Extraordinary Customer Service,” and developed a “first five” onboarding program that appeals to all generations, including Millennials and Gen Z, and keeps management focused on developing strong relationships with their team members.

Jan Gee

President/CEO. Washington Food Industry Association

With many years’ worth of industry affiliations under her belt, Gee has spent more than three decades as the voice of small business, and the past 10 as an advocate for independent grocers. She fought government overreach and burdensome regulations, saving independent retailers in Washington state thousands of dollars through her tireless efforts. Accessible to her constituents around the clock, Gee lobbies daily at the local, state and federal levels; her bulldog approach has resulted in changes in legislation, policies and rules, providing ample proof of her importance to the industry.

Rebecca Remley

CEO, Wedderspoon Organic

Under Remley’s guidance, Wedderspoon Organic achieved significant year-over-year gains, launching the brand into one of the fastest-growing segments, with market share leadership of Manuka honey across conventional grocery, and natural and specialty stores. Securing sizeable partnerships with major retailers, she spearheaded the launch of innovative formats, including Organic Manuka Honey Pops for Kids, and extended the honey’s retail reach through new skin care products. Providing strategic vision and oversight for all aspects of the company, Remley oversaw a comprehensive rebrand for 2018, including new packaging, an updated logo and website enhancements.

Setting the strategic direction for World Finer Foods, Guerin reorganized the sales force to better align with how retailers want to be serviced, adding a trade-marketing function to provide more fact-based information for retailers and distributors to grow their business. She signed four new brands representing more than $5 million in annual sales opportunity, and achieved $1.5 million in cost savings. Guerin launched a new corporate website, which resulted in a triple-digit use increase, and initiated a new “3+1” goal-setting process for all employees to tie performance to measurable goals.


Shelley Cade VP Marketing, Willert Home Products

Cade was instrumental in growing Willert from $30 million to $70 million, and successfully relaunched the Ty-D-Bol brand. She facilitated a social media campaign and the design of a digital marketing plan including pay-per-click marketing, a landing page design, SEO strategy, and performance management and reporting. A U.S. Navy veteran, past GMDC advisory board member, and active volunteer for such organizations as the USO and Ronald McDonald House, Cade serves as a mentor and role model for young women entering the manufacturing workplace, thanks to her initiative, leadership and dedication.

Danielle Bunch

Susan Guerin

President and CEO, World Finer Foods


Rising Stars

Director of Sales, Enterprise Strategy, Advantage Solutions

Bunch provided crucial leadership and strategic direction as some Advantage Solutions employees became SAS Retail Services employees, ensuring that the transition went smoothly by holding 200-plus meetings with individual suppliers and associates to communicate the path forward and the added benefits of the partnership. She gained responsibility for the retail analytics team, working with its leader to implement new processes and technology enhancements to gain operational efficiencies for the sales and retail teams. Bunch created the first webbased vendor portal for the largest retailer, giving it real-time visibility to results.

Behind Every Great Brand is a Great Woman

Acosta congratulates our winners for Progressive Grocer’s Top Women in Grocery As the engine that drives greater sales and market share for consumer goods manufacturers and retailers around the world, Acosta is proud of its diverse talent. Thank you to Kathy Caldwell, Maura DiMarco, Shannon Hodock and Shannon Pennington for your leadership. You make a measurable difference.

Learn more about Acosta and its more than 35,000 talented associates at


2018 Top Women in Grocery Kimberly Cowen Regional Manager, Advantage Solutions

To help increase EBITDA, Cowen stepped in to offer her organizational skills for major events and activations such as the Meijer LPGA Classic and Back to College events. She maintains a regular presence in stores and at events, doing whatever’s needed, whether it’s event prep, setup or cleanup, to help the team and her company. This past January, Cowen was given several additional responsibilities, including crafting weekly client updates, summarizing field execution, and highlighting key operational initiatives driving innovation and creativity to meet Advantage’s platform annual EBITDA and revenue goals.

Amanda King Sales Manager, Advantage Solutions

When Advantage transitioned to a new financial system, King developed a new approach to the month-end reporting and processes, providing enhanced revenue detail and helping with the preparation of the month-end financial summary. She was recognized as a significant contributor to the success of the headquarters sales services division’s ending the year 2 percent to budget. King began serving as a coach for an Advantage leadership development associate team, which entailed collaborating with members on their responsibilities and learning assignments, and enrolled in the company’s year-long Accelerated Career Experience program.


Kelli Ficke

Senior Category Manager, Team Leader, Advantage Solutions

Ficke’s analysis led to a brand’s expansion of its twin-pack solutions business at a major retailer, and she also identified opportunities in the retailer’s divisions; the brand’s business subsequently grew more than 6 percent, driving the retailer’s eye care category growth of 3 percent. She identified the right organic items for a brand undergoing SKU rationalization at a retailer, so that its business grew 16 percent with a reduced SKU count, while the retailer’s category rose more than 5 percent. Ficke received a brand’s Category Manager of the Year award; she also volunteers as a coach for youth soccer and basketball teams.

Amy Knox

Account Executive, Advantage Solutions

Knox secured a divisional partnership with Kraft to promote its Hockeyville local community sports outreach initiative; the program generated 370-plus events over five weeks in the Eastern division. She was instrumental in securing Albertsons’ Eastern division’s first community involvement program, facilitating the donation of 15 cases of food and toiletries on behalf of Albertsons/Safeway to a local food bank. Asked by Rasmussen College to assist college students in enhancing their interviewing skills to gain employment after graduation, Knox volunteered her time to conduct mock interviews and provide coaching and feedback.

Jennifer Gruber Senior Director, Analytic Solutions, Advantage Solutions

Gruber developed an online training program specifically focused on proper data use for all professional associates; the course was a critical element of Advantage’s efforts to ensure proper use of, and compliance with, high-value data assets. She led the development of new data visualizations and applications for Adlumina, a next-generation Speed to Insights analytic tool for clients and internal users. Gruber pioneered the creation of a three-part shopper analytics online workshop, in which 50-plus associates participated in a fun, engaging program to develop their panel analytics and storytelling skills.

Amanda Reaves Sales Team Leader, Advantage Solutions

Chosen as a retailer’s and a CPG brand’s Top Branded Broker, Reaves achieved 16 percent over last year and secured $14 million in gross shipments by developing and executing key promotional plans to gain top- and bottom-line growth. Her focus on building new brands through category leadership, commitment to identifying and communicating trends, eye for developing presentations, successful track record in regard to the overall strategy, and expertise in identifying retailer opportunity gaps resulted in two new vendors/brands being sold into a retailer. Reaves is a board member of NFRA’s Central Florida Chapter.


Brooke Heintz Client Service Manager, Advantage Solutions

Tasked with securing 30,000 in-store activations, Heintz surpassed the goal by an extra 2,000 events, equivalent to an additional 7 percent increase to the overall profit. For Family Meals Month in September, she helped introduce an event for Mars’ Uncle Ben’s brand; the customized event strategy, featuring uniquely branded carts with recipe cards, led to results exceeding those of previous programs. Having determined that it would be beneficial not only to herself, but also to Advantage, Heintz is pursuing a business degree while continuing to excel at her full-time job.

Crystal Rossel

Client Team Leader, Advantage Solutions

In a year of declines for most of the categories in which her clients participate, Rossel managed to deliver impressive overall combined growth of 108.4 percent compared with the prior year. Her dedication, analysis, and desire to create win-win situations for both Advantage and her clients resulted in a more than an $800,000 (four-point) margin improvement for her businesses. Rossel played a key role in identifying and closing incremental business-to-business opportunities across her portfolio, successfully addressing specific client business needs that have delivered $1 million in incremental revenue to Advantage.

Kristen Baird

Emma Byran

Danielle Bunch

Kimberly Cowen

Kelli Ficke

Misty Fontanini







Christine Gard

Jill Griffin



Congratulations to our 2018 Top Women in Grocery Thank you for the leadership and success you bring to our organization and industry.

Jennifer Gruber

Brooke Heintz



Kim Hsieh

Amanda King

Amy Knox

Nicole LeMaire

Katelyn Nadeau

Kathleen Owen







Lindsey Pruitt

Amanda Reaves

Bonnie Reinke

Kim Riedell

Marilu Robles

Crystal Rossel







Bethany Schwartz

Elena Skaletsky

Lisa St. Germain

Samantha Weinstein

Mindy Wing

Hannah Zipp









TOP WOMEN IN GROCERY Congratulations to all the winners of the Top Women in Grocery, including our very own Marissa Jarratt (SVP of Marketing, Innovation and R&D) and Annette Taylor (Director of Category Management). We appreciate how you’re

2018 Top Women in Grocery Bethany Schwartz

Client Team Leader, Advantage Solutions

Schwartz was a key member of the team that led the RFP process to win a German chemical and consumer goods business; during the transition, she integrated the Advantage organization into the new business while building trust and credibility with senior leadership. She co-developed content and led a course for Advantage midlevel managers, “Investing in Your Team Through Coaching.” Schwartz teamed with multiple business units to finalize a contract with a Turkish cookie company focused on private label expansion in the United States, leading to further business with allied companies.

driving the future of retail. Lindsey Pruitt

Director of Business Development, Advantage Solutions/Advantage Media Solutions

Director, Marketing Operations, Advantage Solutions/ Advantage Marketing Partners

Following various changes to the Advantage Retail Experience Group, including the name, Robles led efforts to promote the “new” ARX, a strenuous educational task that involved collaborating with business leaders and becoming fully knowledgeable on each new sector of ARX. She created initiatives to keep business leaders accountable and showcase their work, including a monthly retail platform best practices phone call, capabilities decks for ARX services and innovative programming presentations. Robles was a mentor and role model to a new hire just out of college, providing personal and professional guidance.

Elena Skaletsky

Influencer Marketing Supervisor, Advantage Solutions/Advantage Media Solutions

Pruitt drove more than 50 percent of 2017 sales for her division across a sales team of six people and exceeded personal revenue goal by more than 250 percent.

Skaletsky implemented influencer tradedesk capabilities and new ways of working that have brought in three new clients and $382,000 in campaign budgets.

She created and implemented new processes to ensure effective program delivery; these processes have since been rolled out across all sales team divisions.

She developed, maintained and strengthened Advantage Media Solutions’ vendor partnerships, and led a rebuild of the vendor platform, tailoring it to the company’s needs to help streamline process flow, reduce wasted time and improve campaign results.

Pruitt formed a collaborative partnership with an external video team to produce new/ undiscovered company revenue; managed the creation, scripting and production of 10 documentary-style videos for client media programs; and led the testing of four new media initiatives.

©2018 Dean Foods.

Marilu Robles

Skaletsky conducted an indepth review of Advantage’s campaign execution process to identify areas of improvement, and subsequently put in place changes that have resulted in a 60 percent increase in operating margin.

True or False? By 2023, online shopping is expected to account for 20% of all grocery purchases. That may be hard to imagine, but it’s true. Thirty-five million shoppers buy online today, and in five years that figure will double to 70 million households spending $100 billion. Milk is already a key driver for fresh, showing up in a high share of digital baskets. In the days and years ahead, promoting dairy will be a surefire way to boost e-commerce sales while accruing credibility as a fresh online retailer—helping you claim a share of this channel’s booming growth.

It’s time to rethink dairy.

Source: FMI Health Trends Report 2017; IRI Panel Total US - All Outlets, L52 Weeks Ending Mar-19-2017. © 2018 Dean Foods Company | All Rights Reserved. DairyPure®, TruMoo®, and Dean’s® are registered trademarks of Dean Foods Company. Friendly’s® is a registered trademark of Friendly’s Manufacturing and Retail, LLC. Mayfield® is a registered trademark of Dean Intellectual Property Services II, Inc. Caribou Coffee® & design is a trademark of Caribou Coffee Company, Inc., used under license. Organic Valley® is a trademark of Cooperative Regions of Organic Producer Pools, used under license. DairyPure Mix-ins™ is a trademark of Dean Foods Company. Copyright © 2017-2018 Uncle Matt’s Organic®. All Rights Reserved.


2018 Top Women in Grocery Samantha Weinstein

Director, Media Operations, Advantage Solutions/Advantage Media Solutions

Working with upscale grocer The Fresh Market, Weinstein came up with a plan to improve the correlation between ad exposure and in-store traffic. She also boosted her team’s efficiency to keep up with revenue growth of more than 50 percent, without increasing incremental cost. In collaboration with leadership at Advantage Media Solutions, as well as with Retailtainment, Advantage’s demonstration partnership with Walmart, Weinstein was a key part of the team that devised a video demo product that could be delivered programmatically, thereby broadening Advantage Media’s and Retailtainment’s digital demonstration capabilities.

Bessie Berdusis Director, Managed Care, Albertsons Cos./Corporate

Berdusis coordinated flu-season efforts across pharmacy functional groups, with the result that Albertsons protected 13 percent more patients than in the previous flu season, contributing $6.3 million in additional sales. She led the expansion of Albertsons’ service offering to include innovative practice areas, among them pharmacist-prescribed hormonal contraception and medications for opioid overdoses. When the specialty pharmacy needed assistance with standardized processes and data, Berdusis took on additional duties so that one of her coordinators could assume new responsibilities in specialty, and offered coaching and support to assure a successful outcome.


Lynn Blasio

Senior Director, Operations, Ahold Ecommerce Sales, an affiliate of Peapod

Susan Voelkner Center Store Operations Specialist Albertsons Cos./ Acme Division

Under Blasio’s leadership, the Ahold Ecommerce Sales facility was recognized by both internal and external safety and sanitation audits as a top-rated distribution center in the area.

Voelkner’s leadership and organizational skills led to an increase in sales and reduction in losses not just for center store, which she oversees for Acme’s District 9, but also for the entire operation.

Year-over-year customer engagement scores improved as a result of her highly engaged management and associate teams, which daily review customer feedback and implement plans to improve service.

She significantly reduced back-room assets in her district, from 12.13 percent in March 2017 to a mere 6.21 percent this past January.

The facility achieved the highest associate engagement scores in the company, thanks to an aggressive associate engagement plan implemented by Blasio that includes daily interactions with associates as well as associate events held each month.

Christina Boyle Senior Manager, Administration Services and Facilities, Albertsons Cos./ Corporate

Committed to driving sales by focusing on push items throughout her district, Voelkner pushed own-brand Signature Select K-Cups for a $109,000 sales increase, and generated a $43,000 sales lift for Snack Artist pretzel, and a $123,000 sales increase for Rao’s pasta sauce.

Kendal Callender

Director of Digital Partnerships and Shopper Innovation, Albertsons Cos./ Corporate

Boyle assumed oversight of the Deer Valley annual budget planning and monthly general ledger follow-up, quickly developing a strong understanding of the operating budgets and becoming the “go-to” person for questions or resolution.

An up-and-coming leader in the shopper marketing and grocery space, Callender has become the person many CPG companies go to for consulting and programming-mix recommendations, as well as shopper marketing innovation investment and activation.

She also took on responsibility for the mailroom and receiving staff, as well as for managing the reception staff.

Under her guidance, Albertsons’ shopper marketing activation grew 20 percent nationally year over year.

Embracing yet more duties, including those well outside of her past and current experience, Boyle now oversees Albertsons fleet vehicles, and recently represented the grocer at the annual small-truck fleet event for vehicles used by its IT technicians.

Callender was a speaker at two P2PI shopper marketing events this year, as well as providing keynote support at partner agency events, and she also took over Albertsons’ WIIN (Women’s Inspiration and Inclusion Network) chairperson position this past January.


Jane Anderson Senior Manager, Environmental Compliance, Albertsons Cos./ Corporate

An environmental professional with more than 25 years of experience in due diligence, contaminant transport, and remediation and environmental compliance implementation, Anderson created an innovative, extensive environmental module in a database specifically designed for risk management and safety. She improved systems within the environmental affairs group for annual reporting of hazardous material inventory and compliance audits; the new systems streamline the process while ensuring accuracy in reporting. Anderson participates in both Albertsons’ Toastmasters Club and Women’s Inspiration and Inclusion Network (WIIN) to improve her networking, leadership and presentation skills.

Christy DuncanAnderson Executive Director, Albertsons Cos./ Corporate

Creator of the successful Hunger Is annual campaign to eradicate childhood hunger, Duncan-Anderson also developed the Hunger Is Advisory Committee (HIAC), which enables CEOs of major food insecurity organizations to steer Albertsons’ work in this space. Rather than selecting one national organization for funding, as is typical with most retailer programs, she and the HIAC mapped a network of 250-plus organizations doing the best anti-hunger work. Duncan-Anderson is a trustee of the California Grocers Association Educational Foundation and sits on the Leadership Council of World Wide Women, among other affiliations.

CHEERS TO YOU Congratulations to all of the Top Women in Grocery, including those from the Coca-Cola team! Thank you for your remarkable contributions to the industry! Danna Cox

Tonya Price

Director, Customer Development II

Customer Development Director II-Publix Super Markets

Shannon Durham

Melissa Pulliam

VP, Customer Management

Director, U.S. Sales, Costco

Sara Herring

Melody Richard

Director, Club Channel

Chief Strategy Officer, Suja

Meghan Pennell

Tara Robbe

Senior Director, Customer Development

Director of Sales, Warehouse Juice-Walmart US

Š 2018 The Coca-Cola Company


2018 Top Women in Grocery Louise Gerber Director, Ecommerce, Albertsons Cos./ Corporate

Ecommerce Program Manager, Albertsons Cos./ Corporate

Gerber led her Northern California team as the first division in the company to deploy the new Titan software platform, and transitioned to a three-shift operation allowing same-day delivery that significantly drove Albertsons’ value proposition to its customers and increased sales and customer satisfaction.

[ Selected to lead the marketing effort in a Tiger Team, Hornett worked closely with the Seattle division and creative on an intensive six-week push, leading to 26 percent year-over-year ecommerce order growth, up from 5 percent before the effort, while new customer counts grew from 58 percent to 168 percent.

She also led a focused marketing and operations campaign to acquire and retain customers.

Key learnings from her highly successful program are now being applied to the Portland and Southern California divisions.

Gerber’s efforts significantly increased Albertsons’ sales, resulting in initial 300 percent customer acquisition and 25 percent sustained new customer growth, with a 25 percent increase in sales across two geographic markets.

Angela Moore

Director of Shopper Marketing Scale Events, Albertsons Cos./Corporate

Under Moore’s leadership, shopper marketing activation grew 18 percent nationally year over year, with Monopoly officially the biggest game event in the United States; she’s become the person that Albertsons’ CPG partners go to for consulting and programming negotiations regarding scale national events, and to coordinate with national merchant leads. She oversaw the building of new processes such as a UPC portal. Moore served as a key division point of contact for decentralized marketing communication and management, and was recognized as a leader for the entire company in this space.


Kim Hornett

Always ensuring accuracy of communications, Hornett helped develop marketing messaging and tactics for Albertsons stores in four markets where service is provided by either Safeway or Vons.

Darcie Renn

Director, Sustainability, Albertsons Cos./ Corporate

Renn led the development of major corporate social responsibility policies and position statements at Albertsons, including the company’s chemicals policy, responsible seafood policy, zero-waste goals and sustainable palm oil goal. She helped position Albertsons as a leader on sustainability issues by speaking on its behalf at various public and private forums, among them Conservation International’s Business & Sustainability Council. Renn worked on several initiatives with local universities to engage and inspire the next generation of leaders on important business sustainability topics, providing guidance and input on various student projects.

Kathy Hosek

Real Estate Accounting Manager, Albertsons Cos./Corporate


Sarah Long

Senior Product Manager, Albertsons Cos./ Corporate

Taking on additional responsibilities while driving results and supporting company initiatives, Hosek led the real estate accounting processing team through several conversion-related activities.

Long played a key role in developing and executing Albertsons’ college intern program for the own brands team, for which she developed training tools and organized guest speakers.

She provided support and guidance to the corporate real estate accounting and property management business units, overseeing the execution of various processes; these included heading the team that performs the common area maintenance (CAM) reconciliations, which identified additional CAM expense rebills of $1.2 million.

Following the massive Northern California fires, Sarah organized the collection of three truckloads of food and other necessities, and, with her team, personally delivered items to a mission helping people affected by the fires.

Hosek found ways to make efficiencies to offset the additional workload that these sorts of undertakings entailed.

Maryrose Rinella

Director, Own Brands Product Management, Albertsons Cos./ Corporate

Sales of own brand items in Rinella’s product portfolio exceeded $530 million and grew 8.5 percent, significantly ahead of company and rest-of-market sales growth.

Outside of work, Long and a friend made festive Thanksgiving lunches for homeless people around San Francisco, loaded up a bike trailer with the meals, and handed out more than 100, offering to pray with recipients.

Lisa Roach

General Merchandise/HBC National Sales Manager, Albertsons Cos./Corporate

Sidelined by a medical issue that caused her to miss an important overseas trip to China, Roach meticulously planned the trip in advance for her replacement, and accelerated her recovery so as to return to work ahead of schedule and participate in the necessary follow-up.

Her team introduced 44 new items worth a combined $30 million in annual sales; this included the expansion of the Soleil sparkling water line, which has an annual sales rate of more than $9 million.

She created a unique Easter promotion that tied in with other departments, leading to a $3.5 million sales increase.

Rinella and her team redesigned 700-plus SKUs to be compliant with new NLEA packaging and added SmartLabels to all of the new packages; the redesign also simplified and strengthened the brand portfolio.

Roach successfully mentored two associates that had not been achieving their potential, proactively meeting with them, counseling them and guiding them into more conducive work environments.

The C&S Family of Companies congratulates the 2018 Top Women in Grocery! We are especially proud to celebrate our own honorees, who make it possible for us to provide seamless service to our customers and better the communities where we work and live.

You’re proof that We Select the BestŽ.

Deborah Bailey Sr. Manager, Customer Service

Crystal Gonzales Director, Merchandising

Damaris Hernandez Manager, Customer Service

Risa Jenkins Sr. Category Manager

Margot LaPointe VP, Corporate Projects

Danielle McBreairty Manager, S&OP/Demand Planning

Heather Savant Director, Human Resources

Gail Somers Sr. Director, Chain Sales

Kelly Sosa SVP/GM, Davidson Specialty Foods


2018 Top Women in Grocery Leti Rodriguez

Manager, Payroll Quality Assurance, Regulatory Reporting and Tax Department, Albertsons Cos./ Corporate

Mei-Mei Stark

Product Management Director, Own Brands, Albertsons Cos./Corporate

Rodriguez built a strong and effective team as her department was established to fill a critical need at Albertsons.

Taking over leadership in ice cream and yogurt, Stark worked with her cross-functional team and self-manufacturing to ensure flawless retail execution.

Her results-oriented achievements included overseeing a process to recover $1 million in merger-related tax refunds, creating an upload process to eliminate additional manual W2-C work, compiling an MS Access database to automate the quarterly worksite reporting process, and implementing a review and reconciliation process for company health care cost data.

She expanded own brands’ yogurt assortment from 42 to 73 items for a January 2018 launch, with 30-plus new items across the new Aussie, Icelandic and organic segments, along with Greek line extensions, while developing and executing a strategy to successfully launch 28 ice cream items in February 2018.

Rodriguez donates personal time to campus organizations benefiting local organizations, and contributes to fun team-building activities.Â

Stark also executed numerous other growth platforms, including Value-Added Fruit/Vegetables, Power to the Plants/Vegan, Protein Power, Snackified Eating and Convenience/Simplification.

Tina Lucero

General Merchandise Sales Manager, Albertsons Cos./ Denver Division

Assuming her current role in February 2017, Lucero quickly identified categories and seasonal opportunities where her leadership had an immediate impact on division results, developing ordering best practices for sales and gross for all store-level GM managers, and leading all training sessions. She outpaced the division in sales IDs and made a significant impact on the growth of various categories. By sourcing new items, introducing holiday merchandising campaigns and identifying areas within the division where the tourist trade can be leveraged, Lucero built a plan that should continue to show long-term growth.


Lynne Barrington

Floral Buyer, Albertsons Cos./ Jewel-Osco

Barrington played a key role in developing new Jewel specs and standards for floral department receiving; the improved specs increased floral sales across the board by 210 basis points. She helped improve the customer service index in the floral department quality category by 70 basis points year over year; this was accomplished by seeking suppliers offering the best quality. For major floral holidays, Barrington organized meetings for the receiving and shipping departments, laying out all inbound and outbound deliveries by day to allow the warehouse to handle the additional volume.


2018 Top Women in Grocery Lindsey Ellingson




Bakery Operation Specialist, Albertsons Cos./ Jewel-Osco

Ellingson has developed and mentored seven associates to the position of bakery manager, recruited two to be future bakery managers and mentored various other newly hired associates in her stores. Since she was assigned to her district, some of her improvements include increasing average weekly sales per store; growing same-store sales from -0.2 percent to 1.82 percent in her first quarter; and improving shrink results in 14 of the district’s 19 stores. Ellingson helped spearhead the district’s Bowling for Bucks initiative, which raises money to provide needy families with holiday dinners.

Melissa Hill

Director, Community Relations and Government Affairs, Albertsons Cos./ Jewel-Osco

Hill worked with the Illinois Retail Merchants Association and a grass-roots organization to repeal the sweetened-beverage tax in Cook County, Ill.



2018 Top Women in Grocery

She worked closely with the Des Plaines Chamber of Commerce to help establish the Veterans Back to Work Boot Camp, an event Jewel-Osco helped support that allowed 20 veterans to transition to the workforce. In 2017, Jewel-Osco participated in a register campaign a month, raising millions for local charities; Hill worked with Souper Bowl of Caring, Go Red for Women, the Special Olympics and more to spearhead the campaigns at all 187 Jewel-Osco locations.

Mirna Franjul

Sales Manager, Own Brands, Albertsons Cos./ Jewel-Osco

Franjul and her team established the company’s best own brands penetration in its history, growing such items from 19.3 percent to 20-plus percent during the third quarter of 2017. She worked on a revitalized O Organic launch in Q3 2017, growing weekly sales for the brand by 30 percent. To grow private label sales penetration and customer recognition, in keeping with Jewel-Osco’s and her shared mission, Franjul developed a first-class ad program for each week of the month, followed with a buy ad display plan to help build sales and profitability for all stores, as well as personal store visits to each of the 10 districts.

Amy Jankauskis Assistant Sales Manager, Deli and Food Service, Albertsons Cos./ Jewel-Osco

Jankauskis developed a new inventory system for the 187-store division, working with the corporate financial team, Jewel-Osco deli operational specialists and store deli managers to do it. In the past year, she reviewed and updated all deli program manuals and SOPs to make them accurate and easy to use in stores, as well as developing a process for tracking key tasks in the deli office. Jankauskis coaches and mentors the deli office’s support team and is the “go-to” person for not only the deli department, but also Jewel-Osco’s other merchandising teams; she also serves as the point person for the advertising team.

Talking with… Chad Boeckman, MBA Director, Marketing and National Accounts WENDA INGREDIENTS

PROGRESSIVE GROCER: How are consumers driving interest in alternatives to sodium nitrite, and what are some misperceptions about various forms of sodium nitrite? CHAD BOECKMAN: There are some misperceptions about standard cured meats and “designer” meats cured with celery juice powder, which has been touted as a natural replacement for sodium nitrite and sodium erythorbate. Celery juice power, while a natural form of sodium nitrite, is still recognized by the colon as sodium nitrite, and products labeled as “uncured” still have high (if not higher) amounts of residual nitrites as standard cured products. Why does it matter? There are hundreds of research studies showing a correlation between processed meats and colon cancer, linked to the high concentrates of nitrites that can cause the formation of potentially carcinogenic chemicals that, when paired with high temperature cooking methods, can produce other cancer causing chemicals such as nitrosamines, etc. That research, coupled with an increasingly knowledgeable and demanding consumer base, has led to greater interest in eliminating concentrated nitrites in processed meats once and for all.

PG: What is a solution to avoid the use of sodium nitrite in processed meats, and to appeal to consumers seeking such solution? CB: We believe people should have their meat and their health, too, with natural ingredients that also preserve the fresh sensory properties of meat. Prosur provides all-natural, clean-label ingredients that perform those functions and also improve yield and texture. Processors can use Prosur T-10 ingredients to make true uncured labeled meats that are not preserved through the effects of high nitrites and chemicals, but instead from polyphenol and flavonoid antioxidants derived from Mediterranean fruits, spice and vegetable extracts.

PG: How is this solution in line with current and future marketplace for processed meats? CB: Truth in labeling is more important than ever to consumers, who are continually seeking clear, honest and transparent ingredients. An overwhelming majority -- 94% -- of consumers say that it is important to buy from transparent brands and manufacturers, while 80% of people who say that they avoid ingredients and chemicals believe these ingredients are harmful to themselves and their families.

Wenda Ingredients, with U.S. headquarters in Naperville, Ill, offers a full suite of all-natural, clean-label ingredients that meets the needs of both today’s food processors and consumers. Thanks to a partnership with Prosur (a Spanish company), they have an ingredient that eliminates the use of sodium nitrite, sodium erythorbate, and lactate/diacetate in cured meats. The Prosur T-10 product line is dubbed as the only “honest-labeling” way to eliminate sodium nitrite and it’s natural source, celery juice powder (a.k.a, nitrite replacing nitrite). For more information, including customer testimonials, visit or; call 844-99-WENDA, or email



2018 Top Women in Grocery Sharee Scopazzo

Bakery Operation Specialist, Albertsons Cos./ Jewel-Osco

Scopazzo holds quarterly meetings to discuss previous results, current challenges and future goals with her bakery managers; she’s big on teaching, coaching and training her entire bakery staff, and leads by example. Under her leadership, all stores in her district exceeded their projected profitability for the last three quarters, adding $4,251,719 in profit to their bottom line. Scopazzo is skilled at pulling data from micro-strategies, analyzing the information and explaining it to managers so that they know where their strengths and weaknesses are and can correct sales trajectories.

Mary Frances Trucco

Communications Manager, Albertsons Cos./ Jewel-Osco

Trucco has grown JewelOsco’s media exposure by 22 percent year to year, sharing her company’s stories as a local brand in print, radio and television. One noteworthy feat she pulled off in the past year is getting Jewel-Osco President Doug Cygan upwards of 10 interviews with paper, radio and television stations alone, a 75 percent rise from the previous year; she also increased story placement across all of the major media outlets in the chain’s operating area. Trucco is active at Misericordia Heart of Mercy, a home for developmentally and intellectually disabled children and adults.

Beth DaCosta

Leah Giambarresi

Bakery Sales Manager, Albertsons Cos./ Seattle Division

After completing Albertsons’ advanced training, DaCosta was instrumental in organizing Seattle division training sessions on key programs to give others valuable skill sets that will help them be more proficient in their jobs and learn new methods to manage business. She was pivotal in developing ongoing cake-decorator training classes for the Seattle division, which also help to feed the trainees’ creative passion. DaCosta is a founding member of the Seattle chapter of WIIN (Women’s Inspiration and Inclusion Network), and also an active mentor, helping others achieve their career and personal goals.

Division Pharmacy Manager, Albertsons Cos./Shaw’s, Star Market

In the last year, Giambarresi met her sales expectations and exceeded her PGE (EBITDA) expectation by 353 percent, accomplishing this impressive feat by motivating her teams and creating healthy competition. Ranked as one of the top district pharmacy managers in the company, she successfully led her team through a pharmacy systems conversion with no disruption to the patient experience. Giambarresi is an adjunct professor at the Boston Pharmacy Practice Lab, where she teaches and evaluates pharmacy students in clinical practice guidelines, and offers instruction on the care and treatment of chronic illnesses.

Congratulations to Giant Eagle’s 2018


On behalf of our President & CEO Laura Shapira Karet and your 32,000 fellow Team Members, we are very proud of your accomplishments. Your dedication, leadership and talent inspire us.

Jessica Fulton-Mastrian Senior Store Leader

Debbie Gustafson Senior Application Manager

Tammy Kampsula Director, Bakery


Sheryl Salazar

Salazar drove double-digit growth in such categories as fresh-made cut fruit and vegetables, convenience vegetables and meat alternatives, and also played a key role during a system/warehouse conversion. She partners with local growers and companies to tell their story throughout the Albertsons and Vons produce departments, working with various functional groups within the organization to bring such programs to life, while being first to market with vendors’ unique offerings. Salazar is involved in the Fresh Produce & Floral Council, serves as a troop leader for the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles, and is a member of the Boys & Girls Club of San Gabriel Valley.

Janet Bishop Rowan

Maha Eldabaja

Produce Assistant Sales Manager, Albertsons Cos./ SoCal Division

Center Store Operations Specialist, Albertsons Cos./ Southern Division

Bakery Sales Manager, Albertsons Cos./ Southern Division

After becoming center store operations specialist — a position sought after by several highly qualified candidates — Eldabaja brought her district from rarely placing in company contests to excelling in many.

Rowan grew the market share in Albertsons’ Southern Market area by 1.06 percent over the past 59 weeks, and also drove a 12 percent sales increase over last year while the rest of the market remained flat.

She provides consistent, informative weekly district calls with all stores, showing her leadership and coaching skills, and is supported by her team.

She worked with the team in Houston to renovate Store #1057 after it was flooded by Hurricane Harvey and gathered donations from vendors to help feed storm victims, personally working in the store to ensure that customers and employees were cared for.

A former Tom Thumb store director, Eldabaja has backed a number of district promotions since her promotion, including July’s Summer Palooza, August’s Coupon Redemption and September’s Own Brands Contest, among others, resulting in high rankings for her division.

Winner of the President’s Award as Outstanding Innovator of the Year for 2017 in her division, Rowan mentors and trains women who have a desire to move forward in the industry.


Julie Spier

Director, Pharmacy Operations, Albertsons Cos./ Southern Division

Spier helped ensure that all store pharmacies were operating in Hurricane Harvey’s aftermath, even setting up a mobile pharmacy outside of a flooded store to serve local residents. She worked to ensure the quick reopening of Randall’s Houston stores affected by the hurricane by networking with pharmacists to staff certain stores when others were flooded. Spier is active in Texas legislation and a member of the Texas Federation; additionally, she’s pursuing a Texas Board of Pharmacy seat, and, with her husband, leads a Cub Scout troop and serves at their church.

Congratulations to all of the 2018 Top Women in Grocery, with special thanks to our honorees and all of the women at CROSSMARK who exemplify excellence every day.

Amy Davis

Shari Wagner

Stephanie Clark

Vice President General Manager

Customer Business Manager

Director Client Operations

Senior- evel Executive

Rising Star

Rising Star


2018 Top Women in Grocery Katherine Chin Sourcing Director, Albertsons Cos./ Supply Chain

Chin successfully leads a team responsible for identifying, negotiating and managing spend of more than $5 billion annually. She planned and executed the retailer’s biggest own brands event ever, bringing in 1,000 people from the retailer’s vendor community who were all focused on helping position Albertsons own brands as a leader in product innovation; suppliers raved that it was the most organized, fun and informative meeting of its kind that they’d ever attended. Chin planned a “Shark Tank”like event to meet with suppliers and determine win-win ideas for driving sales, ending with a pipeline of 1,600-plus new private label items to launch and a larger number of vendor partnerships.

Robin Leatherwood

Technical Services Manager, Blount Fine Foods

Leatherwood’s recipe improvement efforts in the past year have led to the removal of 3.8 million parts-per-million of sulfites and 5.1 billion milligrams of sodium, converting more than 1.3 million pounds of meat and poultry raised without antibiotics. She has already completed one degree, in culinary arts, and another, in engineering, and is currently working on a third, in food science and industry, with a focus on technology. Leatherwood is an active member of the Institute for Food Technologists, both the national and the New England chapters, and volunteers at a local technical high school’s culinary arts department.


Rosie Connolly Human Resource Manager, Albertsons Cos./ Supply Chain

Connolly implemented key changes to recruiting and hiring practices, including the automation, re-engineering and streamlining of processes to enable more efficient operation. She enhanced employee retention within the first 90 days of employment by modifying the retailer’s orientation program to appeal to a wide diversity of candidates; one of her ideas was a home-grown internal video reflecting “a day in the life of a warehouse employee.” Connolly mentors and develops others through succession-planning strategies; this has included creating a new leadership development program for high-potential employees with individualized development strategies for each person.

Deborah Bailey Senior Manager, Customer Service, C&S Wholesale Grocers

Among an array of achievements, Bailey exceeded all customer service key performance indicators by more than 10 percent. She implemented a customer service outreach program to build relationships and quickly address issues with C&S Wholesale Grocers’ independent customer base, and also piloted a revenue generation program that yielded more than $50,000 during the pilot period alone; this program is currently being deployed to the entire customer service network. Bailey is an active participant in the Network of Executive Women, WiNGs and C&S’ internal mentoring and networking program, BragNet.

Heather Standifer

Category Manager II, Associated Wholesale Grocers

In addition to her normal category duties, Standifer added a fifth Seasonal Candy rotation to her duties with the introduction of Associated Wholesale Grocers’ (AWG) Summer Seasonal Candy event, helping to grow sales of seasonal candy by $2.5 million for the year. She oversaw and managed the transition of all cookies and crackers from DSD to warehouse distribution for a major national vendor, leading to an increase in warehouse sales of more than $90 million annually. Standifer sits on AWG’s Annual Innovation Showcase committee, which highlights creative initiatives from 100plus supplier partners.

Damaris Hernandez

Manager, Customer Service, C&S Wholesale Grocers

Hernandez and her team played an integral role in bringing an entire line of perishable business, both meat and produce, to her customer base; she traveled extensively to build key relationships that prepared her team to support the initiative. She has operated her contact center with zero turnover in the past year, compared with a 23 percent rate across the other customer service centers — evidence of her outstanding “hearts and minds” approach to leadership. Hernandez is active with the Network of Executive Women and BragNet, C&S Wholesale Grocers’ internal networking and mentoring program.


Meaghan Tetreault

Employee Services Specialist, Big Y Foods Inc.

Tetreault helped transition 1,000 new employees to Big Y’s culture through consistent store visits, training and team building in eastern Massachusetts, 100 miles from her home and family, and also provided support for two store remodels in the district. She created and implemented a management development workshop for 75 employee services representatives in the company to strengthen their skills as true advocates. Tetreault co-founded Big Y’s first employee resource group, Women LEAD, and currently heads a team of women members that developed a women’s mentorship program for the entire company.

Risa Jenkins

Senior Category Manager, C&S Wholesale Grocers

Jenkins drove outstanding results in top-line sales and gross profit, exceeding budget in ice cream (up 28 percent in sales; 34 percent in gross profit) and frozen (up 1.5 percent in sales; 2.8 percent in gross profit). She led center store category managers in creating almost $1 million in incremental sales in the Robesonia, Pa., division through C&S’ National Display Program. Jenkins more than doubled the frozen sales projection in the January 2018 Robesonia Web-a-Thon, and she completed an extensive Frozen Food Month program for C&S Wholesale Grocers’ national independent footprint, generating $250,000plus in revenue.


2018 Top Women in Grocery Danielle McBreairty

Manager, S&OP/ Demand Planning, C&S Wholesale Grocers

McBreairty led a forecasting project that resulted in a company reduction of inventory of $100 million. She took on a small, struggling team with highly operational responsibilities, turning it into a best-in-class team. McBreairty developed sales and operations planning as an internal capability within C&S Procurement and is a founding member of an internal career networking program, leading the development and expansion of an initiative providing career-path exposure to associates at the corporate office; she was also chosen to represent C&S at a women’s leadership development conference in Washington, D.C.

Melissa Pulliam

Director, U.S. Sales, Costco, The Coca-Cola Co.

Partnering with the Coca-Cola brand team, Pulliam developed a marketing plan specific to Costco for the Coke Zero Sugar relaunch that included impactful displays and in-outlet sampling to generate a 41 percent increase in dollar sales versus the prior year. She developed a demo strategy for Costco around key holidays to bring awareness to Coke de Mexico, which resulted in a 2017 sales increase of 9 percent. Winner of the Coca-Cola Emerging Talent Award, Pulliam collaborated with cross-functional teams to plan and execute a successful KO Lab (R&D/innovation) with Costco’s corporate leadership and buying team.


Heather Savant

Director, Human Resources, Robesonia, Pa; York, Pa.; and Aberdeen, Md.C&S Wholesale Grocers

Working with leadership to identify HR-related needs of the business, Savant held a workshop to review SMART goal setting and exercise for participants to design goals and development plans, and also helped coordinate a talent review process for distribution leadership and the sales group, which identified high-potential employees and authentic development and succession plans. She coordinates events for both employees and their families, including a Family Fun Day involving games, tours and other fun activities. Savant is a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, Opportunity House and her local school district.

Tara Robbe

Director of Sales, Warehouse JuiceWalmart US, The Coca-Cola Co.

Overseeing a 10-member team across multiple functions, Robbe led a complex strategic direction change that resulted in a successful chilled-juice launch; her leadership saw warehouse juice retail sales growth of $48 million — a 6 percent increase over the prior year — for Walmart. She created a three-year growth strategy for the Fairlife milk brand in the Walmart value-added dairy category, securing a 60 percent distribution gain. Robbe has set the stage for her portfolio to deliver up to 9 percent growth for Walmart in 2018, with 5 percent volume and 14 percent net revenue growth for the mega-retailer.

Gail Somers

Senior Director, Chain Sales, C&S Wholesale Grocers

Taking on a team with the potential to improve, Somers transformed it to be more efficient, boost sales and grow customer satisfaction. The sales portfolio she oversees is expected to exceed annual budget by more than 5 percent. She enrolled to prepare for the Professional Project Management exam, whose courses have helped her expand her interactive leadership, issue resolution and problem-solving facilitation skills. Somers is a teacher and mentor inside and outside of C&S Wholesale Grocers, including roles with the company’s internal networking group and the Network of Executive Women New England committee.

Danna Cox

Director, Customer Development II, Coca-Cola Co. Bottling Consolidated


Crystal Gonzales

Director, Merchandising, C&S Wholesale Grocers/Grocers Supply

Expanding her director role, Gonzalez has become more involved in developing and strengthening vendor relationships through collaborative planning sessions. She has worked with her team to grow the company’s regional show attendance by as much as 25 percent, and has developed item assortment to grow seasonal sales by about 40 percent. Gonzalez also strove to assist associates in becoming more decisive through a more robust planning process, which includes year-over-year comparisons and goal setting for all programs; this process has resulted in a more collaborative relationship with suppliers and internal teams.

Sara Herring Director, Club Channel, Coca-Cola Co. Bottling Consolidated

Cox’s 95 Kroger stores in Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky delivered dead net revenue of $48 million, which was 2.5 percent growth over the prior year.

Herring exceeded her 2017 revenue goal by $2.3 million and volume plan by 312,000 cases; her largest club customer surpassed goals by $2.8 million and 365,000 cases.

She developed exclusive asset partnerships for in-market programming with the Tennessee Titans, Nashville Sounds, Dollywood, City of Nashville and Kroger, which led to accelerated growth in key categories and brands.

She created a process for bringing a new sparkling softdrink package from concept to reality, and developed and implemented a multichain club product that filled a flavor gap in the sparkling soft-drink category.

A member of the Network of Executive Women, Cox, as an 11-year breast cancer survivor, has a passion for raising awareness for early detection and maintaining a positive mental outlook when facing a crisis.

Herring mentored a cross-functional teammate on the customer management team, and educated, trained and supported a team of 12 customer development managers on club strategy and best-in-class execution.


2018 Top Women in Grocery Meghan Pennell Senior Director, Customer Development, Coca-Cola Co. Bottling Consolidated

Pennell was pivotal in launching Lidl within Coca-Cola Co. Bottling Consolidated, via internally aligned demand planning, operations and several department VPs, to bring the emerging chain to market and develop a price plan with Coca-Cola North America. Under her team’s guidance, Aldi exceeded budgeted revenue by 28 percent and volume by 27 percent. She also helped Walmart implement its first-ever commercial plan; the implementation included advising manageable operations parameters, targeting and coaching effective in-store tactics to tackle each strategic point of interest, and developing classroom sessions.

Emma Bryan Senior Director, Daymon

Bryan’s leadership led to an increased supplier representation in the past year, while she significantly minimized representation losses through team training and new processes for overall consistent performance. She led an on-site team of 36 associates and worked with more than 200 supplier partners; during the time she has served as a key liaison for Daymon corporate support to retailers and suppliers, the account has never missed its budget, even exceeding budget for the past three years. Bryan was a founding member of the Daymon Women’s Network.


Tonya Price

Customer Development Director II-Publix Super Markets, Coca-Cola Co. Bottling Consolidated

Price collaborated with Publix Super Markets and Carowinds to create the first regional promotion in the Carolinas; initiatives such as these led to 11.5 percent growth in volume for her territory, with double-digit growth expected in 2018. In the new Charlotte division, she helped strategize Publix’s launch into Virginia and open eight stores in the Richmond market. She serves as the subject-matter expert with Publix headquarters in Lakeland, Fla., to develop and implement a unique retail plan specific to the Charlotte division to help keep the chain competitive and relevant.

Lisa St. Germain Senior Manager, Daymon

Using her ability to assess the retail landscape, St. Germain delivered more than 60 customized projects for field teams, all of which were well received and led to new business. She also developed a perspective and a solution on category prioritization for center store alignment by connecting data and category trends to help others understand where consumers are going and how to capitalize on product development opportunities. A leader on the category solutions team who’s been promoted twice in three years, St. Germain’s influence extends across all private-brand customers in the dairy and frozen departments.

Stephanie Clark Director of Client Operations, Crossmark

Clark assumed leadership of three teams and implemented process changes on third-party teams to reduce process invoicing from 29 days to seven days. She worked to implement an inactive-user billable “seat” cleanup to reduce monthly fees, and created a process to actively manage seat count to ensure real-time invoicing, which led to a cost savings of $43,000 in the fourth quarter. Clark also reduced costs and increased revenue incentives on fulfillment through the implementation of a new batch process, working with IT and the fulfillment vendor to create a system that works for all client teams; fulfillment costs were reduced by 69 percent.

Hannah Zipp

Director of Client Services, Daymon

Zipp helped launch a digital services pilot for a key client last year and maintained an active role in helping transform traditional broker service offerings to include a new wave of content, digital and microsite management where ecommerce meets brick and mortar. She led multiple webinars to educate on new product launches to help grow private-brand shares, which resulted in a nearly full share point of growth. Zipp expanded the reach of Daymon’s national coverage initiative through expansion discussions with manufacturers that extended into major grocers and strategic channel accounts.


Shari Wagner

Business Account Manager, Kroger Team, Crossmark

Wagner exceeded budgeted revenue growth on average of 13 percent across all clients through an active collaboration with clients and customers that delivered sales and profit growth. She was responsible for more than $15 million dollars in annual sales to all Kroger divisions across eight categories, maintaining close relationships with category managers, buyers and management, as well as working with five manufacturers’ sales and marketing departments. She was recognized by Crossmark for always giving her best, no matter the size of the client, to help a business grow; outside of work, she volunteers annually to help raise funds for the Freestore Foodbank, in Cincinnati.

Kristen Baird

Senior Director, Analytics and Insights, Daymon/ Interactions Marketing

When a client representing club/warehouse retail believed that there was no way to use the manual process of data collection to analyze how effective the sampling program was for category growth, Baird collaborated with internal teams to find a way to digitally represent in-store sales. Additionally, she was able to quantify the value of the program while working with client contacts to help them understand how to use sales performance data to drive smarter decisions. Baird provides mentorship to three field team members, discussing opportunities with each of them several times a week.

We are proud to honor our Top Women in Grocery 2018 At Procter & Gamble, we remain fully committed to the advancement of women in the CPG industry. Working together, we will delight our shoppers, bringing meaningful innovation, leading brands and superior service. Through our partnership and people we will...

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Senior Account Executive



Kroger Team

Associate Director Meijer, HEB and Wegmans

General Manager Gr & Home Improvement


Misty Fontanini

Business Manager, Daymon/ Interactions Marketing


Heather! Campbell Soup Company congratulates our own Heather McIntyre Froud and all of the 2018 Top Women in Grocery winners.

Fontanini listened to partners to create demo events that delivered real connections through numerous multivendor, recipe, health market and meal solution programs; the result was an expansion of a retailer’s program to twice its original size. Last fall, Her demo account expanded into another 50 stores in new markets; the program is currently running 120 percent to budget as well as above last year’s average. Fontanini also is delivering at 119 percent to budget for the first quarter on an adult-beverage program.

Annette Taylor

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Director, Category Management, Dean Foods Co.

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Thank you Heather for bringing Campbell’s core values to life by “Owning it Like a Founder.”

©2018 CSC Brands LP

Taylor developed space mapping for Publix Super Markets to optimize assortment for milk and creamers, growing DairyPure and TruMoo distribution by 22 percent. She optimized assortment for Mayfield Ice Cream and highlighted display execution opportunity in Publix locations, resulting in full store distribution and dollar sales growth of more than 51 percent. Taylor also secured distribution for eight key grocery accounts and divisions off cycle for the national launch of DairyPure Mix-ins by illustrating the growth in single-serve and conversion opportunity among Millennials in the cottage cheese segment.

Melinda Wing Senior Manager, Operations, Daymon/ Interactions Marketing

Wing led her retail operations team, a $6.8 million division responsible for executing nearly 40,000 interactive consumer events, to a 95 percent execution rate in 2017, a 14 percent increase from the previous year. She played a key role in the planning and successful launch of a Midwest retail program that expanded late last year, and a brand-new, multiplatform demo program in early 2018. The key to Wing’s success is her “personal touch” mindset, which ensures that each person feels like an important part of the team.

Crystal LaCourse

Transportation Operations Manager, Delhaize America Distribution LLC

LaCourse took the lead on developing new delivery schedules to help local brands balance labor, which also eliminated driver miles and has a potential savings of $1 million. Even in a challenging weather year, she still outperformed expectations with her flexibility in implementing an ever-changing plan flawlessly; she personally worked countless hours to ensure that the local brand received the high level of service expected. By setting clear expectations, LaCourse become a model leader and improved the culture of the transportation department, as evidenced by increased associate engagement survey scores.


2018 Top Women in Grocery Leslie Atkinson

Jennelle Nystrom

Head of Product, Farmstead

Nystrom launched a Buy One, Give One campaign encouraging customer donations to help end childhood hunger; in nine weeks, the program donated 3,500 pounds of fresh produce to needy kids in the Bay Area. Farmstead has grown five times in sales under her leadership, with new customers twice as likely to order again. By introducing AI for smart recommendations and hyper-speed checkout, Nystrom is on target to meet the goal of reducing shop time to 15 minutes versus 45 minutes in brick-and-mortar stores, and 30 to 40 minutes on other ecommerce platforms.

Brandi Langford

Director of Brand Communications, Food Lion

Atkinson oversaw an integrated and holistic campaign, which included in-store visual design, to support two successful remodel market launches in Greensboro, N.C., and Richmond, Va.

Langford organized the first HR Centers of Excellence strategic initiative meeting, which led to the development of HR plans that aligned with each functional leader’s business goals in 2017.

She was instrumental in the evolution of the Food Lion MVP loyalty program, Shop & Earn, as well as leading the campaign to launch the next generation of Food Lion’s shopper marketing promotions.

During the Ahold Delhaize merger integration, she partnered with functional leaders on organizational design, assessing each functional area and executing the staff and selection process.

Atkinson received ADDY awards for her work involving the brand campaign evolution to ensure that the company built an emotional connection with customers, as well as for work in support of Food Lion Feeds.

Jamie Osborne

Human Resources Business Partner, Food Lion

In a year of change, Langford supported ongoing talent conversations with the leadership team, which resulted in the company’s maintaining an engagement with associates that ended the year exceeding the goal on talent retention.

Associate Creative Director, Food Lion

Working with an ad agency, Osborne managed the creative development that won two ADDY awards for the Food Lion holiday TV campaign and the Food Lion Feeds It Forward “Out of Reach” video campaign. The holiday campaign set the highest connection scores with consumers and was more memorable and relatable than previous campaigns. Osborne led the creative development for a new digital loyalty program with the Shop & Earn Celebrate campaign that helped its successful launch, as well as campaigns for new market remodel initiatives and digital shopper marketing programs.

2018 Top Women in Grocery By the Numbers Senior-Level Associates: 83 Rising Stars: 199 Store Managers: 80

Congratulations ROXANNE KANNE-ROUSH VP of Training and Development

We appreciate your dedication & commitment!





2018 Top Women in Grocery Hannah Walker Senior Director, Technology and Nutrition Policy, Food Marketing Institute

Walker was instrumental in FMI’s efforts to work with Congress to preserve pro-competitive debit reforms in the passage of the Financial CHOICE Act of 2017. She worked tirelessly with the public affairs team to preserve USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program’s (SNAP) efficiency by collaborating with the agency and engaging SNAP customers in a digital format with more product information, menu planning and better budgeting. During the extreme weather situations of 2017, Walker raised awareness of the portability of SNAP, as well as of Disaster SNAP, which is established after a federally declared disaster.

Deanna L. Marion-Wilson District Director, Giant Food

On a special assignment, Marion-Wilson created Giant’s Customer Care Service Initiative, in which she worked closely with 22 underperforming store management teams to improve customer engagement and service behaviors. Once she transitioned back to district director last October, she was able to inspire and lead the management teams of 18 Giant stores; within a short time, the stores in her district had significantly improved their net promoter scores. She leads a WAV (Women Adding Value) mentoring circle that consists of eight women at various levels of leadership in the company.


Debbie Gustafson

Senior Application Manager (IS), Giant Eagle

Gustafson led a cross-functional team of multiple vendors, business partners and IT analysts to prepare Giant Eagle’s payment technology for credit card chips, resulting in a seamless rollout that saved thousands of dollars in cost avoidance. She was a key player in the launch of the Fuelperks loyalty program, providing technical leadership to ensure that the POS could meet the demands of the new initiative. Gustafson also oversaw the transition of Giant Eagle gift cards from IBM to ACI, a more stable, highly redundant platform with additional security.

Amy McAllister-Flynn District Director, Giant Food

McAllister-Flynn helped boost bottom-line results in her district significantly: Her stores improved fresh shrink by 0.46 basis points, and her district ranked the highest in the region for associate engagement, with a score of 81. She followed up on every customer service complaint, looking for accountability; in this way, she was able to improve customer service scores dramatically in her district, reducing complaints by 35 percent. McAllister-Flynn raised $148,000 for the Children’s Cancer Foundation in 2017, making hers the highest-selling district in the region for the second year in a row.

Tammy Kampsula

Director of Bakery, Giant Eagle

Kampsula oversaw a labeling system enhancement at Giant Eagle for more than 2,000 individual SKUs that included cleaner, more transparent ingredients and recipes. She initiated a reorganization of staff roles and responsibilities, as well as improving the training and development of baker and decorator positions. Kampsula also played an essential role in creating innovative offerings to enhance the in-store bakery’s reputation and drive bottom-line sales and profits, including the introduction of signature brownie bars, premium cakes, authentic French baguettes, imported gelato and a gourmet dipped-candy store.

Melanie Mnich Manager, Digital and Loyalty Strategy, Giant Food

As digital planning manager, Mnich aided in the training and onboarding of a new marketing and digital agency; she helped to develop new processes, timelines and ways of working, which ensured a successful working relationship yielding high-quality creative material. She planned and executed more than 350 digital offers to drive trips into Giant stores, increase basket size and generate incremental sales. Throughout the process of Giant’s reorganization, Mnich worked to provide training documents and direction to help the retailer’s various teams stand up as seamlessly as possible.


Kelli Hall

HR Business Partner, Giant Food

Using a threepart approach, Hall met her aggressive recruiting targets by using job boards and job fairs to find the right candidates while changing the onboarding process to ensure new employees’ smooth transition to Giant. She managed a mentor program in which supervisors acted as mentors to every new hire while reviewing their training progress. With associate engagement a top priority, Hall planned multiple events to keep employees engaged; as a result, supply chain saw the highest-ever participation rate in the associate survey and an 11 percent increase in overall engagement compared with 2016.

Cynthia Volk

Category Manager, Giant Food

Volk’s performance as a category manager for ethnic and specialty has exceeded portfolio goals, and she’s building a strategy to continue the momentum. She launched Giant’s first store-brand spice packet line, which features 23 items, acting as a decision-maker in choosing the assortment, packaging, display and launch programming. Volk was recognized as a leader for developing the Learning Circle, a group that encourages knowledge sharing and career development; in addition, she was chosen to participate in a three-day national Network of Executive Women Rising Star conference.

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2018 Top Women in Grocery Summer Monnett

Category Manager, Giant/Martin’s

Recognizing the need for assortment optimization and additional space for growing segments in the soup category, Monnett implemented a new planogram flow; through key vendor collaboration and the creation of store-specific planograms, she helped spur strong base unit and dollar growth for the entire category. She took on additional categories and helped increase sales and volume for the total edible grocery portfolio. Monnett also worked with other departments to drive customer engagement and category growth through the creation of meal solution programs; this helped tie the center store into the perimeter.

Kim Totaro

Finance Director, Giant/Martin’s

Totaro developed and trained a new team with the aim of streamlining, simplifying and improving processes in regard to margin management; she was able to gain better visibility and accuracy of fresh margin results, as well as improved reaction times. She led profit-and-loss basic training for more than 300 associates and in-depth margin training for 65 associates across the organization in just 10 weeks. Totaro spends a lot of time volunteering in her community: She was recognized as a Woman Who Rocks in 2017, in support of International Women’s Day.


Kimberly O’Hara Deli/Bakery Field Merchandising Specialist, Giant/Martin’s

While still a store manager, O’Hara became an interim deli/bakery specialist, in which role she helped strengthen the departments by focusing on training and customer engagement; she earned her position permanently last January. She improved her district’s shrink opportunity dollars in focus stores by 35 percent in deli and 52 percent in bakery, saving the company about $34,000. O’Hara implemented regular mystery shops with Boar’s Head partners and teamed up with a neighboring district to drive “slice, show and offer” initiatives; as a result of her efforts, one of her stores received a regional customer service award.

Jan Caruthers

Training Supervisor, Hy-Vee Inc.

Caruthers has been a key player in Hy-Vee’s continued expansion into the Twin Cities market, leading the training and onboarding of more than 500 employees in advance of a new store opening. She was named to the HyVee Hall of Fame in December 2017 as the winner of the Community Involvement Staff Member award. Caruthers’ community service efforts are part of her daily life, most notably through her work to help create Count the Kicks, an initiative that encourages pregnant women to track their babies’ movements during the third trimester; the educational effort has gained national attention.

Jennifer Scott

Category Manager, Giant/Martin’s

Scott achieved bottom-line performance as a category manager with less than two years of experience in merchandising; she implemented a winning strategy during the key selling seasons on the baking desk, which resulted in the category’s overdelivering on sales and profits for 2017. She contributed to an initial concept redesign for the baking category, and helped to bring the packaging concept to reality. Apart from her work at Giant/ Martin’s, Scott is a director for her local school district and volunteers in many programs in her community, including the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank’s Raider Packs initiative, which ensures that students don’t go hungry outside of school.

Mary Beth Hart Director, State Government Relations, Hy-Vee Inc.

Hart’s efforts in sharing information and building relationships helped move along crucial legislation in Minnesota and Missouri that was favorable to Hy-Vee’s customers and employees; the respective laws passed through the states’ legislatures and were signed by their governors. She revamped all government relations communications, including the government relations newsletter, and engaged successfully with legislators across her four-state territory. Hart’s previous work with political action committees provided insight into how Hy-Vee’s political action committee can function more effectively while improving enrollment and communication.


Dana Sherwood Design Manager, Giant/Martin’s

Responsible for creating the marketing “look” for the new Giant/Martin’s brand, Sherwood represents the creative voice ofr the division. As the company relaunched its Nature’s Promise brand, she directed a marketing initiative to create a campaign that would support the lifecycle of consumers’ shopping experiences; her work helped the company exceed its $1 billion sales goal. With a cross-functional team, Sherwood played a key role in creating a period marketing calendar that has enabled the company to align key dates and processes for the entire business; beyond work, she offers an hour of free yoga in a local park in exchange for 30 minutes of trash pickup.

Melissa Vogel

Assistant VP, Marketing Projects, Hy-Vee Inc.

A key leader in launching online marketing project tracking, Vogel helped integrate the platform into all marketing team members’ work for project progress and goal success rates. She worked with the entire district leadership team on the openings of two new stores in the Twin Cities area, and she was a leader in Hy-Vee’s new marketing strategy designed for the media habits of today’s customer. Aiding the evolution of the grocer’s approach to advertising, Vogel and her team created the new Hy-Vee “Mega Ad” distributed each month, as well as other mailings customized for different customer segments and markets.

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2018 Top Women in Grocery Charlotte Ess

Deli/Bakery Sales Manager, The Kroger Co./Atlanta

In 2017, deli/ bakery sales in Ess’ 186 stores in Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama rose by 6 percent, $20 million over the previous year, and gross profit dollars increased by $10 million over 2016. She led a focus on King’s Hawaiian products that resulted in No. 1 sales, gross margin dollars and gross margin growth in her division. Ess assisted the Atlanta division in leading the whole company in a breakfast commodity promotion that brought a 102 percent increase in sales and a 126 percent lift in units; she also championed United Way for deli/ bakery by helping to raise funds for the organization.

Terri Coffey

Division Meat and Seafood Merchandiser, The Kroger Co./ Cincinnati, Dayton

Coffey and her team rolled out meat/seafood expert training to teach store managers at 109 stores across the her division about the department; the training helped managers respond to the needs of an ever-changing customer base. She saw a need to reinforce best practices within the department and so implemented training to reduce shrink by creating a new cutting test that was given to 500-plus associates. Challenging the mundane sales-planning process, Coffey introduced new promotions in a market where customer-shopping patterns had changed, leading to growth in sales and units.

Jennifer Barnett District Meat and Seafood Coordinator The Kroger Co./ Cincinnati, Dayton

Overseeing operations and merchandising at 10 high-volume meat and seafood district stores, Barnett also serves her division as a subject-matter expert for the meat and seafood departments. Since she assumed this role in August 2017, sales have increased by 2.8 percent, shrink has dropped by 1.1 percent and department friendly scores are up by 1.5 percent. A 25-year company veteran, Barnett graduated from Kroger’s Women’s Associate Group Resource Management Development program; she helped build the resource group and is now a committee chair.

Maria St. Germain

Division Deli/Bakery Merchandiser, The Kroger Co./ Cincinnati, Dayton

In addition to St. Germain’s responsibilities in her division, she oversaw the Chef’s Choice Catering business and all functions that fell under the catering umbrella; in 2017, she launched Fresh Kitchens within the division to offer pre-made lunch and dinner solutions for customers. Under her leadership, the division saw an increase of 5.5 percent in deli/bakery sales in 2017; identical sales increased 3 percent, and she achieved positive bakery shrink versus last year.

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2018 Top Women in Grocery Danielle Gordon Operations Specialist, The Kroger Co./ Columbus

Gordon became an Our Promise specialist for 25 stores last January; previously, she was a store manager and was promoted to drug/general merchandise coordinator for two districts in 2017. She increased weekly sales in both districts by 4.7 percent and 5 percent, respectively, and customer satisfaction scores also rose, thanks to her coaching of associates and store leaders in merchandising, inventory control and back-room best practices. Gordon boosted the district’s center store sales and operations, working with department leaders to implement inventory management practices to improve sales forecasting.

Jade Hoefer

Deli/Bakery Coordinator, Kroger Co./Dillons

District Human Resources Manager, The Kroger Co./ Columbus

Markiewitz was recently selected to be an Our Promise specialist in her district; while still a district human resources manager, from April 2017 to January 2018, she improved her district’s turnover rate by 12 percent. She helped cut the turnover rate at two Toledo stores in her district; the first store went from 85 percent to 64 percent in just under a year, while the second store’s rate plunged by 18 percent. Markiewitz spearheaded Kroger’s Six Steps to Success retention program in her district to prepare HR managers for success.

Marcie Wiles

Customer 1st Manager, The Kroger Co./ Dillon’s

Although Hoefer only started her current role in October 2017, she helped increase total department sales at four locations within one quarter, and she wrote a manual for successful deli inventory processes.

Wiles created uplifting experiences for customers, communities and associates through her collaborative work on customer-based metrics, coaching organizational teams and working with associate cultural councils.

In one store, she helped the department turn a negative sales trend to positive with increases of 4.5 percent in deli and 4.3 percent in bakery.

She developed a new approach to standards walks, bringing the entire leadership team to stores weekly for training and development of management teams; the division and districts improved in all key overall customer satisfaction metrics.

When another store underwent a total remodel, a Starbucks was added; with effective associate training, Hoefer helped the coffee shop achieve some of the highest daily sales performances in the division.


April Markiewitz

She is active in Kroger’s Women’s Edge associate resource group and participates in several community programs, from soup kitchens to a “random act of kindness” event.

Felicia Delk

Division Talent and Development Manager, The Kroger Co./ Dallas

Delk achieved division reduction in turnover from 93 percent to 80 percent, with a bottom-line cost savings of $3.1 million. She led the streamlining of the pharmacy staffing process in her division, which was the only one to undertake such a project, leading to a significant drop in background errors; the new model has been recognized by the pharmacy compliance committee and is being considered for adoption company-wide. Delk successfully piloted a retention program that was adopted by 110 store locations and reduced turnover; total headcount rose by 1,201 associates.

Inshirah Marchan

Division Talent and Development Manager, The Kroger Co./ Food 4 Less

Responsible for human resources talent for more than 11,000 associates across 129 stores, Marchan also oversees the company’s executive development program. Recently promoted to her current role, she modernized hiring, promotion and training processes for her division, including partnering to roll out a Start Fresh process for the Food 4 Less division; she also completed the USC-FIM program this past year, in which her team won the capstone project. Marchan joined the mentoring program for NEW of Southern California and is a board member at nonprofit Nerdrules Inc.


Rachel Booker Grocery Merchandising Sales Manager, The Kroger Co./ Delta

In 2017, Booker led key initiatives that helped push the grocery department to an estimated $1.7 billion in total sales, which was a 4 percent increase over 2016. She lobbied the Arkansas General Assembly to allow expanded variety wine sales throughout the state, except in dry counties. Booker led the rollout of wine in 19 stores across Arkansas after gaining approval from the state legislature, taking on such duties as merchandising, pricing and training wine stewards; her efforts resulted in an estimated $7.8 million increase in wine sales in the state.

Rhonda Etnire

District Human Resources Manager, The Kroger Co./ Fred Meyer

Etnire oversees the human resources operations of 19 locations and 4,500 associates. Last year, she led her teams to reduce annual turnover, equaling $750,000 in savings to the company; she also conducted town hall meetings in seven locations selected as opportunity locations, helping to create action plans that led to improvements in associate satisfaction surveys during a time of major organizational change. Etnire’s fundraising effort earned her a 2016-17 Gold Level Sponsor Award from Junior Achievement of Idaho; outside of work, she’s a member of the American Heart Association’s Idaho executive leadership team.


2018 Top Women in Grocery Katie Taylor

Division Talent and Development Manager, The Kroger Co./ Fred Meyer

Division Produce Manager, The Kroger Co./ Fry’s

Taylor covers four states, supporting talent initiatives and leading division hiring/retention, diversity and performance management goals for about 39,000 associates.

A 25-year Fry’s employee, Whelan most recently took on the role of overseeing a sales territory of 122 stores, one of many leadership positions she’s held.

She took on that role in July 2017; since then, she has reduced the projected turnover rate and saved the company an estimated $1.2 million.

In her short time in produce/floral, she’s spurred her department to exceed goals, achieving $8.3 million in citrus sales for the fourth quarter; she also championed the company’s Charmelia floral selling contest, leading her division to the top of the company.

Earlier this year, Taylor was asked to join the company’s 9-Block Advisory Board, working to develop and roll out initiatives for talent calibration; she also takes part in the Gold Star Club and the Gold Star Family Holiday program, both of which offer assistance to associates affected by financial setbacks.

Rebekah Manis

Director of Investor Relations, The Kroger Co./ General Office

Just promoted to a new role, Manis formerly developed strategic planning initiatives and coordinated sales planning efforts across all of the supermarket division, with budget oversight over $90 billion of retail sales and $26 billion of related gross profits. She developed merchandising efforts associated with the company’s Restock Kroger strategy refresh in 2017, and also worked with cross-functional teams to improve reporting and processes. Manis is junior board member for the Children’s Home of Northern Kentucky and treasurer for the Kroger United Way Campaign.


Janine Whelan

Whelan recently finished her sixth term of the board of directors for Chrysalis, a shelter for domestic violence, and is actively involved in Fry’s volunteer activities.

Alicia Pitocco Collaborative Category Optimization Manager, The Kroger Co./ General Office

Delivering a budget of $95 million in strategy savings and category margin improvements, Pitocco helps improve category profitability. After a company reorganization, her team doubled to 20 direct reports and she became a key point of contact for multiple merchandising leaders; in 2017, she took on several high-priority projects, all while working on a CCO process redesign. In fewer than four years, Pitocco has had four level advancements at Kroger, and gives back outside of work with organizations like Habitat for Humanity and her family-founded charitable group.

Rachel Browne Business Owner, Deli/Bakery, The Kroger Co./ General Office

Browne partnered with division teams to create and roll out new solutions in test stores, many based on associate feedback. She and a team created a new training curriculum across 10 store divisions, resulting in increased performance indicators for deli/bakery; she designed operational best practices for the launch of Kroger’s Prep+Pared meal kits and was instrumental in the operational design of the retailer’s first restaurant, which opened in 2017. Active in Kroger’s Women’s EDGE associate resource group, Browne is working on a black belt in Six Sigma’s business management strategy program.

Dana Thomas

Category Manager, Cosmetics and Nail Care, The Kroger Co./ General Office

Thomas decides the full assortment of cosmetics and develops accompanying promotional strategies in all 2,700 Kroger stores. She grew sales across several categories last year while driving cost savings in hair care by collaborating with supplier partners; Thomas and her team identified three key strategies to deliver right assortment, pricing and shopping experience in beauty. Thomas completed the YWCA Rising Star Leadership Program in 2017, recently went on a mission trip to South Africa and is an active member of the women’s associate resource group’s professional development team at Kroger.


Anne DiFilippo

Senior Digital Marketing Manager, Corporate Digital Marketing, The Kroger Co./ General Office

DiFilippo develops marketing strategies to grow Kroger’s ecommerce business, including ClickList pickup, home delivery and ship-to-home, and also leads the corporate digital marketing plan for omnichannel shopping experience. She helped Kroger net a 188 percent gain in new ecommerce customers, a 28 percent increase in new digital accounts and a 21 percent leap in digital engaged households. DiFilippo led a departmental resource group that improves associate engagement, and was team captain for Cincinnati’s’ Corporate Olympics benefiting Special Olympics.

Kim Hryhorchuk Human Resources Manager. The Kroger Co./ Houston

Leading 17,500 associates in Texas and Louisiana, Hryhorchuk assists the division in driving training and development, oversees annual workforce planning for 212 retail locations, and is responsible for health, welfare and pension benefits of hourly associates. Ahead of Hurricane Harvey last fall, she developed a hurricane contingency plan and secured leaders from across all regions of Kroger to help restock products and recover in the wake of the disaster. Hryhorchuk also launched a company-wide campaign that raised more than $183,000 for flood-affected associates in the greater Houston region.

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2018 Top Women in Grocery Cynthia Logan

Rene Kendrick District Merchandising Manager, The Kroger Co./ Louisville

Kendrick began 2017 as a pharmacy merchandiser for 95 pharmacies; later, she assumed a special role as district merchandising manager. As a pharmacy merchandiser, she headed the second-busiest division at Kroger; she also led the Louisville division to be the first chain in Kentucky to give Naloxone training to pharmacists and provide the drug via protocol to those who’ve overdosed on opioids. Kendrick is co-chair of the Louisville division chapter of Kroger’s associate resource group for women and an active volunteer in her church and community, as well as in professional organizations.

District Manager, The Kroger Co./ Louisville

Going into her 25th year at Kroger, Logan leads store teams in planning, implementing and executing merchandising and operations initiatives to help build store sales and gross profits. Her district netted the highest sales volume for the Louisville division and experienced a 54 percent increase in the retention rate. In the spirit of Kroger’s Zero Hunger Zero Waste initiative, Logan is a strong community supporter: Her district donated more than a half-million pounds of food last year — a 20 percent increase — to God’s Pantry Food Bank, which she additionally serves as a volunteer and a member of its board of directors.

Tracy Mobley

Plant Manager, Cheese Center of Excellence Leader, The Kroger Co./ Manufacturing

Under Mobley’s leadership, year-end 2017 total plant efficiency was the highest since 2011, having seen a dramatic 14 percentage-point improvement in 2016 and another five percentage-point rise in 2017. Other milestone metrics that she achieved throughout the year included improvements in cost per unit and material loss for two consecutive years, as well as managing a record EBITDA in 2017. Mobley received a Kroger Manufacturing Excellence Award, along with the Kroger Iceberg Award, given to a plant for 365 days without an OSHA recordable, and the Kroger Eagle Award for Quality Excellence.


Amanda Puck Director of Strategic Brand Development, The Kroger Co./ Mariano’s

Puck has been described as one of Mariano’s biggest cheerleaders, heading brand development for that banner through social media, public relations and special events; she’s also involved in culinary and marketing initiatives and guides relationships with Mariano’s “Tastemakers.” She positively affected the community with Stuff the Squad store events for local food pantries, and a Girls on the Run partnership to support Mariano’s initiative to raise 1 million pounds of food for two Chicago food banks. In her personal time, Puck volunteers with the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

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2018 Top Women in Grocery Kendall Thomas Ecommerce Specialist, The Kroger Co./ Mariano’s

Marci Reynolds Clinical Sales Manager, The Kroger Co./QFC

For the Mariano’s banner, Thomas oversees day-to-day store operations for ClickList.

Reynolds coordinates pharmacy marketing and merchandising plans for QFC, where she applies her knowledge on local market trends and customer needs.

In the past six months, she has helped open 17 locations and train store teams on the system and service expectations, streamlining the training process to save on overall expenses contributed to the openings; by the end of 2018, all Mariano’s locations will feature ClickList.

In 2017, she helped ensure that pharmacy managers got more autotomy, and was instrumental in QFC’s selection for pilot programs, including a diabetes prevention program and an influenza screening initiative.

Under Thomas’ leadership, ClickList has been on an upward trend week over week, and she often adds thoughtful gestures like ensuring that customers receive a cookie, water or hot cocoa; this policy fits with her volunteer spirit, as she also gives time to a local food bank.

She was site coordinator for the Project VACCINATE program to increase local immunization rates, which won the 2018 American Pharmacists Association Immunization Champions Award; Reynolds will be credited for her role in the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association.

Linh Lee

Pharmacy Merchandiser, The Kroger Co./Ralphs

Lee manages marketing, merchandising and strategic planning for 80 Ralphs pharmacies, and develops division sales budgets and execution measurements. She was instrumental in the evolution of Ralphs pharmacies in 2017, as the department was integrated into the overall stores; despite store closures last year, she helped grow pharmacy sales by $210 million and boosted clinical services volume. Lee is currently president-elect of the Orange County Pharmacists Association and a member of several industry boards and associations, including the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy and the Specialty Pharmacy Association of America.


Franice Wilder Floral Director, The Kroger Co./Roundy’s Wisconsin

Wilder stops and smells the roses — and makes the floral programs at Roundy’s better: She creates selling plans, floral plans, layout schedules and sales budgets, among other responsibilities. She has been promoted seven times since starting with Roundy’s as a cashier 13 years ago; in 2017, she brought collections-themed displays to life and also exceeded sales budget expectations by $1 million, among other accomplishments. Wilder is part of Frani Cares 2, a five-person team of volunteers that aims to educate inner-city Milwaukee children ages 5 to 18 on how to change their communities by acting.

Aubriana Martindale


Division Corporate Affairs Manager, The Kroger Co./Smith’s

Martindale enhances Smith’s reputation by elevating its unique story through external/internal communications, sustainability, social responsibility and community relations, overseeing a $2.1 million budget and spearheading corporate and public affairs efforts across seven western states. Thanks to her work, $12 million was donated to benefit communities in which Smith’s operates; among other initiatives, she launched the Zero Hunger Zero Waste program last year. Martindale and the Smith’s organization received an American Red Cross Compassion in Action Award and recognition as Albuquerque Pride Center’s OUTstanding Major Corporation, among other accolades.




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2018 Top Women in Grocery Haritha Reddy Senior Director, Business Intelligence, The Kroger Co./ VitaCost

Reddy is the architect and leader of VitaCost’s business intelligence systems. In 2017, she led her team to write a full replacement for the company’s parcel spend management vendor, ultimately saving VitaCost $450,000 annually and increasing shipping credits from carriers; the team worked closely with the Email Marketing Group to win the 2018 Marketing Innovation Award from service provider Selligent at a recent user conference. Based on her outstanding achievements, Reddy was asked to lead the technical design and implementation of a similar business intelligence system for the Kroger digital team.

Cynthia Carbonaro

Team Leader, Market Asset Protection, Meijer

Carbonaro supports a culture of safety and “200 percent accountability” in the North Chicago market, working with market directors and store directors on programs devoted to personal safety, asset security, regulatory compliance and shrink prevention. She was given a stretch assignment in addition to her customary role, leading three out of four markets to achieve their safety and shrink goals, and received the 2017 Market Asset Protection Manager Award. Carbonaro has given time to many organizations, including National Night Out, Just One Inc., Shop with a Cop and local rescue-dog programs.


Camille Balfanz Brand Manager, Litehouse Inc.

Balfanz manages core dressing, Litehouse’s largest retail line; helps execute all company national promotions; and oversees the brand’s business in Mexico. Since she came on board at the company, she has launched six new products and spearheaded a complete package redesign; she also brought Litehouse, NatureSweet tomatoes and Fresh Express salads together for a unique and successful brand partnership that led to a 36 percent increase in units sold during the promotional period. Balfanz is treasurer of the board at Panhandle Animal Shelter and a “class president” of Leadership Sandpoint.

Emily Henao

Director, Marketing Strategy, Campaign Planning and Development, Meijer

Overall, Henao guided Meijer through a notable process of transforming project management, directing marketing strategy and brand development across the business. Among her many other accomplishments in 2017, she developed various campaigns and programs for more than $100 million in paid media, exceeded fiscal-year revenue goals and led Meijer Marketing to win an impressive 30 ADDY Awards. Mentoring is a priority for Henao, who cites her father as her earliest and most enduring mentoring relationship; she shares her time and talent with Meijer’s Sustainability Council and the Women at Meijer resource group.

Diane Moravits Director of Sales, San Antonio Division, Maher Marketing

Moravits is responsible for all meat, seafood and frozen sales in Texas for her client, H-E-B, by sourcing, securing and maintaining lines of product; she’s the only female sales representative calling on H-E-B’s meat department. In a challenging retail climate, she grew the business by 27 percent and helped Maher Marketing win a Broker of the Year award, based in part on securing new items with Bob Evans; she also implemented several new items to support H-E-B’s Meal Simple program. Outside of work, she helps with the San Antonio Rodeo Livestock Association.

Karen Langeland

Divisional Merchandise Manager, Soft Home, Meijer

Langeland drives the strategic direction of soft home (home textiles, seasonal and crafts) for Meijer, covering pricing, assortment, brands, marketing, store presentation and product development. She fueled a 36 percent increase in sales of cold-weather bedding, turning it from an area of flat sales to an in-store destination; following an internal company culture assessment, Langeland created a new road map for measuring her team’s direction and results. She volunteers with a local organization that fights childhood hunger, and takes to heart her role as a mentor to team members.


Robin Afrik

Diversity and Inclusion Manager, Meijer

Afrik leads Meijer’s efforts to promote diversity and inclusion: She directs the company’s Diversity and Inclusion Council to increase demographic diversity, and created the framework for team member resource groups. In 2017, the organization was recognized as one of the best places to work for disability inclusion; Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder highlighted Meijer’s sustainable best practices in valuing team members with disabilities. Afrik works with several organizations that improve local communities and enhance dialogues, including the Women at Meijer team member resource group and the Holland/Zeeland Community Foundations.

Melody Langeland

Senior Director, Application Managed Services, Meijer

Langeland is responsible for all software, applications and systems in Meijer’s operations. Last year, she undertook the largest transition in IT operations that Meijer has undergone in the past four decades, saving millions of dollars and helping simplify and standardize the company’s software environment; she additionally directed the digital coupon program, which now includes 2 million members. Also in 2017, she merged the group she founded, Women in IT, with Meijer’s Women in Retail and Women in Supply Chain groups to create a new resource group, Women at Meijer.

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2018 Top Women in Grocery Amy Brondyke

Specialist, Interactive Sales and Support, Peapod LLC, an Ahold Delhaize USA Company

Brondyke helped lead the Peapod Preferred Partners program, driving its highest revenue level, with a more than 20 percent partner revenue increase above plan; she delivered significant revenue to margins in partner fees and media buys. She and her team developed and implemented such successful initiatives as pre-ordering product not yet on the market and advancing the baby category. Brondyke helped lead an extension of the Olympics program to the company, marking the first time that a program was leveraged broadly over partner brands in 26 markets and Peapod.

Elizabeth Gastineau

Key Account Manager, Frito-Lay North America Division, PepsiCo

Gastineau covers Frito-Lay’s Heartland region, encompassing Roundy’s, Mariano’s, Kroger banner Food 4 Less and Meijer, and representing $110 million in ticket sales. She developed market-leading local sports promotions for three customers: Meijer, Kroger and Roundy’s; one example was the development of the first Roundy’s-specific Green Bay Packers program. Gastineau also oversaw the development and in-market activation of the first-ever Meijer-specific Chicago Bears and Indianapolis Colts programs, with both customers gaining share of market.

Hana Golden

Senior Marketing Manager, PepsiCo

Golden covers all shopper marketing strategic development/activation for the more than $1.5 billion Frito-Lay, Quaker and chilled beverages category for PepsiCo at Kroger. In mid-summer 2017, she led the beginning operation of PepsiCo’s proprietary household media tool, which has changed the company’s ability to deliver return-on-investment and efficacy measures. Golden delivered significant improvements of return on investment, with a 7 percent increase; she also led the creative development for EDGE technology, partnering with Kroger to deliver brand-relevant content at the point of sale, a first for a brand and a national grocer.


Stephanie Kinney

SC Operations, Senior Manager Pepsi Beverages Co., PepsiCo

In April 2017, Kinney began her role leading all Pepsi Beverages Cos. (PBC) region transformation work for the California region. That same year, she led the Geo Box conversion for six locations and 159 routes, which has increased productivity and improved safety and turnover results. Kinney also rolled out Chilled Transformation across the region, deploying eight locations and 186 routes in 2017, and will deploy another seven locations and 220 routes in 2018; her work on both Geo Box and Chilled Transformation was rated best in class for PBC.







Jyoti Mujumudar

Senior Category Advisor for Dollar General, Frito-Lay North America Division, PepsiCo

Mujumudar manages national Frito-Lay insights and category leadership for PepsiCo’s Dollar General account, a $500 million portfolio. Under her leadership, Dollar General became the No. 1 Frito-Lay North America growth customer in absolute dollars in 2017 in the United States; she worked with the retailer to exceed the net revenue plan by $14.4 million, and as a result, savory share gained 1.1 points and salty share gained one point. Mujumudar grew Dollar General Frito-Lay North America sales and share growth in identification of stores with best-destination treatment for 4-foot sets.


Kaylee Niestrom Key Account Manager, Frito-Lay North America Division, PepsiCo

Niestrom’s customers needed help in matching brand strategies with customer needs, which she ably provided. For Woodman’s, she established Frito-Lay’s first joint business-planning process; she changed Frito-Lay’s relationship with Kwik Trip from transactional to a joint partnership to gain distribution, perimeter planning and local marketing; and with Econofoods, she used account management principles to deliver successes beneficial to both businesses, growing top-line sales by 7.3 percent and gaining share in the savory category. Niestrom helped all three retailer customers gain share of market in snacks.

Aminta Price

Customer Manager, Senior Director Costco, Frito-Lay North America Division, PepsiCo

In her previous role, Price increased the joint business-planning (JBP) process for the Texoma region, with more regional account participation by such retailers as Kroger and Albertsons; a key win was conversion of the salty set from subcategory to vendor set in 2018. In Homeland, salty and Frito-Lay gained more than 1,000 linear feet due to Price’s work with category management and customers. With H-E-B, teams aligned during JBP to increase clean/ premium space; thanks to the process that Price put in place, Frito-Lay is leading salty growth in Texoma grocery year to date.

Stephanie Rivera

Sales/Category Management, Senior Manager, North America Commercial Category Leadership, PepsiCo

Rivera led a joint business-planning process with Publix, resulting in outstanding customer alignment for 2018 Big Bets; through her leadership, PepsiCo achieved major incremental space gains in multiple categories, including the growing Starbucks brand and water, giving placement for Pepsi’s largest innovation of the year. She was acknowledged as a valuable member of the team by Publix leadership for insights and analytics leading to mutual growth. Recently promoted, Rivera leads the category advisory team for the two largest Northeast grocery customers, overseeing the total PepsiCo portfolio.




2018 Top Women in Grocery Katie Schiavone

Senior Director, Shopper, Marketing, North American Nutrition and Gatorade, DX Shopper Marketing, PepsiCo

Schiavone’s major 2017 accomplishment was leading the Quaker Overnight Oats launch, which ranks No 1 in Quaker history; she created customized overlays for programmed customers and drove more than 60 percent of the total volume. At Albertsons, her team leveraged shopper and retailer data targeting 2.1 million high-value breakfast households with digital media and card offers; as a result of the 12-week trial program, Albertsons led the grocery category in scans ($207,000) and NOD (3,971). Schiavone also led other successful launches for G Flow and Tropicana Probiotics.

Aileen Musselman

Senior Account Executive, Procter & Gamble

Musselman has direct selling responsibility for P&G fabric care at Ahold Delhaize USA, ($95 million in sales) and is P&G household needs team leader at Ahold Delhaize USA ($340 million.) In her second year of delivering outstanding results (two-year compound annual growth rate of 7 percent), she’s growing P&G sales by 7 percent and total category sales by 2 percent annually; Tide, the second-largest P&G brand at Ahold Delhaize USA, is growing by 8 percent. A seasoned leader with 25 years of industry experience, Musselman was recognized by P&G as the Fabric Care Executive of the Year; she’s also actively involved with the Network of Executive Women


Christina Fuller Category Development Senior Account Executive, Procter & Gamble

Fuller leads the P&G Publix HBC category management group, supporting $200 million in retail dollars for total category management of hair and skin care of more than $35 million. She helped grow the total P&G HBC business ahead of total U.S. share, with a gain of 30 basis points and core sales deliverables more than 3.5 points ahead of total U.S. measures. Fuller created a category management skill tracker to identify opportunities for improvement in the team, and led a training program to make progress in those areas; on her own time, she and her husband founded a nonprofit organization to provide tutoring to underprivileged students.

Thu-Hien Ronas Associate Director, Meijer, H-E-B and Wegmans, Procter & Gamble

In September 2014, Ronas joined the Meijer consumables team after several years of inconsistent growth and led the quarter-billion-dollar business to sustainable growth for 13 consecutive quarters across all categories. Over the past three years, her business has grown 16 percent, five times that of competing retailers in the remaining market. Ronas received the Great Manager of Others award from P&G leadership and employees in 2017 for having developed and coached new hires at the company, including 50 percent of her high-performing, dynamic, multifunctional sales team, which has delivered strong results over the past three years, and continues to earn recognition.

LaJeanna Jennings

Grocery Supply Chain Leader, Kroger Team, Procter & Gamble

One of four CPG members of the supply chain board, Jennings manages $1 billion of supply across 10-plus sites and one of the largest supply chains in all of Kroger CPGs. She developed an omni supply chain strategy for Kroger that will deliver the No. 1 source of new growth in the next five years via consumers, stores, distribution centers and the company; she also created a holistic supply chain analysis for pick, fulfillment and packing. Jennings devised rapid-response displays/out-of-stock solutions, as a result of which sales increased by 25 percent and out-of-stocks decreased by 32 percent.

Jennifer Williams

Marketing Manager, Kroger Team, Procter & Gamble

Williams has marketing responsibilities for $1 billion in sales, with an emphasis on programs that deliver more than 50 percent of the growth to Kroger. She established a new benchmark for CPG and retailer co-marketing programs using broad-scale advertising and social media activation (Febreze-Super Bowl), with the companies’ first-ever use of in-store pallets that successfully sold through. Williams launched a first-time Tide-NASCAR activation that generated more than 12 million impressions and helped Kroger gain almost three times its fair share of the Tide Oxi launch, combining new demand with in-store execution.


Marie Matacia

Senior Manager, Customer and Market Knowledge, Publix and Grocery Omnichannel, Procter & Gamble

Matacia leads all research, analytics and insight generation for grocery omnichannel and Publix. She led the first cross-retailer omnichannel “Store Choice” research to identify why shoppers choose an online retailer over a brick-and-mortar store, even when the online option is the same, as with Kroger; the output led to improvements of more than $2 million. Matacia is the consumer and market knowledge training (CMK) leader for B2 College, which achieved a high overall score of 4.5 out of 5; her contribution to the success of future CMK managers was recognized by multiple directors and associate directors within the company.

Lesley Daniels Director, Sales and Account Development, Produce for Kids

Responsible for sales of Produce for Kids’ programs across the United States and Canada, Daniels also oversees promotions, instore displays, contracts, events, maintaining vendor relationships, and recruiting new retail and vendor partners. Since joining Produce for Kids in July 2017, she has fulfilled her responsibilities of selling-in and execution of the largest yearround program the company has launched to date, with 17 produce companies taking part, 14 of them returning participants and three of them new sponsors. Formerly the own brand strategic soucing manager at Giant Eagle, Daniels brought two new retailers to the Produce for Kids program.


2018 Top Women in Grocery Alexis Foreman

Director of Employee Relations, Redner’s Markets

Promoted to the role of Redner’s director of employee relations in 2017, in which capacity she oversees more than 4,500 employees and is the company’s wellness coordinator, Foreman assisted in the transition from a traditional health care plan to a health care exchange. She also became the HIPPA compliance officer this year and has initiated several programs in this area. An assistant and consultant in human resources strategy, with ultimate responsibility for preserving the employee-employer relationship through the design of the company’s employee relations strategy, Foreman advised the VP of human resources in strategic areas.

Kendra Shaw

Regional Director, Florida East, SaveA-Lot Food Stores

In her previous role as director of operations for another company before joining Save-A-Lot this past September and taking over her current territory three months later, Shaw made significant contributions to improvements in operational efficiencies, including $700 million in revenue, 6 percent sales growth comps and a 7 percent decrease in inventory shrink. She also helped empower staff, from entry-level to director, resulting in 100 intra-corporate promotions and a 20 percent reduction in turnover. Currently overseeing 55 Save-A-Lot stores, Shaw sits on the new staffing matrix and job description committees.


Anne Morrone

Manager II Logistics, Retail Business Services, an Ahold Delhaize USA Company

With financial governance responsibility for the logistics department, including budget development and execution, Morrone developed the scheduling system known as the Integrated Management System (IMS); her work has been critical to creating the right system for the company. Her leadership of the IMS for inbound logistics has affected all distribution and transportation; the initiative will drive efficiency by removing $10 million from the supply chain and enable visibility and execution. In 2017, Morrone helped drive department growth and captured an additional 13.4 percent of savings from other initiatives.

Megan Siedlarczyk

District Manager, Save-A-Lot Food Stores

Siedlarczyk began her career as a parttime clerk and rose through the ranks to assume responsibility for a district consisting of six stores; during her tenure, she has helped improve operational measures such as sales, profit and turnover while reducing expense allocations to increase net profitability. Overseeing 100 team members, she also acts as a trainer for other markets. Siedlarczyk decreased her operating expenses by 20 percent, which directly affected the profitability of her district, and was influential in developing her team’s competencies in respect to operations.

Christina Franklin

Director, Space Management, Rouses Markets

Overseeing all planogram updates, center store fixturing and store resets, Franklin developed an official reset team for Rouses in 2017. A dedicated problem solver, she coordinated the reset/refresh of 30-plus stores, helping the company gross more than $1 billion, and developed a process and tracking system for all requested updates via business unit to space planning. Franklin is currently working on a category business plan process and a timeline for category managers to ensure that timelines are followed and opportunities aren’t missed, and acts as a planogram liaison between Rouses and manufacturers’ representatives.

Jennifer Holmberg

Senior Manager, Product Development, Schwan’s Co.

Holmberg is senior product development/innovation category manager across Schwan’s dessert portfolio. She led a cross-functional team pursuing a multimillion-dollar growth opportunity, developing a new product according to customer specifications; in spite of a short delay, the product was delivered and Schwan’s won the business. As part of Schwan’s commitment to eliminate four ingredient groups in its products for healthand-wellness reasons, Holmberg led the change in ice cream and pie formulas; even though the transition involved a large number of SKUs, the work was completed at the end of 2017.


Dianne Graves Assistant General Counsel, Save-ALot Food Stores

Under Graves’ leadership, responsibility for managing workers’ compensation, general liability and other claims transitioned away from the former parent company, Supervalu. Over the past few months, she has conducted an evaluation of the claims intake process, proposing a simplification to senior management and reducing intake steps from eight to three; implementation will take place this summer. Graves and her team proposed new litigation counsel across the country where formerly approved litigation outside counsel were underperforming or overwhelmed; under her supervision a record number of litigation matters — 49 — was resolved.

Giselle Restrepo Senior Manager, Consumer Insights and Analytics, Schwan’s Consumer Brands Inc.

Bringing a one-company view of the consumer and marketplace to business unit leaders and other leadership teams, Restrepo drives learning to all areas of the company and interfaces with all of Schwan’s business units. She leads a team of cross-functional partners who each have a stake in monitoring food trends; the team is currently designing a trends summit for corporate employees. Restrepo played a key role in providing guidance for Schwan’s ingredient simplicity initiative, building a Consumer Empathy platform where teams can learn to think as target consumers do.

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2018 Top Women in Grocery Michelle Delamielleure

Director, Consumer Insights and Analytics, Schwan’s Consumer Brands Inc.

Representing the consumer in all strategy aspects, Delamielleure has instilled a consumer-first perspective within the organization by keeping the consumer front and center in all business decisions; this was accomplished through training sessions and presentation. She guided her team to create infographics to share learnings, developing and implementing an enterprise-wide best-in-class approach to consumer-first innovation for Schwan’s. Delamielleure conducted largescale brand-equity studies across every brand within Schwan’s retail portfolio, and used these learnings to find opportunities for improvement of the company’s brands.

Melissa Van Gheem

Human Resources Director, Skogen’s Festival Foods

Van Gheem led a complete transformation of the Festival Foods performance management process, abandoning performance ratings to use career and engagement discussions. Her new associate empowerment program, You’ll Love It, We Promise, gives every associate, regardless of rank, the ability to do anything, using their discretion, to solve a customer’s problem. Van Gheem rolled out the Onboarding Playbook, which helps reduce turnover and targets the first three critical months of employment; she was also selected to train department managers in collaborative leadership.


Jessica Longshore

Director, Field Sales Strategy, Schwan’s Consumer Brands Inc.

In her first year, Longshore’s team won Zone of the Year in the East region. She was promoted to director of field sales strategy, in which capacity one of her first tasks was to lead the launch and ongoing management of new hand-held technology, providing teams with tools for best-in-class execution. Longshore developed a checklist and an action plan to ensure that newly hired area managers had the necessary equipment, standard operating procedures and knowledge, testing the process with her own managers and then sharing it broadly with her peer group.

Madelyn Brooks Human Resources Manager, Associate Relations and Compliance, Smart & Final

The corporate office underwent a major change in 2017, and Brooks played a significant role in helping corporate staff manage and work through the change. California requires that all management staff complete a workplace harassment training session every two years, so, as 2017 was a training year for the company, she ensured that all associates completed this training through a new online system. Brooks saved the company more than $3 million in unemployment claims and work opportunity tax credits (WOTC), and moved the company from paper WOTC forms to online.

Angela McKeand

Director, Strategic Growth Channels Marketing, Schwan’s Consumer Brands Inc.

McKeand acquired cross-functional leadership alignment and support in the creation of a new channel marketing vision and go-to-market capabilities; she was charged with building a dedicated support team and developing long-term strategies for this channel. She spearheaded initial customer discovery conversations, teasing out what shoppers’ needs were. The sales team of a strategic customer came to McKeand to oversee the development of a new product representing multimillion-dollar growth for Schwan’s; she involved many areas within the company to successfully create the product.

Kim Cook

General Manager, Transportation and Traffic, Smart & Final

Managing negotiations and the selection process with all third-party carriers, as well as $3 million in backhaul revenue, Cook helped drive improvement of inbound transportation on-time performance from 81 percent in 2016 to 85 percent in 2017 through a partnership with the buying team. She created and implemented an innovative less-than-load (LTL) backhaul program with the potential to increase backhaul revenues by 20 percent. A certified Oz accountability trainer, Cook worked with Unipro and current carriers to add 20-plus vendors and more than $250,000 in revenue to the backhaul program in 2017.


Tracy Cleaves

Front End Operations Senior Director, Skogen’s Festival Foods

By looking for best practices in each store and implementing them across the company, Cleaves created efficiencies that reduced labor by more than $400,000 during the last fiscal year. After listening carefully to customer complaints that receipts were difficult to understand, she redesigned them and then worked with the vendor partner to implement the changes. Responsible for the assessment and performance of more than 2,500 associates, Cleaves created a new training program for customer service representatives and launched a new online associate training program, The Hub, which attained 94 percent participation.

Amanda Cuellar Corporate Merchandising Manager, Smart & Final

Through training, Cuellar strove to elevate the work performance not only of her team, but also of associates directly affected by Smart & Final’s project work. She helped create a centralized merchandising internet portal that houses all current documents needed for remodels and new store projects, and was part of the team working on the new tag and sign program, which rolled out this year. Cuellar controlled all budgets on capital projects, underspending on most; 2017 merchandising projects that she participated in included 14 new stores, five major remodels, five expansions and 22 natural food additions.


2018 Top Women in Grocery Aishia Kindig

Human Resource Manager, Supply Chain, Smart & Final

Kindig led a campaign to award and recognize important and top-performing employees, and also created Smart & Final’s new Supply Chain Manager of the Year award. As a member of the company’s HR team, Kindig oversees two distribution centers as well as a crew of private fleet drivers; she has improved the flow of communication and engagement between upper management and associates. Kindig works closely with Smart & Final’s charitable foundation, not only volunteering hours herself, but also recruiting fellow employees to join in, especially for winter holiday events.

Karen CalligarisRodriguez

Pharmacy Procurement Manager and Pharmacy Warehouse Manager, SpartanNash

Managing two direct reports within warehouse and pharmacy, Calligaris-Rodriguez led a product and price evaluation effort to decrease the cost of goods by $1.5 million in 2017.

Katrina Peterson

Category Manager, Southeastern Grocers

Known for her pricing and category management expertise, Peterson developed a streamlined pricing survey process that kept Southeastern Grocers priced competitively at the market level across all stores, and was updated weekly based on market conditions; she also created a process allowing the team to plan circular activity further into the future. She won the company’s Merchandising Triple Crown Award twice in a row, beating plan metrics for Q3 and Q4 in fiscal year 2017. Peterson is involved with the North Florida Frozen & Refrigerated Food Association as one of Southeastern Grocers’ delegates.

Carlye Cordes

Consumer Relations Manager, SpartanNash

Adept at understanding customer styles and segmentations, Cordes, who manages consumer relations at more than 140 corporate-owned stores in eight states, as well as at 40-plus fuel centers, is noted by Spartan Nash as a key player in helping the retailer deliver a more personal and relevant message to the consumer.

She also led a project that resulted in the opening of SpartanNash’s first warehouse and pharmacy in October 2017, and a new and more efficient state licensing and accreditation process within the firm.

Her work on SpartanNash’s loyalty program accounted for more than $11 million in incremental sales in 12 months.

Active in her community, Calligaris-Rodriguez volunteers for the American Cancer Society and the Walk for Life, as well as for the West Michigan Knights of Columbus Honor Guard.

Cordes devotes her time in the community to various organizations, including Kids’ Food Basket, and also teaches dance to young children in her own studio.


Kristie Bohn-Berman Real Estate Manager, SpartanNash

Last year, Bohn-Berman led a team effort in reviewing outstanding leases and early terminations that netted a savings of $2.94 million for SpartanNash. She was instrumental in a major acquisition involving the integration of five new facilities, including the company’s first USDA-certified food-processing plant, and supported wholesale distribution when independent customers consolidated and sold numerous retail locations. Bohn-Berman was a key player when SpartanNash’s military distribution network won a multimillion-dollar contract with a 90day implementation window and it became imperative to lease a 30,000-square-foot warehouse.

Amy Ellis

Pharmacy Services Manager, SpartanNash

Recently, Ellis led the clinical team’s initiatives to improve medication therapy management (MTM) services by collaborating with physician offices to improve patient care; the effort also led to increased revenues of $200,000.


Mary Brunsting Director of Network Systems Engineering, SpartanNash

A strong leader within SpartanNash’s information technology unit, Brunsting was responsible for a string of network systems improvements that helped her company better track, measure and identify more than 120 project requests from business partners. She leads a 15-person team that has deployed improvements and upgrades in data and video technology for all SpartanNash locations and their customers. Brunsting was selected by senior leadership to serve as a volunteer lead for SpartanNash’s Helping Hands in the Community Day; this year’s effort raised $76,600 for local community organizations.

Sherry Ferebee MDV Division Controller, SpartanNash

A self-professed Microsoft Excel “geek,” Ferebee has striven to make the MDV finance department’s systems more user-friendly and efficient, earning kudos from colleagues along the way.

She was also a key player in expanding the Opioid Safety Project to 61 Michigan pharmacies, in the process making SpartanNash the first major grocery retailer in Michigan to offer this kind of program.

She also played a critical role in developing an overall process for the new Revenue Recognition Standard, developing tracking systems and an ongoing review procedure of the contracts as required by the new accounting guidance.

Ellis is a member of the Michigan Pharmacists Association, the American Pharmacists Association and the National Council for Prescription Drug Programs; locally, she sits on the Kent County Opioid Task Force.

As a SpartanNash Community Captain for the Norfolk Service Center, Ferebee organized more than a half-dozen events, including Helping Hands Day, Earth Week and the SpartanNash Foundation Pledge Campaign.














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2018 Top Women in Grocery Janis Huffman Pharmacy Operations Manager, SpartanNash

Overseeing goals and performance management for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians in 61 locations, Huffman drove a $400,000 reduction in labor costs. She was instrumental in building SpartanNash’s Central Fill initiative; for the program’s expansion, she identified the building design, workflow process and logistics, and established a second prescription-fill machine and associated technology to accommodate the increased volume. Huffman is a member of the Michigan Pharmacists Association and the Network of Executive Women; she is also active in her church and volunteers as a Sunday school teacher.

Kenya Phillips

MDV Division Inventory Control Manager, SpartanNash

Phillips’ leadership and dedication to getting the job done resulted in SpartanNash’s successful support of military customers during an accelerated timeline of less than two months from job inception to completion; she helped enable the project to be completed on time and on budget. While managing a team of specialists, she has kept an inventory accuracy level of more 99.7 percent annually. Phillips is also involved with the Network of Executive Women, the largest women’s leadership organization serving the retail and consumer goods industry, and organizes charity fundraising events at her Columbus, Ga., facility.


Trish Jones

MDV Division Customer Service Manager, SpartanNash

Jones oversees 14 area managers across SpartanNash’s military network, and has been pivotal in maintaining the company’s close relationship with more than 130 unique military customer installation locations. She helped lead the rollout of SpartanNash’s exclusive military private-brand program, increasing speed to shelf and fill voids on products. A current board member of the Hampton Roads American Logistic Association (ALA), Jones has also volunteered for the past 25 years with the organization to help with military family Christmas assistance programs, and also to raise funds for various scholarships.

Carrie Quigley Director of the Project Management Office, SpartanNash

Heading up all of Spartan Nash’s major undertakings in information technology, Quigley oversaw 129 projects involving 24 retail, 51 distribution, 15 food manufacturing and 39 service center tech-based initiatives. She is recognized by the company for building useful tech tools to increase efficiencies and for spearheading improvements in its manufacturing process, which was previously plagued by system issues. Quigley has also served as a committee member on behalf of SpartanNash for the Uniform Communication Standard committee for the past five years, and coaches for her local American Youth Soccer Organization.

Lauren Mills

Marketing Analytics Supervisor, SpartanNash

Regarded as a thought leader in her company, Mills was instrumental in leveraging resources and business partnerships while creating efficiencies that have resulted in reducing SpartanNash’s annual expenses in one area by more than $750,000. Using her aptitude for digging into the specifics of the company’s data to solve problems, she has also been a critical part of training SpartanNash’s marketing and analyst teams. Mills developed and improved many of SpartanNash’s new analytic processes while making its quarterly process of gathering business results, industry trends and analytic feedback more efficient and user-friendly.

Kate Gibson

Director of Vitamins, Sprouts Farmers Markets

In charge of Sprouts’ key vitamin categories, Gibson has been pivotal in the category’s growth and profitability; she additionally helps lead the company’s Vitamin Camp, in which Sprouts team members engage in a training program to enhance their knowledge of vitamin products. A leader in team member product education, merchandising, category promotions and vendor onboarding, she also manages Sprouts’ private label supplement line, which contains about 450 SKUs. Gibson was awarded the “Learn and Grow Together” Sprouts Values Award in 2017 for her inspiring leadership and outstanding contributions to the company.


Cassandra Nino Grocery Category Manager, SpartanNash

As a grocery category manager on special assignment, Nino was called upon by SpartanNash’s senior management to oversee innovations in forecasting, budgeting and reporting, as well as a number of cross-functional projects and process improvement efforts. She also played a critical role in the transition of SpartanNash’s once-exclusive Our Family brand to the Michigan marketplace of 87 corporate-owned stores and nearly 400 independent customers. Nino was selected by senior management to serve as one of its 2017 Innovation Award judges, due to her extensive knowledge of the industry and its innovations.

Evette Smith

Grocery Category Manager, Sprouts Farmers Markets

Responsible for liaising with 300 stores nationwide, Smith was able to turn around several underperforming categories by building best-in-class vendor partnerships that also led to the creation of more profitable customer-centric promotional strategies. She led Sprouts’ direct warehouse initiative, in which she built processes and systems that enabled the company to increase direct buying, and was instrumental in training new category managers. Smith is instrumental in organizing and facilitating SproutsFest, a two-day tabletop educational event that the retailer holds each year for 400 vendors and more than 700 Sprouts team members.

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©2018 Lactalis American Group, Inc., Buffalo, NY 14220. Président is a ® of B.S.A.


2018 Top Women in Grocery Kelli Walter

Dairy Category Manager, Sprouts Farmers Markets

As grocery category manager, Walter quickly turned around underperforming categories through innovative product offerings and relevant promotions; over the past year,she was subsequently named frozen food category manager and, most recently, dairy category manager. She played a key role in bringing local products to new markets while also leading the department training program and new product training webinars. During a company trip to Mexico City, Walter provided major support to Sprouts’ Vitamin Angels partnership, under which the two organizations helped more than 2 million mothers and children receive access to life-saving vitamins.

Eric Halsten Ph. +1 704.365.0041

Michele Merchant

Category Manager, Dairy, Stop & Shop

Merchant previously led an ethnic merchandising team at Ahold USA that saw ethnic, specialty and kosher food sales growth outpace total store sales growth.

Laura Rajchel

Human Resources Business Partner II, Stop & Shop

Cited for her ability to create a positive culture, Rajchel leads Stop & Shop’s endeavors to keep managers consistent with regard to company policies/practices, legal considerations, compliance regulations and company priorities, while advocating both company and associate concerns, providing insights and leading action-planning efforts.


Sheila Walton

Human Resources Business Partner, Stop & Shop

Supporting two districts consisting of 42 stores and two separate district teams, Walton is lauded for her ability to create an inclusive environment, drive customer engagement and act as a skilled labor relations specialist within her stores.

In her latest role at Stop & Shop, she was challenged with taking on responsibility for dairy, which also included training a whole new team of analysts, while making time to nurture and maintain good vendor relationships and drive private-brand growth and sharing her knowledge and expertise across other categories.

She has been key to expanding Stop & Shop’s Women Adding Value (WAV) program, which helps the retailer foster diversity in its leadership while mentoring women in the company.

She received the Women Who Rock award for her HR achievements, participates in the company’s Woman Adding Value program, volunteers her time for all of the International Women’s Day events and is part of the Network of Executive Women’s Rising Star program.

An experienced professional in the grocery and retail sector, Merchant is also skilled in mentoring and developing members of a diverse team.

Rajchel also organized WAV group participants to partner with the Salvation Army to raise $15,000 to buy gifts and essential items for needy families.

Walton helped organize a Christmas drive that allowed more than 250 families to receive winter clothing and have their letters to Santa fulfilled.


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©2018 Carl Buddig & Company The “f” logo is a registered trademark/service mark of Facebook, Inc.


2018 Top Women in Grocery Stacy Boulier

Compensation Manager, Supervalu

In charge of compensation administration for 10,000-plus employees, Boulier played a major role in a project involving Supervalu’s $4 billion acquisition of a competitor, stepping out of her comfort zone to take on responsibilities that extended far outside of her compensation expertise. In addition to managing job mapping for more than 1,000 employees, she helped identify the initial cost impacts of HR decisions related to onboarding new employees. Boulier is also a member of World-At-Work, a compensation-based trade group, and a Certified Compensation Professional (CCP), as well as having received Professional in HR (PHR) certification.

Brandy Dressen Senior Manager, Supervalu

As senior manager responsible for Supervalu’s technology services messaging and collaboration teams, Dressen played a pivotal role in merger-and-acquisition activities, communications, and document management efforts after the acquisition of a huge competitor. Last year, she established governance of the company’s SharePoint systems, helping to eliminate or reduce costs and increase usability across the enterprise. Beyond her busy work schedule, Dressen demonstrates her abiding love for dogs by volunteering locally for the Minnesota Pit Bull and Secondhand Hound dog rescue groups, and helping to organize annual fundraisers for both groups.

Liz Micheletti

Manager, Retail Integrity, Supervalu

Having worked in grocery for most of her life, Micheletti now manages and oversees the tag and sign process, as well as point-of-sale promotional pricing tools that are used across six Supervalu retail brands and at more than 230 stores. A top performer in the store operations department, she led a project with stores to identify and implement 11 separate system enhancements that resulted in significantly improved efficiency and cost savings in merchandising and price tagging. Micheletti also designed a communication portal that enhanced communication, and led an initiative to enhance communication and execution of the digital coupon program across all six Supervalu banners.


Liz Pham

Manager, Corporate Communications, Supervalu

Handling communications for the 5,000-plus attendees of Supervalu’s largest sales event, the National Expo, and directing internal communications for the company’s 31,000 employees, Pham helped onboard a new wholesale leadership team and about 7,000 employees from two newly acquired companies. She put together comprehensive plans and key messaging for a new distribution center in Harrisburg, Pa., and the major reorganization of Supervalu’s distribution facilities in the Pacific Northwest. Pham’s efforts have helped increase readership of the company’s bimonthly wholesale digital newsletter, and use of its mobile app rose 25 percent.





2018 Top Women in Grocery Mary Vander Leest

Melissa Sax

Senior Director, Wholesale Human Resources and Talent Acquisition, Supervalu

With wholesale HR responsibilities for about 10,000 employees and recruiting responsibilities for around 13,000 employees, Sax works closely with the executive leadership team and the CEO on facilitating candidate sourcing and selection of new talent for the company.

Manager, Supervalu

A star with experience working with the retail, pharmacy, and private-brand divisions on boosting the company’s philanthropic activities, Vander Leest directs company-wide distribution of more than $2 million in planned charitable giving.

She was instrumental in the development and rollout of a standard hiring process for all distribution centers that focuses on a quality prescreening process.

She developed the company’s first private-brand taste test specifically for children: During 45-minute sessions with Supervalu chefs and food scientists, children ages 6 to 16 sampled and critiqued products against national brands.

Sax spearheaded planning for Supervalu’s Welcome Week, put together to foster an inviting and informative set of events for employees coming on board subsequent to the acquisition of Unified Grocers.

Vander Leest directed a separate $1 million giving campaign, working with 39 internal teams across the country to identify local nonprofits that could benefit from company and associate volunteering.

Kellie Walker

Senior Category Manager, Supervalu

Walker implemented an effective set of daily and weekly processes to increase accuracy in reports while helping grow category sales. She organized and laid out processes to help increase advertising dollars to retail partners by 15 percent over the previous year; as a result of this, Supervalu was able to boost its advertising. A founding member of the Northern California Women’s Resource Group, Walker is also heavily involved in local fundraising for the Special Olympics and the American Cancer Society; additionally, as an adviser to the Rowell Ranch Rodeo, she coordinates fundraisers, charity benefit events and children’s agricultural education enrichment studies.

Kelley Wedeking Director, Human Resources Project Management and Organizational Development, Supervalu

As corporate HR director, Wedeking was responsible for running the integration work for Supervalu’s acquisition of Unified Grocers; with no previous experience in this area, she used her background and experiences to develop meaningful processes. Subsequently named the company’s first-ever director of project management and organizational development, she oversaw a handful of successful projects aimed at making administration easier and more efficient. Currently working on her master’s degree in organizational development and change, Wedeking recently took part in a cross-cultural exchange in India as part of her coursework.

Fiore Sardo P.D.O. No ordinary sheep. No ordinary cheese. The Fiore Sardo P.D.O. is made of 100% milk of Sardinian sheep, a local breed raised freely in very specific regions of Italy, following ancient traditions that shepherds continue to adhere to still today. It is a cheese with a strong flavor, valued by those who aptpreciate a more pronounced taste. The Fiore Sardo P.D.O. is a first-class table cheese if consumed young, and an excellent grated cheese when consumed matured. Renowned for centuries as the cheese of the Sardinian shepherds, it is a product that dates back to the prehistoric times of the island, and remained for centuries as the most widely produced cheese in Sardinia. It is said that the name derives either from the use of a coagulant obtained from a flower, most likely the thistle, or from the use of wooden stamps molded with an engraved flower on the disk that until recent times, served to distinguish and decorate the cheese. Fiore Sardo P.D.O., the real taste of Sardinia. The term “PECORINI” in Italian means cheese made from sheep’s milk.


Summer Fancy Food Show Booth #259 Programme funded by the Autonomous Region of Sardinia with L.R. n. 5/2015 art. 15.

Smart & Final congratulates all of the amazing women named to

Progressive Grocer’s Top Women in Grocery 2018.

Store Managers

Mayra Galvan

Nadine Flores

Store Manager San Pedro, CA

Store Manager Ventura, CA

Rising Stars

Amanda Cuellar

Aishia Kindig

Kim Cook

Madelyn Brooks

Corporate Merchandising Manager

Human Resources Manager

General Manager

Human Resources Manager


Š Copyright 2018 Smart & Final Stores, Inc.


2018 Top Women in Grocery Brenda Dolan

Shelf Management Representative, Supervalu/Eastern Region

One of the company’s top shelf-management pros, Dolan manages a territory of 23 stores over a wide geography that saw her weekly revenue increase 34 percent in 2017 even as her territory grew 28 percent; she supports many independent retailers across West Virginia, Kentucky, Virginia, Ohio and Maryland. Thanks to her excellent planning and coordination, she was able to execute 27 resets effectively in 2017, often managing multiple projects simultaneously at different steps in the rest process. Dolan is also involved in her community, and was a past president of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Knights of Columbus.

Katy Olinski

Manager, Regulatory, Nutrition and Scientific Affairs, Topco

Nadine Parris Senior Manager, Sales and Marketing, Supervalu/ Professional Services

Heading up an $800,000 marketing budget used to educate company sales reps, Parris has made a huge impact through her efforts to drive Supervalu’s product awareness and maximize sales leads from clients and prospects nationwide. She initiated a weekly field sales training program for 30 to 50 sales representatives and service specialists to further their knowledge and understanding of Supervalu’s service offerings, thereby helping them increase sales. Parris has garnered a number of accolades from partners, including GE’s Change Agent Award and Ceridian’s Circle of Excellence Award.

Kathleen Allen

Senior Manager, Community Relations, Tops Markets LLC

Olinski manages a team of regulatory and nutrition specialists, and provides guidance to Topco members and internal stakeholders on regulatory issues.

Allen’s primary focus in 2017 was to train a new community relations team, working with each member to ensure that they could succeed in their roles.

She designed a tool for management and associates for collecting information to conduct competitive product assessments, which aided the company in reviewing and making competitive decisions regarding its own-brand product offering, and has also been actively engaged in Topco’s Product Transparency Initiative enabling consumers to get additional information about its products.

Fostering relationships with the communities that Tops serves, she played a key role in increasing Tops in Education participation: The program, which gives back to schools, achieved increases of 7 percent and 10 percent in school and customer participation, respectively.

Olinski has received a number of Topco’s TopNotch awards for her accomplishments in innovation, collaboration and leadership.


Allen worked with nonprofits whose mission aligns with Tops’ mission to eradicate hunger and improve the quality of life of children, and she streamlined her department budget, saving labor and achieving more accurate reporting through automation.

Jill Davies

Business Integration Lead, Target

As the leader of Target’s grocery sustainability initiatives Davies has been exemplary in shepherding Target’s practices to become an industry leader, especially in sustainable seafood; an important part of her role is managing relationships with external sustainability partners. Under her direction, in July 2017, Target met its goal of offering 100 percent sustainably sourced fresh and frozen seafood products. Davies represents Target in the Seafood Task Force, a group of retail-sector professionals, suppliers and NGOs that addresses the problem of unfair labor practices and aims to promote improved traceability in the seafood industry.

Kathy Romanowski

Public and Media Relations Manager, Tops Markets LLC

Promoted to her current post this past February, Romanowski was instrumental in conducting full-scale media training for all store managers, ensuring that they were prepared to handle any potential interviews and respond appropriately to questions pertaining to a labor dispute.

Kristin Kulpinski

Campaign Manager, TCC Global

Responsible for the management of the marketing budget for each of the company’s campaigns in North America, Kulpinski has been instrumental in helping TCC Global achieve maximum performance and return on investment. In her primary role as a campaign manager, Kulpinski created and executed highly creative, insight-based marketing campaigns that helped drive a path to purchase and retailer brand loyalty; her strategic role is critical to winning new business. Kulpinski volunteers her time weekly with The Porch, the largest ministry of its kind for young adults, and also serves as a mentor through Mercy Street Dallas, a ministry that works with at-risk youth.

Jillian Sirica

Manager, Digital Marketing, Tops Markets LLC

Sirica continuously challenged herself while managing all daily digital marketing initiatives, budgets and social media strategies, as well as overseeing strategic business development ecommerce projects integral to Tops’ success.

Due to her diligent efforts, Tops’ media presence more than doubled from 2016 to 2017; she accomplished this impressive feat by meeting with team members regularly to develop stories to pitch to the local media about the retailer.

Her team developed a digital sweepstakes promotion that helped drive incremental sales, increase trip frequency and strengthen vendor relationships; with the promise of winning free Gatorade for a year, the program included the brand’s products across the store, from sports drinks to health care items.

Romanowski has received the 40 Under 40 Award from Buffalo Business First and the President’s Award from YMCA Buffalo Niagara.

Sirica led Tops’ partnership with grocery delivery service Instacart, coordinating efforts among pricing, IT, operations, merchandising and marketing.


Elise Rowton

Kanika Sodhi

Team Leader, Wakefern, Unilever

Store Director, Albertsons Cos./ Denver, Albertsons #1791, Windsor Colo.

Store Managers

Sodhi completely transformed Unilever’s relationship with retailer cooperative Wakefern Food Corp. by connecting with all levels to deliver a compelling strategic partnership grounded in results: 4.6 percent growth in personal care, and 4.9 percent in Unilever’s foods business.

Whenever a new process was introduced to the district, Rowton is one of the first to master it and then volunteer to be the district champion to train others; she also develops individual team members.

She built two key programs: Growing Roots — Seed What’s Happening, to teach consumers healthier eating habits, and the Right on Girls self-esteem initiative with the Dove brand.

Her consistent standards in operations and service have generated close to double-digit sales growth on a two-year stack, and she continues to find ways to better the operation and reduce expenses while driving positive sales growth.

Thanks to her passion for her job and her strong work ethic, Sodhi’s reach has extended far beyond the Wakefern business — she also offers her viewpoint on initiatives within Unilever’s corporate headquarters.

Rowton conducts daily service huddles by department/category, during which results are shared and celebrated publicly, while making time in her busy schedule to privately coach struggling associates.

Lisa Kloc

Store Director, Albertsons Cos., Jewel-Osco #3495, Bensenville, Ill.

Kloc has mentored a new deli manager and two assistant grocery managers; recruited, identified, hired and mentored a liquor manager; and assisted a deli manager working in a training program for store managers. Alhough her store is only a year and a half old, she has brought it from negative to positive earnings and reduced shrink a full percentage point since her arrival. Among her community activities, Kloc attends the City Toy Drive each holiday season, visits hiring fairs at the local high school, and has hosted a Fill the Truck food bank event in her store.

Reannon Emmot

Store Director, Albertsons Cos./ NorCal Division, Albertsons #290801, Eureka, Calif.

At the time of the October 2017 North Coast fires, with a nearby fire raging over an area larger than 36,000 acres and several others also burning in her district, Emmot led her store exceptionally well, keeping employees safe and ensuring the availability of supplies for the community. She worked with first responders by making sure they had water, and gave donations to the rescue teams working tirelessly in the community. During and after the fires, Emmot worked with every affected employee to get them connected with human resources and Albertsons’ internal crisis management team.

Julie Meza

Chanaya Watson

Store Director, Albertsons Cos./ NorCal Division, Albertsons #1576-01, Santa Rosa, Calif.

Store Director, Albertsons Cos./ NorCal Division, Albertsons #150703, San Francisco

Assigned to a newly acquired store, Meza played an important role in getting the location remodeled, merchandised, staffed and ready for its grand opening in just a few weeks. At another store, she worked unceasingly to keep the location running despite severe fires spanning 145,000 acres; she connected first responders and the community with supplies, and affected employees with the resources needed to get through and move beyond the crisis. Meza has volunteered to be a certified training store director and frontline leadership trainer for new store directors.

Watson contributed to district operations by volunteering to be a training store director for prospective assistant managers. She positively affected overall standards and out-of-stocks at her new store — one of the busiest and most complex locations in the entire company — bringing it from a negative to a positive sales trend, even with a serious competitor only 100 yards away. Watson volunteered to train as the backup center store operations specialist for her district, handling all center store merchandising and operations for 22 Bay Area stores and functioning as the backup to the district manager.




2018 Top Women in Grocery Karen Medeiros Store Director, Albertsons Cos., Shaw’s #176, Barrington, R.I.

Medeiros has improved customer satisfaction scores by empowering staff to deliver no less than stellar customer performance for every guest; she also serves as a mentor to many and is always on the lookout to help “hidden gems” advance their careers. Her store recently ranked high again for nutritional bar sales, ranking as the No. 1 location in the division for a January-February 2018 contest, due to a 70-plus percent increase over last year’s $34,000. Medeiros sit on the board of directors of a local food pantry, and inspires her team in all scan campaigns with the goal of always beating last year’s results.

Lisa Kinneberg Store Director, Albertsons Cos./ SoCal Division, Pavilions #3005, Newport Beach, Calif.

Kinneberg’s store had positive identical sales for all four quarters between April 2017 and March 2018, and hit its sales plan in three of the four. Her main focus daily is maintaining eight-plus conditions in all departments to drive sales, executing the playbook on a weekly basis and motivating her team to provide exceptional service storewide. Kinneberg’s store is deeply involved in the community, donating hundreds of pounds of food to a local food bank; enabling schools, churches and Girl Scouts to hold fundraisers or food drives outside; and raising money through raffles, among other activities.


Courtney Carranza

Store Director, Albertsons Cos./ SoCal Division, Pavilions #2217, Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.

Julie Field

Store Director, Albertsons Cos./ SoCal Division, Albertsons #3559, Palm Desert, Calif.


Julie Jansen

Store Director, Albertsons Cos./ SoCal Division, Albertsons #3574, Tustin, Calif.

Field organized and executed a large Hatch chili event with her team, involving vendor demos, an outdoor barbecue, local performers and more, which resulted in positive identical sales.

When transferring to an underperforming store, Jansen created a learning environment so that team members could reach their full potential, coaching them as well as peers who reached out for guidance.

In April 2017, she received two awards from her company: Top 3 in the division for 6-pack wine carrier sales and Top 3 for floral upgrades.

With her assistant manager, she teamed with the local Galilee Center to hold a food drive and a toy drive, both of which greatly benefited the community and created excitement and incremental sales.

Her hard work improving employee development and morale resulted in higher quarterly sales and EBITDA in a 13-month period.

Carranza hosted various community-focused store events between April 2017 and February 2018, including an Easter egg hunt, Mother’s Day cookie decorating and two “safe” trick-ortreating events.

A major liquor department remodel, including new fixtures and the expansion of the wine selection, overseen by Field resulted in the department running 12.5 percent identical sales from last year.

Encouraging her employees to be creative with aggressive, clean merchandising, Carranza has been able to sustain double-digit same-store sales, while customer count has increased more than 14 percent.

Julie Worley

Store Director, Albertsons Cos./ United Division, Albertsons #939, Albuquerque, N.M.

Known for her unflagging support of her store, team members and customers, Worley drives her store’s success by encouraging collaboration among associates, sharing ideas and techniques in each department, and always upholding the Fresh, Full, Friendly and Clean standard. Her last four quarters tell a story of excellence, leading her to be recognized with awards for customer satisfaction index, gross projection and earnings projections. Worley volunteers with the Boys & Girls Clubs, Road Runner Food Bank, St. Felix Pantry, Storehouse New Mexico, and the Special Olympics, to name just a few.

Beth Adams

Transferring back to the SoCal division from the Seattle division, Jansen moved into an assistant store director role, where she stayed positive, even mentoring a center store manager and gaining new insights into the department, before being promoted again to store director.

Myong Brown

Store Director/ Commissary Officer, Defense Commissary Agency, Fort Sam Houston Commissary, Texas, Zone 6, Fort Sam Houston, Texas

Store Director, Defense Commissary Agency, Camp Humphreys, Yongsan, Camp Red Cloud and Camp Casey commissaries, Zone 36, South Korea

Adams coordinated two annual on-site case lot sales and two off-site sales at National Guard and Reserve unit locations; these sales garnered sales of $175,000 to $200,000.

With troop reduction and relocation in South Korea, Brown oversaw the closure of two stores and the opening of a new superstore, which necessitated the movement of equipment, personnel, IT assets, resale product, and turn-in of real property and equipment.

Fort Sam Houston consistently received complimentary reports to DeCA Headquarters’ Customer Service Team, and the meat department was consistently the No. 1 performer in the zone. After Hurricane Harvey, Adams coordinated with the command, installation points of contact, the installation continuity program manager and the three San Antonio-area store directors to orchestrate emergency store operations.

She successfully opened the new store 30 days earlier than planned in response to a senior military request and kept the old store open until the new store’s grand opening. Brown’s efforts resulted in no disruption of commissary benefit for the military members and their families stationed at Fort Humphreys.

No ordinary sheep. No ordinary cheeses. Choose to bring unique cheeses to your table. Choose 3 Pecorini. They are produced with 100% sheep’s milk from sheep that are raised freely in very specific regions of Italy, following ancient traditions that shepherds continue to adhere to still today. 3 Pecorini includes Pecorino Sardo, Pecorino Romano and Fiore Sardo, cheeses with a Protected Designation of Origin label that certifies the highest quality guaranteed by their territory of origin. The production of Sardinian P.D.O. cheese is the result of an unspoiled land, a long-standing dairy culture, and the work of a wise team of men. And of sheep. The term “PECORINI” in Italian means cheese made from sheep’s milk. SIGNATI O DE OF




Pecorino Romano P.D.O.

Programme funded by the Autonomous Region of Sardinia with L.R. n. 5/2015 art. 15.

Pecorino Sardo P.D.O.

Fiore Sardo P.D.O.


2018 Top Women in Grocery Susan M. Edmonds

Commissary Officer, Defense Commissary Agency, Robins Air Force Base Commissary, Robins AFB, Ga.

Edmonds takes fiscal responsibility seriously: Her inventories have been in tolerance in all departments for the past three years, and she works to keep payroll in check while still providing great customer service. To facilitate monthly off-site sales, she found a building that could be used and identified the equipment and staffing needed, also finding lodging for the temporary employees. Edmonds emailed reminders to a list of more than 1,200 about the monthly sales, as well as information about the Robins Commissary’s special sales and events.

Erica G. Hayes

Food Lion #765, Newport News, Va.

Hayes is committed to Food Lion Feeds, which has a company goal of donating more than 500 million meals by 2020: Her store sold 1,500 boxes and donated more than 100 of them to the Newport News Police Department to distribute to the hungry in the community, and she and her associates have also participated in Food Lion-sponsored Pantry Makeovers in their community. She has delivered three 100 percent perfect audits (two regulatory and one in-stock) in the past year. Hayes focuses on developing her associates to meet their career goals; she has promoted five within her store and in the region in the past year.

Greta Simmons

Food Lion #0545, Colonial Heights, Va.

Simmons and her team achieved significant sales growth in 2017, attaining shrink targets in all perishable and dry grocery areas. Her store gave back to the community by hosting math nights for three elementary schools, and partnered with neighboring high schools to give students hands-on job training through an in-store internship program; the store additionally participated in job fairs at the local high school. Simmons implemented the Food Lion strategy and brought the brand to life by sponsoring the 65th annual Colonial Heights Christmas parade; she also supported Food Lion Feeds events in the area.

Jessica FultonMastrian

Senior Dual Store Leader, Giant Eagle #4051 and #4056, Howland and Jamestown, Ohio

Both of Fulton-Mastrian’s locations bested year-to-date goals by significant margins in several areas, including total store reset, payroll and shrink. She was the first leader in the region to receive a perfect 7 on the dual-store leader matrix; her stores also improved customer service scores in the past year, with Howland up 2 percent and Jamestown up 3 percent. Fulton-Mastrian also received the Giant Eagle Team Member Development Award, given to three company leaders who consistently provide above-andbeyond leadership, mentoring and development of their teams.










Cassandra Alexander

Giant Store #197, Baltimore

In the past year, Alexander’s store saw sales over budget by 0.7 percent, and nonperishable inventory results were 0.91 percent on a goal of 0.99 percent; her store was budgeted to lose 3.19 percent, but her team controlled the loss to just 0.13 percent. She identified and promoted five associates, with two more on the bench, continually teaching, training and developing her team to achieve results. Alexander partnered with two area churches to recognize local elementary school teachers by sponsoring an appreciation luncheon, and her store has hosted a nutrition seminar and a fitness event promoting cardio activities.

Renee Aquino

Giant Store #155, Columbia, Md.

In the Columbia store, Aquino oversaw a nonperishables shrink that improved by 0.2 percent and perishables shrink that improved by 2.2 percent — a direct result of her continued coaching, training and development of department managers and associates.

Monica Beiler

Giant Store #385, Dover, Del.

Amy Brooks

Giant Store #365, Abingdon, Md.

Beiler and her team drove the EBIT up from 2.36 percent to 1.02 percent, a swing of 3.38 percent, and her overall store satisfaction rating improved from 71 to 94.

In 2017, Brooks’ store was budgeted to lose 1.12 percent, but she exceeded expectations by controlling costs and growing sales, ending the year with a positive 0.1 percent.

Her store improved on all measurable customer service numbers by more than 3 percent from last year.

Her other store successes include a net promoter score rise of 53 points, from 23 to 76; a helpful employee score jump from 67 to 92; and a cashier friendliness increase from 76 to 96, the highest in the district.

The store was rated in the 90th percentile for helpful associates and garnered a 93 percent rating for cleanliness; Brooks was also recognized by Boar’s Head as a top performer in deli service.

Aquino educated associates on the importance of reducing Giant’s carbon footprint by recycling and monitored the organic recycling program closely, with the result that recycling at the store increased 8 percent from the previous year.

Her store’s Blankets for the Homeless drive, which turns plastic bags into blankets and mats, received enough donations for 25 blankets; to promote the event, Beiler and her team created an impactful display in front of the store’s community board.




2:22 PM

She reduced product days on hand by one day by controlling the back room to ensure that product got on the sales floor in a timely manner, while on the community front, her store was first in the district and No. 2 in the region in raising money to fight childhood cancer.


2018 Top Women in Grocery Donna Marconi

Lilya Clifford

Giant Store #198, Potomac, Md.

Giant Store #2603, Baltimore

After she was assigned to a challenging store, Clifford’s keen attention to staff training helped it achieve its shrink goal of -1.05 percent on a goal of -1.2 percent. Her current store has been consistently running 6 percent positive in sales, and ended the year beating EBIT budget at 11.5 percent on a budget of 11.01 percent; it also exceeded last year’s budget by 1.57 percent. Clifford was involved in the Susan G. Koman Race for The Cure, serving as the food and water donation co-ordinator for the event, as well as encouraging employees and customers to participate; she also volunteers her time with several other charitable organizations.

Under Marconi’s leadership, Store #198 received extraordinary customer service feedback totaling 53 praises and zero complaints last year. Her store was selected to pilot a new produce excellence program, Produce What’s Possible; she collaborated with the store’s produce specialist and produce team for the initiative, which helped improve in-stocks and led to higher sales and shrink reduction. Marconi focused on educating and training store associates to recycle, as a result of which, in 2017, her location was able to recycle 63 percent of its waste; her store also raises money for various causes with events like bake sales and hot dog cookouts.

Gloria Richardson

Giant Store #155, Columbia, Md.

While managing a challenging store just outside of Baltimore, Richardson put processes in place to help achieve numbers never seen before at that location, including unprecedented nonperishable inventory results. Last year, she identified, coached and mentored five associates who are currently in line for promotion. In her personal time, Richardson teaches biblical studies to incarcerated women at Baltimore Women’s Detention Center, and helps them transition back to mainstream society; she also supports many local schools and received the 2017 Distinguished Achievement Award from Gwynn Oak.

Cynthia Sacha

Giant Store #2311, Odenton, Md.

Sacha exceeded her store’s sales budget by 7 percent by merchandising eye-catching displays and creating a fun shopping experience; she considers her associates to be part of her extended family, and that feeling of fellowship comes through in the store. Associate development is one of her priorities: Hourly and exempt associates throughout the district are assigned to her store for training, and last year, she identified and trained multiple associates at her store, as well as helping to transition new talent to other positions in the district. Under Sacha’s leadership, the store’s EBIT performance increased by almost 300 percent year over year.

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Lekeita Sedgwick-Vann Giant Store #353, Towson, Md.

Sedgwick-Vann was promoted to store manager in 2015 and “hit the ground running,” according to a co-worker; a truly handson manager, she is passionate about “going the extra mile” for her customers and associates. She’s made huge strides in shrink reduction in a challenging store: For instance, her nonperishable shrink results were 0.88 percent versus a goal of 1.03 percent. Sedgwick-Vann improved customer satisfaction to an overall 89 percent and increased overall associate engagement to 78 percent; with a focus on talent development, she promoted four associates into key positions throughout the store.

Imogene Wilson Giant Store #748, Arlington, Va.

Despite challenging competitive pressure, Wilson led her team to a successful and profitable year through steady communication, detailed daily store tours and associate engagement, earning consistent store conditions ratings of eight out of 10; meanwhile, she beat her EBIT budget by 0.23 percent. In 2017, she and her team ranked No. 2 out of 168 stores in Giant Landover, in both cashier friendliness and overall helpfulness. Wilson focuses on developing her team for higher-level roles and participates in a mentoring circle at Giant Food; she also volunteers as a nurse and works with at-risk youth.

Jessica Fischer

Giant/Martin’s, Giant Food Store #6514, Jamison, Pa.

By focusing on merchandising in nonperishable departments and quality in fresh areas, Fischer and her team increased total store ID sales by almost double digits. Throughout the year, she maintained excellent food safety and sanitation results, with 95 percent compliance satisfaction; she also oversaw the introduction of organic diversion recycling in the store. The associate satisfaction rating at Fischer’s store increased 24 points during her first year as manager — the second-highest increase across the entire Giant Food Store brand; she accomplished this by helping to change the store team’s culture to emphasize collaboration.

Barbara Negley Giant/Martin’s, Giant Food Store #6065, Lancaster, Pa.

Negley came in below budget for both perishable and nonperishable shrink by focusing on weekly DSD ledger reviews, completing credit documents for shortages, conducting weekly one-on-one meetings with department managers and obtaining credit for damages, among other practices. Her store achieved an overall rating of 8 for store conditions, while her focus on food safety resulted in a 95.8 percent audit score. Negley is the lead for the mentoring circles in her district; she conducts training and mentoring for group members, and organizes volunteer activities that benefit the communities near her store.

Heather Potthoff

Giant/Martin’s, Giant Food Store #6473, New Britain, Pa.

As a result of Potthoff’s focus on customer service, her store’s net promoter score increased 13 points. Her store received the most improved associate engagement score in the district; she focused on associate development and implemented a program called Yes I Can to start all new hires on the front end as cashiers before moving them to their assigned departments. Potthoff places a strong focus on key metrics and performance, which has helped her store achieve positive sales growth in grocery, frozen, HBC, general merchandise and floral, along with reduced shrink.

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2018 Top Women in Grocery Jennifer Gorham

Co-Manager, Harris Teeter #021, Cameron Village, N.C.

During the past fiscal year, Gorham’s store finished as the most profitable within Harris Teeter, exceeding $6.4 million in profits. The store also earned high productivity numbers. As the point person overseeing training and development, her store achieved 100 percent on successfully training all new hires in the allotted timeframe, and her facility is one of Harris Teeter’s training stores for future leadership.

Kristi Masterson

Store Director, Hy-Vee Marion Road, Sioux Falls, S.D.

A store director for more than 18 years, Masterson oversees both a grocery store and convenience store at the Marion Road location. In the first quarter of 2018, her store’s profit increased 66 percent and sales were up almost 10 percent, both over the first quarter of 2017 and leading the district; additionally, customer experience scores rose from No. 10 to No. 3 in less than a year.

Thanks to her morale-boosting leadership style, Gorham’s store has seen an improvement of more than 30 percentage points in turnover in the latest quarter.

Among her community activities, Masterson is a Legends for Kids board member and leads the annual Legends Dinner for underprivileged students, one of Sioux Falls’ biggest fundraisers.

Susanne Davee

Robin Middleton

The Kroger Co./ Central, Kroger #928, Bloomington, Ind.

The Kroger Co./ Cincinnati, Dayton, Kroger #412, Oxford, Ohio

Under Davee’s leadership, overseeing almost 400 active associates, Store #928 exceeded sales forecasts by more than 30 percent and increased identical-store sales by 9.3 percent over last year.

With 20 years of store management experience, Middleton led the Store #412 team to three all-time-high sales weeks, a feat achieved in a flat market with little building or community growth.

She regularly had the highest store sales in her division, achieving Top 5 store results for earnings and expense control while improving associate retention by 6 percent, a difficult feat in a college town.

Her passion to lead, motivate and mentor others led her to act as a mentor and trainer in Kroger’s Management Training program; her store continually hires new associates due to the influx of business generated by nearby Miami University.

Recently promoted to district manager, Davee led local efforts for Kroger’s Zero Hunger Zero Waste initiative, partnering with a local university and a food bank.


In 2017, Middleton was selected to attend the Kroger Leadership Academy for high-volume store leaders.

Jan Nichols

Store Director, Hy-Vee, Fitchburg, Wis.

Nichols continued to grow sales and profits, 2.57 percent and 10.59 percent, respectively, year over year; this was in spite of road construction on both sides of her store that disrupted access to the main feeder road to the location.


Vicki Smith

The Kroger Co./ Atlanta, Kroger #670, Dawsonville, Ga.

In 2017, Smith moved from Store #687 to Store #670; during her tenure at the first location, she led it to reach the $1 million-a-week level.

In a very tight labor market, she was able to attract and retain superior employees.

Under her leadership, Store #670 achieved more than $65 million in sales (without fuel) for 2017, which was the third-highest in her division, and the store’s EBITDA rate rose to 6.18 percent.

Nichols’ team won Hy-Vee’s Northern region Say Ciao to Italia display and sales contest in 2017; always on the lookout for the trendiest general merchandise items to offer customers, she’s also active in creating such store promotions as “princess parties” for mothers and daughters.

Driven by her passion for employee development, Smith worked to encourage associates to satisfy customers, surpassing several goals, including in-stocks, friendliness, produce and meat freshness; based on this success, her location became the training store for the district.

Sonya Clagett The Kroger Co./ Columbus, Kroger #942, Columbus, Ohio

Clagett took a store with high turnover and low morale, and turned it around; in one year, she led her team to a 21 percent increase in the Associate Insight Survey, the largest year-over-year increase in the Columbus division. She tackled turnover by adding a high-performing service director and recruiting externally; as a result, staffing needs were cut by 80 percent. This traditional store now routinely ranks first in a 23-store district for total sales without fuel, and Clagett’s store often leads the district with double-digit weekly identical-sales increases.

Diann Lewis

The Kroger Co./ Dallas, Kroger Marketplace #917, Granbury, Texas

Lewis’ store exceeded both division and district numbers in 2017; she led her store to a $39 million sales goal and achieved budget on both sales and EBITDA. Her store is a training place for new talent: Four of the Dallas division’s store managers were promoted while working with her, and three current drug/general merchandise managers, a deli manager and a seafood lead were also promoted from the location. Among her 2017 honors, Lewis was awarded the Best in Class award in overall satisfaction within the district.

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2018 Top Women in Grocery Crista Yellot

The Kroger Co./ Dallas, Kroger #509, Dallas

Jackie Chandler The Kroger Co., Dillons #40, Leavenworth, Kan.

Even though Store #509 underwent an extensive remodel in 2017, Yellot and her team grew their friendly scores from customers by 10.1 percent during three remodel weeks.

Chandler led her team through a year of deflated pricing overall to a 5.6 percent sales increase, which she attributes to daily huddles and department head meetings.

She tackled four Kroger priorities in 2017: Her store increased 3.4 percent in the retailer’s customer satisfaction measure, graded by shoppers, as well as rising 5.3 percent in in-stock levels, 5.6 percent in fresh produce and 4.6 percent in fresh meat.

Making sure that she and an assistant are at the front end or walking the aisles during prime time, she improved customer wait time satisfaction on the front end from 83 percent to 86 percent, while cashier effectiveness scores increased from 85 percent to 93 percent.

Although hiring is difficult in the downtown area, Yellot improved retention by 49 percent versus last year, and is also an LE management trainer for the district.

Yvonne Ippolito The Kroger Co., Fred Meyer #5, Albany, Ore.

In September 2017, Ippolito moved from her former store in Salem, Ore., to her current assignment, a location with 300 associates. She created a process in which her management team overcomes a new hurdle every week, spurring the Albany store to achieve improvements in key company initiatives. Ippolito received a partner award from the Keizer, Ore., Chamber of Commerce in 2017 for her efforts at her former location; at the Albany store, she hosted a major drive for community banks and sponsored the Veterans Day parade.


Spending time with each new hire at her store, Chandler improved turnover from 91 percent to 68 percent.

Megan Houck

The Kroger Co., Fry’s Marketplace #669, Casa Grande, Ariz.

Houck led her store of 225 employees to have the best division retention rate in 2017, which was 39 percent over the goal. She received a top division award for her previous year’s results in customer satisfaction, which included being named No. 1 for in-stock conditions, produce freshness, meat freshness and total friendliness. A graduate of the Kroger Leadership Academy, Houck is active internally and externally, leading her team in sponsoring charitable campaigns in the store and community, and serving in the Fry’s Women’s EDGE associate resource group.

Kyla Enslinger The Kroger Co., Dillons #18, Augusta, Kan.

Promoted from a smaller store at the beginning of 2017 to Store #18 in May, Enslinger took charge of a team that won three district awards for holiday presentation. At Store #18, she increased sales per customer by 2.5 percent by focusing on store conditions and customer satisfaction. By focusing on total-store staffing and daily labor management, Enslinger has been able to decrease overtime spend by 14 percent, and her store’s back room received a 100 percent rating; remarkably, these numbers were achieved while two of the store’s entrances were blocked by road construction.

Amy McCain

The Kroger Co., Fry’s Marketplace #679, Sahuarita, Ariz.

McCain’s strong leadership skills led her to be named manager of a 107,420-square-foot Fry’s Marketplace, moving from one of the lowest-volume stores in her district to one of the highest-volume sites.


Silay Souksavatdy

The Kroger Co., Food 4 Less #348, Reseda, Calif.

Souksavatdy was promoted in 2017 to manager of the Food 4 Less store in Reseda, Calif., where she manages 62 employees. She helped her store overcome sales and morale challenges, finishing the year among the top five locations in sales, the top 10 in queuing and No. 1 in produce sales; by building a strong team, she helped boost the associate insight score by 8 percent. Souksavatdy has taken part in company leadership programs and been involved in community services for schools, animal shelters and the Navy Supply Corps Foundation, among others.

Laverne Howard The Kroger Co./ Houston, Kroger #307, Spring, Texas

After successfully improving the entire store last year to meet the company’s “upscale” standard, Howard was faced with total loss after the location was ravaged by flooding from Hurricane Harvey.

She supervised the opening of a new fuel center, which garnered media attention and was attended by the mayor, and motivated her team to win Rib Fest sales for the entire division.

She sprang into action after the disaster, first ensuring employee safety and later helping associates relocate to other stores; ultimately, she and her team upgraded and remodeled the entire store — again — and have already seen increased sales.

McCain mentors and trains Leadership Essentials candidates within the company, and guides associates on her store’s cultural council, focusing on customer experience and staff friendliness.

A 22-year Kroger employee, Howard was chosen to participate in the High Volume Leadership initiative, part of the Cap Training program.






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2018 Top Women in Grocery Dee Voss

The Kroger Co., King Soopers Marketplace #129 (Vista Ridge), Erie, Colo.

Voss oversees 251 associates in a location that offers traditional grocery shopping and an apparel department. Since the location opened in late 2016, her delivery and commitment to daily store standards has driven it to outperform the business plan, achieving double-digit total store sales growth; as a result, the Vista Ridge Marketplace store was chosen to be a division and district model store for the company’s Our Promise and Waste Integration groups. Voss also supports the community through local events and programs, ranging from parades to delivering gifts to a local children’s hospital.

Jennifer Diers

The Kroger Co., QFC #805 (Manhattan), Seattle

In Diers’ first year at the Manhattan store, where she oversees 94 employees, she improved the associate survey store by 17 percent, the highest percentage increase in the company. She also helped her store increase its identical sales by 7.1 percent in a competitive Seattle grocery market. Diers was chosen to take part in the 2017 Kroger Leadership Academy for high-potential managers; her leadership is further evident in her team’s work with a local nonprofit that encourages recreational and social activities, and in her donations to local schools.


Jasmine Logan

The Kroger Co./ Louisville, Kroger #332, Louisville, Ky.

Logan cut expected losses at her Louisville location in half, a 17 percent improvement over the previous year; of the eight months she’s been at the helm, the store has been profitable for four. The store that Logan manages leads the district in retention improvement, and her team notched a 5 percent sales increase every week despite flat lines in sales across the enterprise. Recognized as a future leader, Logan was chosen to attend Kroger’s Leadership Academy; she also volunteers with the Alzheimer’s Association and is joining Big Brothers/Big Sisters.

Emily Sebbas

The Kroger Co., QFC #827 (Coal Creek), Newcastle, Wash.

Sebbas went right to work in her first year managing the company’s Coal Creek location, turning it into a profitable location. The turnaround is credited to her positive attitude, attention to detail and ongoing search for knowledge, attributes that have spurred a 12 percent leap in favorable employee engagement, according to an associate survey. Sebbas stresses community involvement because the city in which her store is located was incorporated only in 1994; she has worked directly with local officials to spearhead the store’s support of a variety of events in the area.

Mary Keeler

The Kroger Co./ Nashville, Kroger #549, Knoxville, Tenn.

Keeler oversaw a full remodel and a grand reopening, in addition to the opening of a nearby sister store, guiding employees through the changes and helping them achieve accomplishments like a 22 percent improvement in turnover and sales that exceeded goals by more than $1.3 million for the year. She trained her associates on updated store processes while building their trust and buy-in. Keeler’s outside involvements include work for Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, VFW Home for Widows and Orphans and Children’s Hospital of East Tennessee.

Isabel Gallon-Londono The Kroger Co., Ralphs #173, Downey, Calif.

Promoted to manager of Store #173 in March 2017, Gallon-Londono improved processes and reinforced among the location’s 80 employees the importance of following proven behaviors and using provided tools. Under her leadership, store sales by increased by 1.79 percent, customer satisfaction rose by 74 percent and associate satisfaction jumped by 17 percent. Gallon-Londono received the single 2018 USC FIM scholarship from Ralphs for her work; she is also a member of the Network of Executive Women and volunteers at the Orangewood Foundation, which works with foster youth.


Ranee Ward

The Kroger Co./ Nashville, Kroger #536, Pigeon Forge, Tenn.

Empowerment is important to Ward, who collaborated with department leaders to lift customer satisfaction and service; her efforts resulted in a 3.1 percent increase in total store growth over the previous year. She’s the District 4 Food Safety Champion, in which capacity she plays a key role in maintaining food safety standards in the district. Ward showed fortitude in the aftermath of devastating wildfires in her area, partnering with the American Red Cross on volunteer efforts, having her store make breakfast for a nearby shelter and delivering pallets of water to firefighters.

Lyndsey Lawrence

The Kroger Co./Roundy’s Wisconsin, Pick ‘n Save #124, Neenah, Wis.

In 2017, Lawrence’s store achieved a 91 percent customer satisfaction, and was 10 percent ahead of the division in delivering on Kroger’s key metrics: Overall Satisfaction, People are Great, Overall Shopping Experience, and I Get What I Want (Plus a Little) Composite. She was nominated by the district staff for having the least amount of overtime used in 2017; instead, she was able to crosstrain employees to help out in times of need. Mentoring is a high priority for Lawrence, who last year promoted several associates.


2018 Top Women in Grocery Andrea Carson

Karen Porteous The Kroger Co./Roundy’s Wisconsin, Pick ‘n Save #6846, West Allis, Wis.

Porteous oversaw a multimillion-dollar remodel last year; she overcame challenges to a successful grand opening while mentoring a new assistant manager and working to recognize every employee’s contributions. She hosts huddles with her team to discuss the focus points of the day, and weekly meetings with her key people to ensure that expectations and execution are met while fostering a fun and exciting environment. Thanks to Porteous’ team’s efforts in calling for medical assistance, a store customer who went into cardiac arrest survived.

The Kroger Co., Smith’s #77, Salt Lake City

In 2017, Carson was selected to roll out a new associate and customer engagement program from Kroger called Customer 1st; later, she became a member of the enterprise Customer 1st team to launch the program to the Ralphs, Central and General Office divisions.

Christina Buehrle

Store Director, Meijer #177, Detroit

Buehrle has steadily built relationships to drive a culture of inclusion and engagement at her store, decreasing overall store turnover from 88.8 percent to its current rate of 37.7 percent and spurring double-digit increases in total sales.

She was also selected by her division to travel to Florida to attend brainstorm sessions and collaborate with Disney on its world service.

Besides helping her own team members advance, she leads the Training Development Program for the North Detroit area and serves as a mentor to all participating candidates.

At a Salt Lake City park, Carson organizes an annual warm-clothing and food drive for the homeless, an event that attracts hundreds of volunteers.

Buehrle’s store supports several local groups, including a food pantry and a foundation for autistic children, and she works with the chamber of commerce.

Tracy Evans Store Director, Meijer #147, Cincinnati

Evans began as a courtesy team member at the tender age of 14 and rose through a variety of roles to that of store manager. Her store’s sales increased $1.2 million over projected sales in 2017, and it was the only store within the market to gain in total direct margin, a feat that earned her Meijer’s Operational Excellence Award. Evans and her team members aid the community through partnerships with local nonprofits and food banks, and she supports the leadership development of women in her store and area as a member of the Women at Meijer Retail Executive Committee.

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Nicole Kidd

Store Director, Meijer #295, Franklin, Ind.

Based on her success at a nearby store, Kidd was chosen as the store director for the Franklin location, which opened in May 2017; her role included hiring, training and building a store team. As Market Shrink Champion, she is responsible for helping educate the total nine-store market on how to control shrink. Kidd describes herself as being passionate about serving her team and customers, and she lends support to nonprofit organizations such as United Way of Johnson County, for which she serves on an allocation-of-funds board.

Hena Patel

Store Director, Meijer #173, Ann Arbor, Mich.

Patel started with Meijer as a part-time cashier and advaned through 12 leadership roles to that of store director; throughout her career, she’s driven clear business results that allowed her stores to be successful. At Store #173, Patel drove sales up $1.6 million over the previous year, a 3.5 percent increase, and she developed six team leaders into line leaders and one line leader into a store director. Retention has long been a focus for Patel: At her previous location, turnover dropped from 46 percent to 17 percent, while Store #173 has seen a 25 percent increase in retention.

Dessie Szklany Store Director, Meijer #112, Troy, Ohio

Carolyn Vallette Store Director, Meijer #104, Columbus, Ohio

Szklany devotes significant time to cultivating relationships with team members: With a focus on action planning linked to her mCulture results (Meijer’s team member engagement survey), she reduced turnover by 12 percent over last year.

Vallette’s store underwent a full store remodel in 2017; stores usually experience sales drops during major remodels, but she maintained her customer base and exceeded sales goals during the remodel: Sales increased by $5.4 million over projections, up 8.2 percent.

She received the highest MSR customer feedback rating in her region — 94 percent at year’s end — and led the region in mPerks, Meijer’s digital coupon platform that helps drive overall sales.

She was tasked with driving overall credit card sales in her store in 2017, leading her team to exceed the goal by 143 percent.

Szklany was chosen to lead orientation classes in her region, and is mentoring team members participating in retail leadership development programs.

In 2017, Vallette received Meijer’s Operational Excellence Award, which is given to high-performing stores focusing on sales, shrink, labor, direct contribution and net profit.


2018 Top Women in Grocery Amanda Wilson Save-A-Lot #896, Dickson, Tenn.

Wilson’s employee retention at her store is in the top half of the company; through her leadership, Store #896 achieved one of the lowest shrink rates in the district. Her store is located in a small, rural community, of which she’s a proud member: Participating in Save-A-Lot’s holiday bag program to help the hungry, her store was in the top five, selling 755 bags last year, even though the location is small in size. Wilson’s store consistently ranks at the top for district and region, and her district manager employs best practices from her location to help make other stores stronger.

Mary Jo Marciniak

Store Director, SpartanNash, Family Fare #1509, West Branch, Mich.

Last year, Marciniak was tied for SpartanNash’s top associate satisfaction score, and leads the company in its associate engagement metric. Known for her great leadership and communications skills, she believes in educating her team on goals and strategy while still managing to have fun. She is a member of the local chamber of commerce and participates as a volunteer at Anna’s Treasures, a nonprofit organization aiding foster children, for which Marciniak was instrumental in raising sufficient funds to provide 26 cases of diapers for families in need.


Nadine Flores

Smart & Final Extra! #916, Ventura, Calif.

When the Thomas Fire broke out in Southern California last December, Flores was at the store in 20 minutes, spending the night and the next day in a store without power, and helping local businesses and households shop by lantern for their needs; these efforts continued for three weeks as the fire raged. The consistency of her store conditions and building operation led to double-digit sales and EBITDA growth in 2017, causing her location to be awarded District 13 Store of the Year. Never afraid to take on any new task, Flores volunteered to mentor store managers who needed assistance.

Lana Arellano Sprouts Farmers Markets #276, Daly City, Calif.

Managing the highest-volume Sprouts store in the Bay Area, Arellano has been recognized by the company for her efforts in supporting other stores in the absence of their store managers. She also piloted an important rollout of a Sprouts ecommerce system handling out-of-stock counts, and piloted a new live cooking demo station in her store, which has become a customer favorite. In addition to her managerial role, Arellano serves Sprouts and her team as an emerging leader educator, Store Manager Council member and new-in-role store manager trainer.

Mayra Galvan

Smart & Final #923, San Pedro, Calif.

Because of her ability to recognize and develop talent, Galvan’s stewardship as a store manager has led to a number of her associates’ being promoted to higher levels within the company.


Connie Kalonich Store Director, SpartanNash, Family Fare #1511, Grayling, Mich.

Kalonich exceeded her 2017 profit goal by $1 million and grew her same-store sales by more than $1 million in just two years.

By engaging her associates, and with smart merchandising, she achieved excellent financial performance in her store location, also winning Smart & Final’s 2017 Store of the Year in her region.

She earned one of highest associate satisfaction scores and overall satisfaction customer scores in the company by being someone who likes to drop in on weekends and evenings to help support her staff and assist customers.

Previously, Galvan and her team at Store #923 achieved second-year sales comps of almost 7 percent over prior year, a great accomplishment on top of outstanding first-year sales.

As a person dedicated to making the community surrounding her store a better place to live, Kalonich is heavily involved in the local chamber of commerce and the Grayling Business Expo.

Erin Baez

Stop & Shop #2606, West Hartford, Conn.

Manager of a new store, Baez exceeded expectations and the company’s metrics in customer service, shrink and inventory, beating her previous-year sales numbers. While doubling temporarily as her store’s floral specialist, she increased Valentine’s Day sales. Baez also helped organize a 5K race in which all proceeds were donated to a veterans’ group and led a group of Stop & Shop employees volunteering to clean up the local veterans’ cemetery, where she lays flags on the graves on Flag Day, Memorial Day, Veteran’s Day and Labor Day, as well as providing wreaths at Christmas.

Dominique Gabriel

Stop & Shop #88, Bedford, Mass.

In 2017, Gabriel’s store saw a sales increase of almost $400,000 from the prior year, and was Bedford’s Readers Choice Award recipient in 2017 in the Bakery, Floral, Meat and Deli Department categories. She is known for her aggressive innovation and fresh ideas on merchandising projects, which helped her store exceed sales targets by four basis points in 2017. Gabriel is a member of the Network of Executive Women, and last year organized an effort with her store associates to raise more than $24,000 for the Bedford school system.


2018 Top Women in Grocery Melissa MachadoYoungberg

Stop & Shop #2611, East Hampton, Conn.

Always willing to share her knowledge, Machado-Youngberg organized an effort to revise the onboarding process, saving her district travel pay expense while increasing efficiencies in communication and associate management. Her team has won various company competitions, including March Madness and Super Bowl contests, while also logging a record-breaking sales week for the store during the Christmas holiday. Machado-Youngberg has a close partnership with the East Hampton Food and Fuel Bank, for whose benefit she hosts an annual coat drive.

Melinda McCarthy

Stop & Shop #2403, Provincetown, Mass.

McCarthy led her profitable seasonal store to an upswing in business from $265,000 in the off-season to $1,275,000 at the height of the season. To keep the store’s item availability at 99 percent, she targeted local businesses that were buying in bulk regularly, and set up a way for those businesses to pick up their product while the store maintained stocked aisle shelves. Passionate about serving her store’s surrounding community, McCarthy has held food drives for such local nonprofit organizations as the Truro Food Pantry, Helping Our Women, a local AIDS support group and the Provincetown Police’s pet pantry.

Linda Podvidz

Stop & Shop #541, Carle Place, N.Y.

Employing a unique business approach, Podvidz cultivated loyalty from local customers while exceeding sales in Q1 2018, even with a major competitor opening nearby. She’s also a favorite of Stop & Shop’s food brands and vendors, having won competitions such as the Jarlsberg Sales Contest and the Coca-Cola March Madness Sales Contest, both in 2017, as well as a gift card sales contest. Always one to make sure that Stop & Shop is prominent in the local community, Podvidz has encouraged her staffers’ volunteerism in area food and toy drives; many associates have participated in these events, boosting associate engagement and morale.


Lisa Quattrucci

Stop & Shop #2702, Providence, R.I.

Making use of her ability to improve store performance across multiple metrics, Quattrucci has boosted employee engagement, exceeding sales goals and increasing both her last and current store’s scores in fresh produce and meat quality. She’s regarded as an innovative leader, especially when it comes to motivating associates and in finding creative ways to fulfill the goals and targets of the company; team building and bonding is important to her. Quattrucci is a big believer in giving back to her community, volunteering at Crossroads of Rhode Island, in Providence, and at the Marieville School and Food Pantry.









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2018 Top Women in Grocery Marsheila Spruiell

Stop & Shop #604, Naugatuck, Conn.

In 2017, Spruiell’s store cut EBIT bottom line in half from the previous year, and increased total fresh sales by 24 basis points and total nonperishable shrink by 45 basis points better than budget. Gifted with a keen eye for presentation, Spruiell and her team won multiple display contests throughout the year; having been successfully mentored earlier in her career, she believes in metoring her associates in turn. Heavily involved in community efforts as a breast cancer survivor, Spruiell volunteers with various local organizations; partnering with the police and fire departments, she and her team contributed 3,000-plus meals to nearby food charities.

Kimberly Page Tops #227, East Amherst, N.Y.

In charge of 165 associates, Page was responsible for store operations during a $1.4 million dollar remodel, after which the store achieved 10 percent year-on-year sales growth; she and her team also fought to restore sales after a nearby bridge closure proved detrimental to store traffic.

Jennafer Tamburri

Stop & Shop #2633, New Haven, Conn.

Tamburri’s accomplishments over the past year included a handful of record-breaking sales weeks in such departments as produce and floral while greatly reducing fresh and nonperishable shrink. Focusing on excellent customer service daily by greeting all shoppers and getting out on the sales floor to engage associates, she spearheaded an effort to remerchandise her entire store to meet the specific needs and wants of the customer. Tamburri works closely with Mom’s Partnership and Fellowship Place, in New Haven, hosting events and serving the community during the holiday season.

As a result of her creativity and merchandising skills, Vaicius maximized this year’s Valentine’s Day efforts to increase florist sales 28 percent over last year. She and her team raised more than $11,000 to help find a cure for childhood cancer, marking the best performance in her district, while also raising more than $6,500 for the Food for Friends campaign.

Tops #237, Depew, N.Y.

Marcilliott successfully managed a total store reset to integrate organic products throughout her location, resulting in 15 percent organic sales growth over the last year and 2 percent growth in total-store penetration. She increased bakery department sales by 3.5 percent, lowered shrink from 10.98 percent to 10.92 percent through the company’s Critical Care initiative, and trained a new office manager and a new assistant bakery manager. Marcilliott worked with a local school for the Tops in Education program; the effort led to a significant increase in transactions, net sales and total rebate for the school.

Patty Ryan

A winner of Tops’ Millionaire’s Club award for profit exceeding $1 million, Ryan enabled her store to gain market share in the area and reverse a negative trend prior to her arrival; her team successfully integrated organics into the regular grocery set, increasing organic penetration. She forged deep connections within the community through such activities as the annual Christmas Community Donation Tree.

Page was nominated as the Buffalo Central District Store Manager of the Year and won Tops’ Millionaire’s Club award for her store’s financial earnings; in her spare time, she volunteers at a local animal shelter.

Winner of the 2017 Overall Store Manager of the Year award, Ryan oversaw Tops’ Manager On Duty training class and strove to ensure that her associates are fully supported and appreciated.

Since taking over as manager of Store # 53 in January 2017, Vaicius helped her location finish the year with an increase in sales exceeding company levels and improved underlying EBIT; she was also a finalist for the Better Place to Shop Award, recognizing leaders for customer perception scores.

Michelle Marcilliott

Tops #520, Dansville, N.Y.

Her store served as a test site for company pilot programs, including a click-and-collect ecommerce initiative.


Christy Vaicius

Stop & Shop #53, Boston


The Top Women in Grocery Gala will take place Nov. 8 at the Palmer House Hilton, in Chicago. PG looks forward to seeing many of the honorees and their supporters at this inspirational event.


Save the Date Thursday, November 7-8 The Palmer House Hilton Chicago Progressive Grocer will honor the 2018 Top Women in Grocery winners at our signature gala event. The event will include an evening cocktail reception, dinner, awards presentations and more. Attend to honor and be inspired by our award winners!

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Health & Wellness


any grocers offer in-store pharmacies, and a growing contingent now feature in-store nutritionists to counsel shoppers, but what can supermarkets do to make their stores true wellness centers? The first step is a change in attitude. “About six years ago, I recall driving up to a grocery store and seeing a huge sign outside that said ‘wellness,’ in place of a more familiar sign, ‘pharmacy,’” recounts Susan T. Borra, chief wellness officer at Arlington, Va.-based Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and executive director of the FMI Foundation. “This decision for a store to stake its claim on being the destination for shoppers’ wellness needs was poignant to me as a registered dietitian, facilitator of the Food Marketing Institute Health and Wellness Council and as a consumer. It wasn’t just a sign on a storefront; this placard foreshadowed a movement among our food retail members to embrace and align their brands with wellness.” Borra notes that such a shift in emphasis goes all the way to the top and requires ongoing dedication. “According to ‘FMI Retailer Contributions to Health & Wellness,’ back in 2014, we were aware of two primary leadership teams responsible for operationalized health-and-wellness initiatives: pharmacy (59 percent) and nutrition (50 percent) leadership teams,” she observes. “Today, there’s an entire category of managers for health-and-wellness leadership, and 71 percent of these focused experts are leading the decision process on how programs are established and operationalized in food retail. We’re also aware through our research that there’s commitment at the highest corporate level, as 46 percent of companies say their president and CEO are involved in evaluating health-and-wellness opportunities.”


Key Takeaways Ongoing commitment to creating comprehensive supermarket health-andwellness programs goes all the way to the top and should encompass all store departments. Grocers are both providing their own branded solutions and teaming up with outside suppliers to promote health and wellness. Produce, deli and center store products are just some the items that can experience improved sales from health-andwellness positioning. Most food retailers see supermarket health-andwellness programs as a significant business growth opportunity for the entire industry going forward, and are investing more in community-based health care initiatives.


Health & Wellness

Store-Level Strategies

At the store level, this all-in approach is exemplified by the ShopRite supermarket banner, operated by members of the Keasbey, N.J.based retailer cooperative Wakefern Food Corp. “There is a greater awareness today of the connection between food and health, and ShopRite is committed to sharing that message with our customers,” says Natalie Menza-Crowe, RD, MS, director of health and wellness at Wakefern. “More than 100 registered dietitians work in ShopRite stores and offer complimentary services such as personal consultations, store tours, support groups, weight management classes, and kids’ and adult cooking classes. Those dietitians often work with different departments in the store, including pharmacy staff, to coordinate care and programs and communicate important messages about the best ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle. ShopRite’s Well Everyday campaign helps reinforce those messages with consumer-friendly tips, recipes and in-store signage to inform and educate customers as they shop throughout the store. Color-coded shelf tags also help consumers better understand the health-and-wellness attributes of products on store shelves.” The chain plans to expand and build on the program “by providing important information to customers in our stores — look for new Well Everyday signs and tips each month in grocery aisles,” notes Menza-Crowe. When it comes to in-store items and services, “the most important thing is to provide the information and products our customers need and want,” she asserts. “More customers are seeking ways to create healthier meals, and our highly qualified dietitians can help provide that information to customers right where they need it most — at the stores where they shop for the ingredients they need to make meals for their families.” These items include ShopRite’s private label Wholesome Pantry line, which debuted in 2017 and features foods made with simple, clean ingredients free from artificial additives, flavors, colors and preservatives, and packaged with easy-to-read labels, and a recently introduced line of dietitian-approved, gourmet-style meal kits for customers seeking affordable meal solutions that are creative, easy to make and prepared with better-for-you ingredients. Produce for Kids teams with Meijer on displays featuring childfriendly recipes in the retailer’s produce departments twice a year.


Consumers are stressed for time, and successful grocers understand that they can be a thoughtful resource to their customers.” —Susan T. Borra, FMI

Barrier-Breaking Partnerships

In addition to marketing their own brands, food retailers can join forces with outside manufacturers to promote health-and-wellness initiatives. “Our experiences with the Gold Plate Awards and National Family Meals Month campaign [in September] demonstrate how food retailers can collaborate with suppliers to deliver mealtime solutions to the customer,” notes Borra. “The business of food retail has always been grounded in community, so FMI members can ultimately serve a greater societal good by helping families meet both wellness and togetherness goals.” “With health and nutrition being top of mind for today’s shoppers, it only makes sense to collaborate efforts across departments to drive plan development,” points out Amanda Keefer, director, marketing communications at Orlando, Fla.-based Produce for Kids (PFK), an organization that develops programs involving retailers and produce companies. “Creating merchandising that brings together like-minded healthy brands across departments will provide meaningful and relevant resource areas for shoppers. The barrier oftentimes boils down to internal logistics of departmentalizing a grocery store that has been strictly departmentalized for many years.” Some of the ways that PFK has helped to break down this barrier is through programs such as a We Heart RDs kit distributed to 400-plus retail dietitians at more than 50 U.S. and Canadian retailers, containing seasonal recipe ideas, a What’s in Season counter card, stickers for shoppers, and information on in-season commodities, and a partnership with Meijer stores to deploy recipe standees in the chain’s produce department twice a year. Outside of these programs, Keefer suggests “a ‘What’s for Dinner’ cooler case near the front of the store. We know every family struggles with this question. Why not make it easy for a mom or dad running from work to home with everything in the front of the store, ready to go, simple, and, of course, with some sort of nutritionally sound stamp of approval and recipe card?” This kind of approach is heartily endorsed by Borra: “Consumers are stressed for time, and successful grocers understand that they can be a thoughtful resource to their customers.”

Other convenient solutions Keefer mentions are meal kits like those carried by ShopRite — “Offering healthy versions of these kits in a grab-and-go space in the store makes a lot of sense today for today’s busy shopper” — and, during summer, placing water bottles for infusing fruits above a berry display, with signage explaining to shoppers how to infuse their water. What it all comes down to for retailers, she asserts, is “being a resource and listening to their shoppers,” and she believes that the internet provides a valuable point of connection. “Social media platforms offer a direct way to gain insight from shoppers,” observes Keefer. “Oftentimes, shoppers in store are hard to capture, but when consumers are logged into their social outlets during their own downtime, they are more likely to offer thoughts and ideas on what they’d like to see in store. Millennials live on platforms like Instagram, where grocers [are] yet to have a strong presence.” It’s not just produce that stands to benefit from such collaborations, however. Ridgefield, N.J.-based Toufayan Bakeries, for instance, has been developing various better-for-you items, among them gluten-free options such as wraps, pita chips, cookies (under the Goodie Girl brand name), and pizza crust; Non-GMO Certified products; and natural/organic breads such as a line of whole wheat sprout-

ed-grains wraps, pitas, Smart Pockets and naan. Future innovations may include breads made with high-nutrition flour, according to the company. “Since ‘healthy/wellness’ solutions have become mainstream, these products should be merchandised with all the regular deli breads, to ensure that consumers will find these options more easily, and recognize that eating well is a broadly accepted notion, not an isolated specialty product or niche item,” advises VP of Marketing and Sales Karen Toufayan. “With medical solutions now deriving from food and specialty diets, retailers have an incredible opportunity to build a section in their stores that caters to the many digestive health needs,” notes Steven J. Singer, founder and CEO of Montreal-based Fody Foods, whose products are designed to be low in FODMAPs, short-chain carbohydrates that can trigger symptoms in people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). “Taking their already impressive gluten-free offerings and expanding to low FODMAP, probiotics and more will allow consumers to shop with confidence, knowing their needs are being taken care of. By addressing the many sought-after wellness solutions, retailers will benefit




Health & Wellness

from increased loyalty to their stores.” Adds Singer: “From bars to pasta sauces, ketchup to salsa, salad dressings to spice blends, the business already caters to many eating occasions. In the future, new products that address other eating occasions such as snacking, breakfast and mealtime will be coming out, ensuring more happy customers.” The company recently inked a distribution deal with West Des

50 Years of Toufayan PIONEERING MANUFACTURER RE ACHES MILESTONE Toufayan Bakeries, one of the largest family-owned commercial bakeries in America, is celebrating 50 years in business in the United States. Based in Ridgefield, N.J., with additional manufacturing facilities in Plant City and Orlando, Fla., the company, which produces more than 100 varieties of breads and baked goods, helped kick-start the long-running pita trend and introduce U.S. consumers to ethnic breads. Harry Toufayan, who grew up working in his father’s bakeries overseas, opened the first Toufayan Bakery in the United States in West New York, N.J., and discovered an eager market for his products in this country. “We found early success selling traditional breads within the ethnic community,” notes Toufayan, now in his mid-70s. “But at some point, just a few years after we opened, I was picking up a deli order at the local supermarket and thought, wow, this would be a great place for pita bread, which was very hard to find in those days. I refocused our attention on grocery stores, and some forward-thinking buyers bit and placed orders. Together, we introduced Americans to pita breads, wraps and other


Moines, Iowa-based Hy-Vee, which is carrying Fody products in more than 100 of its stores across the Midwest. What’s on the horizon for health and wellness in supermarkets? PFK’s Keefer predicts such strategies as coupons supporting sales of fresh produce items alongside CPGs, cooking classes and education sessions, and even a mobile app “that ties back to stores and offers deals and ideas.” “According to our research, 81 percent of the food retailers … currently view supermarket health-andwellness programs as a significant business growth opportunity for the entire industry in the years ahead,” notes Borra, whose organization has just published a best-practices guide for food retailers and suppliers in this area with regard to all of the fresh departments. “What do we expect to see? More. Food retailers are genuinely interested in their customers’ vitality through food and how that relates to their health.” She also singles out growing investment in community-based health care programs, adding that “many retailers are exploring how their stores can be a true health care provider. It is an exciting time in food retail, and I’m confident our members will invest in the people, processes and technologies to help their businesses lead in health.”

specialty baked goods that have now become commonplace in households nationwide.” In addition to acquainting American shoppers with traditional breads, Toufayan Bakeries was one of the first manufacturers to offer shoppers such healthy on-trend options as the Smart Bagel, a version of a “scooped-out” bagel with fewer calories, and a line of gluten-free wraps in varieties like Spinach, Garden Vegetable, Savory Tomato and Original. The company’s latest products include Gluten Free Pita Chips, Organic Sprouted Pita Bread, a gluten-free thin-crust for pizza, and what’s billed as the country’s first Organic Naan. Also among its offerings are vegan, non-GMO, organic, low-carb and kosher items.


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Ice Cream

“Ice cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn’t illegal.”


he above quote, from the French writer and philosopher Voltaire, is a bit harsh, but even back when he mused about the creamy dessert in the 18th century, he was prescient enough to see that people love ice cream yet often feel guilty about savoring it. If Voltaire had a chance to walk through a grocery freezer aisle in 2018, he would see that consumers still tend to talk — or eat — out of both sides of their mouth when it comes to ice cream. Cases are stocked with a plethora of indulgent, hand-crafted, small-batch and highly flavorful frozen desserts as well as a range of ice creams deemed better-for-you, or at least less indulgent. Perhaps the most interesting trend is the combination of indulgent and better-for-you, as manufacturers seek to deliver on both attributes in one product. South Burlington, Vt.-based Ben & Jerry’s, known for its indulgent and fun flavors, recently unveiled a new line of “Moo-phoria” ice cream with 140 to 160 calories per serving, yet still packed with the brand’s signature “funky chunks” and “whirly swirls.”


Key Takeaways An emerging trend in the ice cream category is the quest to combine indulgent and better-for-you attributes in a single product. The overall ice cream category is dominated, however, by products that are either decadent or healthier. Manufacturers are dialing up the fun factor, with playful new flavors and novelties, as well as whimsical variety names. New flavor trends aiming to capture consumers’ taste buds include fresh, tropical fruits paired with such ingredients as spices, vegetables and rich desserts, and inclusions such as cookie doughs, butters and salty nuts. Among newer forms poised for popularity at mainstream U.S. grocers are mochi and rolled ice cream, both big in Asia.





Ice Cream

The success of Halo Top Creamery frozen desserts, made with organic stevia, organic cane sugar and a milk protein concentrate, among other ingredients, also underscores the having-it-both-ways focus. In its “2018 New Product Pacesetter” report, Chicago-based research firm IRI found that Los Angeles-based Halo Top — which offers varieties like Sea Salt Caramel and S’mores — garnered more than $324 million in sales, putting it at the top of influential new products. Likewise, smaller portions of richer novelties aim to please consumers grappling with simultaneous cravings and pangs of guilt. This spring, Englewood Cliffs, N.J.-based Unilever introduced Breyers Minis, with 70 to 80 calories per 4-ounce cup. The company also rolled out the first snack-sized product from its venerable Klondike brand.

All or Nothing?

While mashups of decadent and reduced-guilt products are increasingly common, the overall ice cream category is dominated by products that largely

belong in one camp or the other. On the pure comfort-food side, the marketplace includes a spate of new items, like Unilever’s Magnum line of tub ice cream, with ice cream encased in a chocolate shell and topped with a chocolate stamp. Turkey Hill, based in Conestoga, Pa., recently added to its portfolio with Decadent Delights bars, featuring ice cream swirled with ribbons of fruit and triple-dipped in either fruit purée or chocolate.

We know that inside every health-conscious person is a person who still wants that soul-soothing ice cream experience.” —Joshua Tubbs, Wells Enterprises

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“Ice cream is a treat, and that’s what Decadent Delights is meant to be,” says President John Cox of the bars, the first novelties that Turkey Hill has introduced in a decade. “It’s made for people who are passionate about good food.” At the same time, the better-for-you segment is still as hot as ice cream is cold. As findings released last year by Chicago-based market research firm Nielsen show, more ice cream products are billed as clean-label and better-foryou, moving from the traditional “reduced-sugar” and “reduced-fat” claims to touting protein, vegan or low-glycemic attributes. According to research from Chicago-based SPINS, natural frozen desserts aimed at those on special diets or seeking functional health benefits experienced a 20.1 percent uptick in sales since last year. SPINS data also reveal that frozen ice cream is growing most quickly in the natural channel. Several items that fall under the broad umbrella of better-for-you have been launched in the past year. LeMars, Iowa-based ice cream manufacturer Wells Enterprises, for example, has come out with a new light line called Chilly Cow, a high-protein, lower-sugar ice cream made with ultra-filtered milk. The product is supported by a cheeky ad campaign with the slogan “Save Yourself from Yourself,” targeting consumers likely to deprive themselves of decadent treats. “We know that inside every health-conscious person is a person who still wants that soul-soothing ice cream experience — and the current chalky-tasting light ice creams out there just aren’t delivering,” explains Wells Brand Manager Joshua Tubbs. Foundry Foods, an “innovation incubator” supported by Nestlé USA and located in Oakland, Calif., recently unveiled a low-fat, quart-sized packaged ice cream under the Sweet Habit brand, with 70 to 80 calories and 5 grams of protein per half-cup serving in flavors like What the Caramel, Mint My Cookies and Cinnamon Bunned. Meanwhile, as Unilever rolls out new full-fat[?] ice creams, the company also has a hand in better-for-you, with the introduction of a new Crafted with Less Sugar extension of the Talenti line of gelato, sweetened with monk fruit.

Fun Factor

Other attributes are trending in the category heading into National Ice Cream Month in July. The fun factor, for instance, is evident in a lot of intriguing flavors and novelties. Blue Bunny, for instance, has debuted a line of Load’d Sundaes, designed to look and taste like something out of an old-time ice cream parlor. The products come in a container that mimics a parlor-made sundae, in flavors including Bunny Tracks, Chocolate Brownie Bomb and Cookie Dough Co. Also mixing things up is Unilever brand Breyers, with new two-in-one combinations comprising cookies and candies swirled together in an ice cream base. Turkey Hill is putting its own twist on a classic ice cream with its new Trio’politan line, a blend of three classic and bold new flavors. One variety is American Dream, made with blueberry, vanilla with a strawberry swirl, and strawberry with chocolate chips. Store brands are also ramping up the feel-good aspects of their ice cream offerings. West Des Moines, Iowa-based Hy-Vee, for example, offers ice cream pints called Till the Cows Come Home, with colorful graphics on the package and whimsical flavor names like Shiver Me Truffles and Wake Me Up Before You Cocoa. The Purple Cow brand, from Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Meijer, also imparts a carefree vibe, with a colorful logo and varieties such as Strawberry Rhubarb Pie and Scooperman.

Competition in April, “contestants showed off their expert ability to pair fresh, tropical fruits with almost anything, including spices, vegetables and decadent desserts,” notes reports Cary Frye, IFDA’s SVP of regulatory affairs. “Ice creams featuring cookie doughs and butters, as well as salty nuts, were also highly favored flavors in this year’s lineup.” If creative flavors are fun, so are emerging forms of ice cream. Interest in mochi — bite-sized ice cream wrapped in a sweetened dough usually made from rice flour — continues to grow. Some Whole Foods Market stores have a graband-go mochi case, while other retailers have made room in their freezer aisles to include the treat. Manufacturers, for their part, are capitalizing on demand, such as the Hawaiian brand Bubbies, which offers premium mochi in 30 traditional and unique flavors, and the My/Mo Mochi brand, of Los Angeles, which has a new Salted Caramel flavor. Another form of ice cream getting a lot of buzz but not yet mainstream in grocery is rolled ice cream, made by pouring a liquid ice cream base into a cold slate and later chopping and rolling it by hand, has become popular in Asian countries like Thailand and is now a culinary darling among foodies, especially Millennials.

Creativity Ahead

Meanwhile, if they aren’t on the shelf just yet, novel ice cream flavors show that there’s still room for creativity. At the Washington, D.C.-based International Dairy Foods Association’s (IDFA) annual Innovative Ice Cream Flavor PROGRESSIVE GROCER June 2018



2018 Retail Bakery Review

Proof of Life THE BAKERY DEPARTMENT IS FACING SOME TOUGH RE ALITIES THIS YE AR, BUT E XPECTATIONS ARE HIGH. By Kat Martin n the grocery store, the bakery has a unique position in that the majority of its sales are from impulse purchases, but one that’s fairly easy to justify, as they’re small treats. Progressive Grocer ’s 2018 Retail Bakery Review takes a look at the state of the department nationwide. Last year, sales were flying high, with nearly 70 percent of respondents reporting a sales increase from the previous year. This year, the numbers are a bit more grounded, with 55 percent reporting a sales increase of an average 6.8 percent (compared with an 11.1 percent increase last year). About one-third (30.2 percent) noted that sales had stayed the same, up from the 21.7 percent last year who indicated the same. For the nearly 10 percent who said sales decreased this year, the sales decline was 5.5 percent on average. Profits also are reportedly down. Only 44.7 percent indicated an increase in profits from last year, while in the 2017 survey, 52.2 percent saw profits rise. This can be attributed to several factors, one of which is the

slight increase of shrink: This year, shrink as a percentage of sales hit 8.3 percent, up from 5.9 percent last year. The percent of sales the department contributes to overall store sales also dropped a bit. The number had hovered at slightly above 7 percent for the past three years, but has now dipped down to 6.4 percent. However, optimism about future sales is higher than last year, with 65 percent indicating that they expect sales to increase for 2018 when compared with 2017; last year, it was only 60.9 percent. The percentage of the expected sales increase for 2018 also is higher than it was last year, with respondents expecting sales to rise 8.3 percent this year, while the expected growth last year was only 7.8 percent.




2018 Retail Bakery Review

Labor Intensive

Bakery sales are having an impact on labor as well. Kimberly Holleman, category buyer for Houston-based Fiesta Mart, who notes that sales have been flat for her department, adds that the reliance on part-time labor is increasing. “I see that a lot in the industry itself, really,” Holleman says. “Nobody wants to continue to put the labor into it. It’s still a labor crunch. We want to do more with less.” PG’s survey seems to indicate that the category overall has seen a decrease in the number of staff in the bakery department; both full-time and part-time numbers declined from 2017. This year, the department had an average of four employees for both full- and part-time positions, a decline from averages of 4.3 full-time and 5.1 part-time last year. As a result of the department’s lower sales, labor as percent of sales increased to 25.8 percent, from 24.4 percent last year, another potential reason that profitability was down this year. This reliance on part-time staff often precludes what skilled labor is available for the department, Holleman notes. This is driving her to shift her production: “We’re going more to thaw-and-sell products due to labor,” she observes. However, labor costs rank fifth as a top concern for respondents, although labor as a percent of sales is slowly creeping up, as previously noted. For Ken Downey, director of bakery merchandising for The Fresh Market, in Greensboro, N.C., the shift also has been toward non-labor-intensive production methods, although he notes that the move was more for product consistency across the company’s 176 stores. “I’m on a quest to eliminate all frozen dough and go either par-baked or fully baked or freezer-to-oven, and take the variable of

Bakery Sales 2017 vs. 2016 Increased


Stayed the same


YE AR AGO 5 5.6%


3 0. 2%


Net change


Projected Sales for Total 2018 Increase


Stay the same

Don’t know




6 0.9%

3 4. 8%

3 0.0%



Net change

Net change



Bakery Department Performance

Source: Progressive Grocer market research, 2018

6 9.6%


8 .7%

Net change

Percent of Sales From Self-Service Bakery Year-Round Bakery SKUs Seasonal Bakery SKUs Full-Time Equivalent Employees per Store Part-Time Equivalent Employees per Store Gross Margin Labor as Percent of Sales Shrink as Percent of Sales Average Size of Bakery Department (Sq. Ft.)


Don’t know


Year Ago

61.4% 246.0 216.0 4.0 4.0 48.8% 25.8% 8.3% 1342.0

56.9% 162.0 127.4 4.3 5.1 45.3% 24.4% 5.9% 1,653


2018 Retail Bakery Review Bakery Profits 2017 vs. 2016 Increased


Stayed the same

Don’t know


4 4.7%

YE AR AGO 2 6.1%


21.3% Source: Progressive Grocer market research, 2018


52 . 2%

proofing away,” he says, providing the example of croissants: “We were buying frozen-dough croissants where you had to proof them and bake them, and if you went into five of my stores, you would see five different croissants every single day. We just switched ... to a pre-proof frozen all-butter croissant, and now our croissants look beautiful every day in every store.” In the survey, bake-off was the most popular production method, with 35.3 percent using those type of products, while 26.7 percent used thaw-and-sell and 19.8 percent used par-baked. Scratch baking remains relatively high, at 28.4 percent. Holleman points out that some of the movement away from scratch baking could be due to labeling regulations. “You have the nutritional labeling, and the importance of all that being so accurate nowadays — I think that has a lot to do with it as well,” she says.

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Top-Selling Bakery Items Cookies Breads Doughnuts Cakes/Tortes Muffins Celebration/Special-Occasion Cakes Rolls Artisan Breads Cupcakes Danish/Sweet Rolls Bagels Hispanic Items Pies Scones Other


Year Ago

45.5% 40.9 40.9 29.5 22.7 18.2 18.2 15.9 13.6 11.4 4.5

39.1% 60.9 30.4 65.2 4.3 N/A 8.7 17.4 17.4 4.3 13.0

4.5 2.3 2.3 9.1

N/A 30.4 0.0 4.3

Source: Progressive Grocer market research, 2018

All Hail Cookies

As for popular products, cookies seem to be reigning supreme. The product was noted by the most respondents (45.5 percent) as the top-selling bakery item, rising up from the third spot on the top-selling list last year. Cookies also ranked first on the most profitable list, with 20.9 percent citing them as the most profitable bakery item. When these two lists align, it means good things and may explain why the optimism for next year’s sales and profits is high. “Cookies are just crazy for us,” Downey affirms. “I’m trending 10 percent over last year [in sales].” He is launching a new Italian cookie line soon and expects sales to grow even more. The cookie category also is his lowest in shrink. As cookies tend to have a longer shelf life than other popular products like doughnuts or bread (tied for second place in the most popular bakery items), this also will

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2018 Retail Bakery Review

Top 5 Concerns Facing the Bakery Department 1. Customer Satisfaction

2. Profits

3. Product Quality

Recruiting Effective Employees (tie)

Employee Training (tie)

4. Attracting More Shoppers to Bakery

5. Labor Costs

Cross-Merchandising Methods Current

Year Ago

Sell bakery products in the deli



Sell bakery products in other store departments



Partner with the in-store deli to make sandwiches on house-made bread/buns/rolls



Place signage in other departments to promote bakery items as a complementary product



Source: Progressive Grocer market research, 2018

contribute to the profitability factor. Another highly profitable item, cakes, coming in second on the most profitable list, fell in popularity this year from the top of the list in 2017 to third in best-selling products. It was at the top of both profitability and best-selling lists last year. However, this year, PG distinguished between custom-decorated cakes and everyday cakes/tortes, which may be part of the reason for the drop in the ratings.

16% The percentage of bakery sales that are free-from products

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Bakery Department Category Performance Total U.S., 52 Weeks Ending April 28, 2018


BAKERY Bread Muffins Doughnuts Rolls and Buns Sweet Goods Bagels Cookies and Crackers Cake Brownies Cupcakes Pies Grab-and-Go Specialty Desserts Dessert Party Platters

Dollars per Store/Week

Dollars per Store/Week Percent Change vs. Year Ago

Units Percent Change

Units Percent on Promotion

Volume Percent on Promotion Change vs. Year Ago

$5,033 $1,028 493 622 789 548 220 807 1,571 171 442 566 199 110 124

Average Unit Average Percent Unit Change vs. Price Year Ago







-1.0% 5.6 5.7 1.8 -4.4 -4.6 -0.5 0.2 13.3 1.0 1.8 3.3 3.9 0.2

-2.0% 0.9 0.7 1.3 -3.0 -2.5 3.1 9.3 2.1 -0.8 8.5 2.6 -1.6 5.0

23.1% 22.2 17.1 17.6 25.9 13.1 28.1 25.6 25.7 30.9 34.3 12.0 21.9 19.0

(0.6) (1.2) 0.3 (2.3) (1.8) 0.4 (0.2) 0.9 2.1 0.4 1.5 0.6 (3.4) (0.4)

$2.16 2.95 1.47 1.43 2.74 0.93 3.62 6.52 4.44 4.91 2.66 3.09 4.54 6.88

-0.3% 3.5 1.0 -1.8 1.9 0.9 -0.5 -8.3 3.4 0.5 -6.9 3.3 4.8 -2.4

Source: Nielsen

Allergen-Free Products Offered 67.6%

Gluten-Free Nut-Free

4 3. 2%

Pecorino Sardo P.D.O. No ordinary sheep. No ordinary cheese. The Pecorino Sardo P.D.O. is made with 100% Sardinian milk that

18 .9%


comes from sheep raised in the natural pastures of their area of origin, rich in wild tree species. It is known to be one of the oldest cheeses of Sardinia, and is produced following a step-by-step process that has been adhered to from one generation to the next. The Pecorino Sardo


16. 2%

P.D.O. comes in two different varieties: Dolce (mild) and Maturo (mature), which differ in production technique, size, aging and organoleptic characteristics, thereby offering different flavors that will satisfy every palate.

Other Allergen-Free Baked Goods Do Not Sell

Pecorino Sardo P.D.O., the unique taste of authenticity.

2 .7%

The term “PECORINI” in Italian means cheese made from sheep’s milk.


Source: Progressive Grocer market research, 2018

Top Concerns

When it comes to issues facing the bakery department, the No. 1 concern is customer satisfaction. While nearly half (45 percent) of consumers indicated that they shopped the in-store bakery at least once a week in PG’s Consumer Insights survey (see full results on page 14), keeping them coming back is vital. Product quality tied for third in the top five concerns for the bakery department, which tends to go hand in hand with customer satisfaction. “I’m upgrading quality in every category,” Downey asserts. “Our customers, our demographic, are very, very smart customers. So if you give a customer who’s educated a better product, they certainly do not mind paying 50 cents more for it.”

Programme funded by the Autonomous Region of Sardinia with L.R. n. 5/2015 art. 15.



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Mobile Apps


can-as-you-shop technology is nothing new. Many retailers tried it as far back as the early 2000s, when Wi-Fi technology was becoming more pervasive and enabled its possibility. Back then, early pilots revealed interesting results, according to Michael Jaszczyk, CEO of GK Software USA, a Raleigh, N.C.-based omnichannel solutions developer. Buy-in from consumers varied from country to country, and while younger consumers embraced the technology, older ones struggled with touchscreens and felt a “measure of creepiness” in the personalization aspect of it. Fast-forward to today, and the headlines show a growing acceptance: “Walmart Scan & Go Tech Moves Past Pilot.” “Meijer Unveils New Checkout App.” “Kroger Unveils 18 Divisions to Get Checkout-Free Tech.” In fact, Progressive Grocer ’s 2018 Annual Report reveals that the number of grocery retailers offering scan-as-you-shop technology essentially tripled in one year, with one-quarter of respondents saying they now use it, compared with 8.5 percent saying the same a year prior. Some retailers may ultimately abandon the service for now, as Walmart did shortly before press time due to lack of popularity with customers. Others, however, could easily have success with the technology. But whether they find success or not, what is the biggest advantage of this technology? Reduced labor costs, many news outlets say, speculating that large numbers of cashiers will find themselves unemployed as mobile checkout technology grows in acceptance. No doubt, some grocers will do this to save money on labor (or even self-checkout kiosks). Progressive grocers, however, will see the other advantages to introducing mobile checkout apps to their patrons, including the following:


Increased Basket Rings

Many grocers already are rolling out or expanding their ecommerce operations to better compete against Amazon and other ecommerce giants: Nearly one-tenth of grocery sales will be online by 2022, and are expected to grow 13 percent each year, compared with the 1.3 percent compound annual growth rate expected in-store, recent research from Barrington, Ill.-based retail consultancy Brick Meets Click reveals. However, ordering groceries for delivery via a pure-play ecommerce site doesn’t allow for add-on purchases the way that instore pickup does, with the help of mobile checkout apps.

Nothing reduces shrink like greeting every customer and looking them in the eye, and now even greeting them by name as they walk in the store.” — Chase Thomason, Skip PROGRESSIVE GROCER June 2018



Mobile Apps

“Customers are able to conveniently order anywhere and pick up items immediately while being able to add forgotten items by scanning in the store,” Jaszczyk notes, adding that the ability to add items to an order after already purchasing online is “is a far better experience for customers than just ordering online.” He also stresses the importance of grocers developing a unified back end, though, so shoppers who might make an order on a computer can still add to the order via their mobile device and a scan-as-you-shop app.


Loss Prevention

Some retailers worry that introducing scan-as-you-shop technology can empower thieves and grow shrink, as it seems easy to drop an item into the basket without scanning it. This isn’t necessarily the case, says Chase Thomason, founder and CEO of Skip, a mobile self-checkout solutions provider based in South Jordan, Utah. “In initial conversations with Associated Food Stores’ loss-prevention team members, we are starting to see Skip as a tool to help fight against loss prevention,” Thomason asserts. By setting up an account and logging into a scan-as-you-shop app, shoppers are letting retailers know who they are, which means that associates can easily greet and even get to know them.

Macey’s discovered that many scan-as-you-shop customers didn’t know how to scan and pay for weighted items, so it placed digital scales in its produce and bulk sections to make weighing easier.

“Nothing reduces shrink like greeting every customer and looking them in the eye,” Thomason says, “and now even greeting them by name as they walk in the store.” If a customer is engaged in suspicious-looking activity, clerks can flag him in the system to be audited closely in the future. Additionally, if a thief isn’t apprehended

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Mobile Apps

on the scene but logged into the app while shopping, a retailer can cross-reference data to help law enforcement locate the criminal more quickly— and even help to build the legal case and process crimes faster, saving money on litigation and legal fees.


Real-Time Interaction With Shoppers

For independent grocer Macey’s, a member of Salt Lake City-based retailer cooperative Associated Food Stores (AFS) that operates 10 stores in Utah, introducing mobile scan-and-checkout technology has been a way to improve not only customer loyalty, but also customer feedback: At the end of a shopping trip, the retailer’s app asks customers to rate their visit and leave a comment. “This feedback allows us to respond to what our customer is telling us in real time,” says Greg Welling, director of pricing and data analytics for Associated Retail Operations, a division of AFS. “We can correct overlooked conditions in the store or perform service recovery immediately.”

With Apps, Shoppers Want More Than to Skip Checkout No doubt, a scan-as-you-shop app’s main goal is to reduce or eliminate checkout time. It takes more than that, however, to develop an app that people will actually want to use — one bad feature or function, and users might just want to skip back to the traditional checkout line. Last year, Fayetteville, Ark.-based Field Agent commissioned a 36-person mystery shop using Walmart’s new Scan & Go technology, which, although the retailer has since abandoned the program, provided revealing comments that can be useful for other grocers seeking to implement such a solution. Among their comments, shoppers who enjoyed Walmart’s app clearly suggested that their desire to use it wasn’t based solely on its ability to eliminate checkout: Price checking, ease of scanning and even an appealing interface also were critical attributes of a scan-as-you-shop app that patrons enjoy using. Here are six of the users’ comments that grocers should take to heart when developing their own apps: “Looking up produce was simple.” “I like that I can double-check the price before I purchase.” “[It’s] similar to online shopping.” “Even a child could do the scanning — it’s so simple.” “The app is very smooth, with nice animations. We lost our network connection while shopping for a min“I like that you can enter a payment ute, and it handled method into the app, which makes it gracefully.” checking out super-easy.”



Empowering Associates

Although many of the benefits that come from scan-as-you-shop technology are immediately customer-facing, some are geared toward workers. Some would argue, for instance, that scan-as-you-shop technology takes power from cashiers. On the other hand, others could say it gives power to them. For instance, Skip’s technology allows associates operating an event in the parking lot to scan items for people seeking to check out without having to go into the store, Thomason says. Beyond events, larger food retailers that might have a section outside the store’s main footprint stand to benefit here. As an example, Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart recently introduced Check Out with Me, a program that empowers its Lawn & Garden Center associates by giving them the technology to check out customers and provide receipts on the spot, eliminating shoppers’ need to trek back into the store. Even though the mega-retailer said it would scuttle its Scan & Go program, it noted that it would use learnings from the program for other ongoing tests such as Check Out with Me. But empowerment shouldn’t be limited to checking out customers elsewhere — it can encompass other forms of customer service storewide. “New self-scanning technologies are often viewed by unions or store associates as labor-reducing initiatives,” notes Jon Hauptman, senior director of analytics solutions at Long Grove, Ill.-based retail consultancy Inmar Analytics (previously Inmar Willard Bishop). “Instead, such technologies can be positioned as enhancing service by freeing up labor to redistribute elsewhere in the store where needed to better serve the shopper.”


Understanding Store Design Better

Tracking shoppers’ purchase behavior — and knowing how to curate and replenish assortment — is a given benefit to having a scan-as-you-shop mobile app. But an app can also provide grocers with a way to track and understand each shopper’s path to purchase, Hauptman says. “Understanding how shoppers travel throughout the store is extremely valuable in determining display locations, identifying ideal category/aisle flow, and ultimately designing new stores to best reflect how shoppers prefer shopping the store,” he explains. For instance, Macey’s, by following and listening to users of its app, discovered that many customers were confused about how to scan and pay for weighted items through the app. In response, the grocer placed digital scales in its produce and bulk sections to make weighing easier. It also asked its produce team to be aware that shoppers were using the app, so they could provide directions to, and assist at, the scales.




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Health, Beauty & Wellness

Aisles of Opportunity CRE ATING HUBS FOR HE ALTH AND BE AUT Y PRODUCTS CAN HELP GROCERS GROW THEIR CATEGORY SALES. By Barbara Sax upermarkets have long been bringing up the rear in the health, beauty and wellness (HBW) race. Experts say that in an increasingly splintered and competitive market, the grocery channel has an opportunity to leverage its convenience and food/wellness positioning to boost its profile in this category. Laura Mahecha, industry manager for health care at Kline & Co., a Parsippany, N.J.-based consulting group, notes that the supermarket channel’s share of total HBC has shrunk to around 19 percent. “Over time, supermarkets have gotten squeezed by other channels and by online retail,” observes Mahecha, adding that more attention to the category could shift that downward trend. “The issue supermarkets have traditionally faced is that HBC is

Key Takeaways To excel in the HBW space, grocers must connect to shoppers who don’t necessarily visit the supermarket to purchase such products. Competitive pricing is key to retaining HBW customers in the supermarket channel. Grocers should make a commitment to new products, including niche and upscale brands, and use that strategy as a market differentiator. Impactful displays and out-of-thebox cross-merchandising can help HBW products stand out at grocery stores. PROGRESSIVE GROCER June 2018



Health, Beauty & Wellness

wellness assortment. Retailers who really understand their customer can push the limits of their sections, but it takes a laser-like view of the shopper and what she wants.”

The Price Must be Right

Wegmans extends its cosmetics space with displays showcasing niche brands at the front of the store.

not why the shopper is in the store,” says Wendy Liebmann, CEO of New York-based WSL Strategic Retail. “To make the category relevant, they have to connect to why she’s there.” For its part, Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods Market chose not to focus on traditional beauty products, instead carving out a niche in natural beauty, Liebmann points out. “It’s important for buyers to identify who their shopper is and what she wants from the store,” she goes on to note. “Wegmans has done that with service and an expanded skin care selection. Publix does it with an extended homeopathic

The hottest new ingredients in beauty are food-inspired. Why not merchandise avocado face masks near avocados, or create an end cap that has watermelon beauty products and watermelons? That’s an approach no other channel can take.” —Jeanine Recckio, MirrorMirror


Michael Quinn, SVP of Pankow Associates, a Skokie, Ill.-based consumer products broker, agrees that supermarkets need to give customers “a reason to walk down every aisle” while retaining value and newness as top priorities. Competitive pricing is important to keeping customers shopping the channel for HBW, Quinn believes. “Customers are more knowledgeable, and they notice price drops and unadvertised specials,” he says. While Rochester, N.Y.based Wegmans Food Markets is hard to beat on selection and merchandising in its HBW aisles, the chain also makes heavy use of signage that reinforces its “consistent low prices” position. Sharp pricing keeps customers coming back, but new products grab consumer attention. “The consumer pie is only so big, and online is continuing to grow,” explains Quinn. “Those accounts that are the first to market with new products will not only capture, but maintain, the consumer.”

Breaking the Mold

In a market where channels may be unwilling to take chances, those retailers that break the mold quickly differentiate themselves. “In today’s environment, nobody wants to be first with anything — retailers wait to see sales figures,” observes Chip Carter, CEO of Morgan & Sampson, a Cypress, Calif.-based products broker. “That’s particularly true of the supermarket channel, so they don’t come to mind as the place to go for new products.” According to Carter, the grocery channel has a great opportunity to change that impression and beat other channels to market.

Some chains do make a commitment to new products and use that strategy as a market differentiator. “Meijer, while not a typical grocery store, makes new products a priority,” says Quinn. “On major launches, they are ready to go with products on shelf the day they ship. That’s a big advantage in their market, where competitors Kroger and Walmart are much slower to market with new launches.” For its part, Wegmans stocks both mass and boutique brands. Further, the supermarket chain is winning the Millennial male consumer with a deep selection of upscale grooming products, including scrubs, shave cream, beard conditioner and facial cleaning cloths. The grocer was also quick to bring in Unilever’s Love Beauty and Planet line of natural HBW products, displaying the new launch in an impactful floor stand at the front of stores. As natural products continue to gain consumer acceptance across all HBW categories, those grocery store chains that layer more natural products into their respective mixes are resonating with consumers. Quinn cites Pittsburgh-based Giant Eagle as having been aggressive in carving out space for natural products in toothpaste, rinse, shampoo and conditioner, thereby reaching that customer who’s willing to spend $8 to $9 on such products. Carter, meanwhile, gives Kroger a thumbs-up for adding more natural supplements, vitamins and skin care products to its assortment.

Creative Merchandising

Even space-challenged retail formats can find a way to boost their selections. “Retailers still get end cap space,” notes Quinn. “It’s important that retailers create attractive end caps that draw consumers. And they have to be opportunistic so that when they see something happening, they can jump on it.” As an example, he points to the hugely effective end caps featuring Boiron’s Oscillococcinum that Meijer created during this year’s flu season, noting that the retailer, along with Wegmans and H-E-B, does “the best job with their categories, maybe because they are regional chains that can react quickly.” Jeanine Recckio, owner and founder of MirrorMirror Imagination Group, a New York-based branding trend and forecasting agency, thinks that supermarkets have a unique opportunity to cross-merchandise food and beauty. “The hottest new ingredients in beauty are food-inspired,” asserts Recckio. “Why not merchandise avocado face masks near avocados, or create an end cap that has watermelon beauty products and watermelons?

A display of natural bath products at Wegmans encourages touch and smell — mirroring the approach used by Lush, the upscale mall chain.

That’s an approach no other channel can take.” Beauty brands have taken a page from the grocers, she adds, so supermarkets can do the same with such items. “Lush cuts its soap like cheese,” notes Recckio. “If they can take that approach, why can’t supermarkets have fun with beauty and really make those ‘good for the inside, good for the outside’ connections in the store?” She contends that beauty is a “mega-opportunity” for supermarkets that they should be exploring. “Beauty consumers are in these stores anyway; supermarkets just need to find creative ways to merchandise to attract them,” she says. “With margins so thin in the rest of the store, high beauty margins should be a big draw for them.” Looking ahead, a real game changer for the category would be for savvy, creative retailers to fuse beauty, health and wellness in imaginative ways in their stores. “Supermarkets frequently have demos of new food products — they could easily do that in beauty or in oral care,” suggests Recckio, adding that supermarkets should ditch the “never on sale” cosmetics rule, to appeal to bargain hunters. PROGRESSIVE GROCER May 2018


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Health, Beauty & Wellness


ounger consumers are transforming the men’s grooming category. Millennial consumers are markedly different from prior generations in their personal care behavior, in large part because they’re not just motivated by functionality. “They’re looking for more sophisticated benefits, emotional payoffs and elevated grooming experiences,” explains Eric Yoch, brand manager of men’s grooming at Glendale Heights, Ill.-based Universal Beauty Products, which markets Van Der Hagen branded shaving items and Beard Guyz beard care products. “Millennial men are much more engaged in the category, doing product research and often spending more than Gen X,” adds Yoch. “They’re more experimental with what they try, less likely to stay with just one brand and more likely to gravitate towards brands they feel understand them.”

Growth Opportunity

With more men willing to spend on grooming products, prestige channels aren’t the only retailers courting this consumer – the category is growing in mass as well as upscale outlets. “If men are present and the retailer is doing a compelling job, there is growth to be had,” asserts Yoch, noting that while some supermarkets haven’t changed the brands and space allocation they gave to the category five years ago, more progressive retailers are adding new brands and increasing space for additional men’s grooming solutions. Where there was once a lack of options, new players have been streaming into the category, leading to a tidal wave of new brands.

Key Takeaways Millennial men are seeking more sophisticated benefits, emotional payoffs and elevated grooming experiences. With more men willing to spend on grooming products, the category is growing in mass as well as upscale outlets. New players are streaming into the category, leading to a proliferation of new brands. Razor sales are down due to cheaper online alternatives and more men growing their facial hair, but beard trimmer sales are on the rise. PROGRESSIVE GROCER June 2018


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Health, Beauty & Wellness

“It’s all about balance,” observes Yoch. “Some categories are becoming highly fragmented by a proliferation of brands in a newer segment such as beard wax. Retailers should be putting in fewer, more productive players rather than cluttering the shelf and then delisting the segment a year later because all of the items are underperforming from splitting the volume.” According to Geoff Ice, brand manager for Franklin, Tenn.-based Olivina Men, the brand entered the category when there were few players in that space. “We wanted to focus on ingredients, so we developed a premium body care line that met Whole Foods’ premium body care standards,” he recounts. What began with a basic body wash, soap, shaving cream and fragrance has since been expanded to encompass skin care, including moisturizer, scrub and facial wipes. In addition to Whole Foods Market, Wegmans Food Markets, Meijer and Harris Teeter now carry the brand. “More specialty grocery stores are adding the line,” observes Ice. “Their customers are willing to pay a premium for specialty foods, and the same thing can be said for the personal care aisle. If someone is buying organic product, they are likely to buy organic beard oil.” Giant Eagle and Wegmans are two chains that Yoch says have expanded the space they dedicate to the category. “Men will be buying new grooming offerings somewhere, and smart retailers will be flexible to provide the opportunity for men to stay in store,” he notes. “We see a lot of guys trading up in store to something their friends may have posted about on Facebook, like Van Der Hagen shave butter, which is a huge win for the retailer, not just for that transaction, but for retaining him for other purchases such as ready-to-eat meals. These chains are thinking strategically and financially beyond just men’s grooming, considering the total long-term value of that consumer at store level.” Wegmans, which carries Olivina, Duke Cannon Supply Co., Bulldog, Every Man Jack, Van Der Hagen and Beard Guyz, as well as men’s lines from Neutrogena and Nivea, positions the premium lines at eye level, raising the profile of the category. In addition to Olivina Men, Harris Teeter stocks men’s grooming products from specialty lines Shea Moisture, American Crew and Burt’s Bees, and recently included Neutrogena men’s products in a promotion that offered a $3 savings with the purchase of two of the brand’s products. The chain also recently featured a number of grooming products from Bulldog, including beard oil, moisturizer and face wash, on a VIC savings end cap promotion in the front aisle.

cent in 2017, according to Jeff Bovee, senior product manager at Sterling, Ill.-based Wahl Clipper Corp.: “Chains like Kroger and Publix have been increasing their selections of beard trimmers and showing strong growth.” Wahl recently introduced a Lithium Ion Vacuum Trimmer and Lithium Ion Aqua Blade, both designed with easy cleaning in mind. Wahl research has found that consumers dislike cleaning up whiskers left behind after a trim, so the company’s newest products capture 99 percent of beard trimmings. Trimmers and shavers from Wahl, Norelco and Braun, with retail prices ranging from $11.99 to $39.99, are included in Wegmans’ men’s grooming department. The chain also offers products for men looking for an elevated shaving experience, such as a Van Der Hagen branded shave set that retails for $27.99. Van Der Hagen recently introduced a Self-Heating Shave Cream that softens stubble and reduces razor burn with a product that heats with water, as well as a Cooling Shave Gel that imparts an invigorating chill. Additionally, under its Beard Guyz brand, Universal Beauty Products recently launched Beard Guyz Style Stick, Styling Foam and Moustache Wax.

The Pros and Cons of Beards

According to Cliff Harding, buyer for Homeland, an 85-unit chain based in Oklahoma City, Okla., the chain added beard oil to its mix and has seen good results. While Homeland hasn’t extended the space it devotes to men’s grooming products, Harding says that new products would be a way to offset declining razor sales, which “have fallen off,” he points out, as more consumers look to less expensive online options. Razor dollar sales dipped 4.4 percent for the 52 weeks ending March 28, 2018, according to multioutlet data from Chicago-based IRI. Blade dollar sales were down 7.7 percent for the same period, and razors have become extremely promotionally sensitive. Last year, Boston-based Gillette slashed prices on razors by up to 20 percent in an effort to win back customers from online subscription service competitors, which have significantly eroded the brand’s market share. At Harris Teeter, Gillette 3, promoted as a “high-performance, low-price” razor, had prominent placement on shelf, and other Gillette products were promoted heavily with the chain’s VIC savings card. While the razor category has also undoubtedly been affected by the popularity of beards, consumers’ attention to maintaining their facial hair has been a boon for beard trimmers. The category has been growing rapidly, with sales up 27 perPROGRESSIVE GROCER June 2018


Private Pet Brands on Parade STORE-BR AND PRODUCTS HOLD GRE AT POTENTIAL FOR RE TAILERS. By Princess Jones Curtis

he pet category is a $70 million industry that continues to trend upwards each year. Retail sales account for a big piece of that pie. Nearly half of that number covers retail products like food, supplies and over-the-counter medications. Savvy retailers have been banking on consumers’ willingness to spend real money on pet products for years. The retailers that want to maximize their efforts are considering private label as a way to manufacture and sell their own pet products for maximum control and maximum profit.

Options Aplenty

Depending on the agreement with the manufacturer, retailers have many options when going the private label route. Retailers can use their own recipes or formulas, but they also have the option to use nonexclusive ones developed by the manufacturer. Retailers also can choose between a variety of distribution plans or handle distribution themselves. Pricing and terms will, of course, vary by manufacturer and contract. Consumers are drawn to private label brands by overwhelming value and savings. Just under 74 percent of Americans believe store-brand products to be a good alternative to name brands, Chicago-based Nielsen noted in a November 2017 article, while the New York-based Private Label Manufacturers Association estimates that $150 billion worth of store brands were sold last year. Further, private label brands are projected to gain another eight percentage points of market share by 2027, according to 2017 research by Wilton, Conn.based Cadent Consulting Group.

Follow the Leader

The benefits of carrying store-brand products are numerous. “Advantages are better costs for very high-quality items,” explains Nicky Walsh, director of business development at Stamford, Conn.-based Daymon for Tops Markets LLC, in Williamsville, N.Y. “It also gives the national brands more competition. It can offer the customer a high-quality item, with higher margins than the national brands.” As an on-site associate, Walsh is involved in every aspect of the business,

including product development, promotion and analysis of the market. “It is another choice for the customer,” she notes. “It is an alternative to a national brand that can be purchased anywhere.” That exclusivity also means that the retailer has the added task of creating demand for the product itself. According to Jennifer Lord, group manager of five Martin’s Paw Mart locations (Paw Mart is a stand-alone pet-brand store, but it has the support of South Bend, Ind.-based Martin’s full-service supermarket brand), private label products require a little more work than an established brand. “Carrying a private label can be an advantage to the store if they can create a following,” observes Lord. “Because that name can only be bought at that particular location, which will lead to repeat purchasing. The disadvantage to this is that, again, you have to create the following. You have you really sell your label.” If a retailer can put in the work to build that following, it can be very profitable. “Once the customers buy private label pet products and like them, they will continue to come back and buy PROGRESSIVE GROCER June 2018


Space Odyssey As far as in-store positioning goes, private label or not, pet products don’t have to stay in the pet aisle. Space to sales is key in every category. Pet food must be displayed in those stores that index high for pet food. As Nicky Walsh, director of business development at Stamford, Conn.-based Daymon for Tops Markets LLC, in Williamsville, N.Y., notes, “Customers need to see it, because they do not always go down the pet aisle.” Many grocers’ ads and social media still don’t often feature store brands, so shelf merchandising can really make or break a private label line. It’s also especially crucial for new items, says Jennifer Lord, group manager of five Paw Mart locations for South Bend, Ind.-based Martin’s Super Markets. “New products sometimes start out slow,” she notes. “You must do specific callouts to target a specific clientele. Then you must continue to educate your consumer to help the product grow.” But she also cautions not to mistake bigger for better. Adding more shelf space isn’t required to make an impression. “You don’t particularly need lots of shelf space for a successful promotion,” counsels Lord. “You just need to detail it correctly. It needs to have the proper signage, and in the right location. A simple and clean look is the best. Try to not make your display look too busy. Proper signage will sell your product.”

Carrying a private label can be an advantage to the store if they can create a following.” —Jennifer Lord, Martin’s Paw Mart pet stores more,” she asserts. “They may even expand what they purchase to more products with the same label.” It’s not all roses, however: Selling private label products to some demographics may be an uphill battle, warns Lord. “Sometimes it can be tough selling private label product, due to consumers’ lack of knowledge of the brand,” she admits. “Some consumers may see private labeling as a generic or discounted item. Customers seem to want a trusted product, even if they have to pay more.”

Pet Product Showcase

Beneful Simple Goodness Purina has debuted Beneful Simple Goodness dog food, a product line made with farm-raised chicken or beef. The recipe also includes a blend of peas visible in the food. These tender, meaty morsels come in stayfresh pouches, perfect for home or on the go.

Super Smarty Hearties With meat as the first ingredient, these heartshaped treats provide DHA and omega-3 fatty acids to support healthy skin and brain development in dogs. It’s great for puppies, and also for old dogs who need to remember those new tricks. And with just 5 calories per treat, it’s a must-have for even the portliest pup. https://www.iand

Arm & Hammer Super Deodorizing Pet Spray There’s a fresh edition to the Arm & Hammer family of pet products: Super Deodorizing Pet Spray. As part of the company’s recent foray into pet-grooming products, the spray comes in scents like vanilla coconut, coconut water and kiwi blossom. Of course, the formula features the power of baking soda, a staple of the iconic Arm & Hammer brand. arm-and-hammer


Nutrish Peak Wetlands Recipe The veteran Nutrish brand, developed by celebrity chef Rachael Ray, has introduced another Peak dog food formula, Wetlands Recipe. Featuring farm-raised chicken as the first ingredient, Wetlands also has duck and pheasant as 30 percent of its high-protein recipe. Like all of the Peak recipes, it’s gluten-, grain- and filler-free.

Blue Dog Bakery All-Natural Meat Snacks Launched at Natural Products Expo West this past March, Blue Dog Bakery All-Natural Meat Snacks are free of artificial colors, flavors and preservatives. Flavor options include chicken and beef, and since these human-grade treats contain absolutely no animal byproducts, they’re just as vegan as they are enticing. www.bluedog




Transform the way you think about food at the newest event for the food retail, service and restaurant industries. Embrace the smart food evolution. Food that’s better for your health. Better for your customers. Better for your business. And engage in three days of education on industry-leading insights and access to revolutionary innovations that will help you make smart business decisions, cater to savvy shoppers and sustain momentum in the better-for-you food movement.

JUNE 25-27, 2018 | CHICAGO, IL



Food, Beverage & Nonfood Products

Hello Deli

With grilling season ready to begin, Reser’s Fine Foods has introduced four deli-salad flavors in 1- and 3-pound containers: Stadium Cole Slaw, Deviled Egg Macaroni Salad, Southern Style Potato Salad with Egg, and New York Style Potato Salad. The refrigerated salads are made with quality ingredients and contain no high-fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors or artificial colors. Stadium Cole Slaw combines fresh cabbage, mayonnaise, sweet and dill relishes, ketchup, and a dash of hot sauce; Deviled Egg Macaroni Salad features tender elbow macaroni, fresh celery, chopped red bell pepper and white onion tossed in a dressing reminiscent of deviled eggs; Southern Style Potato Salad with Egg mixes sweet pickle relish, hard-cooked eggs, mustard, red peppers, celery, carrots, onion and a creamy dressing; and New York Style Potato Salad contains classic ingredients such as russet potatoes, creamy mayonnaise and a touch of onion. The salads retail for a suggested $3.99 per 1-pound container and $6.99 per 3-pound container.

Chicken on the Go

Although eating healthy on the go is easier than ever, it’s still difficult for many seeking to live a healthier lifestyle. Adding to its line of shelf-stable tuna in pouches, StarKist has introduced Chicken Creations, intended to ease the process a bit. Available this summer, the shelf-stable pouches of white-meat chicken mark the brand’s first foray beyond the seafood space with four ready-to-eat varieties: Bold Buffalo Style, Ginger Soy, Zesty Lemon and Chicken Salad. Each 2.6-ounce pouch contains chicken sourced from American farms, raised cage- and hormone-free. With a tear-open, no-drain design, each pouch clocks in at 70 to 90 calories, offers 9 grams of protein, and retails for a suggested $1.75.

It’s a Wrap

Understanding consumers’ increasing desire for lighter, more ethnically inspired foods, Toufyan Bakeries introduced five products at this year’s IDDBA show. Lavash Wraps are a unique combination of flax, oat fiber and whole wheat that’s also a suitable source of protein and fiber; Gluten Free Smart Grain Wraps are non-GMO, soy-free, vegan and high-fiber wraps with a soft, pliable texture and hearty taste; Gluten Free Pizza Crusts provide a way for families, even with members on a gluten-free diet, to enjoy homemade pizza, with each package offering three pizza recipes; Thin Style Pita is an “old world” style of pita with pockets that can be filled with various ingredients or used for dipping; and Tandoori Flatbreads are traditional Indian-style flatbreads that are all-natural and non-GMO. The products’ suggested retail prices vary by market.

Burger Brothers’ Best

It’s already been the subject of a popular reality television show. Now, Wahlburgers, the fast-casual restaurant brand founded by brothers Paul, Donnie and Mark Wahlberg, has collaborated with ARKK Food Co. to create a retail beef program. Giving customers a taste of the Wahlburgers experience from the comfort of their own kitchens, the products include ground beef (16-ounce), pre-formed full-size (21.28-ounce) and slider-sized (20-ounce) patties, and brick packs (16-ounce), all made with the same proprietary Wahlburgers Angus blend of brisket, short rib and chuck found in the restaurants. SRPs for the products range from $6.99 to $8.99 each.



UNITED STATES MARKETS • Convenience • Grocery/Drug/Mass Store Brands • Specialty Gourmet Technology • Hospitality • Apparel CANADIAN MARKETS • Convenience • Pharmacy • Foodservice ADVERTIS ING SALES & BUSINES S STAFF EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN Alan Glass 609-276-2842

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Madrona Specialty Foods

Advantage Solutions


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Ajinomoto Foods North America Inside Front Cover- 3 Albertson’s LLC


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Associated Wholesale Grocers Inc. 72 Bake’N Joy Foods Inc.


Beiersdorf USA



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MasonWays Indestructible Plastics




Milliken & Company




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Puratos Corporation Sato of America

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E&J Gallo




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PROGRESSIVE GROCER (ISSN 0033-0787, USPS 920-600) is published monthly by EnsembleIQ, 8550 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. Ste. 200, Chicago, IL 60631. 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 Chicago, IL 60631 and additional mailing offices. Printed in USA. POSTMASTER: Send all address changes to Progressive Grocer, P.O. Box 1842 Lowell, MA 01853. Copyright ©2018 EnsembleIQ 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.

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4 83

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34-35 136 23 101 94 41-44, 71

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125 38

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7, Inside Back Cover

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56-57 150 27 9 10-11

United Fresh Produce Association

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Viking Cold Solutions




Wenda Ingredients






uch has been made of Amazon and the looming retail apocalypse. I recently read a transcript of an NPR interview about how the ecommerce behemoth was affecting independent bookstores. Like grocery stores, bookstores also operate on razor-thin margins, and they also are often viewed by consumers as having an air of authenticity. However, the narrative of the indie bookstore didn’t have the expected ending. The gist was that Amazon, which when introduced was just a book-selling behemoth — remember those days, when Amazon simply sold books? — did change the market but had the most effect on bigbox bookstores, because they were largely the same, with a business model based mostly on price. Conversely, independent bookstores, with their focus on service and experience, were actually helped by Amazon, because the customers simply looking to shop by price alone had one place to go — Amazon — but those consumers who wanted to have an experience really had only one place to go — an independent bookstore. Is this starting to sound familiar? Not that independent bookstores didn’t struggle: In the five years after 1995, when Amazon started selling books online, the number of indie bookstores declined 40 percent. But the NPR interview noted that between 2009 and 2015, the number of independent bookstores actually increased by 35 percent. The moral of the story? You can’t compete on price; you have to draw consumers into your store through the experience they can have while in it. This is where independents always shine, especially compared with big-box operations. And independent grocers can learn from their indie bookstore brethren, especially now that Amazon and other online


of consumers surveyed visit a local store when they need something within two to three days, while only 29.1 percent use Amazon Source: Netsertive


retailers are taking on the grocery industry. This isn’t to say that independent grocers shouldn’t be in the ecommerce business — they definitely should. You bet those indie bookstores have online shops; after all, where else are consumers going to turn for those hard-to-find titles? What I took away from the NPR interview was the idea that independents have to play up their strengths, of which they have plenty. One is the burgeoning desire of consumers to shop local businesses. A recent Small Business Week survey from Netsertive found that 60 percent had shopped at a small or local store within the past six months, and another 10 percent had shopped in one at some point. The most telling data point was that 43 percent visit a local store when they need something within two to three days, while only 29.1 percent use Amazon. While the survey obviously covers all of retail — food decisions are generally more immediate than two to three days — it still provides valuable information on how consumers view small local businesses. They are visiting your stores, and you are a trusted source. Also, as happened in the book segment, with some of the big-box chains going out of business altogether — we’re seeing some of this occurring as well in grocery — indies were uniquely positioned to fill the gap.

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