Progressive Grocer - August 2019

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PG celebrates its first Total Meal Solutions Awards winners

ON THE TAIL END Football season can help drive sales across the store NEW AND UNUSUAL Help consumers learn to love specialty produce items FRICTION FREE Cashierless technology moves into the mainstream

Reclaim what’s rightfully yours. Your customers. Your eCommerce. Your terms. Visit our booth at Groceryshop to learn more.

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PG celebrates its first Total Meal Solutions Awards winners

ON THE TAIL END Football season can help drive sales across the store NEW AND UNUSUAL Help consumers learn to love specialty produce items FRICTION FREE Cashierless technology moves into the mainstream


Food Circus COMES TO TOWN DeCicco & Sons brings freshness and fun to its newest store in Westchester County, N.Y.

Joe DeCicco Sr., senior vice chairman; John DeCicco Sr., senior chairman; Joe DeCicco Jr., chief purchasing officer

August 2019

Volume 98, Number 8

WHATS NOT TO LOVE? Your customers will love everything about Panera’s new 16 oz Mac & Cheese with Creamy Cheddar-Veggie Sauce. A take on an enduring favorite, this Mac & Cheese is simmered with a three veggie blend of carrots, butternut squash and sweet potatoes. Mac & cheese lovers can enjoy the cheesiness they crave while getting less sodium and half the calories of regular Mac & Cheese For more info, contact your Blount sales representative at 800.274.2526 or visit for all Panera has to offer.

LOWER SODIUM LOWER FAT 1/2 THE CALORIES (Per Container- Compared to our Regular Mac & Cheese)









Mac & Cheese

Asiago Mac & Cheese with Fire-Roasted Tomatoes

© 2019 Panera Bread. All Rights Reserved. Blount Fine Foods, Inc. Exclusive Manufacturer & Partner of Panera Retail Soup, Mac & Cheese, Chili, and Stew. See what clean means to Panera, by visiting

SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY. FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY. TOGETHER AT LAST. People are having more goods delivered, faster, than ever before. Which means your fleet is generating more emissions than ever before. What if you could cut your fleet’s carbon footprint to zero and save money doing it? You and your carriers can now lease or purchase a new natural gas fleet for the price of a diesel fleet through Clean Energy®. We’ll even guarantee a fuel price on Redeem™ renewable natural gas that is significantly discounted to diesel.

Contents 08.19

Volume 98 Issue 8


Storefront and cover photos by Jeff Ellis






Gold Plated

Honorees make mealtimes more accessible and exciting for busy consumers.

Departments 8 EDITOR’S NOTE

The XYZs of Grocery Shopping

The Food Circus Comes to Town

Independent grocer DeCicco & Sons’ newest location is in Somers, N.Y., Barnum & Bailey’s birthplace.



Keep Consumers Curious on the Perimeter

From Plodding Progress to Quantum Leap




Winning the Battle for Mealtime


October 2019




Fabric Care


Planning for Healthier Holidays



Contents 08.19

Volume 98 Issue 8

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



Forward Passes

The onset of football season spurs retailers and manufacturers to roll out appropriate products, promotions. CHIEF COMMERCIAL OFFICER AND PRESIDENT RETAIL Jennifer Litterick PUBLISHER John Schrei 248-613-8672 EDITORIAL EDITORIAL DIRECTOR James Dudlicek 224-632-8238


MANAGING EDITOR Bridget Goldschmidt 201-855-7603

Stranger Things

SENIOR EDITOR Kat Martin 224-632-8172

Grocers can turn unfamiliar specialty produce selections into items for everyday eating.

SENIOR DIGITAL & TECHNOLOGY EDITOR Abby Kleckler 773-992-4405 CONTRIBUTING EDITORS D. Gail Fleenor, Kathy Hayden, Jenny McTaggart and Barbara Sax



Ask a Chef


The NCBA’s Dave Zino shares tips on how prepared food departments can help shoppers thrill at the grill.



ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE/CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING Terry Kanganis 201-855-7615 • Fax: 201-855-7373 CLASSIFIED PRODUCTION MANAGER Mary Beth Medley 856-809-0050 EVENTS VICE PRESIDENT, EVENTS Michael Cronin MARKETING MARKETING MANAGER Carly Kilgore 201-855-7601


Flushing Friction

Checkout-free or cashierless technologies inch closer to implementation in large grocery retail.

AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT DIRECTOR OF AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT Gail Reboletti LIST RENTAL MeritDirect Elizabeth Jackson 847-492-1350, ext. 318




Next-Generation Considerations

Retailers need to focus on data visibility, tech-savvy labor and new store configurations to accommodate their future grocery shoppers. 76 SOLUTIONS

Survival of the Fittest Grocers are upping their game in sports nutrition as consumer needs and products evolve.







EDITOR’S NOTE By Jim Dudlicek

The XYZs of Grocery Shopping urns out my wife might be right — our daughter’s generation is old-fashioned. Of course, that doesn’t mean they’re giving up their handheld devices anytime soon, certainly not our 15-yearold (except when she’s at the wheel of the car that she’s now learning to drive). But it looks like members of Generation Z — born roughly between 1995 and 2010 — possess some sensibilities in common with older folks, like us Gen Xers. Zs are “old souls in young bodies,” says Jeff Fromm, president of consumer trends consultancy FutureCast and author of several books on marketing to younger demographics. Speaking at the recent Dairy Experience Forum that I had the opportunity to attend in St. Paul, Minn., Fromm listed several traits common to GenZ: competitive, career-focused, more protective of their social media exposure and concerned about equality. Fromm moderated a forum panel of eight GenZs, ranging in age from 18 to 21, who discussed their attitudes toward life, social media and consumerism. Ostensibly aimed at garnering the youths’ views on dairy products, the discussion gleaned some interesting insights about food and shopGeneration Z, ping in general. Most members of the with spending panel acknowledged a desire for greater conve- power approaching nience in eating, due to $143 billion, busy schedules for work and school, with — as appreciates the inwe have been led to be- store experience. lieve — smaller meals and snacks replacing traditional sit-down eating occasions. But while they embraced online shopping, the youths still expressed an appreciation for the in-store experience. Some described grocery shopping as “relaxing,” while others said that it’s “easier to try new things in person.” And they don’t necessarily consider trips to the supermarket out of step with convenience, with one panelist declaring, “I can make it convenient” by planning her meals and preparing them in advance. (The panel’s feedback also wasn’t out of step with a new Progressive Grocer consumer 8

survey, the results of which will emerge over the next couple of months.) Other revelations: In choosing brands or products, with prices being comparable, panelists said that they’d select items from companies known for being socially or environmentally responsible; packaging was also noted as a purchase influencer. As consumers, Zs are looking for products and services that mesh with their personal values and identities, including health, communication, consistency, independence and self-improvement. Asked, if given $2,000, how they’d spend it, most said that they’d pay their bills first, or put a chunk into savings. I think my grandparents would have gotten along well with these young folks, had their paths crossed down at the grocery store.

Anuga at 100

Anuga, one of the world’s great food trade shows, held every other year in Cologne, Germany, will celebrate its 100th anniversary when the next event takes place Oct. 5-9. Organizers expect this year’s attendance to surpass 2017’s record crowd of 165,000 visitors from around the world. The show is divided into 10 themed areas: bakery, chilled and fresh food, culinary concepts, dairy, drinks, fine food, frozen food, meat, hot beverages, and organic. This year’s show will feature a “future of food” platform called Anuga Horizon 2050, at which visitors will be able to explore new technologies, solutions and industry innovations focused on startups, sustainability, alternative proteins and social media. Read more about it at Further information and how to attend is at

Jim Dudlicek Editorial Director Twitter @jimdudlicek


YOUR CATEGORIES At The J.M. Smucker Company, we are constantly innovating to align our brands with consumers’ eating habits. Our latest innovations, made from our trusted brands, are boosting bottom lines across the country. Come grow with us.

©/TM/® The J.M. Smucker Company




National Apple Month National Caramel Month National Cookie Month

National Dessert Month National Pasta Month National Pizza Month

National Pork Month National Pretzel Month National Seafood Month




World Vegetarian Day

Celebrate National Apple Month by running specials on local or unique varieties all month.

National Pumpkin Spice Day

International Coffee Day

World Farm Animals Day


National Soft Taco Day

Feature a variety of noodle dishes in the prepared food department for National Noodle Day.


National Frappé Day



National Pierogi Day

National Pizza and Beer Day

National Fluffernutter Day

National Moldy Cheese Day

National Hoagie Day


National Peanut Festival Yorkshire Pudding Day


Highlight all of the treats in the bakery for National Dessert Day.


National Red Wine Day


World Food Day World Bread Day

National Cheese Curd Day

National Taco Day


National Apple Betty Day

National Vodka Day

National Homemade Cookie Day




It’s National Pork Month, so ask customers to submit their favorite pork recipes on social media.

National Cinnamon Roll Day

For Rocky Mountain Oyster Day, sample the Colorado delicacy.



National Sausage Pizza Day

National Pulled Pork Day National Gumbo Day

National Angel Food Cake Day


Red, white or green sauce? It’s all good for National Pasta Day.


National Chocolate Cupcake Day


Sweetest Day National Seafood Bisque Day

National Liqueur Day

National Mushroom Day



For National Seafood Month, offer classes on how to easily prepare seafood varieties.

International Day of the Nacho

National Brandied Fruit Day

National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day


National Nut Day


National Boston Cream Pie Day

National Apple Day




Celebrate the popular candy during the Feast of Good & Plenty.

National Breadstick Day

National Pumpkin Day

National Bologna Day

National Greasy Foods Day

National Mincemeat Day

National ChickenFried Steak Day



National Potato Day National Chocolate Day American Beer Day


National Oatmeal Day


With Halloween right around the corner, celebrate National Candy Corn Day.



National Caramel Apple Day


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Research & Analysis

Keep Consumers Curious on the Perimeter

DATE! Datassential’s annual Foodscape experience is happening Sept. 24-25 at the Tribune Media Warehouse, in Chicago. Progressive Grocer readers who’d like to attend can use the discount code HAIKU when registering for this year’s event. Please visit for more info.

You’ve heard it here before: Safe experimentation is a great way to engage your customers and entice them to experience something new. Datassential recommends pairing daring items from the Inception stage with more trusted ingredients in the Ubiquity stage as a way to expand shoppers’ range of tastes. Further, as plant-based diets continue to grow in popularity, the produce section will keep driving demand for variety in both flavor and functional benefits. Yuzu MAC stage: Inception — Ethnic markets, ethnic independents, and fine dining. Trends start here and exemplify originality in flavor, preparation and presentation. This tart citrus fruit is cultivated in Japan, China and Korea, and generally skews to the northeastern United States. Yuzu juice and zest are used for flavoring beverages, marinades and dressings, like its lime and lemon relatives.

Tamarind 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. Tamarind is a pod-like fruit with an edible pulp traditionally used in both sweet and savory dishes. This versatile global ingredient is also popular as a sour-flavor enhancer for cocktails and craft sodas. Little known facts: it’s a key ingredient in Worcestershire sauce, and is purported to have antioxidant and antiinflammatory properties. On 7.9% of U.S. restaurant menus

On 4.5% of U.S. restaurant menus Up 44.5% on menus over the past four years 16% of consumers know it/ 7% have tried it Menu Example McCormick & Schmick’s Wild Isles Salmon Poké Cucumber, edamame, avocado, steamed rice, yuzu aioli and sesame cucumber salad.


Up 24% on menus over the past four years 42% of consumers know it/ 23% have tried it Menu Example Pei Wei Cauli Flowerpower Bowl Fresh cauliflower rice made inhouse with white meat chicken, carrots, red bell peppers, snap peas, onions, scallions and ginger, with a tamarind and chile soy glaze and garnished with fresh-cut Asian slaw.

Pickled Vegetables MAC stage: Proliferation — Proliferationstage trends are adjusted for mainstream appeal. Often combined with popular applications (on a burger, pasta, etc.) Hot on menus right now, pickling and fermenting can deliver both a center store and produce aisle opportunity. Many vegetables can be fermented in a brine or vinegar solution to produce their pickled counterpart, beyond the cucumbers, olives, peppers and cauliflower that are already popular. On 4.6% of U.S. restaurant menus

Avocado MAC stage: Ubiquity — Ubiquity-stage trends have reached maturity, and can be found across all sectors of the food industry. Though often diluted by this point, their Inception-stage roots are still recognizable. Avocados are part of the growing trend in better-for-you ingredients despite their high fat content. This incredibly popular produce aisle staple is actually a fruit native to south central Mexico. Its smooth, creamy texture makes it a must-have inclusion in sauces such as guacamole, or sandwiches, or even as a raw side dish in multiple global cuisines. On 47.6% of U.S. menus

Up 35% over the past four years

Up 16% over the past four years

77% of consumers know it/ 52% have tried it

95% of consumers know it/ 74% have tried it

Menu Example Yard House Pork Belly Banh Mi Beer cheese, fries, cheese curds, green onion.

Menu Example Red Robin Zita’s Chicky ’Cado Zita’s original creation includes a grilled chicken breast topped with fried avocado, guacamole, house-made jalapeño ranch, provolone cheese, mayo, red onions and shredded romaine.

Bringing Goodness o 1894



Shelf Stoppers

Shelf Stoppers



(52 weeks ending April 2, 2016)

Basket Size Drivers

Total Department Performance Latest 52 Wks 2 YA W/E 05/04/19



Latest 52 Wks YA W/E 05/05/18

Latest 52 Wks W/E 05/06/17



spending per trip on various meat products? 12%

Top Meat Categories by Dollar Sales Beef



Packaged Lunchmeat

Consumers chose How much frozen broccoli over alternatives for are Americans a variety of reasons:



because it’s quick and easy



because it tastes great



$6.89 Chicken 9%



Broccoli as an ingredient is most commonly consumed at dinner, followed by lunch.

Frozen broccoli is most often used in a side dish, followed by as a main entrée. 3%

0 Latest 52 Wks 2 YA W/E 05/04/19


Latest 52 Wks YA W/E 05/05/18

Total U.S. xAOC (all outlets combined) — includes grocery stores, drug stores, mass merchandisers, select dollar stores, select warehouse clubs and military commissaries (DeCA) OCCASION MEAL ITEM



because it’s low in calories, fat and sugar

Latest 52 Wks W/E 005/06/17

29% 4, 2019 Period: Latest 52 weeks, week ending May — top categories TYPE 62% 35% Source: : Nielsen Retail Measurement Services, inclusive of Nielsen’s Total Food View

because it’s healthy and nutritious

$9.02 Beef


Meat sales have continued to see consistent growth over the past few years. The DINNER OTHER of tried-and-true SIDE DISHmeat MAIN ENTRÉE likeOTHER department has been supportedLUNCH by stable growth products chicken, beef and bacon. However, protein-seeking consumers have been known to seek a variety of food sources, including various up-and-coming meat alternatives. In fact, according to Nielsen Product Insider, 15 percent of food and beverage dollars have come from a product that meets a plant-based diet this year. While it is critical to maintain a relevant assortment of meat-based products, it is also important to tap into areas of high growth potential as consumer needs and tastes continue to evolve.”

$6.98 Bacon

—Lauren Fernandes, Manager-Strategy and Analytics, Nielsen

Generational Snapshot Which cohort is spending the most on average per trip on meat?

$5.06 Packaged Lunchmeat


Gen Xers


The Greatest Generation





Source: Nielsen Homescan Data Total U.S., 52 Weeks Ending April 20, 2019


Source: Nielsen Homescan, Total U.S., 52 weeks ending April 20, 2019

A promise from prairie to plate What the Open Prairie¨ Natural* Meats Openness Promise means To better serve all our partners and customers, we pledge to share our production processes from prairie to plate, including: › Wholesome, Uncomplicated Products: Made from animals raised with no antibiotics ever and no added hormones or growth promotants.** › Complete Traceability: All cattle and hogs are traceable to place of birth through maintained records and unique identification. › Quality Control and Consistency: Dedicated facilities ensure a consistent product you can depend on, crafted by a single workforce.

Start the conversation here:


Minimally processed. No artificial ingredients. |

®/© 2019 Tyson Foods, Inc.


Federal regulations prohibit the use of added hormones or growth promotants in pork.


Global New Products Database


Fabric Care Market Overview

Traditional mainstream brands are what many consumers are using, but many shoppers want natural/ eco-friendly fabric care brands, with younger consumers significantly more likely to buy such products. Sixty percent of U.S. adults who do laundry rate stain-removing power as the most sought-after attribute in fabric care products, while 54 percent haven’t used, but would be interested in, a product that extends the life of clothing, and 44 percent consider fabric/color preservation an important factor when buying laundry detergent. Below are the results from asking 1,182 internet users age 18 and older who have purchased fabric care products in the last 12 months: “What types of brands have you bought for each of the following fabric care products in the last 12 months?”

Key Issues

Natural ingredients are on consumers’ radar as “safer” alternatives. Shoppers are concerned about the effects of fabric products on the skin: 29 percent of adults in the United States who do laundry and buy laundry detergents worry about products irritating skin.

What Does It Mean?

Consumers want to protect color and extend the lifetime of their clothes. The importance of stain removal is reflected in the almost four in 10 U.S. laundry consumers who use a separate stain-removal product. Some 20 percent of laundry consumers don’t believe that all-in-one formulas work as effectively as specialized products.

Hypoallergenic and dermatologically tested products also have more potential to appeal to consumers in this region who are looking for gentle care for delicate items and their own skin.

Fabric Care by the Numbers

Baby-oriented fabric care products in North America look to reassure parents that their products aren’t just suitable for babies, they also help to safeguard the environment for the child’s future by using eco-friendly packaging and ingredients.

88% 82% 71%

69% 69% 58%


ALL 18-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55-64 65+

40% 31% 25%


28% 28%



11% 11%



Brands can tap into consumer interest in fabric care products that protect both fabric fibers and colors, while helping to extend the lifetime of garments, with laundry products positioned as beauty care for clothes.








ALL’S WELLNESS By Molly Hembree

Planning for Healthier Holidays RE TAILERS CAN FOLLOW SOME SIMPLE MARKE TING AND MERCHANDISING TIPS DURING THE FESTIVE SE ASON. hinking about the holidays now can make you stand out as a retailer just as we’re wrapping up summer. From Halloween to New Year’s Day, this wonderful time of the year brings people together, beginning in your store aisles. Following are some plans to make the holidays healthier:

Consider Dietary Restrictions

Many households have to consider food allergies and dietary preferences for themselves or guests over the holidays. Ask procurement and merchandising teams to ensure that freefrom products are on the shelves and ready for festive party planning. If there’s a fight for shelf space, it may elevate sales to give prime real estate to a brand with fewer allergens or animal ingredients, thereby appealing to customers with allergies, intolerances and religious restrictions, or those eating plant-based diets.

Rethink Your Drink

All of the things we consume make up our diets, including beverages. Holiday drinks are often synonymous with sugar, alcohol and/or calories. The 2019 International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation Food and Health Survey found that the primary way that most people have changed their diets over the past decade is by lowering sugar consumption (16 percent of respondents), while 80 percent of the survey-takers are trying to limit/avoid sugar. To appeal to health-conscious consumers, offer tasty alternatives like low-fat eggnog, flavored seltzer water, sugar-free cocoa, light beer or spiced coffee. To make things even more exciting, serve up holiday cheer with a “mocktail” sampling event using sparkling water, cuts of fresh fruit, 100 percent juices, and herb combinations, to the background hum of jolly holiday music.

Make Produce the Main Attraction

Flip holiday eating on its head: Make it healthier by featuring fruits and veggies as the MVPs, with proteins, grains and dairy in supporting roles. Recharge your produce department with bright, fresh produce at a price point your shoppers can stock up on. Many produce-based holiday dishes, including crudités, glazed carrots, stuffed acorn squash, tomato soup, roasted sweet potatoes and charred Brussels sprouts, can take center stage at mealtime while boosting nutrition and flavor.

Many produce-based holiday dishes, including crudités, glazed carrots, stuffed acorn squash, tomato soup, roasted sweet potatoes and charred Brussels sprouts, can take center stage at mealtime while boosting nutrition and flavor. Could extra mini candies from Halloween be perfect for a new pint-sized dessert idea to sample in-store? Would cornbread stuffing still on the shelf after Thanksgiving be the perfect filling for a hand pie recipe that could be printed and provided on the shelf edge? How about transferring extra boxes of instant mashed potatoes to the bistro counter for chefs to showcase as a crispy coating for proteins?

Amp Up Your Online Presence

The usual harried nature of consumers over the holidays demands extra attention to anything that makes the shopping experience more pleasurable or easy. Do you have a recipe portal on your retailer site, or are there pickup or delivery options for purchasing groceries? Now would be the perfect time to kick off a marketing campaign to encourage customers to use these resources, leaving them more time to do the things they really want. An added benefit is preliminary research showing that buying groceries online makes the grocery shopping experience more intentional and may increase the health of many customers’ virtual “carts,” without reducing their spend.

Creative Use of Leftovers

Just like shoppers should plan how to use leftovers, as a retailer, you should plan how to attract shoppers with your “leftover” products from each of the recognized holidays.


Molly Hembree, MS, RD, LD, is a registered dietitian coordinator for The Little Clinic and Kroger.

Now Trending, but Long Loved. The Yakult Difference Arrives on the East Coast. Call it a gut instinct: digestive health and probiotic products are trending.

The Yakult probiotic drink has a proven record.

• New Nutrition Business identified digestive wellness the #1 trend for 2019.

• The product dates to 1930, when founder Dr. Minoru Shirota – who believed that a healthy intestinal tract leads to a long life – succeeded in strengthening and culturing a probiotic Lactobacillus casei Shirota strain.

• The Kroger Co. listed gut health as one of the top five trends of the year.

• By 2018, an estimated 40 million bottles of Yakult are consumed every day in 39 countries and regions.

• Today, the company is strategically expanding into the East Coast market after success in stores in the Western part of the U.S.

What are “Probiotics”? Probiotics are defined as: “Live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a benefit on the host.” More simply, probiotics are friendly bacteria that are beneficial for you and your family.

Contact us at 714-434-6500 to make Yakult an important part of your healthy product offering today.

• Yakult is one of the highest dollar contributors per point of distribution. (Source: IRI)

“A Yakult a Day” • Each bottle of Yakult contains billions of active and live cultures. • Yakult is gluten free, cholesterol free, and fat free. • Yakult appeals to the whole family with a satisfying citrusy-taste and eye-catching, convenient packaging. • A Yakult Light version is also available.


Staying Healthy for the Holiday Q: HOW CAN YAKULT BE MERCHANDISED FOR THE HOLIDAYS? A: Sampling is quite effective with Yakult drinks. The drink has a refreshing, citrusy taste. Including messaging about wellness and digestive health in other store materials, like signage, circulars, websites and newsletters, is also helpful.

We will be at Natural Expo East in Booth #1234. Come see us!



In my travels lately, there’s a lot of discussion around the latest Fortune 500 report. The headline: 33 female CEOs now sit in the Fortune 500 ranks. I applaud progress — that’s more women than ever — but without taking a breath, the next words out of my mouth are: “That’s 6.6 percent. About 43.4 percent too low, if we’re striving for 50 percent.” When I was a young girl, I didn’t dream of becoming a nurse or a teacher. Both are honorable professions, but they’re weren’t in my wheelhouse. I wanted to be in business. And not just in the rank and file — I wanted to be a CEO. I didn’t have female CEO role models, though, because there were so few. There still are far too few. Even as our societal demographics continue to shift, the seats of power within global companies have remained stuck decades in the past. Now that I’m a CEO, I can look back on the road traveled. And I’m determined to be one of the executives who smooths the road for the women who come after me. If progress in the CEO ranks has been slower than desired, progress for women at the board level has also been sketchy. This year’s board representation numbers for the Fortune 500 show a trend — the same small group of women are being tapped for multiple boards. We’re not expanding in number, more so in number of board positions held by the same women. Seven women serve on four Fortune 500 boards. Thirty-four women serve on three. Boards want C-suite experience. Yet women only comprise 6.6 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs. And my organization’s research shows a female leadership crisis: Senior women are heading for the exits at a far higher rate than men. Female higher-level managers, executives and C-suite members leave their jobs nearly four times as often as men — 26.9 percent versus 7.3 percent. So it becomes a chicken-and-egg conundrum. California took the lead to


legislate greater equality on boards, which should help get more qualified women into C-suite positions. Board-equality legislation is also moving through the legislature in my home state of Illinois, and being considered in New Jersey as well as a few other states. But I have to be honest: I’m always disappointed when it takes a law to force companies to do what’s good, right and just plain smart. The future could be so bright. It turns out that I was far from being a unicorn in my aspirations as a 12-year-old. Almost three out of four women — 74 percent — early in their careers, want to become executives, according to the Leaders & Daughters Global Survey of 7,000 women in seven countries on five continents.

NEW research shows that a few issues across the board cause women to leave companies in droves. Just a few key actions could help them stay. My question is: What happens to change that? From my own experience, there are potholes in the road to the executive suite. NEW research shows that a few issues across the board cause women to leave companies in droves. Just a few key actions could help them stay: Confronting bias. Combine a lack of female role models in executive management with the sense of isolation that can come from being the only woman in the room — add in a lack of sponsorship — and you have a recipe for female leaders heading to the exits. Only 36 percent of women surveyed agree that there’s minimal favoritism within their

company. The similar-to-me bias, unless addressed head-on within corporate culture, means that many executives will hire and promote candidates with similar interests, backgrounds and experience to them. Offering transition support/career pathing. When females report on the support that they receive from those above them in the corporate hierarchy, only half say that they receive support when they accept a new challenge or job. Men’s perception of support from peers and their managers ranks higher, at 63 percent. And while six out of 10 women say that their supervisor entrusts them with a range of assignments that help prepare them for their next role, the remaining 40 percent aren’t receiving the corporate stretch roles and breadth of experience necessary to place them in contention for positions of higher responsibility and authority. This leaves women either stagnating in their current roles, feeling passed over, or promoted without sufficient development or support through the transition. None of these situations bodes well for women reaching the C-suite successfully. Modernizing work schedules. While the world has changed dramatically from the years when men worked and women stayed at home to take care of children and domestic duties, work sched-

ules haven’t, to the particular detriment of women with children. As Melinda Gates wrote, “We’re sending our daughters into a workplace designed for our dads.” As institutional investors push for greater diversity on boards and C-suites because of the business case for it, I think that we’ll see more progress. And I do think we’ll reach the tipping point sooner rather than later, where plodding progress becomes a quantum leap. My 12-year-old self certainly hopes so. And my present self is committed to playing a key role in making it happen as rapidly as possible. To join me in the effort, visit NEW online. A quantum leap forward is an eventual certainty. But its speed depends on executives like us furthering the cause. Join me.

Sarah Alter is president and CEO of the Network of Executive Women, a learning and leadership community representing 12,400 members in 22 regional groups in the United States and Canada. Learn more at

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PG 's Total Meal Solutions Summit

Winning the Battle for Mealtime SUMMIT PROMISES TO E XCITE AND INSPIRE PROFITABLE ME AL SOLUTION STR ATEGIES. rogressive Grocer will host its Total Meal Solutions Summit, Sept. 9-10 at the JW Marriott in Austin, Texas. The summit is the destination for grocery retailers to discover proven tactics for developing a robust prepared meal solution program that will win over shoppers. Over one and a half days, attendees will experience an interactive, research-backed master class on how to up your game in feeding consumers what they want, when they want it and how they want it. Attendees will walk away with plans to drive excitement, build basket size and inspire shopper loyalty with retail foodservice and meal solution concepts. The summit will present critical insights on meal solutions with research studies from PG, the Food Marketing Institute and Datassential. Plus attendees can glean practical firsthand strategies from winners of PG’s Total Meal Solutions Awards. Attendees will be able to connect with fellow retailers, buyers, distributors and chefs from around the country. They can participate in constructive workshops with PG editors and fellow attendees about solving the challenges and harnessing the opportunities of total-store meal solutions, and sample the latest products and innovations through interactive demonstrations led by PG editors. Additionally, attendees can watch two top retail chefs show off their skills to create a winning meal with mystery ingredients in the Chef Showcase event.

solution demonstrations, guided by PG editorial staff. Afternoon content sessions start next with a general session on menu trends by Marie Molde, registered dietitian and account manager for Datassential, which tracks the hottest flavor trends for retail foodservice. A series of concurrent sessions follows, including presentations on culinary influences in meal solutions by chefs Deanna Stephens of Acosta and Dave Histed from Ahold Delhaize's Retail Business Services; cross-merchandising, by The Grocery Group’s Cindy Sorensen; the future of meal kits, by Dr. Marcia Schurer, president of Culinary Connections; and tech applications in retail foodservice, featuring Shopii Founder and CEO Katie Hotze, Avery Dennison's Pedro Garza, and PG Senior Digital and Tech Editor Abby Kleckler. Another immersion tour follows, with the day capped off by the Chef Showcase and a cocktail reception.

> Monday, Sept. 9, 2019

> Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019

Following a light breakfast, attendees will embark on an inspirational food tour of Austin. Stops will include Easy Tiger, a bakery, cafe and beer garden; Wheatsville Co-op, featuring local and organic products, and fresh prepared foods; and Austin’s Rainey Street Food Truck Park. Returning to the JW Marriott, attendees will begin their first immersion tour, in which small groups will visit interactive product and


Day two starts with PG editors guiding table topic discussions over breakfast on key meal solution ideas. Following breakfast, we’ll hear from our keynote speaker, Food Network celebrity chef Jeff Mauro, whose Pork & Mindy’s restaurant concept is making inroads into grocery foodservice in Chicago through Kroger’s Mariano’s banner. Mauro will then assist PG Editorial Director Jim Dudlicek in handing out awards to the winners of PG’s Total Meal Solutions contest (revealed in this issue). Dudlicek will then lead a panel discussion featuring several of the award winners. Next, the Food Marketing Institute’s (FMI) Rick Stein will unveil FMI’s "Power of Foodservice" report to summit attendees. Rounding out the agenda, PG will present the results of its exclusive study of consumer attitudes about supermarket meal solutions. A full agenda, registration and more information can be found at


Total Meal Solutions Awards

Gold Plated Honorees make mealtimes more accessible and exciting for busy consumers. By Jim Dudlicek


he end justifies the means — perhaps that’s too Machiavellian a phrase to describe dinnertime. But in that journey to dinner — or breakfast or lunch — offering consumers a clear, simple route to the solution for their mealtime goal is the recipe for building baskets and driving sales. It demands the kind of innovation and excitement like that on display in What’s in Store Live, part of the International Dairy Deli Bakery Association’s (IDDBA) annual trade show, designed as an experiential road map to success. “The industry has really upped its game in bringing vibrancy to the perimeter,” IDDBA CEO Mike Eardley said at this year’s event, which took place last June in Orlando, Fla. “People are investing in being special.” And it demands attention to younger consumers who continue to grow in spending power, like those identified in the IDDBA’s own research — Generation Xers, interested in grab-and-go and prepared foods, who focus on “what my family eats and needs. I just really want to get in and out.” Like Millennials, interested in snacks, meal kits and ready-to-eat food, who “never know exactly what I’m going to be eating for any meal; I decide when I get there.” And Generation Z, interested in sustainability, brand awareness and “real food,” who “care about my food, and I know what I am eating and consuming.” To that end, Progressive Grocer challenged retailers and solution providers to come up with winning meal solution concepts, from grab-and-go, dine-in and meal kits to cross-merchandising, shopper engagement and applications of technology. Further, we wanted to see what culinary influences grocery retailers are leveraging to delight and inspire their shoppers. What follows are some of the most creative and innovative ideas we’ve seen, and which draw on both the in-store and online shopping experience to best serve consumers in our omnichannel world. The honorees profiled here will be further recognized with trophies and certificates at Progressive Grocer’s Total Meal Solutions Summit, Sept. 9-10 in Austin, Texas. Additionally, the honorees in the Culinary Champion category will show off their talents in the summit’s Chef Showcase, where they’ll demonstrate the power of food theater to delight and inspire.






Wakefern Food Corp. Keasby, N.J.

Wakefern’s ShopRite banner has reimagined the art of cross-selling with Meals Made Well, an innovative recipe program that offers easy, affordable and healthy meal solutions. Developed to help customers discover better-for-you meal solutions at an accessible price point, the weekly recipes, which are “dietitian-approved and chef-created,” incorporate healthy foods from the retailer’s private label lines and vendor partners. Recipes feature center-of-the-plate proteins such as poultry, fish, meat and vegetarian options, and are marketed to consumers via a wide variety of omnichannel touchpoints, including ShopRite’s website, social media platforms and direct-to-consumer email blasts. Most of the Meals Made Well recipes posted on ShopRite. com are “shoppable,” which means that they can be added to a consumer’s online shopping list via ShopRite’s app, or they can be added to a ShopRite From Home order. The weekly recipe themes are also supported with advertising space in the circular. According to Wakefern, however, the “secret sauce” in the program’s success is the execution of the program, as the ingredients are merchandised and promoted by the supermarket’s team of 100-plus dietitians. The dietitians promote the week-


ly recipes with in-store demos (selling ingredients alongside free samples), cooking classes, free recipe book giveaways, and social media posts. This marketing approach marries digital innovation and in-person dietitian expertise to offer customers a truly high-tech and personalized experience. The cross-marketing isn’t limited to recipe ingredients, though, as bundled promotions often incorporate nonfood options such as cooking appliances, glassware or other choices. A highlight of the innovative Meals Made Well program is eye-catching refrigerated meal carts, which offer the ingredients for that week’s meal for easy pickup and preparation. The carts feature built-in video monitors demonstrating that week’s recipe with step-by-step instructions to assist customers with cooking tips. Additionally, select stores offer fully prepared versions of these healthful meals if customers are looking for heat-and-eat options. By merchandising products to help customers easily gather all of the ingredients needed for a delicious, healthy meal in one location, ShopRite’s innovative Meals Made Well program provides increased access to better-for-you dinner solutions while driving sales, gaining new fans, and building loyalty and engagement among its customer base.


Busch’s Fresh Food Market Canton, Mich.

JB’s Smokehouse at Busch’s features regional barbecue favorites smoked on-site with local Michigan hardwoods, a full bar with 22 Michigan draft beers, and seating for 170 guests, including outdoor patio seating. The concept includes Tap Takeovers, featuring 300 Michigan beers from more than 30 breweries. Strong local collaborations allow JB’s to offer pub exclusives and rare beers not available elsewhere. The Tap Takeovers tie in with seasonal and limited-release launches. Several Friday-evening events featured local craft-beer breweries. Promoted in store, via email, social media, and cross-promotion with featured breweries, the events drove a 41 percent increase in orders and a 57 percent increase in sales for JB’s Smokehouse compared with non-event Fridays.

ian offerings recently with two additional in-store pizza concepts called Dia Pida, which features street-style foods, including piadas, flatbread pizzas, salads and pastas, and its newest, Mia Pizza, which allows customers to choose a signature creation or select their own toppings. Hy-Vee’s newest Asian concept, The Hibachi, consists of Japanese-, Korean-, Thai- and Vietnamese-style noodle bowls. Select Hy-Vee stores offer Cocina Mexicana burritos, burrito bowls, quesadillas and tacos. Other select stores provide fresh-squeezed juices and smoothies to create a refreshing shopping experience.


Hy-Vee Inc.

West Des Moines, Iowa Hy-Vee Market Grille full-service restaurants offer breakfast, appetizers, burgers, flatbread pizzas, sushi, steaks, seafood, Asian-inspired noodle bowls, Cheesecake Factory branded desserts, and other items. Market Grille made-toorder, chef-inspired recipes are available for dine-in, carryout, curbside pickup, and delivery. Part of the grocer’s new food-court concept, Hy-Vee’s Hickory House provides slow-smoked meats, comfort-food sides and breakfast classics. The retailer escalated its ItalPROGRESSIVE GROCER August 2019



Total Meal Solutions Awards GRAB & GO CONCEPT WINNER


Eden Prairie, Minn. Quick & Easy Meals offers an expanded line of delicious, fresh and convenient meals at prices on-the-go consumers can afford, available to more than 43,000 UNFI customer locations. The program offers consumers fully prepared, ready-toeat, grab-and-go items; completely assembled heat-and-eat meals; and fresh meal-kit options with preselected ingredients already chopped, sliced and measured. Quick & Easy Ready-to-Enjoy offerings consist of more than 500 items, including hot-and-ready items in the store deli, as well as a variety of freshly made sandwiches, salads, and precut fruits and vegetables. More than 70 UNFI (former Supervalu) retail banner stores that have implemented Quick & Easy have seen an almost double-digit sales increase in the grab-and-go category. UNFI independent customers in the program are showing category sales increases from 5 percent to 15 percent since inception. Retailers that have found success with the Quick & Easy program attribute their gains to the cross-merchandising op-


Giant Food

Landover, Md. Giant has enhanced its assortment of both hot and cold grab-and-go selections with new and improved products and packaging, as well as strategic merchandising and marketing.


portunities that the program brings to the fresh departments. Further, setting up a large display at the front of the store that incorporates the deli, meat and produce categories quickly attracts consumers.

The program refresh encompasses cold items, including new recipes and packaging for green salads, new assortments and recipes for sandwiches, limited-time-offer flavors for both of the latter, and new individual desserts like cake and cheesecake slices merchandised with entrées. For hot items, Giant went free-from with its rotisserie chickens and introduced limited-edition seasonal flavors; added new hot-bar offerings, including barbecue, ethnic, wing bars, a Chef’s Choice selection, and better-for-you items; and updated the lineup, layout and fixtures at all stores with hot bars and wing bars. Immediate hot consumables include quick-bake flatbreads such as hummus with figs and prosciutto and olives, plus hot sandwiches. Fried chicken has transitioned to a fresh hand-breaded program for full service, grab-and-go and combo meals. Additionally, Giant introduced a full-service ramen and donburi bowl program. All new program offerings are supported with digital menu boards and dedicated deli pay stations. Heat-and-eat items include new recipes and an updated assortment for Entrées for One and Two, chilled prepared chicken, and a new recipe, refreshed packaging and a larger size for takeand-bake pizza.

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Total Meal Solutions Awards MEAL KITS WINNER

Skogen’s Festival Foods De Pere, Wis.

Responding to consumer requests for meal kits, Skogen’s created a branded program, Step By Step Dinner Kits. Research and testing led to recipe cards, and photo stickers of the finished meals on each vented, handled kit box. The program encompasses three categories: Slow Cooker (four varieties), Skillet (nine varieties) and Dinner for 2-3 (15 varieties). Slow Cooker and Skillet kits are designed to be easy to prepare and serve a family of four (two adults and two small children). All kits, which retail at $15 to $20, include measured, locally sourced ingredients and step-by-step instructions. Kits require no minimum purchase and include less packaging than many competitors’ meal kits. Color-coded packaging is easy to read, prominently calling out the number of servings and approximate preparation time. The only ingredients not included are salt and pepper. Skogen’s partnered with Happy Food Co. to produce all measured dry ingredients, saving significant labor in its already busy deli departments. Best-sellers are Italian Skillet with Penne Pasta, Chicken

Teriyaki Stir Fry with Brown Rice, Pesto Chicken Penne with Vegetables, Baked Salmon, Shrimp with Asparagus, and Zucchini Lasagna. Multiple varieties of the kits are available instore at all times. Guests also may order ahead using order forms available in the deli. Skogen’s reports a sales increase of around 30 percent when the kits are sampled to guests. Skogen’s promoted the meal kits in ads, its mobile club and in a YouTube video; offered samples in stores; and included a coupon in its associate newsletter. Shopper feedback has been overwhelmingly positive for the flavors, variety and easy prep.


Coborn’s Inc. Ramsey, Minn.

To better meet the needs of its average consumer — Millennial moms — Coborn’s launched its To the Table meal kits through its CobornsDelivers service in the Twin Cities greater metropolitan area. CobornsDelivers began developing customized recipes, with new options offered every season. With initial development by the CobornsDelivers team, a dietitian and an in-house chef soon took over to create the “chef-inspired, dietitian-approved” kits. The jazzed-up, Midwest-inspired recipes were created with the aim of improving the nutrition of fan favorites (leading to the introduction of the Sweet Potato Tater Tot Hot Dish), while also introducing unique ethnic flavors to consumers (for example, Thai Chicken over Sweet Potato Noodles). The kits are sold alongside other common grocery items, with no extra subscription fee, and with same-day and nextday delivery available. Recognizing the needs of time-starved parents, Coborn’s also introduced School Lunch Kits featuring kid-friendly sandwiches, wraps and sides, priced at $4.89 each. Since launching the meal kits in 2016, Coborn’s has increased basket size and sales. In 2018, CobornsDelivers sold nearly 3,400 meal kits and just over 2,100 lunch kits. 30



Honolulu, Hawaii Foodland’s meal-kit program is called Calabash, after the traditional vessels that Hawaiians used for food storage and serving. The aim was to create quick and easy meals that reflected local DNA and celebrated current food trends. The dishes are chef-driven, colorful and vibrant. Instead of offering complete kits with set entrées and accompaniments,

Calabash allows consumers to mix and match their main and side dishes from among five options for each. At any given time and every week, one main and one side switches out, creating variety. Supported by a dedicated website and Instagram presence, Calabash has been well received by consumers and local media, and more options are in the works as production capacity increases. The program is a standout for being unique to its market, exclusive to Foodland stores and a boost to incremental sales.


Barons Market Poway, Calif.

Open for eight hours every day, Barons Kitchen is a sampling station where shoppers can try products not typically found at supermarkets. Customers also can learn how to make simple meals and snacks. “Barons Market is a firm believer in the less-than-15-minute recipe, and we are constantly creating new recipes using our store products,” the Barons team says. “We understand that people don’t want to come home from long days and cook for an hour and a half. Our quick recipes cater [to] feelings of convenience and excitement around our customers’ food choices, rather than the feeling of dread as they decide what’s for dinner.” After creating these delicious, taste-tested recipes, Barons posts “drool-worthy” photos of the finished dishes on social media, where customers engage, later trying the recipes for themselves. “The feedback on our recipes has been very positive so far,” Barons reports, “and our customers are always excited to see what we come up with next.” PROGRESSIVE GROCER August 2019




Mariano Events Rochester, N.Y

This nationwide event-marketing agency executes high-quality sampling events for food, beverage and wellness brands. Mariano Events focuses on telling brand stories through a comprehensive, strategic planning procedure that brings all constituents into the process, from retailer personnel to buyers and sales teams. Events are organized according to product consumption habits, seasonality, shelf proximity, store traffic, and the demographic makeup of a store’s location. The agency has worked with more than 100 national retailers and 300-plus CPG brands. Using real-time, cloud-based software, Mariano Events tracks sales and item movement, event photos, customer comments, and brand ambassador check-ins. Recognizing that social media platforms are powerful tools that connect communities of consumers with like-minded brands to tell stories, the agency has a digital marketing coordinator work with brand and retail partners to incorporate content marketing and customized calls to action into all sampling event campaigns. Using compelling imagery and copy to call out key event information on Mariano Events digital profiles (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) provides stores and vendors alike with additional brand awareness that many traditional agencies overlook.



Cornelius, N.C. Shopii is an enterprise software application that aims to solve high cart abandonment and low brick-to-click conversion by bringing the meal-kit concept to the grocery store in a new way. Launched in December 2018, the technology offers online meal planning within a grocer’s existing ecommerce platform, allowing shoppers to select a meal and fill their cart with the single click of a mouse. Each meal — more than 500,000 of which are offered on the platform — is composed of ingredients sourced from a grocer’s shelves. Proprietary technology develops a unique API with each grocer to fill a cart with selections based on pre-identified product filters like organic or low sodium. Buyers may shop by meal through a seamless integration within a grocer’s existing ecommerce platform. For most retailers, online ordering for groceries has set requirements like minimum order values and convenience charges that can derail the completion of online orders. Shopii helps shoppers meet minimum order criteria by filling their carts with meals. What makes Shopii unique among alternatives like sub32

scription or delivery services is a combination of time-saving, meal-planning convenience and quick-shop functionality that attracts online shoppers and drives them to checkout. Shopii licenses its technology for a quarterly fee supported by an advertising program that allows food product manufacturers to promote their products as part of a recipe.

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Total Meal Solutions Awards CULINARY CHAMPION

Our two honorees will show off their skills in the Chef Showcase at Progressive Grocer’s Total Meal Solutions Summit, Sept. 9-10 in Austin, Texas. Highlights of the showcase will be included in a roundup of the summit in PG’s October 2019 issue.


Chef Edi Cucurullo Hy-Vee, Mankato, Minn.

Chef Edi Cucurullo hails from Positano, Italy, where his love for Italian food and seafood began. He studied at Associazione Italiana Sommelier, in Milan, Italy and has more than 20 years of experience in the restaurant industry and the art of food and wine pairings. Cucurullo assists customers in Hy-Vee’s meat and seafood departments as they seek out weekly meal solutions, sharing his fresh, custom approach to a delicious meal. He’s stationed at the Chef’s Grill on the weekends, providing cooking demonstrations and sharing his recipes, including Lasagne Bolognese, Caporalessa Bucatini, Spaghetti Puttanesca and Ricotta Orecchiette Salsiccia. Cucurullo also teams up with Hy-Vee cheese and charcuterie specialists to host monthly educational classes for customers. Reaching beyond his home store, Cucurullo hosts his own cooking show, “EDItalian,” on Hy-Vee’s Helpful Smiles Television (HSTV), launched in 2018. Each episode features Cucurullo crafting authentic Italian recipes, allowing viewers to follow along and create their own authentic dishes. Cucurullo inspires customers to become adventurous in cooking and in purchasing ingredients of superior quality, driving sales for Hy-Vee. His engaging presence also elevates Hy-Vee’s customer experience standards. His love and appreciation for food and wine are infectious, winning over customers at the Mankato Hy-Vee as well as his devoted HSTV viewers.


Chef Neal Meier

Hy-Vee, Lakeville, Minn. The Chef Neal’s Healthy Meals program provides healthy, fresh-made meals that are low in sodium, gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free, preservative-free and under 500 calories. So many people today have special dietary needs and fitness goals, including busy professionals who want to eat right, but don’t have the time to cook. Meier’s meals are affordable, and different meal packages are available for purchase. They have proved highly successful, with many repeat customers and weekly orders. What stands apart is the flavor, the quality of ingredients, and the detail involved in packaging each meal. The menu is expected to expand as the concept continues to grow, with other packages available for purchase that will drive sales and expand the brand. 34









Merchandising is more than fitout and fixtures. It’s the art of creating an attractive, well-organized retail presentation. As with any artistic composition, a wide variety of tools







masterpiece. In retail Visual Merchandising, a gondola, pegboard, slatwall or shelf is your blank canvas. When combined with tools such as display hooks, label and sign holders, bar merchandisers, tray systems, and merchandising accessories, there are endless ways to effectively display all kinds of products and inspire your target audience to make a purchase. As one of the world’s top retail fixture manufacturers, Trion offers a generous supply of over 25,000 components and over 50 years of experience using them to execute precise planogram solutions, store designs and retail displays. Call us to turn your vision into an inspirational retail masterpiece. DISPLAY AND SCAN HOOKS LABEL HOLDER SYSTEMS DIVIDER AND PUSHER SYSTEMS BAR MERCHANDISING SYSTEMS COOLER MERCHANDISING SYSTEMS

Hooks | Shelf Merchandising | Labeling WWW.TRIONONLINE.COM /ART | 800-444-4665 ©2019 Trion Industries, Inc.

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Create Your Own Merchandising Masterpiece with Trion Fixtures

Exciting Cross Sells

For the Bulky Stuff

Mini Dual Lane Trays

Base Deck Fencing

This mini tray leads to maximum revenue, because it allows complimentary items to be featured together. Dual lanes adjust to fit narrow merchandise sizes as small as 1 3⁄4 ". Each lane features a separate pusher paddle to keep products forwarded and faced. Feature items of different widths via asymmetric lane configurations. Cross merchandise a variety of products with ease. Trays install without tools and lift out for quick restocking or product rotation. Full line includes standard and oversize trays, and display, scan and pusher hooks.

This bottom is tops for displaying heavy, bulky, or hard-to-fit items. Display them attractively and neatly using front fencing and dividers to customize the display space and create unique presentations of similar or related items. This cross-selling approach makes shopping easier for the customer and more profitable for you. Select from a range of other Trion outfitting to maximize selling space from the base

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deck to the top shelf and beyond.

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An Open and Shut Case

Flip-Scan Hooks ®

Over 450 Profiles

Clear Scan Label Holders ®

Storewide solutions for any labeling need. Available in a variety of profiles (shapes), these bright, clear label holders are easily positioned in all standard C-channel configurations, as well as displays incorporating metal, glass, wood, wire baskets, wire shelving, wire fencing, and scanning hooks. Plain paper labels drop in behind a clear flexible PVC front, allowing labels to be changed quickly and inexpensively without messy adhesive backing. Adhesive label holders and strips also available if that is your need. Save time, increase visibility, and boost sales with this storewide labeling system. Cooler capable, color, and built-in promo

Flip-Scan® hooks are an open and shut case for ease of use. The articulated label holder lifts up and out of the way for easy product access, then falls back to vertical for viewing product and price info. Our unique label holder flexes open so plain paper labels can be inserted effortlessly. Available with short label holders or full length label strips and constructed of long-life materials, these durable, attractive scan hooks can outfit all display surfaces, including pegboard, slatwall, grid, crossbar, and corrugated. Fully compatible with the Clear Scan® Label Holder System for C-channel, shelf edge, wire basket, and refrigerated areas storewide.

Clip label holders and strips available.

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Create Your Own Merchandising Masterpiece with Trion Fixtures

Cold Front Forecast

Air Flow Baffle

Oversize? No Problem!

WonderBar EWT Large TM


The forecast is a cold cooler front when you use Trion’s Air Flow Baffle in coolers. Product temperature can be difficult to maintain at the front of a cooler. This Air Flow Baffle ensures that cold air is forced forward to keep items at their ideal temperature. Use as part of your cooler outfitting strategy, along with WonderBar ® Bar Merchandisers and hooks, EWTTM Expandable Wire Tray System, and cooler capable Clear Scan® label holders.

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If you think the WonderBar EWT is great, wait till you meet its big brother! Oversized just like some of your products, this weightlifter stays strong on both metal and open wire shelves and bar. One-piece installation means you can drop this bad boy right into place, adjust as needed, and watch the revenue increase. The EWT takes over from there, automatically feeding product to the front and billboarding merchandise for maximum visibility.

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Super Hooks!

Containers Well Contained

Cooler Capable AMT


Neatly and effectively display cooler and freezer items, including yogurt, dips, puddings, ice cream, single-serve foods, and more. Our small Adjustable Merchandising Tray (AMT) fits a range of 4- to 6-ounce cups; the medium AMT organizes mid-range offerings; and the large AMT gives ice cream lovers pause to browse and choose a pint of their favorite flavor (hmmm ...why not get both Cherry Vanilla and Rocky Road?). This manual-feed tray ensures that products remain faced and accessible. Time to re-stock? Just lift out and refill. Add Clear

WonderBar Hooks ®

WonderBar® Displays are the versatile heroes of the Trion product family, coming to the rescue when you need muscle and good looks to merchandise items of all sizes. These Bar Hooks can lift heavy loads in their capable arms. Display or Scan, Saddle Mount or Plug in, there are Trion WonderBar Hooks for every need.

Scan® Label Holder, and you’re finished!

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Create Your Own Merchandising Masterpiece with Trion Fixtures

See More, Sell More

WonderBar Trays ®

Trion delivers your merchandising solutions on a platter. . . actually, more of a tray. WonderBar® Trays solve the problem of how to stock, display, and sell an unlimited variety of products, including hardware, soft goods, coffee, dry goods, pet treats, and more. Adjust the tray from 51⁄2 " to 8" wide, creating customized widths that accommodate boxes, bags, pillow packs, gusseted bags, bottles, clam shells, blister packs, and various tub shapes. Depths range from 13" to 24", and trays feature integrated label holders. You’ll sell more when customers can see more! After the sale, simply lift out the tray for convenient rear restocking.

Grab Pouches by the Scruff

Pouch Hook

What’s better than a pouch hook that automatically positions products for purchasing? A pouch hook that allows for easy restocking and is compatible with existing bar merchandising systems, that’s what! Need more reasons? They are available in 4 lengths to accommodate varied depths; feature a rear-loading design; include flip-front label holder, and tool-free installation on gondola, on pegboard, and in coolers. Of course, standard pouch hooks are available in case you are not a believer in gravity feed or gravity itself.

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A Clear Solution

Dividers & Pushers Cross Sell Adjacencies

Dual Lane Trays

After one item is removed from our auto-feed, adjustable dual lane trays, the next product moves right into position. Each lane can be individually adjusted to a range of widths to maximize cross-sell opportunities. In addition, you can choose the push strength for either lightweight or heavy items. Dual Lane Trays give you the ability to customize displays to suit your

Let’s be clear. These are the best systems to display colorful items that draw the customers’ eyes . . . and their dollars. Sturdy enough for busy retail environments, these dividers let products promote themselves keeping packaging visible. Trion pushers keep items forwarded and faced for best visibility. Deploy Trion’s acrylic options for items including cosmetics, vitamins and supplements, crafts, party supplies, and more.

inventory offerings.

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Create Your Own Merchandising Masterpiece with Trion Fixtures

Staging Areas Built In

Get Creative

Pin-Stop Waterfall Hooks

Literature Holder

These strong, downward-canted waterfall hooks lift more weights than a personal trainer. Ready for a workout, Trion Industries’ hooks display heavy products, like free weights in multiple sizes, with both sales and safety in mind. Your customers can easily browse the merchandise, which is held in place by built-in pins to keep product from shifting or falling. Exercise your opportunity to cross-sell related products and keep your bottom line in shape! Of course these waterfall utility hooks are perfect for more than hand

Mirror, mirror on the wall. You can be the most difficult item to display of all. Clever merchandisers use large literature holders for three-dimensional, awkwardly sized items like mirrors, framed art, clocks, and more. Available in a range of sizes, gauges, and weights, Trion’s large literature holders can be spaced horizontally to accommodate all manner of product sizes.

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weights. Give them a try.

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Place a Label Anywhere

Scan-It Scan Arms TM

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Versatile Wall Tags What do you want your customers to know? Want to promote great prices or unique product features? Add wall tags to your displays faster than you can say “sign up!” Wall tags allow you to mount your product and price separately on vertical display surfaces, for cleaner

Scan-It do this? Scan-It do that? Scan-Its do it all! Scan-Its make it easy to label and price products, regardless of plan-o-gram fixture layout, unusual product shape, or tightly spaced displays. When you need a flexible aid to label and price items quickly and conveniently, turn to this Swiss Army knife of outfitting. Scan-ItTM is available in a range of back plate sizes and label holder configurations.

overall presentation.

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Create Your Own Merchandising Masterpiece with Trion Fixtures

Unlimited configuration

Expandable Wire Tray


Product offerings come in different sizes, so it makes sense that displays should come in different sizes, too. That’s why Trion created the WonderBar ® Expandable Wire Tray System. We included every feature you would want if you created it yourself: powder-coated galvanized wire that stands up to harsh environments; adjustable width; easy custom configuration; rail mount and freestanding units; wire or clear acrylic product stops. EWT mounts on pegboard, slatwall, gondola shelf, table

Finish the Job

Base Deck Fencing Bin there, organized that! Trion’s deck fencing helps you bin small, large, bulk or packaged items while keeping them accessible to customers. Customize your display to create closed-front or open-front compartments using straight or offset front fence, then add our convenient labeling systems to finish the job right.

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top and cooler.

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Yeah, We’ve Got That Announce Product Presence

Extruded Sign Holders Think of these extruded signs as a GPS for your retail setting. Quickly guide customers to the products they want and need with these versatile sign holders. Plan your customer’s routes, then slide in signs when you’re ready. Creative merchandisers might also use these sign holders for monthly or weekly specials, buy-one-get-one offers, specialized category definition (think gluten free, organic, fair trade, etc.), or promotion of in-store loyalty cards. A variety of mounting options are available including hooks, push pin, and foam tape. The

Slatwall Hooks

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Merchandising is more than fitout and fixtures. It’s the art of creating an attractive, well-organized retail presentation. As with any artistic composition, a wide variety of tools







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Store of the Month


DeCicco & Sons Somers, N.Y.

Barnum & Bailey’s birthplace is the location of independent grocer DeCicco & Sons’ newest supermarket. By Kat Martin Photography by Jeff Ellis




DeCicco & Sons

Abundant local and organic produce is a hallmark of DeCicco & Sons' Somers, N.Y., store.

hen DeCicco & Sons’ newest store opened in Somers, N.Y., in May of this year, it was met with great excitement. As with many of the company’s locations, the townspeople were clamoring for a local grocery store, and the DeCicco name has become well known as a byword for quality. “What we offer is very specific,” says Joe DeCicco Jr., chief purchasing officer. “We’re not going to be the cheapest on X, Y and Z. We’re 100 percent quality-focused. All of our meat, whether it’s important to you or not, is all natural and antibiotic- and hormone-free. Our produce will last seven days in your fridge, and it’s first picked and super-fresh. 38

This is what we’re offering, and a lot of people appreciate it and understand the difference. They see it, they feel it, and they taste it.” While seven of the eight stores are in New York’s Westchester County (the eighth is just on the other side of the county line), each is tailored to fit its unique community, and the Somers store is no exception. “We try to follow the architectural style of every community that we go to as best we can to fit in with the rest of the community,” says John DeCicco Jr., CEO/CFO of the stores.


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DeCicco & Sons

Features of the location include (clockwise from above) elephant imagery reflecting the town's history, a coffee and juice bar, a capacious cheese department, a wide variety of produce, a meat department offering exclusive private label organic and natural beef from Pineland, and fresh-made sushi.

Elephants Everywhere

Somers is also the hometown of Hachaliah Bailey, who purchased the first elephant brought into the United States. Bailey started charging people to view the animal, which led him to create the Bailey Circus that later merged with P.T. Barnum’s traveling show to become the Barnum & Bailey Circus. The elephant is a big symbol in the town — the town hall is in what was formerly known as the Elephant Hotel, and has a statue of Bailey’s elephant, known as Old Bet, in front. The DeCiccos’ store prominently features a mural of the elephant on a wall in the produce department. Additionally, the beer taps in the upstairs bar are housed in a metal casing shaped like an elephant. 40

In terms of the store’s design, the family was looking to create a backwoods motif, with a lot of wood and metal elements, along with playing homage to Somers’ role in the rise of the American circus. “We tried to take those first industrial-type buildings, combined with the wilderness-lodge type of feel, and this is what we ended up with,” John Jr. adds. Much of the store’s design was also influenced by its location adjacent to the Croton Watershed, which means that the land behind the store will remain undeveloped. The store’s brick exterior gives it an industrial vibe, which is softened by reclaimed

From B-School to Real World What began as a business school assignment in the 1990s turned into DeCicco & Sons, a booming independent grocery chain with seven of its eight stores in Westchester County, N.Y., and another three stores in the works. John DeCicco Jr., who had grown up in the grocery business working for his father and uncles in the family-owned DeCicco Family Markets, was in business school when his class decided to use his family’s business as the basis of its class project, and began hunting sites and creating a business plan for a grocery store that was unlike anything else in the market. When John Jr. brought the idea to his father, John DeCicco Sr., father and son decided to see whether they could make the venture succeed in the real world. They signed a lease on the site that had been prospected by the class, and DeCicco & Sons was born. By 2006, the first store was open in Ardsley, N.Y., and in 2013, the second-generation venture was spun off from the original family business, with John Jr.’s brother Chris, as well as his uncle Joe DeCicco Sr., and Joe's son Joe DeCicco Jr. on board. (Fun family fact: John Sr. and Joe Sr. married sisters, making John Jr., Chris and Joe Jr. double cousins.) The two seniors are in the stores every day, checking to make sure everything is running smoothly, while John Jr. oversees development projects, finance and HR; Joe Jr. is in charge of purchasing and merchandising; and Chris focuses on marketing and the beer program.

“We’re 100 percent qualityfocused.”

wood elements. The reclaimed wood, from barns in New England, also plays into the focus on sustainability that has been at the forefront of every DeCicco & Sons store; the chain’s Larchmont location is LEED certified. (That store led to DeCicco & Sons receiving an Outstanding Independent Award for Sustainability from Progressive Grocer in 2016.)

chief purchasing officer

The Somers store is the first one the company has built from the ground up, which allowed the DeCiccos to implement all of the sustainable learnings from their other stores to create their greenest store to date. “Every store, we take a step

—Joe DeCicco Jr.,

The Green Quotient




DeCicco & Sons 2






forward in terms of the design and the efficiency of the store,” John Jr. says. The Somers store “is actually an accumulation of three or four stores worth of technology,” notes Michael Puma, director of operations. “We tested some technology in some stores, and it succeeded, so we amped it up here. This was really taking everything to a pinnacle. Now, we really get to see how efficient we can be.” The Somers store isn’t LEED certified because the process is quite arduous, but the team took the learnings from the Larchmont store and applied them to the new location, which is, however, Greenchill Platinum certified. The store has radiant floor heat throughout that uses heat reclaimed from the refrigeration system. (The bar upstairs also has radiant heat under the cement bar top so that it remains warm to the touch.) “That reheating does two things,” Puma says. “It reclaims the water used to heat the floor. That heat rises. Then we have fans that actually take that heat that’s expelled and push it back down, so we’re reusing that heat again.” The radiant heat in the floor is the primary heat source for the store, with the secondary source being the HVAC system. The reclaimed heat from the refrigeration system is also used to heat the water used in the store. “It gets boosted with a secondary source, but it is our primary source of hot water,” Puma adds. The radiant floor heat, which is a first for a grocery store in the United States, according to Puma, required coordinating with four contractors to get all of the plumbing and wiring to work in the way he wanted it to.




4 5




DeCicco & Sons Investment in Smart Technology

Much of the mechanics in the store — about 90 percent — are smart controlled. The air conditioning, for example, can be adjusted to create the right amount of humidity in the store, which helps keep the produce, meat and other perishables fresher. “You can feel the store is pretty crisp,” Puma notes. “None of the cases are fogged up. That’s all being controlled by smart technology that is sensing the temperature at multiple points inside the store so we have the means to react to different situations.” This smart technology allows Puma or John Jr. to be able to respond to what’s going on in the store and correct it from anywhere in the world. It also enables them to see that everything is running on schedule. For example, if Puma gets an alert on his phone at 9 p.m. about the seafood cooler being warm, he knows that it’s because that’s the scheduled time for it to be washed down.

The Somers, N.Y., store's mechanical room (upper right), where generators can keep the store running during a power outage, and the controls for the radiant heating system that runs under the entire store floor.

The technology also helps maintain food quality and food safety. “We have the confidence to know that everything is going to come out properly and be stored consistently,” Puma says. “It’s not reactive, it’s almost proactive.” The initial investment in all of this top-end technology was high, but even though it’s nearly 20,000 square feet, the costs to run the Somers store are in line with the chain’s other stores, which are only 12,000 to 15,000 square feet. Other sustainable elements include LED lights — there isn’t a single halogen bulb in the entire store — and special drainage in the parking lot that allows runoff rainwater to flow into the store’s well and be used for landscaping.

Grilling It Up

While the store has only been open a short time — and due to delays beyond the family’s control, it still hasn’t held grand-opening ceremonies — one of the biggest draws is the DeCicco Grill, a bar encompassing the upstairs mezzanine, an 8,500-squarefoot space that can seat about 250 people. The bar features several beers on tap, as well as a made-to-order grill station serving a variety of burgers and other typical bar fare. The area features TVs, comfortable leather sofas and a chil44


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DeCicco & Sons

Diners at the outdoor seating area (above) enjoy the stunning view of the Croton Watershed, while the upstairs bar offers TVs and a kids' play area, along with hearty pub fare.

dren’s play area. One whole wall is made up of windows facing a panoramic view of the Croton Wetlands, and the outdoor seating area is a popular spot for customers to enjoy a glass of beer or wine. “The response to the bar has been huge and overwhelming,” Joe Jr. says. “We really are known for the bar concept in general, but this is a new concept for us, with the kind of pub-burger concept. It’s really a match made in heaven.” The bar grill uses the same meat that’s sold downstairs in the meat department so customers can try to replicate the bar offerings at home. Donna Monaco Olsen, a local food writer who works with John Sr. on developing the cooking classes held at the stores in conjunction with Westchester Community College, was at the store during PG’s visit. “I always talk about [how] it’s not just a store,” Olsen says. “They are part of the community. I think that shines through in the design of it, the presentation of things. They have heart. That, to me, is a big part of DeCicco’s.” But it all comes back to what the store sells. As John Jr. notes, DeCicco & Sons sets itself apart, “handsdown, by the quality of the products we’re selling.” 46

Craft Brew Revolution Like many independent grocers, the elder DeCiccos’ training was in butchery, so the stores are well known for their meat departments — they carry a line of natural, organic private label beef — as well as their produce, which was named the best in Westchester County, N.Y. However, where DeCicco & Sons has really begun to make a name for itself is in the craft beer department. Chris DeCicco, the chief marketing officer, travels the world working with brewers to find the best craft beer varieties that are then sold in the store either in the beer aisle or on tap in the stores’ bars. The stores do a booming business in growlers, but the recent push has been in “crowlers,” or a can version of the growler. In fact, Chris’s extensive knowledge of the category has led to the Knighthood of the Brewers Mash Staff in Belgium designating him an honorary knight in recognition of his “loyal services to the brewing profession.” The junior DeCiccos became interested in craft beer in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and when the new DeCicco & Sons venture began, they placed an emphasis on the department. “People would drive from different states, different parts of the country, just to check out whatever bottles we had on the shelf,” Joe Jr. says. “It really exploded when we opened our store in 2006. We had growlers and a draft system; local breweries started opening up. It just kind of blew up.” Chris takes his beer team to breweries all over the world to help educate them on the many types and styles of beer so they can in turn educate customers. Every store, including the Somers, N.Y., location, has two to three full-time staffers in the beer department.





t Safeway’s Eastern division, football fandom is a way of life. “We’re proud to be the official supermarket for the Baltimore Ravens and the Washington Redskins,” asserts Kelly Boyd, marketing director for the Lanham, Md.-based division, who oversees its NFL partnerships. “Safeway provides one-stop shops where team fans can gear up for game days.” The reason for this is simple, according to Boyd: “Both the Ravens and the Redskins attract enthusiastic fans that love to tailgate at games, eating and drinking and forming a sense of community around their passion for their teams.”

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Key Takeaways While tailgaters are looking for more convenient, grab-and-go items, rising trends toward onsite grilling and “homegating” shows that that there’s also room for more elaborate solutions.

Safeway’s Eastern division takes part in a range of football-themed promotions with the Baltimore Ravens (pictured) and the Washington Redskins.

Social media has become an important aspect of promoting tailgating products to consumers. Retailers that aim to be onestop shops for football fans’ needs, offering a wide variety of items across the store, crossmerchandising complementary products, and providing recipe and entertaining inspiration, will win the tailgating occasion.


To that end, the division’s stores offer a full complement of food items across the aisles, including wings, burgers, brats, guacamole and other dips, deli meats, cookies, chips, and a range of beverages, highlighted by themed displays and promotions, to help shoppers make the most of such occasions. “We have seen tailgating menus continue to evolve as consumers’ palates have evolved,” notes Boyd, adding, “Fans are …

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Coleman Foods’ Budweiser BBQ Variety Pack offers grab-and-go convenience on game days.

looking for convenient, grab-and-go items. They are also setting up more sophisticated tailgating spots, with some fans setting up extensive grilling equipment, and others bringing trailers and motor homes to bring an elevated level of comfort to the stadiums.”

Easy BBQ

A shoo-in for any tailgating party with grilled meats on the menu is Coleman Natural Foods’ Budweiser BBQ Variety Pack, part of the company’s Budweiser BBQ Collection. The pack consists of a half rack of St. Louis-style ribs with barbecue sauce, 14-ounce classic pulled pork in barbecue sauce, and four beer bratwursts, all individually packaged inside the box, which resembles a 6-pack of Budweiser lager beer. Mel Coleman, VP of Golden, Colo.-based Coleman, notes that “consumers want to feed a crowd without the need for hours of prep. This is the perfect thing to grab and go.” The collection, introduced earlier this year, also features St. Louis Style Pork Spare Ribs and Pulled Pork, each in Budweiser Brewmaster’s Premium BBQ Sauce; Bratwurst infused with real Budweiser Lager; and Jalapeno Cheddar Bratwurst infused with Cheddar Cheese and Real Budweiser Lager Beer. Each item in the collection is made with slow-roasted, Coleman Natural pork, raised 100 percent crate-free by American farmers with no antibiotics, added hormones or growth promotants.

Holy Guacamole

“Football is the No. 1 sport in the country, so it was a natural fit for Avocados From Mexico, the No. 1 brand of avocados, to align its marketing program with the sport, which is an American tradition in the fall,” enthuses Stephanie Bazan, VP of market development at Irving, Texas-based Avocados From Mexico. “This time period is recognized by most major CPG brands in the grocery aisle leveraging football thematic [elements] on their packaging and/or promotional offers that tie into popular football sports teams.” Adds Bazan: “We have a robust calendar of activity


to support consumer demand during this fall time period. Our fall programming is designed to help our customers drive their sales of avocados during one of the key occasions of the season through eye-catching football thematic displays, POS, consumer savings offers [and] demos, as well as digital support.” Further, she notes: “As consumers continue to choose fresh ingredients for their gatherings and parties, when it comes to avocados, it’s important that they are educated when purchasing, to make for optimal serving. Avocados From Mexico recently performed in-depth research and found that ripening and preserving of avocados are key areas of concern to consumers. Our new Education Playbook has guidelines that give retailers insights for positioning and strategy around Avocados From Mexico.” Beyond that, Bazan has some advice on how food retailers can win over tailgaters. “For avocados specifically, grocers can capitalize on tailgating … occasions by increasing the dimensions of the fresh avocado displays and offering additional sizing for versatility and price options,” she suggests. “It is also important for grocers to look at avocado cross-merchandising opportunities near the fresh meat offerings during this time period, as consumers are also looking for grilling solutions for [these] celebrations.”

Baked-in Profits

In season yearround, Avocados From Mexico are a natural choice for guacamole and other dishes at tailgating celebrations.

Brie Buenning, integrated marketing manager at San Leandro, Calif.-based La Brea Bakery, points out that “consumers are gravitating towards smaller bites, and we’ve seen an uptick in popularity among elevated finger foods and items like grazing boards that offer a variety of smaller samples. In addition to size, consumers are looking for ways to make entertaining less daunting, and sometimes that’s incorporating par-baked or premade foods into recipes and dishes.” To that end, “La Brea Bakery’s Take & Bake line of breads are not only perfect for getting that freshbaked, right-out-of-the-oven quality, but a convenient way to have artisan bread at your fingertips without

sacrificing quality in ingredients, whether it’s paired with simple spreads or added to a favorite dish,” she recommends. Buenning goes on to identify “a handful of ways” that grocers capitalize on the occasion: “The first is making sure their pods are centralized in the store and are one-stop shops that … provide added inspiration to consumers. Another would be recipe inspiration on the website and on store-accompanying apps. Using beautiful photography and providing step-by-step instructions and the ingredients they’ll need in one place can be helpful. Circulars are also a great way to show interesting use cases for foods, in addition to how a store can provide more than ingredients, but [also] apps, drinks and even main meals.” For its part, the company hopes to score a touchdown with an exciting football-themed initiative. “This fall season, La Brea Bakery will be partnering with Kroger to sponsor their college tailgating program,” says Buenning. “This program gives consumers the opportunity to access a unique

Hormel Foods teamed up with the Minnesota Vikings’ Adam Thielen on a highly successful Big Game chili cheese dip promotion with social media participation.

tailgating experience at USC and UCLA football games through purchasing a set amount of La Brea Bakery breads or other participating sponsors. This drives both general awareness and sales, as consumers get to experience the brand through this tailgating experience, which includes tasting some of our popular breads.”

Chili’s Hot

“Our Hormel chili brand has an incredibly strong relationship with football and tailgating,” asserts Jason Baskin, senior brand manager at Austin, Minn.-based Hormel Foods, who notes that canned-chili sales start to pick up at the beginning of the football season and increase all the way through the Super Bowl. “That is the No. 1 sales week for chili of the entire year. This goes back to chili being an easy way to add excitement to tailgates, with chili dogs, chili dips, or even a hot bowl on a cold fall day.” Baskin cites a particularly successful promotion the company ran in early 2019 to raise the signature item’s profile even further. “Hormel chili did a really innovative part-





More and more people are using social media to get ideas for easy ways to make their tailgates and parties more exciting.” —Jason Baskin, Hormel Foods

Chili dogs are a perennial tailgating favorite, with some help from Hormel Foods.

nership for [the] Big Game with Minnesota Vikings Pro Bowl Receiver Adam Thielen,” he recounts. “Chili cheese dip is a huge recipe for football parties, and Adam is known for his creative touchdown dances. So Thielen and the brand challenged consumers to create their own ‘Chili Cheese Dip Dance’ for the chance to win a trip to Miami, the site of next year’s Big Game. The campaign created a lot of buzz on social media and received submissions from all over the country, all while supporting the No. 1 sales week of the year for canned chili.” Unsurprisingly, given that response, he sees online promotions as key to boosting sales and con-


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Make Tailgating a Specialty Occasion Most of us are familiar with the usual tailgate fare of burgers, hot dogs, chips and salsa and the like, which few would describe as upscale. Some party hosts, however, are seeking to elevate the game-day experience. Matt Robertson, marketing manager at York, Maine-based Stonewall Kitchen LLC, a purveyor of gourmet sauces, condiments, cocktail garnishes, oils, vinegars, pastas and more under several brands, says that “having easily accessible and delicious products that take traditional tailgating items to the next level is the biggest trend. [Consumers] are looking for easy-to-make but restaurant-quality dishes for entertaining.” According to Robertson, ambitious tailgaters might make use of such Stonewall offerings as Tricolor Fusilli — “great for pasta salads” — Bacon Queso “to dip your chips in or spoon on your burger”; Bacon Vinaigrette, which is “perfect dressing for your salad”; Apple Blueberry Salsa; and Buffalo Wing Sauce. Beyond these items’ sophisticated flavors, an exquisite spread featuring such products is bound to make a favorable impression while the players are on the field, and perhaps long after. As Robertsons asserts, “People value high-quality foods more now than ever, and with social media, they’re looking to host and create unique and interesting dishes with beautiful presentation.” Stonewall Kitchen sells its products at nine company retail stores and select retailers, including grocers, across the United States.

Stonewall Kitchen offers an array of gourmet products, many suitable for tailgating occasions.


sumption of chili. “More and more people are using social media to get ideas for easy ways to make their tailgates and parties more exciting,” observes Baskin. “We leverage that with brands like Hormel chili by showing them easy ways to upgrade their ordinary foods into exciting dishes that their guests will love on the same channels and on our website.”

Keep Snacks Simple

Clean-ingredient high-protein snacks like Southern Recipie Small Batch pork rinds are seeing greater interest at tailgating parties.

With regard to nibbles, Mark Singleton, VP of sales and marketing at Dallas=based Southern Recipe Small Batch, which offers a line of high-protein, low-carb, clean-label pork rinds in such bold flavors as Thai Curry and Cuban Mojo, notes: “We have promotional programs in place for case wrap displays and more during football season. Our shoppers will already be looking for snacks that can keep their tailgaters satisfied, and we know they may need a simple alternative to the high-sugar, high-carb snack options they’re used to.” Also riding the wave of interest in high-protein snacks is ProSticks, a line of ready-grilled chicken in tailgate-friendly flavors like Mediterranean and Sweet Sriracha that can be eaten at room temperature. According to Michael Delli Colli, marketing manager at Saint-Laurent, Quebec-based Expresco Foods, maker of ProSticks, “Cross-promotional targeting is always a good tactic for items that pair well together, such as select beverages or dips and chicken skewers.” With “planning [being] done earlier and earlier each year” for tailgating, as Christie Frazier-Coleman, VP of marketing at Mesa, Ariz.-based snack food maker Lehi Valley Trading Co., observes, retailers must be on top of the latest trends regarding the occasion to ensure that they have exactly what consumers are looking for. One such trend involves not going to the game at all. “While fans have always watched games at home, we’re seeing a new trend in ‘homegating,’ with fans gathering at home and buying the same products they’d get for tailgating at stadiums,” says Safeway’s Boyd, with Bazan, of Avocados From Mexico, also noting the practice. This could mean fine-tuning displays and promotions to play up the comforts of a home-based celebration, and featuring recipes and meal suggestions not so reliant on portability, among other tweaks. However retailers choose to mark football season in their aisles, the goal, of course, is to make it to the end zone. As Boyd observes, “Before games, fans head to Safeway to gear up for all of their tailgating or homegating needs, and our stores see an increase in sales as a result.”











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vocados, with their bumpy dark-green skin, were once specialty items. That’s hard to imagine now, as we pass the guacamole on a regular basis. The specialty/exotic category can be one of the most vibrant in supermarkets, if merchandised correctly. New varieties, sizes, colors, flavors and recipes for preparation keep shopping interesting. Many customers are eager to try new foods if given a few tips and a taste. Three of the most popular specialty items, according to suppliers and produce department management, are featured in this article. In many parts of the country, these items are already making their way into weekly shopping carts and boosting sales. Some specialty produce items have limited growing periods, so customers look forward to their appearance. For example, August will be hot in more ways than one with Hatch chiles making their welcome annual arrival.

Key Takeaways Don’t dismiss unique and sometimes unusual-looking specialty and exotic fruits as unsaleable; most of the time, sales will surprise you. Samplings, recipes and information sheets about nutrition and uses of the constantly changing variety of specialty produce are highly recommended. Some specialty items are relatively higher-priced than the average banana or apple, but don’t assume that customers won’t purchase these unique items, as many shoppers, especially Millennials, are in search of new and different foods.

Rising in popularity but still not well known to many consumers, dragon fruit tastes like a combination of kiwi and pineapple.


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©2019 Del Monte Fresh Produce N.A., Inc.



It is almost a necessity to offer samples, along with product and nutritional info, to entice that exotic fruit purchase.”

Jackfruit is the largest tree fruit.

—Jeff Wingo, Town and Country Supermarkets

Voted Most Likely

In a category with hundreds of items, which are currently the most popular and likely to go mainstream? According to Robert Schueller, public relations director at Melissa’s/World Variety Produce, in Los Angeles, the three biggest specialty produce item trends currently are jackfruit; turmeric, including organic; and dragon fruit, including white and magenta flesh, and also the yellow-skinned variety. Melissa’s will be introducing value-added jackfruit in August 2019. Most supermarkets know that customers want these popular items. “We carry dragon fruit, jackfruit and other exotic items,” notes Jeff Wingo, director of produce operations at Fredericktown, Mo.-based Town and Country Supermarkets, which operates more than 20 locations in the Show Me State. “It is a growing segment of the produce business. It is almost a necessity to offer samples, along with product and nutritional info, to entice that exotic fruit purchase.”


An oblong fruit with dense conical spines, jackfruit is said to be the world’s largest tree fruit — weighing up to 80 pounds — and grows low to the ground at the


Turmeric is popular as an ingredient in smoothies.

trunk of the tree. If the skin of a jackfruit is green, it’s not ripe. The fruit turns yellow-brown when it’s ripe inside, with bright-yellow flesh. Jackfruit is juicy, with a subtle sweetness that’s like a banana to some people, and a mango/melon combo to others. It’s said that jackfruit inspired the flavor of Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit gum. The seeds can be boiled or roasted, and then eaten, with a taste similar to chestnuts. Jackfruits sold in supermarkets generally weigh 15 to 30 pounds. The fruit is often used in desserts but the latest use is by vegans as a meat alternative, due to the fruit’s shredded texture, according to Schueller. One cup of jackfruit is a significant source of vitamins A and C. While tasty by itself, there are many jackfruit recipes incorporating the item into sundaes, sliders and smoothies. Advise customers to choose jackfruit that gives to a little pressure, without bruises or soft spots. The fruit can be stored at home at room temperature for up to seven days. Once the fruit is cut — using gloves — it should be refriger-

ated well sealed for up to two days, according to Melissa’s Great Book of Produce by Cathy Thomas. Jackfruit is versatile. If eaten before it’s ripe, it’s starchy and must be cooked like a vegetable: boiled, fried or roasted. When the fruit is ripe, it can be eaten raw like any other fruit.

Dragon Fruit

Unusual-looking but highly popular, dragon fruit has magenta skin. Also known as pitaya, this cactus fruit additionally features bright lime-green spines that are supple and curve down like wings. Inside the fruit, the pulp is soft, with a texture like a kiwi but grainier. The imported variety is grayish white inside, with small black specks that are tiny seeds, while the domestic variety has either magenta or pink flesh, with the same seeds. The taste of dragon fruit has been compared to a combination of kiwi and pineapple. The magenta variety is said to be the sweetest. When consumers select the fruit, they should look for hot-pink skin which yields slightly with gentle pressure, and is free of spots or mold. The fruit can be ripened by leaving it at room temperature for one to two days. It sweetens as it ripens. The ripe fruit can be refrigerated for three to four days. Dragon fruit can be eaten out of hand, used in desserts or added to smoothies. One cup is a good source of vitamin C.

for the produce teams.” One of the most popular peppers enters the marketplace this month and stays until late summer. Spicy food continues to grow in popularity, influenced by Hispanic cuisine. Hatch chiles are named after the original area where the peppers were grown. “Hatch chiles are exclusively grown in Hatch, N.M., and are beloved by native New Mexicans, foodies and chile heads around the country for their limited availability and addictive flavor,” observes Alex Berkley, director of sales at Frieda’s, a specialty produce purveyor in Los Alamitos, Calif. “The season is starting up earlier this year, and it’s the perfect opportunity to boost summer sales.” According to chefs, the bright sunlight and cool nights of the valley where the Hatch pepper is grown creates a flavor like no other. Berkley notes that dedicated fans drive across town and state lines to stock up on Hatch chiles by the case. “Hatch has become the LTO [limited-time-offer] pumpkin spice of the summer,” she

Turmeric Root

Turmeric root, or curcuma, has long been used for its bright-yellow color in recipes such as rice dishes, curries or chutneys, and pickles. When purchased fresh, turmeric is a 2- to 3-inch rhizome covered with brown skin tinged with orange. Darkbrown bands ring its surface, and the flesh is carrot orange. Turmeric is currently popular as an add-in to smoothies and juices. It should always be used sparingly, however, as it makes the mouth warm, with a slightly bitter aftertaste. Turmeric should be firm when purchased, without soft spots, mold or shriveling. Consumers should peel it with a paring knife, discard the peel, and then finely mince or grate the fruit. To store turmeric, wrap it in a dry paper towel before slicing and refrigerate it in an unsealed plastic bag for up to two weeks. For longer storage, slice and freeze it in an airtight container for up to three months. One cup of turmeric is a significant source of iron.

Hot Hatch Chiles

“Hatch peppers will be available in a couple of weeks,” Town and Country’s Wingo says. “It is a big promotional opportunity


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says. “We are seeing Hatch merchandised all over the store, including produce, prepared foods such as Hatch mac and cheese or Hatch potato fritters, and Hatch-flavored items in the center aisles like potato chips, sauces, salsas, and even alcohol.” Meanwhile, Melissa’s will hold Hatch chile roastings at various supermarkets, including Kroger and Wegmans. During August, the company will also offer Hatch Essentials varying from frozen Hatch to dried Hatch pods to Hatch chile shakers in hot and mild varieties. “Chile and chile products for those who participate in the roastings average triple digits in sales,” Melissa’s Schueller asserts. “We have over 50 retailers and over 600 retailer stores across the country who will be roasting Hatch peppers again this year.” The peppers usually have a mild to medium heat, although some are just plain hot. The Hatch chile’s meaty flesh is suitable for dishes and roasting for salads, soups, sandwiches, stews, salsas, chili and dips. The peppers are also great for grilling. When selecting these chiles, shoppers should choose bright-green, firm peppers with medium to thick flesh, and avoid those with soft spots. To store the peppers, leave them unwashed and refrigerate them in a plastic bag for up to five days. Hatch chiles are a good source of vitamin C. By sharing some of this information with customers and sampling these items, you can increase sales of these items and encourage their everyday use.

Frieda’s packs Hatch chiles by their degree of heat.


Websites, Apps Can Lead to Specialty Produce Sales Magazines and cooking shows often feature specialty and exotic produce, tantalizing viewers. Quick blurbs don’t provide what many shoppers are looking for, however, before they invest in something totally new and different. While supermarkets usually have information and recipes available, customers can read about Buddha’s hand or horned melons at home by visiting supplier websites. Los Alamitos, Calif.-based Frieda’s recently relaunched its website to make it easier for shoppers to know what’s in season, sample kitchen-tested recipes and find the specialty produce purveyor’s products in stores. A new product locator tool helps shoppers find where to buy Frieda’s products anywhere in the United States, while the company’s internal team can capture insights on regional product demand. The site’s Trending Now section, recipes, and new videos help customers discover specialty produce items. The top 20 most popular items can be found with a click, as can almost 300 popular specialty fruits, vegetables and packaged products with all relevant information. The website of Los Angeles-based Melissa’s/World Variety Produce similarly features photos, new videos, tabbed sections of recipes, a What’s In Season section, a Meet Our Chefs section, and much more.


Retail Foodservice Q&A


ccording to Dave Zino, executive chef at the Centennial, Colo.-based National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), a contractor to the Beef Checkoff, “God gave beef great flavor, and often pepper and salt is all it needs.” That said, he still has plenty of tips that grocery stores can use to help customers demystify the perfect grilled meal — from picking the best beef cuts to upgrading sides and salads.

Progressive Grocer : What are some of your recommendations for beef cuts that work well on the grill? Dave Zino: Tri-tip steak is a great choice. It’s already popular in California, but may not be as well known in the rest of the country. Strip loin or the Manhattan cut is another favorite. Coulotte steak — also known top sirloin cap steak and beef loin — is lean but surprisingly tender and flavorful. I like it for South American steakhouse-style grilling, or for a simple flavoring with cumin, garlic and a squeeze of lime wedge before or with service. Tenderloin and flat iron steaks are also great. The rule of thumb with beef cuts is that the loin or round nomenclatures meet the government guideline for lean. Our general grill tip for beef is that you want to cook it over medium heat. Too hot and you get too much of a char; too low and you don’t get the proper caramelized, brown exterior. For more tips, we have great information on our website,

“Precut produce is [a] convenience that prepared food programs can offer their shoppers. It’s such an easy thing to do, but has such a big impact when you cross-merchandise at the meat counter or with deli items.” —Dave Zino, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association


PG: Discuss some ways that grocery stores (meat departments, prepared food departments, etc.) can offer added value, convenience and expertise to meat preparations. DZ: One of the biggest values you can add is advice and education. I’m a big proponent of getting staff on the other side of the meat case, so butchers are accessible and not seen as “Wizard of Oz” figures behind the scenes. It’s important to talk one-on-one with shoppers who need help choosing the right cuts, or want new ideas on how to put a meal together easily with different options that are available across categories. Merchandising is also really important. For instance, I’ve seen grocery stores feature their own rubs in big glass jars at the meat counter. Shoppers can fill bags or small jars with the amount they want. I would suggest going a step further and adding usage instructions on labels or cards to go with the purchase. Rubs are used for flavor, not tenderness, so they work well on a top round, which is a bit mild and needs a flavor boost. If you’re offering pre-marinated beef, the purpose is to tenderize and add flavor. It’s important to know how much marination time different cuts need. For a less tender flank, you can pre-marinate for six to 24 hours, whereas a filet needs only 30 minutes to two hours. It’s important not to overdo the marination, because then you lose that steak bite. This is another example of the value of having knowledgeable staff available to talk with shoppers about what and when they are planning their meals so that they get the preparation right. Again, our website is a great source: marinades-and-rubs.

PG: How can prepared food programs help bring new ideas and upgrades to burgers and sandwiches? DZ: I’m a purist when it comes to burgers; salt and pepper is all I need. But I have seen pre-made burger patties with blends of mushrooms or cheese, both of which complement the flavor and the meatiness of beef. We’ve done a lot of research on how to address customers who are looking for better-for-you burgers. Offering a patty made with 93 percent lean beef makes burgers a lower-fat option, but this doesn’t

stay together as well as a higher-fat burger. We recommend adding egg white and breadcrumbs for binding. Grocers can pre-make this mix for patties, which will get the attention of health-minded eaters. This is great with a tzatziki sauce, which you can make in-house, package and sell. For sandwich ideas, I like to suggest that when people are having a big grill day, plan for some leftovers. You can slice a pre-grilled steak thinly for sandwiches during the week. I like classic toppings: provolone cheese and sautéed peppers and onions make a great dinner sandwich. Precut produce is another convenience that prepared food programs can offer their shoppers. It’s such an easy thing to do, but has such a big impact when you cross-merchandise at the meat counter or with deli items. Look beyond the typical onions and peppers for grilling, and consider skewers of fleshy fruit like mango and pineapple. Customers can grill these up for an easy salsa or side dish. Thick slabs of watermelon are also great for a quick grill. I like a sliced steak sandwich with watermelon salsa and a salty cheese.

PG: What about smaller cuts — kebabs or other skewered preps — for quick cooking? What are some ideas for offering pre-made skewers? DZ: Again, precut and -skewered produce is a convenience that busy shoppers appreciate, and you can mix fruits and veggies on a skewer. Pineapple, red pepper and onions are a great combination. Eggplant, peppers and zucchini work well with Mediterranean herb-rubbed steak. If you are offering marinated beef on skewers, let buyers know they should pat them dry before grilling to avoid a steaming effect or flare-ups from oil. Thinly sliced beef can be threaded on skewers at the meat department for a really quick-cooking option on the grill. I like flat iron for this treatment because it’s the second most tender cut — filet is the first.

PG: What are some notable flavors and culinary influences that are important to grilling season 2019? DZ: Asian flavors continue to be popular, and they work great with the threading technique. I’m a big proponent of keeping things simple, so use a bottled teriyaki sauce; add honey, cumin and lime juice for extra flavor. You can pull in Korean flavors — some kimchi-style pickles and a lot of fresh greens.

PG: What’s new in terms of extras and side dishes? DZ: I like all the classics — potato salad, coleslaw and baked beans — but I like to make them with

Pre-skewered beef and produce and ready-made patties are a few ways to thrill customers with easy grill options.

some contemporary spins. For instance, kale is still hot, and I like it in a kale slaw with some Asian flavors that you can pull together easily with a bottled dressing enhanced with ginger and citrus. Ancient grains are popular and can be used in salads with flavors and ingredients that typically go with pasta salads. I like to boost baked beans by mixing in a savory-sweet jam. These types of customizations are easy for staff and home cooks of any skill set, and they make a big difference. PROGRESSIVE GROCER August 2019



Cashierless Stores

Flushing Friction CHECKOUT-FREE OR CASHIERLESS TECHNOLOGIES INCH CLOSER TO IMPLEMENTATION IN L ARGE GROCERY RE TAIL. By Abby Kleckler hen the first Amazon Go store opened to the public in January 2018, the concept seemed magical to many. Shoppers can walk into the store; grab whatever they’d like; put it in coat pockets, bags or elsewhere; and simply walk out. All the customers need is an app. Fast-forward not even two years, and Amazon plans to open 3,000 cashierless stores, with many other players entering the category in a big way. These tech companies have their sights not only on 2,000- or 3,000-square-foot convenience stores, but also on grocery stores 10 times that size or larger.


A Zippin store in San Francisco demonstrates the company’s shelf sensor and camera technologies that allow customers to walk in and walk out, without a checkout.

Key Takeaways Cashierless technology could be the answer to the frustrations often experienced by supermarket shoppers when checking out their groceries. Various checkout-free technologies that are now available aim to maximize benefits for both the retailer and customer. Improved customer service, lower shrink and an abundance of data are pluses for retailers, while customers enjoy a seamless, convenient, more personalized shopping experience.

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Cashierless Stores

Grocers will be better able to use their employees by having them provide more customer service and help with the discovery of products much earlier in the shopping experience, when customers enter and are walking the aisles.” —Krishna Motukuri, Zippin Grocery has long tried to solve the friction of the checkout experience. From opening more registers to implementing self-service kiosks, no solutions have yet to fully satisfy both the retailer and the customer. “The problem has been known for a while that the checkout experience has been steadily becoming more and more frustrating, starting from the time when barcodes were introduced,” says Krishna Motukuri, CEO of San Francisco-based checkout-free technology company Zippin. “As labor costs go up and retailers face intense pressure on their margins, it’s only gotten worse.” Checkout-free technology could be the answer. In Phononic’s

“2019 Store of the Future Report,” nearly nine out of 10 Americans (86 percent) said that mobile apps will allow people to scan groceries as they shop and then pay through an app in the next five years. “Right now, what we’re seeing in grocery is kind of this transition where experience really matters for the end user,” says Ahmed Beshry, co-founder of Caper, a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based provider of smart shopping carts. “Unlike 10 years ago, if I’m in a grocery store and the experience is bad, I don’t have to go through the whole painful process of waiting in line.” As checkout-free continues to inch closer to traditional grocery, these technologies aim to maximize benefits for both the retailer and customer. “No. 1, there is a new level of acceptance of technology in retail spaces, because grocers are looking to differentiate and create a better shopper experience,” says Andy Radlow, chief marketing officer for Berkeley Calif.-based checkout-free technology company Grabango. “The second thing is that this introduction of technology is heightening competition, and that competition is very bottom-line driven. “You’re talking about businesses on a legacy basis

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Caper’s smart shopping cart eliminates the checkout without changing the store’s infrastructure.

that are 1 to 3 percent net-profit businesses, but very high-revenue businesses,” Radlow continues. “There implies a tremendous opportunity to increase net profits because there’s revenue there, but they haven’t been able to unlock the profits before the introduction of these new technology opportunities that exist in the space today.”

Different Form Factors

All three of the companies quoted above, along with other large players in the industry, offer different checkout-free technologies. Let’s look at Caper, Grabango and Zippin’s most fundamental attributes as options for grocers to retrofit their existing stores. Caper uses a smart shopping cart with built-in sensors. Customers currently scan the item and place it in the cart, with a screen on the cart keeping track of purchases and interacting with shoppers. Item recognition is also in the works to replace the need to scan. “When I talk about the simplicity of rolling out our product, the retailers don’t need to put a single screw into their walls, and for shoppers, they do not need to download a single app.” Beshry says. Grabango, which is working closely with three of the top 30 grocers on Progressive Grocer’s Super 50 list and one of the top 10 convenience stores, assigns every shopper a “virtual basket” when they walk through the door. The technology company uses a proprietary hardware, called “G rails,” which includes a high num-

Right now, what we’re seeing in grocery is kind of this transition where experience really matters for the end user.” —Ahmed Beshry, Caper

ber of low-cost sensors lined up and down the aisles. “[The G rails] almost look like a fluorescent lamp fixture, and we colorize them to match the color tone designed by the store, so they truly disappear into the ceiling of the retail store itself,” Radlow says. “Customers feel more comfortable. They don’t feel observed; they feel absolutely at ease within the shopper space.” Zippin, which operates an Amazon Go rival store in San Francisco to display its technology, has a cashierless system that uses multiple sources of information, both cameras and shelf sensors, to triangulate and receive the correct information. “All of our technology is designed to be retrofitted into existing stores, so our hardware choices — specifically how the sensors and cameras work — are designed to work with existing stores’ power and internet infrastructure,” Motukuri says.

Retailer Advantages

There are a number of reasons retailers may find checkout-free systems to be the answer to increased profits, including, but not limited to, fewer employees behind the register, a reduction in theft by fraud, and new customer data like they’ve never had in the past. In a cashierless system, retailers will have to pay fewer people to stand behind the register, and can instead empower these employees on a different level. “Any second their employee stands at a grocery store checkout and scans product is actually a waste for the retailer. In fact, many retailers try to make the best of it and have the cashier ask if they found everything, but in reality that’s too late in the experience,” Motukuri says. “We think that grocers will be better able to use their employees by having them provide more customer service and help with the discovery of products much earlier in the shopping experience, when customers enter and are walking the aisles.” Employees will still need to approve some items, however, such as alcoholic beverages, before customers exit the store. Also, whether it’s a 1 percent or a 4 percent revenue issue for a store, shrink can wreak havoc on a grocer with already tight margins. With camera-based checkout-free systems, shrink by fraud is nearly eliminated. “Hiding a product or products on your body no longer exists,” Radlow asserts. “Every product is associated with somebody when it makes its way out of the store, whether you’re a customer or a worker at the store.” Another benefit of these technologies in the stores is a large amount of data that retailers can use to maximize square footage, improve the shopper experience and boost sales. “We want to know where people are spending time within your store, where they’re not going, maybe what’s an effective aisle, or if my end caps are converting better than my items on my aisles,” Beshry says. “There’s a lot that we can aggregate over time.” Zippin’s system of shelf sensors and cameras knows what’s on every shelf, meaning that it can notify retailers immediately when a shelf is running out of a product, or when a customer has misplaced a product or put it on the wrong shelf.

Difficult-to-Handle Items

Grocery is a highly dynamic retail environment with end caps changing on a regular basis, both store-specific and CPG PROGRESSIVE GROCER August 2019



Cashierless Stores

promotions running simultaneously, new products or fresh packaging on products filtering in and out, fresh and prepared food options increasing, and much more. “To change the entire logistics and stocking process around your new computer vision system is unrealistic,” Radlow says. “Our system dynamically alerts when new items are introduced, and then kicks off a process by which those items are correlated with a SKU list for that store, properly priced, itemized, recognized and then communicated with all other stores within the portfolio for that client.” Any new technology must be able to handle weighing and pricing of fresh produce and any other bulk items to the weights and measures accuracy required by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Caper has a certified weight sensor in its cart for these types of items, according to Beshry, while Zippin’s shelf sensors can detect a change in weight and relay that to the system, Motukuri notes.

Shopper Benefits

Even if the retailer sees the benefits of a cashierless system, today customers must respond favorably for it to be successful. Radlow says it best: “Our mission is to eliminate lines and save people time.” Far and away, the primary benefit for customers is that they can walk into the store, grab what they need and walk out. Another benefit, however, is that customers can receive personalized promotions and experiences within the store. Caper, for example, can recommend products and recipes on the shopping cart’s screen, based on the particular items in the cart. Caper is also working on a technology that would enable consumers to create a shopping list all week on an app. Then, when they arrive at the store, they would hold it in front of the sensor on the cart, and it would import immediately, so they don’t forget any groceries. Through the apps, retailers can also recommend promotions or coupons based on previous purchases, all aimed at increasing the shopper experience and making trips to the grocery store more enjoyable.

A Giant Eagle store is currently piloting Grabango’s checkout-free technology, the first large-format U.S. grocery store to implement the system.


“The biggest benefit to a grocery retailer is certainly delighted shoppers,” Motukuri says. “Any time you have shoppers who are delighted with the experience, it’s a benefit to grocers.”

Beyond Speed Alone Making the experience faster is a key component of solving many checkout pain points, but an automated solution could solve other concerns, too, such as guaranteeing that your customers never walk out with an expired product. Enter RFID as one possible option. Each item is tagged with an RFID label, and shoppers wheel their carts or place their bags in the checkout area, with no need to scan each item. “What we’re showing with RFID is, you solve the queueing issue, you can solve the food safety issue, and the third area is about expiration management,” says Ryan Yost, VP/general manager of the printer solutions division of Glendale, Calif.-based Avery Dennison. “Since you have item-level visibility, you connect dates to RFID, so you can tell the consumer immediately at checkout that one of the items has expired. It won’t charge you for that, and it’ll ask you to dispose of it, or if it’s about to expire, we’ve talked to some grocers, and they can put a discount on it if they still want to purchase it.” RFID technology also has the potential to give grocers a leg up against the competition, helping them make a commitment against recalled products, or at least offering them an answer other than the nightly news. “If I do sell you something that is later recalled, I can immediately reach out to you if you’re part of a loyalty program and let you know that you bought something in my store that was recalled, please dispose of it, and I’ll credit your account,” Yost explains. Right now, grocers and convenience stores must apply the RFID labels themselves. Therefore, most have chosen to start with small grab-and-go areas of the store, but Yost envisions a long-term strategy of working with brands to tag items, so on receipt, there will be very little work for grocers. “I would say grocery is still two to three years away from having every item in grocery RFID tagged,” Yost says. “I do believe there will be sections of grocers that are designed for grab and go before that.”


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he art of grocery shopping is in the midst of an evolution, and retailers that recognize that they must update their supply chains accordingly will help ensure a brighter future. While there are a number of challenges to consider, supply chain experts cite three specific areas that retailers can home in on now to make way for tomorrow: data visibility, as it relates to both retailers and consumers; the need for a new kind of labor force; and revamped store layouts that offer more inspiration while also allowing for more space to fulfill online orders.


“The challenge for retailers today is to recognize that the people who are in their 20s now grocery shopping are more different than ever before, and we need to adapt to that,” says Mike Griswold, research VP for the consumer value chain team at Gartner Inc., a global research and advisory firm based in Stamford, Conn. “If you rewind the clock 30 years ago, there was no online, and kids would go into the store with their parents. That’s how they learned to shop. Fast-forward to today, and the demographic group that’s growing up now, in many instances, has never been in a supermarket.” Moving forward, some shoppers will prefer to order groceries online, while others will continue to seek out a store experience – so grocers are in a place where they must consider how to provide both options, Griswold notes. Supply chains must be nimble and accurate, which is quite different from how people have traditionally thought of the grocery business.



Visibility and the Importance of Accurate Data

To ensure a more accurate supply chain that can get the right product to the right place at the right time, data visibility will be paramount for the industry. Track-and-trace technology such as blockchain continues to gain attention for all of its potential to provide better visibility, but first, retailers and suppliers must prioritize having clean, accurate data, according to Angela Fernandez, VP of community engagement for GS1 US, based in Ewing, N.J. Fernandez observes that the industry still needs to strive for higher rates of on-shelf availability and product availability online. Meanwhile, the data being used for digital listings seen by consumers is too often inaccurate. She points to an analysis that GS1 US conducted a year and a half ago with the Trading Partner Alliance (TPA), an industry affairs group formed by the Food Marketing Institute and the Grocery Manufacturers Association, which found a less-than-desirable 55 percent accuracy of product data available digitally. Thankfully, industry leaders are making strides to solve this problem, in reaction to the data inaccuracies found online. A new initiative being launched by GS1 in collaboration with the Consumer Goods Forum is Verified by GS1, a global registry designed to ensure that product data is accurate, complete and trustworthy. “Every GS1 office will work with brands and retailers to upload all their product data into a global registry for validation,” explains Fernandez. “This is a massive undertaking, considering there are GS1 offices in 114 countries. We have eight of the largest GS1 offices, including GS1 US, launching [the registry] this year, and then we’ll look at additional rollouts across all the other countries

Validating a minimum set of data associated with a product is a key step in supporting the industry’s digital evolution.” —Angela Fernandez, GS1 US


GS1 supports. We’re doing this because a good consumer experience relies on trustworthy data. Validating a minimum set of data associated with a product is a key step in supporting the industry’s digital evolution.” On the business side of data visibility, particularly as it relates to traceability, GS1 US has been working on providing implementation guidance for critical tracking events and key data elements, continues Fernandez. “The romaine lettuce outbreaks we saw last year really put an increased focus on this,” she notes. “The other thing moving this along is the industry’s interest in blockchain, which many organizations, including Walmart, are leading the charge to more fully explore the traceability use case. Standards provide interoperability between brand and retailer systems, help ensure data quality, and are foundational to blockchain applications.” GS1 US is also providing a new online interactive tool to help suppliers and wholesaler/distributors understand what supply chain data they need to capture, and in what format it should be captured, in the event of a foodborne illness outbreak, she says. Gartner’s Griswold notes that while master data management certainly “isn’t sexy,” companies that skip the process of collecting the right data and properly analyzing it won’t be able to go further with blockchain or other exciting technologies that provide so much promise for the retail supply chain.

Labor Force of the Future

Meanwhile, as technologies with artificial intelligence and machine learning continue to gain acceptance in retailers’ supply chains, companies will need new talent to help analyze data and understand its impact at retail, advises Griswold. “You need people to understand how machine learning and artificial intelligence work, how to interpret results, and how to build models, or at least the data that goes into these models,” he says. “The type of talent that retailers need moving forward, particularly around the supply chain, is changing. And the challenge is that everyone is looking for the same talent.” He recommends investing in a data scientist now, even if you’re not exactly sure how this skill will fit into the organization. Griswold also points to retailers such as Kroger, Walmart and Dollar General, which have been spending more time on college campuses to promote retail supply chain and career opportunities. “Kroger and Walmart have invested in labs and people, and they’re doing a lot of their own research and development, trying to understand

The challenge is to create a working environment, particularly on the technology and supply chain side, that looks and feels more like a tech company, and less like a traditional food retailer.” —Mike Griswold, Gartner Inc.

through the vastness of the customer data that they have what customers want and how to deliver against that,” he notes. “The challenge is to create a working environment, particularly on the technology and supply chain side, that looks and feels more like a tech company, and less like a traditional food retailer,” he suggests.

Rethinking Store Layouts

At the end of the retail supply chain is the physical store or warehouse, where products are being stored and ultimately taken out to be presented to customers. Even that area is changing, thanks largely to the growth of omnichannel retailing. Store layouts need to change to reflect two important needs, in Griswold’s view. First, even standard-size stores that reach up to 70,000 square feet likely need to have a new back-room configuration to allow for mini warehouses that can be used to fulfill online orders. “It is much more efficient to pick orders out of a back room,” he says. “You don’t have customers there, and you can set it up much more efficiently in terms of the picking cycle.” Secondly, even though more people are buying groceries online, there are still shoppers who want to visit the store to smell, taste and feel product, so retailers need to make sure they’re providing a sensory, interactive experience, according to Griswold. “In grocery, the store needs to be about experience – and those experiences should be in fresh food,” he observes. “If people just want a shopping transaction, they can get it online from Amazon.” For consumers who prefer to shop online, grocers

should strive to provide a good buy-online, collectin-store experience, achieving one- and two-hour delivery or pickup windows, and being able to ship product where customers want to pick it up, he advises. “The ability of the supply chain to do those things that maybe we thought were fads are now becoming things that you have to do,” Griswold asserts. “That’s what’s going to separate companies over the next two to three years.”

Delving Into Data While the big chain stores often get more press about their supply chain innovation, several regional grocery retailers have been taking a closer look at supply chain data to solve common challenges in the industry: Lakeland, Fla.-based Publix Super Markets has taken a lead on seafood sustainability by participating in the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership’s (SFP) Ocean Disclosure Project, which promotes supply chain transparency. The retailer works with SFP to collect and analyze data that helps it give customers “the very best sustainably sourced seafood,” according to Guy Pizzuti, category manager of seafood at Publix. The data also helps the company identify fisheries with room for improvement. Pittsburgh-based Giant Eagle participated in a Trading Partner Alliance pilot with Coca-Cola and Land O’Lakes to better understand and reduce dwell times. Advisors at McKinsey and Co. and Four Kites were also involved in the project. The companies evaluated data from select warehouses on a weekly basis for six months, and met to come up with new ideas and solutions. They considered factors such as physical attributes in the yard, technology for drivers and warehouse staff, manpower use and shift alignment, and scheduled loads. One of the major takeaways from the pilot was that they could create 2 percent to 4 percent additional capacity by improving the dwell time within their control.




Sports Nutrition


s consumer demand for sports nutrition products grows, chains are finding ways to extend shelf space or are reorganizing the category to accommodate new entries and shifts in consumer preferences. Plant-based products are still leading category growth, according to a recent report from London-based market research firm Euromonitor, a trend that’s fueled by increased consumer interest in becoming flexitarian, vegetarian or vegan for health reasons, and/or in support of the cruelty-free animal movement.

Protein Power

Protein-heavy, or Ketogenic, diets are particularly popular with core users of sports nutrition, with many users embracing them as part of their fitness goals to optimize their focus and body energy usage, according to a recent report from Euromonitor. The market researcher reports that innovative manufacturers, such as Franklin, Tenn.-based Ancient Nutrition, are meeting this demand with products such as Keto Protein Coffee and Keto Protein Chocolate. “Retailers are definitely expanding their space in response to these consumer and category growth trends, particularly on the protein side,” affirms Ryan Therriault, VP of marketing and innovation at Newport Beach, Calif.-based Amazing Grass.


Key Takeaways Sports nutrition products continue to grow in popularity, particularly plant-based and protein-rich offerings. Manufacturers are moving beyond traditional powder, liquid and bar forms to introduce chips and cookies addressing both savory and sweet cravings. Grocers are getting better at merchandising such products, creating in-store destinations featuring a wider range of options and nonfood items like water bottles, mats and apparel.

We see many opportunities to expand into different foods with more snacking and meal options that deliver complete protein, lownet-carb and low-sugar versions of popular foods.� —Suzanne Ginestro, Quest Nutrition


Sports Nutrition

While Buyer Bryan Perry is limited by the space that he can give to the category at Rigby, Idaho-based Broulim’s, which operates 10 stores, he says that he continually adjusts his assortment. “What changes is the mix within the category,” Perry notes. “It’s always evolving. We’re moving away from powders to more drinks and branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) drinks, which are particularly popular.” He’s also seen collagen protein, a supplement for skin, bone and joint health, gain traction. “There is big growth in collagen,” Perry asserts. “I’ve added a number of new products in the past six months from Ancient Nutrition.” “One of the biggest trends we are seeing is the explosive interest in collagen, particularly for its associated benefits regarding joint health and injury recovery,” says Therriault, while Karen Huh, VP of brand and product strategy at Bellevue, Wash.-based Bulletproof 360, notes, “Brands are finding lots of different ways to infuse collagen into new products, from coffee to water to protein bars.” Amazing Grass recently launched Amazing Protein, a line of several plant-based protein products with reviving superfoods to help support collagen synthesis. For his part, Kenny Braun, buyer at Breaux Mart, says that protein drinks are outpacing powders at the four-unit chain based in Metairie, La. “We’re continuing to move forward with the category as long as it’s growing,” he adds. Digestive health claims are also emerging in sports nutrition products. Amazing Grass recently introduced Amazing Protein Digest, a plant-based protein with superfoods to help manage bloat and provide soothing digestive support, while Bulletproof has rolled out InnerFuel, a prebiotic supplement.

Beyond Powders, Liquids and Bars

Looking for new ways to deliver a protein boost to consumers, manufacturers have introduced a variety of protein-enhanced snacks. For instance, Wegmans includes Health Warrior’s Protein Mug Muffins, Quest Nutrition’s Protein Chips and Buff Bake’s


cookies in a special 4-foot section, while Hy-Vee, Giant Eagle, Dierbergs, Demoulas and Big Y carry Quest products. “Protein is an essential macronutrient, so consumers are increasingly seeking high-protein options beyond the usual powders, bars and liquids,” notes Suzanne Ginestro, chief marketing officer at El Segundo, Calif.-based Quest. “With our bars and cookies, we found ways to feed their sweet cravings. With the 2018 introduction of Quest Tortilla Protein Style Chips, we were able to expand our savory offerings.” The company has added a Chili Lime Tortilla Style Protein Chip to its lineup as well as a new Spinach Mushroom Thin Crust Pizza. “We see many opportunities to expand into different foods with more snacking and meal options that deliver complete-protein, low-net-carb and low-sugar versions of popular foods,” Ginestro observes. “We do quite well with protein tortilla chips, and I’m toying with bringing in protein cheese puffs,” says Broulim’s Perry.

Avoiding Confusion in the Aisles

A plethora of new products, however, can result in consumer — and retailer — confusion. “When it comes to the pre-workout and energy products, retailers are still struggling to figure out how to best communicate and merchandise these items,” Therriault admits. Fairfield, N.J.-based OWYN (Only What You Need), which markets plant-based protein shakes and powders, is among a growing number of manufacturers ensuring that their labels communicate their product attributes. “OWYN’s recent messaging is ‘What’s Inside Matters,’ and we are reinforcing the cleanness of our label — no dairy, no soy, no egg — on POS, displays and digital campaigns,” asserts Mark Olivieri, VP of marketing. “People are taking a closer look at what is inside each product they buy,” Bulletproof’s Huh concurs. “Our products’ packaging states when a product is Non-GMO, gluten-free, organic, has no added sugar or has another unique quality.”

In-Store Destinations

Adjacencies can be important to the category. For instance, a ShopRite in Ramsey, N.J., locates a 4-foot set of Gaiam Wellbeing yoga accessories adjacent to the sports nutrition category, and Rochester, N.Y.-based Wegmans Food Markets includes Solgar nutritional shake powder in an end cap set that includes private label yoga clothing and water bottles and mats from Gaiam Wellbeing. “We are seeing a few retailers, like Target, experimenting with dual placement of certain products in complementary adjacent categories,” says Therriault. Also crucial is making sure that shoppers get the information they need to make informed purchases. To that end, Wegmans employs signage pointing out the different benefits of plant protein, whey protein powders, and collagen and ready-todrink products to better organize its offerings and help consumers navigate the choices in the sports nutrition aisle. The grocer also groups plant- and whey-based products together on promotional display tables in the center of the nutritional section, and uses the displays as another opportunity to educate consumers about the products. Meanwhile, ShopRite of Ramsey, which devotes 7 feet to powders and drinks and 20 feet to bars, uses color-coded signage identifying product attributes (gluten-free, no sugar added, vegan and good source

Waste / Recycle Island

Wegmans uses display tables to group sports nutrition products according to benefit.

of calcium) on shelf tags in the sports nutrition section. “Merchandising is very important in this kind of category, since not everyone fully understands what each product and ingredient can do for their physical and mental health yet,” Huh stresses. “If products are put in the wrong section of a store or displayed incorrectly, it could entirely change the messaging of the item. Supermarkets have been improving in this regard, creating entire aisles or shelves dedicated to supplements and sports nutrition products.”

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Food, Beverage & Nonfood Products

All of the Essentials

Spread the Healthy Indulgence

Olivio, a maker of creamy alternative spreads with less fat and fewer calories than butter and margarine, has now introduced a Chocolate Buttery Spread. Made with real chocolate, the item can be used on croissants, pancakes and French toast, or added to recipes for such items as crepes, cookies, cakes and marshmallow treats. Nondairy, gluten-free, zero-cholesterol Olivio Chocolate Buttery Spread has 2 grams of sugar and 6 percent of the daily recommended calcium per serving, and features no partially hydrogenated oils. Available in the dairy case, the product retails for a suggested $4.99 per 13-ounce tub.

Founded by a dad who wanted to help his young daughter eat better, Otamot Foods makes what it calls the world’s healthiest tomato sauce. A brand focused on providing real, 100 percent plantbased nutrition, Otamot (“tomato” spelled backward) features 10 veggies and 15 vitamins and minerals, as well as being non-GMO, gluten-free and shelf-stable for up to a year, with no added sugar and no citric acid. The product is also naturally low in acid and high in fiber. According to the company, each ingredient is cooked to its perfect temperature, thus retaining its natural vitamins, minerals and flavor. A 16-ounce jar retails for a suggested retail price of $8.99. First-month promotions include $1 off IRCs (or the equivalent discount for retailers that prefer not to use them), in-store sampling (in select retailers/locations), and supportive in-store displays (including unique shelf dividers).

Sippable Plants

As part of a line of collagen-rich, nutrient-dense superfoods, the Osso Good Co., a maker of what it calls “ridiculously good” sippable bone broths, has rolled out an organic vegetable broth and a mushroom vegetable broth. Made with blends of organic vegetables and herbs, the Paleo-friendly, glutenand dairy-free broths contain no salt, sugar or artificial flavors. The vegetable broth, retailing for a suggested $7.99, is loaded with carrot, onion, celery, tomato, shiitake, garlic, parsley, thyme, rosemary, bay leaf and peppercorn, while the mushroom vegetable broth, with an SRP of $8.99, features plenty of portobello, shiitake and reishi mushrooms. Both plant-based items are sold in BPA-free frozen 16-ounce stand-up pouches.

Just Dig In

Now lovers of cookie dough can safely indulge their guilty pleasure right out of the tub with ready-to-eat Edible Cookie Dough from Nestlé Toll House. The line comes in two flavors: Chocolate Chip, inspired by the classic Nestlé Toll House recipe and made with ingredients home bakers combine in their mixing bowls at home, including real butter and 100 percent real chocolate, with no artificial preservatives, artificial colors or artificial flavors, and Peanut Chocolate Chip Monster, featuring peanut butter, oats and candy-coated chocolate, and containing no artificial flavors. To ensure that the product would be safe to consume, Nestlé Toll House removed ingredients, such as eggs, that are necessary to the baking process, so baking the Edible Cookie Dough is not recommended. The refrigerated item retails for a suggested $5.49 per 15-ounce tub. edible-cookie-dough?utm_medium=Press%20Release&utm_source=Media&utm_campaign=Main%20Page


Cookies and Cream

Love These Tenders

From Caulipower, maker of the No. 1 cauliflower-crust pizza in the United States, comes another frozen innovation: better-for-you chicken tenders. Made with all-natural, no-antibiotics-ever, cage-free, farm-raised Naked Truth chicken, the white meat tenders are the only frozen items of their kind to be baked rather than fried, according to the brand, and feature a golden, crispy coating that’s cauliflower-packed and gluten-free, with no added sugar. Boasting the lowest fat and calorie content across products in the natural category, the item also has zero saturated fat, 15 percent more protein and 26 percent more fiber than the entire category average. Available in Original and Spicy(ish) varieties this fall, the chicken tenders will retail for a suggested price range of $8.99-$9.99.

Family-owned Belgian company Lotus Bakeries, maker of world-famous Biscoff cookies and cookie butter, is now launching a line of super-premium ice cream. Combining dairy cream with Lotus’ two signature products, the ice cream will be available in both pint and bar formats. The pints are available in five flavors, all with crunchy Biscoff cookies and cookie butter inclusions – Original, Chocolate Brownie, Salted Caramel, Belgian Chocolate Chip and Blueberry Cheesecake – while the bars, which arrive in stores this October, will initially come in one variety: cookie butter ice cream dipped in a layer of cookie butter and then enrobed in Belgian chocolate. All SKUs have no added colors and use carefully selected non-GMO, no-RBST ingredients. The suggested retail price is $.5.99 per pint of the ice cream or 3-count package of bars.;

Barbecue With Beer

As the craft beer phenomenon continues to grow, Niman Ranch and New Belgium Brewing have debuted a line of sustainably raised, Certified Humane pork and beef products featuring award-winning Fat Tire Amber Ale. The line consists of five uncured, fully cooked items as part of a complete barbecue collection: 12-ounce Fat Tire Beer Bratwurst, 12-ounce Fat Tire Spicy Cheddar Beer Bratwurst, 14-ounce Pulled Pork with Fat Tire BBQ Sauce, 12-ounce Shredded Beef with Fat Tire BBQ Sauce, and 12-ounce St. Louis Ribs with Fat Tire BBQ Sauce. Various items in the line feature compostable packaging to reduce plastic pollution in America’s waterways, a cause espoused by both companies. The products will be sampled during New Belgium’s Tour De Fat bike races this summer and fall, and at various retailers across the country beginning this month. The brats retail for a suggested price range of $6.99-$7.99; the pulled pork and shredded beef for $9.99-$10.99, and the ribs for $14.99. https://www.nimanranch. com/;

Snacks With Bite

Photo by Becca Wright

Drawing on 30 years of artisan bread-baking expertise, Sabine’s Collections, a division of Bäckerhaus Veit, has added to its snack portfolio guilt-free, double-baked Baguette Bites available in three bold flavors: Olive Oil and Rosemary, Jalapeno and Cheddar, and Roasted Garlic and Chives. The never-fried product line, baked the old-fashioned way with slow fermentation, can be eaten straight from the bag as a better-for-you snack, added to soups and salads, or paired with hummus, dips, sauces, fruit, cheese and charcuterie. The all-natural bites are free of artificial flavors and colors, cholesterol, MSG, ADAs, PHOs, saturated fats, and trans fats, as well as being kosher and vegan certified – the highest standard of vegan and vegetarian food product. A 3.5-ounce bag retails for a suggested range of $3.99-$4.99.; PROGRESSIVE GROCER August 2019



Anchor Packaging


Atkins Nutritionals Inc.


Avery Dennison


Bascom Family Farms


Blount Fine Foods

Inside Front Cover - Page 3

CANADIAN MARKETS • Convenience • Pharmacy • Foodservice

BuzzBallz 49


Calico Brands



Clean Energy


Creekstone Farms


Del Monte Fresh Produce NA Inc.


E&J Gallo Winery


Fibre Box Association


Jelly Belly Candy Company



Inside Back Cover

Koelnmesse GMBH


Marukan Vinegar (U.S.A.) Inc.


MasonWays Indestructible Plastics


Mercatus Technologies

Cover Tip

MilkPEP 45 Mondelez International

Back Cover

Saputo Cheese USA, Inc.


Sealed Air Corporation


Supervalu Inc.


The Hershey Company


The J.M. Smucker Company


The Wonderful Company/Fiji Water


Tosca Ltd.


Treasury Wine Estates Trion Industries Truly Good Foods Tyson Foods

7 Insert 35 53 15, 39

UPEMI 44 Yakult USA, Inc.


UNITED STATES MARKETS • Convenience • Grocery/Drug/Mass Store Brands • Specialty Gourmet Technology • Hospitality • Apparel



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