Progressive Grocer - September 2016

Page 1

Plus! 2016 Editors’ Picks Winning Products P. 41

Marketing Mercha ndising and Smith Fro m left: EVP of C. ven Ste O /CE ent Dan Glei, Presid Bishop k Ric r age Man and District

September 2016 • Volume 95 Number 9 $10 •


Smithfield is always keeping an eye on consumer trends and innovating. We know your customers will love our new flavors. Total basket dollars double when the category leader is in the basket – stocking Smithfield Marinated Fresh Pork is the winning recipe you’ll want to get a taste of.1

©2016 Smithfield Farmland Sales Corp. All Rights Reserved.

Driving Marinated Category Growth

Growing Total Meat Department Sales

Increasing Total Basket Ring

For more information about Smithfield Marinated Fresh Pork, contact your Smithfield Sales Representative or email 1

IRI Total US 52 Weeks Ending 6/12/16

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09.16 Volume 95, Issue 9


Store of the Month

On the Right Track A superior fresh food offering and newly available wine elevate Food City’s latest flagship location.

102 / Animal Welfare Prepare to Care What animal issues will concern grocers in coming years?

124 / Bakery Rolling in Holiday Dough Grocers can maximize sales of seasonally appropriate baked goods.

108 / Candy & Snack

129 / Produce A Brand Idea Eye-catching displays, clever campaigns are making a name in fresh fruits and veggies.


41 / Progressive Grocer’s 2016 Editors’ Picks-Food

The Taste of Success Snacks, solutions and stories among the winners of this year’s new product contest.

88 / Progressive Grocer’s 2016 Editors’ PicksNonfood

Leaders of the Pack This year’s winners not only responded to current trends, but also anticipated how they would progress.

It’s the Most Wonderful Time — for a Treat Traditions old and new help holiday candy, snack sales.

138 / Produce Category Spotlight Ripe for Growth Pears present fresh opportunities for the picking. 142 / Produce

Category Spotlight

Filling Up on Fresh Low-calorie plant-based protein from peas and beans is a trend d on the h climb. l b

115 / NFRA

Convention Preview

Cold Front 2016 National Frozen Froz & Refrigerated Foods Foo Convention heads to nation’s capital.


Store of the Month Photos by Fresh Air Photo

September 2016 | |




570 Lake Cook Rd, Suite 310, Deerfield, IL 60015 224 632-8200 • SVP, Brand Director 201-855-7621

EDITORIAL Editorial Director Joan Driggs 224-632-8211 Chief Content Editor Meg Major 724-453-3545 Editor-in-Chief James Dudlicek 224-632-8238 Managing Editor Bridget Goldschmidt 201-855-7603 Senior Editor Randy Hofbauer 224-632-8240 Senior Editor Katie Martin 224-632-8172 Senior Editor Anna Wolfe 207-773-1154 Technology Editor John Karolefski 440-582-1889 Art Director Bill Antkowiak Contributing Editors Bob Ingram, Lynn Petrak, Barbara Sax, Jennifer Strailey and Christina Veiders

145 / Health, Beauty & Wellness What’s Natural for Kids Sales of clean-ingredient OTC and personal care products for children are growing by leaps and bounds. 148 / General Merchandise Measures of Success Retailers await the impact of advanced devices to shape health and wellness. 150 / Shelving Solutions Show and Tell Supermarket shelving is doing mo more than simply holding product.

ADVERTISING SALES & BUSINESS Midwest Marketing Manager John Huff 224-632-8174 Eastern Marketing Manager Maggie Kaeppel 630-364-2150 • Mobile: 708-565-5350 Western Regional Marketing Manager Rick Neigher (CA, OR, WA) 818-597-9029 Northeast Marketing Manager Mike Shaw 201-855-7631 • Mobile: 201-281-9100 Regional Marketing Manager Mike Weinreich (DE, MD, NY, TN, AL, DC) 201-855-7609 Marketing Manager Janet Blaney (AZ, CO, ID, MD, MN, MT, NM, NV, OH, TX, UT, WY) 630-364-1601 Account Executive/ Classified Advertising Terry Kanganis 201-855-7615 • Fax: 201-855-7373 Advertising/Production Manager Jackie Batson 224-632-8183 • Fax: 888-316-7987 Classified Production Manager Mary Beth Medley 856-809-0050

152 / Data Gathering In-store Analytics Steps Up Understanding shopper behavior is key. 155 / Digital Dialogue Rise of the Machines Are algorithms better than humans at making decisions? 156 / Supply Chain Creating a Smoother Flow Warehouse management must now also take internet sales into account.

Jeff Friedman

150 EvEnts • MarkEting • Digital • rEsEarch • circulation

8 / Editor’s Note Space Invaders 10 / PG Pulse 12 / In-store

Events Calendar

November 2016

14 / Nielsen’s Shelf Stoppers/Spotlight Health & Beauty Care/Baby Care


18 / Mintel Global New Products Pest Control

20 / All’s Wellness Helping Shoppers Survive Holiday Eating 159 / The Supplier Side 161 / The Last Word Upheaval in the East

| Progressive Grocer | September 2016

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

The Grocery Success Company

She demands a frictionless shopping experience across all transaction touch points. Catapult’s Click & Collect 2.0 delivers this seamless transaction experience. A Single unified data and transaction experience for POS, Self checkout and Web Ordering Real-time product availability Loyalty (both points and e-coupons) Complex and simple promotions Consumer has access to their shopping preference and transaction history, brick or click. You control your brand experience and own the data, not a 3rd party Dramatically lowers startup and operating cost Quicker to market


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Note By Jim Dudlicek

Space Invaders


To grocers not offering online shopping: What the heck are you waiting for?

rocers, are you offering clickand-collect yet? If your answer is no, what the heck are you waiting for? As this issue went to press, there was plenty of buzz about Amazon’s latest drive-up grocery store being built in the Seattle area. The 9,800-square-foot location, expected to serve as a pickup site for shoppers placing online grocery orders, will join two other such sites in the San Francisco Bay area. Meanwhile, Walmart has ramped up its online grocery channel activities by acquiring Hoboken, N.J.-based, which, along with the Bentonville behemoth’s nationwide sales and distribution infrastructure, makes for a formidable presence. It’s part of Walmart’s quest to provide a seamless consumer experience, as Greg Foran, president and CEO of Walmart U.S., told attendees at the Grocery Manufacturers Association’s annual leadership forum in late July, declaring, “Now is not the time for Walmart to pull punches.” “There is a battle brewing between Walmart and Amazon, with grocery as the battlefield,” says Barry Clogan, SVP of business consulting services at Winooski, Vt.-based MyWebGrocer. “Grocers who do not enter the online grocery space and find ways to compete now risk getting caught in the crossfire and losing business down the line.” Not that traditional grocers haven’t been hard at work defending their turf. Keasbey, N.J.based Wakefern Food Corp. has been particularly successful with its ShopRite from Home online shopping, pickup and delivery service, which reportedly has been growing its share of the company’s overall sales. Wakefern also partnered with Samsung on the new Family Hub “smart” refrigerator, which expands the Internet of Things to allow consumers to place stockup orders right from their kitchens, as PG detailed in n our February 2016 issue. Since then, the list of grocers big and small launching nching or expanding click-andcollect and d delivery services, on their

Jim Dudlicek

Editor-in-Chief Twitter @jimdudlicek


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

own or through partnerships, has grown longer: Kroger’s Ralphs banner in Southern California; Martin’s, a 22-unit chain in northern Indiana and southern Michigan; Strack & Van Til in Chicago and northwest Indiana; Niemann Foods in Illinois; Publix in Miami; Rosauers in Washington state; Meijer in Michigan; Key Food in New York; Food Lion in North Carolina ... the list goes on. According to Barrington, Ill.-based Brick Meets Click, Amazon is already the biggest player in online grocery, capturing nearly half of all trips, which may explain why even some traditional grocers are partnering with them. In May, Grand Rapids, Mich.-based SpartanNash, which operates 160 of its own supermarkets and supplies many independent grocers, agreed to supply Amazon’s distribution centers with grocery products. And in March, Seattle’s PCC Natural Markets teamed with Prime Now, Amazon’s two-hour delivery service, to deliver local, organic, sustainably sourced food. Meanwhile, Amazon Dash buttons are further pushing center store GM shopping into an autopilot replenishment mentality. MyWebGrocer’s Clogan, whose company’s platform was selected earlier this summer by Pittsburgh-based Giant Eagle to power its omnichannel experience, says the time for grocers to act is now. “One of the things that Amazon is really good at is being a logistics and supply chain company, much like Walmart is,” he asserts. “Amazon’s active consideration of ways to apply that core competency to grocery brings us full circle to the fact that grocers need to be concerned that companies with this kind of existing expertise are looking to break into their space. Consumers are increasingly open to digital innovation when it comes to grocery e-commerce, and traditional grocery is unlikely to hold their attention or wallet shares for long.”

New Name, Same PG Progressive Grocer’s parent company will henceforth be known as EnsembleIQ , encompassing all of the publications, events and other properties of the recently merged Stagnito Business Information, Edgell Communications and Path To Purchase Institute. The name reflects how all of our titles work together as a team, and we expect that these combined resources will serve to make PG even more relevant to, and informative for, the grocery business. Learn more at PG







What’s trending on …

The merger between co-op distributors Associated Wholesale Grocers (AWG) and Affiliated Foods Midwest Cooperative factored as progressivegrocer. com’s top-ranked story during the July 25-Aug. 25 timeframe. Pacing as the second most popular online story during the same period was part one of PG’s exclusive interview with Target Corp.’s SVP of merchandising, Anne Dament, the full version of which appeared in our August issue.

Associated Wholesale Grocers, Affiliated Foods Midwest to Merge

PG Explores Target’s Food Turnaround with SVP Anne Dament

Walmart to Acquire for $3B

Walmart CEO Greg Foran Highlights Collaboration at GMA Forum


Ahold, Delhaize Complete Merger

H-E-B Scores Goal With Stadium Name

The Fresh Market Names Supervalu as New Wholesaler

Lidl US Details Plans for Regional Hqts., DC in Md.

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

Quick and Healthy Turkey Chili

Š2016 Goya Foods, Inc.

Your shoppers ďŹ nd this and other great recipes at

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

November 2016 is... American Diabetes Month National Pomegranate Month National Roasting Month Vegan Awareness Month







Email your calendar submissions to


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


Find out more at Ž/Š 2016 Tyson Foods, Inc.

...changing the conversation in October 2016

Front End

Market Intelligence By The Numbers

Shelf Stoppers

Health & Beauty Care ToTal healTh and beauTy care sales reached $58.9 billion in The pasT year (52 weeks ending July 30, 2016)

Top 5 health & beauty care categories $9,000,000,000 8,000,000,000 7,000,000,000 6,000,000,000

What are the most important reasons that consumers switched baby diaper brands?

5,000,000,000 4,000,000,000 3,000,000,000


2,000,000,000 1,000,000,000 0 52 Wks - W/e 07/30/16

52 Wks - W/e 08/01/15

ViTamins and supplemenTs upper-respiraTory medicine

52 Wks - W/e 08/02/14

52 Wks - W/e 08/03/13

cosmeTics pain relief

52 Wks - W/e 08/04/12

say it’s because the brand was less expensive

sTomach upper G.i.

“as health issues tend to arise with age, it’s no surprise that health and beauty care products overindex with older households. empty nesters and senior couples spend 27 percent and 50 percent more, respectively, on these products than expected. at the same time, wealthier consumers overindex, with households earning more than $100,000 spending 23 percent more than expected. as our population ages, and as more consumers use food as medicine, there’s a big opportunity in ensuring that consumers have access to healthful packaged goods.” —nielsen Vp of consumer insights Jordan rost


say it’s because the brand was on promotion

Source: nielsen

Spotlight on Baby Needs Need consumers of baby needs are mosT likely To purchase:





prepared foods-dry mixes

desserts, Gelatins, syrups

breakfast food

pizz izza, snacks, hors d’oeuvres

Category prepared foods-dry mixes desserts, Gelatins, syrups breakfast food pizza, snacks, hors d’oeuvres


Index 128 125 121 120

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


say it’s because they received a coupon


say it’s based on positive feedback on the brand Source: nielsen Global baby care survey, Q1 2015



All trademarks are owned by Société des Produits Nestlé S.A.,Vevey, Switzerland. © 2016 Nestlé

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Mintel Global New Products Database Category Insights

Pest Control Market Overview Although the United States is the largest market for insect killers and repellents, it’s a more mature market, forecast to grow by just less than 3 percent annually.

There are also many regional variations, with some pests more present in some areas than others in the United States, which will also affect where products are launched, as well as their type.

key issues Pest issues affect 19 percent to 61 percent of U.S. consumers, depending on the specific type of pest.

Share of new product launch activity has dropped in North America, which only represented 3 percent.

Ants, mosquitoes and other crawling insects affect the highest proportion of consumers, while bed bugs, termites and rodents are less significant.

With many consumers looking for nontoxic pest control, ecofriendly launches will remain important in this market. Fear that pest control could pose a health risk to themselves or their family is holding back consumers from using products more frequently, and is likely deterring nonusers, too.


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

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

Insect killers/repellents continue to represent the bulk of launches in pest control, with eco-friendly products the most important claim in the category. Other important attributes for consumers are convenience, ease of use and portability (on-the- go stickers, patches and clip-on battery-operated devices).

n o i t a r t s i g Re

n e p O Now

PLMA’s 2016 Private Label Trade Show. Come one! Come all! Join the celebration. Everyone’s invited to PLMA’s 2016 Store Brands Jamboree. It’s the biggest and best trade show in the land. It’s our 38th show and we are celebrating with more exhibit booths, more products, more buyers, more contacts, and more store brands ideas than ever. Mark your calendar. Save the dates. Register today. Here comes the band!

Nov. 13-15 • Chicago Register today. Visit Presented by the Private Label Manufacturers Association Telephone: (212) 972-3131

All’s By Molly Hembree

Helping Shoppers Survive

Holiday Eating

Retailers can help consumers navigate a minefield of decadent celebratory treats.


lthough the leaves are just turning, it’s not too early to begin planning for the holiday season. Fall and winter are associated with celebrations, from social gatherings to wagon rides to light displays, and with them can come comfort food, extra helpings and an growing waistlines. Thankfully, retail dietitians are in the ranks at many grocers groc to provide tools, help navigate and prepare prep customers to fill their carts with delicious delicio foods that also maintain or boost health. health A sensible way that consumers can approach the shopping experience is to adopt the phrase “all food fits.” This means that any product on the shelf can be part of a healthy diet; it’s the amount consumed that’s the greater issue. For that reason, it’s beneficial to concentrate on nutrient-dense choices while perhaps limiting other foods lower in nutrition to strike a balance, regardless of dietary restriction, food preference, seasonality or other factors. The holidays fit nicely into this model, reminding consumers that a change in routine and an increase in variety at point of purchase don’t have to mean failure if care is given to creating balance.

Recipe for Wellness Considerr directing your store chef or retail dietitian to show how shoppers tangible ways to create healthful holiday dishes. There are variations, simple swaps, ingredient substitutions and alternative preparation methods to add a nutritional “oomph” to holiday favorites. For instance, a switch from oil to applesauce lesauce or canned pumpkin in some recipes cipes can maintain moisture but increase crease vitamin A content. Replacing eggs gs with cornstarch and water may reduce uce dietary cholesterol, and allpurpose flour often can be exchanged for whole wheat flour to up the fiber content. Retailers can also take the guesswork out It may be of meal planning by providing ready-to-eat meal kits in the deli or fresh food departments, more critical which offer convenience and free up time for than ever shoppers to celebrate the holiday season with to enlist the friends and family. expertise of

your retail dietitian this time of year to assure shoppers that nutritious choices can be easy.

Raising a Glass A primary focus in keeping calories under control, and therefore weight better managed, is being smart about sips. Many available beverages, particularly those enjoyed during the holidays, are loaded with excess calories that don’t provide satiety. Good alternatives are lighter drinks such as fat-free cocoa, lower-sugar juices, diet sodas, and skim or nondairy milk. Even better options are drinks made with fruit (think homemade smoothies or a spritz of fresh fruit in seltzer water), while the best options are water, herbal tea or decaffeinated black coffee. The general and adult beverage aisle is a big attraction all days of the year, but it could have even greater appeal October through January when shoppers are looking for innovative tastes that “bottle” the holiday spirit.


Sensible Sweets Who can forget the decadence of seasonal desserts? Despite the richness of foods — enjoyed in moderation — including candy, cherry pies, pumpkin rolls, eggnog, fudge and frosted cakes, many alternatives exist that can keep customers’ health in check. The flavors of the season can be savored in different formats. For example, lighter fare like cinnamon apple crisp, simple gingerbread cookies, roasted pears with pine nuts, vanilla rice pudding and mint meringue cookies evoke the essence of fall and winter, but with less sugar, fat or salt. Consider providing shoppers with healthy recipe cards in the baking aisle or cross-merchandising products to promote the whole store during the holidays. It may be more critical than ever to enlist the expertise of your retail dietitian this time of year to assure shoppers that nutritious choices can be easy, affordable and enjoyable, and to capture the novel flavors of the holidays. PG Molly Hembree, RD, LD, is a registered dietitian coordinator for The Little Clinic and Kroger.

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

Sick just got real real.


Be ready with... ith... ith..

Use as directed based on child’s age and symptoms. Children’s Dimetapp® and Children’s Robitussin® are indicated for ages 6 and up.

© 2016 Pfizer Inc.

Gr aPe exPectations ct of selling wine in excited by the prospe ermarkets like the sup tennessee Food city , from left, Donald e. are ity c n nso Joh in one ng and development; smith, eVP, store planni ising and and rch me of Dan Glei, eVP ; smith, president/ceo; marketing; steven c. n ndo Bra and er; nag rick Bishop, district ma drafting assistant. Butler, store design and


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

nn. Food City, Johnson City, Te

Store of the Month

and newly available wine g in er off od fo sh fre r rio A supe flagship location. elevate Food City’s latest By Bridget Goldschmi


Tenn., aren’t the t surround Johnson City, tha ns tai un mo the s, hese day around 66,00 0, nestled tow n. The small cit y of in hts sig ar cul cta spe ly on the latest Food City pa lachians, is the site of amid the picturesque Ap nt fuel center. laced an earlier flagship store and adjace ng, the location, which rep i-Cities area eni op 15 20 er tob Oc its Since rounding Tr ted shoppers from the sur store, has not only attrac l, home to the worldisto Br and rt y, Kinsgpo — comprising Johnson Cit t also curious consumers from farther afield: — bu cky. famous motor speedway Virginia and eastern Kentu est thw sou , ina rol Ca nted to see the North wa t jus o wh dy every day “I was speak ing to somebo , recalling the location’s first days in anager Derek Adkisson y industry, store,” recounts Store M est concepts in the grocer new and t ges big the see to business. “They wanted ence for them.” vide that shopping experi pro to e abl re Cit y’s version of a wall we we and ng they encounter is Food thi t firs the er, ent ers the chain’s Topco-sourced W hen custom e monthly, many of them ng cha the t tha s item e sal h e and Full Circle Market, of values, wit area lude Food Club, Valu Tim the inc it, ich vis wh r’s s, oce nd Gr e bra el ssiv lab gre private the time of Pro At . cts du to pro set ic l, an isto org Br led Battle at last a line of natural and anticipation of the so-cal in ns tio . ora 10. dec pt. ed Se on hem sported football-t and Virginia Tech iversit y of Tennessee (U T) e a lot of take place bet ween the Un Rick Bishop. “We do hav r age an M ict str Di s rm affi We’ve got two races a “Football ’s coming up,” o got Bristol Speedway. als ’ve we n the and e, tailgating around her us as well.” those are big events for year that we sponsor, so


Continued on page 26

Photography by Fresh Air Photo

September 2016 | |



T∂ P 10

BRANDS “ON THE WAY UP” – Nielsen Harris Poll EquiTrend® Study

Only Salty Snack in Top 10

Top 10 with

Millennials & Boomers

Top 10 with


Top 10 with


Top 10 with

Generation X & Boomers

In a study of 2,500 brands, The W∑nderful Company outshines every other CPG company. Across all generations, W∑nderful brands are recognized by more consumers as “on the way up.” According to Nielsen, brand momentum is related to positive sales trends. So naturally, we’re growing excited.

Source: Top 10 brands identified as heading “on the way up” by 97,120 U.S. consumers in Nielsen’s semi-annual syndicated brand equity study. © 2016 The Wonderful Company LLC. All Rights Reserved. THE WONDERFUL COMPANY, WONDERFUL, POM, HALOS, the accompanying logos, and all other intellectual property are owned by The Wonderful Company LLC or its affiliates. All other trademarks belong to their respective owners. MB16021

Store of the Month

Food City, Johnson City, Tenn.

MADe To orDer The Johnson City store’s deli/bakery area includes a wide range of lunchmeats and cheeses, as well as a meat smoker, manned by pitmaster Paul King, and a brick oven for making pizza.

Continued from page 23

I was speaking to somebody every day who just wanted to see the store. They wanted to see the biggest and newest concepts in the grocery industry, and we were able to provide that shopping experience for them.”

Comfort Zones Next up is the store’s expansive deli/bakery, which Bishop describes as “one of the largest we have.” The bakery offers a host of store-made baked goods, including specialty dessert cakes and higher-end items like cannoli and fruit tarts, all offered for the first time by a Food City store. Describing these as “new merchandising experiments,” Dan Glei, EVP of merchandising and marketing, notes: “We learn a lot of things about what our customers want, and it allows our customers to experiment with things they’ve perhaps not tried previously.” In contrast to the shock of the new bakery items, the deli provides a panoply of familiar favorites that customers can order to go or enjoy in the store’s eat-in section (there’s space both on the ground floor and upstairs in an area that can be accessed either by stairs or elevator).

—Derek Adkisson, store manager


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

“It’s about comfort foods,” Adkisson says of the available fare. “Our clientele is drawn to the meatloaf and fried chicken, country steaks — comfort home cooking.” Once customers have consumed any of those, banana pudding garnished with Nilla wafers, a Southern favorite, beckons for dessert. Meanwhile, a grab-and-go case offers ready-made sandwiches and one of the store’s big sellers: sushi, prepared fresh daily in the seafood department. Of the various items on display in the signature meat and salad case, nearly everything is made in-house from scratch, several from recipes provided by the store’s own associates. That’s not the only point of pride for the section, however. “We have an in-store meat smoker,” notes Adkisson. “We have barbecue on the bar every day,” including ribs and hand-pulled pork, beef and chicken. There’s also a brick oven for pizza that sells by the slice and whole pie. The section does a brisk all-day business, but one eating occasion is especially popular. “We do a full-scale breakfast bar,

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an initiative by

Store of the Month

Customers are responding to convenience, especially in this store, better than ever.” —Dan Glei, EVP of marketing and merchandising

ChEESE StanDS aLonE the Cheese Shop, coordinated by natasha Mitchell, offers hand-cut and -wrapped artisanal items.

Food City, Johnson City, Tenn.

we do a lunch bar, and then we also do a dinner bar,” says Adkisson. “Lunch business is very big here.” Nearby East Tennessee State University (ETSU) and UT, as well as the city’s medical facilities, provide a steady stream of hungry midday customers. As for the decision to lead off with the wall of values and deli/bakery, rather than the more traditional produce, Glei notes: “We’ve got a pretty big café experience in a lot of our stores. It’s one of our legacies; customers like it and expect it, so for customers that really want to come in here on the run, and then they can get on out, it really makes it much more convenient.” Over at the Cheese Shop — the first added to a Food City location “in quite a while,” according to Bishop — all of the artisan selections are cut and wrapped by hand, with blue cheeses, cheddars and the store’s hand-pulled mozzarella proving to be particular draws for customers.

Express and Local The most noticeable thing about the fresh fruits and vegetables on sale in the Johnson City store is that “the majority of our produce is behind glass doors,” as Adkisson points out, attributing that merchandising decision to, “of course, energy efficiency, but also the perception it gives the customer. They recognize that product is fresher.” “We just know, even though [customers have] got to reach in the drawer and get the apple and get it out, they’re going to get a much better experience with [our] apples, because a lot of retailers display them off refrigeration,” adds Glei. Another advantage of the doors, according to Glei, is a more pleasant shopping experience because they prevent cold spots in

the store. “I think a lot of people try to rush through the section because they’re cold,” he observes. Within the doors, there are some innovative items. Take the new snack cup program, featuring such ready-to-go items as melon slices or raw baby carrots, broccoli and cauliflower. “We’ve always had cut fruit, but these $2 snack cups have just been phenomenally successful and driving this section,” notes Adkisson, as it enables those in search of them “to get actually healthier snacks.” Then there’s the recently introduced Short Cuts program, aimed squarely at “busy families on the run coming in to get a fresh, healthy option for dinner,” as Adkisson puts it. “So we’ve done all the work for them in the store, for a stir-fry or salad toppings.” At the time of PG’s visit, the packaged offerings include sweet potato slices pre-seasoned with cinnamon, as well as Brussels sprouts and mixed vegetables. Items in the program change seasonally. Shopper reaction to Short Cuts has been similarly enthusiastic. “Customers are responding to convenience, especially in this store, better than ever,” says Glei. Another focus in produce is on local items. “We buy a substantial amount of locally grown,” affirms Adkisson. Among those local growers is Scott’s Farms, located within 20 miles of the Johnson City store, in Unicoi, Tenn. “They provide us with strawberries, corn, beans, half runners,” notes Adkisson. “It’s something everybody

Pick and Choose The Food City in Johnson City, Tenn., drives trial in its Cheese Shop by offering a Pick 3 promotion: Customers can select any three specially marked packages from among about 25 eligible cheeses and pay $9.99. “Prices on these packages typically range from $3.50 to $5,” explains Store Manager Derek Adkisson. “By using our loyalty card, the system will automatically discount the purchase of three cheeses to $9.99 and possibly encourage a shopper to try a cheese they might not have if there wasn’t a discount.” Asked about the success of the program, EVP of Merchandising and Marketing Dan Glei asserts: “It’s growing all the time. It’s an idea we’ve kind of carried from the meat department, actually.” Food City runs its well-established Pick 5 promotion there, in which shoppers can buy any five meat items — including some frozen and packaged products — for $19.99. There’s also a


Pick 5 program in produce, enabling customers to purchase five packages of fruits or vegetables for $7.99. Further, in the beverage alcohol section, Glei points to the highly successful Pick a 6 promotion, which allows customers to create their own 6-pack of various craft beers for $9.99. “You don’t know the beers and you don’t want to invest in a whole 6-pack, you can get one of each, and take it out and try it, basically for the price of what a normal 6-pack would be,” notes District Manager Rick Bishop.

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



Use products as directed.

Dispenser and small, convenient packs are back!

Contact your local Excedrin® sales representative on how to order. EMAIL:

Lil’ Drug Store Convenience Valet Navajo Incorporated Select Corporation

©2016 GSK group of companies or its licensor. All rights reserved. CHUS/CHXCDRN/0120/16

Modern Aids Medex Eagle Distributors

Store of the Month

Meat and Greet among the Johnson City store’s meat and seafood selections are a variety of signature store-made offerings.

Food City, Johnson City, Tenn.

knows in our community, and they like to see in our stores, and we’re one of the few that does it.” That producer and others are spotlighted through in-store signage and digital media. The partnership between Food City and local farmers has a long history. “You guys have been local for, what, pretty much all your lives?” Glei quips to Adkisson and Bishop. “It’s not a new thing to us.” Alongside produce is a floral and gift shop that offers an unusual option: an engraving station where customers can have mementoes embellished with a personal touch. Notes Floral Supervisor Emily Parton, “It’s going really well, especially [for] holidays, anniversaries, backto-school, teachers’ gifts,” with pens, pocketknives and luggage tags standout candidates for engraving.

Prime Grade Food City as a chain has long been famous for what Glei calls its “unparalleled meat and seafood case,” and the Johnson City store is no exception. Along with a lot of packaged product behind glass

QA &

doors like those in produce, the department offers a range of signature made-in-store items, including “a crab cake that’s nothing but crab cake — no fillers,” prepared by the former chef of a well-loved seafood restaurant that used to operate in the area, and steak burgers, which, as Meat Supervisor Johnny Stout explains, literally live up to their name, having been made from the trimmings of the department’s steaks. In fact, when it comes to hamburger, “we grind all of our ground beef in the store every day, all the time,” notes Glei. “There’s no ground beef that’s ever more than 18 hours old. Many retailers have gone away from

A d v e rt o r i A l

Speaking with...

Genevieve Poirier-Richards Senior Vice President, Marketing, Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP)

Progressive Grocer: How is the dairy case changing in ways that offer opportunity for grocery retailers?

PG: How can retailers reinvigorate their fluid milk business so they boost sales and maximize milk profit?

Genevieve Poirier-Richards: The proliferation of new products has changed today’s dairy case, causing many retailers to overlook an underleveraged profit driver – fluid milk. In fact, milk may be one of the most underleveraged profit drivers in the entire store, according to new research from industry experts.

GPR: The right balance of milk options, proper space allocation, and effective merchandising can drive profit, according to the research. There are four ways to invigorate fluid milk business:

There’s strong milk industry momentum, including new introductions, powerful national marketing programs and elevated scrutiny on milk alternatives. Plus, milk aligns with current food trends and offers so many of the benefits consumers are now seeking – from natural, highquality protein, to farm-fresh, real nutrition. The time really is right to maximize the dairy case. PG: Why should retailers focus on merchandising and marketing fluid milk? GPR: Dairy aisle space is precious and it’s critical to make every foot count. Milk far outperforms on space – generating 18 percent of dairy department profit in only 10 percent of the space. In most categories, profits trail as space grows but milk is the exception. Plus, milk leads the dairy case in sales productivity1. Yet, it often lacks the in-store interest of other categories.

Dairy Case Dynamics research was conducted by industry experts, including Prime Consulting and Willard Bishop, leveraging national retail data and proprietary research. For more information on the research, contact MilkPEP at or 1-800-945-MILK. Watch a full webinar on the findings here:


1. Remedy the out-of-stock issue: Space reductions and out-of-stocks equal lost sales. Research shows converting space back to milk could drive profit2. 2. Increase days of supply: Because milk sells quickly and profitably, increasing days-of-supply could improve profit and resolve out-of-stocks3. 3. Make space for new products: Fluid milk innovation – like lactose-free, health-enhanced and single serve flavors – represents sizeable growth and sales opportunities4. 4. Optimize milk merchandising: Communicating the benefits of milk – in particular protein and recovery – is a proven purchase driver. MilkPEP offers significant support for in-store messaging opportunities5.


Willard Bishop 2015 Grocery SuperStudy™ FMI/GMA Study and Bishop SuperStudy™ values. IRI Panel, Bishop Shopper Database, Prime Consulting. IRI 2014 New Product Pacesetters. 5 MilkPEP proprietary data from national grocery channel. 2 3 4

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


Milk has strong industry momentum, brand innovations and powerful marketing programs. And with elevated scrutiny on the competitive milk alternative market, the time to maximize milk’s presence in the dairy case is now. MILKPEP IS HERE TO HELP.

Retail experts at Prime Consulting and Willard Bishop conducted research that uncovers growth opportunities in the milk category. We invite you to learn more about these powerful insights that have the potential to help you maximize the dairy case, improve shopper experience in-store, and drive greater profit with fluid milk.

To view the Dairy Case Dynamics webinar,


©2016 America’s Milk Companies.®

Get Your Seat at the Table

Store of the Month

Food City, Johnson City, Tenn.

for National Family Meals Month

Sea worthy the fresh seafood case at the Food City in Johnson City is a magnet for area shoppers.

#familymealsmonth Join the family meals movement and rally your staff and customers around the cause. Take advantage of the hundreds of turnkey tools and ideas at

Contact Sue Borra at for more info.

that; we believe that’s one of the things that sets us apart.” In terms of meat quality, “we do a very good job with Prime,” Glei says. “We priced Prime at an exceptional level, and once customers try it, it creates a point of destination for them to come back. Once you have a Prime steak, you pretty much want to trade up to that type of retail price point.” According to Stout, ribeyes, sirloins, filets and strips are all big sellers, especially during peak summer grilling season, as well as boneless chops, ribs and kebabs, the last of which, with the arrival of warmer weather, “we bring to the center of the case and make a big show of [them], which makes a nice presentation,” he says. On the seafood side, sushi, which Adkisson notes has been “a big win” for the Johnson City store, is prominently displayed in a grab-and-go case that’s refreshed every 24 hours, with any product older than that promptly discarded. Souda Panyala, lead sushi chef and newly minted U.S. citizen, identifies shrimp tempura and spicy crab as the most popular varieties. “Her job knowledge and what she does is outstanding,” enthuses Adkisson. “She’s able to relay that job knowledge to our customers, educate them about sushi and create sales because of it.”

Beverage Stations Over in center store, one aisle is largely dominated by Nature’s Market, the store’s dedicated natural and organic section, in which a wide assortment of items is available, although the store also integrates some organic and natural products. Moving into the pet aisle, Glei notes the current trend toward grain-free pet foods, while the expanded detergent aisle has allowed for a larger assortment of SKUs, thereby enabling the category to perform “substantially better” than in the original store. Perhaps the biggest draws in center store, however, Continued on page 36


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

Store of the Month


Food City, Johnson City, Tenn.

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

Franklin Road, Address: 920 N. State of Johnson City, Tenn. 2015 Grand openiing: Oct. 21, 62,206 Total square footage: are feet squ 085 48, a: Selling are SKUs: 36,428 Employees: 162

rd Checkouts: Seven standa one Express and s can U-S six , checkouts ndayHours of operation: Mo t; Sunday Saturday 6 a.m.-midnigh t igh idn 8 a.m.-m ign, K-VA-T Designer: In-house des n Butler, store Food Stores Inc., Brando nt ista ass g ftin dra and design

September 2016 | |


Store of the Month

Food City, Johnson City, Tenn.

Nature’S way Shoppers in search of organic and natural products can find what they need in the Nature’s Market aisle.

Continued from page 32

are the store’s growler station and brand-new wine section, since, at the time of PG’s visit, wine sales in Tennessee supermarkets had become legal only the month before. “We actually had things set up that were a little over-spaced in the snack foods and some of those areas in anticipation” of the new law, explains Glei, adding that by the end of the year the company will have reset upwards of 70 stores in the state to make room for wine. Despite its newness, the section, known as the Vinery, offers an impressive array of product. Growler Lead Bill Phillips, who also oversees wine, identifies Food City “favorite” Quail Oak — which

the domestic still does very well for us, but craft beer is booming. I think Millennials drive a lot of that.” —Derek adkisson, store manager

the chain developed in partnership with a major winery — among the section’s big sellers. As for shoppers’ level of wine knowledge, Phillips notes, “We have some that are very informed; a lot of the others are still trying to find the wine they like.” To help the latter type of consumer, Glei says: “We’ve come up with some wayfinding that’s fairly simple; we worked with some of our suppliers, came up with this fun little phonetic way to say [the name of the varietal] and then some of the things that you might find about the wine,” including flavor notes and appropriate pairings. The overall theme is “explore, experience, enjoy,” he observes, “because we think that’s the journey many of our customers in Tennessee are going on, now that they can see wine every time they go to the grocery store.” One minor snag is that stores in Tennessee can’t hold free in-store tastings — yet. “There is a path toward that,” notes Glei. “We’re going to pursue it.” Beer, meanwhile, has been big business at the Johnson City store since day one, especially craft brews. “Over half of our cold beer case is dedicated towards craft,” says Adkisson, indicating the product, which is naturally behind glass doors. “The domestic still does very well for us, but craft beer is booming. I think Millennials drive a lot of that. We’re fortunate to be in an area with a lot of microbreweries — we’ve got one here in town, Yee Haw Brewing. We’ve got them in all of our Food City locations. Of course, we have them on tap here, too.” As well as Yee Haw Dunkel, in-demand on-tap quaffs hail from nearby Asheville, N.C., SaleS oN taP Growler lead Bryan “Doogie” Barbrey shows how it’s done at the Johnson City store’s Brew House, where craft beers reign supreme.


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

Store of the Month

We don’t have a lot of stuff on the floor. That’s a decision our shoppers asked us to make.” —Dan Glei, EVP of marketing and merchandising

Food City, Johnson City, Tenn.

and other parts of the region. “That’s what we’re focusing on,” he affirms. Asked how the different growler sizes sell, Phillips replies: “64 [ounces] is kind of the most popular, and we offer it both in glass and in plastic. We kind of brought this little 32-ounce one, and for a lot of people, if they only want to have 1 or 2 pints, or want to try [a] beer, this is a more practical way.” The vast frozen section boasts some of the widest aisles PG has ever seen in a supermarket. “One of the biggest responses to opening this store that I’ve heard is the wide, clutter-free aisles; it’s easy to shop, easy to maneuver,” notes Adkisson, adding that “you can open [the doors on] both sides of the aisle and there is still a clear, wide path for shoppers to maneuver.” As for the store’s being clutter-free, there are few free-standing displays in evidence. “We don’t have a lot of stuff on the floor,” affirms Glei. “That’s a decision our shoppers asked us to make.” With the exception of some HBC products located in nonfoods, the pharmacy is laid out in a store-within-a-store format, with its own aisles and signage, so as to provide “the drug store experience,” as Glei calls it.

Next Stops Regarding the future of this store model — Food City’s third incarnation of a flagship store since 2007 — Steven C. Smith, president/CEO of Food City parent company K-VA-T Food Stores Inc., says that the company has a few choice markets in mind for upcoming locations. “We just moved into Chattanooga, [Tenn.,] in

All Aboard at the Depot When Food City’s corporate dietitian, Elizabeth Hall, came to the Johnson City, Tenn., Food City store to conduct nutrition classes in partnership with East Tennessee State University, those events were held upstairs, at the store’s banquet facility, known as the Depot at Franklin Commons. “A little history on that: When Johnson City was first founded, it was known as Johnson’s Depot,” explains Store Manager Derek Adkisson. “This town has a railroad history to it, and when we were brainstorming ideas for the name of this room, we came across the Depot. You’ll see a railroad theme in here through the pictures displayed.” The facility, which seats 100-plus people, offers full audiovisual capabilities and


the last year, and I think this would be a very popular store in the Chattanooga market, in the right location,” he observes. “We’ve been in Knoxville, [Tenn.,] for 20-plus years, [but] we haven’t had a chance to build a flagship store to this caliber in Knoxville yet; that would be a natural place [for such a store], with the university there, a larger metropolitan area.” Further, as his interview with PG winds down, Smith adds that Food City’s hometown of Abingdon, Va., is also slated to get a similar store. “Our goal is to break ground this fall,” he says. All are sure to see similar success. PG For more about our Store of the Month, Food City in Johnson City, Tenn., visit

can be divided in half, is not only used internally for Hall’s nutrition classes and for cooking demos, but has also hosted various civic organizations, in addition to private parties such as birthdays and anniversaries. “The sky’s the limit in here,” asserts Adkisson. “We can go as formal as somebody might like through a sit-down three-course meal, or we can do a buffet-style meal, we can do finger foods. We take care of the event; the customer shows up and enjoys the experience.” The store’s catering operation also does off-site events. “We have three of these” in total throughout the chain, says EVP of Merchandising and Marketing Dan Glei, noting that “this one has some features that the other ones don’t have. You learn as you go, and this one is probably the best expression of our being able to show and tell as we go.”

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

Proud to be

a Progressive Grocer Editor’s Pick. Introducing new bakery treats from a brand loved around the world. Frosting Filled Streusel Muffin

Marble Pound Cake

Contact your CSM Bakery Solutions sales representative for more information. | +1 (800) 241-8526 Copyright ©2016 CSM Bakery Solutions LLC. All Rights Reserved. CINNABON® and the Cinnabon ® logo are registered trademarks of Cinnabon LLC. ©2016 Cinnabon LLC.



TaSTee of SucceSS Snacks, solutions and stories among the winners of this year’s new product contest.

Introduction by Jim Dudlicek / Food product reviews by Joan Driggs, Jim Dudlicek, Randy Hofbauer and Katie Martin


n some ways, it’s easier than ever to get a new product off the ground, while in others, it’s as hard as it’s ever been. Social media, mobile devices and 24/7 online access have allowed upstarts with shoestring budgets to bypass traditional distribution channels and get their products and messages out directly to consumers. Word of mouth, amplified by Facebook, Twitter and other social media engines, can lift new products out of obscurity and into the spotlight, often compelling traditional retailers to put them on their shelves, lest they lose sales to competing channels. But even products inspired by the most innovative ideas and that follow the latest trends aren’t guaranteed success. Case in point: Marzetti’s Veggie Drizzle Finishing Sauces. Made especially for cooked vegetables, these sauces ranged from 20 to 45 calories per serving and contained no preservatives, artificial ingredients, MSG or high-fructose corn syrup. Available in four flavors, they seemed poised to be a hit with consumers, who are increasingly moving vegetables to center plate, boosting their consumption of plant-based foods while reducing their meat intake.

September 2016 | |


2016 Editors’ Picks

We loved the idea and deemed it a PG Editors’ Editors Pick. Yet as we prepared this issue for publication, we got word that Marzetti had withdrawn the product from the market due to poor sales (it’s our practice to honor only products on shelf at press time). Perhaps the timing was wrong. Maybe consumers didn’t quite understand the product. We hope Marzetti has another go with this one and that it eventually clicks with the public. In any case, it’s a great example of the risk CPG companies take when they launch new products. R&D, market research, innovation, marketing, packaging — significant investments of resources, time and talent are on the line, with many products vying for the same space. Up to 80 percent of new CPG product launches fail, according to a 2015 Catalina study. Critical to success, the study asserts, is immediate and consistent consumer engagement. But even that won’t help if the product doesn’t taste good, or consumers just don’t get it. We feel that consumers will get PG’s latest class of Editors’ Picks. Out of 245 individual food products and 18 individual nonfood products submitted this year, we selected 76 food winners and eight nonfood winners, honored as individual products or lines, as our favorites.

Would We Buy This? Our Editors’ Picks food product evaluation team this year included PG Editor-in-Chief Jim Dudlicek, Senior Editor Randy Hofbauer, Editorial Director Joan Driggs and Progressive Grocer Independent Editor-inChief Katie Martin. Managing Editor Bridget Goldschmidt led evaluation of the nonfood entries. In addition to its own assessments, the panel


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


sought the input of other EnsembleIQ staffers, as well as family members and friends when evaluating products requiring home kitchen preparation. All input was considered, but final decisions were up to the editorial team. Factors taken into consideration included taste, innovation, function and convenience. Other questions we asked ourselves: Is this product on trend? Does it fill a need in the marketplace? Does it create a new category, or might it breathe new life into an existing one? Is this product, in substance and price point, appropriate for the mainstream supermarket channel? Snack foods seemed to dominate the entries this year. The best ones offered innovative flavors, betterfor-you attributes and new twists on old favorites. Some examples: Angie’s BoomChickaPop Sweet Barbecue Popcorn, Buck Wild popcorn and tortilla chips, Crunchies freeze-dried beets, Good Health veggie chips, Good Thins crackers, Lorissa’s Kitchen protein snacks, Oreo Thins, and Skippy P.B. Bites. Meal solution ideas also impressed us, like the Grainful Tuscan Bean & Kale Steel Cut Meal, Kahiki Bowl & Roll, LoveTheWild Red Trout with Salsa Verde, and Mann’s Nourish Bowls. Entertaining made simple is a consumer demand met by products like Better4U Poppy Seed & Onion Bread Bowls, and Emmi Fondü. Other entries also had great brand stories, like Honchos chips by Deep River Snacks, and Skylar Rae cherries from Stemilt. Toast, a U.K.-based design and marketing agency, has this advice for anyone planning to launch a new food product:

Be brave: Get your target audience to take notice of what you have to say.

Know your market: Where do they shop, what do they shop for, and why?

Make it your passion: People love a great brand story.

Make it different: Fill a need that’s not

being met.

Make it consistent: Give consumers a reason to trust you and buy your product again and again.

Be realistic: Success usually doesn’t

come overnight.

Our panel truly enjoyed experiencing the bravery and passion behind this year’s PG Editors’ Picks entries. We believe that they’ll be a hit for grocers who feature them front and center for today’s progressive shoppers. PG


The adult drinkable yogurt category has grown 12% (52 weeks vs. YA)

LALA Yogurt Smoothies have grown 35% (52 weeks vs. YA)

LALA is accelerating consumer interest in Yogurt by launching new items, like LALA Greek, LALA Curb and LALA 100 Calorie Yogurt Smoothies

National Advertising: #Yogurting We’ve developed a national TV and digital campaign focused on the idea of Yogurting – that moment when you’re drinking a Yogurt Smoothie and doing one of the million things life brings your way every day. By turning Yogurt into a verb, a movement has begun. These are just a few of the reasons why LALA won the acclaimed 2016 Editor’s Pick award.

Join us. Stock your store.

Source: IRI, MULO 52 Weeks Ending 7/10/16


2016 Editors’ Picks Among Friends Papa tom’s Perfect Pancake and Waffle Mix

$4.99/11.3-ounce package

Knowing that Papa Tom’s Perfect Pancake and Waffle Mix is Among Friends’ first extension beyond dess dessert mixes makes the cinnamon notes easier to understand. This tasty, slig slightly sweet mix is great for breakfast love lovers avoiding gluten. Directions recommend recomm making the entire package, which renders the $4.99 tag a tad pricey. The T addition of cinnamon gives the product prod a unique homey taste and smell. Oth Other key ingredients in this clean-label product include whole grain sorghum sorghu flour, whole grain oat flour, brown rice r flour and almond meal.

Angie’s BoomchickaPop sweet Barbeque Popcorn

Arla cream cheese $2.99/7-ounce tub

Simplicity is a huge trend, and Arla’s new line of cream cheese reflects that demand. This rich, flavorful spread boasts just four core ingredients — milk, cream, cheese culture and salt — with no added stabilizers, thickeners, artificial flavors or preservatives. We enjoyed all five flavors offered, with Peppercorn being the most original for this type of product. The cream cheese also comes in Original, Light, Herbs & Spices, and Blueberry.


The latest flavor from Angie’s BoomChickaPop is a great example of how the snack category is delivering better-for-you products with style. The folks at Angie’s say their new Sweet Barbeque Popcorn evokes Kansas City flavor; the smoked paprika, sea salt, onion and garlic deliver a nice zing. At 80 calories per cup, it hits several wellness trends — gluten-free, whole grain, no high-fructose corn syrup (it’s sweetened with cane and maple sugars) — and it’s made with non-GMO popcorn.

Arla cheese slices $3.99/10 slices

A farmer-owned cooperative known for cheese, butter and dairy ingredients, Arla is stepping up its game in branded dairy products. One of two new products we’re recognizing is a line of sliced natural cheeses, including Havarti, Gouda, Fontina and Muenster varieties. These convenient, delicious cheeses are great for sandwiches or snacking. Additionally, the brand tells a nice farmto-table story, with products made with milk from cows not treated with synthetic growth hormones, and without artificial colors or preservatives.


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

Atkins Harvest trail Bars $6.99/5-count box

Nutritional bars compete in a crowded market, but it can often be a case of “buyer beware” when it comes to the actual nutrition. Atkins’ Harvest Trail Bars clock in at only 4 grams of net carbs (13 grams of carbohydrates minus the 9 grams of fiber) and only 1 gram of sugar. The cello window on the box puts the product front and center, allowing consumers to see the whole nuts and fruit pieces as well as the drizzle of chocolate on the dark chocolate peanut butter variety, and bolstering the impression that the bars are a “whole” food. Varieties: Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel, Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter, Dark Chocolate Cherry & Nuts, and Vanilla Fruit & Nut.


2016 Editors’ Picks Best damn cherry cola $9.61/6-pack bottles

Anheuser-Busch has a winner with its latest entry in the popular hard-soda category. Sold under the beer giant’s Best Damn Brewing Co. brand, this spiked cherry cola aims to capture preferences shifting away from traditional beers, especially among Millennials, and toward beverages with sweeter taste profiles. We enjoyed this hard pop, which the maker says is aged on cherries after brewing and combines caramel and cola spice notes with a delicious cherry taste.

Body Armor superdrink Blackout Berry sports drink

Better4U Poppy seed & onion Bread Bowls $4.99

Turnkey entertaining is on trend right now, and these bread bowls from Better4U are a timesaver and an inspiration for creativity. They’re sold in two unfilled shells per package, presenting a host of serving options — soup, chili, stew, dips, sauces and even egg scrambles. The bread bowls also come in Multi-Grain, Wheat, and Cornmeal & Jalapeno varieties.


Following a super-challenging workout, one needs a super-hydrating beverage. And considering that today’s consumers don’t want products sporting ingredient decks loaded with hard-to-pronounce words, a more natural beverage would do better helping today’s consumers recover from workouts. Body Armor SuperDrink provides not only natural ingredients — made with natural flavors, natural sweeteners and electrolyte-rich coconut water — but also the contents needed to recover from the most strenuous of workouts, with vitamins A, E, B6, B12 and C, in addition to the electrolytes. We tried Blackout Berry, a new flavor made in conjunction with star athlete Kobe Bryant, an investor in the brand, and found it both refreshing and replenishing without the overly salty flavor some sports drinks possess. We also didn’t detect any sour or salty flavors some coconut waters have. We’d be happy to hit the gym more frequently if it means recovering with this tasty beverage.

Boulder organic chicken Vegetable chili $4.49

Boulder Organic teams restaurant quality with a free-from sensibility to create this hearty and an delicious chili that’s easy to prepare, enhancing enhancin shopper choice in the deli refrigerated section. section Made in small batches, the chili is both certified certifie organic and gluten-free, as well as Non-GMO Project Verified. It’s a flavorful blend of pinto, kidney and garbanzo beans, enriched with organic chicken, tomatoes, corn, carrots and zucchini. This filling item offers a satisfying kick that doesn’t overwhelm the flavor.


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

Brownie Brittle organic Flavors $4.99/5-ounce package

Brownie Brittle already has legions of fans enamored of its sensible decadence, and it’s sure to attract more now that there’s an organic version of the popular treat. Made with USDA certified-organic ingredients, the new line consists of two unique flavors: Chocolate & Toasted Coconut and Dark Chocolate & Pretzel. We liked the sweet-and-salty combination of the pretzel variety, and chocolate and coconut is always a great pairing. These two varieties come in 5-ounce resealable packages; a Chocolate Chip flavor also is available in a 16-ounce club-size bag.

COBBLESTONE BREAD CO. is honored to receive a Progressive Grocer Editors’ Pick Award for our Right Sized Loaves. Being named one of the top consumer products of the past year makes us melt.

©2016 Flowers Foods.


2016 Editors’ Picks Bud Light Lime Water-Melon-rita $12.47/12-pack

Anheuser-Busch hit the jackpot in 2012 when it leveraged the heft of its Bud Light brand to launch a line of ready-to-drink margaritas. With a core line augmented by rotating seasonal flavors, the brand continues to drive growth in the beverage alcohol category. The latest hit in A-B’s “Rita” family is Bud Light Lime Water-Melon-Rita. Offering the taste of a watermelon margarita with a twist of Bud Light Lime, the beverage proves crisp and refreshing. We expect this new variety will have many fans and continue to drive incremental category growth for retailers.

Buck Wild caramel Bourbon and chipotle cheddar Popcorn $3.49/4.4-ounce bag

With myriad cheesy or caramel-covered popcorns on the market today, it’s hard to stand out from the crowd without adding a little something extra to kick the flavor up a notch. Understanding the current popularity of all things bourbonand chipotle-flavored, WildRoots Foods LLC introduced two varieties of popcorn under its Buck Wild brand: Caramel Bourbon and Chipotle Cheddar, both of which offer a twist on traditional favorites. Both are made with real ingredients, and are free from any artificial flavors or preservatives, gluten, trans fats, and high-fructose corn syrup. Our taste testers enjoyed the rich, buttery sweetness of the Caramel Bourbon Popcorn, which was rounded out by smooth bourbon notes, and the zesty cheddar zing of the Chipotle Cheddar Popcorn, which was balanced by a smoky flavor and mild bite.

Buck Wild Jalapeño Jack tortilla chips

cadbury royal dark salted caramel squares $4.19

Consumers still want indulgence, but they want to feel better about it. Enter portion control: These premium chocolate pouches feature individually wrapped tasting squares. The rich, creamy caramel with a hint of sea salt offers a great balance to the Cadbury Royal dark chocolate. Elegant packaging further contributes to the image of a luxury product with a luxurious taste.

$3.49/5.5-ounce bag

Ingredient decks are getting more attention from consumers than ever before. In response, manufacturers are reformulating current products and developing new ones to contain “real” ingredients. In the salty snack category, WildRoots Foods LLC is following this trend wholeheartedly with its Buck Wild products, and of the line’s newest offerings, Jalapeño Jack Tortilla Chips. The whole grain, gluten-free chips are made with real Monterey Jack and Romano cheeses, as well as diced jalapeño peppers. They contain zero trans fats, no artificial flavors or preservatives, and no high-fructose corn syrup. Our taste testers found the chips’ flavor refreshingly bold, and their texture delightfully crunchy. The tasters were also pleasantly surprised to see whole pieces of diced jalapeños in the chips — proof that they were enjoying something truly unique.


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

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2016 Editors’ Picks caribou Premium iced coffee $2.99/14-ounce; $3.49/32-ounce

Consumers who enjoy the coffeehouse, K-cup and ground coffee experience offered by the Caribou Coffee brand now have a ready-to-drink option at home, thanks to Dean Foods. Available in 14-ounce singleserve and 32-ounce multiserve bottles, these flavored iced coffees are blended with real milk and use real sugar, not high-fructose corn syrup. A regular iced-coffee drinker in our office liked the clean label, appreciated that it wasn’t too sweet and most enjoyed the flavor of the Sea Salt Caramel variety. Chocolate Mocha and Vanilla round out the line.

chef’s cut real chicken Jerky Buffalo style $5.99

Among the new brands driving excitement in the meat snack category is Chef’s Cut, which has been rolling out high-quality offerings in a variety of zesty, on-trend flavors. The latest: Buffalo-style chicken jerky, which evokes the ever-popular wings’ flavor with a combination of cayenne pepper, sea salt and garlic. The bold flavors envelop 100 percent white-meat chicken breast, which delivers an in-demand dose of protein in exchange for 70 gluten- and nitrate-free calories.

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

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2016 Editors’ Picks

cinnabon Frosting Filled Muffin & Marble Pound cake $5.99

Want to create some excitement in the in-store bakery? Create a convenient yet decadent confection that’s co-branded with a consumer favorite. CSM Bakery Solutions wins on all counts with two of its latest releases: a frosting-filled muffin and a marble pound cake, both boasting the popular cinnamon roll flavor profile of Cinnabon. The muffins, offered in packs of four, are stuffed with cream cheese frosting and topped with cinnamon streusel. Meanwhile, the cake, lavished with cinnamon and sour cream, is ready to take home. They’re decidedly not better-for-you, but they make for a nice splurge that’s sure to drive traffic to your bakery department.

cobblestone Bread co. right size Loaves

combos Baked snacks sweet & salty chocolate Fudge Pretzel


Households are trending smaller: singles, single parents, couples without kids. As a result, the good ol’ family-size loaf is going ba bad before many have had a chance to finish it. Flowers Foods scores with Right Size Loaves, sold under its Cobblestone Bread Co. brand. We enjoyed the taste and texture — and ontrend goodness — of the aptly named Knead for Seed. Also, the Brooklyn Rye was just perfect for one of our tasters, who’s the only rye bread fan in his house.


The sweet-and-salty trend shows no signs of slowing down, and hybrid snacks continue to land on grocery store shelves. One of the latest is the newest variety in Mars’ Combos line: Sweet & Salty Chocolate Fudge Pretzel offers a crunchy pretzel shell filled with creamy fudge. We enjoyed the marriage of flavors and think it’s a great follow-up to Mars’ earlier launch of Combos pretzels with caramel crème and vanilla frosting.

crunchies Freeze dried Beets $4.99/resealable pouches; $1.69/single-serve pouch www.crunchies

Not all single-ingredient freeze-dried products work, primarily for textural reasons. But the process works magic on dense beets, which retain their antioxidants and taste, but deliver the added benefit of crunch. For beet lovers — and we know not everyone is one — they make a great on-the-go snack or crunchy, colorful and healthful addition to salads and other dishes. Beets are the first foray away from freeze-dried fruit for Crunchies Natural Food Co., which also works its magic on berries, bananas and pineapple.

September 2016 | |


2016 Editors’ Picks


deep river snacks Honchos Peach Habanero tortilla chips $3.79

cucina di carla spicy sausage ravioli $7.99

Fresh pasta and clean, cooked ingredients unite beautifully in Cucina di Carla Spicy Sausage Ravioli. Large pillows of fresh tomato pasta are filled with a cooked mixture of Italian sausage, red bell peppers, pecorino Romano and wholemilk mozzarella cheeses. An admirable ingredient statement and excellenttasting pasta add up to dinner in minutes.

Speaking of sweet and salty, these tortilla chips from Deep River Snacks took us by surprise — we’d seen sweet heat in a barbecue sauce, but on a tortilla chip? Our tasters weren’t unanimous in their admiration of the peach-habanero marriage, but overall we appreciated the innovation, and its advocates really liked the flavor mashup. Made with organic, non-GMO ingredients, Honchos also tells a great brand story: The company’s founder was inspired by his autistic son, who couldn’t tolerate artificial dyes in many snack chips. Plus, Deep River donates 10 percent of its annual profits to a different charity partner for each flavor.

dasani sparkling slim cans $3.49/8-pack

Coca-Cola has given its sparkling water, launched in February 2014, a needed packaging makeover, putting it in striking silver 12-ounce slim cans. Rather than 12-packs of standard 12-ounce cans, Dasani Sparkling is now available in 8-packs of slim cans. New varieties include trendy Raspberry Lemonade and Tropical Pineapple. The new look supports the natural clean label for the simple, zero-calorie flavored sparkling water. Existing varieties include Lime, Berry, Black Cherry and Lemon.


dove chocolate Fruit & Nut $3.99-$4.29

Mars already has a winner with its Dove branded line of dark chocolate-enrobed fruit and took the idea up a notch by adding spiced nuts to the mix, leveraging three growth areas in the snack category. This line extension debuted in three flavor combinations: Strawberry & Cocoa Almond, Blueberry & Vanilla Cashew, and Raspberry & Honey Roasted Almond. The chocolate is derived from 100 percent pure cocoa butter and specially selected cocoa beans.

duke’s smoked shorty sausage Pouches $1.99/1.25-ounce single-serve package

As longtime fans of Duke’s small-batch meat snacks, we eagerly await the addition of new flavors to the lineup. But we were even more impressed when its latest flavors were accompanied by an innovative packaging format. Still offered in multiserve resealable bags, Duke’s now offers its Shorty smoked sausages in single-serve pouches. They’re great for convenience and portion control, as well as for creating new merchandising options for retailers. We enjoyed both new varieties, Hatch Green Chile and Chorizo & Lime, which, along with the brand story — sausages hand-hung and slowdried for days in limited-size batches — answer the growing call for bold, authentic flavors.

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

The Perfect Balance of Thin, Crisp and Wonderfilled.

Drive Category Growth with OREO Thins • OREO Thins come in Original, Golden, Mint and now NEW Lemon and Chocolate Creme • 22% of OREO Thins sales are incremental to the cookie/cracker aisle1 • OREO Thins helped to grow the total OREO Brand by 3.8% in 20152 • Original OREO Thins trial is 3.7x the cookie category average3

New Flavors!

Sources: 12015 Cookies Mondelēz Assortment Project, Total US Food and Mass Preliminary Results, January 2016; 2 Nielsen Homescan, Total US, All Outlet, 52 w/e 12/26/15 vs YAG; 3Nielsen OREO Thins Trial P7 April 2016

© Mondelēz International group


2016 Editors’ Picks

Evolution Fresh organic Green Lemonade

ElevAte Meals $4.99

$3.99/15.2-fluid-ounce bottle

This new superfood brand from Ready Pac Foods speaks to consumers interested in clean eating and functional nutrition. Claiming to be the first nonGMO, organic and d gluten-free-certified complete meal option ption available, ElevAte offers convenient venient nutrition on the go and incorporates rporates nutrient-dense ingredients ents full of antioxidants and omega-3 mega-3 and -6 fatty acids. Ingredients dients include dark cacao, goji berries, nutrient-rich leafy greens, legumes, nuts, organic white-meat chicken, and dressings made with matcha green tea, blueberries and hempseeds, for a fresh-tasting, asting, definitely on-trend offering. Additionally, our tasters loved the quirky flavor names, including Blu-Rugula, Go-Go-Goji and Kale Caesar.

Americans are finding interesting new ways to pack more veggies into their diets, leading to a number of juice blends that contain everything from sweet potato to spinach hitting the market. But these juices aren’t always refreshing, which can make drinking them more of a chore than a joy. Evolution Fresh has addressed this reality with its latest offering: a combination of lemonade and leafy greens. Evolution Fresh’s Organic Green Lemonade is everything a lemonade should be — light, crisp and hydrating — but with the added benefit of leafy greens and only 10 grams of sugar per serving (two per bottle). Our testers found the lemonade to be refreshingly citrusy but not too sweet, and not overshadowed by the taste of the greens, which actually added to the beverage’s fresh flavor.

Fortun’s Finishing touch soups – Azteca chicken hicken and rice $4.99-$5.99

Emmi Fondü


Just as shoppers are looking for convenient solutions to meals, they also are looking for easy “wow” experiences for at-home entertaining. Emmi Roth USA answers the call with high-quality Fondü Original Cheese Fondue From Switzerland. The ingredient list makes it look simple, but consumers would be hard-pressed to make this smooth treat on their own. Swiss cheese, white wine and Kirsch brandy are key ingredients. It’s a tad pricey, but a sure hit on the cocktail or book club circuit. Adventurous eaters can make this a meal by dipping vegetables, potatoes or meat.

Check off all of the trends this product embraces: no added preservatives, no artificial additives, no MSG, restaurant-quality, crafted in small batches, chefinspired. It also contributes to sustainability; sold as a concentrate, the product line lin is shipped to market without the extra water weight, allowing consumers to add the liquid at home. We thought this soup was a little fussy to prepare in our office microwave kitchen — it’ll do better on a stovetop at home. Our favorite of the line was the Azteca Chicken and Rice. Made with fresh vegetables, real stock and wines, and premium spices, the soup is sure to garner a following among consumers.

Freschetta Artisan crust Pizza — chicken & Fire roasted Vegetable $7.99

The Schwan Food Co. has been a leader in driving innovation and creativity in the frozen pizza category. Its latest winner is Freschetta Artisan Crust pizza, which features a differentiated, 51 percent multigrain crust made with a blend of three whole grains, delivering a slightly sweet flavor, hearty texture and all of the benefits of whole grains. The chicken and roasted vegetable toppings were a nice change of pace from standard pizza fare. From above and below, this offering from Freschetta should win many new fans looking for something different in their grocer’s frozen pizza case.


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

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2016 Editors’ Picks


Frieda’s Adorable kumquats Market price/8-ounce pouches

Our tasters weren’t sure they’d ever eaten a kumquat before encountering these samples from Frieda’s, a leader in specialty and exotic produce. We weren’t unanimously enthralled by the mouth-filling burst of intense sweetness and tartness, but these little citrus bombs have the potential to bring some excitement to the produce section. Additionally, Frieda’s has definitely made the experience shopper-friendly: The kumquats come in resealable stand-up pouches with convenient handles and colorful labeling that includes usage tips right on the label.

Gallo Family Vineyards sweet Wines with Natural Fruit Flavors $8

These sweet wines from E.J. Gallo Winery were perhaps more appealing to the non-wine drinkers among our tasters. The fruity, light-bodied quaffs aren’t intimidating to the uninitiated and are actually pretty refreshing. Among the varieties, Sweet Peach seemed to be the favorite, offering the crisp taste of fresh peaches along with hints of tropical fruit. A fine, slightly fizzy summer refresher, the wine also comes in Sweet Berry and Sweet Pineapple flavors.

Golden island chili Lime Beef Jerky and sriracha Pork Jerky $6.49-$6.99

The latest varieties from Golden Island stand as further testament to how far the meat snack category has come, from a few pegs of peppered and teriyaki jerky at the c-store or front end. Chili Lime Beef Jerky balances heat and zing with the tart citrus flavor of lime. Sriracha Pork Jerky is subtly hot with the bold flavors of red chilies and garlic, with a balanced intensity that doesn’t sacrifice flavor for heat. Each piece of gluten-free jerky is individually sliced and marinated, and then fire-grilled or kettle-cooked to maximize its intense flavors and moist, tender texture.

Good Food Made simple Pancake Puffs $3.99

There’s plenty of room for growth in the breakfast category for supermarket retailers, and these pancake puffs from Good Food Made Simple are a standout. The brand name alone is a selling point. Described as Belgianstyle gourmet bites, they thaw in minutes on your roomtemperature plate. The puffs are offered in Original and Banana (there was no clear favorite among our tasters — we liked them both). We also like that they’re preservativefree and made with real eggs, butter and milk.


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


Watch Your Sales Flourish with Mann’s Nourish Bowls

A delicious, singleserve warm meal

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2016 Editors’ Picks Good Health Mickey shaped Veggie chips

Graeter’s cheese crown ice cream



Good Health, maker of Veggie Stix, has launched kid- and mom-friendly Mickey Shaped Veggie Chips, featuring the iconic shape of Mickey Mouse’s head in yellow, red-orange and green chips. While potatoes dominate the ingredient list, a variety of other vegetables provide color and nutrition, including dehydrated tomatoes, green pepper and spinach. Front- and backof-package callouts claim that 1 ounce of the snack chips contain the value of 2.5 cups of broccoli, equaling 25 percent RDA vitamin A; 3.5 beets, equaling 25 percent RDA vitamin C; five tomatoes, equaling 15 percent RDA vitamin E; 7 cups of spinach, equaling 20 percent RDA vitamin B6; and two carrots, equaling 20 percent RDA vitamin K.

If you’re going to indulge in ice cream, do it right, and few do it better than Graeter’s, which has grown beyond its historic Ohio confines to become a nation national favorite. Still family-owned, Graeter’s is the last ice crea cream still crafted in French pots in 2½-gallon batches. This tim time, Graeter’s combines decaden decadence and Old World know-how for Cheese Crown, a flavor based on the Danish pastry long enjoyed in Cincinnati. Cheesecake-flavored ice cream with cinnamon sugar pastry pieces and fondant icing flakes makes for a luscious and truly original treat.

Good thins the rice one! Veggie Blend and the Potato one! sweet Potato snacks $3.69

More than ever, people are snacking — and also worrying about what goes into their bodies. Enter Nabisco’s Good Thins snacks, Mondelez International’s first snack brand launch in more than a decade. The line, which debuted earlier this year, is made with such base ingredients as rice, potato and chickpeas, and contains no artificial colors or flavors, cholesterol, partially hydrogenated oils, or high-fructose corn syrup. We tried The Potato One! Sweet Potato and The Rice One! Veggie Blend varieties and were amazed at the taste and mouth feel of these delectable snacks. The sweet potato chips, which claim to have 60 percent less fat than the leading regular fried potato chip, have a soft, buttery texture that was almost flaky, as well as a slightly sweet flavor everyone enjoyed. The veggie chips tasted like a fresh vegetable medley of peppers, corn and black beans, also boasting a satisfying, crispy texture that could hold up well to dipping. Our taste testers could have plowed through an entire box of either variety in one sitting.


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

Grainful tuscan Bean & kale steel cut Meal $4.99

Even the carnivores on our team were impressed by this frozen meatless entrée, which leverages current demand for food products with whole grains. We found this blend of steel-cut oats, Italian spices, kidney and garbanzo beans, chopped kale, diced tomatoes, and garlic surprisingly filling and very tasty. Each meal contains one to two servings of whole grains and carries the Whole Grain Council’s stamp. Additionally, the meal trays are recyclable and compostable.


Introducing BRIANNAS Cilantro Lime Salad Dressing – the perfect kick to your recipe no matter where you are on your culinary journey. Fresh, creamy and zesty, it delivers a lively flavor that’s equally great as a savory summer salad dressing, beach BBQ marinade or spirited tropical dip. Splash it on raw or grilled vegetables, Baja shrimp tacos and chilled pasta salad for a vibrant dish that’s delicious and definitely BRIANNAS. So enjoy, adventurous foodies – this one’s for you! For more information contact:, or call (979) 836-5978.

Come by booth #6709 at Expo East and taste our new BRIANNAS dressing!



2016 Editors’ Picks Herr’s Pub style thins sourdough

Herdez Guacamole salsa $2.69-$3.49


This salsa from Hormel’s Herdez brand is similar to one enjoyed by one of our tasters at a Mexican restaurant. It combines the rich, creamy taste of avocados with the zest of a traditional salsa verde. We’ve come to enjoy the authenticity of Herdez products, and this is no exception. What’s more, with genuine ethnic flavors in high demand, this product should score well among consumers. Guacamole aficionados should enjoy it, as should salsa lovers looking for a change of pace.

At a time when hybr hybrid snacks are all the rage, Herr scores with us by sticking to its roots. We loved the flavor and hearty crunch of these sourdough “pubstyle” thin pretzel twists, which the maker says were inspired by its German history. Dip ’em if you want, but at least one taster enjoyed them best au naturel to fully appreciate the rustic salt crystals and irregular shapes that impart handmade character.

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2016 Editors’ Picks Hershey’s and reese’s Muffins $5.99/4-pack

CSM Bakery Solutions continues to have success with its co-branding initiatives, mating its baked goods prowess with beloved consumer brands. The company was inspired by its partnership with The Hershey Co. to create these decadent muffins. The Hershey’s Gourmet Chocolate Filled Muffins, jammed with fudge and topped with chocolate icing and chips, are a chocoholic’s dream. We were really taken with the Reese’s muffins, however, laden as they were with peanut butter filling, icing and cups, although we indulged strictly in moderation, of course. Both varieties of muffins come in convenient 4-packs.

House Foods Marinated tofu cutlet - teriyaki Flavor $3.49/6-ounce package

Tofu often gets a bad rap, with consumers complaining of bland and rubbery options. But with more consumers today choosing meat alternatives to add to their dishes, it’s no wonder that more manufacturers are flexing their R&D muscle to make innovative products that kill this stereotype. House Foods has sought to do the same with its Marinated Tofu Cutlets, which contain 14 grams of protein per serving while offering such unique varieties as Teriyaki, Asian BBQ, Chipotle and Spicy Garlic. Made with organic tofu, the cutlets are Non-GMO Project Verified, gluten-free and kosher. Our taste testers tried the Teriyaki variety cold on a salad, to which it gave a sweet, tangy zip. They found the product tasty and firm, not soggy or rubbery like some tofu brands. While they didn’t try it in a hot dish, they said it could work well chopped in a stir-fry.


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


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2016 Editors’ Picks inglehoffer Ghost Pepper Mustard $3.49-$3.99

Heat is at or near the top of the list of the hottest food trends, and few flavors are more sinister than ghost pepper. Beaverton Foods’ Inglehoffer brand, known for its mustards and horseradish sauces, harnesses this Stygian chili to spike its newest mustard. The blend soothes the Scovilles somewhat, but still packs a wallop, delivering good flavor, not just pain. Available in shelf-stable squeeze bottles, this mustard will add punch to darn near everything you put it on.


kahiki Bowl & roll $3.99

This great meal solution gives the consumer a little something extra. According to Kahiki, 76 percent of consumers serve an appetizer or side dish with an Asian meal. So Kahiki answered the call by adding an egg roll to an entrée bowl and voilà, a complete meal. It requires a few extra steps in prep — the bowl and roll require different cooking times in the microwave — but you’re off and running in about five minutes. We liked the Chicken Pad Thai with Vegetable Egg Roll; the line also comes in General Tso’s Chicken with Chicken Egg Roll, as well as Szechuan Pepper Steak, Sesame Ginger Chicken or Chicken Fried Rice with Vegetable Egg Roll.


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2016 Editors’ Picks


Lala Yogurt smoothies $3.19/4-pack

We were impressed by these smoothies from Borden’s Lala brand, which hit stores last January. The surprise favorite was Vanilla Almond Cereal, which offers the rich flavor of vanilla beans and almonds. The taste and texture were quite enjoyable — we never thought we’d like drinking our cereal! It’s definitely a plus for busy folks on the go: a convenient, single-serve dose of protein and calcium. The smoothies also come in Pomegranate Blueberry and Cherry Vanilla flavors. Further, Lala built a clever campaign around its cultured products, promoting their role in an active, healthy lifestyle via social media with the hashtag #yogurting.

Litehouse opadipitity Greek Yogurt dip — spicy Asiago Artichoke $3.99

Litehouse has put a healthy and welcome spin on a popular dip variety with the introduction of Greek yogurtbased Opadipity Spicy Asiago Artichoke Dip. This betterfor-you item is made from low-cal Greek yogurt spiced with real artichokes blended with asiago cheese and a nice jalapeño kick, for just 60 calories per 2-tablespoon serving. Other Greek yogurt dip varieties include Greek Olive, Cucumber Dill and Cinnamon Swirl.

Lorissa’s kitchen Premium Protein snacks Over 80 Base Sizes

Pallet Guards Storage Display Dunnage Racks

Newspaper Basket Stands

Bases • Fixtures Displays • Merchandisers


$5.99/ 2.25-ounce bag

Named for the wife of Jack Link’s CEO, Lorissa’s Kitchen aims to reach beyond the stereotype truck driver/sports dude image of most jerky products. To be sure, the demographics of meat snack consumers break more evenly by gender than most folks think. This product line breaks new ground beyond its packaging image: It’s one of the first widely available protein snack to use responsibly raised proteins, including 100 percent grass-fed beef and antibiotic-free chicken. Also, its four flavors are definitely on-trend: Korean Barbecue, Ginger Teriyaki, Sweet Chili and Szechuan Peppercorn.

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

Bite-sized danish is a BIG opportunity! J. Skinner introduces authentic, artisan Mini Danish in the 5 most delectable flavors your ISB customers crave. Made with REAL fruit fillings and scrumptious neufchâtel cheese. Each crafted bite is remarkably delicious and suprisingly more satisfying than any other mini’s in the marketplace.

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2016 Editors’ Picks LovetheWild red trout with salsa Verde $9.99/6 ounces

If ever a product can take the fear out of preparing a simple fish fillet, LoveTheWild’s Red Trout with Salsa Verde will do it. This frozen fillet comes with heart-shaped (“love”) cubes of “salsa” made of olive oil, garlic, herbs, kale, vinegar and white wine. There’s not an ingredient on the label that consumers won’t understand. The fillets are sealed in heart-shaped (there’s more love!) parchment and baked in an oven or toaster oven for 15 to 20 minutes. So easy! The trout is responsibly farmed in fast-moving channels to mimic a free-flowing river. Other varieties of fish each sport their own special sauce, including Barramundi, Catfish, Albacore Tuna, Pacific Cod and Rockfish.


Luvo chicken in BBQ sauce $5.99

Luvo continues its quest to bring healthier food to the freezer case, using quality ingredients and solid nutritional profiles. We enjoyed its Chicken in BBQ Sauce with millet grits and collard greens, part of Luvo’s line of globally inspired cuisines driven both by chefs and nutritionists. High in protein and using poultry raised without antibiotics, this entrée has 20 grams of protein, 23 grams of whole grains and one full serving of product, totaling just 280 calories. The patented “Steamazing” pouch technology locks in flavors and ups the taste and plate appeal.

Mann’s Nourish Bowls $4.99


Buy 1 • Buy 2 • Buy 3 Get Them All


Here’s a handy meal solution that makes it easy for folks to enjoy healthy ingredients. Each bowl contains a singleserve meal featuring fresh vegetables, grain and sauce that’s ready in three to four minutes. Mix the contents of the individual ingredient packets in the convenient tray, heat in the microwave, stir and serve. Each bowl ranges from 220 to 420 calories, depending on variety; those with the most calories are also a bit high in fat and sodium, likely from the sauces, but they’re high in vitamins A and C, as well as dietary fiber. Bowls come in Monterey Risotto, Smokehouse Brussels, Sesame Sriracha and Southwest Chipotle varieties.

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




2016 Editors’ Picks


Mediterra savory Bar with kale and Pumpkin seeds $1.99/bar

This nice, crispy bar acts as a treat reat for the taste buds while incorporating ncorporating trendy kale and pumpkin seeds into its makeup, along with pea crisps, amaranth, rosemary and extra-virgin olive oil. With 6 grams of protein and only 140 40 calories per serving, the allnatural, non-GMO and gluten-free bars tap into the love affair many consumers have with consuming a Mediterranean diet. The graband-go treats make it easy for busy consumers to turn to a more healthful option when staving off mid-afternoon munchies or craving an energy boost.

Melt Probiotic organic Buttery spread $4.99/10-ounce package

Those avoiding animal fats should enjoy Melt’s organic probiotic spread, which offers a buttery, slightly sweet flavor that’s easily spreadable right from the refrigerator. Boasting a “Perfect Blend” of “good” fats like virgin coconut, high-oleic sunflower and flaxseed oils, the spread is blended with highly stable probiotic GanedenBC30, which supports digestive health and a healthy immune system. Melt Probiotic is vegan-friendly, sustainably sourced, kosher pareve, Non-GMO Project Verified and made with Fair Trade ingredients.

Minute ready to serve rice Family Bowls $3.39

We really liked these family-size rice bowls; they make enjoying this popular side dish easier than ever. The rice is fully cooked, so consumers just need to remove the film, microwave for two minutes and serve. The BPA-free bowls provide three to four servings and make after-meal cleanup a snap. They’re great as a simple side or as an ingredient for stir-fries and other recipes. We particularly liked the brown rice (the bowls also come in white).

Over 80 Base Sizes

Storage / Dunnage Racks

Indoor / Outdoor Units

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

2016 Editors’ Picks


Nature’s Path Qi’a superflakes $3.99/10-ounce box

The cereal industry has faced its fair share of criticism in recent years, with too many available cereals loaded with sugar and artificial ingredients while lacking nutrients needed to start the day right. Addressing this issue is Nature’s Path Qi’a Superflakes, a protein- and fiber-rich cereal intended to provide energy that lasts through the day. Said to be the grocery industry’s first organic superfood and sprouted-grain flake cereal, the non-GMO and gluten-free product comes in three varieties: Honey Chia, with sprouted sorghum, whole grain corn, chia seeds and a touch of honey; Cocoa Coconut, a vegetarian variety with sprouted black beans and brown rice, coconut and Fair Trade cocoa; and Coconut Chia, a vegan variety with sprouted sorghum, whole grain corn, chia seeds and coconut. The cereal is nonfortified, ensuring that all nutritious vitamins are absorbed naturally through the food. We found the cereals not overly sweet and delightfully crunchy, proving that they could hold their form well in a bowl of milk. All three varieties had a premium, natural flavor our taste testers enjoyed, and we could hardly tell that we were enjoying a gluten-free product.

Everything customers need to grow

Microgreens and Baby Greens! Includes

ORGANIC SOIL Grow & Drip Trays Reusable • Durable



NATURALLY. We are proud that Open Prairie™ Natural* Pork is the recipient of Progressive Grocer’s 2016 Editor’s Pick Award. Open Prairie Natural Pork is the highest quality natural pork, and our team provides the expert support you need to build sales.

Naturally good pork. B2B.OPENPRAIRIENATURALPORK.COM *Minimally processed. No artificial ingredients.


™/© 2016 TYSON FOODS, INC.

2016 Editors’ Picks


open Prairie Natural Pork SRP varies

Noosa Blackberry serrano Yoghurt $2.49

Noosa is an ongoing favorite at PG, and it’s really got a winner with a variety that’s right on top of current flavor trends. Sweet-and-savory yogurts are in, and Noosa is there with Blackberry Serrano, a unique combination of sweet, tart and spice with a thick, velvety texture. The creamy Australian-style yogurt provides a wonderful counterpoint to the kick of sweet heat from the blend of blackberries and serrano chilies. Originally an exclusive to the Colorado market, the item is now available nationwide.

Take a Bow! We created the Editors’ Choice Award winner Better4U Bread Bowls and we’ll make a private label winner for you.

Specialties: • USDA Certified Organic • Ancient Grains • Sprouted Grains • Whole Grains • Certified Gluten Free

As many consumers are reducing their consumption of meat in favor of alternative proteins, suppliers like Tyson are responding with products that answer the likewise trending calls for simplicity, clean labels and animal welfare. Open Prairie offers pork that’s raised naturally, with no added hormones or antibiotics, featuring cuts that are minimally processed, with no artificial ingredients. The pork comes from pigs that are fed an all-vegetarian diet, except for milk. The huge tenderloin shared with this entry cooked up wonderfully on a gas grill, turning out moist, tender and delicious with moderate seasoning. Consumers looking for natural meat options should enjoy this product, available to grocers for their self- and full-service cases.

oreo cinnamon Bun $4.49

We’re sure many consumers feel that there’s no way to improve on the tried-and-true favorite that is the Oreo sandwich cookie. Those looking for a little spice with their creamy crunch, however, should enjoy Oreo Cinnamon Bun, which combines a cinnamon-flavored cookie with cinnamon bun-flavored crème. Will this replace the traditional Oreo as anyone’s favorite? Maybe, although not among our tasters. But we still thought it was a great twist on a classic.

Discuss your private label needs with Amy Lotker (Owner)


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



Editors’ Pick Award Winner SweetLeaf ® 50ml Caramel Sweet Drops™ Zero calories with no artificial sweeteners for your discerning customers. Adds flavor and sweetness to foods, beverages, and recipes.


SweetLeaf® has won


AWARDS for taste and innovation

Stock your shelves with SweetLeaf’s all-new line of 50ml Sweet Drops TODAY!



2016 Editors’ Picks oreo thins $4.19

You won’t get thinner eating more cookies. But what if you eat thinner cookies? Hmmm … well, Oreo Thins deliver 140 calories per four cookies, versus 160 calories per three traditional Oreos.

From snack time to mealtime...

That’s not really the point with cookies, though, is it? We loved the lighter, crispier texture of Thins, and were glad we could have an extra cookie per serving. Kudos again to Mondelez International for finding a new way to broaden the appeal of a legacy brand. The item is available in Original, Golden and Mint. Enjoy — always in moderation, of course.

Perky Jerky Brewmaster’s Pale Ale turkey Jerky and BBQ with seoul Beef Jerky $5.49

We make it easy.. Portable packaging solutions designed for your customer’s favorite foods.

Call 1-800-4-Robbie or visit


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

The hip, edgy attitude of Perky Jerky is matched only by the brand’s ability to come up with innovative flavors. The all-natural meat snack line is already a standout for its tender texture — not to mention the guy handing out samples velcroed to his body at trade shows — but we were impressed by its latest inventive flavors, which tap trends in craft beer and Asian cuisine. Brewmaster’s Pale Ale Turkey Jerky features natural hops flavor, along with pineapple juice, spices and other seasonings. BBQ with Seoul Beef Jerky is sweet and spicy, featuring soy, sesame and ginger. As a bonus, there are no preservatives, nitrites or added MSG in either variety.

2016 Editors’ Picks


reese’s snack Mix $1.99/ 2-ounce tube pack

This hybrid snack combines sweet and salty in a handy portion-controlled package — a tripletrend threat. Plus Reese’s Snack Mix cleverly extends an iconic brand’s reach. In fact, it includes Reese’s two famous treats: peanut butter cups — in this case, minis — and Reese’s Pieces, along with peanuts and pretzels. What’s more, the tube pack is perfect for on-the-go snacking.

salem Baking Gluten Free Moravian cookies — salted caramel and toasted coconut $5.99

We’ve enjoyed many products from Salem Baking Co. over the years. The company excels at creating upscale cookies and snacks, and more recently, as demand for free-from foods has grown, it has raised the bar considerably for the taste and quality of gluten-free products. One of Salem’s flagship products is the light, thin, crispy Moravian cookie, and the gluten-free version rivals the original in taste and texture. Our favorites were the Salted Caramel and Toasted Coconut varieties. Made with pure cane sugar and whole eggs, the cookies contain no artificial preservatives, flavors or colors.

Are you targeting zero waste?

simply7 kale chips $2.99-$3.49 78

1-855-USGLASDON (general inquiries: 804-726-3777)

Kale might be everywhere these days, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it belongs everywhere, with many consumers put off by the flavor or texture issues of so many kale-rich products. Enter Simply 7 Snacks’ Simply7 Kale Chips, said to be the first-ever kale-and-potato chips on the market. We tried three flavors — Sea Salt, Dill Pickle, and Lemon & Olive Oil — all of which are kosher-certified, Non-GMO Project Verified, gluten-free and vegan. While all three provided a satisfying crunch and were durable enough for dipping, the last of the trio proved to be the favorite among our tasters, who enjoyed its fresh, delightful Mediterranean flavor, which made it tough to stop snacking. The excellent texture and flavor almost made us forget that we were enjoying the health benefits of a traditional kale chip without any artificial ingredients.

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

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2016 Editors’ Picks simply Artisan simple seasons Feta and Blue cheese

skippy P.B. Bites



Litehouse Foods scores with these shaker jars of crumbled cheese, sold under its Simply Artisan Reserve brand. The company has excelled at cheesemaking for more than half a century, with particular skill in blue cheese, and Simple Seasons puts it in a handy, accessible format that’s sure to promote more frequent use as a recipe ingredient or topping. The shaker-top glass jars contain either feta or blue cheese made from five simple ingredients.


For many co consumers, Skippy mea means peanut butter, and parent company Hormel Ho Foods’ inno innovation takes this favorite spread into the sna snack aisle. Skippy P.B. Bites are a portable, portab poppable sn snack featuring a crunchy cen center with a soft, nonsticky peanut butter coating. The first pro product of its kind in the category, it offers 5 grams of protein per serving. Some of our tasters found them potentially addictive. The bites come in two varieties — pretzel and double peanut butter — to satisfy fans of both creamy and crunchy.

sir Bananas Bananamilk $3.49/half-gallon carton

With sales of traditional fluid milk lackluster of late, products that provide added protein and nutrients to milk drinkers who are tired of the norm can pique interest. WhiteWave Foods Co.’s Sir Bananas, said to be the firstever packaged milk blended with bananas, contains 7 grams of protein and 27 percent of the recommended daily allowance of potassium per 8-ounce serving. Available in two varieties — Bananamilk and Chocolate Bananamilk — the beverage is free from f high-fructose corn syrup, gluten, carrageenan, carr and artificial flavors, colors co and sweeteners. Our taste te testers tried the Chocolate Bananamilk Ban variety, which they found foun creamy and milkshake-like, similar simi to a liquefied banana split. Kids can enjoy it as an alternative to ice cream, or adults as a post-workout recovery drink.


skylar rae cherries $5.99-$6.99/pound

We have tasters ters who are mad for Rainier cherries, which may have met et their match in the Skylar Rae variety from Stemilt. These se orangey-red-yellow cherries are firm, crisp, juicy and wonderfully sweet. According to Stemilt, they contain the highest sugar levels of any commercially grown cherry. In any case, the Skylar Rae — which was found growing by chance 12 years ago in Washington state — is a winning product with a bittersweet brand story: It’s named for the late infant daughter of the growers who discovered the cherry on their farm. The fruit comes in pouch bags and clamshells.

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

2016 Editors’ Picks


sweetLeaf Liquid stevia caramel sweet drops $3.99/50-milliliter bottle

snickers crisper 99 cents-$3.99

Altering a beloved product is always a risk, but Mars wins with Snickers Crisper. The iconic candy bar gets a crunchy boost of crispy rice, satisfying the growing market demand for new textures in the candy category, and enhancing the peanuts, caramel and milk chocolate. Also, Snickers Crisper comes in a format that promotes sensible indulgence: Single packs feature two 100-calorie pieces, allowing consumers (with willpower) to save one for later. The item also comes in a “4 to Go” pack and bags of “fun-size” bars.

Americans’ love affair with sweet products is as strong as ever, even as they look for healthier alternatives to satisfy their cravings. Just a drop or two of this caramel-flavored natural stevia sweetener can liven up a variety of products made at home, or it can be added it to beverages like coffee or smoothies for an extra hit of sweetness without any extra calories or unpleasant aftertaste. One small bottle provides 50 servings of sweetness, and with only five ingredients, the better-for-you sugar alternative provides a flavorful zero-calorie experience.

the spice Lab olive oil Herb Blend - spicy italian roasted Garlic $4.95

This will be the new “everything” seasoning, a perfect way to spice up everything from bread and pizza to more complex sauces and marinades. Crushed red pepper, garlic, oregano, sea salt and spices are packaged in a refillable grinder bottle for even fresher taste and aroma.

stonyfield Plain organic Whole Milk 100% Grassfed Yogurt

think thin Protein smoothie Mixes $9.99

This innovative home mix combines the three building blocks for a smoothie: real fruit, a protein boost and mix-ins. Each pre-portioned package delivers 15 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber, real fruit pieces and 160 milligrams of omega-3 ALAs from chia seeds and ground flaxseed, all of which are blended with almond milk and ice. Our team taster particularly enjoyed the Peanut Butter Banana variety. The directions are easy to follow and suggest alternative liquids to almond milk. Additionally, the 6-ounce fill line on the package takes the guesswork out of making a full cup exactly.

$1.69/6-ounce cup; $4.99/32-ounce tub

Grass-fed beef is growing in popularity, and coming up behind it is milk from grass-fed cows, which has been shown to have higher levels of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) than conventional milk. CLA is a fatty acid linked to protection from colorectal and breast cancers, diabetes, and heart disease. Stonyfield leveraged those benefits to create its latest product, Organic Whole Milk 100% Grassfed Yogurt. Shown to promote satiety better than lower-fat products, the full-fat yogurt teems with vitamins and nutrients. It also comes plain, allowing plenty of opportunities for flavor personalization.


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

October 25–26, 2016 • Chicago

Building the Grocerant Experience Progressive Grocer invites retailer executives to learn more about strategies and solutions for fresh prepared food and how it can boost store loyalty and profits.

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• Participate in an assessment of shopper insights, the competitive landscape and case studies • Learn about key trends plus operational and tactical concerns • Network with other retailers who share your interest in grocerant opportunities For more information: contact Jeff Friedman at or at 201-855-7621.


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2016 Editors’ Picks


Way Better Nacho cheese chips $3.49

We’re already fans of Way Better’s line of chips made from sprouted grains (sweet chili, anyone?), so we were thrilled to see this latest entry. It’s definitely a winner — Way Better scores with this more traditional tortilla chip flavor profile, delivering tangy cheesiness with a little kick at the back end. Gluten-free and non-GMO certified, the chips are rife with seeds that contribute to a delightfully rustic texture and a satisfying crunch.

ticklebelly cakebars $4.99/4-pack

We thought these new cake-on-a-stick treats were really neat. They’re right on trend for portion control, personalization and sensible indulgence. With no artificial preservatives, colors or flavors, Ticklebelly Cakebars are enveloped in a sweet confectionary coating and sprinkled with delicious toppings. At less than 150 calories a bar, they come in Dark Chocolate, Vanilla Bean, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Cookies n’ Cream, and Salted Caramel Shortbread varieties, as well as seasonal flavors, all presented in cleverly designed packaging.

trident White Bubble Gum $1.29

Functional foods are trending, and that functionality has extended to confections with Trident White Bubble Gum, the latest from the legacy brand of chewable treats. Maker Mondelez International says that chewing this gum whitens teeth in as little as four weeks. While we didn’t chew it constantly for that duration, our tasters found the gum pleasant and refreshing (as well as a nice break from consuming all of the calories required to judge this contest). We’ll look forward to the bonus of its teeth-whitening prowess.


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

True pet experts. true retail partners.

For as long as Ainsworth Pet Nutrition has been in business, our sole focus has been on pets. And through our decades of experience and market research, one simple fact consistently rings true: That pet parents want a convenient way to feed their pets the highest quality food at a price they can afford. And every day, our goal is to give them just that. We call it Pet Store Quality. Supermarket Easy. We know that changing the way pet parents shop for high quality pet foods can only be accomplished through strong partnerships. That’s why we focus on creating value for our retailers that they can then pass along to their shoppers. From delivering unbiased category insights and analyzing growth trends to optimizing shelving and assortment and collaborating on merchandising, we strive to be a true partner in all we do.


2016 Editors’ Picks Wish-Bone E.V.o.o.

Yasso Frozen Greek Yogurt — cinnamon Bun


Pinnacle Foods takes shelf-stable bottled salad dressings up a notch with its Wish-Bone E.V.O.O. line. Like the name says, it’s made with extra-virgin olive oil, which is known for its healthier fats and antioxidant properties. Looking to invigorate the category by tapping demand for innovative products that are also healthy, Pinnacle scores with these premium-tasting dressings. Our favorites were the Caesar Vinaigrette, which captures the classic flavor profile well, and the Roasted Red Pepper, epper, a robust obust dressing with chunks of veggies. The line also comes in Garlic Basil Italian, Lemon Herb and Sundried Tomato.



Where is Greek yogurt going next? Yasso has been successful freezing it on a stick as a better-foryou treat. Our favorite of the brand’s latest line additions is Cinnamon Bun, which we think is unique and sets the Yasso brand apart from other frozen desserts. We liked that the flavor was subtle and not artificial. Each frozen bar contains 100 calories, 5 grams of protein and the healthy nutritional profile of Greek yogurt — nicely done.

BUILT FOR MAXIMUM GROWTH Top retailers list Six Star Pro Nutrition®, just like top sports pros and everyday athletes use Six Star® to reach their goals and build better bodies.

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The complete Six Star® lineup of proteins and sports nutrition supplements is designed to deliver category growth: Innovative packaging, proven to improve shopability and outperform the competition – ranked #1 FDM package in a consumer survey* Globally recognized, top-tier athlete endorsements on packaging, marketing materials and promotions Russell Westbrook All-Star Point Guard

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MuscleTech® is America’s #1 Selling Body Building Supplement Brand based on cumulative wholesale dollar sales 2001 to present. Facebook logo is owned by Facebook Inc. Read the entire label and follow directions. © 2016

©2016 Sovena USA.

better. We’re not saying our olive oil is better than any other on the supermarket shelf. That’s for you to decide. For us, this little word is a challenge. It’s what inspires us to never stop looking for ways to improve. Better is the reason we harvest our olives so that they never touch the ground. Better is why we replaced the typical dribbly pourer top with a more precise Pop-Up Pourer. These innovations may seem like little things. But sometimes, it’s the little things that make all the difference.

the little things are everything.®

Our latest little innovation:

OLIVARI AUDIO COOKBOOK Hear it in your kitchen today.


Leaders eaof The Pack

This year’s winners not only responded to current trends, but also anticipated how they would progress. By Bridget Goldschmidt e’re used to seeing, and often experiencing, great new products at Progressive Grocer. The entries we received for consideration as 2016 Nonfood Editors’ Picks, however, revealed some truly inventive items that retailers should definitely spotlight in stores. That is to say, the best entries didn’t just exemplify current trends, they also expanded on them. Among these products was the Kitchen Garden Kit from Botanical Interests, which takes consumers’ desire to know where their food comes from to the next logical level, enabling them to grow greens at home. Another example is how Burt’s Bees, of natural lip balm fame, is responding to shopper demand for additional natural products — and not just of the edible variety — by expanding full-on into the beauty segment with a collection


of clinically tested products that enhance skin and lips, without harsh chemicals. And Hero Clean hit a winner out of the park by focusing on men’s cleaning needs and adding its own natural twist.

Pet Projects The ongoing treatment of domestic animals just like human members of the family has been addressed this time around by providing dogs with their own premium, whole-ingredient meals, courtesy of Rachael Ray Nutrish, and purpose-designed toys from Hyper Pet that enable pooch parents to save their tennis balls for actual matches. Both of these entries offer new ways for consumers to pamper their pets without breaking the bank. What will the future bring for supermarkets’ nonfood sections? Our current collection of Nonfood Editors’ Picks indicates that the spirit of innovation is alive and well among manufacturers, so retailers should expect more of the same — that is, objects that put their own, unexpected spin on a demonstrable consumer need.

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




2016 Editors’ Picks


Ainsworth Pet Nutrition dish from rachael ray Nutrish $11.99-$45.99

Inspired by recipes from TV personality and celebrity cook Rachael Ray’s own kitchen, this dry dog-food formula is made from visible whole ingredients, feeding directly into the current trend of humanizing pets. Every bag features real U.S. farmraised chicken or beef as the No. 1 ingredient, along with carrots, peas, potatoes and apples. The product comes in two recipes — Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe with Veggies & Fruit and Beef & Brown Rice Recipe with Veggies, Fruit & Chicken — neither of which contain any corn, wheat, soy or gluten.

We are proud to be recognized as 2016 Progressive Grocer’s Editors’ Pick winners.

WHEN IT COMES TO FAMILY MEALTIME, RICE IS WHAT YOU MAKE OF IT. Grab our new Family Size Bowl. Get creative. Cook something new. For all the ways to love Minute® Rice, visit

With the new Minute® Ready to Serve Rice Family Size Bowl, you can whip up something adventurous in just two minutes. It’s fully cooked, so you’re fully equipped to take your family’s taste buds somewhere new in no time.

© 2016 Riviana Foods Inc.


2016 Editors’ Picks Botanical interests kitchen Garden rden kit

$29.99 Instead of just buying them at the supermarket, consumers can now grow microgreens and baby greens reens at home with Botanical Interests’ Kitchen Garden Kit. The innovative yet practical kit contains a 450-gram bag of Wonder Soil Organic Seedling Mix (enough for two sowings), owings), made from renewable coconut oconut fiber — a sustainable alternative ternative to peat — and specially formulated rmulated for microgreens and nd baby greens; a reusable perforated growing tray; a reusable solid drip tray; and a reusable eusable clear dome lid to ensure high humidity, the he perfect environment for seedlings. Also included ncluded is a booklet offering detailed instructions ions and recipes.

We specialize in…. Artisanal Sea Salts Premium Spices Seasonings • Loose Teas Gourmet Gift Collections Himalayan Salt Shot Glasses Himalayan Salt Plates Private Label • Custom Logo Foodservice • Bulk

Variety of Packaging Options Available Contact or (954) 275-4478, ext. 2 The Spice Lab • 4000 N. Dixie Highway • Pompano Beach, Fl 33064 •

2016 Editors’ Picks


Burt’s Bees BB cream, Facial cleansing oil, intense Hydration Nourishing Facial Water and Lipstick $14.99 (BB Cream); $15.99 (Facial Cleansing Oil); $12.99 (Intense Hydration Nourishing Facial Water); $8.99 (Lipstick) Burt’s Bees has branched into the beauty segment in a big way with this quartet of products. Somewhere between a lightweight foundation and a super-hydrating lotion, the BB Cream with Noni Extract offers nine clinically shown benefits in three mineral-rich shades. The 100 percent natural Facial Cleansing Oil is formulated with a blend of coconut and argan oils to gently dissolve dirt and makeup without stripping the skin’s own protective barriers. The clary sage-infused Intense Hydration Nourishing Facial

Water gives skin a pH-balancing, moisturizing boost. As well as coming in recyclable packaging, the Lipstick provides fullcoverage, vibrant color in 14 shades and is made with 100 percent naturally moisturizing ingredients to help soften and condition lips all day long.

Editor’s Pick Spotlight A Quick Q&A with Justin “Duke” Havlick Founder & President of Duke’s Smoked Meats


Duke’s Smoked Shorty Sausages are up 167% versus last year. How are you seeing such strong growth compared to the rest of the category?


Shortys are unique to the category, they deliver the protein and real ingredients people want, and they are driving incremental revenue for retailers. But most importantly, they’re downright delicious. ADVERTORIAL


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

Always at the center of the holidays. No matter what the holiday, John Wm. Macy’s unique and delicious snacks add an extra reason to celebrate. Their one-of-a-kind taste and texture make them the center of attention at every holiday. With each bite through layers of real aged cheese and sourdough, baked twice to crunchy perfection, you will taste our passion for good food and good times. Isn’t that what holidays are all about? 800-643-0573

2016 Editors’ Picks Butler Home Products dawn Elite Gloves $6.99 Made from premium natural rubber latex bonded to a seamless nylon shell, these gloves offer excellent insulation and superior comfort. Further, the specially formulated latex, together with the lotus-embossed palm pattern, provides a secure grip when wet. The fabric-reinforced cuffs provide durability as well as a convenient stitched-in loop enabling the gloves to be hung up when not in use.


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


cheyenne international LLc Limited Edition tropical cigars $1.49/20-count pack (varies by state) After giving consumers the opportunity to vote last year on which new style would be added to its lineup, Cheyenne International launched Tropical Cigars in stores across the United States. Available in cyan-colored packs and cartons, the tangy, citrus-infused cigars deliver exceptional taste, quality and profit.

Perk Up Single-Serve Sales with Certified 100% Compostable Pods At Kauai Coffee, our sustainable coffee farming reflects our respect or the land. We harness the power of the abundant tropical rains to generate electricity for our roasters. We return coffee fruit pulp to the soil to nourish our trees, reducing the need for additional fertilizer. Now, Kauai Coffee single-serve pods are certified 100% compostable so they go back to the land, not the landfill.


of single-serve coffee users

decrease consumption because of

negative environmental impact.* Certified 100% compostable pods are a breakthrough innovation that can help you capture new sales in the coffee aisle!



of single-serve coffee users want

biodegradable or compostable packaging.*


2016 Editors’ Picks Hero clean All Purpose spray cleaner, odor Eliminating spray, Ultra Laundry detergent and Ultra Liquid dish soap $4.29 (All Purpose Spray Cleaner); $4.99 (Odor Eliminating Spray); $11.79 (Ultra Laundry Detergent); and $3.99 (Ultra Liquid Dish Soap) A suite of juniper-scented cleaning products expressly “Built for Men”? PG was dubious to begin with, but there’s definitely a consumer base for such multiuse items. The All Purpose Spray Cleaner handles both tough jobs and everyday cleaning and deodorizing of most household hard surfaces. Featuring the brand’s proprietary Extended Fragrance Technology, the Odor Eliminating Spray is designed to make home, clothes, gear and cars smell great, and users are encouraged to rub sprayed areas to

36”W X 22”D X 12”H

reactivate the scent for days, or even sometimes weeks, afterward. The Ultra Laundry Detergent boasts a naturally derived cleaning formula that specifically targets deeply set-in stains. Formulated to be tough on grease and driedon food, but not on skin or the planet, the plant-based Ultra Liquid Dish Soap can also be used for mopping, washing cars or even handwashing.

48”W X 22”D X 12”H

18”W X 22”D X 12”H


CALL 816 813 3337 |



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

2016 Editors’ Picks Hyper Pet LLc tennis chewz $6.99-$8.99 These durable, patent-pending, multi-texture tennis ball and rubber toys enable dogs to chew and play for hours. Tennis Chewz come in three designs: Ring, Mushroom and Barbell.

MegaFood kids daily Multi Booster Boost $25.96 This unsweetened unsweeten powder dietary supplement breaks new ground by supporting healthy growth and development developme of children 5 years of age and an older, as well as promoting the health of gums, bones, teeth, muscles and connective tissue, according to MegaFood. A container provides 30 servings. PG

Say Goodbye to Butter, Say Hello To MELT! Say Hello to the NEW Luscious Butter Improvement that loves you back! Delivers Active Cultures More Effectively Than Yogurt Supports Digestive Health and Immune System Made with Eco-social and Fair Trade Ingredients

Dairy Free | Soy Free | Gluten Free



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


Animal Welfare

Prepare to

Care What animal issues will concern grocers in coming years? By Randy Hofbauer


e’re living in an increasingly transparent world, where Americans purchasing food are more concerned than ever about everything from product origin to genetic modification in their quest to feel good about what they consume. Whether an animal-based product comes from a responsibly raised and harvested source is high among these concerns. According to a recent study from the New York-based American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), roughly three-quarters (74 percent) more consumers are paying a greater amount of attention to labels that describe how an animal was raised, compared with five years ago. Issues today range from hormone use in food-producing animals to cramped cages and filthy living conditions. Many major grocery chains have been progressive in establishing animal welfare policies for their supply chains, with retailers like Kroger,


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


Animal Welfare

mals treated with antibiotics (by law, all meat must be free of antibiotics when slaughtered), another concern could arise: How much? To date, no standardized unit of measurement actually exists for antibiotic treatment, says Stewart Leeth, VP of regulatory affairs and chief sustainability officer at Smithfield Foods, a Smithfield, Va.-based pork processor. This reality, he believes, needs to change. “This standardization would inform a more meaningful discussion of antibiotics that is understandable to the general public,” he asserts.

Albertsons-Safeway, H-E-B, Hy-Vee and Walmart adopting strict guidelines for procuring meat, poultry, seafood and eggs. But what about tomorrow? Some issues will continue to be relevant, while other, new ones likely will arise. So what should grocers and their supplier partners prepare for?

Make sure your suppliers are considering the science and research, and making informed decisions for their operation.” —Jacqueline Claudia, LoveTheWild


The Great Antibiotic Debate One of the bigger issues likely to concern grocers and suppliers in the coming years already exists: the use of antibiotics on animals. A growing number of consumers, some concerned about a rise in more resistant strains of bacteria, are seeking products from animals raised without antibiotics, and retailers are catching on to this demand, according to Brian Roelofs, VP of sales at GNP Co., a St. Cloud, Minn.-based poultry processor. To meet this demand in the future, grocers and their supplier partners need to start working either to stop using all antibiotics or to limit use to those not used to treat humans. However, an issue here is that a supplier committed to humane care may have to care for an animal or flock with antibiotics in the event of illness, Roelofs notes. “If that occurs at GNP Co., we humanely treat those birds with antibiotics, and then consequently, they will not be processed under the Gold’n Plump brand,” he says. “We’ve found that typically, the retailer or restaurant will work with the processor or supplier that aligns with their customer’s wishes or values.” For those grocers and suppliers still processing and selling meat made from ani-

Undersea Issues Some of the other issues likely to grow in importance down the road vary by animal type. With fish, concern over harvest method, or “kill technology,” could be of stronger concern in the coming years. To prepare here, grocers in the United States should look to their European counterparts, as the latter are “much farther ahead” when it comes to animal welfare, contends Jacqueline Claudia, CEO of LoveTheWild, a Boulder, Colo.-based supplier of convenience-minded frozen fish dishes. For instance, U.K. retailer Marks & Spencer goes as far as to dictate harvest method for its farmed fish, a level of transparency unseen domestically. If U.S. grocers begin making similar demands, the domestic seafood industry would have to make substantial investments in new technology, since “you can’t just easily load live fish on a truck and take them to a different processing plant like you can with cows,” Claudia points out. “If the average consumer thought about what it’s like to struggle and die at the end of a long line like a tuna, or get crushed in a trawl like a cod and slowly suffocate, wild seafood would lose some of

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

its cachet,” she says. “These animals don’t have the brain structure to feel pain as we know it, but they certainly feel stress, and their plasma cortisol levels reflect that. That’s one of the many reasons we are pro-aquaculture: Farmed fish don’t feel the same stress at harvest as wild species, because they are killed quickly and humanely.” Grocers should start asking questions about kill method and generating that transparency now, Claudia recommends. And they need to think about this from species to species, as a one-size-fits-all approach won’t work. “The most appropriate kill method for a big tuna isn’t the same thing that works for anchovies,” she says. “Poor fish welfare in the last few minutes of life can significantly degrade the quality of the fish, erasing efforts made over years of careful farming to raise healthy and high-quality animals. Make sure your suppliers are considering the science and research, and making informed decisions for their operation.” Claudia also believes that activists will attempt to “humanize” fish in the coming years without understanding their physiology or natural behavior. To combat this issue, suppliers and grocers need to educate consumers about the harvesting and retailing of farmed fish. “We hear people saying that fish in farms are ‘crowded’ and ‘stressed,’” she says. “In the wild, most farmed species school tightly together — that is how they prefer to swim. … Careful attention is paid to oxygen levels in the water, stocking densities and performance of the fish. If fish are stressed, they don’t eat, they don’t grow and they get sick, which means losing most of your crop, or [it] costs money to treat. So there is no incentive for a fish farmer to make his fish stressed.”

Fowl Treatment Turning to chicken — the most-consumed meat in the country, with broiler birds representing more than 90 percent of all animals raised for food in the United States — retailers and suppliers are seeing awareness rise regarding birds’ suffering from extreme overcrowding, barren environments and unnatural lighting programs to keep them eating around the clock with little rest, according to Nancy Roulston, ASPCA’s director of corporate engagement, farm animal welfare. Further, through selective breeding, these birds now grow four times faster than they did 50 years ago, resulting in a variety of physical problems, including leg injuries and cardiovascular ailments. This is expected to remain a concern in the coming years that grocers and their suppliers will need to address. “The stress and illness caused by such unhealthy conditions have resulted in reliance on antibiotics in the chicken industry,” Roulston says. “With awareness of these problems on the rise, brands and retailers should look to welfare certifications which address the effects of fast growth, if not requiring slower-growing breeds, and mandate more space, enrichment and a healthier lighting program. A move to adopt welfare certifications will address not only the welfare concerns, but also the inevitable calls for transparency.” As for laying birds and eggs, recent times have seen all


A move to adopt welfare certifications will address not only the welfare concerns, but also the inevitable calls for transparency.” —Nancy Roulston, ASPCA


Animal Welfare

major supermarket chains (Publix was the last to jump on the bandwagon, in July) and many minor U.S. grocers promising to go cage-free within the next decade. While all farmers and grocers offered cage-free eggs many decades ago, far fewer continued to do so as a growing population drove strong demand, explains Kevin Burkum, SVP at the Park Ridge, Ill.-based American Egg Board. (Recent studies also suggest a higher hen mortality rate in cagefree environments.) Luckily, technology has improved, since using 1960 technology to produce the 2010 egg supply would have required 78 million more hens, 1.3 million more acres of corn and 1.8 million more acres of soybeans. Today’s technology, which serves a U.S. population 72 percent larger than it was 50 years ago, has enabled farmers to meet egg demands with just 18 percent more hens, while also leaving a smaller environmental footprint, and providing safe, nutritious feed while maintaining the best care for their hens. In the coming years, however, farmers will have to keep up with technological advancements to meet even stronger cage-free-egg demand down the line as the hen population continues to rise.

Taking the First Steps Of course, these issues are just a sampling of the many expected to exist in the near future, and grocers and suppliers alike will need to ramp up their efforts in support of more humane treatment of meat-, egg- and dairy-producing animals. It’s surprising, however, that many today still don’t have strong animal welfare policies, even though consumers increasingly are seeking meat from more responsibly raised sources, says Jeff Tripician, general manager at Oakland, Calif.-based meat processor Niman Ranch. Typically, the reason for this issue is supply limitations. To combat the supply issue going forward, grocers should start planning ahead via longterm, broad relationships with suppliers, securing supply and providing them with a market for humanely raised meat. According to Tripician, these retailers are seeking to partner particularly with suppliers boasting a long history of animal welfare — ones who

can prove it through such methods as adhering to animal-raising protocols developed by Dr. Temple Grandin, a leading animal welfare expert; obtaining a letter of support from the Humane Society of the United States; and earning third-party certification through Certified Humane. Additionally, he says, it’s critical for grocers to review their own policies, ensuring that they have a robust animal welfare policy dictating that the products they sell come from animals that were allowed the widely accepted Five Freedoms, a core concept in animal welfare that originated in a U.K. government report in 1965 and was refined by the Farm Animal Welfare Council: freedom from hunger and thirst; freedom from discomfort; freedom from pain, injury or disease; freedom to express normal behavior; and freedom from fear and distress. Grocers keen on adhering to these standards should compare their supply chain practices with each freedom, asking themselves such questions as: How many suppliers are still using cages for egg-laying hens or crating gestating and mother sows? How many are engaging in tail docking of dairy cattle, or allowing intense crowding of animals? What suppliers have public animal welfare policies and standards, and third-party audits? Asking these questions and taking the appropriate steps toward better animal treatment ultimately can lead to increased sales. “Seventy-five percent of surveyed consumers want their stores to carry a greater variety of welfarecertified meat, eggs and dairy products,” ASPCA’s Roulston affirms. “Sixty-seven percent of consumers would purchase these products even when it means a modest increase in price. Taking steps to protect farm animals from suffering doesn’t just make ethical sense — it also makes business sense.” PG

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


Candy & Snack Merchandising

It’s the Most

Wonderful Time — for a Treat Traditions old and new help holiday candy, snack sales.


By Randy Hofbauer

f the holiday season this year shapes up the way it did in 2015, grocers and their supplier partners had better be ready, especially with their candy and snacks. Although many experts expected it to be lackluster, Christmas 2015 — along with the rest of that year’s holiday season — actually saw an increase in holiday spending, possibly helped by an improving economy. A shopper study developed by Jacksonville, Fla.based shopper marketing firm Acosta Sales & Market-


ing shows that 57 percent of shoppers who responded to a survey said they planned to spend more on groceries during the 2015 holiday season compared with the prior year. Even Thanksgiving alone saw shoppers spending a hefty amount on groceries: Roughly half (52 percent) of respondents spent more than $75 on groceries, and about a quarter (24 percent) spent more than $100. “The growth in grocery spending this holiday season is encouraging for brands and retailers alike,” noted Acosta SVP Colin Stewart at the time.

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


Candy & Snack Merchandising

Millennials are looking for fun new traditions to incorporate into the season to make their own.”

—Rachel Lewis, The Hershey Co.

Therefore, if continually improving economic conditions and falling gas prices are any indications, this year’s holiday season could see similar or even greater spending. And considering candy and snacks’ central role in holiday gift-giving and entertaining, grocers have ample opportunities to work with their supplier partners to activate enticing promotions around the candy and snacks most sought by their shoppers during these merry months.

Tradition Trumps All Arguably more than anything else, family traditions play the largest role in hosting a successful holiday celebration, whether the occasion is Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas or Kwanzaa. “We know holidays are emotional,” says Larry Lupo, VP of sales, grocery, convenience and drug

channels at Hackettstown, N.J.based Mars Chocolate North America. “Many emotions come from a feeling of nostalgia, which is why traditions surrounding the holidays are important, and preserving those traditions is important. We also know that during the holidays, shoppers will go to great lengths to make things extra special.” In particular, Millennials, whose spending power is increasing each year, are looking for ways to make things special — but often in innovative ways, corresponding with their stronger likelihood over older generations to flirt with the new and exotic. “While consumers want to continue their family traditions, Millennials are re looking for fun new traditions to incorporate into the season to make their own,” affirms Rachel Lewis, seasons innovation manager with the Hershey, Pa.-based Hershey Co. Something new that Millennials might create


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

Holiday Helping Hands Many grocery retailers aiming to offer shoppers solutions for their holiday needs offer ideas online. For most, information can be found by entering “holidays” into the search function on their websites. The retailers below are among those with dedicated holiday content:

from items in this category could be anything from a unique table centerpiece made from snacks and candy to a gift given a personal touch with the inclusion of a piece of candy, Lupo points out. “Do-it-yourself is a growing trend, and candy is an easy way to add that extra-special touch,” he notes. So, no matter what the merchandising or marketing medium is, retailers and their supplier partners should consider positioning their candy and snacks as key ingredients or part of a whole kit for creating gifts, decorations or fun activities — or even recipes, Lewis observes. Acosta data show that 68 percent of respondents, especially younger shoppers and shoppers with kids, plan to prepare a new recipe during the holiday season. Even though food/recipe websites and print publications are the most popular media for delivering recipes (at 44 percent and 43 percent, respectively), grocery stores also play a critical role here, with more than a quarter (28 percent) of consumers selecting them as a source for new recipe ideas.

Pittsburgh-based Giant Eagle hosts an online entertaining guide ( with ideas for holiday meals and snacks. San Antonio-based H-E-B ( has dedicated pages on its website featuring recipes, party-planning tips and other ideas specific to every holiday throughout the year. West Des Moines, Iowa-based Hy-Vee offers a wealth of holiday ideas online (, organized by occasion. Some grocers publish magazines with annual holiday issues featuring recipes, snacking suggestions and other ideas, including Indianapolis-based Marsh Supermarkets’ quarterly Dish (, Thibodaux, La.-based Rouses’ bimonthly My Rouses Everyday ( aspx) and Rochester, N.Y.-based Wegmans’ quarterly Menu (www. =10052&catalogId=10002&langId=-1&identifier=CATEGORY_4890).


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Snack cakes make great stocking stuffers, which we call out on packaging.” —Brent Bradshaw, Flowers Foods

Candy & Snack Merchandising

Guilt-free and To Go Placing candy and snacks th that have better-for-you ingredients ingredie is also key, along with conveni convenience, as today’s on-the-go shoppers shopper are even busier during the hectic holiday times yet still wish to indulge ind without guilt. Specialty comfort foods made with ingredients that don’t compromise a healthy lifest lifestyle are of interest here, says Sheila She G. Mains, founder of West Palm Beach, Fla.-based Brownie Bro Brittle LLC. “While healthier options continc ue to win favor, consumers stil still want to indulge, but in snack-sized portions,” Mains asserts. “Grab-and-go “Grab-a has never been more in demand, deman and consumers are no longer shyin shying away from natural fats like real butt butter and nuts.” Understanding this desi desire, her company recently launched Th Thindulgent, a Fair Trade Certified ch chocolate

bark made with real ingredients such as cashews and pink Himalayan sea salt. Speaking of grab-and-go, Thomasville, Ga.-based Flowers Foods, maker of Tastykake and Mrs. Freshley’s products, sees the holiday season as rife with potential for impulse purchases, with snack cakes being prime products purchased on a whim. Brent Bradshaw, Flowers Foods’ VP of marketing for cake, says his company encourages its retail partners to capitalize on holiday impulse buys by offering holiday-inspired snack cakes — in such flavors as Pumpkin Spice, Caramel Apple, Karrot Kake and Apple Cinnamon for the fall, and Red Velvet, Gingerbread and Fruit Kake for the winter — in addition to seasonal packaging and multiple points of disruption for shoppers. “Snack cakes also make great stocking tocking stuffers, which we call out on packaging,” ackaging,” he says. Of course, items prone to impulse

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

buys must be immediately visible to shoppers, which means retailers should merchandise such products in the front end during the holiday season, Lewis advises, while still offering an easy-tofind seasonal section. She also recommends that retailers set up seasonal displays — which can feature such cues as Santa, snowmen and Christmas trees — as soon as the previous season has ended; in this case, that would be immediately after Halloween. “This helps consumers get into the holiday mindset and spurs impulse purchases,” she explains.

Follow the Phases In many ways, the holiday season isn’t much different from other times of the year when developing a promotional strategy around snacks and candy. Lupo contends that when his company listened to consumers via social media, it discovered five distinct phases shoppers go through within and outside the holiday season. Mars shares the phases, dubbed the “seasonal mindset,” with its retailer partners to help them connect with shoppers during the entire season, both in-store and outside the store. In order, they are:

Spark: Consumers detect the first hint that the season is coming, such as a Christmas song on the radio, or pumpkin spice coffee on menus and store shelves. Exploration: Consumers make a mental list of what they have and what they might need to purchase in preparation for the season.



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Customization for both the consumer and the retailer, along with retailer collaboration, is key in any holiday candy and snack promotion.”

Candy & Snack Merchandising

Plan and Action: During this, tthe most distinctive phase, consumers partake in such indulgences as a purchasing candy, drinking a special spe seasonal coffee or getting a manimani cure. These indulgences come in many forms. Rush: Consumers second-guess their purchases, wondering if the they have enough food, candy and gif gifts for everyone.

Big Event: Consumers celebrate —Sheila G. Mains, the event, and comment about it via several Brownie Brittle LLC social media during and for sever days following. During each holiday, shoppers shopper go through all five phases, according accord to Lupo. The only difference from holiday to holiday, however, is the th length of each phase. For instance, instanc during Christmas, the Spark phase pha begins in July, while the Explora Explora-



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

tion phase hase doesn’t begin until September. Meanwhile, while, for Valentine’s Day, all five phases take place over just a few weeks. In the he end, however, holiday merchandising efforts have little meaning if the retailer-supplier -supplier relationship isn’t based on collaboration ration and customization. Mains ins says her company plans holiday offerings gs and promotions many months in advance, e, working with its retailer partners to determine rmine consumers’ needs, including whether er they want holiday varieties and packaging ing not available at other times of the year ar or at other places, or discounts to drive purchases urchases of current favorites and new products. oducts. Brownie Brittle will even take unique nique approaches to drive consumers to designated retailers via bundled products, ts, working with other manufacturers to develop them and using tools to reach consumers onsumers on their smartphones. “Customization stomization for both the consumer and thee retailer, along with retailer collaboration,” ion,” Mains notes, “is key in any holidayy candy and snack promotion.” PG

NFRA Convention Preview

Frozen & Refrigerated Foods

Cold Front 2016 National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Convention heads to nation’s capital.


By Lynn Petrak

n this topsy-turvy election year, sights are set on the country’s highest office, in Washington, D.C. While no one knows whether a political “October surprise” is in the offing, the nation’s capital will be a hot place for discourse on frozen and refrigerated product trends and events that month, as the National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Convention is in town from Oct. 22-25 at the Marriott Wardman Park. Thought leaders and executives from across the industry will gather during the convention to network and glean the latest information and education about their categories, to ultimately deliver on marketplace demands and bolster their respective businesses. Additionally, the best and brightest products will be showcased at the annual Golden Penguin Awards presentation, while the newest products to hit the market will be available for sampling.

According to Jeff Rumachik, EVP and COO of the Harrisburg, Pa.-based National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association (NFRA), the annual event is, if not bipartisan in a D.C.-like political sense, truly collaborative. “The National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Convention is a ‘working’ convention that connects over 1,100 top executives for the purpose of conducting one-on-one business meetings,” Ruma-

September 2016 | |


Frozen & Refrigerated Foods

NFRA Convention Preview

2016 National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Convention Schedule at a Glance Saturday, Oct. 22 7 a.m.-5 p.m.: Convention registration Sunday, Oct. 23 7 a.m.- 5 p.m.: Convention registration 8 a.m.-5 p.m.: Customer business meetings. Note: Attendees must be registered and wear a badge to participate in these meetings. 9 a.m.-4 p.m.: Café NFRA open Note: The NFRA Business Center, located near the café, will have laptops set up so attendees can check their email and print documents between meetings. 5-5:30 p.m.: Taste of Excellence Retailer Preview 5:30-7:30 p.m.: Taste of Excellence 7:30 p.m.: Evening open for business entertaining Monday, Oct. 24 7 a.m.-5 p.m.: Convention registration 7:30-8:55 a.m.: Breakfast speaker 9 a.m.-5 p.m.: Customer business meetings; Café NFRA open Noon-1:30 p.m.: NFRA Annual Membership Luncheon honoring the Refrigerated Food Hall of Fame 5:30-7 p.m.: Networking reception; Golden Penguin Award winner recognition and announcement of Top Marketer Awards 7 p.m.: Evening open for business entertaining Tuesday, Oct. 25 7 a.m.-3 p.m.: Convention registration 7:30-8:55 a.m.: Breakfast speaker 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Café NFRA open 9 a.m.-5 p.m.: Customer business meetings Noon-1 p.m.: Industry luncheon 1-5 p.m.: Customer business meetings 5 p.m.: Evening open for business entertaining

chik says. “It’s structured to help attendees make valuable connections with the people and companies that can make a real impact on their business. Nowhere else can attendees meet with as many diverse companies, individually and face-to-face, in such a short period of time.” Such connections and collaborations are instrumental to the success of the refrigerated and frozen categories, which are physically, and often figuratively, set apart from other retail departments by the nature of the products and the cold chain. Forward-facing products in retail freezers and refrigerated cases compete against an increasingly competitive field,


as new products and brands seek to meet consumer demand for foods and beverages that meet shopper interest in quality, flavor, convenience, health and price, among other purchase drivers. Just how competitive are these categories? According to a report from Portland, Ore.-based Allied Market Research, the global frozen food market will reach $306 billion in sales by 2020, with ready meals comprising the largest sector of that market. In its “2015 State of the Industry” report, NFRA also pegged frozen entrées as the largest category, with $10.7 billion in sales; the association’s annual benchmark additionally found that overall frozen food discussion has grown nearly 250 percent, spurred by interest in convenience and nutrition. Such competition remains strong as frozen and some refrigerated food manufacturers contend with public perception — and misperception — of freshness. A late-2015 report from Rockville, Md.-based market research firm Packaged Facts found that consumer demand for fresh food has limited the potential and growth of some frozen foods, and that frozen items labeled as natural and/or organic have been received “more positively.” Given the current climate of competition, then, product innovation and industry connections like those at the annual convention take on new importance. “Attendees to the convention will have the opportunity to hold customer appointments with dozens of top companies in just a few days,” Rumachik notes, “making this event the most effective and efficient way to conduct business.” To register for the 2016 NFRA Convention, visit the dedicated event website,, or contact NFRA via email at, fax at 717-657-9862 or phone at (717) 657-8601. You can also download a smartphone app, “NFRA 2016,” through Google Play or the Apple Store. The app enables users to manage schedules and business appointments during the show and view the attendee list, among other features.

About NFRA The National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association (NFRA), based in Harrisburg, Pa., represents the interests of every segment of the industry, including distributors, international, local associations, logistics providers, manufacturers, regional manufacturers, retailers/wholesalers, sales agents and suppliers. In addition to hosting the yearly National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Convention in October, NFRA sponsors March National Frozen Food Month, June Dairy Month, the June/July Ice Cream and Novelties promotion, and the October Cool Food for Kids educational outreach program.

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



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Frozen & Refrigerated Foods

NFRA Convention Preview

What’s Hot at This Year’s NRFA Convention


Attendees of the Oct. 22-25 gathering will learn early on about some of the industry’s latest trends and products.

fter late Saturday registration, NFRA offers the Taste of Excellence reception on the opening day of the event, at which attendees can see and try the latest products from a variety of frozen and refrigerated food manufacturers. This year, NRFA is offering an exclusive retailer preview of Taste of Excellence during the first hour, allowing merchants to better connect with their customers. NFRA EVP and COO Jeff Rumachik says that the Taste of Excellence, showcasing close to 100 products from more than 40 companies, is a highlight of the annual convention. “The opening Taste of Excellence reception is a

stunning display of new products showcasing the innovation in the category,” he observes. “This year in particular, there is an increase in new, small and niche manufacturers participating in this event. This opening event is a sellout every year, setting a positive tone for the rest of the convention.” There are further opportunities to sample new or unique refrigerated and frozen foods. “Another 14 companies are sponsoring the Café NFRA refreshment break area and serving product throughout the convention,” Rumachik notes. Meanwhile, the speaker lineup for the 2016 NFRA Convention represents a taste of different aspects of the industry. The morning breakfast series kicks off on Monday with a

the chill oF victoRy luncheon, dinner and networking sessions feature award presentations honoring retail initiatives.


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

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Frozen & Refrigerated Foods

NFRA Convention Preview

latest and GReatest new products from across the refrigerated and frozen landscape will be available for sampling at the annual convention.

lively discussion appropriate for the Washington, D.C., setting, with remarks from a “top political speaker” (to be announced), while the Tuesday breakfast session will feature remarks from media consultant and public affairs executive Alex Castellanos and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Eugene Robinson. If breakfast sessions are politically tinged food for thought, luncheons at the NFRA Convention get down


to industry business. Monday’s Membership Luncheon includes NFRA’s annual business meeting, with an address by Chairman Scott Rouse, of Springdale, Ark.-based Tyson Foods, and the introduction of new officers and directors, followed by inductions into the 2016 Refrigerated Food Hall of Fame. “This year, we will honor the late Leonard Gentine, founder of Sargento Foods, as an inductee into the Refrigerated Food Hall of Fame,” Rumachik says, noting some marketing and merchandising innovations established by Plymouth, Wis.-bsed Sargento under Gentine’s leadership, including the peg-bar system that displays packaged cheese at eye level, and press-to-close resealable packaging. During Tuesday’s luncheon, hosted by NFRA’s incoming chairman, Joy Sgro, of Keene, N.H.-based C&S Wholesale Grocers, the annual Retail Patriot Awards will be presented.

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

In between sessions and awards, convention-goers can spend the rest of their time making important connections on behalf of their businesses. NFRA offers retailer members 85 complimentary meeting rooms in which to hold appointments during the course of the event.

“Whether introducing a new product or reviewing an established business plan,” Rumachik says, “participants can meet with their customers in a personal and collaborative environment that is much different from the traditional exhibit hall experience.”

Pure Gold: Golden Penguin Awards Featured at a new networking reception on Monday evening, the Golden Penguin Awards, which recognize the best merchandising efforts in support of NFRA’s annual promotions for March Frozen Food Month, June Dairy Month, and Summer Favorites Ice Cream & Novelties, are a much-anticipated part of the annual NFRA Convention. While that hasn’t changed, the awards themselves have. This year, NFRA has added 11 new categories that reflect today’s marketing practices: In-Store Display, In-Store Event, Community Involvement, Social Media and Digital Marketing, Traditional Marketing, Private Brand Campaign, and Integrated Marketing Campaign, with subcategories spotlighting Retailer, Wholesaler, Manufacturer, Sales Agent and Local Association. “It has allowed companies to focus on specific areas of marketing like social media or community involvement, as well as enter complete marketing programs. This has opened opportunities for smaller companies to compete at the same level as larger companies,” explains NFRA EVP and COO Jeff Rumachik, adding that a new online entry system and numeric scoring platform have helped streamline and update the awards. Also during the reception, NFRA will announce the winners of this year’s Top Marketer prizes, honoring the highest-scoring entry in each of the Integrated Marketing Campaign subcategories.

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Frozen & Refrigerated Foods

Taste of Excellence These brands are participating in the NRFA Taste of Excellence event: Alexia Arla Athens Bays English Muffins Campoverde Crush Cubes Crystal Farms Daisy Brand Danone Deep Indian Gourmet Schar Farm Fresh/Eggland’s Best El Monterey Freiberger Green Giant Gourmet Land Iltaco InnovAsian Cuisine J&J Snack Foods Corp. JC’s Kellogg Co. Kraft-Heinz Kronos La Columbe Marzetti Michael Angelo’s Mr. Dee’s Mrs. T’s Pierogies Palermo’s Parla Path of Life PictSweet Rich’s Rosina Food Products Inc. Saffron Road World Cuisine Sargento Sonoma Flatbreads Tastee Choice Tyson Valsoia Welch’s Wild Mike’s Ultimate Pizza WhiteWave Foods


NFRA Convention Preview

New Product Showcase El Monterey Signature Egg, Cheese & Jalapeño and Meat Lovers Breakfast Burritos El Monterey introduces breakfast burritos featuring real scrambled eggs, cheese, potatoes and other ingredients in a fresh-baked tortilla.

Mrs. T’s Garlic and Parmesan Pierogies

This pierogi variety combines the flavors of garlic and parmesan cheese with creamy whipped potato.

Rosina’s Celentano Cheese Stuffed Rigatoni The 16-ounce Cheese Stuffed Rigatoni is made from a blend of whole-milk ricotta and imported Pecorino Romano cheeses surrounded by fresh, tender dough. The product can be topped with the consumer’s choice of sauce.

Tyson Grilled and Ready Applewood Smoke Flavored Chicken Breast Strips

This fully cooked lean protein makes meal preparation easier when added to salads, sandwiches or other dishes. Tyson’s all-white-meat chicken is marinated with a special blend of seasonings featuring sweet, fruity notes and a mild, smoky flavor, and then grilled.

Kronos Lemon-Herb Chicken Sandwich Kit

This sandwich kit includes fully cooked all-white-meat zesty lemon-flavored chicken, pita bread and tzatziki sauce to create three sandwiches by thawing, heating and assembling. Consumers can customize sandwiches to their taste with optional toppings.

Marzetti Original Slaw Dressing

Marzetti Slaw Dressing is now all-natural and sold in new plastic bottles. Also glutenfree, the product is designed for coleslaw or as a substitute for mayonnaise.

Kellogg’s Special K Crustless Quiche

This breakfast item offers 10 to 11 grams of protein and can be microwaved in two minutes. Each individually wrapped quiche is filled with eggs, meat, chopped vegetables, red quinoa and cheese. The varieties are varieties are Sausage, Quinoa, Peppers, Mozzarella & & Asiago; Asiago; Uncured Ham, Cheese, Quinoa & Peppers; and Portabella, Quinoa, Parmesan, Asiago & Parmesan, Asiago & Kale. PG

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














* Source: SPINS, TTL US Natural Chanel, 52 Weeks Ending 7/10/16

Fresh Food


Rolling in

Holiday Dough Grocers can maximize sales of seasonally appropriate baked goods.


By Bridget Goldschmidt

he weather outside may not be anywhere near frightful yet, but grocers are already dreaming of year-end holiday sales in the in-store bakery. “During the fall and winter, the bakeries become the destination within the store,” affirms Gaston Luna, director of bakery for Lubbock, Texas-based United Supermarkets, noting the sections’ “specialty items, classic sweets and holiday bakery items that are offered exclusively for that time period. Guests await the season and [the] overall experience of a sweets wonderland.” With that the case, Luna asserts: “Our plan is to exceed guests’ expectations, surprise them through selection, taste and overall shopping experience, truly making it a holiday destination.” How does United, which operates 42 stores throughout the Lone Star State, go about creating that sense of destination? “By making an [event] out of merchandising displays, with engaging signage, lifestyle, delicious images [that show texture] and educational pieces [on] ‘why these items are so special,’” Luna says, adding as an example, “We will be having a pecan pie event during the holidays, showcasing different varieties and tastes.” When it comes to what other products


to stock, he observes that United is “always researching trending opportunities. For the holiday season, specialty breads, rolls and baked pies are the main drivers; those items bring people together to share a meal. … Taking this to the next step, we will be offering a variety of specialty pies that will entice guests.”

The Right Stuff Reinforcing anecdotal reports from stores, research shows that the holidays represent a sizable selling opportunity in the department. “In-store bakery sales typically peak at the holiday season, as the demand for cakes, pies, cookies and other specialty desserts experiences triple-digit lifts versus off-peak, everyday item sales,” says Julie Dunmire, director of marketing-frozen at Jackson, Mich.-based Dawn Foods, citing Nielsen data. “While Christmas is the biggest driver of sales in the in-store bakery, optimizing product assortment in key categories at Halloween and Thanksgiving also can pay off.” Among Dawn’s holiday offerings are Mousse Tortes, Waterfall Dessert Cakes and Triple Layer Dessert Cakes, as well as seasonal brownies and other items in festive flavors. It’s important to know what’s popular at what time, of course. “Key bakery categories tend to overindex during certain holidays throughout the year,” says Jill Poulemanos, senior channel marketing manager at Sandy

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

September 2016 | |


Fresh Food

middLe manaGement Rich’s Our Specialty Sweet middles cookies come in a seasonal pumpkin spice variety.

a holidaythemed display adorned with your most holidayrelevant bakery items should greet the shopper right as they walk in the door.” —david Skinner, James Skinner Baking Co.


Springs, Ga.-based CSM Bakery Solutions, which has launched the Crafted by Cinnabonpound cake, muffin and cookie line in time for the fall season, and expanded its Hershey’s and Reese’s sweet bakery offerings to include muffins and brownies. “For Halloween, cupcakes, cookies and brownies tend to overperform, while dessert cakes, cookies and brownies are more of the focus for winter holidays.” Armed with such knowledge, bakery managers need to get the holiday product mix right. “By optimizing their assortment to include the right categories, flavors and price points, retailers can work to achieve their fair share of fall and winter holiday success,” observes Dunmire. “By bringing in extra stock and offering easy, ready-to-serve, sharing-size options to drive impulse purchases, great things can happen. “A few key rules of thumb to maximize flavor assortment are to have enough chocolate items in the mix, as chocolate is always the No. 1-selling flavor at this time of year,” she adds. “Offering or increasing options in key seasonal flavors can increase sales, too. Red velvet, peppermint, carrot, and pumpkin spice are popular flavors that truly perform during this season. And watch for flavors like salted caramel that have been steadily climbing in the recent past and can play a role in a successful holiday flavor mix.” For his part, David Skinner marketing manager at Omaha, Neb.-based James Skinner Baking Co., whose newest holiday offerings are the Jumbo Festive Fall Ring and Pumpkin Spice Rolls, advises “catering to regional flavors and specialty holiday items. Understanding the consumer you’re selling to will enable you to create the proper ambiance you’re aiming for, as well as the appropriate lineup of specialty bakery items.” One advantage of the in-store bakery, he points out, is that it’s “a very customizable department compared to

center aisle and other fresh departments.” Given that ability to customize, items can easily take on a festive look. “We recommend using holiday-specific icing colors on items throughout the bakery,” says Poulemanos. “Colors such as orange, green, brown and black are perfect for the fall and Halloween season, and should be used to convert everyday items to seasonal ones.” For example, she suggests, add an orange drizzle to everyday brownies, cookies and doughnuts to create a seasonal offering. “Shades of blue, red and green are perfect for the winter holidays. Simply decorate an existing dessert cake with a poinsettia or snowflake to create a seasonal offering,” she adds. Retailers shouldn’t avoid stocking the more expensive options, either. “Many consumers are willing to pay more, especially this time of year, for premium products that are made with the finest ingredients,” notes Dunmire. “Trading someone up from a midprice pumpkin pie to a decadent dessert can improve retailer margins, as consumers are less price-sensitive this time of year. And specialty desserts, such as tiramisu and tortes, can play a role in capturing more and higher dollar rings.”

Leading the Way Once you’ve got the correct items, why wait for customers to enter the bakery department to start selling? “A holiday-themed display adorned with your most holiday-relevant bakery items should greet the shopper right as they walk in the door,” suggests Skinner. “An enticing-enough display that also alludes to the consumer that they should head towards the in-store bakery for more great finds is a great starting point for driving foot traffic to the department once the consumer arrives at the store.”

FeStive FeeL a bountiful United Supermarkets display pairs holiday treats with wine.


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

“To drive awareness of both new products and limited-time-offer items, point of sale is a great start,” agrees Courtney Erickson, associate marketing manager-shopper marketing for the In-Store Bakery & Deli Division at Buffalo, N.Y.-based Rich Products Corp., which offers a special portfolio of pumpkin spice-flavored items, including cake doughnuts, cookie dough, fully finished variety cakes, un-iced cupcakes, Bettercreme Whipped Icing, the Jon Donaire Praline Cheesecake and Our Specialty Sweet Middles cookies. “This includes merchandising within each department and also at the front of the store.” “Path-disrupting merchandising places key holiday items directly in the path of the consumer to capture sales, even when an item may not be on the list,” Dunmire recommends. “Secondary display opportunities, such as specifically designed seasonal display racks or tables, can pay off in incremental sales as well.” “These displays should be put up at least one to two weeks prior to the holidays and will help to drive impulse purchases,” says Poulemanos. “For planned purchases, holiday displays make it easier for customers to find the retailer’s holiday offering. The displays should utilize holiday-specific signage to capture a

shopper’s attention and help them navigate the seasonal offerings.” When consumers finally arrive at the department, the in-store bakery “should create an ambiance centered on the holiday that they’re promoting,” notes Skinner. “In addition to decorations that create an overall mood for the department, personnel should tap their suppliers for signage and ideas pertaining to how they think their product should be displayed. Taking advantage of manufacturers’ seasonal packaging, as well as flavors, [will] help add to the presentation. Being close with suppliers and understanding their promotional offerings and holiday items make it easier, financially and creatively, to execute a successful display.” He adds: “Sampling is a great tool once the consumer is at the store, but oftentimes is not enough enticement for the consumer to make a special trip to the

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Fresh Food

BREad LinE Breads and rolls can play a pivotal role in holiday merchandising, both inside and outside the instore bakery.

You should explore all avenues available for connecting with shoppers and raising awareness even before they start planning the next journey to your store.” —Courtney Erickson, Rich Products Corp.



store. If the budget doesn’t allow for larger events, such as tutorials or presentation ideas, a limited-time offer of specialty items can be enough encouragement. Stressing limited availability of certain specialty items is a time-tested tactic to drive consumers in.” Sampling — one to two items at most — is a strategy that tends to increase sales and traffic throughout the year, concurs Alicja Spaulding, director of marketing at Aurora, Colo.-based SROriginals. “But in particular during Q4 holidays, sampling is instrumental, as consumers are already looking for desserts/baked goods, and a sample can secure a purchase in grocery versus another outside location, i.e., a specialty store,” says Spaulding, whose company will introduce its Ticklebelly Cakebars during the fourth quarter in the following seasonal flavors: Sweet Pumpkin, Peppermint Crunch and, in select markets, Red Velvet. Reaching out to consumers via technology can be part of the plan as well. For instance, Erickson’s division “offers retailers digital content that they can tailor for the promotion of their in-store bakery products and features. This can prove especially valuable during the busy holiday season. You should explore all avenues available for connecting with shoppers and raising awareness even before they start planning the next journey to your store.” “Many of the big names in social media outfits offer advertising platforms that are user-friendly and very efficient at targeting your desired demographic,” notes Skinner. “From promoting specialty items to offering digital coupons, social media enables in-store bakeries to interact and present offers in unprecedented form. Depending on the depth of your campaign, they are oftentimes also the most cost-efficient form of promotion. During these seasons, consumers are already flirting with the idea of indulgence pertaining to bakery, and being prompted as they enter the store or seeing an ad on their social media feed will only further encourage purchase.”

Pairing Up Strategic product pairings can also play a pivotal role in generating higher in-store bakery sales — and beyond — during the festive season. Eric Richard, education coordinator for the Madison, Wis.-based International Deli-DairyBakery Association (IDDBA), points to “soon-to-bereleased research from IDDBA on in-store bakery bread [showing] that stores can boost sales of products that have a natural correlation; that is, shoppers who purchase one type of product are more likely to consider purchasing others displayed next to them, based on shopper eating and lifestyle patterns. “For example,” explains Richard, “during Christmas and the December holidays, in-store bakeries should consider pairing special-occasion items like artisan breads, croissants and crusty hot hearth breads with sweet options like flavored sweet breads, coffeecakes, Danishes and trays of assorted product. Bakery products can also be successfully merchandised outside of the in-store bakery by utilizing the same principle. Fresh-baked bread pairs perfectly with many holiday food products, such as bean dip and bread bowls, deli butters and crostini, and salami and mini sandwich rolls. Departments can take advantage of correlation by promoting breads that complement other holiday favorites, such as the fastgrowing categories of deli dips, spreads and toppings, as well as specialty meats. It can be as easy as placing breads near your in-store delis with recipe ideas.” Skinner similarly notes that “retailers can crosspromote with other departments to encourage purchase. For instance, some small signage around the frozen turkeys that points the consumer to the in-store bakery for fresh rolls, pies and specialty offerings would work well around Thanksgiving.” As holiday bakery merchandising evolves, United’s Luna reflects on the lessons he’s learned to date. “Although classic bakery items need to be always available to guests, differentiation needs to be a factor,” he says, advocating “a twist on the classic/ traditional, and creative, educational merchandising.” Above all, however, he emphasizes the need for “consistent high-quality items.” PG

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What What’ss Next | September 2016



Fresh Food

Brand Idea

Eye-catching displays, clever campaigns are making a name in fresh fruits and veggies. By Jennifer Strailey


randed produce has changed the consumer dialogue about fresh fruits and vegetables,” asserts Mary Coppola, senior director, marketing communications for the Washington, D.C.-based United Fresh Produce Association, who sees brands as a vehicle for helping the consumer differentiate between choices in the produce department. “As real estate in the department becomes more and more valuable due to the addition of new and different SKUs, branding becomes even more critical,” she continues, noting that it builds loyalty and communicates trust, familiarity and consistency. “Branded produce is quite important today, because trust, safety, quality and reliability are how consumers make their choices, and that’s what brands convey,” affirms Coppola. According to “Fresh Facts on Retail,” a report from United Fresh and Nielsen Perishables Group, products such as salad kits and valueadded vegetables, both of which are widely branded, continue to drive growth in the produce department. Meanwhile, value-added fruits contribute 5 percent of dollars to total produce.

September 2016 | |


Fresh Food

Branded produce is quite important today, because trust, safety, quality and reliability are how consumers make their choices, and that’s what brands convey.” —Mary Coppola, United Fresh Produce Association


Sustaining and growing sales of branded produce offer both fresh opportunities and new challenges for supermarkets. “The real challenge is in maintaining that success and capitalizing on it as you introduce new products to the retail space,” says Coppola, who adds that focusing on the messages that resonate most with consumers — fresh, healthy and convenient — is key. “It’s the trifecta for success.”

Runaway Success What could be more fresh, healthy and convenient than an apple? Rainier Fruit Co. encapsulates the fruit’s virtues in its new Wholesome to the Core messaging. The Selah, Wash.based company’s latest campaign targets health-conscious consumers in general, and runners in particular. “According to Running USA, running as a sport has grown by over 300 percent during the last 20 years, and

Stemilt introduces its “Inspiration Orchard” vision to the produce industry WEST MATHISON took his quest to be the most unique and flavor driven apple grower and shipper in the industry to a place we call Inspiration Orchard. This is a place, “Where Flavors Grow” because of an integration of the ground, locations, horticulturalists, varieties and root stock. Our journey is an endless journey to a consumer driven place. Stemilt has put a special emphasis in developing new apple varieties in our test orchards for the future while delivering a superior experience with today’s premium mix. Stemilt grows the very best Piñata® apples, has SweeTango® to spark the early apple category, maintains our pioneer leadership role in Pink Lady®, has an Aztec Fuji program that dazzles the eye and the palate and we have our Honeyhill ™ premium Honeycrisp program. These programs maximize the ability to deliver high color fruit with the maximum sugars, acids and condition which gives retail the perfect consumer experience.


West Mathison Stemilt Growers LLC

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

Cool RUnninGS A Whole Foods Market in Portland, Maine, features Rainier apples for the Boston Marathon.

nearly 19 million athletes completed a running event in 2015,” notes Andy Tudor, Rainier’s director of business development. The company plans to support this burgeoning community with online promotions and in-market events that celebrate everyday runners. As part of Rainier’s new focus, it has forged a three-year sponsorship agreement with the Boston Athletic Association to serve as the official apple of the Boston Marathon, an event that attracts some 30,000 participants and 500,000 spectators. Rainier created a special Boston Marathon box that was featured in supermarkets and club stores, including Whole Foods Market and Costco, throughout the Northeast. Many of the participating retailers, like a Whole Foods store in Portland, Maine, built captivating displays of Rainier’s organic apples using the display-ready marathon boxes. “The iconic blue-and-yellow branding of the Boston Marathon got both retailers and consumers excited, and

Fresh Food

Game on a mollie Stone’s market offers an eye-catching California avocado display in honor of the Big Game.


drew more shoppers into the category — especially at a time of year that apple sales are lagging,” observes Tudor. The Boston Marathon boxes also built brand recognition for Rainier’s organic Lady Alice, Honeycrisp and Junami apples. “We have made a large shift toward organic production in apples, pears and blueberries over the last 15 years, making us one of the largest organic fruit producers in the U.S.,” adds Tudor. While progress has been made in building brand loyalty in the produce department, the industry’s work is far from done. According to Tudor, “Produce has several legacy brands that have been around for a long time, and a few new brands that have recently developed thanks to the power of marketing, but as a rule, consumers aren’t able to name a lot of branded produce.” Ongoing success depends on suppliers and retailers alike consistently supporting quality, greattasting products with a strong message position.

Good Times Holidays and special events provide the perfect opportunity to showcase popular brands in the produce department. Produce managers across the country have particularly shown their display prowess in the avocado category leading up to the Super Bowl. Prior to Super Bowl 50, the Target website posted an image from its Edina, Minn., store that depicted a bountiful bin of avocados branded with Avocados From Mexico’s Taste the Victory tagline. Above the image, the retailer used the following caption: “This Week’s Spike in Avocado Sales Can Only Mean

Call our sales team for more information Jessica Peri Cindy Elrod Mindy VanVleck 775-463-6326 775-463-6318 775-463-6313


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

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Fresh Food

Berry special Merchandising Well-pict strawberries and raspberries together creates a “berry patch” atmosphere.


One Thing: It’s Game Time.” Minneapolis-based Target also touted a short nutritional message and a few of its favorite avocado recipes for game day on its site. Meanwhile, a Mollie Stone’s Market in Greenbrae, Calif., used the Irvine-based California Avocado Commission’s Taste the California Difference bins to build a dramatic Super Bowl 50 display complete with a Golden Gate Bridge replica, plenty of avocados and all of the ingredients needed to make guacamole for the Big Game.

Making a Name in Back-to-school While consumers increasingly seek healthful, f lavorful and convenient products from the produce department, retailers and suppliers report an uptick in sales of these items when kids head back to school. “This is the perfect time of year to feature complete on-the-go snacks and meals that appeal to busy parents and their families who are looking for healthy, affordable options for school, work lunches

and snacks,” asserts Alan Hilowitz, company spokesman for Ready Pac Foods. Irwindale, Calif.-based Ready Pac recently launched a campaign aimed at offering busy families convenient produce-based meal solutions. The We’ve Got Your Back campaign, which runs through Sept. 18, features a sweepstakes, sampling parties, digital coupon offers and more. “The main message is that Ready Pac Foods delivers a remedy to the chaos — freeing up busy consumers’ meal and snack prep time so they can focus on family, friends, work, school and

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A Very Berry Breakfast recipe contest this past themselves,” explains Hilowitz. summer. Consumers were invited to submit origi“Consumers are looking for fresh foods whernal breakfast recipes that featured Well-Pict strawever they shop for groceries, as evidenced by the inberries and/or raspberries, for a chance to compete crease in sales and products in the perimeter aisles in the breakfast category of the 2016 World Food at most stores,” he continues. “Our goal is to give Championships. The contest winner will represent people the freedom to eat healthier, and we want Well-Pict at the Championships in Orange Beach, consumers to associate our brand with that desire.” Ala., this November. PG Ready Pac offers a host of convenient options, including its most recent introduction: Ready Pac Organic Chopped Salad kits in four flavors: Caesar, Zesty Greek, Kickin’ Southwest and Sweet Kale. When it comes to increasing fresh produce sales for the back-to-school occasion and beyond, United Fresh’s Coppola recommends that retailers take a two-pronged approach, working both with produce companies to partner on back-to-school campaigns and with communities to educate consumers. Fostering collaborations between supermarket produce managers, school nutritionists and school foodservice directors helps to raise awareness of the health benefits of eating a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables among children and their families. However, “education shouldn’t end when the school bell rings,” Coppola adds. Dan Crowley, VP, sales and marketing for Well-Pict, in Watsonville, Calif., agrees that fresh produce education and information are important year-round. “In order to maximize sales of branded produce, particularly berries, during back-to-school time, it is important for retailers to make clear the year-round availability,” he urges. “Parents are enthusiastic about their children starting the upcoming school year right and continuing nutritious eating habits for the duration of the school year. This makes well-stocked berry displays especially important.” Cross-merchandising, suggesting recipes and promoting the health benefits of berries can also help drive additional sales across the berry category. “Branded produce, especially berConnect with us to put a top performer in your ries, is significantly important to the healthy snacking lineup: fresh produce industry,” says Crowley. “Although strawberries tend to see the strongest sales, co-locating strawberries with other types of berries in a ‘berry patch’-style concept drives *Source: Nielsen Perishables Group FreshFacts® impulse purchases and creates a berry destination within the store.” On the recipe front, Well-Pict held


September 2016 | |


Fresh Food


Calling All Meal Occasions While the trend of branded fruits and vegetables continues to change the landscape of the produce department, Chiquita is a name that has been associated with its iconic blue logo and Miss Chiquita character for 100 years. Chiquita’s new brand positioning, Playful by Nature, includes the company’s Just Smile tagline, which first launched in 2015. Through a 360-degree communication approach, the Just Smile campaign seeks to connect consumers with bananas in a fun way through social media and outdoor placements of static and digital billboards in seven U.S. cities. The campaign, which garnered 301 million impressions, earned a Webby Award Honoree distinction for doubling industry engagement benchmarks in North America. Currently, Chiquita is increasing investments by advertising the campaign in 14 metro areas across the country. Additionally, Chiquita invests in research to understand shopper behavior and how the company and its retail partners should manage decisions around bananas,

produce and across the store to drive performance. “Through Chiquita’s secondary-display program, retail partners have the opportunity to build the shopper basket by driving impulse purchases focused on consumer trends in convenience and meal-oriented solutions,” says a representative of the Charlotte, N.C.-based company. Chiquita offers end caps and secondary displays focused on cereal, dairy or checkout locations to meet consumer priorities regarding breakfast, snacking and healthy eating. The rep adds: “Chiquita’s best in-class retail merchandising program allows retail partners access to a team of experts with solutions on retail best practices to ensure bananas have the right quality and the right color on shelf every day as a powerful catalyst to fuel banana sales.”

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

Fresh Food

Produce Category Spotlight

Ripe for

Growth Pears present fresh opportunities for the picking.


By Jennifer Strailey

nticing cross-promotions, strategic retailer initiatives, and new products and packaging are bringing fresh energy to the pear category. In an effort to drive sales of pears and more, the Pear Bureau Northwest has launched PearUp! A key cross-promotional initiative for the Milwaukie, Ore.-based nonprofit, the program creates partnerships with other suppliers to add value for consumers and retailers alike. Last year, the bureau partnered with Battle Creek, Mich.-based Kellogg Co. to create recipes and a cross-promotion with cereal. “We added a display contest promotion and merchandising training to the program to maximize the educational value for produce staff and increase pear shopper experience,” explains Kathy Stephenson, the bureau’s marketing communications director. This year, the bureau, which promotes Washington state and Oregon pears under the USA Pears label, will partner with a wine brand to incentivize customers to purchase both products. “Pears are a great pairing food,” agrees Brianna Shales, communications manager for Stemilt Growers, in Wenatchee, Wash. “We encourage crosspromotions with gourmet cheese and wine. They are also the perfect food for party platters, and crosspromoting is a great way to boost sales on multiple


items, especially around the holidays.” Grocers considering such a cross-promotion can take advantage of the Pear Bureau Northwest’s Pear, Wine and Cheese wheel, which creates appropriate matchups for consumers right in the produce department. Retailers around the country, including Wellesley, Mass.-based Roche Bros., have featured the wheel in pear displays. To further maximize sales, the bureau is currently meeting with top retailers and wholesalers to analyze pear category performance and identify opportunity gaps. “Some retailers will be encouraged to add more varieties to their category, expand their display square footage, move pears closer to the front to encourage impulse purchase, and develop crosspromotions or secondary displays to pair with other complementary products,” reveals Stephenson.

Ready to Eat “The biggest barrier to a perfect pear-eating experience is the process of ripening pears,” asserts Stephenson. “We won’t rest until all pear consumers know our simple trick.” It’s simply to keep pears at room temperature on the counter to ripen. The bureau also advises consumers to “Check the Neck” near the stem of a pear on a daily basis. If it gives to pressure, it’s ripe and ready to eat. “We use so many communication platforms to

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

September 2016 | |


Fresh Food

watching the wheel a Roche Bros. store features the Pear Bureau northwest’s Pear, wine and cheese wheel as part of a display.

Produce Category Spotlight

share this message, including in-store signage and in-store radio; one-on-one education during store demos; consumer outreach through events, website and social media; and, finally, print and digital advertising directly to consumers,” notes Stephenson. Promoting ripe pears at retail is also a priority for Chelan Fresh this year. “Historically, the pear category has not seen a whole lot of excitement, but we’re trying to change that with upscale packaging and educating consumers on ripe pears,” says Mac Riggan, VP of marketing for Chelan Fresh, in Chelan, Wash. “The key for pears is that they are eaten ripe,” continues Riggan. “At store, they are seldom sold at perfect eating [condition]. But people don’t want to wait; they want to take home the pear and eat it that day.” While Riggan appreciates that some grocers are concerned with the appearance of ripe pears and the higher shrink associated with them, he also sees the growth potential for the category, and is keen to work with retailers on a pre-conditioned program

that starts the ripening process in the warehouse. “Retailers just need to get over the initial bubble that exists between the higher shrink of ripe pears and the sales increase that occurs when customers realize what an incredible experience it is to bite into a ripe pear and have the juice drip down their chin,” he explains. At Stemilt, promoting ripe pears is also top of mind. “We encourage all retailers to carry RipeRite ready-to-eat pears, which means conditioned d’Anjou and red d’Anjou pears,” says Shales. “Carrying ripened pears speeds up the time that con-

圀攀 愀爀攀 氀漀漀欀椀渀最 昀漀爀 愀 猀琀漀爀攀 洀愀渀愀最攀爀Ⰰ 戀甀琀 眀攀 愀爀攀  渀漀琀 氀漀漀欀椀渀最 昀漀爀 樀甀猀琀 愀渀礀 猀琀漀爀攀 洀愀渀愀最攀爀⸀⸀⸀⸀ sumers can take the fruit home, enjoy it and come back to the store to purchase again.” Stocking ripe pears in the produce department can boost sales by as much as 16 percent versus not carrying conditioned pears, according to Shales. “In a category that needs consistent movement, it’s important to carry conditioned pears and message them as ready to eat to consumers,” she notes.

Variety and Pretty Packaging As consumers continue to look for new eating experiences, additional pear varieties are gaining traction. “The most known pears include the Bartlett, Anjou and Bosc pears, but red pears are earning some notoriety,” observes Stephenson, who adds that red pears add an attractive color break to the category. For three years, the Pear Bureau Northwest has sponsored the Pear Up with USA Pears retail display contest, with colorful and creative results. Williamsville, N.Y.based ased Tops Markets was recognized ecognized for its striking display of Bosc, Starkrimson and Bartlett pears, while Mirbitos IGA, in Hannibal, N.Y., created a winning Partridge in a Pear Tree display. Another trend for pears, adds Stephenson, is the proliferation of 2- to-5pound ound bags and pouches. “It It is not uncommon for our best shoppers to buy as many as 10 pears at a time,” she asserts. asserts. Chelan Fresh has introduced 2-pound pouch bags of its Organic Bosc pears. It also offers Anjou and Bartlett pears in 3-pound bags. In addition to offering new Tosca and Concorde varieties, as well as an organic line of pears through its Lil Snappers kid-sized fruit program, Stemilt has debuted a pop-up merchandising display that promotes its Rushing Rivers pears and the regions in which they’re grown. “This helps retailers tell the story of where pears come from and how they are grown — the farm-tofork story that consumers want to know, especially with their produce,” enthuses Shales. The company has also launched a 5-pound pouch bag that promotes the Rushing Rivers story, for pears that ship in display-ready containers. “It’s a great inand-out promotion to capture a higher ring and boost the pear category,” she adds. Because a typical pear tree takes eight to 10 years to reach production, propagating new varieties takes time. However, Stephenson tells retailers to watch for new heirloom varieties from Washington state and Oregon over the next several years. PG

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September 2016 | |


Fresh Food

Produce Category Spotlight

Filling Up on

Fresh Low-calorie plant-based protein from peas and beans is a trend on the climb. By Jennifer Strailey


ealth conscious consumers ealth-conscious are increasingly turning to plant-based protein to fuel their bodies with fewer calories and fat. What’s more, foods like peas, beans, legumes and pulses use less water than other protein crops, making them a sustainable choice. With 8 grams of protein and just 117 calories per cup, peas are a small but nutritionally mighty vegetable to watch. The Hartman Group, in Bellevue, Wash., which tracks emerging food trends, has identified pea protein as “a key player in the ‘less meat,’ ‘soy-free’ movement.” Meanwhile, pulses, which are beans and peas, including lentils and chickpeas that are harvested dry, are receiving acclaim on the global stage. Citing the nutritional benefits, affordability and sustainability of pulses, the United Nations General Assembly has declared 2016 the International Year of the Pulses (IYP).


Snacks With Benefits Pulses, the edible seeds of legumes, are also cause for celebration at Harvest Snaps, the line of produce-based shelf-stable snacks from Calbee, which are often merchandised in the produce section. “There are a lot of benefits to eating plantbased protein,” asserts Steve Kneepkens, VP of sales and marketing for Fairfield, Calif.-based Calbee North America, “but you can talk about protein all you want; the product has to taste good or people won’t buy it.” Calbee is extending its line of Harvest Snaps Snapea Crisps and Lentil Bean snacks to include two new flavors: Harvest Snaps Black Bean Mango, Chile, Lime and Harvest Snaps Black Bean Habanero. Both flavors are launching this month. “We went with bolder flavors in an effort to bring more men into the category,” reveals Kneepkens, who adds that currently 55 percent to 65 percent of Harvest Snaps’ customer base is female. At least 60 percent of each product in the

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

North Carolina is Snap Bean Country

Harvest Snaps line is made from beans, pulses or legumes. To communicate the benefits of these plantbased foods, the company is preparing to release a white paper on sustainable plant protein. It’s also revamping its website,, in time for the back-to-school season this September. “We’ll offer education on why proteins from better-for-you pulses are important, as well as tips of the day for better living,” explains Kneepkens about the site, which will also feature Pierre Legume, a new character to appeal to kids. “There will be a big social element to our digital web page as well, where people can share fitness and health-and-wellness stories,” he continues. “We want to be right in the center of better-for-you living.”

Lunchbox-ready Convenience is key when it comes to encouraging consumers to eat beans as a snack or side dish. Pero Family Farms, in Delray Beach, Fla., offers two green bean packs that are healthful and easy to pop in a lunchbox. Green Bean Organic Snack Snips feature organic green beans cut in bite-size pieces and accompanied by organic ranch dip, while Green Bean Snack Snips with Greek yogurt ranch dip have just 40 calories per serving. From Fine Dining to Healthy at Home Southern Specialties, in Pompano Beach, Fla., has been growing and importing French green beans for more than 25 years, and so has seen the evolution of its product from a specialty item in whitetablecloth restaurants to a nutritious and delicious veggie for everyday dining at home. “Today, French beans are still sought after by consumers who are interested in having a flavorful, nutritional product that has great appearance on the plate,” says Charlie Eagle, VP of business development, regarding Southern Specialties’ Southern Selects hand-trimmed beans. Featuring just 31 calories, one cup of green beans contains 2 grams of protein, and vitamins A, C and B-6, as well as iron and magnesium. To further entice time-strapped consumers to get more French green beans in their diets, Southern

According to the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services (NCDA&CS), the Tar Heel State harvested some 4,300 acres of snap beans, with a value of more than $6.5 million, in 2014. “This year, the harvest looks very good,” asserts NCDA&CS’ Kevin Hardison. “Growers report that we have had enough wet weather to fill the pods and size the beans,” he adds. “Yields are looking to be average, if not better than previous years.” The only concern for this season, notes Hardison, is a slight increase in pod-tip rot because of more wet weather than usual. While this year could see a higher incidence of rot, it’s not expected to affect yields or the marketability of the crop.

Specialties offers a convenient 8-ounce microwavable bag and a 1-pound bag, as well as a 2-pound bag with a handle that plays well in club stores. “Our increasingly extended line of microwavable 8-ounce Southern Selects French beans, yellow beans, English peas and sugar snap peas has been very successful,” notes Eagle. “Customers really like the convenience factor.” When it comes to sugar snap peas, which are a popular snack item and a versatile ingredient, he observes that families are gravitating to largerformat packaging. Attracting specialty bean and pea shoppers doesn’t only boost the produce department’s bottom line, adds Eagle: “We recognize that consumers who purchase French beans and other specialties also typically buy more expensive cuts of meat or seafood, cheeses, and wine, which means a higher basket ring.” PG

You can talk about protein all you want; the product has to taste good or people won’t buy it.” —Steve Kneepkens, Calbee North America

September 2016 | |


2016‘s Top Women in Grocery Gala ov. 10, 2016 • Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress • Orlando, Fla.

Agenda W E D N E S D AY, N O V E M B E R 9 4:00)p.m.)_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________)Registration)Open) 5:30)p.m.)–)7:00)p.m.) ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ )Welcome)Reception)

T H U R S D AY, N O V E M B E R 1 0 7:00)a.m.)–)8:00)a.m.) ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________)Rise)&)Shine)Yoga,)Sponsored by Clif B r 9:00)a.m.)–)10:00)a.m.)________________________________________ )Welcome)&)Networking)Breakfast,)Sponsored by Pos Consumer Br nds 10:00)a.m.)–)2:15)p.m.) ____________________________________________________________________________________________ )Leadership)Development)Program)(lunch included) 2:30)p.m.)–)5:45)p.m.) _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________)Free)Time 5:45)p.m.)–)6:00)p.m.) ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ )Pre-Cocktail)Hour)2016)TWIG)Group)Photo) 6:00)p.m.)–)7:00)p.m.) _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ )Cocktail)Reception) 7:00)p.m.)–)9:30)p.m.) _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________)Dinner)and)Awards)Presentation) 9:30)p.m.)–)10:30)p.m.)__________________________________________________________________________________________________ )Dessert)Party,)Sponsored by The Hershey Comp ny

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For more information and to reserve your event tickets, please visit PLEASE NOTE: Attendee registration is limited to 2016 Top Women in Grocery winners, their guests and colleagues, or by invitation only. Business leaders, solution providers and consumer products companies with a powerful message for the 2016 Top Women in Grocery may participate as a sponsor and can do so by contacting or









Health, Beauty & Wellness


What’s Natural for Kids Sales of clean-ingredient OTC and personal care products for children are growing by leaps and bounds. By Barbara Sax


ore consumers are reaching for natural products when shopping the OTC and HBW aisles for items for their children, and supermarket chains with more options in those categories are poised to win big with Millennial consumers. “We’re seeing the segment of naturally inclined consumers continuing to grow, so for retailers interested in winning that shopper, these categories are really important,” affirms Annette Domnik, chief marketing officer at Draper, Utah-based Zarbee’s Naturals. A recent study from Zarbee’s revealed that more than two-thirds of parents are reading the labels on vitamins, and 49 percent are reading the labels on personal care products. The study further found that parents are making their purchase decisions based on what’s on those labels, with more than half reporting that they wouldn’t give their children vitamins with artificial dyes, flavors or sweeteners.

Chicago-based Mintel reports that a majority of households with children under 18 became more concerned about pesticides, antibiotics/hormones, allergens and GMOs when they had their first child. Mintel’s research also shows that when purchasing vitamins and supplements, 62 percent of households with kids prefer natural sources, a significantly higher percentage than those with no kids (50 percent). “Kids’ products are often a gateway for the entire category,” says Mike Lesser, CEO of Madison, N.J.-based Revive Personal Products, which markets the Natural Dentist Cavity Zapper brand for kids. “Once parents purchase natural products for their children, they are more likely to buy them for themselves as well.” According to Zarbee’s Domnik, shoppers who purchase natural products spend between 30 percent and 40 percent more per shopping trip, so beefing up offerings in natural children’s OTC and HBC products is a smart strategy. “Natural products frequently offer a higher

Once parents purchase natural products for their children, they are more likely to buy them for themselves as well.” —Mike Lesser, Revive Personal Products

September 2016 | |



Health, Beauty & Wellness

margin than traditional products and can be a pull pu for shoppers who might otherwise go to hybrid stores such as Whole Foods or Sprouts,” adds Ron Gentry, VP of marketing at Newtown Square, Pa.-based Boiron USA.

Supermarket chains …that make a real commitment to the category can do very well with these products.” —Jessica Iclisoy, California Baby


Nothing to Cough At A recent report from Little Falls, N.J.-based Kline & Co. found that natural and homeopathic products are growing at a strong pace, particularly in the children’s cold medication market, since many traditional OTC cold medicines have their use restricted to children ages 4 or 6 and up. “That leaves parents of young children seeking alternatives and natural brands [to fill] the need,” notes Laura Mahecha, industry manager of healthcare at Kline. Boiron’s Camilia teething drops, for example, can be used for babies as young as 1 month. The company also markets Chestal and Coldcalm, and Gentry expects to see a greater focus on natural cough and cold products for children in the future. “There’s no proof that the active ingredients in traditional cough medicines really work, and they can have side effects, so many parents are looking for a natural alternative,” observes Bob Harrington, founder of Pittsford, N.Y.-based Maty’s Healthy Products, which offers 13 natural children’s OTCs. Maty’s cough syrup is carried by H-E-B, Raley’s, Ahold Delhaize banners and Harris Teeter, among other supermarket chains. According to Harrington, the brand’s natural baby chest rub and natural vapor rubs are top sellers in their categories. Last year, the company introduced three certified-organic cough products to the market, the first on the U.S. market. Zarbee’s recently introduced a Baby Chest Rub and a Baby Gripe Water, the latter of which is formulated for infants to ease occasional stomach discomfort and gas associated with colic, fussiness and hiccups. “Our Gripe Water is the first in the U.S. that is formulated with strong clinical support utilizing fennel, chamomile, lemon balm and ginger,” notes Domnik. Zarbee’s products are sold widely in mass channels. “We want to offer consumers another choice in that market,” explains Domnik. “As a company, we are focused on bringing better-for-you choices with powerful handpicked ingredients to the mass market.” Standard Homeopathic’s Hyland’s Kids and Hyland’s Baby brands have also launched a number of new products. This year, the company launched Hyland’s 4 Kids Bumps ‘n Bruises with Arnica. Originally launched as an exclusive to Minneapolisbased Target through the big-box retailer’s Made to Matter program, the product is a natural remedy for bruising, pain and swelling that contains no aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen, pseudoephedrine or dextromethorphan. Hyland’s additional 2016 launches include

three baby products — Baby Nighttime Tiny Cold Tablets, Baby Nighttime Cold ‘n Mucus Relief, and Baby Daytime Cold ‘n Mucus Relief — and several items under its 4Kids brand.

Category Expansion Natural brands are also increasingly entering the baby and children’s HBW category, and brands that have been operating in the natural baby segment are expanding their offerings to appeal to a wider audience. For instance, Los Angeles-based California Baby, a manufacturer of natural baby HBW products, has added a 10-SKU line for older children. “Parents don’t want to stop using the products once their children are older than toddlers,” says Jessica Iclisoy, founder of the long-established brand, whose premium-priced baby products have been on Target shelves for nearly a decade, and joined Walmart’s lineup in early August. “For a long time, we were one of the few players in that category, and in the last few years, we’ve seen more brands entering the natural children’s HBC category.” Fresh Monster, meanwhile, is a recent addition to the category. The growing brand, founded by two former Unilever execs, has an accessible $6.50 price point and is currently sold in such retailers as Target, Meijer, Hy-Vee and Whole Foods Market. The fiveproduct toxin-free hair care line contains plant-based surfactants and naturally derived preservatives. “This is a product category that’s not going to burn out,” asserts Iclisoy. “It’s a real category, but it needs care. Supermarket chains, such as Ralphs, that make a real commitment to the category can do very well with these products.” That means educating consumers at point of purchase and expanding selection. “A natural section means more than just one brand,” she points out. Shelf talkers also let consumers know that retailers are in the natural business. One key to attracting the all-important Millennial shopper, advises Domnik, is to merchandise products in a way that makes the shopping experience as easy as possible, with signage that calls out products based on their attributes. PG

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


General Merchandise

Measures of

Success Retailers await the impact of advanced devices to shape health and wellness.


Once you have data integrity, it’s no longer a device for sports or fitness purposes only. Doctors can use it to draw conclusions based on the data.” —Roeen Roashan, IHS Technology


By Christina Veiders

new generation of digital dig health-monitoring devices has emerged, foreshadowing the future of health care and wellness. Retailers with strong positions in health and wellness will have opportunities to cash in on the technical advances and device proliferation as they develop from consumer to medical markets or vic vice versa, according to industry analysts. Biometric tracking is approaching a crossroads between personal health (sports and fitness trackers) on one end and clinical health (blood pressure and blood gluco glucose meters) on the other. Just how it all converges at retail, both in HBC aisles and behind the counter, isn’t yet clea clear, but the potential is big. IHS Technology, an Englewood, Colo.-based global information company, valued the U.S. market for consumer medical devices at $3.3 billion in 2015, growing at 5.2 percent CAGR through 2020. The category comprises activity trackers; pedometers; blood glucose meters; blood pressure monitors; heart rate monitors; pulse oximeters; TENS devices (electro nerve stimulation); nebulizers, patches; body composition analyzers; thermometers; hearing aids; personal scales; pregnancy tests; and fertility test kits. More digital health device manufacturers will make the upgrade to medical-grade products. That means approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, according to Roeen Roashan, IHS senior digital health analyst. San Francisco-based Fitbit, which sold 21.4 million activity trackers last year and has begun tackling quality and accuracy issues, is moving in this direction, according to news reports.

That’s important, says Roashan, because “once you have data integrity, it’s no longer a device for sports or fitness purposes only. Doctors can use it to draw conclusions based on the data.” Medical-grade devices are likely to be covered by insurance companies, while consumer-grade devices are likely not to be covered. For now, smart retailers are trying to capitalize on the burgeoning market of connected digital health devices.

Connected Health As part of its positioning on wellness and innovation, Minneapolis-based Target, which has converted its pharmacies to the CVS Health banner, has rolled out Connected Health sections in the pharmacy areas of 550 stores. Target is also focused on elevating its food assortment to fresh and organic products as part of new initiatives unveiled last year. The 6-foot Connected Health sets feature about 14 medical-grade devices, including Quell, a wearable nerve stimulation device from Waltham, Mass.-based Neurometrix that also measures sleep.

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

Price points range from $39.99 for a wireless blood pressure monitor to $249.95 for Quell. The real growth potential is from the health care provider community, according to digital health suppliers. Once data sharing and individual health care management take off on the professional side, they could spill over into retail, with loyalty rewards and other incentives for those who track and are engaged in their health, some speculate.. “I see it all [medical and retail] as complimentary,” asserts Steve Monnier, VP sales and marketing at iHealth Labs, in Mountain View, Calif. “It’s about awareness and validation.” Companies like iHealth provide a full range of devices to capture health measurements that doctors need to manage patients’ medical conditions. The company’s newest products are the wireless View wrist blood pressure monitor (SRP $99.99) that adds a display for offline or online tracking, and a swimming activity tracker, Wave, priced at $79. Other devices coming on the market that are geared to health care providers and their patients include a spirometer that measures air flow; iHealth Rhythm, a wearable ECG monitor; and iHealth CardioLab, a diagnostic system that calculates several markers for early detection of cardiovascular disease. All of these tests can be carried out remotely at home as part of telemedicine. “The ability to seamlessly tabulate and transfer data between devices and applications and caregivers simply did not exist even a few years ago, and it has dramatically changed the way people can now manage their own health care,” says Mei-Mei Stark, director of consumer health marketing for A&D Medical, based in San Jose, Calif. A&D has designed a WellessConnected platform that allows end users to pull together the biometric data they collect with A&D devices in one place, as well as to use partner devices to pull in activity-tracking and blood glucose level data. “Much of our strategy is grounded in the ability for retailers to promote and merchandise an ecosystem consisting of multiple devices all connected to a single mobile app,” explains Stark.

Containing Costs Driving the advanced technology is an out-of-control health care system, notes IHS’ Roashan. U.S. health care costs rose to $3 trillion in 2014, 17.5 percent of gross domestic spending, according to the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Increases in chronic diseases, an aging population and more insured people are a few of the reasons for the soaring costs. As health care providers are pressured to get their costs under control, the focus is shifting to individualized health care and prevention in which quality biometrics become essential.

As far as consumer demand for mobile health devices, according to iHealth’s Monnier, the industry has reached middle ground after early adopters. “We haven’t seen a huge influx of adoptees across the board.” One retail pharmacist, who works in a lowincome area, agrees. “I don’t see it being much of an impact,” she notes. “I can barely get patients to commit to signing up for text messages to remind them to pick up their medications.” That is expected to change in the next several years, however, as the health care industry begins using health data from health-monitoring devices to improve patients’ well-being and outcomes, thereby lowering costs. PG

loMT’s Drive to Health All big health-device companies are scrambling to form partnerships to find the best health care solutions among the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT). Ultimately, as technology increasingly pushes the boundaries of health care, devices could eventually go away, according to some prognosticators. One trend is a consolidation of several tracking devices into one multifunctional device. Chicago-based IRI reports that sales of blood pressure kits grew 3.4 percent to $212.2 million and glucose meter sales slipped.35 percent to $292.8 million across all food, drug and mass channels for the 52-week period ending March 20. A look at newly released or about-to-be-released blood glucose and blood pressure meters from two top-selling brands indicates the current direction of the health monitor device industry. At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Omron Healthcare, the Kyoto, Japan-based company that introduced the first digital home blood pressure monitor 50 years ago, introduced the Project Zero line of wrist and upper-arm blood pressure monitors. The medical-grade devices do more than track blood pressure: The wrist monitor, which looks like a smartwatch, provides physical activity and sleep data in real time, while the arm monitor tracks hypertension levels and detects irregular heartbeats. Omron has also released the Connect app to work seamlessly with Bluetooth smart monitors and enable easy data transfer to health care providers. Milpitas, Calif.-based LifeScan, a Johnson & Johnson Diabetes Care Cos. brand, has released its Onetouch Verio Flex blood glucose monitor (SRP $19.99), with ColorSure technology designed to easily convey blood sugar results. The device works with Bluetooth and connects with the OneTouch Reveal mobile app. LifeScan is also collaborating with WellDoc, a Baltimore-based digital health company, to integrate its new device with WellDoc’s BlueStar product, the first FDA-cleared digital therapeutic for adults with type 2 diabetes. The integration would provide patients with additional smart monitoring tools and real-time motivational, behavioral and education coaching.

September 2016 | |


Equipment & Design

Shelving Solutions

Show and Tell Supermarket shelving is doing more than simply holding product. By Bob Ingram

WIrELEss shELvEs U.K.’s Displaydata delivers realtime product information.



oday’s technology is evident in all aspects of food retailing, even extending to what was heretofore the humble, plainvanilla area of supermarket aisle shelving. “New digital in-store technologies improve the customer shopping experience and help the retailers better compete against e-commerce,” affirms John White, CEO at Annapolis, Md.-based Compass Marketing Inc./Powershelf. “Shelving equipped with digital technologies like electronic shelf labels (ESL) is an essential part of this effort.” White asserts that this technology at the shelf brings the internet to the consumer in-store and gathers shopper data that can be mined for new insights and enable predictive analytics, which he calls a field of rising interest among retail executives. According to White, Compass’ Powershelf system is a highly configurable turnkey platform that’s

battery-free, featuring inductive coupling technology enabling live two-way communication between the shelf edge and any stakeholders, decreasing labor expenses and environmental impact. Powershelf also features Smart Retail Labels (SRLs) that enable real-time pricing and offer out-ofstock sensors and LED shelf lighting. The Powershelf Mobile Network allows retailers to push timely and relevant content to consumers’ mobile devices, including nutrition and allergen information, recipes, local events, emergency information, and commercials. “Data derived from the shelf and one-to-one communication with consumers will provide various offerings that will drive the delivery of personalized content to consumers,” White notes, “and retailers will be able to use visual technologies at the shelf to observe consumer shopping behavior in real time.”

What’s Not to Like? At The Like Machine, in Glenview, Ill., founder

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

Tim Halfmann says, “It’s easy to overlook the complexity and inconsistency in the shelving of more than 50,000 grocery stores.” Halfmann is convinced these problems can be solved with low-power, highly connected experiences that deliver value to shoppers without the need for them to interact constantly with their phones. “The Like Machine recreates the online experience of ratings at the point of purchase in-store,” he explains. “Consumers have been trained to make online decisions based on the product, the price, and social proof from other buyers. But that same experience is missing in the store, where more than 94 percent of sales happen.” Data can be localized for use in brand claims both online and offline, he adds, with the result that “in just 18 months of our pilot, over 10 million shoppers have shared their opinions with The Like Machine, and awareness for the brand in key test markets now exceeds 20 percent.” Halfmann further observes that social proof delivers value to shoppers and results to marketers, as well as enhancing the store experience. “Technology will lead innovation as the shelf comes alive,” he observes. “Digital display of information is great, but what makes today’s mobile/ social world thrive is the two-way communication. And that communication will quickly evolve as shoppers dictate.” Noting that there are thousands of feet of shelf edge in a typical store — the equivalent of dozens of televisions in viewable space — he asks, “Why should shoppers be limited in the information they get at shelf? We believe shoppers want more information with less hassle.”

Data on Display Andrew Dark, CEO of U.K.-based Displaydata, says, “Grocery shelves fitted with wirelessly controlled electronic labels are delivering more real-time product information, the latest prices and personalized information to engaged shoppers’ smartphones.” Digitally enabled shelves are playing a large role in letting grocers easily and quickly mark down perishable stock to reduce food wastage and protect margins by graduating the markdown and product offers, Dark says, and promotions can be delivered across an entire store network in seconds. Innovations like three-color electronic shelf labels (ESLs) and enterprise software solutions “allow grocers to change any and all data relating to product in an instant,” Dark explains, “optimizing sales and margins, and ensuring consistency with the advertised offers and the prices charged at the register.” Additionally, some Displaydata displays feature Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons that can interact with mobile apps to help shoppers locate

products, send out personalized promotions and enhanced product information, and support many other shopper and store experiences. “ESLs enable retailers to refresh labels in seconds; display updated stock levels, social reviews, language and currency details; change prices; and much more,” Dark says, thus freeing up store associates to spend more time with customers. Displaydata labels communicate bi-directionally, bi-directional receiving new images and reporting back to verify that updates have been made. During this reply transmission, details like battery voltage and temperature are also included so the retailer can remo remotely monitor the status of the labels. “Displaydata’s labels also feature the latest electrophoretic display (EPD) technology and provide superior image quality, color consistency and brightness,” Dark adds.

Maximum Impact For his part, Bryan Stirle, of San Diego-based Creative Store Solutions, advises, “Be careful to select shelving colors that contrast with the floor color, or the shelves will disappear.” Getting down to particulars, Stirle notes the three types of shelving back panels: smooth panels with a cleaner, more elegant appearance; pegboards with holes, good for merchandising hangable products like chips, jerky and nuts; and slotwalls with horizontal grooves, which offer the most flexibility for different kinds of hangers. For staggered shelving, Stirle recommends: “Use staggered wire shelves for candy and other products, with smaller packages at the top and larger ones below. These shelves should be angled with a lip at the front to keep products from falling off. They allow more of the product face to be displayed, increasing visibility, which enhances sales. Staggered wire shelves also work well for packaged doughnuts and other bakery goods.” Cross-merchandising Opportunities More retailers have been requesting sophisticated new merchandising solutions for cross-sells and adjacencies, observes Brad Cox, director of sales and marketing at Wilkes-Barre, Pa.-based Trion Industries Inc. To address this need, one of Trion’s recent additions, Dual-Lane Auto-Feed Trays, offer two lanes in a single tray that Cox says “better supports displays of families of products, alternate sizes, or totally different and unusual adjacencies, such as bacon bits marketed adjacent to salad dressings, and both next to a primary sell like prepackaged salads. “Hardware solutions that are applicable storewide simplify outfitting,” he concludes, “compared to custom department-by-department one-up applications.” PG

Technology will lead innovation as the shelf comes alive. Digital display of information is great, but what makes today’s mobile/social world thrive is the two-way communication. And that communication will quickly evolve as shoppers dictate.” —Tim Halfmann, The Like Machine

September 2016 | |



Data Gathering

In-store Analytics

Steps Up Understanding shopper behavior is key. By John Karolefski


t has always been challenging for grocers to differentiate their stores from competing banners. Because they stock largely the same products, the distinction between stores is blurred at best and nonexistent at worst. But there are exceptions. At one end of the spectrum is Walmart, which brands itself as the low-price leader; at the other end are large retailers such as Whole Foods Market and Trader Joe’s, as well as smaller operators like Jungle Jim’s and Stew Leonard’s that offer a unique in-store experience. Meanwhile, most other grocery retailers are stuck in the muddy middle, struggling for a way to maintain shoppers and attract new ones. The stakes are high to get it right, because the demographics of shoppers and their behavior in the store are constantly changing. Alert grocers need to be aware of these changes to ensure that merchandising strategies, assortments and the in-store experience are appropriate and effective. But how is that done? More and more, grocers are turning to in-store analytics. “In-store analytics can really help to better understand what shoppers see as the benefit of what grocers are offering and help them build strategies to enhance that differentiating attribute of shopping with them,” says Rich Scamehorn, chief research officer at InContext Solutions, a Chicago-based pro-


vider of virtual reality (VR) shopping and retail solutions. “In-store analytics are very important to their survival.” “Today’s customers are better connected, better informed and more digitally savvy, making them more prone to switching and harder to please,” adds Michael Gorshe, managing director of CGS and food retail for global consultancy Accenture, with U.S. headquarters in Chicago. “Case in point: Millennials have challenged the way we do business. It’s imperative that the grocery trade keeps up with the changing consumer demands. Analytics is the key to providing grocers with the information they need to adapt to the changing landscape.” Indeed, in-store analytics has evolved to become integral to monitoring performance and identifying growth opportunities for grocers, according to Justin Behar, CEO of Quri, a San Francisco-based provider of retail intelligence technology. The speed, granularity and ultimately the ability to act upon the data are allowing retailers to merchandise each store individually with a more shopper-centric approach, and to make corrections quickly. Behar points out that retailers can obtain true visibility into the real-time merchandising conditions of their stores and gain insight into how they can affect shopper behavior to drive sales. That’s a far cry from the past, when grocers largely relied on anecdotal information “that painted an overly simplified, overly optimistic picture of store conditions” and promotion performance on a much broader level. “With the new data streams that have emerged, retailers now have an unbiased, consistent flow of information that can help eliminate holes on shelf, ensure higher levels of execution on volume-driving promotions and a whole host of other growth opportunities,” he says. “This information is allowing retailers to understand what influences purchase decisions and forge a closer connection to the shopper.” Nona Cusick, SVP of consumer products, retail and distribution at worldwide consultancy Capgemini,

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

with U.S. headquarters in New York, lists several ways that Big Data technologies allow retailers to leverage their own internal data in a way that was nearly impossible before: Grocers can cluster stores according to shopper spending patterns by analyzing point-of-sale (POS) data at a much higher level of granularity than with syndicated data. Grocers can track consumer sentiment and preferences from online chatter in real time, instead of having to rely on 2-month-old panel data. Store audits can now be collected robotically, decreasing the cost of data collection and providing a treasure trove of insights about category adjacencies, display effectiveness and shelf configuration. Advances in data science make it possible to connect shopper, product and store information for a truly comprehensive view of the business. Grocers can now tell better than ever before what consumer profile is most likely to shop a given basket or to respond to a given assortment. “There has always been some form of in-store analytics originating from forecasting how much stock they needed to have in their store each week,” explains InContext’s Scamehorn. “But the tools to do that have evolved with frequent-shopper databases and Big Data applications to attempt to uncover less obvious relationships among the products being sold. This area is growing very quickly. It is becoming something that all retailers are embracing at varying levels of sophistication.”

Still Catching Up? Not everyone agrees with such a widespread and sophisticated view of in-store analytics in the grocery channel. “In-store analytics is still in a fairly primitive stage in the grocery industry,” counters Rajeev Sharma, founder and CEO of VideoMining, a State College, Pa.-based provider of in-store behavior analytics. “For the most part, the industry still uses manual and subjective ‘shopper research’ techniques for insights using self-reported data from interviews, shop-alongs and manual observation. New technologies such as video analytics and mobile phone tracking have recently been introduced to provide a scalable and reliable basis for in-store analytics.” David Ciancio, senior consultant for customer strategy at Cincinnati-based consultancy DunnhumbyUSA, offers a harsher assessment of in-store analytics in the grocery class of trade. He claims the industry has been relatively late to adopt analytics except with regard to the supply chain, despite the fact that grocers were early pioneers in data collection via UPCs and loyalty cards. “Many grocers are using some level of analytics for pricing and promotions, but almost none are using analytics to really improve the customers’ shopping experience,” he asserts, ticking off his criticisms: Many promotions are still confusing to customers and unprofitable for the merchants. Value perception is a challenge for most grocers, despite the analytics. Assortment strategies are unclear to customers. Marketing is imprecise, wasteful and not truly personal.

Analytics can help grocers see where technology can improve business efficiencies and reduce costs. It can help them identify the in-store experiences that will be enhanced by technology.” —Michael Gorshe, Accenture

“The evidence is clear that few operators are differentiating based on analytics, and even fewer are winning true customer loyalty,” Ciancio says. “Overall, grocers have yet to fully exploit all September 2016 | |



Data Gathering

that can be accomplished with transaction data, let alone the customer data. And the grocers who do analyze customer data do not have a holistic view of their customer across all touch points. So there is a massive amount of work to do to better leverage analytics in the retail grocery arena today and to untap the many opportunities for growth based on an understanding of the available data.”

Retailers now have an unbiased, consistent flow of information that … is allowing retailers to understand what influences purchase decisions and forge a closer connection to the shopper.” —Justin Behar, Quri

Crucial to Success While there’s some disagreement about the level of sophistication of in-store analytics, there’s widespread agreement about its importance to a grocer’s success. “Analytics is hugely important for grocers,” stresses Accenture’s Gorsche. “Consumers are demanding more. The industry needs to understand what the consumer trends are, and analytics is the key to gathering this information. Analytics can help grocers see where technology can improve business efficiencies and reduce costs. It can help them identify the in-store experiences that will be enhanced by technology.” VideoMining’s Sharma agrees that in-store analytics is crucial to the success of a grocer. He likens not having in-store analytics today to hosting a website without any analytics on click-through rates and web traffic. In other words, it would be a huge competitive disadvantage. “While analytics from transaction data and loyalty cards helps grocers target promotions and understand performance, it does not provide insights on how to convert more shoppers into buyers and improve store performance,” he says. Because research has consistently revealed that almost all purchase decisions are made in-store, experts say that knowing how those decisions are made and how to influence those decisions is extremely helpful. Sharma rhetorically asks grocers: How do you redesign the store to make it easier for shoppers to navigate? How do you lay out the categories to improve the shopping experience? How do you position displays for driving impulse purchase? How do you cater to specific demographics such as Millennials or Hispanics? Capgemini’s Cusick adds that knowing what shoppers need and want, and how they make their baskets, is a tremendous competitive advantage. “If we look at top- and bottom-line initiatives,” she says, “in-store analytics helps remove risk by


informing how to configure the store, the aisle and the shelf, and increase accuracy of execution. Shoppers can then do their shopping more efficiently every time they come to the store, and they’ll come more frequently, driving promotional ROI.”

Analysis is Key Ciancio believes that a strong analysis of shopper behavior helps a retailer outperform its market. In Dunnhumby’s experience, understanding shopper needs and how they use the store can contribute at least 1 percent to same-store sales growth. He promotes good analysis as the key to differentiation and the optimizer of marketing strategies and resources. “What Kroger has done with their frequentshopper card data analysis has allowed them to enhance their points of difference from the competition, because they better understand how their heavy shoppers behave and how their lighter shoppers behave,” says Scamehorn, of InContext. “They encourage the behavior they want with deals for their frequent shoppers over time. Now they have that history of data and can employ Big Data tools to find other linkages they may not have seen with just the frequent-shopper card data initially. These tools are taking those insights to a higher level.” He explains that Walmart has data from Retail Link that provides an understanding at a highly granular level of how products move in the megaretailer’s stores. It has information on how rollback pricing can drive sales. The company has controlled its shopping environment to provide a clearer understanding of what to do with its merchandising, and when. He points to retailers such as Meijer, H-E-B, Costco and Publix Super Markets as other examples of grocers doing a great job of identifying their respective customer profiles and catering to them well. The relentless advance of technology will lead the way to a better understanding of shopper behavior and how to use this gathered information effectively. Such things as in-store WiFi and beacons may not only benefit the shopper, but also obviously provide critical intelligence to the retailer about the profiles of shoppers and their routes through the store. “Online, the technology already exists to make useful suggestions based on other items in the basket, but this could equally be applied in the physical store,” says AJ Van Bochoven, head of retail innovation for Boston-based Cambridge Consultants. “Overlaying video analytics from in-store cameras can add another layer of information. The bricksand-mortar grocery store has a great opportunity to sell more by becoming an ‘aggregator’ for other potential purchases.” PG

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

For more information, visit

Digital By Sylvain Perrier

The Case for Human Curation There are two schools of thought when it comes to the humans-versus-machines argument. One camp believes that as the amount of data increases, the importance of human judgment decreases, while the other argues that algorithms can be impersonal, inaccurate and sometimes serve up suggestions that are way off the mark. The truth is that humans have a powerful weapon in their arsenal that algorithms lack: They have the ability to ask “why,” something that even the most intelligent machines aren’t inclined to ask. Anyone who’s ever fallen victim to obtrusive and often irrelevant ads, or had updates from friends consigned to the algorithmic void of the news feed, will likely understand the anti-algorithm opinion. Instances such as these build the case for human intervention and curation, and prove that relying on data and math alone won’t suffice when it comes to providing the best user experience possible.

Rise of the


Are algorithms better than humans at making decisions?


ave you ever wondered how sites like Amazon recommend what products you might want to buy, often with astounding accuracy? That’s an algorithm at work. Ever had any experience with online dating? Your romantic encounters were likely a result of algorithms designed to help users find their perfect match. In fact, countless businesses — inWhen it cluding Google, the internet behemoth comes to that has become a verb in and of itself creating — owe their success to algorithms. personalized These tools have the power to use experiences vast amounts of raw data to provide and fast, efficient and scalable solutions to complex problems, like calculating the providing fastest routes for logistics companies to users deliver goods, and helping supermarkets with truly track customers’ buying patterns to help relevant decide exactly what products to stock content, can and where to put them. Despite these computers benefits, however, there are still doubts or people do as to whether algorithms are appropriate it better? in all situations — particularly those that still require the “human touch.”

Where Algorithms Shine While the human brain is an astonishing machine, it isn’t without its limitations. In the digital epoch, there are now more potential data inputs than ever — including web search history, social media activity and customer service interactions — meaning that the potential pool of data available to retailers to create one-to-one shopping experiences is deeper than ever before. But this pool has become so extensive that it surpasses our human ability to understand it, and that’s where the power, precision, reliability and speed of execution of algorithms come into play. So in the age of Big Data and algorithmic personalization, does human intuition still have a role to play? The truth is that, while algorithms may not perform better than people in every instance, they do consistently perform better than most people — and today’s customers demand consistent experiences in every single interaction. What’s more, as other online retailers have begun to master the art of personalization, consumers’ expectations have only intensified. At this juncture, there’s a solid argument for combining the two, using both the scalability of algorithms and the inherent understanding of humans to ensure the best possible outcomes. Human judgment simply can’t compete against machine-learning systems that obtain predictions from millions of data points — but that doesn’t mean there isn’t still a place for gut feeling and intuition. After all, online dating sites may present you with plenty of options for dates, but your friends are likely going to be far better judges of character. PG Sylvain Perrier is president and CEO of Mercatus Technologies, a Toronto-based enterprise-grade software company specializing in digital solutions for North American grocery.

September 2016 | |



Supply Chain

Creating a

Smoother Flow Warehouse management must now also take internet sales into account. By Bob Ingram


fficiency has long been the byword in the retail food supply chain, especially in the critical realm of warehouse management. With the increased internet aspect of retailing, this added dimension is being addressed in various ways at the supermarket warehouse level. In addition to internet considerations, warehouse management must simultaneously adopt practices and technologies to make the supply chain more efficient in general. “For retailers to become more efficient in terms of issues like product flow, avoiding out-of-stocks and shrink reduction, they need to have significant data on sales, trends and in-stocks,” says Michael Day, VP of commercial and industrial inventory services at Auburn Hills, Mich.-based RGIS LLC.


“Companies need to verify and validate their supply chain inventory data to ensure the business metrics they are managing are accurately supported.” This information allows retailers to improve their stock availability and better manage customers’ needs, which translates to improved sales results, according to Day, whose company offers a variety of services to help retailers validate the accuracy of their inventory data at any stage of the supply chain, from shipping audits to wall-towall warehouse inventories. In terms of meeting internet competition, Day sees a need to have accurate visibility of inventory positions at all facilities used to fulfill customer orders. “In many cases, this requires retailers to increase their storage space at retail locations in order to fulfill internet orders,” he notes. “Retailers will need an even higher level of inventory accuracy [in] the

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

retail store-level fulfillment process to ensure a high level of customer satisfaction.” Services such as cycle counting, category audits and DSD audits can ensure the highest fill rates for customer orders, Day says. “Validated and accurate supply chain inventory data is the No. 1 requirement for driving improved results across the supply chain process,” he stresses. “We can help organizations validate key inventory data points at thousands of locations in a finite period of time — from one week to one day. In fact, RGIS performs a category audit once a month at more than 2,000 stores for one of our key grocery customers — all on the same day.” Supply chain management systems are designed to improve sales and customer experience, Day observes, but require continuous validation that location and inventory dates are accurate within those management systems.

Advance Planning “Retailers need to adopt systems and procedures to track inventory levels for each store at a more real-time pace so replenishment and product flow decisions can be made on a timely basis to support dynamic demands,” says Roger Falkenstein, territory manager at Minneapolis-based HighJump Software. Planning and forecasting systems should be deployed to better predict product demand based on dynamic variables, Falkenstein asserts, noting that HighJump is deploying WMS (warehouse management systems) tailored for retail stores to manage store inventory and goods movement in real time, from store receipt to back office to store shelf and, finally, to the customer. “Our in-store WMS solutions are configured to adapt to the unique environment of picking online orders in retail stores,” he explains. “We are leveraging this technology to ensure accuracy and drive labor efficiency. In addition, the systems are designed to enhance the store associate and customer experience with real-time information and even item substitutions.” WMS will continue to be a critical piece of managing the execution of goods movement, Falkenstein says. Amid the rapidly changing landscape of customer demands, compliance concerns and the impact of omnichannel, WMS solutions will need to be agile and adaptable to meet those challenges in a cost-effective and timely manner. Overcoming Challenges What’s the No. 1 thing retailers can do to improve their supply chain? According to Dan Grimm, VP of solutions strategy at Scottsdale, Ariz.-based JDA Software, it’s to create an environment where supply chain planning and execution are able to operate in a truly collaborative manner.

When planning groups are able to share realworld, granular information with the execution part of the business, Grimm says, retailers are better able to plan labor needs based on promotions, seasonality, new products, and more. In turn, the warehouse is able to take storage and labor constraints into account and develop more successful real-world plans. “JDA Software has led this effort by creating the Intelligent Fulfillment suite, which includes best-of-breed supply chain planning and execution products,” notes Grimm. “These integrated products have specific capabilities to utilize data to optimize the supply chain.” Among the challenges that Grimm sees retailers facing in relation to the online market is the increased competition that puts additional pressure on the retail supply chain to continue to strive for more cost reductions to keep pace with rivals. “To assist retailers with this issue,” he says, “JDA has developed intelligent labor management applications, which maximize worker productivity through established work standards, while also providing more accurate inputs into the task management engine for increased optimization of the tasks to be completed.” Grimm notes that order profiles are shrinking and, as a result, warehouses are being asked to fulfill orders that require more effort than in the past. Instead of case picking, orders are now requiring individual piece picking to be filled. That being the case, JDA is continuously working to improve labor optimization and task management to more efficiently complete the work at hand. “Finally,” he says, “as the result of reduced ordercycle times demanded by customer expectations, warehouses have to become nimbler and rely more on automation. JDA has worked with automation vendors to develop standard integration touch points for an integrated solution at a lower cost to our customers.” Grimm adds that there are several other areas that JDA is working on that will help with the real-world problems of retailers, citing as an example that the dramatic increase of Millennials in the workforce has created demand for more intuitive software. “Their expectations of app-style software will put pressure on companies to stay current and update their previous software solutions,” he observes. “In response to this trend, JDA has redesigned its solutions to provide the most user-friendly UI [user interface] available for warehouse management solutions.” Companies that sell food will also be under increased pressure to meet government regulations for product track and trace, Grimm notes. What’s evident is that in the ever-changing world of food retailing, the warehouse management link in the supply chain is keeping pace, and will continue to do so. PG

Retailers need to adopt systems and procedures to track inventory levels for each store at a more realtime pace so replenishment and product flow decisions can be made on a timely basis to support dynamic demands.” —Roger Falkenstein, HighJump Software

September 2016 | |


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Beaver Street Fisheries Commits to Lobster Conservation Over the past decade, Jacksonville, Fla.-based Beaver Street Fisheries (BSF) has taken part in a major fishery improvement project (FIP) in the Bahamas. Tropic Seafood Ltd., BSF’s sister company and lobster division, has been working with World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Bahamas Marine Exporters Association (BMEA) and the Department of Marine Resources (DMR) to address fishing practices and environmental impacts to help the lobster fishery thrive for generations to come. “We take great pride in our commitment to lead our industry as environmental stewards,” says Casey Marion, Beaver Street Fisheries director of sustainability initiatives and quality management systems. “We are on track to receive the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification in the coming months, and are continuing to drive other improvement projects within our supply chains, and working on a collaborative level is critical to the success of any fishery improvement project.” The rigorous MSC certification will validate Tropic Seafood’s efforts to ensure the long-term sustainability of marine environments for the Bahamian lobster fishery.;

Mondelez Names Bunch to Board of Directors Deerfield, Ill.-based Mondelez International has appointed of Charles E. (Chuck) Bunch to its board of directors. Bunch, 66, recently announced his retirement as executive chairman of the board at PPG Industries Inc., where he was chairman and CEO from 2005 to 2015. With this addition, Mondelez has 14 directors, 13 of whom are independent. “His strategic skills and strong operational and cost-management expertise will be instrumental as we continue to create value for our shareholders by leveraging our portfolio, reducing costs and investing in growth,” says Irene Rosenfeld, chairman and CEO. After joining Pittsburgh-based PPG in 1979, Bunch held positions in finance and planning, marketing and general management in the United States and Europe.

MasonWays Offers Merchandising Tower for Bagged Products West Palm Beach, Fla.-based MasonWays Indestructible Plastics LLC offers a plastic molded stock display tower that can be branded with company colors, logos, graphics and a header sign to create strong brand recognition. It keeps products off the floor for inventory control and impulse sales. Its vertical space allows more product at POS for easy access to heavy items usually on the shelf.

Robbie Introduces Steam N’ Eat Pouch for Fresh-cut Produce Lenexa, Kan.-based Robbie Flexibles has brought ready-to-eat meal solutions to the supermarket produce department with its new Steam N’ Eat Produce Pouch. The package allows grocers to offer customers fresh-cut produce packed in-store with a value-added steamable feature, enabling produce shoppers to take advantage of the multiple conveniences of grab-and-go packaging and microwave preparation. Currently, packaging with this technology is typically found in the frozen aisle, or pre-packed at the processor level and then shipped to the retailer. The pouch is designed with customized laser-venting technology that allows produce to cook evenly while maintaining the taste and nutritional benefits of steam cooking. Demand for fresh vegetable packaging is expected to climb to $2.8 billion by 2019. Packagiing featuring benefits like cooking convenience and easy cleanup have become key components in promoting and merchandising fresh-cut produce. Robbie is already working on the next size to add to the Steam N’ Eat Produce Pouch line, which is suitable for such items as asparagus, broccoli and cauliflower. September 2016 | |


Index Ainsworth Pet Nutrition

570 Lake Cook Rd, Suite 310, Deerfield, IL 60015 Phone: 224 632-8200 Fax: 224 632-8266 United StateS S MarketS Convenience • Grocery/Drug/Mass Store Brands • Specialty Gourmet Multicultural • Green • Technology Hospitality • Apparel

Canadian MarketS S • Convenience • Pharmacy • Foodservice

advertiSing SaleS & BUSineSS Staff Peter Hoyt President & CEO 773-992-4456 Ned Bardic Chief Customer Officer 224-632-8224 Korry Stagnito Chief Operations Officer 224-632-8171 Jeff Friedman Senior Vice President/Brand Director 201-855-7621 John Huff Midwest Regional Sales Manager 224-632-8174 Rick Neigher Western Regional Sales Manager (CA, OR, WA) 818-597-9029 Maggie Kaeppel Eastern Marketing Manager 630-364-2150 • Cell 708-565-5350 Mike Shaw Northeast, Marketing Manager 201-855-7631 • Cell 201-281-9100 Janet Blaney Marketing Manager (AZ, CO, ID, MD, MN, MT, NM, NV, OH, TX, UT, WY) 630-364-1601 Mike Weinreich Regional Marketing Manager (DE, MD, NY, TN, AL, DC) 201-855-7609 Jackie Batson Advertising Manager 224-632-8183


79, 85

Mann Packing Co., Inc.



Maple Hill Creamery Inc.



Mars Chocolate NA

Beaver Street Fisheries


Beiersdorf USA


Better For You Foods, LLC


Blount Fine Foods

162, Inside Back Cover

Bord Bia


Borden Dairy


Botanical Interests, Inc.


Califia Farms


Campbell Soup Company


Cheyenne International




CSM Bakery Products

40, 81

Datepac, LLC / Natural Delights


Dean Foods Co

Back Cover

Del Sol Food Company, Inc.


Diva International Inc.


E&J Gallo


ECR Software Corporation


Enjoy Life Natural Brands, LLC Farmland Inc

33 Inside Front Cover

Mason Vitamins Inc. MasonWays Indestructible Plastics Massimo Zanetti Beverage USA MilkPEP MIWE Mondelez International Nature Sweet Nestlé Nutrition U.S. Niman Ranch

Poppies International

127 53 134 15 4

21 119 89

Private Label Manufacturers Association


Prosperity Organic Foods, Inc.


River Valley Market Coop


Riviana Foods Inc.

91 76

Sanders Candy

Forte Product Solutions



97 30-31

Premier Nutrition

Robbie Flexibles

Glasdon International Limited

66, 68, 70


Pfizer Consumer Health




Peri & Sons Farms



77, 109


Food Marketing Institute

General Mills Inc.


Perfetti Van Melle USA Inc.

Flowers Foods

Fortun Foods


Save-A-Lot Schwan Food Company Sheila G’s Brownie Brittle Sovena USA

114 Insert 51 37 3 87

Glaxo Smithklein Consumer Health Care


Gold Medal Products


Goya Foods, Inc.


Stonefire Authentic Flatbreads



Thanasi Foods LLC


Heatcraft Refrigeration Products Inc. Heineken USA Inc.

39, 45

Stemilt Growers, Inc.

The Fremont Company



Herr Foods


The J.M. Smucker Company


Hope Enterprise Corporation


The Spice Lab


Hormel Foods Corporation


Iovate Health Sciences Int’l Inc.


J. Skinner Baking Company


Jack Links Beef Jerky


John Wm Macy’s Cheesesticks, Inc.


JTM Foods Kayem Foods Litehouse Loving Pets Products

110-111, 113 120

The Wonderful Company Trion Industries Inc.

24-25 9

Tyson - Open Prairie Pork


Tyson Foods


USA Pears WhiteWave Foods

131 65


Wholesum Family Farms



Wisdom Natural Brands


Progressive Grocer (ISSN 0033-0787, USPS 920-600) is published monthly by EnsembleIQ, 570 Lake Cook Rd. Deerfield IL 60015. Single copy price $10, except selected special issues. Subscription: $135 a year; Canada $164 (Canada Post Publications Mail Agreement No. 40031729. Foreign $270 (call for air mail rates). Periodicals postage paid at Deerfield, IL 60015 and additional mailing offices. Printed in USA. POSTMASTER: Send all address changes to Progressive Grocer, P.O. Box 1842 Lowell, MA 01853. Copyright ©2016 EnsembleIQ All rights reserved, including the rights to reproduce in whole or in part. All letters to the editors of this magazine will be treated as having been submitted for publication. The magazine reserves the right to edit and abridge them. The publication is available in microform from University Microfilms International, 300 North Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. The contents of this publication may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the consent of the publisher. The publisher is not responsible for product claims and representations.

| Progressive grocer | Ahead of What’s Nextt | September 2016

The Last By Meg Major

Upheaval in the East


hile all eyes are laser-focused on the exploding e-commerce sector in the supermarket channel — whose biggest players are going all in on the technology, talent and infrastructure to build their click-based grocery platforms to endure in the new world order ushered in by Amazon — the battle on the ground rages on. And nowhere is the grocery turf war currently more intense than the East Coast and Mid-Atlantic corridors, where significant upheaval is unfolding amid a flurry of activity that will potentially reshape the existing competitive dynamic. A key catalyst for much of the turbulence is the FTC-mandated divesture of 86 stores prior to the merger of Delhaize and Ahold (the latter of which will control 61 percent of the new conglomerate). The piecemeal deal involving seven regional grocery companies opened up prime locations for a few growth-hungry retailers to enlarge their respective bases, including Sunbury, Pa.-based Weis Markets, which picked up the largest number — 38 — of the divested stores. Having long maintained a debt-free balance sheet, expansion opportunities have been elusive for Weis, which pounced on the chance to add three dozen locations, along with its purchase of five Baltimore-area Mars stores it acquired in May from the D’Anna family. Beginning remodeling efforts early this month, with a goal of having all stores converted by the end of October, Weis at the end of this year will see its 162-store, five-state footprint grow to more than 200 across seven states (with the addition of Delaware and Virginia). In semi-close proximity is the 22-store slate of former Food Lion locations in northern West Virginia, western Maryland, south-central Pennsylvania and northwestern Virginia that will soon be added to Supervalu’s Shop ’n Save group banner. The Minneapolis-based distributor said it would initially operate them — after a six- to eight-week remodeling/conversion program — before making the sites available to retail customers that would otherwise be unable to buy them outright. As for intended buyers, press time speculation centered on western Pennsylvania’s independent Jamieson Family Markets — whose owners, Tom and Debbie Jamieson, currently operate 10 Shop ’n Save and nine Save-A-Lot stores in Pittsburgh and Ohio — as the lead candidate. Also said to be joining the Jamiesons in their new expansion venture, according to sources, is none other than former Supervalu/Save-A-Lot/Haggen executive Bill Shaner.

On a related note, the spinoff of one of Supervalu’s most productive assets, Save-A-Lot, remained in the “unfinished business” file as this issue went to press. In early August, Supervalu took yet another step toward divesting its St. Louis-based subsidiary with a filing to the SEC detailing Save-A-Lot’s separation plan, along with confirmation that it will retain 40 percent of the banner’s stock, of which it plans to position at least half within two years. Also remaining to be seen is whether an IPO — or a private-equity-backed deal to sell the discount grocery chain outright rather than a spin-off — will be the chosen direction taken by the wholesaler. Either way, it shouldn’t be much longer before a new chapter for Save-A-Lot is finally revealed. Meanwhile, the market that’s sparked the most interest is Richmond, Va., where two of the nation’s most admired food retailers — Wegmans Food Markets and Publix Super Markets — soon will face off directly for the first time. Recently opening its second Richmond-area store in Short Pump as it readies to open its 10th Virginia location, in Charlottesville, come November, Rochester, N.Y.based Wegmans is poised for the early advantage by the time the Lakeland, Fla.-based Publix — which acquired 10 of the 20 Martin’s stores from the Ahold Delhaize divestiture — makes its debut in the central Virginia hotbed in mid-2017. Be that as it may, look for Publix — which had previously announced plans to enter the Richmond market in 2018 in tandem with its rolling northern expansion — to not only gain an immediate toehold, but also sizable clout, after performing precision makeovers on each of its 10 new stores, which may well result in a few ground-up replacements. Finally, it will also be interesting to chart the post-merger progress of Ahold Delhaize’s U.S. banners, which saw improved performance in the months before finalizing the alliance on July 24 after more than a year in the works. With the groundwork now in place to facilitate greater efficiencies, the mega-retailer is commencing with the most critical p phase of its newly minted union, whic which is to deliver an excellent in-store expee rience and seamless execution. PG

While all eyes are laserfocused on the exploding e-commerce sector in the supermarket channel, the battle on the ground rages on.

Meg Major

Chief Content Editor Twitter @Meg_Major/@pgrocer

September 2016 | |


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The Renaissance Man North Carolina entrepreneur and computer engineer Magdy Taha has added a new Save-A-Lot store to his business ventures.




Save-A-Lot owner Magdy Taha, a computer engineer by training, has enjoyed a varied professional career so far. And speaking as a man of the (business) world, Taha says he considers the Save-A-Lot model a winner.

“Save-A-Lot is perfect for the [post-recession] economic situation we have. It is perfect for our clientele,” says Taha, who is also president of Greenville, N.C.-based Mack’s Food LLC, owner of Mack’s Furniture Warehouse and a commercial property developer. “People are much more careful with their money now. They have to be very wise about what they buy.” Shopping center support Taha built his Save-A-Lot store from the ground up in 2015 to anchor a shopping center developed by his company, Taha’s Properties. The center’s other tenants are a laundromat and a phone company store, and Taha is working on plans to bring in a fast-food restaurant and an urgent care center in the future. “Having the Save-A-Lot is a big incentive for other businesses to locate

Top, left to right: meat department manager James Andrews, meat department assistant manager Leonidas Herrarte, and owner Magdy Taha

Bottom, left to right: general manager Henry Aver, owner Magdy Taha, shift manager Sheena W. Barrett, and produce manager Antonio Feliciano






Store owner Magdy Taha: “You can count on the Save-A-Lot people to help you.”

here. The Save-A-Lot brings in a lot of traffic,” says Taha, who plans to eventually open five Save-A-Lot stores.

When he was in the restaurant business, Taha says, he quickly realized that “you can have the best food, but if you don’t have a good waitstaff to serve all of the customers, you are in trouble.”

Save-A-Lot is Taha’s first foray into the grocery business, and he has high praise for the company’s training program. “The first week, they put you through classes,” he says. “The second week, you get real experience working in the stores. Then they help you choose the right equipment, negotiate contracts, [and] they help with ordering, marketing, advertising and inventory. Right after that, they start ordering and stocking, and you are good to go.

Stock up for success The Save-A-Lot model for stocking the shelves is also an asset, says Taha. Store owners agree to buy the majority of their merchandise from Save-A-Lot and may buy from other approved vendors, usually local ones.

“The first week, Save-A-Lot’s district manager stays in your town until the grand opening, and then comes back to check on you,” he adds. “They hold your hand. In my book, it’s the perfect package.”

“You basically have a one-stop-shop warehouse without the expense of having to buy from multiple vendors,” he says. “They have everything in stock and supply us three times a week. If you have any problem, you can pick up the phone and talk to the warehouse manager, and they take care of it.”

Making a good impression Save-A-Lot’s budget-friendly prices get customers in the door, but that’s just the beginning, says Taha.

But the real key to success in any business, says Taha, is finding a good business model like Save-A-Lot and then sticking with it.

“I personally think that customer service and cleanliness” are the keys to success, he explains. “If you don’t have good customer service and a clean store, the prices don’t matter.

“My advice, as someone who came from a different business, is this: It’s a lot of work and a lot of stress, but in the end it pays off,” he says. “It may be hard in the beginning, but you will catch up. Get really good people on your team, and you will make it. And you can count on the Save-A-Lot people to help you.” GE

“Have the cashiers welcome every customer—it means a lot. Clean your floor. Imagine how you would like it to look when you walk into the store.” ISSUE 2, VOL. 5




With a proven hard discount, carefully selected-assortment business model, Save-A-Lot offers entrepreneurs the ability to compete effectively in today’s ever-changing grocery industry. And there’s never been a better time to be a Save-A-Lot licensee: Save-A-Lot is now offering a Licensed Store Incentive Program for all new and converted licensed stores. The amount of the incentive for each store will depend on the specific terms and financial considerations of each project, but will be a minimum of $200,000 per new store. If you have a proven track record of successful experience in grocery or other retail management, Save-A-Lot would like to talk to you about becoming a store owner. Here’s how you can take the next step toward a rewarding entrepreneurial opportunity as a Save-A-Lot licensee: ✱ Contact Eric Hunn, Save-A-Lot License Development, at or at (314) 592-9446. ✱ Visit the Save-A-Lot website at for more detailed information about becoming a Save-A-Lot owner.

The Save-A-Lot support advantage

Save-A-Lot by the numbers

✱ More than 1,300 stores nationwide ✱ 70% of locations owned and operated by independent licensed retailers ✱ Target neighborhoods with annual household income under $50,000 ✱ Average store size: 15,000 square feet ✱ Fewer than 3,000 SKUs per store ✱ 17 distribution centers across the country p to 30% lower than conventional supermarkets p s ✱ Prices up



✱ Market and consumer research ✱ Site selection and development assistance ✱ Owner, manager and associate training programs ✱ Advertising, public relations and information technology support programs ✱ Store opening assistance and ongoing operations support ✱ Integrated distribution center system