Progressive Grocer - September 2017

Page 1

The Sweet and Salty Spot Prepare to profit from holiday candy and snacks Page 73

Greater Transparency

‘Free-of’ food movement enters the mainstream Page 97

Incentivizing Shoppers Loyalty programs get personal Page 106

Stamp of Approval From wellness to convenience to taste, our favorite new products tap emerging trends Page 24

September 2017 • Volume 96 Number 9 $10 •






09.17 Volume 96, Issue 9


COVER STORY Progressive Grocer’s 2017 Editors’ Picks

Growing Success Plant-based products make strides in this year’s review of our favorite new products.

73 / Holiday Candy & Snack Merchandising

The 5 P’s of Seasonal Success For the fall and winter holidays, punctuality, placement, presentation, pricing and product are crucial.

83 / Industry Events Frozen in Time The NFRA Convention will showcase what’s hot in chilled foods.

89 / Fresh Food Brand New World Consumers increasingly ask for their favorite fruits and vegetables by name.

97 / Fresh Food The Arrival of ‘Free-of’ Food Consumer desire for transparency is behind this up-and-coming trend.

September 2017 | |




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

111 106 / Technology ‘Incentive’ Begins With ‘I’ Personalization, respecting data are key to driving loyalty program memberships. 111 / Supply Chain A Warehouse Space Odyssey New technology is bringing a sci-fi spin to the back end of the retail supply chain.

12 / PG Pulse 14 / In-store Events Calendar

November 2017 16 / Nielsen’s Shelf Stoppers/Spotlight

New Products

22 / All’s Wellness Season’s Eatings 121 / What’s Next Editors’ Picks for Innovative Products

Health & Beauty Care


| Progressive Grocer | September 2017

CUSTOM MEDIA VP/Custom Media Division Pierce Hollingsworth 224-632-8229 General Manager, Custom Media Kathy Colwell 224-632-8244 MARKETING VP, Marketing & Communications Bruce Hendrickson 224-632-8214

AUDIENCE DEVELOPMENT Director of Audience Development Gail Reboletti 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

20 / Mintel Global Pest Control

EVENTS SVP, Events & Conferences Maureen Macke 773-992-4413

8 / Editor’s Note Relevance in the Room

EDITORIAL Managing Director of Content Strategy Joan Driggs 224-632-8211 Editorial Director James Dudlicek 224-632-8238 Managing Editor Bridget Goldschmidt 201-855-7603 Digital & Technology Editor Randy Hofbauer 224-632-8240 Senior Editor Katie Martin 224-632-8172 Senior Editor Anna Wolfe 207-773-1154 Contributing Editors Bob Ingram, Jenny McTaggart, Lynn Petrak, Carol Radice and Jennifer Strailey

ADVERTISING SALES & BUSINESS Southeast Account Executive Larry Cornick 224.632.8248 Midwest Marketing Manager Angela Flatland (AR, CO, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, MI, MO, NE, ND, OK, SD, TN, WI) 224-229-0547 • Mobile: 608-320-4421 Senior Marketing Manager Judy Hayes 925-785-9665 Senior Marketing Manager Theresa Kossack 214-226-6468 Western Regional Marketing Manager Rick Neigher (CA, OR, WA) 818-597-9029 Northeast Marketing Manager Mike Shaw 201-855-7631 • Mobile: 201-281-9100 Account Executive/ Classified Advertising Terry Kanganis 201-855-7615 • Fax: 201-855-7373 Classified Production Manager Mary Beth Medley 856-809-0050

117 / Equipment & Design Cutting Edge Supermarket shelving is playing a more sophisticated part in marketing.

SVP, Brand Director Katie Brennan 201-855-7609 • Mobile: 917-859-3619

ART/PRODUCTION Director of Production Kathryn Homenick Advertising/Production Manager Jackie Batson 224-632-8183 • Fax: 888-316-7987 Art Director Bill Antkowiak REPRINTS, PERMISSIONS AND LICENSING Wright’s Media 877-652-5295

CORPORATE OFFICERS Executive Chairman Alan Glass Chief Operating Officer Richard Rivera Chief Brand Officer Jeff Greisch Chief Financial Officer Len Farrell Chief Business Development Officer & President, EnsembleIQ, Canada Korry Stagnito President of Enterprise Solutions/ Chief Customer Officer Ned Bardic Chief Digital Officer Joel Hughes Chief Human Resources Officer Greg Flores


Q Q&&A Mike MikePotthoff Potthoff A Talking Talkingwith… with…

VP, VP, Grocery, Grocery, Drug Drug and and Emerging Emerging Channels, Channels, Anheuser-Busch Anheuser-Busch (AB) (AB)

Progressive Progressive Grocer: Grocer: There There is so is so much much press press these these days days about about craft craft beers/premium beers/premium and and super-premium super-premium products. products. Why Why should should retailers retailers focus focus some some efforts efforts onon thethe value value segment segment within within thethe beer beer category? category?

highlights highlights a chance a chance to to winwin anan outdoor outdoor experience. experience. Something Something interesting interesting to to consider consider is that is that “Relaxing” “Relaxing” is an is an everyday everyday occasion, occasion, which which makes makes it relevant it relevant all all thethe time, time, butbut especially especially around around thethe time time when when people people areare heading heading home home after after work. work.

Mike Mike Potthoff: Potthoff: The The value value beer beer segment segment could could really really bebe called called thethe “valuable” “valuable” beer beer segment. segment. Value Value shoppers shoppers have have a very a very strong strong sense sense of of loyalty loyalty towards towards thethe segment; segment; anan average average 1 1 buybuy exclusively exclusively within within thethe segment. segment. More More just just over over 50% 50% 1 1 trips trips annually. annually. importantly, importantly, thethe Value Value shopper shopper makes makes 15.6 15.6 That’s That’s 74% 74% more more than than thethe Import Import shopper, shopper, 94% 94% more more than than thethe Craft Craft shopper shopper and and 277% 277% more more than than thethe FMB/PAB FMB/PAB shopper. shopper. The The value value segment segment is often is often overlooked. overlooked. ButBut in in reality, reality, it it 2 2 of of total total beer, beer, meaning meaning almost almost oneone of of every every accounts accounts forfor24% 24% four four beers beers consumed consumed across across America America is aisvalue a value beer. beer. Overall, Overall, thethe segment segment hashas been been identified identified as as a key a key area area at at AB, AB, and and wewe areare making making investments investments to to maintain maintain relevance relevance and and attract attract new new drinkers drinkers from from competition competition across across total total alcohol. alcohol. OurOur strategy strategy hashas notnot changed changed – we – we want want to to maintain maintain ourour position position in in thethe highhighvolume volume value value segment. segment.

PG: PG: What What benefits benefits cancan thethe beers beers in in your your value value portfolio portfolio deliver deliver that that other other value-priced value-priced brews brews dodo not? not? MP: MP: Anheuser-Busch Anheuser-Busch hashas thethe top-three top-three 1 1 in in thethe United United States States selling selling value value brands brands – Busch, – Busch, Busch Busch Light Light and and Natural Natural Light Light represent represent thethe only only value value brands brands in in thethe toptop tenten beer beer brands brands in in thethe nation. nation. Recent Recent new new packaging packaging and and programming programming from from both both Busch Busch and and Natural Natural Light Light continue continue to to elevate elevate thethe value value segment, segment, and and wewe areare excited excited forfor thethe future future potential potential of of ourour value value portfolio. portfolio. In In addition, addition, wewe willwill bebe introducing introducing Natty Natty RUSH RUSH 2525 oz.oz. cans cans in in three three unique unique flavor: flavor: Watermelon Watermelon Smash, Smash, Blue Blue Frostbite, Frostbite, and and Hurricane Hurricane Punch. Punch.

PG: PG: How How cancan retailers retailers decide decide how how much much shelf shelf space space to to allot allot forfor thethe value value beer beer segment? segment? How How cancan they they ensure ensure they they have have thethe The The Busch Busch brands brands areare all all about about family family kind kind of of distribution distribution and and advertising advertising strategies strategies that that willwill result result in in values values and and celebrating celebrating those those who who stay stay true true to to their their name, name, increased increased profits? profits? which which resonates resonates across across demographics. demographics. Then Then wewe lean lean in in with with partnerships partnerships likelike No.No. 4 Busch 4 Busch Ford Ford driver driver Kevin Kevin Harvick, Harvick, Kevin Kevin MP: MP: In In order order to to optimize optimize thethe value value segment, segment, youyou must must have have anan Van Van Dam, Dam, and and Minor Minor League League Baseball Baseball to to bring bring that that to to life. life. understanding understanding of of thethe Value Value shopper shopper and and thethe relevant relevant shopper shopper WeWe also also launched launched ourour loyalty loyalty platform platform Busch Busch Bucks Bucks in in select select occasions. occasions. Value Value over-indexes over-indexes in in thethe “Relax” “Relax” occasion, occasion, in in which which states states onon July July 1st1st and and have have seen seen anan overwhelming overwhelming response response thethe shopper shopper mission mission is usually is usually more more habitual habitual “for “for meme forfor now,” now,” from from consumers; consumers; already, already, 70K+ 70K+ people people signed signed upup from from thethe butbut there there is also is also a skew a skew toward toward “browsing “browsing adventure” adventure” and and program, program, where where they they willwill bebe able able to to upload upload their their receipts receipts from from “bargain “bargain hunt.” hunt.” To To capture capture such such occasions, occasions, wewe recommend: recommend: Busch Busch Family Family purchases purchases to to redeem redeem forfor cool cool items. items.Busch Busch also also hashas a refreshed a refreshed look look that that drives drives refreshment refreshment – a–top a top driver driver of of • Ample • Ample shelf shelf space space to to ensure ensure there there areare nono out-of-stocks out-of-stocks that that consideration. consideration. could could potentially potentially lead lead thisthis shopper shopper from from walking walking outout thethe store store and and shopping shopping elsewhere; elsewhere; Over Over thethe past past year year or or so,so, we’ve we’ve been been focused focused onon Natty Natty Light Light being being much much more more than than just just a good a good beer beer at at a good a good price, price, • A• consistent A consistent adad strategy strategy to to include include value value in in retailer’s retailer’s weekly weekly building building a bold a bold voice voice and and a distinct a distinct personality. personality. We’ve We’ve putput flyer. flyer.ForFor example, example, when when pre-planning pre-planning their their beer beer shopping shopping forth forth engaging engaging programming programming and and content. content. We’ve We’ve also also aligned aligned 3 3 more more likely likely to to useuse store store adsads than than ourselves trip, trip, Value Value shoppers shoppers areare 3x3x ourselves with with thethe brands brands (Rowdy (Rowdy Gentleman, Gentleman, Tipsy Tipsy Elves), Elves), shoppers shoppers of of other other brands; brands; products products (bucket (bucket hats hats areare a huge a huge seller, seller, who who knew!), knew!), outlets outlets (Barstool (Barstool Sports), Sports), events events (Natty (Natty Tour, Tour, Natty Natty Shack) Shack) and and • Multiple • Multiple points points of of distribution distribution to to support support with with sku’s sku’s that that areare relatable relatable influencers influencers (Smylie (Smylie Kaufman, Kaufman, Marisa Marisa Miller) Miller) who who relevant relevant to to thisthis shopper shopper and and occasions; occasions; exude exude thethe Natural Natural Light Light lifestyle lifestyle and and capture capture thethe younger younger consumer. consumer. • Support • Support forfor thethe segment segment with with display display programming programming around around CSICSI Panel Panel 52 52 weeks weeks ending ending 7.9.17 7.9.17 passion passion points points that that cancan bebe customized customized forfor thethe community, community, likelike 1 IRI1 IRI YTD YTD thethe Busch Busch Great Great Outdoors Outdoors toolkit, toolkit, which which is aisthematic a thematic program program 2 IRI2 IRI 3 3 Anheuser-Busch Anheuser-Busch Shopper Shopper PollPoll wewe runrun each each fall, fall, where where ourour packaging packaging turns turns orange orange and and

Note By Jim Dudlicek

Relevance in the Room

R Even with the current sea change, there are plenty of opportunities to be had for traditional grocers, provided they chart a strategic course and create a new tradition.

ead enough commentaries on the future of retail, and you start wondering why anyone in their right mind would still want to sell groceries. But cooler heads realize that even with the current sea change, there are plenty of opportunities to be had for traditional grocers, provided they chart a strategic course and create a new tradition. It’s all too true that competition is fierce and the game is changing on what often seems like a daily basis. With so many players, there are bound to be casualties. Most recent among them: Healthy Home Market (HHM), a three-store natural and organic food retailer operating out of Charlotte, N.C., since 1979, which has put itself up for sale. “Over the last several years, we suffered a series of financial setbacks due to difficulties associated with store expansions and relocations,” the retailer told Progressive Grocer’s Bridget Goldschmidt in a recent online story. “Although our current locations in key neighborhoods continued to perform well despite these events, even in the face of headwinds in the retail grocery industry, we then suffered an additional — and by far our largest — financial setback with the opening of our Lenoir [N.C.] store this past year. Unfortunately, the Lenoir store venture was not successful and resulted in substantial stress to HHM’s finances.” Industry observers rightly note that HHM’s move is in keeping with a national trend of small regional grocers losing share to discount grocers, warehouse clubs and ecommerce sites. Plus, HHM’s in the overstored Southeast, where it wrangled with the likes of Harris Teeter, Publix, Lowes Foods and Walmart, all of whom are now coping with the arrival of Lidl in their area as the deep-discount, limited-assortment format gains steam. That can’t be pleasant news for Anthony Hucker, recent successor to Ian McLeod as CEO at Jacksonville, Fla.-based Southeastern Grocers, whose Winn-Dixie, Bi-Lo and

Jim Dudlicek Editorial Director Twitter @jimdudlicek


| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | September 2017

Harveys banners also vie for share in the region. In a recent interview with PG, Hucker described Harveys, which opened seven more stores in Florida last month, as being the banner “best equipped to deliver quality, service and value” to shoppers, in the form of a “personalized shopping experience.” It’s been a tumultuous time at Southeastern, which earlier this year closed at least 20 stores across its system while renovating others and launching a Hispanic-focused brand at WinnDixie, meanwhile reorganizing its management structure to better tackle the challenges ahead. Indeed, the food retail landscape is shifting dramatically as shoppers gravitate from traditional stores to formats that more closely meet their needs, according to a recent study from Long Grove, Ill.based consultancy Inmar Willard Bishop Analytics. “By 2021, dollar share for the traditional grocery channel will reach 44.4 percent, an increase of 0.2 percent,” the study notes. “Shares for nontraditional grocery will drop 0.7 percent to 39.1 percent. The convenience store channel will have a slight increase in shares, reaching 16.5 percent. However, modest changes are often masked by large fluctuations occurring within the channel. For example, the number of traditional supermarkets will decrease by 24.6 percent. This decline is offset by double-digit growth in store counts for fresh-format, limited-assortment and super warehouse formats.” And, the study says, grocery ecommerce will grow exponentially as food retailers adopt it faster than other retail sectors have done previously, banking on the promise of big sales across all channels and the digital acumen of time-starved Millennials seeking greater convenience and personalized service. But the days of being all things to all people appear to be over. “The key to building market share and increasing loyalty requires one thing: relevancy,” the study asserts. “Relevancy must be reinforced at every touchpoint along the path-to-purchase continuum … to influence shopper behaviors. Missing the mark in one or two areas will likely result in more ‘channel hopping,’ which further diminishes loyalty.”

Mea Culpa Our August 2017 Store of the Month feature on Lowes Foods in Simpsonville, S.C., should have listed api(+) as the store’s designer of record, with D/Fab as fabricator and Williams Spencer as architect. PG

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A comforting bowl of ramen avorful

What’s trending on …

What is — and will continue — impacting the competitive grocery landscape was of top interest among’s most-read stories during the July 16Aug. 15 time period. In a guest piece commenting on results from Progressive Grocer ’s 2017 Consumer Expenditures Study, Pete Killian and Linda Deeken, of The Cambridge Group, a consulting firm owned by Schaumburg, Ill.-based Nielsen, pointed to fresh food, the health halo, excellent experiences, instant gratification on the go, and new/ smaller brands as five areas underscoring deeper consumer motivations that will only continue to affect the competitive grocery landscape in 2017 and beyond. The rest of the 10 most-read stories had to do with grocer news, some of the more unique being a Whole Foods shareholder’s filing a lawsuit to block the Amazon acquisition, the opening of H-E-B’s first drive-thru for barbecue, robots making rounds at Schnucks stores to detect out-of-stocks, and an exclusive tour of Lowes Foods’ Simpsonville, S.C., supermarket, PG ’s August Store of the Month.

5 Areas Impacting Grocery’s Future that Demand a Response

“Where else can you find such a variety of local, authentic products, produced fresh every day, from hardwoodsmoked ribs to local beers? We really do have it all.” —Chris Van Parys, VP of fresh sales and merchandising, Lowes Foods

Brookshire Bros. Joins Topco Associates

“Topco offers a unique opportunity for its members to dramatically increase our scale, gain industry insight from other regional grocers and more effectively compete in our respective markets.” —John Alston, president and CEO, Brookshire Brothers

Details Enhance Experience Schnucks Tests at Lowes Robots to Handle Foods Out-of-Stocks 12

—Pete Killian, principal, and Linda Deeken, CMO, The Cambridge Group

Whole Foods Shareholder Files Suit to Block Amazon Deal

“Categories that align with consumer demand are growing, and those not aligned are declining.”

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | September 2017

H-E-B Opening Its 1st BBQ Drive-Thru

“We’re starting Tally’s pilot with a focus on in-stock position, but we’re hopeful that Tally may open up a world of other possibilities with the shelf data it collects.” —Dave Steck, VP of IT — infrastructure, Schnucks


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November 2017 is... World Vegan Month National Peanut Butter Lover’s Month National Stuffing Month






Go Cook For Your Pets Day World Vegan Day


National Doughnut Day


National Nachos Day. What do you like on your nachos?

Daylight Savings Time ends at 2 a.m. Post signs to remind staff to reset their clocks.


National Tongue Twister Day. So where’s that peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?


International Men’s Day. Offer sale prices on men’s grooming products.


National Cake Day. Instagram your favorites.


National Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day



National Deviled Egg Day. This favorite is back in the limelight. Share recipes on your Facebook page.


National Cappuccino Day. Demo your frothers and coffee brewers all day long.

PG’s Top Women in Grocery Gala Celebration, Westin O’Hare, Rosemont, Ill.



Election Day


Make sure that all holiday cooking supplies are on the floor and well stocked.


For United Nations’ Universal Children’s Day, collect donations for a local children’s charity.


Cyber Monday. Kick off the occasion by sharing one holiday gift idea a day on Facebook through Dec. 24.


National Guacamole Day National Pickle Appreciation Day


National Cranberry Day National Gingerbread Cookie Day. Ask customers to share their gingerbread house photos on Pinterest.


National French Toast Day. Pin your most extravagant recipes on Pinterest.

National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day National Bundt Day. Hold a baking class for bundt cakes and build displays of pans and mixes.


Review Christmas supplies — decorations and merchandise.

Great American Smoke-Out Day. Encourage the smokers among your associates to quit, with gift cards as an incentive.


National Chocolates Day National Lemon Creme Pie Day

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | September 2017



National Men Make Dinner Day National Sandwich Day. Offer even more varieties than usual today.



National Candy Day. Time to deepdiscount that leftover Halloween candy.



Veterans Day (observed). Welcome the troops with discounts and special treats.

Veterans Day. Offer those discounts and treats again today.



National Vanilla Cupcake Day

National Baklava Day Homemade Bread Day

National Sundae Day

National Apple Cider Day. Feature hard and soft ciders today.

National Vichyssoise Day


Thanksgiving Only 32 shopping days left until Christmas!

National Cashew Day

National Rice Cake Day



National Raisin Bread Month National Pepper Month National Georgia Pecan Month


Black Friday. Buy your staff lunch today in anticipation of the hard work to come in the next four weeks.


National Parfait Day National Eat with a Friend Day. Offer buy-one-get-one on prepared meals.


National Mousse Day Email your calendar submissions to

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Front End

Market Intelligence By The Numbers

Shelf Stoppers Shelf Stoppers

HealthVegetables & Beauty Care Frozen

Basket Size Drivers

ToTal healTh and beauTy care sales reached nearly TOTAL FROZEN VEGETABLE SALES REACHED $60.3 billion in The pasT year

among the top-grossing health care categories, which command the largest basket size (average spend per trip)?


(52 weeks ending July 29, 2017)

(52 weeks ending April 2, 2016)

Top 5 health & beauty categories


The average American household spends:


Consumers chose frozen broccoli over alternatives for a variety of reasons:




0 52 Wks - W/e 07/29/17 ViTamins and supplemenTs

52 Wks - W/e 07/30/16

upper-respiraTory medicine

52 Wks - W/e 08/02/14

52 Wks - W/e 08/01/15 cosmeTics

pain relief

52 Wks - W/e 08/03/13 sTomachupper Gi

“it’s hard to ignore the proliferation of fresh food in today’s retail environment. however, the impact of these items is increasingly prominent around the entire store. Take kale as an example: While growth in fresh kale produce has slowed, we’ve seen an expansive use of kale as an ingredient throughout the store. beyond fresh produce, kale is an ingredient in at least 66 different categories, and overall, sales of products with kale grew more than 13 percent. superfood ingredients, touted for their many health benefits, are making their way into health and beauty care in a big way. The lines are blurring between the worlds of food and health and beauty.”

Spotlight on Frozen Broccoli

—Jordan rost, Vp consumer insights

WHEN ARE CONSUMERS EATING FROZEN BROCCOLI? Broccoli as an ingredient is most commonly consumed at dinner, followed by lunch.

Spotlight on Hair Care

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

consumers purchasinG hair care producTs also are mosT likely To purchase:


Percent Penentration 77.4% 90.4

114 35%













Source: nielsen



because it tastes great

9% $10.41 because it’s

per trip on nutritionals healthy and nutritious



OCCASION breakfast foods 29% TYPE prepared food-dry mixes 62%

cereal DINNER

per trip on vitamins quick and easy and supplements

because it’s low in calories, fat and sugar


Comparison Products

12% $16.08 because it’s

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | September 2017


$7.32 per trip on pain relief


source: nielsen homescan, Total u.s., 52 weeks ending July 29, 2017

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Pest Control Market Overview Mosquitoes and bees/hornets/ wasps are among the most common types of pests that U.S. consumers encounter. To fight them, most consumers turn to household pestrepellent sprays (43 percent), while personal insect-repellent sprays are also popular (32 percent). Bait traps have also proved popular (22 percent). However, nearly onethird (31 percent) agree that using personal repellent on the body is more effective at protecting against mosquitoes, compared with 14 percent who believe the same about using pest control around the home. To find a product that works, 35 percent of American pest-control product users turn to family and friends.

key issues Eco-friendly pest control and natural sourcing are both growing issues, as consumers are worried about the presence of chemicals. More than three-quarters (77

percent) of U.S. consumers who have used pest-control products indicated that they’re concerned about the chemicals they contain. Citronella is a popular botanical ingredient used, thanks to its natural insect-repellent properties, while other herbal ingredients include eucalyptus, neem, peppermint, chili pepper powder, lemongrass and tea tree. Although only 9 percent of American consumers have used wearable pest-control devices, compared with 43 percent who use sprays, many consumers don’t want to apply insect repellents directly on their skin. For example, 81 percent of American consumers who use pestcontrol products agree that some products are too harsh on the skin. When it comes to pest control, brand names may not hold the sway they do in other categories. A majority of consumers — 64 percent in the United States — consider private brands to be just as good as branded products.

Most U.S. consumers — 61 percent — prefer natural, nonchemical alternatives, e.g., pepper, baking soda, insecticidal soap. Marketing these types of ingredients could reassure consumers about safety, while also giving them a sense of familiarity about the product’s formulation. Patches and other portable insect repellents tap into some consumers’ desire to avoid direct contact with pest control products and any potential skin reactions that could arise from using personal insect repellents on their skin. Portable formats need to be light — easily attached to bags or strollers, for example — and need to require little manipulation to turn on and off. Effectiveness at keeping mosquitoes and other insects at bay will represent the ultimate test for many consumers. Terms like “dermatologically tested” can help promote these products as safe and gentle. Consumers continue to use sprays mainly to get rid of insects around their homes, and droplets could come into contact with their skin, or surfaces that they use, so consumers need reassurance regarding the safety of these products around the house.


| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | September 2017

All’s By Diane Quagliani

Season’s Eatings Help shoppers balance good taste and good health. reduced-fat cheeses, and lightened-up deli salads and dips. Bite-size servings of treats such as cheesecake, brownies and cookies offer indulgence with builtin portion control. Knowing shoppers’ health concerns is key to providing holiday food and beverage solutions. For example, three-fourths (76 percent) of respondents to the IFIC survey said that they try to avoid or limit sugars, and often do so by replacing caloric beverages with water and eliminating certain foods and beverages. Promotions featuring festive no- or low-calorie drinks like flavored sparkling waters or “mocktails” of plain sparkling water with a splash of pomegranate or tart cherry juice can help these shoppers maintain their health goals during festive events.

Tap your retail dietitians to communicate healthful holiday-themed lifestyle tips and food choices.


he fast-approaching fourth quarter is filled with food-focused holidays and celebrations, starting with Sweetest Day (Oct. 21) and continuing at a rapid clip until the New Year. During this time, many health-minded shoppers struggle to control their weight or to follow special diets to manage conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and food allergies. Research does in fact show that the holidays pose a challenge. According to data from two studies published in The New England Journal of Medicine, people gain about a pound or so each season. That might not sound like much, but many individuals take several months to lose the weight — or never do, which adds up over time. And yet, few would want to forgo the wonderful foods that accompany the season’s festivities. After all, taste is the top reason that we buy the foods and beverages we do, far outpacing factors like price and healthfulness, according to the 2017 Food & Health Survey from the Washington, D.C.-based International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation. How can shoppers balance the desire to enjoy the season with the need to maintain their health goals? Retailers are perfectly positioned to provide the foods and information that can help.

Retailers: A Hub for Holiday Food Solutions Retailers are fully stocked and ready to spotlight popular holiday foods that are aligned with healthful eating. Just a few examples are shrimp rings, fresh fruit and vegetable trays, natural


Retail Dietitians: Your Expert Resources Tap your retail dietitians to communicate healthful holiday-themed lifestyle tips and food choices. Social media, blogs and articles are effective channels for such topics as how to handle holiday parties, dinners and office treats without overindulging, and ideas for healthful hostess gifts and stocking stuffers. Dietitians can offer customized store tours and classes for shoppers on special diets to help these sometimesoverlooked groups enjoy the season as well. Your weightconscious shoppers and employees might appreciate a dietitian-led “hold the line” weight maintenance program during this time. Many dietitians advocate weight maintenance as a reasonable goal during the season, rather than struggling to follow a stringent weight-loss plan. On the food front, dietitians can promote flavorful, lightened-up holiday foods — perhaps with your inhouse chef — through TV appearances, cooking classes, recipe demos and samplings, accompanied by recipe handouts. Additionally, highlighting positive messages about the potential health benefits of such holiday favorites as nuts, dark chocolate and red wine is sure to bring shoppers good cheer. PG Diane Quagliani, MBA, RDN, LDN, specializes in nutrition communications for consumer and health professional audiences. She has assisted national retailers and CPGs with nutrition strategy, web content development, trade show exhibiting, and the creation and implementation of shelf tag programs.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | September 2017

Turn snacking upside down ChobaniÂŽ Greek Yogurt satisfies your shoppers all day long For more information about Chobani, please contact us via email at

Š2017 Chobani, LLC

Cover Story

Progressive Grocer’s 2017 Editors’ Picks

Plant-based products make strides in this year’s review of our favorite new products.


| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | September 2017

ust one word. Are you listening? Plants. There’s a great future in plants, as demonstrated by the entries in Progressive Grocer’s 2017 Editors’ Picks contest. Plant-based products are gaining ground with consumers, and they did well with our staff, too, as they made a strong showing among the 85 winning products we selected from among the 223 individual entries we received in food and nonfood categories. And the winning plants came in all types — from traditional forms like the Chelan Fresh Rockit Apple and Mann’s Kale Beet Blend, to alternatives for traditional proteins like Hilary’s Frozen Breakfast Veggie Sausages. We reviewed innovative plants like Pete’s Living Greens and plants in unexpected formats like Farmhouse Culture Kraut Krisps. We tasted plants dressed up as pizza from Caulipower and Daiya, and plants in other disguises like jackfruit, yogurt, pasta and cheesecake. Of course, we were similarly impressed with more traditional new products that delivered on taste and wellness attributes, such as gluten-free Brownie Brittle, RW Garcia Pulse Tortilla Chips, Good Health Veggie Pretzels — oh, wait, there’s plants in that — and SkinnyPop Microwave Popcorn. We appreciated trailblazers like A2 Milk, La Brea Bakery Reserve breads and Live Soda Sparkling Drinking Vinegars. And there were plenty of things that we just thought were cool or plain tasted great. Of course, we enjoyed a hearty helping of non-plant meats, too. Product evaluations were led by PG’s editorial team, with input from other EnsembleIQ staff members. 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? What we learned was that product innovation is alive and well. It’s answering the call from consumers for foods that are better for them, that are convenient, and that offer solutions to questions like “What’s for breakfast?” and “What do you want for dinner tonight?” Retailers, here are our picks for what we think will help drive sales in your stores. Tuck a napkin under your chin and read on ...

September 2017 | |


2017 Editors’ Picks 5 River Islands Cherries $2.99-$4.99 Stemilt is a leader in branded produce, and each of its products has a fascinating story to tell that creates excitement for curious consumers. These luscious late-season cherries come from northern California’s SacramentoSan Joaquin Delta Region, where the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers intersect with three smaller rivers, the Mokelumne, Cosumnes and Calaveras, creating a fertile growing region. The cherries have a beautiful, deep-red complexion and deliver bursts of sweetness.

7th Street Confections Dark Chocolate Thins

Alvarado Street Bakery Pumpkin Berry Sprouted Wheat & Coffee Flour Bread $4.99 With many of today’s consumers espousing a “no waste” mentality, Alvarado Street Bakery is taking a part of the coffee bean — the cherry, traditionally discarded as waste — and turning it into a sustainable coffee flour. It’s combined with organic sprouted whole wheat flour to create a nutrientrich flour for its sprouted-wheat breads. The on-trend Pumpkin Berry flavor also includes pumpkin puree, pumpkin seeds, cranberries and roasted coffee for a hearty, soft and sweet bread that’s perfect for breakfast toast.

$4.49 Perhaps best known for its old-school Nut Goodies and Bit-O-Honey confections, Pearson Candy Co. has tapped the snacking-chocolate trend to create a fresh, upscale brand image for these thins. Combining dark chocolate containing 54 percent cacao — known for its antioxidants, lower sugar and calories — with fruits, nuts and grains to provide a unique flavor and crunchy mouthfeel, they are non-GMO and contain no artificial colors or flavors. Varieties are Raspberry & Quinoa, Strawberry, Blueberry & Almond, and Pineapple & Toasted Coconut.


The A2 Milk Co. Chocolate 2% Reduced Fat Milk

Applegate Naturals Jalapeño and Cheddar Sausage

$3.99-$4.49 The A2 Milk Co.’s Chocolate 2% Reduced Fat Milk is made with 100 percent Dutch process cocoa, which gives the milk a rich, creamy flavor. Even better, people who suffer from lactose intolerance may be able to enjoy this milk, as it contains only A2 beta casein proteins; conventional milk contains both A1 and A2 proteins, and many people have a sensitivity to A1. The milk is sourced from local dairy cows that produce milk containing only the A2 protein.

$6.49 Now a largely autonomous subsidiary of Hormel Foods, Applegate excels at delivering all-natural, humanely raised meat products that consistently deliver on taste and quality. These tasty sausages are no exception. Combining hardwood-smoked chicken with cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses and spicy jalapeño peppers, the links are fantastic even without any condiments — or a bun — to get in the way. They’re great on the grill, which is how our tasters enjoyed them.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | September 2017

Moneybags. W∑ nderful Pistachios is the fastest-growing snack brand in the country1 To match record-breaking demand, we’re investing $55 million in marketing Protein-powered, healthy and delicious, they’ve got everything convenience store customers crave To order, call your W∑nderful Sales Representative or 800-528- UTS (6887).



Leadership. Innovation. Dedication.

At The J.M. Smucker Company, we are focused on driving long-term growth through our #1 and emerging, on-trend brands. We are proud to be #1 in 7 categories*. We’re passionate about keeping the right products on your shelves to meet the needs of shoppers and enhance your profitability.

©/TM/® The J.M. Smucker Company. © 2017. DD IP Holder LLC (as to Dunkin’ Donuts and all other trademarks, logos and trade dress of DD IP Holder LLC) used under license. Keurig, Keurig Hot, K-Cup, and the K logo are trademarks of Keurig Green Mountain, Inc., used with permission. *Sources: IRI Infoscan Multi-Outlet – 52 Weeks Ending April 16, 2017; SPINS Reports – data ending May 21, 2017

Applegate Naturals Thick Cut Bacon

Beaver Brand Stone Ground Mustard

$7.49 Another winner from Applegate was this excellent bacon. Some might say the bacon trend has come and gone, but we feel bacon is forever. This thick-cut version of Applegate’s Sunday Bacon is just plain good. It’s uncured with no added nitrates or nitrites, and made from humanely raised pork that’s hickory smoked. This clean-label bacon is simple and delicious. Its only flaw is that, eventually, it’s gone.

$3.29 Known for its condiments made from old-world recipes, Beaverton Foods consistently demonstrates how the best products need not be complicated. Case in point: Beaver Brand Stone Ground Mustard, which features all-natural mustard oil and no preservatives. It’s also certified gluten-free and contains no highfructose corn syrup. It’s a hearty, German-style mustard with whole mustard seeds that offer excellent texture — a perfect complement to deli meats and cheeses.

Arla Havarti, Gouda and Medium Cheddar Snack Cheese

$4.49 Snacks are the new meals, and these cheese snack bars from Arla deliver on taste, goodness and convenience. The personal-size grab-andgo treats come in Havarti, Gouda and Medium Cheddar varieties. The cheddar is subtly sharp and smooth, the gouda offers a slightly sweet and nutty flavor, and the havarti is creamy, mild and buttery. They pair well with crackers, fruit and nuts. The cheese is made with milk from cows not treated with synthetic hormones, and contains no artificial flavors or preservatives.

Attune Foods Sweet Home Farm Granola $5.99 Offering 5 grams of fiber and 5 grams of plant-based protein per serving, Sweet Home Farm Coconut Chia Granola is a tasty non-GMO addition to breakfast or can serve as a snack by itself. As well as delivering on those fronts, the Mocha Latte variety is made with real coffee to offer 4 grams of fiber and 5 grams of plant-based protein, along with 25 grams of whole grains. It’s also Non-GMO Project Verified and provides about 10 milligrams of caffeine.

Biena Foods Rockin’ Ranch

$1.79 Ranch is a perennial flavor favorite, and Biena Foods combines it with high-fiber chickpeas for a healthful snack that features cool, creamy flavor with a light, flaky crunch. Each single-serve 1.2-ounce package is packed with 4 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber for longerlasting hunger satisfaction. The chickpeas are sourced exclusively from family-owned farms in the United States, and the flavors use non-GMO ingredients. Additional graband-go varieties include Sea Salt and Honey Roasted. September 2017 | |


Birds Eye Veggie Made Mashed $3.49 Cauliflower is big this year, and among the latest “alternative” products leveraging the vegetable is Birds Eye Veggie Made Mashed, which aims to deliver the taste and texture of a favorite side dish with half the carbohydrates of traditional mashed potatoes. We think Pinnacle Foods has a winner with this line, which mimics the thick, creamy texture of whipped spuds. With no artificial flavors or preservatives, these mashes are great as is, or can be swapped out in dishes like shepherd’s pie or shrimp and grits.

Brownie Brittle Bites

Birds Eye Veggie Made Pasta

$4.29 As longtime fans of Sheila G. Mains’ Brownie Brittle, we were intrigued by this clever riff on the popular snack. These are a miniaturized version of the flagship product: The batter is baked and cut into bite-size pieces, which are enrobed in chocolate. The texture’s a bit different, and they’re a little messy due to the coating, but we think Brownie Brittle fans will enjoy these, too — we sure did.

$3.49 We went in skeptical and came away convinced by this new product from Birds Eye that veggie pasta can be as good in taste and texture as traditional noodles. Offering an alternative to what some deem “empty calories,” these frozen penne and rotini sides are made from zucchini, spinach and lentils, extruded just like traditional pasta. Each wheat-free bowl offers a full serving of vegetables and no artificial flavors or preservatives.

Brownie Brittle Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip/Dark Chocolate Sea Salt

Breath Savers Protect Mints

$3.49-$3.99 We’ve already expressed our appreciation for Brownie Brittle, but we’re sure that folks with celiac disease or who are otherwise abstaining from wheat-based products are disappointed that they can’t share in the love. Well, that’s no longer the case: There’s now a gluten-free version of Brownie Brittle, currently available in two varieties. We think they’re virtually indistinguishable from the original version, both in taste and texture. Wheat-free folks are bound to enjoy this treat.

$2.19 The key to a good mint is to offer a blast of freshness without being overpowering or too medicinal. Breath Savers Protect Mints from the Hershey Co. manage this balancing act well, offering a cool burst of either Peppermint or Spearmint while also helping to protect teeth with dentist-recommended xylitol, which may reduce the risk of tooth decay. The mints neutralize plaque acids in the mouth following consumption of foods containing sugar or starch, and defuse bad breath.


| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | September 2017

Prego Farmers’ Market ® is adding three new SKUs to our already delicious variety of sauces. Shoppers love the flavorful taste of our sauces and you love generating more sales. Now available in 6 delightful flavors, Prego Farmers’ Market ® is made with tomatoes picked at the peak of freshness.

©2017 CSC Brands LP



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N O V E M B E R 1 ST– J A N U A R Y 8 TH, 2 0 1 8

CONTACT YOUR SALES REPRESENTATIVE TODAY. OFFICIAL BEER SPONSOR OF THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF ©2017 DOS EQUIS® XX SPECIAL LAGER. DOS EQUIS® XX AMBAR BEER. IMPORTED BY CERVEZAS MEXICANAS, WHITE PLAINS, NY. Sources: 1. Nielsen FDCM+ 52 weeks ending 5.20.17 2. InfoScout Panel L52 wks 5.14.17 3. Nielsen Spectra National Behaviors Report – L52 w/e 1.17 (listen, attend watch NFL/College Football)

Calle Sabor Beef Street Taco Kit

Butler Home Products Dawn 3-Count Power Clean Sponges and Scrubtastic Duck Sponge $.3.99 each The heavy-duty Power Clean sponge comprises a base layer of high-quality cellulose to wipe surfaces dry, a middle layer of hydrophilic urethane foam to create long-lasting suds, and a top layer of proprietary Power Clean scrubber material. Recalling the longstanding Dawn Helps Save Wildlife campaign, the nonscratch functional duck-shaped scrubber contains thermal scrub technology allowing users to make the item softer in warmer water and firmer in cool water. Further, the wing cutout cleans utensils, while the back-of-the-neck area folds over to clean glass and bowl rims.

Califia Farms Protein Almondmilks $2.49 Plant-based beverages are enjoying increased demand, and Califia Farms has been at the forefront of this category growth. One of its latest products is this almond milk, which boasts 8 grams of rice and pea protein, plus 1 gram of maca root powder, per 10-ounce serving. It’s Califia’s first use of maca, said to boost energy while aiding stress management and hormonal balance. The beverage is a great grab-and-go option, and our dairy-free staffers said that it’s smooth and enjoyable without the chalky taste of some similar products.

$9.99 We were genuinely impressed by this product, a true meal solution with style. Calle Sabor, or “Flavor Street,” aims to recreate the flavors of Latin American street food. The kits contain ready-to-cook, marinated diced beef; guacamole; roasted cantina-style salsa roja; jalapeños; and tortillas. We saw these demo’d at a trade show and were jazzed by their authenticity, simplicity and taste. Sear or sauté the meat, toast the tortillas, add toppings and dig in. Viva Golden West!

Caulipower Margherita Pizza $7.99-$8.99 From mashed potatoes to rice, cauliflower is being used to create carb-friendly alternatives to all sorts of starchy foods. Caulipower certainly hits the ball out of the park with its Margherita Pizza, a ready-to-cook cauliflower-crust frozen pie rich in nutrients and naturally gluten-free. The lower-calorie, -sugar, -sodium and -fat alternative is even crispier than many traditional frozen Margherita pizzas our tasters have tried, while still offering the timeless flavors of vine-ripened tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and sauce made with garlic, extra-virgin olive oil and spices.

Certified Angus Beef Taqueria Seasoned Diced Beef for Tacos

$7.99 per package For DIY chefs not interested in meal kits, Golden West Foods and Certified Angus Beef (CAB) offer this seasoned diced beef, ready to cook and add to favorite recipes. The beef is hand-trimmed, marinated in citrus juices, and combined with herbs and spices to capture the flavor of authentic Mexican street tacos. We continue to be impressed with the partnership between CAB and Golden West to deliver high-quality, delicious and convenient meal solutions that make food prep easier and more exciting. September 2017 | |


Chelan Fresh Rockit Apple $3.99 This blush-colored fruit’s small size makes it a perfect on-the-go snack. The apples, which are sweet and crunchy, are packaged in 3-, 4- and 5-count tubes that offer an ideal way to move produce to convenience areas like the front end or foodservice, and the packaging provides a longer shelf life. The Rockit apple originated in New Zealand in 2010, but now is grown by Chelan Fresh and Borton Fruit in Washington state, which allows for a year-round supply.

Clover Sonoma Non-GMO Project Verified Conventional Milk $3.49 Clover Sonoma pledged to convert its conventional fluid milk products to Non-GMO Project Verified by the end of 2018, and its inaugural half-gallons are now available — the first produced in California on a large scale. That’s not the only first from this pioneering dairy, which was the first west of the Mississippi to eliminate synthetic hormones, one of the first to support organics, and the first in the United States to become American Humane Certified.

G.H. Cretors Organic Honey Butter Kettlecorn $3.99-$4.79 Since our tasters love G.H. Cretors, they were glad to try a unique-sounding twist on traditional kettle corn. G.H. Cretors Organic Honey Butter Kettlecorn is sweet and salty, two of our favorite flavors. However, the added twist of honey butter instead of plain sugar makes it an even more delectably fluffy treat. The fact that the popcorn is organic left our tasters who tend to be concerned about artificial ingredients resting easy.

Cocomel Bites $4.99 Nondairy alternatives continue to grow in popularity among folks seeking more plantbased products, even in their sweets. These bite-size caramels, made without dairy or gluten, are organic, nonGMO and kosher, and come in two flavors: Sea Salt and Vanilla. Our vegan taster called them the best nondairy caramels she’s ever tasted, and appreciated that they’re not coated with an unnatural shiny glaze like other dairy-free candies she’s encountered.

Crafted by Cinnabon Swirl Bundt Cake

$7.99 The folks at CSM Bakery Solutions continue to find ways to leverage popular consumer brands to inject more excitement into the in-store bakery. One of the company’s latest products is the Crafted by Cinnabon Swirl Bundt Cake, an indulgent cinnamon cake with cream cheese frosting, drizzled with Cinnabon-brand cinnamon glaze and topped with white chocolate curls. This retail-ready product features prominent Cinnabon branding to attract shoppers looking to enjoy those popular flavors at home or for new occasions.


| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | September 2017

Keep the P∂M P∂MS in the berry cooler. And keep the extra profits wherever you like.

Arils sales soared last pomegranate season, and P∂M P∂MS dominated with 80% market share and 30% sales growth.1

Now we’re investing $3 million in marketing support to help these little red hotcakes fly off your shelves.

For maximum profits, stock both the 4.3oz and 8oz SKUs in the berry cooler and healthy snacking section.

The season starts in October, so call 877-328-7667 to order now.

© 2017 POM Wonderful LLC. All Rights Reserved. POM, POM WONDERFUL, POM POMS, POM POMS WONDERFUL and the accompanying logos are trademarks of POM Wonderful LLC or its affiliates. PA170526-04 1 In all U.S. grocery, POM POMS outsell all Arils competition combined by more than 3x (Source: IRI, US Grocery, Arils category sales, 10/2/2016–2/19/2017). POM POMS has 4x the distribution of competitors (Source: IRI, US Grocery, POM POMS & Arils competitors, Average weekly ACV, 10/2/2016–2/19/2017).

Celebrate the 2017 Top Women in Grocery Now in its second decade, Progressive Grocer will honor the 2017 Top Women in Grocery winners at our signature gala event. November 8-9, 2017

This year’s event will include: • • • • • •

The Westin O’Hare Chicago (rosemont), IL

Wednesday evening welcome reception Leadership Development Program (optional) Daytime activities Gala cocktail reception Gala dinner and awards presentation After-dinner dessert party

After-Dinner Dessert Party Sponsor

It will be a day full of inspiration and celebration! trailblazer Sponsor

Delight Lounge Sponsor

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Contoured Solutions for

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To see our full agenda and learn more about the Top Women in Grocery gala visit To sponsor, please contact: Katie Brennan 917-859-3619

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bronze Sponsor

floral Sponsor

Duke’s Cajun Andouille Smoked Shorty Sausages

Daiya Foods Meatless Pepperoni Style Pizza $9.99 Pizza goes gourmet and vegan with Daiya Foods’ Meatless Pepperoni Style Pizza, billed as the first-ever plant-based and soy-, gluten- and dairy-free pepperoni pizza. The frozen pizza features plant-based pepperoni made with a blend of mushroom and pea protein crumbles, melty “cheeze,” zesty sauce and an artisan gluten-free crust. Most of our tasters enjoyed this item, except for one self-described pizza “purist,” but we expect anyone looking for more plant protein will enjoy it.

Dave’s Gourmet Creamy Garlic Red Pepper Hot Sauce $5.99-$6.99 specialtyfoods A hot sauce should do more than just burn, and this one is also rich, fresh and zesty. When eaten with its perfect partner, the chip, the sauce’s layers of moderate spiciness unfold and warm the palate from front to back without shocking it. The sauce also works well on salads, sandwiches, burgers, eggs, and grilled meats and vegetables, or as a cooking sauce. It’s a blend of spicy red chilies, sweet roasted peppers and garlic with spices.

$6.89 “I would chain-smoke these.” That’s how one of our tasters, who’s particularly fond of meat snacks, reacted to the newest variety of Duke’s smoked shorty sausages from Thanasi Foods. Shorties in resealable pouches have really taken off for Duke’s, which creates its meat snacks in small batches smoked over hardwood. These aim to capture the flavor of andouille, and get it right using roasted red peppers and Cajun spices. It doesn’t hurt that they’re full of protein, too.

Eli’s Dairy Free Belgian Chocolate Cheesecake

$1.49 This certified-vegan cheesecake even impressed the most diehard carnivore and dairy lover among our tasters. Of course, if anyone could do this right, it would have to be Eli’s, the gold standard in the cheesecake world for generations. Certified vegan, non-GMO and kosher, this confection includes silken tofu and dairy-free cream cheese made with coconut and sunflower oils, making it rich and creamy. If we hadn’t known it wasn’t a “real” cheesecake, we’d have been hard-pressed to tell the difference.

Enjoy Life Foods Baking Chocolate Snack Packs

$ 6.99 These packs are a great to-go snacking option or dessert for children’s lunches, and you don’t have to be vegan to enjoy them. Containing just three ingredients, these packs make dessert nostalgic, simple and satisfying. Each 1-ounce package contains the perfect portion of chocolate chips, and the single-serve packaging makes it easy to track sugar intake while providing just the right amount of sweetness. The snack packs are available in Semi-Sweet Mini Chips and Dark Chocolate Morsels varieties.

September 2017 | |


Evolution Fresh Watermelon Juice $3.99 Naturally sweet and refreshing watermelon gets a bright twist from a touch of lemon in this juice beverage, a refreshing natural option for hydration. Made from only watermelon and lemon, each 11-ounce serving of this cold-pressed juice contains just 130 calories and no added sugars, artificial colors or flavors. Rich in potassium, watermelon juice is a favorite sports drink for athletes, or it can be used as a mixer in a tasty cocktail.

Evolve Plant-Based Protein Line $2.99-$39.99 (depending on format) It says something that Hormel Foods, long associated with meat products, is getting in on the plant-based protein game. Free of dairy, soy, gluten and artificial flavors, and made with all non-GMO ingredients, Evolve drinks and powders deliver 20 grams of protein per serving. The line consists of RTD beverages, protein packets and protein powder tubs. Our tasters were impressed by the amount of protein and fiber, and appreciated the convenience of the reclosable drink bottles.

RW Garcia Pulse Tortilla Chips $3.99 Pulses, such as beans, chickpeas and lentils, are a trendy source of protein and fiber. RW Garcia’s Pulse Tortilla Chips leverage that demand, combining an irresistible crunch with unique flavor profiles from an array of spices. The line comes in Black Bean & Garlic, Lentil & Turmeric, and Hummus & Red Bell Pepper flavors. The chips are made from sustainable pulse crops and contain clean ingredients for a better-for-you snack.

Good Health Veggie Pretzels $3.49 Our tasters have tried many veggie chips — some they liked, and some they didn’t. Veggie pretzels were new to them, however, which made trying them all the more intriguing. Turns out they were delicious and nutritious: A 1-ounce serving of the snack is equivalent vitamin-wise to 2.5 cups of broccoli, one beet, five tomatoes, 7 cups of spinach and two carrots. It’s a recipe that delivers a unique, hearty taste that’s great for snacking.

Farmhouse Culture Kraut Krisps $3.79 We never thought of tortilla chips as a source of probiotics or sauerkraut, but Farmhouse Culture proved us wrong. Sauerkraut and masa serve as the base for these chips, which are lightly seasoned with natural herbs and other flavors. The plant-based probiotic strain is shown to support digestive and immune health. The taste of sauerkraut is mild but imparts a unique tang to the chips that our tasters couldn’t get enough of.


| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | September 2017

Hail Merry Chocolate Almond Butter Cups $2.49 More plant-based goodness comes from Hail Merry, an innovator in vegan desserts. Made with virgin coconut oil and raw nuts that deliver good fats, the combination of creamy almond butter and dark chocolate ganache is truly decadent. Our tasters thought the 2-count package was great for sharing or saving, but “they are hard to stop eating once you start.” Hail Merry products are certified gluten-free, vegan, kosher, and Non-GMO Project Verified.

Heart and Soul Quality Foods Vegetables

$3.09-$3.19 With the tagline “Many are picked, but few are chosen,” Heart and Soul’s 19 SKUs of non-GMO vegetables, which include broccoli, peas and cauliflower, are selected to provide consistent size, taste and color. The packaging also features a standard size and weight for all SKUs, which presents well in frozen cases. Frozen right after harvest to lock in their goodness, they are ready to roast, sauté, stir-fry or just lightly steam. These veggies are truly fresh-tasting and delicious.

Hak’s Salad Dressings

$3.99 How clever! These dressings come in packages of six 1-ounce single-serve pouches, a great portion-control solution for folks seeking a zestier salad but who don’t want to go overboard. Long a mainstay in foodservice, this is a new concept for home use. One of our tasters remarked, “It’s a no-brainer, it’s so genius.” Available in eight flavors, the dressings are gluten-free, non-GMO, and made with clean, easy-to-understand ingredients. Additionally, you can avoid the mess of unused dressings wasting space in the fridge.

Here Foods Bright Beet and Spinach Mushroom Dips $4.49 These cold-pressure-protected refrigerated dips from Here Foods contain no artificial flavors or preservatives. The Bright Beet Dip blends whole beets with Illinois tomatoes and Michigan white beans to create a savory blend full of fiber and flavor, while the veggie-packed Spinach Mushroom dip does double duty as a bread spread. They also contain olive oil, lemon juice and salt. The dips feature no artificial flavors or preservatives, and taste great served with veggies or chips.


| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | September 2017

Hilary’s Frozen Breakfast Veggie Sausages Hero Clean Liquid Laundry Detergent, Single Dose Laundry Pacs, and Odor Eliminator-Fabric and Gear $14.99 (liquid detergent and single-dose pacs); $4.99 The detergents in this product suite employ Hero Clean’s Patented Odor Defeater Technology targeting male sweat odor, especially in moisture-wicking and work garments, and also contain six enzymes for full stain control as well as whitening, color brightening and fabric protection. The spray’s patented technology immediately neutralizes odor, while probiotic microbes penetrate fabric and surfaces, destroy odor-causing bacteria, and create an inhospitable environment for them to grow back. The odor eliminator can also be used to pretreat clothes before laundering. Featuring a juniper-based scent, all of the products are U.S.-made, with 7 percent of corporate profits benefiting the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

Hershey’s Cookie Layer Crunch 99 cents-$4.19 Hershey’s Cookie Layer Crunch bars wrap chocolate around tiers of smooth crème and crunchy cookie bits. The line’s three flavors are caramel, mint crème and vanilla crème. The standard 1.4-ounce bar (two pieces) comes in caramel and mint crème flavors, while the king-size 2.1-ounce bar (three pieces) is available in caramel and mint crème flavors. All three flavors are available in a 3.5-ounce XL Bar (five pieces) and a stand-up bag of nine pieces.


| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | September 2017

$4.29 These vegan breakfast sausages are quick and simple to make, and have great flavor and texture. For those who suffer from food allergies or celiac disease, breakfast can be a difficult meal. These plant-based sausages are glutenfree, certified organic and non-GMO. They took about five minutes to go from frozen to plate when cooked over the stove, our taster’s preferred method over the microwave. Free from the top eight most common allergens, they come in Spicy Veggie and Apple Maple varieties.

Hormel Black Label Real Bacon Crumbles

$4.99 Hormel’s Black Label brand is top-notch bacon, and now the brand has done one better by providing it in a convenient format. These cooked bacon crumbles come in a 4.3-ounce plastic tub, ready to add to salads or other recipes. In addition to the great bacon flavor, our favorite things about these crumbles are their texture and the range of piece sizes, from tiny bits to jagged chunks offering extra chew.



/© 2017 Tyson Foods, Inc.









, INSPIRED BY global trends and exotic flavors

PACKED WITH protein, fiber and whole grains

DELICIOUSLY BOASTING vibrant colors, interesting textures and savory flavors

Hormel Natural Choice Snacks $1.79 Protein snacks are all the rage, with the latest examples pairing meat with all manner of complementary items. Hormel Foods is right on point with its Natural Choice snack packs, which combine savory and sweet in a convenient, portable, peel-open-and-eat package suitable for on-the-go lifestyles. Our sample featured all-natural ovenroasted turkey breast, pepper jack cheese and dark-chocolate-covered blueberries — 9 grams of protein, all-natural and no preservatives.

Kahiki Crispy Tempura Asian BBQ-Style Chicken

The Jackfruit Co. Ripe Jackfruit $5.99 Native to India, jackfruit is trending right now, and we understand why. It tastes like a blend of mango, pineapple and banana, yet its texture has made it a popular meat replacement. Rich in nutrients, including antioxidant vitamin E, potassium, fiber and manganese, this frozen ripe jackfruit is ready to eat out of the pouch, or can be used in such recipes as smoothies and baked goods. It’s sure to be popular with consumers seeking meat alternatives.

Jackson Galaxy Fizzion Pet Stain & Odor Remover $8.99 Safe for consumers, pets and the environment, Fizzion uses CO2 Technology in a patented nontoxic formula that removes urine, vomit, feces and blood stains and odors, without harsh chemicals. The product also discourages pets from returning to the same place to relieve themselves. Fizzion comes in a 23-ounce bottle with two refill tablets, for a total of 46 ounces of solution; consumers simply add water to the tablets to activate them.

$6.99 Consumers want mealtime solutions that are quick, easy and tasty, and we found all three in this zesty ovenfinished frozen entrée from Kahiki. The crispy tempura chicken is paired with a spicy-sweet barbecue sauce that, when tossed with veggies and served over rice, results in a terrific meal. We followed Kahiki’s suggestion to finish the sauced pieces under the broiler for a stickier texture and weren’t disappointed. The entrée is all-natural, with no preservatives, artificial flavors or MSG.

Kite Hill Traditionally Cultured Almond Milk Yogurts $1.99 Kite Hill reportedly has a huge following among vegans, and we see why — the company’s almond-based yogurts taste very similar to dairy-based products. Made with probiotic cultures, the yogurt is free of soy and GMOs as well as milk, and the line encompasses nine flavors that can be eaten on their own or used in recipes for everything from smoothies to sauces. The caramel and Key lime flavors are guiltless dessert options or great as sweet midday snacks.

September 2017 | |


La Brea Bakery Reserve

$8-$10 The La Brea Bakery Reserve line gives an upscale boost to the bakery aisle. Billed as the first nationally available farm-to-table artisan bread, these loaves are made with single-origin, non-GMO heirloom wheat grown in Montana and harvested for flavor, not yield. They’re wonderfully flavorful breads with great texture and a terrific brand story. There are three varieties: Pain de Campagne, Fortuna and Struan.

Litehouse Guacamole Herb Blend

$4.99 The latest in Litehouse Foods’ growing line of freeze-dried spices is this handy Guacamole Herb Blend, perfect for whipping up a quick batch of the popular dip, which consumers can create by mixing this blend of cilantro, red onion, tomato, lemon, cumin, red pepper and garlic with avocado, salt and lime juice. It’s definitely a convenient option for those weary of slicing and dicing. Each jar makes four batches of guacamole, contains no additives or preservatives, and is non-GMO and gluten-free.

$2.59 Drinking vinegar? With beverages from sour beers to kombucha all the rage, these Sparkling Drinking Vinegars are right on trend, with four fruity flavors to enjoy: Concord Grape, Tart Cherry, Pomegranate & Elderberry, and Blueberry & Ginger. Each bottle contains 2 tablespoons of raw, unprocessed apple cider and coconut vinegars, blended with organic fruit juice and water, and only 2 to 3 grams of sugar. All were great, but our tasters tied on whether Tart Cherry or Pomegranate & Elderberry was their favorite.

Living Intentions Activated Superfood Popcorn

Litehouse Sriracha Lime and Mango Habanero Dressings

$4.49 Litehouse also continues to bring excitement to the refrigerated dressing category. Offering the on-trend blend of heat and sweet, the Sriracha Lime and Mango Habanero dressings offer big taste at only 25 calories or fewer per serving. Great for salads, or use as a marinade, these dressings are gluten-free and contain no high-fructose corn syrup or artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.


Live Soda Sparkling Drinking Vinegars

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | September 2017

$4.99 Living Intentions Activated Superfood Popcorn includes an ideal combination of ingredients that our tasters normally don’t associate with popcorn, including ashwagandha, chlorella, maca, maqui berry and live probiotics, to support immune health, digestive function and an overall sense of wellbeing. Available in such flavors as Tandoori Turmeric, Salsa Verde, Cinnamon Twist and Berry Smoothie, the popcorn is made with organic, clean and minimally processed ingredients. All varieties are gluten-free, plant-based, made with the highest-quality ingredients available, and either organic or transitional.

Each portion of our Garden Market Chicken

recipe contains a half cup of vegetables and is high in protein. ®


Knorr Sides makes nutritious, delicious meals quick and easy. Inspired consumers are whipping up Knorr® SidesTM recipes with lean protein and fresh vegetables. Partner with us in our commitment to drive improved well-being, nutritious choices and category growth. Contact your Unilever representative to learn more about our Positive Nutrition campaign. ©2017 Unilever XTM17004

Mann’s Kale Beet Blend $3.99 A colorful twist on two of Mann’s top sellers — Power Blend and Broccoli Cole Slaw — Mann’s Kale Beet Blend combines kale, golden beets, kohlrabi and red cabbage, helping it to stand out on shelves and offering strong versatility. It can be served on its own or incorporated into dishes such as salads and smoothies. Made from 100 percent fresh vegetables, the item is glutenfree, non-GMO and all-natural.

Luvo Thai-Style Green Curry Chicken $4.49 Luvo continues to redefine the concept of frozen meals, making them as good for you as they are convenient to prepare and eat. We enjoyed the flavorful Thai-Style Green Curry Chicken Bowl, featuring white chicken, brown rice noodles, carrots, red bell peppers and yellow squash. This easy lunch or dinner offers 15 grams of protein, 24 grams of whole grains and a half-cup of veggies, for 280 calories and a lot less sodium than most frozen entrées.

M&M’s Caramel and White Chocolate Candies

$1.09-$1.39 Mars Chocolate continues to get mileage out of its iconic M&M’s brand with new and exciting variations on this classic treat. Based on current trends and demand, Mars has a winner on its hands with M&M’s Caramel, which delivers chewy sweetness beneath a layer of chocolate and the familiar candy shell. Meanwhile, M&M’s White Chocolate, elevated from seasonal to year-round status, addresses further category trends. Both come in single and “sharing” sizes.


Mediterra Kale, Pomegranate, Quinoa & Almonds Bar $1.99 Not every brand can carry off the inclusion of kale in its foods and dishes, but Mediterra got it right with the latest offering in its line of savory bars. The Kale, Pomegranate, Quinoa & Almonds bar features ingredients native to the Mediterranean region. It’s all-natural, non-GMO, glutenfree, certified kosher, dairyfree and vegan. Providing 3 grams of sugar, 5 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein, the bar is a healthy way to satisfy hunger and get a boost of energy.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | September 2017

Mediterra Yogurt & Oat: Fig & Almond Bar

$1.99 We’ve loved Mediterra’s bold entries in the traditional snack bar category, so naturally our tasters were excited to sample the brand’s Yogurt & Oat: Fig & Almond bar, which is bottom-covered with a yogurtstyle coating and filled with fiber, nutrients and vitamins instead of complex sugars and saturated fats. Containing 6 grams of protein, the all-natural, non-GMO and gluten-free bar is drizzled with honey and sprinkled with quinoa.

Muuna Cottage Cheese $1.69-$3.49 We love the rich, creamy texture of this cottage cheese from Muuna, launched in the United States last summer by Israeli dairy company Tnuva. The single-serve cups make this a convenient snack, delivering 130 calories and 15 grams of protein per serving, and available in low-fat plain as well as several fruit-on-the-bottom options: strawberry, blueberry, pineapple, peach and mango. Additionally, it’s kosher and gluten-free. It also comes in 16-ounce multiserve containers in Classic (4 percent milk fat) and Lowfat varieties.

NadaMoo Birthday Cake Cookie Dough

Nasoya Organic Extra Firm Tofu $3.29 We have at least a couple of tofu lovers on staff at PG, so they were eager to try Nasoya Organic Extra Firm Tofu. The tofu is the same great product that our tasters have come to associate with Nasoya — clean-tasting, firm and versatile — but the new packaging concept solved a problem they often face: Using half of a package’s contents while keeping the remaining half just as fresh for future use.

NatureMade Dual Action Digestive Probiotic + Energy B12 Gummies and Multi for Him Plus Omega-3s Adult Gummies $19.99 (probiotic), $15.99 (Multi for Him) Available in raspberry and cherry flavors, Nature Made Dual Action Probiotic + Energy B12 Gummies offer 4 billion live cells of Bacillus coagulans IS-2 for digestive health and 1,000 micrograms of vitamin B12 for cellular energy production. Multi for Him plus Omega-3s Adult Gummies provide key nutrients for men seeking a more enjoyable way to take vitamins and supplements. Helping to plug potential nutrient gaps in men’s diets, they are an excellent source of vitamins A, C, D3 and E; key B vitamins; and such important minerals as chromium and zinc.

$5.99-$6.99 We were impressed by this dairy-free frozen dessert, which offered a lovely, smooth and creamy texture. This flavor’s a mashup of two varieties, combining cookie dough with frosted yellow cake and sprinkles in a unique creation in which sweetness thankfully didn’t overwhelm flavor. It’s among the newest of 15 varieties in a growing line from NadaMoo, which starts with an organic coconut milk base enhanced with organic, certified non-GMO ingredients. September 2017 | |


NatureMade Omega-3 with Xtra Absorb Technology $17.99 NatureMade Omega-3 with Xtra Absorb Technology is made with a specially designed emulsion system that allows for superior absorption. The technology has been clinically studied to enable nearly four times better absorption than standard fish oil concentrate. One softgel daily provides 500 milligrams of EPA and DHA.

Nature’s Path Blueberry & Chia Sunrise Breakfast Biscuit $3.99 The first organic, non-GMO offering in the segment, Nature’s Path’s Sunrise Breakfast Biscuits are designed to fit the lifestyles of busy consumers, providing a convenient, energy-filled meal or snack. Made with organic oats, ancient grains, dried fruit, chia and hemp, the nutritious biscuits contain 20 grams of whole grains, 4 grams of fiber, and 4 to 5 grams of protein per serving. PG’s tasting panel found the Blueberry & Chia variety especially toothsome.

Navitas Organics Essential Blends $29.99 Our tasters who regularly use these types of products deemed this the best plantbased protein-and-greens blend they’ve tried. Also packed with digestives and superfood ingredients, the line is low in sugar and carbs, and has no added sugar. It would be great for making smoothies. Each package comes with a scoop for easy measuring, and the Navitas website offers plenty of recipe options. Essential Blends is an all-in-one health-and-wellness mix for plant-based nutrition and protein.


| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | September 2017

Our Little Rebellion Bean Crisps

$2.99 These thin and crispy popped crisps claim to have so many peas and beans that you can see them. See them our tasters did, showing their true protein power within a category with many low-protein but highcarb options. The crisps feature minimally processed ingredients, and are Non-GMO Project Verified, certified gluten-free and kosher. The three flavors — Salt of the Earth, Cha Cha Chili and Saucy Salsa (Verde) — all pack 4 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber per serving.

Ozery Bakery Single Serve Morning Rounds 99 cents This heart-healthy, portable snack is packed with 5 grams of protein per serving, and offers naturally sweet, sulfite-free apples and plump raisins in addition to a mixture of oats, flaxseeds, sunflower seeds and other nutritious grains. The single-serve version of the Canadian bakery’s popular breakfast breads is free of artificial ingredients and GMOs. The item is great toasted, alone or with spreads, or even made into French toast, something recommended on Ozery’s website that we hope to try soon.

Š2017 Goya Foods, Inc.

The ChefsBestÂŽ Excellence Award is awarded to brands that surpass quality standards established by independent professional chefs.

Pete and Gerry’s Organic Hard-Boiled Eggs $5 This product turns the humble hard-boiled egg into a handy, convenient and clean-label snack option. In 6-count resealable pouches, Pete & Gerry’s hard-boiled eggs claim to be the first Certified Humane, USDA Organic, peeled, ready-to-eat hard-boiled eggs on the market. At just 60 calories per serving, they deliver on consumers’ growing demand for protein from other than traditional sources, and are an easy, delicious, time-saving option.

Pete’s Living Greens Living Salad Strips

$3.49 This is a cool product! Available in Baby Romaine, Spring Mix, Sweet Butter Blend, Italian Mix and Upland Cress varieties, Pete’s Living Strips offer a fresh alternative to bagged salad; the roots are still intact for supreme flavor and longevity. Each strip comes in a recyclable plastic Home Harvest Pack that allows consumers to grab only the leaves they need by pulling or cutting them out of the top of the package. It’s a clever, revolutionary idea from the California-based grower formerly known as Hollandia Produce.

Bring gourmet popcorn and fudge to your store with Gold Medal’s sweet shop set-up! - Easy to implement, you can be up and running in time for the holidays - Highly profitable, you’ll earn margins averaging 70-80% - Versatile set-up options from complete sweet shops to integration with existing deli or bakery operations Get started today by downloading our quick guide at: 800.543.0862 |

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® Registered trademarks of Kimberly-Clark Worldwide, Inc. © KCWW

Plentils Thai Chili Lime Chips

$3.69 The latest flavors of Plentils lentil chips are a natural extension of Enjoy Life Foods’ mission to provide allergy-friendly options to consumers, including offerings increasingly inspired by global cuisines. Thai Chili Lime evokes the flavors of Thailand, with a blend of sweet and salty mixed with tart lime and a hint of spice. Our tasters liked that the snacks contain 40 percent less fat than potato chips, as well as a fiber and protein boost.

Pre Brands Chuck Roast $14.99 Pre Brands has been at the forefront of moving grass-fed beef into the mainstream. It’s definitely on trend, as it addresses several wellness and ethical concerns: It’s produced without added hormones or antibiotics, and it boasts fewer calories, less fat and higher healthy fatty acids than traditional USDA Choice beef. We enjoyed this 1.5-pound chuck roast; prepared in a slow cooker with a sauce packet, it made an easy and delicious dinner.

September 2017 | |


Reese’s Pieces Peanut Butter Cups

$1.29-$1.99 No longer must consumers choose between Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Reese’s Pieces now that Hershey has brought the two together: the perfect peanut butter cup bursting with delicious Reese’s Pieces candies in every bite. It’s an innovation that our tasters had never considered, even though it seemed so simple. They loved the creamy texture of the traditional peanut butter cup, mixed with the gentle crunch of the Reese’s Pieces — making it hard to eat just one.

Revolution Sesame Garlic Dinner Hero $4.99 The Hero comes to the rescue once again, this time with a simple dinner solution. These speed-scratch cooking kits create nutritious, culinary-inspired hot meals for a family of four in 30 minutes — just add the custom spice blend to a protein and cook up the grain blend. We enjoyed this delicious blend of roasted garlic, ginger, sesame seeds, green onions and cayenne pepper, plus brown basmati rice and red quinoa that provides more than 63 grams of whole grains per serving.

Schwan’s Pagoda Honey Sesame Chicken and Korean BBQ Beef Wontons

Revolution Original Breakfast Hero

$3.99 This no-mix, no mess, thaw-and-pour pancake batter requires no added water or mixing for just about the easiest flapjacks we’ve ever made. It’s created with whole milk and real eggs, has no artificial colors or flavors, and delivers 6 grams of protein and up to 15 grams of whole grains per serving. Once thawed, it lasts for 10 days and makes 15 pancakes in just a few minutes. We loved this simple breakfast — or anytime — solution.


$3.79 The Honey Sesame Chicken Wontons are filled with 100 percent white-meat chicken, real honey and freshly cut carrots, while the Korean BBQ Beef Wontons offer grilled steak, freshly cut carrots and crushed red-pepper flakes. These latest additions to Schwan’s Pagoda wonton line aim to appeal to Millennials, a culturally diverse group seeking more ethnic and global cuisine at retail. They feature improved dough that employs microwave technology to deliver fresh, authentic crispiness through steaming.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | September 2017



FAMILIES HAVE LOVED STAUFFER’S® PRODUCTS SINCE 1871 ❊ #1 Branded Animal Cracker in America* ❊ Stauffer’s® Ginger Snaps are the best-seller among the Top-5 ginger snaps brands on a unit sales per point of distribution basis.* ❊ Whales® are baked with real cheese and contain no high-fructose corn syrup.

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Simple Mills Ready-to-Eat Crunchy Cookies

$4.99 With up to 40 percent less sugar than the leading cookie brands, Simple Mills’ Ready-to-Eat Crunchy Cookies deliver nutrient-dense whole food that’s also yummy. All four varieties — Chocolate Chip, Double Chocolate, Cinnamon and Toasted Pecan — are certified gluten-free, Non-GMO Project Verified, vegan, paleo-friendly, and free of grain, soy, corn, dairy, or artificial flavors or fillers. Further, each crispy cookie contains just 40 calories. One of PG’s tasters enthused: “It’s the most Chips Ahoy-like healthy cookie I’ve had.”

SkinnyPop Microwave Popcorn

$4.99 We saw this demonstrated at a trade show and couldn’t wait to try it ourselves at home. The popcorn comes in its own chemical-free, pop-up box that creates a unique, no-mess eating experience that microwaves in minutes — perfect for movie nights or anytime you want a better-for-you snack. Also, it’s fun to watch the box expand as it pops. SkinnyPop uses no artificial or GMO ingredients; the available flavors are butter and sea salt.

Snackworthy Simply Puffs $3.49 This line of unique light and crispy corn puffs comes in three varieties: Butter Toffee, Cinnamon Roll and Sea Salted Caramel. All are glutenfree, baked instead of fried, and “Simply Free” from 100-plus “Unworthy Ingredients,” a cleanlabel profile that aims to make them better for consumers, better for their budgets and, in the opinion of PG’s tasting panel, just plain bettertasting.

Maple Leaf Farms classic Roast Half Duck is better than ever. We’ve updated the roasting process and think you’ll love the results—tender, flavorful meat with improved color and consistency. Get restaurant quality meals at home with simple heat and serve preparation.

Visit or contact Sales Service at 1-800-348-2812, for more info.

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Spindrift Sparkling Water $3.99-$4.99 (4-pack), $5.99-$6.99 (8-pack) The best seltzers typically can be described in two words: simple and refreshing. Spindrift’s sparkling waters are just that, made with real fresh fruit. The triple-filtered sparkling water is free of artificial flavors, using fruit picked from family farms and squeezed within a few days of harvest. The line consists of grapefruit, blackberry, cucumber, lemon, orange-mango and raspberry flavors. Drinking the beverages is like taking an actual bite out of the fruit used to make them, which our tasters found satisfying.










CARRIES IES IT ITSELF Real cheese. Real butter. Real sourdough. All baked into our Asiago & Cheddar CheeseCrisps. Contact us:



Stouffer’s Seasoning Wraps $1.99 We were skeptical that these wraps would really deliver on flavor, but the results were a pleasant surprise. Made with heat-safe parchment paper coated in real herbs and spices, the wraps take the guesswork out of cooking. Take a boneless, skinless, chicken breast or salmon fillet, and just wrap, press and cook. The robust seasonings infused the chicken and made a wonderfully tasty meal within 20 minutes. The line comes in four flavors: Italian Countryside Herb, Roasted Garlic & Lemon, Roasted Tomato Herb, and Lemon Dill.

Strongbow Mini Cans $1 The cider category is growing and sampling is helping to drive sales. That’s why we liked this mini-can sampler from Heineken’s Strongbow brand — four 5.2-ounce cans for just $1, to encourage trial and attract new users to the category. The company says that nearly three-quarters of mini-can buyers are new to the cider category, so retailers would be wise to feature these in their spirits departments. The variety pack comprises Orange Blossom, Gold Apple, Cherry Blossom and Artisanal Blend.

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Sweet Earth Korean Japchae $4.99 We were impressed with the authentic Korean flavors and texture of the noodles. What’s more, the vegetables in this dish tasted fresh, offering a pleasing crunch. It’s a great-tasting, convenient option for lunch or dinner. We could see japchae becoming a new trend, like ramen or pad thai. Featuring sesame, shiitake mushrooms, and garlic soy sauce with veggies and yam noodles, the vegan entrée is free of preservatives and GMOs, and made with 70 percent organic ingredients.

Teavana Ready-to-Drink Mango Black Craft Iced Tea

$2.39 There’s never been a better time to be a tea drinker, and Teavana offers some of the more refreshing varieties we’ve had the pleasure to try. Teavana Ready-to-Drink Mango Black Craft Iced Tea is fruity without being overly sweet, a robust black tea with a warm, tropical mango flavor and hints of lime. Our taster liked that Teavana’s iced teas contain 100 calories or fewer, as well as being free from artificial flavors.


| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | September 2017

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Three Bridges Creamy Cheddar Macaroni & Cheese Kit $5.49 In less time than a boxed meal, this kit from Three Bridges gives you fresh, delicious macaroni and cheese without even having to boil water. Add milk to the provided par-cooked elbow pasta and shredded cheddar cheese, heat for about 5 minutes on the stovetop, and enjoy a perfectly creamy meal or side dish. No powders, preservatives or artificial flavors, as well as less sodium than most comparable dishes, lead to a quick and easy solution — bravo!

Urban Accents Taco Simmer Sauces

$4.99 PG ’s editors love good street food, and these simmer sauces allowed our tasters to create the most authentic-style street tacos they’ve ever made in the comfort of the kitchen. The gluten-free small-batch sauces are crafted with simple ingredients and unique flavors from across the globe. Although it was hard to pick a favorite, our tasters particularly loved the Korean BBQ sauce, as it was the perfect balance of sweet and savory. PG

Less Sugar. Less Calories. Less Fat. More Protein. More Nutrition. Tastes Great. Find Your Nearest Retailer at:



| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | 1:36 PM 2017 8/17/17 September

Unleash your potential! How the Pet Category Can Help You Drive Total Store Success nowledgeable grocers have realized the many opportunities in pet care, viewing the category as not just one of many departments in their stores, but one with the potential to increase total store sales and influence their customers’ decisions.


At $63 billion strong, pet care has been growing by more than $2.5 billion a year since 1994, according to the American Pet Products Association. And it stands as the 8th most frequently shopped grocery category out of the 305 tracked by IRI.

If you want to be part of the consideration set, then appealing to pet shoppers is clearly good business. Consider the fact that 68 percent of U.S. households shop the pet category. And that the country’s two largest generations, Millennials and Baby Boomers, are also the two biggest age groups when it comes to pet ownership. That bodes particularly well for the future, now that Millennials are entering their prime spending years.

Lost Opportunity.

Driving Trips. That’s because pet care has the unique ability to generate traffic, triggering more shopping trips than any other category, according to a Nielsen study. On average, 57 percent of the category drives a trip to the store (compared to 31 percent for a department like personal care or just 24 percent for snacks), Nielsen found.

It’s a lot to miss out on, but that’s exactly what’s been happening for some time. Grocery retailers have long lost out on pet sales, says The Cambridge Group, because shoppers lacked awareness about the quality of pet food offerings and retailers lacked effective merchandising programs.

These trips, of course, are also opportunities for pet parents to shop other categories across the store. And research shows that they’re doing just that.

And the data bear them out. The total store impact of losing the pet shopper results in a seven to 17 percent decline in trips, according to Nielsen.

Boosting Basket Size. Pet owners spend 31 percent

However, if you’re willing to prioritize the category and invest in it, Progressive Grocer reported last February, you actually have the opportunity to tap incremental sales of more than $5 billion. In fact, retailers who have prioritized the category have been found to have four times higher performance than retailers with below average pet performance.

What the savviest of these retailers understands, though, is that the true potential of pet isn’t just in its impressive size and growth, but in the impact this center-store powerhouse can have on their total grocery business.

more per trip than non-pet owners for all their needs across the entire store, according to Nielsen Channel Facts. In fact, according to a report last October by the Cambridge Group, pet care shoppers not only have the biggest and fastest growing basket size, but their trips are highly planned too; shoppers plan pet care purchases more than any other department, the report said, and they choose their destination based on these efforts.

It couldn’t be clearer: Prioritizing pet care and catering to pet shoppers is a savvy business move, because winning in pet means winning across the entire store. n

Holiday Candy & Snack Merchandising


The 5 P’s of

Seasonal Success For the fall and winter holidays, punctuality, placement, presentation, pricing and product are crucial. By Bridget Goldschmidt


t SpartanNash, it’s never too early to start thinking about the holidays. “The fall/winter holiday season is very important to take advantage of the increased customer traffic in our SpartanNash stores,” notes Larry Pierce, EVP of merchandising and marketing at the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based food wholesaler and retailer. “In mid-August, our stores will be set and ready for Halloween, which is when our holiday candy season starts. We drive incremental Halloween candy volume by offering product early, because it helps our customers shift their mindset. When a customer buys seasonal candy earlier, they will consume it and buy more! “From there, we move right into Christmas candy and follow the same process,” Pierce continues. “We focus on having

stores set and ready the first week in November.” Tops Markets LLC also begins working on its holiday candy and snack merchandising plans long before the proverbial frost is on the pumpkin. “We at Tops hold a Holiday Food Show in June that aims at allowing our store operators to purchase product our merchandising departments feel could be useful for the holiday time frames from October to December,” explains Russell Daniels, the Williamsville, N.Y.-based grocer’s category business manager for salty snacks. “What’s unique about this is that this food show has limited-time flavor items, in-and-out options, seasonal varieties and products that are seasonally relevant, so they are building their inventory ahead of time … and gearing it toward the seasonal palate.” An early start makes good sense for retailers, according to Jan Grinstead, senior brand manager, holiday at The Hershey Co., in Hershey, Pa. “To get the most out of the season, make sure to have your products available when shoppers are thinking about seasonal items,” she advises. “For example, winter items should be on display immediately after Halloween.” “Stores can encourage sales by setting displays early to capitalize on early purchases to drive larger baskets,” agrees Tim Quinn, VP of trade development for Chicago-based Mars Wrigley Confectionery. “For Halloween, seasonal confections should be displayed September through Thanksgiving. For Christmas, stores should set by Nov. 1.” “Longer lead times and advanced

September 2017 | |



When a customer buys seasonal candy earlier, they will consume it and buy more!” —Larry Pierce, SpartanNash

Holiday Candy & Snack Merchandising

planning will provide healthy margins and better pricing,” points out Chris Pruneda, chief marketing officer at West Palm Beach, Fla.-based Brownie Brittle, whose holiday flavors of its namesake product, Thindulgent Chocolate Bark and Sheila G’s Chocolate Bites began shipping Sept. 1. “For this reason, we believe the process of holiday planning, selling and buying will start earlier each year.” Be careful how you present your early-bird offerings, however. Cautions Dennis Bonn, VP marketing at Neenah, Wis.-based Menasha, a retail merchandising solutions provider: “The fact that holiday displays are showing up in stores earlier each year has unfortunately resulted in holiday fatigue. If you can provide unique, convenient and localized in-store experiences, shoppers will take notice and open their wallets.”

On Impulse Just as important as knowing when to roll out displays and other holiday-themed merchandising materials is knowing where and how to place them in the store to best encourage those all-important impulse purchases. After all, as Mars Wrigley Confectionery’s Quinn points out: “Forty percent of total seasonal candy purchases are made on impulse, and the primary catalyst is seeing an item in an aisle or display. Secondary displays capture consumers’ attention and remind them to stock up for the season.” “Historically, ‘theater’-type displays, placed in hightraffic areas of the store and decorated with a variety of POS materials, typically work the best” at retail, according to Kenneth Hausmann, Tops’ category business manager for candy. “We also cross-merchandise other product categories within our candy displays to build solutions for our customers, creating a ‘one-stop shop.’ Additionally, creating smaller points of interruption around the perimeter of the store [is] also effective; with candy being so impulsive, the more the customers see it, the more they typically purchase.” “We’ll … have a number of points of interruption throughout the store to help drive sales,” offers SpartanNash’s Pierce. “To further drive customer impulse purchases, we also deploy effective signing and messaging. We partner with key vendors and add point-of-sale signage throughout our stores.” “More retailers are dedicating increased space for holiday treats and snacks,” affirms Brownie Brittle’s Pruneda from the supplier perspective. “Some retailers are going as far as creating dedicated merchandise areas


| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | September 2017

— Target is a great example. This makes a lot of sense, because it enhances the shopping experience for the holiday shopper.” “Winning retailers anchor to an ownable, bold creative statement that comes to life in a central destination in-store, complemented with impulse destinations,” asserts Mars Wrigley’s Quinn. Noting that Hershey aims “to be interruptive and build seasonal excitement for consumers’ favorite brands … through point-of-sale displays,” Grinstead offers a placement recommendation regarding similar products. “Throughout the season, people are purchasing for different usage occasions; therefore, you should group like items together, since the shopper is browsing based off of need,” she explains. “Have the holiday gifting items together, the candy dish items together, etc. As a company, we are working hard to identify shopping trends and discover ways we can leverage them into merchandising opportunities.” Quinn observes that “placing complementary products next to each other, such as placing M&M’S Chocolate Candies in the baking aisle, has historically proved to be a strong selling tactic.” The reasoning behind this? “Baking is a favorite holiday activity during the Christmas season, and 62 percent of consumers purchase and use candy or chocolate for baking,” he says. “Shoppers start baking two to three weeks prior to the season, so set your displays before these peak weeks.” Meanwhile, Menasha’s Bonn similarly suggests, “Confectionery products are often used to decorate homemade treats, so develop one-stop-shopping displays where people can find everything they need to make traditional recipes.” Bonn goes on to note that “the best store zones for driving sales” have evolved over time. “More retailers are finding the end of the aisle to be most effective, compared to store entrances, lobbies and center store promotional areas,” he says, “so a holiday-themed end cap display is an excellent idea, which reinforces a store-wide promotional holiday theme.”












Imports GREW 6X FASTER than Total Beer Category.1 HEINEKEN IS KEY, as imports provide the HIGHEST LIFT (+55%) during OND.2 ®


With a 22% HIGHER INCOME and 15% MORE TRIPS, the Heineken consumer is a valuable shopper.3



1. Total US FDCM+ $ Vol % Chg. Oct.-Dec. 2016 2. Nielsen FDCM+ 2 Weeks ending 12.31.16 3. Nielsen Panel 2015


With candy being so impulsive, the more the customers see it, the more they typically purchase.” —Kenneth Hausmann, Tops Markets LLC


Holiday Candy & Snack Merchandising

JJ Rademaekers, CEO of Boulder, Colo.-based JJ’s Sweets, maker of Cocomels coconut milk caramels, heartily endorses that view: “We are extremely successful when our products are positioned near the registers or on end caps or in dump bins. Our impulse items fly when we offer them up front, and our pouches do very well on end caps.”

On Display The design of displays also plays a major role in drawing consumers to them — and can even influence where they’re set up in the store. “This year, we have changed up the designs and graphics on some of our merchandising units,” notes Hershey’s Grinstead. “Several of them show photography of different occasions, including baking, trick-or-treat, candy dish and gifting. Of course, we keep our top-selling iconic brands — Kisses and Reese’s — displayed on all our units.” “We … provide an array of high-end merchan-

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | September 2017

dising displays that complement the craft nature of our products, with the Candy Cane Bucket Tree and Sweet Shop displays,” says Andrew Whisler, EVP of business development at Denver-based specialty confectioner Hammond’s Candies, “as well as an eight-product Holiday Gift Center shipper that makes it very [simple] for retailers to have an easy stockingstuffer program without having to source a range of products from multiple vendors and trying to find a way to get them to tie in together in the store-level display.” Superior presentation at retail is a must for such products, he advises: “On specialty items like ours, very few people are setting out on their shopping trips specifically looking for our brand — we are an impulse candy — so the stores that can grab the consumer’s attention with visual and creativity and suggested usage have the most success.” Customization is a smart strategy as well. According to Craig Spalding, director of marketing for Boulder-based 1908 Brands and brand


Holiday Candy & Snack Merchandising

manager for Thrive Tribe, which offers a line of Paleo Limited Edition Holiday Cookies, “Any time we can work directly with a retailer to create something that fits their unique needs, we find success.” One such example cited by Bonn: “Displays built around regional traditions and nostalgia will hit an emotional chord with shoppers.” “Because [our holiday shippers] are so fun and cheerful, they often get positioned front and center of the grocery store,” enthuses Brownie Brittle’s Pruneda, referring to such placement as “a great opportunity for impulse purchase and trial.”

Price Matters Another piece of the merchandising puzzle is pricing, as alluded to by Pruneda in advocating advance planning. SpartanNash is a strong believer in items priced to move, which it refers to as “Big Bet” items, and on which “we

hang our hat on for the entire holiday season,” according to Pierce. “For example,” he explains, “our Halloween candy Big Bet item will be Brach’s Candy Corn 40-ounce bag. All stores will have this product, and we will be competitively priced for the season to drive market-basket sales. Another Big Bet item is the Whitman’s Chocolate 40-ounce box. This is a box of chocolates that wows our customers, is great for holiday parties and will be priced at $19.99.” Notes Mars Wrigley’s Quinn, “Bold pricing statements on quality candy are critical to driving store choice, aisle navigation and impulse.” Implementing tactics such as punctual planning, optimal placement, unique presentation, attractive pricing and appropriate product (see sidebar on page 80) for holiday candy and snacks can pay off, as Bonn observes: “We’ve found retailers can expect to see a sales boost when using effective merchandising strategies.” PG

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Holiday Candy & Snack Merchandising

Product: The 5th P


he fall and winter holiday season is a time to indulge in foods not usually eaten at other times of the year — pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce, egg nog, Hanukkah latkes, Christmas cake — as well as candy and snacks in festive limited-time flavors that reinforce the specialness of the occasions. In fact, providing the right product should be considered the fifth P of holiday candy and snack merchandising, along with the others discussed in the main article. “Holiday-specific items are an expectation for our customers, so it’s important that we carry a variety of products,” notes Kenneth Hausmann, category business manager for candy at Williamsville, N.Y.-based Tops Markets LLC. “Whether it’s pumpkin spice flavors for fall, or gingerbread for the winter, it’s important to have these items within our assortment. …[T]hese limited-edition products complement our total store holiday merchandising plans.” “Fall/winter candies and snacks are very important to Tops,” concurs Hausmann’s counterpart for the salty snack category, Russell Daniels. “Salty snacks, with their in/out different flavors, help add variety and incremental sales to the snack business, especially at this time of year, when people are hosting gatherings and wanting to bring something new and different to the table for their guests.” Accordingly, grocers strive to offer their shoppers an extensive variety of holiday items. “Between our Halloween and Christmas candy, we have a total of 375 SKUs available,” says Larry Pierce, EVP, merchandising and marketing at Grand Rapids, Mich.-based SpartanNash. “Consumers come to expect and seek out unique seasonal variations of their favorite brands, such as seasonally wrapped or flavored Kisses and Reese’s shapes — pumpkins, trees, etc.,” observes Jan Grinstead, senior brand manager holiday at The Hershey Co., in Hershey, Pa. “These items are highly incremental to our everyday offerings and allow us to fulfill seasonal needs such as trick-or-treating, stocking stuffers or gifting.” “During the holidays, shoppers seek out their favorite seasonal flavors, like M&M’s Brand White Candy Corn Candies for Halloween, Starburst Jelly Beans for Easter, M&M’s Holiday Mint for Christmas, and Dove Dark Chocolate Peppermint Bark for the winter holidays,” notes Tim Quinn, VP of trade development for Chicago-based Mars Wrigley Confectionery. For Halloween 2017, Mars has a 150-piece Spooky Chocolate Variety Mix bag offering four of its iconic brands, each with a seasonally relevant twist: Snickers XScream, Milky Way Midnight Madness, M&M’s Costume Award Mix and Milky Way SCAREamel; a 170-piece Choco-


late & Sugar Variety Mix Bag featuring M&M’s, Snickers, Skittles, Milky Way and, for the first time, Dove Chocolate treat-size bars; M&M’s Brand White Pumpkin Pie Candies Harvest Blend; Maltesers Fun Size in a medium bag; and Starburst Minis Fun Size. The company’s Yuletide offerings this year, meanwhile, are a Celebrations Brand Bottle filled with individually wrapped miniatures of Bounty, Dove, Milky Way, Snickers and Twix Brands; M&M’s Caramel in seasonal red and green colors; Dove Brand Promises Silky Smooth Milk Chocolate Mint Cookie Gifts; a 4-pack of M&M’s Brand Minis Milk Chocolate Candies in tubes; a Skittles Ugly Sweater Edition in Original and Sour flavors; and a Life Savers 5 Flavor Big Tube. Among savory snack providers entering the seasonal flavor derby is Crunchmaster, a brand of Loves Park, Ill.-based TH Foods, which is rolling out Pumpkin Harvest crackers for fall, featuring “the savory taste of pumpkin and autumn spices with the goodness of whole grain and flax seeds.” Seasonal packaging is also part of optimal product presentation at retail. “As we continue to encourage gratitude year-round, the holiday season is always a time for merci to further inspire expressing thanks,” says Kelly Cook, marketing director at Chicago-based Storck USA, maker of the merci line of individually wrapped European chocolates. “This season we are excited to roll out new holiday packaging to appeal to consumers’ gift-giving needs during the season of gratitude. Building off of last year’s holiday momentum, the new packaging elevates the quality and personalized gift-giving chocolate consumers have come to know from merci.” The popularity of seasonally inspired candy and snack items among shoppers shows no signs of slowing. Observes Craig Spalding, director of marketing for Boulder, Colo.based 1908 Brands and brand manager for the Thrive Tribe line of Paleo cookies, which offers limited-edition holiday flavors, “I think more brands will be expected to offer holiday-specific flavors to keep customers interested and keep the brand alive and growing.” PG

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | September 2017









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NFRA Convention

Industry Events

Frozen in Time The NFRA Convention will showcase what’s hot in chilled foods. By Lynn Petrak


xpect a chill in the air this fall, right in the heart of Florida. Despite decidedly warm outside temperatures in the Sunshine State, the World Center Marriott in Orlando will be in the midst of a deep freeze, at least when it comes to food and beverages, during the annual NFRA Convention, slated for Oct. 7-10. Hosted by the Harrisburg, Pa.-based National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association (NFRA), the convention allows industry leaders to network with one another on the show floor, at various activities held during the run of the event or in one of the complimentary on-site meeting rooms set aside for business appointments. One of the main benefits of this convention — which drew more than 1,200 professionals last year — is a meeting-centric format that fosters communications and connections among manufacturers, retailers, sales agents, distributors and logistics providers in a condensed period of time. According to NFRA spokeswoman Julie Henderson, those meetings will be put to good and frequent use. “There are over 97 retailer meeting rooms

booked this year — more than any previous year,” she notes. “Many retailers are taking appointments for frozen, refrigerated, private label and natural/organic. There really is an opportunity for anyone doing business in the frozen and refrigerated categories.” Additionally, the Café NFRA will be open

September 2017 | |


Industry Events

NFRA Convention

during the show, featuring some of the latest frozen and refrigerated foods and drinks in a setting conducive to conversations. Networking will also take place at a membership luncheon on the afternoon of Monday, Oct. 9, and an industry luncheon on Tuesday, Oct. 10, hosted by Dairy Farmers of America. What’s more, the NFRA Convention will give attendees a chance to learn more about

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| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | September 2017

industry trends, challenges and opportunities. Breakfast sessions will jump-start the day, with scheduled presentations this year from author, prolific speaker and retired Chief Warrant Officer Michael Durant (who inspired the movie “Black Hawk Down”), and Jason Dorsey, an author, entrepreneur and researcher who specializes in the Millennial and Gen Z demographics. The NFRA Convention is a forum for discussion as well as a platform for showcasing industry innovation. At the Taste of Excellence reception on Sunday, Oct. 8, attendees can see and try some of the latest frozen and refrigerated products. “Consumer interest in natural/ organic, global cuisines and niche products like gluten-free is definitely reflected in the items being showcased at the Taste of Excellence opening reception,” observes Henderson. “Over 100 products will be sampled during the event, with more than half addressing these trends.” The awards reception, during which winners of this year’s Golden Penguin Awards will be honored, promises to be another highlight of the event. The Golden Penguin Awards recognize achievements across several categories, including in-store displays, in-store events, community involvement, social media campaigns, traditional marketing, private-brand campaigns and integrated marketing campaigns. Top Marketer Awards, recognizing the highest-scoring entries, will also be presented at the nighttime gala. To register or learn more about the 2017 NFRA Convention, visit the dedicated website,; call NFRA’s offices, at 717-657-8601; or email nfra@nfrawb. org. NFRA offers registered attendees a mobile app, NFRA 2017, that’s available at app stores and enables


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Industry Events

NFRA Convention

users to keep track of the convention schedule, view the attendee list and set business appointments. During its convention month, NFRA is also busy with an educational outreach program, October Cool Food for Kids. The campaign is one of several NFRA efforts, which also include March Frozen Food Month in March, June Dairy Month, and June/July Ice Cream and Novelties.

New and Notable The NFRA Convention is a “meet-greet-eat” event, known as much for networking and educational opportunities as for being a place to sample and learn more about the latest frozen and refrigerated products. At a time of intense marketing and promotional efforts from NFRA and others, the pace of new product development in frozen and refrigerated categories is brisk, with a slew of new items introduced from stalwart and startup brands alike to energize the category and appeal to consumers looking for taste, convenience, value and, increasingly, health and wellness. Innovations cut across several product types and formats:

Packaging technology: Several new products reflect

packaging focused on quality and quickness, such as Side Delights Steamables Duo Potatoes, from San Franciscobased Fresh Solutions Network, which are triple-washed and cooked in a bag in eight minutes. In the mature frozen pizza category, Nestlé Pizza has unveiled DiGiorno Crispy Pan Pizza, baked in its own pan from the oven. In an entirely different food category, WhiteWave Foods, of Broomfield, Colo., has come out with One Touch Latte, which gives a latte-like froth to a cup of coffee, with an angled push of the canister.

Snack packs: Continuing a trend over the past few years, more manufacturers have added to or introduced convenient snack packages that combine a variety of sweet and salty snacks. Check out items like Hormel Natural Choice snacks, from Austin, Minn.-based Hormel Foods Corp., with unique varieties like oven-roasted turkey breast paired with pepper jack cheese and dark-chocolatecovered blueberries, and Horizon Organic Good & Go! Snacks, from DanoneWave, of Broomfield, Colo.


For goodness’ sake: Many new

products fall under the health-and-wellness umbrella, launched by both specialty and major brands. Chicagobased Kraft Heinz, for example, has rolled out a line of plant-based Boca Bowls, single-serve meatless meals in Mexican and Mediterranean varieties. Aidells Sausage Co., of San Lorenzo, Calif., has added to its line of meats with Charbroiled Chicken Burgers in Chicken & Apple, Spinach & Feta, and Caramelized Onion flavors, all made with chickens raised without antibiotics. Oprah Winfrey tossed her name and brand reputation into the ring this summer by teaming up with Kraft Heinz on a line of O, That’s Good refrigerated soups and sides. In desserts, The Breyers brand, from Englewood Cliffs, N.J.-based Unilever, recently introduced Breyers Delights, made with with more protein and fewer calories, while the Sara Lee brand, from Chicago-based Hillshire Brands, launched Perfect Pairings pies, featuring flavored crusts made with real fruit, and naturally sweetened without high-fructose corn syrup or artificial flavors. Butter, too, is better for you, with offerings like Less Sodium Butter with Canola Oil, from Arden Hills, Minn.-based Land O’Lakes, and Melt Organic Buttery Sticks, from Boise, Idaho-based Prosperity Organic Foods, made from a blend of virgin coconut oil, high-oleic sunflower oil and palm fruit oil.

Mainstream ethnic: Globally inspired cuisines continue to influence all frozen and refrigerated segments, as is evident in such items as Pillsbury Churro Bites, created by a partnership between Pennsauken, N.J.-based J&J Snack Foods Corp. and General Mills, in Minneapolis, and Mango Habanero Cottage Doubles, from Kraft Heinz brand Breakstone’s, among several other products. Cream of the crop: Creamy is a big descriptor in

dairy right now, as demonstrated by products like Chobani Smooth yogurt, from Norwich, N.Y.-based Chobani, and easy-melt mozzarella and pepper jack varieties of Kraft Singles.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | September 2017

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On the heels of meal kits, a few brands are delving into the segment for retail. For example, Grecian Delight, of Elk Grove Village, Ill, has added Opaa! Premium Gyro Kits, with all of the ingredients needed for sandwiches, salads and other dishes. Grocers, too, are offering their own branded meal kits, including those from major chains like Publix and Kroger. PG

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Fresh Food


New World Consumers increasingly ask for their favorite fruits and vegetables by name. By Jennifer Strailey


randed fruits and vegetables continue to transform the produce department and the consumer’s shopping experience in the vitally important store perimeter. Whether trumpeting local, convenience, freshness or a healthy lifestyle, produce brands have the power to influence purchasing decisions and build customer loyalty like never before. For Williamsville, N.Y.-based Tops Markets LLC, offering exclusives on branded produce items sets it apart from the competition. Earlier this summer, the grocer heralded the arrival of several locally grown branded produce items, including the year-round availability of Pick’d microgreens, to its New York customers. Pick’d Red Vein Sorrel, Pea Shoots and Spicy Mix are the result of an exclusive partnership with Fulmer Valley Farms, in Andover, N.Y. Last month, Tops reintroduced Amaize Sweet Corn, thanks to its local partnerships with New York-based Eden Valley Growers and Reeves Farms. The corn became available exclusively at

Tops for a limited time beginning in mid-August. “We’re extremely excited to partner locally and bring this one-of-a-kind sweet corn to our customers,” says Jeff Cady, director produce/floral for Tops. “Our customers always look forward to this time of year, and start asking for it by name as we edge into the later summer months.” This fall, Tops plans to draw customers to its stores with several exclusive grape varieties. “These partnerships are very important to Tops because they help us differentiate ourselves among our competition and give our customers more variety, while offering a fantastic shopping experience,” asserts Scott Tyo, category business manager, who estimates that Tops offers upwards of 50 exclusives throughout the year. “Offering these branded items at a value is indeed a focal point for us, especially since so many of our competitors just offer name-brand items,” adds Tyo. “We want to offer customers the best of both worlds.” As demand for local remains strong, Tops works with more than 200 local farmers to offer fresh produce during the homegrown season.

These partnerships are very important to Tops because they help us differentiate ourselves among our competition and give our customers more variety, while offering a fantastic shopping experience.” —Scott Tyo, Tops Markets LLC

September 2017 | |


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“A lot of branded produce items are domestic, which is very important, and we like to let customers know that we value domestic partnerships as much as possible,” explains Tyo. “We advertise local farmers’ names in the stores that they service, so customers can see who we support locally.”

Potatoes With Panache From innovative products to added convenience to local appeal, branded potatoes are poised to generate excitement this fall. Potatoes are the No. 1-ranked vegetable based on volume sales. Within the category, the microwavable/ steamable potato segment is up 12.6 percent in volume sales and 28.4 percent in dollar sales versus last year. These data come from a recent study conducted by Nielsen FreshFacts on the microwaveable/steamable fresh potato segment. Side Delights Steamables, from San Francisco-based Fresh Solutions Network, represents 62 percent of the segment’s

dollar share and 63 percent of its volume share. Side Delights recently revealed that it’s combining its top-selling Red and Golden Steamables in the new Side Delights Steamables Duo Potatoes offering. The colorful mix is triple-washed and cooks in the bag in just eight minutes. When it comes to vegetable preparation, convenience is critical to today’s consumer. “The latest trends in produce revolve around our ever-busy consumer,” affirms Randy Shell, VP of business development for RPE, in Bancroft, Wis. “Smaller pack sizes, consistent quality, quick cook times and great flavor are key factors in the growth of the potato category. “Any brand, whether well established or a private label, can and will drive additional produce sales if it invests to meet the needs of consumers,” he adds. With this in mind, RPE is rolling out a multithemed fingerling potato promotional campaign

Fresh Food

Any brand, whether well established or a private label, can and will drive additional produce sales if it invests to meet the needs of consumers.” —Randy Shell, RPE

September 2017 | |


Fresh Food


over the next several months that seeks to bring new life to Old Oak Farms Party Potatoes. The campaign targets seasonal occasions and celebrations, including backyard cookouts, tailgating events, football games and holiday parties. Offered in a high-graphic 24-ounce poly mesh bag, Party Potatoes will feature custom resources for each themed promotion. A value-added marketing plan encompasses retail shippers and display bins, social media graphics, banners, giveaways, and more. “This is an exciting time for the potato category,” enthuses Shell. “With consumers looking to try new and innovative things, there are more opportunities to introduce unique potato selections.”

State Sides As with fresh produce across the board, the locally grown movement is alive and well in the potato category, with more and more suppliers of branded produce promoting the states from which everything

Dole and Bashas’ Blooming Partnership Dole Packaged Foods, of Westlake Village, Calif., recently teamed with Arizona’s Bashas’ and Food City supermarkets to offer two area elementary schools a comprehensive Captain Planet Foundation (CPF) Learning Garden. Atlanta-based CPF is a grant-making foundation that has funded more than 2,000 hands-on environmental education projects with schools and nonprofits that serve children in all 50 states and 23 other countries. The Learning Gardens mark a first for Bashas’ and the state of Arizona, whose residents were invited to nominate their favorite elementary schools online. The two winning elementary schools will be revealed this fall. Providing a context for multidisciplinary learning that includes nutrition, science, social studies, math and language arts, the Learning Gardens come with lesson kits, supplies to establish a schoolyard garden, and more. Students benefit by expanding their palates, taste-testing healthy foods and learning about food origins. “This program is a great opportunity to support hands-on learning in our schools and provide students with exposure


from fingerlings to redskin potatoes hail. Grand Forks, N.D.-based Black Gold Farms, which grows red potatoes in Texas, Missouri, Arkansas, Indiana, North Dakota and Minnesota, as well as sweet potatoes in Louisiana, has developed the “Redventure” retail campaign, which includes inventive recipes and digital/social promotions designed to raise awareness of the adventurous side of red potatoes from various states. “We make sure we partner with the state programs, and promote where our potatoes are grown, as much as we can,” says Leah Halverson, director, new business development for Black Gold Farms. “Local is no longer just trendy, it’s here to stay.” Black Gold promotes local with specific packaging, Kwik Loks and social media. “These are all inexpensive, but very effective, ways to reach the consumer and to teach them that red potatoes are actually grown in their state,” adds Halverson.

to fruits and vegetables straight from the ground,” asserts Ashley Shick, director of communications and public affairs for Chandler, Ariz.-based Bashas’. Although supported by the packaged side of the Dole business, the Learning Garden program is an opportunity for the company to leverage its brand recognition to encourage young children to eat more fresh produce. “It’s a wonderful way to enlighten kids about fruits and vegetables and the environment,” notes Marty Ordman, of Dole International. “The kids are so excited to get their hands dirty and plant things. We’ll see 7-year-olds who have never touched a radish or beet in their lives, but if they grow and harvest it, they can’t wait to eat it.” Moving forward, Dole plans to work with retailers across the country to plant two to five gardens in their respective regions each year. “Healthy lifestyle choices are critical for childhood development, and maintaining those choices into adulthood is a key component for a long and healthy life,” affirms Shick. “As Arizona’s hometown grocer, it’s important for us to support hands-on education and encourage the growth of Arizona’s future generations. We look forward to continued partnerships with Dole and the Captain Planet Foundation.”

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | September 2017

This fall, Black Gold plans to introduce a smaller-size 4-pack in its Legendary Louisiana Sweet Potatoes line. “Today’s consumers have a growing interest in locally grown produce,” affirms Christine Lindner, of Alsum Farms and Produce, in Friesland, Wis. “Shoppers recognize Wisconsin locally grown potatoes at retail, and it is a benefit that supports local farmers, communities and economies.” Alsum continues to expand its locally grown offerings, among them Wisconsin potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, asparagus and celery. Its grower partner, Trembling Prairie Farms, began harvesting a new crop of branded Wisconsin celery in July that’s expected to ship through the first week of October. Trembling Prairie Farms’ Wisconsin Celery, which is sold at Aldi, Meijer, Piggly Wiggly, Woodman’s Markets and select retail grocers throughout Wisconsin, northern Illinois and northeast Iowa, bears the “Something Special from Wisconsin” tagline prominently displayed on the celery sleeve package. “If consumers have a positive or negative experience with any branded produce, it leaves an impression about the company and impacts

a consumer’s choice to make a repeat purchase,” observes Lindner, adding that when branded produce delivers on flavor, freshness and quality, it can win a consumer for life. Trembling Prairie Farms will continue to expand production acres dedicated to growing celery, allowing Alsum to expand its market distribution.

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Fresh Food

From debuting our iconic Blue Stickers in 1944 to introducing the world to Miss Chiquita, we’ve always aimed to drive Chiquita’s message of fun through vibrant and lighthearted visual storytelling.” —Andrew Biles, Chiquita Brands International


Iconic Brand Expands Campaign Chiquita Brands International, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is growing its We Are Bananas campaign, which was developed in partnership with Portland, Ore.-based creative agency Wieden+Kennedy. Featuring billboards with headlines that strategically play into handpicked locations, the campaign will expand from major cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Cincinnati to include locations around the country. Freeway billboards display headlines that read: “Don’t honk if you love bananas” and “Keeps backseat drivers busy.” Trains, gas stations, stoplights and bus stops are all matched with other unique messages. “There’s a lot of love out there for Chiquita,” notes Mike Egan, of Wieden+Kennedy. “What we’re aiming to do is return the brand back to its rightful place as a cultural icon of sorts. Ultimately, that will lead to

more bananas going into more grocery baskets.” “From debuting our iconic Blue Stickers in 1944 to introducing the world to Miss Chiquita, we’ve always aimed to drive Chiquita’s message of fun through vibrant and lighthearted visual storytelling,” says Chiquita Brands International’s president and CEO, Andrew Biles. “We Are Bananas continues that tradition with new and exciting out-of-thisworld creative for our fans.” PG

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Fresh Food

The Arrival of

‘Free-of’ Food Consumer desire for transparency is behind this up-and-coming trend. By Carol Radice


nowing where their food comes from — including how it’s grown or raised, and what went into it — is increasingly important to consumers, who are just as attracted to what’s in a product as what’s not. When it comes to purchasing fresh foods such as meat, seafood, dairy, produce and deli/prepared foods, the cleaner and simpler the profile, the more appeal it holds. Some are calling this burgeoning trend the “free-of ” movement and predict that its ability to positively affect fresh food sales will be significant in the coming months. According to Meagan Nelson, associate director for Nielsen Fresh’s growth and strategy team in New York, the overarching theme driving this movement is consumers’ need for transparency. “People just want to understand what’s in their food and how it is produced,” Nelson says. “They want to know where the produce was grown, who the farmer is, how the beef cows or chickens were

cared for, and what they were fed.” Consumers are clearly aware of, and making conscious decisions about, what they put in their bodies these days. Research conducted by Schaumburg, Ill.-based Nielsen in 2016 found that 67 percent of consumers want to know everything that’s going into their foods. In addition, nearly three-quarters of consumers — 73 percent — feel positively about companies that are transparent about where and how their products are made, grown or raised. More than half of consumers — 68 percent — said that they’re willing to pay more for food and drinks that don’t contain undesirable ingredients.

Seeking Clarity While it’s true that Millennials and Generation Z are a key force behind the free-of movement, Nelson believes that what’s happening is bigger than that, pointing out that consumers of all ages are looking to have more clarity in what they purchase. “People are so disconnected [from] the September 2017 | |


Fresh Food

People are so disconnected [from] the food system that knowing where a product is coming from, what’s in it and what they are putting in their body gives them some piece of mind.” —Meagan Nelson, Nielsen Fresh


food system that knowing where a product is coming from, what’s in it and what they are putting in their body gives them some piece of mind,” she says. “Ultimately, it is about feeling good about the decisions they are making and being confident that the food they are spending their money on is safe.” Food fear is a real issue today, notes Mindy Hermann, a New York-based registered dietitian nutritionist. She adds that social media is playing a key role in much of the fearmongering happening today and driving consumers’ desire to learn as much as they can about the food they eat. “People want to know if products have been exposed to or contain things such as trans fats, hormones, antibiotics, pesticides or added sugar, so they can make educated decisions about what they are buying,” Hermann says. “The more they know about where the steak came from, or the salmon, or the milk, or their produce, the more assured they are that the food they’re buying is fresh and safe.” When he looks at the trends driving dairy and meat, David Browne, a Sacramento, Calif.-based market research and retail consultant specializing in the natural and specialty food industry, finds that aspects

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such as grass-fed, humanely raised and animal welfare are leading the charge. Supporting his assertion are data from the most recent “Power of Meat” survey from Food Marketing Institute and the North American Meat Institute, which found that consumers’ desire for transparency in meat and poultry production is behind the double-digit growth in grass-fed, organic, and hormone- and antibiotic-free meats. “What this tells me is that clean, simple foods are beginning to show up on consumers’ radar,” Browne says. While the free-of movement has been brewing in the natural channel for a while, Browne notes that it’s just starting to make its way into the mainstream. “Planned or not, this is playing right into the hands of Millennials, who want this transparency and thrive on the backstory of who this farmer is and how was this turkey or pig raised,” he says, adding that the free-of concept may be sustainable in the natural channel, but translating it to grocery — where volume demands are much higher — could pose a challenge. Regarding current trends, Browne says that non-GMO and even glutenfree are still experiencing what he would call a growth phase, and predicts that it will be several years before consumer interest maxes out. “It may be nearing maturity, but we are still a long way off from seeing either of these trend downward,” he observes.

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Shout it Out Loud For free-of to take off, products will need to be aggressively merchandised on-pack and in-store. “I’ve seen this happen in other departments, such as bakery, where retailers really struggle with how to identify and properly merchandise certain so-called ‘healthful products’ in a way that makes them clearly distinguishable from the other offerings,” Browne says. The other roadblock to growth, he adds, may be store personnel: “Consumers are willing to pay more for products

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Fresh Food


Consumers are aware of what they put into their bodies

Top-growing Claims on Food (Total Store) Based on Absolute $ Growth

67% I want to know everything that is going into my food

71% I’m concerned about the long-term health impact of artificial ingredients

Gluten-free No Artificial Colors/Flavors GMO-free Natural Organic Content Presence

Organic Preservative Presence Protein Presence Hormone Presence High-fructose Corn Syrup-free

Sources: Nielsen Total U.S. xAOC 52 Weeks Ending June 10, 2017; The Nielsen Global Health and Ingredient Sentiment Survey, Q1 2016; Nielsen two-week online survey (April 2016) of 1176 respondents

‘free-of’ Versus ‘free-from’ Free-from: This ingredient-driven term is more commonly associated with food products that don’t contain ingredients known to cause a reaction in people with food allergies or intolerances. Given that people who are intolerant or allergic to one ingredient are often affected by others, they often need to study ingredient profiles to determine whether the product is safe for them to consume. When free-from is used on packaging, it signals to these consumers that the product is free from the top eight allergens: wheat, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, egg, soy, fish and shellfish.

Free-of: This new movement is driven by a growing number of consumers looking for clean, simple ingredient profiles in the foods that they consume. Top concerns for this group are identifying products that are free of unwanted elements such as trans fats, antibiotics, hormones, added sugars, and artificial colors and dyes, to name a few. Free-of consumers also possess a deep desire for authentic and transparent products, which includes understanding the backstory of where their food came from, how it was raised and whether it was treated humanely during its life.

they feel resonate with their values and beliefs, but if none of the employees are able to answer shoppers’ questions about the item, then you risk losing the sale.” Above all, Browne advises that for the free-of movement to work, there needs to be buy-in from the top and consistent messaging across all fresh departments. To promote free-of, Hermann suggests that retailers consider using limited-time offers (LTOs) as a way to convey

features such as freshness, seasonality, grown locally, made in small batches and available for just a short period of time. “LTOs are well suited for an end cap or specialty refrigerated case, and can be marketed in a way that encourages shoppers to check back with each shopping trip,” she says, noting that developing an easy-to-identify in-store or on-pack free-of symbol would also be a move in the right direction. “Consumers want short cuts,” Hermann asserts.


| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | September 2017

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Consumers are eating with a health ConsCienCe


Think environmentally friendly and sustainably grown foods are important


Think foods made at home are healthier than industrially prepared foods


Choose local, natural and organic when possible


Are willing to sacrifice taste for a healthier option

More than half of people use their own personal definition to determine which foods are “healthy” Sources: Nielsen two-week online survey (April 2017) of 1,163 respondents; The Nielsen Global Health and Ingredient Sentiment Survey, Q1, 2016; Label Insights 2016 Transparency ROI Study

Consumers Feel PositiVe aBout transParent ComPanies


Willing to pay more for foods and drinks that don’t contain undesirable ingredients


Read labels on packaging


Buy only from producers they trust


Feel positively about companies that are transparent about where and how their products are made, grown, or raised


Always buy the same food brands


Trust health claims on food packages

Sources: The Nielsen Global Health and Ingredient Sentiment Survey, Q1 2016; Nielsen two-week online survey (April 2016) of 1,176 respondents; Nielsen two-week online survey (April 2017) of 1,163 respondents

“They may have a long list of product attributes that appeal to them — or don’t — but at the end of the day, they want a quick and simple way to distinguish who the good guys and bad guys are.” Emphasizing the free-of aspects, she adds, is an ideal way to market to these consumers.

True Value Further, given the declining interest in purchasing meal kits from online companies, this is an optimal time for


grocers offering their own meal kit programs to boost their value-added appeal. Hermann notes that as a group, Millennials may not cook much, but prepared foods are an attractive substitute because they look like something that they would make themselves if they could cook. Giving them the backstory about the ingredients used in a dish, in a way, replaces having their own story, Herman says. “Instead of telling their husbands, wives or dinner guests that the meat loaf they are serving is grandma’s secret recipe,

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | September 2017

Change has come to Washington.

Will you ignore, resist or engage?

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Change comes with a new Administration and we as an industry must decide whether we will ignore, resist, or engage with this change. It’s more important than ever for you to be in our nation’s capital to advocate for our fresh produce industry.


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This journalistic icon who gained international attention when he and Carl Bernstein broke the deeply disturbing news of the Watergate scandal will address the United Fresh Washington Conference audience on Wednesday, September 20 in Washington, D.C. Bob Woodward is currently associate editor for The Washington Post where he’s worked since 1971. He has won nearly every American journalism award, and the Post won the 1973 Pulitzer Prize for his work with Carl Bernstein on the Watergate scandal. In addition, Woodward was the main reporter for the Post’s articles on the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks that won the National Affairs Pulitzer Prize in 2002. Woodward won the Gerald R. Ford Prize for Distinguished Reporting on the Presidency in 2003. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear from this beltway icon touted as “the Washington insider who can get people to talk about stuff they shouldn’t be talking about” as he shares his views of what’s really going on in today’s world of 24-hour news, social media, and snarky politics.


Fresh Food

Consumers … may have a long list of product attributes that appeal to them — or don’t — but at the end of the day, they want a quick and simple way to distinguish who the good guys and bad guys are.” —Mindy Hermann, registered dietitian nutritionist


they can say the meat loaf is store-bought but comes from award-winning, grass-fed cows that have been pastureraised since birth at McDonald’s Farm in Paducah,” she offers as an example. Convenience, Hermann adds, doesn’t negate consumers’ interest in knowing as much as they can about where their food comes from. “If you want consumers to pay a premium for your fresh program, you need to do more than simply provide product — you need to stress authenticity,” she points out. But more importantly, for food retailers to benefit from the free-of movement, industry observers such as Nelson stress that they must make sure to communicate the products’ value proposition. She reminds us that the more consumers understand about what they’re buying, the more connected they feel — something that’s particularly true in fresh departments. Also, given the number of options consumers have today, Nelson says that it would behoove grocers to tout the specialness of the products they carry. “Highlighting or showcasing what is and isn’t in

the food, how it’s made and produced, would go a long way in helping retailers distinguish themselves in the overcrowded, highly competitive prepared food market,” she observes. “At the end of the day, consumers still want convenience, but they want to understand what is unique about the prepared food their grocer is selling. The more distinctive it is, the more likely they are to buy it from their grocer versus another merchant.” Looking forward, Nelson predicts that as online retailers push to take a bigger bite out of supermarkets’ share of business, grocers may look to cut back on center store square footage even further, to make room for more fresh offerings. “This is really where grocers shine, but to compete near-term will require them to dedicate more space to educate and demonstrate the value statements within the fresh space,” she says. “This is a critical next step if they hope to keep shoppers in the store longer.” PG

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| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | September 2017


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Loyalty Programs


Begins With ‘I’ Personalization, respecting data are key to driving loyalty program memberships. By Randy Hofbauer

L If a deal or offer is personalized, shoppers love it. In fact, shoppers have come to expect personalization.” —Mir Aamir, Quotient


oyalty programs have long been a major strategy in drawing consumers to one retailer rather than another. However, while growth of loyalty program membership has continued — reaching 3.8 billion — this year’s edition of Colloquy’s Loyalty Census shows that it has dropped 11 points, to 15 percent, since the 2015 edition. Grocery program memberships have contributed to this, dropping to 142 million, from 88 million in 2015. While the findings, presented by Toronto-based loyalty program and analytics firm LoyaltyOne, show that the 24 percent decrease in grocery program memberships is due, in part, to many mergers and acquisitions in the sector, it also reveals a need for grocers to continue to offer enticing reasons for consumers to become members. For grocers in 2017, personalized incentives — digital offers and deals, relevant digital ads — are a powerful way to appeal to shoppers, drive sales and build loyalty, says Mir Aamir, president and CEO of Mountain View, Calif.-based digital promotions provider Quotient. “The reason is simple: Shoppers love digital offers and deals, either in the form of discounts on products they buy, or in terms of rewards like points, if a retailer has such a program,” Aamir notes. “The key

is to make all such incentives relevant and easy to use. If a deal or offer is personalized, shoppers love it. In fact, shoppers have come to expect personalization.”

Personalization Tips Grocers have a number of ways to personalize programs, and different demographics have different ways that they want to enjoy incentives. Some of the ways grocers could better personalize loyalty program incentives to customers include:

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | September 2017


Creating ease of participation: It should be

easy to take part and simple to redeem, says Therese McEndree, VP of marketing with Hawk Incentives, a subsidiary of Pleasanton, Calif.-based Blackhawk Network Holdings. Also, the benefits must be clearly and consistently communicated. One grocer that does this is Food City, a subsidiary of Abingdon, Va.-based K-VA-T Food Stores that rewards shoppers based on the amount they spend at its stores, according to David Bishop, partner with Barrington, Ill.-based retail consultancy Brick Meets Click. Customers at the grocer earn a 5 percent-off reward that they can use on future purchases after spending $300 at the retailer. Bishop notes that the program is personalized


Loyalty Programs

to shoppers by way of spending patterns affecting how quickly the reward is earned.


Linking loyalty cards to online shopping:

Strong value comes from enhancing both the in-store and online shopping experiences with proper personalized incentives, David Bishop observes. West Sacramento, Calif.based Raley’s does this by allowing shoppers to build online carts and lists based not only on past online purchases, but also past in-store ones. Doing so has removed friction and enabled a more seamless and continuous experience with the grocer.



We see very high penetration of loyalty card usage when the retailer respects the shopper’s data and makes their life easier and better.” —Cheryl Black, You Technology


Offering variety: Consumers today want to

choose their reward and how it’s delivered, whether loyalty points, a physical gift card, emailed promotions, rebates, or even a reward transferred to a mobile wallet, McEndree says. While consumer preference varies widely by application, value and demographic, offering the right reward options for each creates added opportunities for positive brand engagement, bounceback and continued engagement. Providing rapid rewards: According to

research from Hawk Incentives, respondents ideally want their reward delivered in less than a week. Innovations in technology now offer near-instant rewards, allowing shoppers to redeem easily, sometimes with as little as a few swipes on a mobile device, McEndree stresses.

A Problem of Trust The problem remains, though, that many consumers today desire privacy and are tempted to withhold their data. Bill Bishop, chief architect at Brick Meets Click, notes that while his firm doesn’t have an estimate of the percentage of shoppers with that concern, some things they’ll do include providing the retailer with incomplete or erroneous contact information to make connecting everything difficult. “Withholding information that can help target offers more effectively does make the retailer’s job more challenging and complex,” David Bishop adds. “Mining past purchases could reveal some of these attributes; however, this isn’t fail-safe, as households are buying groceries across multiple retailers.” Bill Bishop notes that most retailers have pledged not to share information they collect with others, and that up until this point, many customers have been satisfied with that. However, with data breaches and other calamities causing concern in recent years,

customers’ reluctance could become more of an issue. One way that grocers can balance their need for data with their customers’ desire to keep data to themselves is to apply similar approaches used by digital marketers. For example, David Bishop points to ads served on the internet, driven by sophisticated, rules-based algorithms, which capture and sort through many attributes based on past search activity. “This collective information creates thousands of micro-segments that help determine what deals get served up in each individual case,” he says. “Using a similar framework, grocers can develop various segmentation, using past purchases, to create targeting segmentation like households with kids, health nuts, cheese enthusiasts, etc.”

Relevance Removes Reluctance But from her experience, Kate Hogenson, strategic loyalty consultant with St. Petersburg, Fla.-based Kobie Marketing, notes that shoppers are willing to give up their personal data if they get something worthwhile in return, like a discount, coupon, or loyalty points redeemable for free products or discounts. The lesson is simple: Give first to get something. This is especially the case when the data desired from customers could help them avoid products they don’t want. For instance, Cheryl Black, CEO of You Technology, a Brisbane, Calif.-based provider of digital-offer platforms, notes that Phoenix-based Sprouts Farmers Market gathers data on food interests in regard to dietary requirements such as gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan. The retailer rewards customers for sharing this information by presenting them with offers for discounts on products in these areas. “We see very high penetration of loyalty card usage when the retailer respects the shopper’s data and makes their life easier and better,” Black says. Still, no matter how data are used and what incentives are offered, it all must come down to using the information to offer savings, ease and convenience, Black emphasizes. Grocers must be sure that if they promote anything via incentives, that they not do it with things a shopper isn’t interested in. Retailers must be transparent about any promotions and turn them into savings, ease and convenience for the shopper. “It is much better to keep a loyal customer returning each week than to have them add one more item to a basket on a given week and stop shopping your stores as frequently,” she says. “Shoppers will respect a ‘fair exchange’ and will give a little data to make their life better. But they must never feel taken advantage of.” PG

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | September 2017

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Warehouse Management Systems

Supply Chain

A Warehouse

Space Odyssey New technology is bringing a sci-fi spin to the back end of the retail supply chain. By Jenny McTaggart

far ouT New imagerbased scanning devices can read barcodes from up to 70 feet away.


f someone made a science fiction film about grocery warehousing, the scene might look something like this: drones flying through the air counting inventory, automated guided vehicles taking contents off trailers and putting them away, and lit-up tunnels equipped with RFID sensors, taking pristine records of every perishable product that travels through their dark confines. This scenario might actually happen in the not-toodistant future, according to some of the grocery industry’s warehousing technology pros. As well as exciting new technology applications on the market, they cite the promising integration of systems and technologies already being combined to tackle two of the industry’s most pressing needs: accuracy and speed. Today’s own “warehouse space odyssey” features voice technology, wearable technology, imager-based scanners, and warehousing systems that tie into trans-

portation and labor management systems, as well as retailers’ ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems, to offer the ultimate in visibility and planning. “Accuracy and speed don’t necessarily go together,” notes Tod Hummert, product manager, warehouse and transportation systems for Duluth, Ga.-based NCR Corp. “We typically have to put more validation within our applications, but we try to do it in a way that doesn’t slow down the users from a productivity standpoint. One of the ways we do that is by using different technologies at the same time.” One of NCR’s recent developments in this arena is a clever integration with pallet jacks, which is currently being used by Associated Grocers, of Baton Rouge, La., and Merchants Distributors (MDI), a wholesale grocery store distributor based in Hickory, N.C. “We worked with a forklift and pallet jack manufacturer to integrate voice in with the pallet jack,” September 2017 | |


Supply Chain

voiCE of rEaSon nCr Corp. is combining voice with other technologies to improve load accuracy.

Warehouse Management Systems

explains Hummert. “The manufacturer then added light to the pallet jack for each pallet position. Through voice, we’re sending a command to the pallet jack to light up the pallet position where the selector’s going to place the product. So, as we tell a selector to go to a location, then confirm the location, we tell them how many to pick, and then we tell them to place it on position A. Then we send a command to the pallet jack to light up position A. This is just another way we can help companies to achieve even better accuracy.” In addition to this futuristic-sounding technology combination, NCR is offering automation technology through formation systems, as well as automated storage retrieval systems (ASRS), continues Hummert. “One of our larger customers that’s using the ASRS is Associated Food Stores, out of Salt Lake City,” he notes. “They actually have two different versions in place … a pallet-level ASRS, as well as a unit-level or case-level system. They have a large sortation system that feeds off that as well. “Any time you can utilize automation, your productivity is going to go up, your accuracy is going to go up and your utilization within the warehouse is going to go up,” adds Hummert. By integrating different applications within its warehouse management systems, NCR can help

Top 5 Technology Expansion Plans Zebra Technology’s latest Warehouse Vision Survey reveals transformational changes in North America for asset visibility, warehouse productivity and supply chain integration in various industries, including grocery. According to the survey, the No. 1 technology in which executives plan to increase their investment is barcode scanning. “There’s so much that could be and should be done with the barcode in a lot of operations,” notes Mark Wheeler, director of supply chain solutions — North America for Holtsville, N.Y.-based Zebra Technologies. “Good, disciplined supply chain management, enforcing the use of the GS1 standards … blocking and tackling with barcodes is a huge opportunity for a lot of people.”

The top tech priorities identified by the survey are as follows: Equipping Staff With Technology Barcode Scanning Tablet Computers Big Data/Analytics Warehouse/Truck-loading Automation Internet of Things (IoT)


76% 67 66 61 56 52

companies increase their productivity, he continues. “With warehouse management systems, obviously we manage the inventory,” observes Hummert. “We also manage the labor, as we have an embedded labor management system within the WMS [warehouse management system] that very tightly impacts the operation. And we take advantage of the fact that it is integrated to make better decisions so that we get increased productivity. We also manage the space within the warehouse, as well as the labor itself.” In fact, Hummert says that he’s seeing a lot of focus on having tighter integration with transportation on both the inbound and outbound sides of the business. “On the inbound side, it’s making sure the product is coming in when you need it and having visibility to what’s coming in,” he notes. “On the outbound side, it’s ensuring that trailers are in the doors before you need to load them and making sure you’re optimizing those outbound loads not only from a cube and weight standpoint, but also from a delivery standpoint — making sure you have the right routes configured so you can reduce your overall mileage and increase the productivity of the drivers themselves.”

Built for Speed Integration is a key business goal for many thirdparty logistics providers as well. Reading, Pa.based Penske Logistics sees warehousing as just one part of the supply chain that must be closely linked to other facets. “In most instances, we have integration between our customers’ ERP systems and either our transportation management or warehouse management systems,” notes Andy Moses, Penske’s SVP of global products. “So information is coming in to us, we’re doing various types of processing and transactions, and then we’re normally feeding back some information into the customers’ systems through these integrations.” Moses observes that the fresh channel has

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | September 2017

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Supply Chain

Warehouse Management Systems

“exploded” across the food industry, and that has brought a lot of change in the way business is done on the back end. “We’re seeing more frequent deliveries of fresh goods, and often front-door deliveries in Labor GainS by syncing the store, versus loading docks around the WMS with labor back of the store,” he explains. “We see management this as a kind of segmentation within the systems, supply chain, as some grocers are taking companies are able to see smaller, fresh items and moving them out more visible of their mainstream supply chain.” metrics around These changes have ramped up the productivity. need for speed in the supply chain, including the frequent replenishment of fresh goods. Don Klug, VP of distribution center management for Penske Logistics, says that technology is playing a key role in how retailers are adapting to these changes on the back end of the supply chain. “One example is having slotting as a functionality within a warehouse management system,” he notes. “So you slot your fast movers, or items that need to get out of the building as fast as possible, closer to the dock. Then, when you receive those products, you can put them away more efficiently, and the same goes for when you pick them.” Other newer, promising technology he mentions includes a “speedline concept,” in which orders can be picked in smaller quantities “as we’re seeing for a particular store or for a more frequent particular truck route, as well as task interleaving, which is a replenishment function within the WMS that for stores and allows the user to send tasks more cold-chain via an RF-based system, which requirements, it ultimately keeps forklifts full. filters down to Both of these concepts help to the solutions side, increase productivity, as well as where we’re working speed to market and even labor with customers reduction, notes Klug. And in an to design new economy where warehouse workers workflows and to have been hard to come by, technolimplement them in ogy’s power to take over menial tasks requiring accuracy has been the optimum way.” particularly powerful. —Mark Wheeler, Zebra Technologies


The Mobile Edge In addition to the impressive features being added to warehouse management systems, the hardware side of technology is seeing some exciting changes. Mark Wheeler, director of supply chain solutions — North America at Holtsville, N.Y.-based Zebra Technologies, says that “systems of reality,” or industrial IoT solutions such as sensors and analytics, are helping to drive

operational visibility at different processes, including yard management for trailer loading. “As we’re seeing more frequent replenishment for stores and more cold-chain requirements, it filters down to the solutions side, where we’re working with customers to design new workflows and to implement them in the optimum way,” he notes. “There’s a major transition at the operating system level from Windows CE to Windows Mobile to Android. And there’s a user interface transition that’s linked to that, in which we’re moving to more touch-oriented user interfaces.” In the warehouses, he sees a transition from laser-based to imager-based scanner devices, largely driven by the industry’s enhanced focus on food safety, and food traceability in particular, which warrants the need for tracking twodimensional barcodes and multiple barcodes at case level and even at each level. Meanwhile, more people are relying on wearable scanning to confirm that they’re not only handling the right product, but also handling the lot number that they allocated to fulfill from, he says. For cold-chain requirements in particular, more suppliers are integrating temperature sensors into “smart tags” so that they can track not only the temperature of products, but also the temperatures that the product was exposed to throughout its shipment, continues Wheeler. This past April, Zebra Technologies rolled out Smart Pack Trailer, an analytics-based solution that provides visibility into how trailers are loaded, what percent capacity is being used, what percent complete the load is and how to project the completion time on a particular trailer. All of this information is immediately available to the mobile manager in the warehouse, he notes. “These products are always on … always looking at processes and keeping decision-makers in sync with reality,” observes Wheeler. “Reality” is the ideal word, since the need for real-time accuracy and productivity makes grocery distribution tech anything but science fiction. PG

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | September 2017

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Shelving Systems

Equipment & Design

Cutting Edge Supermarket shelving is playing a more sophisticated part in marketing. By Bob Ingram


eretofore taken for granted, the once lowly shelf is taking on an expanded role in the evolution of food retailing. “The concept of ESLs [electronic shelf labels] has been around for years,” says Paul Milner, marketing director at Displaydata, based in the U.K. town of Bracknell, “but in today’s evergrowing digital retail environment, retailers and their customers are ready to make this new generation of ESLs a part of the store experience.” Displaydata’s fully graphic three-color ESLs, with the option of integrated Bluetooth Low Energy beacons, enable grocers “to drive in-store pricing and promotions with speed, agility and consistency,” Milner notes, adding that they can also display product, price, promotion, nutritional information and stock levels, as well as enable centralized management of any number of ESLs across any number of stores in seconds. “We believe that … key drivers for grocery retailers adopting ESLs are transparency and in-

tegrity,” Milner observes. “Grocers want to earn the customer’s trust, which means it is critical to offer price and promotion accuracy at the shelf edge that also matches what is advertised in online channels.” With Amazon’s aggressive moves into grocery, he notes, the stakes are higher than ever, and the right technology innovations can help grocers compete. “We believe that in the next five years, the majority of retailers will achieve full digital integration,” Milner says, “and grocery retailers will adopt ESLs to achieve everyday low pricing, easily match prices with competitors or web-based delivery services, and much more.”

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Equipment & Design

Grocers want to earn the customer’s trust, which means it is critical to offer price and promotion accuracy at the shelf edge that also matches what is advertised in online channels.” —Paul Milner, Displaydata

Shelving Systems

neously delivering real-time insights at the shelf level. “Industry white papers have demonstrated an average industry-wide OOS rate of 8 percent,” White notes. “That means that in the average grocery store, 8 percent of products are OOS at any one time.” OOS sensors are the most popular feature of Powershelf, he says, because they allow grocers to compete with growing omnichannel and online retailers. “Powershelf Smart Retail Labels [SRLs] — our proprietary electronic shelf labels — light up to help store employees restock shelves and pick items for curbside express service,” White explains, noting that SRLs enable stores to monitor items and adjust prices per market demand. For instance, the price of a product that’s been sitting on the shelf too long can be altered to move it faster. He believes that ESLs will help retailers adapt to dynamic pricing models and better compete with ecommerce competitors.

‘Digital Associates’ “We believe the best place for a brand to message shoppers is when they’re right in front of it, and not in a passive way — measurable, two-way engagement,” says Tim Halfman, founder and CEO of

The Like Machine, in Glenview, Ill. “Shoppers tap our device and are sent a mobile notification. They answer a brand question, look at the latest reviews, get an offer or give their own star rating.” The Like Machine has completed the first phase of hardware and software for the Shopper Connect device, and it’s now in test stores, Halfman notes. “Our retail and CPG customers created 20 million shopper engagements with The Like Machine in our initial pilot,” he says. While shoppers like to share their opinions, Halfman adds, the reality is that the clear majority don’t do so online, but that The Like Machine capitalizes on the traffic in-store and gives all shoppers a way to share in a simple, anonymous way. “Thousands of opinions a month, not dozens,” is how he puts it. “It’s a little bit like having digital associates in your aisles.” Halfman believes that data driven from within the store can be used in macro driving trends and micro personalization. “Shoppers herd with the trends of others, but want to feel the individual attention to their needs,” he observes. Regarding electronic shelf labels, Halfman notes that they’re “designed to manage the one ubiquitous piece of data we all process when we shop,” pointing to Amazon, which he says has demonstrated the power of social proof in ratings, the value of comparison shopping, the interest that shoppers have in related products, and the ease of subscription services. Halfman’s advises, “It’s a miss to not offer this and more at the shelf. Let’s make it a meaningful communication and engagement tool.”

STAyinG in SToCk Powershelf labels notify of out-of-stocks.


| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | September 2017

The Case for Space In the realm of center store shelving innovations, QwikSlot Radius Shelving allows grocers to put more products in the same or a smaller footprint and be readily noticed, according to Rob Napkori, market manager of the commercial and consumer products division of InterMetro Industrial Corp., known as Metro, in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. Napkori says that QwikSlot is easily adjustable, showcases the product and is available in multiple colors to match new décor packages. “Supermarket shelving needs to evolve to handle the space issue facing all grocery store chains,” Napkori asserts. “We see stores going to smaller footprints and becoming more neighborhood markets, which

Wavy Gravy M. Fried’s curved shelves are for specialty food aisles.

means a smaller center store. The customer is shopping more [in the] perimeter, with ready-made and ready-to-take meals.” While ESLs have been slow to take hold, he says, they will be the future of grocery shelving, because they not only give the customer muchneeded product information, but also give the retailer the information needed to carry what cus-

tomers want, reorder when low, and stock shelves when they’re low or empty. Marilyn Whetzel, a sales executive at Storage & Distribution Systems, owner of Metro Shelving, in Curtis Bay, Md., says that the most popular of her company’s shelving products are the Super Adjustable, which comes with an easy-adjust lever to change the height of each shelf, and QwikSlot Shelving, which

Equipment & Design

MorE in LEss Metro’s Qwikslot for center store puts more products in a smaller footprint.

Shelving Systems

has a fixed top and bottom shelf, while the shelves in between drop into a slot with a metal hook, making it easy to adjust shelf levels and remove shelves without having to take apart the rest of the unit. “Both of these came about to make our wire shelving easier to rearrange and adjust,” she notes. The Super Adjustable shelving comes in several finishes, with the chrome finish being popular for supermarkets, according to Whetzel, who says that the chrome finish is for dry storage indoors. Stainless steel or epoxy-coated options are also available. “These finishes became popular due to how well they hold up to aggressive and rust-prone environments,” she explains. In addition to the popular shelving noted, Whetzel says that Metro has introduced new products in the past year, with more styles available in a large variety of sizes. “We carry many accessories, including dividers, ledges, label holders and cart covers, which can be customized with the store’s logo or a specific department name printed on the cover,” she adds. Heshy Lovi, sales and marketing director at Brooklyn, N.Y.-based M. Fried Store Fixtures, which serves grocers in the New York metro area, has this

take on electronic shelf labels: “As far as ESL goes, none of our customers use it as of now. I’m hearing that people are waiting for the next big thing, like in-store use of Amazon-type of software, and for the most part, they will skip upgrading to ESLs.” This just goes to show that grocers are aware of the marketing potential of their shelves, whether now or later. PG

Food, Beverage & Nonfood Products

Better Bowls Fall soup season will be upon us in no time, meaning that today’s adventurous consumers seeking a quick, warm meal will appreciate an exotic twist on the typical bowl of chicken noodle soup. Meeting this need, Blount Fine Foods has introduced its namesake brand of refrigerated Noodle & Rice Bowls in four varieties, including vegan and gluten-free options: Chicken Ramen Bowl, Hibachi Chicken & Rice Bowl (gluten-free), Coconut Chicken & Noodle Bowl, and Asian-Inspired Vegetable & Rice Bowl (vegan and gluten-free). All are made with wholesome ingredients such as chicken raised without antibiotics. Able to be prepared in just three minutes, the 13-ounce bowls come ready to heat, with separately packaged shelf-stable noodles that can be easily added.

Soothing Suckers Cough drops don’t always offer the most pleasant “get well” experience, especially for kids. Understanding this, Mondelez International has unveiled Halls Kids Pops, a new cough and sore-throat lozenge and dietary supplement that turns to a classic, child-friendly format: the lollipop. Specially developed for kids age 5 years and older, the pops are available in Cherry and Strawberry flavors, as well as a Vitamin C Orange variety. A 10-pack of individually wrapped Halls Kids Pops retails for a suggested $6.99.

Just Juice Juices today often contain additives and added sugar, often leaving a bad taste in the mouths of those who turn to them for nutrition and natural refreshment. Enter Daily Greens with its line of Just Veggies juices: three SKUs of pure, nutrient-dense vegetable juices, always 100 percent organic and containing no added sugar. Just Carrots, containing carrots and lime, is high in beta-carotene and fiber; Just Greens, offering kale, cabbage, broccoli, lacinato kale and lavender, is a suitable source of vitamins K, C and B6; and Just Beets, made with beets, cucumber and lime, is high in vitamin C, fiber and such essential minerals as potassium. Retailers decide the SRP at their discretion.

Natural Indulgence To meet the needs of consumers looking for both an occasional indulgence and unique flavors, Tillamook County Creamery Association has added two unique flavors to its line of ice creams: Cardamom Almond Butter Ice Cream and Frosted Carrot Cake Ice Cream. The former is warm and nutty, with a ribbon of rich, sweet almond butter, while the latter is a reimagining of a classic dessert in ice cream form, with hints of nutmeg and cinnamon swirled with layers of cream cheese frosting and topped with walnuts. The ice creams are made with the highest-quality ingredients, including dairy from cows not treated with artificial growth hormones, as well as no high-fructose corn syrup or artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners. Each 15.5-ounce container has an SRP range of $3.99-$4.49. September 2017 | |



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Airius Anheuser-Busch Inc Applegate Farms Inc. Beaver Street Fisheries Beiersdorf USA Blount Fine Foods Cambro Manufacturing Company Campbell Soup Company Caulipower Chelan Fresh Chobani CIP International Inc. Coca Cola NA Consorzio Tutela Del Formaggio Grana Padano Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese, LLC CSM Bakery Products D.F. Stauffer Biscuit Company DNP Imagingcomm America Corporation E&J Gallo Enjoy Life Natural Brands, LLC Epson America Forté Products Giorgio Foods, Inc. Gold Medal Products Golden West Food Group Goya Foods, Inc. Heart and Soul Harvest Heineken USA Inc. House Foods America Iovate Health Sciences Int’l Inc. Jack Link’s Beef Jerky John Wm Macy’s Cheesesticks Inc. Kimberly-Clark Co Limitless Coffee Madrona Specialty Foods Mann Packing Co., Inc. Maple Leaf Farms Mars Chocolate NA/ Wrigley MasonWays Indestructible Plastics NBT Cooperative Nestlé Purina Pet Care Okf America Organic Valley Family Of Farms Pearson Candy Company Peri & Sons Farms Poppies International Premier Nutrition Private Label Manufacturers Association Produce Marketing Association Restaurant Technologies Inc Schwan Food Company Siggi’s Dairy Smithfield Fresh Stemilt Growers, Inc. Stonefire Authentic Flatbreads Stout Beverages, LLC Sweet Earth Natural Foods The J.M. Smucker Company The Spice Lab The Wonderful Company/Pistachios The Wonderful Company/POM Wonderful Arils Thermal Technologies Inc. Trion Industries Inc. Tyson - Open Prairie Pork Unilever North America United Fresh Produce Association Universal Pasteurization Vestcom Volk Enterprises

84 7 Inside Front Cover - 3 85 17, 63 Inside Back Cover, 10-11 115 31, 41 70 69 23 21 110 66 87 79 59 107 61 15 9 119 98 54 49 53 57 32, 74 101 93 81 64 56 120 65 71 62 77 104 91 72 60 99, 105 50 94 82 95 96 90 109 39 Back Cover 13 68 88 55 44 28 78 27 35 113 18-19 43 47 103 4 116 76

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