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2020 Labor Outlook: A guide to growing future grocers GREENWISE REIMAGINED New Publix concept shines GROCERANT GREATNESS Opportunities expanding for prepared foods CPG PROFILE Campbell CEO Clouse talks innovation


BIG How Giant’s dream team is reinventing fresh

January 2020

Ira Kress, interim president; Dyani Hanrahan, VP of marketing; Tonya Herring, SVP of merchandising

Volume 99, Number 1

A proud past.

©2020 Campbell Soup Company

An exciting future.

We’re extremely proud of our past, and even more excited about our future. As we grow and evolve with the modern family, we look forward to sharing our successes with all our retail partners.

We’re just getting warmed up.

Contents 01. 20

Volume 99 Issue 1





Workforce 2020

The changing face and function of labor driving the food retail industry.

7 Keys to Being a Retail Winner


Life in the Fresh Lane

Giant Food’s new ground-up format is designed to help shoppers go with the flow.

Departments 6 EDITOR’S NOTE


March 2020

Grocery channel rankings from dunnhumby take into account such metrics as convenience, digital efforts and store ops, to name just a few.


What’s Next for GreenWise Market

Shopper experience, discovery and sustainability are recurring themes at Publix’s reimagined specialty, natural and organic concept.



Salty Snacks

Teaming Up to Serve Shoppers


Sports, Nutrition and Performance Drinks


Alan Glass


Produce + Health + Wellness = Green 4


8550 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. Ste. 200, Chicago, IL 60631 Phone: 773-992-4450 Fax: 773-992-4455



Decision Drivers in Prepared Foods

How Campbell Got its Groove Back

A new decade brings new opportunities to drive sales and delivery in the retail foodservice category.


Ask a Chef

Take steps toward creating a healthier prepared food section. GROCERY GROUP PUBLISHER John Schrei 248-613-8672 GROCERY GROUP EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Mike Troy 813-857-6512

CEO Mark Clouse discusses the iconic company’s ongoing transformation.

EDITORIAL EDITORIAL DIRECTOR James Dudlicek 224-632-8238


Stocking the Grocer’s Digital Shelf New Label Insight CEO Todd Morris aims to help consumers get what they want in an ecommerce world.

MANAGING EDITOR Bridget Goldschmidt 201-855-7603 SENIOR EDITOR Gina Acosta 813-417-4149 SENIOR DIGITAL & TECHNOLOGY EDITOR Abby Kleckler 773-992-4405 CONTRIBUTING EDITORS D. Gail Fleenor, Kathy Hayden, BobIngram, Jenny McTaggart and Barbara Sax ADVERTISING SALES & BUSINESS



Spring Fever


The season is the right time for grocers’ produce departments to grow.

SENIOR MARKETING MANAGER Theresa Kossack (MIDWEST) 214-226-6468 REGIONAL SALES MANAGER Tammy Rokowski (SOUTHWEST) 248-514-9500 JUNIOR ACCOUNT MANAGER-GROCERY GROUP Natalie Meehan p 773-992-4410 m 619 823-4926 ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE/CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING Terry Kanganis 201-855-7615 • Fax: 201-855-7373 CLASSIFIED PRODUCTION MANAGER Mary Beth Medley 856-809-0050 EVENTS VICE PRESIDENT, EVENTS Michael Cronin



A Greener Bottom Line

GenNext Winners Take Center Stage at Coca-Cola HQ

Advances in sustainable store lighting are boosting efficiency and lowering overhead. 58 SOLUTIONS

Pack Mentality

As retailers rethink the sustainability of their packaging, they’ll need to consider the availability and price of materials, as well as how best to educate their shoppers.


Emerging industry leaders were honored, along with PG’s Retailer of the Year.



Million-Dollar Smiles


The oral care category goes upscale.




Fresh Tech Perspectives

3 GenNext Award honorees talk about what’s next for technology in the grocery industry.




EDITOR’S NOTE By Jim Dudlicek

2020 Vision here will be no shortage of things to keep an eye on across the industry this year. Here are five that should keep you busy:

Amazon’s New Bag

The three scariest words in the retail world seem to be “Amazon’s going to …” Jaws are next poised to drop sometime in February, when the e-tail giant is expected to open the first store of its new grocery chain, in a reconditioned former Toys “R” Us in the tony Los Angeles suburb of Woodland Hills. Just a couple of miles from one of Amazon’s Whole Foods Market stores, the new store aims to offer more mainstream products while staying close to core Prime members. We’re anxious to see Amazon’s take on a more traditional shopping experience, enhanced by online ordering, pickup and the company’s superlative shopper analytics. Traditional grocers should appreciate this vindication of brick and mortar, but not let up on their own innovation initiatives.

All Solutions Great and Small

Which fulfillment model will rule the day: macro or micro? Kroger’s partnership with U.K.-based web grocer Ocado is proceeding with the announcement of a sixth fulfillment center location. The Wisconsin site, about halfway between Chicago and Milwaukee, joins locations underway in Ohio, Florida, Georgia, Texas and the mid-Atlantic region. The Kroger-Ocado deal, announced in May 2018, called for the construction of 20 highly automated grocery fulfillment centers to accelerate the Cincinnati-based grocery giant’s ability to provide customers with anything, anytime, anywhere. “Through our strategic partnership, we are engineering a model for the region, leveraging advanced robotics technology and creative solutions to redefine the customer experience,” Robert Clark, Kroger’s SVP of supply chain, manufacturing and sourcing, said in November. While Kroger and Ocado bet on the macro model, Albertsons has partnered with grocery technology company Takeoff Technologies to drive the future of ecommerce with automated micro fulfillment capabilities. The first of two pilot micro fulfillment centers opened Oct. 23 at a Safeway in South San Francisco, with another expected to open at a Safeway in San Jose, Calif., by the end of 2019, reported in December. The model enables the brick-and-mortar store’s 6

proximity to customers, with the automation of a large warehouse. The centers typically hold about 15,000 to 18,000 of the grocer’s most popular SKUs. “The micro fulfillment center model is a key element in the store of the future,” said Vivek Sankaran, president and CEO of Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons. “It combines the efficiency of automation with the ease of meeting customers when and how they want to shop.” Other grocers working with Waltham, Mass.based Takeoff include ShopRite, Canadian grocer Loblaw Cos. Ltd., Ahold Delhaize USA’s Stop & Shop, and Hispanic grocer Sedano’s Supermarket.

The Buck’s Not Stopping

Watch for dollar stores to continue to ramp up their grocery efforts. During its last earnings call in December, Columbus, Ohio-based Big Lots outlined plans to reconfigure its grocery assortment, including allocating space to “more productive” categories such as salty snacks, beverages and other consumables. Meanwhile, Chesapeake, Va.-based Dollar Tree expanded its Snack Zone feature, designed to provide customers with a compelling assortment of immediate-consumption products (including cold beverages, candy, snack cakes, salty treats and other groceries) at the $1 price point at more than 1,000 stores.

Progressive Grocer puts you on the front lines for another compelling year in the ongoing evolution of grocery.

Jim Dudlicek Editorial Director Twitter @jimdudlicek

Charlotte, N.C.-based Family Dollar’s H2 stores feature more freezer and cooler doors with a wider product assortment, and Goodlettsville, Tenn.based Dollar General has embarked on DG Fresh, its strategic multiphase shift to self-distribution of frozen and refrigerated goods such as dairy and deli.

Dark Matter

Could dark kitchens be the solution for grocery stores looking to cross the delivery hurdle for fresh prepared foods? Kroger Delivery Kitchen Powered by ClusterTruck is launching pilots in Indiana, Ohio and Colorado, a move that Kroger CIO Yael Cosset believes will help the retailer with “cracking the code for the future of profitable meal delivery.” Indianapolis-based ClusterTruck owns and operates vertically integrated delivery-only kitchens powered by a proprietary software system that uses custom algorithms to optimize kitchen and delivery operations, promising meals within 30 minutes of ordering. We bet similar partnerships with other grocers aren’t far behind.

Register today!

Kroger’s Rx for Success?

Could Kroger be headed for a merger with Walgreens? Just over a year ago, the grocer partnered with the drug store chain on a store-within-a-store concept that saw Kroger-branded products inside Walgreens stores that also served as pickup sites for online grocery orders. Then, a month ago, the two retailers created the Retail Procurement Alliance, an organization aimed at delivering purchasing efficiencies, lower costs and combined resources to help drive innovation. Where these bedfellows end up next might not be so strange. “If a joint-purchasing organization makes sense, why not a full-blown merger?” wonders Mike Troy, editor of Retail Leader and head of EnsembleIQ’s Grocery Group, contending that such an alliance — creating a $257 billion company with more than 12,000 stores — would improve the prospects of competing against the likes of Walmart, CVS and even Amazon. These and other industry disruptions yet to be revealed will make for another compelling year in the ongoing evolution of grocery. Progressive Grocer puts you on the front lines as it all unfolds. Happy New Year!




Irish-American Heritage Month National Celery Month National Flour Month National Frozen Food Month

National Noodle Month National Nutrition Month National Peanut Month National Women’s History Month



National Fruit Compote Day National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day


Daylight Saving Time. Remind shoppers that it’s spring ahead.


National Banana Cream Pie Day. No epic pie fights in the in-store bakery, please.


National Crabmeat Day National Meatball Day

National Peanut Cluster Day


National Pears Helene Day. Cross promote the necessary ingredients.


National Bavarian Crepes Day. First, tell shoppers what they are, and then how they can make them.


National Lemon Chiffon Cake Day



National Artichoke Hearts Day National Panda Day. Offer a bakery special on blackand-white treats in a salute to the lovable bear.


National Chip and Dip Day. Ask for customers’ most original combos.


National Cold Cuts Day For National Soup It Forward Day, encourage customers to donate their favorite shelf-stable brands to local food pantries.


National Blueberry Popover Day National Pack Your Lunch Day. Provide plenty of creative suggestions for brown baggers.


It makes perfect sense that St. Patrick’s Day is also National Corned Beef and Cabbage Day.


National ChocolateCovered Raisin Day National Cheesesteak Day



National Pound Cake Day. Why should shoppers buy ready-made ones when they can try baking their own, with ingredients sourced from store shelves?


National Cheese Doodle Day


National Frozen Food Day


National Cereal Day

National Oreo Cookie Day

National Crown of Roast Pork Day









National Sloppy Joe Day

Vernal Equinox. There are spring chickens, after all.

National Registered Dietitian/ Nutritionist Day. Pay tribute to your own associates of these descriptions by touting their instore services.

National Lacy Oatmeal Cookie Day

National Baked Scallops Day. Have your seafood and prepared food departments collaborate on a tempting meal solution.

National Poultry Day

National Coconut Torte Day

National Ravioli Day. Canned, frozen, heat-and-eat, homemade — does it matter?

National Potato Chip Day. Bet they can’t eat just one.

National Corn Dog Day

National French Bread Day

National Melba Toast Day

National Turkey Neck Soup Day. Show customers how to use all of their leftovers.


National Clams on the Half Shell Day National Tater Day


National Lobster Newburg Day. Make sure that your seafood department’s lobster tank is well stocked.


National Spinach Day. If it’s good enough for Popeye ...


National Spanish Paella Day. Hold an in-store demo on how to prepare this iconic dish.


National Black Forest Cake Day National Something on a Stick Day. How about Black Forest cake pops?







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As home meal preparation continues to decrease, Blount’s Family Kitchen gives shoppers that home style experience with four new delicious meals. Carefully crafted with wholesome ingredients, layered avors and culinary expertise, these provide time-constrained families with meals that they can call their own. 12 oz Grab & Go Refrigerated Meals - Simple. Quick. Convenient

For more information on these delicious meals, contact your Blount sales rep at 774.888.1300 for more information.


Research & Analysis

Produce + Health + Wellness = Green Datassential’s Menu Adoption Cycle provides the equation for each month’s review by sharing what’s trending on restaurant menus. This is a great predictor of what’s to come in the grocery channel – and an excellent source of innovation ideas for you. Often, you’ll hear a new produce ingredient touted as “the next kale” in recognition of its meteoric rise in popularity. This month, we see how other healthand-wellness veggies compare with that benchmark, and suggest ideas for their use as ingredients in your perimeter offerings. Swiss Chard MAC stage: Inception — Ethnic markets, ethnic independents and fine dining. Trends start here and exemplify originality in flavor, preparation and presentation. Even though this leafy green vegetable is trending down on menus recently, we think it’s ripe for a comeback in 2020. Its slightly bitter and earthy taste makes it an excellent addition to soups or salads, but it’s the nutritional profile that’s most valued by consumers. Swiss chard is a good source of vitamins C and A, as well as potassium and fiber. On 2% of U.S. restaurant menus Down 24% on menus over the past four years 55% of consumers know it / 27% have tried it Menu Example Panera Ten Vegetable Soup Tomato, red and yellow peppers, onions, corn, carrots, Swiss chard, poblano peppers, and garlic in seasoned vegetable stock, with chickpeas, sprouted brown rice and red fife, black chia, spelt, wheatberries, and dried Aleppo chili. Topped with a lemon wheel.


Brussels Sprouts MAC stage: Adoption — Ethnic aisle at supermarkets, casual independents, fast casual. Adoption-stage trends grow their base via lower price points and simpler prep methods. Still differentiated, these trends often feature premium and/ or generally authentic ingredients. Despite its reputation for spoiling kids’ dinners at home, Brussels sprouts are a hit on menus. The small green vegetables resemble mini cabbages and are highly popular as appetizers, sides and salad ingredients. They’re being paired with contemporary ingredients such as bacon, miso, maple and balsamic vinegar to make on-trend dishes. Like Swiss chard, they also boast a fiber-rich nutrition profile with high levels of vitamin C and potassium.

Kale MAC stage: Proliferation — Proliferation-stage trends are adjusted for mainstream appeal. Often combined with popular applications (on a burger, pasta, etc.) Kale, once known as the fastest-growing menu item, is now firmly in the Proliferation stage. It’s still pretty common in fine-dining restaurants and growing in fast-casual and quick-service eateries ­— which makes it highly apropos for the store perimeter. The versatile leafy green from the cabbage family is used in salads, pastas, juices or even as a side dish. On 20.2% of U.S. restaurant menus

Spinach MAC stage: Ubiquity — Ubiquity-stage trends have reached maturity, and can be found across all sectors of the food industry. Though often diluted by this point, their inception-stage roots are still recognizable. Before kale was kale, there was spinach. This ubiquitous menu ingredient is high in iron and other nutrients, and found in all kinds of entrée items, from pastas to pizzas. Datassential’s Haiku machine-learning application predicts that spinach will grow significantly over the next four years in quick-service restaurants and fast-casual chains as well. On 58.9% of U.S. menus Up 0% over the past four years

Up 56% over the past four years On 14.8% of U.S. restaurant menus Up 89% on menus over the past four years 91% of consumers know it / 66% have tried it Menu Example P.F. Chang’s Kung Pao Brussels Sprouts Wok-charred Brussels sprouts, peanuts and chili pods, tossed in a classic kung pao sauce.

86% of consumers know it / 58% have tried it Menu Example Pret A Manger Kale Caesar Salad Grilled chicken, roasted tomatoes, asiago crisps, Parmesan and lemon over a bed of romaine and kale.

95% of consumers know it / 84% have tried it Menu Example Papa John’s Fresh Spinach & Tomato Alfredo Pizza Crafted with fresh cream and Parmesan and Romano cheeses, our 2-Cheese Alfredo sauce is deliciously creamy. We top it with fresh baby spinach, fresh-cut Roma tomatoes, real cheese made from mozzarella, plus classic Italian seasoning for an extra dash of flavor.



Shelf Stoppers

Shelf Stoppers


(52 weeks ending April 2, 2016) Salty Snacks

Basket Facts

Total Department Performance


How much is the Consumers chose average American frozen broccoli over alternatives for household a variety of reasons: spending per trip on various snack products? 12%


quick andAmerican easy The average household spends:

Salty Snacks

Latest 52 Wks W/E 11/23/19

$23, 693,734, 100

Latest 52 Wks YA W/E 11/24/18

Latest 52 Wks 2 YA W/E 11/25/17



Top Health and Beauty Supercateogories by Dollar Sales Potato Chips

Tortilla Chips


Meat Snacks

Cheese Snacks

because it’s



because it tastes great


Spotlight on Frozen Broccoli




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


Latest 52 Wks W/E 11/23/19


Latest 52 Wks YA W/E 11/24/18

Frozen broccoli is most often used in a side dish, followed by as a main entrée. 3% Latest 52 Wks 2 YA W/E 11/25/17

Source: : Nielsen, Total U.S. (All outlets combined) – includes grocery stores, drug stores, mass merchandisers, select dollar stores, select warehouse clubs and military commissaries MEAL ITEM (DeCA) for the 52 weeks ending Nov. 23, 2019OCCASION 29% TYPE CLASS 62% 35% 61% The majority of snack categories are seeing improvement year over year, with modest growth from snacking stalwarts potato chips (up 2.6%), tortilla chips (up 3.8%) and popcorn (up 2.7%) in the past year. Seafood snacks (up 34.8%), rice chips DINNER LUNCH OTHER SIDE DISH MAIN ENTRÉE OTHER (up 14.2%) and vegetable-based salty snacks (up 6.0%) are showing big growth, and there are interesting demographic opportunities in play. Households that make more than $100,000 annually purchase significantly more of all three categories. While sales of the more indulgent snacks show no signs of slowing, healthier specialty substitutes may be the key to unlocking the appetites of the wealthiest consumers.”

—Eric Brown, manager-global content workstreams, Nielsen

Generational Snapshot Which cohort is spending, on average, the most per trip on potato chips?

$5.51 9% because it’s

on all salty snacks, up healthy and nutritious 2.2% from last year


because it’s low in calories, fat and sugar

$3.58 on cheese snacks, up 6.1% from last year

$4.16 on popcorn, up 2.7% from last year

$3.66 on potato chips, up 0.2% from last year


Gen Xers


The Greatest Generation





Source: Nielsen Homescan, Total U.S., 52 weeks ending Nov. 23, 2019


Source: Nielsen Homescan, Total U.S., 52 weeks ending Nov. 23, 2019


Global New Products Database

Sports, Nutrition and Performance Drinks Market Overview

Multioutlet sales of sports, nutrition and performance drinks have steadily recovered in 2018 after taking a dip in 2016-17.

Increased competition from functional beverages in other categories and mounting distaste for artificial ingredients are obstacles to major growth.

With more than a third of consumers working out occasionally, sports, nutritional and performance drinks need to show value outside of fitness.

Key Issues

Consumers are seeking functionality from beverages in a growing number of categories, which will continue to put pressure on sports, performance and nutrition drinks. The majority of consumers age 18-54 feel that nutrition and performance drinks contain too many artificial ingredients, and that major players need to adapt. Consumers are increasingly concerned about the quality of the products they’re purchasing, and the majority of those purchasing drinks across segments believe that it’s important to research drinks before buying them.


What Does It Mean? Consumers’ desire for general health and wellness bodes well for sports, nutrition and performance drinks, but growth across these segments is likely to remain slow. Beverage categories are blurring, and there’s increased competition from drinks with functional benefits, such as water, juice and coffee. Moving forward, clean ingredients and formulations promoting healthy aging are key for this category. A shift away from promoting fitnessspecific benefits to a focus on general well-being will be crucial in broadening the consumer base in the category.




By Diane Quagliani


Teaming Up to Serve Shoppers DIE TITIAN-CHEF DUOS CAN HELP CUSTOMERS E AT HE ALTHFULLY. lthough food is central to the work of both retail dietitians and retail chefs, their goals might seem at odds, with dietitians focused on nutrition and health, and chefs on flavor, seasonality and presentation. In fact, however, dietitians and chefs who collaborate offer a synergy that benefits both shoppers and sales.



Bringing Taste and Nutrition to the Table

Consumers rank taste (86%) and healthfulness (62%) as the No. 1 and No. 3 factors that impact their decision to buy foods and beverages (price is No. 2, at 68%), according to the International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation 2019 Food & Health Survey. A dietitian-chef duo is ideally suited to develop food ideas, promotions and programs that deliver on both flavor and nutrition in-store, in the media and in the community. Behind the scenes, dietitians and chefs can team up to develop great-tasting products, prepared foods, meal kits and recipes that meet nutrition guardrails and parameters for special diets, as well as collateral materials to educate shoppers about menu planning, food selection, cooking skills and food safety. Dietitians and chefs can also learn from each other’s complementary expertise. Dietitians can advise chefs on myriad topics such as nutrition trends, dietary guidelines, special diets, health claims, food-labeling regulations, the nutrition content of foods, and food allergens. Dietitians can benefit from a chef’s instruction on food and culinary trends, flavor boosters to enhance dishes, recipe and menu development, and preparation, plating and garnishing techniques to maximize eye appeal during demos, classes and media appearances. On the public front, a dietitian and a chef with good rapport make an entertaining and educational pair at media appearances, in-store and community events, food demos, and classes.

Taking on Trends

Food, nutrition and health trends offer great opportunities for dietitian-and-chef teams to reach shoppers. The current popularity of plantbased diets is a prime example: Nearly three-quarters (73%) of consumers say that they’re familiar with plant-based diets, and half (51%) say that they want to learn more, according to the IFIC survey. Although interest is high, however, many consumers rate several practical and health aspects of following a plant-based diet as “very difficult” or “somewhat difficult” to follow. These aspects are sticking with the diet through the holidays (61%), finding things to eat at restaurants (57%), buying food/groceries on a budget (51%), getting enough protein (49%)


Source: International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation 2019 Food & Health Survey

and vitamins and minerals (42%) from plant-based foods, cooking for themselves and their families (38%), and finding recipes that taste good (36%). Dietitians and chefs can combine their nutrition and culinary expertise to help shoppers tackle these challenges and enjoy plant-based eating.

For Dietitians Only

If collaborating with a chef isn’t in the cards right now, consider sharpening your own culinary skills. One way is to take the online Culinary Nutrition training module from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The four-part continuing-education program teaches fundamentals of culinary nutrition, food preparation techniques, menu planning and food safety. Learn more at

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.

Caetlyn Roberts Giant Food

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Store of the Month

We look forward to bringing our new


Giant Food’s new ground-up format is designed to help shoppers go with the flow. By Jim Dudlicek Photography by Vito Palmisano


Giant Food

Owings Mills, Md.

design to every single Giant location.� —Ira Kress, interim president


Giant Food

he idea is to push fresh as soon as people come in.” That’s Paul Chapman, director of bakery and deli, leading a tour of Landover, Md.-based Giant Food’s new supermarket in suburban Baltimore, the first location to be built from the ground up with Giant’s new in-store format and design. Director of Strategic Planning and Execution Gary Budd, also on hand for the mid-November visit to the new 67,000-square-foot market, elaborates: “We’ve built the store to flow in a very clear fashion so that when a shopper enters the store, they can begin with fresh produce right away, and then move seamlessly from our full-service departments right to prepared items, the deli and bakery.” Indeed, the Giant team seems to have pulled out all the stops to deliver a seamless fresh experience, from brand-new signature items to refreshed historic ones. Upgraded and enhanced features at the new store include expanded hot and prepared food selections, fresh sushi, an extensive organic section, and expanded cheese, deli, meat and seafood departments. There are also full-service pharmacy and floral, a 22

The Giant Food team includes (from left) Lisa Schepers, Owings Mills store manager; Paul Chapman, director of bakery and deli; Dyani Hanrahan, VP of marketing; Marty Hennigan, florist manager; Gary Budd, director of strategic planning and execution; Ira Kress, interim president; Tonya Herring, chief merchandising officer; and Yolanda Thomason, deli lead manager.

Starbucks coffee shop, and a PNC Bank branch. The Owings Mills store is part of Giant’s larger capital investment of $175 million that was announced in December 2018 and includes several new stores along with redevelopment packages for most existing locations. This location is part of the emerging Mills Station development, which includes a Lowe’s home improvement center, a Costco warehouse store, smaller retail shops, dining, and space for future tenants. “Giant has plans to continue to remodel and open new stores with this same format over the next few years,” notes Ira Kress, Giant’s interim president. “Over the next three years, our goal is for all 163 of our stores to feature the same exact in-store design. We know that some stores may house slightly varied formats based on construction, but we look forward to bringing our new design to every single Giant location.”

Giant Food at Mills Station 10210 Mill Run Circle Owings Mills, MD 21117

Grand opening

Aug. 23, 2019 Total square footage


Selling area in square feet

47,662 SKUs

50,000 Employees: 150 Checkouts: 22 (8 mainline, 8 self-checkout, 3 pharmacy, 2 Starbucks, 1 prepared food) Hours: 6 a.m.-midnight, Mon.Sat.; 6 a.m.-11 p.m., Sunday Store designer: Giant Food The Real Meal Deal

As shoppers enter the Owings Mills store, the expansive produce department sweeps in from the left, with Starbucks on the right. Straight ahead, and extending through the rear of the store, is an avenue of fresh. “Produce is our feature coming in the door,” Budd says, noting the daily postings of organic items and local products from farms in Maryland, Virginia and Delaware. It’s the gateway to Giant’s “reinvention of the prepared aisle — we’ve pushed it to the front of the store,” Budd continues, explaining the deviation from earlier store designs. “Every one of the service departments is in this aisle.” To be sure, if it’s a meal you’re after, you’ll find it here, likely in the exact format that meets your current need. Signature offerings in Owings Mills include quick-bake flatbread pizza (made to order in 2½ minutes) and piadinas (Italian flatbread sandwiches). “It’s a showpiece,” Chapman remarks of the baked-to-order display. “We work a lot on the details of the presentation.” Prepared food selections also include fresh, hand-breaded fried chicken; wings; take-and-bake pizzas; and various Asian and halal offerings. Digital menu boards herald signature items, combo meals and specials. Grab-and-go items — sandwiches, wraps, salads and snacks — are ready for the taking right by the dedicated foodservice register, a convenience that Chapman says helps the

store better compete for mealtime dollars against fast-food outlets and QSRs. “The whole idea is to improve the customer experience — help them get in and out, or sit and enjoy,” he says. Heat-and-eat options are extensive — at least 20 varieties of fresh entrées, like chicken, salmon, lobster mac and cheese, Asian dishes, and pasta, including a “deconstructed lasagna,” along with street taco meals. Chapman says his team is working with Giant’s commissary on developing plant-based selections. “We’ll put in new items, customers pick up on them immediately, and they’ll become best-sellers,” Chapman notes. “It tells us that people are always looking for something new. … It’s a big investment and, frankly, scares grocers to death … [but] if you’re strategic, you’ll get the return. That’s proven out for us.” A display of meal kits includes items by HelloFresh, including up to five rotating seasonal selections that are top sellers from the service’s subscription program, merchandised with Rana branded pasta meal kits. Items on the hot bar go for $7.99 a pound: Asian items, wings (including pork-based “hog wings”) and barbecue selections are among the rotating items. At the end of the hot bar is soup, with three rotating selections. Giant’s rotisserie program promises fresh PROGRESSIVE GROCER Januar y 2020



Q& A

Meeting Consumer Demand in the Bar Category: Jack Link’s and Lorissa’s Kitchen Take Meat Bars to the Next Level A Q&A with Tom “TD” Dixon, Chief Marketing Officer, Jack Link’s Progressive Grocer: With consumers trending toward healthier lifestyles, there seems to be lots of opportunity for growth in the meat snack category. How has Jack Link’s positioned itself to take advantage? TD Dixon: We’re interested in attracting new consumers to the meat snacks category. And, we want to bring meat protein snacks to existing protein and snacking destinations within the store where consumers have historically shopped more frequently. To that end, our innovation pipeline focuses on new forms and flavors, so we can transform the perception of our category from meat snacks to protein snacks. What had been impulse purchases can now become everyday staples. We really want to help grocers capture those dollars from health-conscious shoppers. PG: So you feel retailers and suppliers could benefit from rethinking the snack bar category? TD: Definitely. Overall, the bar category is up, but we’re not seeing growth across all bar segments. Specifically, the snack bar segment is declining, largely because it’s dominated by products not meeting current consumer demand — they’re empty-calorie (full of sugar and carbs) and lack protein. On the flip side, we’re seeing growth in meat bars and we think there’s incredible potential for this segment to accelerate broader category growth. And for the Jack Link’s brand, we’ve already demonstrated success with our foray into bars. In several channels, we’re outpacing former segment leaders. In fact, out of 500 bar brands, Jack Link’s ranks #9 in overall dollar growth this past year. PG: Diet is on the mind of lots of shoppers this time of year, as they make their New Year’s resolutions to eat healthier. Is Jack Link’s introducing any new products that could help out? TD: We’re always looking to innovate with healthconscious consumers in mind. One product we recently introduced is Jack Link’s 100% Chicken Bar, available in n both rotisserie and spicy varieties. arieties. Chicken lovers can get allll the protein and taste they require equire in a convenient, shelfstable table snack bar. Plus, it can help elp fulfill fulfill those resolutions!

PG: In light of the rapid pace of change in the snack bar category, is Jack Link’s expanding its business strategy? TD: Yes. We’ve taken a house of brands approach. With more brands under our umbrella, we can appeal to a wider audience, and grocers will have a wider variety of products to profit from. For instance, we introduced Lorissa’s Kitchen in 2016. It’s a brand made by a mom for moms, dedicated to providing wholesome on-the-go protein snacks. The brand is really the first in the meat snacks category designed to meet her needs, from our high quality ingredients to unique forms and flavors; it’s about giving her the fuel to take on her busy day. PG: More alternatives in the snack bar section can only mean more sales at the cash register. What are the latest offerings from Lorissa’s Kitchen? TD: We just launched Lorissa’s Kitchen Whole-Made Medley™ Bars, a true breakthrough innovation to the bars category. It’s the first product to combine the three leading protein sources — nuts and seeds, dried egg whites and jerky — along with other wholesome ingredients, like dried fruit. These come in some delicious flavors like blueberry fusion, pineapple teriyaki, apple cinnamon, cranberry orange, chipotle apricot, and sweet barbecue. The simple ingredients combine to deliver 10g of protein, less than 10g of sugar and 10g of fat with only about 200 calories per bar! PG: And you think Jack Link’s and Lorissa’s Kitchen can continue to stand out in a crowded bar category? TD: Absolutely. We’re the powerhouse meat snack brand and currently the #4 snacking brand. When it comes to meat, no one does it better. With the shift in consumer needs and the popularity of protein snacking, there’s never been a better time to expand our brands into the bar category.








Giant Food

Features of Giant's new Owings Mills store include (clockwise from top left) deals for mealtime solutions, fresh baked goods, energy-efficient cold cases and a full-service specialty cheese department.

birds between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. or they’re free; popular choices include “touch of honey” chickens, made with an injected marinade, and no-antibiotics-ever chickens sold under Giant’s clean-label Nature’s Promise brand. Sushi is rolled fresh daily through a partnership with Hissho. Budd notes that all prepared food items can be ordered online for pickup within a four-hour window.

Cheese Doesn’t Stand Alone

Meal solution options extend into the deli department, where bulk prepared foods like meatloaf, salads and side dishes can be had, along with in-store-roasted, Old Bay-seasoned turkey breast, a local favorite and, according to Budd, “really a differentiator in our market, a legacy at Giant Food that we’re energizing to keep it fresh” by adding new flavor options like garlic citrus. Pre-sliced and packaged deli meat, available in store-brand and Boar’s Head options, has been a winner. “That’s where the growth is,” Chapman asserts. “It speaks to the customer and the convenience factor.” Kiosk ordering for deli items further drives this proposition home. There’s also grab-and-go soup available in selections such as the popular Panera Bread brand as well as Soupergirl, a local clean-label brand known for its drinkable gazpacho; an own-brand option was expected to be available by the time this story was published. 26

But perhaps the crown jewel of the deli area in Owings Mills is the specialty cheese island, which Budd declares to be “a win for us.” The gourmet cheese department features a rotating selection of fine cheeses from around the world, including in-store hand-spun fresh mozzarella from Caputo Brothers Creamery, in Spring Grove, Pa., Chapman notes. “We take the time to educate our associates about our offerings such as our gourmet cheeses,” he observes. “We know that it can be intimidating when there are hundreds of options, so we’re doing the background work for shoppers, providing the best customer education there is.”

We have thousands of opportunities every day to make our customers feel good about shopping with us, and that’s how we want customers feeling when they come away from a visit to one of our stores.” —Ira Kress, interim president

Cross merchandising on the cheese island is “very intentional,” Chapman says, noting the various crackers, jellies and other items positioned to inspire creative charcuterie and cheese boards, as well as drive basket rings for cheese superconsumers and others seeking to experiment with new flavors. During Progressive Grocer’s visit, the department was sampling chocolate hummus. “We’ll reset the cheese cases twice a year, spring and fall,” Chapman explains. “It’s been a very successful strategy that touches every store in the company.” At the far end of the cheese island is an extensive Delallo branded olive bar, creating another point of shopper engagement for associates. “We work with our marketing team to tell stories about the cheeses and educate the customers,” Chapman says. Meanwhile, initiatives to boost bakery sales include an artisan bread program, custom cakes and decorated cookies. “We’ve really focused on improving the quality of our bakery,” Chapman says. “Innovation has been pretty static in the industry.” Bakery breads include brioche buns and loaves under Giant’s Taste of Inspirations and Nature’s Promise brands, Alpine Valley organic selections, and products from local vendors. A line of flatbreads at a friendly $3 price point is a great entry for consumers.“We keep introducing new items so the category doesn’t get stale,” Chapman says. The banner has reinvented its decorated-cookie program, a historic feature for Giant and one that Chapman notes has been credited by the founder of upscale bakery chain Milk Bar as an early influence on her interest in baking. Custom-decorated cakes are an additional point of pride at the Owings Mills store. “We go after the colors, fresh fruit, decadent flavors,” Chapman says. “Fruit-topped and tres leches cakes do really well in this store.” Other top sellers include snack portions, dessert bars in $5 4-packs, artisan sweet breads and filled muffins, the last item a move to stimulate stagnant muffin sales. “They’ve just exploded,” Chapman says, noting the chocolate and cream cheese-stuffed muffins are a dollar upsell from the $3.99-for-four price of regular muffins. “People are willing to buy up to something decadent,” he affirms. “We get a higher ring and keep customers in the category.” New bakery items are often rolled out at the front end; Chapman says that product tables near the registers “have been a great tactic for us” to rotate in new and seasonal flavors. “It’s a great way to launch and get customers engaged,” he enthuses.

“We’ll have them on site in the parking lot and do bushels and half-bushels of crabs,” Budd says of Hooper’s, pointing out the store’s selection of local shellfish, including clams and mussels. “This department, on a weekend, people are standing in line.” There’s an extensive selection of value-added proteins like marinated and preseasoned ready-to-cook meats, further enhancing the store’s meal solution capabilities. Meanwhile, plantbased meats from brands including Beyond, Sweet Earth and Pine Farmland are integrated into the meat case. “It’s completely incremental,” Budd says of their sales success. Cases for processed meat as well as produce and dairy have doors, which Budd says help save energy and boost product shelf life. Opposite those dairy and lunchmeat doors in Owings Mills is Giant’s new prototype bread set, positioned here, near more complementary products, rather than in a traditional center store location, in an effort to drive growth in the commercial bread category, Budd explains. Other merchandising innovations at the new store include lighted shelves in the natural product and health-beauty-and-wellness sections, along with a “men’s zone” in the latter department. “The female consumer actually prefers the men’s products segregated so they can find things for their husbands easier,” Budd asserts. The store’s pharmacy debuted a new “pick-point” checkout Fresh meat selections include products from local purveyors as well as many value-added items to help shoppers with their mealtime needs.

Local Surf, Local Turf

Following the pattern elsewhere in the fresh corridor, Giant leverages regional favorites in the meat and seafood department as well. “Our fresh meat and seafood counters offer selections from local purveyors,” Chapman notes. They include Roseda Black Angus Farm, in Monkton, Md., and Hooper’s Crab House, in Ocean City, Md. PROGRESSIVE GROCER Januar y 2020



Giant Food

system that assigns prescription pickups to specific registers, which has “drastically improved” pharmacy wait times, Budd says. “Ours is one of the strongest pharmacy businesses in the supermarket industry,” he adds. “We actually have customers who see our pharmacists like their doctors.” Giant’s nutritionist program includes a director who oversees 11 retail dietitians in the store’s district who host events and store walk-throughs for groups, including programs for specific health needs. “We do a lot of TV morning shows and blogs,” Budd says of nutrition outreach efforts. In the front end, along with cases featuring rotisserie chickens, drinks, snacks, dairy items and fresh-cut fruit for graband-go convenience, the checkstands feature two reversible lanes that can flip between cashier and self service, depending on demand. Budd calls this arrangement “a huge win for us, especially on the weekends.”

Serving Needs, Feeling Good

The goal for the design of this store was to make everything simple for the customer, according to Kress.

About Giant Food Landover, Md.-based Giant Food operates 163 supermarkets, including 153 full-service pharmacies, in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and the District of Columbia, and employs approximately 20,000 associates. The banner dates back to 1936, when N.M. Cohen and Samuel Lehrman founded Giant Food Inc. and opened Washington, D.C.’s first supermarket. The company’s first Virginia store opened in 1941, and the chain entered in Baltimore in 1955. In 1958, Giant opened its headquarters and distribution center in Landover. In 1994, the banner expanded into Delaware. Giant Food is a division of Ahold Delhaize USA, which also includes Carlisle, Pa.-based Giant Food Stores, Salisbury, N.C.-based Food Lion, Scarborough, Maine-based Hannaford and Chicago-based grocery delivery service Peapod.; united-states/our-brands-in-the-united-states/


A "pick-point" system helps reduce pharmacy wait times (left). Starbucks coffee is a handy stop at the front of the store (center). Solution stations at the front end (right) include many fresh grab-and-go items.

“The new décor features large wall and hung signage in our various departments throughout the store, making it simple to see exactly where you are and exactly which direction you want to head to grab the rest of your items,” he says. “The new format also features wider aisles to make it easier to navigate throughout the store.” With all of the full-service departments in the same area of the store, Kress notes: “it’s even simpler to come in and grab whatever prepared and convenient items you may be looking for, truly making grab-and-go easier than ever. Our goal was to build a convenient and easy-to-navigate store that would help us better serve the community.” That includes offering the banner’s new Giant Pickup service for online orders, Chapman points out. “Everything we offer at our Owings Mills location was designed with the shopper in mind,” he says. “Our store offerings reflect the ever-changing needs and interests of our shoppers. There’s always something new to try.” VP of Marketing Dyani Hanrahan adds: “This store shows our shoppers that we listen to their feedback and suggestions. The new store is easy to navigate and find what you are looking for, because with our new layout, it’s clear to see exactly where every department and section is. We work to make the shopping experience as simple and enjoyable as possible so our shoppers can get back to the important things in life.” While this store is new, Giant isn’t new to Owings Mills, where the banner has had a presence for four decades. And although the new store replaces two older Giant stores, Kress notes that this location created more than 50 new jobs. Response from the community has been overwhelmingly positive, Kress says: “We loved seeing

our shoppers’ faces when they first walked in the new store during our opening. They were surprised and delighted to see the new format and design with the large open spaces, bright lighting and clear signage.” “The community response to the new store has been excellent,” adds Store Manager Lisa Schepers, a 30-year Giant veteran. ”Shoppers have been happy with the various features and expanded departments. When shoppers first walk into the store, we often hear how impressed they are with the expanded hot and full-service bars, as well as how easy it is

to get around the store and knowing which paths to take. The store continues to do very well, and we are excited by all of the positive feedback.” So far, Giant’s efforts are having the desired effect. “We want our customers to leave happy, feeling good,” Kress says. “Customers have different needs, and each shop can accomplish different goals. They may be trying to figure out what’s for dinner and are looking for inspiration, and we want to make them feel inspired. They may be looking for healthy options to feel good about what they’re feeding their family, and we want to provide this for them. They may be looking for a quick meal on the go for themselves, and we want to be their solution. They may be looking to quickly run in and get that one special ingredient, and we want to help them get in and out quickly. They may be looking to stretch their budget, and we want them to feel good about the great deals they find in our stores. They may be doing their routine weekly shop, and we want to ensure the experience they have while they shop — whether that’s through in-store sampling of delicious products or a friendly interaction with an associate — leaves them feeling good. “Bottom line: We are in the food business but realize it’s really a people business,” Kress continues. “We have thousands of opportunities every day to make our customers feel good about shopping with us, and that’s how we want customers feeling when they come away from a visit to one of our stores.”

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Employment Issues

Workforce The changing face and function of labor driving the food retail industry. By Gina Acosta

f you want to know the state of workforce management and productivity in the food retail industry, just look at what the nation’s No. 1 seller of groceries is doing. Over the past year, Walmart Inc. has flooded its stores with robots that mop floors and stock shelves. The mega-retailer has also ramped up workers’ benefits to include expanded medical benefits, free college, more management training programs and a pledge to pay most of its hourly associates at least $15 an hour — some workers will earn much more — by the end of this year. “We believe this is the key to winning the future of retail,” says Drew Holler, SVP of associate experience at Bentonville, Ark.based Walmart. “There are many examples where we are seeing the power of our associates’ creativity and how that’s helping our customers. These aren’t always stories that make headlines, but they add up to a big impact.” “The power of creativity” is surely one way to define America’s food retail workforce in 2020. Nearly 5 million people are employed in retail jobs, and almost 3 million of those people work in grocery stores. Many of these jobs still entail traditional tasks in physical stores, but the reality is that today’s food retail industry is powered by full-time employees, gig workers and artificial intelligence performing an ever-widening range of tasks. When Kroger hired workers in 2010 for retail jobs, those workers might be expected to operate cash registers, clean bathrooms or slice turkey in the deli. As we enter a new decade, those same workers might be expected to troubleshoot shipping delays for online orders, load groceries into car trunks in the middle of a snowstorm, earn five-star Google reviews for good customer service, deliver pizzas to shoppers’ homes, or even grill a perfect porterhouse steak for a diner in a store restaurant. Meanwhile, unemployment is at a 50-year low, and many of the (younger) workers who are ideal candidates for these tech-oriented, multifaceted jobs are as demanding as the new generations of shoppers crowding grocery stores with requests for one-hour delivery of hot vegan chili. All of this amounts to a tidal wave of workforce challenges for food retailers that must be overcome in 2020 and beyond. So what can grocers and other food retailers do as they head into this labor maelstrom? Of course, implementing the latest in-store technologies and optimizing selling channels are good places to start, but there’s an important opportunity that shouldn’t be missed: empowering workers — many of whom will be Zoomers, or Generation Z — to deliver a superior food shopping experience that puts your brand above the competition. Grocers must take steps to empower their staffs to make bigger business decisions that could have a bigger impact on the bottom line. Here’s a look at the workforce challenges that food retailers will need to overcome in 2020 and beyond:



Key Takeaways Grocers must take steps to empower their associates to make significant business decisions that could have a bigger impact on the bottom line. Among the workforce challenges that food retailers will need to grapple with in 2020 and beyond are recruitment, retention, training, and diversity and inclusion. Another key factor driving workforce reinvention is a decrease in the number of physical store positions, due to technology; however, this decrease will be offset by growth in jobs in customer service, technology, fulfillment, distribution, logistics and delivery. fulfillment, distribution, logistics and delivery.

What we want to do is make sure we have the right number of people at the right times to help the customer.” —Stew Leonard Jr., Stew Leonard’s

SSIVE GROCER Januar y 2020



Employment Issues




In a tight labor market in which wages are rising, food retailers have an especially acute challenge when it comes to hiring the right talent for increasingly techheavy jobs. Employees today must have a solid understanding of both digital and physical retail, and be able to PAY deploy the latest tools to propel their company forward. “You have to be very smart about how you deploy labor in the future,” says Stew Leonard Jr., president and CEO of Norwalk, Conn.-based Stew Leonard’s. “Especially at $15 an hour. We’ve got some new technology that’s going to reSource: Bluecrew ally help us try to match the sales in the store with the labor hours. What we want to do is make sure we have the right number of people at the right times to help the customer.” Grocers increasingly recognize that in this labor market, offering flexibility around scheduling and hours is one strategic way to attract workers without increasing wages. More retailers will adopt staffing technologies and platforms, as Stew Leonard’s is doing, to provide the flexibility workers want and to improve efficiencies across the business. Data from Chicago-based on-demand staffing technology platform Bluecrew indicates that workers favor flexibility above all other aspects of the job, even pay and perks. A Bluecrew analysis of more than 10,000 job offer rejections found that a quarter (26%) of jobs were rejected due to the hours offered, compared with 10% of jobs rejected due to pay. How retailers recruit the right talent is going to be more important than ever in 2020. Food retailers are going to have to modify their job descriptions to highlight flexible scheduling, in addition to protections and benefits, also being offered by competitors and gig companies.


For grocers and other food retailers, the challenge of retaining employees in 2020 is compounded by job-hopping due to the low unemployment rate and the number of competitors luring workers with ever-increasing benefits, pay and protections. More food retailers will have to shift their retention strategies to compete with companies that offer all of these perks. “Food retail is an industry that tends to have turnover rates on average multiples of times ahead of the rest of the country,” says Matt Zender, workers’ compensation VP at New York-based AmTrust Financial Services. “Some retailers are taking creative approaches to their package, whether it’s in wages or other benefits, as they try to attract a higher quality of candidate, but also as they try to entice employees to stay, to lower their turnover rate.” The increase in competing jobs that offer both flexibility and worker protections will also be influenced by state regulations such as California’s AB5, which went into effect on Jan. 1. AB5 makes it harder for companies to claim workers are independent contractors. The law says that workers should be employees unless a) they are free from a company’s control, b) do work outside the company’s core business and c) have independent enterprises performing the same type of work. “Some of the asks from prospective employees are unreasonable,” Zender notes, “but retailers should be trying to create an environment for employees that will cause them to feel better about where they’re working. I think retailers are now realizing that they might need to foster a workplace that’s going to cause people to feel excited about where they’re working at.”



An analysis of more than 10,000 job offer rejections found that a quarter (26%) of jobs were rejected due to the hours offered, compared with 10% of jobs rejected due to pay. Training

To attract and retain more talent and a better caliber of employee, food retailers are going to have to take new approaches to training and development. Some companies, such as Walmart and Kroger, are investing in upskilling programs for existing employees across the organization, whether they work in physical stores, at corporate headquarters or in a warehouse. Walmart specifically is emphasizing upskilling and career growth opportunities as key strategies for retention of its workforce, including: The launch of Walmart Academies, an immersive training program tied to a working supercenter, allowing associates to receive both classroom and sales floor training in advanced retail skills and soft skills like leadership, communications and change management. In 2018 alone, Walmart trained 450,000 associates, including frontline supervisors, department managers and assistant managers in these academies. The creation of a new video game called Spark City that allows employees to role play as department managers. Through the game, associates enrolled in Walmart Academies learn the same techniques and processes that they would use on the sales floor in real life. In partnership with Guild Education, Walmart’s Live Better U program is giving associates the opportunity to earn debt-free degrees in business or supply chain management for just $1 per day. Walmart covers remaining costs and other required fees. Associates are receiving college credit for paid training at Walmart Academies. As of 2019, associates had already earned more than $317 million in college credits. The mega-retailer is also offering education benefits for GED, high school completion, language training and professional development.

COURT-APPROVED LEGAL NOTICE If you purchased Broiler chicken directly from a Broiler Chicken Producer in the United States from January 1, 2008 through December 20, 2019, three class action settlements may affect your rights. In Walmart’s fiscal 2019, the company promoted more than 215,000 people to higher-paying jobs with increased responsibility. Full- and part-time associates are eligible for quarterly bonuses based on store performance. In Walmart’s fiscal 2019, hourly associates earned nearly $800 million in bonuses. Other key training and retention trends that food retailers can expect in 2020 include the growth of upskilling for jobs in foodservice, distribution, delivery and logistics. As food retailers continue to invest heavily in machine learning and automation, opportunities for upskilling will only increase. This is a great strategy for retaining workers who are hungry for career advancement.


Trying to appeal to a younger, more diverse demographic is no longer a matter of if, but how. The youngest generation in the United States – those born after 1996 – is the country’s most racially and ethnically diverse generation, and is on its way to becoming the best-educated generation yet, according to data from the Washington, D.C.-based Pew Research Center. Nearly half — 48 percent — of Zoomers come from communities of color. Diversity and inclusion must become bigger strategic imperatives in the food retail industry, because having a diverse workforce offers the advantage of evaluating business problems and opportunities from multiple perspectives. Retailers that leverage this opportunity will also have a more thorough understanding of their consumer base. With nearly half the members of Gen Z identifying as a racial or ethnic minority, organizations that prioritize diversity and inclusion initiatives will have a huge leg up in recruiting and retaining the next-generation workforce. At the same time, women are making some leadership gains in retail. Today, retail has the highest representation of women in the top job of CEO among large sectors in the Russell 3000: About 7% of retail CEOs are women, versus about 5% in the broader index. Many of these gains aren’t being felt in the more male-dominated world of grocery, however. Food retailers must do a better job of carving a path to leadership for women by empowering them in their organizations and across the industry to drive female leadership toward parity. Other key factors driving workforce reinvention in food retailing in 2020 and beyond include a decrease in the number of physical store positions as the nature of work is redefined by technology, including artificial intelligence, machine learning, virtual reality and robotics. However, this decrease will be offset by growth in jobs across the sectors of customer service, technology, fulfillment, distribution, logistics and delivery. “As unemployment rates stay low, there are other areas that can help retailers drive growth, in the form of automation and tools and other resources that can help their workers work more effectively,” Zender says. “But if retailers are not thinking about their business in a manner that’s a little different, that takes advantage of technology and other tools and resources, they certainly should be.”

Para una notificacion in español, llame gratis al 1-866-552-1178 o visite nuestro website Settlements have been proposed between Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs and the following defendants: Peco Foods, Inc. (“Peco”), George’s, Inc. and George’s Farms, Inc. (“George’s”), and Amick Farms, LLC (“Amick”) (collectively “Settling Defendants”) in a class action antitrust lawsuit about Broiler chickens sold in the United States between January 1, 2008 and December 20, 2019. This Court-ordered notice may affect your rights. Please review and follow the instructions carefully. The United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois authorized this notice. Before any money is paid, the Court will hold a hearing to decide whether to approve the Settlements. Who is Included? For settlement purposes, Class Members are defined as all persons (including businesses and companies) who purchased Broilers directly from any of the Defendants or any co-conspirator identified in this action, or their respective subsidiaries or affiliates, for use or delivery in the United States from at least as early as January 1, 2008 until December 20, 2019. If you are not sure you are included, you can get more information, including a detailed notice, at or by calling toll-free 1-866-552-1178. Specifically excluded from the Class are the Defendants; the officers, directors, or employees of any Defendant; any entity in which any Defendant has a controlling interest; and any affiliate, legal representative, heir, or assign of any Defendant. Also excluded from the Class are any federal, state, or local governmental entities, any judicial officer presiding over this action and the members of his/her immediate family and judicial staff, any juror assigned to this action, and any co-conspirator identified in this action. What is this About? The lawsuit claims that Broiler chicken producers including the Settling Defendants combined and conspired in restraint of trade, the purpose and effect of which was to suppress competition and allow them to charge supracompetitive prices for Broilers during the Class Period, in violation of federal law. The Settling Defendants vigorously and affirmatively deny they did anything wrong, and deny that they in any way conspired with competitors to restrain trade or suppressed competition to charge supra-competitive prices. The Court did not decide which side was right, but both sides agreed to the Settlement to resolve the case. The case is still proceeding on behalf of the Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs against all other Defendants who have not settled with the Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs. What does the Settlement Provide? The Settlements require the Settling Defendants to pay up to the following amounts to the Direct Purchaser Plaintiff Class: Peco $5.15 million, George’s $4.25 million, and Amick $3.95 million. Collectively, the Settlements provide up to $13.35 million to the Class Members. The Settling Defendants will also cooperate with Direct Purchaser Plaintiff Class with regard to the authentication of documents in the litigation against other Defendants. Class Counsel are not seeking to recover attorneys’ fees and do not plan for distribution of settlement proceeds to the Class Members at this time, but may do so at a future date subject to further notice. What are your Rights and Options? You do not need to take any action to remain a Class Member and be bound by the Settlements. As a Class Member, you may be able to participate in any future settlement or judgment obtained by Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs against other Defendants in the case who have not yet settled with the Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs. If you don’t want to be legally bound by any of the Settlements, you must exclude yourself by March 9, 2020, or you won’t be able to sue or continue to sue the Settling Defendants about the legal claims in this case. You can participate in or exclude yourself from one of more of the Settlements independently. If you exclude yourself from any of the Settlements, you can’t get money from the Settlements. If you stay in the Settlements, you may object to them by March 9, 2020. The detailed notice explains how to exclude yourself or object. Details may also be found on the FAQs page of the settlement website. The Court will hold a hearing in this case (In re: Broiler Chicken Antitrust Litigation, Case No. 16-cv-08637) on April 17, 2020 at 9:30 a.m. to consider whether to approve the Settlement. You may ask to speak at the hearing, but you don’t have to. The date of the hearing may change without further notice to the Class, so please check the website for updates. This notice is only a summary. You can find more details about the Settlement at or by calling toll-free 1-866-552-1178. Please do not contact the Court.


Retail Concepts


he retail industry is littered with companies that stuck with what worked for too long. By the time they recognized change was needed, shoppers had moved on to other retailers more adept at serving shoppers’ new expectations. Publix Super Markets isn’t letting that happen. By all accounts, the operator of about 1,250 stores, with revenues approaching $38 billion, is at the top of its game, opening stores, growing sales, gaining market share and receiving all manner of accolades. What better time is there, then, to get more aggressive with a new retail concept, especially one so highly differentiated from traditional Publix stores that only the most discerning of shoppers would be able to find a connection? That’s the situation unfolding with GreenWise Market, a format Publix introduced in 2007 that derived its name from a store brand the company launched four years earlier. Publix opened the first few GreenWise locations, and proceeded to ruminate on the concept for a full decade. Then it decided to get serious about a concept that, if executed properly, could serve shopper needs in ways not being fully met by traditional Publix stores. To bring that vision to life, Publix created a 25,000-square-foot prototype, roughly half the size of its traditional stores, and changed everything about the branding, assortment, color scheme, prepared food offering and overall presentation. The Publix name doesn’t appear on exterior signage or anywhere inside the store, and the assortment overlap is limited to GreenWise brand products that also are available at Publix stores. This approach ensures that GreenWise stores appeal to new shopper segments and don’t cannibalize existing Publix locations. “This store is uniquely designed to be complementary, not competitive, and it is complementing very well,” Bob Wabbersen, director of business development for GreenWise, tells Progressive Grocer during a tour of the newest prototype in Publix’s hometown of Lakeland, Fla. That’s a good thing, because the location, at 4747 S. Florida Ave., is directly across the street from a traditional Publix store. “They are doing great and haven’t missed a beat,” Wabbersen says of the sales impact on the nearby store. The complementary nature of GreenWise is being put to the test at other upcoming openings that are in close proximity to traditional Publix stores. An opening planned for late first quarter in the Atlanta suburb of Marietta, Ga., will be across the street from a traditional Publix that has the added distinction of being the first store Publix opened in 1993 when it entered the state. A GreenWise location planned for an area in downtown Tampa, Fla., known as Channelside and set to open in late 2021, will be near a traditional Publix slated to debut this summer.


Key Takeaways To serve shopper needs in ways not being fully met by traditional Publix stores, the grocer overhauled its GreenWise Market specialty natural and organic concept, creating a new prototype and changing the branding, assortment, color scheme, prepared foods and overall presentation. Publix tapped company veteran Bob Wabbersen to oversee a small team focused on reinventing GreenWise, making adjustments in size and layout along the way. If the banner — which now has six locations, with six more slated to open — proves successful, the Southeast’s leading food retailer may have found itself a new growth vehicle.

GreenWise's exterior (above) gives no indication that the format is affiliated with Publix. (Right) Bob Wabbersen (at right), business development director for GreenWise, with George Harrington, the banner's retail coordinator for prepared foods.

Meanwhile, other GreenWise locations that opened in December 2019 in Boca Raton, Fla., and Lexington, S.C., are within a mile or two of traditional Publix stores. Of course, it’s hard for Publix to open a store anywhere in Florida, or even Georgia, and not be near an existing location. The company’s real estate strategy, rooted in the expense leverage and supply chain efficiency that comes from market density, means that more than 800 of Publix’s roughly 1,250 stores are located in Florida, and nearly 200 are located in Georgia. The remaining 250 locations are spread among Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia. That’s a large geography in which to find suitable locations for additional GreenWise stores, be they adjacent to an existing store or a few miles away. “We are actively looking,” Wabbersen says when asked about expansion plans beyond the six locations currently opened and the six others set to open this year and the next. “We need to go where the customer is and be adaptive with size. I wouldn’t want to go less than 20,000 square feet or more than 30,000 square feet.” This flexible approach gives Publix a lot of leeway, as does the fact that the highly differentiated nature of the

concept means that Publix can practically drop a GreenWise in the parking lot of an existing store. “My vision is to have GreenWise as an option for all our Publix customers, wherever they are, Wabbersen tells PG. “There are already people asking if we can build one on the north side of Lakeland.”

What Makes GreenWise Special?

Elements of the merchandising strategy evident at GreenWise are not something shoppers haven’t seen at other natural and organic retailers, but the approach is uniquely Publix. “Shoppers are looking for an experience, and that is what we are providing,” Maria Brous, Publix’s director of media and public relations, tells PG while dodging throngs of curious shoppers at the mid-December opening of the Lakeland prototype. “This store is all about discovery.” The more than 200 shoppers who waited in line before 7 a.m. for the grand opening of the store discovered something unlike the more familiar experience at Publix traditional stores. In fact, virtually nothing inside the store offers a hint that there’s any connection to Publix, PROGRESSIVE GROCER Januar y 2020



Retail Concepts

aside from some overlap with the offering of the namesake GreenWise brand, as earlier noted. “We really wanted to differentiate with this GreenWise Market,” Brous says. “We do have GreenWise products at both locations, but everything else about the ambience and the offering of prepared foods are quite different than what you would find in a Publix. You could eat here every day of the week and have something different for lunch and dinner.” Indeed, the prepared food area, or what GreenWise calls the “Eats” experience zone, is positioned just inside the store’s entrance, adjacent to produce. Hundreds of items are offered at the store’s salad and hot bar, along with custom-made pizzas, sushi, burrito bowls and artisan sandwiches made with house-smoked meats, as opposed to the sub sandwiches and fried chicken that are a staple of Publix deli departments. Once shoppers make a prepared food selection, ample seating areas are provided for on-site consumption. An experience zone dubbed “Pours” serves beer and wine, and offers a variety of seating options and a large-screen television. There’s also a large covered outdoor seating area with plenty of ceiling fans to ensure the

My vision is to have GreenWise as an option for all our Publix customers, wherever they are.” —Bob Wabbersen, GreenWise Market space is usable during Florida’s sweltering summers. Another experience zone, “Finds,” located at the front of the store, is where shoppers can purchase specialty cheeses, charcuterie and a wide range of wines, with some costing upwards of $200 merchandised horizontally in a chilled glass case. The meat department at the rear of the store offers a wider selection of fresh, never-frozen seafood and specialty beef and pork products. For example, 40 types of sausage are made in house, with 17 types merchandised at any given time. There's plenty for shoppers to discover, but what they don’t find is noteworthy as well. Leading national brands that are common in Publix stores and other mass-market retailers are largely absent. GreenWise strives for a highly differentiated assortment, with about 70% of products designated as natural or organic, another 25% characterized as specialty items, and just 5% considered traditional brands. But even with the traditional classification, GreenWise is taking a unique approach. For example, the store offers Boar’s Head brand meats in the deli, but it’s the brand’s Simplicity line. In the condiments aisle, Ken’s and Hidden Valley Ranch dressings are offered, but only the organic variants. The same approach is evident in ketchup: The few SKUs of Heinz that are offered are the organic versions and located on the bottom shelf. There’s a big emphasis on local as well, with end caps devoted to Florida-specific products and other hyper-local brands. Also, pending approvals from city officials, lettuce and herbs may eventually be grown on site for use in prepared foods and for sale at this and other nearby stores. Going local and working with niche brands have created challenges, but Wabbersen says that the GreenWise team is making adjustments. “We have learned how to work with smaller suppliers, and sometimes that means we have to break the rules of how we do things so we can support smaller companies,” he explains. That doesn’t mean relaxing standards that all suppliers comply with, but it can mean that “we’ll go pick up product if a supplier doesn’t have the logistics in place to get it to us,” he notes. “We can help with the logistics until they have a solution in place. We think we are acting as really good partners with suppliers.”

Taking on Project SNO A large offering of in-store prepared foods (top) wows shoppers at the mid-December grand opening and serves as a key aspect of the GreenWise value proposition.


Wabbersen may seem an unlikely choice to help Publix imagine the future for GreenWise. He began his career with the retailer at age 17 the same way that so many others

Get It Fast. Built to Last.


Free shipping 5 year warranty Move up to 4,500 pounds before him have. In 1988, Wabbersen started as a front end service clerk bagging groceries, learning the Publix way and an approach to customer service that regularly earns the company a spot among the nation’s top-ranked food retailers. He worked his way up to store manager and district manager, and then divisional merchandise director and later director of retail support for meat and deli. Three years ago, when Publix decided to reinvent GreenWise, it didn’t look outside the company, as is often the case with retailers looking to implement disruption and transformation initiatives. Instead, it turned to Wabbersen, an executive steeped in Publix culture, to lead a small team focused on Project SNO, an acronym describing the specialty, natural and organic GreenWise format. The first iteration of the team’s work appeared in late 2018 in Tallahassee, Fla. Additional locations followed, and adjustments to size

Key departments such as produce and cheese are considered "experience zones" at GreenWise.

and layout were made along the way, leading to the simultaneous openings of stores in Lakeland and Boca Raton, Fla. “This is what we believe is the right layout and flow for the customer,” Wabbersen says of the Lakeland location. “The social spaces and seating areas are already attracting regulars, and we believe we have created a great environment.” The GreenWise thesis will be put to the test with the six additional locations planned for this year and the next. If assumptions about the merchandising, operational and real estate strategy are reflected in profitable sales growth, the coming decade could see GreenWise stores appearing in a lot more communities.

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Industry Rankings

2019 Retailer Preference Index, Overall Ranking: The First Quartile 1. H-E-B 2. Trader Joe’s 3. Amazon 4. Market Basket 5. Wegmans Food Markets 6. Costco 7. Aldi 8. Sam’s Club 9. Walmart 10. Publix Super Markets 11. WinCo Foods 12. Fresh Thyme Farmers Markets 13. Sprouts Farmers Market 14. ShopRite

7 Keys to Being a Retail Winner GROCERY CHANNEL R ANKINGS FROM DUNNHUMBY TAKE INTO ACCOUNT SUCH ME TRICS AS CONVENIENCE, DIGITAL EFFORTS AND STORE OPS, TO NAME JUST A FE W. By Mike Troy very retailer knows the important roles that price and quality play in achieving success. There’s also an understanding that convenience, digital efforts, store operations, speed and loyalty program incentives impact performance as well. What’s less understood, and much harder to quantify, is the respective impacts of these major success drivers and how their interplay with one another influences shoppers’ overall preferences. That’s where global customer data science company dunnhumby’s Retail Preference Index (RPI) enters the picture. Now in its third year, the RPI for the U.S. grocery channel looks at the top 60 companies in the food and consumables space and employs a unique methodology to rank companies on seven key metrics that feed into an overall ranking. True to its origins as a customer data science company, dunnhumby’s rigorous methodology combines actual financial success measures and details of emotional bonds and performance on preference drivers based on a survey of more than 7,000 consumers. The multifaceted approach yields a ranking that’s the result of statistical modeling that predicts how retailer execution on various customer needs impacts both emotional bonds and financial success. At a high level, the third annual RPI, released Jan. 9, reveals that regional retailer H-E-B was the top-ranked company, jumping ahead of the three previously top-ranked retailers, Trader Joe’s, Amazon and Costco. H-E-B’s move



Top Quartile Retailers in Operations

1. H-E-B 2. Costco 3. Market Basket 4. BJ’s Wholesale Club 5. Sam’s Club 6. WinCo Foods 7. Publix Super Markets 8. ShopRite 9. Wegmans Food Markets 10. Fry’s 11. Target 12. Hannaford Supermarkets 13. Sprouts Farmers Market 14. Fred Meyer

into first place was driven by its sustained focus and excellence on assortment relevance and private brand, and is consistent with dunnhumby’s findings that some regional grocers are gaining ground and going toe-to-toe with leading nontraditional retailers. Also of note: ShopRite and Publix are making their first appearance in the top quartile of the 60 companies studied in the RPI, while northeastern favorite Market Basket has made the biggest upward movement in the top quartile. For the third year in a row, price and quality remain the two most important customer needs that retailers must meet, and form what dunnhumby calls the “value core.” This core has the largest impact on retailer financial performance and custom-


2019 Top Quartile Retailers in Price



2019 Top Quartile Retailers in Quality

2019 Top Quartile Retailers in Digital

1. Aldi 2. Market Basket 3. WinCo Foods 4. Lidl 5. Trader Joe’s 6. Costco 7. Walmart 8. Food4Less 9. Amazon 10. H-E-B 11. Sam’s Club 12. Amazon Go 13. BJ’s Wholesale Club 14. ShopRite

1. Wegmans Food Markets 2. The Fresh Market 3. Fresh Thyme Farmers Markets 4. Trader Joe’s 5. Publix Super Markets 6. Sprouts Farmers Market 7. Hy-Vee 8. Lowes Foods 9. H-E-B 10. Ingles Markets 11. Harris Teeter 12. Raley’s 13. Costco 14. Big Y Foods

1. Amazon 2. Amazon Go 3. Peapod 4. Target 5. Walmart 6. Lowes Foods 7. Sam’s Club 8. Raley’s 9. Food City 10. Acme 11. Schnuck Markets 12. Fred Meyer 13. King Soopers 14. Kroger




Top Quartile Retailers in Convenience

1. Walmart 2. Publix Super Markets 3. Market Basket 4. ShopRite 5. Jewel-Osco 6. WinCo Foods 7. H-E-B 8. Meijer 9. Kroger 10. King Soopers 11. Stop & Shop 12. Food Lion 13. Ingles Markets 14. Ralphs

Top Quartile Retailers in Speed

1. Amazon 2. Aldi 3. Fareway 4. Brookshire Grocery Co. 5. The Fresh Market 6. Amazon Go 7. Publix Super Markets 8. Trader Joe’s 9. Fresh Thyme Farmers Markets 10. Target 11. Food Lion 12. Hannaford Supermarkets 13. Bi-Lo 14. Lowes Foods

ers’ emotional bond with retailers. Price and quality account for half of retailer performance, but other areas, which dunnhumby refers to as “value amplifiers,” account for the other half and include digital, operations, convenience, speed, and elements of loyalty programs such as discounts and rewards. Retailers that ranked in the top quartile have a secure value core, but then drive further differentiation through strategic decisions around value amplifiers, according to dunnhumby. A

For the third year in a row, price and quality remain the two most important customer needs that retailers must meet, and form what dunnhumby calls the “value core.”

Top Quartile Retailers in Discounts, Rewards, Info

1. Fry’s 2. Kroger 3. Winn-Dixie 4. Smith’s 5. Tops Markets 6. Price Chopper 7. BJ’s Wholesale Club 8. Bi-Lo 9. Giant Eagle 10. King Soopers 11. ShopRite 12. Giant Food 13. Meijer 14. Food Lion

retailer can withstand a poor performance on value amplifiers, but it can’t let the core suffer. Conversely, retailers in the bottom half of the ranking tend to be highly promotional, with poor price perception. Beyond base price and promotion, dunnhumby asserts that low-ranked retailers aren’t appropriately managing areas such as private brand, assortment relevance, rewards programs and store experience. Because the study is now in its third year, dunnhumby is able to observe notable shifts in the importance of the value core relative to other value amplifiers. For example, in the original report, in 2017, the core of price and quality accounted for 72% of a retailer’s overall ranking, but in 2019, the core is down to 50% of the overall score. As value amplifiers have gained in importance, two in particular stand out: Convenience and speed have increased in their impact on financial performance and emotional bond, accounting for 4% of total impact in 2017 and 17% in 2019. PROGRESSIVE GROCER Januar y 2020



Retail Foodservice Outlook


Key Takeaways Merchandise kids’ boxed lunches, proteinbased snack packs and packaged treats at a dedicated cash-out kiosk for grab-and-go convenience. Partner with a local coffee roaster, juicery or sandwich maker to differentiate your foodservice; also, use recipe cards and in-store incentives to move people from the deli to other store categories for meal-building ideas. Use Facebook, Twitter, e-blasts and texts to tell shoppers what’s hot for lunch, as well as for dinner and breakfast. Look into dark kitchens or build partnerships with Instacart, DoorDash, Uber Eats and local delivery services to keep the stay-at-home crowd happy.

Healthy Growth in Better Health n food retail, as in all retail today, what was true three years ago may not be true today or tomorrow. Chicago-based research firm IRI finds that retail foodservice has added $1.79 billion in sales to grocery stores since 2015, but as the category matures, growth has declined. The most robust year-over-year growth of 7.85% in 2016 has slowed to 2% growth in 2019. The challenge for grocery store operators is to regain previous growth rates and take even greater steps forward as we enter a new decade. According to the Food Marketing Institute’s (FMI) most recent “Power of Foodservice at Retail” report, in 2019, household penetration for grocery foodservice grew to 94.1% — still below the 98.8% for the total deli department. And while consumers averaged 161 grocery trips per year, just 28.3 trips included a deli purchase and 20 included grocery foodservice items. The promise of the fresh perimeter to fight against online grocery sales has also softened, with the latest year showing 1.3% growth compared with 4% the year before, notes Jonna Parker, principal of IRI’s Fresh Center of Excellence. Arlington, Va.-based FMI’s report finds that the highest share (31%) of survey respondents want to see flavor and item rotation on a monthly basis, but 28% want even greater levels of innovation and recommend a weekly or even daily rotation.

The Food Marketing Institute’s (FMI) 2019 “The Food Retailing Industry Speaks” report finds that consumers’ focus on health and well-being is having a positive impact on grocery store business strategy. For the second year in a row, food retailers identified the top two issues positively affecting sales/profits as:



Over the next two years, survey respondents plan to increase their investment in:




Fighting Sameness

These challenges can be met by building on the basics: FMI’s report notes that 88% of shoppers want to see more new items and flavors in retail foodservice. “The assortment needs revision,” Parker affirms. “What is striking is, across all store types, from budget to high-end, the basic prepared food offerings are the same, but they need to change to keep pace with the varied, exciting, multicultural food options consumers can find elsewhere. The deli has to be a point of differentiation — from other stores, from restaurants, and from other competitors like convenience stores and food trucks.” She continues: “Lack of change and expansion in product assortment are consistent complaints. Shoppers want to see more options — both in flavors and sizes — in appetizers, sauces, charcuterie,

The deli has to be a point of differentiation — from other stores, from restaurants, and from other competitors like convenience stores and food trucks.” —Jonna Parker, IRI’s Fresh Center of Excellence



soups, sides and sandwiches.” Surveys by another Chicago-based research firm, Datassential, indicate that operators are hearing the message. Datassential’s senior publications manager, Mike Kostyo, observes that 68% of supermarket operators say that they expect prepared offerings to be more important to their overall store in two years, while three-quarters say that they’re actively trying to grow their prepared food sales overall. Jill Failla, an analyst in the foodservice sector at Chicago-based Mintel, advises retailers that if they can make only one change in the depth and range of foodservice offerings, make it local. “Build a local brand partnership, and call this out in store signage and promotions,” Failla recommends. “Even if you bring in just a few local elements, like tortillas made from local corn, or local kombucha in your café, this distinguishes your selection from other stores.” She adds that, especially among Millennials and Gen Z consumers, who are high users of prepared foods, snack options are particularly important. “Offering local PROGRESSIVE GROCER Januar y 2020



Retail Foodservice Outlook

snacking, we see consumers trading the usual salty snacks for options with more nutrition density, like roasted legumes.” She recommends that operators make the most of snacking occasions: “Think differently about portions, variety and packaging.”

Convenience as Table Stakes

Shoppers are especially receptive to more plant-based selections and vegetable dishes.

smoothies or baked items can drive store choices and increase time spent in-store.” Failla asserts. Another way to build partnerships is by connecting with third-party prepared food manufacturers. Kroger’s Simple Truth brand, which recently expanded to include a plant-based collection, is an example of a third-party partnership going big. A recent report, “The Power of Private Brands” by FMI and IRI, reveals that 46% of consumers say that store brands influence their store choice, versus just 35% three years ago. IRI's Parker notes, “Third-party manufacturers have more money and resources to research trends, develop recipes and put some marketing momentum behind these offerings.” She finds that when shoppers do see something new, like a line of private label meals or more plant-based selections, sales pop. These patterns should encourage operators to add more variety in dishes like veggie-forward entrées, new snacks and grain-based salads.

Even Better Better-for-You

In fact, grain and vegetable dishes speak to existing strengths that operators should play to. Grocery prepared food already has a health halo because it’s seen as fresher and better-for-you than quick-service restaurants’ offerings. Kostyo notes that 41% of consumers say that the availability of healthy options affects where they go and what they decide to order when purchasing food away from home. “The thing that any operator needs to consider is that ‘healthy’ can mean a lot of things to consumers today,” Kostyo explains. “Functional foods, like all of the protein-driven options, continue to resonate with consumers. We’ll also likely start to see more plant-based burgers and meats show up in the prepared foods section, though consumers are starting to question if they are actually healthier.” Shelley Balanko, SVP at The Hartman Group Inc., in Bellevue, Wash., also sees an expanding definition of health food that includes ingredient transparency, sustainability, less wasteful packaging and other better-for-the-earth considerations. “Consumers are telling us it’s important that better health and convenience are not mutually exclusive,” Balanko says. “Even in


One thing never seems to change: Eaters have a need for speed. FMI research shows that the grab-and-go, ready-to-eat options are most popular in prepared foods, with 68% of consumer respondents expressing interest in such products; grab-and-go, heat-and-eat is the second most-popular style, at 63%. U.S. households need help getting dinner on the table, with home-cooked meal occasions dropping to an average 4.5 per week and showing decreased frequency across most demographics, according to FMI. Meal planning is also on the decline; FMI finds 42% of households try to plan dinner for the next few days, while 29% go one day at a time. For her part, Balanko calls dinner a “one-hour decision,” noting: “Our research finds that 44% of consumers buy from the prepared food section one to three times a month, and 19% buy from the section once a week or more. Younger shoppers show more frequency. Dinner is the most purchased daypart, at 21 percent; 18 percent is lunch; and 10 percent is breakfast.” These results show that foodservice at retail continues to capture consumer attention, and that there’s room to increase frequency across all dayparts. As to why shoppers are buying prepared food at retail, top decision drivers include the following: It’s a better option than cooking, it’s quick, and it’s more convenient than restaurant usage. “I encourage retail foodservice operators to build a new model of convenience,” Balanko says. “Traditional convenience was focused on being easy, quick and accessible. A new model is engaging, empowering and flexible. Convenience can help people build their kitchen skills, learn about

Offering local smoothies or baked items can drive store choices and increase time spent in-store.” —Jill Failla, Mintel

Kids' meals and snack boxes are easy ways to provide solutions to busy parents.

a new cuisine, or snack more wisely with portioned foods that are single-serve but not wasteful.” Many operators have seen success with cross-sectional shopping guidance and incentives. “Offer a pan-crusted salmon entrée in the prepared foods department, with a frozen vegetable recipe suggestion and a coupon for a center store item or two,” Parker suggests. “Restaurants can’t touch all the items in a grocery store, and that needs to be the advantage.” Operators also need to take their successes a step further and think like restaurants do. Limited time offers (LTOs), weekly specials, kids’ meals and incentives for “come back” visits are all driving traffic in traditional foodservice, and retail foodservice should follow suit.

toilet paper for tomorrow. Grocers need to get the message of prepared food delivery in shoppers’ minds when they’re at home or work, and social media can do that. FMI finds that grocers have made inroads with app-based shopper interactions, but more work remains to be done: 42% of shoppers say that they actively use a grocery store app, yet 78% of those shoppers use the apps as they would a printed circular. Further, 53% use apps for ordering groceries for pickup or delivery, but only 38% order deli prepared foods using an app. “We’re learning that consumers look at prepared foods as a continuum,” Balanko says. “On one end is the fully ready-to-eat meals ordered online and delivered door-to-door, and on the other is pre-chopped vegetables that provide some at-home cooking efficiencies.” Grocers need to think of everything in between as another opportunity to meet shoppers where they are.

2020 Total Meal Solutions Summit Progressive Grocer will host its next Total Meal Solutions Summit in Chicago Aug. 30Sept. 1, 2020. Visit the summit website for announcements, as well as highlights from our 2019 summit:

Out-of-Store Considerations

LTOs and price incentives go hand-inhand with marketing outreach, and this is an area where restaurants continue to have the upper hand over prepared foods at retail. Parker encourages grocery store operators to tap their frequent-shopper programs to expand customer outreach. “Most stores have some kind of frequent-shopper program, but few have time to mine the data and learn who is buying vegan frozen options or who would opt in to texts about daily menu specials,” she observes. By contrast, most consumers can check Facebook to find a food truck location, or they get texts about the two-for-one pizza special in town. And speaking of pizza delivery, grocery stores need to get in the driver’s seat when it comes to food delivery. Some of the cross-store advantages supermarkets offer in-store translate well to delivery options. For example, Instacart can deliver a prepared pasta-and-bagged-salad meal for dinner in an hour, plus eggs, milk and PROGRESSIVE GROCER Januar y 2020



Retail Foodservice Q&A

Ask a Chef TAKE STEPS TOWARD CRE ATING A HE ALTHIER PREPARED FOOD SECTION. By Kathy Hayden im Downey is head chef at Oxnard, Calif.-based Primal Nutrition LLC, a better-for-you (BFY) brand of condiments, sauces and dressings developed according to the idea that when you clean up your diet, it’s the sauces and extras that can make an otherwise bland meal exciting. Each new year brings the inevitable goal to eat better, and Downey has ideas for serving up 2020 resolutions with plenty of nutrition, variety, ingredient transparency and great taste.

Progressive Grocer: How would you advise grocery store chefs to make some small but significant steps toward helping customers make BFY food choices? Ted Downey: Assessing cooking oils is a great place to start. Consider using oils with monounsaturated fats such as avocado and olive oil as much as possible, rather than using industrially processed seed oils. For food preparation, consider frying with avocado oil, or follow the trend of home cooks and use an air fryer to impart the crackly texture of deep-fried foods without heavy oils. Pre-made salads It’s also good to avoid using prepared are especially sauces that contain added sugars popular with consumers, and additives. When making sauces, and grocers can enhance consider using real-food ingredients, such as fresh citrus or orange juice to their nutritional value sweeten, apple cider or balsamic vinegar with high-quality to add acid and tang, and natural flavor ingredients, including enhancers like spices and herbs instead of extra salt. real-food toppings such as As more people look for lower-carb ofhard-boiled eggs, lean ferings, seek ways to replace grains with grilled proteins, raw vegetables. For example, riced cauliflowveggies, pickled veggies, er, broccoli and sweet potatoes provide nutritious and filling substitutes for grains nuts and seeds.” like rice or pasta. —Tim Downey Also, consider offering dairy-free options for those with dairy sensitivities. In hot-bar dishes like lasagna, casseroles or breakfast frittatas, chefs can add creaminess and savory-salty taste with homemade cashew cheese, or even homemade vegan cheese made with ground hemp seeds, a bit of sea salt and nutritional yeast.


PG : So much of eating better comes down to careful planning. How can prepared food programs help busy people stay on the BFY path? TD: Busy consumers appreciate graband-go options they can either eat straight out of the package for a “brown bag” lunch at work, or take home as a way to get dinner on the table with minimal prep. Pre-made salads are especially popular with consumers, and grocers can enhance their nutritional value with high-quality ingredients, including real-food toppings such as hard-boiled eggs, lean grilled proteins, raw veggies, pickled veggies, nuts and seeds. These toppings add plenty of variety and flavor, and are better alternatives to deep-fried Asian crunchies, traditional croutons and heavily processed meat products like bacon bits. Other lunch-ready options can include soups and stews made with high-quality ingredients, collard or lettuce wraps filled with veggies and protein, and bowls filled with cauliflower rice, grilled or roasted veggies, premium protein options like grilled salmon and sliced steak, and sauces on the side made with real-food ingredients. Don’t forget lunch for the kids. Try bento box-style packs filled with

nitrate-free meats, diced cheeses, hard-boiled eggs, fruits, sliced carrots, cucumbers and broccoli, and BFY dips and dressings like Primal Kitchen Ranch. Add treats like grain-free crackers, 60% dark chocolate, or fruit leathers made with real fruit and no additives or dyes. Busy consumers are drawn to precooked, heat-and-serve dinners. Some on-trend convenient options include cauliflower-crust pizza topped with veggies, nitrate-free pepperoni and whole-milk mozzarella. Try combinations of cooked meat, veggies, and mashed or roasted sweet or regular potatoes. Zoodles, or veggie noodles, are great topped with store-made meatballs. Consider using almond flour instead of bread in the meat mixture, and finish with high-quality marinara or alfredo sauce.

PG: What is your advice for upgrading typical deli department fare with a few easy, unexpected steps? TD: An easy, everyday idea is to upgrade your protein-based salads like tuna, chicken and egg salad. Use avocado-oil-based mayo in the dressing for these salads, and advertise that you’ve done so. Consider extending the hours of breakfast offerings at the deli or hot-food bar, and offer plenty of protein options such as omelets, frittatas and egg cups. Add a grain-free granola option to the bar alongside the regular granola, fruit and yogurt. You can also provide healthy add-ins at your coffee bar, like plain and flavored collagen products, and medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) oil. Finally, add variety by building around food themes or highlighting ethnic cuisine options at the deli or salad bar. For example, ride the popular wave of Taco Tuesday by setting up a buildyour-own taco bar. Offer corn and flour tortillas and shells, as well as a grain-free option. Make a robust taco salad setup that includes a variety of chopped greens, crisp veggies like sliced bell peppers, julienned jicama, grilled onions and zucchini. Don’t forget roasted chiles and pickled jalapeños. Offer upgraded protein choices like grilled cilantro-lime steak or chicken, spicy pulled pork or carnitas.

Busy consumers are drawn to pre-cooked, heat-and-serve dinners: Better-for-you versions of ribs, pulled meats and Chinese fare help grocers compete with restaurant takeout. PROGRESSIVE GROCER Januar y 2020





here aren’t many companies or brands more iconic than Campbell Soup Co. The 150-year-old company’s flagship brand, along with others such as Prego, Pace, Swanson, V8, Pepperidge Farm, Kettle Brand, Snyder’s and Lance, can be found in virtually every U.S. household. However, a deep penetration rate and iconic status alone don’t equate to growth in today’s CPG world. It’s a challenge that Camden, N,J.-based Campbell — and really all old-guard CPG companies — has wrestled with for years. To address the situation, Campbell began a major transformation in mid-2018 that included the appointment of CPG veteran Mark Clouse as CEO roughly one year ago. Since the former Pinnacle Foods CEO and veteran of Mondelez and Kraft joined Campbell, there has been a flurry of activity, all of it rooted in refocusing the company on core businesses, restoring retailer relationships, driving sales and executing a multifaceted innovation agenda. “I see a pretty balanced view of both challenges and opportunities, but the one thing that I think we can all agree on is that there’s really never been a period of transformation like we’ve seen over the last five years,” Clouse tells Progressive Grocer. “It really revolves around change and transformation in the consumers that we’re serving, our customers that we’re partnering with and the competition that we’re facing.”


Laying the Groundwork for Growth

To address all of those dynamics, Campbell has undergone a period of considerable disruption and repositioning. The process began in March 2018, when Campbell did the largest deal in its history, acquiring Snyder’s-Lance and instantly becoming a major player in the snacking world. Two months later, CEO Denise Morrison departed after a seven-year run, and board member Keith McLoughlin stepped in to fill the top job on an interim basis. He led a portfolio review that resulted in a decision to divest major parts of the business. Clouse joined Campbell in January 2019 and has overseen the company’s sale of its international and fresh divisions, which raised $3 billion. Today, Campbell is a leaner organization with a simplified focus on two core North American segments: Snacks and Meals & Beverages. It’s been a turbulent 18 months for Campbell, which is why Clouse characterizes 2020 as a year of stabilization and laying the groundwork for growth with its roster of well-recognized brands and fresh thinking from leadership. To drive growth, Campbell has dedicated itself to reinvigorating innovation with the products it brings to market, how they are presented and the type of conversations it has with retailers.

If you’re sitting down to talk to your [retail] customers purely about margin and pricing today, you’re in trouble. Those are the conversations that you better have sorted out at the get-go, so that you can talk collaboratively about how we’re going to grow our categories.” —Mark Clouse, Campbell Soup Co.

“If you’re sitting down to talk to your [retail] customers purely about margin and pricing today, you’re in trouble,” Clouse says. “Those are the conversations that you better have sorted out at the get-go, so that you can talk collaboratively about how we’re going to grow our categories. How are we going to grow the store traffic and the share of market with our customers? That’s what they want to talk about. And to do that, how do we work more efficiently so more of our dollars can be working to drive demand?”

Promoting Plant-Based

The shift is evident in new marketing campaigns connecting with Millennials and the clean-label trend. However, some re-education is required because consumers may perceive product quality as low or unhealthy. Ironically, a product like V8 is arguably the original plant-based beverage, and soups such as classic tomato, with six tomatoes in each can, or even chicken noodle possess relatively few ingredients. Campbell is addressing these quality and healthfulness perceptions with new advertising, which Clouse maintains has shown promising early results. Campbell is also benefiting from being a major player in certain categories that align with trends, like the phenomenon of quick-scratch cooking and strong sales of home-cooking appliances that facilitate the trend. “For years, we talked about people’s departure from cooking, but what’s happening is consumers are actually coming back to what we call quick-scratch cooking, which is simple combinations of ingredients to create a meal,” Clouse said. Other forms of innovation relate to applying new trends to existing brands. For example, Campbell is introducing a plant-based Bolognese sauce and is exploring soups with plant-based chicken ingredients to capitalize on a trend that Clouse sees as among the biggest in food. “Plant-based is not an ‘everyone in the world is going to look for low-carb, and then tomorrow they’re not.’ This is much more of a longer-standing consumer

behavior,” Clouse asserts. “I say that because it is backed up by a lot of support and science around the values of a more plant-based diet.”

Reshaping the Aisle

Snacking is also an area ripe for innovation, but in less obvious ways, with new usage occasions for products like nutrient-dense sippable bone broths. These protein-laden products can serve as lower-calorie alternatives to protein bars, or even replace an afternoon trip to Starbucks, if enhanced with green tea extract for a caffeine boost. Innovation will also be showing up in the soup aisle, where a new approach to presentation is designed to reflect how buyers shop the category. Campbell is rolling out a new approach with cooking soups like broths and condensed products flowing to ready-to-eat brands, and then convenience and snackable products. It’s about reshaping the aisle to match consumer behavior. “That’s how we believe we’ll create greater levels of engagement within the aisle,” Clouse says. There’s a lot going on at Campbell as the company enters year two of a three-year plan led by Clouse, a West Point graduate and former U.S. Army captain whose specialty in the service was flying Soviet-era helicopters in training exercises. That’s not exactly a skill that translates to civilian life, but his military service nonetheless instilled in him the type of discipline and leadership essential for major CPG companies faced with an array of nontraditional challenges. “The great differentiator — it doesn’t really matter what field you’re in — is leadership,” Clouse observes. “I’ve always been grateful for the opportunity, at a relatively early age, [of] being thrown into the deep end of the pool, as it were, and leading 20 to 30 people on pretty complicated missions, with very high stakes, as a way to learn. The military does, in a very unique way, give you those experiences, perhaps ahead of a lot of other occupations, and it really did prepare me well for the leadership challenge of being in a commercial environment.” PROGRESSIVE GROCER Januar y 2020




Stocking the Grocer’s Digital Shelf

people have, but there has been a tendency to think generically about attributes because there were limitations on claims that could be made. In an ecommerce world, people search for very specific things, so you have to have a database that’s as specific as the consumers’ needs and their search terms. Label Insight bridges the big divide between very specific needs and a product’s hyper-specific attributes.


PG: How do you source the data?

By Mike Troy hoppers’ expectations of product transparency and their new search behaviors are requiring retailers and brands to adjust sales and marketing strategies. Serving shoppers in the future means appealing to microscopic need states and providing precise search results made possible by highly granular product attribute information. That’s the view of Todd Morris, the new CEO of Label Insight and former global president of Catalina. Morris, who joined Chicago-based Label Insight on Jan. 6, spoke with Progressive Grocer about the growth of ecommerce and helping shoppers find exactly what they want on the data-driven path to purchase.

TM: We were the pioneer in the SmartLabel initiative several years ago, and that has now grown into a database that tracks 170,000 nutrients, almost 400,000 ingredients and 5 million claims. So it’s an incredible source of truth for finding products. We live in a world where consumers absolutely are aware that what is in products affects their health. Almost 50% of shoppers today adhere to a specific diet or health regimen.

PG: How is that affecting search behaviors? TM: More than 80% of searches in Amazon grocery are not for brands, they are for specific product attributes. Consumers know that what they eat affects how they feel and how they live, and it extends to beauty products, too. So people are searching for things like paraben-free makeup. The world is moving towards consumers who have very well-articulated needs and [are] trying to find the channels where they can buy the products that meet those needs.

Progressive Grocer: Congratulations on your new role. How do you explain to people what Label Insight does? Todd Morris: I start by asking if they’ve ever tried to find a product that is either peanut-free, gluten-free or low in fat. Most people acknowledge that they have some type of requirement in the diet or product choices they make. Then I explain that Label Insight is the world’s Ecommerce is most comprehensive and trusted source for product attributes. We know 24,000 where the growth attributes for 83% of all products sold. is at. More than 60% of all People don’t realize there’s that much the growth in the CPG complexity to every single product, but consumer searches are really complicatworld is coming from ed, and today people are searching more ecommerce, yet we have a for attributes than brand names. We’re broken search and the people who know the details of proddiscovery experience, but ucts and help shoppers find them.

PG: It’s stunning that there are 24,000 attributes. That’s extremely granular.

one that can be fixed in pretty short order.” —Todd Morris, Label Insight

TM: It’s unbelievably granular, but people are searching for things like cauliflower-crust pizza. There are these microscopic need states


PG: That’s a challenge because what can seem to a shopper like a specific search can yield hundreds, if not thousands, of results. TM: It changes the game for retailers and for manufacturers. It’s why we’ve got to zero in on consumer attributes that they care about so if they go to an ecommerce site and type in “peanut-free,” the first search item returned isn’t peanut butter. It is important for retailers to understand there is a new digital shelf, and most of the time it’s out of stock or under-stocked if the attribute data that people are searching for isn’t present.

PG: How is this new attribute-driven search behavior affecting overall categories? TM: In the past, you had the snack aisle, but now consumers don’t go to the snack aisle, they’re searching for gluten-free, low-sodium snacks, and that’s the shelf they’re in front of in an ecommerce world. If the shelf doesn’t have products that are high-quality that meet that need, they’re not going to buy anything. If there are five options, they’re going to buy a little. If there are 100, they’re going to buy a lot more. We want to make sure that every shelf is full of products that deliver exactly what the shopper wants. It’s a pretty simple premise. And let’s face it: Ecommerce is where the growth is at. More than 60% of all the growth in the CPG world is coming from ecommerce, yet we have a broken search and discovery experience, but one that can be fixed in pretty short order.

PG: So how does it work? How does a brand or a retailer get involved with Label Insight? Is it driven more by the retailer saying, “Work with these guys, use their platform, populate their system with your attributes, so that we can drive sales digitally,” or is it more of the brand getting involved? What’s the process? TM: There are lots of ways, but it started with the SmartLabel initiative. As an industry, the goal was to provide a standard experience on a SmartLabel so that consumers could see a more standardized product label. That’s where we got our start. Brands use Label Insight to publish out their ingredients, and retailers use it to assess across all different brands they sell what qualifies for certifications or not.

PG: For example? TM: Our technology is looking at things like scientists would. We take all the ingredients and deconstruct them into the little building blocks to make it all searchable. So a brand like a Burt’s Bees has one product that may use an artificial dye, but another uses a named dye, because if it uses an artificial dye, or an unnamed fragrance or dye, it cannot qualify for an “all-natural” label. So these are the types of ways that retailers are now saying, “I don’t want to tell my consumers this is all-natural, if I don’t know one of the ingredients.”

PG: That makes sense. How else can retailers capitalize on shoppers’ new attribute-driven search behaviors?

TM: The big thing now is taking those attributes and allowing them to be search terms that retailers can monetize back to advertisers in ecommerce. It’s a brand-new capability for Label Insight. The big problem retailers have is they want to monetize keywords, but they don’t have the data to sell keywords. If we can fill that void, it is big business for retailers and helps consumers buy more, that helps manufacturers advertise more and sell more, and then the consumer is happy. So it’s a win up and down the ecosystem.

PG: So you’re giving retailers Amazon-like capabilities to target shoppers in a way that they hadn’t previously. TM: Exactly. It’s very difficult for a retailer to manage this kind of sophistication for so many products, because new diet trends emerge every day. This whole idea of micro need states has become very prevalent, and it’s constantly changing.

PG: Shoppers want to know what’s in products, but increasingly, they want to know where things were sourced and how they were manufactured. There’s a whole other set of attributes that has really nothing to do with whether something’s gluten-free or not. People want to know if it was sustainably harvested, is Fair Trade, sustainably grown, cruelty-free tested. Are you capturing those types of attributes? TM: All of those social issues and health issues are all in this database. Those social need states are just as important as the food need states.

PG: Some people like to know every conceivable thing there is to know about products. TM: It’s the way the world is today, and retailers are the new search engines. Shoppers look for exactly what they want and information on how it meets their needs. What some of the more traditional retailers have to think through is how to satisfy this new consumer expectation of being able to find precisely what they want. PROGRESSIVE GROCER Januar y 2020





t’s time for winter to move on, taking its cold temperatures and mud puddles with it. Spring is on the horizon, bringing new vegetables and fruits to market, with new flavors of the season. Spring is sometimes overlooked as a season offering new produce tastes for consumers. After winter’s hearty vegetables, customers are eager for something different. Since growers are the ones at the forefront of produce trends, here are their trend predictions for spring 2020.

Items of the Season

Spring 2020 already has its emerging stars, according to Talia Shandler, VP at Los Angeles-based SGS Produce. “We see that consumers are excited about variety and new experiences,” she says. “Products that are influenced by Asian and Middle Eastern taste profiles are gaining popularity. Rambutan and mangosteens are going to be the items of the season.” Mangosteens were illegal in the United States for many years, due to the belief that they carried the Asian fruit fly, but now those days are over. The fruit grows on small evergreen trees on the Malay Archipelago


Key Takeaways Consumers welcome spring after making it through the cold and snow of winter, and yearn for “new” spring vegetables and fruits, which can boost the bottom line. Herbs, especially fresh ones, are currently very popular with consumers, so don’t hesitate to display them with recipes in which the herbs are featured. Since consumers are ready for novel products and ideas, create a welcoming, colorful department for spring that makes it easy for them to find something unusual.

in Southeast Asia. Its nickname is “the queen of tropical fruit” because of its taste (Hint: The nickname would be great for signage). The round fruit, red to dark purple, has four to eight triangular sections of white juicy flesh “that melt in your mouth while releasing a perfect balance of sweet and sour citrus, peach, and exotic flavors,” according to the website of Vernon, Calif.-based Melissa’s/World Variety Produce. This superfruit is full of nutrients and antioxidant benefits that may lower the risk of certain diseases. The fruit should be eaten as soon as possible after purchase. If the shell of the mangosteen is still pliable, the unopened fruit can be refrigerated in a partly closed plastic bag for up to two days. To open the fruit, make a shallow cut around the circumference of it, avoiding the interior. Twist the shell open along the cut to access the segments of fruit inside, which are delicate. On the vegetable side, the more color, the better, according to Shandler: “Rainbow chard [also trademarked as Bright Lights] is being requested more and more.” This member of the beet family

is grown for its mild-flavored leaves and stalks that are similar to celery. They range in color from red to orange, yellow to green. The leaves are often used like spinach. To prepare them, place them in a large bowl of cold water, lift out and drain, and repeat, according to Melissa’s. Trim the stems and cut off the leaves. If you’re using the stems, slice them crosswise. Herbs are also becoming a growing category of their own. “As people ditch the meal prep boxes and start cooking on their own, they realize how much flavor fresh herbs infuse in their food, and they are looking to replicate that and purchasing fresh herbs at their market,” Shandler observes. Shandler sees fresh herbs as a larger commodity for the produce section. “Gone are the days when people were content with dry herbs,” she notes. SGS is a distributor for Commerce, Calif.-based Dosner Herbs. Concentrated tube herbs, along with fresh herbs, PROGRESSIVE GROCER Januar y 2020




Green Healthy Produce Year-Round Growing seasons may change and springtime may reign year-round with hydroponics. The process involves growing plants without soil, using a mineral nutrient solution in a water solvent. Plants are grown indoors, where they aren’t subject to bad weather, drought or insects. The process isn’t new, but there does seem to be more interest in hydroponics than ever, with consumers even growing some vegetables at home. There are now several hydroponic companies, mostly growing greens such as lettuce, across the United States. One example of hydroponic farming is based in Brooklyn, N.Y., where, since 2009, Gotham Greens has worked to transform how and where fresh produce is grown, according to Viraj Puri, the company’s co-founder and CEO. By the end of this year, Gotham Greens will operate 500,000 square feet of high-tech farms across five U.S. states, with more than 300 employees. Seven greenhouses are operated in New York City, Chicago, and Providence, R.I., bringing fresh leafy greens and herbs to the Northeast in winter for the first time, Puri says, with new locations slated to open in Baltimore and Denver. The company, which offers a line of leafy greens, herbs, salad dressings and pesto dips, recently introduced a transparent packaging design and brand logo to refresh its visual identity. The grower uses hydroponic systems in 100% renewable electricity-powered greenhouses that use 95 percent less water and 97 percent less land than conventional farming. The company will soon deliver to 30-plus states and produce 35 times more lettuce than conventional farming. The greenhouses will be controlled by the “latest technological advances, including proprietary data-driven control tools to develop the highest-yielding, most efficient production systems on the market today,” Puri notes. In addition to this, retailers are striking out on their own, with hydroponics at their stores. For instance, the Kroger Co., based in Cincinnati, is partnering with European urban farming network Infarm. Modular living-produce farms installed in Kroger’s stores will provide customers with hydroponic produce right at the point of purchase. That being the case, farming in the future may not involve the soil it has depended on for millennia.


are demanding more space in the produce section. For example, Batavia, Ill.-based Aldi offers herbs in tubes under its organic brand, Simply Nature, including garlic, basil and ginger stir-in pastes. These tubes are competing against packaged fresh herbs. The only conclusion for this expansion is that customers are looking for fresh herbs to spice up their meals in 2020.

Old Favorites

Robert Schueller, director of public relations for Melissa’s, notes that spring produce generally refers to items like cauliflower, artichoke, kale, assorted carrots, assorted beets, strawberries and blueberries, even though these items are available year-round. Anthony Totta, business consultant and CEO of Kansas City, Mo.-based Grow My Profits LLC, and a former produce retailer himself, agrees. “Typical spring items include artichokes, asparagus, spring onions and strawberries,” Totta observes. “Trending items include new packaging and sizes such as baby artichokes, asparagus tips and dipping strawberries.” “True spring specialty produce is items like fava beans, english peas, morel mushrooms, fiddlehead fern, baby artichokes, spring onions, spring garlic and pixie tangerines, as they are typically available March through May-ish, or a little longer,” Schueller notes. “Seasonally, it’s the ending of the variety citrus season and close to the arrival of variety melon, tree fruits like peaches/plums and the grape season. ... It’s actually an awkward time before the summer domestic season.”

Spring is for Snacking

Another grower sees a different trend in 2020 spring produce. “Snacking is a big trend that produce can tie into right now, especially portable items like apples,” says Brianna Shales, senior marketing manager at Wenatchee, Wash-based Stemilt Growers. Consumers are eating on the go more than ever now and looking toward convenience to help them eat healthfully despite their busy lives, according to Shales, who adds, “Retailers should focus on snacking throughout produce promotions and, of course, in the value-added section.” Stemilt will be focused on growing organic apple sales, especially during the month of April, since Earth Day 2020 falls on April 22. “We have merchandising materials and tactics coming soon," Shales notes, "to help retailers promote organic apples in a bigger way than ever before.”

Eating By Season Many consumers like to eat by season to ensure that they’re getting the freshest produce, and to vary their diets. Here are 15 spring-grown produce items:

Artichokes, including baby artichokes


Cardoons, an Italian staple

Cherimoyas, with a texture like custard or ice cream

Fava beans, also called broad beans

Fiddlehead ferns, with a grassy flavor and asparagustender texture



Morel mushrooms, with a nutty smell and meaty texture

English peas, also called shell peas or garden peas


Ramps, or wild onions


Spring onions

And the star of spring: strawberries



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A Greener Bottom Line

LED lights at The Fresh Market in Doral, Fla., are part of the store design by api(+).

ADVANCES IN SUSTAINABLE STORE LIGHTING ARE BOOSTING EFFICIENCY AND LOWERING OVERHE AD. By Bob Ingram ighting accounts for a major portion of supermarket energy use and expense, and retailers are benefiting both from their own increasing use of sustainable lighting, and from suppliers that have made sustainability a priority in this area. Today’s food retailers are increasing lighting sustainability and efficiency in their stores, and the subsequent savings are going directly to the bottom line. “We began using LED lighting with Walmart before the technology was ready for prime time,” recounts Thomas Henken, VP and director of design at api(+), in Tampa, Fla. “We are constantly improving the energy efficiency of our lighting selections, and the industry has developed products that are not only more efficient, but have become more cost-effective as the popularity of these fixtures has driven competition in the lighting products industry.” For LED products, the benefits extend to getting the same light levels with


Key Takeaways Food retailers are increasing sustainability and efficiency in their stores via LED lighting, and the subsequent savings are going directly to the bottom line. There’s been a resurgence in demand for LED display case lighting, with some retrofits now being done on products from manufacturers that are no longer in business. Designers will continue to learn better ways of integrating LED products and drive further innovation in products and usage.

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energy reductions of 40% or more, Henken says. “Presence detection is also a great way to save on energy costs in ‘staff only’ areas,” he adds, “as the lights will dim or shut off when no presence is detected.” LED lighting can be programmed with specific combinations of hues and tones to reduce discoloration of fresh products such as meats, produce and flower displays, Henken adds, noting that the equipment “allows lighting controls to be centrally operated for multiple stores, and managers can access controls via the app to create dedicated zones, schedule lighting levels to auto-adjust with the time of day, or bump up the brightness, setting the stage for an in-store event such as a celebrity chef event. If the store has windows or light wells, progressive LED controls will also adjust to harvest the natural daylight by adjusting their own light levels to a preset standard. There is no need to shut the light off outside of operating hours, because the system is auto-scheduled to ensure lighting is only on when needed.” Another LED benefit is that the lower heat loads generated, thanks to the far cooler operating temperatures — along with a diverse range of fixture types and sizes — allow the lighting to be integrated into the food display casework, and have little or no effect on food quality and freshness. “We also have longer lifespans for these products and more stable light levels and coloration throughout the lifespan, which also adds to the bottom line,” Henken says. “This keeps the demand on landfills down and will eventually eliminate the harmful chemicals associated with fluorescent lighting, which has been the industry standard until quite recently.”

Strides in Sustainability, Cost Savings

Amerlux, an integrated LED fixture manufacturer in Oakland, N.J., “uses no harmful materials in constructing its fixtures, and because of the LED’s long life, there is much less wasted,” says

Meyda Lighting often creates unique fixtures for its supermarket clients, as seen below.


These lights furnished by api(+) are at a Hannaford store in Bedford, N.H.

VP of Marketing and Product Management Bill Plageman. “LEDs are made of recyclable materials and can be reused, repurposed or recycled.” Plageman acknowledges that food retailers have always been early adopters of sustainable energy-reducing products and understand the importance of reducing energy costs. “They don’t just look for the cheapest lighting products; they understand the role lighting can play in selling merchandise,” he notes. “Either wired or wireless controls can be automated to change the intensity of light on sunny or cloudy days.” Sherry Heid, sales account manager at Clearwater, Fla.-based ElectraLED Inc., dwells on the reduction of maintenance costs with LED lighting. “LEDs last much longer than fluorescent and halogen bulbs, and they do not suddenly go out, leaving dark spots in the store until they are replaced,” she says. Heid also observes that while the initial investment in sustainable lighting is more than with traditional lighting, the return on investment is quickly seen in the daily cost savings. “Once retailers start using sustainable lighting, the benefits are obvious, and they tend to proactively upgrade throughout the store,” she asserts. Christopher Eisenack, in charge of end-user product marketing at Somerset, N.J.-based Signify US, which offers a broad range of Philips LED lighting products, affirms that supermarkets are starting to make great strides in sustainability, with many launching programs to reduce energy consumption and costs. Lighting is one of the first areas that retailers look to upgrade, because lighting accounts for up to 40% of energy use. Eisenack notes that LED lighting can reduce energy costs by up to 50%, and that LED lighting upgrades can be integrated with smart controls to further enhance energy savings and operational efficiency. “In today’s digital world, lighting can also play a big role in enhancing the customer experience,” he points out. “Grocers can use light to help shoppers navigate their stores and easily find the products they are looking for, or provide personalized promotions that enable cross selling. The in-store navigation systems can also enable employees to fulfill online orders for pickup more quickly.”

Time for a Retrofit

“We worked with a large regional grocer in the Northeast to retrofit their existing aisle lights that used T5 fluorescent lamps,” notes Maria Wooldridge, marketing manager at Peabody, Mass.-based International Light Technologies Inc. (ILT), which provides customized LED solutions and retrofit systems for customers that can’t find off-the-shelf solutions. “The [original equipment manufacturer] of the fixture did not provide a retrofit, and [the retailer] did not want to replace the entire fixture for a number of reasons. They had very specific requirements that we were able to meet in addition to it qualifying for DLC,” a DesignLight Consortium designation for high-level energy efficiency. Wooldridge adds that one large wholesale chain came to ILT to custom-engineer a display case light because the current ones kept getting damaged when product was loaded. “Ours is so durable, you can run over it with a forklift and it will still light,” she observes. ILT’s proprietary optical design delivers a wide-angle beam while reaching deep into the case. According to Wooldridge, the company has seen a resurgence in demand for display case lighting, because some retrofits were last done more than 10 years ago, and those manufacturers aren’t in business any more. She sees a “major challenge” for grocers in dealing with LED products that have failed, because “in many instances, the light engine and fixture are one unit, so when the light engine fails — or the lumen output depreciates to the point that it no longer provides adequate illumination — the customer is often left having to replace the whole unit.” According to Rich Rattray, technical specification manager at Wilmington, Mass.-based Ledvance, Sylvania LED lighting retrofits save 40% to 70% in energy costs, and most LED products have a lifespan twice that of traditional lamps, providing significant savings for food retailers, because the lights are higher in the ceiling and a lift may be needed for access to light fixtures. “Supermarkets make careful decisions regarding their capital investments,” Rattray observes. “LED lighting retrofits can range from simple to a complete lighting upgrade, thereby allowing the choice of the level of investment. As an added benefit, most areas of the United States offer a utility incentive for this type of retrofit, which will further improve the return on investment.”

Once retailers start using sustainable lighting, the benefits are obvious, and they tend to proactively upgrade throughout the store.” —Sherry Heid, ElectraLED

This customized aisle light is from International Light Technology (ILT).

Ledvance is launching a family of Sylvania LED products that produce light that’s closer to natural light, and the company is further adopting controls that allow food retailers to save additional energy, as the light can be easily adjusted to lower light output as needed.

The Future of LEDs

“We see the high efficiency of LED lighting products and the range of options continuing to develop,” says api(+)’s Henken. “Designers will continue to learn better ways of integrating these products and drive further innovation in products and usage. I’m also thinking that in my lifetime, we’ll see a day when this technology is dated and the amazing efficiency we have come to love is no longer state of the art.” “We are able to use slim lines and color-changing features that were unavailable in the past,” weighs in Max Cohen, marketing director at Yorkville, N.Y.based Meyda Lighting, which makes a broad range of custom energy-efficient and sustainable light fixtures for food retailers. “Organic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) is the future of the LED world, and it is exciting to see the advances that have been made there in the past few years.”

Creating Comfortable Spaces When it comes to sustainable HVAC systems for supermarkets, Ben Tacka, sustainability programs leader at Davidson, N.C.-based Ingersoll Rand, says, “Trane products within the EcoWise portfolio are designed to help lower environmental impact with next-generation, low global-warming potential (GWP) refrigerants and high-efficiency operation.” Tacka notes that in 2014, Trane made a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from its products and operations by 2020, and surpassed that goal two years early. Compared with a 2013 baseline, GHG emissions were reduced across global operations by 43%, and the GHG footprint of the product portfolio by 52%. He adds that Trane has embarked on “even bolder 2030 sustainability commitments with its Gigaton Challenge, designed to reduce the customer’s carbon footprint from buildings, homes and transportation by one gigaton” — that is, 1 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases. “For supermarkets, we expect to see more appropriate-sized equipment for lower-energy and refrigerant profiles, and an increased use of data and digital solutions to ensure systems are run in the most efficient way,” Tacka asserts. “For example, Trane’s building energy management systems help customers uncover and reduce energy waste, and proactively monitor systems 24/7 to prevent downtime.” Going forward, he believes that “[s]ustainable-minded food retailers will take a more holistic approach to building equipment, controls and energy management to create comfortable spaces that provide optimal occupant experience, reduce operating costs and minimize energy consumption.” PROGRESSIVE GROCER Januar y 2020




PCC Community Markets is rolling out biodegradable, compostable deli containers, but the co-op must keep an eye on the current shortage of PLA, the material from which they're made.

Pack Mentality AS RE TAILERS RE THINK THE SUSTAINABILIT Y OF THEIR PACK AGING, THE Y’LL NEED TO CONSIDER THE AVAIL ABILIT Y AND PRICE OF MATERIALS, AS WELL AS HOW BEST TO EDUCATE THEIR SHOPPERS. By Jenny McTaggart f you haven’t yet seen a recyclable toothpaste tube, boxed water, or refillable containers for orange juice, brace yourself: Supermarket packaging is about to get really interesting. Thanks to a growing demand for more earth-friendly packaging from concerned consumers, activists and regulators, manufacturers and retailers are on the verge of a packaging renaissance in which new recyclable and compostable containers will begin to permeate the market. In recent years, one of the country's largest grocers, Kroger, has committed to eliminating single-use shopping bags from its stores, and other retailers are in the process of phasing out other single-use plastics from their supply chains, ranging


Key Takeaways Large and small grocers alike have committed to eliminating single-use shopping bags from their stores, and now they’re in the process of phasing out other single-use plastics from their supply chains. Unfortunately, grocers’ and other companies’ ability to make use of some sustainable packaging materials is hampered by shortages or high prices. To get started with sustainable packaging, retailers can make use of the resources offered by the Sustainable Packaging Coalition.

With a recycling rate hovering near 90% for the past eight years and an average 50% recycled content, boxes not only ship just about anything on earth, they’re also a renewable resource that’s circular by nature. Reusable. Renewable. Extraordinary. Learn more at



Wegmans Food Markets' sustainable packaging includes recyclable produce bags made from renewable plant-based materials.

from plastic straws to deli containers. Smaller regional players such as Giant Eagle have recently announced their intentions to do the same. At the same time, a growing number of companies are looking at how they can reduce packaging in general or use more post-consumer-recycled material in their designs. Behind the positive headlines of these socially responsible corporate moves, however, there are some major supply chain considerations. First, companies must explore which materials are available and how much they cost, as well as how their availability may fluctuate in the future. Second, once they decide which materials to use, they should consider educating consumers about the new packaging, including whether it’s recyclable or compostable. This isn’t an easy task in the United States, where confusion about recycling is rampant, since there’s no universal system in place.

Living in the Material World

At least one grocery operator that’s further along in its packaging redo, cooperative PCC Community Markets, in the greater Seattle market, is facing some potential challenges in meeting the sourcing demands for some of its new packaging. PCC, which operates its business through a triple bottom-line sustainability lens, eliminated single-use plastic grocery bags back in 2007, five years before Seattle’s plastic bag ban. It also introduced compostable trays in its meat and seafood departments in 2010 and replaced plastic straws and utensils with compostable alternatives in 2015. Then, in 2018, the company unveiled a broad set of five-year sustainability goals, including removing petroleum-based plastics from its delis by 2022. Unfortunately, there’s now a shortage of the material it selected for its new biodegradable, compostable deli containers — bioplastic PLA (polylactic acid). PCC has already begun rolling out the containers in its 13 stores, which has helped it eliminate more than 8 million pieces of petroleum-based plastic. Brenna Davis, VP of social and environ-


mental responsibility for the cooperative, says that her company will be monitoring the shortage of PLA in the coming year. She notes that the deli containers are durable, functional and attractive, and have been well received by customers. PCC worked with its distributor, St. Louis-based Bunzl, in developing the packaging. “What’s interesting is that as more and more states and municipalities are moving toward requiring compostable packaging or banning plastic bags, it creates a strain on the supply chain,” observes Davis. In another example of supply chain considerations, she notes that some composters are starting to ban PFAs, a group of man-made chemicals used in food packaging that has been linked to adverse human health effects, so PCC is scanning all of its new packaging to make sure that it’s in compliance. Davis advises retailers that are just getting into sustainable packaging programs to consider their supply chains during the planning process, and also to study the cost of materials and how that will ultimately impact product pricing. “At PCC, we’ve absorbed some of the costs and have passed on some of the costs to our consumers,” she notes. Another packaging material facing some market uncertainties is post-consumer recycled content, according to Meghan Stasz, VP of packaging and sustainability for the Arlington, Va.-based Consumer Brands Association (formerly the Grocery Manufacturers Association). “We’ve seen a number of major CPG companies making pledges to dramatically increase the amount of recycled content in their packaging, but right now, the supply is pretty unreliable. It’s either simply not there, or it’s more expensive,” she says. “So that is definitely something that we’re looking at, thinking about how we can work with the right stakeholders to really develop those end markets so that we can get the reliable, cost-effective supply of recycled content back into packaging.”

As more and more states and municipalities are moving toward requiring compostable packaging or banning plastic bags, it creates a strain on the supply chain.” —Brenna Davis, PCC Community Markets

Getting on Board With Sustainable Packaging

One resource for retailers to learn more about sustainable packaging materials is the Sustainable Packaging Coalition, based in Charlottesville, Va. The membership-based collaborative offers a program called How2Recycle, which many retailers, including Walmart and Target, have been using for their private label programs.

Often, a more sustainable solution can be as simple as using a different shrink sleeve on a bottle.” —Nina Goodrich, Sustainable Packaging Coalition

“When a retailer applies for a label, How2Recycle provides feedback on the packaging recyclability and suggestions for improvement, if they are needed,” explains Nina Goodrich, director of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition. “So we can help the retailer influence their package design. The label also helps consumers know what parts of a package are recyclable and what parts are not.” According to Goodrich, the program has helped retailers improve their packaging in multiple areas. “For example, package labels are an area that can interfere with recycling,” she explains. “Often, a more sustainable solution can be as simple as using a different shrink sleeve on a bottle. Many shrink sleeves interfere with the ability for a recycling facility to identify the materials under the sleeve. Switching to a sleeve that has received recognition from the Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR) increases the recycling facilities’ ability to capture material and improves sustainability.” Goodrich encourages retailers to attend the coalition’s upcoming events and to check out its online education program, “The Essentials of Sustainable Packaging,” which contains a wide range of modules to help companies get started. Once a company decides that sustainable packaging is important, Goodrich says, it must allocate appropriate resources so that its goals can come to life: “In other words, investment and commitment are required.”




Future Forecasts


he grocery industry is changing, and what better way to get ahead of what’s next than by checking in with some of Progressive Grocer’s technology-focused GenNext Award winners. Emily Gibbons, VP of data science for The Kroger Co.’s 84.51° division, in Cincinnati; Nick Nickitas, CEO and founder of Ithaca, N.Y.-based ecommerce and data analytics services provider Rosie; and Jaclyn Cardin, director of interactive for La Farge, Wis.-based CROPP Cooperative/Organic Valley, are all in their 30s, and all look at the grocery business through a very different lens from that of many industry veterans. PG sat down with all three of them individually to figure out what technologies are driving the industry and where they see the most potential for the next five years and beyond. Some common themes emerged in these discussions: a truly seamless omnichannel experience is evolving and has yet to be fully realized;


Key Takeaways Progressive Grocer GenNext Award winners Jaclyn Cardin, Emily Gibbons and Nick Nickitas speak about what technologies are driving the industry and where the most potential lies in the next five years and beyond. Common topics of discussion include the evolution of a truly seamless omnichannel experience; increased data and personalization, with transparency at the forefront; and customers’ curation of their own retail experiences. So that grocery will continue to move forward, and eventually catch up to other retail segments, it must have the right talent in place.

increased data and personalization are the way of the future, with transparency at the forefront; and customers are curating their own retail experiences while really being in charge.

The Omnichannel Shopper

There are so many different ways that consumers want to engage, and it’s really not individual consumers, but it’s more their trip occasions. The role that we play is to know the customer better than anybody else and enable different ways of shopping.”

We hear time and time again that customers are increasingly shopping for groceries online, but that retail stores won’t —Emily Gibbons, The Kroger Co./84.51° go away. All three of these young experts agree that one of the main reasons that this is true is because shoppers will never exclusively favor one channel. “Depending on where you are and how your day is taking shape, there are some days where you’ll have time to run into the grocery store and have that in-store experience, where you get to hold and touch and see things, and take the time going through the aisles,” Cardin says. “Then you have other days where you’re just flying from one thing to the next, [so] being able to quickly find your top 10 items and shop off your list from last week is just going to be the most effective thing that you can do in order to get groceries home in time to feed the kids for dinner. “The more we can understand that and be able to personalize an experience for omnichannel shopping, the better customer experience we’ll be able to deliver.” Customers’ behaviors will continue to change and evolve, so the responsibility falls on retailers to offer the best experiences possible, anytime and anywhere. “There are so many different ways that consumers want to engage, and it’s really not individual consumers, but it’s more their trip occasions,” Gibbons says. “The role that we play is to know the customer better than anybody else and enable different ways of shopping.”

Data Dominance

Gibbons knows that data is a really valuable asset in improving this customer shopping experience, both online and offline, by gaining insights into what a customer needs, what products they like, how they expect them to be priced, and so much more. At Kroger’s 84.51°, most of the data is transactional in nature, creating a really robust longitudinal data set following customers on their journeys through the grocery shopping channel. Gibbons is quick to note that it’s hard to separate the consumer advantages from the retailer advantages of this data set. “Everything that you do to optimize supply chain, everything that you do to optimize out-of-stocks, everything that you do to optimize assortment and pricing, ultimately should drive a better customer experience in a way that helps to broaden Kroger’s engagement with consumers,” she says. “We really help to make sure that data is driving the decisions for every unit of the business, and we’ve expanded quite a bit to be involved a lot more in things like operations and supply chain and making sure that we’re looking more at end-to-end.” As transparency becomes a regular topic of conversation and new privacy laws are brought to the table — such as the California Con-

sumer Privacy Act that went into effect Jan. 1, 2020 — all three of these GenNext honorees note that customers really own their data and still have some hesitations. Shoppers will make it known how willing they are to share their data and what they expect to receive in return. “When I talk about having this magnificent data asset, that could make people uncomfortable, so I think that it’s really important for us as a data science company and for Kroger as a whole to make sure that we’re continuing to push the value proposition back,” Gibbons says. This value proposition could be in a highly direct manner such as free samples and coupons, or take a more experiential approach like seamless shopping. “You can see that the Millennial generation, our generation, is willing to give up our data to have convenience,” Nickitas says. “Imagine a world where the grocery store was the exact same way as Netflix — that you experience a grocery store that has only the products you care about and none of the ones that you don’t, and it can serve you any time of day and just perfectly meets your needs. I think data is going to drive that.”

A Not-So-Distant Outlook

Gibbons, Nickitas and Cardin all weighed in on what they’re most looking forward to from a technology standpoint in the next five years. For Gibbons, this power of data was at the top of her list. Specifically, she sees huge strides forward in bringing complicated data science to the customer at scale in a much more personalized manner. “A barrier for us has really been technologically. How do you create an environment where real-time data can be crunched at a speed and scale that enables a very reactionary, fast response? And we’re there today,” Gibbons explains. “I think where I see us going in five years is how do we bring that outside of the website and into stores, whether it be with the digital shelf edge or augmented reality? There’s so many different ways to manifest that experience.” Nickitas is also excited to see how technology will impact brick-and-mortar retail, mentioning augmented PROGRESSIVE GROCER Januar y 2020



Future Forecasts

industry is just slow-moving and kind of stale, when I think Imagine a world where the all of us know that it is actually incredibly fast-paced,” Gibbons grocery store was the exact observes. “I think it’s an indussame way as Netflix — that you try, more than any other sort of experience a grocery store that has retail sector, that’s ingrained in only the products you care about and communities, it’s ingrained in people’s lives and their everynone of the ones that you don’t, and day tasks, and I think the power it can serve you any time of day and of that is really incredible.” just perfectly meets your needs.” The industry is also highly —Nick Nickitas, Rosie diverse and offers potential career paths for professionals of many backgrounds and areas of study. reality and specifically focusing on how independents will be able to “When you think about it in terms of the data that’s win in a new grocery equation. available, when you think about it in terms of the “I think that more of the center store is going to go away and opportunity to play with the latest consumer web and that what you’re going to see happen in the store is much more mobile technology, the chance to do really innovative experiential,” he says. “That’s going to put these independent blends in models and bricks and clicks, as opposed grocers in a position to build community gathering places that are to just brick-and-mortar or online, that’s really intergoing to draw people back in their stores, as opposed to just being esting,” Nickitas asserts. fulfillment depots.” He goes on to note: “These are technology comAs for Cardin, she’s most excited to see how ecommerce conpanies that happen to solve grocery logistic issues. tinues to evolve, with an easier mobile experience for shoppers and They’re not really grocery companies any more. And an ever-growing number of last-mile delivery options for retailers. that’s what’s really neat.” Cardin also had experience in the beauty industry before landing at CROPP, and she thinks some of its ideas, such as user-generated content on social media, are now generating buzz in the grocery To learn more about Emily Gibbons, Nick industry, or at least should be. Nickitas, Jaclyn Cardin and the other 22 “In my experience [in the beauty industry], way more often than Progressive Grocer 2019 GenNext Award not, when we would test branded content versus user-generated honorees, visit content, the user-generated content would win really from a click, 2019-gennext-award-winners-disruptiona purchase or an engagement standpoint,” she says. “You don’t generation, or pick up the November see so much of that in grocery today, so being able to really lever2019 issue of PG, with highlights from age the content coming from consumers, and leveraging their stothe December event at Coca-Cola Co. ries in the way that they’re using our products to fit into their lives, headquarters, in Atlanta, celebrating all of the I think is really interesting, and something that we definitely want winners on page 65. to lean into more in the future.”

Attracting the Right Talent

To keep grocery moving forward, and in many respects to help it catch up to other segments of retail, the industry needs the right talent. These three GenNext honorees, along with the other 22 individuals under the age of 40 who received the honor in 2019, are a testament to the ingenuity that talent can breed. “One of the misconceptions is that the grocery retail


Being able to really leverage the content coming from consumers, and leveraging their stories in the way that they’re using our products to fit into their lives, I think is really interesting, and something that we definitely want to lean into more in the future.” —Jaclyn Cardin, CROPP Cooperative/Organic Valley


GenNext Awards/Retailer of the Year


ome of the top future (and current) leaders of the grocery industry under the age of 40 gathered at Coca-Cola corporate headquarters on Dec. 2-3 in Atlanta, for an event celebrating their achievements. Progressive Grocer’s GenNext event kicked off with an opening cocktail reception and dinner awarding this year’s 25 honorees. Kelvin Buncum, regional VP for Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart, was also on hand to accept the company’s award for being Progressive Grocer’s 2019 Retailer of the Year. The second day began with an opening presentation from Julie Levin, senior manager category strategy and innovation at the Coca-Cola Co. Levin talked about giving customers what they want through beverage innovation and Coca-Cola’s goals of driving greater variety with less added sugar. Currently, 50 products are going through the foodservice innovation stages and gates pipeline, including one of Coke’s recent big mass-market introductions, aguas frescas under the Barrilitos brand, which has been gaining traction since 2017. A panel of GenNext honorees then took the stage to shed light on their visions for the future, some of the misconceptions they’re seeing in the grocery industry as a whole and attracting younger-generation employees. Ian Flick, senior manager, fresh demand planning at Keene, N.H.-based C&S Wholesale Grocers; Emily Gibbons, VP of data science at Cincinnati-based Kroger’s 84.51° division; and Tenia Wallace, COO at Cedar City, Utah-based Decorworx, all shared their appetite for the industry, in a discussion moderated by PG Editorial Director Jim Dudlicek. The event closed with Paaras Parker, director of human resources in technology and digital at Kroger. Parker illustrated many of the ways that Kroger’s passion for employees and for customers drives the company. The nucleus of Kroger is still family and the brick-and-mortar store, even as innovation abounds. Coca-Cola corporate headquarters provided

Winners of Progressive Grocer's GenNext Award gather for a group photo following the event at Coca-Cola's Atlanta headquarters (top). Walmart Regional VP Kelvin Buncum accepts PG's Retailer of the Year Award, flanked by PG Publisher John Schrei and Editorial Director Jim Dudlicek (center). Attendees had many opportunities to network at the inaugural event (bottom). PROGRESSIVE GROCER Januar y 2020



GenNext Awards/Retailer of the Year

2019 GenNext Winners Richard Akins, category manager-dairy, Harris Teeter LLC

James Buddig, regional sales manager, Carl Buddig and Co.

Dawn Burkett, talent development supervisor, Brookshire Grocery Co.

Jaclyn Cardin, director of interactive, CROPP Cooperative/Organic Valley

Thomas Cingari Jr., VP, ShopRite Grade A Markets Inc.

Angel Cordero, store manager, Giant Food Stores LLC

Ian Flick, senior manager, fresh demand planning, C&S Wholesale Grocers

Sarah Galletti, founder, Tattooed Chef Emily Gibbons, VP of data science, The Kroger Co./84.51° division

Brandon Greene, VP host experience, Lowes Foods

Brandon Henson, district produce/floral coordinator, The Kroger Co./Ralphs

Thomas Hocker, Total Rewards manager, The Kroger Co./Ruler Foods

Lynn Howitz, division facility engineering manager, The Kroger Co./Cincinnati division

Amy McClellan, SVP, Martin’s Super Markets; division VP, retail, SpartanNash

Alison Nelson, VP of sales, Insignia Systems Inc.

Nick Nickitas, CEO and founder, Rosie Daniel Papaleo, manager, corporate demand planning, C&S Wholesale Grocers

Lindsay Peterson, category management team leader, Unilever

Sabrina Powell, division fuel manager, The Kroger Co./Nashville division

Robert Rybick, president and CEO, Geissler’s Supermarkets Inc.

Chris Shoemaker, senior manager, decision support (finance and revenue growth management)-Ahold Delhaize, The Coca-Cola Co.

Matthew Simon, VP and chief marketing officer, Giant Food Stores LLC

Jake Tavello, VP, Stew Leonard’s Tenia Wallace, COO, Decorworx Floyd Welton, division produce merchandiser, The Kroger Co./ Mid-Atlantic division

an appropriate backdrop for the event, where GenNext honorees and their families, friends and colleagues could get into the holiday spirit and tour a location that’s home to nearly 6,000 employees.


(Clockwise from top left) Kroger's Paaras Parker discusses how the retailer's passion for employees and customers drives the company. Coca-Cola's Julie Levin offers insights into beverage innovation. PG's Jim Dudlicek leads a panel discussion of award winners. The evening cocktail reception and dinner celebrated the achievements of emerging leaders, who bonded over common experiences and career goals.

For more photos and videos from the event, visit gennext-winners-take-center-stage-coca-cola-headquarters. The nomination period for 2020 GenNext honorees will open in June.


Health, Beauty & Wellness

Million-Dollar Smiles THE OR AL CARE CATEGORY GOES UPSCALE. By Barbara Sax ising awareness of the importance of oral hygiene, the growing incidence of dental diseases among older consumers, and technological advancements in oral care products are driving growth of these items. “Oral health is important to overall health,” affirms Kyle Lentz, HBC category analyst at Waukesha, Wis.-based Hamacher Resource Group. Recent launches that target specific oral care needs have revolutionized the category. “The introduction of these types of products have added a super-premium segment to the

Key Takeaways Retailers are offering more specialized toothpastes, whitening agents and electric toothbrushes, which are contributing to higher profitability for the oral care category. Increasingly integrated into mainstream sets, natural products are driving a majority of the growth in the overall category, thanks in large part to eco-conscious Millennials. Electric toothbrushes and highend whitening kits promise higher margins and rings for retailers, but theft is a major issue in both segments; also, price is still a consideration for many shoppers. PROGRESSIVE GROCER Januar y 2020



Health, Beauty & Wellness

category, and sales are booming,” Lentz says. “Retailers have really segmented the category, so we are looking at the category in terms of value, beauty and whitening; sensitivity and enamel repair; gum care; and natural segments.” Retailers are bringing into their departments more specialized toothpastes, whitening agents and electric toothbrushes, moves that have contributed to increased profitability for the category. “We’re getting bigger rings,” says Rich Brown, buyer for the category at nine-unit Karns Quality Foods, based in Mechanicsburg, Pa. “There are a lot of whitening products and higher-end products in the category. The days of value-priced Pepsodent are over.” According to Brown, the growth of higher-end oral care products in his stores is driven by Millennial consumers, who are using the products themselves and raising their children on higher-price, higher-performance items. The trend has accelerated sales in the natural segment of the category.

Let’s be Natural

“Natural options in oral care are driving a majority of the growth in the overall category,” notes Craig Dubitsky, founder of Hello Products, a Montclair, N.J.-based brand that has gained distribution in the supermarket channel. “We’ve jumped from 19,000 to over 42,000 doors of distribution over the past several months, because traditional grocers are leaning into natural options across all categories. As more shoppers look for green alternatives in oral care, we’re there with the right solutions, from whitening and sensitivity relief to products for kids, all without artificial sweeteners, dyes, artificial flavors, peroxide, [sodium lauryl sulfate] or animal testing.”

Hello Products has recently expanded its Hemp Seed Oil collection of natural oral care products, which consists of toothpastes, mouthwash and floss.

We’ve jumped from 19,000 to over 42,000 doors of distribution over the past several months, because traditional grocers are leaning into natural options across all categories.” —Craig Dubitsky, Hello Products

According to Dubitsky, natural products are being integrated into mainstream shelf sets. A number of supermarket retailers have expanded their natural oral care offerings beyond the category leader Toms of Maine, based in Kennebunk. For instance, Stop & Shop carries natural oral care products from Hello Products, Burt’s Bees, Dr. Bronner’s All-One and Schmidt’s, while Albertsons banner Acme Markets, based in Malvern, Pa., has added fluoride-free toothpaste sold under the private brand Open Nature to its oral care aisle. While Brown hasn’t added additional natural brands, he notes that there’s a demand for natural oral care products. “Tom’s is really strong,” he says. “There’s been real growth in the natural segment.” Toothpastes with charcoal have become more popular as consumers look for natural alternatives to traditional whitening toothpastes. Hamacher’s Lentz says that nontraditional ingredients, such as hemp and turmeric, are also making their way into oral care products. To attract eco-conscious consumers, Tom’s recently added brushes to its oral care lineup with the introduction of a Whole Care Toothbrush, which features a handle made from 80% post-consumer recycled plastic, and in November began shipping a first-of-its-kind recyclable toothpaste tube. The brand continues to add new products to its lineup of natural oral care products; an Activated Charcoal Toothpaste, a Sea Salt Toothpaste and a Sea Salt Mouthwash all launched last year. This past fall, Hello Products expanded its Hemp Seed Oil collection of natural oral care products with two Extra Freshening Toothpastes, Extra Moisturizing Mouthwash and Awesome Floss.

Something Special

Natural products are just one segment in a category helping to boost the bottom line for oral care. Toothpaste and mouth rinse introductions have become more specialized, promising higher performance and carrying higher price tags. Last year, Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble launched Crest Gum Detoxify with Activated Foam technology, which helps improve gum health by neutralizing harmful plaque bacteria below the gum line that


can be difficult to get at even with diligent brushing. The Activated Foam penetrates those hard-to-reach areas below the gum line for lasting gum protection. Additionally, Warren, N.J.-based GSK Consumer Healthcare launched Sensodyne Rapid Relief, a clinically proven toothpaste that helps beat sensitivity in as little as three days with twice-daily brushing. Meanwhile, Colgate, a brand of New Yorkbased Colgate-Palmolive, added Colgate Total, a toothpaste that provides protection against plaque, gingivitis, stains, tartar and cavities, and offers additional benefits, including sensitivity relief, instant neutralization of odors associated with bad breath, enhanced enamel strength, and new, cooling flavors for lasting freshness. Retailers such as Ralphs and Wegmans Food Markets have added more specialized niche brands in the mouth rinse category as well. Both grocers carry products from Saint Louis-based SmartMouth Oral Health Laboratories and Los Angeles-based TheraBreath, as well as the typical mega-brands of the category. Still, retailers say that a huge share of category sales are sparked by price. “In the mouthwash and mouth rinse category, our sales depend on what’s on deal,” asserts Karns' Brown. A number of buy-one-get-one deals are available on shelf in the mouth rinse sections of both Stop & Shop and Acme.

A Better Way to Brush

Convinced that consumers will pay more for improved oral care, many retailers are adding more electric brushes to their offerings. “We don’t have a big selection, but the products we have are selling,” says Brown, adding that theft is an issue with the higher-priced electrics. Prices can be steep in the segment. Stop & Shop carries several Philips Sonicare models ranging in price from $29.99 to $69.99. The chain also stocks Oral B electrics in price points ranging from $21.99 to $39.99. New, improved versions continue to flow into the market. Glen Allen, Va.based Hamilton Beach Brands recently introduced Brightline, a line of ADA-approved electric toothbrushes using sonic technology to remove plaque and fight surface stains. The brushes have a built-in two-minute timer and a long-lasting 25-day battery life.

What Price Whiter Teeth?

For some time, whitening kits have been a profit center for retailers. “Whitening

Specialized products are driving prices up in the oral care department.

toothpastes and whitening strips have had a pretty long-lasting run as the whiteners of choice, but as new product types enter the market, there is room for growth,” says Lentz. For instance, Crest has introduced a new flavor, Arctic Mint, to its Whitestrips lineup and an additional product with charcoal. The latest trend in whitening is home light-activated kits. “With prices ranging from $50 to $150 dollars, customers are willing to try these products, as they are less expensive than a visit to the dentist,” notes Lentz. While the average price point for whitening strips is around $50, new whitening devices carry even higher price points. For instance, Colgate’s new Optic White Advanced LED Whitening, an at-home LED device that uses new patented technology and blue LED lights to remove stains, is currently selling online for $185. While retailers like the high margins and high rings that the kits offer, theft has become a huge issue in the segment. “We carry four of five SKUs in whitening and only put one facing on the aisle and keep the rest behind the counter,” says Brown. Stop & Shop, like many retailers, uses anti-theft boxes to display the products. Chris Merrill, a buyer at Edmond, Okla.-based Crest Foods, says he no longer carries whitening kits in the chain's eight stores, because of theft. In fact, Merrill says that the influx of higher-priced oral care products hasn't made his department more profitable for the everyday-low-price operator. “We are selling higher-end products, but not at the same turns as the basics,” he admits. “Manufacturers are trying to force consumers to trade up, but not all consumers are doing that. “We’re matching the Walmarts, who are selling 3-packs of a product for 20 cents a unit below my cost,” Merrill adds. “Our policy is to match that price, so our basics are very competitive.” PROGRESSIVE GROCER Januar y 2020



Food, Beverage & Nonfood Products

Safer Snacking

Crisp maker 34 Degrees has introduced its first gluten-free product, Original Gluten Free Crisps. Made with six simple ingredients, including naturally gluten-free, protein- and fiber-rich chickpea flour, the thin, light and crunchy crisps provide an allergy-friendly option for consumers. 34 Degrees uses steamed chickpea flour, which removes its often-prevalent iron taste, resulting in a buttery finish to the crisps, each batch of which is produced in an allergen-free room and tested to ensure that it exceeds the FDA standard for gluten-free. The product is also non-GMO, dairy-free and plant-based, with nine crisps containing only 70 calories. A 4.5-ounce box retails for a suggested $5.49. 34 Degrees donates 1% of all of the crisps it bakes to causes that fight hunger.

Yogurt With Bite

The brand that introduced the first chocolate-coated Greek yogurt bar, Clio Snacks, has now expanded its product portfolio to include Clio Greek Yogurt Minis, a bite-size version of its Clio Greek Yogurt Bars. Made from strained Greek yogurt with live and active cultures, and featuring a creamy cheesecake texture, Clio Minis are packed with 3-4 grams of protein and billions of probiotics, satisfying sweettart cravings while providing functional benefits. What’s more, the individually wrapped dark-chocolate-covered bites contain just 60-70 calories per serving. Containing a simple list of ingredients, the gluten-free, kosher snack is available in four flavors: classic Vanilla and Strawberry, and decadent Peanut Butter and Salted Caramel. An 8-count, 6.2-ounce box retails for a suggested $5.49 in the supermarket yogurt section.

Hard to Keep Hidden

Greek Without Gluten

Family-owned Athens Foods, billed as the world’s largest producer of phyllo dough and phyllo dough products, has introduced gluten-free frozen Phyllo Bites. Bringing traditional Greek dough to a range of snacks for those who wish to avoid gluten, the bites consist of delicate, crispy layers of phyllo wrapped around a choice of three savory fillings: Spinach and Cheese, Buffalo Style Chicken, and Steak Fiesta. Appropriate as an appetizer or a snack, the quick-to-prepare items make a convenient option for entertaining. A 5-ounce package retails for a suggested price range of $4.99-$5.49.

Hidden Valley Food Products Co., maker of Hidden Valley Ranch and a subsidiary of The Clorox Co., and Duke Brands are launching a line of refrigerated appetizer dips and chicken salads featuring the signature Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning blend. Containing such ingredients as all-white-meat chicken, smoked bacon and real cream cheese, the lineup consists of four dips — Buffalo Ranch Chicken, Bacon Cheddar Ranch, Southwestern Ranch Bean and Cheese, and ranch-seasoned Spinach Artichoke — and two chicken salads, coming to market this year: Classic Ranch, and Bacon, Cheddar & Ranch. Able to be eaten hot or cold, the dips are suitable for shareable occasions like parties and tailgates, as well as for meal solutions and on-the-go lunches. A 12-ounce container of any variety in the refrigerated fresh sections of grocery and club stores retails for a suggested $5.99.; https://www.dukebrands. com/;


Snack Cake Into Cereal

Ramen Reimagined

Fresh Ramen from Pearson Foods has upgraded instant ramen — that longtime college-dorm staple — to a restaurant-quality meal solution featuring crisp produce and fresh noodles in a savory, authentic Japanese broth. Ready in just three minutes, the item contains fresh-cut Napa cabbage, red cabbage, green onion and carrot, with each broth and vegetable blend complemented by an authentic value-added topping of pickled ginger, seaweed or mushroom. The line comes in five varieties that embody traditional ramen styles: Tonkotsu Pork(7.5 ounces), Spicy Sesame (7.5 ounces), Ginger Beef (7.5 ounces), Miso (8 ounces) and Tokyo Chicken (7 ounces). The suggested retail price range per bowl is $4.99-$5.99.

Post Consumer Brands, a business unit of Post Holdings Inc., and Hostess Brands LLC have teamed up once more, this time to bring the iconic Twinkies brand to the cereal aisle. Post Hostess Twinkies Cereal replicates the distinctive taste and familiar oblong shape of the golden-colored treat, which has been around for almost 90 years, with only a brief interruption in 2012, when the creme-filled snack cakes ceased production, making their triumphant comeback the following year. The cereal is the latest sweet collaboration between Post Cereals and Hostess Brands, joining such offerings as Post Hostess Honey Bun Cereal and Post Hostess Donettes Cereal. A 12-ounce box of the Twinkies cereal retails for a suggested $3.98.;

Air Fryer Ease

Protein’s Baked In

Premium baking, pancake and waffle mix maker Krusteaz, a brand of Continental Mills Inc., has rolled out 10 protein- and whole grain-rich baking mixes: Blueberry Protein Pancake (20 ounces); Wild Blueberry Protein Muffin (16.23 ounces); Banana Nut Protein Muffin (16.22 ounces); Chocolate Chip Protein Muffin (16.22 ounces); Buttermilk Maple and Cinnamon Brown Sugar Microwave Protein Pancake varieties (each in a 4-count box of 2.3-ounce packets); Blueberry and Banana Nut Microwave Protein Muffin varieties (each in a 4-count box of 2.3-ounce packets); All Purpose Protein Pancake and Baking Mix (22 ounces); and Protein Cornbread (17 ounces, only at Walmart). Like Krusteaz’s previously released Buttermilk Protein Pancake & Waffle Mix, all of these recently launched products are made with 100% whole grain flour and contain 8-15 grams of protein per prepared serving. They’re also made without artificial flavors, colors or preservatives, where possible. The Blueberry Protein Pancake Mix and All Purpose Protein Pancake and Baking Mix retail for a suggested $4.99, while all of the other items have a suggested retail price of $3.99, except for the Protein Cornbread, which goes for a suggested $2.99.

Louisiana Fish Fry has introduced an all-in-one seasoned coating mix specially formulated for air fryers. The lineup covers separate preparation for three proteins, with instructions provided on each box. All of the blends — for chicken, fish and pork — have been designed to crisp up on the outside while the protein within remains tender and juicy, whether they’re cooked in an air fryer or a conventional oven. A 5-ounce box of any of the varieties retails for a suggested $2.52. https://




UNITED STATES MARKETS • Convenience • Grocery/Drug/Mass Store Brands • Specialty Gourmet Technology • Hospitality • Apparel CANADIAN MARKETS • Convenience • Pharmacy • Foodservice ADVERTIS ING SALES & BUSINES S STAFF CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER Jennifer Litterick CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER Joel Hughes GROCERY GROUP PUBLISHER John Schrei 248-613-8672 SENIOR MARKETING MANAGER (NEW ENGLAND, SOUTHEAST) Maggie Kaeppel 708-565-5350 SENIOR MARKETING MANAGER (CA, PACIFIC NORTHWEST) Judy Hayes 925-785-9665 SENIOR MARKETING MANAGER (MIDWEST) Theresa Kossack 214-226-6468 REGIONAL SALES MANAGER (SOUTHWEST) Tammy Rokowski 248-514-9500 JUNIOR ACCOUNT MANAGER-GROCERY GROUP Natalie Meehan p 773-992-4410 m 619-823-4926 ADVERTISING MANAGER Jackie Batson 224-632-8183

Alpha Packaging


Blount Fine Foods


Campbell Soup Company

Inside Front Cover - 3

Crown Equipment Corp.


Fibre Box Association


FMI/North American Meat Institute


Forte Products


General Mills Marketing, Inc.


Iovate Health Sciences Int’l Inc.


Jack Link’s Beef Jerky



Back Cover

New Hope Network


OpAd Solutions


Siffron 55 Tosca Ltd.


Trion Industries




8550 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. Ste. 200, Chicago, IL 60631 Phone: 773-992-4450 Fax: 773-992-4455 PROGRESSIVE GROCER (ISSN 0033-0787, USPS 920-600) is published monthly by EnsembleIQ, 8550 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. Ste. 200, Chicago, IL 60631. Single copy price $20, except selected special issues. Foreign single copy price $85, except selected special issues. Subscription: $125 a year; Canada $190 (Canada Post Publications Mail Agreement No. 40031729. Foreign $270 (call for air mail rates). Periodicals postage paid at Chicago, IL 60631 and additional mailing offices. Printed in USA. POSTMASTER: Send all address changes to brand, PO Box 3200 Northbrook IL 60065-3200. Copyright ©2020 EnsembleIQ All rights reserved, including the rights to reproduce in whole or in part. All letters to the editors of this magazine will be treated as having been submitted for publication. The magazine reserves the right to edit and abridge them. The publication is available in microform from University Microfilms International, 300 North Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. The contents of this publication may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the consent of the publisher. The publisher is not responsible for product claims and representations.

This year’s TOP WOMEN IN GROCERY gala event will take place NOV. 4-5, 2020 at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress, in Orlando, Fla. Nominate your company’s own Top Women online for a chance to attend! PROGRESSIVE GROCER Januar y 2020



In Memoriam

Alan Glass Executive chairman of EnsembleIQ Aug. 8, 1949-Sept. 6, 2019 lan Glass, venerated executive chairman of EnsembleIQ, the parent company of Progressive Grocer, passed away recently after a long and courageously fought battle with cancer. His family, friends, professional colleagues and this company mourn his passing. Glass had a long and storied career spanning more than four decades in the media and information services industry. He began his career in publishing with The Wall Street Journal, and he went on to serve in senior management positions in multiple media and information services companies, including Thomson Transport Press, Primedia, Commonwealth Business Media, CFO Publishing and United Business Media. In 2000, Glass led the management buyout that created Commonwealth Business Media, which he successfully sold to UBM. Throughout his 40-year career in the information industry, Glass developed a well-deserved reputation as an astute executive, successful entrepreneur, caring mentor and loyal friend. Those of us who were privileged to work with him will miss his visionary perspective, insightful analysis, prodigious work ethic, unique sense of humor and — most of all — genuine friendship. We extend our deepest sympathies to his wife, Cathy; their children; and grandchildren. He will be greatly missed by all.


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