Contents 06. 22
Volume 101 Issue 6
18 Features 130 RETAILER DEEP DIVE
PROGRESSIVE GROCER’S 2022 TOP WOMEN IN GROCERY
Inside the Reinvention of Albertsons CEO Vivek Sankaran details the next phase of the grocer’s transformation strategy.
18 The Sky’s the Limit
The latest class of honorees should confirm once and for all that women have the talent and determination to accomplish whatever they want to in the grocery industry.
130 12 NIELSEN’S SHELF STOPPERS
16 ALL’S WELLNESS
Healthy Eating on the Go
14 MINTEL GLOBAL NEW PRODUCTS
160 EDITORS’ PICKS FOR INNOVATIVE PRODUCTS
8 EDITOR’S NOTE
Lessons From Buffalo
Carbonated Soft Drinks
10 IN-STORE EVENTS CALENDAR
162 AHEAD OF WHAT’S NEXT
What Makes a Top Woman in Grocery?
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Volume 101 Issue 6
8550 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. Ste. 200, Chicago, IL 60631 Phone: 773-992-4450 Fax: 773-992-4455
140 FRESH FOOD
GROCERY GROUP PUBLISHER John Schrei 248-613-8672 email@example.com
Deli-Driven Growth Potential
EDITORIAL EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Gina Acosta 813-417-4149 firstname.lastname@example.org
Sales in the category are currently experiencing a strong uptick; with a few enhancements, they can continue to ascend.
MANAGING EDITOR Bridget Goldschmidt 347-962-9395 email@example.com SENIOR DIGITAL & TECHNOLOGY EDITOR Marian Zboraj 773-992-4405 firstname.lastname@example.org SENIOR EDITOR Lynn Petrak 708-945-0415 email@example.com
142 FRESH FOOD
MULTIMEDIA EDITOR Emily Crowe 502-550-5082 firstname.lastname@example.org
High on the Hog
CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Debby Garbato, Kathleen Hayden, Kat Martin, Julio Sanchez and Barbara Sax
A return to cooking and greater variety in formats and flavors lift the pork category, even as supplies and prices wobble.
ADVERTISING SALES & BUSINESS
147 CENTER STORE
ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER, REGIONAL SALES MANAGER (INTERNATIONAL, SOUTHWEST, MI) Tammy Rokowski 248-514-9500 email@example.com SENIOR SALES MANAGER Bob Baker (NEW ENGLAND, MID-ATLANTIC SOUTHEAST US, EASTERN CANADA) 732-429-2080 firstname.lastname@example.org SENIOR SALES MANAGER Theresa Kossack (MIDWEST, GA, FL) 214-226-6468 email@example.com
BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER-GROCERY GROUP Lou Meszoros 203-610-2807 firstname.lastname@example.org
The energy drink market shows no signs of slowing down as shoppers continue to search for healthier alternatives to improve physical and cognitive performance.
ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE/CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING Terry Kanganis 201-855-7615 • Fax: 201-855-7373 email@example.com CLASSIFIED PRODUCTION MANAGER Mary Beth Medley 856-809-0050 firstname.lastname@example.org EVENTS VICE PRESIDENT, EVENTS Michael Cronin email@example.com
VICE PRESIDENT, EVENTS & CONFERENCES Megan Judkins 773-837-7595 firstname.lastname@example.org MARKETING BRAND MARKETING MANAGER Rebecca Welsby 773-992-4407 email@example.com AUDIENCE LIST RENTAL MeritDirect Marie Briganti 914-309-3378 SUBSCRIBER SERVICES/SINGLE-COPY PURCHASES Toll Free: 1-877-687-7321 Fax: 1-888-520-3608 firstname.lastname@example.org
152 EQUIPMENT & DESIGN
PROJECT MANAGEMENT/PRODUCTION/ART CREATIVE DIRECTOR Colette Magliaro email@example.com
A relocated Whole Foods Market store is designed to wow shoppers in an upscale Windy City neighborhood.
ADVERTISING/PRODUCTION MANAGER Jackie Batson 224-632-8183 firstname.lastname@example.org ART DIRECTOR Bill Antkowiak email@example.com REPRINTS, PERMISSIONS AND LICENSING Wright’s Media firstname.lastname@example.org 877-652-5295
156 CPG Q&A PART 2
Helping People Lead a Better Life
PuraVida CEO Lauren Watkins discusses navigating the food industry as a female entrepreneur. 158 SUSTAINABILITY/ SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
Improved efforts to reuse and recover glass and aluminum can help retailers achieve sustainability goals.
CORPORATE OFFICERS CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER Jennifer Litterick CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER Jane Volland CHIEF HUMAN RESOURCES OFFICER Ann Jadown EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, CONTENT Joe Territo EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, OPERATIONS Derek Estey
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 $14, except selected special issues. Foreign single copy price $16, except selected special issues. Subscription: $125 a year; $230 for a two year supscription; Canada/Mexico $150 for a one year supscription; $270 for a two year supscription (Canada Post Publications Mail Agreement No. 40031729. Foreign $170 a one year supscrption; $325 for a two year supscription (call for air mail rates). Digital Subscription: $87 one year supscription; $161 two year supscription. Periodicals postage paid at Chicago, IL 60631 and additional mailing offices. Printed in USA. POSTMASTER: Send all address changes to brand, 8550 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. Ste. 200. Copyright ©2022 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.
EDITOR’S NOTE By Gina Acosta
Lessons From Buffalo THE TIME TO PREPARE FOR THE NE X T CATASTROPHE IS NOW. y the time you read this column, the mass shooting at Tops Friendly Markets might have faded away from the headlines, replaced perhaps by news about inflation or gas prices. But for people who work in the grocery industry, or even for people who just like going to the grocery store, the events of May 14 in Buffalo, N.Y., aren’t fading away. They’re inflicting deep terror and trauma that won’t be easily forgotten. After all, we’ve seen it so many times before. Before 2017, there was just one mass shooting at a grocery store in the United States, according to The Violence Project, a nonpartisan research center, and CNN. That was in 1999, when a man randomly killed four people at a Las Vegas Albertsons store. In the last three years, however, shooters have killed five people at a kosher market in Jersey City, N.J.; two people at a Publix in Palm Beach, Fla.; 23 people at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas; 10 people at a King Soopers in Boulder, Colo.; and now 10 people at a Tops market in Buffalo. While the motivations for these shootings may have been different, the locations depict an undeniable new trend: Mass murderers are increasingly targeting grocery stores. Food retailers will have If we’re to learn any lesson from to find new ways to Buffalo, it’s that this won’t be the last time one of our most beloved emotionally support American institutions, the neightheir employees through borhood supermarket, is attacked.
Seeking ‘a Safe Way Forward’
traumatic experiences. Having an empathetic workplace is no longer a “nice to have” but a “need to have.”
While it would be impossible to predict or stop every grocery store shooting, food retailers should do more to protect customers and employees, both physically and emotionally. The National Grocers Association (NGA) and the National Retail Federation (NRF) both publish excellent guides on active-shooter preparedness. After the Buffalo shooting, Leslie Sarasin, CEO of FMI – The Food Industry Association, wrote in a blog post that the grocery industry “must work together to find new solutions and strategies to help mitigate growing levels of violence in our facilities and empower our employees with the tools they need to respond when necessary.” FMI has developed resources for this empowerment, such as its “Active Assailant Preparedness and Response Guide,” and formed a partnership with The Power Of Preparedness (TPOP). 8
“Unfortunately, the likelihood of future tragedies like the one in Buffalo is real and can happen to our stores anytime and anywhere,” Sarasin wrote. “We need new strategies, technology, collaboration and best-practice sharing to help us all find a safe way forward.” I agree with Sarasin but would add that “a safe way forward” should also include psychological safety, or safety from trauma. Grocery industry workers have had some incredibly difficult times over the past few years, with the COVID-19 crisis, product shortages, workplace violence, supply chain chaos, protests, and more. The weight of that trauma can’t be overstated, and it’s just one of the reasons that the the industry is losing so many workers to other fields. Food retailers will have to find new ways to emotionally support their employees through traumatic experiences. Having an empathetic workplace is no longer a “nice to have” but a “need to have.” Nobody knows when the next disaster will happen, but grocers can be better prepared to protect employees both physically and psychologically to meet any crisis and come through it stronger as an organization. The time to act is now, before the next catastrophe occurs. Gina Acosta Editor-In-Chief email@example.com
National Dog Month Family Fun Month National Back to School Month National Brownies at Brunch Month
National Catfish Month National Goat Cheese Month National Panini Month National Sandwich Month
National Girlfriend Day. Those who go shopping with their bestie should get a discount.
American Family Day. This is as good a time as any to suggest that kids and parents cook an easy all-ages recipe together.
Navajo Code Talkers Day. Use this occasion honoring the actions of these brave WWII soldiers for a deep dive into Navajo culture, including cuisine.
National Senior Citizens Day
National Red Wine Day. As with its white counterpart earlier in the month, inventive meal pairings are in order.
National Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day. If you haven’t grown your own, a trip to the produce section is in order.
National Back to School Prep Day. Nudge parents and kids to start buying pens and notebooks while shopping for food.
World Plant Milk Day. Now is the time to showcase your top products in this increasingly popular segment, whether made from almonds, oats, rice, cashews, soy or another plant.
National Lemon Juice Day. Whether fresh or bottled, this ingredient can add needed tartness to a myriad of dishes.
National Night Out. Show your support for better police-community relationships by sponsoring a barbecue as part of the evening’s fun festivities.
National Women’s Day. Put your standout female associates front and center on this day, with profiles in your associate newsletter.
National Rum Day. It’s not just a spirit, but also an ingredient in many indulgent dessert creations.
National Sponge Cake Day. How many variations are there on this iconic baked good? Ask your customers for their recipes.
National Beach Day. Have in stock many of the general merchandise items people need for a trip to the seashore – coolers, umbrellas, etc. – along with the necessary food and beverages.
Tom Brady’s Birthday. Love him or hate him, the current Tampa Bay Buccaneer has certainly made his mark on football.
National Lazy Day. Make sure that shoppers stock up on snacks to have at hand for a day of hammock lounging.
National Nonprofit Day. Hold a checkout donation program supporting a worthy local organization.
Pluto Demoted Day. Show this ex-planet some love with a kids’ drawing contest depicting what makes the formerly ninth rock from the sun so great.
National Bacon Day
National White Wine Day. Encourage shoppers to raise a glass by suggesting some creative meal pairings.
National Raspberry Bombe Day. Provide a no-fuss recipe for this dessert classic that dinner guests will think took a tremendous amount of time.
National Fajita Day. Get mealtime sizzling with displays in the meat and produce departments touting this beloved Tex-Mex dish for dinner.
Kiss and Make Up Day. The perfect place to start burying the hatchet is in the greeting card aisle.
National Braham Pie Day. Salute the “Homemade Pie Capital of Minnesota” with a tantalizing selection of your own homestyle offerings in the bakery.
World Elephant Day. Spotlight those brands engaged in conservation work to save these popular pachyderms from extinction.
National Potato Day. Get shoppers to think beyond fries with a whole host of inventive recipes starring the versatile spud.
National Toilet Paper Day. A BOGO deal on jumbo packs is appropriate, but try not to cause a panic run reminiscent of the darkest days of the pandemic.
National Fresh Breath Day. It all starts with good oral health, so offer special prices on toothpaste, mouthwash and the like.
International Lefthanders Day. Lefties deserve some recognition, so remind associates and shoppers of famous southpaws – a musician named Paul McCartney comes to mind.
World Honeybee Day. Call attention to the impact that declining bee populations are having on the environment, and let shoppers know what they can do to help.
National Just Because Day. What better occasion to purchase roses from the floral department for someone you care about?
Total Department Performance Latest 52 Wks W/E 05/14/22
Latest 52 Wks YA W/E 05/15/21
Latest 52 Wks YA W/E 05/16/20
Top Fresh Produce Categories by Dollar Sales Prepackaged Salads
How much is the average American household spending per trip on various fresh produce items versus the year-ago period?
on all produce items, up 4.4% compared with a year ago
Latest 52 Wks W/E 05/14/22
Latest 52 Wks YA W/E 05/15/21
Latest 52 Wks YA W/E 05/16/20
Source: Nielsen, Total U.S. (All outlets combined) — includes grocery stores, drug stores, mass merchandisers, select dollar stores, select warehouse clubs and military commissaries (DeCA) for the 52 weeks ending May 14, 2022
Cross-Merch Candidates Diapering Needs
Snack and Variety Packs
Pasta, Rice, Dry Beans and Grains
on apples, up 7.5% compared with a year ago
on broccoli, up 2.0% compared with a year ago Extracts, Herbs, Spices and Seasonings
Generational Snapshot Which cohort is spending, on average, the most per trip on bell peppers?
on oranges, up 8.6% compared with a year ago Millennials
The Greatest Generation
Source: Nielsen Homescan, Total U.S., 52 weeks ending April 30, 2022
Source: Nielsen Homescan, Total U.S., 52 weeks ending April 30, 2022
MINTEL CATEGORY INSIGHTS
Global New Products Database
Carbonated Soft Drinks Market Overview
Nine out of 10 U.S. consumers say that they’ve consumed a carbonated soft drink in the past three months. Nearly half of U.S. consumers say that they’ve consumed full-calorie soft drinks in the past three months. Nearly a quarter of U.S. consumers say that they’re drinking more carbonated soft drinks than they were a year ago.
Brands will need to stay vigilant, addressing both long-held and renewed unhealthy reputations, and the many healthy competitors that continue to emerge, targeting various occasions and younger adults. The uncertainties of rising prices across the board could prompt consumers to reach for functions, brands and flavor profiles that they already know and love. While a less-than-healthy reputation has yet to dramatically affect participation in the category, the range of healthy competitors in the wider nonalcoholic beverage market will always remain a threat to the loss of occasions for carbonated soft drinks.
The pandemic saw retail sales of carbonated soft drinks surpass the $42 billion mark in 2021, and the category is expected to maintain positive growth through 2026.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT WWW.MINTEL.COM OR CALL 800-932-0400
What Consumers Want, and Why The availability of more natural alternatives will continue to challenge the category, yet despite wanting to adopt better habits, many consumers haven’t gotten around to pulling the trigger on their plans to cut back. Added vitamin/ mineral content, more functional attributes or even relaxation benefits are areas in which carbonated soft-drink consumers express interest, and could also position products not so much as healthy but as healthier, serving to negate some of the impetus for turning to competitor beverages. Those who work from home at least some of the time are the most likely to report increased carbonated soft-drink consumption compared with a year ago, indicating that as or if work location shifts back to offices, brands will need to work to retain those occasions or to create new ones.
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It’s not just for coolers or beverages. Use ZIP Track® in multiple categories to showcase many different types of product.
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ALL’S WELLNESS By Molly Hembree
Healthy Eating on the Go WITH A SMALL AMOUNT OF PL ANNING, E VERY THING NEEDED FOR GOOD NUTRITION ON THE RUN CAN BE PURCHASED FROM A RE TAILER’S SHELVES. any U.S. shoppers like to picture themselves having the kind of lifestyle that affords the time to sit down to casual meals, spend some extra time in the kitchen to make new dishes, and the opportunity to assemble tasty appetizers for get-togethers with friends and family. Unfortunately for many of us, it doesn’t end up looking like this. Food often becomes a race to get meals on the table or digested before the next activity or commitment. Thankfully, eating well while moving in fast-forward can be accomplished when armed with great ideas using foods found wall to wall at the grocery store. Usually, eating “on the go” translates to fast food, but with a small amount of planning, everything needed for eating on the run can be purchased from a retailer’s shelves. It may mean counting out freezer items or piping-hot meal ideas if traveling from home to another destination, but this still leaves plenty of options to pick from in the grocery store, including the center aisle, bakery, dairy, meat case, produce, and more. A good idea as we head into summer might be to assemble sample coolers near the lobby that showcase foods and beverages best enjoyed chilled, alongside attractive totes for hauling yummy ambient-temperature snacks for individuals and families. Here are some healthy on-the-go food and beverage ideas from each of the food groups that dietitians want to see represented in a healthy diet:
Fruits Whole fruits, from grapes to strawberries, as well as fruits needing peeling, like bananas or oranges, can be thrown into a chilled bag and kept out of hot temperatures for easy nibbling. This would be a terrific time to educate shoppers on the healthfulness of canned and dried fruit — it offers the same nutrition as fresh fruit — via signage or in-store events. Consider marking down or offering digital coupons for shelf-stable fruit bowls packed in 100% juice, or no-sugar-added applesauce cups.
ham-and-cheese sandwiches, or an Italian caprese sandwich rather than a classic PB&J. Use this as a time to increase traffic to your sushi counter for easy premade sushi rolls using rice but also filled with avocado, carrots, ginger and cucumber.
Protein Nature’s easiest protein delivery method when in a hurry is snacking on nuts and seeds. Expand your display of various trail mixes, fruit-and-nut mixes, flavored nut-and-seed packs, and canisters of nuts to show customers how effortless it can be to consume adequate protein while out and about. Other food options here include reduced-sodium animal or plant-based jerky or deli meat, peanut butter packs, or pouches/cans of fish or fishless tuna.
Dairy Yogurt, string cheese, cottage
Vegetables Veggies can be eaten cold outside of the home or a
cheese cups or individual aseptic milk cartons all fit here as ways to obtain protein, calcium and vitamin D while hustling from place to place. Exhibit these products in a cooler near the self-checkout lane for time-strapped shoppers to grab for last-minute snacking.
restaurant. Keep with this theme by pairing individual carrot, celery or peapod snack packs alongside dips such as light caramel, low-fat ranch dressing or hummus as a unique product combination. Offer a juicing station on a Saturday in your store for people to pick their own squeezed vegetable-and-herb combinations for a refreshing drink to garner excitement for this food group.
Providing both convenient and healthy foods for your shoppers will help make your stores’ products relevant and contribute to a bigger basket.
Grains These include everything from bread to crackers and cereal. Display recipe cards in your bread aisle for new ideas for simple sandwiches using whole grain breads or hoagie rolls — banh mi rather than
Eating well while moving in fast-forward can be accomplished when armed with great ideas using foods found wall to wall at the grocery store.
Molly Hembree, MS, RD, LD, is a registered dietitian for Kroger Health.
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2022 Top Women in Grocery
The latest class of honorees should confirm once and for all that women have the talent and determination to accomplish whatever they want to in the grocery industry. By Progressive Grocer Staff
t should come as no surprise in the 16th year of our Top Women in Grocery recognition program, but this year, as we on the judging panel sifted through 1,158 submissions to arrive at 401 honorees, we were struck anew by how far women have advanced in the grocery industry, even since the time that the program debuted, back in 2007. While there were always high-ranking female executives among our honorees, over the years we’ve watched them them enter segments of the industry that were once almost exclusively male — IT, warehouse logistics and construction, to name just a few — as well seeing more ascend to the highest positions in the c-suite. Truly, women have the ability and tenacity to go all the way to the top of the industry, if given the chance. That’s where mentoring comes in. So many women who have progressed to previously unprecedented heights in their own careers — some even becoming the first woman to hold a certain role at a particular company — are reaching back to help others behind them on the same path, and many of those mentors, as well as those they’ve helped, have been chosen as honorees this year. Whether as part of a formal program or as a personal relationship between colleagues, mentoring is the reason that so many women are excelling in their grocery industry careers and coming to our attention as Top Women in Grocery nominees. There are, of course, many male allies who enable women to move forward in their particular areas of the industry, but the special mentoring bond between women, who know firsthand all of the issues that female employees face, and can discuss those issues frankly, is especially deserving of note. Further, in this current time, after two grueling years of pandemic lockdowns, civil unrest, horrific mass shootings in supermarkets, skyrocketing inflation, supply chain woes leading to severe product shortages, and a labor crisis serious enough to be dubbed The Great Resignation, it feels wonderful to celebrate the strides that women continue make in the grocery industry. For those with the will to succeed and the right support from their companies and mentors, that infamous glass ceiling blocking female success doesn’t stand a chance. Read on to find out more about this year’s slate of Senior-Level Executives, Rising Stars and Store Managers, but first, we’d like you to meet our 2022 Trailblazers, Mary Ellen Adcock, SVP of operations at The Kroger Co., and Michele Buck, chairman, president and CEO of The Hershey Co.
2022 Top Women in Grocery 2022 TRAILBLAZER
Mary Ellen Adcock Kroger’s highest-ranking woman leader details the value of mentorship and hard work. By Gina Acosta
ary Ellen Adcock is the SVP of operations for The Kroger Co., responsible for all supermarket stores and divisions. She leads the company’s strategy to improve the customer experience for 11 million shoppers every day while creating a better workplace for 480,000 associates across nearly 2,800 stores. Adcock also leads asset protection, process change, productivity improvement initiatives and enterprise food safety. Joining Cincinnati-based Kroger in 1999 in the company’s manufacturing division, Adcock held several manufacturing leadership positions, including human resources manager, general manager and regional operations manager. She was promoted to VP of deli/bakery manufacturing in 2009. In 2012, she was promoted to VP of natural foods, and then to VP of merchandising and operations for the Columbus division two years later. Adcock became group VP of retail operations in 2016 and SVP of retail operations in 2019, and was named to her current role in 2021. She’s an active community member, serving on the board of trustees for the Cincinnati Museum Center and Mount St. Joseph University, and she sponsors Kroger’s Young Professionals Associate Resource Group. Adcock previously served on the American Bakers Association board of directors. She graduated magna cum laude from Vanderbilt University, with a bachelor’s degree in human and organizational development and business administration. Adcock went on to earn her Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Colorado. She lives in Cincinnati with her husband and son. Progressive Grocer: You’ve got a big job, Mary Ellen, and we’ll get into details on all of it, but before we do, taking a minute to think back: What was appealing to you about grocery and what made you decide to go to work for Kroger?
Mary Ellen Adcock: Kroger is a special place filled with diverse and talented people. Every day, I’m inspired by our associates’ care and commitment to our customers, communities and each other. It’s so rewarding to work across the company’s many functions and see our amazing teams bring initiatives to life, especially when we are making the day a 20
little easier for our associates and customers. I’m proud to work for a company where people fall in love with Our Purpose: to Feed the Human Spirit. PG: Can you elaborate on the time when you realized you were going to make a career in the world of food retail?
MEA: When customers come to us, they are doing more than just shopping for groceries. They are picking out fresh produce to help their kids make healthy choices. They are searching for the perfect ingredients to recreate a treasured family recipe. They are finding that special item to make a beautiful meal for a loved one. I love when our customers share these moments with us — and our amazing associates are at the center of each of these stories. My joy for this career started in human resources, where I quickly learned the importance of grounding every decision in improving the associate experience. During my time with this team, I witnessed firsthand how transformational conversations about growth and ongoing learning can be. So many of our team members start at Kroger looking for a job, and they stay because they discover a career. I’m a huge advocate for education, and I participated in Kroger’s continuing-education program, Feed Your Future, early in my career. While working, I earned my MBA and found my passion for operations, and fell in love with the stores, the people and the opportunities. Now I’m fortunate to be a part of both worlds — creating new paths for our people while delivering results. PG: Talk about some of your early influences, who they were and what lessons you learned from them.
MEA: My parents had a huge impact on the person I am today. My dad was an entrepreneur, and my mother worked with first-generation college students. They were such hard workers and instilled in me the importance of dedication, work ethic, curiosity and teamwork. My father felt it was important that my sister and I learned about business and that we were not intimidated. As females, he wanted us to know we could do anything we wanted to do, if we worked hard and put our hearts and minds into it. Most importantly, they taught me to value all voices and perspectives — extraordinary things only happen when we all work together. PG: Food retailing was a male-dominated industry when your career began, and perhaps still is. Were there female role models that you looked up to early on?
MEA: There have been many role models who inspired me. One example is when I was part of the merchandising team in Columbus, I was thinking about starting a family, but worried how I’d be able to both work and “mom” successfully. I shared these feelings with a group of female leaders, and their wise counsel was such a gift. Their vulnerability, mentorship and encouragement gave me the confidence to know I could have a family and deliver great work. They still inspire me to be a successful leader and a present momma to an amazing young man. PG: You’ve spent a lot of time in stores and know how they operate. How can you tell if a store is well run when you first enter the building?
MEA: It all starts with an inviting and welcoming entrance, signaling to customers that their shopping experience is going to be fresh and friendly. Inside the store, fully stocked shelves inspire customers to buy what they need, what they want and probably a few items that they didn’t know they wanted.
Increasingly, we’re providing our customers ways to interact with us outside a store’s four walls, and the same freshness principles apply to the digital experience, both for pickup and delivery. A convenient experience that gives our customers a wide product selection at the best value demonstrates that we’re here for our customers, no matter how they choose to shop. PG: Talk about what’s being done to move the needle on gender diversity, not only among senior leadership at Kroger, but also at other levels, to ensure the company has a strong pipeline of female talent. How is Kroger beating the labor crunch?
“So many of our team members start at Kroger looking for a job, and they stay because they discover a career.”
MEA: Top Women in Grocery is an amazing opportunity to uplift women leaders. I’m honored to be recognized alongside other —Mary Ellen Adcock, engaging female grocery SVP of Operations, The Kroger Co. leaders across the company. Our teams have to mirror the communities we serve. One of our longest-standing associate resource groups is Women’s EDGE, which plays a critical role in growing and developing women across the enterprise. I’ve been especially proud of the mentorship program Women’s EDGE created. Through career and succession planning, we are intentional in the ways we identify and prepare women for leadership opportunities. We are focused on continuous improvement in our ways of working, benefits and policies, to ensure women are able to stay, grow and thrive at Kroger. PG: How would you describe your leadership style, and how was it developed?
MEA: My leadership style is rooted in curiosity. Every day, I am excited to learn from those around me, and I welcome their feedback. No one thrives or grows without others — it takes many backgrounds and perspectives to create something truly game-changing. The Kroger leadership model, which is grounded in balancing a passion for people and a passion for results, also influenced my leadership style. These two principles work together to keep leaders balanced. It’s easy to push too far for results and fall out of step with what our teams need, and vice versa. By keeping people and results in PROGRESSIVE GROCER June 2022
2022 Top Women in Grocery equilibrium, we achieve our goals and support each other. PG: How do you strive to inspire others, to instill a spirit of helpfulness and service to the customer that drives retail success regardless of how shoppers engage with Kroger?
MEA: My guiding principle is the customer and our values. That starts with listening. When we combine customer and associate feedback with sales data, we can anticipate obstacles and can continuously iterate to find the best solutions. I always strive to lead through positive influence. It’s no secret that the past few years have been difficult — we can easily get bogged down in the day-to-day, missing opportunities to uplift each other. Bringing positive intent is so important for all of us and instantly puts the conversation on a productive track. PG: How has your average workday changed due to the pandemic?
MEA: The ways all our associates worked together to support our customers throughout the pandemic is nothing short of inspirational. Much like everyone else, my world turned upside-down
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when the pandemic hit in March 2020. At the beginning, it was all hands on deck at all hours to source products, determine the right measures to keep our associates and customers healthy, and manage an environment that changed almost daily. As the situation evolves — again, like many other companies — we are reflecting on the changes we experienced in the last two years and are focused on continuing to create a place where associates are excited to come to work. PG: What do you consider to be the most essential keys to food retail success in 2022 and beyond?
MEA: Flexibility and being change-adaptive are essential. Customers will continue to evolve, and the better retailers can anticipate how customers want to shop and what they want to eat, the better they can create a convenient, interesting and enjoyable experience. That includes being change-adaptive across all shopping channels: in-store, pickup and delivery.
“A convenient experience that gives our customers a wide product selection at the best value demonstrates that we’re here for our customers, no matter how they choose to shop.”
most importantly, I’d encourage her to speak her mind and highlight her contributions. We are our best advocates!
—Mary Ellen Adcock, SVP of Operations, The Kroger Co.
PG: What have the highlights and challenges been during your tenure at Kroger?
MEA: My career highlights are all centered around people. I’ve had the incredible opportunity to work in different parts of the business and in many places across the country, meeting people from all walks of life. From HR and manufacturing to merchandising and operations, we’ve brought several initiatives to life in partnership with amazing associates. PG: If you had a teenage daughter going to work as an hourly associate in a Kroger store today, what advice would you give her as she headed out the door to begin her first day?
MEA: I’d tell her to stay curious and ask questions. Like my parents did for me, I’d share the importance of dedication, teamwork and valuing all perspectives. Finally, and maybe
PG: You’ve seen a tremendous amount of change during your retail career, and there are many types of jobs today that didn’t exist when you started in grocery. As you look ahead, where do you see the greatest opportunities for the industry (plant-based, NFTs, e-commerce, etc.)?
MEA: At Kroger, we are committed to Feeding the Human Spirit. When I visit our stores, associates often share that positively impacting the lives of our customers, communities and each other is what they love about their jobs. It is also what I love about our business, and it is what makes Our Purpose, to Feed the Human Spirit, so vital. As part of that commitment, and in response to the business and customers evolving, I’m confident we will create many roles that don’t exist today, and I think that’s so exciting, especially for those team members who will create the future of grocery retail.
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2022 Top Women in Grocery 2022 TRAILBLAZER
Michele Buck The Hershey Co. CEO talks about the power of bringing people with different experiences together to achieve a goal. By Gina Acosta
ichele Buck brings more than 25 years of consumer packaged goods (CPG) experience to her role as The Hershey Co.’s chairman of the board of directors and its 12th president and CEO. She has two important roles — mom and business leader — that fulfill her life, and she’s motivated others by harnessing their strengths, expertise and perspectives. Prior to becoming CEO in 2017, Buck held several senior leadership roles within the Pennsylvania-based company, including COO, leading Hershey’s day-to-day North American operations, and overseeing Hershey’s operations in Central and South America. Before joining Hershey in 2005, Buck spent 17 years at Kraft/Nabisco in numerous senior positions and at the Frito-Lay division of PepsiCo. She serves on the board of directors at New York Life and as a benefit co-chair for the Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation. A native of central Pennsylvania, Buck earned a bachelor’s degree at Shippensburg University and holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill. Progressive Grocer: Looking back to your college days at Shippensburg University, what was appealing to you about the consumer packaged goods industry and what made you decide to go to work for Frito-Lay and then Kraft?
Michele Buck: At Shippensburg, I majored in business, and I only discovered CPG while at UNC Chapel Hill pursuing my MBA. I loved the concept of brand management and was able to pursue assignments that stretched my experience and helped transform pockets of business, like creating the Fourth of July season on the Cool Whip brand at Kraft. I was hooked. Later, as a general manager, I found being the hub of the wheel so appealing. The responsibility and variety made things interesting. Skills I developed then, like resourcefulness, leadership and quality listening, continue to serve me well. PG: What do you remember about those first few days of work and interacting with customers? MB: It was like drinking from a firehose! It was exhilarating to
learn so much about the brands’ consumers and how to reach them with the right message. I loved the opportunity to work with a cross-functional team to build the business and partner with customers to figure out how to use the in-store experience 28
to build our collective businesses and drive category growth. I was constantly fascinated by the data and process, and inspired by the collaboration. PG: Talk about some of your early influences, who they were and what lessons you learned from them. MB: I’ve been fortunate to have had several pas-
sionate advocates during my career, including Daryl Brewster when I was at Kraft, and JP Bilbrey at Hershey. They saw potential in me and gave me opportunities to stretch and achieve in unexpected roles that weren’t on my radar. They both taught me the importance of developing people, building teams and getting comfortable being outside my comfort zone. PG: What was it like being young and female in the CPG industry? How has that experience shaped your leadership approach today? MB: There were significantly fewer women than
today, but many of my male colleagues worked to help me learn. Several had daughters and felt a responsibility to help young women in the workplace, because they hoped someone would someday do the same for their daughters. It was a great lesson in paying it forward. I had a great experience, and it further reinforced my long-held belief in togetherness and the power of bringing people with different experiences together to achieve a goal. PG: Now, as CEO, what is your proudest accomplishment so far? MB: The ability to embrace disruption as a
company. It’s built a muscle and way of doing business that is pushing us into new and exciting spaces. From our portfolio expansion from a confection leader to a snacking powerhouse, to our growing international geographic footprint, we are truly transforming. This ability to be agile, adaptive and courageous was taking hold prior to the pandemic, and it helped us through the toughest times — from the perspective of both our business and caring for our people. For example, we are doubling down on the concept of well-being and experimenting with what that means. We are on a path to creating a workplace that might look very different in another five years but is equally committed and capable of producing results. PG: The Hershey Co. has done a lot to diversify the ranks of leadership. What’s being done to move the needle even further on diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) among senior leadership and to ensure the company has a strong talent pipeline?
MB: Our foot is on the DE&I accelerator to make sure
we are also reaching out to our communities. diverse talent is joining and growing at Hershey. A strong, One example of that work is removing barriers diverse talent pipeline is critical to the longevity of our to education through scholarship with our firstbusiness. Internally, we have a focus on professional deof-its-kind endowment with the Thurgood Marvelopment and are intentional in “recruiting” from shall College Fund, our retail teams, which allows us to bring in diverse specifically dedicated “We are on a path to perspectives from around the world. Externally, we to students studying creating a workplace have deep relationships with diverse-owned search food science. firms, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, that might look very as well as Hispanic-Serving Institutions, to ensure PG: Hershey was different in another we’re recruiting diverse top-tier talent. Last year, we recognized by Forbes five years but is increased our total search volume conducted by diMagazine as the verse-owned firms to 41%. Beyond our own hiring, world’s top Female equally committed
and capable of producing results.” —Michele Buck,
Chairman, President and CEO, The Hershey Co.
Friendly company. What makes you most proud about the progress Hershey is making for women, and what is still left to do?
MB: There’s so much to be proud of and yet
plenty left to do. I’m thrilled that we’ve already achieved aggregate gender and people-of-color pay equity for salaried employees in the U.S. Now we’ve set our sights on achieving pay equity for similar job categories across our global salaried workforce by 2025. We lead by example with gender representation at every level of the company, but we also know that we can’t let up on recruiting diverse candidate slates, developing our diverse populations with pathways to grow, or the constant work to make sure everyone can bring their whole selves and their diverse perspectives to work. PG: As a leader, you are widely known as a compassionate listener. How do listening and compassion translate into business results? MB: Good business is all about listening — lis-
tening to your consumers, customers, the world around you and your people. I am a big believer in asking probing questions and listening intently to the people closest to the work. They have the best insights on how to improve and get better. Listening is a hallmark of my leadership. It’s important to allow time and space to ask questions and solicit diverse perspectives from every aspect and level of the business. Translating information, both internally and externally, leads to true insights. Quality listening is the foundation of successful co-creation, and co-creation leads to growth. PG: Did the pandemic impact your perspective on leadership? In the past two years, were there any game-changers in how you think about ways of working and ways of defining success? PROGRESSIVE GROCER June 2022
Congratulations to our
Top Women in Grocery!
Mary Ellen Adcock 2022 Trailblazer
Ashley Caldwell Merchandising
Barbara Connors 84.51 °
Maggie Glacken Technology & Digital
Emily Hartmann Marketing
Jennifer Lien Merchandising
Kelli McGannon Corporate Affairs
Shannon Toth Merchandising
Rita Williams Finance
Ziggy Antley Dillons
Senior Level Executive
Terri Beck Fred Meyer
Amy Brown Dillons
Nicole Davis Michigan
Autumn Hall QFC
Ann Kunka Fry’s
Natashia Neal Columbus
Kim Nesser Columbus
Cora Mauzy Central
Stephanie McWatters Alba Menendez-French Smith’s Nashville
Casey Piatt King Soopers
Brooke Ratliff Louisville
Janna Rich Mariano’s
Nicole Smith Fred Meyer
Abby Travers Central
Thank you for your leadership & dedication to our associates, customers & communities.
Courtney Baxter Louisville
Samantha Bock Human Resources
Debra Breidt Fred Meyer
Mary Brophy Ralphs
Meggen Brown Kroger Health
Devon Cresse QFC
Christa Criswell Columbus
Kate Cullen Technology & Digital
Maggie Dussex King Soopers
Tamara Grant-Morain Mid-Atlantic
Joelle Halle Megan Liu Technology & Digital Ethics & Compliance
Lauren Lyles Mid-Atlantic
Sandra Martinez Food 4 Less
Zuley Ramos Ralphs
Myrna Rexing Merchandising
Kimberly Smith Fry’s
Kristen Thompson Merchandising
Peggy Tura Technology & Digital
Emilie Williamson Corporate Affairs
2022 Top Women in Grocery MB: Actually, leadership is what helped us through the
pandemic. We had already built the muscle for disruption before COVID-19 hit, so we were more adept at the “shift and pivot” the pandemic required. Today, we put even more weight on seizing opportunities anticipated with disruption as a part of scale, and we define how we get to success in new ways. We are thinking more about well-being, empowerment, how we use people’s time, and the human aspect of delivering. COVID accelerated an exciting, admittedly sometimes scary, important conversation on the future of work. When I see where we are, where we are headed and what new ways of working will mean for our current and future workforce, I am excited about where we are going.
PG: What one new retail/CPG technology or trend — e.g., better-for-you, plant-based, NFTs, e-commerce — do you believe will have the biggest impact in 2022, and why? MB: The biggest factor influencing CPG in 2022
is likely the macroeconomic environment. If high inflation persists and the threat of recession continues to loom, we will see continued consumer behavior shifts. Three trends to watch in 2022 are: 1) the increased importance of personal happiness to consumers, and how that shows up in their category and brand choices; 2) the existing better-for-you and related adoption of plant-based products across categories; PG: A lot of people in the grocery industry struggle with and 3) the execution of more mobile and autowork-life-family balance. As a parent of three, what advice mated checkout solutions at retail. Consumers do you have for your peers? are exploring options that help them meet their emotional and dietary needs, and MB: Everyone struggles with balance, retailers are looking to offset labor “When I see where including me. In my journey, I’ve pressures through digitization and stopped thinking about work-life automation. we are, where we are balance and started thinking in terms headed and what new PG: What’s next for CPG? Can you of energy management. I know what ways of working will my priorities are at home and work, elaborate on personalization, artificial and I schedule my time to make sure intelligence, social commerce, direct mean for our current I have the energy to be fully present consumer, sustainability and other and future workforce, to and engaged in the moment. My trends affecting CPG? I am excited about weeks range from board meetings to lacrosse matches. No one can do evwhere we are going.” MB: There are many trends afoot erything, but you can choose to recthat will impact CPG, but we expect —Michele Buck, ognize what you need mentally and that the increased desire for betterChairman, President and CEO, The Hershey Co. physically to keep going, prioritize for-you benefits will continue. A those needs, and put your time into proprietary study of the snacking those priorities. Those needs are different for everyone. landscape showed the desire for better-for-you For me, getting up early, working out and time with benefits in CPG snack foods increased threefold my children fill my cup. When I dedicate time to those from 2016 to 2022. Consumers have a wide things, I am better everywhere else. range of attributes they consider as better-foryou, and it ranges considerably across product PG: Can you talk about how consumer behavior has categories, but one component is how the prodchanged CPG and grocery in the past year when it comes uct makes them feel. This is where we expect to consumer trends, supply chain and labor? product and brand sustainability to continue to play a greater role with consumers. MB: Even as COVID-19 moves into an endemic stage, people are still spending increased time at home. This is drivPG: What is your best advice for young people ing more snacking and meals at home and putting people starting their careers today? in their grocery stores more often. People still have safety concerns, and others simply want to continue to enjoy their MB: Always be in the driver’s seat of your time at home to connect with the people they care about work and career, no matter if you are in your most. We also see inflation and affordability as other drivers early, mid- or later career. At Hershey, one of for increased home food consumption. our most important behaviors is “Own It.” It’s In terms of supply chain, consumers have certainly felt the important to own your work, your energy, your impact of limited availability of their favorite products, and development, your career moves and perhaps, that has caused many people to shop differently. For example, most importantly, your setbacks, because that is we are seeing many people shopping earlier and stocking up where you learn and grow the most — that and on their seasonal favorites, with the expectation that product taking assignments that push you outside your would sell out long before the holiday. comfort zone can be game-changing. 32
2022 Top Women in Grocery
Anne-Marie Roerink President, 210 Analytics
A big believer in giving back who frequently provided new food entrepreneurs with valuable insights to kick-start their businesses, Roerink authored various must-read industry studies, including “The Power of Meat,” “The State of Treating” and “What’s New in Produce.” During the pandemic, she teamed with IRI and other association partners to provide the food industry with free performance reports in the areas of meat, produce, deli, frozen and more, which have been widely covered in the trade press. Outside of work, Roerink volunteered at local elementary schools, where she held monthly sessions highlighting fruits and vegetables.
Amanda Tomek VP, Business Intelligence, Acosta
In the single biggest new client win of 2021, Tomek provided all of the insights, analytics and tools demonstration for a Fortune 100 company, presenting the insights in a fact-based but interesting, thought-provoking and actionable manner that provided a clear growth vision for the client. She worked with IT to establish a dashboard giving all business development sellers a one-stop shop for outreach intel, eliminating the need for data pulling for every outreach. As well as serving as a mentor for several Acosta associates, Tomek was a speaker at the 2022 Western Michigan University Food Marketing Conference this past March.
VP, Data Engineering and Operations, Acosta/ Mosaic
Renaud successfully delivered many key initiatives to drive revenue growth and streamline operations, including the reduction of operating costs and the simplification of complexity for foundational IT initiatives; the next-generation capabilities realized about $200,000 in annualized processing savings on the data platform. She also facilitated a vendor partnership to fund $800,000 toward strategic projects. Renaud launched the IT Engagement Council, executing a series of events, including monthly IT newsletters, lunch-and-learn events, culture celebrations, and an annual BIG (Building IT Greatness) award ceremony.
VP, Retail Commerce and Experience, Acosta/Mosaic
With live events and retail activations on hold because of COVID, Williams revamped the entire business unit, launching direct-to-consumer and online grocery sampling to mitigate the pandemic’s impact.
Karey Murphy SVP, Operational Finance, Acosta
Murphy was successful in leading and transforming some of the financial planning and analysis team’s responsibilities and focus areas, and she created a top client profitability model to help the organization start to understand gross margin and provide high-level guidance in focus areas. Though in her latest role for only a short time, she helped to lead the sales organization to achieve more than 100% revenue and EBITDA budget attainment, and she participated in several key client contract negotiations to drive not only Acosta’s margin, but also client goals. Murphy is a volunteer youth sports coach active in her children’s school programs.
EVP, People, Talent and Culture, Advantage Solutions
Gijanto launched an Ambassador program designed to train, engage and retain the highest performers across the company.
She negotiated a new contract deal with Loblaws that increased the retail program’s profitability and kicked off the first post-pandemic large retail sampling and experience program for the Canadian grocer’s holiday Insiders programming.
Her Opportunity Knocks and Talent Matters content pieces — consisting of a newsletter, podcast and talent spotlights — celebrating talent achievements both in the field organizations and agency/sales corporate teams, created cross-company awareness of high performers, career opportunities and cultural value systems.
Williams led the successful effort to remain the agency of record for Walmart Canada, expanding services to include more omnichannel programming.
Gijanto chairs the Enterprise Culture Crew, which, in partnership with the DE&I board, works on solutions to critical workplace challenges.
VP, Client Services, Advantage Solutions/SAS Retail Services
Nyce helped drive revenue growth of 26.5%, decreased bad-debt allocations by more than 30%, and created processes to ensure accuracy and timely submission for all contracts, resulting in a forecast variation within 8% of actual revenue for most months. She led a team to test a new operations platform that grew from infancy to fruition in 100-plus locations in under five months; initial testing showed a 3% sales lift for customers and a 700% increase in data collection at the retail level, with success attributable to her management and training. Nyce was promoted to her current role directly because of the results of her work in 2021.
VP, Client Teams, Advantage Solutions/Waypoint
An accessible and supportive manager, Shick was recognized as a Top 5 Zone Director in the country for Land O’Lakes and selected to attend its annual award trip. She created a national sales validation program — typically unheard of for brokers — to help her sales team members learn how to better serve their operator, sell a client’s core items, and ask for and validate the sale. In addition to being chair of the Women’s Interactive Network at Advantage Solutions, Shick serves as a church elder and a volunteer at Maryland New Directions, a group changing lives through employment.
2022 Top Women in Grocery Erin Zeller
VP, HRBP/ Talent Solutions, Advantage Solutions/SAS Retail Services
During SAS’ acquisition of TNG Retail Services, which had an incredibly short window to close, Zeller made offers to many of TNG’s 7,000-plus employees; of those who were offered positions, 97% joined SAS. She built a talent development team from the ground up to future-proof the company for today’s talent war; the new-hire orientation alone has driven a 23% increase in new hires making it to stores on day one and doubled the overall retention of those new hires making it to day one. In recognition of her efforts, Zeller was promoted from senior director — human resources to her current role.
VP, Health and Sustainability, Ahold Delhaize USA
Thanks to Furrow’s group, Ahold Delhaize USA companies launched a circular-economy strategy to reduce plastic impact and are on target to reduce total food waste by 50% by 2030. In addition to partnering with HowGood to launch a digital environmental and social impact rating system for retail brands, her team joined with Flashfood to give customers access to more fresh food at reduced prices. Under Furrow’s leadership, a proprietary nutrition guidance program to help shoppers choose healthier products reached 70 million people and generated 4 million impressions by parents.
VP, K-12 Sales, Advantage Solutions/Waypoint
Denton successfully realigned the business unit amid the loss of 20% of the team due to the Great Resignation, in addition to personnel loss to a former client; the realignment led to more a more effective and efficient operation through the elimination of positions that could be covered, without risk of loss, by an existing position. She led the Waypoint K-12 execution team in 19% yearover-year growth — 5% over the annual business plan — for Land O’Lakes. Denton developed various client advisory committees, providing insights, segment intelligence and guidance to clients for increased sales and connectivity within the K-12 segment.
VP, Client Teams, Advantage Solutions/Waypoint
While driving sales successfully in the Southeast region, Mangiapane, who brings to her current role extensive experience gained at Maple Leaf Foods, Smithfield Foods’ Farmland division, Starbucks and Ecolab, was able to onboard Waypoint’s largest client in 2021. Her team leadership and management of client relationships resulted in the company’s Southeast sales division being responsible for 34% of overall revenue. Apart from her demanding job duties, Mangiapane led the Waypoint Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council, in addition to the Women’s Interactive Network Enrichment Committee at Advantage Solutions.
SVP Fresh Category, Merchandising and Pricing, Food Lion
VP of Category Management, Center Store, Food Lion
Fernald worked with teams across all Ahold Delhaize brands and their key suppliers to improve efficiencies, share knowledge and best practices, and drive improved outcomes for all; this led to a more than 17% uptick in fresh sales.
Brinegar’s team kept stores stocked during the pandemic by sourcing new products and suppliers while striving to keep prices affordable; she leveraged a deeper local assortment to increase center store local sales by more than 50% in 2021. As the lead in the Ahold Delhaize USA strategic cost and savings design initiative, she helped design and implement new commercial planning activities for all five Ahold Delhaize USA brands.
Focusing on bolstering local suppliers, she added local vendors across the state footprint and grew local sales by more than 20% in 2021.
Her passion for eliminating food insecurity led her to become VP of the Food Lion Feeds Charitable Foundation board of directors.
Fernald’s aggressive plan to grow private-brand sales and units, as well as healthy sales, introduced many new items, reformulated ingredients, and built strong promotional and merchandising plans.
PROGRESSIVE GROCER June 2022
2022 Top Women in Grocery Valarie Wallace VP, Communications, Food Lion
For the six months she held her comms role and headed up DE&I, Wallace used the opportunity to leverage synergies between the two roles, and built a multimedia communications campaign that showcased associates telling their stories of belonging at Food Lion. She launched a series of three-minute videos that educated associates on key business initiatives while interviewees shared a few personal fun facts about themselves; the series was created to inform as well as to unite associates working apart during the pandemic. Under Wallace’s leadership, Food Lion’s Associate Giving Campaign raised more than $100,000 to help local neighbors in need.
President, Executive Director, Albertsons Cos.
Rather than buying holiday dinners for people in need, Duncan-Anderson revamped the company’s meal program to give families gift cards so that they could purchase the food their family needs and wants, while providing relief to nonprofits that struggle to manage inventory. Her updated program design resulted in more money raised — more than $40 million — and doubled the meals provided: 4.7 million versus 2.2 million if the company had kept the previous program. Duncan-Anderson is vice chair of the California Grocers Association Educational Foundation and VP of philanthropy at the Pleasanton, Calif., chapter of the National Charity League.
Glennis Harris SVP of Customer Experience, The Giant Co.
VP of Finance and CFO, The Giant Co.
Harris oversaw the opening of four stores, the launch of an innovative e-commerce center, and the reopening of the company’s flagship Philadelphia store after it sustained significant flood damage due to Hurricane Ida.
Morales has achieved four years of consecutive sales growth as well as strong comparable-store sales performance for the past four years, which led to her being named CFO of the Year by the Philadelphia Business Journal.
She provided the framework for identifying, assessing and mitigating the effects of any crisis event that could jeopardize the health and safety of employees or customers, or cause a disruption to critical services to customers.
She also oversaw significant investments in e-commerce that led to 20% more sales growth in fiscal year 2021 and cycling sales growth by more than 150% over the prior year.
Harris and her team were responsible for expanding the Flashfood program, with more than 1 million pounds of food being diverted from landfills, and 80 stores achieving zero-waste status.
SVP, Digital, Data, Merchandising and RX Technology, Albertsons Cos./ Corporate
Morales serves on the board of the Urban League of Philadelphia; due to her focus on initiatives designed to feed families, develop the city’s workforce, and lead Philadelphia into the future, The Giant Co. received the league’s Community Award last year.
Allison Jennings VP, Food Safety, Albertsons Cos./ Corporate
Besides quickly implementing pharmacy technology solutions, Iyer led the acceleration of e-commerce fulfillment technology with the Acupick platform to improve the order hand-off process, add click-and-collect capabilities, and reduce picking time.
While sitting on food safety working groups for the Global Food Safety Initiative and the Consumer Brands Association, Jennings developed a strategy to validate e-commerce chill-chain models, including lab validation of the micro-fulfillment center tote and icepack staging process.
She led the large project of uniting multiple shopping and loyalty apps into one unified mobile application to provide a holistic customer journey across retail brick-and-mortar and digital.
She and her team standardized temperature-monitoring tasks across the company to help shift from manual temperature logging in stores to a Bluetooth-enabled thermometer-and-iPad solution.
Iyer developed a Women in Tech group at Albertsons to provide guidance and development on key growth areas; she also hosts high school internships for underprivileged kids via Oakland Promise while mentoring those hoping to pursue STEM careers.
Amid helping to improve food safety focus areas, Jennings led the analytics team to develop a customer feedback dashboard that filters complaints by food safety and quality topics to provide insights into operations’ controllable metrics.
Chief of Staff and VP of Portfolio Management, Retail Business Services
Schepp developed new portfolio management capabilities to partner with current project management organizations, including a stronger focus on where there are interdependencies, resource challenges and other key risks. She also worked closely with Retail Business Services’ president, leaders of human resources and communications to establish a new operating model for the company’s leadership. Schepp serves as the business resource group executive sponsor for Conexion, the Hispanic, Latino and allies group at Retail Business Services, and has donated many hours of pro bono consulting to local nonprofits in the greater Chicago area.
Jennifer Jesser VP, Finance and Analytics, Own Brands, Albertsons Cos./ Corporate
In addition to Jesser’s full-time job, she was the project lead for the conversion of 27 newly acquired Balducci’s and Kings Stores, pulling together many cross-functional teams to integrate these two chains into the company’s operations. She led a project to find the right cloud-based platform to migrate actions for Own Brands, which led to solving issues in such areas as project management, regulatory compliance, packaging specifications, quality assurance, item master files and product specifications. Jesser was instrumental in developing a plan to achieve sustainability goals for Own Brands, which included immediate action to add How2Recycle information to all packaged product labels.
Congratulations i to our eight amazing Top Women in Grocery! Thank you for all you do for SpartanNash and the communities we serve.
Store Director, Family Fresh Market
Store Director, D&W Fresh Market
Manager, Data Integrity
Human Resources Business Partner II
Director, Inventory Control
Senior Manager, Networks & Telecommunications
Senior Vice President, Communications
Join these talented women at the innovative food solutions company putting people first. Apply today at Careers.SpartanNash.com
2022 Top Women in Grocery Debora Steier VP, Floral, Albertsons Cos./ Corporate
Steier created the company’s first online store-level training tool and expanded its fresh local flowers footprint nationwide to encourage online sales. She was the driver behind the company’s “Life in Bloom” TV segments, a plastic reduction initiative for floral, and the development of the Debi Lilly brand. In addition to exceeding projections across various aspects of the floral business, Steier is the floral executive leadership chair at the International Fresh Produce Association (IFPA) and is on the committee for marketing the floral industry in partnership with IFPA and the Society of American Florists.
Michelle Larson Division President, Albertsons Cos./ Southwest Division
Larson led her team through the pandemic by ensuring that stores were clean and sanitized, and kept associates safe through temperature-gauging health kiosks before each shift, and team huddles dedicated to safety protocols.
VP, Albertsons Cos./Manufacturing Sales
Responsible for sales of about $1 billion at 20 facilities, Hale developed sales strategies and data-based approaches to drive positive EBITDA at Albertsons’ manufacturing facilities. In the transition from a transaction-based organization to a data-based one, she led her team to capture 15 new customers, add nearly 4% volume growth in outside sales, boost net sales by $12 million and execute a liability improvement project that saved more than $1 million. Hale developed Wellness Recess activities for members of the Boise chapter of the Women’s Inspiration & Inclusion Network at Albertsons.
SVP, Professional Services, Applied Data Corp. (ADC)
Quigley’s strong market knowledge and a background in grocery IT allowed her to work seamlessly with internal teams and ADC’s global customer base.
She placed an emphasis on associate recognition through weekly team member spotlights, job promotion announcements and promoting the company’s Day For U initiative.
Leading a team of more than 15 employees focused on supporting customers, she quickly established governance providing standard methodologies, processes and tools to effectively manage, schedule and measure the quality of service delivery for clients.
Larson helped build five highly productive associate resource groups for her division, including the Southwest Division Diversity and Inclusion Council and the African-American Leadership Council.
Away from work, in addition to her activities with the SpartanNash Helping Hands Day, Quigley serves as a board member for the technical advisory council of the Grand Rapids Community Foundation.
Teresa Whitney VP, National Merchandising, Albertsons Cos./ Merchandising
Whitney oversaw national merchandising and strategy for dairy/ refrigerated and frozen categories across 2,300 stores; this is Albertsons’ largest business unit, with $8.5 billion in annual sales. She joined the new national merchandising team at its inception, taking the lead to grow market share and execute a new enterprise-wide marketing/ merchandising campaign with a revenue target of $36 million. Whitney is active in the Imagination, Diversity, Equity Awareness (IDEA) Council and NextUp, and is on the board of the Idaho Food Bank; she was also chosen to participate in the Cornell Food Executive Program.
Heather DeLuca VP, Meat Merchandising, Associated Wholesale Grocers Inc. (AWG)
Managing more than $4 billion in retail sales across fresh meat, processed meat, frozen meat and seafood, DeLuca led the category analysis team, buying teams, vendor relations and program development. Her keen ability to evaluate situations and develop strategies based on individual circumstances spurred her to shift from traditional meat and seafood merchandising to a strategy based on analytics, data insights and changing consumer needs. Despite industry challenges, DeLuca maintained a calm demeanor and led with grace and humility.
VP, Human Resources, Albertsons Cos./ Southern California Division
With oversight of talent, culture, learning and development at the Southern California division, Black implemented a new talent acquisition partner to support staffing and created a tracking system that included hiring needs in one document; thanks to these and other efforts, the division lowered its average number of openings at stores by 40. She also had a busy year launching the division diversity council and adding two resource groups. Black is active in NextUp, the Women of Color Advisory Council, and the SoCal executive board of Albertson’s Women’s Inspiration & Inclusion Network.
VP, Shopper and Trade Marketing, Avocados From Mexico
Thanks to the recent innovations and hard work executed by Bazan’s team, avocado penetration across the United States hit a record high and purchase frequency saw a 30% lift over the past five years. She led the company’s first branded bag packaging program, as well as its first-ever cause-related initiative on a branded bag, and also spearheaded the first-of-its-kind “2021 Shopper Journey Study.” Bazan’s work in the Dallas marketing community was recognized by the American Advertising Federation, and she’s a volunteer on the International Fresh Produce Association’s Marketing Council.
Karey Murphy Senior-Level Executive Senior Vice President, Operational Finance Acosta
Amanda Tomek Senior-Level Executive Vice President, Business Intelligence Acosta
Jennifer Renaud Senior-Level Executive Vice President, Data Engineering and Operations Mosaic
Lucinda Williams Senior-Level Executive Vice President, Retail Commerce and Experience Mosaic
A step ahead together Acosta congratulates our Senior-Level Executives and Rising Star for being named Progressive Grocer’s Top Women
Lingyun Zhang Rising Star Product Director Acosta
Learn more at acosta.com
2022 Top Women in Grocery Cammie Chatterton
Owner, President and CEO, Bay Food Brokerage
One of the first women in the country to start a food brokerage, Chatterton led her company to achieve substantial growth in the past year — remarkable during a period including a global pandemic and major disruptions to the supply chain that have greatly affected the food industry. Managing accounts for meat, seafood, dairy and deli clients, primarily in partnership with Publix Super Markets, she facilitated a 24.6% increase in annual revenue year over year from 2020 to 2021. Chatterton is on the board of directors for the Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce as well as the Get Live 45 Foundation, and works with nonprofit organization Feeding Tampa Bay.
VP, Shopper Insights and Category Leadership, Campbell Snacks, Campbell Soup Co.
Christiansen instituted an integrated tactical planning process, redefined the customer and region sales communications platform, and developed the first-ever Campbell Snacks category reset scorecard, which provides a real-time executive summary of the reset changes for the company’s most strategic retailers. She led the development of critical selling materials, including annual operating plan toolkits covering all key drive periods and sales communications. Christiansen was a sponsor in the Black Resource Group and led a monthly mentoring circle of women from various parts of the the sales organization.
SVP, Assortment Planning and Allocation, BJ’s Wholesale Club
Hall completed a major upgrade of demand-planning, replenishment and fulfillment capabilities to help enable higher planner productivity, better inventory management, and an improved understanding of demand drivers and customer behavior. She also put all categories onto a planogram solution while keeping clubs well stocked, and rolled out curbside pickup to all stores amid the pandemic. Passionate about talent development, Hall serves as one of the leaders for BJ’s young business professionals, having mentored several people throughout the organization, and has served on the Food Industry Council for the Greater Boston Food Bank since 2010.
VP, Sales, Direct Grocery, Meals & Beverages, Campbell Soup Co.
Under McGuckien’s leadership, Campbell executed its first joint business plan with H-E-B and implemented its first strategic joint-business plan framework with Ahold Delhaize USA; she later successfully achieved all joint-business planning targets with her respective customers. She instituted significant game-changers, among them scorecarding, more frequent conversations with business partners, and a focus on cross-functional relationships beyond sales. Outside of work, she helps lead her children’s youth soccer teams within the Philadelphia region and is an active member of the Colonial School parent teacher organization.
President and CoFounder, Bonafide Provisions
In 2021, Brown created the first and only plantbased vegetable broth made from 100% organic vegetables, which helped persuade a leading national retailer to bring in the company’s shelf-stable broth innovation. Bonafide Provisions hit 1 million views on social media, thanks to her unique approach to branded marketing, which reached beyond just selling products to also provide value-first content focused on total body wellness and on food as medicine. Brown sits on the company’s board of directors and holds the controlling stake of the board, and her company’s new product was named among Progressive Grocer’s 2021 Editors’ Picks.
SVP, Sales, Bowery Farming
Building the go-to-market channel and customer strategy for Bowery, Corbett led the effort to identify white space and penetrate new customers and channels with a solution-oriented mindset. She worked closely with her executive leadership team and senior peers as both a thought and business partner, playing an important role in the future growth and profitability of the business. Corbett is a leader within the company’s career development program for women; a member of NextUp and the International Fresh Produce Association: Women in Fresh; and, outside the industry, a volunteer with the Alzheimer’s Association.
Espinoza built a culture and structure of customer service to the departments she oversaw and fostered a true partnership with the operational departments throughout the organization, she also succeeded in her efforts to stay at the front of COVID compliance efforts in each community where the company operates.
Sebastian introduced technology-driven projects to reduce costs and increase efficiency, such as automated supply inventory processing that resulted in cost savings through reduced labor hours.
Chief Legal Officer, Cardenas Markets LLC
Through her leadership, she aligned all regulatory compliance audits under one field team with a focus on compliance, prevention and training. Espinoza is actively involved in, and sits on the board of directors of, the Cardenas Markets Foundation, a nonprofit organization noted for its charitable efforts that positively affect the lives of those living in Cardenas’ market area.
VP Special Projects, Cardenas Markets LLC
She also rolled out a computer-generated ordering solution across all stores to reduce store shrink and improve inventory turnover, and a new business intelligence solution for reporting and analytics that provided the visibility and tools for the business to react to consumer behavior changes. Sebastian served as a coach and mentor to her team, and was able to foster a strong partnership with other business areas to gain support for, and acceptance of, changes being introduced.
Shonna Lea Williams
VP of Produce, Cardenas Markets LLC
Williams’ increased focus on floral sales and merchandising led to double-digit growth in that category and a complete reimagining of 100% of the store departments with a fresh merchandising layout and design. She also revamped Cardenas’ quality control function with new leadership and discipline in this area, resulting in higher levels of freshness and product appeal that drove higher sales and reduced shrink. Williams has served as the produce and floral golf chairman at the City of Hope Cancer Foundation for the past six years, raising more than $1.1 million for research, and sits on the board of directors for the Fresh Produce and Floral Council.
VP, Customer Leadership, The Coca-Cola Co./North America Operating Unit
Stading guided her team to prioritize the order management process by facilitating tightly controlled monitoring routines with supply chain, commercial and network partners through implementation of price changes, promotional adjustments and SKU optimization. She added natural channel responsibilities inside her team and led the consolidated portfolio transition to a single sales agency, which required an accelerated approach to education, network wiring and customer engagement. Stading’s charitable endeavors include being a donor to, and supporter of, the Houston Children’s Charity and the Braveheart Therapeutic Riding & Educational Center.
Josey Chandler COO, Chandlers Inc.
During 2021, Chandler started up Chandlers’ online shopping program/app program, which has resonated with customers, and oversaw growth of the company’s retail sales by 4% over 2020. She achieved this while overseeing all of Chandlers’ day-today operations, which included advertising, accounting, human resources, finance, retail sales, compliance, staffing, budgets and all business relations. Chandler is a strong supporter of RISE UP Christian services in Mississippi’s Choctaw and Webster counties, and during the holidays, she assists the county libraries in Clinton and Ackerman Miss., in decorating, as well as donating to their children’s programs.
Group Director, Category Leadership, Kroger, The Coca-Cola Co./North America Operating Unit
Warren enabled delivery of $2 billion in sales for the Coca-Cola Kroger team, including $133 million in sales growth, which exceeded both the internal plan and the customer joint-business plan. She dramatically expanded single-serve beverage cold availability, a critical Coca-Cola objective, and led the insights and planogram-writing process that resulted in the installation of 1,715 Coca-Cola beverage coolers at Kroger. Warren elevated Coca-Cola’s thought leadership at Kroger by creating multicultural and Gen Z insights presentations; outside of work, she’s the co-chair for University of Cincinnati Student Outreach and a NextUp member.
2022 Top Women in Grocery Nawshi Williams VP, Analytics and Insights, CROSSMARK
In July 2021, Williams led the company’s digital transformation with the creation of Accelerator, an advanced analytics platform that gives sales managers instantaneous access to necessary information related to clients and customers. With data queries returned in seconds and usage rates in the 99.7% range, Accelerator is expected to create a 30% efficiency shift from non-value-added redundant reporting to high-value analytics; initial tests show a 2% to 4% improvement in sales profit, driven by higher incremental sales and better promotional efficiency. In November 2021, Williams received the Path to Purchase Institute’s Women of Excellence Award for technology.
SVP Sales and Customer Success, Eversight
Farrell helped to more than double Eversight’s growth; she assisted customers and prospects in navigating huge changes, including inflation, the rise of retail media, shifting shopper behavior and the omni-commerce explosion. Leading a pilot program involving more than a dozen top CPG companies, she harnessed the combined powers of Advantage Solutions’ store-level execution and Eversight’s Offer Innovation Suite to accelerate trade promotion innovation. Another partnership, this one between Eversight and SAP, allows retailers to leverage data in SAP’s Customer Activity Repository in combination with Eversight’s artificial-intelligence capabilities to “supercharge” revenue performance.
Dr. Theon Danet CIO/Director of Information Technology, Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA)
Charged with leading — and accelerating — DeCA’s global digital transformation, Danet worked to modernize the online platform, including the deployment of technology to support the next-generation digital shelf, dynamic order fulfillment and secure online payments. By leveraging cloud technology and an industry-leading platform, she decreased rollout costs from an anticipated $51.7 million to $5.9 million, and the deployment timeline dropped from an estimated seven years to six months. Danet tapped external U.S. Treasury partners to design an interim process until online-payment software was installed.
Kathryn Tuttle Chief Marketing Officer, Farmer Focus
Having transformed Farmer Focus from a regional supplier to a rapidly growing natural and organic chicken brand available in 2,500 stores, Tuttle continued to pursue a marketing-led innovation strategy and thought leadership-focused public relations, including influential placement in media outlets. Her efforts caught the attention of President Biden, who invited Farmer Focus’ CEO to attend his roundtable discussion on competition in the meat industry earlier this year. Tuttle also oversaw product innovation: A new pre-seasoned chicken line achieved placement at Harris Teeter, Kroger and FreshDirect, and also received two NEXTY Awards as an impactful organic product.
SVP, Channel Innovation, Dollar General Corp.
Herrmann was responsible for overall leadership as it related to trends, competition and market share at pOpshelf, a concept billed as a “fun, alternative shopping experience,” with most items priced at $5 or less; she grew pOpshelf to more than 55 free-standing stores, and 14 store-within-a-store formats within DG Market locations. She built a work environment fostering commitment, energy and execution. Thanks to Herrmann, pOpshelf has exceeded expectations in sales and gross margin; the company plans to accelerate store openings, adding about 1,000 locations by the end of 2025, including 100 by the end of 2022.
Head of Product, Farmstead
Nystrom shone brightly during a difficult year, helping Farmstead penetrate four new markets: Chicago, Miami, and Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; she was also instrumental in launching a new “starter pack” of fresh local SKUs whose basket ring is $60 to $70. Through reviewing, identifying and taking action on data and analytics, she adroitly navigated challenges and opportunities. Nystrom led in researching, evaluating and managing Farmstead’s digital platform to create features that meet users’ needs; by developing a personalization function that lets customers suggest their favorite local products for consideration, she helped further grow basket size, and she also launched an Android app.
CEO and Founder, Ethel’s Bakery LLC
Bommarito launched a new 19,000-squarefoot bakery facility, increasing space by 600% and growing sales by 2.2 times during the first part of the year. She recruited several seasoned bakery and food industry executives from large organizations, including a director of operations, a VP of sales, a quality control manager, a plant engineer and a director of HR; this enabled Ethel’s to complete American Institute of Baking certification and become Safe Quality Food Certified. Despite COVID-related challenges, Ethel’s met 100% of orders on time, with an overall price decrease to the market, and is on track to double growth in 2022.
VP of Education Program Development, FMI — The Food Industry Association
In the face of COVID-19, Abel created high-impact virtual events and interactive online forums that set an industry standard for these types of initiatives, and her work on a new vision for education programming at FMI was seen as a model for others to follow. She also collaborated with her team to reschedule the 2022 Midwinter program and relaunch the event for March 2022. Thanks to Abel, FMI’s Future Leaders eXperience virtual platform engaged almost 250 up-and-coming leaders, with 200 participants earning a Food Retail Leader Certificate based on the skills that they gained through these sessions, which took place over three months.
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2022 Top Women in Grocery Renee Dawson-Pilat
Regional Business Leader, Giant Eagle Inc.
VP, Digital, Giant Eagle Inc.
In only six months in her current position, Dawson-Pilat played an important role in successfully promoting nine employees to team leader roles and had an additional 28 employees who were ready to enter the Team Leader Development Program.
Seideneck and her team launched a third-party marketplace with more than 100 sellers to add significantly more ship-to-home assortment options for customers; the company receives a percentage of each sale, and customers receive loyalty points.
She increased same-store sales by nearly 5% over last year and surpassed budgeted sales by more than 4%, beating her EBITDA budget by more than 100%.
She created dynamic site content, enhanced digital shelf management, and delivered more targeted, relevant content to drive up conversion rates, all of which contributed to more than doubling curbside pickup and delivery income.
Dawson-Pilat spearheaded the zero plastic bag initiative that was rolled out in the Bexley, Ohio, community and been instrumental in the company’s Flashfood pilot program in the Columbus area to sell close-dated foods at a reduced price.
EVP-Refrigerated Foods, Hormel Foods
Under Brady’s leadership, Hormel’s refrigerated foods group net sales grew to $6.4 billion in fiscal 2021, up from $5.3 billion the year prior, and the team also developed its food-forward strategy to help achieve key results. She’s been instrumental in championing the company’s cultural beliefs and inclusion and diversity efforts as the executive sponsor for the HIRE (Hormel Integrating Relevant Experiences) employee resource group, which provides an internal network for new hires to learn about the organization. As a registered dietitian, Brady led efforts within the organization to advance health, wellness and nutrition initiatives, including within the company’s product portfolio.
The changes that Seideneck has made to the e-commerce platform have resulted in improved customer satisfaction when it comes to being able to find the items that they want.
VP, HealthMarkets and Dietitians, Hy-Vee Inc.
Sloss led the implementation of a virtual dietitian services platform in English and Spanish that expanded Hy-Vee’s reach beyond its traditional eight-state footprint, resulted in great engagement and return on investment, and is expected to continue growing well beyond the pandemic. Her team worked closely with government entities to provide nutritional support to underserved populations, such as partnering with the Iowa Department of Aging to offer free nutrition counseling sessions to Iowans ages 60 and up. Sloss oversees Hy-Vee’s participation in Iowa’s Double Up Food Bucks program, which connects low-income families with nutritious produce grown by local farmers in the state.
VP — Deli, Bakery, Prepared Foods, Giant Eagle Inc.
President/Chief Growth Officer/CoFounder, HiBAR
Woods’ passionate leadership led to double digit-growth in two of the categories that she oversees, and a strong gain of 6% in the third, which exceeded top- and bottom-line goals.
Schaper was recently promoted in recognition of her leadership, ability to rapidly grow the business, organizational skills and impact on all facets of the organization, which manufactures natural hair care products.
She developed a strategic plan to rebuild prepared foods after the pandemic closures, including an innovative and differentiated bakery product assortment and a new Deli in a Hurry program that resulted in double-digit sales growth of self-serve.
Under her guidance, HiBAR has become the best-selling solid shampoo and conditioner in the grocery market today, available in more than 11,000 stores across the United States, with plans to expand into Canada this year.
Woods was invited to Le Residence of the French Ambassador of the United States to be inducted into the Guilde Internationale Des Fromagers as a LeGarde Du Seau, and is permanently enshrined by number and signature.
Georgia Van Gundy
EVP, Chief Administrative Officer, Chief Customer Officer, Hy-Vee Inc.
During one of the most tumultuous times in U.S. labor history, new benefits that Van Gundy and her team introduced to attract and retain employees have grown Hy-Vee’s employment by nearly 7% since April 2021.
Schaper is a member of the Grove Collaborative Plastic working group, helping brands decrease their dependence on plastic, discussing and moving forward legislation to limit plastic pollution, and brainstorming and collaborating on ways that brands can eliminate plastic.
Asha Sharma COO, Instacart
Sharma’s team rolled out various features in the Instacart app to make online grocery more affordable, among them free delivery options, a Dollar Store destination, and a “Deals Tab,” a digital reimagination of the traditional grocery circular.
She helped spearhead Hy-Vee’s new flex workforce, designed to attract employees on an as-needed basis; currently, more than 6,800 flex employees can choose their schedules based on the demand in their designated market.
Under her leadership, Instacart has done much to digitize EBT/ SNAP programs that make online grocery more accessible for needy families, with more than half of all federally approved retailers having received their EBT/SNAP online certification on the platform.
Van Gundy’s team developed a pharmacy technician apprenticeship that provides on-the-job training to become certified to administer vaccinations while reducing the workload on Hy-Vee’s pharmacists.
Beyond work, Sharma sits on the boards of Porch Group, a home-focused vertical software platform, and AppLovin, which enables developers to market, monetize, analyze and publish their apps.
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2022 Top Women in Grocery Joan Driggs
VP of Content and Thought Leadership, IRI
In response to COVID-19’s profound impact, Driggs’ leadership reports addressed such subjects as vaccine adoption and mobility, changes to in-home care and self-care, the pandemic’s influence on innovation, and global economic trends and supply chain disruptions, identifying new growth opportunities and risk mitigation approaches while illustrating winning strategies. She also reported on larger CPG trends, including private brands, front end merchandising, New Product Pacesetters and understanding Gen Z. Driggs is a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier Chicago, which aims to elevate women in the food and beverage and hospitality industries.
Emily Hartmann Senior Director, Brand Marketing, The Kroger Co./ Marketing
Since joining Kroger in 2018, Hartmann has overseen the development of several brand and sub-brand strategies, including the Fresh for Everyone creative campaign aimed at driving business growth; she also headed up the grocer’s social media team. Among other accomplishments, she aided in a third year of increased marketing contribution to sales; propelled strong return on investment in marketing endeavors; debuted the company’s first brand icon, the Fresh Cart; and led a team that introduced the Kroger “Chefbot” on Twitter. Hartmann is a board member for Kroger’s Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation.
VP, Commercial Insights, The Kroger Co./84.51°
After the commercial insights organization had experienced several years of minimal growth, Connors returned it to strength, producing 10% growth, and led the business into new sectors such as agencies. She helped bring innovative solutions to market through partnerships with the technology and science teams, including 84.51° Collaborative Cloud, a first-of-itskind solution from 84.51° that has immediately reshaped its position in the market. Connors helped achieve net promoter score growth of 59 points for a flagship commercial product, 84.51° Stratum, and launch 12 new commercial solutions and four new tech offerings.
Shannon Toth VP, Meat and Seafood, The Kroger Co./Meat and Seafood Merchandising
Recently promoted to guide strategic merchandising plans for the $12.5 billion meat and seafood group, Toth focused on innovation and partnerships with key suppliers. Before her promotion, she was VP of operations for Roundy’s, where she led the division to year-over-year improvements in fresh shrink; in her current position, she oversaw strategies that spurred new programs, products and line extensions, such as premium options and grab-and-go bowls. Toth established the Women’s Edge associate resource group as an executive sponsor at Roundy’s, growing the pipeline of female leaders in store management positions.
Kelli McGannon Corporate Affairs Regional Director, The Kroger Co./ Corporate Affairs
Director of Economic Development, The Kroger Co./ General Office-Tax
McGannon played an essential role in the healing process for associates and the community following a deadly mass shooting at a Boulder, Colo., King Soopers store, holding vigils and offering grief counseling.
By meeting with government representatives, Williams negotiated $15 million in financial offsets to support new market projects while providing community support.
As well as working to ratify five key union contracts, she and her team took on two more divisions, guiding them through government and media campaigns while helping to maintain associate morale and providing coaching and development.
She collaborated with the city of Daytona, Fla., and Kroger Delivery on the first-ever food delivery service in the area, organizing local economic development teams to sponsor Kroger Delivery that resulted in brand awareness, increased sales, and a long-term partnership with the city and the Daytona 500.
McGannon worked with her teams to modernize outdated alcohol laws and build e-commerce distribution, and she supported the League of Minority Voters in Oregon to help safeguard voting rights.
Ashley Caldwell Senior Director, Department Promotional Planning, The Kroger Co./ Merchandising
Caldwell implemented an initiative to prioritize space in household cleaning sets, increasing instore and promotional presence on key disinfectant items, which resulted in sales of all cleaning categories finishing 8.83% ahead of the budget. She led an initiative to increase the importance of pet needs that resulted in pet department sales that were 12.12% above the budget. Caldwell introduced new sales plan events, including the first Kroger gift card event and Buy 2 Save $10 events, to drive largepack sales across the entirety of all merchandising departments; both event types drove significant increases in sales.
Williams provided the IT and Kroger DownTime teams with financial support for training initiatives by leveraging state reimbursements, leading to an annual savings of $600,000.
Senior Director, Accelerated Delivery, The Kroger Co./ Merchandising
Under Lien’s leadership, floral achieved a sales increase equivalent to the last five years of growth combined, and she helped grow all customer key performance indicators, which were driven by higher household engagement within the floral department. She launched floral delivery, updated systems and processes to allow product to be sold online, partnered with social influencers and executed multiple tests in the space, including order-ahead and balloons for pickup. Lien implemented labor solutions to support outdoor selling for additional weeks each year and created new selling events during non-holiday weeks.
Congratulations to our Stars!
Giant’s 2022 Top Women in Grocery
Manager III Category
Manager I CSM Marketing/Merchandising
Manager III E-Commerce Merchandising Non-Fresh
Su Jin Roberge
Manager II Clinical Pharmacy Programs
Manager III Category
Director Asset Protection
2022 Top Women in Grocery Maggie Glacken Director, Digital Experience, The Kroger Co./ Technology and Digital
In recognition of her work to provide a seamless digital experience across all web and mobile platforms and ensure that front end digital platforms represent the brand, Glacken was promoted to a senior director in early 2022. She effectively managed the retailer’s online digital presence as Kroger opened its first customer fulfilment center in Groveland, Fla., in a market without an existing physical store; she also visualized the concepts for the successful launch of a new partnership with Instacart and an e-commerce collaboration with Bed, Bath and Beyond. Under Glacken’s leadership, team members formed the Digital Experience Diversity Committee in 2021.
Regional VP, Meijer
VP, Fresh, Meijer
Due to be inducted into the Top Women in Grocery Hall of Fame this year, Ackley demonstrated leadership as she steered merchandising and financial operations for Meijer’s multibillion-dollar fresh division. Her team delivered a record year, with sales 10% over plan in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2021 alone; she successfully navigated supply chain upheaval and developed several long-term initiatives, among them launching a new premium own-brand label, expanding prepared food offerings, increasing offerings from local and diverse suppliers, and maximizing self-manufacturing capabilities. Ackley is a member of Meijer’s corporate engagement committee and focused insights team.
VP of Marketing, Milk Bar
Known to always ask associates how she can help them, Mitchell envisioned her role as the voice relaying information from corporate to the stores, and her style was transparent at all levels.
After joining the company, Fuller helped make improvements in proactivity and management to innovation timelines, and also helped launch a gate process model for the channel.
Her region achieved 6.44% over planned sales in 2021, and her team exceeded regional targets by achieving a No. 2 ranking in all metrics across six regions.
She led the commercialization process, launching 12 new products across three categories, and also guided the integrated marketing process for the rollout of the brand’s ice cream line, which was a major success, yielding more than 410 million earned media impressions.
Mitchell volunteered to speak on emotional intelligence and positive mindset to college students and community members, and she was an executive sponsor for the McKinsey Black Leadership program; outside of the industry, she participated in the Best Buddy program helping kids with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Fuller volunteered with Urban Mentors, an organization that works to empower youth and families through leadership and service, and she also served on the advisory council for Bring Change 2 Mind, which aims to end the mental health stigma.
VP, Merch HBC/ OTC Card, Meijer
Martin’s health and beauty group assisted the 89 new diverse-owned businesses that Meijer chose to partner with in 2021, and helped lead efforts on several initiatives, including a local art project and diverse and sustainable supplier events. She led the development and strategy creation of a reflow of the company’s beauty department, which included the rollout of new fixtures to enhance the look and feel of the department. Martin was selected to join the Grand Rapids Community College Foundation board and became a co-chair of the Women at Meijer board subcommittee, responsible for partnering and driving relationships with NextUp and Inforum.
Loree Mulay Weisman
Founding President and CEO, Mulay’s Sausage Corp.
A visionary who has opened new channels and growth opportunities for the natural sausage supplier, Weisman led Mulay’s record 25% growth last year while implementing significant technology changes. Because of her strong relationship with small family farms, Mulay’s was able to fulfill orders throughout the pandemic; the company entered new relationships with Costco and Imperfect Foods, and secured national distribution with KeHE and Western Box through Harvest Foods, as well as with DOT Foods. Weisman led development of a new website and a new sales platform, along with the implementation of Entrepreneur Operating System and Microsoft Teams for day-to-day operations.
Group VP, Customer Strategy and Marketing, Meijer
McVay helped launch the private label Frederik’s brand, the first of its kind for Meijer; the brand has exceeded expectations and will expand to encompass even more items. As chair of the board of Feeding America, she facilitated the purchase of an expanded distribution facility that will allow the company to aid more families in need and meet the national goals of distribution for the first time. McVay launched a new team focused on retail media that delivered a 10% increase in revenues, as well as kick-starting purpose marketing efforts, which amplified brand purpose with TV/ streaming video spots, community short-form videos and community social posts.
CEO and Founder, Outer Aisle Gourmet
Through David’s leadership, Outer Aisle doubled year-over-year sales in 2021 and broke ground on a new production facility, while also gaining 2,270 new retailers on a course to increase its retail presence to more than 5,000 locations. She is the founder of 100 Women Santa Barbara, a giving circle that contributes $500,000 annually to a local nonprofit, and also sits on the board of directors for AtEase International. David launched an ongoing partnership with World Vision International to help children, families and communities take on poverty and injustice, and the company’s donations have helped create five deep-water wells in countries that lack fresh water.
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2022 Top Women in Grocery Melissa Kieling Founder, PackIt LLC
The developer of EcoFreeze technology, which keeps items cool all day without needing ice packs and is used in lunch bags, and also of commercial refrigeration systems for online grocery order fulfillment, Kieling spent the past year improving food safety and sustainability through the final mile of food and beverage delivery.
Senior Director of Sales, PBNA-Sam’s Club Customer Team, PepsiCo
In her work with Sam’s Club, Freymark supported strong double-digit revenue growth on a two-year stacked basis, which helped the retailer deliver above expectations.
The tote that she created was a first choice for retailers working on meeting consumer demand in a safe way for retail customers.
She helped develop creative supply solutions, keeping her customer engaged in discussions and developing new talent on the team, and worked closely with leadership and the customer to develop supply plans and set proper expectations.
Kieling sits on the board of directors for the International Housewares Association and has brought PackIt’s products onto “Harry,” CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” “The Steve Harvey Show,” “The Martha Stewart Show” and QVC, among other TV programs.
Freymark is the PepsiCo office lead for Big Brothers Big Sisters events, co-chairs the NWA Ice Hogs varsity and JV hockey teams, sits on the Kendrick Fincher Foundation board, and works with Women with a Mission Program at Mercy Hospital.
VP of Information Systems Application Development, Publix Super Markets Inc.
Kelly and her team successfully implemented various technology solutions, including a new pharmacy digital reservation system that enabled Publix to administer nearly 7.4 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. In a new parental leave program that she implemented, she ensured that mothers and fathers had time off with pay within the first year after the birth or adoption of a child. Kelly also rolled out a new program, Feeding More Together, which supports customer and Publix donations to food banks to help alleviate hunger in local communities, and has provided nearly 200 million meals since its launch.
VP of Store Operations Support, Schnuck Markets Inc.
During the past year, Anderson focused on new technologies such as Simbe’s Tally robot, which has reduced out-of-stocks by up to 30%, and anybody can view Tally’s product availability and location in the Schnucks Rewards app, thereby facilitating restocking and fulfillment and enabling consumers to shop more efficiently. She spearheaded the implementation of Logile’s artificial intelligence-powered Workforce Management for improved workforce optimization. Anderson co-led installation and expansion of new self-checkout units for more than half of Schnucks’ 112 stores; the initiative maximizes the use of labor time while augmenting customer convenience.
VP of Human Resources, Presence Marketing
Moses created the company’s ONEPresence Counsel, made up of 21 cross-functional team members that focus on culture, partners and communities, and also helped launch the Presence Gives Virtual 5K, which raised more than $12,000 to build a Presence kindergarten in West Africa. She restructured the recruiting process to make it more efficient for hiring managers and continuously worked to bring in excellent candidates in a tough hiring market. Away from work, Moses is an active member of her child’s parent-teacher organization, is planning the annual Color Run, and has co-hosted two community Run for Ribs events.
COO, Shelf Engine
Alexander played a key role in Shelf Engine’s aggressive growth plans: She helped increase gross margin value fourfold, and the company was able to secure a $41 million Series B investment from venture capital firm General Catalyst. She helped increase the number of data scientists sixfold, leading to improved monitoring systems and ensuring 99.99% system uptime for retailers, while the engineering team was tripled, permitting the company to automate 437,000 orders. In under a year, the leadership team grew from six to 14, and Alexander’s emphasis on diversity resulted in 55% of those new hires coming from underrepresented communities; Shelf Engine’s total employees now number 200.
SVP, Strategic Marketing, Product Connections, a WIS International Company
Under Fasana’s strategic leadership, her company has seen year-overyear revenue growth of 178% in the past year, and delivered EBITDA above plan. She took an active role in promoting employee growth and development, regularly mentoring employees one-on-one as well as on a department-wide basis, and led culture initiatives for the company. In addition to her job duties, Fasana launched the first company-wide diversity, equity and inclusion committee; is an active member of the Chicago board of NextUp as part of the learning and events committee; and is also the co-founder and VP of Imprint Music.
Chief Business Officer, Shipt
Under Hurst’s expert guidance, Shipt’s 2021 orders grew 252% compared with 2019, and Shipt Driven, Shipt’s delivery-only service, grew 150% over last year; she also launched partnerships with 7-Eleven and Walgreens, growing the number of store locations in Shipt’s market by more than 40%. She spearheaded an exclusive benefit in which Visa consumer credit card holders were automatically eligible for free trial Shipt memberships, reaching a new consumer segment; Shipt/Visa members now order more often than Shipt’s pay-per-order customers, even after the free trial expires. More than 25% of 2021 orders included unique insight-backed CPG partner promotions championed by Hurst.
Storewide Merchandising Solutions
AR S YYEEA
American Manufacturing Manufacturing
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Wire Basket & Wire Shelf Label Strips
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Wire Basket & Wire Shelf Label Holders Flip Scan® Hooks, Label Holders & Signing Accessories
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Scan Lock® Hooks n Easy-to-use, inexpensive key-lock system. n Prevent the removal of any stock or display 1 or 2 items unlocked to prevent sweeping. Anti-Sweep™ Hooks n Camel-back profile prevents sweeping while providing direct access for customers. n Flip Scan® Label Holder swings up and out of the way. n Use of plain-paper labels can save up to 65% on labels and up to 75% on labor.
Adjustable Merchandising Tray For dairy, freezer and center store
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Being Seen Means Being Sold
AR S YYEEA
American Manufacturing Manufacturing
©2022 Trion Industries, Inc. 297 Laird St., Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702 Ph 570-824-1000 | Fx 570-823-4080 Toll-Free in the U.S.A. 800-444-4665 firstname.lastname@example.org www.TrionOnline.com
VP of Sales, Walmart and Sam’s Club, The Simply Good Foods Co.
Year over year, Mahoney grew Simply Good Foods by double digits at Walmart and Sam’s Club, fostering category growth; last year, she received an award for Top Sales Team of the Year due to her work with these retailers. In select Walmart stores, Mahoney implemented health-and-wellness end caps featuring top-selling items and educational materials; the end caps drove traffic to Walmart. com, where shoppers could learn more about low-carb eating and additional products. Mahoney leads by example, training for Iron Man competitions and following a low-carb diet; she belongs to NextUp and is also active in local charities.
Chief Product Officer and GM of Retail/CPG, Symphony RetailAI
Sullivan worked directly with one of the top five U.S. grocers on major product upgrade initiatives in 2021 that helped the retailer achieve record fourth-quarter and full-year sales while improving margins and reducing expenses. Her efforts to upgrade Symphony RetailAI products were instrumental in Hawaii’s largest grocer, Foodland, selecting the company’s broad portfolio of artificial intelligence-based solutions to automate and enhance its end-to-end retail practices. A Navy veteran, Sullivan volunteers for various military causes; she was also named one of the Influentials: Top 10 Movers and Shakers in Retail 2021 by Progressive Grocer sister publication RIS News.
2022 Top Women in Grocery Crystal Ackerman
VP, Meat and Seafood, Southeastern Grocers
Ackerman led her team to exceed all financial expectations in 2021, including sales, gross profit, working capital and shrink. She orchestrated a highly successful campaign with Certified Angus Beef for all stores, which included merchandising, promotions, in-store training and marketing; her team also achieved the highest own-brand penetration across the company. Southeastern Grocers’ executive board invited Ackerman to be an active member of its first Advanced Leadership Program, which she successfully completed, and she was recently appointed co-chair of the FMI/ North American Meat Institute Annual Meat Conference.
Director of Marketing, T.A. Solberg Inc.
Furtak led her team to receive five national awards in the past three years from the National Grocers Association’s Creative Choice competition; the awards recognized outstanding marketing and merchandising, digital advertising, and a full-store remodel/ rebrand in one location that will serve as the foundation for store platforms going forward. Her team’s events resulted in increased sales and brand awareness for store locations, and kept the stores relevant to their communities. Furtak is integral to the company’s charitable events, specifically the Annual Golf Outing, which raised $197,000 in its first five years to address food insecurity, health care and support for law enforcement.
SVP, Communications, SpartanNash
GM and Chief CCR Officer, Symphony RetailAI
Chance managed the SpartanNash Summit where the company unveiled its new brand identity and growth strategy; With 600-plus top leaders attending in-person amid COVID protocols, nimble logistics and flexibility were a must, but the meeting came off without a hitch. She introduced SpartanNash’s new Circle of Excellence program for front-line employees, which recognized 79 associates in its first year with an activity-packed weekend in Orlando, Fla. Chance teamed with community partners on fundraising and disaster relief initiatives, including tornado rapid response, milk fundraising drives, and a $1 million donation of food, medicine and supplies to Ukraine.
She spearheaded an effort to aggregate global grocery shopper purchase and loyalty data to provide unique industry perspective and thought leadership on several topics that were critical during the pandemic; the research delved into how price and quality motivate shoppers within particular categories. Jacques’ strong leadership style and sense of authenticity played key roles in establishing a culture of trusted relationships, open communication and collaboration at her company.
SVP, Human Resources, UNFI
During the pandemic, Rathore launched a line of sustainably sourced napkins, tissues, toilet paper and paper towels made from panda-friendly bamboo fibers and sugarcane — two rapidly renewable resources with a low carbon footprint. Under her leadership, TrueChoicePack was listed on the Inc. 5000 Fastest-Growing Private Companies in America list for the third consecutive year, with 254% sales growth last year. Due to her significant contributions to her community, Rathore was a recipient of the Woman of Distinction award from Girl Scouts of Southwest Ohio, and she has been included in the Xavier University Archives of the American Dream.
Jacques unified customer-centric retailing client teams in the United States, Europe and Asia to accelerate efforts to leverage cross-client learnings and drive value for clients.
Soto redesigned the human resources model with focus on agility and adapting to change; it’s designed to quickly build and deliver solutions that are responsive to business leaders and associate needs. She centralized the talent acquisition function and grew the team from four to 50 recruiting employees during the past 12 months, an effort that was extremely difficult during the global pandemic and ongoing labor market challenges. As well as those achievements, Soto developed an innovative flexible work model for distribution centers that’s designed to supplement the full-time workforce, reduce mandatory overtime and provide increased flexibility for the operation.
PROGRESSIVE GROCER June 2022
2022 Top Women in Grocery Emily Takkunen VP, FP+A, UNFI
Takkunen played a key role in UNFI’s efforts to transform the finance function from hindsight to insight to foresight; she implemented a new forecasting process to improve budgeting, with clearly defined drivers of expected future results and better-defined and -executed forecasting cadence. As is her usual practice, she proactively reached out to each business leader to determine where the company might be able to benefit from opportunities and mitigate risks, leading to improved financial performance.
CEO, Van’s Kitchen
Motter led the company’s expansion into thousands of grocery stores across the country while still maintaining focus on the brand’s core product; she also spearheaded the move into c-stores with to-go products. Since becoming CEO, she has rebuilt the team, implemented a strategic planning cycle, provided health insurance for reasonable rates and executed a 401(k) retirement plan for her employees.
As the key finance leader for the productivity initiative program, Takkunen oversaw tracking scorecards and other reporting to ensure that the company was on track to meet or exceed UNFI productivity objectives.
Motter developed Van’s Cares, a fund specifically dedicated to helping role models and vendor partners who are in financial, medical or personal need, and she uses her knowledge from her previous role as CFO of the company to teach employees crucial personal finance lessons.
VP, Marketing, Vestcom
Nakhooda launched a new social media campaign that significantly increased impressions with the targeted audience: 1.3 million impressions, an 800% increase over the prior year, which helped drive a 25% year-over-year increase in company revenue. She recommended that the company add a project management team and oversaw the hiring of a four-member team that has already improved the value of the company’s solutions by designing a new software application and launching a major initiative to redesign support processes and tools. Nakhooda helped launch the company’s first employee resource group for women and assisted with two events for it.
Third-Generation CEO, Volpi Foods
During a brand refresh, Pasetti created the Raised Responsibly program, which outlines more than a dozen criteria that farm partners must comply with to provide a better environment for animals and yield the best-quality product; the refresh also introduced first-of-its-kind paper-based deli packaging that reduces plastic consumption by more than 70% compared with standard deli packs.
Head of Industry, Grocery Vertical, Vericast
After a recent promotion where she went from $100 million revenue responsibility to $400 million revenue responsibility and a larger team, Bauman and her team grew total business by 4% and drove 61% growth in emerging digital business, despite ongoing pandemic challenges.
Elizabeth Clifton VP, Client Development, Vestcom
Clifton created a client supergroup to coordinate all members of the company who serve a particular retail client, regardless of whether they’re part of the dedicated client development team or functional experts indirectly supporting the account, which has improved team collaboration, accountability and customer service.
In her new position, she led her team to deliver new connected TV media to both English- and Spanish-language consumers, driving a higher-than-average conversion rate and a positive return on investment.
She traveled the country to build authentic relationships at all levels of the client’s company to understand their specific needs and tailor Vestcom’s solutions to meet them.
Passionate about helping team members grow to their full potential through coaching and mentoring, Bauman guided four of her team members to job promotions.
Clifton traveled to Argentina as a volunteer for Libertate, a female-led nonprofit focused on transforming businesses through consultation, training and support for people with disabilities.
VP, Advertising and Social Media, Wakefern Food Corp.
Choudhry increased Wakefern’s exposure to younger consumers by building on media trends; this included testing new platforms and placements and discontinuing underperforming tactics, all of which resulted in an increased impression share of Millennials by 10% across social platforms.
She opened a fifth production facility, an 89,000-square-foot conversion facility that created more than 20 jobs.
She built a new creative center of excellence for the organization to develop integrated marketing campaigns, leading to a cost savings of $1.5 million.
Pasetti was recognized by the Specialty Food Association with the Business Leadership Award, which recognizes industry leaders who are actively advancing best practices.
Serving on the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Action Council, Choudhry participated in panels for women in leadership and embedded DEI work in her day-to-day job.
SAVE THE DATE!
NOV. 3-4, 2022 ORLANDO, FL
FOR MORE INFORMATION: www.topwomenin grocery.com
2022 Top Women in Grocery Lingyun Zhang
Product Director, Acosta
Zhang delivered The Finance Flash Report, giving Acosta the ability to project business performance across all divisions, countries and companies within its entire operation. She co-led the launch of the Acosta Client KPI Dashboard, which enables users to quickly identify key opportunities across several hubs/markets; this dashboard has proved invaluable, becoming the single source of truth at Acosta when it comes to client performance. A member of Acosta’s IT Engagement Council, Zhang helped cultivate a healthy corporate culture, pulling out all the stops to share the cultural traditions, stories and recipes of the Chinese Dragonboat Festival in a spectacular live presentation.
Alisha Pettigrew Gourley
Senior Director, Operations, Advantage Solutions/ Advantage Customer Service
Gourley developed and implemented event-specific training videos to provide an additional layer of education and support as event specialists prepare for high-profile in-store activations; the initiative has led to improved overall job performance. She launched an enhanced interactive Fresh Ambassador Certification training program to grow the meat and seafood categories at Walmart’s Supercenter and Neighborhood Market retail stores. A youth pastor at her church, Gourley developed a leadership initiative in which she mentors young adults as they lead children’s programming.
Director, Business Development, Advantage Solutions/ Advantage Customer Experience
Having relaunched the in-store sampling program at Walmart after nearly two years, Moffett led the top-performing in-store sampling sales team within the division, delivering 49.5% of all in-store event counts for 2021. Amid the Great Resignation, she was the only sales leader not only to retain her original team, but also to add three more direct reports, becoming the leader of the largest sales team (by number of people) for Walmart Retailtainment. In addition to her job duties at Advantage, Moffett leads the company’s Adult Beverage Legal Best Practices task force and is a member of the Women’s Interactive Network.
Senior Director, Business Development, Advantage Solutions/Daymon
Bryan built several business cases to add more talent to help support the increased responsibilities and workload assumed by her team after a major reorganization by a customer. She played a pivotal role in the onboarding of a strategically important retail customer, securing additional services by being awarded the customer’s creative design, WIC administration and special-project sourcing business. Bryan planned and moderated Advantage’s panel discussion featuring key company leaders in Conversations of Courage regarding their experiences of living with a disability and how it shapes their leadership outlook.
Senior Shopper Insights Manager, Advantage Solutions/ Advantage Customer Experience
The Meijer Baby Week program, including targeted online order sampling and Braciak’s post-performance analytics, drove nearly 15% of targeted brands’ sales from digital purchases, converting more than 7% of shoppers to digital engagement with supporting brands. As leader of the Content + Connectivity Pillar for PRISM, Advantage’s LGBTQIA+ employee resource group, Braciak crafted content that garnered 3,300-plus views and newsletters delivered to more than 15,000 associates. Braciak led NextUp Michigan in a series of Courageous Conversations on gender identity, race and neurodiversity.
Senior Director, Advantage Solutions/ Advantage Sales
Bergman was able to deliver huge EBIDTA growth, beating the grocery budget by 15%. She was instrumental in executing a strategic initiative for associates to stay connected through a localized mentoring program, implementing developmental plans for associates’ career growth and aspirations, and forming a network of support for the sales teams. Bergman is VP of the Mid-Atlantic Food Trade Organization, an industry association that hosts events for top retailers and grocery CPG companies, with the aims of uniting the food industry, fostering good will, raising money for charity and providing scholarships to students.
GROW YOUR BUSINESS WITH THE BEST IN 2022!
2020 MEDIA KIT
BRAND BUILDING & MARKET ENGAGEMENT PLANNING GUIDE
BRAND BUILDING & MARKET ENGAGEMENT PLANNING GUIDE
CONTACT YOUR SALES REP FOR DETAILS AND TO START BUILDING YOUR BRAND SUCCESS TODAY! Tammy Rokowski Associate Publisher, Regional Sales Manager Southwest, MI, International 248.514.9500 trokowski@ensembleIQ.com
Theresa Kossack Sales - Midwest, GA, FL 214.226.6468 tkossack@ensembleIQ.com
Bob Baker Sales - New England, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast US, Eastern Canada 732.429.2080 email@example.com
Lou Meszoros Business Development Manager - Grocery Group 203.610.2807 firstname.lastname@example.org
2022 Top Women in Grocery Connie Germoso
Retail Operations Manager, Advantage Solutions/ Advantage Sales
Germoso’s retail sales team worked with Wakefern’s business teams to develop a store-level selling program with group owners, leading to an on-shelf availability average of 96% and executing 5,000 incremental displays equating to $3 million in sales revenue. At Walmart, her region generated $5.5 million in sales revenue by achieving 97% display penetration, up 20% from the prior year; overall, the region ended 2021 with a projected net sales value of $54 million-plus for the client. Germoso is a mentor at Celebrate Hope Center in Staten Island, which provides aid to those battling addiction.
Karen Hunstiger Director of Talent Development, Advantage Solutions/SAS Retail Services
Customer Team Lead, Advantage Solutions/ Advantage Sales
Winner of a Business Development Manager of the Year award, Kryger took on management responsibilities, resulting in additional growth of 34% on top of her direct account ownership; this new level of responsibility also enabled her to further develop her mentoring skills. When a client’s line of products was slated for discontinuation, she worked with key retailer decision-makers to reverse the decision by bringing strategic insights showing the importance of the product line. In addition to being a member of NextUp, Kryger is a volunteer leading and organizing all fundraising efforts for The Cat’s Meow, a local Idaho nonprofit.
Jodi Rambone Director of Operations, Advantage Solutions/SAS Retail Services
After expanding to a dedicated program in 2020 with her retailer, Hunstiger continued to show strong bottom-line performance, delivering an increase of 12% over her budgeted revenue through June and a 25% increase to her previous year’s results.
Thanks to the idea-sharing environment that she fostered with the operations team, Rambone grew the ADUSA brand from $29.5 million in 2020 to a projected $33.5 million in 2022, and she finished 2021 with an ISA completion rate of 99.9%.
She supported hosting 392 live one-hour new-hire orientation sessions and the integration of 6,357 new associates, driving a 23% increase in new hires making it to stores on day one, and doubling the overall retention of those new hires who made it to day one — a 51% increase.
She redefined the relationship between recruiters and territory supervisors, creating a team in which recruiting is a shared responsibility, revamping the referral process, and getting more attention and engagement; while 45% of new hires came from referrals last year, 2022 is trending at 50%.
Hunstiger created and implemented a mentorship program to support the company’s international partners in China.
Rambone completed 52 fullstore remodels, each averaging seven to 10 weeks.
Senior Director, Business Development, Advantage Solutions/ Advantage Sales
McQuarrie was a critical member of the team that delivered $44.7 million in new revenue for the Advantage sales organization, which represented a 143% increase in new business revenue versus the prior year. She led the transition and onboarding of all large strategic wins for the sales organization, including the two largest clients that Advantage won in 2021, which saw sales increases of 12.7% and 3.1% within the first 28 weeks of their partnership with the company. McQuarrie volunteers with her local library as an English literacy tutor for adults and completed an Ironman Triathlon in 2021.
Director of Sales, Corporate Accounts, Advantage Solutions/Waypoint
Director of Retail Operations, Advantage Solutions/SAS Retail Services
Caruso implemented a monthly recognition program to spotlight associates who go above and beyond for the organization; a total of 240 associates were recognized, with those who exemplified top performance featured in the program’s newsletter. She co-chaired and created content and structure for the new-hire orientation program, which has since been rolled out to all associates within SAS Retail Services. Caruso takes part in such groups as Leonard Green and Partners-Women in Leadership, where she supports female peers through a professional share network, and she’s also a mentor for SAS associates in China.
Client Manager, Advantage Solutions/Waypoint
Divo encouraged her team, whose territory spans 34 states, to hunt for new opportunities to grow business, which helped in obtaining double-digit growth for more than 80% of its clients, despite unprecedented times for the industry.
With COVID changing how she typically built rapport and strengthened relationships, Nichols got creative with such initiatives as Virtual Coffee, which entailed sending clients a Grubhub gift card to order coffee for meetings.
In addition to investing the time to mentor and coach two new regional account executives to be future leaders, she had to assume responsibility for the planning and execution of trade shows because of fewer team members; despite this challenge, the events proceded smoothly.
Other examples of her innovative selling ideas included organizing an “unpack the box” meeting, which was a virtual call with an operator or sales rep during which each participant unpacked a box of samples together and reviewed the products.
Divo developed and implemented successful sales promotions at distribution for key clients; the most recent results indicated 12% growth.
Nichols also created a Virtual Bread Box, a turnkey program that suggested samples and point-of-sale and menu ideas to support sales presentations.
CONGRATULATIONS to Our Top Women in Grocery 2022
Director Blue Marble Brands Sales, UNFI
Manager Regional Merchandising, UNFI
Senior Manager Branding UNFI
Yard Coordinator UNFI
Senior Vice President, Human Resources, UNFI
Category Manager UNFI
Vice President Financial Planning & Analysis UNFI
Sales Operations Manager UNFI Brands+
District Manager, Pharmacy UNFI/Cub Foods
Director, Human Resources UNFI/Cub Foods
Manager, Customer Care Center, UNFI/Cub Foods
Category Manager, HHB/ GM, UNFI/Shoppers Food
Store Director, UNFI/Cub Foods
Thank you for continuously solving, creating, and discovering for our people, industry, and planet. Building Better.
2022 Top Women in Grocery Kelsey Weber
Director, E-Commerce, Advantage Solutions/Waypoint
Based on e-commerce audit presentations, Weber sold incremental image capture and written content work worth nearly $50,000 to improve client assets and be in compliance with distributor requirements. She helped develop six customized digital playbooks for top distributors to provide insight and education to manufacturers on each distributor’s e-commerce policies, protocols and ways of working. At an in-person meeting with top clients, Weber presented information on the current state of foodservice e-commerce, which spurred three top clients to incorporate new e-commerce resources as part of their 2022 strategy plans.
Director Logistics Operations, ADUSA Supply Chain Services
Severance launched a prepaid tracking pilot for inbound freight for the Food Lion brand, which gave visibility to the top 75 vendors, and she led the development and execution of a process that reduced appointment rescheduling via email by 92%. She helped redesign the logistics operations function to support the future state of the supply chain, leading to the addition of at least 17 incremental positions. Severance completed the Cornell Food Executives Program, which covers food industry trends, personal leadership style, work-life balance, best-in-class food retailing strategies and the economic environment.
Manager ADvantage Program Planning, ADUSA Procurement
Guy stood up and managed the ADvantage Support Center from end to end, including development, user acceptance testing (UAT), launch, daily management and administrative needs, while also overseeing analysts’ responses to cases. She launched the vendor-facing ADvantage Scorecard, a monthly publication for vendors on enhancements and all dealings with IT and supply chain data analytics, conducted numerous Scorecard review sessions with vendors, and created a Scorecard guide and video. Guy partnered with market research company IRI on critical report training and supported several key vendor negotiations.
Director, Government Affairs, Ahold Delhaize USA
As the lead government relations business partner for Food Lion, Gardner helped brand leadership navigate regulatory matters affecting operations, business performance, competitive position and business strategy. In addition to spearheading Food Lion’s partnership with Reinvestment Partners (RP), which created the RP Rx program that provides fresh fruit and vegetable incentives for customers, her team’s work led to $13.6 million in newly available funding for the program. Garner aided in the creation of three new produce prescription programs: BCBS Eat Well, Mecklenburg County Rx and the Rx Veterans Affairs Program.
Director Fulfillment Support, ADUSA Supply Chain Services
Baird led the setup and support for the opening of an automated facility for The Giant Co., and headed the device selection project to lay the foundation for a new e-commerce order-picking ecosystem. She was the key contact for all contingency planning and disaster recovery, ensuring the best operational outcomes while keeping excellent customer service and retention, as well as risk mitigation, at the forefront of all decision-making. As part of a team focused on the creation of a better working environment for women at the ADUSA Supply Chain companies, Baird contributed workable solutions to leadership, including enhanced parental leave.
Strategy Manager, Ahold Delhaize USA
After she developed analytical insights for a business development partnership with a retail competitor, Greiner began facilitation and analytical work to branch out from that partnership with a U.S. brand. She supported the highest-priority strategic work in her organization: the revitalization of its second-largest U.S. grocery brand. In addition to achieving size and scale on such projects as centralizing the contract management process, Greiner spends her time away from work volunteering with The TAD Project, a nonprofit organization that offers a digital learning series on mental health education and suicide prevention.
Director Supply Chain Strategy, ADUSA Supply Chain Services
Nickerson led efforts associated with identifying the 2022 annual priorities for the companies of ADUSA Supply Chain; these priorities were cascaded throughout the organization to focus associates on the most important bodies of work for the year. She headed a 12-week focus group comprising top female leaders and individual contributors across the companies of ADUSA Supply Chain to come up with viable ideas to create more progressive workplaces for women. In partnership with the VP of HR, Nickerson led strategic development efforts to create ADUSA Supply Chain’s first diversity, equity and inclusion strategy.
Category Manager, Food Lion
Despite unprecedented challenges, Busby grew sales by more than 12% from the prior year and achieved significant market share growth in the seafood and packaged meat categories by adding new items and securing alternative suppliers. She developed a robust local offerings program, individualized to each state in Food Lion’s 10-state footprint, that helped grow local sales by 4% over the previous year. As the manager of Food Lion’s Confident Seafood and Sustainability program, Busby focused on increasing transparency and led Food Lion to become the first Ahold Delhaize USA brand to launch the Ocean Disclosure Project, a voluntary reporting tool for retailers and suppliers.
2022 Top Women in Grocery Sara Creel
Manager of Labor Systems, Food Lion
Under Creel’s management, Food Lion executed the seamless rollout of several key labor initiatives company-wide in 2021, including an associate mobile scheduling app and a new labor management system; her ability to forge strong relationships across the organization was critical to the success of the function.
Director of Operations, Charlotte East Region, Food Lion
Dedicated to providing a best-inclass shopping experience, Elliott delivered improvements to front end and customer service metrics that outpaced other regions; in 2021, her region received a Net Promoter Score of 86% for friendliness.
She was instrumental in developing next-generation labor behavior key performance indicators that will allow the company to better understand labor behaviors while improving customer service.
She found creative ways to improve the customer experience and added a QR code to her business card to make it easier for customers to provide feedback; her innovative idea was later adopted by the Food Lion marketing team and other leaders.
Creel was named a “Count on Me” award winner for living Food Lion’s core values of courage, integrity, teamwork, care and humor.
Elliott partnered with the city of Charlotte’s Mayor Youth Employment Program to provide local young adults with employment opportunities.
Integrated Planning Manager, Food Lion
Mahon partnered with a third-party company to uncover new ways that the marketing team could deliver more cohesive messaging to customers, and is leading a project group to implement the learnings from that project. She helped bridge the gap between the marketing and commercial planning teams to align both teams’ goals and create a more consistent brand experience for Food Lion customers. Mahon established a dedicated project management organization within the marketing team to allow a standardized way to manage the hundreds of projects that receive marketing services each year; the team will ensure that the work is done more efficiently.
Lucia Mangione Director of Merchandising, Northern Division, Food Lion
Mangione spearheaded initiatives to expand and improve on Food Lion’s Hispanic produce offering, and optimized kosher products within the perishable and fresh meat departments in select stores. She adopted an automated production planning tool for the deli department that uses machine learning to forecast store-specific item-level demand, track hourly consumption and recommend production quantities using real-time store-level data; the tool helped grow same-store sales in the deli, and a rollout across all stores is planned. Mangione is a member of the Food Lion Women’s Business Resource Group.
Director of Finance, Food Lion
Harrington provided layered and nuanced financial reports for Food Lion leadership during a critical time of massive expansion; from store remodels to adding home delivery and Food Lion To Go programs, her team accurately projected and budgeted for multiple milestones. She was a key player in a project to replace decentralized financial systems with SAP S/4 HANA financial software; her work has been critical to the project’s ability to deliver transparent and consistent global reporting. Harrington and her team tracked COVID-19 impact from sales through operating expenses to ensure that the effects were clearly understood through reporting packages.
Marketing Manager, In-Store Communications, Food Lion
McMahan was instrumental in the development of a new omnichannel décor package for the Food Lion brand that is currently being tested in stores. She partnered with her signage specialist and Food Lion’s consumer insights department on an in-depth evaluation of what Food Lion customers want to see and read in stores, and how to implement in-store communications for the best return on investment. McMahan’s team created a plan to enhance the Food Lion price perception message within certain markets, which included ongoing monitoring of competitor pricing and evolving the way that Food Lion’s focus on affordability shows up in stores.
Strategic Initiatives Manager, Central Division, Food Lion
Lansley was instrumental in implementing the Food Lion To Go e-commerce platform at 30-plus new locations in the Central division; her leadership helped grow the division’s e-commerce sales by 75% and improve associate productivity by five basis points over the previous year. Her work supporting the remodel of 19 Tennessee stores ensured that customers continued to have a safe, clean, easy-to-shop experience during the transition, and helped those stores deliver a sales increase. Lansley partnered with the e-commerce team to open many new home meal solution offerings, such as fried chicken and hot wings, for online customers.
Director of Operations, Richmond/Norfolk Division, Food Lion
Owens’ focus on analyzing sales data, executing merchandising initiatives, improving customer service and reaching out to business partners for their expertise helped boost sales by more than 3% and average sales per customer by 5% in 2021. Her region excelled in several company benchmarks, including sustainability and shrink, where she achieved her deliverables for every department; under her supervision, four underperforming stores finished the year with significantly improved results. By listening to customer comments and taking action to meet their needs, Owens led her division to a seven-point Net Promoter Score increase in 2021.
Cong ul ions I I G
Rising Senior Manager Strategic Projects
Rising Senior Director Supply Chain & Trade Relations
Rising Manager National Demand Planning
Rising Senior Analyst Private Brands
2022 Top Women in Grocery Kathryn Sowers
Director of Operations, Central Division Food Lion
Category Manager, Food Lion
Sowers achieved results that outperformed both budget and forecasted numbers for 2021, delivering a 6.9% samestore sales increase and more than 19% growth in sales to budgeted sales for the year.
Despite missing one quarter of 2021 due to illness, Wells delivered superior results in 2021, growing top-line sales by 16%, increasing movement by 7.7% and boosting margin before shrink by 4.24%.
For a resort store near seasonal attractions, she built a strategic plan that included staffing, product, delivery timing and specific product needs; the strategy doubled sales overnight at the location for three continuous weeks.
In a strategy shift for tomatoes, she sourced new items from various suppliers and worked with internal and external logistics teams, demand-planning analysts, buying system specialists, market share data analysts, and quality assurance and inventory management associates to deliver 10.5% movement growth and 21.2% sales growth.
Sowers also found the time to create a divisional community recognition plan for 285 stores in her division to recognize local first responders such as firefighters, EMS workers and police personnel with food gift platters and baskets.
Director, Category, The Giant Co.
With sustainability a key initiative, Kreider worked with suppliers to transition packaging from Styrofoam trays to clear recyclable PET trays within several meat categories; she also worked with a key seafood supplier to convert from foam case packaging to reusable plastic containers.
Wells’ passion for supporting local farmers led to more than 20% increases in local sales and helped many farms grow their operations exponentially.
Kristi Monnett-Nailor Manager, Merchandise Planning, The Giant Co.
Monnett-Nailor helped launch Giant Direct e-commerce brands, which led to millions in incremental funding via increased vendor monetization during the pandemic.
She led her team in thinking outside the box when working with partners and new suppliers to ensure product availability in every category, ultimately exceeding sales targets.
She introduced such new ideas as additional promotions; the introduction of a two-week circular that reduced labor for the operations team; a stronger, more approachable focus on meal solutions each week; and an increase in digital support.
Her meat and seafood departments exceeded budgeted growth targets in sales, department gross and favorable shrink, and store-made signature items in each department grew 23% year over year.
Monnett-Nailor improved process efficiencies and optimization with condensed seasonal playbooks, a more well-balanced temporary price reduction calendar to reduce labor in stores, and a weekly competitive summary.
Manager, Community Impact, The Giant Co.
Groves implemented the company’s first 30 Days of Hunger Action in honor of Hunger Action Month in September 2021; activities to raise funds included the Giant Grocery Grab, where “celebrity” contestants shopped until they dropped.
Lisa Kinsey Director of Accounting, The Giant Co.
Kinsey revamped reporting, which gave business partners more tools to make data-driven decisions and led the profitability analysis to improve results on underperforming stores.
She developed and implemented a comprehensive community support plan, including $40,000 in donations and more than 125 volunteer service hours by employees, for three new stores that opened and one store that relocated.
She oversaw the financial aspects of the company’s expansion and integration of the e-commerce division’s new grocery pickup locations, additional locker solutions in some stores, a partnership with Instacart to offer “instant delivery,” and the opening of a new automated fulfillment center in Philadelphia.
Groves initiated the company’s first social impact report, which was released this past spring and detailed the company’s strides in community relations, sustainability, diversity, equity and inclusion, and more.
Kinsey is a founding member of the Take Care team, the company’s charitable fund, which provides assistance to employees experiencing difficult situations who are in need of financial help.
Creative Director, Brand Experience, The Giant Co.
Sherwood led a team of 17 in the design process of opening four unique and diverse stores, each crafted specifically for the neighborhood it serves.
Director of Human Resources, The Giant Co.
Sweigert’s region met its budget of nonperishable shrink and was the best in the brand by a significant amount, with every store in the region achieving its shrink budget.
She oversaw the aesthetic design of the company’s first e-commerce fulfillment center and designed the 124,000-square-foot space to accommodate the Philadelphia headquarters for The Giant Co. within six months.
With a focus on delivering premier conditions in her stores, which aren’t located in highly urban areas, she has led her region to deliver the No. 1 sales comps in the company for two consecutive years.
Due to her ability to execute the brand’s omnichannel strategy and consistently deliver exceptional results, Sherwood was promoted to creative director this year, and now also oversees all elements of circular production and delivery as well as leading the social media team.
Sweigert recruited four department managers, two assistant department managers, one store manager and one assistant store manager from a competitor, while internally, she placed nine members of her team in the salaried management training program and approved 157 promotions.
AHOLD DELHAIZE USA CONGRATULATES OUR
TOP WOMEN IN GROCERY! We are incredibly proud of the work each of you has done to support ADUSA, as well as the companies of Ahold Delhaize USA. Thank you for your leadership and commitment to teamwork.
VP, Health and Sustainability
Director, Government Affairs
Ahold Delhaize | USA
2022 Top Women in Grocery Kate Clarke
Senior Manager, E-Commerce Merchandising, Giant Food
Clarke leads the partnership between Giant Food and a local food and beverage incubator, which has introduced more than 20 small-business entrepreneurs to Giant’s e-commerce channel this year. She launched several efforts to monitor and mitigate out-of-stock issues in e-commerce, including weekly reviews of top items across vendors, and worked with suppliers and assortment teams to conduct substitution audits that fed new data into online shopping algorithms. Clarke oversaw the introduction of the company’s ship-tohome program, providing online customers with an endless array of items that might not be stocked on store shelves.
Category Manager Frozen, Giant Food
Stankovich’s skills in driving strategy, growing volume, and management led to a promotion to oversee the third-largest category in the company, where she had to contend with service levels below 50%, but was still able to grow sales. During a time of supply chain challenges, she sought alternative sourcing and new suppliers, continuously updated her assortment to optimize items based on availability, and created collaborative relationships with stakeholders, vendors and cross-functional teams. As well as being an active member of NextUp, Stankovich mentors women within Giant Food through the Women’s Inclusion Network.
Manager III Category, Giant Food
Creaturo drove her department’s commitment to increase sustainable, healthy and renewable products in each segment by adding new vendors and challenging existing suppliers to match updates in light bulbs, batteries, kitchen gadgets, reusable containers, lunch and reusable bags, and candy. Under her guidance, seasonal sales in candy and general merchandise increased, and she improved processes for defining the customer’s best-in-class assortment and accuracy for store-specific allocations. Outside of her work in the candy and general merchandise categories, Creaturo is a certified wine specialist and a member of the Guild of Sommeliers.
Asset Protection Director, Giant Food
Stevenson beat the 2021 nonperishable shrink target by four basis points, the highest level of execution to budget in the company for at least 20 years. She developed a more innovative tool/process to help mitigate shrink across all departments, including a new vendor tool for processing payments that simplified business transactions at store level and from a financial reporting aspect. Stevenson also was able to create a learning and development strategy for the asset protection team and subsequently implemented department-wide training to include all levels of the team, with ongoing collaboration across several corporate divisions.
Manager, Shopper Marketing, Giant Food
Su Jin Roberge
Manager of Clinical Programs, Giant Food
Greene expanded her current role to facilitate multipartner summits that include best practices and methods to improve shopper marketing influence and to ensure that the program has the necessary depth, breadth and scale.
During the pandemic, Roberge, realizing that pediatric immunizations might be lacking due to the move to virtual health care, developed training for pediatric immunizations, which was launched in all stores in the summer of 2021.
She closed a gap in shopper marketing data by working across brands and with external analytic partners and the company’s digital consultancy brand to find the path toward a scale-level analytics suite for shopper marketing as a whole.
She worked on medication administration and training that was fully implemented to all stores, allowing customers to save a trip to, and co-pay at, their physician’s office because they could be serviced more conveniently by pharmacists instead.
Greene created and launched Giant’s first dedicated diversity, equality and inclusion shopper marketing program, offering shopper marketing channel placements directly to diverse suppliers at preferred rates.
Dedicated to the future of the industry that she has worked so hard to advance, Roberge is an active preceptor who works with students from several colleges of pharmacy, helping prepare them for careers in retail pharmacy.
Brittany Quirion Director of Operations, Hannaford Supermarkets
Leading 13 store teams and approximately 2,500 associates in the mid-coastal Maine area, Quirion strategically developed talent within the company, always with a strong focus on diversity, and partnered with all areas of the business to achieve outstanding financial results. In 2021, she received the John J. Russell Award, which is presented annually; the award is named after a former Hannaford officer and board member revered for his warmth, humor and interest in the development of others as much as for his honesty, integrity and business acumen. Quirion volunteers at area food banks to assist the needy in her area.
Category Manager, Beer, Wine, Liquor, Hannaford Supermarkets
Under Richard’s leadership, the beer category at Hannaford has grown dollar share in the super-premium, craft and flavored malt beverage segments, outpacing the competitive market by 1.3%. As the chair of the Women’s Business Resource Group (BRG) at Hannaford, she held monthly leadership meetings to discuss goals for the quarter, making it a point to reach out to every department within the company. Richard was one of the main drivers in the creation of a BRG at brewing company FIFCO, Women in Beer, with the aim of eventually forming a collaboration with Hannaford’s BRG to empower women at both organizations.
2022 Top Women in Grocery Katie Wallace
Director of Category, Merchandising, Pricing, Hannaford Supermarkets
In her role as Hannaford brand ambassador for a strategic transformational initiative, Wallace helped develop tactics to support the project’s key strategies and played a major role in effecting change across the U.S. organization. She guided the VP and director teams through a goal-setting process that created alignment around strategic areas of focus and supported tactics for the department, including fresh and center store category management, merchandising, and pricing. Despite the company’s pivot to a remote environment, Wallace’s leadership enabled her team to deliver excellent results, amid ongoing supply chain issues.
Business Consultant, Retail Business Services
Senior Corporate and Executive Recruiter, Peapod Digital Labs
McDermott hired 17 diverse director-level positions last year, increasing the company’s diversity, equity and inclusion metrics, and also drove training for hiring managers on interviewing best practices. She led the co-op program and ran the strategy for recruiting 40 students specializing in product management, technology and data science, which resulted in 10% of the co-op population receiving full-time opportunities at Peapod Digital Labs. When not performing her demanding job duties, McDermott is president of Peapod’s Mental Health Inclusion Network and the organizer of the Women’s Monthly Book Club, as well as being the leader of a group Bible study.
Workers’ Compensation Manager, Retail Business Services
Consumer Insights Lead, Peapod Digital Labs
Rusnak improved her team’s Associate Engagement Score from an inherited 37% to 100% and also stepped in to successfully lead a newly reorganized research team in the absence of an appointed leader. She was responsible for saving the company more than $500,000 in contract negotiations with research suppliers, and built a cohesive, functioning team that she aimed to inspire on a daily basis. When not at work, Rusnak somehow found the time to routinely write well-received thought leadership articles for industry publications on proper methodology and best practices; she also sits on the board of directors for the Highpointers Foundation.
Linda D. Zimmerman
Director of Business Intelligence and Analytics, Retail Business Services
Doucette led a project for The Giant Co. that implemented a solution to reduce in-store waste and feed families more affordably, which resulted in the diversion of more than 1 million pounds of food from waste.
Due to Kossel’s strategic engagement of the workers’ compensation team in a claims closure project, 50% of the accident claims from 2000 to 2018 were closed, while the outstanding liability was reduced by $80 million.
Zimmerman and her team enabled personalized intelligence by building out a natural-language processing framework used for customer-facing bots, which derives insights from call center responses, reducing manual labor in the process.
She also oversaw a multiyear program that implemented a production-planning tool for some fresh departments to provide accurate item-level store forecasts in support of growing sales and optimizing production.
She worked to develop a targeted course to accelerate training for new hires to be able to quickly learn claims basics, and collaborated with two local universities to identify that career fairs and class participation helped engage students’ interest in this particular career field.
She created a new operations team focusing on process stabilization and improving the time that it takes to resolve issues; this has already led to a 20% reduction of ticket volumes.
To help the company deliver exceptional products to the business faster and more effectively, Doucette participated in workshops focused on re-creating project execution methodologies and processes.
Despite her busy work schedule, Kossel also served as a director on the board of the nonprofit Carolinas Risk and Insurance Management Society.
Under Zimmerman’s leadership, the organization delivered data services and products in support of 68 projects; meanwhile, she devotes her spare time to personal community improvement projects such as clearing debris from local shorelines.
Manager, Digital Production, Peapod Digital Labs
Over the past year, Scaduto took on added responsibilities, the most significant of which was assuming leadership in managing the company’s relationship with its product content provider, and she and her team also undertook a new taxonomy review project. She helped establish a new rhythm for routine department page updates so as to take advantage of changes in assortment and seasonal highlights. Scaduto led the committee for volunteerism and service within her company, and is also a co-lead of the Helping Hands Inclusion Network, which enables employees to connect with their communities for volunteering, donating and raising awareness.
Manager of Healthy Living, Stop & Shop
Delaney developed a Nutrition Partners Our Picks merchandising program centered on educating shoppers on easy ways to alter their diets; the program helped to improve the brand’s health-and-wellness profile and drove incremental revenue potential. With the Boston Community Transformation Partnership, she worked to improve access to healthy foods in a low-income neighborhood; she also hired a dedicated nutritionist to work with customers and developed a variety of educational programs. Delaney created two unique college partnerships to develop diversity in dietetics; the programming includes a $150,000 endowed scholarship fund and summer intern opportunities.
2022 Top Women in Grocery Michele Merchant
Category Manager, Stop & Shop
Merchant was an integral part of executing Stop & Shop’s cage-free egg initiative for stores in Massachusetts; she worked with vendor partners and internal support areas to develop a clear way to communicate the change and impact to customers at the point of purchase. She engaged key supplier partners in the Go Points loyalty program; leveraging data insights and her strong partnering capabilities, she pushed the envelope on the program, achieving excellent results that will lay the groundwork for future initiatives. Using her forecasting, systems and supply analysis skills, Merchant played a key role in moving the dairy supply chain from an outsourced to an internal model.
National Sales Manager Gift Cards/Commission Income, Albertsons Cos./Corporate
Dederick spearheaded the conversion of third-party gift cards from Blackhawk Network to Incomm within a three-month timeframe at 2,300-plus locations, resulting in a successful 2021 holiday season that added $30 million to Albertsons’ bottom line.
Human Resource Business Partner, Stop & Shop
District Director of Operations, Stop & Shop
As the staffing lead for her region, Mohrlein was vital to improving the performance of her store management teams; she motivated her teams to onboard new associates during a challenging time and implemented different staffing strategies.
Riley turned some of the most challenging locations into profitable stores, perfecting current organizational processes, developing new systems to help her team better understand high-value activities and engaging with leaders on her team in a new way.
Partnering with Center Store Manager Mark Mancini, she spearheaded a networking and mentoring program for assistant store managers to meet regularly and discuss current challenges in the industry and in their stores; the program helped foster a more inclusive workplace.
Through the Rising Stars program at Stop & Shop, she promoted more than 95 people in her district to full-time roles and promoted and developed 24-plus store leaders over the past 12 months.
Mohrlein worked through her store teams to partner with local community organizations to aid recruiting practices during The Great Resignation.
Senior Director Own Brands, Albertsons Cos./Corporate
Langona led the fresh Atlantic salmon category initiative to eliminate brokers, buy directly from fisheries and consolidate to suppliers that caught only oceanraised salmon, resulting in annual cost savings of $1.6 million and reducing shrink at store level.
She directed the implementation of a new vendor, CashStar, which was responsible for taking over the proprietary bulk gift card business online; this led to increased sales of e-cards through the bulk system by 8%.
She jumped into the new segment of value-added premium burgers by working with a cross-functional team, product development and a supplier partner to create five new SKUs that generated $17.7 million in sales in first six months.
During the national coin shortage, Dederick innovated a unique process with a Coinstar vendor to use coins collected at the vendor’s stores and distribute them to divisions in dire need; the total coin count was 84 million-plus.
Langona developed a sales accelerator strategy to build awareness and drive sales for plant-based items and other meat alternatives, resulting in sales increases of more than 500% year over year.
Riley completed the Harvard Business School’s leadership program, Leading with Purpose, and was invited to be a chair of the multicultural associate resource group for Stop & Shop.
Director Own Brands Innovation and Product Management, Albertsons Cos./Corporate
Santos-Dominguez was essential in developing Albertsons’ new category management process, CATalyst, which resulted in a shopper- and data-based decision-making platform that will be the foundation for future growth of Own Brands.
Director of Category Management, Deli and Bakery, Stop & Shop
Taylor led key roadmap strategies, including the rebranding of in-store bakeries and bakery products; that project provided an updated and upgraded label that called out key product attributes and improved store operational efficiencies and speed to shelf. She successfully led the launch of a private-brand premium tier of deli slicing meats, which exceeded initial performance forecasts and filled product voids due to supply chain disruptions. The financial performance of her departments far exceeded both sales and profit targets in 2021; meanwhile, she serves as co-chair for the Stop & Shop Women’s Associate Resource Group.
Retail Implementation and Transformation Manager, Albertsons Cos./ Corporate
While leading the COVID crisis response team, Stocum assisted in the coordination, facilitation and training of new backstage Kings and Balducci associates by ensuring that employees received proper guidance as part of their journey in becoming team members at Albertsons Cos. banners.
She led Own Brands price pack architecture and brand work for new Soleil sparkling water, which led to 15% yearover-year sales growth.
She provided training and support for OBIEE Dashboard, which involved more than 1,000 stores and offices.
Santos-Dominguez respositioned Soleil’s price pack architecture, moving the brand to an 8-pack 12-ounce primary consumer unit, which helped lift the number of incremental households that became repeat Soleil purchasers by 49,000.
A recipient of the company’s Quarterly Recognition Award, Stocum also helped fundraise for and support the annual MS walk, prepared a yearly luncheon for 100 contracted Albertsons associates, and volunteered for Building a Better Spokane.
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2022 Top Women in Grocery Tina Young
National Replenishment Manager, Albertsons Cos./ Corporate
Director, Retail Operations, Albertsons Cos./ Corporate
Tomy developed a modern approach to managing direct store delivery out-of-stocks by using artificial-intelligence reports, eliminating the need to physically scan out-of-stock tags and providing valuable trend insights. In addition to playing a key role in creating an enterprise-wide reporting dashboard that quickly provided visibility into regulatory data requirements related to WIC and SNAP, she helped develop a new national strategic merchandising standard for fresh-cut produce sets. Tomy led the project to automate the report reconciliation process; the solution identified anomalies using bot automation, which resulted in significant improvements in operations.
Selected to be an initiative owner under a major supply chain transformation project, Young helped save the company $1 million this year. Moving to a new position that required her to stand up a team of buyers who would purchase product from three top food suppliers, she hired 11 individuals, trained the new hires and succeeded in having her team not disrupt service to stores. In addition to mentoring three individuals, Young reduced warehouse labor by working with a supplier to increase full pallet ordering, which was up by four percentage points, and direct plant shipments, up by 11 percentage points, in six months.
Casey Patterson Pharmacy District Manager, Albertsons Cos./ Denver
Patterson partnered with district managers and store directors to pick up vaccine weekly to ensure that all of her stores had enough, allowing her territory to give more than 350 shots per store per week for the duration of the vaccine season. She partnered with three county health departments to offer weekly external clinics; this included making appointments, having sufficient vaccine available and making sure that the clinic was staffed. Joining forces with a local mayor, Patterson coordinated with the asset protection and construction teams to convert a closed store into a clinic that was held five days a week and gave more than 1,000 shots per day.
Director, Meals Digital Marketplace Strategies, Albertsons Cos./ Digital
For the ReadyMeals launch, Long onboarded vendors, set up ingredients and built system formulas to create a portfolio of more than 250 menu items, which built the base for the current $1.9 million in weekly sales these products bring in. She participated in a task force on developing in-house technology to integrate a third-party company, such as DoorDash, into an in-house order management system, allowing for adoption of multiple prepared food storefronts to compete with quick-service restaurants. Amid launching a ghost-kitchen format to drive fried chicken sales for Jewel-Osco, Long was able to dedicate time to City of Hope, among other worthy causes.
PROGRESSIVE GROCER'S 2022
KRYSTIN MCDERMOTT Manager, Talent Acquisition
RAINA RUSNAK Director, Consumer Insights CARYN SCADUTO Manager, Digital Production
Human Resources Representative, Albertsons Cos./ Jewel-Osco
Calderon aided a distribution center in staffing and hiring initiatives by using Microsoft Teams and SharePoint to keep the distribution operations and human resources teams informed on current needs and accomplishments in filling positions. She focused on ensuring that the leadership team mirrored the diverse front-line workforce and community by increasing its person-of-color representation by more than 10% and female leadership by 8%. Calderon mentored an administrative payroll clerk to assist with human resources functions, leading to that individual being selected for a human resources specialist position and ultimately becoming her fellow HR rep.
2022 Top Women in Grocery Elizabeth Davidson
Pharmacy Manager, Albertsons Cos./ Jewel-Osco
Davidson not only oversaw her Crown Point, Ind., store staff, she also took on the role of training the pharmacy teams across Indiana, and even went after hours to personally bring medications to homebound patients who couldn’t afford delivery. Amid securing 27 flu clinics, she grew the pharmacy business by driving a 29.96% increase in weekly scripts and a 31.1% increase in weekly sales. Providing a way for vulnerable people to obtain proper addiction treatment, Davidson developed a program with the Lake County Correctional Facility that administers Vivitrol at the prison to inmates, as well as in the store to parolees or released patients.
Danette Focht Meat/Seafood Operations Specialist, Albertsons Cos./ Jewel-Osco
Leading meat and seafood operations in an 18-store district, overseeing budgets, building volume and improving efficiencies, among other duties, Focht boosted year-over-year meat sales by nearly $1.5 million, improving segment sales in sliced and frozen meats and launching a new skillet dinner program.
Pharmacy Manager, Albertsons Cos./ Jewel-Osco
Fox strove to ensure that that patients received prescriptions in a safe and timely manner as she also managed inventory, complied with regulations and managed a team of 12 direct reports.
During the same period, she executed remodels at four stores and continually mentored and promoted meat market staffers.
She launched a community engagement initiative to promote healthy living and teamed up with a local park district and schools to provide COVID-19 vaccines; her store was first in the district for both COVID and flu vaccine jabs.
An active volunteer at an animal shelter and a residential child care facility, Focht also serves on the board of the division’s Women’s Inspiration & Inclusion Network associate resource group.
Fox boosted prescription sales by 49% in 2021 over the previous year, an achievement that she reached while also serving as a preceptor for two local pharmacy colleges and volunteering at an animal shelter.
Congratulations to our very own 2022
Top Women in Grocery
Pharmacy Operations Director
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Manager
Information Technology Project Manager
2022 Top Women in Grocery Maria Delacruz
General Merchandise Sales Manager, Albertsons Cos./ Mid-Atlantic Division
Promoted in October 2021, Armstrong headed up sales and merchandising for the GM/HBC departments of 274 Acme and Safeway stores generating $618 million in annual retail sales. One of Albertsons’ GM/HBC national sales leaders in 2021, she was responsible for a 7% lift during the last two quarters and posted e-commerce sales that were up 81% compared with the prior year. As well as being an active member of the Women’s Inspiration & Inclusion Network at Albertsons, Armstrong became a devoted volunteer with the Pennsylvania Epileptic Foundation after she was diagnosed with epilepsy last year.
Manager Marketing Promo, Albertsons Cos./Northern California Division
Managing pricing for Albertsons’ Northern California division, Delacruz turned in a strong performance during a year when costs were top of mind. She executed a program with the San Francisco Giants and San Francisco 49ers sports teams that encompassed dozens of vendors and 1,000-plus items each and resulted in significant sales lifts; meanwhile, as a subject-matter expert, she often participated on the company’s special-projects teams. Delacruz leads the Nourishing Neighbors food donation program, working with more than 50 nonprofit groups to collect $4.3 million-plus in donations in fall 2021 alone.
Floral Sales Manager, Albertsons Cos./ Northern California Division
Hedgpeth increased her division’s local market share to make it the No. 1 division for floral sales; during a recent quarter, she exceeded sales projections by $5.8 million and beat profits by $1.4 million.
Sales Manager Bakery, Albertsons Cos./Northern California Division
Promoted to the division level in 2021, Roussell took on more responsibilities across 290 locations with a $450 million sales contribution.
She partnered with Albertsons’ e-commerce team to create Bloom Cart by Safeway, a ghost storefront on DoorDash that offered hand-tied arrangements for delivery within two hours and led to more than $80,000 in incremental sales; she also launched the internal Bloom Magazine.
While at Albertsons’ Pavilions chain, she updated and simplified bakery offerings in a move that led to higher sales — 20% in doughnuts alone; an expert baker, she reinvented the dessert category for a 21% lift, introducing plant-based food colors and upgrading product assortments, and helping to create a new cake manual for team members.
Sharing the beauty of blooms, Hedgpeth repurposed unused live floral samples into bouquets donated to local essential workers.
Roussell serves on Albertsons’ Racial Justice and Equity Advisory Group and is a member of the International Dairy Deli Bakery Association.
SAVE THE DATE!
NOV. 3-4, 2022 ORLANDO, FL FOR MORE INFORMATION:
is un-bee-lievably proud of our
top women in grocery
Winner Jordan Mikeska – Director of Shopper Marketing
Director Center Store, Albertsons Cos./Northern California Division
Tasked with managing center store items for the division — a multibillion-dollar business — Wilson drove a 1.7% increase in grocery and 1.9% in general merchandise in 2021. She successfully integrated the grocery and general merchandise teams into a cohesive organization while she simultaneously led transformation of merchandising for center store categories, saving weeks of labor in changing displays and improving sales by 368 basis points. A member of the division’s Women’s Inspiration & Inclusion Network team, Wilson also joined the executive board of City of Hope and, in her little spare time, is learning Spanish to further develop her skills.
2022 Top Women in Grocery Susan Tegart
Patient Care Services Manager, Albertsons Cos./ Seattle
Communications Manager, Albertsons Cos./ Shaw’s
District Manager, Albertsons Cos./ Shaw’s
At the company’s Seattle division, Tegart managed immunizations, collective agreement prescribing, diagnostic testing, medication therapy management, biometric screens and medication adherence.
Michlitsch oversaw financial results, profitability, staffing, customer satisfaction and community engagement for 18 central Massachusetts stores staffed by about 1,800 associates.
She led the division’s COVID-19 vaccine campaign, which resulted in the administration of more than 1.24 million doses, and coordinated vaccine clinics for underserved communities, businesses with essential workers, and the county’s largest school districts, as well as guiding the division to dispense 277,000 flu shots.
While keeping her district running smoothly, she served as division lead for Albertsons’ assistant store director training program and promoted at least five assistant store directors to store directors.
A President’s Award winner, Tegart forged strong relationships with public and state health administrators and professional pharmacist associations.
Michlitsch founded and chairs her district’s Women’s Inspiration & Inclusion Network resource group and started a popular speaker series; away from work, she’s involved with a nonprofit that helps low-income first-generation students get into college.
Handling daily internal communications with Shaw’s stores, Myers tackled duties ranging from providing leadership presentations, to overseeing portal content, to keeping district leadership, store directors and department managers up to date. She introduced new televisions in breakrooms that communicate with team members in a positive and informative way; to get a better handle on the medium’s capabilities, she learned firsthand how to operate video and production equipment. Myers helped develop a Smiles in the Aisle Facebook page for team members, which quickly garnered 1,500-plus members.
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Mayosh Barton Global Sourcing Principal Encore Associates Top Women in Grocery 2022 Congratulations!
Encore Associates is so proud of your passionate leadership for our Retail Customers and our Dream Team!
PROGRESSIVE GROCER June 2022
2022 Top Women in Grocery Syeda Zaidi
Grocery Buyer, Albertsons Cos./ Shaw’s
Managing an inventory of more than 1,500 items across different distribution centers and serving as the point person for vendor communications, Zaidi worked diligently to ensure that consumers got the products they wanted.
Floral Sales Manager, Albertsons Cos./ Southern Division
Baird shared her comprehensive knowledge of growing flowers at 146 stores across Texas and Louisiana.
Having previously moved from a merchandising management role to procurement, she took on a challenging role in bakery procurement, in addition to training a new buyer in nonfoods and helping a senior buyer with dairy buying.
She added more than 75 FTD locations to existing floral departments in Texas, updated the retailer’s exclusive orchid rooms and expanded the roster of items by 189 SKUs; these and other efforts led her department to beat its sales plan during the most recent fiscal year by $21 million and exceed margin commitments by more than $23.7 million.
Secretary of the Diversity and Inclusion Council at Shaw’s, Zaidi continued to hone her own skills, becoming Bloomberg certified and winning a case competition from the Institute of Business Forecasting and Planning.
Having first joined the industry in 1986 at her local Dominic’s Food Store in Chicago, Baird has proved highly adept at fostering lasting relationships, including with local vendors, marketing partners and shoppers.
District Manager, Albertsons Cos./ Southern California Division
Bringing together a team of store directors and operational specialists across a diverse, high-volume district, Gilboy collaborated with them to grow sales and profits and improve service. She spearheaded the opening of a new micro-fulfillment center, the first to bring two banners together in one location, and also completed a year-long remodel that embraced automation and robotics for better, faster delivery. Gilboy successfully promoted several women and people of color in her district; among other outreach initiatives, she partnered with the Los Angeles Chargers football team to distribute groceries, holiday meals and toys to families in need.
Grocery Operations Specialist, Albertsons Cos./ Southern California Division
Under Szatkowska’s dedicated leadership, her district finished first in the entire company in e-commerce and finished at the top for value wine events and Double Discount Weekends in its liquor departments. She helped start a career advancement mentorship program in her district, as well as a women’s mentorship program in which each store manager chooses at least three candidates to develop for future leadership roles. Szatkowska attended the University of Southern California’s Food Industry Management Program and is a member of the Southern California Women’s Inspiration & Inclusion Network.
Senior Director of Marketing, Albertsons Cos./ Southern Division
Responsible for all marketing efforts in her 146-store division, Canonica achieved success through innovative loyalty efforts and by focusing on data-driven shopping patterns and programs.
Director of Pharmacy, Albertsons Cos./ Southern Division
Responsible for pharmacies at 143 stores, Spier leveraged her 34 years of retail pharmacy experience to deliver positive year-over-year sales.
Reaching out to lapsed shoppers through mailers and household targeting, she propelled an $11.60 incremental spend per week and invested in television, digital and direct mail that led to more store visits.
She and her team beat sales by $39 million and drove a total department gain of nearly $21 million; beyond lifting the performance of pharmacies based on COVID vaccines and boosters, she implemented several creative enhancements to improve customer count.
Canonica is a leadership champion for the Southern division of NextUp, a member of her company’s divisional diversity council, and a leader of community and volunteer events, including collaborations with the Dallas Cowboys football team.
Spier sits on the Louisiana Pharmacy Congress Board and is president of the Texas State Board of Pharmacy; in addition to serving as a volunteer for various nonprofit organizations; she sat on the division’s diversity advisory board.
District Pharmacy Manager, Albertsons Cos./ Southwest Division
Epley was responsible for achieving projections for sales, profit, shrink and customer service, and her division was top in sales and script growth, as well as in household conversion rate and physical inventory results. Her division administered 255,000 COVID-19 shots and 58,594 other immunizations, and her collaboration with local counties and cities resulted in thousands of community members having easy access to the vaccines they rely on. Epley sits on the board of directors for the Arizona Pharmacy Association and is a member of several company resource groups, including the Women’s Inspiration & Inclusion Network and the PRIDE group.
Center Store Operations, Albertsons Cos./ Southwest Division
Overseeing 18 grocery, general merchandise and liquor departments in her district, Hill was responsible for communicating marketing plans to each department through weekly store visits and as-needed coaching with department managers. She helped implement a forecasted ordering system for grocery and general merchandise, and also worked to improve center store sales. Hill serves as co-chair for the Hispanic Employee Resource Group for Albertsons’ Southwest division and is also a member of the We Care Council, which helps support employees who have witnessed or are experiencing hardship.
2022 Top Women in Grocery Jennifer Holmes Finance Director, Albertsons Cos./ Southwest Division
Through the implementation of Day for U, Holmes created automated programs to recognize store associates by providing milestone anniversary and birthday information to store directors. She saw her team through a significant finance transition and worked with countless partners to ensure her employees, the division office and the stores were supported throughout the peoccess and didn’t feel any operational impact. Outside of work, Holmes is the vice chair of the BASIS Goodyear charter school booster organization, where she spends several hours per week creating, organizing and fundraising for online and socially distant events for students, faculty and staff.
Senior Account Executive, American Greetings
Kubasta exceeded the sales plans for both Meijer and Wegmans; the latter saw 12.5% sales growth, while the former turned in its best-ever department performance, beating an aggressive plan by 8% and growing sales by 12%. She led the design of a firstof-its-kind celebrations-focused “Department of the Future,” which took a new approach to merchandising several key categories, with major lifts to several divisions. Kubasta is a Denison University admission ambassador, interviewing high schoolers who have applied to the college and providing feedback to the admissions office as well as remaining a point of contact for the prospective students and their parents.
Senior Human Resources Manager, Albertsons Cos./ Supply Chain
Liranzo oversaw the overall strategic direction, planning, coordination, administration and evaluation of the human resources function for two distribution centers, which have more than 700 associates in multiple locations. As a member of the Shaw’s supply chain leadership team, Liranzo partnered with department leaders to drive an associate experience that supports the company’s business goals. Liranzo is a volunteer for the Spina Bifida Association of Massachusetts, for which she provides translation services and outreach support for Latino parents who have children with the medical condition.
Master Commercial Analyst, American Greetings
Working in conjunction with sales, marketing and product teams to drive sales growth and household penetration, Reppermund managed analytics for American Greetings’ Kroger account and engaged weekly with Kroger’s analytical organization to ensure best practices and share insights. She steered analytical work on sustainability initiatives, including reducing landfill waste at company headquarters, and helped offset 100% of American Greetings’ carbon footprint through reforestation efforts. Reppermund mentored new female analytics talent and led collaborative discussions across analytics organizations to share insights and solutions to help drive total business growth.
Romery Espinal Senior Manager Software Development, Allegiance Retail Services
Espinal managed all IT development at Allegiance Retail Services, including new software development for the organization, both in the headquarters office and in the company’s 111 member stores, and also handled outside vendors’ IT needs. She became involved in the process of piloting a computer-generated ordering software, launching a bill-back manager to help streamline funds and transitioning more than 100 databases moving into SQL. In an effort to help wholesalers move product more quickly amid the pandemic, Espinal set up a system for them to post on their websites the invoices for receiving stores.
Account Executive, American Greetings
Viers managed a collection of grocery divisions for the Albertsons Cos., as well as owning one of American Greetings’ key regional relationships, with WinCo, and used her sales expertise to deliver innovative programs that aligned with her customers’ strategic vision. Through her leadership, she delivered 12% year-over-year sales growth for her retail divisions and industry-leading Valentine’s Day sales performance for Albertsons, while also leading a Nurses Day and an essential-worker Thank You program. Outside of her job duties, Viers is an active member of NextUp and a volunteer at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in her local community.
Commercial Analyst, Walmart, American Greetings
H-E-B was up almost 50% in Christmas sales because Gibbs provided a creative shopper solution when a competitive supplier didn’t deliver all of the needed gift wrap for the holiday; she also grew the business by an incremental 54 feet across six stores, ultimately leading to a 150-foot competitive takeover of incremental space in 16 additional locations. She simplified a reorder process to not only reduce labor for the field, but also increase shipments by more than 50% in a one-month time period. Away from work, Gibbs purchases wish-list items as needed for an area dog rescue organization, and even rescued a puppy with a donation.
Senior Director, Sales, AnheuserBusch (A-B)
Karas’ team managed the beer, wine, spirits and nonalcoholic portfolios for Kroger, generating more than $800 million in revenue, and she facilitated best-in-class communication on inventory, innovations and programming opportunities with the grocer. She partnered with Kroger on an enhanced inventory program resulting in the best in-stock position of any other beer supplier, and also partnered with the food retailer on a speed-to-market launch of an innovative brand. Karas was selected as the community service lead and co-chair of the A-B National Women in Beer Steering Committee Team for 2022, and is involved with the Cincinnati chapter of NextUp.
2022 Top Women in Grocery Shelly Dean
Director of Food Safety, Associated Wholesale Grocers Inc. (AWG)
Under Dean’s leadership, the AWG food safety team implemented and oversaw the supplier approval program and the distribution center’s food safety plan, sanitation plans, pest control programs and annual internal food safety audits. She created a comprehensive food safety manual and procedures, led the design and implementation of several state-of-the-art compliance systems, and initiated a company-wide master sanitation and compliance plan. The 2021 chair for FMI’s Food Protection Committee, Dean is also a member of the NGA Food Safety Task Force and the International Fresh Produce Association Sustainability Council.
Employment Manager, Big Y Foods Inc.
Amid staffing challenges, Bossie developed new processes and procedures to ensure compliance with state and federal regulations, and also forged a partnership with the marketing department to expand Big Y’s digital footprint through various social and electronic platforms. She developed a campaign that led to the first-ever company-wide hiring event, which yielded 800 new hires with a 75% retention rate, and also created toolkits to support each location’s recruitment efforts. Bossie is an active board member with several nonprofits, including the Western New England Collaborative, the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission and Springfield Works.
Senior Category Manager, Packaged Meats, Associated Wholesale Grocers Inc. (AWG)
No matter what supply challenges she faced, Schimmel’s commitment to finding solutions, identifying promotional opportunities and leveraging her strong vendor partnerships led to strong sales growth across a portfolio that included bacon, breakfast sausage, lunch meat, hot dogs, home meal replacements and frozen cooked poultry. She was project lead for several high-level company projects, among them the integration of new retailers, trade management and analytical tool development. Schimmel was also unafraid to try something new and look outside of the box to drive the AWG business.
Senior Manager, Data Science, Bowery Farming
Director, Corporate Communications, Associated Wholesale Grocers Inc. (AWG)
Leading all communication for the company and its 1,100 member retailers, Turner also took on a new role as the direct conduit between AWG division contributions, direct reports, the board of directors and the CEO. In addition to the enormous role of leading communications, she also co-chaired the annual AWG Innovation Showcase, chaired the Annual Shareholders Meeting and oversaw the corporate administration budget for the entire company. Turner served on the AWG COVID-19 Task Force, was the charter chair of the AWG Cares Charitable Foundation and received recognition as the AWG Top Performer of 2021.
Director of Pharmacy Operations, Brookshire Grocery Co. (BGC)
Yoshida designed and implemented a system called Automated Recipe Search, a project that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to regularly and automatically adjust recipes so that Bowery Farming continues to grow the best possible plants.
Through outstanding customer service, Brown and her team surpassed the sales increases of the two previous years of the pandemic while overseeing the opening of the pharmacy department for the company’s second flagship store, FRESH by Brookshire’s.
She led the post-harvest group in the data/AI organization, which is responsible for all systems that involve harvesting, quality control and allocation of Bowery Farming products.
Through her leadership and monitoring of store performance this past year, she led 20 out of 138 pharmacies that had not met their EBITDA goals to increase their performance by 10.8%.
Besides talking to farmers, learning their pain points and devising solutions to address those obstacles, Yoshida is a member of aGirlCulture, Bowery’s internal career development network for women.
Brown is a member of the Texas Pharmacy Association and volunteers in the community as a member of the Parent Teacher Association for her community’s middle and high schools.
San Diego Regional Manager, Barons Market
McDonald oversaw training, hiring and firing at all of Southern California independent grocer Barons Market’s stores, and also managed the remodeling of two locations. She developed an innovative pilot program for Barons’ floral and plant departments that aimed to add excitement to the overall customer experience and position the grocer as a plant and floral destination in the region, in turn driving a 25% increase in sales over the initiative’s first few weeks. In the area of talent development, McDonald mentored her district’s supervisors and managers, including one supervisor who was recently promoted to become Barons’ youngest assistant manager.
Director of Treasury, Brookshire Grocery Co. (BGC)
In the past year, Clark has served as lead for banking, treasury and payments in BGC’s acquisition of 17 Reasor’s supermarket locations, and led Curbside and Instacart implementations. She also led the implementation of smart routing with a processor to reduce interchange costs, and developed the process to alleviate coin shortage issues through the use of retail coin redemption terminals. Beyond her job duties, Clark serves as a volunteer for the East Texas Food Bank, BGC’s Charity Golf Tournament, and the FRESH 15 Charity Race, the last of which, together with BGC Racing’s Heroes Run, has raised more than $1.25 million for charities since 2014.
Congratulations to our Top Women in Grocery!
Josanna Busby Category Manager Seafood, Sidecase, Frozen Meats & Seafood
Lydia Mahon Integrated Planning Manager
Natasha Brinegar Vice President Category Management, Center Store
Karen Fernald Senior Vice President Fresh Category, Merchandising and Pricing
Valarie Wallace Vice President Communications
Sara Creel Manager of Labor Systems
Sabrina Elliott Director of Merchandising Central Division
Melissa Harrington Director of Finance
Lucia Mangione Director of Merchandising Northern Division
Faith Bridges Store Manager Portsmouth, VA
Erin McMahan Marketing Manager In-Store Communications
Connie Dixon-Williams Store Manager Farmville, NC
Lisa Owens Director of Operations Richmond/Norfolk Division
Candace LaNasa-Youmans LaNasa-Youmans, Store Manager Sylvania, GA
Susan Lansley Category Manager International, Specialty, GM Everyday
Kathryn Sowers Director of Operations Central Division
Robin Olshenske Store Manager Myrtle Beach, SC
Kristin Wells Category Manager Produce, Vegetables & Local
Crystal Smith Store Manager Gretna, VA
Thank you for all you do to make Food Lion a great place to work and shop.
2022 Top Women in Grocery Rubi Gonzalez
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Manager, Brookshire Grocery Co. (BGC)
Working with 750 employees-partners in the company’s three warehouses and transportation operations, Gonzalez created and successfully implemented Rookie of the Week and Partner of the Month programs to increase inclusion and reduce turnover. She acted as a role model to her colleagues, and was constant in her efforts to help everyone in her area appreciate the value of being a diverse and inclusive workplace. Gonzalez is a founding member of the Hispanic Professionals Association of Tyler, a Texas organization that brings local Hispanic professionals together to serve as a resource for other organizations seeking them.
Chelsea Deputy Manager, National Demand Planning, C&S Wholesale Grocers
Deputy led her team to prevent stock shortages due to brisk pandemic sales; as a result, her customers were the first to quickly recover from the unprecedented demand and demonstrated strong performance during critical holiday periods. Through her dedicated leadership, national demand planning tested, reworked and implemented numerous process improvements, including modifications to legacy tools and models, and modifications to promotional communication. Deputy regularly volunteered to be available nights, weekends and other periods outside of normal business hours to help her customers every step of the way, whenever she was needed.
Jennifer Reeves Project Manager, Information Technology, Brookshire Grocery Co. (BGC)
Reeves had the largest acquisition (in sales volume) in BGC’s history, consisting of 17 stores, and managed a cross-functional team of employees-partners from pharmacy, fuel, IT and other departments. As a project manager, she opened two new Spring Markets and a FRESH by Brookshire’s location, and led an enterprise team through the necessary activities to open the three new stores. Reeves led the planning of two epic road races, the FRESH 15, in Tyler, Texas, and Brookshire’s + Super 1 Foods Heroes Run, in Bossier City, La., which have grown runner participation from 2,500 to 4,500, and surpassed $1.25 million raised for charity.
Senior Analyst Private Brands, C&S Wholesale Grocers
Dourdounas launched That’s Smart, a price-point label program for independent customers across the nation, which involved setting up 225 SKUs of products across 10 distribution centers, as well as setting up new vendors and making sure that orders and supply chain were correct. She also implemented an opportunity on dually slotted private-brand spice items in Brattleboro, Vt., which created a reduction in inventory cost, in addition to efficiencies for the buyer, the warehouse and the customer. A volunteer soccer coach, Dourdounas participated in, and donated to, the Adopt a Family program, helping to support local families in need.
Senior Manager Strategic Projects, C&S Wholesale Grocers
Arnold led training and development for workforce management principles and worked with customer service leaders and teams to create a culture of workforce management that drove double-digit improvement in service-level agreements.
Karissa Atwood Senior Director, Supply Chain and Trade Relations, C&S Wholesale Grocers
Atwood was instrumental in developing enhancements to the manufacturer partnership programs and critical to the success of integrating two new business acquisitions into the C&S family.
She led the integration team that successfully reviewed, approved and implemented a new customer service cloud-based contact center platform for 90plus agents across three contact centers, thereby improving the customer experience.
She led a team of people responsible for delivering results on supply chain programs for C&S nationally, and was responsible for coordinating actions across six C&S divisions in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Houston, Midwest and West Coast regions.
Arnold is on the board of members of Southeastern Vermont Community Action Agency, a nonprofit serving two Vermont counties that enables people to cope with and transcend poverty.
Atwood leads a mentorship program within the C&S procurement division, and is part of the company’s Scholars Program at Franklin Pierce University, working closely with FMI.
Communications Director, Cardenas Markets LLC
Kutansky’s responsibilities ranged from connecting with her direct team, to store personnel, to the more than 3.2 million households that interact with the brand on a weekly basis. Because of her strong initiative, stellar leadership skills and strong relationship with the media, the company’s brand presence yielded an unprecedented reach of 687,578,038 impressions. Kutansky is a member of EDGE, a professional development forum for female professional team members at Cardenas, with an appreciation for all female team members throughout the talent pipeline; she’s also president of the Inland Empire chapter of the Public Relations Society of America.
Director of Advertising, Coborn’s Inc.
Asp successfully oversaw thousands of projects that supported the company’s retail locations, promotions and overall advertising initiatives in print and traditional media, including the production and design management of all of the versions of the company’s weekly ads. She directed all advertising and project management support for all of Coborn’s grocery divisions, managing signage, store décor projects, direct mail and more, as well as having budget oversight of advertising, promotion and agency. In her local Minnesota community, Asp is a volunteer at the St. Cloud Kiwanis Club, as well as taking part in the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce’s leadership program.
CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR Jennifer Bergman
TOP WOMEN IN GROCERY 2022
Advantage Customer Experience
SAS Retail Services
Alisha Pettigrew Gourley
Advantage Customer Experience
SAS Retail Services
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YOUR LEADERSHIP IS MAKING A DIFFERENCE
2022 Top Women in Grocery Diana Barr
Director of Digital and Loyalty Marketing, Coborn’s Inc.
Barr and her team remained relentlessly focused on growing the business by building their most loyal customer base through a variety of effective marketing campaigns, and her loyalty program, MORE, has grown steadily and is now recognized as a leading innovative initiative among U.S. grocers. She exceeded her 2021 goals of growing primary customers, increasing primary-segment customers by 10%, converting 14% of secondary customers to primary and reducing lapsed customers by 7%. Also devoting some of her time to local communities, Barr is an active media center volunteer at Highlands Elementary School in Minneapolis.
Group DirectorCustomer Solutions and Supply Chain (Walmart/Sam’s Club), The CocaCola Co.
Reilman collaborated with Walmart and Coca-Cola bottlers to deliver 15 points of in-stock improvement on Walmart’s sparkling beverage business, which enabled double-digit sales growth. Despite significant supply and labor headwinds, she also led Coca-Cola on-time in-full results for Walmart and Sam’s Club that were consistently at the top of all large-supplier performance for these customers; her team consistently delivered transparent, forward-looking solutions. Reilman serves the Northwest Arkansas Court-Appointed Special Advocates organization as a Coca-Cola sponsor and volunteer, and co-wrote an industry paper on sustainable retailing.
E-Commerce Account Executive, The Coca-Cola Co.
Azbill served as the account lead for Walmart’s pilot and expansion into market fulfillment centers, enabling the retailer’s primary growth driver to boost efficiency through order pickup and delivery. In the past year, she developed a sustainable process for the team playbook to launch core innovation and limited-time-offer products online, in advance of their store launch, and gained recognition at Walmart’s Annual Supplier Growth Forum. Azbill is also highly invested in such organizations as the Walton Arts Center Corporate Leadership Council on behalf of The Coca-Cola Co., and is a northwest Arkansas chapter member of NextUp.
Director, Customer Management, Coca-Cola Consolidated
Soto executed the Consolidated/Kroger beverage plan across 114 stores in the Columbus division; faced with warehouse and delivery challenges during the COVID-19 crisis, she facilitated the workflow process by preloading new product orders, allowing suppliers to deliver precise quantities and creating efficiencies for timestrapped associates. Implementation of a Monster 6-pack Mix and Match carrier program, which enabled shoppers to choose any six Monster flavors for $9.99, caused her territory to reach the No. 1 position nationwide for 6-pack sales. Soto is a steering committee member of Coca-Cola Consolidated’s Women’s Leadership Forum.
Director of Sales, Warehouse Beverage, The Coca-Cola Co.
Senior Customer Marketing Manager, Albertsons, The Coca-Cola Co.
Crawford exceeded her sales budget while navigating a challenging allocation environment, and partnered with the HQ supply team to ensure clear visibility into Walmart’s inventory needs, which allowed for collaborative demand-driving activity with the customer.
In July 2021, Etu executed Albertsons’ United For Gold Olympics-themed campaign, driving $2.8 million in revenue, a 6.9% dollar share increase and a higher number of units per basket, with 52.4% of all baskets containing more than two participating items.
She consistently found opportunities to create joint value for her customer, which increased partnership and built trust, returning the company approximately $4 million; then she embarked on executing the corporate initiative to update payment terms with her customer.
She piloted a breakfast campaign to test the viability of including the Simply and Fairlife brands together; this effort drove $485,521 in incremental sales for the featured items and led to a 9.1% incremental lift in penetration of new households for both brands.
Crawford is part of NextUp as a northwest Arkansas ambassador, working on advancement-of-women programming.
Etu has been a NextUp member for years, including as Coca-Cola lead in the organization’s Northern California chapter.
Jacquelyn Davis Manager, Insights and Analytics, CROSSMARK
Davis’ team developed insights to facilitate sales/brand awareness; last year, she helped the company’s largest client achieve more than 21% growth. When her superior stepped down, Davis assumed his role on the accelerator training team, where she helped develop an analytics platform, trained a team of 300, created a training team library, and began to host monthly training sessions; the new role has helped her develop both personally and professionally, enabling her to overcome her fear of public speaking. Davis belongs to Women of the Moose, which supports the MooseHeart Children’s Home; in 2021, she raised 15% of all funds through a Superbowl VIP Table auction and raffles at her lodge.
Senior Director of Customer Development, Product Connections, CROSSMARK
Drinkwater was responsible for PromoWorks engagement sampling across Raley’s and all of Ahold Delhaize USA’s banners; despite vacillating pandemic protocols, she built and relaunched sampling programs, outlined safe sampling practices, and delivered more than $780,000 in revenue for 2021-22. She played a key role in winning the Ahold Delhaize USA request for proposal; this resulted in PromoWorks remaining the agency of record for Food Lion and Hannaford and winning the Ahold legacy brands business. Following the death of her mother from COVID-19, Drinkwater joined Lasagna Mama, whose members make lasagna for people affected by the virus.
We are proud to honor our Top Women in Grocery 2022. And we applaud the women across our industry who are leading the way. RISING STARS
Customer Team Expert, Kroger, Procter & Gamble
Director, Customer Supply Chain Northeast Region, Procter & Gamble
2022 Top Women in Grocery Beth Faught Director of HQ Sales and Marketing, CROSSMARK
Recently promoted to manage a portfolio of 65-plus clients in the dairy, deli and frozen food categories, Faught led the Kimberly-Clark team for most of 2021, focusing largely on digital enhancements. Facing supply chain challenges, she shifted focus from top-line to bottom-line growth on the client’s behalf; using a more profitable business model, she overdelivered on margin versus budget by 20%. During the fourth quarter, Faught successfully completed the rigorous eight-week Digital Marketing Strategies: Data, Automation, AI & Analytics course offered by Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.
Director of Retail Operations, CROSSMARK
With Heienickle serving as team lead for Readerlink Distribution Services, CROSSMARK-serviced stores achieved 14% annual sales growth in 2021; her contributions included a strong Halloween promotion that was expanded to 2,000-plus stores for the 2021 holiday. She provided innovative insights for Walmart suppliers, including General Mills, Bolthouse Farms and Kimberly-Clark. Heienickle helped implement internal dashboards to track new-hire optimization, people management, demand planning and communication, creating time management efficiencies and identifying opportunities requiring immediate action.
Director of Customer Development, CROSSMARK
Lewis managed client business at Rite Aid through promotion planning, new distribution and shelf management; from April 2021 to February 2022, total Crossmark Rite Aid client POS sales grew more than 14.9%, and during that time, two of the largest Rite Aid clients’ market share increased by 8.8% combined. After monitoring first-year sales of General Mills’ Blue Buffalo, she found that the pet food brand was far outperforming the competitive own brand in dollars per store; Lewis then persuaded Rite Aid to cut the own-brand store count in half and double that of Blue Buffalo. Lewis is a member of CROSSMARK’s Network of Women.
Kallie Millar Director of HQ Sales and Marketing, CROSSMARK
Millar led sales and marketing initiatives for manufacturer clients, managing a portfolio of more than $350 million; in 2021, she coined the rally cry “Ask for it” on behalf of Duracell, reminding her team to voice and contemplate all ideas, and consequently exceeded her net revenue goals by 24%. She launched a new-item contest in support of new products that had been struggling to gain retail acceptance; eight sales team members achieved exemplary results, driving distribution gains above 2020’s numbers. In 2021, Millar’s team exceeded the shipment goal for Duracell’s Lithium Coin SKUs by 48% and improved year over year in total shipments by 73%.
JOIN US IN HONORING
Congratulates Our Top Women in Grocery
Vice President Advertising, Social Media
Store Manager, ShopRite of Somers Point, NJ
2022 Top Women in Grocery
Director of Retail Operations, CROSSMARK
As leader of the Southeastern Grocers/CROSSMARK Single Source Retail Team, Pattillo built the partnership program from the ground up; this involved close collaboration with senior leadership and ongoing close alignment of both organizations’ visions, strategies and performance metrics. Throughout the COVID-19 epidemic, she worked with senior executives to spearhead efficiencies affecting payroll and travel and expense. Pattillo’s team completed 50 store remodels, including two new stores, replaced all of the frozen food cases in more than 10 locations, and installed new security technologies in 30 of the retailer’s dollar stores.
Director Customer Development, Walgreens, CROSSMARK
Pleasant’s engagement with Walgreens and her client, Clorox, resulted in an early exclusive launch of Clorox’s clinical germicidal line at Walgreens; omnichannel marketing support included multiple in-store placements, item tags, cooler screen videos, and email distribution to loyalty members. She also secured 75,000 distribution points for Clorox cleaning and laundry products across 9,000 Walgreens locations; this resulted in sales growth of 29.4% and sales unit growth of 34.1%. In October, she was recognized by Progressive Grocer sister publication Drug Store News as a Top Woman in Health, Wellness and Beauty for Business Excellence.
Balls Foods is proud to recognize
and the outstanding women leading the way in our industry.
Client Engagement Manager, CROSSMARK
Short played a significant part in growing client partnerships and their investments with CROSSMARK at Walmart, drafting comprehensive proposals supported by data, and she worked closely with CROSSMARK’s business insights team to create executive overview dashboards that immediately showed trends and return on investment. Her work persuaded a client to accept a labor price increase after three years at the same rate; another client received approval from Walmart for a price increase on several items. Short’s attention to detail and overdelivery on service for a 52-store project prompted a third client to launch an additional initiative involving 2,300 stores.
Melissa Thomas Business Account Manager/Director HQ Sales and Marketing, CROSSMARK
Thomas led HBC client/customer relationships at Meijer and SpartanNarsh for seven clients; despite planogram size restrictions, she helped increase dollar growth of Clorox’s vitamin and mineral supplements at SpartanNash by 40% over 26 weeks and aligned the CPG brand with Meijer’s Total Wellness initiative, achieving fourweek end cap placement — a spot generally occupied by higher-turning, lower-priced labels. She grew Meijer’s Dickinson toner business by 48% in dollars, making it the chain’s No. 3 toner brand and outpacing growth of the top two competitors. Thomas is an active member of CROSSMARK’s Network of Women.
2022 Top Women in Grocery Ann Weinhardt
Director Customer Development, CROSSMARK
Weinhardt led strategy and execution for clients supplying Associated Wholesale Grocers (AWG) and SpartanNash; following implementation of key performance indicator scorecarding and an improved planning process for wholesalers and their retailers, her team exceeded planned profit contributions and drove positive results. Her Sales Agency Curriculum provided AWG interns with real-life exposure to agency work for the first time; in the next few years, this successful initiative will be expanded. Weinhardt also finds the time to volunteer at St. Mary’s Food Kitchen, in Kansas City, Mo., and coach high school basketball.
Supervisory Commissary Management Specialist, Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA)
After Ervin became manager of Zone 4, overseeing 11 Florida and Georgia stores, she implemented Ervin’s Backroom Optimization, which guarantees shelf-stocking optimization through backroom organization; the initiative was later adopted by the entire Central Area. Her Super Hero/Heroine program let employees choose a superhero avatar, communicating the idea that everyone contributes to the success of their store and the agency as a whole. Ervin found solutions to problems associated with the new Contract Stocking Performance Work Statement and Contract for the entire Central Area.
Lourdes Mayosh Barton
Sales Director, Kroger, Ferrara Candy Co.
Global Sourcing Principal, Encore Associates
Despite myriad global supply chain challenges, Barton led a complex global team that negotiated more than 1,000 new private label products at competitive costs over a 12-month period; her retail customers received 99.8% of orders on time and complete.
Acomb’s strong relationship with Kroger’s management consistently created opportunities like first-to-market distribution and the Candy Store, a permanent, in-store display; these initiatives helped Ferrara outpace the category and channel.
Her top three retailers saw double-digit sales growth, largely due to her ability to develop and negotiate their private labels and to leverage her supply chain network of logistics partners, international factories and domestic suppliers.
She conceptualized a display pallet that drove shopper excitement with more than 14 Ferrara brands, and she and her team launched a full-360 plan that resulted in new distribution in fruit snacks and grew Ferrara’s Kroger business 44% over the previous year.
Beyond work, Barton leads volunteers for youth sports teams and lends time to Tahitian culture and Dance Halau.
Acomb’s potential prompted the executive leadership team to select her to participate in Ferrara’s Emerging Leaders program.
Congratulations TO OUR RISING STAR HONOREE
JULIA CANNON AREA MANAGER
#1 Brand in Refrigerated Tea Category* *Source: Nielsen, 52 Weeks
Sandi Santa Ana Director, Category Management, Ferrara Candy Co.
Santa Ana collaborated with various retailers to optimize nonchocolate and cookie planograms — one was so successful that the concept was expanded chain-wide; she also created a workshop on personal branding. Named co-chair of UNIDOS!, Ferrara’s Latino business resource group, she also spearheaded the move to sponsor two employees in the Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement’s (HACE) Emerging Latino Leaders Program, and her contributions were recognized by HACE’s Top 40 Under 40 ranking. The National Confectioners Association selected Santa Ana to participate in its Future Leaders program.
2022 Top Women in Grocery April Riegler
Senior Director, PR, Shopper and Event Marketing, FoodStory Brands LLC
Front End Operations Special Projects Manager, Food City/K-VA-T Food Stores
Austin piloted an in-house training course on cash recycler operations that will save around $100,000 annually, and she’s currently rolling out the three-store pilot program to 20-plus additional stores.
As the driving force behind the Fresh Cravings hummus launch campaign for Walmart, Riegler achieved immediate success, exceeded target benchmarks and contributed to record company sales.
The in-house Alcohol Training Program that she helped develop resulted in an increase of 0.37% in the customer satisfaction goal and earned her a letter of recognition from the state governor for her efforts to educate consumers on preventing alcohol-related incidents.
She led the transformation of FoodStory Brands’ shopper marketing strategies, establishing a playbook of proven tactics to engage with consumers at all stages of the shopping journey.
Austin is a founding member of the company’s EMPOWER Program, which supports female associates through education, mentorship and fellowship.
Riegler led Fresh Cravings’ End of Summer Salsabration event in partnership with Kroger and St. Vincent de Paul; the event included several unique activations, including a “Chopped”-style cooking competition featuring local chefs.
Director of Total Rewards, The Fresh Market
Stop coordinated efforts with a company task force to support vaccinations for all team members, resulting in a 40% increase in vaccinations and a more than 96% vaccination rate at the corporate office. She improved financial wellness offerings to team members, including immediate access to pay through a new provider, and financial planning tools for all team members, and then added communications channels to educate associates on benefits. Stop led a team that redesigned the company’s corporate pay plans, bonus structure and plan design to align incentives to the market.
RECOGNIZING TOP WOMEN IN GROCERY Congratulations to our 2022 Top Women in Grocery! Thank you for your dedication to our member-retailers and the communities they serve.
Heather DeLuca VICE PRESIDENT, MEAT AND SEAFOOD (SENIOR LEVEL EXECUTIVE)
Lori Turner DIRECTOR OF FOOD SAFETY (RISING STAR)
DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS (RISING STAR)
SENIOR CATEGORY MANAGER, PACKAGED MEATS (RISING STAR)
2022 Top Women in Grocery Jen Bejin
Manager, Supplier Diversity, Giant Eagle Inc.
Bejin implemented a plan to integrate supplier diversity in Giant Eagle’s daily operations by engaging with the right organizations, hosting matchmaking events, developing current and future reporting, and hosting several sessions for internal education. She played an integral role in achieving the Standing Up Against Racism goal of doubling Black-owned suppliers and is well on her way to achieving this objective again for the current year. Bejin is a member of the company’s B.L.A.C.C. Business Resource Group and the Women’s Business Resource Group, and represents Giant Eagle on the Pittsburgh Minority Business Accelerator.
Susan Gibbons Senior Manager of Associate Relations, Harris Teeter
Gibbons took on the management of strategic initiatives associated with preparing the company for a potential COVID-19 emergency temporary standard, ensuring that every aspect was analyzed for compliance, and that impacts to the business were communicated. She embraced a lead role in handling COVID-19 processing not only for her direct area, but also as an advisor for the entire company, to ensure that all requirements were met and associates taken care of. A founding member of the Women’s Empowerment Group at Harris Teeter and an influential contributor, Gibbons also works on a subcommittee focused on the sustainability of the resource group.
Director of Sustainability, Giant Eagle Inc.
Geeta Vykuntam Senior Manager IT Quality Engineering, Giant Eagle Inc.
Manager, IS Projects, Harris Teeter
Mercil’s leadership resulted in Giant Eagle achieving the No. 1 position in the supermarket plastic reduction rating from Greenpeace, moving from 16th place to the top spot in one year, and she drove policy changes and programming to receive the No. 1 rating on the bee-friendly retailer scorecard.
As one of the first employees hired at the company’s Global Capabilities Center, Vykuntam took on the role of administrative leader, conducting employee engagement events, providing knowledge-sharing opportunities and working on the planning team for the center’s inauguration.
She developed and implemented the company’s first Supplier Code of Conduct and Human Rights and Animal Welfare Statements, which were adopted by suppliers, and she created a sustainable packaging playbook for employees and partner vendors.
Under her direction, the IT quality engineering team developed an automation framework — the first time the testing process was automated; this move streamlined the process, reducing the testing time by 90%.
Under her leadership, the digital team completed improvements to selector productivity, enabling stores to meet customer demand; online sales soared from $4 million to $10 million in one month, and they’ve remained at a steady $8 million per month since then.
Outside of work, Vykuntam volunteered at a local orphanage and nursing home during the pandemic, and invited the residents to family celebrations.
Based on her commitment to Harris Teeter, Fitzgerald was hand-selected as one of just 40 participants in the year-long Emerging Leaders Program.
Mercil wrote grant proposals that led to unscheduled funding for the company to support sustainability initiatives.
Senior Director of Operations, Harris Teeter
Hubbard’s team implemented a new process improvement change for ordering equipment and supplies, which led to savings of more than $100,000. She helped transition fuel centers from merchandising to operations and had all stores reset, opening five new fuel centers for a total of 63, with gallons sold up 32.4% and profit up 15.9%. Hubbard is a board member of the FJM (Fred J. Morganthall) Foundation, which provides financial assistance to qualifying Harris Teeter associates experiencing extreme financial hardship; co-chair of Harris Teeter’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee; and a member of The Women’s Empowerment Group at the company.
Customer Sales Executive, The Hershey Co.
To replace in-person trade shows shut down by COVID-19, George developed customer-specific sales programs, including Reese’s Stacks and Family Movie Night, that resulted in store activations producing sales lifts of 198%. She established a joint business plan with Hy-Vee centered on strategic initiatives that not only delivered in the short term, but also set the stage for longterm sustainable growth. George emerged as an outspoken leader who helped shape team strategy, assisted in the onboarding of team members, and challenged the Hershey organization to find new ways to connect with employees working remotely during the pandemic.
Along with her project management duties — a more than 40-hour-a-week job — Fitzgerald led the highest-priority project for Harris Teeter, an ongoing multiyear endeavor with contributions from teams across the enterprise.
Gaynell Homan Senior Sales Analyst, The Hershey Co.
As Hershey’s only sales analyst, with responsibility for its No. 2 customer, The Kroger Co., Homan identified approximately $7 million in invalid post-audit deductions that warranted repayment, and she also played a pivotal role in processing inevitable cost increases this past year. In the area of cross-functional support, she began assisting in the planning elements of shopper marketing, not only furthering the breadth of her business acumen, but also receiving praise from Kroger for her overall accuracy and communication. An active member of NextUp, Homan serves as the point person relaying communications from NextUp Cincinnati to the Hershey Kroger team.
is proud to congratulate its 4 WINNERS in Progressive Grocer’s
Top Women in Grocery!
Rising Star Master Commercial Analyst
Rising Star Commercial Analyst
Rising Star Account Executive
Rising Star Senior Account Executive
Your talent and tireless commitment to spreading happiness, laughter, and love are an inspiration. Congrats! © AGC, LLC
2022 Top Women in Grocery Bethany Kucharik
Customer Sales Executive, The Hershey Co.
Kucharik collaborated with Stop & Shop to deliver growth on top of the double-digit growth that occurred during 2020, increasing seasonal sales and sell-through by focusing on driving consumer demand. She leaned into Hershey’s partnership with the NCAA to deliver 112% growth on the Reese’s brand at Stop & Shop with the March Madness program. Kucharik turned consumer insights into actions by recognizing the shift in consumer behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic to key in on the increased screentime occasion, and built a Twizzlers program that aligned with consumer usage to grow Twizzlers sales by a staggering 237% across the brand.
Senior Manager of Partner Operations, Instacart
Coleman played an integral role in scaling and operationalizing Instacart’s Partner Pick program as part of its larger pickup business, helping retailers leverage the company’s technology to build the most effective pickup offering for their own businesses. She helped grow Instacart’s partner store operations team by more than 60% in 2021, and redesigned the team’s structure by creating new roles and a new hiring and onboarding process to support team members. Coleman is the social chair for Management Leadership for Tomorrow’s alumni board; the nonprofit organization ensures that talented underrepresented minorities get on and stay on the path to senior leadership.
Assistant VP, Retail Marketing, Hy-Vee Inc.
Andrea Leaman Director, ITHealth & Wellness, Hy-Vee Inc.
Bailey headed the marketing and launch of Hy-Vee Scan & Go, a free mobile payment application allowing customers to scan and bag their items as they shop; the solution is now available at a growing number of stores.
Leaman led the development of HyVee’s award-winning online COVID-19 vaccination scheduler and landing page, which were essential during the early vaccine rollout days, when vaccine supply was scarce.
Digitally, she led the charge to promote the new technology to both customers and associates, understanding that employees are often the gateway to customer adoption of new services and technologies.
Realizing that there was also a need for a vaccine event management system for both public and private events, her team launched such a system within weeks, leading to hundreds of thousands of COVID-19 vaccinations administered through private clinics for employers, nonprofits, churches and schools.
Away from work, Bailey has been a board member for several Iowa organizations focused on children and families, among them Amanda the Panda Family Grief Center, March of Dimes, and EveryStep Home Care & Visiting Nurse Services.
Director, Market Strategy and Planning, Instacart
Luong was highly involved in the development of Instacart’s new enterprise strategy and approach with the launch of Instacart Platform, a suite of enterprise-grade technology products and services for retailers; among other things, she created the strategy, approach and go-tomarket vision for the enterprise product architecture. She incubated, built and led Instacart’s enterprise customer success team, growing it by 30% by the end of 2021. In the spirit of ensuring that Instacart is designing products that are accessible to everyone, regardless of economic status, Luong identified an opportunity to use the company’s technology to serve populations experiencing food insecurity.
Leaman spearheaded the effort to make Hy-Vee’s digital health properties more accessible to patients of all ages and abilities.
Michelle McRae Director, Access to Food and Nutrition, Instacart
For Instacart’s innovative suite of display advertising products, McRae built the first business case, pricing models and go-to-market strategy with the sales team, and then helped to launch this offering. She was applauded by company leadership for guiding the advertising sales capability and strategy teams while helping to grow the number of advertisers on the platform fivefold in the past year; during this time, she also onboarded more than 170 new team members. As one of the co-leads for Instacart’s Women@ employee resource group, McRae helped to onboard a new cohort of pillar leads to help execute programming and grow membership significantly.
Daniela Castano Director, Human Resources, Hy-Vee/D&D Foods
Fluent in both Spanish and English, Castano interpreted and communicated important messages to a largely Hispanic workforce with ease and accuracy, creating an inclusive, informed and engaged workforce; this skill was previously missing from the human resources department. She played an instrumental role in enhancing the company’s safety practices by introducing training courses in multiple languages to meet the needs of a diverse workforce. Castano received the Spirit of Hy-Vee award, a recognition given to individuals who demonstrate positive brand image in their actions and are spokespeople for the company’s fundamental values.
Solution Architect, IRI
An essential link between retailers and the IRI team, ensuring that operations run smoothly regardless of differing data nuances and custom reporting needs per client, Kennedy helped deploy multiple loyalty programs that have already led to 15% year-overyear growth for IRI. She identified a new methodology to enhance the value of IRI’s largest loyalty implementations, which provided substantial value for the company, its retail partners and the supplier community. Kennedy’s volunteer work includes using thought expertise and experience to mentor her more junior colleagues across global IRI teams, as well as being a member of the Twin Cities chapter of NextUp.
leader trailblazer innovator Allegiance Retail Services Congratulates
Romery Espinal Locally Owned • Family Operated
DAG DA A NYC
2022 Top Women in Grocery Hayley Berkshire
Senior Director, Sales, Kellogg Co.
Responsible for leading the U.S. business at Walmart for crackers and snacks on the go, Berkshire delivered 70 basis points of share growth in a highly competitive category, driving 2% more pointof-sale growth than the category overall while also helping the customer to drive share growth in the balance of the market.
Senior Manager of Product Design: In-Store CX, The Kroger Co.
Based on Halle’s research and design patterns, the native in-store experience team saw an 18% increase in unique visitors, a 20% increase in household engagement and an 18% increase in total sales through the store mode experience, while the in-store mapping experience has grown more than 240% in usage since its start.
Despite having to execute multiple cost increases, she significantly overdelivered on her net sales budget for the year, achieving a double-digit increase versus the prior year.
Thanks to her customer experience enhancements, there was also growth in order-ahead and the innovation lab products that she supports.
Berkshire sits on the board of the Northwest Arkansas Children’s Shelter and serves as a corporate advisor for the University of Arkansas’ advisory board.
Halle was picked as a Kroger Federator to deliver a world-class application experience while ensuring accessibility, continuity across the app and that others understand design patterns.
Senior Manager, Product Integrity and Regulatory Compliance, The Kroger Co./Ethics &
Liu led her team in developing a system that manages product integrity testing reports and integrated it with a product lifecycle management system, resulting in more accurate risk assessments, increased efficiency, the automation of across-function collaboration, and higher engagement throughout the supply chain. She worked to become a Certified Product Safety Professional — as of 2022, only 18 individuals have received this designation from the Society of Product Safety Professionals. Liu serves as a mentor to college students via the International Consumer Product Safety and Health Organization.
Sandra Martinez Safety Manager, The Kroger Co./ Food 4 Less
In addition to achieving a 7% reduction in new-hire injuries, Martinez’s leadership helped reduce general liability claims by 6.8%, and reduced slips, trips and falls by 18.8%. She was instrumental in developing COVID best practices to ensure that associates and customers remained safe during the height of the pandemic. As well as being her division’s Cultural Council chair, an EDGE associate resource group committee lead, education champion for Food 4 Less/Foods Co. and the divisional Our Promise team lead, Martinez is a member of the CGA Advisory Board Committee, the Clearpath Federal Credit Union Supervisory Committee and the Food Industry Risk Management Association board.
Director, Product Management, Ad Technology, The Kroger Co./84.51°
Cullen led a team to reconsider Kroger Precision Marketing’s (KPM) traditional approach to advertising; this included assessing where code base needed to be revived for long-term scalable growth, how existing advertising should be optimized based on evolving customer experiences, and innovating experiences like display ads and sponsored search. She spearheaded a refreshed vision for the monetization team to be an inspiration within the customer experience, while also supporting the Family Resource Group for Navy SEAL teams. By changing the narrative of advertising within Kroger, Cullen directly contributed to more than 65% of KPM’s revenue.
Division Customer Experience and Financial Products Manager, The Kroger Co./ Fred Meyer
Breidt worked collaboratively to create and execute a plan to improve Our Promise Shop metrics, as well as customers’ shopping experience. She helped improve Fred Meyer’s Front End Friendly metric by 15%, making it No. 1 in the Kroger enterprise, and the Self-Checkout Welcoming by 21% — a tie for first place — with Fred Meyer the only division to achieve all Our Promise Shop goals every period. Breidt led Fred Meyer in having the top overall total Kroger Personal Finance contribution in the Kroger enterprise, and also led the division in the money services and telecom business, achieving top sales in the Kroger enterprise.
Christa Criswell Deli/Bakery Merchandiser, The Kroger Co./ Columbus Division
Criswell grew division deli/bakery sales for the second straight year at a rate of 11.46%, more than doubling the prior year’s growth of 5.4%, and was No. 4 in the enterprise for identical-store sales growth for the past two years. She implemented a communication strategy that included a weekly call for all department leaders and direct reports during which she communicated actionable items and results from previous asks, and weekly store visits for one-on-one conversations with associates. Criswell’s department was the top seller in Kroger’s Cake Challenge and Pumpkin Roll Challenge, both created to determine which division had the most effective bakery sales strategy.
Pharmacy Practice Coordinator, The Kroger Co./ Fry’s Food Stores
Smith created and implemented COVID-19 vaccine training across the division, ensuring that all Fry’s Pharmacy locations were equipped with the necessary tools and resources for safely administering the vaccine. In addition to her training duties, she assisted in developing and managing a vaccine clinic scheduling system for 20,000 Phoenix high school students, faculty and staff until the company scheduler was available. Not content to rest on her laurels, Smith played a critical role in achieving budget and sales goals for her area, working with her pharmacy teams to develop tactics to increase prescription and vaccine counts to help raise sales and profits.
2022 Top Women in Grocery Samantha Bock Shared Services Administration Senior Manager, The Kroger Co./ General Office
Bock added five contact center locations, including ones outside of the United States, to allow Kroger to adjust to pandemic surges that hit different areas of the world while using this global delivery model to segregate work to provide lowest-cost options. Thanks to her efforts, Kroger still met its two-minute-time-toanswer service-level agreement during COVID surges, never having to put up a “due to the COVID-19 pandemic, expect long wait times” message. Bock and her team designed an operating and evaluation model to create an exceptional customer experience that led to a 700-basis-point increase in customer satisfaction scores.
Division E-Commerce Manager, The Kroger Co./ Mid-Atlantic Division
Health & Wellness (The Little Clinic) Director, The Kroger Co./ Kroger Health
Brown executed mass drive-thru sites for COVID-19 testing in 19 states, while also securing tests for clinics she oversaw and setting up operations and safety measures for mass vaccine clinics.
Division E-Commerce Manager, The Kroger Co./ King Soopers
Dussex designed and implemented bimonthly training for store leadership and e-commerce teams to understand how to better reduce wait time, increase fulfillment and remain profitable by controlling labor. Under her leadership, King Soopers’ e-commerce sales in pickup exceeded $409 million, delivery services supassed $200 million, fulfillment rates improved by 5%, pickup and delivery fulfillment rates rose by 5%, and department turnover rates fell by 46% from the previous year.
Brown led the initiative to increase telehealth, going from two locations in one state to providing the service in 219 locations across 48 states.
Despite obstacles related to antiquated liquor laws in Colorado, Dussex implemented a method for the division to sell alcohol online at 122 locations.
End to End Produce Sustainment Coordinator, The Kroger Co./ Mid-Atlantic Division
Lyles coordinated the rollout of end-to-end produce in 62 stores and coached teams on how to deliver on key performance indicators in the produce department.
She began guided store walks for e-commerce field specialists to ensure consistency in messaging and feedback to stores and to help implement best practices, and she worked closely with human resources to identify and retain team members who ultimately boosted the department’s Net Promoter Score by an average of 10 points.
Before moving to her current role, she was an associate relations manager, in which capacity she played an important role in the human resources transition to a new design and structure; then, in the produce department, she helped redefine leadership roles.
When it was unheard of in retail health settings to treat chronic conditions and support mental health and wellness, she continued to push through the barriers to allow providers to work using evidence-based practice — thereby allowing patients to receive quality health care at an affordable price.
Grant-Morain implemented and sustained divisional e-commerce activities through partnerships with the corporate e-commerce teams, developing plans to support a rapid growth model.
Although she only joined Kroger in 2021, Grant-Morain is already active in the Women’s EDGE and African-American associate resource groups.
Lyles was Mid-Atlantic Associate of the Period for her work in creating a morale-boosting campaign that promoted positivity and friendliness among associates; she also led a steering committee in the Women’s EDGE associate resource group.
Senior Director, Specialty Cheese, The Kroger Co./ Murray’s Cheese
As the proverbial “big cheese,” Thompson oversaw 997 Murray’s Cheese Shop locations and 1,200 specialty cheese shops across the enterprise. 2021 marked the second year of record-breaking sales of Murray’s cheeses within Kroger; building on that momentum, she converted 250 cheese shops into Murray’s Cheese Shops, including 22 new Murray’s at Kroger’s Harris Teeter banner, and she and her team launched a pilot for fresh-sliced charcuterie. Thompson took the lead as project manager for Kroger’s new Go Fresh & Local Supplier Accelerator, guiding small and minority vendors on a clear path to doing business with Kroger.
Courtney Baxter Finance Manager, The Kroger Co./ Louisville Division
Leading the accounting and financials for 116 stores, Baxter recently replaced outdated systems with cloud-based platforms and used the new financials to provide strategic direction on sales plan executions, which led to her division’s No. 1 ranking within the enterprise. She developed a department leader training program that includes a “Krogeropoly” activity emphasizing the importance of cost control. Recently chosen to represent Kroger at FMI’s Future Leaders eXperience, Baxter belongs to the Louisville division Women’s EDGE group and is co-chair of the office Our Promise team, which focuses on creating an uplifting work environment.
Myrna Rexing Senior Brand Manager, The Kroger Co./ Our Brands
Overseeing marketing, strategy and go-to-market operations for Kroger’s Our Brands portfolio, a $27 billion business, Rexing led the evolution of the Our Brands strategy, reintroducing opening pricepoint brands, repositioning the Kroger brand and focusing on ways to address shoppers’ new buying habits. She helped introduce the first line of Our Brands soft drinks appealing to a Hispanic target audience, and led the conversion of Our Brands products to 100% recyclable flex packaging. Rexing received the “Long Neck” award from the Our Brands division for her work in promoting and delivering new ideas with excellence.
ADUSA Supply Chain congratulates our
Top Women In Grocery! We are proud and thankful for your leadership and commitment to excellence, which fuels our ambition to be Trusted to Always Deliver for our retail partners and their customers.
Manager, ADvantage Program Planning
Director, Logistics Operations
Director, Supply Chain Strategy
Director, Fulfillment Support
ADUSA Supply Chain Services
2022 Top Women in Grocery Devon Cresse
Meat and Seafood Field Specialist, The Kroger Co./ QFC
District Manager, The Kroger Co./ Ralphs
With oversight of two QFC division districts generating $90 million in annual meat and seafood sales, Cresse strove to create consistency in QFC branding.
Brophy was recently promoted to another district, where she took on the management of operations at 20 highvolume stores.
Ensuring that stores maximized sales while minimizing shrink, she kept teams staffed and motivated and promoted eight associates, despite the recent labor crunch and a lingering pandemic.
While at her previous district, she led 19 stores to a combined shrink of 2.48% — the second best in the division — and successfully rolled out a new curbside pickup service with a five-minute-or-less wait time; she also took pride in promoting eight new Ralphs store leaders in that district.
A frequent winner of company sales contests, Cresse volunteered with a local food bank and founded a tolerance, awareness and alliance club to support the LGBTQ community; as part of that outreach effort, she created a program that was rolled out to the local school district.
A graduate of the Food Industry Executive Program at the University of Southern California in 2021, Brophy donates her time and talent to combat hunger through donation drives.
Division Floral Field Specialist, The Kroger Co./ Ralphs
Promoted to her current position in August 2021, Ramos supervised 184 floral departments, driving sales with her team and through partnerships with Kroger’s general office staff.
Corporate Affairs Manager, The Kroger Co./ Roundy’s
Charged with leading internal and external communications for Roundy’s in Wisconsin, Williamson was also responsible for the resolution of all charitable requests.
She successfully guided her group through some ordering transitions and led sales in the third quarter of 2021 to reach $19.9 million, up from $15.1 million on a two-year basis; she also set a record for Valentine’s Day and International Women’s Day floral sales in 2022.
She played an important role in expressing company support and solace following a shooting at a Roundy’s distribution center; she also spearheaded support efforts after the tragedy at the Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wis., and teamed with Feeding America on a campaign that generated $3 million-plus in food donations.
Recognized by Ralphs during Hispanic Heritage Month, Ramos is an active member of the division’s multicultural associate resource group.
Williamson is a member of the nutrition policy steering group at Feeding America and serves on the Friends of the Milwaukee Public Library board.
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2022 Top Women in Grocery
Senior Advanced Software Engineering Manager, The Kroger. Co./ Technology and Digital
Within the customer technology organization, Tura developed customer-facing health-and-wellness applications with partners at Kroger Health and other offices. Demonstrating leadership during a high-pressure time, she was instrumental in making the COVID-19 vaccine available at the company’s pharmacies and led the creation of the industry-leading vaccine scheduler; she also managed changes that allowed health-and-wellness experiences to be well positioned for scalability. Recognized by company leaders for her efforts, Tura is also actively involved in her church and community.
Supplier Diversity Manager, Meijer
Director, Business Development, Meijer
Guiding product development, executing strategies for self-manufacturing expansion and leading the business capability team to identify and roll out IT infrastructure strategies that support growth, Curtis presided over the launch of 129 new own-brand SKUs that delivered $2.2 million in retail sales growth and achieved 5% growth in co-manufacturing. She guided the relocation of a sandwich production line, resulting in a 24% sales improvement. Curtis headed up Meijer’s celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month and co-led the multicultural Mosaic employee resource group; additionally, on her own time, she co-founded a candle and gift company.
Lenon diligently worked to create innovative ways to help raise internal and external awareness of diversity and connect diverse-owned businesses with buyers, corporate partners and business partners. She led the Collection of Voices project, seeking local artists to partner on a culturally inspired product collection inspired by Black History Month, Women’s History Month, Pride Month and Hispanic Heritage Month. Lenon is active outside of work with Construction Allies in Action, the Grand Rapids Asian Pacific Foundation, the Veteran Owned Business Roundtable, Project4Purpose, the Lao Lahanam Association of Holland and the Grand Rapids Asian Pacific Festival.
Senior Specialist, Organizational Development, Meijer
Messing created a 30-60-90-day plan to support the transition of seven executive leaders and facilitated bimonthly connections with the newly promoted leaders to provide a consistent, equitable and sustainable development experience. She earned her certification to debrief Leadership Potential Solution assessments, which measure an individual’s potential to successfully advance into significantly higher leadership roles. Known as a mentor at her company, Messing volunteers with the Women at Meijer employee resource group and the Grand Rapids Kids Food Basket; she’s also an athletic booster and parent volunteer who helps organize student activities.
REMARKABLE We proudly recognize these
and all the outstanding women leaders in our industry.
PA M S E I V E R T
Hornbacher’s Store Director
Director of Advertising Rising Star
Director of Loyalty Marketing Rising Star
Director, Marketing Creative and Campaign Strategy, Meijer
Vought led the brand marketing strategy, campaign planning, customer communication and creative development to bring the best experiences to customers across 300 Meijer stores in 10 states.
Area Manager III, Milo’s Tea Co. Inc.
Cannon helped Milo’s become the No. 1 refrigerated tea in her market area, and she continues to grow the brand by constantly seeking new ways to introduce products to customers in her market area, including a statewide radiothon.
She developed not only the company’s first brand program to communicate community giving to shoppers, but also the vision to connect community investments to stores while telling their stories to customers.
She coordinated Milo’s participation in retailer food shows for her retailers and was able to gain distribution of new items by working with major retailer groups and buyers.
Vought developed the Moms at Meijer team member resource group to support the success of moms through education, environment and connection, and is also an executive board member of Women at Meijer.
Cannon is a board member of the Itawamba Community College Wesley Foundation, as well as of Fulton’s Hands of Hope, and also serves as chaplain for the Itawamba County Republican Women club.
Senior Director, National Grocers Association Foundation
White oversaw the programs, initiatives and fundraising for the 501(c)(3) nonprofit arm of the National Grocers Association, including scholarships, the career center and educational content and resources that further the foundation’s mission to recruit, train and retain employees for independent grocers. She spearheaded the successful and safe return to in-person events with the 2021 Executive Leadership Development Program, increased awareness of the foundation and its resources, and grew sponsorships and contributions by more than 25%. White also ran the Women Grocers of America program and the Student Case Study Competition.
Director of Shopper Marketing, Nature Nate’s Honey Co.
Over the past 12 months, Mikeska transformed Nature Nate’s product display pages for Walmart, Sam’s Club, Kroger, Target and H-E-B, bringing her company’s scorecard rating for online presence at retail from a 70 to a 100. She drove an incremental $7 million in sales with a 4:1 return on investment, secured more than 125 million impressions in-store and online, and delivered the company’s best results in January. Mikeska was a champion for Nature Nate’s corporate giving initiative, Honey Gives Hope, helping facilitate product donations to local charities such as Samaritan Inn and the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
Jennifer Lepore Senior Account Manager-Giant Eagle, PBNA North Division, PepsiCo
This past year, Lepore managed the feature calendar, drove several effective local marketing programs, accelerated meal solution offers and executed best-in-class innovation with Giant Eagle. She and PepsiCo have helped Giant Eagle grow by 6.9% over the past year, and she also led the Pepsi Energy category strategy, resulting in the grocer’s energy category growing by 30.2% and Pepsi energy by a massive 80.2%. Lepore led a program on Hair Peace Charities for supporting people with cancer, and localized programs for the Giant Eagle Team Member Care Fund, and she was an integral part of supporting the Educational Partnership for Giant Eagle.
2022 Top Women in Grocery Ceida Polezel
Senior Sales Strategy Manager, Gatorade and Propel, PepsiCo
Director of Insights and Strategy, Walmart Front End Transformation and Macrospace, PepsiCo
Leading sales strategy and planning for the club and e-commerce channels, Polezel improved club performance through pack assortment changes, collaborating with customer teams, supply chain, demand planning and finance.
Having recently moved into a director role focused on front end transformation for Walmart, Spink partnered with the retailer to craft growth strategies and build PepsiCo’s macrospace strategy and capability.
She headed the strategy execution of the allocation process across the club channel, improved communication flow between cross-functional teams and developed the 2022 re-pack capacity strategy that resulted in planned double-digit growth.
As lead of the PepsiCo Foods North America commercial insights team for Walmart, she inspired members to identify $700 million-plus in category opportunities, including multiple white spaces in adjacent categories.
A member of PepsiCo’s Mosaic program, Polezel led the Black History Month professional development workshop, and contributed to the Global Female Design Thinking Sprint.
Spink won the Illuminator Award 2021 and the PepsiCo Way Award, and also took part in Walmart’s spirit committee to boost employee morale and leadership development.
Director of Space and Floor Planning, P.L. Marketing
Supporting The Kroger Co.’s category management and store execution by developing analytics-based planograms and floor plans for more than 2,500 locations, Miller successfully devised a process designed to eliminate out-of-stocks and worked on improvements to enhance digital growth. She collaborated with other team members to employ new technology and tools to support automation and improve reporting capabilities, and in the past year alone, she hired and trained more than 50 new employees. Miller is an active supporter of the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization in Cincinnati and a member of Kroger’s mentor leadership group.
2022 Top Women in Grocery Beth Beischel
Account Customer Expert, Kroger Team, Procter & Gamble (P&G)
As the account and customer expert on the Kroger feminine care business, Beischel was the predominant point of contact for the display group; she had a strong customer relationship and owned communication with P&G’s Kroger administrator. She was the mastermind behind a low-value digital coupon strategy and helped reinvent the display strategy to accelerate top- and bottom-line productivity. Despite her incredibly busy work schedule, Beischel serves as a key member of the culture lead team and a lead tester on all corporate initiatives; she has additionally done work in support of P&G disaster relief efforts, as well as all Kroger/P&G philanthropic events.
Cassie Bianculli Supply Chain System Administrator, Save A Lot
When faced with supply chain disruptions, Bianculli identified an opportunity to incorporate coding and additional pull levers to streamline Save A Lot’s supply chain network. She spearheaded the implementation of a new wholesale freight and fuel program that overhauled store transportation, led to the reduction of more than 260 assets, and increased overall asset use, saving more than $6 million. Bianculli acted as a project manager during Save A Lot’s conversion of 300 corporate-owned stores to retail partner ownership, providing essential insight from a transportation and distribution perspective.
Director, P&G East Region Customer Service Center, Procter & Gamble (P&G)
Montgomery and her team maneuvered through and managed the pandemic by providing clear, timely and transparent information to customers, and she also implemented daily hyper-care calls as well as unearthing direct lift-and-shift opportunities. Her team’s region overdelivered on sales, grew share and reached defined targets, with three categories exceeding sales targets and the majority of categories growing share. Montgomery co-created the Northeast Cross Affinity Network and the equity and inclusion pillar for the Northeast House; helped educate, celebrate and mentor fellow team members; and tutored and mentored students.
Supply Chain Planner, Save A Lot
Director of Talent Management and Diversity, Publix Super Markets Inc.
Huska led efforts to streamline the hiring process in stores and enhance the candidate experience, including a realistic preview of what it’s like to work in Publix stores through a highly interactive and engaging series of on-thejob scenarios and questions. She also played a vital role in enhancing succession-planning programs, specifically in leading her team in developing new talent review processes to identify top candidates more quickly, and to assess and address potential gaps in the talent pipeline. A member of various professional organizations, Huska has served as a volunteer for Junior Achievement, St. Stephen Catholic School and Church, Jesuit High School, and A Kid’s Place.
Category Manager, Save A Lot
Black’s strong negotiating skills enabled her to initiate vendor return for credit on various short-dated products, which is difficult to achieve in her area, and resulted in savings of $10,000-plus for Save A Lot.
Despite COVID-related issues that affected production, Cook introduced 12 new private label snack items and nine new private label candy items to Save A Lot stores.
Amid widespread supply chain disruptions, she negotiated a deal in which Save A Lot was temporarily exempt from a price increase, making it possible to purchase enough cleaning products to stay well stocked, and saving the brand and customers a significant amount of money.
She developed a brand-new private label chocolate assortment, from conception to shelves, in just three months; grew total candy purchases by 5%; and increased seasonal and special-buy candy purchases by 15.8% year over year, with Valentine’s Day candy survey results up by 121% year over year.
During 2021, Black supported the training of three new supply chain planners and volunteered to cover for a colleague who missed a significant amount of work following surgery.
In 2021, Cook was recognized by peers and leadership as the winner of Save A Lot’s Living Our Values award.
Supply Chain Planner, Save A Lot
Bennick was able to successfully add more than $200,000 in sales to Save A Lot’s bottom line, and maintained a service level of 99% on 3,000-plus items across distribution centers. She also oversaw the conversion of several warehouse operations during 2021 and collaborated closely with vendors, distribution center managers and local retail partners to merchandise new tortilla items far earlier than was originally expected. Bennick’s leadership and deep knowledge of Save A Lot’s supply chain kept items stocked on store shelves throughout the entire country, and she received certification on the silver level in the area of advanced warehouse replenishment.
Senior IT Delivery Manager, Technology Delivery, Save A Lot
Graham expertly led teams through two customer-facing store initiatives that improved user experience and provided data-based pricing guidelines for local operating groups while focusing on simplifying item pricing across multiple stores. She personally led several individual disengagement efforts, including space-planning disengagement, which enabled the delivery of store plans that were targeted and customized to the needs of store consumers. Graham eagerly led a successful $20 million technology project affecting the merchandising, supply chain, retail operations and financial systems.
We are proud to honor our 2022 Top Woman in Grocery. Congratulations to our Kellogg Friend,
Congratulations from your friends at
2022 Top Women in Grocery Sarah Griffin
Director of Public Relations and Community Engagement, Save A Lot
Under Griffin’s leadership, her team elevated Save A Lot’s visibility in 2021 through a variety of media channels in local and trade media, resulting in more than 13,133 articles with a reach of more than 2,075,850,000. In partnership with three agencies, her team also garnered significant coverage in regard to the company’s new brand campaign, Like, A Lot A Lot. Griffin works with such nonprofits as No Kid Hungry and Feeding America, and is currently developing a meaningful corporate social responsibility strategy that will have a positive impact on the company, its local retail partners and its customers.
Monica Wang Senior Software Engineer, Save A Lot
Wang was extremely useful in building out the Kuebix near-term loading system, which is set to save the company about $1.5 million and represents a major upgrade of its transportation system. She served as a lead developer enabling a new Save A Lot human resources system and assisted in a chargeback/ lumping project that helped eliminate merchant errors and could possibly save the company about $750,000. Wang also played a lead role in the company’s tobacco system implementation by helping to build and maintain some of the merchandising systems that determine financials related to tobacco products.
Director of Retail Operations, Save A Lot
In her capacity as the project lead of a cross-functional team, Heinsohn facilitated the conversion of nearly 300 corporate stores to local ownership, navigating the team through 34 individual transactions with retail partners. She also developed a standardized playbook to streamline the conversion process, ensuring a seamless ownership transition that resulted in minimal business interruptions for converting stores. Heinsohn partnered with the field operations team to streamline the remodel process to update 200 Save A Lot stores, and also led the deployment of Save A Lot’s e-commerce efforts, rolling out the Instacart platform to 519 participating locations.
Senior Human Resources Business Partner, The Save Mart Cos.
Arnett facilitated talent calibration sessions and produced individual development plans for field operators and human resources teams to implement growth in their careers during the pandemic. When select stores were temporarily closed, she acted as a support system for employees, communicated critical information, and backed the hiring of temporary team members until quarantined employees returned. Among her other community outreach efforts, Arnett volunteers in support of Courage Rock, an organization that offers equine therapy for veterans and active military.
Human Resources Business Partner, Save A Lot
Armed with data and insights based on a survey asking remote workers what was working well and what wasn’t, Malina received full executive leadership support on a hybrid work policy that increased team member engagement. She leveraged her relationships with leaders and individual contributors at Save A Lot to coach them on how to bring the new hybrid work policy to life in their respective teams, including in-person training to upskill leaders on how to effectively manage remote teams. The new hybrid model that Malina created at Save A Lot allowed the company to retain team members while attracting new ones and remaining competitive in the marketplace.
Marie Lim Cabornay
Senior Manager, Application Development/IT, The Save Mart Cos.
Cabornay led Save Mart’s IT applications development in implementing strategic initiatives to improve the customer experience and store operations by creating a mobile application that provided stores with real-time metrics on in-store sales, operator performance and promotion redemptions. She partnered with a third-party vendor to create and roll out new Save Mart, Lucky California and Food Maxx mobile apps to improve customer engagement and loyalty program enrollment. Cabornay also created a web application to service customer account requests, resulting in a decrease in customer support-related IT tickets by 90%.
Sandy Tiller Supply Chain Planner, Save A Lot
Tiller identified and executed forward-buy opportunities that ultimately added $214,000-plus to Save A Lot’s bottom line. Following the loss of the company’s private label canned-soda vendor, she worked overtime to onboard a new regional soda vendor, got stores back in stock in record time, and coordinated directly with the shipping department and transportation team to transport the order to distribution centers. When a water supplier experienced a major equipment malfunction, Tiller organized a solution that allowed the supplier to produce its bottled water at a separate facility, and then created a transportation schedule to deliver it directly to stores.
Senior Manager, Public Affairs and Government Affairs, The Save Mart Cos.
Castro embarked on activities that resulted in 1.2 billion-plus gross media impressions, equaling $13.8 million in media value. She repositioned the FoodMaxx banner among consumer and trade press with the grand opening of Store #447, the private label Craven launch and a new mobile app; events such as an opening ceremony, an influencer campaign and holiday food drives helped boost media coverage by 75% over 2020. Lucky California’s brand awareness increased after Castro orchestrated grand-opening activities for store #744, including press releases, media alerts, a ceremony, consumer activities, an influencer campaign and charitable donations.
Congratulations to our
Top Women In Grocery! Your leadership, care, courage and teamwork make it possible for us to deliver on our promise to provide innovative solutions so our partners can focus on building great local brands. We appreciate your dedication and leadership.
Chief of Staff and VP of Portfolio Management
Workers Compensation Manager
Director of Business Intelligence and Analytics
2022 Top Women in Grocery Jessica Daniel
Director, Learning and Engagement, The Save Mart Cos.
Formerly a retail store leader who now devises solutions that best support team members, Daniel created Developing Level Up, a leadership training initiative for 200 store managers.
Talent Acquisition Specialist, The Save Mart Cos.
Director, Store Operations, The Save Mart Cos.
Managing recruiting for 147 Save Mart and Lucky California stores and overseeing the hiring of pharmacy personnel, Lerma hired 131 team members and maintained an 11% turnover rate, despite the pandemic.
Overseeing employee productivity and customer experience initiatives for seven Save Mart locations in California’s Central Valley, Mercado led her stores to outpace the banner average in sales with a 28% yearover-year increase.
She leveraged her human resources, change management and organizational development experience when the retailer embarked on a company-wide reorganization project; in tandem with HR, executive leadership and other departments, her efforts generated $5 million in annual savings.
She partnered with the compensation team to update offer letter templates and other human resources materials, and worked with pharmacy directors to provide educational courses to help employees obtain pharmacy tech licenses and national pharmacy tech certification.
By motivating teams to continually increase store standards and guest experience levels, she enabled stores’ basket profitability to rise by 30%, and she also encouraged employees to maintain pre-pandemic labor efficiencies, allowing locations to beat their target by 139 basis points.
Customers and peers frequently acknowledged Daniel’s commitment, and this year, Hal Levitt, Save Mart’s SVP, operations, recognized her for “going the extra mile.”
To facilitate recruiting efforts, Lerma built strong partnerships with California’s Employment Development Department, veterans affairs offices, local colleges and other organizations.
Fresh Buyer, Produce, The Save Mart Cos.
Serving as the produce buyer for stores under three Save Mart banners, Tomao worked with the director of supply chain to develop and train produce buyers on an updated Excel spreadsheet/ ordering template for key seasonal and high-velocity items. Under her guidance, net sales grew by an average of 14.79% across nine key produce categories, while unit volume increased by an average of 9.53%. Tomao reduced inventory days of supply by 21.5% for like items in the third and fourth quarters, exceeding the 20% goal, and delivered a combined net revenue of $828,000 back to stores on a cost-to-serve/cost-per-case basis, against a goal of $800,000.
Fiona Williams Director, Risk Management and Compliance, The Save Mart Cos.
When claims management status was affecting company financials, Williams made some staff changes and implemented best practices, which put things back on track.
Mercado co-designed, introduced and serves as lead of a diversity program focused on training, awareness, celebration of diversity, and culture building.
Senior Director, Merchandising Enablement and Supplier Diversity, Schnuck Markets Inc.
Despite product shortages and inflation, Moore was able to procure goods at appropriate prices.
The number of open litigated liability claims fell from 120 to 51 in six months, eliminating the ultimate exposure of claim development; her implementation of an internal triage process improved claim reporting, with 50% fewer incidents reported to the third-party administrator.
She grew Schnucks’ supplier diversity program from the ground up, helping category managers add more than 25 diverse vendors and more than 700 UPCs across the company’s various store banners; she also implemented software that tracks diverse suppliers, and served on Schnucks’ diversity, equity and inclusion taskforce.
Williams established new guidelines for workers’ compensation handling, including medical provider management, causing total claim inventory to drop by 8%.
Moore helps procure school supplies for underprivileged children, and she also coordinates Schnucks’ involvement in the United Way’s 100 Neediest Families Drive.
Senior Analyst, Financial Systems, The Save Mart Cos.
Sawyer played a key role in upgrading more than 200 reporting templates to a new back-end code base that supports an upgraded query add-on and is supported on current versions of Excel; she also expanded reporting within the margin study process, providing greater visibility into key product drivers of margin changes to merchandising VPs. Last year, she implemented a tool to improve ordering accuracy of Christmas trees and poinsettias; this tool is capable of boosting sales performance and reducing shrink by as much as 8%. Sawyer was invited by Save Mart’s leadership to serve on the innovation steering committee.
Associate Director of Fresh Insights/ BDM, Schraad Sales & Marketing
Adept at analyzing and interpreting market trends, Storvik was instrumental during her first 10 months with the company in launching its business with H-EB’s deli and seafood departments, which Schraad had been trying to penetrate for 15 years. She conceptualized a unique joint promotion involving several clients; designed to introduce incremental products to new households, it led to record levels of redemption. In October 2021, Storvik was inducted into the Denison University Swimming Hall of Champions; she also volunteers at a San Antonio women’s shelter and belongs to several professional organizations.
We celebrate all of the women leading the way across our industry.
Store Operations Support
Merchandising Enablement & Supplier Diversity
2022 Top Women in Grocery Jessica Longshore
Senior Director of Field Sales Strategy, Schwan’s Consumer Brands Inc.
Responsible for Schwan’s direct store delivery business, Longshore helped generate year-over-year sales growth through strategic planning and sales execution; in particular, retail frozen Asian food experienced unprecedented growth due to her leadership, while display execution showed triple-digit improvement.
Northern Region Administrator, Smart & Final Stores
Focusing on shrink, Hansmann contributed to a decrease of 30 basis points based on her analysis, and she developed a process by which managers can identify misses and address them; by reviewing and following up on shrink-related reports, she recovered $55,000 in overpayments.
Working with cross-functional leaders, she sought to fully understand production, forecasting and distribution models to ensure product availability amid supply chain challenges.
She helped develop a mobile phone app that allows executives to access sales and execution data and keep track of store visits, helping them better understand each store’s daily performance.
For its efforts, Longshore’s team received the CJCJ Award, which honors exemplary practitioners of Schwan’s CJ Management Philosophy.
Hansmann created customer service reports that emphasize opportunities and engage managers for feedback based on customer satisfaction scores.
Inventory Control Director, SpartanNash
Due to her inventory control expertise and team leadership, Cartrette was promoted from manager to inventory control director in 2021. She helped decrease pallet abandon rates from 21% to 6% through such efforts as root cause analysis, building strong relationships with operations, and hands-on visits to distribution centers to train key personnel on best practices. Cartrette’s work with inventory control and operations teams reduced the number of pallets that go through sorting from 3,600 weekly to under 1,600, yielding higher weekly sales and higher customer fill rates; her efficiency improvements made $1.4 million in inventory available for sale.
Human Resources Business Partner II, SpartanNash
With a focus on associate recruiting and retention, Gustafson promoted best practices and identified innovative solutions; she worked closely with store teams to understand staffing needs and priorities, and worked with district managers to brainstorm creative ways to show associate appreciation. As a key trainer for the launch of a cloud-based technology database process, she helped associates learn to use the system to best maximize productivity and results. Gustafson was recruited by the Selective Service System as a local volunteer board member to prepare for and support the U.S. government in the event that a draft is reinstated.
Assistant District Manager, Smart & Final Stores
After leading a store with the highest customer satisfaction scores, Lopez became an assistant district manager; through action planning, training and follow-up, she helped her district’s stores’ perishable departments go from missing shrink objectives to beating the plan. She ensured that all stores’ perishable sections had appropriate staffing levels; this included identifying and training future perishables associates. As a store manager, Lopez was one of the retailer’s top charitable program contributors; in her new role, she applied this expertise to her district, which went from being a lesser contributor during charitable drives to one of the top three per event.
Beth Melvin Manager, Data Integrity, SpartanNash
Melvin proactively learned SpartanNash’s new Master Data Management (MDM) system to train her team and ensured that all new processes were working accurately through testing. The data maintenance transition to the MDM system application involved the transition of more than 5,000 shipping, 5,000 vendor and 300,000 item records; she led her team to identify any data issues and clean up the data, and then match data between the two systems and train employees on its use. Quick to identify and resolve issues, Melvin worked with the Defense Commissary Agency to correct a 6,000-case discrepancy at one location.
Product Manager, Smart & Final Stores
Managing more than 80 private label deli and frozen food vendors that supply 1,000plus items, Romero sourced products locally and globally to maintain in-stock levels during the pandemic. Adept at myriad aspects of new product development, including pricing, shelf location, design, packaging and quality, she passionately engaged with new and existing vendors to create better items at better costs. Romero successfully completed Smart & Final’s Manager Development Program, and from a large pool of rising stars, she was one of just two selected to attend the USC Food Industry Management Program; she’s also on the board of the Dairy, Deli & Bakery Council.
Dina Nicodemus Senior Manager, Networks and Telecommunications, SpartanNash
After Martin’s Supermarket was integrated into SpartanNash, Nicodemus played a key role in transitioning Martin’s systems to the SpartanNash standard; her team completed more than 30 retail store network refreshes, resulting in a solid network infrastructure. She took the initiative to help organize a partnership between key players from the network and user experience teams to better serve the organization and improve employee production. Passionate about her team’s professional development, Nicodemus aided in employee retention and fostered a positive work culture where team members felt supported, valued and inspired to do their best work.
2022 Top Women in Grocery Katherine Collins
Director, Marketing, SpartanNash/ Martin’s Supermarket
Wendt worked with the IT team to launch a new loyalty program; her expertise and insights helped develop the best possible program to meet customer needs and support retail functionality. She was instrumental in transitioning from an old pointof-sale system, ensuring that continuity programs would be supported and guaranteeing a superior customer experience throughout the transition. Wendt played a pivotal role in developing a streamlined set of operational guidelines for company scanning departments; by focusing on user function and quality signage, she managed the smooth transition from store-created signs and tags to a simpler kit program.
Head of Client Engagement, Symphony RetailAI
Collins grew key client relationships, delivering 118% of her annual budget through expanded renewals and more features that her CPG partners can use in retailer engagement; her team renewed 20-plus long-term agreements, demonstrating significant return on investment for her clients.
Director, Customer Insights, Symphony RetailAI
Garfold-Barr’s team worked on 40 collaborative CPG projects that used consumer trend and shopper data to recommend changes that delivered significant incremental sales to retail partners across various categories.
Through the retailer collaboration program and her leadership, her clients uncovered more than $60 million in identified opportunities for growth for their brands at retail.
She received Symphony RetailAI’s Team Brilliance Award for co-leading a training and development initiative targeted to more than 50 offshore analysts to teach them about the U.S. grocery industry and its unique dynamics.
Collins connected key users with product leadership to ensure that just-in-time feedback was delivered to the team responsible for user experience and key product enhancements.
As an active member of United Way’s Women United, Garfold-Barr helped provide high-impact programs to address the challenges faced by women and girls in her community.
Director, Integrated Marketing Solutions, Topco Associates LLC
Applegate built new marketing partnerships that brought national exposure to Topco members, brands and shoppers by creating key promotional opportunities in television, movies and radio. She drove a new platform solution build-out and ensured that internal and member key stakeholders were brought along on the journey. In addition to those accomplishments, Applegate developed strategic content for members to use with their shoppers across the store, in aisles for specific products, and in home to drive repeat purchase intent and build a more relational connection with shoppers.
Congratulations To Our Winners STORE MANAGERS
Senior Director, Talent and Development and Corporate Communications, Topco Associates LLC
IS TO CELEBRATE OUR TOP WOMEN IN GROCERY
Cyze evolved and advanced Topco’s Leading from Every Seat program, designed for high-potential associates who excel in their performance, and extended the program to partner with Loyola University. She established goals for the corporate communications team that pivoted thinking about mass communications, key stakeholders and member-facing strategic messages. Cyze helped evolve Topco’s Talent Philosophy and built programs and tracks that are driving the organization to become a high-performing culture that includes change management as an integral part of all continuous-improvement projects.
Natalie Fisher Manager, Risk and Safety, Tops Markets
Fisher revamped and enhanced the company’s light-duty program for active workers’ compensation employees that aims to provide injured associates with a path to return to work. As co-chair of the company’s corporate crisis committee, she expertly coordinated the implementation of COVID-19 mandates, which continually changed; Tops Markets had only one case of COVID-19 that led to a workers’ compensation claim. Fisher was part of a retail safety initiative with an insurance partner to help develop and roll out a plan to foster a safer and healthier work environment for several thousand retail management employees.
KATIE BUECHEL Store Manager Juliana Wright Social Media Coordinator, Tops Markets
PAULA STOP Rising Star Director of Total Rewards
We are proud to recognize these dynamic leaders and congratulate all of this year’s honorees!
Wright developed strategies to keep the company relevant in consumer feeds, including a strategic set of hashtags for each type of content; a dynamic schedule of varying content that included trending memes, unique item carousels; and in-store reels to engage current followers and gain new ones. As she continued to elevate Tops’ presence on Instagram, local influencers began organically connecting and sharing the company’s content, which led to strong business relationships. This added exposure also led to a supplier’s request to promote its partnership with a podcast, for which Wright created a viral reel prior to a big Buffalo Bills playoff game.
Mari Herbert Director Blue Marble Brands Sales, UNFI
Herbert’s solid analytical background lent itself well to identifying and closing sales, which led to an 8% increase in business while bottom-line profit grew by 17%. She successfully ran the business alone for the first few months of the year before onboarding and training two new direct reports, initiating best-inclass training with a special session at headquarters to ensure their success. Responsible for about $150 million in sales while managing and overseeing around $20 million in promotional spending, Herbert played a critical role in the company’s consumer marketing investments and execution.
Manager Regional Merchandising, UNFI
Hester co-founded and launched the company’s Women’s Integrated Network, a now 500-member belonging and innovation group that unites all genders to advance female leaders. She developed, launched and oversaw a national service program for a customer that included coordinating regional managers and more than 30 merchandisers, setting up new procedures and creating data capture forms to improve the process and ensure strong customer support. Hester received the UNFI thankU acknowledgement for her work on a new store; her attention to detail contributed to the location’s strong sales.
Lynn Laforest Senior Manager Branding, UNFI
Laforest designed new content plans to help better facilitate growth of the company’s Uconnect platform, which led to doubled participation within a year. She launched a white-glove strategy program to help teach warehouse leadership teams how to be better communicators and provided best practices for engaging teams. Laforest rolled out UNFI’s Fuel the Future strategy, a multiyear initiative including employee videos, a leadership engagement toolkit, meetings to answer employee questions and generate discussion about the strategy, and follow-up materials to ensure that every associate understood Fuel the Future’s mission, vision and goals.
Doris Rawlings Yard Coordinator, UNFI
Rawlings was selected to partner with the company’s learning and development and diversity and inclusion teams to amplify the voices of professional truck drivers in the food industry. She mentored youth through her church and local youth centers like the YMCA, sharing her knowledge and life experience to help young people with their confidence and leadership skills while encouraging individuals to obtain their commercial driver’s licenses. Acting on her long-held belief that mentorship matters, Rawlings is a co-founder of the Trucking Industry Recruiter and Support at CDL Depot, which provides guidance to drivers across the industry.
Category Manager, UNFI
Mann spearheaded the review and reorganization of a new training program and materials for new category managers and specialists, work that was especially critical during a year with turnover of one-third of the total staff. She partnered with a fellow category manager to create a new monthly merchandising guide for retailers that included a variety of programs and opportunities throughout the departments relative to activities — holidays, events, trends, seasonal changes — occurring during the month. Sullivan participated in the Central region’s first mentorship program, and has been recognized by her peers with the GEM (Going the Extra Mile) Award.
2022 Top Women in Grocery Elizabeth Travers
Manager, Sales Ops, UNFI
Travers managed the company’s biggest annual marketing event and created a rollout plan with field sales tools that absorbed and tracked customer orders; these enhanced tools drove the program to its most successful year. She trained the national sales team on the new trade promotion management system, which allowed the company to drive efficiency into the $20 million annual trade budget. Travers added enhancements to the digital coupon planning process that resulted in reducing inefficient coupon submissions that didn’t achieve proper return on investment, allowing the company to onboard more than 50 new retailer partners.
Monica Brands District Manager, Pharmacy, UNFI/ Cub Foods
Brands exceeded this year’s budget and last year’s numbers in all critical key performance indicators, among them exceeding last year’s sales by more than 10%, increasing flu vaccines by 31% and growing prescription volume by 4% (excluding the incremental COVID vaccines), and providing more than 130,000 COVID vaccines.
Nietra Jaquette Director, Human Resources, UNFI/ Cub Foods
Jaquette led the project to convert an antiquated learning platform to a system that provides daily reinforcement training using business intelligence technology to better equip teammates and franchise partners with the knowledge and tools to perform their roles most effectively.
Her work resulted in a $1.5 million decrease in the fees that insurance companies charge pharmacies at the time that prescriptions are sold to patients.
She was selected to be one of eight members on the retail diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) core team to provide leadership, strategy and governance over company practices and follow-through in support of DEI.
Brands’ contributions to the company during the pandemic led to Cub Pharmacy receiving the Peter J. Larkin Community Service Award, presented at the 2022 NGA Show.
Jaquette led the transition from recruiter and education facilitator roles to a combined role of onboarding specialist, providing a better candidate experience and a single point of contact.
Category Manager, Home, Health and Beauty/General Merchandise, UNFI/Shoppers Food
Skinner developed an easy-to-understand and -execute merchandising plan that drove additional sales, increased gross margins and made practical sense to the retail stores.
Manager, Customer Care Center, UNFI/ Cub Foods
With extensive customer service knowledge but no call center experience, Rieder was tapped to run Cub Foods’ new call center when it was brought in-house, and she more than rose to the occasion. She and her team of eight — half the staff of the previous third-party vendor — handled 700-800 calls per week, and their familiarity with the market significantly reduced operating costs for customer service. Reider deftly managed escalation issues, efficiently dealing with customer interactions by seeking advice from legal counsel, public relations and loss prevention teams to minimize risk and turn situations around with a positive outcome.
SAVE THE DATE!
NOV. 3-4, 2022 ORLANDO, FL
Her hard work was rewarded with a promotion to category manager, in which role she has identified key areas of improvement and executed plans to improve the department’s overall contribution to the company’s bottom line, leading to greatly improved shrink compared with last year’s budget. Outside of work, Skinner helped coordinate with the VFW Ravens Roast Charity, which provides Thanksgiving dinners to needy families; she also worked with a local homeless shelter.
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2022 Top Women in Grocery Faith Bridges
Store Manager, Food Lion Store #839, Suffolk/ Portsmouth, Va.
A strong leader known for sharing best practices, Bridges focused on creating a welcoming environment for both customers and staff, resulting in a two-point hike in her store’s Associate Engagement Survey score last year and a Net Promoter Score above 80%. During her leadership, same-store sales and items per transaction increased from 2020, and every fresh department saw a double-digit increase in sales over last year, with deli/bakery growing by 15%. Bridges’ store sold more than 1,900 Holidays Without Hunger food boxes, which were donated to the local food bank; she also initiated a program to deliver food and gifts to 300 local seniors.
Connie DixonWilliams Store Manager, Food Lion Store #2635, Greenville, N.C.
Dixon-Williams’ store received the highest possible rating on every Food Lion To Go metric last year; she grew store sales, beat budget by 24% and reduced shrink by nearly a half percent in 2021. A manager who understands the importance of leading by example, she continually mentors and encourages associates to develop their careers in the store and the organization; as a result, her store achieved a 90% Associate Engagement Score. When area public schools shut off water fountains to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Dixon-Williams donated Food Lion water bottles to elementary and middle schools, and she and her staff personally delivered them.
2022 Top Women in Grocery Candace LaNasaYoumans
Store Manager, Food Lion Store #2837, Sylvania, Ga.
As manager at her previous store, LaNasa-Youmans boosted staff morale and created a “Count on Me” culture that led to a turnaround for the location with increased sales and profitability; her last week at the store set a record, with the store outperforming sales budget. At her newest location, a mixture of employee recognition and development and engaging social media content contributed to a 20% increase in sales. LaNasa-Youmans facilitated the donation of nearly 20 pallets of water and sports drinks to local emergency personnel and high school teams, and ran a holiday toy drive to sponsor families.
Store Manager, Food Lion Store #1468, Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Olshenske oversaw a remarkable turnaround by developing relationships with associates and customers, leading to best-in-class safety ratings, strong in-stock results despite supply challenges, and high Net Promoter Score numbers; she also often had the top samestore sales store in the chain. Having received high ratings from employees — an 89% on the 2021 Associate Engagement Survey — Olshenske strove to develop talent into high performers, and her associates achieved success within the organization. In recognition of her achievements, Olshenske was named Food Lion’s 2021 Store Manager of the Year.
Store Manager, Food Lion Store #2529, Gretna, Va.
The Trunk or Treat outdoor Halloween event that Smith created for neighborhood families during the pandemic has grown from a gathering in the store’s parking lot to a large event that the store partnered with the town of Gretna to execute last year. Her focus on coaching associates has resulted in a solid base of trained key associates and future-leader bench strength; she improved the department manager staff and developed confident, trained leaders. Smith built strong relationships that translated into deeper customer loyalty; she also delivered in-stock and affordable shopping for customers across every department and contained shrink.
Store Manager, The Giant Co. Store #6513, Maple Glen, Pa.
With the help of the district director, center store, fresh management and the warehouse, Babyak helped the Seeds of Hope food pantry restock its dwindling food supply. When Maple Glen was devastated by flooding caused by Hurricane Ida, she provided comfort to customers stranded at the store and organized a food drive that donated countless bins of food to the local food pantry. Babyak’s store surpassed expected financial performance in sales and labor controls, delivering money to the bottom line, despite being budgeted to lose money; additionally,the store’s retention rate surpassed the brand average.
PLANT POWERED CONGRAT’S FROM
YOU DA (WO)MAN!
YOUR FUTURE’S SO BRIGHT THE BUTCHER’S GOTTA WEAR SHADES!
TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT SKINNY BUTCHER PLANT-POWERED CRAZY CRISPY CHICK’N VISIT US AT SKINNYBUTCHER.COM/TRADE-PARTNERS. YOU WON’T BELIEVE HOW CRAZY GOOD THEY ARE!
* Source: Michael J. Silverstein and Kate Sayre, “The Female Economy,” Harvard Business Review
2022 Top Women in Grocery Patricia Del Guercio
Store Manager, The Giant Co. Store #6243, Allentown, Pa.
With a focus on finding everyone’s talent, Del Guercio promoted more than 20 employees, including coaching and training seven of them for lead or department manager roles within the store. Her store continued to grow sales after 2020 with comps increasing nearly 9%; she crosstrained employees across the store and hired another 10 employees to support e-commerce sales, which grew by 5%. Recognizing the need to support the overall well-being of her staff, Del Guercio created a self-care space/meditation corner within her store for employees; she’s also working on a mental health workplace first-aid certification.
Mallory Kate Monteiro
Store Manager, Stop & Shop Store #0098, New Bedford, Mass.
Monteiro instituted programs to help mitigate shrink, particularly in departments where most theft occurs; by reviewing online pickup reports with associates, she reduced her out-of-stock metric by half. After reviewing the new billing process template, she worked with leaders to learn the format and created a how-to guide to help her peers understand it as well. Monteiro cross-trained associates to make them better able to serve customers, and her meetings with associates led to a better, safer work environment; these creative ideas have been recognized by HR and senior leadership.
Store Manager, The Giant Co. Store #6331, Mechanicsburg, Pa.
Kough oversaw the construction and a successful deployment of e-commerce in her store, including the first locker system in the region, and put together a team that in three weeks achieved the highest score in customer satisfaction.
Store Manager, Giant Food Store #131, Baltimore
Under Butler’s leadership, the store made 121% of its profit-and-loss sales budget, met its fresh gross/ shrink budgets and improved nonperishable shrink (nearly 50% better than budget), all while reducing store operational expenses by one-third and direct labor by two-thirds.
She serves as co-lead for the company’s women’s business resource group, which provides opportunities for collaboration with other businesswomen to provide value and resources, and to close the gap on inequality.
Her store was twice recognized in 2021 by the chain as the district winner for having the highest score for brand standards, and she was named Store Manager of the Year for her region.
In her leadership role in the Regional Diversity Cohort Group, Kough helped organize field trips, community involvement, and speakers on business topics ranging from mental health to P&L reviews.
Beyond her daily work duties, Butler volunteered to be the healthy-living ambassador for her entire district, and is currently working with local fitness vendors to create workout options for store employees.
Garadean Olson Store Manager, Stop & Shop Store #2593, Crotona, N.Y.
Despite complex challenges and a serious competitor a few blocks away, Olson improved overall standards and out-of-stocks at both stores she was assigned to; she substantially improved one store’s sales trend and drove positive sales and units at the other store, creating a competitive selling culture. She embraced the e-commerce challenge and grew both internal and external e-commerce sales exponentially. Olson created excitement in regard to company campaigns, driving awareness and improving overall donations in both locations she oversaw, and kept her team engaged with weekly meetings and daily coaching.
Lynn Palumbo Store Manager, Stop & Shop Store #0714, Cranston, R.I.
By staying focused on controllable items during an uncertain time, Palumbo kept her store well merchandised and ended the year with an impressive positive sales trend that was the best in her district. A valued resource for peers who often seek her expertise and for associates who want to grow within the company, she mentored three associates last year, providing the guidance, resources and tools to help them achieve their goals of becoming assistant store managers. Palumbo worked as lead partner with Rhode Island organization Amos House on three block parties that fed more than 250 people and promoted healthy living and fun for area residents.
Dionne Martin Store Manager, Giant Food Store #147, Fort Washington, Md.
Under Martin’s leadership, her store beat total food sales by more than 20%, while samestore sales increased 11% over last year, and her focus on fresh departments led to meeting the store’s gross profit goal while reducing shrink. She was named manager of a new store that opened in November 2021; grand-opening sales crushed the company’s previous record. While managing her previous store, Martin took part in the Ward 8 revitalization program, in Washington, D.C., which included active interaction with District of Columbia council members to improve awareness and safety regarding the store and its surrounding communities.
Store Manager, Stop & Shop Store #0616, Greenwich, Conn.
An emigrant from Colombia who didn’t speak English when she arrived in this country, Restrepo was hired as a bagger at Stop & Shop in 2006, went on to receive her bachelor’s degree in 2010 and worked her way up the ranks to her current position as store manager; her next career goal is to become a center store manager and eventually a director of merchandising. In just five months at her store, she instituted controls that allowed her to outperform budget and reduce backroom levels. Restrepo motivated her team to drive the sustainability program and ensured that all nonsellable product went to those in need.
to our 2022 Top Women in Grocery
Creative Director, Brand Experience
Director, Category Management
Senior Vice President, Customer Experience
Manager, Community Impact
Director, Human Resources
Vice President, Finance and Chief Financial Officer
Manager, Merchandising Planning
Manager, Human Resources
2022 Top Women in Grocery Lisa Silvia
Store Manager, Stop & Shop Store #0736, Westerly, R.I.
Silvia was her district’s fundraising lead for the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides against Breast Cancer event, and a USO fundraiser. Her continued promotion of the e-commerce business contributed to growth in order size and basket size, and helped maintain customer satisfaction on quality, wait times and substitutions. Training and mentoring are Silvia’s strong suits, and she has a talent for recognizing associates’ skills and matching them to new opportunities; she helped train two incoming store managers and four assistant store managers, and developed several part-time associates to take on full-time positions.
Rachel Sullivan Store Manager, Stop & Shop Store #0634, Hartford, Conn.
By driving store standards and conditions, Sullivan delivered a sales increase of almost $3 million over budget to her store last year, reducing both nonperishable and perishable shrink and achieving profit-and-loss results. Dedicated to building strong teams, she promoted 13 associates to full time positions in 2021; she serves as the district lead for the Women’s Associate Resource Group and on the Multicultural Associate Resource Group. Sullivan was recognized as the 2021 Sales Operator of the Year, and her peers voted her winner of the Courage Award for her open-minded thinking, bold ideas and ability to drive change.
Store Manager, Stop & Shop Store #0731 Newport, R.I.
Tavares focused on associate and community engagement: She helped promote eight associates and followed up monthly to make sure they remained successful in their careers, and she partnered with the Martin Luther King Center to help fight food insecurity. She was the recipient of Best in Class for Perishable Shrink, Top Achiever for Own Brands and Operator of the Year awards. Tavares partnered with the Jewish Alliance of Rhode Island to promote healthier food alternatives for the Jewish community, and her store was one of the top drivers for the Cure for Cancer campaign, helping to raise more than $12,000 for cancer research.
Store Director, Balls Red Bridge Sunfresh Store #46, Kansas City, Mo.
Scott consistently lived up to the definition of a servant leader who is always mindful of her teammates, customers and community. When nearby businesses had to lay off employees due to the pandemic, she made a point of hiring them to work at her Sunfresh store and also paid them well above the hourly minimum wage; this extraordinary action was written up in the local press. Despite her busy work schedule, Scott is a volunteer with the South Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, KVC Health Systems, Ball’s Charity Golf Classic and Harvesters.
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Mary Ann Chiecko
Store Director, Big Y World Class Market, East Longmeadow, Mass.
With a focus on customer experience, Chiecko helped pilot the MyExpress Checkout scan-and-go mobile solution in her store, and its success was instrumental in the company’s decision to roll out the offering across the chain. Her store saw consistent sales growth of more than 6.4% versus budget and has had favorable net profit results throughout her tenure as store director, including better-than-budgeted net income. Chiecko strongly promoted the Big Y Cares, Sack Hunger and Breast Cancer Awareness programs, as well as a store-level community donation program.
2022 Top Women in Grocery Casey Piatt
Store Leader, City Market Store #416 and City Market Pharmacy #499, Aspen, Colo.
Piatt increased identical-store sales by 5.2%, with EBITDA up 1.7%, and she not only controlled her shrink, but also improved it. She noticed the need for merchandising improvements in the store, which resulted in the integration of a Hispanic section, changes to the flow of the produce department, and the addition of local products. In addition to being instrumental in introducing and building on the Our Promise team program, which advocates on behalf of all associates, Piatt was a volunteer with the Sudden Arrhythmia Death Syndromes Foundation and the president of a youth allstar cheer team.
Store Director, Cub Foods Store, Burnsville, Minn.
Under Slattery’s guidance, her store achieved positive sales versus last year, as well as outpacing the total banner performance versus the previous year. She maintained close relationships with city officials, including the mayor, a frequent customer, and they worked together to help grow the community. The store provides meaningful and needed products and supplies for a local food pantry, and Slattery determines what should be put in donation bags for customers to purchase; in return, the food pantry shops at the store when it has grant money, which is augmented by a donation from Slattery.
Assistant Store Leader, Dillons Store #095, Salina, Kan.
Antley guided her store to achieve 2.26% in core sales and 1.23% in EBITDA, leading the division in top sales per square foot, as well as ranking among the top stores in the Kroger enterprise; the location was also the top-grossing store in EBITDA as a percent of sales. As a member of the Women’s EDGE Associate Resource Group, she shared her insights in Kroger’s diversity, equity and inclusion executive listening sessions to provide the leadership team with a deeper understanding of social issues. Antley filled in at another store during the holiday season, resulting in a successful selling season for that location.
2022 Top Women in Grocery Lauren Golliver
Golliver spearheaded a turnaround for her store with key new hires, cross-training for individual growth and a heightened in-store experience; her store sales were around $1 million over target. She invested in her team, successfully coaching high-potential associates to take on key leadership positions. Golliver developed a new-hire toolkit to streamline the onboarding process and better drive associate retention; the toolkit includes department-specific training checklists, management system usage instructions for new associates, benefits, Employee Assistance Program resource details and information on food safety.
Store Director, Family Fare, Rockford, Mich.
Store Manager, Food City Store #607, Morristown, Tenn.
Store Director, Family Fresh Market, St. Peter, Minn.
Cink achieved an employee turnover rate of 43.6%, leading the company in employee retention. Her customer-driven store culture consistently delivered profits: In 2021, she exceeded budgeted sales by 4.8% and EBITA budget by 82.4%; through promotion and creative merchandising, her team increased private label penetration by 1.09%, while excellent customer service and engagement increased the store’s customer service score by 3.14% and response rate by 12.81%. Cink appointed a store safety champion to drive home the importance of safety and decrease the number of incidents; frequent meetings, safety recognition and daily communication helped lower the incident rate.
Store Manager, FoodMaxx Store #488, Sacramento, Calif.
During supply disruptions, Gulley led her team to find unique and creative merchandising opportunities that have since been adopted chain-wide; she rebranded space to accommodate available products, worked with vendor partners to secure product and pinpointed categories that could benefit from pandemic-related challenges. Amid mandated restaurant closures, she pivoted to feature foodservice options, leading to a 51.8% increase in category sales, and she also used creative displays to double fresh-made candy sales. As a result of her hard work, Gulley’s store was voted the 2021 People’s Choice by the citizens of Hamblen County.
Anaya’s attention to detail built a culture focused on reducing shrink and improving margins without sacrificing sales, which resulted in her store exceeding budgeted sales by 3% and improving wallto-wall margin by 0.68%. She achieved a total store gross profit of 23.20%, made $189,109 in profit, beat her bottom-line budget by $60,194, and turned her store into a profitable location this past year; despite leading her team through a remodel, she continued to drive positive sales. In her spare time, Anaya helps coach her son’s T-ball team each spring and leads the FoodMaxx store teams in all community efforts that benefit the local public.
MARKS OF EXCELLENCE LISA FASANA Senior-Level Executive
Congratulations to all of the 2022 Top Women in Grocery, with special thanks to our honorees and all of the women at CROSSMARK who exemplify excellence every day.
BETH FAUGHT Rising Star
NAWSHI WILLIAMS Senior-Level Executive
JACQUELYN DAVIS NANCY DRINKWATER Rising Star Rising Star
CONSTANCE HEIENICKLE PATRICIA LEWIS Rising Star Rising Star
JENNIFER PATTILLO Rising Star
MELANIE SHORT Rising Star
MELISSA THOMAS Rising Star
KALLIE MILLAR Rising Star
ANN WEINHARDT Rising Star
Store Manager, FoodMaxx Store #489, Vallejo, Calif.
Under Cyr’s leadership, her store outperformed sales and labor budgets by 3.56% and 0.27%, respectively, in 2021; EBITA increased by 23 basis points, while the store surpassed budgeted gross profit by 40 basis points. The store won several company-wide sales contests in grocery, bakery and floral; she also works with managers to promote safety awareness, and as a result, the location has gone 237 days without an incident. Throughout the pandemic, Cyr’s store has donating distressed products daily to local food banks; the staff also participates in American Red Cross fundraisers and a free-book program for elementary schools.
Store Manager, The Fresh Market Store #094, Chapel Hill, N.C.
In the face of a major new competitor, Buechel delivered store sales of more than $10 million, beating her planned budget by 15%; her focus on service, speed of checkout and improving in-stock levels led to double-digit growth in comparable-store sales and a rise in guest survey results. She took calculated risks to grow sales, create a loyal customer base and increase profitability; under her guidance, store presentation and standards have advanced to model levels, making the location a destination for company officials of all levels. Buechel is a leader in her region in store fundraising, community support and local initiatives.
2022 Top Women in Grocery Debra Woodcock
Store Manager, FoodMaxx Store #471, Yuba City, Calif.
Woodcock led her 54-employee store to increase its four-wall EBITDA by a staggering 339%. A proven leader who received Save Mart’s Manager of the Year award in 2020, beating managers from 200 other stores, she has inspired her location to win five company-wide internal merchandising contests for bakery (three times) and produce (twice). Woodcock and her team regularly work with the nearby April Lane Elementary School, providing support as needed, and she frequently collaborates with the Yuba City fire and police departments on Memorial Day festivities, as well as participating in Save Mart’s 9/11 First Responder program.
Store Leader, Fry’s Store #694, Phoenix
Kunka leads the district in minimizing controllable out-of-stocks to help her team maximize sales, which were favorable at 1.35% versus the budgeted 5.26% decrease for the total year. Mentoring many successful leaders within Fry’s, she used her daily store manager effective walks and morning huddles as avenues to uplift, motivate and discuss sales with her leaders. In addition to supporting local first responders and various community organizations, she has built a strong culture at her store, resulting in a highly engaged Our Promise team, a group of volunteer associates who work together as liaisons between store management and associates.
Store Leader, Fred Meyer Store #682, Maple Valley, Wash.
Beck drove year-over-year improvement of 15% in sales for each of the past two years at her store and was consistently in the top three sales in the district, out of a total of 15 stores; in her first full year at Maple Valley, the store increased its profitability by 0.81%. She also had the largest reduction in safety incidents in the district, which contributed to the financial success of the store. Living up to her reputation as a supportive leader, teacher and mentor within her store and district, Beck ensured that she recruited associates from the local area and worked with schools and local fire/police departments to better serve the community.
Store Leader, Gerbes Food Store #116, Eldon, Mo.
Brown led her store to achieve the top sales growth for the Dillons division, with an increase of 9%, and beat her sales goal by more than 800 basis points while meeting all of her controllable cost goals and coming in at No. 1 for improvement.
Store Leader, Fred Meyer Store #651, Canby, Ore.
Smith achieved the No. 1 pickup in-stocks for the fourth quarter, exceeded her sales goal by 3.03%, surpassed controllable costs by 0.19%, had the third-lowest turnover in a 16-store district and reduced shrink by 0.22 basis points. She donated supplies to Share the Love, supported Meals on Wheels through bottle redemption donations, donated toys and costumes to Chelsea’s Closet for the Chelsea Hicks Foundation, hosted an annual Shop with a Cop event, and held a food and hygiene donation drive for a women’s services organization. Smith planned a career event for future leaders and co-developed the first annual Woman of Inspiration Award.
Store Director, Harris Teeter #179, Cornelius, N.C.
With staffing one of the biggest retail challenges, Lafrancis was diligent about using resources such as Indeed and physical recruiting, enabling her not only to staff her own facility, but also to provide associate support to other area stores.
She was in the top 10 for associate engagement in the annual associate feedback survey, thanks to her prioritization of communicating company goals and milestones through daily huddles, store walks, department meetings and hourly walks. In addition to mentoring her team, Brown is also heavily involved in community activities for the MS Foundation and her area’s Relay for Life.
Under her guidance, three future store leaders completed the Management Development Program and were placed in salaried roles in the district. Investing much planning and time in the physical presentation of her store, Lafrancis visits various competitors weekly for analysis and comparison, and then introduces additional displays and features to provide new buying solutions for customers.
PROGRESSIVE GROCER June 2022
2022 Top Women in Grocery Pamela Seivert
Store Director, Osgood Hornbacher’s Store, Fargo, N.D.
Despite several staffing challenges, Seivert successfully set hiring and retention goals to ensure that her team would have the ability to properly support guests’ needs and assist staff at another nearby Hornbacher’s store. Her creative abilities helped bring the annual holidays event to life by showcasing recipe ideas; in her capacity as the Hornbacher’s event leader, she planned the recipes and event details, and communicated instructions to all eight Hornbacher’s store teams. Thanks to Seivert’s leadership, her store was able to raise $43,232 in the Feed Hope campaign during the holidays, and $34,757 during the Summer Check Out Hunger campaign.
Store Leader, Kroger Store #592, Franklin, Tenn.
Overseeing 180 associates, Menendez-French led her store to bump up its net operating income in the last fiscal year to top $5.26 million. In addition to reducing shrink in perishables, her store achieved the highest rating in Kroger’s customer experience survey measuring “Full, Fresh and Friendly” behaviors for two consecutive quarters; the Franklin location was also recognized as a top performer in 2021 on best practices for the district. When not busy at her job Menendez-French serves as a member of the Women’s EDGE Associate Resource Group.
District Store Director, 1 80th & Pacific Hy-Vee and Omaha Hy-Vee Fast & Fresh
In 2021, Mertes led her store to achieve record sales weeks, with a more than 8% overall sales increase for the year, while in February 2022, the Omaha Hy-Vee Fast & Fresh saw four consecutive weeks of record sales. She spearheaded a COVID-19 community vaccination clinic for local educators to help schools reopen, getting about 2,000 teachers, school staff and child care workers vaccinated. Mertes works with young adults who have aged out of the foster care system, leading mock interviews to prepare them for finding jobs and applying to college, and helping facilitate employment opportunities at Hy-Vee.
Store Leader, Kroger Store # 992, Indianapolis
Mauzy led her team to year-toyear identical-sales growth of 2.90%, while the sales budget was down 7.59%, with a twoyear stack for identical-sales growth at 18.15%, and controllable costs were better than the forecasted budget. She represented her division as a part of Kroger’s executive listening sessions, offering leadership a deeper understanding of diversity and inclusion. Mauzy, a U.S. Army veteran, formed a Veterans Associate Resource Group (ARG) in her division and also served on the General Office Veterans ARG Leadership Board and the board of directors at Sans Souci, a nonprofit organization providing job training for the community.
Store Director, Jewel-Osco Store #3475, Deerfield, Ill.
Under Stock’s leadership, shrink was the lowest in her store’s history, sales grew by 4.8% and the store beat expected earnings by 32%. Her store also boasted a flawless health department inspection record, and, despite the labor crunch, was adequately staffed. As if her day job and serving as an an active member of NextUp and Kroger’s Women’s Inspiration & Inclusion Network weren’t enough, Stock somehow found the time to prioritize community engagement: She worked with a local police department to supply food and toiletry items for local veterans, and supported area food pantries and the Boys & Girls Club.
Store Leader, Kroger Store # 822, Washington Court House, Ohio
Neal’s team stepped up its game and joined the $1 million club for weekly sales, while total annual sales increased by 5.33%. She focused on incremental sales by building showstopping displays throughout the store and thought outside of the box to use store white space to her team’s advantage, resulting in a 12.36% increase in identical-store sales for the produce department. In addition to being an active participant in various leadership programs and a 4-H volunteer, Neal led her store to achieve a record year in earnings by driving sales and managing the controllable cost for delivering EBITDA.
Store Leader, Kroger Store #637, Lake Orion, Mich.
At Store #637, Davis achieved a 1% increase in sales without fuel and pharmacy; through her leadership, the store also achieved household growth of 9.67% and increased total store customer count/transactions by 9.5%. Handpicked to serve as an advisory council member for her division, she provided feedback from her peers regarding the everyday barriers and issues they faced that affected the customer experience. When a traumatic event occurred at a nearby high school, Davis provided invaluable support to affected associates, even scheduling counseling services at her store, and helped donate water and snacks to grieving students and community members.
Store Leader, Kroger Store #817, Dublin, Ohio
Nesser guided her store to a 2.9% increase in sales (excluding fuel and pharmacy) with an 8.04% profit rate — $1.5 million better than the prior year; meanwhile household growth was 9.67%; total store customer count/transactions increased by 9.5%; and her store was the top pediatric COVID-19 vaccine provider in the division. When presented with the challenge of mentoring new district of assistant store leaders, she created a seven-week training and development program. Nesser was also a top executor in merchandising planning, with her store repeatedly selected to host district walks for other store leaders to see correct merchandising planning in action.
2022 Top Women in Grocery Brooke Ratliff
Store Manager, Kroger Store #762, Clarksville, Ind.
Managing a store in New Albany, Ind., before taking on a new managerial role at a 185-employee store in Clarksville, Ind., Ratliff was recognized for having the best deli and meat shrink rate in her district.
Store Leader, Mariano’s Store #543, Lombard, Ill.
Store Leader, Kroger Store #907, Martinsville, Ind.
Travers drove operational excellence with impactful merchandising displays that garnered multiple accolades, among them inclusion in the top 10 in several sales contests.
She moved strong department managers to other areas to give them more well-rounded experiences; she also regularly hosted division leadership store walks and served on the division store manager advisory council.
Her store grew identical sales by 7.4% versus the prior year; reduced shrink to -0.9%, which was a far better result than the district or division shrink percentages, and lowered wait time for pickup to four minutes, beating a previously set wait-time goal.
Ratliff is a member of the local chamber of commerce, belongs to the African-American Associate Resource Group for the her division, and volunteers for various community events, donation drives and church activities.
Travers donated food and volunteered at local food banks, dedicated resources to the local school district, raised funds for a store associate who was fighting cancer, and adopted a senior at a local nursing home.
Directing operations at a store with 225 associates, Rich led her location to earn 15 “perfect” secret shopper scores, and her associate survey engagement score came in at 78% favorable. She was recognized for running one of the top stores in the division for “Full, Fresh and Friendly” behaviors and hit her EBITDA goals; she also guided several associates to managerial roles, mentored new store leaders and helped launch the store leadership development program in the Chicago market. Outside of work, Rich is involved with many associations and nonprofit groups, including Special Olympics.
Senior Store Leader, Market District Store #6528, New Albany, Ohio
Yee successfully guided her store through a format conversion from Giant Eagle to Market District, grew year-over-year sales by double digits and continued to outperform the chain; she delivered outstanding store conditions on a consistent basis. Her leadership has guided several employees to earn promotions: two team leaders to regional specialist positions, and another team leader to senior team leader. Yee is a member of her region’s YWCA and the company’s women’s business resource group, as well as of GRIN, Gahanna Residents in Need, an Ohio organization supporting food drives.
The Value of Different Shopper Segments Sales Not Adjusted for Price Inflation Monthly Spend
l e n n a h c i n Om l i a t e R y r e c Gro Sell l more and d attract a bigger share of grocery spend.
Share of Wallet
$120 20% $100 15% 15%
$40 5% $20 0%
Source: Bain US Adovcacy in Retail Grocery study, conducted in partnership with ROI Rocket, Q4 2020
2022 Top Women in Grocery
Store Director, Meijer Store #66, Springfield, Ohio
Barnes turned in a stellar performance amid the pandemic: Her store surpassed financial plans for the fiscal year by 108%, contributed to overall net profit at 181%, met the store labor goal and ranked No. 1 in the region in the area of shrink. A discussion that she had with her team about how cashiers could directly influence the store’s culture, scores and overall results resulted in a 10% increase in cashier performance. Because of her high potential, Barnes was recently chosen to attend the FMI Future Leader Training course, and in her community, she works with the Project Women of Springfield organization, which empowers women and girls.
Store Director, Meijer Store #189, Defiance, Ohio
In the past year, Caustrita’s store surpassed the sales plan by 7.1% and achieved 100% back-stock by providing on-shelf availability averaging more than 90%. Shrink was 50 basis points over expectations for the second consecutive year at her store, and her team received high marks in the areas of store sanitation and food safety. When not leading the associates at her store, Caustrita chairs the Women at Meijer resource group for her region and is a board member of the Mosaic resource group, which focuses on diversity, equity and inclusion; she also serves on the board of her local Humane Society.
Store Director, Meijer Store #178, Aurora, Ill.
At a time of chronic supply chain and labor issues, Cole, a Meijer employee since high school who steadily rose through the ranks to become a store manager, still managed to deliver a 2.67% sales increase over plan and a digital sales boost of nearly 45%.
Natalie Rubino Store Manager, Meijer Woodward Corner Market Store #653, Royal Oak, Mich.
Amid the pandemic, Rubino established a large selection of ready-to-eat lunches and dinners from local restaurants, making it easy for shoppers to support area establishments while they couldn’t accept dine-in customers.
Her store donated more than 150,000 meals to local food pantries last year, while the instore pharmacy hosted several COVID-19 vaccination clinics.
She hosted a sampling event showcasing a group of 20 minority-owned businesses during the company’s Dream Cruise, giving them a chance to tell their stories and sample their products.
In addition to her busy work schedule, Cole belongs to several employee resource groups; she is co-chair for Women at Meijer in the Western region and also heads up that group’s mentorship program.
Rubino is on the board of directors of the Royal Oak, Mich., Chamber of Commerce, as well as of the Business Women’s Network of Royal Oak, and is a member of the Rotary and Women’s Club in Royal Oak.
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2022 Top Women in Grocery Shannon Risley General Manager, Niskayuna Co-op, Niskayuna, N.Y.
Despite pandemic and supply challenges, Risley increased net income and cash at her store, upping purchases from local vendors to counteract issues and provide customers with much-needed products. She created and implemented formalized quarterly leadership training for department managers on basic leadership and team-building skills, and also taught them to use waste logs to manage shrink and control inventory. Risley hosted food pantry drives resulting in 1,000-plus pounds of food and donations exceeding $1,000, and collected 1,000-plus pairs of shoes and 350 coats for the needy.
Store Director, North Commissary, Fort Bragg, N.C.
Managing 94 employees at the U.S. Army’s most populated installation, McCarthy was instrumental in launching the Commissary Classroom, which helps soldiers view the commissary as a healthy food destination, regardless of geographic duty station. Her team launched Hunger Never Takes a Holiday, a customer donation program that addressed food insecurity for military personnel and families; they also distributed 1,600-plus meal bags during Thanksgiving. By developing a strong rapport with local command and better targeting the underrepresented single-soldier demographic, McCarthy grew the customer base by almost 5%.
Store Manager, Publix Store #1471, Largo, Fla.
Marlow exceeded her productivity, sales and profit goals in 2021, and managed to reduce her weekly average shrink to be the lowest in her district. She invested in her associates by frequently working alongside them to help hone their skills and build relationships with them, as well as acting as a mentor to many, both in the formal company program and privately with associates who were struggling and needed guidance. Marlow volunteers with community organizations in her spare time, such as being a board member for the Lupus Foundation and being president of the committee that holds the Kids with Cancer Holiday Party.
Store Leader, QFC Store #850, Bothell, Wash.
With a penchant for creating “big, fun” displays, Hall drove impressive sales at her store through merchandising; she often worked with local vendors to feature their products, creating a point of differentiation for her location. At her previous posting, she turned a red store into a profitable one with an impressive EBITDA of more than $400,000. Spotlighted in a recent company video on leadership, the well-rounded Hall frequently partners with organizations to donate healthy snacks, school supplies and holiday gifts to those in need in her community; she’s also a member of the Women’s EDGE Associate Resource Group and the QFC Store Leader Council.
Store Manager, Publix Store #638, Jupiter, Fla.
With a leadership style built on positive and open communication, Lambiase encouraged store associates with success and appreciation meetings in her store, and posted customer letters of praise in the break room. Despite the challenges caused by the pandemic, she led her associates to a successful year of outstanding productivity and received favorable ratings in her 2021 associate and customer service survey results. Lambiase helped organize projects benefiting the WaveCrest Shelter, Multicultural Resource Center for Children and Families, The ARC of Martin County and Keep Martin Beautiful.
General Manager, River Market Community Co-op, Stillwater, Minn.
Since Morrison became general manager, she has provided education to managers and buyers where necessary and made several key hires in leadership positions; these moves have resulted in multiple years of sales growth, including during 2021. She created and implemented new financial tools for managers to guide them to success by enabling them to clearly see the impacts that their decisions were having on sales, cost of goods, shrink and margins. As a way to show appreciation during the pandemic, Morrison created the Big Hug program in collaboration with the restaurant community to incentivize shoppers to patronize local eateries.
Store Manager, Publix Store #1538, Loxahatchee Groves, Fla.
Under Lomastro’s leadership, associates felt valued and supported as she worked alongside them; this environment, along with her practice of cross-training associates so that they could develop skills across multiple departments, helped her double her sales goal percentage. She created specialized development plans for top performers in each department that include coaching, training and preparation for management opportunities. Lomastro volunteers for local nonprofits, as well as such groups as the March of Dimes and the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
Leanne Califano Store Director, Safeway Store # 3321, Gig Harbor, Wash.
Taking on the role of store manager following the retirement of a 46-year company employee, Califano successfully led the store team through a difficult transition. When a rival retailer moved in across the street during this same period, she was able to face down the competition, achieving flat-to-positive sales through empowerment, engagement, communication and overall leadership of her associates. Califano is a facilitator for Albertsons’ PIC development classes and an assistant store director trainer; she’s also a board member at a credit union, which bolsters her ties with the local financial community and enhances her own financial acumen.
Store Director, Safeway Store #1159, Newport, Wash.
Responsible for a 100-employee store, Foxx habitually went above and beyond; her efforts ranged from earning a pharmacy tech license on her own time as a way to improve customer service to achieving the store’s highest marks for food safety. Because of her leadership abilities, she was chosen as a district trainer for future leaders. Foxx worked with area schools on a voucher program through which students could come to the store to get fresh lunches; she invited students to take life skills classes at her location, where she showed them how to shop for a weekly meal plan and taught them about different jobs.
Store Director, Shaw’s Store #2445, Cohasset, Mass.
2022 Top Women in Grocery Heather Nasworthy
Store Director, Safeway Store #1849, Scottsdale, Ariz.
As a relatively new store director, Nasworthy took the reins of a high-volume seasonal location in the Phoenix area and overcame a staffing shortage to make it a division leader in average volume and EBITDA performance. Experienced in service deli and bakery operations, she assisted on many occasions in product production to help drive store sales; she also made sure to cross-train associates to balance out the needs of each department. Nasworthy acted as an assistant store director mentor trainer and is a member of the Women’s Inspiration & Inclusion Network associate resource group.
Store Director, Shaw’s Store #2585, Cedarville, Mass.
Store Manager, Save A Lot Store #427, Overland, Mo.
Store Director, Save Mart Store #612, Redding, Calif.
Bishop’s store ranked No. 1 in sales among corporate-owned St. Louis stores, with $7.9 million in sales; this resulted in her store being one of just three that beat their pandemic-fueled 2020 sales numbers in 2021.
Managing the retailer’s second flagship location; Sturgeon grew transactions by more than $1,000 weekly compared with the previous year, generating a 10% transaction increase; the store also exceeded loyalty acquisition expectations.
She presided over a corporate-owned pilot store that was chosen as a testing ground for the Save A Lot loyalty program; the location also sells beer and wine.
Her team highlighted local products through successful demonstrations, sampling and events — for example, the Tap Takeover, a recurring event in which the store hosts different local breweries and guest tastings, was implemented in additional stores.
Bishop’s store scored a green level in Regis’ independent inventory and loss audit, the fifth year that her store received this recognition, which is rare and speaks to her ability to consistently stay under 1% in shrink overall.
Store Manager, ShopRite of Somers Point, N.J.
Dedicated to growing talent in the industry, Mahoney mentored two recently promoted female store managers, and half of all store managers in the district worked as assistant managers under her leadership.
Although Coash’s store is in an area with a limited workforce, it’s adequately staffed, thanks to her belief in cross-training and willingness to help complete tasks when needed; as a result, she outperformed the company average in her associate experience survey.
Assigned to a store ahead of a major remodel, Towns elevated the location and its team through a variety of measures, among them remodeling the breakroom and training a foreign exchange student who was promoted to the assistant store director training program.
She often won sales contests and led the company in Cheap Chicken Sales, breaking the record for the most sold in a day.
She maintained positive identical-store sales during construction and resets, and oversaw the rollout of a new e-commerce department; her location is now the second in the district for e-commerce sales.
Under ongoing pandemic protocols, she launched a new communications software to keep employees informed and let them know that they were appreciated; her team had a participation rate of 88% in the software program, the highest engagement in the company.
Towns led a district Turkey Bucks campaign that raised the most money of any campaign in Shaw’s history; she’s also a Women’s Inspiration & Inclusion Network member at Albertsons.
During daily temperature checks of employees, Mahoney used the time to check in with each individual associate on a personal level, which helped maintain team morale.
Coash’s tenacity is evident in her strong performance at work and dedication to serving others through local food pantries and toy drives; she kept all commitments last year despite the fact that she was displaced for eight months when her condo burned down.
After just one year in business, Save Mart Store #612 was nominated for a Best in the North State award in the Best Grocery Store category.
Assistant Store Director, Skogen’s Festival Foods, Holmen, Wis.
Garofalo developed new leaders with an easygoing teaching style that helped them gain skills and confidence. Proving herself to be a champion of food safety and decreasing shrink, she led her store’s response to a power outage affecting 24 refrigerator cases, saving more than $10,000 in potential losses, while bakery showed a 0.55% improvement in shrink. Garofalo created a model for assistant department manager meetings at her store that’s now used at sister locations, and she also excelled at implementing in-store events like the Pumpkin Blowout, a community venue involving local high school students and 4-H Clubs.
PROGRESSIVE GROCER June 2022
2022 Top Women in Grocery Lorraine Madden
Store Manager, Smart & Final Store #926, Trabuco Canyon, Calif.
Last year, Madden’s location achieved one of the region’s highest customer service ratings, easily beating sales and profit budgets.
Store Leader, Smith’s Store #496, Albuquerque, N.M.
McWatters was promoted to a high-level store in Albuquerque in April 2021 — the same store where she first worked a courtesy clerk.
An excellent employee trainer, she encouraged staff members to study for their Retail Management Certificate, as she herself successfully did; several of these employees were subsequently promoted within her district.
She beat projected budgets for identical-store sales, labor, pickup and fill rate, and met goals in “Full, Fresh and Friendly” metrics; her location serves as a training store and was the site of the pilot for a Zebra device rollout in the division.
Having battled lupus for most of her life, Madden worked with groups to help raise awareness of the medical condition and ultimately seek a cure; she also committed a significant amount of personal time to helping heart and stroke organizations.
McWatters’ team consistently donated to Kroger’s Zero Hunger | Zero Waste food rescue program; meanwhile, away from work, she volunteered as a cheer coach and at local food banks and homeless shelters.
Tami Appleby Store Manager, Tops Store #610 Bradford, Pa.
Store Director, Vons Store #2784, San Diego
Appleby led her team in executing exceptional daily store presentations, merchandising and overall store conditions; these efforts produced an 8.3% increase in sales over the previous year, increased profits and led to significant EBITDA growth.
Dawsen surpassed goals for both gross and EBITDA for the year, and her location turned in a performance that landed it in the top 10% of the division during one quarter; while improving financials, she also shored up safety.
Key to her success has been her ability to interact, empower and foster a team approach; she identified, trained and developed key associates to the important roles of operations manager, grocery manager and night operations manager.
She built her deli up from having only four employees and no manager to a department aiming to make $50,000 a week.
Appleby consistently hits fundraising goals set for the store, raising almost $3,500 for Children’s Miracle Network, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and a local nonprofit.
With Dawsen’s support, the store raised $10,000-plus for a nonprofit organization providing meals to needy families during the holidays; she also teamed up with the San Diego Padres to make meals for food-insecure families and volunteered during San Diego Pride Week.
Jennifer Czech Store Manager, Tom Thumb Store # 2574, Fort Worth, Texas
Overseeing 137 associates at one of the highest sales-generating stores in the division, Czech improved year-over-year sales by 9.6% and drove quarterly EBITA results up 12.8%. After the implementation of such changes as a new floral department and expanded produce and fresh-made selections, sales in those areas were up by significant levels; she and her team were recognized for their financial achievements with membership in the company’s Million Dollar Club. As well as serving as a mentor both unofficially and as part of formal store director training, Czech volunteered for company and community events.
Store Director, Tom Thumb Store #2581, Frisco, Texas
Tasked with building the sales, morale and staff at her store, Kleibert transformed the location, which was running up by 13% in 2021; her store is among the top three in the district for EBITDA and was first in a key customer service metric. As a result of her excellent team-building efforts, Kleibert was chosen to be district hiring lead, in which capacity she onboarded 859 new associates in a mere four months. As part of her ongoing commitment to serve the community surrounding her store, Kleibert hosted the local Girl Scout troops in the Starbucks area of the supermarket for their monthly meetings, providing cupcakes and hot cocoa for the girls.
General Manager, Walters Hometown Grocery/Shelton’s Grocery, Walters and Waurika, Okla.
Good used her blog and social media accounts to educate customers on hot-button industry issues like rising prices due to inflation, supply chain problems, and issues that independent grocers face in regard to big-box retailers, as well as legislation in her state that directly affects the grocery industry. Valuing her role as a mentor to school-age employees, she supported them beyond their work in the store by encouraging their extracurricular endeavors such as sporting events and various club activities. Good recently joined the Oklahoma Grocers Association’s inaugural class of young grocers, NextGen.
SAVE THE DATE!
NOV. 3-4, 2022 ORLANDO, FL
FOR MORE INFORMATION: www.topwomenin grocery.com
Nov. 3-4, 2022 | Orlando, FL Progressive Grocer's Top Women in Grocery award is the most prestigious honor for female leaders in the grocery industry. Award winners represent all levels in the industry within both the retailer and supplier communities and are celebrated at our event!
We would like to thank the following sponsors who have already signed on to help us bring this exciting event to life this November:
Want to learn more about available sponsorship opportunities and pricing? Contact your sales representative today! Tammy Rokowski Associate Publisher, Regional Sales Manager Southwest, MI, International 248.514.9500 trokowski@ensembleIQ.com
Theresa Kossack Sales - Midwest, GA, FL 214.226.6468 tkossack@ensembleIQ.com
Bob Baker Sales - New England, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast US, Eastern Canada 732.429.2080 email@example.com
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RETAILER DEEP DIVE
The Albertsons Cos. has been investing in and modernizing stores to optimize layouts and design to improve the customer shopping experience and highlight fresh and local offerings.
CEO Vivek Sankaran details the next phase of the grocer’s transformation strategy. By Gina Acosta
hen the Albertsons Cos. revealed in February that it had launched a strategic review of its business, grocery industry watchers wondered what would come next for the Boise, Idaho-based company. What comes next, according to Albertsons CEO Vivek Sankaran, is a reimagination of how the grocer connects with, and earns the trust of, shoppers. What also comes next, no matter the outcome of the formal effort to identify value-creating opportunities within Albertsons, is a new phase of the company’s evolution predicated on the belief that satisfied customers create outsized lifetime value and should become “Customers for Life.” “Moving forward, our goal is to earn that deep trust with every customer who engages with us,” Sankaran asserts in an exclusive interview with Progressive Grocer. “We will do that, as we’ve always done, by connecting with customers in our stores, and by engaging with them digitally through technology and content that complements the store experience.” The operator of 2,278 stores in the United
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RETAILER DEEP DIVE
States is embarking on a five-pronged strategy designed to place the customer at the center of everything that it does, with the ultimate goal of supporting customers every day, every week and for a lifetime.
Net sales and other revenue at Albertsons were $17.4 billion during the quarter ended Feb. 26, compared with $15.8 billion during the year-ago period. According to the company, the increase was attributable to its 7.5% increase in comps This multifaceted strategy includes: and higher fuel sales, with retail price inflation contributing to the identical-sales increase. Digitally connecting and engaging customers through For fiscal 2021, comps dipped 0.1%, while the mobile app and website so that they can enjoy curated experiences in e-commerce, the community, on a two-year stacked basis, same-store sales loyalty, health and media growth was 16.8%. Sankaran attributes the grocer’s betDifferentiating the store experience by deepening engagement using technology, and removing associate pain points to allow ter-than-expected earnings results in the fourth employees to focus on customer service versus just tasks quarter to the benefits from the company’s digital and omnichannel investments, as well as a Elevating the retailer’s distinctiveness in fresh by expanding private-brand products and services, and rebound in in-store traffic. enhancing product offerings in center store to address In fiscal 2021, capital expenditures at Albertcustomers’ changing needs and preferences sons were $1,606.5 million, including investments Modernizing capabilities through an improved supply in 10 new store openings, remodels of existing chain, enhanced data and data analytics, and ongoing locations, and technology. productivity, all built on the foundation of being locally “We continue to invest in and modernize our great and nationally strong stores, including adding and upgrading self-checkFurther embedding environmental, social and governance out, which is now available in over 1,800 stores, (ESG) throughout operations and optimizing the layout and design to improve the customer shopping experience and highlight “We want our customers to interact with us daily, not only our fresh and local offerings,” Sankaran says. to shop, but sometimes to simply consume relevant content The company expects a same-store sales bump about food or planned meals, or find information to inspire of 2% to 3% in fiscal 2022, adjusted EBITDA their well-being,” Sankaran says. “Our business model is in the range of $4.15 billion to $4.25 billion, adpivoting to one that is loyalty-based, doubling down on our justed net income per share in the range of $2.70 omnichannel engagement with customers beyond just transacto $2.85 per share, and capital expenditures in tions. We will elevate the in-store experience when they shop the range of $2 billion to $2.1 billion. Part of the with us, expand our services and content-rich offerings, and reason for the success at Albertsons, which went build a set of competitive and timeless capapublic in 2020, has been the bilities that create a compelling reason for pandemic, which Sankaran “Moving forward, our our customers to seek a lifetime relationship says helped the company goal is to earn that with our team members and our banners.” “live its purpose.” The company is in a great position to lever“We were there when deep trust with every age a loyalty strategy in a grocery environment people needed food to cook customer who engages that’s extremely difficult amid historic inflafor their families while staytion, product shortages and other challenges. with us. We will do that, ing at home; we were there Shoppers are looking for grocery retailers when they needed a safe as we’ve always done, to offer personalized approaches focused on store to shop, or groceries by connecting with value, and will stick to those that do. “We believe in an omnichannel experience customers in our stores, that provides customers a great, personaland by engaging with ized shopping experience, no matter how them digitally through they interact with us,” Sankaran notes. “In fact, we’ve found that omnichannel housetechnology and content holds spend three times more with us than that complements the in-store-only shoppers.”
—Vivek Sankaran, CEO, Albertsons Cos.
In April, Albertsons Cos. reported impressive fourth-quarter same-store sales: an increase of 7.5% year over year, and a 19.3% boost on a two-year stack. Digital sales grew 5%, but on a two-year stacked basis, growth was 287%. 132
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RETAILER DEEP DIVE
delivered; and we were there when they needed prescriptions and vaccinations,” he explains. “At the same time, we were able to demonstrate our deep commitment to taking care of our associates and our communities.” Major operational initiatives for 2022 and beyond include productivity-focused targets such as consolidating indirect spend and expanding national buying initiatives, which have already begun to generate significant savings, according to Sankaran. “Productivity has become part of how we run the business, and we’ll continue to challenge ourselves to find new ways to work more efficiently,” he says. “One of the things I’m most excited about are the steps we’re taking to make our operations more sustainable. For example, we are reducing the electricity usage in our stores and other facilities by investing in things like energy-efficient LED lighting, energy management systems to monitor our energy consumption, and solar energy.” According to Albertsons, it’s expected to reach its target of $1.5 billion in productivity savings by the end of fiscal 2022. “We have already identified $750 million in future savings that we are committing to between fiscal 2023 and fiscal 2025 in the areas of automation and digital tools, scalable workforce management, modernization of our supply chain, and SG&A optimization,” Albertsons CFO Sharon McCollam said during
the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call. In his PG interview, Sankaran also discusses areas of opportunity when it comes to supply chain optimization. “We have an amazing supply chain team, and they have done great work over the last two years in a challenging external environment,” he pointed out. “Modernizing our supply chain is one of our priorities, and we are introducing automation to a number of our distribution centers to eliminate tough and tedious tasks and speed up operations.”
‘Locally Great, Nationally Strong’
When it comes to going to market differently in each location — the company has more than 20 banners — and across several platforms, the Albertsons philosophy remains “Locally Great. Nationally Strong.” “We strive to retain the rich history of each banner and what makes that banner a special part of the local community,” Sankaran affirms. “At the same time, we want all our stores to benefit from our national programs and technologies like the Albertsons for U app, FreshPass, and our
In a fourth-quarter earnings call, Albertsons executives said the retailer's DriveUp & Go curbside pickup service, which is available at 2,000-plus locations, is now available to 99% of its customers. The service is helping to revitalize the pharmacy business.
DriveUp & Go curbside pickup program.” Over the past several years, Albertsons has been expanding the range of digital services that it offers customers. Last year, it launched a new Albertsons for U shopper loyalty program. Membership is free, and new members immediately earn $5 off their next in-store or online purchase of $25 or more of qualifying items. After that, members earn points on nearly every dollar spent, and points can be redeemed on groceries and gas. Perks include personalized deals, a free
item every month and a birthday treat. FreshPass, an optional subscription service, offers unlimited free delivery on orders of $30 or more, and, in select markets, free two-hour grocery delivery and curbside pickup. Subscribers also receive rewards that don’t expire and exclusive culinary and wine experiences. Additionally, Albertsons has a partnership with the Fetch Rewards consumer loyalty and shopper rewards app to send its users personalized offers; the grocer maintains delivery partnerships with DoorDash and Uber as well. Last year, Albertsons rolled out a 1,200-store grocery delivery partnership with San Francisco-based Uber after Albertsons said that it would move away from offering its own grocery delivery service. Albertsons also has a partnership with DoorDash, also based in San Francisco, to offer on-demand grocery delivery from nearly 2,000 Albertsons stores. In May, Albertsons and Uber expanded their partnership to include more than 2,000 of the grocer’s banner stores nationwide, among them Albertsons, Safeway, Jewel-Osco, Acme, Tom
is easy. 845-331-2111 | professionalseriesequipment.com © 2022 M&E Mfg. Co., Inc. Trademarks property of M&E Mfg. Co., Inc. Covered by one or more of the following U.S. Patents: 5,330,064; 5,386,787; 5,471,922; 5,503,087; 5,628,522; 5,957,309; 6,149,120; 6,322,180; 6,366,313; 6,474,757; 6,974,042; 7,419,063; 9,440,667; D480,528; D481,513; 10,087,066.Other U.S. & foreign patents pending.
The Engagement Specialists
PROGRESSIVE GROCER June 2022
RETAILER DEEP DIVE
Thumb and Randalls. The expansion makes Uber Eats available at nearly 800 new Albertsons banners for the first time ever in such states as Connecticut, Indiana, New Hampshire, Utah, Vermont and Rhode Island. “We are continuing to explore new and innovative ways to provide customers a delivery experience that fits their lifestyle,” Sankaran says. “For example, earlier this year, we introduced express grocery delivery through our partnership with DoorDash, offering customers faster and more convenient delivery of fresh groceries in under 30 minutes. We recently announced customers can now get groceries from more than 2,000 of our stores through the Uber Eats app.” Sankaran notes that an important part of the grocer’s fivepronged Customers for Life strategy is digitally connecting The company has been laser-focused on tailoring assortments to the local community, including by offering features such as kosher departments in some stores, and solutions in the perimeter that speak to local needs for curated fresh foods.
and engaging with customers so that they can enjoy integrated and curated experiences. Albertsons is hoping that its growing retail media network will help underpin that effort and drive sales. “Just about every important capability in our company is now data and technology-enabled, whether it’s the promotion engine, ordering, production, automation in distribution centers, etc. We’re using data and technology to better understand our customers and deliver a more personalized shopping experience,” he observes. “Another thing we’re excited about in this space is the new Meal Planning Tool in our app, which includes thousands of recipes developed by professional chefs and dietitians. Customers can search these recipes based on taste or a dietary preference like vegetarian or gluten-free. Once they choose a recipe, they just click to add all the ingredients to their shopping list, or can immediately purchase the ingredients in the app.” Yet, even with so much food shopping shifting online, Sankaran says, stores remain “the foundation of our business, and that’s not changing.” He adds: “Having clean, well-stocked stores in great locations near where people live is what allows us to provide great service and a tailored assortment to local customers, no matter how they shop with us — in-store or online. First, we offer a great fresh assortment. You can get just about anything you need to cook a fresh meal from our store. For customers who want additional convenience, we launched our ReadyMeals program, which offers a variety of freshly made meals that are ready to eat now or can be quickly heated or cooked at home.”
A Recipe for Change
Albertsons completed more than 230 remodels and opened 10 new stores in fiscal 2021, and the company is planning to expand its fresh offering as part of the next phase of its transformation strategy. “Our differentiation is anchored in fresh — produce, bakery, meat, seafood, deli and floral — and we continue to extend our fresh offering,” Sankaran says. “For example, our expanding ReadyMeals program gives consumers fresh and convenience at the same time.” According to Sankaran, the company believes that customers should be able to complete all of their shopping when they visit an Albertsons store, and not have to make additional trips to competitors. “It’s important that our assortment is broad, especially in the center store,” he emphasizes. “We also think it’s important to tailor our assortment locally — for example, we have an extensive kosher assortment in select Chicago stores, and a variety of local seafood in our New England stores.” 136
For customers who want additional convenience, Albertsons has launched a ReadyMeals program, which offers a variety of freshly made meals that are ready to eat now, can be quickly heated up, or are cooked at home. The grocery chain also has been putting a spotlight on grab and go solutions in the perimeter.
In fiscal 2021, Albertsons added 837 new products into its Own Brands lineup, including ready-to-eat meals, refrigerated Signature Reserve pastas, Open Nature broccoli pizza and Open Nature plant-based shredded cheese. “During the year, we saw particularly strong private label performance in our floral, deli and meat departments,” Sankaran says. “We’re extremely proud of our Own
Brands portfolio, which offers our customers more than 12,000 exclusive products under brands like Signature Select, O Organics, Lucerne and Open Nature. Own Brands is a strategic growth pillar for us, and we’re constantly looking at ways to expand the offering across the store with purposeful brands, inspiring products and exceptional value.” At the same time, Albertsons is aiming to leverage its national presence and expertise to drive proactive change for communities and the planet. The grocer’s recently introduced Recipe for Change ESG framework lays out long-term goals for sustainability, including fighting climate change by reducing carbon emissions through science-based targets, eliminating food waste going to landfills, reducing the use of plastic, and accelerating its transition to a more circular economy.
PROGRESSIVE GROCER June 2022
RETAILER DEEP DIVE
CEO Vivek Sankaran says that Albertsons plans to "elevate its distinctiveness" by enhancing product offerings in the center store to address customers’ changing needs and preferences.
Sankaran offers a few examples of how Albertsons is integrating sustainability into day-to-day operations. “Our entire private truck fleet is certified by the EPA’s SmartWay program as we work to reduce our carbon footprint,” he says, “and earlier this year, we announced we are using an AI-powered platform to better manage our inventory and fresh product supply. This helps reduce food waste, lower greenhouse-gas emissions and save water while making sure our customers have access to the freshest products when shopping with us.” Another part of the grocer’s Recipe for Change is making the company a better place to work and overcoming the sustained labor crunch. “The most important part of my job is supporting and empowering our front-line associates,” Sankaran notes. “One thing we’re focused on right now is how we can make it easier for our store associates to serve our customers. For example, we’re looking at what the small things, or ‘pain points,’ are that create unnecessary work for our front-line associates each day and how we can remove those things. Simplifying the way work gets done will allow our associates to focus on what they do best, which is interacting with the customer.” 138
He adds that Albertsons associates completed more than 6 million hours of training through various programs, including on-the-job training, mentoring programs, e-learning and classroom-style events, in 2020. “One training program we’re particularly proud of is our Leading with Inclusion workshops,” Sankaran says. “More than 10,000 leaders have participated in these interactive sessions designed to heighten awareness around bias and provide tools to support associates’ ability to create a more inclusive work environment.” As the grocery world waits for the outcome of the company’s strategic review, the grocer is clearly investing in its workforce and in technology to transform itself for a future rife with disruption and competition. Sankaran is confident that the company is up to the challenge. “Being a leader means we have a responsibility to continue to provide the highest level of service to our customers and communities,” he says. “We will continue to earn our leadership position by placing the customer at the center of everything that we do by serving, supporting and caring for them every day, every week and for a lifetime.”
Deli & Prepared Foods
Deli-Driven Growth Potential
Key Takeaways Less discretionary spending and more time at work for consumers with little time to cook have led to big sales in the deli category.
SALES IN THE CATEGORY ARE CURRENTLY E XPERIENCING A STRONG UPTICK; WITH A FE W ENHANCEMENTS, THE Y CAN CONTINUE TO ASCEND.
Offering premium options and adopting a global approach to culinary styles and flavors can take an already strong deli category to the next level for shoppers.
By Kathleen Hayden
Eating occasions have been framed by convenience and accessibility over the past two years, with technology the main facilitator for both of those factors.
ith inflation outranking the pandemic as the No. 1 consumer concern, and people experiencing sticker shock when they return to regular restaurant usage, many are hoping that home-cooked meals can ease some of the strain on their budgets. The problem is that very few people have more time to cook. In fact, whether they’re back to their pre-pandemic commutes or working what seems like 24/7 schedules at their home offices, they have less time to cook than ever. This equation of less discretionary spending and more time at work has created a small slice of heaven for the deli category, as evidenced by the numbers reported in IRI’s total U.S. integrated fresh data of year-over-year deli sales for the period ending April 2022:
category needs is more — “more variety in portion sizes [and] pre-sliced weights, more brand options, more healthy preparations, more information on the packaging, and more culinary styles and flavors.”
Spicing Up the Same Environment
Year-Over-Year Deli Sales Deli Department
Dollar Gains vs. 2021
Dollar Gains vs. 2020
Price per Unit vs. YA
Source: IRI, Integrated Fresh Total U.S., MULO Blog, period ending April 2022
During a webinar recapping the mostly double-digit gains in April’s fresh category sales results, Anne-Marie Roerink, president of San Antonio-based 210 Analytics LLC, and Jonna Parker, principal of IRI Fresh Center of Excellence, in Chicago, described how the deli and fresh food categories can build on this growth and compete with restaurant usage. In fact, deli category leaders can let one question — “Is it less expensive than going out to eat?” — guide their approach to fulfilling consumers’ food needs, according to Roerink. From deluxe deli slices and DIY charcuterie boards to café-quality soups and pasta meals, shoppers are saying “yes.” With such strong momentum, Parker noted during the webinar, what the
“With COVID, folks upped their game and were all looking for ways to spice up the same environment — and that included dining, snacking and entertaining at home,” says Katie Macarelli, manager of public relations at Lakewood, Colo.-based Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage, which operates more than 160 stores in 20 states. “Whether it was a charcuterie board filled with 100% organic USDA produce, gluten-free crackers and 100% pasture-based dairy cheese, or free-trade chocolate and popcorn for a family movie night, we sought to provide what our customers wanted.” In other words, premium options are one way to take a strong deli category to the next level for shoppers. Adopting a global approach to culinary styles and flavors is another way, according to Suzanne Fanning, SVP of Madison-based Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, chief marketing officer for Wisconsin Cheese, and an International Dairy Deli Bakery Association (IDDBA) board member. “I always say a great cheese board should take you on an adventure of taste, texture, aroma and visual delights, as well as tell a story,” asserts Fanning. “It’s a small indulgence people really allowed them-
Strong deli and prepared food sales present an opportunity for grocers to up their culinary game with such offerings as convenient better-for-you fare.
selves to take during the pandemic.” Now, she cites Innova data finding that 60% of global consumers say they now expect companies/brands/ restaurants/stores to expand on services that enhance social interactions, and adds, “It’s important to fuel people’s desire to gather around the cheese board.” What’s even better is that building cheese boards is an opportunity for retailers to cross-promote multiple items by recommending accompaniments like hummus, chutneys, nuts and bread. Building your own customized cheese boards also means building basket size and cross-category sales in the process. This momentum hasn’t dropped off, according to Macarelli, who notes that with more in-person events happening and restrictions lifting, “people are using their entertaining tricks and snacking treats in a more widespread fashion.”
Deli, but Make it Culinary
Similarly, Rick Stein, VP of fresh foods at Arlington, Va.-based FMI — The Food Industry Association, sees strong deli and prepared food sales as an opportunity for grocers to up their culinary game. “Growth will come from bringing more culinary professionals into grocery — corporate chefs and culinary school graduates with real skills. This will be the way to elevate the fresh prepared category and navigate the right trends, including health trends,” says Stein, emphasizing that health and well-being “have never been more paramount.” Dieting and eating habits have evolved into highly personalized ways of eating, whether it’s intermittent fasting, keto-lite, Paleo, food as medicine, sports recovery or some other regimen. “Customers want nutrition information and give higher grades to the stores where they can get healthful preparations,” adds Stein. “Try rotating through specials, like a weekly prepared seafood special, a Mediterranean day and other options that consumers can feel good about eating.”
Convenience Keeps Sales Moving
The convenience of prepared foods and a hybrid approach to “buildyour-own” meals are still major growth drivers, according to Stein. He sees fresh prepared meals as a quickly evolving opportunity where delivery services, co-branded restaurant options (like Saladworks units inside various supermarket banners) and more meal kits (store-branded or co-branded) will have more room to make their marks. Accessibility and ease of shopping are growth priorities for everyone in retail, and perhaps even more so in the deli section, which is competing with drivethrus, takeout and well-established delivery habits. “We are focusing more on our grab-and-go options,” notes Macarelli. “People are going back to the workplace, traveling more, going to weekend family soccer games, etc. Food on the go is a thing again. We’ve been adding grab-and-go-specific sections to our stores in response to this.”
Convenience must extend to how people shop as well. “Order in advance, virtual pay, delivery, grab-and-go warm sandwiches — grocers must make their fresh food options as convenient as possible,” advises Stein. For her part, Fanning sees current shopping patterns as an opportunity to make convenience a greater part of the deli user’s experience. “Eating occasions have been very much framed by convenience and accessibility in the last two years, and technology has really been the main facilitator for both of those factors,” she notes. “Throughout the pandemic, we saw this explosion of e-commerce, clickand-collect, delivery, touchless ordering or kiosks, etc.” Fanning predicts that consumers will continue to rely on these kinds of solutions. Acceptance of technology and online food shopping has even started to affect perishables like cheese, according to Fanning, who points out, citing IRI data, that in 2020, online natural cheese sales doubled, and in 2021 they grew another 10%, hitting almost $2 billion in sales. These numbers are more evidence that deli products are inflation-proof, and Roerink sees no reason to believe that pattern will change. “Refrain from overreacting to stock market fluctuations and inflation concerns,” she cautioned in her May 12 webinar’s recap of recent sales data. “Don’t jump to lower prices or start stocking less expensive brands. People may cut back elsewhere, but they consider most things in the grocery store to be essentials, including the premium versions of cheese, meats and prepared foods. Remember, most things shoppers find in the deli are still less expensive than eating at restaurants regularly.” PROGRESSIVE GROCER June 2022
High on the Hog A RE TURN TO COOKING AND GRE ATER VARIE T Y IN FORMATS AND FL AVORS LIF T THE PORK CATEGORY, E VEN AS SUPPLIES AND PRICES WOBBLE. By Lynn Petrak t’s not quite a second-banana thing, but pork hasn’t been in the protein spotlight as much as animal-based counterparts like beef and chicken and, more recently, much-talked-about plant-based alternatives. If pork is a somewhat quieter protein, it’s also a meat case stalwart: Per capita pork consumption has remained fairly steady over the years, at 52.0 pounds in 2020, 51.2 pounds in 2021 and a projected 51.1 pounds this year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which projects that pork production will hit 27.3 billion pounds this year. In the more recent marketplace, seasonal supply-and-demand trends that have traditionally shaped pork performance were upended as the pandemic affected production and processing throughout much of 2020, and as supply chain issues caused shortages in things like feed and medications in 2021. The latest wrinkle, of course, is inflation, with the Consumer Price Index for pork rising 13.7% from April 2021 to April 2022. Even with such pressures, pork remains a dependable kind of meat. “Pork is on the same trajectory as total meat and many categories across the store — dollar gains that are boosted by inflation and year-on-year volume pressure,” notes Anne-Marie Roerink, principal and founder of San Antonio-based 210 Analytics. “However, when compared with 2019, the same amount of pork is selling as before the pandemic changed all shopping —Anne-Marie Roerink, and consumption patterns.” 210 Analytics
“Pork’s favorable price point allows retailers to drive trips to the store.”
Key Takeaways Despite inflationary and supply chain pressures, grocers can rely on pork to provide shoppers with proteins that meet their dietary, taste and budget needs and to lift their own meat department sales. Ground pork in particular has benefited from an attractive price point and for versatility reasons as consumers have gained more experience in the kitchen over the past two years; also performing well are pork shoulder and ingredient cuts, value-added products, and natural items. Beyond fresh pork, processed and specialty pork products are providing another kind of lift to the overall category.
In fact, grocers can rely on pork to provide shoppers with proteins that meet their dietary, taste and budget needs and to lift their own meat department sales. As Roerink points out, pork comprises 13% of
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Protein Report fresh meat dollars and 17% of fresh meat pounds, meaning that it tends to sell at a lower price per pound. “Pork’s favorable price point allows retailers to drive trips to the store,” she says, adding that IRI data shows that pork has been featured more often during the past year compared with other proteins like beef, chicken and turkey. Those promotions can be effective for retailers, as inflation-minded consumers appreciate being pointed in the direction of value. “While three-quarters [of consumers] are looking for promotions, 43% say they are seeing less of them, and they are absolutely right,” explains Roerink. “Many categories across the store are running fewer promotions, and if they are promoting, discounts tend to be less deep. This has everything to do with the supply chain issues, and that’s where retailers’ ability to promote pork is helping consumers in today’s tough environment.” Ozlem Worpel, director of fresh meats marketing at Springdale, Ark.-based Tyson Foods, agrees that meat departments can successfully merchandise pork in this operating environment. “We know that consumers are looking to economize without sacrifice,” observes Worpel. “As we saw in the 2022 [FMI] ‘Power of Meat’ study, the first step for many is to cut back on restaurant spend-
Artisan-style pork-based products with a story, like dry-aged sliced Heritage Breed Prosciutto from True Story Foods, are gaining traction among shoppers seeking quality and variety.
“While prices are higher this year than last, pork is still a good value, especially for a crowd. We anticipate a lot of cookoutrelated activity in the pork category this summer.” —Ozlem Worpel, Tyson Foods ing. People are looking to bring the restaurant experience home for everyday mealtime and for at-home entertaining. Retailers have a unique opportunity to provide inspiration for their shoppers and emphasize both quality and value, engaging consumers in new and creative ways.” The fact that consumers are savvier about buying and using pork is a boon to the category at a time when this protein is appealing for value reasons. “One of the silver linings of the last couple years was that consumers became more comfortable in the kitchen and expanded their repertoires of meals prepared at home,” adds Worpel. “Even now, as consumers are getting creative when balancing the equation for both quality and price, demand for high-quality protein at retail is still strong.”
Fresh Pork Standouts
In this “next normal” environment, shoppers are seeking out fresh pork. According to data from Chicago-based IRI, total fresh pork dollar sales rose in 2021 by 0.5% to $7.2 billion. Within the fresh pork category, some products are doing particularly well. Ground pork, for example, has benefited from an attractive price point and for versatility reasons as consumers have gained more experience in the kitchen over the past two years. IRI’s data shows that sales of ground pork jumped 6.3% over the past year. “Ground pork has done a great job in stepping in as something different, but equally easy to prepare and even more cost-effective,” affirms Roerink. There’s room for enhancements in ground pork, however, as with other ground meats, she adds. “We’ve also seen some great innovation, such as Hatfield’s mushroom-and-ground-pork blend, as well as pork burger patties ready for the grill,” remarks Roerink. “It’s these kinds of innovations that will catch the eye of the younger consumers.” Fresh pork shoulder and ingredient cuts are also performing strongly. Pork shoulder sales rose 4.7%, while ingredient cuts climbed 7.7% from March 2021 to March 2022, according to IRI data. Further, as summer gets underway, grocers will move more of other fresh pork cuts, thanks to their seasonal benefits. “Summertime is pork’s time to shine — nothing is better on the grill or in the smoker than ribs, brats or
Protein Report pork chops,” asserts Worpel. “While prices are higher this year than last, pork is still a good value, especially for a crowd. We anticipate a lot of cookout-related activity in the pork category this summer.” Value-added fresh pork products, including pre-marinated and pre-seasoned items that have become a staple of grocery meat cases over the past two decades, also entice consumers looking to elevate their eating experience while not spending too much time in the kitchen. According to research shared by Tyson, 68% of shoppers purchased value-added meat sometimes or frequently in 2021, up from 37% in 2016. Several pork brands offer value-added offerings, such as Tyson’s Sweet & Smoky BBQ marinated pork loin and Smithfield’s Steakhouse Mushroom Marinated fresh pork loin filet. Grocers have added flavor to their private label value-added pork items, too, like Wegmans’ bourbon-marinated pork tenderloin. As consumer demand for sustainably produced and minimally processed foods continues to grow, the natural fresh pork segment has expanded as well. For example, Tyson’s Open Prairie line of natural pork features no antibiotics ever and no added growth hormones or growth promotants, and is made from hogs on a 100% vege-
As summer grilling season gets underway, so does peak selling time for perenially popular pork cuts, such as ribs, that meet consumer tastes and lifestyles. Tyson Fresh Meats has also noted growing interest in its Open Prairie natural pork spareribs.
tarian diet; according to research cited by Tyson, 72% of meat shoppers now look for meat they consider “better for me or better for my family,” up from 66% in 2019.
What’s Hot in Processed and Specialty Pork
Beyond fresh pork, processed and specialty pork products are providing another kind of lift to the overall pork category. As charcuterie remains a top trend, brands like Columbus Fresh Meats from Austin, Minn.-based Hormel Foods continue to widen their portfolios with more pork-based processed meats. For its part, family-owned True Story Foods, based in Fairfield, Calif., recently rolled out dry-aged sliced Heritage Breed Prosciutto, available at Sprouts Farmers Market locations. Bacon, that perennial favorite, keeps on sizzling, with $6.4 billion in sales — a 1.9% lift over 2021 and a 28.1% jump over pre-pandemic 2019, by IRI’s findings. Within bacon, recent new products include lower-sugar or no-sugar varieties like Golden, Colo.-based Coleman Natural Foods’ sugar-free uncured applewood-smoked bacon. Coleman also teamed up with the Hingham, Mass.-based Wahlburgers brand to offer all-natural, crate-free Wahlburgers Hickory Smoked Uncured Bacon. Pork is a common ingredient in meat snacks, too. The ongoing popularity of high-protein and keto diets has buoyed pork rinds from brands like Slim Jim and 4505 Meats, which recently came out with Chile Limon Chicharrones that scored a best new product award at the Sweets & Snacks Expo, in Chicago. Another snack form comes from Salisbury, Md.-based Perdue Farms, which just launched BBQ Seasoned Pulled Pork Bites, ideal for air fryers. Finally as with other protein sectors, the traditional pork category is contending with plant-based alternatives that have made their way into retail meat cases. For instance, Redwood City, Calif.-based Impossible Foods recently introduced Impossible Pork, a ground product that packs 18 grams of protein, and Impossible Sausage Links in bratwurst, Italian and spicy flavors.
Energy Boost THE ENERGY DRINK MARKE T SHOWS NO SIGNS OF SLOWING DOWN AS SHOPPERS CONTINUE TO SE ARCH FOR HE ALTHIER ALTERNATIVES TO IMPROVE PHYSICAL AND COGNITIVE PERFORMANCE By Marian Zboraj
hether pumping iron at the gym, preparing for weekend activity or simply trying to stay alert during busy workweeks, busy consumers continue to reach for energy beverages to provide a physical and mental boost. According to Dublin, Ireland-based Research and Markets, the U.S. energy drink market was valued at $14.30 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 6.87% in the forecast period, 2022-26, to reach a value of $21.01 billion by 2026. Part of this rapid growth can be attributed to increasing demand from Generation Z and Millennials. More teenagers and young adults are opting for better-for-you flavored energy drinks, which are filled with multivitamins, over sugar-infused soda beverages. Health-conscious adults needing a boost that they can feel good about are also reaching for energy drinks rather than their standard cup of java. Overall, the growing popularity of energy drinks to improve physical and cognitive performance shows no signs of slowing down, and brand names are looking to fuel this market growth this summer with new drinks that focus on fun fruity flavors while remaining healthy.
It’s a Lifestyle
More than an energy drink, the Monster Energy brand regards itself as a lifestyle. For shoppers inspired by all things “groovy,” the brand recently unveiled its newest addition to the Monster Energy Ultra Family: Ultra Peachy Keen.
Inspired by the land Down Under with more than 10,000 beaches, Juice Monster Aussie Style Lemonade comes in a colorful can adorned with ocean graphics reminiscent of the Great Barrier Reef.
Key Takeaways The growing popularity of energy drinks to improve physical and cognitive performance shows no signs of slowing down, and brand names are looking to fuel this market growth this summer with new drinks that focus on fun fruity flavors while remaining healthy. Several brands in this segment are touting the inclusion of clean caffeine in their drinks, among other better-for-you benefits. Some of the product rollouts include flavors that are exclusive online or at particular retailers, or target a certain demographic.
PROGRESSIVE GROCER June 2022
Beverages “The summer of love was about hope, peace and connecting to something bigger than yourself,” notes Dan McHugh, chief marketing officer at Corona, Calif.-based Monster Energy. “We wanted to ignite the passion of this time for our customers.” Featuring a 1960s-throwback can design, Ultra Peachy Keen joins the company portfolio of Ultra Family zero-sugar beverages. Meanwhile, the Juice Monster lineup is welcoming Aussie Style Lemonade this summer. Inspired by the land Down Under, which boasts more than 10,000 beaches, Juice Monster Aussie Style Lemonade comes in a colorful can with ocean graphics reminiscent of the Great Barrier Reef. Mixed with Monster Energy Blend, the sweet-tart lemonade is made with real juice and Monster’s energy blend for an energy boost packed with flavor.
Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Sunshine Beverages has expanded its portfolio of Sparkling Energy Drinks with the launch of Tropical Pineapple. The summer flavor combines the ripe, slightly sweet flavor of fruity pineapple with notes of citrus. It’s filled with electrolytes; vitamins A, C, D and E; and 70 milligrams of caffeine sourced from organic green coffee beans. Each can offers 100% of the recommended daily value of vitamin B12 to support energy levels, nerve function and the immune system. The launch comes on the heels of this year’s majority investment from Cypress Ascendant, a San Diego-based strategic capital investment firm, fueling a refreshed business model, operations, and expanded distribution and marketing support. “The Cypress Ascendant team is helping to kick off an exciting era for Sunshine, a brand with limitless potential,” says Amanda Goers, president of Sunshine. “Tropical Pineapple has long been in the works and is rounding out the portfolio as a highly anticipated summer flavor, sure to become a classic. At the same time, more consumers are buzzing about the brand across the country.”
Lifeaid Beverage Co. released a new line of clean performance energy drinks in April. The Fitaid Energy collection is the clean-caffeine addition to the brand’s original Sports Recovery product, Fitaid, boosted with 200 milligrams of caffeine from green tea. The naturally sweetened Fitaid Energy + Sports Recovery blend contains only 15 calories, with no sucralose, no aspartame, no fillers and no synthetic caffeine. Available in four fruity flavors – Mango Sorbet, Peach Mandarin, Blackberry Pineapple and online-exclusive Raspberry Hibiscus – Fitaid contains no artificial flavors or colors. According to the company, each of the four flavors has a clean, crisp finish and avoids the synthetic aftertaste often associated with energy drinks. “This is the evolution of energy: Energy 3.0,” asserts Aaron Hinde, co-founder and president of Santa Cruz, Calif.-based Lifeaid. “Fitaid Energy is unlike any other energy drink on the market. Our clean caffeine from green tea helps fight your fitness fatigue and contains our original post-workout recovery blend, which includes
Clinically proven to offer cognitive performance, C4 Smart Energy’s new Watermelon Burst variety features a fresh flavor profile that’s ideal for any summertime activity.
BCAAs; turmeric; electrolytes; vitamins B, C, D3, E; and more. All of our handpicked ingredients have met the highest supplement standards and remain vegan, nonGMO and gluten-free. Coupled with no sucralose, no taurine and no synthetic caffeine, Fitaid Energy is the future of clean performance energy.”
The Official Energy Drink of Esports is now bringing a level of exclusivity to Target Corp. In addition to debuting its 16-ounce ready-to-drink cans in nearly 400 Target stores, G Fuel recently unveiled a brandnew flavor exclusive to the Minneapolis-based big-box retailer: Watermelon Limeade. Touting zero calories or sugar, the new flavor allows Target customers to get energized for summertime activities with 300 milligrams of caffeine and proprietary energy- and focus-enhancing complexes. “We at G Fuel are beyond excited to bring our readyto-drink products to Target stores across the U.S.,” says Cliff Morgan, founder and CEO of New Yorkbased G Fuel. “Partnering with Target and their incredible network of retail stores has us all truly excited! Not only will our fans be able to pick up four of our amazing flavors in-store, but they are going to absolutely love Watermelon Limeade.”
In late April, Nutrabolt, maker of the C4 Energy brand, revealed that it was launching C4 Smart Energy Watermelon Burst. The new flavor joins Freedom Ice, Peach Mango Nectar, Black Cherry and Icy Blue Razz as the fifth flavor in the Smart Energy collection.
Sunshine Beverages recently expanded its portfolio of Sparking Energy Drinks with the launch of Tropical Pineapple, which is filled with electrolytes, vitamins and 70 milligrams of organic caffeine.
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Beverages Coinciding with the release were results from a new clinical trial study that backed up the company’s claims on the cognitive benefits of C4 Smart Energy. Conducted by the University of Iowa, the study tested the mental performance effects of C4 Smart Energy, which contains InnovaTea, a plant-based caffeine ingredient derived from green tea extract that delivers energy and alertness, alongside Cognizin, a patented citicoline designed to support mental focus, attention and recall. The researchers concluded that after drinking one serving of C4 Smart Energy, participants reportedly experienced an array of cognitive performance enhancements. “These recently published studies illustrate the performance benefits that C4 Energy has stood for from day one – providing better-foryou energy drinks to help unlock the performance potential we know our consumers crave,” says Rajaa Grar, chief digital and marketing officer at Austin, Texas-based Nutrabolt. “The research done behind C4 Smart Energy puts the C4 Energy brand squarely into the mental and cognitive performance market, and consumers can trust that we are continuing to forge a new frontier in creating the best-tasting performance energy products. I can’t wait for our consumers to try the new Watermelon Burst flavor this summer and experience the cognitive performance benefits for themselves!”
A New Contender
Starbucks has entered the energy category for the first time with the introduction of Starbucks Baya Energy earlier this year. The ready-todrink (RTD) beverage is crafted from caffeine naturally found in coffee fruit, as well as antioxidant vitamin C for immune support to give consumers a boost of feel-good energy. The beverages were developed through the North American Coffee Partnership, a joint venture between Starbucks and PepsiCo to create RTD coffee and energy products. Starbucks Baya Energy is available in three fruit flavors — Mango Guava, Raspberry Lime and Pineapple Passionfruit — and contains 90 calories and 160 milligrams of caffeine per 12-ounce can. “We’re thrilled to introduce Starbucks Baya Energy to our customers, providing them with a refreshing, fruit-flavored boost of feel-good energy in a way only Starbucks can deliver,” notes Chanda Beppu, VP, channel development Americas at Seattle-based Starbucks. “Over the years, we’ve continued to identify new and exciting ways to expand our readyto-drink portfolio and saw an opportunity to complement our existing coffee beverage lineup with Starbucks Baya Energy, the brand’s first beverage to launch in the energy category.”
A Focus on Equity
PepsiCo brand Rockstar Energy Drink recently launched the Rockstar Punched Aguas Frescas, this summer’s energetic take on a mercado classic. This latest addition is available in two flavors inspired by the freshness found in aguas frescas, Strawberry and Pineapple, while the unique can design was influenced by the traditional hand-painted signs found at taquerías and food trucks. Rockstar Punched Aguas Frescas offers 160 milligrams of caffeine, contains no artificial sweeteners and is made with real fruit juice. In support of its most recent launch, Rockstar unveiled its new ad campaign, Poder Para Mi Gente (Power for My People), a platform designed to empower a new generation of energetic Hispanics who work hard to give back to their local communities. This first-ever Hispanic equity campaign for the brand spotlights young people inspired by their heritage and embodies Rockstar
“All of our handpicked ingredients have met the highest supplement standards and remain vegan, non-GMO and gluten-free.” —Aaron Hinde, Lifeaid Beverage Co. Energy’s “hustle” mentality. A commercial, also called “Poder Para Mi Gente” and directed by Rocío Crudo, features Victor Fontanez, professionally known as Vic Blends, who rose to popularity by cutting hair in exchange for good conversation. Blends took his passion for cutting hair in his mother’s garage to become one of the industry’s most renowned barbers, and now uses his platform to help his community through philanthropic efforts. “This is a huge moment for Rockstar Energy Drink, which has a long heritage of creating beverages that Hispanics love,” observes Fabiola Torres, chief marketing officer of the energy category and general manager at Purchase, N.Y.-based PepsiCo. “With this campaign, we applaud those who work tirelessly for their success and give back to their communities to help them succeed. This is only the beginning for the brand as we continue to explore innovative ways to expand the energy category and support local communities.” Alongside its first-ever Hispanic equity campaign, Poder Para Mi Gente, Rockstar Energy has launched Rockstar Punched Aguas Frescas, an energetic take on a mercado classic.
EQUIPMENT & DESIGN
Skyscraper Store A RELOCATED WHOLE FOODS MARKE T STORE IS DESIGNED TO WOW SHOPPERS IN AN UPSCALE WINDY CIT Y NEIGHBORHOOD. By Lynn Petrak hole Foods Market has received an upgrade in Chicago — literally and figuratively. The Austin, Texas-based natural food retailer recently moved into the second level of a gleaming residential high-rise about a block or so from its previous location in the city’s Gold Coast neighborhood. A high-end area, the Gold Coast is home to a mix of historic structures and shiny new developments. This particular location, which opened on April 27 inside the new One Chicago condominium and apartment building at 3 West Chicago Avenue, was designed to reflect its surroundings, with the latest grocery technologies and new products, along with architectural nods to the past, such as repurposed vintage tiles. The space was created by Whole Foods with Overland Park, Kan.-based design firm BRR Architecture and Chicago-based general contractor Novak Construction.
Whole Foods Market has moved into a gleaming residential high-rise in Chicago's upscale Gold Coast neighborhood.
EQUIPMENT & DESIGN
A Look Inside
The store’s 65,956-square-foot layout is amenable to large crowds, with fresh food stations spread out in a more linear than box-like way, and wide aisles that accommodate shopper streams. Several free-standing cases, stocked with products ranging from dessert bars to smoked and candied salmon, are arranged for grab-and-go enticement. Self-checkout stands are set up near the customer service desk, rather than just tacked onto the service checkout lines. To make it easier for shoppers to bring their groceries to their on-site residences or their cars parked in a connected garage, the store features wide escalators that accommodate carts. Parking validation is available at the customer service desk, with a 90-minute limit and a $10 minimum purchase. Whole Foods’ points of differentiation are called out via signage and visual displays, which include video monitors, posters and tags about local suppliers, and a lighted display over a seafood case that reads “Supporting the future of our oceans.” Messaging about the retailer’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) commitments are also posted in various spots around the store, covering sustainability, transparency, food equity and other topics. The store’s product assortment includes a host of items sourced from local vendors, including hydroponic growing facilities, family farms and artisan startups. As one would expect from a Whole Foods location, the expansive prepared food section includes hot- and cold- food bars, pizza, sushi, and a Market Plate bistro with entrées and sides. Other foodservice-at-retail spots include a full-service coffee bar in the lobby and an on-site taproom serving beer, wine, spirits and bar bites. As it welcomed its first customers, the new Whole Foods offered special savings on certain products, donating 1% of each day’s total sales to benefit four local schools. The retailer also showed its support for the community with donations to nonprofit organizations and food pantries.
Whole Foods' new store in Chicago's Gold Coast neighborhood features such enticements as in-store dining (top), an expansive deli and prepared food section, and a taproom serving beer, wine, spirits and bar bites.
H-E-B Welcomes Home Texas grocer H-E-B is touting a couple of department firsts at its newest store, in New Braunfels. Not only does the store feature the company’s first two-story True Texas BBQ restaurant, which boasts indoor seating on both levels, but it’s also the first location to introduce the Home by H-E-B department. The new store replaces an existing location in New Braunfels, which closed during the last week of April. The 122,000-squarefoot store, which is situated on the same property on Walnut Avenue, is about 40,000 square feet larger than the original. The new Home by H-E-B department features two brands, Haven + Key and Texas Proud. Under the Haven + Key line, customers can find on-trend seasonal items, from candles, mirrors and throw pillows to kitchen textiles, rugs, throw blankets and accent furniture. The Texas Proud brand celebrates Lone Star State style and features many similar items made by Texas-based artisans and businesses, such as wood and antler art from Broken Antler, in Converse; leather goods from Lucio Tailoring Co., in H-E-B’s hometown of San Antonio; cowhide benches from Texas Bench Worx, in Luling; and handpoured candles from Rustic Swank, in New Braunfels. H-E-B plans to open more Home by H-E-B departments inside more store locations throughout the year.
Additionally, the new store’s design elements complement the look and feel of the surrounding neighborhood and the New Braunfels community. H-E-B operates three stores in the area. —Marian Zboraj
H-E-B's recently opened New Braunfels, Texas, store is its first location to offer the Home by H-E-B department.
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PROGRESSIVE GROCER June 2022
CPG Q&A PART 2
Women in the Grocery Industry
Helping People Lead a Better Life PUR AVIDA CEO L AUREN WATKINS DISCUSSES NAVIGATING THE FOOD INDUSTRY AS A FEMALE ENTREPRENEUR. By Emily Crowe t’s no secret that consumers are increasingly seeking out nutritionally superior foods, and Etobicoke, Ontario-based PuraVida Foods is going one step further by offering them nutrition-packed frozen vegetable-and-grain blends that CEO Lauren Watkins hopes will ultimately help them lead a healthier lifestyle. Here, Watkins talks to Progressive Grocer about developing her company, the hurdles she’s faced entering the marketplace and being a Millennial woman in the food business. Progressive Grocer: When you first began developing the idea for PuraVida, did you imagine yourself as a female running the company? Lauren Watkins: I never really envisioned myself in that specific lens — it was more so just developing a brand that people could resonate with, and really help people lead a better life. I never saw myself specifically as a female leader running a company, but that is what it happens to be. I’m thrilled to be in this position and work with like-minded people who share the same passion and enthusiasm that I do.
PG: As a relatively young company, what are some of the hurdles you’ve faced getting to market? LW: With any new brand, there are always hurdles that you face. You’re trying to get into the marketplace, and you’re trying to get brand recognition. I would say one of our biggest hurdles has been reaching out to buyers and bridging that gap between our brand and getting it into the marketplace. We’ve been really lucky that we found some buyers that share the same enthusiasm and passion that we do for healthy food and clean-label products. It was really just finding that initial buyer to take a leap with us, since we’re a new brand and we were still working on getting our message and recognition in the marketplace. Now that we have some buyers reaching out to us and lots of people are sharing that same message, we’re really overcoming that and working toward bringing our products to people who need them. PG: Do you see the grocery industry as one heavily dominated by men? If so, why do you think that is? LW: There have been many industries that were heavily dominated by men, and traditionally when we think back to traditional gender roles, things just kind of happened that way. As women have become more career-focused and are working with their families and partners together in the home space, as well as being supported to develop their careers, I think so many industries now are being flooded with women. I think that it really opens the door for different perspectives, and it’s really exciting, because it’s not only our industry that now has people from all different walks of life sharing their ideas and their messages. We can really work collectively to shed light on some of the things that have been challenging or stagnant. PG: As a Millennial and a woman, do these two factors ever cloud peoples’ perception of you or your company?
PuraVida Foods, which offers nutrition-packed frozen vegetable-and-grain blends, is now entering the children's market with PuraVida Kids Life.
LW: The biggest hurdle regarding the whole package that I am is being more so a Millennial and being young. When we have meetings or we have interactions with people who have been in the industry
for a very long time, sometimes there’s a little bit of a sense that people don’t necessarily think that I know what I’m talking about. I wouldn’t say that it clouds the perception of me and my company. I think we’re all working and learning together, so it’s exciting because people are resonating with our brand because of those two things — being a Millennial and a woman — and I’m offering that perspective. PG: What is something you are most proud of with the development of PuraVida? LW: Our team is fantastic. I can’t wait to go to work every day with our team. We’re an open-concept office, so often people are yelling out their questions and bouncing ideas and comments off one another all day. It’s really great to have a team that you’re excited to work with every day. Not only that, but it’s also the excitement that our consumers are sharing about our products and what we’re doing.
“As women have become more career-focused … I think so many industries now are being flooded with women. I think that it really opens the door for different perspectives, and it’s really exciting, because it’s not only our industry that now has people from all different walks of life sharing their ideas and their messages.” —Lauren Watkins, CEO, PuraVida Foods
PG: You’re about to launch the Kids Life program. What made you want to enter the children’s market? LW: I’m very focused on setting children up for lifelong success. I grew up in a family of health care professionals, and we constantly talked about establishing good habits early on in life. That includes not only diet, but also exercise. Children ask a million and one questions, and it’s really about supporting them to understand how our world works and why it works the way it does. With PuraVida Kids Life, we’re focusing on that and helping foster questions and family time where parents can work with their kids to help them get involved in their nutrition and in their health from day one. It’s really about tailoring the message to help in a way that children of all ages can understand. PG: What is one piece of advice you’d give younger women just starting their careers in the food industry?
LW: Use every day as a learning opportunity. Every single day is different, and you can really use it to learn something new or ask a question, and not be afraid to ask those questions. You don’t know what you don’t know, and more often than not, you’d be pleasantly surprised that someone is willing to sit down with you and explain something. Along the way, you might find a mentor or someone who is willing to take you under their wing and help you take those risks and navigate through the complex industry that we work in. PG: What does your vision for the growth of PuraVida look like? LW: I think it’s twofold. I really want to continue our internal growth with our team and really work on developing our team members and make sure they’re doing something that they’re passionate about every day. We talk about passion on a daily basis here in our office, and I really want to make sure people have found a company they can grow with and someone that they trust in. On the other end of that, with the growth of PuraVida, I would love to see us in all types of retailers across the country and really helping people lead a better life. Whether that’s with one product they find that they love, knowing that they can get a certain percentage of their veggie intake for a day, getting more fiber or helping someone feel better about their food choice, that’s my vision. EDITOR’S NOTE: PG earlier spoke with PuraVida Foods CEO Lauren Watkins in the April 2022 issue.
PROGRESSIVE GROCER June 2022
Rethinking Recycling IMPROVED EFFORTS TO REUSE AND RECOVER GL ASS AND ALUMINUM CAN HELP RE TAILERS ACHIE VE SUSTAINABILIT Y GOALS. By Marian Zboraj hile numerous initiatives exist to reduce the amount of plastic consumption in retail, there are still plenty of other packaging materials that can have a negative impact on the environment if not responsibly conserved. Two of the most recyclable and reusable — and often overlooked — materials are glass and aluminum.
In 2018, 39.6% of beer and soft-drink bottles were recovered for recycling, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, with 39.8% of wine and liquor bottles and 15.0% of food and other glass jars recycled. In total, 33.1% of all glass food and beverage containers were recycled. Meanwhile, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Can Manufacturers Institute, the aluminum beverage can recycling rate was 45% in 2020.
Bumping up these percentages can vastly improve retailers’ sustainability goals. In fact, glass is infinitely recyclable — unlike some plastics — without experiencing any loss in purity or quality. The Arlington, Va.-based Glass Packaging Institute points out that more than a ton of natural resources is saved for every ton of glass recycled. One ton of carbon dioxide is reduced for every 6 tons of recycled container glass used in the manufacturing process. The Can Manufacturers Institute also estimates that increasing the recycled content of the average can reduces its carbon footprint, since making an aluminum beverage can from recycled material results in more than 90% fewer greenhouse-gas emissions than making the container from primary material.
Seven in 10 supermarket shoppers are trying to reduce their impact on the environment, as indicated by a recent Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council North America report. Additionally, not all communities have recycling collections come to their homes. As a result, incorporating a recycling collection site at the retail level can have a direct impact on shopper loyalty. A convenient and easy option for grocery stores to help shoppers recycle aluminum and glass is via reverse vending machines, which collect empty and used bottles and cans in return for money or other forms of incentivization to the recycler. One example of reverse vending solutions for collecting, reusing and recycling aluminum and glass is Norway-based Tomra. With 82,000-plus installations across more than 60 markets, Tomra’s reverse vending machines capture 40 billion used beverage containers every year, reducing reliance on raw materials and ensuring that fewer containers end up in landfills, oceans and streets, while bringing real benefits to stores and their communities. Tomra’s various systems are geared toward grocery retailers of any size, with
Tomra’s reverse vending solutions for collecting, reusing and recycling aluminum and glass now have the option to issue refunds with a digital voucher that is sent directly to the end user’s mobile phone or via electronic transfer to their account.
indoor and outdoor installations available. Units now have the option to issue recycling refunds not only with a traditional paper voucher, but also with a digital voucher — sent directly to the end user’s mobile phone, or via instant and secure electronic transfer to their account. Both digital payouts are enabled through the myTOMRA app. Campbell, Calif.-based Olyns also provides reverse vending solutions. In November 2021, the company raised a $1 million seed round led by Vanedge Capital. Olyns’ eye-catching bottle collection machine is designed for high-traffic indoor locations, and its gamified mobile app provides bottle refunds and rewards. Each Olyns machine reportedly collects about 1.5 metric tons of recycled material per year. Don’t forget partnering with CPG packaging companies like Westminster, Colo.-based Ball Corp., which supplies innovative, sustainable aluminum packaging solutions for beverage, personal care and household products. Driving category growth, the company’s Ball Aluminum Cup can be easily recycled like its aluminum can counterparts. In fact, according to Ball Corp., aluminum cans, cups and bottles can be recycled and back on a store shelf within 60 days. Meanwhile, big-name retailers like Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart are touting their own recycling efforts. The food retailer joined forces with soft-drink giant PepsiCo Beverages North America in late August 2021 on a pilot program to boost recycling awareness and participation in Tulsa, Okla. Shoppers were invited to bring their beverage containers to be properly recycled from Thursdays to Sundays, with encouragement to participate via the chance to earn rewards and prizes.
Get in the Loop
In addition to recycling efforts, retailers are accelerating initiatives in the reuse movement. TerraCycle’s Loop, the global reuse platform that was initially launched via e-commerce, is now moving in-store with food retailers. Loop is enabled by a multi-stakeholder coalition of manufacturers, retailers and consumers that aims to “Eliminate the Idea of Waste.” Loop’s movement to an in-store retail model began in Paris with Carrefour in December 2020. In 2021, Loop launched in-store at Aeon in Japan and at Tesco in the United Kingdom. The platform recently expanded to the United States with rollouts in such retailers as The Kroger Co. in October 2021. Loop’s business model consists of participating brands offering products in refillable, reusable glass or metal containers that are merchandised in dedicated Loop-specific displays. After customers consume the products, they drop off the empty packaging at designated drop-off units. Loop then picks up the empty containers from the store to be cleaned, refilled and made available for purchase by a new shopper. “Loop’s goal has always been to grow, scale and be accessible to consumers around the world,” says Tom Szaky, founder and CEO of Trenton, N.J.-based TerraCycle and Loop. “With the world’s largest retailers bringing Loop to physical brick-and-mor-
After Fred Meyer customers consume products that are part of Loop’s program, they drop off the packaging at designated in-store drop-off units to be picked up, cleaned, refilled and repurchased by a new shopper.
tar locations, we are giving consumers what they’ve been asking for since Loop was introduced in 2019 — the ability to purchase the products they use every day in durable, reusable containers, with the convenience of shopping at their local market.” Cincinnati-based Kroger recently strengthened its partnership with Loop in February. Through a first-ofits-kind partnership in the United States, customers can now walk into one of 25 Kroger-owned Fred Meyer stores in the Portland, Ore., area and purchase more than 20 products from leading consumer brands packaged in reusable containers. The new Loop assortment includes well-known food and household products from a range of brands, including Arbor Teas, Cascade, Clorox, Gerber, Nature’s Heart, Nature’s Path, Pantene, Seventh Generation and Stubb’s, as well as Kroger’s own Simple Truth brand. More brands are expected to be added to the Loop product portfolio in the coming months. “Our focus on innovative solutions as we continue on our Zero Hunger | Zero Waste journey aligns with Loop’s mission to create a convenient circular packaging platform,” notes Lisa Zwack, Kroger’s head of sustainability. “Customers are increasingly seeking out sustainable products and services that fit their lifestyle, and this collection makes it convenient. As the first grocer in America to offer these products, Kroger is pleased to take another meaningful step toward a world with zero waste.” Be on the lookout for other reuse pioneers. For example, Algramo has developed a reuse system powered by vending machines that dispense household products into smart reusable packaging. The Chilebased company recently expanded into North America, and is now piloting is reuse systems in New York City, having previously piloted the system in its home country with retailers such as Walmart. Zero-waste grocers are also on the rise. With claims of being the first zero-waste grocery store, Nude Foods Market, in Boulder, Colo., has everything a traditional grocery store has — produce, prepared meals, snacks, bulk items, cleaning products, beauty products, and more — just without all of the plastic packaging. Instead, everything comes in reusable, returnable glass jars and is local, organic or rescued. Customers pay a small deposit per jar and then receive that deposit back, minus a small cleaning and sanitizing fee, to spend in the store when they return the jar. Promoting a circular economy, the jars are reused thousands of times. PROGRESSIVE GROCER June 2022
Food, Beverage & Nonfood Products
Iconic Kellogg Co. brand Eggo is offering more convenience than ever with Eggo Grab & Go Liège-Style Waffles, the first-ever Eggo waffle that doesn’t require a toaster. Inspired by a classic Belgian street food staple, the bistro-quality handheld waffles are made with a golden brioche dough, real butter, and no artificial colors and flavors, and baked through with crunchy bits of pearl sugar. The individually wrapped waffles can be eaten at room temperature — they thaw in less than an hour — or warm from the toaster. The Liège-style waffles are infused with maple flavor and other natural flavors, so no syrup or toppings are needed, making them a convenient, mess-free breakfast option for busy families. Available in Buttery Maple and Strawberry flavors, Eggo Grab & Go Liège-Style Waffles retails for a suggested $5.99 per 4-pack box or $12.99 per 12-pack box. https://www.kelloggcompany.com/en_US/home.html; https://www.leggowitheggo.com/en_US/home.html
Cookies With Crunch
Maxine’s Heavenly, a company specializing in homemade-style cookies, has released a line of crispy cookies — the brand’s first products outside of its original super-soft cookies. Made with simple and pure ingredients, vegan, gluten-free Maxine’s Heavenly Crispy Cookies are available in two flavors, Chocolate Chip and Cinnamon Speculoos Crunch. Chocolate Chip contains a hint of caramel and plenty of chocolate, while Cinnamon Speculoos Crunch contains cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and cardamom. A 6.3-ounce box of either variety retails for a suggested $6.99. https://maxinesheavenly.com/
On-the-Go Hydration for Kids
Plant-Powered Pest Control
Developed by SC Johnson, STEM is a line of entomologist-tested and scientifically engineered bug-fighting insecticides and repellents powered by plant-derived active ingredients to fight bugs safely and effectively, when used as directed. Each product in the line uses botanical extracts like lemongrass, mint and rosemary oils in the following SKUs: 12-ounce Bug Killer Spray (Ants, Roaches, Flies); 10-ounce Bug Killer Spray (Flies, Mosquitoes, Gnats); 10-ounce Bug Killer Spray (Ants, Roaches, Spiders); 10-ounce Bug Killer Spray (Wasps, Hornets, Yellow Jackets); 5.4-fluid-ounce Fruit Fly Trap; 4-ounce Mosquito Repellent Spray; and 10-count Mosquito Repellent Wipes, all retailing for a suggested $6.99. None of the products contains added dyes or fragrances, or has a harsh chemical odor. The full STEM lineup provides a one-stop shop of repellents and bug killers rooted in nature and optimized by science, so that families can feel good about using them in their homes and around kids and pets. https://stemforbugs.com/; https://www.scjohnson.com/
ShineWater, a hydration beverage containing the recommended daily serving of vitamin D, has now introduced a kid-friendly beverage option called ShineWater Pouches. The pouches contain the same flavors as the original bottles, but they’re designed for small hands to make it easy for children to hold, stay hydrated and consume their required dose of vitamins. Additionally, each pouch is free from added sugar, artificial colors and artificial flavors while including servings of vitamin D, B12, zinc, potassium, and magnesium. Created to bring a healthier beverage option to stores while being tailored for all ages, the pouches come in two flavors, Strawberry Lemon and Mixed Berry Acai. An 8-pack of 6-fluid-ounce pouches retails for a suggested price range of $3.99-$4.99. https://www.shinewater.com/
Dairy-Free Cheese Balls
Already known for its Pig Out Crunchies (formerly known as Pig Out Pigless Pork Rinds) and Outstanding Puffs, plant-based food company Outstanding Foods has now launched the Outstanding Cheese Balls product line. Described as the first dairy-free cheese ball option on the market, the snack contains 4 grams of protein and 20 vitamins and minerals per serving, among them iron, zinc, B12, B6, and vitamins D, E and A. The dairy-, soy- and trans fat-free; vegan; kosher; and non-GMO snack, crafted by Dave Anderson, former executive chef at Beyond Meat, comes in four flavors: Chedda, Bacon Chedda, Jalapeno Chedda and Garlic Parmesan. A full-size 3-ounce bag of any flavor retails for a suggested $4.49, while a snack-sized 1.25-ounce bag of any flavor goes for a suggested $2.49. In the wake of the launch, Outstanding Foods will unveil an updated look, including a refreshed logo and clean, colorful, bold packaging, for its other snack lines. https://get.outstandingfoods.com/outstanding-cheese-balls-o/
Veggies Made Great has launched Stuffed Cauliflower Bites, a product designed to serve as an after-school snack or gameday appetizer. The frozen line comes in four flavors: Margherita, Spinach & Ricotta, Roasted Veggie & 4 Cheese Blend, and Mushroom & Onion with Swiss. Each variety is loaded with a blend of authentic Italian veggies and cheese while being gluten-free, low in calories and high in protein. A 7-ounce 12-count package of any variety retails for a suggested $5.99. https://www.veggiesmadegreat.com/
Famed citrus brand Sunkist has partnered with Sokol, a family-owned food formulation company, on a line of dressings and sauces. The product line comes in eight fruit-forward flavors designed to complement not just salads, but also tacos, bowls and more: Lemon Pepper Caesar Dressing, Grapefruit Poppyseed Dressing, Spicy Mango Habanero Dressing, Mimosa Vinaigrette, Blueberry Chipotle Dressing, Mandarin Fig Dressing, Orange Sesame Ginger Dressing, and Pomegranate Lime Vinaigrette. These versatile SKUs add tang and zest to just about any type of recipe while also being gluten- and nut-free offerings with no high-fructose corn syrup. The suggested retail price per 12-ounce bottle of any flavor is $4.98. https://www.sunkist.com/; https://www.sunkistsauces. com/; https://www.sokolcustomfoods.com/
A Better Way to Eat Burgers
Best known for its highly popular ketchup, Heinz has now unveiled a first-of-its-kind innovation that seeks to do no less than revolutionize the burger-eating experience. Heinz Dip & Crunch offers sauce with crispy potato crunchers in a two-in-one package for more satisfying burger eating anywhere, anytime. Consumers simply dip the burger in the Heinz sauce, and then top it off with the salty potato crunchers to add both flavor and texture to every bite. The product comes in two tangy flavors, one featuring a burger sauce made with tomato purée, molasses, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic powder, tamarind concentrate, onion powder and spices, and a spicy variety adding a dimension of heat to the sauce. Dip & Crunch is the latest example of Kraft Heinz’s larger Agile@Scale transformation strategy, a key part of which is to deploy an insight-based innovation engine that offers consumers the products, flavors and formulations they want most. To that end, Dip & Crunch was first offered as a test item at select West Coast Jack in the Box restaurants earlier this year before rolling out nationwide at grocery retailers. A 2.75-ounce package of either variety of Dip & Crunch retails for a suggested $2.49. https://www.kraftheinzcompany.com/ PROGRESSIVE GROCER June 2022
AHEAD OF WHAT’S NEXT By Bridget Goldschmidt
What Makes a Top Woman in Grocery? WE JUDGES LOOK FOR SPECIFIC AT TRIBUTES — AND WE FULLY E XPECT TO BE BOWLED OVER. hose of us on the editorial staff who are privileged to judge the submissions that pour in for Progressive Grocer’s annual Top Women in Grocery recognition program are often asked what constitutes a successful submission. While it’s never easy to reject a nomination — everyone is great at their job, or they wouldn’t have been put forward by their nominators in the first place — there are certain things we judges look for that set apart those we select as Top Women.
Show, Don’t Tell
Most aspiring writers are familiar with the instruction “show, don’t tell.” That’s precisely what we want in a nomination. You can sing the praises of your nominee to your heart’s content, but what we really want is concrete examples of her greatness. How did she deal with a particular problem during the time period under review, and how successful was the outcome? We want to hear all of the pertinent details, including metrics, if available. To enable us to fully appreciate the positive impact that your Top To enable us to Woman has in her position and her fully appreciate the organization, take us on a journey positive impact that illustrating just how she achieved your Top Woman that impact.
Wider Industry and Community Service Matter
has in her position and her organization, take us on a journey illustrating just how she achieved that impact.
It’s always dismaying when an otherwise worthy nominee has nothing listed under the section on the nomination form asking about service to the wider food industry or to the local community. Although some nominators apparently don’t see the point of including this section, it’s not there by accident. Virtually from the beginning of the Top Women in Grocery program, this aspect has been a key part of our concept of an ideal honoree, and it’s more important now than ever. We want to pay tribute to women who truly go above and beyond in every area of their lives, not just at work. While we understand that pursuing a highly 162
demanding career entitles a woman to a little downtime, we’ve been so incredibly inspired by nominees’ tireless efforts to uplift their colleagues, industry and fellow humans generally that we simply must share these stories. Nominators who omit such accomplishments, or fail to find out about them, are depriving their nominee of her chance to shine forth in all of her glory.
The nature of the Top Women in Grocery nomination process requires us judges to sift through hundreds of submissions across dozens of businesses, so the ones that are clearly written are particular standouts. If your business or company employs certain obscure terms of art or acronyms, please take the time to explain them; it will save judges the trouble of looking them up. More basically, make sure that the nomination gets across the necessary information in as precise a manner as possible, without typos or poorly constructed sentences; muddily written submissions replete with misspellings will often have judges scratching their heads as to what the nominator meant to convey, and as you may imagine, such nominations are usually not successful. One more piece of advice I would offer to prospective nominators is to keep those nominations coming. Despite the work in logging and reading through all of the submissions every year, it’s a great honor to do so, and the information we judges learn about the resilience, creativity and mastery of our nominees enables us to do our part to advance women in the food industry through our recognition program and its associated event, which in 2022 will be held in person for the first time in two years. So please continue to send us nominations of the wonderful women you work with — we couldn’t do it without either of you. Bridget Goldschmidt Managing Editor email@example.com