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PLEASE PICK PORK Flavor and versatility can boost soft sales EASIER THAN EVER Grab-and-go deli and bakery enter a new phase LOOKING TO REMODEL YOUR STORE? Read experts’ advice on do’s and don’ts June 2024 Volume 103, Number 6 RISING TO THE TOP CPG TRAILBLAZER Mindy Sherwood Procter & Gamble RETAIL TRAILBLAZER Lynette Ackley Meijer
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As demand remains soft, brands and retailers should use flavor and versatility to boost sales and gain share in protein.

Ready-made products are entering a new stage of development, with retailers and vendors both upping their game to compete with c-stores and restaurants. 120 EQUIPMENT & DESIGN Putting the ‘Special’ in Specialty

Learn how Hussmann helps retailers create merchandising magic.

122 SUSTAINABILITY The Green Supply Chain

How can grocery retailers help ensure that every link in their supply chain is sustainable? 124 EQUIPMENT & DESIGN

A Grocer’s Guide to Remodeling

Experts weigh in on what a retailer needs to consider before, during and after the renovation process.

Features Contents 06.24 Volume 103 Issue 6 12 NIELSEN’S SHELF STOPPERS Vitamins, Minerals and Supplements 14 MINTEL GLOBAL NEW PRODUCTS Departments 16 ALL’S WELLNESS Protein Power 129 EDITORS' PICKS FOR INNOVATIVE PRODUCTS 130 AHEAD OF WHAT’S NEXT 4 Days in the Netherlands 8 EDITOR’S NOTE Congrats to 2024’s Top Women in Grocery 10 IN-STORE EVENTS CALENDAR August 2024 COVER STORY
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Delight your customers with a convenient mix of medium temperature and frozen products all in one place. The Spruce Multideck Merchandiser from Southern CaseArts provides opportunities for themed merchandising such as “Taco Tuesday,” where meat, cheese, sour cream, veggies and seasonings are all in one case. Visit to learn more about these easy-to-maintain units that reduce energy costs, feature brilliant LED lighting and really spruce up your endcap total sales.

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Congrats to 2024’s Top Women in Grocery


une is a special month here at Progressive Grocer.

It’s that time of year when we honor and celebrate women’s achievements in the grocery industry. Our special June issue shines a bright light on the outstanding women who are blazing trails in their organizations and setting the standards for others to follow.

And celebrating these women for their successes has never been more important, as women continue to lose ground when it comes to career advancement in grocery. Specifically, women make up more than two-thirds of the workforce in the grocery (and overall retail) industry, but lag behind when it comes to senior management roles.

It’s even worse in the C-suite. According to an analysis from Korn Ferry published in Forbes, of the 47 newly appointed retail CEOs last year, only five were female and 12 outgoing women CEOs were replaced by men. Overall, some 90% of new retail CEOs were men, and only 10% were women.

Factors A ecting Female Career Advancement

Over the past decade, many food retail companies have made high-profile pledges to close the gender promotion (and pay) gap, but not enough companies are doing what it takes to help women up the ladder. Deloitte’s “Women @ Work” report, published in April, examines some of the critical workplace and societal factors that are profoundly affecting women’s chances of advancement in their careers.

Half of women say that their stress levels are higher than they were a year ago, and a similar number say that they’re concerned or very concerned about their mental health. Mental health is a top three concern for women globally (48%), falling behind their financial security (51%) and rights (50%).

Women are (still) feeling the weight of misbalanced caregiving and domestic responsibilities. Notably, 50% of women who live with a partner and have children say that they take the most responsibility for child care — up from 46% in 2023 — with only 12% saying that this falls to their partner.

Also, nearly half of women say that they’re worried about their safety when they’re at work: One in 10 of these women have been harassed while commuting or traveling for work, and 16% have dealt with customers or clients that have harassed them or behaved in a way that has made them feel uncomfortable.

Lack of flexible working hours is among the top reasons that women have changed jobs over the past year (15%), with the same number also citing poor work/life balance.

Culture Is Key

Perhaps most interesting, the survey found that one-quarter of women don’t want to progress into senior leadership positions in

Women in companies with great cultures report higher levels of loyalty toward their employer and productivity, feel safer, are more comfortable talking about their mental health at work, and are more certain that they can work flexibly without damaging their careers.

their organizations, with the top reason being that they’re put off by the company culture.

Women in companies with great cultures report higher levels of loyalty toward their employer and productivity, feel safer, are more comfortable talking about their mental health at work, and are more certain that they can work flexibly without damaging their careers.

So, although there are tons of talented Top Women in Grocery out there, not enough of them are making it to the top of their organizations. Companies that want to move from pledges to action on advancing women in the workplace should focus on mental health training, improved safety on the job, flexible scheduling, and creating an inclusive company culture where work/life balance is valued and respected, and where women feel supported in their career progression.

We at Progressive Grocer will spotlight many of these topics at our Grocery Impact event slated for Nov. 6-8 in Orlando, Fla. Join us!


Save The Date!


As part of Progressive Grocer’s GROCERY IMPACT Event, scheduled for Nov. 6-8, 2024, at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Resort, in Orlando, Fla., this year’s Top Women in Grocery can attend educational sessions and receive their honors at a gala dinner.



National White Wine Day. Cheers!


Hip-Hop Day. Celebrate the giants of this enduring cultural movement by playing their music in the aisles.


National Oyster Day. Make sure to spotlight this beloved mollusk in your seafood department.



National Couple’s Day. Shopping is more romantic in pairs.


Kiss and Make Up Day. This is the time to resolve differences, be they personal or professional; a peck on the cheek to seal the deal is entirely optional.

On IBM PC Day, take a moment to reflect on how much the personal computer has evolved since the tech innovator released its very first model way back in 1981.

19 International Bow Day. Encourage your associates to proudly sport ties, hair implements, belts and more in this signature shape.


National Spark the World Day. Make use of this life coach-created occasion to inspire your employees to go the extra mile in all of their endeavors.

Get Acquainted With Kiwifruit Month

Kids Eat Right Month

Mushroom and Onion Month

National Catfish Month


Farmworker Appreciation Day. Dedicate efforts to making sure that the people who help bring us our food are treated equitably.

13 International Lefthanders Day. From Sir Isaac Newton on down, southpaws contribute much to the world.


World Mosquito Day. Use this opportunity to instruct shoppers on how to keep these pesky insects at bay using products found in your store(s).


National Just Because Day. The perfect reason to go food shopping!


National Homemade Pie Day. Encourage shoppers to create their own baked goods with easy recipes.


National Immunization

Awareness Month

National Panini Month

National Peach Month

National Coloring Book Day. Offer a free food-themed one to youngsters who visit your store(s).



Professional Speakers Day. Invite one to give your store employees some valuable life — and work — lessons.


National Pickleball Day. Capitalize on the success of this sport (and social phenomenon) with a few ideas for postgame refreshments.


World Calligraphy Day. To capture that corner grocer feel, hire an expert to craft beautifully handlettered signs.


It’s the birthday of jazz great Count Basie (1904-1984), so spin some of his greatest hits for shoppers’ listening pleasure.

28 Power Rangers Day. All you Millennials out there –which one was your favorite, and why?


Check the Chip Day. Remind the pet owners among your customers to get their furry family members microchipped, as it can increase the chances that lost animals are reunited with their humans.


International Day of the World’s Indigenous People. Pay homage to some of oldest continuous civilizations on earth by showcasing their various cuisines.


Hawaiian Shirt Day. Perhaps Trader Joe’s has the right idea.

National Twins Day. Celebrate the twins (and other multiples) across your workforce and customer base with shout-outs on social media, and invite shoppers to weigh in with their own pics and tributes.


National Lazy Day. Those who observe are going to need a bunch of no-fuss snacks, right?


Baby Boomers Recognition Day. Hold a trivia quiz designed for this demographic, and as prizes for the winners, provide free tickets to a local oldies night.


World Plant Milk Day. Showcase your alt-dairy beverages for those who can’t or don’t consume animal proteins.


According to Hoyle Day. You know what goes well with card and board games? Food and drink, of course! Remember how the sandwich was invented …


Find Your Inner Nerd Day. Everyone likes to geek out over something – urge your associates to share their favorite dorky pastimes.



National Grief Awareness Day. Reach out to any of your associates who may be struggling in the wake of loss.

Kobe Bryant Day. On this day, remember the life and legacy of the basketball legend, whose life and that of his young daughter Gianna were tragically cut short in 2020.


International Day for People of African Descent. Highlight the many dishes created by peoples with ties to this vast and diverse continent.

S M T W T F S 10
IN-STORE EVENTS Calendar 08.24


12 FRONT END Shelf Stoppers Vitamins, Minerals and Supplements Latest 52 WksW/E 05/04/24 Latest 52 WksW/E 05/04/24 Latest 52 Wks YAW/E 05/06/23 Latest 52 Wks YAW/E 05/06/23 Latest 52 Wks 2YAW/E 05/07/22 Latest 52 Wks 2YAW/E 05/07/22 Value Per Occasion What is the value per occasion for vitamins, minerals and supplements versus the year-ago period? Source: NIQ, Total U.S. (all outlets combined) during the 52 weeks ending May 4, 2024 Minerals Supplements Vitamins Total Department Performance Top VMS Categories by Dollar Sales $12,990,673,046 $12,649,205,589 $12,801,171,272 VMS Generational Snapshot Which cohort is spending, on average, the most per trip on minerals? Millennials $10.53 Gen Xers $10.63 Boomers $11.35 The Greatest Generation $12.26 Source: NIQ, Total U.S. (all outlets combined) during the 52 weeks ending April 27, 2024 $12.22 for all vitamins, minerals and supplements, up 3.9% compared with a year ago $9.52 for minerals, up 8.9% compared with a year ago $13.34 for supplements, up 2.6% compared with a year ago $10.82 for vitamins, up 5.5% compared with a year ago Index by Age of Head of Household
8,000,000,000 7,000,000,000 6,000,000,000 5,000,000,000 4,000,000,000 3,000,000,000
0 Minerals Supplements Vitamins Age 18-24 69 55 76 Age 25-34 41 57 66 Age 35-44 46 66 78 Age 45-54 70 84 95 Age 55–64 105 108 107 Age 65-74 159 139 126 Age 75 or More 204 166 136
2,000,000,000 1,000,000,000 Visit: and click the SUBSCRIBE button Deep Dive: ALDI Balances Price and Planet February 2024 Volume 103, Number 2 From left: Ed Sands and Nancy Deering Sands, of Tom’s Food Markets, with Jon Wojtowicz, of Short’s Brewing Co. ANNUAL RENEWAL confirm your subscription Independents are uniquely tuned into the needs of their communities Holiday Entertaining Guide: Spring & Summer Edition March 2024 Volume 103, Number 3 Shop shopper behavior Retailer Deep Dive: Walmart Embraces Adaptive Retail 10 MOST SUSTAINABLE GROCERS These companies excel at eco-friendly actions and messaging PLUS! PG’s 91st Annual Report/The PG 100: In Sync VALUE PROPOSITION Make the case for quality with premium meats DO RIGHT BY DAIRY Nutrition, novelty can elevate stalwart category SUSTAINABILITY IN A BOX How green packaging is meeting the moment Volume POWERED BY REASONS WHY Northeast Grocery has a renewed strategy for retail success From left, Ron president Friendly John Persons, Northeast Grocery and Blaine Bringhurst, president Chopper/Market PRINT & DIGITAL To receive Progressive Grocer SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

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What You Need to Know

Even in the face of high prices, consumers find value in cheese and keep it on their shopping lists. While some consumers did trade down to more affordable formats, the category at large continues to see growth.

Cheese proves to be a convenient option for consumers as they use it to fulfill snacking needs, among other occasions. Portability, as well as the satiating flavor associated with cheese, makes it an easy option, whether as a better-for-you (BFY) or indulgent snack.

The ability for cheese to work across meals and snacks, as well as at home and on the go, benefits the category, since consumers have broad needs for their schedules. Showcasing how a single cheese purchase can fulfill multiple needs can connect with busy consumers.

Consumer Trends: Key Takeaways

An increase in snacking and a range of at-home uses keep cheese on the grocery list in spite of high prices. Cheese is also able to flex between indulgent and BFY applications, allowing the majority of consumers not to change their cheese habits, despite their evolving health pursuits and/or budgets.

Aside from the popular cheddar, consumers have relatively weak associations with other cheese varieties by occasion, indicating that there’s an opportunity to promote and extend uses such as cheese as an onthe-go energy boost.

45% of consumers say that they typically stick to the same brand, leaving the majority open to switching. With fewer than one-third primarily concerned with cost, consumers are finding more value in exploration, enjoyment and flavor.


Cheese is packed with protein, yet consumers who have decreased consumption cite health as the top reason. Pushing high-protein and lowcarb stats to the front of the pack can change perceptions and win consumers back, as seen with cottage cheese’s resurgence as a BFY snack and substitute across dishes.

The ability for cheese to work across dayparts, in warm or cold meals and snacks, and as a carrier of flavor and satiety makes occasions boundless. Versatility is one of cheese’s greatest strengths, and continual messaging covering how consumers can use one type of cheese in multiple ways can extend value.

Gen Z consumers are the most interested in trying emerging cheese types and have also expanded their repertoires to include dairy alternatives. Innovations in bold flavor, interesting texture, and niche regional and international offerings can keep the category exciting as consumers discover different varieties on social media and restaurant menus.



EnsembleIQ is the premier resource of actionable insights and connections powering business growth throughout the path to purchase. We help retail, technology, consumer goods, healthcare and hospitality professionals make informed decisions and gain a competitive advantage.

EnsembleIQ delivers the most trusted business intelligence from leading industry experts, creative marketing solutions and impactful event experiences that connect best-in-class suppliers and service providers with our vibrant business-building communities.


Protein Power


or years, consumer interest in protein has remained strong, driven mainly by a desire to eat healthfully, and fueled by the popularity of high-protein and plant-based diets. To inform your protein promotions, here are some facts about protein nutrition and a look at shoppers’ protein views and eating patterns.

A Quick Protein Primer

Protein is found in a wide array of foods, with the richest sources being animal foods such as meat, poultry, seafood, eggs and dairy products, and plant foods such as beans, peas, lentils, nuts, seeds and soy products (e.g., tofu, tempeh, edamame and soy milk). Smaller amounts are found in grains and vegetables. The body needs protein to build and maintain healthy bones, muscles, cartilage, skin and blood; repair cells; and manufacture enzymes, hormones and vitamins. Protein also helps promote a feeling of satiety when we eat.

Animal foods, as well as soy and quinoa, supply all of the essential amino acids the body needs to build proteins, but most plant foods are missing one or more essential amino acids. However, eating a wide variety of plant foods throughout the day should supply the essential amino acids that the body needs.

Generally, Americans eat enough protein, but are advised to choose less meat, leaner cuts of meat and poultry, and more seafood and plant-based proteins, according to the 2020-25 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The goal is to reduce saturated fat and increase the variety of nutrients consumed from protein foods.

Shoppers’ Protein Preferences

Shoppers view protein as a healthful nutrient and seek it out in their diets, according to findings from the 2023 Food and Health Survey from the International Food Information Council (IFIC). One-third (33%) of consumers said that the attribute “good source of protein” defines a healthy food, just behind “fresh” (40%) and “low in sugar” (37%).

Among the 52% of respondents who follow a diet or specific eating plan, “high-protein” (18%) was the type of diet mentioned most frequently. In addition, two-thirds of all respondents (67%) are trying to consume protein, which received more mentions than any other nutrient. The vast majority of those respondents (92%) are trying to consume protein through foods, as opposed to beverages (25%) or supplements (22%).

Interest in consuming more plant-based protein continues to trend upward. In the 2023 IFIC survey, more than one-quarter (28%) of respondents said that they consumed more protein from whole-plant sources in the past year. This follows a 31% increase in the number who said the same in the 2022 survey.

Among animal proteins, poultry topped the list, with 26% of respondents saying that they consumed more in the past year, followed by seafood

Retail dietitians can guide shoppers toward nutritious protein choices throughout the aisles, educate them on protein requirements and healthful eating patterns, and introduce them to new protein foods.

(23%), eggs (22%), dairy (19%), red meat (16%) and blended meat products, a combination of meat and plant-based ingredients (14%). In 2023, significantly fewer respondents reported consuming more dairy and blended meat products, compared with respondents in 2022.

Plan Healthful Protein Promotions with Retail Dietitians

Retail dietitians can guide shoppers toward nutritious protein choices throughout the aisles, educate them on protein requirements and healthful eating patterns, and introduce them to new protein foods. Dietitians also can provide special advice to shoppers with protein allergies, vegetarians and vegans, athletes, the elderly, and more.

Diane Quagliani, MBA, RDN, LDN, specializes in nutrition communications for consumer and health professional audiences. She has assisted national retailers and CPGs with nutrition strategy, web content development, trade show exhibiting, and the creation and implementation of shelf tag programs.


Apply now for the 2024 Inmar Intelligence Andy Jump Continuing Education and Rising Star Awards!


• 2024 Top Women in Grocery Rising Star honorees OR 2024 GenNext honoree, and:

• Currently working full-time in the grocery retail industry

• Planning to pursue continuing education or professional studies in a program focused on grocery retail, business or another related field

• Demonstrating a passion for food retail innovation

The Continuing Education Award will grant a $5,000 award to one winner from the 2024 Top Women in Grocery Rising Star class

The Rising Star Innovation Award will grant a $5,000 award to one winner from the 2024 GenNext class

The awards are named in honor of Andy Jump, the late Vice President and General Manager, Incentives & Loyalty, at Inmar Intelligence.

SEPTEMBER 23, 2024

2023 Continuing Education Award Recipient Catherine Misour, Giant Eagle 2023 Rising Star Innovation Award Recipient Kathryn Kowalzik, Giant Food


Differentiation is a key driver as retailers in the segment develop new products to boost own brand assortments.



P. SB10


P. SB14






At a time when American consumers are looking to save money when they shop, the store closures affecting Family Dollar and 99 Cents Only came as a surprise to some.

Despite this news, the retail industry as a whole remains bullish on the channel. Playing an ever-growing role within the aisles of dollar stores are private label products. Leading retailers in the channel have grown their respective assortments in recent years by developing items that are something other than name-brand equivalents. This



• Leading discount retailers have grown their respective own-brand assortments in recent years by developing items that are something other than namebrand equivalents.

• Challenges facing discounters include keeping store shelves stocked with items priced at or near $1, and competition from the likes of Walmart and ALDI.

• Grocery is a potential growth area for private label assortments at discount stores.

continued effort is not only providing highvalue items to consumers, but also offering points of differentiation for each retailer.

For example, when Dollar General launched its proprietary Clover Valley line nearly 30 years ago, it did so intending to carry products that would be equivalent to name-brand items currently available. But as has been seen with many retailers in recent years, the mindset of the dollar store’s merchandise team evolved.

SB2 Store Brands ● June 2024 ●
General recently expanded its Clover Valley assortment to include various grocery items

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“Our customers started telling us they wanted variety and innovation, not only me-too products,” says Jackie Li, SVP of private brands and global sourcing at Goodlettsville, Tenn.-based Dollar General. “We then started developing products that were equal to or better than the national brands.”

Value Proposition

New product development has also been key to private label growth at Dollar Tree-owned Family Dollar. At the end of 2023, Rick Dreiling, chairman and CEO of Chesapeake, Va.-based Dollar Tree, reported that private label penetration rates at Family Dollar had reached 14%, and that the retailer was on target to hit its penetration rate goal of 20% by 2026. This was despite the fact that Family Dollar was in the midst of shrinking its store count by 600 by the midway point of 2024.

“We believe that as the customer is looking for greater value, they have more options within our private brands,” said Dollar Tree CFO Jeff Davis during the company’s fourth-quarter conference call. “It’s an opportunity for us to improve our margins. And, to the extent that there is sort of price deflation, there’s an opportunity to provide even more value as we think about how we sort that particular product line.”

The shedding of stores by Family Dollar, along with the closure of 99 Cents Only, which in April revealed that it was going out of business and closing its 371 stores across four states, has done little to temper the overall positive outlook that retail analysts have regarding the distribution channel.

“We do not view the planned closure of 99 Cents Only and a tranche of stores by Family Dollar as reflective of the overall state of the dollar and discount store sector,” notes Sujeet Naik, an analyst with New York-based Coresight Research. “We remain bullish on

the market-share prospects for high-quality and/or well-positioned discount formats over the longer term.”

He observes that the start of the 2020s was characterized by high inflation and macroeconomic uncertainty, which prompted a shift in consumer shopping habits and made consumers more valueoriented. As a result, Naik expects the movement toward greater frugality to be a structural trend that will outlast short-term economic disruptions and boost discount sales through the rest of this decade.

Challenges for Discounters

While an economy that has a larger number of price-sensitive consumers would seem to favor dollar stores and the value proposition they offer, there are challenges facing these retailers. One such challenge is keeping store shelves stocked with items that are priced at or near the magic $1 threshold. Not meeting or coming close to this key price point could make these retailers less attractive to shoppers looking for products at this price level.

Competition from the likes of Walmart and ALDI is another hurdle facing dollar store retailers. Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart’s private label assortment is growing with the launch of its bettergoods assortment, which offers 300 items across a host of categories, with most priced at less than $5. ALDI will also be a bigger presence going forward as the Batavia, Ill.-based discount grocer moves forward with plans to open 800 stores in the United States by 2028.

“Walmart and ALDI have gotten much better at offering lower prices on a variety of goods,” says Naik. “This makes dollar stores have to work harder to stand out.”

Time to Grow

Dollar General’s Li notes that ever-changing economic conditions

One of the many ways Dollar General differentiates itself is our focus on value. We want to make our customers happy by meeting and exceeding expectations. We made significant enhancements to our private brands in 2023, and we know how important these value offerings are for our customers.
—Jackie Li, Dollar General
SB6 Store Brands ● June 2024 ●

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We believe that as the customer is looking for greater value, they have more options within our private brands. And, to the extent that there is sort of price deflation, there’s an opportunity to provide even more value as we think about how we sort that particular product line.
—Je Davis, Dollar Tree

have created growth opportunities for the value retailer and store brands overall. As a result, the continued development of private label assortments could be the key to dollar stores’ efforts to separate themselves from other retailers while also offering shoppers highvalue products.

“One of the many ways Dollar General differentiates itself is our focus on value,” he asserts. “We want to make our customers happy by meeting and exceeding expectations. We made significant enhancements to our private brands in 2023, and we know how important these value offerings are for our customers. We believe these products will further differentiate Dollar General in the marketplace as we look to provide quality products that are customer-centric, on-trend, national-brand or better, and stretch our shoppers’ dollars even further.”

The ongoing effort to expand its private label assortment in recent years is highlighted by the launch of the reformulated and rebranded Nature’s Menu assortment of dog and cat food in 2022.

Responding to consumers seeking affordable, high-quality pet food, the line was revamped to include dry-food options made with natural ingredients such as real beef, lamb and cage-free chicken. The wet-food assortment was updated with added vitamins and minerals, and made with real meat, poultry or fish.

Also in 2022, the retailer debuted its OhGood! private label nutritional supplement line. The assortment of gummy vitamins is non-GMO and gluten-free, with select vegetarian or vegan options. Items in the line have retail prices between $5 and $7.

A year later, Dollar General launched the aforementioned Clover Valley private label assortment of more than 100 new items, including sauces, condiments, entrées, sides and snacks.

With continued expansion of private label assortments a focus for dollar stores, industry experts contend that there’s more these retailers can do to expand their respective customer bases. Grocery is one area of potential growth.

“Food and grocery essentials generally carry lower margins but are fast-moving goods and have higher sales densities than general merchandise products,” says Coresight’s Naik. “The increase in shopping frequency will provide the opportunity to drive incremental sales across all categories, including higher-margin discretionary products.”

SB8 Store Brands ● June 2024 ●
Dollar stores have upgraded their private label assortments to give shoppers unique products at a value.

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One in five consumers who purchase frozen food items usually buy a store-brand product, and that figure is growing, according to “The Power of Frozen 2023” report from the American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI) and FMI – The Food Industry Association.

The big factor turning the eyes of consumers toward private label products, unsurprisingly, is price. While private label and nationalbrand frozen products each saw unit share erosion in 2023 — down 3% for private label and down 5.4% for national brands — both segments saw dollar sales grow 7.7% during the prior year.

Also notable is the rather weak brand loyalty that consumers have within frozen food despite the category’s having some long-standing national brands. The AFFI report found that 20% of consumers usually purchase private label frozen food products, while 16% said that they prefer national brands. Nearly four in 10 said that brand preference varies by item, and 26% had no brand preference.

While the overall lack of consumer brand loyalty would seem to allow retailers to expand their frozen selections of private label products, the continued desire of consumers to seek out products that fit their needs is beneficial to overall sales of frozen products.

“I think this is a case where private brands and national brands can win together,” says Mary Emma Young, VP of communications at Arlington, Va.-based AFFI. “Consumers are looking to experiment and will be in the frozen food aisles experimenting and willing to try new products.”

While brand loyalty is limited across the board in frozen food, the product category continues to see an evolution in how consumers view what has long been a core category in the grocery world. Young notes that some shoppers are eating frozen food products daily, while others are engaging with the category a couple of times a week.

The alpha users of frozen foods are providing a blueprint for



• While brand loyalty is limited across the board in frozen food, the product category continues to see an evolution in how consumers view it.

• Private label is growing across a host of frozen food segments.

• Store brands are able not only to o er products with enhanced flavor profiles, but also to provide shoppers with novel product assortments.

growth, according to Young, as shoppers in this group are turning to frozen food as solutions for planned occasions, while others are recognizing the choices they now have to support daily meal needs.

“I think many folks looked at frozen food as offering the benefit of an easy meal solution,” she observes. “But it’s also these core consumers who are recognizing and planning meals around frozen, frozen ingredients and frozen meals, which I think is an interesting buying habit that we’re seeing.”

Bill Bradshaw, VP of sales at Arlington Heights, Ill.-based Federated Foods, is seeing private label growth in frozen foods across a host of product segments. Frozen meat, poultry, seafood, frozen breakfast selections, and dinners/entrées are all showing strong performance, with each outpacing national brands.

Additionally, he notes that private label products in frozen plain vegetables, potatoes, onions and frozen bread dough are each performing well.

“Consumers continue to look for ways to stretch their household budgets due to higher food prices,” he says. “One way this can be accomplished is with meals prepared at home. The strong performances of the categories mentioned above are evidence that con-

SB10 Store Brands ● June 2024 ●

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Seneca’s high quality produce is sourced from over 1,400 American farms—family farmers we have done business with for many years, and in some cases generations. Our motto of Farm Fresh Goodness Made Great echoes throughout our fundamental beliefs, which have been key to our success since 1949.

This year, Seneca Foods is celebrating 75 years in business. We have spent these years working hard to become one of the most highly integrated fruit and vegetable processing companies in the US. We manage many—and in some cases all—aspects of production, to provide families with a wide range of nutritious fruit and vegetable products that are safe, satisfying and sustainable.

We do it together, the same way we have for over seven decades. Because our roots run deep.

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sumers are turning to private label options to prepare satisfying homecooked meals while saving money.”

Convenience Meets Value

According to Chelsey Capps, director of thought leadership at Stamford, Conn.-based Daymon, continued innovation within the frozen food segment is having a significant impact on how consumers view a category that has long been best known for its assortment of vegetables, pizza and French fries.

More recently, some retailers have used the increased focus on frozen food to add premium product assortments. Notably, Grand Rapids, Mich.-based SpartanNash recently launched its Finest Reserve private label offering, which includes, among other products, a line of upscale frozen pizza made in Italy.

Additionally, Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons Cos. earlier this year launched its Signature SELECT Mix & Match assortment. Shoppers can choose from a selection of frozen entrées, sides and veggies and cook them together in a standard oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about 35 minutes. Product prices range from $7.99 (veggies) to $12.99 (entrees).

With this type of innovation, there has also been an evolution in the conversation about price. While consumers remain cognizant about the price of items and some are turning to private label products to save money, more shoppers today are factoring in the overall value of each product into their purchase decisions.

“There is a mindset among consumers on the product’s overall value, simply because they last longer in the freezer than similar products that can spoil in your refrigerator or on the counter,” says Capps. “We’re seeing more consumers turn to frozen products as a solution to save money.”

There’s also a growing confluence of the convenience frozen food offers with the high perceived value that products in the category offer. Capps notes that retailers need to maintain a product assortment that provides solutions for those in one-person households to larger families that need larger pack sizes.

Expanding assortments of frozen food are offering families new meal solutions.

“I think across the board, we’re seeing a variety of things happening by way of pack size simply because of inflation,” observes Capps. “It’s really important for retailers to create custom strategies for their private-brand programs. For some, it would behoove them to go after some of these larger pack sizes. This could prevent a larger family going from one store to another store, simply because one store doesn’t have larger-sized items that offer a greater value.”

A component of the value proposition is reducing food waste, a topic of conversation that has gained momentum because of higher prices and the positive impact that reducing food waste has on the issue of sustainability. AFFI’s Young notes that more consumers today have linked the two issues together and have realized the amount of money that can be saved when purchasing frozen products.

“It allows consumers to stretch their dollar further,” she says. “They are spending less money on food that might otherwise get thrown out.”

“Reducing food waste is top of mind with today’s consumers,” added Federated Foods’ Bradshaw. “Frozen foods help curtail food waste by offering extended shelf life versus perishable alternatives. Another advantage with frozen foods is that they allow you to use only the amount needed per meal occasion.”

Unique Opportunity

:As retailers look to boost sales of frozen food, Capps believes that private label provides a unique opportunity not only to enhance the flavor profile of assortments, but also to give shoppers unique product assortments such as the aforementioned products now offered by SpartanNash and Albertsons through their respective store brands.

“Upwards of 98% of national-brand assortments overlap across retailers,” she says. “Private brands are arguably the strongest strategic lever that retailers can put to drive competitive differentiation and shopper loyalty, and better meet complex consumer needs.”

She points to a recent Daymon survey, in which 92% of consumer respondents said that they trust private-brand products as much as or more than national brands, as an indicator of the opportunity that retailers have to expand their store-brand assortments.

According to Capps, retailers “have permission to innovate beyond their wildest dreams and come up with products that are unique and offer stand-alone opportunities that drive exclusive loyalty.”

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ALDI offers shoppers a broad selection of frozen food products.

The “phenomenon” continues. Store brands’ powerful growth in mainstream retail last year, which produced record sales of $236B and broad expansion in other channels, such as convenience and club stores, specialty chains, dollar stores, and online, is showing no signs of slowing down.

PLMA’s 2024 Private Label Trade Show will empower retailers and attendees with one-stop sourcing of tens of thousands of food and non-food CPGs from more than 1,700 U.S. and international suppliers. Come and experience the best and latest functional beverages, on-the-go and healthful snacks, premium sauces, salsa and spreads, ready-to-eat, wine and spirits, specialty coffee and tea collections. Also see authentic spices, seasonings, fresh, frozen, eco-conscious and specialty foods, restaurant quality meals and more. For information visit or email



by the Private Label Manufacturers Association



In the retail world, sustainability as a topic of discussion and a way of doing business continues to evolve as retailers of all sizes work to tackle an issue that daily seems to grow in complexity.

While topics such as product packaging often lead the discussion about sustainability, especially among consumers, those inside the business know that the effort is far more than having a box, bottle, or other type of container be recyclable or compostable. What’s clear is that sustainability is now part of every conversation that retailers have about everything, from the first steps of product development to placing items on the shelf.

“I’ve worked with many retailers at this point, and each is on their own step of the maturity journey when it comes to sustainability,” says Christina Lampert, director of growth and innovation at HowGood, a sustainable food-rating company based in Brooklyn, N.Y. “We’re seeing an evolution from talking only about sustainable packaging to putting more of an emphasis on broader retail sustainability goals.”


• Sustainability is now part of every conversation that retailers have about product development.

• Private label assortments enable retailers to assess product assortments, analyze where the sustainability impact is coming from and innovate to have a positive impact on the environment.

• While managing costs is vital, sustainable products can also help grow sales.

Smart Agriculture

Whole Foods Market, for example, is continuing to double down on the core of its sustainability program, according to Caitlin Leibert, the Austin, Texas-based grocer’s VP of sustainability. She notes that the company is focused on several initiatives, among them making its stores more energy efficient, donating millions

SB14 Store Brands ● June 2024 ●

of pounds of food to those in need to reduce food waste, and expanding its support of smart agriculture.

The focus on smart agriculture is a newer development for retailers such as Whole Foods and this issue, observes Leibert, is putting more focus on such things as organic, biodynamic, regenerative, and the way that products are grown and food is sourced.

“We’re an active participant in the food system and it’s our responsibility to understand how the food that is on our shelves is raised and grown,” she says. “Having invested heavily in organic in the early years, I think we’re at a point now where we recognize the challenges that impact climate and nature and how agriculture plays such an important role.”

Leibert notes that recent studies show that between 20% and 30% of greenhouse-gas emissions come from agriculture, which is directly affected by changes to the climate.

“As climate advances and we have more catastrophic weather events, that is impacting the food system as a whole,” she adds. “It’s sort of a circle, as both of those things are impacting each other.”

We’re an active participant in the food system, and it’s our responsibility to understand how the food that is on our shelves is raised and grown. Having invested heavily in organic in the early years, I think we’re at a point now where we recognize the challenges that impact climate and nature and how agriculture plays such an important role.

The evolution as it pertains to sustainability at Whole Foods is an example of how a retailer can take control of this issue over time and branch out into new segments related to the topic. HowGood’s Lampert notes that private label assortments enable retailers to assess product assortments, analyze where a majority of the sustainability impact is coming from and innovate in such a way as to have a positive impact on the environment. ● June 2024 ● Store Brands S15


“Private label gives a retailer more control over carefully selecting raw materials and working with product suppliers to understand exactly how and where products are being sourced,” she explains. “This allows them to move so much faster than the national brands.”

The Packaging Piece

Part of the discussion related to sourcing and raw materials includes packaging, and there remain several challenges to improving the containers that hold various products now on retail shelves. Dawn Nowicki, VP of marketing with Lake Forest, Ill.based packaging supplier MRP Solutions, says that the conversation about product packaging is also evolving.

“One of the bigger transitions I’m seeing is telling the whole story around sustainability rather than just focusing on the life cycle of a product,” she notes. “This includes more companies highlighting their efforts related to greenhouse gases and the steps taken to decarbonize.”

One of the big challenges that continues to face product packaging is proper disposal by consumers. While many products are said to be recyclable, only a small percentage of used packaging is recycled.

“Right now, the U.S. is very fragmented,” admits Nowicki. “Europe is ahead of us pretty dramatically, and Canada has also put in some government mandates that are helping drive recycling.”

When working through the many challenges relating to sustainability, keeping an eye on the needs of consumers is a growing factor in the conversation. Younger consumers — Gen Z and Millennials — show a much stronger interest in shopping sustainably than their Generation X and Baby Boomer counterparts.

While a growing number of consumers say that they’re willing to pay more for products that are eco-friendly, how much more money they’re willing to fork over remains a constant question without a clear answer.

Robert Beagan, director of sustainable growth platforms with Sayreville, N.J.based packaging supplier Sabert, says that retailers have to determine what their customers are willing to pay for a product that has the right level of sustainability.

“You can’t not recognize the preferences of consumers,” asserts Beagan. “You’re starting to see more consumers align their purchases with their own sustainability goals. Even though many consumers are willing to pay for more sustainable products, in uncertain economic times that doesn’t always hold true.”

Communication is Key

Leibert says that Whole Foods’ shoppers are more aware and informed about their purchasing decisions, which makes communication about its sustainability efforts to consumers vital.

“We want our customers to feel confident that simply by shopping at Whole Foods, they’re helping support the things that we believe in,” she notes. “Knowing our customers are better informed, we’re doing what we can as a retailer to reduce greenwashing. It’s not good enough to say a product ‘is the best in the world.’ We have to give them more information about the product.”

While managing costs is vital, sustainable products can also help grow sales. Lampert points to research from the NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business showing that products marketed as sustainable grow on average twice as fast as conventional products.

“We know that products that are marketed as sustainable have a higher price premium as well,” she says. “Given the competitive price advantage store-brand products have, this is something [retailers] could capitalize on.”

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As Whole Foods Market further enhances its sustainability efforts, it’s focused on topics such as smart agriculture.

Rising to the Top

Honorees of the esteemed annual awards program continue to make strides in grocery.

As women ascend to prominent positions across various sectors of business, the aspirations of female members of the food industry have grown ever greater, shattering glass ceilings everywhere as they make their presence known and bring their unique skills and sensibilities to a range of fields within the world of food and beverage.

The judges tasked with evaluating the 2024 crop of nominations for Progressive Grocer’s popular Top Women in Grocery awards program — which this year received an astonishing 1,150-plus submissions — certainly saw evidence of this expertise, along with the willingness to go the extra mile and share their knowledge and abilities beyond their immediate scope that is the hallmark of honorees. This nearly impossible annual assignment was enlivened by the myriad amazing stories of grit, perseverance, ingenuity and sheer love of the industry that had us all cheering at the deep bench of talent that will sustain grocery as it moves confidently into the future. At this point, we can honestly say that women are no longer untapped resources in this industry — they’re actually the not-sosecret ingredients in its grand recipe for success.

The 425 profiles that follow illustrate the many different paths that the 2024 class of Top Women took to achieve their current levels of achievement as Senior-Level Executives, Rising Stars or Store Managers in the realms of retail, CPGs, marketing, tech and more, but two things are true of all of the honorees: their absolute dedication to this business that we all revere, and their determination to make it even better. Read on to find out more about Progressive Grocer’s Top Women in Grocery, and celebrate along with us the accomplishments that are transforming their companies, colleagues and communities in so many positive ways.

Top Women at Grocery Impact

As part of Progressive Grocer’s Grocery Impact Event, scheduled for Nov. 6-8, 2024, at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Resort, in Orlando, Fla., this year’s Top Women in Grocery can attend educational sessions and receive their honors at a gala dinner. Awards will also go to PG’s Trailblazers in the Retail and CPG categories, Meijer’s Lynette Ackley and Procter & Gamble’s Mindy Sherwood, respectively, and this year’s Hall of Fame inductee, Kallie Millar, of CROSSMARK, which was recently acquired by Acosta Group.

COVER FEATURE 2024 Top Women in Grocery



The Meijer executive reflects on lessons learned from her years in the grocery business, which turned out to be the “perfect fit” for her. By Gina Acosta

Lynette Ackley was named the group VP of health and beauty, household essentials, and hardlines at Meijer, in Grand Rapids, Mich., in 2023. She’s worked for Meijer since 2011 in various roles, including as the director of beauty and cosmetics within the drug store division in 2011; VP of the health, beauty and baby division in 2015; and VP of the fresh foods division in 2020. Ackley is responsible for leading a team of more than 160 team members and the merchandising, marketing, digital strategies and store experience for her divisions, as well as full P&L responsibility to deliver profitable sales growth across the retailer’s 265-plus store locations and formats. Ackley is a leader who empowers her people to lead, invests in their development and is always available to coach and listen.

Progressive Grocer: Can you elaborate on the time when you realized you were going to make a career in the world of food retailing?

Lynette Ackley: My MBA degree and summer retail internship at Target Corp. allowed me to pursue my passion in consumer marketing and apply that in a retail environment. I loved the idea that the retailer owns the end touchpoint with the consumer; you can create the best widget out there, but it’s the retailer most typically that brings that product to life for the consumer.

And, as a self-proclaimed foodie, I love to cook, read cookbooks and watch cooking shows, so a career in food retailing was the perfect fit and has given me the opportunity to learn about countless industries along the way, from bananas to baby formula to cookware gadgets.

PG: Talk about some of your early influences, who they were and what lessons you learned from them. Were there women role models that you looked up to early on?

LA: My mom was my earliest influence and an inspiration of someone who, through education and drive, had a successful career as a microbiologist while also raising four children. Both my mom and dad, who was a high school literature teacher, completed graduate degrees on their career paths, which instilled a strong foundation of learning, education and curiosity. She would bring us to the hospital on the weekends at times to

see her in action as a microbiologist, but also never missed a game or recital, which modeled for me that it’s possible and normal to balance work and family.

Later, in my first full-time role out of undergrad, my boss had the most impactful and foundational impact on my career path. She was a driven, outspoken, energetic and decisive female manager in a very male-dominated industry, and from the beginning, she saw something in me that I didn’t even see. She pushed me to believe in myself, and at one point, she said I was ready for a managerial role and pushed me through limits I had unknowingly set. She offered me a seat at the table and was a remarkable ally and mentor before those terms were commonplace.

PG: What have been your biggest hurdles being a woman in retail, and how did you overcome them?

LA: In my career, I’ve been very fortunate, especially in roles within industries that were traditionally very male-dominated, to have mentors, both females and males, to help pave the way. Early on, support came in the form of teaching, encouraging, sharing their hands-on industry knowledge in times when I had no experience in that industry, and creating connections for me. Then it was up to me to be relentlessly curious, ask questions, and have a voice and courage to share my ideas.

Later in my career, and as I started a family, work/ life balance became the next hurdle to frankly manage my own expectations for myself. Mentors again here encouraged me; shared lessons they learned, including regrets; and gave me the permission I wasn’t even giving myself to prioritize my family and choose the 4 p.m. soccer game versus another staff meeting.

PG: You are the group VP over health and beauty, household essentials, and hardlines at Meijer. What exactly does that mean? What’s your day-to-day like?

LA: I have a wide span of care of 160-plus team members, ranging from entry-level hourly associates to VPs, who function as a cohesive, collaborative team to manage the product assortment, promotion and in-store experience across 265-plus Meijer retail stores in six states in the Midwest. My role includes long-term strategy, store design and layouts, marketing visions, and ultimately full P&L responsibility across my three divisions of the store.

A typical day for me consists of team meetings, individual one-to-ones, vendor discussions and internal cross-functional meetings to drive the business forward. Throughout the year, I travel regularly as well to industry trade shows to meet suppliers, learn about the industry outlook and see new product innovation, as well as vendor innovation center visits for strategic

2024 Top Women in Grocery

joint business-planning discussions, and occasionally overseas to our global sourcing offices. What I love about traveling, too, is being able to visit many local retailers and see what new ways they are finding to meet customer needs, as there is no better way to understand the customer than to be out in stores.

PG: How would you describe your leadership style, and how it was developed?

LA: I would say my leadership style is authentic, collaborative, empathetic and empowering. Throughout my career, I’ve had several impactful career- and life-changing mentors, and with each one, my goal is to emulate and incorporate the most memorable leadership skills in my own authentic way. From the confidence and courage in my first mentor, to the use of humor to build trust and diffuse tense situations, to strategic thinking and a relentless focus on solutions versus problems, all these teaching and learning moments have shaped me into the leader I am today with my teams.

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 Meijer?

LA: Consistently and relentlessly staying focused on what our customer needs — whether that be value, convenience, a solution — is how we stay focused on our end goal. Putting our customer first at each decision point along the way ensures we are always thinking about their needs and wants in how we decide our assortment, our promotional and

pricing strategies, and the experience we offer both in-store and online.

PG: What have the highlights been during your tenure at Meijer? What’s your proudest professional moment?

LA: I am here today because of the help of others. My proudest moments, big and small, have been interactions with the people I’ve had the pleasure to meet, mentor, learn from and be inspired by in my 13-plus years at Meijer. What makes me most proud is paying that forward and celebrating the personal and professional achievements of the people I’ve mentored. When I look around our merchant leadership group, there are more women than ever finding ways to be successful in this dynamic industry while also balancing their own health-and-wellness needs. A legacy of advocacy, risk-taking and encouragement is one I hope to instill in our teams.

PG: If you had a teenage daughter going to work as an hourly associate in a Meijer store today, what is one piece of advice you would give her as she headed out the door to begin her first day?

LA: Believe in yourself and learn something new would be my advice. Confidence comes from knowledge, so ask questions, be curious as you take on a new role or new challenge as this one small step in a very long career path, and you take from it what you give along the way.

“When I look around our merchant leadership group, there are more women than ever finding ways to be successful in this dynamic industry while also balancing their own health-andwellness needs.”
—Lynette Ackley, Group VP of Health and Beauty, Household Essentials, and Hardlines, Meijer

PG: What do you believe is the biggest opportunity for the generation of women behind you?

LA: This is an amazing time for women in the workforce to thrive not only as professional leaders, but also balance personal wellness. Flexibility, work/life balance, positive mental health are everyday topics today that all genders can embrace.

But we all still need allies and mentors to guide us and push us to take risks, people who can offer you a seat at the table, and the mindset that we don’t have to be a superhero on our own. We all need a friend and an ally to walk with us on our journey. Early in my career, I remember an inspiring female CEO at an event said, “It’s easier to climb ladders when you have mentors to pull you up.” Mentors at each pivotal step in my career have pulled me to the next ladder, and our responsibility as women in the workplace is to continue that support for the next generation.



P&G’s president, global Walmart and chief sales officer discusses giving her all at work, and how she makes time for what’s important in life. By

Mindy Sherwood is president, global Walmart and chief sales officer at Procter & Gamble (P&G). Sherwood oversees the operations of more than $12 billion in sales at Walmart, P&G’s largest customer, along with development of the strategic framework for P&G sales across all categories and regions to ensure superior plans today and in the future. Since joining P&G, Sherwood has held numerous roles spanning categories, geographies and customers. She led transformations in the P&G business in regions such as the Nordics and Central Europe, and with two of P&G’s largest retail partners, Walmart and Kroger. P&G’s Walmart business has been an engine of growth under Sherwood’s leadership, setting multiple sales and share records. Her expert understanding of the dynamic changes and digital disruptions in retail, as well as key customer experiences, earned her a promotion to chief sales officer.

Sherwood’s leadership philosophy is about encouraging team members to be their best in the arena every day.

Progressive Grocer: Mindy, can you talk about the journey that brought you here? How did you decide to dive into the consumer goods industry?

Mindy Sherwood: I decided I wanted to pursue sales after successfully selling books door to door one summer to help pay for college. My brother, Garde, worked for P&G, and this provided me exposure to the type of work the company did. I was impressed with P&G’s portfolio of iconic brands and wanted to work on them. I was able to get a summer internship that led into a full-time job.

PG: What do you remember about those first few days, the work and interacting with customers?

MS: Those early experiences taught me about the power of creating memorable selling experiences, building trust and creating joint value. The first few roles were critical because I had large territories, calling on more than 10 retailers and store managers every day. I learned the value of establishing strong relationships with them by 1) being reliable with operating discipline and doing what I said I was going to do, 2) coming up with creative ways to grow their business, and 3) understanding how critical it was to have the leading brands that would help them grow their categories. I also learned that “no” gets you one step

closer to “yes” when you seek to understand what needs to be true to move forward.

PG: Consumer packaged goods was a male-dominated industry when your career began. Were there female role models that you looked up to early on?

MS: My biggest mentor in my early years was Lee Ann Terhune, a P&G sales leader in the same territory I was selling in Lansing, Mich. She taught me the importance of operating discipline to get the job done while making sure I had the right level of balance in my life and did not get all consumed with the job. Through the years, I watched her role model being a terrific mom and a great leader, along with several other women in our company. I also worked for some incredible men, like Paul Beck, who reinforced that family comes first, second and last, and Jim Lafferty, who shared the importance of defining clear roles in life, including what it takes to be the dream version of each one. Today, I have the honor of reporting to Shailesh Jejurikar, who is an absolute master of developing strategy and prioritizing work on the biggest breakthroughs first!

PG: What have been your biggest hurdles being a woman in CPG/grocery, and how did you overcome them?

MS: Any predominantly male industry can present challenges. One hurdle I’ve witnessed is the existence of societal assumptions, or “myths,” that have justified a lack of progress in workplace equality.

For example, the “leadership myth” suggests that women lack confidence, have less ambition or fear failure as compared to men. Women in the workplace are just as confident and ambitious, but their leadership style may differ. Society tends to negatively label anything different from the most common leadership prototype. I believe workplaces require diverse leadership styles to foster collaboration, inclusivity and agility. It’s important to celebrate the unique differences women bring to the table.

Another myth is the “pipeline myth,” which claims that there aren’t enough qualified women for top positions. The pipeline is full of qualified women who aspire to take on big roles. Women hold more degrees than men in 100 countries, and they account for a significant percentage of MBAs and law degrees in the U.S. We need to expand the pool where we look for top talent and seek to bring the best talent onto our teams.

I’ve also seen the “caregiver myth,” where people make assumptions about a woman’s interest in a promotion or her willingness to move when she has domestic responsibilities. It’s so important to ask people what they want, and not make assumptions rooted in gender bias based on the makeup of their family. 2024 CPG TRAILBLAZER

COVER FEATURE 2024 Top Women in Grocery

PG: Mindy, this year will mark your 35th at Procter & Gamble. What’s the most rewarding part of working there?

MS: My years at P&G have been amazing. I’ve had 14 diverse incredible roles; my family and I have moved 11 times, twice internationally. I’m a working mom with two kids, and my husband has a thriving career. I’ve taken broadening assignments that taught me the importance of keeping your learning curve steep. My most crucial role was leading market strategy and planning for several markets in Central Europe. I had never been out of the U.S., yet found myself managing five languages, five cultures and five currencies. I’ve had the opportunity to grow and make a tremendous impact in every role.

PG: What is the driving force behind P&G’s commitment to equality and inclusion?

MS: For many years, P&G has taken pride in leveraging the diversity of our company — from our board to our management team and employees around the world — to drive our marketplace success. We are proud of our progress and recognize there is still more we can do. We know that equality and inclusion — including gender equality — is good for business. It widens our market reach and drives market growth. This is enabled by our efforts to attract, develop and retain the best employees from the widest pool of talent available to serve billions of consumers around the world, who are increasingly more diverse. Over the past few years, with the broad diversity of our company, P&G has delivered some of the strongest results in more than a decade.

PG: What do you think is the role of a leader? How would you describe your leadership style, and how was it developed?

MS: I’m so inspired by Theodore Roosevelt’s “In the Arena” speech. The essence of his message is to find the worthy, breakthrough cause and head onto the arena floor with your team to make it happen. Delivering breakthrough isn’t easy, and you will likely experience several failures before you find the way forward. I’ve learned that if you are willing to stay in the arena and continue to believe there is a way, you eventually find it and pull out the victory!

I’m also incredibly passionate about holistic well-being. I have an early-morning self-care routine that I’ve honed over the years — I pray, meditate, journal and get a killer workout in before my family is awake. I also unplug regularly by heading into the woods to recover and recharge. I find that time in nature almost always helps me sort through big, messy challenges. And I’m an absolute stickler when it comes to getting sleep — early to bed, early to rise for me.

PG: If you had a daughter starting a job at P&G today, what advice would you give her as she headed out the door to begin her first day?

MS: We have two kids, a son and a daughter, who are starting their first and second years of college, so a day like this is coming soon! If either was starting a job at P&G today, I would offer the following advice:

Be a great team player and define early in your career what you want people to say about you. For me, that’s being impeccable with my word. If I tell you I’m going to do something, you can count on it. I always give 100%. You are either in the arena or not — if you don’t believe it’s important enough to give it your all, don’t do it.

“I’ve learned that if you are willing to stay in the arena and continue to believe there is a way, you eventually find it and pull out the victory!”
—Mindy Sherwood, President, Global Walmart and Chief Sales Officer, Procter & Gamble

Listen to and appreciate ideas that are different than yours and go for breakthrough. You can be a difference-maker in any job, in any function, at any level. Breakthrough is found when many different perspectives are brought together. Find the one thing that will catapult the business to the next level, and make it happen. Don’t let the limitations of a job description hold you back from finding and delivering game-changing impact.

If it scares you, go for it. When an opportunity comes with a steep learning curve, say yes! You’ll grow professionally and personally. You need to learn, grow and develop all the time. Stay curious and embrace a learning mindset throughout your career and lifetime.


2024 Top Women in Grocery

Senior-Level Executives

Driving impactful results in the retail landscape, Lieder increased Acosta’s profitability by 23 points with one client and 18 points with another in the space of one year and drove increased client engagement scores across all clients, including one double-digit increase of 19%.

She broke down the c-store barrier with one of her clients, secured $120,000 in revenue and convinced the client to pre-pay 50%.

Lieder broke down the omnichannel barrier with another client and secured $60,000 in revenue for content management and syndication; additionally, she secured a brand-new $50,000 bonus program with a third client.

Garcia restructured and rebuilt six business units — this meant changing entire leadership teams and promoting internal talent; she also secured six rate increases to drive margin growth and invest in talent in the form of wages and recognition vehicles.

In Canada, Garcia won a significant category expansion into the fresh food area and built an external social campaign in partnership with the client marketing team.

In addition to being an active member of the Advantage employee resource group PRISM, Garcia is an active mentor for HOLA, which coaches Latinx female future leaders to realize their potential and advance their careers.

Huynh revamped a transportation optimization project, taking it from a multimillion-dollar deficit to a multimillion-dollar surplus in her first quarter, and optimized the financial close process for the organization, reducing the time on task by 60%.

Not only did she push for detailed and accurate reporting of risks and mitigation that led to more than $100 million of annual expense savings, prioritizing the development of her associates also led to her team’s Annual Engagement Survey score climbing 300 basis points after only 10 months under her leadership.

Huynh is a founding member of her Buddhist temple, a foster cat mom, and a diversity, equity and inclusion advocate.

Adding inbound logistics to her role, Krebs delivered improvement of more than 2,400 basis points in on-time delivery performance across a network that receives more than 1 billion purchase orders annually.

Partnering with the procurement team, she designed a new operating model across 500plus associate roles, realigned all teams to be category-centric, reset role accountability under new integrated performance measures and achieved more than 2,500 basis points in service-level improvement to Ahold Delhaize USA’s brands.

Krebs led an end-to-end initiative to implement advanced ship notifications for the entire network.

Hammersmith restructured the corporate communications team to include marketing communications; she also proactively developed a strategy for a wholesale corporate brand refresh.

Her efforts led to the creation of a new brand architecture, a unified go-to-market narrative, a cohesive trade show strategy and amplified thought leadership — resulting in lead generation sourced through multiple channels.

Hammersmith is a member of Ella, an inclusive network unlocking women’s access to human, social and financial capital.

Fernald helped the fresh categories gain 2.5% in sales by spearheading merchandising and assortment shifts to ensure that the fresh assortment stayed relevant.

One of her biggest achievements was almost doubling the number of cut-fruit islands in stores, leading to a sales increase of nearly 30%; another was introducing more products that support customers’ health, such as reformulating the ingredients in some private-brand items to improve nutrient density.

Fernald worked with supplier partners on new approaches to reducing plastic packaging material in the meat department, such as replacing Styrofoam trays with a compostable solution.


our Top Women in Grocery Albertsons Companies

Our people are our greatest asset. We recognize and thank this year's recipients for their leadership and commitment to our customers.

Barbara Lufkin Store Director SHAW'S Jessica McGrew Store Director JE W EL-OSCO Tiffany Sterling Store Director SO U THERN Christine Nunez Store Director JE W EL-OSCO Loly Ramirez Store Director SEATTLE Cassidy Cofran Store Director SHAW'S Julia Taylor Store Director INTERMO U NTAIN Janet Taylor Store Director JE W EL-OSCO Marlyn Loughmiller Store Director JE W EL-OSCO Bonnie Stalenski Store Director INTERMO U NTAIN Judy Varela Store Director U NITED S U PERMARKETS Veronica Rosales Store Director SOCAL Dominique Dudley Store Director MID-ATLANTIC Maria Tornabeni Store Director JE W EL-OSCO Chantel Knudson Store Director SOCAL Kay Lay Store Director U NITED S U PERMARKETS Amanda Francis Store Director SEATTLE Jennifer Czech Store Director SO U THERN Tammy Stock Store Director JE W EL-OSCO
Alura Stewart Assistant Deli Sales Manager JEWEL-OS C O Alexa Langona Senior Director Category Management and Innovation-Own Brands Meat and Seafood C ORPORATE Alyssia Stryker Assistant Sales Manager Meat SO U T H ER N Amanda Boaldin Director Retail Operations JEWEL-OS C O Ashley Boyd Regional Learning Representative SO C AL Angie Marshall Sales Manager Deli/ Food Service MID-ATLA N TI C Ashley Charfauros Meat Operations Specialist SO C AL Debbie Lohmeyer Director Product Development, Packaging and Nutrition C ORPORATE Kelly Webb Senior DirectorNational Claims C ORPORATE Ashley Canonica Sr. Director Marketing SO U T H ER N Ellen Sanderson Director Demand Planning S U PPLY CH AI N Elizabeth (Liz) Ing Bakery Department Specialist SO U T H ER N Donna Devereux Director, E-Commerce JEWEL-OS C O Kristyn Foust District Pharmacy Manager JEWEL-OS C O Brenda Valley Director FP&A Digital and E-Commerce C ORPORATE Evelyn Villarta IT Manager C ORPORATE Deepthi Parthasarathy Director of Product Management C ORPORATE Kim Kilcoyne Floral Sales Manager JEWEL-OS C O Bianka Ramirez-Ahuja Senior Director of Loyalty Membership Programs C ORPORATE Erica Dawsen Grocery Operations Specialist SO C AL Donna Thomas Senior Director Associate Engagement C ORPORATE Lily Beltran Morris Floral Sales Manager SO C AL Bryn Banuelos Senior Director Partnerships C ORPORATE Kelly Flores Warehouse Operations Manager S U PPLY CH AI N Caitlin Malone Director Pharmacy Procurement C ORPORATE Gena Nalley Floral Operations Specialist SO U T H ER N Maria Brushenko District Manager D8 JEWEL-OS C O Liz Moir Director, Patient Care Services C ORPORATE Chelse Michels Director, Pharmacy Procurement C ORPORATE Jessica Jarrett Manager, Marketing and Communication C ORPORATE Cecelia Kelly Assistant Bakery Sales Manager PORTLA N D Janet Kamys Director Item Management C ORPORATE Mary Wade Assistant Sales Manager, Grocery N OR C AL Lori Valenzuela District Manager MID-ATLA N TI C Deborah Gilboy District Manager SO C AL Katina Wood Senior Labor Relations Manager I N TERMO UN TAI N Carmen Calderon Human Resources Representative JEWEL-OS C O/ S U PPLY CH AI N Gerlie Mendoza IT Manager C ORPORATE Mary Frances Trucco Director, Communication, Public Affairs and Government Relations JEWEL-OS C O Dana Ward Director, Communications and Public Affairs MID-ATLA N TI C Karen Ivanis-Rogers Senior Director, Business Ventures C ORPORATE Charitha Donepudi Senior Technical Product Manager C ORPORATE Janet Bishop Bakery Sales Manager SO U T H ER N Melissa Lowell-Sloan Bakery Sales Manager S H AW'S Gee Alcid Manager-IT Service Desk Quality Assurance, Training and Knowledge Managment C ORPORATE Mackenzie Nordahl Inventory Control Manager S U PPLY CH AI N Debbie Gaines Lubbock Area Food Service Supervisor UN ITED S U PERMARKETS
STAR Patty Rodriguez Deli Production Center Operations Specialist JEWEL-OS C O Monique Hoguet Assistant Sales Manager-Produce JEWEL-OS C O Rachel Russel Patient Care Services Manager (PCSM) JEWEL-OS C O Olivia Cotten Deli Operations Specialist JEWEL-OS C O Quinn Christensen Labor & Lean Initiatives Manager I N TERMO UN TAI N Nerozel Calpito Technology and Engineering Senior Manager C ORPORATE Pam Collins Bakery/Coffee Operations Specialist JEWEL-OS C O Susan Bell Sales ManagerService Deli N OR C AL Sara Osborne Public and Government Affairs Director SEATTLE Tina Schmitz District Pharmacy Manager JEWEL-OS C O Tammy Lemnah Center Store Operations Specialist S H AW'S Sarah Long National Category Director C ORPORATE Victoria Sandoval Warehouse Manager S U PPLY CH AI N Susan Rorke-Lawler Project Manager MID-ATLA N TI C Sarah Herringer Direct Consumer Experience-Wine C ORPORATE Vicki Sell Senior Director Human Resources C ORPORATE Ronda Richardson Floral Operations Specialist D21/D22 SEATTLE Tina Browen Senior Marketing Director JEWEL-OS C O Sherri Ahlgrain Customer Service and Front-End Operation Specialist JEWEL-OS C O Katie Ceclan VP, Own Brands Marketing and Fresh Category Management C ORPORATE Manjari Mehrotra VP, Loyalty and Personalization Activation C ORPORATE Jill Pavlovich SVP, Shopper Experience C ORPORATE Sheryl Salazar Senior Vice President Merchandising & Marketing SO C AL Shannon Miller EVP of Talent Management UN ITED S U PERMARKETS Gineal Davidson SVP National Merchandising C ORPORATE Michelle Steele VP Bakery C ORPORATE Kristi Argyilan SVP, Retail Media C ORPORATE Eureka McCrae Area VP Retail Operations N OR C AL Marie Sylla-Dixon SVP Policy/ Government and External Affairs C ORPORATE June Zheng VP Corporate Strategy C ORPORATE Teresa Abreu VP Division Counsel JEWEL-OS C O/ N OR C AL Hala Corral VP Deli/Food Service Retail Support C ORPORATE Rena Shiles SVP Operations SO U T H WEST LaDonna Hale VP, Sales and Business Development, Manufacturing S U PPLY CH AI N

2024 Top Women in Grocery

Fiske was director of learning and talent before being promoted to VP in January 2024; in the former role, she prioritized leadership development and redesigned the four Stop & Shop Leadership Academies, providing more participant interaction and hands-on opportunities for learning and networking, and she also designed new tools to reinforce the learning after the training.

Known for responding to employee concerns, she developed and co-facilitated a program, Gaining Confidence Presenting to Large Groups, to improve leaders’ skills in this area.

Fiske has volunteered for 11 years with the Wrentham & Plainville Girl Scouts as a troop leader and publicity coordinator, among other positions.

Corral assisted divisions with the execution of merchandising priorities, displays and sales initiatives to reach their full potential in driving sales, performance and profits; she oversaw a multibillion-dollar deli/ foodservice department.

She launched a national sandwich program, building the category by 9.4% in sales; created an expanded snacker program, inclusive of other departments, that delivered more than 1,000% sales annually; and rolled out an on-trend catering program.

Corral was inducted into the 2023 American Cheese Society, achieved Six Sigma Master Black Belt Certifications, and shared her time as a member of Albertsons’ Women’s Inspiration & Inclusion Network.

Abreu increased her responsibility by almost 50% in overseeing the NorCal division, where she successfully supported hundreds of locations that required her to work in a complex employment law and regulatory environment.

She managed to bring more than 50 agency cases to resolution with a 95% win rate, exceeding her goal, and participated in numerous fact findings/ mediations.

Abreu still found time to maintain her strong commitment to pro bono work regarding the juvenile justice system — even traveling to Portugal to serve on an international panel — as well as spending weekends visiting juvenile correctional institutions all over the country.

Davidson directed total store merchandising, collaborating with division leadership and merchandising teams to implement national strategies and further growth; she led a team of 300 associates and also worked to inform Own Brands assortments and merchandising.

Her work was crucial as Albertsons moved from a decentralized merchandising model to one with a national scale, and she helped the retailer deliver a higher level of fresh products and spearheaded the re-engineering of space-planning tools and processes to bring products to customers in a more efficient way.

Davidson shared her considerable expertise as a board member of the Western Association of Food Companies.

Through partnerships with fellow retail media networks, clients and publishers, Argyilan led the creation of a white paper that outlined a standardization framework and garnered more than 40 press mentions, including in The Wall Street Journal.

Working with such industry partners as Pinterest and Liveramp, she made strides toward creating a privacy-conscious third-party space for brands to better connect the dots between their first-party data and customer engagement through a clean-room prototype and incrementality measurement.

Argyilan was named to the AdWeek 50, an award that honors the top 50 “indispensable” leaders and executives.

Hale directed sales and revenue initiatives for the retailer’s manufacturing plants; her team delivered annual sales of more than $1.25 billion.

Thanks to her strategic approach, Albertsons achieved a 53% reduction in liabilities and saved more than $2.4 million; she also rolled out a new pricing initiative to mitigate the impacts of inflationary increases and help divisions react more quickly to changing costs.

Hale served on the MilkPEP board of directors; represented Lucerne Foods/Albertsons Cos. on the California Milk Processors Board; chaired the Boise, Idaho, chapter of the Albertsons Women’s Inspiration & Inclusion Network; and volunteered with community programs.

Ceclan oversaw the full rebranding of the entire Own Brands portfolio, including developing a brand architecture to define the distinct consumer segments, design target, brand essence and brand character of each brand, all leading to better activation at the shelf.

She led an initiative to add How To Recycle information to all Own Brands packaging; the project was expected to take three years, but Ceclan delivered it in just eight months, bringing in new packaging agencies to diversify workload and accelerate progress.

Ceclan enhanced the company’s marketing capabilities, achieving a record 2 billion impressions.

VP, Loyalty and Personalization Activation, Albertsons Cos.

Mehrotra grew the grocer’s loyalty customer base by defining the personalization strategy and enhancing digital engagement.

She led her team to launch several initiatives to improve the loyalty customer experience across the omnichannel, including enhanced access to rewards and a new deals hub that consolidates all customer offers in one place; her efforts led to 14% growth in enrollment, a 16% lift in loyalty engagement and a higher return on ad spend.

In addition to mentoring younger employees, Mehrotra shared her talent as a member of the Women’s Inspiration & Inclusion Network, the Asian Network, and the Women of Color Alliance associate resource groups.

100% RECYCLED PLASTIC* FIJI Water is committed to sustainability and is proud to have launched its 330mL and 500mL bottles made from 100% recycled plastic* in 2022. This change replaces nearly 70% of FIJI Water’s plastic bottles.** FIJI Water is available direct. Contact your FIJI Water representative at 888.426.3454 or at *Bottle only, 330mL and 500mL sizes **Estimated total bottle volume based on 2023 production data © 2024 FIJI Water Company LLC. All Rights Reserved. FIJI, EARTH’S FINEST, EARTH’S FINEST WATER, the Trade Dress, and accompanying logos are trademarks of FIJI Water Company LLC or its affiliates. FW240506-10 Earth’s Finest Water is also Earth-Friendly


Becky Eldredge 84.51° Elizabeth Ferrell G.O. Finance Christine Foster 84.51° Brandy Hanger G.O. Merchandising Amber Kayse G.O. Kroger Health Stephanie SpanglerOpdyke G.O. Kroger Health Teresa Tucker G.O. Retail Operations Erica Gaier G.O. Retail Operations Shelley Welch Supply Chain Beth Wilkin Columbus Tammie YoungEnnaemba Atlanta
Rhonda Allen G.O. Finance Amber Bashaw Cincinnati Ashley Collins G.O. Kroger Technology & Digital Selma Dizdarevic Atlanta Marlana Embry Supply Chain Shelly Flynn Cincinnati Pam Giannonatti Fry’s Chandler Hodges Fred Meyer Kristen Hoh 84.51° Julie Kalua G.O. Human Resources Caroline Keating G.O. Merchandising Daniella Lerma Fry’s Desiree Loomis Central Morgan Manor G.O. Human Resources Amanda McDowell G.O. Finance Nichole Miller Dillons Amy Petersen Smith’s Angela Rinker QFC Pheli Roberts Louisville Desiree Sova G.O. Finance Stacy Thomasson King Soopers RISING STAR Congratulations to our Top Women in Grocery! Thank you for your leadership & dedication to creating industry-leading experiences for our associates, customers & communities.



Shannon Willoughby Houston Nicole Zaluski Louisville Julie Rathburn Columbus Luisana Rios Fry’s Ashley Rose Cincinnati Latoya Sullivan Delta Nicole Thomas Columbus Kelly Van Horn Michigan Zivile Viliusis Mid-Atlantic Marwa Alhajjaj Louisville Kim Bedsworth QFC Brittany Brownfield Cincinnati Ashley Craigmiles Dillons Amber Dennis Nashville Azeb Gebrehiwot Atlanta Carissa Gonzalez King Soopers Korinne Gormley Fred Meyer Angel Goure King Soopers Carla Hardy Columbus Tiarra Mann QFC Tedesa Parks Michigan Connie Peek Ruler Consuelo Ramos Food 4 Less

2024 Top Women in Grocery

Leading a 184-person team, Pavlovich was responsible for the digital product strategy and management of Albertsons’ mobile app and website, with the goal of delivering a differentiated, fully connected end-to-end customer experience.

She launched several new digital programs, such as subscription grocery capabilities, digital deli programs and shoppable recipes, and also spearheaded the organization’s transformational mindset shift to a “connected experience” strategy.

Pavlovich sat on the Women’s Inspiration & Inclusion Network board and the Fresh Strategy Steering Committee at Albertsons; she also volunteered at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Before being promoted to her current role in May 2023, McCrae was a high-performing district manager for district 25 in Seattle; under her leadership, the district grew its number of female store directors from one to six.

Given oversight of seven districts throughout northern California, she led her operating area to exceed the EBITDA plan by 3.1%; meanwhile, she set an accelerated customer experience performance ranking at the top of the Albertsons enterprise.

A 2021 graduate of the University of Southern California’s Food Industry Management Program, McRae worked to earn her master’s degree shortly before her promotion last year.

A 40-year Albertsons veteran, Steele headed up planning, strategic initiatives, P&L responsibilities, innovation, and operations for more than 2,470 bakeries.

She directed a major initiative in bakery redesign work, leading cross-functional teams to develop modern bakery fixtures and revitalizing merchandising displays, and her work resulted in a double-digit sales increase and easier functionality use for both associates and customers; moreover, bakery results have outpaced company results over the past two years.

Steele developed the company’s Bakery Leadership Summit in 2023, served on the IDDBA board and was active with the Boise State Food Pantry.

Salazar developed a “skip the restaurant” campaign to help educate shoppers on the value of making a meal at home, and she enhanced the program with QR codes in print ads and in-store signage to detail easy meal prep; the campaign resulted in increased customer basket size.

She developed a weekly Throwback Savings offer on highly consumable products: A 25-cent hamburger and hot dog bun promo led to increased basket size as consumers purchased products to accompany the buns.

Among other honors, Salazar was named Woman of the Year by Southern California’s Food Industries Sales Managers Club.

Sylla-Dixon oversaw such policy issues as organized retail crime, supply chain, competition, tax and trade, health care, labor and employment, food insecurity, and sustainability, with responsibility for all government affairs/ merger relations.

She held an industry landscape briefing with a bipartisan caucus, helped coordinate nearly 30 meetings with attorneys generals across the country, and coordinated several speaking engagements on the pending merger with The Kroger Co.

Sylla-Dixon served on the Federal Communications Commission’s advisory committee and was a board member for City Year Washington, D.C.

Rena Shiles SVP Operations, Albertsons Cos./ Southwest Division

Shiles shifted store director routines from a direct-and-inspect approach to a more effective “coach, teach, train and provide positive feedback” focus, a change that had a significant positive impact.

To focus more heavily on closing routines, she implemented bimonthly late nights to give district managers, ops, AVPs and the SVP the opportunity to visit stores and spend time with nighttime associates to coach, train and get to know team members.

Shiles regularly worked with a number of military organizations, among them the Wounded Warrior Project, the Military Mom Collective, the Department of Defense Safe Helpline and Veteran’s Canteen Service.

Zheng excelled this past year in leading strategic work in fresh departments across functional teams to improve fresh quality and value for customers shopping in store and online by spearheading a new internal process, workstreams and actions to drive fresh-focused work forward.

These new workstreams delivered impact across product quality and financials, supporting Albertsons’ national work to improve customer experience with regard to freshness and value.

Zheng’s exemplary work to drive an improved value focus allowed the company’s teams to deliver millions of dollars in cost savings, which will subsequently be reinvested to provide growth in fresh.

Shannon Miller EVP of Talent Management, Albertsons Cos./United Supermarkets

Miller enhanced the Internship /College Mentorship Program, which hosted 15 summer interns; she added a company orientation tailored to intern positions and instituted intern store and facilities visits and a community service day to give interns a more robust understanding of the company.

She launched a multipronged text-messaging platform to communicate with front-line team members, which engaged more than 17,000 employees through recognition, celebrations, team perks and feedback.

Miller served on the University Medical Center Underwriting Committee, which raised funds for the Cancer Care Center.


2024 Top Women in Grocery

Peters led her team in finding ways to simplify the in-store experience, making it easier for customers to shop; the team’s suggestions resulted in the redesign of five Amazon Fresh stores in the greater Chicago and Los Angeles areas.

She made strides in increasing sustainability: The Amazon Fresh store in Seattle became the world’s first grocery store to achieve Zero Carbon Certification from the International Living Future Institute; Peters also expanded online grocery delivery.

Additionally, she tested new pilots to offer even greater convenience: Her team rolled out a pilot grocery subscription program exclusively for Prime members in three markets.

O’Brien identified and executed programs involving emerging trends and niche markets like organic, gluten-free or plant-based foods, and she negotiated and secured strategic partnerships with key players in the food industry to enhance the company’s market presence, drive sales and create competitive advantages.

She led the development of a new branch of C.A.’s ACI team, integrating multiple company partnerships and strategies; the move showcased strategic thinking, leadership and the ability to unite diverse elements, as well as adding more than $60 million in new sales.

O’Brien worked with clients to support City of Hope to raise funds for cancer research.

Kostka implemented robotics solutions to increase efficiency and improve operations in stores and distribution centers; her efforts with robotics and other technologies put BJ’s on the cutting edge of innovation and played an instrumental role in overall strategy.

She led the transformation of BJ’s buy-online-pickup-instore offering; by implementing robotics-driven pick path optimizations, her team dramatically cut fulfillment times, and data captured by these tech-enabled solutions powered BJ’s rapidly growing digital business.

Kostka was involved with BJ’s Women’s Forum, where she mentored colleagues, contributed to panel discussions and led support groups.

Michelle Bennett EVP, Consumer and Shopper Insights, Circana

Under Bennett’s stewardship, Circana’s Consumer and Shopper Insights vertical witnessed unprecedented growth; her leadership also facilitated the seamless integration of innovative services, positioning Circana’s Consumer and Shopper Insights team as an industry trailblazer.

She took over beer, wine and spirits, with the goals of changing minds, removing old perceptions and growing the business; as a result of her efforts, Circana secured partnerships with one of the most influential players in the beer segment and opened doors at numerous others.

Within Circana, Bennett made notable contributions to diversity, equity and inclusion.

Renfroe was instrumental in Blackhawk’s efforts to use sustainable products and packaging: Blackhawk worked alongside Visa to transition its network branded, prepaid products (distributed by third-party retail networks) from plastic to paper-based materials.

Thanks to her work, Blackhawk became the first in the industry to gain broad approval from global networks and commit to a significant environmental program; the company aimed to lead the prepaid and gift card industry’s shift from plastic to more sustainable, responsibly sourced materials.

In her spare time, Renfroe served as an industry advocate, particularly for other women aspiring to leadership roles.

Under Mall’s leadership, the Coca-Cola customer team catapulted to the No. 2 grocery vendor partner position at The Kroger Co., with $2.3 billion in sales, and Coca-Cola’s e-commerce business grew 21.3% to $22.4 million, twice the rate of Kroger’s total e-commerce rate; Mall’s team additionallly delivered double-digit revenue growth (10.8%) and dead net gross profit (19.2%) versus the prior year for the system.

She led the sparkling soft-drink team in crafting a compelling story that helped increase Fanta facings at Kroger by 17%.

Mall did volunteer work for NextUp and has been a two-time recipient of Coca-Cola’s Women in Leadership Award.

Howell was instrumental in establishing processes and frameworks for generating actionable insights and providing support to various business functions; this has enabled team members to make data-driven decisions and effectively meet objectives.

She overachieved revenue goals by 360%, and she also facilitated the development and rollout of Salesforce, moving the company from spreadsheets to a CRM system; this entailed assessing and understanding the specific requirements and pain points that Salesforce could address.

Howell was an advisory board member of a nonprofit supporting the rehabilitation of trafficked and abused women.


Under McGovern’s Defense Commissary Agency annual business plan, warehouse volume increased 6.5% and yearover-year revenue grew 22.3%; in addition, fountain/dispensed beverages grew 3.9% in volume and 2.8% in revenue.

Amid post-pandemic stock concerns, she created an InStock Scorecard that matched up planograms with deliveries to track customers’ stock internally in cases where the customer didn’t offer real-time inventory tracking; this let customer teams anticipate customers’ needs.

McGovern was involved with several professional organizations, including the National American Logistics Association.

Brigid McGovern North American Operating Unit, The CocaCola Leslie Mall VP of Sales, Kroger Team, The CocaCola Co.

Six weeks after she moved into her current role last summer, a customer’s security breach slowed production and caused product shortages, so Millar established communications centered on facts, held town halls for the CROSSMARK and customer teams, and secured additional labor to support in-house teams while systems were reinstated off-site.

She launched an initiative to better plan and forecast retail work across multiple worksites; this allowed her team to adjust retail coverage more quickly to stay within budget across the various worksites.

A senior ambassador for NextUp, Millar also aimed to help further women’s careers at CROSSMARK.

Hackstall guided her region to notable financial outcomes, among them ranking second in highest revenue comps across the chain, surpassing the chain rate by more than 1.2%, and attaining the top performance against the revenue plan in the chain, exceeding the chain rate by more than 3%.

Her vision for cultivating potential has led to the promotion of three assistant store managers to store managers and one store manager to regional manager of operations.

Hackstall organized volunteering events for store team members that not only serve the community, but also foster a spirit of teamwork and giving within her region.

Danet became acting director/COO in April 2023 after the director and deputy director both resigned within one month of each other; thanks to her outstanding leadership and organizational skills in the midst of an unforeseen leadership transition, sales climbed from $3.8 billion to $4.2 billion, a 10% increase.

Her implementation of a more robust e-commerce platform yielded a 27% increase in delivery of “outpost services,” which is often the only way to supplement food availability for soldiers.

In 2023, Danet received the Department of Defense Meritorious Civilian Service Medal; she also belonged to the Order of the Eastern Star.

Kathleen Smith

of Paid and Social Media, The Fresh Market

Smith directed a local search initiative that reversed a downward trend in chain-wide comp traffic, subsequently driving 583,000 incremental store visits; this strategy lifted the company’s year-over-year traffic comparison by 4%, achieving an estimated return on ad spend of 58 to one, based on a $40 average basket size.

She also oversaw a 62% yearover-year increase in paid media impressions — totaling more than 5.7 billion —while simultaneously reducing overall media spend by 4%.

Smith’s love of animals led her to support Colby’s Crew Rescue, as well as Skydog Sanctuary for wild mustangs and burros, and Collie Rescue of the Carolinas.

Taylor reworked the DG Market format: Her Food First strategy provides healthier meal options, including fresh food like meat and produce, while the Beauty Reinvention strategy features layouts with additions such as beauty bars; these innovations contributed to a 2.4% increase in net sales between Q3 2022 and Q3 2023.

She led an exciting first-tomarket partnership between the DG Media Network and Meta that enabled advertisers to reach more than 90 million unique customer profiles.

In 2023, Taylor was named to The Top 50 Women Leaders in Consumer Products and Retail by the Women We Admire membership organization.

Zolcak built and launched Fresh Thyme Market’s e-commerce platform enabling customers to easily shop and take advantage of in-store prices online; the launch also introduced a pickup option and improved the customer experience with a focus on connection and loyalty.

She kept the company’s focus on local and community matters through the release of its first trends report, further securing Fresh Thyme’s reputation as a Midwest grocery thought leader.

Zolcak took pains to advance the grocer’s already robust philanthropic efforts by creating a dedicated volunteer program; personally volunteering time, along with the executive team, on a quarterly basis; and focusing on local food bank support.

Through strong management of controllable lines, Blake led the West Zone to generate more than $75 million in bottom-line performance, exceeding the previous year by more than $4 million and expected performance by more than $5 million.

She ensured that the West Zone adhered to company merchandising initiatives while including items such as half-pies and cake slices that drove increased unit and revenue growth.

Currently the chair for the women’s business resource group, WAVE, Blake also served on The Fresh Market’s diversity, equity and inclusion board last year and has been recognized within the company for exceptional operational performance.

Fortin led the marketing team in the launch of the Choose Happy campaign, solidifying a brand direction that resonated with consumers; partnerships and paid integrations included the likes of Chrissy Teigen, Joe Rogan, MrBeast and TikTok influencers.

For first time in the company’s history, she spearheaded telling the heritage product story, working with prominent chefs as well as traveling overseas to capture the origin story of bird breeds to better educate consumers on where Happy Egg Co.’s eggs come from.

Fortin led NextUp Northwest Arkansas, partnering with such organizations as Dress for Success, Saving Grace and Girls on the Run.

Whitney Fortin VP of Marketing, Happy Egg Co.

2024 Top Women in Grocery

Under Hubbard’s leadership, Harris Teeter delivered incredible results in fuel: Total gallons sold were more than 159 million, an 8.7% increase from last year.

She developed a weekly metric dashboard for pickup and delivery that was the key driver in increasing sales by 9.6%, decreasing complaints by 44%, adding service to more stores, and lowering customer wait time by 1 minute and 20 seconds.

Hubbard implemented operation and merchandising store visits on trips to certain stores to develop actionable tasks for each location, reviewed space allocation, and looked at product mix reduction plans; this resulted in a $2.8 million improvement in EBITDA versus last year.

Stoermer was the mastermind behind Hy-Vee INDYCAR Race Weekend, one of Iowa’s largest community events; for the past two years, it has brought millions of dollars into central Iowa annually by attracting 85,000-plus race fans to the Iowa Speedway.

She led the launch of Hy-Vee’s 100 Million Meals Challenge in partnership with Feeding America and integrated this campaign into Hy-Vee’s sponsorship of the NTT INDYCAR Series and HyVee INDYCAR Race Weekend to take it to a national level.

Stoermer spearheaded the launch of Hy-Vee’s Perks loyalty program, which involved meticulous planning, coordination and execution to reach Hy-Vee’s millions of customers.

Mecia helped roll out a food rescue program comprising perishable donations to Feeding America food bank partners and food waste diversion, keeping waste out of landfills and contributing to the company’s bottom line while also feeding families in need across the Harris Teeter footprint and creating renewable energy.

Her team worked to operationalize FDA requirements to achieve traceability throughout the food chain and enhance Harris Teeter’s audit program.

Mecia served on the board of directors and the executive board of the Charlotte Speech and Hearing Center, which is the only free-standing nonprofit speech and hearing center in the state of North Carolina.

Page initiated and led IGA’s partnership with state grower associations to better promote locally grown foods at independent grocery stores, which resulted in an average sales lift of 35% for promoted products and created a new avenue for IGA to help family-run American farms thrive.

She additionally headed up an initiative to provide professional assistance to independent grocers, aiming to reduce the number of food deserts in urban environments.

Page served on the board of directors of Ivory Coast Mothers and Children, a nonprofit dedicated to saving the lives of the mothers and children of Braffoueby, Cote d’Ivoire.

Tombol helped launch new transcritical CO2 systems as well as a new, state-of-the-art engineering lab; she created and executed a sustainable refrigeration strategy to deliver a broad portfolio of solutions for retailers to help meet regulatory compliance and ESG goals.

She additionally developed a rigorous low-global-warming-potential training curriculum for Hussman’s internal and external stakeholders.

Along with being an active member of the North American Sustainable Refrigeration Council, Tombol was influential in engaging the local community by initiating connections to technical colleges to drive interest in refrigeration as a trade.

Kathy Hayden

Strategic Partnerships, MarTech, Inmar Intelligence

Hayden helped establish a career path model for associates that fostered career coaching and transparency on where to invest time for personal development; the model provided the right framework to improve recruiting processes.

She helped establish trust through newly established partnerships; these included Inmar’s being named Wakefern’s onsite media partner, shopper marketing agency of record for Publix, and loyalty partner with SpartanNash.

Hayden “pays it forward” through her church, contributing food, shoes and gifts for community members in need, as well as participating in Women of United Way events.

O’Leary helped design “the largest Hy-Vee in the world” — a 135,000-square-foot store — plus its accompanying Hy-Vee Fast & Fresh location, representing the latest in both digital technology and customer experience.

She was at helm of incorporating data into the design decision-making process; for example, using customer journey data, she and her team discovered that the Hy-Vee HealthMarket department performed better when adjacent to the produce section, as opposed to the pharmacy.

O’Leary gathered important design research to understand how a store’s floor plan and specific design elements affect employees’ quality of life and efficiency at work.

Responsible for business, product, and commercial strategy, Ostos had P&L ownership for the MarTech CPG business unit that included incentives, loyalty and media solutions.

She led strategy on key deals and renewal negotiations leading to bottom-line growth, received a patent for a loyalty solution, and worked with sales leaders on a successful sell-in, with 26 CPGs in the pipeline and 11 proposals at play.

Born and raised in Mexico, Ostos was a mentor at the Endeavor organization, whichhelped scale U.S. Latin and Mexican businesses, and served on the leadership sponsor committee for Inmar’s internal Woman Impact Network.

Meijer congratulates all the top women in grocery, including our own.
Nirmita Muzumdar Kim Prall Kristine Snook Lauren Tomasbi Karen Langeland Jill Devan Jackie Gerardot Cynthia Griggs Bonnie Hanson Johanna Harper Jackie Adams Leah Brown Rachel Fearnley Carla Hendon Elizabeth Miling Jess Murray Rebecca Miller Kaitlyn McGahan Lynette Ackley 2024 Trailblazer Award Winner

2024 Top Women in Grocery

Rydel developed and execute dINFRA’s membership growth strategy, manage relations with distribution partners, and advocate for members when negotiating pricing and distribution agreements.

Under her guidance, membership grew from 315 to 348 members, marking INFRA’s third record growth year in a row; she also led the rollout of INFRA’s new everyday-low-price program, with an 84% member adoption rate, and brought the group to new markets in Colorado and Puerto Rico.

Rydel was chair for a pay-whatyou-can restaurant fighting food insecurity in South Minneapolis.

The Kroger Co./84.51°

This longtime media industry leader joined Kroger Precision Marketing (KPM) to modernize tech and talent and elevate standards and outcomes for media buyers.

She strengthened the media ops practice and enabled KPM to scale more effectively, executing 20% more managed service campaigns than budgeted for with the same headcount, and led a 72% increase in incremental return on ad spend in programmatic campaigns.

Foster sat on the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s retail media committee, Meta’s retail media advisory board and the AdMonsters advisory board, as well as serving as a chair lead for 84.51°’s Women’s EDGE associate resource group.

Miller headed the team building and scaling of ad products for all Instacart advertisers.

Thanks in large part to her leadership, Instacart offered ad services for more than 5,500 brands that delivered, on average, more than a 15% incremental sales lift, and Instacart Ads growth was a key driver in helping the company go public in September 2023; she also led her team to add such features as optimized bidding, the AI-powered Ask Instacart search tool, and advertising on Instacart’s AI-powered Caper Carts.

Miller was an active participant in the Women@Instacart employee resource group and has performed as a violinist in the Oakland Symphony.

Elizabeth Ferrell Financial and Reporting Systems Director, The Kroger Co./ Finance

Ferrell held an important role in overseeing the company’s financial systems and reporting processes, and by managing significant change and leveraging cutting-edge technology, she ensured that senior executives had immediate access to critical data.

She successfully spearheaded a two-year project that revolutionized Kroger’s reporting infrastructure by transitioning all reporting functions to the cloud, and also directed a project that removed two full days from Kroger’s period-close process.

Ferrell led a volunteer-based free tax preparation site in partnership with the Greater Cincinnati United Way, and she was recognized as a Cincinnati Game Changer in 2023.

Valerie Ells CFO, Kevin’s Natural Foods

Ells oversaw Kevin’s Natural Foods’ financial resources, including the company’s overall budget.

She played a crucial role in the successful merger and acquisition of Kevin’s Natural Foods by Mars Inc.’s Food and Nutrition division, a deal that allowed Kevin’s to achieve sustained double-digit growth; she also exceeded growth goals by 8% and revamped the budget framework.

Ells served as treasurer for a nonprofit group focused on quality and affordable child care, created a middle school program educating students on the stock market and future careers, and coached a youth basketball team.

Strategy, The Kroger Co./ Kroger Health

Last year, Kayse led the charge to make prescriptions more affordable for customers by spearheading the launch of the revamped Kroger Health Savings Club, as well as increasing discount card usage by more than 13%.

In a short timeframe, she identified the need for a new staffing structure, and then secured the funding and executed a unique recruiting venture to quadruple her team’s size.

Additionally, Kayse redesigned Kroger Health’s strategic contracting approach, and by standardizing and streamlining terms, she successfully implemented an efficient contracting process that led to efficient workflow and successful outcomes.

Becky Eldredge VP Commercial Loyalty and Incentives, The Kroger Co./84.51°

An 84.51° vet since 2004 and founder of the company’s consulting function, Eldredge drove accelerated growth for Kroger’s personalized commercial loyalty and incentives portfolio.

Her teams delivered approximately 3 billion personalized offers, with a value of more than $2.5 billion, and she led a 10.3% increase in top-line revenue and an 18% boost in operating profit; she also helped create the Incentives Center of Excellence to optimize customer incentives for CPGs, Kroger and customers.

Eldredge mentored aspiring executives through the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce’s development program for women of color.

Stephanie SpanglerOpdyke Director, HR Business Partner, The Kroger Co./ Kroger Health

Spangler-Opdyke led a team responsible for all HR activities and functions for more than 24,000 associates and leaders across the country, and brought a unique perspective to Kroger Health due to her extensive experience in supermarket and retail.

She championed a new development program for retail pharmacy teams, Project Passion, to support the future of patient care and address pain points for pharmacists.

In 2023, 1,544 pharmacy managers participated in the program, and the team planned to expand to an additional 4,200 pharmacists in 2024; Project Passion also won a Brandon Hall Group Excellence Gold Award.



Executive Vice President, Chief Retail Officer
Liz Arickx Asst. Vice President, Executive Assistant to the Chairman & CEO
Aimee O’Leary
Vice President, Store Design
Elise Scheil
District Store Director
Karla Quandt
District Store Director

2024 Top Women in Grocery

The Kroger

Hanger headed the fresh bakery category, where she and her team had top-tobottom responsibility for strategy, merchandising, pricing and promotion, and execution for Kroger’s family of companies.

She led the company through nine category rebuilds, reshaping the assortment and operational workflow within Kroger’s stores; this included the launch of a signature assortment, which drove more customers into the store.

Additionally, Hanger finalized the Bakery of the Future merchandising design and assortment plan for execution in a four-store pilot, delivering double-digit sales growth and operational improvements for store associates.

Murray led the increase of customer self-checkout penetration by 3% year over year through front end optimization, improving customer checkout times and reducing friction at the front end, and she decreased override wait times, thanks to a new self-checkout training program.

She helped reduce Meijer pickup wait time as a company and increased the team member pick rate by more than 400 basis points, making the company an industry leader for low customer service wait times.

Murray introduced receipt reduction enhancements that led to more than $1.5 million in annual savings across supplies and reduced front end transaction times.

Gaier led the e-commerce team to achieve 11% growth in pickup sales over the prior year, beating its budget; she did this by focusing on reducing lead time and opening new modalities, including the addition of more than 300 locations on Instacart Curbside.

As for the pickup customer experience, her team achieved a net promoter score that was 2.8% over the prior year, while wait time improved by 25 seconds; in-stocks were also at record post-pandemic levels.

Gaier participated in Kroger’s wellness associate resource group; she also mentored more than seven Kroger associates across three departments.

Under Wallwork’s leadership, the company posted double-digit percentage growth in units, revenue and earnings, and grew headcount more than 15% in 2023 to support sales growth.

She championed the installation of a solar array at Milo’s flagship facility in Bessemer, Ala., a move that’s projected to offset 5% of annual power consumption and 336 metric tons of carbon each year.

Wallwork led the company to be named the 2024 Dollar General Diverse Supplier of the Year; despite her busy schedule, she also found time to serve on the boards of the Consumer Brands Association, the Birmingham Museum of Art and the Birmingham Business Alliance.

With oversight of overall asset protection and support for safety, security and shrink for all Kroger operating divisions and offices, Tucker led Kroger to achieve the lowest fresh shrink rate in the company’s history; she accomplished this impressive feat through strategic initiatives that reduced both shrink and waste, saving more than $50 million in loss in 2023.

She supported Kroger’s safety team in its efforts to deliver the company’s lowest injury rates ever.

Tucker was an executive sponsor for the Kroger Pride associate resource group, as well as for One-n-Ten and One Community in Phoenix.

Ashmore, who recently left Munk Pack, revamped the S&OP planning process, added locked sales forecast periods and more concise dashboards, and as a result, her team achieved several cost-of-goodssold savings, including significant savings with the company’s lead contract manufacturer; through cost-saving initiatives, she helped improve gross margin by 4.3 percentage points year over year.

She reduced inventory by 46% while the business’s top line was relatively flat, significantly improving the cash conversion cycle, and she also increased inventory turnover by 28%.

Ashmore helped switch to a new, higher-quality packaging supplier to improve the reliability of Munk Pack’s supply chain.

Karen Langeland VP of Merchandising, Hardlines, Meijer Under Langeland’s leadership, Meijer’s hardlines business grew market share, exceeded plans and improved productivity during the key holiday period; the strength in toys and seasonal came from the team’s focus on the fundamentals.

New strategic projects that she oversaw included Reinventing the Electronics in-store experience, Game Day destination merchandising during January and February, a Lego brand shop, and a value shop at the front of the store.

Langeland and her team were awarded the Meijer Quarterly Merchandising Award in the fourth quarter of 2023 for launching innovative brand shops.

National Frozen and Refrigerated Foods Association (NFRA) Greyshock oversaw unprecedented year-overyear membership growth and led the NFRA Executive Conference and Convention to record attendance in 2023.

She spearheaded the development of NFRA’s first-ever joint January promotion, ReDiscover Dairy & Frozen, a landmark collaboration with another industry association that increased consumer awareness and purchase intent and strengthened partnerships between industry stakeholders, fostering long-term collaboration.

As a volunteer leader with Junior Achievement, Greyshock taught students financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurial skills.

Holly Tricia Wallwork CEO and Chair, Milo’s Tea Co.

2024 Top Women in Grocery

Buchanan spearheaded the rollout of NIQ’s global platform, Discover, deploying analytical tools across 80 countries and in 11 languages; this revolutionized how thousands of CPG organizations and users executed strategies and engaged with customers.

She seamlessly transitioned 96% of clients onto Discover with an extensive training program to help them become proficient in the new platform, and she also streamlined operations, achieving a 70% reduction in managed deliverables and a 60% decrease in legacy database setups.

Buchanan headed initiatives to foster diversity in STEM fields, including NIQ University, a data science and analytics program for minority-serving institutions.

Schiavone’s unwavering commitment to keeping the focus on the customer and the consumer was a driving force in PepsiCo’s success and growth.

She was nominated for PepsiCo’s Accelerated Leadership Development Program and was a mentor and coach for PepsiCo’s Pinnacle Development Program for female sales leaders; she also received a Women of Excellence Award from the Path to Purchase Institute, a PG sister organization.

Nominated to represent PepsiCo at the NextUp conference in 2023, Schiavone is the founder and leader of a grass-roots organization that connects working mothers to a support network within PepsiCo.

NSS, Northeast Grocery Inc., parent company of Northeast Shared Services, Tops Supermarkets and Price Chopper/Market 32 Supermarkets

Bonk was instrumental in the integration of Tops and Price Chopper/Market 32 Supermarkets, implementing several change management actions to support building a unified culture across the organizations.

She developed and implemented a new two-day program in which top execs shared best practices; the program garnered rave reviews from participants.

Bonk partnered with Employer Resource Network to initiate the Success Coach model to better serve and guide employees dealing with everyday challenges that might affect their well-being.

Smanda demonstrated exceptional execution in joint business planning for top-priority regional customers, resulting in significant gains in gondola and perimeter space at Harris Teeter, Food City and Lowes Foods.

She additionally established a Best In Class Customer Playbook, containing detailed information on execution checklists and links to all gondola and front end planograms, and she also introduced a new process to enhance visibility and alignment of strengths and pinpoint areas for improvement.

Among her various volunteer activities, Smanda served as the executive advisor of NextUp Carolinas.

Kiely was instrumental in building PepsiCo’s e-commerce business over the past seven years from virtually nothing to a $4 billion net revenue business in the United States; in 2023 her business grew 24%, four times the company’s total revenue growth.

She created new digital capabilities to provide a seamless shopping experience online, pioneering a category advisory framework with Instacart using deep shopper insights to elevate the snack and beverage categories on the platform and unlock first-of-their-kind three-way partnerships with major retailers.

Kiely created an eCommerce Acceleration Academy program to upskill and develop team members’ leadership skills.

Amanda Villa VP, Operations and Support, Product Connections

Villa relocated the previously remote creative team to Product Connections’ headquarters in Bentonville, Ark; as a result, project turnaround time was reduced by 80% and more than $200,000 was saved on print production, while quality and accuracy also increased.

She led the implementation of, a cloud-based product management system that simplified the manual process of project work among teams; a six-month test followed by full-blown implementation reduced manual steps by more than 78% and productivity grew by more than 20%.

Villa participated in NextUp, a nonprofit group of professionals focusing on tomorrow’s leaders by supporting gender equality.

Banducci grew category share by 12 basis points, retail sales by 5.6% and market share by 24 basis points; in addition, she increased e-commerce growth by 26%, which was a 50% contribution to total company growth, and increased online share by 30 basis points.

She developed and implemented a new “dual zone” strategy across breakfast, leading to a 10-point increase in households and dollar sales, and she increased linear feet by 34,000, an 11.0% expansion, and grew facings by 47,000, an 8.1% increase.

Professionally, Banducci was active in events that raised the bar on talent and diversity.


Insight and Category Leadership, Red Bull North America Newlee was responsible for leading development of Red Bull’s category management and customer and business insights strategies; the goal was for Red Bull to be viewed as a thought leader both internally and externally.

A tenured senior leader, she led with an unbiased approach and was widely viewed as a go-to person on portfolio strategy; her insights led to a sustainable, profitable pack strategy in the grocery and mass channels.

Newlee served on the board for the leading category management association in the United States and was a mentor to many people; she also regularly participated in panel discussions, sharing her experience.

Julia Banducci Julie Smanda Senior Director of Sales, PepsiCo Foods North America

2024 Top Women in Grocery

Sam’s Club Marshall headed up several business areas, including e-commerce; under her guidance, 65% of digital orders were being fulfilled from the club, and the e-commerce business was almost $10 billion, making it the biggest “club,” compared with each physical store.

Sam’s Club Member Access Platform was among the first retail media platforms to connect search and sponsored product ads to offline sales; under her auspices, this business grew 22% last year and achieved advertiser growth close to 25% year over year.

Marshall was on the national board of directors for NextUp, a nonprofit dedicated to advancing women in business.

Kemet debuted a new brand identity and motto for Shipt, “delight in every delivery,” through a multifaceted partnership with Issa Rae, the award-winning actress, writer, producer and author; as a result, Shipt’s aided brand awareness rose in the first wave of the campaign.

She launched Shipt’s first membership offering for college students and used actual college students — interns from Howard University — to create a 30-second ad spot promoting it; the campaign produced 25 pieces of earned-media coverage.

Under Kemet’s leadership, Shipt joined forces with Roblox game developer Voldex to gamify back-to-school shopping with a virtual experience that reached nearly 6 million players.

Under Pattison’s leadership, TSMC’s digital platforms experienced substantial growth in shopper engagement: Loyalty and rewards program enrollment grew 134%, coupon clips increased 200%, coupon redemptions grew 198% and e-commerce vehicles increased to 4.7% of sales.

She drove TSMC’s partnership with SymphonyAI and the retailer’s adoption of the Consumer Centric Retail (CCR) methodology, which allowed it to make informed, customer-centric decisions and personalize and target promotions.

When not at work, Pattison regularly volunteered at Berkeley Humane and Berkeley Animal Care Services.

Short implemented a new workforce and task management platform to enhance store execution, optimize labor scheduling, and give associates more visibility into their workloads and scheduling; the Winning Service program she launched established expectations for associate behaviors.

She spearheaded several sales-driving and waste-reducing initiatives, introducing Fresh Production Planning and Date Check Pro solutions to ensure quality and freshness while reducing food waste, and her lottery expansion initiative substantially boosted revenue.

Short was the executive sponsor for SEG Pride, an associate resource group for LGBTQIA+ associates and allies.

Khadijah Abdullah VP, Economic Development and Social Impact, Shipt Abdullah partnered with Birmingham Promise to establish the Magic Mentorship program, which included a gift from Shipt of $1 million; the program paired 50-plus high school juniors with mentors for monthly meetings.

She also launched the LadderUp accelerator program for small retailers; the eight-week program provided business courses, mentorship, coaching and a $5,000 stipend to help participants compete and grow in an evolving marketplace.

With one in three college students facing food insecurity, Abdullah and her team partnered with six colleges to fill campus food pantries in the Stamp Out Hunger campaign.

Now EVP of commercial marketing and sales at Nutrabolt, Lawless in her previous role led Perfect Hydration to be the No. 1 sales growth driver in the bottled water category; additionally, under her leadership at Stratus Group, Koe Kombucha became the No. 1 shelf-stable kombucha brand in the United States.

She launched a series of initiatives to help Stratus Group’s brands become more environmentally friendly, among them pushing the team at Perfect Hydration to source an “infinitely recyclable” 16-ounce aluminum bottle.

A longstanding financial and social supporter of the Humane Society, Lawlass has taken in several rescued dogs in the Los Angeles area.

Keegan collaborated with Shipt’s executive team on changing the organizational structure to better combat fraud and loss; the resulting Fraud Prevention Steering Committee made possible an almost 85% reduction in fraud losses.

While artificial intelligence (AI) brought many positive capabilities, Keegan also saw risks: She set expectations for AI usage in the enterprise, leading to the formation of a multidisciplinary AI Committee and the establishment of Shipt’s AI Principles and Core Values.

She led two teams focused on fraud prevention, and their solutions collectively contributed to more than $1 million in fraud loss avoidance in the past year.

Jacques GM and COO Customer and Category Management Solutions, SymphonyAI Retail CPG

Jacques, who recently left the company, scaled a successful insights-to-action value delivery program in which her team worked directly with clients to uncover and act upon actionable insights that delivered a 42% increase in measurable incremental sales for those clients.

She provided leadership to drive 20%-plus sales growth of the CPG Shopper Insight business, which resulted in her team exceeding their budget target by 85%.

An MIT alumna, Jacques volunteered as the local MIT education counselor, in which role she provided advice to high school students interested in pursuing STEM careers.

Jessi Keegan VP of Cyber Charisse








2024 Top Women in Grocery

Under Parekh’s guidance, her team achieved a remarkable 35% increase in the measurable value delivered to her clients versus the previous year; this translated into hundreds of millions of dollars in incremental sales for her clients.

Within a mere three months, her team achieved CPG data monetization levels that typically take a full year to accomplish.

Passionate about fostering diversity and inclusion in the tech industry, Parekh actively mentored young women and served on the recruiting committee at TIDE Academy, a well-regarded public high school dedicated to nurturing STEM talent among students in the Bay Area.

Kennedy played a visionary role in reshaping the customer success arena, introducing measurable KPIs to track customer health trends and progress, and thus providing a data-driven approach to enhance customer satisfaction and retention.

She enhanced team diversity by blending backgrounds in customer success, previous retail expertise, tech and sales influence, an approach that brought to the team a well-rounded perspective.

In addition to receiving Upshop’s Burnt Clutch award for her positive impact and influence within the company, Kennedy was appointed a board member of the Ryan Dungey Foundation to support kids fighting cancer.

As a result of Thein’s work, Target made huge gains in market share in 2023; today, Target Food & Beverage owned brands drive a near 20% sales penetration and are a traffic driver across stores and digital shopping experiences.

Since the launch of Favorite Day, she has grown the brand to more than $700 million in its second year, representing an impressive 20% growth rate.

Beyond her role at Target, Thein serves on the board of directors of her alma mater, Morningside University; is a member of NextUp; volunteers as a youth sports coach; and speaks at such industry events as Groceryshop.

Sally Robinson VP of Strategic Initiatives, Upshop

Instrumental in shaping Upshop’s solution for compliance with Section 204 of the Food Safety Modernization Act, Robinson aided 30-plus grocery retailers in comprehending operational challenges and data needs in this crucial area.

Leveraging her two decades of experience in data strategy and supply chain standards with Safeway and Albertsons, she stood out as a thought leader, with her influence extending to writing about the future of food safety culture.

This past October, at Upshop’s User Conference, a three-day event with more than 100 retailers in attendance, Robinson shared her knowledge by hosting a session entitled “Future of Food Safety.”

It Nutrition

Coming into an already successful business and launching it into the stratosphere, Eshuys grew That’s It 40% over all categories.

Thanks to her initiative, That’s it formed partnerships with mega-retailer Walmart; grew a new confection line in Costco and Target; and increased the company’s product offering in major grocery chains with such new SKUs as multipacks.

As well as inspiring That’s It to be an active contributor to Chobani’s Unstuck initiative, which helps to support job generation for refugees, Eshuys raised a huge amount of money for charities through the marathon races she takes part in worldwide.

Under her leadership, Tandy’s team has successfully launched several new and exclusive products while keeping prices low.

As inflation pressures increased, she played a key role in Walmart’s highly successful initiative that enabled customers to purchase in-store — or online with just one click — a complete meal for eight to 10 people, with no inflation.

Away from her demanding job, Tandy freely gave her time and expertise to several nonprofits, among them the American Diabetes Association, as chair of its largest fundraiser; Cobblestone Farms, which increases access to fresh food for underserved populations; and TASC (Teen Action and Support Center).

Balian accelerated growth for UNFI’s portfolio by implementing strong category growth strategies across key value tiers while strategically streamlining the brand strategy focus against the top eight core brands in the portfolio, delivering double-digit growth and, importantly, absolute unit growth, during a period of inflationary pressure for retail customers.

She also took on incremental responsibility to separately oversee UNFI’s Woodstock Farms snack manufacturing and sales business, which has delivered incremental profitable growth under her leadership.

Balian dedicated her time to volunteering to support the homeless in Toronto.

Rizzo developed four new loyalty reward continuity programs — Endzone, Get Grilling, Spring it On and Back to School — offering strong incentives to frequent shoppers and incentivizing higher baskets while filling in gap periods between the company’s Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas flagship continuity programs.

She oversaw and managed the upgrade of the Weis Preferred Shopper Gold card program, resulting in increased personalization and a 25% rise in customer engagement.

A 2013 graduate of the Cornell University Food Management Program, Rizzo served as the team lead for strategic planning at Weis Markets.



We are proud to honor our 2024 Top Women in Grocery . Congratulations to Hayley Berkshire and Colleen Callahan for their exceptional achievements in the Rising Star category .

Rising Star Vice President Sales, Accounts

Rising Star Customer Team Lead, Ahold-Delhaize


2024 Top Women in Grocery

Christensen and her team rolled out Whole Foods’ new pollinator policy for fresh produce and floral; the policy requires suppliers to implement integrated pest management systems by 2025 to reduce their reliance on toxic chemical pesticides.

She oversaw the retailer’s new offering of European Union organic farmed salmon at its U.S. seafood departments, with the exception of California, due to its state law requirements.

Christensen served on the board of directors of the Global Animal Partnership, in which role she collaborated with industry partners to advocate for the ethical treatment of animals within the food production system.

Under Warren’s guidance, Acosta secured nationwide acceptance of global dairy company Lactalis’ core assortment, positioning the company for a 12% sales increase; addressing key voids at a divisional level was instrumental, leading to the expansion of 2,277 store counts.

She secured the U.S. presence of Indian brand RAASA by orchestrating a pivotal top-to-top meeting, which allowed for the acquisition of more than 3,500 new distribution points.

Warren rekindled the interest of Albertsons leadership by highlighting the compelling story of Chung’s Gourmet Foods; the strategic focus on best-selling items led to the nationwide acceptance of four core products.

Minardi and her team oversaw the process, from initial concept development to implementation, to bring to life Amazon’s first-ever robotic hardware-assisted grocery fulfillment center, which employs advanced technology to optimize supply chain operations.

Sustainability is one of her top priorities across Whole Foods and Amazon’s physical stores: Her team’s efforts resulted in a 5% emissions reduction for Whole Foods and 4% for Amazon stores in 2023 compared with the previous year.

When not at work, Minardi was a passionate supporter of several community programs, among them Hot Bread Kitchen and the Bowery Mission.

Smart managed three successful national rollouts across Kroger, Albertsons and Food Lion, completing 3,100 display installations on time and under budget, with $400,000 in cost savings.

Overseeing a $3.5 million budget, she onboarded, trained and managed three merchandising teams driving execution results of more than 90%, in addition to completing a $2.9 million rollout project on time, with a success rate of 99.8%.

Smart managed more than 20% of FrontLine’s retail revenue, which included spearheading retail development at Food Lion in Q3 2023 that increased FrontLine’s front end business by 6%, driving $355,000 in incremental retail sales.

Rising Stars

Amanda Albert Associate Director of Client Services and Business Development, Advantage Experiential Services, Advantage Solutions

Albert extended her expertise to launch targeted e-commerce shopper programs, including the pet program, which generated annual revenue exceeding $60,000.

She spearheaded a collaboration with the Meijer media team, leveraging Hispanic Heritage Month to showcase seven Hispanic-owned brands at 50 stores; this resulted in event day sales seeing an 106.76% lift, accompanied by a significant increase in units sold.

Albert led the initial sell-in, development and implementation of year-to-date digital programming, resulting in $1.4 million in incremental revenue for the business.

As co-leader for her regional banner within Advantage Customer Experience, Barrett orchestrated the transition from a shared model to a dedicated service business model, resulting in the establishment of a cohesive client services all-in operations team.

In her role within Meijer’s ACX In-Store Sampling Team, she created 3,700 events, with a 87% execution rate, the highest since the platform’s relaunch.

Barrett’s strategic initiatives, including the implementation of new standard operating procedures and enhancements to the new-hire process, resulted in a 42% reduction in turnover and a 27% increase in execution rate.

Angela Barrett Director of Operations, Advantage Experiential Services, Advantage Solutions


2024 Top Women in Grocery

With significant rate hikes and the green light to bill previously unaccounted expenses, Paim’s team underwent restructuring, adopting shorter cycles and smaller territories; despite the heightened workload, they sustained 90%-plus staffing for six months and counting.

A retailer client tasked her with a significant project that involved reflowing 130 stores within a fourmonth deadline, and although this fell outside the scope of her remodel team, it dedicated 175 hours to each store, exceeding established metrics.

Paim received the SAS Golden Dart Award for Accurate Forecasting, underscoring her uncanny ability to predict market trends accurately.

Harris’ leadership bolstered the Walmart/Target demo program, catapulting demonstration execution rates from 13% in July 2023 to 96% by January 2024.

She played a key role in the launch of Hostess baked goods in the New England market, ensuring comprehensive service twice a week across all Stop & Shop markets, and her partnership with Campbell’s snacks division facilitated seamless grocery resets in the Chicago and northern Indiana markets.

While her efforts to execute and diversify business ventures contributed to a 13% increase in sales from 2022 to 2023 for her region, Harris also supported local wounded veteran projects.

Diane Belvedere Field Leader, Advantage Solutions CDS

Belvedere singlehandedly began the CDS Canada campaign to support the Terry Fox Foundation; the campaign raised more than $10,000 for cancer research and was the highest fundraiser of any newcomer to the foundation.

She led CDS’ involvement in the Costco Charity Golf Tournament, which saw 50-plus employees work on six golf courses simultaneously; the charity event raised millions of dollars for BC Children’s Hospital.

Recognizing the many different facets of the company’s associate group and wanting to celebrate their diverse interests, Belvedere put together the CDS Canada Has Talent program, during which associates could share their stories and talents.

Becirovic handled the long-range financial analysis for the company’s supply chain, developing new skills and learning from both internal and external partners as she helped to shape the future of ADUSA’s supply chain through 2038.

She completed analysis for ADUSA that helped avoid $11 million in cost, pushed her partners to think differently about vacancy rates and corralled miscellaneous corporate card spend — keeping costs low so the company could show up for customers when they needed it most.

Becirovic was community relationships chair for CARE, a family and caregivers business resource group (BRG).

Jeanne Williams Program Director, Advantage Solutions SAS Retail Services/ Denver Division

Williams was tasked with cleaning up 12,000plus hours of makeup work in her division, which she managed while handling her regular workload demands plus volunteer work such as supporting Project Linus, an organization devoted to providing handmade blankets to children in need age 0-18.

She helped launch wine in Albertsons’ Colorado stores; the program experienced a significant revenue increase, climbing from $8.5 million in 2022 to $11 million — a 23% lift.

Additionally, Williams spearheaded initiatives aimed at enhancing store compliance rates through AI-led store intelligence offerings, improving transformation from 13% to 92%.

Booth took on an interim chief of staff assignment for the EVP and senior leadership team, organizing the executive team and facilitating meetings, coordinating site visits, and developing presentation content for senior executives.

She led the year-long productivity arm of a value generation project, implementing a governance process, helping establish a monthly financial reporting process and providing clarity to team members.

Booth spearheaded the initialization of a stand-alone truck shop for a transportation facility, resulting in faster asset maintenance turnaround times — the average went from 40-plus inoperable trailers to fewer than five.

Hannah Fair

Services, Advantage Solutions SAS Retail Services/ Zelus

Due in large part to Fair’s leadership, her programs were poised to shift the company’s overall revenue from $4.2 million in 2023 to $9 million in 2024.

She leveraged Power BI to streamline a manual billing process, reducing the billing prep time from 14 days to just a few hours and providing estimated labor cost savings of $40,000.

In addition to serving as chair of SAS’s CONNECT strategic work action groups, Fair streamlined a client’s outdated processes, ensuring that what was once a highly manual process for an internal system survey was now easily accessed by the field and the client for instant visibility and monitoring.

Under Griffin’s guidance, the STAR (Safe, Trained, Appreciated and Respected) program was successfully implemented at selected distribution centers, resulting in a 12.09% improvement in associate retention.

She supported the development of coworkers in their transportation knowledge and connections, leading to a significant improvement in the Mauldin, S.C., distribution center’s on-time delivery rate.

Griffin actively engaged in initiatives beyond her immediate responsibilities, serving as a subject-matter expert in the competency project and representing the organization in promotional videos for its continuing-education pattern, Workforce Edge.

Becky Griffin Continuous Improvement Manager, ADUSA Distribution

Hinds created associate engagement programs, such as Industrial Athletes, that recognized and rewarded associates for going above and beyond by giving them preferred schedules — thereby driving higher production and a safer work environment.

She was integral in establishing the veteran ambassador program, which provided a peer mentor for newly hired veterans, ensuring that they had a smooth and supportive onboarding experience; the program is now being replicated company-wide.

Hinds developed and implemented tracking tools, including labor planning and management of indirect-hours usage, to drive a higher awareness and achievement of production goals.

Previously category manager for beauty, Arnold doubled her responsibility and portfolio when she was tapped to oversee health as well; despite supply challenges and inflation, her sales increased by more than 10%, and she improved market share across all KPIs.

She worked with key business partners to implement a new business strategy to improve stock at shelf, boost financial results, and reduce shrink in health and beauty.

Arnold volunteered for Food Lion Feeds, the company’s hunger relief initiative, and she was active in the African American, women’s, Hispanic and Latino, and Asian and Pacific Islander business resource groups.

Mohler played a key role in process documentation for the HR business partner team, building standardized processes for increased efficiency and writing numerous company policies.

She reduced payroll time by two hours weekly, enhancing overall operational efficiency for her team, and helped address turnover at the Schodack landing facility, surpassing the goal of 97%.

In addition to being a member of the Capital Region HR Association, Mohler was part of the economic development committee for the Downtown Albany Business Improvement District to help bring economic development to Albany, N.Y.; she also worked as a volunteer emergency medical technician.

Fordham’s region achieved a 9% increase in grocery sales in 2023 over 2022, and she led her team to notable growth in multiple departments, including deli and bakery (up 11% year over year), produce (up 9% year over year), and The Market (up 3% year over year).

As a director of operations for Food Lion in North Carolina, she played a pivotal role in the relocation of a store that subsequently showed a 25% increase in sales.

Fordham served on the board of H.O.P.E (Helping Other People Eat) in Winston-Salem, N.C., and is a member of Leadership Winston-Salem’s Energizer Committee; she also served on the advisory board for the Food Lion Feeds Charitable Foundation.

Noonan redesigned the recoup process for identifying and repacking damaged cases, leading to a total of $1 million in product being saved from shrink or damages through the end of 2023 and putting that product back in the hands of customers.

Through her leadership of the recoup process, she enabled the Manchester, Conn., distribution center to donate $1.2 million to local food banks in 2023; she also enabled the facility to partner with Connecticut Foodshare, expanding the company’s impact.

Noonan spearheaded holiday giveaways of food and cleaning products to assist associates through difficult times during the festive season.

Jennifer Gebhardt Commercial Planning Manager, Food Lion

Gebhardt was responsible for the Food Lion ad-planning process, and 2023 was the strongest year on record for ad flyer sales, which rose 20%; Food Lion also saw greater customer engagement with its digital ad flyer.

She was responsible for creating and implementing a new process for bulk orders during the holiday season; the improvement led to more than $1 million in incremental sales in Q4 2023.

In 2023, Gebhardt was promoted to commercial planning manager, from commercial planning specialist; despite being busy at work, she served on her church’s Children’s Ministry Council and volunteered with Food Lion Feeds.

Alesina’s categories of condiments/sauces and shelf-stable sides posted sales increases topping 15% and profitability increases of 17%; she paved the way for market share gains of 36 points in sales and 48 points in both units and volume through strategic partnerships with key suppliers, and innovative sales-planning techniques.

Working with the private-brand development team, she helped design and bring to market 24 new own-brand products, which contributed to 8.5% sales growth.

In addition to volunteering for Food Lion Feeds, Alesina was a member of the women’s business resource group (BRG) and supported the veterans and military BRG.

Center Store Training, Food Lion

Hartpence was nominated by senior leadership to represent center store in special projects for a new e-commerce platform and a web-based product master data management tool.

As center store talent planning lead, Hartpence partnered with HR to identify and develop top talent and recruit associates, helping to create a mentorship program that exposed associates to various leaders outside of their immediate team; she also devised a series of 15 microlearning sessions on leadership for category managers and assistant category managers.

Hartpence volunteered at Rowan Helping Ministries and Food Lion Feeds.


2024 Top Women in Grocery

Langford was one of two associates tasked with a retail compensation strategy project; the team created a tool that provided retail leaders with key compensation metrics and pay rate decisions.

She launched a program to help employees take advantage of company benefits that enhanced health and wellness, financial management, career and education, and community; by October 2023, 92% of associates had completed the program, and the company saw a 30% decrease of turnover in the first 90 days of employment among associates who participated.

Langford served on the Chief Talent and Learning Officer Board at the Institute for Corporate Productivity (I4CP).

Love led meat and seafood to a 43-basis-point increase in volume share in 2023; she also created new merchandising and assortments in her categories as part of a refined omnichannel strategy for Food Lion’s Home Meal Solutions (HMS), which delivered a 5% volume increase.

She introduced a new merchandising approach for HMS, centralizing and locating solutions at store entrances; the initiative contributed to fresh department unit growth of more than 5%.

Love received the category, merchandising and pricing department’s Count on Me award and was an active member of the Food Lion women’s business resource group.

Marshburn implemented a new digital tool aimed at enhancing in-stock conditions with vendor partners and was instrumental in the successful opening of two new stores in her division.

At the time of her nomination as a Top Woman in Grocery, she was building a comprehensive plan to implement digital food safety, which included training and cultural change initiatives, with rollout plans across all stores slated by the end of 2024.

Marshburn spearheaded an inaugural partnership with NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Jeb Burton for a Food Lion Feeds food drive, and she was a dedicated member of the women’s and veterans and military business resource groups.

This past year, Owens spearheaded a 5% increase in sales, exceeding the forecast, and customer count increased by 4%, a testament to her focus on enhancing the overall omnichannel shopping experience.

One of Owens’ priorities was ensuring product availability, as reflected by her region’s No. 2 ranking for in-stock results within her division; moreover, her commitment to food safety and workplace safety resulted in outstanding scores of 95% and 97%, respectively.

Owens’ region contributed more than 380 volunteer hours to local food banks in 2023, a remarkable 275% increase from the previous year, in addition to being the equivalent of more than 120,000 meals.

Top Women in Grocery

Michelle Perry Director – Digital Marketing & eCommerce Morgan Jones Director – Communications & Community Involvement Stephanie Herrington Category Manager
C g a la i s

2024 Top Women in Grocery

Pendergrass helped expand refrigeration in 67 stores, with a minimum sales gain of almost $600 in stores within the deli/ bakery/home meal solution department, and rolled out corner merchandising units to test in 10 stores, thereby increasing merchandising space.

She and her team improved the overall deli/bakery/home meal solutions e-commerce business, increasing the percentage of total sales by 29 basis points and achieving double-digit sales growth.

A member of Food Lion’s women’s and veterans and military business resource groups, Pendergrass also served as a mentor for five associates.

Banks undertook the successful multimillion-dollar rollout of mobility devices to all 193 Giant Co. stores, during which she was involved in scoping, knowledge gathering and device setup as part of the project’s initial phases, and co-led the piloting and implementation of the devices in stores.

She oversaw a major upgrade of The Giant Co.’s primary communications task management tool, which entailed extensive testing and troubleshooting, as well as the creation of all training materials and videos.

Banks helped stand up the MOSAIC business resource group, which promotes diversity, inclusivity and awareness about other cultures.

Over the past year, Blauch drove seven-figure incremental sales for deli through negotiated programs that offer customers value products.

She launched a new program to inspire deli customers to build charcuterie boards easily and affordably, driving multimillion-dollar sales during the fourth quarter — an increase of more than 40% over the prior year.

Identifying a need in the business, Blauch developed a chain-wide training program to provide new and current deli associates with all of the requisite tools for success, including the proper operation of equipment, the correct performance of routine equipment maintenance, and the development of superior customer service skills.


Blauch and her team analyzed the multicultural merchandising needs of each store through a review of individual demographics, business insights and store associate experience, employing item cut-ins, full resets, store reflows and secondary locations; as a result, global flavors category sales increased 5.3% over the prior year.

Her constant monitoring of social media, trade publications and customer feedback delivered incremental sales for The Giant Co., thanks to products like Dely Gely and Orion Turtle Chips.

Blauch’s charitable support includes departmental events with Project Share, a hunger relief organization based in Carlisle, Pa., and The Salvation Army’s Adopt-A-Family program.

YODEE RIVERA Coborn’s Store Director Store Director SAMANTHA SIMMONS Director of Operations-District IV Rising Star We proudly recognize these and all the outstanding women leaders in our industry. women

Jena Bomboy

The Giant Co. Bomboy quickly mastered her new role of managing the HR function for retail operations across the full brand, standardizing communication of HR-related topics across regions and implementing consistent channels for disseminating pertinent messages.

She implemented The Giant Co.’s first-ever survey to gauge the overall mental well-being of retail team members and gather suggestions on how to better support their overall wellness, launching a cross-functional project team to recommend continuous improvements in this area.

The parent of a child cancer survivor, Bomboy performed in her family’s music group at Four Diamonds events.


Tasked with optimizing marketing coupon spending while maintaining a solid flow of new customers to The Giant Co.’s websites, Kegel achieved a 60% reduction in coupon spending while maintaining a new customer rate of 93%.

She improved the mix of channels that customers were entering — pickup, delivery or third party — growing the most profitable channel and decreasing the less profitable channels to boost the overall profitability of the business.

Among her other charitable activities, Kegel was a member of a team participating in the Go Red for Women campaign committed to raising $5,000 for the American Heart Association.

Thanks to McCoy’s negotiations with suppliers to secure additional funding to reduce shrink on new item launches, total dairy shrink in Q3 and Q4 of 2023 decreased by 10 basis points versus the previous year, with the yogurt category seeing a reduction of 80 basis points.

Working with internal partners and suppliers, she identified an opportunity to deliver six-figure cost savings in the egg category.

McCoy volunteered with the Central PA Food Bank and served as a parent helper/assistant coach with the Eagle FC Soccer League, as well as helping out at her sons’ schools to coordinate and plan functions.

Capitalizing on the trend of increasing loyalty engagement offers, Mulleady implemented a new price-driven targeted campaign that drove a multimillion-dollar increase in incremental sales, with a sales-to-cost ratio that surpassed the campaign’s goal.

During Q4 2023, her team introduced seasonal campaigns to deliver to customers the best value ever for Thanksgiving and Christmas: Using loyalty offers, Choice program members could save up to $50.

Mulleady was co-chair of LINC, a business resource group that develops individual growth, supports business ideas and makes a difference in the community; in this position, she could facilitate team member development.



COVER FEATURE 2024 Top Women in Grocery
VP Talent Senior-Level Executive Award
Jan Fiske
Manager, Finance Rising Star Award
Phuong Dinh
Manager, Category Rising Star Award
Specialist, Produce, Floral, Bake Rising Star Award
Becky Fanion Samantha Jennings
Specialist, Community Relations Rising Star Award
Shannon Karafian
Perishable Manager Rising Star Award
Store Manager Store Manager Award Alyse Hyde Store Manager Store Manager Award
Santos Nonperishable Manager Rising Star Award Lindsey Shapiro HR Business Partner Rising Star Award
Brittany Cavallaro
Specialist, Customer Service Rising Star Award
Manager, Value Messaging Rising Star Award
Caitlin Sharif
Val Soto
Manager, Category Rising Star Award 54 RISING STARS
Geralyn Szczurko

2024 Top Women in Grocery

Pifer spearheaded a waste stream management project to help a perishable distribution center obtain a Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection storm water permit; working with operational partners, she secured the permit at the end of 2023.

She streamlined inventory control reporting by collaborating with others to develop one simple report that all users aligned on to provide timely inventory disposition, thereby allowing additional time for her team to focus on store operations requests.

Pifer joined the Barrier Free business resource group, which seeks to raise awareness of and break down physical, intellectual and sensory barriers for all customers and team members.

In 2023, Quigley and her team delivered total sales growth of 2.3% and e-commerce sales growth of 10% for her category.

This past January, she introduced a value planogram of health and beauty care items with prices between $1 and $1.25, with margins higher than the category average, to combat dollar stores; initial performance was favorable, with each store selling an average of 17 units in week one.

Quigley led the health and beauty team to partner with Sanofi and Terracycle on a customer-facing health and beauty plastic tube recycling drive; the collected plastic was repurposed into three garden beds and two park benches.

Jennifer Schell

Schell created a hiring/development initiative in her region to create career pathing for internal candidates through in-store career days, a regional panel and weekly walk-in interview days at each location; as a result, there were 100-plus in-store promotions last year in her region.

She led operations on a sprint team to assist an underperforming urban market, reducing costs and driving profits to improve the underlying operating profit by 99 basis points versus last year and comps by 5.52%.

Schell and her team members teamed up to provide gifts and write holiday cards including inspirational messages for more than 4,000 underprivileged children in the area.

Scott worked on a cross-functional team to accelerate merchandising initiatives and enhance partnerships to facilitate the transformation of many self-distribution projects. which resulted in a positive six-figure financial impact.

She also partnered with internal teams at The Giant Co. to get approval to include nonprofit vendors in the vendor proxy setup process, a move that shortened the timeline to get such organizations set up in the grocer’s system.

In her work with Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), Scott supported local programs ensuring the safety and well-being of at-risk children.

JESSICA GARABRANT Senior Manager, Merchandising

MARGARET ORCIARI Manager, Merchandising

KATIE MURPHY Senior Manager, Business Continuity

ANNA RITCHIE Supervisor, Procurement Decision Science MICHELE MARTELL Manager, Customer Solutions

2024 Top Women in Grocery

Under Shirley’s visionary guidance, the pharmacy team exceeded industry standards and emerged as a leader in department unit growth; in the past year, pharmacy sales grew by more than 22%, while shrink dramatically improved by more than 280%.

She also led The Giant Co.’s vaccination program, which grew the number of vaccines administered by more than 14%.

An engaged participant in many philanthropic efforts and a frequent volunteer in community efforts, Shirley served on the advisory council for Vista Autism Services; professionally, she was a Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association member and active in the Pennsylvania Association of Chain Drug Stores.

Under her leadership, Scott’s team was able to achieve continued growth in her pharmacy sales by 8% year over year, and she exceeded her 2023 sales budget by almost $1 million amid providing a health hub for her community.

With a focus on education, she was able to increase vaccine awareness in her community, where immunization rates were typically low and members of the community could be resistant to receiving immunizations.

Despite a demanding work schedule, Scott was active in her community, volunteering for many external expos around Baltimore while also performing numerous internal immunization clinics to improve health care access and knowledge.

Crystal Smith Brand Manager, Shopper Marketing, The Giant Co. By streamlining the submission process and collaborating across both merchandising and marketing to align and enhance all shopper marketing activations, Smith overdelivered on her revenue budget for shopper marketing by an impressive 23% versus the prior year.

She integrated in-store demonstration vendor partners into the shopper marketing team, creating synergies and line of sight to assist with seasonally relevant in-store demonstrations; this resulted in a 20% increase in demonstration revenue over the past year.

Smith also served as an advocate for The Giant Co.’s corporate social responsibility programs by helping vendors understand their benefits.

Stankovich exceeded frozen sales and financial targets year on year; her financial performance in frozen was an average of 500 basis points greater than her peer group.

Since the pandemic, planogram integrity has been an area of concern across the store, but Stankovich’s planograms excelled in merchandising, as they were on-trend, customer-focused and visually appealing, with adequate packout.

After Giant Food completed a major project on product hierarchy and restructuring portfolios that affected frozen, Stankovich took a leadership role to ensure that all changes were handled properly to ensure the least amount of disruption.

Kunecki created new processes for training and accountability for associates, sent daily reports with out-of-stock (OOS) findings and partnered with each shift to help them improve; these actions resulted in the lowest maintained historical picker OOS percentage.

She redesigned the entire inventory and quality assurance team at Giant Delivers in Hanover, Md., resulting in dramatically improved inventory accuracy and fewer controllable customer complaints.

Kunecki supported the opening of an e-commerce fulfillment center (EFC) in Manassas, Va., which led to the facility’s having a 3.4% OOS based on her recommendations — the top OOS percentage for an EFC opening.

Brewster led significant digital loyalty program improvements for the websites and mobile apps for the brands of Ahold Delhaize USA; she also led the migration process for one of Ahold Delhaize USA’s largest brands onto an internal digital platform.

She spearheaded the launch of multiple health-andwellness initiatives, including shoppable recipes and a new pharmacy payment solution for digital channels.

By driving continuous improvements in the reliability and functionality of coupons and savings capabilities, Brewster helped drive a 9% lift in customer satisfaction, with the savings survey category showing the strongest growth.

Anne Louis Human Resources Business Partner, Giant Food

Louis took on the additional responsibility of creating the recruitment and onboarding processes as part of the retail contingency plan for UFCW contract negotiations; she created process documentation and a communication plan and facilitated a train-the-trainer class with the HR business partner team before the contract expired.

She partnered with Loudoun County, Va., schools to launch a 10-week English-as-a-second-language pilot, providing a no-charge opportunity for interested employees to build their communication skills.

Louis’ store teams hired more than 1,300 new retail associates while minimizing turnover, achieving a best-in-class 53% new-hire turnover rate.

Jain helped solve some of the major pain points in substitutions processes from both a customer and associate standpoint; customer engagement with these features has been steadily increasing, and associate feedback has also been positive.

She led her team to provide greater visibility to in-store transactions, digital receipts and alternative payment methods, and expanded delivery options in support of evolving fulfillment strategies; she also set up a streamlined process for third-party marketplace engagements in regard to planning, prioritization and budgeting.

Jain volunteered at local shelters and for Indian community outreach events.


In 2022, Marczak took on oversight of the program design and implementation of internship and co-op programs; in 2023, she enhanced these initiatives with perspectives from business partners and stakeholders across the company, creating a clear internal roadmap featuring best practices.

She supported students in early-talent programs with expanded learning opportunities to meet their unique needs, bringing in experts to discuss a variety of critical topics.

As Side x Side’s board chair, Marczak saw the group apply for and receive $242,000 in congressionally directed spending; the funds supported a year-long professional development series in arts integration for educators.

Not only did Karafian grow the Stop & Shop School Food Pantry Program to 48 schools in New York City, she also brokered two partnerships to help students access produce: a nonprofit’s new mobile truck, and the transportation of produce from Hunts Point Market to school pantries.

With various nonprofits, she launched a pilot to provide low-income diabetes patients with prescription produce cards enabling them to buy healthy fresh fruits and vegetables, and also featuring nutrition education.

Karafian coordinated largescale and impactful associate volunteer opportunities, including events with major vendor partners and local celebrities.

Having received a promotion in May 2023, Dinh led critical process improvements in finance for fresh merchandising teams, including an updated forecasting tool that increased collaboration and helped teams better understand the trajectory of the business.

She was instrumental in facilitating Finance 101 sessions to give merchandising teams more tools for managing their businesses.

Dinh was a chair and treasurer of the women’s associate resource group, and she was the team lead for the Boston Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk in October, managing sign-ups and pre-event and sponsorship communications, and running the event-day booth.

Santiago increased her store’s net promoter score by five points by using customer service as a differentiator to compete with a new store in town, and she was able to keep customers coming back.

She was a recognized leader among her peers, reaching out to them when she saw them struggling with a key performance indicator, but she did this in manner that wasn’t perceived as off-putting, and people tended to gravitate to her.

An active leader in the community, Santiago served as a chair on the company’s Pride associate resource group and led many donation efforts to help those in need, including a garage sale held at her store.

Fanion drove omnichannel growth by collaborating with the e-commerce and marketing teams to implement webpages for greenhouse-grown, local and summer programs that could be easily updated with the same processes as seasons change.

She revamped and established processes for Stop & Shop’s local program for the first time, minimizing receiving and invoicing discrepancies and delivering increased margins due to weekly cost negotiations.

Fanion represented Stop & Shop on the board of the New England Produce Council, and at holiday time, she coordinated a volunteering event in which associates supported three local community organizations.

Santos took on the role of temporary store manager on various occasions in 2023; at these times, she led by example and created a friendly work environment with frontline associates to build morale throughout the stores.

On Valentine’s Day, a store she managed achieved record-breaking sales in the floral department, despite the lack of a permanent floral lead — instead, she coached and mentored a part-time associate to run the department during this key holiday.

Santos received her district’s Better Neighbor Award in 2023 for developing multiple events and forming an in-store volunteer team that helped organize community events.

Jennings recognized the need to create store-specific diagrams to aid in the execution and maintenance of standards; because of this, her district showed the most consistent high-level merchandising execution versus the six closest districts.

To improve profitability, she initiated one-on-one training with the perishable and department managers at each store she supported, helping those stores achieve the largest increases in the area.

Jennings participated in two food drives to support local food pantries, as well as the annual Breast Cancer Walk in Providence, R.I., and the Relay for Life fundraiser in Fall River, Mass.

& Shop

When Shapiro entered the district, it was down three full-time leaders, so she immediately set about hiring and identifying home-grown talent as well as external candidates; this past year alone, she prepared three full-timers for promotion through succession planning.

She additionally organized weekly training classes for assistant store managers to aid in their development, partnering with store managers to help create the content and facilitate the training classes.

Shapiro took an active role in Store #2520’s Thanksgiving dinner giveaway event in Rocky Point, N.Y., teaming with the police department to give 750-plus dinner kits to the community.

Lindsey Shapiro Human Resources Business Partner, Stop Berenice Santos Nonperishable Manager, Stop & Shop Josephine

2024 Top Women in Grocery

Under Sharif’s guidance, the 16 stores in her district increased their online orders by more than 2,500 orders each week; her knowledge and passion for driving this new area of business has made her an expert and excellent resource.

She continued to grow the district’s online business through mentoring, training and coaching online pickup teams; this work has improved the district’s out-ofstock percentage and reduced wait times at all locations.

In 2023, Sharif supported communities through such district events as Feeding Westchester’s Golden Scoop, Stuff-A-Bus, the Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk, Turkey Express and Cuddles for Cassidy.

Banuelos increased customer use of DoorDash by relaunching and expanding DoubleDash, which enables customers to order grocery delivery for no additional fee within 15 minutes of placing restaurant delivery orders, allowing DoorDash customers to expand beyond meals into more verticals while providing Albertsons with a pipeline of new digital customers.

She launched stand-alone Uber Eats alcohol storefronts and introduced alcohol into the core grocery marketplace assortment just in time for holidays.

Banuelos upped share of sales from loyalty members by 500 basis points on Instacart, 800 basis points on Uber Eats and 1,820 basis points on DoorDash.

Soto led the sign and tag execution elements of a cross-functional initiative to enhance value messaging across all customer touchpoints, leading to a redesign of all signs and tags to amplify and simplify company messaging.

She proactively sought out a temporary assignment with the strategy team for the development of the 2024 company strategy, participating in the development of strategic priorities and the establishment of an initiative framework for the upcoming fiscal year.

Soto was one of just seven associates selected to provide counsel on strategic initiatives to Ahold Delhaize executive committee members as part of the Future Generations Board.

Recipient of the Cloud Platforms Operations Manager of the Year award, Calpito established operations playbooks and metrics to improve overall team performance.

She addressed all system vulnerabilities, including the automation of various operating system and product patches, upgrades, certificate renewals, and policy implementations, which led to a more secure and stable environment and products.

Calpito implemented a data protection solution to 810 critical data sources in collaboration with her teammates in various locations to secure Albertsons data, which will support continuous business operations in the event of a disaster.

Szczurko implemented a transformative SKU rationalization and assortment simplification for seafood, ensuring that the right products were available in the right stores.

By implementing off-shelf programs tailored to optimize product availability, she enhanced the overall shopping experience while maximizing sales and in-stock positions; her strategic approach to planogram development ensured the correct packout configurations, further driving sales performance and operational efficiency.

As well as serving as a riding instructor and the regional president of the Interscholastic Equestrian Association, Szczurko helps with large-animal rescues.

Manager, Branded Concepts, Albertsons Cos.

Cruz oversaw the implementation of consumer-centric marketing and loyalty solutions for the retailer’s branded concepts, including Starbucks.

Working across functions, she resolved often complex ecosystems and leveraged technology to develop better processes, address operational issues and pursue new avenues for growth; her work, including the rollout of new promotions, expanded the Starbucks portfolio: Sales at Albertsons Starbucks locations are among the best in the industry.

Cruz attended the Cornell Executive Leadership Program and was active in the Recipe for Change Alliance and the Women’s Inspiration & Inclusion Network, both at Albertsons.

Gee Alcid Manager-IT Service Desk Quality Assurance, Training and Knowledge Management, Albertsons Cos.

Alcid established the company-wide knowledge management (KM) Center of Excellence (CoE) practice and team for Albertsons Philtech to drive a culture of knowledge-driven service delivery; she was also an advocate for KM initiatives.

Her KM CoE team was instrumental to the Philtech business services group, which provided offshore business support and services to Albertsons U.S. in such areas as digital, merchandising, human resources, and finance and administration.

Alcid completed an analysis of training needs and identified gaps, addressing opportunities and enhanced competencies in various teams.

Guiding system functionality for the retailer’s order management systems, Donepudi worked with stakeholders at all corporate, divisional and distribution center locations in the United States, and interfaced with offshore IT teams in India and the Philippines.

She enhanced the supply chain and retail systems to help warehouses fulfill e-commerce direct-to-consumer and Drive Up and Go orders, coordinated user training and acceptance testing of system changes, and led supply chain system changes related to the pending Albertsons-Kroger merger.

Donepudi rallied team members to take part in team-building and holiday events.

Alaina Cruz Senior Nerozel

2024 Top Women in Grocery

Herringer was at the forefront of Albertsons’ new direct-to-consumer shipping of wine, standing up that business unit and overseeing the Vine & Cellar website and marketing; she also sourced and priced wines and managed the wine fulfillment center.

The Vine & Cellar concept went from vision to reality in a mere 10 months and can now ship more than 2,000 wines to every resident of California, resulting in higher incremental sales and expanded e-comm functionality beyond DTC wine sales.

Herringer passed prestigious wine exams and shared her time as an advisory board member with a group fostering work readiness and entrepreneurship among students.

Alexa Langona Senior Director Category Management and Innovation-Own Brands Meat and Seafood, Albertsons Cos.

Langona led category management for the retailer’s largest and most complex portfolio, with $2.9 billion in revenue.

In a challenging year with various inflation, deflation and regulatory changes, she was instrumental in developing a new category strategy and assortment process across fresh for Albertsons and piloting the first four categories; she also oversaw plans to transform several categories with innovations and optimization.

A member of the Women’s Meat Industry Network, Langona spoke at last year’s Annual Meat Conference and was an active member of Albertsons’ Women’s Inspiration & Inclusion Network.

Ivanis-Rogers oversaw the business venture’s execution team on a portfolio valued at more than $185 million and co-led the acquisition of new investment portfolio companies, among other responsibilities.

She launched Albertsons’ Innovation Launchpad competition event at Expo West in 2023, drawing more than 900 emerging-brand applications and recognizing three winners; she also initiated work with Project Potluck, which helps people of color grow their careers and businesses in the CPG industry.

Away from work, Ivanis-Rogers served on the board of Naturally Bay Area as well as on the PitchSlam committee to help small brands gain visibility.

Debbie Lohmeyer Director Product Development, Packaging and Nutrition, Albertsons Cos.

Lohmeyer led product development innovation, productivity and maintenance in the Own Brands center store and shelf stable categories, along with product quality testing, nutrition science and packaging compliance.

She steered the strategy of Own Brands nutrition criteria for new packaged items, established tracking of Own Brand items for future reformulation, and co-led the Own Brand product quality commitment agenda; she and her new team generated more than $42 million in savings for Own Brand productivity projects.

Lohmeyer contributed her time to the Institute of Food Technologists, the Project Management Institute and FMI.

Jessica Jarrett Manager, Marketing and Communication, Albertsons Cos.

Supporting the company’s retail media arm, Albertsons Media Collective, Jarrett worked across functions on marketing communication programs and vehicles, and designed and delivered social media training to senior leadership teams.

Thanks to her efforts, the group moved from a startup to a top industry voice, with nearly 200,000 media mentions in a year; Albertsons Media Collective grew its share of voice (SOV) fivefold in a year to comprise 26.4% of the retail media industry’s SOV, ahead of several competing grocers.

Jarrett was an active member of Albertsons’ Women’s Inspiration & Inclusion Network and hoped to join that associate resource group’s board.

Long National Category Director, Albertsons Cos.

Long was promoted to her current role in 2023 to head up national bakery category initiatives for 12 divisions and 23 banners.

She helped launch a custom cake online platform that was still in pilot phase but already seeing resultshe time of her nomination, recently negotiated multimillion-dollar investments for bakery, created new training tools for divisions, and added bulk bakery items to digital assets for easier e-commerce experiences.

A U.S. Army veteran, Long cochaired the veterans associate resource group at Albertsons and volunteered her time with the International Dairy Deli Bakery Association, as well as taking part in several food and book drives in her community.

Overseeing more than 2,270 stores’ item management setup and using more than eight systems, Kamys’ responsibilities included all fresh departments, and she was involved in training for all VPs, directors, category managers, sales managers and assistant sales managers.

She led the complex work to clean up 48,000 recipes in merged systems, finishing the projected 12-month project within a mere seven months and helping Albertsons identify areas where it could improve financial performance and build consumer confidence.

Kamys shared her expertise with such industry groups as FMI and IDDBA, and she volunteered for the FishWise seafood sustainability initiative.

Overseeing pharmacy wholesaler relationships, manufacturer relationships and contracting, Malone managed a multibillion-dollar wholesaler agreement; she was also a liaison for her team with peer pharmacy departments, merchandising teams and strategic sourcing teams.

She delivered twice the multimillion-dollar productivity cost savings on a year-over-year basis; negotiated more than 50 contracts with manufacturers, wholesalers and group purchasing organizations; and ensured adequate pharmaceutical product supply for stores during a period of disruption.

Malone was a board member and communications committee chair of the Pharmacy Women’s Inspiration & Inclusion Network.

Caitlin Malone Director, Pharmacy Procurement, Albertsons Cos. Sarah
Best Oil. Filter. Experience. Follow us: 888.459.2112 Scan for Masterfil® Reusable Fabric Filter Sample

MANAGING FRYER OIL: A Benefit for Employees, Customers and the Bottom Line

Oil Solutions Group, Inc.® (OSG) is a family-run business that has been working with foodservice customers to tackle frying oil challenges since its inception in 2008. Progressive Grocer spoke with OSG President Todd Wixson to learn how Masterfil® reusable fabric filters help grocers manage the oil in their foodservice operations, improve kitchen efficiency and deliver better-tasting food in the process.

Progressive Grocer: Foodservice has become such an important component of grocery retailing today. Why should stores consider changing the way they’re handling the oil they use?

Todd Wixson: There is so much cooking happening in grocery stores right now — it is quite impressive to see menus expanding to include everything from simple deli-fried chicken to complete brands and concepts. Because frying oil is expensive and prone to mistreatment, it is important to have a solid oil management program in place — one that will result in consistent quality food coming from your fryers and a safer process for your team. Oil Solutions Group specializes in matching the best kitchen practices with best-in-class oil management products, and we’re proud to partner with grocery and deli leaders to help them optimize their foodservice offerings.

PG: What challenges do stores face when it comes to managing oil?

TW: By far the biggest challenge lies with the tasks surrounding filtering frequency

and maintenance of the mechanical equipment. Compared to other kitchen tasks, filtering is hard, dangerous, and dirty. It is not unique to see brands struggle to filter, clean, boil out and take ownership of the fryers. Our goal is to make those tasks easier by sharing our process expertise and our lineup of products that are designed to reduce the effort and minimize the risks involved in managing oil.

PG: How can OSG’s Masterfil filter help stores overcome these challenges?

TW: Masterfil filters work in a completely different way than traditional filters, which haven’t changed in generations. They’re reusable for 7 days — you just scrape the crumbs off the top, so there’s no need to continually handle daily filters. That delivers a multitude of benefits for grocery retailers:

Extended Oil Life Masterfil is a 0.5micron filter media vs 60+ micron for daily paper filters. Better filter media equals longer oil life.

Reduced Oil Waste. Each daily paper filter soaks upwards of 20 ounces of oil — perfectly good oil that goes in the trash when you use daily filters. The Masterfil 7-day filter eliminates that waste because you can leave it in for a week before having to change it.

Labor Savings Removing and replacing the daily filter, along with extra time spent in cleaning, drying and handling, can take 30 minutes or more. Masterfil transforms that 30-minute job into a 2-minute task.

The bottom line is that Masterfil filters make the filtering process easier, and that means it will happen more frequently, resulting in better finished product and

longer lasting oil no matter the size of your operation.

PG: Does Masterfil require a specific filtration machine? Or can it work with a store’s existing equipment?

TW: Masterfil filters come in 80+ sizes, so there is a filter to fit any mechanical filtration application — everything from built-in filter units to portable filter machines. OSG also manufacturers the Armadillo® filter machine, the industry’s finest portable filter machine that is engineered to be modular and virtually eliminate service calls.

Operators who have switched to Masterfil filters report business-changing savings across their operations:


Total NET savings of $105,000+ across brand — $13,000+ per store

• Extended oil life in chicken fryers from 3 to 7 days

• Extended oil life in remaining fryers from 5 to 14 days


7,000 pounds of oil per store saved by changing filter media from paper to Masterfil®


Total NET savings of $2,000,000+ across brand — $10,000+ per store

• 27 jugs of oil saved per store, annually

• 415 hours of labor reduced per store, annually


2024 Top Women in Grocery

McIntyre was responsible for portfolio strategy, white-space opportunities for new brands and portfolio innovations, future action planning, and consumer insights for the entire Own Brands organization.

In a new role, she was key in establishing Own Brands’ long-term vision and partnered with category teams to develop innovations in priority categories; she led a detailed analytical assessment to identify priority categories for short- and long-term growth, and drove alignment with the Own Brands and Albertsons leadership teams.

McIntyre served as a mentor with the National Association of Women MBAs.

Working in the e-commerce fulfillment group, Parthasarathy led the homegrown AcuPick product that helped associates pick, pack and process e-commerce grocery orders across more than 2,000 stores.

She improved the e-comm substitution experience, with customer satisfaction scores up 20%; enhanced AcuPick to reduce wait time for customers; introduced a new and improved AcuPick 2.0; and launched flash fulfillment for pickup and delivery within 30 to 40 minutes of ordering.

Parthasarathy was a passionate advocate for women and nonbinary individuals in tech as a member of the group.

Mendoza supervised applications enabling offer creation for the business and timely offer redemption for more than 40 million Albertsons loyalty customers.

She initiated and executed global initiatives that eliminated customer pain points and prevented $13.3 million in possible missed discount redemptions; she also reconciled a $1.5 million-dollar discrepancy in the accounting report to bill manufacturer vendors and introduced a new store form for an enterprise promotion engine startup.

A member of the Women’s Inspiration & Inclusion Network, Mendoza volunteered with the company’s corporate responsibility program to provide hunger relief and help at-risk youth.

Ramirez-Ahuja spearheaded loyalty membership strategy, building loyalty program benefits/ perks, features, partnerships and experiences to win customers for life; her role was national in scale.

She led the complex relaunch of the grocer’s loyalty/rewards program and helped drive double-digit growth across key business metrics, lifting loyalty membership by 17% versus the previous year and upping FreshPass subscribers by 32%.

Ramirez-Ahuja was one of three enterprise-wide leaders selected to participate in the McKinsey Hispanic/Latino Executive Leadership program; outside of work, she was involved in various local community activities.

Managing Albertsons’ partnerships with the DoorDash and Uber Eats marketplaces, Michels maximized the retailer’s storefront presence over the delivery platforms and ensured a broad geography of offerings.

She launched storefronts dedicated to the deli, floral, bakery and pet categories on DoorDash, boosting category sales, and she partnered with DoorDash to launch Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) EBT payments, with the aim of including all eligible banners by the end of fiscal 2024.

Active in the Women’s Inspiration & Inclusion Network, the Pride Alliance, and the veterans associate resource group, Michels volunteered for Meals on Wheels and Special Olympics.

Sanderson worked to achieve and maintain business metrics while examining new ways to improve processes such as reviewing and improving performance on promotional vehicles, understanding item seasonality, and steering projects pertinent to creating efficiencies; she was recently elevated to this role from that of replenishment solutions director.

In her new position, she maintained industry-leading levels in forecast accuracy in percentage of sales and percentage of items, and led the charge to bring new items onto the forecast and replenishment platform.

Sanderson was recognized by Albertsons as a replenishment support star.

Recently promoted, Moir oversaw all immunization, travel health, point-of-care testing, prescribing services, vendor-sponsored clinical programs and diabetes engagement programs in the retailer’s pharmacy locations.

She helped drive and support more than 6 million clinical services at pharmacies; among her other accomplishments were designing a strategy to become first to market for the RSV vaccine launch, creating patient engagement programs at Albertsons pharmacies, and working with her team to redesign the travel program.

Moir worked with pharmaceutical organizations and took part in Pfizer retail working groups for the RSV and Prevnar vaccines.

Sell was an HR partner for a portfolio of 22 distribution centers with 14,000 associates across 14 states.

On her watch, overall distribution center turnover saw a 14.7% reduction, while turnover among warehouse order selectors dropped 34.4% and overall associate engagement in the supply chain organization rose 7.6%; she also created the first internship program for distribution centers and plants.

An unwavering advocate for diversity at all points of the business’ supply chain, Sell also helped stand up Albertsons’ veterans associate resource group, which she subsequently helped grow to almost 500 members.

Vicki Sell Senior

Thomas partnered with the executive team and division leadership to understand the causes of turnover and develop solutions to substantially improve retention, associate satisfaction and customer net promoter scores (NPS).

She led the launch of camera and AI software to remove friction at self-checkout, and her initiatives resulted in consistent improvement in NPS and a meaningful reduction in retail associate turnover.

Thomas created the Spirit Award to honor front-line associates from each division; she also served on Albertsons’ Inclusion, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Council and belonged to several associate resource groups.

Quinn Christensen Center Store Ops, Albertsons Cos./ Intermountain Division

Christensen managed 19 store locations across a 400-mile radius and three states, working directly with 19 assistant store directors and 19 grocery managers, and she also covered for the district manager when they were out.

She ran the best center store shrink in the division, as well as running a 5% increase year over year in total center store sales.

In the realm of community involvement, Christensen helped hand out 200 stockings to a local school, and she also dropped off 100 stockings to a Ronald McDonald House for children battling serious illnesses; additionally, she helped facilitate a donation drive for the We Care fund, raising around $4,000.

Brenda Valley Director FP&A, Digital and E-Commerce, Albertsons Cos.

Valley oversaw digital business financial planning and analytics for Albertsons Cos., and she was responsible for building forecasts, budget projections, data analysis, financial analysis and weekly reporting for several cross-functional groups.

She led her team through budget cuts without cutting work and innovation through smart finance strategy, and she was a key enabler for the team to deliver double-digit year-over-year growth and achieve all underlying metrics.

Valley was the vice chair of the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Council at Albertsons, and she was also actively involved with NextUp, the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and Special Olympics.

Katina Wood Senior Labor Relations Manager, Albertsons Cos./ Intermountain Division

Wood was either a participant or decision-maker in all union negotiations across her division, affecting eight states and more than 90 stores.

She influenced decision-making when controlling legal liability to address associate concerns and issues that arose before they reached a legal charge, and those contributions have saved the division hundreds of thousands of dollars over her tenure.

Wood successfully completed three union negotiations, completed and addressed 77 union grievances, and was selected as a mentor as part of the company’s formal mentorship program; she also received the Albertsons Cos. Role Model Award.

As an IT manager at Safeway Philtech Inc., Villarta led a team that supported the software applications of Albertsons Cos. for retail front end and checkout operations, and through her leadership, incidents and issues affecting point-of-sale applications and systems decreased.

She worked to integrate associate self-service tools to store iPads, and the adoption rate increased exponentially, resulting in cost avoidance of about $12,000 monthly.

Villarta was the organizer of a company interest group that encouraged a healthy lifestyle through running, and she was also a member of the Philtech Band, which provided music at company events.

Cos./ Jewel-Osco

Ahlgrain was responsible for front end teams and customer service associates at 38 stores, in which capacity she focused on everyday communication with her teams to help bring about ideas on how to increase sales and deliver the best customer service.

She led the district team to successfully pass the corporate compliance and anti-money laundering audits with a 99% pass rate, and also helped promote five new front end managers.

Ahlgrain partnered with the American Heart Association at four stores, and she also organized a bowling and golf event for two districts to raise money for Jewel-Osco Holiday Bucks.

Claims, Albertsons Cos.

In early 2023, Webb reviewed the Albertsons Cos. Workers’ Compensation Claims Program and had successfully overhauled it by April of that year, helping the company realize seven-figure cost savings for the fiscal year.

Additionally, she conducted an evaluation of the managed care program and decided to move it from an existing vendor to the company’s third-party claims administrator, with the result that it became more efficient and cost-effective.

Webb was recognized by Insurance Business Review as one of the Top 10 Claims Directors for 2023, and she has served on the Pacific Claims Executives Association Board of Directors since 2014.

Amanda Boaldin Director, Front End, Customer Service, Retail Integrity, Albertsons Cos./ Jewel-Osco

Boaldin partnered with multiple Jewel-Osco teams to align customer service initiatives to support and enhance the strategic direction of the company.

She was instrumental in helping to deliver on a variety of metrics, including net promoter scores, lottery sales and gift card sales; under her leadership, lottery sales increased by 7.6% and commissions by 7.9%, maintaining Jewel-Osco as the top lottery retailer in Illinois.

Boaldin was the executive sponsor of the division PRIDE associate resource group, and she also volunteered with local organizations to help pregnant women and new moms married to wounded or deployed soldiers.


2024 Top Women in Grocery

Browen was responsible for all Jewel-Osco marketing programs across 188 stores, including weekly circulars, out of home, radio and television, as well as digital and social channels; she also led all sports partnerships and many community programs.

She launched Jewel-Osco’s TikTok channel and gained more than 17,000 followers in the first year; she also expanded the Jewel-Osco mascot brand throughout the Chicagoland area, with JoJo the mascot attending nearly 200 events in 2023 — an increase of 150% year over year.

Browen designed and executed the first MOMents campaign to show appreciation for moms in the Chicagoland area.

Olivia Cotton Deli Operations Specialist, Albertsons Cos./ Jewel-Osco

Cotten helped drive sales and financial results by teaching, training and coaching 19 store department teams to effectively implement merchandising and sales, and control expenses.

She held the district-best sales for Panera soup, with a 348% year-over-year increase, worked with deli managers and e-commerce teams to maintain a division-leading stock level, and also achieved division-best shrink results for period 11 last year.

A member of two Albertsons associate resource groups, Cotten helped deliver 8,000plus meals to families in need over Thanksgiving and Christmas, and also volunteered at the Northern Illinois Food Bank.

Maria Brushenko District Manager, Albertsons Cos./ Jewel-Osco

Brushenko, who had oversight of 18 stores and more than 3,000 associates, was lauded by her company for her level of detail, ownership, pride and engagement as she dug into her stores and conveyed high expectations to their respective teams.

She was ranked first or second in nine of 26 key category metrics, including EBITDA, labor, customer service and turnover.

Brushenko also received the Associate Resource Group Leadership Award for her efforts in spearheading the Women’s Inspiration & Inclusion Network associate resource group at Albertsons, and for her efforts with regard to coaching, mentoring and inclusion of other associate resource group chairs.


partnered with the Jewel-Osco leadership team to provide strategic direction for the e-commerce department and proved to be an outstanding leader in the division by providing coaching, training and development for the upcoming generation.

She successfully led the first Cyber Saturday sale for the company, resulting in a 169% sales increase and setting a record day in sales, orders and units; yearover-year e-commerce sales and orders also increased, while outof-stocks improved by 20%.

Devereux helped launch Flash delivery and Flash Drive Up & Go in 177 e-commerce locations, offering a new service of delivery in less than an hour.

Carmen Calderon Human Resources Representative, Albertsons Cos./ Jewel-Osco

Calderon was the most senior human resources representative for the Jewel-Osco distribution center, supporting a total population of more than 1,200 union, nonunion, exempt and non-exempt associates.

She increased the distribution centers’ diversity number by nearly 10% through leveraging community contacts and advertising campaigns, as well as through the launch of new interview panel requirements to ensure a diverse panel.

Calderon also spearheaded the launch of standardized HR walks focusing specifically on employee engagement and morale, leading to a significant increase in hourly retention year over year.


36 Osco pharmacies in the Chicagoland area, Foust was within the top 10 of district pharmacy managers countrywide each period.

Her combined districts administered more than 125,000 flu, COVID and RSV shots this past year, which was 31% more than planned; she also grew new relationships within her community and captured 64 new vaccine clinics, an increase of 82% year over year.

Foust captured market share and new patients at a higher rate than all other areas by rallying her teams to provide the best patient experience; additionally, she successfully increased both script ID and sales in her district.

Collins was responsible for a district consisting of 20 bakeries and four Starbucks Coffee kiosks, and which generated millions in sales annually; she was the lead on all district events, including store remodels, re-grand openings, and Black History Month and Juneteenth events.

She achieved the highest gross profit percentage, making her district the most profitable in bakery, and was consistently first in several core programming categories, among them tray sales, cake category sales and cupcake sales.

This year, Collins partnered with a new vendor, which was expected to increase the cake category by more than 5%.

Hoguet oversaw the day-to-day operation of the produce department, ensuring product quality, implementing sales strategies, developing weekly merchandising plans and collaborating with vendors for best cost of goods for all 188 Jewel-Osco stores.

She guided the marketing and merchandising of fresh-cut produce in her stores, and grew sales in the fresh-cut vegetable category by 180% year over year on select items that she developed with an outside source.

Hoguet also moved the department’s dollar share up 2.7% and unit share up 4.7% while growing and enhancing the Asian category with new items and innovative merchandising.

Pam Collins Bakery/Coffee Operations Specialist, Albertsons Cos./ Jewel-Osco Monique Hoguet Assistant Sales Manager-Produce, Albertsons Cos./ Jewel-Osco
The Ar T of Merch A ndising
800-444-4665 TRIONONLINE.COM/ART © 2024 Trion Industries, Inc.

Kilcoyne led and managed the floral sales teams at 188 Jewel-Osco stores, providing guidance, training and motivation to ensure high performance and customer satisfaction.

The 2023 Mother’s Day holiday reached an all-time high under her direction, with sales and units up double digits year over year.

Kilcoyne also led the Jewel-Osco floral team to first place for identical sales and second place for units within Albertsons Cos; she and her team conducted a successful all-day store teams planning and training meeting, which included sessions devoted to balloon upgrades, holiday designs, potted upgrades, care and handling, holiday merchandising, and ordering.

In addition to performing all of the functions of a category manager across several deli categories, Stewart was the department lead on both internal and third-party e-commerce operations.

She took the lead on updating the company’s entertaining/ catering program in 2023 and, through careful analysis, was able to eliminate slow movers, introduce new items and update menus, which resulted in an increase in entertaining sales and gross-profit dollars.

Stewart was part of several associate resource groups within Jewel-Osco, and also volunteered with several organizations throughout the community, including Grant A Wish and Ignite.


Rodriguez was responsible for operations at the Jewel-Osco deli production center, projecting the daily needs of stores and scheduling the ordering, production and delivery of items to stores; she also oversaw the hiring, training and scheduling of center personnel, as well as food safety and sanitation.

Under her leadership, the number of stores serviced by the center expanded from 19 to 67, and daily production increased more than 300% over the past year.

Rodriguez’s daily production system integrating actual daily inventory into the projected sales model for each store led to higher sales and less shrink.

Rachel Russel Patient Care Services Manager, Albertsons Cos./ Jewel-Osco

Russel was responsible for growing and expanding pharmacy clinical services, driving 436 new outside vaccination clinics, representing 34,000 incremental vaccines and achieving a division record; in total, outside clinics grew 55% over the previous year.

She also coordinated with a Pfizer representative to provide education and one-on-one training on pneumonia vaccines with technician staff, and since the start of this effort, the pneumonia vaccine category has grown by 40%

An active member of the company’s Pharmacy Women’s Inspiration & Inclusion Network associate resource group, Russel was highlighted in the group’s Beyond the Counter spotlight.

Schmitz influenced the Jewel-Osco pharmacy’s performance across 34 stores and roughly 90 pharmacists, and spent this post-pandemic year refocusing her team and getting everyone back to the basics.

She captured market share and new patients at a higher rate than all other areas, even while seeing competitor disruption, and she rallied her teams to provide the best patient experience and keep Jewel-Osco’s doors open to new pharmacy customers.

A proponent of driving new pharmacy-based services and HIV specialized care, Schmitz took on two new pharmacies that were specially trained to provide HIV PrEP/PEP services based on patient need.

Trucco championed Jewel-Osco’s mascot, JoJo, at events, increasing the brand by 150% year over year.

She grew the number of charitable grants distributed from the Jewel-Osco Foundation by 40% and supported more than 550 local organizations and events.

Trucco proactively engaged with lawmakers on grocery retail legislation and the statewide migrant issue in Illinois, and joined forces with the Salvation Army to collect donations for newly arrived migrants; she also worked with HR and operations to hire more than 100 migrants in stores.

Marshall implemented a comprehensive shrink improvement plan across the division that resulted in substantial savings.

Under her leadership, Albertsons’ ReadyMeals program surged in the Mid-Atlantic division, achieving a remarkable 12.9% increase in sales compared with last year.

Beyond her professional endeavors, Marshall participated in numerous community activities, including Starbucks All In Community events in Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia, as well as the D.C. Feast of Sharing event, where she curated the menu, helped with logistical planning, and even volunteered alongside community members.

Susan Rorke-Lawler Project Manager, Albertsons Cos./ Mid-Atlantic Division

Rorke-Lawler developed a Catering Playbook for the company’s Balducci locations, helping Balducci’s attain upwards of 30% sales growth.

Using her knowledge and experience from more than 200 past store and data conversions, she led multifunctional teams to plan and flawlessly execute the transformation of a former ShopRite location into an Acme in just 13 days.

Rorke-Lawler co-produced the company’s annual Safeway Feast of Sharing in Washington, D.C., with no prior experience in an event of this nature; her work included soliciting and managing more than 1,000 volunteers and acting as the co-on-site contact on the day of the event.


2024 Top Women in Grocery

As district manager for Safeway’s district 87 in Virginia, Valenzuela exceeded sales projections and budgeted EBITDA for the year; she was also named Best in Class in the Mid-Atlantic division for Market Guard and Project Sherlock.

She invested a lot of time and energy in developing and mentoring her team and empowered associates to act as owners, as well as working with other district managers within her division to offer advice and support.

Outside of her career, Valenzuela, an avid animal lover, has rescued and rehomed seven dogs; in one case, she handled the expense of moving a dog from Mexico to Virginia.

A highly strategic, people-centric leader, Sandoval oversaw the GM/HBC program at Albertsons’ largest distribution center; she also managed the asset recovery center, an on-site facility where all 284 Safeway stores sent their recyclables, compostables and return-to-cycle assets.

She helped turn around an underperforming GM/HBC program, achieving a five-basepoint improvement in cases per hour that resulted in more than $700,000 in annual cost savings.

Sandoval also collaborated closely with the Northern California retail team and successfully restructured the Northern California seasonal inventory distribution plan.

After taking on a new role at Albertsons last year, Ward was asked to assume additional responsibilities within the division, due to unforeseen circumstances; her leadership and willingness to step in resulted in a promotion to her current title.

She oversaw and co-produced the annual Safeway Feast of Sharing in Washington, D.C., which was attended by local government officials and captured significant press coverage, highlighting the Safeway brand.

Through Ward’s leadership, the Mid-Atlantic division raised more than $8 million through the Acme, Safeway, Kings and Balducci’s foundations.

Wade was an excellent mentor to her department specialist, who was recently promoted, and also shared her knowledge with assistant store director trainees.

She took over the Premium project and made such immediate process improvements as implementing quarterly seasonal changeovers, creating an online portal for stores to reference and initiating a monthly conference call with stores; these changes helped the stores in her division grow their sales by 2.59%.

Wade helped the seasonal desk grow sales by managing markdowns to a granular level; looking at sell-through by segment, UPC and store; and taking the appropriate pricing action.


Sales Manager, Service Deli, Albertsons Cos./Northern California Division

Bell spearheaded in-person cheese training for 130 deli managers and cheese specialists, and she also worked with her cheese supplier, KeHe, to boost the division’s cut-andwrap specialty cheese sales by 14% in 2023.

She took on several new initiatives over the past year, including Vision PRO/Herro maintenance, Big Book creative and proofing, and Facebook Live events.

With an eye toward career growth, Bell spent additional time learning about financial planning, grand openings/remodels, and equipment/construction process and planning; despite this, she also continued to mentor two deli department specialists.

Kelly Flores

Manager, Albertsons Cos./ Portland Division

Flores was a key part of the success at Albertsons’ Portland, Ore., distribution center (DC), which is recognized as a best-in-class facility for food safety and other metrics.

As the first female operations manager at the Portland facility, she worked hard to provide a platform for other female leaders.

At a time when the industry was struggling to find and recruit employees, Flores took the initiative by partnering with third-party labor services to ensure that the DC had a solid labor plan to support its stores each week; she also encouraged employee retention by ensuring that key elements were executed during onboarding and weekly training follow-up sessions.

Shortly after taking on her current position, Nordahl encountered union contract negotiations for the first time, when her clerical staff joined a union; she immersed herself in reading the contract and could help senior leadership understand her position, thus leading to a successful ratification.

Understanding the importance of SOX inventory controls, she helped resolve issues as they arose, enabling her distribution center to successfully complete all of its cycle counts.

Nordahl developed her management team from the ground up, hand-selecting her supervisors and clerks.

Overseeing seven operating areas and their operation specialists, Kelly completed an entire overhaul of all bakery ingredients and updated all of the labels for store-made items.

She innovated products that were unique to the market, and successfully launched several initiatives at stores.

In addition to her regular duties, Kelly participated in internal groups like Albertsons’ Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging Council and event-planning teams, as well as taking part in multiple associate resource groups; she was also called on to lead several associate engagement initiatives and activities, among them the division holiday team-building event.

Mackenzie Cecelia Kelly Assistant Bakery Sales Manager, Albertsons Cos./ Portland Division

Thanks for all you do to make Food Lion a great place to work and shop.

to our Top Women in Grocery!
Lydia Alesina Category Manager Michelle Arnold Category Manager, Health & Beauty Care Madelina Fordham Director of Operations Jennifer Gebhardt Commercial Planning Manager Brandi Langford Director, HR Strategy Wanda Marshburn Merchandising Director Lisa Owens Director of Operations Ronda Pendergrass Merchandising Manager, Deli/Bakery/HMS Tina Allston Store Manager Kristie Bay Store Manager Caryn Conover Store Manager Renee Cook Store Manager Sacari Hamlett Store Manager Brittany Humphrey Store Manager Thelma Nichols Store Manager Angela Robinson Store Manager Helen Spencer Store Manager Ashley Yarborough Store Manager Lauren Hartpence Manager, Center Store Training Karen Fernald Senior Vice President, Fresh Category, Merchandising and Pricing Jenny Love Merchandising Manager, Meat & Seafood

2024 Top Women in Grocery

Osborne came up with an innovative pilot that used foundation funding to increase the company’s SNAP produce match from $5 to $10; with the resulting data showing a significant increase in redemptions, she successfully lobbied for state and federal funding to keep the match at $10 for the next three years.

She helped increase the district’s food donations by 29%, thereby saving composting costs and improving stores’ community impact; this work gained accolades from the Pacific Coast Food Waste Commitment.

Osborne helped get naming rights for the company at the cancer center of Seattle Children’s Hospital.


Boyd created a store director training mentor checklist and materials that were used by more than 50 store director trainees.

She revamped the New Associate Orientation into a virtual format and hosted a centralized onboarding experience for nearly 300 new associates.

As co-chair of the Albertsons African American Leadership Council, Boyd organized a Juneteenth celebration at the division office that reached more than 50 associates, and she supplied 35 volunteers for local community events; she also supported the Hispanic Leadership Network by rallying members to donate to the Monarch School and to volunteer for the Homeboy Industries Holiday Carnival.

Ronda Richardson Floral Operations Specialist-Districts 21 and 22, Albertsons Cos./ Seattle Division

Richardson worked closely with the 23 stores she served to develop floral managers’ business skills; her efforts helped floral achieve double-digit sales growth through most of 2023 while exceeding the profit plan in most stores.

She helped open a centralized design center at one of the retailer’s Alaska stores; this center is located in an expanded in-store floral department and features space for mass production and centralized orders.

Richardson was recognized by local vendors for her communication skills and partnership in sourcing local items; her stores also received numerous awards for their floral departments.

Ashley Charfauros Meat Operations Specialist, Albertsons Cos./ Southern California Division

Charfauros developed four meat managers over the past year, and she guided three more candidates through the apprenticeship program.

She created an initiative to reduce shrink in lower-volume stores: Changing the merchandising containers in the display full-service case to a new bowl design allowed stores to order and display less product while maintaining variety and presentation standards.

Through communication and planning with her meat manager team, Charfauros increased district sales by deploying a handtrimmed chicken initiative; her sales for fiscal year 2023 were double those of the lowest-performing district.

Tammy Lemnah Center Store Operations Specialist, Albertsons Cos./ Shaw’s Division

During her tenure as the Drive Up & Go operations manager, Lemnah led the District 5 e-commerce business forward with high marks in on-time filling and picks per hour, low out-of-stocks, and a record low complaint rate.

Promoted to her current role in May 2023, she quickly worked to build a team focused on driving the business forward through great customer service and operational excellence; since then, her department has seen division-leading customer service scores and low out-of-stocks.

Lemnah took on a lead role during historic flooding in Montpelier, Vt., supporting the community with water and packaged goods.

As an e-com-

merce operations manager, Dawsen ran a micro-fulfillment center, where she contributed to higher order volume by an average of 700 orders per week; she helped streamline the pickup and delivery process, boosted customer satisfaction and improved operation effectiveness, as well as upping the number of items handled by the robotic system.

She worked with vendors, marketing teams, district managers, store managers and assistants to implement new merchandising strategies and sales-driving events.

Among her other community efforts, Dawsen volunteered at Olivewood Garden and Learning Center, which teaches children about sustainable agriculture.

Melissa Lowell-Sloan Bakery Sales Manager, Albertsons Cos./ Shaw’s Division

Lowell-Sloan, who oversaw the in-store bakery, commercial bakery and Starbucks in her division, planned the merchandising for all three businesses, staying on budget and furthering sales plans.

She was the driving force behind a 5 Star Cake Decorator initiative implemented at all Star Market and Shaw’s stores; this initiative helped interested candidates achieve the designation, classification and certification of an exceptional cake decorator.

Lowell-Sloan mentored junior colleagues with the passion of a true leader; she was also a strong advocate for advancing women in their careers and never hesitated to share her knowledge with others.

Gilboy received the 2023 Starbucks Star Award for her leadership and partnership with the Starbucks team to grow sales and customer connection; her commitment to training, coaching and development led her team to perform at the top tier nationally in customer connection and tie for second place in customer connection out of all Starbucks locations.

Her district had some of the highest Own Brand performance in the division: Own Brand sales penetration numbers were above 30% in many of her stores, driving profitable sales in her district.

Gilboy volunteered at local events with her team to help the homeless in downtown San Diego and in support of the San Diego Food Bank.


Morrison developed a balloon certification program for store associates while preparing for upcoming trends and local municipality ESG ordinances; she implemented a complete ESG initiative to reduce the use of plastic and moved to recycled materials for all wrapping needs.

Her support and planning of micro-holidays and events resulted in positive sales and gross profit results; in addition, her planning and merchandising efforts resulted in record-breaking Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day sales results.

For National Teddy Bear Day, she and a vendor donated 100 teddy bears and a financial grant to a foster care support agency.

An FTD Master

Designer and Texas Master Florist, Nalley transformed a district with the lowest identical sales, low gross and high shrink to one with the highest identical sales, highest gross and lowest shrink in the Southern division in just six months, and also exceeded floral upgrades by more than 200%.

Known for the genuine care and concern she brought to her team, she trained more than 50 floral managers, two floral operations specialists and several floral designers this past year.

A five-time recipient of the Floral Field Merchandiser of the Year title, Nalley used her spare time to volunteer at North Texas Food Bank, where she assembled meals for more than 2,000 families.

Bishop delivered positive sales for four years running and helped elevate the bakeries in the division; she delivered $4.38 million over last year’s sales, on top of adding $10.5 million the prior year, and her fresh sales mix, units and average basket amounts all surpassed the previous year’s performance.

Her team developed quick reference codes/how-to videos for all bakery categories to facilitate instant training, and she also built a traveling team of vendor partners to help deliver results; the team assisted 12 stores in three days.

Bishop worked with the foster care ministry at Pathway and was a court-appointed special advocate for children.

Stryker consistently planned and executed profitable sales promotions that made a significant impact on the bottom line and were recognized by the SVP of merchandising for the Southern division.

She increased volume in sales and units for local brands that were previously unknown, allowing the store to successfully compete with supermarkets as well as specialty businesses.

As well as contributing to charity events held by Albertsons and the Dallas Cowboys, Stryker created her own charitable nonprofit organization, Welcoming Hope, for children entering the foster care system, ensuring that they have all of the items they need as they make this momentous transition.

Ashley Canonica Senior Director, Marketing, Albertsons Cos./ Southern Division

Canonica’s cutting-edge loyalty efforts included targeting lapsed shoppers with mailers that led to a $9.99 incremental spend per week and engaging top-spend customers with digital platform offers that saw 81% retention for redeemers.

As a key point person on large-scale sports sponsorships, she negotiated with the Dallas Cowboys to restructure and update in the middle of a 10-year contract to create additional opportunities for traffic-driving initiatives.

She spearheaded community and volunteer events both locally and in partnership with the Dallas Cowboys, including the adoption of three inner-city schools.

Debbie Gaines Lubbock Area Food Service Supervisor, Albertsons Cos./United Supermarkets

Gaines played an instrumental role in developing and operating one of The United Family’s newest projects, Covenant Hospital ReadyMeals! Café, a line of chef-inspired meal solutions made in-house; the program exceeded initial weekly sales projections.

She was a critical contributor to a partnership with the Lubbock Independent School District’s culinary program, which allowed United’s foodservice team to help educate high school culinary students, and she also helped create the new catering/concierge supervisor position.

Gaines worked with the Lubbock National Charity League, which supports 30-plus nonprofits, and she served on the United We Care board.

Elizabeth Ing Department Specialist, Albertsons Cos./ Southern Division

Ing’s tech skills and forward thinking helped elevate execution levels within the bakeries; her strategic and innovative use of QR codes allowed seamless process, product and procedure updates and afforded associates instant access to information.

As a self-taught food photographer, she routinely shot photos for printed and digital advertisement circulation, saving the division time and money; she also helped create and design a virtual three-day Beginner Cake Decorating training program.

Ing participated in Light the Night 5K runs to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and she worked with Breakthrough for Brain Tumors to raise funds for research.

Detwiler led design, development and implementation of a vendor-supported home store program for independent grocers that will generate resources to perform 20,000-plusindividual shelf reset activities across AWG’s approximately 3,000 stores this year.

She helped reinvent AWG brands with new award-winning package designs, online marketing programs, category strategies and the launch of quality control laboratory capabilities; she also improved sales performance of AWG brands by 15% and financial benefits to AWG’s members by more than 25%.

Detwiler guided the development of improved member communication programs for the field sales teams.


2024 Top Women in Grocery

A 20-year Brookshire Grocery Co. veteran, Herrington studied market analyses of consumer trends, best practices and changing demographics to establish appropriate product pricing; she also worked with corporate communications to develop category-specific communications for upcoming promotions.

She exceeded her 2023 sales plan by 7.39%; in the gift card category alone, she increased sales by 67%.

Last year, Herrington was recognized company-wide during Women’s History Month; she also works with vendors on sponsorships for the FRESH 15 race, whose total revenue is donated to local nonprofits that help needy families.

Jones worked on Brookshire’s announcement that it was selling 20 pharmacies to Walgreens; the project included more than 70 announcement materials and ongoing post-announcement communications, all targeted at a specific audience.

She led the team in hosting the 2023 Leadership Conference, a three-day event attended by close to 500 store directors and retail support leaders; it included training sessions, a leadership meeting, a food show and guest speakers.

Jones’ leadership helped break the record for the most money ever raised by Brookshire’s Charity Golf Tournament, which brought in $730,000.

Michelle Perry Director of Digital Marketing and E-commerce, Brookshire Grocery Co.

Perry led the launch of new websites and an app for the Brookshire banner after having done so for three other banners over the past two years; the new website, which enabled the company to localize content on store pages and highlight events, helped drive a year-over-year e-commerce increase of 3.19%.

She also propelled new opportunities for vendors to advertise on the website and apps to drive sales; this included website banners, sponsored searches and landing pages.

Perry helped Brookshire’s community involvement team serve meals to veterans and their families at a Veterans Day Parade at a local veterans’ home.

Garabant’s leadership helped outpace financial thresholds for company objectives that exceeded 10%.

She grew top-line food show sales by 21% year over year; this involved improving retailer ordering capabilities, evolving the event’s layout to generate foot traffic, and partnering with manufacturers to drive incremental deals and funding.

Garabrant mentored three team members who took on leadership roles, and she led her team in returning to pre-pandemic levels of promotional funding; she was also a key stakeholder in the company’s partnership with the local United Way for holiday adopt-a-family programs as well as clothing and food drives.

Progressive Grocer Top Women in Grocery 2024 DAWN CIANCI C u s t o m e r D e v e l o p m e n t M a n a g e r Thank you for your outstanding leadership and dedication! congratulations to our rising star honoree

2024 Top Women in Grocery

Martell assisted with the implementation of an automation solution that affected C&S’ largest customer, resulting in a 50% decrease in processing time for customer service; she also optimized customer relationship reporting to 1,000 users, saving $20,000 annually.

She facilitated the creation of an enhanced bilingual user support medium across 14 functions; led the quality testing of 2,000-plus scenarios to prepare 600 retailers for interaction with a new customer solution, increasing engagement by about 10%; and onboarded 600 new customers onto a portal.

Beyond her job, Martell was a member of C&S’ women’s employee resource group.

Murphy managed and led 300-plus leaders in learning to respond to more than 50 disruption events; these ranged from weather hazards and natural disasters to external supply chain issues such as a West Coast port stoppage.

She formalized C&S’ Cyber Incident Response Plan based on industry standards and case studies, and she was a panelist at three industry events focused on food safety and cybersecurity, supply chain disruptions, and post-disaster food resilience.

Murphy served on the Emerging Leaders board of the New Jersey Community Food Bank; Emerging Leaders is a group of young professionals dedicated to fighting hunger in New Jersey.

Facing volume fluctuations that affected inventory predictions, Orciari worked with IT to ensure that proper forecasting recommendations were populating its systems, and reviewed forecasting models to guarantee that all inputs and recommendations were accurate.

She successfully integrated strategic workflows that created opportunities for C&S and a particular customer, and she also worked cross-functionally with a new acquisition, taking the lead in determining how certain activities could potentially benefit from regional versus corporate management.

Orciari was instrumental in securing participants for C&S’ 2023 Charity Golf Outing.

Ritchie was instrumental in developing and implementing RELEX, a software that provided solutions in forecasting and replenishment; its benefits included the flexibility to evolve with supply chain needs, improved service metrics, a reduction in unsaleable inventory, and operational efficiency.

She also created a Google site for procurement that was used as a training platform when software was deployed; it consolidated essential terminology and logic to cross-functionally simplify the process for all team members.

Despite her busy work and home lives, Ritchie maintained a 4.0 GPA while working on her MBA degree.


2024 Top Women in Grocery

Hilary Kouch Customer VP Sales, North Regional Grocery, Campbell Soup Co.-Snacks Kouch and her team outpaced snacks year to date and forecasted full fiscal-year growth of 50%; they drove category growth for all reporting customers of 20 to 40 basis points ahead of total snacks, and the team drove share growth of all customers, outpacing the retailers’ share by up to 130 basis points.

Kouch was a leader in Campbell’s Diversity and Inclusion Sales Council, which fostered learning opportunities to drive diversity and inclusion culture among the sales team.

Following their baby’s 2022 cancer diagnosis, Kouch and her husband launched The Buddy Fund for others in similar situations who need help with food, housing and transportation.

Samantha Simmons Director Operations, District 5, Coborn’s Inc.

With several years as a store director and merchandising leader under her belt, Simmons drew from her real-life “in the aisles” experiences, coaching her team on how these affect customers.

Post-COVID, retailers faced economic upheaval and unprecedented inflation; despite her youth, she navigated those challenges with her evenkeeled, focused nature, driving sales growth that outpaced the industry as a whole and delivering bottom-line results that outperformed both the company and the industry.

Simmons sat on the board of directors for the Fargo, N.D., Salvation Army, in which capacity she coordinated Hombacher’s annual holiday ham donation.

Sarah Hart Director of Revenue Growth ManagementWalmart and Sam’s Club, The CocaCola Co.

Hart developed custom dashboards for new items, allowing bottling partners to track execution and performance by club and bottler territory; this led to the establishment of three new club packages and an expanded limited-time offer assortment, generating $42 million-plus in incremental revenue for Sam’s Club’s sparkling water business.

She structured the 2024 business plan involving the company, bottlers and the customer, enabling strong volume and revenue growth; this involved coordinating plans and commitments among 33 bottlers.

Hart was an active member of NextUp and the Women’s Foodservice Forum.

Velasco Arana grew Sam’s sparkling water business by $100 million (11%), gaining more than 0.2 points of category share within the chain and gaining upwards of 0.3 share points versus the rest of the market; this made Sam’s the fastest-growing retail customer in volume for Coca-Cola.

She commercialized three new club packages, generating $17 million in incremental sales for Sam’s, and she successfully sold an expanded limited-time offer assortment, for an additional $25 million in incremental sales.

Velasco Arana volunteered with the Rogers, Ark., Chamber of Commerce, where she shared her journey as a Latina professional with high school students.

TO OUR 2024 TOP WOMEN IN GROCERY Congratulations

Host Experience Generalist Rising Star
Rising Star
Sherrie Johnson
Hillary Kriner
Whitney Workman

2024 Top Women in Grocery

Herring experienced a banner year in 2023: She exceeded budget revenue by $4.2 million (2%) at Sam’s Club, her largest customer; she delivered total club revenue of $283 million, growing sales by 18%; and she reintroduced Coke de Mexico.

She also expanded core club packages at BJ’s Wholesale and Costco; along with her partners, she drove more than 80,000 incremental cases and permanent expansion on sparkling soft-drink mini cans, PET bottles and glass imports across 49 outlets.

A passionate believer in servant leadership, Herring volunteered with the Johnston County, N.C., Special Olympics, acting as an awards presenter.

Having developed a retailer customer network of 27 accounts, Sepinski grew her team to four account managers and a sales operations support coordinator; the number of divisions she led more than doubled, from 13 to 31, and her division was the company’s fastest-growing.

She was instrumental in launching CMG’s leadership share group, whose objective was to identify, discuss and disseminate best practices that could be leveraged across the organization by harnessing the collective expertise of the company’s top leaders.

As a member of the Point Association, Sepinski organizes neighborhood cleanups and community events.

Managing Target for the retail solutions division, Larsen delivered a 67% increase in new and organic client growth and grew core continuity client by 124%; meanwhile, overall portfolio growth was 26%.

She created an artificial intelligence (AI) training video that enabled reps to watch instructions on their phones instead of reading 20 pages of information, prompting the company to take a deeper look at AI by forming a steering committee on the topic; she also worked on Target’s store-within-a-store Kendra Scott launch, a wildly successful venture that sold out within the first week.

Away from work, Larsen worked with local food pantries to alleviate food insecurity.

Koepp identified the opportunity to improve the monthly financial close-out and formalized standard operating procedures, positively affecting the ability of the 33 stores in her region to meet sales goals and promote shrink visibility.

To improve recruitment and retention, she upgraded the branding of announcements, expanded the geographic radius of recruitment and promoted internal incentive programs, resulting in a 5% decrease in workforce fluctuation.

Koepp is a member of the Innovations IDEAS Panel and a winner of five DeCA awards, as well as a youth swim coach and soccer team event coordinator.

, Senior Director of Sales
Congratulations to Kirby
at Fresh Creative Foods, for her exceptional achievements in the Top Women in Grocery Awards’ Rising Star category !

2024 Top Women in Grocery

Headquarters and Support Center Store Operations Support Team, Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA)

Lawson implemented a comprehensive cost-saving initiative that resulted in a 20% reduction in operational expenses across all DeCA commissaries.

She spearheaded a strategic initiative to enhance supply chain efficiency and reduce product waste, resulting in a 30% reduction in product spoilage.

Through a new online ordering and delivery system, Lawson expanded the customer base and lifted online sales by 50%; she also led the development and implementation of a customer loyalty program that increased customer engagement by 40%.

After DeCA rolled out its online shopping capability, Commissary CLICK2GO, in fiscal 2023, LeBlanc worked closely with the COO to drive prices down and stock rates up by 90% to 95%; her efforts to build confidence in CLICK2GO helped drive sales from $13 million in Q4 2022 to $49 million in Q2 2023.

She aligned with DeCA senior leadership to automate a manual process for using government assistance funds, raising morale among needy active and retired service members.

LeBlanc helped to establish a working group to share information across Department of Defense retail organizations.

Salley took the initiative to review the agency’s personnel services agreement after hearing complaints about inadequate services received at DeCA locations; her efforts saved the agency $2 million-plus, and she took over the assignment, which wasn’t originally in her purview.

She instituted new procedures to ensure that DeCA will be ready to comply with the Department of the Treasury’s mandated G-Invoicing system by October 2025.

Salley received the Superior Civilian Service Award and the Defense Finance Accounting Service Director’s Coin, and she was active in the American Society of Military Comptrollers and the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.

West, fairlife

Having started her new role in July 2023, Lewis brought in net revenue of $80 million from Kroger and Albertsons and secured permanent distribution and execution of incremental displays for Core Power high-protein shakes across her territory.

All nine of her Albertsons divisions grew space/share of visual inventory; seven divisions topped $1 million in Core Power sales, including two with more than $3 million.

Lewis received the ‘One of a Kind’ Kind of Teammate Award from fairlife after taking on the responsibilities of director of sales for the West region after her manager left the company, while also keeping up her own job responsibilities.

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Sigmon led the company in facing and share gains: With Food City, for example, she gained 1,280 facings and 10 points in share, while with Harris Teeter, she gained 75% off-shelf availability, leading to more than 50% volume growth.

She implemented a 52-week shipper strategy with Lowes Foods, which resulted in a 48% increase in volume, and she also grew warehouse brands by 4.1 share points.

Among other distinctions, Sigmon was a key contributor to fairlife’s Women’s LINC, which aimed to lead, inspire and connect women in the industry; she’s also an enthusiastic supporter of fostering diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Bellino was critical in the merchandising transition to scan-based trading (SBT) in the commercial bakery category, working with suppliers to reallocate funds from receiver scan methodology to SBT while ensuring category growth.

Creating a best-in-class plan for the future of snacking, she led a total snack aisle reinvention project that redesigned the snacking aisles in each store to enhance the overall shopping experience for customers.

Bellino led analytics training and developed negotiation tools for margin and price increases; these tools equipped merchandising team members with the necessary skills to navigate category reviews and negotiate with vendor partners.

Cash’s management, training and collaboration with business partners resulted in reaching No. 1 in counterfeit avoidance, being below the worker’s compensation accident frequency goals, and doubling the number of internal theft resolution investigations over the prior year.

She proactively educated stores on cash-handling procedures, which led to a significant decrease in cash loss across the region, and she worked with stores to reduce worker’s comp and general liability claims, along with overall company costs.

Cash was instrumental in a departmental restructure, reassigning direct reports to new job responsibilities on the department’s organizational chart.

Durham engaged with brands and suppliers to enhance Harris Teeter’s quality standards and specifications; she implemented such effective new quality control measures as product testing protocols, supplier audits and documentation requirements.

She spearheaded a complete overhaul of an existing pest control system, not only vastly improving pest control measures, but also providing real-time data and analytics to identify trends, anticipate risks and take proactive measures to prevent future pest infestations.

Durham implemented a customized quality assurance dashboard that streamlined the audit process and provided a holistic view of assessing risk.

2024 Top Women in Grocery
Rania Atra years
is proud to recognize

2024 Top Women in Grocery

Fulp spearheaded a project to introduce a new online shopping method for store teams; the initiative aimed to boost efficiency and productivity among shoppers, ultimately creating more available time slots for customers and driving increased pickup/delivery sales.

She resolved cash control issues in a store that consistently ranked No. 1 in unfavorable cash over/shorts, resulting in the store’s removal from the top 20 opportunity list.

Fulp implemented pickup and delivery verification procedures, which led to her area of responsibility having the fewest complaints in the company; additionally, she initiated the “Sunday Funday” weekly newsletter to motivate and educate her stores.

Osborne crafted the company’s first holistic brand strategy, developed a new marketing campaign, reinvented the company logo for the first time in 20-plus years, led creative development of the brand’s first direct-to-home delivery business, and overhauled media planning.

Her efforts led to 6% growth in brand consideration, a 5.5% increase in brand favorability, a 7.4% jump in purchase intent and a double-digit increase in digital brand engagement.

Osborne supported local initiatives in partnership with Feeding America, packed food bags for local families in need at the Second Harvest Food Bank, and participated in meal distribution events and fundraising events.

Liz Arickx

the Executive Chairman and CEO, Hy-Vee Inc.

In addition to helping the CEO stay organized, Arickx helped other executive leaders align with their goals by compiling and sharing detailed daily reports on the latest news, events and trends from around the world as a way to help guide company decisions.

She handled the creation of all top-level company presentations for stockholders’ meetings, internal service award recognition ceremonies, external supplier meetings, board meetings, store director meetings, industry conferences with top executives, and industry events.

Arickx won Hy-Vee’s Chairman’s Above and Beyond award for her commitment to the retail industry and her impact on the company’s day-to-day activities.


Porter helped launch the company’s pharmacy residency program, which provided a pipeline of highly trained pharmacists, developed a more skilled pharmacy workforce, and expanded indirect and direct pharmacy revenues through increased service capacity and resident projects.

She led the implementation of the Pharmacy Technician National Standards Program in Virginia, developing dozens of documents, establishing experiential sites and developing coursework to meet the accreditation commission’s requirements.

Porter held a customized event to re-energize pharmacy managers, enhance the patient experience and reignite pharmacists’ passion for people development.

Responsible for product development, Magrane oversaw a team that created core horizontal platforms supporting all Instacart apps and services.

She overhauled the payments platform to lower costs, driving millions in savings and supporting the accurate and reliable processing of tens of billions in payment volume; with her guidance, Instacart expanded EBT/ SNAP payment to new retailers to cover all 50 states, and she also steered her team to develop a platform that quickly integrated new retail loyalty programs.

Magrane managed Instacart’s Associate Product Manager (APM) program, an 18-month rotational program for recent graduates and, outside Instacart, served as a mentor to others.

Rupertus helped ensure a robust certification process to address leaders’ skill gaps, resulting in better demonstration of business acumen, increased analytical competency and strategic planning skills, and higher-level leaders overall.

She created a website providing comprehensive training materials in support of the company’s new financial modernization process.

Rupertus developed a digital library offering 150-plus resources for associates interested in leadership development, and she instigated a comprehensive meet-and-greet program that facilitates relationship building by connecting retail leaders with corporate leadership.

Beef Division

The only female sales field professional on the JBS team, Adams developed, maintained and grew business with multi-unit retail operators and distributors, and led customer contract negotiations to drive engagement in the beef and meat categories.

She was the top sales volume growth team member in 2023, growing full-year beef volume by 30% in a year, boosting branded program volume by 56% and closing 100% of her contract renewals; she also developed new customized ground beef private label programs.

Owner and operator of a cow-calf operation with wheat and milo production, Adams additionally volunteered for city beautification and anti-human trafficking projects.

Kern oversaw the training and food safety department spanning 152 retail locations in addition to a distribution center.

She directed the development of training programs for 32 salaried and 58 hourly members of store leadership and management, and implemented 70 new and updated computer-based learning courses; additionally, she facilitated the corporate and retail management internship programs.

Kern sponsored the retailer’s sustainability committee, organized a partnership with a local university to provide a tuition discount for company associates and their dependents, and was a founding and participating member of Food City’s EMPOWER program for female associates.

Michelle Rupertus Manager Misty Kern Director of Training, K-VA-T Food Stores Inc. d/b/a Food City

Hayley Berkshire VP Commercial Strategy, Frozen Foods, Kellanova Tasked with the development and deployment of the national commercial strategy for Eggo and Morning Star Farms, Berkshire managed more than $1 billion in sales across the United States.

She successfully led her team through the company’s structural changes while delivering against annual business, created an innovation strategy on Morning Star Farms to deliver top- and bottom-line results, and launched Year of the Pancake to deliver $20 million-plus in incremental sales; moreover, she revamped customer innovation sessions.

Beyond her demanding job duties, Berkshire found time to involve herself in employee resource groups and Kellanova’s culture committee.

Desiree Loomis Division E-Commerce Manager, The Kroger Co./Central Division

Loomis headed up all e-commerce operations to increase sales and improve profitability for the Central division across 109 pickup locations, and she also coached and trained store teams.

Her division was one of the leading regions in pickup sales, following her push to increase orders per hour and the opening of 11 net new locations; she converted all stores to managing by pieces versus the traditional orders per hour, spurring a 17.6% increase in sales and a 10.4% lift in orders.

Outside of her job, Loomis participated in the Young Professionals associate resource group and, out in the community, volunteered for The Salvation Army and Indy Urban Acres.

Colleen Callahan

Customer Team Lead, Ahold Delhaize, Kellanova Callahan worked across all five Kellanova snacking brands to drive loyalty, win trips and score share wins for grocery within a business worth $400 million in sales.

She guided her team through the transition that spun off the cereal business to WK Kellogg, rebuilding her team without disrupting the business; thanks to her efforts, Kellanova was chosen as one of only five CPGs to be a strategic partner with Ahold Delhaize.

In her spare time, Callahan participated in NextUp of Philadelphia and the Women of Kellanova business employee resource group, as well as helping lead ESG initiatives for Kellanova’s grocery channel.

Amber Bashaw Customer Experience and Financial Products Division Manager, The Kroger Co./ Cincinnati Division

Bashaw oversaw personal finance for the division and ensured that front end processes, operations and protocols were run efficiently within 103 stores.

She and her team tested several front end pilots, including training, certifications and new equipment that eventually would be rolled out enterprise-wide; she also increased the front end’s Friendly score by 23 points, decreased checkout wait times by 17 seconds and led her group to hold the No. 1 position in gift card sales across the enterprise.

Despite her demanding work schedule, Bashaw co-chaired the division’s Young Professionals associate resource group and volunteered for a local food bank in Cincinnati.

Kristen Hoh Director, Commercial Insights Acceleration, The Kroger Co./84.51°

Hoh led a center of excellence that leveraged the company’s commercial portfolio to meet client needs spanning from pitch to delivery.

She built the new Commercial Insights Acceleration center of excellence, onboarding the team, establishing processes, leading the effort to increase the sales success rate of custom analytics and research projects by 30%, and testing and scaling a custom solution that created a $1 million-plus revenue stream.

Hoh was chosen as 84.51°’s representative for the Cincinnati Chamber’s C-Change Class, a premier leadership development and community volunteer program with the aim of advancing mid-career leaders.

Pharmacy Practice Coordinator, The Kroger Co./ Cincinnati Division

A 33-year Kroger team member who has been in her current role for 18 years, Flynn championed the strategies of 20 pharmacies within the division and also supported The Little Clinic locations within her scope of stores.

She and her team sold more than 4 million prescriptions and administered 65,000-plus vaccines, making them tops in their division for vaccine-to-goal percent; she also rolled out a simplification pilot to streamline pharmacy procedures.

A member of the Ohio Pharmacists Association and the American Pharmacists Association, Flynn was involved with several Kroger community events and also enjoyed coaching her daughter’s sports teams.

Selma Dizdarevic End-2-End Produce Division Sustainment Manager, The Kroger Co./ Atlanta Division

In a special appointment from division leadership, Dizdarevic worked to ensure that Kroger had“fresher than fresh” produce for customers of 176 produce departments across three states.

She steered her division to achieve identical sales 138 basis points ahead of budget and 395 basis points better than the company average; the group also exceeded gross-profit targets in produce by 17 basis points.

Dizdarevic participated in the Young Professionals associate resource group; additionally, she proudly gained U.S. citizenship in 2023 after 23 years in this country and helped others to study for the citizenship exam.

The Kroger Co./ Columbus Division

A 35-year grocery industry veteran, Wilkin oversaw all customer-facing marketing; managed and executed sports marketing and community partnerships, deliverables and activations; and developed and cultivated relationships across the division’s footprint.

She oversaw 15 grand reopening events last year and 18 this year; she also planned the store leader meeting in 2023 and organized the Division Holiday Store Walk held over three days in two markets.

Wilkin served on the board of a local food bank and ministry, represented her peers on Kroger’s Customer Communications Manager Council, and participated in the grocer’s veterans associate resource group.

Shelly Flynn

2024 Top Women in Grocery

Responsible for corporate affairs efforts for the division, Young-Ennaemba oversaw external communications, government relations, internal communications, video production and community outreach.

Her division’s Zero Hunger | Zero Waste program experienced a 23% year-over-year increase in food rescue; she also helped lead a volunteer day at a local food bank, worked with the American Diabetes Association to create a road show on diabetes-friendly cooking and collaborated with local officials to educate Kroger associates on the civil rights movement.

Young-Ennaemba served on the boards of Must Ministries and Caring for Others and volunteered at various nonprofits.

Over a 24-month period, Sova’s cross-functional team embarked on a mission to evaluate the impact of reducing or eliminating circular distribution in select markets; through rigorous data analytics and a test-andlearn approach, they discovered new reinvestment opportunities, culminating in $72 million in value for Kroger.

In FY23, her team outperformed its target by securing $95 million in savings against a $70 million goal.

Sova was invited to the World Procurement Congress in London, where she networked with industry leaders and engaged with key topics such as purpose, growth and opportunity.

In addition to providing general human resources support, Miller focused on coaching, upskilling and influencing store leadership teams to support and enable key aspects of the associate experience.

Miller improved retention scores by 9%, surpassing her district retention goal; increased the District 3 associate insight participation score by 21%; and helped increase the District 3 composite score by 18%.

Known to many as an influencer, a problem solver and a motivator, Miller partnered with area colleges and military bases to seek out career fairs, find the best new talent and form lasting relationships; she and her fiance also run a nonpofit helping kids.

Chandler Hodges Center Store Sales Manager, The Kroger Co./ Fred Meyer Division

Hodges worked closely with the merchandising team to put together a solid marketing plan, and skillfully analyzed sales trends and historical data to help make smart choices.

One of her major achievements was creating a new strategy playbook, which was then used across the Kroger organization; this strategy focused on improving product selection and placement to make shopping better for customers while also increasing sales.

Hodges was a board member of Karts for Kids, in support of the neonatal intensive care unit Randall Children’s Hospital, and arranged donations for breast cancer organization Pink Sistas.

With 29 years at Kroger, Allen pioneered a joint venture to expedite the loading of assets into the company’s systems, which helped maintain operational continuity and set a precedent that was adopted across other shared services accounting centers.

When the company’s check processor suddenly closed, she orchestrated a cross-functional effort to establish a new end-toend check process that was executed with minimal disruptions to store operations.

As a 2023 graduate of the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce Power Squad, Allen honed her leadership skills and positioned herself as an influential figure committed to driving positive change in her city.

Pam Giannonatti Corporate Affairs Manager, The Kroger Co./ Fry’s Division Giannonatti brought the corporate affairs strategy to life at Fry’s by looking for ways to elevate the grocer’s unique story and drive the Zero Hunger | Zero Waste social impact plan.

She met with Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs and legislators to share Fry’s important work in this space, and also facilitated Fry’s first press conference with the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, government officials and major retailers to discuss plans to combat organized retail theft.

Giannonatti was honored as a Game Changer by the American Cancer Society, a designation that recognizes leaders who provide outstanding support in the fight against cancer.

This year, McDowell drove accounts payable results to unprecedented levels; under her guidance, vendor correspondence times were halved, with her team consistently responding within 14 days, far surpassing the 30-day service-level agreement.

Her ongoing collaboration with The Little Clinic teams resulted in the standardization and streamlining of processes, aligning them with enterprise standards.

McDowell co-founded the nonprofit organization Train Them Up, which addresses a unique community need by helping individuals, from teens to adults, afford extracurricular activities through community service, thereby instilling the importance of giving back.


The Kroger Co./ Fry’s Division

Fry’s most seasoned associate in the multicultural food space, Lerma served as the division expert in the local multicultural competitive landscape, merchandising trends, pricing and assortment, and provided necessary feedback to division and corporate merchandising.

Last year, under Lerma’s leadership, customers voted Fry’s the No. 1 kosher store in Phoenix and the No. 2 kosher store in Arizona; Fry’s was also the leader in Hatch chile sales across the enterprise under her guidance.

Lerma successfully completed the FMI Coach Certificate Program to enhance her leadership skills and knowledge in the food retail space and also found time to mentor 15 associates.


2024 Top Women in Grocery

Julie Kalua Service

The Kroger Co./ Human Resources Kalua was responsible for the technology support provided to all of Kroger and focused on building strategic relationships with technology and business partners.

She led the rollout of a streamlined experience for associates seeking support for their in-store technology needs, and guided the development of an automated system for generating support tickets, significantly cutting down on wait times.

Kalua independently set up a team-wide event to fill food boxes for her local food bank; she also spent time camping on the Oregon coast and gave back to the community by working with the Solve beach cleanup group there every spring.

Pheli Roberts Division Health and Wellness Leader, The Kroger Co./ Louisville Division

Roberts managed the operational and clinical practices for 94 pharmacies within the Kroger Pharmacy Louisville division.

Her pharmacies saw sales increase 7.5% over the prior year, and her commitment to leadership development was proved by an 8% increase in lead technicians in her division versus the previous year.

Roberts and her team helped promote awareness in the community to achieve a 405% increase in everyday vaccine administration versus the previous year, while outreach to business-to-business clients for vaccination clinics increased by an astonishing 700%.

Morgan Manor Talent Management Partner, The Kroger Co./Human Resources Manor was responsible for leading all aspects of the talent lifecycle in partnership with the business unit human resource teams, and she led the conversion of the talent management system for the total organization.

Her efforts in HR systems led to an improved experience for associates and had a significant impact on Kroger’s talent strategy; following the implementation of the solution, the company achieved its highest-ever completion percentage, thanks to the system simplification and time savings that she deployed.

Manor was one of just a few high-potential HR professionals selected by Kroger to attend the 2023 SHRM conference.

Keating led the way to optimizing assortment and aisle flow, generating $39.2 million in sales growth; she partnered with data science teams to pilot a new assortment optimization platform, which resulted in 6% retail sales growth across her categories.

She and her team employed item and customer behavioral data to optimize promotional strategies, creating efficiencies at store level while improving total promotional sales and margins.

As part of her dedication to health-and-wellness advocacy as a heart disease thriver, Keating was the Heart Mini Walk company leader and an advocate for the American Heart Association.

Stacy Thomasson District Operations Specialist, The Kroger Co./ King Soopers Division

Thomasson drove labor results, oversaw food safety and led the successful rollout of company initiatives across 16 store locations, including three 124,000-squarefoot Marketplace format stores

Her leadership and insight propelled her district to unparalleled success, with notable achievements in food safety goals, labor effectiveness goals, replenishment goals, pickup fill rates and out-of-stock goals.

Thomasson played a crucial part in implementing MyTime, a system designed to enhance transparency, efficiency and agility in supporting associates with core HR, payroll, scheduling, and time and attendance needs.

Angela Rinker Floral

The Kroger Co./ QFC Division

As QFC’s only floral field specialist, Rinker oversaw all 59 floral shops in the division, and her leadership helped drive a floral sales increase at QFC that was double that of the total company’s floral sales.

She drove bunch sales by highlighting Gerbera daisies, an initiative tha involved working with local suppliers to procure quality product, encouraging incremental displays and communicating her goals with floral leaders.

Rinker’s passion for showcasing her team’s abilities in the annual Seattle Wedding Show was called “legendary” by her nominator; this passion led her to elevate grocery floral as an affordable option for weddings.

Ashley Collins Product Management Group Manager, The Kroger Co./ Kroger Technology & Digital (KTD)

Collins championed the delivery of SNAP tender acceptance for e-commerce orders seven periods ahead of plan, resulting in 50,000 households new to Kroger engaging with the offering, and beating revenue forecast for the year by $55 million-plus.

She led cross-functional data collection and analysis to determine the net impact of enabling contactless payments in store, and the capability was launched enterprise-wide, immediately gaining traction with customers.

A member of KTD Kulture, which focuses on creating and supporting an engaging culture in her division, Collins also mentored company interns.

Amy Petersen Customer Experience and Financial Products Manager, The Kroger Co./ Smith’s Division

Petersen achieved exceptional results in front end friendliness and wait time, surpassing company goals; she credited this success to her “owning the front end experience” training program, which she personally developed and implemented across the Smith’s division.

She played a pivotal role in reducing plastic bag usage and thereby fulfilling company goals; through her efforts on a dedicated committee, she successfully piloted the elimination of single-use plastic bags in one store within her division.

Petersen spearheaded partnerships to organize such events as the Best Bagger Contest.


2024 Top Women in Grocery

Embry collaborated with Kroger’s Houston and Dallas divisions to organize Big K customer sampling events to boost market share and sales; she secured funding and worked closely with division grocery field merchandisers to make sure that the events were executed seamlessly.

She leveraged her leadership experience in the Pacific Northwest to spearhead a cross-functional team that crafted a comprehensive Hurricane Water Shortage Plan for 2023 in the Southwest; the team successfully pre-positioned water supplies at stores to meet demand.

Embry is a member of Kroger’s EDGE associate resource group in Dallas.

Stewart’s background as both a district manager and consultant for Lidl’s purchasing department prepared her well for her current role: Her strategic vision and hands-on approach facilitated the successful opening of three new stores in the past year.

She committed to fostering a positive work environment and prioritized team stability while actively cultivating a culture of inclusivity and collaboration within her stores.

Stewart and her team participated in local initiatives in the community, such as a partnership with Backpacks of Love.

Shelley Welch Manufacturing Plant Site Leader, The Kroger Co./Supply Chain

Welch led her team to achieve 730 consecutive days without an OSHA-recordable incident in the Anderson Bakery (her assigned site); her leadership also earned the team an Eagle Award for outstanding quality and safety audit scores and a reduction in customer complaints.

Under her guidance, customer comments decreased by 38.05%; she attributed this to her empowerment of production floor associates, as well as the addition of a lab technician and the implementation of product scoring.

Welch expanded the business by fostering better communication with customers and vendors through regular meetings and store checks.

Johnson met one of her group’s goals for 2023, when employee turnover in the two divisions she oversaw improved by an average 14 percentage points; she did this in part by conducting turnover-centric discussions with management at several stores.

She led her peers in the organization and coordination of the company’s internal career fairs, which drove its talent pipeline; ultimately, due to her efforts, 25 people were promoted to new leadership positions.

Johnson participated in a company leadership development program to further her career.

Jessica Desormo HR Director of Talent Management. Lidl US

Desormo launched a biannual talent management process to foster a culture of continuous feedback.

She established an in-house recording studio to streamline e-learning content creation and enhance content quality.

Desormo introduced the Store Manager Development Initiative, which nurtured the leadership skills of more than 170 store managers across the organization, and she also oversaw the successful launch of a new career path website offering visual roadmaps for career development to all employees; all of this work helped her and her team earn recognition at the 2023 Brandon Hall Group HCM Excellence Awards.

Kriner delivered positive results in fiscal 2023, outperforming the budget by 1.10%; through the first five months of fiscal 2024, her district delivered the highest positive sales trends in the company.

The 14 stores she oversaw consistently achieved high performance metrics, including exceptional scores in food safety audits and mystery-shop ratings.

Among her achievements, Kriner developed and implemented comprehensive standard operating procedures for cleaning processes within stores, significantly improving efficiency and effectiveness.

Harry spearheaded Lidl’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, which culminated in company-wide celebrations of national heritage months and Lidl’s inaugural participation in the D.C. Capital Pride parade.

She championed the implementation of a new anniversary program that asked employees to select a personalized gift in recognition of milestone anniversaries; she and her team additionally introduced new monthly events to celebrate Lidl’s diverse workforce.

Despite the challenges of cost optimization, Harry demonstrated exceptional leadership by reducing spending within the talent acquisition department by 25% compared with prior years.

Under Adams’ leadership, Meijer saw a remarkable surge in the use of mental health resources: In 2023, the adoption of virtual therapy offered through its employee assistance program grew by 90%, while face-to-face therapy saw a 300% increase.

She proposed rewarding employees who made smart health choices with more modest premium costs; this reduced health care spending from 2022 by more than $200 million.

Adams redirected the focus to thoughtful employee recognition without a financial component, and turnover kept declining.

Stephanie Harry Director of Human Resources, Lidl US Jackie Adams Director, Benefits and People Analytics, Meijer Hillary Kriner Division Director, Lowes Foods Sherrie Johnson

Cheers to the top women in grocery!

Thank you for dedicating your expertise, time and care to making our customers shine.

Leslie Mall

VP of Sales Kroger Team

The Coca-Cola Co.


Brigid McGovern

VP, Global Retail Sales

North America Operating Unit

The Coca-Cola Co.


Gabriela Velasco Arana

Senior Sales Director

Sam’s Club

The Coca-Cola Co.


Sarah Hart

Director of Revenue Growth Management

Walmart and Sam’s Club

The Coca-Cola Co.


Sara Herring

Customer Development Director

Club Channel

Coca-Cola Consolidated


Maren Lewis


Field Operations Manager–West

Fairlife ®


Heather Beshears Sigmon

Senior Franchise Operations Manager

Fairlife ®


©2024 The Coca-Cola Company

2024 Top Women in Grocery

The market that Brown oversaw, which included 12 stores, was No. 1 in the company for both net promoter score and on-shelf availability; she also reached No. 1 in food sanitation, ending the year with overall operational excellence.

Her market also led the company in turnover rates, with a nearly 15% improvement from the prior year, as well as being almost 10% ahead of the next market.

Brown accepted the Community Spotlight Award for her market in recognition of the work that its leaders did within their communities, specifically the partnerships built and grown within the Flint, Mich., community; she has since started similar partnerships in neighboring Saginaw.

Miling collaborated with Meijer’s supplier diversity program to host two Beauty Supplier Summits, providing merchant insights to emerging brands and building a greater pipeline of minority- and women-owned suppliers.

She and her team launched a new Lego in-store experience leading to 50% top-line growth and significant market share gains with the globally recognized brand; also, through her leadership, Meijer introduced the new Thrifty Shop strategy featuring items close to the entrances to drive impulse and value.

Miling’s team delivered a strong 2023 holiday season with increased profitability, faster inventory turns and a best-in-class customer experience.

Fearnley proactively addressed employee relations issues, managed grievances and ensured compliance with internal policies, which resulted in a reduction of 6.4 basis points in turnover and an increase of 1.3 basis points in 90-day retention.

Using a proactive recruitment approach, she led the recruitment team to achieve its hiring goals for key leadership positions, while also securing exceptional talent.

Fearnley led process improvements such as implementing programmatic ad vendors, which doubled the application flow for distribution centers, and piloting an automatic interview scheduling tool for hourly distribution that resulted in a 35% time savings in administrative tasks.

Muzumdar was instrumental in the tech aspects of Meijer’s retail media network, which accelerated Meijer’s ability to further personalize the customer’s digital experience, as well as monetize the data and grow business.

Her efforts at managing customer data were crucial in enabling Meijer to understand customer behavior and preferences across active customer records, and to tailor offerings and services to better meet customer needs; at the same time, she ensured that customer data was handled in compliance with privacy standards.

Muzumdar volunteered at her community’s Kids Food Basket and mentored girls in local STEM camps and competitions.

Hendon and her team launched a three-tiered local vendor inclusion program showcasing retail requirements, vendor onboarding support and a marketing framework for vendors to create, monitor and assess their brand awareness strategies.

She exceeded her annual savings goal by 16% while also exceeding brand growth goals; part of this growth came from a new supplier relationship management program she launched to minimize risk and optimize vendor performance and capabilities.

Hendon receivedthe Diversity Focused Company award from Corp! magazine/MichBusiness; she was involved in numerous committees outside of Meijer.

In a 13-week time frame, Prall helped reduce turnover in the Dayton, Ohio, market from 103.6% — the worst turnover in the region — to 73.4%, the best improvement in the region for the fiscal year.

As part of her implementation of Medallia as a key indicator of customer service satisfaction, she trained her team to interpret verbatim results, respond to customer concerns and compliments, and take immediate action for correction as needed; her market’s net promoter score ended more than three points above target, resulting in an overall market share increase.

Prall partnered with the Junior Achievement organization to promote job education and training, and she volunteered at the Oxford Women’s Care Center.

McGahan helped reset standards and expectations on processes and adopted new tools and resources to launch a new sales forecasting system that improved product availability by more than 500 basis points, increased turns by 4% and reduced backroom inventory.

She helped launch a pilot program for the dry grocery team that helped employees understand motivators and ways of interacting with others; this pilot is now being used with the Meijer grocery leadership team.

McGahan led the coordination of quarterly volunteer events for the dry grocery division, which included work with organizations such as Kids Food Basket, In the Image and Meals on Wheels.

Snook HR Director, North/ West Michigan, Meijer

Snook and her team partnered with a local independent school district agency to create the EmpowerU curriculum and job-training program for people with disabilities; this past year, the program, run from a classroom in one store location, had 11 students.

She led her team to drive retention across the region, which resulted in a 6.4% decrease (almost 700 more team members) versus the previous year and led to significant savings in hiring, onboarding and training costs.

Snook integrated community partnerships and service in her team’s region and partnered with a range of local nonprofits, including KentISD, Arbor Circle, Mel Trotter Ministries and Kids Food Basket.

Kaitlyn McGahan Inventory Manager, Meijer Kristine Kim Prall Market Director, Meijer

2024 Top Women in Grocery

Tomasbi standardized the shelf life of ready-to-eat frozen cookie dough from six shelf dates to one, improving scheduling processes at the plant level, as well as product flow from the distribution centers to the stores, and from the stores to the customer.

She worked with sanitation departments and a sanitation chemical company to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of sanitation practices, which led to the discovery and elimination of 20-plus areas of environmental concern in manufacturing sites.

Tomasbi’s direct and indirect reports scored 10% higher than the rest of the company in employee satisfaction scores — a testament to her commitment to developing her team for success.

Davis managed the Circana front end model, which was leveraged for retailerspecific insights, and launched Circana Genius capability to further customize retailer presentations; these efforts drove a 35% increase in ront end model users, and a 457% leap in unique reports versus the prior year.

She drove deeper understanding of front end shopper behavior by leading planogram development for virtual-reality research through collaboration with PepsiCo sales strategy leadership, PepsiCo’s research vendor partner and other key front end stakeholders.

Davis was the Gen Z shopper strategy subject-matter expert and co-led the Gen Z Shopper Insights Forum.

Joyner orchestrated the premier North American trade show targeting the independent grocery market and secured a 200% increase in qualified leads from the prior year.

As the 135-year-old company split into two new entities, she played a key role in ensuring a seamless transition; her strategic insights and retail perspective in brand development were crucial during this transformative phase.

Despite her demanding work schedule, Joyner sat on the board of Peachtree Football Club, a grass-roots soccer organization in Atlanta that partnered with sports nonprofit organizations targeting children in underserved communities.

Amelia Bly Human Resources Business Partner, Price Chopper/ Market 32 Supermarkets, Division of Northeast Grocery

Bly not only played an instrumental role in the acquisition of four ShopRite locations in New York state’s Capital District, she also selectively recruited close to 100 workers who lost their positions as a result of the acquisition and developed training and integration plans for each new hire to ease assimilation into the company.

She worked with labor counsel to conduct highly successful pro-teammate training across the entire chain to better prepare managers and proactively support teammates.

Bly trained three new staffing and development professionals and actively developed her zone staffing coordinators.

Starch placed 11 new packaged items in traditional retail across California, lifting Niman Ranch’s presence in traditional retail by 35% to 40%; the placements included nine Niman Ranch packaged items in Safeway in Northern California and two new packaged items in Vons and Albertsons across Southern California.

She placed three additional Niman Ranch prepared products and the company’s new exclusive premium Iberian Duroc fresh pork program behind the glass at all Whole Foods Market locations across the country.

Starch additionally helped lead the development of an online mentorship platform for women to network, support and educate one another.

Nicole Katz Director, Financial Planning and Analysis, Price Chopper/Market 32 Supermarkets, Division of Northeast Grocery

To promote better cross-functional collaboration across the operating company and create enhanced visibility, transparency and accountability, Katz established leadership meetings for all EVPs and director-level team members and created presentations focused on recent profitability results and other key performance indicators.

She created a comprehensive and dynamic financial forecasting process by working collaboratively with various business leadership members.

Katz assembled projections that guided negotiations and ultimately led to the successful acquisition of the store leases and assets of a major competitor.

Director, Financial Planning and Analysis, Northeast Grocery Inc., parent company of Northeast Shared Services, Tops Supermarkets and Price Chopper/ Market 32 Supermarkets

Marchesiello designed the company’s conformed internal financial reporting, which showed individual operating company and total company results in a clear and consistent manner.

Through her support of the CFO and other executives in preparing ratings agency and lender presentations, she played an important role in refinancing the majority of the company’s debt portion of its capital structure through the issuance of a $550 million term loan.

Marchesiello worked with the United Way of the Greater Capital Region (Albany, N.Y.) and with Girls on the Run.

Susan Lambert Regional Human Resources Manager, Price Chopper/Market 32 Supermarkets, Division of Northeast Grocery

Working with counsel and several departments, Lambert updated employment policies to ensure changes were legal and effectively communicated and implemented; she also relaunched the Top-5 program, which identifies high-potential part-time employees, tracking the 650 people identified and reporting on their progress.

She helped develop her HR teammates, mentoring them and sharing her 16 years of experience; all six of her teammates were either new to HR or promoted to higher positions.

Lambert’s efforts were recognized by the company with the presentation of the Master Mentor award in May 2023.


O’Neill-DiCarmine’s team remodeled seven Price Chopper locations to the Market 32 bannner, about double the normal output, delivering projects on time and under budget despite equipment uncertainties and delays; she has eight additional remodels under construction, slated to open by summer’s end.

She created the Mill Shop team to produce fixtures and cabinets in-house, saving the company significant money while letting it merchandise products to its own standards.

O’Neill-DiCarmine held leadership roles on the board of governors for the Empire State College Alumni Federation.

Gonzalez successfully expanded the Target Adult Beverage Program to 190 stores in 10 states, resulting in 34% store count growth, 40% revenue growth, 83% growth in event count, and a more than 539% sales lift for Product Connections and adult beverage brands; she also recruited, onboarded and trained more than 600 brand ambassadors to take over new markets.

In Florida, Gonzalez launched BJ’s Roadshow demo; this enabled Product Connections to expand the Roadshow nationwide in 2024.

For the past decade, Gonzalez has mentored and trained students majoring in business at EIA University in her hometown of Medellín, Columbia.

Alicia Ramirez Operations Project Manager, Price Chopper/Market 32 Supermarkets, Division of Northeast Grocery

Ramirez integrated a new UKG time, attendance and scheduling system using the retailer’s existing enterprise sales and labor projection system for store teams, and she also planned the rollout and training.

She developed processes to divert organic waste from landfills to composting, which resulted in the diversion of almost 2.5 million pounds of waste; the retailer’s trade partner converted the waste into electricity.

Additionally, Ramirez actively participated in the company’s affinity group that developed criteria for creating a better workplace; this included such measures as making diversity and inclusion imperative.

Schnabel met both Red Bull’s and its customers’ priorities through customized promotions, pricing and display programs at Meijer, Giant Eagle and Wegmans; these initiatives maximized sales and fulfilled shoppers’ needs, allowing her to maintain a position at the top of Red Bull’s internal large-format leaderboard.

At Meijer, she executed a Galloping After the Home Stretch campaign coinciding with the Kentucky Derby, as well as managing a front end/checklane expansion involving more than 48,000 Red Bull facings across the grocer’s stores.

Schnabel won Red Bull North America’s 2023 grocery incentive for leading SKU distribution, brand equity excellence and multipack volume growth.

Miranda Siek Zone Director, Price Chopper/Market 32 Supermarkets, Division of Northeast Grocery

In addition to overseeing 16 stores, Siek was responsible for the central commissary, which over the past year expanded offerings and the number of stores it served; when stores started being served by the commissary, they experienced a 30% sales increase on commissary items, while shrink was reduced by two-thirds.

She oversaw two newly remodeled Market 32 stores, both renovated in less than 24 hours, while she managed day-to-day operations at her 16 stores.

Siek coached youth sports in her time away from work; further, as a devotee of personal fitness, she enjoyed competing in CrossFit, playing basketball and being active outdoors.

Weckstein was instrumental in having a “pulse lead” on brand performance; she was a key influencer in getting a retailer to change promotional strategy in support of developing the business, and she also had an impact on her customer’s reimagining of the front of store.

Through her leadership and dedication, she was able to demonstrate to the retailer the value of the energy category, leading to its expansion in more than 1,000 stores.

Weckstein led a guest lecture and semester project involving analytics with a leading university; throughout the semester, students were provided with data, developed business plans, and presented information back to her and her team.

Instrumental in the category management team’s success, Pack facilitated more than 20 post-reset analyses; these analyses processed 75 million data points, saving thousands of hours by streamlining and automating manual tasks.

Her guidance provided crucial insights into the impact of category changes, assortment modifications and promotional strategies; by meticulously collecting, interpreting and analyzing data, she empowered the team to identify growth opportunities and fine-tune strategies.

A member of the Green Township Police Citizens Academy Alumni, Pack took part in events supporting the community.

Saito and her team achieved top sales and contribution increases; she built programs that bundled items, creating better offerings for customers; and she developed customer sales contests that had 100% participation and a 31% lift during contest periods.

As a member of the business technology steering committee, she helped implement a new generation of technology; she also developed the company’s entire fresh meal concept.

Saito championed initiatives aimed at empowering women, among them spearheading Reser’s participation with NextUp, which works toward gender equality in the workplace; to that end, she led a group at NextUp’s annual conference.

Kirby Saito Senior Director of Business Development, Fresh Creative Foods, Reser’s Fine Foods

2024 Top Women in Grocery

Leading Rouses’ in-house creative team, Nathan opened three stores in Louisiana, overseeing broadcast media, public relations and garnering $100,000 in paid media, and she coined the name for Rouses’ first-ever drive-thru, Houma de Chicken (Home of the Chicken), in Houma, La.

Nathan was instrumental in developing vendor programs, which generated $1.5 million, and she also ran Rouses’ Pop Ups, which provided products not sold in stores to customers; the mostly women vendors sell directly to consumers and keep 100% of sales.

Nathan was the 2024 recipient of an award from the Women Grocers of America.

Having joined the company in 2022, Agne established a firm grip on the continuity of sales for the independent licensee network; even though collecting data from independent store owners could be challenging, Agne’s technical proficiency and dedication resulted in limited downtime and more than 99% data availability network-wide.

Data engineering patterns were migrated to a new codebase and pattern this past year, and Agne, never afraid to ask questions, was able to learn and begin implementing the pattern — a credit to an engineer in the early stages of her career.

In June 2022, Agne received Save A Lot’s Core Value Award for Simplicity.

Hoff’s ability to build relationships with transportation carriers benefited Save A Lot and its retail partners: When a fleet partner was involved a truck collision and damaged a store, her relationship with both parties enabled her to manage the situation effectively.

By encouraging and mentoring her team, she helped Save A Lot finish the year 97% on time; making this number even more impressive is that it came during a major transition time for the company as it closed two distribution centers (DCs).

Huff was instrumental in maintaining asset levels while increasing the DC-to-store average mileage to 18%, as a result of network consolidation.

Knipp, who has since left the company, maintained good relationships with many people in the support center, including distribution, IT, supply chain, HR and accounting; this assured that processes functioned correctly and that product was delivered on time.

She went above and beyond to help others, taking calls after hours and answering emails on weekends so that Save A Lot partners could run stores properly; when a reefer unit failed in transit and was damaged, she responded quickly, repicking the perishable portion of the load and making the delivery later the same day.

Knipp volunteered with United Way and the C&O Canal Trust.

©2024 Schnucks Store Manager Store Manager Health & Wellness Strategy Manager

2024 Top Women in Grocery

Colleagues at Save A Lot knew they could count on Lessman when it came to data: She broke problems down into realistic solutions and provided guidance to others as they worked through their challenges.

A 25-year IT veteran, she spearheaded efforts with novel technologies to provide the finance team with a financing planning power app, resulting in a dramatically improved forecast procedure; she also provided accounting with automated connections to Oracle data, eliminating hours of manual spreadsheet work.

Every month, Lessman volunteered 20 hours at the Saint Vincent de Paul Society.

Mindy Morse Supply Chain Planner, Save A Lot

When Morse took over dairy this year, she helped train and mentor the person who stepped into her previous role.

She established a collaborative and productive partnership with her category manager; together, they worked to overcome industry production hurdles to get the best outcome for customers.

Morse took the lead on the Red Dot egg promotion; historically, the team backed away from promoting eggs, since it was difficult to forecast the increased needs of the advertised SKUs and the depth and timing of the cannibalization of other SKUs in stock, but she was able to supply the ad with zero shorts during the ad window, and zero shrink on the back end.

O’Shaughnessy was diligent about tracking and resolving problems quickly; when a transportation vendor didn’t receive a timely payment, she quickly learned that internal scanning software wasn’t picking up invoices for processing, so she worked with the IT team to expedite a solution.

She volunteered to lead the state dated-check and enhancement process as it was transitioned to accounts payable, implementing a more efficient way to process payments faster.

O’Shaughnessy helped out at Habitat for Humanity, Ronald McDonald House and PALSPets-A-Lone Sanctuary, and she regularly volunteered for Save A Lot’s charitable endeavors.

Parle helped onboard numerous new retail partners, spending hours helping to build marketing plans that fit within budgets and ensuring that Save A Lot understood all market options; she also helped build grand-reopening plans for partners that remodeled their stores.

She maximized the spend of retail partners, helping them navigate the world of rising print costs and increased competition, and she helped educate them on the constantly evolving landscape of digital marketing, increasing participation in recent years by record numbers.

Parle supported the St. Louis Area Foodbank and was VP of communications on the Westridge Elementary PTO board.


2024 Top Women in Grocery

Because of market volatility, Pritt had to manage multiple commitments for sugar and oil from five vendors and eight distribution centers, but the contract obligations were kept, and the transitions to new contracts were smooth.

When Save A Lot was put on allocation of private label evaporated, sweet and condensed milk during the critical holiday season, she worked diligently with the merchandising team and vendor to source a substitute.

Noticing promotional pricing and cost changes in baking and spices, Pritt proceeded to place more than $475,000 of forward-buy purchase orders that resulted in a $90,000 benefit to the bottom line.

Springer led the frozen and cooler supply chain planners; last year, her team’s service levels were 95.53% (frozen) and 96.6% (cooler), and her cooler team led the company, with an annual average of 93.95%.

She worked as a cross-functional leader, developing a plan to navigate holiday and food show performance despite space limitations, and she helped manage a different holiday release that saw little to no negative impact to the customer while allowing distribution centers to select product in the most efficient way.

At her church, Springer helped with charitable missions, including a coat drive and the distribution of treats and school supplies to an orphanage in Haiti.

Wolfe implemented engineered standards across the entire distribution center network, revolutionizing pay practices and creating consistency of documentation; these efforts resulted in the establishment of transparent pay practices, including such provisions as paying the highest rate when team members work in other positions.

She hosted regular meetings with key stakeholders to address claims management effectively, demonstrating a proactive approach to risk mitigation and employee welfare.

Wolfe fostered positive union relationships and secured key contract provisions, including annual increases within budget.

Ashley Woods Marketing Business Partner-Brand Programs, Save A Lot

With a limited budget, Woods was asked to drive the retailer’s social media strategy, with the goal of growing follower bases by 3%; she far exceeded this, increasing Facebook followers by 6.5%, Instagram followers by 5.4%, Twitter followers by 5.8% and TikTok followers by 8.5%.

She was a key component of the retailer’s new Shop the Dot campaign, helping to build out and order two major sign kits to support this in-store experience, and she also shipped weekly posters to participating stores and created execution guides.

Woods participated in the retailer’s volunteer efforts to distribute food to the Bayer YMCA, in St. Louis.

Thank you for your leadership & dedication to our associates, customers & communities. to our 2024 Top Women in Grocery! Congratulations Senior Level Executive Rising Star
QD_07293 CORP Progressive Grocer TWIG Ad_7.25x4.875.indd 1 5/17/24 12:10 PM

2024 Top Women in Grocery

Since joining SaveMart last year, Tolentino has completely revamped the internal communications team; this included hiring talent, developing internal talent and supporting key company objectives.

She established internal communications as the go-to team for the latest news and information; consequently, average quarterly Hub monthly page views reached 25,000, and use of quarterly focused content has resulted in a 52% year-over-year increase in articles, 111% growth in video production and a 247% increase in the use of graphics.

Tolentino regularly volunteered with several food organizations, including Rise Against Hunger.

A registered dietitian, Primo created and ran Schnucks’ Good For You health-and-wellness program, which has reached more than 50,000 customers; shelf tags sporting a Dietitian’s Pick logo helped shoppers find and choose healthy items, and Schnucks Rewards members saw how many Healthier Habits items they purchased on their receipts.

Working with the American Heart Association, she piloted a Produce Rx program for high-risk customers, helping them improve produce consumption and make healthier purchases.

Primo also worked with a local hospital to launch Eat Healthier shopping classes at two stores.


Cianci began to have an impact on the Schraad organization and the CPG manufacturers it represents almost immediately after joining the company in January 2023: For example, she uncovered a gap in the Value Merchandisers Co. system that made two significant customers unaware of deals they were eligible for.

She persuaded manufacturers that weren’t participating in Alliance Ad Group advertising to allocate funds to broaden their exposure across Associated Wholesale Grocers (AWG); this led to the most successful AWG results in recent years.

Cianci worked with local retail customers to drive funding of and participation in charities.

Essman oversaw Schwan’s Red Baron frozen pizza and Tony’s frozen pizza brands and businesses; in 2023, her portfolio saw a 17.6% increase in top-line revenue growth and 15.5% in bottom-line growth, while Red Baron market share increased 200 basis points to hit a 19.7% dollar share in its category.

This past April, she and her team launched a new product, Red Baron Fully Loaded Hand Tossed Style Crust Pizza; she has a three-year pipeline of product innovation set to follow.

The Red Baron team led by Essman was honored with the company’s Best Impact Award in November 2022.

to our 2024 Top Women in Grocery

Kiara Banks Crystal Smith Meghan Mulleady Abby Blauch Marlene Bower Robin Pifer Crickett Blauch Stacie Diehl Kerri Quigley Jena Bomboy Courtney Rawls Jennifer Schell Stacey Kegel Lauren Seitter Jennifer Scott Sandy McCoy Angie Stine Leigh Shirley

2024 Top Women in Grocery

With responsibility for the management, performance and leadership of SRS’s pharmacy operation, Janiak led the business to a 13.3% increase in total pharmacy sales and a 24.6% increase in net profit in 2023 versus 2022.

Further, in a tight hiring market, she received an impressive 14 percentage-point boost in her department’s Associate Engagement Index.

Janiak was ShopRite Supermarkets’ representative within retailer cooperative Wakefern Food Corp.’s pharmacy division, in which role she partnered with other pharmacy leaders to develop marketing materials and social media strategies.

Bell co-developed an automated Pre-Planer Tool, which streamlines processes, enhances forecast accuracy and drives efficiency across SpartanNash corporate stores; she also streamlined operations and improved collaboration across teams by championing consistent standards.

With her team of eight, she surpassed her ad fee targets by a margin of more than $400,000.

An avid runner, Bell participated in a Winter Warrior Challenge, a fundraiser that required her to run outdoors every day in January; she also volunteered for a Healthy Kids Running series in spring and was a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.

Bredeweg launched the company’s first Associate Hardship Fund (AHF), designed to provide fast, tax-free financial aid to associates who experienced a natural disaster or unforeseen personal challenges; the fund has already donated more $75,000.

She orchestrated eight humanitarian aid shipments to disasters, including the Maui wildfires, in Hawaii, and California floods, for which she was honored with a Leadership in Action Award.

Bredeweg also played a vital role in the company’s sponsorship, with Junior Achievement of the Great Michigan Lakes, of JA Finance Park to educate students about grocery careers and personal financial planning.

Congratulationsto Shipt's

Derkacz implemented the modernization and revamping of SpartanNash’s methods for developing and checking engineering labor standards, which resulted in a 30% increase in standard checks and refreshes.

Other modernization efforts she directed enabled the company to streamline operations and balance planned workloads more effectively in 10 warehouses.

She played a pivotal role in designing and executing group outings that cultivated a positive organizational culture within the engineering, maintenance and ESG organization; and she received the Golden Gear Award for her contributions to the engineering department.

TopWomen in

2024 Top Women in Grocery

Following her promotion to produce category manager in August 2023, Grossi spearheaded the merchandising transformation in SpartanNash’s refrigerated juice category, which included implementing a new cost policy for better transparency and vendor accountability.

She aided in the launch of 42 new own-brand products in nuts, dried fruits and snacks, and she also played a role in executing SpartanNash’s 2023 Food Solutions Expo, which showcased supply chain and merchandising advancements.

Grossi was selected for SpartanNash’s Propel leadership course, a program that aimed to advance the leadership skills of mid-level associates.

Kimberly Jackson Senior Director, National Accounts, SpartanNash

Jackson signed a contract extension with a major customer that was one of the highest-value single contracts in company history; she also played a key role in expanding a partnership with one of SpartanNash’s largest perishable customers, with plans to expand geographic collaboration in 2024 and beyond.

She launched new health and beauty care partnerships with a segment of the military, as well as with a large national account, generating more than $25 million in annualized sales.

Jackson was the co-chair of the WIN associate resource group at SpartanNash, in which role she drove diversity, inclusion and associate engagement.

In the span of one year, Kozminski held three leadership roles: presell manager, regional merchandising manager and account sales specialist supervisor; as presell manager, she revamped the presell booking number process, leading to an 80% decrease in errors.

As regional merchandising manager, she collaborated with graphic services and an account manager to create a low-price merchandising program; in her current role, she captured more than $80,000 in additional sales.

Outside of work, Kozminski volunteered as a host for the International Student Exchange Program and the International Cultural Exchange Services.

Autumn Lossing National Accounts Manager, SpartanNash

Lossing oversaw parcel distribution services and reveled in finding efficiencies; for example, she established direct procurement from a trusted manufacturer, bypassing external distributors, and delivered a cost benefit exceeding $1 million.

She streamlined processes by standardizing the company’s parcel reclamation agreement for national account customers; she also exceeded expectations in optimizing existing-customer profitability, leading an internal team to surpass this goal by more than 10%.

As co-chair of the RISE associate resource group for younger associates, Lossing organized engaging events, among them volunteering opportunities.


2024 Top Women in Grocery

Mouw spearheaded initiatives designed to improve safety protocols and foster a culture of safety awareness across the 79 retail stores she oversees; her efforts surpassed safety goals and resulted in a low 1.7 recordable incident rate.

She implemented targeted retention strategies and provided support to store leaders, including best practices toolkits, so they could reduce turnover by 12% and boost retention by 4%.

Mouw played a key role in the successful introduction and implementation of the associate engagement coordinator (AEC) position at SpartanNash stores and supported AECs with comprehensive training and ongoing development initiatives.

Doyle enhanced program funding across the coffee category, resulting in lower costs for customers; she also hit an all-time high with one-week sales of $1.6 million for Maxwell House bonus-size coffee.

She worked diligently with Acme Fresh Markets and Cousin’s on overall assortment work to ensure that they were carrying the right assortment to drive sales and profitability.

Outside of the office, Doyle strove to make a difference in her local community by volunteering, along with her daughter, at the Ashland Athletic Club, in Virginia where the two of them worked with paraplegic club members; she also spent some of her spare time helping out at Feed More of Richmond and Children’s Hospital of Richmond.

Putcha managed the capital budget of the infrastructure, security and operations (ISO) organization, achieving a 93% compliance rate with the budget; more than 50 ISO-driven projects were completed in FY23, all within budget and on schedule.

Promoted to IT director in mid2023, she established a strategic asset management program that significantly enhanced inventory management and financial accuracy; she also was able to strategically reallocate more than $500,000 to fund unplanned but critical business projects.

Putcha was active in the Michigan Council of Women in Technology Foundation.

Alexis Gibbs HR Manager, Talent Partner, UNFI

Gibbs colaunched the Brands+ CommUNITY Garden, an initiative devised to drive engagement for the Brands+ team through the focus areas of continuous improvement and communication, as well as to create connections through volunteerism and fun.

In partnership with the finance leadership team, she implemented a monthly finance director connect focused on development and building cross-functional collaboration.

Beyond her HR manager role, Gibbs was coordinator and secretary for the UNFI Assist Program, an associate relief fund, in which role she was responsible for maintaining records, developing agendas for the quarterly meetings and processing approved requests for assistance.

Under Wright’s leadership, SpartanNash was named one of America’s Greatest Workplaces for Diversity 2024 by Newsweek; separately, DEIB scored high in the company’s annual associate engagement survey.

She orchestrated the expansion of the company’s internship program from 40 to 105 students, with 61% diversity representation; SpartanNash’s college hires have tripled in number versus previous years.

Wright launched a communication and collaboration platform to support the SpartanNash Women’s Impact Network and other associate resource groups.

Smith led an important strategic initiative for the company, Dinner Tonight, which included quality improvements in packaging and product; technology advancements to provide hot foods in store, as well as for grocery pickup and delivery; and new fresh meal solutions for customers; this program saw strong results, driving the business and customer retention and growth.

Additionally, her efforts to reduce waste resulted in a double-digit increase in that area.

Beyond work, Smith devoted her time and expertise to several nonprofits, among them the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, of which she was executive chair; Big Brothers/Big Sisters; and NextUp, where she served as an active mentor.

Cheryl Colbert Director of Customer Experience, Tops Markets LLC, Division of Northeast Grocery

Colbert led the transition of the Instacart in-store shopping feature to a Tops-managed and -staffed service, an undertaking that involved training about 100 associates at 58 stores and ensuring that each location had the correct hardware and staffing.

She managed the replacement of checkout equipment at 13 stores undergoing remodels and made sure that associates were trained to use the new robots.

More than 18 years ago, Colbert and a colleague started an annual Monte Carlo Night to raise money for the Golisano Children’s Hospital, in Rochester, N.Y.; to date, they have raised $188,118-plus for the hospital.


Conover’s store previously struggled to compete against several well-known chain grocery stores in the area — and associate morale was low; under her leadership, which is centered on building strong relationships within her team, the store saw a 10% improvement in same-store sales and a reduction in shrink.

Her store was fully staffed despite a difficult recruiting environment, with turnover decreasing by 26%.

To serve the local community, Conover coordinated donations to local food banks and recently made a $2,300 donation on the store’s behalf to a home for pregnant teenagers.

Store Managers

2024 Top Women in Grocery

Tina Allston Manager, Food Lion Store #2687, Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Allston managed the second-highest-volume store in her region; same-store sales for the Myrtle Beach, S.C., store increased 7% in 2023; operating profit for home delivery increased 9%; and the store achieved a 96% food safety score.

She stepped up to support other stores in her region without losing momentum at her own location; for example, she helped coordinate the opening of three new stores in her region.

When Meals on Wheels needed a supplier for three months, Allston’s store provided food to the organization every week; she also rallied her associates to sell more than 2,000 food boxes as part of Food Lion’s annual Holidays without Hunger initiative.

Staffing and recruitment were a challenge in the affluent city where Cook’s store was located, so she focused on cross-training associates to make sure that they were available wherever they were needed most.

Even though the store was undergoing a remodel, Cook grew operating profit by 15%; Food Lion To Go pickup and home delivery sales grew by 4%-plus.

Cook hired four associates with autism through a partnership with the Autism Society of North Carolina, which ensured that they learned the skills to succeed both inside and outside the workplace; additionally, students with special needs worked in the store.

Hamlett was a mentor for incoming store managers in her region, sharing notes she put together during her own first year; as a result of her efforts, she was named a Store Manager of the Year for her region in 2023.

She served as a project manager to support other stores within her region undergoing remodels, and she was also the region’s team lead on the Council for Workforce Dimensions, Food Lion’s scheduling platform.

In addition to her involvement in Food Lion Feeds, Hamlett recently helped establish a food pantry at a middle school in an area with a high percentage of food-insecure families.

Bay Manager, Food Lion Store #2816, Pelzer, S.C.

Bay led her store through a successful grand re-opening: It subsequently recorded a same-store-sales increase of nearly 20% for the year and posted food safety and workplace safety scores of 95% and 97%, respectively.

She used routine store walks to ensure not only that conditions were maintained consistently, but also to train associates on the spot; her efforts have paid off in customer satisfaction, as the store’s net promoter score has increased by 21 points.

Bay was one of the first store managers to embrace a new productivity system, the Electronic Production Planning tool, which led to a 12% boost in customer loyalty rewards.

During 2023, Humphrey transitioned from managing a store in Yorktown, Va., to one in Adairsville, Ga.; while she was running the Yorktown store, sales increased 11% and customer count increased by 6%.

She helped train customer service managers in her region, including many at stores she didn’t manage, and she represented her region on the Council for Workforce Dimensions, Food Lion’s scheduling platform.

Humphrey was named a Store Manager of the Year for her region in 2023, and she volunteered with the Food Lion Feeds hunger relief initiative.

Caryn Conover Manager, Food Lion Store #2160, Bear, Del. Kristie Brittany Humphrey Manager, Food Lion Store #1696, Adairsville, Ga. Sacari Hamlett Manager, Food Lion Store #0900, Red Springs, N.C. Renee Cook Manager, Food Lion Store #1338, Apex, N.C.

2024 Top Women in Grocery

Thelma Nichols Manager, Food Lion Store #1603, Dalton, Ga.

Nichols runs the second-highest-volume store in her region, which she led to a nearly 20% increase in samestore sales and a 10% increase in customer transactions.

She took on an additional role as regional recruiting specialist, helping to cultivate talent for 42 stores in the region by hosting career fairs and screening candidates; she was also involved in training store managers and customer service managers how to onboard new associates.

Two of Nichols’ team members received Fresh@Home Awards, one for produce, where department sales increased nearly 6%, and one for deli/bakery, where same-store sales increased more than 9%.

Marlene Bower Manager, Giant Store #6324, Levittown, Pa.

Manager of the top-performing store in the region in terms of sales and engagement scores, Bower grew sales by 1.45%, and her team engagement score increased two points, with a final score of 70.

She instituted engagement days at her store to recognize the hard work of team members, for whom she serves as a role model, offering such fun events as Pizza Fridays and Pretzel Thursdays.

Joining with her team to help do their part to help heal the planet, Bower spent multiple days volunteering at Silver Lake Nature Center, cleaning up trash on the pathways, and planting and mulching the flowerbeds.

Angela Robinson Manager, Food Lion Store #2197, Clayton, N.C.

Living directly across the street from her store, Robinson used her neighborhood’s Facebook page to connect with her community.

In 2023, her store increased cut fruit sales by more than 130%, boosted Shop & Earn engagement by nearly 20%, grew sales by approximately 10%, closed the shrink gap by $14,000 and led the division in Halloween pumpkin sales.

Robinson’s success this past year culminated in her being named Store Manager of the Year for both her region and division; she was one of five Food Lion Store Managers of the Year in February 2024, out of the company’s 1,108 store managers.

Helen Spencer Manager, Food Lion Store #0418, Grafton, Va.

Spencer has transformed her store into one of the highest-performing locations in her region: For instance, same-store sales in 2023 rose nearly 10% over the previous year.

This past year, she and her associates sold the largest amount of Food Lion Feeds boxes in the entire organization — 7,000 — during the holiday season; the boxes were donated directly to neighbors in need.

Spencer once led fundraising efforts to replace an associate’s bike that was wrecked when he was struck by a vehicle on his way to work, and the money was raised in less than three hours; luckily, the associate wasn’t seriously injured.

Ashley Yarborough Manager, Food Lion Store #0861, Raleigh, N.C.

Thanks to a cohesive team environment that not only facilitated operational efficiency, but also allowed Yarborough to identify potential leaders, her store offered a superior shopping experience and thereby exprienced a 4% jump in same-store sales growth.

Unafraid of taking on new challenges in her region, exemplifying one of Food Lion’s core values, courage, she didn’t hesitate to support her peers in training, recruiting, mentoring and hiring.

As a result of her success as a store manager, Yarborough was tapped for a new role as a Food Lion To Go specialist, managing the launch of the e-commerce service in her region’s stores.


As a result of her strong performance at the Aston, Pa., Giant store, Rawls was selected last October to take over the Havertown store, one of the brand’s busiest and highest-volume stores.

She immediately began making positive changes at Havertown, among them increasing e-commerce sales and setting a record sales week for the store’s Giant Direct curbside pickup service at Christmas.

As chair of MOSAIC, a business resource group dedicated to increasing awareness and building inclusion of all cultures and ethnicities in local communities, Rawls helped plan heritage month events year-round.

Under Seitter’s leadership, the Grant Avenue store had the highest volume in the region and a team empowered to provide excellent customer service; additionally, the location’s net promoter score was the highest in the region, exceeding the company’s goal.

As a L.E.A.D. (Leadership/ Experience/Accelerate/Development) candidate mentor focused on developing salaried managers, she worked with five trainees on their continued career growth.

Seitter and her team increased sustainability throughout the store by such means as boosting food donations to support Philabundance by 10% throughout the year.

York, Pa.

Just three months after taking leadership of a store that was challenged in all areas, Stine increased the monthly net promoter score by six points and improved the team member engagement score by four points.

She and her team generated sales records in the pharmacy and bakery, and Giant Direct had a record number of orders; she focused on computer-assisted ordering to improve the store’s in-stock conditions and improved audits by 42%.

Stine developed a culture of superior food safety, earning near-perfect audits the last three times; in four months, Stine also increased the store’s sustainability scores by seven points.

Angie Stine Manager, Giant Store #6294, Lauren Seitter Manager, Giant Store #6448, Philadelphia Courtney Rawls Manager, Giant Store #6442, Havertown,

2024 Top Women in Grocery

Stacie Diehl Manager, Martin’s Store #6003, Cumberland, Md.

Managing two stores in 2023, Diehl led her current location, in Cumberland, Md., to positive sales of 8.07% versus last year and her previous one, in Keyser, W.V., to positive sales of 3.27% versus last year, excluding gas and EBT sales.

She and her store team broke two new sales records in 2023: The Cumberland store experienced a record total sales week during Christmas Week, as did the store pharmacy.

Diehl has significantly helped her local community by organizing volunteer events and partnering with various nonprofit organizations; she and her team volunteered 837 hours to support their neighbors in need.

Julia Taylor Director, Albertsons Store #43, Missoula, Mont.

Taylor immediately improved the associate experience in her store by revamping breakrooms and common areas, and, through other avenues, she managed to reduce associate turnover by almost 40%.

She was also instrumental in improving store operations by focusing on company process initiatives that increased productivity, improved the customer experience and made associates’ jobs easier.

Taylor strove to teach people why teamwork makes the dream work, and she also focused on building confidence, forging careers for associates, giving back to the community and creating a thriving work environment.

Stop & Shop Store #621, Southbury, Conn.

In recognition of the strong Jewish customer base at her store, Cavallaro partnered with local rabbis and the community to hold the first Kosher Week at the location; she brought in a wider variety of kosher products and had rabbis educate associates and customers about them.

She was able to improve overtime spending and beat her direct payroll budget; she also promoted three associates to full-time positions within the district and improved associate engagement scores.

Cavallaro was honored with a Stop & Shop award of excellence for having the top results in perishable shrink in her district.


Varela was pivotal in achieving record-breaking revenue and profit margins; in 2023, her store was up 10.59% over the prior year, and the store increased sales by $50,000 per week in the same year compared with the previous year.

Her private label promotion ran an average of $15,000 per week, with sales up 7% over last year; she also helped transform a pharmacy that was on the brink of closure to achieve a sales increase of 65.75% versus the previous year, with a weekly increase growth rate of $24,000 per week.

Varela volunteered at StoreHouse New Mexico, the state’s largest food pantry.

Alyse Hyde

Stop & Shop Store #0423, Vineyard Haven, Mass.

Hyde’s desire to continually improve her store, which is located on Martha’s Vineyard, was demonstrated by the many projects she successfully undertook, including floorplan and product assortment changes.

Last summer, she hired and trained 40 exchange students, as well as helping the company obtain housing for them and ensure that they had an enjoyable cultural experience while in the United States.

Hyde joined the women’s associate resource group as a way to get more involved at work; this led to her staffing the company tent at the Providence Breast Cancer Walk.

Ramirez simplified inventory processing to improve productivity with a “one-touch” pilot process that allowed associates to scan one barcode on an incoming pallet instead of each box individually; the pilot, which was rolled out to all stores, increased productivity rates sixfold and. improved vendor relationships.

She refined associate picking to enhance safety and productivity by strategically moving bulky items to the staging area where online orders were finalized, so associates no longer needed to repeatedly lift the items.

Ramirez co-founded the first Latino affinity group for Amazon Fresh employees across more than 40 stores.

Bonnie Stalenski Director, Albertsons Store #0183, Jackson, Wyo. An Albertsons Cos. employee for more than 34 years and a store director for 11, Stalenski managed one of her division’s highest-volume stores; prior to joining Albertsons, she spent 10 years in the U.S. Air Force working as a traffic control and weather radar technician.

She and her team of about 200 employees ran 40 weeks in the past year with more than $1 million in sales and set new sales records for their store again this past summer.

Stalenski was a member of the Jackson Hole Rotary Club, the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce and the Jackson Hole National Wildlife Museum.

Atra led a major refresh of her store, which included reducing the length of the center store aisles and a subsequent reset throughout, which will reduce shrink and create a better shopping experience for customers.

In her first nine months as store director, her store finished the fiscal year up 50 basis points in net profit over the store average versus the prior year, as well as achieving a 5.1% increase in total sales year over year.

Atra brought food to the homeless in lower-income neighborhoods of Kansas City and worked to support the development of a new Islamic cultural and educational center planned for Leawood, Kan.

Rania Atra Director, Balls Price Chopper Store #39, Shawnee, Kan. Dinora Ramirez Manager, Amazon Fresh Store, Fullerton, Calif.

Otilia Brown Manager, Big Y World Class Market Store #95, Simsbury, Conn.

At Brown’s store, gross profit dollars were up 12.8% to budget and 15.3% over the prior year, shrink was 3.67% of sales versus 4.22% the previous year, and direct wages were at 8.18%, 80 basis points better than budget and 108 basis points better than 2022, while net income results were 79.2% over budget.

At a store focused on supporting local vendor partners and farms, she and her produce sales manager partnered with Calabrese Farms on direct-to-store deliveries, as well as displays inside and outside the store.

Brown recently transitioned to the role of corporate seafood sales manager.

Angel Goure Leader, City Market Store #441, New Castle, Colo.

In the challenging environment of a small coal-mining town, Goure successfully turned a previously unprofitable store into a thriving business with a 10.73% sales increase and a 3.9% boost in EBITDA.

Her pickup department earned elite status by exceeding all measurable department metrics, and she was recognized for maintaining 100% total in-stock; she received a high-sales award as well.

Goure’s store contributed to the annual New Castle parade and participated in several community events by donating reusable bags for Earth Day programs and supporting Boy Scout food collections.

Yodee Rivera Director, Coborn’s Marketplace Store #2027, Glencoe, Minn.

Rivera focused on helping her team improve their skills through training and educational opportunities that prepared them for potential future roles; several team members were subsequently promoted within her store.

She was the driving force behind Welcoming Week, an annual nationwide campaign and celebration with the aim of showcasing communities’ efforts to be more welcoming to all, including recent immigrants.

Rivera was involved in Coborn’s sponsorship of the first annual Minnesota Hispanic Heritage Month celebration, in St. Cloud; she was also a member of the Store Advisory Council.

Aydil Store Director, Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA), Incirlik Commissary, Turkey

After a devastating earthquake, Aydil provided invaluable assistance to displaced employees and their families; her efforts included delivering food and necessities while offering comfort and support to those affected.

She implemented a delivery system within the base, a move that streamlined the process of providing essential supplies to airmen; she also spearheaded the creation of an Airman Corner within the store, establishing a platform to gather donations for deployed airmen.

Mary Giles Store Director, Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA), Europe Area, Garmisch Commissary, Germany

Giles provided a great customer experience at her commissary: In 2023, it received the highest Commissary Customer Satisfaction Survey score in the Europe Area — 4.97 out of 5.0.

Diligent about keeping salvage to a minimum while recording high accountable inventory results, she maintained one of the lowest not-in-stock with balanceon-hand rates in her zone, with an average of 1%.

Giles supported the military community through multiple events at her commissary; these included providing education on healthy eating to children from the local elementary school.

Manuela Hamilton Commissary Officer, Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA), Keesler Commissary, Keesler AFB, Biloxi, Miss.

Results at the Keesler Commissary reflected Hamilton’s operational and management capabilities: In 2023, the increase in the commissary’s sales surpassed plan goals, and the success continued in Q1 2024, with a 6.8% increase in sales compared with Q1 2023.

She implemented a pilot program with a contractor to revamp how groceries arrive on shelves; her hands-on involvement and guidance enabled a seamless transition to the successful new business model.

Hamilton’s commissary posted a 38.3% increase in e-commerce in Q1 2024 from a year earlier.

McCarthy Store Director, Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA), Fort Liberty North Commissary, Fort Liberty, N.C.

In her three years in charge of her commissary McCarthey grew sales every year; for the fiscal year ended September 2023, commissary sales were up 17.8% and transactions rose 11.4%.

Healthy eating was a focus for McCarthy: Her Commissary Classroom program showed service members how to make healthy decisions, and she brought in dietitians to teach soldiers to prepare healthy meals and educate them on nutrition.

By hosting a variety of activities at a sidewalk sale in May 2023, she brought in almost $150,000 more in increased sales than in the prior year.

Aydil received the Department of the Army’s Achievement Medal for Civilian Service. Laura Johnson Director, Family Fare Store #115, Byron Center, Mich.

Before becoming district manager of fuel operations in November 2023, Johnson was store director of the Byron Center, Mich., Family Fare, where she often experimented with new merchandising strategies to reach and retain shoppers, and she collaborated with the SpartanNash OwnBrands team on tasting events.

Her store received a perfect score during its 2023 safety audit; it exceeded expectations in its internal audit as well, scoring nearly 10% better than the previous year, and she also improved retention by 20%.

Johnson mentored future leaders in SpartanNash’s Elevate training program and the Intern 101 program.

Rosario Maureen

2024 Top Women in Grocery

Store sales surged 8% under Kuehn’s leadership, and every fresh department achieved growth; deli alone contributed to a $160,000 boost in deli, meat and produce department sales.

Known for cultivating a close-knit atmosphere in her store, Kuehn was able to boost retention; turnover in the store was projected to end the year 10% under goal, and seven associates earned promotions, while trained and motivated associates delivered an enhanced shopping experience, leading to a 6% improvement in the guest satisfaction score (to 71.3%).

Kuehn was a finalist in the FMI Store Manager Awards.

Food 4 Less Store #313, Hawthorne, Calif.

Ramos leads 67 associates at her location, focusing on developing associates, motivating them and inspiring team growth.

Taking on the challenge of a store with huge opportunities in morale and job performance, Ramos successfully shifted the environment in 2023 and received high Associate Insight Survey scores, as well as the highest composite score, and was top in Full, Fresh and Friendly shops in her district.

She and her team raised nearly $2,000 for a local senior home, and were able to provide food to the elderly during the holidays and winter months.

Alejandra Maciel

Team Leader, Food City Store #103, Phoenix

Despite a major Hispanic big-box competitor located across the street, Maciel’s store — a hub in its neighborhood — was up more than 19,000 customers over the same period last year, average order size was up nearly $1, sales were up nearly 7% and EBITDA was nearly $150,000 better than budget.

Her terrific team member retention rate made her a go-to resource for associate training from other stores, and she promoted eight team members in the past year.

Maciel volunteered at a number of community events, including Copa Food City, Dia De Los Muertos activities and job fairs.

Korinne Gormley Leader, Fred Meyer Store #694, Happy Valley, Ore.

Overseeing 288 associates at her store, Gormley was deeply committed to customer satisfaction and mentoring associates and future leaders in the industry.

Under her leadership, her team has won multiple sales contests from companies such as Franz, Coke, Red Bull, Energizer and Sparkling Ice.

As part of the Happy Valley Business Alliance, Gormley hosted canned food drives for the American Encouragement Military Network and sock drives for local churches, just to name a few of her efforts; she also hosted local school bands during the holidays.

Sara Olascon

Team Leader, Food City Store #12, Phoenix

Olascon led her team to increase her store’s gross profits by 10.3% and customer count by more than 25%.

A great mentor and teacher, she passed on to her team members the organizational and product display skills that she developed as a receiver, helping to foster a focus on first-class customer service that has positively affected the team’s sales numbers: For instance, average order size increased nearly 3.5%. and EBTDA was up $245,000 above plan.

Olascon regularly participated in Food City-sponsored community events, and she held raffles of gift baskets to raise funds for her daughter’s basketball club.

Luisana Rios Leader, Fry’s Food Store #83, Tucson, Ariz.

Managing 190 associates at her current location, Rios eagerly worked her way through multiple roles and departments during her 18-year tenure with the company.

She ran one of the highest-volume stores in the company, and over the past year, her store was No. 2 district-wide on pickup department fill rate, and also surpassed its goal by 20% on composite rate, placing her at No. 3 in the division; her store additionally placed in the top five in the district for shrink rate.

Rios completed the company’s internal Future Leaders Experience to further improve her skills.

Kayla Reid Team Leader, Food City Store #69, Tucson, Ariz.

Reid drove sales at her store up 10% last year over the previous year and was already ahead 5.24% for this year, with EBIDTA $163,000 above plan so far this year.

She led team members to become some of the store’s best leaders across the meat, produce, deli and front end departments, with the intention of helping to shape the company’s future.

Deeply involved in her community, Reid was a fixture at events with major Food City community partners, including Chicanos Por La Causa; she was also a handson parent at her son’s soccer club, gamely volunteering for anything the club needed.

Ashley Craigmiles Leader, Gerbes Store #116, Eldon, Mo.

Overseeing a store with 66 associates, Craigmiles broke her sales record twice, won multiple division sales challenges and more than tripled the store goal for a recent selling event.

Her store was chosen to be a training location for the Store Leader Development Program.

Craigmiles received the division’s Top Gun Leader Award for her district in both Q1 and Q3; additionally, she regularly gave back to the community as a board member for the county’s Habitat for Humanity chapter and volunteered with several groups, including The AL Foundation and Relay for Life.



Top Women
ns to our 2024 for your leadership, hard work and dedication!
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2024 Top Women in Grocery

Tina Hartley Director, Harris Teeter Store #363, Summerville, S.C.

Hartley surpassed last year’s store operating profit of $2.2 million, showcasing her adept financial management skills, and had the honor of hosting an investors’ walk at her store.

After the fresh food department saw negative sales, she implemented measures to decrease turnover, increase production and establish standards for improved efficiency; the department then boasted an average positive sales trend of 10%.

Hartley worked with Fort Dorchester Elementary School to establish a program for kindergarten classes to visit her store to learn about healthy eating habits and get a bag of healthy snacks and educational materials.

Elise Scheil District Store Director, Hy-Vee Store #1396, Marion, Iowa; Marion Fast & Fresh; Cedar Rapids #6, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

When Scheil ran Cedar Rapids #3, the store went from red to black six months after she arrived; she invested in physical store upgrades that improved morale, which in turn contributed to the sales turnaround.

Her competitive nature led her to recruit a competitor’s entire pharmacy team, comprising the pharmacy manager, pharmacist, seven techs and two interns.

Although Hy-Vee didn’t offer a corporate fleet fuel program, Scheil created one in Marion to reward select local businesses for filling up; it was designed in a way to also incentivize employees to come into the store for a free drink and food discounts.


Harris Teeter Store #122, Charlotte, N.C.

Hercules-Lott and her team have made this their most successful year yet, with the store surpassing $1 million in profit year to date; she also achieved a notable increase of 7.22% year to date, the highest trend in the district.

Store #122 boasted an impressive total composite score of 96.4% year to date, this achievement was further underscored by the 42 compliments that it received for exceptional service.

In addition to being a strong supporter of The Salvation Army, Hercules-Lott was able to lead her team to victories in various contests, including the floral rose contest, the produce pistachio contest, the Hostess contest and the Harris Teeter paper contest.


Director, JewelOsco Store #3189, Chesterton, Ind.

Loughmiller, a 25-year veteran of Jewel-Osco, oversaw 200 associates at her store, where she took pride in running a clean, safe location.

Her e-commerce sales increased 35% year over year, and her commitment to continued sales growth could be seen weekly as her total e-commerce sales continued to land in the top third of the district.

Additionally, Loughmiller was the co-chairman of the Jewel-Osco Asian Di Network associate resource group, which facilitated an inclusive culture that supported the advancement of Asian associates through mentorship and education; she also volunteered to pack meals at the Northern Illinois Food Bank.


Harris Teeter Store #190, Concord, N.C.

With turnover at 46%, which was below company average, O’Quinn worked closely with associates to win such initiatives as the Moms, Dads and Grads gift card contest.

She demonstrated her commitment to driving sales and fostering customer engagement through various events and activations hosted at her store, including the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile, an Easter Bunny event, a Hatch chile roasting event, and a NASCAR driver event featuring Daniel Suarez.

Using her exceptional leadership and strategic management skills, O’Quinn achieved a store composite score of 96.5 and a sales composite score of 95.

Jessica McGrew Director, JewelOsco Store #3073, Normal, Ill.

Leading 115 associates at her store, McGraw maintained a higher than 6% ID year over year in sales, and her e-commerce portion of the business grew more than 82% ID year over year.

She worked toward better associate recruitment in collaboration with Illinois State University, putting together a job fair and hiring interns from the school.

When not working at her store, McGrew volunteers each year at the Bloomington Senior Expo, explaining to attendees what Jewel-Osco has to offer, and also at the Bloomington Chocolate and Wine festival; she additionally teamed with a local junior college to speak with students looking for careers after graduation.

Karla Quandt District Store Director, Hy-Vee Store #1560, Shawnee, Kan.

Quandt improved her previous store’s profits in Q3 2023 by 4.6%, in Q4 2023 by nearly 8% and in Q1 2024 by nearly 7%; pharmacy sales in Q1 were up by nearly 40% over the prior year, accounting for nearly 30% of total store sales for Q1.

She took the initiative to become certified as a pharmacy technician to help when her pharmacy was short-staffed, a hands-on approach that helped inspire her team and create a positive work environment.

Within her first month of managing the Shawnee Hy-Vee, Quandt increased gross profit dollars by nearly 10% compared with the prior year and lowered store expenses by 12%.

Nunez, a leader of 138 associates, led her team to exceed store sales projections and EBITDA projections during the past year.

She was the co-chair of the Jewel-Osco Latino Leadership Associates (J.O.L.L.A.) associate resource group (ARG), and during a J.O.L.L.A.-sponsored back-to-school hiring event, 52 minority candidates were hired to work for Jewel-Osco.

Nunez helped launch new signs in Spanish to encourage, teach and promote using the Drive up and Go e-commerce program via the Jewel-Osco app; additionally, she and others in the J.O.L.L.A. ARG helped displaced families access food and necessities after a fire made their apartments uninhabitable.

Christine Nunez Director, JewelOsco Store #3160, Palos Park, Ill.

Celebrating your success is sweet!

Congratulations to Northeast Grocery’s TWIG award-winners! We are so proud of your leadership and the standard of excellence you set for our industry.

Sharon Bonk VP of HR Operations Northeast Shared Services

Amelia Bly HR Business Partner Price Chopper/Market 32

Jacquelyn Marchesiello Director of Financial Planning and Analysis Northeast Shared Services

Cheryl Colbert Director of Customer Experience Tops Friendly Markets

Kelly O’Neill-DiCarmine Director of Design and Construction Price Chopper/Market 32

Heather Gendreau Store Manager

Chopper/Market 32

Nicole Katz Director of Financial Planning and Analysis Price Chopper/Market 32

Alicia Ramirez Manager of Store Labor Expense

Chopper/Market 32

Merithew Store Manager

Friendly Markets

Susan Lambert Regional HR Manager

Chopper/Market 32 Miranda Siek Zone Director

Chopper/Market 32


2024 Top Women in Grocery

Tammy Stock Director, JewelOsco Store #16, Deerfield, Ill.

Despite dealing with a major health challenge and surgery in the past year, Stock never wavered in her leadership: Sales at her store grew 6% versus the past year, and EBITDA increased 20.5%; meanwhile, the store continued to be recognized for its food safety and sanitation efforts.

She continued to develop new leaders, with three assistant store directors being promoted to store directors within the past year.

While achieving all of these impressive results, Stock continued her education and graduated summa cum laude from Southern New Hampshire University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and entrepreneurship.

Marwa Alhajjaj Leader, Kroger Store #713, Nicholasville, Ky.

Alhajjaj oversaw 140 employees, sharing with them her strong passion for providing superior customer service.

Her store achieved a 5.2% sales increase over last year, and her ability to retain talent led to a labor productivity level that improved 5.83% over last year.

Partnering with the Nicholasville, Ky., Police Department, Alhajjaj donated more than 10,000 popsicle treats to children through the department’s “Copsicle” truck; she also assisted a local school in Jessamine County by donating food items monthly and helped provide off-site clinics to promote flu vaccines.

Janet Taylor Director, JewelOsco Store #438, Oak Park, Ill.

Overseeing a “neighborhood store” in her own community, Taylor led the location to bring in an average weekly sales increase of 3.5% over the past year — on top of 6% year-over-year growth in both 2022 and 2023.

Under her leadership, the pharmacy experienced sales growth of 25% year over year, with script count up 7%.

Taylor and her sister did volunteer work at Opportunity Knocks, a charitable organization dedicated to young adults with disabilities; she was also a strong supporter of Chicago Jesuit Academy, a local tuition-free school supporting families affected by historical disinvestment.

Wilmington, Ohio

After becoming a store leader last year, Brownfield immediately prioritized food safety, achieving two zero-critical food safety walks and finishing the year with a 100% sanitation score.

She helped boost the store’s associate engagement store by 6% and received a company “Best of the Best” award.

Brownfield and her 150-associate team took part in various initiatives benefiting local charities, including the American Heart Association’s annual Heart Walk in downtown Cincinnati; she also shared her time sorting and packing food with a Feeding America food bank partner.

Maria Tornabeni Store Director, Jewel-Osco Store #3495, Bensenville, Ill.

Under Tornabeni’s leadership, Jewel-Osco’s Bensenville, Ill., store rang up a 4.2% increase in identical-store sales year over year, while earnings grew with a strong 5.25% conversion rate.

She hired and mentored a new floral manager who helped grow the department, resulting in a 7% increase in identical-store sales in floral.

Tornabeni hosted Jewel-Osco’s FAB (Women of Food and Beverage) event in March, highlighting women-owned products and engaging the entire store; she also built a partnership with the local mayor, which resulted in her store’s participation in multiple area events.

Colorado Springs, Colo.

Now managing a total of 236 associates, Gonzalez began her store leadership journey at the smallest and least profitable location in the district; she gradually progressed to oversee one of the chain’s largest and most profitable stores.

Her expertise shone through in her team leadership and coaching, which emphasized both processes and behaviors; she also led the store to surpass its shrink goal and achieve outstanding in-stock metrics.

Additionally, Gonzalez has achieved 84.5 in prime-time wait time against a goal of 105.8, and she maintained a pickup wait time of 3:08 against a 5:00 goal.


Dennis helped turn around an underperforming store that had low employee morale by focusing on goals and encouraging everyone to provide an outstanding shopping experience; the store ended the year with a 3.4% lift in sales.

She got to know each member of the night crew, urging personal accountability for performance; afterward, the in-stock goal improved 5%, and the team then constantly exceeded its goals.

Dennis was chosen to serve on the Store Leader Council for her district; she also joined the Madison, Tenn., Chamber of Commerce to give back to the community and build strong relationships with local leaders.

Currently leading 120 associates, Gebrehiwot was previously a division e-commerce field specialist, in which role she enhanced efficiency measures of grocery pickup and improved the percentage of items included in grocery pickup orders by 100 basis points.

As a store leader, she grew sales at her location by 5.47% and led a 12% increase in its composite score, higher than the division average.

Gebrehiwot was nominated for Store Leader of the Quarter; she also belonged to the division’s African American associate resource group and trained new managers in e-ecommerce.

Carissa Gonzalez Leader, King Soopers Store #134, Azeb Gebrehiwot Leader, Kroger Store #473, Cumming, Ga. Amber Dennis Leader, Kroger Store #514, Madison, Brittany Brownfield Leader, Kroger Store #817,

A first-year store leader in 2023, Hardy improved the location’s composite score from 72% to 80.1% by improving processes, fill rates and labor.

She held the top spot in the division for three periods in a row for most items counted for in-stock and inspired a significant increase in the location’s Friendly score to “very good.”

Hardy consistently supported Kroger’s Zero Hunger | Zero Waste plan and bolstered relationships with such community groups as the West Ohio Food Bank; additionally, as a proponent of mentorship, she successfully trained three store leadership candidates.

Latoya Sullivan Leader, Kroger Store #473; Oxford, Miss.

Managing a store with 250 associates, Sullivan identified opportunities, developed timely solutions and created action plans.

Her store was always ranked within the top 10 in sales and profit, as well as customer count, for the division; last year, she was selected by her district manager to serve as interim store leader at an underperforming Kroger store and, while there, she improved leading metrics and boosted sales and profits.

She collaborated with a local community health center to address food insecurity in the region and participated in Kroger’s associate resource group for women leaders.

Tedesa Parks Leader, Kroger Store #888, Lansing, Mich.

In her role overseeing 125 associates, Parks has outpaced district and division sales trends by an impressive 4.33%; through strategic planning, market analysis and effective execution, she consistently delivered strong financial results.

Additionally, her consistent fiveout-of-five trend with Full, Fresh, Friendly metrics underscored her dedication to delivering exceptional customer experiences.

Through the Emerging Leaders program, Parks honed her leadership skills, gained insights into industry best practices, and expanded her business network; she was also involved in the Sigma Gamma Rho sorority.

Promoted last year to guide 194 employees at a store near Columbus, Ohio, Thomas boosted the location’s calibration score from 78 to 91, and her store achieved a five-out-of-five score in Full, Fresh and Friendly metrics for the year and exceeded total controllable costs at 9.86% to goal.

Her store is best in the district for in-stock processes.

Thomas received the district’s Peer Mentor Award, was chosen by her district manager to serve on the division’ Store Leader Advisory Council, and co-chaired the Engage, Develop, Grow, Empower (EDGE) associate resource group for gender equality.

Julie Rathburn Leader, Kroger Marketplace Store #805, Lewis Center, Ohio

Overseeing a large-format Marketplace location, Rathburn hosted three Store Leadership Development Program candidates and prepared her assistant store leader for the Store Leader Bench Program.

Her store set a division record in gross sales last year, and the location was one of the top stores in the division for EBITDA.

Rathburn participated in the Engage, Develop, Grow, Empower (EDGE) associate resource group supporting gender equality; she also volunteered for a nonprofit program providing education, food, clothing and shelter to underprivileged children.


Managing 230 associates, Rose guided her store to a 4.3% year-over-year sales lift by setting clear expectations for her team and consistently reinforcing them during her daily effective store walks.

Her location also had a 32% increase in its composite score, a 4.2% bump in the e-commerce fill rate and a lift in customer count of 15,000.

Rose was selected to coach six divisional stores on processes to help with inventory shrinkage, participated in the Young Professionals associate resource group, and volunteered with several fundraising and community events.

Van Horn showed stellar financial achievements at her store, including 5% sales growth, strong EBITDA and the second-best total store shrink in her district.

Her willingness to step up and fill in for her district manager in his absence highlighted her exceptional leadership and commitment to the team’s success.

Van Horn was part of the Women’s EDGE associate resource group, and also served as a role model and mentor for other women within the organization, offering guidance, support and encouragement to help them navigate their career paths and overcome obstacles.

Zivile Viliusis Leader, Kroger Marketplace Store #514, North Chesterfield, Va.

Before moving to her current high-volume store, Viliusis led Store #510 in Mechanicsville, Va., until January 2024, when she moved to her new location.

Under her leadership, Store #510 achieved 80%-plus participation in the 2023 Associate Insights Survey, well above division and enterprise participation rates, and one of just 13 Mid-Atlantic division stores to do so.

Additionally, Viliusis was recognized in 2023 for having the third-highest sales increase for Mother’s Day, with 51% growth year over year; she also had the highest year-over-year growth in her district, as well as the highest year-over-year EBITDA.

Ashley Rose Leader, Kroger Store #942, Blue Ash, Kelly Van Horn Leader, Kroger Store #709, Clarkston, Mich. Nicole Thomas Leader, Kroger Store #817, Dublin, Ohio

2024 Top Women in Grocery

Shannon Willoughby Leader, Kroger Store #394, Lake Charles, La.

Willoughby supervised 175 associates and supported new district store leaders through weekly visits while also sitting on the mentorship committee and leading as the deli/bakery chair.

She advanced four associates to managerial roles and prepared numerous hourly associates for leadership positions in the Louisiana area.

Additionally, Willoughby elevated her store’s composite score from 52 to 77 against a goal of 58, meeting wage targets for 2023, reducing turnover by 15% and surpassing Full, Fresh and Friendly metrics by 8%.

Nicole Zaluski Leader, Kroger Marketplace Store #777, Shelbyville, Ky.

Zaluski, known for making people smile by putting on a tutu or a tiara, oversaw 311 associates; she was also widely referred to as the “Rib Queen” and the “Chicken Queen” for consistently coming in at No. 1 in rib and chicken sales for the division.

She and her team collected $80,000 worth of cereal to donate to the Shelbyville community in fall 2023.

Zaluski received awards for being the EBITDA leader in her district, achieving 100% in Fresh in 2023 and a 2023 overall yearto-date composite score of 67%, exceeding the goal of 62%.

Whitney Workman Director, Lowes Foods Store #262, Cary, N.C.

Workman took her store to the next level with guest service levels, host happiness, sales and bottom-line profits; she also had one of lowest turnover rates in her division.

She helped lead the division’s efforts in regard to the Alex Lee Audit, a company-wide process and compliance audit, coming out with the title of Alex Lee Audit Champion; meanwhile, her store had one of the best food safety scores in the division, at 95%.

Workman volunteered for the torch ride for Special Olympics and also partnered with the Holly Springs, N.C., Police Department on its yearly fundraising event, which was a huge success; additionally, she worked with local Holly Springs schools.

Heather Gendreau Manager, Market 32 Store #158, Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

Gendreau won the unit growth contest for the chain in the second quarter with the biggest increase in units: 5.92% over last year.

By focusing on staffing, training and developing staff members, she lowered average overtime from 100-plus hours a week to under five hours a week for the entire store; for the third quarter, her store had the biggest increase in sales in the zone, while its out-of-stock counts were the lowest.

To help a staff member in need during the Christmas holiday, Gendreau held a store raffle to raise funds to purchase presents for the associate’s children and to fund dinner for the family.

Annunziata Betro Manager, Lidl Store #1423, Woodbridge, N.J.

Betro orchestrated a remarkable turnaround at her store by focusing on training and development and by diligently executing processes day in and day out; the results included a notable 10% lift in both sales and customer count, and unit productivity that surpassed her goal by 11 points.

She drove further efficiencies within her team, showcasing her solid leadership skills and management prowess.

Among other accolades, Betro received a Quality Label for her store after successfully completing a full green audit and an all-green ISM audit.

Director, Lin’s Market Store #10835, Cedar City, Utah

In fiscal year 2023, Mellor’s store once again clinched the top spot in the company for EBITDA, a remarkable feat marking six consecutive years at the pinnacle of performance.

She continued to foster new leaders through her mentorship.

Mellor played a pivotal role in forging a sponsorship agreement with Southern Utah State University, further solidifying Lin’s Market as an outstanding community partner; she also worked with her store to organize a food drive for the local Hope Pantry, addressing the issue of food insecurity among the college’s students.

Leslie Hanson Executive Store Leader, Market District Store #32, Murrysville, Pa.

Hanson created an event culture through customer-centric planning by holding the following events storewide to drive sales and service: a Willie Wonka chocolate event, a Super Mario event and a Taste of the Holidays event.

Acting as liaison between Giant Eagle and Wandering Spirits, her store became the first Giant Eagle location to launch the first store-within-a-store concept of Wandering Spirits.

In FY23, Hanson drove an increase of 4.53% over last year and a 1% increase over budget, and her store was chosen for several corporate partnership events, including activations with the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Kay Lay

Market Street Store #561, McKinney, Texas

Lay’s store’s EBITDA earnings were the highest in her region by several hundred thousand dollars, accounting for 4.91% of total store sales; her team held the top spot in the DFW region, with year-to-date (YTD) sales of nearly $60 million, making her location the No. 7 store in the company, and her store also took the top spot in deli/foodservice sales in the company, while her bakery team was third in the company in YTD sales.

Her store also beat the company’s average annualized turnover rate by 20%.

Lay’s team logged 353 volunteer hours and donated 13,517 pounds of food to local food banks.


Kathy Hall Director, Martin’s Super Markets Store #2322, Plymouth, Ind.

Hall led her store to a sales increase of $1.6 million while exceeding her net margin budget by hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Although the remote location of her store made recruiting difficult, she filled managerial positions by mentoring promising associates to take on new roles; she reduced turnover by 18% and kept early-stage retention to 77%, 7% above her goal, while labor costs came in 2% under budget after overtime was reduced by 56%.

Hall raised funds for initiatives supporting schools, sports teams, elder care, abused children, and people with autism.

Jill Devan Director, Meijer Store #650 (Bridge Street Market), Grand Rapids, Mich.

Devan volunteered to deliver Meijer’s Truly Human Service rollout not only to her own team, but to all Market format stores.

She helped drive sales by actively supporting small and diverse businesses, successfully onboarding four women-owned businesses; in addition, she showcased local vendors in the recently remodeled store gift shop and in a gift basket program now used throughout all Market format stores.

Devan devoted time to Feeding America and coaching a local Little League team.

Gerardot led her team to achieve a little more than $80 million in sales, which was 4% up from the previous year; one of her focus areas was partnering with vendors and buying offices to secure additional products.

She challenged her team to improve the store’s in-stock availability by identifying better processes; as a result, the store went from 85% shelf availability in the second quarter to 93% in the fourth quarter.

Gerardot formed relationships with local schools and organizations to tap into new talent; she also held appreciation events and a holiday raffle for her team.

Bonnie Hanson Director, Meijer Store #167, Jeffersonville, Ind.

Hanson took leadership of her current store in September 2022, and since that time, she has made tremendous strides to move it to the next level: Sales growth exceeded the fiscal year 2023 plan by 9.41% and outperformed 2022 by more than 15%.

She mentored two line leaders who were slated for Meijer’s store director development program this year.

Hanson’s store won the company-wide White Glove challenge in 2023 and the market White Glove challenge in 2024 — a testament to how high her standards are in regard to cleanliness and product availability; she participated in two team member resource groups and volunteered in her local community.


Under Harper’s leadership, her store’s financial and customer service metrics exceeded the plan by 110% last year.

Her store also saw an on-shelf availability improvement of nearly 500 basis points compared with the prior year.

In addition to working with various organzations and individuals to defend the rights of underserved people in her community, Harper participated in her regional diversity, equity and inclusion committee and was the regional co-chair for Women at Meijer in Ohio; in this latter position, she introduced workshops for women to gain more resources for success, which helped increase membership in the group.

Rebecca Miller Director, Meijer Store #132, Greenwood, Ind.

Miller led her team to improve on-shelf availability by 4% and achieved year-over-year sales growth of 3.11%; through her strategic efforts, she enhanced the overall customer experience within her store, resulting in overall KPI improvement.

By identifying team members’ talents, she placed individuals in roles that aligned with their strengths, and her attention to her associates and understanding of team dynamics improved the store’s culture score by 6%; as an example, her Cheers to Your Peers program fostered a sense of value and teamwork.

Miller led Meijer’s inaugural Woman in the Workplace program as a facilitator and helped create content for the initiative.

Griggs’ current location, one of the new Meijer Grocery formats, opened in January 2023 and in its inaugural year finished with sales that were 13% above the sales plan.

Her store led the region with top scores in both on-shelf availability and Medallia overall satisfaction with customers, as well as achieving excellence in food safety sanitation.

Griggs cycled through three assistant store managers in her first year at the Meijer Grocery store, mentoring these leaders to promotions or new specialized areas that fit their career paths.


After Therrien’s store SWOT analysis uncovered several market share opportunities, she worked with her store team, corporate buyers and vendors to strategically grow categories that were most important to the store’s demographics and improved store sales by more than 20% in six months.

She also used SWOT analysis results to pinpoint needs within the community as targets of giveback outreach.

As the credit champion for the market, Therrien, who recently left the company, held weekly calls with stores to teach, train, motivate and inspire associates to drive credit card results; this led her market to end the year in a top-five credit card position.

Jackie Gerardot Director, Meijer Store #190, Angola, Ind. Alexandra Therrien Director, Meijer Store #231, Southfield, Johanna Harper Director, Meijer Store #143, Frazeysburg,

Chantel Knudson Director, Pavilions Store #2217, Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., and Pavilions Store #2210, Mission Viejo, Calif.

Knudson won awards for highest store sales, best community affairs and Outstanding Store Director of the Year at Albertsons’ annual store director meeting, and she also received the Frank Madden Crystal Apple award for her huge impact on her peers.

Running two of the division’s highest-volume stores during the holiday season, Knudson led both to $1 million-plus in sales during the Christmas sales week.

A Living Our Purpose ambassador, Knudson worked to create an inspiring work environment.

Bedsworth’s store conditions were exemplary, delivering more than 85% all year; during several holiday tours in 2023, she had the highest score in the division.

She was a leader in driving pickup results and ended the year with the top fill rate in the district; her store also had one of the highest sales increases for the district, achieving a 5.04% lift over last year.

Bedsworth was chosen to fill the role of district manager when the regular manager was on vacation; outside of her main role, Bedsworth took part in QFC’s EDGE associate resource group.

Tiarra Mann Manager, QFC Store #837, Maple Valley, Wash.

Mann focused on uplifting and empowering her store’s associates through positive reinforcement and consistent knowledge sharing; her work paid off, as the store achieved its employee turnover goal with one of the lowest rates in the division.

Her store consistently achieved high composite scores; in fact, at the end of 2023, it had the second-highest composite score in the district.

Since 2019, Mann has served as co-chair of QFC’s African American associate resource group; apart from her work at QFC, she was heavily involved in Northwest Tap Connection, a scholarship program with a mission to “close to gap” within the arts for underserved youth.

Peek was transferred to her current store in St. Louis after a temporary store closure; prior to the closure, her store was leading the division in sales, with identical sales that were double the goal set in the division.

She maintained contact with the team at her former store to offer assistance and, in some cases, help advance associates’ careers; at the same time, she wholeheartedly took on the role of store manager at Store #402 in St. Louis.

Additionally, Peek recently stepped into an interim role as an area manager to provide leadership for six stores; she didn’t miss a beat in this new position, jumping in where needed to provide leadership and guidance.

Kim Bedsworth Leader, QFC Store #852, Everett, Wash. Connie Peek Leader, Ruler Foods Store #402, St. Louis, Mo.

2024 Top Women in Grocery


An exceptional team builder, Dudley organized appreciation lunches for her team three times a year, as well as an appreciation breakfast for the night crew; she also got the team together for special holiday events.

Her store received the highest results in the district on the Organizational Health Survey.

Dudley was proactive in making sure her associates and customers felt safe in the high-crime area where her store operates; as a highly engaged member of the community, she was recognized by the Greater Hands Foundation for her service.


Having taken over store #3424 last July, Francis beat EBITDA targets and improved Vision Pro Proper Production Scores, among other achievements.

She worked with the City of Tacoma to help beautify the store’s exterior and surrounding landscape, and she also connected with the principal at a local elementary school to improve safety issues in the community.

Francis created standard operating procedures for compliance training with PowerPoint and was selected for multiple training roles because of her passion to help others succeed.

Loly Ramirez Store Director, Safeway Store #503, Everett, Wash.

Ramirez helped turn around a struggling store by focusing on employee morale and cleanliness, and creating excitement around contests and events; her efforts paid off with gains in both sales and EBITDA for the first full quarter that she was there.

Year to date, her store was ranked No. 6 in the division in sales versus plan.

Ramirez also took on leadership roles in the district, including as an ASDLT and PIC trainer, and participated in a division taskforce to create solutions to improve employee onboarding and training.

Kovath consistently delivered strong financial results: In the most recent fiscal year, her store achieved sales growth of 4.58% and exceeded a challenging EBITDA plan by 29 basis points.

She innovated at her store with creative merchandising and layouts, as well as new products and sampling programs, and she received the Anna Schnuck 5 Spoon Award for her expertise in liquor, wine, and beer.

Kovath and her associates donated their time at a local food pantry, The Salvation Army Angel Tree and the Operation Food Search hunger relief organization.

O’Fallon, Mo.

2024 Top Women in Grocery

Tanya Machnicki Manager, Schnucks Store #266, Crestwood, Mo.

When a competitor opened across the street from her store in March 2023, Machnicki worked to strengthen community relationships and held sales-driving events; she also successfully executed a marketing campaign spotlighting her store’s competitive pricing.

After leading her team through a total-store remodel, she partnered with the corporate marketing team to host a major store relaunch event, which included food trucks, the St. Louis CITY Soccer Street Team and the Schnucks Community Kitchen.

Machnicki co-led a leadership workshop to upskill the team, focusing on how customer service differentiates the shopping experience at her store.

Tiffany Sterling Assistant Director, Tom Thumb Store #2578, Garland, Texas

While her store director was on leave due to a tragic accident, Sterling took over management of the store and provided constant communication and guidance that kept the team together during a difficult time.

Her strong performance earned her a Merchandising Excellence award and a Quad Green Food Safety award; she achieved 90.9% NPS customer service and reached $177,000 above projection on EBITDA during Q2 2023.

Sterling supported the Albertsons Pride Alliance associate resource group and the Pride Parade in north Texas, served holiday meals at the North Texas Food Bank, and collected toys for the annual Toys for Tots drive.

Cassidy Cofran

Store #0690, Orleans, Mass.

Cofran’s store achieved noteworthy sales penetration and bottom-line results of 10.01%, while her associate experience survey was 77.3, compared with 67.4 for the district.

A strong supporter of the community, she spearheaded the Cape Cod Canal Breast Cancer Awareness Walk, organized a toy drive for the YMCA of Cape Cod, and coordinated events such as Healthy Kids Day and Trunk or Treat; meanwhile, her store was the third-highest fundraiser for the Boston Children’s Hospital.

After a violent tragedy devastated the community of Lewiston, Maine, last year, Cofran gathered volunteers and drove them to the store in that community to provide support.

Samantha Merithew Manager, Tops Markets Store #586, Camden, N.Y.

Merithew’s attention to detail was reflected in her superior store conditions, exemplary compliance with company and legal standards, and creation of a safety-centric work environment that resulted in zero workplace accidents in 2023; these factors led her store to earn a 95.98% internal store assessment.

She achieved a sales trend that was 1.2% better than the previous year because of her efforts to effectively cross-merchandise and thus maximize sales.

Merithew’s participation in the annual Taste of Syracuse event helped support two deserving community nonprofits: Sleep in Heavenly Peace and Peace Inc. Big Brothers & Big Sisters of Onondaga County.

Barbara Lufkin Director, Shaw’s Store #1632, Carver, Mass.

In the past year, Lufkin managed two locations simultaneously due to staffing needs and a retirement, while also providing center store operations support to her district; the stores that she managed were highly profitable.

She was a strong supporter of the Second Annual Black History Month event at Shaw’s and Star Market: Not only did she organize an event at one of her stores, but she also coordinated events for the other three stores.

Lufkin provided transportation for an associate in need during her own vacation and found housing for another associate; she also organized volunteers to drive to Lewiston, Maine, to provide support for local stores in the wake of a violent tragedy.

Veronica Rosales Director, Vons Store #2090, Huntington Beach, Calif.

Rosales consistently exceeded her sales and earnings projections and led the district in identical-sales increase year over year; her store also delivered exceptional EBITDA results and always led the district in promotional events and challenges.

Despite an extensive and difficult remodel, she guided her team to exceed ROI expectations and delivered a Full, Fresh, Friendly and clean store to her guests daily, growing sales throughout the process.

An extremely low store turnover rate was proof of her commitment to creating a supportive, welcoming, inclusive and fair work environment; she additionally instituted a free snack stand in the breakroom.

Jennifer Czech Director, Tom Thumb Store #2574, Fort Worth, Texas

By having a vision and being an effective leader, Czech helped her team become the first in the division to achieve a top quarterly sales average for her store in Q3 2023; her team achieved its best EBITDA and financial goals in 2023.

She was voted by her peers to serve on the Store Director Council for the Southern division, where she met with division leadership and other store director peers each quarter to explore ways to improve division operations.

Beyond her store, Czech volunteered with team members at the Tarrant County Food Bank, in Fort Worth, and supported the Newark, Texas, Fire Department in her community.

Jinah Kim Store Team Leader, Whole Foods Market, Third and 3rd, Brooklyn, N.Y. Displaying exceptional leadership skills in overseeing one of the top-performing Whole Foods Market stores, Kim successfully facilitated 1.3 million-plus transactions, showcasing her ability to drive remarkable results.

A strong believer in promoting from within and in providing ample opportunities for her team to develop, she promoted more than 35 team members to leadership positions, and she also actively mentored and supported aspiring female team members.

Beyond her impressive store performance, Kim has also made a significant impact on her community through her dedication to supporting food recovery efforts; she has helped provide more than 248,000 pounds of food to help food-insecure Brooklynites.


Pork Can Be the Answer


ork is one of the most versatile proteins in both flavor and applications. From whole-muscle cuts like chops and roasts to such summertime grilling staples as ribs to perennially popular bacon, pork lends itself to a host of products and profiles.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), per capita pork consumption reached 50.2 pounds in 2023, continuing a downward trend that started in 2019. Demand is expected to slightly ebb again this year, even as supplies remain stable.

Other research affirms that trajectory. “Pork sales during the latest 52 weeks ending April 28 are down a bit in both dollars and pounds,” notes Anne-Marie Roerink, principal at San Antonio-based research firm

210 Analytics. “In a way, this is surprising due to the favorable price per pound in comparison to the other red meats.”

What’s driving that trend? “One major reason for this is that pork sales are driven by the older generations and Boomers in particular,” explains Roerink. “Boomers represent 33% of total meat department sales and over-index at 117 for pork, while under-indexing for chicken. Millennials, on

Key Takeaways

Demographic-based eating trends are a major factor in decreasing pork sales.

Pork producers and brands, along with retailers, can work to boost pork sales, especially among younger consumers, with innovative products, packaging, recipes and promotions.

Premiumization can draw in consumers across the pork spectrum.


the other hand, over-index for chicken, but under-index for pork, at 77. That means the more meat department dollars start to shift to young shoppers, the more pressure on pork sales.”

Patrick Fleming, brand specialist at Chicago-based Midan Marketing, also addressed the pork conundrum in a recent blog post, concurring that demographic-based eating trends are major factor. “There are a number of reasons for soft pork sales,” wrote Fleming. “First, there’s been a significant shift in consumer demographics.

Pork Sales at a Glance

Source: Circana, Integrated Fresh, Total US, MULO+, 52 weeks ending April 28, 2024

“The challenge for the pork industry is to make pork more relevant, especially to younger consumers.”
—Rick Stein, FMI — The Food Industry Association

Traditional pork consumers tend to be Baby Boomers, who are empty nesters now. They still have high affinity for pork, but their consumption rates are falling. At the same time, the industry has struggled to build relevance with Millennials and Gen Zs. These groups do engage with pork, but it’s mostly via charcuterie and pizza toppings — not fresh pork.”

Rick Stein, VP of fresh at Washington, D.C.-based FMI — The Food Industry Association, agrees that there are opportunities to build market share for pork. “Currently, pork is struggling in the protein department,” admits Stein. “It’s not the lowest-priced protein — chicken is — and it does not have the perception of quality that beef holds. However, that is the issue in the U.S., whereas in other countries, pork has built a great reputation as the protein of

114 FRESH FOODS Proteins
Dollars Versus Product Dollars Year Ago Pork $8,187,042,354 -2.2% Pork loin $3,793,901,838 -3.4% Pork ribs $2,381,244,444 -5.7% Pork shoulder $1,177,237,861 2.7% Pork ingredient cuts $495,377,733 9.7% Ground pork $224,924,005 5.0%
Heeding twin demands for flavor and premium quality, Seaboard Foods' Prairie Fresh Signature line now includes a Nashville hot pork loin fillet.

choice. So, the challenge for the pork industry is to make pork more relevant, especially to younger consumers.”

Generating Excitement and Engagement

To the experts’ point, pork producers and brands, along with retailers, can work to boost pork sales, especially among younger consumers, with innovative products, packaging, recipes and promotions. The pork industry is also doing its part, as Roerink points out: “This is why the National Pork Board is working very actively in research and programming to elevate the use and love for pork among younger generations.”

Some brands have found success emphasizing the eating quality of pork. Merriam, Kan.-based Seaboard Foods, for example, has fared well with its Prairie Fresh USA Prime line of premium pork that undergoes a three-step evaluation process. “One thing that is unique with our USA Prime is that we use a technology that scans the whole carcass for the lipid amount, so everything that comes from that is USA Prime, and the marbling is very consistent,” notes Ozlem Worpel, Seaboard’s VP of marketing and innovation.

Worpel underscores the importance of the flavor proposition in reaching younger consumers. “There’s a lot to the flavor and versatility story of pork,” she emphasizes. “It’s the best flavor carrier.”

New Ways to Enjoy Pork

Premiumization can draw in consumers across the pork spectrum. The recent rise in thick-cut and seasoned bacon products is one example, evident in such new offerings as Hormel Black Label Ranch Bacon from Austin, Minn.-based Hormel Foods.

Pork-based deli meats are also getting a boost to appeal to more and younger consumers. For instance, as charcuterie remains hot, especially among Millennial and Gen Z shoppers, brands are offering more solutions, including Hormel Gatherings’ new Hard Salami & Pepperoni Tray.

Meanwhile, Smithfield Foods, based in Smithfield, Va., launched a springtime campaign touting its line of Kretschmar Premium meats and cheeses, and rolled out sweet and spicy offerings that included a spiced pineapple ham.

On that flavor note, fully cooked pork products are likewise available in more global and adventurous profiles. Wayzata, Minn.based Cargill, for its part, has added Chili Lime Pork and Orange Ginger Pork to its line of heat-and-eat offerings.

Meanwhile, brands and grocers can promote smaller pork portions as flavorful, convenient options for shoppers. Recent data from Chicago-based Circana shows that sales of pork ingredients rose 9.7% from April 2023 to April 2024.

Here, too, new products are catering to consumer needs and tastes. North Country Smokehouse, based in Claremont, N.H., recently added Organic Applewood Smoked Bacon Crumbles made from pork bellies sourced at its own farms, while Grecian Delight/Kronos, of Elk Grove Village, Ill., has enhanced its global portfolio with Opaa! ReadyCarved Pork Al Pastor Slices.

Watching Welfare

Animal welfare, including the rais ing and handling of hogs within the U.S. supply chain, remains an issue — and sometimes a driver — of pork merchandising.

In California, the 2018 passage of Proposition 12 prohibited the sale of pork from pigs raised in small pens and spaces; it remains in place after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a challenge to the ban in 2023. More recently, the bipartisan 2024 Farm Bill addressed issues with Prop 12 that have been negatively affecting producers and consumers, including what was seen as a patchwork or piecemeal approach to regulations, with higher prices as fallout.

Various pork brands and retailers have focused on enhancing the welfare of hogs bound for the food chain. According to the Huntley, Ill.-based nonprofit group Crate Free USA, about a third of Costco’s U.S. fresh pork supply is now from Prop 12-compliant housing, and Issaquah, Wash.-based Costco plans to source pork from suppliers using openpen housing. Meantime, pork brands such as Fairfield, Calif.-based True Story Foods and Westminster, Colo.-based Niman Ranch are also differentiating product lines by highlighting their animal welfare practices.

Limited-edition products, like a ranch-flavored bacon from Hormel's Black Label brand, reflect market demand for premium cuts and fun complementary flavors.


Grab It and Go


eople still like freshly made ham-and-cheese sandwiches and blueberry muffins packed in clamshells for convenient eating, but grocery grab-and-go operations have become a lot more sophisticated.

Among the grocers that are helping lead the way, Cingari Family Markets, based in Norwalk, Conn., has developed a grab-andgo program that supplements what’s available to shoppers in the bakery and deli and includes meals, entrées and side dishes that the company makes to suit the customers of the dozen ShopRite supermarkets it operates in Connecticut. Executive Chef David Cingari, the program’s supervisor, trained at the Culinary Institute of America and had a long career as a chef in New York before founding a restaurant and catering business in Stamford, Conn.

Cingari’s own grab-and-good food prep is accomplished in a central commissary, with continual distribution to Cingari ShopRite stores. At the commissary, product development is a careful and deliberate process of creating dishes on par with restaurants, and then scaling prep to suit the volumes needed. The development process has to be deliberate, according to Cingari, because

the hallmark of grab-and-go food programs has to be consistency.

“We talk about it every day in the kitchen,” says Cingari. “If customers like it, it had better be the same the next time. Then freshness is critical, and it’s got to be restaurant quality.”

Key Takeaways:

In addition to quality, consumers want a restaurant experience in terms of variety and novelty, which means it’s important to follow these food trends.

Grab-and-go food is also attractive to shoppers as a time saver.

Flexibility should be part and parcel of a grab-and-go program as well, to align with the priorities of the shopper.

116 FRESH FOOD Deli and Bakery
Cingari Family Markets has expanded grab-and-go food choices that range from deli items packaged for pickup all the way to full meals.

In response, as part of their grab-andgo sandwich lineup that complements the deli, Cingari ShopRite stores have added upscale variations using, for example, prosciutto instead of typical baked ham.

Is Everybody Happy?

Today, in addition to quality, consumers want a restaurant experience in terms of variety and novelty, which means it’s important to follow food trends to turn out items that incorporate these attributes, such as a chipotle quesadilla.

“We’re seeing retailers become more creative with merchandising, making convenient, craveable single-serve items available in more areas of the store to expand purchase occasions.”
—Bill Heiler, Rich Products

A trend that has emerged and become more pronounced since the COVID-19 pandemic, notes Cingari, is multiple purchasing. During the pandemic, people stuck at home had time to accommodate the various food preferences expressed by family members. Now, with more people shifting their professional activities from home back to the workplace and losing the cooking time they had, this phenomenon is taking hold in stores, he observes.

“We’re finding that people are grabbing multiple items for multiple people in the family,” affirms Cingari.

As such, the shopper can satisfy different needs at dinner, or store multiple items that satisfy the preferences of various family members

throughout the week.

This tendency is becoming even more pronounced because more people are following specific diets. Restaurateurs today are updating menus to accommodate vegan, gluten-free and high-protein diets, among others, so everyone in a party can find something suitable on the menu. According to Cingari, grab-and-go food is best served by following this trend.

“You have to have every category and be able to cover vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, and then spicy, not spicy, onions, no onions,” he says. “Everyone seems to have a sensitivity these days.”

Make It Snappy

The pandemic was critical in changing consumer behaviors in regard to grab-and-go food in a very literal sense, notes Richard Saker, president and CEO of Holmdel, N.J.-based Saker ShopRites. Many consumers in the New York metro area are fussy about their cold cuts and often place orders at the service deli counter, During the pandemic, however a lot of consumers just weren’t


Deli and Bakery

going to hang around the deli counter and risk another shopper passing on the COVID-19 virus.

“They wanted to spend less time in the store,” recounts Saker. “They wanted to take that trip that might be an hour and cut it down to 15 minutes.”

Main entrees and items that can serve as lunch or a snack are all parts of Cingari Family Markets' grab-and-go program.

As a result, the pre-cut sliced coldcut case that supermarkets would mount near the service counter suddenly became acceptable as consumers tried to limit their time in stores.

It’s not that more elaborate presentations of grab-and-go food didn’t exist before COVID, observes Saker, but the pandemic started a shift in consumer thinking. Then, as stay-at-home guidelines dragged on and consumers learned to prepare meals on a par with what they ate or ordered from restaurants, the mindset shifted further. As the COVID crisis eased, consumers repopulated restaurants, but inflation took off and remains high in service industries. The relative price of restaurant meals increased significantly at the same time that consumers were returning to workplaces and found themselves too time crunched to make the meals they once prepared at home. Through all this, the attraction of grab-and-go food increased.

According to Saker, one broad consequence of all of these developments has been an evolution in how consumers think about meals. He maintains that there’s no dominant eating pattern; rather, consumers shop in a way that balances dollar and time savings. Of course, most do a basic core food shopping trip regularly, but a great majority purchase food more than once a week. In all of those occasions, graband-go food is attractive as a time saver, especially when consumers would rather take it easy at home than make a big meal.

Saker points out that his stores can save consumers time and money. Take his clamshell-packaged eggplant parmesan entrées, which combine convenience, freshness and flavor.

“People used to make this at home, but it’s very difficult,” he explains. “You’ll see these throughout our stores. These are all made in our commissaries. … I put very short shelf life on it, but this is microwavable. This is what the people want today. And for $11.99, you could feed three people with this.”

Throw in a salad, he suggests, and you’ve got a healthy, satisfying family meal.

Saker ShopRite runs four commissaries. From experience, Saker advises that, as grab- and-go food programs expand, it’s critical to involve people with culinary and commissary backgrounds who understand food preparation and how to conduct it successfully. Quality assurance professionals may be needed as an operation scales up. Saker even welcomes inspectors because, he emphasizes, to do otherwise would be to deal with some unpleasant consequences.

Flex Time

Flexibility should be part and parcel of a grab-and-go program, too, recommends Dan Wodzenski, head of operations and merchandising at Brooklyn Harvest Market.

The Brooklyn, N.Y.-based operation, with three stores in its home borough and one in neighboring Queens, has found that


the pandemic-inspired willingness to pick up fresh sliced and store-packaged cold cuts has become so pronounced that the stores have been shutting down service deli counters and replacing them with grab-and-go sections.

Wodzenski adds that it’s important for a store to align with the priorities of the shopper. When young professionals began to become more prominent in the community some years ago, with many vegetarians and vegans among them, Brooklyn Harvest sought to address their preferences.

“Vegan is still a growing trend, so you definitely have to look for more vegan options and call attention to that with signage,” he says. “Once, you didn’t always have items that could satisfy a health-conscious lifestyle, especially with baked goods, but now you have gluten-free, and it’s gotten better. So now gluten-free is done well in pastries, cookies and muffins.”

However, the ever-changing Brooklyn population has shifted again: Now his stores are seeing fewer young professionals and more Latin consumers. In response, Brooklyn Harvest is adding specialties for that customer base.

“We’re doing more Hispanic pastries, baked goods, breads, anything along those lines for grab and go, things [that] attune with Hispanic cuisines, from Spanish rice to enchiladas,” notes Wodzenski.

Given that many consumers are looking across departments to put together meals, cross-merchandising is an important grab-and-go opportunity. For example, consumers can fill out grab-and-go meals with bagged salads or fresh-cut fruit. Some vendors are making cross-department connections and providing the means to boost sales by offering products that enhance grab-and-go selections.

One such vendor is San Francisco-based True Story Foods, which offers Protein Toppers, all-natural diced chicken in three flavors — Oven Roasted, Roasted Garlic and Teriyaki Sesame — that can be placed in the produce or deli section for people who want to add meat to their salads. At a $6.99-7.99 price point per 6-ounce package, Protein Toppers provide the added nutrition, not to mention convenience, that many consumers want today.

Seize the Opportunity

Bill Heiler, senior manager, customer marketing at Buffalo, N.Y.based Rich Products, also affirms that grab and go has taken greater hold among consumers.

“Shopper demand for innovative grab-and-go items has grown significantly over the past few years,” says Heiler. “Convenience, portion size and flavor exploration have been a huge opportunity area for retailers and suppliers looking to increase purchase frequency. In the past five years, sales of convenient grab-and-go bakery products like parfait cups and cake slices have grown 50%, according to NielsenIQ retail scan data. That’s why, at Rich’s, we’re thinking from the shopper’s perspective, delivering flavors and convenience that inspire trial.”

Many retailers recognize the opportunity that grab and go offers and are becoming more enterprising as they capitalize on it, he adds.

“We’re seeing retailers become more creative with merchandising, making convenient, craveable single-serve items available in more areas of the store to expand purchase occasions,” observes Heiler. “We’re merchandising Rich’s Our Specialty portion desserts in areas of the store where consumers are shopping for meal solutions, and we’re suggesting a portion dessert as an add-on to a prepared sandwich or salad that consumers are purchasing online.”

To link deli, bakery and dairy in grab-and-go food, Rich’s is currently in a store test with Rochester, N.Y.-based Wegmans Food Markets, which is featuring Rich’s Our Specialty Parfait Cups in the refrigerated dessert category.

Rich Products recognizes the role of desserts and other treats in grab-and-go operations, whether for special occasions or everyday indulgences. Saker ShopRites merchandises grab-and-go items in multiple store locations and even integrates them with perishables departments, including deli, bakery and produce, so they're always a shopper option.

Putting the ‘Special’ in Specialty


hile retail design trends come and go, there’s one thing that simply endures: a beautifully lighted refrigerated case full of mouthwatering fresh food.

That’s where Tim Ryan, VP and GM of portfolio solutions at Bridgeton, Mo.based Hussmann Corp., comes in. You might say that Ryan has one of the most important jobs in the grocery industry: helping retailers sell more of the most popular (and higher-margin) products in the store. Progressive Grocer had the incredible opportunity to visit the Hussmann facility in Chino, Calif., where this kind of merchandising excellence is born. Ryan and the rest of his veteran team sat down with PG and talked refrigerated case trends, retailer expectations and the company’s unique capabilities.

Progressive Grocer: Tim, tell me about your background and how you came to your role at Hussmann.

Tim Ryan: My journey began over 32 years ago. I was a young manufacturing engineer who joined the Hussmann business in St. Louis, Mo. I’ve had quite the journey with the business. Throughout my career, I’ve had the opportunity to work in six different states and in Monterrey, Mexico. I’ve also been able to work in almost all functions of the business: marketing, product management, engineering, sales, manufacturing and leadership.

PG: What is it that attracted you to refrigeration and this industry?

TR: What has kept me in this industry is what we’ve been able to do for the customer — the solutions we’re able to develop with the customer and the impact we have on the greater population. If you think about the overall market size, Hussmann’s market position, and the number of people that depend on safe, healthy, fresh food … there’s a good chance that more than half of the population is pulling their food out of Hussmann merchandisers.

PG: What could possibly be more important than that work?

TR: Critical, right?

PG: We are here in this big, beautiful Chino facility, where so many of the perimeter cases in America’s grocery stores are designed and built. How long has Hussmann had a Specialty division?

TR: Hussmann Specialty started in Southern California over 59 years ago. The company decided to specifi cally target this part of the country due to its competitive food retail space. Here in Chino, we create custom merchandisers designed with unique characteristics, typically to draw attention to higher-margin fresh products.

We invite retailers from across the country and across the world to come to this space. They come not only to see what we’re doing here, but also to see what the market is doing. Our Hussmann Specialty team is very cross-functional — including industrial design, engineering, sales specialists, manufacturing, marketing and lab technicians. The teams come together with one focus: delivering a solution that is unique to the retailer’s needs and provides merchandising excellence.

PG: There’s so many people here in Chino that have been with the company for decades.

TR: We are incredibly fortunate to have an extremely tenured team, which includes employees who have been here over 40 years. We are truly a family.

PG: What are retailers expecting from Hussmann Specialty solutions?

TR: We help the retailer develop custom merchandisers to display higher-margin products within the food retail space. Retailers are looking for innovative ways to keep their fresh food cold and safe. These fresh products include meats, seafood, produce, deli, bakery, prepared entrées, beverage, cheese and more. For the retailer, these merchandisers hold products that drive some of the highest per-square-foot sales in any food retail space today.

120 EQUIPMENT & DESIGN Refrigeration Solutions

PG: Like all of these specialty merchandisers I am looking at.

TR: Yes, our specialty merchandisers have been the top-selling segment and the fastest-growing segment of food retail for many, many years. And what’s driving that is the fresh perishable products, which attract consumers to brick and mortar, especially in the day of e-commerce. We continue to see the fresh category growing, with recent emphasis on deli, sushi, and grab-and-go solutions. Consumers are changing their meal patterns, using the fresh categories as a way to maintain a healthy food lifestyle. In order to keep up with these consumer trends, retailers are now looking for more cases to merchandise fresh perishable products. Many of these merchandisers are self-service.

Also, from a revenue perspective, retailers continue to see the meat and produce departments delivering the highest return per square foot in the grocery store. Retailers continue to look for the high-end unique displays that are able to attract consumers and drive high-margin sales.

PG: You guys do so many customizations. What makes a specialty case a Hussmann Specialty case?

TR: The customer drives it. They want to stand out from the rest. So, we help them develop something unique that suits their needs. Here in Southern California, we have the Hussmann Specialty Design Hub. Our dynamic design center has the unique assets that bring the retailer’s imagination to reality. Through collaboration and agile innovation, we make their vision come to life — a truly exciting process!

Collaboration across trusted partners — merchandising managers provide the vision of how they want to present their food, and it’s fun learning with them. It’s a real partnership because we bring our long history of meshing merchandising with

“We bring our long history of meshing merchandising with our mechanical, electrical and thermal engineering expertise to guide the merchandising innovation.”
—Tim Ryan, VP and GM of Portfolio Solutions, Hussmann Corp.

our mechanical, electrical and thermal engineering expertise to guide the merchandising innovation. It’s symbiosis going on throughout the design process. We establish a relationship quickly, built on shared understanding and trust.

PG: How is Hussmann Specialty going to keep up with all the changes in food retail, now and in the future?

TR: The key for us is keeping an ongoing dialog with the retailer. That’s the secret. Our ability to have those conversations and maintain those relationships has been critical for the last 59 years. Our success can be attributed to close relationships with our customers in order to truly understand their needs and innovate products to enable their success.

At the end of the day, Hussmann always puts the customer first. We listen, we partner and we create. And at Hussmann Specialty, we deliver unique solutions that fulfill retailer needs.


The Green Supply Chain




rocers know that they’re not the only ones that need to abide by sustainability standards — every entity with which they do business must win the trust of eco-minded consumers.

Shoppers are more cognizant than ever of how seriously companies take their commitment to the environment, and grocers are in a unique position to help drive the sustainability ship for each company that they do business with.

“According to the World Economic Forum, 65% of consumers want to make the right spending choices to live a more sustainable life. This creates consumer pressure stemming from their expectations and buying habits,” says Neil Coole, director of food and retail supply chain at U.K.-based business improvement and standards company BSI. “Additionally, pressure from regulators, external stakeholders and shareholders is influenced directly or indirectly by eco-minded consumers as well.”

Achieving Transparency

As such, a transparent, sustainable supply chain has become an imperative for retailers. Solutions providers like Crisp are making this more attainable by working with both grocers and manufacturers to strike a better balance between supply and demand.

Barry Bradley, head of supply chain at the New York-based collaborative commerce platform, believes that with real-time visibility at the store and distribution center level, brands and retailers can improve demand planning and production schedules, streamline logistics and transportation, monitor inventory, and refine merchandising — all of which can lead to more sustainable supply chains and reduced waste.

Crisp has worked with Providence, R.I.-based UNFI to roll the solution out to the wholesaler’s suppliers, and by comparing daily inventory and sales forecasts, suppliers can see which products at which distribution centers are at risk of expiring before they’re sold. “With easy access to this information, suppliers can scale back

production, reallocate inventory, or run promotions to move items faster and ultimately prevent waste,” Bradley explains.

Likewise, RELEX Solutions offers optimized inventory management, facilitated by intelligent systems that can significantly reduce waste and improve goods flow. According to Svante Göthe, the Helsinki, Finland-based company’s head of sustainability, making informed assortment decisions and educating consumers about the environmental impacts of their food choices are also crucial.

Further, grocers should set high sustainability standards for their partners, Göthe says, adding that collaborating with suppliers to source sustainable ingredients and develop eco-friendly packaging is essential. “With transportation partners, optimizing delivery routes, promoting the use of sustainable transportation modes and consolidating shipments can greatly enhance supply chain efficiency and reduce environmental impacts,” she notes.

BSI’s Coole also believes that grocery organizations can help food, beverage and retail supply chains be more sustainable by developing a replicable best practice model through standardization and collaboration. “Another area grocery organizations can play a role in is around climate change adaptation and horizon scanning — using risk intelligence tools, organizations can make better decisions about their supply chains,” he observes.

Finally, Julia Inés Ocampo Duque, VP of cocoa sourcing and sustainability at Bogota, Colombia-based Luker Chocolate, encourages retailers to look for ways to directly affect sustainability beyond certifications by fostering closer relationships with suppliers, engaging in dialog about shared sustainability goals and initiating collaborative initiatives. Understanding the journey of food from source to shelf can also be key to making informed, ethical decisions, she points out.


Corrugated boxes make the world go ‘round in a truly circular motion. The industry’s long-standing commitment to sustainability adds up to an incredible 50% per unit reduction in the greenhouse gas emissions for an average corrugated box from 2006 – 2020, and we’re still improving. Boxes transport everything with the right combination of new, fresh fibers and recycled fibers to maximize reuse and enable circularity. New fibers come from renewable, sustainably managed trees that take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere – tackling a major threat to our climate. And, more than 90% of corrugated boxes are successfully recycled.

If you’re thinking circular, you’re thinking corrugated.

Learn more about the renewability, recyclability and responsibility of boxes at:

A Grocer’s Guide to Remodeling


here comes a time for every grocer when they realize that their equipment or décor could use updating, but what’s the best way to go about remodeling a store or stores while keeping one’s budget (and sanity) on track? To find out, Progressive Grocer sought out a few experts for their insights in this area.

“While every grocery retailer has aspects developed over time that make their brand unique, there are many common items that a retailer contemplating a remodel should consider,” notes Kara Eberle-Lott, associate principal, architect at Seattle-based architecture, engineering and design firm Cushing Terrell. “Far from resulting in conformity to other retailers, these commonalities can simplify the process and help achieve anticipated successful results.”

“It can depend on the grocer or the operator, on what they want to achieve with their layout,” observes Dan Phillips, owner of Langley, Wash.-based Food Market Designs, which mostly works with independent grocers.

“In any remodel, retailers should be thinking about both the brand expression and brand experience elements that will effectively deliver the brand and business strategy and engage shoppers,” says Amanda Skudlarek, executive creative director at New York-based global growth consultancy Clear, an M&C Saatchi company.

Cushing Terrell's work at Town & Country Markets included an attractively organized deli section.

Establishing Goals

The first step should be figuring out exactly what one wants to achieve with a remodel, and the steps it will take to get there.

“Retailers at any experience level are well served by identifying what they want to get out of the project,” advises Eberle-Lott.

“While the list may be any length, the aim of any effective remodel should be to increase customer count and boost sales. A remodel should also include operational improvements, energy savings improvements, increased opportunity for customer-staff engagement, brand enhancement, and connection to the latest trends and offerings in food retail.”

She continues: “These targets can be supported by fundamental information retailers should be aware of: Category performance — especially as it relates to location and adjacency — shifting demographics, consumer habits and opportunities for community engagement will impact decisions.”

“There are a lot of items that come up in a grocery remodel, and it really is a la carte on what that operator is looking to improve on and what they want to do energy-wise, and what they can afford, to be honest,” notes Phillips, adding: “When you get into improving your store, you’re going to have to go through the permit process. A lot of the times, these old grocers have old systems, old electrical wiring, and [there are]

Key Takeaways

As well as increasing customer count and boosting sales, remodels should lead to operational and energy savings improvements, increased opportunities for customer-staff engagement, brand enhancement, and connection to the latest trends and offerings.

Given the complexity of remodels, selecting the right firms to work with is critical.

In planning a remodel, don’t go it alone and don’t skimp on quality.

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new codes that have to adhere to things.”

“An effective remodel should balance the higher-level brand vision and aspiration — including an intimate understanding of how to deliver for their target shopper — along with operational and commercial drivers to establish a vision for the ideal state,” asserts Skudlarek. “The future of retail is more hyper-experiential than ever before: a combination of intuitive, easy-to-navigate departments with dynamic lifestyle and entertainment offerings that provide new and exciting reasons for shoppers to come into the store again and again.”

Choosing Partners

Another important consideration is finding the best companies to work with to bring your renovation vision to life.

“An effective remodel should balance the higherlevel brand vision and aspiration — including an intimate understanding of how to deliver for their target shopper — along with operational and commercial drivers to establish a vision for the ideal state.”

“With the complexity of remodels, selecting the right firm to work with is critical,” stresses Eberle-Lott. “Experience in grocery store design is a key element to choosing both a design and/or architecture firm. Equally important is a good cultural fit and anticipated working relationship between the retailer and the design/architect partner. The retailer should feel that the design partner is a trusted advisor, and the design partner must trust the retailer’s expertise in their business model to help drive the design.”

—Amanda Skudlarek, Clear, an M&C Saatchi Company

She goes on to note: “Similar considerations are true in selecting a construction partner. Retailers should seek a construction partner that understands how to create a safe environment for shoppers and actively engage in sales protection if pursuing an occupied remodel. HVAC, plumbing, electrical and refrigeration subcontractors are also incredibly important to a successful project, due to the significant amount of equipment and systems required to build out a successful grocery store.”

According to Phillips: “The only way to identify what the project is going to cost is contacting someone … that can put their project together, [include] their wants and desires, lay their store route, put together the equipment they’re going to need for the project, and then work with their architect and contractor on construction costs. And then it’s a matter of value engineering to the point of what they can do. … The first and foremost thing you do in any remodel situation is to contact your store planner first, design out the store how you want it, and then contact your contractors and architects to start putting together the projects.”

As for how an independent should go about selecting which firms to work with, he says: “They’ll contact someone like us and see if we fit, and [we’ll] see what they want to do and see if they fit in our schedule. …. There’s not a lot of people that do what we do, … which is project manage design and supply equipment and coordinate all that, and also the interior design and do decor design and lighting.”

“In choosing a design or architecture firm, it’s essential that the company has a strong understanding of the brand and puts shoppers at the heart of the design process,” counsels Skudlarek. “The aesthetic elements must be held in balance with the strategic needs for the experience and aligned to commercial objectives. Good design just isn’t good enough, and award-winning stores don’t always indicate long-term success and financial return on the remodel investment. It’s about orchestrating and delivering a complex experience ecosystem in a brilliantly creative and strategically sound way to drive commercial impact.”

She adds: “In construction firm selections, retailers should be looking for creative problem-solvers who are passionate about executing the design in a cost-effective way, able to think through the trade-offs of each decision, and open to ongoing inputs and feedback from the brand and design stakeholders. In other words, ones fully committed to fully realizing the vision for the remodel.”

What Not to Do

Just as important as knowing what to do when planning a remodel is knowing what not to do.

“I was always taught that if I didn’t know something that I go find somebody that does know,” notes Phillips. “I get a lot of calls from people that try to do it on their own because they’re really trying to save as much as they can, and they get into it, and they find out that they don’t know … what they’re doing. I would say really plan your store. Store planning is numero uno.”

Another sage piece of advice from Phillips is “don’t be cheap. There are things you can do, but try and invest it, and try and think of the return on investment of that. … My recommendation is that when [you’re] putting together

At Metropolitan Market, Cushing Terrell created a unique ambiance through an exposed ceiling and hanging lights.


The NEXT Level in product merchandising

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Store Design

these projects, expect high costs, expect more than what you anticipate, and … kind of go with the flow of this. … There is a cheap way to do things, but you really want to find that middle ground of what you want to do, and the only way to do that is to work with your store planner, work with your contractors, find what’s going to work for you from a cost standpoint, design-wise and construction-wise.”

For her part, Skudlarek identifies the issues of “tensions that exist between consumer desires and business realities, between brand opportunities and operational challenges to deliver,” and “the inherent loss of value in the ‘hand-offs’: from the brand/strategy/marketing stakeholders to the facilities/design teams, from the design teams to the architectural/implementation teams, and again from those to the construction team,” with each “prioritizing different objectives for very different reasons.” To avoid these problems, she suggests developing “a comprehensive experience map as the foundation for the remodel design, one that analyzes and prioritizes the breadth of insight-driven opportunities alongside operational realities to deliver,” and engaging all stakeholders, internal and external, “across the full remodel design and implementation journey.”

Seeing Success

When these guidelines are established, grocers should be able to achieve the remodels of their dreams.

“When complete, your remodel should reflect your initial goals —


or targets that [were] adjusted based on new information,” says Eberle-Lott. “To gauge the success of a completed remodel, look for improved customer reviews, improved staff morale and pride in the refreshed store, increased community engagement, increased sales (across the board or in targeted categories) and energy savings [in the form of] decreased utility bills.”

She adds: “With these metrics, and your intuition as an experienced retailer, you can be confident that your remodel was worth the investment and exceeded your — and your customers’ — expectations.“

Uwajimaya's flagship Seattle store was reimagined by Cushing Terrell and Hoshide Wanzer Architects with a goal of reaching a broader audience while maintaining loyal customers.

Traditional Meets Trending

Food, Beverage & Nonfood Products

Fun Yet Functional

Lifestyle brand Ghost, which already offers sports nutrition products, energy drinks, dietary supplements and apparel, is now entering the food category with a high-protein cereal line created in partnership with General Mills. Available in two flavors – 10.8-ounce Peanut Butter, containing 18 grams of protein and just 6 grams of sugar per serving, and 9.4-ounce Marshmallow, featuring General Mills’ iconic Lucky Charms marshmallows and 17 grams of protein per serving — crunchy Ghost Protein Cereal puffs are a good source of calcium and can serve as a healthy snack as well as a nutritious breakfast. Ghost recommends that advanced users upgrade to a Legend Bowl by adding a scoop of Ghost Protein to the cereal, along with their milk of choice. A box of either flavor of Ghost Protein Cereal retails for a suggested $9.99.;

Incorporating exotic fruit flavors from around the globe, St Dalfour SuperFruits, the latest from a brand well known for its quality fruit spreads and 100% fruit ingredients, offers an additional focus on healthful ingredients, from Amazonian fruits such as açaí and acerola to Himalayan goji berries and nutrient-dense chia seeds. As with all of St Dalfour’s spreads, each SuperFruits variety is crafted near Bordeaux, France, with grapes providing the natural sweetener, and no added sugars, preservatives or artificial flavors. The four flavors in the line blend St Dalfour’s classic premium fruits with trending high-antioxidant powerhouses: Blueberry & Açaí, Black Cherry & Acerola, Strawberry & Goji, and Apricot & Chia. A 6-ounce jar of any variety of St Dalfour SuperFruits retails for a suggested $4.99.

Celebrate With Ice Cream Cake

Light White Wines

Washington state winery Chateau Ste. Michelle Wine Estates has now introduced Light Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc varietals. Containing only 80 calories, zero sugar, and lower carbs and alcohol content, the wines were crafted for consumers seeking a lighter wine experience without compromising on quality and taste. Sourced primarily from Washington’s cooler Columbia Valley vineyards, the 2022 Light Sauvignon Blanc is a vibrant, refreshing wine featuring citrus and tropical flavors, while the 2022 Chardonnay is produced from vineyards in the Horse Heaven Hills AVA in a fresh yet soft style offering subtle oak notes and flavors of lemon, apple and ripe apricot. The Light wines are available at select retail grocery stores nationally at a suggested retail price of $12.99 per 750-milliliter (25.36-fluid-ounce) bottle of either varietal.

The first-ever Funfetti Ice Cream Cake is now available at grocery as part of Rich Products’ I Love Ice Cream Cakes portfolio. Made with birthday cake-flavored vanilla ice cream, classic Funfetti cake, whipped icing and colorful sprinkles, the 26-ounce Funfetti Ice Cream Cake serves up to nine people and retails for a suggested $19.99. As well as the Funfetti Ice Cream Cake, the partnership between Rich’s and Hometown Food Co., which holds exclusive U.S. rights to the iconic Pillsbury brand’s shelf-stable baking products, offers the other first and only Funfetti in-store bakery products on the market, including the Funfetti Celebration Cake, the Funfetti Cheesecake, the Funfetti Cheesecake Single Slice, Funfetti Bettercreme Whipped Icing and Funfetti ½ Sheet Cake Layers.;;


4 Days in the Netherlands



ince the end of the pandemic, Progressive Grocers’ small but intrepid editorial staff has resumed traveling across the United States, but I hadn’t been out of the country on business since a lighting-fast 2018 trip to Barcelona for the Alimenteria trade show there. So, when the opportunity arose to visit Ahold Delhaize’s hometown of Zaandam, Netherlands, for the retail conglomerate’s Strategy Day 2024, I jumped at the chance.

Once settled at the charming Zaan Hotel in the quiet and picturesque Amsterdam suburb, I embarked on two visits, one to the Albert Heijn XL location within the Gelderlandplein shopping center in Amsterdam Zuid — a showplace for the ubiquitous Dutch grocery store chain — the other to the recently opened Albert Heijn Home Shop Center in Barendrecht, near Rotterdam, where the Ahold Delhaize-owned retailer has rolled out state-of-the-art robotics from Swisslog to streamline the picking of products destined for home delivery.

All in Store

The immaculate XL store features hand scanners at the entrance for customers to use as they shop for items; syncing the scanner with their Albert Heijn app loads the implement with the customer’s personalized discounts.

The location featured a wealth of prepared foods and other meal solutions, including own-brand “fresh boxes” featuring all of the ingredients necessary to make a meal for two to three people. There were also options to which a protein such as chicken could be added, as well as plant-based selections under the grocer’s Terra brand. In fact, Terra products were in evidence at various places throughout the store, incorporated in such areas as a refrigerated grab-and-go sandwich ingredient section alongside dairy cheese and animal-based meats (the Dutch love their sandwiches).

In the realm of sustainability, the store offers such innovations as a ground beef package using less plastic than the rigid tray and overwrap most American shoppers are used to. Among the other green features were a bulk food section being piloted at the location, where shoppers could use provided jars and bags to load up on coffee, tea, nuts, seeds, pulses, rice and more, with a system of lights indicating when products were running low and needed to be replaced. Meanwhile, in the nonfoods section, eco-minded shoppers could fi ll and refi ll packages of detergent.

Despite the many upscale items available, there were bargains aplenty at the store, including blue-label “Prijsfavoriet” items featuring super-low prices, orange “Bonus” end caps, and discount bins overflowing with miscellaneous items.

Although manned checkout lanes were available, most of the store’s customers chose to check themselves out after having scanned their items while shopping. After a fun morning touring the store and talking to its passionate manager, Karim Triki, and enthusiastic team leader, Frits van Leeuwen, it was time for a quick lunch from the store’s food counter: I ordered a tosti, otherwise known as a grilled cheese sandwich. As I enjoyed

The Amsterdam suburb of Zaandam, hometown of

retail congelomerate Ahold Delhaize, was my base on a trip to the Netherlands, during which I visited an Albert Heijn XL store and an Albert Heijn Home Shop Center.

my delicious Dutch treat, I reflected on Karim’s assertion regarding the store’s offerings: “Albert Heijn is for everyone!”

Like Clockwork

Later that same day, at the Home Shop Center, Ahold Delhaize representatives were justifiably proud to show visitors around the facility. Of particular interest was the grid where the Swisslog Autostore robots raced back and forth, Tetris-like, helping to fulfill customer orders.

Despite this level of technological advancement, there were still human pickers on site to complete the process — adding items such as flammable products and medicines that need to be kept at certain temperatures — and to make sure that the orders were correct before they were loaded on trucks and delivered to waiting customers. The picking is done in two shifts: in the morning for afternoon delivery, and in the evening for morning delivery.

The impressive operation owes at least some of its success to the good old U.S. of A., however:

The Barendrecht Home Shop Center drew on learnings from a similar facility in Philadelphia serving The Giant Co. stores, part of Ahold Delhaize USA.

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