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RETAILER DEEP DIVE: HOW LOBLAW IS DRIVING GROWTH IN CANADA ADVENTURES IN ENTERTAINING New flavors mingle with traditional tastes in Q4 SMOKING HOT? Where the tobacco category is headed next WORKING ON FOOD WASTE Grocers tackle large-scale issue

July 2022

Volume 101, Number 7 www.progressivegrocer.com

BRAND ICONS

ONE HUNDRED BRANDS THAT CHANGED GROCERY




HOW TO GET YOUR MEAT CASE READY FOR THE HOLIDAYS n January of this year, consumers were thinking almost a full year ahead to Thanksgiving and Christmas, and they were worried.

I

According to research published that month, almost nine out of 10 (89%) consumers surveyed said they expected inflation would have an impact on their 2022 holiday shopping and spending.1 Just a few months later, 56% of consumers indicated that they “somewhat agree, agree, or strongly agree” that they will “seek out less expensive meat” than they normally purchase.2

Position pork cuts as an appealing alternative to traditional holiday cuts such as roasts. This holiday season is shaping up to be different than most, with rising food costs, inflation and supply chain issues all contributing to unease among consumers. That puts employees at the meat case in a position to help shoppers select products to make their holidays memorable, even if they are shopping with a smaller budget.

willing to consider substituting less costly cuts, such as strip loin and sirloin, for prime rib. The meat case is the perfect place to educate them about the attributes of different cuts and how best to prepare them. 2. Even in the face of inflation, consumers are willing to spend more on premium products. People who are celebrating with friends and family “will spend on more expensive items if they provide value to their families (larger size to feed many) … and/or to reward themselves or impress others, and/or if they trust the products’ attributes or brand, and if they perceive it is cheaper than alternatives in-store or out-of-the-home.”4 In other words, if people are going to splurge, it will most likely be for large gatherings and celebrations. How you can prepare: Stock your meat cases with premium programs. Chairman’s Reserve® Meats offers a dual-tier beef and pork program, including Chairman’s Reserve Platinum™ Angus Beef and Chairman’s Reserve® Prime Pork. Chairman’s Reserve Meats are hand selected and hand trimmed to ensure consistent size, marbling and quality.

Here are four trends to consider as you prepare for the 2022 holidays.

In other words, if people are going to splurge, it will most likely be for large gatherings and celebrations. 4. Embrace eCommerce and social media. Most meal planning takes place online, according to a Chicory consumer study, with 63% of respondents doing some of or all of their meal planning digitally. Just under 90% use online recipes.5 With the continued popularity of online purchasing, you’ll want to pay attention to these two shifts in behavior, which are attributed to the pandemic. Also consider this fact when creating social media efforts around holiday shopping: According to Chicory, the most popular recipe in its network in 2021 was for green bean casserole, a Thanksgiving favorite. It just goes to show that shoppers go online for holiday-specific recipes – even traditional ones. How you can prepare: Nearly half of meat shoppers make regular online purchases. Look for ways to align your eCommerce and social media efforts with recipes, meal planning inspiration and discounts to drive purchases online and in store.

1. Beef prices are on the rise. This is not news to anyone in the grocery business. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) ) predicted in April of this year that at-home food prices will rise an average of 5% to 6% through the end of 2022. Beef prices are expected to increase between 6% and 7%.3 How you can prepare: Position pork cuts as an appealing alternative to traditional holiday cuts such as roasts. Pork prices are predicted to increase 4% to 5% during 2022, according to the USDA. Pork tenderloin and pork roast can be good alternatives for your customers who are trying to stick to a budget. Shoppers who want to stick with beef may be

specialty cuts are a highly effective labor-saving solution for retailers, while helping ensure quality and consistency.

Partner With the Beef & Pork Experts™ 3. Demand for case ready products is higher than ever. Increased sales volume during the winter holiday season is great for business but can create labor bottlenecks in your back of house, especially when it comes to beef and pork.

While there may be uncertainty around the upcoming holidays, it doesn’t mean you should delay planning for and prepping your meat case. We can help with programs and marketing support for the holidays – and every season.

How you can prepare: Make sure you’re well stocked with case ready beef and pork. These

For more information, visit TysonFreshMeats.com/get-in-touch.

Sources: 1 Numerator, Consumer Survey 2022 Holiday Preview, February 2022 2 Midan Marketing, Meat Consumer Tracking Survey, April 2022 3 https://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/food-price-outlook/summary-findings/ 4 IRI, The Balance Between Premiumization and Affordability, October 2021 5 Chicory, Report: The Top Recipe and Grocery Trends for 2022

®

/™/© 2022 Tyson Foods, Inc.



Contents 07. 22

Volume 101 Issue 7

28 Features 28 RETAILER DEEP DIVE:

100 YEARS OF FOOD RETAILING

Loblaw Transforms Itself Again

18 Brand Icons: 100 Brands that Changed Grocery

Canada’s largest grocery retailer is driving growth with investments in e-commerce, health care and sustainability.

In celebration of our centennial, Progressive Grocer quantifies some of the best and boldest brands of the past 100 years, from A to Z.

Departments 8 EDITOR’S NOTE

One Puppuccino, Please 10 IN-STORE EVENTS CALENDAR

September 2022 12 NIELSEN’S SHELF STOPPERS

Beverages 4

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18 13 MINTEL GLOBAL NEW PRODUCTS

16 UPWARD

Soap, Bath and Shower Products

Flipping the Script

14 ALL’S WELLNESS

It’s Back-to-School Lunch Time

14

72 EDITORS’ PICKS FOR INNOVATIVE PRODUCTS 74 AHEAD OF WHAT’S NEXT

In the Rooms Where It Happens


Authenticity is at the heart of everything we do at GOYA®. We import all of our Jasmine Rice directly from Thailand to guarantee the best quality and flavor possible. Stock your shelves with Jasmine Rice from one of the best-selling brands in the U.S.*, so your shoppers can enjoy the authenticity they’re looking for.

Contact your GOYA representative or email salesinfo@goya.com | GoyaTrade.com *Nielsen Answers on Demand, Total U.S. (All Outlets Combined), dollar sales, 52 weeks ending: 3/26/22 ©2022 Goya Foods, Inc.


Contents 07.22

Volume 101 Issue 7

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

www.ensembleiq.com

36 SOLUTIONS

GROCERY GROUP PUBLISHER John Schrei 248-613-8672 jschrei@ensembleiq.com

The New White Meats

EDITORIAL EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Gina Acosta 813-417-4149 gacosta@ensembleiq.com

Alternative proteins enter the chicken and pork space in a big way.

MANAGING EDITOR Bridget Goldschmidt 347-962-9395 bgoldschmidt@ensembleiq.com

40 NONFOODS

36

Surveying the Tobacco Field Marked by both bans and R&D activity, the category remains in flux.

SENIOR EDITOR Lynn Petrak 708-945-0415 lpetrak@ensembleiq.com MULTIMEDIA EDITOR Emily Crowe 502-550-5082 ecrowe@ensembleiq.com CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Mike Duff, Debby Garbato and Jenny McTaggart

42 SOLUTIONS

ADVERTISING SALES & BUSINESS ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER, REGIONAL SALES MANAGER (INTERNATIONAL, SOUTHWEST, MI) Tammy Rokowski 248-514-9500 trokowski@ensembleiq.com

Bold and Basic

New, adventurous flavors will be served alongside the traditional main course at festive gatherings this fall and winter. 46 PERIMETER

SENIOR DIGITAL & TECHNOLOGY EDITOR Marian Zboraj 773-992-4405 mzboraj@ensembleiq.com

SENIOR SALES MANAGER Bob Baker (NEW ENGLAND, MID-ATLANTIC SOUTHEAST US, EASTERN CANADA) 732-429-2080 rbaker@ensembleiq.com SENIOR SALES MANAGER Theresa Kossack (MIDWEST, GA, FL) 214-226-6468 tkossack@ensembleiq.com

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BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER-GROCERY GROUP Lou Meszoros 203-610-2807 lmeszoros@ensembleiq.com ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE/CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING Terry Kanganis 201-855-7615 • Fax: 201-855-7373 tkanganis@ensembleiq.com

Scrambling to Meet Shoppers’ Preference for Specialty Eggs

CLASSIFIED PRODUCTION MANAGER Mary Beth Medley 856-809-0050 marybeth@marybethmedley.com EVENTS VICE PRESIDENT, EVENTS Michael Cronin mcronin@ensembleiq.com

Consumer demand and state requirements for more ethically raised SKUs continue to expand.

VICE PRESIDENT, EVENTS & CONFERENCES Megan Judkins 773-837-7595 mjudkins@ensembleiq.com MARKETING BRAND MARKETING MANAGER Rebecca Welsby 773-992-4407 rwelsby@ensembleiq.com

50 SOLUTIONS

Today’s Beverages Tackle Form and Function Whey protein, adaptogens and flavonoids are just the tip of the functional-beverage iceberg.

AUDIENCE LIST RENTAL MeritDirect Marie Briganti 914-309-3378 SUBSCRIBER SERVICES/SINGLE-COPY PURCHASES Toll Free: 1-877-687-7321 Fax: 1-888-520-3608 contact@progressivegrocer.com

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PROJECT MANAGEMENT/PRODUCTION/ART CREATIVE DIRECTOR Colette Magliaro cmagliaro@ensembleiq.com ADVERTISING/PRODUCTION MANAGER Jackie Batson 224-632-8183 jbatson@ensembleiq.com ART DIRECTOR Bill Antkowiak bantkowiak@ensembleiq.com

56 SUSTAINABILITY

REPRINTS, PERMISSIONS AND LICENSING Wright’s Media ensembleiq@wrightsmedia.com 877-652-5295

Waste Not, Want Not

Heeding the large-scale problem of food waste, grocers get to work on solutions.

CORPORATE OFFICERS CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER Jennifer Litterick CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER Jane Volland CHIEF HUMAN RESOURCES OFFICER Ann Jadown EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, CONTENT Joe Territo EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, OPERATIONS Derek Estey

66 EQUIPMENT & DESIGN

Here Comes the Sun

Grocers can take advantage of less expensive ways to harness solar energy. 69 OPERATIONS

Catering to the Care Economy

Point Pickup’s solution helps retailers manage their growing contingents of flex employees.

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PROGRESSIVE GROCER (ISSN 0033-0787, USPS 920-600) is published monthly by EnsembleIQ, 8550 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. Ste. 200, Chicago, IL 60631. Single copy price $14, except selected special issues. Foreign single copy price $16, except selected special issues. Subscription: $125 a year; $230 for a two year supscription; Canada/Mexico $150 for a one year supscription; $270 for a two year supscription (Canada Post Publications Mail Agreement No. 40031729. Foreign $170 a one year supscrption; $325 for a two year supscription (call for air mail rates). Digital Subscription: $87 one year supscription; $161 two year supscription. Periodicals postage paid at Chicago, IL 60631 and additional mailing offices. Printed in USA. POSTMASTER: Send all address changes to brand, 8550 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. Ste. 200. Copyright ©2022 EnsembleIQ All rights reserved, including the rights to reproduce in whole or in part. All letters to the editors of this magazine will be treated as having been submitted for publication. The magazine reserves the right to edit and abridge them. The publication is available in microform from University Microfilms International, 300 North Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. The contents of this publication may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the consent of the publisher. The publisher is not responsible for product claims and representations.


COMING IN SEPTEMBER 2022

ISSUE

Sustainability Report The pandemic has supercharged the momentum of sustainability trends among grocery shoppers. Progressive Grocer will be highlighting the "winners" in sustainability and the companies driving value for consumers with their sustainability transformations. We will feature those companies that understand what they contribute to society and how they affect the communities they serve.

INCLUDING THE FOLLOWING AREAS: Packaging Safety Natural Products Local Sourcing Ethical Sourcing Carbon Reduction Food Waste Compatibility

SHARE YOUR SUSTAINABILITY SOLUTIONS OPPORTUNITY INCLUDES: High-profile, 2 -page spread or full page advertising space An opportunity to tell your story with an executive Q&A or advertorial opportunity Appearance alongside trusted, in-depth editorial coverage of sustainability content in the September issue Distribution to Progressive Grocer’s 40,000+ print and digital subscribers Opportunity to add digital boost by converting Q&A/advertorial to an article housed on PG.com + promotion

HURRY! LAST DAY TO RESERVE SPACE IS 8.15.22 CONTACT YOUR SALES REP TO RESERVE YOUR PRESENCE TODAY Tammy Rokowski Associate Publisher, Regional Sales Manager Southwest, MI, International 248.514.9500 trokowski@ensembleIQ.com

Theresa Kossack Sales - Midwest, GA, FL 214.226.6468 tkossack@ensembleIQ.com

Bob Baker Sales - New England, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast US, Eastern Canada 732.429.2080 rbaker@ensembleiq.com

Lou Meszoros Business Development Manager - Grocery Group 203.610.2807 lmeszoros@ensembleiq.com


EDITOR’S NOTE By Gina Acosta

One Puppuccino, Please ONLINE GROCERY SHOPPING ASIDE, THE IN-STORE E XPERIENCE WILL ALWAYS MAT TER. hile I was on a recent visit to a supermarket in Austin, Texas, a man walked into the store café with a beautiful golden retriever. As I was standing nearby, waiting for my latte to be ready, the man placed his order while the retriever was in a sitting position next to him. The dog was staring at the woman making coffee behind the counter. It was clear to me that the dog was well acquainted with this barista. A few minutes later, the coffee-bearing canine whisperer handed the dog’s owner a “puppuccino,” a small cup of whipped cream, which the dog lapped up quickly. The expression on the dog’s face made me smile as he pranced out into the sunny parking lot. The scene got me thinking about grocery e-commerce and the recent news about ultra-fast delivery startups Jokr, Fridge No More and Buyk shutting down. Jokr specifically ceased operations in June, just weeks after it revealed that it was Post-COVID, many working toward becoming the first carshoppers seem to be bon-negative grocery delivery platform. The just fine with making company had rolled out its own retail media the trip to the store, platform and mobile app in the spring. In an email statement to vendors that whether to save was shared in part by Bloomberg, Jokr money on delivery said, “While we have made tremendous fees, get out of the developments in building a sustainable house or say hello operation in the U.S. in recent months, we to the doggie-loving continue to face a tumultuous, ever-changing macro-environment.” barista at the café. That macro-environment is certainly tough. After all, how can you compete with a barista who knows your dog by name the minute he walks into the room? Today’s pandemic-fatigued and inflation-stressed grocery shoppers are seeking value more than ever before, but how they define value is becoming more diversified. Some shoppers are finding value in skipping the trip to the store via e-commerce, while many others are finding value in the experience of going to the store, especially if they get to take their dog and buy him a treat. This experience in particular isn’t easily replicated online, whether they pay for same-day, two-hour, one-hour, 30-minute or 15-minute delivery. Then there are all of the shoppers who balk at paying a premium for e-commerce, even if it’s ultra-fast. According to a new report from digital commerce solutions company 8

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Stor.ai, fewer than 2% of U.S. adults say that they’re “very likely” to shell out premium fees for ultra-fast delivery. According to the survey, around half of consumers are hybrid shoppers, while 37.2% shop entirely in store and only 2.6% report that they use online services for all of their grocery shopping. The research also found that 58.2% of U.S. consumers agree that there’s value in keeping local grocers functioning. Meanwhile, retailers are spending massive amounts of capital on the bet that Americans will buy their groceries mostly online in the future. So far, though, it seems as though we are far from becoming a nation of online grocery shoppers. E-grocery sales increased 1.7% to $7.1 billion in May compared with last year, according to Brick Meets Click and Mercatus. Post-COVID, many shoppers seem to be just fine with making the trip to the store, whether to save money on delivery fees, get out of the house or say hello to the doggie-loving barista at the café. Nobody knows how the future of grocery will shake out, but what I do know is that the in-store experience will always be important. Grocers are focused on future-proofing their physical stores with technology, but can a robot recognize your dog and make him a puppuccino? Delivering a better and distinctive experience for customers might be just as simple as that. Gina Acosta Editor-In-Chief gacosta@ensemleiq.com



IN-STORE EVENTS

Calendar S

09.22

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Better Breakfast Month Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct.15) National Apple Month

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National Biscuit Month National Blueberry Popsicle Month National Chicken Month National Ethnic Food Month

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National Burnt Ends Day. For many, it’s the best part of barbecue.

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National Food Bank Day World Coconut Day

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National Tailgating Day. Create a special instore display with all of the required food items so those on their way to cheer on their team can pick up everything in one place.

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Eat an Extra Dessert Day

Labor Day. Last chance for a beach party blowout!

National Macadamia Nut Day

Patriot Day. On this occasion, we pause to remember those lost in the 9/11 attacks in 2001.

Wife Appreciation Day. Those who usually let their better half do the shopping should do so instead — and purchase a bouquet of flowers as an added gesture.

National Quesadilla Day

National Day of Encouragement. This is a good time to let associates know what a great job they’re doing.

Respect for the Aged Day. This Japanese observance should be marked abroad as well.

National Pancake Day. What better way to start the day?

National Lobster Day

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National Coffee Ice Cream Day. Encourage customers to try making their own with a few simple ingredients purchased at the store.

National Ants on a Log Day. Let’s bring back this vintage healthy snack consisting of raisins, peanut butter and celery. What could be easier?

National String Cheese Day. Nearly every kid’s favorite snack is a natural lunchbox addition or after-school nibble.

National Chocolate Milk Day National Corned Beef Hash Day

National Acorn Squash Day. Have at the ready a full roster of recipes featuring this beloved botanical fruit that’s eaten like a vegetable.

National Cream Filled Donut Day. Direct customers in search of a little indulgence to the in-store bakery for an individual treat or a whole box to share with others.

National New York Day. Take this time to celebrate the unique cuisine of the Big Apple, which has the best pizza — OK, we admit that we’re biased.

National Drink Beer Day. A mixed 6-pack of local brews may help shoppers discover new favorites.

International Literacy Day. Run a checkout donation program supporting organizations that teach children and adults to read.

Get Ready Day. Remind shoppers to be prepared for any disaster with items that they can buy right in the store.

Autumnal Equinox. Have a great fall, but not the Humpty Dumpty kind.

International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste. Inform customers through signage, articles and more how they can be part of the solution.

National Wiener Schnitzel Day. Provide instructions on how to make this classic Viennese veal dish.

National Guacamole Day. Spicy or mild, this popular Mexican avocado dip can be used in a variety of ways.

Native American Day. For this occasion honoring the continent’s first inhabitants, team with local tribes to highlight their individual cultures, including their cuisines.

National Chewing Gum Day. Some may find it a rude habit, but chewing sugarless gum may increase the flow of saliva and reduce plaque. So there!

Harvest Moon Festival. Teach uninitiated shoppers about this Asian holiday, during which moon cakes are consumed.

National CleanUp Day. Salute your associates who volunteer for various environmental causes.

National Family Health and Fitness Day USA. Provide resources and products for parents and kids to embark on a shared wellness journey.



FRONT END

Shelf Stoppers

Beverages

Basket Facts

Total Department Performance Latest 52 Wks W/E 06/04/22

Beverages

Latest 52 Wks YA W/E 06/05/21

$79,139,846,196

$70,979,645,495

Latest 52 Wks YA W/E 06/06/20

$64,022,211,784

Top Beverage Categories by Dollar Sales Soft Drinks

Water

Fruit Drinks

Fruit Juices

Energy Beverages

$25,000,000,000

How much is the average American household spending per trip on various beverage products versus the year-ago period?

20,000,000,000

15,000,000,000

$9.60

10,000,000,000

on all beverage items, up 8.2% compared with a year ago

5,000,000,000

0

Latest 52 Wks W/E 06/04/22

Latest 52 Wks YA W/E 06/05/21

Latest 52 Wks YA W/E 06/06/20

Source: Nielsen, Total U.S. (All outlets combined) – includes grocery stores, drug stores, mass merchandisers, select dollar stores, select warehouse clubs and military commissaries (DeCA) for the 52 weeks ending June 4, 2022

Cross-Merch Candidates Sweet Snacks

Desserts

Dough and Batter Products

Toaster Pastries

Fully Cooked Meat

Fresh Meat

$5.23

on fruit juices, up 4.0% compared with a year ago

$8.12

on soft drinks, up 10.4% compared with a year ago Sauce and Seasoning Mixes

Creams and Nondairy Creamers

Lunch Meat

Generational Snapshot

$5.37

Which cohort is spending, on average, the most per trip on liquid tea?

on water, up 12.9% compared with a year ago Millennials

Gen Xers

Boomers

The Greatest Generation

$4.83

$5.32

$5.43

$5.77

Source: Nielsen Homescan, Total U.S., 52 weeks ending May 28, 2022

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Source: Nielsen Homescan, Total U.S., 52 weeks ending May 28, 2022


MINTEL CATEGORY INSIGHTS

Global New Products Database

Soap, Bath and Shower Products Market Overview

The soap, bath and shower product market reached an estimated $8.4 billion in total 2021 retail sales, a decrease of 9.6% from 2020. The immediate effect of the COVID-19 pandemic saw consumers stockpile hygiene essentials, particularly liquid hand soap and hand sanitizer, accelerating market sales in 2020. Therefore, the market’s sales decline in 2021 is a reflection of the market rebalancing itself. Nine out of 10 U.S. consumers say that taking care of the skin on their bodies is just as important as taking care of the skin on their faces. Four in 10 U.S. consumers say that the scent of a product is just as important as the effectiveness.

Key Issues

As global concerns regarding water shortages intensify, expect to see even more people take action to limit their usage of water. Price increases in soap, bath and shower products are inevitable as the cost of raw materials and transport continues to rise, which will ultimately be felt by the consumer. This could lead to some shoppers trading down to less expensive brands. While more research is still needed when it comes to the gut-skin axis, expect conversations on skin-barrier health and the skin’s microbiome to have a significant impact on the category moving forward.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT WWW.MINTEL.COM OR CALL 800-932-0400

What Consumers Want, and Why Young adults’ elevated interest in eco-friendly products signals that the desire to live more sustainably will be a driving force behind innovation in the soap, bath and shower product space. This desire to live more sustainably could also affect cleansing routines, suggesting that some consumers will forgo bathing rituals to reduce their water footprint. The ongoing pandemic has reinforced the importance of hand hygiene, and many consumers are planning to continue practicing good hand hygiene habits even after the pandemic passes. Hand sanitizer will be considered a hygiene staple in the longer term, creating ongoing opportunities to innovate in a space that has long been overlooked. Consistent with their elevated engagement and investment in soap, bath and shower products in general, women have higher expectations from their bodycleansing routines. This means that brands will have to work harder to prove their results to win women over.

PROGRESSIVE GROCER July 2022

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ALL’S WELLNESS

By Diane Quagliani, MBA, RDN, LDN

It’s Back-to-School Lunch Time A PARENTS’ SURVE Y INFORMS OPPORTUNITIES FOR RE TAILERS. recent survey from the International Food Information Council (IFIC) has revealed parents’ attitudes and behaviors related to feeding kids ages 2 through 10. Retailers and retail dietitians can use key findings from the survey in their promotions and programs to help parents provide appealing, healthy school lunches and snacks. Highlights from the survey are as follows:

Room for Improvement

Most surveyed parents said they’re confident that their child’s current diet sufficiently addresses top priorities such as growth and development, health, and cognitive ability. Parents also acknowledged that certain aspects of their child’s diet and eating habits could be improved, however, including their child’s willingness to try new foods (42%), the variety of foods and amount of vegetables their child eats (both 37%), snacking habits (36%), and the amount of sugar their child consumes (34%). To remedy this, provide fun, kid-friendly lunch and snack ideas for tasty new foods, including veggies and lower-sugar items. Consider programming that involves kids in choosing, preparing and tasting new foods to tackle the “pickiness factor” cited as a major obstacle to healthy eating by nearly four in 10 (39%) parents.

Label Lessons

Parents most often cited nutritional value as being extremely or very important when making food and beverage choices for their kids. Not surprisingly, as a result, parents pay attention to labels when they shop. Most said they always or often look at product labels, including the Nutrition Facts label, the ingredients list, front-of-pack icons and serving size information. Help parents spot healthful lunchbox and snack choices by highlighting relevant nutrients, ingredients and allergens on shelf tags or point-of-purchase displays.

Concerns about Cost, Waste and the Environment

When the survey was completed in early 2021, nearly one-third (30%) of parents said the cost of healthy foods was a major obstacle to healthy eating in their households. Recent price spikes in food, gas and more suggest that this percentage is significantly higher now. In addition, more than nine out of 10 parents said it’s at least somewhat important to choose foods their child will eat and not waste — a common lunch-packing lament that’s more important than ever in light of today’s rising prices. On a related issue, about eight in 10 parents said it was at least somewhat important that the foods they choose for their child are produced

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Help parents spot healthful lunchbox and snack choices by highlighting relevant nutrients, ingredients and allergens on shelf tags or point-of-purchase displays. in an environmentally sustainable way. In response to this concern, offer lunch and snack ideas centered on sale items and lower-cost staples, and consider the needs of WIC and SNAP recipients. Give cost-saving tips such as repackaging snacks from bigger packages or the bulk bin into individual servings, instead of buying single-serving packs (more sustainable, too). To reduce the likelihood that lunches get tossed or traded, encourage parents to plan and pack lunches with their child. Suggest more sustainable lunchbox choices such as meatless sandwiches like good old PBJ (peanut butter can be substituted with allergy-friendly options), and seasonal fruits and veggies (organic if that’s affordable to your shoppers). Recommend using lunch containers made from sustainable materials, reusable sandwich bags and water bottles, and thermoses.

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.


GOLDEN NUGGETS! LET’S HEAR IT FOR THE FASTEST GROWING PLANT-BASED CHICKEN NUGGETS IN THE NATION!

To schedule a cutting, contact Tim White at (513) 227-0730, or at timw@gwfg.com. You won’t believe how much they taste like actual chicken! Visit SkinnyButcher.com/TradePartners for more info.


UPWARD

By Angelina Bice

Flipping the Script NE X TUP’S K AT ORTIZ TALKS ABOUT CHANGING CULTURES AND FEEDING HOPE. at Ortiz, M.S., is a boundless resource for those of us here at NextUp. Her expertise as an industrial-organizational (I/O) psychologist pierces through the layers of corporate culture to the core — to what must change, and how to change it. I/O makes transforming workplace environments into hard science, using data to fuel powerful outcomes to better our workplaces for women. In this interview, we dive into the power of psychology to change perspectives from the individual level right up to changing whole organizations. This article is excerpted from the full interview, which can be read at nextupisnow.org/blog. Angelina Bice: So, thinking about the development we offer members, what do you look for when you’re looking at a leadership development program? What’s a green flag for individuals to look for that shows a program is actually going to create change, either for the individual or for the organization?

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Kat Ortiz: In the world of leadership development, there are people we can call influencers who feel they have something worth teaching, some wisdom that they feel like they need to share. I think that’s fair. But because it comes from the gut rather than from a scientific background, there are things that are not sound and sometimes not particularly safe. When you root something in science and make sure that it is actually going to cause the outcomes that you’ve measured for, it becomes so much more than a high-level, easy-to-digest platitude. We’re talking about real change, and you will have to do work to make that happen. For example, I’ve seen prominent selfhelp books, New York Times bestsellers, that advocate just pulling yourself up by your bootstraps and getting over the hard stuff. That’s not psychologically safe — not for individuals, and not for organizations. When you can help someone understand what it’s like to be comfortable in the uncomfortable, and see themselves for who and what they really are, there are learnings to take away. It keeps that person from putting things into a denial box, shutting them away and making


them too scary to deal with. And it also keeps you from ruminating on it. Acknowledge where you’ve come from, rather than denying it. Look at the good and bad of yourself, and use that knowledge to propel you forward. History can repeat itself if you don’t acknowledge it. AB: When we talk about individual leadership development supporting the retention of women and other marginalized groups at work — even in the midst of historic events like The Great Resignation — why do you think it works?

“When a training is given to somebody, when it inspires that person to grow and to see hope in themselves, they end up being more creative.” —Kat Ortiz, NextUp

KO: It’s the feeding of hope. When you give any single individual hope, they’re more likely to live creatively and live healthy. So, when a training is given to somebody, when it inspires that person to grow and to see hope in themselves, they end up being more creative. They stop feeling like they need to be in fight or flight when stress comes their way. You’ve put them into a growth mindset that starts creativity and stops fear. It increases that person’s resilience and ability to stand up against stressors. So [it’s] repositioning your perspective into a positive mindset of “I’m going to grow. Good is going to come from this, and I have hope.”

Angelina Bice is copywriter and content strategist at NextUp, a 501c3 nonprofit dedicated to Advancing All Women. NextUp has more than 15,000 members, 21 regions, and 300-plus national corporate partners and regional sponsors committed to transforming workplaces for gender equity.

Retail Marketing Affordable. Digital. Personalized. • Digital Coupons • Loyalty & Rewards • Mobile Apps • Social Media • Online Shopping • Circular Print & Production • Email Marketing

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100 YEARS OF FOOD RETAILING

Brands

BRAND ICONS

100 BRANDS THAT CHANGED GROCERY 18

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In celebration of our centennial, Progressive Grocer quantifies some of the best and boldest brands of the past 100 years, from A to Z.

T

By Jenny McTaggart ruly powerful brands often become household names, standing on their own when spoken, without further description needed. Nowhere is this truer than in the grocery industry. It’s the reason that you ask for a Kleenex when you sneeze, or look for a Ziploc bag to store something in — or, down South, request a Coke although you’re mainly just craving a sweetened carbonated beverage. Where would the grocery industry be without such amazing, resilient brands? These are the names that so often inspire consumers to visit their local supermarkets and make them feel at home when they


get there. Iconic grocery brands have also served as the source for decades of powerful TV ads, in-store promotions and circulars, fun jingles playing over store speakers, and, by today’s measure, trendsetting content in TikTok and YouTube videos. For Progressive Grocer’s premier list of 100 Brands That Changed Grocery, the editors strove to include the best-known brands over the past 100 years, along with newer names that have made significant impacts on the industry. Two names — Starbucks and White Castle — represent notable crossovers from the restaurant industry. You’ll also see a few brands that are really used by grocers themselves but have become familiar to shoppers — such as NCR — as well as one brand that has been so impactful on the industry that we felt we had to include it: Amazon. As we perused past issues of the magazine to compose this list, it was fascinating to see how brands have changed their messaging and feel over time. Back in a 1922 issue of PG, for example, Borden was billing itself as “the nation’s milk” and “the grocer’s milk,” while Morton Salt saw its branded commodity as not only a “necessity,” but also as a “sure profit item” at 5 cents per package. In 1932, toward the end of Prohibition, Anheuser-Busch was launching a new campaign for Budweiser Barley Malt Syrup, a baking ingredient for bread and cookies that also conveniently lent itself to home brewing. The company planned to include streetcar advertising, newspaper ads in “English and foreign language[s],” and “neon spectacular bulletins at strategic points east and west” in its broad-reaching national campaign. In the 1970s, Campbell Soup was debuting its “Light Ones” line to appeal to more diet-conscious consumers as the Kool-Aid Man was crashing through walls to reward kids with plenty of sugar. In more recent years, newer brands such as Annie’s Homegrown, Kashi and Kind bars have come onto the scene and shaken up the center store, while Chobani has transformed the yogurt section. Meanwhile, perishable departments have seen an increase in branded products, yet at the same time, private label items have often excelled at giving major CPG players some healthy competition. Now we invite you to sit back, relax with a cup of your favorite brand of coffee, and take a trip down memory lane — or, in this case, the supermarket aisles of yesteryear.

1. AMAZON 2. ANNIE’S HOMEGROWN (OWNED BY GENERAL MILLS)

3. BARILLA

7. BETTY CROCKER (OWNED BY GENERAL MILLS)

8. BIRDS EYE (OWNED BY CONAGRA BRANDS)

4. BAYER

9. BOAR’S HEAD 5. BEN & JERRY’S (OWNED BY UNILEVER)

6. BEN’S ORIGINAL (FORMERLY UNCLE BEN’S; OWNED BY MARS FOOD)

10. BORDEN

11. BOUNTY (OWNED BY PROCTER & GAMBLE) PROGRESSIVE GROCER July 2022

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100 YEARS OF FOOD RETAILING

Brands

12. BREYERS (OWNED BY UNILEVER)

13. BUDWEISER (OWNED BY ANHEUSER-BUSCH)

14. BUMBLE BEE FOODS

a commercial canner and packer, both of whom lived in the middle of the 19th century. Their company introduced its first jar of ready-to-eat soup, Beefsteak Tomato, in 1895. A few years later, a nephew of the company’s president invented the process of condensing soup, which led to smaller packaging in cans. It wasn’t until 1898 that Campbell debuted its well-known red-and-white label, which was inspired by the Cornell University football team’s new red-and-white uniforms. The brand went on to feature the adorable “Campbell kids” in its ads in the early 1900s, created the catchy “M’m! M’m! Good!” jingle in the 1930s and inspired eclectic artist Andy Warhol to use soup cans in his paintings in the 1960s. Campbell’s major acquisitions and new product introductions over time have included V8, Pepperidge Farm, SpaghettiOs, Swanson, Prego, Pace Foods and Snyder’s-Lance.

17. CHARMIN (OWNED BY PROCTER & GAMBLE)

19. CHIQUITA

products — think Dasani, Fairlife, Fanta, Gold Peak, Minute Maid, Schweppes, Simply and Sprite, to name just a sampling. Its unforgettable ad campaigns have included “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke,” animated polar bears, and even Santa Claus himself holding a bottle of the liquid refreshment. While a few products’ lives were more short-lived — New Coke and Tab come to mind — the company has continued to impress through its creativity and longevity in an ever-changing consumer landscape.

20. CHOBANI 23. COLGATE-PALMOLIVE

21. CLOROX

15. CAMAY

A small soap and candle business started by William Colgate in the early 19th century has today grown into a global company that includes Colgate toothpaste and other personal care brands such as Irish Spring, Softsoap, Speed Stick and Tom’s of Maine, as well as Ajax, Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Murphy Oil Soap and, of course, Palmolive Dish Soap. In the 1930s, the company featured two radio programs, “The Palmolive Hour” and “Palmolive Beauty Box,” and throughout the 20th century, its TV ads and product innovation helped turn its brands into household names.

22. COCA-COLA 16. CAMPBELL SOUP

The beginnings of this iconic soup brand can be traced back to Joseph Campbell, a wholesale fruit and vegetable vendor, and Abraham Anderson,

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18. CHEERIOS (OWNED BY GENERAL MILLS)

It’s almost impossible to overstate the impact that Coca-Cola has had on the U.S. beverage market over the past century. Today, the global brand is represented in virtually every beverage segment through its various

24. COOL WHIP (OWNED BY KRAFT HEINZ)



100 YEARS OF FOOD RETAILING

Brands

25. COORS

31. DOVE (OWNED BY UNILEVER)

26. CUP NOODLES (OWNED BY NISSIN FOODS)

32. DRISCOLL’S

38. GOYA FOODS

42. HERSHEY’S 43. HORIZON ORGANIC (OWNED BY DANONE)

39. GREEN GIANT (OWNED BY B&G FOODS)

27. DANNON

33. FOLGERS (OWNED BY J.M. SMUCKER)

44. HORMEL FOODS

34. FRENCH’S (OWNED BY McCORMICK & CO.) 28. DEL MONTE

29. DOLE 30. DOMINO 22

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35. FRITO-LAY (OWNED BY PEPSICO)

36. GERBER (OWNED BY NESTLÉ) 37. GORTON’S

40. HEINZ (OWNED BY KRAFT)

Known for developing the world’s first canned ham, Hormel Foods has been around for more than 130 years. Perhaps one of its greatest inventions is Spam, but the company is also responsible for legacy brands such as Dinty Moore beef stew and its trademark Hormel chili. Today, its impressive portfolio of food products includes Applegate, Jennie-O, Planters and Skippy, among others.

45. HOSTESS 41. HELLMANN’S/BEST FOODS (OWNED BY UNILEVER)

46. HUGGIES (OWNED BY KIMBERLY-CLARK)


47. HUSSMANN

48. JELL-O (OWNED BY KRAFT)

49. JIF (OWNED BY J.M. SMUCKER) 50. KASHI

grrrreat!” became etched in Americans’ minds with the rollout of iconic Frosted Flakes and its biggest fan, Tony the Tiger. Today, Kellogg owns a wide range of brands covering more cereals and other breakfast items such as Pop-Tarts and Eggo frozen waffles, plant-based proteins (MorningStar Farms), savory snacks (Pringles, Cheez-It and more), snack bars and bites, and protein bars and shakes.

53. KIND (OWNED BY MARS)

54. KLEENEX (OWNED BY KIMBERLY-CLARK) 55. KNORR (OWNED BY UNILEVER)

51. KEEBLER

60. LIPTON (OWNED BY UNILEVER) 58. KRAFT

Although today its name is connected to Heinz after the two companies merged in 2015, the Kraft brand traces its roots back to the early 1900s, when James L. Kraft started a wholesale doorto-door cheese business in Chicago. By 1915, the company had invented pasteurized processed cheese that didn’t need refrigeration, and in 1937, it introduced its ubiquitous boxed macaroni and cheese. In 1947, Kraft experimented with branding via the emerging power of television by producing “Kraft Television Theatre.” Since those days, Kraft has gone through various mergers that have included Dart Industries (makers of the Duracell brand of batteries and the Tupperware brand of plastic containers) and the Philip Morris Cos. Today, its major brands include Cadbury, Maxwell House coffee, Nabisco, Oreo, Oscar Mayer and Philadelphia cream cheese.

61. LITTLE DEBBIE (OWNED BY McKEE FOODS)

62. MARS WRIGLEY

In the late 1800s, a young boy named Frank C. Mars learned to hand-dip chocolate from his mother while he was stuck at home with polio. Around the same time, William Wrigley Jr. came to Chicago as a young salesman and began offering merchants free chewing gum with each can of baking powder that he sold. These humble beginnings led to what is today the world’s leading manufacturer of chocolate, chewing gum, mints and fruity confections. The company’s iconic brands include M&Ms, Snickers, Orbit, Extra and Skittles, each with its own unforgettable ad campaigns and slogans that have permeated American culture through the years.

56. KOOL-AID (OWNED BY KRAFT) 52. KELLOGG’S

In 1894, W.K. Kellogg changed breakfast forever by creating Corn Flakes. Then, in the 1950s, the phrase “They’re

57. KOTEX (OWNED BY KIMBERLY-CLARK)

59. LAND O’LAKES 63. McCORMICK PROGRESSIVE GROCER July 2022

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100 YEARS OF FOOD RETAILING

Brands

73. ORVILLE REDENBACHER’S (OWNED BY CONAGRA BRANDS)

79. PURINA 64. MORTON SALT

65. MR. CLEAN (OWNED BY PROCTER & GAMBLE)

69. NESTLÉ

Founded in Switzerland more than 140 years ago, Nestlé originally produced a milkbased infant food, which inspired its “nest” logo. Today, it’s considered the largest food and beverage company in the world, with more than 2,000 brands spanning such categories as baby food, water, cereals, coffee, chilled and frozen food, dairy, and ice cream. In fact, several of its brands are included in this list. One category that the Nestlé name is often affiliated with is milk chocolate: It was in 1904 that the company started selling chocolate for the first time, having taken over export sales for Peter & Kohler. Another name linked to Nestlé is Purina, an American subsidiary of the company that markets pet food, treats and cat litter (and is included a little later in our list).

74. OSCAR MAYER (OWNED BY KRAFT HEINZ) 75. PAMPERS (OWNED BY PROCTER & GAMBLE) 80. QUAKER OATS (OWNED BY PEPSICO)

76. PEPSI 77. PERDUE FARMS 66. NABISCO (OWNED BY MONDELEZ INTERNATIONAL) 67. NCR

81. RAGÚ 70. NUTELLA (OWNED BY FERRERO) 71. OLD EL PASO (OWNED BY GENERAL MILLS)

68. NEWMAN’S OWN 24

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Quaker Oats was registered as the first trademark for a breakfast cereal, way back in 1877. The brand was a pioneer in magazine advertising and became instantly recognizable through its mascot, a man dressed in Quaker garb. Much later, in 1966, Quaker Instant Oatmeal was introduced, giving Americans a more convenient way to fix a healthy breakfast. Today, the brand is owned by PepsiCo and includes oatbased snack foods, as well as the popular Life cereal.

72. OREO (OWNED BY MONDELEZ INTERNATIONAL)

78. PILLSBURY (OWNED BY GENERAL MILLS)

82. RED BULL 83. REYNOLDS WRAP



100 YEARS OF FOOD RETAILING

Brands

86. SCOTT (OWNED BY KIMBERLY-CLARK)

84. SARA LEE

87. SMITHFIELD

85. SEVENTH GENERATION (OWNED BY UNILEVER)

Beyond Smartª

DELI

88. SMUCKER’S

89. SNAPPLE

A brand of colorfully packaged beverages owned by Keurig Dr Pepper, Snapple was founded in 1972, under the name Unadulterated Food Products, by Leonard Marsh, Hyman Golden and Arnold Greenberg. The three New Yorkers conceived the product as a part-time venture to supply fruit juices to health food stores. An early apple juice product with carbonation led to the name Snapple, combining “snappy” and “apple.”

Snapple went on to make its first bottled tea in 1987. In the 2000s, the company became the target of several lawsuits claiming that the inclusion of high-fructose corn syrup didn’t meet the company’s claim of “natural” ingredients. Once the lawsuits were dismissed, Snapple went on to switch to sugar in most of its beverages.

90. STARBUCKS

A Relationship Building FACTOR- é e*

®

Professional Series

845-331-2111 | professionalseriesequipment.com © 2022 M&E Mfg. Co., Inc. Trademarks property of M&E Mfg. Co., Inc.

*Factor-e´e: A deli where human factors including engagement are part of the relationship building transaction that takes place during order fulfillment.


93. TAB

98. WHITE CASTLE 91. STARKIST

96. TROPICANA (OWNED BY PEPSICO) 94. TABASCO 95. TAMPAX (OWNED BY PROCTER & GAMBLE)

92. SUN-MAID

99. WONDER BREAD (OWNED BY FLOWERS FOODS) 97. TYSON

THE

of Americans use customer service as a factor in deciding whether or not to buy from a company.

100. ZIPLOC (OWNED BY SC JOHNSON)

FACTS: 3 out of 4

want more human interaction in the future.

2 out of 3 consumers believe that companies have lost touch with the human element of customer experience.

of consumers say that businesses need to make it easier to get in touch with a real person for customer service issues.


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RETAILER DEEP DIVE

Loblaw Cos. Ltd.

LOBLAW TRANSFORMS ITSELF AGAIN Canada’s largest grocery retailer is driving growth with investments in e-commerce, health care and sustainability. By Gina Acosta

P

erhaps there’s no better time than now for one of North America’s largest grocery retailers to be embarking on a transformation. Loblaw Cos. Ltd., with more than 2,500 stores across Canada and 2021 total sales of CAD $52.3 billion (all monetary values in this article are in Canadian dollars), has completed several successful reinventions in its 103-year history, through even the rockiest financial times. You would think that with inflation in Canada at a historic rate of 7.7%, the grocer, a private label pioneer, would be laser-focused on expanding its store brands now that consumers are switching away from national brands to save money. The company’s latest reinvention is focused on more than just private label innovation, however. This time, e-commerce, sustainability and retail health care are top of mind, with a little foodservice innovation and cost control sprinkled in — all aimed at helping Canadians “Live Life Well,” the brand’s purpose. “With a backdrop of high inflation globally and the return of normal routines here at home, the breadth of our business and its range of well-defined value and services are resonating with consumers into 2022,” said President and Chairman Galen G. Weston in a first-quarter earnings call in May. “Delivering value is core to our customers’ purpose, our company’s purpose, of helping Canadians live life well.”

Building Momentum

In its latest financial report, Brampton, Ontario-based Loblaw, which operates more than 15 retail banners, including Shoppers Drug Mart, Pharmaprix and Provigo, delivered another strong quarter in a retail environment experiencing sustained grocery demand and rising Food sales at Loblaw inflationary pressures. continued to benefit from Revenue for the period ended March higher-than-normal eat-athome levels during the first 26 was $12,262 million, an increase of quarter, and customers $390 million, or 3.3%. Retail segment responded favorably to sales were $12,045 million, an increase data-driven marketing of $375 million, or 3.2%. promotions and offers from PC Optimum, the Drug retail segment results were strong grocer’s loyalty program. and drove margin expansion in the quarPROGRESSIVE GROCER July 2022

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RETAILER DEEP DIVE

Loblaw Cos. Ltd.

The company's PC Money program is a no-monthly-fee account that works like any bank account and turns the banking that Canadians do every day into rewards toward free grocery, beauty and essential products at Loblaw stores. Other features of the PC Money account include unlimited transactions and free withdrawals at Loblaw financial-branded ATMs.

ter as front-of-store and prescription sales benefited from the loosening of social restrictions in Canada, and pharmacy services continued to perform well. Food sales continued to benefit from higher-than-normal eat-at-home levels, and customers responded favorably to data-driven marketing promotions and offers from PC Optimum, the grocer’s loyalty program with more than 18 million members. Food retail (Loblaw) segment same-stores sales increased by 2.1%, while drug retail (Shoppers Drug Mart) segment samestore sales increased by 5.2%. Also, “for the first time since the pandemic began, we saw the sales mix between our discount and market businesses return to pre-pandemic levels as we exited the quarter,” said CFO Richard Dufresne. “Although customer buying patterns shifted as restrictions loosened and inflation continued, our market banners remain strong and continue to perform well against our conventional grocery peers,” which in Canada include Sobeys, Metro, Walmart and Costco. Operating income at Loblaw was $738 million, an increase of $121 million, or 19.6%. Adjusted EBITDA was $1,343 million, an increase of $125 million, or 10.3%. Retail segment adjusted gross profit percentage was 31.1%, an increase of 80 basis points. Adjusted diluted net earnings per common share were $1.36, an increase of 23 cents or 20.4%. According to Dufresne, the grocer expects eat-at-home trends to continue to taper during the rest of the year. “We expect inflation to remain elevated in the short term,” he noted. “However, inflation may moderate in

“With a backdrop of high inflation globally and the return of normal routines at home, the breadth of our business and its range of well-defined value and services are resonating with consumers into 2022. Delivering value is core to our customers’ purpose, our company’s purpose, of helping Canadians live life well.” —Galen G. Weston, President and Chairman, Loblaw Cos. Ltd.

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RETAILER DEEP DIVE

Loblaw Cos. Ltd.

the second half of the year. That said, there are broader macro and geopolitical factors that are outside of our control that impact the inflation landscape. While we continue to experience challenges within our supply chain, our in-stock position has improved, and we remain confident in our ability to navigate the situation.” For his part, Weston observed that the company has “momentum in our core retail businesses, a clear strategic agenda and continued traction in our growth initiatives.” Those growth initiatives include opening a new foodservice-focused format in Quebec; several innovative environmental, social and governance (ESG) efforts; and a new partnership with San Francisco-based DoorDash.

Digital Expansion

When it comes to omnichannel performance, Loblaw has been making investments for years in having data analytics and digital solutions drive day-to-day operations. Those investments are now paying off: The company’s digital businesses delivered $3 billion in sales over the past 12 months, continuing to run well above pre-COVID levels. “Our omnichannel network is well positioned,” Dufresne said. “We continue to enhance our customer experience through our digital platform while offsetting its cost through optimizing operational efficiencies, deploying new technology and [refining] our delivery offering.”

PC Optimum, the grocer’s loyalty program, has more than 18 million members. Earlier this year Loblaw expanded the program so that members could start redeeming points at Esso fuel stations: 10 cents off per liter (maximum 40 liters) when redeeming 4,000 points, and a free car wash when redeeming 10,000 points.

In June, Loblaw unveiled a collaboration with DoorDash that will bring rapid grocery delivery to customers. Beginning in August, PC Express Rapid Delivery will aim to deliver grocery and convenience items to shoppers in 30 minutes or less. Rolling out in major cities across Canada, the express rapid-delivery offering will feature grocery and convenience items supplied by Loblaw. “Our goal is to bring convenience to customers in Canada, with the selection and speed they want,” said Shilpa Arora, general manager of Vancouver-based DoorDash Canada. “Through this collaboration with Loblaw, we are addressing consumers’ need to ‘get it now,’ in addition to our existing Marketplace and Drive channels, and furthering the value we bring to consumers and partners alike.” Additionally, beginning this month, customers will be able to order on the DoorDash Marketplace app from their preferred Loblaw Cos. banners throughout Canada, including Loblaws, Real Canadian Superstore, Atlantic Superstore, Provigo, Maxi,

In June, Loblaw unveiled a collaboration with DoorDash that will bring ultra-fast grocery delivery to shoppers. Starting in August, PC Express Rapid Delivery will deliver groceries to Loblaw customers in 30 minutes or less.

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Shoppers Drug Mart and Pharmaprix. This will reach 85% of the country’s population, according to DoorDash. Additionally, DoorDash will enable same-day delivery for items from all Loblaw banner stores on the PC Express site via DoorDash Drive, DoorDash’s fulfillment platform that powers direct delivery to customers for any business. Rapid Retail Canada Inc., a DoorDash subsidiary, will be the retailer operating under the PC Express Rapid Delivery brand.

Path to Localization

In June, Loblaw’s Provigo Le Marché banner debuted a new format in Kirkland in the Montreal region. The concept spotlights foodservice and hyperlocal fare. The store features hundreds of local deli, meat, fish and seafood products, as well as condiments and natural items. Also on display are expanded selections of sushi, poké bowls, gourmet sandwiches, lobster rolls, and soups and salads. Ten types of Roman-style pizza, made with hand-stretched dough and fresh ingredients, are baked in-store in a stone pizza oven. The store also offers more than 500 new craft beers and a pastry counter. “When the Provigo Le Marché concept was launched 10 years ago, it revolutionized the grocery shopping experience,” Johanne Héroux, senior director of corporate affairs and communication at Loblaw, told Progressive Grocer sister publication Canadian Grocer. “Ten years later, we felt the need to bring this experience to the next level. The pandemic changed customers’ shopping habits, and they’ve rediscovered cooking and eating at home. They also realized more than ever the importance of buying local.” Local is certainly a major focus for Loblaw, which in 2018 made a commitment to increase its Canadian-grown produce purchases by $150 million by 2025 through shifting from imported to local sources. As part of this initiative, Loblaw has nearly tripled its purchases from a local carrot farmer using a patented growing

This year, Loblaw’s Provigo Le Marché banner debuted a new format in Kirkland in the Montreal region. The concept spotlights foodservice and hyperlocal fare. The store features hundreds of local deli, meat, fish and seafood products, as well as condiments and natural items.

process that provides carrots beyond traditional seasonal availability. The grocer has also partnered with Canadian berry growers to increase its purchases of local berries by nearly 30%. In another line of announcements related to Loblaw’s efforts to fight climate change, the grocery chain vowed in June to eliminate all single-use plastic shopping bags from its stores PROGRESSIVE GROCER July 2022

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RETAILER DEEP DIVE

Loblaw Cos. Ltd.

Another focus for the company's fooodservice operations is offering expanded selections of sushi, poké bowls, gourmet sandwiches, lobster rolls, and soups and salads. Some stores feature Roman-style pizza, made with hand-stretched dough and fresh ingredients, baked in-store in a stone pizza oven. Other stores showcase craft beers and fresh pastry.

by early 2023. The move completes a 15-year journey, which commenced with the company being one of the first major retailers in Canada to implement a pay-for-bag program to help reduce plastic waste. “As a purpose-led organization, committed to helping Canadians live life well, we are proud to be taking a significant step on such an important environmental issue,” said Loblaw COO Robert Sawyer when the news became public. “Since 2007, our efforts to reduce the number of single-use plastic shopping bags leaving our stores has led to 13.8 billion fewer bags potentially going into landfill.” Loblaw customers have already rallied around the reusable-bag approach. The adoption of a plastic bag fee led to 34

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a 70% decline in the use of plastic bags in its stores, and shoppers have turned to the iconic PC reusable bag and plastic bins as sustainable alternatives. As single-use plastic shopping bags are phased out systematically, province by province, customers will be supported with a variety of reusable alternatives as well as ongoing communications to raise awareness of the options available. In March, Loblaw took another action on climate change with its plan to achieve net-zero greenhouse-gas emissions by 2040 as part of a host of environmental commitments. As a fourth-generation family business since 1919, with the country’s largest network of corporate and independent grocery and drug stores, Loblaw is positioned to make an impact on these issues. This perspective has been fundamental to Loblaw’s approach to ESG priorities. “Having met major milestones reducing our carbon footprint and waste, we are now squarely focused on the next challenge: net zero,” Weston said in the recent earnings call. “It will see us deploy electric trucks, efficient heating and cooling, alternative energy, and innovative methods ahead. The need for action is as clear as our ambition, and it reflects the long-term vision our company has held across generations.” In 2016, Loblaw committed to a 30% reduction in corporate carbon emissions by 2030. The company met that target in 2020, due to its advancements in energy management, equipment conversions and addressing refrigerant leaks.

Retail Health Reimagined

Health and wellness is another key pillar of Loblaw’s ESG strategy. The company connects its retail and health care businesses to help customers get well and stay that way. Its PC Health app provides virtual health care services through a network of care


navigators, registered nurses, registered dietitians, physicians, physiotherapists and other allied health professionals. To date, there have been more than 820,000 downloads of the PC Health app. The grocery chain has also performed more than 900,000 medication reviews to support improved patient health outcomes. Loblaw’s Wellwise by Shoppers platform is the largest Canadian retailer of home health care products and services, including medical devices and equipment, sleep therapy products, professional fittings for braces and supports, rental services, and in-home consultations. The company even retails medical cannabis using an e-commerce and mail delivery platform. “I think what COVID has done, both for the Canadian consumer and then also for the public health care system, is it’s really helped everybody understand the complementary role that the pharmacists and the pharmacy can play on kind of basic health care delivery,” Weston noted during the earnings call. In March, Loblaw said that it was acquiring Toronto-based wellness company Lifemark for $845 million in cash, adding that the acquisition will help grow its retail health business. The news came after Shoppers Drug Mart had teamed up with the company last year to offer online bookings for physiotherapy and rehabilitation services. Lifemark’s integration into the retailer’s PC Health app gave shoppers access to health professionals in 300-plus rehabilitation clinics, as well as the opportunity to earn PC Optimum points for completing an eligible initial assessment. “Lifemark joins Maple and dentalcorp in a growing group of trusted service providers featured on the PC Health app that will help Canadians get the timely health care services that they need,” said Jeff Leger, president of Shoppers Drug Mart Inc., when the partnership rolled out. “PC Health users can now book virtual doctor appointments, find dental and oral care specialists, physiotherapy, massage, and other rehabilitation service providers.” “In the first quarter, Pharmacy Services continued their multiyear expansion, a strong indication of the relationships patients continue to build with their pharmacists as convenient and trusted health care partners,” Dufresne said during the earnings call. Looking ahead to the rest of the year, Weston said

Last month, Loblaw revealed plans to eliminate all single-use plastic shopping bags from its corporate and franchise grocery stores, pharmacies, and PC Express service by the end of the first quarter of 2023. Loblaw was one of the first major retailers in Canada to implement a pay-for-bag program to reduce waste.

on the call that the company is “particularly encouraged by its discount division, which represents 60% of grocery sales.” “Our hard-discount No Frills and Maxi stores are a bellwether for customers seeking value,” he observed. “This is an indication of the Canadian consumers steadily increasing focus on value. We see similar signs in the performance of our market-leading private label program.” After President’s Choice, Loblaw’s No Name brand is the second largest in the country, and sales are at all-time highs. “Yes, private label penetration is up above 30%,” Weston affirmed on the call. “It is growing notably faster than our non-private label products and programs. We’re kind of back to normal, or call it back to pre-COVID, price sensitivity, promotional sensitivity. But we’re watching it very carefully because prices are continuing to grow. Consumer behavior is shifting. It’s the usual things, smaller pack sizes, sensitivity to higher price points, all of that stuff.” PROGRESSIVE GROCER July 2022

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SOLUTIONS

Alternative Proteins

The New White Meats ALTERNATIVE PROTEINS ENTER THE CHICKEN AND PORK SPACE IN A BIG WAY. By Bridget Goldschmidt ow that meatless burgers and crumbles created as alternatives to beef have become commonplace at grocery stores and restaurants across the country, alternative protein providers are intent on conquering the chicken and pork categories with a range of frozen, refrigerated and even shelf-stable products designed to steal share from comparable items made from animal proteins. Among these alternative products are Amazon Fresh Plant-Based Chik’n Nuggets; Beyond Chicken Tenders and Beyond Sausage; Daring Plant Chicken Tenders; Impossible Chicken Nuggets, Impossible Sausage and Impossible

Already one of the company's top-selling products in the United States, Impossible Chicken Nuggets recently debuted in restaurants across the United Kingdom.

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Key Takeaways Manufacturers and retailers are embracing the opportunities presented by plant-based chicken and pork products. Cultivated chicken and pork are also emerging options, although these products are not yet available in the United States. Alternative proteins, including those in the chicken and pork space, will focus on cleaner labels, fewer ingredients and generally more healthy options.

Pork; Jada Plant Based Porkless and Chick’n Mixes, Lightlife's unbreaded Chicken Breast and Strips; LikeMeat’s Like Chick'n Wings; OmniFoods’ OmniPork Ground and Strips; Ozo TrueBite PlantBased Chicken Cutlet and Shreds and Plant-Based Bacon; NotCo’s NotChicken products; Simulate Nuggs, Tenders and Wings; and Skinny Butcher Crazy Crispy


Daring Plant Chicken Tenders is the first product from the brand to be sold in the fresh aisle of the grocery store alongside animal-based meat.

Chick’n Nuggets, among many, many others. Of Daring Foods’ latest offering, Ross Mackay, co-founder and CEO of the New York-based company, notes: “They are our first product sold in the fresh aisle of the grocery store alongside animal-based meat and will be available at 400 retailers nationwide. The Plant Chicken Tenders are similar in makeup to our existing Original Plant Chicken Pieces, but larger in size and sold fresh rather than frozen. These new tenders are savory, juicy, remarkably chicken-like, perfectly textured and endlessly versatile. They are non-GMO, vegan, gluten-free and low-fat; offer a good source of fiber; have zero cholesterol; and are high in protein.” Although, as the Plant Based Foods Association, The Good Food Institute and market research firm SPINS noted this past April, burgers continue to be the top-selling plant-based meat product type, the industry is meeting consumer desire for more variety within the category, with the fastest-growing plant-based meat items in 2021 including plant-based chicken nuggets, tenders and cutlets. In fact, plant-based chicken was a growth leader last year as more products that approximate the taste, texture and appearance of animal-based chicken arrived in stores. Altogether, alternative beef, sausage, pork, chicken and seafood logged $1.4 billion in U.S. sales in 2021. Regarding pork analogs, Progressive Grocer Senior Editor Lynn Petrak noted the rise of such products in her 2022 Protein Report, while global plant-based pork sales are predicted to soar from $1.2 billion in 2020 to $10.6 billion by 2030, according to market research firm Future Market Insights, with anticipated growth in North America attributed to evolving consumption patterns, the growing popularity of flexitarian and vegan diets, increasing environmental concerns, and a continuously rising demand for better-for-you products. “Plant-based pork will … be a leader in this category,” predicts Heather Brand, category manager at Los Angeles-based online grocer Thrive Market. “There are some inspiring new brands at the forefront of this trend aiming to promote plant-based options in an industry that carries one of the largest carbon footprints. Pork alternatives will also help address food insecurity as it creates yet another protein option for consumers.” Additionally, with an April report from integrated sales and marketing service provider Acosta revealing that more than 60% of consumers repeatedly purchase plant-based products per month, citing health as a key reason, it has become more important than ever for manufacturers and retailers to offer a greater number of alternative protein options beyond the basic burger and crumbles.

New Opportunities at Retail

Given these factors, manufacturers and retailers are embracing the opportunities presented by plant-based chicken and pork products. The first step, naturally, is to create items that pass muster with consumers. “The main formulation challenge was finding simple and natural ingredients that when combined, created a product that mirrored

“We wanted to make sure Daring was a product that even meat eaters would love and enjoy in their traditional chicken dishes.” — Ross Mackay, Daring Foods chicken in every aspect, including taste and texture,” recounts Mackay, who believes that the focus of the alt meat category is headed toward whole-cut meats. “This was important, as we wanted to make sure Daring was a product that even meat eaters would love and enjoy in their traditional chicken dishes. Through a unique flavor and texture process, we were able to create a juicy, shreddable product that was even better than the animal protein.” In response to the health concerns of plant-based eaters, “we made sure to make a product that myself, or any athlete, would eat,” he observes. “Daring is made with almost 50% less ingredients than market competitors, [but is] high in protein and has superior taste and texture. Not only that, but we wanted to make sure we were making an impact on the environment. With just a simple swap to Daring, consumers can lower their sustainable footprint and make a better impact on the planet.” “Consumers want and expect an experience similar to meat when purchasing plant-based items,” asserts Chad Coester, SVP of Own Brands at Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons Cos., whose private-brand products include Open Nature Chick’n Less Nuggets and Patties. “We aimed to achieve that in a way that makes Own Brands plant-based products stand out from competitor products on the market in both quality and cost. With more consumers trying plant-based alternatives on a regular basis, we are committed to providing an innovative variety of alternatives that are not only high-quality and flavorful, but also affordable.” PROGRESSIVE GROCER July 2022

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Alternative Proteins — to create such frozen and refrigerated alternative meat products as nuggets, Buffalo wings and sausage. “The response from our Thrive Market community has been so positive, with hundreds of four- and five-star reviews already,” she says. “We have much more coming down the pipeline as well.” When it comes to merchandising, Brand emphasizes: “It’s important to cross-merchandise plant-based proteins alongside meat products, to make them more accessible to everyone. Meet people where they already are, instead of keeping these items in silos that have to be searched for.”

Cultivating a Following

Cutivated chicken products, such as those from Eat Just's GOOD Meat division, aren't available yet in the United States, but that could soon change.

According to Coester, Albertsons has found editorial print ads, social media and influencer partnerships “particularly effective” in driving awareness of its plant-based chicken and other Open Nature offerings. “There are a number of factors that will continue to make these meat alternative products attractive to customers,” notes Daniel Litwin, VP of procurement at Delanco, N.J.-based e-grocer Misfits Market, which offers plant-based options for shoppers. “Combining the convenience of easy-to-prepare frozen items with the health and sustainability advantages of plant-based makes items like plant-based nuggets and tenders a great option. Furthermore, as the cost of real meat continues to rise to an unprecedented level, budget-conscious consumers will likely turn to plant-based options for center-of-the-plate alternatives.” While Thrive Market’s frozen meals made with Beyond Meat plant-based protein are “some of our best-selling items in the frozen foods category,” according to Brand, the grocer also offers such plant-based fare as the Jack & Annie’s brand, which uses the jackfruit plant — often considered a substitute for pork

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Another alternative protein option is that of cultivated meat, including chicken and pork products. These types of emerging products were given a boost when movie star Leonard DiCaprio joined cultivated meat producers Aleph Farms and Mosa Meat as an investor and advisor last September. Other celebrity backers in the cultivated meat space include Ashton Kutcher, Bill Gates and Richard Branson. Cultivated meat isn’t available yet in the United States, but Eat Just Inc. is aiming to change that. Although it’s best known here for its plant-based eggs, the San Francisco-based company’s cultivated meat division, GOOD Meat, recently broke ground on the largest cultivated meat production center in Asia. The complex, scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2023 at JTC Bedok Food City, in Singapore, will have the capacity to produce tens of thousands of pounds of cultivated meat. Local production will help GOOD Meat, which created the world’s first-to-market cultivated meat products, meet rising consumer demand for its chicken offerings, which have been available for purchase in Singapore since December 2020. Asked to define cultivated meat, with which many U.S. consumers are still unfamiliar, Andrew Noyes, VP and head of global communications and public affairs for Eat Just, described it as “safe, delicious, high-quality meat made from animal cells instead of slaughtered animals. [It’s] made by sourcing a small amount of animal cells from high-quality poultry or livestock. We then feed those cells nutrients, including amino acids, carbohydrates, minerals, fats and

“Combining the convenience of easy-to-prepare frozen items with the health and sustainability advantages of plant-based makes items like plant-based nuggets and tenders a great option.” — Daniel Litwin, Misfits Market


“The first approvals of cultivated meat by U.S. regulators will be a watershed moment for the food industry and for whichever companies are first to receive approval.” —Andrew Noyes, Eat Just Inc.

vitamins — the same types of nutrients animals need to grow and multiply. These nutrients, known as the growth medium, grow the cells into meat. The entire process takes place in a safe and controlled environment much like a beer brewery.” Adds Noyes: “Instead of growing the entire animal, we only grow what is eaten. This means we use fewer resources in growing meat, and we can be more efficient, completing growth in weeks rather than months or years. Then, the harvested product can be used by chefs in multiple final formats, from less structured crispy chicken nugget bites, savory chorizo and sausages, to more textured products such as shredded chicken or grilled chicken breasts. In the future, GOOD Meat will pursue other types of meat, including beef and pork.” Challenges to widespread adoption remain, however. “Commercialization and large-scale production require substantial investments in scientific and technical expertise to reduce the cost of the nutrients needed to feed the cells and build much larger cultivators (or bioreactors) to grow the meat,” admits Noyes, who notes that GOOD Meat has partnered with two companies to help overcome these hurdles: ABEC Inc., to design, manufacture, install and commission the largest known bioreactors for avian and mammalian cell culture, and interna-

Ozo plant-based bacon from Planterra Foods boasts less fat than pork bacon, as well as zero cholesterol.

This past January, LikeMeat, a brand of Livekindly Collective, rolled out its Like Chick'n Wings at 3,600-plus Walmart stores nationwide.

tional nutrition company ADM, to lower key costs related to cultivated meat production. As for when these products will be available in the United States, that depends on the FDA and USDA, with which companies like GOOD Meat are currently going through the regulatory process. “The first approvals of cultivated meat by U.S. regulators will be a watershed moment for the food industry and for whichever companies are first to receive approval,” says Noyes. “We hope that happens soon and that GOOD Meat is among the first to enter the market here. We have seen firsthand the enthusiasm expressed by Singaporeans who are enjoying our cultivated chicken today — and we can’t wait to bring this innovative new type of meat to American consumers.” Whether they’re grown in a lab from animal cells or created from plant-based ingredients, it seems clear that alternatives to conventional chicken and pork, as well as other animal proteins, will continue to roll out at retail, offering more choices in more forms than ever before. “I see the next phase in alternative proteins focusing on cleaner labels, fewer ingredients and generally more healthy options,” predicts Misfits Market’s Litwin. “Now that it’s been proven that alternative meats can be produced at a large scale, it will be important to show that these alternatives are actually good long-term replacements not just for the earth, but for our bodies, too.” PROGRESSIVE GROCER July 2022

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Tobacco Report

Surveying the Tobacco Field MARKED BY BOTH BANS AND R&D ACTIVIT Y, THE CATEGORY REMAINS IN FLUX. By Lynn Petrak fter a relatively quiet stretch of time, there’s been a flurry of activity in the tobacco sector over the past few years, both from product development and regulatory standpoints. Facing a continual decline in the number of traditional cigarette smokers, startup and established companies alike began introducing different formats and flavors of products aimed at various users and demographics. At the same time, amid fresh concerns about the health-and-wellness impact of nicotine and other substances — especially among young people — governmental authorities have stepped in to moderate, regulate and, in some instances, ban items. One major ban came just this summer. On June 23, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) prohibited the sale of vaping and e-cigarette products from Washington, D.C.-based Juul Labs Inc., based on “insufficient and conflicting” data. In issuing marketing denial orders to the country’s largest electronic-cigarette company for its Juul device and four types of Juul pods, the FDA declared that it’s halting retail sales of the products but not restricting an individual’s possession or use. “The FDA is tasked with ensuring that tobacco products sold in this country meet the standard set by the law, but the responsibility to demonstrate that a product meets those standards ultimately falls on the shoulders of the company,” explained Michele Mital, acting director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, at the time of the ban. “As with all manufacturers, Juul had the opportunity to provide In addition to clamping down on Juul products that have been particularly favored by youths, the FDA is pursuing other regulations related to nicotine and tobacco.

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Key Takeaways The proposed withdrawal of Juul’s vape pens and pods from retail shelves still leaves other e-cigarettes and noncombustible products on the market. One new entry is described as the market’s first FDA-authorized cigarette to help smokers cut down, while Big Tobacco companies are also venturing in new directions with cigarette offerings. As consumers look for alternatives to traditional cigarettes, nontobacco and nicotine-free herbal cigarettes increasingly have a place. evidence demonstrating that the marketing of their products meets these standards. However, the company did not provide that evidence and instead left us with significant questions. Without the data needed to determine relevant health risks, the FDA is issuing these marketing denial orders.” In its announcement, the FDA encouraged retailers to work with their suppliers to determine whether they can carry certain items. The agency noted, “Manufacturers will be the best source of that information, and retailers should rely on manufacturers directly to inform decisions about which products to continue selling.” Not long after, a U.S. appeals court in the District of Columbia granted Juul an emergency reprieve to freeze the ban until it decides on whether to uphold the decision. As of this writing, Juul had until July 12 to respond in kind to any FDA motion regarding the appeals court ruling. In addition to clamping down on Juul products that have been particularly favored by youths, the FDA is pursuing other regulations related to nicotine and tobacco. Also this summer, the FDA revealed that it’s working on plans for a proposed public standard that establishes a maximum nicotine level. “Lowering nicotine levels to minimally addictive or nonaddictive levels would decrease the likelihood that future generations of young people become addicted to cigarettes and help more currently addicted smokers to quit,” said FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf at the time. Last year, the FDA took aim at menthol,


proposing a ban on it as a “characterizing flavor” in cigarettes and barring all characterizing flavors in cigars. The FDA recently extended the deadline for public comments on both of those issues from July 5 to Aug. 2 of this year.

The Current Crop of Tobacco and Nicotine Products

The withdrawal of Juul’s vape pens and pods from retail shelves still leaves other e-cigarettes and noncombustible products on the market. Brands including Logic, Njoy and Vuse (from R.J. Reynolds Vapor Co.) have been authorized by the FDA and are available at select retail locations. In fall 2021, Vuse was granted marketing orders for its original flavored Vuse Solo e-cigarette. Given the controversies and concerns about e-cigarettes, some retailers have gotten out of the business of selling them. In 2019, Walgreens said that it would cease sales of such items nationwide as health officials and agencies across the federal and local government evaluated the effects. That same year, The Kroger Co. and Walmart also halted sales of e-cigarettes. Although that segment has been shrinking, e-cigarettes aren’t the only alternative to traditional cigarettes. The broader tobacco market also includes smokeless tobacco and at least 23 other electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS) products authorized by the FDA, including hookah pens and e-pipes. The basic cigarette market is also undergoing a bit of a makeover, as usage waned to a rate of 12.5% of the U.S. population in 2020, from 20.9% in 2005. Among youths, the rate sank to 2.3% in 2021, according to research from the University of Michigan. New additions are providing other options for smokers. For example, in addition to mainstay cigarette brands and products from Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds, the market has widened to include offerings like organic tobacco products from the American Spirit brand, known for its colorful packaging. Another new entry is described as the market’s first cigarette authorized by the FDA to help smokers cut down. Containing 95% less nicotine than conventional cigarettes, VLN was developed by the agricultural biotech company 22nd Century Group, following a decade of research and independent clinical trials. The FDA classifies VLN a modified-risk tobacco product (MRTP), making it the first of that kind, according to the company. “We believe that the MRTP set will be the latest innovation in tobacco merchandising as displays shift from cigarettes to OTP [other tobacco products] to ITP [investigational tobacco products] and now to MRTP, and that grocers are uniquely positioned to capture a large share of this emerging category,” asserts John Miller, who directs the growth of the reduced-nicotine tobacco business for Buffalo, N.Y.-based 22nd Century Group. VLN was initially available through a pilot program at select Circle K convenience stores in the Chicago area. In addition to the convenience factor, Miller cites other reasons that retailers, including traditional grocers, can do well with these new products. “Although early in the program, the trends are leading us to believe adult VLN customers purchase larger quantities of product per transaction,” he says. “The belief is that an adult smoker who is desiring to smoke less wants to purchase an entire carton of VLN Cigarettes and avoid the temptation of regress-

“Based on the experience and results in the nonalcoholic beverage category, as well as the decaffeinated coffee category, it’s understood adult consumers want choices and solutions.” —John Miller, 22nd Century Group

Cajun Cigar Czar LLC has reached an agreement with Laika Brands to sell Laika hemp cigarettes in stores across the United States.

ing back to old habits and focus on their VLN journey.” Miller adds that some states, including Colorado and Connecticut, are already creating taxation advantages for MRTP products. As for demand, Miller makes a comparison to other commonly consumed products. “Based on the experience and results in the nonalcoholic beverage category, as well as the decaffeinated coffee category, it’s understood adult consumers want choices and solutions,” he says. Big Tobacco companies are also venturing in new directions with cigarette offerings. The Altria Group Inc’s. Richmond, Va.-based Philip Morris USA, the famous company behind traditional cigarette brands such as Benson & Hedges, Lark, Marlboro, Merit and Virginia Slims, has developed the Iqos line of heated tobacco products, including Iqos Veev. Akin to an e-cigarette and billed as an alternative to vaping, Iqos is described as a “heat stick” that heats up instead of burning tobacco. To avoid the backlash that erupted over marketing flavored tobacco products to kids, Iqos products are restricted to adult use. Finally, as consumers look for alternatives to traditional cigarettes, non-tobacco and nicotine-free herbal cigarettes increasingly have a place. In June, for example, Charlotte, N.C.-based Cajun Cigar Czar LLC reached an agreement with Las Vegas-based Laika Brands to sell Laika hemp cigarettes in stores across the United States. Although herbal and hemp cigarettes are commonly sold at independent shops that specialize in tobacco and cannabis in states where use of the latter is legal, retail giant Amazon sells herbal cigarettes on its website. PROGRESSIVE GROCER July 2022

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4th-Quarter Entertaining

Bold and Basic NE W, ADVENTUROUS FL AVORS WILL BE SERVED ALONGSIDE THE TR ADITIONAL MAIN COURSE AT FESTIVE GATHERINGS THIS FALL AND WINTER.

Increasingly creative charcuterie boards can include everything from wine-infused sausage and cheeses to salami, olives and even chocolate and jalapeños. Hormel uses social media and point-of-purchase displays to highlight myriad serving suggestions.

By Debby Garbato

Key Takeaways n Charles Dickens’ novel “A Christmas Carol,” Ebenezer Scrooge purchases a huge prize-winning turkey for the prolific and impoverished Cratchit clan. The Cratchits also consume mashed potatoes and boiled pudding. Today, nearly 200 years later, turkey and mashed potatoes are still important fourth-quarter menu items, but this traditional fare is now often accompanied by dishes brandishing new — and more daring — flavor and ingredient combinations. Heavily spiced foods, sweet/salty combinations, and flavors like ginger and sweet fruits are permeating appetizers, side dishes and desserts. Hot peppers may be paired with chocolate, while cheese is being infused with avocado. Emphasis is on foods like charcuterie, miniature cakes and salads. Items are often placed on serving boards, allowing guests to sample myriad flavors in small amounts. Boards can emphasize brunch, dessert or other meal occasions.

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Traditional fare is now often accompanied by dishes brandishing new — and more daring — flavor and ingredient combinations. Fewer worries about COVID-19, cooking skills honed during lockdown, and the higher cost of dining out because of inflation are driving home entertaining trends. In a bid to save both money and time, many shoppers also plan to serve homemade foods alongside ones that are catered or from deli departments.


“While home cooking is still big, convenience is huge. Many catered orders are combined with something fun made at home.”

“People are taking familiar things and pairing them with artisanal salamis. Its point-of-sale more ‘exploratory’ foods to create ‘wow’ factors,” says materials and cross-merchandisHolly LaVallie, VP of marketing at Hormel Foods, in Austin, ing end caps tell a comprehensive Minn. “You typically think of cheese and crackers, but charcuterie board serving story, as people are putting cheese with cornbread and jalapeños, do its social media initiatives. Using or pairing salami with chocolate or fruit. While the trend a chart-like grid, Hormel offers is consistent across the board, it’s more prevalent in pairings involving cheese, peppers, appetizers. The risk is lower because it’s a smaller portion jelly, wines and other items. —Joseph DeCicco Jr., DeCicco & Sons of the meal. We’re also seeing traditional meats like turkey “People are creating a total expepaired with something more exciting than stuffing.” rience,” says LaVallie. “We provide Like the Cratchits, Americans are planning sizeable gatherings whole solutions.” Cost World Plus, she adds, does a for the 2022 fourth-quarter holidays as COVID-19 fears subside. In particularly good job of cross-merchandising Hormel’s May, IRI’s Primary Shopper Survey found that 35% of consumers charcuterie with pairing suggestions. are “extremely concerned” about the virus, compared with 59% in Some boards even include fish. Genova Premium March 2020. This is the lowest level to date. Seafood uses social media to discuss “grazing board” “Come holiday season, there will still be COVID concerns, but not serving suggestions for its premium tuna brand, enough to drive huge shifts regarding celebrations,” predicts Paul according to Lara Berman, senior brand manager at Baker, founder of Manchester, United Kingdom-based St Pierre San Diego-based parent company Chicken of the Sea. Group Ltd. “After three years of get-togethers being impacted, shopRecently, Genova partnered with “Top Chef” judge pers will be ready to welcome back friends, family and neighbors.” and cookbook author Gail Simmons to develop a Tuna During lockdown, shoppers improved cooking skills and Romesco Salad Board inspired by the Spanish conditested fancy ingredients. Now they want to show off. “Consumers ment. Genova also ran a contest in which 75 fans won a prepared most meals at home these last few years,” notes Kent curated dinner party collection. Harrison, VP, fresh meats marketing and premium programs at Genova’s Facebook page also features recipes for Springdale, Ark.-based Tyson Foods. “They became more comfortPistachio Pesto Pasta with asparagus, and Tuna Linable and started experimenting with new flavors and premium cuts guine Arrabbiata. Arrabbiata is a spicy Italian sauce of meat they may have previously found intimidating.” made from garlic, tomatoes and chili peppers. Inflation is also driving home entertaining, since home gather“Preferences for heavily spiced foods have steadily ings are far cheaper than dining out for the holidays. The 2022 increased over the past decade,” adds Berman. “Tuna “Power of Meat” study, conducted by FMI and the North Ameris the perfect protein to eat as-is or spiced to taste. ican Meat Institute, found that 61% of consumers are eating Consumers ages 19 to 44 are more likely than older out less and ordering takeout less frequently, with 62% trying counterparts to try international cuisines. This is an to recreate restaurant experiences at home. “We expect this to indicator for future international cuisine growth.” continue during the holidays,” says Harrison. Social media has driven interest in international cuisine. TikTok introduced people to quesabirria, a

Charcuterie: A 15th-Century Craze

Charcuterie first gained attention at social gatherings in 15th-century France. In recent years, these cured meats have become very popular in the United States. According to the website Tastewise, charcuterie consumption has been increasing by 16.11% annually. In addition to this rise in popularity, charcuterie boards are becoming increasingly creative. “The trend keeps growing, with charcuterie becoming commonplace,” observes Heather Prach, education director at the Madison, Wis.-based International Dairy Deli & Bakery Association (IDDBA). “We now have brunch and dessert boards. People can artfully arrange boards and accommodate all guests, even if they’re vegan or gluten-free.” Boards’ contents often go beyond meat as a focus. One recipe site discussed a mango charcuterie board featuring red wine vinegar, brown sugar, chile de arbol, turmeric and mustard. “People aren’t afraid to mix salty and sweet,” says Prach. “You can mix things and not be conventional.” Some charcuterie meats have become fancier. Charcuterie leader Hormel is focusing on wine-infused

With a high butter and egg content and a rich, tender texture, brioche has broad appeal and lends itself to many serving occasions. St Pierre merchandises these breads usuing rustic baskets and Eiffel Tower displays.

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4th-Quarter Entertaining SpartanNash's in-house wine stewards work closely with customers on fourthquarter food-and-wine pairings, meeting a variety of tastes and price points (see the "Holiday Libations" sidebar on page 45).

sweetness has wide appeal.” In bakery departments, St Pierre draws attention to its ready-baked breads with rustic baskets and Eiffel Tower displays. This fall, the company will launch a frozen bakeat-home line that consumers can simply defrost and pop in the oven. “We’re offering fresh-baked bread without hard work,” says Baker. Offerings will include a 2-pack of French baguettes, a single baguette and a 4-count of French dinner rolls.

quesadilla filled with birria meat, notes Tyson’s Harrison. Birria, a beef stew from Jalisco, Mexico, exemplifies the growing popularity of regional cuisines. Social media trends can travel quickly. “What started with a TikTok influencer is being talked about by national news outlets,” observes Berman. “Something on Twitter is suddenly picked up by Bon Appetit.”

Meat Takes Center Stage

Fresh meat — including roasts, steaks and loins — continues to be the main course for many holiday gatherings. According to Michael Uetz, principal at Chicago-based Midan Marketing, which represents the meat industry, beef and pork remain “very traditional” parts of family gatherings. High restaurant prices, coupled with consumers’ augmented kitchen skills, are encouraging people to purchase more premium cuts for home entertaining, Bread: The Staff of Life No feast would be complete without bread. Even in this staple says Jim Rogers, SVP of sales at Creekstone Farms, category, however, consumers want pizazz. Of French origin, in Arkansas City, Kan. For the many shoppers who brioche offers a high egg and butter content and a rich, tender want unadulterated foods, Creekstone’s Natural Black texture to satisfy that need. As a result, the U.S. market for briAngus beef and Natural Duroc Pork contain no antioche has more than tripled over the past four years. biotics or added hormones. “Retailers can showcase “Brioche is an easy way to upgrade occasion dinner rolls, French premium products while meeting customers’ healthtoast and sharing platters,” affirms St Pierre’s Baker. “Brioche is up and-wellness needs,” notes Rogers. 14% year on year according to Nielsen [May 21, 2022]. Brioche is Saving money is still important, however. Uetz incredibly versatile. It can be used for multiple occasions to elevate points to the 2008 recession, when shoppers pura regular meal without alienating any guests. Brioche’s delicate chased more chuck roasts. While chuck is pricey, families can make several meals from one roast. The current moment “is an opportunity for retailers and suppliers to help consumers envision how alternaDollar Dollar gains Dollar gains Price per unit vs. tive cuts still bring holiday cheer,” he May 2022 sales vs. 2021 D vs. 2020 a year ago adds. Online and in stores, Uetz cites Deli department $4.2B +7.1% +24.2% +11.6% the importance of cross-merchandising Deli cheese $720M +1.5% -2.0% +5.9% meat with other foods: “Shoppers are Deli entertaining $448M +2.7% +10.7% +8.7% shopping for meals, not meat.” For Thanksgiving and other holidays, turDeli meat $779M +6.5% +14.7% +15.1% key is still a popular option. More people are Deli prepared $2.2B +10.1% +44.4% +12.9% cooking the birds in different ways, though, Source: IRI Total U.S. Integrated Fresh, MULO % growth vs. a year ago. including smoking, brining and frying. There’s also a Hispanic influence involving chipotle turkey and spicy recipes, as well May 2021 Average price/volume Change vs. a year ago as turkey prepared with hot honey. “There’s Deli department $4.2B +7.1% more foodies, with people doing something Deli cheese $720M +1.5% unique or fun,” says Joseph DeCicco Jr., Deli entertaining $448M +2.7% partner/head of purchasing at Pelham, N.Y.based specialty grocer DeCicco & Sons. Source: IRI Integrated Fresh, total U.S. MULO % dollar growth versus one and two years ago

Deli Department Price Increases

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Holiday Libations

Catering Versus Home Cooking

For the fourth quarter, many shoppers plan to serve homemade foods alongside ones that are catered or from deli departments. They can save money on one end and time on the other. “Turkey pre-orders have been huge in recent years,” notes DeCicco. “While home cooking is still big, convenience is huge. Many catered orders are combined with something fun made at home.” In response to this trend, DeCicco’s has upgraded online menus and ordering technologies. “We’re making our restaurant software more integrated and customizable,” says DeCicco. “Shoppers can pre-pay or pay at pickup.” This year, the grocer is also upgrading online ordering for customized cakes. At SpartanNash, in Grand Rapids, Mich., CMO Amy McClellan cites strength in prepared salads, meals and other deli items. “As shoppers host more holiday gatherings, many are opting for simplicity and convenience so they can spend more time reconnecting rather than prepping in the kitchen,” says McClellan. “Trays” and combo meals have experienced significant growth, notes Baker, adding that pre-packaged party platters offering variety are also trending: “Deli prepared is having a real ‘moment,’ which will play a key role in holiday shopping.” Hosts can personalize platters by buying individual products to create their own unique spreads, and bread is a must at these occasions. St Pierre’s products work with both savory and sweet items. The brand’s offerings include brioche burger buns and hot dog rolls, sliced brioche loafs, brioche sliders, and brioche baguettes. Despite optimism regarding fourth-quarter purchasing, rising prices continue to raise concerns. Experts are unsure whether inflation will affect holiday entertaining. “It’s hard to predict,” admits IDDBA’s Prach. “While people want smaller amounts, we’re still seeing decadent buying trends. It’s hard to deduct from last year, because there was a COVID scare around the holidays.” Regardless of how big or small holiday gatherings are and what is served, one tradition will persevere: There will always be hot cocoa and a plate of cookies for Santa.

Consumers are serving homemade foods alongside products ordered from delis and gourmet grocers. New York metroarea specialty chain DeCicco's reports a strong uptick in custom cake and turkey pre-orders, while Michiganbased SpartanNash cites a robust deli business.

Alcoholic beverages have always been part of holiday gatherings. This year is no exception, with experts citing interest in local and seasonal beers, special-occasion wines, and ready-to-drink cocktails. Grand Rapids, Mich.-based SpartanNash offers a variety of wines at multiple price points. CMO Amy McClellan notes consumer interest in wines from “under-the-radar” countries and local regions. During the fourth quarter, however, consumers usually embrace more “serious,” higher-priced wines, including sparkling ones and deeper, darker reds. Many of SpartanNash’s stores have dedicated wine stewards “who are incredibly knowledgeable about our wide selection,” adds McClellan. “They’re great at identifying similar taste profiles at any price range.” The company also emphasizes beer, with fall bringing popular seasonal flavors like apple, pumpkin and Oktoberfest varieties, she observes. Customers of Pelham, N.Y.-based specialty grocer DeCicco & Sons are interested in regional microbrews, including pilsners, lagers, and seasonal flavors like pumpkin. IPAs with lower alcohol content are also gaining ground. “People want flavor and drinkability, but don’t want to feel too full when pairing beer with food,” says Joseph DeCicco Jr., partner/ head of purchasing. DeCicco also cites strength in hard seltzers, which are growing faster than beer. The pandemic heightened interest Consumers have in homemade cocktails, augmenting become more demanding of DeCicco’s business in high-end bitcocktails, either ters, tonics, ginger beer and other purchasing higheringredients. “There’s a correlation end spirits and ingredients or betterbetween home chefs and homequality RTD products. made cocktails,” notes DeCicco. Consumers’ desire for quality ingredients has raised the bar in ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktails. Unlike the artificially flavored RTDs of years past, today’s products are made with better-quality spirits and natural mixers. Launched last year, Brody’s Crafted Cocktails contain ingredients like fresh juice, fresh ginger, botanicals and honey, “as opposed to anything artificial,” says John Neunson, co-founder of Collingswood, N.J.-based Brody’s. The brand’s five prohibition-era cocktails feature an updated, trendy twist. Touch of Grey, for example, contains London-style premium dr y gin, Earl Grey tea, black raspberr y, honey and lemon, while Black Orchid includes premium vodka, violet liquor, black raspberr y and ver y tart lemon flavors. Packaged in 375-milliliter glass bottles (12-plus ounces), the cocktails are meant for sharing, yielding three to five servings. The ABV is 16% to 25%, and suggested retail prices range from $12.90 to $14.99. “Our attention to detail brings a true experience to home entertaining,” asserts Neunson, “and you don’t have to act as bartender.” Later this summer, the brand plans to add three additional cocktails to the lineup. PROGRESSIVE GROCER July 2022

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PERIMETER

Eggs

Scrambling to Meet Shoppers’ Preference for Specialty Eggs CONSUMER DEMAND AND STATE REQUIREMENTS FOR MORE E THICALLY R AISED SKUs CONTINUE TO E XPAND. By Marian Zboraj

oday’s consumers are increasingly concerned about where their food comes from and how it was produced. Nowhere is this more apparent in grocery than in the egg aisle, where consumer preference for ethically raised eggs continues to expand. According to Alpharetta, Georga-based United Egg Producers, 30% of all egg production is from hens laying “specialty eggs” — a category that includes cage-free, organic and pasture-raised. Specialty egg production has doubled since 2016. The U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts that by 2026, 66% of all shell eggs sold will be specialty eggs — again, more than doubling in under five years. This market growth is evident at several specialty egg producers. For instance, Austin, Texas-based Vital Farms, a Certified B Corporation that offers a range of ethically produced foods, reported that for its first quarter ended March 27, net revenue exceeded $77 million, up more than 31% versus last year. According to Chicago-based market research firm SPINS, the farming company is the fastest-growing brand in dollars in the egg category. Meanwhile, fresh egg producer Cal-Maine Foods Inc.’s specialty eggs accounted for about a third of the total volume of eggs sold during its quarter ended Feb. 26, compared with 27.4% during the prior-year period. According to the Ridgeland, Miss.-based company, 24% of revenue generated by the sale of its shell eggs were cage-free eggs. To expand its cage-free production capabilities, Cal-Maine Foods recently approved new capital projects estimated to be worth $82 million.

Ruffling Feathers

After years of battles with the food industry, the cage-free market has been a huge success for the animal welfare movement. “Major companies around the world are ditching cages, and consumer demand for cage-free eggs is growing,” affirms Alexandria Beck, director of the Open Wing Alliance (OWA), which was initiated in 2016 by The Humane League, based in Rockville, Md. “It’s time for all food companies to take the necessary steps to meet global animal welfare standards proving that they take human health and animal welfare seriously.” For years, animal welfare groups like the OWA have raised concerns over

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The popularity of Vital Farms’ ethically raised eggs has helped the company raise net revenue by more than 31% during its first quarter.

Key Takeaways Currently, 30% of all egg production is from hens laying “specialty eggs” — a category that includes cage-free, organic and pasture-raised. Food retailers recognize that customers’ preferences are changing with improved customer access to sustainable and ethically sourced products. While cage-free eggs are becoming the industry norm, there are other innovative areas that grocers should be aware of, including plant-based options, high-nutrition profiles and heirloom offerings.


egg-laying hens being forced into overcrowded battery cages. Complaints were made about the sharp wire cages preventing the birds from carrying out basic natural behaviors, causing many to be injured and even die. Animal welfare groups also pointed out that battery cages pose serious health risks to humans by creating poor living conditions more likely to give rise to Salmonella contamination. Today, nearly 2,900 cage-free commitments, more than 100 of which encompass a company’s entire global supply chains, have been made by some of the largest companies in the world, including Nestlé, Aldi and Kraft Heinz. According to the “2022 Cage-Free Fulfillment Report” from the OWA, 88% of all cage-free egg commitments with deadlines of 2021 or earlier have been fulfilled. This transition is being made as cage-free egg mandates take effect, essentially preventing any caged-system eggs from being sold in some states. Arizona is the latest state to go cage-free. The nine other states protecting egg-laying hens are Utah, Colorado, Michigan, Washington, Oregon, California, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Nevada.

Retailers Crack Open Cages

Food retailers recognize that customers’ preferences are changing with improved customer access to sustainable and ethically sourced products. Numerous retailers have either implemented cage-free requirements or plan to do so within a few years. For example, Sprouts Farmers Market is now sourcing all shell and liquid eggs sold at its 370-plus stores from cage-free, organic or free-range farms. The grocer’s Our Brands eggs have been “cage-free or better” since 2016, offering such attributes as being pasture-raised. “Sprouts shoppers are conscious of where their food comes from, and we’re pleased to now offer cage-free or better eggs across the category as part of our ongoing commitment to improved animal welfare,” says Kim Coffin, SVP of grocery at Phoenix-based Sprouts. “We’re continuously engaging with suppliers, NGOs and stakeholders to ensure our policies and targets for continuous improvement are meaningful and help drive the industry forward.” Reflecting the latest progress for The Kroger’s Co.’s phased transition to cage-free eggs, the Cincinnati-based food retailer recently partnered with Kipster Farms, an egg production company founded in the Netherlands, to bring carbon-neutral eggs to U.S. stores

and e-commerce for the first time in late 2022 under Kroger’s multibillion-dollar Simple Truth brand. The Kipster system uses the highest standards of animal welfare, providing a cage-free, natural-like wooded environment with plenty of variety, daylight and outdoor scurrying space. Kipster aims to help create a food system in which animals don’t pollute but rather help clean up byproducts of food processing. In this way, chickens upcycle food waste into eggs, meat and fertile manure. “Simple Truth is excited to partner with the innovative team at Kipster to further elevate our brand’s purpose to be a force for good,” says Brad Studer, senior director, Our Brands for Kroger. “These Simple Truth and Kipster eggs will be produced in a closed-loop system that aligns with the highest health and welfare standards for people and animals. These sustainable, zero-waste eggs reflect yet another milestone in Kroger’s Zero Hunger | Zero Waste mission to help create communities free of hunger and waste.” In its recently published environmental, social and governance report, Woonsocket, R.I.-based CVS Health Corp. revealed that it has stepped up its goal to transition to selling 100% cage-free eggs. In 2015, the company said that it would make the transition by 2025, but as of April 1, it noted that the goal would be achieved by the end of 2022 at its 9,900 pharmacy-based stores. Another retailer that met its animal welfare goal ahead of schedule is Walgreens. In 2016, the Deerfield, Ill.-based company committed to providing 100% cage-free shell and liquid eggs in stores nationwide by 2025. Through a dedicated commitment to advancing conversations with suppliers, Walgreens accelerated its pledge to provide 100% cage-free shell and liquid eggs in its stores nationwide, also by the end of this year.

Egg-Citing Innovations

While cage-free eggs are becoming the industry norm, there are other innovative areas that grocers should be aware of. One of the fastest-growing egg segments is the plant-based category. In addition to such products being percieved as more animal- and planet-friendly, more consumers are choosing plant-based products to improve their health. According to data from the Plant Based Foods Association, The Good Food Institute and SPINS, the plant-based egg category grew quickly in 2021, with a 42% increase in dollar sales. Over the past three years, plantbased egg dollar sales have risen by more than 1,000%. Further, with conventional egg

Sprouts Farmers Market is now sourcing all shell and liquid eggs sold at its 370plus stores from cage-free, organic or free-range farms. PROGRESSIVE GROCER July 2022

47


PERIMETER

Eggs

dollar sales declining by 4% in 2021, plant-based eggs have grown to earn a nearly 0.6% share of the total egg market, versus a 0.05% share three years ago, making plant-based eggs a growth driver of the category. Even celebrities are cashing in on this egg trend. Eat Just’s plant-based Just Egg product has two new celebrity investors: movie star Jake Gyllenhaal and tennis legend Serena Williams. The pair are showcased in the San Francisco-based company’s satire-rich campaign, “Really Good Eggs,” eating Just Egg as part of their healthy lifestyles. The campaign touts that Just Egg is healthier than conventional eggs, having no cholesterol and 69% less saturated fat. Evo Food, a CPG company operating in the United States and India, is using science to create the next generation of plant-based substitutes for animal products. With increasing consumer demand for animal-free food alternatives, the company partnered with Boston-based Ginkgo Bioworks, which offers a horizontal platform for cell programming, to develop a method for producing animal-free egg proteins for use in Evo’s products, whoch were recently showcased in the United States for the first time in San Francisco on April 27. “As consumers and food brands alike call for more sustainable food options, we are excited to collaborate with Ginkgo to pioneer a new class of animal-free ingredients,” says Kartik Dixit, CEO of

Eat Just’s new campaign for its plant-based egg product features celebrity investors Jake Gyllenhaal and Serena Williams eating Just Egg as part of their healthy lifestyles.

Mumbai-based Evo Foods. “Evo is committed to playing a part in feeding our ever-growing world, and this partnership will support us as we develop next-generation products in this market.” Meanwhile, a recent evaluation process by the Good Housekeeping Institute’s Nutrition Lab has verified Eggland’s Best shell eggs’ superior nutrition, earning them the Good Housekeeping Nutritionist Approved Emblem. This designation was created to help consumers lead healthier lives by empowering them to

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-

make informed food choices. Compared with conventional eggs, Eggland’s Best eggs contain six times more vitamin D, 10 times more vitamin E, 25% less saturated fat, more than double the omega-3s and more than double the vitamin B12. The Cedar Knolls, N.J.based company attributes this to its hens’ high-quality all-vegetarian diet, which contains healthy grains, canola oil, and a wholesome supplement of rice bran, alfalfa, sea kelp and vitamin E. In regard to new product lines, Chicago-based Dutch Farms introduced its largest specialty egg line expansion at the beginning of the year. The company now offers its retail partners 12 specialty egg items: Free-Range Non-GMO Large, Pasture-Raised Organic Large, Free-Range Organic Large, Vegetarian Fed Cage-Free Large, Pasture-Raised Large, Organic Large, Organic Large 18Pack, Organic Medium, Organic Medium 18-Pack, Cage-Free Large Pulp and Plastic, and Cage-Free Jumbo. Dutch Farms has partnerships with local small family farms that raise hens that are free to roam and nest, and allow outdoor access, and even some that allow hens to forage for wild plants and food. Dutch Farms offers specialty eggs from birds fed diets also designed to increase the nutritional content of the eggs. Over at Vital Farms, the company has added more color to its egg cartons. True Blues, a specialty line of pasture-raised heirloom blue eggs, has been available at Whole Foods Market locations since April. The line offers a Certified Humane dozen of entirely blue shell eggs produced according to the same animal welfare standards that Vital Farms is known for. Vital Farms True Blues eggs are produced by heirloom breeds of hens, including Azur hens, that generate a unique pigment that causes them to lay naturally blue eggs. As with all of Vital Farms’ egg products, the hens are pasture-raised by family farmers who give them year-round outdoor access — at least 108 square feet of pasture to roam and forage — and maintain land that’s free of herbicides or pesticides. “People are looking for new ways to bring novelty to their everyday, and eggs as a cooking staple are no exception,” says Heather Mace, director of brand management at Vital Farms.


SOLUTIONS

Functional Beverages

Today’s Beverages Tackle Form and Function WHE Y PROTEIN, ADAPTOGENS AND FL AVONOIDS ARE JUST THE TIP OF THE FUNCTIONALBE VER AGE ICEBERG. By Emily Crowe

uch can be said about consumers’ continuing shift toward healthier lifestyles, especially when it comes to beverage choices. While calorie-dense juices and sodas still have their place at the table, shoppers are increasingly reaching for waters and other beverages that offer a little something extra. Functional beverages aren’t new to the market, but their availability and variety have proliferated in recent years. According to a report from The Hartman Group, based in Bellevue, Wash., 56% of adult consumers use functional beverages to treat or prevent specific conditions, and consumers are using beverages to deliver functional benefits of hydration, energy, general prevention and immunity more than ever before. Dublin-based Research and Markets reports that the functional beverage market in the United States is worth more than $110 billion and will likely reach $200 billion by 2030, with a compound annual growth rate of 5.9% through 2030. According to Research and Markets, the energy and sports drink segments jointly accounted for 60.2% of the global functional beverage market in 2020, which can be attributed to such factors as Millennials’ interest in the beverages, increasing concerns about health, and more

Matcha and alternative milks are among the most popular ingredients in today's array of functional beverages.

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Key Takeaways Functional beverages aren’t new, but their availability and variety have proliferated in recent years. Large and small manufacturers alike are getting on the functionalbeverage bandwagon. Food retailers are realizing the benefits of stocking functional beverages, especially as their shoppers have grown more health-forward.


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SOLUTIONS

Functional Beverages people partaking in sports and recreational activities. Tom Hutchison, chief marketing officer at The Alkaline Water Co., based in Scottsdale, Ariz., believes that while these beverages are popular, there’s an even bigger movement toward making them with fewer chemicals and less sugar. “Pre-COVID, consumers had already been becoming much more health-sensitive and -centered,” says Hutchison. “The pandemic measurably accelerated that awareness and focus. Value-added water, sports drinks and energy drinks are growing strongly, and within sports and energy drinks, much of the product innovation is on healthier beverages free of sugar and chemicals.” Bill Meissner, president and chief marketing officer of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Splash Beverage Group,

“Consumers are looking for ways to simplify their life, and consolidating beverages with healthy benefits is a natural fit.” —Rebecca Calvin, The Save Mart Cos.

Alkaline88 Plus sports drink from The Alkaline Water Co. offers hydration benefits plus electrolytes, guarana, ginseng, and vitamins B12, B6, B5 and B3.

agrees that consumers are spending more time working on their overall health choices, especially younger Americans. “We’ve seen an uptick in alcohol alternatives, from zero-ABV beers and spirit-free liquors, to drinks packed with vitamins, minerals, dietary fibers, probiotics, adaptogens, hemp and other mind/body beneficial offerings,” explains Meissner. “Lower sugar, lower calories and sustainable sourcing practices are growing priorities of the modern customer.”

A Wide-Ranging Category

The functional beverage market runs the gamut from these energy drinks to vitamin-enhanced waters and seltzers to kombucha and many others. The Hartman



SOLUTIONS

Functional Beverages

Blue Stripes, a brand from famed chocolatier Oded Brenner, offers a plant-based water made from cacao fruit pulp that has an approachable flavor profile as well as vitamin C and antioxidants.

Group report found that consumers most often seek out these beverages for antioxidants, green tea, electrolytes, superfruits, fiber, probiotics and greens. The types of beverages to which consumers would most like to see functional ingredients added are juice, tea, bottled water, smoothies and milk alternatives. The category has seen its fair share of innovation in recent years, with New York-based healthy beverage company Vitapod offering a variety of drink pods that are fortified with various proteins and vitamins, including collagen and biotin, as well as those offering energy and immune support. Vitapod Chairman Brian Kelly believes that today’s consumers are trying to achieve the best and healthiest version of themselves without having to sacrifice a busy, on-the-go lifestyle. “Vitapod offers consumers a convenient, great-tasting solution to hydrate and consume important vitamins and minerals all while continuing to go about their daily routines,” says Kelly. “We create nutritionally enhanced beverages that help to close the gap for nutrients of public-health concern, such as vitamin D and flavonoids.” Oded Brenner’s Blue Stripes, meanwhile, is harnessing the power of cacao for the New York-based company’s new line of functional water beverages. The plant-based water, made from cacao fruit pulp, is an upcycled waste product of the chocolate industry and will come in five varieties. According to Brenner, cacao offers vitamin C, antioxidants and minerals, and has a very approachable flavor profile. “[T]here are


A line of functional beverages from Strive Nutrition and Perfect Day includes animal-free, whey protein-enhanced whole milk and chocolate milk alternatives.

always strong wellness and fitness trends, such as protein and probiotic benefits, that can also be found in cacao water,” he explains. The Alkaline Water Co.’s new Alkaline88 Plus sports beverage offers enhanced hydration plus functional support, while prickly pear cactus-based Caliwater, based in Los Angeles, contains rare antioxidants that help promote skin health and better digestion. San Francisco-based Sunwink, known for its plant-based powdered drink mixes, is now rolling out a ready-to-drink (RTD) beverage with its Digestion Lemon Tonic, packed with dandelion, lemon balm and chicory. Large manufacturers are also getting on the functional-beverage bandwagon. Launched in 2021, Driftwell, a brand of Purchase, NY.based PepsiCo, contains L-theanine to help promote relaxation and sleep. Additionally, Lipton, whose RTD beverages are distributed by PepsiCo, has released Lipton Immune Support, a ready-to-drink iced green tea with pineapple mango flavor, vitamin C and a 25% daily value of zinc.

Finding Their Place at Market

Food retailers are realizing the benefits of stocking functional beverages, especially as their shoppers have grown more health-forward. According to Rebecca Calvin, SVP and chief merchandising officer for The Save Mart Cos., based in Modesto, Calif., immunity is the top functional attribute that the grocer’s shoppers are looking for, followed by probiotics, prebiotics, and products that have positive effects on gut health, overall wellness and mindfulness. “Our shoppers are aware of what they are putting into their bodies, and those products [that are] beneficial for overall health,” asserts Calvin. “Consumers are looking for ways to simplify their life, and consolidating beverages with healthy benefits is a natural fit.” As far as merchandising goes, Calvin says that Save Mart is focused on integrating functional beverages within mainstream categories to garner even more shopper attention. “As an example, our shoppers looking to buy an enhanced water or energy drink are looking for those items while in those sections, and they are more likely to pick up an item if it is merchandised with ‘like category’ items,” she explains. “In some cases, we’ve segmented within categories to keep items together — functional energy is a great example of this.”

The Future of Function

beverages goes, especially as younger generations set their sights on leading a healthier lifestyle. “Consumers are more aware of what they are drinking and are trying to be more conscious of the beverages they are purchasing,” says Vitapod’s Kelly. “I think consumer expectations for beverages with added benefits and top-notch taste will only continue to grow as the market does. This in turn drives a need to deliver them with better, higher-quality products.” A functional milk alternative product collaboration between Perfect Day and Strive Nutrition is also helping to stretch the boundaries of this category. The line includes animal-free, whey protein-enriched whole milk and chocolate milk alternatives, and the manufacturers say that these products offer efficient nutrition along with a promise to help save the planet. “We have true sustainability, and we deliver enriched animal-free whey protein to plant-based milks that have very little protein,” notes Dennis Cohlmia, co-founder and CEO of Wichita, Kan.-based Strive Nutrition. “We have great taste because of the additional whey protein, and we care about climate change. Through precision fermentation, alternative dairy proteins and components will also support and help food security throughout the globe.” While demand and innovation will remain high, The Alkaline Water Co.’s Hutchison believes that the potential recession and economic downturn will likely have an impact on the category, since these beverages are at a price premium. As such, he says that it will be even more important to have a clear and differentiated value proposition relative to competitors.

Ready-to-drink Lipton Immune Support is an iced green tea beverage that includes vitamin C and a 25% daily value of zinc.

A majority of retailers and manufacturers believe that we’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg as far as innovation in functional PROGRESSIVE GROCER July 2022

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SUSTAINABILITY

Food Waste

Waste Not, Want Not

Key Takeaways

HEEDING THE L ARGE-SCALE PROBLEM OF FOOD WASTE, GROCERS GE T TO WORK ON SOLUTIONS. By Lynn Petrak

hether it’s packages of sushi tossed at the end of the day in a prepared food department, a produce drawer in a consumer’s home emptied out on garbage night, or crops discarded due to labor shortages, a lot of food is being wasted across the farm-to-table chain.

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Food retailers are keenly aware of food waste and its impact on their business as well as on their local communities and the health of the planet, and many have already taken action. Grocers are increasingly deploying technologies that are emerging in alignment with the food waste reduction movement. Other food waste solutions include selling food items that might otherwise go to waste, donations, composting or using these products to make prepared foods.


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SUSTAINABILITY

Food Waste Just how much? The World Wildlife Federation (WWF) estimates that humans waste about 40% of all food produced on a global scale. That statistic is about the same in the United States, where 108 billion pounds of food is wasted every year, according to Feeding America. Food waste actually takes up most of the space in U.S. landfills, comprising 22% of municipal solid waste.

The Importance of Food Waste Reduction in Meeting Corporate Sustainability Goals (% of respondents)

1%

8%

Not very important

Neutral

90%

27%

Somewhat important

of respondents reported that reducing food waste is important for sustainability

63%

Very important

Base: 219 grocery retailers in North America Source: Coresight Research

If food waste is problematic given food insecurities around the world, it’s also affecting the environment. The WWF reports that wasted food represents about 10% of global greenhouse gases and has been a catalyst for the loss of forest, grasslands and other habitats. In recent years, the issue has come more to the forefront, with agricultural groups, food retailers, consumers and governments expressing interest in curbing food waste in their part of the chain. As purveyors of food ultimately connecting producers to consumers, grocers play an important role in keeping food waste to a minimum. “Food waste is one of the biggest challenges facing the grocery retail sector, and shoppers are watching,” observes Matt Frost, CEO of United Kingdom-based retail tech company Impulse Logic, whose U.S. office is in San Ramon, Calif. “Food waste puts significant pressure on the bottom line in a rapidly changing and super-competitive marketplace where margins have always been tight.” Stephen Midgley, VP of marketing for Mississauga, Ontario-based retail tech firm Invafresh, agrees that food waste has moved up the priority list. “We are seeing heightened awareness from consumers, and growing demand for action by grocery retailers,” notes Midgley. Indeed, food retailers are keenly aware of food waste and its impact on their business as well as on their local communities and the health of the planet. A new survey of North American grocery retailers by New York-based Coresight Research shows that 90% of respondents believe that reducing food waste is important for reaching their sustainability goals, and 72% have set sustainability goals specific to food waste.

Key insights from the Food Waste Survey

42%

of retailers define food waste as unsold food

of unsold food is thrown away/sent to a landfill

Base: 219 grocery retailers in North America Source: Coresight Research

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14.4%

67.7%

of prepared foods are discarded due to overproduction or overordering

63%

of grocery retailers view food waste reduction as very important in meeting corporate sustainability goals


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Invafresh Delivers Industry Proven Fresh Retail Solutions for Waste Reduction ood retailers generate 10.5 million tons of food waste annually, sending almost one-third of wasted food to landfills. With retailers at the center of the supply chain, they have the power to influence, drive efficiency within their stores, and communicate with their customers to reduce their waste.

By taking a centralized approach to production planning, Invafresh provides grocery retailers with demand driven replenishment capabilities from both their in-store and commissary operations, based on perpetual inventory, merchandising requirements, and forecasts, to always maintain the freshest stock possible. This approach leads to a 50% reduction in replenishment time, 25% reduction in backroom inventory, and 30% reduction in shrink.

In today’s world, grocery retailers are facing production planning challenges due to changing demand, inflation, supply chain issues, and labor shortages. Coupled with Built on an innovative and intuitive mobile-centric user these macro challenges, grocery retailers are also facing interface, Invafresh’s Fresh Retail Platform (FRP) increasing pressure from consumers and government automates production planning for grocery retailers by agencies, like the EPA, USDA, and FDA, to take measurable providing real-time updates to production plans based on action when it comes to food waste reduction. Changing consumer behaviors critical in-store data, such as are pushing Fresh to the inventory and demand, and “Invafresh has helped Price Chopper forefront and it’s important to enables retailers to accurately to produce the correct amounts of remember that Fresh isn’t just forecast required production product to meet our customer a concern for produce requirements. demand while reducing our exposure departments, it affects the to excess shrink. We are working on entire perimeter business. Price Chopper Slices Weekly enhancements with Invafresh that With the enemy of Fresh being Waste will further our effort in exceeding time, a key challenge for By using Invafresh, Price our customer’s expectations for grocery retailers is to avoid Chopper now prevents 20 tons delivering fresh products while over ordering and over producing. of fresh food from being limiting the spoilage that ends up in Both of those issues are easily wasted each week and is the landfill," done when you are operating projected to prevent more than without having the right 3,000 tons of food waste over Patrick Iannotti, Director of Retail forecasting data to understand the next three years across its Operations at Price Chopper. shifts in demand throughout 131 stores. This reduces its the day and week. Over methane emissions from production is a key contributor to increased waste, landfills, lessening its carbon footprint, and helping to reduced margins, and non-sustainable operations. fuel a more sustainable, circular economy. They achieved this by integrating vast amounts of data into When it comes to waste reduction, grocery retailers machine learning forecasting algorithms that allowed need to have greater visibility and control over their them to align supply and demand, with accurate operations – whether in-store or commissary – from merchandising, replenishment, production planning, production planning to recipe management to fresh and inventory control. ordering. The question for grocery retailers is how can this be achieved? “Invafresh has helped Price Chopper to produce the correct amounts of product to meet our customer demand while reducing our exposure to excess shrink. Centralized Production Planning to Drive Waste We are working on enhancements with Invafresh that Reduction will further our effort in exceeding our customer’s Having the right information at the right time and expectations for delivering fresh products while limiting knowing how to operationalize the data makes the the spoilage that ends up in the landfill," said Patrick difference in profits, performance, and sustainability. Iannotti, Director of Retail Operations at Price Chopper. To win in Fresh, grocery retailers must implement the right fresh-native technology to balance demand with FRP from Invafresh contributes to $150 million of food supply and availability. waste eliminated annually and 30% less shrink across 25,000 stores by optimizing forecasting and inventory Invafresh allows grocery retailers to always have visibility management systems throughout production and and control across all their Fresh operations, whether operations with demand planning informed by artificial in-store or commissary. Grocery retailers know that with intelligence and machine learning. Invafresh they have the most efficient and effective production planning solution on the market, allowing Be the best in Fresh! Learn how Invafresh can help them to deliver a fresher experience for their customers, enhance your food waste initiatives. maximizing store revenue and minimizing food waste.

Visit https://go.invafresh.com/foodwaste to learn more. Think forward. Think fresh.™

1 .866.332.3055 • thinkfresh@invafresh.com • https://go.invafresh.com/foodwaste


Centralized Production Planning to Drive Waste Reduction

$150m 30% food waste eliminated annually

shrink reduction

25%

reduction in backroom inventory

Our industry leading Fresh Retail Platform captures real-time, systematic known data to track and monitor specific areas of high shrink across all Fresh departments to eliminate unwanted food waste and drive sustainable operations.

Invafresh Delivers Industry Proven Fresh Retail Solutions for Waste Reduction ood retailers generate 10.5 million tons of food waste annually, sending almost one-third of wasted food to landfills. With retailers at the center of the supply chain, they have the power to influence, drive efficiency within their stores, and communicate with their customers to reduce their waste.

By taking a centralized approach to production planning, Invafresh provides grocery retailers with demand driven replenishment capabilities from both their in-store and commissary operations, based on perpetual inventory, merchandising requirements, and forecasts, to always maintain the freshest stock possible. This approach leads to a 50% reduction in replenishment time, 25% reduction in backroom inventory, and 30% reduction in shrink.

In today’s world, grocery retailers are facing production planning challenges due to changing demand, inflation, supply chain issues, and labor shortages. Coupled with Built on an innovative and intuitive mobile-centric user these macro challenges, grocery retailers are also facing interface, Invafresh’s Fresh Retail Platform (FRP) increasing pressure from consumers and government automates production planning for grocery retailers by agencies, like the EPA, USDA, and FDA, to take measurable providing real-time updates to production plans based on action when it comes to food waste reduction. Changing consumer behaviors critical in-store data, such as are pushing Fresh to the inventory and demand, and “Invafresh has helped Price Chopper forefront and it’s important to enables retailers to accurately to produce the correct amounts of remember that Fresh isn’t just forecast required production product to meet our customer a concern for produce requirements. demand while reducing our exposure departments, it affects the to excess shrink. We are working on entire perimeter business. Price Chopper Slices Weekly enhancements with Invafresh that With the enemy of Fresh being Waste will further our effort in exceeding time, a key challenge for By using Invafresh, Price our customer’s expectations for grocery retailers is to avoid Chopper now prevents 20 tons delivering fresh products while over ordering and over producing. of fresh food from being limiting the spoilage that ends up in Both of those issues are easily wasted each week and is the landfill," done when you are operating projected to prevent more than without having the right 3,000 tons of food waste over Patrick Iannotti, Director of Retail forecasting data to understand the next three years across its Operations at Price Chopper. shifts in demand throughout 131 stores. This reduces its the day and week. Over methane emissions from production is a key contributor to increased waste, landfills, lessening its carbon footprint, and helping to reduced margins, and non-sustainable operations. fuel a more sustainable, circular economy. They achieved this by integrating vast amounts of data into When it comes to waste reduction, grocery retailers machine learning forecasting algorithms that allowed need to have greater visibility and control over their them to align supply and demand, with accurate operations – whether in-store or commissary – from merchandising, replenishment, production planning, production planning to recipe management to fresh and inventory control. ordering. The question for grocery retailers is how can this be achieved? “Invafresh has helped Price Chopper to produce the correct amounts of product to meet our customer demand while reducing our exposure to excess shrink. Centralized Production Planning to Drive Waste We are working on enhancements with Invafresh that Reduction will further our effort in exceeding our customer’s Having the right information at the right time and expectations for delivering fresh products while limiting knowing how to operationalize the data makes the the spoilage that ends up in the landfill," said Patrick difference in profits, performance, and sustainability. Iannotti, Director of Retail Operations at Price Chopper. To win in Fresh, grocery retailers must implement the right fresh-native technology to balance demand with FRP from Invafresh contributes to $150 million of food supply and availability. waste eliminated annually and 30% less shrink across 25,000 stores by optimizing forecasting and inventory Invafresh allows grocery retailers to always have visibility management systems throughout production and and control across all their Fresh operations, whether operations with demand planning informed by artificial in-store or commissary. Grocery retailers know that with intelligence and machine learning. Invafresh they have the most efficient and effective production planning solution on the market, allowing Be the best in Fresh! Learn how Invafresh can help them to deliver a fresher experience for their customers, enhance your food waste initiatives. maximizing store revenue and minimizing food waste.

Visit https://go.invafresh.com/foodwaste to learn more. Think forward. Think fresh.™

1 .866.332.3055 • thinkfresh@invafresh.com • https://go.invafresh.com/foodwaste


SUSTAINABILITY

Food Waste Through the Flashfood program, retailers around the country are curbing potential food waste by offering items nearing their use-by dates at a steep discount.

Many grocers have already taken action through high-profile programs. Among other initiatives, the Kroger Co.’s “Zero Hunger | Zero Waste” program recently provided $2 million in seed funding to Berkeley, Calif.-based nonprofit ReFED, a group working to reduce food loss and waste. Cincinnati-based Kroger is also going downstream, launching the Food Waste Challenge with the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research, based in Washington, D.C., to quantitatively measure food waste generated by U.S. households. Walmart, for its part, is aiming to eliminate food waste by 2025 by increasing the sell-through of its food products through better forecasting and ordering tools. The Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer is taking other steps across its operation, too, like converting food that’s no longer edible to animal feed, compost or energy. These and other ambitious retailer goals reflect the amount of work to be done in the grocery sector. In its report, Coresight cites research by ReFED showing that about 30% of food in U.S. grocery stores is currently thrown away. Coresight pegs the cost of food waste to the industry at about $16 billion in net income annually. Breaking it down by industry, Feeding America reports that 43% of food waste in the United States comes from American homes, and 40% stems from grocery stores and foodservice operations. Farms contribute 16%, and manufacturers account for 2%, of food waste. Within grocery, food waste adds up across many parts of the business. Coresight found that 67.7% of prepared foods are discarded due to overproduction or overordering. A good number — 42% — of retailers define food waste as unsold food.

Turning Sentiment Into Action

While polls of consumers and retailers show consistent support for food waste reduction, the challenges come in how to address it, especially at a time of high inflation and low margins. There are complexities and potential barriers throughout the supply chain,

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from traditional agricultural practices to grocery staffers who are slow to act to entrenched consumer habits. Still, many believe that the industry and the marketplace are at a turning point. “There has long been a gap between interest and action when it comes to food waste,” notes Midgely, “but that gap is starting to narrow as more and more grocery retailers are implementing environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors to measure the ethical and sustainable impact of their operations. In fact, many grocery retailers are now incorporating ESG into their financial reporting and modeling.” As grocers seek to meet their sustainability objectives that include reducing food waste, they’re taking a range of measures. Collectively, the industry has come together through the Food Waste Reduction Alliance (FWRA), an initiative of FMI — The Food Industry Association, the Consumer Brands Association and the National Restaurant Association. In 2021, FWRA supported

In another way to reduce food waste, Del Monte Foods offers products that are Upcycled Certified by the Upcycled Food Association.


the U.S. government’s goal of halving food waste by 2030. to move items nearing their sell-by date. Customers Grocers can take heed of other government steps to combat can use the Flashfood app to buy these products, food waste. Last year, the Zero Waste Food Act was proposed in which include meat, produce, seafood, deli, dairy and the U.S. Congress to, among other things, create a bakery items, at up to a 50% discount new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency focused and pick them up from a designated on decreasing food waste across the country. In area inside their local grocery store. December 2021, the Food Date Labeling Act was One user, Grand Rapids, Mich.introduced to standardize food labeling to include a based Meijer, recently shared that its quality-date indicator and a discard-date indicator. customers have diverted more than 1 On an enterprise level, grocers can deploy million pounds of potential food waste technologies that are emerging in alignment through the Flashfood program. with the food waste reduction movement. CoreOthers in the food industry are of—Matt Frost, Impulse Logic sight’s survey of grocers confirms that this is an fering options to consumers seeking increasingly popular tactic: 84% of grocers say to address food waste. Direct-delivthat they plan to invest in technology over the ery companies Imperfect Foods and next two years to manage food waste. Misfit Market, for instance, sell fresh foods and other Those technological tools span artificial intelligence (AI), maitems that might otherwise go to waste. chine learning (ML), blockchain and RFID, among others. Many Finally, food can be kept out of landfills in a more of the technologies are centered on demand forecasting and grass-roots way. In its survey of grocery retailers, Coreinventory management. sight found that 85.6% of unsold food is donated, sold “This is where technology plays an important role in adat a discount or to a liquidator, composted, or used to dressing these challenges,” says Midgley. “By deploying a fresh make prepared foods. intelligent forecasting solution, grocery retailers have greater visibility and control over their operations — whether in-store or commissary — from production planning to recipe management to fresh ordering.” According to Midgley, Invafresh’s Fresh Retail Platform helps eliminate $150 million in food waste annually and helps reduce shrink by 30% across 25,000 stores. At Impulse Logic, Frost notes that technologies assist grocers in cutting right through to actionable efforts. “Without accurate inventory handling, especially with perishable items, grocers are too often left with items nearing expiration and few options: mark them down for a quick sale and cut into already slim margins, or discard them and add to higher waste,” he explains. “Strides are being made to reduce and divert food surplus waste, but far more must be done. We believe advancements in technology hold the key. AI and ML provide retailers with actionable insights to match supply with demand, improve efficiency, manage markdowns, and reduce overstocking — all needed to reduce waste.” According to Frost, such technologies can provide a clear picture of inventory and forecasting. “Too many grocers are buried under an avalanche of data they’ve collected that does not lead to solutions,” he notes. “We’ve developed much-needed new machine-learning algorithms that help retailers down to the store level see the true picture of supply and demand and allow for more precise forecasting and stock optimization.” Even in categories more affected by waste than others, technology can help, Frost adds. “Waste is sometimes inevitable, for perishables especially,” he points out. “ML has the capability to identify the optimal price, helping to protect the product’s margin as it nears its expiry. Instead of simply reducing products by percentage increments, the technology is helping retailers determine the best price based on several key factors and existing retail data points.” In addition to leveraging technologies like AI and ML, grocers are working to lower food waste in their stores through other actions. Several retailers around the United States have partnered with Composting in totes, at consumers' homes and at retail and Toronto-based Flashfood, which offers a program allowing retailers foodservice locations, keeps food out of landfills.

“Food waste is one of the biggest challenges facing the grocery retail sector, and shoppers are watching.”

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advertorial

FIGHTING Food WasTe:

waste, which ultimately optimizes the grocers’ entire fresh food supply chain. We’ve built our company with the goal of enabling grocers to be their very best in fresh, thereby eliminating waste, delighting customers, and multiplying profits.

Achieving Sustainability and Profitability in Fresh Speaking with... Matt Schwartz,

CEO and co-founder, Afresh

becoming a more sustainable business while maximizing profits is a balancing act today’s grocery retailers are continually challenged to perform. Progressive Grocer reached out to matt schwartz, Ceo and co-founder of afresh, to learn how the company’s ai-powered Fresh operating system can help grocery retailers achieve that balance by reducing food waste in fresh. Progressive Grocer: How is the Fresh Operating System your company has created different from other technology platforms? Matt Schwartz: the first major difference is that our system is specifically built for fresh categories. this means it can handle perishability, seasonality, random weights, dynamic displays, fresh workflows, and more. another difference is that our platform is powered by groundbreaking innovation: our artificial intelligence, developed by experts from stanford university. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we built the system in a way that is embraced by store teams. it is the combination of these dynamics — fresh-first system design, the best ai, and purpose-built workflows — that create game changing results. PG: Why is combating waste at the grocery level so important? MS: profitability, loyalty, and sustainability. Profitability: because shrink is usually 4 to 8 percent of sales in fresh departments, slashing shrink by just 25 percent can multiply margins in a 1 to 3 percent net income business. Loyalty: the best way to reduce waste is to accelerate turns,

which can add days of shelf life. When shoppers know that a store has the freshest food around, they come back again and again. Sustainability: in the u.s., 35 percent of all food is unsold or uneaten, which translates to $408 billion in wasted food – while 1 in 8 americans are also food insecure. according to reFed, retailers account for 28 percent of that food waste today. PG: What are some of the culprits causing so much food waste in grocery stores? MS: i always think it’s important first to acknowledge that grocers do an amazing job of managing absurdly complex supply chains. the nearly trillion-dollar grocery industry presents so many challenges, and there are huge opportunities to address the many culprits behind waste. the biggest problem is that most systems are incapable of understanding and handling what actually goes on in fresh departments. Fresh data is messy, food goes bad, display sizes change dynamically, the berries differ in quality, items are cut in store, demand shifts dramatically — all of this throws off traditional inventory and ordering tools. that in turn means that stores have to rely on manual processes and gut intuition to make important decisions like determining how much to order each time. When the incentive is to stay in stock, most stores then overorder and drive excess shrink. innovative technology like ours adeptly handles those challenges and makes it easy to place orders that prevent food

PG: That’s all great news — but is it really possible to become more sustainable and do well from a bottom-line perspective, too? MS: Fortunately, waste reduction is one of those areas in which increasing profit and doing good for the world are squarely overlapping. every time a spoiled banana goes to the landfill, a grocer loses the cash it bought it with. our Fresh operating system prevents those losses, making it easy for grocers to embrace sustainability while maximizing profits. across all our partners, we’ve seen shrink go down by 25 percent while sales increase three percent on average. PG: Are you finding that grocery retailers are eager to embrace the technology? MS: yes! albertsons’ recipe for Change is one example. they’ve made a remarkable commitment to sustainability, including zero food waste going to the landfill by 2030 — and albertsons is currently deploying our solution across all of its stores to help them achieve that.

When groCery stores use AFreSH, everyone Wins!

25%+

+2 days 3%

less shrink shelf life

sales lift

For more inFormation about maximizing proFits and improving sustainability in your stores, visit www.afresh.com.


EQUIPMENT & DESIGN

Energy Efficiency

This EDPR Walmart rooftop solar generation installation is one of among 65 projects that the company has completed with the retailer.

Here Comes the Sun GROCERS CAN TAKE ADVANTAGE OF LESS E XPENSIVE WAYS TO HARNESS SOL AR ENERGY. By Mike Duff rocers today have an array of choices when they’re looking to boost energy efficiency and their contribution to sustainability, some of which require relatively little to no investment, with the chance to choose among options that best suit their businesses. Although building rooftop solar arrays is an impressive way of developing a green energy operation, the costs are high and the solution inappropriate for many grocery businesses north of the Mason-Dixon line that don’t get enough sun to justify the cost. Yet solutions that allow businesses to buy into existing and developing green power generation can enable grocers to meet their sustainability goals in an effective way. Solutions are not one size fits all, however. Weather is one but not the only factor that can change the way that food retailers need to approach energy efficiency and sustainability. From state to state and, sometimes, utility to utility, rules and incentives differ, and although some general principles exist, putting them into play requires understanding what requirements and benefits accrue to any given location.

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Key Takeaways Solutions that allow businesses to buy into existing and developing green power generation can enable grocers to meet their sustainability goals in an effective way. Companies can lease solar generation equipment to minimize the capital that has to be committed. Chain operators should consider a “portfolio approach” to solar generation, since an investment over many stores can pay off better than that at a single store.

Customized Solutions

Despite that, food retailers can make a start toward their energy goals by looking at what they can do in stores and without reference to outside agencies, according to Jonathan Tan, co-founder of the Ratio Institute, based in Santa Cruz, Calif. Tan adds that grocers can begin the process by looking at their own operations, including lighting, to see where they can improve their energy and sustainability positions.


“Community solar-plus-storage projects are a great way for businesses, especially the retail/ grocery sector, to lower their overall carbon footprint and electricity costs at the same time.”

Today, many food retailers have embarked on ambitious projects to boost their sustainability quotient. The Ratio Institute recently aided Ahold Delhaize USA banner Hannaford Supermarkets on a project that includes certification of its sustainability operations. In April, Scarborough, Maine-based Hannaford said that it planned to become fully powered by renewable energy by 2024. —Kate Siskel, The grocer’s plans include energy reduction, a Convergent Energy + Power goal complicated by the dual needs for lighting and refrigeration. Therefore, Hannaford initiated energy efficiency projects using not only LED lights, but also sunshades, doors on cases and state-of-the-art refrigeration systems. It has also added rooftop solar on 10 of its stores. Since that’s only a small proportion of Hannaford locations, the banner has been working with 30 community solar projects in Maine, Massachusetts and New York. Tan notes that the Ratio Institute also is working with Ahold Delhaize USA, reviewing with it the potential for solar installations at several of the company’s distribution centers.

Sharing Solar

Of course, developing solar generation requires capital investment and may be more than a business can afford. Companies can lease solar generation equipment to minimize the capital that has to be

committed, however. In this vein, community solar can satisfy the sustainability and energy needs of food retailers. Convergent Energy + Power, an energy storage developer operating across North America, has partnered with Williamsville, N.Y-based Tops Markets LLC on community solar paired with battery storage. This approach allows all electricity customers to benefit from the monetary savings and environmental benefits of solar energy without having to install and invest in solar panels, explains Kate Siskel, SVP, marketing and communications for New Yorkbased Convergent Energy + Power. Power is generated by a Convergent-owned and -operated solar-plus-storage system that clients subscribe to, with no capital investment, notes Siskel. “The partnership means that Tops will pay less money for cleaner energy,” she says. “Because the community solar system provides more energy than is needed by Tops, the broader community will also be able to access this solar energy.”

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EQUIPMENT & DESIGN

Energy Efficiency

A Convergent community installation to which Tops Markets subscribes pairs solar panels with blocks of batteries.

Further, the battery component of the system allows food retailers partnering with Convergent to store solar energy when there’s a surplus and apply it when needed. “Community solar-plus-storage projects are a great way for businesses, especially the retail/grocery sector, to lower their overall carbon footprint and electricity costs at the same time,” contends Siskel. “In some states, businesses are able to trade state Renewable Energy Credits that offer monetary and/or environmental incentives that bolster corporate social responsibility strategies and targets.” For food retailers who can’t carry the cost of solar generation and/ or live in areas of the country where less solar generation is possible, solar-plus-storage systems are an alternative that can satisfy their specific needs. In that way, food retailers, and other businesses and communities in places where weather isn’t convenient for constant solar generation, have a way to enjoy its sustainability benefits.

On Offsets

At Amerex Energy Services, based in Sugar Land, Texas, John Bolton, managing director and head of renewable energy origination and structured solutions, says that there are three key ways retailers can reduce their carbon footprints: on-site solar, purchasing renewable energy credits, or engaging with a power purchase utility-scale wind or solar project that allows corporate purchase energy offset. For smaller retailers, a way to achieve a more sustainable position in the market is to buy renewable energy credits to offset power use, notes Bolton. One renewable energy credit (REC) equals one megawatt-hour of power. Renewable energy renders two components when generated: the kilowatts of electricity produced, and the environmental attributes of the electricity or what can be claimed as green energy. RECs represent energy produced

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from a renewable energy facility. Although all publicly generated electricity flows into the grid, RECs allow utilities and end users to buy and track electricity from renewable sources, as opposed to owning and taking from on-site generation. According to Bolton, purchasing RECs is fine, but “there is a view in the world of sustainability that favors larger actions such as engaging in a contractual structure allowing projects to be built.” He adds that engaging a utility-scale wind or solar product that allows corporate purchase is a way to tap into green energy by, essentially, purchasing into ongoing green energy products so that they can continue to expand. RECs are something that Constellation Energy Corp., based in Baltimore, helps its clients weigh as a means of boosting green credentials as part of a strongly analytical approach to energy generation and sustainability. “We look at analytics as the foundation, the first step in a process,” affirms Raj Bazaj, Constellation’s VP, solution sales. The company provides customized solutions that can include everything short of on-site solar arrays, notes Bazaj, if Constellation suggests alternatives to self-energy generation. He believes that the REC alternative can be a sensible recourse, but, as an offset, it doesn’t save the holder money nor make an operation more efficient. Rather, it comes at a rising cost, as it’s an in-demand market-based instrument. However, it does provide a way for a grocer to let customers know that the operation is doing something to offset the environmental and social costs of its power generation. A less expensive alternative is an Emissions Free Energy Certificate (EFEC), Bazaj notes. EFECs cover some of the same energy sources as RECs, such as wind and tidal, but their sources don’t have to be renewable and include nuclear generation.

Consider the Cost

EDP Renewables North America (EDPR), based in Houston, has been involved with about 65 solar energy projects with Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart and has worked with Hannaford as well. Louis Langlois, associate director, investments, EDPR NA Distributed Generation, cautions that chain operators should be thinking about a “portfolio approach” to solar generation. Not every store in a chain operation may see cost advantages with a solar array, even long term, because of initial and operational costs and because conditions affecting locations differ, with regulation and incentives more variable even than weather. That being the case, an investment over many stores can pay off better than that at a single store.


OPERATIONS

Workforce Efficiency

Catering to the Care Economy POINT PICKUP’S SOLUTION HELPS RE TAILERS MANAGE THEIR GROWING CONTINGENT OF FLE X EMPLOYEES. By Bridget Goldschmidt

ast month, supermarket chains Giant Eagle and The Kroger Co. completed implementation of Point Pickup Technologies’ Flex Workforce services, which give both enterprises and workers the ability to match on-demand sameday e-commerce job opportunities with worker availability and experience. These same-day on-demand flex positions include sorting shifts at warehouses, picking and packing in dark stores, in-store shopping and delivering, on-demand and same-day delivery, and other custom e-commerce work. Progressive Grocer recently spoke with Tom Fiorita, founder and CEO of Stamford, Conn.-based Point Pickup, about what food retailers must do to adjust to, and ultimately excel in, the flex economy — or, as Fiorita refers to it, the “Care Economy,” which the company defines as “a healthy work environment [that helps] flex workers better manage crucial aspects of their work and lives with job-based rewards and vital services.” Progressive Grocer: What is the importance of flex workers to the food retail sector? Tom Fiorita: We all hear, and everybody’s talking, about The Great Resignation, and the future of work and the flex workforces. It’s the future of work, the flex workforce, so we’re enabling the support and the transition to the ultimate flex workforce. The importance of the flex workers to food retailers is, No. 1, to compete and be a viable entity in this new world of e-commerce, and the No. 2 part is to drive what I would call retaining good workers and a sustainable life for both the retailer and the worker. It’s really the ability for these companies to be in business in the next five years, with good, supported, retained individuals who like to have a flexible lifestyle. That’s not driven by what I think or what the retailer thinks. It’s driven by what the people think.

Some people call it the flex economy. We like to say it’s the Care Economy. It’s a 100-year generational change. PG: Why was Point Pickup created? TF: Almost seven years ago, I saw what was happening in the marketplace with Amazon, to be specific — that they were going to take over the world — and I, a local kind of a guy, said, “I am going to build the platform to save all of those retailers, large and small, who are not Amazon.” The second piece was, I wanted to provide an easy-access, supportive system for the people who do the work. They deserve to have all of the opportunities and support, like they were going to be working at a company, and we could provide that. That’s why I started it: to save the retailer and save the worker in the way people would like to live.

“It is very important that our technology, although it is standardized to provide the outcome that we want in pricing and support and care, allows us to be able to offer some nuanced differentiation, depending on the needs of our customers.” —Tom Fiorita, CEO, Point Pickup Technologies

PG: How does the solution work, exactly? TF: For both the retailers and the people who need to do the work, we need to have a plug-and-play system, right? For the folks who are doing the work, they plug in, meaning they have an app and they can put in time, day, type of work, all skill sets, with easy access. Then we need to have what we call an API [application programming interface] in the technology world — the plug-in for the retailer, so they have easy access to all of the folks PROGRESSIVE GROCER July 2022

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OPERATIONS

Workforce Efficiency “If we believe half of the work is going to come from flexible work, we then have to have that easy access, on-demand, for both retailers and workers.”

that want to do the work. Now, to make this PG: What do you think is the sustainable for both parties, we need it to be future of the flex workforce the correct pricing and the availability and at food retail, and how will the retained nature of these folks, so that it companies have to deal with it? becomes repeatable, that we have the same folks doing the work, and that creates a nice TF: Within five years or less, 50% of outcome. But we also have to build something the work needed, the support work for the folks who are doing the work to help that we discussed before, will come —Tom Fiorita, CEO, Point Pickup them, including banking, insurance, rewards from flex work relationships and a Technologies for doing their work, and community support flex work platform. That, I don’t think, — even online mental health care. is going away. If we believe half of the work is going to We have to have both of these to work, and, of course, the techcome from flexible work, we then have to have that easy nology and the data to share this with all parties. We can simply access, on-demand, for both retailers and workers. And provide easy access through technology, matching of the correct then what we focus on, and what we continue to focus folks with the correct needs — something that we call the precision on, is ushering in the Care Economy. matching system — that we built. All our technology is proprietary, The next part is you need an app for the flex and it’s all ours. Then we can give the support to the retailer, with all workers that is going to provide the sustainability the data, and we can give the support to the folks doing the work. and the community and the support system to make We believe this creates the next generation of the flex work, or the this viable into the future. We need to make it easy, support system of this transition into the flex work. not only to get on it, but to also evaluate themselves, What we’ve been able to do is, once we have the infrastruchave the resources and the dashboards, and all of ture support for both parties sharing the data, then we can get the services and support to do it. bespoke-like, in certain instances, to create some of the nuances It’s our responsibility, I believe, as citizens to provide that are needed by certain retailers. So it is, I believe, very importthe correct support and platform to give easy access for ant that our technology, although it is standardized to provide the folks to live in that environment. It’s going to benefit them, outcome that we want in pricing and support and care, allows us and it’s going to benefit the retailer. We’re encouraged that to be able to offer some nuanced differentiation, depending on many others will join this mission. It’s in their best interest, the needs of our customers. not only as great retailers, to survive, but also as great citizens and providers to our society. It’s not often that the convergence of a trend and generational change is happening, that the constituents from either side actually Point Pickup Technologies was founded to enable want what’s happening. That’s pretty remarkable. And the local retailers to compete with the likes of Amazon outcomes are wins for the retailer, survival, margins and by ramping up their own flex workforces to handle much of their e-commerce operations. the folks doing the work.

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EDITORS’ PICKS

Food, Beverage & Nonfood Products

In the Can

Famous family-owned Italian coffee company Lavazza has now launched cans of organic ready-to-drink cold-brew coffee in four premium flavor profiles. Merging convenience with the brand’s recognized quality, the grab-and-go line features Classic Cold Brew, Nitro Cold Brew, Cappuccino Cold Brew with Milk and Double Shot Cold Brew with Oat Milk. Lavazza’s ready-to-drink cold-brew line is the only one of its kind to be made with USDA Certified Organic, Rainforest Alliance Certified 100% Arabica coffee. Additionally, the cans boast vivid imagery designed to transport consumers to various well-known places in Italy. The four flavors of the ready-to-drink cold-brew line — all in 8-fluid-ounce cans except for 7-fluid-ounce Nitro Cold Brew — retail for a suggested $3.49 each. https://www.lavazza.us/en_US.html

Functional Froyo

Already available at elementary, middle and high schools across the country, premium functional frozen yogurt brand Mixmi has now debuted at major grocery stores across the United States. Created to help support digestion and gut health, Mixmi froyo contains both prebiotic fiber and probiotic organisms that work together, resulting in a more effective combination than either fiber or probiotics alone, according to the brand. The frozen treat is fermented with six live and active cultures offering billions of probiotics per cup, while the added prebiotic fiber feeds the helpful probiotics naturally found in the gut. Mixmi’s star probiotic is Bifidobacterium, a.k.a. BB-12, which 180-plus clinical studies indicate may have beneficial effects on the immune and gastrointestinal systems. Boasting just 90 calories per serving, the product comes in the following flavors at retail: Ultimate Chocolate, Orange Dream, Más Mango, Mint Chocolate, Totally Vanilla and Vanilla Cupcake. A 4-pack of 4-fluid-ounce cups retails for a suggested $4.99. https://www.mixmifrozenyogurt.com/

Full of Fiber

Pasta fans who want to add fiber to their diets can opt for GoodWheat Pasta, a single-ingredient noodle that aims to deliver better nutrition along with great taste. Developed by Arcadia Biosciences Inc., a producer and marketer of plant-based health-and-wellness products, GoodWheat marks the company’s continued expansion into better-for-you food and wellness products. Containing four times the fiber of regular pasta — 8 grams per serving versus 2 grams in regular wheat pasta – the product line comes in five varieties: penne, spaghetti, fettuccine, elbow and rotini. Consumption of fiber is linked to such health benefits as digestive and cardiovascular health and weight management, while prebiotic fiber is said to support gut health and immunity. Non-GMO Certified, certified-kosher and USA farm-grown GoodWheat also has 9 grams of protein per serving, about 25% higher than most traditional pastas. The recommended cooking time for GoodWheat is 11-17 minutes. A 12-ounce package of any variety retails for a suggested $3.99. https://eatgoodwheat.com/; https://arcadiabio.com/

Nondairy Milk Chocolate

The latest products from Lindt & Sprüngli are Lindt Classic Recipe OatMilk chocolate bars in two varieties — Lindt Classic Recipe OatMilk and Lindt Classic Recipe OatMilk Salted Caramel — offering the taste, smoothness and creaminess that consumers have come to expect from the entire Lindt Classic Recipe portfolio. Both gluten-free plant-based bars are crafted from high-quality cocoa and oat milk, but Classic Recipe OatMilk Salted Caramel goes one step further with the addition of crunchy salted caramel pieces. Previously, plant-based dairy alternatives were mostly available in dark chocolate, but Lindt Classic Recipe OatMilk bars provide consumers nationwide with the first nondairy milk-style items created by a mass chocolate brand. Both bars come in individually wrapped 3.5-ounce bars retailing for a suggested $4.49 each. https://www.lindtusa.com/

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Hold the Salt

Offering big flavor with zero sodium, Kinder’s No Salt Seasonings’ versatile lineup consists of five varieties formulated without bioengineered ingredients and containing no gluten: Garlic & Herb, a bold blend of garlic and such ingredients as onion, mushroom and paprika; Blackened, a full-flavor combination of herbs and spices with a kick of cayenne and a squeeze of lemon juice; Lemon Pepper, balancing pepper and the fresh flavor of citrus from both lemon peel and lemon juice; Taco Blend, featuring smoky spices and chili, and finished with a hint of lime; and BBQ Blend, mixing paprika, garlic and spices with the sweetness of brown sugar. Ranging in size from 2.0 ounces to 2.6 ounces, the seasonings retail for a suggested $4.29 each. They join Kinder’s diverse and growing portfolio of seasonings and rubs. https://kinders.com/

Thaw and Eat

Superfood Muesli

Modern muesli cereal maker Guud (pronounced “good”) has now launched Fuel, a line of functional muesli featuring plant protein, prebiotics, omegas, dietary fiber and superfruits. Created as an updated version of traditional European muesli, which contains whole grains, nuts, fruits and seeds, Fuel products feature superfood ingredients to support an active lifestyle and gut and brain health. The line consists of three flavors, all of them vegan, plant-based, non-GMO-certified and kosher: easy-to-digest Athlete Fuel, featuring 8 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber, with no added sugar, and made with organic oats, organic raisins, organic almonds, organic flax seed, organic cashews and organic pumpkin seeds; antioxidant-rich Brain Fuel, offering omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin A, containing 8 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber, and made with certified gluten-free oats, walnuts, cranberries, goji berries, blueberries and cacao nibs; and Gut Fuel, an excellent source of soluble fiber, omega-3s and prebiotic superfoods, and made with organic oats, organic dates, organic sunflower seeds, organic flax seeds, organic banana, organic apples, organic chia seeds and organic almonds. The muesli can be eaten like cereal with milk or yogurt, prepared like oatmeal — made hot right away or soaked overnight – or baked into recipes. A 12-ounce bag of any Fuel variety retails for a suggested $6.99. https://eatguud.com/

Nestlé brand Hot Pockets aims to make lunch easier than ever with Deliwich, its first sandwich that doesn’t require a microwave. Featuring full slices of deli meat and real cheese wrapped in a soft roll, the convenient thaw-and-eat sandwiches were made to be taken frozen on the go in the morning and enjoyed fresh by lunchtime, with no cleanup necessary. The innovative product line comes in four varieties: Cheddar & Ham, Turkey & Colby, Cheese Melt, and Pepperoni & Mozzarella. An approximately 12-ounce box of four individually wrapped sandwiches of any variety retails for a suggested $7.49 (prices may vary according to the retailer). https://www.goodnes.com/hot-pockets/; https://www.nestleusa.com/

Dévil’s Food

Bon Dévil offers decadently rich ganache desserts that target flexitarian and vegan shoppers. Made from coconuts, the 100% plant-based refrigerated product line consists of four flavors: Chocolate Ganache (100 calories per serving), Vanilla Ganache (110 calories per serving), Caramelized Banana Ganache (100 calories per serving) and Salted Caramel Chocolate Ganache (120 calories per serving). Each vegan-certified, kosher dessert contains no dairy, gluten or GMOs. A 4-pack of 1.6-ounce cups of any flavor retails for a suggested $3.99. https://bon-devil.com/

PROGRESSIVE GROCER July 2022

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AHEAD OF WHAT’S NEXT By Bridget Goldschmidt

In the Rooms Where It Happens THE NATIONAL GROCERS ASSOCIATION’S FLY-IN FOR FAIR COMPE TITION OFFERED A CHANCE TO PEEK BEHIND THE CURTAIN OF THE LEGISL ATIVE PROCESS.

I spoke with NGA President and CEO Greg Ferrara after the association’s fly-in event.

his past June 8, I found myself traversing Targeted Approach the corridors of power. This was not on my According to Greg Ferrara, president own account, but rather to observe the Naand CEO of Washington, D.C.-based tional Grocers Association’s Fly-In for Fair NGA, whom I spoke with later that day, Competition in action. The event involved the fly-in event, which this year includindependent grocers meeting with congressed 100-plus meetings, “lays the groundpeople and their staffs on Capitol Hill to urge work for our teams now to spend the enforcement of the Robinson-Patman Act, next weeks and months going back and an antitrust law passed way back in 1936, to following up with the offices, fulfilling give indies a level playing field when it comes commitments, getting them more inforto competing against the big guys. mation and then connecting back.” Following a breakfast keynote address As for the decision to focus this year on antitrust issues by Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., I tagged along on antitrust as the main issue affecting with various contingents of independent grocers as they met with sevindependents, Ferrara explained: “We’ve eral U.S. representatives, listening in as these small-busidiscovered doing smaller or ness owners described the difficulties of operating in the targeted events, or focused present economic climate — inflation, supply chain snarls “We’re a member on one issue ... is the most and the pandemic are making things difficult for every- organization. It’s why effective right now today body — as well as trying to keep pace with much larger we exist and why we for what we do.” As an rivals that are able not only to undercut indies on prices, do what we do for our example of how well this but also dominate access to supply and shut out smaller approach works, he noted members.” operators from certain products. This is a particularly that in every one of the 10 critical issue in areas where the independent operates the —Greg Ferrara, NGA or so meetings he had takonly grocery store in an underserved urban or rural area en part in that day, “we got that would otherwise be a food desert. commitments to sign on to” the PromoThe stories told by grocers were heartfelt, and the congresspeople and tion of Small Business Competition Act, aides they visited in their offices listened respectfully and asked on-point which would give the Small Business Adquestions. These were, in most cases, their constituents, after all, with the ministration the ability to study and report power to potentially vote them out of office, but beyond that, I saw a real on the extent to which antitrust enforceinterest on the part of lawmakers and their staffs in trying to understand the ment protects competition by small busipain points of local grocers — more than I expected, frankly. nesses — not just grocers. Having its finger on the pulse of what’s most important to independent grocery retailers and wholesalers is how NGA is able to serve them so ably. “We’re a member organization,” Ferrara emphasized. “It’s why we exist and why we do what we do for our members. That’s why we knew that this was the issue. This was the time to do it. And the feedback that I’ve heard so far today is overwhelming success.” NGA’s Fly-In for Fair Competition enabled independent grocery retailers and wholesalers to meet with members of Congress, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

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Bridget Goldschmidt Managing Editor bgoldschmidt@ensemleiq.com


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