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GENNEXT: MEET THE 2020 CLASS OF GROCERY DISRUPTORS!

FRESH FOOD Snacking and deli GROCERY TECH Exclusive research on tomorrow’s tech trends IN-STORE INNOVATION Shelves are getting smarter

THIS BIG GAME WE’ RE RUNNING

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BIGGEST

PLAY EVER! CELEBRITY TV HOST, SPORTSCASTER AND REPORTER

NFL HALL OF FAME QUARTERBACK AND SPORTSCASTER

ERIN ANDREWS

TROY AIKMAN

A SUPERSTAR team leads to superstar

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T HOW FIND OUTHE ON

IN S IDE ! COVER


GENNEXT: MEET THE 2020 CLASS OF GROCERY DISRUPTORS!

FRESH FOOD Snacking and deli GROCERY TECH Exclusive research on tomorrow’s tech trends IN-STORE INNOVATION Shelves are getting smarter

2020 RETAILER OF THE YEAR

Where Shopping Pleasure is a

CEO Todd Jones opens up about leadership, innovation and what makes Publix special

November 2020

Volume 99, Number 11 www.progressivegrocer.com


ADVERTORIAL

Move over tacos, Make way for Tamale Thursdays HOW MEXICAN TAMALES ARE FAST BECOMING THE NEXT LATINO FOOD SPECIALTY TO CAPTURE AMERICAN HEARTS AND STOMACHS. With Mexican cuisine as the third-most popular type of menu consumed in America today, it’s no wonder why US consumers have long adored Latino foods. Coined and trademarked in 1989, American pop culture has demonstrated its long-lasting love for Taco Tuesdays® for more than three decades. However, that may be about to change if Del Real Foods has anything to say about it, as it prepares to launch Tamale Thursdays into the American mainstream. Here are a few reasons why tamales may give tacos a run for their money: • Mexican tamales are most often associated as a holiday meal, but they are actually sold all year-round • Tamales are perfect for any meal time occasion including breakfast, lunch or dinner • Tamales are also renowned for being an excellent grab-n-go food

Sustainably Wrapped Tamales by Del Real Foods Del Real Foods tamales are sustainably wrapped, meaning they don’t come with all the harsh environmental impacts like using harsh pollutants when using corn husks. This new approach also helps the company conserve thousands of gallons of water every week at each of their facilities, all while preserving the same great flavor consumers expect. Product innovation like this has helped propel Del Real Foods to becoming the number one selling refrigerated tamales company in Amercia today. Simply heat, serve and enjoy With Del Real Foods, consumers can easily prepare authentic, restaurant quality Mexican tamales in minutes. Made with stone ground corn and filled with either seasoned pork, chicken, beef or cheese and mild chiles, American consumers can conveniently make great tasting meals that everyone is sure to love.

To learn more about Del Real Foods and their portfolio of heat and serve restaurant quality Mexican meals, contact: sales@delrealfoods.com ©2020 Del Real Foods is a registered trademark. Taco Tuesday is a registered trademark of Taco John’s. All rights reserved.

As consumers look for more convenient ways to plan their meals, our Mexican tamales offer a great, easy way to satisfy the family with a flavorful, fun alternative. – Chuy Cardenas, Founder


Advertorial

Grass-Fed dairy from Ireland Ireland’s Grass-Fed Standard sets a new benchmark for dairy Ireland has always been synonymous with lush green fields, fresh, clean air and plentiful rain. A key natural advantage that creates the perfect environment for dairy herds and allows grass-based dairy production to flourish across the island – but that has only ever been a part of the story behind our delicious dairy. Our dairy farmers continue to work with care, commitment and respect for traditions, so when it comes to grass-fed standards, Ireland is ahead of the field. And now we can prove it. Introducing Ireland’s new Grass-Fed Standard for Irish dairy. Developed by Bord Bia, the Irish Food Board, our Grass-Fed Standard is the world’s first independently verified standard that provides verifiable proof of the grass-fed status of each dairy herd. Therefore, it provides assurance for what we have long known to be true: grass is intrinsic to the quality of Irish dairy. The launch of the Bord Bia Grass-Fed Standard is particularly timely, as the benefits of pasture-raised dairy are being recognised around the world.

Research from Ernst and Young shows that 50% of consumers globally now express a preference for grass-fed dairy. Almost two thirds (64%) of consumers are willing to pay more for grass-fed dairy, driven by its strong association with terms such as ‘natural’, ‘healthy’ and ‘premium’. With our newly launched Grass-Fed Standard, Ireland is now ideally positioned to meet the accelerating international consumer demand for premium grass-fed dairy, as it provides rigorous assurance of Ireland’s commitment to producing dairy sourced only from pasture grazed herds. Bord Bia’s Grass-Fed Standard brings a data-based assurance that dairy is sourced from dairy herds that enjoy a diet that’s on average 95% grass and grass-based forage and graze in open pastures for an average of 240 days a year during their lifetime. Only dairy from herds that meet this threshold can bear the Bord Bia Grass-Fed Standard. Our standard uses data collected during farm audits as part of the Bord Bia national Sustainable Dairy Assurance Scheme – a voluntary scheme operating under Origin Green, Ireland’s national food sustainability programme. Through the Standard, Irish processors will now be able to provide proof to support the claim that their dairy products come from qualified dairy herds.

That’s why Ireland’s grass-fed herds produce prime quality dairy that is both naturally tasty and nutritious. For retail and food service customers of Irish dairy, the Bord Bia Grass-Fed Standard is the newest expression of an enduring national commitment to excellence that makes Ireland one of Europe’s leading dairy exporting nations and the natural choice for consumers demanding the highest quality, grass-fed dairy. Grass-fed dairy from Ireland. Where we work in harmony with nature, like nowhere else in the world. To discover more, visit irishfoodanddrink.com/irish-dairy

irishfoodanddrink.com


Contents 11. 20

Volume 99 Issue 11

22

Features 2020 RETAILER OF THE YEAR

44 2020 GENNEXT AWARDS

70 INDUSTRY EVENTS

22 Where Shopping is a Pleasure

Leading the Way

We’re (Still) All in This Together

Departments

14 NIELSEN’S SHELF STOPPERS

18 ALL’S WELLNESS

Baking Supplies and Staples

Helping Shoppers Snack Sensibly

16 MINTEL GLOBAL NEW PRODUCTS

112 EDITORS’ PICKS FOR INNOVATIVE PRODUCTS

Having turned 90 with another record-breaking performance, Publix is honored by PG.

6 EDITOR’S NOTE

Understanding the Publix Consistency Continuum 8 IN-STORE EVENTS CALENDAR

January 2021 10 MENU TRENDS

Snacking Innovations

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PG recognizes 40 individuals under the age of 40 who are making a difference now and innovating for the future.

Plant-Based Proteins

This year’s Top Women in Grocery talk leadership, diversity and, of course, the pandemic.

114 AHEAD OF WHAT’S NEXT

The Invisible Opportunity in Food

10


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

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

76 FRESH FOOD

GROCERY GROUP EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Mike Troy 813-857-6512 mtroy@ensembleiq.com

Keep it Cool

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

Seeking health, convenience and freshness, families head for the perimeter in search of snacks.

76

80 CPG INNOVATION

MANAGING EDITOR Bridget Goldschmidt 347-962-9395 bgoldschmidt@ensembleiq.com SENIOR DIGITAL & TECHNOLOGY EDITOR Abby Kleckler 773-992-4405 akleckler@ensembleiq.com SENIOR EDITOR Thad Rueter 773-418-8975 trueter@ensembleiq.com CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Tim Denman, Lynn Petrak and Barbara Sax

Coffee Capitalism at Work in Rwanda

ADVERTISING SALES & BUSINESS SENIOR SALES MANAGER Nella Veldran (NEW ENGLAND, SOUTHEAST) 201-937-7972 nveldran@ensembleiq.com

Westrock Coffee Co. became the nation’s largest custom roaster and a major tea supplier with an innovative brand-building philosophy.

SENIOR SALES MANAGER Theresa Kossack (MIDWEST, GA, FL) 214-226-6468 tkossack@ensembleiq.com SENIOR SALES MANAGER Tammy Rokowski (INTERNATIONAL, SOUTHWEST, MI) 248-514-9500 trokowski@ensembleiq.com JUNIOR ACCOUNT MANAGER-GROCERY GROUP Natalie Meehan p 773-992-4410 m 619 823-4926 nmeehan@ensembleiq.com

82 FRESH FOOD

82

Be Prepared

Grocers can leverage growth opportunities and meet consumer needs with safe, high-quality meal solutions.

ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE/CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING Terry Kanganis 201-855-7615 • Fax: 201-855-7373 tkanganis@ensembleiq.com CLASSIFIED PRODUCTION MANAGER Mary Beth Medley 856-809-0050 marybeth@marybethmedley.com EVENTS VICE PRESIDENT, EVENTS Michael Cronin mcronin@ensembleiq.com EVENTS DIRECTOR Karen Mahoney, 952-467-8592 kmahoney@ensembleiq.com

86 2020 GROCERY TECH TRENDS STUDY

MARKETING BRAND MARKETING MANAGER Rebecca Martin 773-992-4407 rmartin@ensembleiq.com

Dealing With Disruption

AUDIENCE LIST RENTAL MeritDirect Marie Briganti 914-309-3378

Food retailers invest to get ahead of what’s next.

SUBSCRIBER SERVICES/SINGLE-COPY PURCHASES Toll Free: 1-877-687-7321 Fax: 1-888-520-3608 contact@progressivegrocer.com

86

PROJECT MANAGEMENT/PRODUCTION/ART VICE PRESIDENT OF PRODUCTION Derek Estey destey@ensembleiq.com 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 REPRINTS, PERMISSIONS AND LICENSING Wright’s Media ensembleiq@wrightsmedia.com 877-652-5295

98 EQUIPMENT & DESIGN

Making the Case for Smarter Shelves and Labels

CORPORATE OFFICERS CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER Jennifer Litterick CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER Jane Volland CHIEF INNOVATION OFFICER Tanner Van Dusen CHIEF HUMAN RESOURCES OFFICER Ann Jadown EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, EVENTS & CONFERENCES Ed Several SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, CONTENT Joe Territo

Whether for consumer experience or inventory management, these solutions offer rewards going into 2021. 104 NONFOODS

Clean in the Age of COVID

Retailers and manufacturers can serve as trusted partners in consumers’ quest to avoid illness.

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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). 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 ©2020 EnsembleIQ All rights reserved, including the rights to reproduce in whole or in part. All letters to the editors of this magazine will be treated as having been submitted for publication. The magazine reserves the right to edit and abridge them. The publication is available in microform from University Microfilms International, 300 North Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. The contents of this publication may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the consent of the publisher. The publisher is not responsible for product claims and representations.


EDITOR’S NOTE By Mike Troy

Understanding the Publix Consistency Continuum usiness leaders often talk about how people are their companies’ greatest asset, and that is certainly true in the retail industry. Shoppers’ perceptions are shaped by their interaction with front-line employees, which determines satisfaction, loyalty and sales. The value of employees is even higher with food retailers, especially those that position elevated service levels in perimeter departments as a competitive difference. Now imagine you’re a retailer that aspires to provide such a high level of customer service that you go so far as to describe your stores as places “where shopping is a pleasure.” You even put that claim on storefronts and in marketing materials. That’s what Lakeland, Fla.-based Publix Super Markets did in 1954, when founder George Jenkins adopted what was, and still is, one of the most audacious claims in all of retail. He set a high expectation for shoppers and an even higher aspiration for employees, and set in motion a remarkable run of consistent growth for a company that’s observing its 90th anniversary this year. At year end, sales at Publix will be around $42 billion, profits will approach $3.5 billion, and the company will have upwards of 1,260 stores in seven states. That compares with sales of $5.8 billion, profits of $149 million and 375 stores in one state (Florida) 30 years ago.

Publix’s business model doesn’t get the attention of those of Walmart or Amazon, but the efforts of its employees and the remarkably consistent results they produce make the company worthy of food retailing’s highest honor: Progressive Grocer’s 2020 Retailer of the Year. The record results that Publix is on track to achieve are impressive, but so is the manner in which the employee-owned company goes about achieving them. Think of it as the Publix “consistency continuum,” a virtuous and self-reinforcing concept that results in improved performance along the lines of Walmart’s productivity loop or Amazon’s flywheel. 6 progressivegrocer.com

The consistency continuum at Publix begins with making sure that employees have what CEO Todd Jones and President Kevin Murphy describe as a servant’s heart. Those employees are empowered to serve shoppers, thereby earning their loyalty, which leads to sales and profit growth. Employee owners receive a portion of those profits, with some also reinvested to grow the business. That in turn creates more opportunity for current and new employees, and fuels dedication and a pride of purpose to make shopping pleasurable, which then attracts more shoppers. And on it goes. Publix’s business model doesn’t get the attention of those of Walmart or Amazon, but the efforts of its employees and the remarkably consistent results they produce make the company worthy of food retailing’s highest honor: Progressive Grocer’s 2020 Retailer of the Year. Financial performance is one aspect of this recognition, but so are factors such as community involvement, philanthropy and leadership on a wide range of social issues. A company’s future prospects also factor into the equation. Publix shines here as well, due to a culture of service that it can build upon to adjust to shoppers’ evolving expectations that a pleasurable shopping experience is increasingly digital. When the company’s ad slogan was introduced 66 years ago, the “where” in “where shopping is a pleasure” obviously referred to physical stores. These days, “where” can mean tapping on a mobile device, placing an order via an in-vehicle voice recognition system or sitting in a parking space to collect an order. The definition of what constitutes a pleasurable experience is also evolving. For many, it’s still a friendly cashier, the offer of carryout service, and buy-one-get-one-free promotions. Others desire a self-checkout experience and want personalized promotions. However shopper and societal expectations change, having a culture of service — meaning employees at all levels of the organization with servants’ hearts — gives Publix a durable advantage to extend its consistency continuum for years to come.

Mike Troy Editorial Director, Grocery Group mtroy@ensembleIQ.com


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IN-STORE EVENTS

Calendar

01.21

National CBD Month National Hot Tea Month National Oatmeal Month

National Slow Cooking Month National Soup Month National Sunday Supper Month

S M T W T F S

1

New Year’s Day National Hangover Day

3

National Fruitcake Toss Day. How far can your shoppers fling this polarizing seasonal dessert? Have them post videos on your website.

10

National Bittersweet Chocolate Day. Ask shoppers for their favorite baking recipes featuring this ingredient.

4

National Spaghetti Day

11

National Milk Day. Run a discount on cookies when purchased with this basic beverage.

5

National Keto Day. Have your retail dietitian offer guidance on how best to follow this trending diet.

12

National Marzipan Day

6

2

National Cream Puff Day. Showcase these delicate treats in the bakery department.

7

8

9

13

14

15

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National Bean Day National Shortbread Day

National Peach Melba Day

National Curried Chicken Day

National Tempura Day. Educate shoppers on how to create the perfect batter for shrimp, meat and veggies.

National Hot Pastrami Sandwich Day. Make it your deli takeout special.

National Bubble Bath Day

National Bagel Day. Inquire of customers what their favorite schmear is.

National Apricot Day

National Quinoa Day. This sometimes underappreciated Peruvian seed deserves a standout display.

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21

22

23

24

25

26

27

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30

National Hot Buttered Rum Day. Raise a toast with this ideal cold-weather quaff.

National Peanut Butter Day

National Peking Duck Day. Challenge home chefs to produce their own version of this Chinese restaurant perennial.

National Irish Coffee Day

31

National Hot Chocolate Day. Apprise customers of the wonders of hot chocolate bombs, and then brace for impact.

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National Popcorn Day

National Peanut Brittle Day. Your grandparents’ favorite candy is ripe for reappraisal.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

National Chocolate Cake Day. Offer tips enabling home bakers to get their best results.

National Granola Bar Day. Buy one, get one free.

National Blueberry Pancake Day

National Blonde Brownie Day. Do gentlemen really prefer blondies?

National Corn Chip Day. Provide a zesty but easyto-prepare salsa recipe to go with this everpopular snack.

National Pie Day. Run a poll of customers’ preferred varieties, and feature the winner(s) in the bakery section.

National Croissant Day. This flaky, buttery pastry isn’t just for breakfast.


MAKE YOUR CHEESE FLIGHT

FIRST CLASS.

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Cheeses from Switzerland. Switzerland. Naturally.

www.cheesesfromswitzerland.com


MENU TRENDS

Research & Analysis

Snacking Innovations Snacks have transformed from humble items like rice cakes and pudding cups to one of the most innovative categories as consumers seek out healthier, global and on-thego options. According to Datassential’s snacking research, “72% of consumers say they are more likely to eat a snack from home, versus 28% who would grab something at a restaurant or convenience store.” This is good news for snacking, since more consumers are working and learning at home than ever before. Younger generations are more likely to snack throughout the day as blended dayparts blur strict mealtimes with trending dishes such as breakfast burgers, avocado toast and loaded fries. Onigiri MAC stage: Inception — International markets, global independents, and fine dining. Trends start here and exemplify originality in flavor, preparation, and presentation.

A simple rice ball stuffed with anything from salmon to umeboshi (pickled ume fruit), and then formed into a triangle, seasoned with togarashi spices and wrapped in nori (a type of seaweed), onigiri is an easy on-the-go meal. This hand-held snack is a versatile platform for many savory leftover ingredients. Playful forms like panda- or bunny-shaped onigiri make it an Instagram-worthy snack. On fewer than 1% of U.S. restaurant menus Up 37% over the past four years 20% of consumers know it/10% have tried it/7% love or like it Menu Example Wasabi Chicken Teriyaki Onigiri Chicken teriyaki, rice, nori

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Almond Butter MAC stage: Adoption — Global foods aisle at supermarkets, casual independents, fast casual. Adoption-stage trends grow their base via lower price points and simpler prep methods. Still differentiated, these trends often feature premium and/or generally authentic ingredients.

Boneless Wings MAC stage: Proliferation — Proliferation-stage trends are adjusted for mainstream appeal. Often combined with popular applications (on a burger, pasta, etc.) This grown-up version of a chicken nugget blends the best of both worlds, with a crispy exterior and the ability to take on bold, innovative flavors such as Korean barbecue, bourbon glaze and gochujang. Often found at casual dining establishments, this shareable dish is extremely customizable.

Guacamole MAC stage: Ubiquity — Ubiquity-stage trends have reached maturity and can be found across all sectors of the food industry. Though often diluted by this point, their inception-stage roots are still recognizable.

Up 26% over the past year

This straightforward dip, featuring avocados as the main component, has been adopted by operators beyond its traditional usage. Guacamole has continued to transcend multiple dayparts in a variety of dishes, from bowls to sandwiches to trendy avocado toast. Used as a base for snacks, this dip has the ability to transform with globally inspired seasonings like chimichurri, sriracha and hummus.

On more than 1.4% of U.S. restaurant menus

64% of consumers know it/39% have tried it/29% love or like it

On more than 23.1% of U.S. restaurant menus

Up 78% over the past four years

Menu Example Coppersmith Brunch Wings Buttermilk-fried boneless wings, bacon and vidalia jam, scallions

Up 6.3% over the past four years

Almond butter, made by simply grinding down almonds into a paste, is a staple in many households, but still in the early stages of adoption at many operators. This high-protein snack can be used in both sweet and savory applications, including chicken satay, Buddha bowls or smoothie bowls. It has a complex flavor and texture that pairs perfectly with sea salt or local honey.

46% of consumers know it/ 20% have tried it/15% love or like it Menu Example Yummy Cupcakes Vanilla Almond Cupcake Vanilla bean cupcake filled with whipped cream, frosted with an almond butter cream, sides rolled in white sprinkles

On nearly 7.5% of U.S. restaurant menus

91% of consumers know it/84% have tried it/70% love or like it Menu Example Sancho Pistola’s Spicy Tuna Guacamole Sambal, scallion, sesame seeds


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HOOKS | SHELF MERCHANDISING | LABELING WWW.TRIONONLINE.COM/ART | 800-444-4665 ©2015 Trion Industries, Inc.


FRONT END

Shelf Stoppers

Shelf Stoppers

Frozen Vegetables TOTAL FROZEN VEGETABLE SALES REACHED $2.97 BILLION IN THE PAST YEAR

(52 weeks ending April 2, 2016) Baking Supplies and Staples Total Department Performance Latest 52 Wks 2 YA W/E 10/03/20

Baking Supplies and Staples

$6,727,369,747

Latest 52 Wks YA W/E 10/05/19

Latest 52 Wks W/E 10/06/18

$5,657,706,081

$5,548,859,065

Top Baking Supplies and Staples Categories by Dollar Sales Flour and Meal

Nuts

Baking Chips

Cake Decorations

Evaporated Milk

$1,200,000,000

Basket Facts How much is the Consumers chose average American frozen broccoli over household alternatives for a variety ofper reasons: spending trip on various baking supplies versus the 12% year-ago period? because it’s quick and easy

1,000,000,000

10%

because it tastes great

800,000,000

$4.27 9%

600,000,000

on baking supplies, up 2.8% because it’s

Spotlight on Frozen Broccoli

400,000,000

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

200,000,000

Frozen broccoli is most often used in a side dish, followed by as a main entrée. 3%

0 Latest 52 Wks 2 YA W/E 10/03/20

9%

Latest 52 Wks YA W/E 10/05/19

Latest 52 Wks W/E 10/06/18

Source: Nielsen, Total U.S. (All outlets combined) — includes grocery stores, drug stores, mass merchandisers, select OCCASION MEAL ITEM dollar stores, select warehouse clubs and military commissaries (DeCA) for the 52 weeks ending Sept. 26, 2020 29% TYPE CLASS 62% 35% 61%

In general, baking supplies attract the young-family multi-member household. This is DINNER LUNCH OTHER SIDE DISH MAIN ENTRÉE OTHER visible in the demographic of the baking supply shopper, but also in the crossmerchandising opportunities, where consumers of baking supplies are 50% more likely to purchase within the diapering needs category. Additionally, this year’s COVID-19 outbreak prompted a huge surge in indoor activities such as baking, as people were forced inside during nationwide lockdowns. Significant boosts across the overall baking category, particularly within baking chips and flour and meal, show that many households spent this time in the kitchen.”

healthy and nutritious

8%

because it’s low in calories, fat and sugar

$4.61

on all cake decorations, up 4.6%

$4.65 on measuring cups and baking utensils, up 9.1%

—Eric Brown, Manager - Global Content Workstreams, Nielsen

Generational Snapshot Which cohort is spending, on average, the most per trip on cake decorations?

$5.18 on mixing bowls, up 2.6%

Millennials

Gen Xers

Boomers

The Greatest Generation

$4.68

$4.57

$4.47

$4.35

Source: Nielsen Homescan, Total U.S., 52 weeks ending Aug. 22, 2020

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Source: Nielsen Homescan, Total U.S., 52 weeks ending Aug. 22, 2020


BIG INNOVATION From the Biggest Brands in the Store

© General Mills


MINTEL CATEGORY INSIGHTS

Global New Products Database

Plant-Based Proteins Marketing Overview

Plant-based proteins saw a boost in sales during the initial stage of the pandemic, along with other grocery staples, despite consumer leanings toward familiar comfort foods in uncertain times.

The growth of the plant-based protein market is supported primarily by adults who continue to eat animal meat. While the majority of adults continue to believe that animal meat is the best source of protein, many also believe that plant-based foods can provide enough protein on their own.

While those who avoid meat show higher confidence that plant foods can provide adequate protein, it’s clear that education is needed to assure consumers across dietary spectra that plant-based protein isn’t inferior to animal protein.

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

Key Issues

The vast majority of meat eaters agree that animal meat is the best source of protein. Additionally, nearly half of consumers who identify as flexitarians, pescatarians, vegetarians and vegans — diets that limit or eliminate meat — share this sentiment. Among adults who don’t eat plantbased meat alternatives, the top reason is that they simply prefer animal meat. Many consumers view meat substitutes as overprocessed. While meat-like plant-based alternatives have captured the attention of meat eaters, many adults who limit or avoid meat prefer less processed plant-based protein options.

What Does It Mean? Considering these varied preferences, brands will need to make a choice between catering to the demands of meat eaters or expanding offerings to please diverse palates.


Š2020 Goya Foods, Inc.

As a trusted partner for years, we couldn’t be happier to salute Publix for their well-deserved designation as the 2020 Retailer of the Year.


ALL’S WELLNESS By Karen Buch

Helping Shoppers Snack Sensibly RE TAILERS CAN GUIDE SHOPPERS ON WHAT, WHEN AND HOW MUCH. he novel coronavirus outbreak has dramatically affected American eating and snacking habits in 2020. IRI research indicates that consumers have increased their snacking occasions. The average consumer eats 2.6 snacks per day, while 42% of all consumers report snacking more than three times per day. For some, snacks are an impulsive replacement for meals as an instantaneous way to quell a nagging appetite. Recent work-fromhome and school-at-home trends have helped boost Americans’ frequent snacking habits to new heights.

What Do Consumers Look for in a Snack?

A number of factors influence snack purchases. Value continues to be an important element of snack selection, with 72% of consumers checking the prices of snacks before deciding on one. And, of course, taste still rules. It takes the right combination of sensory characteristics, including visual appearance, aroma, texture and flavor (sweet, savory, sour, bitter and salty) to truly satisfy snack cravings. Convenience remains a top priority in terms of a snack’s portability and immediacy of consumption. Snacks that provide value, taste and convenience, with broad appeal to the whole family, have the best chance of making it into the shopping cart.

How Can Shoppers Snack More Sensibly?

Shoppers need help finding snacks both to satisfy cravings and to provide a sense of indulgence in sensible ways. Retailers have an opportunity to guide shoppers on what, when and how much to eat when opting for snacks.

What?

By keeping a variety of better-for-you choices close at hand, consumers will have a better chance of snacking in moderation. Retailers can point shoppers toward snacks that support well-being, such as calorie or appetite control, protein or whole grain value, or functional ingredients known to promote cardiovascular, digestive and other types of health. Leading choices are guacamole and hummus dips, probiotic-containing yogurt and yogurt drinks, sushi, nutritional bars featuring protein or whole grains, cheeses, nuts and seeds, dried meat sticks and jerky, snack-worthy fresh or dried fruits and vegetables, and frozen novelty treats. Sought-after functional ingredients include collagen, CBD, nutritional yeast, plant proteins, omega-3s and essential oils. Furthermore, snack attributes such as gluten-free, GMO-free, natural, organic and no added sugar continue to resonate with shoppers. Salty snacks are being reinvented to feature as key ingredients sources of plant protein such as cauliflower, kale, beets, sweet potato, and whole or ground legumes like chickpeas or broad beans, while delivering the flavor and crunch of traditional standbys. In addition, plant-based jerky and a variety of nondairy

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versions of ice cream, yogurt, smoothies and milk are emerging to challenge traditional meat and dairy snack categories.

When?

Snacks are seldom planned. Throughout the day, snacking occasions are often triggered with a “grab-and-go” mentality as a way to energize and power through the day. Consumers may need a reminder to snack when hungry, rather than as a way to socialize, minimize boredom and ease stress and fatigue. Equally important, when consumers choose meals containing enough calories, fiber and protein, then fewer between-meal snacks will be needed to fill in the gaps.

How Much?

Pre-portioning snacks helps consumers achieve satisfaction and prevent mindless overeating. Retail dietitians advise that a reasonable snack ranges from 100 to 250 calories, with 3 grams of fiber, 5 to 10 grams of protein, and 12 or fewer grams of fat and sugar. Retailers can formulate suitable private label snack kits and merchandise single-serve snack pairings with a complementary beverage. Retail dietitian teams can use the ad circular, in-store signage and social media to amplify such efforts and deliver creative, educational, direct-to-consumer snacking campaigns that inspire shoppers to make sensible snack choices.

Karen Buch, RDN, LDN, is a registered dietitian/nutritionist who specializes in retail dietetics and food and culinary nutrition communications. One of the first supermarket dietitians, she is now founder of, and principal consultant at, Nutrition Connections LLC, providing consulting services nationwide. You can connect with her on Twitter @karenbuch and at NutritionConnectionsLLC.com.


BRAV

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Progressive Grocer: What made MorningStar Farms® decide to develop the Incogmeato™ brand? SY: Americans are becoming more and more conscious of how their lifestyle and diet impact the planet and their personal health—but they don’t want to sacrifice the meat taste they crave. MorningStar Farms® has been providing plant-based proteins for more than 40 years and is beloved by shoppers looking for veggie options. Incogmeato appeals to a broader mainstream audience—most notably people who want to make healthier choices without sacrificing what they love about meat. That’s why we innovated to create the Incogmeato™ lineup, which provides a wide range of 100% plantbased protein options that look, cook and taste just like real meat. PG: What does the line include? SY: Incogmeato™ includes Burger Patties, Original Bratwurst, Italian Sausage and Plant-Based Ground, all available in the fresh and frozen meat case at retailers

nationwide. Incogmeato™ Chik’n Nuggets are available now in the frozen chicken section at retailers nationwide. Incogmeato™ Mickey Mouse Shaped Chik’n Nuggets are available now in the frozen chicken section at retailers nationwide. All of the items are made with non-GMO soy and flavors from natural sources. They’re 100 percent vegan, which means they don’t contain dairy or egg. PG: Who is your target audience? And why is this important for grocery retailers to know? SY: Our target audience includes flexitarians and families—people who may not be fully vegan or vegetarian but are interested in reducing their meat intake or incorporating more plant-based alternatives into their diets. It is something they’ve perhaps been hesitant to do because they don’t think plant-based products will taste as good as meat. These products also appeal to key demographic groups: Millennials and Gen Z. Those younger consumers are eating more plant-forward foods for many reasons, including taste, health, availability and sustainability. And they’re shoppers all grocery retailers want to capture and build loyalty with. Because Incogmeato™ foods look, cook and taste just like real meat, they’re the perfect choice for meat-loving flexitarians. They appeal to people who want to eat more plant-based without sacrificing what they love about meat.

PG: Is there any category growth data that underscores why retailers should “beef up” the category, so to speak? SY: Overall grocery sales of plant-based foods are booming. The plant-based meat category continues to deliver especially strong growth: 14 percent of all U.S. households purchase plant-based meat, which equates to approximately 18 million households. And that’s really boosting

the category. Dollar sales of plant-based meat grew 18 percent in the past year and 38 percent over the past two years.2 Savvy retailers recognize the potential the plant-based market holds and are looking for ways to tap the opportunity that exists in the category. PG: Now for the question a lot of retailers might have: Why Incogmeato™ over other plant-based brands? What about the product line, and the kind of support you offer, that makes it a great choice? SY: Incogmeato is an entirely new brand with a full portfolio of products unlike anyone in the industry, brought to you by the same company who has been crafting veggie favorites under MorningStar Farms for more than 40 years. This next-gen lineup brings a juicy, meat-like quality geared towards flexitarians. When it comes to making food people love, it’s all about understanding your consumer. Incogmeato knows that 60% of Americans want to try plant-based proteins but haven’t because they’re afraid it won’t taste good.1 Incogmeato is the brand that knows taste is paramount. Through our launch campaign this year, we’ve piloted nontraditional first bite moments with customized sampling executions, unique influencer executions, robust PR and media support and more to do one thing: challenge skeptical flexitarians to give us a try and discover how it looks, cooks and tastes just like meat, as we’re continue the journey to making plant based proteins more accessible. The campaign, “Afraid you might like it?” captured people’s attention with crave-worth food moments and clever goading to highlight that there’s no reason not to try this plant-based food. 1 2

Kellogg Plant Protein DL (2020); The Cambridge Group The Good Food Institute’s Plant-Based Market Overview

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT Incogmeato™ by MorningStar Farms®, visit Incogmeato.com.


By Mike Troy

2020 RETAILER OF THE YEAR

During a year in which Publix Super Markets observed its 90th anniversary with another record-setting performance, the company is recognized as Progressive Grocer ’s Retailer of the Year. 22

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2020 RETAILER OF THE YEAR

Publix Super Markets

By Mike Troy

The popular food retailer shares insights on 90 years of success.

“You want to talk about science and innovation — bananas are the hardest thing in the world to get right every single day,” he says. “To execute perfectly on bananas is really hard.” Jones goes on like this for roughly an hour, stopping at key departments to expound on best practices for presentation and the importance of relentless consistency. In seafood, he talks about the company’s fresh, never-frozen value proposition, techniques for presentation in the display case and how to handle delicate filets. In the nearby sushi case, it’s about making sure the drizzle on top of products goes in the same direction. In the nearby meat department, he elaborates on a process called “shingling,” which involves placing cuts on a tray so that they’re the most attractive. This passion for food, this obsession with consistency of execution from Publix’s top executive, goes a long way toward understanding why the retailer is consistently ranked by shoppers as one of the nation’s premier food retailers.

odd Jones may be the CEO of Publix Super Markets, but it’s clear that he’s never let that title, or any executive position before it, get in the way of understandWhy the Publix Way Works ing the intricacies of the grocery business. The retail industry is filled with entrepreneurs who Walking through a Publix store in the retailer’s took risks and built spectacularly successful businesshometown of Lakeland, Fla., Jones provides a master class es, and Publix is certainly a good example of that. on the nuances of baked goods and fried chicken, and the George Jenkins moved to Florida in 1925 and began merits of hand-stacking avocados, color-blocking in produce working at a Piggly Wiggly store. Five years later, he and leveraging artificial intelligence to inform automatic-releft to open his own store in the midst of the Great plenishment decisions. Jones grows particularly animated when describing how to tell a perfect- “When you start thinking ly baked sub roll from one that wasn’t about the attention to team properly placed in a tray so that the ends were allowed to touch during baking. results, you start to reach He’s pointing at barely perceptible cracks across department lines, in the shell of the bread that will make for and you can help lead with the perfect sandwich. passion, because you’ve “There should be on the white rolls a little bit of a crack on the shell of the crust,” got to get involved.” he explains. “That’s a good roll. It’s going —Todd Jones, Publix Super Markets CEO to have just enough bite in it that the little pieces are going to break off in your mouth and it’s going to be nice and pillowy inside. You won’t see the cracks as much on the wheat.” Jones also gets excited when talking about the perfect crust on a piece of double-breaded fried chicken, a new Boar’s Head brand pre-sliced program that takes pressure off the deli counters, and the proper way to stack cookies in a clear package so that they’re face up in alternating rows. Working his way around the perimeter, he extols the virtues of hand-stacking avocados to achieve an extra day of shelf life, and the appearance of a perfectly merchandised produce department. “When you walk into produce, you shouldn’t even notice there are fixtures there,” he advises. “If you notice fixtures, we haven’t done a very good job with how we merchandise.” Nearing a display of bananas, the 30-year Publix veteran who started out as a bagger and became CEO in 2016, grows particularly energized. 24

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2020 RETAILER OF THE YEAR

Publix Super Markets Depression. A decade later, Jenkins mortgaged an orange grove “I am someone who benefited from the culture he had purchased to come up with a down payment for the first established by Mr. George,” asserts Murphy. “We Publix Super Market. What really separated Publix from other have a lot of love and appreciation for the foundacompanies and laid the foundation for 90 years of success was tion that he set for us.” Jenkins’ decision to embrace an employee-owned structure. There have been a lot of Mr. Georges over the Jenkins, whom those at Publix affectionately refer to as “Mr. years who helped perpetuate the Publix culture, George,” wanted employees to feel like owners of the compaand for Murphy, that individual was former CEO ny, so he decided to give them one share valued at $100. HowEd Crenshaw. ever, since it was the Depression and most employees didn’t “He was the president and CEO for the majority have $100 to spare, Jenkins offered a $2-a-week raise, which of my management experience, and he certainly epithe then withheld, so that at the end of the year, the employees omizes Mr. George and was a fantastic leader,” says had full ownership of their share. Murphy. “He’s been that Mr. George for a lot of peo“It was really the genesis of ownership within the organizaple, and today Todd is that Mr. George for a lot of tion some 90 years ago, before it became formalized in 1959,” people. We’ve been fortunate that we’ve had excellent Jones says. “You always want to make sure that new employees leadership throughout the history of Publix.” are aware of the ownership, but at the same time, Mr. George would also say that it requires sweat equity. It is not something that is going to be hand- “The tools and the ed to you. He also established at the same time a technology we use have promote-from-within organization. What’s so nice evolved and changed, about that is you can easily see that wherever you but it is still really about start out within the organization, you have the opoffering premier-quality portunity for growth.” The promote-from-within philosophy helps ex- product, fantastic plain how someone like Jones, a kid from tiny Oak service, and making Hill, Fla., could start out as a bagger in New Smyrpeople feel at home na Beach, Fla., in 1980 and advance to become CEO. It also explains why the average tenure of a and comfortable.” store manager is 25 years. —Kevin Murphy, “You get a sense early on of the opportunities Publix Super Markets President you have,” Jones notes. That was certainly the case with Publix President Kevin Murphy. Like Jones, he started out as a bagger at age 14, with the goal of saving money to buy a vehicle. By the age of 24, Murphy was already a store manager, and by 1991, he was part of the management team that led Publix’s expansion into Georgia. He spent the next 23 years helping Publix enter new markets before arriving at the Lakeland headquarters as an SVP. Murphy was named president in late 2018.

The Publix Timeline 1930

1940

George Jenkins opens the first Publix Food Store, in Winter Haven, Fla., on Sept. 6, 1930.

1940: The first Publix :Super Market opens with air conditioning, electric doors and terrazzo floors, on Nov. 8.

Jenkins opens a second store in Winter Haven.

1945: George Jenkins acquires a warehouse and 19 All American stores from the Lakeland Grocery Co.

1934: Average annual sales total roughly $120,000

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1949: Publix ends the decade with 20 locations.

1950

1955: Annual sales approach $50 million. 1956: Publix records a profit of $1 million.

1951: Publix opens a 125,000-sq.-ft. warehouse and headquarters complex to serve a growing base of 24 stores. 1954: “Where Shopping is a Pleasure” is adopted as the ad slogan; the first Publix branded items are introduced.

1959: Publix buys seven stores to expand in Southeast Florida and ends the decade with 55 locations.


2020 RETAILER OF THE YEAR

Publix Super Markets A Culture of Accountability

With ownership comes accountability, and a key aspect of ensuring consistency is setting expectations. Jones’ view is that Publix has to develop people to win their hearts and minds, and then fully invest in them and, to use a football metaphor, not let them outrun their coverage. “We’re not going to put a person in a role they are not capable of doing, and are willing to accept the consequences,”explains Jones. “We are going to make sure that person is as proficient and set up to win as possible. That way, you are front-loading accountability, and it is a great thing, because an associate knows exactly what their responsibilities are and the expectations the organization has of them.” Of course, the larger an organization gets, the more challenging it can become to stay grounded with front-line employees and maintain the type of culture that got the company where it is today. “We try to manage with servant leadership, and you have to lead with passion,” says Jones. “Mr. George would be the first to tell you that if this isn’t something you’re passionate about, you would be better off if you went somewhere else.” He adds that it’s also important to be a realist and let employees know that jobs at Publix aren’t Full-service meat and seafood departments are key areas where Publix strives easy, and that they’ll have to wake up every day to provide service levels that fulfill its value proposition of making shopping a and work hard at them. At all levels of the orga- pleasure. The retailer's prepared food offering, growing catering business and nization, there’s an emphasis on cross functional custom sandwiches made to order in the deli also serve as important trip drivers. training as a key enabler of performance. “At Publix, we pay attention to team results first, not individual department results,” notes Jones. “When you start It’s Not Just a Grocery Store thinking about the attention to team results, you start to Employees at Publix are taught early on that they’re reach across department lines, and you can help lead with part of something special, and the company’s empassion, because you’ve got to get involved. You can’t have ployee ownership model is a huge factor in bringsomeone in manufacturing, warehousing and distribution ing authenticity to that point of view. When asked who doesn’t have any knowledge about what they are dewhat makes shopping at Publix a pleasure, Murphy livering to the stores. It won’t work.” points to culture and the ownership model.

The Publix Timeline 1960

1970

1961: George Jenkins is elected president of the Super Market Institute.

1970: Annual sales reach nearly $500 million.

1963: Publix’s new Miami division begins serving stores with a 300,000-sq.ft. distribution center. 1964: Publix opens its 100th store.

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1975: The first photodeveloping lab opens. 1979: The opening of 15 stores sets a new company record as annual sales approach $2 billion.

1966: The George Jenkins Foundation is created. 1969: Publix opens its first deli in Tallahassee, Fla., and ends the decade with 150 stores.

1974: Annual sales reach $1 billion.

1972: A bakery plant is opened. 1973: Publix adds a produce distribution center.


2020 RETAILER OF THE YEAR

Publix Super Markets “Everything goes back to culture, and it can be defined a lot of different ways,” he replies. “I define it as ownership. It is incredibly important to always talk to our associates about how fortunate we are to be owners and contribute to the success of a Fortune 100 company, how blessed we are that Mr. George had the insight and heart so many years ago to give back a large portion of his company to the associate helping to make the company successful. That is very uncommon.” Sharing the company’s legacy is a continual process, due to inevitable turnover and the onboarding of the next teenage bagger who could become a senior executive like Jones or Murphy. “How do we help them understand what makes Publix different, and how do we help them understand we aren’t just a grocery store?” muses Murphy, referring to employees who are newer to the company. “If people think like owners, they are going to behave like owners.” Another aspect of making shopping a pleasure means making sure that employees are set up for success at store level. Standardized processes and structure facilitate training and help employees take care of customers. “This isn’t a complicated business, and it really hasn’t changed very much over our 90 years of operation,” observes Murphy. “The tools and the technology we use have evolved and changed, but it is still really about offering premier-quality product, fantastic service, and making people feel at home and comfortable.”

Hand-stacked produce at Publix helps extend shelf life, and the attractive presentation is another key differentiator of a value proposition rooted in service.

macy systems, the security of payment and data storage systems, and an auto-replenishment system that benefits from fine-tuning by artificial-intelligence systems. “Where innovation matters to the customer on a consistent basis is where we will lean in hard,” he says. “There is also a difference between innovation and continuous improvement. We believe the winners for the long haul continuously improve inch by inch every single day on a million things, versus one thing that might work one out of a million times.”

How Publix Defines Innovation

Publix isn’t the name seen in the latest headlines about experiments with drones, autonomous deliveries or in-store robots, and that’s OK with Jones. “Some people get confused about what really is innovative or what has evolved,” he says. “We may not do innovation to the absolute cutting edge, but we do a lot more innovation than people see. Most of our aggressive innovation is on the back side, where we know it’s going to impact the customer on the front side. You’ll never see it physically, other than noticing inventory is in a better position, or store locations are improved with parking lots that are easier to get in and out of.” Innovation in information technology is always hard to see, but Jones notes that it shows up in the efficiency of the phar-

Inside The Publix Green House

Walk past the loading docks of a Publix warehouse in Lakeland and up a ramp, and you step inside a 35,000-square-foot space few people outside of Publix ever see. Welcome to The Green House, a facility Publix opened several years ago to focus on innovation and process improvement. Just inside the en-

The Publix Timeline 1980 1980: Publix celebrates its 50th anniversary with the rollout of point-of-sale scanning. 1982: The Presto! ATM network becomes available at Publix stores. 1983: Publix begins opening on Sundays.

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1984: The Lakeland deli plant begins operation. 1986: Publix opens its first pharmacy. 1989: Publix ends the decade with 367 stores, 62,000 employees and sales of $5.4 billion.

1990 1990: George Jenkins’ son Howard becomes CEO. 1991: The first store outside of Florida opens, in Savannah, Ga. 1993: The first store in South Carolina opens. 1995: The 500th store opens.

1996: Publix mourns the passing of founder George Jenkins at the age of 89, surpasses $10 billion in sales and 100,000 employees, and opens its first store in Alabama.


2020 RETAILER OF THE YEAR

Publix Super Markets trance, in large letters on a wall, Publix sets the ground rules and philosophy for those using the facility to help invent the future. The sign reads as follows: “When we at Publix look ahead, we are also glancing back to be sure that nothing we do, no new device we employ, no new design we conceive, departs from our original principle — to make Publix, in every way possible, the market where shopping is a pleasure.” The quote is attributed to Mr. George, a grocery industry icon who nevertheless tends to be overlooked somewhat when it comes to conversations about industry innovators. “I would describe The Green House as a learning lab where our subject-matter experts and teams from different units can test and innovate,” says Murphy. “‘Innovate’ doesn’t always have to be brand-new or mind-blowing; it can be evolving or making tweaks to improve efficiencies.” Seated near a replica of a Publix deli constructed of white foam core board to show the exact location of fixtures, Murphy describes the value of being able to experiment with operational adjustments in such a setting. “We are able to come in here unobstructed without impacting the customer, which is most important to us, and we can get all of the right people together to bless a new process, program or piece of equipment,” continues Murphy. “We can make sure we get it right in here, and then, when we put it on the blueprint and build it, we know it is going to be right when we spend the money and put it in a store.” A lot of retailers operate innovation labs, and they tend to focus on digital innovation. Publix’s facility is geared toward everyday operational considerations that affect employee performance and the ability to make the store experience pleasurable. “Most of what we do here is really about evolving,” Murphy observes.

Publix entered the pharmacy business in 1986 and today operates prescription departments in virtually all of its more than 1,250 stores.

The first Publix Super Market that George Jenkins opened 80 years ago set a new standard for innovation at that time and was described as a “food palace.” Built of marble, glass and stucco, with elegant terrazzo floors, the store had fluorescent lighting, electric-eye doors, frozen food cases, piped-in music, 8-foot-wide aisles and open dairy cases. It’s important to remember that it was 1940 in the central region of Florida, a state that was still a relative backwater at the time, with only 2 million residents. Most of those in the state didn’t have air conditioning back then, but Jenkins’ new Publix store did, and that made shopping there a definite pleasure during Florida’s sweltering summers. Jenkins understood the importance of “store experience” a half-century before retailers embraced the concept as a means to blunt the impact of e-commerce growth. Publix adopted its now-famous tagline of “where shopping is a pleasure” in 1954. Innovation can also take the form of process im-

A History of Innovation

Amazon is often heralded as a model of retail innovation, given its technology roots and new approaches to serving shoppers, such as the frictionless checkout experience of Amazon Go stores. Long before Amazon introduced its “just walk out” technology, however, Publix was dazzling shoppers with innovations of its own that unfolded over decades.

The Publix Timeline 2000 2001: A new 320,000-sq.-ft. corporate office opens in Lakeland, Fla.; Charles Jenkins Jr., nephew of George Jenkins, becomes CEO. 2002: Publix enters Tennessee. 2003: The first Publix liquor store opens. 2005: Publix surpasses $20 billion in sales.

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2006: Publix tops $1 billion profit for first time. 2007: The first GreenWise Market opens. 2008: Ed Crenshaw, grandson of George Jenkins, becomes CEO; Todd Jones is named president. 2009: The1,000th store opens.

2010 2014: Publix sales top $30 billion, and its first stores open in North Carolina. 2016: Profits first top $2 billion annually, grocery delivery is launched, and Todd Jones becomes CEO. 2017: The first Publix store opens in Virginia; curbside grocery pickup is launched. 2018: Publix employs more than 200,000 people, Kevin

Murphy is named president, and the first reimagined GreenWise stores open. 2019: Profits top $3 billion for the first time; construction begins on a 190,000-sq.-ft. home office expansion.

2020 2020: Publix breaks ground on its first distribution center in North Carolina and 10th overall DC; annual sales are expected to surpass $41 billion.


ON YOUR

90th Anniversary – & –

Retailer of the Year Award

Italian Rose Garlic Products LLC and La Mexicana LLC are Perimeter Brands LLC Companies


2020 RETAILER OF THE YEAR

Publix Super Markets provement, service enhancements and real estate strategy. For example, Jenkins recognized the value of a growth strategy focused on market density to improve supply-chain efficiency and leverage expenses such as marketing. The company began the 1960s with 55 stores, but ended the decade with 150, all of which were in Florida. By the end of 1990, the store count had increased to 375 locations, and Florida’s population was up to 13 million. The following year, Publix opened its first store outside of Florida, when it entered Georgia. Such practices are common today, but they were innovative approaches at the time. Publix also took action in areas earlier than its competitors by opening a bakery plant in 1972 and a photo lab in 1975. It rolled out point-of-sale scanning in 1980, which was a huge development at the time, as employees no longer had to price items individually. The company rolled out an ATM network two years later, and opened its first pharmacy in 1986. Publix dabbled in grocery delivery in the early 1990s, pulled back, and then relaunched the service in 2016, adding curbside pickup the following year. In 2018, Publix reintroduced its GreenWise format after that concept had first debuted in 2007, seeking once more to capitalize on natural and organic trends. “We’ve gone down this path before, and now we are back at it again,” CEO Jones says of GreenWise. “We don’t want to miss the opportunity as it continues to grow, because our data shows there is a customer there.” As for the new crop of GreenWise stores, Jones notes: “The feedback has been great. People love the experience and the product mix, and overall, they have been satisfied at this point.”

What’s Next

“More of the same” is probably the best way to describe the coming decade for Publix. The company has a formula that works: an obsession with taking care of customers. “We like to say keep the As [associates] and Cs [customers] before the Ps [processes],” observes Jones. “As Mr. George would say, ‘Treat customers like kings and queens, and your associates as your most important asset.’ The processes are going to get done. It really is about staying close to the customer, and they are moving faster than ever, and there is a broader set of customer dynamics than there has ever been.” Jones and Murphy are focused on positioning Publix to take care of shoppers’ needs, whatever form they take. What’s clear from the comments of both is that they view employee ownership, accountability, advancement potential, innovation and a strong sense of community as a winning combination. “As the communities go that we operate in, so does Publix,” asserts Jones. “Mr. George was asked once how much he would be worth if he hadn’t given so much away, and his response was, ‘Probably nothing.’ He understood the only way to receive was to give, and he established that in the genesis of the organization. To see our teams carry forward his vision is very humbling.”

Publix Delivers 30 Years of Consistency Sales growth: from $5.8 billion in ’90 to $41.7 billion in ’20 50,000 40.000 30.000 20,000 10,000 0

90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

Profit growth: from $149 million in ’90 to $3.4 billion in ’20 3,500 3.000 2,500 2,000 1,500 1,000 500 0 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

Source: Company reports; *Progressive Grocer estimates

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How Publix cultivates an army of servant leaders. By Gina Acosta t was a Tuesday evening, and a bagger at a Publix store in Largo, Fla., was chasing a customer down an aisle. The shopper, a middle-aged woman, had just grabbed a large wire cart from the parking lot and entered the store with it, but there was a napkin at the bottom of the basket, crumpled and seemingly dirty, left there perhaps by a previous customer. The bagger said to the woman, “Excuse me, ma’am, can I just grab that trash from your cart?” The customer replied, with a New York accent, “Why, thank you!” She was grinning from ear to ear, likely due to the fact that a grocery store employee would care enough about her shopping experience to run after her, grab a used napkin from her cart (in the middle of a pandemic yet), and throw it away for her. This scenario is just one example of how Publix brings to life its “where shopping is a pleasure” value proposition.

The company focuses on providing a food-shopping experience in which customers feel as though they’re being treated like royalty, something the company’s founder, George Jenkins, always said was Job One. Of course, finding the caliber of employee to provide this kind of high-level service, people who are obsessed with making shoppers feel happy and welcome, is extremely difficult, and it’s Publix’s senior manager of talent acquisition, Marcy Hamrick, who leads the effort to recruit that kind of talent. Hamrick today helps staff more than 225,000 positions in Publix stores, corporate offices, distribution centers and manufacturing plants. Hamrick, who has been with the company since 2012 and has a passion for training and adult education, says that finding and developing the kind of employee who would care enough to notice a dirty napkin in a shopper’s cart, and then chase them down to remove it, is daunting, but not impossible. You have to identify people who want to make a difference and serve their community, and then you have to make this servant-leadership strategy a major part of your organizational culture. “What we try to do first is attract people that have that servant’s heart,” Hamrick explains. “And Prior to the pandemic, roughly 35% of shoppers took advantage of the retailer's carryout service, an offering that Publix believes instills a culture of service among employees.

PROGRESSIVE GROCER November 2020

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2020 RETAILER OF THE YEAR

Publix Super Markets Where Working we do that with our community outreach. We also as one of the Best Workplaces for have efforts in high schools and nonprofit orgaMillennials. Employees from that genis a Pleasure Employee ranks continue to grow nizations. We also do the traditional job posts. eration, or those born between 1981 And in all of those circumstances, we reinforce and 1997, make up about 40% of Pub Number of the qualities that usually attract the right people, lix’s workforce. In the Fortune ranking, Year Employees which is serving the community.” Publix was acknowledged for accom2020* 225,000 Publix’s service culture, which Hamrick likens modating associates’ schedules and car2019 207,000 to being part of a family that looks out for one ing about employees. 2018 202,000 other and the community, guides not only how it It’s a smart strategy for Publix. As 2017 193,000 identifies and retains talent, but also how it supretailers move toward more tech2016 191,000 2015 180,000 ports its own employees, especially this year. heavy operations, Millennials and 2014 175,000 When the COVID-19 crisis hit, Publix gave their younger Gen Z counterparts, 2013 166,000 everyone in the Lakeland, Fla.-based company or Zoomers, can help older workers 2012 158,000 permanent pay increases, among other finannavigate the tech landscape. One of 2011 152,000 cial benefits and awards. The company has the ways that Publix attracts these 2010 148,000 hired more than 35,000 new associates since younger workers is via a platform 2009 142,000 late March in retail, and another 3,000 in discalled Tallo, which has more than 2 2008 144,000 tribution. Hamrick says that the company exmillion users in the United States. 2007 144,000 pedited the hiring process from what normal“Tallo is like LinkedIn, but for 2006 140,000 ly takes two weeks down to mere days, and younger generations,” observes Ham2005 134,000 2004 128,000 conducted some virtual interviews for corporick. “It allows colleges and business2003 125,000 rate positions. But the Publix culture dictated es such as Publix to find and message 2002 123,000 in-person interviews for retail positions. these kids and try to engage them in 2001 126,000 “We’re a very in-person company,” Hamrick either careers at a college, or employ2000 126,000 notes, “and so we decided we were going to ment with organizations.” She adds 1999 120,000 maintain that process despite the pandemic.” that Publix recently launched its first 1998 117,000 From the company’s executive ranks to the campaign through Tallo, through 1997 111,000 14-year-old bagger who just needs cash to save up which it was able to reach 35,000 stu1996 103,000 for a car, Hamrick says that the company looks dents, “and in an hour we had over 1995 95,000 for people who possess the qualities of public ser300 of them respond to a form where vice, a hard work ethic and organizational loyalty. Source: Company reports; we were asking them, ‘What would To detect those attributes in a job candidate, the *Progressive Grocer estimates you like to learn about Publix’s general retailer deploys a rigorous assessment as part of employment internships?’ ” the application process that helps identify those In addition to finding innovative characteristics. “That enables us to select for that servant type ways to attract servant leaders from all generations, of attitude,” she says. Further, when you capture somebody at Hamrick is also busy letting all of the learnings from age 14 just entering the workforce, that’s the best time to lay the an extremely challenging year sink in. servant-leadership foundation, Hamrick emphasizes. “We’re still going through each decision that “Sometimes it’s a little bit harder when they’re coming was made this year,” Hamrick says. “We are askfrom other organizations, because they have it in their mind ing ourselves, ‘Why was that decision made? Are already how people behaved in that previous organization,” there any risks associated with that decision longshe admits, “and to then retrain that, I think that is a little bit term?’ It’s healthy in any organization to have difmore of a challenge.” ferences of opinions about those things, so we’re in Despite that challenge, Publix does seem to be doing a good those discussions now.” job of attracting younger generations to its workforce. She says that Publix has experienced some turnThe company has been recognized by Fortune, not just as one over during the pandemic, and that the company of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in the United States, but might experience even more. As for the reason for this, she muses: “Because those people ... don’t have that servant’s heart or can’t find that fit? We know it’s not going to be for everybody.” “It’s the culture of the organization that It may not be for everybody, but Publix has excelled we’re focused on customers, and it’s in part because every employee is aligned to that serdemonstrated in the stores. And when you vice culture, which sends a clear message to everyone capture somebody at age 14 just entering across the company about the importance of customer service. Many retailers aim to adopt a service culture, the workforce, that’s the best time to lay but few instill it as a universal value, one that informs the servant-leadership foundation. ” everything their organization does, as Publix has done, and continues to do, successfully. —Marcy Hamrick, Publix Senior Manager of Talent Acquisition 38

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Congratulations on being named Progressive Grocer’s 2020 Retailer of the Year.

You’ve had a remarkable 90 years. And we’re honored to be your partner.

INMAR.COM


2020 RETAILER OF THE YEAR

Publix Super Markets

By Mike Troy

Competitors are encroaching on key markets.

eliberate” is a word that comes to mind when one thinks of Publix, and for good reason. The company has an operating model that performs really well and an effective real estate strategy, which is why a hallmark of the Publix growth story has been a measured and predictable expansion strategy. Consider that Publix opened its first store in Florida in 1930 and it wasn’t until 61 years later, after it had built a solid base of 400 stores in Florida, that it ventured outside the state in 1991 with its first location in Georgia. Subsequently, Publix entered South Carolina in 1993, Alabama in 1996, Tennessee in 2002, North Carolina in 2014 and Virginia in 2017. The strategy and growth pattern is clear, which means that Publix doesn’t exactly sneak up on competitors operating in states contiguous to its current trading area. Once it arrives, though, the company focuses on infilling to achieve market density. For example, even after entering Georgia in 1991, Publix continued to expand in Florida and has doubled its store count to more than 800 locations. Now the company’s infilling strategy is unfolding in other markets. Publix broke ground on the 10th distribution center in its supply chain network in February 2020, in Greensboro, N.C. The 940,000-square-foot refrigerated facility was due to be completed by the end of 2022 and create up to 1,000 jobs across the region by 2025, the company said in February. Then, in October, it\ the

A commitment by Publix to open its 10th distribution center in Greensboro, N.C., was a significant development for the state and community, as evidenced by dignitaries on hand for a pre-pandemic ground-breaking in February. Pictured from left to right: Jeff Phillips, chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners, Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan, Publix CEO Todd Jones, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, Publix President Kevin Murphy, and Gray Construction President and CEO Brian Jones.

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Three Decades of Expansion

Publix Growth at a Glance 1,254 stores in seven states*

VIRGINIA Store Count: 17 Year Entered: 2017

TENNESSEE Store Count: 46 Year Entered: 2002 NORTH CAROLINA Store Count: 48 Year Entered: 2014 SOUTH CAROLINA Store Count: 61 Year Entered: 1993 GEORGIA Store Count: 190 Year Entered: 1991 ALABAMA Store Count: 78 Year Entered: 1996

Source: Company report as of October 2020

timeline for completion was moved up and plans were also unveiled for 1.2 million square feet of dry grocery space adjacent to the refrigerated facility. Retailers don’t add that kind of supply-chain capacity if plans don’t exist to eventually put enough stores in place to generate a return on the distribution center investment. Publix currently operates 61 stores in South Carolina, 48 stores in North Carolina and 17 stores in Virginia. Those figures, especially the North Carolina and Virginia numbers, could easily double or triple without overly taxing the roughly 2 million square feet of new distribution capacity. The other major distribution facilities Publix operates are located in Boynton Beach, Deerfield Beach, Jacksonville, Lakeland, Miami, Orlando and Sarasota, Fla. Another facility is located in Lawrenceville, Ga., and the newest facility, which opened in 2017, is located in McCalla, Ala. From that last location, Publix can easily serve Memphis, a market it has yet to enter despite having a presence in Tennessee, as well as stores in Mississippi and the New Orleans area. Publix hasn’t revealed plans to operate stores in any of those areas, but it has distribution capacity within striking distance that would make it possible.

Competitors Encroach in Key Markets

While Publix is looking to capitalize on opportunities in its existing and newer markets, it faces new competitive challenges in its home state and beyond. For starters, a resurgent Southeastern Grocers plans to go public and is touting its exposure to

FLORIDA Store Count: 814 Year Entered: 1930

Store openings continue to grow Number Year of Stores 2020* 1,264 2019 1,239 2018 1,211 2017 1,167 2016 1,136 2015 1,114 2014 1,095 2013 1,079 2012 1,069 2011 1,046 2010 1,034 2009 1,014 2008 993 2007 926 2006 892 2005 875 2004 850 2003 801 2002 741 2001 684 2000 647 1999 614 1998 586 1997 563 1996 534 1995 508 1994 470 1993 425 1992 400 1991 389 1990 375

Florida as a key aspect of its investment thesis. The Jacksonville-based company operates 420 stores, pending recently Source: Company reports; announced divestitures, *Progressive Grocer estimates and 76% of those locations are in Florida, a state Moody’s Analytics forecasts will have population growth of 6% from 2019 to 2025. “We believe multiple key markets within Florida are underpenetrated relative to the national average as measured by grocery square footage per capita, including Miami, Tampa, Jacksonville and Orlando,” Southeastern Grocers said in its registration statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The demographic trend identified by Moody’s is something Aldi sought to capitalize on many years earlier, when it entered the Sunshine State in 2008. Since then, Florida has been one of Aldi’s fastest-growing markets. As of July 2020, it operated 151 stores in Florida, its second-largest market after Illinois, where it has 205 stores. In addition, Aldi has gotten a lot better at merchandising fresh food while maintaining its image as a low-price leader. Meanwhile, Aldi is intent on expansion in other Publix markets, too, and recently telegraphed its intent to ramp up store expansion in the region surrounding a new distribution center in southern Alabama slated to become operational in 2021. Also telegraphing its expansion plans in key Publix markets is Lidl. Although much smaller than Aldi, with only 110 stores currently, Lidl plans to open a 925,000-square-foot distribution center southeast of Atlanta, in addition to an 850,000-squarefoot facility it opened midway between Greensboro and PROGRESSIVE GROCER November 2020

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2020 RETAILER OF THE YEAR

Publix Super Markets Durham, N.C., three years ago. That volume of distribution capacity is easily capable of supporting upwards of 500 Lidl stores, which tend to be roughly half the size of a typical Publix. Another retailer encroaching on territory occupied by Publix is Wegmans Foods Markets. The highly regarded retailer, which also aspires to make its stores a place where shopping is a pleasure, entered North Carolina in September 2019, with its first store in Raleigh. Since then, a second store has opened in nearby West Cary in July, and four more locations are planned in the Raleigh-Durham area. Wegmans also revealed plans for a 1.3 million-square-foot distribution center in Ashland, Va. By the time the facility opens, in two years, Wegmans plans to have 25 stores in the Virginia and North Carolina markets and be expanding at a rate of two to three locations annually, according to commitments shared during the DC’s approval process. Another retailer with big and unorthodox plans to capture market share in Florida is Kroger. Publix competes head to head with Kroger in many markets, but Kroger has only one store in the far northeastern portion of Florida. It’s making a massive bet that it can gain market share by serving shoppers with an online-only model. One of Kroger’s automated customer fulfillment centers developed in partnership with U.K. online grocer Ocado is currently under construction west of Orlando, in the rural community of Groveland. The

355,000-square-foot facility could begin fulfilling online orders as early as next year throughout central Florida, including in Publix’s hometown of Lakeland, which is less than an hour away. As if Wegmans, Kroger, Aldi and Lidl weren’t big enough concerns, other retailers siphoning shoppers’ food dollars from Publix are Walmart and even Dollar General, with its own ambitious plans to grow sales of food and consumables. There’s no shortage of threats, but also plenty of opportunity ahead for Publix, as its approach to serving shoppers has withstood countless challenges during the company’s 90-year history.

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FEATURE

2020

Awards

LEADING THE WAY

PG recognizes 40 individuals under the age of 40 who are making a difference now and innovating for the future. BY ABBY KLECKLER Categorizing the grocery industry as a rapidly changing, dynamic industry has never been more accurate than it is now. When COVID-19 hit the United States in March of this year, we all saw food retailers, CPG companies, suppliers and service providers rush to respond to consumer demand while keeping both their employees and customers safe. Progressive Grocer’s 40 GenNext winners on the subsequent pages have all played pivotal roles in helping the industry adapt — specifically during these difficult times of the pandemic, but also more broadly for long-term growth. You’ll discover leaders who have been working in their parents’ stores since they were young children, and those

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with varying backgrounds that you never would have guessed would end up where they are now. You’ll find store managers and site leaders, and also scientists and accountants. You’ll learn the stories of men and women fighting for diversity and inclusion in the industry, and those aiming to mentor and recruit future leaders. Since launching the GenNext program, we PG editors continue to be impressed and inspired by the work that young individuals are doing in the industry. They’re not only innovating at their jobs, but also contributing to their communities in many ways that have become ever more important amid the uncertainty of 2020.


ahead of their time.

Meijer congratulates all GenNext honorees, including our own.

Becky Bronkema ¥ Ryan DeLeon ¥ Craig Matthews ¥ Justin Stricklin


FEATURE

2020

Kelvin Rodriguez

Rajesh Babu

Kolton Harris

Brandon Overmeyer

General Manager, Billy’s Marketplace

President and COO, Birch Benders

Category Manager, Brookshire Grocery Co.

Financial Planning and Analysis Manager, Brookshire Grocery Co.

Age 31

Age 39

Age 30

Age 23

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elvin Rodriguez began working at his family’s grocery store as a kid, fell in love with the industry and decided early on to do everything possible to best serve the business. Rodriguez became the first male in his family to graduate college and, after graduation, took over the store. After seeing his customer base shift more heavily toward Millennials, he has conducted his own market research and updated the store to fulfill that demographic’s desire for more in-store experiences. Determined to make his store a one-stop shop for customers, he has also added a beer bar and a coffee shop. Staying ahead of the curve, he implemented Instacart for e-commerce before the pandemic hit, and the service has seen tremendous growth at the store. His ability to look forward has served him well in the industry.

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Awards

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efore joining the natural pancake and waffle mix brand Birch Benders in 2018, Rajesh Babu held a number of strategic leadership roles and was involved in acquisitions while at WhiteWave Foods, which was acquired by Danone in 2016. Since Babu joined Birch Benders as its eighth employee, the company has added four product lines, distribution in more than 10,000 stores and a workforce triple its original size. He has built the company’s strategic growth plan process and organized an ad hoc research and development process in family kitchens to keep innovation moving during the pandemic. Babu also has a passion for giving back, donating his time to mentor and grow hundreds of entrepreneurs. He has become a go-to resource in the Colorado natural food scene for dozens of fledgling food companies.

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orking his way up from courtesy clerk to category manager, with a handful of promotions in between, Kolton Harris has brought exceptional growth to Brookshire Grocery Co. He’s raising expectations for building relationships with suppliers, conducting product and consumer research, monitoring inventory and merchandising efforts, and developing and executing business plans. While still a store director, he proved that he had a vision for merchandising and selling product, winning a company-wide contest by increasing same-store sales the most over the prior year. In his current position, he has developed programs to help bring the beverage aisle to life and extend it throughout the store, resulting in 8.6% growth before the pandemic. To adjust to pandemic demands, Harris has streamlined the promotional planning process with carbonated soft-drink vendors, which is beneficial now and will be in the long term.

B

randon Overmeyer started as a parking lot attendant in 2013 while still in college, and he was promoted six times in four years. After earning his bachelor’s degree, he entered the financial planning and analysis department as an analyst and was quickly promoted to manager, making him the youngest manager in the corporate office. Overmeyer was tapped by Trent Brookshire, the company’s COO, to lead a customer feedback action team, and he guided the team in compiling and analyzing data, and then assumed leadership for the results, meetings and follow-ups. He is also helping to revolutionize the company’s budgeting process, with increased accessibility to insights into results. Overmeyer is successful at building strong business relationships, bringing greater visibility to the company’s financial operations as a whole, and staying active through project leadership, committee responsibility and community service.


Congratulations to our GenNext winners! Thank you for your dedication to The Kroger Co. and the communities we serve.

Eric Behn Site Leader Manufacturing

Samantha Bock Manager of Service Governance Corporate Shared Services

Brianna Cid Assistant Store Leader Louisville

Catherine Mosich Laura Beth General Kovolisky Merchandise Lead Business Acceleration ConsultantMerchandising

Coordinator - Toys & Sporting Goods

84.51°

Corporate General Merchandise

Sunny Reelhorn Parr Executive Director, Kroger Foundations Corporate Affairs

Latasha Williams Division Recruiting & Training Manager Atlanta


FEATURE

2020

Austin Nutter

Kristine Ramirez

Joe DeCicco Jr.

Robert Baxter

Space Management Supervisor, Brookshire Grocery Co.

VP of Operations, C-Town and Bravo

Partner/Head of Purchasing, DeCicco & Sons

Director of Retail Business Processes, Fareway Stores Inc.

Age 38

Age 30

Age 35

Age 36

n his current role, Austin Nutter has streamlined and optimized every space management process and reconfigured department resources to meet the ongoing initiatives of Brookshire Grocery Co. Nutter and his team create store-specific planograms for 270 categories, meaning more than 85,000 planograms annually, using Blue Yonder’s planogram generator solution, a huge increase from when they manually built only 6,000 planograms a year. He has created user adoption within the company and presented at various conferences and webinars on the power of automation in category management. Nutter has made it possible for the team to update and cut in new items on a weekly basis instead of annual planograms, increasing planogram production by 166% and delivering best-inclass results. His collaborative nature ensures that Blue Yonder is part of the process every step of the way.

t just 11 years old, Kristine Ramirez would work alongside her dad in the grocery industry. She began her official career as a packer, and then progressed to cashier, and now she currently operates two stores in New York, is working on a construction site for a new store, and is overseeing and advising on two locations in Florida. Ramirez’s success comes in part from her ability to spot changing consumer interests and adapt her stores in response. One situation that exemplifies this flexibility is when she successfully advised her father to incorporate organic and plant-based offerings in one of the family’s New York stores. The location was originally adjacent to government housing, but it quickly became a popular spot for Columbia University students as the campus expanded. These students and staff have embraced the new offerings.

oe DeCicco Jr. grew up learning the grocery industry from his father and uncles. Then, as a senior in college in his early 20s, he opened his own DeCicco & Sons supermarket with his two cousins. Now DeCicco operates nine locations in New York — the most recent having opened this past October. He plans to continue scaling the operation without ever straying from the business’ original core principles, including strong family values, top-of-the-line quality and service, and a unique in-store experience. DeCicco also developed a DeCicco Cares initiative, which has donated food to local health care workers during the pandemic, given to organizations such as Autism Speaks and other local nonprofits, and created a scholarship program for employees. All of these examples show that in an industry that’s grown more competitive than ever, DeCicco is constantly pushing to raise the bar.

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nce Robert Baxter had graduated from college, he’d already had seven years’ experience at Fareway. In 2012, he was appointed to a newly created role as a member of the retail sales team training and development initiative, and was recently promoted to director of retail processes. Baxter has been integral to more than 30 new store openings and hundreds of store resets, and has directly influenced more than 60 interns, resulting in a 70% intern retention rate, with more than 18% currently holding a management position. He also brought together four departments to develop a technology tool that enhances retail operations with an all-inone movable workstation to improve efficiency in product labeling, store signage and pricing. Outside of work, he serves as a Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Central Iowa mentor.


SUCCESS BEGINS WITH STRONG LEADERSHIP. Sounds like SpartanNash. Congratulations to our three amazing associates for being honored as 2020 GenNext Award winners! We are grateful for your vision and leadership.

Dan Estelle, Director, Retail Meat & Seafood

Matt Van Gilder, Director, E-commerce

Jessica Wong, Director, Retail Marketing


FEATURE

2020

Kristen Friedman

Lindsay Gray

Planning Manager, Ferrero USA

VP, Corporate Controller, Grocery Outlet

Age 30

Age 36

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W

he operation and management of financial interests within a business can easily become its making or breaking point. Kristen Friedman joined Ferrero USA three years ago from Henkel Corp., where she rose through the ranks and was given increasing responsibility over larger budgets and developmental plans. At Ferrero USA, she organizes and guides the company through the annual plan development process, which includes ensuring that all deliverables associated with volume targets, sales budgets, KPIs and customer plan development are aligned cross functionally and completed in accordance with the process timeline. Friedman helped identify how Ferrero USA could save $8 million from its 2019-20 operating budget. She also goes above and beyond in mentoring and leading the associate team she manages, with the goal of operating as a high-performing team.

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hen Grocery Outlet went public in 2019, Lindsay Gray was a key member of the leadership team that executed a successful initial public offering, leading the IPO finance function. With 14 years in accounting and finance (including audit at Deloitte) and seven in the retail industry, Gray’s distinguishing combination of technical strength and a personable nature makes her stand out as a leader. She is only the second female leader at Grocery Outlet, and was one of four women who started a group called Working with Outstanding Women (WOW), an internal support network for female employees. Gray has expanded her compassion outside of her immediate team to foster a close-knit community of women at Grocery Outlet, and in 2019, she received the Jim Read Award for exemplifying the company’s values.

Joseph Pelland

Jeff Phillips

VP, Investor Relations, Grocery Outlet

VP, Operator Recruiting and Training, Grocery Outlet

Age 33

Age 37

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oseph Pelland has been with Grocery Outlet for five years, rising from the manager level to his current position. Since the company’s 2019 initial public offering, Pelland’s role has expanded from providing internal guidance and a financial point of view in the strategic decision-making process to also speaking externally with prospective and current investors. He was a key member of the team that developed and implemented a formalized process, structure and perspective as Grocery Outlet advanced from what had been a fully family-owned enterprise to a publicly traded one, while planning growth in a scalable way. Pelland’s ability to transform what had been a “gut-based” approach to investment into repeatable and consistent processes has been invaluable to the company’s growth and success. His work has strengthened the business even in the midst of a pandemic.

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fter six years of being responsible for strategy and analytics, focusing on broadscope company priorities and innovation, Jeff Phillips took on a more hands-on role in operator recruiting and training, driven by his desire to make a difference in people’s lives. He now has direct contact with, and influence on, aspiring independent operators, and has the opportunity to improve the experience and outcomes of the broader network. Phillips is overseeing a year-long revamp of operator training to make it scalable, consistent and mostly virtual. He and his team are also rethinking the program to embrace nontraditional candidates who don’t have previous grocery experience, as a way to more effectively deliver the “American dream” of entrepreneurship. His commitment to independent operators’ success is unmatched in the industry.


FEATURE

2020

Awards

Lindsay Capozziello

Terrell Towns

Pharmacy Operations Director, Harris Teeter

Store Director, Harris Teeter

Age 31

Age 38

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n her current role, Lindsay Capozziello challenges her team to think of the customer theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re serving and align their actions in a way that influences the customerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s life. She delivers quality counseling conversations on diet, lifestyle changes and medication adherence to achieve this mission. Capozziello has also led her team to a 65% increase in adult and adolescent vaccine administration rates, which translated to more than 35,500 Americans receiving protection from vaccine-preventable disease, and $3 million in sales. In addition, she serves as co-chair on the North Carolina Immunization Coalition and is a member of the North Carolina Association of Pharmacistsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; policy and advocacy committee. When COVID-19 hit, she ran one of the first pharmacist-driven drive-thru testing sites in an underserved North Carolina county.

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errell Towns joined Harris Teeter in 2011, and in 2016, he applied for the management development program. His work ethic, passion, drive and dedication resulted in a number of promotions to further his career path. In June 2019, in his first store manager role, Towns increased sales by 18% and reduced the total amount of out-of-stocks. In February 2020, he was then promoted to the Weddington Corners store, where he increased sales nearly 40% and achieved a new record. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he rallied his team to be strong and, with his dedicated leadership, got through difficult times while always maintaining a high level of customer service to keep shoppers satisfied. Towns is also dedicated to helping associates advance in their careers.


Samantha Bock

Eric Behn Site Leader, The Kroger Co./ Manufacturing

Contact Center Manager of Service Governance, The Kroger Co.

Age 39

Age 37

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rom producing baking mixes to milk to frozen pizza, Eric Behn has more than 15 years of CPG manufacturing experience at four plants, succeeding in technical and operational roles. At his first plant, he championed waste reduction, generating $300,000 in annual savings, while at his current plant, he drove the installation of two new production lines, increasing profitability by 50%. Behn showed his innovative spirit at the wastewater treatment plant he worked on in Greensburg, Ind., which was a constant source of complaints from the community because of the odor. He worked with Kroger’s corporate engineers to use new technology that would capture methane from food waste and turn it into electricity. The fully enclosed system eliminated odors, improved the quality of life for the plant’s neighbors and reduced the carbon footprint.

S

amantha Bock is a workforce management expert, leading human resource staffing into the next phase of remote customer support and growing Kroger’s presence into other countries, for a truly diversified model. She designed and implemented a multinational, geographically diverse service delivery model to ensure that customer needs are met at all times, and in spite of any single event. When the pandemic hit, she spearheaded the effort to double capacity by May 1, bringing up new vendors in Jamaica and The Philippines who could grow with the company while working from home even as they were also dealing with COVID-19. Outside of work, Bock is the board chair for Empower Youth, an organization focused on providing meals to children on evenings and weekends.

Congratulations to our very own 2020

NextGen Award Honorees

Brandon Overmeyer

Austin Nutter

Kolton Harris

Financial Planning & Analysis Manager

Space Management Supervisor

Category Manager

PROGRESSIVE GROCER November 2020

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FEATURE

2020

Awards

Brianna Cid Assistant Store Leader, The Kroger Co./ Louisville Division

Age 24

B

rianna Cid began her career at Kroger as a cashier and quickly took on additional responsibilities. Since becoming an assistant store manager, she has assumed the role of secretary of the African American Associate Resource Group for the Louisville division, and is leading a plan of action for diversity in the division. This plan includes a new division diversity manager position, a partnership with local universities for diversity training, a zero-tolerance policy for racial slurs and epithets, an inclusivity role stipulating that at least one candidate of color must be interviewed for any new position, and the Louisville division presidentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s involvement as a supporter of change. Cid was also recently named community giving affairs District 1 manager.

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Laura Beth Kovolisky Lead Business Acceleration Consultant-Merchandising, The Kroger Co./84.51° Division

Age 32

L

aura Beth Kovolisky seamlessly connects dots across the trifecta of experience (academic, practitioner and consultant); cross discipline expertise (supply chain, category management and sales); and perspective (CPG and retail) to deliver initiatives that are significant, scalable and sustainable. She reinvented the shelf for the dog food category at Kroger this past year by enlisting a CPG partner on advanced analytics that ultimately led to the development of five distinct customer segments. In market testing, she quantified the scaled size of the prize at $10 million-plus, and the initiative is currently being rolled out across the enterprise. She also championed job sharing as a flexible work option, and is currently piloting a program with benefits for both employees and the company.


Sunny Reelhorn Parr

Catherine Mosich DMM/Coordinator, Home Electronics, Toys and Sporting Goods, The Kroger Co./Fred Meyer

Executive Director, Kroger Foundations, The Kroger Co.

Age 33

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Age 38

o couple leadership results with business results is rare, but Catherine Mosich does this seamlessly as the head of a 30-person team of associates that has been instrumental in rolling out the company’s new Home Electronic Stores of the Future. She delivered new categories, products, fixtures and a robust décor package for four iterations of this dynamic, innovative format at Fred Meyer. Due to her success, plans are already in place to expand the format. Mosich has brought energy and innovative ways of thinking to brick-and-mortar locations, sparking a renewed interest from customers in this ever-changing environment and making them want to return, as well as helping Fred Meyer compete with online retailers.

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s executive director of the Kroger Foundations, Sunny Reelhorn Parr led the transformation of grant-making policies, governance, program focus and measurement to align with Kroger’s Zero Hunger | Zero Waste social impact plan to create a more equitable and efficient charitable food system. Her strong background in finance serves her well as steward of more than $20 million in grant-making every year. With a goal to increase the amount of healthy food that’s recovered and redistributed to people who need it, she started the Innovation Fund and managed its first open call in 2019, resulting in the first cohort of seven innovators with new solutions to prevent or reduce food waste. When COVID-19 hit, Parr quickly provided additional funding to help scale these innovators’ programs and recover more food from farmers’ fields.

CONGRATULATIONS to our very own

MICHAEL MARTIN GenNext Award Winner

PROGRESSIVE GROCER November 2020 10_16_SRS_GenNext_Ad.indd 1

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FEATURE

2020

Latasha Williams

Katie Clayton

Evan Ormiston

Division Recruiting and Training Manager, The Kroger Co./Atlanta Division

Senior Food Scientist, Litehouse

Becky Bronkema

Director, Plant Operations, Litehouse

Director Merchandising-Deli/ Bakery/Franchise, Meijer

Age 34

Age 31

Age 31

Age 33

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fter joining Kroger as an assistant store manager trainee, Latasha Williams rose through the ranks to her current position, in which she has achieved one of the lowest times to hire for applicants enterprise-wide year over year. She also developed a Train the Trainer process for new store assistant store managers, and has redefined the recruiting process from passive to active recruiting. Williams leads the division’s intern program, which now has an 85% stay rate, and has partnered with the corporate team to develop a standard procedure for the entire enterprise. She shows an innate ability to staff hard-to-source locations by leveraging nontraditional resources such as social media. In addition to her day-to-day job, Williams has her own nonprofit, Blaze-Her, to enable women to have a seat at the table via seminars and career coaching.

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n her six years with the Litehouse research and development team, Katie Clayton has developed more than 400 product formulas, with 75 of them entering the marketplace. In the retail channel, she has brought dozens of new salad dressings, sauces, marinades, smoothies and more to market, working cross functionally to identify flavor trends. In 2019, Clayton shifted to the foodservice and ingredient division, where she manages the technical side of the relationship with some of the company’s biggest customers, and is a key strategic partner when it comes to finding dressings and sauces to complement their salad kits, meal bowls, restaurant offerings and more. Clayton has a passion for coupling her love of food with her love of teaching. and is involved in local community education initiatives, including representing Litehouse at a local high school.

n his nine years with Litehouse, Evan Ormiston has risen from an entry-level employee to director of plant operations at the company’s largest manufacturing facility, where he’s responsible for more than 400 employees. In his current position, he played a pivotal role in a manufacturing automation project, installing higher-speed and better-quality machines that resulted in a 100% throughput gain. With his people-first mindset, Ormiston has had a tremendous impact on his team, in addition to driving process improvements. While he was still a manufacturing manager, his one-on-one coaching approach was instrumental in the promotion of 11 employees. Beyond his job, Ormiston is part of a plant managers’ group of manufacturing management professionals who meet monthly to discuss industry challenges, growth opportunities and other important issues.

n response to changing customer shopping habits, Becky Bronkema launched a meal solutions program led by the deli team that included a wide-scale rollout of heat-and-eat items, unified branding across the fresh department of the Meals Made Easy program, and dominant front end display of the meal solutions in all new stores. She and her team also pioneered the opening of two new food concepts at Meijer: The first is Humbliss, a new Mediterranean scan-based trading-bowl program, and the second is a partnership restaurant with Hissho Sushi. Bronkema is also testing a major disruptive labor and service change that would overhaul Meijer’s deli service salad and hot food components. Her professional affiliations include active involvement in a company resource group, Women at Meijer, and the Network of Executive Women.


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FEATURE

2020

Justin Stricklen

Kendall Williams

Director Store Support, Meijer

Director Market Format, Meijer

Marketing Manager, Menomonie Market Food Co-op

Age 32

Age 37

Age 27

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Ryan DeLeon

Craig Matthews

Director Meat, Seafood and Packaged Meat, Meijer

OVID-19 has been challenging for the meat and seafood category, but Ryan DeLeon is empowering collaboration and seeing record results. He partnered with local companies such as Gordon Food Service to alleviate its shrink while leveraging supply to help meet Meijer’s customer demand. DeLeon ran a 30% year-to-date comp while breaking $1 billion in revenue in just over six months. To offer customers innovative solutions, he developed a “ready-to-cook” meal destination where customers could pick their protein and sides, instead of choosing from predetermined combinations. His exclusive brat partnership with Bell’s, a Michigan-based brewery, is also on track to annualize more than $1 million in volume. DeLeon also co-led the Young Professionals (YoPro) group at Meijer, in which he provided opportunities for development and fostered partnerships with charities.

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uring the past eight months, Craig Matthews has led the effort to protect team members and customers during the COVID-19 pandemic. He led the rollout of Meijer Pickup as an extension of the COVID-19 response by working with IT, building out team member and customer processes, identifying and procuring all equipment, and designing and building the space within the store. Matthews was also a key leader on a cross functional team that reduced labor operating costs by more than 25%, while average pay still grew at a rate significantly higher than margin and inflation. What’s more, the processes and procedures regarding food safety, social distancing and health screening that Matthews and his team implemented have been adopted and put into use by the Michigan state government. Working diligently to keep so many people safe is his crowing achievement.

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eijer began debuting its small-format market stores in 2018 with Bridge Street Market in Grand Rapids, Mich. Since then, Justin Stricklen has taken responsibility for these markets, opening Woodward Corner Market, in Royal Oak, Mich., in January of this year and Capital City Market, in Lansing, Mich., this past October. He’s also leading a market store in Detroit that is slated for 2021. The stores are 100% self-checkout and designed to offer a new level of fresh and value in a smaller footprint, with more than 4,000 hyperlocal items and local food and beverage tenants. At the Woodward Corner store, and he and his team planned and got off the ground in just one week an April event to give away more than 60,000 snacks, along with beverages and an employee discount, to Beaumont Hospital staff. Stricklen is also a member of Meijer's crisis management team.

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enomonie Market Food Co-op, in Eau Claire, Wis., is Kendall Williams’ first time working in the grocery industry, and, in under a year and a half, she has taken the store’s marketing from reactive, unorganized and often ineffective to an efficient, well-oiled machine that produces powerhouse creative and ideas. She built and launched a modern website with e-commerce capabilities in less than 30 days and created the co-op’s first online personal shopping service, resulting in about $80,000 in online sales that would have been lost during the first three months of the pandemic. Beyond the online store, Williams has reimagined and relaunched the co-op’s education program, leading to a more than 70% increase in class signups before COVID-19, and developed effective campaigns for large sales events, many of which saw record-breaking numbers.


FEATURE

2020

Laura Rojo-Carrillo

Kevin Tottino

Ruthie Apple

Dean Ho

Value-Added Production Manager, Ocean Mist Farms

Category Digital Sales Director, NA Skin Care, Procter & Gamble

Senior Director, Analytics & Insights, P&G Kroger Team, Procter & Gamble

Director, Home Care Sales Kroger Team, Procter & Gamble

Age 36

Age 31

Age 35

Age 30

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he produce industry is in Kevin Tottino’s blood as the fourth generation in a nearly 100-year-old family business. For almost 10 years, Tottino has built and run the value-added operation of Ocean Mist Farms, introducing its first value-added item, Season & Steam Artichokes. The product line marries microwaveable packaging technology with the company’s flagship product to build a new market opportunity. He has also brought mechanized processes to the value-added production facility to boost both efficiency and plant capacity, which previously relied heavily on hand-picking and now uses auto-baggers. Additionally, as a member of the Annual Castroville Artichoke Festival board of directors, he helps organize a fundraising event for local parks and recreation programs, among other worthy causes.

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uthie Apple joined P&G more than nine years ago and has seen success with multiple promotions. She most recently doubled the business (in three years) as the Amazon skin and personal care lead. Now, as digital leader for NA skin care, she has once again rewritten the playbook for how to win in the digital retail arena. Apple tailors her recommendations to meet retail partners, and within six months, she helped double the percentage of business done online for Olay. The playbook she developed also allowed retailers to quickly take advantage of the exponential consumer shift to online shopping when the COVID-19 pandemic began. Beyond her day-to-day work, Apple coaches recruits from her alma mater, empowers her direct reports and is a leader of the Asian Pacific American Network.

ean Ho has proved his ability to work across the P&G organization and with various executive-level stakeholders to win the future of retail. He led the Kroger team to align the first P&G/ Kroger digital action plan as the commercial e-commerce leader over the past two years, crossing the $100 million sales mark to result in more than 230% growth. Ho leads a team of 19 that also created the first commercialized P&G/Kroger analytics and insights data platform for grocery, saving 10,000 hours of total team business by automating 80% of total business reporting, with data automation, innovation tools and a one-stop data shop. Ho also rolled out a paid search capability and led the first commercial API data connection between Kroger and P&G.

aura Rojo-Carrillo’s expertise over the past eight years at P&G has led her to her current position, in which she manages a $280 million-dollar business and a multifunctional team with Kroger across the Dawn, Cascade, Febreze and Swiffer brands. Under her leadership, the P&G business had already been growing by double digits prior to the March surge due to COVID-19. Rojo-Carillo has spearheaded efforts to offer lunch-and-learns, speakers and newsletters that champion diversity, equality and inclusion. In light of recent 2020 events of racial injustice, the time has never been more ripe to foster conversations of equality in corporate America. Creating an environment to educate, discuss and drive change is what Rojo-Carrillo has done, and continues to accomplish, at P&G.


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FEATURE

2020

Awards

Brandon Vick

Reid Tuenge

VP Sales, Procter & Gamble

Chief Transformation Officer, Save A Lot

Age 32

Age 38

randon Vick has been with P&G for a decade and is focused on making an impact on company culture, diversity and inclusion. He personally mentors more than 30 individuals within the company, and he has quickly ascended to new roles due to strong performance. Vick is part of the AALT (African Ancestry Lead Team), where he has increased the number of AA applicants and reduced attrition of AA employees on the P&G Walmart Inc. Global Customer Team. He was also a Network of Executive Women “male champion,” is an Inroads alum who co-led the corporate networking pillar, created a grass-roots recruiting strategy to grow the AA pipeline, and has won the P&G Great Manager of Others award several times. Vick embodies leadership by example and advocacy in the CPG industry.

ince 2018, Reid Tuenge has been Save A Lot’s chief of staff, VP of merchandising, SVP of retail operations and now chief transformation officer, in which capacity he’s responsible for driving substantial innovation that positively impacts the business. Tuenge is playing a huge role in the company’s transition from a mixed retail-wholesale model to a focused wholesale model as it re-licences its corporate stores to independent operators. Part of his focus is developing a turnkey program that provides the tools and support needed to allow each retail partner to go to market in the most successful way possible. Tuenge has also led efforts to establish strategic discount pricing to better position Save A Lot within its competitive landscape, and is leading the implementation of e-commerce into the company’s business model.

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Tapping Into the Power of the Next Generation

100%

VIRTUAL EVENT December 8, 2020

To learn more visit: PGgennext.com/2020

Congratulations!

GenNext Award Recipient

ROBERT BAXTER I Director of Retail Business Processes

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Michael Martin

Dan Estelle

VP, Merchandising & Marketing, ShopRite Supermarkets Inc. (SRS)

Director of Retail, Meat & Seafood, SpartanNash

Age 33

Age 35

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ichael Martin started at SRS as an assistant store manager, rising through the ranks to his current role (after six promotions) at only 32 years of age. He successfully developed and implemented several new initiatives, which helped drive customer experience, grow sales and improve overall profitability. These include a new perishables program that has focused recently on growing foodservice sales and expanding e-commerce. He deployed several creative tools to capture new customers via target marketing, tested new â&#x20AC;&#x153;one-night onlyâ&#x20AC;? sale events, and experimented with new pricing and promotional tactics to drive sales and profitability. Martin also developed a customer deli app marketing program, resulting in a 55% increase from the prior year. During COVID-19, he developed a new self-service program in seafood and bakery, resulting in higher sales and improved shrink.

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verseeing strategy implementation for the meat and seafood departments at more than 155 stores and supervising seven direct reports, Dan Estelle has a strong commitment to community support and the industry. In response to COVID-19, he partnered with seven local west Michigan restaurants to develop more than 35 products for a pre-packaged heat-and-serve program, donating 100% of the more than $100,000 in sales back to the restaurants. Estelle also leads efforts to reduce food waste: He lowered shrink through a partnership with the Flashfood app, interdepartmental promotion, and working with local food banks and food pantries. Heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s also a member of the SpartanNash 100 Club, meaning that he volunteers for more than 100 hours per year with local charities.


FEATURE

2020

Wilson Dos Santos

Natasha Melton

Director, Retail Marketing, SpartanNash

Category Manager III, Stop & Shop

Lead R&D Researcher, WestRock

Age 31

Age 39

Age 38

Age 31

att Van Gilder joined SpartanNash as a service clerk while still in college and then completed the SpartanNash ASD Training Program. After several marketing positions, he made his way to e-commerce and has grown business by leading innovative products such as the development and launch of Fast Lane delivery and introducing GPS location technology to its click-andcollect program to nearly eliminate wait times. During COVID-19, when e-commerce increased by 500% to 600% year over year, he worked to train more than 150 new shoppers, quickly purchased and deployed new equipment, and put in place a system that allowed tips. Van Gilder also donated Fast Lane services to local nonprofit partners such as the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge and local hospitals to enable their clients and patients to receive free delivery while undergoing medical treatment.

essica Wong executes key consumer-facing programs such as the rewards program and the retail health-and-wellness program, while also developing a comprehensive shopper marketing program, executing the weekly circular and in-store point of sale, and overseeing the promotional planning process. She led the Explore Michigan corporate initiative to create vendor partnerships and organize customer giveaways, so people could safely explore the state during COVID-19. She also transformed an in-studio partnership with two media outlets for “busy moms” and “ask an expert” segments into a one-woman show amid the pandemic, prepping the food and filming content from her house. Wong also launched a local campaign in July 2020 that included reaching out to farmers and producers for video and photos, and asking them to share more about themselves and their operations.

Matt Van Gilder

Jessica Wong

Director, E-Commerce, SpartanNash

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ilson Dos Santos has quickly progressed upwards in his 15-plus years at Ahold Delhaize USA’s Stop & Shop banner. In 2017, he was promoted to a category manager on the packaged and frozen meat desk, where he manages a quarter-billion-dollar business. He oversees more than 35 brands that fall under 20-plus vendors. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Dos Santos led his team through the resulting supply-chain issues and still was able to grow his business by double digits. He also headed one of the largest resets of his key categories to date, matching current market trends and shopping patterns. Wilson’s leadership over the past two years has demonstrated why diversity is needed in retail, specifically in the meat industry, and he has mentored various team members to reach their next level within the Stop & Shop organization as he continues to develop his bench of talent.

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sing her background in biotechnology to address a pressing foodservice packaging sustainability problem, Natasha Melton developed a recyclable, compostable paperboard cup prototype designed to hold hot and cold beverages, one of 12 winners of the NextGen Consortium’s NextGen Cup Challenge. Further, she was instrumental in marrying sustainability, performance and consumer appeal in her work on an alternative to traditional polycoat barriers used in foodservice packaging to prevent staining from oil and grease, helping develop EnShield Natural Kraft paperboard, which has been brought to market. Melton has also embraced the opportunity to inspire other young women of diverse backgrounds, leading a Women in Science and Engineering Group at WestRock, and a Pathways to Science program that recruits and develops young Latinas for STEM careers.


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CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL THOSE WHO PERSONIFY EXCELLENCE PepsiCo proudly celebrates its Top Women in Grocery and the integral role they play within our industry.

©2020 PepsiCo, Inc. All Rights Reserved. This ad contatins valuable trademarks owned and used by PepsiCo, Inc. and its subsidiaries and affiliates to distinguish products and services of outstanding quality.


EVENTS

Top Women in Grocery

We’re (Still) All in This Together THIS YE AR’S TOP WOMEN IN GROCERY TALK LE ADERSHIP, DIVERSIT Y AND, OF COURSE, THE PANDEMIC. By Gina Acosta

that we assume that they could.” The next systemic element for building a business is access. “Talent should reflect the world in which we operate and serve our consumers,” Turner noted. “So we first want to bring in diverse talent. When you have diverse talent coming in, I think we serve our consumers much better. So that recruiting element is really key, and it allows for the right representation.” The final element is belonging, or inclusiveness. “You can bring in a diverse group of people, but if they don’t feel included, then it rarely works,” Turner counseled. “And so that inclusiveness has to be what I call ‘the art of it all.’ You want people to feel their authentic self, the best version of who they are. And you need to build a trust between them and the organization so that you are able to benefit from the common ground, the understanding that leads to the ability to have people have an experience that they can see themselves thriving in.” Turner admitted that “achieving none of these elements is easy,” but the hard work must be done to see real progress. Next, a panel session, “Resiliency Roundtable,” taught attendees how to overcome the challenges of an industry in pandemic turmoil. Carolyn Bryce, organizational manager at Jacksonville, Fla.-based Acosta; Teresa Benson, e-commerce director at Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons Cos.; and Christen Heinsohn, director of transformation at St. Louis-based Save A Lot, all discussed the best leadership and survival lessons learned so far in 2020. Bryce said that the first big change for her was working full-time from home.

he year 2020 is almost over, but it feels like it’s been going on for half a century, with the COVID-19 crisis, economic turmoil, a national election, racial unrest, remote work and so many other challenges. Talking about those hardships was a priority for many of this year’s women leaders participating in the 2020 Top Women in Grocery (TWIG) Leadership Development Program (LDP). The prestigious program is part of Progressive Grocer’s annual Top Women in Grocery event, which honored 350 women this year in three categories: Senior-Level Executive, Rising Star and Store Manager. The TWIG LDP is a half-day curriculum comprising educational sessions taught by noted women business leaders that aim to enhance productivity, promote better decision-making, build better teams and deepen leadership skills. Due to the pandemic, this year’s program was held virtually for the first time, which allowed for an expansion of topics and enabled additional speakers to participate. Attendees heard from expert panels of When I think grocery and consumer-packaged goods industry about big trends leaders sharing their stories, advice and knowledge that are going to stick on how to advance in their careers and thrive in an through 2021, I think industry experiencing upheaval. Monica Turner, president of sales for North America value-oriented is certainly at Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble, kicked things a big opportunity. off by giving a masterclass in how to lead through —Lynette Ackley, Meijer diversity and inclusion, a major theme reverberating through the business world this year. Turner said that at least three systemic elements have to be in place in a business to allow every individual to truly feel like it’s a place where they can thrive. The first element is recognition. “At Procter & Gamble, there is a definite recognition that a diverse organization is central and core to truly having great business outcomes,” Turner said. “It’s been a foundational element of a belief set. So part of the journey that we’ve been on is to ensure that we’re recognizing what needs to happen in order to truly let everyone in the organization, particularly diverse individuals in the organization, find their ability to feel included in the organization and make the impact

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“I have two toddlers who are at home full-time,” she elaborated, “and suddenly there became an adjustment to being on video calls all day and navigating interruptions of children in the background of my calls.” Bryce overcame those distractions, however, as her role of supporting employees and managers through the crisis ramped up. She said that the company created training and resources on leading through a crisis and on managing employees remotely, and, for all employees, developed guidance and tools on navigating “this new reality.” According to Bryce, Acosta has been updating its messaging to make sure that it incorporates more inclusive and empathetic messaging. “I’m really trying to be understanding of what people have been experiencing and are currently experiencing,” she said. “So I think that as we continue to progress through the stages of the pandemic, my team will continue to evolve our offerings and focus so that we can continue to try to really best support our associates and continue to create that environment where they can do their best work.” Meanwhile, Benson noted that her e-commerce business grew overnight: It tripled as soon as the pandemic hit. “We had high demand for employees, high demand for equipment,” she recounted. “I had to work through this with my team and my employees, and their fears and anxieties surrounding COVID. I had to balance these demands, trying to satisfy our customers and ensure our employees would be safe. And we had to do all this while trying to get enough product from the warehouses.” In the next TWIG LDP session, Sarah Alter, CEO of the Chicago-based Network of Executive Women (NEW), moderated a panel of NEW corporate partners to share their learnings and best practices as to how to be a true advocate and ally to women-of-color leaders, as well as how to build and provide a corporate culture of diversity, equity and inclusion. Speakers on the panel were Ebony Wyatt, director of sales for natural organic at Minneapolis-based General Mills; Sue Ann Hong, president and CEO for the San Francisco-based Center for Asian Pacific American Women; Mike Ames, region VP at Richmond, Va.-based Altria; and Mary Lynn Phillips, CFO at Quincy, Mass.-based Stop & Shop. Alter started off by citing some sobering statistics: “In the last eight months, women are four times more likely to have left their job or taken a lower position within their organization.” She also mentioned another study in which families were polled, which found that women have one hour of uninterrupted time of work per day, while men have three. So the pandemic is apparently stalling at least six years of progress that women have made in the workplace when it comes to being able to have the same opportunities as men, Alter noted.

However, Phillips countered that Stop & Shop’s parent company, Ahold Delhaize USA, is prioritizing support for employees during this difficult period. “We’ve taken specific actions to ensure all associates were supported and felt appreciated for the efforts [required of them] during this extraordinary time,” she said. Some of the actions she cited included relaxing the absentee policy, increasing pay and offering more flexible work schedules. “The effects of this pandemic are particularly difficult for women, and especially women who are juggling their careers and the care [of] their families,” Phillips observed. “Many are facing difficult choices. I believe it’s our responsibility as leaders to find creative ways to support these women.”

Other key takeaways from LDP sessions included: Nicky Jackson, CEO of San Francisco-based RangeMe, and Carol Leaman, CEO of Waterloo, Ontario-based Axonify, gave some best tips and guidance on how to win in the business world with an entrepreneurial mindset. Kelly Ricker, chief creative officer of Cleveland, Ohio-based American Greetings, shared her secrets for translating creativity to the business world and improving leadership skills. Store managers Mary Griffith, of Williamsville, N.Y.-based Tops Markets; Wendy Watson, of Scarborough, Mainebased Hannaford Supermarkets; and Sheena Maravich, of Pittsburgh-based Giant Eagle, discussed front-line worker challenges during the COVID era: mask rage, wage strife, shortages, out-of-stocks, sanitation challenges, shift work changes, anxiety, stress, and caring for high-risk workers who are more susceptible to getting sick. Cherie Phipps, director of the Retail Management Certificate Program at the Lakewood, Calif.-based Western Association of Food Chains, and Cynthia McCloud, program director of the Los Angeles-based USC Food Industry Management Program, discussed how to reimagine talent development to help women get ahead in the grocery industry, as well as the skills that pave the way for leadership roles and opportunities. Finally, Sarah Mastrorocco, VP of the pickup program at San Francisco-based Instacart, and Lynette Ackley, VP of fresh for Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Meijer, took us into the future by prognosticating the top trends we’ll see in grocery in 2021. “It’s definitely exciting to see how creative customers have become in terms of coming up with different meal solutions,” Ackley said, “so when I think about big trends that are going to stick through 2021, I think value-oriented is certainly a big opportunity. And that definitely can be around own brands, but also pack sizes, larger packs. And obviously, the digital piece, retailers that are able to take those experiences and make them easy and personalized. Those are the ones that are definitely going to continue to win in the future.” PROGRESSIVE GROCER November 2020

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ADVERTORIAL

MONICA TURNER, Procter & Gamble President — Sales, North America, spoke with Progressive Grocer at the 2020 Top Women in Grocery event about building the business through equality and inclusion. An excerpt from the conversation follows, highlighting Monica’s career journey at P&G and how true inclusion can be unlocked in any organization.

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Tell us about your career journey, how you found your leadership voice and how you have gotten to this point in your career. I started in P&G as an intern and what I loved was that it allowed me to be an entrepreneur from day one. Since that day, I have been so fortunate to be able to run so many different businesses. I always describe myself as a “possibilities leader,” and I’m a business leader at heart — so that first introduction to the type of experiences with P&G has truly allowed me to have a career that I wouldn’t even have thought was possible. But it is clearly possible in P&G.

2

Having risen the ranks in P&G

from an intern to President of North America Sales, how have you seen the importance of equality shift in your company?

From when I started at P&G, there was a definite recognition that a diverse organization was central and core to truly having great business outcomes. Equality and Inclusion is built into our business, not bolted on; it’s fundamental to P&G. If you attract and hire great talent, we want to unleash that talent to deliver business results. We fundamentally believe that a diverse workforce makes us better. With diversity of

in a diverse group of people but if they don’t feel included, it rarely works. Inclusiveness is about the “ART of it all” — people are their most authentic selves, they foster relationships and they build trust within the organization. This helps find common ground and understanding so that people create an environment they can thrive in.

We are still on this journey. Unlocking true inclusion is about systemic elements that allow for us to repeat best practices so that every individual feels this is a place they can thrive.

In my career, I was able to be the best version of myself because of individuals who championed me. Championing people who are different from you is really important as an informal development system. Champions lend their privilege to provide opportunities to others. This forms strong bonds that keep people empowered and inspired throughout their career. We have to invite and enroll more champions and advocates and hold them accountable so that they see their success through the success of the entire organization.

3

When we do these areas well, we see real progress.

thought, experiences, skills and styles, we get the best performance from each of our people because we create an environment in which they can thrive. You need to cultivate diversity to truly unlock everyone in the organization, particularly for people to feel included.

From your vantage point as a

leader, what needs to be done to build a more equal and inclusive environment that other companies can learn from? We aspire to create a company and world where equal access and opportunity to learn, grow, succeed and thrive are available to everyone. First and foremost, we have to provide access — or our ability to bring in great, diverse talent which reflects the world in which we live and the consumers we serve will suffer. And having diversity at all levels gives people the opportunity to see themselves and see what is possible within a company. The second element is belonging and inclusiveness. You can bring


FRESH FOOD

Snacks

Keep it Cool SEEKING HE ALTH, CONVENIENCE AND FRESHNESS, FAMILIES HE AD FOR THE PERIME TER IN SE ARCH OF SNACKS. By Barbara Sax

resh snack kits, containing everything from fresh fruit and vegetables to nuts, cheese and protein, are as popular as ever with consumers. Brianna Shales, senior marketing manager at Stemilt Growers LLC, based in Wenatchee, Wash., says that while healthy-snacking items have always been available in produce departments, they’re now front of mind for many consumers. “The shopping environment has changed drastically due to the pandemic, with trip frequency down and basket size up,” notes Shales. “Now that consumers are home with their families, snacking, especially healthy snacking, is more important than ever, and they are filling their baskets with shelf-stable, healthy snack items they feel good about.” Stemilt’s Lil Snappers line of kid-size apples, pears and organics is available in 3-pound resealable pouch bags. “Lil Snappers is a healthy snack option that comes in flavors kids love, and has enough fruit in one bag to feed two children for a five-day week,” says Shales. “The amount of meals and snacks consumed at home has been accelerated by the impact of the pandemic,” affirms Mandy Bottomlee, director of content marketing for Good Foods Group. “There is only room for this category to grow.” The Pleasant Prairie, Wis.-based company, which makes plant-based dips and better-for-you foods, recently launched Spinach Artichoke Parmesan dip. “During the pandemic, consumers are shifting from a reactive health culture to a proactive wellness culture, seeking foods that are nutritious by nature, with nothing added or modified,” observes Amanda Keefer, managing director of the Healthy Family Project | Produce for Kids, based in Orlando, Fla. Produce is a natural for the fresh snack segment, since it’s free from preserva-

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Key Takeaways As the pandemic sends snacking into the stratosphere, consumers are seeking healthier options from the perimeter sections. Innovation in the category includes creative combinations, squeezable packaging, added protein, vegan options, use of spices, international street food, snack pickles, chilled fruit/ vegetable bars, and non-plantbased items such as eggs and charcuterie. Merchandising methods like prominent dedicated sections and informational signage are critical to the success of perishable graband-go snack products.

tives and nutrient-dense. According to Keefer, though, retailers should also be looking beyond produce for snack pairings such as “cheese and apple, or almonds and berries.” “We have heard from a lot of parents that snack boards are a lifesaver,” she says. “If parents are creating a snack board, they are looking for snack board-esque items in-store, like a premade ranch-and-veggie snack pack, or a hummus-and-pretzel combo pack.”


Innovative Offerings

More new snack products than ever before are hitting store shelves. Beth Bloom, associate director of Chicago-based Mintel’s U.S. Food and Drink Reports, says that she’s seen innovation come from squeezable packaging, added protein (H-E-B Select Ingredients Bacon Cheddar Guacamole), vegan options, spicy versions of products beyond salsas (Trader Joe’s Creamy Cauliflower Jalapeño Dip), international street food (The Chaat Co.Indian Street Snacks Popped Chickpea Chips with a Savory Coconut Chutney), snack pickles, and chilled fruit/vegetable bars. Cincinnati-based Kroger, for example, has “expanded the selection of affordable, delicious and quality products for our customers who live a vegan, vegetarian or flexitarian lifestyle with its Simple Truth brand,” according to a company representative. The grocer’s Simple Truth Avocado Mash, a vegan, spreadable on-the-go snack, Along with its rebranded Boost Bentos snack line, Naturipe Farms introduced Bliss Bentos products to deliver more snack options for consumers.

and its cauliflower dips are two new snack introductions. On the national-brand side, Salinas, Calif.-based Naturipe Farms recently debuted several grab-and-go snacks. “We rebranded Naturipe Snacks and the original snack line as Boost Bentos to better align with our corporate rebrand,” explains Steven Ware, VP and general manager of Naturipe Snacks, a division of Naturipe Farms. The brand simultaneously introduced Bliss Bentos, a line of snack packs that pairs fresh fruit with granola and nuts or chickpeas in one portable package, to expand the original snack line and deliver more options for consumers. Heartier snack combos with an added boost of protein offer a mix of cheeses, nuts and fresh fruit, while on the sweeter side, combinations such as lemon coconut granola and chocolate-covered chickpeas, paired with fresh fruit, add a healthy twist to an indulgent snack. Sabra recently released Sabra Snackers Dark Chocolate Dessert Dip with Pretzels, a vegan snack that contains 55% less sugar (and fewer calories) than popular hazelnut snack packs. The brand has also introduced Sabra Snackers Classic Hummus and Veggie Chips, a creamy, crunchy combination of classic hummus and gluten-free veggie chips. “More time at home means more meals and snacks for all,” says Neha Parikh, associate director of marketing at White Plains, N.Y.-based Sabra. “Snacks you can feel great about enjoying or sharing with family take on new importance, even single-serve. We continue to innovate according to consumer needs.” Manufacturers have also been introducing more fresh products to satisfy consumers who want a protein boost. “We’re definitely seeing non-plant-based health-focused perishable snack options, especially those catering to keto diets,” affirms Mintel’s Bloom. PROGRESSIVE GROCER November 2020

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FRESH FOOD

Snacks

Rochester, N.Y.-based Wegmans Food Markets recently rolled out private label Charcuterie Snack Packs in three varieties that each include meat, cheese and a savory element. Even egg brands are getting in on the snacking act, including Nellie’s Free Range Eggs, which recently launched Sous Vide Egg Bites, grab-and-go SKUs available in three flavor combinations. The product line appeals to a variety of low-carb diets like keto and Paleo. “Since COVID hit, we’ve certainly seen demand increase for our products,” says a representative of Monroe, N.H.-based Nellie’s. “Eggs are a versatile, nutrient-dense whole food that is a great source of protein. We saw the opportunity to deliver

Stemilt Growers' Lil Snappers line features enough fruit per bag to feed two children for a five-day week, according to the company.

new formats and flavors. The company plans to evaluate new flavors for future launches.” Meanwhile, Virginia-based Smithfield has debuted Power Bites, breakfast bites of real sausage, egg and cheese in a 4-ounce portable pack that allows for an easy heat-and-eat snack. Power Bites are available in three varieties and are currently available in refrigerated sections of major grocery retailers nationwide, including Walmart, Publix and Winn-Dixie.

Maximum Merchandising Although primarily marketed as an on-thego breakfast product, Smithfield Power Bites can also be enjoyed as an anytime snack.

Alongside innovation, convenience and nutrition, merchandising is critical to the success of grab-and-go snack products. “We are starting to see retailers design and emphasize grab-and-go sections for produce snacking in the produce set,” notes Naturipe's Ware. “Traditionally, you may have seen a shelf of apple-based value-added products, but retailers are now focused on creating sec-

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tions [with] more choices, which in turn drives sales.” Malvern, Pa.-based Acme Markets, a banner of Albertsons Cos., clearly emphasizes its grab-and-go set, which is conveniently located near the front of the store in the produce department, with prominent signage. The section includes a variety of branded and private label fruit and vegetable packs. “H-E-B has been a leader in produce grab-and-go snacking for several years, but other retailers, including Kroger and Albertsons/Safeway, have made major pushes to lead the innovation in this category as well,” says Ware. “We are also starting to see independent retailers create these new sections. It is an exciting time for this category.” Signage highlighting the health attributes of fresh produce snacks is also on the rise. Keefer notes that “Food is Medicine” callouts, such as “Your entire dose of Vitamin C” or “Did you know tomatoes are a great source of vitamins A and K?” are being used more frequently in both in-store signage and online messaging. Good Foods’ Bottomlee points out that joint instant redeemable coupons or digital coupons are great merchandising tools. “Implementing social me-

The pandemic-fueled rise in demand for its products led Nellie's Free Range Eggs to deliver new formats and flavors, including a line of Egg Bites aimed at those in search of healthy snacks.

dia and cross promotions with other snacking brands also helps drive brand discovery and reach new audiences across multiple aisles of the store,” she says. “Merchandising-wise, it’s never been more important to have products that are easy to display,” says Stemilt’s Shales. Lil Snappers’ display-ready carton “helps the store placing the products front and center in produce departments, and the bag options reduce the amount of handling at retail,” she adds. In a refrigerated open-case display near the dairy department, Wegmans merchandises an array of protein-based snacks, including snack kits from Hillshire Farm Snacking Bistro Bites and Sargento Balanced Bites, Jimmy Dean Sausage Bites and Simple Scrambles, and Three Bridges Egg Bites. Meanwhile, the grocer’s Charcuterie Snack Packs are merchandised near the cheese and charcuterie sections.

PROGRESSIVE GROCER November 2020

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CPG INNOVATION

Solutions

Coffee Capitalism at Work in Rwanda WESTROCK COFFEE CO. BECAME THE NATION’S L ARGEST CUSTOM ROASTER AND A MAJOR TE A SUPPLIER WITH A UNIQUE APPROACH AND AN INNOVATIVE BR AND-BUILDING PHILOSOPHY. By Mike Troy

because his young children were on the trip as well and Alltel wouldn’t be able to offer telecommunications services in Africa. He relented though, and while the children of Ford and Kagame played soccer with the security team in the president’s basement, Ford and his host discussed economics. “We were talking about what it takes to attract capital to a developing nation and what would have to be different for Rwanda to be successful, compared to what most of its neighbors had tried,” Ford recounts. “We ended up in a discussion that went way into the night, and I became convinced he was serious about trying to let the free market get them out of poverty. He was going to do what he could to make it a place where investors could invest and the benefits of that could flow to the people of the country.”

t’s been a challenging year for capitalism. Vilified by many in America, especially in an election year when inequality of outcome in a system based on competition is exploited for political gain, capitalism is either viewed as what’s wrong or right with America. In the retail world, the principles of free enterprise are evident every day as some retailers and suppliers compete more effectively for shoppers’ dollars. The system has served the American consumer well, and Westrock Coffee Co. CEO Scott Ford is a fervent believer in, and beneficiary of, capitalism. So, too, are the small East African farmers that helped launch That’s how the Westrock company and brand. The forces of free enterprise it started: have been embraced in Rwanda, where farmers are benefiting an innocent from the increasingly popular brand they helped create. Little Rock, Ark.-based Westrock doesn’t have the brand conversation over awareness of Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts or Folgers, but a cup of coffee.” chances are good that anyone who drinks coffee has tasted —Scott Ford, coffee that Westrock touched, whether they knew it or not. Westrock Coffee Co. CEO Following the acquisition of S&D Coffee & Tea from Cott Corp. in January, Westrock gained the ability to roast, grind and package more than 220 million pounds of coffee annually, and is now one of the nation’s largest tea suppliers. “We believe we are the largest custom roaster in the U.S.,” Ford says.

Multi-Stakeholder View

That’s not a well-known fact in the consumer goods world, due to the company’s unique origins and Ford’s unlikely ascent as a coffee mogul. His plan at the time of the S&D deal was to create a fully integrated company whose scale could be used to offer the most innovative beverage solutions with competitive pricing to a global customer base. But to do so, he took a farmer-first approach and provided a premium price to growers while educating them on agronomy practices, business principles and the merits of giving back in their own communities, which is his multi-stakeholder view of capitalism. Ford became an unlikely coffee and tea industry executive after his career took an improbable turn 15 years ago. The University of Arkansas graduate began his career at Merrill Lynch and Stephens Inc., where he earned a reputation as a deal-maker. In 1996, he joined Alltel, a company co-founded in Little Rock, Ark., by his father, Joe. Coming aboard as an EVP, the younger Ford became president a year later, COO a year after that, and, by 2002, CEO. In 2005, he took his family on vacation to Rwanda, and while they were there, President Paul Kagame got wind of the wealthy businessman’s presence. Ford received a dinner invitation that he initially turned down

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The Westrock brand, with its origins in East Africa, is only one aspect of the company's business; it's also a roaster that sources coffee from 20 countries and is widely distributed under others' brands.

That struck a chord with Ford, whose own grandparents endured a hardscrabble life in Arkansas during the Depression, growing up with no running water, shoes or electricity. His grandfather was the only one of three sons who survived. “Capitalism is what brought that family from struggling to keep one of three children alive to a point where my father became a wealthy and successful person,” Ford notes. “That system is what Kagame was trying to get his mind around the first night we had dinner.” Fast-forward several years to 2007, when Alltel was sold for roughly $28 billion. Ford was only 46 at the time, independently wealthy and planning to take a year off to evaluate what to do with the rest of his life.

Rwanda Beckons

After the sale of Alltel, Ford headed back to Rwanda with a small group of other executives intent on uncovering an investment that could help the nation’s economy grow. The group looked at all types of medium-sized businesses that, with an infusion of cash, could create opportunity for Rwandans. Unable to locate a suitable opportunity, Ford was having a cup of coffee at a café and thought, “This is some of the best coffee I’ve ever had in my life.” The coffee was grown locally, but Ford soon learned that the farmers were struggling financially because the price they received was roughly half of what those in neighboring countries were paid, due to supply-chain challenges and a lack of modern roasting infrastructure. “That’s how it started: an innocent conversation over a cup of coffee,” Ford says of Westrock’s origins. There were only two roasting mills in the country, and when one of the dilapidated facilities came up for auction, Ford bought it. Westrock was now in business, and the lives of farmers were about to change. “We started in one Kroger store in Little Rock, and now we are in about 4,000 points of distribution, and we are going to keep chipping away at securing additional distribution,” Ford asserts.

Continuing Impact

The Westrock brand, with its origins in East Africa is only one aspect of the company’s business. As a roaster, Westrock sources coffee from 20 countries and enjoys widespread distribution,

often in the form of others’ brands sold throughout the hospitality, convenience and retail industry, or leading national brands that offer blended products. “We are a supplier, and we also have a brand that fits a slightly different price point and flavor profile, but I don’t know if Westrock will ever be a national brand,” Ford says. He’s OK with that, however, because national brand or not, the impact of the company will continue to be felt as it scales and helps more farmers through a range of development programs. “The volume through the system is what gets money down to the farmer, which is the heartbeat of why we built the business,” Ford explains. “You can see it in the actual numbers in our three-year training program focused on agronomy, business and community development skills, where we teach farmers how to take the profits they make in their business and build communities so their children have a leg up to advance their relative standard of living. That’s how capitalism works.” Westock can document huge increases in farmers’ incomes, which it measures at the individual level, and so far, more than 30,000 farmers have completed the rigorous two-and-a-half year training program. Meanwhile, the company continues to invest, and in 2019, it built and opened the Mwito pre-primary school in a western province of Rwanda, capable of serving 320 students. That school is adjacent to an existing one with more than 600 students, where Westrock has invested in providing continuous access to clean water. There’s a lot of debate in the United States about the merits of an economic system that led to the creation of the world’s largest economy, which Ford notes causes bewilderment on the part of some in Rwanda. “When I go to Rwanda, people are talking about competing and growing their business,” Ford notes. “There are winners and losers in capitalism, but it is the only system that lifts the poorest of the poor out of poverty. That’s what is good about it.” PROGRESSIVE GROCER November 2020

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FRESH FOOD

Deli/Prepared Foods

Key Takeaways Despite a sales decline in prepared food offerings during the pandemic, thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s still shopper interest in meals that they can pick up or order, and grocers can step in to provide solutions. Variety and quality are pivotal in prepared offerings, with food retailers able to provide many pre-packaged options for all dayparts. Grocers should also boost their communication efforts and offer delivery and pickup options via enhanced technology.

Be Prepared GROCERS CAN LE VER AGE GROW TH OPPORTUNITIES AND MEE T CONSUMER NEEDS WITH SAFE, HIGH-QUALIT Y ME AL SOLUTIONS. By Lynn Petrak 82

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hen grocers first yanked self-serve hot food buffets, soup stations and salad bars last spring in the wake of shutdowns and reactions to the novel coronavirus, it was during a time of uncertainty and quick pivots. Now, as precautions and some COVID-19 restrictions remain in place heading into whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s shaping up to be a long winter, grocers are adjusting their solutions for consumers who are wary yet continually


SPONSORED CONTENT

Expanding the Meat Snack Category SPEAKING WITH… A Q&A with Marketing Directors Stephanie Leibke (Jack Link’s) and Tracy Fleischhacker Quigley (Lorissa’s Kitchen) Progressive Grocer: What are some of the new products you’re planning to bring to market at the start of 2021? Stephanie Leibke: At Jack Link’s we’re excited to introduce another flavor to the new line of Extra Thick Cut Steak Strips — Cracked Pepper & Garlic. This will add to the already successful launch of the Original Extra Thick Cut Steak Strips earlier this year. It’s an emerging form of meat snack that, from leading retailer data, has proven to drive 70% more incremental sales than the average new meat snack item. Tracy Fleischhacker Quigley: For Lorissa’s Kitchen, we can’t wait to bring our new 2.5-ounce Grass-Fed, Organic Beef Strips to all food and mass retailers beginning this January 2021. After tremendous success with our first Grass-Fed, Organic Original offering this past year, we’re ready to roll out these Grass-Fed, Organic Beef Strips in Original and Teriyaki flavors. Additionally, our Sticks portfolio is introducing new great tasting flavors — Seasoned Barbecue and Teriyaki — to capitalize on the tremendous segment growth. PG: When planning for the launch of these new products, how did you identify a need in the broader category? Stephanie Leibke: We heard from consumers that a top barrier for potential meat snack purchases is texture. Many consumers want a meat snack that doesn’t require a lot of work to chew. Extra Thick Cut Steak Strips address that white space. They’re thicker, heartier and more tender due to higher moisture, with a savory, meat-forward flavor that is steak house inspired. Tracy Fleischhacker Quigley: Lorissa’s Kitchen, founded by a mom, with a mission to better fuel moms and their families, has come to recognize Organic Food Claims as a more intuitive, powerful draw. Today, mothers are striving to improve the health of their families while also being concerned with the environment and humane treatment of animals. Our New Grass-Fed, Organic Beef Strips are perfectly suited for these consumers.

PG: What will be the big benefits to retailers when they introduce these new meat snack products to other customers? Stephanie Leibke: The big benefits of Extra Thick Cut Steak Strips are that this product brings in new households and drives incremental purchase with existing meat snacks consumers. As mentioned earlier, many consumers want a more tender meat snack. Extra Thick Cut Steak Strips deliver a more tender experience and will appeal to new consumers looking for that experience. Additionally, we have found consumers shop for the form of meat snack they want before they select the brand or flavor. Extra Thick Cut Steak Strips deliver a new form that meat snacks consumers will want to try. Tracy Fleischhacker Quigley: Our Lorissa’s Kitchen GrassFed, Organic Beef Strips are also a category driver. Meat Snacks is often perceived as a masculine category; yet, statistics show 60% of buyers are female. Many women are looking for healthy protein snacks for themselves and their families; and now with Lorissa’s Kitchen GrassFed Organic Beef Strips and our 100% Grass-Fed Beef Sticks, we have what consumers want. In 2019, Organic Food Sales reached $60B, with a +7.1% 4-Year CAGR. Lorissa’s Kitchen is excited to bring the highest food credentials (Organic) to Meat Snacks! PG: How does the expansion of the category excite you in the long term? Stephanie Leibke: The meat snacks category has just over 55% household penetration. That means almost half of households are not participating today and that’s significant opportunity for category growth! As we continue to identify the latest consumer trends and desires, and explore new, relevant forms to address the snacking needs of today’s consumers, we are excited and motivated by how Jack Link’s can play to those needs, driving more traffic and growth for our retail partners. Tracy Fleischhacker Quigley: To help drive category household penetration, it’s critical to provide solutions that overcome the category’s consumption barriers: not top of mind, negative health perceptions, taste and texture issues, and price barriers. Lorissa’s Kitchen, The Fuel-Good Snack, provides snacking solutions that are differentiated within the category but are familiar and welcoming to new consumers.

Visit jacklinks.com and lorissaskitchen.com to learn more.


FRESH FOOD

Deli/Prepared Foods

looking for products and meals to suit their needs. With fewer frantic searches for suppliers of cleaning products and paper goods, food retailers can look at inventive ways to keep the pre-pandemic momentum going for their prepared food programs.

Prepared Foods Snapshot: Then and Now

The momentum for foodservice at retail was real and growing in 2019 and the early part of 2020. According to “The Power of Foodservice at Retail,” a recently released report from Arlington, Va.-based FMI — The Food Industry Association, 63% of consumers bought from retail salad bars before the pandemic, and consumer engagement with hot food bars reached a high of 89%. Research from Chicago-based market research firm Mintel shows that sales of perimeter items, including prepared foods, grew to $210.6 billion from 2014 to 2019. While prepared foods had the smallest footprint in the perimeter, it was a department with solid, notable growth. Enter March 2020. The foodservice industry was arguably among the hardest hit after the emergence of COVID-19, with restaurants shuttered and consumers switching to cooking more at home. Retailers with foodservice operations were also affected, as indoor dining and self-service were shut down in many places. Consumer reaction has flipped with the times. “The Power of Foodservice at Retail” report reveals that only four in 10 shoppers

would return to self-serve areas right now, and then only if safety measures like hand sanitizer stations and employee/customer masking were in place. Those who previously bought prepared meals most often are going to the store less frequently and are shopping speedily when there: The FMI survey shows that those who buy foodservice at retail many times a week dropped from 14% last year to 11% today. Only 16% of consumers say that they consider retail foodservice when figuring out what to order out for dinner. That’s led to a hit in terms of sales. By Mintel’s findings, sales of prepared foods and in-store bakery items took a dive by as much as 40% versus yearago levels, at least in the early weeks and months of the COVID-19 crisis. That said, there’s still interest among shoppers in meals that they can pick up or order. Even though there’s been a cooking renaissance in 2020 out of both necessity and interest, cooking fatigue does set in on some days, and grocers can step in to provide solutions. Grocery stores can position their prepared foods and to-go offerings in a similar way to restaurants that have stayed afloat with delivery and pickup options. “There is a tremendous opportunity for retailers to recapture what they lost in prepared foods,” asserts Burt Flickinger III, managing director of New York-based Strategic Resource Group. After all, Flickinger points out, a retail foodservice program offers meal solutions that can be touted as being of superior quality, safe and budget-friendly for families. “Many cash- and credit-constrained consumers are looking for more affordable meals – several fast-food and family-dining operators are marking up the wholesale costs of food anywhere from 500% to 700%. To save money and eat healthy, people can go to the food retailers who are re-establishing high-quality prepared meals for grab-and-go and heat-and-eat,” he remarks.

Prepare the Way

As with any aspect of food retailing, there are different avenues to achieving success in prepared foods in the current marketplace. One of the first paths is understanding what shoppers want, and lately, it seems like

There is a tremendous opportunity for retailers to recapture what they lost in prepared foods.” www.masonways.com | 800-837-2881 84

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—Burt Flickinger III, Strategic Resource Group.


they want to make their at-home preparation and eating experience easier. A majority of people are mixing up from-scratch items with semi- and fully prepared items such as heat-and-eat mashed potatoes or ready-to-eat meat, “The Power of Foodservice at Retail” report confirms. When it comes to prepared offerings, variety and quality are pivotal. Although self-serve bars may not be an option, there are many pre-packaged options that grocers can make available for all dayparts as many people continue to work and study at home. Pre-packaged grab-and-go meals can include comfort-food dishes as well as good-for-you options that can bolster health and nutrition. Rotisserie chickens are familiar favorites, especially when bundled with other classics like Hawaiian rolls and containers of heat-and-serve mashed potatoes and vegetable medleys. Supermarket chefs can also get creative with take-and-eat or heat-and-serve meals for singles, couples and families. Assemble-at-home solutions represent another area of opportunity. “The Power of Foodservice at Retail” report found that although retail sales of ready-to-eat hot pizzas were down by nearly half, sales of crusts and pizza kits grew between 32% and 42%. Dollar sales of meal kits jumped 39% during the pandemic, compared with 7.1% in the year prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. According to FMI’s survey, 49% of shoppers are interested in meal “bundles” featuring a protein, side and/or vegetable. In lieu of self-service, other retailers are redeploying team members to dole out prepared food to their shoppers, either at the traditional hot food bar or behind the counter in the deli. Publix stores, for example, reopened their hot food bars this summer, with employees who make a salad for, or dish out servings to, shoppers.

In the Know

Beyond the variety of foods offered, communication is crucial in letting customers know that they can buy a hot meal from the supermarket as easily as they can call or click for a pizza or sub sandwich from their usual restaurant. As “The Power of Foodservice at Retail” report notes, “Marketing retail foodservice like a restaurant, separate from the grocery side, can help elevate deli prepared as a compelling alternative to restaurant food.” Creating this kind of foodservice destination at a time when retail and foodservice habits have been disrupted may involve some changes. “The Power of Foodservice at Retail” suggests adjustments like creating drive-thru or pickup stations, or making access easy for shoppers to pick up meals. FMI found that two-thirds of shoppers place a high priority on curbside pickup and drive-thru, and 70% agree that the ability to order food in advance would positively influence their decision to order from foodservice at retail versus a restaurant. As with other grocery products available via online ordering, offering the delivery of hot meals is another option to engage consumers hungry for hot prepared foods. Millennials are especially

Marketing retail foodservice like a restaurant, separate from the grocery side, can help elevate deli prepared as a compelling alternative to restaurant food.” —“The Power of Foodservice at Retail” report, FMI

interested in both pickup and delivery meals, according to “The Power of Foodservice at Retail.” Technology is key to making delivery and pickup easy and enjoyable for customers who use digital platforms to order meals. And technology will invariably play a bigger role in the future of prepared foods. For example, Hayward, Calif.-based Chowbotics has developed a robot that can make freshly prepared meals in-store. Finally, the upcoming holiday season is a prime opportunity for those with retail foodservice programs. Flickinger says that many retailers and distributors are effectively marketing meal solutions for holiday celebrations, citing DeLallo in the Pittsburgh area as a shining example. “They have some of the best prepared food kitchens anywhere, selling out of their flagship store, and are offering prepared foods for those who can buy it in-store fresh or ship it to family and friends out of town,” he notes. Rotisserie chickens are familiar retail foodservice favorites, especially when bundled with other classics like Hawaiian rolls and containers of heat-and-serve mashed potatoes and vegetable medleys.

PROGRESSIVE GROCER November 2020

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TECHNOLOGY

Special Section

5th ANNUAL

2020 GROCERY TECH TRENDS STUDY

Dealing With Disruption FOOD RE TAILERS INVEST TO GE T AHE AD OF WHATâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S NE X T. By Tim Denman

t has been an extremely challenging year for the retail industry overall. COVID-19 caused unprecedented disruption and forced many longestablished brands to implement an extreme operational response just to maintain a portion of their pre-pandemic sales. However, the pain and suffering caused by COVID-19 wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t shared equally throughout the retail world. Retailers of all types that have consistently invested in their omnichannel technology solutions were able to pivot more quickly to a digitally focused, socially distant-sensitive operating model. And they were better able to serve shoppers as a result. Nowhere was this more evident than with retailers of food and consumables. They embraced their essential nature and moved with speed to do what needed to be done to serve shoppers and keep employees safe. The result was a tremendous sales surge, new types of supply chain, and expense pressures, along with new insights regarding technological shortcomings and opportunity areas for the coming year.

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TECHNOLOGY

2020 Grocery Tech Trends Study As consumers hunkered down at home, they relied on the grocery industry’s ability to meet their changing needs through new operational models powered by a host of technologies working in concert to ensure that shelves were full and orders were met. While the segment has enjoyed rising sales, grocers report that the labor market (50%), employee and shopper safety (43%), and price competition (43%) continue to keep them up at night and will remain critical challenges into 2021 and beyond.

Opportunities Await

There are two sides to every coin, and each challenge presents an equally powerful opportunity. Unsurprisingly, given the increased reliance on digital shopping, grocers named advancing digital capabilities (60%), expanding curbside pickup (55%) and expanding mobile offerings (50%) as key opportunities that they plan to capitalize on over the next 18 months. Digitally influenced grocery shopping has been pushed to the forefront in the age of social distancing, and grocers are clearly looking to enhance their offerings. However, savvy grocers are finding ways not only to adapt to current market conditions, but also to continue according to their established multiyear road maps. As they do so, findings indicate that the overall grocery segment continues to expand, as 79% of respondents reported an increase in year-over-year revenue. More than half of the survey takers (52%) work for grocers with revenue north of $100 million, and a quarter are employed at grocers with sales of more than $5 billion. While the past year has been a whirlwind for grocers, they’ve taken the unprecedented disruption in stride and have emerged stronger than ever. Sales are on the rise, and the segment’s leaders are smartly reinvesting the increased cash flow into critical systems designed to meet changing consumer demand now and well into the future. The study’s key findings highlight that commitment and demonstrate grocers’ willingness to roll up their sleeves and do the work needed today to ensure a successful and thriving tomorrow.

Emerging Opportunities and Challenges Top 5 Business Challenges (Over the Next 18 Months) Labor market (wages, turnover, slow hiring)

50% Employee and shopper safety

43% Price competition

43%

Increasing margins/profits

38% Amazon

33%

Top 5 Business Opportunities (Over the Next 18 Months) Advancing digital capabilities

60% Expanding curbside pickup

55% Expanding mobile offerings

50% Developing personalized marketing capabilities

48% Expanding home delivery

45%

For example: 84% of grocers increased their IT spend this year. A difficult labor market (50%), employee and shopper safety (43%), and price competition (43%) were identified as top concerns. Advancing digital capabilities (60%), expanding curbside pickup (55%) and expanding mobile offerings (50%) are key opportunities that grocers plan to capitalize on over the next 18 months.

Grocers Speak

My company’s greatest opportunity is…

Upskilling team members

Optimizing online relationships

80% of grocers report that omnichannel customer expectations have increased over the past year. 72% of grocers currently offer curbside pickup, 67% provide delivery, 64% have click-and-collect, and 36% are able to ship online orders from the store. 91% of grocery sales originate at the store level.

Keeping new customers

Relaunching loyalty program

Skilled associates are crucial to long-term success, and over the next 12 months, grocers will be investing in education and training (48%), and recruitment and onboarding (41%). Getting real-time inventory right is a priority: 33% of grocers have kicked off a major upgrade to their capabilities, and another 20% will do so over the next two years.

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Improved omnichannel service levels

Meeting in-stock targets

Improved operational execution

Store expansion and remodels


ADVERTORIAL

Merchandising Mayhem Creates

NEED FOR NEW SPACE lthough the retail world was turned upside down by unforeseen events in 2020, there are essential aspects of retail merchandising and operations that remain intact.

A

No one said retail was easy, but these pandemic era challenges have inspired creativity on the part of fixture suppliers whose products help facilitate the execution of strategies on which many retailers are now reliant. For example, it is one of the fundamental reasons why fixture market leader Uniweb, Inc.’s dynamic corporate value proposition of, “We Create NEW Space,” proves timely in today’s retail environment. Retailers must organize and attractively present merchandise on fixtures that are affordable, durable, attractive, and flexible. That is a lot to ask of a humble fixture, an element of retail that tends to be viewed through a utilitarian lens. Savvy retailers know otherwise, though, and do appreciate fixtures for their ability to enhance brand value, favorably impact store experience, contribute to

supply chain efficiency, and bring in profits. As if those prospects were not lofty enough, fixtures today need to satisfy the latest requirements in an evolving retail world filled with fluid shopper behaviors. Most notably, retailers of all types are focused on reducing store sizes, repurposing space, and taking a more opportunistic approach to expansion, one that is based on real estate availability as opposed to cookie-cutter prototypes. These recent retail realities are in turn creating increased expectations when it comes to merchandising. Store operation teams now must deliver comparable levels of sales productivity from reduced selling space. The basic premise of Uniweb’s philosophy is that retailers can make better use of their existing space by re-imagining their approach to fixturing and employing more profitable types of high-density fixtures. The other key aspect of Uniweb’s value proposition is the company’s domestic sourcing and operations, which allow for a turnkey approach. Made in America means that in a matter of weeks

- as opposed to months — Uniweb designs, builds, ships and installs fixtures that satisfy retailers’ operational requirements and help merchants achieve sales goals. It is a powerful combination that resonates in a changed retail world where speed matters more than ever and ROI expectations have never been higher. Uniweb has gained an appreciation for these expectancies and others over the course of 50 years it has been working with retailers. During that time, the company and its team of seasoned executives and skilled workers have seen many changes in retail formats, expansion strategies and shopper behaviors. Past

changes may have been less dramatic and sudden than what has occurred of late, but the foundation of versatility Uniweb built over a half-century served the company well during the first half of 2020. Going forward, Uniweb and its unwavering philosophy of “creating new space,” manufactures a powerful combination that promises to serve the retail industry well, especially as speed and flexibility in merchandising and operations become more essential to success. For more information, please call 800.486.4932 or visit their website uniwebinc.com

Uniweb Queuing: Adaptable, Functional and Clean


Small Footprint, Big Profits: Meet the Self-Serve Kiosk of the Future Progressive Grocer reached out to Chris McAlary, Founder and CEO of industry leader Coin Cloud, to find out how DCMs can positively impact the grocery world. What exactly is a Coin Cloud digital currency machine? How does it work?

Q&A with Coin Cloud CEO on the Power of Digital Currency Machines in Retail

Over the past decade, a steady channel blurring has eroded the number of monthly trips shoppers take to the supermarket. After six months of quarantine, that number has dropped even further. Historically, self-serve kiosks have offered a solution, boosting the appeal of brick-andmortar locations by introducing new products and services that previously required making multiple stops. But with more options for online shopping and streaming, even the strongest-performing kiosks like Redbox are seeing a decline in traffic and revenue. Digital currency machines (DCMs) promise the highest revenue per square foot of all kiosks, and trends suggest they have a solid future in grocery chains.

Sponsored Content

A DCM is a self-serve kiosk that allows customers to quickly and easily buy, sell or trade digital currency, such as bitcoin and other virtual currencies, with cash. These machines offer a familiar experience with a large touchscreen interface and only require a mobile phone number to get started. Digital currency transactions are becoming more popular than ever before, with demographics of all ages, male and female, trusting their money to a virtual solution they fully control. You don’t need a bank account or debit card, and you don’t need to be tech-savvy. For the first time ever, novices and enthusiasts alike can experience the benefits of using digital currency. It seems strange to have a physical machine for buying digital currency. How did you come up with that model? I became interested in digital currency after college, but the options for buying bitcoin in the early days were pretty risky. When the first DCM prototype came out in Canada in 2013, it was a lightbulb moment for me. It took months to figure out the logistics, including negotiating with lawmakers about regulations for this new financial model, but I finally succeeded. I had a machine custom built and installed the first DCM on the world-famous Las Vegas Strip in 2014. I’m proud of what we’ve done over those six years, growing from one machine to over 1,000 and leading the trend on technological advancement. We have facilitated over 5 million transactions, all across the USA. I’m excited to have been part of the virtual currency journey from the beginning and to see it develop in so many life-changing ways. Today’s Coin Cloud DCM design has been revamped and improved a dozen times and we continue to innovate. Now Coin Cloud is the largest DCM company in the world, with over 1,000 machines and growing exponentially. Why would someone want to buy digital currency from a Coin Cloud machine? People use digital currency for a variety of activities. Some view it as an investment vehicle, while others use it for day trading or for remittance to family members anywhere in the world. The unbanked and underbanked use our machines to manage their finances and participate in the digital economy. And consumers can now use virtual currency for everyday purchases, from coffee at Starbucks to ice cream at Baskin Robbins.


What does the DCM industry landscape look like? Revenue

New Customers

Repeat CC customers returning to sell

From competitors who don’t allow cash outs

DCMs have been growing at a rapid pace, and recently passed the 10,000-unit milestone worldwide. This proves mainstream adoption of digital currency, and validates the DCM business model.

Trust

But while there are numerous DCM operators now, the vast majority of machines only offer the ability to buy bitcoin, Only 100% two-way digital currency machine and sometimes a few other currencies, with cash. Coin operator in the US Cloud is the only national operator with 100% two-way (bidirectional) machines that allow customers to both buy and sell digital currency with cash. This means eager consumers walking into the store with cash in hand, or withdrawing money to spend. Coin Cloud’s new DCMs are only 16” wide and take up 1.9 square feet of retail floor space. We offer the broadest range of currency choices and provide the easiest user experience for beginners. How can you assure customers that these machines are safe to use? Coin Cloud is the compliance leader, having researched and helped to create the regulation process before installing one of the first USA-based machines six years ago. This paved the way for competitors, who wouldn’t have existed without Coin Cloud’s efforts. We are fully registered with FinCEN as a Money Services Business (MSB) and follow Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures so our retail partners don’t have to.

Why should retailers consider adding a Coin Cloud DCM to their stores? There are three reasons retailers should install a Coin Cloud DCM: We attract highly coveted demographics for brick-and-mortar grocery stores, including millennials, who typically avoid traditional supermarket chains. The Gen-X, Gen-Y and Boomer generations who do shop at grocery stores are drawn to the simplicity of our machines. DCMs are a destination service, bringing in 350 new users per month on average, while at the same time presenting a new resource for your current customers. We market your location as providing digital currency services on Facebook and in both Google and Apple Maps, which attracts people from all over your metropolitan area. In addition, once a customer is in your store to use our DCM, research shows that they stay to purchase other products and services, spending more per average transaction at the retailer’s POS. We deliver the highest revenue per square foot in the store. Coin Cloud is also a fully turnkey solution — we install, service, maintain and regulate our machines, while providing world-class service and support. All we need is 1.9 square feet of space and an outlet. DCMs are future proof, providing a new standard for managing finances, and position our retail partners as technology leaders. Our vision is to have Coin Cloud DCMs in grocery store across the nation as we pursue our mission of bringing digital currency to all.

For more information on how to get a DCM installed in your store(s), give our Business Development team a call at 855-490-1989, or email us at Partners@CoinCloudDCM.com


TECHNOLOGY

2020 Grocery Tech Trends Study Digital Technology

fulfillment options, which helped them further the gap between the haves and have-nots when the nation went into lockdown mode earlier this year. Seventy-two percent of those surveyed report that they offer curbside pickup, 67% deliver straight to the customer’s door, 64% offer click-andcollect, and 36% are able to ship online orders from the store. Despite grocers’ established omni-commerce foundation, there’s still plenty of work to be done in the digital arena, especially when you consider that 80% of grocers report that omnichannel customer expectations have increased over the past year. To help satisfy customers’ growing demand for all things digital, grocers are in the throes of numerous major upgrades designed to meet immediate needs as well as set them up for years to come. The backbone of a quality digital experience is a rock-solid e-commerce platform. Without the ability to quickly and easily display products, collect payment and manage orders, everything else will fall short. Nearly a third of grocers (28%) are currently upgrading their e-comm platforms to ensure a seamless digital experience. In addition, noteworthy current projects include digital coupons (28%), remarketing (23%) and social media marketing (18%).

Major Upgrade Underway

E-Commerce Platform 28% Digital Coupons 28% Remarketing 23% Social Media Marketing 18% No Plans to Invest

Chatbots 60% Remarketing 45% Product Recommendations 30% CRM/Personalization 30% Omnichannel Report Card and Capabilities Benchmarks

Curbside Pickup 72% Home Delivery to Consumers 67% Click-and-Collect 64% Ship From Store 36% Free Delivery 28%

Digital Grocery Rising, Requires Investment

Grocers were later to the digital shopping game than other channels, but they made up for lost time during the pandemic. Investments that they made over the past few years were crucial in allowing them to quickly react to changing shopper behavior brought on by the pandemic. Leading grocers have been diligently introducing next-gen omnichannel shopping and

Status of Digital Technology

92

Will Start Upgrade Within 12 Months

Will Start Upgrade Within 12-24 Months

No Plans

Up to Date

Started Major Upgrade

E-Commerce Platform

38%

28%

18%

5%

13%

Product/Catalog Management

38%

18%

15%

10%

20%

Customer Reviews/Ratings

40%

15%

13%

13%

20%

Product Recommendations

33%

18%

13%

8%

30%

Remarketing

20%

23%

8%

5%

45%

Community

40%

20%

13%

3%

25%

CRM/Personalization

30%

18%

18%

5%

30%

Digital Coupons

30%

28%

20%

3%

20%

Chatbots

15%

13%

5%

8%

60%

Social Media Marketing

48%

18%

18%

8%

10%

progressivegrocer.com


Status of In-Store Technology Will Start Upgrade Within 12 Months

Will Start Upgrade Within 12-24 Months

No Plans

Up to Date

Started Major Upgrade

WiFi for Customers

49%

5%

13%

13%

21%

Click-and-Collect Management

28%

25%

23%

3%

23%

Curbside Pickup Management

35%

25%

20%

3%

18%

Home Delivery of Web Orders Management

35%

18%

20%

8%

20%

Food Safety

63%

3%

13%

8%

15%

Mobile Devices for Managers

30%

8%

25%

5%

33%

Food Labeling

44%

15%

10%

8%

23%

Real-Time Store Monitoring of KPIs

23%

5%

18%

13%

41%

Shopper Tracking

23%

8%

13%

18%

38%

Location-Based Marketing

20%

8%

10%

8%

55%

POS Software

38%

18%

8%

10%

28%

POS Hardware

35%

13%

10%

8%

35%

POS Peripherals

35%

13%

15%

8%

30%

Self-Checkout Terminals

20%

10%

18%

5%

48%

Scan and Go on Customer's Device

10%

8%

13%

8%

63%

Scan and Go on Store-Owned Device

13%

5%

13%

5%

65%

Computer Vision Item Scanning

10%

3%

8%

5%

75%

While we tend to focus on the areas that retailers are investing in, it’s also important to examine the technology that has either fallen out of favor or been placed on the back burner. Survey respondents report no plans to invest in chatbots (60%), remarketing (45%), product recommendations (30%) and CRM/personalization (30%). The lack of interest in chatbots isn’t overly surprising, since grocers have much more pressing concerns, but the failure to invest in product recommendation and personalization is certainly noteworthy and could come back to bite laggards as consumers continue to gravitate toward tailored paths to purchase.

In-Store Tech Started or Will Start Major Upgrade in Next 12 Months

The Ever-Evolving Store

Click-and-Collect 48% Curbside Pickup 45% Home Delivery 38% Mobile Devices for Managers 33% Will Start Major Upgrade Within 2 Years

Real-Time Store Monitoring of KPIs Shopper Tracking Mobile Devices for Managers Home Delivery

31% 31% 30% 28%

Digital shopping has certainly been thrust into the spotlight this year, but the store is still king and will remain poised atop the grocery throne for years to come. According to survey respondents, more than 90% of sales still originate at the store level, meaning that to succeed, grocers must continue to invest in and evolve their store offerings. We asked grocers what store technology they’re investing in today, as well as their plans for the next two years. They reported that they are either currently engaged in a major upgrade or will start one in the next 12 months for these critical store technologies: click-and-collect (48%), curbside pickup (45%), and store-based home delivery (38%). These foundational technologies are vital today PROGRESSIVE GROCER November 2020

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TECHNOLOGY

2020 Grocery Tech Trends Study Status of Merchandise Management Technology Will Start Upgrade Within 12-24 Months

No Plans

Up to Date

Replenishment

28%

8%

21%

8%

36%

Item Master Data Management

35%

18%

15%

10%

23%

Category Management

53%

15%

23%

3%

8%

Allocation

43%

5%

15%

5%

33%

Assortment Planning

41%

13%

13%

10%

23%

New Product Development

40%

20%

10%

10%

20%

Enterprise Resource Planning

28%

13%

18%

3%

40%

Price Management

48%

20%

18%

3%

13%

SKU/Product Management

53%

23%

8%

3%

15%

Space Planning

43%

10%

18%

5%

25%

Product Lifecycle Management

33%

15%

8%

3%

43%

Trade Promotion Management

30%

8%

20%

0%

43%

33%

18%

20%

0%

30%

Fresh Food Management/Tracking KinterCSN_PrintAdFINAL.pdf 1 1/30/20

94

Will Start Upgrade Within 12 Months

Started Major Upgrade

progressivegrocer.com

9:13 AM


Merchandise Management Started or Will Start Major Upgrade in Next 12 Months

Price Management Fresh Food Management/Tracking Enterprise Resource Planning SKU/Product Management

38% 38% 31% 31%

Will Start Major Upgrade Within 2 Years

Replenishment 29% Category Management 26% Item Master Data Management 25% Space Planning 23% as grocers continue to explore ways to get products into customers’ hands with the least amount of human interaction possible. When the timeline is stretched to two years, we see real-time store monitoring of KPIs (31%) and shopper tracking (31%) emerge as key investment areas. Once their urgent fulfillment needs are

met, grocers will again focus on what’s going on inside the four walls of the store and look to use next-gen tracking and analytic software to inform ongoing decision-making. While having digitally enabled destination-style stores certainly helps leading grocers get a leg up on the competition, success in the segment still comes down to having the products that customers want in stock and ready to sell. Advanced merchandising systems are critical to long-term success, and grocers are investing heavily, either currently upgrading or planning a major upgrade in the next year for price management (38%), fresh food management (38%) and product management (31%). In the next two years, replenishment (29%), category management (26%), item master data management (25%) and space planning (23%) are all poised for an upgrade. For all of this new technology flowing into the store to be successful, grocers will need employees willing and able to leverage it. Grocers are keenly aware of this fact and are investing now and over the next 12 months in education and training (48%) and recruitment and onboarding (41%) to ensure that they have the right talent in place and that associates are properly trained.

Coupon Services Save Time. Prioritize What Matters Most. • Submission to National Clearinghouse • Advanced Payment to retailers • Income Revenue Share

Contact us: PSsales@UNFI.com | go.unfi.com/professional-services PROGRESSIVE GROCER November 2020

95


TECHNOLOGY

2020 Grocery Tech Trends Study Workforce Management

the retail industry, and grocers in particular, is that having a laser-focused approach to demand planning and inventory allocation is crucial. When demand spikes, grocers need to be able to respond in kind and track inventory in real time across the supply chain. Only around a quarter of grocers (26%) have up-todate inventory management technology in place today. However, no doubt spurred on by highly publicized inventory woes that grocers endured at the start of the pandemic, 33% have kicked off a major upgrade to their real-time inventory capabilities, and another 20% will do so over the next two years. When asked what solutions theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re most interested in to help improve their inventory capabilities, grocers pointed to real-time reporting (53%), artificial intelligence (35%) and automated distribution centers (33%).

Started or Will Start Major Upgrade in Next 12 Months

Education and Training Recruitment and Onboarding Human Resources and Benefits Labor Scheduling

48% 41% 28% 28%

Will Start Major Upgrade Within 2 Years

Education and Training Recruitment and Onboarding Labor Scheduling Task Management

31% 28% 20% 19%

The Data Imperative

Data is the lifeblood of the grocery industry. Grocers collect endless streams of data on their customers and the overall market on a daily basis, and market leaders are able to turn that data into actionable insight. Eighty-four percent of grocers are spending more on IT this year compared with last year. And while a large portion of that increased budget has been allocated to enhancing store operations, data-focused grocers will continue to allocate a significant amount of their capital expenditure to analytic pursuits. Over the next two years, grocers will be focusing their analytic efforts on competitive and category analysis, pricing, campaign enhancements and space optimization. One of the key things that the pandemic has taught

Level of Interest in Testing/Investing to Improve Inventory Management

High Interest

Medium Interest

Artificial Intelligence

35%

25%

Machine Learning

28%

35%

Automated DCs/Warehouses

33%

13%

Autonomous Delivery Vehicles

18%

21%

RFID

25%

25%

Real-Time Reporting

53%

25%

Computer Vision

30%

28%

In-Aisle Robots

18%

21%

Status of Analytic Technology

96

Up to Date

Started Major Upgrade

Will Start Upgrade Within 12 Months

Market Basket Analysis

40%

10%

15%

10%

25%

Competitive analysis

43%

5%

18%

15%

20%

Category Analysis

50%

13%

10%

18%

10%

Price Optimization (Data-Based Modeling for Price Elasticity)

25%

18%

13%

10%

35%

Campaign Optimization (Promotion Analysis and Forecasting)

25%

23%

10%

5%

38%

Space Optimization (Analysis per Store, per Category, per Foot, etc.)

20%

20%

13%

8%

40%

Predictive Analytics (Forecasting Accuracy)

20%

10%

20%

5%

45%

Prescriptive Analytics (Creating Demand and Next-Best Actions)

20%

5%

20%

8%

48%

In-Store Shopper-Tracking Analytics

25%

8%

10%

13%

45%

Machine Learning/Artificial Intelligence (AI)

15%

13%

5%

13%

55%

Workforce Analytics

23%

13%

3%

13%

50%

progressivegrocer.com

Will Start Upgrade Within 12-24 Months

No Plans


Status of Supply-Chain Technology

Up to Date

Started Major Upgrade

Will Start Upgrade Within 12 Months

Will Start Upgrade Within 12-24 Months

Warehouse/DC Management

41%

18%

10%

3%

No Plans

28%

Logistics

36%

15%

13%

8%

28%

Fulfillment

38%

18%

8%

8%

28%

Real-Time Inventory Management

26%

33%

10%

10%

21%

Order Management

31%

21%

8%

10%

31%

Sourcing

41%

15%

10%

8%

26%

Transportation Management

33%

21%

13%

3%

31%

Top Areas of Analytics Investment Over the Next 2 Years

Competitive Analysis

Price Optimization

Space Optimization

Campaign Optimization

Category Analysis

Methodology: Who Took the Survey? NUMBER OF STORES

ANNUAL REVENUE

YEAR-OVER-YEAR TECHNOLOGY BUDGET

3% 25% 27%

>$5 Billion

48% <100 Million

>500

3% 250-499

49% <10

$1 Billion$4.9 Billion

100-249

3% 10%

50-99

10-49

18% Increased >10%

13% No Change

10%

8% 3%

Decreased

$250 Million$999 Million

25% 15% $100 Million$249 Million

5%-9.9%

43% Increased 0.1%-4.9%

This benchmark study of the grocery industry includes data drawn primarily from regional and national chains, and was conducted by Progressive Grocerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s sister brand RIS News. The retailer research included 40 respondents, with half of those participating employed at chains with fewer than 10 locations, and nearly a third at organizations with more than 500 stores. Data was collected in August and September 2020 from respondents who hold executive positions within their companies that give them influence over technology strategy, project selection and budgets.

PROGRESSIVE GROCER November 2020

97


EQUIPMENT & DESIGN

Shelving Solutions

Making the Case for Smarter Shelves and Labels WHE THER FOR CONSUMER E XPERIENCE OR INVENTORY MANAGEMENT, THESE SOLUTIONS OFFER RE WARDS GOING INTO 2021. By Thad Rueter

n late October — as food retailers continued to deal not only with the pandemic-fueled rise of e-commerce, but also the ongoing trend of consumers seeking more transparency regarding groceries — Fresh Thyme was getting smarter about shelves. The Downers Grove, Ill.-based food retailer has started deploying ELI codes to shelf tags this month. ELI codes, when scanned by a smartphone, will display important product information, including content from supplier-provided product data and images, to enhance the overall shopping experience. They’re based on QR code technology and can be read natively by most modern smartphones without requiring an app. The technology will enable customers and employees to access rich-product content at the shelf simply by scanning a QR code with their smartphones — an especially attractive tool for shoppers at Fresh Thyme, which focuses on natural foods. “When fully executed, the ELI codes will allow our customers to have real-time access to information and education to make well-informed purchases,” says Jonathan Lawrence, Fresh Thyme’s senior director of grocery and natural living. “They have all the benefits of an e-commerce platform experience, with the ability to utilize the product immediately.” As food retailers embrace omnichannel commerce, and as they seek more efficient ways to manage inventory in this age of pandemic and rising grocery e-commerce, smart shelving and labeling technology offers solutions to those challenges. The technology is poised to grow in 2021, but to achieve successful deployments, as well as earning buy-in from suppliers and shoppers, food retailers need to figure out what they’re really trying to do.

98

progressivegrocer.com

Key Takeaways As food retailers embrace omnichannel commerce and seek more efficient ways to manage inventory, smart shelving and labeling technology can help them address those challenges. Technology facilitating product transparency can help retailers keep up with inventory problems and restocking issues, and keep shoppers better informed about available products. Suppliers have a strong incentive to provide clean data and engaging content as more shoppers adopt omnichannel mindsets and demand products that meet such dietary requirements as keto, gluten-free and vegan.


Retailers: Retailers: Reduce Reduce Your Your In-Store In-Store Marketing Marketing Costs Costs while while Supporting Supporting Your Your Sustainability Sustainability Goals! Goals! TwoFer®® Shelf Talkers TwoFer Shelf Talkers

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Back-to-back paper-based labels Back-to-back paper-based labels provides — film like performance. provides — film like performance.

Two Unique signs back-to-back with Two Unique signssafely back-to-back with nothing to dispose speeds affixing. nothing to dispose safely speeds affixing.

TwoFer®® FastFoldZ TwoFer FastFoldZ

Faster application of Tags with TwoFer Fast FoldZ* Packs Faster application of Tags with TwoFer Fast FoldZ* Packs • • • • • •

Fanfolded stacks of 16 die cut Printed Tags speed shelf labeling Fanfolded stacks of 16 die cut Printed Tags speed shelf labeling Quickly peel and affix die cut side to the shelf edge and flip the strip Quickly and affix die to applypeel to the second sidecut ofside tags to the shelf edge and flip the strip to apply to the second side of tags No waste left behind & no liner pieces to discard No waste left behind & no liner pieces to discard

Half Half the the material. material. HALF THE COST. HALF THE COST. Half the environmental Half the environmental footprint. footprint. Twice the usable product per pound reduces your carbon footprint: Twice the usable product per pound reduces your carbon footprint: • • • •

Half the Raw Material & Energy Used with Half theproduct Raw Material & Energy printed on Both Sides Used with printed product on Both Sides Duplex Printing in a single pass cuts Duplex Printing a single passenergy cuts used production thruin put time and production thru put time and energy used

• • • •

Half the Weight to Ship, reducing Half the Weightand to Ship, reducing Transportation Fossil Fuel usage Transportation and Fossil Fuel usage Eliminating Liner and No landfill waste Eliminating Liner and No landfill waste

Talk to us about how the TwoFer Products save Talk to us about how the TwoFer Products save Money & Time regardless of whether you produce in-house Money & Time regardless of whether you produce in-house or have the finished product delivered to you. or have the finished product delivered to you.

Call Call 800.676.9665 800.676.9665 for for samples samples or or visit visit www.twofershelftalkers.com www.twofershelftalkers.com © 2020 TwoFer® is a registered trademark of NAStar, Inc. .S. Patentstrademark 9,613,5 47 aof ndNAStar, 10,217,3Inc. 85 © 2020 TwoFer® is a U registered *U.S. ProvisionalUPatent .S. PateApplication nts 9,613,5 47No. and63/057,226 10,217,385 *U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 63/057,226


EQUIPMENT & DESIGN

Shelving Solutions

Transparency and Inventory

Product transparency is among the main factors fueling the growth of smart shelving and labeling — some of which relies on cameras that keep track of products on shelves, while other solutions are more anchored to consumer and employee smartphones and their own cameras, as is the case with Fresh Thyme. The technology can help retailers keep up with inventory problems and restocking issues — resolving issues before, say, they start to annoy suppliers or slow down e-commerce fulfillment — as well as serving to keep shoppers better informed about available products. Indeed, Arlington, Va.-based FMI — The Food Industry Association has found that 81% of consumers say product transparency is important in their buying decisions — a demand that smart shelving and labeling technology can help solve, and without making consumers seek out relevant product information via other sources such as Google, which might take a little bit longer and frustrate impatient grocery shoppers who just want to get home. Pandemic habits and concerns are also playing a role in the growth of the technology, according to Tim Whiting, VP of marketing for Chicago-based Label Insights, a provider of product attribute information that powers smart-labeling solutions. “We believe the outlook for smart labeling in food retail is quite strong heading into 2021, as many consumers are currently looking for ways to limit their time spent interacting with physical packaging in-store,” says Whiting.

New Standards

An upcoming change in federal law could also spark more smart-labeling innovation, he adds. The National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard, set to take effect in the United States on Jan. 1, 2022, requires food manufacturers, importers and certain retailers to ensure that bioengineered foods are appropriately disclosed, and is designed to replace what the U.S. Department of Agriculture calls a patchwork of state laws. “Main opportunities include CPG brands being able to react to new labeling legislation such as the upcoming 2022 Bioengineered Disclosure regulation without the effort, cost and sustainability

Any smart-labeling technology is only as good as the product data that informs it.” —Tim Whiting, Label Insights

impacts of physical repackaging,” notes Whiting. Food retailers and others will also use the technology in attempts to stand out from the crowd. “Retailers and brands [can] differentiate themselves with consumers, based upon product transparency,” via the use of such technology, he says.

Working With Brands and Suppliers

Beyond that, no tool or technology is better than the data fed into it. When it comes to smart shelving and labeling, the bulk of that responsibility falls upon the suppliers and CPGs, and brands that can’t efficiently unify their data — or can’t come up with brief, engaging content for smart shelves or labels — won’t be able to offer much. “Many CPG brands are currently utilizing disparate product information databases and manual processes to feed their product data” into such systems, he observes. Doing well also requires teamwork. “Regardless of the consumer interface, food retailers need to ensure that the product data that they are leveraging from the hundreds, or thousands, of brands in their assortment is accurate, complete, up to date and verified before it gets published to a consumer,” says Whiting. “This is an important partnership between CPG brands and retailers. Any smart-labeling technology is only as good as the product data that informs it.” Suppliers have a strong incentive to provide that clean

How the Trax System Works

STEP 1 Shelf images are taken with mobile app, fixed cameras or robots Source: Trax

100

progressivegrocer.com

STEP 2 Images are processed on-premise and sent to the Trax cloud for analysis

STEP 3 Alerts are sent to store staff, and web reports are available to HQ teams


Remove–Clean–Reassemble

ModoShelf™– Antimicrobial tile eradicates 99% of shelf-born bacteria

Stainless Steel Frame

Easy to Clean

Removable Shelf Tiles

In today’s retail environment, nothing is as critical as safety and cleanliness. ModoShelf gives retailers the ability to keep harmful microbes and bacteria from causing issues for their customers and staff. ModoShelf ™ is NSF certified shelf system that features stainless steel bracketry and antimicrobial shelf tiles that remove 99% of the bacterial growth from the shelf. The system is also extremely easy to clean. Simply remove tiles and placed in an industrial dishwasher or sink to clean. The brackets stay in place, maintaining planogram integrity, and are easily washed. This combination saves hours of cleaning time and helps retail staff maintain regular cleaning schedules. Stay safe and stay clean with ModoShelf ™ Call us at 800.422.2547 or visit www.siffron.comm

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EQUIPMENT & DESIGN

Shelving Solutions

Success to me will be if more and more of our customers feel like they’re making an educated purchase that they feel confident in.” —Jonathan Lawrence, Fresh Thyme data and engaging content, though, as more shoppers adopt omnichannel mindsets and become more demanding about certain diets (keto, gluten-free, vegan, etc.) and product transparency, notes David Williams, EVP of business development for Tampa, Fla.-based Cornerstone Consulting, which is helping with the Fresh Thyme deployment. “Fresh Thyme is saying, ‘OK, suppliers, I am giving you a conduit to shoppers.’,” he says. “Tell us about your company values, your sustainability efforts — tell me why I need your product.” The key is to make the content interesting — and suitable for grocery shopping. Sure, suppliers could make a relatively long video that a consumer watches after scanning a smart shelf tag, but that would likely be excessive. “Not every shopper wants a 30-second spot,” Williams admits. What many consumers do want, however, is an easier way to read

Smart shelving technology can help consumers access product information more conveniently — and can help suppliers reach more consumers.

product labels, something better than the tiny type affixed to those items. “We are all looking for this information,” Williams points out. “Let’s make it easy.”

Cameras and Robots

Product information isn’t the only reason for ongoing smart-shelving deployments or the rising interest in the technology, of course. Systems that use cameras to keep a constant lookout on shelves to track what’s in stock can help food retailers better manage inventory — especially in a time when many of those retailers, or delivery services, are fulfilling e-commerce orders from those shelves instead of from, say, dedicated fulfillment centers. “If it’s not on the shelf, it can’t be sold,” says Lee Barwin, marketing director for Singapore-based image recognition technology provider Trax. “By col-

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lecting that data via automated methods, [inventory management] can be more efficient and in real time.” Cameras aren’t the only method for making shelves smarter when it comes to stocking issues — robots can also do the work, and are being increasingly used by such food retailers as St. Louis-based Schnuck Markets to keep a closer eye on those items. Earlier this autumn, Schnucks launched San Francisco-based Simbe Robotics’ autonomous robot Tally in 46 additional stores to enhance inventory management. These stores are in addition to the 16 locations that have been piloting Tally over the past couple of years, three since July 2017, and the 13 other stores since October 2018. Dave Steck, VP of IT infrastructure and development for Schnucks, says that the robots have had positive impacts on the business, such as 14 times more out-of-stock detection than manual auditing and at least a 20% reduction in out-of-stock items at stores using Tally. The robots also provide increased accuracy of real-time inventory that feeds into Schnucks’ automated replenishment system, allowing for more efficient inventory management. Any successful deployment, however, requires food retailers to identify the problem to be addressed, cautions Barwin. That might sound obvious, but it’s important. “They have to understand what the challenge is,” he adds. “They need to know what gaps to fix first.”

Also, robots might not work well in smaller stores — and certainly not convenience stores — while a camera-based system could require several hundred cameras to provide full shelf coverage, he points out. Produce, meanwhile, would likely require its own special camera — one looking down upon the department area.

Smart-Shelving Expectations

Back at Fresh Thyme, expectations are running high for the new smart-shelf tag system. “I don’t expect this to have a direct correlation with in-stock levels in the immediate future; however, this technology opens up a lot of opportunities for Fresh Thyme and our vendors to better serve our customers outside of just education,” says Lawrence. “Our primary expectation is to continue to provide a better overall experience for our customers. Success to me will be if more and more of our customers feel like they’re making an educated purchase that they feel confident in. The more educated we can make them, the more they will understand and value the assortment of products that our teams have assembled on the shelf for them in order to take control of their own health and happiness.”

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NONFOODS

Cleaning Products

Clean in the Age of COVID RE TAILERS AND MANUFACTURERS CAN SERVE AS TRUSTED PARTNERS IN CONSUMERS’ QUEST TO AVOID ILLNESS. By Bridget Goldschmidt eeping surfaces clean has always been a struggle, especially in busy households with young children, but the pandemic has added extra urgency to an already onerous task, as consumers seek out the best cleaning products to kill the virus. Luckily, it seems that most shoppers have faith in manufacturers’ products to do the job. A recent national survey from the Washington, D.C.-based American Cleaning Institute (ACI) found that 86% of Americans are confident in their cleaning products to help protect against the coronavirus. The survey, conducted in September 2020 by international market research firm Ipsos for ACI, aimed to uncover consumer perceptions and actions regarding cleaning and disinfecting practices in relation to the pandemic.

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Key Takeaways The coronavirus pandemic has set off a nationwide cleaning binge, with consumers facing widespread out-of-stocks in the cleaning product aisle as grocers and manufacturers struggled to meet unprecedented demand. These shortages led many retailers to try the products of smaller manufacturers that were less affected by supplychain issues, and which they might not have purchased had their usual products been more readily available. Although supply issues are expected to continue into 2021, so, too, will increased consumer demand for cleaning products, as well as shoppers’ confidence in their efficacy.


Creating a cleaner and more sustainable world for more than 70 years

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AlEn's Commitment to Sustainability We are one of the top PET recyclers in North America. 100% of our PET bottles are made from recycled material. We use local and sustainable ingredients and manage our own sustainable palm and pine tree plantations. 100% of our plants have Zero Waste Management and are Certified under the Clean Industry Program. 1 Nielsen YTD 2020 *Product ingredients are at least 98% naturally derived with no harsh chemicals, non-toxic formula free of parabens, phthalates, glycol solvents, artificial color or phosphates.

To Offer AlEn products to your shoppers, contact:

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NewHabits Spotlight Profit Potential for Household Cleaning Category

Ever since shoppers started stocking up on household cleaning products due to COVID-19, retailers able to keep bleach, multipurpose cleaners and wipes on shelves have been the beneficiaries. Progressive Grocer spoke with Tanu Grewal, vice president of marketing at AlEn USA, to find out how retailers can expand their supply chains and tap the newfound profit potential in the household cleaning category. Progressive Grocer: Are there any trends that have emerged as a result of the pandemic? Tanu Grewal: We are seeing three key things. First, 70 percent of consumers are cleaning more often and taking extra cleaning and disinfecting steps¹—so there’s been a big leap in bleach sales.

multi-surface cleaners performs as well as mainstream cleaning products and bridges that accessibility gap. We’ve tested against mainstream products, and it works just as well—but it is naturally derived, safe for use around kids and pets, and great for sensitive skin—all while remaining affordable.

PG: In 2019, the U.S. Hispanic population reached a record 60.6 million³, and the buying power of the U.S. Second, there is heightened awareness of the Latinx population is expected to chemicals we’re putting into our homes. If top $1.9 trillion by 20234. How can someone is cleaning five times a week, they want to use more natural and eco-friendly the cleaning products retailers carry cleaning products. That has led to an upsurge in help them build loyalty among this interest in green and natural cleaning products. important demographic group? Finally, 44 percent of consumers have tried a new brand since COVID hit². That was an inflection point for our brand. More shoppers discovered that AlEn products deliver top performance coupled with everyday affordability.

PG: How do these trends relate to the supply chain decisions retailers should be making? TG: Before the pandemic, retailers had been limiting the number of SKUs they carry to create supply chain efficiencies. When COVID caused panic buying and pantry loading, stores didn’t have enough product, and AlEn was able to rally and supply. At some points during COVID, our ART OF GREEN® wipes were the only brand on retailers’ shelves. Retailers saw the results: Those who carried our CLORALEN® bleach during the height of COVID did 50 percent better in category sales! Now, CLORALEN is the #2 bleach brand in the U.S. Now the flu season is ramping up and, if the next wave of COVID hits, retailers need to be working with more CPG companies like AlEn that have large manufacturing capabilities.

PG: Many consumers remain reluctant to “go green” with their cleaning products. What kind of products can convince them to “clean green?” TG: Even during COVID, more than a third of consumers are looking for green and natural products, but they can’t sacrifice performance or affordability. Our new line of ART OF GREEN

TG: Hispanic shoppers are difference makers because they shop the cleaning and laundry categories more often and spend more on them than the average shopper. They also are brand- and retailer-loyal. As a leading global CPG company headquartered in Mexico, that has served the U.S. marketplace for 40 years starting with Hispanic shoppers, these shoppers know and love our brands like PINALEN® multipurpose cleaner, CLORALEN bleach and ENSUEÑO® fabric softener. We have doubledigit market share in Hispanic retailers. However, Hispanic shoppers are going into mainstream stores but not buying in the cleaning and laundry aisles when they don’t see the brands they know and grew up with. Carrying our brands, like CLORALEN bleach, ENSUEÑO fabric softener and PINALEN multi-surface cleaner, helps mainstream retailers convert Hispanic shoppers into buyers, drive Hispanic shopper trips and overall sales. We have vast research about the Hispanic shopper’s cleaning journey, buying habits and preferences that we share with our retail partners to help them.

PG: AlEn’s mantra is “Democratizing Value.” What does that mean? TG: It means we are providing high-quality, high-performing products that are affordable and that dovetail with current trends. We have CLORALEN, which is especially important now that there’s been an increase need for disinfection; we have ART OF GREEN that appeals to trends in the natural and green

AlEn internal research, 2 PFS Commerce, 3 Pew Research Center, 4 La Oportunidad Latinx: Cultural Currency and the Consumer Journey; Nielsen 8-12-2019, 5 Nielsen YTD 2020 1

www.alenusa.com

cleaning space; and we have brands that are known to Hispanic shoppers, which are advantageous to retailers who want to capture this lucrative market. Once consumers have the opportunity to see how our brands and specific products perform, we get repeat purchases—and that, ultimately, is what grocery retailers are striving for in every category.

Category Profit Power

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$1.9 TRILLION Hisp ni s opp rs’ uying pow r y 2023 T is oy s opp r sp nds mor on undry & ning produ s


NONFOODS

Cleaning Products

Beyond COVID-19, there’s the cold and flu season to contend with. Almost half of survey respondents (46%) said that they’d clean and disinfect more this flu season because of the cleaning, disinfecting and hygiene information put into practice against the coronavirus.

Driven by new distribution Cloralen, from AlEn USA, is now the No. 2 branded bleach in America.

‘Insatiable’ Demand

Supply Challenges

All of this interest in cleaning has naturally led to big sales increases in cleaning products at retail. “Household cleaners were flat to slightly down at the end of 2019,” notes Kristen Hanson, VP of center store, Our Brands and pharmacy at Williamsville, N.Y.-based Tops Markets LLC. “Since the pandemic, all areas of household cleaning, bleach, wipes, etc. are trending positive 50%-70%, with early weeks over 100%.” According to Hanson: “The reason for this increase is a result of early media publications regarding how COVID is spread. Cleaning and disinfecting all surfaces were critical in minimizing the spread.” “Of all the categories affected by the pandemic, the cleaning category is experiencing the largest lift in sales,” says Dennis Hickey, chief merchandising officer of White Plains, N.Y.-based independent grocery wholesaler Krasdale Foods. “When panic buying started in late February until today, demand for cleaning products has been insatiable.” Of course, manufacturers have also seen dramatically higher sales during this time. “Due to COVID-19, sales have escalated considerably in the household care business overall, as consumers have become more aware and concerned about their families’ health and the importance of keeping all surfaces and areas continually clean,” notes Shari Matras, chief growth officer of Skokie, Ill.-based Jelmar, which makes the CLR brand (pronounced “clear”) of cleaning products, which has recently undergone a package design. “Overall, Lemi Shine sales were up anywhere from 26% to 495% in the total U.S. food category, according to Nielsen, during the height of the pandemic,” says Curtis Eggemeyer, CEO of the Austin, Texas-based company, which manufactures such products as disinfecting wipes and multipurpose, bathroom and glass cleaners. The CLR brand of cleaning products, manufactured by Jelmar, recently underwent a package design.

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Higher sales mean higher demand, and supplying enough product to keep it on grocery shelves quickly became a major issue. Especially in the early days of the pandemic, shoppers were confronted with widespread out-of-stocks when they ventured into stores in search of cleaning products. Although the situation has improved greatly since that time, problems persist. “At the outset of the pandemic, there were clearly numerous challenges facing cleaning product manufacturers: ensuring that their operations were deemed ‘essential’ so manufacturing could continue, looking for alternative raw-material supplies that suddenly became scarce because the pandemic affected availability or transport from Asia, unprecedented demand for products like soaps, hand sanitizers and disinfecting sprays and wipes from health care institutions and consumers,” affirms Brian Sansoni, SVP, communications, outreach and membership at ACI, adding, “We expect the limited availability of disinfecting wipes and sprays to continue into 2021, despite the round-theclock production taking place.” “The spike in demand, coupled with several plant outbreaks, forced manufacturers to place allocations on orders and make changes in assortment, in order to put focus on the items that mattered most,” recounts Tops’ Hanson. “Our retail consumers were not the only ones looking for these same items; [they] were [also] in high demand with hospitals, commercial businesses and first-responder locations, increasing overall demand. As a result of the increased demand and limited supply, alternative suppliers and brands were sourced. Unfortunately, most of the early issues have not been resolved. We are still experiencing supply constraints and foresee issues well into 2021.”


NONFOODS

Cleaning Products

Suppliers needed work fast to surmount these roadblocks. “Unfortunately, like all our competitors, the unprecedented surge in demand resulted in supply issues,” admits Eggemeyer. “We sold a year’s worth of Lemi Shine Disinfecting Wipes in three weeks! One of the biggest issues we faced was the production lead time for spray triggers for our multipurpose sprays. It leapt from an eight- to 11-week lead time to more than 25 weeks. We had to react quickly with investment in inventory planning and placed advance stock orders, so we now have spray triggers ordered eight months out. So we’re ready for Q3Q4 and whatever 2021 holds for us.” Still, smaller suppliers have reported fewer production obstacles overall, resulting in their products reaching consumers who might otherwise have opted for bigger brands, had they been readily available. “There’s an advantage to being a smaller company in times of crisis,” affirms notes Lenny Sciarrino, president/CEO and co-founder of Poway, Calif.-based Granite Gold Inc., maker of the recently released MicroGold Multi-Action Disinfectant Antimicrobial Spray. “We were able to pivot quickly and provide products to our retailer customers experiencing empty shelves before it negatively affected their business.” “A lot of companies have struggled to produce enough product to meet consumer demands, but as we are small and nimble, our team was able to go the extra mile to ensure our customers’ and consumers’ needs were met,” observes Jelmar’s Matras. “Because of our strong manufacturing base, supplier partnerships and our agile team, we were fortunate to continue delivery and commitments to retailers during the early days of the pandemic and continue with strong service levels today,” asserts Greg Schwarz, EVP and U.S. country manager at Houston-based AlEn USA, maker of Cloralen bleach, Pinalen multisurface cleaner, and the Art of Green line of eco-friendly cleaning wipes and sprays, among other cleaning products. Krasdale’s Hickey raises an interesting point regarding supply disruptions: “With 70% of consumers switching brands due to out-of-stocks and 28% indicating the shift will be permanent, it will be interesting to see how this all plays out. As product supply eventually improves, the challenge for the manufacturer will be recapturing shelf space that has been abandoned and reacquainting with the consumers that have shifted to alternate brands.”

Popular Products

Even within the surging cleaning category, certain products stood out as consumers sought to do battle with a threatening virus. “During the early stages of the pandemic, bleach sales took off,” observes Hickey, adding that disinfecting wipes and sprays are seeing particularly high demand. He adds: “Pre-pandemic, this was a routine category, with most purchasing decisions made in aisle. Now the consumer is more inclined to take as much as they can get, when they can get it, with minimal brand loyalty.”

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During the pandemic, AlEn USA's eco-friendly Art of Green line gained a lot of ground because the company was able to get it on retailers' shelves amid supplychain issues experienced by other manufacturers.

“In the beginning [of the pandemic], it was whatever the consumer could find,” agrees Granite Gold’s Sciarrino, although he points out that “[c]onsumers are starting to look for solutions beyond the standard disinfectant. They are doing more research into new technologies to protect themselves — particularly about antimicrobials and the benefits they provide.” According to Sciarrino, MicroGold “not only disinfects and kills the virus that causes COVID-19, but it also includes an antimicrobial, which suppresses growth of microorganisms, whereas a simple disinfectant only lasts until the solution dries, and surfaces quickly become reinfected.” In addition to the Multi-Action Disinfectant Antimicrobial Spray, the MicroGold brand includes an All-Purpose Cleaner, which disinfects in five seconds, and more products are planned for the line in 2021. “Powered by plants, Lemi Shine Disinfecting Wipes — the first product in Lemi Shine’s new disinfecting line — are bleach-free and certified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as effective against SARS Cov-2, the cause of COVID-19,” says Eggemeyer. “They are proven to be as successful as conventional cleaners, killing over 99.9% of bacteria and viruses, including the flu virus.” He adds that the 100% biodegradable wipes “are ideal for the CDC’s recommended ‘high-touch surfaces,’ including tables, doorknobs, handles, desks, toilets, faucets [and] sinks, among others.” A new and improved Disinfecting Multi-Surface Spray is expected from Lemi Shine this year, with more products on tap for 2021. In addition to its current roster of products, Lemi Shine expects to release a new and improved MultiSurface Spray, with more products to come in 2021.


O O B M A 100% B TISSUE PACKAGING

he Cheeky Panda is a start-up B Corp founded in 2016 by Chris Forbes and Julie Chen with the idea of using the worlds fastest growing plant Bamboo for tissue products instead of trees. Trees take 30 years to harvest, where bamboo grows up to 1 meter a day and can be harvested every year. Bamboo ďŹ bres are longer and smoother giving it both strength and a silky-soft feel. The Cheeky Panda products have been incredibly popular

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NONFOODS

Cleaning Products

“Based on a study AlEn conducted with consumers, we’re finding that nearly 70% are cleaning their homes more often,” notes Schwarz. “That is translating into an overall demand for all our household cleaning categories. Cloralen pourable bleach and triggers [have] done extremely well. Before COVID, Cloralen was the No. 1 branded bleach in Hispanic stores, and today, driven by new distribution, we are the No. 2 branded bleach in America. Pinalen multisurface cleaner also continues to sell very well.” As if in answer to Hickey’s comment on consumer adoption of alternative brands, Schwarz continues: “Art of Green … gained a lot of ground because we could get it on the shelf when other triggers and wipes weren’t available. At some points, Art of Green was the only wipe brand on some retailer shelves.” As to what types of cleaning products consumers should look for, Dr. Steve Bennett, SVP, scientific and regulatory affairs at the Washington, D.C.-based Household & Commercial Products Association (HCPA), advises: “Consumers should be purchasing any product on List N: Disinfectants for Coronavirus. These disinfectants are registered with the EPA, and have either been tested and proven effective against SARS-CoV-2, or demonstrated efficacy against a harder-to-kill virus or a different human coronavirus. There are nearly 500 products on List N, the majority of which are manufactured by HCPA member companies.”

Omnichannel Strategy

Dogged by lingering out-of-stocks, marketing and merchandising cleaning products has been difficult, to say the least, amid a national public-health crisis, with many consumers visiting stores less often. “Home delivery and store pickup purchases have leaped years ahead as a result of COVID,” asserts Tops’ Hanson. “Instacart is one of the best ways to market to consumers that choose or need to limit their exposure. However, with the continued limited availability of most cleaning items, it still remains a challenge to purchase the hard-to-get items, even online. Once in stock on shelf, these items are quickly depleted even with the purchase limits.” “A strong digital marketing campaign is a must to reach consumers hesitant about going into stores,” urges Granite Gold’s Sciarrino. “Also, working closely with retailers in enhancing content on their e-commerce platforms and product pages. For the consumers that are heading back into stores, we feel any in-store signage or shelf tag helps us to educate on the technology that MicroGold products provide. Just as important — perhaps more imperative — is strong, vibrant packaging that effectively communicates to the consumer versus the standard ‘kills 99.9%’ claim. For example, our multiaction solution label communicates it can be used in hospitals and homes, and more importantly, that it kills the COVID-19 virus.” MicroGold, from Granite Gold Inc., attracts customers with strong, vibrant packaging that effectively communicates to consumers its virus-killing, antimicrobial properties.

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Consumers are starting to look for solutions beyond the standard disinfectant. They are doing more research into new technologies to protect themselves — particularly about antimicrobials and the benefits they provide.” —Lenny Sciarrino, Granite Gold Inc. “We need to meet the shopper at all the touchpoints they are currently accessing,” emphasizes Eggemeyer, noting that Lemi Shine has blade signs at shelf, with explicit efficacy and safer-ingredients messaging, offers promo codes and product sampling through online grocery pickup to increase awareness and trial, and is increasing its digital marketing via social media, display, curbside pickup and grocery delivery, and influencer marketing to provide longform messaging and connection with Millennial moms. AlEn USA’s Schwarz sums it up succinctly: “Omnichannel presence is key. Partnering with the ecommerce and curbside teams of our brick-and-mortar retailers has been key.” HCPA’s Bennett cautions, however, that more online purchases of cleaning products “has resulted in an increase in the number of counterfeit/illegal products making unverified COVID-19 claims — mostly because e-commerce platforms are not required to gather the same information on products and vendors that brick-and-mortar retailers must collect. Consumers should be sure to only buy products that are registered with the EPA. The EPA registration number can be found on the product’s label, usually on the back and toward the bottom.”

Staying Safe

Amid so much uncertainty about the future, shoppers want to be sure that the cleaning products they buy can keep them and their families safe, and retailers and manufacturers can help steer shoppers to the best items for their needs. “No one knows when this pandemic will end, but we all want to be confident with products that are effective and available,” notes Sciarrino. That confidence — accompanied by higher category sales — should extend well beyond the present situation. As ACI’s Sansoni points out, “Even when we finally get through this pandemic, we expect that there will be strong demand for hygiene and cleaning products, as so many people understand — more than ever — how vital these products and chemistries are to everyday health and well-being.”


EDITORS’ PICKS

Food, Beverage & Nonfood Products

Sprinkle on the Cinnamon

Manufacturer B&G Foods has introduced Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cinnadust Seasoning Blend, the first official product to capture the essence of the well-known cinnamon-flavored cereal from General Mills. Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cinnadust Seasoning Blend is more complex than traditional cinnamon-sugar mixes, consisting of the cereal’s wellknown cinnamon-sugar blend, paired with sweet notes of caramel, vanilla and graham-cracker flavors. The versatile seasoning can be added to baked goods, toast, coffee, desserts, ice cream, savory foods and more. A 13.75-ounce container retails for a suggested $5.48. www.bgfoods.com/brands/ cinnamon-toast-crunch-cinnadust/ products; www.bgfoods.com/; www.generalmills.com/

Go Keto

CPG giant General Mills has introduced its first-ever keto-focused product line, consisting of yogurt cultured dairy snacks and crunchy bars. Made with thoughtfully chosen ingredients, :ratio snacks contain just 2 grams of net carbs and 1 gram of sugar per serving. The creamy dairy snacks come in five fruit-forward flavors — Strawberry, Coconut, Vanilla, Mango and Black Cherry — while the crunchy bars are available in Lemon Almond and Toasted Almond varieties featuring real almonds and pumpkin seeds. :ratio retails for a suggested $1.49 per dairy snack cup and a suggested $7.99 for a 4-count box of 1.45-ounce crunchy bars. www.ratiofood.com/; www.generalmills.com/

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Progressive Grocer

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PS Form 3526-R, July 2014 (Page 2 of 4) 16

Electronic Copy Circulation

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Average No. Copies Each Issue

No. Copies of Single Issue

During Preceding 12 Months

Published Nearest to Filing Date

4,990 33,475 39,140 85.5%

6,116 32,578 40,924 79.6%

Electronic Copies (line 16a) c.

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EnsembleIQ

Sep-20

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(Not printer)

EnsembleIQ 8550 W. Bryn Mawr Suite 300 Chicago, IL 60631

Publisher

10/1/2020

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Progressive Grocer

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Complete Mailing Address

8550 W. Bryn Mawr Suite 300 Chicago, IL 60631

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PROGRESSIVE GROCER November 2020

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AHEAD OF WHAT’S NEXT By Lisa Gable

The Invisible Opportunity in Food WINNING WITH THE 85 MILLION AMERICANS WHO ARE ALLERGEN AWARE. ne of the biggest opportunities for the food and beverage industry to serve shoppers in 2021 is to build trust and loyalty with those impacted by food allergies. Roughly 25% of the U.S. population is now avoiding foods that contain one of the top nine allergens (peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, eggs, milk, shellfish, finned fish, soy and sesame), according to new research examining consumer habits of diverse populations. For 60 million Americans, this is due to a food allergy or intolerance, while another 25 million are indirectly impacted: They’re avoiding foods containing a top-nine allergen because someone in their home has an allergy or intolerance. The research, conducted by FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education), in partnership with Northwestern University, McKinsey & Co., and Global Strategy Group, found that these 85 million Americans represent a $19 billion market opportunity for food manufacturers. And these figures will continue to rise, as the number of food-allergic consumers has increased by 4% per year over the past 20 years. This trend has led many in the food and beverage industry to ask, “How do we win the hearts and minds of the food allergy community?”

Barriers to Purchase

The answer is quite simple: Consumer trust is built by consistently providing safe products that are both tasty and affordable. For the food allergy consumer, there are three core barriers to purchase: health concerns are the leading barrier, followed by taste and affordability. Health concerns understandably drive food allergy consumer purchase decisions. Our research found that claims like “manufactured on a line that also processes tree nuts” leave consumers

Manufacturers and retailers must prioritize information sharing and standardize precautionary allergen labeling to reduce customer confusion and build trust. 114

progressivegrocer.com

feeling uneasy and fearing potential cross contact, highlighting the health barrier and the need for on-pack allergy-friendly labeling. One food allergy mom told us, “The most important advice I could offer is better to be safe than sorry; when in doubt, leave it out.” Many products that are actually safe to consume are avoided by allergy-aware consumers because the allergen information was unclear due to inconsistent labeling and information across different product lines. Manufacturers and retailers must prioritize information sharing and standardize precautionary allergen labeling to reduce customer confusion and build trust. The next barrier in building trust comes from the fact that food allergy consumers are constantly in search of new products that not only meet their health concerns, but also taste good. Our research partners describe them as “loyal but always looking.” Finally, the third barrier is cost. While health concerns can be addressed and trust can be earned, many consumers are also looking for safe, delicious food that’s affordable. The lack of affordable options is particularly challenging for underserved communities. We repeatedly heard, throughout our research, concerns regarding the high cost of allergen-free products, which are often twice the price and half the size of similar allergen-containing products. Another food allergy mom noted: “Back at the beginning [of her child’s diagnosis], I sold a lot of my belongings, along with receiving food stamps and WIC, just to afford food, as you can’t use food banks when you have allergies. They think it’s a luxury. For us, it’s life.” Whether it’s paying more for groceries each month or spending three to five minutes on average reading food labels before deciding whether a product is safe to consume, life is challenging for those with food allergies and intolerances. Supporting this growing population of American consumers is possible, however, if the food and beverage industry recognizes the barriers that these consumers face and takes steps to remedy those barriers. Food manufacturers that provide safe, tasty and affordable products will earn both the trust and financial support of the food allergy consumer for years to come. Lisa Gable is CEO of McLean, Va.-based FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education), the world’s leading nongovernmental organization engaged in food allergy advocacy, and the largest private funder of food allergy research.


Are Shoppers With Food Allergies & Intolerances Finding “Empty Aisles” on Your Website?

NUT FREE

DAIRY FREE EGG FREE

SHELLFISH FREE

BIODEGRADABLE

WHEAT FREE

BIODEGRADABLE

85 million Americans are impacted by food allergies or intolerances, but current retailer e-commerce sites fail to return 92% of the products in their assortment that qualify for top consumer health and wellness searches.

• Dairy Free is a top consumer search term An example from a recent website audit:

• Only 36% of retailer websites have a Dairy Free search filter • Those filters return less than 3% of products from DAIRY FREE

the retailers’ assortments that qualify as Dairy Free

Do you have an e-commerce blindspot? Read the website audit report at labelinsight.com/download/emptyaisles

Smarter Data. Better Decisions. Label Insight is the industry’s trusted source of product attribute metadata for leading Retailers and CPG Brands. We perform comprehensive ingredient and nutrient analysis to identify the unique product attributes that cover over 99% of all consumer online search queries. Tap into the industry’s most accurate, granular and complete product attribute database to power growth across your business. labelinsight.com


ANOTHER HARD SELTZER? YEAH, BUT WE’VE GOT ANTIOXIDANT VITAMIN C.

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