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March/April 2019 Vol 73, Number 3

Also Inside  Governor Whitmer’s First Budget, page 7  MRA Names Legislator of the Year, page 7  News from MDARD and Michigan Lottery, page 9  Changes Coming to Michigan Food News, page 11

SpartanNash’s Meredith Gremel and Rep. Brandt Iden at last year’s Legislative Reception. Don’t miss this year’s event. See page 10 for details.

Michigan Retailers Association 603 S. Washington Avenue, Lansing, MI 48933

PRSRT STD U.S. POSTAGE PAID Lansing, MI Permit No. 846











Not all independent grocers are going out of business. Independent grocers can still compete and win!











Not as profitable as you once were? Independent grocers are in a fight for their lives. Don’t be the next grocer forced to shut their doors. Continuing to operate in the same manner and hoping for different results will not be a winning longterm strategy. The future remains bright for those who embrace the change necessary to survive and prosper. While transitioning wholesalers may require some extra effort and a change to the status quo, isn’t it worth it to make the call sooner rather than later to learn how Associated Wholesale Grocers can provide you a lower cost of goods and a real chance to compete in the marketplace today and in the future? For a lower cost of goods Keith Knight 615-290-6093 PLEASE CONTACT: Wayne Hall 608-347-7318 Neal Schumacher 573-489-1545 Dave McKelvey 713-876-6240 Associated Wholesale Grocers, Inc., 5000 Kansas Avenue, Kansas City, KS 66106

president ’s message

Spring Musings James P. Hallan Publisher Lisa J. Reibsome Editor

Advertising Index AWG ................................................................ 2 Dutch Farms ..................................................... 4 Michigan Lottery ............................................. 8 SpartanNash ................................................... 12 Star Truck Rentals .......................................... 10

Michigan Grocers Association is a division of the Michigan Retailers Association

Michigan Grocers Division Board of Directors James P. Hallan, President Michigan Retailers Association Rich Beishuizen, Country Fresh Craig Diepenhorst, H.T. Hackney Dave Duthler, AMRA Energy Jim Forsberg, Arctic Glacier Premium Ice Jim Gohsman, SpartanNash John Leppink, Leppink’s Food Centers Ken McClure, Kroger Company of Michigan Bryan Neiman, Neiman’s Family Market DJ Oleson, Oleson’s Food Stores Don Symonds, Lipari Foods Thom Welch, Hollywood Markets Jim Zyrowski, Ben’s Supercenters Michigan Food News is completely recyclable. Printed on recycled paper with soyoil-based ink. Publisher does not assume responsibility for statements made by advertisers in business competition. MICHIGAN FOOD NEWS © 2019 Michigan Retailers Services, Inc. All rights reserved.

Contact Information Lisa J. Reibsome, communications director 517.449.2256 MGAReibsome@comcast.net  Michigan Food News advertising  Michigan Food News all content, layout, and printing  Michigan Retailer advertising Grocers Division Michigan Retailers Association 603 South Washington Avenue, Lansing MI 48933 517.372.5656 or 800.366.3699 www.Retailers.com

Legislative Reception Grocer and supplier members are invited to attend the annual Legislative Reception on April 23. Last year’s event was the first combined Michigan Grocers/Michigan Retailers reception, and it was a big success. MRA continued the tradition of showcasing at the reception the top-of-the line food and beverages that grocers and suppliers create and sell every day, and we heard great comments about the fare. This year’s event should prove to be equally memorable, and I encourage you to attend. The reception is an ideal setting to connect with legislators and other public officials and discuss your issues and concerns in a casual environment. Please call or email us today so you can be part of this exceptional event. See page 10 for more details. Roads Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced her long-awaited solution to fix the roads by proposing a 45-cent per gallon gas tax increase. She estimates that over $2 billion dollars is needed to right-size our crumbling road infrastructure. Sides are lining up already in both opposition and support. The Speaker of the House said a 45-cent increase is a “nonstarter.” The debate will be intense, and you can expect to see daily news stories until the issue is resolved. Clearly our roads need to be repaired. It is finding the proper funding mechanism and appropriate balance that is tricky and will challenge the legislature. We would be happy to hear your thoughts, and will keep you advised as the debate matures and our position is further developed. See page 7 for more on this topic. SOCC Two years ago, then-Governor Rick Snyder appointed me to a four-year term on the sevenmember State Officers Compensation Commission. The Commission meets every other year. It’s an interesting assignment as the SOCC is charged with recommending salaries for members of the legislature, supreme court, governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, and secretary of state. Prior to 2002, a SOCC recommendation was effective unless two-thirds of each chamber passed a concurrent resolution rejecting the recommendation. Now a SOCC recommendation requires a simple majority in both chambers to be approved. In 2009, due to Michigan’s falling economy, the legislative and executive salaries were cut by 10%. Except for that 2009 reduction, there has not been a salary adjustment since 2002. Developing a SOCC recommendation is based on a number of factors including comparisons with other states. As you would expect, for an elected official to vote on one’s salary is politically challenging. Unfortunately, the current system creates a stalemate. continued on page 11 . MRA President and Chief Executive Officer

it ’s the law Reminder: Michigan’s minimum wage increases to $9.45/hour on March 29. In addition, Michian’s Paid Medical Leave Act takes effect on that same date. The new law requires employers who pay payroll taxes on 50 or more employees to provide eligible employees with paid medical leave benefits. See retailers.com for more information.

EEO-1 Filing Deadline Extended to May 31

Due to the partial lapse in appropriations, the deadline to submit the Employer Information Report EEO-1 is extended until May 31, 2019. The EEO-1 Report is a compliance survey mandated by federal statute and regulations. The survey requires company employment data to be categorized by race/ethnicity, gender, and job category. Companies that meet the following criteria are required to file the EEO-1 report annually: 1. Subject to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, with 100 or more employees; or 2. Subject to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, with fewer than 100 employees if the company is owned by or corporately affiliated with another company and the entire enterprise employs a total of 100 or more employees; or 3. Federal government prime contractors or first-tier subcontractors subject to Executive Order 11246, as amended, with 50 or more employees and a prime contract or first-tier subcontract amounting to $50,000 or more. For instructions, see the EEO-1 website: www.eeoc.gov/employers/eeo1survey/index.cfm. Companies with an EEO-1 contact update should send an email to E1.Techassistance@eeoc.gov. Companies that have experienced mergers or acquisitions between January 1, 2018, and December 31, 2018, should email E1.Acquisitionsmergers@eeoc.gov. March/April 2019  Michigan Food News 3

Prepared Food Sales in Deli Provide Opportunity for Grocers Consumers are increasingly moving toward the intersection of health, convenience, and fresh — placing retail foodservice in a prime growth position, if executed correctly. However, retail foodservice growth has tapered off in recent years. This is according to FMI’s “The Power of Foodservice, Part 2.” The report aims to help grocers optimize opportunities that can drive sales growth for the total store with a focus on deli/prepared foods, defined as fully or partially prepared items that are usually found in the deli. These grab-and-go or heat-and-eat foods provide convenient alternatives to cooking or restaurant/fast food. Examples are rotisserie chicken, sushi, salad bars, pizza, and more. FMI’s study reports that, while household penetration for deli/prepared food is high at 96.7%, it continues to lag the total deli penetration at 99.5%. Although there was a small year-on-year improvement for both the number of annual trips to buy prepared food, from 16.6 to 17.1, and the average basket size of a prepared food purchase, from $8.42 to $8.56, there continues to be an opportunity to convert more deli department trips to prepared food purchases. Right now, only about half of the deli trips include a prepared food purchase.

In-store signs and personal observation/experience are the primary ways shoppers learn about a store’s foodservice offerings. Other efforts, such as sharing a promotion via a website, social media, or an app, draw awareness among just one to two out of 10 shoppers. FMI says that shoppers’ preferred discount type/promotion for deli/prepared food is that the items have an everyday favorable price image. Liked “a lot” by 43% of the overall population, this type of promotion sees an above average interest from shoppers who usually know what’s for dinner two hours before mealtime (59%) and those who are retail foodservice regulars (53%), lower-income shoppers (53%), or part of households of five or more people (51%). This type of promotion ranked more favorably than price specials, loyTotal deli department Deli/prepared foods alty programs with free meal rewards, free items with meal purchase, or Household penetration 99.5% 96.7% having a blue plate special of the day. Even with the majority of prepared food buyers not conducting much Purchase frequency (annual trips) 32.7 17.1 pre-trip research, creating awareness beyond in-store promotions is crucial Purchase size (per trip) $8.29 $8.56 to drive new traffic to deli foodservice says FMI. Studies find that shoppers Source: IDDBA/Nielsen who research store promotions with more regularity have a higher engagement level with deli prepared, buying it more frequently and listing it more How to Increase Deli/Prepared Food Sales often as their go-to destination when deciding not to cook dinner. Those more likely to check retail foodservice promotions/sales specials are: What to Promote  Technology-inclined shoppers (46%) FMI’s study asked grocery shoppers what advantages they saw in getting  Health-focused shoppers (40%) prepared food from a supermarket deli rather than from a restaurant or in Urban shoppers (37%) stead of cooking at home. These advantages can provide grocers with ideas  Millennials with kids (37%) for marketing and merchandising deli prepared foods to shoppers.  Those who make 3+ grocery trips/week (35%)  Older Millennials (33%) Shopper Perceived Advantage of Grocery Store Deli Prepared Foods  Those who usually know what’s for dinner at least 2 hours before mealtime (33%) Over Restaurants Over Home Cooking  High weekly grocery spenders (33%) Can combine with grocery shopping 55% Saves time on cooking 67%  Men (29%) Is faster to order/pick up 41% Allows for immediate consumption 50% Offers better cost/value for the money Is closer/easier to get to Provides better control over portions Is more nutritious/healthier Is fresher Is better quality Offers better item variety

37% 30% 25% 25% 24% 22% 20%

Saves time on meal planning Saves time on clean up Saves time on shopping Offers the ability to try/sample new items Avoids purchasing rarely used ingredients Provides options for household members Tastes better

47% 46% 35% 24% 23% 19% 16%

Source: IDDBA

How to Promote

Compared with categories such as produce and meat, shopper pre-trip research for retail foodservice is not common. IDDBA reports that less than one-quarter of shoppers check promotions regularly and 41% do so hardly ever or never.

Chicken is Popular in the Deli

According to Nielsen, of all the departments across the store, deli has seen the strongest growth for chicken products. For the 12 months that ended June 2, 2018, deli represented a rise of $305 million in dollar sales and 51 million in unit sales for chicken products, the highest increases of any department. Within the deli department, growth for chicken products has come from several areas and taps into the key consumer trend of today’s shopper looking for convenience. Fully cooked deli items make up the largest share of growth for chicken products in the deli, with $138 million in annual sales growth; and smoked chicken, tenders/nuggets, rotisserie chicken and thighs are the top items driving growth for the category.

Shoppers prefer an “everyday favorable price” promotion on deli prepared foods.

Cold Cuts Lead Deli Sandwich Sales

This statistic shows the category share of deli sandwich sales in the U.S., by sandwich type. How does your store compare? 25%


Source: Statista 2019


17.1% 15.1%





5% 0%

Cold Cuts




All other combined

March/April 2019  Michigan Food News 5

IDDBA’s ‘What’s in Store 2019’ Bakery Chapter Provides Insights for Grocers The International Dairy Deli Bakery Association (IDDBA) reports that in-store bakeries in the U.S. are continuing a pattern of steady growth, climbing 3.5-4% annually, based on data received from market researcher Mintel. Mintel reports that sales for in-store bakeries reached nearly $13 billion in 2018 and are expected to hit $14.5 billion by 2023. IDDBA used Nielsen Fresh data to further analyze in-store bakery sales by category:  Dessert category (defined as cakes, pies, cupcakes, brownies, specialty desserts, and other desserts) saw sales rise to $5.3 billion, up from $5.2 billion a year prior.  Cookies category — sales rose to $1.7 billion, up from $1.6 billion.  Doughnuts category — sales grew from $957 million to $982 million.  Bagel sales reached $192 million, up from $189 million.  Muffin sales increased to $767 million, up from $727 million. Conversely, bread sales dropped slightly to $1.6 billion, from 1.62 billion a year prior. Nielsen’s Matt Lally told IDDBA that the dessert category is fueling growth, mainly in the cake and pie subcategories. Breads, and in some instances rolls, have struggled due to recent diet trends and consumers trying to reduce carbs, as well as increased innovation in commercial breads that offer lower prices. Who Are the Main In-store Bakery Shoppers? Research shows that families with children, baby boomers, and seniors are big in-store bakery shoppers. Billy Roberts, senior food and drink analyst for Mintel, told IDDBA that a large proportion of in-store bakery shoppers have children under age 18. “These households simply have more eating occasions, as well as more opportunities to cater to these larger families’ needs for birthday and special occasion cakes and treats,” he said. “These larger families also have less time to bake treats that can be purchased easily and conveniently from a bakery.” In the case of in-store bakeries, a greater convenience (particularly if the bakery is in the grocery store where a family member shops anyway) and lower-cost options than those found in specialty baker-

Dairy Pride Act Introduced to Stop Mislabeling of Non-Diary Products

ies are spurring the interest from these larger households; there’s also an interest in items tailored to meet specific dietary needs, such as sugar-free or gluten-free, he added. Roberts said that considering that households with children typically have younger heads of household doing the shopping, it should be of little surprise that the most frequent in-store bakery consumers are age 25-34, 35% of whom indicated in a recent survey that they purchased from an in-store bakery in the last week. Market research company IRI also provides data on the key in-store bakery shoppers. Jonna Parker, principal for IRI’s Fresh Center of Excellence, told IDDBA that their research finds that purchases by Baby Boomers and seniors add up to more than half of all fresh bakery dollars. This is due to their eating patterns, as they’re much more likely to engage in traditional meal occasions than younger generations. This impacts product assortment for in-store bakeries, which end up being the items that the older generations are purchasing. Parker told IDDBA that both younger Millennials and Gen Z shoppers index very low when it comes to in-store bakery purchases. They’re much less likely to purchase baked goods than their older generational counterparts. Who Are Your Shoppers? Successful grocers know their market and make decisions based on their shopper profiles. So what can grocers do to drive in-store bakery sales if their primary shoppers are younger people without children? Parker suggests the following for engaging Millennials who do not have children and Gen Z shoppers in the in-store bakery: • Focus on in-store bakery breakfast items and highlight why shoppers should start the morning with baked goods. • Key in on authenticity, transparency, and creativity — Younger generations like variety and uniqueness. And fresh can be a selling point, but they need to know how and where products are baked. In-store bakeries can do a better job marketing ingredient and baking-method transparency. • Be a storyteller — Gen Z is extremely culturally diverse and highly exploratory in their food and tastes. They present a great opportunity for bakeries to be adventurous and reinvent the types of food that they offer. They’ve also only known a culture where allergens, health concerns, and transparency matter. Storytelling is essential to connect with Gen Z. • Offer a variety of portion sizes — Shoppers with smaller households sometimes struggle to find products that fit their lifestyle needs. Often portion sizes are geared towards occasions and households of four or more. Some grocers find success selling half loaves of bread as well as half pies and other smaller baked goods. • Focus on holistic health and functional food. Fresh-baked energy bars and protein-packed baked goods are underrepresented in in-store bakeries even though they are a draw for younger shoppers.

On March 14 a bipartisan bill was introduced in both branches of Congress to combat the issue of mislabeled non-dairy products that use dairy names like milk, yogurt, and cheese. The Defending Against Imitations and Replacements of Yogurt, Milk, and Cheese to Promote Regular Intake of Dairy Everyday Act (Dairy Pride Act) would require non-dairy products made from nuts, seeds, plants, and algae to no longer be mislabeled with dairy terms. The legislation is sponsored by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Jim Risch (RID) and cosponsored by Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Mike Crapo (R-ID), and Angus King (I-ME). Representatives Peter Welch (D-VT) and Mike Simpson (R-ID) serve as the leads in the U.S. House. Current FDA regulations define dairy products as being from dairy animals. However, the FDA has not enforced these labeling regulations, and the mislabeling of products has increased rapidly. Senator Baldwin and a bipartisan group of senators also wrote to FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb (who is stepping down from his post at the end of March) to press the agency to begin enforcing FDA’s Standards of Identity against imitation products. If the agency fails to act, the Dairy Pride Act would force them to resolve this issue. Specifically, the Dairy Pride Act would require the FDA to issue guidance for nationwide enforcement of mislabeled imitation dairy products within 90 days and require the FDA to report to Congress two years after enactment to hold the agency accountable for this update in their enforcement obligations. 6

Michigan Food News  March/April 2019

Lipari Foods Completes Acquisition of Troyer Cheese

MRA Member Lipari Food closed on the acquisition of Troyer Cheese, Inc., Troyer Bros. Trucking, Ltd., and Amish Wedding Foods, Inc. (collectively, “Troyer”) in February. Troyer is headquartered in Millersburg, Ohio. The opportunity broadens Lipari’s manufacturing capabilities along with expanding their portfolio of deli product offerings. “We are excited about the addition of Troyer’s unique product offerings into our existing portfolio,” says Lipari President and CEO Thom Lipari. “Troyer is an excellent strategic fit that builds on Lipari’s heritage in deli, dairy, confectionary, and other specialty food categories. Additionally, we are eager to continue building our specialty food manufacturing capabilities and look forward to extending our geographic reach further across the Midwest.” The company says the acquisition of Troyer is a natural “next step” as Lipari continues their strategy of acquiring unique and complementary food manufacturing and distribution businesses in existing/adjacent markets.

Governor Whitmer’s First Budget is a Tax and Shift Plan

In early March, Governor Whitmer released her first state budget, a $60 billion plan that adds nearly $4 billion in new funding. The budget attempts to address some of her key campaign promises to fix the roads, increase education funding, and focus on water quality issues. It also shifts funding sources in a way that the administration believes is more straightforward (for example, education dollars going only to K-12 schools). To fund her priorities there are two proposed tax increases that may impact retailers: a 45-cent gas tax increase and an increase in the income tax rate for businesses filing as S-Corps and LLCs. First, the governor’s budget includes a substantially higher gas tax — an increase of 45 cents, phased in 15 cents at a time over a year and a half. These new funds would generate $2.5 billion and be used to fund critical road and infrastructure repairs each year. It’s important to note that state taxes aren’t the only tax Michiganders pay at the pump. Michigan residents also pay an 18.4 cent per gallon federal tax as well as the state’s six percent sales tax. The sales tax is levied on top of the retail price of gas and the federal 18.4 cent per gallon tax. It is not levied not on the state’s 26.3 cent per gallon gas tax. (For examples of the price breakdown, see MRA’s website: retailers.com). Also important is that the new funds would be subject to a different distribution formula, less regionally-focused and more priority-based, than the current 26.3 cent per gallon Michigan fuel tax revenue. Second, the budget attempts to tax all businesses, including pass through businesses like S-Corporations and LLCs at the same six-percent rate. This new revenue would be used to offset the removal of the “pension tax” on public pensions. S-Corporations and LLCs are currently taxed through the income reported on an individual’s income tax at the 4.25 percent Michigan Income Tax. An increase to six percent would be a 41% increase in the tax rate on the small businesses who use the S-Corp and LLC structures. While it may not sound like a huge increase, this would be the fourth tax restructure for small businesses to comply with in the last 10 years (Michigan Business Tax/MBT, Single Business Tax/SBT, Corporate Income Tax/CIT). That’s a lot of uncertainty and change for employers to handle on top of the increases in wage and benefits imposed by the state and required to retain and attract talent. Both of these proposals and the entire budget were met with skepticism from the legislature which will now prepare its own budget. Ultimately, expect a lot of compromise in these budget areas on both sides and remember that the governor shared some alternatives for raising the $2.5 billion needed for roads that may be less attractive to businesses and residents. These alternatives include a 7.4% sales tax rate (an increase of 1.4 percentage points) or a 19% personal income tax rate. —By MRA Government Affairs VP Amy Drumm

Bill to Fix Retail Glitch Introduced in U.S. Senate

On March 14, U.S. Senators Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Doug Jones (D-AL) introduced the Restoring Investments in Improvements Act — standalone legislation to fix the retail glitch/drafting error in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that has been preventing grocers from immediately expensing improvements to their stores. Recall that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act made historic, positive changes to the federal tax code, including allowing businesses to immediately write off costs associated with improving facilities instead of having to write off those expenses over a long period of time. The Act included a provision providing businesses with 100% bonus depreciation, which intended to allow them to write off the full costs of short-lived investments immediately. Congress intended to help retailers invest in their businesses by the inclusion of this provision; however, some categories of business investment, most notably retail, restaurant, and leasehold improvements, were accidentally excluded from being eligible for 100% bonus depreciation due to a drafting error. Because of this error, retailers making investments to improve store interiors now face a more restrictive cost recovery period and do not qualify for the benefit intended by Congress. The retail glitch has caused significant cash flow concerns and has prevented retailers from making important improvements to their stores. The Restoring Investments in Improvements Act would ensure the full cost of store, office, or building improvements can be immediately expensed as was originally intended.

MRA Names Senator Mike Shirkey 2018 Legislator of the Year

Senator Mike Shirkey receives MRA’s 2018 Legislator of the Year award from MRA Government Affairs VP Amy Drumm. State Senator Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) is Michigan Retailers Association 2018 Legislator of the Year. Senator Shirkey sponsored legislation that successfully amended the onerous paid sick leave requirements that were passed to stop the issue from going on the ballot last fall. Senate Bill 1175, now Public Act 369 of 2018, made the sick leave requirements far more palatable for retailers and employers. His leadership role helped secure the necessary votes to win approval of the changes, and he created a system to ensure all parties worked together to draft the new language in a seamless fashion. In addition, as last term’s Senate Health Policy Committee Chairman, he was a tremendous advocate for retail pharmacies. He was instrumental in brokering a legislative victory to modernize language around pharmacy drug substitution pricing. This was a long-desired outcome to update archaic language and remove potential liability from retail pharmacies after a 2014 Michigan Supreme Court decision highlighted the need for changes. Now in his final term, Senator Shirkey was elected Senate Majority Leader. He also serves as Senate Government Operations Committee Chairman. Representing Branch, Hillsdale, and Jackson counties, Senator Shirkey has been named an MRA Friend of Retail in all three of his elections (2012, 2014 and 2018).

Avoid Late Fees: Submit License Renewals On Time

Food: All food establishment licenses (except temporaries) expire on April 30 each year. The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development requests that licenses be renewed 30 calendar days before they expire so establishments can have their new license in hand before the old one expires. This includes a change of ownership. Online is the quickest way to renew. Visit https://aca3.accela.com/mdard. Any license postmarked or computer date-stamped after April 30 will be assessed a $150 late fee. Additional fees include a $250 fine for the first year delinquent and a $650 fine for the second year delinquent. If you are notified because your renewal was late, MDARD advises that you promptly submit your late fee to avoid additional fines and penalties. For additional information or questions, contact MDARD’s Customer Service Center at (800) 292-3939. Liquor: Licensees may renew their liquor licenses online at www. michigan.gov/lcc, click the yellow box with the renewal link. All licenses are effective May 1 through April 30 of every year, regardless of when the license is obtained. Therefore, all licensees must renew their licenses by April 30, whether they are actively operating or holding a license in escrow. The online renewal portal can only accept payment by electronic funds transfer. To pay by credit card, call (517) 284-8557 for details. March/April 2019  Michigan Food News 7

There are special numbers your players always look forward to. They pick them. They own them. They love them. They play them. Drawings are held twice a day, seven days a week, giving players lots of chances to win $500 top prizes playing Daily 3 and $5,000 playing Daily 4.

2-WAY, BOXED AND 1-OFF BETS NOT ELIGIBLE. WHEEL BET WINNERS WILL BE PAID THE STRAIGHT PRIZE ONLY AND ARE NOT ELIGIBLE FOR THE REVERSE PRIZE. Daily 3 odds: Straight: 1 in 1,000; 3-Way Box: 1 in 333; 6-Way Box: 1 in 167. 1-Off Straight: 1 in 1,000; 1-Off One Digit: 1 in 167. Daily 4 odds: Straight Back Bonus: 1 in 10,101; Straight: 1 in 10,000; 4-Way Box: 1 in 2,500; 6-Way Box: 1 in 1,666; 12-Way Box: 1 in 833; 24-Way Box: 1 in 416; 1-Off Straight: 1 in 10,000; 1-Off One Digit: 1 in 1,250. Knowing your limits is always the best bet. Call the Michigan Problem Gambling Helpline for confidential help at 1-800-270-7117.


Animals in Food Establishments — Understanding the Law By Tim Slawinski, Director, Food and Dairy Division, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) and local health departments have received a lot of calls from food establishment managers and customers regarding when animals are allowed in retail grocery stores and restaurants. To help clarify the regulations around service animals and emotional support animals in food establishments, MDARD worked with the Michigan Department of Civil Rights to develop printed materials and signage for grocery stores and restaurants. This information is designed to make sure businesses are meeting the regulatory requirements for food establishments, while respecting the rights of persons with disabilities that are protected by law and to explain the difference between a service animal and an emotional support animal. What Does the Law Say? Section 6-501.115 of the Michigan Modified Food Code restricts the presence of animals in businesses that sell, prepare, or serve food. However, an allowable exception under 6-501.115 includes service animals that are controlled by a person with a disability. This Food Code exception aligns with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements. Service animals are dogs or miniature horses trained in work or a task that mitigates their handler’s disability. An obvious example of a service animal task is wayfinding for someone who is blind. Some service animal tasks may be less obvious such as reminding a person with a memory impairment to take medication, alerting someone with diabetes that their blood sugar is low, or signaling to a person with epilepsy that a seizure is imminent. Unlike service animals, other assistance animals providing emotional support or companionship are not required to be admitted into businesses covered by the ADA. If a person brings an animal into your food establishment, and it is not obvious what task the service animal provides, a food establishment can legally ask these two questions: 1. Is the animal a service animal required because of a disability? 2. What work or task has the animal been trained to perform? Service animals are not required to wear identification or a vest, and food establishments may not request documentation showing they are a service animal. Service animals are required to be housebroken and under their handler’s control. Animals failing to meet these behavioral requirements may be removed from a business at any time. In these instances, their handler must be granted an opportunity to receive goods or services without the animal present. In addition, service animals must be on a harness or leash unless

this would interfere with the animal’s task, or the handler’s disability prevents the use of these devices. The U.S. Department of Justice has also indicated food establishments are not required to allow service animals to be placed in shopping carts or use seating, food, or drink provided for customer use only. There are penalties for false representation of a service animal under MCL 752.61-MCL 752.64. Those who represent an unqualified animal as a service animal or service animal in training in Michigan are guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by one or more of the following: • Imprisonment for not more than 90 days. • A fine of not more than $500. • Community service for not more than 30 days. If an animal is brought into your food establishment, ask the two questions allowed by law. If the handler does NOT identify the animal as a service animal required because of a disability or does NOT indicate what work or task the animal has been trained to perform, then you should not allow the animal in the food establishment, indicating the store would be in violation of MDARD’s Michigan Modified Food Code. Printed materials and signage are available for grocery stores and restaurants at www.michigan.gov/foodsafety under “Hot News.” In the coming months, MDARD food inspectors will also have a limited amount of printed materials to distribute to licensees. If you are interested in receiving printed copies, please ask your inspector. If you suspect service animal fraud, you should contact your local law enforcement agency. As always, you can contact MDARD with grocery store food safety questions at (800) 292-3939. For service animal information, contact the Michigan Department of Civil Rights at (800) 482-3604.

Lottery News

New Fast Cash Instant-Win Draw Games Expected to Generate Excitement; Boost Sales By Brian O. Neill, Michigan Lottery Commissioner When the Fast Cash suite of games launched in July 2017, the Michigan Lottery expected them to generate excitement for players and boost sales for retailers. The Fast Cash games proved to be immensely popular with players and their performance has far exceeded our expectations. In fact, the launch of Fast Cash in Michigan was the most successful launch of the games among the many states that currently offer these types of games. Since the games launched, sales have eclipsed budget projections totaling more than $133.4 million and players have won more than $95 million. Fast Cash games range in price from $1 up to $20 per play and print from terminals at Lottery retailers. To capitalize on the Fast Cash popularity, four new games are being launched on May 5th: • Bowling Bucks II – Each $1 ticket offers players a chance to win prizes ranging from $1 up to $100 and 10% of the Fast Cash progressive jackpot.

• Whole Lotta $100s – Each $2 ticket offers players a chance to win prizes ranging from $2 up to $500 and 20 percent of the Fast Cash progressive jackpot. • Doubler Wild Time Progressive – Each $10 ticket offers players a chance to win prizes ranging from $10 up to $6,000 and 100 percent of the Fast Cash progressive jackpot. • Jumbo Jackpot Slots – Each $20 ticket offers players a chance to win prizes ranging from $20 up to $10,000 and 100 percent of the Fast Cash progressive jackpot plus $250,000. Fast Cash has also been a successful game for retailers. More than 99% of Fast Cash prizes may be claimed at Lottery retailers — creating new opportunities for redemption commissions. Since Fast Cash launched, retailers have earned more than $1.9 million in sales and redemption commissions. March/April 2019  Michigan Food News 9

Mark Your Calendar Now and Plan to Attend the Association’s Annual

Legislative Reception

The Association’s Annual Legislative Reception is one of the most talked about events in Lansing — with good reason. It has a reputation for having extraordinary food, beverages, and networking opportunities. This year’s reception will be held Tuesday, April 23 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the offices of the Dykema law firm which is adjacent to Michigan’s Capitol Building — making it even easier for legislators to join us! The reception is an ideal setting to build rapport with public officials. Don’t miss what is perhaps the year’s best opportunity to share your business, economic, and regulatory concerns with lawmakers, regulators, and other officials. To be part of the reception or for more information, contact Amy Drumm at (800) 366-3699 or adrumm@retailers.com.

Tom’s Food Market Closes Acme Store

MRA Member Tom’s Food Market closed its store in Acme on March 17, explaining that “it is no longer economically feasible to maintain operations at this location.” The Acme store opened in 1983. Employees are transferring to one of the other five Tom’s locations. Tom’s Food Market will continue to operate stores in Interlochen, Northport, and three in Traverse City.

Appeals Court Ruling Extends ADA Obligations to Websites

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to website accessibility so long as there is a “nexus” between the website and a company’s physical location. The plaintiff in the case alleged that Domino’s discriminated against him in violation of Title III of the ADA because his screen reading software was incompatible with Domino’s website. The court held that Domino’s violated the law because its website’s incompatibility with screen reader software impedes access to the goods and services of its physical pizza franchises. The National Grocers Association says that the Ninth Circuit decision should put grocery stores on notice that they could face significant legal exposure for website accessibility issues. While the ruling only technically applies in states governed by the Ninth Circuit — Arizona, California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Idaho, Montana, Alaska, and Hawaii — it’s a major development in a trend that’s been growing over the last several years. The National Retail Federation notes that a record number of website accessibility lawsuits were filed in 2018, with retail being the most frequently targeted industry. 10 Michigan Food News  March/April 2019

Star Truck Rentals Announces Promotions, Opens New Training Center

MRA Member Star Truck Rentals announced a series of promotions. Former Fleet Supervisor Jim Kennedy advances to Director of Maintenance. In this role, he will direct teams of diesel technicians repairing thousands of commercial vehicles annually. Kennedy has been employed with Star Truck Rentals since 1977. Additional promotions: Dave Donbrock, John Teunis, and Ken Herman all advance into new roles as regional managers. More News: Star Truck Rentals received a $90,000 award from West Michigan Works! to use in helping to abate the national diesel technician shortage. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, an estimated 140,000-plus diesel technicians will be needed by 2022 to fill emerging job openings and those vacated by a retiring generation. With the awarded funds, the company opened a second job training location. Last October, Star Truck’s Flint location hosted the inaugural diesel technician training course for prospective applicants and current employees. Now participants from West Michigan and Northern Michigan can train at a new center next door to the company’s Comstock Park rental and repair facility. During each five-week course, compatible applicants seeking a career shift receive paid training toward acquiring skills as a diesel technician. Participants are also enrolled in an apprenticeship approved through the Department of Labor. Participants who are veterans are eligible to receive Government Issue funds as well. Upon successful course completion, participants will receive job placement at one of Star Truck Rentals’ 17 locations. “Financial barriers and time commitments are a large component of what holds talent back from pursuing a diesel technician career,” says Star Truck Rentals President Tom Bylenga. “We’ve done our best to tear down those walls and build a brighter future together. We’re honored West Michigan Works! values our 150-year industry commitment as we further encourage new talent.” Currently, there are only two other certified diesel technician training programs in Michigan, available at Baker College and Ferris State University. Throughout the U.S., there are just over 170 such programs. “Presently, we’re on track to have 30 or more diesel technicians benefiting from on-the-job paid training since we began our Star Training Academy last fall,” says Star Truck Rentals Director of Human Resources Heather Kimble. Star Training Academy participants will receive paid training at a rate of $15 an hour, in addition to an entry tool set, which is available to own through payment installments.

Michigan Food News Changes New Opportunities for Advertisers  Beginning with this issue, the Michigan Food News will be published bimonthly. Look for the May/June issue in early May.  In addition to printing and mailing each issue of the Michigan Food News, it is also available online. See retailers.com. Click on “News & Events,” and then “Michigan Retailer/Michigan Food News.”  Michigan Grocers is growing its digital offerings: Beginning April 2019, we’ll publish a biweekly electronic newsletter with timely industry and regulatory updates emailed to members. There is a new opportunity for suppliers to reach grocers by sponsoring this electronic newsletter.  Michigan Food News advertisers now have an opportunity to increase exposure by also placing an ad in the MRA magazine, the Michigan Retailer. If you place a full or half page color ad in the Michigan Food News, you will receive a very discounted rate on an ad placed in the Michigan Retailer. For more information on placing ads in the Michigan Food News and Michigan Retailer and to learn how you can sponsor the new electronic newsletter, contact Lisa Reibsome at (517) 449-2256 or MGAReibsome@comcast.net.

President’s Message continued from page 3

Report Tell Us What Food-related Causes Consumers Care About Today

A recent Nielsen study identified hot topics related to today’s food/ grocery industry and noted Americans’ level of awareness and interest in these topics. The research showed that social awareness varied widely, with no one topic tipping the majority. Buying local had the highest consumer awareness, topping the chart at 46%. It is clear that consumers are aware of the importance of buying local and continue to show a hunger for hometown, locally grown products, especially produce, baked goods, and eggs. What do consumers care about? 1. Buying local, 46% 2. Decline in bee populations, 40% 3. GMO in foods, 35% 4. No added sugar/sugar reduction, 33% 5. Antibiotic use in animal production, 32% Tie 6. Rising prices due to trade tariffs, 30% Tie 6. Free from artificial ingredients, 30% Tie 6. Pesticide/herbicide use in food production, 30% 7. Fair trade, 24% Nielsen says that consumers are purchasing products that matter most to them. Looking at the top topics of interest to consumers, dollar sales of locally grown/sourced, no added sugar, free from GMO, and antibiotic free products were all up during the 52-week period ending December 29, 2018. Interestingly though, despite consumers’ awareness of the decline in bee populations, dollar sales of bee byproducts such as food items with honey in them have grown by 39% over the past year.

Golf Outing Please plan to join us for the annual Golf Outing on June 20 at the Brookshire Inn and Golf Club in Williamston, which is about 20 minutes east of Lansing. Last year, golfers had nothing but praise for the course and for the level of personal service provided by the golf club. We expect this year will prove to be another exceptional event. From a great mix of retailers and suppliers to a beautiful course made even better with fresh-grilled burgers, hotdogs, and brats at the turn and a first-rate awards dinner — last year’s event set a high bar for the firstever combined Michigan Grocers/Michigan Retailers outing. For more information, contact MRA’s Nora Jones at njones@retailers.com. I hope to see you there! Looking Back As mentioned in my previous column, I will retire in August after 34 wonderful years at Michigan Retailers, and I promised to share a few memories. There was the time when I was to testify on behalf of Michigan Retailers on an important labor-related issue. I put on my best blue suit in order to be properly attired for this important hearing. The chair of the committee called my name, and I approached the table to testify while glancing down at my freshly polished shoes. Much to my surprise, one shoe was brown and the other was black. Oh my. What an impression I made. Thank goodness my good friends in the shoe business are so forgiving. Spring Take heart. No matter what it’s doing outside your window as you read this (after all, it is Michigan), know that spring weather is crawling its way to us. Let’s hope warmer weather encourages people to emerge from hibernation and shopping well for the spring and summer seasons. March/April 2019  Michigan Food News 11



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Profile for Michigan Retailers Association

March 2019 Michigan Food News  

The March 2019 issue of Michigan Food News, the official publication of Michigan Grocers, a division of the Michigan Retailers Association.

March 2019 Michigan Food News  

The March 2019 issue of Michigan Food News, the official publication of Michigan Grocers, a division of the Michigan Retailers Association.