Page 1

BE A SURVIVOR 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 long-term 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 PLEASE CONTACT:

Keith Knight 615-290-6093 Wayne Hall 608-347-7318 Dave McKelvey 713-876-6240 Neal Schumacher 573-489-1545

Associated Wholesale Grocers, Inc., 5000 Kansas Avenue, Kansas City, KS 66106

President’s Message

Late-spring musings james p. hallan MRA President and Chief Executive Officer

Welcome to the new Michigan Food News! For 73 years, the Michigan Food News has covered the news that food businesses need to successfully operate in Michigan. With this issue, we launch a new look — redefining the magazine in a contemporary way to make the most of the print medium. Our goal is to honor its history while looking to the future. With a new style and size, the revamped magazine features a fresh cover design, more color and more photos, while continuing to offer its signature trusted content and focus on your needs and those of other food businesses in Michigan. We hope you like it! Legislative Reception Speaking of photos, this issue has many from our annual legislative reception, which, by all measures, was widely successful as we set an attendance record. The purpose of the event is to showcase our industry to elected officials and others who care about our issues. Our Buy Nearby Guy served as the greeter, reminding everyone that it’s important to keep dollars in the Mitten. The event featured many Michigan products. A heartfelt thanks to all our sponsors who helped make the event so successful. Open Enrollment The open enrollment period for MRA’s Retailers Insurance Company dental plan, administered by Delta Dental of Michigan, and vision plan, administered by VSP Vision, is May 1-June 15, with an effective date of July 1. Both are part of MRA’s Private Insurance Exchange. Members with two to 50 employees can learn more at retailers.com/private-exchange or call (800) 336-3699, ext. 681. Workers’ Compensation Members of Michigan Grocers, a division of Michigan Retailers, have two strong, Michigan-based options when it comes to purchasing workers’ compensation insurance. The Michigan Grocers Fund is an excellent, dividend-paying group self-insurance fund that was organized in 2014. It has a strong

track record. Likewise, Michigan Grocers members have the opportunity to participate in Retailers Insurance Company, which is rated by Demotech as “A Prime, Unsurpassed.” Check them out at migrocersfund.org and retailersinsurance.com. Membership Renewal Thank you for renewing your membership. As part of your membership, you are eligible for one free, updated labor law poster that includes recent changes to the minimum wage and paid leave laws. Extra copies are available for $15 each. For information on how to request your free poster visit bit.ly/MRAposters. Looking Back and Looking Ahead Michigan Grocers became part of Michigan Retailers Association in January 2018, and the affiliation has been very successful. We’ve made significant progress on our goal of strengthening our common retail brand while maintaining your grocer identity. Successful events have continued: the Michigan Grocers Summit was held in September at Crystal Mountain Resort, and the annual golf outing was held in June at Williamston’s Brookshire Inn and Golf Club. (See pages 7 and 13 for information on this year’s events.) We strive to keep you well-informed. The Michigan Food News continues, now in its refreshed format, and we’ve added a biweekly electronic bulletin of fast-breaking food news to keep you up-to-date. In addition, as MRA members you also receive legislative bulletins and the bimonthly Michigan Retailer magazine. You are also entitled to all Association benefits including merchant processing, Buy Nearby events, health and dental insurance offerings, Michigan Retailers Foundation scholarships and more. Importantly, the new Grocers Divisional Board met three times last year, and two grocers now serve on the Michigan Retailers Board of Directors. I hope you’ll agree with me that we are stronger together.

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 Grocers Association is a division of the Michigan Retailers Association

James P. Hallan Publisher Lisa J. Reibsome Editor & Ad Sales

(517) 449-2245 MGAReibsome@comcast.net Publisher does not assume responsibility for statements made by advertisers in business competition. © MICHIGAN FOOD NEWS 2019 MICHIGAN FOOD NEWS

MAY/JUNE 2019 3



he newly released “Power of Produce 2019” from FMI reveals that 53% of shoppers want a greater assortment of locally grown produce in their primary store. And, the percentage is even higher among a few select groups: n Older Millennials, 63% n Those with kids up to age 6 at home, 60% n Those with a six-figure income, 59%. The competition: The report also found that 69% of shoppers visit farmers’ markets specifically to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables. The reasons why provide excellent insight for grocers: n Better Freshness, 67% — Freshness is the number one reason consumers shop at farmers’ markets. FMI suggests traditional food retailers and brands use this information to better compete by finding ways to communicate clearly and regularly that the produce at retail is every bit as fresh and high quality as farmers’ market produce. “Call out speed-to-shelf, locally sourced items and industry efforts to keep the produce supply safe, fresh and varied,” FMI suggests. n Show Support for Local Farmers, 53% — Showing support for farmers can easily and effectively be done at retail. As part of your produce display, tell a story about the farms and the farmers behind your products. “Use imagery and events to leverage the farm connection,” FMI recommends.

Meijer’s commitment to local runs deep

“Meijer has a long history of buying local,” says Public Relations Manager Christina Fecher. “When we opened our first store in 1934 in Greenville, a local farmer delivered cabbage and squash directly to Hendrik Meijer. Today, our commitment to local produce has grown to represent an annual economic impact of nearly $100 million.” Meijer works with more than 125 growers in their sixstate footprint, making the retailer one of the largest purchasers of local produce in the markets it serves. Of those, 92 growers come from Michigan. “Our commitment to local goes well beyond produce,” Fecher adds. “Meijer supplies each of its stores with flowers from Masterpiece Flower Company out of Byron Center. That means we have Michigan-grown poinsettias and hanging baskets in the winter and Easter lilies in the spring available continued on page 14 throughout our geographic market.

SpartanNash’s ‘thing’ is a ‘Michigan thing’ “At SpartanNash, the decision to focus on locally grown and produced items comes from listening to our customers and making sure we have what they want on our shelves,” says Chief Merchandising and Marketing Officer Lori Raya. “We have known for some time that demand for local items is growing and outpacing the growth of total food and beverage sales, but in recent years local products have exploded in growth. Of course, when we see these trends, we dig deeper, looking for more products to meet the customer’s needs.” continued on page 7

Kroger-Michigan encourages shoppers to discover local

Kroger reports that it has a longstanding, 365-day-a-year commitment to support and source from local farmers, ranchers, food producers, wineries, breweries and product makers. Kroger’s team of buyers continuously looks for opportunities to purchase regionally; and in 2017, Kroger launched a website, Kroger.Com/WeAreLocal, to welcome local and emerging brands to partner with the company and make it easier to do business together. “Buying local supports local farm families and businesses and helps boost the area’s economy,” says Kroger-Michigan Corporate Affairs Manager Rachel Hurst. “We’re thrilled to be able to offer consumers so many local choices throughout our stores.” continued on page 7 MICHIGAN FOOD NEWS

MAY/JUNE 2019 5

It’s all about the bling

On June 20, the golf outing returns to the beautiful Brookshire Inn and Golf Club in Williamston, about 20 minutes east of Lansing. Judging by the success of last year’s event, you do not want to miss this year’s outing. The 8 a.m. registration includes continental breakfast followed by a 9 a.m. shotgun start. There will be lunch at the turn and an awards dinner following golf. At 6,300 yards, the 18-hole (par 70) layout is an ideal course for both the casual and skilled golfer. It is uniquely mature and offers scenery more characteristic of courses found in Northern Michigan. The $125 per golfer entry fee includes golf, cart, food, refreshments and prizes. The entry deadline is June 14.

Winning comes with bragging rights and the Paulie Bunyan Trophy goes home with the winning team until the association’s next golf outing.

Sponsorship Available Take advantage of the business-building opportunities at the outing. All Michigan Retailers Association members are invited, so this event provides a fantastic opportunity to meet with new retailers. Sponsorship details are on the registration form: bit.ly/golfmra2019 or contact MRA’s Nora Jones with questions (800) 366.3699 ext. 344 or njones@retailers.com.

MLCC Chairman talks mission, duties, sales trends

Michigan Liquor Control Commission Chairman Andy Deloney attended the MRA Board of Directors meeting on April 19 to discuss MLCC’s role and interaction with retailers, along with alcoholic beverage sales trends. He noted House Bills 4420-21, introduced recently, that would lower Michigan’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) threshold from the current .08 to .05. His comments stressed that lowering the legal BAC would not likely reduce the number of drunken drivers on the road, many of whom are pulled over with well over double the current legal limit.

continued from page 5

SpartanNash’s ‘thing’ is a ‘Michigan thing’

The company says they are always on the hunt for new local products, and for that reason, they participate in a number of events designed to showcase local food entrepreneurs throughout the year. “We recently held our third annual tasting event at our corporate headquarters where 13 vendors who we don’t currently do business with provided product samples for us,” Raya adds. Supporting local farmers and businesses is also part of Spartan -Nash’s corporate responsibility commitment because it meets shoppers’ growing appetite for local products while reducing food miles, which is good for the environment. Since 2016, the company has defined “local” as any product grown or produced in the same state as the retail store or within 100 miles of the store if it crosses the border into another state — ensuring local support remains as close to home as possible. “We carry more than 2,300 local items in our stores; and in many markets, our stores have the distinction of carrying the most local fruits and vegetables,” Raya says. “We call out that we are ‘Proud to Support Local’ with in-store signage including shelf tags and pedestal signs — which we also make available to our independent customers.”

Kroger-Michigan: discover local

She continues, “Later this month, we are hosting a huge event for local companies whose products we carry. They will have tasting samples and information about their products. “We invite bloggers and influencers to write about the event to build interest and excitement in our local products.” Sourcing locally also supports the company’s sustainability commitments, including Kroger’s Zero Hunger, Zero Waste initiative. “To let shoppers know what’s locally or Michigan made we have a ‘Discover Local’ display in each of our stores representing our local partners,” Hurst shares. “In addition, several of our local produce and floral partners are highlighted on large signs hanging from the ceilings in the produce department in our stores.” Many Kroger Michigan stores also have “I’m Local” tags down the aisles, and local sections in the deli and/or bakery are called out with “Discover Local” signs. Additional “Discover Local” materials, such as the window clings in the service deli shown on page 5, are used when the company features specific local products. MICHIGAN FOOD NEWS

MAY/JUNE 2019 7

MRA’s Legislative Reception is a recipe for success On April 23, the Association hosted its annual Michigan Retailers and Grocers Legislative Reception, with a record number of nearly 170 people gathering for great conversation, food and beverages. Members of Michigan’s retail industry supply all the flowers, food and beverages, including Michigan craft beers and wines, to showcase the top-of-the line food and beverages grocers and suppliers create and sell each day. An important grassroots addition to MRA’s daily advocacy and lobbying work, the reception is a fun and effective way to build rapport with legislators, regulators and industry peers in a relaxed social setting. Thank you to the event sponsors: Amway, Arctic Glacier Premium Ice, Busch’s Fresh Food Market, CHPA, Dykema, Juul, Kroger-Michigan, Lipari Foods, Mary Kay, Meijer, National Confectioners Association, National Retail Federation, National Association of Chain and Drug Stores, Retailers Insurance Company, Retail Industry Leaders Association, Rite Aid, SpartanNash and Walgreens. Special thanks to the culinary teams at Busch’s and VG’s Grocery, a division of SpartanNash, for preparing, designing and staffing the event. Future legislative re­ceptions are not to be missed! 8 MAY/JUNE 2019


Above, left to right, top to bottom: Schupan & Sons’ Mike Soboleski, MRA’s Bill Hallan and Rep. Frank Liberati (D-Allen Park). MRA’s Amy Drumm, Sen. Curt VanderWall (R-Ludington) and CVS’s Emily McGann. Lipari Food’s Don Symonds and Sen. Rick Outman (R-Six Lakes). The event’s bill of fare tied in seamlessly with MRA’s Buy Nearby program, highlighting Michigan products. Here the Buy Nearby Guy is with MRA’s Jim Hallan, Rep. Padma Kuppa (D-Troy), and Kroger’s Ken McClure. John Leppink with Leppink’s Food Centers, Becky Beauchine Kulka with Becky Beauchine Kulka Diamonds and Fine Jewelry and Bryan Neiman with Neiman’s Family Market. Rep Roger Hauck (R-Union Township) and Meijer’s Andrew Martin. Page 8, left to right, top to bottom: Not your run-of-the-mill reception. Some of the delicious food and beautiful flowers that make this event the talk of the town. It’s safe to say that no one left hungry. Rep. Julie Alexander (R-Hanover), Kroger’s Ken McClure, Sen. Peter Lucido (R-Shelby Township) and Kroger’s Rachel Hurst. Rep. Ben Frederick (R-Owosso) chooses from among the many fresh sushi options. SpartanNash’s Meredith Gremel and Rep. Brandt Iden (R-Oshtemo Township). Busch’s Fresh Foods President Gary Pfeil and MRA President Jim Hallan. MICHIGAN FOOD NEWS

MAY/JUNE 2019 9

Lipari Foods Show Once Again Breaks Records MRA Member Lipari Foods held their annual food show on April 3 in Novi. This year’s theme, “Once Upon a Savings,” was prominent throughout the event, with larger-than-life displays and costumed performers. The sold-out show was the largest in the company’s history with 755 booths, more than 900 vendors, and nearly 16,000 total items available at special prices, way up from last year’s 12,500 items. New categories included International Foods as well as Health, Wellness & Beauty – Active Life Brands. New products included Amish Wedding Foods and Backroad Country candy and snacks from the recently acquired Troyer family of companies. Approximately 5,500 customers came from 14 Midwestern and Southern states. “It’s simply amazing to see what happens when the food industry comes together,” says Lipari Foods Director of Events & Trade Relations Don Symonds, who also serves on the MRA Grocers Division Board. “We are extremely grateful to the vendor and broker community for their support and, of course, for the thousands of customers who take time from their busy schedules to attend.” Above: MRA President & CEO Jim Hallan, MRA Government Affairs VP Amy Drumm, Lipari Foods President & CEO Thom Lipari and MRA Executive VP Bill Hallan. Top Right: Ford Kennedy considers new products for his family’s seven Polly’s Country Markets and Country Market supermarkets. MICHIGAN FOOD NEWS

MAY/JUNE 2019 11

THERE’S FUN IN EVERY ONE! Players love Instant Games! There are dozens to choose from and millions in cash prizes. Last year, retailers earned $109 million in commissions on Michigan Lottery instant tickets. So keep plenty in stock because what’s fun for players means profits for you.

Lottery News

Money Match Instant Game Family expected to generate interest; boost sales By Brian O’Neill Michigan Lottery Commissioner

The Michigan Lottery’s instant games portfolio has performed at record levels for four years in a row. In 2015, Lottery instant game sales eclipsed $1 billion for the first time with double-digit growth. Sales growth continued in 2016 and 2017 with double digit percentage growth year-over-year. Final results for 2018 show instant game sales grew an impressive 13% from 2017 to a record $1.5 billion. The instant games momentum has carried into 2019, with sales for the first half of the fiscal year up about 13% compared to the first six months of 2018. The Lottery has a new family of “Match” instant games to help maintain player interest and continue that sales momentum. Launched May 7, the Match family includes four instant games: • $5,000 Money Match – A $1 ticket with top prizes of $5,000, and more than $6 million in total prizes. • $50,000 Money Match – A $2 ticket with top prizes of $50,000, and more than $20 million in total prizes. • $500,000 Money Match – A $5 ticket with top prizes of $500,000, and more than $29 million in total prizes. • $1,000,000 Money Match – A $10 ticket with top prizes of $1 million, and more than $54 million in total prizes. We expect the variety of price points and prizes will make the Match family attractive to a large number of players and expand the already strong interest in instant games.

New Fast Cash Games Launching May 5 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. To capitalize on the Fast Cash popularity, four new games launched on May 5: • 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% 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% 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% of the Fast Cash progressive jackpot plus $250,000. Fast Cash also has 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 redemption commissions.

Save the Date

Michigan Grocers returns to Crystal Mountain in 2019 Get out your calendar or open your app to mark the date for the Food Retailers Summit: Wednesday, Sept. 25 to Friday, Sept. 27. After the success of last year’s new and improved event, we’re excited to return to the beautiful Crystal Mountain Resort. Your involvement is key as we continue to grow this event! Plan now to attend and stay tuned for more details. MICHIGAN FOOD NEWS

MAY/JUNE 2019 13


Wild mushroom season: culinary delights, but food risks Retailers are reminded to only buy and sell wild mushrooms from certified mushroom experts By Tim Slawinski Food and Dairy Division Director, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development

It’s wild mushroom season in Michigan, and foragers are out in droves gathering the tasty morsels by the bushel. Wild mushrooms, such as morels and chanterelles, help define the forests of Michigan and provide potential income streams for foragers, farmers, restaurateurs and food entrepreneurs. However, if improperly identified, mushrooms can pose serious health risks. If you are purchasing wild mushrooms, you should only purchase them from a certified mushroom identification expert, as required by Michigan’s Food Code, to assure they are safe and edible. Michigan’s Food Code requires those who sell mushrooms picked in the wild to either be certified as an approved mushroom identification expert or have each mushroom individually inspected and found safe by a certified mushroom expert. There are many varieties of edible mushrooms that grow in Michigan, but there are also toxic, poisonous varieties, so there is some risk involved. There are also many look-alike varieties for some of our favorite wild mushrooms, including morels. These look-alikes can cause serious illness or death when eaten, so it’s important to know how to properly identify mushrooms and only buy mushrooms from someone who is a trained, certified mushroom identification expert. MDARD recognizes a certification and training course offered by Midwest American Mycological Information (MAMI). The course was developed by MAMI; the Institute for Sustainable Living, Art and Natural Design (now operating under the name, CROSSHATCH); and the Michigan Farmers Market Association, with support from MDARD. MDARD does not receive any money from MAMI, a nonprofit, nonpartisan public charity, for conducting the training and certification. All funds support the training program and materials. Those who successfully complete the course offered by MAMI are certified by MDARD and the certification is valid for five years. Certified mushroom identification experts should be prepared to show their certification cards as proof of certification, upon request. Retailers: Follow Michigan’s Food Code The bottom line: Please enjoy hunting for and eating your favorite wild mushrooms, but make sure you know how to properly identify them. If you plan to sell your wild mushroom harvest, you must be a certified mushroom identification expert; and if you operate a store or restaurant and plan to purchase mushrooms for resale to your customers, they must be purchased from an approved source and individually inspected by a certified mushroom identification expert. Finally, if 14 MAY/JUNE 2019


you’re purchasing wild mushrooms, especially online through social media platforms, always ask for proof of certification before purchasing any mushrooms. Mushroom poisoning refers to harmful effects from ingestion of toxic substances present in some mushrooms, with symptoms ranging from slight gastrointestinal discomfort to death. Common symptoms associated with mushroom poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, weakness, lethargy and yellowing of the skin or eyes (jaundice). Mushroom poisoning is usually the result of ingestion of wild mushrooms after misidentification of a toxic mushroom as an edible species. The most common reason for this misidentification is close resemblance in terms of color and general morphology of some toxic mushroom species with edible species. If you suspect mushroom poisoning, seek immediate medical assistance, and call the Michigan Poison Control Center at (800) 222-1222. For information about mushroom identification training and certification, including upcoming courses, or to view a list of certified mushroom identification experts in Michigan, please visit MAMI’s website at www.midwestmycology.org. To report potentially illegal sales of wild-foraged mushrooms, contact MDARD at (800) 292-3939 or mda-info@michigan.gov. You may also file a food safety complaint using the MDARD online complaint form.

Meijer’s commitment to local runs deep continued from page 5

Another way Meijer supports local is with the annual Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give, this year scheduled June 11-16. “Each year tournament officials partner with 30-plus local businesses throughout tournament week, which represents an investment in the local community of more than $2 million,” Fecher says. Additionally, putting a new twist on selling local, Meijer opened its first neighborhood grocery store, Bridge Street Market, on the west side of Grand Rapids last year. To highlight the store’s emphasis on local, the company chose the name Bridge Street rather than Meijer. The 37,000-square-foot store carries more than 2,000 local, artisan products and was built with Michiganspecific elements including reclaimed wood from local farms and historic neighborhood brick. Meijer uses a variety of signs, displays and packaging to highlight for shoppers Michigan-made and locally grown items.

603 S. Washington Avenue, Lansing, MI 48933 (800) 366-3699 www.retailers.com

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


• Advertising Support • Asset Protection • Category Management • Customer Service & Order Entry • Environmental Health & Safety • Financial Services • Graphic Services • IT & Point of Sale Systems • Marketing • Merchandising • Pharmacy • Pricing • Reclamation • Retail Development & Consulting

Support Services Group

• Retailer Education • Shelf Technology & Planograms • Supply Solutions

CONTACT US TODAY AND LEARN HOW WE CAN HELP YOUR BUSINESS! Visit SpartanNash.com or Call: Jim Gohsman 616-878-8088 | Ed Callihan 330-903-8076 | Roger Delemeester 989-245-0337

Profile for Michigan Retailers Association

May-June 2019 Michigan Food News  

The May-June 2019 issue of Michigan Food News, the official publication of Michigan Grocers, a division of the Michigan Retailers Associatio...

May-June 2019 Michigan Food News  

The May-June 2019 issue of Michigan Food News, the official publication of Michigan Grocers, a division of the Michigan Retailers Associatio...