Industry News

Target Corp. on Tuesday said it has reached an $18.5 million settlement with 47 states the over the 2013 data breach that exposed payment data of more than 41 million of its customers and contact information for 60 million shoppers. The agreement represents the largest multistate data breach settlement achieved to date, according to New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman. The states' investigation — led by the Attorneys General of Connecticut and Illinois — found that in November of 2013, hackers accessed Target's gateway server through credentials stolen from a third-party vendor. The credentials were then used to exploit weaknesses in Target's system, which allowed the attackers to access a customer service database and to install malware on the system that was used to capture consumer data, including full names, telephone numbers, email and mailing addresses, payment card numbers, expiration dates, CVV1 codes, and encrypted debit PINs. Target announced the breach in December of that year. The event forced Target to overhaul its data security and was said to be a factor in the departure of then-CEO Gregg Steinhafel, who resigned in May of 2014. In addition to the monetary payment to the states, the settlement agreement requires Target to develop maintain a comprehensive information security program and to employ an executive or officer who is responsible for executing the plan. The company is required to hire an independent, qualified third party to conduct a comprehensive security assessment. Consumers will get no proceeds from the settlement announced Wednesday, although Target is reportedly in the process of a $10 million settlement in a consumer class-action lawsuit connected to the breach. The retailer separately paid out $39.4 million in 2015 to banks and credit unions affected by the breach. [...]
Wed, May 24, 2017
Supermarket News
An array of exclusive and limited-edition branded products hit the shelves of Dollar General stores this week as the retailer prepares for the summer selling season.  The items will be promoted through the company’s digital coupons including the “Fast Way to Save” offers on exclusive items. "Dollar General remains focused on delivering everyday low prices and value to our customers throughout the upcoming summer months and is thrilled to provide exclusive product offers and considerable savings through our digital coupon program," Todd Vasos, CEO of the Goodlettsville, Tenn.-based retailer, said in a statement. "Additionally, having some of America's top brands deliver exclusive and limited-edition products in our stores reflects our strength as the sector leader and vast retail footprint represented by more than 13,600 locations in 44 states." Exclusive branded items new stores include Oreo Mississippi Mud Pie cookies, available with a $1 off for two a digital coupon; a 16-ounce Coca-Cola can series honoring military veterans; Regal Cinemas brand popcorn; an exclusive flavor of Hawaiian Punch, Mango Monsoon; and Mott’s mango juice in an exclusive 6-pack. In addition, stores will promote a “Simple Summer Meals” tool designed to help customers find easy-to-prepare meals based on recipes by author and television host Sunny Anderson. Dollar General this week also launched a new line of “trend-right” cosmetics known as the Broadway line. [...]
Tue, May 23, 2017
Supermarket News
Wal-Mart Stores said Tuesday said it would pay the difference between its wages and military salaries for eligible employees requiring a leave of absence to fulfill military obligations lasting more than three days including voluntary assignments like training for new military recruits. The program, which begins June 24, enhances a differential pay scheme that has been in effect since 2008, officials said. In 2016, Walmart associates took more than 4,400 military leave of absences. According to the U.S. Army website, soldiers with less than two years of experience make about $19,200 per year, or about $9.23 per hour, with pay slightly lower for new members. Walmart last year raised the minimum pay for its workers to $10 per hour. “At Walmart, we’re turning jobs into fulfilling careers for veterans, active service members and their families, and we’re making it easier for them to work, live and serve,” Retired Brigadier General Gary Profit, senior director of military programs for Walmart, said in a statement. “We believe that anyone who wants to serve in our Armed Forces should be able to do so without fear of losing wages or leaving their family in a lurch. The changes we’re making will remove financial barriers for all associates serving their country, including those who are starting their service journey through basic training.” Walmart said it is one of the first major retailers to apply differential pay to include basic training, so associates who are considering enlisting in the armed forces can make that decision without fear of losing wages. In addition, Walmart said it was taking steps to streamline the internal process required to obtain differential pay with the goal of making it easier on associates and their families. Walmart hired more than 170,000 veterans since it announced its Veterans Welcome Home Commitment in May of 2013, guaranteeing a job to any eligible, honorably discharged veteran. Of those veteran hires, more than 22,000 have been promoted to jobs with higher pay and greater responsibility, Walmart said. [...]
Tue, May 23, 2017
Supermarket News
The city of St. Clair Shores is officially the first city in Michigan to take advantage of a law introduced in July 2016 that allows local governments to make facility improvements leveraging flexible financing programs that are not considered debt. Through the Tax-Exempt Lease Purchase (TELP) program, St. Clair Shores will partner with Johnson Controls on city-wide upgrades, including HVAC, building automation, lighting, and water improvements. [...]
Tue, May 23, 2017
ACHR News
Florida Gov. Rick Scott visited RGF Environmental Group Inc. during his “Fighting for Florida's Future” tour. A global manufacturer headquartered in Riviera Beach, Florida, RGF has created more than 50 new jobs over the past four years, currently employs more than 130 Floridians, and is actively seeking new hires to fill 25 new work stations. [...]
Tue, May 23, 2017
ACHR News
By: Kelli Windsor, Senior Manager for Member and Digital Communications, Food Marketing Institute  I recently learned that the term “organic” is one of the most searched terms on our website. In an industry facing rapid change, grocery stores are looking for ways to set themselves apart. I've combed through our recent research reports on fresh foods and pulled out some of the topline findings around organic for some specific departments. These findings help form an organic shopper persona that can be important to your business strategy. I'd encourage you to download the full reports for greater insight and see our other industry research for consumer and operations insights. Produce Department - Organic produce sales in 2016 reached $4 billion, a 13 percent increase over 2015, representing eight percent of total produce sales, according to data provided by IRI in the Power of Produce report. Nearly three out of five shoppers report they choose organic produce because it is “free-from (pesticides and others).” Shoppers report positive long-term personal health effects (39%), less of an environmental impact (38%) and better taste (33%) as some of the other reason for purchasing organic produce. While 85 percent of shoppers report choosing supermarkets for their produce shopping, when it comes to organic produce purchases, only 68 percent of shoppers rely on their grocery store. The remaining 32 percent of supermarket shoppers purchase organic produce outside their primary channel with farmers' markets and specialty stores being the primary sources. This represents an opportunity for grocery stores to rethink their organic produce offerings. Fresh Prepared/Deli Department – According to the Power of Fresh Prepared/Deli report, when it comes to fresh prepared and deli offerings, more than one in five shoppers would like to see more organic offerings. Older Millennials (29%), Younger Millennials (24%) and Gen Xrs (26%) in particular are interested in seeing more organic variety in their store's deli. Perhaps that is why Nielsen found that organic deli items grew by 22 percent. Offering more organic fresh prepared/deli items is one way grocers can create an experience in-store for shoppers that entices their loyalty. Meat Department - According to the 2017 Power of Meat report, for the first time in a decade, shoppers who buy natural/organic meats (48 percent) exceed those who have not, at 41 percent. We're seeing two types of organic meat shoppers developing—core consumers who tend to have higher household incomes with families and small children and peripheral shoppers who are price sensitive and willing to take advantage of promotional deals. With shoppers who do not purchase organic meat still reporting that price is the biggest barrier, meat departments should think strategically about how they cater to the different organic meat purchasers. Get this and more fresh foods research at FMI.org/FreshFoods and dive into other FMI research to find more on organic at FMI.org/Research. [...]
Tue, May 23, 2017
FMI News
ClearSign Combustion Corp., a provider of industrial combustion technologies that help to reduce emissions and improve efficiency, announced it has a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with one of China's largest providers of residential and commercial heating services to run a pilot test with the goal of demonstrating ClearSign's Duplex technology as a candidate to achieve low emissions levels in the company's boilers. [...]
Tue, May 23, 2017
ACHR News
Food retailers catering to lower income shoppers could face additional sales pressures if expected cuts in food aid in the federal budget to be released Tuesday are realized. President Trump’s proposed budget is expected to slash $193 billion from the federal government’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) between 2018 and 2028. Analysts said such a proposal — if enacted — would significantly accelerate what was already expected to be a gradual reduction in the SNAP program from $65.8 billion annually in 2017 to $64.8 billion by 2026, and would likely increase the sales pressure on dollar stores and other small discounters whose customers disproportionately rely on the program. Several of those retailers including Dollar General last year remarked that an ongoing reduction in the program due to planned rollbacks of SNAP expansions enacted during the recession hurt sales last year. Chuck Grom, an analyst with Gordon Haskett Research Advisors, in a note distributed to clients on Monday said the proposal would reduce the monthly average benefit to recipients by more than 31% to $173 from a current benefit of around $252 per month. “[T]he probability of it passing in its current form remains low, but should be monitored, particularly for the discounters, grocers, and dollar stores — all of which have called out last year’s big reduction as a drag on sales,” Grom said. According to the USDA, which administers SNAP, supercenters receive the largest share of SNAP redemptions in the U.S. — 51.7% in 2016, while supermarkets are next with 30% of redemptions. [...]
Tue, May 23, 2017
Supermarket News
Supermarkets and c-stores looking to get in on the dining game can build on some key elements of restaurant design to create a dining experience customers will seek out. At the NRA Show’s Foodservice @ Retail Summit in Chicago, two leading voices in the grocerant design world, Juan Romero of aPI, a design firm, and Tré Musco of Tesser, a brand strategy design firm, presented on the topic. Nicolas Granucci of Ecolab moderated the session. Romero and Musco shared important design ideas and details to know if you’re looking to make your supermarket or c-store a destination where customers feel welcome to stay, dine and enjoy. Left to right: Tré Musco of Tesser, Juan Romero of aPI and Nicolas Granucci of Ecolab “Consumers care about what the experience is like, and 90% of the information sent to the brain is visual,” Musco said. “People form judgments instantaneously. In terms of design, perception is reality.” If a c-store or grocery store — known as a place to get gas or groceries — is to become a place to enjoy a meal, that means customers must perceive it as such. “This is about leveraging your environment to create memorable experiences,” Romero said. “Customers can spend the whole day eating and enjoying [in a supermarket]. There’s an entertainment value that’s happening in grocery design. The concepts inside supermarkets can go anywhere from fast casual to elegant to urban.” Romero described his epiphany 12 years ago when he visited a brand-new, 80,000-square-foot Whole Foods in Austin, Texas. “There was excitement everywhere … the graphics were together, the architecture was together … I saw an island with a bar setting and chairs, a juice maker, salads and adult beverages,” Romero said. “It dawned on me that this is where supermarkets need to take food.” Borrowing design elements from the restaurant world is part of the process of creating a destination-dining environment within a supermarket or c-store. Musco theorized that traditional restaurants deliver on three core consumer needs: care, convenience and quality. “Grocerants tend to miss out on the care aspect, that sweet spot of comfort,” Musco said. He offered five ways that grocery stores and c-stores can bridge that gap: Lead with change: “Consumers think of you in one way and have a hard time shifting gears,” Musco said. He pointed to a new Sheetz dining room with an up-front kitchen and inviting dining room, a warm comfortable environment that makes a radical departure from old-fashioned gas station. “We learned early on that we had to go way forward with the change so heritage brands won’t get stuck in a certain place in consumers’ minds.” Be a place to recharge: “People think of lunch and dinner as mini breaks, so set up your interior as a place to stay and feel comfortable,” Musco said, suggesting comfortable lounge seating, warm lighting and great music as ways to create that restorative environment. Big no-nos include cavernous spaces that look like a fluorescent-lit office. Go in the direction of richer and warmer. Go with the flow: “If you’re a c-store or [...]
Tue, May 23, 2017
Supermarket News
Lowes Foods’ expansion into South Carolina continues this week with the planned opening of the first of two new stores in Lexington, S.C., and news that it will take over the site of a former Bi-Lo store in nearby Columbia with eyes on opening there in 2018. Lowes, a subsidiary of Hickory, N.C.-based distributor Alex Lee, is positioning itself as a local Carolinas grocer amid an invasion of competitors to the Southeast including Lidl, Publix, Sprouts and Wegmans. The Lexington store officially opens with a ribbon-cutting event this Thursday. A fuel center at the site opened last week. The Columbia store, which would be Lowes’ third in the city, is at the site of a former Bi-Lo closed by parent Southeastern Grocers in October. Lowes also is constructing a new store in Lexington set to open this summer, and has plans for additional South Carolina locations in Summerville and Mount Pleasant. “The Columbia market is an important part of our company’s overall strategy to remodel existing stores and build new ones,” Lowes Foods President Tim Lowe said in a statement. “During the construction phase of our two Lexington stores, we have received an incredible welcome to the Columbia area and are very excited to extend Lowes Foods’ unique grocery shopping experience to our new friends.” The new Lexington location will include special concepts called “Lowes Foods Originals,” including a “community table” constructed of reclaimed barn wood, where shoppers can gather to sample and gain inspiration from new kinds of foods, the company said. Other highlights of the new store include a Beer Den with a bar for draft beers and growlers for purchase; store-made sausages under the SausageWorks name; wood-smoked meats; a whimsical cake bakery known as the Cakery; and take-out foods including store-made meats at Sammy’s. Fruit and vegetable butchers can also custom cut produce offerings at a “Pick & Prep” counter. The store is also offering online shopping with drive-thru pickup. Lowes operates nearly 100 full-service supermarkets in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. [...]
Mon, May 22, 2017
Supermarket News
Since the beginning of the Great Recession in 2008, restaurant traffic has been decreasing while visits to grocery and convenience stores have been on the rise. “They’ve lost almost a billion trips since the recession, [and those visits have gone] into retail channels,” said Randy Raymond, director of retail foodservice strategy for Coca-Cola. That process has helped give rise to, and been fueled by, increasingly attractive food offerings in retail locations. Raymond discussed how his company and other manufacturers could work with retailers to further improve those offerings in a panel conversation with Jeremy Gosch, chief merchandising officer of Hy-Vee, Jim Bressi, director of research & development for Kwik Trip, and Richard Allardyce, senior director of merchandising and commercial programs for Sobeys. Raymond, whose job at Coke is to bridge the gap between his company’s foodservice focus and retail, said the company had been surveying thousands of consumers to understand why they decide to eat where they do and can provide retailers with culinary and restaurant trend insights to help them target their operations appropriately. Bressi said Kwik Trip benefited from that and other data provided by suppliers. “We rely heavily on manufacturers, especially with data. They’re the ones with resources to get the information down to you,” he said. The Market Grille's menu includes a mix of American, Italian and Asian dishes.  Gosch, whose Hy-Vee markets have seen success with their Market Grille restaurants, said he could use help with groups of consumers who use Hy-Vee’s facilities to cook their own food for the week. “And they can drink wine in there, which I think is part of the attraction,” he said. But he said he’d like to work with Coke and other manufacturers to put recipes together to provide meal solutions for his customers, both in-store and in their homes. Allardyce said Sobeys had already benefited from insights from the culinary teams of Rich Products and other manufacturers, but it remained a challenge of how to get the foodservice and retail sides in his own markets to communicate better. That included having the staff at his delis understand how to save money by using foodservice products instead of retail ones — such as large restaurant-sized pouches of Alfredo sauce rather than items from the supermarket aisles. He said it was also a challenge to get supermarket workers to act more like chefs. “It’s tough to go into these delis and tell them we want them to slice the green onions on a counter, on the bias, with a chef’s knife — not a paring knife or a plastic knife,” he said. He noted that his suppliers have some of the best culinary teams in the country, and he’d like to use them to help train his own staff to produce at a higher level and to do it consistently. Gosch agreed that manufacturers with foodservice expertise could help them find efficiencies in moving beyond the retail products they were accustomed to using. Bressi said that when Kwik Trip started going into foodservice 13 years ago they had to train staff who were [...]
Mon, May 22, 2017
Supermarket News
B&R Stores on Monday said it has entered into an agreement to acquire Lovegrove’s Grocery, a store in Waverly, Neb., from its family owners and would rebrand the store behind its Russ’s Market banner. “The Lovegrove’s Grocery Store has served Waverly shoppers for over 25 years, and its legacy as a family-owned business continues on,” Pat Raybould, president of Lincoln, Neb.-based B&R Stores, said in a statement. “We’re excited about the potential of the neighborhood store too, as it’s already a fundamentally strong business. We look forward to being a part of the Waverly community.” Financial terms were not disclosed. The transaction is expected to close by the end of this month. The name will change to Russ’s Market Express, a new smaller Russ’s Market concept. [...]
Mon, May 22, 2017
Supermarket News
Daniel Bonner has joined Goettl Air Conditioning and The Sunny Plumber as vice president of operations. Bonner will be based out of Goettl's Tempe office and will be responsible for all plumbing and HVAC operations in the markets Goettl and The Sunny Plumber serve including Phoenix; Tucson, Arizona; Las Vegas; and Southern California. [...]
Mon, May 22, 2017
ACHR News
By: Mark Baum, Senior Vice President of Industry Relations Chief Collaboration Officer, Food Marketing Institute A 2017 report by the Specialty Food Association (SFA) indicates that the specialty food category represents $127 billion, up 15 percent since 2014[i].  Specialty foods are outpacing their non-specialty counterparts in nearly every category. And consistent with current trends, categories aligned with health and wellness and fresh are growing fastest. It's true – the median sales per square foot for a specialty store average $6.47 more than a conventional supermarket, playing to the fact that shoppers are taking fewer overall trips to the grocery store and are migrating to other channels for pantry loading or specialty items. The demand wave is surging; and we know from our work in the private brands that the opportunity to attract loyal customers should not come with a compromise on product quality or safety.  FMI and SFA announced an agreement aimed at broadening the scope and availability of new products in the food retail marketplace that ensures proper food safety business planning and standards. This new association alliance will bring new insights, create opportunities for business development, and offer education to specialty suppliers through food safety training services. Suppliers remain the core to our businesses, and having safe, reliable, product sources is what consumers expect and deserve. Consumers are also expecting new, exciting, and local products to try, which can be particularly challenging when it comes to food safety. In this global, local, and big branded sourcing world, identifying suppliers – large or small – that have a solid foundation for food safety is not an easy task. As your association, we recognize a need to nurture these nascent companies and give them the tools to be successful and reliable business partners. With the  growing list of emerging issues and regulatory requirements seemingly changing each time we open an email – whole genome sequencing, Listeria outbreaks, Food Safety Modernization Act deadlines and allergen recall alerts – so too are the changes that impact suppliers, brands and the culture of food safety embedded in our companies. I look forward to Robert Garfield, chief food safety assessment officer & SVP, Food Marketing Institute, and head of SQFI, to address the upcoming SFA Fancy Food Show in New York, June 26th on the topic of the Future of Food Safety. He will discuss the impact of food safety disruptors on food retail businesses and their suppliers. In addition, our food safety team will host a Food Safety Lounge to help specialty food manufacturers and retailers navigate options for food safety programs and compliance. Food safety is fundamental for food retailers, so we look forward to delivering on our promise for increased resources and opportunities with SFA in the years ahead. [i] State of the Specialty Food Industry, 2017, Specialty Food Association [...]
Mon, May 22, 2017
FMI News
There’s nothing consumers love more than a deal. Find a way for them to save money, or even get more for their money, and they’re putty in your hands. This is why rebate programs can be such useful tools for home-performance contractors. Over the past few years, however, contractors have observed that rebate programs are diminishing or disappearing altogether. [...]
Mon, May 22, 2017
ACHR News
Things are changing in the chiller market — especially in regards to air-cooled models, variable frequency drives (VFDs), and refrigerants. Contractors are challenged to stay abreast of these trends in real-time. [...]
Mon, May 22, 2017
ACHR News
The New York Geothermal Organization (NY-GEO) hosted its annual conference April 19-20 in Albany, New York. The event, which registered as the largest in the organization's history, allowed elected officials, government agencies, and industry professionals from around the world to share the progress being made toward implementation of geothermal heating and cooling technologies. [...]
Mon, May 22, 2017
ACHR News
An investment in a new chiller is not one that building owners make lightly. Owners typically need and appreciate the guidance of a knowledgeable HVAC contractor when making this purchase as there are a number of factors that go into the selection process, and not all of them are necessarily related to the actual chiller itself. [...]
Mon, May 22, 2017
ACHR News
Commercial building owners and managers count on HVAC contractors to take care of their buildings in many ways. They’re expected to keep their facilities cool and comfortable, ensure their processes and procedures continue to hum along, provide quality IAQ, and, of course, maintain their equipment. On this last point, the proper maintenance of chillers takes top billing. [...]
Mon, May 22, 2017
ACHR News
The ASHRAE Learning Institute (ALI) has announced the 10 courses that will be offered during ASHRAE's 2017 Annual Conference in Long Beach, California. The headlining topic is “Complying with Standard 90.1-2016: HVAC/Mechanical,” which will be held on Tuesday, June 27. This is the first time this specific course has been made available at an ASHRAE conference. [...]
Mon, May 22, 2017
ACHR News
EGIA works closely with utility companies and the government on their energy-efficiency and renewable energy programs and manages one of the largest energy-efficiency financing programs in the country. In fact, EGIA has facilitated the financing of more than 200,000 residential and business projects valued in excess of $2.5 billion and administered over $750 million in rebate payments. [...]
Mon, May 22, 2017
ACHR News
When Smouse decided to improve its facilities, the school needed a versatile HVAC upgrade that balanced efficiency with the unique design needs of a historic building with several floors of varying environments. Most importantly, Smouse required a system that would provide an optimal comfort environment for its students while preserving the architectural integrity of the building. [...]
Mon, May 22, 2017
ACHR News
The EME720 louver combines a continuous-blade architectural appearance with the performance of a wind-driven rain-resistant louver. The louver's architectural mullion is recessed, notched in the blade, and utilizes drain pockets that allow water to drain away while contributing to an appearance of one continuous louver. [...]
Mon, May 22, 2017
ACHR News
The NEWS recently sat down with Mark Handzel, vice president, product regulatory affairs, and director, HVAC commercial buildings, Xylem, to discuss the state of the pump industry and what prospective employees should know before they enter the industry. [...]
Mon, May 22, 2017
ACHR News
Stark Services named Brad Scherer general manager and more. [...]
Mon, May 22, 2017
ACHR News
Wegmans Food Markets has agreed to be an anchor tenant of a redevelopment of the iconic Fannie Mae headquarters on Wisconsin Street in Washington, D.C., the company said Sunday. The store would be the first in Washington for Rochester, N.Y.-based Wegmans and will anchor an “urban village” that will include retail, residential, cultural arts, hospitality and commercial uses, developers Roadside Development and North America Sekisui House, said. The Fannie Mae redevelopment includes the original buildings that were constructed by Equitable Life Company in 1958 and 1962 and nearly 10 acres around it in Northwest Washington. “We are excited to be a part of the redevelopment of this distinct site,” Ralph Uttaro, SVP of real estate for Wegmans, said in a statement. “The District of Columbia is an ideal market for us and we look forward to serving new customers and offering a unique shopping experience there.” The announcement was made Sunday at the International Council of Shopping Centers’ annual ReCon show in Las Vegas. “As we look to expand retail and grocery options across the District, Wegmans is a decisive win for our city,” added Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser. “Going forward, we will continue to forge strong public-private partnerships like this one that benefit DC residents and families and help us spread inclusive prosperity throughout all eight wards.” “We are excited that Wegmans has committed to be a major part of this redevelopment.  They not only bring their fabulous offerings, they consistently are one of the best employers in the country.  Their participation will enable the team to attract other quality users who can meet the objectives of the area residents," stated Richard Lake, founding partner, Roadside Development.  [...]
Sun, May 21, 2017
Supermarket News
This is part of NRN’s special coverage of the 2017 NRA Show, being held in Chicago, May 20-23. Visit NRN.com for the latest coverage from the show, plus follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Sustainability, whether sourcing food responsibly or cutting down waste, is top-of-mind for many consumers. National Restaurant Association officials outlined steps operators can take and how to communicate what they’re doing to customers. In a presentation at the NRA Show on Saturday, Laura Abshire, the association’s director of sustainability policy and government affairs, and Jeff Clark, director of the association’s Conserve Program, outlined survey results finding that issues around local sourcing and responsibly sourced fish were important both to chefs and their customers. Abshire said the NRA’s annual What’s Hot survey found that chefs ranked hyper-local sourcing, environmental sustainability and locally sourced produce and seafood among the top 10 food trends in the industry. Additionally, food waste reduction was ranked seventh. “Until about three years ago, we never saw that at all,” she said.  Sourcing fresh ingredients and responsibly sourced fish also ranked highly among consumers, Clark said, who additionally wanted restaurants to have animal welfare-related policies around issues such as treatment of animals with hormones and the living conditions of the hens laying the eggs they were buying. “Knowing and stating where your food is coming from … is going to be a larger and larger factor for your bottom line,” he said. Clark pointed to local Chicago operators such as Goose Island Brewery, which had customer-facing initiatives like using reclaimed wood in their tasting rooms, as well as bigger-picture issues, such as protecting the local ecosystem “to keep the water clean and healthy,” since high-quality water is necessary to make high-quality beer. “Knowing some of these stories and being able to tell them to your customers is going to be really, really important,” he said.  When it came to sourcing seafood, he suggested moving away from mainstream fish such as salmon and tuna and offering lesser-known varieties such as the Chilipepper Rockfish, which is abundant on the West Coast. He said using such underutilized fish would allow more fisheries of more popular fish to replenish themselves. Although such fish are harder to sell, Clark said it provided operators with the opportunity to engage with their customers and tell their restaurant’s story better. Clark also advocated getting to know local farmers and ranchers and working with them to produce the items that you want to sell in your restaurants and, if you have the skilled staff to do so, buying and butchering whole animals, both to reduce waste and to save money while finding uses for non-center-of-the-plate cuts. Abshire said food waste was now a priority for the NRA. Noting that up to 40 percent of the food produced in the United States goes uneaten, making food waste the largest component of municipal solid waste, she said that new regulations in some coastal communities no longer allowed food waste to be transported to landfills. Similar laws were likely to be passed elsewhere in the country, she noted, and would [...]
Sun, May 21, 2017
Supermarket News
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Thursday that each of the city’s chain retailers would need to post calorie counts for all prepared and “restaurant-type” foods. “We are all tempted to make unhealthy choices, but with these new, common-sense rules, New Yorkers will have the information to make better choices and lead healthier lives,” de Blasio said. “We can no longer wait for federal action, and urge other cities to follow our lead.” Grocers that operate 15 or more locations nationwide will need to clearly display calorie counts for relevant items on menu boards and also have a rundown of full nutritional information for each selection available onsite. A statement about the recommended daily caloric intake of 2,000 will also need to be visible. These regulations are yet another obstacle for New York grocers to overcome as they face unique local pressures in addition to the sand traps plaguing the industry at large. New York-based Key Food Stores posted flat comp sales for their most recent fiscal year ended April 29th. While discussing this at a store opening in Brooklyn, CEO Dean Janeway mentioned that New York’s recent minimum wage increase was on track to cost company-owned locations about $100,000 per year each. “For independent supermarket operators, this is money right out of our pockets,” said Janeway. “The question is, how do they overcome it?" In January, the minimum wage in the city reached $11 per hour, but it will hit $15 per hour in 2019. It seems Janeway’s concerns would fall on deaf ears at City Hall. "Requiring nutrition information to be posted at these businesses is common sense," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer via a prepared statement. "Since we now have a federal administration opposed to common sense, I thank Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Bassett for stepping up to make sure New Yorkers have the information they need to make informed decisions." As Health Commissioner Mary T. Basset mentioned via statement, this is not the first time that New York has served as the city on a hill for nutritional transparency. "Calorie labeling makes it easier for New Yorkers to learn more about the food they are consuming,” Bassett said. "New York City led the way on requiring calorie labeling in chain restaurants nearly 10 years ago, and we are proud to continue this work by ensuring New Yorkers can access this important information at other types of establishments." The policy will commence Monday when the Departments of Health and Consumer Affairs will begin regular inspections. During the initial months of the initiative, inspectors will be acting as educators rather than persecutors. This buffer period will likely be needed. When asked about the new regulations, John Catsimatides, CEO of the parent company that operates Gristedes and D'Agostino, said via a representative that he is still not familiar enough with the parameters to comment. As of Aug. 21, stores that fail to comply will be subject to fines ranging from $200 to $600. The rule will impact about 1,500 food retailers.     [...]
Sat, May 20, 2017
Supermarket News
Despite a unique balance that sees 60% of purchases come from the perishable side, predominately non-perishable private label offerings have become key revenue drivers for of Sprouts Farmers Markets, officials said. “We started private label about four years ago as about 5% of our overall sales,” Amin Maredia, CEO of the Phoenix, Ariz.-based Sprouts said during a presentation at the BMO Capital Markets Farm to Market Conference on Thursday in New York. “But as I mentioned today, 60% of our sales in the store are on the perishable side of the business, which has limited amount of private label in it.” Nearly 50% of Sprouts baskets arrive at checkout carrying one or more private label items. The product line is on pace to garner $500 million in revenue by year-end, which would account for 12% of total sales. “When we look at our overall sales today, we've gone [up] from 5% to 11% [across the] overall store, but certain departments of this store are between 15% and 20%,” said Maredia during the event. He pointed to packaged grocery, dairy, and frozen as areas that are actively expanding private label’s footprint. “The growth in private label has not only been by more items in the basket but it's by new trial,” said president and COO Jim Nielsen. “So, the outlook is good, but we're very objective about the business, it's not just about pure growth of private label penetration. It's about the balance for what the consumer wants.” The success of private label has helped facilitate 40 straight consecutive quarters of positive comparable sales. In the face of 3% deflation during the first quarter ended April 2, Sprouts still managed to notch 1.1% comps as total sales rose 14% to hit $1.1 billion. Net income remained steady at $46 million but in-store traffic ticked upwards by 0.6%. Along with the positive growth being generated by the store’s private label, both executives believe that their staff and the company’s training methods have helped keep the brand strong during times of hardship for the industry at large. “Last year we promoted at the store level almost 20% of our team members,” said Maredia during the presentation. He called employment opportunities at Sprouts a career as opposed to just a job. We believe that one of our biggest points in difference is our people,” said Nielsen during the presentation. “So we made a very conscious business decision to invest more into training.” Nielsen expressed that in a store that relies so heavily on produce and perishable items-especially during a period of significant deflation- knowledgeable and helpful  sales staff are key to keeping the numbers trending upwards. “You sell natural food,” he added. “You can’t offer natural foods on the shelf.  We’ve got to educate our team members about the products and help them connect the products to the individual to help them along that happy, healthy journey. “ [...]
Fri, May 19, 2017
Supermarket News
Sustainability and more hands on deck were the topics of choice when NOAA Fisheries released both its “Status of the Stocks” (SOS) and “Fisheries Economics of the United States” reports to Congress earlier this month. “Managing fisheries sustainably is an adaptive process that relies on sound science, innovative management approaches, effective enforcement, meaningful partnerships, and robust public participation,” reads the SOS report. The study stressed the importance of maintaining a healthy balance in the waters. Currently, the numbers of stocks on both the overfishing and overfished lists are at all-time lows. Only 9% of known stocks are subject to overfishing, and only 16% of those stocks are presently overfished. “The Status of the Stocks report continues to illustrate the benefits of a world class sustainability oversight system based on science,” John Connelly, president of the National Fisheries Institute, said in a statement. The U.S. commercial and recreational saltwater fishing sectors generated $208 billion in sales and sustained 1.6 million jobs in 2015. The report credited the efforts to end overfishing and build up stocks as the catalyst for the positive numbers. The tie between employed marine workers and cash flow were highlighted in the Fisheries Economics report. The study shows that jobs in the industry nearly hit 1.4 million in 2014, but tilted downward to about 1.2 million in 2015. Revenues followed suit, and dropped from about $5.5 billion to just under $5.2 billion over the same stretch of time. The year 2013 fielded nearly the same amount of jobs as 2014 and produced even higher revenues, with about $5.6 billion being generated by the marine economy that year. “The report shows the importance of jobs in the seafood supply chain, from harvesters to processors, to wholesalers and distributors right through to retail and restaurants,” Connelly said in his statement. “A continued emphasis on science-based management, sound business practices and responsible regulation will generate encouraging reports like today’s, for years to come,” he added. [...]
Fri, May 19, 2017
Supermarket News