Published on: October 17, 2006PORTLAND, Oregon – In his keynote address last night to the Portland State University Food Industry Leadership Center (FILC) 2006 Executive Forum, Supervalu president/COO Mike Jackson drew a direct line between the health of his company and the increasing need to offer consumers healthy choices.
Describing consumers as alternately – and sometimes simultaneously – as discerning, demanding, distracted, more price conscious and increasingly interested in organic, natural and ethnic foods, Jackson said that “determining the right mix is critical.” And noting that “nearly eighty percent of shoppers say they have shopped five-plus banners in the past three months,” Jackson said that in acquiring most of Albertsons’ retail operations across the country, the company is “actively shaping its future and positioning itself to succeed.”
Sustainable success, Jackson said, “requires a multifaceted approach” that includes diversity of format, a strong supply chain, and empowered people – and he said that achieving and maintaining all three form the essence of Supervalu’s strategy.
In doing so, Jackson said, Supervalu will continue to offer health solutions in its new and remodeled stores, offering health-related information services, products and convenience through innovations such as its Sunflower Markets limited assortment and value-driven natural/organic format, its “Wild Harvest” store-within-a-store format that was developed by Shaws and now is being expanded throughout the company, and its use of in-store health clinics, which Jackson said was a concept that Supervalu actually began using back in 2000.
- KC's View:
- Hard to argue with anything that Jackson said. We actually think that it is fairly enlightened for a company the size of Supervalu to draw a direct line between the long-term health of its retail operations and providing healthy solutions for customers.
The biggest challenge, we expect, will be the people side. Building new stores, remodeling old ones and making sure that the supply chain is both strong and efficient will be easier to do than hiring and empowering the right people who can really make a difference to the in-store experience. It’s not impossible – just harder. Because we think that to really compete in the health solutions arena means adopting, at least to some degree, the approach taken by companies such as Whole Foods, where the workers live the life, seeing their jobs in grander terms than just a place to pick up a paycheck.