Published on: August 16, 2021
• Kroger has announced its "inaugural Go Fresh & Local Supplier Accelerator cohort – Maazah, Nona Lim, Queen Charlotte's Pimento Cheese Royale, Simply Southern Sides, and Soupergirl."
Some context from the announcement:
"Earlier this year, Kroger invited growers and producers to join the retailer's first Go Fresh & Local Supplier Accelerator. In collaboration with Efficient Collaborative Retail Marketing and RangeMe, Kroger reviewed more than 1,000 applications, selecting 15 finalists to participate in a pitch competition. The finalists recently traveled to Cincinnati for the pitch competition, which was judged by Milen Mahadevan, president of 84.51°; Valerie Jabbar, senior vice president of retail divisions at Kroger; Nick Tranchina, president of Murray's Cheese; Patrick Vihtelic, founder and CEO of HomeChef; Dan De La Rosa, group vice president of fresh merchandising at Kroger; and Brian Kelley, CEO of PearlRock Partners."
""Kroger's Go Fresh & Local Supplier Accelerator has allowed us to identify additional growers, producers, and suppliers across regions, categories, and verticals – helping us diversify our product offering and our supplier relationships and create new ways for small businesses to partner with the largest grocer in America," said Stuart Aitken, Kroger's chief merchant and marketing officer, in a prepared statement. "Just last year, Kroger invested $4.1 billion in diverse suppliers — a 21% increase versus the previous year — and we aim to scale that number to $10 billion by 2030. This year's inaugural cohort is an intentional and impactful step toward achieving that bold goal."
• The Charlotte Observer reports that "Lowes Foods is expanding in the Charlotte market with a 'first of its kind' grocery store concept," opening a new store in a former Earth Fare location that will feature a mezzanine entertainment area that "will be available for birthday parties, club meet-ups, team celebrations, to listen to local musicians, as well as for floral arranging classes, trivia nights, board game tournaments, and beer and wine tastings."
According to the story, "The grocer, with two other Charlotte area locations in Mooresville and Harrisburg, is trying to stand out from typical supermarket by pitching itself as a 'community hub,' according to the the company.
"Charlotte’s grocery competition is red-hot has new grocers enter the market and expand like Farmstead, Lidl and Earth Fare, as well as Food Lion, Publix and Aldi."
• BisNow reports that Wegmans "is planning to build a large distribution center in Virginia as it continues its growth in the region.
"Wegmans Food Markets paid $4M for a 221-acre property in Hanover County, where it plans to build a $175M, 1M SF distribution center, according to a release from Coldwell Banker Commercial, which represented the supermarket in the deal … The distribution center could help support Wegmans' growing presence in the region. The Rochester, New York-based grocer has 13 locations in Virginia, including a Tysons store that opened in November, and it has additional stores under construction at mixed-use developments in Alexandria and Reston.
"Wegmans also has its first D.C. location under construction at Roadside's City Ridge development, and it has a new location planned in Rockville."
• Walgreens Boots Alliance announced that it "has accelerated its investment in VillageMD to support the opening of 600 to 700 Village Medical at Walgreens primary care clinics in more than 30 U.S. markets within the next four years, with the intent to build hundreds more thereafter. Walgreens is the first national pharmacy chain to offer full-service primary care clinics co-located at its stores at a large scale."
• Blue Apron announced that it is "is partnering with former White House Senior Policy Advisor and Chef, Sam Kass, to bring his flexible and non-prescriptive cooking approach to kitchens around the country. Available to order now, the Blue Apron x Chef Sam Kass menu features high-quality ingredients and customizable recipes, crafted for adaptability and balance … this collaborative menu will allow customers to experience recipes that are fundamental building blocks in the kitchen, so they can learn, grow and develop lifelong skills. The Blue Apron x Chef Sam Kass recipes are also customizable by choosing between two protein options to allow customers to personalize their recipes according to their preferences."
“Throughout my career, I have seen the benefits that nutritious, whole foods and a variety of lean proteins, fresh produce and whole grains can have,” said Kass, in a prepared statement. “In partnership with Blue Apron, we wanted to highlight simple steps that can help make a big difference in your overall health and lifestyle. We’ve created easy-to-replicate, customizable recipes to show that delicious food, packed with flavor, can be accessible and uncomplicated.”
• Food & Wine reports that "the administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration wrote a letter to the leaders of airports throughout the United States, asking them to stop allowing airport bars to serve alcoholic beverages to go, in an attempt to prevent passengers from becoming unruly, noncompliant, or straight-up violent after they board a plane."
"'As the number of passengers traveling has increased, so has the number of unruly and unsafe behavior incidents on planes and in airports,' administrator Steve Dickson wrote. 'The FAA adopted a Zero-Tolerance policy toward this behavior on airplanes earlier this year, and we are taking the strongest possible action within our legal authority. But we need your help'."
According to the story, "the FAA has received more than 3,700 reports of unruly or aggressive passengers so far this year, and almost 75 percent of them have involved fliers who would not comply with the federal mandate requiring them to wear a mask onboard. Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports that 85 percent of flight attendants who responded to a union survey in July said that they had dealt with at least one unruly passenger this year, and 17 percent of them said that they had been subjected to a 'physical incident'."