Geoff Freeman, president and CEO of the Consumer Brands Association, will leave the organization to rejoin the U.S. Travel Association after nearly a decade away. In the interim, he was first president and CEO of the American Gaming Association before taking on his present role. His new position at Washington, D.C.-based U.S. Travel starts Sept. 1.
“We are grateful for Geoff’s many contributions to our industry during his tenure at the Consumer Brands Association,” noted Jeff Harmening, board chair at the organization, and chairman and CEO of Minneapolis-based General Mills. “Under Geoff’s leadership, Consumer Brands advanced a turnaround strategy that has transformed the organization and established it as a powerhouse association in Washington, D.C. The organization enjoys the support of the world’s leading CPG companies, and its revenues have increased nearly 50% over the past three years. Today, our industry is united behind a compelling policy agenda and speaks with a strong pro-consumer voice. Consumer Brands benefits from a strong leadership team, and we are confident in the organization’s continued growth and effectiveness. We will begin the process of working with Geoff on a transition plan and identifying his successor.”
In the wake of this impending executive move, an association spokeswoman told Progressive Grocer that Consumer Brands was “working with the board and determining a path forward.”
According to its website, Washington, D.C.-based Consumer Brands’ mission is to “champion growth and innovation for the industry whose products consumers depend on every day.”
Cardenas Markets, one of the largest Hispanic grocery chains in the country, has partnered with Coin Cloud to offer digital currency machines in the retailer’s 59 stores. Customers will have access to buy and sell Bitcoin, Ethereum and more than 40 other digital currencies with cash.
A recent survey found that Hispanic U.S. adults have adopted cryptocurrency at a rate exceeding the general adult population. According to Morning Consult, an explanation is that the Hispanic community is turning to digital currencies for payments rather than for investments.
“We are pleased to offer cryptocurrency capabilities to our customers through Coin Cloud’s network of digital currency machines,” said Prabash Coswatte, COO of Cardenas Markets. “Through this unique offering we continue to deliver on our commitment to meeting our customers’ evolving needs, especially in today’s digital world.”
Coin Cloud digital currency machines offer Bitcoin and other digital currency options like Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, Dogecoin, Shiba Inu Coin, Ethereum, and a range of stablecoins and DeFi tokens. New coins added recently include Cardano, Nano, SushiSwap, Algorand, Polygon, OMG Network, and ApeCoin.
Las Vegas-based Coin Cloud operates more than 5,800 digital currency machines across the United States and Brazil. The company’s digital currency machine network is located at nationally recognized retailers, including H-E-B, Spirits & Finer Foods, UNFI customer stores and Yesway.
Ontario, Calif.-based Cardenas currently operates 51 stores under the Cardenas Markets banner, seven stores under the Los Altos Ranch Markets banner and one store under Cardenas Ranch Markets banner, with locations across California, Nevada and Arizona. Apollo Funds recently agreed to acquire Cardenas from investment funds affiliated with international investment firm KKR. Upon completion of the deal, Apollo will combine Tony’s Fresh Market with Cardenas to create a Hispanic- and ethnic-focused grocer.
New Software Improves Connectivity Between Fresh Produce Suppliers and Buyers
To free up the fresh supply chain and make it more transparent during a pivotal time, tech firm Procurant has introduced a new Open Link service that allows fresh food suppliers to electronically receive and fulfill orders with a large network of grocery buyers. The feature is available as an add-on service for suppliers already on the Procurant One platform and as a stand-alone subscription option.
Connections are already set up for major retailers including Walmart Inc., Target Corp. and Wakefern Food Corp., according to information from Procurant. The cloud-based software company’s network spans more than 1,000 suppliers and can be used by any retail or wholesale buyer with a published EDI connection.
While buyers previously had to use Procurant as their purchasing system to complete orders, the Open Link service enables suppliers to manage order with buyers regardless of the systems they use for purchasing.
“Making the produce order management process clean, simple and less expensive is a big goal for us here at Procurant. Open Link helps suppliers maintain a single view on all their sales without the expense and hassle of maintaining multiple systems,” explained Kevin Brooks, chief marketing officer for the Watsonville, Calif.-based Procurant.
The new service is the latest effort by Procurant to help smooth out the perishable food supply chain. This spring, the company added weekly commodity pricing for beef, pork and veal to its Procurant Connect service for retail and wholesale perishable buyers and suppliers.
Retail bank, payment and shopping service Klarna has introduced a new app feature that enables users to store and access their physical loyalty cards as digital versions. The feature is powered by mobile wallet provider Stocard and supports more than 8,000 loyalty programs around the world, including those offered by grocers.
The solution allows shoppers to continue to collect rewards points through the digital version of their physical card, if they forgot or don’t have their actual card with them. Klarna determined the need for the feature following a recent survey it conducted showing that 31% of consumers avoided signing up for a loyalty program in the past because they don’t want to carry another card with them. That survey also revealed that 59% of shoppers do not carry all of their loyalty cards with them when browsing and buying.
To access the feature, users can click on a loyalty card icon on the Klarna app and choose from a list of supported merchants and loyalty programs. From there, they scan the barcode on their physical card with the camera on their mobile device. The app will then create a digital copy and store it in the reward space in the Klarna App. For cards that don't have a barcode, users can manually type their membership number.
"Physical loyalty cards are an inconvenience in today's digital world and are therefore often left at home, resulting in consumers missing out on deals and merchants losing a prime opportunity to reinforce brand loyalty,” remarked Björn Goss, product director at Klarna and Stocard's founder.
Bakery manufacturer and ingredients supplier Dawn Foods has promoted Felisa Stockwell to the position of VP, global people and culture.
Since joining Dawn in 2017, Stockwell has continuously delivered impactful programs to elevate the employee experience and move the organization forward. In 2020, she led the formalization of the organization’s global diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) strategy, and put together a team focused on developing Dawn’s culture and talent worldwide.
“Felisa has a profound impact on our entire organization by driving positive, effective change across Dawn’s global regions,” said Jason Lioy, chief people officer at Jackson, Mich.-based Dawn. “She is a strong collaborator and integrator and skilled at bringing people together to drive initiatives that truly make a difference in the lives of our team members.”
Stockwell and her team will continue to focus on DE&I initiatives, as well as strategies to support talent management and development throughout the company.
“I am proud to continue to grow my career at an organization that prioritizes its team members and is committed to supporting all people throughout their own careers at Dawn,” said Stockwell. “It is an honor to lead a high-performing and inspiring team that is focused on our people strategy and continuing to make Dawn a great place to work.”
In addition to her work at Dawn, Stockwell takes part in many industry events to promote DE&I efforts, among them the American Bakers Association NextGen Baker Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Working Group.
Dawn has more than 4,000 employees globally and provides bakery products to 50,000-plus customers in more than 100 countries.
As it marks its 90th anniversary, Harmons Neighborhood Grocer is leveraging e-commerce technologies to keep it close to home for shoppers. The Utah-based family-owned independent grocer is teaming up with Card Isle to offer personalized greeting cards.
Through this e-commerce platform, Harmons eShop customers can choose, personalize and have a premium physical greeting card added to their pickup or delivery order. Harmons has expanded a two-store pilot program with Card Isle to all of its 17 locations.
The partnership allows the indie grocer to offer a better option for custom greeting cards and provide a point of differentiation. “Effectively merchandising physical cards online has traditionally been a challenge at Harmons. The Card Isle solution has made it possible to provide a phenomenal experience for our eShop customers over the Mother’s Day holiday,” reported Jessie Hansen, Harmons’ eShop merchandiser.
Adam Donato, Card Isle’s CEO, said that the recent holidays of Mother's Day and Father’s Day underscored demand for such a service, as the platform continues to expand in the grocery sector. “We are excited to add Harmons as a customer. Harmons is the premier neighborhood grocer in Utah and we are excited about offering our unique personalized, print on demand greeting cards to their customers,” he remarked.