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News Briefs

09/28/2022

Ahold Delhaize to Propose Reappointment of CEO Frans Muller

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Ahold Delhaize’s supervisory board has revealed its intention to propose the reappointment of Frans Muller as the company’s president and CEO and member of the management board. The proposal will be made at the retail conglomerate’s annual general meeting of shareholders on April 12, 2023.

“We are delighted that Frans will continue as president and CEO of Ahold Delhaize, subject to shareholder approval,” said Peter Agnefjäll, chair of the company’s supervisory board. “Since he started in this role in July 2018, the company has continued to build on its strengths. Under Frans’ leadership the Leading Together strategy was introduced, which increased its ability to better serve its customers.”

Added Agnefjäll: “Frans and the executive team he built have demonstrated the long-term validity of their strategic choices, delivering solid financial results. From this basis, the company is able to contribute positively to communities and address the challenges facing our society, like keeping healthy and sustainable food affordable.”

“I am grateful for the nomination and would be honored to continue to lead Ahold Delhaize, together with the executive committee colleagues, our great local brands and caring associates, making sure we support our communities and deliver on our purpose of helping our customers eat well, save time and live better,” said Muller.

Before becoming president and CEO of Ahold Delhaize in July 2018, Muller was a member of the management board and deputy CEO and chief integration officer since 2016. Prior to Ahold Delhaize, he was president and CEO of Delhaize Group. The two companies merged in July 2016.

In August, Ahold Delhaize reported what Muller called a “strong second quarter” of fiscal 2022, with group net sales of €21.4 billion (USD $22 billion), a 6.4% increase at constant exchange rates (up 15.0% at actual exchange rates), and group net consumer online sales growth of 4.8% at constant exchange rates.

Ahold Delhaize USA, a division of Zaandam, Netherlands-based Ahold Delhaize operates more than 2,000 stores across 23 states under the Food Lion, Giant Food, The Giant Co., Hannaford, and Stop & Shop brands and is No. 10 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in the United States

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09/27/2022

Amazon Tech Powers Checkout-Free Store at DFW Airport

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Amazon Grab & Fly DFW Airport Teaser

Grab & Fly, a checkout-free shopping experience powered by Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology, recently made its debut at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport. The new store lets air travelers grab what they need – cold drinks, snacks, travel accessories, electronics, souvenirs and more – and leave the store without having to wait in checkout lines. 

To enter Grab & Fly, travelers insert their credit card at the entry gate. Once inside, anything they take off the shelf is automatically added to their virtual cart, and anything they put back comes out of their virtual cart. After shoppers leave the store, their credit card will be charged for the items they took. Store associates are on hand to help customers, answer questions and restock shelves.

“We are very excited to bring this checkout-free store to DFW, one of the busiest airports in the world, so travelers can get what they need and skip the checkout line,” said Gilbert Aranza, president of Dallas-based Star Concessions Ltd., which partnered with Amazon on Grab & Fly. “We selected Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology because of the fast and frictionless experience it enables, and we look forward to hearing how busy travelers like the experience.” 

“Dallas Fort Worth International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the United States, so we’re thrilled to collaborate with Star Concessions to enable a fast and frictionless shopping experience for their guests in Terminal D,” said Dilip Kumar, VP, AWS Applications.

Grab & Fly is open from 6 a.m. to last flight out (typically 10 p.m. CDT) at DFW Airport’s Terminal D South.

Just Walk Out technology has also been deployed at Amazon brick-and-mortar supermarkets and select Whole Foods Market locations, as well as at several sports venues and Nashville International Airport. 

Seattle-based Amazon is No. 2 on The PG 100,  Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.

09/27/2022

HelloFresh Boosts Customer Service Capability

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HelloFresh customers

As its company name suggests, HelloFresh banks on positive greetings and first impressions. In an effort to continually improve its customers’ experience, the meal kit company is taking steps to improve its outward-facing service.

HelloFresh revealed this week it is teaming up with enterprise experience platform Medallia, Inc. to transform its contact center. The partnership will allow the company to optimize speech analytics, frontline engagement and quality monitoring as ways to ensure positive interactions with consumers.

Data and automation are at the heart of the new partnership. Medallia will work with HelloFresh to leverage unstructured and structured data and use AI-driven speech analytics to automate quality monitoring across all frontline agents. By identifying high-impact calls for manual review and understanding the reasons behind such calls, HelloFresh can better empower its agents to solve issues faster and better.

“We selected Medallia for their best-in-class technology, but also because we knew they were a knowledgeable and collaborative partner," explained Maureen Kamaishah, director of customer experience for HelloFresh US. "We are excited to start uncovering insights and believe the ability to proactively monitor calls is going to be a game changer for our organization.”

Added Medallia CEO Leslie Stretch: “An iconic global brand, HelloFresh puts their customers first in all aspects. By incorporating Medallia’s best-in-class contact center suite, they can deliver not only the best customer experience, but also a higher quality agent experience.”

HelloFresh operates in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Australia, Austria, Switzerland, Canada, New Zealand, Sweden, France, Denmark, Norway, Italy and Japan. With U.S. offices in New York, Chicago, and Boulder, Colo., the company is No. 50 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top retailers of food and consumables in North America.

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09/27/2022

Big Y Marks 1 Year of myPicks Online

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Big Y myPicks Logo Teaser

This fall marks the one-year anniversary of myPicks Online Ordering, Big Y’s e-commerce platform. The grocer was inspired to launch the service after observing a sharp rise in online ordering and higher customer demand for another way to shop. 

“We understand just how busy people are these days and want to make sure we are offering our customers another option for shopping,” said Christian D’Amour, Big Y’s director of e-commerce. D’Amour added that the company was continuing to gather valuable feedback from customers and is using it to develop new ways to improve the customer’s online experience.

The myPicks platform recently launched an upgraded website with improved functionality that will enable services such as home delivery powered by San Francisco-based Instacart, and the ability to accept payments via EBT and SNAP benefits. The platform also now offers same-day order and pickup, and it continues to expand fresh and local product offerings. “We continue to listen and learn, and are excited to be able to offer in the near future some of the enhancement our customers have been asking for,” noted D’Amour. 

According to the executive, myPick’s greatest success in its first year is “that in a small part, we are helping to make our customers’ busy lives a little easier.”

Big Y currently offers myPicks at 11 Massachusetts Big Y locations: Wilbraham, Ludlow, Longmeadow, East Longmeadow, Springfield, Chicopee, Westfield (East Silver Street), Westfield Shops (East Main Street), West Springfield, Big Y at Fresh Acres, and South Hadley.

One of the largest independently owned supermarket chains in New England, Springfield, Mass.-based Big Y operates 84 locations throughout Massachusetts and Connecticut, with almost 12,000 employees. The company is No. 75 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.

09/27/2022

Vast Majority of Americans Will Celebrate Halloween: NCA

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Halloween candy

This All Hallows’ Eve, a whopping 93% of Americans are planning to mark the occasion by indulging in their favorite chocolate and candy products, according to a new survey from the National Confectioners Association (NCA).

“The past few years have proven that the confectionery industry is resilient, and Americans remain enthusiastic about enjoying their favorite treats during seasonal celebrations like Halloween with friends and family,” noted John Downs, president and CEO of Washington, D.C.-based NCA. “Chocolate and candy play a special role during the Halloween season in communities across the country – and this Halloween promises to be especially impressive as chocolate and candy companies bring consumers classic, innovative and great-tasting products that enhance the season.”

The confectionery industry trade group is projecting a 5% increase in chocolate and candy sales for the 2022 Halloween season as consumers across the country ramp up their spooky celebrations, with some starting earlier than in years past.

NCA also noted that chocolate and candy manufacturers are working to provide more transparency, choice and portion guidance options, with 85% of chocolate and candy currently sold coming in packaging that contains 200 calories or fewer per pack. That number includes individually wrapped products or multipacks that contain smaller packages inside – an appropriate size for the 97% of Americans who say they greet trick-or-treaters with chocolate and candy. 

The national online survey was conducted by San Antonio-based 210 Analytics on behalf of NCA. The research was fielded Jan. 17-31 among a sample of 1,573 U.S. adults between the ages of 18 and 75. The margin of error associated with the survey is +/- 2.5% at the 95% confidence level.

In other Halloween news, data from Fishers, Ind.-based audio experience solution provider Vibenomics showed that 68% of consumers rely on grocery stores for their Halloween needs

09/27/2022

Home Chef Launches Ready-to-Bake Pizzas, Flatbreads

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Home Chef Pizza Flatbread

Continuing its commitment to bring ease and convenience to home cooking, meal solution company Home Chef, a subsidiary of The Kroger Co., has revealed its newest in-store offerings: Pizzas and Flatbreads. These ready-to-bake items take only 15-17 minutes to cook.

The lineup includes varieties such as Italian-Style Supreme Pizza, packed with pepperoni, sausage, green and red bell peppers, mushrooms, and red onion; a classic Margherita Flatbread with a combination of fresh mozzarella, roasted cherry tomatoes and basil; and Hawaiian Pizza with a sweet and salty combo of sliced Canadian bacon, bacon and pineapple.

[Read more: “Home Chef Reveals Biggest Collab With Queen of Quick Meals”]

There’s also a pie-style take on the Philly Cheesesteak, a pizza topped with sliced steak, mushrooms, green pepper and caramelized onion; and a Chicken Bacon Ranch Flatbread with grilled chicken, onion ranch and a tangy barbecue sauce. 

Home Chef's pizzas and flat breads are hitting shelves at select Kroger Family stores nationwide starting in mid-October. 

Serving 60 million households annually nationwide through a digital shopping experience, and almost 2,800 retail food stores under a variety of banner names, Cincinnati-based Kroger is No. 4 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.