Quick-commerce platform Gorillas recently opened a central distribution center in the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens, a New York City borough. With technology provided by New York-based Fabric, the 17,000-square-foot facility will manage the storage and daily pick of produce for distribution to Gorillas’ network of micro-fulfillment centers across the Big Apple.
“The warehouse and distribution model allows for a more efficient delivery model to each location, which decreases the amount of inventory that is held in each store, reducing the amount of waste,” said Alex Gabriel, head of public and governmental affairs at New York-based Gorillas. “To create the most efficient distribution operation, Gorillas has partnered with Da Vinci for their warehouse management system, optimizing speed and accuracy in the warehouse that better supports Q commerce.”
Gabriel added that as well as providing full-time positions for people living in nearby communities, the new central distribution center aligns with the company’s core values of reducing the carbon footprint and reducing food waste.
Indie Grocer in Colorado Testing Universal Digital Coupons
LaGree's Food Stores, a second-generation, family-owned independent retailer based in Pueblo, Colo., is pilot testing universal digital coupons to provide a simpler redemption process for consumers and a lower fraud risk and better tracking for its business. The trial is being conducted by clearing and settlement services provider nData Services with Blue Bunny parent company Wells Enterprises, Fobi/Qples, SMS Promotions, The Coupon Bureau and IT Retail.
“The LaGree family is excited to continue our long history of bringing new innovations to Colorado, by partnering with Wells Enterprises and the other providers to bring 8112 digital offers to our customers,” said Megan LaGree, co-owner of the retailer that operates three stores in Colorado.
During the testing period, shoppers at LaGree’s Food Stores can receive AI8112 Universal Digital Coupons created by Qples for Blue Bunny products. Customers scan QR codes found on in-storage signage created by SMM Promotions and use the code at checkout. The coupons are validated in real time by TCP and processed by IT Retail, while nData uses its clearing and settlement technology to ensure that retailers receive payment in days instead of the traditional weeks or months from legacy coupon programs.
Technology is also used to help grocers and manufacturers learn more about their promotional efforts. Qples provides attribution data about the coupon sales through an online portal, which brands can use to see how their campaigns are performing in real time. Real-time validation also helps reduce fraud that can harm food retailers and manufacturers.
The technology is the future of couponing with benefits for all parties, notes Sam Jonas, CEO of nData Services. “It truly is a revolutionary development and nData is proud to be part of the value chain expanding retail promotional access while reducing retailer costs associated with handling coupons and issues of fraud,” he asserted.
In addition to Blue Bunny, other CPGs are planning to offer 8112 coupons through the pilot program in the coming weeks, according to nData Services.
Providing better access to healthier foods, Midwest retailer Meijer Inc. will begin offering special discounts on fruits and vegetables for its Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) customers.
The initiative – which will include discounts from $5 to $10, and 5% to 10% on SNAP purchases on qualifying produce – is thanks to a waiver granted recently by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that Meijer applied for earlier this year.
"As a company committed to enriching lives in the communities we serve, feeding people has always been at the heart of what we do," Meijer President and CEO Rick Keyes said. "We are participating in this important federal initiative to help families get easier access to healthy foods, which is another way we can help reduce food insecurity."
The incentives apply at all Meijer supercenters, neighborhood markets and Express locations, and will remain in effect for a year. The first promotional period will run from Oct. 2-31 and provide 10% off fresh fruits and vegetables. Additionally, Meijer will provide coupons to its SNAP customers to take similar discounts off future purchases of qualifying produce.
The 2018 Farm Bill allowed SNAP-authorized stores, like Meijer, to seek a USDA waiver to provide SNAP customers incentives for purchasing healthier food, including fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, and whole grains.
To mark the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste (Sept. 29), Misfits Market and the Upcycled Food Association (UFA) are launching The Upcycling Challenge, a contest for food entrepreneurs to create an innovative, sustainable and tasty food product that repurposes excess food or waste.
Finalists will pitch their new products to a panel of judges in a five-minute presentation at Natural Products Expo West in March 2023 in Anaheim, Calif. All submissions will be judged based on overall taste, quality of ingredients, percentage of upcycled ingredients, demand for the product within the category, and packaging. The winner of the challenge will receive a one-year slot placement on Misfits Market, with national branding and promotional opportunities and distribution in all 48 lower states, as well as waived fees for the product to become Upcycled Certified by the UFA.
“Fighting food waste has always been core to our mission, and we’ve expanded our impact by partnering with sustainable brands such as Belgian Boys to bring consumers sought-after upcycled products,” said Abhi Ramesh, founder and CEO of Delanco, N.J.-based Misfits Market. “We’re excited to partner with the Upcycled Food Association to share our platform and elevate the next generation of food innovators who are committed to turning waste into delicious new products.”
“Upcycled Certified is based on the simple idea that the products bought and sold every day can fight climate change,” said Turner Wyatt, founder and CEO of the Greenwood Village, Colo.-based UFA. “We are thrilled to be partnering with Misfits Market to spark supplier collaboration and innovation in creating delicious products that eliminate food waste.”
According to a study from ReFED, 35% of all foods in the U.S. goes unsold or uneaten and leaves a greenhouse-gas footprint equivalent to 4% of total U.S. emissions. In addition, the Hartman Group found that nearly 70% of consumers have a greater intention to buy a product that is Upcycled Certified.
Salt + Smoke owner Tom Schmidt wanted to bring Schnucks customers the opportunity to pick up their favorite dishes while shopping and also offer people on their lunch break a chance to grab a quick bite.
“We’re humbled and thrilled to be partnering with Schnucks, alongside some of our favorite restaurants in the city,” said Schmidt. “With Oh Hey! Barbecue, we’re going to bring St. Louisans their familiar favorites from Salt + Smoke, like our smoked brisket and white cheddar cracker mac, but we’ll be adding new items like onion rings and baby back ribs and offering new versions of our famous sides.”
The concept joins other local restaurants Seoul Taco and The Greek Kitchen in the food hall, which opened in 2021 and offers each restaurant partner a small service counter and common seating and dining area.
“We welcome Oh Hey! Barbecue to our store and to the Kirkwood community – a city that we have served for nearly 70 years,” said Eric Pritchett, Schnucks Kirkwood store manager. “Our communities depend on local businesses, and they, in turn, depend on Schnucks, and that’s why we continue to partner with local restaurants, farmers and vendors to support the best the Midwest has to offer and provide these products to our customers.”
Foxtrot, the all-day café, corner store and delivery market, is enhancing its e-commerce capabilities. The Chicago-based chain announced this week that it is updating its app and launching a new loyalty program. Aptly called Membership, the program includes early access to new products, monthly drinks at Foxtrot’s cafes, free popcorn after 4 p.m. and savings on items like wine and coffee, among other amenities. Users can also shop from a new collection of Foxtrot merchandise, made exclusively for members.
“Members always get the first taste on what we’re working on, and the perfect bite,” the company noted in a message to shoppers.
The program is an update of Foxtrot’s previous Perks system. Perks members will automatically get Member+ status for the first month and enjoy benefits like free delivery and $1 coffee.
Foxtrot continues to build seamless operations between its app and physical stores that are cropping up in metro areas around the country, including Chicago, Washington D.C. and Dallas. Earlier this year, the upscale hybrid grocery announced that it plans to open 50 new stores between now and 2024.