The waning of the pandemic means that many in-store tasting experiences are back. Kowalski’s Markets, in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, is celebrating A Taste of Kowalski’s on Oct. 15 between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
At this in-store event, shoppers can check out the latest additions to the regional grocer’s private label line and sample an array of store-brand favorites. Kowalski’s will also share recipes using private label and other products.
The independent grocer continues to expand its private label offerings. In September, Kowalski’s introduced a new blueberry small-batch jam, organic Crunchy Munchy Mix, and additional Maple Oat and Triple Berry varieties of granola.
Operating 11 stores across the Twin Cities, Woodbury, Minn.-based Kowalski’s was founded in 1983 by Mary Anne and the late Jim Kowalski, and is currently run by Mary Anne and her daughter, CEO Kris Kowalski Christiansen. It’s the only grocery store in the area with a department devoted to gifts.
DispatchTrack Makes Last-Mile Delivery Greener for Grocers
DispatchTrack, known as a global leader in last-mile delivery solutions, has launched artificial intelligence (AI)-powered carbon emissions tracking to help companies meet their supply chain sustainability goals. Available as a feature in the DispatchTrack routing console, CO2 tracking enables companies in any market to better understand their existing carbon output on a per-route, per-stop and per-vehicle basis; optimize routes to reduce CO2 output; and gather data to illustrate the impact of their sustainability initiatives.
Fuel consumption in last-mile delivery is one of the largest contributors to emissions in the modern supply chain, as well as one of the greatest costs for delivery companies. Using DispatchTrack’'s AI-powered route optimization engine, companies can discover green delivery options that leverage the most efficient routes with fewer miles driven and less fuel used. By taking into consideration all of a day’s stops and shortening the total distance that drivers have to travel to fulfill their orders, DispatchTrack says that it can help last-mile delivery companies reduce fuel consumption across their fleet by at least 10%.
DispatchTrack’s new CO2-tracking feature can be added to a customer’s existing DispatchTrack portal. Emissions data is included within routing and reporting screens, allowing users to visualize carbon emissions for each stop, and will dynamically update as routes are changed — all based on configurable emissions expectations according to different vehicle and load types.
“With the industry’s first AI-based CO2-tracking capabilities, we’re helping our customers double down on their net-zero commitments and achieve their sustainability goals,” said Satish Natarajan, co-founder and CEO of Campbell, Calif.-based DispatchTrack. “By providing visibility into their carbon footprint and route optimization powered by AI, DispatchTrack is helping our customers reduce their emissions with confidence and become even more competitive.”
Uber Freight, Procurant Offer Innovative Produce Shipping Solution
Produce shipping is about to be transformed thanks to a partnership between cloud-based software company Procurant and Uber Freight. The companies are rolling out an innovative shipping option for retailers and suppliers of fresh produce that promises to offer relief to the grocery industry.
The Procurant Ship feature allows produce suppliers with a Procurant account to view a competitive transportation rate and secure shipment of a specific load while responding to an active purchase order. This will provide immediate access to available quality carrier capacity to help streamline carrier selection and provide real-time, in-transit visibility.
“This partnership is a game-changer for grocery retailers and their produce suppliers, and it will bring much-needed relief to an industry struggling with rising transportation costs and truck availability,” said Eric Peters, CEO of Watsonville, Calif.-based Procurant. “With this partnership, we move one step closer to a more cost-effective and streamlined fresh food supply chain.”
According to Matt Menner from San Francisco-based Uber Freight: “It’s imperative that produce suppliers are able to reliably source cost-effective, safe and reliable transportation services. And as freight rates [remain] volatile, new technologies can help suppliers ensure food stays fresh and arrives on time. Through this exciting partnership with Procurant, we enhance the resilience of produce supply chains by reducing waste, keeping costs down, moving produce more efficiently, and ultimately better supporting the communities we serve."
Which Candy Will Americans be Reaching for This Halloween?
The Kroger Co. has revealed America’s top 10 favorite candies, with Reese's Peanut Butter Cups coming in at No. 1 and Snickers bars at No. 2. The ranking is based on 2022 sales projections that are based on sales from the previous year during the same period.
The top 10 candy sellers are as follows:
1. Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
3. Kit Kat
4. Hershey Bar
5. Tootsie Roll
9. Milky Way
10. 3 Musketeers
"This Halloween, we expect our shoppers will purchase more than 11.5 million bags of fun sized candy — 7.6 million pounds of chocolate — to celebrate the season and make it a memorable experience," said Carlo Baldan, group VP of center store merchandising. "Trick-or-Treaters can look forward to their candy haul having lots of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Snickers and Kit Kat bars."
The grocer also shared that monster-sized variety bags account for 40% of all Halloween candy sales at Kroger, and that the top-selling Halloween bag is made by Hershey's and contains Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Kit Kat bars, Heath bars, Whoppers, Milk Duds and Rolos.
Robotics pioneer Badger Technologies, a product division of Jabil, has teamed with BRdata Software Solutions to assist grocers in attaining actionable data and aggregated analytics to improve store profitability, operational efficiencies and shopping experiences. Real-time inventory, pricing and trend data collected by Badger multipurpose autonomous robots can be ingested by Melville, N.Y.-based BRdata’s cloud-based retail software to quickly identify discrepancies and resolve on-shelf product and pricing problems across order fulfillment, warehouse, inventory, point of sale, and e-commerce systems.
“We are excited to collaborate with BRdata to provide grocers with a comprehensive view into what’s really happening on their store shelves every day,” said William “BJ” Santiago, CEO of Nicholasville, Ky.-based Badger Technologies. “Independent grocers, in particular, will benefit from the integration of our robot-collected data and dashboards with BRdata’s enterprise retail software to maximize sales and profits.”
At the BRdata World user conference, taking place Oct. 2-6 in Hauppauge, N.Y., Woodman’s Markets is highlighting its use of Badger Technologies’ autonomous robots, as well as the opportunity to combine in-store data with BRdata’s enterprise software suite. An employee-owned grocery chain with 19 stores throughout Wisconsin and Illinois, Woodman’s is known for its product selection, which typically spans 100,000 items at each location.
“Our automated shelf scans have not only improved Woodman’s inventory strategies, but we also gain critical trending insights to better forecast and manage third-party suppliers,” said Kristin Popp, EVP at Janesville, Wis.-based Woodman’s. “Combining the data gathered by the Badger robots with the capabilities across the BRdata cloud ecosystem will enhance our mission to provide the widest variety of grocery items at the best prices.”
The business was building for the future when it abruptly closed down, leaving several new assets that were intended for use in at least 39 dark stores. The assets are currently stored in three warehouses and include never-used equipment such as two-door coolers and freezers, chest freezers, backroom shelving, stocking/pick carts with bins and office furniture, among other items.
Also available: Buyk’s in-house IP and technology that includes an enterprise software platform, Buyk.com domain name, trademark and additional data. According to Buyk, the enterprise software platform supports all business functions, from development through customer service.
"This offering from Buyk is an exciting opportunity for established delivery providers expanding into ultra-fast delivery or for retailers wanting to break into the rapidly growing delivery market,” said Brad Goldsmith of Sherwood Partners. “Acquiring this IP, established technology and robust enterprise system is a fast-track to market entry or expansion.”
Added Ed Stepp, managing director of Hilco Fixed Asset Recovery: “The fixtures and equipment will provide great value to existing grocery deliver providers, food service businesses, grocery stores, convenience stores and similar businesses, given the breadth and quality of the items for sale. We expect that all items for sale will move quickly and interested parties should take advantage of this unique opportunity.”