News Briefs


Kroger’s Board of Directors Honored for DEI Efforts

Kroger Novi MI Teaser

The National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) has named the board of directors for The Kroger Co. among its top 20 finalists for the 2022 NACD Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Awards. Kroger’s board is being recognized for improving its governance and implementing forward-thinking diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) practices.

According to Kroger, its board of directors holds management accountable for delivering and executing the company's DEI goals and encourages investments to achieve change. The independent board’s body is 64% diverse by gender or race/ethnicity.

[Read more: "Why Kroger’s CEO Doesn’t Believe in the Word ‘Acquisition’"]

"We believe this work is never complete," said Ronald Sargent, Kroger’s lead board director and former Staples, Inc. chair and CEO. "Under the board's leadership, we have achieved important progress and we will continue to support investments and policies that improve diversity, equity and inclusion for Kroger associates and our communities. The Board is honored to be recognized by NACD."

"Kroger has worked to achieve great strides in creating an equitable boardroom," said NACD president and CEO Peter Gleason. "NACD is proud to honor the Kroger Board of Directors for advancing DE&I in their boardroom and throughout their organization."

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.


Meijer Gives $1M to Midwest Food Pantries

Meijer store brand Thanksgiving

Meijer is doing a bit of thanks and giving following the recent national holiday. The Michigan-based retailer announced that it is donating $1 million to local food pantries following a successful Thanksgiving shopping period.

Earlier this fall, Meijer committed to providing up to four million meals – one meal for every customer purchase during the week of Nov. 20-26 that included a qualifying Meijer store brand item. After shoppers met that goal of four million purchases, Meijer followed through with its pledge.

[Read more: "Impact Awards Honors Companies Focused on the Greater Good"]

According to the company, the $1 million in funds will be divided equally between more than 250 food pantries around the Midwest that are taking part in Meijer’s Simply Give hunger relief program. "To have met our goal of 4 million meals by Thanksgiving Day is especially exciting because it speaks to our customers' commitment to feeding families in need this holiday season," remarked President and CEO Rick Keyes. "This Thanksgiving we're especially grateful for our customers' support of programs like this. The success of this program – and of Simply Give overall – is a direct reflection of the passion our customers share with us for hunger relief in our communities."

Since it was launched in 2008, the Simply Give program has generated $76 million for regional hunger relief organizations, Meijer reported.

Meijer is continuing its efforts to enhance food security throughout the holiday season. Shoppers can buy a $10 donation card in store or online, with contributions converted to Meijer food-only gift cards to be given to local food pantry partners. The grocery is double matching those Simply Give donation cards bought on Dec. 17.

Privately owned Meijer operates over 400 supercenters, neighborhood markets and Express locations throughout Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin. The company is No. 20 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.


Trader Joe’s Tops for Emotional Connections With Shoppers

Trader Joe's

The halo of a reputation that Trader Joe’s has for shopper affinity was confirmed in a new survey. The retailer took the first spot in a recent Brand Intimacy Study from marketing and research firm MBLM, which used an AI-driven analysis of 1.4 billion words used by consumers in discussions of hundreds of brands.

According to MBLM, Trader Joe’s is a leader in creating emotional connections with its customers. In the analysis, the retailer was associated with keywords such as “delicious” and “tasty” and earned top marks across the archetypes of identity, ritual and indulgence.  

[Read more: "Progressive Grocer Unveils the Retailers of the Century"]

“Trader Joe’s is winning customer hearts and minds not only as the highest performing retailer in MBLM’s Brand Intimacy 2022 Study, but also among the top 10 out of hundreds of brands across industries,” said Mario Natarelli, managing partner at MBLM. “Its focus on unique offerings, affordable prices, friendly staff and creating its own unique ethos, is effectively connecting with customers, who see it as a preferred alternative to generic, anonymous grocery store brands.”

Costco ranked second on MBLM’s study, topping the expansive retail category that also included home improvement, beauty and clothing stores. Other food retailers faring well among shoppers include Amazon (No. 4), Whole Foods (No. 5), Aldi  (No. 7), Walmart (No. 9), Target (No. 15) and 7-Eleven (No. 17).

On a broader level, MBLM’s analysis indicated that consumer loyalties to certain stores are strong. Since the onset of the pandemic, brand performance has increased by 19% and consumers have bolstered the brands with whom they are forming emotional connections by 9%.

Monrovia, Calif.-based Trader Joe’s is No. 27 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North AmericaIssaquah, Wash.-based Costco is No. 3. Whole Foods isa wholly owned subsidiary of Seattle-based Amazon, which is No. 2. Batavia, Ill.-based Aldi U.S., Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart U.S., Minneapolis, Minn.-based Target Corp. and Irving, Texas-based 7-Eleven  are Nos. 12, 1, 6 and 13, respectively.


NSA Honors Bravo Florida as Company of the Year

Bravo Supermarket Interior Teaser

The National Supermarket Association (NSA) has recognized Bravo Florida as Company of the Year during the NSA’s 11th annual Florida Gala, held Nov. 19 at the Trump National Doral. Bravo is a banner of Krasdale Foods, a 114-year-old family-owned business providing grocery distribution, merchandising and marketing to independent grocery store owners.

Since expanding to Florida in 2003, Krasdale has worked closely with independent retailers to serve the fast-growing and diverse Hispanic population in the Sunshine State. With a strong presence in such major markets as New York City and Florida, Bravo provides shoppers with targeted product offerings. 

“We are proud of the recognition Bravo Supermarkets has received as Company of the Year by the National Supermarket Association Florida Chapter,” noted Krasdale President and COO Gus Lebiak. “Krasdale has set out to grow its Bravo banner in the Sunshine State over the years by bringing on fantastic partners like wholesaler UNFI that supply grocery, dairy and frozen products, along with separate meat and produce suppliers. It is gratifying to see that the hard work and dedication to serving Floridian communities has resulted in such an honor.”

Founded in 1989 by Hispanic entrepreneurs, the Flushing, N.Y.-based NSA represents the interests of independent supermarket owners in  urban areas across the East Coast, Mid-Atlantic region and Florida, providing marketing strategies to corporations seeking to capture the booming Hispanic market.  

Based in White Plains, N.Y., Krasdale has expanded throughout the Northeast and Florida with store banners that include, in addition to Bravo, CTown, Aim, Market Fresh, Shop Smart Food Markets and Stop 1 Food Mart. Currently, Krasdale banners support more than 500 stores, including 50-plus Bravo Supermarkets in Florida. 

Providence, R.I.-based UNFI, the largest publicly traded grocery distributor in America, is No. 49 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.


Bristol Farms Offers Jewish Deli Classics for Hanukkah

Wise Sons Bristol Farms Hanukkah Catering Menu Teaser

Southern California specialty grocer Bristol Farms has joined forces with Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen to provide catered Hanukkah meal offerings. This year, the Festival of Lights lineup will include Wise Sons’ award-winning bagels, challah, smoked salmon, chocolate babka and rugelach.

Bristol Farms’ specialty prepared menu for the holiday also features such items as a Red Wine Braised Brisket, Potato Latkes, Chopped Liver, Sweet Noodle Kugel, Roasted Heirloom Carrots with Za’atar, and Matzo Ball Soup.

“We are thrilled to be a part of Bristol Farms’ delicious Hanukkah menu,” said Evan Bloom, CEO and co-founder of San Francisco-based Wise Sons. “I have strong memories of Bristol Farms first opening where I grew up. I remember being wowed by all the prepared foods.” 

“We’re excited to add Wise Sons to our Hanukkah offerings,” noted Adam Caldecott, CEO of Carson, Calif.-based Bristol Farms, which operates 14 locations in Southern California. “For 40 years, our mission has been to bring people together around good food. Wise Sons is sharing some of their most popular items – perfect for Hanukkah celebrations and holiday brunches.”

This past March, in celebration of its 40th anniversary, Bristol Farms debuted its newest concept, Newfound Market, which showcases fine ingredients through local and global offerings and an innovative dining experience, all in one place. Located in Irvine Spectrum, the market encompasses a full-service Italian restaurant and six fast-casual food venues. 


BIPOC Collective to Debut at 2023 Winter Fancy Food Show

2023 Winter Fancy Food Show SFA Teaser

After launching a partnership with the Specialty Food Association (SFA) at the trade organization’s 2022 Summer Fancy Food Show this past June in New York City, (included) CPG, a collective of BIPOC founders and executives in the consumer packaged goods industry, will make its debut at SFA’s Winter Fancy Food Show early next year. The show is scheduled for Jan. 15-17, 2023, in Las Vegas.

“The Specialty Food Association is a not-for-profit membership trade association working toward a more inclusive specialty food industry,” noted Bill Lynch, president of New York-based SFA, which will sponsor an additional 10 BIPOC makers from the collective at the upcoming Winter Fancy Food Show. “In partnering with (included), we are able to reach a broader spectrum of BIPOC owners and makers who we can showcase at our Fancy Food Shows.” 

[Read more: "What Are the Top Specialty Food Trends for 2023?"]

The exhibitors from (included) at the show will be HibisBloom, Mojave Mallows, Niramaya Foods, One Stripe Chai, Power Up Foods, Route to India, Sanchi Foods, Urja, Wild Orchard and Wonder Monday.

“As BIPOC founders whose mission is to make an impact at scale for both people and the planet, there are so many challenges we face each and every day that make it an uphill battle,” said Michael D. Ham, president of Wild Orchard, a Mount Kisco, N.Y.-based maker of regenerative teas. “So we are extremely thankful and appreciative of the efforts made by (included) CPG and the Specialty Food Association to empower us with your resources, support and advocacy to help us realize our dreams.”

The largest B2B specialty food event in the western U.S., the Winter Fancy Food Show features thousands of specialty food and beverage products from around the world.