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Publix announces new officer roles
Publix President and Chief Executive Officer Todd Jones announced Marcy Benton has been named vice president of human resources and John Provenzano has been named vice president of public affairs. In Benton’s new role, she will be responsible for all human resources functions. She began her Publix career in 1992 as an accounting clerk. In 1995, she joined human... Read more
Kroger hosts third Natural Foods Innovation Summit
The Kroger Co. hosted its third Natural Foods Innovation Summit in partnership with 84.51°, in Cincinnati. Justin Gold, an accomplished, innovative entrepreneur and founder of Justin's, a natural and organic nut butters brand, spoke at the summit. "Kroger's natural and organic category achieved $16.7 billion in sales last year, including $2 billion in Simple... Read more
Produce sets its sights on gourmet  at Fancy Foods Show
It may not have had the proliferation of olive oils, cheeses, smoked meats or chocolates, but produce had a healthy presentation at the Specialty Food Association’s 2018 Summer Fancy Food Show. Held June 30 to July 1 at the Jacob Javitz Convention Center in New York, the 365,000-square-foot show attracted some 34,000 gourmet food buyers who visited more than... Read more
New Fresh Summit experience to feature big voices, big topics
When the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit Convention & Expo gets under way in Orlando, FL, on Oct. 18-20, attendees will enjoy a new experience at the global produce and floral industry’s largest gathering in the Americas — including Forums for the Future with big voices speaking on big topics that will bring attendees together for engaging, inspiring... Read more
Walmart partners with Microsoft for digital innovation in retail
Walmart has established a strategic partnership with Microsoft to further accelerate its digital transformation in retail, empower its associates worldwide and make shopping faster and easier for millions of customers around the world. Last month reports surfaced that Walmart was interested in a potential collaboration with the software giant as it was developing... Read more
Stemilt’s softball-sized organic peaches and nectarines back in play
Softball-sized peaches and nectarines are back in season thanks to Stemilt’s Artisan Organics peaches and nectarines harvest starting last week. To achieve heighten volumes and skyrocketing sales during the hot summer months, Stemilt Growers’ Artisan Organics peaches and nectarines are the category booster retailers need. “This season’s organic peaches and nectarines... Read more
Kroger exec's retirement reshapes leadership
The Kroger Co. announced the retirement of Atlanta Division President Bruce Lucia and the promotion of Tim Brown, currently Cincinnati/Dayton division president, to succeed him. Additionally, Michigan division President Scott Hays has been promoted to president of the Cincinnati/Dayton division. Lucia will retire from the company after 44 years of service, effective... Read more
It’s no secret that organic produce sales have enjoyed significant growth at retail over the past decade, but now they are even doing better among the growing number of people who buy fresh produce online. A trio of experts operating in the online space discussed the sales of produce in their channels during an educational session on July 11 held in conjunction... Read more
Earning 1-up with OptUP: Kroger app gamifies nutrition, grocery shopping
The Kroger Co. has introduced OptUP, an innovative data-driven app that helps customers make more informed, healthier purchase decisions. "Kroger's new OptUP app is transformational for the food retail industry," said Collen Lindholz, Kroger's president of pharmacy and The Little Clinic. "The app puts nutritional information at your fingertips and makes finding... Read more
ShopRite snacking campaign big on produce
Love to snack? You’re not alone. Recent consumer research says American consumers are snacking in record numbers. ShopRite's produce-heavy health- and wellness-focused campaign — Real. Smart. Snacks. — is focused on helping consumers make sure their snacks are both delicious and nutritious. “We launched this campaign in response to what our customers have been... Read more
California avocados work well with health and wellness programs
Nutrition and wellness are playing an important role in a variety of creative California avocado retail promotions this year. Working with supermarket dietitians, nutritionists and wellness advisors, the California Avocado Commission supplements some traditional marketing tactics, such as brand-specific ads, displays and demo promotions with customized health... Read more
Though the rapid growth of organic sales at retail has slowed down, the consumers driving these sales are a committed group and remain passionate about what they eat. That was one of the takeaways at an educational session during the recent Organic Produce Summit titled “Deep Dive – Organic Sales Analysis and Why Behind the Buy.” Presenters Melissa Abbott of... Read more
Retailers take center stage at OPS
Both literally and figuratively, retailers took center stage at the mid-July Organic Produce Summit in Monterey, CA. More than 300 retail buying organizations were among the 1,500 attendees. About 200 buyers took advantage of four different tours of Salinas Valley produce suppliers on Wednesday morning, July 11. And four different retailers were featured during... Read more
McOutbreak: CDC investigating McDonald’s salads
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, public health and regulatory officials in several states, and the U.S. Food & Drug Administration are investigating a multistate outbreak of Cyclospora infections. As of July 13, a total of 61 laboratory-confirmed cases of Cyclospora infection were reported in people who consumed salads from McDonald’s restaurants... Read more
Organic Produce Summit smashes attendance record
With more than a 50 percent increase in attendees, more than 300 buyers, 40 percent more booths and an excitement level through the roof of the newly renovated Monterey Conference Center, the third annual Organic Produce Summit was an unmitigated success. “It’s a fantastic show,” said Adam Gamble, president of Russ Davis Wholesale Inc., an Inver Grove Heights,... Read more
With summer now under way, Canadian grower MR Farms is harvesting and shipping its vast summer crops, which include root vegetables, leafy greens and dry vegetables. Dominic Riendeau, vice president of sales at MR Farms, said the grower is looking forward to a good season, including more shipments to the United States by virtue of its recent partnership with... Read more
US Foods gets back to the basics with clean labels
US Foods Holding Corp. announced that its entire line of Metro Deli, Rykoff Sexton, Chef’s Line and Stock Yards Exclusive Brand products will be produced with clean label profiles as part of the company’s Unpronounceable List initiative. The initiative is aimed at producing products with simple, more recognizable ingredients by avoiding, removing or replacing... Read more
ShopRite owner, Wakefern leader dies at 84
Wakefern Food Corp. and ShopRite announced the death of James Nicholas Sumas, longtime patriarch of Village Super Market Inc., which owns and operates 30 ShopRite supermarkets in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York and Maryland. He died peacefully Saturday in his hometown of Morristown, NJ. He was 84. Mr. Sumas was an influential member, mentor and guiding force... Read more
Steady progress at Index Fresh Pharr facility
Since its opening on Jan. 9, the Index Fresh facility in Pharr, TX, has seen steady progress and is rounding out support for the company’s operations across the United States. The leading avocado marketer broke ground on this 60,000-square-foot ripening, packing and distribution center just over a year ago in June. “The bagging and repacking in the facility... Read more
Rob O’Rourke, longtime produce industry leader, dies at 54
Rob O’Rourke, 54, vice president of RJO Produce Marketing, died July 12 after a five-year battle with prostate cancer. Mr. O’Rourke spent nearly 40 years working in procurement, inspection, and sales and marketing of all major produce categories. His career began in 1979 when, at age 16, a neighbor asked him drive to Bakersfield, CA, to pick up a box of... Read more