Industry and Government News
Costco and Albertsons Turn to Uber for Same-Day Delivery

Two of America’s largest retailers have partnered with Uber to expand their same day delivery services. Costco has reached an arrangement for same-day grocery delivery by Uber from 25 of its Texas warehouses in Dallas, Austin, and Houston. In the coming weeks, seven more Costco stores will also begin offering delivery through the Uber and Uber Eats apps. This marks Uber’s first partnership with a food wholesaler.

Previously, Costco customers had been using Instacart for same-day deliveries and Costco currently offers a two-day shipping service for dry groceries in addition to its nationwide same-day service through Instacart.

Meanwhile, Albertsons has announced that 1,200 stores under several of its banners, including Safeway, Jewel-Osco, Acme, Tom Thumb and Randalls, will be using Uber for same-day grocery delivery as well.

In the past few months, Albertsons also announced delivery from close to 2,000 stores in San Francisco, Chicago, and Dallas through an agreement with DoorDash. Albertsons is now the largest grocery account for both Uber and DoorDash. The agreement with Albertsons nearly doubles Uber’s available grocery delivery services in the US.

Walmart Serves up Premium Private-Brand Wines

Walmart is expanding its Winemakers Selection brand with the introduction of a new line of premium wines. The new Reserve Series collection include five new wines from some of the world’s most famous wine regions. The Reserve Series label include Argentinian Malbec, Italian Pinot Grigio, French Rosé, Californian Cabernet Sauvignon and New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. The wines are expected to be priced at $10 a bottle.

Dollar General Adding Produce to 10,000 stores

Dollar General is planning to offer produce in 10,000 of its stores across the country over the next several years, a major increase from the 1,300 stores where produce is currently offered.   The move is a continuation of Dollar General’s effort to offer more grocery items in its stores.

The announcement was made in conjunction with the unveiling of a new partnership with Feeding America. Dollar General said has donated $1 million to Feeding America and is working with the organization to provide access to healthier food resources in rural and underserved communities across the country.
Foxtrot Plans to open 50 new stores

 Foxtrot is adding stores in New York, Austin, Boston, Miami, Los Angeles, and Houston as it plans to open 50 new stores within the next two years. Presently the retailer has a dozen locations in Chicago, Dallas and Washington, D.C.

The announcement comes after the hiring of former Whole Foods executive Mitch Madoff and raising $42 million in a funding drive to expand its private label business. Foxtrot has said its store brand program will be a major part of its future.
Foxtrot’s business model is based on convenience, focusing on an e-commerce strategy that has items picked up in as little as five minutes, and brick-and-mortar stores focusing on private label and locally sourced goods. The retailer has previously said 40% of its assortment is small and local businesses and more than a third of its sales come from private brands.
Grocery Prices Climb Faster than Restaurant Prices

Month-to-month price increases for groceries surged past price hikes at restaurants in June, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' monthly consumer price index (CPI) report.
Food-at-home prices rose 0.8% in June, led by a 4.5% increase in beef prices and a 2.5% overall increase in prices for meat, poultry, fish, and eggs. In May, food-at-home prices increased by 0.4% from April. Food-away-from home prices at restaurants and foodservice venues rose 0.7% in June, after a 0.6% increase in May. 

Walmart Tests an all-self-Checkout Store in Texas

According to The Dallas Morning News, Walmart is testing an all-self-checkout Supercenter in Plano, Texas at one of its biggest local stores in the area. Walmart is calling the process “hosted checkout” because employees are standing by to help if customers need it.

While other major retailers like Target, Kroger and Costco have all adopted self-checkout to one degree or another, the paper reported that some Walmart shoppers said they’re undecided about the all self-checkout store. However, they also said they’ve noticed that the self-checkout is faster.

While other major retailers like Target, Kroger and Costco have all adopted self-checkout to one degree or another, the paper reported that some Walmart shoppers said they’re undecided about the all self-checkout store. However, they also said they’ve noticed that the self-checkout is faster.

Walmart opened the first all-self-checkout supercenter in Fayetteville, Ark., last summer but the Plano Supercenter, which quietly went to all-self-checkout in late April with 32 checkout stands, is the only one in Dallas-Fort Worth area according to the company.
Save-A-Lot CEO Kenneth McGrath to return to Lidl

 Kenneth McGrath, CEO of Save A Lot and its parent Moran Foods, is leaving the company to return to the Schwarz Group to become deputy chairman of Lidl International.

McGrath has been Save A Lot’s CEO since 2017. Before he joined Save A Lot, McGrath had previously worked with the German based Schwarz Group when he was Lidl Ireland’s CEO from 2009-2013. In 2013, he worked on and advised Lidl’s entry into the United States before leaving the company in 2015. At Lidl International, McGrath will be director of the grocer’s global business, Schwarz Group said.

McGrath’s rehiring comes after the recent resignation of Schwarz Group chief Klaus Gehrig and the hiring of Michal Lagunionek as the CEO of Lidl US in June, following the resignation of Johannes Fieber.

Under McGrath’s tenure at Save A Lot, the discount chain focused on reworking its financial position by selling off its corporate-owned locations and pivoting to a wholesale business model and has also launched a major store remodeling effort.
Instacart Founder Steps Aside; New CEO Appointed

Apoorva Mehta, the founder of Instacart, has announced he is stepping aside as CEO. Fidji Simo, a high-ranking and influential executive at Facebook, will succeed him.

Simo, who currently serves on the board of directors of Instacart, is expected to lead the fast-growing company into a public stock offering. Simo is also expected to continue to develop the company’s model as it builds on its leadership in online grocery shopping.

In an open letter published to the Instacart community, Mehta said: “Fidji will simply be a better CEO than me for Instacart’s coming years.” As executive chairman, Mehta said he would remain “very engaged in the business on a day-to-day basis” and would partner with Simo on long-term strategic moves.

In other company news, Instacart has teamed up with automation specialist Fabric to offer micro-fulfillment solutions to U.S. and Canadian grocery retailers.

 Under the multiyear deal, Fabric software and robotics will be paired with Instacart front-end e-commerce technology and personal shoppers to provide faster, more efficient fulfillment at dedicated warehouses and existing retailer spaces.
C&S Wholesale Grocers buys Piggly Wiggly Midwest

C&S Wholesale Grocers has acquired Piggly Wiggly Midwest, setting it up to own and operate 11 Piggly Wiggly stores, as well as service 14 Butera Market stores in the Chicagoland region and 84 Piggly Wiggly franchises in Wisconsin.

C&S Wholesale Grocers supply more than 7,700 independent supermarkets, chain stores, military bases, and institutions, including providing a host of store brands. Piggy Wiggly has its own store brand that sells for around 30% less than national brand competitors that C&S will roll into its store brand assortment. Piggy Wiggly also operates two distribution centers in the region and a third in Milwaukee.
The Fresh Market Prepares for its IPO

The Fresh Market Holdings company is proceeding with an official filing for an initial public offering, marking the second time that the company will go public. The Fresh Market’s preliminary IPO filing this past March came almost five years to the day after the retailer unveiled plans to go private.

“With this offering, we will return to the public markets, which we believe will allow us significant flexibility in funding our strategy, including allowing us to refinance a significant portion of our debt,” President and CEO Jason Potter said in a letter to potential stockholders. The specialty grocer operates 159 stores in 22 states.
PLMA Live!
New Details about PLMA Show Trade Show

PLMA key officials share details about the exhibitors and retailers who will attend PLMA’s 2021 Private Label Trade Show, November 14-16 in Chicago. They discuss the industry excitement about the in-person return of North America’s largest event for store brands. Click here to view video.

PLMA Live! Interview: Industry Analyst Shares Retail Outlook

NPD's Darren Seifer discusses his predictions for the post-pandemic retail market. Hear what he has to say about food as medicine, eating at home, sustainability and e-commerce. All this and more in this month’s PLMA Live! exclusive interview with host Joe Azzinaro. Click here to watch video.

In the stores

Wakefern Food Corporation’s ShopRite chain has added fresh chicken to its Bowl & Basket own brand. Bowl & Basket Fresh Chicken includes more than two dozen varieties of all-natural chicken. The chain also offers own-brand chicken under its Wholesome Pantry better-for-you brand. 

Dollar General is set to expand its Believe Beauty store brand with the introduction of Believe Skin, a new line of 11 skin care products with completely vegan and cruelty-free formulas. Its Believe Beauty line consists of more than 150 products.

Sprouts Farmers Market has unveiled 10 exclusive, on-the-go items ranging from veggie burgers to the Sprouts brand of Monkfruit Chocolate Bites dessert treat. The lineup of items includes the Sprouts One Pan Meal portfolio of prepared foods including a Sprouts One Pan Meal Black Garlic Barramundi.

Trader Joe's announced several new product launches on its podcast. They include strawberry and jalapeno crackers, Brazil Nut body butter and a Key lime kettlecorn. New Sparkling Green Tea with Pineapple Juice and Sparkling Watermelon Lemonade Water were also mentioned during the podcast.

Target has announced the details of its impending partnership with beauty retailer Ulta Beauty. The ‘shop-in-shops’ will be called Ulta Beauty at Target and will start with 100 stores this month. Ulta’s private label Ulta Beauty Collection will be a major part of the products available.

Aldi U.S. has crossed the 2,100-store mark with the opening of three stores in Alabama, Florida, and Virginia. The chain is hoping to reach 2,500 stores by end of next year.

Hannaford Supermarkets has added the option for associates to add pronouns to their name tags, email signatures and other materials. The Ahold Delhaize company said the move lets shoppers express their gender identity and show support for the LGBTQ community.

Do It best, the independent hardware retailer, is seeking suppliers to produce private label products by expanding its Open Buying Day program via an online submission process with RangeMe.

The Home Depot reported it has reduced its carbon emissions by 22% in 2020 by continuing to remove polystyrene foam and PVC film from private brand products.

Market research
Pet Food Sales Benefit From More Adoptions

Sales of pet food are expected to rise due to large number of pet adoptions during the pandemic, according to digital media and promotions technology company Quotient. According to 1,000 cat and dog owners surveyed, 33% had made adoptions during the past year.

Quotient asked dog and cat owners what top three items they plan to spend the most money on for their pet over the next 12 months. At 84%, food topped the list, followed by medicine/veterinary care (45%) and treats (44%).

When it comes to feeding their furry friends, most consumers (80%) will be coming to the pet aisle for standard dry food/wet food but 17% said they will cook for their pet, and just under one-sixth (16%) usually feed their dogs and cats with gourmet and/or subscription food services.

Quotient’s research was conducted by Censuswide, which surveyed 1,017 dog and/or cat owners in the U.S. ages 18 and older from June 7-9.
Grocers are Doubling Down on Health, Wellness Strategies

 A report by the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) reports 84% of grocers now offer wellness activities for both employees and customers.

 The report, 2021 Retailer Contributions to Health and Well-Being, surveyed 27 small and large food retail companies, representing more than 26,000 stores and it reflected shoppers’ increased focus on wellness, and how food retailers have made significant investments to expand their role as community destinations for health and well-being.

Eighty-four percent of respondents said their company has an established health and well-being strategy, and 84% also said their company offers health and well-being activities for both employees and customers, which is an increase from 49% in 2019.

The top initiatives this year for food retailers and health and well-being initiatives, according to the 2021 Retailer Contributions report, are nutrition and overall health (31%); well-being, such as self-care, preventive care, and emotional care (15%); and e-commerce (15%).

 FMI’s report also found registered dietitians (RDs) are playing key collaborative roles in connecting food to health for retailers, especially by working with culinary teams. More than half develop recipes based on health and well-being criteria, and they also develop meal solutions aligning with health and well-being considerations.
 
Approximately 65% of retailers employ RDs corporately, while another 31% use in-store/virtual, and 12% use regional RDs regionally.

To build engagement, retailers follow up on their efforts in various ways. The study found 46% of retailers follow up by offering coupons for health foods in-store, 42% offer information on other nutritional or well-being programs; 25% offer information about medical adherence; and 21% encouraged customers to schedule an appointment with their doctor.
Online Shoppers Continue to Use Grocery Pickup

According to Ipsos, the growth of consumers to using in-store and curbside pickup options shows no sign of slowing down.

The Ipsos study found nearly 80 percent of Americans have started using in-store and curbside pickup options during the pandemic, and 69 percent of the people surveyed said they plan to continue their newfound shopping patterns even after the pandemic is in the rearview.

Ipsos also examined which retailers were winning over consumers with their pickup systems. Using results from the consumer survey of 2,000 Americans, Ipsos researchers also used data from 100 mystery shops per retailer. The researchers then measured how well major retailers across the country performed on five key performance indicators: User experiences online and/or mobile ordering platforms, accuracy of orders and product quality, how wait times were impacted by order volumes, whether pickup instructions were followed and the availability of items and inclusion in online orders.

Ipsos reported H.E.B finished first in customer service rankings in the study, according to the Ipsos study. The other top grocery chains offering an impressive online shopping experience include Publix, ranked No. 2; and Aldi, No. 3.
PLMA News
PLMA Prepares for Virtual 2021 Washington Conference

PLMA’s Washington Conference will be held live and interactive on Zoom October 6 and 7. Now that the Biden administration has settled in and Democrats hold majorities in both houses, what can store brand manufacturers and their retail partners expect from a legislative and regulatory perspective?

What is the latest in terms of taxes, tariffs, infrastructure, and consumer demographics and, of course, politics? How will your business be affected?

For instance, the recent introduction of anti-trust legislation, which is targeting Amazon and how they sell their private label products, is one example of how the Democratic agenda is already attempting to make changes to America’s business landscape. In addition, possible future decisions or regulations by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or other government agencies are always a possibility.

Scheduled speakers include Representative Robin Lynne Kelly (D-IL); Dr. Claudine Kavanaugh, Director for the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition Office of Nutrition and Food Labeling; Eugene Daniels, White House reporter for Politico, and Jon Gold, Vice President, Supply Chain and Customs Policy for the National Retail Federation.

The registration for PLMA members is now being offered at a special rate of $199, while non-member attendance is $350. Participation by retailers and wholesalers is complimentary.

For additional information about PLMA’s 2021 Washington Conference, please contact Linda Morales at lmorales@plma.com or conferences@plma.com

PLMA is Open to New Membership

The Private Label Manufacturers Association is the only trade association devoted exclusively to the private label industry. Founded in 1979, PLMA currently has roughly 4,500 member companies. Membership is open to manufacturers, brokers, trade suppliers and other companies. PLMA members enjoy exclusive access and discounted pricing to PLMA events and services. For more information about membership, contact Barbara Cruz at (212) 972-3131, EXT. 1225 or bcruz@plma.com.

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