Aisle Chatter

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The Center for Biological Diversity recently collaborated with The “Ugly” Fruit and Veg Campaign to produce a report that analyzed key food waste reduction commitments, policies and actions of top grocery chains across the country. Entitled “How U.S. Supermarkets Fail to Make the Grade in Reducing Food Waste,” the study utilized publicly available information as well as details provided by company officials to evaluate and grade 10 companies – Ahold Delhaize, Albertsons, Aldi, Costco, Kroger, Publix, Target, Trader Joe’s, Walmart and Whole Foods – that operate a combined 13,000 grocery stores across the U.S. Surprisingly, Walmart was at the top of the list with a B grade. Ahold Delhaize, Kroger and the Albertson Companies each received C grades for their efforts. All four of the aforementioned companies were the only ones in this study to have specific food-waste reduction commitments, with Kroger having a distinct commitment of zero food waste by 2025. Target, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Costco and Publix each got a D for their food waste procedures and Aldi rounded out the bottom of the list with a resounding F.  All of the companies featured in the report have food donation programs and Aldi was the only company studied that did not report a food recycling program (composting, animal feed or other industrial uses).

To read how the study was conducted and to see the detailed report cards for each of the featured retailers, view the complete report at www.biologicaldiversity.org/programs/population_and_sustainability/grocery_waste/

Another recently conducted study has indicated that Walmart may be poised to dominate the ecommerce grocery space. Coresight, a firm that provides research and advisory services to companies navigating the intersection of retail and tech, just released its “U.S. Online Consumer Grocery Survey” in which they polled more than 1,800 Internet-using consumers last month about their online grocery shopping habits. While the poll found that currently Amazon is the most shopped online grocery retailer with 59 percent stating that they had purchased groceries from the ecommerce juggernaut, few actually use it regularly for their grocery shopping. Walmart came in second with 26 percent of those polled having grocery shopped there online, and nearly 22 percent of those consumers indicated that they purchased “most” or “all or almost all” of their groceries from the Bentonville, AR-based retailer versus the 12 percent of Amazon shoppers who said the same. Additionally, Walmart was found to have the narrowest gap of any other retailer between its in-store and online shoppers. Kroger has also established a strong standing in the online grocery game, coming in third in the poll. Another key takeaway from the poll is that “cross-channel grocery retailing looks set to beat pure-play formats,” an issue that Amazon has already taken steps to address with its acquisition of Whole Foods last year and with their introduction of their bricks-and-mortar concept, Amazon Go.  To see the complete results from the report, go to

https://www.fungglobalretailtech.com/research/us-online-grocery-consumer-survey-amazon-shopped-retailer-not-yet-full-order-grocery-destination/.

Speaking of Walmart, the mega retailer, Feeding America and the Maryland Food Bank (MFB) kicked off the fifth annual nationwide “Fight Hunger. Spark Change.” campaign online and in stores. Throughout April, online acts of support, purchases of participating products, and donations at Walmart registers can help Feeding America secure at least 200 million meals on behalf of local member food banks, including MFB. “By working with Walmart, its 14 supplier partners, and Synchrony Bank, we have an amazing opportunity to make progress toward fighting hunger in our community,” said MFB president and CEO Carmen Del Guercio. “This campaign will help increase awareness around the issue of hunger in America, allowing us to secure more local funds and ultimately provide more food to people in need in Maryland. We hope Marylanders will take action and participate in the campaign.” MFB Bank received nearly $135,745 from last year’s campaign. Local Walmart associates also support the food bank by regularly volunteering in its Baltimore warehouse. In addition, MFB and its network of distribution partners receive food donations from 30 Walmart stores throughout the state on a weekly basis, picking up products that vary from meats, produce, and bakery items to shelf stable foods.

MFB also received some support from another of their retail partners, Giant Food, late last month with a donation of 200 hams for the Easter holiday. The annual donation was part of the Landover, MD based retailer’s contributions to five Feeding America food banks across the Mid-Atlantic region. Also receiving 200 hams each were the Capital Area Food Bank (CAFB), Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, Fredericksburg Regional Food Bank and Food Bank of Delaware.  In addition to the ham donation, CAFB also was the recipient of a check for $375,000 and the Food Bank of Delaware received one for $75,000. Both checks were courtesy of the Giant Family Foundation, which supports each of the five Feeding America food banks in the region.

While we’re on the topic of the CAFB, I’d like to extend a huge congratulations to organization on their 15th Annual Blue Jean Ball, of which Giant was the presenting sponsor. The sold-out event, the organization’s largest annual fundraiser, featured unique food samplings and craft cocktails from some of the best restaurants in the DC area, as well as a great silent and live auction. I daresay that it is my favorite industry event, which also received support from retailers Harris Teeter and Safeway Eastern. Even our friends at Meatcrafters were involved, featuring their addictingly delicious Skinny Salamis at a tasting station and in take-home gift bags. It’s a such a wonderful fete and best of all, all monies raised go to the great cause of combatting hunger in the region. Plus, you are encouraged to wear denim instead of a suit or gown – can’t beat that!

Finally, I would like to say kudos to Safeway Eastern on the grand reopening of their store at the Pan Am Shopping Center in Fairfax, VA.  The new store’s natural and/or organic offerings were upgraded significantly with more than 1,500 additional products, and the store now devotes dramatically more space to the beer and wine departments. My favorite addition to the new store was the poke bar in the ready-to-eat section of the store. It offers shoppers the ability to customize poke bowls (the super trendy raw fish salad that has origins in Hawaii) and sushi burritos. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen this in a grocery store and I was very impressed with the quality of the product. This concept alone would bring me back on a regular basis; I hope to see it implemented in more Safeway locations (particularly near my home base) in the very near future!  Another impressive part of the remodel was the Dietz & Watson deli meat and cheese case and the Dietz & Watson Market, which featured fresh, made to order artisanal sandwiches. It had a very clean set up, with a lot of wood grain accents to give it a stylish appearance. Even the message boards were aesthetically appealing. It’s all part of the Dietz & Watson Sapphire deli program – retailers, if you haven’t heard of it, reach out to Ken Snyder of D&W at kjsnyder@dietzandwatson.com. The package definitely brings an air of class and refinement to the deli area.

On that note, I will sign off for now!

 

Until next month…