In & Around Food World

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A study has found that Giant/Landover is consumers’ favorite grocer, followed closely by ShopRite and then Wal-Mart, according to Market Force Information, the world’s leading customer intelligence solutions company. The panel research study, conducted in March with more than 6,400 participants, also uncovered why consumers prefer one grocer to another, among other insights.

When consumers were asked which grocery store captures the most of their dollars, eight grocers earned more than two percent of the vote, with Wal-Mart, Kroger and Publix Super Markets landing in the top three spots. However, since grocery retailers have thousands of locations and others have a fraction of that, Market Force indexed the results by store count in order to get a more accurate representation of the results. This analysis moved Giant/Landover to the top position, closely followed by ShopRite, and then Wal-Mart, Publix, Costco, Kroger, Aldi and Safeway. This is a shift from 2011 when Kroger and ShopRite held the top two spots. Aldi leads on price while Publix shines in service and surroundings.

Speaking of Giant/Landover, their newest area store in Perry Hall, MD offers a glimpse of the future when shoppers will increasingly rely on technology, demand more organic foods and expect a wide selection of prepared meals.

The unit was purchased from Fresh & Green’s, but had been operated for many years as a Super Fresh before that retailer closed all of its Maryland stores. Giant/Landover has recently been launching new locations, remodeling older supermarkets and acquiring competitors’ closed ones.

Recent reports predicting drought-related impact on food prices and what it means for grocery bills reinforce the ways in which food retailers are meeting the needs of their customers. According to Food Marketing Institute (FMI) research, since the recession in late 2007, 19 million more households have adopted a more economical approach to food-buying and value-seeking shopping habits.

A collaborative study by FMI and its research partner Booz & Company, “2012 U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends,” demonstrated how consumers are willing to accept living with less, traveling farther for lower prices, and noting that price, assortment and convenience are the most important factors affecting how they choose where to shop. The U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends data found that 42 percent of consumers have always been frugal, with an additional 32 percent adopting this behavior during the recession.

Baltimoreis expanding a program for people in areas with limited access to healthy foods, enabling them to order groceries on the Internet and pick up their purchases at a designated place in their neighborhood. The two-year-old Virtual Supermarket Program, which operates from three Enoch Pratt Library branches, will now be offered at some senior centers and residences for the disabled.

The Capital Area Food Bank (CAFB) is responding to the growing hunger crisis facing theWashingtonmetro area by moving to a larger, newly-constructed food distribution center inNortheast DCthat will enable it to double its food storage and distribution capacity over time and foster healthy eating.

The new $37 million food distribution center, which is fully paid for, is located at 4900 Puerto Rico Avenue, NE near the food bank’s former location on Taylor Street, NE.

Lynn Brantley, CAFB’s president and CEO, said, “Despite the fact that we are distributing 33 million pounds of food annually – half of which is fresh produce – we were no longer able to meet the growing demand, because we outgrew our former warehouse. Poverty is on the rise in our region and nationally.”

Due to the uncertain economy and the dire situation it has created, CAFB embarked on a capital campaign five years ago under the leadership of co-chairs Donald E. Graham, J.W. Marriott Jr., the late Abe Pollin and Bennett Zier. Hilary Salmon, the food bank’s director of special projects, played a leading role in the capital campaign and transition into the new facility.

The campaign concluded with a capstone grant of $5 million from Mr. and Mrs. William E. Conway Jr. through their charitable trust, The Bedford Falls Foundation. Christel Hair, the food bank’s chief development officer, said, “The food bank will use $500,000 from that grant to match future donations for nutritious food that will stock the new distribution center.”

CAFB, a member of Feeding America, was founded on January 15, 1980 on Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday and takes a comprehensive approach to addressing hunger by increasing access to nutritious food, initiating change through skill-building and advocacy and creating sustainability with outreach and training for those at risk of hunger. CAFB is theWashington metro area’s largest nonprofit food and nutrition education resource. To learn more about the new food distribution center, go to http://www.capitalareafoodbank.org/

Every two years, the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) hosts the largest convergence of food retailers, wholesalers and their partners for both education and networking opportunities across the retail industry. For years – 24 to be exact – that show was held inChicago. It was recently announced that FMI 2014 will return toChicagoand theMcCormickCenteron June 10-13, 2014.

FMI president and CEO Leslie G. Sarasin said, “Chicago already supports an inherent food culture and it’s home to 19 of our FMI retailers. I’m anxious to help bridge our return to Chicago, as FMI featured its convention 24 times – from the early 1980s to 2007.” For more information on the 2014 convention, visit www.FMI2012.com.

The Whole Foods Market at 2700 Wilson Boulevard in Clarendon,VA is building a new “beer room” overlooking the store. The “Arlington Pub” will be located on the second floor of the store and will offer local draft beers, wines by the glass, bottled craft beers, growlers and an organic coffee bar in a “pub style atmosphere.” The pub will also offer “tasty nibbles” for patrons. All beers will come from a 200-mile radius.

Whole Foods is planning a grand opening celebration for the pub on September 20. The event, which is open to the public, will feature raffles, beer mug giveaways, beer and food tastings, and meet and greets with brewery representatives.

“Pull up a stool, fill up a mug and join Whole Foods Market Arlington in celebrating the official opening of Arlington Pub,” the store said in an invitation to the event.

Progressive Grocer, a supermarket industry publication, has named Matthews, NC-based Harris Teeter as its 2012 Retailer of the Year. In announcing its 2012 Retailer of the Year recipient, editorial director Meg Major (a former editor of Food Trade News) praised Harris Teeter’s “customer-focused culture, which has been at the forefront of the company’s exemplary performance through the years.”