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Sn Off the Shelf
16 minutes | 16 days ago
Following changing patterns in in-store foot traffic during the pandemic
The grocery retail industry, like all businesses, has experienced a sea change during the pandemic — although unlike many other retail segments, supermarkets were never forced to close over the last 11 months. As essential businesses, they continued to provide food and necessities to American shoppers, though the patterns of how consumers did their grocery shopping changed dramatically and probably for the long term. Greg Sterling, vice president of market insights for retail analytics firm Uberall, recently joined us for an SN Off the Shelf podcast in which he outlined the trends grocery retail has been experiencing during COVID, and a look forward to what the industry can expect as vaccines continue to roll out in the country and consumers’ shopping behavior continues to evolve.
19 minutes | a month ago
Podcast: Giant’s Matt Simon sees new Choice Pass program as springboard
The Giant Company aims to build a more engaged and loyal base of omnichannel shoppers with the recent launch of its Choice Pass online membership program. Matt Simon, chief marketing officer at Carlisle, Pa.-based Giant, said Choice Pass makes it easier for Giant Direct and Martin’s Direct e-commerce customers to place online orders for pickup or delivery. For a $98 annually or $12.95 monthly, subscribers can order as often as they like and never pay a fee for each delivery or pickup transaction. “Subscription is so important,” Simon said in an SN Off the Shelf podcast. “We had Peadpod Pass — “PodPass” — in the past. That was kind of our entry into it. But with the fast growth in e-commerce in 2020, which is one of the critical priorities for our company, subscription has been such a big thing we’re looking forward to, and how to take advantage of opportunities to drive engagement and more loyalty.” About a third of the Giant/Martin’s customer base are digital shoppers, and over 90% of the retailer’s market areas have access to its online grocery pickup and delivery services, according to Simon. Choice Pass pays for itself via two deliveries monthly or one pickup weekly, he said, and costs less than the previous PodPass membership, which had a $119 annual fee. “Choice Pass is really the underpinning of what subscription will be for us in the future,” he said. “Unlimited free pickup or delivery for less than $100 a year allows customers to save over $20 a year, and it’s really just another way for us to bring convenience and simplified shopping to our families and customers who are loyal to us year-round.” Down the road, Choice Pass — working in tandem with Giant’s Choice Rewards loyalty program, which sports a similar logo — could serve up more incentives for omnichannel customers. That might include perks such as fuel points, special savings and/or exclusive deals for subscribers, according to Simon. “It’s an exciting entry into subscription, with a lot more to come in the future,” he said. Part of Ahold Delhaize USA, The Giant Company operates almost 190 stores under the Giant, Martin’s and Giant Heirloom Market banners in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. Its Giant Direct and Martin’s Direct e-commerce operations include more than 145 online pickup hubs as well as grocery delivery in hundreds of ZIP codes.
22 minutes | 2 months ago
Hy-Vee’s Mike Agostino says transparency key to new PBM
Food and drug retailer Hy-Vee recently added a new dimension to its health care operations with the launch of Vivid Clear Rx, a pharmacy benefits manager (PBM). Leading the new subsidiary as Vivid Clear Rx president is Mike Agostino, who serves as senior vice president of pharmacy business development at West Des Moines, Iowa-based Hy-Vee.
21 minutes | 3 months ago
SPINS: Consumers increasingly turning to health & wellness products during COVID
Health & wellness categories ranging from organic to plant-based and other better-for-you claims were already performing strongly coming into 2020, but the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on consumers’ shopping behavior this year has spurred unprecedented sales and demand. In our latest SN Off the Shelf podcast, Jeff Crumpton, manager of retail reporting solutions at wellness-focused data research leader SPINS, shared his thoughts and insights on what’s been happening in the natural and wellness categories, including organic, plant-based, CBD, supplements and other claims-based products.
17 minutes | 4 months ago
Changing attitudes, shopping behaviors boost private label, says Daymon’s Aimee Becker
Private brands have come a long way the past few years and they're no longer viewed as just low-cost alternatives at shelf, noted Aimee Becker, Senior Vice President Strategic Advisory at Daymon, a leader and pioneer in private brand development, during a recent SN Off the Shelf podcast. And that change in attitude toward private label has placed the category in an even greater position of strength during the pandemic. “I think we’ve really shifted consumer attitudes away from this idea of generics or just a price play at shelf to really being true consumer brands,” Becker said. “This shift really started with retailers focusing on improving quality, and today we see that 86% of shoppers consider private brand quality to be equal to or better than the national brand.” In addition, according to the Daymon Private Brand Intelligence Report, just under 90% of consumers say that, compared to national brands, they trust private brands just as much or more (89%) and that private brand variety is just as good if not better (87%). “As we think about COVID specifically,” Becker continued, “private brands were really well positioned pre-pandemic. But when COVID hit, the strength and relevancy of private brands really became a little bit more pronounced. At the height of the pandemic, we definitely saw a lot of brand shifting and that really worked in favor of private brands. We think that we'll continue to see positive trajectory and momentum for private brands in the months to come.” As for who the private brand shopper is, Becker said it crosses all demographics and pointed to data from the Daymon report. “I think there tends to be this stigma of who the private brand shopper is,” she said. “But the private brand shopper is really everyone. Three in four shoppers buy at least one private brand item on every shopping trip. With that, a third of shoppers actually say that private brands comprise the majority of their shopping cart. “Then conversely, you only have about 6% of shoppers saying that they exclusively buy national brands. If you take all of those facts together, everybody’s buying private brands in some way, shape or form.” And Becker expects that trend to continue and grow, particularly among the younger Millennials who have been driving private label success before the pandemic hit. This group is really starting to abandon this cachet of legacy brands and is increasingly becoming brand-agnostic, she pointed out. “What they’re looking for is products that are meeting their needs at the time and place they’re at,” she said. “As private brands are continuing to innovate and really engaging shoppers in a different way, we think we’ll continue to see that broaden.”
20 minutes | 4 months ago
Podcast: Ahold Delhaize USA up to online grocery challenge, e-commerce chief JJ Fleeman says
Ahold Delhaize USA proved to be up to the challenge when online grocery orders exploded following the coronavirus outbreak, according to JJ Fleeman, the company’s chief e-commerce officer and president of its Peapod Digital Labs unit. As at other retailers, Ahold Delhaize USA — whose chains include Stop & Shop, Giant Food, Giant/Martin’s, Food Lion and Hannaford — has seen booming online grocery sales during the COVID-19 pandemic. Online sales rose 42% for the first quarter ended March 29 — which covered only the first couple of weeks of the pandemic — and then jumped 127% for the second quarter ended June 28. For the first half, online sales ended up growing 84%. “Almost immediately, we saw e-commerce sales jump over 100% — really kind of overnight,” Fleeman said in an SN Off the Shelf podcast. “The biggest challenge we had, like many other retailers and manufacturers, was responding to the surge in demand. Our supply chain team did a great job in deploying innovative sourcing methods and new ways of procuring product, even standing up a temporary distribution center. And, obviously, we had to rapidly hire and on-board a lot of new people to keep the [supermarket] brands in stock through all those channels. Work continues today to stock up on the key items for winter and the busy holiday seasons, but we’ve made tremendous progress.” The sharp e-commerce gains now have Ahold Delhaize USA projecting a more than 75% increase in U.S. online sales for fiscal 2020, up from its previous estimate of more than 50% and its initial forecast of over 30%. That has led Ahold Delhaize USA to step up an already aggressive e-commerce expansion. In 2020, online grocery capacity is slated to grow by 70%. Plans call for same-day delivery to be added at over 600 Stop & Shop and Food Lion stores and the number of pickup sites across the company’s grocery brands to climb from 765 at the end of the second quarter to 1,100 by the fiscal 2020 year-end. “What’s important to note is that we were in a really strong position when COVID-19 hit,” said Fleeman. “For the year or so prior, we had been doubling down on omnichannel, and the brands have been expanding with click-and-collect and delivery. We’d also just announced a major supply-chain investment and transformation. So we had the right efforts under way, but certainly it was a real acceleration.” Fleeman has been Ahold Delhaize USA’s chief e-commerce officer and president of Peapod Digital Labs since May 2018. Peapod Digital Labs provides omnichannel solutions and services to Ahold Delhaize USA’s grocery chains. He previously served as executive vice president of commercial services and strategy for Retail Business Services (RBS), the company’s services arm. Before that, he was chief strategy and development officer at Delhaize America and served in a range of vice president roles at Food Lion.
26 minutes | 5 months ago
Podcast: Boxed.com’s Ankit Patel recounts ‘unprecedented’ demand surge
The wholesale e-tailer adapts to the new normal as COVID-19 spurs online grocery purchases. Listen to the full interview now.
24 minutes | 6 months ago
Albertsons aims to be ‘best local grocer,’ COO Susan Morris says
A burgeoning e-commerce business at Albertsons Cos. hasn’t blurred the supermarket giant’s focus on brick-and-mortar stores as the bedrock of the customer relationship. “We try very hard to touch at least 10% of our store base each year with remodels to keep them current,” said Susan Morris, executive vice president and chief operations officer, told Supermarket News in an SN Off the Shelf podcast interview. “As far as 2020, we’ll still get to remodel at least 10% of our store base this year and probably open somewhere between 10 and 15 new stores.” In fiscal 2019, Albertsons opened 14 new stores and remodeled 243 locations, and through the fiscal 2020 first quarter, the Boise, Idaho-based company has upgraded 46 stores. “It’s really important for us to invest in our store base, making it look great for our cus-tomers, keeping up with our current offerings — expanding on fresh, which is important to us — and modifying to accommodate our growing e-commerce business,” said Mor-ris, who has held her current post since January 2018 and has been with Albertsons for the past 10-plus years.
10 minutes | 6 months ago
Empathy goes a long way in de-escalating anti-mask and other conflicts
Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, there have been many reports of conflicts arising over face mask mandates in supermarkets and other public-facing businesses. But as Russ Turner, director of the People Incorporated Training Institute, points out, much of that focus on the negative can be chalked up to human nature. His organization, based in the Twin Cities, offers a curriculum of training classes and workshops in a wide variety of subjects related to behavioral health including crisis de-escalation. Turner and People Incorporated have provided hundreds of de-escalation and other kinds of training with individuals and organizations such as mental health professionals, the Minneapolis Police Department, Department of Housing, Animal Control and others. “When one video of a conflict goes viral, we have to remind ourselves, that’s one video in a much bigger universe. That is one video of one event in a very, very large country at one point in time,” he told SN in our latest Off the Shelf podcast. “If you have 10 encounters with customers a day and nine are great, but one is bad, your brain still focuses on the negative response, which is an unfortunate tendency.”
26 minutes | 7 months ago
Succeeding with center store during COVID-19 — and beyond
Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic and the peak of panic buying and hoarding in March and April, grocery retailers have seen and are continuing to see significant growth in center store categories. For our latest Off the Shelf podcast, we talked about the success of the category during COVID-19, as well as some of the challenges and opportunities going forward in center store with Sally Lyons Wyatt, executive vice president and practice leader at Chicago-based IRI, a leading provider of data analytics and market research. Lyons Wyatt, a recognized food and beverage thought leader in the CPG and retail industries and authority on consumer eating and shopping trends, noted that amidst all the devastation of the pandemic, there has been a silver lining for center store and CPG manufacturers. “The iconic brands, that honestly were struggling for that 1 and 2% growth pre-pandemic, had an influx of new buyers that really is unprecedented,” she said. “And, God forbid, we don't have another pandemic, this is probably going to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for these brands to really get out and build lasting connections. So while we won't have the types of growth we've had this year, we certainly have the potential for increased consumption of those brands and others through center store at a minimum till the end of this year, but what looks to be into '21 as well.” After the initial run on cleaning supplies and paper goods, it’s been meals at home that have been driving center store sales. “We all shifted our behavior from being on the go, going to work or being out and about, to then being thrust into the home and eating more meals at home,” said Lyons Wyatt. “When consumers were seeking these meal solutions or snack solutions, they turned to the center store. There's a lot of reasons for that. It might've been for the ingredients or a recipe. It could have been to ensure they had food in the pantry. But we witnessed center store roles evolving because of those home occasions.” Dinner and breakfast occasions were big winners, according to Lyons Wyatt, along with the big increase in home baking, particularly during those first two months. “What's interesting is that hasn't stopped. So, yes, we saw this big surge in those that big eight-week period, probably around March 8th till April 25th. But since then, we see making dinner and breakfast still resonating. But in addition, snacking and beverages have realized growth.” During the podcast, Lyons Wyatt also shared her thoughts on the rise of kid-focused products, shopping behaviors as restrictions ease in some places and tighten in others, the race for share of meal business, and the impact of health awareness on center store. Check out the podcast below for insights on these and other areas of opportunity for center store. And be sure to take a look at IRI’s new report, “Covid-19 and Navigating the Path Ahead: Charting the Course for Continued Center Store Growth.”
24 minutes | 8 months ago
Schnuck Markets CEO Todd Schnuck says EatWell hits the spot
Late last month, Schnuck Markets premiered a new specialty store called EatWell, A Natural Food Store by Schnucks — a concept that Chairman and CEO Todd Schnuck said had been in the making for some time. The opportunity came when a store lease for Lucky’s Market, which was in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, went up for auction in Columbia, Mo. The site at 111 South Providence Rd. not only offered an attractive customer demographic — adjacent to the University of Missouri’s flagship campus — but Schnucks also already operated a supermarket in Columbia less than three miles away. So the St. Louis-based grocer acquired the leased store at the end of March. “We thought that, ‘Here’s a real opportunity for us to step right into operating a natural food store,’” Schnuck told Supermarket News in a podcast interview. “And we liked Columbia because it’s a university town and already had an established customer base. So we thought it was a great way for us to take that first step.” That site, too, just happened to be the previous location of the current Schnucks supermarket now at 1400 Forum Blvd. in Columbia. “We’ve been in the Columbia market for over 50 years. Interestingly enough, this location is in the same shopping center where our original [Columbia] store was located. We opened in 1970, and then later we closed that store and moved to a bigger store about two miles away,” Schnuck said. “So we’re coming full circle, back to a location that’s closer to the university, closer to the student population and closer to the downtown area of Columbia.”
28 minutes | 8 months ago
Podcast: Are grocery retailers living up to shoppers’ COVID-19 safety expectations?
The past few months have seen supermarkets and other grocery retailers implement multi-pronged strategies to protect customers and employees from COVID-19. But what do shoppers think of retailers’ efforts, and how well are stores adhering to these safety steps? Global market research firm Ipsos aims to help answer those questions with the Consumer Health & Safety Index, a new benchmarking tool to evaluate how retailers across seven sectors — including grocery — are operating during the coronavirus pandemic. The study includes a poll of 2,000 U.S. shoppers to find out which COVID-19 safety practices they deem most important, followed by “mystery” shopping trips at thousands of stores across 45 major U.S. brands to gauge compliance with health and safety measures. Nick Mercurio, executive vice president and service line head of U.S. channel performance at Ipsos, told Supermarket News in a podcast that grocery rated highest among retail sectors in coronavirus health and safety. Whole Foods Market, Costco Wholesale and Trader Joe’s were the top overall retail performers. “These three brands clearly outperformed among the 45 brands across the seven industries by a significant margin. In fact, grocery was the highest-performing industry in total, when you look at the composite scores for the index and also the individual behaviors,” Mercurio explained. “Across all of the brands, grocery represented three of the top five and seven of the top 10 [performers]. Brands that sell food — including clubs and big-box stores — were among the top 10 performers, really head and shoulders above the other industries.” Also rated highly were Walmart, Aldi, Publix, Sam’s Club, Safeway, Target and Albertsons. Other grocery retailers examined included Giant Eagle, Stop & Shop, BJ’s Wholesale Club and dollar stores, all of which also performed well. “Across the board, there was consistency and high performance from grocery retailers,” Mercurio said. Still, among all the retail sectors studied by Ipsos, there’s room for improvement in COVID-19 health and safety, particularly when individual store locations and different geographies are taken into account, he noted. For example, the “mystery shops” uncovered shortfalls in employees wearing face coverings and/or gloves, availability of hand sanitizer or handwashing solutions, plexiglass shields at checkout lanes, staff actively cleaning areas of the store, and shopper capacity limits in stores. Why does this matter? Ipsos found that 61% of consumers are still delaying returning to brick-and-mortar stores on a regular basis for fear of catching the virus. “In the research we conducted, 62% of shoppers said they would stop shopping at a retailer if they were not taking health and safety seriously. So there’s a really high potential defection rate and very little margin for error if you don’t get it right,” Mercurio said. “But if you do, there’s definitely a chance to not only grow your market share, but also your share of wallet and profitability.”
21 minutes | 9 months ago
Rosie CEO sees local retailers and customers embracing digital tools
Launched in 2012 — and cleverly named after the robot housekeeper on “The Jetsons” — online grocery app Rosie allows customers to shop online from their favorite local stores for same-day delivery or in-store pickup. In addition to e-commerce, Rosie provides retailers with delivery opportunities, omnichannel marketing and deep data services. Since its founding, Rosie’s mission has been to bring online grocery to Main Street or, as co-founder and CEO Nick Nickitas says, “Let's make it as easy to shop online, from a local store, as it would be to shop on Amazon or Walmart.”
18 minutes | 9 months ago
Podcast: Publix’s Curt Epperson says farmers’ plight called for quick response
When Publix Super Markets heard that produce and dairy farmers were hurting, it didn’t hesitate to come to their aid, said Curt Epperson, business development director for produce and floral. In April, Publix launched a program to buy surplus fruit, vegetables and milk from farmers that have seen demand plummet from customers forced to shut down during the coronavirus crisis. The Southeastern supermarket chain donates the rescued product to Feeding America food banks throughout its seven-state market area. Reports have continued to emerge of farmers being compelled to throw away huge amounts of unsold produce and milk, a situation arising from mass closings of schools, restaurants, hotels, cafeterias and other foodservice customers amid the pandemic. At the same time, the economic fallout from COVID-19 has increased food insecurity nationwide, putting more pressure on food pantries to help hungry Americans. Epperson said Publix focused its assistance on three areas: source, purchase and deliver. And the program, kicked off April 21, has made tremendous progress. After the first week, Publix procured more than 150,000 pounds of produce and 43,500 gallons of milk for donation. That surged to 2.25 million pounds of produce and 200,000 gallons of milk through May 20, with the product going to 15 Feeding America food banks.
27 minutes | 10 months ago
Associated Supermarkets meet worker, shopper needs in hard-hit New York
For independent supermarkets in the hard-hit New York area — which are frequently smaller neighborhood stores with narrow aisles in close quarters — COVID-19 has created a number of challenges, including lack of employees and an uncertain supply of goods due to the pandemic. The daily restocking of shelves due to the unprecedented demand from customers, as well as the constant sanitizing of stores, has taken a toll on these supermarkets and their employees. In our most recent SN Off the Shelf podcast, we spoke with executives from Associated Supermarket Group, the Port Washington, N.Y.-based marketing alliance that serves more than 220 independently owned, mostly urban supermarkets in the New York Tri-State area under banners including Associated, Compare, Met Foods, Met Fresh and Pioneer. Our conversation with CEO Joe Garcia and EVP & chief administrative officer Zulema Wiscovitch covered a range of topics, including the challenges of operating stores in the coronavirus epicenter of the U.S., how shoppers can help ease the strain, the explosion of online grocery and what the grocery industry might look like post-coronavirus.
27 minutes | 10 months ago
Higher tech use reshapes grocery shopping, Inmar’s Jim Hertel says
With more and more consumers relying on smartphones, the days of grabbing the weekly circular upon entering a supermarket are nearing an end, according to Jim Hertel of Inmar Intelligence. Forty-one percent of consumers use technology routinely for easier grocery shopping, and 68% use a grocery retailer’s mobile app while shopping, reported Inmar, a Winston-Salem, N.C.-based provider of data-driven technology services for retailers and manufacturers, among others. Such behavior is a sign of more changes to come, noted Hertel, senior vice president of analytics research & development at Inmar. In March, the company released “From AI to VR: Mapping Shoppers’ Preferences for Emerging Retail Technology,” the latest study in its Tech in Retail series. The online survey polled 1,000 U.S. adults on preferred in-store technologies and how they affect their shopping behavior, including in grocery stores. Grocery mobile apps are primarily used to find deals and promotions (78%) and locate desired items in the store (71%), Hertel pointed out. Another 69% of shoppers said they would use a self-scan/checkout function. A vast majority of respondents indicated they would like to see more information in grocery stores from digital displays and shelf tags. Nearly three-quarters said they would be interested in digital displays offering meal planning guidance, noted Hertel. Also, a big chunk of consumers polled use social media (44%) while they shop for groceries, led by Facebook (30%) and YouTube (20%), but also including Instagram (17%) and Pinterest (11%), Inmar’s survey found. In this podcast with Supermarket News, Hertel delves deeper into technology use at grocery stores, including insights from both the shopper and retailer perspectives. “[Retailers] have been interested in finding ways to become more digital with the [weekly] circular,” he said, noting that a digital circular available in a mobile app gives supermarkets more opportunity to personalize offers to customers. Hertel also touched on grocery retail tech use amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, which he says “has really pointed out the need for retailers to use technology and the opportunities that have been presented for the ones that have invested in it,” citing customers using grocery retailer mobile apps to see products in stock.
29 minutes | a year ago
SN Off the Shelf: A closer look at this year’s Top 75 Retailers report
Supermarket News’ annual Top 75 Retailers report has just come out, and in our latest SN Off the Shelf podcast, Senior Editor Russell Redman and Data Content Director Alan Liddle joined me for a discussion of the numbers and trends we found this year. The Top 75 takes an annual look at the consumables sales and store counts of 75 of the largest supermarket and non-traditional retailers and wholesalers in the United States and Canada. Below, we offer a sampling of this year’s report with a look at the top 10 companies by sales on this year’s list: 1. Walmart Inc. $277.22 billion 2. The Kroger Co. $117.42 billion 3. Costco Wholesale Corp. $75.92 billion 4. Albertsons $61.34 billion 5. Ahold Delhaize $44.84 billion 6. Amazon.com $42.22 billion 7. Publix Super Markets $38.11 billion 8. Loblaw Cos. Ltd. $35.46 billion 9. Target Corp. $33.76 billion 10. C&S Wholesale Grocers $32.71 billion
24 minutes | a year ago
Podcast: NFRA’s Jeff Rumachik sees more growth for frozen, dairy and deli
The frozen food and dairy sections drive more sales and store traffic than you think. Just ask Jeff Rumachik, executive vice president and chief operating officer of the National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association (NFRA). Harrisburg, Pa.-based NFRA recently released its annual State of the Industry Report, which takes a deep dive into frozen and refrigerated food shopping and retail trends. Combined, frozen and dairy accounted for $125 billion in sales for 2019. On average, shoppers last year made 70 store trips to buy frozen and dairy items, and they spent $13.44 per trip. Frozen continues to experience a rebirth, generating two years of back-to-back growth with sales of $54.6 billion, a gain of $918 million. The department accounts for 31 trips per buying household annually and adds $10.90 to the shopping basket per trip. More growth is expected for the category, according to NFRA, which noted that half of U.S. households have access to more than one freezer, giving them extra capacity to stock up. Dairy, the second-largest edible department in the supermarket (excluding alcoholic beverages), tallied 2019 sales of $71 billion, delivering $550 million in year-over-year growth. NFRA said the dairy section drives 47 trips per buying household per year, with milk and cheese at the top of shoppers’ lists. NFRA represents all segments of the frozen and refrigerated foods industry, including manufacturers, retailers/wholesalers, distributors, sales agents, logistics providers and other suppliers. Rumachik has been with NFRA for 11 years. In his current role, he oversees marketing and promotional activities, including the NFRA Convention. His 40-year career in the food industry includes experience at all levels of store management in midsize and high-volume food stores, as well as in supervisory and advisory roles at wholesalers, independent supermarkets and chain stores. Prior to joining NFRA, he spent 18 years at the Food Marketing Institute, most recently as vice president of the wholesaler division. In this podcast with Supermarket News, Rumachik sheds more light on the latest trends in the frozen, dairy and packaged deli categories. He also addresses how the frozen and refrigerated foods sector is being impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
21 minutes | a year ago
Podcast: Nielsen’s Rick Maturo says U.S. CBD market could top $2.5 billion
Supermarkets are paying increasing attention to the market for cannabidiol (CBD) products as consumer demand for these items continues to climb. Given the market potential for CBD products, that attention is well-warranted for grocery and other retailers, according to Rick Maturo, associate director of client services for the cannabis practice at Nielsen. For 2020, Nielsen projects that the hemp-derived CBD market could reach the $2.5 billion mark — or more — in the United States. The consumer market researcher notes that its estimate is conservative, taking into account possible regulatory speed bumps in the CBD marketplace.
17 minutes | a year ago
IGA’s president John Ross is bullish on the future of independent retail
Since taking over as president of the Independent Grocers Alliance (IGA) two years ago, John Ross has sounded the clarion call that retail competition is everywhere — chain growth, new channels, foodservice options, digital and online and more. IGA’s mission for nearly 100 years has been to offer independent member grocery stores the ability to better compete in the marketplace while at the same time allowing them to stay true to who they are: Hometown store owners meeting the needs of their local communities with more than 1,100 U.S. stores and 6,000 worldwide. “Every year it gets tougher to win in the marketplace,” Ross told SN in our most recent Off the Shelf podcast. “And of course in an environment where the shoppers are more discerning, they want more from us and they want to pay less. So our job is to make sure that we’ve got the right tools in place to help us win.” To that end, Ross says, IGA is constantly having to update its toolbox. “We’ve got to make sure they’ve got digital tools,” he said. “This is everything from online incentives, the ability to do bounceback offers, to keep the shopper in the store, access to digital manufacturer offers…all the things that other chains have. For independent stores, whether you've got one location or a hundred, it may often feel like you're competing against these big huge mega chains and they've gotten more deals and more aggressive deals than you can get. It’s our responsibility to make sure we're working with the manufacturers of the national and the shopper marketing level and deploying offers nationally that allow those independents to compete. And if we do all of those things and a lot more things as well, yeah, we'll fulfill our mission.” When asked where he sees the future of the independent grocer headed, Ross was overwhelmingly positive. “Shoppers want a partner who's helping them be smarter about the choices they make on food for their family,” he said. “As the sales in our stores shift from commodities that are store products to customized hyperlocal assortments in deli and produce and meat and all the other areas, as that shift continues, the strong independent becomes stronger and it's showing up in our numbers right now. I’m bullish.”
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