Another major store brand relaunch
Retailers keen to achieve differentiation and increase margins are all over the store brands trend. The latest example is the 352 unit Wakefern Food retailing cooperative. It plans to launch two new store brands next month, Bowl & Basket and Paperbird, to kick off a transformation of the retailer’s own brands program.
"With these pioneering launches we are truly elevating the ShopRite experience for each and every customer who walks through our doors," said EVP Chris Lane. "We are ready to deliver to the next generation of shoppers the products and store experience that will make ShopRite their market of choice for their family meals, foods on-the-go and grocery needs."
The new brands were announced in conjunction with the company shareholders meeting and the announcement that annual sales for the year ended Sept. 28 increased 0.7% to $16.6 billion.
INSIGHTS AND INNOVATION
Mastercard and Topco tackle food traceability
An interesting collaboration between Mastercard, Envisible and food retailer Topco Associates is designed to enhance visibility of food supply chains. Envisible’s Wholechain traceability system will be powered by Mastercard’s blockchain-based Provenance Solution and used by the Topco food cooperative to help its member-owners’ supermarkets trace and highlight the origin of seafood, beginning with salmon, cod and shrimp.
“Using Envisible Wholechain, powered by Mastercard, our grocers will be able to stock shelves with confidence and also be able to pinpoint issues in the food chain during any unfortunate events such as recalls,” added Dan Glei, executive vice president, Merchandising and Marketing, Food City.
Kraft Heinz invests in cannabis tech solution
Kraft Heinz probably won’t be infusing ketchup with THC anytime soon, but the CPG company’s innovation arm Evolv Ventures, has found a less risky way to participate in the industry’s growth. Evolv and a number of other investors funded a $23 million series A funding round for Flowhub, a SaaS solutions provider whose technology is built for the unique complexities of the cannabis industry.
With this investment, we will continue to automate the cannabis supply chain, retail and reporting processes and bring to market technology solutions that are not only shaping the cannabis retail business, but also driving forward the future of legalization and de-stigmatization,” said Kyle Sherman, Flowhubs founder and CEO.
Voice commerce gathers momentum
Household penetration of smart home devices will continue this holiday season, according to research from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA). The group’s 26th annual Consumer Technology Holiday Purchase Patterns Study revealed 186 million U.S. adults plan to purchase a technology gift this year. More than half (59%) of U.S. adults plan to purchase a smart home product such as a smart doorbell, camera or lightbulb as a gift. Smart speakers, such as the Amazon Echo and Google Home, top the category with 38% of U.S. adults planning to purchase one this season. CTA expects 11.3 million units to ship, but that’s actually a 42% decline from last year as more devices like TVs incorporate digital assistants.
Movista makes acquisition to advance retail execution
Retail execution and workforce management solutions provider Movista acquired Natural Insight, its largest competitor. The deal backed by private equity firm Level Equity brings together two of the largest domain leaders in retail execution technology to greatly consolidate the marketplace.
“Our technologies ensure the shopper finds what they want, when they want, where they want,” said Movista co-founder and CEO Stan Zylowski. “Together, we will lead the way to a more mobile, agile and collaborative retail environment that delivers tangible, measurable returns for our customers.”
Predictive analytics that will blow your mind
There are some amazing predictive analytics solutions in the market that help retailers and CPGs mine data sources to optimize all sorts of decisions. Now what if those same decisions could be made in less time than it took to read the last word in this sentence. Decisions that used to take weeks have been compressed to days and decisions that use to take days are further compressed to hours, but with quantum computing, hundreds of thousands of decisions that use to take hours will take a millisecond.
Quantum computing will change the world in profound ways, some positive and some scary. For a glimpse at the potential, check out a recent paper Google published on the topic and IBM’s reaction to Google’s quantum claims.
RETAIL LEADERS ON THE MOVE
A series of senior executive moves will take place early next year at Hormel Foods following the retirement of Tom Day, EVP of refrigerated foods, who spent 40 years with the company. Moving into Day’s role is Deanna Brady who currently serves as group VP of consumer product sales. Brady’s role will be filled by P.J. Connor who currently serves as SVP of consumer product sales. Connor’s position will be fill by Tony Hoffman, currently VP of business planning and support.
Hoffman’s move is noteworthy because he assumes the responsibilities Connor held since 2011 for leading Hormel’s Walmart team. Walmart is Hormel’s largest customer and accounted for 13.6% of sales of $9.55 billion in the most recently ended fiscal year compared to 14.4% of sales of $9.17 billion the prior year. Hormel CEO Jim Snee said Hoffman would move seamlessly into the Walmart team leader role.
Former Office Depot and CVS executive Mark Crosby was named CEO at The Michaels Companies after serving as interim CEO since February when former CEO Chuck Rubin left the nation’s largest arts and craft chain.
Dawn Stamper was named SVP of customer experience at Phillips Edison & Co., one of the nation’s largest owners and operators of grocery-anchored shopping centers with 336 properties.
“The retail industry continues to evolve at a rapid pace, and it is incumbent upon property owners to be customer-focused and solutions-oriented when it comes to offering an outstanding experience for our retailers,” said Bob Myers, the Company’s Chief Operating Officer. “This is a responsibility we continue to prioritize by anticipating tenants’ needs and providing products and services designed to produce mutually beneficial outcomes.
Ardent Mills, an ingredient supplier behind many retailers’ store brands programs, named Phoenix Dugger to the newly created role of corporate social responsibility manager. The flour-milling and ingredient company said Dugger will focus on research, planning, relationships with partners implementation of internal and external initiatives.