Skip to Content

Monthly Archives: June 2015

Retailers balance risk, reward in adding natural products

Supermarkets are highly selective in adding natural and organic products, but they are more likely to embrace items from brands that truly understand their needs.

That was the consensus of a panel discussing this topic during the Supermarket News Health and Wellness Summit at Expo West in Anaheim, Calif.

For new products, “we need it to be on trend now,” said Rhonda Siltman, category manager, natural and organic, Coborn’s, St. Cloud, Minn. “It needs to be understandable today, with understandable value, since we are a conventional supermarket.”

Despite that caveat, Coborn’s wants to be current in taking on new items at a time when the natural and organic segment is performing very well for the company.

“We like to be first to market,” she said. “I want us to be a destination for this. I’m willing to take a risk if a vendor has done their homework.”

Doing one’s homework often means understanding not only the needs of the supermarket channel, but of specific retailers, panelists said.

“If you’re a brand, you need to understand the strategy of the store banner,” said Scott Silverman, VP, customer insights and growth solutions, KeHE Distributors, Naperville, Ill.

“You also must prove the brand has impact in the category,” he added. “Start locally, because you need proof of concept on what works. You need to tell your brand’s story in-store. Can the brand have impact in the category that’s scalable and makes sense?”

When working with supermarkets, as opposed to other types of retailers, “the cost of entry is greater and the risks are higher,” Silverman said.

Moreover, new items need to find their special niche, and it doesn’t have to be about product innovation alone.

“Let’s say you have a new blue corn chip product that enhances retailer margins,” Silverman said. “Margin enhancement is another way to approach supermarkets.”

He emphasized that the supermarket channel is making good strides with natural and organic and needs to focus more on marketing and communications.

“Supermarkets are doing more than ever in bringing in items and dedicating more space on shelves,” he said. “That’s half the job. The other half I’d like to see involves more integrated marketing campaigns telling communities why these products make a difference.”

This involves staff training and consumer education, he emphasized.

“It’s telling the stories of the brands. Traditional grocers have big megaphones. They can amplify the message and benefits to help Americans think differently about food and agriculture.”

Todd MacGrath, director of conventional accounts, Presence Marketing, a natural and organic brokerage based in South Barrington, Ill., outlined a number of factors he considers in deciding whether to bring new brands into his company’s portfolio.

“Are brands prepared for the cost of entry and cost of promotion?” he said. “What’s been their success in the natural channel? What can they offer to the supermarket trade?”

He said it’s important “to understand a brand’s scalability, in terms of how much they can take on.”

0 Continue Reading →

Publix Associates Changing Lives by Helping the Hungry

Courtesy of
Across our six state operating areas you’ll see and meet Publix people serving our customers in stores, serving each other in times of need and serving our communities throughout the year. It’s part of our culture to be responsible citizens and give back to the neighborhoods where we work and live. Whether it’s supporting our corporate charities like Special Olympics, March of Dimes, Children’s Miracle Network, Food For All, or volunteering our time, talents and financial support to causes close to our hearts, Publix Associates are committed to making a positive impact in our stores and in our community.

The core of what makes us successful – our secret sauce – are our associates, 174,000 strong and counting! We look for people to join our team who are passionate about food and service and part of that service comes with having servant’s heart. We often hear stories of Publix People helping those in need, changing lives and making a difference. As we celebrate 85 years of service, we’re proud to share their stories with you, our extended Publix Family. It’s because of our generous customers, that we are able to grow and give back. Thank you for shopping with us over the years.

0 Continue Reading →

Top-5 Ways Supermarkets Help Shoppers Live Healthy

Courtesy of FMI News
March 17, 2015 – Arlington, VA – Consumers have an ally in their efforts to live healthy lives finds the latest report Retail Contributions to Health and Wellness from the Food Marketing Institute (FMI). For the third year, FMI has surveyed grocers on how they are meeting the needs of shoppers who are seeking healthier lifestyles. Here’s how supermarkets are helping shoppers live healthier:

1. Investing in health and wellness. More than half (54%) of grocers surveyed have established health and wellness programs for both customers and employees. The majority of these programs include community health events, product sampling, healthy recipes, store tours, cooking demonstrations, health screenings, and additional health and wellness services.

2. Hiring health, wellness and cooking professionals and teaching skills. In addition to employing pharmacists, 95% of grocery stores surveyed report employ dietitians. A majority of supermarkets (76%) employed a chef at all or some stores. Three out of four grocery store respondents offer cooking classes to shoppers with the majority of classes geared towards dietary needs, such as diabetes. In addition, 63% of stores provide weight management classes for adults.

3. Helping shoppers get the health information they need. About half (48%) of survey responds say supermarket dietitians and pharmacist are working together to make customer-specific recommendations. In addition, 52% of them say they are referring customers/patients to each other for counsel. Supermarkets surveyed report labeling products on the shelf as gluten free (90%), organic (81%), low sodium (66%) and even heart healthy (62%).

4. Being your one-stop-shop for health care. In addition to many stores offering pharmacies, 70% of grocery store respondents have in-store clinics in some or all stores, an increase from 40% only a year ago. These in-store clinics and pharmacies offer a variety of health care services, including flu shots; pneumonia, travel and HPV vaccines; blood pressure, blood glucose and BMI screenings.

5. Helping families eat together. “Beyond classes and recipes cited in the survey, grocers are aware of the numerous studies that cite the benefits of families eating together more often. In 2014, they clearly embraced this concept with 84% saying they are actively promoting communal eating, such as family meals,” said Cathy Polley, RPh, executive director of the FMI Foundation and vice president of health and wellness at FMI.

2 Continue Reading →