Walmart has surpassed Amazon for a number of online grocery shoppers, though Amazon received superior scores for customer satisfaction, according to a Retail Feedback Group study. The study also found more than half of US grocery shoppers have used online services in the last year.
Albertsons has expanded its partnership with Takeoff Technologies to improve its online grocery service with new microfulfillment centers. A pilot program will roll out to a Safeway store in San Jose, Calif., with the microfulfillment centers making use of artificial intelligence-enabled robots to assemble orders quickly.
Amazon will expand its grocery delivery service to Charlotte, N.C., for Prime members through Amazon Fresh. One-hour delivery is also rolling out to Cincinnati, as well as to Virginia in Richmond and Virginia Beach.
PepsiCo is launching Pepsi Cafe in April for a limited time. The cola-coffee blend will contain twice the caffeine as regular Pepsi and feature two flavors: original and vanilla.
Reluctant employees can be encouraged to grow their skills when they understand the benefits and realize they don't have to leave their current role, writes Julie Winkle Giulioni. "Well-informed employees will understand the urgency behind development when they appreciate the tremendous pressures facing the organization and the implications associated with not evolving and keeping pace," she writes.
New product launches from brands including General Mills, Sara Lee and Butterball topped this week's top 10 food-and-beverage news list. News of ALDI's popularity in the US and Ahold Delhaize's supply chain investment also caught SmartBrief readers' attention this week.
Shredded cheese, dry soups, cocktail franks and chili perform well among seasonal shoppers in the Midwest, while specialty crackers, cider and carbonated cocktail mixes are popular with Northeasterners, according to Catalina Marketing. Southerners flock to canned ham, biscuit mixes and breakfast sausage for morning holiday celebrations, and Westerners buy more fire logs, ready-to-serve soup, milk modifiers and eggnog.
Imports play a vital and growing role in keeping retail produce sections stocked with fresh fruits and vegetables year-round. Imports at World Variety Produce, parent of the Melissa's brand, are up 40% from 20 years ago, for example, and mango imports were up 87% last year from 2005.
Target has been revamping its produce sections as grocery and fresh food sales play a bigger role for the retailer, CEO Brian Cornell said. "[I]t's an area we put a lot of focus on, elevating our quality, improving our sourcing, changing the in-store experience," he said.
Fresh blackberries sold at Fresh Thyme Farmers Market and Woodman's Market stores have been linked to a hepatitis A outbreak that has resulted in 18 illnesses across Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska and Wisconsin. The Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning to consumers who may have purchased the berries and frozen them for later use, because freezing doesn't kill the virus.
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