Walmart is testing a kitchen robot called Flippy in its labs for possible deployment at some of its in-store delis. The robot would watch the time for prepared food staples like chicken fingers or mozzarella sticks, then remove them from the fryer at the right time.
SpartanNash has begun offering a scan-and-go app for use in two Family Fare stores in Michigan, with plans to expand its availability to more stores in 2019. The Check Out Now app also connects to the banner's shopper rewards program.
Consumers, including a majority of millennials, say they want to cook at home more often in the coming year, according to a survey from online grocer Peapod. The survey found considerable interest in using click-and-collect at 27%, followed by home grocery delivery at 26% and meal kit delivery at 20%.
Health outreach efforts including in-store clinics and dietitian-led tours have helped Albertsons win acclaim for innovation in pharmacy services, Seth Mendelson writes. "It just makes sense to teach patients about healthy eating and medication management for conditions like diabetes in the same place they buy their groceries and pick up prescriptions each week," says Donna Dolan of Albertsons Pharmacies.
Smithfield Foods is optimizing its product development capabilities in such recent launches as Prime Fresh Delicatessen packaged deli meat and Carando meatballs. "As Smithfield Foods continues its evolution to a world class consumer packaged goods and protein company, we're on a path to make innovation part of our DNA," said Will Brunt, chief innovation officer.
Kentucky and Alaska lead the nation in highest wine excise taxes, with rates of $3.47 per gallon and $2.50 per gallon, respectively. Florida comes in third with $2.25 per gallon in excise taxes, with Iowa at $1.75 and Alabama and New Mexico tied at $1.70, the Tax Foundation reports.
E. & J. Gallo Winery has rebranded and relaunched its Thunderbird wine, which now comes in chardonnay, red blend and cabernet sauvignon. Although the new Thunderbird wine is not yet on store shelves, it is being sold online for $9.99 per bottle.
Actress Amy Poehler has opened a wine store in New York City's Park Slope neighborhood named Zula Wines & Spirits. The store holds free wine tastings and offers free local delivery, with a wide variety of wine options, including many wines under $13, Poehler says.
Canadian Club is debuting its 41 Year Old whisky, which is the initial release in a series of premium options coming from the company. Other winter spirits launches include Freeland's first craft bourbon and Knob Creek's Twice Barreled Rye.
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