A new survey from Ipsos ranked Walmart, H.E. Butt Grocery and Sam's Club as the top grocers for in-store and curbside pickup and home delivery service. The study, which used mystery shoppers to gather information, listed H-E-B as best for delivery services -- with Whole Foods Market and ALDI also cited -- while Walmart was rated best for in-store pickup and Sam's Club was tops in the curbside pickup category.
With the pandemic still roiling the food retail and supply industries, IGA has decided to hold its annual Global Rally, postponed from earlier this year, as a virtual event on Nov. 10, with a traditional in-person gathering set for 2021. "Having a virtual event gives us the flexibility to show, rather than tell, what we've learned about taking care of shoppers as a result of COVID," said IGA CEO John Ross.
Farmstead, the online-only grocer based in California, is making its first foray into the East Coast market with a dark store in Charlotte, N.C., looking to capitalize on the double-digit growth in customers it has seen this year. The launch is set for November and Farmstead has opened a waiting list that will be limited to the first 1,000 customers who sign up.
Sprouts Farmers Market is planning to fight hunger in 23 states by giving $1.6 million to local groups working to ensure people affected by the pandemic have access to food supplies. The grocer's philanthropic arm, Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation, will award the 120 grants which foundation director Lyndsey Waugh said will help organizations "strengthen the work that they're doing at the community level."
Rising costs and lower farm prices are pinching Florida citrus growers and an inability to break even could be behind a smaller harvest this season. Orange volumes are on track to fall 15% this year and grapefruit volumes are expected to decline 7%, according to a USDA forecast issued Friday.
The USDA has proposed dissolving the marketing order for Washington-grown potatoes and will take public comments on the matter until Dec. 14. The order was suspended in 2013 and the State of Washington Potato Committee has determined the industry hasn't been negatively affected.
In assessing the outlook for the 2020 vintage in the wake of California wildfires -- where the full extent of grape damage is still being evaluated -- some vintners advise that wines will be still be made as some wine regions have emerged unscathed and because a sizable amount of grapes were harvested before the fire. Roughly 60% to 65% of Atlas Vineyards' 3,500 acres in the Napa Valley region have been harvested, CEO Barry Belli noted, while about 80% of Napa Valley Vinters' 550 wineries will still produce some wine, according to Linda Reiff, the trade group's president.
Consumers in all age groups have increased their focus on health, nutrition and using food to promote wellness in the pandemic, according to a report from Archer-Daniels-Midland. Trends include a growing interest in plant-based alternatives and increased demand in foods and beverages that might boost the immune system.
As rising grocery prices continue to vex some shoppers, FMI has rolled out a new online experience that aims to help consumers understand food prices and how they have been affected by the pandemic. Although customer confidence in the industry's ability to meet future demand is rising, FMI President and CEO Leslie Sarasin said the new site would help shoppers "better understand how food prices are determined and how the COVID-19 shock to the supply chain affected food prices."
Continuing fallout from the pandemic is creating challenges for the grocery industry, from handling the e-commerce explosion to a stressed supply chain, but lessons learned early in the outbreak are helping grocers mitigate those headwinds, FMI Senior Vice President Mark Baum said during a Supermarket News webinar last week. "We certainly bent the supply chain, both the physical and virtual supply chain, but we also expanded it," he said, adding, "And I think that we're well positioned to deal with whatever comes next."
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