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Gourmet News April 2017

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GOURMET NEWS APRIL 2017 www.gourmetnews.com News & Notes NEWS & NOTES 3 BRIEFS BRIEFS Grocery Industry Seeks to Reduce Consumer Confusion on Product Date Labels In a new industry-wide effort to reduce consumer confusion about product date la- bels, grocery manufacturers and retailers have joined together to adopt standard wording on packaging about the quality and safety of products. The new initiative for common phrasing is led by the Food Marketing Institute and the Grocery Man- ufacturers Association. Currently, more than 10 different date la- bels on packages – such as Sell By, Use By, Expires On, Best Before, Better if Used By or Best By – can result in confused con- sumers discarding a safe or usable product after the date on the package. Reducing consumer confusion around product date labeling is projected to reduce total na- tional food waste by 8 percent. The new voluntary initiative streamlines the myriad date labels on consumer prod- ucts packaging down to just two standard phrases. "BEST If Used By" describes prod- uct quality, where the product may not taste or perform as expected, but is safe to use or consume. "USE By" applies to the few products that are highly perishable and/or have a food safety concern over time; these products should be consumed by the date listed on the package and dis- posed of after that date. Retailers and manufacturers are encour- aged to immediately begin phasing in the common wording with widespread adop- tion urged by the summer of 2018. Broad industry adoption of this new voluntary standard will occur over time, so compa- nies have flexibility to make the changes in a way that ensures consistency across their product categories. GN United Natural Foods Inc. Expanding in Rhode Island Rhode Island Governor Gina M. Raimondo and the Rhode Island Commerce Corpora- tion announced that United Natural Foods Inc. (UNFI) intends to significantly expand its footprint in Rhode Island, with plans to hire 100 new full-time employees by the end of 2018 and 50 more new full-time em- ployees by 2020. UNFI currently has more than 9,800 em- ployees and 34 distribution centers in the U.S. and Canada. It has since 2009 main- tained its corporate headquarters in Provi- dence, Rhode Island, and currently has more than 450 employees in the state. "We've long been proud that UNFI calls Rhode Island home, and today we're pleased that it's decided to grow here," says Governor Raimondo. "The business cli- mate we've worked to foster over the past couple of years is one that's mutually ben- eficial for businesses and our residents, and we're careful to ensure that the opportuni- ties we create pay off in both the short and long terms." UNFI is working toward a long-term lease at a Providence metro-area site and anticipates investments in the property to accommodate the new employees. UNFI intends to apply for tax credits under the Qualified Jobs Incentive Act program. "UNFI is an outstanding social enter- prise, and we're proud that the company has such an important and growing pres- ence in Rhode Island," said Stefan Pryor, Rhode Island Secretary of Commerce. "UNFI is a terrific addition to the list of ex- isting Rhode Island companies that, with support from our economic incentives, are expanding right here in our state." Based on third-party analysis, these 150 new jobs are projected to realize a projected net increase of $4.8 million in personal in- come, sales and corporate business tax rev- enues over a 12-year period. Rhode Island is anticipating an increase of $9.7 million in the state's annual gross domestic product once all 150 hires are in place. "We look forward to expanding our pres- ence in Rhode Island with the opening of our shared services center, which will en- able us to drive greater efficiencies and im- prove the customer experience as we further simplify and standardize our sup- plier and customer interactions," said Steven L. Spinner, UNFI President, CEO and Chairman of the Board. "At UNFI, our people are our most valued asset, and we are committed to working with our associ- ates to ensure a smooth transition as we po- sition UNFI for continued growth." GN Retailers Improve Customer Satisfaction Amid Store Closings Retailers reverse course after two years of declining customer satisfaction, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). Retail Trade is up 4.7 percent to a score of 78.3 on a 100-point scale, an all-time high for the sector. The ACSI covers six retail industries: de- partment and discount stores, gas stations, drug stores, specialty retail stores, super- markets and online retail. All retail cate- gories improve year over year in the 2016 holiday shopping season, while online re- tail continues to dominate. With mall traf- fic dwindling, less crowded stores are not hurting customer satisfaction either. Supermarkets improve customer satisfac- tion by 6.8 percent to 78, aided by falling food prices, higher quality and better serv- ice. Trader Joe's rises to the top (+4 percent to 86). Publix is up 2 percent to 84, fol- lowed by ALDI, H-E-B and Wegmans at 83. Whole Foods climbs 11 percent to 81, ahead of Hy-Vee, Kroger and ShopRite (all 79). Meijer (+5 percent) matches Target (+10 percent) at 78, followed by BI-LO (+4 percent to 77). The newly merged Ahold Delhaize posts an ACSI score of 76 to tie with SUPERVALU. Albertsons follows at 75, well below its score in the drug store category. Walmart and Giant Eagle are each up 10 percent, but remain in a tie for last place at 74. Customer satisfaction with drug stores rises 6.8 percent to 78. Kmart pharmacy leads at 84, in part because many cus- tomers that were less than satisfied have left. Albertsons Companies, which in- cludes Safeway, comes in second place at 83. The merged company hits its stride in 2016 with a 20-percent gain. Kroger is stable at 81 while Target is the only phar- macy to fall, down 1 percent to just above the average at 79. Rite Aid im- proves 13 percent to 78, while CVS, Wal- greens and Walmart round out the low end at 76. Department and discount stores gain 5.4 percent to 78. Dillard's takes first place, up 4 percent to an ACSI score of 83. In second place, JCPenney is the biggest gainer, up 11 percent to 82. Nordstrom is the only department store to deteriorate in customer satisfaction, slip- ping 2 percent into a three-way tie with Dollar Tree and Belk at 80. Kohl's, Macy's and Target all advance to 79, and Dollar General rises to 78. Meijer matches Sears at 77, followed by Ross at 76. Customer satisfaction with Walmart surges 9 percent as the company's renewed attention to customer service via "holiday helpers" to expedite checkout lines and aid shoppers pays off. Despite the ACSI gain, however, Walmart continues to anchor the low end of the industry with an ACSI score of 72. GN Meijer Announces 2017 $375 Million+ Investment in New and Remodeled Stores Meijer is investing more than $375 million in new and remodeled stores this year across its six-state footprint, President & Chief Executive Officer Rick Keyes announced. The investment includes the construction of seven new Meijer supercenters and 22 different remodel projects. While Michigan, Indiana and Wisconsin will each welcome new Meijer supercenters later this year, dozens of other Meijer stores have begun or will soon begin remodel projects to further enhance the customer shopping experience. Kroger Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2016 Results The Kroger Co. reported net earnings of $0.53 per diluted share and identical supermarket sales, without fuel, of -0.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2016, which ended on January 28, 2017. Net earnings for 2016 totaled $1.98 billion, or $2.05 per diluted share. Excluding the restructuring of certain multi-employer pension obligations, adjusted net earnings totaled $2.05 billion, or $2.12 per diluted share. Net earnings in 2015 were $2.04 billion, or $2.06 per diluted share. Total sales increased 5.0 percent to $115.3 billion in 2016, compared to $109.8 billion in 2015. Excluding fuel, total sales increased 6.7 percent in 2016 compared to 2015. The company's mergers with Roundy's and ModernHEALTH contributed to this growth. Net earnings for the fourth quarter totaled $506 million, or $0.53 per diluted share. Net earnings in the same period last year were $559 million, or $0.57 per diluted share. Natural Grocers Grand Opening in South Jordan, Utah Natural Grocers opened its seventh Utah store with the addition of a new location in South Jordan. The new 15,000 square foot store opened on Wednesday, March 15 and is located at 10622 S. Redwood Rd. Metropolitan Market Opens in Washington Metropolitan Market opened its newest location at 301 228th Ave. SE in Sammamish, Washington. The store opened on Wednesday, March 22, 2017, marking the seventh Pacific Northwest location for the company. RangeMe Partners with Albertsons Companies RangeMe is now working with Albertsons Companies to scale its retail buying efforts for health and Beauty category selection across all of its 19 banners. San Francisco-based RangeMe works by giving buyers an efficient way to discover innovative new products and manage the inbound product submission process. For suppliers, they are given increased control over the marketing of their products and greater access to retail buyers.

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