Fresh & Easy has begun the process of closing 14 underperforming stores in markets including San Diego, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Arizona, a company spokesman said Friday, which will leave leave the retailer with less than 100 stores. "While recent initiatives have helped drive additional sales across the Fresh & Easy business, in the case of these locations the progress was not enough to bring their performance in line with the rest of the business," a spokesman said.
Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co.'s bankruptcy will bring the closure of the grocer's last store in New York City, where the retailer began as a grocery pioneer in the 19th century. The proceeding will also shutter 30 A&P stores in northern New Jersey, in shopping centers where smaller retail tenants will anxiously await a new neighbor with the power to drive traffic. "There's a reason why these supermarkets are called the anchor tenant," said Matthew Casey of Matthew P. Casey and Associates.
Houston-based Whole Foods Market Brewing Co. will tap its first draft beer this week, and the retailer will mark the event with in-store events at 10 locations in the area. The Post Oak Pale Ale, one of 38 beers now produced by the craft brewery, will be available at Whole Foods stores across Texas starting next month.
Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage will launch its loyalty program at all of its stores on Friday, following positive results from the program's test phase, Natural Grocers' Co-President Kemper Isely said. "The average ticket was higher for those [loyalty-card] customers than our regular customers," he said. Isely added that the retailer also improved its visibility among non-regular customers through its partnership with Instacart in the Denver area.
Israel-based Consumer Physics has developed a device that can instantly tell consumers how ripe fruit and vegetables are. The SCiO device, which can also tell shoppers how sweet fruit is and how many calories produce contains, will be available in some global markets as early as next month. "I think it is going to help [retailers] identify what is fresh and ripe and will make it easier for supermarkets to use less skilled labor," said Stephen Jeffers, owner of a Sunshine Coast grocery store in Australia.
The Idaho wine industry is preparing to promote and market the proposed Lewis-Clark Valley American Viticultural Area, which will likely be approved in early 2016. The Idaho Wine Commission will partner on the marketing launch of the AVA with the Clearwater Economic Development Association, which has received a $67,000 specialty crop grant for the launch and will create a five-year marketing strategy.
Cauliflower, carrots and other vegetables have the power to push meat to the side of the plate and make produce the star, said chefs Jet Tila and Gerry Ludwig at PMA's Foodservice Conference & Expo. "Veg-centric is really about treating fresh produce as equal-opportunity ingredients in the center of the plate," Ludwig said.
Sparkling wine shipments in the U.S. increased by more than 8% in 2014, reported the Wine Institute. Millennials, specifically, have an affinity for sparkling wines like moscato and prosecco, according to experts. "Prosecco has seen nearly 30% growth for the past several years," in part because "it tastes light" and is slightly sweeter than champagne, said Food & Wine Magazine Executive Wine Editor Ray Isle.
Corsair Distillery is preparing to begin operations at a new location featuring an 11,000-square-foot distillery and a still capacity of 2,850 gallons in Nashville, Tenn., by the end of this month. The company is also working on a second Wedgewood-Houston facility, which is scheduled to open next summer. Corsair’s products are currently available in 30 states, with plans to expand to seven more by the end of this year, and seven countries.
About 203 million American adults consider themselves to be the primary grocery shoppers in their households, according to FMI's U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends 2015 report, and considering there are only 123 million households in the country, the numbers point to a trend away from the "primary shopper model" and toward a "shared shopper model," FMI President and CEO Leslie Sarasin writes. "[I]t appears to me that the trusted food retailer might be a logical resource in helping couples clarify their roles, manage their differences, and move more gracefully into this new mode of shared shopping," she writes.