Industry News

Top 10: Starbucks CEO advocates for COVID-19 relief, Publix trials new store concept

SmartBrief’s food and beverage readers were interested in news about food and beverage industry CEOs and their insights into the upcoming year. Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson wrote an open letter to Congress to advocate for passing a new coronavirus relief aid bill to support foodservice businesses. The letter comes as more states have closed dining rooms amid rising COVID-19 cases and Starbucks has announced plans to increase all employee pay to at least $15 an hour over the next three years. A podcast interview with Wahlburgers’ John Fuller, another foodservice CEO, also made this week’s most-clicked list. Fuller outlined the fast-casual burger chain’s approach during the pandemic as well as its brand development strategy for 2021.

In other CEO news, Tony Sarsam at grocery SpartanNash took the No. 1 spot on this week’s rankings with his discussion about how the company intends to bring the lessons learned during the pandemic into the next year. Sarsam added that though he took over as the chief executive in September, he spent the past few months in the company’s many stores to study operations and learn from employees.

Another popular story in the food retail space this week was Publix’s new, much larger store design in Tampa, Fla. The 48,000-square-foot location is a departure from the grocery chain’s recent small-store concepts and includes a large dining area on the 2nd floor of the building.

Consumer packaged goods news that piqued interest included how Kraft Heinz plans to develop sales in new markets and create new products based on regional tastes, according to International Zone president Rafael "Rafa" Oliveira. PepsiCo’s launch of custom variety packs of its Frito-Lay snacks generated a lot of clicks this week as well.

Readers were also drawn in by the CPG industry’s fight to be included in COVID-19 vaccine prioritization. The Consumer Brands Association is advocating for employees to receive the vaccine -- following health care workers and first responders -- to ensure that the supply chain for essential products remains uninterrupted.

Check out the complete list of this week’s top 10 most-clicked stories in SmartBrief's food and beverage briefs:

  1. SpartanNash CEO discusses grocer's 2021 vision
  2. Publix goes big with new prototype store
  3. Kraft Heinz's strategy for global growth
  4. Starbucks CEO calls for relief in letter to Congress
  5. Wahlburgers' CEO discusses growth in 2021
  6. Albertsons leveraging its private-label power
  7. PepsiCo rolls out customizable Frito-Lay variety packs
  8. Why CPG employees require vaccine prioritization
  9. Oreo combines cookies, brownies with new flavor
  10. BurgerFi, Walk-On's Sports Bistreaux in growth mode

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