Giant Food Stores Opens 6 locations in 4 States

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“With the six new locations, Giant now operates 178 supermarkets in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. The stores also include 132 pharmacies and 99 fuel stations.

“These multiple store openings align with our aggressive long-term growth strategy: entering new markets where it makes sense and expanding our offerings for our current customers,” Giant Food Stores President Nicholas Bertram said in a statement.

Giant’s latest strategic investments have focused mainly on its core Pennsylvania market.

In February, the grocer launched Giant Direct Powered by Peapod, an e-commerce hub in Lancaster, Pa. The company, which has four other e-commerce centers in Pennsylvania, said that banner will become its online grocery brand going forward. Giant also unveiled plans to open three more Giant Heirloom Markets in Philadelphia. The urban store format premiered in the city’s downtown in late January, and the next location is due to open this summer, with all the stores in operation by the end of the year.

A couple of new supermarkets are in the works as well. Giant said it plans to open new stores this year in East Stroudsburg and Walnutport, Pa. In November, the chain had opened a Giant store in Lancaster’s Willow Valley area that was acquired from Darrenkamp’s Markets.”

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Hy-Vee App Aims to Reduce Food Waste and Save Money

“Hy-Vee Inc. has begun piloting a mobile shopping app that helps grocery retailers cut back on food waste. Called Flashfood, and developed by a Toronto company of the same name, the app enables consumers to browse and buy food items nearing their “best before” date at “significantly reduced” prices, Hy-Vee said Friday.

To use Flashfood, customers download the free app (available in iOS and Android versions) and then start shopping deals on items such as meat, dairy, bread and snacks. Purchases are then made directly from their smartphone and picked up at any time from the Flashfood Zone shelves or refrigerators in the store.

The program gives consumers a way to lower their grocery bill and help the environment by reducing unnecessary food waste, according to Flashfood.”

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Dark Chocolate Oreos Are a New Permanent Flavor Hitting Shelves Soon

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“Oreo‘s newest flavor isn’t as crazy as their usual offerings—and even more surprising, it’s here to stay.

The beloved cookie company announced on Wednesday that Dark Chocolate Oreos will become a permanent flavor hitting shelves next year. The brand decided to announce the news timed to the upcoming winter solstice, the day with the shortest period of daylight (so the darkest day of the year), on Dec. 21 even though the cookies won’t hit stands until Jan. 2.

The new treats come with a dark chocolate creme—”made with real cocoa” as touted on the packaging—sandwiched between their classic chocolate wafers.”

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Banned in Boston: Plastic bags at grocery stores

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A Boston city ordinance banning major grocery store chains from providing plastic bags to customers went into effect Friday. The new law – enacted to help reduce pollution and clean up city streets – applies only to checkout bags, described in the ordinance as carryout bags with handles.

Retailers can still stock recyclable paper bags, compostable bags or reusable bags and sell them for at least 5 cents, as long as the charge is advertised near the checkout location, according to the ordinance, signed into law by Mayor Marty Walsh last December.

The plastic bag ban will be rolled out over eight months. For now, it applies only to stores that are 20,000 square feet or larger. Stores that are at least 10,000 square feet have until April 1, 2019, to comply. Smaller establishments have until July 1, 2019.

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Romaine’s Woes Are Great News for Other Kinds of Greens

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“Prices for iceberg, green leaf and other types of lettuce are soaring as demand surged in the wake of the romaine recall. A carton of iceberg lettuce at wholesale markets in California fetched as much as $60 this week, U.S. government data show. That’s up from as low as $24 on Nov. 19, the day before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a warning to consumers about romaine.

The same holds true for other salad staples: the price of Boston lettuce surged 175 percent, while green leaf lettuce gained 160 percent, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data. Even kale, a member of the same family as cabbage, was not immune, rising to as much as $16 a carton from a low of $12.

“It’s uncertain how long it will last,” said Trevor Suslow, the vice president of food safety for the Produce Marketing Association, referring to the price spike. “I would imagine it will stay high for a while because of the understandable disruption.”

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The Top 10 Food Trends For 2019, According To Whole Foods

“Twenty-six subject experts from Whole Foods have been convening for four years to predict what’s coming next to their own shelves and to the food world as a whole. These experts range from a master sommelier and global beverage buyer to a senior R&D culinologist to the president of the Whole Kids Foundation to a produce field inspector to a board-certified, internal medicine physician to a global meat buyer; some actually started out working at the store level.

Before I share their predictions with you, what is unsaid is that the chain, now owned by Amazon, has produced the biggest trend in grocery in decades: They have awaken a previously staid industry and revitalized it as chains both large and small are changing the way they look at grocery. Amazon/Whole Foods has also attracted new talent, some from Ivy League schools who might never have thought about a career in grocery, and led other grocers on the same path. For me one of the biggest trends for 2019 will be to watch where Amazon/Whole Foods leads us next.

Now on to Whole Foods’ top 10 food trends:

Pacific Rim flavors is the top trend, with Whole Foods announcing that its Market and 365 Everyday Value brands will launch a new line of products inspired by Pacific Rim fruits like a guava tropical vinaigrette, pineapple passionfruit sparkling mineral water, mango pudding mix and passionfruit coconut frozen fruit bars. It also expect to see ingredients like longganisa (a Filipino pork sausage), dried shrimp, cuttlefish and shrimp paste to appear on restaurant and home menus in dishes from breakfast to dinner. (…)”

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Ford teaming up with Walmart and Postmates on robot deliveries

“Ford is joining forces with Walmart and Postmates to create a grocery delivery service using self-driving vehicles in Miami, the companies announced Wednesday.

Ford has been using Miami as a test bed for its self-driving vehicles since earlier this year. And more recently, the auto giant joined with Postmates to see how people ordering takeout food would interact with an autonomous delivery van.

Now Ford is moving to the next stage: grocery delivery. The company says it will experiment with different vehicle types, as well as modifications to those vehicles needed to keep perishable food items fresh. It will also experiment with a variety of scenarios, such as multiple deliveries on one trip and the user experience of retrieving delivery items from a fully driverless vehicle.”

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