US: Blue Apron hires new COO
Blue Apron Holdings has a new chief operating officer. Charlean Gmunder takes over the job, bringing more than 30 years of food operations experience to her new role, including deep knowledge in food manufacturing and fulfillment, Blue Apron said. As COO, Gmunder is responsible for overseeing Blue Apron’s fulfillment, supply chain, food safety and quality assurance, and physical operations, including logistics, procurement and customer experience. Gmunder reports to President and CEO Linda Findley Kozlowski.
US: Upstate NY farm-to-table home delivery sees a bumper crop of business from coronavirus
Off The Muck Market, a startup that delivers fresh vegetables, fruits and other foods direct to customers’ homes, is expanding beyond Central New York as worries about the coronavirus drive more business. Company founder Carl Chappell said he plans to expand deliveries to Albany, Binghamton and Buffalo in the early spring.
US: New KeHE distribution center gets up and running in Indiana
KeHE Distributors has opened a new distribution center in southern Indiana to serve natural food retailers in the Midwest. Naperville, Illinois-based KeHE said that the 376,512 square-foot DC, located in West Ellettsville, replaces the company’s current facility in Bloomington, Indianapolis. The opening comes about six weeks after KeHE launched a 550,000-square-foot DC in North East, Maryland, serving parts of the Mid-Atlantic and the Northeast.
US: H-E-B names Cathy Harm regional VP, Central Texas
H-E-B has named Cathy Harm as regional VP in Central Texas. She leads more than 20,000 “partners” (employees) with responsibilities that include store operations, merchandising, human resources, real estate, public relations, loss prevention and financial performance.
US: Uber completes acquisition of Postmates
Uber Technologies, Inc. announced that it has completed the acquisition of Postmates Inc. in an all-stock transaction, and that the 2 companies have begun the process of integrating U.S. operations. As previously announced, the transaction brings together Uber’s global Mobility and Delivery platform with Postmates’ beloved business in the U.S. to strengthen the delivery of food, groceries, essentials, and other goods. The consumer-facing Postmates and Uber Eats apps will continue to run separately, supported by a more efficient, combined merchant and delivery network.
Finland: Online shopping gets a huge corona boost
Online grocery shopping in Finland finally made a breakthrough this year and it doesn't look like there will be any turning back. More and more customers are now ordering food supplies online, either for home delivery or as a pick-up service. “Many people now place large orders for basic foodstuffs online and go to shops less often”, says Pasi Toppari, who runs K-Citymarket Päiväranta in Kuopio.
UK: Central England Co-op kicks off scan & go trial
Central England Co-op has begun trialing a brand new service in one of its West Midlands stores that will allow customers to scan and go - all by using a specially created smartphone app. Shoppers heading in to the retailer’s Spies Lane Food Store, in Halesowen, will be able to download the application as they enter, scan items as they pop them in their basket and pay digitally without ever needing to queue or stop at a checkout. The trial is part of ongoing efforts by Central England Co-op to make the shopping experience easier, quicker and safer for people, something which is becoming more important during these uncertain times.
UK: Tesco decides to repay business rates relief
The Board of Tesco PLC announced its decision to repay to the UK Government and the Devolved Administrations the £585mln of business rates relief received in respect of the COVID-19 pandemic. In March, the UK faced an unprecedented situation as the pandemic took hold. For food retailers, the impact was immediate and potentially disastrous: panic buying, severe pressure on supply lines, major safety concerns and the risk of mass absences from work, culminated in a real and immediate risk to the ability of supermarkets to feed the nation.
Australia: Dematic to commission new automated National Distribution Centre for Woolworths in Sydney
Dematic announced it has been selected by Primary Connect - the supply chain arm of Australia's largest supermarket, Woolworths Group - to supply a state-of-the art automated fulfilment system for the new National Distribution Centre (NDC) in Moorebank Logistics Park, Sydney.
UK: Waitrose expands trial with Deliveroo to 40 stores
Waitrose and Deliveroo have announced the expansion of their delivery trial to 40 stores. At the same time, they have launched a new Christmas campaign: ‘Donate a Plate’, on the Global Day of Giving. Waitrose’s trial with Deliveroo has been expanded given the rising customer demand, and will be available from 40 shops in the next week. More than 650 Waitrose products are available on Deliveroo.
Malaysia: Successful exit of TF Value Mart by KV Asia
KV Asia Capital (“KV Asia”) is pleased to announce it has fully exited its investment in TF Value Mart (“TFVM”), a leading grocery retailer in Malaysia. The divestment was completed in November 2020 and marks the culmination of one of KV Asia’s most successful investments. TFVM’s differentiated positioning as a retailer offering a wide selection of fresh produce along with highly affordable prices, coupled with its strategic focus on the secondary ‘Tier 2/3’ cities and towns in Malaysia, has resulted in an excellent track record of growth and profitability.
Bangladesh: foodpanda launches pandamart
foodpanda has launched ‘pandamart’- a convenient platform for ordering daily necessities online and receive delivery within 30 minutes. Although the coronavirus pandemic has increased people’s dependency on online shopping and the sudden rise of demand has often led to delays in delivery. “With the launch of pandamart, foodpanda aims to redefine the shopping experience for consumers in Bangladesh by delivering whatever they need in as fast as 30 minutes from the thousands of original and genuine products they have in their inventory”, foodpanda said in a press release.
UK: Aldi hiring more than 1,000 temporary store colleagues for Christmas period
Aldi is hiring more than 1,000 people to work in its UK stores on a temporary basis over the Christmas period as part of its biggest-ever festive recruitment drive. The supermarket is looking for people to support its permanent colleagues with replenishing stock and picking and packing orders made through click and collect and Deliveroo. Aldi is extending its click and collect trial to 200 more stores before Christmas, while almost 130 Aldi stores now offer an on-demand delivery service with Deliveroo.
Chinese e-commerce platform Pinduoduo wants A.I. to grow our food
People bought $20.7bln worth of food products via Pinduoduo in 2019 and the company is using tech to help farmers be more productive. The firm is running an “AI versus human” competition to grow strawberries with early results showing the technology produces higher yields. Pinduoduo hopes to convince farmers to buy its tech to improve productivity.