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M&S has launched a new range of vegetarian meals under the label Veggie

Aldi UK reported a 79% fall in 2021 operating profit

Australia: Aldi’s fruit and vegetables named best in supermarket industry
Aldi customers have ranked the budget supermarket’s fruit and vegetables better than its pricier competitors, according to a new poll. The results come from Canstar Blue’s Customer Awards where shoppers voted Aldi’s greens into the top spot for the second year running. Customers voted across five categories: “value for money”, “freshness of produce”, “variety”, “presentation” and “overall satisfaction”. IGA came in second place with four or five stars for each and was followed by Woolworths and Coles who notched up between three and five stars. Both IGA and Woolworths gained top points for their fruit and vegetables’ variety.

David Sands Group joins SPAR Scotland
David Sands Group, one of Scotland’s most successful convenience retailers, has joined SPAR Scotland. David Sands is a family-owned, fifth-generation business with over 200 years of grocery retail. Founded in 1812, the business has gone from strength to strength. Revealing the news at SPAR Scotland's 2022 tradeshow in Aviemore, SPAR Scotland CEO Colin McLean said he was incredibly pleased to have David Sands join the company.

UK: M&S launches new vegetarian range
M&S has launched a new range of vegetarian meals under the label Veggie in response to growing customer demand for more vegetarian choices. The range includes a choice of 14 vegetarian meals, developed by the retailer’s in-house chefs. Choices include Veggie Roasted Butternut Risotto (370g - £4) and Veggie Roasted Mushroom Ravioli (355g - £4).

Grab sees no big layoffs despite weak market
Grab , Southeast Asia's biggest ride-hailing and food delivery firm, does not envisage having to undertake mass layoffs as some rivals have done, and is selectively hiring, while reining in its financial service ambitions.

Morrisons / McColl's merger inquiry: CMA to consider undertakings offered
Morrisons offered undertakings to the CMA, which involve divesting convenience stores. The CMA considers that there are reasonable grounds for believing that the undertakings offered by Morrisons or a modified version of them, might be accepted by the CMA under the Enterprise Act 2002.

South Africa: Checkers just opened first high-end store in Eastern Cape as it aims at Woolies shoppers
Shoprite just announced the launch of its first high-end Checkers FreshX supermarket in the Eastern Cape to gain market share with affluent South Africans. In the newly revamped retail store, located In Boardwalk Mall, Gqeberha, customers can expect: a selection of meats and veggies expertly prepared on an imported rodizio grill; fresh fruit, vegetables and flowers.

Holland: Frits van Eerd steps down as Jumbo CEO
Frits van Eerd has decided to step down temporarily as CEO of Dutch supermarket chain Jumbo. The board of directors will step in to safeguard the company’s daily management.

UK: Aldi rolls out soft plastic collection points to all stores
Aldi is rolling out recycling bins for soft plastics across almost all its UK stores, with a view to helping customers recycle tonnes of problem materials a year. Following the success of the trial last year, the move now means that customers can return all types of clean, soft plastic packaging - including crisp packets, salad bags, bread bags and carrier bags - regardless of where the items were bought.

Lidl Germany publishes third sustainability report
Discounter Lidl Germany has published its third sustainability report, detailing its measures and progress for the fiscal years 2020 and 2021. To save paper, the retailer published the sustainability report in the digital format only.

Franprix extends partnership with Zouari Family
France's Casino Group has announced that its subsidiary Franprix and the Zouari Family have decided to extend their long-standing strategic partnership. The collaboration will boost existing operations and create new synergies as the partners plan to open 75 new stores.

Aldi UK says trading strong after 2021 profit fall
The British arm of German discounter Aldi reported a 79% fall in 2021 operating profit but said trading had accelerated quickly in the past six months as pandemic restrictions were lifted and rising living costs affected shopping habits. Aldi, which earlier this month overtook Morrisons to become Britain's fourth-biggest supermarket group, said operating profit was 60.2mln pounds ($63.8mln) in 2021, down from 287.7mln pounds in 2020. The profit fall was blamed on investment in prices, staff and COVID-19 related expenses. Sales rose 0.9% to 13.645bln pounds.

Holland: Pieter Pot launches own app
Dutch packaging-free online supermarket Pieter Pot has launched its own app in the Netherlands. In the next few weeks, it should expand both geographically (to Belgium) and with a lot of new functions.

Start-up eniferBio wins 2022 Tesco Agri T-Jam and World Agri-Tech Pitch Day
Chosen from over 140 international submissions, eniferBio wins fast-track introduction to Tesco’s supply chain and mentoring from the Tesco Agriculture team. Finnish agtech start-up eniferBio has won the opportunity to work with the UK’s leading retailer, Tesco, and its supply chain partners, after winning the 5th edition of the Tesco Agri T-Jam pitching event run in partnership with the World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit.

Holland: Albert Heijn launches new store concept
Albert Heijn has reopened its supermarket in Pijnacker (near Rotterdam) with a new store concept, featuring a water tap and a connection with the chain’s app, which reveals the exact location of products in the aisles.

What Kroger, Walmart & Target learned from China’s Alibaba about grocery’s future
Omnichannel retail is now critical for all the major players in the consumer sector, from grocers like Kroger to Target and Walmart. For supermarkets, a big digital prod came before Amazon’s Whole Food Markets acquisition in 2017, and it came from China. Jack Ma, founder of e-commerce giant Alibaba coined the term “New Retail” in 2016 and proceeded to open 300 high-tech Freshippo-branded supermarkets in 27 Chinese cities.

Costco isn’t raising membership fees after earnings beat expectations
The company held off on increasing its membership fees after reporting earnings that topped analyst expectations. Costco typically raises membership fees around every five years. The company said higher costs hurt its margins during the period.

Circle K owner, stymied on deals, goes on food marketing push
Brian Hannasch, who runs the Circle K chain of gas stations and convenience stores, is a man obsessed with food. Not eating it, but selling it. Circle K parent Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. gets about half of its gross profit from fuel, hardly an ideal situation as the auto industry shifts toward electric vehicles. That has Hannasch, who’s been chief executive officer since 2014, thinking about how to kickstart the company’s fresh food business, which represents just 11% of sales in its 9,000 North American stores.

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