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Wakefern opens test store

Planet Based Foods: Pacific Northwest expansion

U.S. shoppers already act like it’s a recession: Report
Many grocery shoppers are already behaving as if the U.S. is in a recession, according to a report from Jacksonville, Florida-based sales and marketing firm Acosta. The report identifies six overarching trends for the grocery and CPG industries in 2023, including increasing frugality among shoppers.

US: Washington court paves way for Albertsons' $4bln dividend, declines to review case
Washington state's highest court will allow Albertsons Companies Inc to pay a $4bln dividend ahead of its proposed deal with Kroger Co, by declining to take up a claim that the payout would be uncompetitive.

US: Sprouts to open 2nd Nashville store
Sprouts Farmers Market is opening its second store in Nashville on Friday, the grocer announced. The 22,988-square-foot store, Sprouts’ seventh in Tennessee, will feature locally grown produce from Southern Valley Fruit and Vegetable, Inc., marked with blue tags throughout the store.

US: Planet Based Foods announces Pacific Northwest expansion
Planet Based Foods Global Inc. ("PBFG", "Planet Based Foods" or the "Company") is pleased to announce that the Company has entered into a pair of definitive agreements with renowned supermarket chains, Quality Food Centers (or "QFC") and Fred Meyer (collectively known herein as the "Supermarkets").

US: Wakefern opens self-serve, AI-based c-store for its workers
The test store, called The Pantry, is the first to try Amazon rival Trigo’s frictionless shopping technology in the U.S., with the goal of bringing the tech to Wakefern member-owned grocery stores, the cooperative said.

Takeaway sees profitability in 2023 despite Q4 orders slump
Just Eat NV, Europe's largest meals delivery company, said that its orders fell by a worse-than-expected 12% in the fourth quarter of 2022, pulled down by a 16% drop at its U.S. Grubhub division. Fourth-quarter orders fell 12% to 239.8mln, compared with expectations of an 8% fall among analysts polled by Refinitiv. The company said it had earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of around 16mln euros for the full year 2022, swinging from a loss of 350mln euros in 2021. Takeaway also forecast an EBITDA of 225mln euros for 2023.

UK regulator probes Asda's purchase of petrol forecourt estate
Britain's competition regulator said it has begun investigating British supermarket group Asda Stores' purchase of Co-Operative Group's petrol forecourt estate. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said it had until March 14 to make its phase 1 decision on whether the deal will reduce competition in the UK.

CVC mulls listing Polish convenience store chain Żabka
Private equity fund CVC Capital Partners may float one of Poland's biggest convenience store chains, Żabka, on the stock market, a fund partner was quoted as saying.

Britain's online grocery slowdown won't impact deals pipeline - Ocado boss
A post-pandemic decline in online grocery's share of Britain's overall food retail market should not impact Ocado Group's ability to attract more overseas technology partners, its boss said.

Belgium: Vajra and Delibio join organic consolidation trend
Vajra is taking over Delibio, as the latter’s founder Adrien Bruyère opts for a career change after eleven years. Bruyère says he found a complementary partner in Vajra, which specialises in dry products, while his Delibio mainly supplies fresh organic food to specialised shops and the catering industry. Together, the two companies aim to become a major independent player in the organic distribution sector in Belgium. “The operational and commercial synergies between the two entities will ensure that market challenges can be met,” they say.

UK: Tesco’s plant-based pioneer celebrated as next phase of strategy begins
After six years at the helm, Derek Sarno, Tesco’s Director of Plant-Based Innovation is set to leave the retailer this month, ushering in the next stage of Tesco’s plant-based strategy, with new ‘veg-led’ products which incorporate more vegetables in their recipes set to feature prominently across the category in the future.

Philippine agritech firm rakes in $1.7mln in seed money
Mayani was established by several serial entrepreneurs to digitalize the system. The company provides a marketplace to connect farmers with individual and enterprise customers. It currently has more than 139,000 farmers and over 11,000 customers on its platform, including businesses such as Shell, Robinsons Group, and Kopiko. Recently, Mayani raised US$1.7mln in a seed funding round led by Silicon Valley-based agritech investor AgFunder, with participation from Atlas Ventures and Accelerating Asia Ventures. The deal marks AgFunder’s first investment in the Philippines.

Lidl & E. Leclerc the top performers in France in run up to Christmas, says Kantar
Lidl and E. Leclerc were the strongest performing retailers in France in the period from 27 November to 25 December, new data from Kantar has shown. Lidl reported a 0.3 percentage point increase in market share in the P13 period, to now hold 7.9% of the market. Market leader E. Leclerc, meanwhile, registered a 8.2% increase in traffic in the period, growing its market share by 0.3 percentage points to sit on 22.9% overall.

Keen to disrupt hyperlocal delivery ecosystem, duo started Cloudify - a platform for enabling quick commerce
Founded by Saurabh Shah and Indranath Mukherjee, Cloudify allows anyone to set up a hyperlocal delivery business like Swiggy, Zomato, Dunzo or Zepto on its platform in just 10 minutes. With Cloudify, businesses of all sizes can easily set up and manage their online stores, connect with local customers, and grow their sales.

Lidl eyes expansion with 'roughly another 50 stores' across Ireland
Supermarket chain Lidl 'sees room' for another 50 stores across Ireland. That's according to J.P. Scally, CEO of Lidl Ireland, who was speaking as the company announced a €1bln investment into the Irish agri-food industry for 2022. Of that €1bln, €682mln stayed within Ireland for sale to Irish consumers and €318mln was exported internationally. Many of these included Irish produce reaching Britain, Germany, Cyprus, Italy, Denmark, Greece, Portugal, Slovenia, Poland and the USA.

Looking forward: 6 food and grocery trends set to define 2023
From innovative products to healthy eating, reducing waste and exploring the plant-based and alcohol-free markets, Grocery Gazette explores six of the food trends set to define 2023: Healthy eating; New innovations; Reducing food and plastic waste; The value push; Vegan and plant-based products; Low and no alcohol.

Brits switch meat-free day due to cost of living
New research from Meatless Farm reveals more than 9 in 10 (94%) Brits are no longer taking part regularly in Meatless Mondays - a previously popular day where people do not eat meat - and are instead going meatless on a Friday.

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