News Briefs


Naturipe Farms Taps New Director of Business Development

MatthewLyons teaser

Farmer-owned berry and avocado producer Naturipe Farms has a new leader on its value-added fresh team, bringing on Matthew Lyons as director of business development. He will manage that division as it expands across retail and foodservice channels.

Lyons brings more than 30 years of experience to the role. He joins the Salinas, Calif.-based Naturipe Farm from Produce Alliance, where he served as director of sourcing. He also worked as a sourcing manager for six years for Starbucks Coffee Co. and spent nearly 20 years at River Ranch Fresh Foods in multiple operation divisions.

[Read more: "Little Leaf Farms Appoints CFO"]

“Working with a household name in the berry industry is exciting in its own right, but I am truly excited to work with the value-added team as we expand Naturipe’s reach into healthier produce-forward snack and meal options,” said Lyons. “I’ve enjoyed a partnership with the Naturipe team over the years, and I am honored to now stand beside them in this role.”

Lyons reports to Steven Ware, VP and general manager of value-added fresh at Naturipe. “He comes with not only an extensive knowledge of the food industry, but also with a unique perspective on Naturipe from his time as a customer. The team believes he will play a key role in the expansion of the brand in new product development and sourcing,” Ware remarked.


Erewhon Launches Updated Mobile App

Erewhon App Teaser

Southern California independent Erewhon has launched a redesigned mobile app.

“We’ve built a native shopping experience directly into our mobile app, blending both our grocery and café segments of the business,” explained Kabir Jain, chief growth officer at Los Angeles-based Erewhon. “The new Erewhon mobile app has been fully reimagined and designed with the intention of naturally extending the feeling of shopping in an Erewhon store right onto the phone. We’ve layered an innovative browsing experience and clean aesthetic, with several new shopping features to create the most seamless shopping journey possible.”

[Read more: "Erewhon Invests in Growth of Coconut Company"]

The app’s new features include the following:

 Curated Homepage: thoughtfully selected rotating products, categories and promotions
 Intelligent Product Search: users have most accurate and fastest results
 Product Recommendations: contextually relevant AI-generated suggestions
 One-Click Reorder: users can easily reorder their favorite items with a single click
 Dynamic Prep Time: dynamic adjustment of order prep time based on unique counts of prepared versus picked items in the cart, for fast service
 Shopping List: users can save their favorite items for later
 Rotating Prepared Foods and Modifiers: rotating daily specials that match the café’s offerings, and easily modified prepared foods and drinks, with hundreds of options
 Real-Time Order Tracker: users can monitor their live order status (pickup in as short a time as 15 minutes, and delivery in 30 minutes)
 Integrated Membership Program: available throughout the ordering process
 Dynamic Merchandising: best products delivered during the browsing experience

The grocer’s new app has rolled out across the iOS and Android platforms, with the features also available on Erewhon’s website.

Erewhon operates nine stores in the Los Angeles area. A 10th is coming this fall to Pasadena, Calif.


Food Network Angels Teams With eGrowcery to Help Needy Shoppers

No Child Should Be Hungry Teaser

Food Network Angels, a 501(c)3 charity dedicated to feeding underserved families in southwest Ohio, has joined forces with e-commerce platform eGrowcery to provide needy customers with an online ordering option. Food Network Angels is building a digital store that includes SNAP payment.

“The purpose of Food Network Angels is to make feeding the hungry and undernourished more dignified,” said Wendy Schuchmann, founder and CEO of Owens, Ohio-based Food Network Angels. “Working with eGrowcery will help us accomplish that goal by removing much of the friction involved with ordering and receiving food and related necessities.” 

[Read More: “eGrowcery Platform Helps Retailers Accept EBT SNAP”]

The online grocery platform is providing technology to Food Network Angels at a reduced total cost to support the cause alleviating food insecurity, including an annual donation to the organization.

“Our Food Network Angels partnership is an excellent example of how eGrowcery can do its part to help serve the undernourished,” noted Patrick Hughes, CEO of Bloomfield Hills, Mich.-based eGrowcery. “Our solution will help Wendy and her team provide more access and groceries to more families. This is a very nice win for all involved.”  


German Food Importer Carl Brandt Names New President/CEO

Carl Brandt Teaser

Stanley Mazepa has been appointed president and CEO (USA) at Fairfield, Conn.-based Carl Brandt Inc., an importer and distributor of German food products. Mazepa succeeds Susanne Settineri, who, with her father, was involved in the founding of the company in 1989 and key to its success. A 30-year veteran of the food industry, Mezepa will continue Settineri’s work developing exclusive European brands as she transitions to retirement.

“Carl Brandt Inc. will be further solidified as a leading expert in developing imported brands and providing world-class services to manufacturers in terms of efficiency, expertise and relationships in the industry,” noted Mazepa. 

[Read More: “Baldor Specialty Foods President to Retire”]

“We stand by Stanley Mazepa and all the employees in Fairfield as a competent partner and look forward to supporting a strong team with our extensive expertise from the European market,” said Jan Dominik Gunkel, CEO of the Brandt Zwieback-Schokoladen Group, which provides support to Carl Brandt Inc. 

From baked goods and confectionery to canned goods, beverages and other specialty products, Carl Brandt Inc. offers an extensive assortment that appeals to the needs and preferences of a broad consumer base.


Harps Acquires Louisiana Indie

Former Harps Food Stores Chairman and CEO Dies Gerald L. Harp

Harps Food Stores, Inc. is adding to its portfolio with the acquisition of an independent market in Louisiana. The employee-owned Harps is taking over Janise's Supermarket in the town of Sunset in St. Landry Parish.

“We are thrilled to welcome Janise's Supermarket into the Harps Food Stores family. This acquisition aligns perfectly with our strategic growth plans and allows us to expand our footprint in Louisiana. We are committed to honoring Janise's Supermarket's legacy and serving the Sunset community with the same level of excellence they have come to expect,” said Kim Eskew, chairman and CEO of Harps.

[Read more: "Brookshire Grocery Sells Its Pharmacies to Walgreens"]

Store employees will be kept on, according to the grocers.  “We firmly believe that this partnership will be immensely beneficial to the residents of Sunset, Louisiana, and the surrounding area," said Michael Dwayne Janise of Janise’s. "As an ESOP company, we are delighted to offer our employees a remarkable opportunity for career growth in the grocery industry. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to all our valued customers and dedicated employees for their unwavering support and patronage throughout our 49-year journey.”

Founded in 1930, Harps runs 146 stores across Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Mississippi, Louisiana and Kansas.


Supermarkets in North Carolina to Add DMV Kiosks

dmv kiosks teaser

Grocery stores in North Carolina will offer a new service for shoppers this fall. The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is set to install kiosks in supermarkets and other places around the state in an effort to reduce physical visits to DMV offices.

The pilot program will allow drivers to, among other things, print license-plate renewal stickers.

[Read more: “Dollar General Testing Checkout-Free Operations in North Carolina”]

"They go to the grocery store and order their DMV service, their renewals or whatever it may be, while they're shopping for groceries," said Wayne Goodwin, North Carolina’s DMV commissioner

The new kiosks come after months of complaints from the public over poor customer service at the DMV, reported The Carolina Journal. The state agency has received growing customer complaints from drivers who are waiting months for an appointment. The backlog has led to hours-long lines and frustrated drivers across the state. The long wait times are attributed to a shortage of workers and not enough people using online services.

Other states currently using the DMV kiosks include Virginia, Georgia, Indiana, California, Colorado and Nevada.

There will be a transaction fee to use the kiosks, which would cover their costs.