Hy-Vee Launches Cool Chicken

\"HyveeMidwest, employee-owned supermarket Hy-Vee has introduced a new line of premium air chilled Private Brand fresh chicken called Hy-Vee Cool Chicken. The chickens are cooled with a state of the art air chilling system that is said to help inhibit the spread of bacteria by keeping all of the chickens separate, as well as saving 1,000’s of gallons of chlorinated water every day.

The air-chilled method produces a better tasting chicken. With no water added, the air-chilled method maintains the \”real\” chicken flavor and juices. No water is absorbed, so customers taste the natural flavor of the poultry.






HEB Asks Customers To Try V.No

\"V.This past week San Antonio, Texas based grocer H-E-B, announced the launch of a new Private Brand wine, “V.NO” on their Facebook page. According to the post:

“Our new V.NO wines have been carefully sourced from around the world to provide an authentic drinking experience just like the locals would have. Let our four quality wines take you there.”

The brand includes a Cabarnet, Chardonnay, Malbec and Pinot Grigio. Th Cabernet is featured on the retailer site as a July Primo Pick and described this way:

“V know a good vino! It\’s said the Central Coast\’s cool climate puts even more fruit flavor in each bottle of V.No Central Coast Cabernet. Then again, it\’s about selecting the best wines from the best locations. Which is why the grapes that make up this delight are grown in an environment that is well suited for them. We find the flavors of strawberry, blackberry and toasty oak pairs well with rich meats. Try Chardonnay, Malbec and Pinot Grigio V.No wines too!”


Food Lion Jim Cusson Theory House

Turning Bloggers from Influencers to Private Brand Advocates

Is it better to engage bloggers with a limited audience who are passionate about your brand, or to seek out highly influential bloggers who reach a larger audience but may not be as committed to your cause? Ideally you can have both. A new term “advocate influencers” has been coined to describe people who are passionate about your brand but have the ability to reach a large audience as well. If this group of people doesn’t exist for your brand, why not create and enable it?

Food Lion, the U.S. division of Brussels-based Delhaize Group, recently engaged our agency, Theory House to challenge popular, Baltimore-Washington metropolitan bloggers to compete in a “Frugal Cook-Off” and create nutritious, low-cost meals for a family of four using Food Lion Private Brands, as well as fresh produce and meat options available at Food Lion stores.

The event was held at a Talara Restaurant in Baltimore. The winning blogger team created an entrée with two sides in 45 minutes using items shopped from an onsite Food Lion pantry of store brand products. The total cost of the meal was $9.90. The bloggers were judged on creativity, taste and awarded points for being frugal.

I can tell you from being in the room that while these bloggers may have entered as influencers; they left as advocates for Food Lion and its brands. This was a very interactive and engaging experience for the bloggers and they became intimate with Food Lion and its family of Private Brands. A few hours into the event thousands of social media impressions had already been generated, and with promotional assets being delivered to the bloggers this week that number will really start to climb.

So when considering blogger outreach strategies for your brands, think about ways to engage and activate them in a meaningful way.

\"JimJim Cusson, President, Theory House Shopper Marketing Agency
Jim Cusson is president at Theory House, the leading shopper marketing agency for North America’s next great brands. He began his career hustling cookies for Keebler and has been in the aisles ever since supporting retailers like Food Lion, Bloom, Lowe’s Home Improvement, Cato Fashions and Body Central and national brands like Chobani, Kobalt Tools, Husqvarna, Delta Faucets, and Britax Child Safety.


Fresh & Easy

Fresh & Easy and A Summer Private Brand Road Trip

\"Fresh&EasyEl Segundo, CA based grocer Fresh & Easy is spicing up the summer with its Fresh & Easy Street Fair which will be traveling to select locations across California, Arizona and Nevada through September. The street fair features Fresh & Easy’s first-ever food truck, which will be serving a delicious menu of free items made exclusively with Fresh & Easy Private Brand products. The menu includes Southwest Chicken Tacos, Spicy Soyrizo Tacos, Thai Turkey Lettuce Wraps, Tangy Bleu Cheese Sliders and Mango Carnitas Stuffed Peppers.

Recipes and picnic tables will be available for neighbors to enjoy along with local musical acts and other exciting event features such as:

  • \”Take It Easy\” tent with massage therapists offering free chair massages
  • \”Meals Made Easy\” tent where neighbors can talk to a nutritionist about meal ideas and healthy eating tips
  • \”Shopping Made Easy\” with a Fresh & Easy team member on hand to help customers find all the products needed to recreate the tasty food truck menu options at home

The Fresh & Easy Street Fair will stop at about four stores a week and will be visiting other local events as it tours around. Customers can follow the F&Easy truck on Twitter at @fneasytruck, which will update where it will be daily. Events kick off this week in Los Angeles and the schedule below will be updated every week:

  • July 11 – July 14: Los Angeles
  • July 11th: Whittier
  • July 12th: Downey
  • July 13th: Norwalk
  • July 14th: Long Beach
  • July 18 – July 21: Orange County
  • July 18th: Fullerton
  • July 19th: Orange
  • July 20th: Fountain Valley
  • July 21st: Costa Mesa
  • July 25 – July 28: San Diego
  • August 1 – August 4: Phoenix
  • August 8 – August 11: Las Vegas
  • August 15 – August 18: Los Angeles
  • August 22 – August 25: Ventura
  • August 29 – September 1: Central Coast/Valley
  • September 5 – September 8: Bay Area


Harris Teeter Kroger

Kroger To Acquire Harris Teeter

\"Kroger\"The Kroger Co. and Harris Teeter Supermarkets, Inc. today announced a definitive merger agreement under which Kroger will purchase all outstanding shares of Harris Teeter for $49.38 per share in cash.

The transaction price represents a premium of 33.7% to the Harris Teeter closing share price on January 18, 2013, the day of the first media report that Harris Teeter was evaluating strategic alternatives. The terms of the agreement were approved by the Boards of Directors of both companies.

Harris Teeter brings to Kroger an exceptional brand and complementary base of 212 stores in attractive southeastern and mid-Atlantic markets and in Washington, D.C. The stores are located primarily in high-growth markets, vacation destinations and university communities in North Carolina, Virginia, South Carolina, Maryland, Tennessee, Delaware, Florida, Georgia and the District of Columbia. Harris Teeter also operates distribution centers for grocery, frozen and perishable foods in Greensboro, NC and Indian Trail, NC and a dairy facility in High Point, NC. Harris Teeter had revenues of approximately $4.5 billion for fiscal year 2012.

\”We are excited to welcome Harris Teeter to the Kroger family,\” said David B. Dillon, Kroger\’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. \”Harris Teeter is an exceptional company with a great brand, friendly and talented associates, and attractive store formats in vibrant markets run by a first-class management team. They share our customer-centric approach to everything we do – from store format and merchandising to innovative loyalty programs. This is a financially and strategically compelling transaction and a unique opportunity for our shareholders and associates. We look forward to bringing together the best of Kroger and Harris Teeter while continuing to operate and grow the Harris Teeter brands. Together, we can continue to deepen our connections with customers across all of our markets.\”

Thomas W. Dickson, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Harris Teeter stated, \”Harris Teeter has a long track record of creating shareholder value and this merger is the culmination of those efforts over many years. We are excited about becoming part of The Kroger Co., one of the best food retailers in the U.S. while maintaining the Harris Teeter banner, our management teams, our new store growth plan, our distribution and manufacturing facilities in North Carolina as well as our headquarters in Matthews, NC. As part of Kroger, Harris Teeter will be well equipped to continue to provide our customers outstanding quality and customer service as well as excellent value in an increasingly competitive market.\”

Financial Highlights – High Performance Combination
Kroger will finance the transaction with debt. Kroger also intends to assume Harris Teeter\’s outstanding debt of approximately $100 million. Consistent with Kroger\’s and Harris Teeter\’s shared long-term commitment to returning cash to shareholders, Kroger intends to continue its quarterly dividend and share repurchase program while managing free cash flow to reduce the leverage taken on from this merger. Although the ratio will increase at the time the merger closes, Kroger expects to allocate some free cash flow to debt reduction to re-establish and maintain its 2.00 – 2.20 net debt to EBITDA ratio over the next 18-24 months. Kroger is committed to maintaining its current investment grade credit rating.

Including the effect of allocating some free cash flow to debt reduction, Kroger expects net accretion to earnings per diluted share in the range of $0.06 – $0.09 in the first full year after the merger, excluding transition and transaction expenses. Kroger expects to maintain its current 8-11% long-term net earnings per share growth rate off of this higher earnings base.

Kroger expects to achieve annual cost savings of approximately $40 to $50 million over the next three to four years. Much of the savings is expected to come from the benefits of Kroger\’s scale. Kroger has a strong history of achieving synergy goals. Being patient in achieving those goals reduces the risk of the transaction and sets the stage for sustainable growth.

Operational Profile – Complementary Teams and Operations Together the company will operate 2,631 supermarkets and employ over 368,300 associates across 34 states and the District of Columbia. Following closing, Harris Teeter will continue to operate its stores as a subsidiary of The Kroger Co. and will continue to be led by key members of Harris Teeter\’s senior management team. There are no plans to close stores, and associates will continue to have employment opportunities with both companies. Kroger headquarters will remain in Cincinnati, and Harris Teeter will keep its headquarters in Matthews, NC.

Kroger and Harris Teeter both strive to play a vital role in all of the communities they serve. In 2012, Kroger invested more than $250 million in local communities to provide hunger relief and support for the military and their families, breast cancer awareness programs and more than 30,000 schools and grassroots organizations. Harris Teeter similarly focuses community investments on feeding the hungry, supporting the military, and investing in local schools and community organizations. Harris Teeter\’s 2012 donations totaled $9.1 million.

Additional Information The merger is expected to close following the satisfaction of customary closing conditions including approval by Harris Teeter shareholders and regulatory approval. The transaction includes customary breakup fees.

BofA Merrill Lynch is acting as exclusive financial advisor to Kroger and Arnold & Porter, LLP is acting as legal advisor to Kroger. J.P. Morgan Securities LLC is acting as exclusive financial advisor to Harris Teeter and provided a fairness opinion to its Board of Directors. McGuireWoods LLP is acting as legal advisor to Harris Teeter.

Conference Call Today Kroger chief financial officer Mike Schlotman will host a conference call for analysts and investors today, July 9, 2013, at 9:00 a.m. (ET) to discuss this announcement in further detail. To join this conference call, visit An on-demand replay of the webcast will be available from approximately 11:00 a.m. (ET) today through Tuesday, July 23, 2013.