Albertsons Cos. says it has grown its workforce by 10 percent, creating 26,000 jobs, since it acquired Safeway two years ago. In addition, the grocery chain says it has built or acquired 174 locations; increased healthy food and financial donations; and elevated its commitment to sustainability.
“We added an exceptional class of talented employees to our family as we grew to serve more neighborhoods and customers. We also supported hundreds of causes with millions of dollars in donations and transformed into a greener, more sustainable company,” said Bob Miller, chairman and CEO of Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons Cos. “I’m extremely proud of our accomplishments, which are a result of the dedication of every employee. They helped us take steps toward being the ‘Favorite Local Supermarket’ in the communities we serve.”
Anniversary highlights, the company notes, include:
• 23 new stores built and 151 stores acquired;
• 47,000 team members celebrating 20 or more years of service;
• $271 million of food donations nationwide in 2016; and
• $25 million in donations from The Albertsons Cos. Foundation in 2016 supporting education, cancer research, hunger relief, veterans support and programs for people with disabilities
When AB Acquisition LLC and Safeway Inc. came together on Jan. 30, 2015, the combined company included 2,230 stores and a team of 250,000 people. The 19-banner company now has a total workforce of 276,000.
“Moreover, many of our employees have spent their entire careers with Albertsons, Safeway or one of the other Albertsons Cos. banners,” the chain says in a press release.
Food donations nationwide topped $271 million last year, up from $245 million in 2015, reflecting a commitment to increasing support for the critical cause of hunger relief, according to the company. Each store donates wholesome products to a local food bank partner, a collaboration that decreases food insecurity for the people who rely on these organizations for meals. Along with the direct donations, most stores conducted in-store food drives and other events throughout the year to bring additional support from its customers during the holidays and summer months when the need is greatest. The company’s Fresh Rescue initiative to donate meat and other perishables to hunger relief partners was expanded in 2016 to include more products and stores. For this ongoing dedication to hunger relief, Albertsons Cos. was recognized as a Visionary Partner by Feeding America last year.
In addition, The Albertsons Cos. Foundation and the Entertainment Industry Foundation recently awarded $4.6 million in grants through Hunger Is, a joint charitable program designed to increase awareness and funds to end childhood hunger in America. The funds, raised through in-store fundraisers, will increase access to free and reduced-cost school breakfast, improve the nutritional quality of breakfast programs and expand weekend, summer and vacation food programs. Academy Award-nominated actress Viola Davis is the Hunger Is program’s ambassador and spokesperson.
Focus on sourcing and sustainability
In 2016, Albertsons Cos. says it continued a broad commitment to sustainability. During the first quarter, the company committed to sourcing and selling only cage-free eggs for its store operations by 2025, based on available supply. The company says it was among the first and largest in the conventional retail grocery sector to make such a commitment.
In November, the company announced a new Responsible Seafood Policy, which expanded the previous program beyond fresh and frozen seafood to include shelf-stable tuna (canned and vacuum-sealed), as well as sushi sold from its delis. The company also committed to ensure that, by 2022, 100 percent of the top 20 wild and farmed seafood products sold at stores will meet the Responsible Seafood Policy.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recognized Albertsons Cos.’ sustainability initiatives with the Safer Choice Partner of the Year Award for increasing awareness of products that are safer for people and the environment.