Businesses across the nation are feeling the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. While some associations such as the American Baking Association (ABA), are canceling their annual conventions, others are planning a virtual gathering. And as some businesses are temporarily closing, many in the grocery industry are hiring due to increased consumer demand for food and essentials.
Wholesale baking industry ready to hire thousands of employees
The wholesale baking industry is working diligently to ensure a safe and abundant food supply for Americans during the unprecedented event of the Covid-19 outbreak. The American Bakers Association’s (ABA) member companies are working to produce and distribute baked goods and are looking to hire more than 3,000 permanent and temporary employees immediately.
“The approximately 45.5 million people working throughout the food and beverage industry are the unsung heroes who deserve to be celebrated,” said Robb MacKie, ABA president and CEO. “They are working tirelessly and safely, today and always, to feed the country and the world. We cannot thank them enough.”
The U.S. government has declared the food and agriculture sector as a critical infrastructure during the Covid-19 outbreak, as it provides essential services that underpin American society. As such, employees are expected to keep a normal work schedule to meet the needs of American families. ABA members are dedicated to providing workers with a safe and healthy workplace, while they work to ensure the food supply of the country.
Results from a survey of the ABA membership found that baking companies are seeking to employ a variety of both hourly and salaried positions across the country including maintenance mechanics, drivers, production line operators, production supervisors, quality assurance technicians, route sales professionals and general labor. ABA members have more than 600 temporary positions and more than 2,400 permanent positions available across the U.S.
“The wholesale baking industry can provide relief for those individuals who now are missing a paycheck. We are proud to offer a safe work environment in an industry that is supporting American families during these uncertain times,” MacKie said.
ABA cancels 2020 convention
The American Bakers Association has cancelled the 2020 ABA Annual Convention in Scottsdale, Arizona. The ABA says the health and safety of its attendees and staff are of paramount importance.
Registration fees, sports fees and sponsorship fees will be refunded by the method they were submitted. ATBI Congratulations and PEC Golf Hole sponsorships will be refunded by the method they were submitted. Alternatively, attendees have the option to make a financial donation/donation of their fee to assist in offsetting incurred convention costs.
Sponsors have the ability to reserve their same sponsorship for 2021 now; invoicing will begin in November for 2021.
All hotel reservations made in the ABA block will be automatically cancelled at no penalty to the attendee. All attendees will receive a cancellation notice from the hotel.
The 2021 ABA Annual Convention is planned for March 21-24, in Orlando, Florida. Included will be a celebration of the ATBI’s 101st anniversary.
The ABA is the Washington, D.C.-based voice of the wholesale baking industry. Since 1897, ABA has worked to increase protection from costly government overreach, build the talent pool of skilled workers with specialized training programs and forge industry alignment by establishing a more receptive environment to grow the baking industry. ABA advocates on behalf of more than 1,000 baking facilities and baking company suppliers. ABA members produce bread, rolls, cookies, crackers, bagels, sweet goods, tortillas and many other baked products feeding America’s families. The baking industry generates more than $153 billion in economic activity annually and employs more than 799,500 highly skilled people.
Spins, Mercato join forces to launch online grocery e-commerce solution
Spins, a wellness-focused data and technology provider, is partnering with Mercato, an online grocery e-commerce fulfillment platform for independently owned grocery and specialty food stores, to launch the largest product attribute-powered online grocery e-commerce solution for independently owned grocery and specialty food stores. This partnership arms retailers and brands with the new capability to respond to the consumer-driven world by marrying Spins’ Product Intelligence Data and attributes with Mercato’s full-service e-commerce and home delivery experience.
By joining forces, Spins and Mercato bring a full spectrum of health, wellness, dietary and sustainability information directly to consumers, setting a new standard for personalized online shopping, allowing them to browse and discover products via data-enabled search, filtering, recommendations and more throughout their entire customer journey in omni-channel environments. In a time of social distancing, it’s more important than ever that retailers of all sizes be equipped to service their customers both in and out of their physical locations with a personalized online fulfillment solution.
“This timely partnership with Mercato enables any retail partner to deliver the industry’s highest standard of personalized shopping, mobile convenience and delivery to their customers, reaching even greater levels of engagement and loyalty,” said Tony Olson, owner and CEO of Spins. “During these unprecedented times, Spins is committed to aggressively investing in new technologies and partnerships like Mercato that are driving measurable sales growth and increasing loyalty between brick and mortar retailers and their customers.”
Today, Spins’ comprehensive and well-established data and analytics portfolio is embedded within many retailers’ category management, inventory selection, assortment management, consumer engagement and communication strategies. Spins is moving quickly to invest in driving solutions to its retailer partners. By partnering with Mercato, Spins brings innovation and data into local shopping experiences, allowing lifestyle and dietary preferences of each shopper to be easily met not only in store, but online as the modern day demands.
“Mercato’s mission is to empower independent grocers with the necessary tools to provide fresh, local ingredients to their community. Supporting sophisticated search technology and providing solutions for customer’s demanding and ever-changing health needs and dietary preferences is a necessity in today’s online grocery shopping landscape. Spins’ in-depth data and analytics expertise will be invaluable to our valued partners and their customers,” said Bobby Brannigan, CEO of Mercato.
2020 NACS State of the Industry Summit virtual experience details announced
This year’s NACS State of the Industry (SOI) Summit has been recast as a virtual, on-demand experience that will be available for viewing beginning April 14. The 2020 NACS State of the Industry Summit Virtual Experience will include nearly a dozen sessions analyzing industry performance, trends and economic forces in a new era of “anytime, anyplace convenience.”
The virtual offering also will feature a special session looking at how coronavirus (Covid-19) is shaping consumer demands for convenience, in addition to informative sessions that will explore how to take the headwinds of retail disruption, technology and changing consumer need-states and turn them into tailwinds to accelerate innovation and win customer trips.
“In this virtual experience format, we realize one of the most powerful benefits of the live State of the Industry Summit—networking with industry friends and peers—cannot be replicated. We’re excited to bring new virtual collaboration, interactive questions and discussions to the 2020 SOI Summit Virtual Experience. Each session will be accompanied by interactive discussion boards, an ‘ask the presenter’ question-and-answer forum and opportunities to engage with other attendees on your thoughts and ideas for each presentation,” said NACS VP of Research Lori Stillman.
The new NACS SOI Summit Virtual Experience is offered as a bundled enterprise registration, opening up participation to attendees from a single organization through one shared license. This on-demand format not only widens participation by expanding access to attendees, but creates new opportunities for questions, comments and collaborative discussions across organizations and within the broader convenience community.
“The importance of analyzing trends and data is especially critical now when there are so many new variables in place in today’s retail landscape. While it is heartbreaking to move away from our popular in-person event for this year, this virtual offering keep our attendees safe and brings enormous value to participants, especially in sharing the key findings across organizations as many businesses have switched over to remote operations,” said Stillman.
A centerpiece of the NACS SOI Summit Virtual Experience is the session, “How Coronavirus is Reshaping Consumer Demands for Convenience,” hosted by Nielsen, which will clarify how consumers are changing their shopping behavior in ways that could shape long-term buying patterns.
“The patterns and behaviors of communities impacted in the early days of the spread of the virus shed critical insights for markets in less impacted areas. We will share critical insight into how retailers and suppliers can navigate the continuing evolution of this pandemic in their own markets,” said Stillman.
In another timely session, “The Future of Last-Mile Fulfillment in Convenience Retail,” Stillman will look at the future of last-mile fulfillment in the convenience channel and provide important insight on the ways in which retailers can lead and win trips, grow baskets and reinforce convenience leadership in today’s marketplace. She also will preview the NACS “Last Mile in Convenience” survey that NACS will open to retailers for participation in May.
“Last-mile delivery is the future and it is what retailers are using right now to continue operations at a time when retail is dramatically being shut down and social distancing has become the norm,” said Stillman.
Other planned sessions are:
• Convenience Outlook: Key Operational and Financial Lessons from 2019 (Charlie McIllvaine, chairman/CEO, Coen Markets Inc.);
• The Return of the Economist (Anirban Basu, chairman and CEO, Sage Policy Group Inc.);
• The Convenience Consumer (Larry Levin, EVP, market and shopper intelligence, Information Resources Inc.);
• What Drives Convenience Growth: Understanding Categories and the Need States That Drive Growth (Chuck Maggelet, chief adventure guide, Maverik Inc.);
• Transforming Convenience Through Food Experiences (Chris Wolf, SVP, strategic insights and planning, The Marlin Network; and Chef Thomas Talbert, VP, culinary marketing, CSSI);
• The Voice of the Convenience Customer: Winning Their Preference (Jose Gomes, president, North America, dunnhumby);
• Market Implications Emerging from Future Mobility (Denton Cinquergrana, chief oil analyst, Oil Price Information Service [OPIS]); and
• Hidden Dollars: The Sustainability Treasure Hunt (Jeff Lenard, VP, strategic industry initiatives, NACS).
Complete topic details and speaker bios, along with registration details, can be found at convenience.org/SOISummit.
NACS serves the $654 billion convenience and fuels retailing industry by sharing ideas and insights in its publications (including the monthly NACS Magazine and weekly Convenience Matters podcast), creating unique networking and education opportunities (including the annual NACS Show) and through industry-leading research and analysis.
Coronavirus website expands, adding farmer resources, podcasts to NMPF page
The National Milk Producers Federation’s (NMPF) coronavirus webpage is expanding further, adding a farmer handbook to address dairy production needs and launching a podcast series featuring experts discussing crucial issues faced by dairy farmers and the broader industry as they work to feed the U.S. and the world.
“Dairy farmers are working hard to provide consumers a safe and abundant supply of milk, and they critically need resources to help them manage in a fast-changing environment. To assist them, we’re working our hardest to keep up with those needs,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of the NMPF. “This COVID-19 resource, nmpf.org/coronavirus, is a valuable tool both for farmers to manage their operations and for the broader industry and consumer community to understand what’s happening in dairy and respond appropriately.”
The handbook, drafted by members of the National Dairy FARM (Farmers Assuring Responsible Management) program, addresses topics from preventing coronavirus transmission in the workplace to proper workforce management in a pandemic. It’s part of a wide range of resources on the site, which first launched March 6 and since then has continually added content that aids aid the dairy community from farm to consumer as the coronavirus crisis has deepened, including links to key government documents and information for processors.
The podcast series started last week with NMPF staff scientist Jamie Jonker discussing how dairy farms are adding coronavirus-related safety measures. Another interview featured Clay Detlefsen, SVP for environmental and regulatory affairs, explaining a private-sector/government collaboration effort he’s leading that’s helping fix supply-chain issues as they arise.
Future podcasts will address animal care, the dairy economy, and dairy’s evolving response to coronavirus, among other topics. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, SoundCloud and Google Play.
NMPF, based in Arlington, Virginia, develops and carries out policies that advance dairy producers and the cooperatives they own. NMPF’s member cooperatives produce more than two-thirds of U.S. milk.
Bringoz offers free home delivery service support to retailers
In response to the continued escalation of Covid-19 globally and the unprecedented increase in home-delivery demand, Bringoz, an SaaS-based logistics platform, is offering retailers its experience, expertise and technology platform free of charge. The company helps retailers and others create and scale their in-house delivery operations.
The spreading coronavirus pandemic is drastically reducing consumers’ options with regards to purchasing necessary products. This has been especially significant for high-risk individuals, who are older and/or immune-compromised.
“The Bringoz platform enabled us to respond swiftly to a fast-developing situation and increase our delivery capacity in a short period of time,” said the CIO of a 12-location grocery chain located in the Tri-State area. “Demand from in-store customers trying to deliver groceries to at-risk relatives and e-commerce orders has skyrocketed, and the technology helps us to fulfill that demand fast and accurately.”
Grocers, pharmacies and liquor stores are seeing the biggest spikes in demand for home-delivery requests. The Bringoz platform, which through proprietary technology is currently helping dozens of companies manage their automated delivery operations, has seen the number of transactions nearly doubling during the last month.
“Stores’ rapid decline in traffic isn’t aligning with reduced demand,” said Bringoz co-founder and CEO Doron Bakchy. “Purchasing volume is dramatically shifting to delivery-related channels, and we are willing to share the best practices we developed over the years to help companies meet these challenges.”
Bringoz is an end-to-end delivery management platform that consolidates multiple sources of delivery demand, including websites, mobile apps, in-store delivery requests and third-party marketplaces into a 360-degree control tower. Using proprietary technology to optimize routes, batch deliveries, automate dispatching, reduce risk and give real-time visibility into the delivery process, companies use the Bringoz platform to deliver accurate and timely service, even under the most challenging circumstances.
“Delivery is likely to be a preferred method of purchasing by consumers going forward. There is a lot of uncertainty on how long the current situation may last, but we at Bringoz would like to be part of the solution, now and once we get the all-clear,” said Chen Grazutis, co-founder and general manager of North America at Bringoz. “One thing is for sure—for many categories, home-delivery will be considered table stakes in their go-to-market strategy.”