Afresh announced a $115mln Series B funding round

Dollar General is increasing access to fruits and vegetables in Arkansas

US: UNFI produce implements new technologies and processes; expands private label options
Consistent with its commitment to deliver the highest quality produce, United Natural Foods, Inc. (the “Company” or “UNFI”) announced it has implemented new technologies and processes to enable the Company to shorten certain delivery times by over a day and harness the full potential of UNFI data points to deliver fresher produce to its customers. These efforts have proven successful as UNFI has grown its produce sales ahead of industry growth even as retail produce industry numbers move with inflation.

Afresh secures $115mln in Series B funding and rolls out its fresh food technology to thousands of stores across the US
Afresh, the leading AI-powered fresh food technology provider, announced a $115mln Series B funding round led by Spark Capital and with participation from Insight Partners, VMG Partners, and Bright Pixel Capital. Walter Robb, senior executive partner at S2G Ventures and former co-CEO of Whole Foods Market also joins the round. All prior investors, including Maersk Growth, High Sage, and Innovation Endeavors also participated in the round, bringing the company's total funding to $148mln.

US: Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage announces third quarter fiscal 2022 results
Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage, Inc. announced results for its third quarter of fiscal 2022 ended June 30, 2022 and refined its outlook for fiscal 2022. Highlights for third quarter fiscal 2022 compared to third quarter fiscal 2021: Net sales increased 3.0% to $266.3mln; Daily average comparable store sales increased 2.5%; Operating income was $5.7mln; Net income was $3.9mln with diluted earnings per share of $0.17; and Adjusted EBITDA was $13.0mln.

US: Ingles Markets upholds strong sales pace in Q2
In the third quarter ended June 25, net sales surged by 14.1% to $1.46bln from $1.28bln a year earlier, when the top line rose 7.4%, Asheville, North Carolina-based Ingles said. That came after net sales upticks of 16.3% in the second quarter and 16.9% in the first quarter, as well as 11.6% in the fiscal 2021 fourth quarter.

US: Dollar General is growing its fresh produce program in Arkansas
Dollar General said it would start selling fresh produce at 10 of its stores in Little Rock, Arkansas, increasing access to fruits and vegetables in neighborhoods where it was previously hard to find. The move aligns with a food insecurity initiative announced by the Goodlettsville, Tennessee-based discounter last year in which it said it wanted as many as 10,000 of its stores to eventually carry fresh produce.

US: Sprouts continues sales rebound in Q2
Sprouts Farmers Markets saw net and comparable-store sales bounce back in its fiscal 2022 second quarter after having cycled big pandemic-fueled gains a year earlier. For the quarter ended July 3, net sales totaled nearly $1.6bln, up 4.8% from $1.52bln in the fiscal 2021 quarter, when the top line declined 7%, Sprouts reported. The Phoenix-based specialty grocer attributed the uptick to higher comp-store sales and business from newly opened stores.

India: Amazon opens new centre in Maharashtra to procure fresh produce directly from farmers
Amazon Retail India announced the opening of a new "farmer collection centre" in Maharashtra, where customers can buy fresh fruits and vegetables directly from farmers. The new Kunjirwadi centre will be the fifth in the western state, following those in Manchar, Nasik, Wai, and Ratnagiri.

Poland: Żabka expands store network to 8,500 outlets
Polish retailer Żabka opened 577 outlets in the first half of 2022, bringing the total number of stores across its network to 8,500. Currently, the network includes more than 7,200 franchisees, the Polish retailer noted.

Dutch retailer SPAR to enter Israeli market amid soaring living costs
Israeli businessman Amit Zeev said he has signed a preliminary deal to bring Dutch food retail chain SPAR to Israel, a move that would create more competition and potentially lower food costs that have soared in recent months.

Lidl Germany introduces 'rescue bag' for imperfect fruit and vegetables
Discount giant Lidl has introduced a 'rescue bag' (Rettertüte) for less than perfect fruit and vegetables across its German outlets in a bid to prevent food waste. The rescue bags are available for a discounted standard price of €3 each.

Auchan acquires 235 Spanish supermarkets
Alcampo, the Spanish subsidiary of Auchan, has acquired 235 supermarkets and a warehouse from DIA. As the latter wants to become a corner shop concept, it is divesting a lot of stores that do not fit into the new format.

Hundreds of Amazon warehouse workers walk out over pay, UK union says
Hundreds of Amazon workers at a warehouse in Tilbury in southeast England have walked out in protest over pay, the trade union GMB said, the latest sign of labour force discontent as the rising cost-of-living sparks strikes across sectors.

Carrefour is contributing €350,000 to a plan to revitalise France's regions by developing organic farming under a government agreement
Carrefour has just unveiled an ambitious plan to revitalise the rural economy by creating new regional organic product lines - all within the framework of a revitalisation agreement entered into with the government. Through the initiative, Carrefour is supporting organic farming and is keen to help create new jobs across France’s farming regions with this investment.

Russian retailer X5 expands in Siberia as investment drive continues
Retailer X5 Group is stepping up an investment drive with plans to buy controlling stakes in two Siberian companies, open hundreds of new stores of its discount chain Chizhik and cut the price of many food staples.

China: Alibaba focuses on food as sales stall
Alibaba’s turnover last quarter was almost exactly the same as a year ago: 205bln yuan, just under 30bln euros. It is the first time in the company’s history that there was no growth. Still, the figure exceeds all expectations, as China was still under the spell of the pandemic this spring. Not only did this result in less shopping, but factories closed down again and there were supply problems.

UK: Waitrose to remove Best Before dates on nearly 500 products from September
From September, Waitrose will remove best before dates on nearly 500 fresh products including root vegetables, fruits such as grapes, citrus, apples as well as indoor plants. The removal of best before dates is designed to reduce the volume of food waste occurring in UK households by inviting customers to use their own judgement.

Gorillas even retreats on German domestic market
In Bochum, Gelsenkirchen, Dortmund and Münster, Gorillas’ dark stores have become deserted and no delivery bikes are to be seen, local news site Ruhr Nachrichten reports. The Berlin-based company confirms that it is withdrawing almost completely from the Ruhr region: only in the city of Essen will it remain active. In Gelsenkirchen, the grocery delivery service only lasted a year.

Just Eat Takeaway aims direct attack at Gorillas
Just when flash deliveries are being forced to scale down, Just Eat Takeaway goes on the offensive. The company is going to trial its own flash deliveries, and all of that in Berlin - Gorillas‘ home base.

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