News Briefs


Forecast: In-Store BevAlc Sales to Top Pre-Pandemic Levels


Shopper intelligence company Catalina tapped into its Buyer Intelligence platform ahead of St. Patrick’s Day on March 17 to determine how the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has impacted nationwide alcoholic beverage purchases and how they are likely to fare this year. As COVID-19 lockdowns began in March 2020, in-store alcohol sales around St. Patrick's Day surged, according to a media release from Catalina. One year later, alcohol sales in most categories declined slightly compared to 2020, but they still posted a 20% increase overall compared to the last "regular" St. Patrick's Day celebrated in 2019. (The pre-mixed cocktails/cooler category has experienced an ongoing sales boom.)

Considering recent sales for the four weeks ending March 4, total alcohol sales were trending about flat (not rising or declining) compared to last year, according to the March 10 release. Catalina predicted St. Patrick's Day week in 2022 would be comparable to last year. Comparatively, alcohol sales for Super Bowl week this year were down about 2% versus Super Bowl week last year. However, compared to the same pre-pandemic period in 2019, alcohol sales continue to be higher, which is why Catalina estimates St. Patrick's Day week this year will be 5%-15% higher than 2019 levels, with beer leading the way.


FreshDirect OOH Campaign Targeted Subway Riders


Online grocery delivery company FreshDirect rolled out its latest out-of-home (OOH) campaign, and first “Moments by Outfront” sponsored campaign with Outfront Media, in February. The shoppable OOH campaign portrayed engaging content and recipes targeting New York City subway riders, according to a recent media release. FreshDirect partnered with Outfront's Moments in Food content partner, So Yummy, to sponsor four 15-second, branded video content segments focused on timely seasonal recipes to reach commuters. Each video included a QR code that linked to the FreshDirect website for detailed recipes and a path to purchase the ingredients featured in the branded content spots.

The campaign also included dynamic creative ad units that trigger contextual messaging changes based on the latest weather conditions. Powered by weather intelligence provider, these ad units featured current weather conditions visualized in the creative paired with a relevant recipe based on the forecast. The campaign ran on New York City subway and commuter rail Liveboards and Livecards through the end of February. The entire campaign was spearheaded and executed by Quan Media Group, the out-of-home agency of record for FreshDirect.


Foxtrot Seeks Female-Led Emerging Brands


Foxtrot, the Chicago-based grocery/convenience store chain and e-commerce marketplace, has launched its second annual “Up & Comers” awards, an initiative designed to celebrate small makers and discover the next generation of food and beverage brands. In honor of International Women's Day on March 8 and Foxtrot's commitment to increasing the amount of female-founded or -led brands on its shelves by 50% in the next year, this year's awards program brings a dedicated focus to “finding, inspiring, nurturing and recognizing female and femme-identifying food entrepreneurs,” according to a news release from the retailer. 

As the company continues to grow with 50 new stores planned to open in the next two years, Foxtrot has acted as an incubator for small and local businesses by giving them the chance to test products in its stores. From March 8 through April 4, owners and makers can apply to the Up & Comers awards for a chance to be sold in Foxtrot stores and nationally via Foxtrot Anywhere. Submissions from all genders are accepted, though two prizes  the “Hero Winner” and “Cherry Bombe's Women in Food” awards are reserved for women-led businesses.


Meyers Joins The Climate Pledge


Meyers, a print services company that designs and manufactures branded packaging, product labeling and retail in-store display solutions for global and emerging brands, has joined The Climate Pledge alongside 300+ other businesses, including Amazon, Best Buy, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Nespresso and Quorn. The Climate Pledge is a cross-sector community of businesses that have committed to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2040. The Climate Pledge was co-founded by Amazon and Global Optimism in 2019 and, according to the company, seeks signatories from companies and organizations committing to three areas of action:

  • Measure and report greenhouse gas emissions on a regular basis.
  • Implement decarbonization strategies in line with the Paris Agreement through real business changes and innovations, including efficiency improvements, renewable energy, materials reductions and other carbon emission elimination strategies.
  • Neutralize remaining emissions with additional, quantifiable and permanent offsets to achieve the 2040.

Meyers, which creates visual packaging and displays for companies including Hormel, Frito-Lay, Estee Lauder, Ulta Beauty and Levi’s, has been focusing on its own sustainability efforts for a while. The company recently revealed that it achieved its goal of powering 100% of its operations from carbon-free energy sources by the end of 2021.


GNC Exclusively Launches Zoa+ In Stores


Zoa, the energy drink brand co-created by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, has partnered with GNC as the exclusive in-store retailer for the brand’s new Zoa+ pre-workout supplement line. Available in three flavors, both in-store and online at, Zoa+ aims to reimagine the traditional powder-based pre-workout options with its carbonated, zero sugar, 12-oz ready-to-drink supplement made with natural caffeine.Zoa first launched at GNC in March 2021 with its namesake product and is currently available in seven flavors including original, super berry, pineapple coconut and white peach.

"GNC is the leader in pre-workouts and brands like ZOA are revolutionizing how athletes can make their workouts productive," said Kevin Maloberti, vice president, merchandising at GNC, in a news release. "We are proud to be the first to bring ZOA+ to shelves and build on our commitment to offer products to the GNC customer that help them live well."


Costco Names New Chief Merchant


Costco has promoted a 30-year veteran of the company to direct merchandising operations, the retailer announced during its second quarter earnings call on March 3. Claudine Adamo, previously senior vice president of merchandising/non-foods and e-commerce, will become executive vp and chief operating officer of merchandising, succeeding Ron Vachris who was just promoted to president and COO in February.