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Meijer’s Simply Give program surpasses $2 million mark

BY Allison Cerra

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Meijer announced that its most recent food pantry donation program has exceeded $2 million in total food donations.

According to the retailer, its latest Simply Give program, which ran from March 20 through May 14, garnered more than $270,000 in donations for 195 local food pantries. Overall, the program, which debuted in November 2008 and aims to replenish the shelves of local food pantries in each city and town where a Meijer store is located, has helped to feed more than 250,000 families throughout the Midwest.

"We appreciate the support and commitment of our generous customers as we reach out to those in our local communities who need help in the fight against hunger," Meijer EVP operations Janet Emerson said. "We are extremely proud to have surpassed the $2 million donation mark and, with the support of our customers, plan to continue to help ease the burden of local food pantries."

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Tesco continues to focus on Fresh & Easy

BY Allison Cerra

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Tesco said it is turning its attention to its U.S. supermarket chain, according to the company’s annual report.

According to the company, despite the fact that its U.S. operations, which include its Fresh & Easy supermarket chain, have been slower to recover when compared with its European counterparts, Tesco said, "We are now seeing signs of improvement. … Customer feedback at Fresh & Easy remains excellent, and strong growth in customer numbers is driving steady sales improvement in each store."

Tesco’s U.S. sales raked in about $828 million during the 2010-2011 financial year, according to the report. Tesco also said that while "[we] plan to accelerate the rate of new store openings to around 50 in the current year, … we now expect to break even with around 300 stores rather than the 400 we originally anticipated."

In April, Fresh & Easy, which operates stores in California, Arizona and Nevada, endured a loss of more than $300 million during the 2010-2011 financial year ended Feb. 26.

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FMI announces executive changes

BY Allison Cerra

ARLINGTON, Va. — The Food Marketing Institute announced that one of its former executives is rejoining the organization, while another will be retiring.

FMI announced last Friday that Patrick Davis has rejoined the organization as its VP state government relations, where he will serve as the principal liaison between FMI and state associations. Prior to rejoining FMI, Davis served as president and founder of Alliance Consulting.

"We know from his previous work at FMI that Patrick is a proven and successful leader, and we are delighted to welcome him back to the team," FMI president and CEO Leslie Sarasin said. "His extensive knowledge of food industry operations provides solid grounding for his task of establishing, promoting and communicating state-level legislation as an advocate for the food retail and wholesale industry."

Meanwhile, FMI also said that Jill Hollingsworth, SVP food safety programs, is retiring after 15 years of service. During her tenure, FMI developed "a complete spectrum of food safety resources for retailers and wholesalers, including the Safe Quality Food Institute and SafeMark training programs,” Sarasin said. 

"Jill has been an extraordinary advocate on behalf of supermarkets," Sarasin added. "She has spent her entire career dedicated to ensuring food safety for consumers. She will be greatly missed, but we wish her a wonderful retirement."

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