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Seattle Times: Is Amazon.com ready to take fresh produce service national?

BY Michael Johnsen

SEATTLE — A report published Monday in The Seattle Times queried whether Amazon.com was ready to take its own Internet-driven fresh offering, called AmazonFresh, out of "limited-test" mode to pilot mode or even full-out launch mode this year. 

The report noted that Amazon had initially launched the service in 2007 and now services 80 area codes. 

And though many analysts are skeptical that Amazon had yet to figure out how to profitably deliver produce to a customer’s doorstep, Seattle Times business reporter Amy Martinez identified two changes between then and now that "could lay the groundwork" for a national launch. First, Amazon has negotiated the collection of sales taxes across several states, which means the company can now lay down roots in those states where before it wouldn’t. And Amazon has two new distribution centers located outside two major urban hubs — New York and San Francisco. 

"While an expanded distribution network could lay the groundwork for Fresh to go national in 2013, it remains to be seen whether [Amazon’s] lime green trucks head elsewhere anytime soon," Martinez wrote. 


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Nonprofit supermarket aims to address food deserts in Philadelphia area

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — A hunger relief group serving Philadelphia and surrounding areas has hired a New York-based brand and retail design consultancy to design a prototype nonprofit grocery store to address food deserts.

The agency, CBX, said the Philabundance had hired it to design the store, Fare & Square, which will open this summer in Chester, Pa.

The 13,000-sq.-ft. store will focus on selling fresh produce, meats, dairy, seafood and frozen foods at low prices to residents of Chester, one of the 35 Department of Agriculture-designated food deserts in the Delaware Valley, an area that includes Philadelphia, Camden, N.J., Wilmington, Del., and other cities. The town’s last full-scale grocer, whose building Philabundance recently purchased, closed down in 2001. Philabundance hopes to replicate the store’s model in other communities in the Delaware Valley.

"Convenient access to nutritious food is a growing and complex problem across the country and in the Delaware Valley, and one that requires a complex solution," Philabundance president and executive director Bill Clark said. "Philabundance has worked on this concept for five years, and we are thrilled to see it coming to fruition to help the residents of Chester."

CBX will collaborate with Philadelphia-based LevLane Advertising, which designed the Fare & Square logo. The logo includes a drawing of a purple carrot with the words "Fare & Square" set in an outlined box with rounded edges and the tagline "Good food right around the corner."

"We’ll be drawing heavily on both the Fare & Square brand direction as envisioned by LevLane and the existing supermarket footprint of the Chester space," CBX branded environments president Joseph Bona said.

The store will offer a customer-focused shopping experience and will partner with local organizations and businesses to provide a range of services to the community. "Ultimatley, we’re designing a neighborhood store that will have the look and feel of a traditional supermarket in that it’s clean, well-lit, convenient and friendly, but also a place that the community can call their own, instilling a sense of optimism, pride and connection," Bona said.


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Yasso Frozen Greek Yogurt adds to yogurt bar line

BY Jason Owen

BOSTON — Yasso Frozen Greek Yogurt is adding three new flavors to its line of Greek yogurt bars with coconut, mango and vanilla bean flavors to hit retail store shelves in February.

"Our decision to launch Coconut, Mango and Vanilla Bean was based on consumer conversations throughout our national sampling tour and surveys we conducted on Facebook," said Yasso co-founder Drew Harrington. "We’re fortunate to have such wonderful fans and love including them in the creation of new flavors and product launches. Coconut, Mango and Vanilla Bean will add exciting flavor diversity to the current lineup of Raspberry, Strawberry and Blueberry."

The coconut flavor uses real shavings of coconut, creating a unique treat that has a punch of flavor. It’s a great healthy option for a summery snack. Mango is made with real mangoes, providing 60% of the recommended amount of daily vitamin C per bar. The authentic mango flavor also is a great solution for an on-the-go breakfast. Vanilla Bean takes the timeless flavor and combines it with the natural tartness of Greek yogurt, delivering a traditional taste with an untraditional calorie count and 7 g of protein.

Each bar is only 80 calories, has 6 to 7 g of protein and contains little to no fat. All Yasso novelty bars are offered in 3.5-oz. bars, made with all-natural, real Greek yogurt and are free of artificial sweeteners. Yasso Frozen Greek Yogurt Bars are available in major retailers nationwide.

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