Wednesday, August 26, 2020

At Albertsons' Sustainability Means Vertical Farms But is that Enough

Turning around a battleship that is taking on water is very hard, near impossible, and Albertson’s over past three years had looked like a ‘battleship’ in trouble closing stores in markets all around the country, capitulating market share to competitors according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.  
So, when Albertsons announced an agreement to provide shoppers in more than 430 of its California stores with fresh produce grown in a futuristic vertical farm sending the messaging that Albertson’s is ‘getting-better-for-you’ the team at Foodservice Solutions® ponder out loud that it just might be too little too late.  The stock price of Albertsons continues to be well be low the range it went public at $16.00 a share.  
While the collaboration with Plenty marks a “milestone” for the grower, which produces a variety of packaged greens under the Plenty brand out of a high-tech South San Francisco indoor farm that provides what it said was pesticide-free, fresh, sustainable and flavorful produce grown using less than 1% of the land and 5% of the water of conventional outdoor growers.
There is nothing bad about the deal but from a financial standpoint it appears that the deal was better for ‘Softbank’ than Albertsons according to Johnson. Geoff White, EVP of merchandising for Albertsons “We pride ourselves on offering fresh, quality products that surprise and delight our customers,”, … “Plenty’s data-driven and sustainable methods are truly innovative, and we look forward to bringing their unique and exciting products to more customers in California as they scale their operations.”

Plenty said its operation leverages data analytics, machine learning and customized lighting to maximize taste, while a combination of wind and solar provides 100% of the farm’s energy. The current Plenty farm can grow 1 million plants at a time and process 200 plants per minute. Ok, so what’s not to like about that?  Within the grocerant niche it’s the ‘halo’ of better-4-you’ food and food products that continues to drive sales and garner incremental customer trial and customer migration according to Johnson.
“Albertsons Cos. is leading the industry by creating a new partnership model to deliver customers the intensely flavorful and fresh produce of the Plenty farm,” said Matt Barnard, CEO of Plenty. “This is an important milestone for the Plenty team, and we look forward to bringing Albertsons Cos. customers the best-tasting and cleanest greens they’ve ever eaten.”
Integrating grocerant niche product messaging is an important sept to drive top line sales and bottom line profits.  Food retailer specifically grocers must rethink consumer messaging and focus on selling meals not CPG products. Albertsons stock price is a reflection on how relevant consumers think the brand is. 
Invite Foodservice Solutions® to complete a Grocerant Program Assessment, Grocerant ScoreCard, or for product positioning or placement assistance, or call our Grocerant Guru®.  Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche. Contact: or 253-759-7869

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