The Friday Checkout is a weekly column providing more insight on the news, rounding up the announcements you may have missed and sharing what’s to come.
Letting someone live inside your grocery store and trash it over the course of several weeks may sound like a crazy idea to most grocers. But in the world of viral videos and social media impressions, that’s a great marketing opportunity.
Albertsons recently teamed up with YouTube star Jimmy Donaldson, aka “MrBeast,” on a challenge in which a contestant received $10,000 for every day he was able to live alone inside a fully-stocked Safeway grocery store. The catch: To receive his money, the contestant, Alex, had to come up with $10,000 worth of goods inside the store each day to give away to charity.
Donaldson’s team filmed Alex as he set up a living quarters, created a makeshift shower, operated a forklift, built a swimming pool and drove a go-kart through a wall of Cheese Balls.
For Safeway, which put the store in full working order for the contest, the payoff in all these shenanigans is clear. The video exposed more than 90 million (and counting) YouTube viewers to the grocer’s brand. It also linked the company with a large $450,000 donation of groceries, electronics and other goods.
Albertsons, which has launched a shop in the metaverse and interactive circulars on Meta, clearly has its eye on social media and other virtual gathering spaces. They’re spaces other grocers will have to play around in, too, if they hope to reach millions of young consumers.
In case you missed it
Publix arrives in the Bluegrass State
The Florida-based grocery chain revealed this week that it will open its first location in Kentucky on Jan. 10, 2024, in Louisville, the state’s largest city, the Courier Journal reported. Publix announced plans for the approximately 55,700-square-foot store, at 2500 Terra Crossing Blvd., in September 2021.
Publix also said this week that it intends to open a supermarket in Roanoke, Virginia, at an unspecified time. The 50,324-square-foot location, set to occupy a site at the southwest corner of Brambleton Avenue and Old Cave Springs Road in the city, will be the chain’s first store in southwest Virginia, The Roanoke Times reported. A Publix affiliate purchased the 9-acre parcel where the store will sit for about $2 million, according to the news outlet.
Food retailers join forces to cut waste
Grocers including Aldi, Walmart, Whole Foods Market, Raley’s and Ahold Delhaize have signed an agreement under which they will pursue a United Nations goal to cut food waste at the retail and consumer levels in half by 2030.
As signatories to the U.S. Food Waste Pact, a project of ReFED and the World Wildlife Fund, the retailers also plan to share information on efforts to cut food waste and loss. Other participants in the pact include Del Monte as well as foodservice companies Sodexo USA and Aramark.
Plastic bags to go away in another state
Most grocers in Colorado will no longer be able to provide single-use plastic carryout bags to shoppers as of Jan. 1, 2024. Under legislation enacted by the Colorado General Assembly in 2021, retailers may continue to sell recycled paper bags and must charge 10 cents for each one — or a higher fee if required by a local jurisdiction — and may keep 40% of the amount they collect. Retailers that operate only in Colorado and have no more than three locations are exempt from the ban.
Number of the week: -13.5%
That’s the year-over-year decrease in same-store online sales that surveyed regional grocers reported in the third quarter, according to new research by Brick Meets Click and Mercatus. Only three of the 25 banners that participated in the research said they had positive year-over-year e-commerce sales growth during that quarter.
Inflation figures due
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is set to unveil Consumer Price Index data for November on Tuesday, giving the latest update on where overall inflation and food-at-home prices stand.
Retail sales stats to come out
The U.S. Census Bureau plans to release retail sales data for November on Thursday.
Home Alone, starring inflation
If you’re familiar with the classic family Christmas film, you’ll remember the scene where 8-year-old Kevin takes a trip to the grocery store to buy milk, a frozen mac-and-cheese dinner, Wonder Bread, orange juice, dryer sheets and other staple items
The grand total for his order is $19.83 (with a coupon). But this was back in 1990, and times (as well as prices) have certainly changed.
A TikTok user investigated just how much that shopping trip would cost 33 years later and found the new total is just shy of $70, including the coupon. Another user was able to bring the order down to around $55, and another to about $44. Regardless, the new shopping trip total is well over double what little Kevin paid that day at his local grocery store.
@sellitlikelyons Groceries in 1990 vs Today Breakdown ☠️ #fyp #homealone #rockwalltx #geoffreylyons #lyonsden #northtexas #dallastx #dallasrealestate #dfw #dfwrealtor ♬ original sound - Geoffrey Lyons