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.
Grocers seem to be hopping up their game when it comes to Easter this year. From installing eye-catching in-store displays to spotlighting savings, food retailers are appealing to anyone seeking out meals and candies for the holiday, which is next Sunday, April 9.
The Fresh Market had several Easter displays, including cookie Easter cottage kits similar to gingerbread houses, at its store in Rockville, Maryland. Along with the displays, The Fresh Market is offering meal bundles, including ham, lamb, prime rib and brunch options, and savings on a Easter ham meal for eight to 10 people for its loyalty members.
Tapping into its Firework-powered shoppable content online, the grocer hosted a shoppable livestream last Thursday with Emmy Award-winning TV personality Anna Rossi, who made the Easter Lamb Meal for Two and shared entertaining tips.
Other retailers are also looking to make Easter meal planning easier, with Walmart and Target both focused on discounts for shoppers. The former is offering customers last year’s prices on Easter meal essentials and Easter basket items, while the latter is offering more than 200 seasonal treats for under $5.
BJ’s Wholesale Club is offering its members additional savings on Easter essentials starting from last Thursday and running through Easter. Members who spend online or in-store $150 in one qualifying transaction between those dates will receive a $15 digital coupon valid from April 13 to April 23.
The club retailer is also positioning itself as a “one-hop” shop where customers can buy fresh food, spring decor, brand-new toys, seasonal paper goods and more.
These efforts to make Easter egg-cellent for consumers come at a time when retailers are poised to reach a new spending high for the holiday of $24 billion, per estimates from the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics. That’s a lot of chocolate bunnies!
In case you missed it
Ahold Delhaize’s Green Bond
The Dutch grocery company announced Tuesday that it has priced a 500 million euro ($544 million) green bond, marking the first time Ahold Delhaize has raised money using the sustainability-related financing mechanism.
The transaction has a five-year term that matures on April 4, 2028, and follows a sustainability bond the grocery chain issued in 2019, a sustainability-linked revolving credit facility the company arranged in 2020 and a sustainability-linked bond it issued in 2021.
Proceeds from the bonds will fund Ahold Delhaize’s new and existing environmentally friendly assets “with a positive measurable environmental impact,” the company said. Those efforts involve green buildings, renewable energy, energy efficiency, clean transportation, and pollution prevention and control, per the press release.
Medicaid for groceries
New Mexico, Washington, New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Maine are seeking federal waivers to pilot the use of Medicaid funds to pay for food, according to a recent Axios news report.
If their requests are approved, the states would be able roll out Medicaid-for-groceries pilots alongside Arkansas, Oregon and Massachusetts, which have already been given the go-ahead by the Biden administration.
The Medicaid-for-groceries initiative has received mixed reviews, with some pleased it will deal with food insecurity and other health conditions and others preferring to see SNAP benefits expanded, Axios reported in February.
H-E-B’s limited-edition Astros ice cream
The Texas grocer is delivering a limited-edition frozen treat to Astros fans, according to a March 22 announcement. The H-E-B Creamy Creations Houston Astros Peanut Brittle ice cream arrived in Houston-area stores last week and will be available in half-gallon and pint sizes while supplies last.
The grocer notes that 5% of each ice cream purchase price will be donated to the Astros Foundation, which supports youth baseball and softball programs, honors members of the U.S. military, raises awareness for childhood cancer and makes efforts to reduce homelessness, per the press release.
Number of the week: 76
That’s the number of counties in the United States that do not have a single grocery store, according to data from the USDA cited in a Monday report by Nebraska Public Radio. Thirty-four of those jurisdictions are in the Midwest and Great Plains, the report notes, adding that retailers have struggled to remain in business as populations in rural areas have declined.
Jobs report due
The Bureau of Labor Statistics will release its latest employment report next Friday. The data will shed light on how well grocers did over the past month in their quest to bring on new workers.
Walmart holds investment meeting
The retailer plans to host its 2023 Investment Community Meeting Tuesday and Wednesday. Walmart executives will discuss the company’s strategic plans during the event, which will be livestreamed.