Walmart pokes the bear: After Amazon announced that it was raising prices for grocery delivery, rival Walmart shot back with a reminder that it built its massive retail empire around being the low-price leader. The retailer said in a tweet that the new $150 minimum order for free delivery from Amazon Fresh “is looking pretty stale right about now.” It also posted a side-by-side comparison of the cost for delivery of a $35 grocery order: “Free” vs. “not free.” At a time when consumers are increasingly looking for value, that’s pretty simple math. —Mark Hamstra
A newish channel takes center stage: The National Retail Federation show in New York last month featured the digitization of practically everything. There was the digitization of the store, the supply chain, the product line and even the shopping experience. This last one is coming mainly in the form of social commerce, which uses platforms like Facebook, Instagram and TikTok to drive sales and facilitate transactions. There were tech vendors in the NRF expo claiming they help retailers create shoppable posts, product catalogs and, interestingly, integrated checkout experiences that allow customers to purchase products directly through the social media platform. The goal of social commerce apparently is to merge social media with e-commerce, and it seems to be working. McKinsey reports that the sector is expected to grow from $45 billion last year to almost $80 billion in 2025. The grocery element of this is small and focused on ethnic and specialty foods but growing rapidly. —Ron Margulis
Step aside Eagles: The Philadelphia Eagles might be favored to win the Super Bowl, but another bird also will be taking center stage around the big event. The National Chicken Council projects that Americans will consume a record 1.45 billion chicken wings during Super Bowl weekend, an increase of 2%, or the equivalent of 84 million more wings, from last year’s projection. The NCC attributes the gain to such factors as more favorable prices, noting that wholesale and retail wing prices are down double digits from a year ago; additional features and promotions by retailers; and more consumers getting back to normal and gathering for the game. It appears that come Super Sunday, many viewers will not be eating like birds. —Richard Mitchell
A climate positive grocer? Online grocer Thrive Market has some big goals in the not-so-distant future: to be Zero Waste by 2022, plastic neutral by 2023, and carbon negative by 2025. What does this look like? The company already has Zero Waste certifications for all three of its fulfillment centers. Additionally, Thrive Market members clearly communicated that they wanted the plastic in shipping reduced, so this past August, Thrive executed a full-scale packaging reduction effort, ultimately reducing plastic bag usage by nearly 70%. Another thing? The company says composting will be “paramount for us” in the future. —Chloe Riley
Hot dog battle royale: Costco may have held fast to the $1.50 hot dog and soda combo at its food court (“I will kill you!”), but Sam’s Club also has its own $1.50 hot dog combo. And late last year, it announced it was dropping the price to $1.38. Hot dog rivalry! But which is better?? A reporter from the Los Angeles Times did a taste / experience test. His takeaway? Costco wins on overall vibe and atmosphere, but Sam’s Club ultimately came out ahead in accessibility (you don’t have to be a member to eat there), as well as having better toppings and a larger drink. Though he did add a caveat: He’ll reevaluate if Costco brings back the Polish dog and sauerkraut. —CR
Social media-driven e-commerce. Just how critical is this sector for your company / stores? And how much money are you willing to sink into growing it? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, or email SN Executive Editor Chloe Riley at [email protected].