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Podcast: FreshDirect’s Dave Bass says e-grocer primed for growth under ADUSA

Online grocery pioneer zeros in on lucrative New York City tristate market


FreshDirect, one of the trailblazers in the online grocery space, has begun a new chapter as part of Ahold Delhaize USA.

Though retaining its strong reputation for delivery of high-quality fresh foods and other groceries — and marking its 20th year in business this year — FreshDirect has sharpened its focus on its hometown metropolitan New York market, including not just the greater New York City area but also parts of New Jersey and Connecticut. The move comes after the pure-play e-grocer shut down delivery service to the Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., markets at the end of August.

FreshDirect’s service change comes as it further integrates with Ahold Delhaize USA, which acquired the company in January 2021. To that end, FreshDirect has partnered with supermarket chain Stop & Shop to help create an “omnichannel ecosystem” that brings more convenience, personalization and value to customers via brick-and-mortar and digital channels.

The ecosystem concept is designed to capitalize on densely populated markets like New York City, where FreshDirect operates from a 400,000-square-foot automated fulfillment center and campus in the borough of the Bronx. And FreshDirect Managing Director Dave Bass sees the online grocer’s current value proposition as a key differentiator.

“When I think about FreshDirect, there are really three key areas that we focus on,” Bass told Supermarket News in a podcast interview. “One is that we deliver the highest-quality and freshest food, and the second is that we create food experiences. And then the third is that we drive simple, healthy solutions to make every day better for our customers. We take, very much, a customer-first approach to understand what our customers needs are.”

Bass has led FreshDirect as managing director since September 2021. He previously served as senior vice president of omnichannel merchandising support at Peapod Digital Labs, Ahold Delhaize USA’s digital innovation arm.

“ADUSA is set up in a unique way, where they look at the [grocery retail] brands as being particularly local and focused on that local customer to win. At the same time, there’s a good-size company behind us that we can leverage for synergies and savings that in some ways the customers may not see and in some ways maybe they do,” he said. “But it has been a great first year for me here, and I’m really excited about the future potential growth for FreshDirect in the tristate market.”

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