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Oishii strawberries are now available at over 100 grocery stores throughout the Northeast.

5 things: Here comes designer produce

Here’s 5 things you may have missed in grocery

Designer produce makes inroads in grocery: A $12 package of strawberries? That’s how much it’ll run you for Oishii’s strawberries, now available at over 100 grocery stores throughout the Northeast. The strawberries represent a trend that has been steadily building for years now in U.S. produce departments: fruits and veggies that pack a flavor punch and which frequently come at a higher price. From Cosmic Crisp apples to Badger Flame beets, what these specialty items often have in common is a combo of careful farming practices, genetics, and smart branding that help them catch the shopper’s eye in the produce aisle. And with consumer spending on fruits and veggies up 31% since 2018, there appears to be no end to the hunger for quality produce. —Chloe Riley

NY pharmacy 1st to offer OTC birth control: A Kinney Drugs location in Potsdam, N.Y., has become the first pharmacy in the country to sell a new over-the-counter birth control pill, according to a WWNYTV report. The new medication, called Opill, is the first approved non-prescription, oral daily contraceptive pill, the retailer said. The move comes just as New York issued a standing order to allow pharmacies to dispense other forms of hormonal contraception without a prescription. A spokesperson for Tops Friendly Markets told Supermarket News that the Williamsville, N.Y.-based retailer was preparing to begin offering the medications in its pharmacies. This authorization “exemplifies the crucial role that community pharmacies and pharmacists have” in serving their customers, the spokesperson said. It’s potentially a bit of good news for both consumers and retail pharmacy, which has faced its share of challenges lately. —Mark Hamstra

Don’t mess with H-E-B: Texas-based grocer H-E-B is throwing a party in Austin with Waterloo Greenway Conservancy, a nonprofit that works to renew the natural environment and build the urban park system with the city of Austin. The Our Texas, Our Future Wildlife and Environmental Festival at Waterloo Park in Austin is set for April 21 and will have a wide variety of sustainability workshops, guided garden tours, wildlife demonstrations, and more. The fest will also include an outdoor screening of H-E-B’s five-part environmental docuseries Our Texas, Our Future. The grocer is also encouraging attendees to bring in their plastic bags to the festival for recycling and a chance to win gift cards from H-E-B, Texas State Parks, and Waterloo Greenway. “H-E-B has a deep commitment to help protect, conserve, and beautify our great state for all Texans to enjoy, now and for future generations,” said Leslie Sweet, H-E-B managing director of sustainability and environmental affairs, in a statement. —Timothy Inklebarger

When you’re not screaming for ice cream: After 100 years of selling ice cream, Ben & Jerry’s owner Unilever now has a brain freeze on the business. Last week, Unilever said it will separate its ice-cream division—which also makes Magnum, Wall’s, Breyers, Talenti, Popsicle and Klondike—into a stand-alone business. Listing the business as a separate entity is the most likely outcome, but Unilever added that a sale is also a possibility. It hasn’t been easy lately for ice cream. Increasing popularity of weight-loss drugs like Ozempic is adding uncertainty about future ice cream demand, the Wall Street Journal writes. Last month, Morgan Stanley cited data indicating that ice cream was among the categories where weight-loss drug users cut back the most on spending. Those same users spent more on yogurt and fish. Perhaps ice cream isn’t such a sweet deal after all. —CR 

Aldi retail arbitrage: File under the category: This is why we can’t have nice things. We here at Supermarket News are embarrassed to admit we experienced an inordinate amount of joy upon learning that discount grocery Aldi was releasing a new crop of branded gear this week, including a pair of sneakers (with the Aldi logo on the side) for the low, low price of $12.99. As fans of Aldi, we may have just picked up a pair for ourselves...but that won’t compromise our diligent pursuit of honest and unbiased journalism. They sure are comfy, though. That’s why the team at Supermarket News world headquarters in Chicago was disappointed in humanity to learn that the low-priced sneakers are already appearing for resale on the internet for as much as $42! This capitalistic money grab is retail arbitrage run amok. We hope Aldi learns its lesson on artificial scarcity and makes the shoes available year round. —TI

Are you carrying these types of produce within your store / stores? Are they selling well? Let us know in the comments below , or email the SN staff at [email protected]

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