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SpartanNash said a top focus at the even was how the distributor, independent grocers and CPG brands can work together to rein in food prices and pass on savings to customers.

SpartanNash hosts largest-ever Expo for independents

Over 1,500 food and grocery industry attendees prepare for fall selling season

In-person business activities are back in a big way across the food retailing industry, and SpartanNash is no exception.

The grocery distributor/retailer last week wrapped up its 2022 Fall Expo in its hometown of Grand Rapids, Mich., where the company hosted more than 1,500 food and grocery suppliers and independent retailers in its biggest expo ever.

Themed “Delivering Seasonal Values,” the July 25-28 event also marked SpartanNash’s first customer interaction of this scale since the onset of COVID-19. A major focus was on inflation and how SpartanNash, independents and CPG brands can collaborate to mitigate rising food prices and help pass on cost savings to shoppers.

“In the midst of the highest inflationary environment we have seen in the past 50 years, the partnerships and collaboration with our CPG brand partners, national accounts and 2,100-plus independent grocers have been instrumental in combating higher costs to provide the millions of households we serve with best value on food and everyday household essential items,” Bennett Morgan, senior vice president and chief merchandising officer at SpartanNash, said in a statement. “We are proud to be the distribution partner of choice for our customers, and we are committed to finding even more food solutions to drive superior results.”

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Independent grocers at the event cited value-added insights and Expo-related savings as highlights.

The event at the DeVos Place Convention Center offered several educational sessions, including supercharging marketing efforts, specialty and variety merchandising, shopper expectations, promotional planning, prevention of severe incidents in the workplace, and crisis response. Independents also found new deals and promotions at expo booths and auctions, and new products offered by national CPG brands, specialty suppliers and SpartanNash’s refreshed OwnBrands.

“With all the challenges that come along with being an independent retailer, it’s nice to know that we can rely on SpartanNash as our trusted food distribution partner,” commented Jason Nilssen, owner of Nilssen’s, which operates stores in the Wisconsin and Minnesota markets. “Being able to count on value-added insights and Expo-related savings, particularly amid inflation, labor shortages and ongoing supply chain issues is critical to our business operation.”

Also, before the Expo began, independent retailers were invited to attend model store events at local Family Fare and D&W Fresh Market supermarkets, two of SpartanNash’s corporate-owned retail banners.

“The SpartanNash Expo was extremely energizing this year, with a heightened focus on delivering the ingredients for a better life, made possible through our unique industry insights and solutions, as well as through the continued benefits from our Supply Chain Transformation initiative,” Morgan said.

Expo attendees also met Heisman trophy winner and 11-year National Football League wide receiver Desmond Howard and heard a keynote address from Michigan native, veteran and Paralympic medalist Melissa Stockwell, who is the company’s Our Family brand ambassador.

Overall, SpartanNash operates 148 grocery stores in Michigan, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin under the banners D&W Fresh Market, Dan’s Supermarket, Family Fare, Family Fresh Market, Forest Hills Foods, Martin’s Super Markets, No Frills Supermarkets, SunMart, Supermercado Nuestra Familia and VG’s Grocery. Through its core food wholesaling business, SpartanNash distributes to over 2,100 independent grocery retailers, as well as its company-run retail grocery stores, nationwide. SpartanNash also distributes to 160 military commissaries and over 400 exchanges in the United States and internationally.

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