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Food Lion Presents $2 Million to Wounded Warrior Project

Food Lion hosted a special breakfast on Veterans Day at its corporate headquarters to present a $2 million donation to Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP). The in-store initiative, which ran from Oct. 21 through Nov. 10 was a part of the WWP Believe In Heroes® campaign.

The donation by Food Lion will go to support the 20 free, life-saving programs and services that are offered by WWP, which are uniquely structured to engage warriors, nurture their minds and bodies, and encourage economic empowerment.  Since 2003, WWP has grown its programs and services to meet the growing needs of the constituency it serves. Currently, WWP provides support to more than 80,000 injured service members and over 13,000 caregivers and family support members. Through a high-touch and interactive approach, WWP’s vision is to foster the most successful, well-adjusted generation of wounded service members in our nation’s history.

“At Food Lion, we are honored to support our military and veteran associates and customers,” said Rudy DiPietro, Vice President of Merchandising for Food Lion. “Whether it’s helping a teammate’s family out while being deployed or raising money for Wounded Warrior Project in our stores, giving back to our communities and helping our neighbors is so important to who we are and what we do.  We want our customers to know that we are there for them and they can count on Food Lion to meet their needs.”

Believe in Heroes is one of the largest national cause marketing campaigns in the United States, annually bringing together brands, retailers and consumers in support of injured service members, their caregivers and families. The 2015 Believe in Heroes campaign began on Oct. 24, and runs until Nov. 20.  The campaign aims to tell the stories of warriors and bring to light the non-profit organization’s long-term needs in order to honor and empower Wounded Warriors. Believe in Heroes calls upon on Americans to support the brands that support our heroes. For more information, visit wwpbelieve.org.

H-E-B Launches Online Store

Texas-based H-E-B, one of the nation’s largest regional grocery retailers with more than 370 stores in Texas and Mexico, has made 50,000 shelf stable foods, drugstore and general merchandise products now available to purchase and ship at HEB.com.

Products include H-E-B’s popular store brands like Central Market Organics and Cafe Ole Taste of Texas Coffees, as well as a large variety of national brands. Orders can be shipped throughout Texas, to 46 states within the continental U.S. and to military bases worldwide. Online shopping has begun and is the perfect way to ship a gift of H-E-B brand products to friends and family in time for the holidays.

Totally Texas

Popular Texas brands that are only available at H-E-B stores are now available to purchase and ship at HEB.com. The new “Totally Texas” page at HEB.com/texas includes products made in Texas or inspired by Texans like Whataburger Whatafries and Spicy Ketchup, Franklin Barbecue Sauce made in Austin, H-E-B chips, sodas, salsas and more.

HEB.com will also offer a broad assortment of general merchandise items, including the popular Mexican-inspired Cocinaware cookware line made exclusively for H-E-B.

H-E-B Wherever You Are

With an assortment of products larger than most online retailers, and even larger than some H-E-B brick and mortar stores, shopping at HEB.com makes it easy and convenient for anyone to order their favorite products for shipping to home, family or friends.

For time-starved shoppers who want to stock up on grocery, general merchandise, drugstore and beauty products, HEB.com makes it easy to purchase items anywhere anytime. If a shopper’s neighborhood H-E-B doesn’t carry a particular specialty item, they can turn to HEB.com to have it shipped to home or office.

In Texas cities without an H-E-B store, like El PasoAmarillo and Texarkana, shoppers can simply visit HEB.com where the products they love are just a click away. And for out of state Texans that long for their Lone Star State favorites, HEB.com makes it easy to order and ship favorite foods from back home.

“We’ve been receiving calls for decades from Texans around the country who miss their favorite foods from home like H-E-B Texas-Shaped Corn Tortilla Chips and H-E-B Cafe Ole Taste of Texas Coffees,” said Martin Otto, Chief Merchant and Chief Financial Officer of H-E-B. “Now, even if you move outside of Texas, you’ll still have a ‘neighborhood H-E-B’ just a click away.”

Taking Care of Our Troops

In addition to shipping across Texas and to 46 states, HEB.com will ship to military bases worldwide. With Veterans Day this week, theSan Antonio-based company donated its first HEB.com shipments to service members based in Texas and around the world.

“Anything that reminds our troops of home is a big deal,” said Retired Army Lieutenant General Rick Lynch. “When our service men and women are half way around the world something as simple as their favorite chips and salsa can lift their spirits during a long deployment.”

Convenience and Everyday Low Prices

HEB.com is convenient for shoppers who want to stock up no matter where they live. All customer orders are delivered using standard shipping and in some Texas cities may arrive the very next day. Orders are shipped in one to three days and can be sent throughout Texas, to 46 states (excludes CaliforniaAlaska and Hawaii), and to any Army Post Office or Fleet Post Office (APO/FPO) address in the world.

Shipping fees vary and average $5 to $10 per order. Some products require a minimum order quantity, but all products are priced at the same everyday low prices shoppers can find in-store.

“No Hassle” Returns

H-E-B has created a “no hassle” return policy for online orders. Any product ordered online can be returned to any H-E-B store anywhere for an immediate full refund, or products can be sent back using free shipping.

Explore Sonoma County on a California Wines Road Trip

The Wine Institute is encouraging California tourists to explore the Wine Country by turning the spotlight on a different region each month, highlighting where to sip, eat, drink and play. This month, explore a gourmet journey to Sonoma County, the largest producer of Pinot Noir in California.

Home to 500-plus wineries, a renowned cheese trail, farm and vineyard dinners, artsy beach and wine country towns and 55 miles of ruggedly beautiful coastline, Sonoma County is one of the most well-known wine regions in California, but there’s always something new to explore. Winemakers, inspired by the region’s incredible abundance and diversity of varietals, are creating some of the state’s most celebrated wines.

SIP: Sonoma County is most known for its Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon, but it grows many of California’s 100-plus grape varieties. Explore the region’s 500-plus wineries in 18 American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) with this interactive map of Sonoma County wineries. Or visit the discovercaliforniawines.com interactive map to search wineries by their many amenities such as gardens, art displays, concerts, tours and picnic areas. For those travelers looking for themed tasting routes, from dog-friendly wineries to specific wine varietals, they can check out www.sonomawine.com/visit-our-wineries/suggested-tasting-routes.

STAY: Choose from luxury and full-service resorts, B&Bs tucked among the vines, charming seaside lodges, cabins and campgrounds, trendy downtown hotels or small inns on vineyard hillsides. Many prefer to pamper themselves at one of the area’s 40-plus spas and wellness centers, some of which offer access to natural thermal springs. Popular towns to stay in range from Bodega Bay on the Coast and charming wine country towns such as Sonoma, HealdsburgSebastopol or Petaluma. Explore all the options at Sonoma County Tourism.

PLAY: Nov. 21-22 the Holiday in Carneros kicks off the holiday season with wineries opening their doors for wine and food pairings, barrel and new release tastings and more.  After the holidays, make merry in the new year with the annual Winter WINEland Jan. 16-17, featuring tours, tastings of limited production wines and more at 140 wineries.  Check in regularly for more wine events atwww.discovercaliforniawines.com/events.

More fun things to do: Hike among the giant trees at Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve, along the wild coast of Bodega Head in Sonoma Coast State Park, with a docent at Jack London State Historic Park or on one’s own at Sonoma State Historic Park—site of the northernmost Franciscan Mission in California.  Pair local wines with wildlife at Safari West, which features private safaris from Winos and Rhinos to Cheetahs and Chardonnay.  Sip, taste, shop and stroll along historic wine town squares such as Sonoma Plaza and Healdsburg Plaza.

MAKE: Guests can make their own version of the state’s signature beverage at one of many blending classes at area wineries, some of which offer cooking classes or wine and food pairing sessions. With more artists than any other county in the Golden State (27,000-plus), the region is known for its relaxed, freethinking spirit and art galleries. Get inspired and make art at occasional classes hosted by the Sebastopol Center for the Arts and Petaluma Arts Center.

GROW: Sonoma County has a variety of micro-climates from coastal ranges perfect for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir to warmer inland areas where Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel thrive. Reflecting the community’s commitment to green practices, Sonoma County Winegrowers aim to have 100 percent sustainable vineyards by 2019.  In addition, more than 100 organic farms and dozens of farmer’s markets are held, giving travelers the chance to select fresh ingredients for a snack or meal.

EAT: Besides grapes, Sonoma County produces a variety of specialty foods from seafood, meats and artisan cheese to honey, lavender, olives, pumpkins and olive oils, most of which can be tasted at various gourmet shops or farms. The region’s more than 500 restaurants range from Michelin- and Zagat-rated stars to casual eateries like gastropubs. Savor fresh local oysters at Bodega Bay Oyster Company or taste along the Sonoma-Marin Cheese Trail, where many creameries are open to the public (call ahead to make sure).

For another kind of comfort food, save some space for Mom’s Apple Pies in Sebastopol, which bakes fresh daily from local Gravenstein apples and other local fruit. To get hands on, sign up for an agri-tourism or farm trail experience. Each September the region’s farms open their doors during Weekend along the Farm Trails, where visitors can meet the artisan producers, enjoy tastes, tours and demonstrations, take hayrides and experience life behind the barnyard gates.

Visit discovercaliforniawines.com for information on wine regions, wines and wineries throughout the Golden State and for planning a trip to California wine country. California is the number one U.S. state for wine and food tourism with dozens of distinct wine regions, 136 American Viticultural Areas and 4,400 wineries that produce 90 percent of U.S. wine. Established in 1934, Wine Institute is the public policy association of nearly 1,000 California wineries.

California Milk to be Featured in Rose Parade Float

The California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB) has revealed its “Adventures in Real Food” Rose Parade® float design that will bring-to-life a celebration of Real California Milk with a colorful display of flowers, animation, music and young California dairy leaders. Keeping with the parade’s “Find Your Adventure” theme, the CMAB’s float recognizes that culinary adventures start with dairy – from the cheese that tops our favorite pizza pies to the ice cream that turns a banana into a celebration – all provided through the state’s more than 1,400 dairy farm families.

“The Rose Parade is a California icon that dates back more than 100 years, with a history as rich as California’s 200-year-old dairy tradition,” said John Talbot, CEO of California Milk Advisory Board. “What better way to showcase the milk and dairy products that make California the number one dairy state while aligning with our new ‘Return to Real’ ad campaign in support of Real California dairy foods and the dairy farmers who help bring them to the table.”

The “Adventures in Real Food” float will show how consumers can find adventure on their plate with an exciting meal or by being outdoors with the people and foods they love:

  • The float will feature a flowing river of milk rapids cascading over California’s rolling hills and valleys.
  • Float riders will maneuver these rapids with ease by rafting atop a gooey, buttery grilled cheese sandwich; boating aboard a baked potato topped with butter and sour cream; and riding on a pizza pie paddleboard oozing with cheesy Mozzarella and Provolone cheeses.
  • At the back of the float, a premium Cheddar cheese wheel represents the warm California sun, which shines happiness upon the scene.
  • Adding to this delight, at the front of the float, is a banana split “satellite” unit featuring two scoops of California ice cream goodness with a cherry on top, while a bowl of creamy yogurt and a variety of savory cheeses and butter complete the scene.

Float riders will represent some of the “Real People” essential to the dairy industry and who make California the Land of Milk & Sunny – including young dairy leaders from the Future Farmers of America (FFA), California Holstein Association, junior members of the California Jersey Cattle Association and California Dairy Princess ambassadors.

Viewers can watch the float make its debut in the parade on January 1, 2016, and see it up close at the Showcase of Floats onJanuary 1-3 in Pasadena, California.

Marin French Cheese Wraps up 150th Year of Momentous Accomplishments

New Cheeses in 2016!

Marin French Cheese Company, the longest continuously operating cheese company in the U.S., plans to retain that title for years to come. Wrapping up a year of celebrations marking its 150th year of artisan cheese production in the same Marin County location, the company is launching its innovative Baking Brie Kit and Supreme Extra Crème Brie nationally.  Not to be outdone, Laura Chenel’s, Marin French’s sister company in Sonoma, founded 35 years ago, will unveil refreshed branding including packaging, a brand-new website, educational videos and new goat cheese products for national distribution in early 2016. Both companies claimed a host of top awards at national cheese competitions in 2015.

Innovations at Laura Chenel’s continue, underscoring the company’s well-known pioneering spirit and significant place in the ‘Story of American Chèvre.’ “2016 will bring exciting changes for our pioneering companies,” says Philippe Chevrollier, General Manger for Laura Chenel’s and Marin French Cheese. “We see a changing landscape for artisan cheese as the market expands, bringing new consumers and exciting opportunities for growth.” Industry experts estimate the annual growth of 4 percent in specialty cheese will continue through 2018, led by demand for nutritious snacks and protein-rich foods.

New Cheeses

Marin French’s new Baking Brie Kit includes a uniquely designed wood cup, oven-safe and microwavable, and an 8-ounce wheel of award-winning Traditional Brie or Jalapeno Brie.  Baking Brie Kits will be in national retail chains and specialty shops by early November.  Baking Brie Kits and all-new Holiday Gift Baskets are ready to ship for the holidays from the online store.

Laura Chenel’s new product lineup of flavored fresh cheeses includes a coated Pineapple Log, Fig Log, and Garlic Chabis and an aged, bloomy-rind Goat Brie. The new Spicy Cabecou is marinated with Jalapeno and packed in an improved, anti-leak jar.

Awards

Together the companies picked up nineteen prestigious awards in 2015, recognizing their classic fresh, aged and soft-ripened cheeses along with top prizes for new cheeses competing for the first time in 2015.  Most notably:  Best of Class prize for Laura Chenel’s aged Taupinière from the US Cheese Championship in Wisconsin, 1st Place award for Marin French Traditional Brie from the American Cheese Society (ACS) in Providence RI and a coveted Winner Award for Marin French Petite Breakfast from the Good Food Awards, San Francisco. New cheeses Spicy Cabecou and Pineapple Log earned top awards for Laura Chenel’s while two new Marin French cheeses, Supreme and Petite Supreme, bested their competitors.

“These awards recognize milestone achievements confirming the high-quality cheese we strive to produce every day,” says GM Chevrollier. “We take pride in our collective years making great cheese, we respect traditions and the craft of cheesemaking while striving for innovation.” New products from Laura Chenel’s and Marin French will be launched at the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco next January, where the sister companies’ products will be displayed side-by-side in booth #5117-5121.

Both Laura Chenel’s and Marin French Cheese are owned by French family cheesemaking company, Rians Group. The company is committed to local farming, long-term relationships for ethical and sustainable practices, and the craftsmanship of fine artisan cheeses reflecting distinctive regional terroir.  For a full list of awards go to: www.MarinFrenchCheese.com/about/awards.

Emmi Roth USA Launches Roth Natural Melt Creamy Fontina

With restaurants continuing to seek out ways to offer their customers wholesome, natural ingredients, Emmi Roth USA has recently released a new melting cheese to meet the needs of foodservice professionals with flavor and functionality. Natural Melt™ Creamy Fontina helps operators clean up their menus with a multi-purpose melting cheese that is crafted to melt, naturally. Three simple ingredients – pasteurized cultured milk, enzymes and salt – create an approachable flavor and buttery, velvety texture that is suited for a grand scope of culinary applications.

Developed in collaboration with the company’s team of corporate chefs and master cheesemakers, the cheese is crafted specifically to melt in hot foodservice applications. Special cheesemaking techniques are employed, including reduction of the protein bondage, to create an ideal natural melting cheese. Emmi Roth’s newest creation was launched to help foodservice operators not only elevate a host of menu favorites with a deliciously distinctive note, but also meet consumer demands for natural products.

Natural ingredients and artisan cheese are among the top 20 food trends for 2015 according to the National Restaurant Association’s (NRA) Culinary Forecast. NRA’s forecast also shows that 75 percent consider natural ingredients and minimally processed food as a hot trend, 65 percent consider artisan cheeses as a hot trend and 25 percent consider it a perennial favorite.

“Our team developed Natural Melt Creamy Fontina in response to the trends we are seeing in foodservice,” said Linda Duwve, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Emmi Roth USA. “We take pride in delivering innovative products and meaningful cheese solutions to our customers and are committed to transparency in our cheesemaking practices and wholesome, natural food production.”

Available in 7.5-pound loaves, Natural Melt Creamy Fontina can be easily incorporated into any hot foodservice application that calls for melted cheese, including sauces, soups, dips, mac n’ cheeses, burgers, flatbreads, grilled sandwiches and pasta dishes. Evan Topel, Corporate Chef at Emmi Roth USA, has developed a collection of delicious recipes featuring the new cheese:­­­­

For more information about Roth Natural Melt Creamy Fontina, visit www.rothnaturalmelt.com.

Disney Donates $1.5 Million to Feeding America

Feeding America, the nation’s leading hunger-relief organization, salutes The Walt Disney Company for its $1.5 million donation, the vast majority of which will provide grants to 60 food banks across the nation to expand their local fresh produce sourcing and distribution programs.

Disney’s support will help strengthen local produce sourcing programs in Feeding America member food banks across the country, ensure that food banks can handle larger amounts of fresh produce, and galvanize support from the produce industry and the public.

Increasing access to nutritious foods and engaging audiences to take action is a part of Disney Magic of Healthy Living’s long-standing commitment to creating healthier generations and promoting healthy lifestyles. Disney’s support of Feeding America helps the organization serve more than 12 million children each year.

In addition, Disney | ABC developed special TV spots to inspire communities to envision a future where kids and families have access to nutritious food. The spots—set to air throughout November and December on Disney Channel, Disney XD, ABC and ABC Familyencourage supporters to share the joy through single acts of kindness that can change the world.

“We are delighted that Disney is deepening its commitment to support Feeding America by helping to bring much-needed fresh fruits and vegetables to people facing hunger throughout our nation,” said Diana Aviv, CEO of Feeding America. “Together, along with the public’s support, our food bank network will be able to supply additional healthy fresh produce to help nourish kids and families in need.”

Upfront Foods Debuts Smaller Display Carton

Upfront Foods® is introducing a new display carton in a smaller size that helps keep the single-serving pouches of its non-GMO, vegan, and kosher granolas neatly displayed, conserves space on the shelf, and includes point-of-sale elements that appeal to today’s consumers.

Upfront Foods New Smaller Display CartonEMThe new shelf and countertop display cartons are available December 1 and hold six of the 1.4-ounce single serving pouches with a compact footprint of about 8 by 3.5 inches on the shelf, said Gigi Twist Upfront Foods’ founder. A master case contains six cartons for a total of 36 pouches, Twist said. The previous display held 12 pouches.

The colorful display carton carries over the packaging motif of leaves, ferns, shafts of grain, and other natural elements to reflect the close-to-the-Earth nature of the ingredients. It also highlights the convenience of the single serving packaging with a “Take Me Anywhere” call to action. The new cartons are available for all three flavors, and Upfront Granola® Original Crunch and Upfront Granola Cranberry Zest™ have a call-out to let consumers know they meet USDA Smart Snacks in School Standards. For Upfront Granola Pecan Almond Crisp, the carton highlights its four grams of protein per serving.

“The new smaller size was designed with retailers’ needs in mind, and the design for our packaging and display carton appeals to consumers who are looking for smarter snacks that fit their on-the-go lifestyles,” Twist said. “The cartons also let them know that our non-GMO granola is a portion controlled snack with simple ingredients from trusted food sources and contain no preservatives or artificial ingredients.”

Upfront Foods three granola flavors have Non-GMO Project Verification, are certified vegan by the Vegan Awareness Foundation, are OU Kosher certified, and Made in USA Certified®.  All three are designated 100 percent whole grain by the Whole Grains Council. They are available in 1.4-ounce single-serving pouches with a suggested retail price of $1.79.  Additional information is available at http://UpfrontFoods.com or by calling 1.561.886.0209.

Kroger and Roundy’s to Merge

The Kroger Co. and Roundy’s, Inc. have announced a definitive merger agreement under which Kroger will purchase all outstanding shares of Roundy’s for $3.60 per share in cash.

The transaction price represents a premium of approximately 65 percent to the Roundy’s closing share price on November 10, 2015. The terms of the agreement were unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies.

Under the terms of the merger agreement, Kroger will commence a tender offer for all of the outstanding shares of Roundy’s common stock. Any shares of Roundy’s common stock not acquired in the tender offer will be acquired by Kroger in a subsequent merger. The transaction is subject to Roundy’s stockholders tendering at least a majority of the outstanding shares of Roundy’s common stock in the tender offer, certain regulatory approvals, and other customary closing conditions. The transaction is not subject to any financing conditions.  Willis Stein & Partners and its affiliates, holders of approximately 7 percent of the outstanding shares of Roundy’s common stock, have agreed to tender their shares. The transaction is expected to close before the end of the 2015 calendar year. The merger agreement contains a 30-day go-shop period, which commences on the date of the merger agreement.

“We are delighted to welcome Roundy’s to the Kroger family,” said Rodney McMullen, Kroger’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “With a team of 22,000 talented associates, outstanding store locations, and a shared commitment to putting customers first, we are excited about Roundy’s future growth.”

“Mergers for Kroger always involve both parties bringing something to the table,” McMullen said. “We admire what Bob Mariano has done with the Mariano’s banner in Chicago, where he has created an urban format that is resonating with customers, and we expect to apply Roundy’s experience to our stores in urban areas around the country. Kroger’s scale and strong financial position will enable Roundy’s to reinvest in its home state of Wisconsin while continuing to grow in Chicago. Together, we are committed to investing in Roundy’s people, communities, stores and merchandising to deliver a fantastic customer experience that will create opportunities for associates, grow customer loyalty and revenue, and create value for shareholders.”

Robert A. Mariano, Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer of Roundy’s, Inc. said, “We are excited about becoming part of The Kroger Co. Kroger’s scale, knowledge and experience allows us to accelerate the strategic initiatives we have invested in and makes us a more formidable competitor in the marketplace. This is a great win for our customers, communities,  employees and our shareholders, and I personally look forward to continue to exceed customer and employee expectations. “

Roundy’s brings to Kroger an expanded footprint with a complementary base of 151 stores and 101 pharmacies in new geographies including MilwaukeeMadison and northern Wisconsin, which are served under the Pick ‘n Save, Copps and Metro Market banners. The merger also expands Kroger’s presence with an innovative store format in the Chicagoland area, where Roundy’s operates 34 stores under the Mariano’s banner. Roundy’s also operates two distribution centers in Oconomowoc and Mazomanie, Wisconsin, and a commissary in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Roundy’s had revenues of nearly $4.0 billion for fiscal year 2014.

Financial Highlights
Kroger plans to finance the transaction with debt, and refinance Roundy’s existing debt of $646 million based on market conditions. Consistent with the company’s long-term commitment to returning cash to shareholders, Kroger intends to continue its quarterly dividend and share repurchase program while managing free cash flow to reduce the leverage taken on from this merger. Although the company’s net debt to EBITDA ratio will increase at the time the merger closes, Kroger expects the ratio to remain in the 2.00 – 2.20 range upon closing of the merger. Kroger is committed to maintaining its current investment grade credit rating.

Kroger expects the merger to be slightly accretive to earnings in the first full year after closing, excluding merger-related expenses. The transaction will have no effect on Kroger’s current long-term net earnings per diluted share growth rate of 8 – 11 percent, plus a growing dividend.

While Kroger expects to realize cost savings of approximately $40 million over time, the company plans to reinvest those cost savings to grow the business. Kroger has a strong history of achieving synergy goals. Being patient in achieving those goals reduces the risk of the transaction and sets the stage for sustainable growth.

Operational Profile
Together Kroger and Roundy’s will operate 2,774 supermarkets and employ over 422,000 associates across 35 states and the District of Columbia. Following closing, Roundy’s will continue to operate its stores as a subsidiary of The Kroger Co. and will continue to be led by key members of Roundy’s senior management team. There are no plans to close stores, and associates will have employment opportunities with both companies. Roundy’s headquarters will remain in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Kroger and Roundy’s both strive to play a vital role in all of the communities they serve. In 2014, Kroger invested more than $280 million in local communities to provide hunger relief and support for the military and their families, breast cancer awareness programs and more than 30,000 schools and grassroots organizations.  Roundy’s is similarly committed to helping communities through the Roundy’s Foundation. Chartered in 2003, the Roundy’s Foundation mission is to support organizations working to relieve hunger and helping families in crisis due to domestic abuse, neglect and other at-risk situations.

Additional Information
The transaction is expected to close by the end of the 2015 calendar year following the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including successful completion of the tender offer and regulatory approval. The transaction includes customary breakup fees.

Kroger’s Honoring Our Heroes Campaign Raises $2.9 Million for USO in 2015

The Kroger Co. has raised a total contribution to the USO of nearly $2.9 million for 2015. This total includes a company contribution of $1 million in funds and in-kind donations totaling $250,000.

The remaining support was raised through the generosity of customers and associates who contributed at check stands, purchased special gift cards to be delivered to USO centers, or donated online throughout Kroger’s year-long Honoring Our Heroes campaign.

Kroger today also announced that as a result of its one-day Honoring our Heroes hiring event held on September 15, the company hired more than 2,000 military veterans and their family members. Kroger has hired more than 32,000 veterans since 2009 as part of its commitment to active duty troops and the nation’s 23 million veterans.

“Whether through our customer, associate and company support of the USO or creating career opportunities for transitioning service men and women, Kroger is dedicated to our nation’s active duty troops and 23 million military veterans and their families,” said Lynn Marmer, Kroger’s Group Vice President for Corporate Affairs.

As a token of appreciation for the many family dinners missed while deployed, Kroger invited troops and families to enjoy the summer barbecue experience in 11 bases across the country.  Kroger also provided a taste of home by sending barbecue “fixin’s” to three international bases for our deployed troops to enjoy overseas in Camp Buehring, Kuwait; Camp Arifjan, Kuwait; and Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany.

Since 2010, the Kroger family of stores, in partnership with customers, associates and vendors, has donated a total of $14.8 million to help support the military and their families – the largest cumulative gift to the USO in that organization’s history.

“The money raised by Kroger’s ‘Honoring Our Heroes’ campaign speaks volumes to their generosity and that of their customers,” saidmJ.D. Crouch IIUSO CEO and President. “For nearly 75 years, the USO has kept our servicemen and women connected to their family, home and country by providing the support, programs and entertainment that keep their morale high. Partners like Kroger allow us to deliver on our important mission.”

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