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Dean Foods and Good Karma Foods Strike Investment and Distribution Deal

Dean Foods Company has made a minority investment and entered into a distribution deal with Good Karma Foods, which produces flaxseed-based milk and yogurt alternatives. The partnership with Dean Foods will allow Good Karma to more quickly expand distribution across the U.S., as well as increase investments in brand building and product innovation. Dean Foods will take a position in the brand and joins lead investor 2x Consumer Products Growth Partners in support of Good Karma.

“We love Good Karma as a fit for Dean Foods as we focus on diversification both within and beyond dairy,” said Ralph Scozzafava, CEO of Dean Foods. “This opportunity with Good Karma is a way for us to build a platform for a larger plant-based portfolio. The management team has deep category expertise, the brand is a disrupter in the plant-based, non-dairy space, and we believe we can support its growth.”

Scozzafava continued, “One of the pillars of our strategic plan is to build and buy strong brands, and Good Karma embodies the exact type of opportunity we’re interested in as we look to add leading and high potential brands in adjacent growing categories such as plant-based beverages.”

Unata Announces Integration Plans with Toshiba TCx Elevate

Unata is planning to integrate with Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions’ TCx™ Elevate digital commerce platform to offer Toshiba grocery retail customers a simplified, market-ready eCommerce and eCircular solution.

TCx Elevate is an extensible digital commerce platform that brings all retail channels, touchpoints and applications together to create engaging customer experiences and improve productivity. TCx Elevate will enhance a retailer’s existing capabilities with minimal impact to their current point of sale environment.

Grocery retailers who are current Toshiba customers and embrace TCx™ Elevate will have access to an out-of-the-box integration with Unata that will in turn provide an accelerated time-to-market for launching the Unata solution suite (eCommerce, eLoyalty, eCircular, eCoupons, eCatering and more).

“In today’s fast-paced, rapidly-changing retail environment, it’s important that retailers can adapt in the most beneficial and cost-effective ways possible,” said Stephen K Markham, Senior Vice President Portfolio Management, Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions. “The integration between Toshiba’s TCx Elevate platform and Unata will offer a best-in-class path forward that will unlock new consumer-centric opportunities, and help grocers keep up with the rapidly-changing retail industry.”

Central Grocers Files Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Central Grocers, Inc. has announced that the company and all of its subsidiaries have voluntarily elected to file for relief under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. The company intends to use this court-supervised process to conduct an orderly sale of its Strack & Van Til stores as going concerns and anticipates entering into a sale agreement with a stalking horse bidder in the near future. Central Grocers is also seeking to sell its distribution center in Joliet as it winds down its wholesale distribution operations. The company has been cooperating with its lenders and expects to have access to sufficient liquidity to continue operating its stores and winding down the distribution center in an orderly fashion.

Strack & Van Til Stores Are Open for Business

All 22 Strack & Van Til, Town & Country Market and Ultra Foods stores in Indiana and Illinois are open and serving customers. Employees are receiving their pay in the ordinary course. Strack & Van Til intends to pay vendors in full for goods and services provided on or after the filing date, May 4, 2017.

Jeff Strack, President and Chief Executive Officer of Strack & Van Til, said, “Our stores are open, and we are as focused as ever on supporting our customers and providing the legendary service that we are known for. As we move through this process, our priorities, values and commitments to our customers and our communities will not change. We thank our loyal customers for their continued support, and we thank our employees for their hard work and dedication.”

Central Grocers Working Toward Sale of Stores and Distribution Facility

Central Grocers is continuing to work toward implementing a sale of the Strack & Van Til stores and a sale of its distribution center in Joliet and certain other assets. It is anticipated that any such sale transactions will be conducted pursuant to a court-supervised auction process under Section 363 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

Ken Nemeth, President and Chief Executive Officer of Central Grocers, said, “In light of the increasingly difficult environment for independent supermarkets and retailers, we have been working tirelessly to achieve an outcome that is in the best interests of our stakeholders. We are using this court-supervised sale process to provide us the time and flexibility to conduct an orderly sale of the Strack & Van Til stores, while we work to sell the warehouse in Joliet and wind down our wholesale distribution operations.”

The company has filed a number of customary motions seeking court authorization to continue to support its operations during the court-supervised process, including payment of employee wages and benefits. In addition, the company intends to file a motion shortly in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois seeking to dismiss the involuntary bankruptcy case commenced against Central Grocers in view of its voluntary Chapter 11 filing.

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