Most Relevant Food Industry News of 2019

The year 2019 is coming to an end, as well as a decade that marked the transformation of the food and beverage industry, and the technological evolution in grocery stores.

During the past 52 weeks Abasto published the most relevant industry news in the United States, Mexico, and Central America, and below we present the most-read stories in our daily newsletter throughout the year:

ProMéxico Ceases Operations, Embassies Will Take Over

In January, the president of México Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced 46 ProMéxico offices around the world will cease all operations by the end of February. Since 2007, ProMéxico was responsible for promoting trade, exports, and internationalization of Mexican companies.

UNFI Plans to Consolidate Distribution Center Network

UNFI announced plans to optimize its distribution center network in the Pacific Northwest. It will consolidate five distribution centers into a new 1.2 million square foot facility in Centralia, Washington and a newly expanded facility of 800,000 square feet in Ridgefield.

Southeastern Grocers to Close Another 22 Stores

Southeastern Grocers, the parent company for BI-LO, Harvey’s, Fresco and Winn-Dixie, announced that they are closing 22 underperformed stores over March.

Goya Foods in México, a Successful Plan That Keeps Growing

Goya Foods celebrates in May its first year of partnership with La Moderna in México. This alliance has allowed Goya to successfully expand the distribution of its food products in the neighboring country, where it seeks to continue growing.

U.S.-Mexico Border Shutdown Would be Catastrophic

What would happen if President Donald Trump carries out his threat and close the border with Mexico to pressure the neighboring country to stop the flow of Central American immigrants? The consequences would be economic and social chaos according to experts and politicians.

Sysco Acquires Two Hispanic Food Distributors

Sysco Corporation announced it has acquired J & M Wholesale Meats and Imperio Foods, Inc., two Hispanic food distributors based in California with approximately $44 million in combined annual sales.

Walmart Tests the Grocery Store of the Future

Walmart chose its Neighborhood Market in Levittown, New York, to test what will be the grocery store of the future. With artificial intelligence-enabled cameras, interactive displays and a massive data center, this store brings to customers a taste of science fiction, but soon this type of store is going be part of the everyday shopping routine.

Nestlé Cuts 4,000 Jobs, Changes its Delivery Model

Nestlé USA announced that it will exit its company-owned frozen Direct-Store-Delivery (DSD) network for its Pizza and Ice Cream businesses and will transition to a warehouse model. According to Bloomberg, this action will result in the loss of 4,000 jobs.

Mexican Tomato Prices to Skyrocket with New Tariff

Mexican tomato growers expressed disappointment that the U.S. Department of Commerce decided to terminate the Tomato Suspension Agreement (TSA) and subject importers of Mexican tomatoes to duties that will be passed on to U.S. consumers and disrupt the fresh produce market.

GraceKennedy Foods’ La Fe Ready to Expand Its Operations In The US

GraceKennedy Foods USA, the proprietary company of La Fe, is celebrating the 50th year anniversary of its Hispanic food brand, La Fe; and it’s opening a brand new state-of-the-art distribution center in Wood-Ridge New Jersey, which was inaugurated on July 1st.

FMI Prevails in Supreme Court Decision on SNAP Sales Data Case

The U.S. Supreme Court remanded and reversed the judgment against the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) in its ongoing case, Food Marketing Institute v. Argus Leader. In this litigation, FMI seeks to protect the confidentiality of store-level sales data for retailers who participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP.

Potential Strike Threatens Major Supermarkets in Southern California

Thousands of employees from more than 500 supermarkets in Southern California are ready to go on strike if contract negotiation between seven United Food and Commercial Workers union locals and Ralphs, Vons, Albertsons and Pavilions supermarkets stalls.

Mexican Avocado Growers Invests $12 Million in New Joint Venture

The Producers and Packers/Exporters of Avocado of Mexico (APEAM) announced the investment of $12 million to build Casa APEAM, a new joint venture between Mexican and U.S. avocado growers and importers.

Gruma Consolidates its Position in the US and the Rest of the Global Market

The United States established itself as the main market for corn flour, tortilla and wraps products made by the Mexican global food company Gruma with 55% of net sales last year.

Northgate González CEO Receives the “Legends of the Industry” Award

For his vision and leadership in the grocery business, Miguel González, CEO of Northgate González Market, received the “Legends of the Industry” award from the Food Industries Sales Managers’ Club of Los Angeles.

Almost 4 Tons of Marijuana Found in Shipment of Jalapeños

Customs and Border Protection officers assigned to the Otay Mesa cargo facility seized almost four tons of marijuana mixed in with a shipment of jalapeño peppers. The pot is valued at $2.3 million.

Target Launches Grocery Brand Good & Gather

Target launched Good & Gather, the company’s new largest food and beverage private label. As of September 15, 650 products are on sale in stores and online at for same-day delivery.

Superior Grocers Opens its First Small Format Store in Los Angeles

Superior Grocers is exploring new alternatives to continue growing in a market that is increasingly competitive. The independent supermarket chain adopted a new banner, The Market By Superior, and opened its first small-format store in California.

Walmart Names John Furner President & CEO of Walmart U.S.

Walmart announced that John Furner will become the President and CEO of Walmart U.S., starting November 1, to replace Greg Foran who is leaving the company after five years in that role.

New York Post: “Goya Foods in talks to be sold to Carlyle Group for $3.5 billion”

The New York Post, citing unnamed sources, reported Goya Foods was in late-stage talks to sell a majority stake to The Carlyle Group in a deal that would value the canned-foods giant at roughly $3.5 billion. Goya CEO Robert Unanue responded emphatically that Goya is not for sale.

Amazon to Launch New Grocery Store Chain, Starts in L.A.

Amazon will open its first grocery store in Woodland Hills, a luxury suburban neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles, expanding its footprint in the supermarket industry. The new store is expected to have a very different style from the one offered by its Whole Foods chain store, and Amazon Go.

Dean Foods Files For Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Dean Foods, one of the largest dairy producers in the U.S., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings in the Southern District of Texas, citing the company has been suffering for the continuing decline in milk consumption.

Cardenas Markets Expands to L.A. and Orange Counties

Cardenas Markets announced its expansion west of Pomona, California. The Hispanic grocery chain will open its first store in the City of Whittier, in May 2020.

Grupo LALA Fiscal Results Falls Short, CEO Resigns

Mexico’s largest dairy company, Grupo LALA, reported that the results for the fiscal year have fallen short of stated goals and objectives aligned with strengthening the company’s profitability. For this reason, Mauricio Leyva will step down as Chief Executive Officer on December 31.

House Passes USMCA Deal: Impact on Food Industry

The House of Representatives voted 385-41 to pass the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), a top priority for almost all agricultural and food groups. But, what is it and what it means for the food industry?