Research Resources

Supermarket Anniversary Facts

75 FACTS FOR 75 YEARS


1930s | 1940s | 1950s | 1960s | 1970s | 1980s | 1990s | 2000s

1930s

  • 1930  Michael Cullen opens America's first supermarket in Queens, NY and names it King Kullen. Source: Supermarket Business, November 1995 (50th Anniversary Issue).

  • 1930 The first line of retail frozen foods go on display in Springfield, MA, with products manufactured under the Birdseye brand. The first product line includes 18 cuts of meat, spinach, peas, oysters, fish fillets and a variety of fruits. Source: Frozen Food Age, December 2002.


  • 1930 Refrigeration case costs are high at $1,200 for an eight-foot display and $700 for a four-foot one. However, in 1934 American Radiator Corp. manufactures an inexpensive low-temperature case that is available for lease at only $7.50 a month, making frozen foods more viable for retailers. Source: Frozen Food Age, December 2002.


  • 1930 Frank Mars introduced a chocolate-and-nut candy bar and named it Snickers. Source: To Market To Market…, Grocery Manufacturers of America.


  • 1932 Robert Otis and Roy Dawson open the first Big Bear supermarket in Hoboken, NJ. Like supermarket pioneer King Kullen, Big Bear is a "large, departmentalized, high-volume, high-stock-turnover, low-markup store designed for the automobile shopper." Source: Audacity, Spring 1997, pg. 16.


  • 1933 The National Association of Food Chains (NAFC) is established. Source: Supermarket Business, November 1995 (50th Anniversary Issue).


  • 1935 A $2,800 annual income puts a family of four in the middle class. Food claims one-fourth of the family budget at $700 a year. Source: Supermarket Business, November 1995 (50th Anniversary Issue).


  • 1936 The Robinson-Patman Act takes effect, requiring proportionately equal product cost and promotional terms and treatment for all retailers and wholesalers regardless of size. Source: Supermarket Business, November 1995 (50th Anniversary Issue).


  • 1937 Clarence Saunders designs and constructs a prototype of an automated store, which he calls the "Keedoozle," which stood for Key Does All. Source: Piggly-Wiggly Web site, 2004.


  • 1937 Sylvan Goldman of Oklahoma City invents the shopping cart. Source: Real Cart Web site, 2004. www.realcart.com/history/


  • 1937 The Super Market Institute (SMI) is formed by 22 independent operators who gather in New York City on May 11th to organize a national association and plan the first convention. The first SMI convention is held in late September. Source: Supermarket Business, November 1995 (50th Anniversary Issue); Supermarket Merchandising, September 1937.


  • 1937 Kraft Macaroni & Cheese is introduced; nine million boxes were sold the first year at a cost of 19 cents. Today, more than one million boxes are sold every day.

    If you laid all the Kraft Macaroni & Cheese boxes sold since 1937 end to end, they would stretch to the moon and back five times. Source: Food Processing, April 2002.


  • 1938 The Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act is passed by Congress, requiring that beverages, foods, drugs and cosmetics be proven safe. "The new law brought cosmetics and medical devices under control, and it required that drugs be labeled with adequate directions for safe use. Moreover, it mandated pre-market approval of all new drugs, such that a manufacturer would have to prove to FDA that a drug were safe before it could be sold. The act also corrected abuses in food packaging and quality, and it mandated legally enforceable food standards." http://www.fda.gov/oc/history/historyoffda/section2.html Source: Supermarket News, May 27, 2002


  • 1939 The first precooked, frozen meals are introduced by Birds Eye. Source: Supermarket News, May 27, 2002


  • 1939 With guidance from the National Association of Food Chains (NAFC), the government introduces a food stamp program to help feed poor families and to reduce product surpluses. The program was discontinued in 1943 when the surpluses had diminished and ration stamps were introduced. Source: FMI, America the Beautiful

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1940s

  • 1940 Auto registrations reach 28 million and federal public works programs have added more than 40,000 new miles of highway. Together, these developments give both delivery trucks and consumers a convenient way to travel to the nation's new supermarkets and buy large quantities of groceries, saving them numerous trips per week. Source: Supermarket Business, November 1995 (50th Anniversary Issue)


  • 1941 WWII forces Americans to ration food; luxuries like new cars, radios, refrigerators and ranges are no longer made as the country converts to a wartime economy.


  • 1941 South Carolina is the first state to mandate enrichment of white bread with vitamins and minerals. Source: Supermarket News, May 27, 2002


  • 1945 The end of WWII and the beginning of America's baby boom. Between 1945 and 1960 the population increases by 40 million, a whopping 30 percent rise. Source: Supermarkets: 50 Years of Progress, pg. 54.


  • 1946 A&P introduces the store-within-a-store concept by adding in-store bakery shops served from central bakeries. Source: Supermarket Business, November 1995 (50th Anniversary Issue)


  • 1949 The first Pillsbury "Bake-Off" is held in New York's Waldorf-Astoria. Source: To Market To Market…, Grocery Manufacturers of America, pg. 33.

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1950s

  • 1950 During the decade, the supermarket emerged as the predominant food retailer. The number of stores more than doubled - from 14,000 in 1950 to 33,000 in 1960. And its share of retail food sales jumped from 35 percent to 70 percent. Source: Time, October 27, 1980.


  • 1950s America's exploding population drives supermarkets to improve distribution efficiency. The logistics of waging war taught distributors how to move consumer products. Population growth also brings stores to new communities and construction of new warehouses. Source: Supermarkets: 50 Years of Progress, pg. 67.


  • 1950 King Soopers begins offering S&H Green Stamps and their popularity soars over the next 10 years. In 1962, trading stamps peak with estimated sales of $671 million. However, in 1963 some supermarket chains discontinue their stamp programs leading to the fall of trading stamps. Source: Progressive Grocer, December 1996.


  • 1953 Some 13 percent of fresh meat sales is now sold on self-service basis. Source: Supermarket Business, November 1995 (50th Anniversary Issue).


  • 1954 C.A. Swanson & Sons introduced the frozen "TV" dinner in the first yeat that RCA marketed the first color television sets. Source: To Market To Market…, Grocery Manufacturers of America.


  • 1955 SMI initiates the William H. Albers Industry Relations Award in the name of its first chairman. Purpose: To recognize a leading supplier who has made a significant contribution toward improving distributor/supplier relationships. Its first winner: J. Sidney Johnson. Source: Supermarket Business, November 1995 (50th Anniversary Issue).


  • 1955 Refrigerator sales in the U.S. increased by 82 percent from 1946 to 1955. Source: The American Grocery Store, pg. 163.


  • 1955 The home microwave is introduced. Source: Supermarket News, July 22, 2002.


  • 1955 Schwegmann Bros. opens the world's largest supermarket. The 244,000-square-foot store has 40 checkouts, parking for 1,600 cars and costs $1 million to build. Source: Supermarket News, December 28, 1992, pg. 8.


  • 1956 Lucky Stores becomes the second-largest chain in California after acquiring Cardinal Grocery Stores. Source: Supermarket News, July 22, 2002.


  • 1958 Kroger introduces a service deli, bakery and barbecue shop at a store in Detroit under the name, The Continental Counter. Source: Supermarket News, July 22, 2002.


  • 1958 The aluminum can, which has been looming on the packaging horizon for years, makes its debut as a food container. The can is used for parmesan cheese. Source: Supermarket News, December 28, 1992, pg. 9.


  • 1959 Quaker Oats introduces Aunt Jemima frozen waffles. Source: Frozen Food Age, December 2002.

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1960s

  • 1960 The federal interstate highway system reaches 867,000 miles, nearly triple the length 15 years ago when it was 309,000 miles. Source: Supermarkets: 50 Years of Progress


  • 1960 The first commercially successful multi-deck refrigerated case is introduced by Hussmann. Source: Frozen Food Age, December 2002.


  • 1960 An SMI-sponsored report by Raymond Loewy Corp. urges retailers to increase their nonfood assortments and organize these items into a separate department. Also, stores are urged to reinforce their food image with more effective perishables merchandising. Source: Supermarket News, December 28, 1992, pg. 10.


  • 1961 DPP (Direct Product Profitability) originates as a USDA study in cooperation with Supermarket Business' predecessor, Food Topics. The study shows how to calculate direct and indirect per-case and per-item costs, in order to calculate the true cost of handling a dry grocery item from warehouse to checkout. For the first time, net profit per item can be identified. This concept is later refined by activity based costing. Source: Supermarket Business, November 1995 (50th Anniversary Issue).


  • 1961 First National Supermarkets purchases the 164-store New York division of Safeway. It is the largest single acquisition in the industry's history. Source: Supermarket News, December 28, 1992, pg. 10.


  • 1961 President John F. Kennedy resurrects the idea of a food stamp program to help eliminate hunger, which was first used from 1939-1943. Source: Supermarket News, December 28, 1992, pg. 10.


  • 1962 Giant Food, Landover, MD, introduces the first in-store pharmacy. Source: Supermarket News, July 22, 2002.


  • 1962 The first Wal-Mart opens in Fayetteville, AR. Source: Sam Walton: Made in America


  • 1963 The first case-ready fresh poultry product is introduced. Source: Supermarket News, July 22, 2002.


  • 1963 Senator Philip A. Hart (D-Mich), sponsor of the "truth in packaging" bill, is indignant when an eight-inch pie contains only 40 cherries. He requests that FDA set standards on how many cherries a pie should contain. Source: Frozen Food Age, December 2002.


  • 1964 Esther Peterson is named special assistant for consumer affairs to President Lyndon Johnson in response to a uprising consumer movement. Peterson later becomes consumer affairs advisor for Giant Food Inc. Source: Supermarket Business, November 1995 (50th Anniversary Issue).


  • 1965 The Food Stamp Act of 1964 is passed into law with the intent to raise the levels of nutrition among low-income households. Source: FMI.


  • 1966 The Pillsbury Doughboy is introduced for prepared biscuit-dough products. Source: To Market To Market…, Grocery Manufacturers of America.


  • 1966 Inflation accelerates. Nationwide boycotting of supermarkets hits the industry hard. Source: Supermarket Business, November 1995 (50th Anniversary Issue).


  • 1966 Federal Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (truth in packaging law) is passed to prevent deceptive packaging and labeling, to assist consumers in obtaining accurate information about quantity and contents, and to enable them to make value comparisons. Source: Supermarket Business, November 1995 (50th Anniversary Issue).


  • 1966 Supermarkets Operating Co. and General Supermarket, the two largest members of the New Jersey-based ShopRite cooperative, merge. Alex Aidekman is chairman and Milton Perlmutter is president of the new chain, called Supermarkets General Corp. Source: Supermarket News, December 28, 1992, pg. 11.


  • 1968 Wakefern Food Corp. and Supermarkets General Corp. end their affiliation. Supermarkets General changes the name of its 78 stores to Pathmark. Source: Supermarket News, December 28, 1992, pg. 11.


  • 1969 Estimates are that 46 percent of the 55 billion pounds of fresh produce marketed annually are prepackaged prior to store delivery, up from 20 percent in 1955; 35 percent in 1958; and 40 percent in 1964. Source: Supermarket News, July 22, 2002.

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1970s

  • 1970 Robert Choate, nutrition expert, tells a Senate subcommittee that breakfast cereals aren't good sources of nutrition. The publicity prompts producers to fortify their products with vitamins and other nutrients. Source: Supermarket News, December 28, 1992, pg. 14.


  • 1970 Jewel Food Stores converts all locations to dual pricing, listing both price per package and per unit; it also becomes the first major U.S. chain to inaugurate storewide open code dating on perishable products. Source: Supermarket News, July 22, 2002.


  • 1970 The Nixon administration imposes wage and price freezes on food retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers - but not on farmers. As farm costs rise, industry earnings plummet to the lowest levels since the Great Depression Source: Supermarket News, July 22, 2002.


  • 1971 Giant Food becomes the first U.S. retailer to test nutrition labeling, printing the information on 10 private label items. Source: Supermarket News, July 22, 2002.


  • 1971 The industry moves closer to a Universal Product Code system with the creation of the Uniform Grocery Products Code Council. Source: Supermarket News, December 28, 1992, pg. 14.


  • 1972 A tide of 24-hour openings sweeps across the nation, raising a host of operating challenges. Source: Supermarket News, December 28, 1992, pg. 15.


  • 1972 The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) is developed by the USDA to supplement the diets of lower-income, pregnant and nursing women, their infants, and young children, who may be at risk of nutritional deficiency. Source: Making WIC Work, FMI, 1998.


  • 1973 Nutrition labeling is standardized by the FDA in response to pressure from consumer groups. The suggested format is to include content information for calories, protein, carbohydrates and fat, as well as U.S. Recommended Daily Allowances for various vitamins, minerals and protein. Source: Supermarket News, May 27, 2002


  • 1973 Skyrocketing energy costs leads President Nixon to call for a nationwide energy conservation drive. Store hours are shortened, stores and parking lots are dimmed and thermostats lowered. The Federal Energy Office allocates fuel distribution to companies. Source: Supermarket News, December 28, 1992, pg. 15.


  • 1973 Backhauling, a transportation practice used to defray costs by picking up products from a manufacturer after delivering products to a store, is declared to be legal by the Federal Trade Commission and not in violation of the Robinson-Patman Act. Source: Supermarket News, December 28, 1992, pg. 15.


  • 1973 The Oshawa Group opens the first hypermarket in North America near Montreal. Source: Supermarket News, December 28, 1992, pg. 15.


  • 1974 The first product is scanned --- a pack of Wrigley's gum at Marsh Supermarkets in Troy, OH on June 26th. Progressive Grocer, August 4, 2004.


  • 1976 Price Club, the first membership warehouse club, opens in San Diego, CA. Source: Supermarket News, July 22, 2002.


  • 1977 Ahold (Zaandam, Netherlands) acquires Bi-Lo Stores (Mauldin, SC). Source: Supermarket News, July 22, 2002.


  • 1977 The Food Marketing Institute is formed with the merger of Super Market Institute and the National Association of Food Chains (NAFC) and Robert Aders, former U.S. undersecretary of labor, becomes its first president and CEO. Source: FMI


  • 1978 Generic private-label products begin appearing on supermarket shelves. Star Market debuts generic frozen French fries and plans to introduce generic frozen peas, corn and orange juice concentrate. Sources: Frozen Food Age, December 2002 and Supermarket News, December 28, 1992, pg. 15.


  • 1979 The Tengelmann Group (Germany) buys 42 percent of A&P stock for $78.6 million. Source: Supermarket News, July 22, 2002.

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1980s

  • 1980 1980 The Dietary Guidelines for Americans is first released. It provides the basis for the federal nutrition policy that affects nutrition assistance programs, including school lunch program and federal nutrition education messages. Source: The Gourmet Retailer, September 2004.


  • 1980 President Carter signs the truck deregulation bill (Motor Carrier Act), legalizing cost-justified backhauls. Source: Supermarket News, July 22, 2002.


  • 1980 SUPERVALU buys Cub Foods for $10 million. Source: Supermarket News, July 22, 2002.


  • 1981 Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. acquires Fred Meyer, beginning a strong merger and acquisition trend in the industry. Source: Supermarket News, July 22, 2002.


  • 1981 Ahold acquires Giant Food. Source: Supermarket Business, November 1995 (50th Anniversary Issue).


  • 1981 Lean Cuisine is introduced. Source: The Gourmet Retailer, September 2004.


  • 1982 Manufacturers begin formulating their products to have less salt in response to nation's sodium problem. Source: The Natural Foods Merchandiser, January 2004.


  • 1982 Cyanide poisoning kills 7 people in Chicago area who have taken Tylenol. The case prompts the FDA to require tamper-proof packaging for OTC drugs, vitamins and supplements. Source: The Natural Foods Merchandiser, January 2004.


  • 1982 Diet Coke comes on the market. Source: Excerpted from the American Food Century Web site, copyrighted by Robin C. Johnson.


  • 1982 The Kroger Co. buys Dillon Cos., the 11th largest chain. Source: Supermarket News, December 28, 1992, pg. 16.


  • 1983 Safe-Strap Company introduces the first shopping cart seat belts. Source: Safe-Strap Company Website, 2004 (www.sscproducts.com)


  • 1983 Wal-Mart opens first Sam's Club in Moore, OK. Source: Supermarket News, July 22, 2002.


  • 1983 FMI joins with GMA and others to convince Congress to enact anti-tampering laws. The industry begins taking strong measures to make products tamper-proof. Source: FMI


  • 1984 Pennsylvania launched the first Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) demonstration project. Source: Grocery Headquarters, December 1999.


  • 1984 American Stores acquires Jewel; Roundys's buys Scot Lad Foods; Scrivner buys S.M. Flickinger; and Fleming acquires United Grocers. Source: Supermarket Business, November 1995 (50th Anniversary Issue).


  • 1984 ScanLab is introduced as the first computer software package designed to help supermarkets organize scan data for merchandising decisions. Source: Supermarket News, December 8, 1997.


  • 1984 FMI encourages its members to participate in World Food Day, observed in 150 countries to heighten awareness of world hunger. Source: FMI.


  • 1984 A prototype electronic shelf label (ESL) system is introduced in a Dallas supermarket. Source: Grocery Marketing, November 1994, pg. 32.


  • 1985 FMI introduces to supermarkets the Direct Product Profit (DPP) method of calculating profit. Source: Supermarket News, December 8, 1997.


  • 1985 Health and beauty care sales peak in supermarkets at 44 percent share of all outlet volume. Source: Supermarket Business, November 1995 (50th Anniversary Issue).


  • 1985 A&P acquires Dominion Stores; Dominick's buys Eagle Food Stores; SUPERVALU Inc. acquires the West Coast Grocery Co. Source: Supermarket Business, November 1995 (50th Anniversary Issue).


  • 1985 After years of battling attempts to overturn the Illinois Brick decision, the amendment was defeated on the Senate floor after an active debate. The antitrust legislation known as the Illinois Brick bill would allow indirect sellers of agricultural products to bring antitrust actions. Source: FMI, Washington Report, November 27, 1985.


  • 1985 FMI, in conjunction with other industry trade associations, introduces the Nutri-Facts program to provide retailers with all the tools necessary to implement a nutrition information program featuring meat, produce and seafood. Source: FMI.


  • 1986 A&P acquires Waldbaum's and Shopwell/Food Emporium; Kohlberg Kravis Roberts engineers leveraged buyouts of Safeway and Beatrice Foods. Source: Supermarket Business, November 1995 (50th Anniversary Issue).


  • 1986 Cullum Cos., Dallas, enters into a joint venture with Wal-Mart to open hypermarkets. Source: Supermarket News, December 28, 1992, pg. 17.


  • 1986 The Office of Management and Budget approves an FDA proposal allowing the use of irradiation on fruits and vegetables to control bacteria, insects and other food contamination and to extend product shelf life. Source: The Natural Foods Merchandiser, January 2004.


  • 1986 Mike Yurosek turns carrots from a commodity into a brand (Bunny-Luv baby carrots) when he takes an industrial green-bean cutter and uses it to cut his carrot crop into two-inch pieces. Source: Cool News of the Day, August 12, 2004.


  • 1987 An international protocol to reduce chlorofluorocarbon consumption is signed. The agreement places restrictions on five CFC compounds due to depletion in the ozone layer. The supermarket industry is affected because of an expected increase in the cost of frozen food equipment. Source: Frozen Food Age, December 2002.


  • 1987 Snapple introduces bottled iced tea, creating new soft drink category. Source: The Gourmet Retailer, September 2004.


  • 1987 Ukrop's Super Markets launches the first loyalty card program in the country. Source: Supermarket News, July 22, 2002.


  • 1988 The top five items on which consumers use coupons are cereal, dog food, cat food, coffee and laundry detergent. Source: Supermarket Business, November 1995 (50th Anniversary Issue).


  • 1988 Kohlberg Kravis Roberts acquires Stop and Shop. Source: Supermarket Business, November 1995 (50th Anniversary Issue).


  • 1988 Wal-Mart opens first supercenter in Washington, MO. Source: Supermarket News, July 22, 2002.


  • 1988 The first list of standardized Universal Product Codes for fixed weight/count produce is released. Source: Supermarket News, July 22, 2002.


  • 1988 Fleming becomes the nation's largest wholesaler with its purchase of Malone & Hyde. Source: Supermarket News, December 28, 1992, pg. 17.


  • 1989 Haggen is the first U.S. food retailer to offer an in-store Starbucks Coffee shop. Source: Haggen Web site, 2004.


  • 1989 A&P acquires Borman's Farmer Jack. Source: Supermarket Business, November 1995 (50th Anniversary Issue).

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1990s

  • 1990 A&P acquires Miracle Food Mart (Canada). Source: Supermarket Business, November 1995 (50th Anniversary Issue).


  • 1990 The USDA introduces the Food Guide Pyramid. Source: The Gourmet Retailer, September 2004.


  • 1990 The Organic Foods Production Act gives the USDA power to create national organic certification standards, certify organic products and set stiff fines and jail sentences for false labeling. Source: The Natural Foods Merchandiser, January 2004.


  • 1990 Peapod launches Web-based/Internet home-delivery service. Source: Supermarket News, July 22, 2002.


  • 1990 A handful of supermarket retailers experiment with self-checkout by installing several lanes in one or two stores. After a slow start by 2004, 29.6 percent of companies have installed self-scanning lanes. Source: Supermarket News, July 2, 1990, pg. 1 and Speaks, 2004.


  • 1991 U.S. sales of salsa surpass those of ketchup by $40 million. Source: The Gourmet Retailer, September 2004.


  • 1991 Together, Kmart and Wal-Mart operate seven supercenters. Source: Supermarket Business, November 1995 (50th Anniversary Issue).


  • 1992 Together, Kmart and Wal-Mart operate 35 supercenters. Source: Supermarket Business, November 1995 (50th Anniversary Issue).


  • 1992 Food irradiation begins in Florida with 1,100 pints of strawberries. Source: The Natural Foods Merchandiser, January 2004.


  • 1992 Whole Foods Market becomes the nation's first publicly traded natural foods supermarket company. Source: The Natural Foods Merchandiser, January 2004.


  • 1992 Hannaford is praised by the government and industry for opening first "ozone-friendly" store that relies extensively on use of non-CFC refrigerants. Source: Frozen Food Age, December 2002.


  • 1992 SUPERVALU Inc. acquires Wetterau and becomes the industry's largest wholesaler. Source: Supermarket News, December 28, 1992, pg. 18.


  • 1992 Following on the heels of the Los Angeles riots, FMI introduces an urban-initiative program to broaden the role supermarkets play in urban communities. Source: Supermarket News, July 27, 1992, pg. 14.


  • 1993 Whole Foods and Mrs. Gooch's Natural Foods Markets announce they will merge. Source: The Natural Foods Merchandiser, January 2004.


  • 1993 Retailer Albert Heijn in The Netherlands begins experimenting with hand-held scanners. Source: The Peter Berlin Report on Shrinkage Control, March 1994.


  • 1993 The Kurt Salmon study, Efficient Consumer Response (ECR), is unveiled at FMI's Midwinter Executive Conference. It points out that supermarket industry's competitiveness is more affected by its own inefficiencies than by inequities in supplier deals. The industrywide ECR initiative is launched led by FMI and GMA to identify how companies can operate more efficiently and deliver more value to consumers. Source: Supermarket Business, November 1995 (50th Anniversary Issue).


  • 1993 Maryland became the first state to implement a statewide EBT program. Source: Grocery Headquarters, December 1999.


  • 1993 Together, Kmart and Wal-Mart operate 87 supercenters. Source: Supermarket Business, November 1995 (50th Anniversary Issue).


  • 1993 The Nutrition Labeling and Education Act takes effect in May. The law expands and clarifies nutrition information on thousands of products. Source: Supermarket Business, November 1995 (50th Anniversary Issue).


  • 1993 Ratification of the North American Free Trade Agreement culminates eight years of FMI advocacy for free trade. The trade agreement gives consumers access to a plentiful supply of goods from Mexico and Canada with the costs not inflated by tariffs and other trade barriers.


  • 1994 Together, Kmart and Wal-Mart operate 229 supercenters. Source: Supermarket Business, November 1995 (50th Anniversary Issue).


  • 1994 310 billion coupons are distributed - yet only 6.2 billion are redeemed. Source: Supermarket Business, November 1995 (50th Anniversary Issue).


  • 1995 The Kroger Co. is the first supermarket to take grocery orders for home delivery via the Internet. The fee for the service is $10 on orders of less than $100, and 10 percent of cost of orders exceeding $100. Source: Food Institute Report, Nov. 20, 1995.


  • 1995 Natural products show their largest increase ever, up 22.7 percent to $7 billion, as structure/function claims begin to appear on supplement labels. Source: The Natural Foods Merchandiser, January 2004.


  • 1995 Target Stores opens its first Super Target in Omaha, NE. Source: Supermarket News, July 22, 2002.


  • 1995 FMI achieves a major victory in its six-year campaign to reform "baler" laws when the House of Representatives passes a bill to permit 16- and 17-year-old workers to load balers with cardboard. Source: FMI


  • 1995 President Clinton signs the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA) into law, following a decade of effort by FMI to make PACA more equitable for grocery wholesalers and retailers. PACA prohibits unfair and fraudulent practices in the marketing of fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables and provides a means of enforcing contracts. Source: FMI


  • 1996 Wild Oats and Alfalfa's merge and file IPO; Whole Foods buys Fresh Fields. Source: The Natural Foods Merchandiser, January 2004.


  • 1996 The FDA approves Olestra, the first fat substitute, for use in snack foods, such as chips and crackers. Source: The Gourmet Retailer, September 2004.


  • 1996 Ahold acquires Stop & Shop. Source: Supermarket News, July 22, 2002.


  • 1997 FMI claims a victory in its fight against the "death tax" when the U.S. Congress approves a $94 billion tax cut including repeal of the tax. Although President Clinton vetoes the measure, this action begins a campaign that leads to repeal in 2001 as part of President Bush's major tax-cut plan. As part of its efforts in favor of the Death Tax Elimination Act, FMI co-founds the Family Business Estate Tax Coalition and spearheads the creation of Americans Against Unfair Family Taxation. Source: FMI


  • 1997 Safeway acquires Vons. Source: Supermarket News, July 22, 2002.


  • 1997 From 1987 to 1997, the number of different items sold in the supermarket produce department rises from 173 to 335, on average. Source: Food Review, Vol. 23; Number 2, May-August 2000.


  • 1998 Irradiation of meat is approved by the FDA. Source: The Gourmet Retailer, September 2004.


  • 1998 Two big mergers are announced: The Kroger Co., already the largest grocery retailer, merges with Fred Meyer to form a multiregional supermarket operator with combined sales accounting for 10.4 percent of total grocery store sales. Also, Albertsons, Inc., the fourth largest food retailer, merges with American Stores resulting in the company operating 1,690 stores in 38 states. Source: Food Review, Vol. 23; Number 2, May-August 2000.


  • 1998 Wal-Mart opens its first Neighborhood Market in Bentonville, AR, which combines a conventional supermarket with a drive-thru pharmacy. Source: Supermarket News, July 22, 2002.


  • 1998 FMI's Financial Network Services Initiative celebrates its first legislative victory when President Clinton signs a bill to deliver benefits for the WIC program through EBT systems. Source: FMI


  • 1999 Albertsons acquires American Stores. Source: Supermarket News, July 22, 2002.

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2000s

  • 2000 About 44 percent of weekday meals are prepared in 30 minutes or less. This has led to increased reliance on meal solutions such as value-added meat and produce, prepared salads, prepackaged pizzas and refrigerated entrees and dinners. Ninety percent of supermarkets offer prepared foods in 2000 - up from 84 percent in 1999. Source: Prepared Foods, July 2000, pg. 92 and Speaks, 2001.


  • 2000 The USDA finalizes the national organic standards, and the industry begins a transition period for compliance. Source: The Natural Foods Merchandiser, January 2004.


  • 2000 Dorothy Lane Market (Dayton, OH) launches a pilot test of a new-generation U.P.C. capable of accommodating variable-weight products. Source: Supermarket News, July 22, 2002.


  • 2000 A new global e-marketplace for the consumer-products industry is launched under the name Transora. The B2B venture is supported by 49 firms and its first focus will be on building procurement savings and growing into a vehicle for applications ranging from product cataloguing to collaborative planning, forecasting and replenishment. In addition, Internet-based retailer-controlled exchanges, GlobalNetXchange and Worldwide Retail Exchange are established. Source: Supermarket News, June 19, 2000, pg. 1.


  • 2001 Publix rolls out Pix gasoline-convenience stores. Source: Progressive Grocer, Feb. 15, 2003.


  • 2001 Congress and President Bush rescind an Occupational Safety and Health Administration rule to mandate ergonomic programs for manual-handling jobs such as bagging and stocking groceries. The highly bureaucratic regulation would have cost the industry billions of dollars to implement. Source: FMI


  • 2002 On Oct. 21, the national organic standards are fully implemented and products labeled "USDA certified organic" appear on shelves for the first time. Source: The Natural Foods Merchandiser, January 2004.


  • 2002 Wegmans Food Markets becomes the first chain to offer fresh irradiated private label ground beef. Source: Supermarket News, July 22, 2002.


  • 2002 Kmart Corp files for Chapter 11. Source: Supermarket News, July 22, 2002.


  • 2002 Mandatory Country-of-Origin Labeling for produce, meat, seafood and peanuts is enacted as part of the farm bill. The measure designed to promote sales of U.S. products. Source: FMI.


  • 2002 The Food and Agricultural Information Sharing and Analysis Center (ISAC) is established on February 15, 2002 in response to the 9/11 attacks. Food ISAC is a public/private sector partnership created to prevent terrorist attacks aimed at the food industry and providing a coordinated industry-wide response in case such an attack did take place. Source: FMI.


  • 2003 Food inflation remains low at 2.2 percent and has not experienced dramatic change over the past twenty years. In 1983, it was 2.1 percent and in 1994 it was 2.2 percent. In fact, consumers spent just 6.1 percent of their disposable income on food-at-home in 2003 compared to 1930 when consumers spent 21.2 percent of their disposable income on food-at-home. Source: USDA.


  • 2003 The Food Marketing Institute acquires the Safe Quality Food supplier certification program from the Department of Agriculture of Western Australia. The SQF program is designed to manage food safety and product quality utilizing industry specific codes of practice and regulations. Source: Advantage, October 2003, pg. 54.


  • 2003 The first confirmed case of mad cow disease in the United States is announced in December. Source: Supermarket News, January 5, 2004, pg. 1.


  • 2003 The Food Marketing Institute launches a comprehensive food safety and sanitation training program based on retail best practices. The SuperSafeMark program is designed specifically for supermarkets and other food retailers and focuses on the most critical food safety issues today. Source: Advantage, May 2003, pg. 50.


  • 2004 Albertsons acquires Shaw's Supermarkets and Star Markets to establish a New England presence. Source: Supermarket News, April 5, 2004, pg. 1.


  • 2004 The May FMI Show becomes a five-in-one event as United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association and the Organic Trade Association join Fancy Foods and the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture in co-locating their convention with FMI's. Source: FMI.


  • 2004 21.1 percent of food retailers provide gas pumps in the parking lot of at least one of their stores. Source: Speaks, 2004, FMI.


  • 2004 With a growing Hispanic population, many food retailers are building Hispanic formats to meet their needs. In 2004, 36.4 percent of the stores that companies plan to build will be Hispanic-oriented. Source: Facts about Store Development, 2004, FMI.


  • 2004 The low-carb diet craze peaks in February when 9.1 percent of Americans claim to be on the diet according to the NPD Group. By the end of the year just 4.9 percent of adults are on the diet and sales of low-carb products have fallen off. Source: Chicago Sun-Times, December 20, 2004.


  • 2005 Wal-Mart's top 100 suppliers begin to ship some of their cases and pallets with RFID-tags to three distribution centers in Texas as mandated by the company. Source: Chain Store Age, February 2005, pg. 41.


  • 2005 Sunrise 2005, the Uniform Code Council's initiative to prepare North American retailers to process 13-digit barcodes, arrives. Most major U.S. retailers are now capable of scanning EAN-13 barcodes which will facilitate global trade by globalizing EAN-13. Source: Chain Store Age, February 2005, pg. 42.

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