Despite all of the challenges brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, Texas grocery giant H-E-B is still holding strong.
After implementing product purchasing limits, awarding bonuses to employees, offering curbside and delivery grocery orders, limiting in-store traffic and more, H-E-B was named “Grocer of the Year” due to its pandemic preparation and response by Grocery Dive, an industry publication.
The recognition is part of Grocery Dive’s 2020 Dive Awards, according to its website. The publication also announced Dive Awards for Jack Sinclair with Sprouts as “Executive of the Year” and Amazon as “Disruptor of the Year.”
H-E-B’s preparedness for the pandemic began in January, even though most coronavirus cases in the U.S. didn’t become as apparent until March, the publication said. However, as the pandemic continues to worsen and case numbers are increasing, H-E-B is still working to keep its shelves well-stocked for customers.
“The Texas grocer’s pandemic response this spring showed it could move mountains, while its response in recent months has proven its agility and deep understanding of its shoppers,” Grocery Dive said in a statement.
The publication said although H-E-B did experience empty shelves for some products, similar to other grocery stores and retailers over the course of the pandemic, it was still able to keep up with the demand.
“Its stores experienced empty shelves just like other retailers, but it kept supplies strong in core categories like meat, produce and dairy, in no small part thanks to owning many of its own manufacturing plants and having strategically placed warehouses throughout the Lone Star State,” Grocery Dive said.
The report also gave credit to H-E-B for partnering with local restaurants to serve pre-packaged meals, part of its Meal Simple Collection, and rolling out new concepts for customers to try.
“Indeed, the 115-year-old grocer is well-known as a whip-smart operator and a customer favorite, having won just about every recognition and award under the sun. And yet it still managed to outperform expectations during one of the most challenging periods the grocery industry has ever experienced,” the publication said.
H-E-B stores also earned more recognition this year from US Food & Wine Magazine as best supermarket in the US, respectively.
To read the full report from Grocery Dive, click here.