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Adapting to pandemic, JR Simplot’s veggies now available at Joe Albertsons’ supermarkets

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From living in Idaho, you likely are familiar with the JR Simplot Company. But you don’t typically see the company’s brand at the grocery store.

In recent months, that changed. The company began selling its products directly in the frozen foods section of grocery stores.

“The coronavirus pandemic has impacted all of us, including disruption and change within the food industry,” JR Simplot Company Senior Manager for Communications & PR Josh Jordan told BoiseDev. “With so many restaurants and other foodservice locations like schools, closing down, many of the avenues we distribute our products to have slowed down.”

[Simplot held frozen goods stockup sale, with money going to St. Luke’s]

Supply meets demand

To adjust, the company teamed up with another Boise-based company – grocery giant Albertsons. Simplot had extra product — and Albertsons had extra demand.

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“With both of our long (histories) in Idaho, it made perfect sense for us to partner with Albertsons to redirect some of our products from the food-service industry that is our primary distribution path, to the place where end-consumers could benefit most,” Jordan said.

[“A damned accident:” Echoes of Boise’s history inform its future]

Typically, Simplot products go straight to restaurants. If you’ve visited Bogus Basin and had a plate of fries after hitting the slopes, you’ve eaten the company’s products. It also famously supplies McDonald’s and many other local and national restaurants. In some markets, like Australia, Simplot owns and distributes lots of popular grocery brands.

With the changes brought by the pandemic, you can now pick up Simplot products at the store.

“This partnership included the distribution of Simplot corn, asparagus, green beans and other vegetables at Albertsons and Albertsons-affiliated stories, including Safeway, Jewel Osco, and United Supermarkets,” Jordan said.

Albertsons and Simplot are two of the nation’s largest private companies. JR Simplot ranks 71st on the Forbes list of top privately-held businesses, while Albertsons Companies ranks third. Albertsons is working to go public with a hoped-for IPO.

Don Day
Don is the founder and editor of BoiseDev. He is a National Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Stanford University John S. Knight Fellow.

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