PROFILE

Warren Thayer

Editorial Director & Co-Founder, Frozen & Refrigerated Buyer

Warren Thayer is the editor and managing partner of Frozen & Refrigerated Buyer. Before going off on his own in June 2009, he was editorial director and associate publisher of Refrigerated & Frozen Foods Retailer, published by BNP Media.

Previous to this position, Warren was for 13 years the editor-in-chief of Frozen Food Age. He has written for a variety of trade and consumer publications – including Business Week, The Christian Science Monitor and The Boston Globe – and edited a successful book on computer-assisted ordering for mass merchandisers. He has also written or consulted for Citibank, Price Waterhouse, Merrill Lynch and consumer products manufacturers.

Warren has appeared twice on CNN to discuss merchandising, and is a frequent speaker at industry events. Raised on a dairy farm, he graduated from Boston University in 1970 with a degree in journalism. With the exception of eight years in corporate advertising and sales, he has been a writer and editor.

After 20 years in metro New York City, he and his family moved to rural Norwich, Vermont, where he continues his work via the internet (when he is not kayaking or hiking). In Norwich, he is a volunteer firefighter, writer for a local newspaper and the town meeting moderator. He and his wife, Toni, have three children and one grandchild.

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  • Posted on: 07/20/2022

    Will more Americans make e-grocery delivery a weekly habit?

    When I was a kid, my dad and I delivered milk in glass bottles door-to-door, from our family farm. Regular customers "subscribed" for delivery of specific items, once or twice a week. We expanded our offerings beyond milk to eggs of different grades and sizes, light and heavy cream, chocolate milk, butter and bread. It required getting up at 4 a.m. to be on the road very early, to beat any traffic (not much in the '50s and '60s) and to have it on customers' doorsteps before they went to work. Customers left us notes of changes to orders or (imagine!) called my mother to provide updates. We worked very hard to keep our customers happy and buying more, and brainstormed ideas to grow regular sales. I think supers and Instacart types might do well to focus more attention on some of these methods, particularly automatic subscriptions for regular delivery of often-purchased items.
  • Posted on: 05/16/2022

    Are smaller retailers getting crushed by the supply chain mess?

    There are exceptions, obviously, but I've long believed that the Golden Rule of Business applies. "He who has the gold, makes the rules." The smaller guys have opportunities, most of them cited here, but in all honesty these opportunities don't come close to creating a level playing field. Get real.
  • Posted on: 04/20/2022

    What should Amy’s Kitchen do about workers’ safety complaints?

    I've known Andy and Rachel Berliner since they started their business 35 years ago. They are solid, honest, compassionate and conscientious people. For this reason, I find the accusations hard to believe, especially coming during a union drive. I am sure this is very hurtful to the Berliners; my heart goes out to them.
  • Posted on: 02/01/2022

    Walmart customers can add a handyman to their purchases

    I strongly agree with Natalie. This partnership is somewhat risky for Walmart, for the reasons stated. Check out the online reviews of Angi (not of the craftsmen, but about Angi itself) and see the things that can (and have) gone wrong. Reviews I saw averaged in the range of 3.1 to 3.8 out of 5. Not damning, but not a ringing endorsement. I hope/expect that Walmart has put procedures/controls in place to protect itself.
  • Posted on: 11/18/2021

    Will working from home hurt women’s career advancement?

    Why aren’t men doing their share of childcare and schooling? I’ve been hearing of progress for the last 30 years, but the relatively small gains have come at a snail’s pace. This is the elephant in the living room that wasn’t even mentioned here. More women are working remotely because of childcare and schooling? Ok, but many more men and women are working remotely, and hopefully this is helping bring about change in more sharing of the home workload. “Video conferencing can’t replicate office interactions.” Well, of course not. But if we’re truly heading back to offices over the next year, companies wanting to keep great workers should provide on-site childcare and offer more flexibility in work schedules for both genders. As pointed out earlier, much of all this will depend on company culture and the relative presence of misogyny. It’s always there, and it’s such a waste. Most companies need to do much more to bring half of humanity into “the mainstream.“
  • Posted on: 11/16/2021

    Have grocers mismanaged Thanksgiving?

    I don't expect much change from last year. The economy is decent, people are still wary of COVID-19, but families are eager to get together. I don't expect the sky to fall, although it makes a good story. And I question where measured inventory is now -- on farms, in processing plants, in manufacturer warehouses, store warehouses or home freezers. Given the vagaries of logistics and the tendencies to hoard up and down the supply chain all the way to the consumer, there are a lot of wild cards here. But I expect all the counterbalancing factors to produce another Thanksgiving like last year's.
  • Posted on: 11/15/2021

    Will Americans give the gift of nothing this holiday?

    I believe this research was done by the team of Ebenezer Scrooge and Chicken Little.
  • Posted on: 10/13/2021

    Stores? Kroger don’t need no stinking stores

    I expect Kroger will find this adequately profitable, and a great way to enter new markets and scope out store locations that will work. People move around a lot, so the Kroger name is pretty well known everywhere. I'm a snowbird splitting time between New Hampshire and Florida. I figured out the Publix BOGO game quickly and it's made me loyal. Kroger may need something akin to that to set them apart. Maybe soon, Wall Street securities analysts will finally figure out that Kroger is the real deal and stop trashing them every time someone sneezes.
  • Posted on: 09/13/2021

    Can Kroger offset its margin headwinds?

    What Kroger needs most of all is more securities analysts who truly understand the grocery business. Kroger is firing on all cylinders, yet securities analysts keep badmouthing the stock when someone farts. It's a mystery, much like parakeet menopause. Neil Saunders, by the way, nailed this one.
  • Posted on: 08/24/2021

    Following full FDA approval, should employees be required to get COVID vaccines?

    I heard today on NPR that when employer mandates are in place, employees who still refuse vaccinations can be legally fired. Good. And that these fired employees will likely not be able to collect unemployment. Excellent! Enough already!
  • Posted on: 08/18/2021

    Should grocery stores retire the ethnic aisle?

    When Kroger placed all plant-based meat in a three-foot set within the meat department in 60 test stores for 12 weeks, plant-based sales rose an average of 23 percent. And this was between December 2019 and February 2020--before the pandemic. Gains for plant-based ranged from 13 percent to 32 percent, depending on the local demographic. A Kroger exec said at the time that "this test demonstrates the viability of shifting product placements to reach even more customers." Ethnic sections? Gimme a break.
  • Posted on: 07/29/2021

    Store associates shouldn’t have to be the mask or vaccine police

    As Voltaire said, "Common sense is not so common."
  • Posted on: 07/29/2021

    Store associates shouldn’t have to be the mask or vaccine police

    What store workers would want to put themselves in harm's way by trying to be the "mask police?" We've seen what the consequences can be. Besides which, many anti-vaxxers, like teenagers wanting beer, will have fake IDs or just lie. No way around this but to have masks required everywhere. I wish it weren't so, but the stakes here are very high for our society. What I don't understand is why most people in "society" are okay with government rules on required vaccines for school: "According to the National Academy for State Health Policy, five routine childhood vaccines are generally required for children attending childcare or school in all states: diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus or DTaP for childcare and schools; Haemophilus influenzae type B or Hib for childcare; measles, mumps and rubella or MMR for childcare and schools; polio for childcare and schools and varicella or chickenpox for childcare and schools." All this has been seen as common sense by most everyone for many years.
  • Posted on: 03/24/2021

    Walmart uses brutal self-assessment in omnichannel turnaround strategy

    I see few specifics of how Walmart would do much more than match the offering of Amazon. Doing that alone will cost them plenty at a time when Wall Street is getting a tad bearish on them. And most vendors I know are angrier than ever about Walmart's trade relations strategies, fines and bullying tactics. These factors will also be headwinds. I, like others here, also see this as more a recognition of reality by Walmart rather than anything groundbreaking. Sorry, I've been a fan of Walmart for many years, as most of you know, but I'd need more information to believe that tough times are not ahead.
  • Posted on: 03/15/2021

    How much HQ space will disappear as hybrid work becomes a retailing thing?

    One size doesn't fit all! Some people are going to want to come back and work in an office, some won't. Some people will be attracted to businesses that let them work remotely. Some won't. It'll all settle out in time. I've worked out of my house, and run a staff from all over the country, for a little over 20 years. Staff gathers at conventions and occasional in-person meetings. Working remotely is easier than ever and I wouldn't be surprised to see 30 percent less office space in three to five years. As companies evolve to this newish normal, some will succeed and some will fail. Just like always.

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