Food Lion

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Coordinates: 35°40′58″N 80°30′42″W / 35.682678°N 80.511744°W / 35.682678; -80.511744

Food Lion LLC
Industry Retail
Predecessor Food Town
Founded 1983
Headquarters Salisbury, North Carolina, United States
Number of locations
1,100 stores (2015)[1]
Area served
Mid Atlantic, South Atlantic, Georgia, West Virginia
Key people
Meg Ham, President
Greg Finchum, Sr. Vice President
Karen Fernald, Sr. Vice President,
Products Grocery
Revenue Increase US$17.3 billion
Parent Delhaize Group
Slogan "Easy, fresh and affordable... You can count on Food Lion... Every day"

Food Lion LLC is a grocery store company headquartered in Salisbury, North Carolina,[2][3] that operates more than 1,100 supermarkets in 11 of the South-Eastern United States under the Food Lion banner. With approximately 48,000 employees,[4] Food Lion LLC is the largest subsidiary of Delhaize Group which acquired it in 1974.[5][6]


Food Lion was founded in 1957 in Salisbury, North Carolina as Food Town by Wilson Smith, Ralph Ketner, and Brown Ketner. The Food Town chain was acquired by the Belgium-based Delhaize Group grocery company in 1974.[6]

The Food Lion name was adopted in 1983; as Food Town expanded into Virginia, the chain encountered several stores called Foodtown in the Richmond area. Expansion into Maryland would have been a bigger problem since about 100 independent but affiliated stores were called Food Town. Because Delhaize had a lion in its logo, Food Town had asked to use it on product labels and new store signs. Ralph Ketner realized "lion" needed only two new letters and the movement of another in the chain's signs. On December 12, 1982, Ketner announced the name change to "Food Lion", and by the end of March 1983, all stores had been rebranded.[7] The name change, while puzzling for American customers, made economic and historic sense as Delhaize was once known as "Delhaize Le Lion".

Throughout the 1980s, Food Lion expanded throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern United States. The company continued their expansion throughout the late 1980s, opening hundreds of stores in existing markets such as the Carolinas and Virginia, and entering new markets such as Georgia, West Virginia, and Maryland.

In the early 1990s, Food Lion stores appeared in new markets such as Delaware and southern Pennsylvania; Orlando, Florida; Finksburg, Maryland and Westminster, Maryland

In 1993, Food Lion agreed to pay $16.2 million to settle claims that they violated federal laws regulating unpaid overtime, minimum wage and child labor, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. In the agreement, which at the time was the largest settlement ever from a private employer accused of violating the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the grocery chain agreed to ensure that all employees would be well-informed about their rights. Additionally, the Labor Department said Food Lion's top management provided assurances that no retaliatory action would be taken against employees who filed complaints about unpaid overtime or other potential FLSA violations.[8]

On January 7, 1994, Delhaize announced the first major round of store closings in what would become a yearly event. The stores to be closed included 47 of its brand-new stores in Texas and Oklahoma as well as stores in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia.[9]

Beginning in 2003, Food Lion became active in "market renewals" in which every year Food Lion picks certain cities in their operating area where they remodel stores and update the product offerings. In 2006, Food Lion advanced their market renewals program by using demographic and geographic data to figure out whether certain stores should be branded as Food Lion, Bloom, or Bottom Dollar. If the data supported that an already existing Food Lion was adequate for a certain community, the location would simply be remodeled. Should the data support otherwise, the Food Lion store would be remodeled and re-branded as either Bloom or Bottom Dollar.[10]

Food Lion stores can currently be found in Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.[11] The Delhaize Group also owns Hannaford Brothers which operates grocery stores in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, and upstate New York. In 2012, they exited the Florida market period when all the Food Lions that shut down during that time in the Southeast.

Food Lion featuring new signage in Nags Head, North Carolina.

International stores[edit]

Food Lion spent seven years attempting to establish a presence in Bangkok, Thailand. Operated locally by Bel-Thai Supermarket Co, in 2004 it withdrew from the country, selling all branches to Tops Supermarkets.[12]


Food Lion[edit]

Food Lion in Durham, North Carolina.

Food Lion is the namesake concept for Food Lion LLC.


Main article: Bloom (store)
Bloom store in Accokeek, Maryland.

Bloom was Food Lion's upscale grocery model that opened on May 26, 2004.

As of December 2009, there were 65 Bloom stores in North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland and Virginia.[13]

On March 14, 2011, Delhaize announced that all Bloom supermarkets in North and South Carolina would close or be converted to the Food Lion banner.[14]

On January 11, 2012, Delhaize announced that the Bloom brand would be discontinued and that all Bloom supermarkets will either convert to Food Lion or permanently close.[15]

Bottom Dollar Food[edit]

Main article: Bottom Dollar Food

Bottom Dollar Food was Food Lion's discount grocery model that focuses on offering a limited-selection of both national brands and private label products. These stores have no bakeries or delis and more items are prepackaged. Customers buy the bags used to sack their own groceries at Bottom Dollar Food. Stores also use alternative display and stocking techniques such as cut cases on shelves, using pallets and dump bins to reduce costs. Food Lion opened the first Bottom Dollar Food model in High Point, North Carolina on September 21, 2005.

As of December 2009, Bottom Dollar Food had 28 stores in North Carolina, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.[16] In January 2012, Delhaize announced that it would close six Bottom Dollar stores and convert 22 others to Food Lion supermarkets as part of a restructuring.[17][18] In August 2014 it was reported that Delhaize was putting the entire portfolio of Bottom Dollar Food locations up for sale.[19] Ultimately Bottom Dollar Food was shuttered and the stores sold to Aldi by early 2015.

Harveys Supermarket[edit]

Main article: Harveys Supermarket

Harveys stores are mainly located in rural markets within the Deep South.

As of December 2009, there were 70 Harveys stores in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina.[20] In May 2013, All Harveys stores were sold to BI-LO LLC.


Reid's is small chain of stores located in various rural South Carolina communities, specifically Barnwell, Orangeburg, Langley, New Ellenton, Batesburg, Walterboro, St. George, Aiken, Saluda, Cayce, and Hampton. Most of these stores were all formerly branded as Food Lion stores and continue to carry Food Lion branded goods and use the Food Lion infrastructure.

In May 2013, Reid's was sold along with its sister supermarket chains Harveys and Sweetbay to BI-LO LLC for $265 million.[21] BI-LO subsequently retired the Reid's name, rebranding the Reid's stores as BI-LO.

Store brand[edit]

Delhaize America stores use common private brands called Home 360, Nature's Place, CHA-CHING and Taste of Inspirations. Sister supermarkets Hannaford and Sweetbay were the last two stores to make the switch, doing so in 2010 and 2011. The move is designed to simplify the company's store-brand products line.[22] Food Lion stores have the "My Essentials" brand as well as the Hannaford brand. At the end of 2014 the "My Essentials" as well as the Home 360 names were retired and the more traditional "Food Lion" brand name was used as a replacement.


  • "LFPINC (LFPISC or LFPIVA)": during the Food Town era. Slogan stood for "Lowest Food Prices In North Carolina". Also used in South Carolina and Virginia stores.
  • "Extra Low Prices": 1990s–early 2000s
  • "Good Neighbors, Great Prices": early 2000s–2011
  • "Get Your Lion's Share": 2011/2012–2014[23]
  • "Easy, fresh and affordable... You can count on Food Lion... Every day": 2014–present
  • "Life's Better with the Lion": 2015–present

Primetime Live controversy[edit]

In the 1990s, Food Lion gained a degree of notoriety when it was the subject of an ABC News investigation. ABC had received a tip about unsanitary practices at Food Lion. Two ABC reporters had posed as Food Lion employees, and witnessed the unsanitary practices at Food Lion. Much of what they had seen was videotaped with cameras hidden in wigs that they were wearing. The footage was then featured in a segment on the news magazine Primetime Live, in which Food Lion employees described unsanitary practices, which included bleaching discolored, expired pork with Clorox and repackaging expired meats with new expiration dates, and the use of nail polish remover to remove the expiration dates from dairy item packages.

The company responded by suing ABC for fraud, claiming that the ABC employees misrepresented themselves; for trespassing, because the ABC employees came on to Food Lion property without permission; and for breach of loyalty, the ABC employees videotaped non-public areas of the store and revealed internal company information. During the court battles between Food Lion and ABC, over 40 hours of unused footage were released that helped Food Lion's case. In the unused footage, two undercover producers are seen trying to encourage violations of company policy; however, employees resisted and correctly followed sanitary practices.[24]

Food Lion was awarded US$5.5 million by a jury in 1997. The award was later reduced by a judge to $316,000. The verdict was then overturned by the U.S. Court of Appeals Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Virginia. According to the court, even though ABC was wrong to do what they had done, Food Lion was not suing for defamation, but rather for tort, as a way to get around the strict First Amendment standards for defamation. Food Lion did this, because at the time of the lawsuit they were unable to prove that ABC acted with malice, which would be required to prove defamation.[25]

Lion ads[edit]

Starting in 2013, Food Lion ads featured a lion who said, "That's just my two cents." PETA said the commercials should not use real animals, while the company assured them the animal was treated well.[26]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ ""Food Lion’s new CEO: We just have to get better" Charlotte Observer, Aug 16, 2013". 2013-08-16. Retrieved 2013-12-05. 
  2. ^ "Customer Service". Food Lion. Retrieved on May 17, 2012. "CORPORATE ADDRESS Food Lion, LLC. P.O. Box 1330 Salisbury, NC 28145-1330"
  3. ^ "Contacts". Delhaize Group. Retrieved on May 17, 2012. "DELHAIZE GROUP U.S. P.O. Box 1330, 2110 Executive Drive Salisbury NC 28145-1330 United States" and "FOOD LION, BLOOM & BOTTOM DOLLAR FOOD P.O. Box 1330, 2110 Executive Drive Salisbury NC 28145-1330 - U.S.A. "
  4. ^ Fast Facts, Food Lion, Last accessed May 14, 2007.
  5. ^ 2007 Top 75 North American Food Retailers, Supermarket News, Last accessed February 24, 2007.
  6. ^ a b Collet, Emmanuel, editor (2003). Delhaize "Le Lion", Grocers Since 1867. Delhaize Group. 
  7. ^ Wineka, Mark; Lesley, Jason (1991). Lion's Share. Asheboro, North Carolina: Down Home Press. pp. 148–150. ISBN 1-878086-07-3. 
  8. ^ Dept. of Labor and Food Lion enter into $16M wage-hour settlement, Jet, August 30, 1993.
  9. ^ 1994 Form 10-K, Delhaize America, Inc. Last accessed February 25, 2007.
  10. ^ Delhaize Group 2006 Annual Results, Delhaize Group, Last accessed April 1, 2007.
  11. ^ "StoreData". About Us. Food Lion. 
  12. ^ The Bangkok Post. Food Lion pulls out of Thailand, August 6, 2004. Retrieved on 2009-03-28
  13. ^ Bloom Store Finder,, May 14, 2007.
  14. ^ Delhaize to Convert Carolina Bloom Stores, Supermarket News, March 15, 2011
  15. ^ "Bloom Grocery Store". 2013-04-24. Retrieved 2013-12-05. 
  16. ^ Bottom Dollar Website,, May 14, 2007.
  17. ^ Food Lion’s owner closing 126 stores, retiring Bloom banner, Washington Post, January 12, 2012
  18. ^ List of Food Lion and other stores to be shuttered by Belgian supermarket chain Delhaize Group, Washington Post, January 12, 2012
  19. ^ Delhaize America Reportedly Mulling Sale Of Bottom Dollar Food Trade News, August 2014
  20. ^ Harveys Website,, May 19, 2007.
  21. ^ Tampa-based Sweetbay supermarkets sold Tampa Bay Times, May 28, 2013
  22. ^ "Hannaford Heads to Home 360". 2010-10-29. Retrieved 2013-12-05. 
  23. ^ "Get Your Lion's Share". 2013-01-29. Retrieved 2013-08-18. 
  24. ^ "ABC's Food Lion Lies: A Study in TV Deception", Last accessed 8/25/08.
  25. ^ "Food Lion case". Retrieved 2013-12-05. 
  26. ^ "PETA wants Food Lion to stop using lions in ads". WBTV. Associated Press. 2015-04-20. Retrieved 2015-09-24. 

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