In & Around Food World

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The month of December could be called “Coke time” in light of decades of advertising for Coca-Cola featuring the “Sundblom Santa” – illustrations by artist Haddon Sundblom that have helped shape the popular perception of Santa Claus.

The seasonal connection has taken on new meaning in December according to Stuart Elliott, writing in the media and advertising section of The New York Times. Coca-Cola has joined the home-shopping giant Home Shopping Network (HSN) for what is being described as the channel’s most extensive partnership with a packaged-goods marketer.

The collaboration includes HSN’s selling merchandise not only on its cable channel but also online, on mobile devices and through social media like Twitter.

Most merchandise is devoted to the Coca-Cola Company’s flagship soft drink, Coca-Cola, while some items will carry Diet Coke logos.

The merchandise – in a broad assortment of categories like accessories, apparel, home décor, kitchen items and sporting goods – will be a mix of products already produced by Coca-Cola licensees and products that Coca-Cola and HSN are producing together.

Coca-Cola is also promoting HSN on My Coke Rewards, a Web site with more than 14 million members. Members can redeem rewards points for HSN merchandise at HSN. com. The partnership also has a charitable component, involving HSN Cares, a nonprofit organization for which the Coca-Cola Company helps raise money.

Dukkah on your snack crackers? Cajeta in your stir-fry? These international ingredients are among the flavor trends that McCormick & Co Inc thinks will be hot a few years from now.

According to its 2013 “Flavor Forecast,” theU.S.spice company identified certain trends and flavor combinations it thinks can have wide use for its customers, which range from packaged food and beverage makers, to fast food and restaurant chains and retailers.

One ingredient is Dukkah, a Middle Eastern spice blend made with toasted nuts, cumin, and coriander and sesame seeds.

Also highlighted are cajeta, a milk caramel popular in Mexico, and katsu sauce, a thick, tangy sauce popular in Japan. McCormick highlighted the Mexican caramel sauce as an ingredient in a pork tenderloin stir-fry and paired the katsu sauce with oregano. These ingredients have interesting uses for capable home chefs, according to Kevin Vetter, executive chef at McCormick.

Prior food trends that McCormick predicted included coconut water in 2008, smoked paprika in 2006 and chipotle in 2003. The company also recommended “pumpkin pie spice” and Thai basil in 2010.

Congratulations to Paul Opitz who was recently appointed COO of Phillips Foods Inc. effective January 1, 2013. Opitz, whose most recent role was president of Phillips Asia, will draw on his more than 50 years of seafood production experience to streamline operational efficiencies for the Baltimore-based global seafood processor.

Here an interesting bit of information from Adam Borden, former executive director of Marylanders for Better Beer & Wine, a non-profit advocacy group that was successful in legalizing wine shipping inMaryland. The world’s rarest beer ($84.99 for a six-pack) is coming to theUnited States in limited quantities so the Belgian monks who make it can afford a new roof on their Abbey.

The monks only make as much beer as they need to afford to take care of the Abbey, which is why they are now selling a few bottles from their 3,800 barrels, the same amount they have been brewing since 1945. (For $84.99 a six pack, it must be good or they have a very big roof.)

The National Grocers Association (NGA) has announced that all exhibit space has been sold for its annual convention, scheduled for February 10-13 at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas- the earliest date the show has sold out completely.

More than 175 exhibitors have committed to NGA, said Peter Larkin, president and CEO, adding that NGA will share the exhibit space with the Produce Marketing Association and the North American Meat Association. Larkin also said early show registration numbers are up significantly over the numbers at this point a year ago.

Our best wishes go out this month to our friend Tony Moynagh, who retired recently as general manager of Clyde’s of Chevy Chase (prior to that he had been the GM at Clyde’s of Columbia). Tony and his wife Celia are enthusiastic sailors and no doubt plan on sailing around the world. Whatever they choose to do, we wish them much happiness.

Birthday wishes go out this month to Randy Holland, Star Sales & Marketing/Pro-Star; Carl Jablonski, formerly of Acme and Shaw’s Supermarkets; Jim Therian, Masiello Group Realty; and Kathleen Kelly, sister of Food World and Food Trade News editor Terri Maloney. Anniversary wishes go out this to: Policy Solutions Barry and Olga Scher, their 8th; and to Food World’s Lou and Mimi Rosenthal, their 64th!

From all of us at Best-Met Publishing – Food World, Food Trade News and the Mid-Atlantic Grocery Industry Directory – may you and yours enjoy a very healthy, happy and prosperous 2013 and remember to keep reading Food World and Food Trade News and keep buying those ads!

You can reach Dick Bestany at: rbestany@best-met.com.