In & Around Food World

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Ahold USA recently announced record breaking 2012 charitable giving donations across all of its retail divisions, along with a special commitment to fighting childhood hunger.

Last year, through Our Family Foundation, Ahold’s retail banners – Giant/Landover, Stop & Shop, and Giant/Martins – along with vendor partners and customers, made donations of nearly $67 million to local organizations committed to fighting hunger, improving the lives of children, and building healthy communities.

Recently, just five blocks from the site of the first Giant/Landover, Giant’s operating committee was joined by Feeding America food bank leaders to highlight 2012 giving and announce Child Hunger Grants.

Giant/Landover remains committed to alleviating hunger, enhancing education programs and health and wellness initiatives, as well as supporting service members and their families. Giant’s monetary and in-kind contributions exceeded $12 million, which was an increase from $8.3 million in 2011.

“Giant Food is a proud community partner. Giving back is a cornerstone of our company, which was instilled by our founders 77 years ago,” said Anthony Hucker, Giant/Landover president. “We’re very proud of our legacy, especially as the nation’s capital grocer, and are committed to being a better neighbor each and every day.”

Giant’s support of Feeding America food bank partners and hunger relief organizations including the Capital Area Food Bank, Maryland Food Bank, Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, Fredericksburg Area Food Bank, and food Bank of Delaware remains the neighborhood grocer’s top priority. Through food drives, special deliveries, and monetary and product donations, Giant’s contributions helped partners provide 55.2 million meals to neighbors in need.

At another recent press conference, Hucker announced Giant/Landover’s first-ever Child Hunger Grants to benefit five Feeding America food bank partners. This year’s grants are in excess of $850,000 and grant commitments over the next three years are equivalent to more than $2.8 million, enabling the Capital Area Food Bank, Maryland Food Bank, Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, Fredericksburg Area Food Bank, and Food Bank ofDelawareto implement programs and initiatives to combat child hunger.

In addition to hunger relief, Giant teamed up with health and wellness groups, military support organizations, and various nonprofit organizations, as well as supporting education programs to help individuals and families in the communities it serves across the Mid-Atlantic region.

Four supermarket retailers –Boulim’s Fresh Foods, Redner’s Markets, Harris Teeter and Tops Friendly Markets – were named Beef Backer Award winners at the 2013 Cattle Industry Annual Convention and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association annual trade show held inTampa last month. The retailers are recognized for their outstanding efforts to market and merchandise beef in their meat cases.

In the mid-size retailer category, 42-unit Redners’s Markets, based in Reading, PA, was the award winner, and in the large chain category, Harris Teeter of Charlotte, NC, with 211 stores, won the Beef Backer Award for the fifth time.

Tops Friendly Markets, Williamsville, NY, received a Beef Backer Award for being Innovator of the Year.

The awards program is funded by the Beef Checkoff Program. “The beef industry depends on retailers of all sizes to promote and sell the fresh and wholesome beef US ranchers provide,” said Brett Morris, an Oklahoma-based producer and chairman of the checkoff’s 2012 Joint Retail Committee, in a news release announcing the winners.

Coming up soon, the Consumer Federation of America’s National Food Policy Conference will be held in Washington, DC April 15-16.

For 36 years, the National Food Policy Conference (NFPC) has been aWashington institution and a unique collaboration between consumer advocates, the food industry and government. The conference will explore an array of important food policy issues facing consumers and the food industry. It will also address how immigration reform might impact our food supplies and discuss the future of food shopping. Speakers and panelists will examine timely food policy topics, including the debate on sugar sweetened beverages, the impact of changing animal welfare standards, an update on implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act, the opportunities and challenges of sodium reduction, and priority setting in a time of reduced resources. For more information regarding the NFPC contact Anna Marie Lowery at 202-939-1005.

The National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association (NFRA) has hired Edelman, the world’s largest public relations firm, to help enhance NFRA’s existing marketing campaigns and recharge efforts around promoting frozen and refrigerated dairy foods. NFRA represents more than 400 food manufacturers, retailers, sales agents and distributors with the common goal of fostering industry dialogue and demonstrating the relevance and value of their products shoppers.

NFRA president and CEO Skip Shaw says that the current food environment has made it critical to implement a more aggressive and contemporary communications program.

NFRA has been very successful promoting frozen and refrigerated foods for nearly three decades through signature programming like March frozen food month and June dairy month, but the changing landscape poses new challenges.

Together NFRA and Edelman will work to tell the story of frozen and refrigerated dairy foods in new, dynamic ways to more people and across more channels than ever before.

Enhanced efforts will include robust media relations through an all-industry messaging platform and new and engaging ways to reach consumers.

Also, NFRA will have dropped a three-page FSI with a circulation of 36 million that includes coupons and product photos of the participating brands.

Flowers Foods of Thomasville, GA announced late last week that its board of directors has elected Allen Shiver president and chief executive officer effective May, 2013.

Shiver has 33 years of service with the company and currently serves as president. George Deese, current chairman of the board and chief executive officer, has been elected executive chairman of the board.

Shiver noted that Flowers will remain focused on strengthening its number two position in theU.S.fresh baked foods market.

Congratulations to Michael Bozzuto, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Bozzuto’s, who was recently elected to the board of the National Grocers Association.

Relay Foods, a new online grocer that started service in the Baltimore area last December, is now offering pickup service for customers. Previously, the only option for Baltimore customers purchasing groceries from Relay had been home delivery.

Relay Foods stocks what you would find in a good grocery store, including bagged produce, meats and cheese. The company works with local restaurants, farmers and producers primarily around its home base of Charlottesville, VA, and says it is building relationships in the Baltimore area.

For the first time in 32 years, a bill has been introduced in Annapolis that would legalize chain store beer and wine sales inMaryland.

If passed, this bill will create a chain store license for club stores, supermarkets, drug and convenience stores that would be issued by the local licensing authority.

The bill also removes any population quotas so that existing chain stores would be eligible to apply for the license and it enables retailers to obtain the direct wine shippers permit.

Here’s an interesting story that appeared in a recent issue of The Wall Street Journal. Apparently the gum industry is in a sticky spot: Sales are sliding as chewing the stuff has fallen out of favor. To try to lure customers back, gum makers are exploring new places to sell their products – think sandwich shops instead of just convenience stores and supermarkets – and shrinking package sizes to fit jeans pockets.”

The story goes on  to say, “…decline in gum sales can be partly blamed on the economy, as well as changing consumer behavior as people switch to less-obtrusive mints to freshen breath.” Really!

Birthday wishes go out to Barbara Wolf, Acosta Sales & Marketing; Ken Gore, K.B. Gore & Co.; John Weiland, husband of Best-Met’s Nina Weiland, retired; and Denis McCrossan, Crystal Geyser Water.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!