In & Around Food World

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Safeway has been named one of the 2013 World’s Most Ethical Companies (WME) by the Ethisphere Institute, marking the third time that Safeway has been recognized by Ethisphere for its commitment to maintaining superior business practices.   (If you’re wondering what “Ethisphere” means, the Ethisphere Institute is a think tank dedicated to the creation, advancement and sharing of best practices in business ethics, corporate social responsibility, anti-corruption and sustainability. For the past seven years, it annually selects companies from throughout the world for its prestigious WME list.)

“We are honored to be included in this prestigious list and humbled to be in the company of the most admired and principled businesses in the world,” said Laree Renda, Safeway executive vice president and chair of the Safeway Foundation. Safeway was selected for the WME list from thousands of nominated companies representing more than 100 countries and 36 industries.

The methodology for the WME list includes reviewing codes of ethics, litigation and regulatory infraction histories; evaluating the investment in innovation and sustainable business practices; looking at activities designed to improve corporate citizenship; and studying nominations from senior executives, industry peers, suppliers and customers.

Publix Super Markets led all retailers in customer satisfaction ratings in 2012, according to results of the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). Lakeland, FL based Publix scored 86 on the index, highest among retailers in eight channels of trade measured by ACSI. Publix’s score represented a 2.4 percent increase from 2011. Overall, supermarkets as a channel improved by 1.3 percent to 77 percent on the survey.

Whole Foods and Kroger followed Publix among supermarkets ranked by ACSI.

Winn-Dixie improved 4 percent to 78; and Supervalu was up 2.7 percent to 76. Wal-Mart stores were the industry’s top percentage gainer in 2012, but its 4.3 percent improvement brought it to 72 percent, lowest among supermarkets ranked by ACSI.

ACSI bases its results on 70,000 consumer interviews. It said companies that display high levels of customer satisfaction tend to have higher earnings and stock returns relative to competitors. It also said customer satisfaction is predictive of both consumer spending and gross domestic product growth.

Whole Foods also took the No.19 spot on Fortune magazine’s 2013 “World’s Most Admired Companies” list. The only grocer on the list, Whole Foods is also named the Most Admired Company in the food and drug store industry, leading the top 10 list of retailers in the category. Whole Foods is ranked in the top 10 for innovation, social responsibility, employee retention and product quality.

The National Association for the Specialty Food Trade has re-named itself the Specialty Food Association. The association’s new branding will launch at the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York City June 30-July 2. If you’ve never been to this show, and you’re in the retail food industry, it is a very interesting event and you should think about making the trip this year.

The 2013 Seafood Excellence Awards winners were announced at the International Boston Seafood Show. St. Mary’s River Smokehouses won the “Best New Retail” award for its oven Smoked Salmon Stix and Phillips Foods the “Best New Food Service” award for its culinary crab.

Winners were selected from a group of finalists during a live judging by a panel of seafood buyers and experts from the retail and foodservice industries. This year’s judges included: Kim Taylor, seafood category manager for Delhaize America; Sunil Contractor, finfish category manager for U.S. Foods; and David Bolosan, director of product innovation for Black Angus Steakhouse. Co-located with Seafood Processing America, the International Boston Seafood is North America’s largest seafood trade event, and drew more than 9,000 buyers and sellers from more than 100 countries and over 1000 exhibiting companies.

MOM’s Organic Market announced the activation of rooftop solar panels on its store in Waldorf, MD. The store, MOM’s first in Charles County, opened it doors in November 2012. The unit features energy-efficient design, including closed-door coolers, LED lighting and electric car charging stations. The photovoltaic system, which was installed by SolarCity, is expected to offset the store’s energy needs by at least 15 percent.

“The Waldorf solar array is the first of many,” said Scott Nash, MOM’s founder and CEO. “We plan to install solar panels on every store that we can in the future.”