In & Around Food World

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Food Marketing Institute (FMI) said it named Redner’s Markets, as one of the inaugural winners of The Gold Plate Award for promoting family meals. At Redner’s, which won in the small-chain category (fewer than 50 stores), a registered dietitian coordinates the chain’s HealthCents program, which includes a bi-monthly health and wellness newsletter, weekly informative circular ads, and a merchandised “better for you” end cap in all stores.

At the recent FMI Financial Executive Conference held in San Antonio, TX, a Food Retailing Financial and Business Review was released which found that same-store sales increases in the industry averaged 1.6 percent in 2012, excluding fuel. The average was 2.3 percent including fuel.

However, the report noted that 72  percent of companies reported sales gains below the preliminary rate of food-at-home inflation of 2.6 percent.

Retailers with more than 50 stores fared much better on average than smaller operators, with average same-store sales gains of 3.9 percent vs. 0.9 percent gains for those with 50 stores or fewer. Average weekly sales per store totaled $347, 814.

Looking ahead, the same report found that 78 percent of food retailers expect their total sales to improve in 2013, and 63 percent expect an improvement in net income.

The report, based on data compiled by 210 Analytics from 66 food retailers, also covered a range of other financial topics, including profitability, staffing levels, shrink and capital expenditures.

Among other findings, almost all respondents –96 percent–said they expect health care reform to increase their expenses in 2012, and 88 percent said they expect the Affordable Care Act to increase their expenses in 2013.

Data-standards organization GS1 said it presented its first-ever Lifetime Achievement Awards to Danny Wegman, chief executive officer of Wegmans Food Markets, and Tim Smucker, chairman of The J.M. Smucker Co. The awards were presented at the GS1 General Assembly and Global Leadership Summit.

Wegman is a former chairman of the GS1 US Board of Governors as well as the GS1 management board, and he has been a strong advocate of GS1 standards and data synchronization, fostering collaboration between manufacturers and retailers, GS1 said.

A former member of the GS1 US Board of Governors, Smucker currently is vice chairman and chairman emeritus of the GS1 management board, continuing his 40-year effort to drive supply chain innovation and advocate for more widespread adoption of GS1 standards, most recently in the area of financial services.

Coming up on Wednesday, June 19 at the Sheraton Silver Spring Hotel in Silver Spring will be the Mid-Atlantic Spring Network Event of the Network of Executive Women (NEW). The keynote speaker at this event will be Becky Halstead, Brigadier General, U.S. Army, retired,  and founder of STEADFAST Leadership LLC.

She will address “…how best to train and develop a high-performing, complex and diverse team.”

On June 5, The Foundation Fighting Blindness held its Visionary Awards Dinner benefiting the Foundation Fighting Blindness at Baltimore’s elegant Center Club. The honorees were State Senator Francis X. Kelly Jr. and his wife Janet, who have been married for more than 50 years and have operated Kelly & Associates, a successful insurance company since 1976. Among their many individual accomplishments, Janet plays leadership roles in charitable organizations and Frank was a state senator for 12 years.

The Foundation Fighting Blindness was established in 1971 to drive the research that would provide preventions, treatments and cures for diseases leading to such hardships. Very little was known about retinal diseases then, but over the past 42 years, thanks to efforts of the Foundation Fighting Blindness more than $500 million has been raised for research. Harriet and David Finkelstein (Kluge, Finkelstein & Company) were the first to recognize the need for the foundation and they hosted the first Visionary Awards Dinner in Baltimore in 1971. Thanks to the efforts of David and Harriet locally, and the generosity of many in the food industry nationally, researchers have a deep understanding of the causes of retinal diseases and how they might be treated. Today, several Foundation-supported clinical trials for potential treatments using gene therapy, pharmaceuticals and stem cells are underway. Recently the FDA granted approval of a “bionic retina’ the Foundation had a hand in funding during its development.

Some of the honorees that have been honored by the Foundation over the years include: John Kluge, 1985, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, 2001; Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra, 1983; T. Boone Pickens, 2008; and J. Willard Marriott, 2010.

Thanks to the Foundation Fighting Blindness, no one with a retinal degenerative disease ever needs to be alone or uninformed. The Foundation has a national network of volunteer groups that raise funds and increase public awareness of this disease.

Among some of the exciting events planned this year locally are: Visions 2013, June 27- 30, Baltimore Marriott Waterfront; Montgomery County VisionWalk, September 22, Rockville Town Square; and the Richmond VisionWalk, September 28, Innsbrook North Shore Commons.

If you’re interested in learning more about what Foundation Fighting Blindness is doing in the Mid-Atlantic region, call (410) 423-0600 or visit www.FightBlindness.org.

Clyde’s of Columbia, the favorite watering and meeting place for “food” people, has re-opened after being closed for several months for renovations. While it retains the comfortable atmosphere, it now is the classiest place outside of New York. The next chance you get to entertain or be entertained I would highly recommend Clyde’s of Columbia. It has been, and is again, my favorite “watering hole”!

Congratulations to Rosalie Marfuggi, daughter of Food Trade News’ vice president and general manager, Maria Maggio, on her graduation from the University of the Arts with a bachelor of music degree. Maria tells us to look for her name in the coming months at local and New York jazz venues.

Congratulations to Kathy’s and my daughter, Cyndi Ireland, who was promoted to vice president of Coca-Cola Refreshments CVS Team.

Happy Birthday wishes go out to: Ciao Bella’s Micky Parsons; H&S Bakery’s J.R. Paterakis; Food World’s Beth Pripstein, Terri Maloney and Jeff Metzger; Coca-Cola Refreshments’ Cyndi Ireland and to my granddaughter, Kathryn Dougherty Ireland, who will be celebrating her 7th!