In & Around Food World

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The National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association (NFRA) will hold its 20th annual executive conference April 16-18 at the Tempe Mission Palms Hotel & Conference in Tempe, AZ.The conference offers the most recent information on industry and consumer trends, with an impressive line up of speakers. This year’s conference includes two retail keynote presentations by Rod Antolock, executive VP of Harris Teeter, and J.K. Symancyk, COO of Meijer.

The conference kicks off with the Greater Penguin Open golf tournament and the NFRA fishing tournament.

The speaker presentations address the current state of the industry, the value of frozen and refrigerated shoppers, advantages of advancing technology and where our future is headed. The conference closes with a final informational session reflecting on topics addressed throughout the conference. With attendance limited to 150 delegates, it truly is a great opportunity to network and connect with trading partners.

The first retailer keynote by Antolock will open the Tuesday morning session will spotlight the current economic profile of the food industry and where it is headed in the future.

Ken Harris, CEO of Kantar Retail, will touch on the macro-trends affecting shopper behavior and also focuses on the importance of appealing to those valuable shoppers. Steve Horowitz, CTO of, Inc., will discuss the changing digital landscape and how consumers are embracing it.

Todd Hale, senior VP of consumer and shopper insights at The Nielsen Company concludes the morning sessions with a presentation on the findings from the NFRA/Nielsen State of the Industry Report on Frozen and Refrigerated Foods, with a focus on the current U.S. economic recovery, sales trends in the industry, the need to evolve due to population growth and predictions for the future of retailing.

Tuesday’s afternoon sessions start with a second retailer keynote followed by a presentation on the best practices in social media from manufacturer and retailer perspectives, using real world examples and a Q&A session to give attendees better insight into the social media networking world.

NFRA is a non profit trade association representing all segments of the frozen and refrigerated foods industry. Headquartered inHarrisburg,PA, NFRA is the sponsor of March National Frozen Food month, June Dairy Month, June/July Ice Cream and Novelties promotion, and October Cool Food for Kids educational outreach program. NFRA holds the annual National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Convention in October.

The American Meat Institute (AMI), Food Marketing Institute (FMI), United Fresh Produce Association (United Fresh) and National Association of State Departments of Agriculture are gearing up for the largest food industry exposition of its kind. The four shows will be co-located in Dallas in April and May for one event featuring 1,200 exhibitors filling one million square feet of the latest food technology and trends on display. More than 25,000 food industry decision-makers are expected to attend the expo, which will offer engaging keynote speakers and up-to-the-minute educational

sessions. (Sounds like a fantastic expo but who will be left home to tend to the store?)

Our sincere sympathy is extended to the family of Kevin G. Branigan, 52, ofBensalem,PA , a food broker who died in February of leukemia.

Growing up inRhawnhurst,PAKevin huckstered produce from a truck with his older brother for a local market. After graduating from Holy Ghost Preparatory School in 1977, he worked for two food brokers while attendingSt. Joseph’s University. In 1984 he earned a bachelor’s degree in food marketing, and in l989, he founded his own food brokerage business, Master Onion Sales, dealing in produce and specializing in onions. For 26 seasons, he sold Christmas trees at the corner ofCottman AvenueandState RoadinNortheast Philadelphia. The trees inspired a Mural Arts Program painting of a forest on a building adjacent to the lot.

Donations may be made to the Kevin G. Branigan Children’s Trust, Morgan Stanley Smith,650 S. Exeter St., Suite 1100,Baltimore,MD21202.

Our good friend Adam Borden, chairman of the board of Marylanders for Better Beer & Wine Laws, recently sent us some very interesting statistics.

Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot, recently published the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Annual Report. TheMaryland wine industry trumpeted and 11.6 percent growth in wine sold in 2011,as reported by

Here are some interesting statistics from that report:

The state ofMarylandcollected $5.6 million in excise taxes on 14.1 million gallons of wine sold in FY2011. To put that number in perspective, Marylanders consumed 10.3 million gallons of distilled spirits and a whopping 99.1 million gallons of beer.

Marylanders drank on average 1.8 gallons each of distilled spirits, 2.5 gallons of wine and over 17 gallons of beer. (I think this writer contributed a little to those totals.)

Montgomery,BaltimoreandAnneArundelCountieswere the three largest wine consuming jurisdictions in 2011 while citizens of Baltimore andPrince George’s Counties drank the most beer and booze.WorcesterCountyhas the most liquor outlets per resident at 174 citizens per outlet whilePrince George’s County has only one per 1,454 citizens. (How it is possible thatPrince George’s consumers drink so much with so few liquor outlets?)

There were only 19 total license violations statewide for serving an intoxicated person, 13 of which took place inMontgomeryCounty.

Congratulations to Chris Ford of Baltimore restaurant, Wit & Wisdom, on being named “People’s Best New Pastry Chef,” a national award chosen by readers of Food & Wine Magazine. Ford is a graduate of theOrlandoCulinaryAcademy in 2005 and has worked at Trummer’s On Main inClifton,VA., where he was named one of’s “Rising Stars” in the DC Area, and more recently at Rogue 24 inWashington. Some of his items on the menu at Wit & Wisdom are: a warm pear tart withBartlett pear and brown sugar ice cream; a maple custard with orange toffee, almonds and bourbon; a Meyer lemon parfait; and his signature item, the Baltimore Bar, a play on the Baby Ruth, with peanuts, pretzel and chocolate. Wit and Wisdom is located in the Four Seasons Hotel at200 International Drive in the Four Seasons Baltimore Hotel.

If you’re a Marylander then you have already discovered Mr. Charles Market located in Owings Mills. For those who have not found it, you owe it to yourself to make a visit.

Mr. Charles Market & Catering is owned by its executive chef, Stuart Denrich. It is a specialty caterer and gourmet shop offering wine, liquor, beer, gourmet prepared comfort foods, personal chef services, specialty foods and gifts. They provide customers with exceptional service, high quality products and convenience. At any time one can find foods with Asian, Caribbean,Mediterranean and European influences and of course, American comfort foods.

Mr. Charles Market is located at12147 Park Heights Avenuein Owings Mills, MD. It is worth a visit and they are open seven days a week.

Retail food stores Safeway, Wegmans, Whole Foods and two general retailers who carry groceries, Costco and Target, along with Starbucks and Pepsico have been named to 2012’s World’s Most Ethical (WME) companies list as ranked by Ethisphere Institute. Ethisphere Institute is a leading international think-tank dedicated to the creation, advancement and sharing of best practices in business ethics, corporate social responsibility, anti-corruption and sustainability.

The Mid-Atlantic region of the Network of Executive Women will be holding its Spring/Summer Networking event on May 2, 2012. Exact details about the event have not yet been announced, but keep an eye on for details as we near the event.

The mission of the Network of Executive Women is to attract and advance women in the consumer products and retail industry through education, leadership and business development. The Mid-Atlantic Region has a very active group. Nationally there are more than 5,000 CPG/retail executives who are network members

This writer and the entire food industry lost one of its nicest people last month with the death of Edward C. Edwards. Ted, as he was known to all in the trade, was 87 years old and had worked as a food broker since 1954 right up until his death..

Ted started in the food brokerage business in New Englandin 1954 as Ted Edwards & Company. The company grew to become one of the largest in New Englandand was eventually sold.  He and his wife Sara, who worked with him in the business, retired to Phoenix, AZ where he and Sara continued with Edwards and Company. Their daughter Sally Cushman is now CEO of the company. Our sincere sympathy goes out to the entire Edwards family.

Birthday wishes go out this month to: Lee Chadwick, mother of  Lancaster Food’s Jerry Chadwick; my son Rick Bestany, Allegian Systems, and son-in-law, Bill Ireland, Clyde’s Restaurant Group.

Celebrating an anniversary are Jeremy and Helen Diamond (Food-A-Rama) their ninth.