In & Around Food World

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Congratulations to Klein’s ShopRite of Maryland, which was one of six retailers recently recognized by the Food Marketing Institute for community outreach programs and charitable initiatives. Klein’s ShopRite, through a partnership with the city of Baltimore and non-profit groups, allowed citizens to voluntarily surrender guns and receive a $100 ShopRite gift Card.

Supervalu announced recently that it will host its first national sales expo, Sales 4 All Seasons, this summer. The three-day event, to be held August 12-14 at the River Centre in St. Paul, MN, will combine all of Supervalu’s former regional shows into one major sales and education event. The event will offer nearly 2,000 independent grocery retailers the opportunity to access Supervalu’s supplier network via a sales expo featuring hundreds of exhibits, displays and products for every department and category across the store. The company anticipates approximately 3,000 attendees at the event, ranging from its independent retailers to industry personnel, grocery and food suppliers and employees. Supervalu also will announce winners of its 2014 Master Marketer competition, which celebrates the top marketing campaigns of the company’s independent retailers.

Congratulations to JOH’s Theresa Lowden on being Produce Business Magazine’s first winner of what will be an annual tradition of presenting an award to a woman who has exemplified the qualities of leadership that can both inspire other women and lead to a more successful industry.

The 2013 inaugural award was presented to Lowden, who is executive vice president of JOH Mid-Atlantic Produce. She was chosen for her efforts to launch the Women’s Leadership Committee for the Eastern Produce Council. In addition, the award was presented to her for almost two decades of tireless work, including an incredible amount of effort launching the New York Produce show and Conference.

Johnson, O’Hare, now called JOH, was founded in 1956 by the late Harry O’Hare Sr. and is now one of the strongest regional food brokers in the United States, with 10 offices and strategic partnerships located along the East Coast. JOH currently has over 500 employees and represents more than 400 clients.

On a personal note, we were saddened to hear about the death of John H. Griffin, founder of The Griffin Report of Food Marketing, who passed away last month. Both Jeff and I worked for John before purchasing Food World in 1978 – me in sales and Jeff in editorial.

For 50 years, John and The Griffin Report reported on the people, companies and products making food industry news the Northeast. He was controversial, he was provocative, and he was everything a good newspaper man should be.

John had worked as a reporter for the Boston Post (where his father was editor-in-chief) and when the Post closed in 1956, John went to work for Yankee Grocer, the food trade  paper in New England. He founded The Griffin Report in 1966 and stayed active with the paper until he sold his business to his youngest son, Kevin Griffin. John also founded Ad East, a publication for the advertising business, and Yankee Food Service, a publication for the food service industry. He was inducted into the Massachusetts Food Association Hall of Fame shortly before he retired.

In a quote from Tom Stemberg, a former supermarket executive in New England and the founder of the Staples Office Supply chain, …”You had to read it (The Griffin Report ) because you were always worried your name would be in it for something you did. If there were a given operator who was doing bad things, unethical or just bad form, he was never scared to point it out. If it was an advertiser or a non advertiser, he just didn’t care. He was direct, brutally honest.”

On a personal note, I would not have gotten into the food trade publishing business had it not been for John. He exposed me to “food people,” who are the most generous and nicest people on earth. The food industry is a great industry and one which requires a strong work ethic. Working with the food industry is a way of life, not a job.

Kathy and I became very close to John and Mary Rose and their family. We went to food conventions with them – New England had numerous food organizations that would hold yearly conventions in some of the most beautiful places in New England  – and we and our children vacationed with the family on Cape Cod.

John Griffin was a “legend” in the food industry of New England and the East Coast.

Our sympathies go out to his wonderful wife, Mary Rose Griffin and to his children, grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews. He was a good man and a good teacher. He will be missed.

Ten Network of Executive Women sponsors were recognized by the National Association for Female Executives as 2014 Top 50 Companies for Executive Women.

Noted for their efforts to advance women were Accenture, American Express, Colgate-Palmolive, General Mills, Johnson & Johnson, Kellogg, Kraft Foods Group, Procter & Gamble, Target Corporation and Wal-Mart.

The NAFE Top 50 Companies for Executive Women survey is completed by for-profit companies with at least 1,000 employees and two women on the board of directors. The survey tracks female representation at all levels, but especially the corporate officer and profit-and-loss leadership ranks; how many employees have access to programs and policies that promote the advancement of women; how many employees take advantage of those programs and policies; training of managers to help women advance; and how those managers are held accountable for the advancement of female employees that they oversee.

Congratulations to Kraft Foods Group executive Regenia Stein, who has been named secretary of the Network of Executive Women. She replaces Betsy Hosick of Chevron Corporation, who now serves as NEW vice chair.

Stein has been a member of the NEW Board since 2006. As sponsorship chair, she was instrumental in launching a partnership program that doubled sponsor support.

In October 2013, Stein was honored with the Network’s William J. Grize Hall of Fame Award, which recognizes industry leaders who have demonstrated “an enduring commitment to the advancement of women and to creating a diverse and inclusive workplace.” She retired from Kraft Foods Group last year after more than 26 years of service.

New York-based BrightFarms Inc. has signed a partnership with Giant/Landover to supply produce grown at a 100,000-square-foot greenhouse near giant’s store at 1535 Alabama Aveenue SE. BrightFarms is leasing the site from the District. Construction is expected to begin in May and be completed by October.

The farm was first announced by the District last May. BrightFarms did not have a local grocery partner lined up at the time of last year’s announcement. The farm will source exclusively for Giant. The project will create 20 full-time jobs and more than 100 construction jobs. The farm will grow produce year round and deliver it to Giant stores throughout the Washington region.

Since 2011, BrightFarms has partnered with seven supermarket chains and has seven commercial-scale greenhouses in development. A greenhouse in Bucks County, PA, is its first operational farm.

Publix Super Markets took the top spot again on this year’s American Customer Satisfaction Index. Publix tallied a score of 86, compared with a satisfaction score of 78 for the supermarket industry overall. Collectively, the group of smaller regional operators scored an 81, up three points over the year-ago score. Included in the smaller regional banners are Food Lion, Stop & Shop, Meijer, ShopRite and Giant Eagle.

NumbergMesse North America (NMNA) and the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) recently announced the co-location of InterBev Beverage 2014 with FMI Connect: The Global Food Retail Experience. The joint event will be held June 10-13, 2014, in Chicago.

FMI Connect is the new FMI show, redesigned to connect the industry and inspire the future of food retail. As the industry’s pinnacle event, FMI Connect is where 15,000 retailers and wholesalers, along with 900 exhibitors from every channel of food retail, meet to uncover solutions for the entire store and every aspect of the business.

Recently Giant/Landover opened its first in-store bar at a store in McLean, VA. Now don’t get excited, it’s not a liquor bar, but rather a Smoothie Bar. The smoothie bar offers 10 flavors like pina colada, banana nut bland and crazy carrot, as well as a smoothie of the month and custom-made drinks.

The Safeway Foundation recently hosted an awards ceremony at the Safeway’s Eastern Division headquarters in Lanham, MD to distribute grants to local charities. The Foundation is funded through the generous contributions of Safeway employees throughout its Eastern Division which operates 125 grocery stores in Northern Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and Washington, DC. The Foundations distributed $248,500 in donations in 2013 with special emphasis on organizations in the areas of hunger relief, education, health and human services and special needs.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all. I’ll be celebrating at my favorite local pub, Clyde’s of Columbia. Slainte!