In & Around Food World

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Welcome the June 2014 Food World Market Study, the best and most complete market study of the Mid-Atlantic retail food industry. This is the one issue that everyone in the Mid-Atlantic reads and keeps as a reference until June 2015.

And as we do every year, we welcome any and all comments, both good and bad. Should you want to put your critiques in writing, we will publish them as Letters To The Editor. While we welcome Letters to the Editor, we will not publish them if you direct us not to. Letters to the Editor, both critical and non critical can only improve future issues of our paper.

Last month, thanks to an invitation from former food broker Michael Finkelstein (Kluge, Finkelstein & Company) and now the Laundromat king of the East Coast, I had the pleasure of going deep sea fishing in the beautiful Chesapeake Bay, for the first time since I moved to the Mid-Atlantic area in 1978. If you’ve never been deep sea fishing, it’s a wonderful experience (if you catch fish). And we did catch a few beautiful and big striped bass. There was a goodly number of fish caught, and everyone who wanted some were able to take home a nice fish steak after the crew cleaned and filleted them. And I can personally tell you that the piece I took home was as good as the striped bass served in the finer restaurants in Baltimore and Washington area including Buzz Belar’s Prime Rib restaurants which, in the opinion of this writer, serves some of the best food in the entire Mid-Atlantic if not the East Coast.

Congratulations to the folks at MOM’s Organic Markets on being named the 2013 Retailer of the Year by Follow Your Heart, a leading provider of vegetarian and vegan foods. The annual award recognizes retailers that contribute to the success of the brand, as well as those that uphold the values of a commitment to healthier food options and being a steward of the environment. California based Follow Your Heart was created in 1970 to provide high quality vegetarian and vegan versions of salad dressings, sauces and dairy alternatives. “Our relationship with MOM’s Organic Market is special for us because our values really align,” said Martin Kruger, COO and head of sales at Follow Your Heart. “We  both strive to protect and restore the environment through conscious business practices and to provide products that help create a healthy planet.”

We received a nice note from retiree Dave Carter who ran Rita Ann’s (a division of AmerisourceBergen) operation in the Mid-Atlantic, informing us that Gregory D. Wasson, president and CEO of AmerisourceBergen, had been elected to Walgreens’ board of directors.

AmerisourceBergen is one of the largest global pharmaceutical sourcing and distribution service companies, helping both pharmaceutical and bio-tech manufacturers improve patient access to products and enhance patient care. With services ranging from drug distribution and niche premium logistics to reimbursement, AmerisourceBergen delivers innovative programs and solutions across the pharmaceutical supply chain. With more than $100 billion in annualized revenue, AmerisourceBergen is headquartered in Valley Forge, PA, and employs approximately 13,000 people. The company is ranked #32 on the Fortune 500 list.

Dave Carter, a good friend of Food World and Food Trade News, is one of our best critics. Since his retirement from Rita Ann, he keeps us informed of any store he visits in the summer in and around his home and in the winter, he sends us critiques of stores from his retreat in Palm Beach, FL.

Here’s an interesting piece on a survey from Midan Marketing of U.S. men, showing that women still do most of the nation’s grocery shopping, but trends including a move toward more stay-at-home dads and a growing interest in cooking among men have more dads doing the weekly shopping.

Almost half of 900 men surveyed said they do at least 50 percent of their family’s grocery shopping, and within that group, more than half said they make all the supermarket trips.

Wegmans Food Markets has announced that the Wegmans Employee Scholarship Program will award college tuition assistance to 1,766 new recipients for the upcoming academic year. Wegmans expects to pay out more than $4.91 million in tuition assistance to both new and returning scholarship recipients during the 2014/2015 school year.

Since the program began in 1984, more than 30,000 Wegmans employees have been awarded scholarships totaling $95 million. The first class of Wegmans scholarship recipients in the 1984/1985 academic year included 241 employees with scholarships totaling $280,000. No limit is placed on the number of scholarships awarded each year and no restrictions are made on a student’s course of study. Recipients may choose any area of study from an accredited college and enter any field they desire upon graduation.

Wegmans Food Markets is an 84-store supermarket chain with stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland and Massachusetts. Wegmans has been named one of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” by Fortune magazine for 17 consecutive years and ranked number 12 on the list.

Harris Teeter reports donating more than $570,000 to Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) to help the voluntary health agency raise funding to continue its work to defeat 43 neuromuscular diseases through programs of world wide research, comprehensive service, and far-reaching professional and public health education. The donation was made possible thanks to generous contributions from Harris Teeter customers during the company’s point of purchase donation card campaign to benefit MDA.

Birthday greetings go out to our daughter Cyndi Ireland of Coca-Cola Refreshments and our granddaughter Kate Ireland, age 8. Also, Jeremy Diamond of the Diamond Marketing Group asked us to let the grocery trade know that his grandmother Sonia Diamond, wife of Food-A-Rama’s Paul Diamond, is celebrating her 93rd birthday in June!  That’s right, her 93rd!!

In case you missed it, Food World/Food Trade News is out with the 2014 Grocery Industry Directory. It contains “everything you need to know about the Grocery Industry in the M id Atlantic!”

If you don’t have a copy of it, phone 410.730.5013 and speak with Beth Pripstein to order your copy. Or, go to www.best-met.com and order you copy online.

As many of our readers know, Kathy and I will soon be leaving for Orleans on Cape Cod in Massachusetts. (Next issue In and Around Food World will be written from there.)

We love Cape Cod and we go there twice each year, during the summer and at Christmas time.

We highly recommend the Rock Harbor Grill in downtown Orleans where you can get great drinks and great seafood. We discovered it with our Harwich, MA friends Peter and Maisie Wall.

Enjoy the summer!