In & Around Food World

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Chestertown on Maryland’s beautiful Eastern Shore has implemented an outright ban on the use of plastic shopping bags by large retailers effective January 19. The ban was passed by the town’s city council last March. Chestertown joins other jurisdictions around the country that have recently passed bans on single-use plastic bags, including: Rye, NY, which passed an ordinance banning the bags last December; Westport, CT, which banned plastic bags at checkout in 2008; Brownsville, TX; and Telluride, CO. Two of Chestertown’s main food retailers – Acme and Fresh and Green’s- both switched completely to paper bags in early January.

For the second year, Ahold USA has been named to DiversityBusiness.com’s “Top 50 Organizations for Multicultural Business Opportunities,” moving up five spots from last year to rank 42 in the United States. Ahold USA will be honored at a special awards ceremony at DiversityBusiness.com’s 12th annual Multicultural Business Conference, which will be held April 25-27 in Mashantucket, CT.

DiversityBusiness.com asked more than 1.2 million businesses to answer 10 questions about diversity in the marketplace. Their answers were based on factors such as volume, consistency and quality business opportunities to women and minority-owned companies.

“Diversity is an important part of our business and we regularly work with women and minority-owned businesses to develop supplier opportunities for the mutual success of both organizations,” said Jeff Martin, executive vice president of merchandising and marketing for Ahold USA. “It’s quite an accomplishment to be recognized by DiversityBusiness.com and we look forward to greater success this year as we explore more opportunities.”

For the past five years, Ahold USA and its supermarket divisions have hosted a supplier diversity/regional and small business trade show with a goal of strengthening the connection between agricultural, minority and retail industries. Participants have an opportunity to meet with Ahold USA’s procurement teams to discuss future business opportunities with the company.

Senior leaders from some of the nation’s largest CPG/retail companies will offer their insights on talent management, multicultural consumers and the benefits of working with diverse suppliers during three educational super sessions at the Network of Executive Women’s CPG Retail Diversity Forum, the industry’s largest diversity and inclusion event. The CPG Retail Diversity Forum will take place March 6-8, 2012, in Dallas.

Among those sharing their experiences will be: Sue Johnson, global head of gender balance and diversity for Nestle Group; Linda Singh, senior marketing director, fragrances for Coty Inc.; Ernest Freeman, senior manager, supplier diversity for PepsiCo; and Gleatha Glispie, director of supplier diversity for Walgreen Company.

The NEW Diversity Forum 2012 will open with a dinner dialogue featuring: Tom Greco, president of Frito-Lay North America; Grant LaMontagne, senior vice president, chief customer officer for The Clorox Company; Sue Dodsworth, chief diversity officer for Kimberly-Clark Corporation; and Debra Sandler, chief consumer officer for Mars Chocolate NA.

The program also includes special remarks from: Sharon Orlopp, global chief diversity officer for Wal-Mart Stores Inc.; Anthony Carter, global diversity officer for Johnson & Johnson; and Cheryl Pearson-McNeil, senior vice president, public affairs and government relations for The Nielsen Company.

The National Grocers Association (NGA) announced that it is partnering with the University of Southern California (USC) Marshall School of Business and Unilever to expand its highly regarded executive leadership development program, which is currently offered at Cornell University through funding provided by PepsiCo, Inc. The expansion will now include two programs offered at Cornell and USC, allowing NGA to increase annual participation from 36 executives to more than 50.

More than 250 NGA member executives representing senior leadership from more than 100 independent retailers and wholesalers have graduated from the Cornell program since its inception. PepsiCo Inc. sponsors the Cornell program through funding support and Unilever will provide funding to support the new USC program.

The next executive leadership development program will be held June 3-7, 2012 at Cornell in Ithaca, NY and June 10-4, 2012 at USC in Los Angeles.

Baltimore based Bradmer Foods, one of the country’s only food and beverage focused investment firms, has announced an equity investment in Chesapeake Bay Roasting Company (CBRC), a leading Mid-Atlantic coffee roaster based in Crofton, MD. In addition to the investment, Adam Borden, managing director of Bradmer Foods, joined the executive team of CBRC as chief operating officer.

Chesapeake Bay Roasting Company was established in January 2002 and has grown to supply almost 300 foodservice clients and more than 100 grocery and specialty retail stores including Whole Foods, Safeway, Wegmans, Giant Food, Fresh Markets, MOMs Organic Markets, Graul’s and select independent markets. Committed to organic and “green” processes, CBRC established the H2O Initiative, pledging two percent of sales to support community organizations and groups that make a measurable impact on the health of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. For more information, visit www.cbrccoffee.com.

Bradmer Foods is a venture capital and private equity firm based in Baltimore that invests exclusively in emerging specialty food and beverage businesses. For more information on Bradmer Foods, visit www.bradmerfoods.com.

Several foodservice brokers announced that they have joined forces with retail broker Advantage Sales and Marketing to create a new company, Advantage Waypoint, LLC, effective January 1, 2012. Advantage Waypoint, LLC will run as an independent company focused on delivering value to the foodservice industry. The aligned companies are: Innovative Concept Group, Dougherty Brokerage Company, APEX Foodservice Group, Benchmark Sales, FSI Southwest, Midwest Venture Partners (MVP), Food Sales West, Mascari & Associates, Inter-Mark Sales, and Advantage Sales and Marketing.

Congratulations to Wegmans Food Markets, Rochester, NY, for making Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list. This marks the 15th year that Wegmans has made the list. They were ranked fourth this year.

Three other food retailers made the list: Whole Foods, Austin TX, was ranked 32nd; QuikTrip, a convenience chain in Tulsa, OK, ranked 66th; and Publix Super Markets, Lakeland, FL, came in at number 78.

Last month, John Shield’s Baltimore based Gertrude’s Restaurant held its 9th Annual Krautfest. As most of our readers know, Shields is nationally known as host of the PBS television show, Coastal Cooking. He is also the author of numerous cook books, including “Coastal Cooking with John Shields” and “Chesapeake Bay Cooking with John Shields.” If you’ve never been to his Krautfest, you should put it on your “to do” list for next year. It’s a great time and the food served is mostly local items like Binkerts Knockwurst and Bratwurst, Ostroweski’s Kielbasa, and a real “oompa” band which plays a lot of polkas. You will also eat some of the best beer-braised sauerkraut along with some super desserts featuring such items as double chocolate sauerkraut cake and Krauty Berger Cookie Cheesecake. The Krautfest ticket includes all food, soft beverages, musical entertainment and service. It’s a fun evening and one the whole family can enjoy.

Congratulations to Dan Fazio, account executive for headquarter sales-non foods division of JOH Food Brokers, who is the recipient of the prestigious Harry O’Hare Award for 2011. This award is presented yearly to “…the person who most personifies the values and qualities that marked the life and career of Harry O’Hare. Hard work, integrity, passion, a positive attitude and team spirit are all part of Mr. O’Hare’s personal and professional legacy. Dan, a JOH employee since 1997, exemplifies these attributes in his role as an account executive. He strives for perfection and is responsive to the need of others, even if it means interrupting his own work or committing himself to late nights to meet the objective,” said Kevin Tassinari, executive vice president of non foods for JOH.

Mark your calendars for April 30-May 3 for FMI 2012, the food industry’s leadership event showcasing emerging opportunities, delivering consumer insights through thought provoking research and education and fostering industry collaboration and community. This is your opportunity to see the food industry’s showcase of products and services and to engage with retailers and wholesalers from around the globe. The event will be held at the Dallas Convention Center.

Our sincere sympathy is extended to Andy Lansman (A&L Foods) on the death of his father Irving W. Lansman. A&L Foods was established in 1938 and Irving purchased the company in 1952. The company serves the major metropolitan areas on the East Coast with dry, frozen and refrigerated retail and institutional specialty groceries. Servicing national and regional chain stores, large institutional accounts, independent grocers, specialty/gourmet stores, delis, restaurants, nursing homes, hospitals and schools, A&L Foods is a unique, specialty food distributor. They are the only distributor that can provide any type of customer with all of its kosher food needs; whether it is a chain store requiring a complete kosher foods program, or a deli seeking the finest smoked salmon.

Birthday wishes go out to: Frank Rich (International Food and Beverage); John Gates (Lancaster Foods); Kathy Carter (DBC Sales); Linda Hughes (Hughes Sales); Glenn Davis (Safeway); Mike Keba (Food Trade News); Pat and Nancy McBride (Advantage Sales and Marketing); Harriet Finkelstein, Stuart Sobotnick and Ed Hopkins (Metromedia); Kathy Chandler Poteet (Acosta); and Mike Wilson (Master Food and Beverage Consultants).