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Welcome to the Annual Food Trade News Market Study issue! It was certainly an undertaking and what you now hold in your hands (or are viewing online at best-met.com) is the result of the entire Best-Met Publishing team’s months of effort in compiling the Food Trade News Annual Market Study! As most of you are familiar with, these projects are a real undertaking which require months of research and compiling of data and it was a Herculean effort to compile. I want to personally thank all of the customers, distributors, vendors and friends for your assistance in assembling this wealth of information. Just as important, is the great team here at Best-Met Publishing Company. Their collective expertise in organizing projects of this magnitude continues to amaze me. This expansive project was a result of the yeoman work of VP and editorial director Terri Maloney, marketing director/digital specialist Karen Fernandez, VP/GM Maria Maggio, our office manager and data accumulator Beth Pripstein and certainly our publisher Jeff Metzger. I challenge anyone to find this type of cohesive data on one of the most important marketing areas in the world anywhere else. It is a wealth of information and I hope you enjoy it and find it beneficial for your business and information. Kudos to all of my associates at Best-Met for all of their hard team work and dedication in putting this together and happy reading to you all!

Kudos to Linda Doherty and the entire staff at the New Jersey Food Council on another outstanding Trade Relations Conference. The event was held at Harrah’s Resort & Casino in Atlantic City and once again drew a big crowd. During the conference, the organization awarded Stan Barrasso of Acosta Sales & Marketing the 2017 Max Stone Award, a distinguished honor given to those with an accomplished career in trade relations. “Stan Barrasso is an outstanding role model in the food trade industry,” Linda Doherty said. “His style and ability to forge partnerships between the supplier and food retail community is admired and appreciated.”

Chris Lane, executive vice president of Wakefern Food Corporation, delivered the conference’s keynote speech. At a time when technology is evolving and consumers’ preferences are shifting, he said, supermarkets and grocery stores that continue doing what they always have might end up on the bottom shelf. He stated that every one of Wakefern’s stores has to be as good as it can possibly be to effectively compete with the challenges and warp speed changing trends in the industry. In fact, he added that the next five years could bring as much change as the past 50 years. It was very insightful and refreshing honest speech by Chris.

Also held during the conference was the second annual Best Chef Cook-Off Challenge. There was tension was in the room as the announcement was made that successfully defending their crown from last year were Chef Miguel Morales and sous chef Michelle Cantalupo of Foodtown/Food Circus Supermarkets. The chefs wowed judges with a fried Chilean sea bass in a spicy tomato and chile sauce served with a Spanish zucchini stuffed with quinoa, epizote, tomatoes and queso fresco topped with mozzarella cheese. Chefs from QuickChek Corp., Village Supermarkets and Inserra ShopRite also competed in the cook-off. Like expecting parents, Food Circus Supermarkets owners Phil and Lou Scaduto were genuinely nervous and anxious before the results were announced and couldn’t have been more proud of their team upon learning of the win. Congratulations to all of the participants and to the NJFC staff on another terrific event!

Congratulations to Steve Kane of Dean Foods who has been promoted to division sales vice president at the big dairy company. Steve had been responsible for the Metro New York area and now will take on the additional responsibilities of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions driving the business for their Lehigh Valley Dairy, Swiss Premium and Tuscan brands.

Mazers USA held its fifth annual New Jersey Food and Beverage Executive Forum at the Pleasantdale Chateau in West Orange, NJ with special guest panelists Gary Fisch of Gary’s Wine & Marketplace, Scott Rudolph of Banza, Anthony Scotto of Villa Restaurant Group and moderator Judy Spires of Kings Food Markets/Balducci’s. For those of you who have never attended an event at the Pleasantdale Chateau, you should put it on your list of “got to go to” places as it is a magnificent private facility that is worth the price of admission. The Mazars event features terrific insight provided by the expert panelists during the evening. Kudos to Lou Biscotti, Howard Dorman, Teresa Hansen and the entire staff at Mazers USA for bringing a really classy event to New Jersey. Lou had started the event more than 10 years ago on Long Island with his former firm, Biscotti, Toback & Partners (which was acquired by WeiserMazars) and it quickly became a wonderful top-to-top networking event that brings together key executives in the food industry.

Charles and Judy Gallagher and their family will open their second ShopRite store on Long Island at the site of a former Waldbaum’s in Lake Ronkonkoma. Plans are for an early 2018 opening at the 48,000 square foot site at 601 Portion Road which has been vacant since 2012. The Gallagher family also owns and operates the ShopRite of Selden.

We heard from Wayne Pesce, president of the Connecticut Food Association (CFA), who wanted to let everyone know that they have set the date of November 2 for their annual Person of the Year dinner. This year’s honoree will be Elizabeth Chace-Marino, manager of government affairs for Ahold USA. Additional honors and awards will also be presented at the gala which will be held at Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut. For more information, contact the CFA at ctfood@ctfoodassociation.org

We learned recently that after 42 years in the business, Elliot Schnier, co-president and co-CEO of Porky Products, will be retiring. His partner Jonathan Ewig will remain as CEO and president. Also staying on in their current capacities will be CFO Bill Melloy and senior VP of sales Bob Hughes.

Congratulations to Bob “Doctor” Weinmann , senior vice president of marketing and strategic initiatives at RDD Associates on being recognized by the Food Bank for New York City for his generous support and donations throughout the years. At a luncheon at the food bank’s warehouse in the Bronx, Bob and fellow honoree Josephine Infante, former president of Hunts Point Economic Development Corporation, were feted for their significant work and accomplishments on behalf of the organization. I can personally attest to Bob’s tireless efforts for the food bank and it is a recognition that is well deserved!

Well that’s it for now all. I hope you are able to utilize and enjoy this Market Study issue. It is the start of the summer season and I am sure that I will see you out at the various outings, dinners and trade events this summer! As always you can reach me at 201.250.2217 or kgallagher@best-met.com.