Soup To Nutz

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I had the chance to catch up with some members of the Genuardi family last month at the annual Genuardi Family Foundation (GFF) and Saint Joseph’s University Scholarship luncheon which gives two $10,000 scholarships to worthy students working on their food marketing degrees at Saint Joseph’s University (SJU). Bob Higgins, SJU, hosted a delicious lunch at Chops on City Avenue in Bala Cynwyd for the winners and their families, past recipients and members of the GFF. Representing the Genuardi family this year were Frank, Tom Sr. and Larry Genuardi. I was seated next to Frank who is touting 95 years of age and is still as sharp as ever. Must be that Sicilian DNA at work again! Tom Sr. was his usual jovial self and happily regaling the students with his stories. I am told he goes into the GFF office every day. Larry is busy running the foundation with his team.

This year’s winners, Deirdre Mihalik, from Bloomsburg, PA, and Nicholas DiMarcello III, from Bridgewater, NJ, are students in the co-op program at SJU. As I read through their biographies, I couldn’t help but think that the future of our industry is in good hands with these young adults starting out with such extensive and comprehensive experience. Nick is a Wal-Mart scholar and created strategies with his team that are now actually in place throughout the region. He also participates in research under the guidance of Dr. Neal Hooker. Nick has written two reports and co-authored one other during his time as a research assistant. Deirdre has chosen to make her co-op experiences well rounded, with internships at the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture in the Bureau of Markets and at Kreider Farms as a sales and marketing intern. She is rounding out her co-op experience in retail at Wal-Mart. Best wishes to both as they come into the best industry in the world!

April 17 was a busy day in Philadelphia! The Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market (PWPM) hosted the first-ever Delaware Valley Nutrition Summit. Philadelphia, like many other large cities has more than its share of “food deserts.” While larger players are making great strides serving these deserts via supermarkets, the smaller venues are being left behind. The PWPM is beginning to form a cooperative effort to improve the area’s food and nutrition status. Local organizations gathered with the common goal of benefiting high-need areas through increased fruit and vegetable consumption. “Since PWPM opened in June, our business development work found many independent groups in this community with similar urban health goals,” said Tad Thompson, the business development manager of PWPM. “It made perfect sense to bring these people together through the nutrition summit to create networking opportunities and discuss ways PWPM can work with organizations to reduce obesity, heart disease and diabetes while improving consumer health through greater produce consumption. Many of our guests had not yet seen this new facility. They were impressed by our cold-chain protected, clean facility. They gained an understanding of how this competitive wholesale market yields the best value to a community with limited household budgets.” The PWPM also hosted the Eastern Produce Council’s dinner May 15. This marks the first time the EPC has ventured outside of the New York Metro area for a meeting. EPC first vice president Paul Kneeland of Kings remarked, “This place is unbelievable. This is a first class terminal.” Yes, it is.

Later in the day, the Golden Slipper Camp feted the 2012 angel, Ralph Marta, CEO of C.W. Dunnet, at the Hilton on City Line Avenue in Philadelphia. Past angels including, Manda Johns of Supervalu, Doug Buchanan of Brandywine Marketing, Guy Giordano of Vincent Giordano Company, Gerry Shreiber of J&J Snack Foods, Nate Ostroff of Network Food Brokers, Jon Liss of Michel’s Bakery and yours truly were thrilled to welcome Ralph to our ranks. He is so deserving of this honor. Camp director Nanci Gilberg said donations for this summer’s camp sessions were going well. It always feels good to give back and make a difference in a child’s life.

Brown’s Super Stores has been working diligently in numerous sustainable efforts focused on reducing its carbon footprint. This focus includes energy savings and efficiencies through refrigeration, LED lighting, recycling and food recovery, control management and solar energy. Brown’s recently achieved the EPA’s prestigious Energy Star Rating in 6 of its 11 facilities. In an effort to reduce consumption, they have fully converted three of their 10 stores to 100 percent LED or induction lighting, which includes all refrigerated cases and overhead store lighting. Plans are in place to make lighting upgrades in five additional stores over the next year. These lighting upgrades will reduce electric consumption by more than 20 percent in 2012. In addition to the hundreds of tons of cardboard, bottles, cans and paper recycled each month, Brown’s has partnered with Pepsi and Waste Management to place Dream Machines in each store to enabling customers to recycle cans and bottles while contributing to charities of their choice. I have seen these machines in action. It’s a unique way to educate the public on being more socially and environmentally responsible. To date, 11,500 cans and bottles have been recycled through these Dream Machines. All of the stores have also joined the EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge, which encourages organizations to reduce, donate and recycle as much of their excess food as possible to save money, feed families in need and protect the environment.

Five stores and the Brown’s corporate office have earned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) prestigious Energy Star Rating. There are now approximately 1,800 Energy Star-certified supermarkets nationwide that have been recognized for their commitment to reducing their impact on the environment by reducing the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere. Solar energy is also being utilized at the ShopRite of Parkside. This alternative energy source is yet another savings concept for the company. The electricity generated by the 1386 solar panels installed on the roof of the store is generating more than 473,000 kilowatts annually and will account for 12 percent of the stores energy needs. “We are so honored to be recognized by the EPA for our commitment to the environment and the reduction of the carbon footprint of our stores,” said Jeff Brown, president of Brown’s Super Stores. “This accomplishment sets a standard for all our stores as we continue to look for ways to offer our customers an enjoyable shopping experience while taking responsibility for our impact on the environment.” Many of Brown’s stores also serve “food desert” areas.

I recently picked up a little tidbit about aluminum cans. It turns out that the can is the most recycled food and beverage package in theU.S.and not by a little bit, but by a lot. Endlessly recyclable without losing their integrity, steel food cans have a 67 percent recycling rate, and aluminum beverage cans have a 58 percent recycling rate. Aluminum cans have the ability to go from the recycling bin to the supermarket shelf in just 60 days. In addition, new shapes and lid styles are making cans more popular than ever with consumers. Companies looking for a sustainable package will find that cans are the smart choice for many products and for the environment.

At its 2012 convention in Dallas, FMI announced the three 12th annual store manager award grand prize winners, who were  recognized for their work in innovative store operations, leadership and community involvement. There was one winner from our marketing area, Mike Jacob of ShopRite of Hunterdon County,Flemington,NJ. Congratulations Mike!

Speaking of the FMI, Gary Canuso from Turkey Hill was spotted working the show even though he is still on the mend from recent knee surgery. Glad to see you’re feeling better,Gary.

Continuing the circle of life we report the death of former chairman and director of Pet Products International, a subsidiary or Ralston Purina Co., Franklin W. Krum. Prior to joining Ralston Purina, Frank served as president, Golden Products Division of Ralston, and before that president and chief executive officer, Golden Cat Company, and president and CEO, ALPO Petfoods. Frank was loved and respected by everyone who worked with or for him. He was truly the executive’s executive and a person who cared deeply for everyone who worked with and for him. In addition, Sam Wisotsky, a veteran of thePhiladelphia food industry passed away on May 2. During his career he worked at Penn Fruit as a dairy buyer and later at Penn Maid Foods. He was also a founding member of the Tri State Dairy Deli Association which is now a part of AMR/MAFTO.

Congratulations to new grandparents Charlie and Patti Poletti of Acosta! Enzo Vincent Poletti entered the world on Friday May 11 at 6:49 p.m. Baby Enzo is the son of Vincent and Joanna Poletti.

Birthday shout outs for the blooming month of May go to: Doug Buchanan, Brandywine Marketing; Paul Messina, IRG; Jan Gabriel, JOH; George Endrigian, George’s SNB; David Anderson Jr., Haddon House; Anthony L. Maglio, Maglio Sausage; Phil Marfuggi, the Ambriola Company; Walt Rubel, formerly of Acme; Dick Bestany, co-founder of Best-Met Publishing; Best-Met’s office manager Beth Pripstein; and retired Food World account executive Lou Rosenthal. Buon compleanno a tutti!

Celebrating marital bliss this month are: Donna and Mark Tarzwell of AholdUSA and Bill and Diana Schlosky, Utz. Happy Anniversary!

Quote of the month: “Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” Albert Einstein