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Saint Joseph’s University’s Academy of Food Marketing (SJU/AFM) presented Chef Robert Irvine, star of The Food Network’s “Restaurant: Impossible” and “Dinner: Impossible,” as host of the 2017 fundraiser for the Food Marketing Educational Foundation. Sponsored by Acme Markets, Origlio and Pepsi among others, the event took place the evening of February 28 at the Fretz Kitchen Showroom at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. Attendees from all sectors of the industry spent the evening learning, cooking, eating, and networking. Chef Irvine judged a friendly retail cooking competition between Wakefern, BJ’s, Weis and Kings, with CEO Judy Spires leading her team as head chef. Wakefern was voted the winner, after a blind taste test/ judging by Bob Higgins and Eileen Acello, both with SJU/AFM. Chef Irvine also gave out samples from his new Signature Sidekicks line and posed for endless photos with guests. Cooking demonstrations, participation in wine and beer pairings and delicious hors d’oeuvres were among the offerings throughout the evening. This is the second time Irvine has partnered with Saint Joseph’s to host a fundraiser for the Food Marketing Educational Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports student scholarships. “We hope to raise funds for scholarships for food marketing students along with an awareness of our excellent and unique food marketing program,” says Acello, director of development and recruitment for SJU/AFM. “We want more of the food industry to seek out our students for internships, co-ops and full time positions.” This year’s fundraiser drew over 200 guests, with retailers, consumer packaged goods companies, wholesalers, food brokers, foodies, and of course, fans of Chef Irvine in attendance. It’s a really fun, relaxing evening for all who attend, plus there are many state of the art sample kitchens and appliances to ogle! Speaking of the ambitious food marketing students at SJU, they won top prize at the NGA Student Case Study Challenge for the second year in a row at the NGA show in Las Vegas last month. SJU Professor Dr. Sara Williamson led the group as they put together recommendations for Harp’s Food Markets headquartered in Springdale, AR. Congrats, Hawks. THWND!!

The International Dairy Deli Bakery Association’s (IDDBA) Show and Sell at IDDBA 17 in Anaheim, CA, June 4-6 will reflect fundamental principles of the “Experience Economy,” exposing attendees to interactive and innovative merchandising concepts designed to energize their stores and engage, entertain, and educate their shoppers. Sounds like what we here at Food Trade News do for our readers. The “experience economy,” a term first used in 1998 by authors B. Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore, is a concept whereby businesses engage customers not only through products and services, but also by adding an experience to shopping occasions, key when trying to attract younger shoppers. This experience focuses on four key factors: entertainment, education, esthetic and escapism. “For more and more consumers, shopping isn’t simply about purchasing products,” said Jeremy Johnson, education director at IDDBA. “It’s about the experiences they encounter and oftentimes actively seek, whether it provides entertainment value, a learning encounter about a specific product or process, or exploring new tastes or flavors for the first time. This new way of engaging with shoppers is the inspiration for many of the concepts and merchandising ideas planned for this year’s Show and Sell.”  In the spirit of the experience economy principles, the

2017 Show and Sell—an interactive marketplace of merchandising ideas and retailing concepts—will feature unique foodservice concepts, fresh department display case merchandising ideas, educational messaging, and other ideas that attendees can share with their colleagues and potentially implement in their stores. Additionally, how-to sessions presented by industry leaders and chef experiences will be conducted daily in the Show and Sell workshops. It’s a must see!

We are sending a shout out to Mary Washinko of Acme Markets to get well soon after a recent surgery to fix carpal tunnel. Also on the mend is Jim Burke Sr., Seafood America, from a recent ticker tune-up. Jim is back and better than ever, as was witnessed at the Seafood Show in Boston last week, where he couldn’t sit down for more than a few minutes, that’s how busy the booth was. Seafood America also announced at the show that Tom Dengler, formerly of Dietz & Watson, has joined their team as northeast sales manager. As we head off to the New Jersey Food Council’s (NJFC) Night of Distinction, NJBIZ magazine announced that Linda Doherty, president of NJFC, has been named one of New Jersey’s “Best 50 Women in Business.” As the fifth and longest serving NJFC president in its 48-year history, Linda develops and launches programs and policies designed to continuously strengthen this industry that is so critical to New Jersey’s economy, consumers, and workforce. Her professional focus is on association management, public policy, leadership development, corporate communications, public affairs, and government relations. This year, Linda celebrates her 24th anniversary with the NJFC and 13th anniversary as its president. She has been credited with developing the organization’s Leadership Development program, growing its Student Scholarship and Educational Foundation, bringing more diversity onto the board of directors in leadership positions and sharing her experiences, career insights and advice as a leading female food industry executive. I am honored to call her my friend. You go, girl!

Birthday shout outs for the uncertain month of March go to: Dan Croce, Acme Markets; Bill Sumas, Village Supermarkets; Jeff Brown and Sandy Brown, Brown’s ShopRites; Vince Pagano, McCaffrey’s Markets; Bill Carter, Knauss Foods; Dave Andrews, Kreider Farms; and Bob Unanue, Goya Foods. Buon compleanno a tutti!


Quote of the month: “If you’re born round, you’re not going to die square.” Mario Maggio


Maria can be reached at