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As we put together the 39th annual Food Trade News Market Study, the markets we cover remains in flux. Lidl has made its North American debut a little South of here and on its heels came the announcement that Amazon is acquiring Whole Foods. Much speculation has been made about the implications of this pairing and the impact it will have on the future of the retail food business. I, for one, don’t have a crystal ball, but with two millennials in my life, I can tell you this, “the times they are a changin’.” The roller coaster is still moving with no intentions of slowing down, so keep your seatbelts fastened. There will be many bumps lying in wait. Food Trade News, which covers 70 counties in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, New York and Connecticut in all channels of retail distribution, goes where no other publication dares to go, giving you the statistics you need along with the in-depth analysis we know you depend on. At Food Trade News and Food World, there is no “i” in team, and many thank yous need to be given out as we bring you this information-packed issue. First, Jeff Metzger, our publisher with the encyclopedic brain, you continue to amaze with your innate insight; the extraordinary Terri Maloney, vice-president/editorial director who along with Matt Danielson and Jenny Jones at E-ink work tirelessly to make sure each issue of Food Trade News is perfect and full of the latest news; Karen Fernandez, our social media and marketing maven, keeps us up to speed in the lightning fast digital world; Kevin Gallagher, my partner in schmooze who covers the New York Metro like a blanket; and to Beth Pripstein, our circulation manager, another thank you for adding our new readers to the Food Trade News subscription list every time I am on the road (which is often). Finally, a grateful thank you to our readers and advertisers for your support throughout the year and in particular this issue. We couldn’t do what we do without you!

As many of you know, Acme has been going through some growing pains of late. That has not slowed its remodel program, however. In June, it was full steam ahead as stores were updated in Philadelphia (Cottman Avenue and 2nd & Girard), Mahwah, NJ and Newtown, PA. Generous donations to the local police and fire departments and school districts were also made at each location. The ever popular park bench made of recycled materials was donated to each community as well. At the Cottman Avenue store, in the heart of Northeast Philadelphia, large charitable donations were made to Bringing Hope Home and Philabundance. Jim Perkins made his re-debut on June 10 at the 2nd and Girard Avenue store in the Northern Liberties neighborhood of Philadelphia. He gave special acknowledgement to Dan Croce for the good work he has done and gave an update on what’s going to happen at Acme. Bottom line – more money will be spent in this division than in any other Albertsons banner across the country this year and Acme wants to sell more stuff. Get ready, vendors! More news from Acme, their popular Monopoly game yielded a big winner. On June 8, a prize presentation was made to a customer named Brenda F. at the Acme in College Square, Newark, DE. Brenda collected her $40,000 Monopoly check for being chosen as one out of more than 160 million game entries nationwide. Since the beginning of February, Acme customers have been collecting game tickets and matching markers to the exact corresponding matching prize play area on the game board, which features a number of big prizes.

Did you know that it takes about 10,000 plastic grocery bags to make one park bench? Giant/Carlisle has donated 50 of these benches made from recycled plastic bags to local communities and schools. Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful received 25 of the benches along with a donation of $2,500. “Giant has set a company-wide goal of getting to ‘zero waste’ by 2020, diverting 90 percent of waste going into landfills through food waste reduction and recycling programs like Bags to Benches,” said Tom Lenkevich, president of the division of Ahold USA. In addition to the 25 benches given to Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, the company donated benches to other organizations around the state. The goal is to encourage shoppers to use reusable bags. The retailer has eliminated one billion grocery bags from the environment over the past five years. Keep up the good work.

Frank Lloyd Wright said, “Tip the world over on its side and everything loose will land in Los Angeles.” Well, from June 3-5 at the International Dairy Deli Bakery Association’s (IDDBA) 2017 Expo, more than 10,200 qualified buyers, merchandisers, executives, manufacturers, brokers, distributors, and other food industry professionals from 30 countries did just that. This always sold-out expo consisted of 2,048 booths representing 825 companies. It had an abundance of educational experiences from fresh and trending ideas and new products to presentations from speakers and experts and more opportunities than ever before. The top notch speaker line-up included Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jim Belushi and The Board of Comedy, Doug Rauch, Giada De Laurentiis, Eddie Yoon, Jim Donald, Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson, IDDBA chairman Jewel Hunt of Albertsons, and IDDBA president and CEO Mike Eardley, who spoke about “What’s in Store 2017.” He also addressed the role of the super-consumer and the changing shopper. There is “channel blurring” in the marketplace and the consumer has everything necessary to make the decision that is best for them. One stop shopping is gone as is brand loyalty. He also brought up that donuts are the hottest thing in bakery right now…who’d have thought that? At the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board’s party, Hunt presented the Chairman’s Award to Dennis Clark of Albertsons Companies and former Acme VP. New to the show this year was “Show and Sell Express. This area offered ideas to engage with on-the-go shoppers and creative ideas for merchandising fresh concepts in the convenience store format. “Expert Neighborhood” was also a new added value to the show that gave attendees the opportunity to meet with industry experts and professionals one-on-one. Experts included former CEOs, company founders and principles, authors, consultants, and FDA employees who talked with attendees about everything from regulations and menu calorie labeling to innovation and profitability. The “New Product Showcase” was a destination for attendees looking for unique and innovative trends all in one place. The tried and true “Show and Sell” showcased an interactive marketplace of merchandising ideas, demonstrations, education, and retail concepts designed to energize stores and engage shoppers. “Show and Sell” had everything from demos on charcuterie, cheese, and olives to grocerant-style areas where attendees could order food and have it delivered to their tables. It also featured a cheese pub with different pairings and chefs offering techniques and samples during demonstrations. My favorite new product finds? My Mo Mochi ice cream, which is ice cream wrapped in a sweet soft rice dough (don’t knock it until you try it!) and a brand new to the USA aloe based yogurt from Japan called Alove. It’s unlike (and better than) any yogurt I’ve ever tasted. See you next June 10-13 in NOLA! Don’t forget your beaded necklaces!

The New Jersey Food Council (NJFC), in collaboration with Rutgers University, has been awarded more than $240,000 to support Food Safety and Management Leadership series training programs. The grant, funded by the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development, will pay for one year of training, beginning this month, in the areas of entry level food handlers training, national food safety certification and “soft skills,” such as developing leadership potential of staff and supervisors. Funds are available to train NJFC member food workers in proper food handling, health and safety practices including certifications for national food safety courses. This award upgrades the skills, qualifications and employability of the State’s food industry workforce. “This award marks yet another year of our immensely successful grant-funded training partnership with Rutgers,” said Linda Doherty, president of NJFC, noting its members have benefited from more than $3.1 million in grant awards, helping members train more than 26,000 associates, since the program was launched in 2002. “This program is an example of why we have a strong and active membership,” she said. “NJFC continues to develop programs and partnerships we believe will help our members stay competitive and achieve greater success as bricks and mortar retailers.” To learn more about this training, contact Maria Fonseca-Cruz at Rutgers’ New Brunswick campus by calling 848.932.7626 or emailing cruz@njaes.rutgers.edu.

MAFTO has moved the date of the Dorney Park Family Day to Saturday, August 19. Everything else remains the same. It’s a fun day for all family members. To register for this and all upcoming MAFTO events, go to www.mafto.org.

Joe Talluto, second generation owner of the pasta company that bears the family name, received two proclamations from the city of Philadelphia and the City Council at the Italian Market Festival held in mid-May at the nation’s oldest outdoor market on South 9th Street in South Philly. Councilman David Oh presented the awards marking the company’s 50-year anniversary. Auguri!

Kudos to Kings Food Markets/Balducci’s president and CEO Judy Spires, who was the recipient of the “Woman of Spirit” award at the 15th annual Women Against MS luncheon held in Philadelphia on May 25. The group has raised more than $2 million to date. With more than 400 in attendance, an unusually emotional Judy acknowledged her family as she continues to raise awareness and funds to eradicate MS. Keep fighting to make a difference, Judy!

A tip of the hat to Acme produce director Jay Schneider, Philly’s own “Joe Carcione.” Jay can be seen every few weeks on Philadelphia’s local 6abc affiliate as part of “Today’s Food Tip.” His first tip was about mangoes and can be found on YouTube.

The circle of life continues as we welcome baby Kaia Rose Poletti, who was born May 23 to Joanna and Vincent Poletti. Grandparents Charlie and Patti Poletti, Acosta, are thrilled and tell us Kaia has a full head of hair and looks just like her big brother Enzo, who is adorable.

Condolences go to Herr Foods’ Daryl Thomas and his family, whose father Pastor John M. Thomas, 94, of Ephrata, PA died June 6, after a long and fulfilling life. Condolence cards can be sent to Daryl Thomas and/or Jere Thomas c/o Herr Foods, 20 Herr Drive, Nottingham, PA 19362.

Hats off to the high school graduates as they go off to find their future! Grace Croce, daughter of Dan and Suzanne Croce, Acme Markets, graduated from Cardinal O’Hara High School and will continue her education at Penn State’s main campus. Grace is the recipient of many scholarships and was very involved in school fundraising and The Kairos religious retreat program. Morgan Fitton-Zellers, daughter of BJ Zellers of TKE Marketing, graduated from Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, and will be playing lacrosse (and studying) at Franklin & Marshall. PJ Phillips, son of Amy Phillips of the Star Companies, graduated from York Adams Academy. He will take a year off and then plans to attend welding school. Alison Acello, daughter of Eileen and John Acello, Saint Joseph’s University, graduated from Collegium Charter School. She will also take a gap year to work as an assistant art teacher with Navajo children at St. Michaels Indian School in Arizona. Jonas Weaver, grandson of Peter Kostick, retired from Utz, is graduating from Governor Mifflin high school. He will also attend Penn State in the fall. Dream big, all!

Birthday shout-outs for the “school’s out for summer” month of June go to: Jeff Geiges, Acme Markets; Mark Tarzwell, Mrs. T’s; Jim Burke Sr., Seafood America; Bill Derbyshire, Coca-Cola; Tom Canuso, retired from Turkey Hill; Tom Morrison, Integrity/ ESM, who celebrates a milestone birthday this month; Nancy Rodgers-Fluharty, Pace Target Brokers; John Sottile, Anco Cheese Company; Ralph Nagle, Rastelli Market Fresh; Brian Chick, Charles Ritter, Inc.; Terri Maloney, Food World/Food Trade News; and our fearless leader, publisher Jeff Metzger. Buon compleanno a tutti!

 

 

Quote of the month: “Every strike brings me closer to the next homerun.” Babe Ruth