Soup To Nutz

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From Wentz we came; in Foles we trust. Well, it finally happened; the Philadelphia Eagles won their first Super Bowl by outplaying and out psyching legendary quarterback Tom Brady and his band of hooligans. The game itself was riveting, with Birds quarterback Nick Foles himself scoring a touchdown, the first time ever in NFL Super Bowl history. The 2018 championship game was ranked in the all-time top five (depending on which sports outlet you follow) of the 52 Super Bowls. Positioned as the underdogs, the world-renowned Philadelphia fans went to the extreme sporting full on Eagles gear, including head masks of a German shepherd at the conference game and in Minneapolis as our team mowed down the opposition. Philadelphia fans are passionate and superstitious (did you not see “Silver Linings Playbook”?), not to mention loyal. We have been waiting for this for a very long time and dammit, it was our turn to celebrate. The city went wild, in a good way, when our Birds won and parade day was declared a holiday. Did we go? Of course! Where did we watch the parade? In South Philly, in the middle of Broad and Oregon. The team members seemed as much in awe of the cheering fans as the fans were of them; filming us filming them. But the highlight of the day was Pro-Bowl center Jason Kelce, dressed in a Mummer’s costume (if you don’t know, don’t ask) to honor the city he has come to call home since 2011. His speech was over the top and laced with expletives, but full of passion. The fans loved it! By the time the parade reached its destination, the “Rocky steps” of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, we were home watching it on television, eating cheesesteaks. Can’t wait to do it all again…maybe the Phillies are next?

The Super Bowl commercials on the other hand were less than spectacular, except for Budweiser’s “Dilly Dilly” ads. I did some research when asked what “Dilly Dilly” meant and the answer is: absolutely nothing! It rhymes well with Philly, so maybe that was an omen that we would win, but it was also fodder for Dietz & Watson which created ad spoofs on “Dilly Dilly” with the phrase “Deli Deli.” Television ads ran in the Philadelphia and Chicago markets and were run in tandem with a 100 percent social media campaign. The social media campaign ran from Friday through Sunday offering to deliver deli products to consumers’ homes the day before and of the Super Bowl. Dietz & Watson partnered with Amazon Fresh Now for deliveries. More than 15,000 orders were placed. Part of the promotion was for one participant to win cold cuts for life. As of presstime, the name of the winner had not been released, but that lucky person will receive coupons each month for a predetermined dollar value for a very long time. Way to go!

Saint Joseph’s University’s Academy of Food Marketing has planned a series of interactive panel discussions in both the Philadelphia and New York Metro markets. The first panel discussion will focus on “Gen Z – The Next Consumer Powerhouse” on April 10 at The Liberty House in Jersey City. This population group will make up 40 percent of all consumers by 2020. When it comes to marketing to today’s young consumers in traditional brick and mortar stores, brands are trying to figure out what resonates. The panel discussion will help companies engage, activate, and retain this critical group of 2.6 billion digital natives who represent $44 billion in buying power. Both retail and CPG panelists will share their insights on the economic influence, brand engagement and cyber-savviness of Gen Z. Panelists will include folks from M&M Mars, Walgreens, YouTube and GrocerKey. The second, focusing on a timely topic, “Health & Wellness – The Better for You Boom,” will take place on April 17, 2018 at the Springfield Country Club, Springfield, PA. Many consumers are reevaluating their diets and are paying more attention to the natural component of food. This panel discussion will outline how to win in this competitive trillion-dollar health and wellness landscape. Retail and CPG industry expert panelists from Wawa, Redners Markets, Giant/Martin’s and Kind will share their insights on functional foods, natural and organics, plant-based foods and free from products. The series is sponsored by Domino Foods, Giant/Martin’s and I Love Produce. To register for each of these events, go to www.sju.edu/fmkscholarships.

The New Jersey Food Council (NJFC) kicked off 2018 with its annual membership meeting February 1 at Forsgate Country Club in Monroe Township, NJ. The NJFC elected its slate of officers and board of directors during the meeting. The officers for 2018 are: chair – Richard Saker of Saker ShopRites; vice chair – Mike Murphy of QuickChek; treasurer – Mike Rothwell of Pennington Quality Market; secretary – Joe Sofia of Wegmans Food Markets; associate vice chair – Mike Biase of Mission Foods; and president – Linda M. Doherty. In addition, the board of directors for 2018 was formally elected.

This year’s meeting was particularly special because Doherty celebrated her 25th year with the organization. Saker commented, “Linda’s genuine and fearless leadership for the food industry is a testament to all of our major accomplishments throughout her time here. We all look forward to continued accomplishment with her as president.”

Next up for the NJFC is the “Night of Distinction” reception March 22. This prestigious event will be held at The Palace at Somerset Park, Somerset, NJ. The event draws more than 500 guests including prominent food industry executives. A silent auction supporting the NJFC Educational Development Scholarship Program will round out the evening. The honorees for 2018 are: Chris Lane of Wakefern; Kathy Russello of RBS/Ahold Delhaize USA; and Dennis Hickey of Krasdale Foods. Each honoree will be presented with industry achievement awards for their meaningful contributions to advance the mission of the NJFC, for achieving significant food business success, and for their history of civic service within the New Jersey food community. Tickets can be reserved online at www.njfoodcouncil.com/events.

Mark down April 12 on your calendars for the MAFTO spring retailer dinner featuring guest speaker Jeff Brown of Brown’s ShopRites. Jeff operates 13 Fresh Grocer and ShopRite supermarkets, many of which are located within the confines of the city of Philadelphia. The Philadelphia soda tax is always on his mind, so be sure to attend to get the latest news from Jeff. The dinner will be held at the Simeone Foundation Auto Museum near the Philadelphia Airport, which houses one of the world’s greatest collections of racing sports cars. Founded by retired neurosurgeon Dr. Fred Simeone, this one-of-a-kind showplace has special events, demo days and even hosts summer camp. To register for this fun and informative evening, go to www.mafto.org.

The circle of life continues as Stefanie Arck-Baynes, Philabundance, and Nate Baynes announced the birth of their daughter, Zoey Asha Baynes, on January 17. Weighing in at five pounds, three ounces, baby Zoey is a HUGE Eagles fan and the little love of her parents’ lives. Congratulations!

Walking in to the Hilton Head sunset at the end of January, Charlie Poletti of Acosta closed the book on a 43-year work life spent entirely in the food industry. Charlie was born, raised and educated in Maryland, graduating from the University of Maryland. Little did he know, by answering a want ad for General Foods, he would begin a journey that would move him seven times through company mergers and job advancements finally landing him and his family in the Philadelphia area in 1997. After 23 years with Kraft/General Foods, Charlie joined MAI-Weaver as the director business development. In 1999, MAI was purchased by Acosta and there he stayed until he announced his retirement a short time ago. In recent years Charlie was VP/team leader overseeing Acme Markets, Safeway/Eastern, Supervalu Eastern Region and Weis Markets. Charlie also spent time doing food industry charity work at AMR and MAFTO, serving stints as president of both organizations. He tells me he and his wife Patty will split their time between the Jersey Shore and Hilton Head, but I’m sure we’ll see him at some MAFTO events from time to time. Happy Trails, Chazz!

Birthday shout-outs for the amorous month of February go to: Judy Spires, Kings Food Markets/Balducci’s; Jim Ostling, Bimbo Bakeries; Bill Schlosky, Utz; Guy Giordano, Vincent Giordano Corp.; Reggie Sanders, Johanna Foods; Sandra Sage, Clemens Food Group; Gary Canuso, Turkey Hill; Ed Symbouras, Specialty Fabricators; Neil Brassell, Raymundo’s; BJ Zellers, TKE Communications; Kevin Gallagher, Food Trade News; and big birthday hugs to my daughter Rosalie Marfuggi. Buon compleanno a tutti!

Quote of the month: “No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn.” Hal Borland