Soup To Nutz

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Happy New Year! Has anyone broken their resolutions yet? I don’t make resolutions, but I do keep lists and I am hoping to see many items crossed out as we go forward into 2012. Here’s to hoping your 2012 is as good as it gets! Speaking of resolutions and the like, did you know that January is National Oatmeal month? Apparently, more oatmeal is consumed in January because of, yup, the dreaded “New Year’s Resolution” to eat healthy and keep fit. Even Dunkin Donuts (DD) has gotten onto the healthy breakfast fare bandwagon and has introduced Quaker Oatmeal onto its menu. I applaud this addition as DD is my coffee stop of choice when on the road. No more veggie flatbreads for me! Just as an aside, yes, the cookies are also included in National Oatmeal Month!

The new year brings with it some important anniversary celebrations in the food industry. Weis Markets marks their 100th birthday with a year-long celebration of “100 years of quality” beginning with Best-Met Publishing’s special pull out section included in this issue. They go on to be feted on April 15 in Hershey, PA by Saint Joseph’s University’s Academy of Food Marketing. At the same time, the academy is celebrating 50 years of educating young people from all over the world, preparing them for lifelong and varied careers in the food industry. Congratulations to these two esteemed groups on these important anniversaries.

Social networking is coming to the Can Can sale! This year, to bring awareness to the ever-growing issue of hunger in our local communities, ShopRite will launch “Cans for Fans” – a program that enables ShopRite Facebook fans to get involved in ShopRite’s fight against hunger. For every fan on ShopRite’s official Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/shoprite.supermarket), ShopRite will donate one can of food, up to 50,000 cans, to local food banks in the communities it serves. Fans are encouraged to spread the word about “Cans for Fans” by sharing ShopRite’s official Facebook page with friends. The more “likes” ShopRite receives, the more cans it will donate to those in need. “The annual Can Can sale is a great opportunity for ShopRite to help raise awareness of the issue of hunger in our communities,” said Christine Magyarits, community relations manager for ShopRite. “‘Cans for Fans’ is a powerful way to engage our customers in the fight against this ever-growing problem in our nation. Hunger affects us all and we thank our loyal fans for continuing to help us in support of this worthy cause.” ShopRite has long been a partner to food banks in the areas it serves through its ShopRite Partners In Caring program. Founded in 1999, ShopRite Partners In Caring has given more than $27 million to food banks, which has helped to feed millions of people. The Can Can sale continues to have a loyal and devoted following among ShopRite customers who eagerly await this annual event. Over the years, the Can Can Sale has changed and grown. Originally intended to focus solely on ShopRite private label products, today many national brands are included, as well. In fact, Can Can proved so popular that in 2002, ShopRite introduced a Summer Can Can Sale. Another, more fun way to celebrate the Can Can Sale is to visit ShopRite’s “Get Can Canned” website – www.ShopRiteCanCan.com – which gives visitors the opportunity to become a ShopRite Can Can dancer by uploading a photo which will be placed on the animated dancer’s body. The image can be emailed to friends, shared via social media or posted to ShopRite’s official Facebook page. Can’t wait to try that!

Here it is only the first few days of 2012 and the New Jersey Food Council (NJFC) has already helped win a battle for the retailers and consumers of New Jersey. The NJFC, representing New Jersey food retailers and their supplier partners, cheered the enactment of Senate Bill 2927/Assembly Bill 3133 by Governor Chris Christie on January 9. This legislation will allow consumers to accrue rewards points on their debit cards and shopper loyalty cards, which can be turned into discounts on gasoline purchases. “With food and fuel prices being at some of their highest levels in recent memory, it is important to give consumers every possible discount on their purchases,” said NJFC president Linda Doherty. “We thank the governor for signing this bill into law after it received broad bipartisan support in both houses of the legislature.” Right now, consumers in every other Northeast state and more than 40 other states are able to accrue points on their shopper loyalty cards through their normal spending habits like grocery shopping. These points can be turned into discounts at participating gas stations. New Jersey law no longer prohibits this type of consumer benefit. “New Jersey consumers can now take part in the promotional programs that are enjoyed by their family and friends in other states,” continued Doherty. “NJFC looks forward to the first food-fuel promotions programs being rolled out here in New Jersey.” Don’t forget to mark your calendar for the NJFC annual meeting on January 24 in Edison, NJ. For more information, go to www.njfoodcouncil.org.

AMR/MAFTO has a new president in 2012. Charlie Poletti of Acosta brings his many years of food industry experience to head up AMR/MAFTO for a one year term. Charlie and the board of directors have planned a year full of exciting events for food industry folks in the Delaware and Lehigh Valleys. The retailer dinner on February 2 will be the first time Dan Sanders, president of Acme Markets, addresses the trade. This is sure to be of interest to all Philadelphia area food industry professionals. Also, the annual golf outing venue has been changed to Commonwealth National Golf Club in Horsham, PA and will be held on May 7. This event has been touted as the best in the industry, so keep it here for updates as we get closer to the event date. To register for the dinner go to www.amrmafto.org.

Allegiance Retail Services, LLC has announced that Nick D’Agostino III, president and CEO of D’Agostino Supermarkets has been appointed to the Allegiance board of directors. David Maniaci, chairman and CEO of Allegiance, said, “Nick D’Agostino is one of the top supermarket entrepreneurs in the business. He will be a valuable addition to the Allegiance board of directors.” D’Agostino Supermarkets celebrates 80 years of serving Manhattan residents this year.

Continuing the circle of life we send condolences to the family of Mike Hanusey, Millenium Marketing, on the death of his father, Alexander Hanusey. Mr Hanusey, an Army veteran of World War II, passed away after a long illness. He leaves behind five other children, 22 grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren. Also, sympathies go out to my dear friend Marc Firestone, Esq., EVP of corporate legal affairs for Kraft Foods, Inc. on the death of his mother Caral Firestone Parris. Caral fought a long and courageous battle against cancer, ultimately succumbing this past weekend. She is also survived by her son Thomas and three grandchildren. Rest in peace.

Birthday shout-outs for the chilly month of January go out to: Linda Doherty, NJFC; Eve Gigis, Acme Markets; Gary Larkin, JOH; David Patragnoni, Wellshire Farms; George Latella, St. Joseph’s University; Carl Jablonski, Bud’s Markets; Tim Musgrove, Herr Foods; Robert Simmons, Esq., Fiergang and Simmons, P C; and a gaggle of Food Trade News alumni: Meg Major, Jim Kinney and Bob Ingram. Buon Compleanno a tutti!

Quote of the month: “Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.” – Oprah Winfrey