SIAL Canada, held April 13 through 15 at Montreal’s Palais des Congrès, had a record number of visitors this year, drawing 17,300 food industry professionals from more than 60 countries. Show organizers were jubilant. “This constitutes growth of 17 percent as compared to 2014,” said Xavier Poncin, Executive Director at SIAL Canada. “SIAL Canada has confirmed its unique position as a major North American one-stop-shop tradeshow, offering equal parts innovative food products, equipment and services!” Essence Desserts’ Assorted Chocolates with Sorbet and Ice Cream Centers, a Canadian product, took home the show’s grand prize.
The event kicked off with the official opening with Canadian and international dignitaries, including U.S. Ambassador to Canada Bruce A. Heyman, Quebec Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Perre Paradis, Parliamentary Secretary of the Canadian Ministry of Agriculture and Agri-Food Jean-Claude Poissant and others. The first day was also marked by the Networking Event of the Agri-Food Industry, organized by the Agri-Food Export Group, with 400 guests attending from all over Canada and the United States. It was an opportunity to hand out a number of prizes, including the SIAL Innovation’s grand prize.
With “Food-Service Costing and Increasing Profitability” as a topic, the first edition of SIAL Food Hub was a success: 50-odd food-service professionals gathered to discuss a major issue of the day. Over several hours, 11 guest experts put together a variety of recommendations which, in a few weeks, will be published as a white paper and made available to participants.
The OLIVE D’OR extra-virgin olive oil contest attracted more than 100 participating oils from 15 countries. The 12 best extra-virgin olive oils submitted by producers from around the world were selected to be named the Golden, Silver or Bronze Drops in their respective categories.
Executives from IRI, Geometry Global and Integer will deliver presentations on the current state of snacking and what trends are shaping the future at the 2016 Sweets & Snacks Expo, hosted by the National Confectioners Association. The snack-focused sessions will take place at the trade show’s new Discovery Theater located in Skyline Hall. The Sweets & Snacks Expo will take place May 24-26 at McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois.
“In addition to the business done on the show floor, we want to provide Expo attendees with the latest insights they can use to make informed business decisions,” said Barry Rosenbaum, Expo Chairman and President of Nassau Candy Distributors, Inc. “With snacking clearly on the rise, we feel strongly that these category thought leaders will provide attendees with a unique learning experience.”
IRI’s Sally Lyons Wyatt, Executive Vice President & Practice Leader, client insights will present on the state of the snack industry, providing the latest research on segment growth and opportunity development. Lyons Wyatt is an authority on consumer eating and shopping trends with more than 25 years of industry experience.
Geometry Global’s Director of Multicultural, John V. Burn, will examine how shifting demographics will impact shopping behavior over the next five years and specifically its impact on the snack category. Burn’s experience on multi-cultural snacking includes serving as managing director Brazil for SAB Miller in Latin America and general manager for Travel Retail of Diageo.
The Integer Group’s Craig Elston, Executive Vice President, Insight & Strategy will provide attendees with insights on how the growth of online purchasing can be an opportunity for the candy and snack industry. Elston, having spent a vast majority of his career in integrated strategy roles, will share the latest online shopper research and how brands and retailers can capitalize on burgeoning trends.
NCA’s 2016 Sweets & Snacks Expo will set an all-time record in volume of confectionery and snack products with more than 720 companies showcasing nearly four acres of product innovation. The show floor expanded into a second hall, the new Skyline Hall, to accommodate the growing exhibitor base and plans to welcome more than 16,000 industry professionals from nearly 90 countries.
Category experts from Bell Flavors & Fragrances, Inc., Canadean, Center for Advancing Retail & Technology, LLC, Consumer Technology Association, Natural Marketing Institute and Progressive Grocer are also set to speak at the new Discovery Theater.
For more information, visit sweetsandsnacks.com.
Urbani Truffles USA has announced the opening of its newest venture, Truffle Lab NYC. The Lab will act as a creative concept, test kitchen and tasting room with an ultimate goal of bringing new experiences to truffle lovers in the heart of the big city.
Under the guidance of the Vice President of Global Marketing Sabrina Notarnicola and former Master Chef Season 5 finalist, Chef Christine Berni-Silverstein, as Culinary Director, Urbani curated a luxurious experience with top design and kitchenware suppliers including Snaidero Kitchens & Designs, Gaggenau, Cosentino Group, Listone Giordano, Agnelli USA & Bormioli Rocco USA.
“Together we have transformed our New York showroom into a haute cuisine destination that will inspire and engage world-class chefs, truffle lovers and food enthusiasts alike,” said Giammarco Urbani, CEO of Urbani Truffles USA. “Our Lab will allow everyone to come together to taste, explore, and learn about the mystique behind the truffle.”
Truffle Lab NYC will host international culinary events, premier wine dinners, cultural soirees, private events and truffle-based cooking demonstrations. Guests of the truffle tasting room will savor truffle creations and observe demonstrations on how to handle and harness the highly-celebrated earthy and aromatic ingredient to enhance any recipe. The Lab will also be welcoming top chefs from all over the world to showcase their truffle technique and creativity.
Truffle Lab NYC plans to schedule events weekly starting May. For more information on upcoming events, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 212.247.8800.
The Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker® program, the nation’s only advanced training program of its kind for veteran cheesemakers, has graduated seven new and three returning Master Cheesemakers. The 2016 class is among the largest in the 22-year history of the program, which was established through a joint partnership of the Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research, UW-Extension and the dairy farm families of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board (WMMB).
With 59 active Wisconsin Master Cheesemakers working in 32 companies across the state, the Masters hold certifications in 35 cheese varieties, from familiar classics to artisan originals. Cheesemakers entering the rigorous three-year course of study can seek certification as Masters in up to two cheese varieties each time they go through the program.
The newest Master Cheesemakers, who were formally certified at an April ceremony during the International Cheese Technology Expo in Milwaukee, are:
Joining them in the 2016 graduating class are three Masters who returned to the program to gain certification in additional varieties. They are Brian Jackson of Nasonville Dairy in Marshfield, Tom Jenny, of Carr Valley Cheese in Mauston, and Gerard Knaus, of Weyauwega Star Dairy in Weyauwega.
Jackson, previously certified for Monterey jack, cheddar, brick and Colby, graduates with additional certifications in muenster and gouda. Jenny has been part of the program since its inception and has been previously certified as a Master in Swiss, fontina and gouda. He now graduates with additional certifications in Shepherd’s Blend and Bessie’s Blend, two Carr Valley originals. Knaus, a third-generation cheesemaker who was certified in 2012 for feta and parmesan, this year earns additional certifications in brick and Colby.
“The Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker program continues to elevate our state’s leadership position in the industry,” says James Robson, CEO of the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board. “The fact that there are so many first-time Masters in the 2016 class is particularly exciting. It’s a major professional accomplishment for them personally, but their commitment to education, innovation and excellence is something that all of the Masters take into the plant with them every day. Their expertise has an impact on product quality and, by becoming Masters, they inspire others within their companies to follow in their footsteps and do the hard work to become certified, as well.”
Cascadian Farm, a certified organic food brand founded in 1972, is working with the Xerces Society to plant thousands of acres of pollinator habitat at the brand’s supplier farms by the end of 2020. Cascadian Farm has been working with The Xerces Society, a leader in pollinator conservation, for several years to protect pollinators and their habitat. This expanded partnership represents a first-of-its kind effort to conserve pollinators, bringing together an organic brand, farmers, and scientists to work on this shared goal.
Pollinators – chiefly bees – are necessary for the reproduction of nearly 85 percent of the world’s flowering plants. Yet, since 2006, regions around the world have been reporting an average annual loss of 30 percent of worker honey bee populations.
The U.S. Interagency Presidential Pollinator Health Task Force identifies and lays out strategies for the multiple stressors on pollinator health: habitat loss, poor nutrition due to reduced food diversity, viral and parasitic diseases and pesticide exposure.
“Cascadian Farm has chosen to focus on pollinator habitat as a solution, given our brand’s connection to nature,” said Stephanie Moffat, Associate Marketing Manager for Cascadian Farm. “As a pioneer in the organic food industry, we are excited to use our scale to aid in this important cause.”
The Xerces Society’s Eric Lee-Mӓder, Pollinator Program Co-Director, adds, “This partnership sets a high bar for the rest of the food industry. We believe this is a huge and critical step for ensuring a secure future for pollinators.”
The Fish Friendly Farming (FFF) Environmental Certification Program is now an accepted option under the region’s globally recognized Sonoma County Sustainable Program. Since committing to become the nation’s first 100 percent certified sustainable wine region by 2019, the Sonoma County Winegrowers, which started the Sonoma County Sustainable Program in 2014, have created a groundbreaking sustainability program to help ensure its grape growers continue to farm for generations to come.
“I am very excited that Fish Friendly Farming will now be accepted under our Sonoma County Sustainable initiative,” said Karissa Kruse, President of Sonoma County Winegrowers. “This is another example of our ongoing commitment to build the strongest sustainability program possible, while also giving our growers another certification option that still maintains the strict standards we require to become Sonoma County Sustainable,” she added.
The addition of Fish Friendly Farming is the result of a year and half of collaboration between the two organizations to enrich the FFF sustainability program to meet the requirements of Sonoma County’s sustainability program. Sonoma County Winegrowers’ comprehensive approach to sustainability was recently recognized with California’s highest environmental honor, the Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award (GEELA).
Sonoma County’s sustainability program takes a triple bottom-line approach that focuses on people, planet, profit, as well as an annual audit and third party certification. To meet this criteria, Fish Friendly Farming has expanded its strong environmental focus with new best practices addressing the social equity and business aspects of sustainability. In addition, they now mandate an annual audit. Fish Friendly Farming will now require all their members, including those outside of Sonoma County, to comply with these new additions in order to remain certified Fish Friendly Farming.
With the addition of Fish Friendly Farming, Sonoma County’s grape growers now have four sustainability programs to select from that have been reviewed and vetted by environmental policy advocates, wine industry leaders and other stakeholders. They include California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance, Fish Friendly Farming, Lodi Rules and SIP (Sustainability in Practice).
CORE Nutrition, purveyors of CORE® Hydration premium bottled water, announces its major market rollout of its newest innovation, CORE Organic, a USDA-certified organic fruit-infused beverage with antioxidants and only five calories per serving. The new beverage will roll out into grocers including Kroger, Safeway/Albertson’s, Save Mart/Lucky Supermarkets, H-E-B, Sprouts Farmers Market, Acme, Tops Friendly Markets, Bristol Farms, and select Whole Foods Markets through May. Additionally, extensive distribution will kick in at 7-Eleven locations on both coasts as part of the retailer’s push for “better for you” beverages.
Known for CORE Hydration premium bottled water, CORE Nutrition has developed a first of its kind – an organic and low calorie drink that tastes great without the worry of artificial ingredients, high calorie counts or sugar. With CORE Organic, the company is tapping into America’s growing demand for organics, a market estimated at $40 billion that grew by 11 percent in 2014, according to Mintel. Additionally, 85 percent of Americans are currently buying organic and 75 percent of conventional grocery stores are carrying organic products nationwide.
Dusted Dark Chocolate and Jalapeño are SkinnyPop Popcorn’s newest flavors, adding to an existing portfolio of four popular flavors, including Original, White Cheddar, Sea Salt & Pepper and Naturally Sweet. Both new flavors bring diverse fresh tastes to the ready-to-eat popcorn category, Dusted Dark Chocolate presents a perfect balance of light yet dark, sweet yet salty, and Jalapeño appeals to fans looking to add a hint of spicy to their better-for-you snacking choices.
“We’re excited to roll out these two new special flavors, particularly since they will really ‘pop’ among the ready-to-eat popcorn category,” shares Amplify Snack Brands President and Chief Executive Officer, Tom Ennis. “Dusted Dark Chocolate and Jalapeño complement our entire SkinnyPop portfolio nicely, now offering fans an indulgent sweet flavor and subtle spicy kick.”
Both new flavors are available in 4.4-ounce bags at retailers nationwide.
Albertsons Companies has appointed current Denver Division President Susan Morris to the position of Executive Vice President of Retail Operations over its East region. Morris is filling the vacancy created when Kelly Griffith announced earlier this month that he would be leaving the company.
Since March of 2015, Morris has led the company’s Denver division team, overseeing over 130 stores in five states. She joined Albertsons when she was 16 as a customer service clerk in Colorado, and worked at store level until she graduated from Colorado State University when she accepted a job at the division office. Her career has spanned roles from Store Director to Corporate Grocery Sales Director, Vice President of Bakery and Operations and, upon the sale of Albertson’s Inc.’s assets to SUPERVALU, Vice President of Customer Satisfaction. In 2010, she was Senior Vice President of Sales and Merchandising when she left SUPERVALU to join Albertsons LLC. In March 2013, Morris moved from her role as Vice President of Marketing & Merchandising for the Southwest Division to Intermountain Division President.
“Starting at an entry level position and working your way up to a leadership role is very much alive and well at Albertsons Companies, and Susan is the latest example of that,” said Wayne Denningham, Chief Operating Officer. “In the span of our company’s history, we have helped to develop some of the greatest retail leaders in the industry today, and Susan is certainly an excellent addition to that list. Her experience in grocery is invaluable both as an operator and a merchant. We look forward to her taking on this key role as we look to continue to grow and strengthen our operation while furthering our goal of becoming the favorite local supermarket across the nearly 2,300 neighborhoods we serve.”
Action for Healthy Kids (AFHK) and ALDI have partnered to invest in Southern California communities through AFHK’s School Grants for Healthy Kids initiative. The ALDI investment of $175,000 will help 15 Southern California area schools to improve their overall wellness environments through grants and technical assistance during the 2015-2016 school year.
Funding supports the establishment or expansion of school health teams; implementation of school wellness programs to drive effective health initiatives utilizing AFHK’s Game On program to identify and target areas of need; and engagement of parents, community members and ALDI employees to promote wellness at school and at home. The ALDI-funded program will benefit more than 11,000 students at the selected schools where, on average, 71 percent of students are eligible for free and reduced meals.