Sanders’ cream puff shells are now available in the freezer section at select Michigan Kroger stores, in Sanders Chocolate & Ice Cream Shoppes and online at www.sanderscandy.com in a newly designed resealable pouch.
The packaging update comes after Sanders’ recent launch of its new super premium ice cream cartons, giving shoppers the opportunity to enjoy a real hot fudge cream puff at home using the same ice cream, toppings and cream puffs as Sanders Shoppes.
“We wanted to design a more purposeful package for our cream puff shells that would really showcase the product inside,” said Walter Pilon, Director of Sales – Bakery & Frozen Goods at Sanders and Morley Candy Makers, Inc. “The crisp graphics and delicious recipe ideas on this pouch definitely make it stand out in any freezer section.”
Six cream puff shells were previously packed in simple clear bag with a label and twist tie in the past. While the contents are the same, the vessel has been completely updated to better fit in with the modern, yet nostalgic feel of other Sanders products. The resealable pouch is also self-standing, allowing shoppers to immediately notice the iconic Sanders Hot Fudge Cream Puff on the front, while the backside of the package provides various cream puff recipes.
Andronico’s Community Markets in Berkeley, California has announced that Cheryl Hughes has joined its executive team as Chief Financial Officer. Recently appointed CEO Suzy Monford leads the all female team.
Hughes formerly held the role of Controller for Chemoil, a global oil trading organization and one of the world’s leading retail maritime fuel suppliers, based in San Francisco. She was the highest ranking U.S. finance executive reporting directly to the global CFO for the company. Prior to this role she was CFO at Pacific Convenience & Fuels based in Pleasanton. Her career in food and retail dates back to her role as Director of U.S. Finance with Circle K Stores Inc., where during her 15 year tenure there, she was responsible for accounting, finance, tax and risk management with over $12 billion in annual revenue. Born and raised Wisconsin, Hughes moved to Arizona for Circle K and then to California with her husband and their two daughters.
“We’re extremely excited to have Cheryl on our team,” Monford said. “She has an incredible wealth of knowledge in finance and can help change and improve processes that will keep our team focused on how they can best deliver value for our customers.”
“I’m very happy to be back in retail and I love the Andronico’s team. I see so many opportunities for growth and improvement with the talented team here and ways to streamline finances and cash flow,” Hughes said. “We don’t need to spend a lot of money to maximize what we are doing. I’m focused on the backend processing so those on the front lines can be focused on creating exciting new programs for the coming months.”
Haggen, the West Coast regional grocer, has announced that in order to reorganize around its core profitable stores, it has filed voluntary petitions for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware in Wilmington. The company has received commitments for up to $215 million in debtor-in-possession financing from its existing lenders to maintain operations and the flow of merchandise to its stores during the sale process.
The company has made customary first-day motions with the bankruptcy court intended to support the continuation of its day-to-day operations for customers, employees, vendors and suppliers, and other business partners during the restructuring. As part of that, it is seeking court approval to continue employee wages and certain benefits and honor certain customer programs. The motions are expected to be addressed by the court in the coming days.
“After careful consideration of all alternatives, the company concluded that a reorganization through the Chapter 11 process is the best way for Haggen to preserve value for all stakeholders,” said John Clougher, Chief Executive Officer of Haggen. “The action we are taking today will allow us to continue to serve our customers and communities while providing Haggen with a process to re-align our operations to be positioned for the future.”
Haggen has engaged Sagent Advisors to market for sale some locations in the five states it operates and to explore market interest for various store locations. Discussions are underway with interested parties to sell many of the company’s remaining assets.
Haggen grew from an 18-store regional grocer to 164 stores through the purchase of Albertsons locations in December 2014. The associated conversion process for the stores made Albertsons’ cooperation and good faith implementation of the terms of the deal in the asset purchase agreement essential. Haggen is alleging in a separate lawsuit against Albertsons that the cooperation and good faith implementation didn’t happen, and that’s what led to Haggen’s failure to convert the new stores, ultimately resulting in the Chapter 11 filing.
Ralphs Grocery Company is proud to announce that its associate Nicki Smock has been named a Certified Cheese Professionals™ by the American Cheese Society.
Smock, a Ralphs Cheese Specialist and resident of Long Beach, is part of an elite group of 187 individuals from 51 different companies who passed the 4th annual ACS Certified Cheese Professional® Exam. The exam was held on July 29 in Providence, Rhode Island.
Smock is the first Ralphs associate to earn the ASC’s Certified Cheese Professional designation.
The ACS Certified Cheese Professional Exam is the first and only exam of its kind. It was established by the American Cheese Society to promote the large and comprehensive world of cheeses and encourage food industry professionals to master the knowledge.
“We are proud of Nicki for dedicating herself to her craft and sharing her passion for cheese with our customers,” said Donna Giordano, President of Ralphs. “Her designation as a Certified Cheese Professional™ is an inspiration to Ralphs’ cheese masters who take pride in delighting their customers.”
Passing the American Cheese Society’s CCP exam is no small feat. Before being allowed to sit for the exam, cheese people must have 4,000 hours of work and/or formal education in the cheese-field under their belt.
“It’s a great honor to be the first Ralphs associate to complete the exam and become a Certified Cheese Professional,” said Smock. “I look forward to using my certification, knowledge and experience to train our Ralphs cheese masters to better serve our customers.”
As a Ralphs Cheese Specialist, Smock is responsible for the overseeing the operation of the 22 Murray’s Cheese Shops that are located inside Ralphs stores. Smock managed Ralphs’ first Murray’s Cheese Shop, which opened inside its Marina Pacifica store in Long Beach in 2013. She joined Ralphs in 2006 as a Deli Department Clerk.
In recognition of becoming a Certified Cheese Professional, Smock will receive an official lapel pin, embroidered patch, certificate and the right to use the title ACS Certified Cheese Professional™. As an ACS Certified Cheese Professional, Smock will be required to demonstrate continued active participation within the cheese industry and continued professional development to maintain this credential, and will be required to recertify every three years.
Through an exclusive partnership with New York City’s Murray’s Cheese, Ralphs stores feature 22 Murray’s Cheese Shops in its stores from San Diego to Santa Barbara. Featuring more than 175 cheeses and specialty goods from all over the world, the Murray’s Cheese Shops are staffed by Ralphs associates who have been trained by Murray’s experts in New York.
The Albertsons Companies and its store brands, in partnership with the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF), will join together for an in-store campaign featuring Academy and Emmy Award®-nominated actress Viola Davis to benefit Hunger Is, a charitable program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation. Hunger Is raises awareness and funds to fight childhood hunger in America. The Albertsons Companies store brands include Albertsons, Safeway, Amigos, Star Market, Pavilions, Tom Thumb, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s, ACME Markets, Randalls, Carrs, Market Street, United Supermarkets, Vons and Super Saver.
Taking place in September, this effort will be the first fall season in-store campaign to support Hunger Is, enabling shoppers to contribute to solving a problem that affects one in five children in America. The Hunger Is print public service ad featuring Davis, which appears year-round in an array of media outlets, will be adapted for point-of-sale displays and other materials to be featured in select stores during the in-store campaign.
Shoppers across the country will be able to support this important cause at 2,200 locations in 33 states. In addition to individual shoppers’ contributions, sales of select products from participating vendors will generate donations to Hunger Is, up to $1 million. Vendors include Marie Callendar’s, Healthy Choice, Bertolli, P.F. Chang’s, Campbell’s, Coca-Cola, Kellogg’s, Unilever and Albertsons’ private label brands, O Organics and Open Nature.
To date, Hunger Is has raised over $10 million for programs connecting hungry children to healthy food. Today, Hunger Is continues to encourage individuals and communities to come together in an effort to improve access to school breakfasts, out-of-school and summer food programs, increase access to healthy foods and develop a lasting solution to childhood hunger.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the incredible success we have had with Hunger Is. The support of our communities and our neighbors has made a tangible impact in our fight to eradicate childhood hunger in this country,” stated Davis. “I am continually grateful to represent Hunger Is in its work to change lives and put an end to a problem that has gone on for far too long.”
Funds raised through the initiative will go toward programs focused on fighting childhood hunger and improving health-related outcomes for hungry children and their families. In addition to supporting programs that connect hungry children to healthy food, Hunger Is will continue its focus on determining the best methods to link clients to resources that can help prevent food insecurity on a long-term basis.
“We are so grateful to have Viola Davis continue her active role in our shared mission to end childhood hunger in America,” said Christy Duncan Anderson, Director of Community Relations for the Albertson Companies. “We cannot begin to express the level of gratitude we have for our customers in communities across the country. With the generous support of our vendors offering a wide array of participating products, we are able to expand this in-store fundraising campaign even further to make a larger impact. Their generous support throughout this campaign shows just how much this issue affects each and every one of us. We, along with our partners at the Entertainment Industry Foundation, stand with Viola as we share our goal of providing a brighter future for our youth.”
Since 2014, Hunger Is has awarded grants on a national scale, which includes impact grants to organizations to evaluate “best practices” that might be implemented widely to help expand meal programs, increase access to nutritious food for families in need and improve state/local policies related to public nutrition programs for children. These supported programs will be evaluated to determine ongoing grant programs to make a sustainable impact on childhood hunger.
Hunger Is grant recipients were selected with the help of the Hunger Is Advisory Committee (HIAC), comprised of leaders from the most respected hunger advocacy organizations in the U.S., including the Center for Hunger-Free Communities, Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute, Drexel University, Feeding America, Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), Growing Power, New York City Coalition Against Hunger, Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign, and WhyHunger. The HIAC provides guidance in defining and addressing needs and makes funding recommendations for approval by the Albertsons Companies stores and EIF Boards of Directors.
“We are honored to continue to pursue our goal of ending childhood hunger alongside the Albertsons Companies stores and our passionate Ambassador Viola Davis, whose personal experience struggling with hunger not only moves us all but provide a powerful voice for the children who struggle with hunger on a daily basis,” said Lisa Paulsen, EIF President and CEO. “Together we will continue helping families across the nation as we move toward a solution.”
For more information about childhood hunger, along with simple ways for individuals to get involved and donate, visit HungerIs.org. For information about the fall campaign and participating brands, go to Albertsons.com/HungerIsUs.
Maureen Downey, named the “Sherlock Holmes of Wine” by Bloomberg and the “Wine Detective” by SF Weekly, announces the official launch of WineFraud.com, the first of its kind resource for vendors, buyers and producers of fine wine.
WineFraud.com Founder Maureen Downey was instrumental in solving the now notorious case of the Kurniawan wine counterfeits, which were estimated to have brought $130 million dollars of fake wine to auction and international markets. When Thomas Keller’s the French Laundry had $300,000 of wine stolen from their collection last December, Downey was immediately consulted by the FBI to help them crack the case. Bloomberg Business says, “For the past 10 years she has been on a one-woman crusade to rid the wine industry of counterfeit and stolen wine.”
The aim of WineFraud.com is to raise awareness of wine fraud and counterfeiting issues in the wine trade and among consumers, and to educate its members on the core principles of wine authentication. The mission of the site is to make it difficult for wine fraudsters to thrive by raising awareness and knowledge, as well as increasing due diligence. The ultimate goal is to end wine counterfeiting and fraud, creating a more transparent and authentic global wine marketplace.
WineFraud.com offers a subscription service that provides education and advocacy for wine collectors, producers and vendors through the largest anti-counterfeiting resource in the world. The site reports information about the latest breaking counterfeit scandals, and current wine fraud events and trends seen by Downey and her global team of experts.
The site lists vendor members who are known to do their due diligence when it comes to selling wine in the global marketplace and reports news related to wine production, packaging, branding, distributing, storing, selling, and collecting. In The Business and Vendor sections, members can display the WineFraud.com Member Badge on their own websites and wherever they market or sell their wines to demonstrate to colleagues and clients that they are dedicated to becoming educated about and stamping out wine fraud and wine counterfeiting. It is a one-stop-shop for all things related to wine fraud and counterfeiting, and it is helping the wine industry become more accountable to its buyers.
Most Whole Foods regions will begin offering Fork in the Road Food’s Non-GMO Project verified gourmet sausages and hot dogs in early September. The line includes six chicken and heirloom pork varieties.
“We are continually striving to improve our standards and take a better path,” said Phil Gatto, CEO of Fork in the Road. “In speaking with our customers and farmers over the past few years, we knew that going non-GMO would be a step in the right direction. We are happy to offer consumers a product that is free of genetically modified organisms and meets our guidelines for animal welfare and quality.”
Fork in the Road received Non-GMO Project verification after a rigorous testing process to ensure all animal feed and product ingredients, as well as their manufacturing plant, met the Non-GMO Project Standard. As with all Fork in the Road products, the sausages are produced from meat raised without the use of antibiotics and added hormones, and is animal welfare certified under the Global Animal Partnership (GAP) 5-Step Program. Products contain no synthetic nitrates or nitrites, or artificial ingredients and preservatives.
“Whole Foods Market is excited to introduce Fork in the Road’s new line of sausages and hot dogs from non-GMO-fed chicken and pigs,” said Becky Faudree, Whole Foods Market Global Senior Meat Coordinator. “We are proud of this exclusive partnership where we have both worked hard to bring our customers a new and unique product in the meat space.”
Fork in the Road’s new non-GMO sausage line includes:
For more information, visit www.forkintheroad.com.
Hollywood chocolatier John Kelly Chocolates has just launched new Artisan Chocolate Bars. Developed with acute attention to detail, the new Artisan Chocolate Bars are beautifully packaged, made with all-natural and fair trade ingredients and carefully hand-crafted to provide the highest quality and most delicious taste.
Both the dark chocolate (73 percent cacao) and milk chocolate (41 percent cacao) bars are non-GMO, and soy and gluten-free. Suggested retail price is $7.50 each.
John Kelly Chocolates Artisan Chocolate Bars are available for purchase at select national retailers such as Neiman Marcus and regional retailers such as Central Market in addition to John Kelly boutique stores in Hollywood and Santa Monica. Online purchases can be made at JohnKellyChocolates.com.
Haggen, the West Coast regional grocer, today announced that the company has filed a lawsuit against Albertsons LLC and Albertsons Holdings LLC (“Albertsons”) seeking more than $1 billion in damages.
The complaint, which was filed today in United States District Court for the District of Delaware, alleged that following Haggen’s December 2014 purchase of 146 Albertsons and Safeway stores, Albertsons engaged in “coordinated and systematic efforts to eliminate competition and Haggen as a viable competitor in over 130 local grocery markets in five states,” and made false representations to both Haggen and the Federal Trade Commission about Albertsons’ commitment to a seamless transformation of the stores into viable competitors under the Haggen banner.
Albertsons sought out Haggen in order to convince the FTC that Haggen would be a new competitor in local markets, which enabled Albertsons to gain the FTC’s approval of a merger between Albertsons and Safeway—a merger that created “one of the largest food retailers in the United States, with over 2,200 stores and $61 billion in combined sales,” according to the complaint. Despite the FTC’s orders and Albertsons’ agreement to abide by all conditions of the sale, the complaint alleges, Albertsons engaged in an illegal campaign against Haggen including “premeditated acts of unfair and anti-competitive conduct that were calculated to circumvent Albertsons obligations under federal antitrust laws, FTC orders, and contractual commitments to Haggen, all of which were intended to prevent and delay the successful entry of Haggen (or any other viable competitor) into local grocery markets that Albertsons now dominates.”
“During the transfer process, Albertsons launched its plan to gain market power and/or monopoly power, acting in a manner that was designed to (and did) hamstring Haggen’s ability to successfully operate the Stores after taking ownership,” according to the complaint. As a result, despite Haggen’s plans to successfully operate and expand upon the acquired stores, Haggen was “forced to close 26 of the Stores that it newly acquired as a part of the Albertsons’ divestiture, and faces the potential closure of additional stores,” the complaint said. “Albertson’s anti-competitive actions critically damaged the operations, customer service, brand goodwill and profitability of the divested stores from the outset,” the complaint alleged, “[and] have caused significant harm to competition, local communities, employees and consumers,” throughout California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada and Arizona. Instead of focusing on succeeding in the new markets, according to the complaint, “Haggen has had to focus on strategies to recover from Albertsons’ wrongful acts, which include, sadly, Haggen’s efforts to find new jobs for displaced employees who too are victims of Albertsons’ actions.”
In particular, Haggen alleged in its complaint that Albertsons, in violation of numerous laws, the FTC order and the purchase agreement, intentionally and deliberately undertook a number of “malicious and unfair actions” that “strained Haggen’s resources” and “created substantial distraction and diverted the attention of store-level and senior Haggen management” during the store conversion process, such as:
“Albertson’s anti-competitive conduct caused significant damage to Haggen’s image, brand, and ability to build goodwill during its grand openings to the public,” according to the complaint. The complaint continued, “Albertson’s unlawful acts destroyed or substantially lessened the economic viability, marketability and competitiveness of the [Haggen] Stores, depriving consumers in each of the Relevant Markets the benefits of substantial competition from a new market entrant.”
United Supermarkets has announced that the chain will open a new location in Lubbock, Texas. Construction on the new location is expected to start late this fall and is targeted for completion in late summer or early fall 2016, according to Robert Taylor, President of United Supermarkets, LLC.
“We are thrilled at the opportunity to bring a next generation United store to Lubbock. Lubbock and the surrounding communities have always been highly supportive of United,” said Taylor. “We are glad to continue expanding to serve guests in our home-base city, which continues to grow and thrive.”
At 56,000 square feet, the new United will anchor a larger development that will include additional retailers. The store will feature an adjacent 2,500 square foot United Express convenience store with a convenient drive-through.
According to Senior Director of Marketing Ron Bonacci, the company’s tenth Lubbock location will showcase a new look and feel for United shoppers. “This store will be the third United that reflects our new brand strategy and the first in Lubbock,” Bonacci said. “The Lubbock community is so important to our company, and we believe the welcoming floor plan, signage and department layouts will be a positive expression of the strong relationship we have with our Lubbock guests.”
The new United store will offer some features currently found in Market Street stores, including fresh sushi and expanded food service options. A large salad bar and restaurant-quality food will be accompanied by an expanded in-store dining room. A larger produce section with extensive organic options and a wide variety of beer and wine are planned for the new store.
In addition, a significant expansion project at the Lubbock’s Llano Logistics distribution center is underway, paving the way for future growth. Both the new store and distribution center project will create new jobs for Lubbock.