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U.S. Championship Honors for Montchevre

Montchevre claimed seven awards at the 2017 U.S. Championship Cheese Contest®. Hosted by the Wisconsin Cheesemakers Association, the U.S. Championship Cheese Contest, is the largest technical cheese, butter, and yogurt competition in the country.

At the 19th biennial U.S. Championship Cheese Contest held Thursday, March 9 in Green Bay, Wisconsin, Montchevre received the following honors:

Class: Flavored Soft Goat’s Milk Cheeses

Best of Class, Truffle Fresh Goat Cheese Log

Second, Four Pepper Fresh Goat Cheese Log

Class: Flavored Soft Goat’s Milk Cheese with Sweet Condiments

Best of Class, Blueberry Vanilla Fresh Goat Cheese Log

Class: Semi-Soft Goat’s Milk Cheeses

Best of Class, Crumbled Goat Cheese

Class: Flavored Semi-Soft Goat’s Milk Cheeses

Best of Class, Apricot & Sage Crumbled Goat Cheese

Third, Candied Cranberry Crumbled Goat Cheese

Class: Hard Goat’s Milk Cheeses

Best of Class, Trivium (in partnership with Crown Finish Caves and Creamery 333)

A record-setting 2,303 cheeses, butters, and yogurts from 33 states participated in the 2017 U.S. Championship Cheese Contest.

La Piana Imported Balsamic Vinegars Now Available in Northeast

Italian Foods Corporation’s imported La Piana® balsamic vinegars of Modena now are available in the northeastern United States through Shaw’s and Big Y.

Shaw’s is now carrying the La Piana Bronze Aged Balsamic Vinegar of Modena and Silver Aged Balsamic Vinegar of Modena at its 155 stores in five New England states through Chex Finer Foods of Mansfield, Massachusetts, according to Francesca Lapiana-Krause, Italian Foods General Manager. Big Y has added the Bronze Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, also through Chex Finer Foods, Lapiana-Krause said.

The vinegars are imported from the Modena region of Italy and made from the juice of Trebbiano grapes grown in the region. These produce a rich, sweet and pleasantly acidic balsamic vinegar with intense, but well-rounded, flavor, Lapiana-Krause said. La Piana Bronze Aged Balsamic Vinegar of Modena has a density of 1.18 and a sugar level of 400 to 430 grams per liter. The Silver balsamic vinegar has a density of 1.25 with sugar at 540 to 570 grams.

Italian Foods Corporation also carries Gold Aged Balsamic Vinegar of Modena with a density of 1.32 and sugar at 750 grams along with a line of Romantica vinegars and balsamic pearls. Suggested retail prices of the vinegars, which come in 8.4-ounce decorative bottles, are $16.47 for the Bronze, $22.65 for the Silver and $36.04 for the Gold.

More information about Italian Foods Corporation is available online at http://www.ItalianFoods.com and https://www.Facebook.com/LaPianaItalianFoods or by calling 1.888.516.7262.

Hod Golan Debuts Kosher Turkey Deli Products

Hod Golan, products from Israel, offer succulent flavors and premium quality turkey deli meats that are sure to create the perfect Passover, March Madness and all spring festivities better. These Glatt Kosher fresh poultry deli meats are imported to the U.S. direct from Israel, are truly delicious and wholesome and are made from only the highest quality clean ingredients. All products have no MSG, and very low fat content.

Hod GolanThe Hod Golan line has robust variety of choices for any occasion or usage and can be found in the deli section of kosher specialty stores and supermarkets. The line includes: Oven Roasted Turkey, Oven Roasted Grilled Turkey, Smoked Turkey, Honey Glazed Turkey, Italian Smoked Salami and Ultra-thin Sliced Turkey, plus family packs of turkey in flavors such as Oven Roasted Turkey, Mexican Brand Smoked Turkey Breast and Smoked Turkey Meat. Always convenient for lunch sandwiches or large friend and family dinners, these products are offered in regular 5-ounce or ultra thin-sliced 7-ounce large family pack sizes as well as sliced behind the deli counter. Hod Golan also offers the finest savory meat snacks, such as Dried Mini-Chicken Salami and Chicken Cabanossi.

“Hod Golan offers products that are the height of good taste,” says Micha Rakaby, President of Hod Golan. “We are delighted to offer the complete line of our delicious products to our American Glatt Kosher and kosher consumer who appreciate our rich Israeli heritage and our unsurpassed taste.”

All the products are kosher for Passover under the OU and Tartikov. Currently, Israel leads the world in turkey consumption, with every man, woman and child eating an average of 34-1/2 pounds a year.

Dietz & Watson Ends Relationship with Cheesemaker Over Listeria Recall

Earlier this month, two products produced by Deutsch Kase Haus under the Dietz & Watson label, Colby and Colby Jack cheeses for service deli, were voluntarily recalled because they may have contained Listeria monocytogenes. As a result, Dietz & Watson has announced that it is ending its relationship with this cheese maker and moving to a new one.

“We are known as a preparer and purveyor of premium items, so we will make proper adjustments to our business relationships whenever anything happens that brings that premium and gourmet quality into question,” said Louis Eni, CEO and one of the third generation family members of Dietz & Watson. “They only made these two products for us, and we are working on a partnership with another cheese maker to begin supplying us with improved items.  After an intense search and extensive sampling, we are just about ready to make the choice of a new Colby supplier, and we are really excited to begin working with them.”

Dietz & Watson prepares the vast majority of its branded product at its Philadelphia and Baltimore facilities, but a handful of specialty items like these two Colby products are sourced through third party suppliers including Deutsch Kase Haus. There has never been a recall of any Dietz & Watson-produced product.

“We’re now in the fourth generation of our family company and we really do take pride in being purveyors of the finest deli items you can find and we try hard to meet and surpass that standard day in and day out,” said Eni. “My grandfather started this company in 1939 and instilled this attitude in all of us; the concept that we will always provide our customers with the same quality items we feed our own families.”

From dozens of low-salt, low-fat deli meats called the Dedicated to your Healthier Lifestyle® line to the new No Antibiotics Ever & Organic line called Dietz & Watson Originals, Dietz & Watson has strived to be on the leading edge of quality and consumer demand for more than 75 years.

If any consumers have purchased the two products in question with sell by dates between February 28, 2017 through July 26, 2017 for Colby Mini Horn Cheese #76054; and February 28, 2017 through September 27, 2017 for Colby Jack Mini Horn code #76064, please return the product to the location of purchase for a full refund.

 

The Hershey Company Names New Executive Team

The Hershey Company has announced the new executive leadership team that incoming President and CEO Michele Buck has chosen to lead the organization. The new team balances continuity in key positions through exceptional leaders from within the company and world-class talent from outside of Hershey.

“Hershey is an innovative snacking leader with its number one market share in U.S. confection and increasing breadth across U.S. snacking,” said Buck. “I’m extremely confident in the individuals who will lead our organization as we delight our customers and consumers with innovation and news in the marketplace and strive to deliver leading sales growth and margins across the food industry. This is a great team, with a range of experiences, expertise and backgrounds to accelerate our innovation, execute with excellence, instill a commercial mindset in all we do, and inspire our remarkable employees to achieve our goals.”

The following eight leaders will comprise Hershey’s new executive leadership team, effective March 1, unless otherwise noted:

Todd Tillemans, President, U.S. – Tillemans will join Hershey on April 3 to lead the company’s flagship U.S. business including core confection, its expanding portfolio across snacking, and its sales and go-to-market teams. Tillemans joins the company from Unilever, where he worked for more than 23 years. He has held multiple leadership positions, including leading Unilever’s skin care business in Europe and Russia, its personal care business in the United States, and most recently serving as President, Customer Development U.S.

Steven Schiller, President, International – Schiller, currently President, China & Asia is named President, International.  He will continue to oversee the China and Asia markets and will assume responsibility for the Americas region, India and Europe, Middle-East, and Africa.

Terry O’Day, Senior Vice President, Chief Product Supply and Technology Officer – O’Day, currently Chief Supply Chain Officer, will continue to oversee the company’s supply chain organization and will assume responsibility for Hershey’s productivity, information technology and enterprise connectivity initiatives.

In connection with these announcements, Chief Knowledge and Technology Officer Waheed Zaman will retire from the company effective March 31.

The Hershey Company has undertaken a search for a Chief Growth Officer who will lead Hershey’s insights and analytics, strategy, marketing excellence functions, innovation, research and development, mergers and acquisitions and The Hershey Experience. The company has identified an external candidate who is expected to join the team this spring.

Continuing in their roles are:

  • Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Patricia Little
  • Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary Leslie Turner
  • Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer Kevin Walling
  • Senior Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer Mike Wege

“These appointments reaffirm our commitment to creating opportunities for remarkable people to grow within the company and to attracting world-class talent from outside of Hershey. On behalf of the board of directors and management, I would like to thank Waheed Zaman for his work over the past four years to advance our technology, data and analytics capabilities,” Buck said.

Neilsen Report Explores Strategies for Appealing to Multicultural Shoppers

With the rapid growth of multicultural households in America and their unparalleled influence on the marketplace, there is a strong need for retailers to revise their in-store strategies to include a wider range of fresh food products and flavor profiles that cater to the multicultural consumer set.  With this in mind, Nielsen has released a comprehensive report to help retailers understand the influence multicultural consumers wield across the meat, produce, seafood, deli, and bakery categories.  The report entitled, “A Fresh Look at Multicultural Consumers,” reveals strategic insights for retailers looking to leverage new growth opportunities across the perimeter, over the next several decades.

Multicultural consumers are the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population and the growth engine for fresh food categories within the grocery space.  According to the latest Nielsen report, multicultural households spend a higher share on fresh food as a percentage of their total food spend compared to non-Hispanic white households. In fact, multicultural consumer shoppers make 3 percent more trips to the store containing fresh items and spend 4 percent more per year on fresh items, resulting in a $2.2 billion opportunity for retailers.  For many multicultural families, fresh is a dietary staple.  The multicultural preference for fresh comes from cooking and eating norms that centrally reflect the unique cultures of African Americans, Asian Americans, and Hispanics.  That said, the allure of multicultural flavors and desire for fresh are influencing a wider range of shoppers, and becoming a key driving force for fresh growth.

“In order to tap this critical market, retailers need to rethink their delivery and assortment strategies of fresh products being offered to today’s increasingly multicultural shoppers,” said Courtney Jones, Vice President of Multicultural Growth & Strategy at Nielsen.   “To be successful, retailers must understand the importance that culturally relevant, fresh offerings play in the multicultural shopper landscape.  Retailers must also embrace the many layers of multicultural consumers and the undeniable ‘halo effect’ that those consumers are having on mainstream non-Hispanic white shoppers. The multicultural consumer covers a broad spectrum, from multi-generational families to Millennials, to Asian American, African American, and Hispanic subgroups that have been influenced by distinct global culinary traditions. Retailers must consider the multi-ethnic tastes of their current and desired customers and recognize that the palates that favor multicultural flavors are influencing the taste preferences of non-Hispanic whites and society at large.”

KEY REPORT FINDINGS

  • INSIGHTS FROM THE DELI DEPARTMENT:
    • Multicultural flavors are “mainstream” in the deli and continue to grow.
    • Non-Hispanic white shoppers are inspired by the ethnic flavors found within the deli.
    • Multicultural consumers are taking advantage of the quick and easy meal solutions and meals for large families within the deli department.
  • INSIGHTS FROM THE PRODUCE DEPARTMENT:
    • Multicultural produce excites all kinds of shoppers.
    • Social media influencers and popular restaurant flavor trends are infiltrating the produce aisle. For example, the growth of habañero, with items popping like habañero grilled vegetable and even habañero margaritas.
  • INSIGHTS FROM THE MEAT + SEAFOOD DEPARTMENT:
    • Multicultural consumers spend more in meat and seafood departments than any other fresh department.
    • Within the seafood department, multicultural households spend $62 a year compared to non-Hispanic white households at just $43.
    • Multicultural consumers are less willing to purchase branded fresh meat and seafood items; instead there is preference towards made-to-order, unbranded meat products, typically prepared behind the counter.
  • INSIGHTS FROM THE BAKERY DEPARTMENT:
    • The bakery offers the biggest opportunity for multicultural consumers, who spend only 9.8 percent of their fresh dollars on bakery items.
    • The bakery’s proximity to the deli should be leveraged to create strong cross-department connections for multicultural shoppers across multiple entertaining categories.

Driveline Retail Hires Ken Drish, Ed Kovatch

Driveline Retail, a provider of large-scale retail services and technology, has appointed two industry professionals with significant experience in driving growth for retailers and manufacturers.

The company has appointed Ken Drish as Executive Vice President, Business Development, and Ed Kovatch as Vice President, Business Development. Drish will report directly to Randy Wilson, Driveline’s CEO, and will be responsible for delivering a portfolio of retail solutions that drive real value for its current and future client base of retailers and manufacturers.

“I’m excited to join this talented team at Driveline and I look forward to leveraging my skill set and experience to help deliver real value to our clients, and to also develop lasting partnerships with our current and prospective clients,” says Drish. “At Driveline, retail execution is a core strategic focus of our company, not an obligation as part of a traditional sales agency agreement.” An industry veteran of 25 years, Drish’s extensive experience includes roles at Acosta Sales & Marketing, SPAR Group, and most recently, CROSSMARK, where he was Vice President, Business Development for CROSSMARK’s Walmart division.

Kovatch brings nearly 30 years of experience in sales, business development, and operations across a wide array of categories and channels. He has held senior-level positions at Foster Grant, CROSSMARK, and most recently, Chief Sales Officer at Planorama, a SaaS provider of image recognition technology for the retail environment.

Wicked Joe Organic Coffees Celebrates New Look

Wicked Joe Organic Coffees, the family-owned, 100 percent organic certified, Fair Trade™ coffee roastery known for its single origin varietals and blends such as “Wicked French,” has rolled out new packaging after more than 12 years in business.

Wicked Joe coffee imageThe Wicked Joe product line – available at retail stores all over New England and in more than 1,500 grocery retailers nationwide as well as online – previously featured a black bag with a red and green coffee cup logo. Wicked Joe Organic Coffees now sports a cleaner, more modern look, including black and chrome brand elements and an array of accent colors indicating the individual blend, flavor or bean’s origin.

The company has grown and refined its operations significantly over the last decade, including increasing sales by 25 percent and growing capacity by 67 percent in 2016 alone. Owners Bob and Carmen Garver wanted a design that would more accurately reflect the roastery’s progress and focus on quality and professionalism.

“We are very excited about where we are with the business right now, and we think a fresh new look captures that feeling,” said Carmen Garver. “We worked collaboratively with our staff and explored many possibilities, and ultimately we wanted to communicate a vintage feel that could translate in today’s market.”

The colorful, lively nature of the new bags aims to stand out on retail shelves among dozens of competitors. Along with their ever-growing team of coffee experts, the Garvers have spent more than two decades – long before the Maine roastery opened – traveling the world in search of the highest quality coffee bean. From the beginning, the company has had a razor-sharp focus on quality, in addition to a commitment to community, farmers and the cooperative partners at bean origin.

“We are constantly evolving,” added Bob Garver. “Our close relationships with the farmers that grow our beans provide so many opportunities for sustainable business practices, education and above all else, inspiration for the next cup of joe.”
Wicked Joe’s new packaging is available in stores now. Visit www.wickedjoe.com for more information.

Larry’s Market: Surviving and Thriving on the Power of Lunch

By Lorrie Baumann

Photo by Uriah Carpenter

Photo by Uriah Carpenter

When Larry Ehlers started working at his local grocery store in Brown Deer, Wisconsin after his return from World War II, it was the kind of neighborhood grocery that sold everything that the neighborhood families really needed from day to day in about 3,000 square feet of selling space. Then times changed, local roads gave way to superhighways, the small village of Brown Deer became a suburb of Milwaukee, and big box stores entered into the grocery marketplace.

Larry’s Market changed with the times by evolving into a specialty grocer. Its produce and meat departments have been eliminated in favor of prepared foods that cater to the lunchtime needs of the workers employed in the nearby office buildings, a highly regarded specialty cheese market makes the store a destination for tourists looking for the best of Wisconsin cheeses, and a busy catering department now provides more than half the store’s revenue.

“It’s an old, old grocery store, but it’s a charming building,” said Patty Peterson, the Manager of Larry’s Market and the daughter of Larry himself. “We’re not on the highway. We’re on the byway…. We don’t have a thousand people walking in front of our store each day.”

After his return from the war, Larry Ehlers worked for the store for years before he finally bought it in 1970. His son, Steve Ehlers, bought the store from him in the late 1980s, and Steve’s wife became the owner upon Steve’s death in 2016.

Around 1971, Peterson’s parents had become fans of French cheeses after their introduction to them at a Summer Fancy Food Show. After tasting some of those cheeses at the show, Larry placed an order. A few days after the cheese was delivered to the store, it was gone, sold to upscale customers who’d learned to appreciate traditional French cheeses during their travels overseas. Larry continued ordering. “Of course my father is the consummate salesman. He can still sell like nobody’s business,” Peterson said. “He still comes in three days a week.”

Steve carried on that romance with French cheeses as he traveled in Europe in the 1970s for his own version of the Grand Tour once made by Victorian gentlemen to broaden their horizons as they started out on their lives as independent adults. “He loved France,” Peterson said.

i-54V7VWv-XLSteve and his father decided to start carrying artisanal American cheeses in the store after Mike Gingrich of Uplands Cheese won the American Cheese Society’s Best of Show Award for Pleasant Ridge Reserve, and today, the cheese counter with its 200 to 300 cheeses in it is a destination for travelers who come to Larry’s Market just to buy their cheese.

Most of the business rung up by the store’s 15 full and regular part-time employees, though, comes either at lunchtime or through the store’s catering business. The regular Friday grill-out events are also huge draws that bring 250 to 300 people into the store over the course of a couple of hours.

All told, the deli and catering departments represent about 60 to 70 percent of the business today. “We do a lot of corporate catering, so on any given day, we’ll have five people out delivering, and we can do 400 to 500 people for lunch, just catering,” Peterson said.

The typical lunchtime purchase for the 100 to 150 people who usually come in then is about $12 to $15, although customers will frequently spend $40 to $50 at a time if they’re also buying groceries and cheese. Among the most popular offerings are killer brownies, Wisconsin artisan cheeses and fresh soups, including the turkey chili that’s a particular favorite among Larry’s regulars. “We sell a ton of soup, summer and winter,” Peterson said. “Our local health inspector comes in for lunch quite often.”

Barney Butter Appoints Vice President of Marketing

Barney Butter has hired Mark Olivieri as the company’s new Vice President of Marketing. Olivieri brings his past marketing experience for several national food brands to his new role in orchestrating strategies for the growing California-based company. That work includes his most recent position as marketing director of sports nutrition for The Nature’s Bounty Company, as well as past executive marketing roles for PepsiCo – Frito Lay, Hain Celestial and Pepperidge Farm.

Olivieri’s work in meeting the demands of major food brands, along with his passion for fostering the growth of emerging natural foods stars, grants him a unique position from which to help nurture Barney Butter’s next growth stage. “Mark’s past leadership of product innovation, brand development, and consumer marketing represents the full chain of brand evolution we’ve engineered to make Barney Butter the perfect fit for our core customers,” says Dawn Kelley, Barney Butter’s President and CEO. “We’re sure that experience, coupled with Mark’s insight on the unique value of our all-natural products, will make him a key player in our continued growth.”

Olivieri has definite ideas on how to spur Barney Butter’s increasing share of the national $449 million specialty nut butter market. “Barney Butter has a huge advantage with peanut-allergy consumers, but the protocols we use in our peanut-free facility are really just another reflection of a company-wide obsession for putting a product into our customers’ hands that they can trust,” Olivieri says. “I’m excited to be part of a team working to sharpen that vision for our brand.”

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