Albertsons Companies has named current Jewel-Osco Division President Mike Withers as Executive Vice President, Retail Operations for Albertsons Companies. Withers will lead the company’s East Region operations, while current EVP, Retail Operations Susan Morris will lead the West Region. Jim Perkins, EVP, Retail Operations Special Projects, is focused on targeted initiatives to accelerate growth. All three executives will continue to report to Wayne Denningham, President and COO.
“Mike is an exceptional leader who understands our business and market areas from coast to coast,” Denningham said. “Throughout his career, Mike has worked closely with many members of our current leadership team, and his management experience and operations expertise will help all of our divisions run really great stores.”
Albertsons Companies has appointed Geoff White to the new position of President of the company’s Own Brands organization. In this new role, White will lead the Own Brands team, including the Culinary Kitchen and Technical Center. He will be responsible for furthering the growth, development, and innovation of the company’s Own Brands products, including O Organics®, Lucerne®, Open Nature™ and the extensive line of Signature™ products.
“Geoff is a visionary merchant who understands the evolution of our company’s Own Brands and the significant role they play in our overall strategy,” said Shane Sampson, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing & Merchandising Officer. “Our Own Brand items are integral to how we earn customer loyalty. We’ve developed a nimble process that responds quickly to consumer trends with popular products over the last two years, and I’m excited to see how our team and brands further their development under Geoff’s leadership.”
Dry Creek Vineyard announced the issuance of U.S. Patent No. D779,938, related to the design of printed sustainable sourcing information on its wine cork closures. This is the first patent issued to Dry Creek Vineyard, which is celebrating 45 years of family winemaking in Sonoma County, California.
The innovative closure is laser printed with ornamental and detailed information about the source of cork material, including the age of the cork forest, the harvest date of the trees and the sustainable habitat these remarkable forests provide to the Iberian Lynx and Spanish Imperial Hawk.
This revolutionary concept was introduced with the release of Dry Creek Vineyard 2013 Old Vine Zinfandel. President Kim Stare Wallace developed the idea in an effort to provide transparency and authenticity of the winery’s extensive portfolio.
“I wanted to provide valuable knowledge to consumers about our sustainability efforts and the benefits of cork closures,” said Stare Wallace. “Dry Creek Vineyard is one of the last truly private, family-owned, iconic wineries, and it is important to communicate our ‘no compromises’ philosophy on every aspect of our packaging.”
“We make wines with integrity and soul,” continued Stare Wallace. “No detail is overlooked, including when and from where our corks are harvested.”
Founded in 1972, Dry Creek Vineyard is 100 percent certified sustainable and a leader in the sustainability movement in the Dry Creek Valley American Viticultural Area (AVA) and the wine industry as a whole.
Nielsen-Massey Vanillas has been awarded the SQF 7.2 – Level 3 Certification by the Safe Quality Food Institute (SQFI). SQFI is a globally trusted and recognized food safety and quality program. Level 3 certification recognizes suppliers that have implemented a Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) food quality plan in addition to a food safety plan and food safety fundamentals. It is the most stringent and highest-level certification awarded by SQFI.
The SQF program is administered by a division of Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and is one of several certification systems recognized by the Global Food Safe Initiative (GFSI), as well as retailers and foodservice providers around the world that require HACCP food safety and quality management systems by their suppliers. The Global Food Safety Initiative (GSFI) brings together food safety experts from throughout the industry to identify the best food safety management practices across the agri-food supply chain. Today, GFSI and its global partners audit and certify more than 100,000 food operations and facilities across 160 countries. Safe Quality Food (SQF) certification allows a company’s food safety and quality systems to be verified and validated, increasing brand protection, consumer confidence and loyalty.
Nielsen-Massey’s previous SQF Level 2 included food safety fundamentals and a hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) approach to managing risks and hazards; this level is recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). The company’s new SQF Level 3 certification adds onto the Level 2 food safety requirements with additional quality requirements. To receive a Level 3 certification, Nielsen-Massey developed and implemented a quality management system that includes documented procedures, monitoring and measuring, corrective actions, internal audits and related processes.
“The awarding of the SQF Level III certification to Nielsen-Massey Vanillas is a demonstration of management commitment and our employees resolve to provide safe, healthy and high quality products for our customers,” said Terry Schindeldecker, SQF Practitioner.
A group of leaders in the American spirits industry gathered this week for the first-ever California Brandy Summit and pledged to restore the perception of California brandy as ranking alongside the world’s most acclaimed spirits.
Top tier brandy producers, mixologists, and national influencers met for two days of discussions, seminars and tastings aimed at assessing the current perception of California brandy and at steering the future of the spirit.
The result was the pledge, formalized in a “Declaration to Raise the Status of California Brandy,” that said, in part, “We are committed to heralding the exceptional brandy crafted by California producers. We are committed to restoring the perception of California brandy as ranking alongside the world’s most acclaimed spirits.”
“We do need to raise awareness of the world-class quality of California brandy,” said Dan Farber, Founder and Distiller of Osocalis Distillery. “And that takes all of us. We producers have to keep putting the quality product in the glass, and we need the community to get the word out about what our DNA really is, and about how outstanding California brandy can be.”
The Brandy Summit featured discussions facilitated by F. Paul Pacult, Editor and Publisher of Spirits Journal and one of America’s foremost spirits authorities, with premium California brandy producers on the art and science of brandy making.
The group examined the best practices in brandy making, including distillation techniques, maturation and blending, and discussed whether there is a need for more production guidelines in California brandy.
Elite mixologists and summit participants demonstrated California brandy’s versatility by creating brandy cocktails ranging from new takes on modern classics to bright, refreshing spring and summer-style drinks. The group also got a preview tasting of the new premium Argonaut Brandy, which has four expressions ranging from a cocktail-oriented blend to sipping brandies to a collector’s brandy blended from rare, aged brandy lots.
“Because it’s made from wine, California brandy has completely unique flavor notes and qualities,” said Rita Hansen, Head Distiller for Argonaut Brandy. “A few decades ago, the world learned about the outstanding wines in California. We all think it’s time people also learned about the high quality and craftsmanship in California brandy.”
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today joined President Trump for a “Farmers Roundtable” at the White House to address issues facing the American agriculture community, as the President signed an Executive Order establishing an Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity. The roundtable discussion allowed representatives from all corners of American agriculture to raise concerns and share ideas, just as the task force begins its mission “to promote economic development and revitalization, job growth, infrastructure, innovation, and quality of life issues for rural America,” according to the President’s order. The session capped a busy first day in office for Perdue, who was sworn in by Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Clarence Thomas as the 31st U.S. Secretary of Agriculture before greeting employees at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and travelling to the White House for the roundtable.
“The people who are on the front lines of American agriculture don’t have the luxury of waiting to tend to their crops and livestock, so there was no better time to convene this meeting of the minds than on my first day,” Perdue said. “President Trump has made it clear that addressing the needs of rural America will be a top priority, and the message that we want to send to the agriculture community is that we are here, we are working hard, and we are on their side.”
The Farmers Roundtable featured more than a dozen farmers and representatives of the agriculture community who discussed with President Trump and Secretary Perdue a variety of topics, including agricultural trade, regulatory reform, rural investment and infrastructure, labor issues, and the Farm Bill. Participants in the roundtable included:
• Lisa Johnson-Billy, farmer and former Oklahoma House member, Lindsay, Oklahoma
• Luke Brubaker, Brubaker Farms, Mount Joy, Pennsylvania
• Hank Choate, Choate’s Belly Acres, Cement City, Michigan
• Tom Demaline, Willoway Nurseries, Avon, Ohio
• Zippy Duval, President of American Farm Bureau Federation and a farmer from Greensboro, Georgia
• Valerie Early, National FFA Central Region Vice President and former 4-H member, Wykoff, Minnesota
• Lynetta Usher Griner, Usher Land and Timber, Inc., Fanning Springs, Florida (also farms in the state of Kansas)
• A.G. Kawamura, Orange County Produce, Newport Beach, California
• James Lamb, Lamb Farms and Prestage Farms, Clinton, North Carolina
• Bill Northey, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture and farmer, Spirit Lake, Iowa
• Jose Rojas, Vice President of Farm Operations for Hormel, Colorado Springs, Colorado
• Terry Swanson, Swanson Farms, Walsh, Colorado
• Maureen Torrey, Torrey Farms, Elba, New York
• Steve Troxler, North Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture and farmer, Browns Summit, North Carolina
“The Farmers Roundtable provided the chance for the President to hear directly from the people on the front lines of American agriculture about what they are dealing with every day,” Secretary Perdue said. “By hosting this discussion, the president has demonstrated his awareness of the plight of American farmers, ranchers, foresters, and producers, his intention to seek input, and his determination to help.”
President Trump’s Executive Order
President Trump’s Executive Order established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity “to ensure the informed exercise of regulatory authority that impacts agriculture and rural communities.” As Secretary of Agriculture, Perdue will serve as the task force’s chairman.
“It is in the national interest to promote American agriculture while protecting and supporting the rural communities where food, forestry, fiber, and renewable fuels are grown,” the text of the Executive Order reads. “It is further in the national interest to ensure that regulatory burdens do not unnecessarily encumber agricultural production, constrain economic growth, hamper job creation, or increase the cost of food for Americans and our customers around the world.”
The task force will examine and consider, among other issues, current barriers to economic prosperity in rural America and how innovation and technology may play a role in long-term, sustainable rural development. The panel will attempt to strengthen federalism by working with state agencies charged with implementing economic development, agricultural, and environmental programs, while also emphasizing regulatory flexibility for farms and small businesses. With a dependence on sound science, task force members will examine crop protection tools used by farmers and also address concerns regarding labor needed for livestock and year-round agricultural jobs. Additionally, the group will focus on tax policies that allow family farms to remain intact, while also protecting against federal takeover of state-adjudicated water rights, permitting and licensing, and conservation requirements beyond what is provided in law. Finally, members will look to improve food safety and the implementation of food safety laws, but also recognize the unique nature of farming and the diverse business structures of farms.
“It used to be that people in agriculture feared disease and drought as the greatest threats to their livelihoods and their mission of feeding America and the world,” Perdue said. “While those hazards remain, too often now it is the government – through interference and regulation – that poses the most existential threat to American farming. We aim to put a stop to that.”
The task force will seek input from stakeholders in the agricultural community and is required to issue a report with recommendations for legislative or administrative actions within 180 days. The task force will consist of representatives from the following cabinet agencies and executive branch departments:
• Secretary of the Treasury;
• Secretary of Defense;
• Attorney General;
• Secretary of the Interior;
• Secretary of Commerce;
• Secretary of Labor;
• Secretary of Health and Human Services;
• Secretary of Transportation;
• Secretary of Energy;
• Secretary of Education;
• Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency;
• Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission;
• Director of the Office of Management and Budget;
• Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy;
• Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy;
• Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers;
• Director of the Domestic Policy Council;
• Director of the National Economic Council;
• Administrator of the Small Business Administration;
• United States Trade Representative;
• Director of the National Science Foundation; and
• Heads of such other executive departments, agencies, and offices as the President or the Secretary of Agriculture may, from time to time, designate.
PS Seasoning & Spices announced that the company has recently received its SQF(Safe Quality Food) Level 2 certification. SQF is a comprehensive HACCP-based food safety and quality management certification system for all sectors of the food industry, from primary production to transport and distribution. As a Global Food Safety Initiative that is recognized world-wide, an SQF Certification demonstrates the supplier’s commitment to produce safe, quality food as well as to meet international food safety requirements and to comply with other applicable food legislation. The new certification attests to PS Seasoning & Spices’ ability to produce products that meet the highest level of food safety and quality standards.
The International Dairy Deli Bakery Association has a stellar group of speakers lined up for this year’s IDDBA 17 conference and trade show, which will be held June 4-6 in Anaheim, California. The General Session speaker line-up includes former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jim Belushi and the Board of Comedy, IDDBA President and CEO Mike Eardley, former Trader Joe’s CEO Doug Rauch, Celebrity Chef Giada De Laurentiis, former Starbucks CEO Jim Donald and Earvin “Magic” Johnson, the CEO of Magic Johnson Enterprises.
And that’s not all. Eddie Yoon, the author of “Superconsumers;” Eric Chester, the author of “On Fire at Work” and Molly Fletcher, the author of “Fearless at Work,” will also be speaking. Jewel Hunt, IDDBA’s Chairman and the Group Vice President of Bakery for Albertsons Companies, is also on the schedule.
IDDBA’s Show and Sell Workshop line-up offers Steve Dragoo of Solutions Consulting, Yoon, De Laurentiis, Harold Lloyd of Harold Lloyd Presents and Rauch. The Show and Sell Workshops are 30-minute sessions that cover various industry-specific topics and frequently include live demonstrations in a smaller and less formal setting that allows for personal interaction with the experts.
This show also includes merchandising displays that provide examples of some of the best ideas in the industry – ideas that are designed for attendees to take home and replicate easily in their own stores. The concepts that will be demonstrated on the show floor this year include a breakfast bakery bar, a cheese pub with cheese pairings and tapas ideas, an in-store foodservice program and a cake design display intended to provide attendees with an engaging experience of creative and unique cake ideas for entertaining occasions.
And that’s not all – in keeping with this show’s focus on providing retailer attendees with real solutions to enhance profitability, IDDBA will offer its Expert Neighborhood for the first time this year. This is an area on the show floor where attendees can meet one-on-one with experts to discuss questions, industry challenges, and business problems. The association has an absolutely phenomenal line-up of industry stars who are prepared to discuss issues like engaging customers and employees, complying with the Food Safety Modernization Act and the evolving rules about product and menu labeling, and dealing with food waste, enhancing innovation and product profitability. Twenty-five minute appointments with these experts can be booked at the show starting on June 3.
Beaverton Foods, Oregon’s 88-year-old specialty condiment manufacturer, springs into the new year with eight awards, including three gold medals, from this year’s 22nd annual World-Wide Mustard Competition. More than 100 judges gathered at the National Mustard Museum in Middleton, Wisconsin, to evaluate 291 entries from as far away as Japan, Sweden, Norway, France, Germany and Canada.
Inglehoffer Sweet Hot Mustard won a gold medal for its third consecutive year, while Inglehoffer Ghost Pepper Mustard repeated last year’s gold medal win in the category for hot pepper mustards. Inglehoffer Hot Horseradish Mustard won a gold medal in the category for mustards whose heat is rooted in horseradish or wasabi, while Inglehoffer Horseradish Wasabi Mustard won a silver medal in the same category.
Napa Valley Orange Ginger won a silver award for fruit mustards, while Beaver Brand Extra Hot Russian Mustard took home a bronze award for a classic hot mustard, Inglehoffer Sriracha Mustard earned a bronze medal for a hot pepper mustard, and Inglehoffer Creamy Dill won a bronze medal in the category for mustards flavored with herbs or vegetables.
“It’s humbling to say we have won more than 150 medals at this annual competition,” said Domonic Biggi, CEO of Beaverton Foods. “We are especially pleased that our new Inglehoffer Ghost Pepper Mustard was selected for a Gold medal for a second consecutive year. Additionally, we’re grateful that culinary experts around the world like our products.”
The annual competition, held since 1995, is open to all commercial mustard producers and agents worldwide. There are 16 flavor categories in which gold, silver and bronze awards are presented. The contest is a blind tasting judged by chefs, food writers and mustard aficionados.
Southeastern Grocers LLC, parent company of BI-LO, Fresco y Más, Harveys and Winn-Dixie grocery stores, has become the first North American retail member of the International Pole & Line Foundation (IPNLF), a non-profit association committed to supporting small-scale fisheries that pursue high quality, responsible and ethical tuna caught using one-by-one methods.
To coincide with this announcement, Southeastern Grocers has launched an exclusive private label-Fisherman’s Wharf, pole-and-line, canned albacore tuna product displaying the IPNLF ‘Supporting Member’ logo to demonstrate its commitment to the most environmentally and socially desirable methods. The Fisherman’s Wharf Albacore Tuna is on the shelves of select BI-LO, Fresco y Más, Harveys and Winn-Dixie stores for $2.49 a can.
Ian McLeod, President and CEO of Southeastern Grocers, said, “At Southeastern Grocers, we know how important it is to support sustainable fisheries and we are very pleased to be the first North American retail member of the International Pole & Line Foundation.”
Southeastern Grocers has become the 42nd member of IPNLF. The company’s membership is a further step in its on-going support for environmentally and socially responsible tuna fisheries and for improved tuna management worldwide.
In partnership with members, IPNLF provides much-needed support for fishing communities who are heavily reliant upon those fisheries, and works on practical fisheries improvements and stronger management to meet the growing global demand.
Commenting on Southeastern Grocers’ membership, Adam Baske, Director Policy and Outreach at IPNLF, said, “It is fantastic to have our first retail member in the US market on board with our mission to see coastal tuna fishing communities thrive alongside healthy ocean ecosystems. We look forward to working with Southeastern Grocers to further demonstrate the value of sourcing from one-by-one tuna fisheries, and encourage other retailers in North America to join this collaborative effort. IPNLF is a hub for proactive companies like Southeastern Grocers who want to reward fishing communities committed to the highest environmental and social standards. The global demand for these products continues to grow as a result of companies using their buying power to create the future they want to see.”
Membership of IPNLF is open to all stakeholders involved in the one-by-one tuna supply chain, from fisheries associations to processors, food service and retailers, and all members are encouraged to engage in fisheries improvement.