Three retailers, Vache Fermanian, co-owner, B&V Enterprises, Inc.; Rob McDougall, President and CEO, Gelson’s Markets and Greg Saar, President and Chief Executive Officer of Saar’s, Inc., were elected to Unified Grocers’ board of directors at a Feb. 4, 2015 board meeting.
“We are extremely pleased to have three very successful and talented retailers join our board,” said Richard E. Goodspeed, Chairman of the Board. “They bring many years of grocery industry experience and retail expertise to our board. Their wealth of knowledge gained from running stores of various formats and sizes will benefit the board and strengthen its overall composition.”
“We are pleased to welcome Vache, Rob and Greg to the Board of Directors,” said Bob Ling, President and Chief Executive Officer, Unified Grocers. “The quality and strength of their retail organizations reflect their leadership skills, and they will be strong representatives for all of Unified’s owners.”
Vache Fermanian is co-founder of Super King Markets, a family-owned chain of six Southern California grocery stores founded in 1993 in Anaheim. Over the years, Super King Markets have become recognized for their wide array of high quality international foods, low prices and excellent service.
Rob McDougall has been in the grocery industry for more than 40 years. He joined Gelson’s Markets in 2007 and assumed leadership of the company in January 2012. Gelson’s Markets is a chain of 18 Southern California supermarkets founded in 1951 that prides itself on quality and unmatched customer service.
Greg Saar owns eight supermarkets in the Puget Sound region operating under the Saar’s Market Place and Saar’s Super Saver Foods banners. Greg opened his first store in 1988 in Oak Harbor, Washington and has continued to grow the business with a focus on value and meeting the diverse needs of the communities surrounding his stores.
Rudy and Debbie Dory and their daughter Lauren Johnson, owners of Newport Avenue Market in Bend, Oregon, received the 2015 Ben Schwartz Retail Grocery Visionary Award from Unified Grocers at a special awards dinner last night in Los Angeles. This is the tenth year that Unified has presented the award to an outstanding independent retailer.
“It’s an honor to receive this prestigious award and I’m proud that Newport Avenue Market is the first single-store recipient,” said Rudy Dory.
In presenting the award, Bob Ling, President and Chief Executive Officer, Unified Grocers, said that Newport Avenue Market has thrived because it’s a reflection of the Dory family. “Rudy, Debbie and Lauren are committed not only to their customers and their staff but also to the local community and that’s reflected in their many successes over the years,” said Ling.
“Their passion to create a unique shopping experience is clearly evident as you walk through the store,” he added. “Innovation, quality and a friendly, knowledgeable staff are central to the success of Newport Avenue Market and that’s why customers come from near and far.”
The annual award is named after Ben Schwartz, a former Chairman of the Board of Unified Grocers. Schwartz was in attendance at the awards dinner.
The award is given to an independent retail grocer or grocery company that is a leader and innovator in the retail grocery industry. The award recognizes retailers who, by their practice and example, have consistently demonstrated initiative, creativity and leadership within their businesses and, in the process, have inspired others to think and act creatively and with passion in the grocery field. To be eligible, retailers must be, or have been, a member of Unified Grocers or one
of its predecessor companies.
“The award carries the name of a true retail visionary,” Ling explained. “The idea behind it is to recognize someone in our retail community who exemplifies the spirit and character Ben Schwartz demonstrated throughout his long career. We’re proud to give this award to the Dory family. Newport Avenue Market is a great store and the best is yet to come.”
In addition to the award that was presented to Newport Avenue Market, a duplicate is on permanent display in the lobby of Unified’s headquarters building in Commerce, California. A plaque recognizing Newport Avenue Market as the 2014 winner has been added to the permanent award.
Great Lakes Brewing Company (GLBC) launched its refreshed logo to the public in January and is now releasing new packaging artwork for the company’s five year-round brands.
The new label artwork was handcrafted by artist Darren Booth, who is known for creating detailed paintings with collage elements. GLBC provided Booth with archival materials relevant to each brand, that were incorporated into his paintings. These discoverable elements bring additional storytelling opportunities to each package.
Booth visited GLBC in the summer of 2014 to learn the history behind the existing labels. GLBC owners and team members briefed him on narratives for each brand and supplied unique collage pieces for Booth to include in his artwork. Throughout 2014, what began as sketched concepts evolved into colorful, detailed paintings, all of which incorporate textures and mementos from GLBC’s 27 years in the craft beer industry.
“Our customers may be familiar with Eliot Ness as a historical figure, but they may not know that our mother was his stenographer, or that he used to frequent our historic taproom. Darren’s beautiful paintings include so many layers that allow us to share these kinds of details. They’re more than just labels. They’re conversation pieces,” says GLBC co-owner Pat Conway, who, with brother and co-owner Dan Conway, is actively involved in the brand refresh process. On the bottom of GLBC’s new packages, customers will find similar stories that reveal the history behind each brew.
Booth was commissioned to create label artwork for GLBC’s five year-round beers and nine seasonals. The year-round packages will hit shelves beginning in May. In June, GLBC will release its first seasonal with refreshed packaging: Sharpshooter Session Wheat IPA. Brewed with orange peel and Jarrylo hops, Sharpshooter is a hoppy wheat beer named for Ohio-born exhibition shooter Annie Oakley.
Along with refreshed packaging, GLBC will release redesigned taphandles, signage, and merchandise around Memorial Day. A new company website will launch in May, along with the new Great Lakes Brewing Company Beer Symposium – a visitor’s center and event space.
Great Lakes® Brewing Company, which is comprised of a brewery and brewpub, was founded in 1988 by brothers Patrick and Daniel Conway as the first microbrewery in the state of Ohio and today remains Ohio’s most celebrated and award-winning brewer of lagers and ales.
For more information, visit greatlakesbrewing.com.
Frutarom Industries Ltd., a top producer of flavors and specialty fine ingredients, has acquired 100 percent of the share capital of FoodBlenders Ltd. for approximately US$ 2.4 million plus an additional sum expected to stand at about US$ 600,000, depending on the company’s performance. The transaction was completed upon signing and is being independently financed.
Established in 1998, FoodBlenders develops, manufactures, and markets savory solutions which mainly include spice and seasoning mixes, functional ingredients, marinades and sauces for the food industry, with particular emphasis on the convenience foods segment. In 2014, FoodBlenders posted sales of approximately US$ 3 million with profit margins similar to those of Frutarom in the same area of activity. FoodBlenders has a site in England where it develops, manufactures and markets its products which is located within close proximity of Frutarom’s Wellingborough site, and it has a wide customer base which includes British food and private label manufacturers.
FoodBlenders’ product line and technologies complement the product portfolios and activities of UK-based Savoury Flavours and EAFI which were acquired by Frutarom in 2012 and 2011 respectively and which also specialize in savory flavor solutions. The proximity to the Frutarom site at Wellingborough and the complementary line of products promise to generate synergies between FoodBlenders’ activity and Frutarom’s expanding savory activity in the UK and throughout the world.
Frutarom will strive to fully exploit the cross-selling opportunities inherent in the acquisition and expand the product portfolio for its existing customer base. Frutarom will also work towards achieving the utmost operational and business efficiencies possible from the merger of FoodBlenders’ activities with its own UK activities based on Frutarom’s existing infrastructure and through optimizing the use of its production facilities in this field.
Ori Yehudai, President and CEO of Frutarom Group, remarked: “This is an additional acquisition of activity in Frutarom’s core field of business that will enable us to offer our customers a broader set of solutions. This acquisition provides further reinforcement of our growing activity in the UK where Frutarom has a leading role in the field of flavors.”The global savory flavors market is growing as a result of the rising standard of living and way of life and the accompanying changes in consumer habits which are boosting demand for processed and convenience foods. Frutarom considers the field of savory flavors a vital strategic growth engine and invests heavily in developing unique innovative products with high added-value at its sites throughout the world. Acquiring FoodBlenders following the previous acquisitions in this segment is another step in establishing Frutarom’s leadership in this important area, and we intend to continue investing towards significantly expanding our savory activity in other countries around the world, including through further acquisitions.”
AB Acquisition LLC and Safeway Inc. have completed their proposed merger. Under the terms of the merger agreement first announced and unanimously approved by Safeway’s Board of Directors in March 2014, AB Acquisition LLC, the owner of Albertson’s LLC and New Albertson’s, Inc. (collectively “Albertsons”), will acquire all outstanding shares of Safeway. AB Acquisition is controlled by an investor group led byCerberus Capital Management, L.P., which also includes Kimco Realty Corporation, Klaff Realty LP, Lubert-Adler Partners LP, and Schottenstein Stores Corporation.
Safeway shareholders will receive $34.92 per share in cash, consisting of (i) $32.50 in initial cash consideration, (ii) $2.412 in consideration relating to the previously announced sale of the assets of Safeway’s real-estate development subsidiary Property Development Centers, LLC (“PDC”) and (iii) $0.008 in consideration relating to a dividend of approximately $2 million(after deduction for taxes at an assumed rate) that Safeway received in December 2014 on its 49 percent interest in Mexico-based food and general merchandise retailer Casa Ley, S.A. de C.V.(“Casa Ley”). In addition, shareholders will receive contingent value rights entitling them to pro rata proceeds relating to deferred consideration from the sale of PDC and any proceeds from the sale of Safeway’s 49 percent interest in Casa Ley.
Both contingent value rights will be non-transferable and non-tradable. For tax reporting purposes, Safeway intends to report that the fair market values of the contingent value rights at the time of the merger for PDC and Casa Ley are $0.0488 and $1.0149, respectively, per share, based on third party valuations.
With respect to PDC, both the initial cash distribution ($2.412 per share) and the total estimated asset value including the CVR ($2.461 per share) have increased slightly over the estimated values set forth in Safeway’s December 23, 2014 press release announcing the sale of PDC. Those earlier estimates were $2.38 per share and $2.45 per share, respectively.
In addition, in April 2014, Safeway stockholders received a distribution of stock in Safeway’s former Blackhawk Network Holdings, Inc. subsidiary valued at approximately $4.02 per Safeway share at the time of the distribution.
As a result of the completion of the merger transaction, the common stock of Safeway will no longer be listed for trading on the New York Stock Exchange or any other securities exchange.Safeway will file a Certification on Form 15 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commissionunder the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, to suspendSafeway’s reporting obligations under Sections 13(a) and 15(d) of the Exchange Act.
Merger Closing Paves Way for Enhanced Shopping Experience
“We plan to be the favorite local supermarket in every community we serve,” said Safeway President and Chief Executive Officer Robert Edwards, who becomes President and CEO of the newly combined company, effective immediately. “We will do this by knowing, listening to, and delighting our customers; providing the right products at a compelling value; and delivering a superior shopping experience. We will also continue to be active members of our local communities.”
As previously announced, current Albertsons Chief Executive Officer Bob Miller will become Executive Chairman. “This is a transformative day for both Albertsons and Safeway. This merger creates a unified, strong organization that is dedicated to bringing a better shopping experience to more customers across the country,” commented Miller. “Our combined geographic footprint, vast range of brands and products, and service-oriented staff will enable us to meet evolving shopping preferences.”
The merger will create a diversified network that includes 2,230 stores, 27 distribution facilities and 19 manufacturing plants with over 250,000 employees across 34 states and the District of Columbia. The new company will be comprised of three regions and 14 retail divisions, supported by corporate offices in Boise, Idaho, Pleasanton, California, and Phoenix, Arizona. Banners will include Safeway, Vons, Pavilions, Randalls, Tom Thumb, Carrs, Albertsons, ACME, Jewel-Osco, Lucky, Shaw’s,Star Market, Super Saver, United Supermarkets, Market Street and Amigos. In December, the companies announced the sale of 168 stores to four separate buyers, as divestitures required in order to secure U.S. Federal Trade Commission approval of the transaction.
Sambazon, the pioneer of açaí, today announced the launch of new Sambazon 100 Juices, the first 100 percent juice line with 100 calories or less per bottle and 70 percent less sugar than other premium juices. Packing the superior health benefits of 100 açaí berries in each bottle, this refreshingly exotic new line delivers powerful antioxidants and healthy omegas with three delicious flavors: Açaí Berry, Strawberry + Lemon + Açaí Berry and Pineapple + Coconut + Açaí Berry.
“Açaí has long been held as one of the most nutritionally dense superfoods on the planet and is sought after for its remarkable levels of antioxidants,” said Ryan Black, founder and CEO of Sambazon. “But most people don’t know that açaí is one of the only fruits in the world with virtually zero naturally-occurring sugar. Starting with that pure, organic açaí juice and blending in fresh fruits and natural, organic sweeteners has allowed us to create an invigorating, delicious beverage with all the exceptional health benefits of 100 açaí berries, but fewer calories and sugar. Sambazon 100 gives our consumers the most nutritious bang for their calorie buck.”
Like all Sambazon products, new Sambazon 100 Juices are Certified USDA Organic, Non-GMO Project Verified, vegan, and made with Ecocert Fair Trade açaí. Each exotically refreshing flavor contains only 5-11 grams of sugar per bottle, achieved through an organic and Non-GMO Project Verified blend of zero glycemic stevia and erythritol, plus low-glycemic agave in the Açaí Berry variety. Sambazon 100 will be available in natural health food stores and grocers nationwide beginning in March 2015, in 10.5 ounce bottles with an SRP of $3.49. Flavors include:
Açaí Berry – With an exotic cocoa berry flavor, each bottle delivers the highest quality açaí and a boost of healthy antioxidants and omegas, with only 100 calories and 11 grams of sugar.
Strawberry + Lemon + Açaí Berry – With antioxidant-rich acerola cherry, also known as Amazon Cherry, this juice is supercharged with 200 percent of the Daily Value of vitamin C. Each bottle has only 70 calories and 5 grams of sugar.
Pineapple + Coconut + Açaí Berry – Nutritious coconut and Amazon superfoods make for a healthy and refreshing tropical juice, which has only 60 calories and 6 grams of sugar per bottle.
For more information on Sambazon 100 Juice, and Sambazon’s complete line of Amazon Superfoods, visit www.sambazon.com.
Food Engineering magazine has named Smithfield Foods as its 2014 Sustainable Processor of the Year, reflecting Smithfield’s corporate commitment to sustainability as demonstrated by projects at three plants in Indiana, Illinois and North Carolina. The honor, featured in the November issue, cites successful programs to reduce wastewater, utilize biogas generated by wastewater treatment and reduce waste sent to landfills – all components of Smithfield’s commitment to reduce its environmental impact.
The magazine’s 2014 award is the first to focus on a processor with multiple plants rather than a Sustainable Plant of the Year. “This year, Food Engineering has selected Smithfield Foods as its Sustainable Processor of the Year because the processor has made it a corporate priority to improve the sustainability of all its plants and for them to give back to the communities in which they’re located,” wrote Senior Technical Editor Wayne Labs.
The award is open to any facilities that produce food for human consumption. Judging criteria includes energy usage, recovery and reuse; water usage, reuse and treatment; sustainable packaging initiatives; employee safety, comfort and health initiatives; community impact; and corporate sustainability mission statement implementation, among other criteria.
The article focuses on two initiatives at John Morrell Food Group’s Armour-Eckrich Meats in Peru, Indiana: A project to reduce the amount of wastewater sent to a public treatment plant, and the facility’s achievement of zero-waste-to-landfill status – a first within the Smithfield organization. Also recognized were the Saratoga Food Specialties operations in Bolingbrook, Illinois, where multiple initiatives reduced energy and water use and the amount of waste to landfill, and a project at Smithfield Farmland’s Tar Heel, North Carolina facility, which utilized biogas from wastewater.
“Food Engineering’s decision to feature multiple projects at Smithfield operating companies is further testament to the deep commitment to sustainability found throughout our business,” said Dennis Treacy, Executive Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer, Smithfield Foods. “We particularly salute our colleagues in North Carolina, Indiana, and Illinois for making us proud through the implementation of these initiatives.”
Innovative food discovery app Handpick today officially launched its iOS app and website in the U.S., as well as announced its Series A funding. The new app allows food lovers access to over 10 million socially shared food posts from Instagram, hundreds of unique food blogs, and top recipe sites. Handpick’s unique semantic technology also recommends ingredient pairings based on what users have on hand. Handpick’s 10 million socially shared food posts include dishes from 1.6 million content creators worldwide.
“We started Handpick to let users input what they already have in their kitchen and find dish ideas using those ingredients,” saidPayman Nejati, Handpick chief executive officer. “We’re curating the best dishes from Instagram and top food blogs, making it easy to discover how people around the world use your favorite ingredients.”
Like organic products before them, locally produced foods are stepping out of the shadow of their once “quirky niche” designation to claim a much more prominent – and permanent – place in the U.S. food and beverage retail-scape. Market research publisher Package Facts estimates that local foods generated $12 billion in sales in 2014, accounting for 2% of total U.S. retail sales of foods and beverages. Looking ahead, Packaged Facts anticipates that over the next five years, local foods will grow faster than the annual pace of total food and beverage sales, to approach $20 billion in 2019.
The findings were published in Package Facts’ recently released report, “Shopping for Local Foods in the U.S.”
“We’ve reached a tipping point for local foods. Over the past 10 years, there has been a surge in consumer demand for locally produced foods, along with widening availability,” said Packaged Facts research director David Sprinkle. “And it’s not just farmers’ markets or natural food retailers lending credence to this trend. An increasing number of larger grocers are carrying and promoting local products. Even Walmart has been promoting local farmers in its bid to tailor its store selections more toward local communities.”
A proprietary Packaged Facts National Consumer Survey conducted in November 2014 among U.S. adults found that 53 percent of respondents specially seek out locally grown or locally produced foods, with 19 percent “strongly” agreeing and 34% “somewhat” agreeing. Even more interestingly, almost half the respondents agree they are willing to pay up to 10 percent more for locally grown or produced foods, and almost one in three said they are willing to pay up to 25 percent more. A third of consumers also claim to consciously purchase locally grown or locally produced foods at least once per week.
Among the primary reasons for purchasing locally grown or locally produced foods, the majority of consumers claim they do so because the products are fresher. In addition, more than half of consumers say they buy local products to support local businesses, and more than 40 percent of consumers say the products taste better. In addition, roughly a third believe that local products are healthier, and also like to know where their food is coming from.
For more information on the Package Facts report, visit “Shopping for Local Foods in the U.S.”
Cook Pigs LLC, a heritage pig ranch operation based in Julian, California announced that the company had named Lawrence (Larry) Johnson to be Chief Operating Officer.
Johnson brings a deep level of expertise as a founder and president of a specialty food products company and leader of the Food & Beverage Industry Practice of Stanton Associates LLC. Johnson is frequently quoted in the business press speaking on food industry issues. Previously he served as a Managing Director at Deloitte. Johnson is a graduate of Columbia University’s MBA program.
Johnson will be responsible for the growth and development of the Cook Pigs heritage pork brand, spearheading strategic sales and marketing efforts to expand distribution and providing oversight of ranching and production operations.
I am excited to be part of the Cook Pigs team, charged with broadening the distribution of this amazing product to a wider wholesale audience,” said Johnson. “I’ve always been fascinated by Spain’s jamón ibérico, how they raise their pigs in such a way as to create a truly premium quality product. I think there’s a big opportunity for Cook Pigs, whose animals are raised in the same Ibérico tradition.”
Cook Pigs currently is enjoyed mainly by customers in the San Diego area. Consumers can buy the farm-direct fresh pork at the Cook Family Butcher Shop located in the Kearny Mesa area or partake of the product at fine restaurants whose menus feature heritage pork from Cook Pigs. In addition, fine chefs and restaurants in the greater Los Angeles area, like Chef Matt Poley at Heirloom and Chef Walter Manzke at Republique, have discovered the unique value of the Cook Pigs meat product. Southern Californians can also find Cook Pigs heritage pork at Strand House in Manhattan Beach, Bouchon in Beverly Hills, Cooks County in Los Angeles, and McCall’s Butcher Shop in the Los Feliz area.
“It’s a unique and distinctive flavor, not like the pork you buy at the supermarket,” continued Johnson. “And it addresses the growing demand for food items that are free of hormones, antibiotics and other non-natural supplements. All of this makes for a truly superlative product, which will be offered under the premium brand that we are building.”
“Adding Larry to the team is an important element of our overall plan to take the company to the next level and establish the Cook Pigs brand as the best quality purveyor of fresh heritage pork,” reported Jeff Asher, CEO of Cook Pigs. “We’ve spent years perfecting our approach to heritage pig raising that results in amazing quality meat,” continued Asher,.”Now we are ready to offer the product to a broader audience of fine food service establishments and specialty retailers, and we know Larry is just the guy who can help us make that happen.”