The Kroger Co. has announced plans to bring more than 5,000 associates from across the country to Cincinnati from September 28 – 30 for the company’s Kroger Leadership Summit.
The Kroger Leadership Summit will include managers from every store, manufacturing facility, distribution center and office in the country joining together to discuss the company’s growth strategy and Kroger’s ongoing commitment to its customers, associates and the communities it serves.
During the meeting, attendees will participate in a Sharing Courage walk on September 29 to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer research, detection and treatment. The walk will conclude at Paul Brown Stadium, home of the Cincinnati Bengals, where Kroger associates will take the field to form a massive, human pink ribbon to show solidarity with breast cancer survivors and their allies in the fight against this deadly disease. Including local associates, their families, friends and other partners, Kroger expects nearly 7,000 to participate in this one-of-a-kind event.
“Our associates are proud partners in the fight against breast cancer,” said Tim Massa, Kroger’s Group Vice President of Human Resources and Labor Relations. “One in eight women is diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetimes. And when somebody is diagnosed, everyone around them is impacted. We want our associates and our communities to know that we’re in this together.”
This breast cancer awareness walk and ribbon formation reinforces the theme of Kroger’s Leadership Summit – that Kroger associates, both individually and collectively, can “Make a Difference” in the lives of their customers and their communities.
This is the 10th year of Kroger’s Sharing Courage campaign, held annually during the month of October. Since its inception, Kroger and its customers, associates and supporting partners have raised more than $30 million to support local breast cancer initiatives.
In addition to Kroger’s planned activities on September 29, Kroger on September 30 will light its downtown Cincinnati headquarters building pink, an annual event in partnership with Yoplait.
Lifeway Foods, Inc. has signed on as a national sponsor of the James Beard Foundation’s third annual Taste America®: “Local Flavor from Coast To Coast” national epicurean tour. As part of the program’s 2015 itinerary, a line-up of world-class chefs will demo custom recipes using Lifeway Kefir products at local Sur La Table® locations in select Taste America cities. Reservations for the free cooking demos will begin two weeks prior to each event. For more information, visit jbftasteamerica.org.
“Our partnership with the James Beard Foundation is an incredible opportunity to introduce our kefir to a new audience and to demonstrate its versatility as a hot new ingredient,” said Julie Smolyansky, Lifeway’s President and CEO. “Working with innovative chefs who are at the forefront of their industry will allow us to prove that kefir is much more than a drink and allow them to bring a new flavor profile to menus across the country.”
Spanning six weekends between September 18 and November 7, 2015, the program will kick off in Miami and visit a total of ten dynamic culinary cities across the country throughout the fall. Each stop will feature a special Friday night benefit dinner crafted in collaboration with a Taste America All-Star and a Local Star chef, during which guests will enjoy a palette cleanser of Lifeway Frozen Kefir products. The Taste America agenda will continue the next day with free, in-store consumer events at a local Sur La Table location. The lineup of public programming will include “cooking with kefir” demonstrations in select markets (Boston, Chicago, Miami, and San Francisco) led by celebrated chefs from the area. Lifeway representatives will also be sampling kefir products before and after the cooking demonstrations in all 10 Taste America cities.
“Taste America was created with the goal of bringing together top innovators in our food world to educate and entertain Americans about local flavors from coast to coast, ” said Susan Ungaro, President of the James Beard Foundation. “As many people might not be familiar with kefir, we are delighted to have Lifeway Foods on board as a national sponsor providing our guests with a deeper understanding of the product, its rich history, health benefits and the delicious ways it can be used. We can’t wait to see what recipes the chefs come up with!”
This year, Santa Cruz Organic® will join like-minded sponsors to encourage conversation about ways to incorporate more organic products into school lunches. As a pioneer organic brand with a rich heritage spanning more than 43 years, Santa Cruz Organic is a sponsor of this year’s KIWI’s National Take Your Parents to Lunch Day. The program encourages deeper communication between parents and school officials on how to provide and instill better eating habits in children.
Determining the best options for your child’s lunchbox can be a daunting task. With hectic schedules and endless school obligations, parents are eager to find simple ways to incorporate more organic products into busy routines.
Santa Cruz Organic offers a variety of Certified USDA Organic products that are perfect components for building a child’s organic lunchbox, from Santa Cruz Organic Fruit Sauces that contain no added sugar, to Santa Cruz Organic Fruit Spreads free of high fructose corn syrup and artificial flavors, to Santa Cruz Organic Peanut Butter that contains no hydrogenated oils, sugars or artificial ingredients. All Santa Cruz Organic products are Non-GMO Project® Verified.
KIWI’s National Take Your Parents to Lunch Day takes place Oct. 14, 2015. For more information on the event, visit National Take Your Parents to Lunch Day.
Acai Roots has debuted one of its best-selling products, Acai Roots Juice, and Acai Roots Pome Blue Juice, with a lesser amount of sugar than previous bottles and most Acai juices in the market. Perfect for delicious smoothies, bowls or on its own, Acai Roots Juice is made from 100 percent organic Brazilian acai berries with no added fillers, unlike other acai brands. Your acai bowls and smoothies just got a lot healthier!
“Our juices are among the few juices with the least amount of sugar in the acai market,” said Marco Rega, co-founder of Acai Roots. “We no longer use organic evaporated cane sugar in our formula and have replaced it with organic agave and stevia. This has reduced the sugar content from 20g to 9g per serving!”
Acai Roots Juice and Acai Roots Pome Blue Juice are the healthiest acai products you can find in your local grocery store. These products are also available at all 200 Sprouts locations. Additionally, Acai Roots is will release 10.5-ounce bottles, a smaller and on-the-go alternative to the 32-ounce bottles. A healthier juice alternative, in general, Acai Roots Juice is gluten-free, vegan, non-GMO and packed with powerful benefits including:
New Obi Probiotic Soda™ is on a mission to make healthy choices affordable and fun. Made from live, probiotic water kefir, organic juices and organic stevia, each 12-oz. bottle of Obi contains billions of beneficial probiotics and less than 20 calories with two to five grams of natural sugar, but tastes just like a delicious soda.
“Obi fills a gap that is missing in the beverage category between expensive health products that cater to a small niche and cheap processed products that have mass appeal,” said David Lester, CEO. “We don’t think consumers should have to choose between something that tastes good and something that’s good for them. It’s taken us five years to develop, but we’re excited to be able to offer a probiotic, organic soda that’s accessibly priced, delicious and extremely healthy.”
Obi is packed full of powerful probiotics: a water kefir ferment with 20 different strains of probiotic cultures. This unique blend delivers the added benefits of a “symbiotic ferment” – cultures that work extra hard as a united group to produce beneficial compounds like organic acids, vitamins and enzymes that can help to support digestive and immune health. Obi is certified USDA organic, certified non-GMO, gluten-free, vegan and paleo, and contains 20 to 40 percent of the recommended daily allowance for Vitamin C.
Each of the four Obi flavors – Organic Root Beer; Tart Cherry Vanilla Bean; Valencia Orange & Grapefruit; and Meyer Lemon & Lime — is stevia and fruit-sweetened. Obi Founder and Product Developer Ben Goodwin and his team of organic chemists, microbiologists and flavor experts spent two years developing their own proprietary organic stevia blend with no bitter aftertaste, no GMOs and no corn products (erythritol).
Obi has partnered with beverage incubator LA Libations to launch the product on both coasts, with new stores being added each month. Obi is currently available in the refrigerated cold case at Ralphs, Mother’s Market & Kitchen and Jimbo’s Natural Foods Grocer throughout Southern California; at New Leaf Community Markets, Focaccia Market & Bakery and Berkeley Bowl Marketplace in Northern California; at Fred Meyer and New Seasons Markets in the Pacific Northwest; and at independent and small chain grocery stores in the Northeast, including Mrs. Green’s Natural Market, DeCicco Family Markets, Union Market, Balducci’s Food Lover’s Market, Wild by Nature Market and Dean’s Natural Food Market. The price for one 12-ounce bottle is about $2-$3.
By Lorrie Baumann
Bridor USA has just finished an expansion of its plant in Vineland, New Jersey and is expanding its penetration in the American market. Bridor makes a range of pastries that includes signature croissants, brioches, chocolatines and lattice pastries.
The company started producing its products in the U.S. in 2002 after testing the waters by exporting pastries into the country from France. “We decided to get closer to the market,” says Bridor USA Senior Vice President of Sales Olivier Morel. “It’s very important for us to produce in the U.S…. Our vision is to bring the best European products to the U.S. and Canada.”The technology inside the American plant was imported from Europe, and products are made according to French traditions, including baking with butter, although the butter, like the other ingredients for the pastries, is sourced in the United States. The result is a product that adheres to traditional French standards for quality while delivering the tastes that are familiar to Americans. “The butter, even if it’s a very good quality butter, the taste is slightly different. We make sure to source and to use natural ingredients,” Morel says. “Our people are master bakers. We try to combine tradition with healthy, natural ingredients with innovation.”
That interest in innovation and appeal to American’s tastes comes through in the product line that Bridor makes in the American plant. “In the U.S. there is a high demand for danishes. Here in the U.S. you have danishes containing different fillings,” Morel says. “We’re about to launch a pumpkin danish. It’s a big flavor during the fall in the U.S. That flavor would not be successful in Europe.”
Europeans are simply not as fond of pumpkin flavor as Americans are, he explains. Nor do Europeans generally share Americans’ fondness for cinnamon. Bridor, however, plans to cater to that American taste with a new Cinnamon Brioche. “It’s an amazing product, but cinnamon is not a favorite flavor in Europe,” Morel says. “We wanted to get closer to American consumers, so we had to adapt our products.”
Bridor even has a plan to cater to Americans’ fetish for freshness: Most of its products are sold pre-proofed, egg-washed and ready to bake off in about 15 minutes, so retail bakery departments can respond quickly as their shelf stock is depleted and have a new batch of fresh pastries out of the oven and into the bakery case in a matter of minutes. “By bringing that technology, we bring a new experience to American consumers. Customers can come in and find fresh pastry on the shelf all day,”Morel says. “Our vision is to elevate the quality of the products on the shelf. Our vision is that our products would be fresh all day long.”
Bridor products are designed to be sold at prices that are competitive with other premium products. “Our products are affordable – it’s not a luxury product. It’s a product that can be bought on a daily basis,” Morel says.
By Lorrie Baumann
Avie Rosacci, Chief Operations Officer of family-owned Tony’s Market, with four stores in Denver, knows exactly how her father started the business: that happened when her little brother pointed out an abandoned 7-11 store to their father one day in 1978. Her father could not have imagined at that time what the little butcher shop he’d always dreamed of would turn into, she says. “It’s beyond our wildest dreams,” she says. “We opened as a little butcher shop, and we thought that was going to be it.”
Tony Rosacci started working at the age of 9 in a small Italian corner market in Detroit. He earned $3 a week. Except for a stint in the Army, he was in the grocery business all his life. By the late 1960s, he was in California working for Ralph’s and moved the family from California to Littleton, Colorado in 1970 to work for King Soopers, now part of The Kroger Company before moving on to a smaller butcher shop, Ed’s Meats. “As we were growing up, he always talked about how someday he’d have a little butcher shop of his own,” Avie says.
The family talked about it so much that the idea was the foundation of some of the family games: Tony would tell the kids stories of his own butcher shop, and Avie would be behind the cash register while little brother Danny and brother Mick would help Dad. Then in 1978, Tony and Danny drove past the abandoned 7-11 on their way home from church one Sunday, and Danny suggested that the building could make that little butcher shop.
“They went to the bank for a loan, didn’t get the loan, so they sold the house and took the proceeds to open the store,” Avie remembers. “He left Ed’s, and we did open, literally, a small butcher shop.” That store had white powder-coated meat cases, and Tony wasn’t a grocer; he was a butcher. “No produce, no deli. It was a butcher shop,” Avie says. “I don’t think we even had seafood. We might have had some frozen crab legs. I remember painting the special on the front window when I was much younger.”
Customers came from the neighborhood, and the store was staffed by one employee plus Avie’s mother and father and the three Rosacci kids. Over the years, the store grew out of its space and gradually into the spaces that had been occupied by the other businesses in the small shopping center. Tony’s Market added a deli department, a bakery and a center store. The meat orders during holiday seasons started to generate so much business that customers lined up around the building, and Tony had to bring in a police officer to keep the crowds of customers within the fire marshal’s regulations. “Our little building couldn’t handle it, so we opened our second store,” Avie says. “Then we added the other two over the next 10 or 12 years.”
“It was kind of Dad’s dream that came to fruition, but Dad never dreamed of what it is today,” she continues. “It grew over time. It took us close to 20 years to open that second store.” Tony’s Market now comprises four Denver metro area stores ranging from 2,500 to 8,000 square feet, plus Tony’s Burgers, a casual restaurant inside its downtown Denver store, and Tony Rosacci’s Fine Catering, a full service catering division that entered the picture in 2004 and serves weddings and galas as well as supporting the company’s headquarters, warehousing,floral department and commissary operations.
For 11 years, until the team built a new facility with its own kitchen, the catering division fed the Denver Broncos, and today, Tony Rosacci’s Fine Catering is in its second season of feeding the Colorado Avalanche hockey team and its coaches. “That’s been fun, feeding the team and the staff,” Avie says. “With the Broncos, we started at 4 a.m. and would end most nights around 9 p.m. feeding them up to four meals a day and snacks, and that would go on until the season ended.”
Each of the four stores is unique to its neighborhood, with the product assortment at the downtown location favoring organic and local produce as well as prepared foods featuring whole grains and low fats for the urban professional clientele there, and stores in the neighborhoods populated by families and seniors offering products that lean more toward comfort foods like twice-baked potatoes, fried chicken and pasta dishes as well as the local and organic favorites. Each store still does its own meat-cutting in-house, with butchers at each location. All the beef is premium choice, and it’s all aged. Beef is ground several times a day, and all the meat is sold fresh. Anything that stays in the store too long to be sold fresh is frozen and then donated to charity. “Tony’s is still really known for the beef and the meats. People still call us by our own name of Tony’s Meats, which is what we opened as,” Avie says.
Today, Tony has retired to the golf course, Daniel Rosacci is now CEO of Tony’s Market and Mick is the company’s head chef. As chief operations officer, Avie is in charge of employee training and compliance with government regulations and is also attending school to learn nutrition therapy, an area of study that she became interested in while she was feeding the Broncos. “I like to see people take better care of themselves, whether that’s 10 percent better or 60 percent better,” she says.
A wide range of customers shop at the stores, but what they tend to have in common is that they have busy lives and they want high-quality products and they want to get into the store, find what they need, and get out fast, which is why it’s so very important to Avie that the 280 to 300 employees in the stores are well-trained and that customer service is excellent. “Our customer service is above and beyond. We tell our employees to hug them with your words because they have many choices,” Avie says. “We understand the pace of how America lives today. We’re really aware of getting them in and out. When they come in, we want to take care of them as quickly and efficiently as possible and get them out to their soccer practice or wherever they need to be.”
By Richard Thompson
Lynsay Barnes of Edison Grainery says that the company’s interest in gluten-free products came out of necessity. Her mother, Amy, was diagnosed with celiac disease three years ago and after her father saw the high prices on specialty gluten-free products, he decided to started creating gluten-free pastas that the whole family could enjoy and afford.
“We were already supported the organic movement, but we needed to find foods that could be eaten by everyone,” says Barnes. In 2013, Edison Grainery won the Food and Beverage Innovation (FABI) Award for its Organic Quinoa Pasta that provided a product that satisfied dietary needs and keeping pace with culinary trends while maintaining quality and taste.
Edison Grainery carries lines of Organic Quinoa Pasta Spaghetti, Fusilli, Penne and Elbows that are all certified gluten-free, free of the Big-8 in known allergens and imported from Bolivia. Each product is a great source of protein and contains no corn, so the noodles hold up well in water and even gives consumers a little lee-way when it comes to preparation. Paired nicely with any pomodoro, red sauce or white sauce, any traditional dish – or non-traditional dish – can be prepared without sacrificing taste. “What’s really great is that people can’t tell them from traditional pastas,” says Barnes.
John De Puma, whose wife was diagnosed with celiac’s disease 12 years ago, saw a lack of flavorful gluten-free pastas and used his background as a chef to create his own. “There were a limited amount of pastas that were up to par compared to traditional pastas, so I decided to solve that issue,” says De Puma. His company, De Puma’s, is celebrating its eighth anniversary this year.
De Puma’s Three Cheese Tortellini is classically made with ricotta, Parmesan and Romano cheese and cooks just like traditional ravioli, needing only a scoop of water in a slow boil. De Puma’s raviolis come in choices such as Wild Mushroom, Lobster and De Puma’s personal favorite, Spinach and Ricotta.
“We’re a smaller company, so we can make different options that main lines don’t try, like our Sun Dried Tomato and Goat Cheese Raviolis,” says De Puma.
Kings Food Markets has unveiled its own line of gourmet foods and everyday favorites at an outstanding value. Kings Own brand is unique in its range to include both everyday essentials and specialty items that focus on quality and innovation. Kings has procured a selection of domestic, local and international items with uncompromised quality, which shoppers have come to expect.
“At Kings, our passion for food drives us to bring shoppers the highest quality, the freshest and the very best ingredients, and now, through our own assortment of products, we’re able to bring our customers the perfect balance of quality and value, tailored for each product, making great food approachable,” said Judy Spires, President and CEO of Kings Food Markets. “That’s why our shelves are filled with amazing choices that turn everyday experiences into memorable events—and now we’re making it even better.”
Kings Own brand will continue to roll out a range of items across the store, providing customers with new options in every department. From household essentials like orange juice, syrup and eggs to organic and specialty products such as signature sauces and olive oils, imported gelato and chef-prepared foods, Kings is continuing to raise the bar by seeking out the most unique and rare finds. Kings is focusing heavily on organic offerings, as its shoppers are continuing to look for them more and more. Kings Own offers a range of organic pastas, herbs and tomatoes, chips and beans, as well as a selection of honey flavors – to name a few. As the line continues to expand, the focus will shift to more specialty items to round out our offerings.
Each product has been carefully selected to meet the Kings’ standard. For example, Kings Own Marinades and Sauces are crafted in small batches using all-natural, hand-selected ingredients and are available in a wide range of gourmet flavors, including Pineapple Jalapeno, Carne Asada, Sweet Bourbon and Carolina Gold BBQ.
To celebrate this announcement, Kings will launch its “Buy Two, Give One” campaign on September 11, across all stores. Customers will be given a special savings to “Buy Two” of the Kings Own products and then “Give One” to a local food pantry to help fight hunger and will be donating a portion of these goods to the food pantry. The food pantries the chain will be donating to extend across its geographic footprint, including the Food Bank of Somerset, Center for Food Action, Interfaith Food Pantry & Homeless Solutions, Hoboken Shelter, Flemington Food Pantry, Neighbor to Neighbor and Interfaith Nutrition Network.
The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) is warning consumers not to eat products made by Picnic Gourmet Spreads because these products might be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.The potentially contaminated products include Red Pepper Feta Cheese Spread, Moroccan Cilantro Cheese Spread, Tandoori Garlic Cheese Spread, Herbed Goat Cheese, Parmesan Cheese Spread, and Chipotle Sage Cheese Spread. These products were distributed to retail stores in Maryland and other states including Kentucky, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.
The contamination was discovered after routine retail sampling by the DHMH Office of Food Protection, and subsequent analysis by the DHMH Laboratories Administration revealed the presence of Listeria monocytogenes in the product.
The company has ceased production and distribution of these products, and DHMH continues its investigation into the source of the problem. There have been no complaints about these products to DHMH, and DHMH is not aware of any illnesses associated with the products to date. The department urges consumers who might have Picnic Gourmet Spreads products to dispose of them.
Listeria bacteria can cause a serious infection called listeriosis. Listeriosis is caused by eating food contaminated with Listeria bacteria and typically occurs within three days to 10 weeks of consumption (usually within three weeks). Symptoms of listeriosis include fever, muscle aches, headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, and convulsions, which can be preceded by nausea or diarrhea. Listeria infection can be treated with antibiotics.
Persons at higher risk for disease include pregnant women, newborns, elderly persons, and individuals with a weakened immune system (for example, persons with AIDS, cancer, diabetes, or kidney disease). Listeriosis in pregnant women may cause fever and other flu-like symptoms, which can be mild. However, because Listeriainfection can cause premature labor, premature delivery, miscarriage, stillbirth or severe infection of newborns, it is especially important that pregnant women avoid these products.
If a person has any of the above symptoms and has consumed products from Picnic Gourmet Spreads, they should consult their healthcare provider, DHMH stated.