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Meijer Golf Tournament Raises Big Bucks for Food Banks

Representatives with the Meijer LPGA Classic presented by Kraft today deemed the inaugural tournament a success with a $600,000 donation to the retailer’s Simply Give program, which advances its mission of helping Midwest food pantries restock their shelves and improve the quality of life within the region. Rookie superstar Mirim Lee of South Korea took home the trophy at the inaugural LPGA Tour event, which took place at Blythefield Country Club Aug. 7-10, but the real winners are the families who will benefit from the donation.

“From the great weather to the enthusiastic crowds, the Meijer LPGA Classic presented by Kraft was a complete success in its first year and will have a longstanding impact for a long time coming,” Meijer President J.K. Symancyk said. “The tournament afforded us an unmatched opportunity to raise awareness and funding to address hunger in the Midwest. We cannot thank the community enough for the way they embraced this tournament to help make a difference to those in need.”

While attendance figures are not yet available, representatives from Meijer and the LPGA said the tournament exceeded expectations of a first year event.

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“We are thrilled with the response and turnout that we received from the Grand Rapids community at the inaugural Meijer LPGA Classic,” LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan said. “With that continued community support, and the backing and vision of our partners at Meijer, Kraft and Blythefield Country Club, we look forward to building a new tradition in West Michigan that will only get stronger over time.”

Meijer began its Simply Give program in November 2008 and has since generated more than $9 million for its food pantry partners. The contributions donated as a result of the Meijer LPGA Classic are due, in large part, to the generous Meijer customers who attended the tournament week events, and the sponsors who helped make the event a success.

The $600,000 donation will be divided among the retailer’s estimated 200 food pantry partners participating in the fall Simply Givecampaign, which runs through Sept. 27. Of that total donation, $40,000 will be divided equally among four food pantries chosen byCarla Hall, co-host of ABC Daytime’s lifestyle series, “The Chew,” after winning the Meijer LPGA Celebrity Chef Cookoff presented by Kraft. Carla beat out two other nationally-acclaimed chefs – Cat Cora and Gail Simmons – after the event’s guests voted on their favorite menus. Hall chose the following food pantries to receive $10,000 each:

  • Love, Inc.
  • United Church Outreach Food Pantry
  • North End Community Food Pantry
  • Northwest Food Pantry

“Without the Simply Give program, our shelves would literally be bare,” said Waverly Knight, Assistant Director of Northwest Food Pantry in Grand Rapids, which feeds about 150 families each week. “Every week, there are new families coming to our pantry, some of which have never been inside a food pantry. Life happens a little too much, and we are very grateful for how the Meijer Simply Give program helps us feed people in our neighborhood.”

To participate in the Simply Give program, customers can purchase a $10 donation card at their local Meijer store, which will be converted into a Meijer food-only gift card and given to the food pantry selected by the store. Meijer will stretch every customer’s donation further Sept. 4-6 in recognition of Hunger Action Month. That means for every $10 donation card purchase, Meijer will contribute $20, resulting in a total $30 donation.

To learn more about the Meijer LPGA Classic presented by Kraft, view a video that highlights the week’s many activities and the significance of the donation. In addition, please visit the Meijer Newsroom for more information, including sharable photos.

A crowd of enthusiastic fans lined the ropes at Blythefield Country Club Aug. 7-10 to watch a competitive field of 144 world-class golfers play 72 holes of stroke play. Ultimately, Mirim Lee claimed her first LPGA Tour victory with a birdie on the second hole of a playoff against fellow South Korean Inbee Park. Lee tamed the course, carding a 2-under 69 to match Park at 14-under 270. Park, the former world No. 1 with four major championships, was outpaced by one shot, closing with a 70.

“I was 100 percent nervous because (it was) my first time in playoff on LPGA so I’m really nervous, but very fun,” Lee said. “Inbee is like a hero in Korea. She is a very good player so I try to follow her.”

The inaugural tournament marks the LPGA Tour’s first stop in Michigan since 2000 when the Oldsmobile Classic in East Lansing ended its 9-year-run, as well as the first annual golf event in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula since 2009 when the PGA TOUR hosted the Buick Open in Grand Blanc.

Marsh Supermarkets Guides Shoppers to Healthy Choices

Marsh Supermarkets Inc. will launch its 2014-2015 “Fresh Ideas for Education” program in all Marsh, O’Malia’s and MainStreet Market stores in Indiana and Ohio on September 1. The program will provide shoppers with the opportunity to help local schools earn points towards valuable educational materials, such as academic supplies, books, computers, musical instruments, sports equipment and much more.

Since the program began, Fresh Ideas for Education has provided local schools with over $2.3 million worth of free equipment and supplies. This year, the Marsh family of supermarkets will again be awarding up to $275,000 in educational materials to local schools.

New this year, Marsh will be partnering the program with Guiding Stars to raise awareness about childhood nutrition and healthy eating. As an incentive for participating shoppers to purchase healthy, nutritious foods for themselves and their families, schools will earn double points on all Guiding Stars product purchases with one, two or three stars.

Guiding Stars is Marsh’s nutrition navigation program that helps guide shoppers to healthy food and beverage choices. Items in Marsh, O’Malia and MainStreet Market stores receive a zero-to-three star rating according to its nutritional value, offering busy shoppers a simple, at-a-glance tool that helps them quickly identify foods that offer the most nutrition for the calories.

From September 1 through March 31, 2015, shoppers are encouraged to enroll their Fresh IDEA®, CouponPlus or Reward$ Card to a school and participate in the program. Cards can be enrolled at a store’s Customer Service Desk or by visiting the Fresh Ideas for Education website at www.freshideasforeducation.com. Shoppers who enrolled their cards before August 1, 2014 must re-register to continue supporting local schools through this program.

Passage Foods Releases Study: Cooking Sauce Sales Simmer

Passage Foods has released its latest edition of “Passage Briefs.” This edition presents a report entitled “Cooking Sauce Sales Simmer.” Within the brief, the U.S. cooking sauce market is explored through a detailed analysis of the industry and its consumers in five sections.

- Current cooking sauce market: The cooking sauce market has seen 25 percent growth in sales in the past decade, which is expected to continue due to factors such as at-home cooking, health, and less grocery spending.

- Ethnic flavor trends: Consumers have shown an increased interest in ethnic cooking sauces and food options. This category has quickly expanded to a high percentage of market share.

- Product claim trends: Consumer are looking towards alternative options for their at-home meals alongside the health food trend that has steadily been growing in the U.S.

- Millennials and cooking sauces: The Millennial Generation is expected to impact the economy of the U.S. as they continue to enter the work force. Their interests are driving the cooking sauce market expansion.

- Future of the cooking sauce market: A look into the current cooking sauce market provides insight into the development of the industry in the years to come.

The report is now available for free by contacting info@passageusa.com or calling toll-free at 800.860.1045 ext. 204.

Click here for news about Passage Foods’ latest product introductions.

Meijer Welcomes 40,000 College Freshmen at “Meijer Mania” Events

Midwest retailer Meijer is welcoming an estimated 40,000 incoming college freshmen as they head to campus this fall during the widely-popular in-store parties dubbed “Meijer Mania.”

These annual Back-to-College events celebrate incoming students in style during a night of fun – complete with a DJ, photo booth and interactive contests – while helping them collect their last-minute dorm and classroom essentials. The retailer kicked off Meijer Mania events in mid-August and will host a total 23 events across the Midwest through early September.

“Our Meijer Mania events generate a lot of energy among the students, who are embarking on a new experience,” said Cathy Cooper, Senior Director of Promotions and Sponsorships at Meijer. “They bring their creativity and school spirit, and share the fun with their family and friends through social networks like Vine, Instagram and Twitter. We are pleased to partner with so many colleges and universities to help ease the transition for these students.”

To follow what students and the community are saying about these events on their social media channels and in the news, visit the Meijer Mania feed on Storify: https://storify.com/meijer/meijermania

Meijer began throwing in-store parties for incoming college freshmen about a decade ago to give students a chance to get to know their peers in a fun environment, and introduce the Meijer brand to those who may not have grown up shopping at the Midwest supercenter – some of whom may learn how to pronounce the retailer’s name for the first time, Cooper said.

In total, an estimated 40,000 students – about 1,700 freshmen per event – will bus from campus to their local Meijer store location for a night of festivities. Typically, a DJ will get the crowd pumped up while students participate in interactive games and contests, snap pictures in the photo booth, and stock their carts with snacks and school supplies. Meijer also provides samples and coupons, and occasionally hosts big-ticket giveaways.

One of retail’s leading shopping seasons, Back-to-School and College is a $75 billion industry, according to the National Retail Federation. Meijer Mania events help spread out the spending during a time when college students and their families are busy preparing for the school year.

Halfpops Adds New Flavors to Partially Popped Snack Line

 Halfpops, the partially popped and fully delicious popcorn snack, today unveiled two new flavors sure to satisfy the sweet and savory crowd alike – Caramel & Sea Salt and Chipotle Barbeque. Adding to the wildly popular Halfpops product line-up, the delicious new offerings will hit retail shelves in September 2014. The new flavors join Halfpops’ existing offerings of Aged White Cheddar and Butter & Pure Ocean Sea Salt, which were launched in 2011 and quickly became a snack favorite coast-to-coast.

Halfpops Caramel & Sea SaltThe new Caramel & Sea Salt and Chipotle Barbeque flavor varieties start with non-GMO corn kernels that are half-popped to perfection and expertly seasoned with natural flavors and ingredients. As with Halfpops’ entire product line, they are gluten-free, have no preservatives, no corn syrup, no hydrogenated oils, and no artificial flavors and are completely nut-free.

Halfpops 6oz ChipotleThe brand’s debut sweet flavor offering, Caramel & Sea Salt boasts Halfpops’ signature satisfying crunch and is seasoned with brown sugar, sea salt, sweet-cream, and accented with all-natural caramel flavor making for a perfectly sweet and crunchy treat. Chipotle Barbeque, Halfpops’ first dairy-free and vegan option is seasoned with real chipotle pepper, paprika, natural smoke powder, sea salt and other wholesome spices to deliver an intriguing flavor for those who crave a spicy kick. Both flavors have only 130 calories per serving and contain zero trans-fat, making for a smart snacking choice.

“Halfpops has experienced significant growth; our year-to-date sales are already up six fold year-over-year,” said Mike Fitzgerald, Founder and Chief Executive Officer for Halfpops. “Since launching in 2011, Halfpops has grown a loyal fan base which is why we are so excited to deliver two new flavor varieties to those who want a healthy, satisfying and unique snack.”

Halfpops are available in 2-ounce bags that retail for $1.49 each, and 6-ounce bags that retail for $3.99. The new Caramel & Sea Salt and Chipotle Barbeque Halfpops are expected to be available in a variety of grocery stores and specialty markets throughout the Northwest – including Costco, Whole Foods, PCC Markets, Metropolitan Markets, Haggen, Central Markets and more – and is available nationwide at retailers in more than 30 states. A complete store locator is available at www.halfpops.com/#storelocator, and product can also be purchased online at Halfpops.com.

 

KeHE Completes Acquisition of Nature’s Best

 

KeHE Distributors, LLC has completed its acquisition of Nature’s Best – a California-based distributor of health and natural food products. The acquisition, first announced on July 18, supports KeHE’s strategic focus of being the preferred supply chain partner in the natural, specialty, and fresh products marketplace in North America. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The Nature’s Best transaction further expands KeHE’s national distribution capabilities, and broadens it’s natural and organic expertise. Already the largest distributor of specialty food products and the second largest distributor of natural food products in North America, KeHE will now employ over 4000 employees, operate 14 warehouses, distribute to over 35,000 store doors weekly and export to 32 countries.

“Now that the acquisition is complete, we are thrilled to be welcoming the highly talented Nature’s Best team into the KeHE family and building upon the more than 45 years of Nature’s Best marketing, logistics, and distribution excellence,” stated KeHE’s President and CEO, Brandon Barnholt. “Our industry is rapidly evolving, and this transaction allows us to serve our customers with more efficiency and innovation, while delivering on our strategic promise of being the best supply partner to retailers ranging from the smallest independent grocer or natural food store to the largest regional or national chain.”

 

Ezaki Glico Introduces Pattyna Ice Cream Treats

PattynaEzaki Glico, maker of the Pocky brand of snack products, is kicking off the school season with the release of Pattyna brand of ice cream treats.
The new ice cream sticks come in grape, choco/coffee, vanilla, and green tea flavors. To the delight of kids of all ages the ice cream also comes in two shapes – flowers and hearts.
“The new Pattyna flavors mirror our popular Pocky flavors,” said Shunsuke Nakai, President of Glico USA.  “If you love Pocky and Péjoy you’ll love Pattyna ice cream.”
Ice cream lovers can find Pattyna in Asian grocery stores nationwide. “There’s nothing like a frozen treat when you get home from school during those first few weeks of going back to school,” said Nakai. “It’ll help keep that carefree feeling of summer alive!”
Ezaki Glico promises several more new and exciting ice cream flavors as well as other frozen snack items in the near future.
For more information about the company, visit glicousa.com.

Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board Names Pullin SVP

Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board  has promoted Marty Pullin to Senior Vice President Channel Management. He will lead WMMB’s channel management team, overseeing retail and foodservice program development and execution, technical services, market research and dairy company communications.

“Marty has successfully managed a variety of responsibilities and played a key role in developing and executing programs to increase the distribution and sales of Wisconsin dairy products,” said James Robson, Chief Executive Officer of WMMB. “His strategic planning and ability to analyze key dairy markets benefit the entire channel management team.”

Robson noted that Pullin’s strong leadership skills and business acumen have earned him multiple promotions, since joining WMMB in 2009.

Pullin is no stranger to the dairy industry. Before joining WMMB, he was national territory manager for Wisconsin Cheese Group, national account executive for Mexican Cheese Producers, Inc., both Monroe, Wisconsin-based cheese companies, and assistant store manager for SUPERVALU.

Family-Owned Amy’s Kitchen an Official Sponsor of Farm Aid 2014

Amy’s Kitchen is sponsoring Farm Aid’s annual benefit concert on Saturday, Sept. 13, 2014, at the Walnut Creek Amphitheatre in Raleigh, North Carolina. Amy’s, a family-run company, will offer delicious food at Farm Aid’s HOMEGROWN Concessions® stands, as well as provide meals for the artists and backstage crew at this signature music concert. This is Amy’s third year as a Farm Aid sponsor.

In celebration of this partnership, Amy’s is offering a special Farm Aid sweepstakes. One lucky winner will receive an all-expenses-paid trip for two to the show. Details of the contest are at http://www.amys.com/farmaid. Amy’s is also sponsoring a free live stream of the concert so that everyone can enjoy the show. The webcast will be available at http://farmaid.org.

Farm Aid 2014 will feature Willie Nelson and fellow board members John MellencampNeil Young and Dave Matthews — with Tim Reynolds — as well as Jack White, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Jamey JohnsonNorth Carolina’s own Delta RaeLukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Carlene CarterPegi Young & The Survivors, and Insects vs Robots.

“Amy’s has been committed to supporting family farmers, organic agriculture and labeling for all genetically engineered ingredients since its founding more than 25 years ago,” says Co-founder Andy Berliner. “Our vision and Farm Aid’s vision are closely aligned, and we’re confident that, together, we’ll continue to move the food industry in the right direction.”

Foodservice Brands Bringing More Coffees to Retail

Though foodservice will account for roughly three-fourths of the projected $48 billion in sales for the U.S. coffee industry in 2014, the retail segment is finding new ways to reach consumers and compete with the restaurant industry for market share.  A driving trend in retail coffee innovation and marketing is bringing the coffee shop experience into the consumers’ homes, according to Coffee and Ready-to-Drink Coffee in the U.S.: Retail and Foodservice, 8th Edition, a report by market research publisher Packaged Facts.

A key factor in giving consumers a coffee shop experience at home involves bringing favorite coffeehouse and bakery brands into the retail sector. This type of co-branding is effective in garnering instant brand loyalty and recognition—a defining factor in a crowded market. For example, leading fast casual restaurant operator Panera Bread capitalized on its strong following with the brunch/lunch crowd to push its Panera Bread Bakery Blends brand, which offers a variety of flavored ground coffees and is positioned as a premium retail coffee product. Likewise, leading baked goods and coffee chain Dunkin Donuts has capitalized on its success in the coffee category to expand into the retail sector. Meanwhile, Caribou Coffee has made its signature brews available within the retail sector, in addition to providing products to foodservice providers such as hotels, entertainment venues, and e-commerce channels. Even fast food juggernaut McDonalds revealed plans to enter the fray through its McCafé-branded packaged coffees (in whole bean, ground coffee, and single-cup offerings).

On a grander scale, co-branding of retail coffee goes beyond coffee shop brands to align with other indulgent brand. The bold, rich flavor of coffee provides a natural balance to indulgent sweet notes—making partnerships with decadent, palette-pleasing brands a natural fit. Such partnerships create brand recognition and cross-merchandising opportunities, notes Packaged Facts research director David Sprinkle.  As recently as February 2014, major moves such as doughnut company Krispy Kreme’s launch of ready-to-drink coffee beverages at more than 900 Walmart locations rippled across the retail landscape. Other recognizable foodservice brands—Godiva, Entenmann’s, Cold Stone Creamery—have capitalized on their reputations to launch retail coffee products with flavor-rich, decadent, and even premium positioning.

Building off coffeehouse expectations for a wide variety of options, retail coffee manufacturers are also embracing variety. Limited edition offerings or seasonal flavors are an easy way to satisfy the need for variety and keep consumers engaged with the brand.

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