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Steve Mercogliana Joins Asher’s Chocolates Team

Steve Mercogliana is the new Purchasing Manager at Asher’s Chocolates. “When I was presented with the opportunity to become a member of the Asher family team, it was an honor, and I knew this would be the company that I would retire from,” says Mercogliana. “Being employed by Asher’s Chocolates is truly a proud statement to share with family and friends.”

Mercogliana brings more than 11 years of experience as a purchasing manager within major manufacturing industries. He received his HACCP certification from Penn State University and hte FDA certification in bacterial and blood borne pathogen prevention through Gloucester Community College. He is active in his community through his involvement with Big Brothers Big Sisters in southeastern Pennsylvania. He also manages and plays on a softball team that competes every Sunday and participates in local tournaments to support autism awareness.

SVP Marnette Perry to Retire from Kroger after 44 Years

 

The Kroger Co. has announced that Senior Vice President for Retail Operations and Strategic Initiatives Marnette Perry plans to retire on April 29, after 44 years with the company.

“Marnette’s story is one we can all be proud of: She joined Kroger for a job as a part-time cashier while in college, and stayed for a remarkable career that spanned operations, merchandising and executive leadership,” said Rodney McMullen, Kroger’s Chairman and CEO. “Marnette’s significant contributions will leave an indelible mark on Kroger. The entire Kroger family thanks Marnette for her years of service, and we wish her and her family all the best in retirement.”

Perry joined Kroger in 1972 as a part-time cashier in Portsmouth, Ohio, in the Columbus division. She went on to serve in leadership positions with increasing responsibility. At Kroger’s general office, she served as director of produce merchandising and procurement. She was later promoted to president of the Michigan division in 1997, and named president of the Columbus division in 2001. Perry was promoted to group vice president of perishables for The Kroger Co. in 2003. In 2004, she was named senior vice president of retail divisions, where she was responsible for eight supermarket operating divisions and more than $40 billion in annual revenue. She took on her current role, overseeing strategic initiatives and operations for Kroger, as well as the company’s value formats, in 2012. She also serves as a member of the board of directors of Kroger Personal Finance and The Kroger Co. Foundation, and is a past board member of the Network of Executive Women.

Perry helped establish Kroger’s now-ubiquitous natural foods centers and floral departments in the early 1980s. Today, Kroger is a top seller of natural and organic foods and is the world’s largest florist. More recently, as vice president of operations, Perry championed the teamwork that led to Kroger’s innovative QueVision technology, which has dramatically reduced customers’ time spent waiting in line at checkout.

Perry has been an active leader in the communities in which she has lived. She is a member of the board of directors of Grange Insurance, the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital, and Richard J. Solove Research Institute Foundation. She has also supported the Nationwide Children’s Hospital and United Way in Columbus, Ohio; Ohio University; Central Michigan University; the YWCA; and Detroit Head Start.

Her successor will be named at a later date.

 

KeHE Acquires Monterrey Provision Company

 

KeHE announced that it has acquired Monterrey Provision Company – a San Diego, California-based, distributor of products for the perimeter departments at retail grocery stores. Monterrey is a 40-year-old family-owned company and a trusted partner to leading retailers across the country.

“We view the perimeter as an essential element of our growth strategy. The acquisition of Monterrey expands our perimeter capabilities, and further enables our growth plans. This is similar to the advantages we gained in the organic business with the acquisition of Nature’s Best inAugust 2014,” said Brandon Barnholt, KeHE President and CEO.

Mike Leone, Chief Commercial Officer at KeHE, said, “With the addition of Monterrey, we are better positioned to capitalize on opportunities in the perimeter and partner with customers across their total store.”

The combination of KeHE and Monterrey joins two successful organizations with complementary assets and skills. The acquisition helps advance KeHE’s strategic plan and aligns with KeHE’s vision to be the trusted distributor for natural, organic and specialty products.

“Joining the KeHE family leapfrogs Monterrey by years in our ability to extend our excellence in fresh perimeter distribution to the entire country. Further, KeHE and Monterrey couldn’t be better cultural fits for each other,” said Luke Abbott, Monterrey President. The acquisition will add two distribution centers in San Diego, California, and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, to KeHE’s existing network of 16 distribution centers in the U.S. and Canada. Currently, KeHE does not have facilities in those cities.

 

SaltWorks Natural Sea Salt Supplier Now SQF Level 2 Certified, Rated Excellent

 

SaltWorks® has successfully achieved SQF Level 2 certification with the highest possible rating of Excellent. Certification followed an intensive multi-day audit, conducted by NSF International in the fall of 2015, which verified SaltWorks’ commitment to safety and quality meets the rigorous requirements of the Safe Quality Foods (SQF) Program and establishes that a strict food safety control process has been successfully implemented at SaltWorks’ state-of-the-art, custom-built salt processing facility located just outside of Seattle, Washington.

“We have always been committed to providing the highest quality and safest all-natural salts to our customers,” explained Mark Zoske, CEO of SaltWorks. “We recognized that the SQF certification program demonstrates integrity and responsibility, which reflects our core company values and the sea salts that we produce. It underscores how effective our proprietary processes are and how hard our team works to ensure we meet those safety and quality goals every day.”

SaltWorks has in-house quality control and engineering teams that work diligently together to implement and improve rigorous safety processes, provide training to all staff members regardless of employment duties, and regularly develop technologies to ensure top quality and safety of all their products while preserving the artisanal craftsmanship and unique characteristics of each and every grain of salt. The SQF certification demonstrates SaltWorks commitment to implementing and maintaining stringent safety controls.

SQF Level 2 is one of the most rigorous and important certifications in the food industry; it aligns food manufacturers with guidelines put in place by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

 

 

Navitas Naturals Names Peter Hartman VP of Sales

Navitas Naturals has announced that Peter Hartman has been hired as the Vice President of Sales. Hartman has worked as a sales executive in the natural products industry for the last 10 years. Most recently, he was the US Sales Director for Vega, one of the premier plant-based nutrition companies.

“We’re excited to add such an accomplished natural products industry leader to our team,” says Zach Adelman, CEO and founder of Navitas Naturals. Hartman’s primary responsibilities will include managing the sales team, developing sales strategies, setting annual sales goals, and managing key customer relationships. He will also work closely with the Marketing team to establish successful promotions and activations.

Navitas Naturals was created in 2003 and is based in Novato, California. Adelman and his team seek out the most nutrient dense superfoods used in cultures around the globe for centuries and make their benefits available for use in our modern lifestyle.

Navitas Naturals has also raised the bar for snacking and nutrition convenience. Their new line of organic Superfood+ Seeds and Nuts combines best-selling organic superfoods with organic seeds and nuts. Navitas Naturals products are certified organic, kosher, non-GMO and gluten-free. The company is committed to food safety and uses methods such as freeze-drying and low temperature processing to ensure maximum nutrition and flavor.  Learn more at www.NavitasNaturals.com.

Laura Chenel’s Chevre Achieves Food Safety Certification

Laura Chenel’s Chèvre has been recognized by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) for meeting one of the highest levels of food safety standards in the production of its line of fresh plain and flavored goat milk cheeses. The BRC’s Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) is an internationally recognized food safety credential becoming a fundamental requirement of major food retailers around the world. GFSI certification insures that Laura Chenel’s production meets food industry and legislative requirements across the UK, EU and US, including most of the recently enacted FSMA rules in the US.

Laura Chenel’s has a history of high level quality production standards in its state-of-the art Sonoma creamery. “Since the plant was completed in 2010, we’ve worked to establish systems that ensure our products are the highest quality and our facility exceeds food safety regulations,” says Eva Guilmo, Quality Director for Laura Chenel’s and sister company, Marin French Cheese. “GFSI certification is an external or ‘third party’ audit that evaluates quality, food safety and operational criteria ensuring that as manufacturers we meet our legal obligations while providing consumer protection to retailers and our end customers.” Retailers commonly require third-party audits from food producers and by achieving this high-level GFSI certification, Laura Chenel’s products will be streamlined for approval by independent and large retail chains. The certification is renewed annually.

BRC is the leading certification body in the UK, recognized across Europe and the US, with over 23,000 certified facilities in 123 countries.

 

 

FDA Names Funding Recipients to Establish Regional FSMA Training Centers

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s (FDA) Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) will transform the nation’s food safety system into one that is based on the prevention of foodborne illness. It will be a system in which the food industry systematically puts in place measures proven effective in preventing contamination. Thus, food industry training will be an important component of successful implementation.

In 2015, recognizing the need for food safety training for small farm owners and food processors, the FDA and USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced the National Food Safety Training, Education, Extension, Outreach, and Technical Assistance Grant Program, intended to provide funding so that these critical groups receive training, education and technical assistance consistent with standards being established under FSMA. Grants issued through this program will fund a National Coordination Center (NCC) and four Regional Centers (RCs), which will be involved in both key components of training—primarily facilitating training delivery but also, in certain situations, facilitating curricula development targeted to specific audiences.

In October, 2015, FDA announced that the International Food Protection Training Institute (IFPTI) of Battle Creek, Michigan, received the award to establish the National Coordination Center. Also in October, NIFA announced the awards for the first two regional centers. The University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, received the grant to establish the Southern Training, Education, Extension, Outreach, and Technical Assistance Center to Enhance Produce Safety. Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, received the grant to establish the Western Training, Education, Extension, Outreach, and Technical Assistance Center to Enhance Food Safety.

The second two regional Centers were named on February 18. Iowa State University has received the grant to establish the North Central Regional Center for Food Safety Training, Education, Extension, Outreach and Technical Assistance and the University of Vermont and State Agricultural College has received the grant to establish The Northeast Center for Food Safety, Training, Education, Extension, Outreach and Technical Assistance.

The goal of FSMA training programs will be the outcome – advancing knowledge among food producers to meet FSMA requirements. Specifically, the regional centers will be charged with understanding and communicating the landscape of training opportunities available to target businesses in their region. They will identify any need to develop or tailor curricula to meet specific unmet regional needs and/or to target a specific audience. These centers will work with representatives from non-governmental and community-based organizations, as well as representatives from cooperative extension services, food hubs, local farm cooperatives and other entities that can address specific needs of the communities they serve.

Boulder Canyon Introduces Guilt-Free Popcorn

Resolutions to eat healthier remain intact at this time of year, and fans of salty snacks have a new reason to celebrate with the introduction of Boulder Canyon Authentic Foods’ new Real Thin™ Pop line of ready-to-eat popcorn. Featuring premium oils, including olive, avocado and coconut, and seasonings that are applied with a revolutionary new method (compared to traditional tumble mixing) results in a full-flavor snack experience that has remarkably fewer calories and fat than the leading popcorn brands.

Boulder CanyonBoulder Canyon Real Thin Pop stands apart from the numerous guilt-free salty snacks on the market today not only because of its rare combination of full-flavored taste and low-calorie impact, but the fact that this has been achieved using only real food ingredients and a minimally-processed approach to manufacturing.

Available in three varieties, including Olive Oil/White Cheddar, Avocado Oil/Sea Salt and Coconut Oil/Sea Salt, Real Thin Pop arrives at leading grocery stores and supermarkets nationwide this month with a suggested retail price of $3.99 per 4.15-ounce bag. Each package contains four servings.

Natural Grocers to Open Corpus Christi Store on March 15

 Natural Grocers will open a store in Corpus Christi, Texas, on Tuesday, March 15. The store, which opens at 8 a.m., is located at 3750 S. Staples St. This will be Natural Grocers’ 16th location in Texas.

Natural Grocers will provide the Corpus Christi community with fresh produce that is exclusively USDA Certified Organic, as well as other healthy, affordable, organic and natural products. The store will feature a mix of national brands and a selection of locally produced products from Texas in a small, neighborhood market environment. The Corpus Christi store will also feature a Nutritional Health Coach and offer free nutrition education classes to the public. Natural Grocers Corpus Christi will be open 7 days a week.

Albertsons Companies Announces 2015 Donations Topped $270 Million

Albertsons Companies has contributed more than $270 million in food and financial support in 2015 to the communities it serves, helping people in 35 states and the District of Columbia live better lives.

“We are committed to helping make the communities where we operate the best places to live and work,” said Albertsons Companies Chairman and CEO Bob Miller. “Thanks to the generosity of our customers and the dedication of our store teams, our neighborhoods are stronger and much-needed resources are getting to people in need.”

The company’s donation initiatives include a broad range of local and regionally-driven efforts at stores across the country under 18 banners, including Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s, Acme, Tom Thumb, Randalls, United Supermarkets, Pavilions,Star Market, Carrs and others. The company’s customers and employees support these efforts through donations and volunteer activities to benefit local charities.

In 2015, the Albertsons Companies Foundation distributed more than $16 million in grants for its key philanthropic causes, including hunger relief, cancer research, programs for people with disabilities, and education. These funds were contributed by customers through an array of successful fundraisers.

As a supermarket company, the cause of hunger relief is especially important to Albertsons and a major focus of fundraising and giving. In 2015, the company’s more than 2,200 stores gave over $245 million in products to hundreds of local food banks, pantries and meal programs. In addition, the company launched several programs during the holiday season that made the holidays brighter for people in need.  The “End Hunger” Food Bag, Santa Bucks and Turkey Bucks programs allowed shoppers to purchase food or make a contribution to purchase food that would go directly to their local food bank or pantry. These efforts yielded more than $10.3 million in food donations to combat food insecurity during the holidays.

Also in 2015, Albertsons Foundation continued its partnership with the Entertainment Industry Foundation and award-winning actress/Hunger Is Ambassador Viola Davis on the successful Hunger Is charitable program, which includes an in-store fundraising campaign to fight childhood hunger. The joint charitable initiative awarded grants to 79 local charities to increase access to free and reduced-cost school breakfast, improve the nutritional quality of breakfast programs, and expand weekend, summer and vacation food programs.

Albertsons is committed to continuing these philanthropic efforts and creating new opportunities to support worthy causes in 2016 and beyond.

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