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Litehouse Foods Names Brent Carr SVP of Sales and Marketing

Carr headshotLitehouse Foods  has named Brent Carr to the executive role of Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing. In his new role, Carr will report directly to President and CEO Jim Frank and lead the company’s fast-paced growth in the dressings, dips, cheese and herbs categories.

A graduate of Boise State University with a degree in marketing, Carr is a 30-year industry veteran who spent the first 15 years of his career at consumer packaged goods giant, Colgate-Palmolive. He then expanded his skill set with deep experience in the produce industry, working at Fresh Express for 10 years leading its national account teams. Carr joined Litehouse in 2009 to help build the value-added channel and was promoted to Vice President of sales in 2012.

“Brent has been instrumental in helping our brand achieve year-over-year double digit growth in our category, creating deep relationships with our customers and working cross-functionally at Litehouse to achieve outstanding results,” Frank said. “He is widely respected in the produce business, and we are proud to have him lead our sales and marketing teams.”

Carr lives in Idaho with his wife Lorri. He has four children and a granddaughter. “My focus in this new role will be to align our sales and marketing teams and strive to strengthen our cross-functional relationships with our customers in each channel,” he said. “Litehouse is a fast-growing brand, and I am excited to work with our team to continue to build category-leadership and innovation.”



AmericasMart Names September 2015 Best of Atlanta and Best of Show Winners

AmericasMart® Atlanta has announced the winners of its annual Best of Atlanta awards celebrating the top gourmet food products in its permanent and temporary collections. The awards were adjudicated during The Atlanta Gourmet Market, September 16-18, 2015.

Winners were designated based on taste, overall appeal and packaging/presentation as selected by industry experts Malika Bowling, President of the Association of Food Bloggers and author of the “Food Lovers’ Guide to Atlanta,” “Food Blogging 101” and  The Atlanta Restaurant Blog;  Chef Andrew Isabella, Executive Chef of BeetleCat (opening November 2015); and Chef Martin Smetana, Head Chef of Classic Fare Catering.


The winners include:


In addition to top gourmet products, excellence in visual design was celebrated by the Atlanta Fall Gift & Home Furnishings Market® and The Atlanta Gourmet Market® Best of Show award, presented to Never Lose Hope Designs.


Meijer Rebrands and Expands Natural and Organic Products Line

As consumers continue to lean toward healthier meal and snacking options, Meijer has announced an expansion of its assortment of real food products through the launch of the True Goodness™ by Meijer brand.

The Grand Rapids, Michigan-based retailer combined its Meijer Naturals and Meijer Organics products lines to one True Goodness by Meijer brand in an effort to minimize confusion over which products are better for customers based on their ingredients.

“We know it’s important to our customers to provide wholesome foods to their families, and the True Goodness brand is a simple and affordable solution to eating healthier,” said Peter Whitsett, Executive Vice President of Merchandising and Marketing for Meijer. “This brand makes real food more approachable, and is part of our ongoing focus to provide health and wellness options for our customers.”

According to industry research, millennial customers are leading the conversation around organic and real food, influencing trends among older generations. With 9 million millennial moms in the U.S. alone, this generation also comprises the majority of today’s new parents. And while many millennial moms still purchase the processed national brand peanut butter, chips, cereals and yogurt for their spouses, they are also grabbing healthier versions for their children.

With nothing artificial, no hydrogenated oils, and a wide range of USDA certified organic items, True Goodness offers healthier food options at a great value and with a wide product selection available throughout the store. The packaging differentiates which items are USDA certified organic, meaning these products do not contain GMOs, growth hormones, antibiotics, convention pesticides, synthetic fertilizers or ionizing radiation.

Meijer is in the process of transitioning 225 of its Meijer Organics and Meijer Naturals food items to the True Goodness brand, and plans to add 100 new products this year, including granola chips, coconut oil, organic coffee pods, macaroni and cheese, juice boxes, organic popcorn, spices and frozen potatoes.

The True Goodness brand is slated to offer 325 total products by early 2016. “We are committed to providing our customers healthier options at an affordable price, and are pleased to offer a growing assortment through the True Goodness brand,” Meijer Healthy Living Manager Shari Steinbach said.

Nasdaq Names Hain Celestial to Q-50 Index

The Hain Celestial Group, Inc. has announced that Nasdaq has selected its security to be added to the Nasdaq Q-50 Index effective prior to the market open on Monday, September 21, 2015 as part of its quarterly re-ranking.

The Nasdaq Q-50 Index is designed to track the performance of securities that are next eligible for inclusion into the Nasdaq-100 Index.  The index is comprised of 50 securities ranked by market capitalization and reflects companies across major industry groups including computer hardware and software, telecommunications, retail/wholesale trade and biotechnology.  It does not contain securities of financial companies including banking and investment companies, as these are ineligible for Nasdaq-100 Index inclusion.

“As the founder of Hain Celestial, I am pleased with the addition of Hain Celestial’s security to Nasdaq’s Q-50 Index, which is another great milestone achievement for the company,” said Irwin D. Simon, the company’s President and Chief Executive Officer.

Introducing Blue Apron Wine

Blue Apron has announced Blue Apron Wine, a monthly service available to Blue Apron customers that delivers wines selected to pair with Blue Apron meals and enhance the home cooking experience.

“Like the grocery category, wine is a large industry with low online market penetration.  Of the $38 billion in wine sales in 2014, less than $2 billion were direct-to-consumer,” said Matt Salzberg, company CEO.  “Wine pairings have been a top request from our home chefs since we launched, and we’re excited about the opportunity to complement our Blue Apron meals with incredible wines.”

The wine deliveries include six custom 500ml bottles, sized to pair perfectly with Blue Apron meals for two. Each wine will also come with a customized tasting card that features the story of the vineyard, helpful tasting notes about the wine, and information on how to pair that wine with upcoming Blue Apron menus.

“With Blue Apron Wine, we’re able to give our home chefs access to wines from esteemed independent vineyards,” said Matthew Wadiak, company COO and Co-Founder. “Pairing and tasting wine can be intimidating.  Our goal is to educate our home chefs, and make enjoying a great glass of wine with dinner fun and easy.”

Each wine delivery is $65.99 + tax, and shipping is included. Customers can sign up for Blue Apron Wine via their online account, and will receive deliveries monthly, but can skip a month or cancel at any time. At launch, Blue Apron Wine will be available to existing customers, with plans to expand the product offering over time.

This new offering marks the latest milestone for Blue Apron. In July, Blue Apron launched its first ever iOS app.  Earlier this year, the company announced the family plan, featuring seasonal, family-friendly recipes for four, and in November of last year launched the Blue Apron Market, a curated e-commerce store for its home chefs.

Golden Gate Wholesale Produce Market To Launch $8 Million Renovation

he Golden Gate Wholesale Produce Market, the largest and busiest produce terminal in Northern California, is planning to renovate the facility by making a series of infrastructure, environmental, food safety, traffic and sustainability improvements.

The state-of-the-art enhancements to be made over the next year include new solar/energy efficiency upgrades, cold chain food storage management and worker safety systems, as well as smoother traffic flow within the facility, which is a mile from San Francisco International Airport on Highway 101.

“The Golden Gate Produce Market plays a vital role in northern California’s economy, and the improvements announced today will lay the foundation for the Market’s future growth and success,” said Peter Carcione, President of the Golden Gate Produce Market. “This investment in the Market expands our capability to bring the highest-quality fruits, vegetables, and organics to serve the diverse tastes of the region, and it builds on our long history of supporting California’s agriculture industry in a sustainable manner.”

The 742,000-square foot facility in South San Francisco currently employs 475 workers and is open to the public. Twenty-three independent and family-owned businesses operate at the Market, including wholesalers, jobbers, commission merchants, brokers, foodservice distributors, processors and one restaurant. More than 15 million packages move through the Market each year.

The enhancements were made after extensive market research and feedback from customers and businesses at the market. To advance the Market’s long-term goals and its commitment to sustainability, the seven-member board approved the following:

  • The installation of solar panels to be completed before the end of 2016 that will dramatically reduce the Market’s need to draw energy from the power grid
  • A new recycling/composting partnership with South San Francisco Scavenger to further reduce waste
  • Upgraded electrical, water and sewage systems
  • Improved traffic flow within the facility
  • A number of worker safety upgrades, including better lighting and loading dock safeguards
  • Improved cold chain storage management to ensure quality, freshness and food safety
  • A makeover of the building’s exterior, including new signage and expanded parking

The solar implementation is expected to have a significant positive environmental impact and reduce the market’s overall carbon footprint. The market’s new 1,322 kW solar installation is expected to generate more than 2,015,648 kilowatt-hours of electricity each year.

The use of a similar amount of conventional energy generated using fossil fuels would create greenhouse gases equal to that of 127 homes, 293 cars or the burning of 1.4 million pounds of coal annually, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

“This renovation is the most extensive in the Market’s 53-year history and is designed to meet the changing needs of businesses located at the market and their customers who shop there,” said board member Steve Hurwitz. “By strengthening the Market’s infrastructure and advancing its commitment to sustainability, we will create a better experience for everyone who works at or visits the Market.”

The Kroger Co. Brings Associates Together to Raise Money for Breast Cancer Research

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 and the James Beard Foundation are Cooking with Lifeway Kefir

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

“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 (BostonChicagoMiami, 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!”

Santa Cruz Organic Encourages Schools to Incorporate Organic Products in Lunches

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 Reduces Added Sugar for a Healthier Juice Drink

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:

  • Antioxidants
  • Omega Fatty Acids
  • Phytosterols
  • ORACs (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity)

For additional details on Acai Roots, visit You can also follow the brand on Instagram @acairoots.

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