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Safeway in Talks to Sell the Company

Safeway Inc. is in discussions concerning a possible transaction involving the sale of the company. Although the discussions are ongoing, the company has not reached an agreement on a transaction, and there can be no assurance that these discussions will lead to an agreement or a completed transaction, according to a Safeway press release.

Separately, the company has decided to distribute the remaining 37.8 million shares it owns of Blackhawk Network Holdings (approximately 72.2 percent of the outstanding Blackhawk shares) to Safeway stockholders. Currently, the plan is to make the distribution on a pro rata basis to all Safeway stockholders in a transaction intended to be tax-free to Safeway and its stockholders. However, if the company consummates a sale transaction, the distribution may be taxable. The timing and details of the proposed distribution will be determined in the near future, and further announcements will be made when those decisions have been finalized.

In addition, Safeway owns 49 percent of Casa Ley S.A. de C.V. (“Casa Ley”), the fifth largest food and general merchandise retailer in Mexico based on sales. Based on Casa Ley’s improving performance, the company believes it is an appropriate time to explore alternatives to monetize its investment in Casa Ley. While the company has discussed its desire to monetize its investment with the majority owners of Casa Ley, there can be no assurance as to whether the company will be able to sell its interest in Casa Ley at a price and on terms that the company finds acceptable.

“We are pleased with the progress we made in 2013,” said Robert Edwards, Safeway’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “Strategies to grow sales and improve operating profit dollars have begun to produce results. In 2013, we generated our best volume growth since 2006, and we had our best identical-store sales growth in the last five years. At the same time, we continue to pursue strategies to enhance momentum and increase shareholder value. We look forward to continuing progress in 2014.”

Supermarket Chefs Compete in Annual Showdown

More than 130 supermarket chefs, representing a record 30 different retailers, submitted recipes for the annual Food Marketing Institute’s (FMI) Supermarket Chef Showdown before the November deadline and now await their selection among the semi-finalists on April 15.

The chef’s recipes varied across five established categories that include: Healthy Meals; Family Meals; Ethnic Meals; Dessert; and Side-Dishes/Mini Meals/Snacks. The recipes must use at least three eligible ingredients and take 20 minutes or less to prepare (not including prep). Collectively, the recipe submissions employed more than 740 sponsor ingredients.

A panel will review the entries and the recipes from 50 finalists will be sent to McCormick and Campbell’s test kitchens this March to further narrow the submissions. The top-25 finalists will compete live in front of celebrity judges in a special kitchen stadium created on the convention floor at FMI Connect on June 11, 2014 at McCormick Place in Chicago.

“Each day, retailers prepare exciting signature mealtime solutions that not only delight their customers’ taste buds but also provide shoppers with practical demonstrations of kitchen artistry guaranteed to encourage emulation,” said FMI President and CEO Leslie G. Sarasin. “The FMI Supermarket Chef Showdown helps acknowledge those who inspire the culinary spirit in all of us.”

“The creativity and quality of the recipes surpassed last year and we expect this Showdown to be fun, yet competitive,” says Phil Lempert, a food trends and consumer expert and the Showdown Executive Producer and Master of Ceremony. “Supermarket Chefs are the unsung heroes in grocery stores and it’s their moment to shine.”

Prizes this year include an all-expense paid trip for two to Mardi Gras 2015; an all-expense paid trip to California to participate in the olive harvest; a “Chicago experience;” an all- expense-paid trip to the Country Music Awards in Nashville; cash prizes; food-centric prizes; bragging rights and more. The top-25 finalists will also receive culinary gifts from Showdown sponsors shipped directly to their homes.

Sponsors for this years’ Showdown include the world’s leading companies: McCormick, Campbell’s, Can Manufacturers Institute, ConAgra Foods, Hass Avocado Board, Hershey’s, Hillshire Brands, Mondelez International, Musco Family Olive Co., Pictsweet and Smucker’s.

Festival Features Beer, Bacon, Music

Beer, bacon and music have long been essential ingredients for an ideal day, according to the organizers of the Beer Bacon Music festival coming up in Frederick, Md.

Taking place at the Fairgrounds on May 17 and 18, Beer Bacon Music will provide attendees with 150+ craft beer varieties from which to choose, a two-ton all-you-can-eat bacon bar including 50+ creative bacon dishes and a rockin’ band every hour, on the hour.

“This truly is the first event of its kind, anywhere in the world,” says Kenneth MacFawn, Beer Bacon Music festival owner. “It’s the perfect place for people to celebrate three of life’s greatest pleasures, try new beer in an unintimidating environment, get inspiration for new culinary endeavors, and sample some of the best bands on the East Coast.”

With three appealing themes and a multitude of attractions, Beer Bacon Music offers enjoyment for even the most discerning palate, the most astute music connoisseur, even the most competitive home brewer, MacFawn says.

Beer – Enter Beer Bacon Music’s Brewer’s $6K Homebrew Competition to win the world’s largest prize in the world’s largest home brewing competition by competing in one or more of 10 competition style categories judged by BCJP officials. Included with admission for 21+ attendees is a sampling glass in which 100+ different beer varieties can be sampled from 30+ breweries. Beginners and craft beer aficionados alike can talk beer shop with brewery staff, and watch live demonstrations of the latest and greatest home brew equipment.

Bacon – With the price of admission, enjoy a two-ton all-you-can-eat Bacon Bar containing sliced bacon prepared in a wide variety of flavors including peppered, glazed, maple, and more. Also available for purchase will be intriguing gourmet bacon dishes served a la carte, and an abundance of cuisine from around the world including vegetarian and other options made available by 15+ on-site food truck vendors.

Music – Over the two-day festival, there will be 10 live bands on stage — a new band every hour on the hour, following the Homebrew Competition winner announcements. To help ensure there will be something for everyone’s ears to enjoy, the festival will feature many styles of music.

Tickets for the event are on sale now, with the first 1,000 offered at the reduced rate of just $39 for a 1-day pass, or $65 for a weekend pass, limited to 500. Ticket options are also available for those wanting to enter the homebrew competition or attend as a non-drinker.

For more information or to enter the Brewer’s $6K today, visit: http://beerbaconmusic.com.

Smoked Nova Slices from Benz’s

Benz’s has added a new product to its gourmet line — Smoked Nova Slices!

Benz LOX GROUP 4

Available in 3-ounce, 6-ounce, 12-ounce, and three-pound trays. Kosher and kosher for Passover in season.

Distributed by Benz’s Food Products Inc. Brooklyn, N.Y.

For more information, call 718.778.3329 or email info@benzsfish.com

CrossCountry Marketing Celebrates 20 Years

CrossCountry Marketing, a quality food broker company located in Central Virginia, is this year celebrating 20 years in the specialty food industry. The company was started by Tom Rankin in 1994. Tom retired in 2012, and at that time, Sharon Britton, who had worked for CrossCountry since 1999, became the company’s new owner.

Specializing in representation of small/new to mid-size companies, CrossCountry is currently representing 18 vendors, and is always on the lookout for unique lines that have impressive packaging and remarkable taste.

CCM works diligently to expand its vendors’ business in the wholesale and distributor arenas. The company’s wholesale territory for independent retailers covers Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Washington, D.C. and parts of North Carolina. Products represented by CCM are being distributed by DPI Mid-Atlantic, Haddon House, UNFI, First Resource (formerly Wythe Will Tzetzo), and Hautly Distributing. “We are also working on developing a regional specialty distributor network in an effort to expand the presence of our vendors’ products,” Britton says.

CCM continues to offer its vendors exceptional service with integrity. For information on CrossCountry, email Sharon Britton at sharon@xcmarketing.com.

 

“Free From” Food Show Back for Second Year

Free From Food Expo 2014 is Europe’s focused trade show for, and initiated by, the ‘free from’ industry. It’s a key trading platform where top-level decision makers come to source new products, meet new and existing suppliers and keep up-to-date with trends and innovations in the fast growing ‘free from food and beverage’ industry. The show is scheduled to take place June 3 and 4 in Brussels, Belgium. 

This two day exhibition and conference will see more than 2,000 buyers and specifiers from small and large retail and food service sectors as well as bio, health, convenience stores and catering companies and nearly 150 exhibitors from across Europe including ‘free from’ food (and ‘free from’ ingredients) manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors and traders. Visitors will have an opportunity to attend 25 seminars covering a wide range of topics such as Product Development from Consumer Perspective, Gluten Free Market in Five Years’ Time, Labels and Certifications, Free From Food Market From the Retail Perspective and Importing and Exporting Trends.

Free From Food 2014 is supported by the Association of European Coeliac Societies (AOECS), an independent, non-profit organisation aiming to raise awareness of celiac disease and to promote research into the diagnosis and management of this illness.

This year, to recognize the growing importance of ‘free from’ food and ingredients, the organizers are also launching the Free From Food Ingredients 2014 Expo. Ronald Holman, Exhibition and Sales Director says: “Free from food solutions are becoming more and more important for the R&D departments and food technologists working with food manufacturers. Retailers and consumers simply demand higher standards, better taste, quality and healthier alternatives. Free From Food Ingredients 2014 will provide the most dedicated platform with exhibitors like Döhler GmbH, Solanic (AVEBE), Meurens Natural, Ernst Böcker, Erbacher etc.”

Hamish Renton, one of the founding partners of the show says: “The first exhibition of Free From Food was a great success for exhibitors and visitors alike. The trade show attracted a high quality buying and decision making audience from Europe’s best retail and food service companies. This year we have a variety of high calibre speakers at the Conference, as well as world famous brands exhibiting and supporting our event. We are expecting hundreds of delegates from across Europe… a sure recognition of the importance of this fast growing sector of the food retailing sector. ”

Free from food categories cover all food and beverage products which are gluten free, lactose free, dairy free, yeast free, wheat free, egg free, GM free, sugar and fat free and vegan.

This year’s exhibitors include: ABS Food, Allergenen Consultancy, Allergy Service Suisse, Bauckhof, Dohler, Dove’s Farm, Dutch Spices, Ernst Bocker, Farmo, Fria, Genius Gluten Free, Hi-Food Ingredients, Nestle, Nielsen, Orgran, Semper, Warburtons.

 

Korbel Brandy Celebrates 125 Years Of Handcrafted Excellence

Founded in 1889, Korbel Brandy celebrates 125 years of brandy excellence this year. Like the smooth, award-winning flavor of Korbel Brandy, it is a milestone to savor. So, for the rest of the year, Korbel Brandy will mark the occasion with weekly 125th Anniversary Sweepstakes drawings and invites everyone to join the fun!

Francis Korbel must have seemed exceedingly optimistic when he built his first brandy still inside the brick tower at Korbel Champagne Cellars in 1889, but just four years later, Korbel Brandy was the surprise hit of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, perhaps the largest assemblage of brandies up to that time. His handcrafted approach – premium grapes, meticulous distillation, slow aging in hand-coopered oak barrels and careful blending – has guided Korbel Brandy ever since. In 1954, when the Heck family purchased Korbel Brandy from the descendants of Francis Korbel, it did so with the promise to continue this tradition of quality and two generations of Hecks have kept that promise. Today the Korbel Brandy portfolio encompasses four distinctive brandies: flavorful Korbel California Brandy, complex Korbel V.S.O.P. Gold Reserve, uniquely infused Korbel XS and rare, elegant Korbel 12.

The Korbel Brandy 125 Years of Handcraftology® Sweepstakes will begin on February 17, 2014 and continue weekly until December 28, 2014. Entries for each week’s sweepstakes drawing may be submitted either through the Korbel Brandy website at www.korbelbrandy.com/125years or through Korbel Brandy’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/korbelbrandy. Each Monday, a sweepstakes winner will be drawn from the previous week’s submissions. The weekly winner will receive an embossed, limited edition Korbel Brandy 125th Anniversary tin bar sign. Official rules for the Korbel Brandy 125 Years of Handcraftology Sweepstakes are available at the Korbel Brandy website, www.korbelbrandy.com.

Unique among United States brandy producers, Korbel Brandy controls production from grape to bottle. Handcrafted in small batches, Korbel Brandy is aged to perfection in premium fire-toasted oak barrels to achieve golden amber color, generous butterscotch aroma and extra smooth taste.

Chobani to Donate Fresh Greek Yogurt Intended for Team USA to New York and New Jersey Food Banks and Charitable Organizations

Chobani announced today it will donate more than 5,000 cups of fresh Greek yogurt originally intended for Team USA athletes competing in Sochi, Russia, to food banks in New York and New Jersey.

“As a proud supporter of Team USA over the past four years, we’re disappointed our athletes won’t be able to enjoy Chobani while they compete in the games as we all hoped, and are deeply appreciative to everyone who tried to help get it there, especially Sens. Schumer and Gillibrand and various officials here at home,” said Hamdi Ulukaya, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Chobani. “It’s been a long, cold winter and we’re happy incredible organizations in New York and New Jersey, who share our vision to provide nutritious foods, will be able to serve fresh cups of Chobani to those in need. We’ll be waiting for our athletes when they come home while cheering them on every step of the way,” he added.

As the official yogurt of the 2014 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Teams, chefs and nutritionists serve Chobani to athletes at the U.S. Olympic Training Centers. To naturally power Team USA and provide food they enjoy from home, Chobani intended to deliver 5,000 fresh single-serve cups of blueberry, strawberry and peach Chobani, and multi-serve containers of plain Chobani yogurt for smoothies, to Team USA athletes in Sochi.

For years, Chobani has frequently donated products to organizations in New York and Idaho and through its foundation is actively focused on making good food more accessible to all, especially youth and underserved communities. Since Chobani’s earliest days, it has made a pledge to give 10 percent of its profits to charity and supports grassroots organizations all over the world. Chobani will deliver the 5,000-plus units of fresh Greek yogurt intended for Team USA to food banks in New Jersey and New York City.

Chocolate Industry Joins Forces With Danish Foundation To Push Support For Cocoa Farmers

The World Cocoa Foundation and Denmark’s Toms Foundation are joining forces to convene later this year a cross-section of representatives from the chocolate and cocoa industry, cocoa-producing countries, development agencies, donor groups, non-governmental organizations and cocoa certifying bodies. The gathering, to be held on October 15-16, 2014, in Copenhagen, will focus on improving efforts to boost incomes, production levels, quality of life and technology for the world’s five million-plus cocoa farmers.

Bill Guyton, President of the World Cocoa Foundation, said that the partnership with Toms Foundation is a natural choice for his organization. “Toms Foundation and WCF share a commitment to helping cocoa farmers improve their livelihoods. WCF’s membership of more than 110 companies from around the world possesses some of the world’s best expertise about sustainability in the cocoa sector.  We look forward to learning more from them, and from our friends in Denmark, about practical steps that can be taken to advance the sustainability agenda,” he said.

Jesper Moeller, CEO of Toms Confectionery Group, said “At Toms we are proud to enter this partnership with the World Cocoa Foundation. We look forward to welcoming the participants to Copenhagen in October and value the opportunity to share our experiences from Ghana in areas such as traceable cocoa, farmer training and primary school programs.”

The meeting, which is expected to attract 200 attendees, will include sessions on new strategies for providing improved planting materials to cocoa farmers; plans for making fertilizers and other essential inputs more readily available to farmers; updates on efforts to establish widely agreed upon standards for quality and sustainability; defining and measuring success in programs that support cocoa farmers; the importance of educational, gender equality and child labor reduction programming in cocoa-growing communities; and recent innovations in technology and program implementation that can hasten improvements in the lives of cocoa farmers.

About Toms Foundation
The Toms Group Foundation was established December 12, 1974 and is the sole owner of Toms Confectionary Group, a midsized producer of chocolate and candy with production facilities in Denmark, Germany, Sweden and Poland.

Fairway Introduces Tamales and Empanadas to Latin Table

It may be freezing outside, but inside Fairway Market it is hot and spicy. Indeed, Fairway is now offering home style tamales and empanadas through its new Latin Table line in all 14 stores in the tri-state area.

FairwayTamalesThe line debuts with three types of tamales — beef, chicken and black bean — and three empanadas –Argentine-spiced beef, spicy chicken and spinach-Portobello mushroom. Loaded with flavors, these pre-cooked items are made with the finest ingredients and are produced from traditional recipes. There are four tamales and two empanadas in a pack and each comes with a chipotle dip and an avocado-tomatillo sauce. They are available in the stores’ deli pack-out cases.

Fairway empanadas“For Fairway’s new Latin Table line we have created very delicious tamales and empanadas – two traditional and beloved foods- that are perfect as appetizers or for lunch and dinner,” said Bill Sanford, Interim CEO  of Fairway Market. “Here’s another option for busy families who want to enjoy affordable, convenient foods made with top quality ingredients.”

The tamales are made with masa –a corn meal dough –then wrapped in a cornhusk and steamed. The stuffed empanadas, which are baked, have a wheat-based pastry shell. Each pack sells for $4.99. For more information go to www.fairwaymarket.com