Sweets & Snacks Expo ‘Unwraps Innovation’ With Record Attendance
NCA-sponsored show ends today in Chicago
The National Confectioners Association’s (NCA) 2013 Sweets & Snacks Expo in Chicago ends today. This year’s “Unwrap Innovation” show, which began Tuesday, drew record crowds, according to NCA President Larry Graham.
The Shelby Report’s Geoff Welch has been at Chicago’s McCormick Place all week covering the big event. Check out the photos here.
In the featured photo at top: Paula Kurman and Jim Bouton of Big League.
Kroger’s Mid-South Division President Hackett To Retire After 50 Years
The Kroger Co.’s Mid-South Division President John Hackett is set to retire after 50 years of service. His last day with the company will be June 28.
Hackett began his career with Kroger in 1963 as a store clerk in London, Ohio, working his way through college at The Ohio State University. Following graduation he entered the Kroger management training program in 1968, which led to a variety of marketing and operations roles in the Columbus and Indianapolis divisions. In 1984, Hackett was promoted to director of merchandising of the Louisville division. In 1990 he was promoted to division president where he oversaw the merger of the Louisville and Nashville divisions to create the Mid-South division.
According to Kroger President and COO Rodney McMullen, “During his 50-year career, John has consistently demonstrated his passion for and commitment to our associates, our customers and our local communities. In addition to being a great executive, John is a first-class human being and person. When you define a gentleman the definition is John Hackett. We thank John and his wife Kay for their many years of dedicated service and wish them the best in retirement. I am sure John will remain involved in serving the Kroger family through his community service, passionately advocating for the causes that matter deeply to John and his family.”
Hackett has served as the division’s president for 23 of his 50 years at Kroger. Through his entire career, he has always welcomed change and been passionate about growing the business, according to Kroger. During his 29 years in Louisville, the division grew from 55 stores to 161 and sales increased more than 10-fold. Under his watch the Mid-South Division pioneered self-checkout, opened the company’s first Kroger fuel station and the first Little Clinic. Hackett also led an associate safety initiative that reduced accidents by 70 percent and became a model for the entire Kroger company.
Hackett is known for his compassionate leadership and the development of those who work with him. He serves on the Board of Overseers for the University of Louisville and is Board Emeritus for the Dare to Care Food Bank. He served as a trustee for the Louisville Urban League and is a former board member of Bellarmine University, the Louisville Economic Development Association and the Metropolitan College Steering Committee. He also served as president, chairman and director of the Kentucky Retail Federation.
Hackett has been married to his wife Kay for 45 years. They are the proud parents of two adult children, Ann and John, and have six grandchildren.
Kroger’s Mid-South Division is based in Louisville. The division employs 22,000 associates and operates 161 stores in Kentucky, Tennessee, southern Indiana and southern Illinois.
Bayer’s Horticulture Focus Helps Growers
Bayer CropScience, which develops fungicides, herbicides and products to foster seed growth, has its focus on horticulture and helping growers of smaller crops ward off pests and diseases. At United Fresh 2013 in San Diego, Calif., last week, Robert Schrick, strategic marketing lead for Bayer’s horticulture business, and Brian Hrudka, food chain manager, marketing integrated crop platform, talked with The Shelby Report’s Bob Reeves about Bayer’s newest fungicide line, Luna.
While Kansas City, Mo.-based Bayer develops products for corn, soybean and other big crops, Luna is developed for tomatoes, grapes and other vine crops.
According to Schrick, Luna isn’t just a fungicide; he says it can control pests, fight disease and extend produce shelf life.
Hrudka says Luna’s effect on shelf life comes from its strength.
“The reason we see the shelf-life improvement in certain crops is because the fungicide is so effective in controlling diseases in the field that when the fruit is harvested, the load of spores and mycelia and fungal diseases is much lower,” Hrudka says. “You have less storage rot.”
Luna can be applied via drip irrigation, soil treatment and other methods.
While its first primary crop is almonds, Schrick explains that Luna also can be used on watermelons, potatoes, cherries and apples, and Bayer is working on registration for more use on crops.
To make Luna fungicides more available, Schrick says Bayer is working on registration.
“We’ll continue to build on the registration, so we’ll see new applications, new crops continually come out for this technology,” he says.
Schrick adds that, while Luna is an exciting development for growers, Bayer is much more than a single brand and, in the horticulture business, he emphasizes the company’s focus on grower needs, even beyond harvesting. Bayer’s support for the food chain helps growers “pass (their tradition) onto the next generation,” according to Schrick.
For information about Bayer’s horticulture solutions, growers can contact one of the nearly 300 sales reps in the U.S.
In the featured photo at top is Robert Schrick.
Loko Rita Marks Latest Adult Beverage Product From Phusion Projects
Phusion Projects is introducing a new adult beverage, Loko Rita.
Available in Margarita and Peach Margarita, Loko Rita is 8 percent ABV and uses natural flavors and real fruit juice. Loko Rita is available in 16-oz. single cans.
“With the introduction of Loko Rita, we are showcasing our ability to develop new flavors and innovative packaging,” said Jim Sloan, EVP with Phusion Projects. “The tactile can is something we feel will draw consumers to the product and the taste will keep them coming back for more.”
Loko Rita is launching in four test markets this month: Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla.; Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; Richmond, Va.; and Las Vegas, Nev.
Phusion Projects is a Chicago-based, multi-brand alcoholic beverage company that sells its products—including Four Loko, Poco Loko, Earthquake, Moskato Life and Island Squeeze—in the U.S. and Canada.
Minnesota Ups Cigarette Tax $1.60 Per Pack
The Minnesota Legislature this week approved a tax bill that will increase the cigarette tax by $1.60 per pack and also increase the tax on other tobacco products.
The state projects that the tax increase will raise $434 million in new revenue over the next two years (fiscal years 2014-15).
With Minnesota’s increase to $2.83 per pack, the average state cigarette tax will be $1.51 per pack.
Matthew L. Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, issued the following statement: “It is terrific news for Minnesota’s kids and health that the legislature has voted to increase the state cigarette tax by $1.60 per pack and also increase the tax on other tobacco products. The tobacco tax increase is truly a win-win-win solution for Minnesota—a health win that will reduce tobacco use and save lives, a financial win that will help to balance the state budget and fund essential programs and a political win that polls show is popular with voters. We look forward to Gov. Mark Dayton signing this legislation into law.
“We applaud Gov. Dayton and legislative leaders for siding with kids over the tobacco industry by supporting the tobacco tax increase. We also congratulate the Raise It for Health Coalition that has fought tirelessly to reduce tobacco use and save lives in Minnesota.
“The evidence is clear that increasing the cigarette tax is one of the most effective ways to reduce smoking, especially among kids. Studies show that every 10 percent increase in the price of cigarettes reduces youth smoking by about 6.5 percent and overall cigarette consumption by about 4 percent.” Minnesota, according to Myers, can expect the $1.60 cigarette tax increase to:
• Prevent more than 47,700 Minnesota kids from becoming smokers;
• Spur more than 36,600 current adult smokers to quit;
• Save more than 25,700 Minnesota residents from premature, smoking-caused deaths; and
• Save more than $1.65 billion in future healthcare costs.
Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death and disease in Minnesota, claiming 5,500 lives each year and costing the state $2 billion annually in healthcare bills, according to Myers. While Minnesota has made significant progress in reducing youth smoking, 18 percent of high school students still smoke and 6,800 more kids become regular smokers every year, he says.
Shop And Save Market Opens In Downers Grove, Ill.
A new 45,000-s.f. Shop and Save Market opened earlier this month in Downers Grover, Ill., outside Chicago. The store is located at 7241 Lemont Rd. in the Downers Park Plaza.
“This is a very special store, for all of us,” said Ed Dubek, store director. “We are putting a lot of thought in tailoring our offering in a way which will resonate with the community. Exceeding expectation is our goal and we are ready to take it on with this store.”
The store features a European-style deli, offering a variety of deli cuts, many of them home-smoked and uniquely European. In addition, the store boasts many natural, soy, gluten- and nitrate-free deli choices as well as a variety of global items. The store’s bakery offers homemade cakes and cookies and more than than 20 kinds of breads and rolls baked fresh in store each day. The department also includes pastry chefs.
A full-service meat counter offers a selection of ready-to-cook items and unique cuts of meat, including fresh lamb and seafood.
The store’s “fresh to go” area features a variety of homemade Mediterranean delicacies like cured olives, hummus, tabbule, baba ganoush as well as sandwiches and salads, Greek yogurt and fruit cups. The soup counter offers more than 25 soup choices. In addition, Shop and Save Market in Downers Grove includes a number of “heat and serve” homemade dinners and sides.
“This new store is the working mother’s dream come true,” said Eva Jakubowski, president of Shop and Save Market. “Thanks to us, getting a nutritious, home-cooked meal on a table takes just a few minutes—our kitchen does all the work.”
Kellogg’s Macken Promoted To President Of U.S. Sales
Kellogg Co. has promoted Darcey Macken, SVP of customer development for U.S. Sales, to president of U.S. Sales for the company. She will succeed Mark Wagner, who will retire from Kellogg on Dec. 31 after more than 30 years of service.
“Darcey has a proven track record for success,” said Brad Davidson, SVP of Kellogg Co. and president of Kellogg North America. “During her tenure with Kellogg, she has successfully led numerous large customer and commercial teams in the U.S. Sales organization. Most recently, Darcey spearheaded the definition and advancement of our new commercial model.”
In the near future Macken will meet with retailers across all formats to understand how to fully leverage the portfolio of Kellogg products and how to utilize the company’s insights to drive category growth.
As president of U.S. Sales, Macken will be based at Kellogg’s global headquarters in Battle Creek, Mich.
Bellisio Foods To Buy Overhill Farms For $81M
The Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal reports that Overhill shareholders still must approve the deal. That is expected this summer.
Terms of the deal were not announced.
Overhill’s other customers include Panda Restaurant Group, Jenny Craig, Safeway, Pinnacle Foods Group and American Airlines. The California-based company had $194.4 million in sales for fiscal 2012.
“The addition of Overhill Farms’ manufacturing capabilities and its customer and brand portfolios align perfectly with Bellisio’s growth strategies,” Bellisio CEO Joel Conner said in a news release. “We believe that Overhill’s brand portfolio and West Coast manufacturing presence enables us to unlock meaningful synergies and better serve existing and new customers through expanded capabilities and a broader offering.”
Bellisio, which is based in Duluth, Minn., and is the third-largest producer of frozen entrees in the U.S., produces more than 200 frozen entrees and snacks under the Michelina’s name, among other brands.
Bellisio was owned by Jeno Paulucci and was sold to New York private-equity firm Centre Partners in December 2011.