Metro Beat

Kevin is VP at Food Trade News with primary responsibility for covering the Metro NY/NJ and New England markets. He has more than 30 years of experience on the CPG side of the retail food business and in media. He can be reached at

Well greetings to all and ‘tis the season! I’m sure everyone’s dance card is getting filled with all of the holiday parties, dinners and gatherings that are dotting the calendars, and hopefully I’ll see you out at such events.

Congratulations to everyone involved in putting together the Krasdale 110th Anniversary Gala which was held at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Now, we all go to a variety of dinner functions and banquets, and believe me, I’ve lost track of how many I have been to over the years. However, the Krasdale 110th was truly on a different level than almost any other event I’ve witnessed. It was a spectacular evening. The setting alone separated it from the run of the mill trade events. From the moment you approached the magnificent building, you knew you were not going to another Knights of the Grip rubber chicken dinner. (Sorry to all of you former grippers. Are there any of you left?)

Starting with a breathtaking cocktail hour in the Rose Center for Earth and Space, and continuing with a night of music and dancing, Charles Krasne and his family spared no expense or detail in ensuring their associates, customers and guests experienced a trade function that was unparalleled. While it truly was a corporate effort to pull off such an extravaganza, a special tip of the hat to Gus Lebiak and Dylana Silver in taking the lead on the terrific evening. Well done all!


We can all admit the weather has been less than desired in the Northeast this fall, but it didn’t dampen the The Eastern Produce Council (EPC) from holding the fourth annual Joe DeLorenzo Family Day and Apple Picking event at Melick’s Family Farm in Oldwick, NJ. The event is named in honor of long-time EPC board member and two-time president of the council, Joe DeLorenzo, who died in November 2014. “Joe was all about family, and this event is an opportunity for EPC families to remember Joe and spend time together out on a farm in primetime apple season,” said Susan McAleavey Sarlund, executive director of the EPC. This was quite evident as more than 25 members of the DeLorenzo family were on hand for the day. In addition to hayrides and picking apples, everyone in attendance enjoyed fresh cider and donuts, hot dogs, popcorn and roasted corn on the cob. While we’re in the produce world, a belated congratulations to Louis Scagnelli, who joined Alpha 1 Marketing/Krasdale Foods in early October as director of produce and floral. Lou had spent the prior 26 years with R Best Produce as a vice president and replaces Josh Padilla, who left Alpha 1 Marketing in September (no word on what Josh is doing at this time). Staying in the world of produce, congrats to ShopRite as it was recognized as the 2018 Mango Retailer of the Year by the National Mango Board (NMB). The award was announced during the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit Convention during the NMB annual reception. The award recognizes retailers that go above and beyond to offer consistent support to the mango industry and deliver outstanding mango promotion results. Accepting the award for Wakefern were Derrick Jenkins, vice president of produce/floral, and Perno Young III, category manager. “Being named the 2018 Mango Retailer of the Year is a testament to the hard work that everyone in our organization has given to ensure that our customer’s needs are met,” said Young.

The Network of Executive Women (NEW) New York Metro chapter held a special event at Pepsico’s Global headquarters in Purchase, NY in late October. The evening featured a conversation with Pepsico chairman and former CEO Indra Nooyi who was interviewed by Karen Meleta, Wakefern’s vice president of consumer and corporate communications. Karen (who filled in and pinch hit superbly for the ailing Cheryl Williams), deftly guided the conversation to highlight Indra’s achievements, contributions and leadership skills to inspire those around her as well as her spearheading for gender equality in the workplace. After the hour long interview, Indra was recognized for her commitment to women’s leadership and gender equality with the Network of Executive Women’s William J. Grize award. The award is named for the late president and CEO of Stop & Shop and Ahold USA who was an early champion of gender diversity. Since 2011, the Wiliam J. Grize award has honored industry leaders who have demonstrated and enduring commitment to the advancement of women and to creating a diverse and inclusive workplace. Mark McGowan, president, Stop & Shop and a former friend and colleague of Grize’s, was honored to present the award to Indra. “Indra’s contributions to the retail and consumer foods industry cannot be overstated. Under Indra’s leadership, PepsiCo has increased the number of women leaders through recruiting and development initiatives,” McGowan said. “Her outspoken advocacy, enduring commitment to gender diversity and inclusion, and staus-quo-busting efforts have helped advance women here and around the world,”

A special shout out to newest member of the Hall of Fame, Barry Schiro, president of CBA Industries. (The New Jersey Advertising Hall of Fame that is). The honor is bestowed upon professionals who have made significant impacts and contributions to the advertising industry in New Jersey and Barry certainly meets and exceeds those requirements. Congratulations Barry!!


Congratulations to Miguel Luna on the opening of his newest supermarket, a Fine Fare located at the George Washington Bridge bus terminal on 179th street in Manhattan. Miguel and his sons Brian and Adrian endured the hoops and obstacles of dealing with city government and all that goes along with it, but in the end a remarkable store was the result: 16,000 square feet that smartly utilizes every area of the store and has easy access to the bus terminal as well as a traditional street entrance. Well done, Lunas!

I do hope to run into many of you as the holiday season kicks into gear. Wishing our readers and advertisers all the best the season has to offer, and as always you can reach me at 201.250.2217 or