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 kevin@foodtradenews.com.

I have to tell you I’ve been going a little stir crazy while recuperating from a recent surgery and can’t wait to get back out in the trade. Thankfully modern technology and my phone have kept me in touch with many of you, and to that point, a warm thanks to the scores of you who reached out to me with your best wishes. They are all truly appreciated and I can’t wait to thank you in person.

Someone else who is probably going to be a little antsy over the next few weeks is Michael King, VP of government relations of Krasdale Foods. After playing a round of golf at the recent FUPAC outing, Mike was at his home and felt some discomfort in his arm and back. While he didn’t think much of it at the time, his wife was alert enough to know something was off. Sure enough Mike was having a heart attack and fortunately a couple of his neighbors who are first responders and were able to immediately perform CPR to keep him alive. As it turned out, Mike had an arrhythmia in one of his rear ventricles and had emergency surgery to place a defibrillator in him. He hopes to be cleared to be back at work right after Labor Day and plans to see everyone at the Krasdale Foods show on September 5 at Citi Field in Flushing, Queens. We send our best wishes for a speedy recovery.

It was nice to hear from Wayne Pesce of the Connecticut Food Association (CFA) who asked us to pass along that the CFA Person of the Year gala will be held on November 7 at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, CT. This is always the premier event for the CFA and tickets will sell out. This year’s honorees are Jody Plonski, senior vice president of operations at Price Chopper Supermarkets – Market 32, and additional honorees are Burr McDermott of Kayem Foods for Community Service and Robert LaBonne III of LaBonne’s Markets for the Next Generation Leadership. For more information on obtaining tickets, call 860.216.4055 or email ctfood@ctfoodassociation.org.

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Goya continues to roll out fresh new ideas and products with the launch of its new Goya Paella Rice kit. Goya brings the classic and authentic tastes of Spain’s most well-known dish to dinner tables across the country with the launch of the new Paella rice kit. The kit is available in 8-ounce or 19-ounce boxes with a suggested retail price of $3.99 and $6.79.

“Our new Paella kit contains everything you need to make a delicious seafood paella in minutes that the whole family can enjoy! As a trusted American brand with Spanish roots, we take great pride in creating products that combine flavorful ingredients with convenient preparation, bringing consumers a taste of Latin cultures from around the world,” said Bob Unanue, president of Goya Foods.

The product was voted as the “Best Rice Kit” in the July issue of People magazine’s People Food Awards 2019, and the People editors tested more than 1,200 supermarket products from a variety of categories!

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And while we await the conversions of the 24 former Best Market stores on Long Island (and three more Best Markets off of the Island) to the Lidl format, (scheduled for 2020) Aldi has announced that it will be adding two more stores on Long Island. Aldi currently has six stores on Long Island, all in Suffolk county, and will now add one more in Suffolk and their its in Nassau county. The new Suffolk store will be located at the site of a former Pathmark in North Babylon on Deer Park Avenue. The hard discounter will be sharing space with a Planet Fitness and a self-storage facility at the site, which has been vacant since 2015. The Nassau site will be a new build-out in Valley Stream in the Green Acres Commons with a scheduled spring of 2020 opening.

Congrats to Jon Ewig and all of the hard working associates at Porky Products on a successful selling show. The perishables show was held at Citi Field and by all accounts may have been one of Porky’s best. Vendors had aggressive deals for customers and the end result was a record number of cases sold.

A great showing from the customer base contributed to the success of the show and the deli/specialty cheese segment was a big hit, and over a short period of time has shown significant growth for the distributor. Daniel Okin, business development manager, said, “We’ve been able to take our deli/cheese program to a new level with this show and we look forward to servicing our partners to help them grow and obtain more customers in this growing segment.”

King’s Food Markets recently held its eighth annual golf outing and it was a sell out once again. The event was held at Crystal Springs resort in Vernon Valley, NJ and brought together Kings associates and its industry partners to raise support for programs that provide hunger relief services in communities throughout New Jersey, New York and Connecticut. “We are so proud to host our annual golf classic in support of our ‘Act Against Hunger’ initiative,” said Judy Spires, president and chief executive officer of Kings Food Markets. “As a company dedicated to feeding families, we and our partners are serious about our role in ending hunger, and this golf classic helps us do just that.”

The tournament lets King’s help thousands of families all across New Jersey, New York and Connecticut because of the participation and generous support of golf classic sponsors. While final numbers from the day’s outing were not in yet, the King’s golf outing has raised more than $1 million dollars for local food banks in its eight years. Well done to all involved!

And we were sorry to learn the food industry’s real Sausage King passed away on July 29. No it wasn’t Abe Froman, the mythical sovereign of tubed meat. It was Joseph Cinque, “Joe Sausage” the founder of Premio Foods, who passed away at the age of 80. Joe started out in food business as a salesman for an Italian sausage maker in Jamaica, Queens and quickly rose through the ranks while learning the business. He went on to buy Garden State Sausage company in 1977 which eventually became Premio Foods. Joe’s son Marc has been running the company since 1990 and has put a branded name on sausage similar to the old Frank Perdue days of the chicken industry. Joe is survived by his wife Helene, his children Marc (Rosa), daughter Elisa (Dave) and daughter-in-law Denise Cinque who was married to Joe’s son Steven who passed away in 2009. He is also survived by 12 grandchildren. The family requests that any donations in his memory be directed to the ALS Association of Greater New York Chapter, 42 Broadway, Suite 1724, New York, NY 10004, or visit www.als-ny.org. Rest in peace.

That’ll do it for now. A big thank you again for all of your kind words and best wishes. Enjoy the balance of the summer and I look forward to seeing you at one of the many upcoming events in September. As always you can reach me at 201.250.2217 or email to kevin@foodtradenews.com.