SOUP TO NUTZ

A native of Philadelphia, Maria has been in the food business for most of her career as a manufacturer, distributor and restaurateur. Now with Food Trade News for over 10 years, she likes to say we inform, educate and entertain. She can be reached at maria@foodtradenews.com.

So, 2020 is upon us. A new year and a new decade. Wasn’t it just Y2K a few years ago? At the beginning of each year, but more so this year, social media and every magazine, influencer and television personality tells us it is necessary to reinvent ourselves; to change what’s not working in our lives. Either by going back to the gym; participating in dry January; decluttering our homes; or taking a good hard look in the mirror and saying how can I be a better person, there’s a lot of judging going on. As 2020 unfolded, most of what I heard and read was about kindness; being kind to yourself and others. Our world is filled with so much hate and vitriol these days that I think this is the best advice. Here’s to a kinder, resolution-free year!

Just two weeks into 2020, Jim McCaffrey III and his son Jim IV opened their seventh store in New Hope, PA. McCaffrey’s expertise in store perimeter product mix and merchandising is put on magnificent display in this 24,000 square foot former Staples location. (It’s the perfect complement to their soon-to-open 13,000 square foot Doylestown Borough store with more grocery offerings and a good sized beer and wine department.) The historic, artsy-Bohemian area was in need of a market. Believe it or not, that area of Bucks County could be described as a food desert with only one supermarket between the Delaware River and Street Road in Warminster. Since the opening, I have passed by a few times and the parking lot has been maxed out each time. Congratulations to Jim III and  Number IV and to your fantastic team who put this little gem together!

The numbers have been crunched and they are awesome! In 2019, Philabundance, the food bank that serves nine counties in Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey, delivered more than 26 million pounds of food to those in need. Seniors and children, the most vulnerable population groups, received 1.7 million and 324,000 pounds respectively. The good news is that over 83 percent of it was healthy food. Philabundance trucks traveled over 212 thousand miles in 2019 delivering to their 400 member agencies. The Philabundance Community Kitchen (PCK) graduated 48 students, bringing the total to more than 900 to date. PCK provides job training and life skills for low-income adults. They have been transforming the lives of low-income women and men since 2000. PCK also catered 163 events in 2019. Finally, over 17,000 volunteers saved Philabundance $500,000 in expenses throughout the year. If your company hasn’t participated in one of their volunteer programs, bring it up as a way to give back and build your team. They are one of the most worthy food related non-profits in the area. The industry’s help is not only appreciated, it’s necessary!

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The event calendar is growing for the start of 2020, and this year’s schedule will fill up your dance card in no time. Please take note of our Trade Calendar on page 23, or online at www.foodtradenews.com,  to make sure you don’t miss out on the many events coming up in the next couple of months. To kick of its 51st year, the New Jersey Food Council (NJFC) is holding its annual meeting on January 30 at Forsgate Country Club in Cranbury, NJ. The new year brings a new chairman, Joe Sofia, senior vice president at Wegmans, who will be inducted with the other board members that evening. The NJFC has also announced the Night of Distinction honorees for 2020: Suzanne DelVecchio, QuickChe; Daniel Dinkowitz, Allegiance Retail Services; and Paul Patten, Wakefern. These veteran members of the New Jersey retail food industry will be feted on March 26 at the Palace at Somerset Park. To register for these events, go to www.njfoodcouncil.org.

In conjunction with the Italy-America Chamber of Commerce, Saint Joseph’s University Academy of Food Marketing is hosting its second annual International Food Summit themed “Tastes and Trends: Making Mediterranean Local” on March 11 on campus. The summit is an excellent opportunity for food industry executives to explore emerging and future trends, merchandising techniques, innovation, and customer engagement in the specialty food sector through the expertise of a diverse slate of international food experts. One recent trend pairs the Mediterranean diet with intermittent fasting and has been touted as the best long-term diet regimen to follow. The speakers have not been announced, but if it is anything like last year’s summit, just going for the food will be worth it! Keep it here for more information as we get it.

The International Dairy Deli Bakery Association (IDDBA) has opened registration for IDDBA 2020, to be held in Indianapolis May 31-June 2. The general session speaker line-up is also beginning to build, and currently includes author Kindra Hall, television host Mel Robbins and motivational speaker/author Simon Sinek. To register, go to www.iddba.org.

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The circle of life continues as National Food Sales owner Bill Hinderer and his wife Deb welcomed their first grandchild, Owen Herrod, on November 8, 2019. Owen’s parents, Jessica and Tyler Herrod, are thrilled with their healthy new addition, as is new uncle Bryan Hinderer. Just before press time Joe Pace III of Pace Target and his wife Courtney welcomed their first baby, Lucia Marie, who came into the world on January 13. Pop-Pop Joe Pace Jr. is also very happy to welcome this new bundle of joy. Congratulations to all!

Birthday shout outs for the non-resolution month of January go to: Linda Doherty, NJFC; Eve Gigis, Acme Markets; Gary Larkin, Paul G. Nester and Son; David Patragnoni, The Lamb Company; George Latella, Saint Joseph’s University; Tim Musgrove, Herr Foods; Joe Stewart, Specialty Fabricators; Karen Fernandez, Food World; and FTN alumni Meg Major, Bob Ingram and Scott Lichterman. Buon Compleanno a tutti!

Quote of the month: “Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” Carl Bard

Maria can be reached at 443.631.0172 or maria@foodtradenews.com.