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Kingston Fresh expands its melon program

Kingston Fresh announced that it has expanded its strategic sourcing partnerships with established growers of watermelons and cantaloupes within the Georgia and Mississippi region. The move will allow Kingston to extend its available melon volumes with the added summer production.KingstonFresh-sq Further, the strategic alliance has allowed the company to better service its key customers on the Eastern Seaboard.

“The dynamics of the domestic melon category continues to evolve each season," Ken Nabal, Kingston president, said in a press release. "The shrinking truck capacity in Arizona combined with the serious water issues in California has forced us to look to the east to maintain consistency in the category. Whether it's Athena cantaloupe, seedless mini watermelons or the western-type Harper variety cantaloupe now being grown in the east, we have experienced significant interest in promotional opportunities within our customer base.”

Kingston has been aggressively adding to its product line portfolio in recent years.

“We remain steadfast in our expansion plans at Kingston, particularly in growing our footprint within the melon category.” David O. Kingston, chief executive officer, said in the press release. “Eastern melon production from Georgia and Mississippi represent key growing areas that perfectly compliment our western U.S. production. Between these partnerships and the offshore component imported directly into our cold storage facility in South Florida, we are rounding out our melon program with a consistent and quality product for our customers.”

New leadership helps C&K Market emerge from bankruptcy

With a new president in place and a new chief financial officer hired, Brookings, OR-based C&K Market Inc. is expected to emerging from bankruptcy protection this summer. A confirmation hearing before the U.S. Bankruptcy Court is set for June 25 in Eugene, OR.

David D. Doty, the company's new CFO, brings several decades of experience, including serving as the CFO of Star Markets Ltd. on the Hawaiian Islands. Most recently he held the same position for Meadow Valley Corp., a heavy highway civil construction firm based in Phoenix.

Karl Wissmann, an industry veteran with more than 40 years of retail food experience, joined C&K earlier this year as chief operations officer and was recently appointed to the position of president. He’s demonstrated his strategic planning and operational expertise with leading West Coast food retailers, most notably with Ralph’s, a division of Kroger.

“Our employees continue to impress me with their commitment to our customers and the communities we serve,” Wissmann said in a press release. “My excitement about the opportunity to grow this independent chain is even stronger than on my first day on the job. We’re poised for success.”

Wissmann also noted that he collaborated with Doty in the successful turn-around of Star Markets when he was its president and CEO.

“The grocery marketplace has changed substantially over the past decade,” Wissmann said in the release. “It may seem that bigger competitors will prevail, yet the new economy offers many opportunities for smaller, independent chains. We recognize that customers may now shop at both a big box and a local grocer. Our challenge is to listen to our customers and give them choices that will encourage them to shop more in our stores.”

C&K filed a voluntary petition for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in late 2013.

“Entering Chapter 11 was a difficult decision for our family,” Doug Nidiffer, chairman of the board, said in the release. “As we prepare to emerge, we know we made the right decision. Karl’s proven leadership and vision will guide this company into a bright future. We look forward to serving local community needs for many years to come.”

Giant and Martin's customers support troops with $560,000 donation

Customers and associates at Giant Food Stores and Martin’s Food Markets recently showed their support for local men and women serving in the armed forces by generously donating $560,194 through the store’s annual Support Our Troops campaign.

Since the inception of Support Our Troops in 2005, Giant and Martin's customers and associates have donated more than $3 million to benefit regional USOs and the Wounded Warrior Project.

“Giant/Martin's customers are grateful for the service and sacrifice of our veterans and active soldiers, and we will continue to do all we can to be a better neighbor to them and their loved ones,” Tom Lenkevich, president, said in a press release. “We are proud to provide this annual donation and to continue our partnership with much-needed organizations like our regional USOs and the Wounded Warrior Project. It’s our way of saying thanks for all that these men and women have done for us.”

Held May 4-17, customers could donate $1 at the checkout to benefit their regional USO chapter and the Wounded Warrior Project. Regional USOs are dedicated to programs that build morale and keep soldiers connected to their families. The Wounded Warrior Project enlists the public’s aid for the needs of severely injured service members, helps severely injured men and women aid and assist each other, and provides unique, direct programs and services to meet their needs.

Fourth of July marketing a huge boost for California avocado sales

CAC-Print-20Promoting California avocado consumption for Fourth of July is a major initiative for the California Avocado Commission, which for the third year is providing marketing support to associate American summer holidays and California avocados. The latest consumption projection for the Fourth of July is 104.7 million pounds of avocados, which may surpass both the Super Bowl and Cinco de Mayo events in 2014. CAC-Print-4th-July Food WinFor CAC the patriotic holiday is a straightforward strategic fit, both because it occurs during the sweet spot of the California avocado season and because California avocados are the only American choice for Hass avocados.

Key components of CAC’s Fourth of July program include a nostalgia-themed television ad airing in California, general market and in-store radio in the West, national Fourth of July-themed print and online advertising, an online microsite and social media marketing. The commission also is partnering with Naturipe Farms with recipe programs at the retail level.

“Retailer support the last few years has been instrumental in helping to build the Fourth of July into one of the top avocado consumption events of the year,” Jan DeLyser, CAC vice president of marketing, said in a press release. “This year the commission is once again providing marketing support to encourage California avocado consumption for the event, and we’re very pleased to be partnering with Naturipe for a second year with patriotic recipe ideas.”

The "Naturipe" brand will be featured in two California avocado recipes brochures available for retailers to order at CAC’s fireworks-themed Have a Blast with California Avocados recipe brochure includes two recipes with Naturipe blueberries, and its California Fresh Snacking recipe brochure features a recipe for a California avocado half stuffed with a blueberry salad. That recipe is showcased on CAC print advertising as well. Packages of Naturipe blueberries have peel-off labels with a recipe for California Avocado Red, White and Blueberry Salsa, adding an additional promotion element on retailers’ produce shelves. The two brands will use online and social media as part of the co-marketing activities, with Naturipe authoring a guest post on CAC’s The Scoop blog.

"We’re excited to be partnering with CAC for a second year," Naturipe Executive Vice President of Marketing Robert Verloop said in a press release. "As we see blueberries continue to grow in popularity, we are also seeing them being consumed beyond breakfast. Our partnership with CAC is a great way to promote incorporation of blueberries into lunch, dinner and savory recipes.”

Procacci Bros. announces promotions in marketing communications and PR departments

procaijciProcacci Bros. Sales Corp. announced the promotions of Frank Paone to director of marketing and Lou Struble to director of corporate communications and corporate social responsibility.

Paone joined Procacci in 2010 as a cooperative education student through Saint Joseph’s University’s food marketing program. He joined the company full time in 2011, working through various segments of the company’s operations and most recently serving Frank-PaoneFrank Paoneas plant manager for the company’s affiliate, Santa Sweets Inc., at its Cedarville, NJ, packing operation. Paone will be responsible for driving the company’s marketing efforts while taking an active role in its sales department as well.

Since joining Procacci Bros. in 2008, Struble’s primary role has been in an account management and supply chain capacity for the company’s Walmart business. Lou-StrubleLou StrubleHe has also contributed value to the company in other areas, including sales and harvest planning, social media marketing and data analysis. Struble graduated from Pennsylvania State University in 2008, and he continued his education at Saint Joseph’s University, where he recently graduated from its executive master's of business administration program.

“Frank and Lou are versatile employees who have excelled in every responsibility that we’ve put before them,” Mike Maxwell, president of Procacci Bros., said in a press release. “During their time with Procacci Brothers they have demonstrated talents and skills that make them ideal for their new roles. We’re very excited to see what they’ll bring to the table in their new positions.”