Freshway Foods introduces new seasonal deli salads

Freshway Foods will introduce new seasonal deli salads at the upcoming IDDBA Dairy-Deli-Bake Conference. The new salads feature ingredients and flavors that consumers prefer, including plant-based protein, spicy flavors and unique fruits and vegetables.Freshway logo CMYK

The company’s Superfood Protein Salad and Tangy Orange Cucumber Quinoa Salad both feature plant-based protein. Freshway’s proprietary Tangy Sriracha Dressing adds spice to sweet and savory ingredients. Unique ingredients, such as rainbow carrots, turnips, rutabaga and watermelon radish add interest to the company’s seasonal salads.

“Consumers today have more sophisticated palates,” Kirk Norman, business development director for Freshway Foods, said in a press release. “Even classic pasta salad has been reimagined in this new seasonal salad lineup, with the addition of classic summer barbeque flavors and healthy ingredients like kale.”

The company’s Grab n Go salad line has also been expanded, with seasonal salads that will add excitement to the retail service case.

“We are highlighting colors of the season in our new Grab n Go salads, with our Colors of America salad for summer and our Colors of Christmas salad for winter,” Norman said in the release. “These salads are assembled in store, for fresh convenience and a more upscale experience for consumers.”

Joe Watson leaving Rouses for PMA

Joe Watson, director of produce at Rouses Markets, headquartered in Thibodaux, LA, is leaving to join the Produce Marketing Association, headquartered in Newark, DE.CV9A3275

Watson, who has been with Rouses for 32 years, told The Produce News Monday, June 1, that his last day at Rouses will be Friday, June 5, and that he will be joining PMA at the end of this month.

Watson, 51, served on the Southeast Produce Council's board of director for nearly six years, and was chairman and co-chairman of the SEPC's Southeast Top Agricultural Recruits Scholarship Program, according to SEPC Executive Director David Sherrod.

Raina Nelson of Renaissance Foods is taking over the chairmanship of the STARS program, added Sherrod.

Calif. retailer names Suzy Monford CEO

California retailer Andronico’s Community Markets has named Suzy Monford as its chief executive officer. Monford takes on the role at ACM as the company looks to continue its resurgence as an innovator in the San Francisco Bay area specialty food retail. 

Monford most recently held the role of Head of Innovation for Woolworth’s, one of the larger retailers in Asia Pacific, where she was recruited to lead strategic change and international joint ventures. Previously she founded Food Sport International, working with Coles Supermarkets in Australia as her primary client. Other clients include Cheers Inc., a restaurant corporation in Texas, where she worked as CEO and president. A certified health coach, Monford has served on the executive board of directors for both the San Antonio Mayor’s Fitness Council and the YMCA, and actively teaches fitness and health in her community.

“I’m honored to have the opportunity to continue the Andronico’s legacy,” Monford said in a release. “We were born in Berkeley in 1929, and today we remain an original American market whose success has been built on dedication to quality, uniqueness, service and neighborhood. We were 'local' before it was a thing. We were focused on small producers before artisanal became a tag line to rationalize high retails.”

Monford’s plans include innovating store formats with eventual store expansion and embracing and utilizing the latest technology available in the grocery industry to drive value, convenience and to energize the shopping experience.

“We may be a small company, but we’ll be brilliant with data and digital,” Monford added. "We’re going to marry traditional brick and mortar mercantile with best of class tech in order to create a relevant shop for today.”

Monford plans to develop new products and concepts throughout the Andronico’s stores that will redefine value and serve each store’s diverse community. Among her priorities is an emphasis on speed and convenience, including bringing on new delivery App Instacart throughout the chain by mid-summer, and developing a new fitness and health-centric shopping portal for customers and teammates.

Roll Global rebranded as The Wonderful Co.

Roll Global has officially changed its name to The Wonderful Co. This strategic move will align the company’s long-standing passion for harvesting healthy and nutritious foods with the consumers it serves across the United States and the globe. wonder

In addition to The Wonderful Co. name change, the following operating units also have new names: Wonderful Pistachios & Almonds (formerly Paramount Farms); Wonderful Citrus (formerly Paramount Citrus); and Wonderful Orchards (formerly Paramount Farming).

“At The Wonderful Company, we are totally integrated in our approach to farming and distribution — we grow our produce, then harvest, package and deliver to a store near you,” Stewart Resnick, co-owner and president of The Wonderful Co., said in a press release. “We established this vertical structure to ensure that our quality standards are maintained at every step along the way from our orchards to your tables.”   

“Consumers know us from our iconic Super Bowl commercials and viral marketing campaigns,” Lynda Resnick, co-owner and vice chair, said in the release. “Now we want the world to know the company behind some of America’s healthiest and most popular brands.”  

As one of America’s largest and fastest-growing produce companies, The Wonderful Co. continues to build upon its position as one of the world’s larger growers of tree nuts and one of America’s larger citrus growers, while leveraging its new name to unify the company’s presence in the marketplace and deepen its connection with consumers.

Giving back is Wonderful

The Wonderful Co. has a rich heritage of investing in the communities in which its employees live and work, specifically California’s Central Valley and Fiji.

“Our company has always believed that success means doing well by doing good,” Resnick said in the release. “That’s why we place such importance on our extensive community outreach programs, education and health initiatives and sustainability efforts. We are deeply committed to doing our part to build a better world and inspiring others to do the same.”

The Wonderful Co.’s $48.4 million total charitable giving for 2015 includes community development efforts; a new comprehensive employee health and wellness program featuring two fully staffed health clinics; and educational initiatives such as scholarships, school grants, two pre-schools, arts programs, summer schools and the acclaimed Wonderful Agriculture Career Prep. An additional $25 million has been allocated toward the construction of a new campus for the Wonderful College Prep Academy, a charter school first established by the company in 2009.

The company’s robust culture of philanthropy extends to all of its employees through the Wonderful Giving program, which allows each employee to contribute $500 to $1,000 in company funds to the nonprofit of their choosing, in addition to the company’s traditional matching gifts program. In 2014 alone, Wonderful Giving contributed more than $4 million to a diverse array of nonprofits, all chosen by employees.

The Wonderful Co. has also made major investments in sustainability, clean energy and the responsible use of natural resources. It has invested nearly $25 million in advanced irrigation research and technologies; $22 million on solar installations across four facilities, with the Wonderful Halos plant boasting one of the largest solar rooftop installations in America; and $41 million in fuel cells, generating 35 percent of required electricity without combustion or air pollution.

In addition, The Resnick Sustainability Institute at the California Institute of Technology — made possible through Stewart and Lynda Resnick’s $30 million gift — provides a path to sustainability by focusing on the innovative science and engineering research required to develop groundbreaking technologies and solutions to global energy and climate challenges.

Roundy’s Supermarkets flourishing in Illinois and Wisconsin

MILWAUKEE — “Consistency, quality and a wonderful eating experience” are the qualities demanded for retail stores united under Roundy’s Supermarkets Inc. Steve Jarzombek, vice president of produce, noted that eating habits of Americans are changing toward a healthier lifestyle. With that, retail produce departments with “great quality day in and day out” will benefit, he said. “It’s exciting to see people eating arugula, kale and herbs. It’s a really fun time in this industry.”

Jarzombek, who has been in the produce business for 40 years, noted that for his department “price is not our first consideration. Everyone wants to pay as little as they can. But price is not number one.”

Headquartered in Milwaukee, Roundy’s operates 149 stores in Illinois and Wisconsin. There are four banners: Mariano’s, Pick N Save, Copps and Metro Markets. Of the stores, 31 are upscale Mariano’s. Mariano’s is named for Bob Mariano, Roundy’s chief executive officer, who “wants people to enjoy great foods and great service,” Jarzombek said. The first Mariano’s opened five years ago. “It’s a terrific grocery store with an emphasis on fresh and perishables.”

Mariano-veg Jarzombek said that chain stores did well in Chicago from the 1970s until around 2000. Jewel Foods and Dominick’s dominated the market. But after Safeway bought Dominick’s, its market share was lost, “which opened the door to a lot of independents,” he said.

Now, Chicago’s independent grocers are bustling. He said Chicago “has wonderful neighborhoods. It’s a melting pot for many different ethnic people. So, these folks really support and love to shop in small markets and buy a lot of perishables: meat, produce and seafood. These shops are very popular in the city, so they have thrived,” he said.

On the supply side, Roundy’s has very loyal suppliers in the produce industry. “We have very close relationships with really great growers and packers,” he said. About 75 percent of the firm’s purchases are direct from grower-shippers.

At the same time, Roundy’s supports dealers on the Chicago International Produce Market. There, distributors “have a lot of great relationships” with shippers “where we can buy from them and support them,” he said. “We need them for some of the relationships they have.” Located in the middle of the continent, far from many growing areas, “we won’t hit it perfect every day” and need a source like the Chicago market to fill in.

Justin Heffernan, director of produce procurement and merchandising, added that Roundy’s has a strong local program. This involves growers from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan.

“Local is important,” Jarzombek reiterated. “Everyone in this office knows our objective is to take care of the shoppers in the stores and the people growing close to the stores. Locally grown produce is good for the environment and the opportunity to provide fresher products to the consumer too.”

Roundy’s assures that local product is GAP certified.

“We are the only retailer in Wisconsin that buys through the Wisconsin Food Hub,” he said. “This will be our third season.”

Roundy’s has a warehouse in Oconomowoc, WI, which is about 30 miles west of scenic Milwaukee.