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The U.S. Apple Association began the holiday giving season by donating $17,800 to 11 school causes nationwide as part of the second annual Apples for Education: Buy an Apple, Help a Student fundraising campaign.

Winning ideas include an in-school food bank providing healthy food for students to take home to their families; solar technology to efficiently process compost; and iPads to enhance student learning.aped

Launched Oct. 1 at the beginning of National Apple Month, the social media-based Apples for Education program reached more than eight million consumers online, calling for people to support their favorite school program through four simple steps:

  • Snack: Grab an apple, apple product and/or partner brand Marzetti product
  • Snap: Take a photo enjoying the snack
  • Tag: Visit to review the 17 nominated school causes, and tag the photo with #Apples4Ed and their favorite school’s hashtag
  • Share: Vote by posting the photo to Twitter or Instagram

In six weeks, more than 6,500 votes were cast, and with each vote USApple and the apple industry pledged funds to the causes. Eleven schools earning the most votes will be awarded a grant from USApple to complete their project. The top five recipients are:

  • St. Louis Park Middle School, St. Louis Park, MN; Providing an in-school food bank with healthy food for students in need to snack after class or prepare at home.
  • Sherwood Forest Elementary School, Federal Way, WA; Providing access to apples and other healthy snacks for students and their families at school, first thing in the morning.
  • St. Mary’s Catholic School, Alexandria, VA; Motivating young learners with technology-driven activities on new classroom iPads.
  • Walter Biddle Saul High School, Philadelphia; Reducing the school’s carbon footprint with solar-powered composting equipment.
  • Faith Elementary School, Faith, NC; Providing healthy fruits and vegetables for all students in every classroom.

“In addition to encouraging votes, we also leveraged and our social channels as an opportunity to educate participants and all consumers about the health benefits of apples, through healthy recipes and research,” Korenna Wilson, USApple director of consumer health and public relations, said in a press release. “That is why we love Apples for Education: we support healthy minds through funding, while also fostering healthy bodies by increased apple snacking — it’s a win-win and a nod to the timeless connection between education and the apple.

“We are excited to see the schools put these funds to wonderful use in the weeks and months ahead,” Wilson concluded.

Supervalu Inc. has finalized the sale of its Save-A-Lot business to an affiliate of Onex Corp. for $1.365 billion in cash, subject to customary closing adjustments. With the sale of Save-A-Lot, Supervalu said it is now a more focused company. supervalu

In connection with the closing of the sale, Supervalu and Save-A-Lot have entered into a five-year professional services agreement pursuant to which Supervalu will continue providing certain back office services to Save-A-Lot.

“With the successful completion of the Save-A-Lot sale, we are well positioned for the future with a stronger balance sheet, the opportunity to more strategically invest in our business, and the ability to more keenly focus on our core business as a leading grocery wholesaler,” Mark Gross, Supervalu president and chief executive officer, said in a press release. “We also look forward to continuing our relationship with Save-A-Lot as one of our important professional services customers.”

Supervalu also confirmed that it has used $750 million of the net proceeds from the sale to prepay that portion of its outstanding term loan balance. The company intends to use the remaining net sale proceeds to further reduce debt and improve its capital structure, contribute to its pension plan, as well as to fund corporate and growth initiatives.

Wakefern Food Corp.'s Chris Lane has been promoted to executive vice president. The 13-year veteran of the company will guide day-to-day operations and strategy planning for Wakefern. He previously held the role of senior vice president of product divisions.wakefern

“Our goal was to select an individual who would honor our past and at the same time challenge the status quo to ensure a bright future for Wakefern and our members. We’re happy to announce that Chris Lane has been appointed to the position,” Joe Sheridan, president and chief operating officer, said in a press release. “Chris is innovative, forward thinking and willing to take the calculated risks required to navigate a challenging competitive environment where emerging technologies and changing consumer preferences require us to be nimble and able to respond with urgency.”

One of the larger U.S. retailer-owned cooperatives, Wakefern comprises 50 member companies that own and operate supermarkets under the ShopRite, The Fresh Grocer, PriceRite and Dearborn Market banners. The 70-year-old company reported retail sales of $16 billion during its annual meeting in October.

Lane joined Wakefern in 2003 as vice president of pharmacy and in 2005 added health and beauty care to his responsibilities. By 2008, he was promoted to vice president, grocery, direct store delivery and commercial bakery. In 2011 he was promoted again to senior vice president, non-perishables, and most recently was named senior vice president, product divisions where, in addition to his responsibility for Wakefern’s various procurement divisions, he also led health and wellness initiatives.

Prior to joining Wakefern, Lane served as vice president of pharmacy at Duane Reade. He received his bachelor’s degree in pharmacy from the University of the Sciences, College of Pharmacy in Philadelphia. He is a member of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores Board of Directors and a member of the Trinitas Regional Medical Center Board of Directors. Lane resides in Fair Haven, NJ, with his wife, Kim, and three daughters.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has imposed sanctions on two produce businesses for failure to pay reparation awards issued under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act.

The following businesses and individuals are currently restricted from operating in the produce industry:

  • Angel Chavez, doing business as Pena’s Produce, operating out of Denver, for failing to pay a $40,173 award in favor of a California seller.  As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Chavez was listed as the sole proprietor of the business.

  • Fresh Growers Direct, operating out of Brooklyn, NY, for failing to pay a $31,604 award in favor of a California seller.  As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Yusufov Yuval was listed as the officer, director and major stockholder of the business.

In the past three years, the USDA resolved approximately 3,500 PACA claims involving more than $58 million. Its experts also assisted more than 8,000 callers with issues valued at approximately $140 million.

Oppy has been honored for cultivating one of Canada’s 10 Most Admired Corporate Cultures. The announcement was made by Waterstone Human Capital, a leading retained executive search firm specializing in recruiting for fit and cultural talent management for entrepreneurial-minded, high-growth organizations across North America, in its 2016 enterprise category.oppy

This national program, now in its 12th year, annually recognizes best-in-class Canadian organizations for having cultures that enhance performance and sustain a competitive advantage. Forty winners are annually chosen across four categories; three are based on revenue (growth and small cap, mid-market and enterprise) and one not-for-profit category (broader public sector). Organizations are scored on six categories: vision and leadership, recruitment and hiring for fit, cultural alignment and measurement, retention, rewards and recognition, organizational performance and corporate social responsibility.

“What’s so impressive about our diverse list of 2016 winners is their shared belief that culture is their competitive advantage — they know that building and sustaining a great culture is a significant asset that drives performance,” said Marty Parker, president and chief executive officer of Waterstone Human Capital and chair of Canada’s 10 Most Admired Corporate Cultures. “The winning organizations have shown diverse strategies in achieving inspirational cultures that have measureable results.”

John Anderson, Oppy chairman, president and CEO, has long placed high value on culture, pointing to a healthy culture as a barometer for all aspects of an organization’s success.

“Our culture has been built deliberately and conscientiously over the years,” Anderson said in a press release. “When we launched our expect the world from us promise a dozen years ago, we created clarity around our ethos and our expectations of ourselves and one another. We’re united in our efforts to achieve clearly defined goals, and believe in equipping and empowering everyone at Oppy to do their part. Communication moves in every direction, keeping us strategically and culturally on track.”

Anderson noted that the result of Oppy’s positive culture is high satisfaction proven out by annual staff surveys and low employee turnover.

“The average career at Oppy is about eight years long, though many have celebrated, 20, 30 and even 40 years with the company,” he said. “I’m proud of the amazing teamwork I see here every day. The culture is the engine that keeps the machine running smoothly and effectively — I have no doubt that it’s the key to our success.”