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Food Equipment News 4 3 Saturday, February 9, 2019 To Everything Food, There's a New Seasons By Lorrie Baumann New Seasons Market sees itself not just as a grocery retailer but as a supporter of the regional food economy. New Seasons, founded in 1999, has 21 stores under its banner, with 18 in the Portland, Oregon, metropolitan area, two in Seattle, Washington, and one in San Jose, California. The company also operates four New Leaf Community Market stores operating out of Santa Cruz, California. The stores employ more than 4,000 peo- ple. All of those who work 24 hours a week qualify for medical leave, health benefits, paid time off for Thanksgiving and Christmas, profit-sharing and other benefits. "We focus a lot on fresh, quality and local. All the merchandising and market- ing we do is around those principles," said Chris Tjersland, New Seasons' Director of Brand Strategy and Development. "You'll know when you walk into the store that we really high- light produce. We do fresh, local sourc- ing of meat. At New Seasons you come and shop with the idea that it's an event. Solution centers sample products every day, and you can taste what's fresh in the produce depart- ment. We have a lot of shoppers who come in on a daily basis because it's part of their routine." As a certified B Corporation, New Seasons commits 10 percent of after-tax profits to the communities it serves, and as part of that, the company supports a variety of programs to help local food producers succeed in the specialty food industry. Those efforts include "Getting Your Recipe to Market," a partnership with Portland Community College and Oregon State University's Food Innovation Center. It's a 14-week pro- gram in which food producers can take their idea from concept to finished prod- uct that they can present to buyers. New Seasons also participates in Ventures, a Seattle, Washington, non-profit organiza- tion that supports women-owned busi- nesses, especially food entrepreneurs, partly by providing basic business class- es, and Portland Mercado, a business foundations boot camp, and in Adelante Mujeres, a non-profit focused on educa- tion and training for low-income Latina women who want to start their own busi- ness or launch their own product. At the core of its support for the regional food economy is its robust Partner Brand program, a private label program that specializes in sourcing products made within 500 miles of Portland. "We try to target and support minority- and women-owned businesses and target companies with fewer than 50 employees," said Tjersland, who was hired by New Seasons six and a half years ago to create the private label pro- gram. The New Seasons private label pro- gram is built around supporting the local food economy rather than creating a price-driven line of products, Tjersland said. "Creating a traditional program wasn't going to fit with what we do as a company," he said. "Instead of creat- ing a value-driven program, we source local when- ever possible, we're very trans- parent from seed to shelf, and we use simple, clean ingredients." The New Seasons Partner Brand product line now includes 300 products that come from 43 suppliers. About 80 percent of the prod- ucts are sourced locally, and in terms of dollars, about 25 to 30 percent of the product is made by small companies. The line has seen double-digit growth year over year for the past six years. The New Seasons products are labeled with a bright-orange call-out on the front of the package that tells shop- pers who made the product they're buy- ing and where they're located. The lineup includes fresh and dried pasta, milk, butter and eggs and tortilla chips, among others. The pop- corn uses local sea salt from Jacobsen Salt Company, hand harvest- ed from the company's salt works in Netarts Bay, Oregon, and the blue cheese in the Butternut & Blue Cheese Ravioli comes from Rogue Creamery in Central Point, Oregon. New Seasons Raspberry Fruit Spread was created by Kelly's Jelly in Portland, Oregon and was made with fruit from Bauman's Farms in Gervais, Oregon. "It makes it a little bit more unique for our customers; it's a brand concept that they wouldn't find at other retail stores," Tjersland said. Some of those products were pitched by their existing producers who had a recipe they wanted to try out as a new- product launch; some of them come from producers who were willing to make a product based on an inspiration that came to Tjersland while he was visiting a trade show; and some of them came from entrepreneurs who were just getting start- ed in the business. "We go with the idea that we're looking for innovation, prod- ucts that we can source from a local pro- ducer, and we look at things they can do with their own local twist," Tjersland said. One example is a pair of Korean sauces – a gochujang and a garlic-sesame sauce created by a family who produces a local kimchi. They had family recipes for the sauces and wanted to create them as a retail product, Tjersland said. "It's an opportunity for them to create the prod- uct and determine if it's feasible for them to launch under their own brand," he said. "If they want to develop it as a prod- uct that they'd sell to other stores, I would not have a problem with that." The emphasis for the line is on small batches of artisanal products as well as on local sourcing. Products are responsi- bly priced based on a fair price for a qual- ity, locally-made artisan product, Tjersland said. "Not too high that you wouldn't consider buying it, but enough to help people recognize that they're sup- porting the local vendors." That emphasis on supporting the local food economy has been with the privately-held com- pany since it was founded more than 18 years ago, and many of the supplier relationships that the company built when the first store opened are still operating today, Tjersland said. "As we've grown, we've made sure we keep those relation- ships and work with them so that they can grow along with us," he said. If New Seasons' needs outstrip what a local farmer or fisherman is able to provide, the company will look for other suppliers who can augment supply to help support the grocery chain's growth, he added. That growth has been supported by the Pacific Northwest's strong food cul- ture and culinary presence. "Consumers are looking for a place where they can source a lot of products that are local," Tjersland said. "We have a customer base that is generally more supportive of the local food economy. Portland has a vibrant farmers market community that plays into the ethic, and the New Seasons stores are an extension of those farmers market providing vendors with other avenues where they can sell their goods." The emphasis on local suppliers adds a level of complexity to store oper- ations. Whereas a large store belonging to another grocery chain might see 30 to 40 deliveries a day, a New Seasons store might get 65 or 70, Tjersland said. Some farmers are only able to grow enough produce to supply a few of the New Seasons stores, requiring the grocers to deal with multiple suppliers for the same produce variety. "But what they do might be so special or so delicious," Tjersland said. "We try to set ourselves up to be very flexible." "In terms of the New Seasons brand and the products we sell, it's our largest brand in the grocery department of our stores. It's gotten to the point where we get product recommendations from our customers. They'll sometimes ask for products from specific producers," he added. "Over 18 years, we've created a lot of equity in our brand. Consumers trust the product." Power Knot Offers Environmentally- Conscious LFC Biodigester Businesses can increase their profits by nearly $2 billion annually by adopting strategies to reduce the amount of dis- carded waste food that is eventually sent to landfills. Cutting the amount of foods that get tossed into trash bins across the U.S. by 20 percent over the next decade can save billions for businesses and reduce the amount of discarded food by 13 million tons a year. Approximately 40 percent of all food produced in the U.S. goes uneaten, contributing to myriad social and envi- ronmental problems; much of it ends up in overflowing landfills. Food decompos- ing in landfills emits methane, a green- house gas 84 times as potent as carbon dioxide (CO 2 ). In total, about 4.5 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and 23 percent of U.S. methane emissions result from waste food. The amount of money being thrown away due to the cost of waste food is astronomical for some businesses. Using methods to cut waste food not only lessens the amount sent to landfills, but actually saves a ton of money. A big problem for many is to know where to start. Businesses need to understand when the waste is generated, how much is generated, and what can they do with that waste to dispose of it in an environ- mentally safe manner. The Power Knot LFC biodigester is like a stainless steel stomach that digests the waste food, sending the output as grey water down the drain. It sits in the kitchen and works all day, every day divert- ing that organic mate- rial from landfills. As it does, it weighs the amount of waste and reports it in real time on a color touch screen and through the LFC Cloud, a free online service. You cannot control what you can't measure, and the statistics on the LFC biodigester allow stakeholders to understand when and how much wastage there is. Diverting the waste food from landfills saves the business money, conserves limited landfill space and greatly reduces the carbon foot- print of the business. The LFC biodigester is a reliable and cost-effective solution to the chal- lenge of corporate social responsibility that is faced by hospi- tals, restaurants, univer- sities, stadia, arenas and companies of all sizes. All are plagued to vari- ous degrees by high amounts of waste food. The seven different LFC models treat from 50 pounds up to 4,000 pounds of waste food per day, allowing any kitchen to cleanly and safely break down the waste on site. This has shown continu- ing savings for businesses on the bot- tom line – resulting in higher profits, as well as generating goodwill in their respective communities and with the ever-growing number of environmen- tally-conscious consumers. Visit Power Knot at booth #883. For more information, email powerknot @powerknot.com or call 408.889.8433.

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