Oser Communications Group

Gourmet News August 2014

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BY LORRIE BAUMANN The merger of Safeway and Al- bertsons may turn out to be a boon for independent grocery retailers who stand to gain cus- tomers who feel they have been cast adrift by a grocery that no longer feels familiar. This is ac- cording to Bob Ling, President and Chief Executive Officer of Unified Grocers, a cooperative distributorship owned by more than 400 of those independent retailers. "That displaced customer is going to, perhaps, look for alter- natives," says Ling. "When the market is disrupted, people go out and sample. Sometimes they BY LORRIE BAUMANN The British government settled its own controversy about the sanita- tion of cheeses aged on wood a decade ago, and government reg- ulators there have come down on the side of permitting cheese mak- ers to age their cheeses as they think best, says the Right Honor- able Owen Paterson, British Sec- retary of State for the Department of Environment, Food & Rural Affairs. "It should be the cheese manufacturers who decide what to do. They've got a long history," he said. "We believe very strongly that people should be responsible for their own production systems. Brits Offer Solution to Cheese-Aging Controversy: Deregulate Continued on PAGE 7 UPDATE: SFF Wrap-up SEE PAGE 15 MARKETWATCH: Holiday Update SEE PAGE 44 UPDATE: Specialty Meats SEE PAGE 41 Continued on PAGE 6 Continued on PAGE 8 Continued on PAGE 7 What counts is the outcome." According to Paterson, the out- comes that count should be that food should be safe to eat and it should taste good, and the British government has decided that the way to achieve that is to let the experts who are making the prod- ucts decide how to get to that goal. The government learned that through its own missteps in trying to regulate cheese produc- tion methods, he said. "Cheese is not suited to being produced on plastic. It sweats," he said. "It's a natural product, and it sweats." Paterson stopped to promote British food at the Summer Fancy Food Show on his way to a meeting with U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, with whom he is negotiat- ing a trade agreement that he says he is "mad keen" to get through as a step in opening up the American market to more food imports from the European Union. Paterson says that British food producers are well positioned to capitalize on access to the American market. Americans are already enthusi- astic about British products and are already purchasing $3.5 bil- lion/year worth of British food products – about 10 percent of total British food exports. British food production is a $170 bil- lion/year industry that employs just under 4 million people. "It's by far the most innovated food sector in Europe," Paterson said. As an example of how fast British food production is grow- ing, Paterson points to Walkers, which has gone from a small fam- ily bakery with 16 employees baking shortbread cookies to a large enterprise that currently em- ploys 1,600 people. And Walkers is a business that is based prima- rily on exports. Shortbread is not the only Scot- tish product that is enjoying the 2014 sofi Awards Celebrate Inspired Food Industry Independent Grocery Retailers Stand to Gain from Albertsons-Safeway Merger keep going." The merger is also likely to put some properties on the market as the merged chain divests stores in overlapping markets. According to Ling, independent grocers are keeping an eye out for the chance to snap those up and expand their own operations. "When an op- portunity presents itself, the best independents find a way to capi- talize on that," he says. "That's what these guys are all about." A year into his appointment as CEO at Unified Grocers, Ling is thrilled with the new energy he is seeing among the grocery re- tailers who belong to his co-op as the country emerges from the Great Recession. "It's been a very exciting year. We have results both at top line and bottom line that have improved over the year, sometimes significantly," he says. "It's fun." Ling joined Unified Grocers 18 years ago from Mega Foods in Phoenix. Two years ago, he was named President. And a little more than a year ago, he became CEO, following the retirement of Al Plamann. Over the past year, Ling has reorganized the com- pany's leadership team through promotions and new hires, allow- ing some employees to take on BY LORRIE BAUMANN Franchising offers a business model with promise for entrepre- neurs in the specialty foods in- dustry, according to business owners who are succeeding in the industry. Arleen Scavone, a three-peat winner on the Cupcake Wars tel- evision show, turned that expo- sure into a platform from which to launch Sweet Arleen's, a fran- chise chain of cupcake stores Franchising Affords an Avenue to Success for Many Prospective Specialty Retailers headquartered in southern Cali- fornia. The first franchise loca- tion opened this July in Yorba Linda, Calif. A Salt Lake City- metro area store will open in early September, and a third franchise store is scheduled to open in Plano, Texas by mid-October. Another five stores, including three in Las Vegas, are in the planning stages. "Ninety percent of our business is around people who want a cup- cake or a bread pudding now, and they want to eat it on their lap as they drive away or BY LUCAS WITMAN "Inspiration" was the main theme for the sofi Awards presentation and keynote address at the 2014 Summer Fancy Food Show. At- tendees gathered on Monday June 30, the second day of the show, to celebrate the inspirational scions at the forefront of the specialty food industry and to recognize some of the most inspired new products introduced at the show. "Inspiration for me comes from everywhere," said celebrated pas- try chef Dominique Ansel in his keynote address at the awards. In his speech, Ansel, the innovative talent responsible for the inven- tion of the Cronut™, a much sought-after donut-croissant hy- brid, among other unprecedented pastry creations, praised those who think outside the box, trying new things and never being afraid to fail. "Ideas are like things. You can't keep it forever – keep it and not use it," said Ansel. "You have to use it and try it." For Ansel, the secret to success is always push- ing himself to think outside the box and come up with the next big thing. "I will never stop thinking, and I will never stop trying new VOLUME 79, NUMBER 8 AUGUST 2014 n $7.00 TRADE SHOW BUZZ n NY NOW to Showcase 600 New Exhibitors Spanning All Home and Lifestyle Categories PAGE 8 HOT PRODUCTS n Maury Island Farms Jams and Pre- serves PAGE 9 SUPPLIER BUSINESS n Robert Rothschild Farm Celebrates 30th Anniversary at Summer Fancy Food PAGE 11 RETAILER NEWS n Cutting-Edge Craft and Creative Cuisine Come Together at D.C.-Area's Urban Butcher PAGE 12 SPECIALTY DISTRIBUTORS & BROKERS n Mainstreaming of Specialty Products Provides Opportunities for Grocery Retailers PAGE 14 News ..............................................4 Ad Index .......................................55 Smorgasbord ................................55 www.gourmetnews.com G OURMET N EWS T H E B U S I N E S S N E W S P A P E R F O R T H E G O U R M E T I N D U S T R Y ®

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