Food Fella: Food Council feeling good as gold at anniversary celebration

Richard Saker, from right, celebrates the NJFC's 50th anniversary with Linda Doherty and James Ostling of Bimbo Bakeries.

It was truly a night to remember, as the New Jersey Food Council capped off its 50th anniversary with a grand celebration at the Park Chateau Estate and Gardens in East Brunswick. You could feel the nostalgia in the packed room, with a who’s who from the food industry in attendance. 

NJFC’s 50th anniversary was a hit.

The powerful voice for the retail food industry in Trenton marked its founding 50 years ago in the living room of Joseph Saker, when a group of supermarket owners and food manufacturers assembled to form the New Jersey Food Council. The goal was to build an alliance of food professionals dedicated to making their voice and interests known and supported in legislative and regulatory issues at the State House. It’s safe to say that the organization has been successful in that original goal and continues to strengthen itself all these years later. 

It was quite fitting to be marking this milestone with Richard Saker, son of Joseph Saker, as the board chairman who has now completed his term. Although much has changed in the food retail industry these past 50 years and continues to change at a rapid pace, the things that have remained are the strong bonds of friendships and the strong business relationships.


As this organization is now poised for future growth, enough can’t be said about Linda Doherty, its president, whose reign is now heading into its 27th year. She has been masterful in her role, and the staff at NJFC continue to be an effective group that remains dedicated to its mission. Wishing Doherty, the NJFC staff, members, sponsors and supporters another 50-plus years of success in building an even stronger food industry in New Jersey that works for retailers, manufacturers and consumers alike.

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For more about the New Jersey Food Council go to:

From top: The management team from Kings Food Markets enjoying the evening. Rich Durante, DGP, Judy Spires, Kings Food Markets, and Tim Brahney, CBA Industries. The fine folks from Calandra’s Bakery: Jennifer Maldonado, Anthony Calandra and Kristin Calandra. Michael Tarloff, C&S Wholesale Grocers, Joe Fantozzi, Allegiance Retail Services, and Kevin Gallagher, Food Trade News. Lawrence Inserra, lll and Lawrence Inserra Jr. of Inserra Supermarkets.

Looking good: Puratos, alongside NJMEP, shows off new manufacturing facility

Another positive sign for New Jersey’s food manufacturing community, as the Puratos Corp. has completed construction and cut the ribbon on a new, modern manufacturing facility in Pennsauken recently. The New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program, in conjunction with the management team from Puratos, put together an exciting tour of the new facility and all the state-of-the-art features and technology being used. John W. Kennedy, CEO and president of NJMEP, was on hand with a management team from the private, not-for-profit organization that works to improve the profitability and competitiveness of New Jersey’s manufacturers.

Puratos’ U.S. headquarters and Innovation Center is just up the block from the new manufacturing facility. Puratos was also awarded a “Made in New Jersey” plaque honoring the company’s $56 million investment to build the manufacturing plant.

The executive team of Puratos, along with local government officials, cut the ribbon on the new facility.

This facility has the distinction of being a 100 million-pound production plant for Puratos, with over 200 employees working on site. Some of the retail clients the company works with are Costco, Wakefern and ShopRite, as well as a host of other well-known supermarket chains across the country; international consumer packaged goods companies; and small artisan bakeries.

Puratos, an international group, offers a full range of innovative products and application expertise for artisans, industry, retailers and food service customers in the bakery, patisserie and chocolate sectors. Its world headquarters is located on the outskirts of Brussels, Belgium, where the company was founded in 1919 and still operates as a family company — although it now has more than 10,000 employees worldwide, with products and services available in over 100 countries around the world. 

One theme that was shared by Puratos during the tour is its commitment to acting as a responsible entrepreneur and appealing to a customer base that will increasingly attach more importance to the sustainability impact of its food in the future. 

“Helping our customers be even more successful with their businesses is behind our continuing expansion here in the United States,” Daniel Malcorps, Puratos Group CEO, said. “With this new Innovation Center, we want to inspire our customers with better ideas based on consumer expectations and support them in the development of their products and help them solve technical challenges.” 

Congratulations to Puratos for this new center for manufacturing, and to NJMEP and the collaboration that helped this client expand here in New Jersey!

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For more on Puratos, go to, or for more about the New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program, go to