Food Fella: From sustainability to supply chain, NJFPA aims to cover crucial topics

The New Jersey Food Processors Association, founded back in the 1930s, has been aggressively stepping up its importance in the state’s food manufacturing community as it prepares for its 2020 conference to be held in March in Atlantic City. 

The volunteer planning committee has been solidifying the final elements of the agenda, and Chair Brian Tannenhaus of BD Engineering has shared the first look at the plan for this annual must-attend event. 

“We will highlight sustainability, supply chain and corporate social responsibility as the educational themes for the March 13 gathering,” he said.

Tannenhaus noted that the committee is leveraging a recent statewide analysis of industry education needs commissioned by the NJFPA. These topics will be broken down even further to ensure that there is content designed for all levels of professional experience and roles within member companies.

“The NJFPA went through a strategic planning exercise this past fall,” noted incoming President Mark Macellaro of Campbell Soup Co. “A significant outcome of that process was a renewed commitment to meaningfully expand the organization’s education footprint over the coming year.”

If you’re not familiar (and why aren’t you?) the NJFPA is a community of food and beverage companies, suppliers and service organizations that promotes industry growth throughout the Garden State region through education, resource sharing and strong member partnerships.

Members of the NJFPA have access to the resources necessary to strengthen their companies, are able to network at a number of association events and via an electronic listserv, and can participate in a number of committees where they can learn about best practices in their areas of expertise.

A new program year also means changes to the NJFPA board of directors.

Current President Eric Hoversen of Comarco Products, along with the incoming president, Macellaro, recently announced the 2021 class of board members. 

Returning to the board, having been elected to a new two-year term, are:

New members of the board, also beginning two-year terms, include:

  • Bill Cornelius, M&T Bank, associate member;
  • Sam Pipitone III, F&S Produce, food processor;
  • Nihal Rivel, Puratos, food processor;
  • Anne Strauss-Widener, NJTPA, strategic adviser.

Good luck to the new board and members of the NJFPA! 

Registration for the annual conference is now available online.

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Table to Table serves up brighter holidays

I’d like to express much gratitude to Table to Table, the community-based food rescue program that collects perishable food otherwise wasted and delivers it to organizations that serve the hungry in Bergen, Essex, Hudson and Passaic counties.

Here at ROI-NJ, we had a firsthand glimpse of the group at our first Food & Beverage Innovation and Solutions Summit in October, as well as at Thanksgiving, as it collected both financial and food donations during the holiday season and worked so hard to help brighten the holidays and every day for our needy neighbors.

The nonprofit organization, based in Hasbrouck Heights, is celebrating its 20th anniversary, and, in those years, they’ve had a tremendous impact in the fight to eradicate food insecurity in northern New Jersey. 

It “rescues” food from about 150 donors (supermarkets, food distributors, restaurants and commercial kitchens) and delivers it the same day free of charge to over 200 community organizations, including food pantries, shelters, day care and after-school programs, senior adult centers, and programs serving the working poor.

Sadly, the fact is that nearly 1 million people in New Jersey are hungry, including 1 in 7 children. Every day, more families line up at food pantries and soup kitchens waiting for Table to Table deliveries, and each week brings calls from additional agencies asking for the fresh, healthy food it secures. Table to Table promised and delivered almost 23 million meals, and its fundraising and management expenses never exceed 4%; at least 98 cents of every dollar goes directly to the operation of vehicles and the delivery of food.

I want to applaud the whole staff: Suzanne D. Brown, Ilene Isaacs, Jan Cohen, Liz Gilbert, Julie Kinner, Emily Force, Carlos Alvarez, Edgar Brieva, Louis Diaz and David Porra, as well as the other employees and volunteers, for their mission to serve our hungry neighbors in need and giving them access to good, wholesome and nutritious food.

We wish all of you a joyous and prosperous New Year!

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From the road: Looking for gourmet? Take a stroll down Dorothy Lane

Photos by Damon Riccio
The exterior of an Ohio-based Dorothy Lane Market, now in its 71st year, continues to be locally owned and opereated by the Maynes family.

As the holiday season quickly came and went, and the chance to wind down 2019 and celebrate with loved ones presented itself once again, the opportunity to travel to see family in nearby states beckoned. 

This time, on my Food Fella holiday express journey, I stumbled across an amazing upscale market thriving in the “Land of Kroger”!

Just outside the Cincinnati-based retail grocery giant Kroger’s headquarters, there is a small group of privately owned specialty grocery stores called Dorothy Lane Market, with three locations in the Dayton area: Oakwood, Springboro and Washington Square/Centerville. The stores vary from about 20,000-30,000 square feet in size.

The location I came across was in Springboro; however, the original store began as a fruit stand. The story goes like this: In 1948, Frank Sakada and Calvin Mayne began selling quality fruits and vegetables in the south Dayton, Ohio, area at the corner of Far Hills Avenue and Dorothy Lane (hence the name of the market, “DLM” for short). Sakada and Mayne would cheerfully greet their customers and shared their love for good food.

For most of the company’s history, the major stockholder was Mayne’s wife, Vera Mayne. She was the one who strengthened the company’s values of integrity and service to the community. She would always say, “Always do the right thing.” It was her idea to establish DLM’s formalized plan of giving that is now known as its Good Neighbor Program. By means of this program, the company has given over $1 million to charity over the years.

Now in its 71st year, Dorothy Lane Market is a trifecta of well-known gourmet supermarkets in the Ohio Valley and continues to be locally owned and operated by the Maynes’ descendants. The stores offer all the staples, with an emphasis on healthy and specialty foods. The company has been recognized for great food and service in national publications as well, including the Wall Street Journal, Fast Company and Gourmet Retailer. 

Interiors range from 20,000 to 30,000 square feet in size and and offer all the staples, with an emphasis on healthy and specialty foods.

According to industry information, the annual company revenue is in the $80 million range and there are just over 800 employees. In 2001 and 2007, DLM also had the distinction of being named one of only six Outstanding Retailers by the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade at the International Fancy Food Show held in New York City. The company also owns a specialty cake bakery behind the Centerville store called Love Cakes by DLM, which supplies all its stores with specially-made and -designed cakes for all occasions.

What was quite impressive about this gourmet retailer was not just its selection and emphasis on local Ohio purveyors of dairy, fruit and vegetables as well as all sorts of beverages, but the selection from all over the country that was available. This is the type of store you might think you would only find in big foodie cities like New York, Chicago, Philadelphia or Seattle. Of course, here in New Jersey, we have our fair share of specialty and gourmet food retailers like Kings Food Markets; Market Basket of Franklin Lakes; Sickles Markets in Little Silver and soon Red Bank; Corrado’s Market in Clifton; Delicious Orchards in Colts Neck; Nicholas Markets, which has now joined forces with Wakefern to roll out the Fresh Grocer concept here, with a similar variety of gourmet and health conscious food selections; and several other specialty food retailers that exist here and do a great job of serving a specific niche.

As our population grows and many millennials and Gen-Xers change their eating habits and buying preferences, it’s great to see that many consumers across the country are looking for unique, gourmet foods and healthier options and how retailers all over the country are consistently working hard to accommodate so many new trends.

Here’s to a great 70-plus years, Dorothy Lane Markets!

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