ShopRite’s Kent takes over as chair of N.J. Food Council

ShopRite executive Andrew Kent, a graduate of the New Jersey Food Council’s first Leadership Development Class in 2014, was named the next chairman of the NJFC earlier this month.

Kent, an executive vice president of Glass Gardens ShopRite, will serve a two-year term. He succeeds Wegmans‘ Joseph Sofia.

Kent was one of five officers sworn in. The others:

  • Vice chair: Suzanne DelVecchio, QuickChek Corp.;
  • Secretary: Mike Styer, Albertsons Cos.;
  • Treasurer: Mike Rothwell, Pennington Quality Market;
  • Associate vice chair: Mike Biase, Mission Foods.

Linda Doherty remains the CEO and president of the organization.

Both Kent and Doherty saluted the work that Sofia did, as he led the organization through unprecedented issues brought on by the pandemic.

“It is my intention to follow the path Joe has built and continue to instill the values and principles that have endured from the past 20 chairs before me over the course of the last 53 years,” Kent said.

Doherty had nothing but praise.

“Joe is a thoughtful, genuine and determined leader of the Food Council, and he has served as a remarkable ambassador,” she said. “It is evident in all the pressing issues we have tackled over the last two years during this unscripted global pandemic.

“Joe united our board during our toughest days, and we are grateful for his steadfast leadership and heartfelt passion for our business, our associates and the communities we serve. Personally, having worked side by side with Joe for the last two years, I am grateful for his insight, calm demeanor, curiosity to understand the policy, emotional intellect and his ability to rally our board through uncharted times.”

About the NJFC

The New Jersey Food Council is the Garden State’s preeminent trade association, representing almost 400 companies including 1,200 retail food stores, wholesalers, manufacturing and service companies that collectively employ more than 250,000 associates in New Jersey.

Sofia, a division manager of Wegmans Food Markets, helped the NJFC weather the storm of COVID-19, maintaining strong membership levels, revenue and sponsorships. His guidance also further protected members from proposed policies in Trenton that would prove onerous for the state’s food industry.

Specific achievements include the rollout of the BagUpNJ campaign, a partnership with the New Jersey Clean Communities Council to educate residents about the May 4 ban on paper and plastic shopping bags.

The NJFC helped members tackle vaccine and booster distribution and provided guidance on ever-changing COVID restrictions. The NJFC also supported several youth employment laws, grew its scholarship fund and received a $150,000 state grant to fund a Food Council Food Safety Training program — all under Sofia’s careful stewardship.

“There was no shortage of pressing issues and industry crisis to which the NJFC didn’t rise to the occasion,” Sofia said. “From offering a hybrid calendar of events, to supporting employment legislation that provides much needed relief to members and engaging in important committee work to set our focus and policies, NJFC and our members have never ceased to amaze me in their vision and perseverance.”