“Beyond Essential” is the theme of the upcoming year for the New Jersey Food Council — and perhaps a rightful vision for an industry that did so much during the pandemic.
Now, it aims to do more.
At its annual meeting Jan. 31, the group selected two new board members in an effort to do just that: Todd Ferrera, vice president and district manager of food market operations for Wegmans Food Markets, and Pete Contino, store manager of Weis Markets.
NJFC members also elected their 2023 officers, including a second term as chairman for Andrew Kent of Glass Gardens ShopRite.
NJFC CEO Linda Doherty said the group is ready to go.
“The COVID pandemic fully recognized our food industry now as something we have always known: We are a lifeline and cornerstone of the community,” she said.
They are also a group with great impact.
In 2022, the trade association navigated the nation’s most ambitious plastic bag law and single-use bag ban in the nation. Since the law went into effect May 4 of last year, NJFC members have saved more than 4.8 billion plastic bags and 96 million paper bags from entering the waste cycle.
The association also participated in a victorious court case regarding a “slip and fall,” battled harmful state legislation, increased membership, grew its scholarship fund and saved participating members $24 million in electric utility costs.
Doherty said more challenges are ahead.
“While we are proud of these victories, the food industry will still face policy and regulatory challenges in this upcoming state election year, when all 120 legislative seats are up for election,” she said. “However, your Food Council is prepared and positioned to tackle these obstacles in our united effort to better our industry and preserve our reputation as Beyond Essential.”
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.
During the event, the NJFC also announced the start of the 2023 Education Scholarship Program, with the NJFC offering 30 scholarship awards totaling $97,500 this year. The deadline to apply is April 17.
NJFC also unveiled its 2023 sponsors, a premier group of members who have made a financial and organizational commitment to advance the association’s mission in Trenton. NJFC now has 45 sponsors — the strongest showing ever.
The following are the NJFC officers for 2023:
- Chair: Andrew Kent, Glass Gardens ShopRite;
- Vice chair: Suzanne Delveccio, QuickChek;
- Associate vice chair: Nicholas Brown, KraftHeinz Co.;
- Treasurer: Michael Rothwell, Pennington Quality Market;
- Secretary: Michael Styer, Acme Markets;
- CEO: Linda Doherty, N.J. Food Council.