NatureSweet teams with Weber Grills for Glorys of Grilling contest

NatureSweet Ltd., a leading grower of premium branded fresh tomatoes based in San Antonio, TX, will join forces once again with Weber Grills to host a summer grilling sweepstakes.glor

Contestants are invited to visit NatureSweet Glorys of Grilling displays in participating retailers nationwide for money-saving coupons, great grilling ideas and instructions on how to enter for a chance to win weekly giveaways of Weber Q1200 Gas Grills or the Ultimate Weber Grill Prize Package, valued at $3,000.

Contestants can enter the Glorys of Grilling Sweepstakes by submitting a photo or video and description of their favorite grilled Glorys masterpiece on glorysofgrilling.com. Once photos or videos are submitted, entrants are encouraged to share their entries across social media.

Judging of all photo and video recipe submissions will be based on relevance (aligning with the contest theme “Glorys of Grilling”), creativity (how compelling the image and description are and portray the theme), and audience support (votes, views, reviews and attention across the Internet).

The Glorys of Grilling promotion kicked off May 18 and will run until July 5. For a complete set of contest rules, more information, and to enter, visit glorysofgrilling.com.

Bi-Lo rebranded as Southeastern Grocers

Bi-Lo Holdings, parent company of Bi-Lo, Harveys and Winn-Dixie, has officially changed its name to Southeastern Grocers, effective May 18.selo

"This change symbolizes that regardless of whether we work for BI-LO, Harveys or Winn-Dixie, we are all part of a unified family with a common aim to do the best we can for all of our customers across the Southeast,” the company said in a statement.

In addition to launching a new website, www.segrocers.com, Southeastern Grocers unveiled its new logo. 

The company is the fifth-largest conventional supermarket chain in the United States and the second-largest conventional supermarket in the Southeast based on store count. The company employs nearly 72,000 associates who serve customers in 790 grocery stores and 527 in-sto​re pharmacies in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.

Potandon Produce and Johnny’s Fine Foods announce year four of trailer tour

The joint marketing partnership between Potandon Produce and Johnny’s Fine Foods has been renewed for the fourth consecutive year and the sampling team is gearing up to hit the road. MG 2658

Utilizing their custom made 1950s diner-style sampling trailer, the partners travel the winding roads of America, bringing food, fun and a host of incredible tastes to all types of consumers. With events ranging from corporate luncheons to county fairs to individual store samplings, the opportunities to share different preparation and taste combinations are endless. Fresh potatoes are broiled, grilled, or sautéed and served with many different spices, seasonings and sauces at the events. Coupons, household items, and literature are also shared with the attendees.    

The tour will kick off in June in Salt Lake City and will travel on a meandering route with stops in Iowa, Nebraska, Illinois, South Dakota, Montana, Washington, North Dakota and Minnesota throughout the summer months. Late summer and fall dates will be in Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Maryland. The trailer will finish up the 2015 tour with an appearance at PMA Fresh Summit in Atlanta.

The marketing group at Potandon will be contacting retailers and wholesalers over the next few months to schedule sampling events when the trailer is in their area. Potandon will also be devoting a section of its website to chronicle this season’s events along with a master event calendar, photo gallery and social media support.

Kings Just Picked Promise produce returns for the summer

Kings Food Markets is bringing back its exclusive 24 Hour Just Picked Promise this summer, beginning May 22. The program is designed to bring Kings’ customers locally grown, farm-fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs within 24 hours of being picked — giving shoppers the benefits of a local farm stand in the convenience of their neighborhood food markets. The program will run Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day.kings

“Each summer, we look forward to bringing the Just Picked Promise Program to our customers,” Judy Spires, president and chief executive officer of Kings Food Markets, said in a press release. “This exclusive program allows us to deliver the freshest produce available from our shoppers’ local community. As soon as customers see the Just Picked Promise seal, they know they are purchasing high-quality products just like what they find at their local produce stand.”

Kings works with a network of more than 25 regional farmers to deliver all of its Just Picked produce fresh to Kings stores within 24 hours of being hand-picked. Local farmers supplying the program select only the freshest, seasonal products in the morning, and through an expedited distribution process, they are delivered to Kings’ stores and prepared for sale the next day. The program is unique to Kings and was developed in partnership with Massachusetts-based Red Tomato, a non-profit organization committed to better connecting farmers and consumers.

“Freshness equals time,” Paul Kneeland, vice president of produce, meat, seafood and floral for Kings Food Markets, said in the release. “That’s why we are so proud to bring back our 24 Hour Just Picked Promise. Our growers are committed to bringing the freshest, highest quality local produce to our stores every delivery.”

Kings customers looking to support local farmers can look for the "24 Hour Just Picked Promise" seal in Kings stores. The items available at each store will vary daily; although customers can expect to find summer staples like arugula, basil, cilantro, lettuce, squash, mint, blueberries, cucumbers, kale and tomatoes with the Just Picked Promise.

The company will provide updates online — at www.kingsfoodmarkets.com, on Twitter or by liking Kings on Facebook — so consumers know which Just Picked products are available.

PMA official says companies should have FSMA plan in place before rules are finalized

The Food & Drug Administration is putting the final touches on its implementation strategy for the new food-safety program, and produce companies should be doing the same, James Gorny, vice president of food safety and technology at the Produce Marketing Association, said at the recent Food Safety Summit in Baltimore.

The Food Safety Modernization Act rule for produce won’t be finalized until later this year, and Gorny said water and manure standards may change, but 80-90 percent of the rule is likely to change little from the proposed version.

It’s time to make company owners and chief executives aware of what’s coming, and don’t just prepare for the produce-safety changes, he said at the Baltimore meeting. All of the seven FSMA regulations, particularly the sanitary transportation rule, will affect how companies do business, he warned.

The FDA is planning education and outreach for produce companies and is working with the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture to develop a farm-based pre-assessment inspection to help farmers know if they’re complying with the law before the FDA starts enforcing it, said Fazila Shakir, fellow with the FDA’s produce safety staff.

Bob Ehart, senior policy adviser for NASDA, warned that no one has rolled out such an ambitious, on-farm food-safety program before, and while farmers want state agriculture agencies to act as “buffers” between companies and the FDA, it’s still unclear how many states will adopt the produce rule changes.

NASDA is in the process of asking states what will be required in terms of resources and training to implement the law.

Ehart said without a steady funding stream to states, Congress might find “passing FSMA was not a really good idea.”

Eva Lauve, scheduling and food-safety manager for Stemilt Growers, a Washington-based tree fruit firm, said she’s 95 percent confident her company can meet the new produce requirements. Stemilt already went through a change in food-safety culture in 2003 when it required growers to maintain food-safety plans. Lauve said the biggest challenge would lie in meeting the new water-testing standards.

In a separate session, Joe Levitt, partner at Hogan Lovells, advised companies preparing for FSMA compliance to live by a simple motto: “You are what your records say you are.” 

FDA will be embracing a systems-based approach to inspections and companies will need to prove they are following a preventive controls program and have the records to show it.

Levitt, a former director of FDA’s Center for Food Safety & Applied Nutrition, suggested that although the agency is moving toward an “educate before you regulate” philosophy, enforcement will be much more swift under FSMA if inspectors find problems.

No one thinks FDA inspections will be a breeze, he added.