Blog Archives

Hen House to Make Mozzarella In-Store [With Video]

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — All Hen House Market stores will begin selling store-made fresh mozzarella on July 5, the retailer announced on its Facebook page.

Associates gathered today to learn to pull the cheese, which Hen House documented in a Facebook photo album and a Vine video.

The retailer’s Facebook fans reacted favorably to the news. “Delish,” said one fan.

There are 11 Hen House locations, operated by Ball’s Food Stores, in the Kansas City area.

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Supermarket News

LGMA Training Video Features Foodborne Illness Victims

A new food safety video for California farm workers features the stories of foodborne illness victims.

Together, STOP Foodborne Illness and California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement (LGMA) produced a video that will be used during training for workers who produce leafy greens in California. It features the stories of Rylee Gustafson and Lauren Bush – both of whom became ill from E. coli in spinach in 2006 – as a means to illustrate why complying with food safety rules is so important.

From left: LGMA member, Dan Sutton, victims Rylee Gustafson and Lauren Bush, and Gustafson’s mother, Kathleen Chrismer.

Gustafson got sick two days after her ninth birthday. What started as just a pain in her stomach led to kidney failure, loss of vision, loss of hearing and swelling around her brain and her heart.

It was really emotional for me because I felt the world was collapsing,” Gustafson, who thought she was going to die, said in the video.

Bush was a junior in college when she ate contaminated spinach. When she first got sick, she said she felt like she had the flu, but within four days, she was hemorrhaging.

“The minute that you stop remembering is when mistakes are made – is when people skip steps,” Bush said in the video. “Skipping steps and forgetting that your choices directly impact somebody across the country from you that’s eating your product… that’s a big responsibility.”

During a press call Wednesday, Michael Taylor, deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, called the video a “wonderful demonstration of how we can understand the common interest that we all have in food safety.”

“Training is a critical tool in making sure everyone on our farms knows about and understands proper food safety practices,” said Ryan Talley, LGMA chairman. “But in order to truly educate people and make real change, not only does everyone on the farm need to understand what to do, but they should also know why food safety is so important.”

STOP CEO, Deirdre Schlunegger, said that it will reach the people “on the front line of producing our food” through the LGMA Tech training program which targets supervisors and lead food safety personnel who are responsible for ensuring that all workers are adequately trained in their company’s food safety program and the LGMA food safety practices.

Dan Sutton, LGMA member and general manager of Pismo-Oceano Vegetable Growers Exchange, said during the press call that he participated in a training hosted by LGMA Tech last week where the video incorporated into the program – he believed for the first time.

“As the video concluded, there was nothing but absolute silence in the room,” he said. “I began to look around at the other attendees and quickly realized this video did have the impact – it had meaning and it will be a powerful training tool.”

During an interview also featured in the new video, Sutton explained that he needs others “to understand that this is why we do what we do, this is why food safety is important, this is why we go to efforts that we go to.”

Food Safety News

LGMA Training Video Features Foodborne Illness Victims

A new food safety video for California farm workers features the stories of foodborne illness victims.

Together, STOP Foodborne Illness and California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement (LGMA) produced a video that will be used during training for workers who produce leafy greens in California. It features the stories of Rylee Gustafson and Lauren Bush – both of whom became ill from E. coli in spinach in 2006 – as a means to illustrate why complying with food safety rules is so important.

From left: LGMA member, Dan Sutton, victims Rylee Gustafson and Lauren Bush, and Gustafson’s mother, Kathleen Chrismer.

Gustafson got sick two days after her ninth birthday. What started as just a pain in her stomach led to kidney failure, loss of vision, loss of hearing and swelling around her brain and her heart.

It was really emotional for me because I felt the world was collapsing,” Gustafson, who thought she was going to die, said in the video.

Bush was a junior in college when she ate contaminated spinach. When she first got sick, she said she felt like she had the flu, but within four days, she was hemorrhaging.

“The minute that you stop remembering is when mistakes are made – is when people skip steps,” Bush said in the video. “Skipping steps and forgetting that your choices directly impact somebody across the country from you that’s eating your product… that’s a big responsibility.”

During a press call Wednesday, Michael Taylor, deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, called the video a “wonderful demonstration of how we can understand the common interest that we all have in food safety.”

“Training is a critical tool in making sure everyone on our farms knows about and understands proper food safety practices,” said Ryan Talley, LGMA chairman. “But in order to truly educate people and make real change, not only does everyone on the farm need to understand what to do, but they should also know why food safety is so important.”

STOP CEO, Deirdre Schlunegger, said that it will reach the people “on the front line of producing our food” through the LGMA Tech training program which targets supervisors and lead food safety personnel who are responsible for ensuring that all workers are adequately trained in their company’s food safety program and the LGMA food safety practices.

Dan Sutton, LGMA member and general manager of Pismo-Oceano Vegetable Growers Exchange, said during the press call that he participated in a training hosted by LGMA Tech last week where the video incorporated into the program – he believed for the first time.

“As the video concluded, there was nothing but absolute silence in the room,” he said. “I began to look around at the other attendees and quickly realized this video did have the impact – it had meaning and it will be a powerful training tool.”

During an interview also featured in the new video, Sutton explained that he needs others “to understand that this is why we do what we do, this is why food safety is important, this is why we go to efforts that we go to.”

Food Safety News

Stemilt brings locales to life in new Rushing Rivers Pear video

Rushing-Rivers-Pears

Stemilt is giving consumers a look at its world renowned pear locales in a new video that highlights the company’s heritage and its position growing and packing pears in Washington state’s Wenatchee and Entiat river valleys.

The video features high-definition aerial footage that was shot by a drone helicopter during harvest. Throughout the short video, second-generation pear growers Mike Taylor and Rudy Prey tell the story of where Stemilt’s Rushing Rivers pears come from and what makes the two river valleys the best in the world for growing pears.

The Rushing Rivers pear video debuted at PMA Fresh Summit, and now Stemilt has taken it to its website, blog and social media channels in order to share with consumers what makes Rushing Rivers pears so unique.

“We know from research and our own engagement with consumers that people want to know where their food comes from and who grew it, so we focused this video on telling that story,” Roger Pepperl, Stemilt marketing director, said in a press release.Rushing-Rivers-Pears “The locales Rushing Rivers pears come from are to pears what the Napa Valley is to wine. We want consumers to experience these locales and visually sharing our farms and passion for quality with them in this video allows them to do just that.”

Stemilt and its long-time pear partners, Peshastin Hi-Up Growers, have been growing pears in the Wenatchee River Valley and Entiat River Valley for decades. These two river valleys run parallel of each other and are separated only by the peaks of the Cascade Mountain range. The alpine peaks keep orchards cool during the warm summer months and serve to protect delicate pears. The two rivers are recharged by fresh mountain snowpack each spring to provide a pure and plentiful water source for producing dessert-flavored pears.

“The video focuses on the unique features of the Wenatchee and Entiat river valleys and how those features combine to create a perfect growing environment where pears thrive. It’s the story that our family growers in the area have known and told for so long, and the story that consumers hear first-hand in the Rushing Rivers pear video,” Pepperl said in the release.

Back in August, Stemilt introduced “Rushing Rivers” as its label for pears and began packing pears in a new carton. The white box features the Rushing Rivers logo and tagline “the best pear locales in the world,” and just like the video, helps tell the story of where the pears inside came from and how they were grown.

“The ‘Rushing Rivers’ label and new carton is already proving to be a great merchandising vehicle for pears,” Pepperl said. “Displays and signage around Rushing Rivers allow retailers to bring the beauty of where Stemilt pears come from and the passion that goes into growing each one, into their stores. Pears should be prominently displayed during the late fall and winter seasons and promoting Rushing Rivers pears is a perfect way to build category excitement and repeat purchases among shoppers.”

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Video: Walmart ‘doesn’t resonate’ with the middle class, analyst says

Andrew Wolf of BB&T Capital Markets says Walmart hasn’t been able to move its “addressable market” up to middle-income consumers.

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Video: Analyst foresees some Walmart ‘cannibalization’

BB&T Capital’s Andrew Wolf, in this video shot during SN’s 2014 Analysts Roundtable (Part 1), says it’s “too soon to say” how Walmart’s new focus on its Neighborhood Markets will affect the performance of its Supercenters, but he does expect some “cannibalization” to occur. He also discusses Whole Food Market’s move toward more competitive prices, and its increased competition from Mariano’s, Sprouts and others, plus convention retailers with greater emphasis on natural/organic.

Roundtable Part 2: Weighing in on Safeway, Kroger, Walmart

Roundtable Part 3: Natural and organics, Sprouts, Wholesalers

Video production by Jim Haines
Interview by Jon Springer

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Supermarket News

Video: Analyst foresees some Walmart ‘cannibalization’

BB&T Capital’s Andrew Wolf, in this video shot during SN’s 2014 Analysts Roundtable (Part 1), says it’s “too soon to say” how Walmart’s new focus on its Neighborhood Markets will affect the performance of its Supercenters, but he does expect some “cannibalization” to occur. He also discusses Whole Food Market’s move toward more competitive prices, and its increased competition from Mariano’s, Sprouts and others, plus convention retailers with greater emphasis on natural/organic.

Roundtable Part 2: Weighing in on Safeway, Kroger, Walmart

Roundtable Part 3: Natural and organics, Sprouts, Wholesalers

Video production by Jim Haines
Interview by Jon Springer

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Supermarket News

Mercy Goes After Big Cheese With Video Taken at NM Dairy

The Los Angeles-based Mercy for Animals has a knack for uncovering animal abuse, often in isolated places, that is the kind imposing enough stress and pain to also be a food safety concern and egregious enough to bring condemnation by world-renowned animal-welfare experts.

A week ago, the group shared its latest undercover report and video with the New Mexico Livestock Board. Ray E. Baca, executive director of that state law enforcement agency, told Food Safety News the “workers’ mistreatment of dairy cattle as seen in (the) online video” is now the subject of a Livestock Board investigation.

Baca said the board “takes allegations of animal cruelty very seriously.” Upon completion of the investigation, it will make a report to the Chavez County District Attorney’s Office, which will decide if anyone should be prosecuted.

The investigation involves the Winchester Dairy located near tiny Dexter, NM, about a half-hour south of Roswell, NM. It was there that the undercover video was taken, and Mercy documents the location in a separate video released to the media showing that its operative was present at the dairy as recently as August.

Using a hidden camera, Mercy’s operative recorded workers abusing the cows, even stabbing them with screwdrivers and dragging “downer” cows with a tractor in some of the most sickening video seen since the one showing a front-end loader shoving cows into the kill box at a Chico, CA, slaughterhouse emerged in 2010. (That undercover investigation, carried out by the Humane Society of the United States, resulted in the largest beef recall in history from the supplier to the National School Lunch Program.)

Since Mercy revealed the Winchester video, the dairy fired the workers who are shown abusing cows in the video and apparently temporarily shut down operations and relocated its cows. And yesterday, Mercy launched a public relations campaign regarding the disturbing incident.

The immediate targets of the campaign are the nation’s top pizza chains such as Domino’s, Pizza Hut and Papa John’s. That’s because they get much of their cheese from Denver-based Leprino Foods, the world’s largest producer of mozzarella. Mercy’s website now carries its slickly produced “Slice of Cruelty” campaign aimed at sharing the sickening abuse video with activists (and consumers).

Mercy’s PR experts know their social media strategy will usually bring a response from corporate targets in fairly short order. By early afternoon on Wednesday, Leprino Foods, noting that the company “cares deeply about the health and welfare of the animals on the farms that supply our milk,” announced that because of the animal abuse, it had terminated all shipments from Winchester Dairy. “Leprino Foods is not receiving any milk from this operation,” the company said.

At the same time, Leprino expressed confidence in New Mexico dairy farmers. “This incident does not reflect the daily care and comfort that New Mexico dairy farmers provide their cows,” the Leprino statement said. “The farm has taken quick and decisive action. Information about the incident was immediately shared with the proper New Mexico authorities, who are conducting an investigation so that the individuals responsible can be held accountable for their actions.”

Meanwhile, Tim McIntyre, vice president of communications for Domino’s, said that while no act of cruelty can ever be condoned, this was an isolated incident at one dairy farm out of 47,000 in the U.S. He said Mercy should be thanked for bringing the behavior of the workers to light, but he also noted they have been fired, the report is being thoroughly investigated, and the dairy has moved its herd to the care of other farms.

“What we do know is it is not an issue with our cheese supplier (Leprino’s),” McIntyre said.

Mercy last mixed it up with a state’s dairy industry early this year in Idaho where it unsuccessfully opposed a new agricultural protection law designed to prevent these sorts of undercover investigations. In its attempts to prevent passage of the law, Mercy released additional video from its 2012 undercover investigation of Bettencourt Dairy showing workers sexually molesting animals.

That upset the Idaho Dairymen’s Association, which said it showed that Mercy’s goals are more about hurting the dairy industry and its brands than protecting animals. Bettencourt fired the five workers involved in that incident, and they were subsequently convicted of animal abuse but apparently without the molestation video ever figuring in the criminal investigation.

Release of the sexual molestation video also backfired on Mercy as the Idaho Legislature joined Utah, Iowa and Missouri in passing what critics call “ag-gag” laws making it illegal to go undercover and shoot video of animal agricultural operations without permission from the owner. (North Dakota, Montana and Kansas have earlier versions of agricultural protection laws that were passed in 1990-91.)

Idaho’s new law is currently being challenged by other animal-rights groups and media organizations for its potential violations of the First and 14th amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

This time, however, Mercy’s PR professionals say their video evidence “was immediately turned over” to New Mexico officials. They also vetted the serious nature of the abuse by having it reviewed by arguably the world’s best-known animal-welfare expert, Colorado State University’s Dr. Temple Grandin.

She said that kicking and shocking the cows and holding them above the ground was “definitely abusive” and that the bellowing indicated the animals were in “severe distress.” Grandin also sees the blame going beyond the fired workers to “mismanagement” for failure to provide proper training and equipment.

Nathan Runkle, the president of Mercy, blamed Leprino Foods for allowing “a culture of cruelty to flourish in its cheese supply chain.”

Livestock abuse like that depicted on the video is a misdemeanor under New Mexico law and can become a felony with repeat offenses, or if the animal cruelty involves “intentionally or maliciously torturing, mutilating, or poisoning an animal or maliciously killing an animal.”

Only after the investigation is complete will the New Mexico Livestock Board or the Chavez County District Attorney’s Office have more to say, according to Baca.

Food Safety News

The Lempert Report: Standards in place for gluten free (video)

So basically now, if a food package says it’s gluten free, you can be well assured that it is!

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The Lempert Report: Catalina Sea Ranch (video)

The Lempert Report takes a look at how technology and innovation are bringing fish farming back to the United States.

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Phil Lempert’s New Products Hits & Misses (video)

Supermarket Guru Phil Lempert samples five new products this week: biscotti bites; hydration replenishing drink; green pepper hot sauce; mustard and onion tortilla chips; and peanut butter with honey.

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The Lempert Report: Importing our produce (video)

The USDA reports that imported fruits and vegetables account for an ever increasing share of U.S. consumption and, in most cases, are sourced from just a few supplying countries. So which produce is imported from where?

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The Lempert Report: Specialty spreads get some love (video)

Move over PB&J’s, America is falling in love with specialty spreads: Everything from nut butters, upscale cream butters, hummus to chocolate.

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The Lempert Report: Special spreads get some love (video)

Move over PB&J’s, America is falling in love with specialty spreads: Everything from nut butters, upscale cream butters, hummus to chocolate.

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Registering for content on Supermarket News will give you INSTANT access to invaluable articles and media content that industry professionals rely on. You will have access to our special reports, feature articles, and industry analysis. It’s FREE, easy and quick.  What are you waiting for! In addition you will also receive a complimentary copy of SN’s salary survey sent to you by email.
 

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The Lempert Report: Walmart aims … small? (video)

Why is Walmart, for the first time, moving away from the big stores and building more small stores? And what is the future for the superstore?

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The Lempert Report: Breakfast cereals (video)

Cold cereal makers are waking up to the all-day opportunities, an awareness that comes just in time for brands and retailers to capitalize on the trend and match any competition from fast-food joints.

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Supermarket News

The Lempert Report: Breakfast cereals (video)

Cold cereal makers are waking up to the all-day opportunities, an awareness that comes just in time for brands and retailers to capitalize on the trend and match any competition from fast-food joints.

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Registering for content on Supermarket News will give you INSTANT access to invaluable articles and media content that industry professionals rely on. You will have access to our special reports, feature articles, and industry analysis. It’s FREE, easy and quick.  What are you waiting for! In addition you will also receive a complimentary copy of SN’s salary survey sent to you by email.
 

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The Lempert Report: The best and worst of fast food (video)

The Lempert Report discusses a Consumer Reports survey where consumers say which fast food chains are better — and which ones are worse.

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The Lempert Report: Is the alcohol industry getting too sweet? (video)

We’ve noticed a growing trend hitting the shelves recently and it’s one we’re not too fond of: excessively sweet alcoholic drinks … excessively sweet and with an excessive alcohol content

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Supermarket News

The Lempert Report: Is the alcohol industry getting too sweet? (video)

We’ve noticed a growing trend hitting the shelves recently and it’s one we’re not too fond of: excessively sweet alcoholic drinks … excessively sweet and with an excessive alcohol content

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Registering for content on Supermarket News will give you INSTANT access to invaluable articles and media content that industry professionals rely on. You will have access to our special reports, feature articles, and industry analysis. It’s FREE, easy and quick.  What are you waiting for! In addition you will also receive a complimentary copy of SN’s salary survey sent to you by email.
 

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Supermarket News