2022 Winter The Real Deal
Is That A Light I See? PAT S HE RIDAN PRE S IDE NT & CEO
It’s been so long. We’ve been peering through the tunnel for too long. Occasionally we’ve seen a glimmer and, just like that, it’s gone. But I’ve been seeing a glimmer lately that appears to be getting brighter. Is that a light I see? I believe it is so join me as I run at it to find a year filled with in-person events. A year of reconvening. A year that we’ve been waiting for. We’ve included details in this newsletter for some that are just around the corner. Expo West, where we’ll bring back gatherings like the member meeting, a new “get to know INFRA” event, and the always-anticipated member dinner. The INFRA Annual Conference is back in Minneapolis this July where you’ll find new opportunities to learn, collaborate, and socialize with INFRA Members, many of our strategic partners, and, of course, the INFRA team. Keep on reading to see how we shine some of that light on new INFRA Members and one who walks their talk with B Corp certification. Take a deeper dive into the history of one of our brand partners, and then dig into some wellness trends coming your way. Get to know our newest INFRA teammates (and babies). I’m thrilled with our team growth and by our ability to attract such talented and committed folks to support our mission! And finally, learn about partners, new and old, whose missions to reduce plastics, plant trees, and save family farms are imperative for a sustainable future. I believe that’s light I see, and I hear the same from many of you. Join us!
Recent Additions: Welcome to Q4 New Members! In the final quarter of 2021, INFRA welcomed two new members to the association: DeLand Natural Market and Edson Farms Natural Foods! DeLand Natural Market, located in DeLand, FL, started as a small pastry shop in 1998. They have grown their business to include wholesale bakery items, an in-store café, and a wide selection of groceries. Edson Farms Natural Foods, in Traverse City, MI, is a family-owned, full-service health food store. Open since 1979, they are a Northern Michigan favorite. We are happy to welcome these two retailers to INFRA. We look forward to watching them continue to grow and contribute to the natural food industry. To learn more, follow DeLand Natural Market on Facebook (@ DelandNaturalMarket) and Instagram (@delandbakery) and stay updated on Edson Farms on Facebook (@edsonfarms), Instagram (@edsonfarms.tc), and their website. Want to find other INFRA Retailers? Check out our current membership here. Learn more about working with INFRA or becoming a member today!
We Have Selected Our 2022 Carbon Offset Partner! INFRA is excited to announce that we have selected our 2022 Carbon Offset Partner for 2022 Board travel. We are partnering with Native, a Public Benefit Corporation, who is the industry leader in carbon offset programs. Through Native’s Help Build™ program, businesses can purchase carbon offsets from local projects as a means of investment. Native helps find projects that are personally relevant to the missions and values of brands and businesses. We are supporting, through the Help Build™ program, Southern Plains Land Trust, a conservation and carbon sequestration project in Bent County, CO. Southern Plains Land Trust is dedicated to preserving 6,900 acres of shortgrass prairie, which will protect it from conversion to cropland in perpetuity. This preservation will prevent an estimated equivalent of 208 million pounds of coal worth of CO2 from entering the atmosphere over the next 50 years. To learn more about Native, a Public Benefit Corporation, click here. You can also find Native on LinkedIn (@nativeenergy-inc). Click here to learn about the project INFRA is supporting. To learn more about Southern Plains Land Trust, click here. They can also be found on Instagram (@southern_plains_land_trust), Facebook (@southernplainslandtrust), Twitter (@SouthernPlains), and LinkedIn (@southern-plains-land-trust).
B Corp Certification in the Natural Food Industry: How INFRA Member Bi-Rite is Helping Trailblaze TM
SAR A FULTON - KOE RB LING CONTENT MARKE TING LE AD
The natural food industry is a place where many entrepreneurs are able to do business for good. From small farmers utilizing regenerative agriculture practices and food manufacturers finding ways to repurpose previously discarded food, to startups sourcing home-compostable containers and retailers bringing these products to their communities, we are making progress throughout the industry to be resilient, humane, and regenerative. With so many choices in the marketplace, consumers have long relied on certifications to serve as a shorthand for what is important to them, including USDA Organic, Demeter’s Biodynamic®, and Non-GMO Project. These certifications deal with how our food is grown and processed. Another certification that looks beyond food and agriculture is the B Corp Certification. The ‘B’ in B Corp stands for “Benefit For All.” Since its inception in 2006, B Lab™, the certifying body for B Corps, has helped recognize companies that balance profits with purpose. For-profit companies must demonstrate their commitment to social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency in order to qualify as a B Corp. Together, the B Lab network is “shifting our global economy from a system that profits few to one that benefits all: advancing a new model that moves from concentrating wealth and power to ensuring equity, from extraction to generation, and from prioritizing individualism to embracing interdependence.” Being a B Corp means being a part of a group of companies using the power of business to solve social and economic problems. B Corps are legally required to consider the impact of decisions on staff, guests, suppliers, community, and the environment. The certification process includes a 200-question assessment and a rigorous verification process. Every year, the B Corp community takes the month of March to celebrate B Corps. We’ll be highlighting many of the amazing brands and vendor partners that are leading the way as businesses for good in recognition of B Corp Month. Today, we’re sharing the experience of one INFRA Member who has been B Corp certified since 2015, Bi-Rite Market. The Bi-Rite Family of Businesses is proud to be a Certified B Corporation. Sarah Holt, the Director of Marketing & Community for the Bi-Rite Family of Businesses, discussed with us how B Corp Certification makes sense for their business and how it impacts each of their stakeholders. (INFRA) Bi-Rite has been a B Corp since 2015. Can you tell me a little bit about the decision to obtain certification? (Bi-Rite) For decades Bi-Rite has stood for doing good within, and for, our communities, and this commitment only became more intense when Sam Mogannam reinvented the Market experience in 1998. As an independent organization, becoming a Certified B Corporation was yet another way to communicate our values, while ensuring we had accountabilities beyond ourselves to focus on continuous improvement and increasing our impact. The rigor of the certification process also served as a great prompt for us to codify many of our internal processes and policies. (INFRA) Do your shoppers see this certification as a value add? Have you seen increased interest from your consumers and community in matters of ESG (environment, social, governance) or CSR (corporate social responsibility)? (Bi-Rite) Our guests have always been interested in learning more about our food system, are heavily invested in the San Francisco, California, and national civic agenda, and are quick to support our local, nonprofit partners. I think they appreciate knowing the certification is a transparent scorecard of how well we’re living our values. But at the same time, they’re not afraid to have direct conversations with us about issues important to them, and we love the dialogue as it’s always an incredible opportunity to learn. (INFRA) As a family of businesses, how do the B Corp Impact Areas inform business decisions at Bi-Rite?
Provided by Bi-Rite Family of Businesses
(Bi-Rite) Honestly, since we’ve naturally always evaluated the impact of our decisions on each of our communities on a daily basis (guests, producers, partners, staff, neighbors, and planet), we simply do our best to make the decision that does the most good and doesn’t cause harm. From a long-term business strategy standpoint, we use the Impact Areas and the feedback from the greater B Corporation community to help prioritize initiatives. Bi-Rite is a “show, don’t tell” type of business. While the B Corp logo has a permanent home on their website and even their shopping bags, you won’t see them tooting their horn too often about what certification means to them and how they compare to other businesses in the industry. Hidden behind a few clicks on their website, you can read about their B Corp status alongside other facets of their mission. In recent years, Bi-Rite has been recognized as a B Corp Best for the World Honoree, scoring among the top 5% of all B Corps on the Community section of the B Impact Assessment. The Community Impact Area evaluates operations, sourcing, hiring practices, and community engagement, including diversity, equity & inclusion, economic impact, civic engagement, charitable giving, and supply chain management. This consistent recognition is for work that is woven right into the fabric of Bi-Rite. When asked if she would recommend pursuing Certified B Corp status to other INFRA Retailers and natural food businesses, Holt brought up something unexpected, “it’s a long process, but it’s worth it to join this growing group of companies truly committed to being better. And it’s an incredibly meaningful signal to your staff how much you truly value them.” Not only is B Corp status a signal to shoppers of the importance of balancing profit purpose, but it is a concrete way to show staff that there are more than just words in a vision statement. The rigorous and transparent certification process recognizes the incredible work that is already happening, and it charts a path forward to a future where it is standard to see People Using Business as a Force for Good®. There are many retailers, vendors, brands, and other stakeholders in the natural food industry that are working to benefit people, communities, and the planet. In fact, there are over 4,000 Certified B Corporations! B Corp Certification is one way that businesses can support an inclusive, equitable, and regenerative economy. Consumers are looking for companies that support causes they believe in. Earning B Corp Certification is a transparent public statement that your company stays true to your values.
Join Our Team at Expo West! You’re Invited to Get to Know INFRA Friday, March 11 at 8am-9am • Hilton Palisades Room
It’s been a long time coming, and we are ready for some face-to-face “get to know you” time with future INFRA Members, vendors, brokers, and industry partners! It doesn’t matter whether you’ve worked with us in the past or if you’ve never really heard of INFRA – only that you’re curious and would like to learn more. This is an event for all! You’re invited to join and listen to INFRA leaders speak about how our work has transformed, what we are doing now, and the direction we are heading. Let’s learn together! Seating will be first-come, first-served. Know someone else that may be interested? Share this invite with them! INFRA Retailers that are planning on attending Expo West can register for one or both of our INFRA Retailer events. Registration information available in the Members-Only-Area (MOA). The deadline for members to register is February 25. See you in Anaheim!
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INFRA Retailer Dinner
INFRA Retailer Meeting
Wednesday, March 9 from 6pm-9pm Retailer Dinner sponsored by Vori
Thursday, March 10 from 8am-9:45am
2022 INFRA Annual
Strengthening the Foundation for Collaboration, Connection, & Community Minneapolis, MN • July 26 - July 29
It’s been two years since INFRA’s last in-person conference, and we’re looking forward to bringing back all the highlights this July as we come together once again in Minneapolis! INFRA Retailers from around the country will reunite July 26-29 at the Renaissance Hotel Minneapolis, The Depot for inspiring keynote speakers, a variety of relevant and engaging education sessions, a live tabletop buying event, and more! Registration is now open for INFRA Retailers - check your inboxes or visit the Members-Only-Area (MOA) for more info!
ANNA L APPÉ
Founder & Executive Director of the Provision Community Restaurant
Founder & Strategic Advisor at the Real Food Media and Director, Food Sovereignty Fund at the Panta Rhea Foundation
FR ANCES MOORE L APPÉ Author and Cofounder of the Small Planet Institute
Save the Date for INFRA’s Roundtable Series Introduced in 2021, the Roundtable Series features INFRA President & CEO, Pat Sheridan, as moderator having a conversation with a small group of industry leaders. Topics in 2021 included “Working with Independents,” “Sustainability in Operations,” and “Diversity and Inclusion in Bringing Brands to Market.” We’re currently scheduling our 2022 sessions - registration information coming later this spring. 2 02 2 ROUNDTAB LE S E RIE S SCHE DULE
• • •
April 14 at 2pm Central May 25 at 2pm Central August 18 at 1pm Central
September 1 at 1pm Central October 11 at 1pm Central
Please note all events are subject to change.
Shoppers Are Redefining Wellness: 4 Trends to Watch in 2022 JIM OL SON INFR A ON -S ITE & S PIN S ACCOUNT MANAGE R
By now it’s a cliché to say that our culture is permanently changed as a result of the ongoing pandemic. However, there are two major shifts happening in our culture that directly affect how people shop and we can’t ignore them: Health and wellness remain top-of-mind and people feel empowered to put themselves first. That’s why we’re seeing workers switch jobs and fitness enthusiasts leave the gym and go for walks. Today, shoppers are bringing this mentality with them and deciding what choices are right for their body, their mind, and the planet. This mindset is affecting four trends that will continue to grow as we head into 2022: 1. Zero Alcohol Beverages Are an Untapped Market: The alcohol-free shopper has long been overlooked, but this untapped market is growing and inspiring brands to get innovative with their offerings. SPINS data finds that the non-alcohol beverage department is up 18% year-over-year and dominated by staples like sparkling water, but the inventory is diversifying. The growing options of 0% ABV tequila, rum, whiskey, and prosecco from new and established brands give shoppers a chance to partake in the social aspect of having a cocktail while staying alcohol-free. 2. Sports Nutrition Isn’t Just for Athletes: Years ago, protein powders were unappetizing supplements for top athletes; today, protein powders come from many sources in endless flavors. Protein is just one of many supplements that have become dietary staples for average shoppers who care about nutrition. Over the last two years, pre- and post-workout supplements have experienced 39% YoY growth and protein powder 37% YoY growth. Brands are bringing performance nutrition into existing products, such as energy drinks with caffeine that provide an energy boost and aminos that promote mental clarity – even coffee with added protein. 3. Transparency Matters to Shoppers: As shoppers become empowered to define wellness, they are looking for more information about the products they’re buying. Which ingredients fit their diet? Does the brand have a mission that aligns with their own values? That’s why certifications, label claims, attributes, and in-store education are more important than ever. Shoppers want access to information so they can make the right decision for their own health and values. Over the last two years, we’ve seen sales growth across businesses owned by marginalized and mission-centric businesses. For example: • Woman-owned and/or certified businesses grew 72% • Minority-owned and/or certified businesses grew 71% 4. Sustainability Spans Departments: Label claims extend beyond standard ingredients and nutritional information as shoppers factor in their own effect on climate change. As new items enter the market, we’ve seen more brands emphasize their collaboration with local farms, which require less transportation pollution to get from farm to table. Similarly, label claims often promote how sustainable the packaging itself is by using recycled or compostable materials. Sustainability and these other trends can easily overlap. For example, a plant-based shopper might avoid animal products to reduce the carbon footprint that comes from raising livestock; another shopper might prioritize brands that keep their sustainable operations local and provide job opportunities to nearby marginalized communities. In 2022, expect shoppers to bring the spectrum of their priorities to the shopping aisle. They will decide what is good for their health and wellness and what those terms even mean for them. It’s an exciting time to be in our industry and a great opportunity to connect with shoppers on the trends above and help them on their journey.
Provided by SPINS
INFRA Member Purchases Have Planted 484 Trees With Rolly Receipts R ACHEL COME AUX PURCHA S ING MANAGE R
Rolly Receipts partners with the One Tree Planted Foundation to plant a tree for every case of Eco Thermal receipt paper sold. The One Tree Planted Foundation’s vision is to make it simple for anyone to help the environment by planting trees. Together we can restore forests, create habitats for biodiversity, and make a positive social impact around the world. They have planted over 40 million trees in more than 43 countries across the globe since 2014. In 2021, INFRA Member purchases of Eco Thermal receipt paper led to 484 trees being planted in North America, Latin America, Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Pacific. Purchasing Eco Thermal receipt paper not only minimizes your eco-footprint; it also contributes to reforestation projects that aim to capture and store atmospheric carbon. At INFRA, we are committed to working with industry partners who align with our members’ values. Rolly Receipts EcoThermal receipt paper is a natural, healthy alternative to the more traditional, phenol-coated receipt papers currently in common use. Rolly Receipts uses a clean printing method, which ensures the paper is BPA and BPS-free. Furthermore, the receipt paper is made with a coreless design to ensure no plastic waste. This makes the EcoThermal receipts 100% biodegradable. For more information and pricing, visit the Members-Only-Area (MOA) page or reach out to Marcus Brisco directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or (937) 344-3242. Provided by Rolly Receipts
Ahead of the Curve, Inception to Present PROVIDED BY SAR AH HUGHE S , S HOPPE R MARKE TING MANAGE R AT PURE LY E LIZ ABE TH
“Start a natural foods company.” Those were the words Purely Elizabeth founder Elizabeth Stein wrote down on a blank piece of paper while in class at her holistic nutrition school. Her instructor had asked her to describe her “unpredictable future,” and while she saw no clear path of how to get there, she knew one thing for certain: She wanted to start a natural foods company to help others eat better, feel better, and live better. It all began to take shape at a local Westchester triathlon expo, where she was working to drum up nutrition clients by handing out homemade muffins made with chia, almond flour, coconut oil, and coconut sugar – mostly ingredients that weren’t popular or mainstream at that time. No one cared about signing up for her nutrition practice; they just wanted to know where they could purchase the delicious muffins. That was her “aha!” moment. One month later, without any prior knowledge of starting a company – where to source ingredients or how to get a product on the shelf – Purely Elizabeth was born. Elizabeth’s goal was simple. She wanted to provide healthier, better-tasting alternatives to what was currently on the market. At the time, she was learning about incredibly powerful superfoods like quinoa, chia seeds, and coconut oil and realized they weren’t being incorporated into products on grocery store shelves. So, she set out to recreate the most delicious food products using these innovative, nutrient-rich ingredients. In 2009, when her first product line was introduced, she was at the forefront of the ancient grain and chia movement. Today, Purely Elizabeth continues to stay a step ahead of the curve, incorporating innovative ingredients like MCT Oil and dragonfruit into its products. Her goal is to continue to redefine the standards of packaged foods and to bring delicious nutrition into the center of the store. Purely Elizabeth is more than just a food brand; Elizabeth’s mission is to inspire people to live healthier lives and thrive on their wellness journeys. To learn more about Purely Elizabeth, the #1 selling granola in the natural channel, visit their website at purelyelizabeth.com. You can also find them on Facebook (@purelyelizabeth), Instagram (@purely_elizabeth), TikTok (@purely_elizabeth), LinkedIn (@purelyelizabeth), and Pinterest (@purely_elizabeth).
BRINGIT Bags: Making Zero-Waste Zero Waste PROVIDED BY DEB S INGE R & K ARIN HECK , CO - FOUNDE RS OF BRINGIT
BRINGIT is a women-owned, mission-driven Public Benefits Corporation committed to eradicating single-use bag pollution and replacing it with a truly sustainable solution. Karin Heck and Deb Singer founded BRINGIT Bags PBC in 2021 after discovering their shared vision for a world without plastic bag waste. Deb is an expert in the zero-waste movement, best known for her work at Whole Foods Market in 2007 to conceptualize, develop, and roll-out The Better Bag™, resulting in a plastic bag ban in Whole Foods stores nationwide. This groundbreaking reusable shopping bag program became the gold standard for all U.S. retail chains and ignited an international movement that continues to this day. Karin is an accomplished operational leader with deep consumer product experience. Her family had been living a zero-waste lifestyle; she was eager to scale that interest and make a bigger impact. Together, Deb and Karin lead a passionate team dedicated to making a difference, one bag at a time. With our values at the center, we created an entirely new concept: reusable, compostable, marine biodegradable, zero-waste shopping bags. We proudly partner with Lenzing to offer a shopping solution derived entirely from trees, making the BRINGIT Bag Collection the most sustainable reusable shopping bags on the market. Every step of our bags’ lifecycle is thoughtfully considered. From their start in FSC® certified forests to their timely end in compost piles nationwide, LENZING™ Modal Color fiber (beechwood) and LENZING™ Lyocell fiber (eucalyptus) exceed the highest standards across the board. Our fabric is only part of the story. When BRINGIT began, we spoke to real people about what they wanted in a shopping bag and heard what they found frustrating. So, we meticulously designed a collection to address those pain points. A few features that set our bags apart: They work together in an organized fashion. They have handy pockets and fold-away pouches. And they’re machine washable. Why is the reduction of plastic important? From land to sea to air, plastic dramatically impacts the health of our planet. The current alternatives to plastic bags are lacking. While biodegradable plastics are made from plants, they require controlled industrial composters to properly break down—and there are only 20 facilities in the U.S. that do this. So, they end up in landfills, contributing to pollution in the same ways as plastic. Cotton is also problematic—read about the cotton tote crisis. The World Wildlife Fund estimates it requires 2,700 liters of water to produce a single t-shirt. And cotton accounts for 16% of global insecticide releases, more than any other single major crop. Most reusable shopping bags are made from nonwoven polypropylene—a type of plastic—making these bags are as harmful as singleuse plastic bags. BRINGIT Bags are designed to help each of us make a difference. One iTKit prevents the use of 3,500 single-use plastic bags. One iTBag Shopper prevents the use of 1,100 single-use plastic bags. Together, we can make a difference. Won’t you join us? To learn more about BRINGIT and their impact, visit their website at bringitbags. com. BRINGIT can be found on Facebook (@BRINGiTBags) and Instagram (@bringitbags). You can also reach out to BRINGIT Co-Founder Deb Singer directly at email@example.com.
Provided by BRINGIT
INFRA Members Can Help Save 135 At-Risk Northeast Organic Family Farms PROVIDED BY GARY HIRSCHBE RG , CO - FOUNDE R & FORME R CEO OF S TON Y FIE LD ORGANIC , AND CHAIR OF THE NOR THE A S T ORGANIC FAMILY FARM PAR TNE RS HIP
Last fall, 135 organic farm families across New England and New York received the shocking news that Horizon Organic and Maple Hill Creamery will terminate their contracts in 2022 and early 2023. These contract terminations will be the end for some of these farms. Some have already sold their cows and walked away from a lifetime’s — or several generations’ — work. Most originally left conventional dairy farming for the same reasons that many farms have failed – the price they are paid doesn’t cover their production costs, demand for conventional milk is steadily dropping, and costs are skyrocketing. Converting to organic has been their lifeline. Horizon is not only dropping 89 farms – the company is replacing that milk with milk from farms further west. For the at-risk farms, the future is dire. The situation with these 135 organic farms is incredibly tragic and worrisome. Historically, organic has been the bright spot in dairy. While demand for conventional dairy is on the decline, organic dairy sales grew nearly 12% in 2020. This has meant a higher and more stable pay price for organic dairy farmers. Most of these farms milk fewer than 80 cows, allowing them time to diversify with other products and improve resilience. Organic farms promote sustainability, sequester more soil carbon, decrease harmful environmental impacts, and create healthier livestock with higher quality milk due to organic prohibitions on the use of chemical fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides. Many across the region have recognized the critical urgency to save these farms and address the underlying conditions that put them at risk. Numerous state and regional task forces convened to identify solutions to systemic problems with the Northeast dairy industry. USDA Secretary Vilsack has pledged to help. The region’s two largest remaining organic dairy processors, CROPP Cooperative and Stonyfield, have committed to sign on as many of these farms as possible. All these steps are needed. But many of us long-time organic family farm advocates are concerned that these measures won’t work fast enough to stave off foreclosures. We know that the only certain short AND long-term solution for these — and the region’s — organic family farmers is to encourage grocers, like INFRA Members, to increase purchases from the brands who support these farms. This crisis is solvable – if just 10% of metro New Yorkers buy one more pint of organic dairy from participating brands per week, ALL of these farms’ milk can be used. On January 12, 2022, an unprecedented effort was launched that brings together all Northeast food system stakeholders — consumers, retailers, restaurants, food service venues, farmers, processors, concerned activists, and government agencies — to support and safeguard our region’s organic family farmers. This new initiative, The Northeast Organic Family Farm Partnership, invites all of us to pledge specific and concrete commitments to support our region’s organic family farms. This past week, the Neighboring Food Co-op Association representing 45 co-ops with a combined membership of over 164,000 people across New England and New York State, became the FIRST retail organization to join the Partnership. Celebrated chefs and restaurateurs Dan Barber and Tom Colicchio signed on Blue Hill, Blue Hill @ Stone Barns, and Craft as founding restaurant partners. We are hoping INFRA’s Northeast Members will join as well. The Partnership invites individual consumers across the Northeast to sign a simple pledge to purchase one-quarter of their weekly dairy items from one of 35 Partner Brands (view them here) that have pledged to increase their purchases of milk from Northeast organic family farms. Consumers’ confidential pledges will send a clear, powerful signal to food outlets that they should prioritize these farmers’ products. We are also reaching out to you — our region’s dairy purveyors — for a commitment to increase your 2022 purchases from Partner Brands. When you make this commitment, you can proudly display the Partnership logo. It’s time for all of us — from NYC to Bangor, ME — to support the brands that source their supply from the farmers who live here, too. Brands that partner with our region’s organic family farms recirculate significant dollars to support clean, healthy foods and ecosystems for us all. To learn about the benefits and sign up your store as a Partner, please reach out to Campaign Director Olga Moriarty at firstname.lastname@example.org. And please encourage your consumers to visit www.saveorganicfamilyfarms.org to make their consumer pledges today.
An email was sent to all impacted INFRA Members on February 15 with info about joining the partnership!
INFRA Has Joined the NE Organic Family Farm Partnership! How About You?
INFRA Is Growing! Welcome to the Newest Team Members! I remain ridiculously excited to have joined the INFRA team. I started in December of 2021 in the newly-created position of Director of Member Programs. As part of INFRA’s growth proposition, my team will grow and add content, education, events, and more to benefit INFRA Members. I have a high tolerance for complexity and am all in for figuring out strategies to ensure that we are building programs that meet member needs and acknowledge that we have a lot of diversity in our membership.
ANGELA BOZO Director of Member Programs email@example.com
I was specifically looking for a mission-based organization to join and am still pinching myself that I get to work here. The bulk of my career was spent with New Seasons Market, a mission-based, progressive grocer in Portland, OR, where I was fortunate to grow with them. I learned how to balance sustainability with business operations, how to ask hard questions and get comfortable with aligning on an answer, and how to take care of people from vendors to staff to the customer. I still feel privileged that I was able to contribute to them becoming the world’s first B Corp grocer.
After 15+ years, I left to join IDDBA in Madison, WI, supporting both the retail and manufacturing side for deli, dairy, cheese, and bakery departments. I wanted to hone my data chops, learn to write and create resources for the macro industry, and dive into the tradeshow. While I learned so much and am thankful for the experience, I didn’t realize how important mission-based work was to me and knew that I would need to make a change. Being able to support independent retailers brings me so much joy. As I connect with more members of the staff, I feel like I have found my tribe — retail-knowledgeable, food-loving humans who work hard to do the right thing for our members. Yes, my last name is pronounced exactly as you think it would be. I am married to Joe Bozo and we have two daughters — Myla, 11 and Lydia, 7. They are super different humans, but both came to this planet with an incredible fierceness that I admire daily. I love to cook, read, and practice yoga. Live music is one of my favorite experiences across genres and venues. The picture that accompanies this bio was taken on my 40th birthday. I am laying in a swimming pool filled with giant plastic sprinkles at the Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco, CA. I look forward to building and evolving so many programs, projects, and connections with the team! Greetings, friends! I started in early January 2022 as a Marketing & Communications Specialist. I’ll be working on our social media, contributing to our written publications, and supporting the marketing team. I’m excited to be part of a growing MarCom team with some seriously cool people. Prior to joining INFRA, I was an AmeriCorps Vista volunteer at a very small nonprofit in Minneapolis, working in marketing and communications. Between graduating from Hamline University in St. Paul in 2018 and today, I’ve spent most of my time in the mission-focused world of small nonprofits, with some wilderness guiding and ESL teaching sprinkled in for good measure. I’m passionate about sustainability and accessibility of healthy, natural food, and I have a deep background in outdoor education. I’m very excited to join a team of people who care deeply about the environment and food systems.
Marketing & Communications When I’m not working, you will for sure find me rock climbing in northern Minnesota or on my Specialist
bike to and from a local coffee spot. Unless it’s winter, in which case I’m probably drinking tea by my laptop and doing my best to keep my plants alive. In between, it’s a good bet that I’m planning a trip or shooting photos around Minneapolis.
I came to INFRA in 2021 with over a decade of experience in natural foods retail operations, leadership, and store support with focus on promotional and merchandising strategy. I put great importance on building authentic relationships and strive to embody leadership rooted in humility, diversity, and collaboration. I am excited to apply my skills in creative problem solving and innovative thinking to assist in the growth of INFRA programs and help strengthen our members.
CHRIS SORENSEN Category Manager firstname.lastname@example.org
I reside in South Minneapolis with my wife and two pit bull mixes. You can find the pack out on walks around the lakes of the city or hiking on the various trails throughout the state. I enjoy working on projects around the house building, tinkering, fixing, and making improvements where I can. I have also done freelance graphic design and consulting work over the last 17 years for musicians and small businesses to help grow their brands.
Hello! I am thrilled to be continuing my retail career with the incredible INFRA team! I have joined the purchasing team as a Category Manager. I will continue to build strategic alignment for our members and vendors for the best INFRA experience by driving efficiencies and delivering quality, sustainable, organic, natural food, and services at a value. I have experience working in many roles within the retail grocery industry. Recently, I have worked as a Category Manager for multiple retail banners across the United States in the Bakery and Deli departments. I worked closely with vendor partners and manufacturers on creating products, product lines, and programs that led to positive and profitable sales trends. I have developed and enhanced existing programs that resulted in better in-stock conditions, increased sales, and reduced KIM ROUTE shrink. Collaborating with our vendor partners, we created ingredient efficiencies, which allowed Category Manager our operators to exceed labor targets. Prior to that, I was an Operations Specialist for the Fresh email@example.com departments. In this role I provided sales, training, and merchandising support for corporate and franchise retail stores. I authored merchandising standards for Bakery and Deli which became the expectations for each retail store to follow to create efficiencies and continuity. My merchandising standards led to various training materials and programs, such as training for skilled positions like meat cutting, baking, and cake decorating. I also created new hire and Manager on Duty (MOD) training manuals and production logs. When I’m not working, my husband and I enjoy cooking, brewing beer, visiting local breweries, traveling, and spoiling our dogs. It is an exciting time to be working for INFRA as it continues to flourish. I am thrilled to bring my experience and skillset to INFRA to support our members and thrive together. I am honored to be a part of an elite organization whose vision and mission are to lead the movement, drive the industry, and collaborate to forge a sustainable future with a first-class culture of knowledgeable and diverse people!
I am so excited to be joining the INFRA team! I came aboard in January 2022 as Promotions Coordinator, ready to jump in and support vendors and members with all things INFRA Deals. I come with experience in pricing/data analysis, technology implementation, and distribution – most recently at a local organic food manufacturing company. I grew up in Northern Michigan where I lived next to my grandparents who managed and farmed organic orchards. They mostly grew cherries (did you know Traverse City, MI is the nation’s top supplier of tart cherries?), but peaches and apples were abundant in addition to their burgeoning maple syrup business. Some of my most treasured childhood memories include walking through the orchards on our family’s property pulling fresh, organic fruit straight from the branch and immediately taking a bite or waking up early on chilly Saturday mornings to take in the magnificent scent of boiling sap in the sugar house. My rural, family farming roots always take me back to the importance of local, natural food stores, like the ones that served as great partners to my grandparents for the entirety of their career. This strong personal connection to the food system has no doubt driven my career path.
COURTNEY WORDEN Promotions Coordinator firstname.lastname@example.org
When I’m not at work, you can find me enjoying each of the four seasons Northern Michigan has to offer. My fluffy dog and I love hiking the trails along the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, kayaking the Platte River (he prefers to swim alongside), and snowshoeing between the excellent wineries on the Old Mission Peninsula. My parents put me on skis around the same time I started walking and I still enjoy it to this day! Nothing sparks joy like fresh powder and bluebird skies on the morning you’re headed to the slopes. I look forward to the opportunity to add value to and work with mission-driven organizations and the wonderfully smart, driven people at INFRA to make a real difference!
CONGRATS ON YOUR PROMOTION, CHARLIE! email@example.com
We are happy to announce the promotion of Charlie Zweber to Systems Administrator! Charlie has been instrumental in supporting INFRA’s recent growth and has taken on many new responsibilities and project leads while continuing to provide amazing IT support to INFRA staff.
CONGRATS ON YOUR LITTLE ONE, DREW! Margaret (Maggie when she is being cute & Marge when she is being a brat) loves snuggles, milk, and Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. Her parents like to make up silly songs about her, the best of which is sung to the tune of Marryanne by Leonard Cohen. Congrats to Drew Alexander, INFRA Region Manager!
We’re Hiring! INFRA is growing, and we’re not finished yet! We are seeking some talented and missionfocused individuals to join our team. If you’re interested or know someone who might be, we’d love to talk! We’re seeking new team members with skills in Accounting, Reporting, Administrative, Operations, Merchandising, and Technology! Check out positions open now, more coming soon! Click here to learn more!
INFRA Team Q1 Anniversaries Debra Gagner • 10 years Purchasing Coordinator Greta Sikorski • 6 years Director of Operations Meggie Smith • 5 years Marketing Manager, Branding & Communications John Fieldstrom • 5 years Region Manager
Michael Paynic • 5 years Food Service Program Manager
Sara Fulton-Koerbling • 1 year Content Marketing Lead
Drew Alexander • 2 years Region Manager
Austin Hinkle • 1 year Promotions Marketing Lead
Andy Huth • 2 years Promotions Program Manager
Colleen Valko • 1 year Business Analyst
Hannah Gomes • 1 year Education & Events Coordinator
Board of Directors Cheryl Hughes, Board Chair The Whole Wheatery
Summer Auerbach Rainbow Blossom
John Pittari New Morning Market
Emily Kanter, Vice Chair Cambridge Naturals
Terry Brett Kimberton Whole Foods
Adam Stark Debra’s Natural Gourmet
John Wood, Secretary The Green Grocer
Brian Kvistad Blossom Grocery
Mylese Tucker Nature’s Cupboard
Sasha Galitzki, Treasurer New Moon Natural Foods
Laughing Water Real Food Market & Deli
Independent Natural Food Retailers Association 2356 University Ave W, Ste 200 St. Paul, MN 55114 (651) 888-4700 naturalfoodretailers.com @infretailers
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