FoodChain Issue 183 April 2022

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FoodChain ISSUE 183


Whiskey for the community Iron Fish Distillery is seeing incredible success thanks to its interesting mix of authenticity, commitment to community, and creating experiences around whiskey and spirits Sustainability: The right packaging can play an important role in solving the food waste challenge

Cold chain: Dispelling some of the myths and misconceptions around temperature controlled freight

Grocery: Covid-19 has shifted grocery sales to online but what can the sector expect for the rest of 2022?

FoodChain ISSUE 183


Editor’s Welcome Whiskey for the community Iron Fish Distillery is seeing incredible success thanks to its interesting mix of authenticity, commitment to community, and creating experiences around whiskey and spirits Sustainability: The right packaging can play an important role in solving the food waste challenge

Cold chain: Dispelling some of the myths and misconceptions around temperature controlled freight

Grocery: Covid-19 has shifted grocery sales to online but what can the sector expect for the rest of 2022?

What’s next?

Chairman - Andrew Schofield Managing Director - Joe Woolsgrove Editor - Libbie Hammond Assistant Editor - Will Daynes Staff Writers - Daniel Baksi, Danielle Champ, Jessica Olley Managing Art Editor - Fleur Daniels Art Editor - David Howard Advertising Designer - Paul Gillings Sales Director- Alasdair Gamble Business Development Director - Philip Monument Research Managers Michelle Fontaine, Natalie Griffiths, Jo-Ann Jeffery, Ben Richell, Basil Sharpe Editorial Researchers Adam Blanch, Victoria Burke, Mark Cowles, Jeff Goldenberg, Dan Harrison, Melanie Joyce, James Page, Wendy Russell, Richard Saunders, Basil Sharpe, Kieran Shukri Advertising Sales Johanna Bailey, Mike Berger, Jessica Eglington, James Fuller, Alex Hartley, Reid Lingle, Sam Surrell, Gregory Waller Florida General Manager - Ryan Finn Boston General Manager - Joy Francesconi Custom Media Sales - Dan Bess Digital Sales - Mike Psimis Subscriptions - Administration - Rory Gallacher, Ibby Mundhir

© 2022 Schofield Publishing Ltd Schofield Publishing - Corporate Head Office Cringleford Business Centre, 10 Intwood Road,


ello and welcome to the April issue of FoodChain. The pandemic has caused many shifts in customer behavior – one of which, the increase in those adopting online grocery shopping, has had a big impact. Huge digital transformations were needed by the big supermarkets and smaller stores, and now as we enter the second quarter of 2022, what more can we expect for the grocery sector? Tomas Grano takes a look into this topic in his feature on page 6. We also take a look at temperature controlled freight, an area where several myths abound – our author Chris Bahr dispels these and sheds some light on what is actually required to ensure cold chain logistics integrity is maintained. It is also thrilling to be able to feature our cover story company again – Iron Fish were first included in the magazine in December 2020 and we were delighted to be able to check back in with the business and see what further heights it had achieved. We learned that Iron Fish is now positioned as the second best-selling Michigan craft whiskey brand in the state, with wholesale chain growth leaping an impressive 145 percent between 2020 and 2021, driven in part by a 60 percent increase in independent retailer sales. To read more about this exciting brand, turn to page 28.

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Please note: The opinions expressed by contributors and advertisers within this publication do not necessarily coincide with those of the editor and publisher. Every reasonable effort is made to ensure that the information published is accurate, and correct at time of writing, but no legal responsibility for loss occasioned by the use of such information can be accepted by the publisher. All rights reserved. The contents of the magazine are strictly copyright, the property of Schofield Publishing, and may not be copied, stored in a retrieval system, or reproduced without the prior written permission of the publisher. 1









amipak has recognized that a key step in minimizing food waste lies in the development of customized portion control packs



As we approach the two-year anniversary of the pandemic, what can we expect from the grocery sector in 2022?


There are still some common misconceptions about temperature controlled freight, and it’s essential to choose the right partner

Technology solutions company JBT has been addressing clients’ need to become more sustainable and reduce energy use




Up-to-date products and announcements from the food and beverage sector


Streets of New York


With so much research and development in the pipeline, the future of environmentally-friendly food packaging looks to be exciting







Iron Fish Distillery PIZZ




When done right, supply chain transparency and traceability have multiple benefits including building consumer trust and strengthening brands



The Aptean Food and Beverage ERP platform is built to support the current and future needs of growing companies



Jenny Craig


What brands can do to ensure that the inks used in their coding and marking applications remain compliant with current and future regulations



The Brewers Association takes a look in the rearview mirror at 2021, which saw new growth, economic relief, supply chain disruptions, and innovation


Blue Evolution








Lincoln & York






KNEAD Hospitality + Design




NEXDINE Hospitality

GraceKennedy Group 3

Supporting the future Daniel Schwitzer takes a look at how new packaging solutions can reduce food waste and increase sustainability



hen thinking about sustainability in the food industry, we often envisage new plantbased foods and idyllic organic farming images. Indeed, much media focus is placed on these two facets of the industry. However, food waste is a significant issue that is now coming to the fore in many countries as a major cause of environmental impact and climate change. While it’s clear that waste occurs all along the food supply chain from farm to fork, a 2021 analysis by the United Nations Environment Programme found that global food waste has reached 931 million tonnes per annum (about 121kg per person) - 61 percent emanating from households, 26 percent from foodservice and 13 percent from retailers. With UN Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 seeking to ‘halve global

per capita food waste at the retail and consumer levels….by 2030’, the packaging industry has its work cut out in delivering new innovations that support retailers, foodservice operators, and consumers to cut their food disposal rates by half. Solving the food waste challenge takes packaging sustainability to another level. It isn’t simply about ensuring food products are packed or served in sustainable materials; it’s about enabling the food industry and consumers to adopt new purchasing, storage, and consumption behaviors to minimize unnecessary waste and loss. Putting this challenge at the front of its sustainable design thinking, amipak has recognized that a key step in minimizing food waste lies in the development of customized portion control packs - trays, cartons and boxes - that limit the dispensing of takeaway


and food-to-go products to manageable and appropriate sizes. This ensures excessive waste by the consumer is avoided, and importantly optimizes costs for the operator. Probably the most well-recognized cause of food waste in the foodservice industry results from products not being maintained in prime condition due to poor packaging design. Food either going cold, leaking in or through a pack, or not being able to breathe, which can result in wet, soggy, or unappealing food products that lead to the public disposing, rather than consuming, their purchases. amipak has developed a range of insulated boxes to keep food hot and fresh for the takeaway industry, in particular for pizzas, as well as slice packs to again tackle the portion control issue. Significant research and development over the years has also gone into next generation leakproof grease and waterresistant carton designs to ensure the food-on-the-go experience is optimized for the consumer. These are ideal for Asian foods and salad applications, where sauces and oils create particular issues in handling. Notably, these cartons now utilize more environmentally friendly water-based coatings on the carton substrate to provide the required

barrier performance, rather than plastic laminates that can interfere with the recycling process post-consumer use. The company has also worked with its brand customers to develop clever breathable cartons that enable products, such as burgers and hot dogs, to release the steam from the cooking process, ensuring an improved eating experience and minimizing product deterioration. But it’s not just the foodservice sector that has challenges in respect of managing food waste. When it comes to the hospitality industry, the Waste Action Resources Group (WRAP), funded by UK Government, has launched its ‘Guardians of Grub’ campaign to support restaurant and catering businesses to identify sources of waste and tackle them. A great idea

developed as part of this initiative is the development and use of new branded takeaway doggy boxes for any non-eaten food, encouraging diners to reuse their waste food in the home. Like much of the packaging industry, amipak is focused on designing and developing new and innovative sustainable packaging solutions to better address waste prevention and waste management. It’s certainly an area of continuous improvement to support the future of the foodservice and hospitality industries. Importantly, it complements other approaches and strategies taken by companies to reduce waste and boost sustainability along the value chain, including the use of renewable, recyclable, and compostable materials that appeal to today’s more environmentally aware consumer. D


Daniel Schwitzer is Director of Communications & Sustainability at amipak, an expanding third generation family business specialising in the manufacture of food grade packaging from sustainable materials. amipak puts a strong emphasis on customer service, seeking to develop lasting partnerships with its customers and suppliers. Having grown since 1999, when it was formed as the result of a merger between Home Suppliers Ltd. and F&Z Packaging Ltd., amipak today operates with over 65,000 sq. ft. of modern production and warehousing facilities in Croydon and Willesden, North London supplying the UK and European foodservice packaging markets. For further information, please visit: 5

Evolve and adapt The evolution of online grocery: what can we expect in 2022? By Tomas Grano

Tomas Grano



ovid-19 has reshaped the world as we know it, and for the grocery sector, it has accelerated the shift to online. In fact, a recent study found that online grocery sales have jumped to take 13.1 percent of total UK market share throughout January 2022, up from 11.3 percent in December 2021, and is now the highest it’s been since July 2021. These figures are reflective of the huge digital transformation both leading supermarkets and start-ups have had to undergo. Organizations in this sector have had to rapidly evolve their business models, to offer the digital capabilities and services that consumers are now accustomed to. However, as we approach the two-year anniversary of the pandemic, what can we expect from the grocery sector in 2022? How will it evolve over the coming year, and what trends will dominate this market?

The rise of the fusion shopper As a result of the pandemic, consumers have had to adapt to new methods of shopping, which in turn, has led to the birth of a new type of customer – the ‘fusion shopper’. The term refers to customers whose shopping habits blend across bricks and mortar, online, and clickand-collect. As consumers grew comfortable with the convenience of online shopping, they became increasingly reliant on using this method to purchase both daily and weekly shops. However, to overcome the challenges of increased demand, businesses are embracing omnichannel services that can optimize their supply chains. Many grocers have expanded their delivery models, looking at how they can split their offerings across all methods of purchasing.


However, whilst consumer behavior is changing the grocery landscape, the experience has not always been smooth. Research revealed that less than one in three Europeans (28 percent) said that online shopping was their preferred shopping method and a shocking 53 percent describe click-and-collect as ‘the worst of both worlds’. Which is why brands need to shift towards a blended model, that ensures no matter the way people shop, the experience remains consistent. For click-and-collect or online shopping, this could be by making sure payments are frictionless, packaging is not damaged upon arrival, and clear communication is established with the consumer.

How can technology improve experience? The disruption within the grocery sector has forced businesses to rapidly adapt,

and has pushed technological adoption to the forefront of business leaders’ minds. The grocers who have made substantial progress with their digital transformation initiatives will be the ones who can keep pace with innovation and meet the needs of modern consumers. And as we saw in 2021, we can expect to see ‘Big 4’ supermarkets continuing to leverage technology to transform the customer experience, optimize processes and future-proof their businesses. To extract the most value from the technology, businesses must first understand how it can help them deliver more efficient, seamless services. Using big data and analytics, grocers can improve the user journey, by predicting how consumers will shop, which products they’re most likely to purchase and through which channels. Grocers can differentiate themselves by taking a personalized approach, where the experience is tailored to the individual consumer. Technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) can give grocers the insight needed to understand shoppers’ habits. Using these insights presents further opportunity for personalization recipe ideas, meal plans and suggested products can all help in improving customer experience. We can expect to see online grocery to continue on its upwards trajectory throughout 2022, even with physical stores now open. But grocers need to be strategic in their thinking, and must be able to clearly differentiate between the two key customer journeys. Whether its speed and convenience, or personalization and customer loyalty, if technology is well integrated and optimized, grocers will remain successful in understanding the needs of their consumers.

Ensuring profitability of rapid delivery options Other trends that dominated the last 12 months include the rise of subscription boxes (as a convenient and appealing solution to the closure of the hospitality industry) and faster, sub-one-hour delivery programs being rolled-out across the UK. The acceleration of grocery delivery times is not going to slow down in 2022. However, gaining a competitive edge requires businesses to fully embrace innovation. Across the next year, we expect to see grocers seizing the opportunity of upselling, combining subscription and recipe models to give their customers an end-to-end, convenient shopping experience. These organizations will leverage their already well-established customer-base to take subscription boxes a step further, using retail technology solutions to increase basket value and offer recipe recommendations.

Why grocers need to evolve and adapt The grocery market is becoming increasingly competitive, which is why it is more important now than ever before for businesses to stay ahead of the curve. This can be through harnessing the power of technology, adapting their business models to meet ever-changing consumer needs, or broadening their offering across multiple touch-points. Whatever the solution, we don’t expect the industry to slow down any time soon. Grocery brands must take the necessary steps now to avoid falling behind. D For a list of sources used in this article, contact the editor.

Naveo Commerce

Tomas Grano is Industry Principal at Naveo Commerce, an international end-to-end e-commerce, OMS and Fulfilment technology company helping retailers and wholesalers in all segments to manage and grow their business online. The company was founded in 2020 following the merger of Digital Goodie and Maginus, unifying cloud-based Headless Commerce expertise, Order Management Systems and Fulfilment solutions. For further information, please visit: 7


common myths

Chris Bahr provides a temperature controlled freight checklist

Chris Bahr



hen is the last time you considered the daily convenience of fridges and freezers? This modern appliance helps produce stay cold indefinitely which dramatically increases shelf life and reduces spoilage. Even less contemplated is that the produce in these fridges and freezers may have been transported from thousands of miles away and often have strict FDA or FSMA rules that must be met for consumer safety. To follow these guidelines, produce and other temperature-sensitive products need a reliable (and cool!) means of transportation, like temperature controlled trailers. Temperature controlled freight is a type of transportation used to transport products that require specific

temperatures to be maintained during transit. This type of freight can include products like flowers, cosmetics, meat, eggs, vegetables, valuable art, pharmaceuticals, electronics and much more. These high-tech trailers boast a built-in refrigeration system to ensure product quality from origin to destination and the ability to maintain product temperature during the entire shipping process.

Common temperature controlled freight myths Even though temperature controlled freight is a necessary wheel in the modern economy, there are still some common misconceptions about this form of transportation. Armed with the information outlined in this article and a trusted full-service third-party

Cold chain The USDA handbook even touches on the fact that temperature controlled trailers cannot remove field heat out of produce. Due to this, operators are encouraged to shut the refrigeration unit off when loading from an open dock since leaving the doors open can result in ice forming on the unit, blocking the air circulation during transport.

2) All products can be transported with a similar temperature Some products can be negatively impacted if the trailer drops below freezing while other products are hardier. For example, beets and cabbages can withstand freezing and thawing but potatoes, tomatoes, and some cheeses are permanently damaged and cannot be sold to consumers. Because of this, air circulation is an extremely important factor in protecting refrigerated loads of perishable goods. Otherwise, the cool air will stagnate, and certain products can experience irreversible physical changes. Beyond produce, temperature controlled freight has the capacity to save lives! Certain medical products must be kept near room temperature while others, like live vaccines, must be kept at a chilly 41 degrees Fahrenheit.

Keep cool operations with the perfect partner

3) Temperature controlled trailers are designed to raise and lower produce temperature These trucking units are designed to help produce maintain a steady temperature, not to cool the product. Any cooling completed before the product is shipped is referred to in the industry as precooling. If an item is not pre-cooled and is placed on the trailer, it can raise the temperature in the trailer and risk spoilage for the entire load.

logistics (3PL) provider that specializes in multimodal freight, your team can be prepared for any customer request - no matter the temperature requirements. 1) Only food and beverage need temperature controlled transportation Temperature controlled freight services are used for many more products aside from just food and beverage. Plants, makeup, pharmaceuticals, and other personal care products are some of the other commonly transported goods that rely on refrigerated trucking. As an example, if cosmetics are not transported at room temperature, they can rapidly lose their quality. Insufficient humidity on a trailer with cosmetics can cause bacteria to multiply and risk fungus in the product. Temperature

fluctuations of just two degrees can compromise pharmaceuticals, causing products to become ineffective or even potentially harmful to the patients who receive and consume them. Humidity can also impact fresh fruit and vegetables during transport since a high humidity is needed to keep produce fresh and crisp!

Third-Party Logistics (3PL) companies can boast the resources and knowledge to help customers reach specific transportation goals. Your 3PL provider should know how to efficiently move any refrigerated freight and should have the knowledge to keep the product safe during its journey from origin to destination. Since fresh fruit and vegetables typically have high consumer demand, logistics bottlenecks for temperature controlled freight can easily impact day to day life for millions. Additionally, temperaturesensitive pharmaceutical products are vital for the healthcare industry, and repercussions of slowdowns for this freight vertical can be felt long after they are resolved. Choosing the right 3PL provider for temperature controlled shipments is essential to ensure swift and efficient flow of these crucial products that keep food on the table, medical patients well cared for, and ensure vital services stay operational. Now more than ever, businesses that routinely deal with this specialized freight offering should be looking for a 3PL company that keeps a cool head - and maybe a cool trailer to boot. D For a list of the sources used in this article, please contact the editor.

TA Services

Chris Bahr is Vice President of Brokerage Operations at TA Services. Headquartered in Mansfield, Texas with offices located in strategic markets throughout North America, TA Services, Inc. has been operating for more than 30 years and provides a wide range of thirdparty logistics services including managed transportation, warehousing and distribution, multi-modal transportation brokerage and cross border logistics. TA Services is a division of Birmingham-based PS Logistics, LLC. For further information, please visit: 9

Today’s protein processors arguably face the perfect storm. Consumer pressure on achieving healthier eating options and more environmentallyfriendly production is ever increasing, while energy costs are rising. Torbjörn Persson outlines how JBT can help protein companies meet the challenge



aximizing yield, minimizing waste and increasing product shelflife is not just positive from a sustainability point of view, it also makes sound financial sense, making it increasingly important across the global food industry. This is the thinking behind a range of internal and external initiatives launched by JBT aimed at being part of the long-term solution for the industry, which were recognized in 2021 with EcoVadis’s Bronze Sustainability Medal. In an era of rising populations and increasing pressure on the global food and agriculture system, practical solutions are urgently needed to help producers and processors make better use of the world’s precious resources. Responding to the challenges, JBT has launched ambitious sustainability initiatives aimed at working hand-in-

hand with customers to achieve a more efficient food industry worldwide. Among other achievements, JBT in 2010 set a goal to reduce energy intensity by 25 percent by the year 2020 through a partnership with the US Department of Energy’s Better Plants Program. JBT not only met the goal in 2019, but surpassed it; reducing the energy intensity in U.S. operations by 31 percent and globally by 28 percent. However, JBT’s efforts have not just been limited to North America. Interest in becoming more sustainable combined with the necessity to achieve energy savings has grown substantially across the UK and indeed all of Europe over recent years, driven by consumers and processors alike, and this is reflected in some of the most recent solutions launched by JBT. A prime example of this is the new,



sustainability challenge

electric Stein TwinDrum™ Spiral Oven: a solution which gives processors the ability to deliver carbon-free production through sustainable energy sources. Unlike previous versions, the electric TwinDrum’s design means customers can benefit from innovative, two-tier cooking without having to invest in largescale heating systems by being able to plug directly into the grid and forego oil and gas-heated alternatives. The electric heater is fitted into the machine so it can be easily accessed for cleaning and maintenance, while having fixed wiring means better reliability. Electric heating also gives processors the ability to use renewable sources of energy that can help them to achieve their environmental goals or commitments. The Frigoscandia GYRoCOMPACT® 70 meanwhile is a new solution delivers advances in food safety, performance

and space optimization. Developed using input gathered from customers in Europe and North America, the GC70 takes all the best elements of the existing GYRoCOMPACT range, but with a new focus on achieving greater capacity combined with a reduced footprint. In fact, the GC70 features an increased capacity of up to 20 percent over a smaller area. To further

enhance its sustainable credentials, the freezer’s oil consumption has been reduced by up to 75 percent, while system innovations provide enhanced performance and efficiency. These are just two examples of the work on sustainability that JBT is carrying out across its protein business, and many more are on the horizon in the months and years ahead. D


Torbjörn Persson is JBT’s Director of Value Stream & Global Product Line for Spiral Freezers. JBT supplies technology solutions for the global food industry. The company offers integrated solutions across the entire food processing continuum, from meat, non-meat protein, seafood and poultry, to fruits and vegetables, baked goods, beverages, juices, dairy products and convenience foods. The company represents more than 30 highly respected product brand names, including Frigoscandia, Stein, DSI, Double D, Formcook, XVision, SF&DS, PLF International, A&B Process Systems, FranRica, FTNON, Proseal and Prime Equipment. For further information, please visit: 11

IndustryNews Inspiration for kids Wendy’s® is teaming up with Crayola to bring creativity to kids young and old with Color Adventure kits in Wendy’s Kids’ Meals. The offer began in early April and is scheduled to run through May 30th or until supplies run out! Participating Wendy’s® restaurants will offer kids a series of six colorful premium toys to encourage creativity and fun. Packed in a fun crayon-shaped holder, each Crayola Color Adventure kit comes with three Crayola crayons in different shades and celebrates exploration with activities on a double-sided two-foot-long poster.

There are six Crayola crayon activity kits to collect: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, and Purple – and there are countless kids’ menu combos to choose from. Creative play is the foundation for Wendy’s Kids’ Meal toys and offers every child a unique way to explore, invent, construct, improvise and express themselves through play. In addition to premium toys, marketing support for the program will include custom meal bags, door clings, a dedicated Kids’ Meal web page and a merchandising unit displaying the premiums in select restaurant locations.

RFID trial Chipotle Mexican Grill is testing radiofrequency identification (RFID) technology to enhance its traceability and inventory systems at its Chicago distribution center and approximately 200 restaurants in the greater Chicago area. A leader in food safety, Chipotle is one of the first major restaurant companies to leverage RFID case labels to track ingredients from suppliers to restaurants via serialization. The company has worked closely with the Auburn University RFID Lab to refine the pilot program, which is being tested on meat, dairy, and avocados from five Chipotle suppliers. Ingredients in the test arrive at Chipotle restaurants affixed with RFID enabled case labels and are scanned by RFID readers, which complement existing scanners in the restaurants, requiring minimal incremental investment. The tech-enabled traceability system is designed to allow the company

Tasty pots Mr Lee’s Pure Foods, the award-winning company behind Mr Lee’s Noodles, is launching a brand-new range in the UK – Mr Lee’s Ramen Noodles. The new savoury instant wheat noodle comes in a range of three flavours: a vegan Golden Veggie Curry, Kicking Korean Beef broth, and Krazy about Katsu, a chicken Katsu curry broth. Ready in just four minutes after adding hot water, the three different varieties of ramen noodle are made with authentic Asian-style flavours, 100 percent real chunks of meats and real veggies, all natural ingredients, low in sugar and


to act on food safety and quality concerns swiftly, efficiently, and precisely. Participating suppliers have invested in RFID technology using Chipotle specifications, which is anticipated to save suppliers time on inventory management and stock rotation, mitigate human error, and increase expiration date visibility and accountability. Chipotle invited key supply partners to participate in the test and provided partners with an RFID playbook with best practices and benefits of the program. The brand is leveraging its stage-gate process to test, listen and learn from employees and


saturated fats, and as always, absolutely no nasties. Founded by the late Damien Lee, this is the third product launch (after the

suppliers before deciding on a system-wide rollout of RFID labels. Chipotle teamed up with industry-leading RFID partners including RFID software provider Mojix, materials science and RFID innovator Avery Dennison, and RFID reader and encoder solutions provider Zebra Technologies.

breakfast porridges and congees - rice porridges) since Damien sadly passed away in January 2021. His passion for the healthy food industry however lives on in the expansion of the Mr Lee’s product line. shop/noodles

The Taste Test team is always excited to try a new product from Mr Lee’s as they never disappoint. The Ramen pots proved no exception – the broth was flavorsome, with little chunks of meat and a good portion of noodles. There was enough spice as well, to give a bit of heat. The Katsu option very tasty too – we would definitely buy!

IndustryNews Mega milling Swiss technology group Bühler and Ardent Mills, the joint venture between Cargill and Horizon Milling, and one of the largest flour suppliers in North America, have celebrated the opening of Ardent Mills’ new Port Redwing Mill in Gibsonton, Florida. The mill, powered by the most advanced milling technologies from Bühler, is already in operation and contributes to both companies’ commitments to innovation and sustainable development within the food ecosystem. The construction on the Port Redwing facility began in 2019 and was completed in March 2022. The milling project comprises of two milling units (with the ability to produce 750 tons per day and 300 tons per day respectively), and Ardent Mills has kept the growth of the market in mind, adding space for a third mill in the future. The Port Redwing mill produces all-purpose, whole-wheat, high-gluten, cake, and bread flour. Bühler supplied the cleaning section, the flour mill, the finished product storage, the batch mixing system, engineering, installation, supervision, and plant commissioning. Bühler’s Arrius fully integrated system is key component of Port Redwing Mill and enables an integrated and self-adjusting grinding system that is a radical step change in how millers are able to control the quality and consistency of their product. In addition to optimum grinding performance, Arrius benefits include cutting energy costs, increasing staff safety, speedy installation, remote digital control, improved food safety, and reducing the initial outlay needed for plant investment. 13

Is plastic past it? Advances in environmentally friendly polymers for food packaging



lthough plastics have received significant backlash and criticism in recent years due to their environmental impact, they play a vital role in food packaging. In fact, their versatility, strength and durability make finding a like-for-like alternative incredibly challenging. To develop sustainable food and beverage packaging without compromising performance, food manufacturers should turn to biodegradable and bio-based polymers. But how viable are these greener plastics? Ben Smye explores the issue. The food industry is one of the sectors that benefited the most from the developments in plastics in the past century. Just as refrigeration revolutionized preservation of food for consumers, plastic packaging reshaped product possibilities and food distribution. Plastics provided an effective, mass-producible means of extending the shelf life of products by protecting them from oxidation,

microbial growth and some damage during transportation. To this day, thermoplastics are widely used for the majority of food and beverage packaging. This is due to their flexibility, impact resistance, lower molecular weight and, crucially, their ability to be recycled. However, being recyclable is not enough on its own. Since it has become apparent that plastic is often not being disposed of properly or the infrastructure is not in place to support recycling of all plastics, the need has arisen for other environmentally-friendly alternatives. Several materials such as paper, glass and aluminum have grown in popularity for food packaging in recent years. But as any design engineer knows, simply substituting one material for another is not straightforward - the properties of the original material and its replacement need to be taken into consideration. This has led many food packaging companies to instead consider biodegradable

Packaging and compostable polymers, which can exhibit comparable properties to conventional plastics. The degradation process that a polymer goes through helps to define whether it is biodegradable or compostable. In the case of the former, the polymer decomposes into carbon dioxide, water, inorganic compounds and biomasses in certain controlled environments, such as under high temperatures or when exposed to certain chemicals. Compostable polymers, on the other hand, are defined much more closely. European standard EN13432 requires that any plastic that’s marked as ‘compostable’ needs to break down under industrial conditions - in temperatures of up to 60 degrees Celsius - in under 12 weeks. Within these definitions, there are many biodegradable polymers that are proving themselves to be valuable in food packaging. Natural polymers such as cellulose can be used as films and fresh produce packaging; non-natural polymers like polyglycolide (PGA) can function as the protective layer in multilayer packaging; and synthetic polymers, notably Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA), can be used in bottles and containers. Where biodegradable and biobased polymers have historically faced limitations, however, is in scalability and compatibility with existing processing methods. But the increased drive in green polymer innovation in recent years is helping to overcome these hurdles. Polylactic acid (PLA), for example, is receiving a lot of interest in food and beverage packaging. This interest has arisen due to its thermal and mechanical properties, as well as its compatibility with processing methods such as injection moulding, film extrusion and thermoforming. These properties have led to it being researched and used in areas like food trays, disposable straws and lids. A vast body of research is developing around biopolymers and biodegradable alternatives to conventional plastics. The key, as always, is for product designers to keep abreast of the latest developments and ensure that the alternative materials can deliver the

performance properties that the market expects from plastic packaging. Matmatch works closely with many materials suppliers globally, several of which have ongoing development in the field of more environmentally friendly packaging substances. One such company is Total Corbion PLA, a leading producer of PLA, a biobased and biodegradable polymer that can be used in packaging applications. Made from renewable sources, PLA offers a reduced carbon footprint when compared with traditional plastics. A number of PLA materials have been food contact-approved, and as development continues on its Luminy portfolio, Total Corbion PLA is providing innovative and biobased solutions to packaging problems. Another company is Stora Enso, which focuses on bio-based materials. ‘Bio-based’ means the materials are produced from renewable feedstock rather than oil-based sources. Stora Enso is a leading global provider of renewable solutions for packaging. The company’s goal is to move away from

fossil-based materials and, as such, its products offer a lower carbon footprint than traditional plastics and often have superior recycling properties. The challenge of creating a sustainable material that can serve as a one-to-one alternative for conventional plastics has yet to be solved. Biodegradable materials could fit the criteria to a certain degree, depending on the sustainability of their raw materials. However, there’s no shortage of companies developing innovative products to provide an alternative to traditional plastics. With so much research and development in the pipeline, the future of environmentally-friendly food packaging looks to be full of groundbreaking ideas. And with companies like Matmatch connecting design engineers with the materials suppliers that can fulfil their requirements, it seems that there’s a revolution in food packaging just on the horizon. D For sources used in this article, please contact the editor.


Ben Smye is head of growth at Matmatch. Matmatch offers a free materials database that helps bridge the gap between suppliers and purchasers, allowing users to research and compare materials by filtering on their physical, chemical and thermal characteristics. With over 90,000 materials to search from, Matmatch already has an impressive list of suppliers listed on the database. The company also has an in-house team of materials scientists who are responsible for compiling and verifying the data on Matmatch’s site, to make sure any information provided by suppliers is accurate and reliable. For further information, please visit: 15

From traceability to transparency Marcel Koks looks at the increasing importance of presenting a clear picture of modern food and beverage manufacturing

Marcel Koks


oday’s consumers demand more and more information about what they eat. They’re not only conscious of the ingredients and the nutrition facts, they also want to know where the food originated, whether animals were treated humanely, and what kind


of environmental impact the food has had. Consumers are also interested in learning more about the company’s environmental sustainability policies and efforts. This is in addition to disclosing information that has already become commonplace, such as if a product is certified organic, gluten free, and locally


grown. The list of requested information is long and continuing to grow. Along with the transparency required to build and maintain consumer trust, food safety, quality, and compliance are critical issues for global food and beverage producers. And while increasing globalization of food sourcing

and distribution enables manufacturers to have more supply chain options and reach a greater number of customers, globalization also means that risks like the spread of contamination or disease - can often be more prevalent and complex. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that every

year, roughly 600 million people fall ill after eating contaminated food, with 420,000 of them ultimately dying. It’s because of the risks - and the ensuing consequences - that the food and beverage industry is so highly regulated. Efficiently catering to the needs of modern-day consumer demand for transparency, maintaining food safety, and meeting ever-changing regulations are major challenges for virtually all food and beverage manufacturers regardless of size. At stake are the health of consumers, damage to the brand, and exorbitantly costly recalls. Having a transparent supply chain and the ability to track and trace ingredients can provide confidence, while detailed documentation of all ingredients and processes can provide the foundation of public trust. Many food and beverage manufacturers are realizing that their current technology systems and business processes are unable to support the level of supply chain transparency and traceability required in today’s highly competitive, global market. The key to enabling and leveraging these capabilities is to take advantage of the technologies made available by ‘Industry 4.0 - also known as the ‘fourth industrial revolution’. Integrating Industry 4.0 into the supply chain ecosystem requires digitally transforming the supply chain to be able to trace ingredients and products upstream and downstream across a number of suppliers, logistics providers, and partners. Integral to tracking and locating suspect ingredients and isolating problems is reliance on internet of things (IoT) technologies - combined with endto-end, network-based supply chain traceability. When done right, supply chain transparency and traceability have the added benefits of building consumer trust and strengthening brands, securing food safety, reducing waste, and overall supporting sustainability claims. An efficient and transparent food supply chain requires extensive 17

Traceability collaboration and coordination between stakeholders. Preferably in real time. This can be challenging as many food and beverage companies rely on factories and other parts of the supply chain that are owned by suppliers or trading partners - and those partners source from several suppliers themselves - creating multiple layers of complexity in the quest for transparency. From a food and beverage manufacturer’s perspective, the benefits of supply chain transparency are generated within their own production processes but also upstream and downstream along the supply chain. Modern technologies that enable transparency will also have the added benefits of meeting consumer demand for product information, identifying and responding to food safety issues, reducing food waste, and supporting sustainability claims.

Building end-toend supply chain transparency Creating end-to-end supply chain transparency is a major task. Trying to get there in one giant leap might be biting off more than you can chew. Instead, companies should start by focusing on integrating traceability into internal operations, and then over time look to expand upstream and downstream the supply chain. Supply chain transparency and traceability should be part of the overall food safety initiative, as opposed to pursuing a traceability endeavor all on its own. This level of commitment increases the odds that a company will not only make forward progress on traceability capabilities, it also demonstrates that the company regards lot traceability as an integral part of food safety. Everyone

from the executive level to the factory floor need to be trained and involved.

Supply chain traceability is a first step towards Industry 4.0. Here’s how to get started: 1. A modern, robust ERP system:

To start with, determine what, if any, traceability functionality is already present in your enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. A modern, robust ERP system is likely to have this functionality built in. Ease of use is also critical because the very people who would need it the most - internal quality assurance managers - rarely use the ERP system otherwise, and they must be able to search the database quickly. An easy-to-use interface with a graphic representation of trace lines makes it simple for them to quickly find root causes. 2. Determine data to track: Traceability is a full system that combines data collection with unique identifiers for tracking, all of this data can be shared and analyzed. Determine how granular the data needs to be. The data can be tracked at a very broad level, such as capturing an individual truck load as a single lot, or at a deeper level, such as recording the day and time that pallets of fresh ingredient shipments arrive. If a manufacturer produces products that are marketed as organic, non-GMO, or freerange, the company might even choose to track ingredients at the farm level. 3. Agile recall readiness: Because food safety regulations change frequently, it’s important to have the agility to quickly adapt processes. Increasingly, regulations include standards for recall speed, so manufacturers must prove that they can find and withdraw all potentially contaminated food from the supply chain


Marcel Koks is strategy director, food & beverage at Infor, a global leader in business cloud software specialized by industry. Providing mission-critical enterprise applications to 65,000 customers in more than 175 countries, Infor software is designed to deliver more value and less risk, with more sustainable operational advantages. It empowers its 17,000 employees to leverage their deep industry expertise and use data-driven insights to create, learn and adapt quickly to solve emerging business and industry challenges. For further information, please visit:


within a specified time, including the identification of where the raw materials and packaging came from, how they have been transformed, how the raw materials were consumed, and where the finished products were shipped. 4. Be one step ahead: Even when traceability systems and processes are in place, organizations should not consider their jobs done, and just ‘wait for trouble.’ Instead, they should perform recall ‘fire drills,’ with employees assigned welldefined roles. This way, should an actual food safety issue happen, organizations will be much better prepared to quickly limit the impact of the recall. A sustainable food supply depends upon a sound supply chain. Traceability concerns should be extended into the supply chain as food safety and quality issues can be managed more readily if each partner in the supply chain can identify the direct source and direct recipient of traceable items.

Embracing a transformational future The global population is rapidly growing. Ongoing climate change can jeopardize food production. Meanwhile, one third of the world’s food is going to waste. Additionally, consumers are demanding more information about the food they purchase. A transformation within the food and beverage supply chain is therefore essential. But change doesn’t happen overnight. Industry 4.0 technologies provide significant opportunities to the food and beverage industry, including increasing productivity, improving food safety, reducing food and resource waste, and providing full supply chain transparency from farmers to consumers. Manufacturers are already in Industry 4.0 territory. Supply chain transparency and traceability, asset management, and IoT are building blocks in the vision towards Industry 4.0. This new business paradigm doesn’t require an all or nothing approach. Upgrading a single segment of the operation is enough of an evolutionary catalyst to propel manufacturing plants and organizations into a more efficient, sustainable future. From here, the possibilities are limitless. D


Keep on track Meet your business’ traceability requirements with a next-generation ERP


hey say ‘we are what we eat’, so knowing our food’s origin and journey to our plates is vitally important for today’s health- and environmentally-conscious consumers. According to a 2021 survey by Food Standards Agency and Ipsos MORI, 87 percent of UK consumers think it is important to eat a healthy diet, while 73 percent think it is important to eat sustainably by buying and consuming food with a low environmental impact. As shoppers become savvier about the food they buy, many regularly look for information - on packaging, in advertising - about the ingredients used, how they have been manufactured, processed and packaged, and where they have been along the way. Providing this information to consumers is one of today’s challenges for food and beverage businesses and requires them to have a robust software system in place to capture important information about an ingredient and the production processes it has been through, as well as accurately track, and provide real-time insight into, each stage of its journey from farm to fork.

database to store and access important tracking information quickly and easily, and which is updated in real-time, as and when new information is added to the system. This not only provides confidence that available data is always accurate, but also frees businesses from the inefficiencies of existing legacy accounting systems and manual production tracking - helping businesses make strategic and operational decisions faster, easier and more accurately.

Providing your business with the capabilities to succeed The traceability capabilities within Aptean Food & Beverage ERP are only a small part of the wide range of specific food and beverage functionalities - from recipe tracking and allergen management, to lot management and quality control - available, so companies can easily implement the particular services they require. More than 1000 food and beverage companies worldwide already use Aptean’s solutions to facilitate their dayto-day practices, and unlock their growth

plans through digital transformation. With an integrated ecosystem of business applications - including MES/ OEE, Plant Maintenance, Business Intelligence and EAM - to support every aspect of food production, the Aptean Food and Beverage ERP platform is built to support the current and future needs of growing companies.

A partnership for now, and the future The extensive local knowledge of Aptean’s experienced team means that they understand your business’ particular challenges based on the market you operate in, and work with you to ensure a successful implementation. As traceability continues to be an increasingly important topic for consumers, it was also highlighted as a key focus area for the sector in our latest research. With 72 percent of survey respondents - food and beverage businesses from across the world indicating that it was of medium-high or high importance to their overall strategy, and increased traceability also ranked in the top five industry concerns over the next five years. At Aptean, we pride ourselves on being a partner for today, tomorrow and many years to come. Ready to discover more about Aptean’s food and beverage solutions? Contact us today. D

Transparency where it matters Aptean’s Food & Beverage ERP is an endto-end ERP solution built on Microsoft Dynamics 365 cloud platform, and designed to meet the specific requirements of food and beverage processors, manufacturers, and distributors. As a global provider, Aptean offers a secure, scalable platform, which businesses can trust to work more efficiently and help them manage processes, including successfully managing traceability requirements and meeting regulatory practices. As a true, native cloud-based solution, Aptean Food & Beverage ERP is always up-to-date so your business can take advantage of the latest version and newest features available. Being cloud-based, your business can also create a unified digital


Aptean is a leading provider of purpose-built, industry-specific software that helps manufacturers and distributors effectively run and grow their businesses. With cloud and on-premise options, Aptean’s products, services and expertise help businesses be Ready for What’s Next, Now®. Aptean is headquartered in Alpharetta, Georgia, with offices in North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific. For further information, please visit: 19

Make your mark Ink development for food-contact materials - navigating consumer demands in a changing regulatory landscape

S Josie Harries, Group Programme Director, Domino Printing


ubstances and chemicals used in the design and manufacture of food and beverage packaging have attracted significant global attention in the last few years with consumers calling for increased transparency on the substances used on food contact materials.

These substances include the inks used in the coding and marking and labelling of products and packaging. To protect consumer health and safety, food packaging inks are highly regulated and subject to an ever-changing regulatory landscape which can cause significant challenges for manufacturers.


In this article, Josie Harries sheds some light on the challenges faced by manufacturers when sourcing inks for food packaging applications and provides insight into what brands can do to ensure that the inks used in their coding and marking applications remain compliant with current and future regulations.

Why are inks important for food packaging? Product labelling, and coding and marking, are a crucial part of global food and beverage markets - allowing food and beverage manufacturers to communicate key information to consumers, as well as to logistics

workers, retailers, and anyone involved in global food supply chains. For consumers, this may include expiration dates, ingredients, allergens, and nutritional values, as well as information on how certain ingredients have been sourced e.g., whether a product contains 21

sustainable palm oil or fair-trade cocoa. From a wider supply chain perspective, batch, product, and traceability codes facilitate a product’s journey from manufacturer onto the supermarket shelf and are crucial in assisting with recalls on occasions when something goes wrong during production - e.g., in the event of undeclared allergens. With the above in mind, it’s vital to ensure that any codes included on food packaging will withstand the journey that a food product makes, and last throughout a product’s shelf life. The type of ink used will vary from substrate to substrate - for example, a durable, high-contrast ink suitable for cardboard boxes will have different characteristics and composition from

For any brand looking to explore alternative packaging solutions, partnering with a reliable coding and marking provider, who is willing and able to test and experiment with new and changing substrates, and provide details of migration testing, and food contact safety, is key But performance is not the only factor to bear in mind when developing inks for food packaging. As well as being robust, reliable, and fit for purpose, any formulation must also

Consumer health and safety is a top priority when developing inks for food contact packaging. Food and beverage manufacturers have a moral and legal obligation to ensure that any ink used on food packaging is safe for its intended use - and we are also witnessing a growth in consumer interest in, and knowledge of, the chemicals included within food packaging. For example, the use of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAs), socalled ‘forever chemicals’, which are typically used to coat food packaging and make it grease- and water-resistant

one that is suitable for printing on the film lids of yoghurt pots, where the risk of smudging requires an ink with quickdrying properties.

be safe to use with food products, requiring assurances that inks will not compromise the integrity of, or migrate through, product packaging, or pose

have come under significant criticism recently, with many US states restricting their use. Growing consumer awareness is leading to increasing demand for


a threat to consumer health if the ink comes into direct contact with food.

Spotlight on consumer safety

Labelling transparency in how products and packaging are manufactured. Food producers are, ultimately, legally responsible for any ink used on their product packaging - so working with proven and reputable ink suppliers, who are aligned with key industry associations and able to advise and assist manufacturers with ensuring compliance is key to providing this transparency and assuring that inks are safe for use on food packaging. Regulations and guidance will vary depending on the countries in which products are sold. The European Printing Ink Association (EuPIA), which counts Domino as an active member, has devised Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) guidelines to help ink producers meet their obligations relating to articles that come into contact with food - including European Regulation (EC) No.1935/2004 and Regulation (EC) No. 2023/2006, and ISO9000 and ISO22000 standards. In the United States, similar advice is provided in guidelines relating to Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMPs), which are regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration.

Sustainability trends Sustainability is another key area in the food packaging industry – and staying abreast of market trends in this space is essential, not just for food and beverage manufacturers, but also for ink manufacturers. Many major food and beverage manufacturers are currently exploring alternative substrates and materials, including recycled cardboard and plastic, compostable materials, and refillable packaging. Each one has its own properties, and inks must be designed with these in mind. For example, with recycled cardboard and plastic packaging, it is important to consider ink properties that will not harm the recyclability of a substrate or contaminate the recycling stream. With the Plastic Packaging Tax being introduced to the UK in April 2022, which encourages the use of at least 30 percent recycled plastic in packaging, bearing these factors in mind will become increasingly important. Taking end-of-life plans into account is also crucial. With compostable

materials, manufacturers must ensure that the inks used on their packaging are in line with relevant regulations and will not compromise the usability of the composted material. For reusable packaging, ink coding solutions need to ensure inks stay on a product throughout its use but can be removed once the packaging is returned. For any brand looking to explore alternative packaging solutions, partnering with a reliable coding and marking provider, who is willing and able to test and experiment with new and changing substrates, and provide details of migration testing, and food contact safety, is key.

A changing regulatory landscape Aside from EU and FDA GMP compliance, the Swiss Ordinance List is another key regulatory framework relating to the suitability of inks for food contact materials. In the absence of global regulation, the Swiss Ordinance List is used by many large food and beverage manufacturers, including Nestlé, to ensure that their products and packaging remain compliant in all areas in which they are bought and sold. Meeting regulatory requirements for printing on food packaging is a complicated business. Especially when you consider that the landscape for inks can change rapidly. The Swiss Ordinance List is regularly updated, and chemicals previously considered to be safe for printing on food packaging may be reclassified, which can potentially leave manufacturers without a globally compliant solution. Often, it’s not as simple

as swapping one component for another as even a small change can have a significant impact on the ink performance, such as code legibility and durability, and printer efficiency, which can impact product quality and production reliability. It can take as long as 12 to 18 months to develop new inks and formulations, so it is important that any ink is developed not just with current regulations in mind but looking forward to any potential reclassifications that may place. As such, it is important for food producers to work with proven, best-of-breed ink manufacturers, who have longstanding relationships with industry bodies, as well as with global food and beverage companies, and who are at the forefront of ink and packaging development.

Conclusion Product labelling, and coding and marking, are a small but vital part of global food and beverage supply chains. Equally, the sensitive nature of food and beverage packaging means that inks used on food product packaging are highly regulated - and it’s up to brands to ensure that the inks used on their packaging are compliant. Choosing the right supplier is key brands should look for a partner with a robust and proven understanding of the global regulatory framework, and the inhouse capabilities necessary to remain abreast of industry trends and provide globally compliant solutions, whatever the future holds. D For a list of the sources used in this article, please contact the editor.

Domino Printing Sciences

Since 1978, Domino Printing Sciences has established a global reputation for the development and manufacture of coding, marking and printing technologies, as well as its worldwide aftermarket products and customer services. Today, Domino offers one of the most comprehensive portfolios of complete end to end coding solutions spanning primary, secondary and tertiary applications designed to satisfy the compliance and productivity requirements of manufacturers. These include innovative inkjet, laser, print & apply and thermal transfer overprinting technologies that are deployed for the application of variable and authentication data, bar codes and unique traceability codes onto product and packaging, across many sectors. For further information, please visit: 23

Cheers to a great year in beer W

The Brewers Association takes a look back at a year that was marked both by recovery and relief, along with new challenges and disruptions


ith 2022 now underway, the Brewers Association is taking a look in the rearview mirror at a year filled with new growth, economic relief, supply chain disruptions, and innovation. In 2021, the sales tide swung back toward breweries, bars, and restaurants, and many craft brewers began to see the path back to their former production volumes, if not new growth. Despite the pandemic, more than 9000 breweries operated in the United States in 2021, a six-percent increase from 2020. An increased brewery presence positively impacts the community - in 2020, small and independent American craft brewers contributed $62.1 billion to the U.S. economy. The industry also provided more than 400,000 total jobs, with nearly 140,000 jobs directly at breweries and brewpubs, including service staff at brewpubs.

Despite disruptions like weather, labor shortages, manufacturing delays, and more, craft brewers overcame obstacles and proved resilient. Many breweries were nimble and pivoted to packaging their product to bring in much-needed income when their primary sales channels - tasting rooms, brewpubs, bars, and restaurants - disappeared during the pandemic. In addition, breweries showed innovation across styles and flavor, and craft as a category continued to fill the innovation pipeline with new beers to return to pre-pandemic growth levels. Disruptions are not just happening among craft brewers but also consumers; the American alcohol consumer is increasingly diverse and female, and female drinkers under 25 now outnumber male drinkers under 25. That shift will likely continue and the Brewers Association is working to build resources to help diversify the craft brewing community.


Association fought hard to ensure that breweries would be included in the RESTAURANTS Act. Thanks to the BA’s efforts, approximately 1600 breweries received more than $450

“Coming out of a challenging year, small and independent breweries persevered and found new ways to innovate among a changing environment and evolving consumer preferences and expectations,” said Bob Pease, president and CEO, Brewers Association. “Craft brewers’ ability to take risks, innovate flavors, and build better communities has made the US the craft beer capital of the world, and I can’t wait to see what next year brings for brewers and beer lovers alike.” This year, supporting small brewers went beyond showing up at neighborhood tasting rooms, brewpubs, restaurants, and bars. In March 2021, the American Rescue Plan Act legislation created the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) - a $28.6 billion relief effort that provided grants to hospitality businesses. The initial legislation did not list breweries as being eligible for grants, but the Brewers

million in grants and the association continues to advocate for full funding at the federal level. From fighting for more stringent antitrust enforcement by federal competition authorities to helping pass the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act to save brewers more than $80 million each year in federal excise taxes, to advocating for the passage of the USPS Shipping Equity Act, the fight for small brewers is ongoing. “Government relief helped offset some of the economic damage brought in 2020, and the BA will continue to ensure that small and independent brewers’ voices are heard by federal agencies. Relief must be spread equally to protect and expand market access and ensure competition in the

beer market,” said Bart Watson, chief economist, Brewers Association. “More work to rebuild growth and improve the industry remains for 2022, but 2021 showed progress on that journey.” Given learnings from 2021, the Brewers Association predicts that in 2022: • Comparable craft production will exceed 2019 levels once again • On-premise sales will improve, but draught will still not be back to 2019 levels • At the brewery, sales will hit all-time highs • Operating brewery numbers will continue to climb, but at a lower rate than in previous years • Inflation will come to craft: brewing and manufacturing cost increases will lead to a hike in average beer prices over recent years. D For a list of the sources used in this article, please contact the editor.

The Brewers Association (BA)

The Brewers Association (BA) is the not-for-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent American brewers, their beers and the community of brewing enthusiasts. The BA represents 5600-plus US breweries and more than 38,000 homebrewers. The BA’s independent craft brewer seal is a widely adopted symbol that differentiates beers by small and independent craft brewers. The BA organizes events including the World Beer Cup®, Great American Beer Festival®, Craft Brewers Conference® & BrewExpo America®, SAVOR™: An American Craft Beer & Food Experience, Homebrew Con™, National Homebrew Competition and American Craft Beer Week®. The BA publishes The New Brewer® and Zymurgy® magazines, and Brewers Publications® is the leading publisher of brewing literature in the US. Beer lovers are invited to learn more about the dynamic world of craft beer at® and about homebrewing via the BA’s American Homebrewers Association® and the free Brew Guru® mobile app. Check out the full 2021 Year in Beer report: 25

Whiskey for the community Now into its fifth year, Iron Fish Distillery is steadily building a recognizable brand, founded on community values, and a strong commitment to the whiskey experience


Iron Fish Distillery

Our company is family-owned, and we like to think of our team as an extension of that family. We focus on providing competitive wages, benefits, and training, and together we all share in the hard work of making Iron Fish special 29

Iron Fish Distillery


t’s been a significant year for the Iron Fish Distillery (Iron Fish). One of approximately 50 farm distilleries in the US, the company marked its fifth anniversary in 2021 with the highly anticipated release of its Estate Spirits line of spirits. The line, 100-percent distilled and aged at Iron Fish, uses grain planted, grown, and harvested on the company’s 120acre farm. Despite the company’s relatively short history, it’s the crowning achievement of what has been a remarkable journey thus far. “It all started less than six years ago on an abandoned farm, in northern Michigan,” says Richard Anderson, CoFamily Owner at Iron Fish. “Today, the Iron Fish brand is reaching an inflection point, where brand awareness, enthusiasm for our products, our

values, and our approach to making spirits, along with our commitment to community and sustainability, all resonate throughout the wider Michigan market.” Richard’s enthusiasm is wellwarranted. The company’s success is borne out in the numbers, with Iron Fish now positioned as the second best-selling Michigan craft whiskey brand in the state, with wholesale chain growth leaping an impressive 145 percent between 2020 and 2021, driven in part by a 60 percent increase in independent retailer sales. “Our performance state-wide demonstrates that when people return home from visiting us, they find ways to bring the Iron Fish spirit home,” Richard confirms. “This year, we’ll be launching in yet more states:

Wisconsin, Colorado, California, Illinois, Indiana, and North Carolina. We’re also proud to be distributed and home-delivered to more than 40 states, thanks to our partnership with Spirit Hub, a Chicago-based online spirits retailer.”

Significant investment But as Richard alludes to, there’s more to Iron Fish than bottles of whiskey. The company also welcomes more than 100,000 people annually to its farm, an agricultural end-destination that aims to showcase Iron Fish’s experiential approach to spirits. “At Iron Fish, spirits aren’t the only thing we have to offer,” Richard insists. “We have craft cocktails and wood-fired ovencooked pizzas, drawing inspiration from seasonal ingredients sourced from over 20 local farms and growers. Our fully renovated historic barn plays host to weddings, corporate events, concerts, and community meetings.” If that’s not enough, there’s more to come. In 2022, Iron Fish has announced a major new investment into its operations, including a $900,000 expansion of its distillery and farm. “The development will focus on expanding the spirits distillery to meet demand for our products, which is currently outpacing our capacity,” Richard explains. “The second project will focus on making needed investments to the facilities and property to accommodate more visitors and expand our menu, helping us to better-showcase our farm-to-table food and spirit offerings.” For Richard, it’s a project that has wider implications – not only for Iron Fish, but for the state as a whole. “It’s

Berlin Packaging Berlin Packaging’s Studio One Eleven design and innovation team created a premium custom bottle for the Iron Fish Estate Series, with one-of-a-kind details meaningful to the brand. The distillery’s illustrative steelhead logo was modified for three dimensions and sculpted into the glass to appear as if swimming in the bottle. Debossed panels suggestive of fish scales were incorporated to add dimension and strengthen brand equity. Berlin Packaging are the world’s largest hybrid packaging supplier with decades of experience providing premium packaging solutions for spirits companies and distilleries of all sizes. They have a vast network of manufacturers around the globe and an exclusive offering of super-premium glass bottles. In addition to providing thousands of stock bottle and closure options in a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials, their Studio One Eleven team develops world-class custom solutions that increase sales, reduce costs, and improve productivity. The Studio is comprised of brand strategists, market researchers, industrial designers, graphic designers, and engineers with extensive knowledge across all spirits sectors. Berlin Packaging and Studio One Eleven believe Anything is Possible. Their partnership with Iron Fish Distillery led to award-winning packaging that drives sales, elevates the brand, and leaves a lasting impression with consumers.


Take Your Packaging to New Heights 1.800.2.BERLIN

Berlin Packaging helps food and beverage brands stand-out on the shelf with tasteful packaging and value-added services designed to boost your bottom line and make your profits soar. Partner with a supplier that believes that Anything is Possible®. Custom design, quality assurance, strategic sourcing, warehousing, and more.

a recognition that agricultural end-destination farms like ours are important contributors to Michigan’s four-season outdoor economy,” he points out. “The only reason the expansion is possible is because consumers and retailers in Michigan and the US are embracing local products. “These projects will more than double the amount of grain that we’ll be able to purchase from Michigan farms to 725,000 pounds annually,” he adds. “In doing so, we’ll increase the number of farms supplying Iron Fish from six to ten, including a number in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, where we currently contract rye grain production. We also hope that the investment will further fuel consumer interest in our products, driving yet more demand for our brand.” It’s not just consumers who are noticing the brand, either. Iron Fish is making a name for itself at some of the industry’s most renowned platforms. “We’ve been the recipients of numerous accolades, and we were the most highly awarded craft distillery at the 2021 Craft Spirits Packaging Awards, sponsored by the American Craft Spirits Association, with our Iron Fish Bourbon Whiskey Finished in Mezcal Barrels awarded ‘Best in State’. “Jesse Den Herder, our Creative Director, deserves special recognition, for the care, creativity, and commitment to expressing our brand,” Richard emphasizes. “From the very beginning, Iron Fish has been diligent in working with design professionals to create brand standards that capture our originality. We then collaborate with packaging professionals to execute on those standards, including Vitro Elite, Berlin Packaging, and Brick Packaging. With their help, we’re able to create the end user experience in bottle shape, label design, and packaging.”

Interesting mix The company is also investing heavily in its non-producing distillery (NPD) operations. “The cycle-time from growing grain to distilling and aging whiskey led us to take a novel approach in our NPD,” Richard comments. “Rather than purchase and relabel whiskey, Iron Fish takes the time to finish bourbon in barrels from around the world, making the flavor our own. To date, our library of barrel-aged spirits is approaching 2000 barrels. We never release a spirit unless it tastes like its own cocktail: unique, approachable, and complex.” For Richard, this connection to the local environment cannot be understated. “Our greatest inspiration comes from northern


Iron Fish Distillery Michigan maple trees, and the sap that runs every spring after our long winters,” he goes on. “We have a family of products drawing inspiration from maple, including our Maple Syrup Aged in Bourbon Barrels, our ready-to-drink Salted Maple Old Fashioned, and our Bourbon Whiskey Finished in Maple Syrup Barrels, which has recently earned the highly coveted Double Gold Medal from the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.” But in the alcohol world, it’s not always about consumption. In 2020, Iron Fish served an important cause, temporarily refocusing its efforts towards the production and distribution of hand sanitizer to residents and community groups locally. “We partnered with northern Michigan’s largest health network, Munson Health Care,” Richard indicates. “In doing so, we built on a commitment to community engagement and a focus on supporting non-profit causes that was already heavily embedded in the way we structure events and position our products.”

us throughout the two-year pandemic. Together, we’ve navigated rapid growth, launched out-of-state distribution, and continued to host over 100,000 people annually and safely at our farm. “Our company is family-owned, and we like to think of our team as an extension of that family,” he reflects. “We focus on providing competitive wages, benefits, and training, and together we all share in the hard work of making Iron Fish special.” For Richard, the hope is that the brand continues to resonate with customers nationwide. “We didn’t really set out to deliberately cause it to happen,” he remarks, when asked about the brand’s success to-date. “It’s a lucky confluence of a variety of decisions that we’ve made. We have Across all these operations, nothing would be possible without the hard work of Iron Fish’s employees. “It all comes down to people,” Richard says. “We’re nearly 50-strong today, and just about every one of them was here with

this interesting mix of authenticity, commitment to community, and whiskey or spirits as an experience, along with the ability to work with our suppliers and industry partners to pull it all off.” D 33

A fromage fantasy Since 1969, Fromi has partnered with hundreds of artisan cheesemakers to bring the classic taste of French cheese to customers all over the world




s an independent family enterprise, Fromi has brought its passion for cheese to customers across Europe, Asia and the US for over 50 years. The company is motivated by a desire to support local, independently run cheesemakers by providing them with global export routes, and customers in major cities all across the world. Known for its specialist selection and innovation processes, Fromi’s catalog offers a mouthwatering combination of classic cheeses and brand-new flavor profiles. Over the years, Fromi has acquired an international reputation as a leading provider of cheese specialties. Starting out in 1960s Europe, the company established itself by transporting goods between France and Germany, before becoming a global operation. “For a while the company focussed on exporting cheese within Europe, until its founder, Mr. Xavier David, brought a salesperson onboard called Guillaume Dehaye. Guillaume helped establish a global presence for Fromi, and later took over as Chief Executive Officer. “The company started exporting cheese to different regions in Germany, as well as Switzerland and Denmark. Fromi then went on to acquire a company called MS Selection, in Paris, and that opened up avenues for worldwide shipping. Our cheese was soon made available in the US, Japan and Australia, and the company became famous for shipping French cheeses all over the world. “Fromi started expanding rapidly after the acquisition of MS Selection, and it has continued to be successful ever since. Guillaume Dehaye is still with the company, and he’s in the process of handing it over to his son. Today, the company spends a lot of time exploring new countries with its specialty French cheeses. We are now fully established in Germany, Italy, Spain, America and Japan,” details Jeremy Dole, Chief Executive Officer for Fromi USA and Canada. Local farmers and producers are at the heart of everything Fromi does. As it continues to expand internationally, the company remains 35

flavours alongside its network of artisan cheesemakers. “We are partnered with about 200 different cheese suppliers in Europe, and we often work with them to create new cheeses. We have a former cheesemaker in the company, and their job is to come up with ideas that we can pitch to our suppliers. We often end up working with them to create something novel, that isn’t on the market yet.

Customized options

dedicated to its network of independent cheesemakers. As Jeremy affirms: “The company was founded on the idea of supporting small artisan cheese makers by offering them the opportunity to export globally.

of France, which is where we come in. We partner with these local companies, and do all the admin and leg-work necessary to get their product into other countries around the world. One of our really big motivators is helping

“A lot of the businesses we work with are small, and independently run, which means they are really focused on the quality of their farmhouse cheeses. They aren’t, however, big enough to establish their business outside

farmers to extend their reach, and sell cheeses in big cities such as New York, Toronto and London.” Maintaining strong working relationships means that Fromi can develop unique new


“We try to work that way with our strongest and most long-lasting partners. By developing new kinds of cheese exclusively with them, we can enter different markets and provide a more interesting selection to our customers all around the world. “We also like to find specialists to produce some of the more classic cheeses that everyone can rely on. For example, we work with Marcel Petite to produce Comté cheese. We select the kind of flavor profile we want, and every three months visit the supplier to collaborate with them on the blending process. It’s quite common for the farmer, auctioneer and producer to work together, in order to find the right profile for a cheese. This is especially important when you’re considering a global market, and the kinds of flavors that are popular in certain countries. “We also like to bring our customers into the partnership. We often invite customers to visit the producers and farmers to see how

Fromi the cheeses are made, and offer their opinion on how they would like the product to feel and taste. Those visits are especially useful because we can then customize our cheese to suit the needs of the customer,” discusses Jeremy. Despite being a global operation, Fromi has a close and collaborative working culture, with teams from all different countries coming together regularly to celebrate their mutual passion for great-tasting cheese. “We are a small-scale company, which means everybody knows everybody. I have been with Fromi since 2007, and I have a strong working relationship with everyone within the business. We have a weekly newsletter about new arrivals, and we are sure to welcome them into our culture. “Even though we are based in the US, we make sure to go over to France at least two or three times a year, and gather with our producers. We often have week-long retreats where we can reconnect, which is really important when it comes to maintaining strong relationships with farmers and producers. “We also have an extended team in different parts of the world, from Japan to Denmark, Italy and Spain. All of those teams are invited to France about two or three times a year as well; we have a food show, and various networking events where we showcase our latest projects. We also have the cheese truck program, which involves all the different teams taking turns driving directly to customers across Europe, and tasting various cheeses with them. It has been really good for team spirit, because everyone can participate and it gives people a good opportunity to bond,” Jeremy enthuses.

new cheeses to US customers. “Additionally, we are having a weeklong private tasting event in Europe, which all of our European customers will be invited to, and we plan to make a surprise announcement about this in June,” states Jeremy. The classic taste of French cheese is as timeless as it is renowned. Bringing that authentic flavor to customers across the world ensures Fromi’s enduring success, as it breaks into new markets across Northern America and Canada. “The US branch of Fromi is always growing, which is very encouraging for us. We’re seeing a lot of potential across the nation, and in Canada as well. Over the next few years, we would definitely like to establish ourselves in the Canadian market, and start exporting farmhouse products and artisan cheeses across Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto,” Jeremy concludes. D

Continuous expansion This coming year promises numerous exciting new ventures for Fromi. “In June we will be holding our own private tasting event in New York, with plans to host other private tasting events in Montreal, Toronto, and Miami in August/ September. There’s going to be loads of people visiting us at our private tasting event, where we will get to exhibit all our 37

Brewing the best Leading coffee roaster, Lincoln & York, continues to see success as it provides ethical, high quality and sustainable coffee to partners all across the UK


Lincoln & York 39

Lincoln & York


ince 1994, Lincoln & York has worked hard to bring its customers the best quality, best tasting coffee. Today, the company works with over 250 partners, from hotels and restaurants to independent coffee shops and artisanal brands. Known for its luxurious and diverse range, Lincoln & York is also a certified coffee pioneers, determined to ensure ethical and environmental consciousness becomes the industry standard. Since last being featured in FoodChain Magazine, Lincoln & York has gone from strength-to-strength, as Ian Bryson, Managing Director, reveals: “The last few years have been great for us. We were placed first in the Sunday Times’ International Track 200 awards,

an award that recognises British businesses with the most successful and profitable international operations, and we now supply more of the UK’s most familiar and popular coffee brands with leading origins and flavour profiles from across the globe. “Since then, we’ve placed a huge emphasis on reinvesting our profits into the business, from improving our manufacturing capacity and capability with sustainable packaging, to increased warehouse capacity, and of course, our market-leading high-speed packing line, which we installed in 2021. At Lincoln & York we have a very stable core business, which gives us a fantastic platform to drive sustainable growth for the future, in both current and new categories.”

In response to the ever-growing coffee market Lincoln & York has continued to innovate, with ready-to-drink and cold-brew coffee, as well as an exciting range of flavour palates. “We are always scouring the world for new and innovative products,” confirms Ian. “Due to the unique make-up of our business, we can turn around new products very quickly. We have over 2500k SKUs and more than 600 different blends of coffee, demonstrating both our flexible approach to small and large volume business and the sheer scale of our output and innovation. We are always investing in R&D for our clients, whether that be foodservice, retail, or across formats, including coffee beans, ground coffee, coffee bags, ESE Pods and more,” he continues.

Creating opportunities In 2014, Lincoln & York invested in the UK’s largest coffee roaster. Since then, the company has continued to make bold investments into production facilities and programs. As Ian discusses: “We are constantly investing in improving our offering and our operational capability. In February 2021, we doubled down on our commitment to invest in our facilities and installed a multi-million-pound, market-leading, high-speed coffee packing line. The line, standing at over ten meters tall, took over 400 hours to construct; it has helped optimise our operation, and Lincoln & York can now boast having one of the fastest coffee packing lines in Europe.

Rovema Packaging Machines Rovema Packaging Machines has been supplying Lincoln & York with high speed vertical form fill and seal machines since 2007. The supplied machines continue to perform on a daily basis reliably, and now handle sustainable packaging materials as demand increases. Rovema is passionate about coffee, and has delivered many varied solutions into the industry. With decades of experience in the handling and packing of both ground and whole bean coffee; this is a key factor to the longevity of the Rovema relationship with Lincoln & York. With Rovema UK’s exceptional eight-strong service support team caring for machines over 50 years old, there is no doubt the partnership will continue to thrive for many years to come! The Rovema VPI VFFS was utilised in this project for its accuracy, flexibility and precise sealing system. It achieves the highest possible pack presentation of the Stabilo packs - gas tight and consistently repeatable. Rovema is constantly optimising its processes and solutions for a more sustainable, high-value future. These include: l a supply chain with smaller, tighter packs and less materials l safer food with improved seals and closures for longer shelf life l hundreds of sustainable packaging materials have now been rigorously tested and approved for use on Rovema machines and systems l saving energy with efficient, green drive technology, recovery systems and 35 percent less power and air consumption Working closely with all its customers on possible sustainability solutions and upgrades to existing equipment, Rovema Life Cycle services ensures that all its machines are supported in a futureproof way for the whole life of the equipment. Lincoln & York can relax knowing it has the best possible sustainably supported facility for many years to come. Rovema Packaging Machines Limited | |


about sustainable packaging solutions

Efficient and sustainable packaging of coffee ROVEMA offers comprehensive solutions for multi-variant premium product Sustainable ideas can currently be found in most industries. It is the consumer who demands modern, recyclable solutions. The coffee industry is no exception. Few would like to do without coffee itself, but many would like to do without unnecessary packaging – be it the disposable take-away cup or the aluminum outer packaging of the coffee beans from the supermarket. Sustainable alternatives for the coffee industry – POS strength of bags remains a differentiating feature We have investigated a variety of alternative packaging materials for coffee and other fatty products. There are now some promising alternatives. Not all of them offer flexibility in bag design that has been possible so far, but the issue of product protection seems to be solved even with the sustainable variants!

PP Coffee beans in Polypropylen (PP) with EVOH oxygen barrier



Ground coffee safely packed with particularly thin PP packaging material

ROVEMA North America Inc. Norcross, GA 30093 T +1 404 640 5310

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Coffee powder in PE Mono material

BIOPE Coffee powder packed in polyolefin composite with sealing medium made of 85% renewable raw materials

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“More importantly, it has created new opportunities both for Lincoln & York and its clients. This innovation automates the packing process for retail clients, meaning coffee can go from green bean to being shelf-ready in less than an hour. We’re also expanding our site, with the addition of a new warehouse and company gym area. Again, this will give us extra capacity, allowing us to meet the needs and demands of our clients across retail and hospitality, whilst also keeping our teams happy, fit and healthy.” These investments no doubt helped grow the business in the face of


adversity. As Covid-19 changed the way in which people bought and consumed coffee, Lincoln & York responded with new and innovative solutions. “When Covid-19 hit, it was clear that whatever the impact, we would need to innovate and invest for long-term growth, rather than just improvise. Lockdown restrictions placed significant pressures on the Out Of Home (OOH) market, so in order to support our clients, we turned our focus to boosting retail capabilities and even greater flexibility. “The investment in our new packingline is a positive indication of the longer-term growth potential in the

retail coffee market, as it increases the business’s capacity to serve both retail clients and OOH clients with retail products, it also reinforces Lincoln & York’s commitment to helping customers capitalise on growth opportunities. Some months on from the worst of the pandemic, we are full of optimism; the latest market data is showing good recovery of the OOH market as consumer confidence returns,” Ian reveals. This shift in coffee culture has been the catalyst behind some of Lincoln & York’s more recent ventures, as Ian details: “We’ve seen a significant shift to in-home consumption, with many OOH coffee brands moving into retail. However, it is not just a growth in consumption at home that is of note, but the type of coffee being consumed. Coffee beans and coffee bags are now the fastest growing formats, whilst the popularity of instant coffees has fallen. This is an indication that consumers are now trying to replicate their OOH experience with freshly ground coffee at home, and finding it an enjoyable alternative.

Lincoln & York

“The growth in sales of coffee bags is on-trend with consumer demand for convenient and high-quality products that are affordable and readily available at home. We also see continued growth in the cold brew coffee sector with consumers interested in, and excited by, new ready-to-drink options.”

Exciting future Lincoln & York has defined itself over the last few years as a resilient, creative and passionate brand. The people behind the business have remained motivated throughout the pandemic thanks to Lincoln & York’s company values: trust, accountability, teamwork and fun. Cultivating a positive culture has been central to the company’s success, as Ian highlights: “At Lincoln & York we have an incredible record for keeping our staff with us for great periods of their careers. Many of our staff have served more than ten years with us, and some over 20! Our talented people are our greatest asset, and this has never been truer than throughout the pandemic.

“We actively work to foster a diverse and welcoming workplace centered around mutual respect. All our colleagues are encouraged to maintain a healthy work-life balance; we support our people to pursue healthy lifestyles, from free fruit provision to a workplace gym, and we even provide financial assistance to engage in charitable and sustainable activities. The backbone of our company is our colleagues.” Equally important to Lincoln & York’s working culture is sustainable and ethical practice. Creating a more environmentally conscious space for coffee production and distribution is of absolute importance to the company’s future, as Ian asserts: “Lincoln & York is committed to recognising and reducing the impact our business has on the environment, from emissions and energy use to minimising waste. “We believe we must manage our impact on the environment, which requires both capital expenditure and an investment in training for our people to ensure they make informed choices. Our environmental policies are constantly evolving as we continue to

learn, and we are always exploring any new technologies and solutions that enter the market, in order to help us deliver on our commitments. “We work closely with organic and ethical partners such as Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance. We also collaborate frequently and effectively with World Coffee Research, to ensure we comply with global best practice and support the development of the coffee world.” These efforts hope to ensure a bright future for the coffee industry. Looking toward the future of Lincoln & York, Ian concludes: “Lincoln & York, as a business, has delivered strong growth since it was first founded over 27 years ago, and, following the pandemic, we expect our strong growth trajectory to continue. “The coffee sector continues to grow at a rapid rate, and we will ensure that we are at the forefront of further developing this growth in both our core coffee business, and areas such as single serve pods and bags, ready-to-drink and cold brew coffee. The future of coffee is very exciting, and we are here to realise it.” D 43





A seat at the table Family-owned and family-operated for over 45 years, restaurant chain Streets of New York, sees enduring success as it brings classic, greattasting Italian dishes to families

Lorrie Glaeser


s a local, family-owned and oriented Italian restaurant, Streets of New York (Streets) provides a casual Italian dining experience and delivers East Coast taste to customers in the Southwest. With the first location opening in 1976, on Cactus Road and 32nd Street in Phoenix, AZ the company has since grown into a network of 21 locations, known for their classic taste


and laid-back atmosphere. Today, Streets of New York embodies its founding mission, as a local spot to gather with friends and families, to enjoy great-tasting, authentic dishes. First and foremost, Streets of New York is a family business founded over 45 years ago. The company is now run by three generations of Glaesers, as the company’s current Chief Executive Officer and President, Lorrie Glaeser,

Streets of New York

We partnered with a Italian distribution company, Greco and Sons. They came to us about 12 years ago and offered the added value of their products and knowledge of Italian cuisine. We are fortunate to have a large range of dependable resources for the best ingredients, as our tomatoes that are sourced from volcanic soil from Naples, they are intensely flavourful for making delicious Marinara sauce

details: “My husband and I operated two bakeries in New Jersey before we moved to Arizona in the 1970s. My husband Bernd was born in Dresden, Germany, he was highly skilled with all-around baking knowledge. “When we arrived in Arizona, we were desiring to open a different business with still being in hospitality, we came across a little pizza restaurant that had been opened six months, we purchased

the restaurant and now the rest is history. “We have three children that grew up in the business, to this day the family continues working our path along with their spouses, and grandchildren. We are very proud to have created this family legacy for all.” Streets of New York’s menu can be found at: wwwstreetsofnewtork. com. “We specialize in pizza, pasta, wings, sandwiches and salads,” Lorrie continues. “We developed all of the recipes ourselves and tested them on friends before introducing them to our menu. Over the years Streets has developed relationships using trusted commissaries making some of our products for consistency and quality of our recipes. We are a dine-in, carry out and delivery restaurant company. My focus of attention is on the small detail of food, taste and quality of ingredients.

I enjoy creating recipes maintaining the integrity, that’s how you grow your business, and I cannot and will not sacrifice quality for the dollar.”

Partnership approach The company has since grown since from its original location and spread its wings across Arizona and into Las Vegas, as Lorrie explains: “Today we have 21 locations in operation, with three more in development. Streets of New York has developed a great working relationship with all the major Arizona sports teams selling Pizza, Chicken Wings, and Salads in all four major AZ sports venues, we are the official Pizza and marketing partner of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Phoenix Suns, Coyotes, Arizona Cardinals, Mercury Basketball, and AZ Rattlers. When the Arizona Diamondbacks invited Streets to partner with them, we were very excited for the 45


Streets of New York opportunity to market our food within their stadium and introduce ourselves in a larger scale to our hometown Streets of New York fans.” Working with major sports organizations has established Streets of New York as a community-centered brand. “We have always been a familyfriendly, neighborhood style restaurant. We pick our demographics based on the lunch clientele; at the end of the day our restaurants are popular with families in their local neighborhoods. Streets caters for events and serves kids for lunch programs. “What makes us unique is knowing we have a lot of great people behind us, supporting everything we do. We employ 370 ‘Streets Family’ members, as we call our loyal employees, that have given us many years of hard work, caring and dedication to our brand for growth. Our focus to the future will continue with developing our footprint with company restaurants and reintroducing our Streets of New York franchise model,” states Lorrie.

Vegas, and it is rare for a woman to own her own pizza restaurant business. I believe it’s important for women to grow and succeed in all business; we can offer a new way of thinking, developing our brand and communicating. Managing my business, I’ve had much fun developing relationships with

establishing mutual respect between myself our suppliers and employees. “I also believe it’s important to listen to ideas and learn from the younger generation, as I have with my kids. Moving forward with Streets of New York, we will likely have smaller dining rooms, consider a social bar for people to gather to enjoy the informality of not sitting in a dining room to order food, a new shift we will be responding to.” The Streets of New York story is far from over, as Lorrie and her family continue to develop and expand their brand in all directions. “I will channel my efforts for growth into new emerging area. I would like to see the Streets brand grow beyond Arizona over the next years, we are a fully developed franchise company. All products are available thru our main distributor Greco that serves us and many throughout the mid and west coast states.” D

Brand development Using authentically grown Italian ingredients is the way Streets of New York ensures its dishes are packed full of flavor. As Lorrie reveals: “We partnered with a Italian distribution company, Greco and Sons. They came to us about 12 years ago and offered the added value of their products and knowledge of Italian cuisine. We are fortunate to have a large range of dependable resources for the best ingredients, as our tomatoes that are sourced from volcanic soil from Naples, they are intensely flavourful for making delicious Marinara sauce. “Our regular loyal customers have memorized our menu, knowing exactly what they want when they enter our doors. We like to add new menu items to keep things fresh and interesting, although our pepperoni pizza will always be our number one most sought-after pizza, along with Streets #7 sandwich, guests are loyal to their favorite menu delight.” Since 2005, Streets of New York has been a female-owned operation. Lorrie is creating a space for female leaders and entrepreneurs in the restaurant world. “I just came from the Pizza Expo in Las 47







A slice of success Wisconsin-based pizza franchise, Toppers, celebrates 30 years of incredible customer service and great-tasting toppings


cult favorite on campuses across North America, Toppers is known for its fun, unique and innovative approach to pizza. When it was established in 1991, the brand pioneered fresh and inventive flavor palettes, taking the student population by storm. Today, the company runs 70 locations across 16 different states, and continues to put flavor first. Having delayed plans for a year in light of the pandemic, the Toppers’ team now look forward to a 30th Anniversary convention in Las Vegas, as well as major expansion across the US. “Toppers started out in 1991, in Whitewater, Wisconsin. When we started out, the main things we wanted Toppers to stand for were unique toppings, and great house recipes. We wanted to offer products that other pizza places weren’t,” outlines Adam Oldenburg, Vice President of Operations at Toppers. Founded upon an innovative spirit, Toppers’ unique menu soon gained popularity, and the brand quickly developed into a franchise. “We were experimenting and innovating with our flavors, and we definitely developed a kind of cult following in campus markets. We opened in Whitewater, and went up to Stevens Point for our second store. From there, we started our franchising program, and opened up our La Crosse and Madison locations,” Adam details. Three decades later, the Toppers brand reaches all the way from Wisconsin to Texas, with dozens of locations in-between. The franchise model has been vital in growing Toppers’ footprint,

and selecting the right location is of utmost importance, as Adam reveals: “When selecting a new franchise location, one of the main things we look for is household addresses. We tend to look for anything that serves 20,000-to-30,000 households within a seven-to-nine-minute driving radius. We also look at other forms of available data, things like household income and competitors in the area. “We like to think that if some of our close competitors are there, that we can offer our services next to theirs and win business that way. Of course, we want to develop into territories where we can have multiple stores as well. We often look into opening campus locations where possible, and smaller residential stores are always a good way to drive business.” With an ever-growing network of franchise restaurants, Toppers works hard to ensure the same great taste is available in every single location. The brand exclusively uses 100 percent Wisconsin Mozzarella on its pizzas, and its trademark toppings are

carefully constructed by an expert menu innovator and recipe developer, as Adam discusses: “We do a lot of menu engineering based on the customer feedback we get, and that helps us when it comes to creating new toppings.

Taste trends “Our director of menu innovation, Mac Malchow, does a lot of customer research, and he also undertakes panels in-store on a regular basis. He is always doing taste tests with different off-menu ingredients, which is something that customers really enjoy. “We are in control of a number of our signature topping combinations, and we also take inspiration from elsewhere. We keep a close eye on which toppings are low sellers, and take them off the menu to make sure it’s as streamlined as possible. We want to make room for new, innovative pizza ideas, and of course we keep our ear to the ground in order to look out for trending flavor combinations. There will be times where certain products are in vogue, for example there was a phase when everyone wanted 49

brisket and cream cheese on their pizza. If we can hit those trends, we always do well.”

Data technology Bringing these great tastes to customers at the touch of a button is the Toppers’ app, which launched in 2019. The proprietary software makes ordering simple, and keeps the brand in contact with its customers, as Adam enthuses: “The name of our app is PiZMET, which is a combination of ‘pizza’ and ‘kismet’, two things that summarize what Toppers is all about. We took on this project about six years ago, and finally rolled out the entire system three years ago. “It has allowed us to control everything online, so when the pandemic hit we were able to switch to curbside pick-up with ease. We were also able to do contactless delivery before any of the big chains, because we were able to roll it out within two weeks. In that sense, the pandemic has actually been great for our business. We have out-performed our competitors by double digits on a quarterly basis, and we would be foolish to not think that the app was a huge contributor to that success.”


Toppers Making effective use of the latest data technology has also allowed Topper’s to market more effectively to its customer base. “Looking at customer segmentations, knowing what people order and when, allows us to market to those individuals in more personalized and specific ways. We also use all the information and technology we have at our disposal to remain as nimble as possible; we want to respond to trends, and meet customer needs without having a backlog of admin to get through,” states Adam. Despite having made significant strides since its inception in 1991, Toppers remains true to its Wisconsin roots. The company has a strong network of suppliers throughout its

“We have signed a couple of area development agreements already, and we plan on opening those stores soon. I myself am a franchisee, and I’ve signed on for three more locations, which is very exciting. I think it speaks to Toppers’ level of success that I’m now reinvesting into it. Ultimately, I would like to see Toppers become a national player in the takeaway pizza market, because we definitely have something new to offer.” D

home state, as Adam asserts: “We have been working with PFG Roma for the entire 16 years that I have worked at Toppers, so we are a strong client of theirs. We continue to have a good working relationship with numerous other vendors as well, including Wisconsin Cedar Valley, who provide our 100 percent mozzarella cheese.” Combining local ingredients with fresh, on-trend tastes and great customer service has served Toppers well over the past 30 years. With major expansion in the works, and record-breaking figures in the last quarter, the company gears up for one of its most exciting years yet in 2022. “We are planning on opening seven stores in 2022, in anticipation of some major franchise growth. We have had our best average unit volume in company history this year, so we are really feeling the momentum right now. We will be doubling down on our products and services, in order to maintain it,” affirms Adam. This years’ successes will no doubt contribute to the company’s long-term growth, as it makes its way to becoming one of the US’s favorite pizza brands. The people behind Toppers continue to harness its potential, and there seems to be no signs of slowing down, as Adam concludes: “In five years, I would like to see Toppers reach 200 locations. 51


thinking A winner of a GABF Gold Medal for its first ever beer, Terrapin brewery is building a unique reputation for delicious, innovative beers




his year, the Terrapin Beer Company (Terrapin) celebrates its 20th anniversary. Founded by John Cochran and Spike Buckowski in 2002, the company currently distributes across 16 US states, with plans to open in Puerto Rico. Now with two decades under its belt, Terrapin has forged a reputation for innovative thinking. In 2013, it became the first brewery in Georgia to offer cans, now the norm across the craft beer market, and the company also boasts a range of bold and exciting flavors, including its best-selling Hopsecutioner IPA, and its passionfruit orange guava IPA, Luau Krunkles. “Innovation is an ethos that drives us as a company, whether through the packaging, brewing, or in driving higher standards when it comes to sustainability,” insists Jack Albanese, Vice President of Operation at Terrapin. “We’re always looking to optimize our processes and bring out crazy new IPAs. We now have an extensive range of beers for people to drink, through which we can reach out and capture our audience. Recently, we opened a research and development brewery in Atlanta with a ten-barrel permit. We’re using that to experiment with yet more fresh and exciting brands.” Returning to 2013, Terrapin had just the single product line when it first started pioneering the use of cans within craft beer. Since then, the range has grown substantially, and Terrapin is expanding its capabilities to match. “With our full range of products now going into cans, we’re excited to build out our canning line and increase our capacity,” Jack comments. “We are working with packaging machine manufacturer DMM, a company based in California, and partnering with a new cartoner in order to develop a more robust, operationally efficient line that’s able to handle the increased throughput. Ultimately, we want to deliver more cans to more people.” For Terrapin, however, innovation isn’t limited to the production line. The brewery is also taking great strides towards full-circle sustainability. “One thing we really pride ourselves on is our wastewater pre-treatment,” 53

Jack admits. “It’s something we’ve studied and developed over the years, working with Zee-Loeffller to optimize the system. We’re also about to begin some planting in our beer garden, using compost that we’ve created out of our processes. It fits with who we want to be as a brand, and it’s something we’re very excited about.” It’s not all about the future, though. For Jack, the 20-year milestone is also an opportunity to reflect Terrapin’s progress to-date – and what better way to do so,


than with the return of the company’s very first beer: Rye Pale Ale. “We came out of the gates with Rye Pale Ale way back in 2002,” he says. “Now, to mark our anniversary, we’re really trying to bring back some of those old beers that put our name on the map. As a winner of a GABF Gold Medal, Rye Pale Ale is exactly that. There’s certainly a nostalgia about it, but a lot of those beers are still so relevant. It’s a fun opportunity.” Like many independent breweries, Terrapin is a company whose roots

lie close to the community. “One of the things we pride ourselves on is being local everywhere,” Jack insists. “Wherever we have a presence, we work with local food banks and charities to give back. Members of our team help at a mobile food pantry in Athens, based in the city in which we were founded. It’s a place where those in need within the community can come by to pick up food. By contributing our time, we’re supporting the pantry in the delivery of their service.

Terrapin “We’re also trying to develop that in other states across the US,” Jack continues. “I know that we’ve had success in Wisconsin, and we’re always looking to do more. In every case, our key driver first and foremost is to consider what the needs are within each market. Then, we look at addressing that need, by providing and driving accessibility for the things that are in demand.”

year view, I would like to see an even greater focus on sustainability in the near future,” Jack concludes. “At the same time, on the product side, we’re going to remain true to our commitment to quality, even as we look to expand

our volume and grow and develop our audience. Of course, we’ll continue to innovate, and use that to build greater and greater expectations around our brand. It’s a really cool time.” D

Higher standards Given this impressive commitment to going the extra mile, it’s perhaps little surprise that Terrapin – and its staff – have been able to navigate nearly two years of industry disruption, following the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020. “Obviously, we’ve experienced what have been difficult times for everybody,” Jack notes. “Looking back, I’m very proud of the fact that we were able to keep everyone at the brewery employed. However, in the moment, I think we also did a very good job of creating a safe environment for our employees to work in. “From the market perspective, everything was crazy, particularly in the early stages of the pandemic,” Jack adds. “Our vendors closed, and we were forced to weather the storm. Now, we’re coming out of it again. Businesses continue to open with each passing day. As a team, and as a brewery, that’s part of what is making our 20th anniversary this year such a special occasion: it’s the first time we’ve been able to gather everyone together for nearly two years. It’s a testament to the work and dedication that the team at Terrapin has shown, and an indication of what we can do in the future.” Looking to that future, Terrapin recently announced an all-new product, known as ‘Depth Perception’. “Our latest release is an all-year-round beer, and the first of its kind to be produced in our new and innovative 19.2oz package type,” Jack says. “It’s an Imperial West Coast IPA, also available as 12oz cans in a sixpack, twelve-pack and as part of our IPA Survival variety pack. It’s a complex, threedimensional product, and we’re super excited to see it go to market.” Beyond 2022, the company is confident that it can continue to drive higher standards by establishing itself as a leading light within the industry. “Taking a five- 55

Food for your best self With a combination of delicious chefmade meals, intermittent fasting and revolutionary one-on-one support, Jenny Craig continues to help thousands of men and women rediscover their most confident selves



he Jenny Craig program is specially designed to take the guesswork out of getting fit and losing weight. With a focus on structure, transparency and food positivity, the nationally acclaimed system is known for both its effectiveness and longevity. The core of Jenny Craig is its selection of nutritionally-balanced menus, including almost 100 delectable entrees, snacks and even desserts. Backed by science, the Jenny Craig meal plan is formulated by nutritionists and professional chefs to ensure the best tasting meals that also help customers feel full, fit and healthy. After years of success, the company has now released a new-and-improved version of the Jenny Craig program; the Max Up system combines all of Jenny Craig’s original benefits with a revolutionary Recharge Bar and the personal insight of one of the company’s trained weight loss coaches.

The story of Jenny Craig begins with the woman herself. When Jenny struggled to lose weight after giving birth to her second son, she noticed a gap in the market for any truly healthy, long-term solutions that would help her reach her goal. Soon after, she began working at a gym in her local area, and recognized first-hand a lack of sustainable exercise programs and techniques. Further, she realized that exercise alone does not lead to longterm weight loss, and so she came up with a plan. In the early 1960’s, Mrs. Craig opened her own gym, which became incredibly successful. Wanting to provide a comprehensive, synthesised option to people looking to lose weight on a long-term basis, she and her late husband went on to establish the first Jenny Craig Weight Loss Center. The center offered support in terms of diet and exercise, providing a supportive space for people to seek advice and

Jenny Craig clear guidelines on how to become their healthiest selves. Since then the company has developed an industry-leading understanding of long-term weight loss. Jenny Craig offers a depth of knowledge into the processes behind portioned eating, intermittent fasting, and sustainable everyday workouts. The end result is a change of lifestyle, not just diet; as Mrs. Craig herself put it on the company website: “It’s not what you do once in a while, it’s what you do day in day out that makes the difference.”

Powerful message Today, millions of people have changed their lives because of the Jenny Craig program. Having been around for almost 40 years, the system is tried, tested, and adored by many. The company is now based in Carlsbad, California, with nearly 500 companyowned and franchised locations worldwide. As a world-leading weight loss and management company, it has been named one of the best diets available by US News and World Report for 11 years running. So how does it work? The foundation of Jenny Craig is nutrition, and an understanding of what each customer needs in order to succeed. Quoted on the company website, Jenny Craig states, “People will do anything to lose weight, but if it’s dependent on the food that they’re eating, it has to be good or they won’t continue with it.” The great-tasting food provided by Jenny Craig acts as an incentive for customers to remain dedicated to the weight loss program, and in turn the entire process becomes not just sustainable, but enjoyable. Supporting customers every step of the way is Jenny Craig’s team of professional nutritionists and suppliers, who provide great tasting ingredients with balanced nutrient profiles and, of course, incredible flavor. Jenny Craig meals are known to include immune-boosting ingredients without artificial sweeteners or colours, highfructose corn syrup, trans-fats from partially hydrogenated oils or added monosodium glutamate. Offering all of this, the meal plan provides three

square meals a day, plus snacks, all at under 300 calories. Jenny Craig’s dedication to its customers starts at the very beginning of the meal planning and prepping process, as all of the company’s meal plan options are backed by nutritional science and rigorous testing. Jenny Craig has even been published in the scientific journal, Nature, in a study that shows how individuals following the plan can experience not only amazing weight loss results, but also lower blood sugar levels. As a company that has always strived to do and be more for its customers, Jenny Craig has continued to evolve and refine its weight loss solutions for over four decades. The company’s latest development seeks to improve on the original Jenny Craig plan, with the addition of a fun and engaging activity curriculum, quality of life assessments and cutting-edge hydration guidance.

Taking Jenny Craig’s already easyto-follow system, these new additions focus on fostering healthy, longterm habits that go far beyond the customers’ weight loss journey. Max Up also includes personalized in-person or virtual coaching, designed to reinforce healthy food and exercise habits through one-on-one sessions. Feeling better in your body is a powerful first step in becoming a stronger, more confident individual. Jenny Craig understands the importance of good food and regular exercise, and as a company that seeks to celebrate both, rather than restrict or over-work, it carries a powerful message to men and women everywhere. As the company enters its 39th year, it remains true to its original mission, and dedicated to bettering the lives of others, something which will undoubtedly continue to spell success. D 57

Image credit - Rey Lopez

Serving the best With a collection of carefully crafted restaurants, KNEAD Hospitality + Design is taking over the food industry with innovative concepts and exceptional cuisine


KNEAD Hospitality + Design

Jason Berry

Michael Reginbogin


ason Berry joined the restaurant industry when he was just 16 years old, working at Wendy’s. Through the years, he developed a deep love for taking care of people, which organically grew into a career in hospitality. Partnering with a likeminded restaurateur, Michael Reginbogin, he then created KNEAD Hospitality + Design (KNEAD). The company’s Co-Founder/Principal sits down to tell us how KNEAD is just as excited about people as it is about an exquisite dining experience. “About eight years ago, we wanted to go into business together and start making money for ourselves. We wanted to push ourselves to see if we could succeed; considering we had been a part of making the dreams of other people come true for so long, it was 59

Image credit - Rey Lopez


KNEAD Hospitality + Design

time to try it for ourselves, and so we did. In 2015, we opened our first location and the rest, you could say, is history,” shares Jason. With ten different concepts, ranging from Mexican street fare, to delectable pastries, KNEAD platforms the skills of chefs with renowned experience. For example, behind the menu of Succotash, you can expect the work of James Beard Award winner, Edward Lee, who brings his Korean roots and Southern repertoire to a soulful Southern menu. “We also have Roberto Santibañez, who has served as an ambassador of Mexican cuisine for over three decades, as our Culinary Director at MI VIDA. That restaurant has been open for four years now, and has been an absolute home run; it’s probably the busiest Mexican restaurant in the Mid-Atlantic. It has been incredibly successful, so much so that despite the challenges of the pandemic, we are opening two more MI VIDA locations in 2022. It has been a testament to the brand, the concept and the location. So, we’re very excited about that.”

Culture is everything to a restaurant; it’s what makes a brick-n-mortar location special. While we recognize that guests come to us to escape the world for a few hours, it is so important to remember that happiness starts at home. Therefore, we want to ensure that we’re providing an environment where our teams, wherever they are based, feel welcomed and respected and they’re treated like family

pandemic. For Jason, he is grateful for the assistance given by the government, as well as the excellent company culture embedded in KNEAD. “The government helped when they came up with measures to take care of restaurants and ensure they survived. “From an internal perspective, we worked extra hard on our

communication with employees to make sure that they felt safe, and that they always had a job. We also provided resources, both mental health and financial, if needed, and upheld a great working environment. Out of our 300 employees that we had at the time, only six didn’t return when we were able to reopen, and that was as a result of

Exemplary team When asked whether working with excellent chefs was an aspect that came about organically, or if it was an intended selling point for the business, Jason says that it was absolutely intentional, as having a brand associated with well-known chefs has built credibility for the KNEAD brand. “However, it can go either way,” he continues. “There have been a number of chefs in the news for some upsetting reasons, but I think when it works as it has for us, it can be such a prosperous partnership, and ours is a great example of that. When people know the names of the chefs and understand the quality and creativity they represent, it contributes massively to the initial visitation of our guests, and for us, it’s a fantastic way to stand apart from our competition,” he explains. It seems that Jason and Michael’s strategy to create unique dining experiences has served the growth of their company’s name well, particularly when it comes to unprecedented challenges, like that of the Covid-19 61

Image credit - Rey Lopez

moving away for lifestyle purposes, or they left the industry entirely. So, I’m very proud that we’ve established the reputation that we have, and that our employees know they can trust us; they demonstrated such inspiring loyalty and commitment throughout the pandemic,” shares Jason.

Welcoming environment Continuing on the topic of company culture, he shares his thoughts on the importance of rewriting the hospitality industry’s narrative towards its employees, and explains how KNEAD is playing its part to better the lives of its staff. “Culture is everything to a restaurant; it’s what makes a brick-n-mortar location special. While we recognize that guests come to us to escape the world for a few hours, it is so important to remember that happiness starts at home. Therefore, we want to ensure that we’re providing an environment where our teams, wherever they are based, feel welcomed and respected and they’re treated like family. “This also translates into the sort of language that we use, because there’s a difference in nuance in terms of how we communicate. Is it ‘you work for me’, or is it ‘you work with me’? Is it ‘me’ or is it ‘us’? And I think that’s very important in making people feel as if they belong and that they’re part of the solution,” he shares. Other ways in which the business is taking care of its staff is by implementing a hybrid working program; a novel benefit considering the hospitality industry depends on face-toface contact. “We started a new 4Days@Work! program for our salaried employees that allows them to spend one day a week at home, if needed, to work on the things that they can do remotely. We wanted to offer the best of a hybrid work environment to a sector that has never really allowed it. So, we’re starting it as a test at two of our restaurants. “We’re trying to do a lot of initiatives to embrace the change in this industry that’s needed to get people believing in it again. The industry lost over a million jobs last year to Covid-19, and won’t survive and thrive if people continue to leave. From my years working in hospitality, I know that it’s an industry that hasn’t always put employees first, and that’s why we’re trying to change it, and make it so people don’t have to be inhouse all the time,” he shares. He continues to express his prospects on whether the industry will survive the impact


KNEAD Hospitality + Design of the pandemic. “This is too good of an industry for people. We work in a sector that welcomes people from all levels of education – you don’t have to have a college degree, you don’t have to be well educated to gain experience here. If you love to cook, and you treat people well, you can work in a restaurant. It’s more about how committed you are to work, as opposed to how smart you are, or whether you went to an Ivy League school; that’s not important in this industry. What is important is how hard you work, and having a decent amount of common sense.”

Focus on culture Regardless of the challenges, Jason is optimistic about the future of his business, and is looking forward to seeing it continue to grow. “We have two of our MI VIDA restaurants opening

this year as well as potentially buying a restaurant. Compared to 2021 when we opened six new restaurants, we’re taking a little break to refocus on our culture, refining our concepts and improving the experience of our guests,” he expresses. When it comes to the business’ longer-term plans, Jason chooses not to give too much thought to the topic. He would rather focus on adapting to continual industry changes, ensuring that KNEAD remains ahead of the game. “We’ve gone through so much over the last few years. Of course, I want us to continue growing, developing and evolving, but I’m happy to see where the world takes us. It really depends on the best way to adapt and strengthen, so I’d prefer to focus on the present, and take on the challenges one day at a time,” Jason concludes. D 63

Delicious and nutritious



With a determination to inspire healthy diets for children across the United States, good2grow is continuing to produce clean label beverages with a fun and unique element


ounded in 1998, the Atlanta-based business, good2grow, uses fun to encourage kids to eat and drink healthier. The company offers an innovative line of healthy children’s beverages that feature collectable 3D character tops to make nutritional products fun for kids to drink, while also helping parents reinforce good dietary habits. To achieve this, the company partners with popular names in children’s entertainment to bring kids their favorite characters; from Disney, Universal, Mattel, Hello Kitty, Hasbro, Nickelodeon, Warner Bros and more. Above these exciting benefits, the character tops are also reusable, dishwasher-safe, recyclable and BPAfree.

A further advantage to good2grow’s range of juices and waters is the fact that no sugar is added, they are non-GMO, and have no artificial colors. Its current line of 100 percent juices, organic 75 percent less-sugar juices, and fruit and veggie blends can be found at retailers across the convenience, grocery and mass channels. As the company has developed itself into an established and preferred name over the last two decades, it has also pushed for the diversification of its catalogue. In particular, over the past two years, good2grow has introduced a fantastic selection of products that come under its name; for example, in March of 2021, the company brought its first organic milk drink to the shelves. The new product, which is available in 65

single-serve, eight-ounce bottles comes complete with a re-closable top to avoid spills, and was launched in retail stores such as Hannaford Supermarkets, Casey’s General Stores, Stripes Stores and Circle K Texas. While good2grow has long been at the forefront of the healthier beverage space, this new product marks its first


move into the dairy sector, with the first ‘grab ‘n go’ drink for kids between the of ages two and five. As a hefty source of vitamin A and D, calcium, and eight grams of protein per serving, the delicious drink is available in chocolate and strawberry flavors, and is, of course, accompanied by good2grow’s beloved character top.

good2grow is also proud of its fortified water, which launched in June 2019 and comes with unique PODZ licensed characters on top of each drink. In two tasty flavors, Orange Mango and Raspberry Lemonade, the drink brings together fun and nutrition, and serves as the ideal thirst quencher for a day in the sun. The PODZ feature characters in clear domed collector lids from favorite shows and movies such as DC, Marvel, Trolls, Shopkins, My Little Pony and Minions, and come in a larger ten-ounce size. This refreshing drink not only keeps kids hydrated, but also ensures they are receiving their daily dose of vitamin D and calcium to keep their bones strong. Like all good2grow products, PODZ contain no added sugar, no high fructose corn syrup, and no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. Setting aside its innovative collection of fresh and fun products, good2grow also believes that giving back is fundamental to the success of its operation. From local community service events in its home town of Atlanta, to working with national children’s charities, the company is proud to partner with organizations like Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Horizons Atlanta, and Ronald McDonald House. Taking these initiatives one step further, the business is looking to expand on its innovation to get more of the community involved in the fun, after it launched its first online Collectors Club and accompanying app. In June 2018, the company introduced the good2grow Collectors Club website to help families maintain their collection of tops of their favorite characters, while simultaneously gaining access to exclusive branded content, games and rewards. The more they engage with the Club through their online collection, the greater their access to exciting content becomes. New club members receive a specially designed Collectors welcome kit that features all-new collectable stands to display their tops, stickers, and more. The Collectors Club also launched as an app in March 2020. Turning our attention to new developments happening within the company, good2grow recently exchanged hands from its previous owner, Kainos Capital - a food and consumer-focused private equity firm that has been with good2grow since 2018 - to Wind Point

good2grow Partners (Wind Point) in 2021. The Chicago-based private equity investment firm currently holds approximately $4 billion in assets under management. Wind Point focuses on working together with management teams to acquire well-positioned, middle market businesses with the opportunity to establish a clear path to value creation. With a delicious selection of beverages, and a large dose of fun, good2grow appears to be ready to take on the future with a high level of innovation and creativity. There is no doubt that its US customers will keep a keen eye on store shelves for the company’s unique selection of healthy beverages. As we have seen, good2grow is just as determined to continue to bring new and exciting elements to its portfolio and will strive to do so for many years to come. D

Rahal International The relationship between Rahal International and Good2Grow goes well beyond supplier and manufacturer. Rahal’s customers are treated as individuals, and it understands each of its client’s unique needs. This proven service and trust is what develops strong partnerships. Rahal’s team of importers, exporters, sales, account managers and logistics experts acts as an extension of its clients’ operations. It is the service that Rahal has provided for over the past 40 years that has made it the largest independent importer and broker of the finest fruit juices, concentrates, purees, natural colors and sugars in the United States. 67


seaweed nation There’s something in the water in North America: seaweed. Thanks to the pioneering work of Blue Evolution, the plant-based product is set to take the continent by storm


Blue Evolution

Beau Perry


eau Perry was working for a friend’s fish-farming business in Baja California, Mexico when, by chance, he came across Charles Yarish, a Professor at the University of Connecticut (UCONN)’s Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. His work, promoting seaweed farming in North America, captured Beau’s imagination. “We have great maritime industries here, great ocean territory,” he insists. “It just occurred to me, why don’t we grow that over here?” So, Beau set out to do exactly that. In 2013, he founded his own sustainable seaweed company: Blue Evolution. “I wasn’t really sure what I was going to do with the seaweed, but I knew that learning how to grow and develop it in this part of the world was going to be worth something,” admits Beau, now CEO at Blue Evolution. “I realized that seaweed could be so much more than just food - and even within food, it had unique and diverse applications. Nutritionally and intuitively for people in the West, flavor wise, especially for vegetarians, it has this savory, satiating property that is extremely useful, and can be applied across a broad range of recipes and formulas.” 69

Image © Rile Co.


Blue Evolution Like the seaweed it produces, the idea behind Blue Evolution has developed over time. With farming operations at two locations in the US and Mexico, and a broad range of customers and partners, the company is now pivoting towards a new era of wholesale seaweed production. “We’re in talks with some of the world’s biggest flavor houses and consumer brands,” he notes. “Plantbased meat is a particularly interesting category for seaweed, because it supplies the meaty flavor that’s so often missing from substitutes. “Restaurants and food service have really provided the bulk of our traction to-date, as they tend to be faster deal cycles,” Beau continues. “Although the sector is currently hampered by the lingering impact of Covid-19,

Chanes. A food engineer by trade, with decades of experience creating culinary delights, it was her genius in the kitchen that formed the basis of Blue Evolution’s very first production line. “She prepared a wonderful dinner, showcasing the potential of seaweed in five different dishes,” Jose recalls. “That was the beginning, and it took off very quickly. “Seaweed is an incredibly adaptable vegetable,” he adds. “You can eat it fresh, but it’s also suited for a number of cooking methods. It always keeps an attractive texture and flavor. Now, we produce seaweed almost all year-round from our 2000-square-meter farm in Ensenada, Baja California, which we export to the US.” For Blue Evolution, the next step is to

we’ve found success with wholesale meal delivery and food kits. We’re now working towards bringing institutional food service buyers onboard, including universities, campuses, and others that are a little less subject to the ebb and flow of lockdown restrictions. We’re working all angles.”

achieve scale. “The company remains relatively small,” says Jose, now a researcher at the Autonomous University of Baja California. “Therefore, our main

challenge is to improve the system and the seaweed stream to increase our productivity. As part of my research at the university, we’re doing lots of work into identifying better strains with more proteins or antioxidants. Laura, meanwhile, has been working to market fresh seaweed to Mexican families, developing familiar recipes based around core Mexican ingredients. She’s using her skills to educate customers about how to eat seaweed, and how to integrate it into their diets.” Much of the responsibility for growing the company falls to Abizer Khairullah, COO at Blue Evolution. “We already have a diverse set of highly valuable applications for our ingredients, and we are constantly finding more. Our seaweed is not some niche set of ingredients, it can be foundational in products in every aisle in the supermarket, and improve far more flavors and many more cuisine styles

Adaptable and nutritious Beau isn’t the only member of the Blue Evolution team to have arrived where he is today, in part, thanks to Charles Yarish. In the 1980s, Jose Zertuche was studying at Stony Brook Island University, New York, when the so-called ‘father of American seaweed cultivation’ was appointed to the committee overseeing his PhD. It was through Charles that Jose was put in contact with Beau, and not long after the pair began collaborating on seaweed production. Now Chief Aquaculture Scientist at Blue Evolution, Jose believes that the North American coastline offers a unique opportunity when it comes to seaweed. “You can find delicious and nutritious seaweeds all the way down from Alaska to Mexico,” he insists. “All we’re lacking is a culture of seaweed consumption. As a result, we decided to focus on products that could be added to the foods that we do regularly consume, from soups to salsa.” It was a bright idea. To bring it to life, Jose enlisted the help of his wife, Laura 71

Image © Rachelle Hacmac - Kodiak Kelp Harvest

than anyone realizes. This is not an exclusively Asian ingredient - in fact the crops and product formats are distinctly different than what Asian producers export. So, when you ask ‘where do we position Blue Evolution’s product’s?’ I’d say: just about everywhere. With a very small inclusion you can have a major positive impact on consumer experience, and on multiple levels. We’ve done a lot of work with chefs and food engineers. This stuff is magic, and that’s before we even broach our seaweed’s extraordinary nutritional contribution, plus its incomparable environmental and social benefits.” “We’re constantly innovating our processes in order to compete,” Abizer continues. “In Kodiak Island, Alaska, for instance, with its clean Pacific waters but relatively underdeveloped manufacturing footprint, we’re partnering with tribal communities


to convert existing buildings in accordance with industry standards. We’ve designed our own equipment and processing lines front-to-end, borrowing technologies and innovations from other food industries, and applying them to seaweed.” As is to be expected, Abizer is a strong believer in seaweed’s potential. “Look at Korea, where consumption is at 17kg per person,” he tells us. “Okay, that’s a country which is very familiar with seaweed, and has been for centuries. But even if we managed a 100th or 1000th of that in North America, it’s a tremendous business opportunity. “Global populations are predicted to push 10bn by 2050,” he continues. “If that happens, and we’ve used up a lot of our land, and most of our fresh water is being put towards agriculture, where are we going to get our resources? We sense an opportunity to introduce it in

small amounts. It’s a product with the natural ability to enhance the flavors it’s paired with - even in a dessert, like a chocolate brownie. To top it all off, it’s plant-based, and requires no input to grow. There probably isn’t a product as sustainable as seaweed.”

Vast potential Located approximately 45 kilometers off the southern Alaskan coast, Kodiak Island isn’t only a hotbed of pioneering seaweed production. To Alf Pryor, Kelp Farmer at Blue Evolution, and his wife Lexa Meyer, Alaska Mariculture Manager, it’s home. “I’ve spent pretty much my entire life salmon fishing on Kodiak,” Alf reveals. “About five years ago, I was put in contact with Blue Evolution. A friend of mine knew my background, and asked me for some help with harvesting. He showed me what kelp farming was, and I

Blue Evolution of scrutiny from a scientific perspective, helping to ensure that we’re not doing anything harmful to the environment right from the get-go. Our work here is a ten-year project, analyzing the impact of our kelp culture on invertebrates, algae, and the fish and bird species that interact with the farm. In doing so, we can continue what’s positive, and address any negatives.” Understandably, the mood around Blue Evolution is one of excitement. “The moment couldn’t be better for seaweed,” Beau argues. “It’s new and different, but we’re enthusiastic about the movement towards plantbased diets, and how our products can actually accelerate the adoption curve, make food taste better, improve appearance, and enhance nutrition.

We have a lot of interesting things in development in terms of new species, new product formats, and we’ll be rolling those out throughout 2022. “Every week, someone calls us to ask how much kelp we grow, what they can do with it, and whether they can have some,” Beau concludes. “These are people from all types of manufacturing, from human food products, animal feed, and fertilizer, all the way through to biomedicine and refinery into bioplastics and biomaterials. There’s so much potential, and it’s our mission to transform the US and Mexico into seaweed nations. On top of that, we plan to further expand our operations into the south Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans this year.” D

immediately saw the potential. When that friend had to go fishing the next season, I took over. “Coming from an established fishery, all the methods are the same when it comes to kelp farming,” Alf tells us. “But Blue Evolution are the only ones actually doing it. We’ve taken it pretty far, but we’re really just scratching the surface. With the capabilities we have, the sky’s the limit.” “Here in Alaska, working in the kelp industry, we’re at ground zero,” Lexa agrees. “The trajectory is just up, up, up! For me it’s a sustainable way to make a living from the sea. We’re not taking anything out of the ocean, except carbon - which is beneficial. “In most fisheries, management came after the fact,” she points out. “What’s really cool about working with Blue Evolution is, that’s not the case. We’re founding this industry with a lot 73

Food innovation Whether to enhance employee satisfaction and productivity or create meaningful differentiation for a company, senior living community, healthcare provider, or independent school, NEXDINE Hospitality and its sister brands XENDELLA, Corfinity, and STREATS work together to provide the best possible dining and hospitality service experience


NEXDINE Hospitality 75


EXDINE Hospitality (NEXDINE) believes that to create a unique and exciting dining experience, food must be made from scratch and have only the freshest, locally sourced ingredients. NEXDINE’s integrated Wellness Program Live Forward and Corfinity’s Fitness, Wellness, & Lifestyle Brand, combined with the adherence of the NEXDINE Culinary Commitments, ensure that every vegetable is peeled, sliced, and chopped, freezers are bare, every soup and sauce is made in-house, and wellness is part of the guest experience. NEXDINE’s professionally trained chefs are empowered to create menus that reflect seasonal and regional availability, the latest in culinary trends, and the diversity of the customers it serves. Furthermore, NEXDINE is the only dining service provider to offer a Jewish lifestyle brand. Through their collaborative approach, NEXDINE explores what Chai DiningSM can mean for their Jewish Senior Living Communities that celebrate Jewish tradition, life, and culture. The Chai Dining Brand ensures residents and guests can expect an experience steeped in Jewish tradition and values, operated by experts, and supported by an organization that is fully committed to the success of its strategic partnership. Fresh ingredients responsibly sourced with bold flavors take Bubbe’s favorite recipes to an exciting, new level. NEXDINE reimagines Kosher dining as a culinary destination that rivals the finest restaurants. Utilizing its ‘Dine Your Way’ platform, it can track each resident’s preferences to ensure 100 percent guest satisfaction every day. NEXDINE’s residents and guests enjoy traditional events paired with kosher dining services. Combining Jewish tradition, life, culture, and dining experiences, NEXDINE is proud to pioneer the first Jewish lifestyle brand in the industry.

Holistic approach NEXDINE’s culinary mission is to empower its team to craft a dining experience that delights, nourishes, and promotes the well-being of its customers. To make this possible, the business is determined to balance great


David Lanci Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

It relies on data from point-of-sale systems, customer surveys, and ordering platforms to help it craft an operation that works within its clients’ needs. Through this, the company believes that technology can marry NEXDINE’s approach to its people and the requirements of its customers.

Integrated platform

culinary traditions while embracing innovation and representing the highest professional standards of safety, efficiency, and fiduciary responsibility for its clients. In addition to that, NEXDINE honours the connection between food, the longevity of the planet, the welfare of communities, and sustainable practices at all levels of the organization, all while fostering the passion, creativity, and aspirations of its colleagues, which we dive into deeper detail further on. NEXDINE takes a unique approach to managing its business by using technology to assist its operation.

The reason the company is focused on technological innovation and partners with cloud-based platforms like Toast for its business and industry clients is to provide real time data on sales trends, menu, pricing, and payments. The company offers customers online ordering, self-checkout, mobile surveys, a mobile app, and many other techsavvy applications that are currently in demand from their dining service partners. Its strategy to deliver exemplary customer-centric service recently found the business being awarded a title in the ‘Top Ten Food Service Management Companies’ by CIO Coverage in 2021. Considering the turbulence that the global economy has faced over the past two years, trends and consumer habits have dramatically changed. For this transformation to be handled effectively, food tech organizations were required to adapt to market instability. As a premier food service provider, NEXDINE Hospitality is changing how the industry functions. The organization’s easily adaptable, costeffective solutions, along with its full operational and financial transparency enabled NEXDINE to rapidly replace the traditionally costly legacy systems. Another example of its cutting-edge technology is CrunchTime, which allows companies to source items directly from vendors, manage their labor, and import sales data from a variety of point-of-sale systems. Since all of these tasks can be managed from one spot, there is the added advantage of time and capital saving. NEXDINE also introduced its meal suite-powered menu management program. By connecting forecasting, inventory management, menu planning, and production, recipe development, and nutritional content development,

NEXDINE Hospitality the company held its annual golf tournament, a primary fundraiser. This year, the business donated $50,000 to support the Paediatric Advanced Care Team, a nationally recognized palliative care service, and an additional $5000 to support the Suffolk University’s food pantry, which helps students experiencing food insecurity. NEXDINE and its sister brands, XENDELLA, Corfinity, and STREATS take quality service seriously in the hospitality industry. Whether it’s Facility Management, bedside tablet ordertaking in hospitals, mobile ordering, and 24-hour self-checkout functionality in retail operations, NEXDINE’s stateof-the-art technology empowers consumers to customize their dining experience and subsequently encourages its team to offer the best. In the future, guests can look forward to tried and tested processes that allow their service to run smoothly

and efficiently. With a perfect blend of innovation, technology, Wellness, Diverse Lifestyle Brands, and fresh seasonal cuisines, NEXDINE has established the combination for all levels of the hospitality sector. D

NEXDINE’s completely integrated software platform optimizes foodservice outcomes, resulting in the benefit of both its clients and their end-users. From the customer’s perspective, having mobile ordering, self-checkout 24 hours a day, and desktop delivery capabilities in place allows the company to rapidly meet its customers’ evolving needs. Of course, this could not be achieved without the hard work of its colleagues, and NEXDINE takes great pride in a company culture that thrives on dedication to a successful career. The organization’s leadership values its colleagues and understands that this very pool of extraordinary talent is the fundamental driving force behind NEXDINE’s expansion and success. Its culture focuses on the empowerment of its colleagues, offering them a clear path for growth and progress.

Community work A further demonstration of the company’s passion for people can be seen in its commitment to giving back to the community, and recently, 77

One hundred years of history Celebrating its centenary in 2022, GraceKennedy Group has established itself as one of the largest and most dynamic financial and food corporate entities in the world 78


he post-war era was a tumultuous time for the US, with a brief economic boom between 1918 and mid-1921, followed by an equally brief, sharp recession, in which insolvencies tripled. For one New York-based

company, W.R. Grace and Company, it prompted the decision to divest its Jamaican branch, with the aim of relieving some of the pressure. But with this, came opportunity. Recognizing the brand’s potential, John J. Grace and Fred William Kennedy stepped in,

GraceKennedy Group

founding Grace, Kennedy & Company Limited on 14th February 1922. Fast-forward to the present, and the GraceKennedy Group (GK) is celebrating its landmark 100th year of operation. Now established as one of the Caribbean’s largest and most

dynamic financial and food corporate entities, the company’s operations span multiple continents, with a presence in North and Central America, the United Kingdom, and Africa. Manufacturing, distribution, and retail form the basis of GK’s food operations. The company has

six factories in Jamaica alone, where more than half of the food sold under the Grace brand is manufactured, including the Grace Tropical Rhythms line, the Grace Food Processors (Canning), and the Grace Cock Soup range of packaged soups. Other 79

GraceKennedy Group products include the Grace Instant Porridges, Grace Hams, and Grace Vienna Sausages. The company’s distribution division, GraceKennedy Goods, is the Caribbean’s leading distributor of food and non-food consumer products, ensuring access to the Grace brand for consumers across more than 40 countries worldwide via national and regional subsidiaries. Finally, GK’s retail operations have been an element of the business since 1984. Led by the Hi-Lo Food Stores supermarket chain, Jamaica’s second largest, the division brings GK into direct contact with customers island-wide, offering grocery and non-grocery items at competitive prices – an ethos captured in the Hi-Lo slogan: ‘Making Life Easier!’ But GK is about far more than food. The company’s financial services capability adds another facet to this diverse and multi-talented outfit,


comprising money services (GKMS), banking and investment, and insurance. The first of these, the GKMS network has over 300 locations across Jamaica and the Caribbean, stretching from the Turks and Caicos Islands in the northern West Indies, all the way down to Trinidad and Tobago, at the region’s southernmost tip. GK’s banking and investments services, meanwhile, provide Caribbean investors with a wide range of products and services. Likewise, the company’s high-ranking insurance segment also boasts several segments throughout Jamaica and the Eastern Caribbean. In all, this broad remit points to the exceptional range of expertise that exists within GK, a strength that continues to drive the company’s success.

Loyal staff On 15 January 2022, GK announced the first instalment of its ‘GK100’

campaign, a package of celebrations designed to mark the company’s centenary year. The news, of a oncein-a-lifetime share offer for the more than 200 GK employees worldwide, was delivered by GK Group CEO Don Wehbly in a virtual screening to GK branches across the globe. The offer, whilst underlining GK’s continued profitability as one of the top-performing stocks on the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE), draws attention first and foremost to GK’s expansive team of loyal, highly motivated individuals. In doing so, it points to what has been GK’s longstanding commitment to giving back: both to its employees, and to its communities, in the form of the GraceKennedy Foundation. Established in 1982 to mark the company’s 60th anniversary, and sparked by an initial grant of $500,000, the GraceKennedy Foundation provides assistance in the form of financial grants to non-profit and charitable organizations and groups, scholarships, and public lectures. The GraceKennedy Jamaican Birthright Programme, meanwhile, gives interns of Jamaican lineage the opportunity to work among the management and staff at GK on a day-to-day basis. Inevitably, 100 years of operation is an important milestone, one on which GK can reflect and look back at what has been a remarkable journey thus far. Yet, it is also the beginning of a new era. The GK100 campaign continued on 5th April, as the company sponsored the 2022 ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys’ and Girls’ Championships (Champs), hosted at the National Stadium in Kingston. With sponsorship for the Champs totaling over J$88m, it represents the first of many more investments from GK in the future of Jamaica and its communities, and offers firm evidence of the values of honesty, integrity, and trust that are guiding GK in the realization of its mission: to deliver the taste and experience of Jamaican and other multi-cultural foods to the world, and to bring leading financial services to its region. D

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