News Briefs

  • 10/23/2023

    New President at Steak-Umm Parent Company

    Todd Bray

    Quaker Maid Meats, known for its Steak-umm brand, has named a new president. The company recently appointed Todd Bray to that role, succeeding Sergei Szortyka.

    Sergei Szortyka will continue to serve as CEO. He is the son of company founder Stanley Szortyka, who passed away in 2022. The company’s legacy leaders also include Nancy Szortyka Deale, who is COO.

    [Read more: "Johnsonville CEO to Exit"]

    Bray – the first non-family member to lead the business – is a 25-year company veteran. Most recently, he held the role of VP of operations.

    “Todd has been an invaluable member of our team, and his wealth of experience in the industry is extraordinary. We will continue to play a vital role in the organization and are excited about the future of QMM under Todd's leadership. We look forward to achieving new milestones together,” said Sergei Szortyka and Nancy Szortyka Deale in a joint statement.

    Based in Reading, Pa., Quaker Maid Meats was started more than 50 years ago and specializes in frozen meat products, including the company’s own line of pure beef sandwich steaks. The company acquired the iconic Steak-umm brand in 2006. That thinly-sliced sandwich steak was invented in 1968 by Gene Gagliardi as a more “chewable” alternative to traditional steak.  

  • 10/3/2023

    Doc’s Food Stores Upgrades Digital Shopping Platform

    Doc's Food Stores Country Mart Oklahoma Teaser

    Twelve-store Oklahoma independent grocer Doc’s Food Stores Inc. has chosen eGrowcery,  developer of a retail food industry e-commerce platform for grocers, to help it upgrade its digital shopping program.

    “Our entire focus at Doc’s Food Stores is giving the customer what they want, and right now more of our shoppers want an easy-to-use experience so they can order quickly and get those items quickly,” noted Jim Brown, owner of Bixby, Okla.-based Doc’s “The platform from eGrowcery helps us do that better than we ever have, plus it makes the entire order fulfillment and payment process much more efficient.”

    “Doc’s Food Stores is a great example of a retailer combining the latest technology and an outstanding corporate culture to compete and win online,” said Patrick Hughes, CEO of Bloomfield Hills, Mich.-based eGrowcery. “We’re committed to helping them deliver an online shopping experience that is best in class.” 

    Other companies that eGrowcery has recently established partnerships with include wholesaler Certco and such independent food retailers as Mackenthun’s and Hitchcock’s Markets.

    Established in 1946, Doc’s operates supermarkets across Oklahoma under the Doc’s Apple Market, Country Mart, JB’s Market, Price Mart and Cox Cash Saver banners.

  • 9/28/2023

    Nourish + Bloom Bringing 2 Container-Built Grocery Stores to Atlanta


    Independent grocer Nourish + Bloom is gearing up to bring two more of its autonomous stores to Atlanta. The company was recently awarded an Economic Opportunity Fund Food Access Grant for up to $600,000 from Invest Atlanta, the city’s economic development arm, to bring the container-built locations to the area.

    The new stores will be built in shipping containers, and will be located in Atlanta’s Pittsburgh Yards jobs hub south of downtown and at a site on Campbellton Road. 

    Nourish + Bloom is hailed as the first Black-owned autonomous grocery store, and opened its first location in the Atlanta suburb of Fayetteville, Ga., in early 2022. The company is run by husband-and-wife duo Jamie Michael Hemmings and Jilea Hemmings and offers locally sourced craft items, such as produce, meats, baked goods, dairy and prepared meals, alongside everyday convenience items with no checkout.

    Last year, the Hemmings told Progressive Grocer that they were looking to open 400-plus Nourish + Bloom Markets, which would all operate 24/7.

    [EDITOR'S NOTE: Jilea Hemmings was recently a guest on Progressive Grocer's TWIG Podcast. Listen here.]

  • 8/25/2023

    Apeel Bolsters Expertise in Tropicals

    apeel teaser

    As it seeks to expand applications in tropical produce, Apeel Sciences has hired Denise Junqueiro as VP of commercial, tropical. In this role, she will help drive growth in the category that includes popular items like avocadoes and mangoes.

    Junqueiro will advance the use of Apeel’s plant-based protection that allows for longer lasting products and work to increase awareness of the company’s new data and quality tools. She brings to the company more than 15 years of experience with growers, packers, shippers, retailers, foodservice operators and policy makers. Her background includes marketing positions at the California Fig Advisory Board, California Tree Fruit Agreement and California Olive Committee and Mission Produce, Inc. At Mission Produce, she created innovative merchandising programs based on consumer needs and preferences for avocados and recently launched the company’s Reliably Ripe program for avocadoes.   

    [Read more: "Shipt Names Chief Technology and Product Officer"]

    “Joining Apeel offers me a new way to approach the produce business and apply my skillset and expertise, starting with building relationships and educating partners about Apeel’s innovative ripe and ready to eat solutions,” Junqueiro remarked. ” Throughout my career, I have always sought to create win-win situations and work together to create real value along the supply chain. This perfectly aligns with Apeel's mission and growth plans."

    Based in Goleta, Calif., Apeel offers a protective extra “peel” that slows water loss and oxidation that causes produce to spoil. 

  • 8/16/2023

    Beverage Holding Company Prime Drink Group Shakes Up Leadership Team

    prime drink logo

    The Prime Drink Group Corp., a Quebec-based diversified beverage holding company that acquires and manages natural spring water sources in a sustainable way, announced recent leadership changes. Raimondo Messina is now chairman of the board, while Alexandre Côté is president and CEO. Oliver Primeu, who formerly served as chairman, president and CEO, will focus on the vision and strategic development of the company.

    A board director, Messina founded Dream Hospitality group and served as CEO of Beach Day Every Day. He is a certified public accountant and a longtime food entrepreneur and based in Quebec.

    [Read more: "Hard Ciders Are Still Finding a Place in Shoppers' Carts"]

    Côté, a Prime director since 2020, brings more than 20 years of experience in financial product distribution to his new position. He is the co-founder of Hybrid Financial Ltd and president of exempt market broker firm Fecteau, Côté & Manocchio Ltée,

    In other news, Prime Drink Co. appointed Dominique Primeau as a new director. Primeau has a broad background in the food and retailing industry; his experience includes taking over and growing his family grocery store more than 30 years ago.

    Prime Drink Group currently controls more than a third of Quebec’s fresh ground water reserves volume under permit.

  • 7/25/2023

    Naturipe Farms Taps New Director of Business Development

    MatthewLyons teaser

    Farmer-owned berry and avocado producer Naturipe Farms has a new leader on its value-added fresh team, bringing on Matthew Lyons as director of business development. He will manage that division as it expands across retail and foodservice channels.

    Lyons brings more than 30 years of experience to the role. He joins the Salinas, Calif.-based Naturipe Farm from Produce Alliance, where he served as director of sourcing. He also worked as a sourcing manager for six years for Starbucks Coffee Co. and spent nearly 20 years at River Ranch Fresh Foods in multiple operation divisions.

    [Read more: "Little Leaf Farms Appoints CFO"]

    “Working with a household name in the berry industry is exciting in its own right, but I am truly excited to work with the value-added team as we expand Naturipe’s reach into healthier produce-forward snack and meal options,” said Lyons. “I’ve enjoyed a partnership with the Naturipe team over the years, and I am honored to now stand beside them in this role.”

    Lyons reports to Steven Ware, VP and general manager of value-added fresh at Naturipe. “He comes with not only an extensive knowledge of the food industry, but also with a unique perspective on Naturipe from his time as a customer. The team believes he will play a key role in the expansion of the brand in new product development and sourcing,” Ware remarked.

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