NFRA Names Officers, Packers Pitch Retail Products in DC

The National Frozen and Refrigerated Foods Association (NFRA) concluded its convention in Washington, DC, on October 25 with the installation of a new chairman and slate of officers to lead the USA trade organization for the remainder of this year through the early autumn of 2017. More than 1,200 delegates attended the event, which afforded manufacturers and industry suppliers direct access to retail buyers in face-to-face, speed dating-style meetings as well as during social gatherings and networking events.

Joy Sgro NFRA ChairmanJoy Sgro is the newly elected chairman of the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania-headquartered National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association. Joy Sgro of Robesonia, Pennsylvania-based C&S Wholesale Grocers was elected to serve as chairman during the NFRA’s 72nd Annual Membership Luncheon, succeeding Scott Rouse of Springdale, Arkansas-headquartered Tyson Foods. Named chairman-elect, in line to assume the top post next October, was John Farmer of Kingswood, Texas-based Dairy Farmers of America.

Rounding out the executive officer ranks are: Tony Hatok of Giant Eagle, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, vice chairman-frozen; Kristina Cole of WhiteWave Foods, Broomfield, Colorado, vice chairman-refrigerated; Dave Jones of Kellogg Company, Battle Creek, Michigan, secretary; and Ray Tarnowski of Philadelphia Warehouse & Cold Storage, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, treasurer.

Thirteen new directors were named to the 34-member board, as follows: Curtis Bolden of ConAgra Foods, David Bray of Tyson Foods, Diana Curtis of Grocery Outlet Inc., Bob Dernbach of Southeast Food Distribution, Tim Heil of Schwan’s Consumer Brands, Mark Meyer of Wells’ Enterprises, Dan Nolan of Stremick’s Heritage Foods, Todd Patti of Ahold USA Retail, Phil Payment of Homeland Stores, Paul Peterson of Lactalis American Group, Trenton Potts of Daisy Brand, Marcelle Smalley of Kemps LLC, and Joe Tuza of T. Marzetti Company.

Innovative Products to See and Sample

As usual, a raft of new products, some not yet on the market, were presented for buyers and other attendees to see and sample at the Café NFRA set up opposite the convention registration desk, as well as during the Taste of Excellence reception on October 23.

Hot Frustas Am FlatbreadAmong plenty of innovative food fare was Hot Frustas, distributed under the American Flatbread label and positioned as a quick meal, appetizer or side dish. Described by the Pittsfield, New Hampshire-based producer as “our take on Italian street food…hand-crafted by real people,” the initial three-item range features BBQ Pulled Pork, Uncured Pepperoni Bacon, and Tomato & Cheese flavors. The GMO-free assortment is packed in 11-ounce (312-gram) boxes.

The latest additions to the American Flatbread line join a wide range of established premium pizza SKUs including vegan and gluten-free offerings, as well as artisanal dough. The company promotes its Sourdough and Organic Original Dough Ball two-packs as “great for pizza, calzones and baguettes.”

Corey Alison Skip 515The NFRA’s Taste of Excellence Reception brings leaders of frozen and refrigerated foods trade associations together, as well as major retail buyers and food manufacturers. Witness this rendezvous of (left to right) Corey Rosenbusch, president and ceo of the Global Cold Chain Alliance; Alison Bodor, president and ceo of the American Frozen Food Institute; and H.V. “Skip” Shaw, Jr., president and ceo of the National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association.

Kkahiki Kicks Off Sidekicks

Gahana, Ohio-based Kahiki Foods unveiled what it calls the “Asian category’s first complete line of side dishes,” under the Savory Sidekicks sub-brand. Three SKUs will be rolled out in January: Japanese-style Fried Rice with roasted corn, edamame, leeks, carrots and black sesame seeds; Sesame Noodles featuring Yakisoba noodles with carrots, cabbage, green onions and sesame seeds in a sweet sesame sauce; Teriyaki Vegetables, a ménage of broccoli, sugar snap peas, water chestnuts, sliced mushrooms, carrots, edamame and baby corn accented with a light, sweet teriyaki sauce.

Each dish is made of 100% natural ingredients and has a suggested retail price of $3.99.

Tampa, Florida-based Kemps LLC dished out its latest YO2 Frozen Yogurt flavor: Mudslide. Now available in pints, it features chocolate and coffee frozen yogurt swirled with cookies, fudge and chocolaty chunks. Mudslide joins a flavorful lineup that includes Chocolate Peanut Butter, Cold Brew Coffee, Raspberry Cheesecake, and Salty Caramel Cookie Crunch.

Among Kemps’ even wider array of 1.5 quart offerings are Sea Salt Caramel Truffle, Peppermint Bark Moose Tracks, Rock Road and Black Jack Cherry.

Westlake Village, California-based Crush Cubes is marketing an 11-item range of frozen “perfectly portioned individual cubes for cooking” that are ready to add to dishes after simply being snapped out of the pack with the press of one’s thumb or finger. Flavors offered include ginger, garlic, cilantro, pesto and shallot.

Seattle, Washington-headquartered Contessa Premium Foods had no shortage of folks checking out its Taste of Excellence stand. The company’s expansive assortment of ready meals runs the gamut from Italian Sausage Rigatoni and Shrimp Scampi & Linguini to Mandarin Orange Chicken, Roast Pork Stir-Fry, Mushroom & Asparagus Risotto and more. Distribution is in 21-ounce packs.

Tasty ChoiceJersey City, New Jersey-based Tasty Choice chefs served a number of tasty dishes. Among the company’s latest Bayou Cookin’ Cajun skillet kit treats are Chicken & Sausage Gumbo, Shrimp Bisque, Shrimp & Sausage Jambalaya and Shrimp Creole distributed in 22 to 24-ounce packs.

Schar Bonta d’Italia gluten-free frozen entrees were showcased in four 300-gram varieties: Ravioli, Cannelloni with Ricotta and Spinach, Caserecce with Pesto Sauce, and Fusilli with Arrabbiata Sauce.

Also promoted by the Lyndhurst, New Jersey company are two gluten-free SKUs of frozen pizza (Cheese and Veggie) and two Croissant offerings (one is plain and the other is filled with hazelnut cream).

Fresno, California-based Trinity Fruit Sales focused patrons of the Café NFRA on the frozen packs of California Pomegranate Arils that it makes available in sizes ranging from 10-ounce retail bags to 40-pound bulk boxes for industrial further processors.

“These arils are perfect right out the package, frozen or thawed, mixed into yogurt, oatmeal, smoothies, salad, ice cream, juice drinks, cocktails and desserts,” said Levon C. Ganajian, director of retail relations.

Also on the fruit scene, and offering samples of its product line during the Taste of Excellence reception, was Matosantos Commercial Corp. of Puerto Rico. Its abundant crop of Campoverde frozen fruit products includes antioxidant-rich Acai Superfruit with Guarana, fruit blends, and fruit and veggie blenders. – Reported by John Saulnier