Thomas and Larsen

Two Industry Leaders to be Inducted into 2019 Refrigerated Food Hall of Fame

Harrisburg, Pa. – The National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association (NFRA) established the Refrigerated Food Hall of Fame in 2010 to honor individuals for the contributions they have made and the leadership they have provided to the Refrigerated Food Industry. John Larsen, Sr. Director of Space Planning for Albertsons Companies and Jeff Thomas, retired Vice President of Sales for Crystal Farms division of Michael Foods, will be the recipients of this year’s prestigious award.

John Larsen began working at Stock Market Foods/Thriftway as a Grocery Manager in 1984 while he also graduated with a B.A. in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing from Washington State University. He was promoted to Store Director in 1987, and by 1995 was working as the Promotional Buyer/Advertising Director. In 1997, Larsen joined Quality Food Centers, Inc. in Bellevue, Wash. (A Kroger Company) as a Category Manager. He joined Safeway in 1998 where he was Category Manager in the Seattle Division. Larsen then moved to the Portland Division as Sales Manager and completed the USC Food Industry Management Program in 2002. Prior to the merger of Safeway and Albertsons, Larsen held the role of Vice President of Dairy, Refrigerated in the corporate marketing department at Safeway in Pleasanton, Calif. In his current role, Larsen manages the Space Planning of all of Albertsons 2,400 stores and manages a team of over 50 people corporately, and 120 people across the divisions. His responsibilities include premium store resets, remerchandising of the stores and store remodels. Larsen began serving on the NFRA Board of Directors in 2005. He served on the NFRA Board of Directors as Vice Chairman of Refrigerated in 2009. Larsen served as Chairman-Elect in 2011 and as Chairman for two terms in 2012 and 2013. He is a member of the Distinguished Order of Zerocrats and Honorable Order of Golden Penguins.

Jeff Thomas spent a lifetime around frozen and refrigerated foods with his grandfather, Carl, and parents, Robert and Rosalyn, owning and working for a local food brokerage. Thomas attended the University of Buffalo and then served three years in the United States Military, including a tour in Vietnam. After returning, he began his career in the food business as a driver for Byrne Dairy in upstate New York. Thomas then joined the family business as a salesman for Reith, Hogan & Hamer food brokerage. He entered the frozen food business with his first position at Seneca Foods and later at Sara Lee. In 1989, Thomas took a role with Michael Foods to launch the Simply Potatoes refrigerated line—the first of its kind in the dairy case and still one of the company’s leading brands. Over the following 25 years, he worked with his team and the whole Michael Foods organization to grow the company from its formation in 1987 into a multi-billion-dollar manufacturer of foodservice, food ingredient, and retail offerings. Thomas retired from Michael Foods in 2014, but currently use his skills as a logistics volunteer for ICA Foodshelf, where he stocks and maintains inventories of foods to serve the needy. Thomas began serving on the NFRA Board of Directors in 2003. He served as Vice Chairman of Refrigerated from 2005 – 2008. He rose through the Officer positions becoming Chairman in 2011. Thomas became of member of the Honorable Order of Golden Penguins in 2006.

The Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held at the National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Convention during the Membership Luncheon on Monday, October 14, 2019, at the World Center Marriott in Orlando, Fla.

###

NFRA is a non-profit trade association representing all segments of the frozen and refrigerated foods industry. Headquartered in Harrisburg, Pa., NFRA is the sponsor of March Frozen Food Month, June Dairy Month, the June/July Ice Cream & Novelties promotion and the Cool Food for Kids educational outreach program. NFRA holds the annual National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Convention in October.

Convention Speed Meetings

National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Convention Slated for October 12-15 in Orlando, Fla.

HARRISBURG, Pa. – The 2019 National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Convention is the premier event of the frozen and refrigerated food industry, where attendees can discover new products, connect with business partners and grow their business. This event hosted by the National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association (NFRA) will take place on October 12-15, 2019 at the Orlando World Center Marriott in Orlando, Fla.

The NFRA Convention brings together top companies from every segment of the industry so that attendees can conduct business in less time, all in one place. NFRA provides its retailer members with complimentary meeting rooms to hold appointments throughout the convention. The event also provides the opportunity to make new connections, sample frozen and refrigerated products, hear from valuable speakers and network with industry leaders.

The convention kicks off with the popular Taste of Excellence reception on Sunday, October 13, where over 50 manufacturers will showcase their latest products. This engaging opening event allows attendees to interact with industry colleagues, introduce themselves to new contacts and sample the newest items in frozen and refrigerated foods.

This year’s agenda features Monday Breakfast speaker, Jon Dorenbos, magician, former NFL player and America’s Got Talent finalist who will showcase his sleight-of-hand skills, tell his incredible life story and share insights on teamwork, perseverance and acceptance of failure. The Monday Membership Luncheon serves as NFRA’s annual business meeting with the induction of NFRA’s new officers and directors. Monday evening is the NFRA Member Appreciation Reception, which will provide an excellent networking opportunity while celebrating the NFRA membership and their support of the industry.

Tuesday’s breakfast session features a preview of NFRA’s 2019 State of the Industry Report and a panel of industry executives offering insights on how member categories can be leveraged to connect with shoppers and drive industry growth. The Tuesday Awards Luncheon will honor the 2019 Golden Penguin Award winners, and the 2019 Top Marketer Award winners will also be unveiled for the first time.

It is recommended to register by June 7, 2019 to be included in the first attendee list, which is distributed to all registrants so they can schedule their meetings prior to arriving in Orlando. To register for the 2019 NFRA Convention, visit NFRAConvention.org or contact NFRA at (717) 657-8601.

###

NFRA is a non-profit trade association representing all segments of the frozen and refrigerated foods industry.  Headquartered in Harrisburg, Pa., NFRA is the sponsor of March National Frozen Food Month, June Dairy Month and June/July Ice Cream & Novelties promotion, as well as educational outreach programs. 

Executive Conference attendees

Weis Markets to Keynote NFRA Executive Conference

HARRISBURG, Pa. – The National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association (NFRA) will hold its 27th annual Executive Conference April 8-10, 2019, at the Tempe Mission Palms Hotel & Conference Center in Tempe, Ariz. The conference provides the latest information on consumer and industry trends and features a retail presentation by Kurt Schertle, chief operating officer for Weis Markets.

The conference opens at 12:00 p.m. on Monday, April 8 with the optional Greater Penguin Open Golf Tournament or NFRA Fishing Tournament followed by the evening’s welcome reception. Tuesday, April 9 presents an impressive line-up of interactive speaker presentations, as well as a networking reception. On Wednesday, April 10, the conference concludes by 9:00 a.m. after breakfast and a final informational session.     

The retailer keynote by Kurt Schertle, Weis Markets, kicks off the Tuesday morning sessions followed by Jackie Lewis of Cleveland Research Company discussing the current U.S. retail landscape. Zach Kahn from Google will share how the CPG industry is excelling in digital marketing. Chris von der Linden of IRI will look at frozen and refrigerated purchase drivers by generation. Lynn Dornblaser of Mintelwill discuss global food and drink trends. Dr. John Stanton of St. Joseph’s University will look at generational differences in the workplace, and Ken Harris of Cadent Consulting Group will examine the next wave of commerce including block chain, click and collect and last mile logistics.

The conference closes early on Wednesday when Ken Harris returns to help attendees identify key takeaways and areas of action for their own companies.

To preserve the informal atmosphere that encourages group discussion and more personal interaction, the conference is limited to 150 attendees. You can register on the conference website at www.NFRAExecutiveConference.org

# # #

NFRA is a non-profit trade association representing all segments of the frozen and refrigerated foods industry.  Headquartered in Harrisburg, Pa., NFRA is the sponsor of March National Frozen Food Month, June Dairy Month and June/July Ice Cream & Novelties promotion, as well as educational outreach programs.  NFRA holds the annual National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Convention in October. 

Speed Meetings

2018 NFRA Convention Breaks Participation Record and Hosts Nearly 2,200 Retailer Business Appointments

HARRISBURG, Pa. – The 2018 National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Convention set a participation record with over 1,260 total attendees who held an estimated 2,200 business appointments with leading retailers. The event held on October 20-23, 2018, at the Marriott Marquis San Diego, San Diego, Calif. and hosted by the National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association (NFRA), was designed to bring together leading companies from every segment of the industry in one venue to efficiently and effectively conduct the maximum amount of business in the least amount of time.

Eighty-six retailers booked meeting rooms to hold customer business appointments. According to a survey of convention attendees, more than half the retailer participants held more than 20 appointments lasting at least 30 minutes each throughout the event. In addition, some retailers participated in 6-minute speed meetings to accommodate new members and smaller manufacturers who may have difficulty getting regular appointments. Sixteen retailers set aside time for speed meetings with 74 manufacturers creating an additional 443 meeting slots which was double the number of speed meetings in 2017.

From beginning to end, the convention was structured to help attendees make valuable connections. The opening Taste of Excellence Reception on Sunday, October 20, included 53 manufacturers, including 10 new NFRA member companies, showcasing over 170 of the latest frozen and refrigerated food products.

Headlining the convention were two popular speakers offering their unique insights. At the Monday, October 21 breakfast, Brian Solis, Principal Analyst and Futurist at Altimeter, discussed disruptive technology and its impact on business. During the Tuesday, October 22 breakfast session, Todd Buchholz, former White House Economic Policy Director, shared his thoughts on economics, finance and business strategy.

The convention also served as a platform for recognizing NFRA leaders and award recipients. The Annual Membership Luncheon on October 21 included the induction of NFRA’s new officers and directors. Dave Jones, VP Industry Initiatives, Kellogg Company, was elected as Chairman of the Board. Mr. Jones also led a panel discussion with students from St. Joseph’s University food marketing program sharing their thoughts and shopping habits related to the frozen and refrigerated categories.

A Networking Reception on October 21 recognized the 2018 Golden Penguin winners for the March Frozen Food Month, June Dairy Month and June/July Ice Cream & Novelties promotions. Award winners with the highest scoring entries were revealed as Top Marketers during the reception. Five companies were named Top Marketers for March Frozen Food Month including: Frozen & Refrigerated Food Council of Northern California, The Pictsweet Company, Albertsons Southwest Division, IMPACT Group and W. Lee Flowers and Company. Four companies were named Top Marketers for June Dairy Month including: Frozen & Refrigerated Food Council of Northern California, Land O’Lakes, Safeway Eastern Division and C&S Wholesale Grocers. Three companies were named Top Marketers for the Ice Cream & Novelties promotion including: Graeter’s Ice Cream, Chris’ Food Center and IMPACT Group.

The convention closed with a luncheon that included the presentation of Frozen & Refrigerated Buyer magazine’s Retail Patriot Awards honoring those companies that have gone above and beyond in support of our active and retired military and their families. Kroger and SpartanNash were both recognized as Retail Patriots.

The 2019 NFRA Convention is set for October 12-15 at the Orlando World Center Marriott, Orlando, Fla. Registration for the event opens March 1, 2019. For more information, visit NFRAConvention.org.

###

NFRA is a non-profit trade association representing all segments of the frozen and refrigerated foods industry. Headquartered in Harrisburg, PA, NFRA is the sponsor of March Frozen Food Month, June Dairy Month, June/July Ice Cream & Novelties and the Cool Food for Kids educational outreach program.

2018-2019 NFRA Officers

NFRA Elected New Officers and Directors at 74th Annual Membership Meeting

HARRISBURG, Pa. – The National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association (NFRA) elected its Association Officers and Members of the Board of Directors for 2018-2019 at its Annual Membership Meeting and Luncheon held October 22, 2018 in San Diego. The membership meeting was held during the National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Convention at the Marriott Marquis San Diego.

Dave Jones headshotDave Jones, VP Industry Initiatives, Kellogg Company, has been elected as Chairman of the Board. Jones has served on the Board of Directors since 2008. He served as Vice Chairman – Frozen from 2013-2016, as Secretary from 2016-2017 and Chairman-Elect from 2017-2018. Jones is also a member of the Honorable Order of Golden Penguins and Distinguished Order of Zerocrats.

Other officers sworn in at the Association’s 74th Annual Meeting were: Joe D’Alberto, Acosta Sales & Marketing, Chairman-Elect; Neil Ritchey, Ajinomoto Foods North America, Secretary; Ray Tarnowski, Philadelphia Warehousing & Cold Storage, Treasurer; Steve Mayle, General Mills, Vice Chairman – Frozen and Bob Knodle, H.P. Hood, Vice Chairman – Refrigerated.

Newly elected to the Board of Directors were: Rob Cohen, Bozzuto’s; Kristina Cole, Danone North America; George Denman, Graeter’s Ice Cream; Michelle Dorin, Weis Markets; Risa Jenkins, C&S Wholesale Grocers; Tim McNamara, Southeastern Grocers; Jeff Nelson, IMPACT Group and Theresa Whitney, Albertson’s – Intermountain.

Elected for a second term on the Board of Directors were: Joey Bates, Harris Teeter; Bob Bollbach, RDD Associates; Randall King, Lowes Foods; Jim Motos, Rich’s Consumer Brands and Marty Steinmetz, U.S. Cold Storage.

# # #

About National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association (NFRA)

NFRA is a non-profit trade association representing all segments of the frozen and refrigerated foods industry. Headquartered in Harrisburg, PA, NFRA is the sponsor of March National Frozen Food Month, June Dairy Month, June/July Ice Cream & Novelties promotion and the Cool Food for Kids educational outreach program. NFRA provides consumer information such as food safety guidelines, meal preparation tips, recipes and sweepstakes opportunities at http://www.EasyHomeMeals.com. Further information available at https://nfraweb.org.