Maureen Lynch of Rich Products Receives “Making Their Mark” Award at Women’s Foodservice Forum Annual Conference in Dallas
Buffalo, NY, March 25, 2014 – Rich Products Corporation associate Maureen Lynch was named to the second annual “Making Their Mark” list by the Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF) at its leadership development conference in Dallas today.
Lynch, a Sales & Operations Leader, was among five women to receive the prestigious industry honor. She has led Rich’s integrated business planning covering the U.S.-Canada Region since January 2012. Under her guidance, the company has met or exceeded key business objectives and evaluated monthly projects for product, demand, supply and financials while allocating resources for customer needs.
Her leadership of this cross-functional initiative resulted in Rich’s receiving the Oliver Wight “Class A” Advanced certification last July, an award received by only a few companies. This success led to an expansion of sales and operations planning initiatives into the company’s international markets.
Lynch, who joined Rich’s in 2003, also has extensive experience in plant management, quality assurance, supply chain governance and new product development. She has held several leadership positions in improving planning and governance for many of the company’s global manufacturing facilities. She also leads a leadership and mentoring program for associates to cultivate their talent.
A graduate of Canisius College, Lynch earned an MBA from Niagara University and was named to the Business First’s “40 Under 40” list of outstanding young leaders in 2009.
On March 25, 2014, Rich Products Corporation’s Maureen Lynch was among an elite group of foodservice industry figures from across the nation honored with prestigious “Women Making Their Mark” awards from the Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF). The awards were presented at the WFF Annual Leadership Development Conference, held in Dallas.
The annual “Women Making Their Mark” awards recognize up-and-coming female leaders in foodservice for their extraordinary leadership skills and significant professional accomplishments, as well as each individual’s distinctive “it” factor. The WFF award bestowed on Lynch was in tribute to her achievements while serving as Rich’s Sales & Operations Planning (S&OP) leader in Customer Service & Logistics for the company’s entire U.S./Canada business. S&OP is the foundation for Rich’s approach to business planning and governance.
Lynch, who joined Rich’s in 2003, is a determined, highly respected leader and change agent with more than 25 years of impressive accomplishments in the manufacturing sector of the foodservice industry. She has applied her exceptional skills in plant management, quality assurance and food safety, automation, supply chain governance, new product development, training, process improvement, and production efficiency.
The accolade from the WFF was based largely on Lynch’s success in elevating Rich’s in 2013 from an Oliver Wight “Capable” level to the highly esteemed “Class A Advanced” level of business performance excellence.
Oliver Wight is the global business management consulting firm that helped pioneer integrated business planning (IBP) methodologies and classifications. Class A is the highest level, attained so far by just a handful of companies. Driven by Lynch’s passion for excellence and guided by her broad expertise, the cross-functional team she directed was able to secure top certification for Rich’s in just over a year.
The certification focused on the core business practices of Lynch’s S&OP team. The group’s integrated approach to planning and operations not only led to the Class A status, but also has helped Rich’s set new industry standards for the delivery of service and quality to its customers.
“This classification level is about looking out at your horizon and determining your business needs 24 months and more down the road,” explained Lynch. “It’s important to make adjustments based on your future needs, while eliminating the non-value-added work.”
Lynch demonstrated an impressive level of leadership during the IBP process through her collaboration with other Rich’s divisions – a necessity due to the cross-functional nature of the task. In order to properly plan requirements and prepare Rich’s associates accordingly,
she successfully drove certain cultural and behavioral changes that would be essential to advancing the company’s mission. “We made it clear that if you see an issue coming, you communicate it immediately,” Lynch pointed out. “It’s all about the company’s exposure and making sure leadership is aware of potential issues that might affect our 24-month plan and strategic direction.”
The award recognition by the WFF extended beyond the Oliver Wight Class A certification to other areas of Lynch’s work at Rich’s, including her establishment of a mentoring program within the Customer Service & Logistics Division. Created in January 2012, the program has provided division associates their first-ever opportunities at Rich’s to sit down with a mentor, attend training and receive valuable professional feedback. As a result, associate engagement within the operation has increased.
“Mentoring fosters a trusting relationship in the work environment and gives people the opportunity to share ideas and provide honest feedback,” Lynch said. “It’s another way to provide associates with the tools they need to be more efficient and productive.”
A native of Buffalo, N.Y., where Rich’s is headquartered, Lynch holds a bachelor’s degree from Canisius College and an MBA from Niagara University. She generously gives back to the community by delivering inspirational talks and mentoring inner-city youths. “I spend a good amount of time in mentoring activities,” she admits, “but it’s what I enjoy.” She lately has been involved in the development of a special youth career day, inviting Rich’s associates from different disciplines to discuss their professions with inner-city students.
In 2009, Lynch received a “40 Under 40” award, which is given by Buffalo’s Business First newspaper to 40 outstanding young leaders who have contributed in extraordinary ways.
Rich’s Senior Marketing Manager Deanne McDonell sounds almost giddy when discussing what young children believe the birthday cake of the future should look like.
For one 11-year old boy, his dream birthday cake was a sombrero shaped taco, complete with gummy worms and breath mints on the brim of the sombrero”, shares McDonell, while citing some recent survey responses.
“These kids dream big! We heard suggestions for everything from cakes with 3-D video action figures to a cake with a dragon scaling a castle. Some kids want big birthday donuts or cookies instead of cake and another just wants pizza. I think we adults probably put more parameters than kids do on what qualifies as a birthday cake.”
While these “birthday cake 2.0” poll results might sound surreal, they contain just the sort of valuable insight that could shift the future of the in-store bakery (ISB). Managing such surveys and analyzing the results for Rich’s In-Store Bakery & Deli Division customers is all in a day’s work for McDonell, whose role in Customer/Shopper Marketing is to give the company’s bakery partners a unique perspective on changes in the industry.
“We often uncover interesting tidbits that will become conversation starters with our customers,” McDonell explains. “We mine data, searching for new insights that we can use to fashion programs that will increase shopper satisfaction and drive retail sales. This type of partnership typifies Rich’s commitment to be the trusted first choice for our customers. When traditional purchase behaviors for milestone celebrations like birthdays begin to shift – as we have seen recently – retailers want industry expertise and depth on their side, which we can provide.”
The company’s most-recent examinations of the key purchase drivers for birthday desserts have been exhaustive. Some of the chief areas addressed include:
- How do parents rank elements of a successful kid’s birthday party and what do they look for in the star attraction, the birthday cake?
- Who is the in-store bakery’s strongest competitor when it comes to sales of decorated cakes?
- When and where do parents go for help in planning their children’s birthday parties and why are their trips to buy birthday desserts so special?
- What are general shopper opinions of decorated cakes purchased at in-store bakeries?
- Why do some parents bake, instead of buy, the birthday cakes for their kids?
That last question is huge. “Through our research, we had many parents say to us, ‘If it looks like something I could decorate myself, why should I buy it from a store?’” McDonell says. “Frankly, that quote is why we do what we do and it helps point us in the direction of where to dig for more answers in this changing demographic.”
McDonell’s Customer/Shopper Marketing team uses its research to collaborate with Rich’s ISB customers. “Rich’s can partner with bakery operators to create distinctive, creative cake designs that can’t be duplicated at home,” McDonell says. “We’ll work with our customers on product solutions, consumption programs and other marketing tools that help build shopper loyalty. The birthday cake purchase has implications for total store sales, and provides an opportunity to suggestive sell across categories to further increase the size of basket.”
Cakes and icings make up one of the core competencies of Rich Products and serve as a profit center for its customers. The company understands how valuable the birthday party purchase is for grocery retailers, which is why Rich’s has worked determinedly at becoming an industry leader in offering product and program solutions. The Rich’s Customer/Shopper Marketing team plays a key role in that success, researching the marketplace and developing concepts that help customers reach their targets and uncover new growth opportunities.
“It’s all about partnering with our customers on how they can capitalize on trends and evolutions in their business,” McDonell sums up. “Transforming insights into ideas and tools that result in a positive jump in sales for our customers is what makes this work exciting and rewarding”
Race-Winning Sponsor Partners with Front Row at Phoenix
STATESVILLE, N.C., January 23, 2014 – Farm Rich, the primary partner that adorned the No. 34 Ford for Front Row Motorsports’ first trip to Victory Lane, will return to the team for a second straight season. The frozen snacks and appetizers brand will be the primary sponsor of David Ragan’s Ford Fusion at Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway in March.
In its first-ever foray into NASCAR last May, Farm Rich enjoyed being thrust into the spotlight as Ragan earned Front Row’s first team victory in a dramatic, come-from-behind win in the Farm Rich Ford at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. The company later returned as the primary sponsor for a second race with Ragan at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway in September.
A leading brand of Rich Products Corporation, Farm Rich is based in St. Simons Island, Ga., and features a successful portfolio of products sold at grocery and club stores nationwide. Farm Rich makes “real food for real families” – wholesome great-tasting snacks and appetizers that are sure to please family and friends. More information is available at www.farmrich.com.
“David and Front Row Motorsports are ideal partners for Farm Rich,” said Shannon Gilreath, senior brand manager. “His personality reflects our wholesome, family brand and many of our customers are huge NASCAR fans and connect with David and his team. Hopefully, we’ll all see him in Victory Lane come March 2 in Phoenix.”
The Farm Rich-Front Row partnership is another perfect match of a successful company introducing itself to the NASCAR arena and a race team that can provide a big return for the investment.
“We couldn’t have written a better ending for Farm Rich’s first race with us with the car going to Victory Lane in Talladega last year,” said team owner Bob Jenkins. “But equally important is that they recognize how much more we can do together, and we’re thrilled such a great company is back to grow their program with us for a second season.”
The Farm Rich logo will appear on Ragan’s uniform throughout the 2014 Sprint Cup Series schedule. The 28-year-old driver, husband and father-to-be says the logo will appear frequently in his freezer, too.
“My wife, Jacquelyn, and I love Farm Rich Snacks,” Ragan said. “The Crispy Dill Pickles are my favorite, and we also have the Mozzarella Sticks quite a bit. And with Baby Ragan coming this summer, we’re going to be super busy, so Farm Rich will definitely help make meals and snack time a little easier.”
The March 2 race in Phoenix will be televised live on FOX at 3 p.m. ET.
Welcome back Farm Rich!
Read more at SportsPro.
Buffalo, NY, January 6, 2014 – A “Sequential Day”, the once-a-century phenomenon when the calendar numbers align in a sequence, is said to be a lucky day. Such was the case on 11.12.13, and good fortune was certainly on the side of those planning and executing the launch of the Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF) in China.
As an introduction to the region, a panel of speakers, presenters and female leaders in the foodservice industry shared their experience and insight with more than 80 participants, exploring trends on women in leadership in China and opportunities for advancement within the foodservice sector. As a global food industry leader, Rich’s takes great pride in supporting the WFF and efforts to expand into China as a means of fostering the growth, education and career advancement of Asia’s foodservice leaders.
Rich’s has been an advocate of the WFF’s mission since 1997, participating in activities and programs of all levels. Most recently, Maureen Hurley, Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer for Rich Products, played a key role in the Shanghai launch. Hurley was an active WFF Board Member from 2005-2011, following Rich’s President and CEO Bill Gisel’s term on the Board. Jill Bond, Senior Vice President, General Counsel, is currently serving on the WFF Board.
“The WFF has been the foodservice industry’s premier Leadership Development resource in America since 1989,” said Hurley. “In 2008, WFF expanded into Canada and quickly recognized that there were other international markets where the WFF’s programs and goal would have significant relevance.”
The Chinese marketplace offers a unique set of circumstances. While many companies are experiencing exponential growth, they are also faced with significant challenges in finding, retaining and developing talent. These realities, in conjunction with the fact that a large number of the American WFF corporate sponsors have a presence in China, made the WFF directors consider China as a logical location for expansion.
Fritzi Woods, the dynamic CEO of the Women’s Foodservice Forum, who passed away suddenly this past September, was particularly intrigued with the growth potential China afforded to WFF. She had planned to accompany Maureen Hurley on this inaugural trip. It was in her honor that WFF executives decided to go ahead with the WFF launch event in China.
Months of hard work and planning came together on 11.12.13 when the Food, Agriculture, and Beverage Committee of the American Chamber of Commerce hosted an afternoon event and networking session in Shanghai, gathering six of the industry’s top female executives to lead a discussion on Women in Leadership. A total of 86 delegates attended the event, including participants from Rich’s, Starbucks, Sodexho, Aramark, Compass, Coke, Lamb Weston, and McCormick.
Hurley gave an opening presentation, as did Sarah Butler, Greater China, Booz & Company. Following these presentations, Hurley moderated a panel discussion including Butler; Karen So, Coca-Cola Greater China; Angel Yu, Starbucks China; and Grace Han, Healthcare and Seniors, Sodexo China.
The panel discussion explored topics including: trends on women in leadership in China today, what women’s leadership can bring to today’s business challenges, advancing women in leadership through personal and organizational commitments and opportunities, and women leaders as role models in the foodservice sector.
The event was well attended and well received by participants and succeeded in building awareness of the WFF.
“There is definitely an interest in exploring further how WFF can become a more active organization in China,” said Hurley. “There was excitement expressed by the people who attended that WFF could fill a void that exists in the market today.”
Like in Canada, Hurley acknowledged that the key to success will be to have some committed leaders on the ground in China demonstrate interest and pull together a steering committee to lay out an approach and next steps.
The Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF) has been the go-to resource for individuals to build skills, expand knowledge and broaden perspectives through meaningful strategic Connections, so they can reach their full potential and accelerate their career growth. The WFF serves more than 20,000 individuals and over a 1,000 organizations in all segments of the industry including operations, manufacturing, distribution, publishing, consulting and more.
In early October, a large contingent of associates representing the far reaches of Rich’s global enterprise converged in Las Vegas, Nevada, for the International Bakery Industry Expo (IBIE). The convention, held once every three years, is the preeminent industry event, assembling the largest collection of suppliers, customers and bakery experts in North America. Just inside the exhibition hall doors, Rich’s sales, marketing and technical teams from around the world welcomed customers and visitors into a truly visionary environment highlighting Rich’s immense global footprint, market trends, the industry-leader’s extraordinary people and products and the Rich Experience.
And a Rich experience the Expo was! The booth saw high traffic volume and significant interest from around the globe. The emphasis on the people behind Rich’s global brand stimulated intrigue and connectivity, cameras were flashing as visitors eagerly snapped photos of the creative product displays and everyone walked away inspired and engaged.
“Relationship building is at the heart of every customer encounter, and the IBIE is no exception,” said Richard Ferranti, Executive VP and Chief Operating Officer. “Whether we were fostering new relationships or solidifying those we’ve worked hard to develop, we used our time at the Expo to emphasize the size, scope and diversity of Rich’s business while giving customers a taste of what they can expect from the Rich Experience – speed, character and insight.”
Rich’s booth was a dynamic blend of trend-setting creative inspirations, technical product demonstrations with international flavor, and new product displays. The emphasis on Rich’s vast global network gave customers insight into Rich’s ability to develop and produce new products locally to respond to the tastes and needs of any region around the world.
“The booth was full of imagery, showing our talented associates developing new products, opening new facilities, and working with products and customers,” said Carolyn Danner, International Marketing Manager, and leader of Rich’s 2013 IBIE initiative. “Each element – the photos, the sales team working the floor, the product displays and technical demonstrations – gave customers a glimpse at how Rich’s does business, our international scope, our knowledge of food, and the technical capabilities available to help optimize and improve efficiency.”
The booth also highlighted three industry macro-trends; personal desserts, the healthy halo, and entertaining. A significant portion of the booth footprint was devoted to eye-catching product displays and technical demonstrations for creative inspiration and an iPad station where customers could email themselves recipes, scan their badge for follow-up and access Rich’s website.
The trend toward smaller, individually portioned desserts was explored and Just For Me treats like cake sandwiches, walking sundaes and poppables were displayed. A healthy halo surrounded the Permissible Indulgence feature where sugar free and gluten free products were presented alongside beautiful creations infused with super fruits, yogurt and trendy tea flavors. High-end hosting ideas were served up in the Entertainment area where big, elegant platters featured gourmet donuts and cupcakes, loaded cheesecake, and classy bar and roll cakes. It was evident that Rich’s has the products, components and technical capabilities to stay on-trend and build success.
“The show is about so much more than products and sales,” said Danner. “It’s about the conversations we have with customers, the opportunities for education, igniting excitement and sharing ideas – that’s the real value.”
Customers and associates were invited to continue those conversations during two customer appreciation events hosted by Richard Ferranti during the Expo. The casual events brought Rich’s face-to-face with customers and offered opportunities for cross-pollination and international connections.
“The real value in these types of events are the intangibles,” said Danner. “The goal is to gather international customers and associates together around Rich’s brand. The conversations and connections between customers and associates are at the heart of the Rich Experience, these relationship-building and sustaining activities are vital to growth and success.”
After Hurricane Sandy devastated the coastal areas of New York and New Jersey last year, Rich’s associates came together to help our neighbors downstate with a relief drive for essential supplies. That turnout was tremendous as we exceeded our original goal of filling one truck by having to call for a second truck, thanks to the generous response from associates and the community! The success of the Sandy Relief drive motivated us to look for other ways in which we can continue to Better Our Community.
On Tuesday, November 19, Rich’s hosted the “Edge Out Hunger Food Drive” at World Headquarters from 6 a.m.-7 p.m. WBBZ-TV and 103.3 FM joined us in organizing and promoting the event through local media outlets and on social media channels. While we all look forward to shopping and enjoying time off during the holidays, this is also a time when others throughout the city may struggle to celebrate because they lack some basic necessities.
“With the economic challenges faced by many Buffalo residents, Rich’s welcomes the opportunity to collect food donations from the community to assist those who are facing a food shortage throughout the region,” said Howard Rich, Vice President of Corporate Relations. “This is the time of year when we all want to share with others, and Rich’s is pleased to partner with the Food Bank of Western New York.”
In the pre-dawn hours, the Shredd and Ragan show kicked off a full day of 103.3 FM shows broadcasted live from the entrance at One Robert Rich Way. Thanks to associates, members of the community and a couple of City of Buffalo Police car drop-offs, the drive generated $5,486 in cash donations, 75 turkeys and more than 1,000 pounds of non-perishable food. If you convert all of the donations to meals, we raised enough to provide the equivalency of more than 30,000 meals for families, veterans, children and the elderly who can use our help.
Facing very windy and chilly conditions, more than 60 associates volunteered for one-hour shifts starting before daylight to collect and sort the food on a 46-foot-trailer provided by the Food Bank of Western New York. The agency was very appreciative of our efforts as we really provided a boost to our neighbors in Buffalo as the temperatures drop and food banks face an increased demand to serve all those in need.
Special guests who stopped by the radio booth to make a donation included Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, New York State Senator Mark Grisanti and Brian Moorman from the Buffalo Bills.
“The Rich’s Edge Out Hunger Drive really helped provide food for many more residents this holiday season than we would have normally had the capacity to serve,” said Mike Billoni, Public and Community Relations Director for the Food Bank of Western New York. “I thank all of the Rich’s associates for their generosity and time while volunteering at the event for the community.”
As we all continue to Better Our Communities through volunteering, mentoring and providing donations to different organizations throughout the year, it was a great day to come together and invite the community to WHQ to share some warm holiday cheer with those who are less fortunate and preparing for their winter needs.
Did you know that…?
- Each month the Food Bank of Western New York provides food and other essentials to more than 96,000 people, including 38,685 children and 7,847 senior adults, through its various member agencies.
- The Food Bank’s Back Pack Program provides 900 children at 15 Buffalo Public Schools with nutritious food every Friday. Rich’s sponsors Buffalo Public School #3 that includes 50 participating students in the program.
- A $1 donation helps provide approximately five meals to a family.
- Currently, state funding to the Food Bank was reduced by $183,634, representing a 5.6% reduction from last year. This will result in the equivalent of 918,170 fewer meals distributed in Western New York.
- In 2012-13, the Food Bank distributed 12 million pounds of food and grocery items, of which 45 percent originated from donations. The remaining 55 percent was USDA or purchased with grants and other funding.
Buffalo, NY, November 12, 2013 – Rich Products Corporation will host the Rich’s “Edge Out” Hunger Food Drive with a donation area at its World Headquarters at One Robert Rich Way on Tuesday, November 19 from 6 a.m.-7 p.m. The Food Bank of Western New York will collect the donations that will assist local families during the holiday season.
WBBZ-TV and 103.3 FM The Edge are partnering with Rich’s and the Food Bank of Western New York to invite the community to bring canned food items, frozen turkeys or monetary contributions to help food bank agencies serving families in need. Even a $1 donation can help provide approximately five meals.
103.3 FM The Edge will broadcast live from the lobby of the Rich’s Atrium Building at One Robert Rich Way for 13 consecutive hours beginning with the Shredd and Ragan Show at 6 a.m. The Food Bank of Western New York will provide a 48-foot trailer at the drop-off site where volunteers from all event partners will collect and sort the donations.
“With the economic challenges faced by many Buffalo residents, Rich’s welcomes the opportunity to collect food donations from the community to assist those who are facing a food shortage throughout the region,” said Howard Rich, vice president of corporation relations at Rich’s. “This is the time of year when we all want to share with others, and Rich’s is pleased to partner with the Food Bank of Western New York.”
In addition to canned fruits and vegetables, other items requested at the food drive include peanut butter and canned tuna, soups, stews and beans.
“The Rich’s Edge Out Hunger Drive will help provide food for many more residents in Western New York this holiday season than we would have normally had the capacity to serve,” said Mike Billoni, public and community relations director for the Food Bank of Western New York. “We look forward to collecting donations at Rich’s on November 19 and thanking Western Yorkers for their generosity toward fellow residents of the community.”
The Food Bank of Western New York services 96,179 individuals through 340 member agencies in Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie and Niagara counties. Many of the individuals who need food are working poor, veterans, the disabled, those suffering from mental illness, single mothers, single fathers and those caught in economic difficulties.
About 103.3 FM The Edge:
WEDG-FM 103.3 FM, known to fans as Rock Radio 1033 The Edge, is the heritage rock radio station in Buffalo, New York, bringing the Greater Buffalo Area new and established rock and alternative music and events since 1995. For the past 20 years, The Shredd and Ragan Show has been its anchor. Their morning radio show is a mix of comedy and social commentary on everything happening in Western New York. In addition to news, sports, weather, traffic and famous guests, Shredd and Ragan spend time helping charities throughout the area. In addition to this Food Bank broadcast, Shredd and Ragan are this year’s co-chair for the Variety Kid’s Telethon, responsible for raising over a million dollars a year for the local children’s charity.
WBBZ-TV is Western New York’s Hometown Television Station, locally owned and operated by WNY native Phil Arno, with studios and offices inside the Eastern Hills Mall. Veteran broadcast executive Bob Koshinski is the vice president and general manager of the station. WBBZ-TV is proud to support the hometown work of the Food Bank of WNY with our friends at 103.3FM. Watch for “Edge Out Hunger” announcements during the broadcast day, on the station website www.wbbz.tv; and on segments in locally produced programs like “All Sports WNY,” and “Political Buzz.” WBBZ-TV can be seen over the air on Ch. 67.1; Time Warner Cable Ch. 5; FiOS Ch. 5; Dish Ch. 5; and DirecTV 67.
About The Food Bank of Western New York:
The Food Bank of WNY, Inc. is the primary hunger relief organization within Western New York, obtaining and then distributing food to member agencies such as pantries, shelters, soup kitchens, after-school programs and senior citizen centers in Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Erie and Niagara counties. Through those agencies, the Food Bank services 34,030 households, including 38,685 children and 7,847 senior citizens. The Food Bank of WNY is one of 202 members of Feeding America, the nation’s food bank network. For more information, visit www.foodbankwny.org.
The success of Rich Products Corporation has been based in no small way on family values. Fittingly, this includes some familial connections that have dotted the organization, beginning with the Rich family that founded the global food company and leads it to this day. The organization takes great pride whenever the torch is passed and the next generation begins making its mark in the food industry, whether at Rich’s or elsewhere in the business.
And so it is that 59-year-old Jake Brach, Manager of Culinary Learning & Development at Rich’s world headquarters, in Buffalo, N.Y., now keeps tabs on the new culinary adventures of his son, Adam, who turns 25 in November 2013 and whose career in the restaurant world shows exceedingly great promise.
Adam Brach already has been learning the ropes at some of New York City’s finest restaurants, including the innovative seafood spot David Burke Fishtail, on the Upper East Side, and Tribeca’s authentic brasserie, Plein Sud. To get even more big-kitchen experience under his belt, he also voluntarily staged at the three-star Eleven Madison Park, which dishes up New French fare in the Flatiron District. Adam’s most-recent stop has been The Modern, the fine-dining establishment, located at the Museum of Modern Art, that features original French-American cuisine.
“What Adam’s doing now is invaluable,” Jake professes. “I’m not sure he has his entire plan figured out, but I didn’t, either, at that age. But, as Charlie Trotter [the noted Chicago chef, restaurateur and Culinary Hall of Fame inductee] used to say, ‘Keep your ears open, your mouth shut and your head down at work, and the rest will take care of itself.’ That’s worked pretty well for me.”
Like Father, Like Son
There’s even more reason for Jake Brach to beam with family pride. Like his prodigious father, young Adam now is a graduate of the legendary Culinary Institute of America (CIA), the crème de la crème of culinary colleges worldwide. Located in Hyde Park, in upstate New York, the school is a big reason Jake Brach, who graduated from the CIA in 1976, has the letters “CCC” embroidered next to his name on the Rich’s chef uniform he often wears in cooking demos and training events around the country. The initials stand for Certified Chef de Cuisine, the formal term for one who actually runs a restaurant’s kitchen.
A Rich’s associate since 2001, Jake is among the company’s elite culinarians and a key player on Rich’s Foodservice training team, providing hands-on product instruction to innumerable associates and customers. “We’re into next-generation training programs now,” Jake points out. “Our value proposition is to bring more to the customer – it’s one of the ways we live out the Rich Experience.”
Jake got into the food business at age 14, working in a Buffalo restaurant operated by his uncles. His substantial resume today includes a dozen years at Rich’s, five years at the hospitality giant Delaware North Companies, a long stint as an entrepreneur in the wine business, and a relatively new foray into book writing. He also remains actively involved with the CIA, through fundraising, continuing education and other endeavors. “I just love the whole scene there,” he admits.
Intrigued by his father’s profession, Adam Brach briefly studied foodservice at a local community college, but didn’t find the academic climate there serious enough for his needs. He instead decided to work Buffalo’s restaurant circuit a while, learning different stations. Then, one evening in Hyde Park, the future started coming together.
Jake invited Adam to assist the alumni chefs at a CIA benefit dinner, and his son, who’d never been exposed to the Culinary Institute effect firsthand, became sold on the school. “When Adam told me he wanted to attend the CIA, I warned him it’s the big leagues and the hub of the food world and there’d be no goofing off,” Jake remembers. “Then I let him make his own decision.”
Adam graduated from the CIA’s two-year culinary arts program in November 2012. (The school’s alumni magazine recently noted that the younger Brach was “following in his father’s ‘food-steps.’”) He then took off to Manhattan to begin climbing the culinary ladder. Even when he finally arrived at The Modern, Adam, true to form, started as the cold-kitchen garde-manger before becoming line cook, as part of the natural grooming that inevitably takes one to positions like sous-chef and beyond.
Legacy of Professionalism
“In today’s world, there’s so much opportunity for someone like him, much the same way I’ve had so many opportunities with Rich’s,” Jake Brach says. “Who knows what his future holds right now? When he was moving to New York, I told Adam what a friend once said to me: You never know where life’s going to lead you. You can pour yourself into something, but then something else takes over. It’s providence.
“If I can impress one thing upon him,” Jake adds, “it’s a sense of professionalism. It’s something near and dear to my heart and I’ve tried to lead by example. The CIA provides great grounding for that. Professionalism is vital, along with feeling comfortable in what you’re doing at work and at home. In this one big world we live in, you bring your values to both. That’s what Rich’s believes in.”
Rich’s Delivers Top-Notch Solutions for Foodservice Operators Responding to Consumer-Driven, Gluten-Free Movement
With Nearly a Third of U.S. Adults Seeking Gluten-Free Options, Table Is Set for Foodservice Industry to Feed Bottom Line; Rich’s Health & Wellness Commitment Emphasizes Gluten-Free Offerings
BUFFALO, N.Y., Oct. 4, 2013 – For a growing legion of foodservice operators across the United States, “gluten-free” no longer is a mere asterisk at the bottom of a menu. Instead, it’s becoming a huge dollar sign in the profit column.
With consumer demand for gluten-free products – one of the fastest-growing food categories in North America – at an all-time high, opportunities abound for foodservice outlets to take advantage of a trend that’s becoming more mainstream every day. According to one industry analyst, the number of Americans who say they are trying to reduce or eliminate gluten in their diets – nearly 30 percent of the adult population – has finally become too large for restaurant operators to ignore.
“The gluten-free movement today has gone far beyond the original intent of managing celiac disease for part of the population,” points out Tina Battistoni, Senior Marketing Manager, Foodservice Division, Rich Products Corporation. “As consumer awareness continues to increase, more and more restaurants and other foodservice operations are discovering gluten-free products as a mechanism to build loyalty by catering to special dietary needs.”
Some industry estimates put the volume of today’s U.S. gluten-free business in the $5 billion range. The gluten-free foods market grew approximately 17 percent in 2012, so it should be no surprise that gluten-free was ranked No. 2 among Time magazine’s top 10 food trends for that year. With interest in gluten-free menu listings growing unabated, the incidence of consumers ordering food labeled as gluten-free or wheat-free is evolving at a rapid pace. According to market research firm Technomic, year-over-year, the number of items on menus listed as gluten-free has increased 29 percent from the first quarter of 2012 through the first quarter of 2013.
A trusted supplier to leading foodservice outlets around the world, Rich’s will be ramping up its focus on the gluten-free marketplace, in a concerted effort to show foodservice customers the potential long-term value of the category.
“As part of our unwavering commitment to health and wellness, Rich’s is fully prepared to meet foodservice operator needs for safe, gluten-free products that satisfy consumer priorities for taste, affordability, convenience and nutritional quality,” Battistoni says. “We’re a foodservice-first brand, with proficiency in helping operators produce delicious meal solutions that delight their guests and drive profits through a wide variety of appetizing, convenient and time-saving products.”
Rich’s gluten-free products are certified by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO), she explained, and are individually wrapped to mitigate risk of cross-contamination. From pizza crusts and sandwich rolls to desserts and snacks, the company is committed to making meal choices easier and more enticing for people who choose to follow a gluten-free diet.
New Products on Horizon: Pizza Crust, Sub Roll, Chocolate Chip Cookies
To help foodservice establishments meet the explosive consumer demand, Rich’s gluten-free offerings continue to expand. The leader in supplying delicious, authentic, pizzeria-quality pizza crusts to the foodservice industry, Rich’s will take genuine pizza taste to an even-higher plateau with the next generation of its gluten-free pizza crusts, coming soon.
In addition, the global food maker is preparing to launch a gluten-free sub roll and is putting the finishing touches on an improved recipe for gluten-free chocolate chip cookies. All three products promise a taste and texture that enhances the dining experience, whether or not the consumer is gluten-intolerant.
“As foodservice customers seek additional health and wellness options to meet the rising demand, we’re accelerating our efforts to provide them innovative and convenient gluten-free solutions,” states Battistoni. “We’re applying all our expertise, infrastructure and access as a premier foodservice source for delicious, valued products in the gluten-free category.”
Traditional concerns about food allergies and intolerances also still fuel consumer demand, further prompting foodservice customers to bring the availability of gluten-free products to the forefront. It is estimated that more than 3 million Americans – roughly one in 133 citizens, or about 1 percent of the population – live with celiac disease, the autoimmune condition that causes the body to react negatively to gluten found in wheat, rye and barley, among other foods. And, an estimated 18 million Americans have non-celiac gluten sensitivities, according to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness.
For this large, underserved group, the key to an enjoyable dining-out experience of any kind has been the availability of great-tasting, gluten-free foods and the assurance that they are prepared in a safe manner.
More and more, Rich’s is helping foodservice businesses show their patrons that living gluten-free doesn’t mean living flavor-free. With its extensive portfolio of gluten-free bakery products and unsurpassed culinary expertise in the foodservice business, Rich’s is a leading source for gluten-free foods touted for their great taste and texture.
As part of Rich’s commitment to “Do What’s Right,” the company recently began participating as an ENERGY STAR® Partner with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). ENERGY STAR is a voluntary partnership introduced by the EPA to promote energy efficiency and environmental protection. The partnership represents Rich’s fundamental commitment to protect the environment through the continuous improvement of company-wide energy performance.
“Sustainability is a natural fit with The Rich Promise and our company values,” said Deb Gondek, Director of Sustainability, Rich Products. “Simply put, it’s about doing what’s good for business and good for the environment, focusing on: long-term efficient use of resources, reducing waste, and creating products that delight our customers and have minimal impact on the environment.”
As an ENERGY STAR partner, Rich’s commits to:
- Continually improve energy efficiency;
- Measure, track, and benchmark energy performance, utilize tools offered by ENERGY STAR;
- Develop and implement a plan to improve energy performance in manufacturing facilities and operations by adopting the successful energy management strategy promoted by ENERGY STAR; and
- Educate associates and the community about the ENERGY STAR partnership, and highlight achievements.
Many of the ENERGY STAR partnership commitments are already in practice throughout Rich’s as part of ongoing energy and water initiatives. In 2012, Rich’s Director of Energy & Water Management, Todd Musterait, P.E., LEED Green Assoc., worked with the ENERGY STAR program to develop an energy guide for Bakery manufacturing facilities entitled Energy Efficiency Improvement and Cost Savings Opportunities for the Baking Industry – An ENERGY STAR Guide for Plant and Energy Managers.
The project gave Rich’s the opportunity to be a leading partner in the development of a guidance document for all food manufacturers to follow. In addition, Musterait’s involvement with the American Bakers’ Association Energy & Environment Committee supports Rich’s commitment to improving energy and water efficiency and knowledge sharing among industry peers.
“Rich’s is committed to developing industry-leading energy and water management programs for our manufacturing operations and leveraging the resources gained through the ENERGY STAR partnership,” said Musterait. “We are sincerely invested in our core belief to care of the communities in which we manufacture our world-class products. Through environmental stewardship and sustainable business practices we can deliver the highest quality products with minimal impact to our environment.”
Under the leadership of Dave Konst, Senior Vice President Operations, energy and water productivity initiatives are continuously driven by Rich’s manufacturing operations.
“We believe that an organization-wide energy management approach will help Rich’s enhance our business and aid in preserving the environment for future generations,” said Konst. “As a family company that cares about the communities in which we live and work, Rich’s is committed to environmental protection. The ENERGY STAR partnership will support Rich’s pledge to Do What’s Right for the environment.”
Rich’s is conducting ongoing energy and water assessments at manufacturing sites to identify further opportunities to reduce the environment impact of production.
“As a frozen food manufacturer, increasing energy efficiency provides a significant opportunity to reduce our company’s carbon footprint,” said Gondek. “Escalating energy costs and market conditions continue to drive increased focus and opportunities to do what’s good for business and good for the environment, as we look for both cost savings and environmental benefits.”
In terms of energy, the company is looking for ways to optimize the use of lighting, compressed air, boiler and cooling towers, and heat recovery. Renewable energy sources, such as solar power, are also being explored. Rich’s is investing in the installation of Energy Management Systems (EMS) and Refrigeration Energy Management Systems (REMS) to reduce electrical consumption and demand at manufacturing facilities.
The production facilities are continually targeting water reuse and minimization, as well as water harvesting projects. Waste water pre-treatment upgrades have been made to improve the quality of wastewater discharge, while sustainable outlets for wastewater discharge are under consideration. The Fort Erie, Ontario, production facility recently celebrated a zero waste-to-landfill designation after a conscientious effort to reduce waste.
Rich’s Launches Peanut-Free/Tree Nut-Free Frosted Sugar Cookies – A Great-Tasting, Worry-Free Indulgence
The sweetness and simplicity of sugar cookies, with their eye-catching frosted tops and mouth-watering flavor, have made the indulgent treat a cornerstone in America’s love affair with cookies for decades. Rich’s new fully-finished Frosted Sugar Cookies are now available in the marketplace and meet the high standards for quality, flavor and appearance that consumers expect from these iconic cookies, while also offering peace of mind.
Schools and households across America enforce strict nut-free policies to protect children and adults who suffer from severe nut allergies. Rich’s recently launched “Our Specialty,” a new product line of fully-finished, peanut-free/tree nut-free Frosted Sugar Cookies at the International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association’s annual conference, giving consumers the opportunity to enjoy indulgent, flavorful cookies without the worry of adverse allergic reactions. The vibrant icing colours and clear “peanut-free/tree nut-free” decal on product packaging catches consumers’ attention, making the purchase decision easy.
“We spent extra time developing the flavor profile of our Frosted Sugar Cookies, knowing that a nut-free version of the cookie would only win in the marketplace if it tasted every bit as good as it looks,” said Lauren Lopez, Senior Marketing Manager, Desserts, Rich Products. “Rich’s wanted the cookies to standout at cuttings, from flavor and quality to appearance, and we’ve succeeded on all fronts.”
Sugar cookies are simple, sweet and delicious and find their way into the lunchboxes and onto the dessert plates of millions of Americans each day. Rich’s fully-finished cookies are a convenient way for in-store bakeries to keep table displays full of quality, nut-free products that do not require any skilled preparation or baking equipment – simply thaw and display. The cookies come in conveniently sized packs that are perfect for schools, daycares or family events. Satisfying the growing consumer demand for high quality, great tasting nut-free products and operator’s need to decrease the skill and labor required to stock shelves is a win-win cookie combination!
“What sets Rich’s cookies apart from the competition is our 100% nut-free guarantee,” said Lopez. “The demand for nut-free products is at an all-time high. Rich’s wanted to offer consumers a line of cookies with the unmistakable flavors we’ve come to expect from classic cookies that also satisfy the allergen-free demands of so many Americans.”
The Frosted Sugar Cookies are part of the new “Our Specialty” product line produced at Rich’s new, 100% nut-free facility in Texas which also includes other everyday cookie favorites such as chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, snicker-doodle and fudge brownie. The particulate flavors, including those with chocolate chips and raisins, truly deliver with large, visible chunks of particulates that attract consumers’ attention and satisfy the sweetest of cravings.
The Frosted Sugar Cookies have sweet, colorful icings and fun sprinkles, ideal for parties, events or a personal indulgence. Rich’s cookies provide a delicious, nut-free treat that shoppers can feel good about buying and sharing with everyone.
Productos Rich was recently recognized as one of the 50 most innovative companies by “InformationWeek Mexico” magazine. The prestigious publication applauded Rich’s work on a mobile application that enables technical and commercial in-store bakery (ISB) team members in Mexico to collect, analyze, compare and track in-store bakery data during store visits. The business insights gathered by the tool enable leaders to make fast, effective decisions and provide actionable information to customers, another value-added service that further strengthens Rich’s position as the trusted first-choice supplier.
The app, which was launched in January of 2013, was installed on iPhones for all technical and commercial ISB team members serving Productos Rich customers in Mexico. Internally known as “the BIRD” (Business Insights, Reporting and Diagnosis) project, the app puts a detailed service questionnaire in the hands of Rich’s team members performing in-store bakery service visits. During the visit, the survey walks users through a variety of topics including store conditions, product displays, product availability, equipment and labor capabilities, and inventory deficiencies.
“As the data is entered into the app it becomes part of a large, cumulative information portal that has comprehensive analytical, reporting and diagnostic capabilities,” said Rafael Michel, Infrastructure Manager, Productos Rich. “At any given moment, a sales manager can access the portal to find valuable information such as the number of store visits, services provided, sales information, display trends, order discrepancies and a host of other insightful information.”
This data allows Rich’s management team to make quick decision regarding product launches, sales promotions, operator training and customer service resolutions. Rich’s can also share the information with customers, offering valuable insight on store conditions, staff training, and sales that will help grow the business. The app provides concrete evidence and information used to ensure customers are utilizing Rich’s products properly and leveraging the service options available to them in order to succeed.
Since January, the team of more than 100 technical and commercial ISB associates have visited operator locations and logged more than 18,000 questionnaires into the app portal. The technology behind the mobile solution and the business insight it provides garnered national attention in Mexico and won Productos Rich the prestigious ranking from InformationWeek Mexico, one of the most important IT magazines in Mexico. To view the July issue of InformationWeek Mexico, including the entire list of the 50 Most Innovative Companies, visit; http://www.informationweek.com.mx/cover-story/informationweek-229/
“The intelligence this tool brings to the decision-making table, as well as the evidence-based information we can deliver to our customers, enables Rich’s to work side-by-side our customers to grow their business for the benefit of both parties,” said Michel. “Innovations like the BIRD project position Rich’s as a business information systems leader and a trusted business partner worldwide.”
Rich Products to Celebrate 50th Anniversary of Fort Erie Plant, Chairman Bob Rich Jr. Began Career by Starting Rich’s Canada Business
Buffalo, NY, August 21, 2013 – Rich Products Corporation will celebrate the 50th anniversary of its Fort Erie, Ontario plant, located at 12 Hagey Ave., in a special ceremony featuring associates, retired associates, business partners, local elected officials and friends on Friday, August 23 at 11 a.m.
Rich’s Chairman Bob Rich Jr. began his 50-year career at the facility when he launched the Rich’s Canada business in 1963, and it became the cornerstone of the company’s international growth. With expansion and joint ventures, Rich’s Canada also includes sales and marketing offices, a second plant in Woodbridge, Ontario and 365 total associates.
“The Fort Erie plant has such a great story and has always held a significant place in Rich’s history since it was the first venture outside of Buffalo,” said Rich. “It gave us the opportunity to build our sales and marketing offices as we traveled to all 10 provinces during those years. We are looking forward to commemorating the occasion with longtime associates who continue to make the plant such an important part of the Fort Erie community.”
Plant manager Scott VeRost will present Rich with a signed Canadian flag and gifts from associates. Dignitaries scheduled to speak at the event include Fort Erie Mayor Doug Martin, Kim Craitor, Minister of Provincial Parliament for Niagara Falls and the Honorable Jim Bradley, Minister of Provincial Parliament for St. Catharines and Minister of the Environment.
“We have benefited from a strong legacy of continuous leadership at Fort Erie, from Jay Rich who guided the facility for nearly 25 years to his son Howard who spent 16 of his 22 years in Canada as the Division President,” Rich said. “Tom Quinn, former plant general manager, really modernized the facility in the ‘90s during his 10 years there, and now Scott and his team are doing an outstanding job of carrying on the tradition.”
After the presentation, there will be pictures taken of the dignitaries in front of a commemorative banner as well as an aerial photo of all associates gathering in the form of the number 50 outlined in the grass. Associates will have an outdoor lunch and also participate in an anniversary softball game the following day against Rich’s associates from the World Headquarters in Buffalo.
“It is a memorable week for all of the past and current associates at the Rich’s Fort Erie plant,” said VeRost. “We will mark the occasion by recognizing many associates who have worked here for more than 30 years, and there are five associates who have worked here between 40 and 50 years.”
The plant began operations with just three associates and is now the city’s largest employer with more than 250 associates producing 300 different products a year, including bread, parbaked bread, cinnamon buns, rolls and pizza. It has surpassed 100 million cases over the five decades and continues to be Rich’s anchor business in Canada. Last year’s acquisition of the Dorgel Ltd. & Elistan Food, a manufacturer and marketer of frozen desserts and ice cream cakes sold across Canada, demonstrated Rich’s continued commitment to its business throughout the country.
In August 2012, the plant partnered with Waster Management to become the first Rich’s operation to be recognized as a “Zero Waste-to-Landfill Facility” that required at least 95 percent of all waste generated to be diverted away from landfills. The plant attained a 98-percent level of waste diversion through a rigorous sorting and recycling program.
On-Trend and Ahead of the Competition:Rich’s Reinvents Frozen Desserts with Greek Frozen Yogurt Cakes and Cupcakes
The freezer case at your local retailer just got a little trendier; full of new desserts with lush European influences. Move over party-sized ice cream cakes and make way for an everyday indulgence with the allure of Greek yogurt, America’s top selling yogurt. Infused with sumptuously thick and creamy Greek frozen yogurt, the new Jon Donaire cakes and cupcakes appeal to a youthful market seeking indulgent flavors, more healthful ingredients and everyday luxuries.
Greek yogurt enthusiasts will be thrilled to find their favorite ingredient in the first-ever Greek frozen yogurt cakes and cupcakes on the market.
“Any new product containing Greek yogurt is a standout in the marketplace right now,” said Courtney Erickson, Assistant Marketing Manager, In-Store Bakery, Rich Products. “The Jon Donaire Greek Frozen Yogurt cakes and cupcakes appeal to younger consumers who are seeking everyday personal indulgences with the added health benefits of trendy Greek yogurt.”
Unlike their party-sized counterparts, the Jon Donaire Greek Frozen Yogurt bar cakes and cupcakes are smaller in size and price, and can easily be portioned and served for an evening of entertaining, family dinners, or a personal indulgence – no party required!
According to Mintel, Greek yogurt sales have increased 17% from 2010 to 2012, the largest percentage increase across categories. Experts believe Greek yogurt has garnered mass-appeal because of its thick, creamy consistency and healthful claims as a low-fat, high protein alternative made of purer, simpler and more natural ingredients. Whatever the reasons for its popularity, consumers will appreciate finding their favorite yogurt in the dessert freezer case!
Jon Donaire launched the Strawberry Granola Bar Cake, Chocoate Bar Cake and Mixed Berry Cupcake in April of 2013. The Strawberry Granola Bar Cake consists of creamy strawberry Greek frozen yogurt with low-fat granola, strawberry puree, crunchies and whipped icing. The Chocolate Bar Cake boasts creamy chocolate Greek frozen yogurt with chocolate chunks, crunchies, curls and whipped icing. Both bar cakes serve six to eight people and have four times more protein per serving than regular ice cream cakes.
Cupcakes continue to be a nationwide phenomenon and the new Jon Donaire Mixed Berry Frozen Greek Yogurt Cupcakes do not disappoint. Sold in a six-pack clamshell, the deliciously moist white cake filled with mixed berry flavored Greek frozen yogurt and berry flavored whipped topping is the perfect treat after a long day or to enjoy with friends any night of the week.
The Jon Donaire Greek Frozen Yogurt cakes and cupcakes are available in WNY at Tops and Wegmans locations, and nationwide at Giant Landover, Shoppers, Shaws, Winn Dixie and Publix.
Try one of these trendy palate-pleasers today and enjoy the rich, creamy indulgence of Greek yogurt in this exciting new dessert format.
Rich Products Corporation Promotes Liz Kobilski to Chief Executive Officer and Leader of Africa Region
Buffalo, NY, August 7, 2013 – Rich Products Corporation has promoted Liz Kobilski to Chief Executive Officer and Leader of its Africa Region.
Since 2010, Kobilski has served as the Chief Operating Officer of the region and been responsible for the day-to-day management of the business and strategic international customer relationships.
In this role, Kobilski will report to Richard Ferranti, Rich’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, and become a member of the company’s Global Leadership Council.
“Liz has established an outstanding reputation as a valuable leader that’s exceptionally passionate about Rich’s and the success of our customers,” said Ferranti. “Her ongoing development and recent success in driving strong results as COO positions Liz perfectly for this critical executive leadership responsibility.”
Kobilski joined Rich’s Africa team in 2005 as the senior vice president of sales, marketing and research and development. She previously served in marketing leadership roles with General Mills and Kimberly Clark.
Kobilski replaces the business region’s former CEO Evan Poulos, who passed away in June.
Rich’s frozen and UHT (ultra-high temperature) emulsions manufacturing facility in Daegu, Korea recently received the HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) certification from the Korea Food and Drug Administration (KFDA).
After a rigorous inspection process, the KFDA confirmed that the Daegu facility satisfactorily meets all the HACCP food safety and quality assurance requirements, making Rich’s Korea the first non-dairy emulsions manufacturer in Korea to receive the certification.
“Because we strive to be the customers’ trusted first choice, we voluntarily invest in food safety by achieving HACCP Certification at every one of our manufacturing facilities in Asia,” said Jeff Kim, President of Rich’s Asia-Pacific region.
Under the leadership of Peter Park, operations manager, the Daegu facility achieved the HACCP certification after very diligently completing the preparations needed for the process. Fulfilling the requirements provides Rich’s with a great production asset in the region, while demonstrating the commitment to food safety in all global production.
“HACCP certification gives us a clear point of differentiation,” according to K.S. Ahn, General Manager of Rich’s Korea. “Our products are made with rigorous GMP (General Manufacturing Principles) and the certification demonstrates our commitment to customers and their consumers, which enhances the Rich’s brand not only in Korea, but also in the many Asia markets.”
Highly-recognized worldwide, HACCP is a systematic, preventive approach to food safety and allergenic, chemical and biological hazards in food preparation, production, packaging and distribution processes. Its principles form the basis of most food quality and safety assurance systems used around the world, including those used by country food regulatory agencies.
New school foodservice trends, products and training methods were among the topics on the plate at Rich’s sixth annual School Nutrition Roundtable, attended by a select, diverse group of school nutrition professionals from across the United States.
“The School Nutrition Roundtable illustrates the Rich Experience at its best, giving Rich’s the opportunity to build intimacy with our customers by listening to their needs and creating solutions to meet those needs,” explained Jennifer Besing, Rich’s Marketing Manager. “At the same time, we’re sharing our insights as a foodservice industry knowledge leader, while demonstrating Rich’s strength in school nutrition.”
Rich’s School Team hosted the June 2013 roundtable on St. Simons Island, Ga. Ted Rich, Senior Vice President of Customer Experience, kicked off the gathering by discussing how school nutrition directors can create memorable experiences for their customers – the children they serve. That opened up a sharing session led by Michael Galante, Rich’s Manager of Motivation and Celebration, during which customers recounted some opportunities and successes in creating noteworthy experiences in their respective school districts.
Besing, along with Marketing Managers Richard Sherry and Loraine Grimm, presented seven new product platform concepts (involving 20 individual products) and utilized some of the company’s proprietary, creative-problem-solving tools to collect feedback about the potential benefits and concerns for each. The invitees agreed there were several home-run products in the series, while some other items merited further refinement.
Keynote speaker Dr. Katie Wilson, from the National School Foodservice Management Institute at the University of Mississippi, discussed best practices for training adult learners – an essential competence for school districts, which must train their personnel on myriad topics, from meeting new meal-pattern requirements to safety and sanitation.
An interactive presentation on trends by Bill Heiler, Manager of Consumer Insights, focused on the foodservice industry as it pertains to “Generation We” – particularly, what motivates today’s millennials and how they learn. The nutrition professionals said it was exactly what they were interested in hearing.
“This was one of the most beneficial, interesting and engaging meetings I have attended in a long time” said Stephanie Taylor, School Nutrition Director for Ware County Schools in Georgia. “I enjoyed the interaction with other school nutrition professionals and Rich’s associates. It was a great experience.”
Attendees also had an opportunity to get their hands on certain Rich’s products that can be used in localized, recipe training videos. Shirley Brown, Rich’s Director of Product Training, developed model, instructive scripts for the videos and Glenn Forbes, Zone One Culinarian, provided tips for creating an effective training piece.
About Rich’s School Nutrition Roundtable
The objectives of the Rich’s School Nutrition Roundtable include relationship-building with school foodservice customers, a better understanding of mutual needs and goals, and the gathering of customer feedback and insights on Rich’s school foodservice products, services and concepts.
The number of roundtable attendees each year is limited, to ensure an informal, casual atmosphere for conversation and camaraderie with the Rich Family and company associates. Participation is spread across school districts of various sizes and determined by the school nutritionists’ proven program success; segment leadership; innovation and trendsetting; and willingness to share best practices.
The 2014 School Nutrition Roundtable is scheduled to be held in Rich’s new, state-of-the-art Customer Innovation Center at the company’s World Headquarters, in Buffalo, N.Y.
Tens of thousands of America’s finest military personnel are stationed throughout Europe, far away from family, friends and the simple pleasures of everyday American life. Nothing tastes more like home than an original American milkshake made with real ice cream and milk. Thanks to f’real, the brave Army and Air Force men and women are now enjoying the richest, creamiest, most delicious milkshakes our nation has to offer. Sound too good to be true? It’s not, its f’real!
“There is something very American about milkshakes,” said Janice Lee, Customer Marketing Manager, f’real. “We’re proud to offer our troops a little treat from home.”
The US military bases in Europe strive to bring many items and experiences as possible to the troops stationed there. By opening movie theatres and stocking store shelves with classics from home, the men and women serving abroad feel a little more comfortable in their home away from home.
Blended to each individual’s exact specifications, the f’real milkshakes are made of real milk and ice cream in an almost magic-like blender. The f’real blenders, now installed in hundreds of military bases throughout Europe, have soldiers clamoring for more great-tasting American shakes. You might say they are f’real f’natics.
f’real first approached the Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) about installing blenders in European military bases nearly five years ago. Passion and persistence paid off when the AAFES made an initial purchase in 2010.
Just like the 10,000 f’real blenders found in convenience stores, universities and movie theatres across the Unites States and Canada, the machines installed at military bases in Europe give troops the full f’real experience. Consumers have the opportunity to customize each shake to their own flavor and thickness craving. After placing a cup into the blending machine, an LCD touchscreen entertains the customer for a mere minute while the perfect shake is made-to-order.
“Part of the allure of a f’real milkshake is that it’s unexpected. Consumers don’t expect to be able to get a milkshake at a C-store,” said Lee. “The first step, getting consumers introduced to the blending machine and how it works, is the only challenging step. Once you’ve tried your first f’real, you’ll be back for more! The thick, rich, flavorful goodness comes from real ingredients, and our milkshakes are the best on the market.”
The f’real engineering team worked diligently to ensure that the blender complied with European electrical standards. All of the blenders are produced by a manufacturing partner in Vermont and ingredients are supplied directly to the customers via dairies and distributors. The partnership with AAFES in Europe was simplified given that the bases receive shipments of products directly from the US, therefore ingredient suppliers did not need to be sourced locally.
f’real, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Rich Products since 2012, will celebrate 10 years of serving up great-tasting milkshakes next month.
Rich’s recently welcomed the National Association of College & University Food Service’s (NACUFS) annual Food Service Management Institute (FSMI) conference, marking the 15th consecutive year hosting it. The NACUFS selects individuals from colleges, universities, medical learning centers and private academies across the country to participate in workshops and presentations on a variety of food service disciplines.
“Each year Rich’s has the great opportunity to host college and university customers in a truly unique way. It is a combination of education, networking and team dynamics that play out in four days of intense class room work,” explained Michael Galante, Rich’s Manager of Motivation and Celebration. “At the beginning of the sessions, the attendees were broken into teams representing three major categories: residential dining, catering services and retail operations.”
Attendees worked together on projects throughout the conference, one of nine offered by the NACUFS each year around the country. The sessions in Buffalo focused on numerous key elements of running an effective and efficient school food operation, including the following classes:
- Building Effective Organizational Structures
- Writing Mission Statements
- Marketing and Merchandising
- Planning Cost Controls
- Effective Menu Planning
- Food Safety
- Building and Reading Financial Budgets
- Implementing Quality Assurance Measures
- Interactive Display Cooking, Presentation Skills
- Effective Customer Service
The teams prepared lunch for a group of Rich’s associates at the companies WHQ. The following day the group visited the Niagara Culinary Center for a final presentation of all of the group projects from the work sessions. During the conference, attendees also found time to enjoy sightseeing around Buffalo and rode the Maid of the Mist before having their final dinner at the Hard Rock Café.
“Attendees have said that FSMI is the most rigorous of all the Institutes, so Rich’s ensures guests are enjoying the hospitality as well as some of the great architecture, events and natural beauty that Western New York offers,” Galante said.
Rich’s will host the 2014 NACUFS conference at its new Customer Innovation Center next year.
The National Association of College & University Food Services (NACUFS) is the trade association for foodservice professionals at more than 625 institutions of higher education in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and abroad. Founded in 1958, NACUFS provides members with a full-range of educational programs, publications, management services, and networking opportunities.
In addition to colleges and universities, over 500 industry suppliers are members of the association. These companies conduct exhibits at national and regional showcases, serve on standing committees and participate in various educational conferences. NACUFS is governed by a board of directors and six regional councils and uses volunteer committees, project teams, and professional staff to deliver service to its members.
Rich’s exhibit was once again a premier stop for visitors and participants of the 28th AAHAR expo, the largest fair for the Food & Hospitality sector in India, held in New Delhi. Rich’s brought the Rich Experience to life, transporting visitors to a trendy QSR lounge boasting live bakery demos, high-end merchandising and cool dessert and beverage concepts.
“The AAHAR is the most important food and beverage showcase in India annually,” said Ashutosh Goel, General Manager – Marketing. “Rich’s booth was once again the highlight of the Foods pavilion leaving visitors agape and competitors in the shade.”
Rich’s exhibit was an ingenious blend of two concepts in one extraordinary showcase. The booth replicated a QSR format which was host to a live bakery theatre highlighting Rich’s latest concepts and innovations from around the world.
“Our focus was to demonstrate Rich’s unique ability to deliver value to customers through business insight, concepts and food trends,” said Goel.
The booth featured Walking Sundaes and a Beverage Station. To create the Walking Sundae concept, Rich’s Whipped Topping was used to develop a mousse which could be garnished with a choice of toppings. The application could be easily replicated by operators and generated a new point of sale concept to bakery and food service customers. Rich’s partnered with MONIN to showcase an exciting and unique beverage dispensing solution.Rich’s also launched Cremagic, a white truffle base, as part of the show.
“The entire booth was high-end and trendy, from the displays and merchandising to the latest bakery concepts like Push up pops, Chocolate Lollies & Centre filled chocolates,” said Goel. “The underlying message was Rich’s ability to provide universal solutions to our customers.”
Rich’s India is a joint venture between Rich Product Corporation and Graviss Group. The company began operations in India in 1995 with the introduction of Rich’s Whip Topping, the first non-dairy product in the country which went on to revolutionize the bakery and confectionery market here. Rich’s has been the market leader and trend setter in a dynamic and rapidly growing market. The business sells primarily to the bakery industry but in the last few years has made a major foray into the conventional food service sector with the introduction of the Cooking Rich. Whilst the focus has been on innovation in emulsions, the business is looking for organic and inorganic expansion in the coming years to take advantage and maintain leadership in the country.
“The show was an extraordinary display of Rich’s diverse abilities – our outstanding team of associates, our diverse portfolio and our commitment to continuously adding value to customers,” said Goel. “In India, we deliver the Rich Experience to our customers with insight, speed and character.”
An outstanding team culinary, marketing and sales associates came together to once again take center stage at AAHAR 2013 and deliver a truly memorable Rich’s Experience.
A nourishing breakfast is always the best way to start each day, and Rich’s Breakfast Menu Inspiration contest was an exciting challenge for foodservice operators and a rewarding endeavor for the three $1000 winners. The promotional contest kicked-off the 2013 foodservice year, stimulating operators to create new breakfast menu recipes crafted from Rich’s 2013 platinum product list. With valuable prizes on the line, and originality, flavor and creativity the benchmarks, operator submissions came pouring in.
“The Breakfast Menu Inspiration contest got operators tuned-in to the popularity and profitability of the breakfast market,” said Kelley Wood, Customer Marketing Manager II, Food Service Division. “We were excited to see the innovative ways operators used Rich’s products to re-invent and refresh their morning menus.”
Rich’s accepted online recipe submissions through the richsfoodservice.com website from January to March 2013. In all, 84 entries were received. Each participating operator received at $10 Amazon.com gift card for their submission.
After reviewing the entries, Rich’s selected three grand prize winners, one from each zone. Each winner was awarded a $1000 AMEX gift card.
The winning recipes were diverse and original, ranging from breakfast Stromboli to a pork biscuit with Mexican flare.
From Zone 1, east coast Sodexo operator, Michael Girouard, developed a winning breakfast Stromboli using Rich’s 16 inch Fresh N’ Ready Oven Rising Sheeted Pizza dough. Michael stuffed the Stromboli with scrambled eggs, Andoiulle sausage, roasted red peppers, spinach and cheddar/jack cheese.
In western Kentucky at Longhunters Restaurant, Bill Landrum took the top prize for Zone 2 using three of Rich’s products for his Gran Marnier French Toast. Bill used Rich’s Tuscan Bread as a base which he then grilled and stuffed with Rich’s cream cheese icing, thinned out with orange juice. The morning masterpiece was topped with Rich’s On Top and drizzled with a Gran Marnier cream sauce; a mixture of RTW, whole eggs and Gran Marnier; and finally garnished with orange zest.
Using southwestern inspirations, Zone 3 winner, Kristine Raymer of Aramark, developed a Pulled Pork Chilaquiles. This central Mexican breakfast dish is most notable for its sauce consisting of fire roasted tomatoes, garlic, onion, salt, pepper, chicken stock, cilantro, and chopped fried tortillas. Kristine heated a Rich’s biscuit and topped it with a layer of Byron’s pulled pork and Chilaquiles sauce. The entire creation was topped with a fried egg and more sauce, and finally garnished sour cream, cheese, and avocado.
All three mouth-watering recipes won top prize in Rich’s contest and rave reviews from consumers. The breakfast challenge has operators thinking about new ways to use the Rich’s products they have on-hand to create trendy dishes for breakfast and beyond.
Empowerment, Engagement and Essential Leadership Development: WFF Leadership Conference is a Rewarding Experience for Rich’s Attendees
Thirty Rich’s associates and leaders recently attended the Annual Leadership Development Conference presented by the Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF). The dynamic group returned to Rich’s with a renewed sense of passion, heightened self-awareness and valuable personal reflection. Through workshops and networking opportunities, they strengthened essential leadership competencies and developed scores of industry connections. They formed strong interpersonal connections within the Rich’s contingent and plan to leverage those relationships for expanded business insight and mentoring.
“The WFF is committed to advancing men and women within the foodservice industry by training and developing emerging leaders to be strategically prepared to succeed in leadership roles,” said Jill Bond, SVP & General Counsel. “Rich’s echoes that commitment and we’re investing in our talent by partnering with the WFF and giving aspiring leaders the opportunity to attend conferences and develop essential skills. We’re also bringing the WFF’s leadership competencies, support and passion back to everyone at Rich’s through networking events and mentoring programs.”
Influence, Credibility and Presence
“I brought back some extraordinary learnings about courage, credibility and stretching,” said Julie Sheldon, HR Generalist. “My job is traditionally a supportive role, so influencing others can be challenging. But the conference gave me the insight and tools to make myself more visible on a daily basis, to create opportunities to influence the business and the people around me, and to develop a stronger presence.”
The skills and competencies emphasized by the WFF are things men and women can work on at any level of their career.
“Being a leader doesn’t always mean you’re responsible for people,” said Kristin Alongi, Senior Food Technologist. “There are ways to influence people and the business every day.”
“The conference gave me some structure around the power of presence,” said Heather Stammler, Customer Experience Manager. “You have to act your next role and remember that you’re always being evaluated. You should carry yourself in a way that enables others to speak highly of you.”
As the first and only female maintenance manager at Rich’s, Sherri Blake feels she has to work a little harder to build trust and ensure her voice is heard. The conference gave her the tools to build her credibility and influence others with her thoughts and ideas. She learned valuable communication and listening skills, and is putting a renewed emphasis on listening before answering to develop trust among peers.
“I think it’s important to achieve as much as possible and always strive to learn,” said Blake. “Everyone needs to learn these skills to advance.”
Relevance and Timing
At Rich’s, an invitation to attend a WFF conference is a prestigious honor awarded to associates who are performing well and who demonstrate the necessary capabilities, aptitude and aspiration to be a leader. While anyone can benefit from attending a WFF conference, timing is critical.
“The relevance of these skills at this point in my career is paramount,” said Julie Michel, Trade Settlement Manager. “This was the perfect year for me to attend. I’m seven months into a leadership role with a new team which positioned me to benefit from the experience and apply the learnings to my daily work.”
Attendees could complete an on-site self-assessment and develop a personal conference agenda, tailored specifically to their current needs and goals.
“I focused on the leadership competencies that are relevant to me at this point in my career and challenged myself to look for growth opportunities,” said Sheldon. “Now, I am more aware of my career aspirations and what I can do to achieve them.”
Leading with Purpose and Passion
The core leadership competencies developed at the conference are further strengthened by the intangible gains such as self-awareness and renewed purpose.
“I’ve learned a lot of important skills through the WFF over the years but I didn’t anticipate the level of personal reflection I would experience at the conference,” said Alongi. “I learned important lessons about bringing your whole self to the table and leveraging the skills that set you apart from others.”
Conference participants gained skills to nourish their own careers, as well as those around them.
“In my new role I have seven women as direct reports,” said Michel. “I learned a lot about motivating, mentoring and teamwork and I’m passing those learnings along to my team. I’m trying to inspire my team to stretch themselves and I’m leading by example.”
“People don’t follow you because of what you do, they follow you because of why you do it,” said Stammler. “It’s all about purpose. When you know your purpose you do things more passionately.”
Many attendees have found that the basic principles they learned are enabling them to achieve greater fulfillment at work and at home.
“I’m engaged, I’m fulfilled, I’m motivated and I’m going to keep this momentum going,” said Alongi. “I’m a better leader as a result of this conference.”
Mentors and Advocates Critical to Career Success
The WFF conference also shed light on the roles of advocate, mentor and sponsor.
“These people are critical to our success, they are guiding our careers, advocating on our behalf and sponsoring us for opportunities,” said Stammler. “It’s important to become aware of who these people are and how to leverage their support to achieve your goals.”
“It was so motivating to see Rich’s leaders in attendance but it was even more powerful to spend time with them and get to know them,” said Michel. “They’re approachable, they want to know our stories and they want to help us achieve our full potential.”
One of the most unique and unexpected results of the conference were the bonds created among the group of Rich’s associates that attended. Coming from various parts of the business, very few attendees had ever met before. Already the group has established a strong connection, regularly communicating and meeting in small groups.
“We will be advocates, mentors, sounding-boards, advisors and friends to one another for years to come,” said Blake.
By sharing their stories and career paths with one another, the group is expanding their business insight and acumen, inspiring growth and raising each other up as they go.
On April 25, the associates at Rich’s Gallatin facility exercised their green thumbs as part of the annual effort to preserve, protect and beautify the plant’s surrounding environment. This was the 11th annual Bubba’s Earth Day event, marking more than a decade of “Doing What’s Right.” In honor of Rich’s overwhelming dedication to the community, the city of Gallatin officially renamed the 100-foot section of Town Creek that meanders behind the Byron’s facility, “Bubba’s Creek.”
In the foodservice industry, Bryon’s is known for their dedication to perfecting the art of hand-pulled, hickory smoked pork products. But in their hometown of Gallatin, Tennessee, the hardworking Byron’s associates mean much more to the community than the great-tasting products they manufacture.
“The Gallatin facility is set in a beautiful location and the environment is flourishing thanks to the dedication of the associates who volunteer their time to take care of the natural habitat,” said Robert E. Rich Jr., Chairman, Rich Products. “The Gallatin associates live and breathe the Rich Promise, they’re passionate about BBQ and they’re passionate about their community.”
An outdoorsman at heart, Gallatin’s veteran plant manager, Charles Crutchfield, has been organizing the event since 2002 because he and so many other associates wanted to maintain the facility grounds. The annual clean-up celebrates Rich’s commitment to “Caring of Communities Like only a Family Can.” Gallatin’s Mayor and city councilors credited that commitment by unanimously agreeing to rename part of Town Creek after Rich’s chairman, Robert E Rich Jr., affectionately known as “Bubba.”
Gallatin Mayor, Jo Ann Graves, attended the event and officially proclaimed the creek’s new name in front of 60 Gallatin associates in attendance. A sign was placed creek side and now welcomes visitors and associates to Bubba’s Creek.
Town Creek is a 20-foot-wide creek that flows along the rear of the Byron’s facility. The pristine waters of the creek and the surrounding woodlands are home to various wildlife, including ducks, muskrats, beavers, raccoons, snakes and countless other species. Many associates enjoy breaks and lunch hours along the creek, appreciating the sights, sounds and serenity of nature.
“Each of our associates feels a connection to our natural environment – it’s our backyard,” said Crutchfield. “Renaming this section of the stream Bubba’s Creek only strengthens our bond with the community, making the creek a part of our family.”
So once again this year, Gallatin associates tended to the land around “Bubba’s Creek”, plucking thirty bags of debris from the waters. They tidied-up the facility grounds and planted flowerbeds, all in an effort to beautify the workplace and to preserve the land for the next generation of Rich’s Associates.
And some future associates may very well have been on-hand participating in Bubba’s Earth Day. The principle and seven students from local alternative school, RT Fisher, were present to help clean-up and celebrate the creek renaming. Gallatin has partnered with the school in the past, allowing students to conduct experiments and explore in the creek. Rich’s has also sponsored school activities.
“Partnering with RT Fisher is just another way Rich’s is working each day to better our community,” said Crutchfield. “We are proud to work with these students, to have the opportunity to positively influence these vulnerable lives, and to see the impact of our partnership.”
“I am honored that they City of Gallatin has acknowledged the hard work of our associates and the impact they continue to have on the community,” said Rich. “I’m proud of the Gallatin family and thankful for their efforts. I look forward to visiting the newly renamed Bubba’s Creek soon.”
Rich Products of South Korea is proud to announce that team member Young Jin Choi has earned the extraordinary title of Master Baker, the highest certificate awarded to baking experts by the South Korean government. Years of dedication to his craft, professionalism and technical expertise led to Choi’s distinguished honor. The Master Baker title positions Choi as an industry leader, bolstering credibility and confidence with customers and elevating Rich’s within the Asian baking industry.
“Young Jin Choi is highly regarded within the bakery industry in South Korea,” said KS Ahn, General Manager, Rich’s South Korea. “His Master Baker designation is an extraordinary achievement and a shining example of his technical expertise. Young Jin brings so much to our Korean customers; he imparts wisdom, skill and professionalism and exemplifies the Rich Experience.”
Choi joined Rich Products of South Korea in 2010 after twelve years of baking experience in various parts of the industry, including major bakeries and hotels. As a Rich’s culinarian and Master Baker, Choi is responsible for sharing his exceptional bakery knowledge with Rich’s customer in South Korea, delivering new menu items and recipe ideas, as well as hosting training seminars.
The coveted “Master Craftsman” title is given to people who achieve the highest level of technique in 29 fields of baking as determined by the South Korean government.
Choi was determined to earn the Master Baker certificate, and with support and sponsorship from Rich’s leadership he practiced his trade tirelessly, enrolled in evening classes, and honed his skills.
“I wanted to challenge the certificate as a means of validating my skills as a bakery technician,” said Choi. “My exam preparation spanned an intensive four-month period. I attended school after work and then practiced every weekend and each night until midnight.”
Choi has earned several industry awards by attending major competitions including those hosted by the Seoul International Bakery Association (SIBA). In 1999, Choi received two SIBA Chairman’s prizes for Western style cakes and Breads. He earned the Grand Prize in Chocolate Art at the SIBA in 2001. Choi also won the Gold Medal at the GangDong Bakery Festival in 2011.
Choi is a distinguished member of Rich’s global network of culinarians. In South Korea, he is part of a growing workforce which includes 25 associates in Rich’s Seoul, South Korea sales office, and 18 hardworking associates who produce a variety of non-dairy products at Rich’s manufacturing facility in Daegu, South Korea.