NJFC Honors the “Best of the Best” at Annual “Night of Distinction”

More than 500 guests recently attended the New Jersey Food Council’s “Night of Distinction” event to honor its 2017 Industry Achievement Award recipients, comprising prominent food industry executives who continue to innovate and propel the industry in the state.


This year’s honorees have advanced the mission of the New Jersey Food Council (NJFC), achieved significant food business success, and have a history of civic service. This year’s honorees are John Derderian, President of Allegiance Retail Services; Frank Mastrangelo, Area Marketing Director of SuperValu; and Nico Sumas, Chief Marketing Officer of Village ShopRite Supermarkets Inc.

“We are excited to honor these three individuals who work diligently to support our efforts and our association’s mission.” said Linda Doherty, NJFC President. “They are truly the best of the best in our industry and we are enormously proud to honor them.”

Derderian leads a supermarket cooperative of about 100 stores headquartered in Central New Jersey. His focus has been to ramp up the cooperative’s investment in information technology, resulting in improved data-sharing platforms, increased analytical capabilities, price optimization, and digital e-commerce initiatives.

Even though so much has changed in the industry, the fundamental service we provide to our consumers has not changed: quality food at good prices and a clean store environment,” Derderian said. “And no matter how much technology we deploy, it’s still a people business.”

Mastrangelo is a member of the NJFC Board of Directors for the past 12 years, as well as the Finance Committee, where he has served for the past eight years. He is a 34-year industry veteran, who began his career as a manufacturer representative at Mrs. Paul’s, moving onto retail and foodservice supply chain services with Rotelle, Richfood, Fleming, AWI and, now, SuperValu.

“With every successful person, there’s some type of family behind them – some blood-related, sometimes not, but there’s always a family behind them,” Mastrangelo said. “So other than that, I’d like to thank the Council again, I’d like to thank all of the vendors that participated, and I’d like to ask you again, from the Food Council to you – if you’re a member, participate more, get involved. If you’re not, sign up.”

Sumas is Chief Marketing Officer of Village Super Market Inc. (a member of Wakefern Food Corporation), which operates 29 ShopRite supermarkets in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland. Nico, a third-generation grocer, has worked in almost all facets of the family business since he was 14 years old.  He now works alongside his extended family to fulfill their mission of helping families live better.
“About 80 years ago, two immigrant brothers scraped their hard-earned savings together and started a produce market in the Village of South Orange,” Sumas said. “Their love and determination in many ways is why I stand before you. I’m proud to be the namesake of one of those brothers.”

Michael Biase, Division Sales Manager, Mis sion Foods, noted the “Night of Distinction” is a “who’s who” of the New Jersey grocery industry. “We come together to celebrate the industry leaders who have helped us to be one of the finest food trade organizations in the country,” he explained.

View the highlight video below.

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