The Board of Directors of PMMI, owner and producer of the Pack Expo trade shows, has voted unanimously to expand the shows' focus on the packaging supply chain to include processing solutions. This new integrated approach will begin with PACK EXPO International 2010.

“In today’s manufacturing environment, you can no longer separate the processing and packaging parts of your business,” says Mike Alagna, chief operating officer for Nation Pizza Products. “They are totally intertwined together and should be addressed as a whole process when looking at rates, efficiencies and other improvements. You do not want to create a bottleneck for either processing or packaging by not taking a look at both parts of your operation when designing a line or purchasing new equipment for an existing line.”

According to PMMI, 97 percent of past attendee survey respondents indicated that they came to see packaging and processing exhibits, and 93 percent of past attendee survey respondents indicated that PACK EXPO clearly fulfilled the overall expectations they had for attending the show.

“Today’s consumer and industrial goods companies are combining the engineering teams within their companies in order to support total systems solutions for their enterprise,” reports Charles D. Yuska, president and CEO of PMMI. “Their focus is clearly on overall operational excellence across the production line. It is abundantly clear that PACK EXPO needed to mirror the industry it serves by broadening its exhibitor focus to include processing solutions.”

The first event featuring the expanded show will be Pack Expo International 2010, scheduled for October 31-November 3, 2010 at McCormick Place in Chicago.

Source: PMMI

Chicago Meat Authority hires new broker

Chicago Meat Authority (CMA) has announced the hiring of Midwest Regional Sales as a new broker. Midwest Regional Sales provides services for its principal partners in six Midwest markets -- Michigan, Pittsburgh, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky and Indiana and has been doing so for over 30 years. It will represent CMA in the Western Pennsylvania and Indiana markets.

“We’re proud to be a representative of Chicago Meat Authority in the markets of Indiana and Pittsburgh and are excited to grow the brand significantly,” states Andy Wilson, president of the Indiana Division of Midwest Regional Sales. Midwest Regional Sales is committed to providing regional scope for their principal partners while providing the best local market coverage and expertise for their customers. This organization has been highly successful in the markets it serves for many years and for many reasons, one being the dedication and hard work of all of its associates.

“We’re excited to start working with Midwest Regional Sales,” states Peter Bozzo, Vice President portion control, “they’re a well respected food broker and will bring great things to the table for CMA.”

Source: Chicago Meat Authority

Georgia company to be featured on Paula Deen show

Stripling's General Store, a Cordele, Ga., processor and retailer, will be featured on Food Network's “Paula's Home Cooking,” featuring Paula Deen. The show, first airing on May 28 at 8PM ET and repeating on May 29 and 31, takes a look at the history of Southern barbecue. Deen will be preparing stuffed pork chops using Stripling's sausage and fresh pork ribs.

Stripling's is celebrating it's 45th anniversary in 2009. It offers a variety of fresh sausages, steaks and other meat and food items from its two Cordele locations and its Web site,

Source: Stripling's General Store

Smashburger expands into Nebraska

Smashburger, a fast-casual, burger restaurant concept, has secured its tenth franchisee, Reload LLC. The latest agreement brings the total number of Smashburger franchise locations to 187.

Reload owner Jim Stevens owns and operates more than 30 popular fast-casual and casual dining franchise units in the Midwest. The 10 Smashburgers that Reload has agreed to open will cover markets in Lincoln and Omaha, Neb. The franchisee has already scouted locations and is on schedule to open its first restaurant by the end of the year. The remaining nine locations are still very early in the planning stages but are slated to open over the next few years.

“Franchise partners like Reload fit perfectly with how we’re trying to grow and expand,” said Scott Crane, president of Smashburger. “Reload brings experience and expertise to the table and really understands how to operate a successful restaurant franchise. We’re excited to have found such a strong franchisee to help us enter the Nebraska market. With Reload on board, we’re sure to satisfy Nebraskan’s desire for a better burger.”

Developed and owned by private equity and concept development firm Consumer Capital Partners (CCP), Smashburger has sold significant franchise agreements that assure 200-plus locations over the next five years. The franchise deals are part of Smashburger’s national expansion plans to open 500 restaurants across the country, with 30 to 60 of those scheduled for 2009.

Source: Smashburger