NJFPA & Christmas for All Kids

NJFPA Members Contribute to MAFTO's Christmas for All Kids

With less than a week's notice, attendees at our winter OTR brought a huge bag of toys to contribute to MAFTO's Christmas for All Kids program. And even able to join representatives of MAFTO to deliver them. 

Can we start a little friendly rivalry to level up for next year? This year MAFTO brought more toys but NJFPA stayed longer to help unload and sort.

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Learn More About MAFTO's Community Care Package Program

This Q&A has been adapted from the conversation between NJFPA Board Member Bill Cornelius of M&T Bank and chatted with Andy Morfopoulos, CEO at ignite2X, Inc and a member of the Mid-Atlantic Food Trade Organization's (MAFTO) Board of Directors at our winter OTR. (minor updates made January 3, 2023)

Bill: Tell us about your day job: 

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Grant Pre-Qualification ENDS TODAY

New Jersey Manufacturing Voucher Program (NJMVP) grant

The NJEDA’s pre-qualification application for the NJMVP program is closing soon. If you are looking to purchase new equipment in 2023, you might be eligible to offset the cost by up to 50%!

Want more information? NJFPA member John McDaris of Garton's Rigging attended the NJEDA webinar and is happy to share what he learned. Garton's is also offering NJFPA members introductory discounts for the installation of equipment.

Reach out to John today!

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Join us Jan 20th with Southern NJ Chamber

NJ / NY Food Manufacturers Benchmarking Survey Discussion

Friday, January 20, 2023 | 8:30 - 10:30 AM | Register
The Grove at Centerton, Pittsgrove, NJ

Building on the 2021 report, in 2022, the NJFPA, in partnership with Grassi Advisors & Accountants, conducted a survey and received feedback from 148 NY and NJ food and beverage manufacturing business decision-makers. The survey revealed anticipated growth for 2022 and the latest strategies for success.

Thanks to M&T Bank for the opportunity to discuss this key resource for our community.  Dive deeper into industry insights specific to our region with the NJFPA and Grassi team and obtain information on the upcoming 2023 survey.  Register now at CCSNJ.

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NJ Manufacturing Voucher Program

Need to Upgrade Your Equipment?

Did you miss EDA webinar on the new New Jersey Manufacturing Voucher Program (NJMVP) grant? Grants range between $7,500 and $250,000 and funding can be used to purchase equipment needed to improve operations. The NJMVP is designed to increase manufacturing production in New Jersey.

NJFPA member John McDaris of Garton's Rigging attended the NJEDA webinar and had these insights to share: 

"There is free money out there you just have to qualify for it and it does not sound too hard. They have a 1000-dollar application fee. The link for this is

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Overheard On The Road


"This is by far the best networking event I've been to lately!" - Sanjay Spence, JCI Transportation

"OK Lisa, who should I talk to next!" - The Beneficial Bakery

See the pictures from last night! NJFPA Board member Bill Cornelious welcomed NJFPA to M&T Bank offices and chatted with Andy Morfopoulos, CEO at ignite2X, Inc and a member of the Mid-Atlantic Food Trade Organization's (MAFTO) Board of Directors. Andy shared opportunities to contribute to two significant MAFTO fundraising programs.

It is our members that make it happen! Want to see an OTR near you? Reach out to [email protected] and get started. 

New Training Discounts for NJFPA Members

Professional and Executive Education at Rutgers (PEER)

NJFPA has established a partnership with Professional and Executive Education at Rutgers (PEER) where member organizations will receive a 15% discount on many of the certificate and program offerings in their catalog. 

Programs range from Continuous Process Improvement/Lean Six Sigma to Project Management to Professional Sales Skills, to name a few. In addition to the traditional in-person and online delivery model of continuing education, PEER has introduced their Personal Learning Coach hybrid delivery. This model is based on that of a Personal Trainer who evaluates their clients’ current program and goals, provides motivation, pushes their clients harder, and facilitates behavioral changes that clients can embrace to sustain a healthy, active lifestyle.

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MAFTO's Community Cares Package Program

MAFTO's Community Cares Package Program

2023 MAFTO Community Care Packages builds on the relationships we share to raise funds for Philabundance, Small Things, and other MAFTO charities. NJFPA would like to extend our thanks and appreciation for all the brands below that participated in last year's program and encourage our members to consider participating this year. Learn more about this and other MAFTO programs tonight in Cherry Hill!

Read more about participating in the 2023 MAFTO Community Cares Package Program.

Rutgers University FIC Names Advisory Board

RFIC Breaking News!

The Rutgers Food Innovation Center, which has been in operation for over 20 years with extraordinary success, has identified the need to create its first formal Advisory Board to identify new strategic opportunities to better serve the food industry going forward. Each advisory board member is a leader in the food industry and brings a unique and diverse set of perspectives to the Center, and a global depth and breadth of expertise. The advisors will help provide strategic guidance to FIC’s senior leadership team, including Nolan Lewin, FIC’s Executive Director.

Congratulations from the NJFPA to the inaugural first class:

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Celebrating NJFPA Members Giving Back

Share Some Good News!

The theme of our next OTR is philanthropy and the food industry is one that has always one that has led the way. From the way food brings people together and nourishes both body and soul to food banks and the support of our essential workers, it is important to recognize the role that each one of us can play in impacting the community around us. For the next month or two we will be highlighting our members and their work on our social media channels. Let us know what you are up to at [email protected].

Andy Morfopoulos is CEO at ignite2X, Inc. Equally important, Andy is a member of the Mid-Atlantic Food Trade Organization's (MAFTO) Board of Directors and is passionate about not just talking the talk about giving back. Andy wanted to highlight two significant upcoming MAFTO programs:

  • Christmas For All Kids 2022 – Monte Carlo Night - December 2
    An evening with food, gambling, prizes, and most of all great satisfaction! Yes, the satisfaction you will receive knowing that the profits and toys collected will be going to needy children in our area to help make their Christmas a little more joyful. Have a fun-filled evening with your friends, bring an unwrapped toy, and help provide a little Christmas Spirit to many area youngsters.

    NEW! - If you will miss your chance to drop off toys at MAFTO's Christmas for all Kids event, bring them to the Thursday, December 8th On The Road!

  • Community Care Package Corporate Fundraiser programs
    Donate Product: MAFTO is seeking donations from its member regional food, beverage, and consumer packaged goods brands to supply 1,000 to 2,000 units of a variety of non-perishable products, free goods coupons or gift cards to support the program.

    Be A Sponsor: Over the last two years MAFTO, its community, and sponsors have driven $140,000 in donations to Philabundance, Small Things, and food pantries throughout our region. MAFTO has also distributed 5,000 Care Packages to food pantries, school programs, and charities throughout the Mid-Atlantic, creating special events with our generous donor sponsors. 

2023 Exhibitor and Sponsor News

2023 Conference Exhibitor and Sponsorships

We couldn't have our signature annual conference without the support of our exhibitors and sponsors. In 2022, the exhibit hall was energetic. We heard how wonderful and productive the conversations were throughout the day. More than 40 companies are expected to participate, displaying products and services and interacting with top-level executives from organizations throughout the state. 

Advance reservations by mail are now available for exhibitors and sponsors. Online forms to follow!

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It's Conference Planning Time!

2023 NJFPA Annual Conference 

Overwhelmingly you have said that one of the biggest challenges you are facing is workforce. From hiring and retention of your own employees to driver shortages and port personnel logistics affecting your processes and profits. How can NJ businesses stay ready for anything?

As many of you know, the NJFPA Annual Conference is planned by members, for members. The education committee is building on some of our most popular topics from last year. For instance, bringing in students to talk about apprenticeships and hiring practices. 

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Is Your Business Financially Fit?

The Financial Fitness Corner with Maryann and Bill

"Because you want a partner that believes in you and the business, right? I think, unfortunately, banks have become a little bit more commoditized now. As long as this box and this box and this box is checked we'll loan you the money. That's not really a partner, you need to align yourself in a way with whatever the services are, right? Accountants, attorneys, banking, where they see the vision, they can understand where you're headed."

- Dan Kilcoyne, Mini Melts of America
S2E2 Food Forum Podcast

Food processors need to have a true partnership with their banks. Longtime members Bill Cornelius of M&T Bank and Maryann Lewis of Investors Bank both focus their work specifically in the food industry. They have teamed up to regularly highlight the issues crucial to our members. Disagree? Have a follow-up question? Maryann and Bill are regular attendees at our On The Road events or email [email protected]. Get financial information you can trust from people you actually know.

To start, Bill shares a couple of tips on the foundations to make your business Financially Fit! 

  1. Set a goal - When you set a financial goal for your business, make sure it’s something you actually can and want to achieve. Consider your current financial situation, what’s possible within your available resources and restrictions, and what opportunities exist to take you one step closer to your goal.

  2. Have a plan - By creating a plan that outlines daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual actions, it will help you move in the right direction to achieve your goals.

  3. Monitor your progress – Monitor your progress versus your goals. This will give you the opportunity to assess and re-assess and make tweaks along the way.

  4. Outsource to experts when things get complicated – There may be a time in your journey when results begin to plateau. Self-motivation is a plus but you may be able to get there faster with experts. Similar to a personal trainer, they provide guidelines and mentorship and most importantly a view through a different objective lens. All of these could be very helpful.

  5. Prepare for the off-season – “Summer bodies are made in the winter”. For businesses, the winter period includes the Holidays and Jan/Feb can be quiet. So take this time to perhaps set a savings goal through this time period. As well use this time to revisit your plan, change what isn’t working and get ready for the upcoming season.

EPA Grant for Food Manufacturing Facilities

EPA Grant for Food Manufacturing Facilities

No long complicated applications and never knowing if you will get the grant. This is an exclusive invitation to food processors looking to conserve resources and reduce their environmental impact.

The DEP is looking specifically for 3 food companies to partner with in a pilot program doing FREE in-depth analysis of their manufacturing processes and potential waste issues. So you wouldn't have to go through a lengthy application form just give Ky Asral at the DEP a call and see if you are a good fit for the program. Contact Lisa McCracken at NJFPA for more information or go directly to Ky Asral at the DEP to get started.

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Winter On the Road

Celebrating NJFPA Members Giving Back!

Each On The Road event offers a perfect combination of networking and industry discussion in a social setting. This winter member Bill Cornelius has generously invited us to gather together at M&T Bank in Cherry Hill, NJ for dinner and drinks, and celebrate our community.

The theme of this OTR is philanthropy and the food industry is one that has always one that has led the way. From the way food brings people together and nourishes both body and soul to food banks and the support of our essential workers, it is important to recognize the role that each one of us can play in impacting the community around us. 

Our featured speaker is Andy Morfopoulos, CEO at ignite2X, Inc. Equally important, Andy is a member of the Mid-Atlantic Food Trade Organization's (MAFTO) Board of Directors and committee chair Community Care Package Corporate Fundraiser programs. MAFTO's mission is to improve the quality of lives through Charity, Education, Scholarships, Social Events, and Networking to advance and promote our Food Marketing Industry and culture.


Overheard On the Road

October OTR Feedback

Were you at our October On The Road networking event? Tag yourself in the Facebook photo album and share your pictures as well. 

This networking and tasting event happened because a member like you made it happen. Want to have an event near you? Have a suggestion for a larger location? Reach out to [email protected].

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NJMEP Manufacturing Day and Survey Results

What do YOU think is the most urgent issue facing NJ businesses?

Online and at our booth at the NJMEP Manufacturing Day Celebration we asked people to drop a business card in what they thought was the biggest challenge facing NJ businesses today. What should we be planning the annual NJFPA Conference around? (OK we did bribe them with a chance at Eagles / Flyers /Conference tickets. Winners to be announced shortly.) We asked them to choose between:

  1. Workforce
  2. Transportation / Logistics
  3. Agility (How can you plan when everything keeps changing!)
  4. Other

The winner by a landslide was workforce.

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October OTR Recap and Photos

October OTR Recap and Photo Album

Were you at our October On The Road networking event? Tag yourself in the Facebook photo album and share your pictures as well. (How is it possible that the Cultinary Family Farm twins were not captured on camera??)

The staff and space of Cross Keys Brewing were wonderfully welcoming and the room was packed. Thank goodness the rain held off because the crowd was spilling out the door. Not that rain would have kept anyone from lining up for dinner from Red's Rolling Restaurant.

Culinary Family Farms Black Garlic was an experience. When they walk you through the flavors like a wine tasting you know this is something special. Superfoods was already using black garlic in their recipes and were excited to meet a NJ source. The samples of Superfood's veggie burgers, taco filling, and "forbidden banana bread" are all vegan and amazingly delicious. Paul is an experienced chef that has already brought products to Costco and it shows. We got to learn a little more about the history behind the spring rolls of Carey's Gourmet and their established following. 

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Food Business Basics Workshop - Register Now

Thursday, November 3, 2022 - Food Business Workshop

Are you interested in the upcoming Rutgers Food Innovation Center, Food Business Basics Workshop but still on the fence?

Check out the workshop schedule to see the full scope of what this day will cover to bring your food business to the next level: branding, packaging materials, food safety, sales, Whole Foods foragers, and finding co-packers. 

And this workshop is not just for startups! Are you new to the industry and need a crash course? An established small business looking to take things to the next level? Even the largest NJ food processors have taken advantage of the resources of the Rutgers Food Innovation Center to test out new recipes, formulas, and processes. 

Still not sure? Reach out to [email protected] and [email protected] to learn more. The first 15 NJFPA members that mention this post will get a VERY special rate.

If you can't make this one, remember that NJFPA members always get 10% off on RFIC classes. 

Member Spotlight: DirtyJerzBBQ

Wolfgang Tsoutsouris of DirtyJerzBBQ

The original Dirty Jerz BBQ Sauce was created by CEO/Founder, Wolfgang Tsoutsouris, in his home kitchen, right here in New Jersey. Wolfgang was at our recent Golf Outing connecting with people about the NJ food space and finding small-batch co-packers in NJ. 

Worlfgang is also a business consultant and active member of the Association for Corporate Growth, NJ Chapter. He recommends ACG events to all NJFPA members looking to grow their businesses. Get connected with him and other NJFPA members in our Member Directory and watch your business grow. 

Hopefully, you got a taste of his signature sauce at our in person October 13th OTR at Cross Keys Brewing

Missed it? This networking and tasting event happened because a member like you made it happen. Want to have an event near you? Have an idea for a location? Reach out to [email protected].

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