2017 Annual Meeting Highlights

The Association for Dressings & Sauces’ (ADS) Annual Meeting, held at the Westin Nashville in Nashville, TN, October 7-9, emphasized the importance of getting One Step Ahead, whether it’s the growing influence of the vegan diet, interest in cooking at home, or the desire for vivid colors and flavors from the tropics.  In all, 132 attended the Annual Meeting, which focused on management and marketing insights.


ADS offers a sincere “thank you” to all our Annual Meeting Sponsors:

Fleischmann’s Vinegar Company, Inc. (Room Key Access Cards)

Mizkan America, Inc. (Saturday Evening Awards Dinner)

Sunsweet Growers (Sunday Evening Culinary Challenge & Reception)
T.W. Garner Food Company (Saturday Evening Welcome Reception)

Grain Processing Corporation (Monday Morning Group Breakfast)
Mold-Rite Plastics (Sunday Morning Group Breakfast)

Grande Custom Ingredients Group (Sunday Morning Break)


ADS members mingled at the Welcome Reception & Awards Dinner, where the 2017 Dressing, Sauce and Package of the Year Award Winners were announced:

  • Dressing of the Year 2017:  GFF for its Spicy Jerk Dressing with Hemp Seeds
  • Sauce of the Year 2017:  Litehouse for its Mango Habanero Dressing, Sauce & Marinade
  • Package of the Year 2017:  The Clorox Company with supporting vendor Bemis North America for its Hidden Valley Dip & Pour Trial Package.

(Pictured, left to right: From GFF:  Dave Nicholson, CEO of HACO US, parent company of GFF, Inc.; Mary dela Peña, VP Technical Services & Quality.  From Litehouse:  Doug Hawkins, Director of Foodservice, Dorrie Francis, Director of Quality Assurance and Food Safety, Wendell Christoff, Partner; FROM THE CLOROX COMPANY: Michelle Claudnic, Department Manager Foods R&D)

Attendees enjoyed the winning dressing and sauces during the dinner. Congratulations to all winners!

To view photos of the winning products, visit the ADS Members-Only website.


ADS Chair of the Board, Steve Dabrow of Chelten House Products, Inc. provided attendees with The State of the Association, an update on ADS activities and emphasized how the ADS strategic plan helps members get One Step Ahead while advancing the mayonnaise, salad dressings, and condiment industry through communicating product benefits, working with government agencies and consumer influentials, and facilitating the exchange of industry ideas.


Steve then acknowledged ADS award winners, originally crowned during the Saturday Evening Awards Dinner, with another round of congratulations.  Steve also acknowledged Tom McGirty of T. Marzetti Company, (pictured at right) winner of the ADS Technical Service Award for 2017, reminding others to nominate colleagues for the 2018 Award. Tom was presented his award during the 2017 Technical Meeting in Portland, OR.


Anat Baron, Former Head of Mike’s Hard Lemonade gave us a look at The Rise of the Empowered Consumer. She discussed (1) Technology Adoption, from artificial intelligence to augmented reality to virtual reality. (2) Empowered Consumers, with on-demand lifestyles, social everything, and a thirst for experiences. (3) The New Workplace, emphasizing the age of ideas. (4) The Battle for Attention. (5) Disruption Everywhere, especially via disintermediation (elimination of the “middle man”).  Anat then provided tips of how to react to these trends.


John Turner, President, Turner Research Network, provided consumer insights within the industry and presented Results of ADS’ Condiment, Spoonable and Pourable Consumer Surveys.  Survey results provided a look at product usage, frequency and flavor popularity, as well as where price, brand, taste and nutrition land in the priority order when choosing, including the most important nutritional elements.


Revised ADS Bylaws Approved
During the Annual Meeting, members also approved revisions to the ADS bylaws to reflect current business practices and the needs of the Association.  The new bylaws can be found on the Members-Only website under About ADS. 

The Culinary Challenge Networking Event and Reception, held on Sunday evening, served as another great opportunity for manufacturers and suppliers to become acquainted with one another. Moderated by George Arbocus of Chelten House Products, Inc. three teams competed using a common basket of ingredients. Each team was also by a Westin chef.  

Culinary Challenge Networking Event and Reception


Burgundy Team:
(pictured left to right below)
Ryan Brooks
Brooks Bottling Co., LLC
Luis Rivas
G.S. Dunn, Limited
Rich Hamerschlag
Accurate Ingredients, Inc.
Brian Smith
Ring Container Technologies


Green Team:
(pictured left to right below)
Jason Dabrow
Chelten House Products, Inc.
Jason DiNardo
Parker Plastics, Inc.
Jeff Crace
California Garlic Company
Bill Scott
Scott Turbon® Mixer, Inc.


Khaki Team:  WINNER
(pictured left to right below)
Tom McGirty
T. Marzetti Company
Dave Beaty
Fleischmann’s Vinegar Co., Inc.
Paul Noble
Graham Packaging Company
Jessica Goldstein
Nu Products/Nu Spice


Monday’s sessions began with Five Options for Growth presented by David Braun, CEO and Founder, Capstone Strategies, Inc.  David discussed the following options for courses of action: Organic Growth, External Growth, Exit Market, Minimize Costs and Do Nothing. Mr. Braun also outlined nine common reasons to buy other companies, and suggested a demand-driven process rather than the traditional process.


Stan Samples, ADS Communications Manager in his ADS Communications Update reviewed the progress to date in building awareness for the dressings, mayonnaise and sauces categories, including website content, social media, news features and advertising. Mr. Samples noted 2017 as a record year for website visits, with 15% growth. Mr. Samples also noted partnerships with the National Pecan Shellers Association, the National Pasta Association and the Canadian Produce Marketing Association.


Matt Booth’s Communicating with Attitude, revealed how to improve your communication, along with common obstacles and pitfalls with communications.  He provided insight into the three types of learners, visual, audio and kinesthetic, and how understanding people’s learning styles can improve communication.


(Presentations available online at www.ADSMembers.org.)


ADS Nashville Excursions:
In addition to educational sessions and committee meetings, attendees enjoyed a taste of Nashville with the Dine Around Tour on Sunday and on Monday honored artists through the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum Tour (pictured).

Congratulations to ADS Buck Recipients!
The following were awarded ADS Bucks during the Annual Meeting:

  • Jason DiNardo, Parker Plastics, Inc. for his referral of Sir Kensington’s
  • Pete Leitner, Admix, Inc. for his referral of Cuisine Malmousse

Committee Meetings
Also taking place at the 2017 Annual Meeting were the following meetings:  Board of Directors; Executive Technical Board; Membership Council; Packaging Committee and Supplier Advisory Committee. If you have an interest in being a part of any of these Committees, please contact Headquarters for more information.

Association Business

Congratulations New Officers and Directors
The 2018 ADS Officers and Directors were also elected during Monday’s general business session of the ADS Annual Meeting.

The 2018 Officers: Chair -- Jeff Noble, T. Marzetti Company; Vice Chair -- Mary Drew, McCormick & Company -- Treasurer, Michelle Claudnic, The Clorox Company; Secretary -- Brian Dick, Golden State Foods; Immediate Past Chair -- Steve Dabrow, Chelten House Products, Inc..

The 2018 Directors: Mike Bauer, Unilever; Wendell Christoff, Litehouse, Inc.; Ron Emonet, Reily Foods Company; Joe Higgs, Ventura Foods; John Hilker, The C.F. Sauer Company; David Horowitz, DuPont Nutrition & Health; Todd LeBlanc, TreeHouse Foods; Bob Merchant, Ken’s Foods, Inc.; Gloria Stern, Pinnacle Foods

A Fond Farwell goes out to Celeste Sullivan of Grain Processing Corporation, who has been coming to ADS meetings since 1985!  Celeste is waving goodbye to the rat race and entering that much-coveted lifestyle called RETIREMENT!  Congratulations Celeste!  We will miss your sunny smile around the ADS meeting halls and wish you the best as you turn the page on a new chapter.             

Future Meetings

2018 Technical Meeting
April 29 – May 1
Westin Charlotte, Charlotte, NC
2018 Annual Meeting
October 13-15
Westin Denver, Denver, CO

For more information, please log onto the Members-Only section of the ADS website at www.adsmembers.org.  Please contact Headquarters if you need the username and password.