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Southeastern Grocers Becomes First North American Retail Member of International Pole & Line Foundation

Southeastern Grocers LLC, parent company of BI-LO, Fresco y Más, Harveys and Winn-Dixie grocery stores, has become the first North American retail member of the International Pole & Line Foundation (IPNLF), a non-profit association committed to supporting small-scale fisheries that pursue high quality, responsible and ethical tuna caught using one-by-one methods.

To coincide with this announcement, Southeastern Grocers has launched an exclusive private label-Fisherman’s Wharf, pole-and-line, canned albacore tuna product displaying the IPNLF ‘Supporting Member’ logo to demonstrate its commitment to the most environmentally and socially desirable methods. The Fisherman’s Wharf Albacore Tuna is on the shelves of select BI-LO, Fresco y Más, Harveys and Winn-Dixie stores for $2.49 a can.

Ian McLeod, President and CEO of Southeastern Grocers, said, “At Southeastern Grocers, we know how important it is to support sustainable fisheries and we are very pleased to be the first North American retail member of the International Pole & Line Foundation.”

Southeastern Grocers has become the 42nd member of IPNLF. The company’s membership is a further step in its on-going support for environmentally and socially responsible tuna fisheries and for improved tuna management worldwide.

In partnership with members, IPNLF provides much-needed support for fishing communities who are heavily reliant upon those fisheries, and works on practical fisheries improvements and stronger management to meet the growing global demand.
Commenting on Southeastern Grocers’ membership, Adam Baske, Director Policy and Outreach at IPNLF, said, “It is fantastic to have our first retail member in the US market on board with our mission to see coastal tuna fishing communities thrive alongside healthy ocean ecosystems. We look forward to working with Southeastern Grocers to further demonstrate the value of sourcing from one-by-one tuna fisheries, and encourage other retailers in North America to join this collaborative effort. IPNLF is a hub for proactive companies like Southeastern Grocers who want to reward fishing communities committed to the highest environmental and social standards. The global demand for these products continues to grow as a result of companies using their buying power to create the future they want to see.”

Membership of IPNLF is open to all stakeholders involved in the one-by-one tuna supply chain, from fisheries associations to processors, food service and retailers, and all members are encouraged to engage in fisheries improvement.

Blue Apron Partners with Culinary Cooking Competition Series MASTERCHEF JUNIOR

Blue Apron has partnered with FOX’s culinary competition series, MASTERCHEF JUNIOR to develop a Mystery Box Challenge in the episode that aired first on Thursday, April 20.

During the episode, each young home cook opened his or her Mystery Box to reveal a Blue Apron Family Plan box with a choice of two proteins and an assortment of farm-sourced winter vegetables. They were given 45 minutes to curate a dinner recipe that the whole family can enjoy using the 10-12 mystery ingredients and items from the MASTERCHEF JUNIOR pantry.

The winner received a competitive advantage in the next cooking challenge in the show and the opportunity to have his or her own winning recipe featured on an upcoming Blue Apron Family Plan menu. To celebrate the partnership, all eight MASTERCHEF JUNIOR contestants will also receive one year of Blue Apron meals.

Introducing Walter Craft Caesar Rim

Walter, the makers of Canada’s first all-natural craft Caesar mix, is releasing a new craft Caesar rim to complement its line of award-winning cocktail mixes.

Made in Canada in small batches with flaked salt, organic cane sugar, cracked black pepper and a secret blend of herbs and spices, the Walter Craft Caesar Rim is all-natural, free of preservatives, gluten-free and contains no added MSG or artificial colors. The result is a rim for one of Canada’s favorite cocktails that provides a nice balance of salty, sweet and umami.

Walter Craft Caesar Rim was created to bring out the fresh tomato, citrus and clam juice flavors of Walter Craft Caesar Mix, making this complementary duo the ultimate Caesar pairing. “After the success of our craft Caesar mix, developing a craft Caesar rim was a natural next step. Fans of Walter have been asking us to make a rim for a while now, and we are very happy with the results,” notes Zach Silverman, co-Founder of Walter.

Walter Craft Caesar Rim is available in both major grocery stores and many independent retailers across Canada and retails for approximately $4.99. Walter Craft Caesar Mix is available in all major grocery stores across Canada and comes in a 946 mL format in both Classic Spice and Mild Spice and retails for approximately $7.99.

Dang Foods’ New Sticky-Rice Chips Awarded Bronze sofi Award

Dang Foods‘ Coconut Crunch Sticky-Rice Chips is the recipient of a bronze sofi Award in the sweet snack category.  “We’re extremely honored that our newest addition to our snack portfolio, the Sticky-Rice Chip, has been recognized with a sofi™ Award,” said CEO and Founder of Dang Foods Vincent Kitirattragarn. “We’re glad to see our efforts to innovate in the better-for-you snack space and to harness the nutritional benefits of whole, responsibly-sourced ingredients appreciated by the industry.”

Made with certified organic rice grains and other clean ingredients, Dang Sticky-Rice Chips are non-GMO, gluten-free, vegan, dairy-free and soy-free. Starting with steamed Thai sticky rice, each chip is soaked in watermelon juice, then crisped and seasoned for the ideal crunchy texture. The Sticky-Rice Chips have 30-40 percent less fat compared to regular potato chips.

Sticky-Rice Chips hit stores in January 2017 in 3.5-ounce family-size packages retailing for $3.99. Dang Foods products are available nationwide in more than 8,000 brick-and-mortar and online outlets.

Murray’s Cheese Introduces Exclusive Cave Master Cheddar

Murray’s Cheese has introduced a brand new cheese to its exclusive Cave Master line. Ezra, a Clothbound Cheddar, is the first cheese created by Murray’s from initial concept all the way through research and development, cheesemaking and aging and then into the market. Ezra will be exclusively available at Murray’s New York flagship stores in Greenwich Village and Grand Central Terminal and online at www.murrayscheese.com.

“This cheddar is the culmination of many factors coming together over many years,” said Steve Millard, Senior Vice President of Merchandising and Operations for Murray’s Cheese. “From our unique relationships with cheese makers, to more than a decade’s worth of experience aging cheese in our New York City caves, there’s a lot of things we do well. But we hadn’t ventured into making cheese ourselves.”

Ezra was developed in partnership with Cornell University and Old Chatham (New York) Creamery and is named after the university’s founder, Ezra Cornell. Millard, along with Murray’s Cave Master Peter Jenkelunas, worked closely with Matt Ranieri, Ph.D., a Cornell alumnus and expert on food science and dairy technology, to develop the cheese. Aged 12 months in Murray’s cheese cave, Ezra is modeled after classic British clothbound cheddars. It’s crumbly and boasts bright flavors of lemon curd and brown butter.

“The Old Chatham Creamery team is pleased to be able to collaborate with the Murray’s team in creating and producing the new Murray’s Clothbound Cheddar,” said David Malcolm Galton of Cornell. “We are committed to producing high quality cheeses for Murray’s customers across the country and believe that Ezra is a fantastic place to start.”

Forever Cheese Introduces Traditional Mantova Cookie to U.S. Market

Forever Cheese, importers of Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Croatian cheese and specialty foods, have introduced Sbrisolona Mitica® to the U.S. market this month. Sbrisolona is a traditional Italian torta from Mantova in the region of Lombardia. It dates back to the 16th century, when it was a common peasant dessert, and it soon gained popularity among nobility as well. Made with almonds and cornmeal, it is crunchy and crumbly, similar to a big cookie. Sbrisolona gets its rich flavor from butter, and its sweetness is tempered by a bit of sea salt. It is all natural and free of preservatives.

Traditionally, Italians break off pieces of Sbrisolona by hand to eat it. An espresso is a perfect accompaniment for a mid afternoon snack, or pair with grappa for an after dinner treat. It can also be crumbled on top of yogurt or custard for an elegant breakfast or dessert. The 10.5-ounce size is perfect for sharing.

Despite being a staple in many northern Italian bakeries, Sbrisolona is not well known in the U.S.. “We are very excited to finally be able to bring this product to U.S. consumers,” said Michele Buster, co-Owner of Forever Cheese. This Sbrisolona comes from Panificio Freddi, a family owned bakery in Mantova. In business since 1923, it is the oldest bakery in the city, with Riccardo Freddi its current owner. Sbrisolona Mitica is now available at specialty food stores across the country.

Specialty Food Association Names sofi Winners

By Lorrie Baumann

The Specialty Food Association announced on April 19 that 154 products earned sofi Awards this year. An additional sofi Award for Product of the Year, awarded to the single product that received the highest score in the judging, will be announced at the Summer Fancy Food Show in June.

The April announcement, made without a public ceremony by Specialty Food Association President Phil Kafarakis and celebrity Chef Sara Moulton, honors products in 39 categories with gold, silver, and bronze awards for each category. Sofi awards have been presented by the Specialty Food Association since 1972. This year, sofi Awards were also given to the best new product in 37 of the categories. The winners were chosen from among almost 3,000 entries submitted by 875 Specialty Food Association member companies, noted Kafarakis. “Winning the sofi is really a big deal,” he said.

“It’s the best of the best. It’s promoted in the industry like crazy,” added Moulton, who recalled that in covering the Fancy Food Show for 12 years for “Good Morning America,” she always liked to head first to the display case for sofi winners because she knew that those products had already been filtered by knowledgeable judges. To this day, when she’s at the Fancy Food Show, the sight of a sofi statuette in a vendor’s booth will often make her turn aside and take a look at that booth, even if she hadn’t intended to do so, because the statuette indicates to her that the booth represents a company that produces good products, she said. “It attracts a lot of traffic,” she said.

Judging for this year’s awards competition was done at the Specialty Food Association offices in New York over a two-week period by 62 judges who included chefs, culinary instructors, bloggers, food writers and specialty food buyers, Moulton said. “We all get together to talk about what’s happening in the specialty food world,” she said. “You learn while you’re tasting. It’s fantastic.”

The products were judged after being prepared by professional chefs as they were intended to be used, according to Moulton. For instance, a marinade intended to be used with chicken was prepared by the chefs according to package directions before being presented to the judges for tasting. “These are all prepared right then and there as we tasted them,” she said with particular reference to the entries in the pasta, rice and grains category.

Each product was judged in a blind tasting, so the judges didn’t know which company had made it. Scores were sent directly from each judge to be tallied without any discussion that might otherwise have influenced anyone’s individual decision, according to Moulton. “We tasted the food the way it should be tasted,” she said, adding that this year’s judging process was an improvement over the methodology of previous years. “I think it was the best it’s ever been,” she said.

In four categories, the gold award winner was also named best new product. Those were Wozz! Kitchen Creations’ Cambodian Coconut Peanut Sauce, Aunt Dottie’s Pumpkin Seed Vinaigrette from JGF Enterprises, Manicaretti Italian Food Imports’ Rustichella d’Abruzzo Pasta Integrale di Farro – Couscous and Le Bon Magot LLC’s Spiced Raisin Marmalata. JGF Enterprises also won a silver sofi in the salad dressings category for its Aunt Dottie’s Turmeric Maple Dressing. Le Bon Magot also won a gold award for its Tomato and White Sultana Chutney, a bronze award for its Lemon-Sultana Marmalata with Caraway and Saffron and a bronze award for its Brinjal Caponata condiment. Manicaretti Italian Food Imports also won a bronze award for IASA Spicy Anchovies in the seafood category. In addition to the two sofi awards for Cambodian Coconut Peanut Sauce, Wozz! Kitchen Creations won a bronze award in the vinegar category for its Spiced Beet Vinegar and a silver award in the condiment category for its Balsamic Fig Mostarda Savory Spread. Calivirgin Olive Oils swept the gold, silver and bronze awards for olive oils with a gold award for Jalapeno Garlic Olive Oil, a silver award for Blood Orange Olive Oil and a bronze for Frantoio Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Azienda Agricola Coppini Arte Olearia Srl won the award for best new product in the olive oil category with Olives and Mandarines Condiment Coppini Arte Olearia. More than 80 olives oils were entered for the sofi judging this year, according to Kafarakis.

Vermont Creamery was also among this year’s big winners. Its Vanilla Creme Fraiche received a gold award in the category for a dessert sauce or topping or a syrup; Cultured Butter with Sea Salt Crystals won a bronze award in the category for dairy, yogurt or dairy alternative products; a silver award for Bonne Bouche, a geotrichum-rinded aged goat cheese; and a best new product award for St. Albans, an aged cow milk cheese introduced to the market in October of 2016.

New Line of Gourmet Side Dishes from Royal Basmati Rice

Royal Basmati Rice is launching a new line of gourmet side dishes in eight globally-inspired flavors. Royal Authentic Adventures™ dishes are made with Royal’s Premium Basmati Rice.

Royal Authentic Adventures is available now at nationwide grocers including Harris Teeter, Kings Supermarket Inc./Balducci’s, SpartanNash, Tops Friendly Markets, Walmart (Calif. locations) and Costco, and will hit shelves at Shaw’s and Wegmans stores in May, followed by Weis Markets and Randalls stores in June.

Royal basmati riceEach variety of Royal Authentic Adventures delivers a global, gourmet adventure in a delectable side dish that cooks in only 12 minutes. Royal Authentic Adventures takes taste buds through a journey across the world’s most celebrated culinary cultures, encompassing authentic flavors and ingredients native to each region. Blends include:

  • Mexican-Style Basmati Rice – Fire roasted tomatillo and green chile flavor made with a special blend of tomatillos, green chiles, onions and other savory herbs and spices brings the warm and lively flavors of Mexico to family dinner tables. (Vegan and gluten-free)
  • French-Style Basmati Rice – A medley of French Provençal vegetables made with red bell pepper, thyme, carrot, parsley, and garlic celebrates the beautifully balanced flavors of France’s far-reaching culinary influence. (Vegan and gluten-free)
  • Thai-Style Basmati Rice – Basil lemongrass curry flavor infused with the mild-sweet yellow curries of Thailand, along with robust and spicy notes of citrus, lemongrass and ginger, combine to bring out the bright, fresh flavors of traditional Thai dishes in every bite. (Gluten-free)
  • Greek-Style Basmati Rice – Herb and lemon flavor made with a blend of classic Mediterranean spices and seasonings including lemon, oregano, parsley, garlic and olive oil is sure to become a family favorite. (Gluten-free)
  • Japanese-Style Basmati Rice – Shiitake ginger flavor made with shiitake mushrooms, ginger, green onion, soy sauce and toasted sesame flawlessly re-create the exotic and aromatic flavors of the Far East. (Vegan)
  • Moroccan-Style Basmati Rice – Herb tagine flavor made with slow-roasted tomatoes, mint, cinnamon, cloves and chili peppers provides an earthy, yet delicately nuanced taste of the Middle East. (Vegan and gluten-free)
  • Indian-Style Basmati Rice – Wood-fired tandoori flavor made with garlic, paprika and turmeric offer an ode to India’s masterful culinary influence. (Gluten-free)
  • Argentinian-Style Basmati Rice – Chimichurri flavor is a vibrant and soulful blend of citrus juices, herbs and garlic, making this side dish a tango for the taste buds. (Gluten-free)

Abhinav Arora, President of LT Foods Americas, says, “Because rice is a celebrated staple in so many cultures worldwide, Royal is always looking for innovative ways to incorporate other traditions and backgrounds into our product lines. We are excited to offer our customers a tour of diverse flavors from around the globe with Royal Authentic Adventures. This line truly represents our brand values and commitment to diversity.”

Royal Authentic Adventures uses no artificial colors or preservatives and is made with basmati rice sourced from the foothills of the Himalayas. Overseeing the harvesting, milling, processing and distribution of its products, Royal Basmati Rice is dedicated to providing the highest quality of ingredients to its customers.

Silver Medals for Sutter Buttes Natural and Artisan Foods

Two flavored Extra Virgin Olive Oils from Sutter Buttes Natural and Artisan Foods were awarded silver medals at the 2017 Los Angeles International Olive Oil Competition, and a third Sutter Buttes oil, its Meyer Lemon Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil, received a bronze medal. An award of a silver medal indicates that the oil has superior qualities beyond those expected for a well made extra virgin olive oil, while a bronze medal indicates a well made oil. The two Sutter Buttes oils honored with silver awards were Garlic Herb Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil, in which fresh flavors of garlic and herbs are infused into Sutter Buttes’ extra virgin olive oil, and Citrus Habanero Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil, which offers the flavors of fresh hand-picked habanero peppers and Sutter Buttes’ Meyer Lemon Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil to make an oil with a spicy kick to flavor grilled shrimp, scallops or fresh oysters.
This was the 18th annual competition for the Los Angeles International Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition, which draws oils from around the world. The 2017 competition received 600 entries from 369 producers. These oils received a total of seven best of show awards, 21 best of class awards, 131 gold medals, 166 silver medals and 89 bronze medals. Among domestic oils, best of show awards went to Halter Ranch, the winner in its class for medium oils, for its 2017 Mediterranean Blend and to Pacific Sun Farms, the winner in its class for robust oils, for its 2016 Tehama Blend.

Top Note Tonic Launches Ready-to-Drink Line

Led by the husband-and-wife team of Mary Pellettieri and Noah Swanson, Top Note Tonic, a three-year-old company based in Milwaukee, is introducing a line of ready-to-drink craft tonics that feature bold, notably complex flavors. The premium, non-alcoholic tonics include Indian Tonic Water, Bitter Lemon and Ginger Beer. All are available in four-packs of 8.5-ounce bottles with a suggested retail price of $6.99. Each bottle delivers approximately two servings per cocktail.

Pellettieri is a botanist and 20-year beer industry veteran who saw an opportunity to innovate in a category dominated by highly artificial, overly sweet products.

“Tonics had become commoditized. They’d deviated from their origins and didn’t taste good. I saw a need for better tonics that were balanced,” says Pellettieri. “In brewing, it’s about crafting a balance between bitter, sour and sweet. I wasn’t afraid to play with the bitter spectrum that ranges from a softer, earthier taste to a sharper, quenching hit.”

Calling on her botanist roots and knowledge of sensory science, Pellettieri developed herbal tonic recipes that pair crisp, clean layers of flavor with top notes that enhance the taste. Instead of dulling the senses by coating the tongue with sweet, all Top Note Tonic varieties begin with a forward element of bitter and finish with a soft hint of sweet/sour. The result is a uniquely modern take on classic mixers.

Top Note Indian Tonic Water 4 Pack Small CroppedThe Indian Tonic Water is like the IPA of tonics. It has an overall dry and refreshing taste with top notes of citrus peel and fresh grass and pairs well with premium gins. The Bitter Lemon is balanced and tart with top notes of lemongrass, lemon peel and spice and is a classic mixer for vodka. The Ginger Beer delivers a rich and earthy flavor that’s topped with notes of ginger and dried fruit and is particularly well suited for Moscow Mules and dark spirits.

Top Note is crafted with the highest quality ingredients. The line of RTDs is non-GMO and includes all-natural roots, fruits, herbs, spices and real cane sugar. No artificial colors or preservatives are used; all varieties are gluten free and contain half the sugar of standard mixers.

 

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