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Bridor Brings Greek Yogurt Pastry to the U.S.

 

Bridor Inc., which makes authentic European breads and Viennese pastry for the retail and foodservice industry, is introducing its Greek Yogurt & Cherry Danish and Chocolate Avalanche. The Greek Yogurt & Cherry Danish combines the tart and creamy taste of Greek yogurt with Bridor’s house-made cherry filling in the company’s signature flaky, croissant pastry. This is the only Greek Yogurt Danish available to the U.S. retail bakery and foodservice market. Additionally, Bridor has introduced a Chocolate Avalanche pastry created to please the North American palate with its generous amount of milk chocolate filling.

“The Greek yogurt trend is here to stay, and we are proud to be the first industrial baker to give our customers that competitive advantage, and our Chocolate Avalanche is in a class by itself,” said Jean-François Duquesne, CEO, Bridor Inc. and Bridor USA Inc. “Our success is dependent on our client’s success, which is why providing high quality and innovative pastries that bring novelty to the category is key in order to ensure consumer satisfaction.”

Both new products are made with croissant dough that contains pure butter, fresh milk and fresh eggs, delivering the ultimate in quality and indulgence, and reflecting the company’s French baking heritage and expertise. Geared toward customer efficiency and satisfaction, the products are pre egg-washed and pre-proofed for time-saving, hassle-free baking upon arrival.

The brand new Chocolate Avalanche gives customers a different oblong shape and style of Danish and contains 35 grams of fine milk chocolate filling.

 

Enjoy Life Foods Offers a Range of Allergy-Friendly, Gluten-Free Products

 

By Lorrie Baumann

Debra Bloom’s Safe Snack Guide is an important resource that schools and parents around the country use to screen the snack foods brought into their classrooms and offered to their children. Specialty foods company Enjoy Life is one of the manufacturers with products on Bloom’s list of safe snacks.

“One of the things we look for at Enjoy Life is how we can bring the celebration back into everyone’s life,” says Joel Warady, Enjoy Life’s Chief Sales and Marketing Officer. “The way we do that is that all our products, everything we produce, in addition to being gluten-free, is free of the top eight allergens: eggs, dairy, wheat, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish. That covers about 90 percent of all food allergies in children today.”

Enjoy Life was started 12 years ago by Scott Mandrell, who is still its CEO today, as a manufacturer of gluten-free products. “He started thinking about how to make the gluten-free products even more unique, and that’s when the idea of making allergy-friendly foods came about,” Warady says.

Today, Enjoy Life has eight different product lines, all allergy-friendly. Warady can spin them out for you without a second thought: “Cookies (soft and crunchy), on-the go bars (classic line and decadent line), cereals that are high in fiber and high in protein, which are adult-focused, Plentils, a salty snack line which is a crunchy lentil chip in four savory flavors. We have the only nut-free trail mix in the market, composed of just seeds and fruit.”

Enjoy Life’s products are not just free of gluten and the eight most common allergens, they are also tasty. Over the years, the company has improved the taste across the entire product line. They are a little more expensive than a mass-marketed product, but some of that extra cost goes into rigorous testing procedures and quality assurance controls that ensure that the products are best in class.

“We built the company on three tenets: taste, trust and love,” Warady says. “Number one, our consumers have to trust us. They have to trust that our brand won’t hurt their children. We build that trust every single day with every cookie we produce.”

“We talk about celebration. In reality, it’s more than just classrooms. It’s the birthday parties and the family gatherings. For years, so many children with food allergies were prohibited from going to birthday parties because there was nothing there that was safe for them to eat,” Warady adds. “Because there are these foods now, people can go to parties and enjoy themselves at whatever party they might want to attend.”

For more information, visit www.enjoylifefoods.com.

 

Food Allergies on the Rise Among U.S. Consumers

By Lorrie Baumann

 

Food allergy is a growing public health concern in the United States. Food allergies are responsible for 100 to 200 deaths a year in the United States, and many studies have found that the prevalence of food allergies is on the rise for both children and adults over the past 10 to 20 years, although the reasons for this are not clear.

Food allergies affect 15 million Americans, including 1 in 13 children, roughly two in every classroom. Nearly 40 percent of children with food allergies have experienced a severe or life-threatening reaction, such as anaphylaxis, which is a severe, potentially fatal allergic reaction.

Find allergy-friendly food products here.

Many Americans really don’t understand that food allergies are a serious, life-threatening issue for many people, especially children. This is according to Debbi Beauvais, a registered dietician and the District Supervisor of School Nutrition for schools in Rochester, N.Y. Beauvais spends a great deal of her time training the foodservice workers in her school district on how to prevent allergic reactions among students and how to recognize and respond to them if they occur. “When I talk to people about allergies in general, there’s a misperception of the definition of an allergy,” she says. “There are allergies, intolerances and people who say they have an allergy when they mean they don’t like the food.”

“A lot of people don’t realize that a food allergy can cause a severe medical event,” Beauvais continues. “It’s not as simple as that they just don’t like that food.”

According to Food Allergy Research and Education, a nonprofit organization that works on behalf of the 15 million Americans with food allergies, a food allergy is a reaction of the body’s immune system to a protein in a food. There is no cure for food allergies. Strict avoidance of allergens and early recognition and management of allergic reactions are key to preventing serious health consequences. Other food reactions and sensitivities to food are called food intolerances. Food intolerances are reactions that are generally localized, temporary and rarely life-threatening. The most common of these is lactose intolerance. Gluten intolerance is another.

The national school lunch program has very specific requirements for how to deal with students who have food allergies, and those have just been supplemented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with the October 2013 release of Voluntary Guidelines for Managing Food Allergies in Schools and Early Care and Education Programs. The guidelines were issued in compliance with the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act passed by Congress in 2011 to shift the focus on food safety from response to prevention.

“The new guidelines are significantly broader and address issues that haven’t had that level of structured attention: food in the classroom, the broader school day beyond what happens at lunchtimes,” says Diane Pratt-Heavner, Director of Media Relations for the School Nutrition Association. “It really makes sense for those children who have life-threatening allergies. Unfortunately, food is all around … Kids can encounter the item on the school bus, after class, in a party or at a bake sale, so it is important to bring everyone into the mix to make sure those children are in a safe environment.”

The guidelines note that children with food allergies may face health challenges that affect their ability to learn and their social and emotional development, and that food allergies may even pose a daily threat to allergic children’s ability to live productive lives. CDC studies show that 16 to 18 percent of children with food allergies have had a reaction from accidentally consuming food allergens while at school and that one in four of the severe and potentially life-threatening incident of anaphylaxis reported at schools happened to children with no previous diagnosis of food allergy. While milk is the single most common food allergen, fatalities associated with food-induced anaphylaxis are most commonly associated with peanut or tree nut ingestion. Eight foods account for more than 90 percent of all food allergies in the United States: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish and shellfish.

Debra Bloom is a mom who wishes that more Americans understood the potential danger of exposure to a food allergen. Her daughter Elisabeth was diagnosed with allergies to peanuts and eggs when she was just a year old. Elisabeth’s first really noticeable allergic reaction happened on the third time she ate egg, Bloom recalls. “I was getting her something to drink, and when I turned back to the high chair, she had hives all over the side of her face and all over her neck,” she says. “She started rubbing her eyes, which were swelling.” Bloom called her pediatrician immediately and was advised to administer Benadryl, which brought the reaction under control. “The swelling went down, and the hives went away, and she was fine.”

While her daughter was fine, Bloom herself was scared. She made an appointment with an allergist and had Elisabeth tested. “She came up positive for egg and for peanuts. I wasn’t surprised about the egg, but the peanuts results really threw me,” she says. “I had heard many stories about reactions that were far worse than what Elisabeth had experienced, with children suffering full-blown anaphylaxis and not able to breathe. When that happens, you need to rush your child to the hospital. We were lucky.”

A diagnosis of food allergy is a life-altering event, as patients and those who care for them come to grips with the realization that allergic reactions to food are unpredictable and can be deadly. Just because a food caused only a minor allergic reaction once doesn’t mean that the reaction won’t be much more severe the next time it happens. “You have to take every case seriously,” Beauvais says. “You can’t assume that if you only got hives this time, you know how your body will react the next time.”

According to the CDC, food allergen avoidance and the risk of severe allergic reactions can have substantial daily consequences for both allergic children and their caregivers. Caregivers, especially mothers, can experience anxiety, stress and diminished quality of life, and a study of children with peanut allergies found that those kids had significantly poorer quality of life than their siblings as well as greater separation anxiety. A 2012 study found that more than a third of children and teens with food allergies reported having been bullied specifically because of their food allergy, often by being threatened with exposure to an allergen. Some parents even choose to home school their children because of food allergies. In addition, parents with allergic children report that the food allergy significantly affects meal preparation and often family social activities.

When it came time for Elisabeth to head off to school the first time, Bloom found that while the faculty and staff understood how serious was the need to protect her and other children with food allergies, other students’ parents were not so understanding. That created conflicts almost as soon as Elisabeth went to kindergarten. “The kindergarten class had a lot of parties. I wanted to have a say in what they were having, to keep my daughter safe. It was something I had to do,” she says. “At the first meeting to plan the class party, I felt like I was the subject of a witch hunt. We were talking about snacks for the party. I offered to bake 80 cupcakes for the entire kindergarten because I felt that if I baked all the cupcakes, I could ensure her safety.” The other parents in the party-planning group revolted, and Bloom was accused of trying to deprive the other children in the class of their treats.

Bloom left the meeting, went to the supermarket and started reading labels, making a list of safe snacks that all the kids could enjoy. Then she went back to the other mothers to assure them that no one was going to be deprived because her daughter needed to be protected from exposure to peanuts and eggs. “There are a lot of treats in the market that are safe for everyone,” she assured them.

Eventually, that list turned into the Safe Snack Guide, a resource schools and parents around the country use to screen the snack foods brought into their classrooms and offered to their children. Listing a qualifying product is free for the manufacturer, and more than 500 schools are on record as recommending her site, www.snacksafely.com, to their parents.

Elisabeth is in seventh grade now, and Bloom is finding that greater awareness of the potential consequences of food allergies is helping to diminish the intolerance she hears from other parents. Her daughter has joined the ranks of older children and adults who have learned to monitor their own potential exposures and to advocate for themselves to make sure that they are not exposed. That does not mean that Bloom is less vigilant on behalf of her daughter and other children with food allergies. “As far as being nervous, that will never go away unless a cure is found. Food is everywhere. It’s such a part of life,” she says.

“What every mom wants for their child is to be safe, to be included and to be well adjusted. So many people take safety for granted,” she continues. “You send your kid off to school, and you don’t know if they’re going to be exposed to someone else’s snack, or eat something dangerous that’s offered to them. You put your child’s life in other people’s hands all the time.”

 

Kona Mountain Wins First Place for Kona Coffee in Hawaii Coffee Association 2014 Cupping Competition

Kona Mountain Coffee, retailers of gourmet 100 percent Kona coffee from the company’s own farm in the official Kona Coffee District on the Big Island of Hawaii, is the winner of the Hawaii Coffee Association 2014 Cupping Competition for coffees from Kona, Hawaii. Kona Mountain had the top cupping score of all 42 entries from Kona’s finest coffee farms, once again earning a reputation as the ‘best of the best’ coffee from Kona.

KM_Estate_Kona_Coffee“We have always believed,” said Bill Dwyer, President of Kona Mountain Coffee, LLC in Hawaii, “that it is not enough just to have the best Kona coffee and chocolates in the state of Hawaii. We also need to show the true spirit of aloha each time a visitor steps through our doors. That has always been our highest priority. Winning this cupping competition for gourmet Kona coffees makes our work even more fulfilling because it shows that we are really offering coffee lovers the ‘best of the best.’”

Kona Mountain Coffee retails estate and private reserve 100 percent Kona coffee at a visitor center on the highway from the Kona airport into Kailua Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii, where the coffee is roasted and many of the company’s Hawaii gourmet chocolates and other treats are handmade. There are also two Kona Mountain stores on Oahu in Waikiki at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Rainbow Bazaar, and the Hilton Grand Waikikian. Call toll free at 1.888.432.3276 for information and directions.

ChocMacNutBarkjpgAt each location, Kona Mountain Coffee offers its own line of gourmet Hawaii chocolates, real Hawaiian macadamia nuts, an ever-changing rainbow of Hawaiian taste treats, and a unique range of other Hawaiian products that make Kona Mountain Coffee shops a must-see destination for all visitors to Hawaii. Farm tours of the Kona farm are available. Call 808.329.5005 for details.

President Bill Dwyer credits the success of Kona Mountain, both in the cupping competition and in the retail market, to the spectacular talents and amazing Spirit of Aloha of his senior management team: wife Stephanie Dwyer, Farm Manager & Master Roaster Mark Santiago, and Retail Operations Manager Mary Frostad.

Alaska Commercial Seafood Industry Urges U.S. Government Response to Russian Embargo

Leading companies from Alaska’s $6 billion seafood industry have announced their support for a ban on Russian seafood imports to the United States and urged Russia to rescind its August 7 ban on U.S. food imports. Such a move would not only further squeeze Russia’s faltering economy as Russia threatens European stability, but would support America’s sustainable, high-quality fisheries. The Alaska seafood industry is seeking support from the Alaska congressional delegation for the ban, as well as from the United States Trade Representative. It also seeks diplomatic efforts to immediately end Russia’s ban on U.S. seafood products.

Russia has been a major market for U.S. seafood products such as salmon roe, hake, Alaskan pollock, and others. The U.S. has been an important market for Russian products including crab, Russian pollock, salmon, caviar, and others.

The proposed U.S. ban would remain in effect until Russia rescinds its ban on U.S. imports, and would include mechanisms to prohibit all seafood imports of Russian origin, including Russian-caught seafood that is transferred through other countries such as China before reaching the U.S. Hundreds of millions of dollars of Russian seafood imports are sold in the U.S. every year, with much of the imported Russian fish coming through China.

“We did not start this fight, and we hope the Russians will call off their embargo. But a U.S. ban will signal to President Putin that America will not sit idly by while Russia disregards international law and tries to coerce the world into ignoring its transgressions through retaliatory actions,” said Terry Shaff, President & CEO of UniSea Inc.

Those endorsing the ban include Alaska General Seafoods, Alyeska Seafoods, Icicle Seafoods, North Pacific Seafoods, Ocean Beauty Seafoods, Peter Pan Seafoods, Trident Seafoods, UniSea, Westward Seafoods, and the members of the Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers.

Cyber-Thingy Inks Master Distribution Agreement with Specialty Chocolate Company

Cyber-Thingy, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cyber Kiosk Solutions, Inc., has signed a master distribution agreement with specialty chocolate company MegaLoad.  The agreement gives Cyber complete control of MegaLoad’s website  for online sales and master distribution rights to all of its creative chocolate-based products.

Founded in 2010 and based in Hempstead, New York, MegaLoad is set to become one of most innovative chocolate brands in the world, according to Cyber-Thingy. The company is focused on creating unique, quality and delicious milk chocolate, peanut butter cup and caramel cup combinations with some of America’s favorite toppings. Its newest creation, the Sweet & Salty, is comprised of a milk chocolate peanut butter cup topped with a chocolate covered pretzel. Other popular treats include the Caramel Crunch, a milk chocolate-covered caramel-filled cup individually topped with peanut butter crunch, almond butter crunch, and milk chocolate minis, and the Original, a milk chocolate-covered peanut butter filled cup individually topped with milk chocolate minis, cream-filled sandwich cookie and chocolate chip cookie.

Cyber plans to initiate online sales of MegaLoad products through various large volume retail platforms such as Amazon, where it will set a 16 unit minimum. The company plans to use social media and SEO marketing to complement and drive traffic to retail sites.

On the distribution front, Cyber is focused on securing multiple large, specialty and independent distributors to carry the product and ensure its wide dispersion. Already, management has begun initiating contact with and sending samples to identified large distributors across the country, and expects to sign on multiple distributors in the forthcoming months.

Cyber Kiosk Solution’s Chief Operating Officer, Oren Manelis, commented, “We’re pleased to be afforded this opportunity to distribute such a unique, well-received chocolate product. I expect MegaLoad Chocolate to be the next big hit in the candy world due to its superior branding and great taste, and we will work hard alongside our future distributors to help make that happen.”

He added, “In addition to building our distributor network, we plan to create a flexible fundraising program for clubs, schools and sports teams nationwide to not only increase and diversify our revenue streams, but also and more importantly, to aid these groups in raising funds for their cause.  We look forward to updating our fans, followers and shareholders as more of these initiatives come to fruition.”

Canada Announces Mandatory Labeling Requirements for Beef

Canadian Health Minister Rona Ambrose has announced new labeling requirements for mechanically tenderized beef (MTB) to help consumers know when they are buying MTB products and how to cook them.

Starting today, all MTB products sold in Canada must be clearly labelled as “mechanically tenderized,” and include instructions for safe cooking. The new labels will emphasize the importance of cooking MTB to a minimum internal temperature of 63 degrees C (145 degrees F) and turning over mechanically tenderized steaks at least twice during cooking to kill harmful bacteria that can cause food poisoning. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) will be verifying that labels meet the new requirements.

Health Canada also recently released new industry guidelines to improve safe cooking and handling information on packaged raw ground meat and raw ground poultry products sold in Canada. To be used by retailers, processors and importers who choose to include food safety information on their products, the guidelines provide standards on what information and symbols to include on the label to boost consumer recognition and uptake, and how the label should be formatted and placed on ground meat packages so that it can be easily seen by consumers.

Quick Facts on new labelling requirements for MTB

  • Mechanical tenderization of meat is a common practice used by the food industry to improve the tenderness and flavor of beef by using needles or blades to break down muscle fibers.
  • This regulatory change applies to all industry sectors selling uncooked MTB to other industry members or consumers. This includes, but is not limited to, grocery retailers, butcher shops, meat processors, and importers of MTB.
  • Federally registered plants that produce mechanically tenderized beef cuts, such as steaks or roasts, have been required to label those products as tenderized and with cooking instructions since July 2013.

 

San Franciscans Show Off In New Scharffen Berger Campaign

Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker recently launched an out-of-home advertising campaign in San Francisco that uniquely ties to social media.  The campaign features everyday consumers as the stars, via 50 digital outdoor boards across the city.

Crafted from the world’s finest cacao, Scharffen Berger Chocolate includes incredible taste complexities and varietals from different parts of the globe.  The “Wonderfully Complicated” ad campaign illustrates that, just like the people who enjoy it, fine artisanal chocolate is anything but simple – and neither can be described with just one word.  They are both rich, multi-layered and complex.

“At Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker, we think it’s time that artisanal chocolate proudly stood up for its depth and unique flavors. Our fans are taste explorers, people with palates that crave adventure as much as comfort and ‘Wonderfully Complicated’ brings this to life,” said Bernie Banas, Vice President for Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker. “Tying the campaign to social media and featuring chocolate lovers in the ads allows us to make a direct connection with them, celebrating that we are both one of life’s great pleasures that are proudly, boldly and always wonderfully complicated.”

The campaign features various creative executions produced by local San Francisco advertising agency, Camp + King, that celebrate the “wonderfully complicated” make-up of the chocolate and the personalities of the people who eat it; with lines such as “I am dark, spicy and mysterious,” or “I am sweet, salty and a little nutty,” among others. It’s an homage to both the taste profile of the bars and also the people who eat them.

What makes it unique? In addition to the five professionally executed ads, a slew of additional creative will appear featuring the people of San Francisco around the city.

Anyone can participate. They simply need to take a selfie, add #wonderfullycomplicated and share it publicly on Instagram.  If chosen, their selfie – with a new headline made up of various adjectives – will pop up in rotation with the professionally executed creative on digital bus shelters around San Francisco and on Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker’s Facebook page, allowing consumers to turn selfies into a starring role in an advertising campaign.

According to research published by GlobalWebIndex in Jan. 2014, Instagram is the fastest growing social media site worldwide.  The social media channel also aligns with the brand’s target – an educated, well-traveled woman who enjoys an active social, cultural, foodie life with her friends and family.  Food is one of the most popular topics searched for and published on Instagram, and according to App Data, 68 percent of Instagram users are women.

Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker also recently added four new, rich and distinctive chocolate bars to their line of products, creating some wonderfully complicated flavors with on-trend exotic ingredients.  The four new bars include:  72% Cacao Signature Dark Chocolate, 33% Cacao Smooth Milk Chocolate, 72% Cacao Dark Chocolate with Pistachios and Sea Salt and 33% Cacao Milk Chocolate with Toasted Coconut and Macadamia.

The four new Scharffen Berger chocolate bars are sold throughout the Bay area.  For more information, visit www.ScharffenBerger.com or follow the brand on Facebook or Instagram.

Rodale Inc. Announces Launch of Rodale’s Organic Life

Rodale Inc. is rebranding perennial title Organic Gardening, its first title, as Rodale’s Organic Life. The new brand, which includes magazine, digital, live event, and e-tailing components, will tap consumers’ growing interest in healthy living by offering a fresh spin on food, garden, home, and well-being content across all platforms.

James Oseland has been named Editor-in-Chief of Rodale’s Organic Life, effective September 9. In this role, Oseland will oversee editorial direction across all brand platforms, including the magazine’s editorial, digital, and mobile presence. This appointment marks Oseland’s return to Rodale, where he previously served as an editor of the former Rodale title Organic Style. He will report to Rodale President Scott Schulman.

“We’re thrilled to welcome James back to Rodale as we continue to grow and diversify—he brings a strong passion for our mission and unmatched expertise in this space,” says Schulman. “With this launch, Rodale is uniquely able to serve consumers and advertisers in one of the most important and fastest growing market segments.”

Says James Oseland, “Rodale’s Organic Life will be a print and digital brand like no other: It will be a community, a clearinghouse of beautiful, authoritative information that will weave together food, shelter, gardening, wellness, and good living—an intersection of topics that lie right at the heart of Rodale and what so many of us care about.”

Oseland most recently served as Editor-in-Chief of Saveur, where he led the magazine to more than 40 awards, including numerous James Beard journalism awards and three from the American Society of Magazine Editors. He is also a five-year veteran on Bravo TV’s “Top Chef Masters.” His 2006 memoir, Cradle of Flavor, was named one of the best books of the year by The New York Times and was recognized by the James Beard Foundation and the International Association of Culinary Professionals. He has previously served as an editor at Vogue, Sassy, the Village Voice, and Mademoiselle.

Rodale’s Organic Life magazine will debut this spring with its February/March 2015 issue.

Hain Celestial Announces Highest Quarterly And Fiscal Year Net Sales in Company’s History

The Hain Celestial Group, Inc. has  reported results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended June 30, 2014. During the fourth quarter, the company recorded a company record of $583.8 million in net sales, a 26 percent increase compared to the same quarter in 2013. For the fiscal year, the company recorded net sales of $2.154 billion, a 24 percent increase compared to net sales of $1.735 billion in the prior year.

“We completed our fiscal year with record net sales by delivering solid performance across brands and geographies, and I am pleased with the results,” said Irwin D. Simon, Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Hain Celestial.  “Our US business continued to generate strong results as momentum for organic and natural products builds across various channels of distribution.  Our UK business posted record sales with increased profit contribution and our Rest of World segment delivered high single digit sales growth.”

The company had strong brand contribution across various sales channels including Ella’s Kitchen®, Garden of Eatin®, Imagine®, The Greek Gods®, Sensible Portions®, Terra®, Westbrae®, Spectrum® and Alba Botanica® in North America and Gale’s®, Natumi®, Frank Cooper’s®, SunRipe®, Hartley’s®, Sun-Pat®, Linda McCartney®, and Cully & Sully® internationally.  The growth in net sales also resulted from sales of the Tilda® and Rudi’s Organic Bakery® brands acquired earlier this year.