Dave’s Gourmet has created a cookie butter that is so delicious, it makes almost anything taste just like grandma’s homemade oatmeal cookies – fresh from the oven. This all-natural spread is crafted from wholesome ingredients, giving it a mouthwatering flavor. Real oats mixed with the sweetness of brown sugar and the spice of cinnamon take everyone back to their childhoods.
Dave’s Gourmet’s Oatmeal Cookie Butter tastes just like oatmeal cookies, so you can give your toast, apple slices, cupcakes and virtually any other foods a comforting taste of home. You can even add this wonderful spread to your milkshakes and cheesecakes for added decadence. The thick creamy consistency makes it easy to spread on just about anything.
It is no surprise that you can also bake with Dave’s Gourmet’s Cookie Butter, using it to make crunchy Oatmeal Cookie Crisps. Dave’s Gourmet Oatmeal Cookie Butter is truly spreadable goodness.
Dave’s Gourmet Oatmeal Cookie Butter was a 2014 sofi™ finalist. For more information, contact Dave’s Gourmet at email@example.com.
Read about more sofi award winners here.
By Lucas Witman
Few of us have the opportunity to stop for lunch at Spago to get a taste of Wolfgang Puck’s celebrated seasonal new American cuisine. And unless you are lucky enough to score an invite to one of her barn parties, you are almost certain never to have Ina Garten serve you a meal. However, with more and more celebrity chefs today crafting their own signature heat-and-serve product lines, the good news is that we can taste what these chefs have to offer simply by opening the freezer case at our local grocery store.
Today, it is in fact difficult to think of a well-known chef that does not offer his or her cuisine in a prepared heat-and-serve package. Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa line of Sauté Dinners features fancy dishes like beef bourguignon and pasta carbonara, but in a form that can be ready in minutes. Wolfgang Puck is undoubtedly one of the most famous chefs in the world, and now you can enjoy his signature tortilla soup or Tuscan thin crust pizza in the comfort of your own home. From the Iron Chef line of frozen meals to Guy Fieri’s frozen burgers and appetizers to Giada De Laurentiis’ pasta mixes and jarred sauces, celebrity chefs are showing up in grocery stores in a big way.
One celebrated chef that recently made his debut in grocery store frozen foods sections is restaurateur and television personality Emeril Lagasse. Lagasse’s new line of frozen snacks debuted this spring at Walmart stores in the southwestern United States with plans to expand soon to additional regions and retailers. The line includes four chef-inspired snacks: Chicken & BBQ sauce BAM™ Bites, Jalapeño Wontons with Bacon, Chili Cheese Mini Dogs and Pulled Pork BAM Bites.
The Emeril frozen snacks line is produced by Montreal-based Plats du Chef Foods. Dana McCauley, Vice President of Marketing for Plats du Chef recounts the difficult process of developing a grocery store heat-and-serve product line alongside one of the most beloved American culinary institutions.
“We work very closely with [Lagasse]. What usually happens is we propose some ideas to him, or he has an idea, and we say our machines could do it this way. We send him samples. He tastes them and gets back to us with his tweaks. He makes sure he has tasted them and everything meets his standards,” said McCauley. “Often we would send him something and he would respond and say this is good, but we need to kick this up a notch. It has to be something that will make people say, ‘Hey, this is kicked up!’”
According to McCauley, Lagasse and other chefs are being drawn to the frozen heat-and-serve marketplace, because of the increasing quality that it is possible to achieve in these products. “I think that there are a lot of reasons why chefs get involved in the grocery business. And frozen really appeals to chefs because a lot of the shelf-stable items don’t appeal to chefs’ need for fresh flavors,” said McCauley. “I think frozen is particularly appealing to chefs, because when you reheat it, it tastes like you just made it – if it was made well.”
For chefs that are actively involved in building their brand presence through media and restaurants, a high-quality prepared foods line can be another element to creating that successful brand. According to McCauley, showing up in the grocery store can be a particularly effective way for a chef like Lagasse to build his brand, because it literally brings the chef into the consumer’s home. “I think it does help them because if you’re on TV, and you have a book in someone’s library that’s awesome, but if you can be on their dinner table or their breakfast table, then all of the sudden you’re not an occasional part of someone’s life. You’re part of their life on a daily basis,” she said.
Of course building one’s brand through a heat-and-serve food line is a double-edged sword. If the consumer is unimpressed with what comes out of the package, the result could be general disenchantment with the person whose picture is on the box. “By putting a chef’s name and picture on a product, it is saying that this is something that nobody else is doing, and it’s unique, or it is just so much better than everything else out there,” said McCauley. “It better be awesome.”
According to McCauley, celebrity chef-branded heat-and-serve foods not only benefit the chef himself; these products can also have a genuinely positive impact on the retailers that carry them. This is because, when it comes to marketing many packaged (and especially, frozen) foods, there can be a disconnect with the consumer who does not have the ability to touch, smell and, often, see the product inside. If the product has the name of a chef like Emeril Lagasse on it, the customer already has an affinity for it and is more likely to be drawn to purchasing it.
“In the freezer section, [the chef’s name is] even more important,” said McCauley. “Most consumers haven’t had a 100 percent good experience with frozen food. It’s time to kick frozen food up a notch.”
GODIVA Chocolatier has just launched its new Chef Inspirations – Flavors of the World limited edition chocolate collection nationwide. Curated by GODIVA’s international chefs, Flavors of the World is inspired by their culinary journeys across the globe, and the unique local ingredients they have encountered. The chocolates incorporate deliciously surprising flavor profiles to allow chocolate lovers to travel the world in six bites.
Developed by GODIVA’s Chef Chocolatiers stationed across the globe, Flavors of the World debuts six pieces incorporating GODIVA’s rich, Belgian chocolate with ingredients the chefs have come to love through their training and travels, such as Kuromitsu molasses from Japan (Japanese Dark Sugar Ganache) and Speculoos, a traditional Belgian cookie (Sirop de Liege with Speculoos). Other regions represented in the box include China (Black Tea Mousse and Sichuan Pepper), Brazil (Brazilian Coffee Nut Praline), United States (Honey Roasted Caramel) and South Africa (Banana and Caramelized Coconut).
“We are thrilled to showcase the expertise of our chefs with this new collection,” said Michelle Chin, Vice President, North America Marketing, GODIVA Chocolatier. “Our Chef Chocolatiers have made it possible for chocolate lovers everywhere to embark on an international flavor journey, and this limited edition collection is another example of our continued commitment to letting customers enjoy chocolate in entirely new and unexpected ways.”
This new chocolate collection demonstrates GODIVA’s ongoing mission to create and deliver new and exciting products that consumers can enjoy every day.
The Flavors of the World collection is available in eight ($18), 16 ($34) and 25 pieces ($50), and is available nationwide and online at www.GODIVA.com.
Organic Cracked Freekeh is now available from Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods. It’s the latest ancient grain to join Bob’s Red Mill’s growing Grains of Discovery line. Freekeh is a whole grain food made in an old-world way, following a traditional process popular in the Middle East and Northeastern Africa.
“Since we introduced our Grains of Discovery line last summer, the response has been tremendous, and customers have been clamoring for more,”said Bob Moore, Founder, President and CEO of employee-owned Bob’s Red Mill. “In deciding how to expand the line, we searched far and wide to find just the perfect grain, and we found that with Freekeh—something totally unique and virtually unknown in the West.”
According to legend, freekeh was created when a farmer’s crop of young green wheat was set on fire by a rival neighbor. Instead of letting the burned wheat go to waste, the farmer’s family harvested the roasted wheat and removed the chaff, and to their surprise it had a pleasantly nutty, lightly roasted flavor.
Cracked freekeh is made by lightly roasting whole wheat kernels, then cracking them to create a whole grain food with a texture similar to bulgur, with a mild, nutty flavor. Bob’s Red Mill Organic Cracked Freekeh, which retails for $6.99 for a 16-ounce package, cooks in just 25 minutes and adds wonderful texture and flavor to a variety of salads, pilafs and soups. It also can be enjoyed as a hot breakfast porridge. Freekeh is an excellent source of fiber, high in iron and other essential minerals, and provides 7 grams of protein per serving.
“We are really excited to add this ancient grain to our popular Grains of Discovery line and to share its history with our customers,” said Matthew Cox, Vice President of Marketing at Bob’s Red Mill. “Legends aside, the flavor of this grain is so unique and delicious, our hope is that it will become a staple grain on every dinner table. That’s at the heart of what our Grains of Discovery are all about.”
Bob’s Red Mill Organic Cracked Freekeh is available now to retailers in cases of four, and also online at www.bobsredmill.com. To inquire about carrying the products, please contact the Bob’s Red Mill sales team at 800-553-2258 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the entire Bob’s Red Mill product line, please visit www.bobsredmill.com.
Dover Foods, Inc., a manufacturer of quality specialty desserts mixes for 20 years, is is now launching a new brand of premium gluten-free baking mixes. The new Ardenne Farm prepackaged line of bakery mixes will be showcased this fall at the Natural Products Expo East (NPEE) in Baltimore, Maryland.
Ardenne Farm carries on the tradition of delicious, high-quality baking products on which Dover Foods, Inc. has built its reputation. Each of the nine gluten free baking mixes features gourmet quality, non-GMO ingredients and a secret blend of finely milled gluten free flours for an innovative taste. They are manufactured with the strictest of quality assurance practices for those with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease and with standards twice as stringent as those set by the Food and Drug Administration.
Everyday classic flavors include Yellow Cake, Chocolate Cake, Fudge Brownie, Chocolate Chip, Chocolate, Oatmeal and Sugar Cookie mixes. Also offered are Blueberry and Cinnamon Crunch Muffin mixes. Suggested retail prices range from $6.39 to $6.79.
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.
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.
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.”
This story was originally published in the April 2014 issue of Gourmet News, a publication of Oser Communications Group.
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.
“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.
At 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.
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.