The World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) and Cote d’Ivoire’s Conseil du Café-Cacao have announced an agreement to improve cocoa planting material. The agreement is closely aligned with the Ivorian government’s 2QC national cocoa strategy and comes less than a year after WCF announced CocoaAction, the chocolate and cocoa industry’s strategy for sustainability in the cocoa sector.
As part of its efforts to improve planting material, WCF also announced its focus on new methods of propagation and addressing cocoa swollen shoot virus. These components are championed by WCF member companies Mars, Incorporated and Nestlé.
“WCF is pleased to be working with le Conseil du Café-Cacao to provide improved planting material to cocoa farmers in Cote d’Ivoire,” said WCF President, Bill Guyton. “CocoaAction supports the rehabilitation of cocoa farms to improve farmer livelihoods, and this partnership is a key step toward making that possible.”
“This agreement on access to planting material and the fight against cocoa swollen shoot virus is an important step toward carrying out concrete actions at the farm level,” said Massandjé Touré-Litse, Director-General, le Conseil du Café-Cacao.
To support the execution of the planting material strategy, WCF recently employed an Abidjan-based Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus expert, Dr. Mfegue Crescence Virginie. Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus is a disease that causes insufficient production of chlorophyll in cocoa trees, eventually resulting in death. Working in close coordination with le Conseil du Café-Cacao, Interprofessional Fund for Agricultural Research and Advisory Services (FIRCA) and the National Center for Agronomic Research (CNRA), Mfegue will support the identification and propagation of virus-resistant trees and developing in-field tests that allow for early detection of the disease.
Selected to participate in the Norman E. Borlaug Cocoa Fellowship program in cooperation with United States Department of Agriculture Foreign Agriculture Service and WCF, Kacou M’Bo of Cote d’Ivoire’s National Center for Agronomic Research is expected to provide research support on drought resistant varieties of cocoa trees. The fellowship provides fellows with skills and knowledge to help their countries become more competitive producers and exporters of cocoa and cocoa products.
In support of CocoaAction’s productivity component, WCF also announced the completion of a good agriculture practices guide that includes information on fertilizer use and soil fertility practices in Cote d’Ivoire. The guide, developed in partnership with the national agency supporting rural development (ANADER), Conseil du Café-Cacao, the Dutch Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH) and WCF’s African Cocoa Initiative, will be used by public and private sector partners for training activities with cocoa farmers. The African Cocoa Initiative is a program supported by WCF member companies and the United States Agency for International Development.
The Manischewitz(R)Company, the world’s largest matzo manufacturer, has named specialty food industry veteran David Sugarman as President and Chief Executive Officer. Sugarman, who most recently served as President and CEO of The Allan Candy Company, a division of The Hershey Company, has already assumed his new responsibilities.
Sugarman will direct Manischewitz Company’s business strategy, develop and foster customer relationships, and oversee all daily operations. He brings over 20 years of experience with businesses in North America, including Sabra Dipping Company, where he served as Country Manager for Canada, and at Billy Bee Honey Products and Succession Capital Corporation. Sugarman led the sale of Allan Candy to Hershey Canada in 2014, and earlier in his career he was responsible for launching Sabra’s line of fresh foods items in Canada.
“We are delighted to have David on board as his experience as a food industry executive makes him a valuable leader to help execute the company’s growth plans,” said Brett L’Esperance, a member of Manischewitz’s board of directors. “David’s dynamic leadership and vision are great assets which will substantially benefit the company.”
“I am honored to be selected as the next leader of Manischewitz, a company with such strong brands and a rich history,” said Sugarman. “I look forward to working with the team and our customer partners to continue to produce the highest quality kosher products possible.”
Sugarman succeeds interim CEO Mark Weinsten, who served in the role until a successor was identified, as previously announced.
Sugarman holds an M.B.A. from The Schulich School of Business at York University (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), and a BS from The University of Toronto. He was awarded Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 Award, is a member of Young Presidents Organization, and has served as a Board Member of Covenant House Toronto.
Newport Avenue Market, a single store independent grocer located in Bend, Oregon, has recently introduced Apple Pay to serve as a new, secure payment option for shoppers. The addition of Apple Pay is just the next step the market has taken in continuing to keep up with the latest technology trends in the grocery industry.
Apple Pay allows shoppers to pay for their purchases using breakthrough contactless payment technology and unique security features built right into Apple devices most people use daily. With a single touch, shoppers may now pay for their groceries at Newport Avenue Market using their iPhone 6, Apple Watch, or iPad to pay in a simple, secure, and private way. Newport Avenue Market is one of the only single independent stores in the country to offer this service.
“We’re always trying to keep up with the latest technology trends, think of innovative ways to keep our customers happy, and maintain that great shopping experience that Newport Avenue Market offers,” said Lauren G.R. Johnson, Leader of the Pack (vrrrooom!) & COO of Newport Avenue Market. “With the constant hustle and bustle of our everyday lives, Apple Pay offers shoppers a quick and easy way to pay, with peace of mind.”
Over the last few years, Newport Avenue Market has invested more than $2.5 million on new technologies, lessening the store’s carbon footprint and creating a carefree shopping experience for guests. In an effort to provide price confidence for customers and create ease at the check stands, the market introduced electronic shelf tags that sleep at night to conserve energy, making their batteries last just short of a decade. In addition to electronic shelf tags, the market has added new, state-of-the-art refrigeration cases that utilize 70 percent less energy, as well as self-checkout units. These moves not only follow suit with Newport Avenue Market’s intention of always looking towards cutting edge technology and keeping up to date with the latest trends, but also help to reduce waste and enhance the Oregon store’s shopping experience.
For more information about Newport Avenue Market and its efforts at being environmentally responsible, call 541.382.3940 or visit www.NewportAveMarket.com.
The June issue of Gourmet News will feature a preview of the Summer Fancy Food Show. If you’re introducing a new product at the show that you’re ready to talk about between now and May 1, tell us about it so we can consider it for our coverage.
In addition, we’ll be talking about products that are designed to appeal to home cooks who want to produce a quality meal without spending a lot of time in the kitchen. If you have a product that you’d like to have considered for inclusion in the story, let us know.
In either case, drop us a line to email@example.com with either “Fancy Food Show Preview” or “Good Food Fast” in the subject line. Please include the product name, a short description (no more than 50 words), the suggested retail price for the item and contact information for inquiries from retailers in the body of the email and attach a print-quality product shot to the email if you have one available.
Niederegger of Lubeck Germany is launching three new products with dramatically different flavors: The bitter sweet Chocolate Covered Marzipan Loaf Cranberry (2.6 ounce) gives a fruity berry accent, packed 20/case. Rich milk Chocolate Covered Marzipan Loaf with Salted Cashews is a stand-out in a generous 4.4 ounce size. Cheesecake Marzipan Classics feature 10 bite-size, satisfying pieces in a window box gift -set (3.5 ounces). These delicious sweet confections, in stunning multi-colored packaging, please the eye and the palate.
Carl Brandt., Inc., a key U.S. specialty food importer, represents Niederegger as well as many other European brands.
By Lorrie Baumann
This year’s Ben Schwartz Retail Grocery Visionary Award from Unified Grocers went to the Newport Avenue Market in Bend, Oregon, just the latest in a long string of awards recognizing the achievements of Rudy and Debbie Dory and Lauren Johnson, who have transformed a traditional grocery store into a specialty market that appeals to the hippest of the foodies as well as a loyal following of hometown regulars.
The store that’s now the Newport Avenue Market was founded by Rudy and Debbie Dory, who have made their whole career in the grocery business, in 1991. The building had been a 22,000 square-foot Piggly Wiggly store built in the 1960s when the Dorys and a partner who is no longer part of the business bought it in 1983. Over the years, they’ve added a deli and bakery and seafood counters, changed the refrigeration twice, installed new shelving, improved the lighting and installed a spectacular wall of produce. The partner left the business in 1991, and Rudy and Debbie renamed the Bend store to make it the Newport Avenue Market and continued on their own. “The store has evolved. Every year we make major changes,” Debbie says. “It’s a never-ending story, but we try and focus very specifically on a shopping experience – that every time our customers come in, it’s very visual with wonderful produce and wonderful meat. We focus on gourmet, such as beautiful seafood, gourmet cheese. Our produce is not only very visual but excellent quality. We have everyday groceries, of course, but we also have organic, natural and specialty throughout the store. Customers today are well-traveled, so we really try to bring in foods from around the world, so that we are the go-to source for people who love to cook.”
“We originally thought we would be more like Whole Foods, but over the years, we morphed into specialty foods because that’s what our customers wanted. An awful lot of our products are by customer request,” Rudy adds. “Customers traveled and then came back and requested foods that they had tasted during their travels.”
While both Rudy and Debbie are still very active in the store – his official title is Ringmaster of the Flying Circus/President, while hers is Pundit of Perfection/Director of Detail, Newport Avenue Market is also presided over by Viris, a full size purple Jersey cow statue that dresses up for the holidays and moves around the store on occasion and Francine Bearbottom, a grizzly bear who wears holiday hats, with day-to-day management in the hands of El Hefe/General Store Manager Spike Bement and Leader of the Pack & COO Lauren G.R. Johnson, who is the Dorys’ daughter. Johnson joined the business recently after a 20-year career as a flight attendant and a few other jobs after that, including motherhood, in Portland, Oregon. “The stars all aligned. They asked, and the opportunity was perfect timing,” she says. She moved right back into her childhood neighborhood, buying a house near her parents’ home and only a couple of blocks from the store. “It’s my little ball of perfect,” she said. “Sunshine is terrific. I am so happy. My friends from Portland are more than happy to come here.”
Their customer-centered approach, along with deep involvement in the community and a strong touch of whimsy have earned them accolades from both the grocery industry and their community. In 1994, Newport Avenue Market was named International Retailer of the Year by IGA, and hardly a year has gone by since then that the store or its owners haven’t received some kind of special recognition on either the local, state or national level. In 1999, the Market was named the Bend Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year and received an Oregon Quality and Excellence Award. Rudy Dory won a United Way Volunteer Citizen’s Award in 2000; in 2008, the mural on the storefront, painted by local artist Kimberly Smallenberg, won the store Bend Art’s Beautification Award. In 2013, Newport Avenue Market became the first Boar’s Head Deli of Distinction west of the Mississippi River and Rudy and Debbie were honored as the Bend Chamber of Commerce’s Citizens of the Year. The list goes on, culminating in this year’s Visionary Award from Unified Grocers.
In Bend, the store competes with the country’s largest Safeway store as well as the largest-volume Safeway store in the country – those are two different stores – as well as two Walmart Supercenters, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, a Fred Meyer with more than 200,000 square feet of space and two Albertsons stores that are converting to Haggen stores as a consequence of Albertsons’ divestiture following the merger with Safeway. Altogether, Newport Avenue Market has 15 direct competitors in a city that had about 81,000 residents for the 2010 U.S. Census. In spite of that, the store is into its fourth consecutive year of double-digit sales growth. “We need to be on our toes. There are two or three more stores coming this summer that are breaking ground now – new stores with new banners,” Debbie says. “We don’t lack competition in Bend, Oregon. We very much stay focused on who we are and what we need to do to stay in business.”
Staying on their toes means keeping up with the latest food trends, connecting with their community, and working hard to make a visit to their store a visually appealing and entertaining experience. Besides the fun with Viris and Francine Bear-Bottom, the store also houses a 1953 Farm-All tractor in the produce department as well as carousel pieces around the store and a produce wall that’s regarded as a piece of art in its own right. “Visually, we have a lot of fun,” Debbie says.
“We keep using the term ‘experience,’ but it runs a little deeper than that,” Johnson adds. “We have European-style shoppers, so the relationships between staff and customers are very important. Connecting, not only with our staff, but with their neighbors and keeping up on what’s happening in their neighborhoods.” Fostering the connections between staff and customers requires the right employees, and Newport Avenue Market has several who’ve been with the store more than 30 years, including General Store Manager Bement, who’s been working with Rudy since 1983 and has been store manager of Newport Avenue Market since 1991. “We understand that our job as managers is to make good decisions so our people can count on their jobs,” Rudy says. “It is our job to make sure that we’re trying to do the right thing, and, knock on wood, that has filtered down.”
People often ask Rudy and Debbie how they get so many great employees, and Rudy says he asks himself that question sometimes too. “We try to pay them decently,” he says. “We understand with staff that they have to make a living.” The store still pays 100 percent of health insurance costs for its employees and has a 401(k) program with employer matching. The store also has a bonus program and offers grocery rebates that can return $2,000 to $3,000 to an employee at the end of the year. “We’ve always believed in happy employees who can be customers too,” Rudy says.
“It’s really important to know,” Johnson adds, “that while we’re the face of it, it’s really our staff who are pretty amazing and who work hard to make us who we are – and our customers who choose to shop with us.”
This story was originally published in the April, 2015 issue of Gourmet News, a publication of Oser Communications Group.
By Lorrie Baumann
The next edition of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans is due to be issued this year, but the broad outline for those guidelines has already been released in the form of the Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, released this February. Among the highlights of the report: suggestions for more urging for Americans to modify their diets and get more exercise; more pressure on the food industry to reformulate food products in a healthier direction; and a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages, snack foods and desserts that could be used to fund obesity prevention programs.
The U.S. government uses the Dietary Guidelines as the basis of its food assistance programs, nutrition education efforts and decisions about national health objectives, including the menu planning for the National School Lunch Program. Dietary Guidelines for Americans were first released in 1980 and have been updated every five years since. The point of this report is to inform the next edition of the Dietary Guidelines.
Today, about half of all American adults have one or more preventable chronic diseases related to their diets and about two thirds of American adults are overweight or obese. These two conditions have been highly prevalent for more than two decades, and few, if any, improvements in consumers’ food choices have been seen in recent decades, the report says, adding that a food environment epitomized by an abundance of highly-processed, convenient, lower-cost, energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods makes it particularly challenging to persuade Americans to change their ways.
In order to comply with the Dietary Guidelines, Americans may have to reduce screen time, eat at fast food restaurants less often, eat at home with their families more often and monitor their own diet and body weight. For this approach to work, it would also be essential for Americans, particularly low-income Americans, to have access to healthy and affordable food choices that respect their cultural preferences.
The Advisory Committee would like to see the food industry respond by lowering the sodium and added sugars content of processed foods, raising the polyunsaturated to saturated fat ratio in food products and reducing portion sizes in retail settings like restaurants and the concession stands at sports venues – and then to convince Americans that they like the changes.
“Efforts are needed by the food industry and food retail (food stores and restaurants) sectors to market and promote healthy foods. The general public needs to be encouraged to purchase these healthier options. Making healthy options the default choice in restaurants (e.g., fat-free/low-fat milk instead of sugar-sweetened beverages, and fruit and non-fried vegetables in Children’s Meals, whole wheat buns instead of refined grain buns for sandwich meals) would facilitate the consumption of more nutrient dense diets. Food manufacturers and restaurants should reformulate foods to make them lower in overconsumed nutrients (sodium, added sugars and saturated fat) and calories and higher in whole grains, fruits and vegetables,” the report says. The Advisory Committee also urges government action to make sure that food nutrition labels are understandable by everyday people, including those who aren’t fluent in English.
The report asks the government to establish policies to make healthy foods accessible and affordable and to limit access to high-calorie, nutrient-poor foods and sugar-sweetened beverages in public buildings and facilities, to set nutrition standards for foods and beverages offered in public places and to improve retail food environments so that healthy foods will be accessible and affordable in underserved neighborhoods and communities. According to the Advisory Committee report, Nutrition Facts labels should list added sugars in grams and teaspoons and include a percent daily value to help consumers make informed decisions about how much added sugar is included in the foods they’re buying, and revenues from taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages, snack foods and high-calorie desserts and other less healthy foods should be earmarked for nutrition education initiatives and obesity prevention programs. “… Taxation on higher sugar- and sodium-containing foods may encourage consumers to reduce consumption and revenues generated could support health promotion efforts. Alternatively, price incentives on vegetables and fruits could be used to promote consumption and public health benefits,” the report says.
According to the Advisory Committee, Americans aren’t getting enough vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, viatmin C, folate, calcium, magnesium, fiber or potassium. They aren’t eating enough vegetables, fruits, whole grains and dairy. Americans in general are overconsuming sodium and saturated fat, refined grains and added sugars. Adult women aren’t getting enough iron. More than 49 million people in the U.S., including nearly 9 million children, live in food insecure households, a condition in which the availability of nutritionally adequate food is limited or uncertain.
According to the Advisory Committee, Americans should be “encouraged and guided to consume” a diet that’s rich in vegetables, fruit, whole grains, seafood, legume and nuts; moderate in low- and non-fat dairy products and alcohol (for adults); lower in red and processed meat; and low in sugar-sweetened foods and beverages and refined grains. This is pretty much the same dietary pattern characteristics recommended five years ago by the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, according to the report.
By Lorrie Baumann
This year’s Natural Products Expo West offered a host of introductions for products that will appeal to the nutrition-conscious consumer. Among those are the bottled teas offered by Blu-Dot Beverage Company. This Canadian company offers five flavors of protein teas that contain 12 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber per 473ml bottle and are targeted at the active, nutrition-conscious woman in her 30s to 50s. With protein content derived from 100 percent New Zealand whey, the teas contain no GMOs or artificial ingredients, are gluten free and made with organic green tea. The five flavors are Cranberry Pomegranate Green Tea, Honey Lemon Green Tea, Orange Pineapple Green Tea, Blueberry Acai Green Tea and Apple Pear White Tea. Three of them are sweetened with stevia and have no added sugars, while the other two are sweetened with organic cane sugar. With suggested retail prices of $2.99 to $3.49, the Blu-Dot teas are launching nationally with KeHE in April. For further information, visit www.bludotbeverages.com.
New Zealand whey also provides the protein for a line of shake mixes targeted at children and their nutrition-conscious parents. KidzShake is a mix that blends with water, nut milks, or dairy milk to make a beverage that offers no-compromise nutrition for children, including a full supplement of vitamins, probiotics, digestive enzymes and Omega-3s. It comes in four flavors: Vanilla Cream, Orange Cream, Chocolate Cream and Strawberry Cream. It’s sugar free, non-GMO, lactose free, gluten free and casein free, and it’s so tasty that a clever mom can hide a cup of kale in the chocolate flavor. It’s sold in 22.75-ounce containers that will make up to 60 servings (Serving size varies according to the age of the child.) and retails for $44, and a 12.13-ounce size that will make up to 32 servings and retails for $24.90. The product is currently offered online through Amazon and on the company’s website at www.kidzshake.com.
Biosanare is a Spanish company that’s offering a variety of products from Spain and the Mediterranean region. The company is introducing Olive Tea in silk tea bags. The tea is made from olive leaves. It tastes like green tea, but it helps regulate blood sugar and blood pressure and offers anti-aging and cardiovascular benefits, according to the company. This is an organic product made from olive leaves that come from trees that have been grown in the Cordoba region of Spain for centuries. The tea bags are packaged in a tin of 20 and are also available in bulk for private labeling. The tin of 20 has a suggested retail price of $7.99. For further information, visit www.biosanare.com.
Martha Stewart is a partner in ULIVjava, which is launching two flavors of bottled iced coffees – vanilla and mocha – with three flavors of almond drinks debuting soon. With just 80 calories per bottle, these are focused on being a healthier alternative to other bottled iced coffees, and at a suggested retail price of just $2.49 per bottle, they may appeal to the cost-conscious as well. The almond drink products are expected to appeal to millennial consumers. They’re currently distributed in Whole Foods stores on the East Coast, and the company is seeking a West Coast distributor. They’re also being served in the Martha Stewart Cafe in New York. For further information, visit ulivjava.com.
TuMe is a line of turmeric-infused water in three flavors: Citrus, Mango and Berry. They’re sweetened with stevia and 1g of sugar to produce a drink with just five calories per serving. They offer antioxidants and anti-aging properties, and a 16.9 fluid ounce bottle retails for a suggested $3.00 price. The beverage is bottled in Watsonville, California and is targeted at athletes and other health-conscious consumers who want the benefits of turmeric. This is the company’s first year in production, and the drink is currently being carried in 25 northern California stores; and TuMe is partnering with LA Fitness to offer the drink in its fitness centers. For more information, visit drinktume.com.
Bliss Nut-Butters has been in business for 3.5 years in the northwestern U.S. with a range of nut butters made with honey and sea salt that appeal to athletes that need to balance their carbohydrates and proteins. The nut butters are made with a fresh-ground process that preserves the integrity of the ingredients. The peanut butters retail for $6.99 to $8.99 and the hazelnut butters retail for $9.99 to $12.99. Almond butter is coming out this year. The products are currently sold in the Pacific Northwest and just launched on Amazon. “We’re ready to grow,” says President and Founder Daniell Bliss. For further information, visit www.blissnutbutters.com.
World Soups offers natural, authentic recipes in three flavors: Chicken Pho, Beef Pho and Chinese Style Egg Noodle Soup in convenient microwaveable bowls that are sold from the grocer’s refrigerated case. They contain no artificial ingredients, no MSG and no preservatives. The pho soups have no gluten. They have a 30-day shelf life and they’re currently distributed only in northern California, which is where they’re made. The suggested retail prices are $5.99 for the egg noodle soup and $7.99 for the pho varieties. For further information, visit www.worldsoupsinc.com.
Zippy’s has figured out how to make a shelf-stable salad with Zippy’s Salad Bites, which come in two flavors: Lemon Kale and Spinach Cranberry. In 3.2 ounce single-serving snack pouches, they contain fiber and protein but no GMOs, no trans fats and no cholesterol. They retail for $3.99, and the taste is as zippy as you’d expect. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
King Arthur Flour has hired Beth Kluge as Vice President of Sales. Kluge brings 25 years of experience of sales leadership in the bread and baking industry and will oversee wholesale product sales.“Beth possesses a wonderful balance of strategic thinking, the natural ability to build connections, and a passion for driving business efforts,” said Karen Colberg, King Arthur Flour Co-CEO and Chief Marketing Officer. “Beth will be instrumental in the continuous growth of King Arthur Flour as we leverage and strengthen our distribution throughout the country.”
“What really interested me in King Arthur Flour was how it is a mission-driven company based on bringing people together through the joy of baking,” said Kluge. “I am excited to work with a company that values its employees and the community.”
Honeydrop Beverages, a producer of supercharged cold-pressed juices fortified with raw honey, is launching four new ‘Honeyade’ flavors: Matcha Lemon, Strawberry Lemon, Turmeric Lemon and Kale Cucumber, to an expanding portfolio of cold-pressed juices. The new flavors will be available to consumers beginning in April 2015. Each 10-ounce bottle of the new flavors contains a tablespoon of raw local honey or Manuka honey, providing purifying and nourishing juices that are gluten free, GMO free, and contain active enzymes, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
“Our new cold-pressed juices demonstrate the versatile flavor and benefits of raw honey,” says David Luks, founder of Honeydrop Beverages. “By expanding our line, we’re excited for our consumers to try our bold new flavors in a beverage that tastes great, is low in calories and avoids refined sugars, artificial preservatives and artificial sweeteners.”
In addition to its current slate of cold-pressed juices – the Lemon Cayenne Cleanse and Ginger Apple – Honeydrop’s new Matcha Lemon and Kale Cucumber Honeyades are packed with raw Manuka Honey sourced from New Zealand, while the Strawberry Lemon and Turmeric Lemon Honeyades are made with raw honey sourced from local beekeepers throughout regions of the United States, depending on where they are sold.
Honeydrop’s new collection of cold-pressed juices contain specific ingredients with health benefits including:
Beginning in April 2015, Honeydrop Beverages’ new flavors will be available at Whole Foods, Fairway, Fresh Direct and other natural and gourmet stores throughout New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts. Product can also be ordered nationwide at www.honeydrop.com.