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Nasdaq Names Hain Celestial to Q-50 Index

The Hain Celestial Group, Inc. has announced that Nasdaq has selected its security to be added to the Nasdaq Q-50 Index effective prior to the market open on Monday, September 21, 2015 as part of its quarterly re-ranking.

The Nasdaq Q-50 Index is designed to track the performance of securities that are next eligible for inclusion into the Nasdaq-100 Index.  The index is comprised of 50 securities ranked by market capitalization and reflects companies across major industry groups including computer hardware and software, telecommunications, retail/wholesale trade and biotechnology.  It does not contain securities of financial companies including banking and investment companies, as these are ineligible for Nasdaq-100 Index inclusion.

“As the founder of Hain Celestial, I am pleased with the addition of Hain Celestial’s security to Nasdaq’s Q-50 Index, which is another great milestone achievement for the company,” said Irwin D. Simon, the company’s President and Chief Executive Officer.

Introducing Blue Apron Wine

Blue Apron has announced Blue Apron Wine, a monthly service available to Blue Apron customers that delivers wines selected to pair with Blue Apron meals and enhance the home cooking experience.

“Like the grocery category, wine is a large industry with low online market penetration.  Of the $38 billion in wine sales in 2014, less than $2 billion were direct-to-consumer,” said Matt Salzberg, company CEO.  “Wine pairings have been a top request from our home chefs since we launched, and we’re excited about the opportunity to complement our Blue Apron meals with incredible wines.”

The wine deliveries include six custom 500ml bottles, sized to pair perfectly with Blue Apron meals for two. Each wine will also come with a customized tasting card that features the story of the vineyard, helpful tasting notes about the wine, and information on how to pair that wine with upcoming Blue Apron menus.

“With Blue Apron Wine, we’re able to give our home chefs access to wines from esteemed independent vineyards,” said Matthew Wadiak, company COO and Co-Founder. “Pairing and tasting wine can be intimidating.  Our goal is to educate our home chefs, and make enjoying a great glass of wine with dinner fun and easy.”

Each wine delivery is $65.99 + tax, and shipping is included. Customers can sign up for Blue Apron Wine via their online account, and will receive deliveries monthly, but can skip a month or cancel at any time. At launch, Blue Apron Wine will be available to existing customers, with plans to expand the product offering over time.

This new offering marks the latest milestone for Blue Apron. In July, Blue Apron launched its first ever iOS app.  Earlier this year, the company announced the family plan, featuring seasonal, family-friendly recipes for four, and in November of last year launched the Blue Apron Market, a curated e-commerce store for its home chefs.

Golden Gate Wholesale Produce Market To Launch $8 Million Renovation

he Golden Gate Wholesale Produce Market, the largest and busiest produce terminal in Northern California, is planning to renovate the facility by making a series of infrastructure, environmental, food safety, traffic and sustainability improvements.

The state-of-the-art enhancements to be made over the next year include new solar/energy efficiency upgrades, cold chain food storage management and worker safety systems, as well as smoother traffic flow within the facility, which is a mile from San Francisco International Airport on Highway 101.

“The Golden Gate Produce Market plays a vital role in northern California’s economy, and the improvements announced today will lay the foundation for the Market’s future growth and success,” said Peter Carcione, President of the Golden Gate Produce Market. “This investment in the Market expands our capability to bring the highest-quality fruits, vegetables, and organics to serve the diverse tastes of the region, and it builds on our long history of supporting California’s agriculture industry in a sustainable manner.”

The 742,000-square foot facility in South San Francisco currently employs 475 workers and is open to the public. Twenty-three independent and family-owned businesses operate at the Market, including wholesalers, jobbers, commission merchants, brokers, foodservice distributors, processors and one restaurant. More than 15 million packages move through the Market each year.

The enhancements were made after extensive market research and feedback from customers and businesses at the market. To advance the Market’s long-term goals and its commitment to sustainability, the seven-member board approved the following:

  • The installation of solar panels to be completed before the end of 2016 that will dramatically reduce the Market’s need to draw energy from the power grid
  • A new recycling/composting partnership with South San Francisco Scavenger to further reduce waste
  • Upgraded electrical, water and sewage systems
  • Improved traffic flow within the facility
  • A number of worker safety upgrades, including better lighting and loading dock safeguards
  • Improved cold chain storage management to ensure quality, freshness and food safety
  • A makeover of the building’s exterior, including new signage and expanded parking

The solar implementation is expected to have a significant positive environmental impact and reduce the market’s overall carbon footprint. The market’s new 1,322 kW solar installation is expected to generate more than 2,015,648 kilowatt-hours of electricity each year.

The use of a similar amount of conventional energy generated using fossil fuels would create greenhouse gases equal to that of 127 homes, 293 cars or the burning of 1.4 million pounds of coal annually, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

“This renovation is the most extensive in the Market’s 53-year history and is designed to meet the changing needs of businesses located at the market and their customers who shop there,” said board member Steve Hurwitz. “By strengthening the Market’s infrastructure and advancing its commitment to sustainability, we will create a better experience for everyone who works at or visits the Market.”

The Kroger Co. Brings Associates Together to Raise Money for Breast Cancer Research

The Kroger Co. has announced plans to bring more than 5,000 associates from across the country to Cincinnati from September 28 – 30 for the company’s Kroger Leadership Summit.

The Kroger Leadership Summit will include managers from every store, manufacturing facility, distribution center and office in the country joining together to discuss the company’s growth strategy and Kroger’s ongoing commitment to its customers, associates and the communities it serves.

During the meeting, attendees will participate in a Sharing Courage walk on September 29 to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer research, detection and treatment. The walk will conclude at Paul Brown Stadium, home of the Cincinnati Bengals, where Kroger associates will take the field to form a massive, human pink ribbon to show solidarity with breast cancer survivors and their allies in the fight against this deadly disease. Including local associates, their families, friends and other partners, Kroger expects nearly 7,000 to participate in this one-of-a-kind event.

“Our associates are proud partners in the fight against breast cancer,” said Tim Massa, Kroger’s Group Vice President of Human Resources and Labor Relations. “One in eight women is diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetimes. And when somebody is diagnosed, everyone around them is impacted. We want our associates and our communities to know that we’re in this together.”

This breast cancer awareness walk and ribbon formation reinforces the theme of Kroger’s Leadership Summit – that Kroger associates, both individually and collectively, can “Make a Difference” in the lives of their customers and their communities.

This is the 10th year of Kroger’s Sharing Courage campaign, held annually during the month of October. Since its inception, Kroger and its customers, associates and supporting partners have raised more than $30 million to support local breast cancer initiatives.

In addition to Kroger’s planned activities on September 29, Kroger on September 30 will light its downtown Cincinnati headquarters building pink, an annual event in partnership with Yoplait.

Lifeway Foods and the James Beard Foundation are Cooking with Lifeway Kefir

Lifeway Foods, Inc. has signed on as a national sponsor of the James Beard Foundation’s third annual Taste America®: “Local Flavor from Coast To Coast” national epicurean tour.  As part of the program’s 2015 itinerary, a line-up of world-class chefs will demo custom recipes using Lifeway Kefir products at local Sur La Table® locations in select Taste America cities. Reservations for the free cooking demos will begin two weeks prior to each event. For more information, visit

“Our partnership with the James Beard Foundation is an incredible opportunity to introduce our kefir to a new audience and to demonstrate its versatility as a hot new ingredient,” said Julie Smolyansky, Lifeway’s President and CEO. “Working with innovative chefs who are at the forefront of their industry will allow us to prove that kefir is much more than a drink and allow them to bring a new flavor profile to menus across the country.”

Spanning six weekends between September 18 and November 7, 2015, the program will kick off in Miami and visit a total of ten dynamic culinary cities across the country throughout the fall. Each stop will feature a special Friday night benefit dinner crafted in collaboration with a Taste America All-Star and a Local Star chef, during which guests will enjoy a palette cleanser of Lifeway Frozen Kefir products. The Taste America agenda will continue the next day with free, in-store consumer events at a local Sur La Table location. The lineup of public programming will include “cooking with kefir” demonstrations in select markets (BostonChicagoMiami, and San Francisco) led by celebrated chefs from the area. Lifeway representatives will also be sampling kefir products before and after the cooking demonstrations in all 10 Taste America cities.

“Taste America was created with the goal of bringing together top innovators in our food world to educate and entertain Americans about local flavors from coast to coast, ” said Susan Ungaro, President of the James Beard Foundation. “As many people might not be familiar with kefir, we are delighted to have Lifeway Foods on board as a national sponsor providing our guests with a deeper understanding of the product, its rich history, health benefits and the delicious ways it can be used. We can’t wait to see what recipes the chefs come up with!”

Santa Cruz Organic Encourages Schools to Incorporate Organic Products in Lunches

This year, Santa Cruz Organic® will join like-minded sponsors to encourage conversation about ways to incorporate more organic products into school lunches. As a pioneer organic brand with a rich heritage spanning more than 43 years, Santa Cruz Organic is a sponsor of this year’s KIWI’s National Take Your Parents to Lunch Day. The program encourages deeper communication between parents and school officials on how to provide and instill better eating habits in children.

Determining the best options for your child’s lunchbox can be a daunting task. With hectic schedules and endless school obligations, parents are eager to find simple ways to incorporate more organic products into busy routines.

Santa Cruz Organic offers a variety of Certified USDA Organic products that are perfect components for building a child’s organic lunchbox, from Santa Cruz Organic Fruit Sauces that contain no added sugar, to Santa Cruz Organic Fruit Spreads free of high fructose corn syrup and artificial flavors, to Santa Cruz Organic Peanut Butter that contains no hydrogenated oils, sugars or artificial ingredients. All Santa Cruz Organic products are Non-GMO Project® Verified.

KIWI’s National Take Your Parents to Lunch Day takes place Oct. 14, 2015. For more information on the event, visit National Take Your Parents to Lunch Day.

Acai Roots Reduces Added Sugar for a Healthier Juice Drink

Acai Roots has debuted one of its best-selling products, Acai Roots Juice, and Acai Roots Pome Blue Juice, with a lesser amount of sugar than previous bottles and most Acai juices in the market. Perfect for delicious smoothies, bowls or on its own, Acai Roots Juice is made from 100 percent organic Brazilian acai berries with no added fillers, unlike other acai brands. Your acai bowls and smoothies just got a lot healthier!

“Our juices are among the few juices with the least amount of sugar in the acai market,” said Marco Rega, co-founder of Acai Roots. “We no longer use organic evaporated cane sugar in our formula and have replaced it with organic agave and stevia. This has reduced the sugar content from 20g to 9g per serving!”

Acai Roots Juice and Acai Roots Pome Blue Juice are the healthiest acai products you can find in your local grocery store. These products are also  available at all 200 Sprouts locations. Additionally, Acai Roots is will release 10.5-ounce bottles, a smaller and on-the-go alternative to the 32-ounce bottles. A healthier juice alternative, in general, Acai Roots Juice is gluten-free, vegan, non-GMO and packed with powerful benefits including:

  • Antioxidants
  • Omega Fatty Acids
  • Phytosterols
  • ORACs (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity)

For additional details on Acai Roots, visit You can also follow the brand on Instagram @acairoots.

Obi Packs Powerful Probiotics into Low-Calorie Organic Soda

New Obi Probiotic Soda™ is on a mission to make healthy choices affordable and fun. Made from live, probiotic water kefir, organic juices and organic stevia, each 12-oz. bottle of Obi contains billions of beneficial probiotics and less than 20 calories with two to five grams of natural sugar, but tastes just like a delicious soda.

“Obi fills a gap that is missing in the beverage category between expensive health products that cater to a small niche and cheap processed products that have mass appeal,” said David Lester, CEO. “We don’t think consumers should have to choose between something that tastes good and something that’s good for them. It’s taken us five years to develop, but we’re excited to be able to offer a probiotic, organic soda that’s accessibly priced, delicious and extremely healthy.”

Obi is packed full of powerful probiotics: a water kefir ferment with 20 different strains of probiotic cultures. This unique blend delivers the added benefits of a “symbiotic ferment” – cultures that work extra hard as a united group to produce beneficial compounds like organic acids, vitamins and enzymes that can help to support digestive and immune health. Obi is certified USDA organic, certified non-GMO, gluten-free, vegan and paleo, and contains 20 to 40 percent of the recommended daily allowance for Vitamin C.

Obi Bottle Line Up TightEach of the four Obi flavors – Organic Root Beer; Tart Cherry Vanilla Bean; Valencia Orange & Grapefruit; and Meyer Lemon & Lime – is stevia and fruit-sweetened. Obi Founder and Product Developer Ben Goodwin and his team of organic chemists, microbiologists and flavor experts spent two years developing their own proprietary organic stevia blend with no bitter aftertaste, no GMOs and no corn products (erythritol).

Obi has partnered with beverage incubator LA Libations to launch the product on both coasts, with new stores being added each month. Obi is currently available in the refrigerated cold case at Ralphs, Mother’s Market & Kitchen and Jimbo’s Natural Foods Grocer throughout Southern California; at New Leaf Community Markets, Focaccia Market & Bakery and Berkeley Bowl Marketplace in Northern California; at Fred Meyer and New Seasons Markets in the Pacific Northwest; and at independent and small chain grocery stores in the Northeast, including Mrs. Green’s Natural Market, DeCicco Family Markets, Union Market, Balducci’s Food Lover’s Market, Wild by Nature Market and Dean’s Natural Food Market. The price for one 12-ounce bottle is about $2-$3.

Bridor Brings European Pastries for American Tastes

By Lorrie Baumann

Bridor USA has just finished an expansion of its plant in Vineland, New Jersey and is expanding its penetration in the American market. Bridor makes a range of pastries that includes signature croissants, brioches, chocolatines and lattice pastries.

The company started producing its products in the U.S. in 2002 after testing the waters by exporting pastries into the country from France. “We decided to get closer to the market,” says Bridor USA Senior Vice President of Sales Olivier Morel. “It’s very important for us to produce in the U.S…. Our vision is to bring the best European products to the U.S. and Canada.”The technology inside the American plant was imported from Europe, and products are made according to French traditions, including baking with butter, although the butter, like the other ingredients for the pastries, is sourced in the United States. The result is a product that adheres to traditional French standards for quality while delivering the tastes that are familiar to Americans. “The butter, even if it’s a very good quality butter, the taste is slightly different. We make sure to source and to use natural ingredients,” Morel says. “Our people are master bakers. We try to combine tradition with healthy, natural ingredients with innovation.”

That interest in innovation and appeal to American’s tastes comes through in the product line that Bridor makes in the American plant. “In the U.S. there is a high demand for danishes. Here in the U.S. you have danishes containing different fillings,” Morel says. “We’re about to launch a pumpkin danish. It’s a big flavor during the fall in the U.S. That flavor would not be successful in Europe.”

Europeans are simply not as fond of pumpkin flavor as Americans are, he explains. Nor do Europeans generally share Americans’ fondness for cinnamon. Bridor, however, plans to cater to that American taste with a new Cinnamon Brioche. “It’s an amazing product, but cinnamon is not a favorite flavor in Europe,” Morel says. “We wanted to get closer to American consumers, so we had to adapt our products.”

Bridor even has a plan to cater to Americans’ fetish for freshness: Most of its products are sold pre-proofed, egg-washed and ready to bake off in about 15 minutes, so retail bakery departments can respond quickly as their shelf stock is depleted and have a new batch of fresh pastries out of the oven and into the bakery case in a matter of minutes. “By bringing that technology, we bring a new experience to American consumers. Customers can come in and find fresh pastry on the shelf all day,”Morel says. “Our vision is to elevate the quality of the products on the shelf. Our vision is that our products would be fresh all day long.”

Bridor products are designed to be sold at prices that are competitive with other premium products. “Our products are affordable – it’s not a luxury product. It’s a product that can be bought on a daily basis,” Morel says.


Canadian Cheese Takes Best of Show at ACS

By Lorrie Baumann

Celtic BlueFor the first time in 30 years of competition, the American Cheese Society’s Best of Show winner was a Canadian. Celtic Blue Reserve from Glengarry Fine Cheese in Ontario, Canada, took home the purple ribbon in a ceremony held on Friday, July 31 in Providence, Rhode Island. The winning cheese is the result of 20 years of work on the recipe, said Margaret Peters-Morris, who began making cheese from the milk from her family’s dairy farm in the early 1990s.

In the years since, she has been an important mentor for many American cheesemakers, who were delighted to see her skills recognized with the Best of Show award, said Mateo Kehler, Cheesemaker for Cellars at Jasper Hill, who took home the third place Best of Show ribbon for Harbison, a soft-ripened cow milk cheese bound with cambium from spruce trees harvested seasonally from the farm, as well as five other awards – six first-place ribbons and two second-place ribbons. “When we started making cheese, we called Margaret,” he said. “I’m so happy to see her win because she’s been a part of lots of people’s worlds for a long time.”

Harbison was a happy accident that occurred in 2008 when a batch of brie-style Moses Sleeper cheese was found to contain too much moisture, and Kehler rescued it by strapping a spruce band around it. It’s named after Anne Harbison, an honorary granny for all of Greensboro, Vermont, where Jasper Hill Farm is located. She’s 95 years old this year and has been a cheerleader for the Kehler families from the beginning. “We wanted to honor a living legend among us,” Mateo Kehler said. The cheese, formed in a 10-ounce round, is made from pasteurized milk. It peaks at about 70 days of aging, when it’s soft enough to eat with a spoon. “It is possible to eat a whole one by yourself,” Kehler said.

Second place in the Best of Show category was taken by a pair of cheeses in a tie between Standard Market Cave Aged Chandoka from LaClare Farms Specialties, LLC and Cheesemaker Katie Hedrich Fuhrmann and Roth’s Private Reserve from Emmi Roth USA in Wisconsin. Chandoka is a mixed-milk cheese made with goat’s milk from the cheesemaker’s family farm and locally sourced cow milk. At three days of age, it’s Cryovaced and shipped in refrigerated containers to Standard Market for affinage. It’s larded and bandaged there and aged for six months before sale. It’s a good gateway cheese for consumers who aren’t familiar with goat milk cheeses and aren’t sure they’ll like them, but who are curious and willing to try something new, Fuhrmann said.

The 2015 ACS Judging & Competition saw 1,779 entries of cheeses and cultured dairy products from 267 producers. Entering companies represented 31 U.S. states, and three Canadian provinces. Three hundred fifty-five ribbons were awarded: 95 first place ribbons, 127 second place ribbons, and 133 third place ribbons. The cheeses were judged over a 15 hour period in which 20 teams of judges ranked 50 to 60 cheese per day. Each cheese receives a score for both technical merit and aesthetic qualities, and the two scores are combined for an overall score. Ties are permitted only for second and third places in each category, so that for each category, the winning cheese stands alone. Along with their ribbons, the cheesemakers receive both technical notes and aesthetic comments from the judges. “The competition is the ribbons; the judging is the evaluation and the feedback,” said Tom Kooiman, who chaired the judging committee.

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