Back in the day, “from concentrate” meant that a beverage was overprocessed, nutritionally empty and would probably taste funny. Back then, the choice between “fresh” or “from concentrate” was a no-brainer.
But food science and beverage manufacturing have come a long way since then. In today’s globalized beverage manufacturing system, “from concentrate” means something much more positive. As a company whose core ingredient comes from the Philippines, Coco Libre stakes its reputation on “from concentrate” giving consumers everything they demand and deserve. How is this possible? Here are three reasons why.
First, Coco Libre’s low-energy concentration method makes use of advances in no- and low-heat methods to retain maximum nutrition and flavor quality. The process involves the cold-concentration method known as reverse osmosis, or RO, to gently remove a majority of water while retaining all of the nutrition and flavor components. This ultra-premium, low-energy method removes water from fruit juices by means of special filters. Additional water is then removed under a vacuum at a minimal temperature to maintain the highest level of quality and nutritional integrity.
Bringing concentrate to the U.S. has considerably less overall energy impact compared with unconcentrated coconut water. The Philippines, where the young, green coconuts that go into Coco Libre’s concentrate grow, is more than 8,000 miles away from California, where Coco Libre beverages are made. After water is removed, the concentrated coconut water weighs less, resulting in a three-times carbon impact reduction.
The coconut water concentrate, with nutrition and flavor intact, then goes into Coco Libre beverages that are made in the USA. That enables the company to deliver beverages that embody the trust and quality Coco Libre customers expect. That level of assurance isn’t currently possible for beverage manufacturing at the ingredient source, so Coco Libre chose to make beverages close to home at facilities certified by GFSI (Global Food Safety Initiative) with SQF (Safe Quality Food).
But do consumers understand? “We still have work to do there,” says Candace Crawford, Chief Executive Officer of Maverick Brands, Coco Libre’s parent company. “The average consumer doesn’t know about all the advances in manufacturing and quality efforts behind the scenes. So we have to show how every decision we make, in the end, is aimed at bringing them a better tasting, better functioning product.”
California’s Artisan Cheese Festival selected winners last week in a Saturday night celebration entitled “California Cheesin’.”
First prize went to Peloton Catering for Beehive Cheese Potato Bacon Fondue.
Second place went to Block Butcher Bar for Toast with Dairy Goddess Farmstead “The Valley” Fromage Blanc with House Cured Lomo, Pickled Onion, Arugula, Olive Oil and Maldon Salt, and third place went to Nick’s Cove Restaurant – for Pt. Reyes Toma & Dungeness Crab Fried Mac n Cheese.
By Richard Thompson
The winters in Milton, Massachusetts, bring brisk cold-snaps and 30 degree rains to its historic red-brick buildings and famous waterfront restaurants. Red-cheeked children skate on the frozen brook in nearby Cunningham Park and short horn blasts from incoming barges are carried over the sea air all the way to East Milton Square. It’s here that residents put on their Red Sox embroidered scarves and head out into the cold, because they know that if they want some of Mike’s Fresh Sushi or need to stop by Kinnealey’s Meat Shop for a whole chicken, they have to make it to the Fruit Center Marketplace.
“This is a family run business that’s been around for 42 years now,” says Michael Dwyer, Marketing Director for the Fruit Center Marketplace Milton. Focused on specialty and gourmet products, Dwyer says that residents come here because its a place they can trust. “From bread and butter to paper goods and detergents, all the stuff you’d find at a regular grocery store, you’ll find here – with countless gourmet items as well.”
The Fruit Center Marketplace, named by The Boston Globe as one of the Top Places to Work in Massachusetts for four years running, began in 1973 with the simple idea of providing exceptional produce to customers in the South Shore community. Its loyal base and reputation quickly saw business expand, so the original store was replaced with two locations to meet demand – one in Milton and a smaller location found down the road in Hingham. Says Dwyer, “Folks come to us because they’re looking for the complete food experience.”
The Milton Marketplace, in which Fruit Center Marketplace resides, is a 10,000 square-foot two-story building that houses the Fruit Center Marketplace on the first floor, while upstairs, customers will find an assortment of stores and a gourmet eatery, The Plate, that makes for a complete shopping experience. According to Dwyer, the layout is designed this way to entice customers to stay and shop: “We have a range of customers; some who shop here weekly for their groceries and leave, while others spend the entire day here, shopping upstairs before picking up some bananas and a few takeaway items to bring home for dinner. Different customers…different purposes.”
The grocery store itself is home to an assortment of gourmet and specialty departments that are locally sourced, high-end and are highly regarded by both customers and upscale restaurants. Dwyer says that an important factor in choosing their partners was that these companies have experience in working with hotels and restaurants and specialize in high-quality products. He said, “This is certainly not usual for any other grocery retailer.”
Inside, customers are offered a selection of locally sourced produce from the Boston area, a 40 foot salad bar that boasts over 100 fresh items everyday, a baked goods display, an olive bar and even a line of prepared meals and side dishes such as meatloaf, chicken Parmesan, scallops au gratin and butternut squash, for those busy shoppers looking for something to eat without dealing with the hassle of cooking.
Mike’s Fresh Sushi, which partnered in 2008, specializes in all things raw, making all of its products in-house, right on the floor. While there is no seating available, shoppers are able to pick up restaurant style sushi and take it home without a second thought. Everyday, the itamae – or sushi chef – behind the bar creates 10 to 12 varieties of sushi ranging from traditional California rolls to more creative sushi offerings like eel with strawberries.
Kinnealey’s Meat Shop, which has worked alongside the Fruit Center for nearly 30 years, is its own business run inside the marketplace and is a high-end meat purveyor that caters to high-end restaurants and hotels in the Boston area. Aged sirloin steaks, veal cutlets, pork ribs, game, sausage and organic poultry options are all offered by the specialty butcher.
On the second floor of The Marketplace, shoppers will encounter the newly opened restaurant, The Plate, offering customers a sit-down compliment to the food-center motif downstairs. “The new cafe will offer an inventive dining experience with a partially open kitchen,” says Suzanne Lombardi, Chef and Owner of The Plate.
Says Dwyer, “Suzanne [Lombardi] has a long and impressive food background in Boston and we know from her two wildly successful past enterprises that she could bring homemade food and innovative dishes to Fruit Center.”
The 2,600 square-foot marketplace cafe serves handmade, gourmet breakfasts and lunches Tuesday through Sunday, allowing patrons to enjoy its reclaimed wood décor, natural sunlight and variety of seating options. Everything from commuter breakfasts for on-the-go professionals to organic eggs and smoked bacon dishes are offered as eat-in or take out choices. Lombardi even makes her own English muffins and jams.
After filling themselves up at The Plate, shoppers who meander upstairs will find a small assortment of retail merchants selling clothes, jewelry and toys. The Gift Garden carries a selection of upscale women’s clothing and jewelry plus greeting cards, cookbooks, candles and ceramics, while The Nutshell focuses solely on children’s clothing. Rounding out the second floor is The Toy Chest, a toy store that harkens back to a simpler time, where customers can treat their grand-kids, nieces and nephews with toys that don’t require batteries or AC adapters. “It’s a traditional toy store,” says Dwyer.
During certain times of the year, the Fruit Center works collaboratively with the retailers upstairs for social and shopping events such as a “stroll” night where shoppers can go to the second floor and take advantage of special deals, and then come downstairs to enjoy some wine tasting and cheese and chocolate sampling downstairs.
Says Dwyer, “Having regular product samplings within the store, a busy restaurant and a wide range of products that customers desire not only brings them back, but they tend to come back with greater frequency.”
Statement Attributable to Diana Aviv, CEO of Feeding America:
“Late yesterday, the House Budget Committee passed its Fiscal Year 2017 budget resolution introduced earlier in the week by Chairman Tom Price (R-GA). We are deeply alarmed that the plan includes a harmful proposal to convert the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) into a ‘block grant’ program.
“SNAP provides critical food assistance to people struggling with a slowly recovering economy. Such a harmful change to the structure of SNAP would result in a reduction or complete loss of benefits for millions of people at a time of elevated need, and remove the program’s ability to immediately respond to fluctuations in the economy and changes in need.
“SNAP has a proven track record of not only improving food security but also providing long-term health, education and economic benefits. Food insecurity is clearly linked to poor health, delayed development and behavioral problems for children, and an increased risk for chronic conditions for the elderly, including diabetes and heart disease. SNAP is a smart investment that pays long-lasting dividends. SNAP and other federal nutrition programs provide a critical lifeline that must be maintained.
“Congress passed a bipartisan Farm Bill in 2014 that contributed $23 billion toward deficit reduction, including cuts to SNAP. The House Budget Committee now is resurrecting proposals that were considered and rejected by Congress during the three years of debate on that bill.
“This proposal also comes at a time when at least 500,000 of the most vulnerable SNAP recipients are set to lose benefits due to the harsh three-month time limit on benefits for unemployed childless adults, despite their willingness to work and their efforts to search for a job, or whether there are sufficient work or training opportunities available.
“We can all agree that good jobs are the best solution to hunger, but the reality is that millions of Americans are unemployed. Many others are working but unable to make ends meet. We need to make sure that people who have fallen on hard times can put food on the table until they can get back on their feet.
“States already have considerable flexibility in administering SNAP. The primary consequence of a block grant would be to erode the federal commitment that a family is eligible for the same level of food assistance, regardless of whether they live in Mississippi or Minnesota.
“Current SNAP benefits are already inadequate, and the majority of SNAP benefits are redeemed by day 21 of any given month, leaving many families scrambling to find enough food. The average SNAP household receives about $255 a month in SNAP benefits, which averages less than $1.40 per person per meal.
“Any additional cuts to SNAP would increase demand on the nation’s charitable food system at a time when food banks and other hunger-relief groups are stretched to meet sustained high need.
“We urge Congress to set aside harmful policy proposals that have been previously rejected and to work together to ensure a federal budget that maintains our nation’s longstanding, bipartisan commitment to protecting programs that help ensure vulnerable people have the nutrition assistance they need in hard times.
“Federal poverty reduction policy should promote opportunity and economic mobility, while also ensuring a strong safety net that protects individuals who are facing hard times from hunger. Unfortunately the House Budget falls far short of achieving either goal. We strongly urge members of the House to vote against this budget.”
TruffleHunter, the UK’s leading fresh truffle supplier and truffle product manufacturer, has launched a new U.S. online shop as it looks to build its presence in US e-commerce, foodservice and retail channels.
The company, buoyed by the success of TruffleHunter’s strong Amazon USA business, has recently commissioned a new U.S. website and on-line shop. The new U.S. website offers a further on-line platform for direct consumers to purchase truffle products and extends the company’s brand representation in the U.S. market as it works to expand its operation into wholesale channels.
“It’s an exciting time for our business” says James Rutter, the Head of Sales & Marketing at TruffleHunter. “Through the successes of our current U.S. e-commerce platforms and a demand for high quality truffle products, I am certain that we have solid platform to develop a strong U.S. wholesale business in the most dynamic specialist food market in the world.”
You can find TruffleHunter at www.truffle-hunter.com and at this year’s Fancy Food Show.
The Olive Press’ Picual (Sonoma) and Coldani Olive Ranch’s Calivirgin Bountiful Basil (Lodi) have been named the best of show winners in the 2nd Annual San Joaquin Valley Olive Oil Competition. The competition, open to all olive oil producers in the state of California with products made from their most recent olive harvest, received a total of 61 entries from 18 different olive oil producers from throughout the state.
Entries were received in two classes, extra virgin olive oils and flavored olive oil, with nine subcategories in total. Gold and silver medals were awarded, as well as an overall best of show selected for each of the two classes. In total there were 39 EVOO and 22 flavored olive oil entries that were judged by a panel of seven judges from the California Olive Oil Council Taste Panel. The judging took place on March 8 in Pleasanton, California.
Gold medals in the extra virgin oil class went to Enzo Olive Oil Company’s Tyler Florence Test Kitchen EVOO (Clovis) and Rosenthal Olive Ranch’s Arbosana (Madera), which both won in the category for Spanish blends. Gold medals for Spanish single variety oils went to Coldani Olive Ranch’s Calivirgin Premium EVOO (Lodi), Calolea Olive Ranch’s Calolea Mission (Marysville) and The Olive Press’ Picual (Sonoma).
Gold medals for Italian blends went to Winter Creek Olive Oil’s Winter Creek Olive Oil (Winter Creek), Winter Creek Olive Oil’s Ruscello d’Inverno (Winter Creek), Coldani Olive Ranch’s Lodi Olive Growers Blend (Lodi), The Olive Press’ Italian Blend (Sonoma), Coppetti Olive Oil’s Harvest Blend (Modesto), Bava Family Grove’s Bava Monticelli Estate Napa Valley (Escalon), San Miguel Olive Farm’s Tuscan Nectar of the Gods (San Miguel) and San Miguel Olive Farm’s Tuscan Gold (San Miguel). Coldani Olive Ranch’s Lodi Olive Oil Ascolano (Lodi) won the sole gold medal awarded for an Italian single variety oil, and Bozzano Olive Ranch’s A2 (Stockton) won a gold medal for other blends.
Gold medals for flavored oils went to The Olive Press’ Lime (Sonoma) and The Olive Press’ Limonata (Sonoma), which competed in the citrus-flavored category. Coldani Olive Ranch’s Calivirgin Bountiful Basil (Lodi) won the gold medal for an herbal-flavored oil, and Coldani Olive Ranch’s Calivirgin Jalapeno Garlic (Lodi) and Coldani Olive Ranch’s Calivirgin Extreme Heat Serrano (Lodi) won gold medals for oils with other flavorings.
Silver medals in the extra virgin olive oils class went to Fandango Olive Oil’s Fiesta (Paso Robles), a Spanish blend; Italian blends, Frog Hollow Farm’s Frog Hollow Farm Organic EVOO (Brentwood), Bozzano Olive Ranch’s Toscana Organic (Stockton), San Miguel Olive Farm’s Tuscan Pristine (San Miguel) and La Ferme Soleil’s La Ferme Soleil (San Francisco); and other blends, Rancho Azul y Oro’s Estate Blend (San Miguel) and Rosenthal Olive Ranch’s Koroneiki (Madera). Among the single variety oils, The Olive Press’ Arbosana (Sonoma), The Olive Press’ Arbequina (Sonoma), The Olive Press’ Sevillano (Sonoma), Fandango Olive Oil’s Elegante (Paso Robles), Enzo Olive Oil Company’s Delicate Ranch 11 (Clovis) and Coppetti Olive Oil’s Fall Harvest (Modesto) won silver medals for Spanish single-variety oils; Coldani Olive Ranch’s Lodi Olive Oil Frantoio EVOO (Lodi) and Alta Cresta Olive Oil’s Alta Cresta Premium Coratina (Paso Robles) won silver medals for Italian single-variety oils, and Enzo Olive Oil Company’s Bold Ranch 11 (Clovis) and The Olive Press’ Mission EVOO (Sonoma) won silver medals for other single-variety oils.
In the category for citrus-flavored oils, Olive Ranch’s Meyer Lemon (Marysville), Coldani Olive Ranch’s Calivirgin Lusty Lemon (Lodi), The Olive Press’ Clementine (Sonoma) and Rancho Azul y Oro’s Estate Blend Orange (San Miguel) were awarded silver medals. Coldani Olive Ranch’s Calivirgin Rustic Rosemary (Lodi) and Coldani Olive Ranch’s Calivirgin Oh! Oregano (Lodi) were awarded silver medals in the herb-flavored oils category, and The Olive Press’ Jalapeno (Sonoma) and Coldani Olive Ranch’s Calivirgin Hot Virgin Jalapeno (Lodi) were awarded silver medals for oils with other flavors.
Planning is already underway for the 2017 SJVOOC, which will be held April 4. More information will be available in November at www.fresnofair.com/sjv-olive-oil-competition.
The Kroger Co. has promoted Mary Ellen Adcock to serve as Kroger’s Group Vice President of Retail Operations, effective May 16. She succeeds Marnette Perry, whose retirement was previously announced. Adcock currently serves as Vice President of Operations for the company’s Columbus division.
“Mary Ellen brings to her new role a strong track record of success leading teams across our business, including manufacturing, operations and merchandising. She is the right leader to help shape our vision for store operations as we continue investing to grow,” said Rodney McMullen, Kroger’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “Mary Ellen will be a great addition to our senior leadership team.”
Adcock joined the company’s Country Oven Bakery in Bowling Green, Kentucky, in 1999. She held several leadership positions of increasing responsibility in Kroger Manufacturing, including vice president of deli/bakery manufacturing in Kroger’s general office in 2009. In 2014, Adcock was named vice president of merchandising for the Columbus division.
By Micah Cheek
Jeanie Alderson is trying to solve a puzzle that is still confounding many of the country’s alternative meat producers: Getting her meats from her ranch to customers’ tables. Large meat processors cannot process a small farm’s meats profitably, and small meat processors are in short supply.
“We have the best grass, the best country and the best cattle, but we’re far away from everyone,” says Alderson. The Montana rancher and co-owner of Omega Beef raises grass-fed and –finished wagyu beef, to the tune of 30 to 40 carcasses a year. “The places where big agribusiness is happening, those processors won’t even look at us,” says Alderson. This size of production constitutes a fraction of what a major slaughter house would process in a year, far too little for a larger slaughter house to cut at a profit. The nearest USDA-inspected processor that will work in Omega Beef’s volumes is Quality Meats of Montana, approximately three hours away. This long drive through the Montana steppelands, combined with deliveries after processing, takes a large cut of the company’s profit margin. Unfortunately, slaughtering at an uninspected processor isn’t an option. Going without the USDA stamp would mean losing the business of their retailers, their distributor and any out-of-state customers. “Basically the only people we would be able to sell to would be individual customers in Montana,” says Alderson.
The issue of finding size appropriate processors is not limited to beef. Les Miller, Food Producer at Wheatstem Meadows Farms in South Dakota, has encountered difficulties with pork and chicken as well. Miller has found a pork processor within 50 miles, but the expansion of his business is beginning to push the processor’s capacity. Miller is also raising chickens, but can’t find a facility to slaughter them in. “That’s the problem I’m facing with the broilers,” Miller says. “The closest [processor] I could find was in Minnesota. There’s nothing in South Dakota.” Miller is legally allowed to slaughter chickens in a limited capacity without an inspected facility, but that poultry can’t be sold across state lines. “Under federal law I can do 1,000 [per year], but it still isn’t like the USDA certification,” says Miller.
Groups like the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, a network of agricultural advocacy groups, are involved in changing policies to make access to USDA-inspected facilities more available, but Ferd Hoefner, Policy Director with the NSAC, says the results do not come easily. “A number of farmers, frustrated by this lack of policy, are starting their own processing facilities. How do you get inspectors to these plants? That’s a huge bottleneck,” Hoefner notes. This issue has become a top concern for the National Sustainable Ag Coalition. “With the federal government, most policies are going to become one size fits all,” Hoefner adds. “We’re looking for ways to make the regulatory regime fit.” One such legislative change has allowed select state-certified processors to operate as USDA-approved facilities, increasing the number of processors with the USDA’s stamp of approval.
Another potential answer is the implementation of mobile slaughter units. These are large trailers that are essentially a certified facility on wheels. They are driven out to farms. According to the Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network, there are approximately 20 MSUs in operation in the country, operating in 14 states. Hoefner notes that the MSU system is still finding its place in the market. “It’s a little bit too early to tell there,” says Hoefner. “As the market develops, maybe the market will be viable.” MSU’ could be a future key to beef and poultry operations. “I would love for my animals to not have to leave, and end their lives here,” says Alderson.
The Champagne Bureau, USA announced today that 20,508,784 million bottles of Champagne were shipped to the United States in 2015, an increase of 6.61 percent from 2014. This marks the third consecutive year of growth in Champagne shipments to the United States.
“It is wonderful to see U.S. consumers buying Champagne at record numbers. The strong growth represents the real excitement consumers have for Champagne and highlights the important role Champagne plays in the growing U.S. wine market,” said Sam Heitner, Director of the Champagne Bureau, USA. “As more Americans drink wine, they are placing more value on wines that come from unique places. This desire to understand where their wines come from is a key to building long-term connections with consumers and why we like to remind all that Champagne only comes from Champagne, France.”
The United States is the second largest export market for Champagne, trailing the United Kingdom, which imported 34,153,662 bottles in 2015. Worldwide, Champagne shipments totaled 312,531,444 bottles, an increase of nearly 2 percent over last year.
More than merely a type of wine, Champagne is a unique winemaking region with a long history of winemaking expertise. In fact, its historic hillsides, houses and cellars were recently named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Therefore, to earn the right to label their bottles with the “Champagne” name, the growers and producers of the Champagne region adhere to strict grape growing, harvesting and winemaking regulations. In recent years, the region has also been lauded for its environmental leadership, launching a comprehensive carbon reduction effort that has already reduced the region’s carbon footprint and establishing a new environmental certification for wine growers and producers to quantify their environmental sustainability and advances.
The Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB), in partnership with the National Confectioners Association (NCA), has announced a new self-regulatory initiative that promotes responsible advertising to children. Under the Children’s Confection Advertising Initiative (CCAI), participating companies agree to not advertise directly to children under age 12. CCAI is modeled after the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI), another CBBB-administered self-regulation program.
Six companies that make popular brands of candies are the charter participants of CCAI: Ferrara Candy Company; Ghirardelli Chocolate Company; Jelly Belly Candy Company; Just Born Quality Confections; The Promotion in Motion Companies, Inc.; and R.M. Palmer Company. They have pledged to not engage in confectionery advertising that is primarily directed to children under age 12 or to advertise their candy in school to children from pre-kindergarten through 6th grade. They join six other confectionery companies – American Licorice Company; Ferrero USA; The Hershey Company; Mars, Incorporated; Mondelez International; and Nestlé – that are CFBAI participants that do not advertise directly to children.
“CCAI follows the same principles as CFBAI, but is designed for small-to-medium size confectionery companies and has fewer administrative requirements than CFBAI,” said Maureen Enright, director of CCAI and deputy director of CFBAI. “All CCAI participants are making the same commitment – to not engage in child-directed advertising. CFBAI will independently monitor compliance and will publish periodic compliance reports, as it does for CFBAI.”
“Better Business Bureau has always felt that smaller companies can be just as much a part of the self-regulatory success story as major corporations,” said Mary E. Power, President and CEO of CBBB. “This latest initiative is yet another example of how responsible companies can join together to efficiently regulate themselves. We are delighted to build on CFBAI’s success, we appreciate NCA’s partnership on this effort, and we look forward to working with them to grow the program.”
“America’s leading confectionery companies are committed to marketing their products responsibly, and participating in this program further solidifies that commitment,” John H. Downs, Jr, NCA President and CEO, said. “The candy companies that are members of CCAI and CFBAI make the majority of the candy on store shelves in the U.S.”
CCAI’s core principles are available at www.bbb.org/CCAI.