Woot Froot is a line of fresh cut peaches and nectarines packed in snack-size bags as well as larger packages that company President Kim Gaarde says has the flavor and texture to provide consumers with a great eating experience. The brand belongs to Fresh Fruit Cuts of Fresno, Calif.
Gaarde’s confidence in the new product is backed up by recognition from the United Fresh produce trade association, which has named Woot Froot as a finalist for its 2014 Best New Fruit Product Award as well as by several years of research and development that involved the evaluation of more than 500 fruit varieties and development of Fresh Fruit Cuts’ proprietary process for packing the fruit to keep its fresh appearance and texture.
With consumers responding positively to convenience driven items including fresh cut fruits and vegetables, and snack items like carrots and apples continuing to grow in popularity, Woot Froot sliced peaches and nectarines have been a positive addition to the fresh-cut snacking category, Gaarde said. “It has been a whirlwind of activity and opportunity here; we are very excited to see these products become successful in market.”
After the success of last year’s production, the company was able to make recent equipment upgrades within their facilities, allowing them to add additional SKUs and pack sizes. Woot Froot will now be offered in 3-ounce bags, five-count multipack clamshells, 14-ounce bags, and 10-ounce, 20-ounce and 2-pound trays, and is scheduled to hit retail stores starting May 15. For more information on fresh cut peaches and nectarines, visit www.wootfroot.com or contact Fresh Fruit Cuts at email@example.com. United Fresh will name the award winners in June.
The second edition of the SPICES Poster, a 24-inch x 36-inch full-color poster illustrating 189 spices, herbs, capsicums and seeds, is now available through MondoFood.com. Designed by Chef and Spice Master Tim Ziegler and Tea King Brian Keating, the “SPICES Poster” is used in restaurant kitchens and culinary schools around the world and now available to the general public.
An ideal gift for everybody from beginner cooks to top chefs, the “SPICES Poster” is both an excellent reference tool and a colorful decorative piece that will liven up any kitchen. The poster beautifully depicts an international array of spices, offering descriptions, flavor profiles, recipe applications and countries of origin for each one.
“Brian and I developed this poster to give professional chefs, gourmands and home cooks a worthwhile resource on these wonderful ingredients,” says Ziegler. “Whether you’re trying to perfect your pasta sauce or trying to make an Indian curry for the first time, you can refer to the SPICES Poster for inspiration in creating new flavor medleys. We think it’s a great learning resource and, thanks to the photography of Lois Ellen-Frank, a beautiful art piece as well.”
The “SPICES Poster” retails for $27.99 at MondoFoods.com/spiceposter, but Gourmet News readers can receive 15 percent off by using the discount code “condiment.”
Denver-based Chef Tim Ziegler (“Chef Zieg”) is the Chef Behind the Chefs. For more than 25 years, Chef Zieg has immersed himself in the world of spices and, as a result, is now the go-to expert among restaurant chefs seeking proprietary flavor blends. Chef Zieg is also Spice Master & Blender for Italco Food Products’ Gran Cucina™ Spice Division.
For more background on how celebrity chefs are experimenting with spices, see the story here.
By Lorrie Baumann
As the world’s economy emerges from economic recession, American foodies are ready to launch out from the safe harbor of Italo-American and traditional American comfort food for deeper culinary waters, and all the indications are that this is going to be a spicy voyage. Demand for seasoning and spice is increasing due to the increasing demand for new flavors and flavor ingredients, growing popularity of ethnic cuisines and increasing health awareness among consumers, according to a 2013 report from Transparency Market Research, a market intelligence company.
This is part of a global phenomenon, according to both Transparency Market Research and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, which released a report in 2011 on growing opportunities for small farmers in developing nations to participate in the global spice trade. India is one of the world’s largest manufacturers and exporters of seasonings and spices, and growth in the Asia-Pacific spice trade is riding on the developing spice markets in India, China, Vietnam, Indonesia and Sri Lanka, which have traditionally been net exporters of spices.
“What’s really changed in the spice business in the past couple of years, Spice 2.0, is that 300 million Indians and 400 million Chinese have entered the middle class and want to eat the food of their cultures. American spice prices have gone through the roof as the Chinese and Indians buy more spice,” said Tim Ziegler, Spice Master for Italco Food Products, Inc. a specialty food distributor in Colorado and the co-author of “Spices and Culinary Herbs” by Tim Ziegler and Brian Keating, a poster presentation designed to aid chefs in creating flavors by pairing spices and herbs from the same culinary family. “India is now a net black pepper importer. It is the most staggering development in the spice business in the past 25 years.”
Spices can be defined as vegetable products used for flavoring, seasoning and importing aroma in foods. Herbs are leafy spices, and some plants, such as dill and coriander, provide both spice seeds and leafy herbs. Around 50 spice and herb plants are of global trade importance, but many other spices and herbs are used in local traditional cooking. There is also an overlap between spices and herbs and plants normally classified as vegetables, as for example some mushrooms that are used as spices in China and Pakistan. Paprika is widely grown by small-scale farmers in Africa, while chiles are widely grown in Central America, Asia and Africa. Cloves are grown in low-lying tropical areas including Indonesia, Madagascar and Zanzibar.
Trade is dominated by dried products. In recent years, fresh herbs have become more popular, and spice- and herb-derived essential oils and oleoresins are sold in large and growing markets.
Pepper, the world’s most most important world spice crop, is grown in areas of South America, Africa and India and some Pacific Ocean countries that have high rainfall and low elevations. Lemongrass is another important herb, and it’s grown widely in the tropics. The leaf is used dried in teas, and the stems are used fresh and dried in Asian cookery. Growing interest in organic food and beverages is also catching up with the market as large amounts of certified organic spices have been introduced to the market over the past few years, according to Transparency Market Research.
This trend is already having its effect in home and restaurant kitchens across the U.S. “If the melting pot is true anywhere in America, it’s true in the kitchen,” Ziegler said. “American cuisine is not roast beef and mashed potatoes and asparagus spears any more.”
Ziegler says that Americans are growing more interested in the flavor profiles that originated in Middle Eastern and southwest Asian cuisines. “I’m a history major and I’m a chef. I sell spices on a daily basis, and increasingly the flavor profiles that even the young chefs are asking me for are increasingly southwest Asian,” he said. “I believe that 3-1/2 million to 5-1/2 million Americans have traveled or lived extensively in Afghanistan, Iraq, Bahrein and the Middle East, and those flavor profiles have come back to the United States, and I think that’s going to be a burgeoning trend.”
New Dehli-born Chef Suvir Saran, Executive Chef at Devi in New York City and Chairman of Asian Culinary Studies for the Culinary Institute of America, says that he sees Americans’ growing interest in spices as an indication that Americans are becoming more mindful about how they cook and eat. “My feeling is that we’ve been a nation that’s reactionary and loves fads and diets and trends. With the economic recession ending, people have become less reactionary, and they’re becoming more mindful,” he said. “Taking Mediterranean or whatever comfort food we were already doing and adding more herbs and flavors and spices will be a way that we can cook and eat more mindfully and also save money in the end. Spices and flavoring ingredients are cheap. They’re wallet-friendly and last a lifetime. They give you great joy and great flavor without spending too much…. As there is more availability for aromatics and spices, we can incorporate these into what we already know and create more breadth and depth in our repertoire.”
Chef Staffan Terje, Chef/Owner of Perbacco restaurant in San Francisco, agrees. “I don’t think food ever gets boring. I never think flavors go out of style. I think that people find new things and discover new things for themselves, whether they’re eating or cooking, but I never think that basil and tomato is going to be boring,” he said. “Chefs are exploring other spices and herbs and flavors that might not be familiar to people. Spices had a place that’s been pretty constant for a long time in different foods, but I see that people are exploring things in the spice realm itself. It’s not so much about the heat of spiciness but about different flavor combinations. You’ll see things like cloves and allspice sneaking their way in.”
“I look at how I flavor my own dishes, cooking northern Italian food, and I look at history. Italians were part of the early spice market and adapted things that came from the East and from the New World,” he continued. “You start looking at old European recipes, and you’ll find some very interesting things – the use of cinnamon, the use of ginger – things that came from the Middle East. It’s not just about chile peppers.”
Chef Hosea Rosenberg, owner of Blackbelly Catering in Boulder, Colo. and winner of the fifth season of “Top Chef,” says he’s hearing a lot from his fellow chefs about their interest in the cuisines of Morocco and Latin America. “Everyone’s familiar with Americanized Mexican, but there are so many regional cuisines in Mexico that have not been highlighted, such as Oaxacan,” he said. “I see a few chefs that are starting to get a lot more press attention that are either from Morocco or have Moroccan heritage. It’s an amazing cuisine, and I don’t think there’s enough attention to it as of yet.”
He is exploring both of these cuisines in his own cooking, especially the tagines characteristic of Moroccan cuisine. “I just love the slow cooking, especially in the wintertime. Slow braises of meat. I have a farm and we raise our own lamb, and I’m always looking for creative ways to cook and serve lamb,” he said. “This type of cuisine really lends itself into turning a cheaper cut, if you will, into a remarkable centerpiece-type dish.”
“Now that it’s so easy to access all these spices, I see people really taking regional American cuisine and applying global spices to them as well to enhance those dishes,” said Chef Matt Greco, Executive Chef at The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards in California. “People are using spices that, not long ago, no one had ever heard of.”
“You’re definitely seeing a lot of that cross between American, especially southern American, with Asian flavors,” he continued. “I definitely see a lot more fermented products. Korea uses so many fermented products in their food. I definitely see those types of influences applied to American cuisine. The past five years have seen a rebirth of southern American food, and that whole movement is going to other areas of the United States that have their own food cultures.”
Market Street, part of The United Family™, is introducing a new loyalty program for customers at its Dallas/Fort Worth area stores. The new guest engagement program is free, offering an enhanced mobile application (app) and a more customized shopping experience, saving customers time and money.
The new program features purchase recommendations, product coupons and free offers that are individually tailored to each guest based on shopping habits, creating a personalized experience that allows guests to easily take advantage of relevant offers. More than 167,000 customers who are already registered as “Smart Rewards” members are automatically enrolled into the new program and have until May 20 to redeem existing loyalty points.
“Our new loyalty program in Dallas/Fort Worth offers Market Street guests a unique opportunity to have a say in which coupons, discounts and rewards they receive,” said Robin Cash, Loyalty Marketing Manager for The United Family™. “These changes allow us to offer guests more of what they want and use, improving the overall shopping experience by saving time and money.”
Market Street loyalty program members have exclusive access to deals, coupons, promotions and sweepstakes. Redeeming offers has also been made simpler, as customers will only need to provide a phone number at checkout rather than carrying a membership card.
A new iPhone app, available today, also offers the ability to update profiles for a more customized experience. With one touch, customers can view and share shopping lists via text and email, as well as add unique Market Street recipes and coupons directly from the weekly ad. To access the mobile app, iPhone users can visit the Apple App Store and search keyword “Market Street.”
Reward and promotional offers for the new loyalty program will include kids club, health and wellness initiatives, beer and wine offers and pet-related deals, allowing customers to select rewards according to their needs.
Registering and redeeming points is easy and can be done online at www.marketstreetdfw.com, using the new Market Street mobile app, or visiting in-store kiosks in the company’s seven Dallas/Fort Worth locations: Allen, Colleyville, Coppell, Flower Mound, Frisco, McKinney and Plano.
Cherchies Specialty Foods is introducing four new products to its line of gourmet foods: Strawberry Hot Pepper Jam, Blackberry Preserves, Lem’n Raspberry Marmalade, and Apple Butter Spread. Cherchies showcases these items in new attractive 10-ounce jars perfect for creating an enticing product display.
Cherchies Specialty Foods has been producing award-winning gourmet foods since 1978 and has a reputation for innovation, excellence in quality and personal-touch customer service.
For more information about Cherchies Specialty Foods, call Christine Hartfield at 800-644-1980 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Giovanni Food Co. Inc. has earned Gluten-Free Certification from NSF International, a global public health organization, for its Greenview Kitchen organic pasta sauce, pizza sauce and bruschetta. The NSF Gluten-Free label is a signal to consumers with gluten intolerance or celiac disease that the product contains less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten.
This is essential as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently published the final rule that sets a gluten limit of 20 parts per million (ppm) in foods labeled as “gluten-free,” “without gluten,” “free of gluten” or “no gluten.” The compliance date of this final rule is August 5, 2014. In 2011, NSF International developed a voluntary gluten-free standard and certification program, which verifies that certified products do not exceed this limit.
This certification helps Giovanni Food Co. meet the needs of consumers who need verification that the products they purchase are gluten-free. It is also significant to the company’s current private-label and contract manufacturing customers.
“It is important to our company that we provide consumers with products that have the attributes they are looking for,” said Louis DeMent, CEO of Giovanni Food Co. “Having this gluten-free certification, along with our recent non-GMO project verification, enables our brand, Greenview Kitchen, to stand out among the many others that are in the marketplace.”
To earn the certification, Giovanni Food Co. had to meet the requirements of the NSF Gluten-Free Certification Program by developing a gluten-free compliance plan for production and/or handling facilities and successfully pass both on-site facility audits and product testing. Supplier assurance, manufacturing practices and training methods were evaluated to verify the company’s ability to create products that meet the certification requirements. Random product samples were collected and tested at an NSF International laboratory to verify gluten levels are below the FDA limit.Facilities are audited and products are tested annually to confirm ongoing compliance to the program.
“NSF International developed this voluntary standard to provide consumers with a science-based gluten-free certification program they can trust,” said Jaclyn Bowen, General Manager, Agriculture and Specialty Food Programs at NSF International. “Earning NSF Gluten-Free Certification for its Greenview Kitchen organic pasta sauce, pizza sauce and bruschetta demonstrates Giovanni Food Co.’s dedication to meeting the needs of its customers as well as the gluten-free integrity of its products.”
Products meeting all certification requirements are authorized to bear the NSF Gluten-Free seal and are included on NSF International’s website to demonstrate the products are certified gluten-free.
Not the typical granola, WOATS Oatsnack is a sweet modern day fusion of wholesome gently baked oats and premium ingredients that kids can enjoy and parents can feel good about. Their mouth-watering flavors and convenient size make them an easy on-the-go solution for when hunger strikes between classes or after school.
Each bag is filled with delicious clusters of healthy oats and tantalizing ingredients that satisfy cravings without preservatives or excess fat. Nuts About Berries pairs handfuls of Southern roasted praline pecans with tangy cranberries for a mix that will give students energy so they can focus on their goals. Cookies ‘n’ Dreams is a sweet treat any child will adore, filled with golden oats and savory chunks of chocolate vanilla cream sandwich cookies. Peanut Butter Graham Slam is the perfect snack for game day, with crisp honey graham crackers and sweet butter toffee peanuts that add protein to this healthy indulgence.
Founded in December 2003, Anderson Trail is a values-driven food company with the motto of “Humble Oats with Ambition.” This not only stands for their creative flavor combinations, but also represents founder Justin Anderson’s desire to help other kids and young adults dream big. Anderson set his sights on entrepreneurship at the age of 16, founding his first successful venture into the food market with Anderson Trail Premium Soft Granola. Driven by his learning experiences and the adversity he faced with breaking into the industry at such a young age, Anderson has implemented his own motivational system for inspiring kids today to find and succeed at their passions. WOATS is available in select stores, and can now be found in one of the new displays being featured in 47 Target locations across the nation.
The family owned and operated Springfield Creamery announced today that its legacy brand of Nancy’s Organic Dairy products is now Non-GMO Project verified through the Non-GMO Project – making the Nancy’s brand one of the few Non-GMO Project verified organic yogurts with national distribution. Nancy’s Organic Lowfat Kefir and Nancy’s Organic Lowfat Cultured Cottage Cheese are the first Non-GMO Project verified kefir and cottage cheese currently on the market.
Specific foods consumed by young children are leading to excessive intake of saturated fat and sodium in their daily diets. New research presented today at the Experimental Biology 2014 conference shows cheese, hotdogs, whole and two percent milk are among the top foods and beverages contributing to saturated fat and sodium intakes of toddlers and preschoolers.
Since milk is key in children’s diets and a top contributor of many important nutrients including protein, calcium, vitamins A, D, B12; thiamin and riboflavin, the recommendation is not for parents to limit milk but instead to offer lower fat options such as 1 percent and skim. Other sources of saturated fat should be limited in the diets of young children.
The new findings are from a recent analysis of the 2008 Nestle Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study (FITS), the largest, most comprehensive dietary intake survey of parents and caregivers of young children. These insights may have implications for helping address childhood obesity among two- to four-year olds in the United States.
“The first years of a child’s life are a critical period of development. Instilling good eating habits during this time can help put a child on the path to a healthy future,” said Kathleen Reidy, DrPH, RD, and Head of Nutrition Science, Nestle Infant Nutrition. “Our findings indicate snacks are a significant portion of young children’s diets, and families can play an important role by planning nutritious snacks, especially when on-the-go.”
Data from the recent FITS analysis shows that while young children are snacking more frequently at home, snacks consumed outside the home add about 50 additional calories to their daily diets.
Drs. Reidy and Denise Deming of Nestle presented two abstracts on the recent analysis of FITS 2008 during the “Nutrition Education: Childhood Obesity Prevention I” symposium at the Experimental Biology 2014 conference.
Dr. Reidy, the lead author of an analysis examining top food sources contributing to energy (calories), saturated fat and sodium intake in the diets of toddlers (12-23 months) and preschoolers (24-47 months) found:
A few foods contribute almost 50 percent of daily calories – these include milk, cheese, bread and rolls, ready-to-eat cereals, poultry (chicken and turkey), butter, margarine or other fats.
Preschoolers are consuming nearly one-third, or about 400, of their total daily calories from solid fats and added sugars.
Top foods representing 70 percent of saturated fat intake include milk, cheese, butter, hot dogs/bacon, beef, poultry and cakes/cookies.
Top foods contributing almost 40 percent of young children’s sodium intake include milk, hot dogs and bacon, chicken/turkey, cheese, bread and rolls, crackers and ready-to-eat cereals. This intake equates to a child (24-47 months) consuming an average of 1,863 milligrams of sodium per day.
The new findings complement previously released research from FITS which showed 45 percent of toddlers and 78 percent of preschoolers consume more sodium than recommended.
Dr. Denise Deming analyzed dietary intake surveys for parents of 2,386 toddlers and preschoolers to lead an analysis on how snacking patterns among U.S. toddlers and preschoolers differ according to location. Dr. Deming found:
Many children consume milk, crackers and fresh fruits at snack time, but a variety of sweet snacks become the more popular choice when snacks are consumed away from home.
Snacks consumed away from home contributed about 50 more calories to the daily diet.
The FITS 2008 study evaluated the diets of 3,378 children from birth to four years of age. Study participants which included parents or primary caregivers of infants and young children completed twenty-four hour dietary recall surveys by telephone. For the study, parents or caregivers were allowed to define what foods children consumed as snacks and where these were consumed.
Urban Organics, a large-scale indoor aquaponics farm located in the historic Hamm’s Brewery building in East St. Paul, Minn. is now open for business. Urban Organics will offer immediate access to fresh, delicious and healthy foods for the Twin Cities community. Its first crops — hyperlocal, organic fresh greens — are on shelves at select Lunds and Byerly’s stores.
Aquaponics is the combined culture of fish and hydroponic vegetable crops in a closed-loop, recirculating aquaculture system (RAS). In aquaponics, fish provide the nutrients that plants need to grow, and the plants act as a filter to improve the water quality for the fish. Pentair Aquatic Eco-Systems, Inc. and its team of experts including engineers, horticulturists and biologists worked with Urban Organics to design, install and engineer the world-class system—one of the largest and most advanced aquaponics facilities in the nation.
“Our mission is to inspire a food system for the people, by the people,” says Fred Haberman, co-founder and CEO of Haberman and co-founder and partner in Urban Organics. “We are starting with a community-rooted, self-sustaining aquaponics facility in an area in need of economic revival — East St. Paul. But this is a test for a movement that can be scaled nationally and internationally. This level of aquaponics could change the world of farming as we know it.”
At Urban Organics, kale, Swiss chard, Italian parsley and cilantro are the first crops, and tilapia will follow in mid-summer. These fresh, organic local greens don’t depend on the weather or growing seasons and will be available year-round. The produce will be in stores within a day of when it is harvested — the freshest, most local produce available at grocery stores.
“The world’s population — and more specifically the middle class population — is growing, and with it, the demand for fish protein is quickly surpassing sustainable natural fish production. Aquaponics has the potential to help meet the demand, while reducing pressure on fish populations in the wild,” says Randall J. Hogan, Chairman and CEO of Pentair. “Our expertise in water systems and solutions allows us to re-imagine fish farming in a sustainable way that provides a real commercial option to help solve this growing food dilemma, and potentially support urban growth and renewal.”
“This remarkable transformation from stockhouse to aquaponics farm is a true testament to how these old brewery buildings can be revitalized,” says Chris Coleman, Mayor of St. Paul, Minn. “The innovation and passion of the Urban Organics team is inspiring, and I’m proud to welcome them to Saint Paul.”
Urban Organics is an indoor aquaponics facility providing hyperlocal, sustainable, year-round fish and greens to the Twin Cities. To learn more, visit urbanorganics.com and facebook/uo.saintpaul.