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Spring Green Wisconsin Colby wins Best in Class at 2014 World Championship Cheese Contest

Arena Cheese’s Spring Green Colby won Best of Class at the 2014 World Championship Cheese Contest.   Team Arena, led by Cheesemaker Bill Hanson, will be proud to accept the medal and blue ribbon at the awards banquet to recognize this team’s continual striving for excellence.   “We are honored to be recognized as the best among so many fine cheesemakers who make Colby.  We’ve been making authentic Colby cheese traditionally for over 15 years,” stated Bill Hanson, a Wisconsin cheesemaker for over 25 years.   The World Championship Cheese Contest is the largest technical evaluation of cheese and butter in the world. This year, 2,615 entries from 22 countries were entered into 90 categories.

The story of Colby Cheese is one of American ingenuity and abundance of quality ingredients.  In 1885, a cheesemaker by the name of Joseph P. Steinwand in the Wisconsin town of Colby was working on a cow’s milk Cheddar cheese in his creamery.   He experimented by washing his curds in cold water. This slight change in the cheese making process created a new cheese that was like Cheddar but creamier, softer and with a milder, more buttery flavor…the cheese we now enjoy as Colby.

Spring Green Colby cheese, crafted  in Arena, Wisc. by Arena Cheese, garnered another high honor by being re-certified for an additional year under the BRC Global Food Standards guidelines with an A rating, the highest possible, as part of the Global Food Safety initiative.  “As retailers and consumers are demanding more safety in the food we eat, Arena Cheese is proud to be working at the very highest standards and for being acknowledged for this effort,” says Cheesemaker Bill Hanson.

Arena has earned 13 national awards since 2002 and took home an award this year for Fresh Cheddar Curds in addition to the Best in Class award earned by the Spring Green Colby. In total, 257 cheese companies entered 1,794 different products for judging.

Arena Cheese is one of Wisconsin’s oldest cheese plants.  This creamery is located in the Wisconsin River Valley within the lush, green rolling hills of the Spring Green area, made famous by visionary architect, Frank Lloyd Wright as well as by Arena’s delicious cheeses.   Arena Cheese also makes deli horn mild Gouda, a natural hardwood Smoked Gouda and longhorn and deli horns of Colby/Jack.

 

Natural Products Association Names New CEO

The Natural Products Association (NPA), a non-profit trade organization dedicated to the natural products industry, today announced that Daniel Fabricant, Ph.D., will be its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Fabricant has worked as the Director of the Division of Dietary Supplement Programs at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the past three years, and prior to that was Vice President of global government and scientific affairs for NPA, including serving as Active CEO for several months in 2009.  

NPA is the largest and oldest organization representing the entire natural products industry, with more than 2,000 members in all 50 states and internationally, accounting for over 10,000 retail, manufacturing, wholesale, and distribution locations of natural products, including foods, dietary supplements, and health/beauty aids.

“We couldn’t be more pleased that Dr. Fabricant will be returning to NPA. His service to this association in the past, coupled with the invaluable experience he has gathered at FDA, make him the perfect choice to lead our association in this era of growth,” said NPA President Roxanne Green. “He knows the industry as well, if not better, than anyone. NPA is committed to ensuring that the public knows what is truly natural, that our members understand the complex rules and regulations governing our industry, and that policymakers get the facts. As the foremost industry expert on natural products and dietary supplement issues, Dr. Fabricant will help us achieve those goals.”

“NPA is the leading association in the industry, and my top priority is ensuring NPA remains the premiere organization for advocacy and regulatory engagement.  NPA is made up of leaders, and we are going to dedicate ourselves to strengthening that leadership position through hard work and membership growth. Now is the time to take our productivity to the next level, and that is precisely what we will do,” said Fabricant.

Fabricant has published extensively and is internationally recognized both for his regulatory and governmental public health expertise and natural products research. He is a sought after speaker, regular guest on national news programs and has testified before Congress. He was awarded the FDA Commissioners Award for his service on several different initiatives. His service at FDA required him to direct agency policy, public affairs and regulatory action regarding regulation of the $32+ billion (USD) dietary supplement industry, a commodity used by over 180 million Americans daily.

Dragon Fruit Jin+Ja Named sofi Award Finalist

The Specialty Food Association has notified Canada Enterprises LLC, the creator of Jin+Ja, that Dragon Fruit Jin + Ja is a 2014 sofi™ Awards finalist for Outstanding Cold Beverage. There were 2,025 entries across all 30 Awards in Part 1.

Gold Winners will be determined in a special tasting by 200+ buyers at the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York City on Sunday, June 29 and Monday, June 30.  Gold Winners will be announced that Monday, June 30, at a red-carpet ceremony hosted by noted chef Dominique Ansel.

Jane’s Dough Foods to Exhibit at Gluten & Allergen Free Expo

Coming off a successful exposition of its newest gluten-free pizza at Natural Products Expo West in March, Sonoma Flatbreads by Donatos® is continuing to rise. The emerging new brand will exhibit at the Gluten & Allergen Free (GFAF) Expo in Schaumburg, Ill., on April 12-13, 2014. The Gluten & Allergen Free Expo, which attracts more than 20,000 gluten-free and allergen-free consumers each year, is hosting the first iteration of its six-city tour this year in the Chicago area. The expo features presenters who are experts in the gluten and allergen free space and is touted to be the largest gluten free exposition in the United States.

GF Pepperoni Glamour 2Appealing to everyday and gourmet pizza lovers alike – and to those who like to personalize their pizza – the newest offering to join the Sonoma Flatbreads line of gluten-free pizzas is Chicken and Fire Roasted Peppers. This 12-inch pizza has a net weight of 18.88 ounces and includes a special crushed red pepper spice packet.

GF Pep 1Exhibiting at Gluten & Allergen Free Expo is timely for Jane’s Dough Foods, an independent, family-owned company celebrating more than 50 years of business, as the company is innovating the way consumers think about gluten-free pizza. “We are redefining gluten-free pizza by combining the flavors and ingredients that speak to today’s consumer with 50 years of restaurant industry know-how,” says Alan Hoover, General Manager of Jane’s Dough Foods, maker of Sonoma Flatbreads. The pizza features antibiotic-free chicken that was fed a vegetarian diet and is minimally processed. The pepper trio includes fire roasted green, red, and yellow bell peppers. A rich tomato sauce and lightly smoked provolone round out the offering. Made with “simply honest ingredients,” there are no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives in any of the Sonoma Flatbreads line. Each serving of the new pizza flavor provides 14 grams of protein. The suggested retail price is $8.99.

DF MAVENS Signs on with 5W Public Relations to Promote Dairy-Free Ice Cream Brand

 5W Public Relations, one of the 25 largest independent public relations firms in the U.S., has added DF MAVENS  to its diverse roster of food and consumer packaged goods clients. DF MAVENS is a new and delicious dairy-free ice cream created by Malcolm Stogo, one of the world’s leading ice cream experts.

A dairy-free dessert unlike any other, DF MAVENS products provide a treat that everyone can enjoy – vegans, lactose intolerant and anyone who loves eating ice cream. Combining the finest and healthiest ingredients from around the world, DF MAVENS comes in three main varieties including soy, coconut and almond. All products are dairy-free, gluten-free, do not contain preservatives or cholesterol and are Kosher.  No Sugar Added options are also available and all products come in flavors such as Madagascar Vanilla Bean, Del Lago Chocolate, Peanut Butter Fudge Mash, New Orleans Salted Praline, Mocha Almond Chip, Mint Almond Cookie and many more.

“We are thrilled to be working with the DF MAVENS team,” said Ronn Torossian, CEO, 5W Public Relations.  “As a leader in the food space, 5W will utilize our team’s unparalleled work ethic and creativity to develop unique campaigns, and generate maximum exposure among consumers for this innovative brand and its exceptional dairy-free products.”

Nick Lachey Joins Lindt GOLD BUNNY Celebrity Auction for Autism Speaks

Nick Lachey, television personality, multi-platinum recording artist, loving husband and father, joined premium chocolatier, Lindt USA, to launch the fifth Lindt GOLD BUNNY Celebrity Auction and help raise awareness for autism, a cause close to his family. Lachey, who shared his personal connection to autism, joined the exclusive line-up of nearly 100 celebrities participating in this year’s auction by donating autographs.  One hundred percent of proceeds from the celebrity-signed Lindt GOLD BUNNY figures will benefit the world’s leading autism research and advocacy organization, Autism Speaks. This year, Lindt will make a matching donation.  Now through April 14, fans can bid on celebrity-signed porcelain Lindt GOLD BUNNY figures – from Kelly Clarkson to Sarah Jessica Parker, Tom Brady and Seth Meyers – and give back this Easter.

“It’s an honor to help launch this year’s Lindt GOLD BUNNY Celebrity Auction and support a cause very close to my family,” said Lachey.  “My younger brother, Zac, was diagnosed with autism as a child, and we’re continuously inspired by his perseverance and strength.  Autism affects so many families, and Lindt is offering simple ways to get involved this Easter and help give back.”

New Hope Natural Media’s NEXT Trend Wins Internet Advertising Competition Award

 New Hope Natural Media, which produces the Natural Products Expos, has won a 2014 Internet Advertising Competition Award in the “Outstanding Website – Consumer Goods” category for its online data and insight solution NEXT Trend.  NEXT Trend offers proprietary pre-shelf products data for the natural and healthy living market, future trend predictions and insights, a predictive consumer segmentation, custom research and extensive industry expertise that helps enterprise level companies quickly recognize and act on emerging, high-growth market opportunities.   

Produced by the Web Marketing Association, the Internet Advertising Competition is an annual awards program that honors excellence in online advertising, recognizes the individuals and organizations responsible, and showcases the best in Internet advertising.

“The Internet Advertising Competition awards recognize outstanding achievements in online advertising.  We are honored to be a winner of this respected awards competition,” said Bill Tuohig, Vice President and Product Leader of New Hope Natural Media.  “This award is a testament to the hard work of our team and the creative approach we are taking to developing new kinds of data and insight solutions for the natural products marketplace.”

NEXT Trend assists consumer food and beverage companies, retailers, suppliers and investment firms identify key market drivers; predict which pre-shelf products and ingredients are poised for widespread adoption; develop targeted, localized go-to-market strategies; and minimize risk and accelerate speed to market with a fast, affordable, early product concept filter. Next Trend’s exclusive pre-shelf data includes: 30+ top trends, 40,000+ products, ingredients and attributes, 8,000+ ingredients, and 1,000+ product categories.

New Hope Natural Media’s Predictive Consumer Segmentation is also overlaid within NEXT Trend to help brands and retailers identify and target consumers who are most likely to be early adopters of natural products and the regions where those consumers are to be found, which are areas within the U.S. that offer high success potential for new products.  Five key consumer segments differentiated by early adoption, lifestyles, behaviors and beliefs toward health and wellness were created from the research, redefining traditional market segmentation.  The segmentation allows companies to effectively target interested, passionate consumers and provides them with concepts and marketing strategies to optimize product innovation.

NEXT Trend also provides a dynamic Product Concept Lab within the Predictive Consumer Segmentation, which allows product innovators to test new product concepts early in the new product development cycle.  This early, fast product filter allows innovators to focus on high potential product concepts, which saves time and money and decreases new product development cycle times.

Last month, NEXT Trend announced that blue chip consumer packaged goods companies – TwinLab, MetaBrand, Lundberg Family Farms, General Mills Small Planet Foods, Clorox, Kellogg’s Kashi, Quinoa Corporation, and PepsiCO – are among those using the online data and insight solution to gain a competitive edge when bringing natural products to market.

To learn more or see NEXT Trend in action, visit www.nexttrend.com.

Americans Travel to Great Britain One Cheese at a Time

By Lucas Witman

From the royal wedding to the London Olympics and from Harry Potter to Downton Abbey, British culture has never been more popular in the United States than it is today. Americans seem positively poised to pounce on any book, movie, television show or event emblazoned with the Union Jack or featuring iconic Briticisms. Once much maligned on this side of the Atlantic, British foods have not escaped the U.K. invasion, including what has perhaps become the most sought after British food staple in the United States: cheese. Today, shoppers at any artisan cheese shop in the United States or even any grocery store specialty cheese case can choose among a wide variety of British offerings.

When it comes to bringing British cheeses to the U.S. market, companies in the United Kingdom must navigate several particular challenges. Perhaps the biggest technical challenge British cheese producers face in exporting their products to this country concerns the different standards for the use of antibiotics that are in place in the United States and Europe. In Great Britain, a farmer can use antibiotics to treat a sick animal, but that animal must then be quarantined for several months before it can be allowed back into the herd. In the United States, once treated with antibiotics, the animal must be permanently removed from the herd. Some British cheese companies have overcome this disparity in standards by raising two separate herds, one producing milk for cheeses to be consumed domestically and one producing milk for cheeses intended for export to the United States.

Beyond the technical issues facing British cheese exports, however, there are a host of other adaptations companies in the United Kingdom must make in order to effectively reach out to American consumers. The Irish Dairy Board found this out when it first began selling its Pilgrim’s Choice line, one of the most popular cheese lines in Great Britain, in the United States.

“A key headline for our business is that U.S. Consumers want to know where the product comes from,” said Conor O’Donovan, Category Sales Manager for U.K. Cheese at the Irish Dairy Board. “While Pilgrim’s Choice as a brand name has strong resonance in the U.K., it was relatively meaningless in the U.S. so it was important to define the origin of the cheese and find a name that resonates for the consumer.” By changing the name of the cheese line to Londoner and placing a Union Jack prominently on the label, the company found that it was finally able to effectively market its cheeses to U.S. consumers.

Another part of successfully marketing British specialty foods in the United States is learning about and responding to uniquely American trends. According to Nicola Turner Export Director for Kingdom British Organic Heritage Cheeses, perhaps the biggest American trend to which her company has been forced to adapt is the U.S. local products movement.

“In the U.S., there is very much a drive for local and supporting local,” said Turner. “In the U.K., this exists too but imported specialty cheeses offer something different. It’s about discovery—allowing you to experience a new place, a new culture from your own four walls.”

Turner also noted that cheese consumption in the United States is tied to wine consumption in a way that does not necessarily translate to the British marketplace. “There seems to be far more focus on wine pairings in the U.S. It does happen in the U.K., but in the U.S. you guys take it to another level,” she said. “In the U.K. … there isn’t this whole culture of matching wines. That’s something that I’ve had to get up to speed with quickly here.”

Still, despite a variety of cultural differences separating U.S. and U.K. consumers, British cheese companies have found that when it comes to the consumer flavor palate, there is relatively little difference between the two countries. “What we’ve found is that flavor profiles that develop in the U.K. are a good benchmark of what’s coming to the U.S.,” said O’Donovan. “We find that whatever flavor profile is becoming big in the U.K., generally America will follow. That’s been our experience,” said O’Donovan.

Richard Newton-Jones, Commercial Director for Welsh cheesemaker Snowdonia Cheese Company echoes O’Donovan’s observations, arguing that as Americans taste his company’s cheeses, the varieties and flavors that they most respond to are the same varieties and flavors that are the company’s biggest sellers in Great Britain. Although not yet commercially available in the United States, Snowdonia is planning to introduce its cheeses to this market in the near future, and Newton-Jones says that it will make no changes to the product in order to appeal to American palates.

When it comes to cheeses native to the British Isles, there are several products that are historically synonymous with this nation. Stilton, for example, is a popular bleu cheese linked to the British counties of Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. Caerphilly is one of the most popular Welsh cheeses, a mild, crumbly cow’s milk cheese with a pleasant tang. And Wensleydale is one of the most popular cheeses throughout Britain, often found blended with cranberries or apples.

However, the undisputed king of British cheeses is Cheddar. “The cheese market and the specialty cheese market is very competitive. There are hundreds of cheeses here,” said Turner. “Cheddar is our first offering, because everyone likes a good cheddar.”

Cheddar cheese represents British culinary heritage perhaps more than any other food. The cheese was originally made in and is named for the village of Cheddar in the southwestern corner of the country. Historically, the cheese was aged in the area’s many caves. Cheddar cheese benefited from the region’s unique climate, and the abundant grassy landscape that provides almost all of the diet for the area’s cows.

There are a number of things that make authentic British cheddars a much sought after cheese treat throughout the world. “British cheddar offers a discovery of an area that is very much well known for the taste of its cheese. You’ll have a different Cheddar experience,” said Turner.

“It is a different flavor profile, and the whole make process is different,” said Newton-Jones. “Basically the starter cultures which are used in these products are different from American cheddars. Also it’s different because the climate is different. For Snowdonia, we have a very high rainfall. The dairy herds in North Wales are grassfed herds. So we don’t have very high yielding herds … The result of that is that you get a higher level of butterfat and protein in the milk. So that allows us to produce a very high quality cheese as well.”

In explaining what makes British Cheddar so special, O’Donovan offered a British saying, popular among the country’s cheesemakers: “You have the grass in the cow’s tail,” he said. “What it means is that literally the cow’s tail is in the grass. Therefore you have the real grassy flavor.”

For Turner, bringing her company’s cheese to American consumers is about giving them an opportunity to figuratively travel to a new place. Regardless of the popularity of local foods in this country, when it comes to cheese, she believes there will always be a place in the U.S. consumer landscape for imported products that offer a taste of a particular place in the world.

“It’s unique, and it’s a discovery, and I think that’s what consumers are saying,” said Turner. “When it comes to specialty cheese, it gives them a way of discovering new things. You can support local, but it adds a little more spice by trying different things. It’s a bit like traveling the world without going anywhere.”

Emmi Roth USA to Sponsor Four Taste of the Nation Events

Emmi Roth USA will be a national partner and the official specialty cheese sponsor at four of Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation® events, including the upcoming Taste of the Nation Houston event on April 6.

At Taste of the Nation events, guests will have the opportunity to sample a range of imported cheeses from Switzerland, such as Kaltbach Cave-aged Le Gruyère AOP, Kaltbach Cave-aged Emmentaler AOC, SwissArt and Appenzeller, along with award-winning selections from Wisconsin, including Grand Cru® Reserve, Buttermilk Blue®, GranQueso®, Horseradish Havarti, and the recently introduced 3 Chile Pepper Gouda.

Every year, Taste of the Nation events bring together the country’s best chefs, sommeliers and mixologists to raise money for Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry® campaign, which is ending childhood hunger in America by connecting kids in need to the healthy food they need, every day. Held in more than 30 cities across the nation, guests of Taste of the Nation can sip and sample gourmet creations from each city’s premier culinary talent and participate in unique culinary, travel and lifestyle auctions – all while raising funds to make No Kid Hungry a reality. Since 1988, Taste of the Nation has raised more than $85 million.

“We are proud to sponsor Taste of the Nation events and continue to serve as proud partners of the No Kid Hungry campaign this year,” said Linda Duwve, Vice President of Sales at Emmi Roth USA. “We look forward to sharing our domestic and international award-winning cheeses with food lovers across the country for a great cause.”

Taste of the Nation  Houston will be held April 6, 2014 at the Houstonian Hotel Club & Spa. Emmi Roth will also sponsor Taste of the Nation events in New York City on April 28, Minneapolis on June 23 and Chicago on August 13.

In addition to sponsoring the events, Emmi Roth USA will donate $1 to the No Kid Hungry campaign for each Roth Signature Cheese Board Kit sold in 2014. For more information on the Cheese Board Kit, visit www.emmirothfoodservice.com.

New Snack Food Mixes from Navitas Naturals

Four new energizing organic Superfood+ Seeds and Nuts mixes from Navitas Naturals elevate healthy snacking to a whole new level. Maca Maple Cashews, Chia Rosemary Pepitas, Goji Basil Cashews and Goldenberry Ginger Almonds are ‘Handfuls of Goodness’ that combine best-selling Navitas superfoods with healthy, raw, organic seeds and nuts. These delicious gluten-free, GMO-free snack mixes are fortified with organic maca, goji, chia and goldenberry powders.

Navitas superfood+ 6 wideSuperfood+ Seeds and Nuts mixes build off the success of the award-winning line of Navitas Power Snacks that was introduced in 2011. “Our new snacks make it easy for people to integrate organic superfoods into their diet,” says CEO and Founder Zach Adelman. “We aim to provide people with nutrition convenience in the form of tasty superfood snacks that help active people ensure they’re getting optimal nutrition.”

Each of the four Superfood+ Seeds and Nuts mixes is offered in a 4-ounce resealable pouch. The organic snacks provide a balanced supply of antioxidants, fiber, protein, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. Navitas Naturals makes Food For the Modern Life™, and the company’s products are widely available at thousands of stores throughout North America and online.

Maca Maple Cashews

These sweet maple superfood cashews are a delicious blend of raw cashews, the butterscotch-like flavor of maca and sweet maple syrup. Maca is a root from the Andes Mountains of Peru that is a complex, nutrient-dense whole food source of vitamins, amino acids, plant sterols, essential minerals and essential fatty acids. Maca has been traditionally used as a stress-fighting adaptogen and to increase stamina, boost libido and combat fatigue. Raw cashews contain many beneficial fats, and they’re also a good source of plant-based protein (5 grams per ounce) and minerals including iron, magnesium, phosphorous, zinc, copper and manganese. Maple syrup is a delicious natural sweetener that provides trace minerals and vitamins. The suggested retail price is $6.99.

Chia Rosemary Pepitas

These savory Italian superfood pepitas feature a combination of nutritious chia seeds and crunchy pepitas (the culinary term for pumpkin seeds) with classic Italian seasonings: garlic and rosemary. Chia seeds are a plentiful source of omega fatty acids and protein and they also contain a good supply of antioxidants, complex carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. Pepitas provide an abundance of amino acids, unsaturated fats including omega-3, and minerals such as calcium, potassium, zinc and phosphorous. They’re also a good source of beta-carotene, and vitamins B, C, D, E and K. Garlic contains healthy compounds such as sulfur-containing allicin, oligosaccharides, arginine-rich proteins, selenium and flavonoids. Rosemary is a powerful herb known to be a rich source of antioxidants. The suggested retail price is $5.99.

Goji Basil Cashews

These zesty roma superfood cashews combine the superfood nutrition benefits of goji berries and raw cashews with delicious spices reminiscent of classic Italian tomato basil. Goji berries are one of the most abundant sources of antioxidants, and they’re also a good source of protein, vitamin A and vitamin C. Gojis provide diverse nutrition – with 20 vitamins and minerals including zinc, iron, phosphorus and riboflavin (B2) and beta-carotene. Raw cashews contain many beneficial fats, and they’re also a good source of plant-based protein (5 grams per ounce) and minerals including iron, magnesium, phosphorous, zinc, copper and manganese. The mix is lightly sweetened with coconut palm sugar – a  low glycemic sweetener that contains minerals. The suggested retail price is $6.99.

 

Goldenberry Ginger Almonds

These sweet and tangy almonds are a delicious snack that pairs raw organic almonds with nutrient-dense goldenberries to create a handful of goodness that will keep you craving more. The tangy goldenberries are blended with invigorating ginger and a touch of maple syrup to add a tart and sweet flavor to the mix. Goldenberries contain carotene and bioflavonoids (vitamin P), and they’re an excellent source of vitamin A. For a fruit, they possess a high content of protein, and they are also a good source of dietary fiber. Raw almonds are rich in healthy fats, vitamin E, calcium, magnesium and potassium. The nuts are naturally low in sugar, and are also a good source of protein and fiber. This mix also gets a boost from chia seeds, which provide healthy fats, protein, minerals and antioxidants. The suggested retail price is $7.99.

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