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Celiac Disease Diagnoses Spur Innovation

By Richard Thompson

Lynsay Barnes of Edison Grainery says that the company’s interest in gluten-free products came out of necessity. Her mother, Amy, was diagnosed with celiac disease three years ago and after her father saw the high prices on specialty gluten-free products, he decided to started creating gluten-free pastas that the whole family could enjoy and afford.

“We were already supported the organic movement, but we needed to find foods that could be eaten by everyone,” says Barnes. In 2013, Edison Grainery won the Food and Beverage Innovation (FABI) Award for its Organic Quinoa Pasta that provided a product that satisfied dietary needs and keeping pace with culinary trends while maintaining quality and taste.

Edison Grainery carries lines of Organic Quinoa Pasta Spaghetti, Fusilli, Penne and Elbows that are all certified gluten-free, free of the Big-8 in known allergens and imported from Bolivia. Each product is a great source of protein and contains no corn, so the noodles hold up well in water and even gives consumers a little lee-way when it comes to preparation. Paired nicely with any pomodoro, red sauce or white sauce, any traditional dish – or non-traditional dish – can be prepared without sacrificing taste. “What’s really great is that people can’t tell them from traditional pastas,” says Barnes.

John De Puma, whose wife was diagnosed with celiac’s disease 12 years ago, saw a lack of flavorful gluten-free pastas and used his background as a chef to create his own. “There were a limited amount of pastas that were up to par compared to traditional pastas, so I decided to solve that issue,” says De Puma. His company, De Puma’s, is celebrating its eighth anniversary this year.

De Puma’s Three Cheese Tortellini is classically made with ricotta, Parmesan and Romano cheese and cooks just like traditional ravioli, needing only a scoop of water in a slow boil. De Puma’s raviolis come in choices such as Wild Mushroom, Lobster and De Puma’s personal favorite, Spinach and Ricotta.
“We’re a smaller company, so we can make different options that main lines don’t try, like our Sun Dried Tomato and Goat Cheese Raviolis,” says De Puma.

Kings Food Markets Unveils Gourmet Private Label Line

Kings Food Markets has unveiled its own line of gourmet foods and everyday favorites at an outstanding value. Kings Own brand is unique in its range to include both everyday essentials and specialty items that focus on quality and innovation. Kings has procured a selection of domestic, local and international items with uncompromised quality, which shoppers have come to expect.

“At Kings, our passion for food drives us to bring shoppers the highest quality, the freshest and the very best ingredients, and now, through our own assortment of products, we’re able to bring our customers the perfect balance of quality and value, tailored for each product, making great food approachable,” said Judy Spires, President and CEO of Kings Food Markets. “That’s why our shelves are filled with amazing choices that turn everyday experiences into memorable events—and now we’re making it even better.”

Kings Own brand will continue to roll out a range of items across the store, providing customers with new options in every department. From household essentials like orange juice, syrup and eggs to organic and specialty products such as signature sauces and olive oils, imported gelato and chef-prepared foods, Kings is continuing to raise the bar by seeking out the most unique and rare finds. Kings is focusing heavily on organic offerings, as its shoppers are continuing to look for them more and more. Kings Own offers a range of organic pastas, herbs and tomatoes, chips and beans, as well as a selection of honey flavors – to name a few. As the line continues to expand, the focus will shift to more specialty items to round out our offerings.

Each product has been carefully selected to meet the Kings’ standard. For example, Kings Own Marinades and Sauces are crafted in small batches using all-natural, hand-selected ingredients and are available in a wide range of gourmet flavors, including Pineapple Jalapeno, Carne Asada, Sweet Bourbon and Carolina Gold BBQ.

To celebrate this announcement, Kings will launch its “Buy Two, Give One” campaign on September 11, across all stores. Customers will be given a special savings to “Buy Two” of the Kings Own products and then “Give One” to a local food pantry to help fight hunger and will be donating a portion of these goods to the food pantry. The food pantries the chain will be donating to extend across its geographic footprint, including the Food Bank of Somerset, Center for Food Action, Interfaith Food Pantry & Homeless Solutions, Hoboken Shelter, Flemington Food Pantry, Neighbor to Neighbor and Interfaith Nutrition Network.

Listeria Found in Picnic Gourmet Spreads

The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) is warning consumers not to eat products made by Picnic Gourmet Spreads because these products might be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.The potentially contaminated products include Red Pepper Feta Cheese Spread, Moroccan Cilantro Cheese Spread, Tandoori Garlic Cheese Spread, Herbed Goat Cheese, Parmesan Cheese Spread, and Chipotle Sage Cheese Spread. These products were distributed to retail stores in Maryland and other states including Kentucky, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.

The contamination was discovered after routine retail sampling by the DHMH Office of Food Protection, and subsequent analysis by the DHMH Laboratories Administration revealed the presence of Listeria monocytogenes in the product.

The company has ceased production and distribution of these products, and DHMH continues its investigation into the source of the problem. There have been no complaints about these products to DHMH, and DHMH is not aware of any illnesses associated with the products to date. The department urges consumers who might have Picnic Gourmet Spreads products to dispose of them.

Listeria bacteria can cause a serious infection called listeriosis. Listeriosis is caused by eating food contaminated with Listeria bacteria and typically occurs within three days to 10 weeks of consumption (usually within three weeks). Symptoms of listeriosis include fever, muscle aches, headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, and convulsions, which can be preceded by nausea or diarrhea. Listeria infection can be treated with antibiotics.

Persons at higher risk for disease include pregnant women, newborns, elderly persons, and individuals with a weakened immune system (for example, persons with AIDS, cancer, diabetes, or kidney disease). Listeriosis in pregnant women may cause fever and other flu-like symptoms, which can be mild. However, because Listeriainfection can cause premature labor, premature delivery, miscarriage, stillbirth or severe infection of newborns, it is especially important that pregnant women avoid these products.

If a person has any of the above symptoms and has consumed products from Picnic Gourmet Spreads, they should consult their healthcare provider, DHMH stated.

Thomas Harding of Lehigh Valley Organic Growers to be honored by OTA

A long-time organic champion who has played a key role in creating today’s organic sector has been chosen by the Organic Trade Association (OTA) to receive its 2015 Growing the Organic Industry Award.

Thomas Harding, President of Lehigh Valley Organic Growers, is being recognized by OTA for his outstanding work in advancing organic agriculture and the organic industry. The 2015 Organic Leadership Awards will be presented at OTA’s annual awards dinner on September 16 at the Port Discovery Children’s Museum in Baltimore as a kick-off event to Natural Products Expo East.

Harding has been involved with the organic industry for over 35 years, working directly with or as a consultant in business development, farm management, farming, and food distribution. He helped found the Organic Foods Production Association of North America (OTA’s precursor) and went on to become the founding president of the OTA Board.

Harding’s advocacy of organic has had a profound influence on the organic sector and on many organic farmers, including U.S. Senator Jon Tester, who farms an 1,800-acre certified organic farm in Montana and had this to say about Harding: “Switching to organic in the early 1980s allowed me to keep my farm when so many of my neighbors were selling off, and Tom’s advocacy for the industry has helped producers like me stay in agriculture.”

A tireless worker for the organic industry, Harding continues to be active in furthering organic’s role in the nation’s capital, with advocacy efforts on the Hill and development of OTA’s Organic Political Action Committee (PAC). He has been a constant monitoring force concerning standards and related regulations for organic, including the work of the National Organic Standards Board, U.S. Department of Agriculture, the National Organic Program, and Congress. He also has also been a leader at OCIA International, and the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM).

Harding’s vision of success over the years has played a critical part in the maturation of organic as an industry. “For over 40 years, Tom Harding has been a constant force growing the organic movement globally,” said George Siemon, CEO and a founding farmer of Organic Valley. “His contributions in developing organic standards, forming our organic associations, building businesses, and working with various governments to birth organic production worldwide are unmatched in the organic community. His contributions are many and deep in every aspect of organic. I’ve admired and valued his mentorship.”

OTA is honoring three individuals this year for their contributions to organic. In addition to Harding, the other organic award winners are Michael Berger, Managing Partner of Elevation Burger, winner of the Rising Star Award and Benny McLean, Production Manager of Uncle Matt’s Organic, winner of the Farmer of the Year Award.

Natural Products Expo East Preview

The editors of Gourmet News have already found dozens of exhibitors who will be launching new products at Natural Products Expo East to help retailers gain a growing share of this expanding market. Take a look now for a preview of these all-natural food and health, beauty and wellness products. Just click the image below.

 

Tea Board of India to Showcase Best of Indian Teas at World Tea & Coffee Expo

The Tea Board of India will showcase the best of Indian teas at an exclusive pavilion at India’s only international trade show dedicated to the tea and coffee sectors, the World Tea & Coffee Expo, which will be held from October 1-3 at Bombay Exhibition Centre, Goregaon, Mumbai, India.

Exhibitors in the  Tea Board of India Pavilion will include Golden Tips Tea Co Ltd, VarieTea, Makaibari Tea, Simla Tea Co Ltd, to name a few.

The World Tea & Coffee Expo (www.worldteacoffeeexpo.com) is a global expo. In addition to the exhibits, WTCE will include a two-day conference and workshops on tea and coffee topics.

The organizer of the show is Sentinel Exhibitions Asia P Ltd [SEA], a part of the Sentinel media group. For further information, log onto www.worldteacoffeeexpo.com or call +91 22 28625131 or email to info@worldteacoffeeexpo.com

Sanders Hot Fudge Cream Puff, Now Available in Your Kitchen

Sanders’ cream puff shells are now available in the freezer section at select Michigan Kroger stores, in Sanders Chocolate & Ice Cream Shoppes and online at www.sanderscandy.com in a newly designed resealable pouch. 

Sanders Cream Puff Package DealThe packaging update comes after Sanders’ recent launch of its new super premium ice cream cartons, giving shoppers the opportunity to enjoy a real hot fudge cream puff at home using the same ice cream, toppings and cream puffs as Sanders Shoppes. 

“We wanted to design a more purposeful package for our cream puff shells that would really showcase the product inside,” said Walter Pilon, Director of Sales – Bakery & Frozen Goods at Sanders and Morley Candy Makers, Inc. “The crisp graphics and delicious recipe ideas on this pouch definitely make it stand out in any freezer section.” 

Six cream puff shells were previously packed in simple clear bag with a label and twist tie in the past. While the contents are the same, the vessel has been completely updated to better fit in with the modern, yet nostalgic feel of other Sanders products. The resealable pouch is also self-standing, allowing shoppers to immediately notice the iconic Sanders Hot Fudge Cream Puff on the front, while the backside of the package provides various cream puff recipes. 

Andronico’s Community Markets Appoints Cheryl Hughes CFO

 

Andronico’s Community Markets in Berkeley, California has announced that Cheryl Hughes has joined its executive team as Chief Financial Officer. Recently appointed CEO Suzy Monford leads the all female team.

Hughes formerly held the role of Controller for Chemoil, a global oil trading organization and one of the world’s leading retail maritime fuel suppliers, based in San Francisco. She was the highest ranking U.S. finance executive reporting directly to the global CFO for the company. Prior to this role she was CFO at Pacific Convenience & Fuels based in Pleasanton. Her career in food and retail dates back to her role as Director of U.S. Finance with Circle K Stores Inc., where during her 15 year tenure there, she was responsible for accounting, finance, tax and risk management with over $12 billion in annual revenue. Born and raised Wisconsin, Hughes moved to Arizona for Circle K and then to California with her husband and their two daughters.

We’re extremely excited to have Cheryl on our team,” Monford said. “She has an incredible wealth of knowledge in finance and can help change and improve processes that will keep our team focused on how they can best deliver value for our customers.”

I’m very happy to be back in retail and I love the Andronico’s team. I see so many opportunities for growth and improvement with the talented team here and ways to streamline finances and cash flow,” Hughes said. “We don’t need to spend a lot of money to maximize what we are doing. I’m focused on the backend processing so those on the front lines can be focused on creating exciting new programs for the coming months.”

 

 

Haggen Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Haggen, the West Coast regional grocer, has announced that in order to reorganize around its core profitable stores, it has filed voluntary petitions for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware in Wilmington. The company has received commitments for up to $215 million in debtor-in-possession financing from its existing lenders to maintain operations and the flow of merchandise to its stores during the sale process.

The company has made customary first-day motions with the bankruptcy court intended to support the continuation of its day-to-day operations for customers, employees, vendors and suppliers, and other business partners during the restructuring. As part of that, it is seeking court approval to continue employee wages and certain benefits and honor certain customer programs. The motions are expected to be addressed by the court in the coming days.

“After careful consideration of all alternatives, the company concluded that a reorganization through the Chapter 11 process is the best way for Haggen to preserve value for all stakeholders,” said John Clougher, Chief Executive Officer of Haggen. “The action we are taking today will allow us to continue to serve our customers and communities while providing Haggen with a process to re-align our operations to be positioned for the future.”

Haggen has engaged Sagent Advisors to market for sale some locations in the five states it operates and to explore market interest for various store locations. Discussions are underway with interested parties to sell many of the company’s remaining assets.

Haggen grew from an 18-store regional grocer to 164 stores through the purchase of Albertsons locations in December 2014. The associated conversion process for the stores made Albertsons’ cooperation and good faith implementation of the terms of the deal in the asset purchase agreement essential. Haggen is alleging in a separate lawsuit against Albertsons that the cooperation and good faith implementation didn’t happen, and that’s what led to Haggen’s failure to convert the new stores, ultimately resulting in the Chapter 11 filing.

Ralphs Cheese Expert Receives the American Cheese Society’s Certified Cheese Professional Credential

Ralphs Grocery Company is proud to announce that its associate Nicki Smock has been named a Certified Cheese Professionals™ by the American Cheese Society.

Smock, a Ralphs Cheese Specialist and resident of Long Beach, is part of an elite group of 187 individuals from 51 different companies who passed the 4th annual ACS Certified Cheese Professional® Exam. The exam was held on July 29 in Providence, Rhode Island.

Smock is the first Ralphs associate to earn the ASC’s Certified Cheese Professional designation.

The ACS Certified Cheese Professional Exam is the first and only exam of its kind. It was established by the American Cheese Society to promote the large and comprehensive world of cheeses and encourage food industry professionals to master the knowledge.

“We are proud of Nicki for dedicating herself to her craft and sharing her passion for cheese with our customers,” said Donna Giordano, President of Ralphs. “Her designation as a Certified Cheese Professional™ is an inspiration to Ralphs’ cheese masters who take pride in delighting their customers.”

Passing the American Cheese Society’s CCP exam is no small feat. Before being allowed to sit for the exam, cheese people must have 4,000 hours of work and/or formal education in the cheese-field under their belt.

“It’s a great honor to be the first Ralphs associate to complete the exam and become a Certified Cheese Professional,” said Smock. “I look forward to using my certification, knowledge and experience to train our Ralphs cheese masters to better serve our customers.”

As a Ralphs Cheese Specialist, Smock is responsible for the overseeing the operation of the 22 Murray’s Cheese Shops that are located inside Ralphs stores. Smock managed Ralphs’ first Murray’s Cheese Shop, which opened inside its Marina Pacifica store in Long Beach in 2013. She joined Ralphs in 2006 as a Deli Department Clerk.

In recognition of becoming a Certified Cheese Professional, Smock will receive an official lapel pin, embroidered patch, certificate and the right to use the title ACS Certified Cheese Professional™. As an ACS Certified Cheese Professional, Smock will be required to demonstrate continued active participation within the cheese industry and continued professional development to maintain this credential, and will be required to recertify every three years.

Through an exclusive partnership with New York City’s Murray’s Cheese, Ralphs stores feature 22 Murray’s Cheese Shops in its stores from San Diego to Santa Barbara. Featuring more than 175 cheeses and specialty goods from all over the world, the Murray’s Cheese Shops are staffed by Ralphs associates who have been trained by Murray’s experts in New York.

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