Midwestern retailer Meijer is seeing as much as a 20 percent increase in shoppers taking advantage of Halloween savings and hunting earlier for decorations, candy and costumes this year, according to Peter Whitsett, Executive Vice President of Merchandising and Marketing.
“The next time Halloween will be celebrated on the weekend won’t be until 2020, so we’re seeing enthusiastic shoppers making it more of seasonal experience by planning their trick-or-treating, haunted house visits and unforgettable parties throughout October,” Whitsett said. “We know that more parents are decorating their homes and even dressing up with their kids, so we look forward to providing everything families need for their weekend festivities.”
Meijer aggressively expanded its selection in kids licensed costumes, adult costume accessories and animated home decorations this year to help shoppers maximize their Halloween experience. Whitsett said that nearly half will decorate their home, more than two thirds of all celebrants will wear a costume and more than 157 million people are planning to celebrate and throw or attend parties.
The average person will spend $75 this Halloween on indoor and outdoor décor, costumes and candy, and nearly 70 million people plan on passing out candy. Total spending on Halloween will reach $6.9 billion, according to the National Retail Federation.
The Virginia Diner has signed a three year licensing agreement with the Norman Rockwell Family Agency. The license gives the Virginia Diner marketing and sales use of a number of the Norman Rockwell original prints. Scott Stephens, Director of Sales and Marketing with the Virginia Diner states the initial launch has been well received by our wholesale customers. “We recently introduced our Norman Rockwell collection at both the New York Fancy Food Show and the Atlanta Gift Show, realizing record sales from this new product line,” he said.
The complete collection will be available in the fall of 2015 in the Virginia Diner retail and fundraising catalogs, as well as for the company’s national list of retail partners and corporate custom gift customers. “We have incorporated a number of original Norman Rockwell images into our Merry Christmas labels and used various designs to invoke the nostalgia and history of the Diner. There isn’t a more iconic illustration of the holidays than the Norman Rockwell collection,” Stephens said. “We are very excited to be associated with the Norman Rockwell family”.
The full product offering can be previewed by contacting the Virginia Diner at 888.482.6887.
Seattle Gourmet Foods is a food manufacturer based out of Kent, Washington. Growing both organically and through acquisition, today it is comprised of 11 different brands found in retailers around the country. Consisting of a diverse mix of products that include chocolate, breath mints, bakery items, jams, sauces, soups and dry mixes. Every brand and product made contains only the highest quality ingredients. With 160,000 square feet of production facilities, SGF not only has the capabilities to produce its own products, but has the flexibility to provide private label manufacturing as well.
Dilettante Chocolates® is the most recognizable of the Seattle Gourmet Foods’ brands. Founded in 1976 by Dana Davenport, Dilettante continues a family tradition in chocolate and confections that dates back three generations to the late 19th century. For close to 40 years, Dilettante Chocolates has maintained the impeccable quality of handmade truffles, chocolate covered fruits and nuts, TruffleCremes®, sauces, toppings, bakery items and molded chocolate the brand is known for around the world.
Seattle Gourmet Foods is also one of the premier panning operations in the U.S., with the ability to coat an array of centers, and specializes in double coated products. These are made with custom blends of couverture grade chocolate and uses no compound coating. Under the Dilettante Chocolates brand, there are multiple packaging sizes of this type of product, ranging from a 1.5-ounce. grab-and-go option to several sizes of stand-up pouches to more gift oriented items like 6-ounce candy bags and 16-ounce assortment in a clear tray and lid. All Dilettante panned products are also available in 5-pound bulk bags. Examples of flavors available include Bing Cherries, Fruit Medley® (strawberries, cherries, blueberries and apricots), Sea Salt Cashews, Mint Dropz[R], and Dark Chocolate Espresso Beans. There are also all-natural varieties available in multiple sizes. All of the selections of panned products have a 12-month shelf life.
Another top product for Dilettante Chocolates would be its truffle ganache that has been coated in premium chocolate and individually wrapped, known as TruffleCremes. These come in an array of sizes including 4-ounce novelty boxes, 5-ounce tent boxes, 6-ounce metalized pouches and 10-ounce gift boxes. Bulk cases are also available by request. Flavors include Peppermint, Toffee Crunch, Mocha, Dark Ephemere[R] (dark chocolate), Raspberry, Light Ephemere (milk chocolate), and Coffee Trio containing Espresso, Latte, and Mocha. Seasonal flavors are also available in Candy Cane and Gingerbread. TruffleCremes are all-natural and have a 12-month shelf life.
In 2016, Seattle Gourmet Foods will be displaying multiple brands at the Winter Fancy Food Show, Natural Products Expo West, and Sweets & Snacks Expo. For more information on Seattle Gourmet Foods or on the brands and products produced, visit www.seattlegourmetfoods.com, email email@example.com or call toll free at 800.800.9490.
Betty Lou’s Inc. has been producing premium products for over 37 years. All of its products are gluten-free and non-GMO. From tempting products like fruit bars that taste like a piece of pie to performance Nut Butter Balls, Betty Lou’s offers a taste for everyone. The company’s popular Just Great Stuff bars are high in antioxidants and the decadent, organic Angell candy bars can satisfy any sweet tooth, guilt-free.
Betty Lou’s Inc. now has nine flavors in the Nut Butter Ball family, with the latest edition being the Chocolate Hazelnut Ball. The Nut Butter Balls are great on-the-go energy snacks to get you through the day.
The company has added two new additions to its Fruit Bar line; Strawberry PB&J and the Blueberry PB&J. The PB&J Bars taste like a traditional PB&J sandwich and each bar is packed with strawberry or blueberry goodness.
Bake it like Betty Lou with the company’s Cupcake & Cookie Mix, Bread Mix and Brownie Mix. As always, they are gluten-free, non-GMO and also made with many organic ingredients. Betty Lou’s Inc. baking mixes are extra special because they’re sweetened with only organic coconut sugar. The best part? Just add oil and water. These baking mixes are pure, simple and wholesome.
Sweeten any food or drink with the simple touch of a spray – all drinks, hot or cold and many foods, such as fruits, cereals, nuts, or popcorn – all with a simple touch of a spray that dissolves instantly with no stirring.
Spray sweeteners from Innovative Candy Concepts are available in two great offerings, Sweet Spray made with sucralose, the same sweetener as in Splenda, and Sprayvia made with stevia for an all-natural spray sweetener.
Each bottle of Sweet Spray or Sprayvia contains 200 sprays.
Juiceology, the dynamic beverage company headquartered in Southern California, continues their nationwide distribution expansion, adding Kroger to the list of stores and markets who carry its nutrient-packed juices made from blend of premium fruits and eight grams of natural fiber. Juiceology’s growth has placed its natural juices on the shelves of more than 5,000 retail stores nationwide including Wal-Mart, Safeway, Sprouts and Albertsons.
Kroger will carry Juiceology’s four best selling flavors (Green Elements, Blueberry Acai, Pomegranate Blue Cranberry and Peach Mango) starting in mid-October with a suggested retail price of $2.99.
“Our distribution has been steadily growing over the past two years,” said Juiceology’s Chief Executive Officer Felipe d’Avila. “Our customers have supported every aspect of our expansion, from new flavors to new retail distribution. We are grateful that our fans continue to purchase our products–and it’s their brand loyalty that has helped us stand out and surge as a very popular juice brand in the marketplace.”
Another tenet of Juiceology’s success that has contributed to their expansion is the unparalleled, high quality of their juice blends—made with the freshest fruits and vegetables available, Juiceolgy’s premium juices are the only line in stores that contain 32 percent of the FDA’s recommended daily fiber value and less than 200 calories per bottle.
As retail distribution grows, Juiceology continues to innovate in the marketplace—2016 will bring the debut of new packaging, Non-GMO Project Certification and the introduction of Red Elements, a new flavor combining red fruits, and a healthy touch of ginger and turmeric.
“We are not just another boring juice company who tells you what to drink and how to live. We’re passionate about innovating top notch products that meet the wants and needs of our customers while creating products that combine health and enjoyment for everyone,” said d’Avila.
By Micah Cheek
Miso, the salty, umami-rich soybean paste, is getting attention as an ingredient in premade sauces. Yurika Masukawa, Vice President of Hikari Miso, suggests that miso sauces are gaining popularity in the American market due to America’s renewed interest in fermented foods. “The American market has had kind of a boom in fermented products,” she adds. Miso, made by inoculating ground soybeans and grains with microbial cultures, can be aged for years before use, yielding a fermented funk and umami meatiness. These flavors make miso a complex addition to sauces. Mary O’Donnell, owner of Terrapin Ridge Farms, who makes Ginger Miso and Honey Dressing, says, “The miso adds a nice richness to the flavor profile. It’s really well balanced.”
In its pure state, miso is a probiotic food, but it should be noted that while premade miso sauces carry the flavor and enzymes of the fermentation process, many are pasteurized for shelf stability and do not contain active cultures. One exception to this is So Good Food’s Miso Mayo, which still contains living cultures. Due to the active fermentation process, Miso Mayo can be left at room temperature for up to a week without spoiling.
The rising attention on miso has been apparent at Hikari Miso, where business has been increasing. Masukawa attributes this to the greater interest in the United States and Europe. This growing enthusiasm has made Ginger Miso and Honey Dressing one of Terrapin Ridge’s best sellers. O’Donnell has seen more miso sauces like hers appearing on store shelves recently as well. Smith has noticed that her Miso Mayo has better sales in stores where miso products are already sold. “If you’re someone who regularly eats natural food, or you’re a gourmand, you already know what miso is.” Smith adds that customer awareness is still an issue when selling miso products. “I’d say only right now the public is catching up with it.”
Many miso sauces come with long lists of suggested uses. ”You can dip it, toss it, drizzle it, anything you might use a spread, dip or marinade for. This is a great flavor enhancer,” says Janet Smith, founder of So Good Foods, about Miso Mayo. Meat marinades are a commonly suggested use. The salty and savory elements of miso sauces give a boost of flavor to chicken and fish, and vegetables can be tossed in it to create a light glaze. O’Donnell suggests Ginger Miso and Honey Dressing as a finishing sauce for steamed vegetables like green beans. “It also is terrific if you want to do an Asian slaw,” she adds. Miso also mixes well with spicy flavors. The blend of miso with roasted jalapenos and ginger earned So Good Foods’ Spicy Red Pepper Miso Mayo second place in the Hot Pepper Awards’ Mayo category in 2014.
Santy is responsible for the creation of private label customers’ requested new products, including dry packaged mixes and seasoning blends, and ensuring that specialty products meet claims that consumers are seeking, such as gluten-free, non-GMO, and clean label. She also brainstorms and develops new product concepts for customers.
Santy has more than seven years of experience specializing in research and development and product applications for a wide range of food categories. Prior to joining Wixon, she served as a Color Scientist at Chr. Hansen in Milwaukee and an Associate Food Scientist at Newly Weds Foods in Chicago.
“We are excited to have Renee’s technical expertise and enthusiasm as she works with our consumer products clients, developing innovative, on-trend solutions that exceed their customers’ expectations,” says Leda Strand, Wixon Vice President of Research & Development.
Santy earned a master of science degree in food chemistry and a bachelor of science degree in food science, both from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She is currently a member of the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) and resides in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin.
JOH has acquired H&H Specialty Food Associates, a full service specialty, ethnic and natural food broker.
The addition of H&H will provide complementary resources and broader support to JOH clients and customers in the specialty, ethnic and natural food categories in the metro New York/New Jersey and Mid-Atlantic markets.
“The acquisition of H&H continues to reinforce our strategy of expanding our services and coverage so we may bring more value to our clients and customers,” said John Saidnawey, JOH President & COO.
“We are excited about the track record and dedication of H&H’s leadership team in growing the businesses of their clients and customers,” said Art Papazian, JOH Executive Vice President, Specialty, Natural, Ethnic and Alternate Channels. “Ted Breitowich and his team have built one of the most respected and effective specialty food brokers in the Northeast.”
“H&H has always provided our clients and customers with best-in-class service,” said Ted Breitowich, the new JOH Vice President of Specialty, Metro New York/New Jersey and Mid-Atlantic Markets. “By joining JOH, we will continue our commitment by expanding our services, technology and industry insights. We are thrilled to become a part of the JOH family.”
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) just announced more than $17 million in grants for organizations that will develop training and provide other resources for beginning farmers and ranchers across the nation. The awards are made through the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, which is administered by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).
“When new farmers and ranchers start their operations, the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program can help them implement tested strategies and new ideas that in turn benefit all of us by reducing food insecurity, growing economic opportunities, and building communities,” said Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden. “Today, we are partnering with organizations who recognize that an investment in our beginning farmers and ranchers is also an investment in our future.”
The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program was first established by the 2008 Farm Bill and was continued in the 2014 Farm Bill. The program provides support to those who have farmed or ranched for less than 10 years. NIFA awards grants to organizations throughout the United States that implement programs to train beginning farmers and ranchers, which may take place through workshops, educational teams, training, or technical assistance.
The 2014 Farm Bill mandated that at least five percent of BFRDP funding must support veterans and socially disadvantaged farmers. This year, more than 15 percent of the funded projects have a substantial component that supports veterans and farming, while about 50 percent of the projects focus mainly on socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.
Since 2009, 184 awards have been made for more than $90 million through the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program. These awards are part of USDA’s deep commitment to empowering beginning farmers and ranchers across America.
Fiscal year 2015 grants include:
NIFA expects to make two additional awards this fiscal year by December 2015. Information on past awards can be found on the NIFA website.