Natural Markets Food Group, an industry leader in the sale of organic, local and natural products in neighborhood markets across the U.S. and Canada, has named Richard D’Addario its new Director of Prepared Foods.
“Natural Markets Food Group understands that individuals and families on the go still want access to healthy, freshly-prepared food. Richard will help us deliver for these customers – providing the cutting-edge recipes and organic products families want. He is creative, whip-smart, and a great addition to our passionate family,” said Natural Markets Food Group CEO Pat Brown.
Director of Prepared Foods Richard D’Addario said, “When it comes to prepared foods, the Natural Markets team is committed to moving beyond the deli counter and delivering healthy, innovative meals to our customers. That’s an exciting opportunity – both in terms of the company’s growth and our ability to inspire happy, healthy lives.”
Richard D’Addario brings nearly two decades of experience in prepared foods to Natural Markets Food Group, the parent company of Mrs. Green’s Natural Market, Planet Organic Market and Richtree Natural Market restaurants. In his most recent position of Senior Coordinator for Whole Foods Market, D’Addario oversaw all aspects of the prepared foods program in the Northeast region – from merchandising and recipe development to vendor relations and new store openings. D’Addario also won many awards during his tenure, including global all-star for the company and top innovation awards for many new concepts introduced in stores.
His addition continues Natural Markets’ expansion as a destination market and comes as the company prepares to open additional stores in the mid-West and mid-Atlantic, including in Manhattan’s West Village.
Sales of organic food and non-food products in the United States broke through another record in 2014, totaling $39.1 billion, up 11.3 percent from the previous year, according to the latest survey on the organic industry from the Organic Trade Association (OTA).
Despite the industry struggling with tight supplies of organic ingredients, organic food sales in 2014, at $35.9 billion, posted an 11 percent rise, while organic non-food sales, at $3.2 billion, jumped almost 14 percent for the biggest annual increase in six years.
In blue states and red states, across the heartland of America and all along the Gulf Coast, sales of organic products are posting double-digit increases. The majority of American households in all regions of the country now make organic a part of their supermarket and retail purchases – from 68 to almost 80 percent of households in southern states, to nearly 90 percent on the West Coast and in New England, according to new market research.
OTA’s Organic Industry Survey is the most accurate and comprehensive quantitative picture of the U.S. organic industry available. It was conducted and produced by Nutrition Business Journal. Over 200 companies responded to the survey, conducted this year from February 10 through April 3. The full survey will be available in mid-May through OTA.
The U.S. organic sector has expanded significantly since OTA first began tracking the industry’s performance in 1997. In 1997, organic food sales totaled around $3.4 billion, and accounted for under 1 percent of total food sales. In 2014, organic food claimed almost 5 percent of the total food sales in the U.S., and has consistently far outshone the 3 percent growth pace for the total food industry.
Organic fruits and vegetables continued to be the biggest-selling organic category in 2014 with $13 billion in sales, up 12 percent from the previous year, and making up more than 36 percent of all organic food sales. Of all the produce now sold in the United States, 12 percent of it is organic, a market share that has more than doubled in the past 10 years when organic produce sales accounted for only 5 percent of the fruit and vegetable market.
The organic dairy sector posted an almost 11 percent jump in sales in 2014 to $5.46 billion, the biggest percentage increase for that category in six years.
Sales of organic non-food products – accounting for 8 percent of the total organic market – posted the biggest percentage gain in six years, with sales of organic fiber and organic personal care products the stand-out categories.
Earthbound Farm is expanding its popular line of kale-based Deep Green Blends with Kale Italia – a zesty mix of baby kale blended with popular Italian greens, arugula and radicchio – available in a 5-ounce clamshell package. Available now, this new addition reflects the continuing growth in consumer fascination with all things kale.
“We’ve heard the demand for more delicious ways to eat kale, and we’re delivering with an enticing new blend of flavors to meet the need,” said Nicole Glenn, Director of Product Innovation at Earthbound Farm. “Baby kale is so versatile that it satisfies that desire for an all-purpose green that works in smoothies, cooked recipes, and salads equally deliciously. And combined with the Italian greens in this blend, people will rave about Kale Italia as a tasty new take on the popular superfood.”
Lighter than Earthbound Farm’s other kale-based Deep Green Blends (Power or Zen), Kale Italia still has a crave-worthy crunch and a robust flavor. Beyond salad, this new blend is ideal for pastas, risottos, sautes and more. “Kale Italia has the versatility and freshness people want at a price they can afford,” added Glenn. “And the fact that it’s so nutrient-dense is a driving factor of its popularity.”
Earthbound Farm’s Kale Italia (5-ounce clamshell) is packed in a modified atmosphere to maximize freshness and quality and is available nationwide with a suggested retail price of $4.99.
Earthbound is also adding a new blend, Half & Half: Baby Spinach & Arugula, which builds on the popularity of its Half & Half: Spring Mix & Baby Spinach mix. With consumers often purchasing several varieties of greens at a time and blending them into recipes, packaging the popular varieties together into a single blend makes it easier and more convenient for the shopper. Half & Half: Baby Spinach & Arugula is available in a 5-ounce clamshell with a suggested retail price of $3.99.
Like all Earthbound Farm fresh produce, these greens are grown in accordance with the company’s industry-leading food safety and organic integrity programs and packaged in sustainable packaging made from 100 percent post-consumer recycled bottles.
Wake up and smell the pancakes; it’s Pancakes & Maple Syrup Jelly Belly® jelly beans. The newest flavor from Jelly Belly Candy Company captures the warm, buttery flavor of a pancake topped with rich maple syrup whipped together in a single jelly bean.
Pancakes & Maple Syrup Jelly Belly beans are now available in the popular 3.1-ounce Jelly Belly Grab & Go® bag size packed in 12-count breakaway caddies.
Jelly Belly beans contain four calories per bean and are fat free, peanut free, dairy free, gluten free, vegetarian and OU kosher certified. For information, visit www.jellybelly.com.
Mariani Packing Company, the world’s largest independent producer of dried fruit, has partnered with Ganeden Biotech, a recognized leader in the manufacturing and marketing of probiotics. This partnership will allow Mariani to build upon the company’s legacy of innovation through the development of a new portfolio of dried fruit snacks and ingredient products utilizing GanedenBC30 Probiotic Cultures.
“As consumers continue to demand more from the snacks and food that they are eating, dried fruit partnered with the benefits of probiotics is an ideal combination,” says Miranda Ackerman, Director of Innovation and Business Development. “We are very excited for our upcoming launch of consumer products, initially focused on digestive health and overall wellness, as well as the portfolio of fruit ingredients in development that we will be able to provide for our global customers.”
Dried fruit is a natural source of dietary fiber, which is shown to support digestive health. Combining the natural health benefits of dried fruit with a highly stable probiotic culture will allow consumers to add probiotics to their everyday snacking and eating occasions in a more versatile and convenient way. As the market and education on probiotics increases, consumer awareness continues to grow – currently about 80 percent of consumers know what probiotics are and associate them with a health benefit.
“This dried fruit innovation combines prebiotics and probiotics into a truly functional health product that is complemented by antioxidants,” says Dr. Holly Petty, Director of Technical Services and Innovation. “Our partnership with Ganeden has enabled us to bring a product to market that delivers active cultures 10 times more effectively than yogurt – but in a shelf stable form.”
Started in 1922 as a small chocolate shop in a small French village, Valrhona now oversees every aspect, from bean to bar, of a sustainable chocolate production empire in 15 locations across 12 countries. Today 13,000 professional clients in over 70 countries use its expertly cultivated and crafted chocolates on a daily basis.
Valrhona has managed to remain on the cutting edge of chocolate production and innovation by maintaining, in philosophy and practice, that pasty chefs make the best products for pasty chefs. The company’s L’École du Grand Chocolat is at the heart of this idea. Founded in 1989, as a center for innovation and support for Valrhona’s professional clients, L’École du Grand Chocolat employs a team of over 20 pastry professionals around the world who are committed to pushing the boundaries of chocolate artisanship through the development of new techniques and products. Samples of their influence include popularizing bitter chocolate in the 1980s with the introduction of Guanaja, to pioneering the use of spice and salt in western chocolate confections in the early 2000s, to creating the first blonde chocolate in 2012.
With the grand opening of L’École du Grand Chocolat Brooklyn in D.U.M.B.O. on April 20, Valrhona brings its spirit of developing creativity and camaraderie among culinary professionals to the United States for the first time.
World Tea Expo (#WorldTeaExpo or #WTE15) is hosting World Tea Acaemy LIVE! just before the upcoming event, which takes place May 6 – 8, 2015 in Long Beach, California at the Long Beach Convention Center. World Tea Academy (WTA) is the leading online tea education and certification program, and World Tea Academy LIVE! is an in-person “taste” of what the online program has to offer. Advance registration and information is at WorldTeaExpo.com.
Those who register for World Tea Academy LIVE!, May 4 from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., will take the first step towards achieving industry certification. Participants will fulfill a requisite class: “Essentials of Camellia Sinensis,” presented by instructors Dan Robertson, founder and owner of The Tea House & World Tours, and Babette Donaldson, author of “The Everything Healthy Tea Book.” This class introduces the tea plant, Camellia sinensis, and the three factors that make it possible for this one plant to be the source of hundreds of kinds of teas. It also explores the botany of the plant, including the history, varieties, cultivars and cellular chemistry. The class continues with the six stages of tea processing and an overview of the six types of tea that come from this single amazing plant. The session includes an introduction to professional cupping and the sensory evaluation of tea.
With the World Tea Academy LIVE! class completed, students can continue their certification journey online through World Tea Academy, from the organizers of World Tea Expo and the North American Tea Championship. WTA is a digital-based learning platform that incorporates robust features and creates classroom-like environments for student-to-student interaction. The Academy offers the core WTA Certified Tea Specialist program, as well as higher-level accreditation, including: WTA Certified Tea Professional, WTA Certified Tea Sommelier and WTA Certified Tea Health Expert.
World Tea Academy classes are filled with rich content, videos, key learning points, group discussions and downloadable course materials. The curriculum covers a variety of educational topics, including: Tea Enhancements and Grading Systems; Tea Terroir; Tea Cupping; Quality Systems for Product Management; Presentation and Advanced Brewing Techniques; Tea Sommelier Essentials; Advanced Herbal Teas; Health Benefits of Tea; and Blending, Flavoring and Scenting, among others.
Each week, new educational content is unlocked for enrolled students. Week One and Week Two of the Core-level program provide key learning materials and content, and Week Three focuses on professionally cupping teas. Students are shipped teas and a Cupping Lab Starter Kit that includes cupping sets, digital scale, thermometer and timer. Teas frequently sent to students for cupping exercises contain North American Tea Championship winning teas. Higher level class formats vary within each three-week session.
The Academy receives support and oversight from its Strategic Technical Advisers, all recognizable luminaries. And since launching in 2013, the Academy has spanned 25 countries, six continents, six Canadian provinces and 32 states in America.
To register for World Tea Academy LIVE! at World Tea Expo, visit WorldTeaExpo.com. Or learn more about the programs and online class schedules at WorldTeaAcademy.com. Call 702.789.1839 or email info@WorldTeaAcademy.com with questions.
Boar’s Head Brand® is making snacking during the lazy days of summer more convenient and wholesome than ever without compromising on quality or simplicity. From all natural jerky to creamy hummus with pretzels, the premium line of snacks from Boar’s Head is made with no fillers, by-products, artificial colors or flavors, trans fat or gluten.
“Busy parents and anyone on-the-go can enjoy a convenient, delicious and nutritious snack with the premium Boar’s Head snacking line,” said Elizabeth Ward, Director of Communications for Boar’s Head brand. “Whether planning a road trip or looking for a quick protein boost between meals, Boar’s Head snacking products are a satisfying complement to your busy summertime schedule.”
The Boar’s Head premium snack line includes five product families of portable items:
Available at select supermarkets, gourmet stores and fine delicatessens nationwide, Boar’s Head meats, cheeses condiments and spreads are made with only the finest quality ingredients and contain no fillers, by-products, artificial flavors or colors, trans fat or gluten.
The Greek Gods® brand spokesman Dean Karnazes will participate in The Central Market Thrill of the Grill 5K for the fourth consecutive year. The race will benefit Operation FINALLY HOME, a national non-profit organization with a unique network of experienced builders, suppliers and supporters dedicated to building custom, mortgage-free homes for wounded, ill or injured veterans, surviving spouses and their families, providing a strong foundation to help them move forward with their lives. The proceeds from the Thrill of The Grill 5K will be used to build and furnish a home sponsored by Central Market later this year.
The Greek Gods brand and Dean Karnazes are very supportive of the cause. “Our service men and women protect our liberty and freedom so that we enjoy events like Thrill of the Grill. Operation FINALLY HOME is a terrific organization that helps provide for these returning heroes, and I am deeply honored to support this very worthy cause,” said Dean Karnazes.
“Central Market has been a very loyal retail partner, so we are excited to sponsor and show our support for this great event and its worthy cause,” said Basel Nassar, CEO of The Greek Gods brand.
The Greek Gods brand, which belongs to The Hain Celestial Group, Inc., will be showcasing the newest flavor in its Greek-style yogurt line, Black Cherry. There will be free sampling of assorted flavors at The Greek Gods brand booth, conveniently located near the start and finish lines, ideal for quick pre- or post-race snacking.
The Central Market Thrill of the Grill 5K will take place on April 11, 2015 at Central Market in Plano, Texas.
Registration and information is available at http://www.thrillofthegrill5k.com/registration.html.
Green Grass Foods, Inc. recently secured Non-GMO Project Verification for its first product, nutpods. The clean label dairy-free creamer made from almonds and coconuts will launch in late spring of this year. The product also carries vegan, gluten-free, and OU kosher certifications.
Green Grass Foods founder, Madeline Haydon, launched the company in November 2013 with a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised over $30,000. She has since won the Dream Big America competition and the Zenith Award for people’s choice for best investment opportunity at the Zino Society, an angel investment group in Seattle.
Madeline decided to produce nutpods after carrying a homemade concoction of almond and coconut milks in her purse for years to use in her coffee. “I kept looking for the perfect rich and creamy dairy-free coffee creamer at the grocery store and never found it. After waiting three years, I decided to explore the idea of launching my own brand.”
The product is part of a growing demand for milk alternatives; many coffee shops now offer both soy and almond milk for their customers. Industry-leaders Dunkin’ Donuts and Peet’s Coffee have recently introduced almond milk in their stores, and Starbucks now serves coconut milk at some locations. nutpods, unlike other alternative creamers, is unsweetened to let consumers “create their perfect cup” with their preferred sweetener at their own sweetness level. It also differs from the competition due to its richer, creamier texture and balanced taste.