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Endangered Species Chocolate Welcomes New Director of Operations

Brent Robinson

Brent Robinson

Endangered Species Chocolate has announced that Brent Robinson has joined the company as its new Director of Operations.  Robinson will oversee all operations activities including production, sanitation and warehouse. He will be an integral part of the continued expansion of the company.

Robinson has worked in the food industry since graduating from Ball State University in 2002. He has extensive background in both quality and production and most recently served as an Operations Supervisor for Mead Johnson Nutrition in Zeeland, Mich.  He has received certifications from Barry Callebaut and AIB International, along with extensive training in LEAN manufacturing.  ESC feels confident that Robinson’s background will support the company’s growing product demand by increasing and improving operating efficiency.

“We are excited to add Robinson to our team,” says Curt Vander Meer, CEO of Endangered Species Chocolate.  “We feel confident that Robinson’s multi-layered experience in manufacturing will strongly support our company’s rapid growth strategy and launch of several new products in the upcoming year.”

Robinson is joining the company at a time when it’s experiencing continued growth in the natural food industry.  To keep up with this growth, the company is looking to extend its operations system with additional equipment and employees in the upcoming year. All these factors reflect the growing appeal of Endangered Species Chocolate.

“We’ve experienced more growth this year than we originally anticipated,” says Vander Meer. “We’re encouraged that this growth not only reflects that consumers love our product but also support our company’s core mission and 10 percent GiveBack.”

Gourmet Popcorn from 479° Hits the Shelves at Kroger Stores Nationwide

 479° today announced that its delectable, low-calorie popcorn will soon be available in more than 1,200 Kroger stores nationwide, including Kroger-owned banners such as Fred Meyer, QFC, King Soopers, and Ralphs. Starting in November 2013, store shelves will be stocked with big, beautiful snack bags containing the mouthwatering flavors 479° is known for, making the Kroger family of stores the first major retailer in the grocery channel to bring 479° to market.

To celebrate the partnership, Kroger will be the first to carry 479°’s newest flavor: Toasted Seaweed + Sesame. This on-trend snack features 479°’s signature light and fluffy organic heirloom popcorn, tossed with nutty sesame and flakes of lightly toasted seaweed.

In addition to Toasted Seaweed + Sesame, Kroger stores will offer the rest of 479°’s new product line: Sea Salt, White Cheddar + Black Truffle, Creamery Butter, and Sea Salt Caramel. All 479° products are made with organic heirloom popcorn, are gluten-free, non-GMO, and low in calories.

479° is dedicated to mindful business practices, quality products, and hand-picked ingredients. The company is committed to producing a sustainable product everyone can feel good about eating, while Kroger is innovating their chip aisle with snacks that taste better, and are better for you.

“We chose to partner with Kroger because their values align with ours,” says Jean Arnold, Founder of 479°. “It’s a perfect match. I’m so excited to bring our snacks to people around the country in partnership with Kroger.”

Saffron Road Introduces First-of-its-Kind All Natural Lamb Broth

Saffron Road, the packaged food brand of American Halal Co., is launching a premium all-natural, Halal-certified, gluten free lamb broth nationally at Whole Foods Market stores this month. Saffron Road’s Classic Culinary Lamb Broth celebrates the chef’s tradition of using culinary ingredients and kettle cooking – in particular, by incorporating pasture raised 100 percent vegetarian-fed lamb with hearty vegetables and rich, flavorful herbs, providing three grams of protein per serving. Saffron Road currently has three other broths in distribution, but the new lamb broth would not exist without the support and guidance of Whole Foods Market. The first-of-its-kind lamb broth will join the three other Saffron Road broths: Artisan Roasted Chicken Broth, Traditional Low Sodium Chicken Broth, and Classic Culinary Vegetable Broth.

Whether used with vegetables, in making homemade stews, soups and sauces, or to liven up leftovers, these culinary inspired broths enable consumers to add rich flavor to their own recipes. In addition to being a delicious time-saver, studies by the Weston Price Foundation show that Saffron Road’s broths can promote good digestion, strengthen joints and increase respiratory health.

“Saffron Road just set another unprecedented milestone – we are the first Halal lamb broth to be sold in the high-end Tetra package, which we believe is healthier than the mainstream soup can containers or stock cubes,” says Adnan Durrani, CEO of Saffron Road. “With the guidance of the Global Grocery Team at Whole Foods Market, we took that innovation up a notch further in culinary excellence; all of our broths also use a very delicate brew of pure Halal antibiotic-free gelatin and naturally vitamin-infused herbs and roasted vegetables, bringing an unmatched robust flavor and quality to our broths that home chefs can really celebrate. Our consumers have been eagerly requesting a Saffron Road Lamb Broth, so we are thrilled to be able to meet this need.”

“The popularity of our broths has been growing over time, as they have won awards and grown in consumer acceptance. Being able to partner with Whole Foods Market on such a unique and delicious item has been a great partnership – and just in time for the busy holiday cooking season,” added Jack Acree, Executive Vice President of Saffron Road.

The new lamb broth is currently available exclusively at select Whole Foods Markets.

Market Street to Host Entertaining Made Easy Expo

Market Street guests will get help making the holiday season stress-free at this weekend’s “Entertaining Made Easy” expo. The Saturday-Sunday (Nov. 9-10) event will run from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days at all 11 Market Street locations.

During the expo, guests will have the opportunity to taste a variety of holiday dishes at sampling stations set up throughout the store, as well as collect ideas for party trays, gift baskets and holiday meal menus. Additionally, floral and dish departments will exhibit ways to make the holidays more festive.

“Whether you’re entertaining others or celebrating with loved ones, our Market Street teams want to help guests prepare and enjoy the holidays by creating a one-stop shopping experience,” said Wes Jackson, chief merchandising officer for United Supermarkets, LLC, owner of Market Street. “We are excited to show guests how easy holiday planning can be.”

At the expo, guests can expect samplings of products such as:

  • Praline sweet potatoes,
  • Cornbread stuffing,
  • Herb giblet gravy,
  • Cranberry relish,
  • Cheese balls,
  • Sausage balls,
  • Hot glazed cocktail sandwiches,
  • Sourdough bread,
  • Charred onion dip,
  • Hot artichoke and sundried tomato spread,
  • Caramelized crème brulee,
  • Fruit cake loaf,
  • Sea salt and pepper smoked salmon and cream cheese snacks,
  • Pulled pork sliders.

For more information visit www.marketstreetunited.com.

Denali Flavors to Unveil Two New Ice Creams

West Michigan-based Denali Flavors, developers of the legendary Moose Tracks ice cream, will unveil two brand new flavors at the International Dairy Show, held at McCormick Place in Chicago on November 3-6.

Hazelnut Moose Tracks is a rich combination of hazelnut-flavored ice cream, hazelnut-filled mini chocolate cups and loads of world renowned Moose Tracks Fudge. Salty Caramel Caribou features salty toffee-flavored ice cream, with salty caramel-filled mini milk chocolate cups and luscious Denali Salty Caramel Fudge.

Both new flavors will be available for sampling by Dairy Show attendees at booth number 1931.

“Hazelnut Moose Tracks and Salty Caramel Caribou have come to life as a result of some distinct trends we’re seeing not so much in ice cream, but in the dessert category itself,” said Neal Glaeser, President of Denali Flavors. “Moose Tracks Fudge has always been a balance of sweet and salty, and now we’re seeing that trend emerge more widely in cupcakes and snacks. We also see hazelnut growing in popularity, perhaps as a result of the growing specialty coffee beverage trend.”

“We’ll have a prime audience of ice cream industry folks gathered at the International Dairy Show next month so it’s the perfect opportunity to gather some valuable feedback on these new flavors we’re excited to introduce,” added Glaeser,

The Original Moose Tracks ice cream flavor was introduced in the mid-80’s by husband and wife entrepreneurs Wally and June Blume. Since that time it has gone on to become one of the top-selling flavors of premium ice cream in the country. Denali Flavors subsequently developed more than 30 flavors including Bear Claw®, Bear Foot®, Mother Lode®, and Caramel Caribou Moose Tracks.

Celebrate the Holidays with Healthy Habits

There’s no need to forego favorite family recipes, even if following a diet. With the right ingredient substitutions, like House Foods Tofu, beloved holiday meals will make the transition flawlessly. House Foods Tofu is highly versatile, easy to cook with, and is ideal for many genres of food. High in protein and nutrient-packed, it’s a health conscious food choice to replace meats, mayonnaise, or cream cheese. Instead of the classically fattening macaroni and cheese side, replace it with House Foods Tofu Mac’n’Cheese. With only 7 grams of fat and 12 grams of protein, it’s an easy swap that the whole family will enjoy!

Tofu Mac ‘n’ Cheese

Ingredients

House Foods Tofu Mac 'n'Cheese½ package of House Foods Premium Tofu Firm or Organic Firm, strained
1 box elbow macaroni
3 tablespoons of onions
½ cup Greek yogurt
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon mustard
1 teaspoon butter
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
dash paprika
pepper to taste

 

Directions

1. Cook and strain macaroni noodles and set aside.
2. Sauté onions in pan until golden brown.
3. Combine all ingredients in blender and puree until smooth.
4. Mix cheese sauce and macaroni noodles in a large pot over low heat until all noodles are coated with sauce and heated thoroughly. Serve warm.

 

Note:
Optional: Serve with parmesan cheese for extra flavor.

Serves 8.

Want something uncommon for the family table? Try the Soba Noodle Salad with Tofu, a vibrant and healthy vegan recipe with Asian flavors that complement tofu. House Foods Tofu is perfect to incorporate into a diet to feel satisfied and reap the benefits of soy.

Soba Noodle Salad with Tofu

House Foods Soba Noodle Salad with TofuIngredients

1 House Foods Premium Tofu or Organic Tofu, Extra Firm, patted dry and cut into ½ inch strips
8 oz. soba noodles, uncooked
1 medium cucumber, cut into 1/8-inch-thick julienne strips
1 medium bell peppers, julienned
Dressing:
1/3 cup sushi rice vinegar
¼ cup lime juice
2 ½ tbsp. sesame oil
2 tbsp. soy sauce
3 tsp. sugar
2 tbsp. ginger, minced
2 tbsp. scallions, minced
2 tbsp. roasted sesame seeds

 

Directions

1. Cook noodles in a large pot following package directions
2. Drain noodles and rinse well under cold water. Set aside and refrigerate.
3. Spray oil on a non-stick pan and grill tofu. Set aside and refrigerate.
4. Whisk all ingredients for dressing.
5. Toss together noodles, cucumber, and red bell pepper.
6. Add tofu strips and mix well.

Serves 6.

 

Study Finds Women Still Making Family Food Decisions

For today’s retailers and manufacturers, it has become increasingly complicated to pinpoint who are today’s primary shoppers. Soccer moms? Working women? Men? In a new study commissioned by the Private Label Manufacturers Association, GfK Custom Research North America answers the questions with some surprising results.

The study shows that, despite radical changes in society, women still dominate the retail marketplace. Although women’s personal and professional advancements have grown significantly in recent decades, the time spent grocery shopping has not decreased.

According to the study, two-thirds of women say they still handle much of the grocery shopping and, furthermore, they still take the time to make the decisions with three quarters of them forming shopping lists and 53 percent taking time to clip coupons and search for specials. And 40 percent of women shoppers say they spend about an hour in the supermarket.

Women are also the rulers of the kitchen. Eighty-four percent of women still act as the sole preparer of meals in the household, with 61 percent of women stating they prepare meals at least five times per week. And the majority of these meals are not prepackaged meals that require a quick nuke in the microwave, 64 percent make most meals using fresh ingredients which generally take more time.

Aside from meal preparation and grocery shopping, women are also responsible for the other important household areas: Seven in ten women say cleaning the house is their job and three-fourths take on the majority of the laundry in the home. Since women are those making the purchases, they have become frequent store brand purchasers, with only three percent saying they never buy store brands.

The survey was conducted to assess the role the women play in household shopping and thus how marketing strategies would be impacted for U.S. retailers and store brand suppliers. The study included over 1,000 women who were pre-qualified as their household’s primary shopper. The results of the study do show that for the majority of women their roles in the household have not changed in any significant way.

Wild Sweets Wins Silver at International Chocolate Awards

Wild SweetsWild Sweets® By Dominique & Cindy Duby won a silver medal for its certified organic Walnut, Fig & Fennel Seeds chocolate bar at the 2013 International Chocolate Awards competition, which took place in London, England earlier this month. The competition judged the best of the best – gold and silver winners and finalist nominations from more than 800 products entered into the European and Americas semi-finals and the Israeli, Italian and Canadian national competitions.

The International Chocolate Awards was set up to recognize the best fine quality chocolate from around the world. The awards are designed to reflect international tastes and offer a level playing field for international entries. The judging panel is made up of experts, food journalists and pastry chefs from the host country, overseen by a grand jury who travel to each competition. More than 13,500 judging forms were completed in all competitions in 2013, by more than 300 judges worldwide.

 
This is not the first award for Wild Sweets. In the fall of 2012 it won several gold medals as well as the Best Overall Chocolate Bar (cocoa bean-to-bar) competition. Wild Sweets was also a recipient of the 2013 Best Chocolatiers & Confectioners in America Awards from TasteTV and the International Chocolate Salon. This spring, Wild Sweets won a bronze medal at the 2013 Academy of Chocolate competition in London, England. Wild Sweets also won several gold medals as well as the Best Overall Chocolate Bar and Best Caramels at the 2013 Seattle Luxury Chocolate Salon in May 2013. This fall, Wild Sweets won several gold and silver medals as well as overall ‘Top Chocolate Bar’ Award at the 2013 International Chocolate Salon in San Francisco, USA.

Wild Sweets By Dominique & Cindy Duby is Canada’s only science-based artisan cocoa bean-to-bar chocolate-maker. It evolved from a three-year research and development project in collaboration with the University of British Columbia and is scheduled to culminate in the opening of a brand new virtual chocolate boutique concept next month (more details will follow soon). For more information on the cocoa bean-to-bar process at Wild Sweets® By Dominique & Cindy Duby, visit The Process page on the company’s website.

Quality, Service and Ambiance Create a Neighborhood Shopping Experience at The Fresh Market

By Lorrie Baumann

TheFreshMarket2-SRThe Fresh Market is a chain of 145 stores in the Southeastern, Northeastern, Midwestern and Great Plains regions of the United States. The chain has recently expanded into Houston, Texas and into the California market with four stores—one in Palo Alto and three in the Sacramento area. One more California store was under construction at press time. The Santa Barbara store is expected to be opening in December. The Fresh Market stores rely on quality, service and ambiance as the ingredients that create a relaxed, comfortable and friendly environment, bringing customers in to buy the fresh foods they will serve their families.

“Our focus is on providing customers with high-quality food and excellent service in a unique atmosphere, and our stores are designed to encourage interaction between customers and employees,” said Craig Carlock, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Fresh Market for the past five years. Carlock has been with the company for 14 years, originally coming over to the company from Procter & Gamble.

“I was attracted to the food concept, the growth, and the chance to be part of a special company,” Carlock says, explaining the unusual move from the manufacturing conglomerate to grocery retailing. “The chance to contribute to a growing enterprise draws a lot of people to The Fresh Market. I have found that we can attract very talented people because they want to be part of growing something from a regional brand into a national one.”

Customers will meet a lot of those talented people in The Fresh Market stores. In the produce department, there is a store employee on the floor at all times. The bakery, seafood and meat departments are always staffed with people behind the counter. “There’s service all around the store,” Carlock says.

The Fresh Market stores average 20,000 square feet and have about 10,000 items in stock, with a total of 20,000 items moving in and out over the course of the year. Each store has a full-service bakery, full-service prepared foods and deli department, a convenient selection of frozen foods, beer and wine, bulk snacks and nuts, candies and fresh-ground and whole bean coffee. The chain is also testing single-cup coffee service in a couple of locations.

Quality is ensured through demanding specifications in every category. Carlock says, “The quality is such that it’s hard to find that kind of food at other places.”

The stores strive to create a gentle, relaxed ambiance through soft lighting, tile floors, soothing music and the aroma of baked goods wafting from the bakery. These and other things are designed to help customers enjoy their time in the store. “We sample coffee throughout the day. We carry your groceries to the car,” Carlock says. “Quality, service and ambiance are really the three ways we think about bringing the customer to the market. We think all of that together creates a great experience…One of the things that happens in our stores naturally is that customers tend to slow down and enjoy the experience. There is an element of ease. Over time, many of our customers develop relationships with our employees. If you’re in there two or three times a week, you’ll learn the names and faces of the people who are helping you. Although we’re a chain, we strive to develop the name and style of a neighborhood market that’s part of the community. People and food that you can trust.”

TheFreshMarket1-SRThe passion behind those watchwords helps to explain why the chain is growing at a robust 15 percent per year, by store count. The chain slowed from that pace, intentionally, during the recession but resumed its growth at that rate in 2010. The stores in Houston and California opened within the past 12 months. Other stores opened this year in Charlottesville, Va., Aiken, S.C., Lincolnshire, Ill., Mt. Lebanon, Penn., Orlando, Fla., Overland Park, Kan., Lynchburg, Va., Naples, Fla. and Birmingham, Ala. Seven more stores are set to open by year end.

“We want to put our stores where the customers are. Our real estate strategy is to find trade areas where customers will be receptive to our fresh food and our ambiance,” Carlock says. That decision about the likelihood of a welcoming reception is based more on education levels and active lifestyle than on affluence, since The Fresh Market does well in middle-income neighborhoods as well as in wealthier ZIP codes. “We have found that people enjoy food, enjoy service and enjoy ambiance all around the country,” Carlock says. “People of all income levels come in.”

“Some of our customers use us as a primary grocery store and are there a couple of times per week, and others shop us for special occasions,” he continues. “People who come in regularly are usually using a European style of shopping, where they’ll buy fresh items for tonight and tomorrow night, and then they’ll come back a couple of days later and get another set of fresh items.” With a 20,000 square footprint, the stores are easy to get into and out of. This facilitates a European style shopping experience. According to Carlock, although customers become familiar with the core 10,000 items in stock, learning exactly where to find them in the store, the flow of those other 10,000 seasonal products helps to generate a sense of adventure as well.

The stores add to that sense of adventure with frequent sampling programs and monthly chef demonstrations. Local chefs demonstrate recipes and offer tastings. “During a three-hour period, our chefs prepare the month’s featured recipe two or three times, so customers can see step-by-step how to prepare it, and can sample it as well,” says Drewry Sackett, The Fresh Market’s Community and Public Relations Manager. Decisions about featured products and recipes are made at the corporate level and then promulgated throughout the chain. Recipes are posted on the company’s website along with a video of the demonstration, so that customers who are excited enough to try it at home can refer to the website when their memories fail.

“We try to focus on recipes and products that lend themselves to easy weeknight dinners. Chefs cook on a gas cooktop, so they only prepare recipes that can be done easily and quickly in a single pan, which our customers appreciate,” Sackett says. “The recipes are paired with wines (in the stores that carry wine), so they’ll sample the recipe along with a specific wine. In addition to the demonstrations, we invite customers to join us for the regular sampling events, where they can come in and try products that might be new to them. Our events are always centered around the food experience.”

 

Tartufo Caciocavallo

Forever Cheese is now offering the new Tartufo Caciocavallo – a 2.5-pound stretched curd caciocavallo with black truffles. The cheese has arrived just in time for the holidays and its beautiful and delicious.

Cheesemaker and owner Remo has been making cheese since 1989 but cheesemaking has been in the family bloodline since 1976. Remo loves seeing the results of what he makes with his own hands; he said it is the ultimate satisfaction for him. He loves also that he can make a difference in such an ailing economy, especially in Southern Italy, offering his employees not just a job but a family in which all of them are passionate about the cheese they make.

A specialty of Forever Cheese inc, LIC, NY Forevercheese.com

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