Victoria Fine Foods has just launched new packaging for its Victoria premium brand of artisanal pasta sauces listing ingredients on the front of the label.
Extensive consumer research was conducted among primary shoppers and meal preparers of pasta sauce that led to the revolutionary decision to place the ingredients on the front of the label. Consumers indicated that placing ingredients on the front was very positive and helped show that Victoria had all natural fresh ingredients without preservatives that were similar to ingredients they would use in their own pasta sauce. They also indicated it would make shopping easier.
This new label approach supports Victoria’s philosophy of Ingredients Come First™, making Victoria the only major pasta sauce brand to highlight the ingredients on the front of their package.
“We are proud to be first major brand in the pasta sauce category to declare our ingredients on the front of our package; It’s not just a location, it’s a philosophy” says Don Davide, Chief Strategy Officer, VFF. “We are committed to using only fresh ingredients and the most authentic slow kettle-cooking process for a true homemade taste, and by announcing this on the front of our new label, we believe our new package allows the consumer to make an informed decision about what they are feeding their families.”
Victoria maintains small-batch, home-style cooking methods on a larger scale by slow kettle cooking all of their sauces starting with freshly chopped ingredients. Unlike leading national brands, Victoria never adds water, paste (tomato byproducts), or dried ingredients and never compromises taste for processing alternatives like quick heating transfer tubes. Victoria maintains that life and food, like a gondola ride, is better when taken slowly.
By Lorrie Baumann
In a matter of hours, Riccardo Felicetti of the Pastificio Felicetti will know whether he’s eating his Monograno Felicetti pasta with butter and anchovies for a celebration dinner or because that’s his ultimate comfort food. “It’s very easy, very simple, but it’s exactly the pasta meal I eat when I come back from my travels,” he says. “This is exactly my comfort food.”
The pasta has been named a finalist for two sofi Awards: one for Best Organic Product and one for Best Pasta, Rice or Grain, and it’s the first time that Pasta Felicetti has ever been in the running for the Specialty Food Association’s ultimate recognition for outstanding food innovation. Felicetti wangled an invitation for dinner at a friend’s New York apartment with the understanding that his favorite Spaghettoni with Butter and Anchovies would be on the menu. “And if I don’t get the award, then I will need a heavy comfort food,” Felicetti says ruefully.
He believes that his product was considered by the award’s jurors because it’s a single-source organic pasta from the biggest organic pasta producer in Italy. The buyers from Pastificio Felicetti travel Italy and the world searching for the best organic grains and then combine that grain with pure spring water from springs in the Italian Alps around their pastificio production facility. The pasta’s taste and its elegant packaging probably also played a role, he acknowledges.
He hopes that American consumers will appreciate the premium pasta for its great taste and texture, regardless of the degree of al dente to which it’s cooked. Even in Italy, there’s no consensus about that proper degree of firmness for the cooked pasta, and so the Felicetti pasta is made to be good no matter the al dente preference of the cook who prepares it. “It cooks to your preference,” he says. “The most important thing is that you cook it the way you like it.”
Putting food into the body is an extremely intimate act, and Felicetti hopes that the consumers who ultimately purchase, prepare and eat his product will choose it because they understand and appreciate that the pasta was made in a modern production facility with 21st century sanitation practices using a safe process that enhances the grain’s natural flavors. “I trust that always more people will be interested in knowing what they are eating,” he says. “We will continue to offer high-quality product to interested American customers because we believe they will understand the difference between a high-quality pasta and another pasta.”
Visit Pastificio Felicetti in booth #2615 at the Summer Fancy Food Show.
Felicetti pasta, the world’s largest maker of 100 percent organic pasta, has been named finalist for Best Organic Product & also Best Pasta, Rice or Grain in the Specialty Food Association’s 2014 sofi™ Award competition.
Felicetti pasta was selected by a national panel of specialty food professionals from 2,724 entries from Outstanding Appetizer to Outstanding Vinegar. Winners will be announced by Cronut™ creator Dominique Ansel at a red-carpet ceremony June 30, 2014, at the Summer Fancy Food Show.
On a romantic trip in the Tuscan countryside, gourmet food entrepreneur Jerry Bello sank his teeth into lightly baked, fresh pasta dough that was drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt. So moved by the seductive texture and flavors, he was inspired to create Pasta Chips, the innovative and unique snack quickly winning over major grocery and club stores across the United States. Taste this new snack in its East Coast debut at the Summer Fancy Food Show held June 29-July 1 at the Javits Center in New York City at booth 5148.
Pasta Chips is the very first company to recreate the traditional baked pasta from Italy into a snack food. Pasta Chips are made with the same semolina flour, ancient grains, and Italian herbs that were celebrated over 800 years ago. The Tuscan-inspired chip is married with different seasonings based on regional Italian favorites that are steeped in hundreds of years of Italian culture and living.
In five delectable flavors inspired by the sauces and tastes of Italy, savor Pasta Chip’s delectable Marinara, Alfredo, Spicy Tomato Basil, Garlic Olive Oil, and Mediterranean Sea Salt flavors.
Outstanding in flavor and taste, Pasta Chips have 4g of protein, are cholesterol-free, and contain 60 percent less fat than potato chips and 20 percent less fat than pita chips. Additionally, Pasta Chips are kosher and GMO free.
“The initial reaction to our product has been incredible,” said Bello. “They’re unique and tasty which make for a combo that people love.”
Pasta Chips are now available at Roundy’s, Shoprite, Safeway, Big Y, Von’s, Mariano’s, Albertson’s, Harris Teeter, Winco, and Randall’s, Plaid Pantry, Quick Chek, Sheetz, select Target stores and other retailers across the country.
It’s not hard to find the specialty food products at the National Restaurant Association Show #NRAShow when they bring along their collection of sofi Awards and set them out on the shelf in their display. That alone says something about the respect in which the sofi Award is held by all those foodies who know how to find the sure sign of the very best. Around the company’s sofi statuettes, Creminelli Fine Meats is displaying its line of artisan salami, all made in Salt Lake City, Utah, where the climate is ideal for curing meats, says Andy Dallas, the company’s Regional Sales Manager for the central U.S. The company was started in Salt Lake City by Christian Creminelli, who is originally from Biella, Italy. He’ll be bringing the entire line to the Summer Fancy Food Show, where you’ll be able to see them in booth # 668. Here at the National Restaurant Association Show, find Creminelli in booth #3679 in the South Hall.
By Lorrie Baumann
As the world’s economy emerges from economic recession, American foodies are ready to launch out from the safe harbor of Italo-American and traditional American comfort food for deeper culinary waters, and all the indications are that this is going to be a spicy voyage. Demand for seasoning and spice is increasing due to the increasing demand for new flavors and flavor ingredients, growing popularity of ethnic cuisines and increasing health awareness among consumers, according to a 2013 report from Transparency Market Research, a market intelligence company.
This is part of a global phenomenon, according to both Transparency Market Research and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, which released a report in 2011 on growing opportunities for small farmers in developing nations to participate in the global spice trade. India is one of the world’s largest manufacturers and exporters of seasonings and spices, and growth in the Asia-Pacific spice trade is riding on the developing spice markets in India, China, Vietnam, Indonesia and Sri Lanka, which have traditionally been net exporters of spices.
“What’s really changed in the spice business in the past couple of years, Spice 2.0, is that 300 million Indians and 400 million Chinese have entered the middle class and want to eat the food of their cultures. American spice prices have gone through the roof as the Chinese and Indians buy more spice,” said Tim Ziegler, Spice Master for Italco Food Products, Inc. a specialty food distributor in Colorado and the co-author of “Spices and Culinary Herbs” by Tim Ziegler and Brian Keating, a poster presentation designed to aid chefs in creating flavors by pairing spices and herbs from the same culinary family. “India is now a net black pepper importer. It is the most staggering development in the spice business in the past 25 years.”
Spices can be defined as vegetable products used for flavoring, seasoning and importing aroma in foods. Herbs are leafy spices, and some plants, such as dill and coriander, provide both spice seeds and leafy herbs. Around 50 spice and herb plants are of global trade importance, but many other spices and herbs are used in local traditional cooking. There is also an overlap between spices and herbs and plants normally classified as vegetables, as for example some mushrooms that are used as spices in China and Pakistan. Paprika is widely grown by small-scale farmers in Africa, while chiles are widely grown in Central America, Asia and Africa. Cloves are grown in low-lying tropical areas including Indonesia, Madagascar and Zanzibar.
Trade is dominated by dried products. In recent years, fresh herbs have become more popular, and spice- and herb-derived essential oils and oleoresins are sold in large and growing markets.
Pepper, the world’s most most important world spice crop, is grown in areas of South America, Africa and India and some Pacific Ocean countries that have high rainfall and low elevations. Lemongrass is another important herb, and it’s grown widely in the tropics. The leaf is used dried in teas, and the stems are used fresh and dried in Asian cookery. Growing interest in organic food and beverages is also catching up with the market as large amounts of certified organic spices have been introduced to the market over the past few years, according to Transparency Market Research.
This trend is already having its effect in home and restaurant kitchens across the U.S. “If the melting pot is true anywhere in America, it’s true in the kitchen,” Ziegler said. “American cuisine is not roast beef and mashed potatoes and asparagus spears any more.”
Ziegler says that Americans are growing more interested in the flavor profiles that originated in Middle Eastern and southwest Asian cuisines. “I’m a history major and I’m a chef. I sell spices on a daily basis, and increasingly the flavor profiles that even the young chefs are asking me for are increasingly southwest Asian,” he said. “I believe that 3-1/2 million to 5-1/2 million Americans have traveled or lived extensively in Afghanistan, Iraq, Bahrein and the Middle East, and those flavor profiles have come back to the United States, and I think that’s going to be a burgeoning trend.”
New Dehli-born Chef Suvir Saran, Executive Chef at Devi in New York City and Chairman of Asian Culinary Studies for the Culinary Institute of America, says that he sees Americans’ growing interest in spices as an indication that Americans are becoming more mindful about how they cook and eat. “My feeling is that we’ve been a nation that’s reactionary and loves fads and diets and trends. With the economic recession ending, people have become less reactionary, and they’re becoming more mindful,” he said. “Taking Mediterranean or whatever comfort food we were already doing and adding more herbs and flavors and spices will be a way that we can cook and eat more mindfully and also save money in the end. Spices and flavoring ingredients are cheap. They’re wallet-friendly and last a lifetime. They give you great joy and great flavor without spending too much…. As there is more availability for aromatics and spices, we can incorporate these into what we already know and create more breadth and depth in our repertoire.”
Chef Staffan Terje, Chef/Owner of Perbacco restaurant in San Francisco, agrees. “I don’t think food ever gets boring. I never think flavors go out of style. I think that people find new things and discover new things for themselves, whether they’re eating or cooking, but I never think that basil and tomato is going to be boring,” he said. “Chefs are exploring other spices and herbs and flavors that might not be familiar to people. Spices had a place that’s been pretty constant for a long time in different foods, but I see that people are exploring things in the spice realm itself. It’s not so much about the heat of spiciness but about different flavor combinations. You’ll see things like cloves and allspice sneaking their way in.”
“I look at how I flavor my own dishes, cooking northern Italian food, and I look at history. Italians were part of the early spice market and adapted things that came from the East and from the New World,” he continued. “You start looking at old European recipes, and you’ll find some very interesting things – the use of cinnamon, the use of ginger – things that came from the Middle East. It’s not just about chile peppers.”
Chef Hosea Rosenberg, owner of Blackbelly Catering in Boulder, Colo. and winner of the fifth season of “Top Chef,” says he’s hearing a lot from his fellow chefs about their interest in the cuisines of Morocco and Latin America. “Everyone’s familiar with Americanized Mexican, but there are so many regional cuisines in Mexico that have not been highlighted, such as Oaxacan,” he said. “I see a few chefs that are starting to get a lot more press attention that are either from Morocco or have Moroccan heritage. It’s an amazing cuisine, and I don’t think there’s enough attention to it as of yet.”
He is exploring both of these cuisines in his own cooking, especially the tagines characteristic of Moroccan cuisine. “I just love the slow cooking, especially in the wintertime. Slow braises of meat. I have a farm and we raise our own lamb, and I’m always looking for creative ways to cook and serve lamb,” he said. “This type of cuisine really lends itself into turning a cheaper cut, if you will, into a remarkable centerpiece-type dish.”
“Now that it’s so easy to access all these spices, I see people really taking regional American cuisine and applying global spices to them as well to enhance those dishes,” said Chef Matt Greco, Executive Chef at The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards in California. “People are using spices that, not long ago, no one had ever heard of.”
“You’re definitely seeing a lot of that cross between American, especially southern American, with Asian flavors,” he continued. “I definitely see a lot more fermented products. Korea uses so many fermented products in their food. I definitely see those types of influences applied to American cuisine. The past five years have seen a rebirth of southern American food, and that whole movement is going to other areas of the United States that have their own food cultures.”
Giovanni Food Co. Inc. has earned Gluten-Free Certification from NSF International, a global public health organization, for its Greenview Kitchen organic pasta sauce, pizza sauce and bruschetta. The NSF Gluten-Free label is a signal to consumers with gluten intolerance or celiac disease that the product contains less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten.
This is essential as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently published the final rule that sets a gluten limit of 20 parts per million (ppm) in foods labeled as “gluten-free,” “without gluten,” “free of gluten” or “no gluten.” The compliance date of this final rule is August 5, 2014. In 2011, NSF International developed a voluntary gluten-free standard and certification program, which verifies that certified products do not exceed this limit.
This certification helps Giovanni Food Co. meet the needs of consumers who need verification that the products they purchase are gluten-free. It is also significant to the company’s current private-label and contract manufacturing customers.
“It is important to our company that we provide consumers with products that have the attributes they are looking for,” said Louis DeMent, CEO of Giovanni Food Co. “Having this gluten-free certification, along with our recent non-GMO project verification, enables our brand, Greenview Kitchen, to stand out among the many others that are in the marketplace.”
To earn the certification, Giovanni Food Co. had to meet the requirements of the NSF Gluten-Free Certification Program by developing a gluten-free compliance plan for production and/or handling facilities and successfully pass both on-site facility audits and product testing. Supplier assurance, manufacturing practices and training methods were evaluated to verify the company’s ability to create products that meet the certification requirements. Random product samples were collected and tested at an NSF International laboratory to verify gluten levels are below the FDA limit.Facilities are audited and products are tested annually to confirm ongoing compliance to the program.
“NSF International developed this voluntary standard to provide consumers with a science-based gluten-free certification program they can trust,” said Jaclyn Bowen, General Manager, Agriculture and Specialty Food Programs at NSF International. “Earning NSF Gluten-Free Certification for its Greenview Kitchen organic pasta sauce, pizza sauce and bruschetta demonstrates Giovanni Food Co.’s dedication to meeting the needs of its customers as well as the gluten-free integrity of its products.”
Products meeting all certification requirements are authorized to bear the NSF Gluten-Free seal and are included on NSF International’s website to demonstrate the products are certified gluten-free.
Family-owned Graeter’s Ice Cream is releasing its first completely new product lines in 144 years this spring. Graeter’s Gelato and “A Little Less Indulgent” lines are made with the same high quality ingredients and attention to detail as Graeter’s original flavors, but offer a new spin on the traditional recipe.
The new product lines will be launched at select grocery stores, but available to all online at graeters.com.
Graeter’s signature French Pot process that makes its ice cream so dense and creamy was actually based on Italian gelato machines, making its Gelato the most authentic Italian gelato available in the United States. Using this old-world freezing process, Graeter’s artisans create the hand-crafted gelato using specially made truffles from a family owned candy confectioner in Pennsylvania. Flavors include Caramel Truffle, Hazelnut Truffle, Vanilla with Milk Chocolate Truffles and Dark Chocolate Truffle.
A Little Less Indulgent
A Little Less Indulgent stands apart from other reduced sugar ice cream varieties thanks to the sweetness provided by a natural sugar substitute made from Monk fruit extract. The new line has 50 percent less sugar, roughly 25 percent less fat and 25 percent fewer calories than Graeter’s regular ice cream, making it a just little less indulgent while retaining all the flavor of Graeter’s traditional ice cream. Flavors include Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Bean, Chocolate Chip and Mint Chocolate Chip.
Two Italian favorites are teaming up as Top Chef fan-favorite Fabio Viviani joins Columbus Foods for its “Meat Up” food truck tour, inviting Americans to explore the simple Italian goodness of premium salumi and deli meats. They’re hitting the road this April and May, spending a week each in Scottsdale, Salt Lake, Boston, New York Metro and New Orleans, as part of the company’s long-standing tradition of local market retail promotions.
With thriving restaurants in Los Angeles and Chicago, Fabio is a shining star in the culinary world following a successful stint on season five of Bravo’s hit television show Top Chef and the New York Times bestselling cookbook ‘Fabio’s American Kitchen’. “I grew up making salumi with my grandmother in her kitchen in Florence, Italy,” he recalls. “I love the fact that Columbus was founded by Italian immigrants and shares my dedication to the traditional process and simple Italian goodness found in the salumeria, or Italian delicatessen. It’s an honor and a privilege to work with a brand that is equally inspired by the Old World craft that has informed my life and career.”
Beginning April 9, Columbus and Fabio will woo the crowds at four top-tier events including the Scottsdale Culinary Festival, Boston’s MayFair, Mother’ s Day Weekend at the New York Botanical Garden and the NOLA Food & Wine Experience, showcasing Columbus’ broad variety of salumi and deli meat offerings. While in town, Columbus will also share samples from its branded food truck at local grocery retailers – the full schedule and details can be found at www.ColumbusMeatUp.com.
“Fabio bridges traditional Italian heritage with today’s contemporary lifestyle. His approach to recipe creation – dishes that are simple to prepare and full of flavor – is a perfect complement to Columbus. We’re looking forward to him engaging consumers and providing ideas for meals they can create at home.” said Michael Cruz, director of marketing at Columbus Foods.
Win a chance to cook with Fabio
From April 9 – May 30, consumers can stop by the “Meat Up” tour or visit www.ColumbusMeatUp.com to enter to win a trip to Los Angeles, two nights lodging and a cooking session with Fabio at his Moorpark, Calif. restaurant, Café Firenze.