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BelGioioso Introduces New Snacking Fontina, Mini Mascarpone and Mini Ricotta

BelGioioso Cheese, Inc. is introducing three new items that meet consumer’s needs for individual sized, portion-controlled snacks.

“Following on the heels of our enormously popular Fresh Mozzarella Snacking Cheese, we decided to expand the line to include a Fontina Snacking Cheese,” states Sean Moran, Vice President of Sales. “At just 70 calories, its mild, buttery flavor truly brings a smile with every bite.”

In addition to the Fontina Snacking Cheese, BelGioioso has created a 3-ounce Mini Mascarpone[TM] cup designed for freshness and convenience and a 5-ounce Mini Ricotta[TM] single-serve cup.

“The Mini Mascarpone and Mini Ricotta are petite sized cups of our all-natural, award-winning cheeses, offering freshness, convenience and portion control for the consumer,” says Moran. “The cheese is packed with protein and calcium and offers a healthier alternative to traditional snacks.”

As with all BelGioioso cheeses, the new offerings are made using traditional Italian cheesemaking methods. They are all-natural, rBST-free, gluten-free and contain no gums or fillers. The Mini Mascarpone cups are a perfect size for a healthier spread option, with each serving at nearly half the calories of butter. The Mini Ricotta cups provide an individual serving of 16 grams of protein and 60 percent of the daily value in calcium and is packaged for use as a single serve breakfast option with fresh fruit and granola, or as a fresh, creamy dip for vegetables. Each mini portion of the Fontina Snacking Cheese is full of flavor and has only 70 calories. Individual packages are printed with the BelGioioso signature snacking smile logo.

Protein continues to be top of mind for consumers in relation to satiety, weight management and sustained energy with 51 percent of consumers seeking out protein rich snacks for their daily diets. With the key drivers of snacking occasions being time, convenience, health, portion control and exploration, BelGioioso’s new Snacking and Mini protein rich cheeses provide a delicious and flavorful snack choice.

The 70-calorie Fontina Snacking Cheese contains three cubes, packaged into individual 0.75-ounce packages and available in 6-ounce retail bags packed 10 per case. The 3-ounce Mini Mascarpone cups are packed 18 cups per case, while the 5-ounce Mini Ricotta cups are packed 12 per case.

Record Traffic in America’s Organic Produce Aisles

Americans are gobbling up more organic fruits and vegetables than ever before, from organic blueberries and organic apples to organic packaged greens and cut-up organic vegetables ready for their children’s lunch box or their family’s dinner plate.

Over half of all households in the United States now purchase organic produce. The sale of organic bananas alone – now a $165 million market – soared by more than 30 percent last year. Organic “value-added” vegetables (think chopped kale, peeled carrots and ready-to-cook squash) grew by a whopping 54 percent in 2015 to almost $150 million.

“The organic produce market is growing and strong, and it is driving trends in produce innovation across the board,” said Laura Batcha, Executive Director and CEO of the Organic Trade Association (OTA) on Thursday at the first-ever Organic Produce Summit, held in Monterey, California.

The inaugural sold-out event on July 13 and 14 attracted more than 500 attendees representing every facet of the organic produce industry, and included a trade show with more than 70 exhibits from leading organic fresh fruit and vegetable producers. The event showcased the booming $13 billion organic fresh produce marketplace with a series of educational sessions hosted by OTA, and featured key industry speakers and networking opportunities.

Digging deep into the produce aisle, Batcha gave a State of the Organic Produce presentation on Thursday, unveiling the findings of a report on the produce-buying habits of Americans compiled for the Organic Trade Association by Nielsen, the global information and measurement company.

According to the OTA 2016 Organic Industry Survey released in May, fresh organic produce sales in the U.S. reached $13 billion in 2015. (Total sales of organic fruits and vegetables, including fresh, frozen and canned, amounted to $14.4 billion.) The $13-billion market includes $5.7 billion worth of organic produce sold in the mass market (supermarkets, big-box stores, warehouse clubs), $4.7 billion sold by specialty and natural retailers, and $2.7 billion in direct sales (farmers’ markets, CSAs, online).

Nielsen measures organic sales primarily from the mass market, and puts organic produce sales at $5.5 billion. The Nielsen figures do not include specialty and natural retailers, nor direct sales. Further, Nielsen’s data reflect grocery coding systems, which are based on retailer description and in which organic can be under-represented.

The Nielsen figures, however, delve down to the specific types of organic vegetable or organic fruit sold, providing detailed information on the buying habits of consumers in the major category of supermarkets and big-box stores.

“We are excited to be sharing these numbers and findings on the rapidly growing organic produce sector,” said Batcha. “The more we know about the market and what consumers want, the better the organic produce grower, distributor and retailer can respond to meet the needs of today’s food buyer. Understanding the organic produce consumer will drive the future growth of the sector.”

Since 2011, the sales of produce in this country have increased over 25 percent. Convenience, a greater awareness of the health benefits of produce, and an increased interest in local food sources largely contributed to the increase. And driven by the desire to improve upon already healthy food choices, organic fruit sales have soared 123 percent during that time, while organic vegetable sales have jumped by 92 percent.

What’s big in the organic produce sector? A few standouts in the produce section:

  • Organic bananas: Sales up a solid 33 percent from a year ago.
  • Organic blackberries: Sales up a sharp 61 percent from a year ago.
  • Organic salad greens and organic baby carrots: Sales of each up 11 percent versus a year ago.
  • Organic Pink Lady Apples: Sales almost double (up 96 percent) that of a year ago.

The U.S. organic industry saw its largest dollar gain ever in 2015, adding $4.2 billion in sales. Total organic food sales in the U.S. were $39.7 billion, up 11 percent from the previous year. Organic produce sales accounted for 36 percent of the organic market. Almost 13 percent of all the produce sold in the United States now is organic.

The Nielsen findings showed that today’s organic produce shopper tends to be more kid-focused than the average produce shopper, and that the huge majority of these enthusiastic organic produce buyers – 77 percent – are going to their favorite grocery store or supermarket chain to buy their organic fruits and vegetables.

The findings bear important insights for retailers looking to draw more shoppers to the fresh produce section, as the booming demand for organic produce will spill over into purchases of conventional produce, said Batcha.

“Data show that the organic shopper is an extremely health-conscious consumer who is completely dedicated to eating fresh fruits and vegetables. Organic is a top choice because of the confidence in organic as THE choice to avoid foods grown with toxic and persistent pesticides,” said Batcha. “Because of this health-driven commitment retailers should not be afraid to differentiate organic produce on their store shelves. Shoppers recognize the USDA Organic seal and respond to positive messaging about what organic delivers, but at the end of the day they want to fill their carts with farm fresh foods — benefiting the entire produce section of the store.”

Upgrading the Whiskey Sour

By Micah Cheek

Bittermilk: The name is made up, but the quality isn’t. “We wanted to evoke a more southern feeling. We wanted to do another avenue of business. The idea is, the labor is in the bottle; just add booze,” says Owner MariElena Raya.

Bittermilk, purveyors of cocktail mixers, has won a sofi Award in the Cold Beverage category for its No. 3 Smoked Honey Whiskey Sour. The mix, made with bitter orange peel, lemon and honey smoked over barrel staves, is made for mixing with bourbon for a whiskey sour, or tequila for a smoked honey margarita. The company, based in Charleston, South Carolina, was inspired by the experiences of owners MariElena and Joe Raya as they operated their Charleston bar, The Gin Joint, after their house-made mixers began receiving lots of attention. “We got a lot of people asking for the recipe, but coming back and saying they had trouble finding the ingredients or it didn’t taste the same.” says Raya. “People often refer to them as bitters – they have bittering agents in them. We use organic juices; we use some interesting culinary techniques like barrel aging.”

Bittermilk’s first big break, an award from Garden & Gun magazine, gave an unexpected boost to the small company. “We won as a finalist in the beverage category, for the No.1 Old Fashioned. We went to selling 10,000 bottles in December. And we’re hand bottling and capping them. We had a small warehouse that we used a lot for our bar, and then it just went nuts. That was an amazing award to win,” Raya says.

Soon after, Bittermilk products became finalists in both the Good Food Awards and sofi Awards. “The acceptance of the product has been wonderful. We spent a great deal on branding. It really paid off,” says Raya. “A lot of people want to stock the product. They love the look and it fits into their store. Customers say they bought it because it looked neat, and they come back and say it’s like they’re addicted to it.”

With a gold sofi for the shelf, Raya is hoping to increase Bittermilk’s footprint. “Buyers can recognize the award and know it’s important. We’re not sure what to expect, but we’re really excited to branch out,” says Raya. “We haven’t delved into the Northeast that much and the Midwest. California’s been a great area for us, and all of the Southeast. The Northeast is still untapped.”

Bittermilk’s strongest sales have been during the holiday season, and Raya is preparing for it with some new options. Gift sets and new packaging have been in the works, as well as seasonal flavors. “We’ve done a lot with the No.7 – we’re doing it as a seasonal mixer. Last year, we did a Gingerbread Old Fashioned. This year, we’re coming out with a Yuletide Old Fashioned with sour cherry,” says Raya.

Raya has also released a line of bar syrups under the name Tippleman’s. “The Tippleman’s line is geared more to the restaurant industry, and people who want to explore more with cocktails,” she says. “We’re selling just the maple syrup that we cook over oak staves, and the burnt sugar – you can make a really great tiki drink with that.”

Specialty Food Producers Take Home the Gold

By Lorrie Baumann

La Pasta‘s Radicchio, Parsnip & Apricot Ravioli has won the 2016 sofi Award for Best New Product. Radicchio is sauteed with a little bit of balsamic vinegar to bring out the sweetness of the vegetables and then folded into ricotta, parmesan and mozzarella cheese together with roasted parsnips and dried apricots. The filling is then enclosed in La Pasta’s signature pasta with black pepper pasta stripes.

“We got lucky. It happens,” said Alexis Konownitzine, President of La Pasta, “Our chef Kristen made the product and will be at the Fancy Food Show.”

La Pasta already had several sofi Awards for products including its Marinara Sauce and Beet, Butternut Squash & Goat Cheese Ravioli. This year’s winner was selected from among 23 finalists in the Best New Product category by the sofi judging panel of culinary experts in a blind tasting. Overall, 28 products were named winners and 100 named finalists from among 3,200 entries this year.

This year’s judging diverged from the methodology used for the past couple of years, in that the judging was completed before the Summer Fancy Food Show and winners were named at the same time as finalists. This process was designed to make the judging more fair and transparent, according to the Specialty Food Association, which owns the sofi Awards program. The products were judged by criteria that awarded 70 percent of the product’s score for taste, which included flavor, appearance, texture and aroma and 30 percent for ingredient quality, which included a consideration of whether any of the product’s ingredients were artificial and whether they were combined in a creative or unexpected way. One winner was chosen in each of the 28 judging categories, and the top 4 percent of the entries in each category were named finalists. No awards were presented this year in classic, foodservice or product line categories, which were part of last year’s contest.

CFM_Prosciutto-sliceFinalists for the Best New Product award included Dalmatia Sour Cherry Spread from Atalanta Corporation, Jansal Valley Boneless Prosciutto Toscano D.O.P. from Sid Wainer and Son Specialty Produce and Specialty Food, Organic Stoneground Flakes Cereal — Purple Corn from Back to the Roots and Sliced Prosciutto (Domestic) from Creminelli Fine Meats. “Prosciutto is everywhere in the U.S., but we do it differently, using whole-muscle Duroc pork that’s 100 percent vegetarian-fed with no antibiotics ever. We layer it in the tray by hand instead of by machine,” said Kyle Svete, Creminelli Fine Meats’ Director of Sales for National Accounts. “We invest in people, not machines. It’s part of who we are – people, animal, craft…. We have machines to help us do our job, but it’s really about the people. The recyclable tray and the elegant look of it elevates the product and the category.”

“We’re proud of it. We put the ingredients right on the front of the label,” he added. “That’s all there is to it – time, love, pork and sea salt.”

Chocolate-covered Cocomels – 5 Salts from JJ’s Sweets, Gourmet Honey Spread: Salted Honey from Cloister Honey LLC, Wild Boar Salted Star Anise Single Origin Organic Dark Chocolate Bar from Hagensborg Chocolate Ltd., Original Tangerine Sriracha from Just Jan’s Inc., Mr. Hot Stuff Pepper Spread from Steppin’ Out LLC, Clementine Crush Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Enzo Olive Oil Company/P-R Farms, Inc. and Deschutes Brewery® Black Butte Porter Truffle from Moonstruck Chocolate, Co. were also among the finalists for the Best New Product Award.

JulieAnn CaramelsOther finalists were Pineapple Habanero Caramel from JulieAnn Caramels, Frozen Passion Chia Lassi from Monsieur Singh LLC, Chicken Fat (Schmaltz) Premium Cooking Oil from Fatworks LLC, Avocado Oil Mayo and Licorice Mint Tea from Chosen Foods, Inc., Chili Crunch Bar from Vivra Chocolate, Vegan Stone Ground Hazelnut Butter from Karmalize LLC, Raspberry Amaretto Preserves from Robert Rothschild Farm, Orange Artisan Fruit Cracker from Simple & Crisp, Gluten-Free Coffee Brownie from Savvy Girl Baking Company and Dark Moon from Marin French Cheese Company.

In the remaining categories, Brussizzle Sprouts from Pacific Pickle Works, Inc. was named the best appetizer. The Spice Hunter, Inc.’s Coriander Lime Global Fusion Rub was named best baking ingredient, baking mix or flavor enhancer, Ginger Hemp Granola from Michele’s Granola LLC was the best in the category for breads, muffins, granola or cereal, and Vermont Creamery’s Bijou was judged the best cheese. Vermont Creamery’s Bonne Bouche was a finalist for the award both this year and last year.

Money on Honey by Droga Chocolates won the sofi in the chocolate category, and Bittermilk LLC’s No. 3 Smoked Honey Whiskey Sour won the award in the cold beverage category. Bittermilk was a sofi finalist last year with the same product. Non-GMO Salted Caramelized Fig Spread from King’s Cupboard was named the best condiment, and Sea Salt & Vanilla Farmstead Goat Milk Caramels from Big Picture Farm LLC received the award for the best confection. Big Picture Farm won sofi Awards last year for best new product with its Raspberry Rhubarb Goat Milk Caramels and for best confection with its Goat Milk Chai Caramels. Moon Dance Baking’s Holly Baking Cookie Brittle Cinnamon & Spice was named in the category for cookies, brownies, cakes or pie.

Barnier Pimento Sauce with Preserved Lemon from FoodMatch Inc. was named best cooking, dipping or finishing sauce. Cranberry Pistachio “The Original” from Jan’s Farmhouse Crisps was named the best cracker. Epicurean Butter’s Organic Cocoa Coconut Butter was named in the category for best dairy or dairy alternative product. “The reason this is something really new and innovative is that this is organic pasteurized cream, organic coconut oil, organic honey, organic canola oil, organic cocoa powder and Himalayan pink salt. It’s good on crepes, pancakes French toast. We actually just love it on a baguette,” said Janey Hubschman, who co-founded Epicurean Butter with her husband John, who’s the chef and still does all the formulations for the company’s products. “It’s got a lovely mouth feel with the butter and the coconut oil and then the finish of the salt.” The Organic Cocoa Coconut Butter is part of a product line that includes 13 finishing butters, of which two are organic. The company has just installed new equipment in its plant that allows Epicurean Butter to produce single-serve squeeze packs. Each of those has 190 calories for a 1-ounce serving, and Hubschman expects that the single-serve packaging will draw a lot of interest from the producers of home-delivered meal kits.

bourbon maple hi res (2)Bourbon Matured Maple Syrup from BLiS LLC was named the best dessert sauce, topping or syrup. Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate’s Single Origin Drinking Chocolate 72% Belize, Toledo received the sofi Award for the best hot beverage. Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate was a finalist in the chocolate category last year with its 72% Madagascar, Sambirano bar. The Gelato Fiasco’s Ripe Mango Sorbetto was named the best ice cream, gelato or frozen treat.

Cioccomiel, a spread made from hazelnuts, cocoa and honey, won the sofi Award for the best jam, preserve, honey or nut butter. It is imported by Marcelli Formaggi LLC.

Fermín Chorizo Ibérico Picante / Fermín Ibérico Pork Dry-Cured Chorizo Sausage Spicy from Fermin USA was named the best meat, pate or seafood.

Stöger Organic Austrian Pumpkin Seed Oil was named the best oil. It is imported by Los Chileros, which won a finalist award last year for the same product.

NorthAfricanChermouladressingwozzGustiamo, Inc.’s Pianogrillo Sicilian Cherry Tomato Sauce took home the sofi Award for the best pasta sauce, while the best pasta was Pastifico Artigianale Leonardo Carassai, made in Campofilone, Italy, and imported by Bravo International Inc.

Wozz! Kitchen Creations, which won the 2015 sofi Award for best salsa or dip with its Kiwi Lime Salsa Verde takes home the gold in the salad dressing category this year with North African Chermoula Dressing. This year’s award in the salsa or dip category went to American Spoon Foods’ Pumpkin Seed Salsa.

Hickory Smoked Spicy Candied Bacon from Little Red Dot Kitchen LLC won the sofi Award this year in the category for savory snacks. The best sweet snack came from Creative Snacks Co. with its Organic Coconut Bites.

Dinner Tonight Black Bean Tortilla Chili Mix from Backyard Safari Company won the award for best soup, stew, bean or chili. ParmCrisps Mini Aged Parmesan Crisps from Kitchen Table Bakers won the award for the best vegan or gluten-free product. Kitchen Table Bakers was a finalist last year for its Jalapeno Parmesan Crisps. Finally, this year’s best vinegar was Balsamic Nectar from Boulder Flavours.

Chocolate Companies Do Good Deliciously

By Lorrie Baumann

Guilt is not among the ingredients for this year’s introductions of specialty chocolates. Along with interesting flavors, chocolatiers are bringing products to the market that have a good story to tell to consumers with a wide range of concerns about which chocolate treat they can enjoy in good conscience.

Chuao Chocolatier’s new Enamored line of organic Fair Trade chocolates in three fruit-forward flavors with floral notes: Raspberry Rose, Coconut Hibiscus and Blueberry Lavender. As their names suggest, Raspberry Rose is made with radiant raspberries sugared with rose petals, Blueberry Lavender is made with blueberries lightly infused with lavender, and Coconut Hibiscus offers creamy coconut with a hint of hibiscus.

The line was created by the brand’s Master Chef and Co-Founder Michael Antonorsi as a tribute to women. “With the Enamored Collection, we wanted to create a product that celebrated ‘you,’ because who you are is enough,” said Antonorsi. “Spreading joy is the intention behind everything we do, and with this new collection we hope to bring a moment of joy to every person who experiences it.”

The Enamored line launched in June, and a percentage of sales goes to Girls, Inc., which shares the brand’s ideals of empowering women. “Girls Inc. is focused on empowering girls to discover their strengths and thrive,” said Judy Vredenburgh, President and CEO of Girls Inc. “This includes helping them build confidence and a positive self-image. We are thrilled to partner with Chuao Chocolatier as they launch this new line that celebrates women and inspires them to do just that.”

Chuao Chocolatier’s new line of bars are made with non-GMO ingredients. The suggested retail price is $7.00. For more information, visit Chuao Chocolatier’s booth at the Summer Fancy Food Show or visit www.ChuaoChocolatier.com.

Abdallah Chocolates is at the Summer Fancy Food Show with flavors we’ve seen before from the company, including its Caramel Almond Coconut, Sugar Free Caramel, Pecan Grizzly and English Toffee chocolates. The absence of a new flavor is due to the company’s construction this year of a new 90,000 square foot facility that’s been taking attention away from product development for the past several months, said National Sales Manager Madonna Schmitz.

The company is expecting to move into its new facility late this summer and to have the production lines running by the first of September, she added. For more information, visit the company’s booth at the Summer Fancy Food Show or visit www.abdallahcandies.com.

Sulpice Chocolat is a start-up company that’s sticking with the traditional flavors of a high-quality peanut butter cup but adding a boost of nutrition. A three-piece serving includes 7g of protein and 3g of fiber – attributes we associate more with nutrition bars than with candy, but this is very definitely a treat that feels like an indulgence. “We’re trying to make the candy aisle better for you,” said Anne Shaeffer, half of the husband and wife team that founded Sulpice Chocolat. For more information, call 630.301.2345 or visit www.sulpicechocolat.com.

Laima Chocolates’ Cheese Chocolate is made in Latvia with white chocolate and real cheese. The company also makes a full line of dessert-flavor chocolates, including Creme Brulee, Key Lime Pie and Tiramisu covered with dark chocolate. A 3.5-ounce bar of the Cheese Chocolate retails for $4.99. It’s been sold in the U.S. for many years in ethnic markets, and it’s been more widely offered by Aero-Cos for the past four or five years. Distributed in the United States by Aero-Cos International, the Laima Chocolates products are made by Orkla Confectionery & Snacks.

Heavenly Caramels Coconut Caramels, Pecan Caramels and Vanilla Sea Salt Caramels covered with chocolate are the newest product introduction from Utah-based J. Morgan’s Confections. A 4.2-ounce bag retails for $3.49 to $3.99.

The Heavenly Caramels line also includes several products that aren’t covered in chocolate and that feature flavors you wouldn’t necessarily associate with caramel, including Cinnamon Caramel, Old English Licorice Caramel, Coconut Caramel, Caramel Apple, Vanilla Sea Salt Caramel and Butter Caramel. Each 4.7-ounce bag of these varieties retails for $3.49. For more information, call 801.688.4999 or visit www.jmorganconfections.com.

This story was originally published in the June 2016 issue of Gourmet News.

Satisfying Snacks for the Nutrition Conscious Consumer

By Lorrie Baumann

Natural foods manufacturers have been very busy this year thinking up ways to cater nutritious snacks for a generation that’s making frequent snacks a regular part of their eating plan. This new generation of better-for-you snacks launched at this year’s Natural Products Expo West, held March 9-13 in Anaheim, California, offers clean labels, nutrition density and bright, savory flavors.

Wilde Bars, for instance is a line of Paleo-friendly meat snacks that will appeal to carnivores looking for a protein boost. Each slow-baked lean meat bar with superfruits, vegetables and ancient grains contains just 100 calories and delivers 10 grams of protein with low fat and low sodium. The bars are made with a proprietary baking process that allows the use of lean meats such as premium chicken and turkey – the bison and beef bars are made with sirloin – rather than the fatty cuts often used for other meat bars. The bars’ shelf life is 12 months, and they retail for $2.49 to $2.79.

Caveman offers similar Paleo-inspired meat snacks for protein-craving snackers. Three flavors of Chicken Primal Bites – Sun-dried Tomato and Kale, Toasted Sesame Ginger and Habanero Green Chile – deliver 30 grams of protein for a 2.5-ounce pouch that contains 2.5 servings. The bite-size snacks are made of pure chicken infused with other healthy ingredients to make a meat snack that the company considers a little more accessible than jerky. Each pouch retails for $6.99, and the snacks have a 12-month shelf life.

Caveman also launched a line of protein bars five months ago that’s doing very well with consumers, according to Chief Marketing Officer Jim Taschetta. “It really is revolutionizing the protein bar market,” he said. “You can use Paleo principles to make really delicious foods. You don’t have to sacrifice.” These are no-compromise protein bars with no preservatives and no added sugars. Unlike many of the protein bars on the market, the protein in these comes from chicken rather than whey or soy isolates. Chicken, which has a lower carbon footprint and requires less water than beef or bison, also has a milder flavor that doesn’t compete with spices and other ingredients that provide variety. The Blueberry Pepper flavor, for instance, is made from chicken, blueberries and spices, and that’s all, Taschetta said.

A new flavor, Honey BBQ, launches in May. “It’s one of the most popular flavors on the mainstream market, but we’ve come up with it with really clean ingredients,” Taschetta said. Each bar retails for $2.89.

For those who want protein without meat, GrandyOats offers a line of organic snacks from its solar-powered plant in Maine. Garlic Herb Cashews and Maple Roasted Cashews are the top-selling products in their line of roasted nuts, while High Antioxidant Trail Mix is the company’s best-selling trail mix.

The Maple Roasted Cashews are made with locally sourced maple syrup, and the High Antioxidant Trail Mix was voted the #1 Quick Fix food by Sierra and Mother Earth News magazines. The trail mix combines goji berries, mulberries, jumbo raisins, cranberries, almonds, walnuts and pumpkin seeds, and a 1/4-cup serving delivers 4 grams of protein in a 150-calorie snack.

GrandyOats’ move into its new solar-powered facility will allow the company to dedicate a portion of its plant as a gluten-free facility, and we can expect to see a whole gluten-free line from the company soon, including all of its bulk roasted nuts and trail mixes.

HempsGood offers three flavors of a snack product called HempSeed Bhang: Thai Coconut Lemongrass, Southwest Barbecue and Sweet Cinnamon. These flavored hemp seed products are packaged in “stickpacks,” pouches about the size of a candy bar from which the crunchy mix of unshelled and shelled hemp seeds is poured. HempSeed Bhang is gluten free, vegan and low in sugar, and each 20-gram stickpack delivers 7 grams of protein as well as Omega 3, 6 and 9 oils. HempSeed Bhang is a natural source of dietary fiber and has no artificial ingredients.

popchips are a healthier alternative to fried potato chips. The newest varieties, popchips RIDGES are crinkle-cut potato chips with 55 percent less calories and 72 percent less fat than ordinary ruffled potato chips. The four newest flavors are Salted, Cheddar & Sour Cream, Tangy Barbeque and Chili Cheese. popchips RIDGES are packaged in two sizes: the 3-ounce bag retails for $2.99 and the .8-ounce single-serve size retails for $1.19.

Natierra delivers crunch without compromise with seven flavors of Chia Crunch. These gluten-free and non-GMO disks are made from freeze-dried chia seeds and superfoods for crunchy texture and intense flavor without added sugar. They’re gluten free, organic and fair trade with 90 calories and 2 grams of protein in a single-serve pouch that retails for $4.99.

This story was originally published in the May 2016 issue of Gourmet News.

Junior’s Cheesecake Gains Traction at Retail

By Lorrie Baumann

Renowned New York bakery, Junior’s Cheesecake and Desserts, is gaining traction in the retail marketplace after opening a 103,000 square foot baking facility in Burlington, New Jersey, that gave the company the capacity to expand beyond supplying its own restaurants with cheesecakes that have been consistently voted New York’s best.

“We’re really excited about the progress that Junior’s has made in the past year. We have successfully transitioned our business from our Brooklyn facility to a state-of-the art facility in Burlington, New Jersey,” said Alan Rosen, the company’s third-generation Owner. “The best part is that we have more room to make our desserts the same way we have in Brooklyn for more than 65 years. I can proudly say that the recipe has not changed one ounce.”

New York has voted Junior’s cheesecakes the best the city has to offer every year since the early 1970s, and Junior’s is still using the same cheesecake recipe developed by Rosen’s grandfather, Harry Rosen, who opened his first restaurant on election day in 1950 with the idea that if Junior’s was going to be a great New York restaurant, it needed to serve great cheesecake.

Junior’s still operates four restaurants, soon to be five, as well as the bakery. Three are in New York City – one in Brooklyn, one in Times Square and one in Grand Central Terminal. The fourth is in Foxwoods, Connecticut, and there’s one coming in Boca Raton, Florida. Junior’s also has satellites in South Korea and in the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn.

“Over the past year, we have found ourselves in both bakery sections and frozen sections, depending on the needs of the retailer. Wegmans, Kroger, Tops Friendly Markets, ACME Markets, Stop & Shop – we are well represented in the New York market, including upstate,” Rosen said. “We are growing, but we still listen to the needs of our customers. In the past six months, we’ve gained retail distribution in over 1,500 stores, and we look forward to bringing to the whole country what New Yorkers have known forever – you haven’t really lived until you’ve tasted cheesecake from Junior’s.”

New for this year, Junior’s Cheesecake is featuring its six-inch Apple Crumb Cheesecake, seasonal specialties, and of course, traditional New York cheesecakes in 10 varieties. In addition to cheesecakes, Junior’s Cheesecake and Desserts also offers layer cakes, loaf cakes, shortcakes and tiramisu as well as seasonal specialties for any sweet occasion. “We are a full line bakery,” Rosen said. “We even customize items for special customers.”

Making Cannoli an Everyday Snack Experience

Golden Cannoli is a 40-year old second generation family owned business and makers of premium cannoli shells, chips and fillings. It is continuing to expand with great success in all trade channels with the production of ‘The Original Cannoli Chip,’ a crispy snack chip. The company plans to make cannoli “an everyday snack experience.”

Golden has found great success in the bakery department with cannoli chips and dip over last three years, with sales growing over 100 percent per year. This item has created more cannoli awareness and offered opportunities for continued expansion into other market locations. With the launch of the cannoli chip, the entire cannoli category has improved across the country, with Golden leading the industry.

The snack chip is sold in 5-ounce and 14-ounce bags, and the chips contain no artificial ingredients, no trans fats, no preservatives and are nut-free. The product will be sold as a retail snack in supermarkets, delis and in specialty departments coast to coast. Golden Cannoli intends to launch “limited batch” flavors throughout the year and continue to innovate far beyond expectations.

Besides its quality cannoli products and packaging, the company has been recognized for impeccable customer service, commitment to quality and on-time deliveries. Golden plans to launch these snack chips coast to coast in the third quarter of 2016, and offers support in development, private label and creative solutions for point of sales.

For more information, email Owner and Chief Sales and Marketing Officer Valerie Bono at valerie@goldencannoli.com.

Columbus Eases the Charcuterie Board

Not only are charcuterie boards easy to prepare ,  they work for every season. Whether a spring brunch, a summer pool party, or the ever-busy winter holidays , they are always a great option for entertaining.

Sometimes building a charcuterie board can be a bit intimidating. Where do you start? Columbus makes it easier for you with its Charcuterie Sampler, which provides a variety of four delicious salami : Calabrese, Genoa, Italian Dry and Sopressata. These four styles give diverse flavor profiles that range from a slow mild heat to fresh garlic and even hints of fennel. Both the Italian Dry and Sopressata are a thicker cut, creating a mouth-feel akin to a hand-cut slice (without the work!). All you need to do is add some accompaniments .  The key is variety and balance with a focus on foods that complement each other without overwhelming the palate.

Calabrese is a zesty salame made with red bell peppers. Enjoy it with a hard cheese like Parmigiano Reggiano. Wash it down with an IPA or a Syrah.

Genoa is a mild salame seasoned with wine and garlic. Add a softer cheese, like fontina or fresh goat cheese for a different texture. They go well with a chilled Sauvignon Blanc or Pilsner.

Italian Dry is the company’s San Francisco classic salame that pairs well with a hard sheep-milk cheese like pecorino romano. This combination works well with Pinot Noirs, Pilsners and Pale Ales.

Sopressata brings flavors of sweet fennel and chili pepper. Combine with a harder cow cheese like grana padano. Savor it with a glass of Pinot Grigio.

You can also include other delicious cured meats like prosciutto or coppa to your board. Here are some other suggestions for your mouth-watering charcuterie platter:

  • Crunchy breads and crackers: These should be plain so as not to compete for the many flavors on the board. Favorites: Toasted plain baguette, pita bread, water crackers and bread sticks.
  • Spreads: Both creamy and seeded mustard versions are good choices. Sweet and savory jams with caramelized onion flavors or deep fruity notes are also welcome partners. Be sure to select flavors that aren’t overwhelming. Favorites: Fruit chutney, fig jam, hummus or a white bean dip.
  • Olives and pickled vegetables: Always great additions. Cornichons and pickled radishes work very well.
  • Fresh seasonal fruits are welcome too. In the winter, dried fruits including apricots and figs are great complements.

That’s it! Just start with the best craft meats, include complementary cheese, breads and spreads that provide different textures and flavors, pop open bottles of wine and beer, and enjoy the gathering.

SOUR POWER QUATTRO DOUBLES from Dorval

Dorval Trading Co., Ltd. announces its latest SOUR POWER® item in the 2-pound bag range: New SOUR POWER QUATTRO® DOUBLES.

A creative new spin on “assorted,” each mini-belt has two colors and two flavors, either strawberry/tutti frutti or blue raspberry/green apple. The DOUBLES concept is a variation on Dorval’s popular Sour Power Quattro, a four-color/four-flavor belt.

17557 Quattro Doubles bagSOUR POWER is now available in Straws and Belts, all in wrapped, unwrapped or in bulk format in a variety of package types and flavors. Packed in 9 x 2-pound cartons, these SOUR POWER QUATTRO DOUBLES bags are available to ship now.

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