Kona Mountain Coffee, retailers of gourmet 100 percent Kona coffee from the company’s own farm in the official Kona Coffee District on the Big Island of Hawaii, is the winner of the Hawaii Coffee Association 2014 Cupping Competition for coffees from Kona, Hawaii. Kona Mountain had the top cupping score of all 42 entries from Kona’s finest coffee farms, once again earning a reputation as the ‘best of the best’ coffee from Kona.
“We have always believed,” said Bill Dwyer, President of Kona Mountain Coffee, LLC in Hawaii, “that it is not enough just to have the best Kona coffee and chocolates in the state of Hawaii. We also need to show the true spirit of aloha each time a visitor steps through our doors. That has always been our highest priority. Winning this cupping competition for gourmet Kona coffees makes our work even more fulfilling because it shows that we are really offering coffee lovers the ‘best of the best.’”
Kona Mountain Coffee retails estate and private reserve 100 percent Kona coffee at a visitor center on the highway from the Kona airport into Kailua Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii, where the coffee is roasted and many of the company’s Hawaii gourmet chocolates and other treats are handmade. There are also two Kona Mountain stores on Oahu in Waikiki at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Rainbow Bazaar, and the Hilton Grand Waikikian. Call toll free at 1.888.432.3276 for information and directions.
At each location, Kona Mountain Coffee offers its own line of gourmet Hawaii chocolates, real Hawaiian macadamia nuts, an ever-changing rainbow of Hawaiian taste treats, and a unique range of other Hawaiian products that make Kona Mountain Coffee shops a must-see destination for all visitors to Hawaii. Farm tours of the Kona farm are available. Call 808.329.5005 for details.
President Bill Dwyer credits the success of Kona Mountain, both in the cupping competition and in the retail market, to the spectacular talents and amazing Spirit of Aloha of his senior management team: wife Stephanie Dwyer, Farm Manager & Master Roaster Mark Santiago, and Retail Operations Manager Mary Frostad.
Leading companies from Alaska’s $6 billion seafood industry have announced their support for a ban on Russian seafood imports to the United States and urged Russia to rescind its August 7 ban on U.S. food imports. Such a move would not only further squeeze Russia’s faltering economy as Russia threatens European stability, but would support America’s sustainable, high-quality fisheries. The Alaska seafood industry is seeking support from the Alaska congressional delegation for the ban, as well as from the United States Trade Representative. It also seeks diplomatic efforts to immediately end Russia’s ban on U.S. seafood products.
Russia has been a major market for U.S. seafood products such as salmon roe, hake, Alaskan pollock, and others. The U.S. has been an important market for Russian products including crab, Russian pollock, salmon, caviar, and others.
The proposed U.S. ban would remain in effect until Russia rescinds its ban on U.S. imports, and would include mechanisms to prohibit all seafood imports of Russian origin, including Russian-caught seafood that is transferred through other countries such as China before reaching the U.S. Hundreds of millions of dollars of Russian seafood imports are sold in the U.S. every year, with much of the imported Russian fish coming through China.
“We did not start this fight, and we hope the Russians will call off their embargo. But a U.S. ban will signal to President Putin that America will not sit idly by while Russia disregards international law and tries to coerce the world into ignoring its transgressions through retaliatory actions,” said Terry Shaff, President & CEO of UniSea Inc.
Those endorsing the ban include Alaska General Seafoods, Alyeska Seafoods, Icicle Seafoods, North Pacific Seafoods, Ocean Beauty Seafoods, Peter Pan Seafoods, Trident Seafoods, UniSea, Westward Seafoods, and the members of the Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers.
Cyber-Thingy, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cyber Kiosk Solutions, Inc., has signed a master distribution agreement with specialty chocolate company MegaLoad. The agreement gives Cyber complete control of MegaLoad’s website for online sales and master distribution rights to all of its creative chocolate-based products.
Founded in 2010 and based in Hempstead, New York, MegaLoad is set to become one of most innovative chocolate brands in the world, according to Cyber-Thingy. The company is focused on creating unique, quality and delicious milk chocolate, peanut butter cup and caramel cup combinations with some of America’s favorite toppings. Its newest creation, the Sweet & Salty, is comprised of a milk chocolate peanut butter cup topped with a chocolate covered pretzel. Other popular treats include the Caramel Crunch, a milk chocolate-covered caramel-filled cup individually topped with peanut butter crunch, almond butter crunch, and milk chocolate minis, and the Original, a milk chocolate-covered peanut butter filled cup individually topped with milk chocolate minis, cream-filled sandwich cookie and chocolate chip cookie.
Cyber plans to initiate online sales of MegaLoad products through various large volume retail platforms such as Amazon, where it will set a 16 unit minimum. The company plans to use social media and SEO marketing to complement and drive traffic to retail sites.
On the distribution front, Cyber is focused on securing multiple large, specialty and independent distributors to carry the product and ensure its wide dispersion. Already, management has begun initiating contact with and sending samples to identified large distributors across the country, and expects to sign on multiple distributors in the forthcoming months.
Cyber Kiosk Solution’s Chief Operating Officer, Oren Manelis, commented, “We’re pleased to be afforded this opportunity to distribute such a unique, well-received chocolate product. I expect MegaLoad Chocolate to be the next big hit in the candy world due to its superior branding and great taste, and we will work hard alongside our future distributors to help make that happen.”
He added, “In addition to building our distributor network, we plan to create a flexible fundraising program for clubs, schools and sports teams nationwide to not only increase and diversify our revenue streams, but also and more importantly, to aid these groups in raising funds for their cause. We look forward to updating our fans, followers and shareholders as more of these initiatives come to fruition.”
Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker recently launched an out-of-home advertising campaign in San Francisco that uniquely ties to social media. The campaign features everyday consumers as the stars, via 50 digital outdoor boards across the city.
Crafted from the world’s finest cacao, Scharffen Berger Chocolate includes incredible taste complexities and varietals from different parts of the globe. The “Wonderfully Complicated” ad campaign illustrates that, just like the people who enjoy it, fine artisanal chocolate is anything but simple – and neither can be described with just one word. They are both rich, multi-layered and complex.
“At Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker, we think it’s time that artisanal chocolate proudly stood up for its depth and unique flavors. Our fans are taste explorers, people with palates that crave adventure as much as comfort and ‘Wonderfully Complicated’ brings this to life,” said Bernie Banas, Vice President for Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker. “Tying the campaign to social media and featuring chocolate lovers in the ads allows us to make a direct connection with them, celebrating that we are both one of life’s great pleasures that are proudly, boldly and always wonderfully complicated.”
The campaign features various creative executions produced by local San Francisco advertising agency, Camp + King, that celebrate the “wonderfully complicated” make-up of the chocolate and the personalities of the people who eat it; with lines such as “I am dark, spicy and mysterious,” or “I am sweet, salty and a little nutty,” among others. It’s an homage to both the taste profile of the bars and also the people who eat them.
What makes it unique? In addition to the five professionally executed ads, a slew of additional creative will appear featuring the people of San Francisco around the city.
Anyone can participate. They simply need to take a selfie, add #wonderfullycomplicated and share it publicly on Instagram. If chosen, their selfie – with a new headline made up of various adjectives – will pop up in rotation with the professionally executed creative on digital bus shelters around San Francisco and on Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker’s Facebook page, allowing consumers to turn selfies into a starring role in an advertising campaign.
According to research published by GlobalWebIndex in Jan. 2014, Instagram is the fastest growing social media site worldwide. The social media channel also aligns with the brand’s target – an educated, well-traveled woman who enjoys an active social, cultural, foodie life with her friends and family. Food is one of the most popular topics searched for and published on Instagram, and according to App Data, 68 percent of Instagram users are women.
Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker also recently added four new, rich and distinctive chocolate bars to their line of products, creating some wonderfully complicated flavors with on-trend exotic ingredients. The four new bars include: 72% Cacao Signature Dark Chocolate, 33% Cacao Smooth Milk Chocolate, 72% Cacao Dark Chocolate with Pistachios and Sea Salt and 33% Cacao Milk Chocolate with Toasted Coconut and Macadamia.
Halfpops, the partially popped and fully delicious popcorn snack, today unveiled two new flavors sure to satisfy the sweet and savory crowd alike – Caramel & Sea Salt and Chipotle Barbeque. Adding to the wildly popular Halfpops product line-up, the delicious new offerings will hit retail shelves in September 2014. The new flavors join Halfpops’ existing offerings of Aged White Cheddar and Butter & Pure Ocean Sea Salt, which were launched in 2011 and quickly became a snack favorite coast-to-coast.
The new Caramel & Sea Salt and Chipotle Barbeque flavor varieties start with non-GMO corn kernels that are half-popped to perfection and expertly seasoned with natural flavors and ingredients. As with Halfpops’ entire product line, they are gluten-free, have no preservatives, no corn syrup, no hydrogenated oils, and no artificial flavors and are completely nut-free.
The brand’s debut sweet flavor offering, Caramel & Sea Salt boasts Halfpops’ signature satisfying crunch and is seasoned with brown sugar, sea salt, sweet-cream, and accented with all-natural caramel flavor making for a perfectly sweet and crunchy treat. Chipotle Barbeque, Halfpops’ first dairy-free and vegan option is seasoned with real chipotle pepper, paprika, natural smoke powder, sea salt and other wholesome spices to deliver an intriguing flavor for those who crave a spicy kick. Both flavors have only 130 calories per serving and contain zero trans-fat, making for a smart snacking choice.
“Halfpops has experienced significant growth; our year-to-date sales are already up six fold year-over-year,” said Mike Fitzgerald, Founder and Chief Executive Officer for Halfpops. “Since launching in 2011, Halfpops has grown a loyal fan base which is why we are so excited to deliver two new flavor varieties to those who want a healthy, satisfying and unique snack.”
Halfpops are available in 2-ounce bags that retail for $1.49 each, and 6-ounce bags that retail for $3.99. The new Caramel & Sea Salt and Chipotle Barbeque Halfpops are expected to be available in a variety of grocery stores and specialty markets throughout the Northwest – including Costco, Whole Foods, PCC Markets, Metropolitan Markets, Haggen, Central Markets and more – and is available nationwide at retailers in more than 30 states. A complete store locator is available at www.halfpops.com/#storelocator, and product can also be purchased online at Halfpops.com.
Though foodservice will account for roughly three-fourths of the projected $48 billion in sales for the U.S. coffee industry in 2014, the retail segment is finding new ways to reach consumers and compete with the restaurant industry for market share. A driving trend in retail coffee innovation and marketing is bringing the coffee shop experience into the consumers’ homes, according to Coffee and Ready-to-Drink Coffee in the U.S.: Retail and Foodservice, 8th Edition, a report by market research publisher Packaged Facts.
A key factor in giving consumers a coffee shop experience at home involves bringing favorite coffeehouse and bakery brands into the retail sector. This type of co-branding is effective in garnering instant brand loyalty and recognition—a defining factor in a crowded market. For example, leading fast casual restaurant operator Panera Bread capitalized on its strong following with the brunch/lunch crowd to push its Panera Bread Bakery Blends brand, which offers a variety of flavored ground coffees and is positioned as a premium retail coffee product. Likewise, leading baked goods and coffee chain Dunkin Donuts has capitalized on its success in the coffee category to expand into the retail sector. Meanwhile, Caribou Coffee has made its signature brews available within the retail sector, in addition to providing products to foodservice providers such as hotels, entertainment venues, and e-commerce channels. Even fast food juggernaut McDonalds revealed plans to enter the fray through its McCafé-branded packaged coffees (in whole bean, ground coffee, and single-cup offerings).
On a grander scale, co-branding of retail coffee goes beyond coffee shop brands to align with other indulgent brand. The bold, rich flavor of coffee provides a natural balance to indulgent sweet notes—making partnerships with decadent, palette-pleasing brands a natural fit. Such partnerships create brand recognition and cross-merchandising opportunities, notes Packaged Facts research director David Sprinkle. As recently as February 2014, major moves such as doughnut company Krispy Kreme’s launch of ready-to-drink coffee beverages at more than 900 Walmart locations rippled across the retail landscape. Other recognizable foodservice brands—Godiva, Entenmann’s, Cold Stone Creamery—have capitalized on their reputations to launch retail coffee products with flavor-rich, decadent, and even premium positioning.
Building off coffeehouse expectations for a wide variety of options, retail coffee manufacturers are also embracing variety. Limited edition offerings or seasonal flavors are an easy way to satisfy the need for variety and keep consumers engaged with the brand.
Rustic Crust, a manufacturer of organic and all-natural pizza crust and sauce, today honored the New Hampshire Police, Fire & EMS Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to supporting firefighters, police officers and emergency medical service personnel, for its statewide contributions. The event coincided with the ground-breaking of a new Rustic Crust and American Flatbread frozen pizza facility soon to be erected on the site of its former factory in Pittsfield, New Hampshire, which burned to the ground earlier this year. The new two-story 27,000 square-foot facility, 30 percent larger than the original structure, will be in operation this fall. After the fire, Rustic Crust’s President and CEO Brad Sterl kept more than 100 workers on payroll while he began to rebuild the company.
Sterl and Governor Maggie Hassan recognized first responders as unsung heroes who risk their lives daily to protect the communities they serve, just as they did during the company’s devastating fire. The event marks the start of a national campaign, The Rustic Crust First Responders Recognition program, to support and acknowledge these service workers across the nation. In New Hampshire and in states across the U.S., Rustic Crust and American Flatbread frozen pizzas will donate product to state first responder organizations assisting with fundraisers and other events. The company will also continue to send its mobile pizza truck to natural disaster sites to feed fatigued workers.
“As a result of the fire at our production facility, we know firsthand the courage and sacrifice displayed by first responders,” Sterl said. “We are launching this national program to honor the extraordinary work of these brave men and women – fire, police, and emergency rescue people – in their times of need.”
Rustic Crust was founded in 1996 and is the number one U.S. national brand of natural prepared, ready-made pizza crusts. American Flatbread is a market leader in natural frozen flatbread pizzas which are available in supermarkets, health and gourmet stores nationwide. The company is Pittsfield, New Hampshire’s second largest employer.
If you’re a fan of snack mixes based on breakfast cereals and pretzels, but you’ve been thinking that snack mix just doesn’t seem decadent enough to serve your friends at your next party, Red Rocker Candy has a thought for you. Rocking Chair Mix is the company’s crunchy mix of cereals, pretzels and roasted almonds, all covered in white chocolate. Or, as one of my colleagues put it, “It’s not that unsatisfying yogurt coating.”
The letter that Jennifer Monges, a Manager at Red Rocker Candy, enclosed with the samples she sent our way says that the Rocking Chair Mix is often described as addictive, and Kitchenware News Associate Editor Amber Gallegos, the colleague who appreciated the white chocolate coating agrees. “Yeah, oh yeah,” she says. “Pretty bombalicious.” Rocking Chair Mix is offered in 7-ounce and 21-ounce cans.
Red Rocker Candy also offers Peppermint Bark from October through December. It’s a seasonal favorite that’s a feast for the eyes with white chocolate swirls and crushed peppermint candy on dark chocolate. The bark is sold in 8-ounce and 16-ounce boxes.
Cashew Toffee with White Chocolate is a classical buttery toffee topped with white chocolate and cashew bits. The company also offers Peanut Brittle and Pecan Brittle and promises that Pistachio Brittle will be available at the end of the year. The Cashew Toffee is offered in an 8-ounce bag and 16-ounce box. The brittles are offered in 8-ounce bags. Peanut Brittle also comes in a 16-ounce box, and Pecan Brittle comes in a 14-ounce box.
Red Rocker Candy was founded in 2002 and is based in Troy, Virginia. For more information, visit www.redrockercandy.com.
– Lorrie Baumann
I used Pendleton© Brown Sugar+Molasses Barbecue Sauce the other night to make a batch of baked beans that turned out fabulous! I started with a couple of cups of cooked Anasazi beans. I put that in a pot with about half an onion that I chopped finely and browned in the fat I rendered out of a couple of strips of bacon. I drained the grease and added the browned onion and chopped bacon bits to the beans, then added enough of the barbecue sauce to moisten it well — probably about 3/4 cup. Then I just let it simmer for about 45 minutes while I baked some chicken and dressed some cole slaw. And the best thing is that I managed to stop eating while I still had some leftover beans and cole slaw for today’s lunch!
The Anasazi beans are a Southwest heritage variety that I bought at my local farmers market. They’re a gorgeous bean with cranberry and cream speckles, and they have a creamy texture when cooked. The Brown Sugar + Molasses sauce is one of a pair of new flavors from Pendleton, which also makes new Hot+Spicy flavor and Original and Mesquite flavors. The sauces are made by Oregon Growers & Shippers in partnership with Hood River Distillers. The Brown Sugar + Molasses Sauce was created for consumers looking for a sweeter flavor profile and is made from premium quality molasses and dark brown sugar for a caramel flavor accented with hints of citrus from coriander and some mild heat from black and chipotle peppers and a backdrop of hickory smoke that add some spicy tang to that sweetness for a result that didn’t taste anything like candied beans.
– Lorrie Baumann