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Packaged Facts: Nutritional Bars Providing the Portable, Healthier Snacks U.S. Consumers Crave

American snackers love their nutritional bars, finds market research publisher Packaged Facts in the report “Nutritional and Cereal Bars in the U.S., 4th Edition.” Nutritional bars are a handy way for consumers to stop eating three meals a day at set times and to start consuming smaller portions of food throughout the day, whether they are on the go or at home.

Nutritional bars conform to a broad cultural shift toward healthier, good-for-you food products.  Bars provide an attractive way for food marketers to offer bold, exciting flavors; ingredients with a shiny health halo resulting from their organic and “natural” characteristics; and superfoods and other functional ingredients targeting specific health concerns such as a desire or need for food to be gluten-free.  Nutritional bars, which have achieved torrid sales growth in recent years, provide an especially appropriate platform to deliver the kind of dense nutrition today’s consumers crave and search for in sources such as ancient grains and healthy seeds, including quinoa, amaranth, sorghum, chia and flaxseed.

Nutritional bars have long been marketed as a source of quick energy and meal replacements for athletes and fitness buffs.  According to the report, the psychographic profile of high-volume users of nutritional bars indicates that marketers of these products will continue to be on target with advertising campaigns geared toward fitness and outdoor activities.  High-volume users of nutritional bars are more likely to say they enjoy taking risks (42 percent vs. 34 percent) and have a higher likelihood of engaging in outdoor pursuits such as mountain/rock climbing, backpacking and mountain biking.  They also are far more likely to try to stay fit by engaging in fitness activities such as fitness walking and weight training.

An emerging trend highlighted in “Nutritional and Cereal Bars in the U.S., 4th Edition” is that consumers engaged in sports and fitness activities are starting to shy away from sweet flavors and are increasingly being drawn to savory snacks.  Savory bars also provide flavor options for different times of the day, reflecting the fact that consumers often look to sweet flavors earlier in the day and savory flavors later in the day.

Marketers are rushing to roll out new nutritional bars to reflect this shift in flavor preferences.  The shift toward savory nutritional bars has increased the popularity of bars that offer meat as a protein source.  Consumers can also expect to find more and more nutritional bars using vegetables as their protein source.  Nutritional bars now on the market include carrots, sweet potatoes, kale, broccoli, spinach, quinoa, cauliflower, lentils, bell pepper and basil.

Some industry analysts note that savory bars will need to overcome a number of obstacles if they are to succeed in the marketplace.  They are more difficult to manufacture because they lack sweeteners that act as binding agents.  Moreover, marketers need to find ways to overcome the ingrained association between snack bars and sweet flavors.

The Italian Sauces for Consumers Who Don’t Trust Processed Foods

 

By Lorrie Baumann

The federal Food and Drug Administration has announced that it proposes to require that nutrition fact labels on packaged foods include a declaration of added sugars “to provide consumers with information that is necessary to meet the dietary recommendation to reduce caloric intake from solid fats and added sugars,” according to the agency’s announcement published in the Federal Register in March, 2014. If and when that proposal becomes a federal requirement, the labels on Uncle Steve’s Italian sauces will report that the sauces contain the same amount of added sugars they always have – zero.

The recipes for the sauces came from Steve Schirrippa, actor, author and creator of the sauces, who’s better known as his character, Bobby Baccalieri on the hit television show “The Sopranos.” He got the recipe from his mother, who has since passed away, Scarpinito says. “Steve wanted to pay a tribute to his mother. Abundant home cooked Sunday family meals were very important to her. Steve honored her by producing products he got from her recipes to keep the Sunday tradition alive.”

None of the three varieties of Uncle Steve’s sauces: Marinara, Tomato with Basil and Arrabiata, contain any added sugar, a common ingredient in other prepared pasta sauces. They also contain no GMOs or gluten, and they’re organic. That’s at the insistence of Schirripa’s wife Laura, who’s a marathon runner conscious of healthy eating and who told her husband that if he wanted to make and sell tomato sauce, he needed to be sure that it would be good for people as well as enjoyable, says Uncle Steve’s Italian Specialties Chief Operating Officer Joseph Scarpinito, Jr.:“If you were to line up all of the popular tomato sauces and then remove the ones with pesticides, tomato paste, puree, and added sweetener, you’d be left with only one—Uncle Steve’s.”

Uncle Steve’s is simmered on our stove for six hours. The only sugar in our sauce comes from organic tomatoes imported from Italy and organic onions. Quality is of the utmost important to us,” he added.

The sauces were launched just last year on the company’s website and quickly picked up by Whole Foods Northeast. Other markets along the East Coast followed.

This year, Scarpinito is concentrating on expanding distribution of the sauces to the Southeast, Southwest and West Coast. “That expansion has already started – the sauce has been picked up by the Albertson’s Boise division and by Gelson’s in Los Angeles,” he said. “The sauce is also available from several distributors servicing large independent retailers.”

New products are also under development, including olive oil, pasta and other flavored pasta sauces. Scarpinito is naturally a little coy about pinning them down with any more detail than that, but he did offer a hint: we can expect to see an Uncle Steve’s vodka sauce early next year.

Once the FDA’s proposal is finalized, the FDA wants to give the food industry two years to switch to the new labels. In addition to requiring a declaration for added sugars, the FDA is also proposing a new format for the label that would make calories, serving sizes, and percent daily value figures more prominent. Serving sizes would be changed to reflect the amounts reasonably consumed in one eating occasion. “People are generally eating more today than 20 years ago, so some of the current serving sizes, and the amount of calories and nutrients that go with them, are out of date,” according to the FDA.

 

The New Super-Trendy Vegetable: Beets

 

By Richard Thompson

Beets are getting a whole new look this year, emphasizing their nutritional benefits while being featured in products that appeals to shifting consumer tastes. Similar to the way kale appealed to consumers last year, beets are being marketed as the new super trendy vegetable, grabbing the attention of food retailers and restaurateurs who are selling more items with beets in them than in previous years. Beet products are becoming so popular that this year’s list of sofi Award finalists include two different beet products that were up for three different awards between them.

The past five years have seen beets become more common place as people are more educated about them, says Natasha Shapiro of LoveBeets, known for their popular beet-featured product lines. Adding to the 20 percent increase in distributorship they have seen in the last year is their variety of beet juices and line of beet bars. The Love Beets health bars are coming in Beet & Apple, Beet & Cherry and Beet & Blueberry with all three made gluten-free and with clean ingredients. “We are making beets more fun, accessible and upbeat,” said Shapiro, “We’re modernizing the idea of beets.”

Blue Hill Yogurt, whose Beet Yogurt is a sofi finalist, combined the earthy sweetness of beets with the acidic tangyness of yogurt for a natural and unique trend that could push people looking for something new in milk products. Amped with raspberries and vinegar to maximize the natural earthy sweetness of the beet, Blue Hill wants people to think outside of what is normally thought of with beets and yogurt. “This is a savory yogurt that offers some sweetness, but not fruit-like sweetness. It’s a great afternoon yogurt,” said David Barber, President of Blue Hill.

Beetroot Rasam Soup from Cafe Spices, another finalist for the sofi Award, is competing in two categories, New Products and as a Soup, Stew, Bean or Chili Product. The colorful soup that pairs roasted beets pureed into a tomato base with tamarind, garlic, chiles and mustard seeds is an inspiration from the company’s culinary director and chef Hari Nayak.

Featuring naturally occurring nitrates that help extend exercise performance, fitness communities have long embraced the healthy benefits of beets. Coupled with social media and a general health conscious mindset in consumers, appreciation of beets has spider-webbed through mainstream markets, according to Shapiro. “Its the one vegetable people feel strongly about, Shapiro said, “At events, people just want to share their experiences about beets.”

Adam Kaye, Vice President of Culinary Affairs for Blue Hill, who worked with Dan Barber on their sofi nominated Beet Yogurt, goes one step further. Kaye has seen the appreciation of beets growing beyond it being a fancy potato and finds the whole vegetable incredible. “There is something about the beet that straddles the savory and the sweet,” said Kaye, “You can taste the earth in beets.”

 

Bristol Bay Sockeye Salmon Season Ends in Success

There was much anticipation going into the 2015 Bristol Bay sockeye season this year, with some 54 million sockeye salmon forecasted to return.  While the final return of sockeye may fall just short of the pre-season forecast, the 2015 sockeye season was a historic one, with a much higher than average return and a surprisingly late, long run.  As of July 26, 51 millon sockeye salmon returned to Bristol Bay with 35 million of those fish harvested. The peak of Bristol Bay’s run came in about 10 days later than usual this year.

“The season started slow and there was a lot of nervousness on the water, but, as always, the salmon came swimming home on their own schedule.  And when they finally did show up, they came by the tens of millions!  We had a few rough weather days, but it was an unusually sunny season with lots of rainbows and beautiful sunsets, and the best news is that we have plenty of sockeye for our customers,” said Jason McKinley, Bristol Bay Fisherman and Owner of Caught Wild Salmon.

Unusually late timing of the salmon’s return kept fishery managers, fishermen, and seafood processors on their toes as they waited to see how things would play out.   The Alaska Department of Fish and Game kept a close eye on in-season fish numbers and managed fishing efforts day-by-day to ensure that escapement targets were met in all the Bay’s major rivers.

This year’s huge return is good news for chefs and other seafood buyers who source Bristol Bay sockeye and depend on its consistently abundant runs and year-round availability.  Because the majority of Bristol Bay sockeye is flash frozen during the peak of the fishing season, late July and August signal the real start of the Bristol Bay salmon season for consumers.

“When you’re dealing with a wild food like sockeye salmon, you never know what’s going to happen. That’s part of the beauty of it and what makes it so special,” said William Dissen, Chef and Owner of The Market Place in Asheville, North Carolina.  “I’ve served Bristol Bay sockeye in my restaurant for the past few years and am thrilled to once again be able to provide it to our customers who’ve come to expect it on our menu.”

Others in the marketplace are also pleased with this season’s sockeye return, including the national company Plated, which features Bristol Bay sockeye salmon as part of its meal-delivery menu.  “Being able to source and provide Bristol Bay sockeye to our customers is an important part of who we are as a company, and key to our commitment to purchasing sustainable, healthy protein,” said Keith Lydon, Vice President of Operations at Plated.

Consumers around the country can now purchase Bristol Bay sockeye directly from fishermen through Community Supported Fisheries, farmers markets, and buying clubs.  A list of Bristol Bay sockeye suppliers can be found at www.bristolbaysockeye.org.

Bone Broth In Minutes

 

By Micah Cheek

Bone broth, the heavily reduced stock that has been popular with various diets and health regimens, is becoming available for quick home use. Mark Cronin, Regional Grocery Buyer/Supervisor of Jimbo’s… Naturally!, says Jimbo’s started selling premade frozen broths three years ago with great results. “Customers want things that are easy for them; offering it where they can be taken home is easy. That’s part of why they’ve been so successful.” Bone broth became popular with various health-conscious groups as a minimally processed source of protein and collagen, and then its popularity exploded after Marco Canora started offering it in his restaurant restaurant, Brodo, and the New York Times took note. It has been touted as an intestinal health aid, workout beverage, and even a morning coffee alternative.

Prepackaged bone broths have found a market with people who want to enjoy the purported benefits of bone broth, but lack the time to simmer organic bones for more than 12 hours. “We have done some customer surveys. People are saying, ‘We love broth, we believe in broth, but we love that we don’t have to make it,’” says Lance Roll, Executive Chef and founder of The Flavor Chef. “There’s also the issue of handling the product. Fifty percent of people have a spouse that doesn’t enjoy the smell of broth. If you’re cooking it for 12 to 24 hours, it constantly smells your house up.”

Premade bone broths have the added convenience of a six month shelf life in the freezer. Shelf-stable broths from Pacific Foods are available in boxes as well. Cronin believes that the next step in retail bone broths should be pre-portioned ice trays or packets so that small amounts can be thawed conveniently.

A good indicator of quality for a premade bone broth is how it behaves at room temperature. The process of making bone broth aims to extract as much gelatin and collagen from bones as possible, so a good bone broth will be a loose gel when thawed. The gelatin contributes to a rich texture when the broth is consumed.

It is recommended that broths are heated in a pot on the stove, rather than in a microwave. After heating, variations are only limited by the consumer’s tastes. Traditional bone broths are crafted for sipping, with only salt added. Seasonings like fresh ginger and lemon slices or steeped herbs customize the flavor. Bone broth can also be used wherever standard broths are called for, as the liquid in braises and stews or as a base for sauces.

For those who don’t enjoy drinking broth straight, Cronin suggests cooking it with rice noodles, green onions and other vegetables to make a simple soup. Roll has recently developed a Coconut Ginger Mint and Lemon Bone Broth soup, made with 80 percent chicken bone broth.

The majority of retail bone broths are made with either beef or chicken. Many are certified organic. Organic pork broth is rarely seen because of the difficulty in finding pigs that meet organic standards. “We’re not going to be doing it any time soon, mainly because I can’t get enough good pork bone,” says Roll. As bone broth gets more attention, Cronin is looking forward to more varieties of products becoming available. “There are more and more companies jumping into it on a retail level,” he says.

 

Boundary Bend Comes to America

 

By Lorrie Baumann

 

Australia’s leading olive oil producer, Boundary Bend Olives, had been in California just long enough to get stationery printed with its address at a former John Deere dealership in Woodland, California, about 20 miles northwest of Sacramento, before the company started winning awards for its California oils at the New York International Olive Oil Competition. The April 15 competition drew nearly 700 olive oils from 25 countries for judging by an international panel of experts, and Boundary Bend took home four NYIOOC awards for Cobram Estate oils produced from California olives as well as five awards for oils produced in Australia.

Cobram Estate Ultra Premium Picual, a medium picual oil from the U.S., won a NYIOOC Silver. Cobram Estate Super Premium Robust Blend, which combines leading varieties from California and Australia for a blend with a cut green grass nose, a strong spicy aroma and complex fruit flavors, earned a NYIOOC Gold Award. Cobram Estate Super Premium Medium Blend took home a NYIOOC Gold Award for appealing fresh fruity aromas and penetrating flavors, and Cobram Estate Ultra Premium Mission, from olives ultra cold-pressed within four hours of picking, received a NYIOOC Silver Award. The company’s NYIOOC awards for Australian oils included two Best in Class Awards for Cobram Estate Ultra Premium Hojiblanca and Cobram Estate Super Premium Premiere, a Robust Blend oil that also won a Best in Class Award in 2014; Cobram Estate Robust Flavour Intensity, a full-bodied blend from Australia that was pressed within six hours of picking, which won a Silver Award; Cobram Estate Classic Flavour, a medium blend from Australia also pressed within six hours, which won a Gold Award and Cobram Estate Ultra Premium Picual, which was ultra cold-pressed within four hours of picking and won a Silver Award in both 2015 and 2014.

Boundary Bend Co-founder and Executive Chairman Rob McGavin announced the company’s plan to expand its operations to the United States in May, 2014, and in January of this year announced that it had set up operations on eight acres near Woodland, California under the guidance of fifth-generation California farmer Adam Engelhardt, formerly of California Olive Ranch, and now CEO of Boundary Bend’s U.S. operations. The company had a small crush last October using another company’s plant for trial runs with small batches of oil. Boundary Bend plans to be in commercial production in California this calendar year. “We do plan to plant our own groves. We’ve got the trees for the plantings ready and are assessing suitable land and expect to have that in process within the next year,” McGavin said. “We’re just waiting for all the balls to line up.”

The company is eager to enter the American market because the country’s olive oil consumption is quite high, but domestic production is quite low, McGavin said. The U.S. is the fourth-largest consumer of olive oil globally, with consumption growing spectacularly over the past 25 years from a bit more than 100,000 metric tons per year in 1990 to the current figure of almost 300,000 metric tons per year, according to the International Olive Council. Per capita consumption in the United States is only 0.9 kg, which is comparable to per capita consumption in the U.K. and Germany, and the vast majority of that is imported, with only 3.8 percent of the olive oil consumed in the U.S. produced domestically. “Consumption of U.S.-produced oil is growing but is limited by supply,” McGavin wrote in a May 2014 letter to Boundary Bend stockholders in which he announced the plan to expand to the U.S.

Boundary Bend Olives, founded in 1998 by college buddies McGavin and Paul Riordan, currently sells more olive oil in Australia than anyone else, and its Australia production, from its own groves in the Murray Valley region of Victoria, is greater than the entire volume of olive oil currently produced in the U.S. “We’ve grown from nothing 10 years ago to the number-one selling brand in Australia,” McGavin said. To his stockholders, he wrote that, “We believe we can replicate, in the USA, the success of our Australian integrated business, but we will be taking a conservative, long-term approach to our business strategy.”

Boundary Bend is starting up agricultural operations in California at a time when the state is in the midst of a historic drought. Agricultural economist Richard Howitt and others from the University of California, Davis and ERA Economics reported to the California Department of Food and Agriculture in May of this year that following three critically dry years, many irrigation districts had exhausted their surface water reserves and the groundwater table had been drawn down in many parts of the Central Valley. The economists estimated that this year’s drought, coming on top of the three previous drought years, will result in the fallowing of about 564,000 acres and an $856 million reduction in gross crop farm revenues across the state. About 18,600 full-time, part-time and seasonal jobs may be lost this year, and the total economic loss to California’s agriculture industry is estimated to be $2.7 billion.

None of that scares McGavin one whit. “We know it’s going to be difficult. It’s never, ever easy, but if we do it in a methodical way not to sound arrogant, but we are confident that what worked in Australia’s severe drought conditions will work in California,” he said.

He points out that he and his company have had some experience with drought in Australia. “We had the most awful drought. The scientists were calling it a thousand-year drought, and it went on for seven years,” he said. During the drought, the farmers at Boundary Bend learned how to monitor the water needs of their trees through telemetry-equipped sensors that monitor the percolation of irrigation water through the ground to the tree roots. They learned when the trees needed to be irrigated and when they could stay dry and still survive, thus minimizing the amount of irrigation necessary. “Olives really came into their own in Australia during the drought, and having that experience is something that we can bring to the U.S.,” McGavin said. He added that the experience in the best watering practices to make olive trees thrive on the least possible amount of water was a painful lesson, but he thinks that his neighboring California olive tree farmers will be eager to see how Boundary Bend does it, and that will be beneficial for California agriculture in the long run.

In addition, olive trees require half the irrigation water of nut trees, so replacing some of the nut trees currently growing in California’s Central Valley with olive trees will save water too, he said. “Being able to plant twice the area of olives versus nut tree crops for the same amount of water is a good use of the water,” he said.

When it has secured the land, Boundary Bend will plant the olive trees much less densely than the typical California super high-density planting. While Boundary Bend’s groves will have fewer trees planted per acre, the overall yield of olive oil per acre will be similar because the trees will grow bigger. They’ll also be more drought-tolerant.

The trees will be a mix of varietals rather than the Arbequina monocrop that’s typical in California. This will result in extra-virgin olive oils with outstanding shelf life, better health benefits and complex flavor profiles as well as lowering the risk of crop failure, McGavin said. A good Arbequina oil has a shelf life of 18 months if it’s stored properly, while other oils, such as the Coratina variety originating in southern Italy, can last on the shelf for up to three years because they contain more antioxidants. Those antioxidants are also credited with some of the health benefits of extra-virgin olive oils. “A mix of olives extends the harvest and offers different flavor profiles,” McGavin said. Stretching out the harvest allows the olives to be picked at optimum ripeness and rushed to the mill for pressing within hours. The precise timing of the harvest and the speed of that processing is important in the protection of the volatile components of the oils. What makes a good extra-virgin olive oil is the minor components and how fresh they are and how much is expressed in the oil to contribute to flavor as well as health benefits, according to McGavin. “We think it works well here [in Australia], and we think it’ll work well in the USA, and we’re really excited about coming over and bringing it to American consumers,” he said. “A really important part of our strategy is to introduce the varieties that we grow in Australia and our way of growing them – different varieties of olives that give greater complexity to the oil.”

We’re all a bunch of farmers,” he added. “Our company stands by farmers. We’re farmers, and today we own 2.5 million trees on our own land, and the reason we’re successful is that we love what we do and have a brilliant product.”

 

Rodelle Launches Ultra-Premium Vanilla Extract

Rodelle, Inc.’s newest premium vanilla extract is Rodelle Reserve French Oak Aged Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract. With a suggested retail price of $50 for a 6.75 ounce bottle, Rodelle Reserve elevates the company’s already highly-regarded line of superior baking essentials. This high-end gourmet vanilla extract is for savvy consumers.

Eighty years in the making, Rodelle Reserve is the most complex and carefully crafted vanilla extract available. Founded in 1936, Rodelle has created high-quality vanilla products for both professional and home baking applications. Rodelle Reserve celebrates the traditional aspects of vanilla manufacturing while utilizing the most-advanced extraction techniques to provide a luxury experience. Rodelle’s team carefully crafted small batches of two-fold, pure vanilla extract with premium quality gourmet vanilla beans handpicked from Madagascar. Then, the vanilla was aged for months in French oak barrels to enhance the natural flavors and aromas inherent in vanilla extract. Dr. Krishna Bala, Co-founder of Rodelle, explains: “Aging vanilla in oak barrels softens the harsher elements of the alcohol that all [vanilla] extracts must contain, while smoothing out complex vanilla flavors and increasing the intensity by generating more flavor molecules.”

Rodelle Reserve offers a small-batch, aged vanilla experience that was previously unavailable to consumers. The flavors and quality found in Rodelle Reserve will enhance any baking occasion from an everyday experience to a memory that your family will cherish forever. Rodelle Reserve brings the quality standard of professional bakers into the home to make bakers’ dreams come true. “Rodelle has pioneered vanilla traditions and processes since 1936,” says Joe Basta, Co-founder of Rodelle, Inc. “Rodelle Reserve is the best vanilla extract available with the purest of ingredients and a vintage feel that honors the heritage of the world’s favorite flavor,” he says. “Rodelle is excited to launch this innovative, luxury vanilla extract,” Basta concludes.

For more details on Rodelle Reserve, visit http://rodelle.co/reserve. Rodelle Reserve can be found online at Amazon.com and in the near future at select retailers.

Chobani Builds On Success Of Afternoon Snacks With Three New Flip Products

Chobani introduces three new Chobani Flip™ products as part of its largest portfolio expansion to-date, building on the tremendous success of offering better options throughout the day. The introduction pushes the boundaries of Greek yogurt across the company’s entire portfolio—including Chobani® Oats, Chobani Simply 100®, Chobani Flip™, Limited Batch Chobani Greek Yogurt, Chobani Kids™ Greek Yogurt Tubes and Chobani Indulgent™.

Chobani Flip is the company’s offer for a better afternoon snack, combining creamy Greek yogurt with real, delicious, natural ingredients to mix in. After record-breaking success in the first-half of 2015, Chobani is introducing Peanut Butter Dream, Coffee Break Bliss and a Limited Batch Strawberry Summer Crisp, for a taste of the season served in an iconic red cup. The new products were inspired by creations crafted at the Chobani SoHo® cafe in New York.

“This year we’ve really pushed the flavor boundaries of Greek yogurt as we continue making products that give our fans better options throughout the day, and we’ve been especially blown away by the love for our Flip products,” said Peter McGuinness, Chief Marketing Officer, Chobani. “In the first half of this year Flip has become one of the biggest successes in dairy since we sold our first cup of Chobani.”

Building on the success of its Limited Batch portfolio, which taps into unexpected, unique fruits and ingredients, Chobani is launching Limited Batch Plum and bringing back popular Chobani Watermelon, both available through August.

In addition to new flavors, shoppers will also find an updated look with the reveal of new packaging across the portfolio that highlights core attributes of each product, such as “Only Natural, Non-GMO Ingredients” and “40% Less Sugar Than Regular Fruit Yogurt” on traditional Chobani products and “75% Less Sugar Than Regular Fruit Yogurt” on cups of Chobani Simply 100.

The newest additions to the Chobani family include: Chobani Kids Greek Yogurt Pouches Featuring Disney’s Doc McStuffins. Chobani Kids Pouches will have a new look – Strawberry and Vanilla + Chocolate Dust Pouches will now feature Disney Junior’s Doc McStuffins on packaging. With 25 percent less sugar and twice the protein of the leading kids’ yogurt,  Chobani Kids Pouches are a delicious and nutritious snack in partnership with The Walt Disney Company’s Magic of Healthy Living Initiative.

Limited Batch Chobani Watermelon and Plum: Spoon in and embrace the summer with new limited batch Plum with real slices of plum and the return of limited batch Watermelon, now on shelves through August 2015. The newest products celebrate the best flavors of the moment using only real fruit and natural ingredients.

Chobani Flip Peanut Butter Dream, Coffee Break Bliss and Strawberry Summer Crisp: Three new flavors join the Chobani Flip family—a collection of sweet snacks that pair delicious Greek yogurt with natural mix-ins.

 

A Sauce Republicans and Democrats Can Agree On

Sapore Oil and Vinegar, LLC. Co-Founders Renee and John Farr launch Bipartisan Barbecue Sauce into the Washington, DC Political arena.

After years of enduring bickering and disagreements, the Washington, DC market needed something that both parties —  Republicans and Democrats — could agree upon: a great-tasting barbecue sauce made with fresh ingredients, with a little spice and a lot of humor. So says Renee Farr, Co-founder of Sapore Oil and Vinegar on Capitol Hill and creator of their new product, Bipartisan Barbecue Sauce. The former catering sales manager first used her ingenuity to spice up Capitol Hill with a line of spices and gourmet foods sold exclusively at her retail store.

farr sauce“We wanted a sauce that was a little different, but that still met our high standards of flavor. So we went big – big on flavor and big on political satire,” Farr said. The bottle label suggests you use the sauce “liberally or conservatively,” but diplomatically adds, “Independents will like it too!”

“Not only does it take a light hearted poke at Capitol Hill, but it’s addictively delicious. Bipartisan Barbecue Sauce is a tomato/molasses-based sauce with a kick of ancho chiles and chipotle. It’s especially good on pork and beef, and takes grilled chicken and shrimp to whole new level.”

“My husband, [Co-founder] John Farr and I sourced an amazing product and designed the branding. We’re initiating a homegrown campaign to market this product in the Washington D.C. area. Thanks to that effort, you will find Bipartisan Barbecue Sauce in other local stores beside Sapore this summer,” Farr said.

The sauce is available in one variety: Original Bipartisan Barbecue Sauce, 16 ounces, retailing for $9.95

Bissinger’s Chief Chocolatier, Dave Owens

“Going to work every day is an honor,” says Vice President of Taste and Chief Chocolatier at Bissinger’s, Dave Owens. “The opportunity to build upon 350 years of tradition provides a wonderful incentive as I approach each day and every piece of chocolate crafted at Bissinger’s.”

Bissinger’s has been crafting confections since the time of Louis XIV, when he declared the company “Confiseur Imperial” or Confectioner to the Royal Empire, in 17th Century France. No other chocolate company, let alone company known to Bissinger’s, has such a long-standing legacy. Commitment to crafting premium, indulgent and beautiful confections is always the task at hand. This tradition has been the same for three and one half centuries.

Owens brings an extraordinary range of talent and depth to the company, including executive chef and partner at award-winning restaurants. He has a deep respect for the integrity and proper sourcing of ingredients, an exceptional culinary sense and a praiseworthy passion for natural foods and sustainability. Confectionery innovations have won Bissinger’s sofi Awards from the Specialty Food Association. The categories were best chocolate and best confection.

In his free time, Owens has two children and a wife who is also in the food industry, employed as a food stylist. Owens also enjoys helping philanthropic organizations like the March of Dimes, Habitat for Humanity, St. Louis Area FoodBank and has contributed to Taste of the NFL and Taste of the Nation.

At work, Owens is passionate with the company’s involvement with the Rainforest Alliance. Because not all cocoa is responsibly farmed, Bissinger’s works with them to ensure its superior cocoa beans are grown on farms in the Cote d’Ivoire esteemed for exceptional taste. The Rainforest Alliance promotes environmental responsibility, social equity and economic viability for farming communities. For more than 25 years, it has been working to conserve biodiversity and ensure livelihoods by transforming land-use practices, business practices and consumer behavior.

Owens say it is deeply rewarding on both a professional and personal level to be a part of a company that shares his values to in sourcing premium ingredients that not only make for an indulgent and delicious taste, but also are good for our people and the planet. “Our mission is not to be the biggest, but the finest chocolatier,” said Owens. “The word ‘finest’ doesn’t just refer to the quality of the chocolate. It also encapsulates working for a company that has a social and environmental consciousness.”

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