Natural Products Expo East opened this morning in Baltimore, Maryland with vendors offering everything from gourmet dog snacks to organic ethically produced and sourced anything at all that you might want to eat yourself. Among the offerings are, of course, any number of products designed to meet the needs of consumers observing a gluten-free diet, and the vendors’ interest in the category this year indicates that the trend is showing no sign of fading away just yet. New this year are a plethora of options in foods for consumers who have multiple dietary restrictions. As an example, ohso Good for you chocolate provides the consumer with 100% of their daily probiotics in a 70-calorie chocolate bar that’s also gluten free, dairy free and nut free. The bar’s probiotics are microencapsulated, so they’re protected from stomach acids, and are three to four times as likely to survive to replenish intestinal flora as a serving of milk or yogurt, the company says. See it in booth #4811 at Expo East or visit www.ohso.com.
Also checking off multiple boxes for those with dietary restrictions is a line of boxed mac and cheese-style dinners that are gluten free and dairy free. The company’s pastaríso Dairy Free Mac & Cheddar Style Sauce product, for example, is not just dairy free, it’s also vegan and free from wheat, gluten, soy, eggs and nuts. As you’d expect, it doesn’t taste like a full-on cheesy, creamy pasta dinner, but it’s certainly reminiscent of those flavors, and it doesn’t taste at all like cardboard. Taste it at booth #726 or visit www.maplegrovefoods.com for more information.
Traderspoint Creamery brought the yogurt recognized as the country’s best at the 2014 American Cheese Society competition. Based in Indiana, the company sources its milk from 100-percent grass-fed cows on its own farm and from a nearby coop of Amish farmers and packages the yogurt in single-serving glass cups. See them in booth #912 at the show.
thinkThin Lean Protein.& Fiber™ Bars is offering two limited edition flavors for fall: Dark Chocolate Peppermint and Pumpkin Spice. Each bar has only 150 calories, and both flavors are gluten free, non-GMO and kosher dairy. Taste them in booth #1230 or visit www.thinkproducts.com.
Barnraiser, the crowdfunding community dedicated to powering the good food movement, is inviting sustainable food artisans, farmers, educators, community leaders and others to launch projects that reshape our food systems.
“We are thrilled to offer Barnraiser to anyone serious about making a positive impact on the way we farm and eat,” said Eileen Gordon Chiarello, Barnraiser founder and CEO, who with her husband, celebrity chef Michael Chiarello, has created award-winning restaurants, sustainably farmed wines and food-focused media properties. “Now is the time for us to exert our influence as passionate consumers. Funding these innovators is a powerful way to build the food future we want.”
Over 41 million Americans and their global counterparts make decisions based on health and sustainability. Barnraiser empowers these people to connect with innovators, share their inspirational stories, and collectively fund their success.
From heirloom fruit orchards, savory snack bars, and school gardens to mobile foraging apps, sustainable bees and responsible chicken farms, Barnraiser welcomes the wide range of sustainable and organic food innovators. “If there was a Richter scale for love, the Barnraiser crew would be at a 9.0,” exclaimed sustainable beekeeper Rob Keller, whose Barnraiser project promotes healthy bees. “I am deeply moved by our funders’ generosity, and the Barnraiser support getting us out there was epic.”
Food safety lawyer Ron Simon has filed the first salmonella lawsuit against Costco and Norwegian-based Foppen stemming from a salmonella outbreak linked to contaminated Foppen smoked salmon sold at Costco stores nationwide.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Plaintiff Lorena Vasquez, a 39-year old resident of Mission, Texas.
In September 2012, Vasquez purchased a package of Foppen Norwegian Smoked Salmon Slices from the Costco located in Pharr, Texas.
Shortly after consuming the salmon, she experienced symptoms of diarrhea, abdominal pain, weakness, and related dehydration and was diagnosed with salmonellosis.
As a result of her illness, Vasquez was hospitalized and underwent multiple surgeries.
The Costco / Foppen Salmonella Thompson Outbreak
In the late summer and fall of 2012, the Netherlands experienced its largest food-borne bacterial outbreak in history. The pathogen was Salmonella Thompson, which traditionally appears annually in single or low double-digit numbers in the Netherlands.
By August of 2012, approximately 60 culture-confirmed cases of Salmonella Thompson had been identified; in September, over 120 more were identified; in October, nearly 900 victims had tested positive; and in November and December, approximately 100 more were identified. By December, the count of new cases had slowed to about 20, and by January 2013, the outbreak was deemed over.
As soon as health officials in the Netherlands recognized that they were in the midst of a national outbreak, investigators and epidemiologists from the National Institute for Public Health (RIVM) and the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) began to engage in a massive trace-back and epidemiological investigation.
It took investigators six weeks to determine and announce that smoked salmon was the source of the Salmonella Thompson illnesses. The salmon was the product of Foppen Paling & Zalm (“Foppen”) of Harderwijk, the Netherlands. Almost immediately thereafter, Foppen announced that the massive contamination of its salmon by Salmonella Thompson had occurred at its processing plant in Preveza, Greece.
By December of 2012, the RIVM had identified 1200 culture-confirmed victims, including four fatalities.
Costco Sold Foppen’s Contaminated Smoked Salmon in the United States
Significantly, Foppen’s contaminated smoked salmon was also distributed in the United States. According to Foppen company spokesman Bart de Vries, Foppen had only one U.S. customer, Costco, that had purchased large amounts of the fish.
On Monday, October 1, 2012, Costco initiated a recall and removal of the smoked salmon. Craig Wilson, Vice President of Costco, confirmed that the company was also in the process of contacting the 247,000 members who had purchased the contaminated salmon. Vasquez did not receive notice of the recall until after she had become ill.
Harald Wychgel, a spokesman for the Dutch public health institute, reported that as of October 2, 2012, his agency had received information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that at least 100 U.S. residents had been sickened with the identical strain of Salmonella Thompson found in Foppen’s contaminated smoked salmon.
Wychgel’s announcement was consistent with information provided by several states, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), all of which were conducting investigations of a spike in Salmonella Thompson cases in the United States. At least 10 people were hospitalized in the outbreak.
Lindt USA, actress and producer Ashley Tisdale, and online video content provider Maker Studios join together to create an exciting, new romantic comedy series: “It Started with HELLO.” This original digital series celebrates the national launch of Lindt HELLO, a sinfully delicious premium chocolate collection inspired by classic American treats. Created by Lindt in partnership with Maker, “It Started with HELLO” is an interactive series that captures couples as they make their first connections and encourages viewers to find out what happens after “hello” by choosing their own ending to each story. Chocolate lovers can get in on the action with a chance to win a variety of fun prizes through the Lindt HELLO Sweet Connections Sweepstakes.
The digital series, featuring a teaser and four short episodes inspired by the cheeky personalities of Lindt HELLO products, will live on Maker Studios’ fashion + beauty network, The Platform (youtube.com/theplatform). Tisdale brings her behind-the-camera expertise to “It Started with HELLO,” serving as producer for the first episode, reviewing scripts, wardrobe and set design, as well as lending her creativity on set in collaboration with Lindt Chocolate and Maker.
“‘It Started with HELLO’ is different from anything that I’ve ever worked on,” says Tisdale. “As a producer, I’m excited about creating unique content and sharing it with my fans through different platforms. I can’t wait to see the series come to life!”
Say “HELLO” to the Digital Series
Starting today, fans can preview “It Started with HELLO” by visiting youtube.com/theplatform for a first look at the series and to meet the cast. The first episode, produced by Tisdale, will premiere on September 18, 2014. Three additional new episodes will debut weekly through October 9, 2014.
Top digital talent, including Maker partners Chester See, Tessa Violet, Amy Pham and Lindsey Stirling, along with Mike Tompkins andRusty Clanton, star in the interactive program. “It Started with HELLO” episodes will showcase the first connections among different couples:
Consumers are encouraged to say “hello” to their favorite couples and join the conversation using the dedicated #ItStartedWithHELLO hashtag. Fans can also visit LindtHELLO.com to learn more about Lindt HELLO products and enter the Lindt HELLO Sweet Connections Sweepstakes daily for a chance to win weekly prizes, including spa getaways, shopping excursions, date nights for two and plenty of mouthwatering Lindt HELLO chocolate.
“We’re thrilled to celebrate the national launch of the Lindt HELLO collection in a fun, engaging way by sparking new connections among people,” says Danielle O’Neil, Vice President of Marketing, Lindt USA. “With Ashley Tisdale’s and Maker Studios’ involvement, ‘It Started with HELLO’ brings this playful collection to life in a unique way and involves fans within the conversation.”
Green County CheeseDays, the granddaddy of Midwestern food fests, celebrates its 100-year anniversary from September 19-21 in Monroe, Wisconsin. The festival celebrates the cheesemaking, dairy farming and Swiss traditions that continue to this day.
Herd to curd.
Cheesemaking first began in Green County in 1846 when Swiss immigrants purchased a few dozen dairy cows and herded them from Ohio to New Glarus, Wisconsin. By 1873, the locals were churning out wedges, blocks and wheels of American, Limburger and Swiss cheese. Today you’ll find more than 50 different varieties, with many available for sampling in the Cheese Tent at the festival.
Thank goodness for sauerkraut!
The idea for the festival dates back to 1914, when some aspiring entrepreneurs in downtown Monroe were looking for a way to attract visitors and boost business. After a visit to Sauerkraut Day in Forreston, Illinois – they came home inspired, with visions of cheese curds dancing in their heads. “If Forreston can have a festival based on sauerkraut, we can certainly do something better with cheese,” one of them likely said, and the first Cheese Day was planned in less than a month. Despite the lack of Twitter, Facebook and text messaging, nearly 4,000 people arrived by train, horse-drawn rig, and roadster. More than 13,000 cheese sandwiches were served, and the program included vaudeville entertainment and political speeches. According to the local newspaper, “merrymakers danced in the street to band music all afternoon.”
A celebration too good to end.
After some stops and starts (War! Great Depression! Ten-Year Hiatus!) the festival settled into the pattern of a three-day, every-other-year event in 1970. Today, more than 100,000 revelers descend on Monroe to polka and yodel, play alphorns, eat cheese by the truckload, and party – literally – ‘til the cows go home.
Cheesy is what the festival organizers strive for.
Right away you’ll sense the cheesy vibe: old time copper kettle cheesemaking demonstrations, cheese pairings, and cheese sampling galore. On the menu: gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, the best deep-fried cheese curds in the nation, cheesecake on a stick, and Limburger “sliders.” And in honor of the 100th anniversary – a “Procession of Cheesemakers” with a cheesemaker from each of the dozen factories proudly bearing their signature cheese to lend pomp and circumstance to the festival’s opening ceremony.
Send in the cows.
The best of the area’s bovines (Brown Swiss, Jersey, Guernsey, Holstein, Red and White Holstein, Ayrshire, and Milking Shorthorn) make the trip to the “big city” to play starring roles in the wildly popular Cow Milking Contest. For many, the highlight of the weekend is The Swiss Colony Cheese Days Paradewhich is led by a herd of Brown Swiss cows sporting clanging bells and floral wreaths. The parade carries on the tradition of herdsmen bringing the cattle down from the Alps at the end of the grazing season – following a summer nibbling pastures of tall grass and tasty herbs – ideal for crafting delicious Alpine cheeses.
Hundreds of ways to share the fun.
To mark this special anniversary, more than 100 accordion players will play the official Cheese Days Song (of course there is a song!) with the Monroe City Band. In keeping with the theme of 100, dairy farm tours will showcase two family farms where multiple generations have tilled the land and milked the cows for more than a century. Cheese Days also features three entertainment stages with everything from Swiss alphorns and yodeling to rock-n-roll party bands. Also on the schedule – arts and crafts, brewery and distillery tours, activities for kids and antique tractors. In fact, there are more fun things to do at Cheese Days than there are holes in a giant wheel of Swiss cheese!
Less than three months after its launch, savory nutrition bars from Mediterra® are now available in Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage, the first large-scale natural retailer to offer Mediterra bars. Currently, the rapidly growing Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage operates 86 stores in 14 states.
“Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage has stringent standards, and bringing Mediterra into their stores is a huge endorsement,” says Mediterra Founder Telemaque Lavidas. “It’s an honor to partner and grow with them, while we aggressively continue to introduce our brand to consumers nationwide.”
“The products we carry are free from artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, sweeteners, both hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils. We continue our search for additional snack items that taste good and meet these standards, and Mediterra does that,” says Nancy Flynn, Marketing Director for Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage. “We’re looking forward to offering our customers another healthful way to snack, while on-the-go.”
Inspired by the Mediterranean Diet that’s considered by experts as one of the healthiest lifestyles in the world, Mediterra bars have six new unique flavors that feature various fruits, vegetables and grains, providing different snacking options for throughout the day. All bars are all-natural, non-GMO and gluten free. They retail for $1.99.
The six unique bar flavors come in three specific varieties that provide ancient nutrition in a modern and convenient way:
Savory Bars: The bars are rich in vegetable content, but low in calories, sodium and sugar and contain protein-rich pea crisps and a touch of olive oil. Each Savory Bar is 1.4 ounces and contains six grams of protein and fiber. They are certified kosher and dairy free. The Savory Bars serve as an alternative to sweet snacks providing super foods and amaranth, an ancient grain. Flavors include Tomato/Basil/Capers and Olive/Walnut/Chives.
Sesame Honey Energy Bars: Traditionally known as pasteli, these bars are dairy-free and contain only a few ingredients including roasted sesame seeds, Greek honey and either pistachios from Aegina Island or orange peel. The combination provides natural and long lasting energy. Each bar is 1.3 ounces, contains up to six grams of protein and two grams of fiber. Flavors include Sesame Seed/Pistachio/Greek Honey and Sesame Seed/Orange/Greek Honey.
Yogurt and Oat Bars: Bottom-covered with yogurt-style coating, the bars are 1.6 ounces, certified kosher and contain seven grams of protein. The bars also feature fig paste, sunflower seeds and raisins. Flavors include Yogurt/Oat/Cherry Pistachio and Yogurt/Oat/Apricot Pistachio.
After launching in June, the company named Acosta Sales & Marketing, a leading full-service sales and marketing agency in the consumer packaged goods industry, as its U.S. sales agency. In addition, the company has won two product awards including a 2014 The Lempert Report Innovator award for its Savory Bars.
Click here to read more Gourmet News coverage of snack foods.
B&G Foods has added Garlic Parmesan flavor to its line of New York Style Bagel Crisps®. The new flavor lets you experience New York-style bagels in a light and crispy chip with the zest of garlic and the zing of Parmesan cheese. These crunchy baked snacks are made with bagel bread and have half the fat and fewer calories than fried potato chips.
Garlic Parmesan New York Style Bagel Crisps can be adorned to create party fare that will impress the most discerning of foodies, or they can be enjoyed straight out of the bag. They’re great on their own or paired with toppings, dips and spreads, providing a delectable appetizer in a New York minute. New York Style Bagel Crisps are made without artificial flavors or colors.
Garlic Parmesan New York Style Bagel Crisps will be available in stores starting in September.
Click here for more coverage of gourmet snack foods.
Two Emmi Roth USA employees are among the 2014 class of American Cheese Society Certified Cheese Professionals™. Krista Schoppenhauer and Kristin Sande are part of an elite group of 153 individuals from 32 different companies who passed the third annual ACS Certified Cheese Professional Exam, held July 29 in Sacramento, California.
Krista Schoppenhauer, Inside Sales Representative for Specialty Cheeses at Emmi Roth USA, has more than 10 years of experience in the cheese industry. Schoppenhauer, who developed a love of fine food at a young age, said she is “proud to have attained this milestone while working at Emmi Roth.”
With more than 20 years of experience in the cheese industry, Kristin Sande is the Inside Sales Manager for Specialty Cheeses at Emmi Roth USA. “I am fortunate to have a career that not only provides continued growth but also tastes delicious,” said Sande.
Sande and Schoppenhauer join Roger Olsen, Specialty Sales Trainer, who passed the ACS Certified Cheese Professional Exam in 2013. “The ever-expanding cheese community is a wonderful place to be, especially now,” said Olson, who has more than 20 years of professional experience in the food industry. “It is a joy sharing great cheese and education with people who are passionate about food.”
“We are exceptionally proud of Krista, Kristin and Roger,” said Jodie Wische, Vice President of Specialty Sales at Emmi Roth USA. “Becoming a Certified Cheese Professional is a prestigious achievement and true testament to their dedication and passion for the cheese industry.”
In support of cheesemongers and cheese professionals, Emmi Roth USA proudly sponsors the American Cheese Society CCP reception to honor and celebrate the efforts of exam takers. The exam is the only one of its kind, and it was established to encourage improved standards of comprehensive cheese knowledge and service. Aspiring cheese professionals need 4,000 hours of work experience and formal education just to be eligible to take the exam. Those who pass the test are awarded a lapel pin, jacket patch and certificate.
To learn more about the Certified Cheese Professional Exam, visit www.cheesesociety.org.
The Eli’s Cheesecake Company of Chicago is now offering Mini Pumpkin Pies for foodservice and in-store bakeries. These are the perfect, easy dessert to re-pack or sell individually in service cases.
These Mini Pumpkin Pies feature a custardy, lightly-spiced filling made with pumpkins from Stahlbush Island Farms, baked in an all-butter crust, sprinkled with coarse sugar. Stahlbush Island Farms is an environmentally friendly farm and food processor committed to sustainable agriculture. As an ingredient supplier to the bakery industry, Stahlbush is one of the largest processors of frozen pumpkin puree in the industry. Quality control is a high priority in their production process. For every lot processed, they run tests to ensure the best results for moisture, grit, pH, brix, total plate count per gram, texture, color and flavor, as requested. Additionally, they have a program in place for pathogen screening to ensure food safety. Their philosophy is that farming practices should leave the soil, air, water, plant life, animals and people healthier. For them and Eli’s, sustainability is a continuing journey. In 1997, Stahlbush became one of the first farms in the country to be certified sustainable by the Food Alliance.
Terlato Wines has entered into a new partnership to take over the U.S. sales and marketing of Cecchi, a leading producer in Chianti Classico and other Tuscan wines, effective Jan. 1, 2015. The long-term agreement with the Cecchi family adds depth and diversity to the Terlato Italian portfolio with a highly regarded and established premium brand from Tuscany’s renowned Chianti Classico region.
Cecchi has been producing premium wines from single vineyard estates in Tuscany for more than 120 years, and is in its fourth generation of family management with brothers Cesare and Andrea Cecchi – great grandsons of founder Luigi Cecchi – leading the winery today. They have invested significantly in expanding their vineyard holdings and modernizing their wineries and winemaking operations, always with a goal of improving the quality of their wines. The Cecchi brand has been sold in the U.S. for more than 25 years. Today, Cecchi is a leading Tuscan brand, focused on its range of wines from Chianti Classico, with additional wines from Maremma and Umbria.
“We started discussions with Cesare and Andrea earlier this year, as they initiated their search for a new U.S. importer,” said Terlato Wines Chief Executive William A. Terlato. “Cesare and Andrea wanted to make certain they chose the right long-term partner to build their brand in the U.S. market. A blind tasting conducted at their winery convinced us that their winemaking approach and commitment to quality would make Cecchi an ideal fit in our portfolio. Both families are aligned on the brand’s untapped potential. We have an opportunity to build a leadership position in the Chianti Classico category and establish a stronger brand presence with the current portfolio and some exceptional new wines.”
Terlato will import a collection of wines from Cecchi, but will focus on a targeted range of six wines that are key expressions of Cecchi’s Tuscan heritage and their diversity of vineyard holdings, including: Chianti Classico DOCG; Chianti Classico Riserva di Famiglia DOCG; Coevo IGT Toscana; La Mora Vermentino DOC Maremma Toscana; La Mora Morellino di Scansano DOCG and; Sangiovese IGT Toscana.
“We are extremely pleased to be working with the Terlato family,” said Cesare Cecchi. “Terlato Wines is widely known as the leading luxury importer in the U.S., and we know our partnership will build our U.S. brand presence and image. They are a great fit for us.”
Terlato Wines has a global portfolio of more than 70 brands from world class wine producers in more than a dozen countries and controls a 20 percent market share of wines $20 and up in the U.S. Terlato Wines garners more 90+ ratings than any wine company in the world and is a division of the Terlato Wine Group, the parent company comprising several small businesses specializing in the marketing and production of exceptional wines. Owned and operated by the Terlato family for four generations, the Group also includes the family’s winery investments and partnerships in some of the world’s most esteemed wine regions including: Napa Valley; Sonoma County; Sta. Rita Hills in Santa Barbara County; Victoria, Australia; the Rhone Valley in France and; Montalcino,Italy.
The Terlato Wines portfolio of brands includes: Napa Valley: Chimney Rock, EPISODE, Galaxy, Jack Nicklaus Wines, Luke Donald Collection, Markham Vineyards, Rutherford Hill, Tangley Oaks, Terlato Family Vineyards; Sonoma County: Alderbrook, Giarrusso, Hanna, Rochioli, The Federalist, Terlato Family Vineyards; Santa Barbara County: Flor de Campo, Sanford; California Appellation: Glass Mountain, Greystone Cellars, Mike Ditka Wines, Seven Daughters; Oregon: Sokol Blosser; Washington State: Grace Lane; Argentina: Cuarto Dominio, Tamari; Australia: Domaine Terlato & Chapoutier, the Lucky Country, Twelftree, Two Hands; Austria: Kracher; Canada: Peller Estates; Chile: Lapostolle; France: Belleruche by M. Chapoutier, Champagne Bollinger, Chateau de Sancerre, Chateau Timberlay, Chanson Pere & Fils, Domaine Ramonet, Langlois-Chateau, M. Chapoutier, MARIUS, Mischief & Mayhem; Greece: Boutari, Elios; Italy: Anselmi, Berlucchi, Ca’Marcanda (GAJA Toscana), Cecchi, Colavita, Cusumano, Fizz 56, GAJA, Goretti, Il Poggione, Mazzoni (Toscana), Nino Franco, Santa Margherita, Torresella,; Japan: Shimizu-no-mai Sake; Mediterranean: Elios; New Zealand: Loveblock, Turning Heads, Wairau River; South Africa: Anthonij Rupert, Ernie Els, Guardian Peak, Protea, Rust en Vrede; Spain: Bodegas Valdemar, Marco Abella. Artisan Spirits: Adelphi Selections Scotch, Distillatori Nonino (Grappa), Don Pancho Origenes Rum, Heartland Prohibition Gin, Langley’s No. 8 Gin; Marnier Cognac, Riazul Tequila, Spring Mill Bourbon, Tigre Blanc Vodka and Tiramisu Liqueur.