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Nicole’s Naturals Introduces a Gluten-Free Waffle and Pancake Mix

Nicole's NaturalsThe days of two different breakfasts for gluten-free households are over with the launch of Nicole’s Naturals Gluten-Free Waffle & Pancake Mix. Nicole’s Naturals is made with the highest quality, all-natural ingredients and spices usually only found in homemade mixes, making the waffles and pancakes taste like a family recipe.

Called “delicious” and a “waffle you want to eat” by the Los Angeles Times, Nicole’s Naturals Mix is made without artificial ingredients, preservatives or refined grains. Nicole’s Naturals’ products have been independently tested at less than five parts per million, far below the FDA regulation of 20 parts per million for products labeled gluten-free.

Raised in North Carolina, Nicole’s Naturals’ Founder Nicole Washington grew up in the kitchen and was responsible for cooking dinner for her family by the age of 10. Homemade breakfasts were a favorite dish of her Southern family, and while she ultimately became an industrial engineer, cooking and entertaining continued to be a source of love and enjoyment in Nicole’s life. But it was her engineering mindset that drove her to find a culinary solution once she was diagnosed with gluten intolerance in 2003. After much trial and error, she developed a gluten-free recipe to replace her family’s beloved waffles and they didn’t even notice when she swapped the new gluten-free recipe for her tried-and-true dish. After revealing her secret, Nicole’s husband encouraged her to package her product, and Nicole’s Naturals was born.

Nicole’s Naturals Waffles & Pancakes take just minutes to prepare, and caregivers can rest easy knowing their children are starting the day with a healthy meal. Nicole’s Naturals have significantly less added sugar and more fiber than many other waffles while tasting even more delicious. The prepared waffles can even be frozen allowing kids to help out by popping one in the toaster themselves for breakfast or an easy snack.

“In gluten-free families those with allergies are often singled-out with a separate meal and not able to eat what the rest of the family is enjoying,” said Nicole’s Naturals Founder Nicole Washington. “Our mix is a real solution for waffle- and pancake-loving families as the cook only has to make one breakfast.”

Roughly 40 million consumers purchase gluten-free products, four million of whom suffer from celiac disease, which requires that they avoid eating gluten. Gluten-free sales are expected to reach more than $15 billion by 2016, according to Mintel.

INGREDIENTS: Brown Rice Flour, Corn Meal, Turbinado Sugar, Gluten-Free Oatmeal, Potato Starch, Tapioca Flour, Aluminum-Free Baking Powder, Cinnamon, Gluten-Free Vanilla Flavoring, Gluten Free Xanthan Gum and Salt.

Nicole’s Naturals Gluten-Free Waffle & Pancake Mix is available at www.nicolesnaturals.com, Amazon.com and The Hood Market in Costa Mesa, California.

MSRP: $8.99  for a 22-ounce container

Torie & Howard Introducing New Stand-Alone Shipper for Organic Halloween Candy

ToriesAndHowardHalloweenShipperTorie & Howard is introducing a new stand-alone shipper for its 10-ounce Halloween packages of USDA Organic, kosher and Non-GMO hard candy. The new shipper will debut at the Winter Fancy Food Show on January 11, Booth 1651.

The shipper holds 20 packages and provides a seasonally spooky off-shelf display for the candy, which offers a Halloween option for parents who increasingly are purchasing organic foods for their children and for themselves, said Torie Burke, company co-founder. It contains four flavors of the candy and stands 4 feet high with a footprint of just 15 ½ by 15 ¼ inches, Burke said. Orders are being taken now for shipment in 2015, she said.

The package includes an assortment of individually wrapped flavors and features a colorful header with a headstone and a scary spider keeping company with Torie & Howard’s familiar nature-themed packaging motifs of bees, hummingbirds and dragonflies. The candy assortment is packaged in a 10-ounce lie-flat bag with a suggested retail price of $6.99.

Flavors of the organic hard candy include: California Pomegranate and Sweet Freestone Nectarine, Italian Tarocco Blood Orange & Wildflower Honey, D’Anjou Pear & Ceylon Cinnamon, and Pink Grapefruit & Tupelo Honey, which was named a sofi™ Award Finalist.

The candy is USDA organic and kosher certified and contains no GMOs, preservatives, artificial dyes, casein, soy or gluten, Burke said. It also is available in 2-ounce recyclable steel tins with a suggested retail price of $3.99-$4.99. A 6-ounce handbag gift package is available with a suggested retail price of $7.99-$8.99, and the candy is sold in 5-pound bulk bags. More information is available by calling 888.826.9554 or online at www.TorieAndHoward.com.

Barbara’s Makes Granola Better with New Granola Line

Barbara'sBarbara’s, known for making cereals and snacks from simple, wholesome ingredients, has expanded its portfolio of Non-GMO Project Verified foods with the addition of Barbara’s Better Granola. The new line of protein-packed granola comes in two yummy flavors – Oats & Honey and Dark Chocolate Cranberry – both featuring a unique proprietary recipe containing less fat and sugar and more protein than other leading granolas.

“Everyone loves granola, but too often what they think is a healthier option is actually full of excess sugar and high in fat. We had been snacking on granola in the office and looking at the product labels. We were astounded to see how much sugar there was in the tiny quarter-cup serving sizes. We knew that we could make a better product, so we set out to make a healthier granola,” said Katrina Yolen, U.S. Director of Marketing at Barbara’s. “Barbara’s Better Granola is packed with protein, lower in sugar and fat, and still delivers the delicious granola flavor we all love. Not only is our new line of Barbara’s Better Granola a good source of protein that comes from oats, almonds, and wheat, but it also delivers other added benefits consumers are looking for, such as ancient grains and seeds, whole grains, ALA omega 3’s and fiber.”

With a larger serving size than most other granolas, Barbara’s Better Granola is a satisfying blend of toasted oat clusters and cereal puffs, almonds, and ancient grains and seeds such as quinoa and flax seeds, and boasts 9-10 grams of soy-free protein and 6 grams of fiber per serving. Barbara’s Better Granola is Non-GMO Project Verified and is packed with 28-30 grams of whole grains and more than 200 milligrams of ALA omega 3’s in every full 2/3-cup serving. It is great eaten alone as a snack, with milk or as a topping on yogurt.

Barbara’s offers a full line of delicious cereals and snacks, including popular crowd favorites like Puffins cereals, Snackimals cereals and cookies, Morning Oat Crunch, Cheese Puffs and more. Barbara’s Better Granola is currently available at Sprouts and Shop Rite stores as well as Amazon.com, and will be available in stores nationwide starting early 2015. Barbara’s products are available nationally at major retail grocery stores and natural food stores. For more information on Barbara’s Better Granola and other Barbara’s products, please visit the Barbara’s website at www.Barbaras.com.

Read About More Non-GMO Foods Here

Reliant Beverage Adds Industry Expert to Team

Germano (2)Reliant Beverage Company, maker of Reliant Recovery Water, has hired Bill Germano as president.

“We are thrilled to have Bill join the Reliant team,” said Eric Russell, CEO of Reliant Beverage Company. “He brings with him a wealth of knowledge in the beverage industry and knows how to grow small companies into flourishing national brands. We are confident he will help take Reliant to the next level.”

During his more than 20 years of experience as an executive in the food and beverage industry, Germano has significantly influenced the growth of widely recognized brands in the United States and abroad. Prior to joining Reliant, Germano was the vice president of global development for Kettle Foods where he led the snack brand through a period of increased earnings and innovation in the United Stated and Europe. He has also served as the president and CEO of Thomas Kemper Soda and most recently was the president and CEO of Dr. Lucy’s LLC, where he led a successful launch of a specialized healthy baked snack line to an industry leading brand.

“Reliant Recover Water is an opportunity to truly make a difference,” said Germano. “This is such a uniquely innovative product and I look forward to growing the brand to a national product leader.”

As the new president of Reliant Beverage Company, Germano will lead the efforts to launch the company’s flagship beverage Reliant Recovery Water into the commercial market. Germano joins CEO Eric Russell and an advisory board that includes leaders from some of the Pacific Northwest’s top consumer brands as well as top researchers, physicians and physiologists from across the globe.

Reliant Recovery Water is the first and only electrokinetically modified water that delivers consumers faster recovery to joints and muscles and better performance. For more information about Reliant Recover Water visit www.drinkreliant.com.

Reliant Beverage Co. is based in Tacoma, Wash., with every bottle of Reliant Recovery Water processed on-site. The company is led by the Russell Family and backed by an advisory board from the Pacific Northwest’s top consumer brands as well as top researchers, physicians, and physiologists from across the globe. Reliant Beverage Co. was founded in 2009 with extensive research and investments to better understand electrokinetically modify water (EMW) and how they interact with the human body. Reliant Recovery Water underwent eight years of extensive research, development and testing prior to launch. Researchers from the University of Florida and Seattle Sports Medicine validated Reliant’s benefits, concluding that the drink improves functional recovery after activity and exercise with less resulting pain and fatigue.

Snack Factory Pretzel Crisps Celebrates 10th Anniversary with Website Relaunch

Pretzel CrispsSnack Factory Pretzel Crisps® has unveiled a redesigned PretzelCrisps.com website to celebrate the brand’s 10 year history. The highly visual, design-forward site provides consumers and loyal fans with an easy-to-navigate interactive destination full of recipes, snack ideas and product information.

“This is an exciting time for Pretzel Crisps,” said Valerie Traynor, vice president of marketing at Snack Factory Pretzel Crisps. “After 10 years of steady expansion across our product portfolio, we felt it was time to update our website to mirror the dynamic and enthusiastic nature of our loyal fan base. The redesigned site will serve as the ideal resource for several exciting new announcements we have in store for the upcoming year and beyond.”

The new PretzelCrisps.com integrates cutting edge design with useful functionality, allowing visitors to explore recipes and entertaining like never before. The website hosts more than 100 recipes conveniently categorized by occasion, from birthday parties to game night or even a wine and dine night. Users may also filter recipes by the length of preparation time, making it simple to find a recipe to suit every need.

Another new addition to the Pretzel Crisps website is a convenient nationwide store locator that enables users to search for stores geographically by zip code or by specific retailer name.

Developed by Boston-based digital agency Convertiv, the new Pretzel Crisps website features parallax scrolling effects and a responsive design that seamlessly adjusts to mobile, tablet and desktop formats.

The redesigned website follows the recent launch of four new Snack Factory Pretzel Crisps products in 2014—deli flavors Honey Mustard & Onion and Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper; and new format Pretzel Crisps Minis in Original and Cheddar. With only 110 calories per serving, Pretzel Crisps are made with high-quality, all-natural ingredients, without saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, preservatives, artificial flavorings or colors. Pretzel Crisps may be found in the deli section or snack aisle of retailers nationwide.

A Gluten Free Bar That Tastes Awesome and is Good for You Too

Two celiac brothers, Elliott and Marshall Rader, believed in a better gluten-free bar. Sick of cardboard taste and hard-to-understand ingredients, they set out on a mission to create a bar that tasted awesome and was good for them too. A labor of love between the brothers and a pastry chef, these bars meet their three main criteria:

1.) Delicious,
2.) High in protein and fiber to keep them feeling full, and
3.) Made with pure and simple gluten-free ingredients.

Gluten Free BarMade in-house at the company’s own dedicated gluten-free facility, the Gluten Free Bars contain no fillers or additives and are made with all-natural and GMO-free ingredients, 70 percent of which are certified organic.  The Gluten Free Bar provides a good source of fiber and a complete source of protein derived from brown rice and pea protein (10-12 grams!). The bars are also low in sodium; sweetened with agave nectar, brown rice syrup, and dates instead of added sugar; and completely free of wheat, soy, cholesterol, trans fat, casein and dairy.

From toasted cashews and Virginia peanuts to certified gluten-free oats, crisped brown rice, and dried cranberries, the bar’s wholesome ingredients are treats for the taste buds. The flavors include: Cranberry Toasted Almond, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Peanut Butter, Coconut Cashew Crunch, Dark Chocolate Coconut and Oatmeal Raisin. An ideal breakfast or anytime snack, the bars are chewy and moist on the inside and feature a lightly toasted crunch on the outside. The Gluten Free Bars were introduced to the market in 2010.

Gluten Free BitesThe company just launched new Gluten Free Bites, which are snack sized versions of its delicious bars made in additional dessert flavors.

Alert Issued on Honey Shipped to U.S. From Turkey

The True Source Honey Certification™ Program, whose mission it is to protect consumers, retailers and manufacturers from illegally sourced honey, has issued an alert concerning honey labeled as coming from Turkey.

“We advise honey importers, retailers and manufacturers to proceed carefully and consider additional safeguards if they are buying low-priced honey labeled as produced in Turkey,” said True Source Honey Executive Director Gordon Marks.

The United States has had repeated problems with honey that is illegally shipped from China to avoid anti-dumping duties. The quality and purity of this honey is also suspect since it is not sold according to regular protocols. Such honey has often been shipped through – and labeled as produced within – a country other than China. This illegal practice threatens the U.S. honey industry by undercutting fair market prices and damaging honey’s reputation for quality and safety.

True Source is flagging Turkey due to increasing amounts of honey being shipped from that country at well below market prices. This trend is similar to that observed in past circumvention schemes.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U.S. imported more than four million pounds of honey from Turkey in 2013, or about one percent of the volume Americans consume each year. This volume from Turkey has increased almost 10-fold in three years. More importantly, Turkish honey that is exported to the United States is valued at $1.27 per pound when traded into the U.S. (U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of Census) and at $2.13 per pound when traded into the European Union (2014 YTD, Eurostat).  Such a significant discrepancy in price based upon destination rather than origin is uncommon in the international honey market. U.S.-produced white honey is trading at $2.08 per pound, according to the most recently available data from USDA (September 2014).

“The leading indicator for circumvented Chinese honey is honey traded on the international market at rates substantially below the prevalent market value,” said Marks.

Marks also noted that U.S. companies should be aware of the risk of prosecution for customs fraud if circumstances indicate that they purchased honey knowing it had been illegally imported. Recent federal court cases (USAA Northern District of Illinois Press Release,February 20, 2013) suggest the federal government now expects that all U.S. users and distributors of honey imports have already implemented and are maintaining rigorous supply chain audit and inspection procedures as a matter of course.

A number of nations have been implicated in past circumvention schemes. In a 2013 press release associated with charges against two large U.S. packers, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Illinois, noted, “The honey was variously described falsely as sugars and syrups instead of Chinese-origin honey, and or as pure honey having originated in Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Thailand and Vietnam, instead of China.”

The True Source Honey Certification Program is an industry-supported, voluntary program established to combat the problem of illegally shipped honey. To date, there are no Turkish exporters that are True Source Certified. The program, which uses an independent third-party audit system, has been applauded by U.S. beekeepers and honey industry leadership because it provides traceability from hive to table, helping ensure the food safety and security of the honey used in North America. Companies that are True Source Certified now represent about one-third of honey sold in North America.

“Honey packers and importers that become True Source Certified are held to the highest sourcing standards – verified by outside auditors to ensure that all honey purchases are openly declared and that no illegally circumvented Chinese honey enters their supply chain,” said Marks.

The True Source Certified™ logo on honey packages ensures that honey has been independently certified. Further information, including a search function to check honey products, can be found at www.TrueSourceHoney.com.

This story was also published in Food & Food Equipment News, another publication of Oser Communications Group.

Oregon Growers Launches New Look

Oregon Growers has recently launched with a new proprietary jar as well as a new cap and updated label. “While the original jar and label has served us well for the past 10 years, we felt that it was time for an update,” says Dave Gee, Oregon Growers founding partner. The new cap features a picturesque drawing of the Hood River valley, where much of the fruit is sourced directly from family farmers, and Mt Hood in the background. The new label retains the familiar mural and hand-drawn fruit, but has an updated logo and additional product attributes. Oregon Growers “While the packaging has grown up as we approach our 10th year in business, the product that we make remains the same premium quality that you have come to expect from Oregon Growers,” says Gee. Retailers should expect to see the new look rolling out this month, with Bristol Farms in southern California launching in November with the new look.

Lem Butler, Sam Lewontin Win at Big Eastern Coffee Competition

On November 21-23, around 80 coffee professionals from the East Coast participated in the Big Eastern Coffee Competition in Durham, North Carolina. Lem Butler, Counter Culture’s head of wholesale customer support and barista trainer of the Carolinas, placed first in the Southeast Regional Barista Competition, his fifth win in his coffee career. Butler has worked with Counter Culture in Durham since 2007. Sam Lewontin, barista at NYC’s Everyman Espresso, won the Northeast Regional Barista Competition using Counter Culture coffee. Butler and Lewontin will advance to the U.S. Coffee Championships with a first-round bye in Long Beach, California, in February 2015.
Twelve baristas competed using Counter Culture’s coffees, and in addition to Butler and Lewontin, seven of these competitors made it to the finals. In the SERBC: Anna Utevsky from Joule Coffee (Raleigh, North Carolina) came in third; Nathan Nerswick of Empire State South (Atlanta) came in fourth; and Micah Sherer of Tandem Creperie & Coffeehouse (Travelers Rest, South Carolina) came in fifth. In the NERBC: Carlos Morales from Third Rail Coffee (New York City) placed third and Erika Vonie from Everyman Espresso (New York City) finished fourth. In the Southeast Regional Brewers Cup: Jack Snyder of Northside Social (Arlington, Virginia) finished fourth and Henry Boyd of Morning Times (Raleigh, North Carolina) came in sixth. Additional competitors using Counter Culture coffees included: Jenny Bonchak, Slingshot Coffee (Raleigh, North Carolina); Steph Caronna, La Farm Bakery (Cary, North Carolina); Seth Cook, Northside Social (Arlington, Virginia); Timm Jones, Jubala Coffee (Raleigh, North Carolina); and Joshua Maitz, Peregrine Espresso (Washington, D.C.). See link here for full list of results.
At the Barista Competition, baristas competed in front of four sensory judges, two technical judges and one head judge as they prepared and served four espressos, four cappuccinos and four signature espresso beverages during a 15-minute race against the clock. Butler competed with AA-grade Thiriku (Nyeri, Kenya), roasted by Counter Culture’s Eddie Green and Kyle Tush, as his espresso for his signature beverage. For his cappuccinos, Butler combined 70 percent AA grade with 30 percent AB grade that was roasted two points darker “to focus more on balancing between sweetness and body in the cappuccino.” Butler was previously named Southeast Regional Barista in 2005, 2007, 2010, and 2012. Lewontin competed with Counter Culture’s Finca Los Alpes from Aida Battle in El Salvador (also roasted by Kyle Tush) as his espresso, noting that the “nectarine and grapefruit” notes balanced a “beautiful sweetness and crisp acidity.”
At the Brewers Cup, competitors were judged in two rounds by skilled coffee tasters. The first round was a blind tasting; the competitors all brewed the same coffee on their chosen manual brewing devices. Those who advanced to the second round brewed and presented their chosen coffee to the judges’ panel.
The Big Eastern Event is one of three Super Regional Coffee Competitions taking place across the country. The Big Western took place October 7-10 in Rancho Mirage, California, and the Big Central took place November 7-9 in Minneapolis. The winners of each competition go on to compete in the U.S. Coffee Championships at the SCAA’s 27th Annual Event, February 19-22, 2015, in Long Beach, California. The winner of each U.S. Coffee Championship moves on to compete in the 2015 World Barista Championship and World Brewers Cup in Seattle, April 9-12, 2015.
Open to the public and free to attend, the event also hosted opportunities for attendees to learn more about the world of specialty coffee and to taste coffee from local and regional roasters. The Big Eastern was sponsored by Counter Culture Coffee and Wilbur Custis Co. and produced by the Barista Guild of America and the Specialty Coffee Association of America.

Specialty Egg Market Continues to Grow Despite Label Confusion

 

By David Bernard

 

SpecialtyEggs1-MW for webSometimes free-range eggs are not really so free range after all. While the growing specialty egg industry has advanced animal welfare and supplied retailers with more nutritious, flavorful eggs to sell, it has also misled at times, and there continues to be confusion among consumers over the various types of eggs. With no legal standards as to what constitutes most of the main types of specialty eggs, including free-range, cage-free and pasture-raised, retailers can end up selling eggs laid by hens that are not treated as well as one might think.

The term “free-range” is generally taken to mean that hens have access to the outdoors. It does not necessarily mean, however, that the bird actually goes outdoors. “Free range often means there is just a small hole allowing passage from indoors to outdoors,” said Dan Brooks, Director of Marketing and Communications for Vital Farms, a national specialty egg producer based in Austin, Texas. “However, the birds are often given no encouragement to go outdoors, and the small hole inherently makes it difficult for the bird to get outside. Or a producer might let the birds outside, but only for a small amount of time each day.”

For many consumers, free-range is an attractive term that conjures images of wide open spaces and grass-covered hills where hens wander freely. However, that definition more closely applies to another type of specialty egg: pasture-raised. Vital Farms, the only third-party certified national producer of pasture-raised eggs, as defined by respected verifier Certified Humane, provides 108 square feet of outdoor space per bird. In addition, the company rotates hens between areas that contain fresh grass and feed. Unlike typical commodity egg-laying hens, the company’s birds are not treated with hormones or antibiotics.

Pasture-raised eggs provide a wealth of benefits for consumers. Compared to commodity eggs from caged hens, pasture-raised eggs have been demonstrated to provide more vitamin D (four times the amount), beta carotene (seven times), vitamin E (three times) and vitamin A (66 percent more). They may also contain 33 percent less cholesterol and 25 percent less saturated fat. According to Brooks, pasture-raised eggs taste better as well. “We get so many emails from customers where they say, ‘Thank you. This is the best egg I’ve ever tasted,’” he said.

In addition to pasture-raised and free-range eggs, there are also cage-free eggs, in which hens typically live indoors in a floor-based housing or aviary system, rather than in the small, two- to-three-bird cages typical of the commodity egg industry.

SpecialtyEggs2-MWStill, even within the three main categories of specialty eggs, there can be even further demarcations, such as organic and Non-GMO Project Verified eggs, as well as nutritionally fortified eggs. Through the use of specialized feed, nutritionally fortified eggs contain higher levels of one or more nutrients, such as omega fatty acids, protein, beta carotene, vitamin D, vitamin E, folate and various antioxidants. USDA organic, the only regulated category in the specialty egg industry, pertains mostly to the feed that is used to grow hens. The label means the producer uses feed that is non-GMO and has been grown or produced without the use of pesticides. Free-range and pasture-raised eggs can be certified as organic. Cage-free eggs cannot be certified in this way.

Whether it is because of the more humane treatment of hens, enhanced nutritional benefits or better flavor, consumers have spoken, boosting the specialty egg industry to roughly 10 percent of the larger $9.4 billion U.S. table egg market. This is double what the specialty egg market was just five years ago. There has been a particularly sharp increase over the last 18 months. This jump is partly due to an increase in the price of commodity eggs (attributed to higher grain prices). Now that consumers are absorbing less of a hit when they move up to specialty eggs, there appears to be a changing consumer mindset.

“Food isn’t just something that people are using for nutrition nowadays,” said Jasen Urena, Director of Specialty Eggs at NestFresh, a national specialty egg producer and distributor based in Fullerton, California. “It has actually become part of their value system. The animal welfare aspect of specialty eggs and the environmental sustainability aspect with organic and non-GMO – these are becoming hot topics to consumers. And this has caused amazing growth over the last 18 months.” According to Urena, some mass retailers on both coasts are seeing specialty eggs account for a whopping 30-35 percent of sales, up from 6-7 percent just five years ago.

NestFresh produces and distributes cage-free, free-range, pasture-raised, non-GMO and organic eggs, including nutritionally enhanced varieties, through its brands NestFresh, The Country Hen, Horizon Organic and a variety of retailer private labels. The company forgoes the use of hormones or antibiotics, as is typical of commodity egg producers. Its products are all certified as humane by several third-party verifiers.

Consumers are not the only ones driving the specialty egg trend, however, with state regulators getting into the game as well. Beginning in January, California will outlaw the use of conventional cages, although legal wrangling continues over whether the statute as written also bans larger, so-called “enriched” cages that hold 15-20 birds. Other states are considering similar laws.

While both consumer awareness and specialty egg sales are increasing, there appears to be much room for growth. At least 90 percent of domestic table eggs come from caged hens that average just 8.5 inches by 8.5 inches of living space. “Our research indicates that most consumers are simply not aware of this, and those that are do not support it,” said Jenni Danby, Marketing Director at The Happy Egg Co., a national specialty egg supplier based in San Francisco. “Consumer education is such a large part of what we do. For a bird with a 30-inch wingspan to have a space that is smaller than a piece of standard printer paper – we think consumers are entitled to know this.”

The Happy Egg Co. supplies free-range eggs from hens that do not receive antiobitics or hormones and are free to roam in grassy fields every day with at least 14 square feet of space per bird. This space allotment handily exceeds all current third-party free-range standards. The two-and-a-half-year-old company supplies over 4,000 retailers, and its products are all certified as humane by several third-party verifiers.

Some producers are finding that humane treatment of hens pays a production dividend. John Brunnquell, President of Warsaw, Indiana-based Egg Innovations has seen the benefits of moving from a commodity, caged production model to various levels of specialty production. After taking over his family’s egg farm following college, Brunnquell decided to transition to specialty eggs. “Every time we took another step forward in animal welfare, whether it was adding perches, letting the birds outside [or] expanding the outside area – every time we did this, our production went up,” he said.

Not only did Egg Innovations’ egg output increase, so did the quality. “We’ve seen deeper, darker yolks and improved shell strength, and we attribute this to a healthier bird” Brunnquell said. “Now on flavor, that’s obviously a subjective discussion, but it’s typical for consumers to come back to us and say, ‘These eggs taste different. They taste better.’” Egg Innovations is a national supplier of free-range and organic free-range eggs, including several types of nutritionally enhanced eggs. The company, which is preparing to launch a third-party certified pasture-raised egg, does not use hormones or antibiotics, and its products are certified as humane by several third-party verifiers.

This story was originally published in the December 2014 issue of Gourmet News, a publication of Oser Communications Group.

 

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