After many months of diligent preparation, Emmi Roth USA announces its 77,000 square-foot specialty cheese plant in Platteville, Wisconsin has received FSSC 22000 Certification by the Global Food Safety Initiative.
FSSC 22000 is one of the most rigorous food safety standards issued and covers a facility’s entire supply chain. The certification integrates Good Manufacturing Practices, HACCP, as well as traceability and legal food safety requirements in an ISO 22000:2005 Quality Management System. Emmi Roth USA’s Monroe, Wisconsin, creamery received its FSSC 22000 certification in 2012, with the new specialty cheese plant in Platteville now following suit.
“We have always been and will continue to be committed to producing the highest quality and safest products for our customers,” said Tim Omer, Managing Director of Emmi Roth USA. “This new certification clearly demonstrates that commitment, and we are proud to be recognized as an industry leader in food safety.”
The new FSSC 22000 certification means the facility will comply with both ISO 22,000 and ISO/TS 22002-1. It is one of only a handful of cheese plants in the nation to achieve the highest standard of food safety recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative.
DREAM™ brand is proud to announce the launch of its new line of COCONUT DREAM™ Non-Dairy Yogurt, available in five sweet and fresh flavors of coconut-based yogurt: Plain, Vanilla, Strawberry, Blueberry and Raspberry. This non-dairy yogurt is made from real coconuts, is high in calcium, low in sodium and contains live and active cultures. COCONUT DREAM Non-Dairy Yogurt is also vegan, made with non-GMO ingredients, and free of gluten, lactose and soy.
“COCONUT DREAM Non-Dairy Yogurt is expected to be very popular among non-dairy consumers as well as dairy consumers that love the fresh and exotic taste of coconut. “The COCONUT DREAM Non-Dairy Yogurt line will create more flavorful taste options and variety for non-dairy consumers,” said Basel Nassar, Chief Operating Officer of the Hain Refrigerated Foods Division. “It has a delicious, creamy consistency with a tropical twist from the luscious flavor of coconut. It’s the perfect snack for fans with or without dietary restrictions.”
COCONUT DREAM is a brand of The Hain Celestial Group Inc., a leading natural and organic products company in North America and Europe providing consumers with A Healthy Way of Life™.
COCONUT DREAM Non-Dairy Yogurt will be available in grocers’ refrigerated sections nationwide.
For more information, visit http://www.hain-celestial.com.
Thick pasture-based and organic Smari yogurt is now even creamier. The yogurt rebel is revolutionizing its roots by keeping the fat. New whole milk Smari is available in Pure and Vanilla flavors. Smari also hits the shelves with two new delicious nonfat flavors, Peach and Coconut.
When brand founder Smari Asmundsson came to the U.S., he bit into his first fresh peach. He was so blown away by the lushly foreign, sweet flavor that he had to marry it with his first native love, Icelandic yogurt. With new inspiration came memories of an old favorite, rich moist coconut cake, and the result, Nonfat Coconut Smari, is just as indulgent without any of the guilt.
But Smari yogurt isn’t just about less. For over 1100 years, Icelandic yogurt has been made nonfat…until now. Smari is reimagining its heritage by keeping the fat. For healthy, growing kids and those embracing fat in their lifestyle, a pasture based, whole milk option has finally arrived. Smari’s nonfat yogurt is extraordinarily creamy, but its whole milk yogurt is off the charts creamy.
Thicker than Greek yogurt and containing less sugar than most yogurts on the market, Smari packs as much as 20 grams of protein, more protein per ounce than any other yogurts in the U.S. The result is a thick, rich yogurt that makes each snack or breakfast memorable.
Organic Smari yogurt is made exclusively from organic milk and fruit. Always local and never factory farmed, Smari’s Jersey and Guernsey cows live in Wisconsin and are pastured and fed grass, creating richer, thicker, more nutritious, better-tasting milk.
Anything but plain, savor an even creamier, thick whole milk Smari in Pure, or try Vanilla, made with organic vanilla beans. Smari’s hot selling nonfat yogurt comes in Pure, Strawberry, Blueberry, Vanilla, and now, perfect Peach and island-inspired Coconut flavors.
For more information, visit smariorganics.com.
Emmi Roth USA took home six medals at this year’s World Cheese Awards in the United Kingdom, a record for the company at this competition. These wins bring the total number of awards for the company’s U.S.-produced cheeses to 23 in 2014.
The company’s flagship cheese, Roth® Grand Cru® Surchoix, received a “Super Gold” award, earning the title of one of the 62 Best Cheeses in the World. This best-in-class distinction is the bookend in a banner year for Grand Cru — the line of Grand Cru cheeses has taken home a total of 10 awards in 2014.
It’s a journey that began 4,000 miles away, among the rolling hills of Wisconsin. There, the flavors of this perfect land, climate and fresh milk go into each wheel of Roth Grand Cru. This Alpine-style cheese is crafted in traditional copper vats and carefully cured by Roth cellar masters to reflect the distinct terroir of America’s Dairyland. Grand Cru Surchoix, hand-selected as “the best of the best,” cures for a minimum of nine months to create a firm texture and complex flavors of caramel, fruit and mushroom.
“This is truly our life’s passion,” said Linda Duwve, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Emmi Roth USA. “The quality of the milk, the cheesemaking traditions, the dedication and expertise of our cheesemakers and cellar masters—you can taste all of that in each wheel. We don’t do all of this for the awards, but it’s humbling and an honor to have our flagship variety recognized among the top cheeses in the world.”
In addition, team Emmi Roth USA received the following honors at this year’s World Cheese Awards:
The Gold award for Grand Cru Reserve was also an extremely prestigious win for Emmi Roth. Grand Cru Reserve was competing in class 5514 against cheeses that had previously been awarded Supreme Champion, or the equivalent, in a national or international cheese awards competition in any country. Grand Cru Reserve earned the right to compete in this elite category after being named Grand Champion at the 2014 World Dairy Expo.
Emmi Roth’s parent company, Emmi of Switzerland, took home 11 medals, including three Gold awards for Piz Bever Extra, Kaltbach™ Cave-aged Le Gruyère AOP and Kaltbach Cave-aged Emmentaler AOP. Kaltbach Cave-aged Le Gruyère AOP was also named Best Le Gruyère AOP cheese in the sponsored trophy awards.
Hosted by the U.K.’s Guild of Fine Food, the World Cheese Awards is the world’s largest cheese event and the most respected competition of its type. This year, more than 250 judges scored nearly 2,600 cheeses from 33 countries.
Green Valley Organics® is expanding its award-winning line with the introduction of the first real dairy, lactose-free cream cheese available in the U.S. market. Starting in November 2014, Green Valley Organics Cream Cheese will be available nationwide at a suggested retail price of $3.49 at Whole Foods Markets, with a wider availability in other natural food stores in early 2015.
Green Valley Organics Lactose Free Cream Cheese is made in a solar-powered creamery using a simple, carefully crafted recipe that delivers a superb flavor. With the perfect balance of sweet and tart, and a rich, creamy texture, the cream cheese is perfect for everyday use, as well as an ideal ingredient in cooking and baking. Like all Green Valley Organics products, the cream cheese is minimally-processed and made with milk from a local family farm, which is Certified Organic and Certified Humane®. All Green Valley Organics products are also certified kosher and gluten-free.
“Our customers have been asking for cream cheese since we first introduced Green Valley Organics in 2010,” says CEO & President Jennifer Bice, “When it comes to dairy, people want the ‘real deal,’ which is exactly what we make – it just also happens to be lactose free. We are delighted to serve the community of an estimated 30-50 million Americans who are lactose intolerant and to say ‘Yes, we now have an organic cream cheese that you and your family can enjoy.’”
Green Valley Organics Cream Cheese is made with only four ingredients – pure organic cream, sea salt, lactase enzyme and live, active cultures; it contains no additives and is free of milk powder, fillers, gum thickeners or other unnecessary ingredients. Flourish®, the company’s proprietary blend of 10 different probiotics, provides the live and active cultures in this delicious new cream cheese.
The quality and outstanding taste of all of Green Valley Organics products start with the milk, which comes from a certified organic family farm in the heart of Sonoma County, located north of San Francisco along the California coast. The Sonoma County climate, so similar to the Mediterranean with its warm summers and mild winters, offers lush, green winter pastures that are among the most diverse grasslands in the country. These pastures provide perfect nourishment for humanely raised dairy cows.
B’more Organic skyr smoothies are now widely available through its new strategic expansion into the Mid-Atlantic. Now offered in more than 100 new outlets in the region, including Whole Food Markets, Safeway supermarkets, and independent stores, B’more Organic smoothies are available in Banana, Mango Banana, Strawberry Banana, Vanilla and Caffe Latte flavors. The brand is now available in over 250 locations.
B’more Organic new store expansion includes:
• 34 additional Mid-Atlantic Whole Foods Markets in Northern Virginia, District of Columbia., Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Cincinnati and parts of Kentucky.
• 50 Safeway supermarkets in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia
• 25 independent markets in Northern Virginia, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware and New York
Skyr is an Icelandic-style strained yogurt, similar to Greek yogurt, brought originally to North America by way of Nordic settlers with experience in food preservation. B’more Organic skyr smoothies are made from fat-free skim milk naturally loaded with protein and probiotics. B’More Organic is providing a protein-packed, gluten-free and fat-free creamy beverage, now available to the Mid-Atlantic region.
By Lucas Witman
In an announcement that shocked many in the American specialty cheese community, Andy Hatch, co-owner and head cheesemaker at Wisconsin’s Uplands Cheese Co., recently sent an email to cheesemongers and distributors stating that his company would not be producing its celebrated Rush Creek Reserve for at least the duration of the year. Rush Creek Reserve is a soft-ripened raw cow’s milk cheese inspired by the French cheese Vacherin Mont d’Or. The company’s decision not to move forward with production of the cheese comes amid the FDA’s ongoing vacillation over the safety of raw milk cheeses. Although Rush Creek Reserve’s 60-day aging period fits within current federal guidelines for the safe production of raw milk cheeses, the FDA has made it clear that it is considering revising this rule and requiring a longer aging period. In exiting the market before this potential rule change goes into effect, Rush Creek Reserve has become what could be the first of many casualties in an emerging battle over American-produced raw milk cheeses.
“Is there a way that we can be more focused and maybe get a lobbyist group to help really push the sort of cheese agenda in Washington and really make changes,” asked Steve Gellert, World’s Best Cheeses’ Vice President of Business Development, at the recent American Cheese Society Conference. “I think a lot of people … want to see the changes happen, they just don’t know what to do about it other than bumper stickers.” As specialty cheese companies like Uplands Cheese Co. face the negative implications of government policies that they openly disagree with, affected parties are asking if there is more that they can be doing to directly influence those policies and work with federal officials to create a regulatory environment that protects their industry as well as the health and safety of the American consumer.
Many individuals within the larger specialty food landscape are already actively involved in lobbying legislators and regulators and advocating for public policy changes on the state and federal level. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the food and beverage industry spent over $30 million on lobbying in 2013 and directly employed 329 lobbyists. The top spenders included Coca Cola ($5.9 million) and PepsiCo ($3.7 million), but a number of industry trade groups, including the National Restaurant Association, the American Beverage Association and the International Foodservice Distributors Association also do their part to influence public policy.
In recent years, a number of food industry trade groups have demonstrated the power that their industry can exert on public policy. The American Meat Institute, for example, has been influential in shaping the USDA’s requirements regarding how meat is labeled for sale in this country. And the Grocery Manufacturers Association has been a key voice in ongoing public discussions over how best to eliminate childhood obesity, serving as an industry partner for First Lady Michele Obama’s Let’s Move Campaign. Food industry lobbying and public policy advocacy groups have been instrumental in shaping everything from GMO-related legislation to government subsidies and import tariffs.
A relatively new lobbying and public advocacy organization, the American Olive Oil Producers Association was founded less than two years ago. In that short time, the organization has become an important tool in protecting the interests of U.S.-based olive oil producers at home and abroad. Already in its short life span, the AOOPA was able to work with U.S. Rep. David Camp of the House Ways and Means Committee to launch an official investigation into the domestic olive oil industry. That investigation resulted in an independent government report that came out in August 2013 that discusses those issues in detail.
“We’ve been making great strides working with our government and recognizing the challenges that face our industry,” said Kimberly Houlding, Executive Director of the AOOPA. “We want to make sure that we have a fair and honest market.”
The cheese industry itself is not a stranger to public policy advocacy. Established in 2000, and recently re-launched, the non-profit Cheese of Choice Coalition has been an important resource in advocating for the rights of American consumers to purchase and consume raw milk cheeses. After the FDA proposed changes in 1999 to its regulations concerning the production of raw milk cheeses, the Cheese of Choice Coalition stepped in as a voice for the industry, and it was an important player in protecting raw milk cheeses from effectively being abolished during that time.
“The point of the organization was to allow consumers to still choose their cheese, because there was a threat to change the aging time for raw milk cheeses,” said Sara Baer-Sinnott, President of Oldways, parent organization of the Cheese of Choice Coalition. “[We] support the production of artisan, traditional and raw milk cheeses and we do this through education, alliance, advocacy, consumer outreach and community engagement.”
Those who support organizing as an industry in order to advance the interests of specialty food in Washington argue that this type of coalition-building is necessary to collectively establish shared interests and to serve as a unified voice in advancing those interests. “If there is not an industry voice – one unified voice to speak to elected officials – there is going to be someone else filling that voice,” said Houlding. “In our case, that was importers and foreign producers … In many cases we do not have the same views as importers and foreign producers.”
In addition to serving as a unified voice of an industry, the AOOPA and other specialty food interest groups also have an important role to play in protecting the interests of consumers. “Consumers deserve an honestly labeled product. We need to provide them the assurance that they are receiving an honestly labeled product,” said Houlding.
The Cheese of Choice Coalition similarly serves as an advocate for consumers. Brad Jones, Program Manager for the Cheese of Choice Coalition worries what would happen if consumers suddenly lost access to the products they love. “Let the consumers have the right to purchase, consume and enjoy that cheese,” he said.
In addition, as many specialty food professionals strive to approach their industry scientifically, developing fact-based approaches to food production and food safety, these individuals are at the same time looking for ways to communicate the scientific data they have developed to those who have the power to effect change. The formation of a lobbying or special interest group can be of service to this goal as well.
“We focus on bringing science-based information to consumers and to policy makers, taking complicated material and making it understandable for consumers and bringing the experts together with policy makers,” said Baer-Sinnott.
When it comes to specialty cheese in particular, those critical of forming a dedicated lobbying or public policy interest group argue that resources are scarce, and those resources are perhaps better spent on developing new products and getting them to consumers. Houlding, however, argues that for her organization, money spent has been worthwhile. “I think it’s an important use of resources, and certainly from an olive oil perspective and how our market is structured, if you don’t have a voice in Washington and you’re not working to educate your elected officials regarding challenges your industry may face … somebody is going to fill that void,” she said. “There’s something to be gained in creating relationships with the federal government … If you have somebody in Washington or at least you’re speaking as a unified industry voice, maybe you can get ahead of some of those issues and prevent some of those things.”
With FDA officials announcing at the recent ACS Conference a commitment to working with the specialty cheese industry as it moves toward developing new industry-specific regulations, industry representatives are now contemplating how best to pursue this ongoing dialogue. This is a question that is particularly important to the Cheese of Choice Coalition. “I think looking back 14 or 15 years and comparing it to today, there is more dialogue,” said Baer-Sinnott. “It’s a very hopeful thing, and that puts the Cheese of Choice Coalition and other organizations … in a position where it’s really possible to make a difference.”
This story originally appeared in the October 2014 issue of Gourmet News, a publication of Oser Communications Group.
For those venturing into the burgeoning world of American farmstead cheeses there is probably no better point of entry than New York’s Saxelby Cheesemongers, and there is perhaps no better tour guide than the store’s founder and namesake Anne Saxelby. Saxelby has dedicated her career to promoting the craft of American cheesemaking, and at her flagship cheese shop in Manhattan’s Essex Market, hungry shoppers can indulge in some of the best dairy products the northeastern United States has to offer.
Saxelby began her career as an art student at New York University, but it was during an early employment opportunity at New York’s most celebrated cheesemonger Murray’s Cheese that she fell in love with the dairy staple. Her stint at Murray’s led her to an internship at Cato Corner Farm, a small dairy and artisan cheese producer in Colchester, Connecticut, where she began to open her eyes to the immense world of American farmstead cheeses. From there, Saxelby began traveling around the United States and eventually Europe, visiting small family dairy farms and educating herself about the artisan cheesemaking process.
From the beginning of her career, Saxelby knew that she wanted to open her own business, but it took her a while to find her niche within the specialty food landscape. While traveling in Paris, she became acquainted with Fromagerie Laurent Dubois, a gourmet store specializing only in artisan cheeses. It occurred to her that there was no equivalent to this shop in New York City. “In New York, you find all these specialty food stores, but there was nobody just focused on cheese and dairy,” she said. “Cheese is where my expertise is. I’m not an expert on olive oil. I’m not an expert on vinegar. I’m not an expert on the best olive or cured meat selection. So this is perfect for me.”
In 2006, Saxelby first opened her eponymous shop in the eclectic Essex Market on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. The modest shop occupies a mere 150 square feet and includes a long counter, finishing at a simple 3-foot cheese case. A walk-in refrigerator rounds out the location, where shoppers can pick up milk, cream, butter and other dairy staples. Saxelby in part credits the small size of the shop with its continued success. “It allows us to really move through products and rotate things and change product constantly,” she said.
The business philosophy behind Saxelby Cheesemongers is simple: the promotion of American farmstead cheeses produced at small, independent dairy farms in the American Northeast. “American farmstead is not only delicious, but it is made locally, and it is about supporting local farmers,” Saxelby said. “The goal was then as it is today to be a bridge between the farm and the person eating the cheese.”
Saxelby offers customers a carefully curated selection of artisan cheeses produced by farmers who she knows by name at farms she and her staff have visited themselves. Although always looking to learn about new farmers and bring her customers something fresh, Saxelby does admit to having a few favorite cheesemakers. She praised The Cellars at Jasper Hill for its consistent commitment to producing great cheeses. Of West Cornwall, Vermont-based Twig Farm, she says, “They are unparalleled in terms of flavor and quality and nuance.” She also expressed particular admiration for Cazenovia, New York’s Meadowood Farms.
When it comes to the particular cheeses that are most popular among Saxelby Cheesemongers’ customers, it can be difficult to pin down a specific favorite, as the selection is constantly in flux. However, there are a few standouts Saxelby points out as particularly in demand. The Ledyard from Meadowood Farms is a current top seller – a soft-ripened sheep’s milk cheese wrapped in grape leaves that have been soaked in local beer. Woodcock Farm’s Summer Snow, a sheep’s milk camembert-style cheese, is another favorite. And Cabot Clothbound Cheddar form the Cellars at Jasper Hill is a perpetual bestseller.
At Saxelby Cheesemongers, Anne Saxelby attempts to create a unique shopping experience that lures cheese aficionados and beginners alike away from the supermarket cheese case and into this dedicated space where she can offer them something that they simply cannot get anywhere else. “We’re really fun. Everyone that works at Saxelby, we have a really distinct passion for these cheeses. The experience is going to be a lot different from going to a grocery store. We are not intimidating, but try to educate through taste,” she said.
“We also have a selection of things you’re probably not going to find at the grocery store. The quality of the cheese we have is amazing, because we are cut-to-order, and we move through our inventory really quickly,” Saxelby added.
In addition, Saxelby and her staff pride themselves on the personal service they are able to provide, guiding the customer to the particular cheese of their dreams. “We are a cut-and-wrap cheese counter. Nothing is pre-cut. Nothing is pre-packaged. When a customer comes up to the counter, we play‘cheese detective’ and try to snuff out what they are looking for,” she said. “We give as many samples as people may want … We really just try to ask questions and see what people are looking for.”
With the holiday season approaching, Saxelby invites holiday shoppers to come into her shop to pick out the perfect cheese selection for a cocktail party or holiday get-together. And for those traveling home to spend the season with family, Saxelby Cheesemongers offers shoppers a special selection that is sure to surprise and delight loved ones.
For Saxelby, American farmstead cheese is a personal passion that extends well beyond her professional commitments and into her basic philosophies about life. And this commitment to our country’s vast cheese landscape shows itself in the quality of products that Saxelby Cheesemongers offers, as well as in the shop’s quality of service.
“For me, the pleasure of eating artisan cheese is just incredible. Once you’ve had a really wonderful piece of cheese, it changes your outlook on things in general,” said Saxelby. “Cheese is a living thing and should be treated as such. We’re entrusted with these really wonderful things that the cheesemakers have made, and it almost feels sacred in a way.”
This story originally appeared in the September 2014 issue of Gourmet News, a publication of Oser Communications Group.
Emmi Roth USA and Fromagination, an artisan cheese shop in Madison, Wisconsin, partnered to sell nearly 400 bagged lunches as a part of their “Lunch-In to Help End Childhood Hunger” promotion, which raised money for Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry® campaign.
For the fundraiser, local residents and companies had the opportunity to pre-order bagged lunch for pick up or free delivery on September 24. Each bagged lunch included the customers’ choices of a ham or vegetarian sandwich featuring Roth® Grand Cru® and Roth® Fontiago cheese, chips – courtesy of Sysco of Baraboo – and a mini Cow Pie®. Volunteers from Emmi Roth USA helped prepare and deliver the sandwiches.
Three dollars from each lunch sold, totaling $1,200, were donated directly to the No Kid Hungry campaign, connecting kids in need with healthy food where they live, where they learn and where they play. Every dollar raised for the No Kid Hungry campaign helps connect a child in need with up to 10 nutritious meals.
As a national partner of the No Kid Hungry campaign, Emmi Roth USA is committed to helping ensure that every child gets the healthy food they need, not only in Wisconsin, but nationwide.
“We are beyond grateful to everyone who purchased a lunch and helped spread the word about our fundraiser,” said Linda Duwve, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Emmi Roth USA. “One in five children struggles with hunger, and we hope that the awareness we’ve raised, along with the funds, will encourage local businesses and residents to continue to support the No Kid Hungry campaign.”
Emmi Roth USA received awards for its Grand Cru® Reserve, Grand Cru Surchoix® and Montanella™ Raclette cheeses at the recent Global Cheese Awards, held September 11, at the Frome Agricultural & Cheese Show in Frome, England. Since January, Emmi Roth has been recognized with 17 award wins in domestic and international competitions.
Roth® Grand Cru Reserve took home a gold medal in the Single Specialty Cheese Hard category. Crafted in authentic copper vats and cured by Roth cellar masters for a complex and full-bodied flavor unlike any other, Grand Cru Reserve is aged six to eight months to develop earthy and nutty flavors. Last month, Grand Cru Reserve took home the prestigious title of Grand Champion at World Dairy Expo.
Roth Grand Cru Surchoix also secured a gold award in the Overseas Cheeses category, which consisted of cheeses from non-European countries. Made from a combination of the finest Wisconsin milk and classic Swiss traditions, Roth Grand Cru Surchoix cures for a minimum of nine months, providing a firm texture and complex flavors of caramel, fruit and mushroom.
Montanella Raclette, a classic washed rind cheese, was awarded silver in the Overseas Cheese category. Montanella Raclette is handcrafted in small batches and cellar cured to deliver a velvety, semi-soft body and a nutty, yeasty finish.
“We are honored to receive continued recognition for all of our cheeses on national and international stages,” said Linda Duwve, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Emmi Roth USA. “Our cheesemakers and cellar masters are committed to delivering exceptional products. Award wins like this demonstrate the hard work and dedication everyone puts into our cheeses.”
Since 2011, the Global Cheese Awards have brought together cheesemakers from across the world to compete for various titles of distinction. This year’s competition featured more than 1,200 entries from 15 different countries.