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Upfront Foods Debuts Smaller Display Carton

Upfront Foods® is introducing a new display carton in a smaller size that helps keep the single-serving pouches of its non-GMO, vegan, and kosher granolas neatly displayed, conserves space on the shelf, and includes point-of-sale elements that appeal to today’s consumers.

Upfront Foods New Smaller Display CartonEMThe new shelf and countertop display cartons are available December 1 and hold six of the 1.4-ounce single serving pouches with a compact footprint of about 8 by 3.5 inches on the shelf, said Gigi Twist Upfront Foods’ founder. A master case contains six cartons for a total of 36 pouches, Twist said. The previous display held 12 pouches.

The colorful display carton carries over the packaging motif of leaves, ferns, shafts of grain, and other natural elements to reflect the close-to-the-Earth nature of the ingredients. It also highlights the convenience of the single serving packaging with a “Take Me Anywhere” call to action. The new cartons are available for all three flavors, and Upfront Granola® Original Crunch and Upfront Granola Cranberry Zest™ have a call-out to let consumers know they meet USDA Smart Snacks in School Standards. For Upfront Granola Pecan Almond Crisp, the carton highlights its four grams of protein per serving.

“The new smaller size was designed with retailers’ needs in mind, and the design for our packaging and display carton appeals to consumers who are looking for smarter snacks that fit their on-the-go lifestyles,” Twist said. “The cartons also let them know that our non-GMO granola is a portion controlled snack with simple ingredients from trusted food sources and contain no preservatives or artificial ingredients.”

Upfront Foods three granola flavors have Non-GMO Project Verification, are certified vegan by the Vegan Awareness Foundation, are OU Kosher certified, and Made in USA Certified®.  All three are designated 100 percent whole grain by the Whole Grains Council. They are available in 1.4-ounce single-serving pouches with a suggested retail price of $1.79.  Additional information is available at or by calling 1.561.886.0209.

Quinoa with a Conscience


By Richard Thompson

A southern California quinoa company is bringing about social reform in Bolivia as it works with the indigenous community to provide award-winning products to American tables. Andean Dream is a Fair Trade certified quinoa pasta, soup and cookie company that makes non-GMO, allergen-friendly products that range from Organic Fusilli and Organic Orzo to Coconut and Cocoa-Orange Cookies. The entire line is made from Royal Quinoa – the most nutrient-dense quinoa – and the products are free from hydrogenated oils and gluten along with being allergen-friendly, with no chance of cross contamination since they are made in a dedicated facility free of gluten, eggs, soy, corn and nuts. “Free-from was what everyone was talking about, and we were the first to really do it,” says Andean Dream Founder and President, Ingrid Hirstin-Lazcano.

The cookies, which launched in 2006, are offered in Chocolate Chip, Coconut, Cocoa-Orange and Cafe Mocha varieties. Each contains only 2.5 grams of sugar, says Hirstin-Lazcano. “My personal favorite goes between the Cafe Mocha and Coconut, but the best seller in the line is Chocolate Chip.”

The pasta line includes Organic Fusilli, Organic Macaroni, Organic Shells, Organic Orzo and Organic Spaghetti. Each is made gluten- and corn-free, is vegan friendly, organic- and kosher-certified, is non-GMO and is produced in an allergen-friendly facility. Each 8-ounce box of pasta contains 24 grams of protein. “Our Organic Vegetarian Quinoa Noodle Soup was originally seasonal, but we’re bringing it back to the marketplace,” says Hirstin-Lazcano.

Andean Dream started out as an ordinary cookie company in 2006 but quickly blossomed into a specialty food/social justice project under the leadership of Hirstin-Lazcano, who was inspired to practice conscientious capitalism to help bring jobs, medical benefits and retirement pensions to single mothers and disabled individuals throughout the poorest regions of Bolivia. “I wanted to create a value-added product that could aid indigenous farmers and workers in Bolivia,” she says. Already involved with the Bolivian community in Los Angeles, she learned of the circumstances regarding the poverty stricken regions in Bolivia from her husband, Fernando Lazcano Dunn, a 25-year diplomat who worked as Consul General of Bolivia in Los Angeles at the time, and sought out a solution that aligned with her personal convictions.“They are close to my heart and I wanted to see everyone have an equal opportunity,” says Hirstin-Lazcano, “I wanted to help raise their standard of living.”

According to 2015 Central Intelligence Agency World Fact Book, 45 percent of Bolivia’s population lives under the poverty line (based on the international standard of two dollars a day) with three out of four people in rural areas living in poverty. The Rural Poverty Portal, a forum that discusses the difficulties of rural life in Bolivian regions, notes that women and young people are particularly vulnerable to poverty and food insecurity.

I wanted to bring attention to the situation over there and provide single mothers that don’t have jobs – or are working menial labor – and help give them a regular respectable job,” says Hirstin-Lazcano.

Hirstin-Lazcano spent two weeks traveling through Bolivia in 2006 to find the right co-packer that could provide large scale manufacturing at a local level, offer jobs and provide advancement to native farmers. Hirstin-Lazcano says that she was able to find a co-packer that would work with locals as well as provide benefits such as medical care and retirement pensions that they wouldn’t have ever gotten before. Currently, the co-packer that works with Andean Dream is employing between 20 to 25 indigenous people for Andean’ Dream’s manufacturing, many of whom have received promotions to higher management positions. “There are always new opportunities as we grow, and as we grow our facility for production, many others will be hired for satellite locations,” says Hirstin-Lazcano.

One particular story that stands out for Hirstin-Lazcano is that of a deaf and mute woman who had been resigned to harsh janitorial work and would have been stuck there had it not been for Andean Dream’s project. Edith was hired and was eventually promoted into a supervisor position. “She would’ve never been able to do that before,” says Hirstin-Lazcano, “Because of her employment, both of her sons are able to go to university. One is studying to be a dentist, and the other an architect.”

In addition to the company’s social activism in Bolivia, Andean Dream was the Official Cookie Sponsor in the Special Olympic World Games, providing 48,000 cookies to athletes as well as regularly giving away products to local charitable foundations, food-banks and organizations focused on inner-city kids with economic challenges.

When asked about how her work makes her feel, Hirstin-Lazcano isn’t shy about answering: “We’re socially minded … and helping to provide opportunities to individuals who need a better life is our Andean Dream.”

This story was originally published in the November 2015 issue of Gourmet News.


New Flavors of La Piana Stuffed Pastas Arrive in U.S. Market

Italian Foods Corporation’s La Piana shelf stable gourmet stuffed pastas in new recyclable plastic packaging have now arrived in the U.S. for both the original three flavors and two additional flavors in an 8-ounce size.

ItalianFoods8OzStuffedPastasNEWThe new 8-ounce package has a matte finish and elegant design of soft grey and yellow. A clear window allows consumers to view the pasta, said Francesca Lapiana-Krause, General Manager. The new packaging is a more minimalist design eliminating a box that previously held a clear cellophane bag of pasta. In addition to reducing the amount of packaging, it allows more efficient shipping, Lapiana-Krause said. The bags are designed with a squared bottom for a neat display on the shelf. They are available through Haddon House Food Products of Medford, New Jersey.

Flavors in the 8-ounce size include Tortellini with Cheese, Mezzaluna with Basil Pesto, Ravioli with Squash, and the two new flavors, Mezzaluna with Gorgonzola and Tortellini with Sundried Tomato and Oregano. The stuffed pastas are one of Italian Foods Corporation’s best sellers. They are imported from the Lombardy region and shelf stable for 15 months with a suggested retail price of $4.99. They also are packaged in 1-pound boxes, which have a suggested retail price of $6.19 to $7.19.

More information is available online at and or by calling 1.888.516.7262.

Terroir Contributes to Pure Pasta from Felicetti


The wholegrain kamut, farro and Matt 100 percent organic pastas from Pastificio Felicetti embody the terroir of the Felicetti pasta company, located high in the Dolomite Mountains of Italy. The secret to Felicetti pasta’s unique flavor is thanks to the extraordinary raw materials it is made of: prized varieties of durum wheat, crystal clear spring water and air from the Dolomites, which contributes a balance to the grain and water that makes pasta toothsome, firm, and delicious.


Celiac Disease Diagnoses Spur Innovation

By Richard Thompson

Lynsay Barnes of Edison Grainery says that the company’s interest in gluten-free products came out of necessity. Her mother, Amy, was diagnosed with celiac disease three years ago and after her father saw the high prices on specialty gluten-free products, he decided to started creating gluten-free pastas that the whole family could enjoy and afford.

“We were already supported the organic movement, but we needed to find foods that could be eaten by everyone,” says Barnes. In 2013, Edison Grainery won the Food and Beverage Innovation (FABI) Award for its Organic Quinoa Pasta that provided a product that satisfied dietary needs and keeping pace with culinary trends while maintaining quality and taste.

Edison Grainery carries lines of Organic Quinoa Pasta Spaghetti, Fusilli, Penne and Elbows that are all certified gluten-free, free of the Big-8 in known allergens and imported from Bolivia. Each product is a great source of protein and contains no corn, so the noodles hold up well in water and even gives consumers a little lee-way when it comes to preparation. Paired nicely with any pomodoro, red sauce or white sauce, any traditional dish – or non-traditional dish – can be prepared without sacrificing taste. “What’s really great is that people can’t tell them from traditional pastas,” says Barnes.

John De Puma, whose wife was diagnosed with celiac’s disease 12 years ago, saw a lack of flavorful gluten-free pastas and used his background as a chef to create his own. “There were a limited amount of pastas that were up to par compared to traditional pastas, so I decided to solve that issue,” says De Puma. His company, De Puma’s, is celebrating its eighth anniversary this year.

De Puma’s Three Cheese Tortellini is classically made with ricotta, Parmesan and Romano cheese and cooks just like traditional ravioli, needing only a scoop of water in a slow boil. De Puma’s raviolis come in choices such as Wild Mushroom, Lobster and De Puma’s personal favorite, Spinach and Ricotta.
“We’re a smaller company, so we can make different options that main lines don’t try, like our Sun Dried Tomato and Goat Cheese Raviolis,” says De Puma.

Cup-for-Cup Gluten-Free Replacement Flour from Kooky Sues

KookySuesKooky Sues has introduced the first cup-for-cup gluten-free replacement flour using a proprietary non-fat powdered milk blend for superior taste and consistent baking performance for gluten-free cookies, brownies, cakes and pie crusts.

Kooky Sues Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour improves gluten-free baking in several key performance areas. It increases aeration of batters to improve the elasticity of the protein network and more leavening gases for superior lift. Controlled water binding enhances dough handling, increases the rate of dough development and improves mixing tolerance. And, its unique blend of rice flours, powdered milk and starches improves browning and provides an aftertaste-free, rich dairy flavor and aroma.

“The changes we’ve made in our gluten-free flour deliver results that are much closer to traditional wheat flour,” says Kooky Sues Founder Adam Latham. “With this one product on your shelf, the gluten-free baker no longer needs to search the Internet and experiment with unproven recipes or go on what we call ‘scavenger-hunt shopping adventures.’ This is where you go from store-to-store looking for exotic and expensive ingredients just to make a simple cookie. Now, you can use the same chocolate chip cookie recipe you’ve used your entire life and just use Kooky Sues instead of traditional flour. It’s really that simple.”

Kooky Sues is all natural and uses only non-GMO ingredients. It supplies important nutrients from dairy ingredients including high-quality protein and calcium. The natural dairy calcium in its powdered milk ingredient promotes bone growth. Its high Protein Efficiency Ratio (PER) and digestibility can significantly improve the nutritional value of flour-based baked goods.

Kooky Sues, based in Melbourne, Florida, was founded in 2012 and began selling baked goods and gluten-free treats at local farmer’s markets. The gluten-free flour can be purchased online or at a growing network of independent grocers and health food stores. Go to for more information about where to find Kooky Sues, recipe library and gluten-free resources.

Umpqua Oats Launches Maple Pecan Super-Premium Oatmeal at Summer Fancy Food Show

Umpqua Oats Inc. launched a farm-to-cup classic, Maple Pecan, at the Fancy Food Show in New York City. Umpqua Oats’ Maple Pecan warm oatmeal cup includes a delicious mixture of custom-milled rolled oats, crunchy pecans, pure maple syrup and other all-natural ingredients to create a delicious and satisfying meal.

“Maple and pecan are two of the most highly sought-after oatmeal flavors – they’re classics, but not all oatmeal is the same,” said Sheri Price, co-founder of Umpqua Oats. “Umpqua Oats’ Maple Pecan blends the perfect combination of warm maple syrup with the nuttiness of pecans for a healthy and delicious, non-GMO and gluten-free oatmeal that’s ready at a moment’s notice. It’s a whole meal solution that tastes like home, no matter where you go.”

In developing Maple Pecan, Umpqua Oats stayed true to its farm-to-cup mentality when sourcing ingredients. The pure maple syrup was specifically selected from Coombs Family Farms in New England. The new flavor also has 7 grams of protein and is less than 300 calories.

The newest flavor combination for Umpqua Oats also meets consumers’ desire for oatmeal they can have as a snack, or meal, any time of day and with minimal preparation. Just three minutes after hot water is added, the oatmeal is ready to be stirred and enjoyed.

Umpqua Oats’ portfolio of seven flavorful on-the-go super premium oatmeal cups are available in more than 2,000 retail outlets across the United States, with a heavy concentration in Western states and expanding distribution in the East. The company anticipates Maple Pecan to be available nationwide and online this fall. For more information or to order online, visit

Pereg Gourmet to Introduce Quinoa Flour at SFFS

Pereg Gourmet, a producer of premium, natural spices and spice blends, bread crumbs, ancient grains and quinoa products, will introduce GMO-free, gluten-free quinoa flour at the Summer Fancy Food Show, June 28-30, 2015.

In addition to Pereg’s latest offering, quinoa flour, Pereg has been a leader in introducing a full line of quinoa products including quinoa pasta, quinoa pops cereal, and pre-seasoned quinoa side dishes to North America.

“Quinoa is a gluten free-product, perhaps the fastest growing market segment in the food industry today. While cutting out gluten from one’s diet may seem like a difficult and limiting task, fortunately, Pereg offers many healthy and delicious products that are naturally gluten-free. With our variety of quinoa gluten free products, and recipes for tasty preparation available on our website, consumers can enjoy many delicious foods while maintaining a healthy diet,” says Gil Schneider, Pereg Gourmet President.

Pereg Gourmet was established in 1906, and is a family owned business, based in Clifton, New Jersey. The company first became known for pure and natural spices and spice blends, more than 60 in all, from traditional favorites to exotics from around the culinary world.

Beyond spices, Pereg produces lines of flavored basmati rice, couscous, farro, salad toppings and salad spreads. All Pereg products are kosher certified by the Orthodox Union (OU), are dairy and lactose-free as well as all natural, with no additives or preservatives. Many  are also certified gluten-free and non-GMO.

Ancient Harvest Taps the Power of Protein with New Bean & Lentil Supergrain Pastas

Ancient Harvest, the first brand to bring quinoa to the U.S. in the 1980s, is debuting its new lines of protein-packed Bean & Lentil Supergrain Pastas and Lentil & Quinoa Supergrain Mac & Cheese™.

AHQ-Lentil-Lineup“Research shows that a majority of consumers want to add more protein into their diets, and many are looking to plant-based sources of protein,” said Constance Roark, MS, RDN and Director of Marketing at Ancient Harvest. “The brand’s focus remains on protein-rich ancient grains, like quinoa, but we’re continuously cooking up ideas to meet new consumer demands. Now, we’ve incorporated other high-protein and gluten-free superfoods, like lentils and beans, into our product lines. A pasta dish that tastes great and adds nutritional value to your plate is pretty hard to beat.”

These naturally gluten-free pasta varieties are made with a hearty blend of quinoa and nutritious legumes. The pastas look and act like traditional pasta in every way, from taste to texture, but have two times the protein and a healthy helping of fiber in every serving. The five new pasta varieties include Black Bean & Quinoa Elbows and Spaghetti, Red Lentil & Quinoa Rotelle and Linguine and Green Lentil & Quinoa Penne, each with a suggested retail price of $3.39.

With 16 grams of protein per serving, the new Lentil & Quinoa Mac & Cheese varieties will join Ancient Harvest’s existing line of mac & cheeses. A combination of the high-protein, fiber and nutrition of red lentils and quinoa, the Lentil & Quinoa Mac & Cheese will be available in three creamy varieties, Mild Cheddar with Elbows, Sharp Cheddar with Shells and White Cheddar with Shells, each with a suggested retail price of $2.99.

Ancient Harvest bean and lentil pastas and new lentil macaroni and cheese varieties will arrive at retailers nationwide this spring. All other Ancient Harvest products are available in natural food stores and conventional supermarkets nationwide.

For more information, visit or connect on Facebook at

thinkThin Launches Protein & Fiber Hot Oatmeal

thinkThin® is expanding its product line beyond bars with the introduction of thinkThin® Protein & Fiber Hot Oatmeal.  Building on the momentum of last year’s launch of its Lean Protein and Fiber bars, the most successful bar extension in the brand’s history, thinkThin is embarking on its first national, new food category launch. With the rising demand for protein products, thinkThin is the first brand in the hot cereal category to offer a great combination of not only protein, but also the added benefit of high fiber with only 200 calories or less. The trifecta of protein, fiber and calories provides a solution for consumers looking for a perfectly-balanced breakfast at home or on-the-go.

“thinkThin Protein & Fiber Hot Oatmeal is an exciting and innovative addition to our product portfolio and demonstrates thinkThin’s commitment to deliver food that is as nutritious as it is delicious,” said Michele Kessler, CEO of thinkThin. “As a leader in the protein bar category, we have a solid understanding of the important role protein and fiber play in providing the perfect balance of energy and nutrition. We are excited to continue to fuel thinkThin’s growth with the launch of thinkThin Protein & Fiber Hot Oatmeal and break into additional on-trend categories.”

thinkThin Protein & Fiber Hot Oatmeal is made with a blend of wholesome grains including whole rolled oats, steel cut oats and quinoa. Consumers can purchase the new hot oatmeal in a multi-pack box of six packets or a convenient, portable single serving bowl. Each serving of thinkThin® Protein & Fiber Hot Oatmeal is packed with 10g of protein, 5g of fiber and is 200 calories or less. Consumers can choose from a range of four flavors from a scrumptious blend of real berries in Farmer’s Market Berry Crumble; a delicious fusion of flavors in Madagascar Vanilla, Almonds, Pecans; a hearty and nutritious mix in Original Sprouted Grains (box only); and a sweet, nutty option in Honey Peanut Butter (bowl only).

thinkThin Protein & Fiber Hot Oatmeal is available online and at select retailers and grocery stores now with nationwide availability beginning March 2015. Please visit for more information and to find the nearest thinkThin retailer using the store locator search option.

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