Little Red Dot Kitchen, whose Singapore street-style Hickory Smoked Spicy Candied Bacon Bak Kwa was named a 2016 sofi® Award winner, has leveraged that recognition for growth in distribution and at retail.
Little Red Dot Kitchen has seen growing interest in its line of five meat snacks since its Hickory Smoked Spicy Candied Bacon Bak Kwa was named a finalist and won the savory snack category in this year’s sofi Awards, according to Little Red Dot Kitchen CEO Ching Lee. The Bak Kwa meat snacks, which come from U.S. family farms dedicated to raising animals humanely and without antibiotics or hormones, have been added by Vistar, headquartered in Centennial, Colorado; Gourmet Merchants International of Gardena, California and Gourmet Goods Distribution of Belleview, New Jersey.
New retail placements include Barnes & Noble College stores through Vistar, and direct sales to Safeway for its San Jose, California, stores; Straub’s in Missouri and Foodstuffs in Illinois, Lee said. “Straub’s and Foodstuffs came to us directly because of the sofi Award,” she said, “We have seen interest from other large chains and additional distributors as more and more retailers across many channels are encountering consumers who want a higher level of snacking with more interesting and exotic flavors and better, cleaner ingredients.”
In addition to being produced from protein sources raised humanely and without antibiotics or hormones, Little Red Dot Kitchen’s Bak Kwa is minimally processed with most ingredients having non-GMO verification. It also is free from artificial ingredients, wheat, dairy and eggs. The Bak Kwa is available in five flavors, including Hickory Smoked Spicy Candied Bacon, which has no nitrates or nitrites, Spicy Chipotle Beef Bak Kwa, Pork Bak Kwa, free-range Turkey Bak Kwa, and Lemongrass Beef Bak Kwa. The meat snacks are available in resealable 1- to 3-ounce packages with a suggested retail price of $6.99 to $7.99. Cases include 12 of the 2.5- to 3-ounce bags and 18 of the 1-ounce bags.
More information about Little Red Dot Kitchen is available by calling 408.673.8227 or by connecting online at www.facebook.com/reddotkitchen, www.twitter.com/reddotkitchen, and www.instagram.com/littlereddotkithen.
By Lorrie Baumann
Plaid Cow Society is a new subscription service, launched in late September, that delivers fresh grass-fed beef to customers in eight western states. In October, the service will expand to offer nationwide deliveries.
Founder and CEO Travis Scarpace says that the idea behind Plaid Cow Society was born with a high school friend who now owns a CrossFit gym, who told him that his clients were looking for better sources for the grass-fed and finished, hormone-free and antibiotic free meat protein that they needed to support a Paleo lifestyle. “You might be onto something. Let me get back to you,” Scarpace, a veteran of the meat industry, told him. That was about a year and a half ago, and the result is now ready to roll out.
Plaid Cow Society, based in Pasadena, California, is working with West Coast ranchers to ensure a supply of beef that’s lived on grass for its entire life. No antibiotics or hormones are given to the animals to encourage them to grow faster or to develop more muscle mass, and they’re fed no corn at all. “We try to treat our animals with the most dignity that we possibly can,” Scarpace said. “When we’re working with ranchers, that’s what we’re looking for.”
“Just because a grocery store’s label says vegetarian fed, it does not mean that the cow ate grass its whole life,” he said.
Plaid Cow Society meat is trimmed to remove all of the visible fat, so that what the customer ends up buying is just the protein. “A lot of times in the grocery store, the steaks are 20 to 50 percent fat per pound, which means that the customer is paying for that fat,” Scarpace said.
Once it’s trimmed, it’s carefully packaged to ensure that it’ll reach its purchaser fresh. “We don’t freeze. We don’t add any type of gas to preserve the meat. We don’t add any type of meat glue or anything,” Scarpace said. “I feel strongly about the customer not knowing the difference between what they paid for and what they end up getting. What upsets me is when someone buys something and they don’t know what’s happened to it, and they think it’s the same as something that’s sitting next to it.”
“We’re trying to open the lines of communication. Our packaging is very clear on what we do and what we don’t,” he continued. “It’s just little simple things like that that we’re trying to do with the consumer.”
Meat is shipped out from the USDA-inspected southern California processing plant in recyclable gel-packed containers that keep it cold without freezing it in time to be at the customer’s home by Friday. “The product that’s shipped out that day has been processed that day, so that our turnaround from farm to table is incredibly fast,” Scarpace said. “The whole thing is recyclable top to bottom. That was huge. We wanted something that was sustainable, which was not easy.”
Although Plaid Cow Society is a subscription box, Scarpace has eliminated the subscription commitment. There are no member fees, Plaid Cow may be canceled at any time and members have the option to skip a week’s delivery.
Deliveries are separated into plans: one-person plan will receive 12 cuts delivered every month while the two-person plan includes 12 cuts delivered every two weeks. Currently Plaid Cow Society is available to be shipped to Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Colorado and California with more states to be added as the brand grows.
Oberto Beef Jerky will expand its product portfolio this month as it enters the trail mix category with the launch of Oberto Trail Mix. Oberto’s entry is part of the company’s bigger mission to provide more delicious, convenient, and “better for you” snacking product forms featuring the unmatched lean protein power of its Oberto Beef Jerky. The first three Oberto Trail Mix flavors – Original Beef, Spicy Sweet Beef, and Teriyaki Chicken — are now rolling out to select retailers nationwide.
The introduction of Oberto Trail Mix comes as the beef jerky and trail mix categories are both seeing explosive growth. Combined U.S. retail category sales of jerky and trail mix exceed $3 billion, with explosive growth this yea, according to Nielsen ScanTrak.
Oberto Trail Mix has been in development for more than a year. At Oberto’s integrated research and development lab and U.S. Department of Agriculture-licensed manufacturing facility in the Seattle area, the company developed a proprietary blend that guarantees delicious, tender jerky while adding premium nuts, seeds, fruit and dark chocolate. Oberto’s innovative trail mix not only satisfies hunger, but delivers high protein without artificial ingredients.
David Lakey, Oberto’s Senior Vice President of Marketing, said this is a natural expansion of the Oberto Brand. “Active consumers want more protein in their snacks. Loyal Oberto Beef Jerky consumers also eat a lot of trail mix, and our research indicates they’re very interested in this new snack option while on the go.”
To support the launch of Oberto Trail Mix at retail, Oberto has created a range of in-store merchandising vehicles, including shelf talkers and aisle and counter rack displays. It will also promote the new line through digital and social media marketing – including contests and branded content featuring its line-up of major-league athletes.