By Dan Wilkins
Meat alternative Quorn, the market leader in the U.S. natural foods channel, is quickly gaining mainstream acceptance for a product line whose protein comes from fungi. “The specific type of fungi allows the mimicking of the taste of real meat with much better health benefits,” says Sanjay Panchal, General Manager of Quorn Foods USA. The Mycoprotein in Quorn products is a complete protein that’s naturally low in saturated fat and high in fiber, according to Panchal. “It has as much protein as an egg, as much fiber as broccoli,” he said.
The products contain no soy or GMOs, and the protein source is also environmentally friendly, with a carbon and water footprint that’s about 90 percent less than beef and 75 percent less than chicken, Panchal said. “In addition to the great health benefits and environmental benefits, our food just tastes amazing,” he said. “I’ve got three sons, age 9, 7 and 3, and we, probably once or twice a week, we replace their chicken nuggets with Quorn nuggets, and they Hoover them.”
Five products in the Quorn line are gluten free: Grounds, a product that substitutes for crumbled ground meat; Chik’n Tenders; Chik’n Cutlet, Turk’y Roast and Bacon Style Slices. “It gives folks looking for a gluten-free option another opportunity to use a food like ours in their recipes to satisfy their specific dietary restrictions,” Panchal said.
Quorn appeals to consumers who want to eat less meat but also want both convenience and the flexibility to adapt recipes that already work for them. “Our food doesn’t just attract vegetarians,” he added. “What you’ll find is people like our family who are complete carnivores, but if they’re looking for a way to reduce the meat in their diet, for whatever reason, this appeals. The appeal of a meat alternative, and Quorn specifically, is very broad and broadening…. Our growth rate year to date is 29 percent in sales versus a year ago and growing across all channels. We’re really pleased with our performance.”
The product line includes options like Grounds that will work for the consumer who has the time and the desire to cook meals like spaghetti Bolognese from scratch but also includes heat and eat options like Jalapeno and Three Cheese Stuffed Chik’n Cutlets for the consumer who values speed and convenience. “It’s really easy to prepare on weeknights. It’s basically straight out of the freezer and into the pan or the oven,” Panchal said. “With the nuggets, it’s 10 minutes to eating it…. With the Grounds, you mix it with a little water, taco seasoning and cheese and make it into a quesadilla. It’s a really simple food to make, and that’s why we like it as a family.”
Quorn products retail for $3.69 to $4.99 every day, depending on the retailer, for a package that serves four people. Quorn is distributed nationally.
he Golden Gate Wholesale Produce Market, the largest and busiest produce terminal in Northern California, is planning to renovate the facility by making a series of infrastructure, environmental, food safety, traffic and sustainability improvements.
The state-of-the-art enhancements to be made over the next year include new solar/energy efficiency upgrades, cold chain food storage management and worker safety systems, as well as smoother traffic flow within the facility, which is a mile from San Francisco International Airport on Highway 101.
“The Golden Gate Produce Market plays a vital role in northern California’s economy, and the improvements announced today will lay the foundation for the Market’s future growth and success,” said Peter Carcione, President of the Golden Gate Produce Market. “This investment in the Market expands our capability to bring the highest-quality fruits, vegetables, and organics to serve the diverse tastes of the region, and it builds on our long history of supporting California’s agriculture industry in a sustainable manner.”
The 742,000-square foot facility in South San Francisco currently employs 475 workers and is open to the public. Twenty-three independent and family-owned businesses operate at the Market, including wholesalers, jobbers, commission merchants, brokers, foodservice distributors, processors and one restaurant. More than 15 million packages move through the Market each year.
The enhancements were made after extensive market research and feedback from customers and businesses at the market. To advance the Market’s long-term goals and its commitment to sustainability, the seven-member board approved the following:
The solar implementation is expected to have a significant positive environmental impact and reduce the market’s overall carbon footprint. The market’s new 1,322 kW solar installation is expected to generate more than 2,015,648 kilowatt-hours of electricity each year.
The use of a similar amount of conventional energy generated using fossil fuels would create greenhouse gases equal to that of 127 homes, 293 cars or the burning of 1.4 million pounds of coal annually, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
“This renovation is the most extensive in the Market’s 53-year history and is designed to meet the changing needs of businesses located at the market and their customers who shop there,” said board member Steve Hurwitz. “By strengthening the Market’s infrastructure and advancing its commitment to sustainability, we will create a better experience for everyone who works at or visits the Market.”
This year, Santa Cruz Organic® will join like-minded sponsors to encourage conversation about ways to incorporate more organic products into school lunches. As a pioneer organic brand with a rich heritage spanning more than 43 years, Santa Cruz Organic is a sponsor of this year’s KIWI’s National Take Your Parents to Lunch Day. The program encourages deeper communication between parents and school officials on how to provide and instill better eating habits in children.
Determining the best options for your child’s lunchbox can be a daunting task. With hectic schedules and endless school obligations, parents are eager to find simple ways to incorporate more organic products into busy routines.
Santa Cruz Organic offers a variety of Certified USDA Organic products that are perfect components for building a child’s organic lunchbox, from Santa Cruz Organic Fruit Sauces that contain no added sugar, to Santa Cruz Organic Fruit Spreads free of high fructose corn syrup and artificial flavors, to Santa Cruz Organic Peanut Butter that contains no hydrogenated oils, sugars or artificial ingredients. All Santa Cruz Organic products are Non-GMO Project® Verified.
KIWI’s National Take Your Parents to Lunch Day takes place Oct. 14, 2015. For more information on the event, visit National Take Your Parents to Lunch Day.