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Gourmet Newswire

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Feeding America Urges Passage of Legislation to Expand Food Donation Tax Deduction

Feeding America leads the nation in recovering food from farmers, the food industry and retailers. Last year the hunger-relief organization rescued 2.2 billion pounds of food that would have otherwise gone into landfills or been plowed under, despite being perfectly edible.

“As we recognize Earth Day this year on April 22, we are pleased to acknowledge the important role Feeding America plays in food rescue and celebrate the fact this food goes where it is needed most—to low-income Americans who are living at risk of hunger. We distribute nearly 4 billion pounds of food and groceries free-of-charge to 46 million people each year through 60,000 food and meal programs served by Feeding America’s network of 200 food banks,” said Bob Aiken, CEO of Feeding America.

To make significant progress in reducing food waste, Feeding America urges Congress to pass HR 644, the “America Gives More Act,” which will expand the food-donation tax deduction and help increase the amount of nutritious food donated to food banks.

Working with industry partners, we do everything within our means to rescue as much food as possible. We would have even more food to offer if the ‘America Gives More Act’ was in place. Because of the uncertainty surrounding the current food-donation tax deduction, some potential donors destroy or dump food, or use it as animal feed, instead of giving it to their local food bank,” said Aiken. “This is a waste of the nutrient value of the food, as well as the environmental resources invested in its production.”

Keeping food out of landfills is a sustainable way to reduce waste, while providing additional meals to people in need. Enactment of this legislation could give Feeding America the opportunity to distribute an additional 100 million meals annually.

“Feeding America is grateful for the significant amount of food we now receive from our donors and the federal government, but improving the food donation deduction is a common-sense policy that helps feed people and protects the environment.

“As our network works on additional ways to locate nutritious food, we are working on pilot programs to identify new donation opportunities. Unfortunately many cannot be implemented until current tax law is changed. Earth Day is the perfect day to ask the Senate to keep food out of landfills and to get it to people in need by voting for the ‘America Gives More Act,’” Aiken said.

Ted Allen of Chopped to Host sofi Awards at Summer Fancy Food Show

Ted Allen, Emmy Award winner and host of three shows on Food Network, including the long-running hit series Chopped, will host the 43rd sofi Awards at the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York.

Ted_Allen_Headshot_HiRez

Allen is a contributing writer for Esquire magazine and author of two cookbooks, including “In My Kitchen: 100 Recipes and Discoveries for Passionate Cooks (Clarkson-Potter, 2012). He was also a series regular on Food Network’s, “The Best Thing I Ever Ate,” a judge on the first four seasons of Bravo’s “Top Chef,” and on Food Network’s “Iron Chef America.” He was the food and wine specialist on Bravo’s “Queer Eye,” which was nominated twice for an Emmy and won the award in 2004.

The sofi Awards are the top honor in the $109 billion specialty food industry. They recognize creativity, innovation and excellence in 32 categories, including chocolate, cheese and vegan or gluten free products.

Allen will serve as keynote speaker and present the awards at a red-carpet ceremony on June 29, 2015.

The awards are the must-attend event at the Summer Fancy Food Show, the largest marketplace for specialty foods and beverages in North America. Owned and produced by the Specialty Food Association, the show will take place June 28 – June 30, 2015, at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.

“Ted brings with him a passion for food,” says Association President Ann Daw. “Throughout his career he has influenced millions of people, showing them the importance of the craft, care and joy that food can bring. He is a true inspiration to the industry.”

A strong supporter of anti-hunger initiatives, Allen will donate his speaking fee for the event to City Harvest, the Fancy Food Show’s anti-hunger charity for 26 years. Allen is a member of City Harvest’s Food Council and a frequent participant in the organization’s fundraising events.

“We have rescued close to 2 million pounds of high quality food from the Fancy Food Show and delivered it to hungry New Yorkers, and we are grateful for the support of Ted Allen who is generously donating his speaking fee to support our work,” says Jilly Stephens, Executive Director of City Harvest. “City Harvest appreciates its 26-year relationship with the Specialty Food Association and we are proud to partner again on this exciting event, which is one of our largest annual food rescues.”

Community Coffee Company Introduces New Vanilla Creme Brulee Flavor to Coffee Line-Up This Spring

Community Coffee Company has just released a new flavored coffee that is perfect for spring entertaining and an everyday sweet treat: Community® coffee Vanilla Creme Brulee. Now there’s no reason not to indulge in dessert all day.

Vanilla Creme Brulee, like all Community® coffee products, is made from only the top 10 percent of the world’s coffee beans and has been expertly blended to ensure the very best flavor and aroma. As a result, this sweet and creamy blend has all the flavor and satisfaction of a traditional crème brulee— a light, crisp taste of sugar layered on top of delicious vanilla bean custard.

“With dessert-flavored beverages on the rise, we wanted to give our customers another coffee option for morning, afternoon or night,” says Scott Eckert, Vice President of Marketing, Community Coffee Company. “We developed Vanilla Creme Brulee for those of us who crave a high-quality touch of sweetness in our day.”

Vanilla Crème Brulee can be purchased for a limited time in 12-ounce ground bags and 12-count single-serve cups on the Community Coffee Company website and at grocery stores throughout the Southeast region of the United States. For more information, please visit CommunityCoffee.com.

New Fruit-Flavored Wafers from Hans Freitag

 

German baker Hans Freitag celebrates an orchard of flavor with a trio of wafer debuts. Named for its fruity goodness, the new line of wafers, called Fresh Lemon, Fresh Apple and Fresh Berry, blooms with delicious flavor. The square, crispy wafers are packaged in bags with appealing pastel hues of lemon, apple green and pink. Designed specifically for the U.S., the generous 10.6-ounce bags are well-priced at $4.49-$5.16. Imported by Carl Brandt, Inc., Fairfield, Connecticut. For more information, call 800.275.4326 or email mdestefano@carlbrandt.com.

 

Natural Markets Taps D’Addario as Director of Prepared Foods

 

Natural Markets Food Group, an industry leader in the sale of organic, local and natural products in neighborhood markets across the U.S. and Canada, has named Richard D’Addario its new Director of Prepared Foods.

“Natural Markets Food Group understands that individuals and families on the go still want access to healthy, freshly-prepared food. Richard will help us deliver for these customers – providing the cutting-edge recipes and organic products families want. He is creative, whip-smart, and a great addition to our passionate family,” said Natural Markets Food Group CEO Pat Brown.

Director of Prepared Foods Richard D’Addario said, “When it comes to prepared foods, the Natural Markets team is committed to moving beyond the deli counter and delivering healthy, innovative meals to our customers. That’s an exciting opportunity – both in terms of the company’s growth and our ability to inspire happy, healthy lives.”

Richard D’Addario brings nearly two decades of experience in prepared foods to Natural Markets Food Group, the parent company of Mrs. Green’s Natural Market, Planet Organic Market and Richtree Natural Market restaurants. In his most recent position of Senior Coordinator for Whole Foods Market, D’Addario oversaw all aspects of the prepared foods program in the Northeast region – from merchandising and recipe development to vendor relations and new store openings. D’Addario also won many awards during his tenure, including global all-star for the company and top innovation awards for many new concepts introduced in stores.

His addition continues Natural Markets’ expansion as a destination market and comes as the company prepares to open additional stores in the mid-West and mid-Atlantic, including in Manhattan’s West Village.

 

Sales of Organic Products Top $39 Billion in 2014

Sales of organic food and non-food products in the United States broke through another record in 2014, totaling $39.1 billion, up 11.3 percent from the previous year, according to the latest survey on the organic industry from the Organic Trade Association (OTA).

Despite the industry struggling with tight supplies of organic ingredients, organic food sales in 2014, at $35.9 billion, posted an 11 percent rise, while organic non-food sales, at $3.2 billion, jumped almost 14 percent for the biggest annual increase in six years.

In blue states and red states, across the heartland of America and all along the Gulf Coast, sales of organic products are posting double-digit increases. The majority of American households in all regions of the country now make organic a part of their supermarket and retail purchases – from 68 to almost 80 percent of households in southern states, to nearly 90 percent on the West Coast and in New England, according to new market research.

OTA’s Organic Industry Survey is the most accurate and comprehensive quantitative picture of the U.S. organic industry available. It was conducted and produced by Nutrition Business Journal. Over 200 companies responded to the survey, conducted this year from February 10 through April 3. The full survey will be available in mid-May through OTA.

The U.S. organic sector has expanded significantly since OTA first began tracking the industry’s performance in 1997. In 1997, organic food sales totaled around $3.4 billion, and accounted for under 1 percent of total food sales. In 2014, organic food claimed almost 5 percent of the total food sales in the U.S., and has consistently far outshone the 3 percent growth pace for the total food industry.

Organic fruits and vegetables continued to be the biggest-selling organic category in 2014 with $13 billion in sales, up 12 percent from the previous year, and making up more than 36 percent of all organic food sales. Of all the produce now sold in the United States, 12 percent of it is organic, a market share that has more than doubled in the past 10 years when organic produce sales accounted for only 5 percent of the fruit and vegetable market.

The organic dairy sector posted an almost 11 percent jump in sales in 2014 to $5.46 billion, the biggest percentage increase for that category in six years.

Sales of organic non-food products – accounting for 8 percent of the total organic market – posted the biggest percentage gain in six years, with sales of organic fiber and organic personal care products the stand-out categories.

Kale Trend Gets Zesty Kick with New Kale Italia From Earthbound Farm

 Earthbound Farm is expanding its popular line of kale-based Deep Green Blends with Kale Italia - a zesty mix of baby kale blended with popular Italian greens, arugula and radicchio - available in a 5-ounce clamshell package. Available now, this new addition reflects the continuing growth in consumer fascination with all things kale.

“We’ve heard the demand for more delicious ways to eat kale, and we’re delivering with an enticing new blend of flavors to meet the need,” said Nicole Glenn, Director of Product Innovation at Earthbound Farm. “Baby kale is so versatile that it satisfies that desire for an all-purpose green that works in smoothies, cooked recipes, and salads equally deliciously. And combined with the Italian greens in this blend, people will rave about Kale Italia as a tasty new take on the popular superfood.”

Lighter than Earthbound Farm’s other kale-based Deep Green Blends (Power or Zen), Kale Italia still has a crave-worthy crunch and a robust flavor. Beyond salad, this new blend is ideal for pastas, risottos, sautes and more. “Kale Italia has the versatility and freshness people want at a price they can afford,” added Glenn. “And the fact that it’s so nutrient-dense is a driving factor of its popularity.”

Earthbound Farm’s Kale Italia (5-ounce clamshell) is packed in a modified atmosphere to maximize freshness and quality and is available nationwide with a suggested retail price  of $4.99.

Earthbound is also adding a new blend, Half & Half: Baby Spinach & Arugula, which builds on the popularity of its Half & Half: Spring Mix & Baby Spinach mix. With consumers often purchasing several varieties of greens at a time and blending them into recipes, packaging the popular varieties together into a single blend makes it easier and more convenient for the shopper. Half & Half: Baby Spinach & Arugula is available in a 5-ounce clamshell with a suggested retail price of $3.99.

Like all Earthbound Farm fresh produce, these greens are grown in accordance with the company’s industry-leading food safety and organic integrity programs and packaged in sustainable packaging made from 100 percent post-consumer recycled bottles.

Jelly Belly Introduces Pancakes & Maple Syrup Jelly Beans

Jelly BellyWake up and smell the pancakes; it’s Pancakes & Maple Syrup Jelly Belly® jelly beans. The newest flavor from Jelly Belly Candy Company captures the warm, buttery flavor of a pancake topped with rich maple syrup whipped together in a single  jelly bean.

Pancakes & Maple Syrup Jelly Belly beans are now available in the popular 3.1-ounce Jelly Belly Grab & Go® bag size packed in 12-count breakaway caddies.

 Jelly Belly beans contain four calories per bean and are fat free, peanut free, dairy free, gluten free, vegetarian and OU kosher certified. For information, visit www.jellybelly.com.

Valrhona Chocolate School to Open in Brooklyn

Started in 1922 as a small chocolate shop in a small French village, Valrhona now oversees every aspect, from bean to bar, of a sustainable chocolate production empire in 15 locations across 12 countries. Today 13,000 professional clients in over 70 countries use its expertly cultivated and crafted chocolates on a daily basis.

Valrhona has managed to remain on the cutting edge of chocolate production and innovation by maintaining, in philosophy and practice, that pasty chefs make the best products for pasty chefs. The company’s L’École du Grand Chocolat is at the heart of this idea. Founded in 1989, as a center for innovation and support for Valrhona’s professional clients, L’École du Grand Chocolat employs a team of over 20 pastry professionals around the world who are committed to pushing the boundaries of chocolate artisanship through the development of new techniques and products. Samples of their influence include popularizing bitter chocolate in the 1980s with the introduction of Guanaja, to pioneering the use of spice and salt in western chocolate confections in the early 2000s, to creating the first blonde chocolate in 2012.

With the grand opening of L’École du Grand Chocolat Brooklyn in D.U.M.B.O. on April 20, Valrhona brings its spirit of developing creativity and camaraderie among culinary professionals to the United States for the first time.

World Tea Academy LIVE! Kicks off a Week of Tea Learning Experiences

 

World Tea Expo (#WorldTeaExpo or #WTE15) is hosting World Tea Acaemy LIVE! just before the upcoming event, which takes place May 6 – 8, 2015 in Long Beach, California at the Long Beach Convention Center. World Tea Academy (WTA) is the leading online tea education and certification program, and World Tea Academy LIVE! is an in-person “taste” of what the online program has to offer. Advance registration and information is at WorldTeaExpo.com.

Those who register for World Tea Academy LIVE!, May 4 from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., will take the first step towards achieving industry certification. Participants will fulfill a requisite class: “Essentials of Camellia Sinensis,” presented by instructors Dan Robertson, founder and owner of The Tea House & World Tours, and Babette Donaldson, author of “The Everything Healthy Tea Book.” This class introduces the tea plant, Camellia sinensis, and the three factors that make it possible for this one plant to be the source of hundreds of kinds of teas. It also explores the botany of the plant, including the history, varieties, cultivars and cellular chemistry. The class continues with the six stages of tea processing and an overview of the six types of tea that come from this single amazing plant. The session includes an introduction to professional cupping and the sensory evaluation of tea.

With the World Tea Academy LIVE! class completed, students can continue their certification journey online through World Tea Academy, from the organizers of World Tea Expo and the North American Tea Championship. WTA is a digital-based learning platform that incorporates robust features and creates classroom-like environments for student-to-student interaction. The Academy offers the core WTA Certified Tea Specialist program, as well as higher-level accreditation, including: WTA Certified Tea Professional, WTA Certified Tea Sommelier and WTA Certified Tea Health Expert.

World Tea Academy classes are filled with rich content, videos, key learning points, group discussions and downloadable course materials. The curriculum covers a variety of educational topics, including: Tea Enhancements and Grading Systems; Tea Terroir; Tea Cupping; Quality Systems for Product Management; Presentation and Advanced Brewing Techniques; Tea Sommelier Essentials; Advanced Herbal Teas; Health Benefits of Tea; and Blending, Flavoring and Scenting, among others.

Each week, new educational content is unlocked for enrolled students. Week One and Week Two of the Core-level program provide key learning materials and content, and Week Three focuses on professionally cupping teas. Students are shipped teas and a Cupping Lab Starter Kit that includes cupping sets, digital scale, thermometer and timer. Teas frequently sent to students for cupping exercises contain North American Tea Championship winning teas. Higher level class formats vary within each three-week session.

The Academy receives support and oversight from its Strategic Technical Advisers, all recognizable luminaries. And since launching in 2013, the Academy has spanned 25 countries, six continents, six Canadian provinces and 32 states in America.

To register for World Tea Academy LIVE! at World Tea Expo, visit WorldTeaExpo.com. Or learn more about the programs and online class schedules at WorldTeaAcademy.com. Call 702.789.1839 or email info@WorldTeaAcademy.com with questions.

 

 

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