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Gourmet Newswire

Jean Hansen Named Logistics Manager for Wixon

Wixon, a manufacturer of seasonings, flavors and technologies for the food and beverage industry, has named Jean Hansen as Logistics Manager.

Hansen will be responsible for oversight of the logistics staff who handles inbound receipts and outbound shipping from the company’s headquarters and off-site distribution center. She will manage all transportation functions, devise strategic plans, and develop process improvements that maximize efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Hansen has nearly 20 years of progressive experience within the distribution industry and most recently was employed as the Warehouse/Logistics Manager for Baptista’s Bakery, now a part of Snyder’s-Lance, in Franklin. She holds a bachelor of arts degree in business and management and a master of business administration, both from Alverno College in Milwaukee. Hansen also earned a transportation management and policy (TMP) certificate from the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

She currently resides in West Allis. In her spare time, Hansen reupholsters furniture and serves as the chairwoman of her church’s finance council.

Haggen Announces Senior Executives to Lead Massive Rollout; Opens Five Additional San Diego Stores

With three Southern California locations officially open for business and another three scheduled to open by week’s end, West Coast regional grocery chain Haggen has announced the first five senior members of its Pacific Southwest leadership team. They are:

  • WendyOliver, SVP, Operations. A former Vice President of the Southern California Division of Albertsons
  • ChrisLinskey, SVP, Marketing. A veteran of Vons, Linskey was most recently EVP, Sales, with Intelligent Clearing Network after working for Valassis and Catalina Interactive.
  • RichWinters, VP, Fresh foods. He was formerly VP of Sales and Business Development for Sun Pacific, Pasadena, Calif., and, before that, VP, Retail Merchandising and Marketing, for the Northern California Division of Safeway.
  • JaimePrager, VP, Center Store, who was formerly Director of Hispanic Category Management for Smart & Final, Los Angeles
  • MelinaRanii, VP, Human Resources, formerly Director of Recruitment and Development for Trader Joe’s in Monrovia, Calif.

“Each of our leaders has extensive experience in the grocery business as well as professional and personal connections to the Southern California marketplace,” said Bill Shaner, Haggen CEO Pacific Southwest. “You couldn’t ask for a stronger group to lead our historic rollout of 100 stores in 100 days.”

As Haggen continues to grow, opportunities are available at the division office located in Irvine. Food enthusiasts interested in joining the team can explore growth and employment opportunities at www.haggen.com.

Opening More Doors to Shoppers in San Diego, Los Angeles, Orange County, Kern and San Bernardino Counties

Haggen opened its first doors to Southern California shoppers on March 11 at 7660 El Camino Real in Carlsbad, followed by two additional stores in El Cajon (at 13439 Camino Canada and 1608 Broadway Street) on March 18. Two more San Diego stores are scheduled to open today (at 730 Turquoise Street and 2235 University Avenue), followed by another location at 360 East H Street in Chula Vista on Sunday, March 22.

On March 24, Haggen will open its first store in Los Angeles County at 5038 W Avenue North in Palmdale, and its debut Orange County location at 30922 South Pacific Coast Hwy. in Laguna Beach. On March 31, Haggen will open its first two stores in Kern County at 7900 White Lane and 3500 Panama Lane in Bakersfield, and its first San Bernardino location at 4200 Chino Hills Pkwy Ste. 400 in Chino Hills.

These stores are the first of 83 California stores Haggen plans to acquire and convert to the Haggen brand in the first half of 2015. Once the acquisition is completed, the grocery chain will expand from 18 stores with 16 pharmacies to 164 stores with 106 pharmacies; from 2,000 employees to more than 10,000 employees; and from a Pacific Northwest company with locations in Oregon and Washington to a major regional grocery chain with locations in Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada and Arizona. The 26 Washington store conversions began in mid-February, and 20 Oregon store conversions are beginning this week. The seven Nevada and 10 Arizona stores will be the last to convert in the late spring. Each week, between one and 12 stores will be converted.

Setton Farms Announces New Distribution in Airports Across the Globe

Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella, Inc.- the nation’s second largest pistachio processor and maker of Setton Farms Pistachio Chewy Bites based in California’s Central Valley- has arranged for distribution of its Premium Dark Chocolate Pistachios in airports around the world.

Setton Farms’ Dark Chocolate Pistachios are now available in over 100 airport retail locations in US airports such as JFK, Newark, Islip, Burbank, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, and Phoenix. Stores carrying the product include CNBC News, Market Place and NY Times in addition to International Duty Free shops across the globe.

 “We are so excited that travelers will be able to easily find our Dark Chocolate Pistachios in retail locations around the world,” said Setton Farms COO Mia Cohen. “Having this product in the airports will give globe trotters access to a sweet, yet nutritious snack offering them the amazing health benefits of pistachios and dark chocolate.”

Both pistachios and cocoa are packed with nutrients and rich in antioxidants, which can help prevent a variety of chronic diseases and slow signs of aging. Setton Farms continues to introduce new ways for consumers to enjoy pistachios on the go. In addition to Dark Chocolate Pistachios, the brand also makes flavored pistachios and has an all natural, gluten and dairy free pistachio and cranberry snack bar called Pistachio Chewy Bites. Now consumers have even more ways to enjoy pistachios helping them reap the benefits of this nutrient-dense nut.

Brothers Marketplace Brand Wins 2014 International Visual Identity Award

The store brand identity design for Brothers Marketplace in Medfield, Massachusetts, a new concept from Roche Bros., has won the 2014 International Visual Identity Award (IVIA) in the Retail category. This smaller neighborhood market experience inspired by European-style food markets, an original vision of Pat and Bud Roche, was brought to life by Boston-based Marquis and opened in summer 2014.

Brothers Marketplace, with locations in Medfield and Weston, Massachusetts, brings an innovative approach to food, with a nod to the legacy of small neighborhood markets from long ago. Shoppers who visit will see an emphasis on unique offerings in prepared foods, baked goods, seasonal and exotic produce, meats, cheeses and packaged foods from local producers. Brothers Marketplace provides busy customers the ability to purchase grab-and-go items quickly while also offering an experiential culinary setting for lingering and savoring an array of seasonal foods.

“We worked hard to create a special retail atmosphere for Brothers Marketplace, and are thrilled to see that the store has been recognized for its innovative brand,” said Roche Bros. Operations Director, Aimee Morgida. “In working with Marquis, we harnessed today’s passion and enthusiasm for local farmer’s market-like flair to create a new, aesthetic store design and identity. It is our goal for Brothers Marketplace to offer customers inspiration, surprise and delight each time they walk into the store.”

Marquis was engaged by Roche Bros. to develop a comprehensive brand for the new store from the ground up and complement the architectural design by BHDP. The IVIA recognizes the full visual brand identity program Marquis created. This includes brand strategy and messaging, brand identity and logo design, interior decor elements such as signage, displays, packaging, labels, shopping bags, uniforms, menus and more, as well a suite of marketing collateral. Marquis also created a comprehensive brand book that allowed for the tight execution of the brand across all marketing channels and in-store materials for opening the new store.

“Developing the brand and visual identity for Brothers Marketplace was a very in-depth experience,” said Marquis Principal, Julie Vail. “We created an identity that satisfied the vision of what this store concept should reflect: a gathering place with an inviting atmosphere filled with little experiences for customers and conveniences for the modern shopper. We are honored to have partnered with Roche Bros. on this project and are proud of the work we’ve done and the success of these new stores.”

The IVIA is the first independent international design competition dedicated to visual identity. Its mission is to give good, visual identity design the exposure it deserves and formally recognize and celebrate the world’s most outstanding brand work. IVIA provides a global forum for large multinational corporations, design agencies, freelancers or students still at design school to present their visual identity work.

Roche Bros. Supermarkets was founded by brothers Pat and Bud Roche in 1952. Brothers Marketplace in Medfield is located at 446 Main Street and Brothers Marketplace in Weston is located at 41 Center Street.

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 AncientHarvest.com or connect on Facebook at Facebook.com/AncientHarvest.

Organic Powerhouse Grains Bistro Bowl Salad from Ready Pac

Ready Pac has just brought out its new Organic Powerhouse Grains Bistro® Bowl —a completely vegan, superfood-filled salad with ingredients that reap ‘super’ nutritional benefits.

Broad access to nutritional information has helped superfoods sky rocket in popularity. These nutrient-dense foods have been popular with consumers seeking alternative options that meet their nutrition needs. Research also shows that that ‘superfoods’ like quinoa and wheat berries are capable of boosting protein intake, improving energy, preventing disease, and aiding in weight loss.

“More consumers are looking for foods that provide an array of nutritional benefits” says Tristan Simpson, Chief Communications Officer at Ready Pac. “The Organic Powerhouse Grains Bistro Bowl has soluble fiber, nutrients, and health-boosting phytochemicals. It’s also low in calories, sugar and sodium, which makes it ideal to incorporate into an active lifestyle and also tastes great!”

The Organic Powerhouse Grains Bistro Bowl salad is part of a growing line of products for the health conscious, on-the-go consumer. The salad contains several nutrient-dense ingredients, including:

  • 100 percent vegan ingredients and certified organic
  • 6g plant-based protein
  • Alternative grains (quinoa and wheat berry)
  • Spring mix greens, carrots, red cabbage, raisins, sliced almonds

The Organic Powerhouse Grains Bistro Bowl salad is only 260 calories and has a suggested retail price of $4.99. The new salad bowl is currently available nationally at Safeway locations and its affiliated banners.

For more information about Ready Pac’s Bistro Bowl Salads and fresh food offerings, visit http://www.readypac.com/products/.

Emergency Ban on Powdered Alcohol Requested in California

Alcohol Justice, an alcohol industry watchdog organization, is asking for an emergency ban in California on the sale of powdered and crystalline alcohol products, such as Palcohol, to prevent additional alcohol-related harm to young people.

“California is the largest alcohol market in the U.S. and suffers the most alcohol-related harm,” stated Michael Scippa, Director of Public Affairs at Alcohol Justice. “Every year we lose nearly 10,000 lives and over $22 billion dollars to alcohol-related harm. Palcohol and other powdered or crystalline alcohol products will bring huge dangers to young people in California.”

A letter from the organization delivered to California legislators provides a litany of the organization’s health and safety concerns associated with powdered or crystalline alcohol: low cost; easy youth access to the packets; similar size and shape of packets to nonalcoholic children’s drink packets; potential mixing with a small amount of water to make a single very potent drink; mixing powdered alcohol with beer or alcopops; mixing powdered alcohol with energy drinks or other youth-oriented products; concealment by underage drinkers attending events/locations where alcohol is prohibited; ingestion of the product by snorting or eating, and easy theft.

The Alcohol Justice request for emergency legislative action is a response to news late last week that the U.S. Alcohol & Tobacco Tax & Trade Bureau (TTB) approved labels for the powdered alcohol product, Palcohol. The TTB approval gives a green light to begin marketing it wherever it’s legal. The letter states that five states have already passed legislation to ban powdered and crystalline alcohol products, another has a regulatory prohibition in place, and at least 14 other states are considering bills to ban these dangerous products. But California is currently not yet one of those states considering a bill.

The letter asks for new emergency legislation in 2015, to amend Title 18 of the California Code of Regulations, Article 6, Classification of Particular Beverages, Regulation 2557, concerning Powdered Distilled Spirits. The amendment sought would ban powdered or crystalline distilled spirits in California.

“We agree with New York Senator Chuck Schumer who said Palcohol “will become the ‘Kool-Aid’ of teenage binge drinking’ and it will lead to acute alcohol poisoning and death,” said Bruce Lee Livingston, Executive Director / CEO of Alcohol Justice. “The sense of urgency is real, we need our elected state leaders to take action this year to keep this public health and safety threat out of California.”

Organic Food Shoppers Look Like America, Shows New Survey

Today’s organic tent looks a lot different than yesterday’s. It’s bigger, younger, and significantly more diverse than just a few years ago. In fact, inside that tent, it looks pretty much like most places in America, a new study by the Organic Trade Association (OTA) shows.

As the availability of organic has become more mainstream and the offerings of organic more varied, there’s more diversity in those choosing organic. There no longer is a typical organic consumer. Organic is meeting the needs of a wide and multi-faceted culture, and the faces of organic-buying families now mirror the demographics of the U.S. population in terms of ethnic background, according to OTA’s “U.S. Families’ Organic Attitudes and Beliefs 2015 Tracking Study,” a survey of more than 1,200 households throughout the country.

Today, seven in ten families who purchase organic describe themselves as “white,” after hovering consistently around eight in ten from the survey’s first year in 2009 through 2013. In contrast, African American and Hispanic families have been steadily increasing among the ranks of organic-buying households. The percentage of African American families buying organic on a regular basis has doubled from just 7 percent six years ago, to now 14 percent. Hispanic households choosing organic is even higher at 16 percent, a huge jump from 7 percent just four years ago, when the survey started tracking Hispanic buying patterns.

“Our survey shows that organic has turned a corner,” said Laura Batcha, OTA’s executive director and CEO. “Organic hasn’t been a niche for some time, and today it is the face of America. The demographics of the organic consumer are not any different than the demographics of America.”

A side-by-side comparison of the figures: Percentage of organic buyers who are white: 73 percent; percentage of the U.S. population that is white, according to the latest U.S. Census: 72.4 percent; percentage of Hispanic organic buyers: 16 percent; percentage of U.S. population that’s Hispanic: 16.4 percent; and percentage of African American organic buyers: 14 percent; percentage of U.S. population: 12.6 percent.

The OTA survey also looks at the incomes, education and ages of organic buyers, and compares the buying habits of the new organic purchaser to the more experienced organic consumer.

Like most of us who buy the bulk of our food from our local supermarket, organic shoppers generally also are turning to the convenient supermarket for their organic purchases. A whopping 78 percent of organic buyers say they typically buy their organic foods at conventional food stores/supermarkets. Over half also shop organic at the “big box” stores, an increase of almost 10 percentage points from just a year ago, and some 30 percent also report that it’s not unusual to buy organic at one of the warehouse clubs in the country, again up almost 10 points from the previous year.

The similarities don’t end there. Forty-three percent of the parents surveyed said they’re making more of an effort to use coupons, discounts and other money-saving tactics when making general food purchases, very close to the 36 percent watching their budget when buying organic. Choosing store brands, either conventional or organic, to save money has become popular among penny-pinching families. Nine in ten families says they are choosing store brand products rather than brand names for conventional products, and eight in ten say they choose store brand organic items over organic brand names.

This was the sixth year OTA has partnered with KIWI Magazine to conduct the study. The primary objectives of the tracking study are to identify any changes in the degree to which families are incorporating organic into their lifestyle, parents’ knowledge about organic products and benefits, the importance and use of labels when shopping for and choosing organic products, and the household shopping budget and retail channel preferences.

This year the study looked more closely at the importance of the private label, digging down into the various factors that go into play when making the decision to buy the store brand private label over the more well-known brand label.

The target audience for the study consisted of more than 1,200 households, including a national online panel of U.S. households supplemented with KIWI Magazine’s Parents’ Advisory Board. All respondents had at least one child under the age of 18 in the household, and had sole or shared responsibility for household grocery purchases. The survey was conducted online January 16 – 23, 2015.

North American Tea Championship Winners Named

The North American Tea Championship  – the only independent and professionally-judged tea competition in North America – named the 16 best, premium hot teas from the fall 2014 harvest. The evaluation was held Feb. 26-27 in Las Vegas, Nevada, and all of the high-quality winning teas are commercially available in the marketplace.

Companies that took home an esteemed first-place award include: The Tea Kings; Glenburn Tea Direct; Mountain Tea Company; Garden to Cup Organics; Nepali Tea Traders; Chico Chai; Florapharm Tea-USA LP; and La Creme Coffee & Tea.

A complete list of first, second and third-place winners of the North American Tea Championship is available at teachampionship.com.

North American Tea Championship first-place winners include:
(Company/Website, Name of the Winning Tea, Category)

Honorees will be featured at the North American Tea Championship Winners Tasting Circle at World Tea Expo (WorldTeaExpo.com),May 6 – 8, 2015 at the Long Beach Convention Center, Long Beach, California.

The next North American Tea Championship will be held in June 2015 for an evaluation of iced teas. To inquire about entering the competition, e-mail info@teachampionship.com.

Natural Products Expo West and Engredea Shatter Attendance Record

The 35th annual Natural Products Expo West, the world’s largest natural, organic and healthy products event, took place March 4-8 at the Anaheim Convention Center in California. The event grew 7.2 percent, bringing together an inspired community of over 71,000 industry members, with more than 2,700 exhibiting companies, including 634 first-time exhibitors. The event is produced by New Hope Natural Media.

Co-located with Natural Products Expo West was Engredea, the event to source new ingredients, packaging, technologies, equipment, and services for cutting-edge products; and the Fresh Ideas Organic Marketplace, an innovative outdoor event that combines a traditional farmers’ market feel with the business-building power of a trade show.NPEW Photo 1

Due to demand, New Hope expanded the event’s exhibit space to encompass the entire Anaheim Convention Center campus. In addition to traditional Exhibit Halls, new exhibitors showcased new products at the Hilton Hotel Anaheim, which also offered an extra day of exhibits on March 5. NEXT Forecast estimates the natural and organic products industry is expected to grow to $252 billion by 2019.

First time exhibitor, Keith Mullin, Founder of Zippy’s based in La Jolla, California said, “We launched a new product at Natural Products Expo up in the new products area at the Hilton. We had some really high-quality conversations with retailers and received great feedback about how they perceived our product and how we can expand and grow with their companies.”

“Thanks so much for having us; we had a really great time at Expo West. We love the new changes this year! Loved the Thursday hot products at the Hilton, loved seeing all of the new things coming out and are excited to come back next year! See you in September for Expo East!,” added Beth and Amy Soergel of Naturally Soergel’s, a natural foods and products store based in Wexford, Pennsylvania.

Matt Stearn, Project & Social Media Manager of Derma E based in Simi Valley, California commented, “As a company that has been coming for over 30 years, we have to say that this is our best Expo West ever! Everybody has been so awesome and we are ecstatic about the audience that we saw this year.”

This year the conference program was extended to four days of robust education. The program offered a full docket of education topics as well as keynote presentations from Mark Bittman, food journalist at The New York Times, regular guest on the Today Show and author of How to Cook Everything series and VB6: Eat Vegan Before 6:00 and Dr. David Perlmutter, MD, FACN, ABIHM, board-certified Neurologist, fellow of the American College of Nutrition and New York Times bestselling author of Grain Brain.

Many companies were recognized with awards at Natural Products Expo West.

The official Natural Products Expo West “Best of West: Press Award” went to Justin’s Mini Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups. Runners up include: Noosa Yoghurt, LLC’s Vanilla Yoghurt and Brandstorm Inc.’s Dark Chocolate Covered Chia Seeds

The winner of the NEXT Accelerator Natural Products Business School Pitch Slam was Loliware, which produces exquisitely designed and delicious edible cups.

New Hope’s team of editors and analysts identified the five macro trends influencing the marketplace. They include:

Transparency advancements: Consumers are increasingly demanding to know what is in their food, and brands are responding by using technology and other innovations to provide greater transparency and traceability for their products.

Ancient Wisdom Gets Wiser: Brands continue to innovate by producing simple, delicious products that take minimal processing to new levels and contain short lists of nutrient-dense ingredients.

Paleo 2.0: Paleo-positioned products were even more prevalent. The newest Paleo offerings are popping up in every product category, from English muffins to chocolate.

Packaging Innovated: From edible cups to packages featuring famous cookbook authors, the packaging innovations made advancements in sustainability, consumer education and shelf stability.

Protein Invasion: Responding to consumers’ insatiable hunger for protein, natural and organic brands are packing new offerings with protein in every conceivable form.

“Advancements in transparency, clean product development and sustainable packaging created a rich environment of inspiring product innovation at this year’s Expo West,” said Carlotta Mast, Executive Director of Content and Insights, New Hope Natural Media.

Expo West and eTown hosted a sold out benefit for Just Label It to help fight for federal mandatory GMO labeling. The evening of musical entertainment and interviews included performances by Ziggy Marley and Aimee Mann.

Natural Products Expo East 2015 will return to the Baltimore Convention Center, September 16-19, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Natural Products Expo West 2016 is scheduled to take place March 11-13, 2016 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California.

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