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B’More Organic Expands Distribution of B’more Organic Skyr Smoothies

B’more Organic skyr smoothies are now widely available through its new strategic expansion into the Mid-Atlantic. Now offered in more than 100 new outlets in the region, including Whole Food Markets, Safeway supermarkets, and independent stores, B’more Organic smoothies are available in Banana, Mango Banana, Strawberry Banana, Vanilla and Caffe Latte flavors. The brand is now available in over 250 locations.

B’more Organic new store expansion includes:
• 34 additional Mid-Atlantic Whole Foods Markets in Northern Virginia, District of Columbia., Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Cincinnati and parts of Kentucky.
• 50 Safeway supermarkets in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia
• 25 independent markets in Northern Virginia, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware and New York

Skyr is an Icelandic-style strained yogurt, similar to Greek yogurt, brought originally to North America by way of Nordic settlers with experience in food preservation. B’more Organic skyr smoothies are made from fat-free skim milk naturally loaded with protein and probiotics. B’More Organic is providing a protein-packed, gluten-free and fat-free creamy beverage, now available to the Mid-Atlantic region.

Associated Buyers Recognized by Whole Foods

Associated Buyers was recognized at the Whole Foods North Atlantic Supplier Appreciation Luncheon that was held at the Crane Estate in Ipswich, Massachusetts, on October 16 and was presented with three notable awards: Whole Foods North Atlantic Supplier of the Year for 2014, The North Atlantic Grocery Supplier of the Year for 2014, and the North Atlantic Whole Body Supplier of the Year for 2014. Associated Buyers has been a dedicated supplier to Whole Foods North Atlantic Region for nearly 20 years.

“Thank you for everything over the years. Your patience, honesty, compassion, and loyalty make you a shining example of what a great partner should be. Whole Foods Market is a much better place because of our relationship with you.” – The Whole Foods North Atlantic Regional Team

Associated Buyers is a distributor of natural, organic, specialty and ethnic foods serving the Northeast. The company has provided quality products to a diverse and growing customer base for over 25 years. Associated Buyers is known for providing caring customer service and partnering with many local New England manufacturers for distribution.

Strong Bloody Mary Market Garnished by Spicy Heat and Unexpected Flavors

By David Bernard

Last month, as the St. Regis New York Hotel was busy celebrating the 80th anniversary of the U.S. debut of the bloody mary in the hotels King Cole Bar, a bartender at Todd English P.U.B. in Las Vegas was busy adding a skewer of corn dog pup and crispy chicken wing to a $35 bloody mary already stacked with a slider, chilled shrimp and pickled asparagus, among other garnishes. Still popular decades after its creation and continuously reinterpreted, bartender Fernand Petiot would no doubt be pleased with the legacy of the perennial cocktail classic he first mixed in Paris in 1921 before serving it at the St. Regis in 1934.

Capitalizing on consumer hunger, a thirst for spice and the growing desire for healthy ingredients, retailers of all things bloody mary, including mixes, seasoning blends and rimmers, are finding a wealth of products to choose from and a strong market to which to sell.Some retailers and producers describe two distinct markets for bloody marys. Jerry Ciesielski, Fine Foods Buyer for Premier Gourmet in Buffalo, New York, noted that a lot of the stores older customers stick with what they know, buying mixes that are more representative of the classic bloody mary recipe. For the younger customers coming in, its all about spicy hot,” he said.

Of the 16 brands of mixes sold in Ciesielski’s store, Tabasco Extra Spicy has become the second best-seller – up from fourth place. Tabasco Extra Spicy is followed by another spicy offering, the horseradish-flavored Mr & Mrs T Premium Blend. The top-seller at the store, as well as one of the leaders nationwide, is the medium-hot Zing Zang.Ciesielski said that customer requests, along with the trend toward spicy across many food categories, spurred the stores move toward spicier offerings. “Im looking for more and varied spicy mixes,” he said.

The good news for retailers like Ciesielski is that there is certainly no shortage of spicy bloody mary mixes on the market today from which to choose. The Murphs Famous Bloody Mary Mix, based in Long Island, New York, already had a successful, more traditional mix sold in 26 states when it decided to add a spicy version a year ago. The response has been amazing, said Stephen Murphy, CEO of The Murphs Famous Bloody Mary Mix. The new mix includes cayenne, horseradish and black pepper. When we did production runs initially, we thought it out and made 70 percent of the original mix and 30 percent hot and spicy. Within six months, it was 50-50. And now were 60-40 hot and spicy.”

Murphy got the idea for The Murphs Hot & Spicy Bloody Mary Mix, which recently won a Chile Pepper Magazine award for Best Bloody Mary Mix, after attending a number of hot sauce trade shows. As a sponsor himself of the New York City Hot Sauce Expo, which doubled its attendance to more than 10,000 this year, Murphy has observed firsthand the trend toward spicy. I have really seen, particularly among 21-35 year olds, that its all about hot sauce and different flavors of hot foods and sauces,” he said.

One of the countrys top bloody mary seasoning producers, Demitris of Seattle, Washington, happened upon its spiciest flavor, chipotle-habanero, quite by accident. According to founder Demitri Pallis, the company, which has won 25 Scovie Awards since 2012, created the extra-hot variety as a marketing stunt for the 2010 Nightclub & Bar Show Convention in Las Vegas. We kind of told the joke on ourselves,” said Pallis. “The response came back so well that, while we didnt intend to actually put a label on it, we decided to go ahead and add it to our lineup. While the chipotle-habanero blend is too hot for most bars to stock as their house mix, it does very well on the retail shelf, just as has done another of Demitris spicy offerings, Chilies and Peppers, which has increased in popularity in recent years.

While some retailers stick to a two-fold offering of more traditional mixes in addition to hot and peppery options, producers today are stepping up with unique flavors as well. Jason Poole, Brine Boss at Preservation & co. in Sacramento, California, recently turned a Dijon mustard-caper-balsamic-pickling-brine recipe he perfected as a bartender into a successful product sold in 150 California locations. (Expansion to surrounding states is in the works.) Developed for entry into the national Absolut Vodka Bloody Mary Search contest, in which it took second place, the viscous mix also contains sriracha.

The thing that would really frustrate me about bloody marys as a bartender was that people would drink about three-fourths of their drink and wouldnt finish it, because, by the end, it would be too diluted and it wouldnt have the flavor it began with, said Poole. Our goal was to create a drink where they could actually enjoy the whole thing. By making the mix thick and adding heat with sriracha, Poole created a buffer against the dilution that comes from adding ice and vodka, ultimately preserving the mixs briny/tangy and sweet tones.

Preservation & co., which produces a variety of pickled and other vegetable products and seasonings, also offers a sriracha salt bloody mary rimmer. Spicy rimmers like this one have risen in popularity alongside spicy mixes. Bacon-flavored rimmers are also trending.

Just a year old, Austin, Texas-based Bloody Revolution, has taken variety to a new level, recently expanding its reach to over 600 locations, including gourmet shops and major retailers, like one of the largest grocers in the state, HEB. The company offers five mixes, with the unique twist that none of the four variation flavors are based on the company’s original recipe. The company’s four co-founders started Bloody Revolution to fill what it saw as a gap in the marketplace, crafting unique flavors like wasabi ginger, ribeye, pickle zing and smoked habanero.

We had the idea to do something totally different from what wed ever seen, said Chantz Hoover, Managing Partner of Bloody Revolution. We decided to mix things up. While the company’s more unique flavors have proven a hit among adventurous cocktail enthusiasts, Bloody Revolution’s standby original and smoked habanero offerings serve as a point of entry for bloody mary beginners. Customers will try the original or the smoked habanero first, Hoover said. “Retailers are telling us that they come back and say, Hey, that was awesome, Im ready to try one of these other flavors now.’”

Bloody Revolution’s offerings fit perfectly with another bloody mary trend: the bloody mary bar within a bar” concept. Restaurants and bars across the country are setting up a bloody mary carts or mini-bars where customers can choose their own garnishes, extra spices and rimmers. While establishments typically offer only one or two mixes at the front of the cart, Bloody Revolution clients have found success when they choose to offer all five of the companys mixes. The renowned Austin hotel, The Driskill, whose popular Saturday Bloody Mary bar had featured two housemade original mixes for 30 to 40 years, recently added three Bloody Revolution mixes, with impressive results.

Their beverage director said, This is going to take our bloody mary bar to another level,’” said Hoover. And now, six months later, its gone really well for them. Theyve given us great feedback.The companys mixes have performed similarly well at other clients bloody mary bars.

The growing preference among consumers for natural and healthy products is also driving today’s bloody mary market. While the drink uses vodka or another type of alcohol, it also contains a healthy dose of tomato juice and often cayenne and other beneficial spices.

I find that a lot of our customers are vegetarians, said Mel Gonzalez, COO of Backyard Mary, a Huntington Beach, California company whose medium heat mix is sold in four western states. They look at it as a liquid salad, basically as a meal in a drink. Backyard Mary Bloody Mary Mixer, which carries just enough heat derived from horseradish, Worcestershire sauce and peppers, gives the drinker a light kick, yet it is still bright and flavorful. The mixer was a Platinum Best of Class winner at the Spirit International Prestige Awards.

Of course, some bloody marys are not so healthy, and consumers can thank the blogosphere in part for that. Spurred on in a “can-you-top-this fashion, some restaurants, bloody mary bloggers and individual consumers are carving out a spot at the bar (or on the internet) by posting outrageous pictures of lavishly garnished bloody marys. A bacon cheeseburger, King Crab claw, and chicken and waffles are just a few of the indulgent garnishes that demonstrate how the bloody mary can serve as a meal in a glass.

While possibly alarming some fans of the classic recipe, elaborate versions of this classic cocktail may be contributing to an overall boost in the category. Id say the Bloody Mary is getting more popular, said Shelley Buchanan, author of The Drunken Tomato: A Definitive Guide to the Best Bloody Marys in Los Angeles and Orange County. Especially with everyone sharing all these pictures of the crazy garnishes, bloody marys are really coming out in social media a lot more, and theyre getting more attention that way.

Read more about bloody marys here, about hot sauces here and about Bolder Beans here.

This story was originally published in the November 2014 issue of Gourmet News, a publication of Oser Communications Group.

 

Greek Yogurt-Based Salad Dressing Named Dressing of the Year

LitehouseOpa by Litehouse Feta Dill Greek Yogurt Dressing was named The Association for Dressings & Sauces (ADS) Dressing of the Year at the ADS Annual Meeting held October 11-13 in Naples, Florida. Litehouse Foods launched OPA by Litehouse to rave reviews: in just one year in the market the best-selling dressing has reached over 50 ACV in 47 of the top 64 IRI markets and is already 21 percent of the yogurt refrigerated salad dressing category.

“We are so honored that Litehouse was chosen for this prestigious award,” said Maria Emmer-Aanes, Vice President Marketing and Communications for Litehouse, Inc. “OPA by Litehouse Greek Yogurt Dressing was the first fresh, Greek yogurt based dressing to market, and we’ve received rave reviews from consumers since its launch. We are thrilled to be acknowledged by our peers as well.”

The Dressing of the Year Award is presented by ADS to recognize and celebrate truly innovative and delicious dressing products. Nominations for the award were received from ADS members and were then voted on by members via a blind taste test at the ADS 2014 Technical Meeting in San Diego, California. ADS members voted for the dressing deemed to have the best overall taste.

Using Greek yogurt as a salad dressing base provides a lower calorie dressing with twice the protein of a traditional dressing. OPA by Litehouse dressings are free of trans fats, have no MSG or artificial preservatives and only 0-1 gram of sugar per serving.

Study: Mothers More Likely Than Fathers to Read Nutrition Labels

Mothers are more likely than fathers to read nutrition labels when considering food and drink purchases, according to the latest C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health.

Results from the poll showed that 40 percent of mothers say they read the nutrition labels either “very often” or “always.” Just 35 percent of fathers say they read the labels “very often” or “always.”

Sugars (total sugar and added sugar) topped the list of “very important” nutrients that parents consider overall. But mothers are more likely than fathers to say total sugar, added sugar, protein and dietary fiber are “very important.”

The “Nutrition Facts” labels are required for most foods sold in the United States. For the first time in two decades, in 2014 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has proposed key changes to the labels to feature clearer information about calories, fat, and sugar. “The hope is that changes in the labels can make them easier to read and understand, and that will help consumers make healthier choices,” says Susan J. Woolford, M.D., M.P.H., a faculty collaborator in this month’s poll. “We decided to find out how mothers and fathers currently use the labels, and how they think about the information that’s contained there.”

In the poll, 1,481 parents were also asked about using the labels when comparing two similar foods or drinks to buy. Forty-six percent of mothers versus 33 percent of fathers said that information from the nutrition label “very often” or “always” influences their decisions.  More fathers (16 percent) than mothers (10 percent) indicated they never read nutrition labels.

Woolford says she was surprised how many parents, particularly fathers, don’t use the labels. “We didn’t ask specifically for the reasons why parents do not use food labels in this poll, so it’s hard to pinpoint a cause with certainty. But it may be that parents find it difficult to make the connection between the information on the nutrition facts labels and what it means for their health and their child’s health,” says Woolford, who is medical director of the Pediatric Comprehensive Weight Management Center at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and a member of the Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation.

“It’s also possible that they have already made decisions about what they plan to purchase, and the nutrition information is not a factor they consider.  Nonetheless, it is still important for fathers to make nutritious choices that safeguard their children’s health,” Woolford says. “The results of this poll indicate an opportunity for further research into how we can improve the nutrition facts labels so they might be something that parents – both mothers and fathers –use and so that they provide information in a manner that promotes healthy food choices.”

Top Ten Food Trends That Will Flavor the Foodscape in 2015

Sterling-Rice Group (SRG) has identified its top ten culinary trends that will stand out on restaurant menus, expand onto grocery shelves, and attract consumer attention across the U.S. in 2015.

Next year, consumers’ food preferences will be driven by a continued interest in global cuisines, balanced nutrition, community connections, and a desire for adventurous eating experiences. Look for these culinary trends to expand and grow next year as they move from the cutting edge into our popular foodscape:

  1. Advanced Asian: From Filipino food to a new generation of Thai, not one but a host of more complex and true-to-region Asian foods will dominate in 2015.
  2. Matcha Madness: The never-ending quest for wellness and energy will lead many to Japanese matcha, a nutrient powerhouse green tea now hitting the market in convenient formats like lattes, sodas, and ready-to-drink cans.
  3. Cannabis Cuisine: Edible marijuana moves far beyond cliched pot brownies. In states where it’s legal, look for new, sophisticated options from gluten-free baked goods and confections to bottled cold-brewed coffee and flavored syrups.
  4. Hop-Free Suds: Channeling their medieval predecessors, craft brewers are making unhopped beers with herbs, spices, and bitter plants yielding unique and intriguing flavors instead of hoppy bitterness.
  5. Incendiary Charcoal: Look for more excitement around Asian styles of super-hot burning charcoal as well as charcoal coloring and enhancing breads, crackers, and even cosmetics.
  6. The Local Grain Network: Products made from freshly milled flour are making their way to consumers thanks to the growing network of farmers, bakers, and chefs committed to local grain production.
  7. Coconut Sugar Sweetness: Boasting a lower glycemic index than white sugar makes coconut sugar popular among consumers—from natural food fans to sweets-loving Paleos to Southeast Asian food lovers—looking for better-for-you foods.
  8. Farm to Table Kosher: With keeping kosher on the rise, kosher food businesses address consumer demand to eat in more sustainable, conscious, and cultural ways.
  9. The Hunger Games—Restaurant Edition: Dining concept incubators create lively experiences where curious diners test experimental eateries and vote with their forks in revolving pop-up settings or hip dining parks.
  10. The Ugly Fruit & Vegetable Movement: Misshapen and funny-looking produce will no longer get picked over as food resourcefulness and efforts to combat hunger come into sharper focus.

The 2015 Cutting-Edge Culinary Trends were compiled by SRG’s Culinary Team led by Culinary Director Kara Nielsen and feature examples of trailblazing food and drink and the brands leading the way for each trend. An extension of Culinary Shifts™, SRG’s proprietary research based on key societal shifts affecting consumer behavior around food, the predictions provide insight for food industry companies to better develop, position, market, and sell food products.

For a complete look at SRG’s 2015 Cutting-Edge Culinary Trends, visit SRG.com.

The Chefs’ Warehouse Acquires Maryland-Based Euro Gourmet Inc.

The Chefs’ Warehouse, Inc.. a distributor of specialty food products in North America, today announced that it has acquired substantially all of the assets of Euro Gourmet Inc., based in Beltsville, Maryland. Founded in 1999, Euro Gourmet is a wholesale specialty distributor of imported and domestic products along the East Coast.
“We are pleased to welcome Euro Gourmet to our growing family,” said Christopher Pappas, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Chefs’ Warehouse, Inc. “The Chefs’ Warehouse entered the Mid‐Atlantic region in 2005 through the migration of top NY‐based chefs and restaurateurs into the area. We’ve continued to grow in the region organically and through the previous acquisition of American Gourmet Foods. The addition of Euro Gourmet both strengthens our existing employee base and complements our already extensive Mid‐Atlantic product selection.”
“Both The Chefs’ Warehouse and Euro Gourmet were founded on the idea that our customers deserve high quality products at an affordable price and we strive every day to make that happen. Joining forces will only help us further improve and thrive in this endeavor,” said Francesco Marra, President and CEO of Euro Gourmet Inc.
Euro Gourmet Inc. is expected to generate approximately $5.0 million in annualized net sales in 2014. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Pamela’s Products Earn Non-GMO Status

PamelasPamela’s Products is celebrating its versatile All-Purpose Flour – Artisan Blend and classic Biscuit & Scone Mix for earning Non-GMO Project Verified status.

Pamela’s high standards for creating delicious, gluten-free foods have always placed as much importance on what goes in its gluten-free baking mixes, cookies and snack bars, as what gets left out; pledging to consumers:

  • No artificial additives
  • No high fructose corn syrup
  • No GMOs – the brand is working closely with its vendors to assure the quality and source of all its ingredients

In addition to the all-purpose flour and scone mix, the company has nine SKUS pending verification – many of which should be approved in the coming months.

Cluck ‘n Moo Burgers with Kale

ClucknmooThe Cluck ‘n Moo Burger with Kale is a new spin on the company’s original half-chicken, half-beef burger. The Cluck ‘n Moo Burger with Kale is infused with America’s favorite superfood, kale, in the already healthier burger alternative. The product retains the flavor and juiciness of the original Cluck ‘n Moo burger while incorporating the nutritional benefits of kale, providing consumers a healthy and satisfying alternative to a typical calorie-filled beef burger.

Dell’s Maraschino Cherries Rebrands Company, Unveils New Company Logo, Product Labels and Website

Dell’s Maraschino Cherries has unveiled its new corporate rebranding, including a new logo, product labels and website. The rebranding reflects the many recent changes the company has undergone as well as its vision for the future. Established in 1948, Dell’s Maraschino Cherries is a family-owned business and processes upwards of 19 million pounds of cherries a year in its 38,000 square foot SQF level 3 state-of-the art facility in Brooklyn, New York. The facility is also OU kosher certified and halal certified.

Dell’s Maraschino Cherries offers a variety of different sized cherries with or without stems that include medium, large, extra-large, colossal, crushed or halved. Dell’s Maraschino Cherries has seen explosive growth during 2014 increasing their market share among leading chain restaurants and through the mainstream supermarket channel.

“We wanted our new brand to reflect our leadership position within the industry and our commitment to be the very best at what we do for our customers,” said Arthur Mondella, CEO of Dell’s Maraschino Cherries.

As a cherry processor, Dell’s Maraschino Cherries never compromises on the quality and safety of its cherries. Dell’s Maraschino Cherries manufacturing facility is the most advanced in the industry and is automated by proprietary software to meet today’s manufacturing regulatory demands, quality control and product traceability to ensure years of future growth.

Dell’s Maraschino Cherries new logo was the first component of a new brand identity that captures the company’s brand heritage and conveys a strong visual image of the company. The new website at www.dellscherry.com incorporates the new look and feel of the new Dell’s Maraschino Cherries brand and serves as an informational resource that includes product information, recipes and company information. New product labels were designed to take full advantage of a new logo that proudly displays the logo front and center in customers’ minds.

“2014 has been an exciting year for Dell’s Maraschino Cherries. Our customers now realize that they can capitalize on the scope and depth of our capabilities, which in turn has increased the demand for our products. This has directly led us to make new hires, implement our new branding and positioned us for future growth,” said Mondella.

For over 76 years, Dell’s Maraschino Cherries has earned its reputation for delivering the finest best tasting maraschino cherries sourced from selected farms around the world. As a company, Dell’s Maraschino Cherries seeks to balance environmental and social concerns that will lead to a cleaner and better planet and by doing so, add value to their employees, customers and partners.

 

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