Natural Products Expo East opened this morning in Baltimore, Maryland with vendors offering everything from gourmet dog snacks to organic ethically produced and sourced anything at all that you might want to eat yourself. Among the offerings are, of course, any number of products designed to meet the needs of consumers observing a gluten-free diet, and the vendors’ interest in the category this year indicates that the trend is showing no sign of fading away just yet. New this year are a plethora of options in foods for consumers who have multiple dietary restrictions. As an example, ohso Good for you chocolate provides the consumer with 100% of their daily probiotics in a 70-calorie chocolate bar that’s also gluten free, dairy free and nut free. The bar’s probiotics are microencapsulated, so they’re protected from stomach acids, and are three to four times as likely to survive to replenish intestinal flora as a serving of milk or yogurt, the company says. See it in booth #4811 at Expo East or visit www.ohso.com.
Also checking off multiple boxes for those with dietary restrictions is a line of boxed mac and cheese-style dinners that are gluten free and dairy free. The company’s pastaríso Dairy Free Mac & Cheddar Style Sauce product, for example, is not just dairy free, it’s also vegan and free from wheat, gluten, soy, eggs and nuts. As you’d expect, it doesn’t taste like a full-on cheesy, creamy pasta dinner, but it’s certainly reminiscent of those flavors, and it doesn’t taste at all like cardboard. Taste it at booth #726 or visit www.maplegrovefoods.com for more information.
Traderspoint Creamery brought the yogurt recognized as the country’s best at the 2014 American Cheese Society competition. Based in Indiana, the company sources its milk from 100-percent grass-fed cows on its own farm and from a nearby coop of Amish farmers and packages the yogurt in single-serving glass cups. See them in booth #912 at the show.
thinkThin Lean Protein.& Fiber™ Bars is offering two limited edition flavors for fall: Dark Chocolate Peppermint and Pumpkin Spice. Each bar has only 150 calories, and both flavors are gluten free, non-GMO and kosher dairy. Taste them in booth #1230 or visit www.thinkproducts.com.
Less than three months after its launch, savory nutrition bars from Mediterra® are now available in Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage, the first large-scale natural retailer to offer Mediterra bars. Currently, the rapidly growing Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage operates 86 stores in 14 states.
“Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage has stringent standards, and bringing Mediterra into their stores is a huge endorsement,” says Mediterra Founder Telemaque Lavidas. “It’s an honor to partner and grow with them, while we aggressively continue to introduce our brand to consumers nationwide.”
“The products we carry are free from artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, sweeteners, both hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils. We continue our search for additional snack items that taste good and meet these standards, and Mediterra does that,” says Nancy Flynn, Marketing Director for Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage. “We’re looking forward to offering our customers another healthful way to snack, while on-the-go.”
Inspired by the Mediterranean Diet that’s considered by experts as one of the healthiest lifestyles in the world, Mediterra bars have six new unique flavors that feature various fruits, vegetables and grains, providing different snacking options for throughout the day. All bars are all-natural, non-GMO and gluten free. They retail for $1.99.
The six unique bar flavors come in three specific varieties that provide ancient nutrition in a modern and convenient way:
Savory Bars: The bars are rich in vegetable content, but low in calories, sodium and sugar and contain protein-rich pea crisps and a touch of olive oil. Each Savory Bar is 1.4 ounces and contains six grams of protein and fiber. They are certified kosher and dairy free. The Savory Bars serve as an alternative to sweet snacks providing super foods and amaranth, an ancient grain. Flavors include Tomato/Basil/Capers and Olive/Walnut/Chives.
Sesame Honey Energy Bars: Traditionally known as pasteli, these bars are dairy-free and contain only a few ingredients including roasted sesame seeds, Greek honey and either pistachios from Aegina Island or orange peel. The combination provides natural and long lasting energy. Each bar is 1.3 ounces, contains up to six grams of protein and two grams of fiber. Flavors include Sesame Seed/Pistachio/Greek Honey and Sesame Seed/Orange/Greek Honey.
Yogurt and Oat Bars: Bottom-covered with yogurt-style coating, the bars are 1.6 ounces, certified kosher and contain seven grams of protein. The bars also feature fig paste, sunflower seeds and raisins. Flavors include Yogurt/Oat/Cherry Pistachio and Yogurt/Oat/Apricot Pistachio.
After launching in June, the company named Acosta Sales & Marketing, a leading full-service sales and marketing agency in the consumer packaged goods industry, as its U.S. sales agency. In addition, the company has won two product awards including a 2014 The Lempert Report Innovator award for its Savory Bars.
Click here to read more Gourmet News coverage of snack foods.
It’s party time at the Organic Trade Association. For 10. Straight. Days. And everyone’s invited.
September is “Organic Month,” and OTA and its member companies are teaming up with other leading organic influencers to throw “Organic-Palooza,” a first-ever 10-day social media festival that gets going on September 8 to celebrate the benefits of organic, clear up confusion about what organic really stands for, and share how and why consumers should incorporate more organic – whether it’s organic food or organic fiber – into their lives.
From affordability issues – how your family can create an at-home organic menu without breaking the budget – to the trustworthiness of organic – an explanation of the strict regulations and standards that go into growing and making every single organic product – the blitz, delivered by OTA and some 50 strategic partners, will delve into the biggest issues surrounding organic, bust a few myths, and provide an unprecedented and free-wheeling exchange of ideas and views and knowledge between top organic experts and just normal folks.
“We are very excited to be engaging our members and the public in such a creative and accessible way to answer questions about organic,” said Laura Batcha, Executive Director and CEO of OTA. “Each day we’ll be focusing on one key organic topic in order to spark conversation and share as much knowledge as we can between organic news watchers and newsmakers, and ultimately to help consumers make the best choices for their families.”
Using the #OrganicFestival hashtag on its social media channels (Facebook facebook.com/OrganicTrade, Twitter twitter.com/organictrade, Pinterest pinterest.com/organictrade), daily themes include nutrition, the latest trends in organic, organic standards and the meaning of the organic seal, affordability, organic’s role in mitigating global warming, a look at the latest research on organic, and more. Through recipes, meal-planning tips, and updates on organic fiber, consumers will be shown how to make organic a regular part of their lives.
Special sessions will feature organic thought leaders including top food and nutrition writers and bloggers, organic policy and agricultural experts, and OTA members sharing their perspectives on policy, regulatory, and real-life concerns being faced by the organic community. The public will be introduced to the organic visionaries who have helped make the organic industry the robust part of the American food and fiber sector that it is today.
A five-day Twitter party will be wrapped into the festival, with each party zeroing in on a specific organic focus and co-hosted by an expert in the subject. One of the parties will be a “myth-busting” session to debunk common myths and misinformation about organic, co-hosted by “Coach” Mark Smallwood, head of the Rodale Institute and an internationally recognized organic expert, and Dr. Jessica Shade, Lead Scientist for The Organic Center. Another will be on GMOs in our food supply with host Matt Dillon, an advocate and recognized expert in organic seed systems and agricultural policy and programs manager at Clif Bar. Dr. Alan Greene, a kids’ health expert devoted to giving answers to parents’ real questions will co-host a session on what organic means for kids. Finally, eco-fashion pioneer Marci Zaroff will co-host a party on organic textiles, clarifying the importance of driving sustainability by choosing organic—beyond food.
Each Twitter party will be sponsored by OTA members who are offering dozens of prizes to festival participants ranging from organic snacks and sauces to a basket of organic linen. Randomly selected Facebook fans sharing news about the festival with their friends will be awarded daily prizes donated by OTA member companies, as will selected Pinterest followers who repin the campaign image.
Your customers count on you to deliver specialty foods that meet their nutritional requirements while satisfying their taste buds. Wixon offers a variety of gluten-free gourmet seasonings and dry mixes that extend your product line to suit the needs of this growing market segment.
Wixon’s three core levels of service ensure your products exceed expectations, from innovative concepts through efficient production to professional packaging. From sourcing to handling and testing, Wixon takes the necessary measures to ensure the highest quality gluten-free products without compromising on taste. Gluten-free raw materials are sourced from qualified vendor partners, who provide a gluten-free Statement of Assurance. Wixon’s segregated blending suites and operations handling avoid cross-contamination. Blends are tested to confirm gluten-free status and validate Wixon’s gluten-free procedures. Gluten-free raw materials and ingredients are also stored in segregated areas. In addition to rigorous finished product testing, Wixon is GFSI Certified to FSSC 22000, the premier, globally-recognized model of food safety.
Trust Wixon to make gluten-free worry-free.
For more information, visit the company online at www.wixon.com or call 800.841.5304.
Organic Cracked Freekeh is now available from Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods. It’s the latest ancient grain to join Bob’s Red Mill’s growing Grains of Discovery line. Freekeh is a whole grain food made in an old-world way, following a traditional process popular in the Middle East and Northeastern Africa.
“Since we introduced our Grains of Discovery line last summer, the response has been tremendous, and customers have been clamoring for more,”said Bob Moore, Founder, President and CEO of employee-owned Bob’s Red Mill. “In deciding how to expand the line, we searched far and wide to find just the perfect grain, and we found that with Freekeh—something totally unique and virtually unknown in the West.”
According to legend, freekeh was created when a farmer’s crop of young green wheat was set on fire by a rival neighbor. Instead of letting the burned wheat go to waste, the farmer’s family harvested the roasted wheat and removed the chaff, and to their surprise it had a pleasantly nutty, lightly roasted flavor.
Cracked freekeh is made by lightly roasting whole wheat kernels, then cracking them to create a whole grain food with a texture similar to bulgur, with a mild, nutty flavor. Bob’s Red Mill Organic Cracked Freekeh, which retails for $6.99 for a 16-ounce package, cooks in just 25 minutes and adds wonderful texture and flavor to a variety of salads, pilafs and soups. It also can be enjoyed as a hot breakfast porridge. Freekeh is an excellent source of fiber, high in iron and other essential minerals, and provides 7 grams of protein per serving.
“We are really excited to add this ancient grain to our popular Grains of Discovery line and to share its history with our customers,” said Matthew Cox, Vice President of Marketing at Bob’s Red Mill. “Legends aside, the flavor of this grain is so unique and delicious, our hope is that it will become a staple grain on every dinner table. That’s at the heart of what our Grains of Discovery are all about.”
Bob’s Red Mill Organic Cracked Freekeh is available now to retailers in cases of four, and also online at www.bobsredmill.com. To inquire about carrying the products, please contact the Bob’s Red Mill sales team at 800-553-2258 or email@example.com. For more information about the entire Bob’s Red Mill product line, please visit www.bobsredmill.com.
Dover Foods, Inc., a manufacturer of quality specialty desserts mixes for 20 years, is is now launching a new brand of premium gluten-free baking mixes. The new Ardenne Farm prepackaged line of bakery mixes will be showcased this fall at the Natural Products Expo East (NPEE) in Baltimore, Maryland.
Ardenne Farm carries on the tradition of delicious, high-quality baking products on which Dover Foods, Inc. has built its reputation. Each of the nine gluten free baking mixes features gourmet quality, non-GMO ingredients and a secret blend of finely milled gluten free flours for an innovative taste. They are manufactured with the strictest of quality assurance practices for those with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease and with standards twice as stringent as those set by the Food and Drug Administration.
Everyday classic flavors include Yellow Cake, Chocolate Cake, Fudge Brownie, Chocolate Chip, Chocolate, Oatmeal and Sugar Cookie mixes. Also offered are Blueberry and Cinnamon Crunch Muffin mixes. Suggested retail prices range from $6.39 to $6.79.
By Lorrie Baumann
Debra Bloom’s Safe Snack Guide is an important resource that schools and parents around the country use to screen the snack foods brought into their classrooms and offered to their children. Specialty foods company Enjoy Life is one of the manufacturers with products on Bloom’s list of safe snacks.
“One of the things we look for at Enjoy Life is how we can bring the celebration back into everyone’s life,” says Joel Warady, Enjoy Life’s Chief Sales and Marketing Officer. “The way we do that is that all our products, everything we produce, in addition to being gluten-free, is free of the top eight allergens: eggs, dairy, wheat, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish. That covers about 90 percent of all food allergies in children today.”
Enjoy Life was started 12 years ago by Scott Mandrell, who is still its CEO today, as a manufacturer of gluten-free products. “He started thinking about how to make the gluten-free products even more unique, and that’s when the idea of making allergy-friendly foods came about,” Warady says.
Today, Enjoy Life has eight different product lines, all allergy-friendly. Warady can spin them out for you without a second thought: “Cookies (soft and crunchy), on-the go bars (classic line and decadent line), cereals that are high in fiber and high in protein, which are adult-focused, Plentils, a salty snack line which is a crunchy lentil chip in four savory flavors. We have the only nut-free trail mix in the market, composed of just seeds and fruit.”
Enjoy Life’s products are not just free of gluten and the eight most common allergens, they are also tasty. Over the years, the company has improved the taste across the entire product line. They are a little more expensive than a mass-marketed product, but some of that extra cost goes into rigorous testing procedures and quality assurance controls that ensure that the products are best in class.
“We built the company on three tenets: taste, trust and love,” Warady says. “Number one, our consumers have to trust us. They have to trust that our brand won’t hurt their children. We build that trust every single day with every cookie we produce.”
“We talk about celebration. In reality, it’s more than just classrooms. It’s the birthday parties and the family gatherings. For years, so many children with food allergies were prohibited from going to birthday parties because there was nothing there that was safe for them to eat,” Warady adds. “Because there are these foods now, people can go to parties and enjoy themselves at whatever party they might want to attend.”
For more information, visit www.enjoylifefoods.com.
By Lorrie Baumann
Food allergy is a growing public health concern in the United States. Food allergies are responsible for 100 to 200 deaths a year in the United States, and many studies have found that the prevalence of food allergies is on the rise for both children and adults over the past 10 to 20 years, although the reasons for this are not clear.
Food allergies affect 15 million Americans, including 1 in 13 children, roughly two in every classroom. Nearly 40 percent of children with food allergies have experienced a severe or life-threatening reaction, such as anaphylaxis, which is a severe, potentially fatal allergic reaction.
Find allergy-friendly food products here.
Many Americans really don’t understand that food allergies are a serious, life-threatening issue for many people, especially children. This is according to Debbi Beauvais, a registered dietician and the District Supervisor of School Nutrition for schools in Rochester, N.Y. Beauvais spends a great deal of her time training the foodservice workers in her school district on how to prevent allergic reactions among students and how to recognize and respond to them if they occur. “When I talk to people about allergies in general, there’s a misperception of the definition of an allergy,” she says. “There are allergies, intolerances and people who say they have an allergy when they mean they don’t like the food.”
“A lot of people don’t realize that a food allergy can cause a severe medical event,” Beauvais continues. “It’s not as simple as that they just don’t like that food.”
According to Food Allergy Research and Education, a nonprofit organization that works on behalf of the 15 million Americans with food allergies, a food allergy is a reaction of the body’s immune system to a protein in a food. There is no cure for food allergies. Strict avoidance of allergens and early recognition and management of allergic reactions are key to preventing serious health consequences. Other food reactions and sensitivities to food are called food intolerances. Food intolerances are reactions that are generally localized, temporary and rarely life-threatening. The most common of these is lactose intolerance. Gluten intolerance is another.
The national school lunch program has very specific requirements for how to deal with students who have food allergies, and those have just been supplemented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with the October 2013 release of Voluntary Guidelines for Managing Food Allergies in Schools and Early Care and Education Programs. The guidelines were issued in compliance with the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act passed by Congress in 2011 to shift the focus on food safety from response to prevention.
“The new guidelines are significantly broader and address issues that haven’t had that level of structured attention: food in the classroom, the broader school day beyond what happens at lunchtimes,” says Diane Pratt-Heavner, Director of Media Relations for the School Nutrition Association. “It really makes sense for those children who have life-threatening allergies. Unfortunately, food is all around … Kids can encounter the item on the school bus, after class, in a party or at a bake sale, so it is important to bring everyone into the mix to make sure those children are in a safe environment.”
The guidelines note that children with food allergies may face health challenges that affect their ability to learn and their social and emotional development, and that food allergies may even pose a daily threat to allergic children’s ability to live productive lives. CDC studies show that 16 to 18 percent of children with food allergies have had a reaction from accidentally consuming food allergens while at school and that one in four of the severe and potentially life-threatening incident of anaphylaxis reported at schools happened to children with no previous diagnosis of food allergy. While milk is the single most common food allergen, fatalities associated with food-induced anaphylaxis are most commonly associated with peanut or tree nut ingestion. Eight foods account for more than 90 percent of all food allergies in the United States: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish and shellfish.
Debra Bloom is a mom who wishes that more Americans understood the potential danger of exposure to a food allergen. Her daughter Elisabeth was diagnosed with allergies to peanuts and eggs when she was just a year old. Elisabeth’s first really noticeable allergic reaction happened on the third time she ate egg, Bloom recalls. “I was getting her something to drink, and when I turned back to the high chair, she had hives all over the side of her face and all over her neck,” she says. “She started rubbing her eyes, which were swelling.” Bloom called her pediatrician immediately and was advised to administer Benadryl, which brought the reaction under control. “The swelling went down, and the hives went away, and she was fine.”
While her daughter was fine, Bloom herself was scared. She made an appointment with an allergist and had Elisabeth tested. “She came up positive for egg and for peanuts. I wasn’t surprised about the egg, but the peanuts results really threw me,” she says. “I had heard many stories about reactions that were far worse than what Elisabeth had experienced, with children suffering full-blown anaphylaxis and not able to breathe. When that happens, you need to rush your child to the hospital. We were lucky.”
A diagnosis of food allergy is a life-altering event, as patients and those who care for them come to grips with the realization that allergic reactions to food are unpredictable and can be deadly. Just because a food caused only a minor allergic reaction once doesn’t mean that the reaction won’t be much more severe the next time it happens. “You have to take every case seriously,” Beauvais says. “You can’t assume that if you only got hives this time, you know how your body will react the next time.”
According to the CDC, food allergen avoidance and the risk of severe allergic reactions can have substantial daily consequences for both allergic children and their caregivers. Caregivers, especially mothers, can experience anxiety, stress and diminished quality of life, and a study of children with peanut allergies found that those kids had significantly poorer quality of life than their siblings as well as greater separation anxiety. A 2012 study found that more than a third of children and teens with food allergies reported having been bullied specifically because of their food allergy, often by being threatened with exposure to an allergen. Some parents even choose to home school their children because of food allergies. In addition, parents with allergic children report that the food allergy significantly affects meal preparation and often family social activities.
When it came time for Elisabeth to head off to school the first time, Bloom found that while the faculty and staff understood how serious was the need to protect her and other children with food allergies, other students’ parents were not so understanding. That created conflicts almost as soon as Elisabeth went to kindergarten. “The kindergarten class had a lot of parties. I wanted to have a say in what they were having, to keep my daughter safe. It was something I had to do,” she says. “At the first meeting to plan the class party, I felt like I was the subject of a witch hunt. We were talking about snacks for the party. I offered to bake 80 cupcakes for the entire kindergarten because I felt that if I baked all the cupcakes, I could ensure her safety.” The other parents in the party-planning group revolted, and Bloom was accused of trying to deprive the other children in the class of their treats.
Bloom left the meeting, went to the supermarket and started reading labels, making a list of safe snacks that all the kids could enjoy. Then she went back to the other mothers to assure them that no one was going to be deprived because her daughter needed to be protected from exposure to peanuts and eggs. “There are a lot of treats in the market that are safe for everyone,” she assured them.
Eventually, that list turned into the Safe Snack Guide, a resource schools and parents around the country use to screen the snack foods brought into their classrooms and offered to their children. Listing a qualifying product is free for the manufacturer, and more than 500 schools are on record as recommending her site, www.snacksafely.com, to their parents.
Elisabeth is in seventh grade now, and Bloom is finding that greater awareness of the potential consequences of food allergies is helping to diminish the intolerance she hears from other parents. Her daughter has joined the ranks of older children and adults who have learned to monitor their own potential exposures and to advocate for themselves to make sure that they are not exposed. That does not mean that Bloom is less vigilant on behalf of her daughter and other children with food allergies. “As far as being nervous, that will never go away unless a cure is found. Food is everywhere. It’s such a part of life,” she says.
“What every mom wants for their child is to be safe, to be included and to be well adjusted. So many people take safety for granted,” she continues. “You send your kid off to school, and you don’t know if they’re going to be exposed to someone else’s snack, or eat something dangerous that’s offered to them. You put your child’s life in other people’s hands all the time.”
Rodale Inc. is rebranding perennial title Organic Gardening, its first title, as Rodale’s Organic Life. The new brand, which includes magazine, digital, live event, and e-tailing components, will tap consumers’ growing interest in healthy living by offering a fresh spin on food, garden, home, and well-being content across all platforms.
James Oseland has been named Editor-in-Chief of Rodale’s Organic Life, effective September 9. In this role, Oseland will oversee editorial direction across all brand platforms, including the magazine’s editorial, digital, and mobile presence. This appointment marks Oseland’s return to Rodale, where he previously served as an editor of the former Rodale title Organic Style. He will report to Rodale President Scott Schulman.
“We’re thrilled to welcome James back to Rodale as we continue to grow and diversify—he brings a strong passion for our mission and unmatched expertise in this space,” says Schulman. “With this launch, Rodale is uniquely able to serve consumers and advertisers in one of the most important and fastest growing market segments.”
Says James Oseland, “Rodale’s Organic Life will be a print and digital brand like no other: It will be a community, a clearinghouse of beautiful, authoritative information that will weave together food, shelter, gardening, wellness, and good living—an intersection of topics that lie right at the heart of Rodale and what so many of us care about.”
Oseland most recently served as Editor-in-Chief of Saveur, where he led the magazine to more than 40 awards, including numerous James Beard journalism awards and three from the American Society of Magazine Editors. He is also a five-year veteran on Bravo TV’s “Top Chef Masters.” His 2006 memoir, Cradle of Flavor, was named one of the best books of the year by The New York Times and was recognized by the James Beard Foundation and the International Association of Culinary Professionals. He has previously served as an editor at Vogue, Sassy, the Village Voice, and Mademoiselle.
Rodale’s Organic Life magazine will debut this spring with its February/March 2015 issue.
Halfpops, the partially popped and fully delicious popcorn snack, today unveiled two new flavors sure to satisfy the sweet and savory crowd alike – Caramel & Sea Salt and Chipotle Barbeque. Adding to the wildly popular Halfpops product line-up, the delicious new offerings will hit retail shelves in September 2014. The new flavors join Halfpops’ existing offerings of Aged White Cheddar and Butter & Pure Ocean Sea Salt, which were launched in 2011 and quickly became a snack favorite coast-to-coast.
The new Caramel & Sea Salt and Chipotle Barbeque flavor varieties start with non-GMO corn kernels that are half-popped to perfection and expertly seasoned with natural flavors and ingredients. As with Halfpops’ entire product line, they are gluten-free, have no preservatives, no corn syrup, no hydrogenated oils, and no artificial flavors and are completely nut-free.
The brand’s debut sweet flavor offering, Caramel & Sea Salt boasts Halfpops’ signature satisfying crunch and is seasoned with brown sugar, sea salt, sweet-cream, and accented with all-natural caramel flavor making for a perfectly sweet and crunchy treat. Chipotle Barbeque, Halfpops’ first dairy-free and vegan option is seasoned with real chipotle pepper, paprika, natural smoke powder, sea salt and other wholesome spices to deliver an intriguing flavor for those who crave a spicy kick. Both flavors have only 130 calories per serving and contain zero trans-fat, making for a smart snacking choice.
“Halfpops has experienced significant growth; our year-to-date sales are already up six fold year-over-year,” said Mike Fitzgerald, Founder and Chief Executive Officer for Halfpops. “Since launching in 2011, Halfpops has grown a loyal fan base which is why we are so excited to deliver two new flavor varieties to those who want a healthy, satisfying and unique snack.”
Halfpops are available in 2-ounce bags that retail for $1.49 each, and 6-ounce bags that retail for $3.99. The new Caramel & Sea Salt and Chipotle Barbeque Halfpops are expected to be available in a variety of grocery stores and specialty markets throughout the Northwest – including Costco, Whole Foods, PCC Markets, Metropolitan Markets, Haggen, Central Markets and more – and is available nationwide at retailers in more than 30 states. A complete store locator is available at www.halfpops.com/#storelocator, and product can also be purchased online at Halfpops.com.