Imagine walking into a grocery store where all of the products displayed are based on a shopper’s personal tastes, dietary preferences and budget. Peapod, the country’s leading online grocer, aims to do just that by enabling shoppers to curate their own personalized digital aisle. An early innovator of smart shopping technology, Peapod has expanded its filtering capabilities to include four new nutrition filters: “Non-GMO,” “Sugar Free,” “Vegan” and “Vegetarian.” Adding to Peapod’s already robust sort feature, shoppers can now customize their searches with 16 features specific to nutrition preferences, in addition to a variety of filters including brand preference, price and sale specials.
“Our customers have told us that one of the pain points of traditional in-store grocery shopping is the overwhelming selection and the time it takes to read labels in order to find what they need,” said Carrie Bienkowski, Peapod’s Chief Marketing Officer. “While we all want options, we also want to find what we’re looking for and to do so quickly. As a digital player, we can create personalized, curated shopping experiences to help consumers find what they’re looking for with just a few clicks. These tools also help our shoppers discover new products that meet their specific needs.
The new filters are based on growing consumer food and nutritional trends, as well as Peapod’s own consumer insights. Forty-two percent of consumers read nutrition labels before purchasing and non-GMO labeling is becoming increasingly important to consumers as sales of non-GMO products are predicted to hit $330 billion by 2019. Moreover, vegan and vegetarian filters were added as plant-based diets continue to gain popularity. Almost a third of Millennials indicate they eat a meat alternative product every day, and 70 percent consume them at least a few times a week.
“Our customers are often early adopters of emerging trends, “says Bienkowski. “As such, we’re able to utilize our keyword search data to stay ahead of the market. Since adding the “Organic” filter in 2014, it has become our most frequently used filter, and all Peapod carts now have at least one organic item.”
Enhanced smart shopping tools represent Peapod’s commitment to revolutionizing how consumers shop for groceries. With more than 12,000 products, including fresh produce; meat and seafood; deli items; natural and organic foods; and a wide range of prepared foods and easy-to-prep meal kits, Peapod is a one-stop shop for convenient meal solutions and weekly stock-ups of pantry staples.
Little Red Dot Kitchen’s move to a larger headquarters and production facility in the San Francisco Bay area is now complete following a successful USDA inspection of its production and co-packing facility.
The USDA inspection was completed earlier this month, said Ching Lee, CEO. The new facility also houses an FDA inspected commercial kitchen that began operation earlier this year. The production facility includes fully automated, high-capacity equipment that can accommodate production of a range of meat snacks and sticks, steak bites, jerky and sausages from mixing and grinding through packaging. Equipment includes a commercial oven that can cook from 500 to 700 pounds per cycle, capability for both slicing and emulsion extrusion, and an automatic bagging system.
Little Red Dot Kitchen began transitioning operations from San Jose, California, into the new facility in Hayward, California, in January to accommodate rising demand for its Bak Kwa meat snacks and to position the company for future growth. Bak Kwa is like a sweet and savory jerky infused with Asian spices and inspired by a traditional grilled Singapore and Malaysian street food.
Little Red Dot Kitchen’s Bak Kwa meat snacks come from U.S. family farms dedicated to raising animals humanely and without antibiotics or hormones. They are minimally processed with most ingredients having Non-GMO verification and also are free from artificial ingredients, wheat, dairy and eggs. The meat snacks are available in resealable 1- to 3-ounce packages with a suggested retail price of $6.99 to $7.99. Cases include 12 of the 2.5- to 3-ounce bags and 18 of the 1-ounce bags. The Bak Kwa is available in five flavors, including the 2016 sofi Award-winning Hickory Smoked Spicy Candied Bacon, which has no nitrates or nitrites; Spicy Chipotle Beef Bak Kwa; Pork Bak Kwa; free-range Turkey Bak Kwa and Lemongrass Beef Bak Kwa.
Hod Golan, products from Israel, offer succulent flavors and premium quality turkey deli meats that are sure to create the perfect Passover, March Madness and all spring festivities better. These Glatt Kosher fresh poultry deli meats are imported to the U.S. direct from Israel, are truly delicious and wholesome and are made from only the highest quality clean ingredients. All products have no MSG, and very low fat content.
The Hod Golan line has robust variety of choices for any occasion or usage and can be found in the deli section of kosher specialty stores and supermarkets. The line includes: Oven Roasted Turkey, Oven Roasted Grilled Turkey, Smoked Turkey, Honey Glazed Turkey, Italian Smoked Salami and Ultra-thin Sliced Turkey, plus family packs of turkey in flavors such as Oven Roasted Turkey, Mexican Brand Smoked Turkey Breast and Smoked Turkey Meat. Always convenient for lunch sandwiches or large friend and family dinners, these products are offered in regular 5-ounce or ultra thin-sliced 7-ounce large family pack sizes as well as sliced behind the deli counter. Hod Golan also offers the finest savory meat snacks, such as Dried Mini-Chicken Salami and Chicken Cabanossi.
“Hod Golan offers products that are the height of good taste,” says Micha Rakaby, President of Hod Golan. “We are delighted to offer the complete line of our delicious products to our American Glatt Kosher and kosher consumer who appreciate our rich Israeli heritage and our unsurpassed taste.”
All the products are kosher for Passover under the OU and Tartikov. Currently, Israel leads the world in turkey consumption, with every man, woman and child eating an average of 34-1/2 pounds a year.
Beetology is a new line of delicious, organic, cold pressed juices from Kayco, and it’s offering the “clean” attributes health-conscious shoppers demand along with an amazingly delicious, crisp, and refreshing taste.
According to Charles Herzog, Chief Beetologist and Vice President of New Business Development at Kayco, “The movement toward simple, easy-to-understand healthy ingredients is now in the mainstream. Beetology beverages contain no more than five ingredients – nothing but organic, natural, cold-pressed juice. We’re especially proud of their pure, farm-to-table pedigree. You can taste the difference with our juices-we use only the best of the best in order to offer perfectly crafted blends for a crisp and uniquely flavorful difference in every sip.”
All five varieties are 100 percent non-GMO, USDA-certified organic, and certified fair trade. The 100 percent juice blends contain no preservatives, additives, artificial colors, or flavors. They are also non-soy, non-dairy, and certified kosher, making them perfect for anyone, any time.
As for those who balk at beets, Kayco says the trend is here to stay. “Beetology is out to prove just how sweet and tasty this misunderstood root vegetable is,” Herzog said. “We travel the world to find the best tasting beets, because we think that beet juice will be the next big craze since pomegranates.”
The myriad benefits of beets are well-documented. Dense in nutrients and high in antioxidants, they’re great for the heart, brain, and blood pressure. They help boost energy, aid in weight loss, support cleansing and detoxing, and have anti-inflammatory properties.
Best of all is the way beets harmonize with other natural juices. Every perfectly-crafted Beetology blend packs a delicious punch that’s refreshing, nuanced, and not too sweet. Varieties include Beet + Lemon + Ginger, Beet + Veggie, Beet + Tropical Fruit, Beet + Berry, and Beet + Cherry.
Refrigerated and merchandised inside the refrigerator, every bottle of Beetology is fresh and ready to grab and go. The new drink is distributed exclusively by New Jersey-based Kayco and will be available this spring at health food, specialty, grocery and kosher food markets .
Beetology is packaged and shipped in six 8-ounce bottles per case and retails for about $3.99 per bottle. Kayco, also known as Kedem, is headquartered in Bayonne, New Jersey, and is one of the largest manufacturers and distributors of kosher food products.
Wicked Joe Organic Coffees, the family-owned, 100 percent organic certified, Fair Trade™ coffee roastery known for its single origin varietals and blends such as “Wicked French,” has rolled out new packaging after more than 12 years in business.
The Wicked Joe product line – available at retail stores all over New England and in more than 1,500 grocery retailers nationwide as well as online – previously featured a black bag with a red and green coffee cup logo. Wicked Joe Organic Coffees now sports a cleaner, more modern look, including black and chrome brand elements and an array of accent colors indicating the individual blend, flavor or bean’s origin.
The company has grown and refined its operations significantly over the last decade, including increasing sales by 25 percent and growing capacity by 67 percent in 2016 alone. Owners Bob and Carmen Garver wanted a design that would more accurately reflect the roastery’s progress and focus on quality and professionalism.
“We are very excited about where we are with the business right now, and we think a fresh new look captures that feeling,” said Carmen Garver. “We worked collaboratively with our staff and explored many possibilities, and ultimately we wanted to communicate a vintage feel that could translate in today’s market.”
The colorful, lively nature of the new bags aims to stand out on retail shelves among dozens of competitors. Along with their ever-growing team of coffee experts, the Garvers have spent more than two decades – long before the Maine roastery opened – traveling the world in search of the highest quality coffee bean. From the beginning, the company has had a razor-sharp focus on quality, in addition to a commitment to community, farmers and the cooperative partners at bean origin.
“We are constantly evolving,” added Bob Garver. “Our close relationships with the farmers that grow our beans provide so many opportunities for sustainable business practices, education and above all else, inspiration for the next cup of joe.”
Wicked Joe’s new packaging is available in stores now. Visit www.wickedjoe.com for more information.
By Greg Gonzales
Disco didn’t really go anywhere; it inspired new forms of music, and eventually gave rise to nu-disco, a genre that blends the classic style with electronic dance music and modern rock, satisfying a larger and more diverse crowd. The same could be said for gluten-free foods. Sales growth peaked a year ago, but producers continue to launch and expand gluten-free lines, innovating them with nutritious, better-tasting ingredients that help the products compete with their gluten-containing counterparts. Though gluten-free food sales are growing at a slower pace, the brands and their fans are here to stay.
Going gluten-free is not motivated by gluten intolerance or sensitivities for most people, but a third of American consumers still purchase gluten-free products. According to the Packaged Facts July/August 2016 National Consumer Survey, 30 percent of consumers who bought gluten-free foods said they bought them for reasons other than gluten-free certification. Twenty-nine percent of respondents said the products are “generally healthier,” while 20 percent said they use the products to manage weight. Of those surveyed, nine percent of consumers said they buy gluten-free products for a household member who has celiac disease, a condition that affects only one percent of the population.
“The bottom line is, people are looking at the back of the package and being critical of what they put in their mouths,” said Barry Novick, President of Kitchen Table Bakers. “If the consumer turns the package over and the information is not there, the consumer suffers.”
Consumers seek out gluten-free, but want more than a gluten-free label. A 2013 New York Times poll found 75 percent of Americans were concerned about GMOs. A 2015 Gallup poll showed that 44 percent of Americans incorporate organic foods in their diet, too, and half of them avoid sugar. In addition, about 90 percent of those polled said they try to eat more fruits and vegetables. This lines up with Nielsen’s Global Health and Ingredient-Sentiment Survey, which found that 64 percent of respondents are avoiding or limiting consumption of specific foods or ingredients.
“Informed and savvy consumers are demanding more from the foods they eat, and some are prioritizing ingredients over brands,” said Andrew Mandzy, Director of Strategic Health and Wellness Insights at Nielsen, in the ingredient-sentiment survey report. “To many consumers, simple is beautiful, and foods with a short list of recognizable ingredients resonate strongly. Savvy manufacturers are responding to this trend by modifying product portfolios by simplifying food ingredient lists and creating natural and organic alternatives to existing offerings. Meanwhile, retailers are also prioritizing healthful foods and better-for-you brands in the center of the store, and emphasizing fresh and perishable foods around the perimeter in order to drive growth.”
Total sales for gluten-free foods this year are set to clock in at $1.328 billion, according to the Packaged Facts Gluten-Free Foods in the U.S. report. The report also said gluten-free food sales growth fell from 81 percent in 2013 and 30 percent in 2014 to 11 percent in 2015. By 2021, the report says, growth rates should end up at a steady five to six percent, with $2 billion in sales by 2020. “Sales do continue to grow, just at a slower pace,” said Mintel Senior Food and Drink Analyst Billy Roberts. “As manufacturers, large and small, enter the largely fragmented gluten-free marketplace, consumers gain an increased availability, quality and variety of options.”
Tillen Farms, the brand behind the leading range of Northwest grown vegetables and cherries, has a whole new look. Tillen Farms® has rebranded the vegetables to showcase their uniform quality while simplifying key selling points. In addition, the entire line of pickled vegetables is now non-GMO certified.
The new look will make its official debut at the Winter Fancy Food Show. It is the first major label redesign since Tim Metzger purchased the brand more than 14 years ago.
The rebranding includes new, clear labels that showcase the products’ uniform quality and list on the front of the jar pertinent attributes such as vegan, gluten free, kosher certified and low sodium. The new non-GMO-certified seal is front and center. The lids now boast “Northwest Fresh,” and the blue lids and blue scalloped banding will make the product instantly recognizable on shelf. The new tagline for Tillen Farms pickled vegetables is “We’ve got nothing to hide.”
“Perfectly picked, perfectly presented, that is what we are all about,” says Tim Metzger, Owner of Tillen Farms. “This is a revolutionary change for us.”
Before, the labels partially obscured the contents and did not include the product attributes in front. “The idea is to appeal to a new generation of specialty food consumers who are looking for those key call outs on the front panel,” Metzger says.
In addition, the company is launching a new trade theme line, “Every great meal begins and ends with Tillen Farms.” The line includes eight crispy vegetables to liven up cocktails and appetizer time, and three cherries to add a sweet touch to cocktails and spark up dessert. Tillen Farms’ award-winning Bada Bings®, Merry Maraschinos and Rainier Reserve are hand-packed and sourced from the Pacific Northwest. The cherries are all pitted, with stems on and are made with no artificial flavors, colors, preservatives or corn syrup.
Tillen Farm products are available in all 50 states at select supermarket chains, liquor supercenters, specialty food and natural food stores, and online at Tillenfarms.com and Amazon.
The Organic Trade Association (OTA) announced a new partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help guide farmers transitioning into certified organic agricultural production.
Using standards developed by OTA, the National Certified Transitional Program (NCTP) will provide oversight to approved Accredited Organic Certifying Agents offering transitional certification to producers. This will help ease the transition process to organic, allow farmers to sell their products as certified transitional at a premium price and help encourage more organic production.
This announcement is an important step in helping to expand certified organic acreage in the United States. OTA designed the certified transitional program to create a consistent mechanism for certifying agencies to document operations’ adherence to organic regulations on land in transition to organic status. The new program provides certification and oversight to producers who are in transition to organic. It does not provide standards or criteria for labeling products certified under the program.
“The transitional certification program developed by OTA reflects perspectives from across the supply chain, and will provide an on-ramp to producers while safeguarding organic as the gold standard of food label claims,” said Nate Lewis, Farm Policy Director for OTA.
“USDA is excited to work with the Organic Trade Association on the National Certified Transitional Program, providing producers with a consistent transitional standard to market their products,” said USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service Administrator Elanor Starmer. “This program will help those transitioning to organic agriculture, encourage domestic production of organic products, and ultimately support the continued growth of organic agriculture in the United States.”
In a “Notice to the Trade” published by USDA, the department said the new program “will facilitate the investment in transitional agriculture through a consistent set of rules.”
Farmers must undergo a rigorous and sometimes challenging transition period of 36 months before they can gain organic certification and market their products as certified organic. This newly created program at USDA will harmonize existing transitional certification programs currently operated by Accredited Certifying Agents and provide a mechanism for additional certifiers to offer this service to new clients. The program is recognized by the USDA Quality Systems Assessment Program, housed within the Agricultural Marketing Service branch. USDA will accredit organic certification agencies that comply with the National Certified Transitional Program criteria, enabling those agencies to conduct certification of producers operating in accordance with the OTA-developed standards.
Demand for organic products has continued to grow by double digits every year, far exceeding the domestic supply of organic ingredients. OTA has been engaged in multiple efforts to boost the growth of domestic organic acreage and sees a harmonized transitional certification program overseen by USDA as a critical piece of this complicated puzzle.
OTA submitted an application to USDA in May 2016–after over a year of work on behalf of its members through a Transitional task force–to create the transitional certification program, thereby building the foundation for a potential market for transitional products. A transitional product market can offer premiums to farmers in transition and assist in the financial barriers that transition poses.
The oversight provided by USDA to certifying agents offering transitional certification to producers will consist of certifier audits and a uniform transitional production standard for both crop and livestock producers. Farmers will need to prove their land has been free of prohibited substances (synthetic pesticides and fertilizers) for a minimum of 12 months and must follow all other organic production standards to achieve transitional certification, including crop rotation, the fostering and conserving of biodiversity, and the avoidance of the use of genetic engineering. Once eligible for organic certification, land can only enter into the transitional certification program one more time. This provision, unique to the standards developed by OTA, will ensure that transitional certification acts as an effective on-ramp to organic production rather than a mechanism to create an “organic-light” marketing term.
The new program does not include certification of products labeled as “transitional” in the marketplace and is limited only to producers working towards their own organic certification. OTA anticipates working with certifiers, food manufacturers, and retailers to develop appropriate market-driven guidelines for proper use of the term “transitional” on consumer packaged goods.
To streamline roll-out of this new program, USDA will accept applications for the first round from Accredited Certifying Agents through February 28 to gain oversight for the transitional program, and on-site reviews of these certifying agents will occur at their next organic accreditation audit. Further applications will be accepted on an ongoing basis.
This program dovetails with USDA’s announcement in December of last year that it would expand the reach of the National Organic Certification Cost Share Program to include transitional certification fees. USDA’s recent initiatives will bring more opportunity to farmers and handlers across the country, and they represent additional elements of solid federal support for the growth of the organic sector.
Pereg Natural Food’s Banana Flour was recognized with a SIAL Innovation Award, as one of the most innovative products around the world.
This flour is made from 100 percent ripe, yellow bananas and makes an amazing gluten-free alternative flour for baking way more than just banana bread. It’s Non-GMO Project verified, gluten free, vegan, and kosher.
Like all of Pereg’s alternative flours, this is packed in a stay-fresh zip-top pouch, for easy pouring and resealing without the flour clogging up the zipper. Pereg Natural Foods offers a wide range of alternative flours in addition to this Banana Flour: there’s also Almond Meal, Buckwheat Flour, Chickpea Flour, Coconut Flour, Farro Flour and Quinoa Flour. Each has its own unique features perfect for all cooking and baking needs.
Pereg Natural Foods will introduce kañiwa – also known as baby quinoa, at the upcoming Kosherfest trade show, November 15-16, 2016 at the Meadowlands Expo Center in Secaucus, New Jersey.
Kañiwa is an excellent source of complete protein and amino acids, is exceptionally high in iron and is gluten-free. It’s dark reddish-brown in color and about half the size of a tiny quinoa seed. It cooks up quickly to resemble a smaller version of red quinoa.
Unlike regular quinoa, kañiwa doesn’t have saponins, the coating that gives quinoa a somewhat soapy, slightly bitter flavor if not rinsed properly, so it’s actually easier to process. (Note that all quinoa from Pereg is pre-rinsed and ready to cook from the package.) Another advantage kañiwa has over quinoa is that it’s an even better source of iron.
According to Gill Schneider, CEO of Pereg Natural Foods, “This mighty little ancient grain cooks up with a crunchy texture, and offers a nutrient rich food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We are excited to bring consumers yet another healthy choice to serve to friends and family, from our family-owned Pereg Natural Foods business.”
Kañiwa from Pereg Natural Foods is all natural, gluten-free, Non-GMO Project verified, vegan, OU and CRC kosher-certified, and produced in the USA. It is available in 5-ounce boxes ($3.57) and re-sealable 16-ounce bags ($5.50).