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.
SnackSafely.com, publishers of the Safe Snack Guide – a curated catalog of peanut and tree nut-free foods used by thousands of schools nationwide – has welcomed JSB Industries to its growing partnership of manufacturers.
Muffin Town, the brand founded by JSB in 1978, specializes in the supply of high quality baked products to foodservice & retail companies. Its individually wrapped SunWise SunButter and Jelly Sandwich is manufactured in a peanut and tree nut-free facility and is an exceptional option for people sensitive to these allergens.
“Families coping with food allergies often have difficulties finding foods that are safe to eat, especially in public settings,” says Jack Anderson, President and CEO of JSB Industries. “Our products provide safe, delicious options for families avoiding peanuts and tree nuts, at home and when they’re on the go. SnackSafely.com’s deep roots in food allergy and school advocacy make them the ideal partner to help us reach out to those families. We’re proud to be featured in their publications.”
“We welcome JSB Industries to our growing partnership of over 50 responsible manufacturers,” says Dave Bloom, CEO of SnackSafely.com. “They’ve committed to providing more complete information regarding the potential for allergen exposure than the FDA requires, and in doing so embrace the needs of those with severe food allergies.”
Joining the partnership is absolutely free, as are listings in the Safe Snack Guide and Allergence, the free allergen screening service. Manufacturers are encouraged to inquire at snacksafely.com/contact-us or call 347.915.4777.
Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit, a frozen treat made from fruit, filtered water and organic cane sugar, has expanded product distribution for its Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit Pops™ to almost 2,000 placements nationwide this summer. Noteworthy accounts include 25 Bay Area region Whole Foods stores, almost 500 Kroger’s stores, HEB’s, Ahold’s Giant Carlisle, Fresh & Easy Markets, Mrs. Green’s Natural Markets, New Season’s Markets, Gelson’s Markets, Rosauers Supermarkets, Mother’s Markets as well as leading boutique health food stores such as Erewhons and Lambs Markets. In addition, Chloe’s will be available at select Costco locations this summer.
Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit Co. delivers direct to retailers as well as through its national distribution channels, with distributor partners including UNFI, DPI Specialty Foods, Jake’s Finer Foods, as well as regional kosher distributors throughout the country.
“Consumers can now find Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit Pops throughout the country, just in time for summer,” said Michael Sloan, CEO and Co-Founder. “Our Soft Serve Fruit Pops taste incredible and are made with just fruit, water and a touch of organic cane sugar, making a refreshing snack or guilt-free treat. This is why we have seen exponential growth across all retail channels: big box, national grocery chains, specialty retailers and health food stores. We are extremely excited that with our expanded footprint with these new retailers, customers will easily be able to find Chloe’s!”
Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit Pops are available in five varieties – Dark Chocolate, Mango, Pineapple, Raspberry and Strawberry. At only 60 calories and with just 13-15g of sugar, Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit Pops are free of preservatives, additives, high fructose corn syrup and stabilizers. In addition, Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit Pops are free of dairy, gluten, fat, and the eight major allergens and are certified kosher pareve and vegan. Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit Pops are also Non-GMO Project Verified.
Consumers can find a single flavor four-pack box of Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit Pops on shelf for a suggested retail price of $3.99 – $4.99. A 16 pack of Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit Pops, which includes eight Mango and eight Strawberry Soft Serve Fruit Pops will be on shelf at select Costco locations this summer for an MSRP of $12.99.
In addition to retail, Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit Pops are available through the wholesale food service channel, with distribution via Sysco, US Foods, UNFI, Cheney Brothers, specialty distributors such as Reliant Food Service, Southwest Traders, MRS Bakery Distribution Corp, Fortune Fish and Gourmet, and ice cream distributors across the U.S. Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit Pops and Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit mix are approved products into leading food service providers, including Compass Group USA, Sodexo and Aramark.
The countdown is now on to Free From Food/Ingredients 2015 – which will showcase the very latest in “free from” products from across Europe and beyond on June 4 and 5 in Barcelona. The doors will open on the third edition of the two-day exhibition with hundreds of exciting food and drink products – from gluten free to nut free, going on display. Exhibitors include Warburtons, Mrs Crimble’s, and Nature’s Path from the UK, Fishmasters from Netherlands, Wellaby’s from Greece, Mulino Marello from Italy and Oskri from the USA.
Mrs Crimble’s will use Free From Food/Ingredients 2015 to herald a new sub brand: Gluten Free….and Good For Me. Launching in May, the first products to hit the shelves will be three varieties of Italian pasta with sauce and three new cereal bars. Pasta with sauce is the first combination product available from Mrs. Crimble’s within “free from,” with corn pasta and dried sauce.
Nature’s Path will be exhibiting its range of gluten free breakfast cereals. Wellaby’s from Greece will be showcasing an innovative “free from” baked snacks including its award-winning Lentil Chips. Italy-based Mulino Marello will be exhibiting stone ground gluten free flours while Slendier, from Australia, will be highlighting its Calorie Clever range – “free from” pasta, noodle and rice alternatives. Meanwhile Britain’s biggest baker, Warburtons, will be showcasing products from its award-winning Newburn Bakehouse range – gluten-, wheat- and dairy-free wraps and gluten free cracker thins.
“There will be a stunning, innovative and diverse range of products on show at Free From Food/Ingredients 2015 – which really does make it an exhibition not to be missed. It just goes to show that the Free From market is growing at an incredible pace – with more exciting products now available than ever before – right across the ‘free from’ spectrum. The presence of exhibitors such as Warburtons at Free From Food/Ingredients 2015, highlights how hugely important the Free From category is,” said Ronald Holman, Exhibition Director.
Mondelēz International today announced the acquisition of Enjoy Life Foods, a private U.S. snacking company and the market-leading brand in the fast-growing “free from” segment. Enjoy Life offers more than 40 great-tasting products, including cookies, chocolate, snack bars, and savory snacks that are allergy-friendly and glutenfree.
Enjoy Life’s products are free from the eight most common allergens – wheat, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, egg, soy, fish and shellfish – which together account for about 90 percent of all food allergies. “As we focus on continuing to drive growth in snacking, the acquisition of Enjoy Life Foods is a great strategic fit for us,” said Mark Clouse, Chief Growth Officer at Mondelēz International. “The Enjoy Life brand expands our portfolio into faster growing, on-trend, ‘better for-you’ areas and provides an excellent platform to make these delicious offerings available to consumers with ‘free-from’ needs or simply looking for healthy-lifestyle options, both in the United States and beyond.”
The $12 billion “free-from” market in the United States is large and growing at strong double-digit rates, driven by an increasing incidence of food allergies and food intolerances as well as consumers adopting “free from” as a healthy-lifestyle option. “Enjoy Life offers an excellent brand promise that’s trusted by their loyal and engaged consumers,” Clouse said. “We’re excited about the extraordinary potential of this business and the entrepreneurial team leading it. We have a great opportunity to share our expertise, learn from their experience and work to accelerate Enjoy Life’s growth in this exciting consumer space.”
“We’re thrilled! As we combine our great brand, market leadership and passion for our consumers with the global resources, scale and marketing expertise of Mondelēz International, I’m confident this relationship will enable us to reach even greater heights,” said Scott Mandell, CEO and Founder of Enjoy Life Foods. Mandell and other members of the Enjoy Life leadership team will continue to lead the company. Mondelēz International will operate Enjoy Life Foods as a separate, wholly owned subsidiary to continue to nurture its entrepreneurial spirit, but will provide back-office support and access to its global resources.
The transaction was a simultaneous sign-and-close deal. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Spooky Cocktail Mixers are made using high quality natural ingredients that deliver a truly extraordinary fresh, balanced taste with no high fructose corn syrup, no MSG, no allergens, and are gluten-free.
Spooky Gourmet Cocktail Mixes include a Horseradish Bloody Mary that will scare your taste buds and put your mouth into pure delight with its 30 natural ingredients. It is brimming with chunks of spice and the great taste of horseradish. Friendly Bloody Mary is made to delight your taste buds without the horseradish, but with 29 other ingredients providing an amazing and complex big bold flavor. Blue Agave Nectar Margarita delivers a unique and exceptional flavor, not too tart and not too sweet. It gives you smooth refreshing perfection in a glass. Mojito features a light minty flavor with real lime juice and sweetened with just the right amount of pure natural sugar making a balanced, refreshing flavor. Rum Runner is a unique and fresh blend of natural tropical fruit flavors.
Sweet & Sour is a blend of high quality natural ingredients creating the ideal sweet and sour mix that is fresh tasting and perfectly balanced. Strawberry Daiquiri is a wonderful blend of natural ingredients that makes an excellent strawberry daiquiri, margarita or other creations. It delivers a freshly made taste and is made with real strawberries and naturally sweetened with real sugar. Pina Colada is a refreshing blend of natural flavors that is rich, creamy and perfectly balanced. It’s made with real pineapple, coconut and naturally sweetened. Spooky’s Lime Juice is naturally sweetened and the flavored lime juice delivers the fresh taste crucial to making a perfect cocktail. It’s also great for cooking.
Spooky Gourmet Cocktail Mixes come in 32-ounce bottles. 1.75 liter bottles, 1 gallon bottle and 3- and 5-gallon bag-in-box. They can be found at foodservice and beverage retailers and distributors, grocery and discount retailers, food and beverage catalogs, specialty retailers or online at www.spookybeverages.com
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.”
This story was originally published in the April 2014 issue of Gourmet News, a publication of Oser Communications Group.
Throughout its more than 100 year history, Nielsen-Massey Vanillas has earned its reputation as a manufacturer of the finest extracts in the world. The full line of Nielsen-Massey’s Pure Vanilla products include: Vanilla Beans and Extracts from Madagascar, Tahiti and Mexico; sugar and alcohol-free Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Powder; Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste; Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Sugar, Organic Fairtrade Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract and Organic Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Beans.
Nielsen-Massey Vanillas also offers a full line of pure flavors: Pure Chocolate Extract, Pure Almond Extract, Pure Orange Extract, Pure Lemon Extract, Pure Coffee Extract, Pure Peppermint Extract, Orange Blossom Water and Rose Water. All Nielsen-Massey products are all-natural, allergen-free, and certified kosher and gluten-free.
The company is headquartered in Waukegan, Illinois, with production facilities in Waukegan and Leeuwarden, The Netherlands.