Consumers trying to maintain or improve their health are increasingly seeking specialty food and non-food alternatives. Whether they are organic, gluten-free, dye-free or lactose-free, these products can be costly, but a new survey of special needs store brands items shows significant savings for consumers.
The research, conducted by the Private Label Manufacturers Association, assembled a market basket consisting of 27 typical specialty products that consumers might purchase as healthy alternatives or for special dietary needs. These products include gluten-free items like pancake mix and chicken broth; organics such as milk and pasta; even non-food allergy-free items like dye and perfume-free laundry detergent.
For every category in the study, a leading national brand product was compared to a similar store brand product when available and prices were adjusted to account for all known discounts, coupons and promotions available for each of the four shopping visits in the study.
The PLMA survey discovered that many organic products on the shelves had a private label product but sometimes did not have a national brand counterpart. However, when a national brand was available for comparison, private label products saved consumers 15 percent. When comparing gluten-free products, the PLMA market basket study found the private label products cost 17 percent less on average when compared to their national brand counterparts, while some store brand products saved shoppers as much as 41 percent.
Millions in the U.S. who are suffering from food allergies, and those with special dietary needs can also save with store brands. Consumers who choose to buy soy burgers, lactose-free milk and low-salt chicken broth, among other specialty food products, would save almost 30 percent when compared to national brand products.
Organic food sales overall continue to grow. Presently they represent a $26 billion market, but sales are projected to reach $60 billion by 2020, according to a report from Packaged Facts. A recent Gallup survey found 45 percent of consumers actively try to include organic products into their diet, and for consumers under the age of 29, that jumps to 53 percent.
The opportunity for private label is evident for a growing number of retailers. In a consumer survey, Walmart found 91 percent of people would buy organic products if they were more affordable. Kroger’s Simple Truth Organic has become a billion dollar brand for the retailer, while other retailers like Costco and Target are expecting billions of dollars in organic food sales this coming year.
The growth of gluten-free products in the U.S. is also widespread. According to Mintel, gluten-free sales have grown 63 percent since 2011 and gluten free sales will top $8 billion this year. Mintel also projects sales are expected to reach $14 billion by 2017 as their popularity and their availability on the shelves continue to grow.
Looking beyond organics and gluten, the Food Allergy Network reports 15 million U.S. adults and children suffer from food allergies, while another five million are allergic to various chemical products. In a recent survey by Datamonitor, 20 percent of consumers said that they avoid certain foods due to an allergy or intolerance most or all of the time.
By Lorrie Baumann
The federal Food and Drug Administration has announced that it proposes to require that nutrition fact labels on packaged foods include a declaration of added sugars “to provide consumers with information that is necessary to meet the dietary recommendation to reduce caloric intake from solid fats and added sugars,” according to the agency’s announcement published in the Federal Register in March, 2014. If and when that proposal becomes a federal requirement, the labels on Uncle Steve’s Italian sauces will report that the sauces contain the same amount of added sugars they always have – zero.
The recipes for the sauces came from Steve Schirrippa, actor, author and creator of the sauces, who’s better known as his character, Bobby Baccalieri on the hit television show “The Sopranos.” He got the recipe from his mother, who has since passed away, Scarpinito says. “Steve wanted to pay a tribute to his mother. Abundant home cooked Sunday family meals were very important to her. Steve honored her by producing products he got from her recipes to keep the Sunday tradition alive.”
None of the three varieties of Uncle Steve’s sauces: Marinara, Tomato with Basil and Arrabiata, contain any added sugar, a common ingredient in other prepared pasta sauces. They also contain no GMOs or gluten, and they’re organic. That’s at the insistence of Schirripa’s wife Laura, who’s a marathon runner conscious of healthy eating and who told her husband that if he wanted to make and sell tomato sauce, he needed to be sure that it would be good for people as well as enjoyable, says Uncle Steve’s Italian Specialties Chief Operating Officer Joseph Scarpinito, Jr.:“If you were to line up all of the popular tomato sauces and then remove the ones with pesticides, tomato paste, puree, and added sweetener, you’d be left with only one—Uncle Steve’s.”
“Uncle Steve’s is simmered on our stove for six hours. The only sugar in our sauce comes from organic tomatoes imported from Italy and organic onions. Quality is of the utmost important to us,” he added.
The sauces were launched just last year on the company’s website and quickly picked up by Whole Foods Northeast. Other markets along the East Coast followed.
This year, Scarpinito is concentrating on expanding distribution of the sauces to the Southeast, Southwest and West Coast. “That expansion has already started – the sauce has been picked up by the Albertson’s Boise division and by Gelson’s in Los Angeles,” he said. “The sauce is also available from several distributors servicing large independent retailers.”
New products are also under development, including olive oil, pasta and other flavored pasta sauces. Scarpinito is naturally a little coy about pinning them down with any more detail than that, but he did offer a hint: we can expect to see an Uncle Steve’s vodka sauce early next year.
Once the FDA’s proposal is finalized, the FDA wants to give the food industry two years to switch to the new labels. In addition to requiring a declaration for added sugars, the FDA is also proposing a new format for the label that would make calories, serving sizes, and percent daily value figures more prominent. Serving sizes would be changed to reflect the amounts reasonably consumed in one eating occasion. “People are generally eating more today than 20 years ago, so some of the current serving sizes, and the amount of calories and nutrients that go with them, are out of date,” according to the FDA.
The makers of Wholly Guacamole® brand have added Avocado Verde 45 cal Minis to their line of products. The new minis pack all the flavor of tomatillos, hand-scooped avocados, jalapeno peppers, and cilantro of the brand’s popular Avocado Verde dip in 2-ounce containers. The Avocado Verde 45 Cal Minis are the seventh flavor in Wholly Guacamole brand’s lineup of fan-favorite mini cups.
“Consumers are continuing to explore the variety of Mexican flavors and recognize the health benefits of avocados, so we asked ‘What’s the next thing they need?'” said Terrill Bacon, Senior Brand Manager of Wholly Guacamole brand. “Our fans love our Avocado Verde dip, so creating a mini cup was the perfect solution to help them continue exploring the culinary landscape at home and on the go.”
The new minis will appear on grocery shelves in the coming months and can be purchased in 4- or 6-pack product sizes. The 4-count suggested retail price is $3.99-$4.99 and the 6-count is $5.29-$5.99, depending on the retailer. Like all Wholly Guacamole products, the Minis are all natural, gluten free, dairy free and kosher certified.
Sunshine International Foods just announced the addition of five new flavors to its existing line of pasteurized flavored Sesame King Tahini pastes. The new flavors include Olive Oil, Honey, Garlic, Cajun and Chocolate. Each flavor is rich in proteins and vitamins, made with no additives or preservatives, peanut free, trans fat free, gluten free, kosher certified and non-GMO.
Sunshine International Foods is the only manufacturer to pasteurize its tahini to ensure a clean, healthy and safe product for consumer usage. The new flavors are the direct result of the success and consumer acceptances of the company’s Sesame King Roasted and Light Roast flavored tahini.
Sesame King Tahini pastes are made from 100 percent pure ground sesame seeds. The sesame seeds are shipped directly from the farms to the Sunshine International Foods facility and are sifted, hulled, roasted and ground to perfection. Each Sesame King Tahini is all natural, with a subtle, delightful aroma, rich with texture and delicious taste. Sunshine International Foods mechanically hulls its sesame seeds, meaning no chemicals or hulling agents are used during the manufacturing process.
“We are very excited to be introducing our new five flavors of Sesame King Tahini pastes to retailers and consumers across the United States,” said Emile Maroun of Sunshine International Foods. “Consumers and retailers are looking for safe, new, exciting and innovated healthy products, and we believe that our Sesame King Tahini pastes meet and exceed those expectations.”
Sesame King Tahini pastes provide consumers with a powerful nutritional food choice that packs a kaleidoscope of superior flavors and the following healthier inclusions:
“As a leading manufacturer of tahini, our never-ending goal is to produce tahini products that taste great and provide consumers with a healthy food choice. Healthy is good. Healthy and tasty is fantastic,” added Maroun.
Sesame King Tahini pastes come in 16-ounce plastic jars and are available in the following seven delicious flavors:
Sesame King Roasted Tahini – This tahini flavor can be used for a variety of savory and sweet recipes. It’s the perfect complement for hummus, sauces, dressings and can really enhance the taste of any type of seafood, chicken or lamb dish. Eat straight from the jar for a healthy alternative to peanut butter.
Sesame King Light Roast Tahini – This tahini flavor is a fan favorite. Just the right amount of roasted flavor that is perfect for mixed green salads, cold noodle salads, as a marinade or as a mix for coleslaw.
Sesame King Garlic Tahini – This tahini flavor is the perfect complement to an array of dishes and takes fish, chicken or lamb into the next stratosphere.
Sesame King Olive Oil Tahini – This tahini flavor is perfect for those unique salads and sauces and is a true enhancer for roasted potatoes and vegetables.
Sesame King Cajun Tahini – This tahini flavor packs a powerful punch of pungent flavor and aroma that takes seafood, chicken or lamb to the next level. Try it as a topping or dip and see where its lands on your dipping meter.
Sesame King Honey Tahini – This tahini flavor delivers an irresistible flavor that is sure to tame the biggest sweet tooth and is the perfect healthy alternative to halvah.
Sesame King Chocolate Tahini – This tahini flavor is so versatile and delicious it can be used as a dip, as a spread on toast, drizzle it on your favorite vegetables, or eat straight from the jar.
Sesame King Tahini can be found at such fine retailers as Whole Food Markets, Market Basket, Restaurant Depots and many other fine markets and specialty health food stores or order online at www.sesameking.com.
Pereg Gourmet, a producer of premium, natural spices and spice blends, bread crumbs, ancient grains and quinoa products, will introduce GMO-free, gluten-free quinoa flour at the Summer Fancy Food Show, June 28-30, 2015.
In addition to Pereg’s latest offering, quinoa flour, Pereg has been a leader in introducing a full line of quinoa products including quinoa pasta, quinoa pops cereal, and pre-seasoned quinoa side dishes to North America.
“Quinoa is a gluten free-product, perhaps the fastest growing market segment in the food industry today. While cutting out gluten from one’s diet may seem like a difficult and limiting task, fortunately, Pereg offers many healthy and delicious products that are naturally gluten-free. With our variety of quinoa gluten free products, and recipes for tasty preparation available on our website, consumers can enjoy many delicious foods while maintaining a healthy diet,” says Gil Schneider, Pereg Gourmet President.
Pereg Gourmet was established in 1906, and is a family owned business, based in Clifton, New Jersey. The company first became known for pure and natural spices and spice blends, more than 60 in all, from traditional favorites to exotics from around the culinary world.
Beyond spices, Pereg produces lines of flavored basmati rice, couscous, farro, salad toppings and salad spreads. All Pereg products are kosher certified by the Orthodox Union (OU), are dairy and lactose-free as well as all natural, with no additives or preservatives. Many are also certified gluten-free and non-GMO.
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.
Native to Louisiana, but appreciated nationwide, Frontier Soups™ gluten-free, non-GMO New Orleans Jambalaya Soup Mix contains saffron- and turmeric-seasoned calasparra rice and peppers in the mix. Home cooks add broth, ham, tomatoes and shrimp for an authentic taste of the French Quarter in just 30 minutes.
Suggested retail price: $5.95-$6.49 for 4.5 ounce package.
Call Frontier Soups at 800.300.7687.
Divino USA, Inc. has entered the U.S. frozen dessert market with its distinctive line of Italian handcrafted gelato-filled fruit. The company is poised
to continue on the current trajectory of rapid growth in this country, having already secured national distribution available through KeHE, Haddon House, Nature’s Best and UNFI. Unlike any other gelato on the market, Divino is made from fresh Southern Italian fruit that is hand-picked near the Divino factory on the Amalfi Coast. The fresh fruit pulp is blended with volcanic waters from neighboring Mount Vesuvius, sweetened with natural sugar and lemon juice, and then filled into the halved fruit shell and frozen to a delicious single serving.
Divino varieties include Amalfi Lemon, Roman Kiwi, Ciaculli Tangerine, Apulian Peach and Black Diamond Plum. Each single serve item contains about 100 calories, and all are gluten-free certified, fat free and Non-GMO Project Verified. Each unit is individually packaged in a colorful box and includes a serving tray and spoon, allowing for easy display and grab-and-go. The fruit shell containing the gelato is also completely edible. The product has a shelf life of approximately 12 months. Divino calls its frozen treats ‘gelato’ because in Italy, both ice cream and sorbet fall under the gelato category.
Divino is available in natural foods stores, as well as select grocery and specialty stores across the country, with rapidly growing national distribution, and retails for approximately $3.99-$4.49 per single serving. For more information, visit www.lovedivino.com.
By Richard Thompson
For those who have to avoid their favorite pasta meals comes Edamame Spaghetti from Explore-Asian, a new spin on pasta that’s not only good, but healthier too. Gluten free, organic, vegan, kosher, non-GMO and approved by the American Heart Association, it’s not just ridiculously delicious but it’s sure to appeal to a wide range of health-conscious shoppers.
Retailing from 3.99 to 4.79, Edamame Spaghetti is made simply from organic beans and water. One serving has 24 grams of protein and 11 grams of fiber, packaged and ready to eat in just a few minutes. Add a little pesto for a delectable treat, but any sauce is the perfect complement. This is pasta reinvented.
For further information visit them at www.explore-asian.com.
That’s it.®, makers of two ingredient snack bars, has just launched a new flavor in its all natural fruit bar line. The company also announced its recent expansion into national retailers 7-Eleven and Kroger, branching out from the health food store market in which it retains a strong presence.
That’s it. uses only real fruits in their bars and limits its ingredient list two ingredients per flavor. With the company’s expansion into thousands of new retail outlets, it will gain broader access to a consumer base that is increasingly interested in healthy alternatives to traditional on-the-go snacks.
“We are thrilled to introduce our latest flavor, Apple + Coconut, to the marketplace, particularly given the rise in consumer awareness about the health benefits of coconut,” said That’s it. founder Dr. Lior Lewensztain. “As we continue to expand our product offerings as well as our national distribution, we remain whole heartedly dedicated to our founding principles of simplicity, integrity, purity and transparency in our products.”
That’s it. fruit bars come in nine varieties: Apple + Apricot, Apple + Banana, Apple + Blueberry, Apple + Cherry, Apple + Mango, Apple + Pear, Apple + Pineapple, Apple + Strawberry, and Apple + Coconut. They are made without any additives, preservatives, concentrates, purees, juices, added sugars, corn syrup, artificial coloring, or flavoring, and have an 18-month lab-verified shelf life. That’s it. fruit bars are gluten-free, non-GMO, vegan, kosher, raw, and diabetic friendly.