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.
By Dave Bernard
When you live abroad and cannot keep up with the demand from friends and family for the interesting food products you ferry home in suitcases each year, it might be time to start your own business. So it was with Colleen Sundlie, who had discovered date syrup while living in the United Arab Emirates with her professor husband and son. Now back in Springfield, Missouri and two and a half years into her business, Date Lady, Sundlie no longer has to seek out the obscure Middle Eastern market to locate a bottle of this nutritious and surprisingly versatile syrup.
After tasting many products and coming to appreciate Middle Eastern “date culture,” where hosts typically serve coffee and dates, and bowls of the fruit are a staple at gyms, hotels and car dealerships, Sundlie put her marketing and business background to work. In addition to the date syrup, Date Lady sells a caramel sauce and a chocolate spread, both sweetened only by dates, as well as packaged dates and a new date balsamic vinegar. The all-natural products are sold nationwide, including at many prominent retailers, such as Murray’s Cheese, Whole Foods and Mom’s Organic Markets, as well as in many smaller specialty food stores. Sundlie reports the company’s sales have roughly doubled in the last year.
According to Sundlie, consumer demand for Date Lady’s flagship date syrup has exploded in recent months. “We have a lot of people that are addicted to it,” she said. “We’ve had people asking us if they can order it by the gallon.” While the company is looking into larger packaging, it recently added convenience with squeeze bottles for its date syrup and caramel sauce. These products previously came in glass jars. “People were just using it more often and asking, ‘How can you make this easier for us?’” said Sundlie.
When it comes to the company’s packaged date offerings, Date Lady’s uniqueness extends to this product line as well. While most dates sold in the United States are Medjools or Deglet Noors, Date Lady sells organic California Barhi and Halawi dates. Sundlie likens these less common dried fruits to pieces of caramel. The company does use Medjool and Deglet Noor dates in its other products.
In addition to climbing retail sales of Date Lady’s date syrup, some manufacturers have begun substituting the 100 percent fruit syrup for other sweeteners, for example in chocolate and fruit and nut bars, smoothies, ice cream and even beer. Interestingly, none of these products are date-flavored. The syrup has the sweetness of maple syrup but carries a more complex flavor, with hints of caramel, toffee and molasses. The date flavor itself is often masked when the syrup is used to sweeten other foods. However, when used alone as a syrup, for example on pancakes, notes of date do come through.
To meet growing demand from consumers and manufacturers, Date Lady recently moved to a new Springfield headquarters and production facility, tripling its capacity. The company benefits from a relative lack of competition within the larger specialty food landscape. While other companies sell whole dates, Date Lady’s syrup, caramel sauce, chocolate spread and date balsamic go virtually unmatched. Even most Middle Eastern products do not compete directly with Date Lady products. Many include added sugar, and, according to Sundlie, some products touted as “all-natural” frequently fall short of the claim.
Always looking to branch out into the gourmet market with new products, Date Lady launched its new date sugar last month and plans to debut additional products later this year. For more information, visit www.ilovedatelady.com.
American Flatbread Pizza, producer of handmade wood-fired premium frozen pizza, is introducing three new pizza flavors to its premium line: Gluten-Free Cheese Trio & Tomato Sauce, Gluten-Free Pesto & Cheese and Fresh Basil Pesto & Feta.
The new American Flatbread frozen pizzas are made with specialty ingredients, many of which are locally sourced in New England where the company is based. Gluten-Free Cheese Trio & Tomato Sauce and Gluten-Free Pesto & Cheese are American Flatbread’s first gluten-free options within its line. Gluten-Free Cheese Trio & Tomato Sauce is a handmade flatbread topped with mozzarella, parmesan and Vermont Cookeville grana cheese, with homemade tomato sauce and fresh herbs. Gluten-Free Pesto & Cheese is also a handmade flatbread topped with savory pesto, made with fresh basil, toasted pine nuts, extra virgin olive oil, fresh minced garlic and parmesan. The third new flavor, Fresh Basil Pesto & Feta, is topped with savory pesto made with fresh basil, toasted pine nuts, extra-virgin olive oil, fresh minced garlic and feta.
“More and more Americans are maintaining a gluten-free diet, so it was important to meet their needs and develop these new recipes,” said CEO Brad Sterl. “As with all of our flatbread pizzas, we only use fresh, all-natural ingredients to ensure that our customers enjoy every last bite. We are dedicated to making pizza night a delicious and healthy experience for the whole family, and now they have even more choices.”
The Fresh Basil Pesto & Feta retails for $7.99 and the Gluten-Free Pesto & Cheese and Gluten-Free Cheese Trio & Tomato Sauce retail for $8.99.
American Flatbread frozen pizzas are topped with fresh herbs, vegetables and the finest of cheeses. They are all-natural, with no preservatives, artificial colors or flavors, and handcrafted from scratch and par-baked in wood-fired ovens.
For more information visit www.americanflatbreadproducts.com.
Mediterra, the first company to introduce truly savory-flavored nutrition bars based on the Mediterranean Diet, has been named one of Grocery Headquarters “2015 Selling Trailblazers,” an annual award competition that recognizes innovation in grocery.
This is the third product award for the company since its launch six months ago at the Summer Fancy Food Show. Other accolades include a 2014 The Lempert Report Innovator award, and a 2014 BSC Bestie Kids Award.
“The positive response to the Mediterra Nutrition Bars from the media, retail buyers and consumers alike has been incredible and exceeds our expectations,” says Mediterra Founder Telemaque Lavidas. “We’re ready for 2015 and winning the Grocery Headquarters award is an honor and a great way to kick off the New Year.”
Since its launch, Mediterra Nutrition Bars already can be found at national retailers including Sprouts Farmers Markets, Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage, more than 365 U.S.-based Target stores, and others.
Inspired by the Mediterranean Diet, considered by experts as one of the healthiest lifestyles in the world, Mediterra bars offer six unique flavors that feature various fruits, vegetables, seeds and grains, providing distinct options for different snacking occasions throughout the day. The bars are all-natural, non-GMO and gluten-free.
The six bar flavors come in three specific varieties that provide ancient nutrition in a modern and convenient way:
The first-ever Savory Bars: These 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 6 grams each of protein and fiber. They are certified kosher and dairy free. The Savory Bars serve as an alternative to sweet snacks, providing superfoods 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 – roasted sesame seeds, Greek honey, and pistachios from Aegina Island or orange peel, respectively. The combination provides natural and long lasting energy. Each bar is 1.3 ounces, contains up to 6 grams of protein and 2 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, these bars are 1.6 ounces, certified kosher and contain 7 grams of protein. The bars also feature fig paste, sunflower seeds and raisins. Flavors include Yogurt/Oat/Cherry Pistachio and Yogurt/Oat/Apricot Pistachio.
For more information, visit www.MediterraNutrition.com.
Albertsons has expanded its specialty offerings in the soup aisle with the addition of nine non-GMO soup mixes from Frontier Soups™ quick-cooking Homemade In Minutes™ line of gourmet mixes.
Albertsons stores in the Southwestern U.S. have added Frontier Soups’ newest mix, West Coast Kale & Quinoa Vegetable Soup Mix, along with its top-selling South of the Border Tortilla Soup Mix, Connecticut Cottage Chicken Noodle Soup Mix, and Idaho Outpost Potato Leek Soup Mix, all of which are gluten free. The sale is through UNFI of Providence, Rhode Island, said Trisha Anderson, Frontier Soups’ founder.
Other soup mixes now being carried by Albertson’s include Arizona Sunset Enchilada Soup, Florida Sunshine Corn Chowder, Mississippi Delta Tomato Basil Soup, Oregon Lakes Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup, and Pennsylvania Woodlands Mushroom Barley Soup. Soups in the Homemade-In-Minutes line serve four to six and typically cook in about 30 minutes.
Frontier Soups has 34 soup mixes in its lineup to accommodate a variety of consumer tastes and dietary needs, Anderson said. The soups are produced with ingredients certified non-GMO by all suppliers. No salt is added, and the mixes contain no preservatives, artificial ingredients or MSG. The company now offers 12 vegetarian options and 28 of its soups are certified gluten free. In addition to its Homemade-In-Minutes line, Frontier Soups also has a line of Hearty Meal™ soup mixes, which generally serve from eight to 10.
Suggested retail prices for Homemade-In-Minutes and Hearty Meal soup mixes are $5.95-$6.49 and $6.95-$7.49 respectively. More information is available at www.FrontierSoups.com or by calling 1.800.300.7687.
Read more about Frontier Soups here.
DREAM™ brand is proud to announce the launch of its new line of COCONUT DREAM™ Non-Dairy Yogurt, available in five sweet and fresh flavors of coconut-based yogurt: Plain, Vanilla, Strawberry, Blueberry and Raspberry. This non-dairy yogurt is made from real coconuts, is high in calcium, low in sodium and contains live and active cultures. COCONUT DREAM Non-Dairy Yogurt is also vegan, made with non-GMO ingredients, and free of gluten, lactose and soy.
“COCONUT DREAM Non-Dairy Yogurt is expected to be very popular among non-dairy consumers as well as dairy consumers that love the fresh and exotic taste of coconut. “The COCONUT DREAM Non-Dairy Yogurt line will create more flavorful taste options and variety for non-dairy consumers,” said Basel Nassar, Chief Operating Officer of the Hain Refrigerated Foods Division. “It has a delicious, creamy consistency with a tropical twist from the luscious flavor of coconut. It’s the perfect snack for fans with or without dietary restrictions.”
COCONUT DREAM is a brand of The Hain Celestial Group Inc., a leading natural and organic products company in North America and Europe providing consumers with A Healthy Way of Life™.
COCONUT DREAM Non-Dairy Yogurt will be available in grocers’ refrigerated sections nationwide.
For more information, visit http://www.hain-celestial.com.
The days of two different breakfasts for gluten-free households are over with the launch of Nicole’s Naturals Gluten-Free Waffle & Pancake Mix. Nicole’s Naturals is made with the highest quality, all-natural ingredients and spices usually only found in homemade mixes, making the waffles and pancakes taste like a family recipe.
Called “delicious” and a “waffle you want to eat” by the Los Angeles Times, Nicole’s Naturals Mix is made without artificial ingredients, preservatives or refined grains. Nicole’s Naturals’ products have been independently tested at less than five parts per million, far below the FDA regulation of 20 parts per million for products labeled gluten-free.
Raised in North Carolina, Nicole’s Naturals’ Founder Nicole Washington grew up in the kitchen and was responsible for cooking dinner for her family by the age of 10. Homemade breakfasts were a favorite dish of her Southern family, and while she ultimately became an industrial engineer, cooking and entertaining continued to be a source of love and enjoyment in Nicole’s life. But it was her engineering mindset that drove her to find a culinary solution once she was diagnosed with gluten intolerance in 2003. After much trial and error, she developed a gluten-free recipe to replace her family’s beloved waffles and they didn’t even notice when she swapped the new gluten-free recipe for her tried-and-true dish. After revealing her secret, Nicole’s husband encouraged her to package her product, and Nicole’s Naturals was born.
Nicole’s Naturals Waffles & Pancakes take just minutes to prepare, and caregivers can rest easy knowing their children are starting the day with a healthy meal. Nicole’s Naturals have significantly less added sugar and more fiber than many other waffles while tasting even more delicious. The prepared waffles can even be frozen allowing kids to help out by popping one in the toaster themselves for breakfast or an easy snack.
“In gluten-free families those with allergies are often singled-out with a separate meal and not able to eat what the rest of the family is enjoying,” said Nicole’s Naturals Founder Nicole Washington. “Our mix is a real solution for waffle- and pancake-loving families as the cook only has to make one breakfast.”
Roughly 40 million consumers purchase gluten-free products, four million of whom suffer from celiac disease, which requires that they avoid eating gluten. Gluten-free sales are expected to reach more than $15 billion by 2016, according to Mintel.
INGREDIENTS: Brown Rice Flour, Corn Meal, Turbinado Sugar, Gluten-Free Oatmeal, Potato Starch, Tapioca Flour, Aluminum-Free Baking Powder, Cinnamon, Gluten-Free Vanilla Flavoring, Gluten Free Xanthan Gum and Salt.
Nicole’s Naturals Gluten-Free Waffle & Pancake Mix is available at www.nicolesnaturals.com, Amazon.com and The Hood Market in Costa Mesa, California.
MSRP: $8.99 for a 22-ounce container
Torie & Howard is introducing a new stand-alone shipper for its 10-ounce Halloween packages of USDA Organic, kosher and Non-GMO hard candy. The new shipper will debut at the Winter Fancy Food Show on January 11, Booth 1651.
The shipper holds 20 packages and provides a seasonally spooky off-shelf display for the candy, which offers a Halloween option for parents who increasingly are purchasing organic foods for their children and for themselves, said Torie Burke, company co-founder. It contains four flavors of the candy and stands 4 feet high with a footprint of just 15 ½ by 15 ¼ inches, Burke said. Orders are being taken now for shipment in 2015, she said.
The package includes an assortment of individually wrapped flavors and features a colorful header with a headstone and a scary spider keeping company with Torie & Howard’s familiar nature-themed packaging motifs of bees, hummingbirds and dragonflies. The candy assortment is packaged in a 10-ounce lie-flat bag with a suggested retail price of $6.99.
Flavors of the organic hard candy include: California Pomegranate and Sweet Freestone Nectarine, Italian Tarocco Blood Orange & Wildflower Honey, D’Anjou Pear & Ceylon Cinnamon, and Pink Grapefruit & Tupelo Honey, which was named a sofi™ Award Finalist.
The candy is USDA organic and kosher certified and contains no GMOs, preservatives, artificial dyes, casein, soy or gluten, Burke said. It also is available in 2-ounce recyclable steel tins with a suggested retail price of $3.99-$4.99. A 6-ounce handbag gift package is available with a suggested retail price of $7.99-$8.99, and the candy is sold in 5-pound bulk bags. More information is available by calling 888.826.9554 or online at www.TorieAndHoward.com.
Two celiac brothers, Elliott and Marshall Rader, believed in a better gluten-free bar. Sick of cardboard taste and hard-to-understand ingredients, they set out on a mission to create a bar that tasted awesome and was good for them too. A labor of love between the brothers and a pastry chef, these bars meet their three main criteria:
2.) High in protein and fiber to keep them feeling full, and
3.) Made with pure and simple gluten-free ingredients.
Made in-house at the company’s own dedicated gluten-free facility, the Gluten Free Bars contain no fillers or additives and are made with all-natural and GMO-free ingredients, 70 percent of which are certified organic. The Gluten Free Bar provides a good source of fiber and a complete source of protein derived from brown rice and pea protein (10-12 grams!). The bars are also low in sodium; sweetened with agave nectar, brown rice syrup, and dates instead of added sugar; and completely free of wheat, soy, cholesterol, trans fat, casein and dairy.
From toasted cashews and Virginia peanuts to certified gluten-free oats, crisped brown rice, and dried cranberries, the bar’s wholesome ingredients are treats for the taste buds. The flavors include: Cranberry Toasted Almond, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Peanut Butter, Coconut Cashew Crunch, Dark Chocolate Coconut and Oatmeal Raisin. An ideal breakfast or anytime snack, the bars are chewy and moist on the inside and feature a lightly toasted crunch on the outside. The Gluten Free Bars were introduced to the market in 2010.
The new West Coast Kale and Quinoa Vegetable Soup Mix from Frontier Soups is a vegetarian and certified gluten-free soup that’s part of Frontier Soups’ Homemade-In-Minutes™ line. The soup has a hearty mix of white quinoa and flakes of kale and butternut squash that are freeze-dried to preserve nutrition. Home cooks add canned tomatoes, cubed butternut squash and chicken or vegetable broth and simmer for 25 minutes to make soup for the family. Everything else is in the soup mix, including onions and carrots and a savory seasoning that combines garlic, thyme, oregano, rosemary and a peppercorn blend.
This soup mix answers consumer requests for more vegetarian options and for soups that offer an easy way to incorporate popular superfoods into their diet. West Coast Kale and Quinoa Vegetable Soup Mix is available in 4.5-ounce clear cellophane packages that display the colorful ingredients at a suggested retail price of $5.95 to $6.49. Frontier Soups’ 34 varieties are all natural with no added salt, preservatives or MSG.