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.
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.
Victory is here for sugar substitute users seeking perfectly sweet, real product solutions for their daily sweetening needs. The launch of Born Sweet™ Zing™ Stevia Sweetener makes it easy for shoppers to avoid unwanted calories when sweetening beverages and foods.
Zing Zero Calorie stevia sweetener will delight consumers with its delicious, clean, sweet taste. It provides a great tasting, zero calorie sweetener, made with only real ingredients of high quality stevia leaf extract and dextrose – nothing artificial. Available in packets and in an easy-spoon jar, Zing Zero Calorie stevia sweetener is perfect for mixing into and sprinkling onto favorite beverages and foods every day.
For those consumers who choose to bake with a sugar substitute made from real ingredients, Zing Baking Blend provides a delicious option. At only five calories per serving, Zing Baking Blend, a stevia and pure cane sugar blend, is for calorie-conscious baking enthusiasts looking for a sweetening alternative. A convenient, easy-pour canister makes for quick measuring and will delight bakers with its exceptional performance, baking and browning just like sugar and with pure sweet taste.
“We are certain that these new stevia sweeteners will appeal to the youthful, calorie-concerned, and wellness-informed consumer who demands great tasting food and beverages. Both the Zing Zero Calorie stevia sweetener and the Zing Baking Blend are for those who want to cut back on calories when sweetening, without sacrificing delicious taste,” said Brian O’Malley, Chief Executive Officer and President of Domino Foods, Inc. “Domino Foods, Inc. has a long tradition of providing outstanding products in the sweetener category and we believe Zing Stevia Sweeteners are no exception. Our expectations are that the new sweeteners will become an essential part of daily routines as well as holiday baking experiences for years to come,” O’Malley added.
True Solution Protein Shakes will now be available at stores across the country, thanks to new partnership with UNFI. Solid sales growth and a strong demand for plant-based protein shakes convinced the leading independent national distributor of natural, organic and specialty foods to take True Solution national.
“We are very excited that UNFI sees the potential for this new product to succeed nationally,” says company founder Joe Semder. True Solution meets a clear demand for ready-to-drink, allergen free protein shakes. “It’s lower in sugar, contains more protein and no artificial ingredients. We believe that True Solution is well-positioned to meet growing demand for this type of product,” says Semder.
True Solution comes in two flavors, vanilla and chocolate. Well-known Supermarket Guru Phil Lempert gave it his Hit of the Week award, saying, “This is actually a delicious and very nutritious beverage. The chocolate flavor is excellent, the mouthfeel is perfect.”
Whole Foods Mid-Atlantic and Rocky Mountain regions, Lassens, and Dave’s Marketplace along with many other retailers have already picked up True Solution. The company expects strong interest at Natural Products Expo West next week in Anaheim, California.
True Solution was launched in 2014 by food industry veterans Joe Semder and Matt Cobb, who saw a need for an alternative to shakes laden with artificial ingredients, high sugar and problematic proteins. True Solution was formulated to fulfill a growing need for both young and old. The company is based out of Thousand Oaks, California.
Steve Schirripa is teaming up with his Sopranos co-star Michael Imperioli to meet their fans at The Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, where Steve will be exhibiting his Uncle Steve’s Italian Specialties line of organic pasta sauces. Schirripa and Imperioli, known by Sopranos fans as Bobby Baccalieri and Christopher Moltisanti, will be signing autographs and sharing sauce with their fans at The Hilton Level 2 – Hot Products Pavilion, Booth H201 on March 5 and 6 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. There will also be raffle prizes given out continuously throughout both days.
“Michael Imperioli is like a brother to me, so it’ll be great to have him in Anaheim. We’re looking forward to breaking bread with our fans and introducing them to Uncle Steve’s sauces,” Schirripa noted.
Uncle Steve’s Italian Specialties was created by Steve Schirripa earlier this year. Each jar of Uncle Steve’s sauce is produced in the USA from small batches of fresh imported organic Italian plum tomatoes, vegetables and spices, “Our products are USDA-certified organic, gluten free, dairy free, vegan, and contain no added sugar. With no GMOs, no pesticides, and nothing artificial, you can be confident you are feeding your family not only great-tasting products, but nourishing them as well.” said Schirripa. “My mother cooked her sauce for six hours and unlike the others, we are doing the same.”
Uncle Steve’s is available in three flavors: Marinara, Tomato Basil and Arrabiata. It is available at Whole Foods Market, Central Market, ShopRite, Stop ‘n Shop and many other grocery and health food stores across the USA. For more information on where to buy or to purchase by mail, go to www.unclestevesny.com.
Opa by Litehouse Feta Dill Greek Yogurt Dressing was named The Association for Dressings & Sauces (ADS) Dressing of the Year at the ADS Annual Meeting held October 11-13 in Naples, Florida. Litehouse Foods launched OPA by Litehouse to rave reviews: in just one year in the market the best-selling dressing has reached over 50 ACV in 47 of the top 64 IRI markets and is already 21 percent of the yogurt refrigerated salad dressing category.
“We are so honored that Litehouse was chosen for this prestigious award,” said Maria Emmer-Aanes, Vice President Marketing and Communications for Litehouse, Inc. “OPA by Litehouse Greek Yogurt Dressing was the first fresh, Greek yogurt based dressing to market, and we’ve received rave reviews from consumers since its launch. We are thrilled to be acknowledged by our peers as well.”
The Dressing of the Year Award is presented by ADS to recognize and celebrate truly innovative and delicious dressing products. Nominations for the award were received from ADS members and were then voted on by members via a blind taste test at the ADS 2014 Technical Meeting in San Diego, California. ADS members voted for the dressing deemed to have the best overall taste.
Using Greek yogurt as a salad dressing base provides a lower calorie dressing with twice the protein of a traditional dressing. OPA by Litehouse dressings are free of trans fats, have no MSG or artificial preservatives and only 0-1 gram of sugar per serving.
The Cluck ‘n Moo Burger with Kale is a new spin on the company’s original half-chicken, half-beef burger. The Cluck ‘n Moo Burger with Kale is infused with America’s favorite superfood, kale, in the already healthier burger alternative. The product retains the flavor and juiciness of the original Cluck ‘n Moo burger while incorporating the nutritional benefits of kale, providing consumers a healthy and satisfying alternative to a typical calorie-filled beef burger.
Coco Polo offers healthy, natural, stevia-sweetened chocolates for consumers with a sweet-tooth. The high cocoa content in each bar (70 percent in Dark Chocolate and 39 percent in Milk Chocolate) adds to the rich cocoa taste that consumers savor. With new colorful packaging to pop off shelves, Coco Polo perpetuates chocolate’s popularity with a win-win of taste and health. Coco Polo’s 13 varieties of Dark and Milk chocolate are:
The more than seven out of 10 consumers who are looking to add more protein to their diets have a new, old option to consider – bone broth. Organic broth brand Pacific Foods is introducing a line of organic ready-made varieties, developed to increase accessibility to the traditional recipe, which takes up to 24 hours to make.
With high protein, low calories and a myriad of reported wellness benefits, it’s easy to see why health enthusiasts, Paleo diet practitioners and CrossFit-ers, have led the way in reviving the ancient – and time intensive – practice of making sippable bone broth from scratch.
“Our bone broth has more protein than a glass of milk, half the calories and a heck of a lot more flavor,” said Kevin Tisdale, Vice President of Marketing for Pacific Foods. “Now, consumers can simply pour, heat and enjoy in just minutes.
Tradition Meets Innovation
Pacific’s organic bone broths are made by slowly simmering organic chicken and turkey bones, sourced from pasture-raised poultry, in a classic combination of apple cider vinegar, water, onion, fresh herbs and seasonings for a full 24 hours. The result is a broth that’s as rich in nutrition and flavor as homemade, with 9 grams of protein and only 40 calories per serving, and the additional benefits of being shelf-stable and available in convenient, resealable 32 and 8 ounce sizes. A glace-style organic bone stock is also available in chicken and turkey flavors, simmered for up to eight hours and boasting 14 grams of protein.
Sip by the Cup, Simmer and Sauté
Lightly seasoned with sea salt and fragrant herbs, consumers can warm and drink for a savory, protein-packed snack, or use in place of water when cooking grains and beans to add complex flavor and a boost of nutrition. The broths come in five distinct varieties:
Both the 8 and 32 ounce bone broths are packaged in BPA-free aseptic cartons, and the 15.2 ounce bone stock is packed in BPA-free recart cartons. All are available nationwide at natural food stores and conventional grocers with sugggested retail pricing of $1.79 – $2.39, $4.89 – $5.89, and $4.59 – $5.59, respectively.
Crafted from lightly, sweetened, fair trade coconuts, Nutiva’s O’Coconut snacks only have 60 calories each. Enjoy coconut with O’Coconut Classic or O’Coconut Hemp & Chia for an added boost of omega-3s. These organic, non-GMO bite-sized delights are guaranteed to be a Halloween crowd pleaser among costume-clad children and adults alike.
Nutiva O’Coconut Classic and O’Coconut Hemp & Chia recently launched at Whole Foods Market locations nationally and are available for purchase online at nutiva.com.