By Lucas Witman
When entrepreneurs came up with Bisquick and Jiffy Mix in the 1930s, they could never have imagined that these relatively simple mixes of flours and leavening agents would be the precursors of a massive 21st century market for baking and dessert mixes. These two originary brands are still going strong, but they have been joined by hundreds if not thousands of specialty food companies marketing mixes that help home cooks prepare gourmet delicacies. Today, there are mixes available to make anything from blueberry lemon lavender pancakes to shoofly pie to gluten-free Italian herb foccacia.
With the mixes market burgeoning into a truly gourmet enterprise, pre-packaged baking and dessert mixes have gone from basic blends to luxurious updates on classic kitchen staples. Gone are the days when home cooks pulled out a boxed biscuit mix in order to just get breakfast on the table. Today, consumers are more likely to pull out an organic southern buttermilk biscuit mix in order to treat family and friends to a special breakfast treat.
As the mixes market has gone gourmet, featuring high-end recipes, fine ingredients and appealing packaging, these products have become increasingly popular as gifts. The modern foodie is likely to find pre-packaged mixes in her or his Christmas stocking right alongside imported olive oils and stainless steel truffle shavers.
One company at the forefront of the mixes-as-gifts movement is Ohio-based The Invisible Chef. The Invisible Chef markets a wide line of attractively packaged mixes for coffee and tea cakes, breads, muffins, cupcakes, cookies, brownies and more. The company’s products are made with premium all-natural ingredients and feature recipes like those one might find at a high-end bakery. Consumers can prepare Almond Crème Coffee Cake, Chocolate Chipotle Brownies and Chai Latte Cupcakes with the help of The Invisible Chef’s mixes.
“We pretty much cover all the bases in terms of baking mixes,” said Jill McCauley, co-owner of The Invisible Chef. According to McCauley, it is the convenience of her company’s products combined with their gourmet flavors that truly set The Invisible Chef apart. “You can have something mixed up and in the pan before the oven is even preheated,” she said.
When it comes to giving mixes as gifts, The Invisible Chef has consumers covered. “We have some different or intriguing flavor profiles,” McCauley said. ‘If you’re going to buy something as a gift, maybe you want something a little different.”
For retailers, The Invisible Chef’s appealing packaging makes it ideal for holiday merchandising displays. Simply place the company’s Cheddar Chipotle Beer Bread Mix alongside a festive glass loaf plan, and customers have a ready-made gift right in front of them.
Finally, since they are a relatively inexpensive gourmet product, The Invisible Chef’s mixes can be given as gifts for virtually any occasion. “If you just go in and buy a mix, most are under $10 retail, so it’s a really affordable luxury,” McCauley said. “All-natural, great ingredients, nice flavor profile—and you don’t have to spend a lot of money.”
Another company that offers a line of unique mixes that are beautifully packaged and perfect as gifts, is Virginia-based Purely American. Purely American offers more than 80 dessert, bread, soup, chili, seafood and pasta mixes.
In particular, Purely American’s signature Storytelling line of mixes make great gifts by themselves, or they can be a terrific addition to a themed gift basket. Each mix in the Storytelling line,which has been crafted since 1984, tells its own story. Mixes for tasty treats like Amish Country Snickerdoodles, Shenandoah Valley Apple & Spice Cake and Santa Fe Cornbread each tells their own regional tales about specific American locales.
“Our original line—the storytelling mixes—each has a story on the package that celebrates a famous American food, experience, place or tradition,” said Ray Leard, founder of Purely American. Each of the Purely American lines is all-natural, no MSG, low fat and high fiber.
This holiday season, Purely American is offering consumers a number of mixes for holiday-themed goodies, as well. These mixes are ideal as hostess gifts. “Our Christmas at Grandma’s Cranberry Bean Soup is an excellent gift idea,” Leard said.
For specialty food retailers trying to capture extra sales this holiday season, a carefully curated selection of gourmet mixes from high end companies like The Invisible Chef and Purely American is a great way to attract customers looking for the perfect gift for the hard-to-buy-for foodie in their life. With so many expertly crafted mixes available today, however, the hard part is deciding which ones your customers will want most.
Robert Rothschild Farm offers a complete line of baking mixes. New muffin, scone, dessert and bread mixes were introduced in 2013 and have been very popular. All of the company’s baking mixes appeal to consumers who love to bake high quality, delicious treats but do not have the time to make them from scratch.
Two of the most recent additions to Robert Rothschild Farm’s line of baking mixes, Classic Shortbread Cookie Mix and Double Chocolate Fudge Brownie Mix, are simply delicious on their own, or they pair perfectly with many of the company’s other gourmet products. The Classic Shortbread Cookies can be topped with any of the company’s preserves, Pumpkin Curd or Buttery Cookie Caramel Sauce. The Double Chocolate Fudge Brownies are sensational topped with Dark Chocolate Peppermint Sauce or Peppermint Candy Cane Dip for a delightful holiday dessert.
Robert Rothschild Farm’s gourmet bread mixes make great side dishes or appetizers when paired with the company’s open and serve dips. The Pub Style Pretzel Bread can be served with new savory cheese dips. Customers can also dip the Italian Herb Focaccia Bread in the Italian Herb Dipping Oil to elevate any meal from ordinary to extraordinary.
For more information about the Robert Rothschild Farm’s gourmet baking mixes, call 800.356.8933, email email@example.com or visit the company online at www.robertrothschild.com.
Arizona Sunset Enchilada Soup, the newest addition to Frontier Soups™ line of 34 all-natural, gourmet soup mixes, is a healthier and easier way for consumers to enjoy a weeknight Mexican fiesta. With much less preparation time than tacos, the new soup satisfies consumers’ taste for culinary adventure. The product is also certified gluten-free.
Arizona Sunset Enchilada Soup features warm chili seasonings and epazote, a spice used in many traditional Mexican dishes. These spices create an authentic Mexican flavor profile. The soup’s colorful golden yellow corn and red peppers are reminiscent of the bold colors of an Arizona sunset, creating point-of-purchase appeal when showcased in 5.75-ounce clear packaging.
A clock icon on the product’s packaging informs busy consumers the soup can be prepared on the stovetop in just 30 minutes. All Frontier Soups soup mixes have no added salt, MSG or preservatives. In addition, the company’s 28 gluten-free varieties have met the requirements of the Celiac Sprue Association® Recognition Seal Program. The SRP for the product is $5.95.
For more information on Frontier Soups, contact the company by phone at 800.300.SOUP (7687), or visit the company online at www.frontiersoups.com.
Specialty food creator Stonewall Kitchen is thinking peppermint—delicious peppermint baking mixes that are perfect for the holidays and wintertime enjoyment. The Chocolate Peppermint Cupcake Mix gives cupcake fans of all ages a wonderful combination of a rich, dark chocolate cupcake covered in sweet peppermint frosting that’s loaded with bits of peppermint candy. And the Chocolate Peppermint Crinkle Cookie Mix makes out-of-this-world, chewy, deep chocolate cookies with the chill of peppermint flavor.
In addition to chocolate peppermint baking mixes, Stonewall Kitchen also carries three additional chocolate peppermint treats, including Peppermint Hot Chocolate. Ideal after shoveling the driveway or building a snowman, this creamy and rich cocoa delivers a luscious combination of hot chocolate with a cool whisper of peppermint. For an ultimate chocolate peppermint dessert, look no further than Stonewall Kitchen’s Chocolate Peppermint Sauce. Served warm and spooned over ice cream, this smooth, rich sauce takes desserts to a whole new decadent level. Finally, for adults, there is the Chocolate Peppermint Martini mixer that can add a fun and delicious element to holiday get-togethers. Simply add your favorite libation, shake and serve.
With so many tasty chocolate peppermint options, Stonewall Kitchen is making it easy to start new holiday traditions. For more information, visit www.stonewallkitchen.com. or call 888.326.5678.
Wind & Willow is known for its legendary Cheeseball Appetizer & Dessert mixes. However, did you know each mix has an alternate recipe printed on the box that gives the consumer a different recipe to impress their guests?
For a savory appetizer that is perfect for entertaining, use Wind & Willow Old Santa Fe Cheeseball & Appetizer mix to make stuffed jalapeños. These delectable mouthfuls will spice up any gathering of family and friends. Create the easiest and tastiest stuffed mushrooms using one of Wind & Willow’s best sellers: Bacon Stuffed Mushroom. Simply mix the seasoning with cream cheese, stuff medium sized mushrooms, sprinkle the topping on the mushrooms, and bake in the oven. Other great quick and easy appetizer ideas include vegetable pizza, bruschetta and spinach artichoke dip. The recipes are endless, and the best thing is they are so delicious and easy to make.
For these and other great recipes, visit the company’s website at www.windandwillow.com. To order, please contact your local sales representative, or call directly at 888.427.3235. Wind & Willow products are truly the perfect addition to any entertaining menu!
Frontier Soups added to the packaging of its all-natural gourmet soup mixes in an effort to help retailers gain incremental sales with cross-merchandising opportunities from the center aisles to the perimeter.The packaging now displays a sticker telling consumers when added chicken or beef are needed, reminding them not only to pick up the meat, but also to shop for the broth, canned tomatoes and fresh produce that transform the easy mix recipes into a family meal. This is according to Trisha Anderson, founder of Frontier Soups.
Even though at holiday time retailers focus primarily on capturing consumer spending on the all-important feasts, providing über-busy home cooks with easy meal solutions to answer the daily “What’s for dinner?” question can prove just as beneficial.
“Based on the consumer feedback we receive, this is even more important at holiday time when consumers are juggling added food preparation and gift shopping along with school vacations and house guests,” Anderson said. “Soup is the perfect between-the-feasts meal, because it’s a great way to use up leftovers, can easily be made ahead and frozen or refrigerated, and it reheats beautifully so it is ready whenever hungry people show up at the table.”
Frontier Soups also now offers a variety of displays to make it easy for retailers to promote and cross merchandise the company’s soup mixes. These include sturdy, free-standing shippers for its Hearty Meal™ and Homemade-In-Minutes™ lines, as well as a black metal clip strip or stand alone spinner display, which can spur added sales in the broth, meat or produce sections.
“As hard as we’ve worked to make our packaging eye-catching, passing consumers’ scrutiny of the nutrition panel is as important,” Anderson said. “That’s why our mixes are all natural with no added salt, preservatives or MSG.”
More information is available at www.FrontierSoups.com or by calling 800.300.SOUP.
Introducing the perfect soup for fall: Autumn Harvest Pumpkin Lentil. Simply add chicken broth and fresh or canned pumpkin to make a fabulous healthy meal for a family of four.
Together with the bestselling Candlelight Corn Chowder, this is one of two Cooke Tavern Soups that Giada De Laurentiis singled out from more than 200 vendors as her favorites from Washington D.C.’s Metropolitan Cooking and Entertaining Show.
Cooke Tavern soup mixes have been thrilling consumers for over ten years as a healthy, nutritious, easy alternative to canned soup. All of the company’s mixes contain only natural spices, herbs and vegetables, in the exact quantities to make a fresh two-quart pot of soup in 40 minutes or less. The mixes contain absolutely no salt, MSG, preservatives or fillers. By using freeze-dried vegetables instead of less expensive air-dried ones, the soups exceed customer expectations every time and create a loyal customer following.
For more information, call 866.422.7687 toll-free, or visit www.cooketavernsoups.com.
Rabbit Creek Products’ new Garlic Knot Artisanal Bread is a perfect accompaniment for the holiday season’s feasts that are nearly upon us. This handmade yeast bread, bite-sized buttery bundles of garlic goodness that only takes an hour and a half to prepare from start to finish, is sure to win everyone over. Packaged in Rabbit Creek’s gabled craft boxes with hand-tied ribbons, Garlic Knot Artisanal Bread sits handsomely on the shelf, its gorgeous label attracting all eyes to the bounty waiting to be brought forth.
Rabbit Creek offers free private labeling, allowing customers to personalize their orders. The team at Rabbit Creek Products can be reached by phone at 913.837.2757 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Interested parties can also peruse Rabbit Creek’s product line at www.rabbitcreekgourmet.com.
Coy’s Country Northwest has an array of flavor profiles available that include Lemon Ginger Pound Cake, Lavender Sugar Cookies, Orange Spiced Scones, Amazing Pudding Cake, Fabulous Fudge Cake, Fruit Cobbler, Pumpkin Spiced Cake and Cinnamon Apple Crisp.
Recently, Coy’s Country underwent a packaging update, resulting in a bright, glistening pouch that is surely to grab people’s attention. The easy to follow step-by-step instructions on the back of each pouch allow for a quick reference point when baking these delectable treats and make substituting fresh ingredients trouble-free.
Since Coy’s Country joined Seattle Gourmet Foods, a gourmet food manufacturer based out of Kent, Wash., it has continued to be a trusted supplier of scrumptious baking mixes. This partnership has proved beneficial in updating the brand, while maintaining the flavors that people have come to know and enjoy.
For more information, call 800.800.9490, email email@example.com, or visit the company online at www.seattlegourmetfoods.com.
We all have that favorite comforting meal that brings back memories of a taste that only grandma could create. The team at Country Gourmet Home is working to bring families back to the table, providing them with those comforting recipes.
Country Gourmet Home offers more than 500 made-by-hand gourmet food products. The company offers a full line of gourmet goodies, including dip mixes, soups, side dishes, meal mixes, desserts and fresh fudge. The mixes are inspired by time honored family traditions. They are easy to prepare and require only one or two ingredients to make. Country Gourmet Home products are certain to tickle your customers’ taste buds!
For more information on Country Gourmet Home, and the company’s mixes and other specialty food products, call 877.769.8669, or visit the company online at www.countrygourmetmixes.com.