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Apple & Eve to be Acquired by Lassonde Industries

Apple & Eve LLC, together with its private equity investor ClearLight Partners, has agreed that the company will be acquired by Lassonde Industries Inc.

Apple & Eve LLC, based in Port Washington, New York, was founded by the Crane family 40 years ago with a focus on delivering healthy, natural juice products. The company offers more than 100 different juice products sold under its iconic flagship brand name, Apple & Eve, and includes a portfolio of sub brands including Organics, Fruitables, Quenchers, Waterfruits and Sesame Street. Additionally, it owns and markets juices under Northland, Seneca and The Switch brands.

Apple & Eve, a pioneer in the juice industry, has grown over the decades by anticipating consumer trends. Among its many innovations, the company introduced the first unfiltered, natural-sttyle apple juice in grocery stores in 1975; the first line of 100 percent juice cranberry blends in 1978; the first 100 percent juice box in 1982; and, Fruitables, the first fruit and vegetable juice box for kids, in 2009.

Gordon Crane, the Founder, President, and CEO of Apple & Eve, commented, “I am so proud of what we have built at Apple & Eve over the last 40 years, and as CEO I look forward to entering a new exciting chapter in our company’s history. By joining Lassonde Industries, I am confident that our combined entities will deliver strong growth behind the brands we have built. We will remain highly focused on creating innovative, on-trend products under the widely recognized Apple & Eve brand and our other strong brands. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with ClearLight over the past seven years.They proved to be a value-added partner in growing and improving our business.”

Michael Kaye, Founder and Managing Partner of ClearLight Partners, further noted, “Apple & Eve’s strong track record reflects the strength of the company’s brands, commitment to innovation, and quality of management and employees. We wish Gordon Crane and the entire Apple & Eve management and employees much continued success.”

Houlihan Lokey Capital, Inc. acted as financial advisor to Apple & Eve and ClearLight Partners, and Armstrong Teasdale served as company counsel on the transaction. The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions.

Veggie Patch Launches Two New Vegetable Products

Veggie Patch, which makes vegetable-based foods, announced today the debut of two new unique creations: Roasted Red Pepper Falafel and Moroccan Red Lentil Cakes.

Veggie Patch’s new Roasted Red Pepper Falafel offers a tasty twist on one of the brand’s top sellers, its Classic Falafel.  Combining the palate-pleasing tastes of red pepper and hearty chickpeas with the brand’s unique blend of falafel spices, the new Roasted Red Pepper Falafel’s outstanding flavor profile allows it to be served on its own or incorporated into another dish.

The new Moroccan Red Lentil Cakes are a delectable and healthy snack made from 70 percent vegetables.  A blend of red lentils, carrots and zesty spices, the tasty cakes deliver a mouthful of flavor, while also providing an excellent source of protein (8 grams per serving).

Veggie Patch’s new Roasted Red Pepper Falafel and Moroccan Red Lentil Cakes have a suggested retail price of $4.49 and are rolling out this month in the produce section of grocery stores nationwide.

The two new vegetable products debut as attention increases on the benefits of vegetables. From the First Lady’s healthy school lunch initiative and revisions set forth by the U.S. Department of Agriculture stating that half of one’s plated meal should consist of vegetables, to recent obesity studies that have brought healthy eating to the forefront, increasing attention has been paid to adding more vegetables to American diets. Vegetable purchases have grown by 14 percent over the past five years and are expected to experience a double-digit increase over the next five years.

“These mouth-watering new products are as flavorful as they are exotic, and as healthy as they are convenient,” said Adam Carr, CEO of Veggie Patch.  “We’re proud to lead the way in introducing unique and great tasting items that excite and appeal to our consumers.”

Prior to these new product launches, Veggie Patch most recently introduced its Mediterranean Patties this past December.  The unique patties contain an exotic blend of Mediterranean spices combined with spinach and chickpeas.

In addition to its new products, Veggie Patch is also debuting a new look, including a modernized logo and updated package complete with mouth-watering photography and suggested preparations for the items. Each product now features a more descriptive name that better speaks to the item’s flavor profile, such as the full-bodied sweetness of the Roasted Red Pepper Falafel and the unique spices of the Moroccan Red Lentil Cakes.

“We know a lot of people eat with their eyes and for a product as distinctive and delicious as Veggie Patch, it starts with the product photography,” continued Carr. “We’re especially proud of our new look because it undoubtedly gets consumers excited about our products, both new and current.”

The complete Veggie Patch line consists of eleven products, including its well-known Savory Spinach Bites and Garden Broccoli Bites, which are two of the brand’s more kid-friendly products. All items are nutrient rich, non-GMO and contain 0 trans fat.

Irish Chocolatier Draws Attention to African Fairtrade Chocolate

A Canadian chocolatier has made a big splash in Ireland and Ghana in recent months with her plans to open the first Fairtrade bean-to-bar factory in Ireland.

Allison Roberts, now a resident in Clonakilty, Ireland, started her first chocolate business at age 12 in King City, Ontario, Canada.  In 2014 she was awarded a trip to Ghana as a Fairtrade representative and has since been on a mission to draw attention to, and create more business for Fairtrade cooperative farmers in GhanaWest Africa.

”The impact of Fairtrade in these rural communities is remarkable, we’re talking about the basics – introduction of water facilities, toilet blocks and schools,” Roberts explains. ”Fairtrade also provides education for farmers around crop rotation and safety and the Fairtrade premium nurtures the development of other industries such as batik or palm oil production in these areas of high unemployment.  One of the major problems with the chocolate industry is widespread child-slavery,” she continues. ”Fairtrade means farmers get a fair price for their crops, ensuring no child is ever taken from their family or forced to give up education.”

Roberts has been running her business, Clonakilty Chocolate, for six years and is now the process of buying her first set of manufacturing machines with the ultimate goal to reproduce her Irish factory in Ghana so that Ghanian farmers are able to add value to their products.  ”This is all part of a much bigger issue; there is an urgent need for a greater understanding around the impacts of food choices in the West. Large corporate control in the industry means we’re often not shown the reality behind the products we consume,” she said.

For more information and to watch videos from Ireland and Ghana visit www.clonakiltychocolate.com.

DREAM Introduces a New Look For Its Non-Dairy Beverages

The Hain Celestial Group, Inc.has announced a packaging refresh for its DREAM™ brand.

DREAM brand is the only brand that offers a full range of premium, great-tasting, non-dairy beverages, each providing specific nutritional benefits and targeting different taste profiles.  The new packaging, designed by The Biondo Group, shows great taste appeal and consistency across the line, including shelf stable RICE DREAM®, SOY DREAM®, ALMOND DREAM®, COCONUT DREAM® and recently introduced new products SPROUTED RICE DREAM™ and CASHEW DREAM™ to help consumers easily identify their favorite DREAM product on shelf.  The refrigerated RICE DREAM products will also transition to this new design.

The DREAM brand has received Non-GMO Project verification on all of its existing products and the redesign communicates this exciting news right on the front of the packaging. In addition to the new design, DREAM non-dairy beverages are transitioning to an easy-to-open screw cap that is more consumer-friendly.

“The packaging refresh allows the quality and many varieties of DREAM to take center stage, and gives each non-dairy beverage a consistent, easily identifiable look,” said Donna Iannucci, Vice President in Marketing at Hain Celestial U.S.

The DREAM brand’s next line of non-dairy beverages to be redesigned is its innovative line of DREAM Blends™.  DREAM Blends Almond, Cashew, & Hazelnut, DREAM Blends Coconut, Almond & Chia, and DREAM Blends Rice & Quinoa will all soon display the same distinguished packaging style as the rest of the DREAM brand’s shelf-stable non-dairy beverages.

The origins of the DREAM brand began in 1971 when RICE DREAM and SOY DREAM non-dairy beverages and non-dairy frozen desserts were created as a high quality food option.  DREAM non-dairy beverages are sold in 8-, 32- and 64-fluid ounce aseptic cartons for fresh taste and quality, plus easy storage.

The DREAM brand also proudly offers non-dairy frozen desserts and novelties, non-dairy almond-based gelato, non-dairy yogurt and non-dairy chocolate.  Look for DREAM brand products in the non-dairy shelf stable sections and frozen sections of grocery and natural food stores.

THIRSTIE Launches In Miami

THIRSTIE, the New York based on-demand wine and spirits delivery marketplace, has extended its service to customers in Miami.

THIRSTIE now offers Miami customers the convenience of bottle service at their doors and eliminates the trips to the liquor store. THIRSTIE is the only app offering this service in Miami and is available on a number of platforms including online, iOS and Android. THIRSTIE provides a simple, intuitive user experience that makes liquors easy to find while also serving as a discovery tool for new products that might be out of the ordinary. THIRSTIE works with key retailers to curate the selections for an optimized shopping experience ensuring that the customer’s order is in stock. With all orders, THIRSTIE delivers purchases within the hour.

“We’ve seen some incredible success already in our initial launch markets, so choosing a city with this much vibrancy and excitement as Miami only made sense for our next launch,” said CEO Devaraj Southworth. “Miami sets the trends for the mixology and spirits community, so we wanted to offer THIRSTIE as the newest go-to service for having a good time.”

THIRSTIE is easy to use on any platform. After downloading and opening the app, the customer is instantly connected to participating liquor merchants closest to their desired delivery address. THIRSTIE provides users with information about each product such as the size, alcohol content and price. The customer can shop as long as they like, selecting options and adding them to their shopping cart. When ready to check out, the customer selects the shopping cart option where they can view everything that has been added. The customer then selects their payment method and completes the order. Once the order is confirmed, the customer receives an email verification and delivery of their wine or liquor purchase will arrive within the hour.

Moonstruck Chocolate Introduces Fall Confections Collection

Moonstruck Chocolate Co. welcomes fall with new collections inspired by warm autumn hues and rich flavors. Whether preparing for ghoulish Halloween festivities, a resplendent Thanksgiving table or simply celebrating the changing seasons, including handcrafted Moonstruck Chocolates in the mix steeps the senses in quintessential autumn experiences.

“With the changing of the seasons, we look to the bounty of the Northwest and highlight the flavors that are prevalent in markets, on kitchen tables, and at favorite local restaurants and watering holes,” explains Julian Rose, Master Chocolatier for Moonstruck. “Our fall collections feature spicy, nutty and syrupy notes that conjure memories of old favorites like pumpkin and pecan pies and gingerbread, but we think chocolate lovers also will find new favorites to enjoy.”

Pumpkin Patch Collection

moonstruck pumpkinIdeal for an autumn gift bag or place setting, the four-piece Pumpkin Patch Collection offers perfectly molded pumpkins that look almost too good to eat. Filled with velvety pumpkin spice milk chocolate and dark chocolate ganache and enrobed in ivory chocolate tinted naturally with orange, the pumpkins are hand-finished and two are dusted with sugar for a sparkly, textured delight. Suggested retail price is $10.

Monster Mash Collection

moonlightmonsterThis frightfully fabulous collection features the artistry of Chef Rose, who hand-carved the clay originals from which confection molds were cast. It’s no trick; each treat is decorated by hand, and no two monsters are exactly alike. Familiar combinations are captured in milk and ivory chocolate shells, including caramelized tones in the Crème Brulèe Werewolf Truffle, nutty goodness in the Peanut Butter Ghost Truffle, deep citrus in the Blood Orange Devil Truffle, and crunchy Oregon hazelnuts and popping candy in the Popping Praline Mummy Truffle. Suggested retail price is $10.

Spooky Spider Collection

moonlightspookyMoonstruck’s classic bow-tied truffles get a creepy crawly makeover as Creepy Orange Spider Truffles and Milk Chocolate Spider Truffles. The collection includes three truffles draped with orange spiders guarding a rich, extra-bittersweet dark chocolate ganache within. Two milk chocolate ganache truffles are embellish with foreboding dark chocolate spiders. Suggested retail price is $10.

Flavors of Fall Collection

Capture the best flavors of fall with this six-piece collection, released just in time to lend warmth and comfort to cooler autumn days. Stunning seasonal motifs of foliage, nuts and pies hint at the unique combinations within. The popular confections include a Maple Walnut Mousse Truffle, Pfeffernüsse Spice Truffle, Pumpkin Pie Truffle, Pecan Pie Truffle, Harvest Almond Praline and Plantation Molasses Caramel. Suggested retail price is $13.50.

New Milk Chocolate Tumbled Gingerbread Hazelnuts

Oregon hazelnuts get an extra kick from gingerbread spices before being tumbled with layer upon layer of premium chocolate. These small bites pack big and complex flavor, revealing notes of ginger and cinnamon followed by a toasty crunch under signature milk chocolate. Suggested retail price is $5.

Special Treats and Wrapped Collections

For a hauntingly sweet gesture, give Moonstruck’s 10-piece Haunted House Collection. Boxed in a chilling coffin-shaped haunted house, the collection includes one of each of Moonstruck’s Halloween-themed truffles, including all four Monster Mash truffles, both pumpkin truffles, both spider truffles, as well as a Frankenstein Toffee Truffle and an Extra-Bittersweet Black Cat Truffle. Suggested retail price is $25.

With fall comes the great pumpkin, and Moonstruck offers two. Satisfy chocolate and peanut butter cravings with a Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Crispy Pumpkin, or take a walk on the dark side with a Dark Chocolate Rocky Road Pumpkin. At 110 grams a piece, pumpkins are available for a suggested price of $7.50.

Moonstruck offers its signature truffles specially wrapped in seasonally-inspired paper ideal for any gift-giving occasion. The suggested retail price is $20 for the nine-piece collection and $35 for the 16-piece box.

Finally, now is the time to find Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Almond Bark. A superb balance of sweet and salty, this decadent dark chocolate incorporates roasted almonds and Maldon sea salt flakes for a satisfying crunch. Available in one-pound boxes for a suggested price of $25.            

Moonstruck Chocolate’s autumn collections are available online at www.moonstruckchocolate.com, at select national retailers, in four Moonstruck Chocolate Cafés in Oregon and at the St. John’s store in North Portland. For more information, call 800.557.6666.

Castleton Crackers and Vermont Farmstead Cheese Company Celebrate sofi Gold

 

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Rick Woods, Head Cheesemaker at Vermont Farmstead Cheese Company (and maker of the cheese in the Govenor’s Cheddar crackers) and Whitney Lamy, Founder of Whitney’s Castleton Crackers with her gold sofi™ statue.

Castleton Crackers “Governor’s Cheddar” has won the 2014 sofi™ Award for Outstanding Cracker from the Specialty Food Association. A sofi is the top honor in the $88.3 billion specialty food industry. “sofi” stands for Specialty Outstanding Food Innovation.

Governor’s Cheddar Crackers was one of 125 finalists selected by a national panel of specialty food professionals from a record-setting 2,737 entries across 32 awards categories including Outstanding Chocolate, Cheese, and Snack Food. Winners were announced June 30, 2014 by internationally-acclaimed Chef Dominique Ansel at a red-carpet ceremony at the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York.

“I was honored that my Governor’s Cheddar Crackers were nominated, but when I saw the winning picture of my crackers on the big screen it was an amazing feeling,” said Whitney Lamy, founder of Castleton Crackers. “To know that retailers and food service buyers vote for the Gold winners right here at the Summer Fancy Food Show makes this award even more valuable. This is a delicious combination of Vermont Farmstead Cheese Company’s award-winning Governor’s Cheddar cheese and my artisan cracker recipe,” says Lamy. Lamy’s complete Castleton Cracker line is sold at grocery and specialty stores throughout the country and online at castletoncrackers.com.

 

MODERN OATS Offers a Hearty, Wholesome Breakfast Oatmeal

It’s super food, super fast, and it’s bringing mod to mornings. Innovative Beverage Concepts Inc. has launched MODERN OATS, an all-natural, gluten-free oatmeal option for today’s discerning consumer. The convenient new grab-and-go oatmeal cups are packed with whole rolled oats and healthful blends of superfruits, nuts and seeds, while the packaging boasts a colorful, contemporary look that pops on the shelf. The products are available are available anytime at www.ModernOats.com.

“Oatmeal is a hot item right now, but there was nothing on the market that spoke to the modern consumer – everything pointed to frumpy and old-fashioned,” said Richard Principale, President and Chief Executive Officer for Innovative Beverage Concepts, a leading coffee house food and beverage brand. “People care about the packaging in their hand both at home and especially when they eat on the run. We wanted to develop a product that not only tasted delicious and met the dietary and environmental values of today’s conscious eaters, but that also appealed to their personal style and tastes.”

MODERN OATS are non-GMO certified and crafted with the most nutrient-rich, protein-rich, certified gluten-free whole rolled oats. The oats are naturally grown and harvested in small farms throughout North America’s upper Midwest. The oats are also minimally processed and are the highest quality available on the market, which makes for a hearty grain texture in the bowl as opposed to a paste-like mush.

Once harvested, the oats are steamed and sized, then paired with a carefully selected blend of flavorful and antioxidant-rich superfruits, along with nuts and seeds rich in omega-3; the recipes are lightly sweetened with organic evaporated cane juice. MODERN OATS is available in six gourmet flavors: Apple Walnut; 5 Berry; Goji Blueberry; Mango Blackberry; Chocolate Cherry, and Nuts & Seeds. All flavors are sodium and cholesterol-free and provide an excellent source of dietary fiber and protein.

MODERN OATS is packaged in portable, recyclable 2.6-ounce cups and provides the ultimate in convenience. Just add hot water, wait three minutes, stir and enjoy! MODERN OATS makes for a quick and healthy breakfast at home, while maneuvering the commute, hitting the course, hiking the trail, or getting in an energy-sustaining snack at the office. It is also vegan, kosher – Parve and Halal certified to appeal to a variety of diets.

MODERN OATS sells in six-cup variety packages for $19.50 (manufacturer’s suggested retail price) or a 12-pack variety for a suggested retail price of $39.50. It is available for consumer purchase at www.modernoats.com, and wholesale options are available for coffee shops, cafes, fitness centers, specialty shops and more. Contact customerservice@modernoats.com for wholesale inquiries.

 

sofi Award Winners Announced at Summer Fancy Food Show

The winners of the 2014 sofi™ Awards for the outstanding specialty foods and beverages of the year were announced this evening at a red-carpet ceremony at the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York.

The awards, considered the top honor in the $88.3 billion specialty food industry, were presented by acclaimed pastry chef Dominique Ansel, creator of the Cronut®, a croissant-doughnut hybrid. The Awards are open to members of the Specialty Food Association, a not-for-profit trade association for food artisans, importers and entrepreneurs. “sofi” stands for specialty outstanding food innovation.

This year’s contest was the largest in its 42-year history, with specialty food makers submitting 2,737 products across all 32 awards categories. The sofi Award for Outstanding New Product went to East Hampton Gourmet Food’s Lentil Rice Crispbread with Sesame and Pink Salt.

See the 2014 Winners.

“The creativity and passion our members bring to their foods and beverages was evident in the variety and quality of the contest entries this year,” says Specialty Food Association President Ann Daw. “The winners clearly reflect our brand for the industry, “Specialty Food. Craft. Care. Joy.”

This spring, a national panel of specialty food professionals convened over eight days to taste and evaluate all entries and select 125 finalists. To determine the winners, 275 buyers at the Summer Fancy Food Show sampled the finalist products and cast votes for their favorite in each category. The results were tabulated by an outside accounting firm this afternoon.

The Summer Fancy Food show is the largest marketplace devoted exclusively to specialty food in North America. The show ends tomorrow, July 1, at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York. Learn more at fancyfoodshows.com.

nibmor Offering Ethically-Sourced Chocolate at #SFFS14

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By Lorrie Baumann

Jessie Osias is serving Mint and 6 Spice Drinking Chocolates at nibmor’s booth #4475 at the Summer Fancy Food Show. This is nibmor’s debut at the Fancy Food Show, although the company, headquartered in New York, has been around for five years now. Both of the drinking chocolates that are being served in the booth are made with cashew milk. “Everything is vegan, so we stick to a nondairy milk,” Osias commented.

All of nibmor’s chocolate products are ethically sources, certified either by Rainforest Alliance or Fair Trade. The company is currently planning for a fall release of a 6 Spice bar, which is dark chocolate with 72 percent cacao. The 2.2-ounce bar will retail for about $3.99. At the same time, nibmor will release a Sea Salt Dark Chocolate Bar with 80 percent cacao. This will also be a 2.2-ounce bar to retail for $3.99.

nibmor is also planning a new All-Natural Superfruit line of chocolate bars intended to offer a healthier confection option to the mainstream grocery market. “We’re trying to meet the consumer where they are,” Osias says. The line is tentatively scheduled to launch at the end of this year. “At this point, it’s still being discussed,” says Osias.

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