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Apple & Eve, LLC Acquires THE SWITCH Sparkling Juice Brand

Privately held juice company, Apple & Eve, LLC announced that it has acquired The Switch Beverage Company, a marketer of 100% sparkling juices, to support the company’s plans for growth and expansion specifically in the school nutrition channel.

Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Founded in 2001, The Switch Beverage Company, located in Darien, Conn., is one of the leading marketers of 100 percent sparkling juices in the United States.  Focused primarily on the K-12 school nutrition channel, The Switch is available in seven flavors of 8-ounce slim cans.  The Switch is also available in grocery, club and is among the top selling juices on Amazon.com.

“We are excited to add The Switch brand of 100 percent sparkling juices to our portfolio,” said Gordon Crane, President and CEO of Apple & Eve.  ”Our Apple & Eve and FRUITABLES brands of 100 percent juices are among the leaders in shelf stable juices in US schools.  Adding The Switch provides us the strongest portfolio of brands for all possible school usage occasions.”

Bill Harrison, Vice President of Sales, School Nutrition at Apple & Eve added, “The USDA has changed guidelines for foods and beverages sold at schools that go into effect next year that greatly benefit a brand like The Switch.  Providing great tasting beverages that promote health and wellness to U.S. students and school nutrition directors is our #1 objective.  The Switch has proven beyond a doubt to be a best in class brand that students love and nutrition directors trust.”

Making Popcorn Mobile: Popcorn Cups from Buddy Squirrel

By Emily Zager, Marketing Coordinator, Buddy Squirrel

BuddySquirrel-FPThe heart of Buddy Squirrel is our mission to delight customers with friendly service and the experience of the world’s finest confections made with premium chocolate, nuts, and popcorn. We aim to continue cultivating a tradition of excellence as we celebrate the launch of our new Popcorn Cup line.

These delicious — and convenient — grab-and-go snack containers feature our award-winning Cheddar and Caramel popcorns. Current products are available in 1.75-ounce and 5.5-ounce sizes, respectively. Our savory Cheese Corn makes it nearly impossible to stop munching!

We’ll soon be offering Mixed Nut Caramel Corn and Crazy Corn as additional flavors to the line. Our Popcorn Cups will also be available in a smaller size container. Cheddar will be available in a 1.5-ounce container, and Caramel Corn will be available in a 2-ounce cup.

For more information or to place an order, visit www.buddysquirrel.com, email sales@buddysquirrel.com, or call 800.972.2658.

Gourmet du Village Introduces Collection of Flavor Infused Oils

The addition of herbs and spices to oils for dipping and adding to recipes is an idea that has been around for a while. There was a period when everyone had a decorative bottle of oil jam-packed with various herbs and spices in their kitchen window. These were more often for decoration, as the flavors were hit and miss at best.

“Today’s quality infused oils bring a whole new dimension to the taste. Of course they are attractive; we even add some extra herbs just for the look, but the big news is the incredible pure taste.” says Mike Tott, President of Gourmet du Village.

Gourmet du Village infused oils lifestylePerfect served for dipping with some crusty artisan bread, perfect to use as a flavor to add to your home cooking, these infused oils from Gourmet du Village are available in 280-ml bottles in three distinct flavor profiles: Spiced Chili Pepper, Parmesan Pesto and Rosemary Garlic.

This new product along with the entire new collection of gourmet gifts from Gourmet du Village can be seen at the company’s showrooms in Dallas, Atlanta, and Philadelphia.

For more information, visit www.gourmetduvillage.com.

 

British Entrepreneurs Plan to Farm Specialty Produce in London Underground Tunnels

Two entrepreneurs, Richard Ballard and Steven Dring, have teamed up with Michelin-starred chef Michel Roux, Jr to create a working farm in an extensive tunnel network beneath London’s Northern Line.

The subterranean farm, which will start trading later this year, will produce a range of micro-herbs, shoots, miniature vegetables and other delicacies that will be sold to restaurants, supermarkets and wholesalers. The tunnels will provide 2.5 acres of growing space.

The tunnels sit beneath the Northern Line near Clapham North tube station in London.

A crowdfunding campaign starts today, giving investors of all sizes the chance to buy a stake in the project from as little as £10. First deliveries of produce to customers are expected to begin in the late summer.

Specially- designed structures to house the three-layer growing platforms are currently being constructed in Yorkshire. Growing trials have been conducted over the last 18 months in the tunnels and are still underway.

The farm will be carbon neutral. Special low energy LED bulbs and an integrated hydroponics system are used. One hundred feet of earth above the tunnels keep temperatures steady at around 16 degrees centigrade all year round and energy consumption at a minimum. Any energy needs will be fulfilled from green suppliers, and the proximity of the tunnels to New Covent Garden market and London’s many restaurants will keep food miles to a minimum.

“When I first met these guys I thought they were absolutely crazy,” said Michel Roux Jr, “but when I visited the tunnels and sampled the delicious produce they are already growing down there I was blown away. The market for this produce is huge.”

Richard Ballard and Steven Dring hatched the idea two years ago after lengthy debates about how to achieve a carbon-free economy and how to deal with the pressures of urban population growth. Since then they have been working out how to bring their vision to reality. Chris Nelson, an expert horticulturalist used to growing crops in some of the harshest conditions on the planet, is a core member of the team.

Richard Ballard said: “Steve and I are thrilled to be close to getting Growing Underground underway. We’ve been experimenting for months. Now that we’ve secured the site we’re kicking off a crowd-funding campaign today. We have a detailed business plan, and we’ve already had lots of interest from private investors. We’re confident that investors of all sizes will see a significant return on their investment. Integrating farming into the urban environment makes a huge amount of sense and we’re delighted that we’re going to make it a reality.”

He added: “There is no ‘could,’‘might’ or ‘maybe’ about our underground farm. We will be up and running and will be supplying produce later this year.”

Steven Dring said: “When we showed Michel our farm for the first time, he thought the rumble he could hear was my stomach. It was actually a Northern Line train about to go overhead.”

The tunnels were originally used to house people sheltering from air raids in World War II. All fittings and reminders of its past were removed decades ago, although a nearby tunnel network, which retains bunk beds, has been listed by English Heritage.

Full scale work on the farm will commence in March and the first ‘Growing Underground’ produce will hit restaurants and shops by late summer this year. Initial crops will include a range of exotic herbs and shoots, including Pea Shoots, Rocket, Red Amaranth, Mizuna, Broccoli, Garlic Chives, Red Vein Sorrel, Mustard Leaf, Radish, Coriander and Thai Basil. Edible flowers and miniature vegetables will also be grown. Stage two crops will include heritage tomato varieties, and mushrooms.

Special filters keep the air in the tunnels free of pests, eliminating the need for pesticides.

The crowdfunding campaign, complete with a video that shows the tunnels, is at http://www.crowdcube.com/investment/zero-carbon-food-13724. Investors can get a stake in Growing Underground today for as little as £10. For £25,000, investors will get voting rights. A full business plan with projections can be found on the site.

Michel Roux Jr has joined the company as a director and will be advising on crop selection, product design and partnerships.

Cheesemonger Offers “Perfect Bite” at San Francisco Cheesemonger Invitational

The “Perfect Bite” at the first West Coast Cheesemonger Invitational (CMI) at Public Works in San Francisco on January 19 was an unlikely, but delicious combination of flavors and texture that just worked.

Perpetual Goatstopper close upThe Perpetual Goatstopper” was the creation of Cheesemonger Perry Soulos of Arrowine and Cheese in Arlington, Va., who paired award-winning chèvre from Redwood Hill Farm with grapes, candied ginger and Burstin’ Berry Poppin’ Pebbles™ breakfast cereal to create his unique, eye-catchingly delicious perfect bite. Soulos was awarded $1,000, immeasurable glory and an all expenses paid trip to the Vermont Cheesemakers Festival this summer along with top two finalists Zach Berg of Bi-Rite Market in San Francisco and Nate McElroy of Bedford Cheese Shop in New York.

Perry Soulos CMI headshot“I really wanted to do something different and fun with my perfect bite,” said Soulos. “When we first received the list of cheeses to choose from, I went right for Redwood Hill Farms’ Traditional Plain Chèvre. I knew the product very well from my years behind the cheese counter and thought it would be the perfect choice for a California-inspired cheese bite. Its decadent and rich flavor and clean lemony tang make it very versatile in the kitchen.”  

Redwood Hill Farm Owner Jennifer Bice, said: “We were thrilled to be one of the hometown hosts of the first West Coast Cheesemonger Invitational. It was wonderful to see how Perry used our fresh chèvre in such a surprisingly delicious way.”

Redwood Hill Farm’s cheeses were featured throughout the competition. Competing mongers enjoyed a vertical tasting of Camellia, Redwood Hill Farm’s Camembert–style cheese at various ages, from three days to eight weeks. It was also served as a delicious dessert course sandwich topped with berry preserves created by Michael Davidson, aka The Grilled Cheez Guy of Oakland, Calif. Cheesemonger Max Frederick from The Cellar Cheese Shop in Costa Mesa, featured Redwood Hill’s Raw Milk Feta in his Greek-inspired spoon sweet. 

More than 30 of the best cheesemongers – the folks who sling cheese for a living – competed in an intense day-long series of cheese challenges. Participants from San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, Boulder, San Diego, Florida and even Toronto, Canada were put through a series of tests. From blind cheese tastings and a grueling written exam to sales-under-pressure and the perfect cheese cutting, the day-long event challenged the mongers’ skills, knowledge and creativity, as evidenced in their Perfect Bite. Following the private daytime competition was an evening party attended by 800 members of the cheese-loving public. 

Attendees were treated to “perfect bite” pairings created by each competing cheesemonger along with award-winning cheeses from CMI hosts: Bay Area cheese pioneers Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery and Cowgirl Creamery, international importer Columbia Cheese and East Coast luminary Vermont Creamery; four custom grilled cheese sandwiches created just for CMI by The Grilled Cheez Guy; plus fondue, raclette and thousands of pounds of cheese. As esteemed panel of judges, including San Francisco Chronicle Cheese Columnist Janet Fletcher, Cheese Connoisseur Magazine Publisher/Editorial Director Lee Smith and American Cheese Society Board Member and DiBruno Bros. Owner Emilio Mignucci, rated competing mongers based on portioning, presentation, taste, aesthetics, creativity and whether or not the pairing created the elusive third flavor of the blended components.

According to Liz Thorpe, CMI Event Producer and Author of The Cheese Chronicles: A Journey Through the Making and Selling of Cheese in America, From Field to Farm to Table, “San Francisco really caught the ‘cheese for life’ spirit of what the Cheesemonger Invitational is all about: celebrating the passion and challenging the skills of this dedicated tribe of cheese lovers. We’re excited to bring CMI back to the city next year for more mongering competitions, world-class cheese tastings, late night dancing and more.”

Adds Soulos: “It’s thrilling to be named the CMI 2014 champion of cheese after competing in the 2012 and 2011 events in New York City and feeling both times that I could have done better. This time I brought my A-game, spending countless nights reading and studying the craft as mental preparation, and several days designing my perfect bite. The hard work paid off.”

Bobo’s Oat Bars Adds to Gluten-Free Line

With the ever-growing demand from consumers for delicious, gluten-free, snack and convenience foods, retailers are continually looking for new options. Bobo’s Oat Bars has become a favorite go-to because of its great taste, variety, portability and “home-made” quality. The company is expanding its line of gluten-free bars to include Peanut Butter and Jelly and Apple Pie, bringing the number of gluten-free flavors to six, and total number of flavors to 16.

“Moms and kids are a big target market for us, so adding PB&J was a natural line extension to meet that growing demand,” says Beryl Stafford, Founder and President of Boulder, Colorado-based Bobo’s Oat Bars. “The Apple Pie also seemed like a good addition, since it’s one of the most popular flavor profiles for baked goods in the U.S.   Bobo’s are perfect because they taste like the ‘real thing’ but are less sweet, plus high fiber and nutrient dense.”

Bobo’s features a line of snack bars in 14 delicious flavors, including six gluten-free with the two new additions, all made with organic and natural Non-GMO ingredients. The bars are ideal for a light breakfast, ie “a bowl of oatmeal to go,” a pre-workout snack, in a lunch box or yoga bag, or a mid afternoon treat. Bobo’s has enjoyed an impressive annual growth rate of over 50 percent over the past three years, evolving from a home-based operation to national natural foods and specialty store distribution in ten years. Its sights are set on making a big push in 2014 to expand distribution to mainstream grocery stores, outdoor retailer, and more specialty and coffee shops, as well as foodservice outlets. Bobo’s moves to a new 12,000 square foot facility in 2014, more than tripling the existing space. With the new manufacturing space, the company can enhance automation, production capabilities, and add new staff, further increasing potential for growth.

Bobo’s Oat Bars are available at select natural foods and specialty stores nationwide. The company just became Non-GMO Certified as well as Kosher Certified. Bars retail for approximately $2.69 per 3-ounce package.

 

California Table Grape Commission Awards Teaching Grants

The California Table Grape Commission has awarded 37 teaching grants worth up to $750 each to schools in the table grape growing regions of California’s San Joaquin and Coachella valleys.
The funded projects will be implemented in classrooms during the current school year.
More than 2,500 students, grades K-12, will benefit from the classroom projects made possible through funding by California’s table grape growers. Examples include conducting science experiments in an after-school program, starting a school garden, purchasing and using music equipment, going on a museum field trip, and producing and performing a theatre production.
“There are a lot of creative classroom ideas funded through this program,” said Kathleen Nave, President of the commission. “The projects combined will benefit thousands of participating students in California’s table grape growing regions.”
The Innovation in Teaching education grant program was created in 1993 to support innovative classroom projects in the table grape growing regions of California’s San Joaquin and Coachella valleys. For more information about the program, go to www.grapesfromcalifornia.com/EducationGrants.

EVOL Foods Expands Frozen Entree Product Line

EVOL® Foods, Boulder-based maker of new age frozen meals, burritos and snacks, is introducing two new innovative product lines: MultiServe Skillet Meals and Lean & Fit single serve meals. These new products further round out EVOL’s growing product portfolio while still remaining committed to providing, convenient, clean food made with real ingredients that taste great. The MultiServe Skillet Meals also marks the first time EVOL has moved beyond the singe serve market, with meals meant to be cooked on the stovetop and served for two.

“Our food philosophy is simple: love what you eat. At EVOL, we are a on a continued quest to find innovative ways to provide delicious food without sacrificing nutrition, flavor or convenience,” said founder Phil Anson. “Our new MultiServe Skillet Meals and Lean & Fit Meals mark our continued evolution as a company and I think people are going to be truly excited when they taste these new products and realize they are a standout in the frozen food category, showing that just because something is convenient doesn’t mean you have to give up on unique flavors and taste.”

New MultiServe Skillet Meals for Two

EVOL has expanded its reach and flavor profile, as well as moves beyond the single serve market for the first time, with the introduction of the new MultiServe line of frozen entrees. Available in six flavors that are sure to appeal to everyone’s palate, the new MultiServe Skillet entree options take you on an exploration of flavor, creating new dishes that are meant for two.  The entrees are ready in just 10 minutes, combining the convenience of frozen food, with simple clean ingredients. Share the food love and EVOL goodness and take your dinner to the next level with one of the new MultiServe Skillet meals, including:

  • Uncured Bacon Mac & Cheese – a comfort food lover’s dream, this meal features elbow macaroni, crispy uncured bacon and peas, combined with a rich, delicious cheddar cheese sauce.
  • Thai Style Curry Chicken – EVOL’s first foray into Thai cuisine is sure to deliver on this authentic dish. With grilled white meat chicken, red bell peppers, baby corn, carrots, snap peas and white rice and a tasty Thai yellow curry sauce, this may become your new favorite dish.
  • Teriyaki Chicken – a new gluten free, classic dish features grilled white meat chicken, red and green bell peppers, snap peas, carrots, broccoli and brown rice with a zesty teriyaki sauce.
  • Grilled Chicken Parmesan – this Italian classic starts with grilled white meat chicken and brings together spinach, basil, penne pasta and parmesan cheese in a roasted garlic tomato sauce.
  • Chicken Tikka Masala – Indian comfort food with a hint of spice, this gluten free dish combines grilled white meat chicken, carrots, peas and white rice in a rich and creamy tikka masala sauce.
  • Butternut Squash and Sage Ravioli – enjoy the savory flavor combinations of a sage and roasted garlic sauce with grilled tomatoes and kale coating delicious ravioli stuffed with roasted butternut squash and ricotta cheese.

New Lean & Fit Entrees

Stay true to your New Year’s resolution to eat healthier with EVOL’s all-natural Lean & Fit meals.  This new line takes EVOL’s mission to love what you eat to a new level, further showing that you do not have to compromise on flavor or convenience when you choose to eat healthy. As with all of EVOL Foods’ entrees and classic dishes, these frozen entrees are made with simple, clean ingredients and no preservatives or artificial ingredients. The single-serve Lean & Fit meals are all 300 calories and Low in Fat.  The exciting flavors include:

  • Teriyaki Chicken – a healthy take on a classic favorite, including grilled white meat chicken, brown rice, red and green bell peppers, snap peas, carrots and broccoli tossed in teriyaki sauce.
  • Lemongrass Chicken - tender white meat chicken, brown rice, broccoli, carrots and snap peas all come together with a fragrant, delicious lemongrass sauce.
  • Chicken Tandoori – enjoy a lean version of this popular Indian dish with grilled white meat chicken, brown rice, roasted tomatoes, carrots and peas in a traditional tandoori sauce.
  • Chicken Penne Pomodoro – this classic dish will appeal to the pasta lover in anyone, with whole wheat penne, red & green bell peppers, zucchini, yellow squash, spinach and grilled white chicken in a roasted garlic tomato sauce.

The MultiServe Skillet Meals and Lean & Fit Meals will be available nationwide at Target, Harris Teter as well as in select grocery stores. The Multiserve Meals will retail for $6.99 to $8.49 and the Lean & Fit Meals will retail for $3.99-$4.99.

 

Jelly Belly Chairman Honored by International Confectionery Community with Lifetime Achievement Award

Herman G. Rowland Sr., Chairman of the Board for Jelly Belly Candy Company, received the first ISM Lifetime Achievement Award on January 26 at a formal gala dinner in Cologne, Germany. ISM, the world’s largest trade show of confectionery and snack products, honored Rowland with the show’s first award to kick off this year’s trade show.

Mr. Rowland receives the first ISM Lifetime Achievement Award. (from left to right): Gerald Böse, CEO Koelnmesse GmbH; Herman Goelitz Rowland Sr., Chairman of the Board, Jelly Belly Candy Company, Bastian Fassin, Chairman of the International Confectionery Fair Taskforce (ASIM)

Mr. Rowland receives the first ISM Lifetime Achievement Award. (from left to right): Gerald Böse, CEO Koelnmesse GmbH; Herman Goelitz Rowland Sr., Chairman of the Board, Jelly Belly Candy Company, Bastian Fassin, Chairman of the International Confectionery Fair Taskforce (ASIM)

Selected by an international jury of industry members, trade and science sectors, Rowland was delighted to accept the award from Bastian Fassin, Chairman of the International Confectionery Fair Taskforce (ASIM) and Gerald Böse, CEO Koelnmesse GmbH with an introduction from Salvatore Ferrara, President of the ICA, International Confectionery Association, and CEO of the Ferrara Pan Company in Chicago. The presenters praised Rowland for his creativity, initiative and good humor that distinguished him as a leader in the confectionery industry.

Jelly Belly Candy Company makes more than 100 flavors of Jelly Belly beans and more than 70 other confections, including gummies, seasonal lines, chocolate-covered treats, jells and mellocremes. Founded in 1898, Jelly Belly Candy Company is family owned and operated with the fourth, fifth and sixth generations of its founding family. Public tours are offered of the Fairfield, Calif. factory and Pleasant Prairie, Wisc. warehouse. For information about Jelly Belly jelly beans and Confections by Jelly Belly, visit http://www.jellybelly.com/. Connect with us on Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest and Google+.

Chefs Diet Completes Acquisition Of eDiets.com 950,000 Strong Customer Base

Chefs Diet Holding Co., LLC., the parent company of Chefs Diet National Co., LLC., has completed its acquisition of selected assets of eDiets.com’s home meal delivery business from the site’s parent As Seen On TV, Inc. As a company, eDiet.com had over 950k customer leads in its database, which generated approximately $17mm in revenues for 2012.

Chefs Diet intends to increase its footprint nationally by leveraging its strategic relationships in connection with an exclusive arrangement in connection with cutting-edge vacuum packaging technology, which provides a competitive advantage to deliver to the market nationally the freshest tasting products.

“This market is crying out for a gourmet provider of fresh, wholesome and varied food products that promote lasting weight loss and wellness on a national level,” states Kevin Glodek, founder and President of Chefs Diet National.
Glodek adds, “Providing consistent quality and customer service concurrently is key to our continued and future success. We feel our cutting-edge technologies in preparation and packaging coupled with our aggressive use of the Internet and social media will help us pave the way to a nationally recognized presence.”

Chefs Diet plans to maintain and supersede customer conversion and satisfaction seamlessly from eDiets.com. Chefs Diet is uniquely positioned to leverage eDiet’s national brand and great market exposure, including its high profile sponsorships such as “The Biggest Loser,” according to the company. Last January alone, eDiets.com had 1,450,623 page views and 468,965 target customers enter its website, which now redirects to Chefs Diet as a part of the acquisition.