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Marin French Cheese Takes Best of Class Award at World Championship Cheese Contest

Marin French Cheese’s Triple Crème Brie with Black Truffles took the coveted Best of Class Award for flavored soft-ripened cheese at the World Championship Cheese Contest in Madison, Wisconsin, March 7-9, 2016.

Marin French Truffle BrieMade with fresh cow’s milk and cream from neighboring Marin County dairies, Triple Crème Brie specked with Black Truffles lends itself to an irresistibly earthy aroma of mushrooms balanced with sweet cream, each year earning high distinctions in regional, national and international contests alike.

Other honors conferred to the Marin French team of dedicated cheesemakers during this recent competition include third place in the soft-ripened category for Petite Supreme, a high butterfat, extra-crème cheese with an aroma of sweet milk, and fourth place for Traditional Brie in the brie category.

Equally impressive, Sonoma-based sister company, Laura Chenel’s, received accolades once again this year for its creamy, fluffy-textured Original Chabis fresh goat cheese, garnering third place in the Soft Goat Milk Cheese category. The Orange Blossom Honey Log won its first award at the event, placing third in the Flavored Soft Goat Milk Cheese with Sweet Condiments category, while the Chabis Garlic took a fourth place prize in Soft Goat Milk Cheese category. Laura Chenel’s Original Buchette was recognized with a fifth place award.

“Each year we are impressed by the increasing level of competition at this highly regarded competition,” says General Manager Philippe Chevrollier. “We are very proud of our cheesemaking teams at both Marin French and Laura Chenel’s for being such strong contenders where ingenuity, skill and know-how are key,” he adds.

The World Championship Cheese Contest, established in 1957, is organized by the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association. This year, the organization saw a record 2,955 entries from 23 countries and 31 states. For a full list of awards go to http://wccc.myentries.org/contest/results?event=59 .

 

Rice Brands Earn Non-GMO Certification

Riviana Foods Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Ebro Foods, S.A., has announced that its leading rice brands: Minute®, Carolina®, Mahatma®, Success®, Blue Ribbon®, Comet®, Adolphus®, Gourmet House® and RiceSelect® have earned the Non‐GMO Project Verification on its rice products. This verification is yet another way Riviana is demonstrating its commitment to providing consumers with up-to-date product information and responding to consumer-driven trends.

“Consumers want to know not just what’s in their food but also where it comes from,” said Paul Galvani, Senior Vice President of Marketing of Riviana. “In the future, companies will succeed by having full ingredient transparency, allowing consumers to make informed choices. Brands that are silent on the issue run a risk of losing consumer trust. We are proud to be leading the way in the rice category earning Non-GMO Project Verification,” said Galvani.

Over 175 rice products from Minute, Carolina, Mahatma, Success, Blue Ribbon, Comet, Adolphus, Gourmet House and RiceSelect will carry the new verification seal on the front of the packages, where it is easy to spot. Riviana rice products bearing the Non-GMO Project Verified logo began appearing on grocery shelves across the country in 2016.

Technomic Study Finds Millennials Increasingly Reliant on Retail Foodservice Options

As the battle for share of stomach rages on, the retail foodservice industry continues to grow. An updated study released by Technomic—the 2015 “Retailer Meal Solutions (RMS) Consumer Trend Report” —finds that consumers are purchasing RMS more often; 84 percent now purchase RMS at least once a month compared to just 79 percent in 2012. This increase is largely driven by younger consumers aged 18–34, who are increasingly reliant on foodservice in general.

“Further enhancing the in-store experience and innovating with differentiated, restaurant-quality menu items will help retail-prepared food operators continue to steal share of stomach,” says Kelly Weikel, Director of Consumer Insights at Technomic. “Operators and suppliers can appeal to consumers by offering dishes featuring new and ethnic flavors, such as spicy Asian flavors and regional Latin flavors.”

Compiling findings from more than 1,500 U.S. consumers, as well as Technomic’s MenuMonitor and Digital Resource Library, the comprehensive 2015 “Retailer Meal Solutions Consumer Trend Report” will help better position brands and products for success in retail prepared-food areas by understanding market shifts and how to capitalize on opportunities.

Key takeaways from the report include:

  • RMS purchases are often made at the expense of fast-food visits: 49 percent of all respondents—and 60 percent of Millennials—are visiting fast-food restaurants less often as a result of their increased RMS purchases
  • C-store RMS is gaining ground; nearly half of consumers aged 18–34 purchase it at least once a week
  • Drugstore RMS has a loyal following; though just 19 percent of all consumers have ever purchased RMS from drugstores, 43 percent of those who do purchase it, buy it at least once a week

A full library of Technomic’s consumer trend reports can be found at www.technomic.com/ctr.

Cooking Matters Program Helps Low-Income Families Eat Better

Six weeks is all it takes to make a significant difference in the life of a hungry child, according to a new report from No Kid Hungry. A new study by an independent evaluation firm shows that No Kid Hungry’s Cooking Matters program – a six-week cooking, shopping and nutrition course for low-income families – has a powerful and sustained impact. Families report shopping smarter, eating healthier, and preparing more meals at home even six months after completing the course. What’s more – they no longer regularly worry that their food might run out each month.

The study’s key findings include:

  • Families have increased confidence in the kitchen. More than 10 percent of participants said they felt more confident in their cooking skills, and 11 percent see fewer barriers to making healthy, affordable meals. In the months following the course, participants progressively made more meals at home.
  • Families are eating healthier, putting them at lower risk for diet-related diseases. Over the course of six months, families ate more fruits and vegetables. Families also reached for low-sodium options 11 percent more often, low-fat dairy 9 percent more often, and lean protein and whole grains 8 percent more often.
  • Families are more confident that they’ll be able to afford enough food. Before taking the course, families sometimes worried that food might run out each month. Six months later, participants reported they rarely worry. Seventeen percent said they were more confident in stretching food dollars due to strategies they learned, like planning meals, shopping with a list and comparing unit prices.

For many low-income families, cooking feels impossible due to time constraints, the perceived expense of healthy foods, and/or the lack of know-how to cook nutritious, tasty meals. No Kid Hungry’s Cooking Matters teaches participants to stretch their food budget, use nutritional information to make healthier choices, and cook delicious, affordable meals for the family.

“[I’m now] walking into the vegetable department and actually looking instead of saying ‘I’m not going to touch that,” said one participant from Maine. “There are a lot of good things out there.”

Since the program was founded in 1993, No Kid Hungry has empowered 369,000 families with cooking and shopping skills through Cooking Matters. In 2016 alone, the goal is to reach over 80,000 families nationally.

“Today, one in five children in the United States doesn’t have the food they need to grow and thrive. Cooking Matters is changing that statistic for families across the country,” said Billy Shore, Founder and CEO, Share Our Strength. “A recent long-term analysis of the program shows it has a powerful and sustainable impact, teaching families how to cook and shop for healthy food on a budget. This type of food resource management is an important component of reducing hunger and food insecurity.”

Research was conducted by the independent health systems research organization Altarum Institute, and looked at 1,600+ study participants, including families taking a Cooking Matters course and a comparison group of families who did not take the course, from April 2014 to March 2015. They were surveyed before the course began, and three and six months after it finished.

Delicious Dairy Products Going Greek at Clover

In celebration of its centennial anniversary, Clover introduces its newest dairy delicacy, an organic nonfat Greek yogurt line to add to its selection of more than 175 dairy products, which range from natural and organic milks, butter and cheese, to craft ice cream. The company’s superior-quality organic Greek yogurt is carefully crafted in authentic Greek tradition, using fresh Clover organic nonfat milk and the finest of premium organic fruits. Silky smooth and mildly tangy, this authentically-strained yogurt has a thick, creamy texture to delight all palates. Clover’s Greek yogurt comes from happy cows that enjoy American Humane Certified, family-owned farms. With the highest standards for quality, environmental stewardship and animal welfare in the industry, these happy cows produce the best organic milk on the market.

“Our Greek yogurts are available in five delicious flavors and make great snacks – packed with protein, calcium and live cultures that make them the perfect addition to a healthy diet,” said Clover President and Chief Executive Officer Marcus Benedetti. “And true to our passion for excellence, they contain no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.”

Clover organic Greek yogurts are also free of antibiotics and growth hormones and not fortified with powders or unnecessary unpronounceable additives. Authentically strained and with a smooth, creamy texture, Clover organic Greek yogurts are also less tangy than many other Greek yogurts. Each fruit variety is bursting with flavor and whole nutrients, with the second ingredient listed being premium organic fruit next to the first ingredient of Clover organic nonfat milk. Sweet and tangy come together in the classic Blueberry Greek Yogurt, which combines floral and jammy notes of organic blueberries. Savor the fresh-picked essence of sweet, sun-kissed peaches plucked from the tree that perfectly pair with the milk to make a creamy Peach Greek Yogurt treat. And prepare to fall in love with the flavorful Black Cherry Greek Yogurt, exploding with tart organic cherries with subtle floral notes of cassis and fresh-baked pie. America’s favorite flavor got better, too. Clover blended its fresh milk with aromatic vanilla bean to create a rich, tantalizing Vanilla Greek Yogurt that’s perfect for breakfast, a healthy snack or nutritious smoothie. And the Plain Greek Yogurt is anything but plain – this rich yogurt has a luxurious mouth-feel and texture, perfect in pure form or with other foods.

Roundy’s Names Two New Presidents

The Kroger Co. has announced the promotion of Michael Marx, currently Vice President of People Operations for Kroger, to serve as President of Roundy’s Supermarkets, Wisconsin, effective April 1. The company also announced the promotion of Don Rosanova, currently Executive Vice President of Operations for Roundy’s, to President of Mariano’s, effective immediately. Both leaders will report to Roundy’s CEO, Bob Mariano.

Michael Marx Promoted to President of Roundy’s Wisconsin

Kroger promoted Michael Marx to serve as President of Roundy’s Wisconsin.

“Michael’s knowledge of store operations and merchandising, combined with his expertise in human resources and organizational effectiveness, will serve him well in this role. He builds strong teams of leaders and associates who work together to deliver business results.” said Mariano. “Michael’s leadership skills and business knowledge make him an excellent addition to our Roundy’s team in Wisconsin.”

Marx joined Kroger in 1975 as a stocker at the former Highland Village store in Houston. After completing the management development program, he served in numerous leadership positions through the years, including store and district management and produce, floral and natural foods merchandiser. He was promoted to director of regional operations for the Southwest division in 2006, and to vice president of operations in 2007. He was named vice president of transition at Kroger’s general office in Cincinnati in 2011 and took on his current role earlier this year.

Don Rosanova Promoted to President of Mariano’s

Kroger promoted Don Rosanova to serve as President of Mariano’s.

Rosanova has served in his current role as Executive Vice President of Operations for Roundy’s since May 2006. He previously served as group vice president—supply chain from 2002 to 2006. Before joining Roundy’s, Rosanova was vice president of operations of Edward Don & Company, a provider of foodservices supplies and equipment, from 1999 to 2002. He also served as group vice president of operations at Dominick’s Finer Foods from 1996 to 1998, and held various management positions within Dominick’s from 1971 to 1996 in the greater Chicagoland area.

“Don has been my partner in building the Mariano’s brand and I could not have built this without his leadership,” said Mariano. “His passion for excellence has made him a well-respected leader within the Roundy’s and retail grocery community. Don has been an integral part of the success of the Mariano’s stores since its inception, and we look forward to him continuing that journey as we grow the Mariano’s business.”

Retail Ramen Goes Gourmet

Innovative soup, broth and noodle purveyor Nona Lim has a new line of authentic and fresh ramen noodles. Quality fresh ramen noodles are what differentiates restaurant-grade ramen bowls from all the rest and with this exciting new line from Nona Lim, the highest level of fresh ramen noodles will be available to the home cook for the first time. With Nona Lim Tokyo Ramen, Nona Lim Hakata Ramen and Nona Lim Whole Wheat Ramen, there is truly something to suit the taste of all ramen enthusiasts nationwide.

“Nona Lim Ramen Noodles empower home chefs to create truly gourmet ramen bowls,” says Nona Lim Founder Nona Lim. “We are so excited to share the secret ingredient of ramen houses with the world because fresh ramen noodles make any ramen bowl thrillingly delicious.”

nonalim editphoto1Just as there are many different types of pasta, there are many types of ramen. Tokyo Ramen is originally from the capital of Japan and is also the most popular type of ramen around the world. Nona Lim Tokyo Noodles are a great place to start for any home chef. Nona Lim Hakata Ramen is pale and very thin, which allows it to be cooked more quickly with a unique delicate texture. Pair it with its Miso Ramen or Spicy Szechuan broths for a hot bowl of noodles in minutes. Nona Lim Whole Wheat Ramen puts a California twist on traditional ramen recipes. Nona Lim’s Whole Wheat Ramen has a natural brown hue, and more nutrients and fiber.

Home chefs can either create their own homemade broths to pair with Nona Lim Ramen Noodles or pick up a fresh Nona Lim broth for a truly gourmet dining experience ready in minutes. Nona Lim Thai Curry and Lime Broth, for example, won a Gold sofi Award in 2015 for it’s spectacular flavor. Made with a traditional bone broth base and spiced to perfection, Nona Lim Thai Curry and Lime Broth, a few sliced veggies and proteins and a Nona Lim fresh ramen noodle package can create a dinner the whole family will love in under 10 minutes. Other Nona Lim broths include Nona Lim Vietnamese Pho Bone Broth, Nona Lim Szechuan Spicy Bone Broth and Nona Lim Miso Ramen Vegan Broth.

Nona Lim Fresh Ramen Noodles and all Nona Lim products are made without additives or preservatives of any kind and sold fresh in the refrigerated section of fine stores.

Coco Libre Reveals Three Reasons to Choose ‘From Concentrate’

Back in the day, “from concentrate” meant that a beverage was overprocessed, nutritionally empty and would probably taste funny. Back then, the choice between “fresh” or “from concentrate” was a no-brainer.

But food science and beverage manufacturing have come a long way since then. In today’s globalized beverage manufacturing system, “from concentrate” means something much more positive. As a company whose core ingredient comes from the Philippines, Coco Libre stakes its reputation on “from concentrate” giving consumers everything they demand and deserve. How is this possible? Here are three reasons why.

First, Coco Libre’s low-energy concentration method makes use of advances in no- and low-heat methods to retain maximum nutrition and flavor quality. The process involves the cold-concentration method known as reverse osmosis, or RO, to gently remove a majority of water while retaining all of the nutrition and flavor components. This ultra-premium, low-energy method removes water from fruit juices by means of special filters. Additional water is then removed under a vacuum at a minimal temperature to maintain the highest level of quality and nutritional integrity.

Bringing concentrate to the U.S. has considerably less overall energy impact compared with unconcentrated coconut water. The Philippines, where the young, green coconuts that go into Coco Libre’s concentrate grow, is more than 8,000 miles away from California, where Coco Libre beverages are made. After water is removed, the concentrated coconut water weighs less, resulting in a three-times carbon impact reduction.

The coconut water concentrate, with nutrition and flavor intact, then goes into Coco Libre beverages that are made in the USA. That enables the company to deliver beverages that embody the trust and quality Coco Libre customers expect. That level of assurance isn’t currently possible for beverage manufacturing at the ingredient source, so Coco Libre chose to make beverages close to home at facilities certified by GFSI (Global Food Safety Initiative) with SQF (Safe Quality Food).

But do consumers understand? “We still have work to do there,” says Candace Crawford, Chief Executive Officer of Maverick Brands, Coco Libre’s parent company. “The average consumer doesn’t know about all the advances in manufacturing and quality efforts behind the scenes. So we have to show how every decision we make, in the end, is aimed at bringing them a better tasting, better functioning product.”

And the Winner Is…

California’s Artisan Cheese Festival selected winners last week in a Saturday night celebration entitled “California Cheesin’.”

Peloton Catering

Peloton Catering

First prize went to Peloton Catering for Beehive Cheese Potato Bacon Fondue.

Chef Austin Perkins and Kelly Spaan from Nick's Cove

Chef Austin Perkins and Kelly Spaan from Nick’s Cove

Dungeness Crab and Point Reyes Toma Fried Mac n' Cheese

Dungeness Crab and Point Reyes Toma Fried Mac n’ Cheese

Second place went to Block Butcher Bar for  Toast with Dairy Goddess Farmstead “The Valley” Fromage Blanc with House Cured Lomo, Pickled Onion, Arugula, Olive Oil and Maldon Salt, and third place went to Nick’s Cove Restaurant – for Pt. Reyes Toma & Dungeness Crab Fried Mac n Cheese.

 

 

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