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Specialty Food Association Launches First Consumer Ad Campaign


The Specialty Food Association is launching its first-ever ad campaign and retail test designed to build consumer awareness and engagement with specialty food.  The theme is “Celebrate Specialty Food. Craft. Care. Joy.”

The tests come as sales of specialty food have topped $100 billion for the first time and continue to climb, and as industry growth far outpaces that of conventional food.

“Consumers want the very best from the food they buy. They want distinctive products they trust made by people who care,” says Ann Daw, president of the224188LOGO Specialty Food Association. “Now is the moment for specialty food.”

The brand “Specialty Food. Craft. Care. Joy.,” first launched by the Association two years ago with an industry-only marketing campaign, serves to define specialty food as a category and the myriad products within it, from chocolate, cheese and olive oil to savory snacks.

The consumer effort has two key elements: a retail and online test in New York and New Jersey, and a multi-faceted ad campaign in New York featuring four specialty food makers who share the stories behind their products.

The test coincides with the Association’s 2015 Summer Fancy Food Show in New York. The show is the largest marketplace devoted exclusively to specialty food in North America. It runs June 28 – 30 at Javits Center.

The retail test, starting this week and next, is with three retailers whose business is built on specialty food: Kings Food Markets, Morton Williams and the online fresh food grocer FreshDirect. Each test is unique to the retailer, and each features different foods and beverages from members of the Specialty Food Association.

Some of the 100 products featured include pickles from Brooklyn Brine Co., goat cheese from Cypress Grove Chevre, chocolate chip cookies from Tate’s Bake Shop, toasted coconut chips from Dang Foods, crackers from Partners Crackers, vanilla from Nielsen-Massey Vanillas and frozen entrées from Saffron Road Foods.

The stores will have focused displays of specialty foods, extensive signage, in-store sampling, promotional discounts, and inclusion in weekly circulars and online messaging. Each test will run for several weeks. Based on sales results and shopper interviews, the Specialty Food Association hopes to expand the test to different U.S. markets in 2016.

“Our vision is for retailers across the country and with different formats to embrace the category of specialty food and the passion our member companies bring to their work creating distinctive products,” Daw says. “It is our industry that is helping to change the way people eat.”

The advertising campaign was created by Madwell, a Brooklyn-based creative agency that has worked with several members of the Specialty Food Association. Edgewood Consulting Group, Parsippany, N.J., is working with the Association to manage the in-store tests at Kings and Morton Williams.

Eat Y’All to Debut at Dallas Market

Under the umbrella of their Eat Y’all brand, Marianna and Andy Chapman will open their first wholesale showroom at the Dallas Market Center next week in conjunction with the Dallas Total Home & Gift Show.

From small-town farming backgrounds and with entrepreneurial success spanning two decades, the combination of Marianna and Andy Chapman’s diverse experiences mean profits for their wholesale customers.

Marianna grew up on a farm in the hills of Mississippi where she spent summers assisting her father in farming and her mother in the gardening and canning efforts that would feed their family of six over the winter months. Later, she owned her own business consulting firm that advised retail businesses and made her a popular speaker at retail business events such as AmericasMart University and the National Main Street Conference. With an appreciation for fresh flavors and local ingredients and an understanding of food production and retail business, Marianna’s love of food met her love for business when she married Andy in 2008.

From a programming and Internet business background and as a self-taught expert griller and food connoisseur, Andy launched a marketing experiment called Eat Jackson in 2009 that went on to become Mississippi’s most influential food media company. He went on to expand the company with the birth of the Eat Y’all brand in 2013 to share the stories of those that fill the South with flavor.

Andy grew up as the middle of seven children, and as such developed a masterful ability to be creative with available groceries. In 2012, his skill saved the day when Marianna discovered just moments before guests arrived that she’d forgotten to buy the sauce for a neighborhood barbecue party. A few minutes later, their six-year-old daughter, whose nickname is Sugar Taylor, was standing on a stool stirring Andy’s concoction with a wooden spoon before serving it to the rave reviews of guests who were eager to take home the leftovers of the newly dubbed “Sugar Taylor Sauce.”

For months afterwards, Marianna used her farm upbringing to can enough Sugar Taylor Sauce to satisfy the seemingly endless demands of friends and family who would repeatedly leave their empty Mason jars on the Chapman’s back porch with refill requests. As the versatility of Sugar Taylor Sauce became apparent, demand continued to expand until early December 2013 when the Chapman’s three children canvassed their neighborhood promising Christmas delivery of commercially packaged Sugar Taylor Sauce. The children sold enough in one afternoon to pay for the first bottling run!

With a deadline set, the Chapmans found themselves in the artisan gourmet business just as unexpectedly as they’d found themselves in the food media business a few years earlier, this time with a sales team composed of their minor children leading the way.

Since then, they’ve experienced booming demand for their unique and versatile collection of pantry products and will share bold Southern flavors with the opening of their showroom in B14 at the Gourmet Market in the World Trade Center in Dallas, Texas, next week, an opening highlighted by two live cooking demonstrations at the Culinary Bar in the atrium of the World Trade Center at 4:20 on Wednesday and Thursday, June 24 and 25.

The Eat Y’all Southern Food Products collection featured in their new showroom will include Sugar Taylor Sauce as well as June Bugg Rub, the nickname of their 15-year-old son who helped create it. They will also be showcasing their curated collection of Southern-made artisan gourmet products including Bonney’s Hot Sauce, Delta Blues Rice (long grain rice, rice grits and brown rice) and Valine’s Famous Cocktail Sauce. In addition, Andy’s grilling expertise will come to bear as he presents a brand new premium ceramic grill and outdoor furniture line called the Gourmet Guru Grill along with a full line of grilling accessories. This is the Dallas Market debut for all of the products.

Eat Y’all exists to share the stories of those that fill the South with flavor including farmers, chefs, food makers, pit masters, brewers, distillers, food writers and event creators through a weekly podcast called Let’s Eat, Y’all as well as a blog, YouTube channel, culinary events and a collection of curated Southern-made artisan gourmet and grilling products available through their Official Retailer Program. Follow them online at or @letseatyall on social media. Eat Y’all is a family business based in Gulfport, Mississippi.

Inaugural Olive Oil Conference to Focus on Health Benefits, Cooking Techniques and Flavor Profiles

The North American Olive Oil Association (NAOOA) — a non-profit group that promotes the health, versatility and authenticity of all types of olive oil for North American consumers — announces registration is open for its inaugural Olive Oil Conference  — “Spend Wisely on Olive Oil”— to be held Aug. 25 and 26 at the Westin O’Hare, near Chicago in Rosemont, Illinois.

“North Americans love heart-healthy olive oils,” says Eryn Balch, NAOOA Executive Vice-President. “Even though flavor and health benefits have led to its use in more than 50 percent of households, we still have a long way to go. Mediterranean consumers use 11 to 15 liters of olive oil a year, much more than North Americans who consume only about one liter per year. Communication is key: Surveys show many consumers still have questions about how and what type of olive oilthey should use when cooking— and what they should be looking for when purchasing olive oil.”

The conference, targeted toward olive oil enthusiasts including food industry and foodservice professionals; retail buyers, category managers and salespeople; chefs; nutritionists; dietitians; educators and consumers — will educate attendees about the health benefits of olive oil, techniques to incorporate olive oil into a range of recipes for home and restaurant cooks, and what to look for when tasting individual oils.

Award-winning chef and cookbook author Seamus Mullen will demonstrate the range of olive oils in diverse cooking techniques from roasting and frying to replacing butter in baked goods. He’ll show how olive oil works in various world cuisines as well. Chef Mullen, behind New York City hotspots Tertulia and El Colmado Butchery, is the author of “Hero Food: How Cooking with Delicious Things Can Make Us Feel Better” and a three-time semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef New York City. He credits olive oil as a tool in his fight against rheumatoid arthritis.

Dr. Connie Guttersen, R.D., New York Times-bestselling author of “The Sonoma Diet” and “The Sonoma Cookbook,” will be speaking about the health, flavor, and nutritional benefits of olive oils compared to other cooking oils and fats. She’ll also be demonstrating recipes and sharing tips for cooking with olive oil at home. Guttersen is a registered dietitian and an instructor at the world-famous Culinary Institute of America.

All attendees will have opportunities to practice olive oil tasting techniques and discover the finer points of sensory, or organoleptic, assessment based on methods from International Extra Virgin Olive Oil Savantes. Simon Field, founder, is a producer of organic olive products and an olive industry consultant who has traveled to growing regions worldwide and tasted thousands of olive oils. Participants will experience olive oils through taste, sight and smell and learn how practice can educate the palate. Attendees may also choose to enter the North American Extra Virgin Olive Oil Taster’s Championship, which will test skills such as identifying different varieties and regions, ranking intensities, and detecting faults.

Hayley Stevens Miller, a graduate from the Corso Superiore at the renowned Italian culinary school, Alma, in Parma, Italy, will also be demonstrating olive oil in restaurant cooking.  She honed her olive oil bona fides in kitchens from the north to south of Italy, including the two Michelin-starred restaurant Don Alfonso.

“People are returning in droves to diets of whole, natural and unprocessed foods. And olive oil fits in perfectly,” adds Balch. “It’s an oil that comes simply — direct from crushed fruit. Olive oil has such unique benefits as well — benefits that don’t come with any other cooking oil. The conference is a perfect opportunity to learn what makes olive oil so unique and to stay up to date with what’s happening in the industry. It’s all designed to help attendees grow their expertise and expand their use of olive oil to better connect with customers and meet the needs of today’s sophisticated consumer.”

For a complete schedule of events, additional information and to register for the Spend Wisely on Olive Oil Conference, visit For more about the North American Olive Oil Association, visit


New Tahini Flavors from Sunshine International Foods

Sunshine International Foods just announced the addition of five new flavors to its existing line of pasteurized flavored Sesame King Tahini pastes. The new flavors include Olive Oil, Honey, Garlic, Cajun and Chocolate. Each flavor is rich in proteins and vitamins, made with no additives or preservatives, peanut free, trans fat free, gluten free, kosher certified and non-GMO.

Sunshine International Foods is the only manufacturer to pasteurize its tahini to ensure a clean, healthy and safe product for consumer usage. The new flavors are the direct result of the success and consumer acceptances of the company’s Sesame King Roasted and Light Roast flavored tahini.

Sesame King Tahini pastes are made from 100 percent pure ground sesame seeds. The sesame seeds are shipped directly from the farms to the Sunshine International Foods facility and are sifted, hulled, roasted and ground to perfection. Each Sesame King Tahini is all natural, with a subtle, delightful aroma, rich with texture and delicious taste. Sunshine International Foods mechanically hulls its sesame seeds, meaning no chemicals or hulling agents are used during the manufacturing process.

“We are very excited to be introducing our new five flavors of Sesame King Tahini pastes to retailers and consumers across the United States,” said Emile Maroun of Sunshine International Foods. “Consumers and retailers are looking for safe, new, exciting and innovated healthy products, and we believe that our Sesame King Tahini pastes meet and exceed those expectations.”

Sesame King Tahini pastes provide consumers with a powerful nutritional food choice that packs a kaleidoscope of superior flavors and the following healthier inclusions:

  • Tahini is richer in protein than milk, yogurt, almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, walnuts, soy, sunflower, wheat germ and pecan nuts.
  • Tahini contains natural lecithin, which reduces blood fat levels and provides protection from environmental pollutants such as nicotine.
  • Tahini provides substantial amounts of many vitamins including Vitamin E, which slows the aging of body cells and helps maintain proper focusing of the eyes.
  • Tahini is also one of the best sources of Vitamin T (very few foods are). Vitamin T improves memory and concentration in combination with phosphorous also present in Tahini, providing a potent brain and nerve food.

“As a leading manufacturer of tahini, our never-ending goal is to produce tahini products that taste great and provide consumers with a healthy food choice. Healthy is good. Healthy and tasty is fantastic,” added Maroun.

Sesame King Tahini pastes come in 16-ounce plastic jars and are available in the following seven delicious flavors:

Sesame King Roasted Tahini – This tahini flavor can be used for a variety of savory and sweet recipes. It’s the perfect complement for hummus, sauces, dressings and can really enhance the taste of any type of seafood, chicken or lamb dish. Eat straight from the jar for a healthy alternative to peanut butter.

Sesame King Light Roast Tahini – This tahini flavor is a fan favorite. Just the right amount of roasted flavor that is perfect for mixed green salads, cold noodle salads, as a marinade or as a mix for coleslaw.

Sesame King Garlic Tahini – This tahini flavor is the perfect complement to an array of dishes and takes fish, chicken or lamb into the next stratosphere.

Sesame King Olive Oil Tahini – This tahini flavor is perfect for those unique salads and sauces and is a true enhancer for roasted potatoes and vegetables.

Sesame King Cajun Tahini – This tahini flavor packs a powerful punch of pungent flavor and aroma that takes seafood, chicken or lamb to the next level. Try it as a topping or dip and see where its lands on your dipping meter.

Sesame King Honey Tahini – This tahini flavor delivers an irresistible flavor that is sure to tame the biggest sweet tooth and is the perfect healthy alternative to halvah.

Sesame King Chocolate Tahini – This tahini flavor is so versatile and delicious it can be used as a dip, as a spread on toast, drizzle it on your favorite vegetables, or eat straight from the jar.

Sesame King Tahini can be found at such fine retailers as Whole Food Markets, Market Basket, Restaurant Depots and many other fine markets and specialty health food stores or order online at

Sangria and Gazpacho from Bodega Barcelona

Sangria and gazpacho are two traditional staples of Mediterranean culture that have been exported around the world. Bodega Barcelona celebrates this cherished heritage with their refreshing products Sangria LOLEA and Mucho Gazpacho.

Bodega Barcelona sangriaSangria Lolea, combines tradition and culture to make the perfect combination of wine and fruit, with a frizzante touch. LOLEA is made with all-natural ingredients designed from the best grape varietals. Sangria LOLEA is produced and bottled in Aragon (Northeast of Spain) – the wine region of Calatayud – and its preparation involves more than 25 processes while keeping an artisanal touch intact.

In addition to its fine taste, LOLEA adds a sophisticated flare of style to any brunch, dinner or celebration. LOLEA’s unique presentation projects the outgoing Mediterranean attitude. LOLEA’s packaging has been widely applauded and collected several accolades: honing in on every detail regarding all aspects of design, including the vessel shape, its eye-catching sleeve label, and a consumer friendly swing top cap, in addition to all of its sharp branding and communication tools.

Sangria LOLEA is present in 30 countries on five continents and sold mainly in gourmet departments and specialty stores as well as bars, restaurants and upscale grocery stores. Lolea No.1 Red and No.2 Clarea (White) are both sold in standard 750 ml bottles and new 8-ounce  single-serve mini-bottles for convenience, perfect for picnic baskets and coolers.

Bodega Barcelona gazpachoMucho Gazpacho, an amazing blend of all natural vegetables, presents a traditional recipe in a ready to drink form. Perfect for warm-summer days, this refreshing beverage, will not only quench the thirst of consumers, but also provides nutritious benefits. Blended with, tomatoes, cucumbers, red bell peppers and other great fresh ingredients from the local orchards Mucho Gazpacho is prepared and bottled in Spain, in a region where the best tomatoes are grown.

Mucho Gazpacho is available in 8-ounce glass bottles that can be merchandised in the refrigerated deli section of gourmet and specialty stores, as it’s better served chilled.

Bodega Barcelona will be in the North Hall at the Summer Fancy Food Show.

Variety on Display at Summer Fancy Food Show

By Micah Cheek

Summer Fancy Food Show is upon us. Gourmet News has singled out five companies to look out for on the convention center floor. From old institutions to young guns, these exhibitors are sure to draw interest.

Spiceologist, the company that created the Spiceologist Block, is back with new spice blends. The new Thai Peanut Rub will be up for taste testing at the booth, as well as the Maui Wowwwy Rub. Thai Peanut is a spicy blend of dehydrated peanut butter, coconut, and Thai spices. Maui Wowwwy is the first-ever all natural teriyaki rub and is composed of dehydrated pineapple, powdered Tamari soy sauce, Chinese spices, chiles, and black sesame seeds. Be on the lookout for a Naked Sea Arum Gold Salt as well, which is enriched with 24 karat gold dust. The Spiceologist Block is back and available with a collection of custom ordered spices from Spiceologist’s catalog of over 120 herbs, spices and salts. In addition to the “Choose Your Own Spice” feature, The Spiceologist Block has the optional feature of laser wood engraving. CEO Pete Taylor is also excited to reach out with his new initiative for chefs, offering Spiceologist’s dynamic herbs and spices wholesale for restaurants and institutions.

With matcha on everyone’s superfood list this year, AOI Teas is ready to provide 100 years of expertise on the subject. Recent studies indicating matcha’s high antioxidant and potassium levels are boosting the appeal of the powdered tea leaves. AOI has the capacity to provide any volume from 30 grams to thousands of kilos of matcha in any grade, including certified organic matcha. Budding tea enthusiasts will enjoy traditional supplies and accessories to host their own Japanese tea ceremony. AOI Teas’ booth will feature taste testing of different grades of matcha as well as flavored blends.

Biena Foods’ booth is rolling out a new look and new packaging sizes for all natural Chickpea Snacks. The bold brand redesign will be unveiled this year as well as larger five ounce bags. The five ounce bags, shown for the first time at Summer Fancy Food Show, are more family sized and made for the home pantry. Healthy snacks for children are a big topic this year, and Biena is keeping to that trend with high protein baked chickpeas that are all free of the eight most common food allergens. Their great new look will direct even more attention to this health focused brand. The newest Chickpea Snack flavor, the medium spicy Habanero, has all the heat and crunch of spicy chips with low fat and high fiber. You can try out all five sweet and savory flavors at the booth.

Frontier Soups is unveiling two new soup mixes this year. In a nod to global influences and ethnic-inspired current trends, Frontier’s Pacific Rim Gingered Carrot Soup is influenced by Thai flavors, and is also inspired by Indian dal. Consumers add fresh carrots, chicken or vegetable broth and coconut milk to complete the mix. Frontier Soups also has a classic comfort food, the Kentucky Homestead Chicken and Rice Soup. Jasmine rice, daikon radish seeds, and baby garbanzo beans combine to make a filling and satisfying dish. Lemon and oregano seasonings enhance the rich flavors of chicken and rice. The colorful blend of dried carrots, freeze dried spinach and red radish seeds looks as good on the shelf as it does in a bowl. Pacific Rim Gingered Carrot and Kentucky Homestead Chicken and Rice continue a tradition of all natural mixes to make wholesome meals for family and friends. Both new soups will be available for sampling.

We know we can count on Enstrom for tasty toffees. Enstrom will be wrapping its iconic candies in exciting new packaging this year. The rebranding will feature a new logo and brand mark as well as a variety of new pack sizes. Enstrom will also be unveiling bar boxes, each holding four individual pieces of classic milk chocolate or dark chocolate almond toffee. Come to the booth to see Enstrom’s new look and get a taste of their Milk Chocolate Almond Toffee Singles.

Pereg Gourmet to Introduce Quinoa Flour at SFFS

Pereg Gourmet, a producer of premium, natural spices and spice blends, bread crumbs, ancient grains and quinoa products, will introduce GMO-free, gluten-free quinoa flour at the Summer Fancy Food Show, June 28-30, 2015.

In addition to Pereg’s latest offering, quinoa flour, Pereg has been a leader in introducing a full line of quinoa products including quinoa pasta, quinoa pops cereal, and pre-seasoned quinoa side dishes to North America.

“Quinoa is a gluten free-product, perhaps the fastest growing market segment in the food industry today. While cutting out gluten from one’s diet may seem like a difficult and limiting task, fortunately, Pereg offers many healthy and delicious products that are naturally gluten-free. With our variety of quinoa gluten free products, and recipes for tasty preparation available on our website, consumers can enjoy many delicious foods while maintaining a healthy diet,” says Gil Schneider, Pereg Gourmet President.

Pereg Gourmet was established in 1906, and is a family owned business, based in Clifton, New Jersey. The company first became known for pure and natural spices and spice blends, more than 60 in all, from traditional favorites to exotics from around the culinary world.

Beyond spices, Pereg produces lines of flavored basmati rice, couscous, farro, salad toppings and salad spreads. All Pereg products are kosher certified by the Orthodox Union (OU), are dairy and lactose-free as well as all natural, with no additives or preservatives. Many  are also certified gluten-free and non-GMO.

Chocolate That’s Good for Your Health

LAvle USA 1Lavle, from The Good Chocolate Company, is the only finished chocolate or cocoa product on the market that gives consumers their daily 200 mg of cocoa flavanols in a single 10 g portion. It sources only the highest flavanol-percentage cocoa bean varieties. But more importantly, its mild post-harvest treatments preserve the beans’ naturally present health components.

Rich and velvety, with a deep, roasted cocoa flavor rounded out by a subtle sweetness, Lavle preserves both what’s indulgent and truly “good” about chocolate in a bite-size portion.

The bag retails for $12.99 for 5.25 ounces (150 g).

The product is currently only available on the East Coast and will be making its debut on the American market at the Natural Products Expo East, September 17-19 in Baltimore, Maryland.

For orders and additional information, email Good Chocolate Imports at  or call 954.357.2509.

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