Get Adobe Flash player

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.

FDA Removes Partially Hydrogenated Oils from GRAS List

As just announced in its June 16 press release, the Food and Drug Administration has finalized its determination that partially hydrogenated oils, the primary food manufacturing source of trans fats, are not “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) for foods, giving grocery manufacturers three years to remove them entirely from food products.

Because partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) are no longer “generally recognized as safe,” they become subject to premarket approval by FDA as food additives, and approval of exceptions seems unlikely, even though the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) will lobby for a reconsideration of a ban on low-level uses.

The terms partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) and trans fats are used somewhat interchangeably because PHOs are the main food processing source of trans fats. Partially hydrogenated oils are created in the production of some food products when hydrogen is added to liquid vegetable oils to make them semi-solid in consistency. In bakery applications, for example, trans fats can give liquid vegetable oils that are cheaper, more shelf stable, and cholesterol-free the functional performance of butter, which generally sets the norm for quality expectations for baked goods.

Foods containing unapproved food additives are considered adulterated under U.S. law, meaning they cannot legally be sold. In plainer English, the FDA is essentially banning trans fats in food products, and the “no trans fats” label on food products will become obsolete. Naturally occurring trans fats found in small amounts in some meat and dairy products are not additives and a special case, and they do not fall under the ban.

Since 2006, the FDA has mandated that nutritional labels on foods specify the level of trans fat content. In November 2013, the FDA announced its intention to accelerate the elimination of partially hydrogenated oils from the U.S. food supply, having provisionally made the determination that these trans fats carriers are not GRAS. The intensifying glare of regulatory attention on trans fats has already spurred extensive reformulation in the food market, such that trans fat has been reduced by 78 percent since 2003, according to an FDA estimate, and by 86 percent, according to the GMA. Nevertheless, partially hydrogenated oils are still commonly used in many popular food products, which the FDA has identified as:

  • crackers, cookies, cakes, frozen pies and other baked goods
  • snack foods (such as microwave popcorn)
  • frozen pizza
  • vegetable shortenings and stick margarines
  • coffee creamers
  • refrigerated dough products (such as biscuits and cinnamon rolls)
  • ready-to-use frostings

Moreover, FDA regulation previously allowed less than a half gram of trans fats to be labeled as “0g,” so that zero didn’t mean what consumers would logically interpret it to mean. That loophole, too, is closing.

In terms of consumer confidence, the mainstream food industry has paid a price for foot-dragging and sleight-of-hand on nutritional and labeling issues, leading to consumer counter-revolutions including the current clean label movement. A November 2014 survey by Packaged Facts showed 23 percent of U.S. adults strongly agreeing and 38 percent somewhat agreeing that, “Grocery manufacturers often mislead by highlighting only the positive nutritional qualities in their products, not the negative ones.” At the other end of the spectrum, only 3 percent strongly disagree and only 6 percent somewhat disagree. The findings were published in the Packaged Facts report, “Food Formulation Trends: Ingredients Consumers Avoid.”

From the perspective of public health, trans fats have been especially linked to coronary disease, Type 2 diabetes, and obesity. Trans fats raise the level of LDL (bad) cholesterol while lowering the level of HDL (good) cholesterol. Various health organizations have long fought the use of trans fats. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Heart Association both cite research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (2012) estimating that a trans fat ban could prevent 10,000-20,000 heart attacks and 3,000-7,000 coronary heart disease deaths in the U.S. annually. Dr. Steven Nisssen, chair of the cardiovascular medicine department at the Cleveland Clinic (long top-ranked nationally for cardiology) describes trans fats as “clearly harmful” and praises the FDA’s ban. The ban is also consistent with First Lady Michelle Obama’s signature Let’s Move initiative, with its focus on childhood obesity.



Premium Puffed Corn Company, Cosmos Creations, Rebrands Entire Savory Snack Line

Cosmos Creations, a premium puffed corn company debuts new branding for its line of savory snack products. The updated look is available for the family sized Sea Salt & Butter (7 ounces), Cheddar & Pepper (7 ounces) and Spicy Sriracha (6 oz.) flavors as well as the snack sizes (1 ounce). The newly designed packages arrive to retailers this month.

“Cosmos Creations listened to its customers and retailers on continuing to grow its brand recognition in the market place,” said Cosmos Creations Vice President of Sales and Marketing Jerid Strasheim. “Innovation is in our DNA and as the company continues to grow, we decided to implement a new look that will help make our product more prominent on shelves.”

In efforts to create better shelf visibility and to fully utilize package real estate, the new savory bags feature a product image, a larger flavor callout and a creative display of nutritional information. The newly rebranded snacks will continue to be packaged on a 100 percent water-based ink printing process with solventless lamination.

“The new packaging boasts bold, new colors that pop off the shelf and displays an image of the premium puffed corn allowing consumers to identify the product,” said Cosmos Creations National Sales Manager Steve Hayes. “The combination of these advantages will surely continue to improve sales in all retailers.”

Cosmos Creations current flavors include Caramel Apple Crisp, Salted Caramel, Caramel, Coconut Crunch, Sea Salt & Butter, Spicy Sriracha and Cheddar & Pepper. Pumpkin Spice is only available for retailers to pre-order and will hit shelves this fall. Along with all its unique benefits, Cosmos Creations premium puffed corn snacks consistently utilizes natural ingredients its consumers can pronounce and trust.

For more information on Cosmos Creations’ line of products, please visit

Kedem Foods Named as Winner of Whole Foods Supplier Award

KaycoKosherFoodAwardKedem Foods of Bayonne, New Jersey, also known as KAYCO, has been named by Whole Foods Market as winner in the Outstanding Innovation category of its 2015 Supplier Awards.

With its annual Supplier Awards, Whole Foods Market recognizes and celebrates the company’s supplier partners who best embody its mission and core values. Kedem’s recognition for Outstanding Innovation is one among 15 award categories named by Whole Foods Market.

Other categories include: Environmental Stewardship, Dedication to Responsible Sourcing and Product with a Purpose. According to Harold Weiss, Executive Vice President of Sales, “Kedem Foods is especially proud to receive this honor from Whole Foods Market, which is widely known for its broad array of offerings, all meeting the highest food quality standards as well as top-notch customer service in the grocery retail industry. We very much look forward to a long relationship that continues to support Whole Foods Market mission and its customers’ needs. ”

“We ask a lot of our suppliers and they go to great lengths to deliver the highest quality products possible from sources we can trust,” said Jim Speirs, Global Vice President of Procurement, Non-perishables. “This year’s Supplier Award winners represent the very best in our industry. We’re grateful for their drive, true partnership and commitment to growing their business with Whole Foods Market.”

Bornier Wholegrain French Mustard Wins Gold at International Mustard Competition

image001Bornier Wholegrain Mustard, has won the Gold Medal for best whole grain mustard at the 2015 World-Wide Mustard Competition. Made by Europeenne de Condiments in Couchey, France, the classic old-style Grained Dijon mustard has added yet another medal to its already impressive record of world-class mustards. In 2014, Bornier’s smooth Dijon took home not only the Gold Medal in its category but was named the 2014 Grand Champion award as well.

Held under the direction of the National Mustard Museum in Middleton, Wisconsin, the 2015 World-Wide Mustard Competition drew hundreds of entries in 17 flavor categories. Judges tasted the mustards “blind,” not knowing if they were tasting international brands or small boutique mustards.

According to Barry Levenson, Curator of the National Mustard Museum and Competition Coordinator, Bornier’s Wholegrain Mustard is exactly what food lovers expect of a course grained mustard. “It combines the classic Dijon nose hit with the perfect texture – coarse but not gritty. There is also a certain nuttiness that set it apart from all other grainy mustards.

Bornier mustards go back nearly two centuries, as the brand, founded in 1816, originated as the creation of master French mustard maker (“moutardier”) Denis Bornier. The factory is located in Couchey, only a few kilometers from the city limits of Dijon.

Whole seed and whole grain mustards may be old-fashioned but they have experienced a major resurgence in recent years as chefs and food lovers have come to appreciate the complexity and versatility that these mustards deliver. According to Levenson, their flavor profile makes them an excellent alternative to butter and sour cream as a potato topping. “A dollop of Bornier Wholegrain Mustard is all that any potato could every want!” he said. With only 5 calories/serving (1 teaspoon) and fat free, Dijon mustards, smooth and grainy, are healthy components to any eating plan.

Nassau Candy Company (, exclusive U.S. importer of Bornier mustards, is exhibiting at the 2015 Summer Fancy Food Show. The mustards are also available to consumers through the National Mustard Museum gift shop and its online store,

For more information, contact Joel Cortes, 516.433.7100.

Free Events for Specialty Foods Retailers


Free Seminar on European Meat for Specialty Foods Retailers

The Union of Producers and Employers of Meat Industry (UPEMI), in cooperation with the Trade and Investment Section of the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in New York is holding an informational seminar organized as part of the information and promotional campaign called “Tradition and Quality of European Meat.”

You will learn first-hand about the methods and practices applied by the European meat industry. Experts from the EU meat market will explain how they care about animal welfare, tradition and high standards that govern the production of beef and pork and their products in the European Union and about the future of the European meat industry in the United States, as well as the development of European traceability system, sustainable development and the “farm-to-table” production principles.

This exceptional seminar will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, June 24 at the City Winery restaurant, located near the famous Meatpacking District. Participants of this event will have an opportunity to sample dishes prepared by the renowned chef and culinary expert, Dariusz Zahoriański and the City Winery chef, Michael Jeanty.

For further information or to reserve your seat, contact Janet Wilhelms before June 15: Telephone 773.904.2849.


European Meat Culinary Workshop: “European Sausage Making”

Experience the “Tradition and Quality of European Meat” by attending an exciting and informative “European Sausage Making” workshop hosted by the Union of Producers and Employers of the Meat Industry (UPEMI), the organization that oversees all meat trade in Poland and the Republic of Poland.

This “European Sausage Making” workshop is being held at the International Culinary Center (ICC), New York’s first-class training facility to the most esteemed, globally-recognized chefs in the world. Polish culinary expert and top chef, Dariusz Zahoranski, along with ICC’s professional staff, will lead a class through the process of fresh sausage making. Guests will not only learn to make sausages, but taste for themselves what sets European pork products apart through the exceptional flavor and high quality standards producers stand by. Guests are also invited to take sausage home after the class.

The event will be held on Tuesday, June 23 from 3:30-5:30 p.m. at the International Culinary Center, at 462 Broadway, 4th floor, New York City. Attendance is free, but you must reserve your seat by June 19 by contacting Janet Wilhelms at Red Meat Market, Telephone 773.904.2849.


Tradition and Quality of European Meat Reception

The Union of Producers and Employers of Meat Industry (UPEMI) in cooperation with the Trade and Investment Section of the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in New York invite specialty foods retailers to participate in a reception organized as part of the information and promotional campaign called “Tradition and Quality of European Meat.”

The reception will be a great opportunity for you to establish new business networks with representatives of the European meat sector and exporters. EU experts and representatives of the campaign’s organizer will also be present at the reception.

The event will take place at the City Winery restaurant, located near the famous Meatpacking District. Especially for you, a renowned chef and culinary expert, Dariusz Zahorański, in cooperation with City Winery chef, Michael Jeanty, have prepared a special menu based on high quality beef and pork.

The event will be held from 7-10 p.m. on Wednesday, June 24, 2015 at the City Winery Winery Room at 155 Varick Street, New York City.

For further information and to confirm your presence, please contact Janet Wilhelms before June 15: Telephone 773.904.2849.






Foothills IGA: A Georgia Peach of a Market

By Lorrie Baumann

IGAExterior1 (1)Foothills IGA is located Marble Hill, Georgia, a community of around 30,000 people in the foothills of the north Georgia mountains, about 75 miles north of the Atlanta airport. The store was recently named an IGA 2015 USA International Retailer of the Year.



Owner Jeff Downing started his career working for various grocery companies and was a vice president of A&P before deciding to go into business for himself in 1996. His first venture on his own was the purchase of a store in North Carolina that had been an A&P. He was living in Atlanta and had a weekend home in Big Canoe, a gated resort community that’s adjacent to Marble Hill, so when he decided to expand his company, he looked around the neighborhood close to his weekend home, where a shopping center was under construction. The development company heard he was looking and got in touch with an offer for the storefront in which the Foothills IGA is now located. “It just fell into place,” Downing says now.

Foothills IGA broke ground in 2001 and opened in January of 2002 with a mix of gourmet products and everyday staples to meet the grocery needs of a very diverse customer base – the town has an estimated median household income of around $50,000 and about half of Foothills IGA shoppers have high-end incomes and want better wine, organic produce and all-natural beef while the other half buy more pantry staples. “It was the intent to appeal to everyone to succeed because we have very few people,” Downing says. “The needs of some require more thought, more research, a little more seeking out of products…. In a lot of ways, we’re like a big-city market.” Downing moved permanently to Big Canoe in 2000 and sold the North Carolina store in 2006.

His store is about 10 miles from the closest big-box grocer, and to keep his clientele shopping with him instead of taking their business to Kroger, Publix or Walmart, Downing stocks his 25,000 square foot market with a great produce department, a full service floral department, the first lobster tank in the county, certified Angus beef and 1,800+ SKUs of wines. On top of that, breads are baked fresh daily, USDA choice and prime meats are cut to order, and the seafood selection includes fresh fish and seafood from the Georgia coast and elsewhere. Whole chickens are cut in the store to supply shoppers with what Downing calls “an enormous amount of fried chicken.” He added a pharmacy in 2008, and today, that department represents what Downing calls “quite a nice business.”

“We do a large wine business in our store,” he says. “We get as much variety as we can in our store while staying very, very close to what our customers want.”

Downing’s research into products that bring something special to his store while staying very close to what customers want recently took the form of an appointment as a judge in an annual Flavor of Georgia Food Product contest sponsored by the Georgia Department of Agriculture that included 30 finalists among the entrants, who were all local food producers. “From that I made contact with several of those who had very interesting products,” he says. “We need to be competitive with big box stores, so if I can do something different, I like to do that.”

That includes the 14 to 16 different salads that are offered in the store’s deli case on any given day. A couple of them are made by Nadine’s Classic Cuisine, which sends staff into the store a couple of days a week to make salads that have made Nadine Wardenga a two-time finalist in Flavor of Georgia contests as well as the White County (Georgia) Chamber of Commerce’s 2010 Entrepreneur of the Year. “She couldn’t handle the demand of a big box store,” Downing says. “It’s a point of differentiation.”

Today, Downing and his staff have renewed their efforts to source organic produce, which he says has always been a challenge. “You have to have enough variety so the consumer can plan a meal,” Downing observes. Local organic farmers are small-scale operators who sell their produce in farmers markets and to local restaurants, where they get a premium price, partly due to their ability to make direct contact between farmers and buyers. Dogged effort has improved Foothills IGA’s produce supply lines for a whole range of products from potatoes and squash to apples, organic lettuces and organic wines to the point at which the store has been able to negotiate prices that keep organic produce prices at the independent store competitive with the big box grocers.

Foothills IGA is also doing good business in gluten-free products, with about 500 SKUs in store and integrated into the center store shelves. “It’s a growing category for us,” Downing says. “We have all manner of gluten-free items in our store and are constantly looking for more.”

Of course, big-city access to premium products can’t take the place of home-town feeling, and Foothills IGA strives to create that through special events throughout the year that are built around community involvement when the opportunity arises. During football season, the high school band comes out to play in the Foothills IGA parking lot, and hot dog wagon sales help fund the school’s booster club. The winter holiday season is celebrated with a variety of events, and there are other special events throughout the year. “It’s fun to walk out on Saturday morning and hear the band playing,” Downing says. “It helps us to become the community center that we have always strived to be as an IGA operator…. We’re proud to be the Foothills IGA and proud to serve our community, and the community in turn supports us very well.”

House Votes to Repeal Country of Origin Labeling Requirements

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 2393, the Country of Origin Labeling Amendments Act, by a vote of 300-131. Introduced by House Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway (R-TX), H.R. 2393 amends the Agriculture Marketing Act of 1946 to effectively repeal mandatory country of origin labeling requirements for beef, pork, and chicken.

“I am thankful for the support of my colleagues today in passing this common-sense, bipartisan bill that is a necessary targeted response to avoid retaliation from Canada and Mexico. Two of our top trading partners announced earlier this month their intention to seek more than $3 billion in retaliatory sanctions against U.S. exports. This would extend far beyond the agriculture industry and would hurt nearly every sector of the U.S. economy. H.R. 2393 will prevent retaliation and bring the U.S. back into compliance, and I urge my colleagues in the Senate to act quickly on this urgent matter,” said Chairman Conaway.

“Today’s passage of the COOL Amendments Act is a critical step towards ensuring that the United States is no longer burdened by a law that harms our economy and our nation’s beef, pork, and poultry producers. California exports billions of dollars of commodities and manufactured goods to Canada and Mexico, many of which are produced in the San Joaquin Valley. The tariff retaliations will cost California more than $1 billion, inflicting a devastating blow to the state’s economic well-being. Country of Origin Labeling is a very real problem that requires a legislative fix. The COOL Amendments Act will put the U.S. back in compliance with its international trade obligations and stop trade retaliations by two of the nation’s top export partners,” said Rep. Jim Costa (D-CA), Ranking Member of the House Agriculture Committee’s Livestock and Foreign Agriculture Committee.

“Today, the House of Representatives continued the work started in the House Committee on Agriculture to repeal the non-trade compliant COOL law. We look forward to working with our Senate colleagues to send this legislation to the President in an effort to protect our American businesses. After multiple failed attempts at the World Trade Organization to bring the COOL law into compliance with our trading partners, Canada and Mexico, the House has done its part expeditiously to guarantee that no American industries are hurt through retaliation,” said Rep. David Rouzer (R-NC), Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee’s Livestock and Foreign Agriculture Committee.

Gourmet News

Follow me on Twitter