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Specialty Food Association Accepts 152 New Members

The Specialty Food Association recently announced that 152 companies have been accepted for membership, including makers of ghost chili sea salt, bacon brittle, burrata and lavender martini mocktails. Among the new members are Blis Caviar, Grand Rapids, Mich., maker of flavor-infused wild domestic caviar; Califia Farms, Pasadena, Calif., producer of cold brewed coffee, almond milk and citrus juice, and Caveman Bakery, Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., producer of gluten-free cookies.

“These companies represent the craft, care and joy that is fueling today’s specialty food industry,” says Ann Daw, president of the Specialty Food Association. “We look forward to helping them build their business and bring their distinctive foods to a wider market.”

The Association, established in 1952, provides tools, knowledge and connections to help its members build, grow and sustain successful specialty food businesses in an always-evolving marketplace. The not-for-profit association has more than 3,000 members across the United States and abroad.

To become a member, a company must pass a review of its products and business history by the Association’s admissions committee, a panel of food manufacturers, distributors and retailers. The board of directors votes quarterly on the committee’s recommendations.

Membership benefits include the opportunity to exhibit at the Association’s Fancy Food Shows, exclusive access to in-depth industry research, workshops and seminars on best business practices, mentoring, and regional networking events. Only Association members may participate in the sofi™ Awards honoring the year’s outstanding specialty foods, and its Leadership Awards honoring individuals who are making a difference in the industry and beyond.

For the full list of new members, visit http://images.magnetmail.net/images/clients/NASFT/attach/PRnewMBRS.pdf.

Q & A with Bob’s Red Mill

Matthew Cox is Vice President of Marketing at Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods.

GN: How did Bob’s Red Mill get started? What sets it apart from competitors and makes it unique?

MC: Bob’s journey began in the 1960s after he came across a book about old stone-grinding flour mills, John Goffe’s Mill. This spurred an immediate interest in stone milling. Luckily, he was able to find several sets of millstones from an old North Carolina water-powered flour mill, which helped him and his wife, Charlee, to start their first mill in Redding, Calif.

In 1978 after Bob and Charlee sold their successful Redding, Calif., milling business to their sons, they moved to Oregon City, Ore., to retire. By chance, they stumbled across an abandoned mill in a small town nearby, which got them excited about milling again. In just a few short months, Bob purchased that mill and was able to source old milling equipment that could stone grind flours and cereals for local customers. Bob’s Red Mill was born.

Starting back then and even today, Bob’s Red Mill is built on three principles: trust, honesty and integrity. The company is dedicated to manufacturing natural foods in a natural way, with as little processing as possible and accomplishes this using old-world technology. Centuries before high-speed steel roller mills were introduced, stone grinding was the method used – and it is still utilized today by Bob’s Red Mill. This allows the company to provide natural, nutritious products, that have had nothing added and nothing removed, helping to maintain the whole grain and seed’s inherent nutritional value. The company guarantees quality, every step of the way, and takes great pride in handling all aspects of the production process in-house, starting with processing, washing and inspecting the grain, and ending with the finished quality product shipped to your local retailer. Each product undergoes extensive quality control tests in its in-house laboratories, and its gluten free offerings are segregated from other products and tested in its special gluten free-only ‘clean room facilities.’ The packaging is a great example of its commitment – its clear bags enable consumers see the high quality of each of its products.

GN: What led to the expansion of current production and the new distribution center plans?

MC:The move was driven by the need for additional raw commodity storage space and anticipated production growth over the next five years, as well as to meet the increasing worldwide customer demand.

GN: You are a leader in gluten-free foods. Why is that so crucial to the Bob’s Red Mill company profile?

MC: Even before gluten free was a trend, Bob’s Red Mill was a leader in providing all natural, tested, safe and delicious gluten free foods for more than three decades. Back in the 1980’s shortly after the company started, Bob saw a need for safe, gluten free foods for the gluten intolerant community, and felt a dedication to offer them safe, nourishing, gluten free whole grain foods. So, he began producing gluten free products. The company learned through the years that it takes passion and dedication to make sure its gluten free products are actually gluten free, which has led it to its stringent practices today. All of its gluten free products are made in a dedicated 100 percent gluten free facility, and all gluten free ingredients are batch tested in the company’s quality control laboratory with an R5 ELISA Gluten Assay test. Finished products are also batch tested a final time after packaging to ensure the absence of gluten.

GN: There are a lot more gluten-free purveyors out than when Bob’s got started in 1978. How has the company changed since then and does the proliferation of gluten-free in the public eye help or hurt business?

MC: Since we began offering gluten free products in the mid-80s, our gluten free line has grown to include more than 80 products, including gluten free grains, flours, cake mixes, brownie mix, cookie mixes, pancake mix, pizza crust mix and various bread mixes. Because we have been such a trusted leader in this category, we have seen demand for our gluten free products grow dramatically as more and more people turn to gluten-free diets either for health reasons or personal choice. Much of our growth in recent years can be attributed to the increased demand for safe and delicious gluten free foods.

GN: What can we expect in 2014 from Bob’s Red Mill with this expanded production?

MC: The company has experienced tremendous growth in recent years as more and more people – both gluten free dieters and not – have gone looking for healthy whole grain foods. We certainly expect that trend to continue, and in 2014 our approach will not change. We will continue to provide our customers with an ever-widening array of whole grain and gluten free foods, while also delivering on our commitment to demonstrate to consumers new, easy and delicious ways to enjoy them. A good example is the recent introduction of our Grains of Discovery line of nine ancient grains and seeds – our customers have really responded positively to that. We’ve also just released a Gluten Free Pie Crust Mix. It’s the first of its kind and something our customers have really been clamoring for, so retailers are looking for that to be very popular. We, of course, have a lot more in the works that we will be sharing in the appropriate timeframes.

GN: Anything else you think our readers would like to know about Bob’s Red Mill.

MC: We really want to thank our retail partners for all the support they have given us over the years – we wouldn’t be where we are today without that support. We also encourage our customers to reach out to us about best practices we’ve learned for merchandising our products. For instance, customers who group our products together in a set have seen dramatic increases in sales, so that’s something we are encouraging wherever possible. We really see our customers as partners and are always happy to chat about these types of ideas or to answer any questions they may have. And they are always welcome to come for a visit and a tour of the Mill!

Parker Gives Yao Ming Wines the Nod

The Napa Valley Report in the Wine Advocate was released this month with the exciting inclusion of the 2010 Yao Family Wines: 2010 NAPA CREST (88 Points), 2010 Yao Ming® Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (90 Points) and 2010 Yao Ming® Family Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (95 Points) by Robert Parker.

In November 2011 Yao Ming announced the establishment of his Napa Valley wine company, Yao Family Wines and today produces three wines: Yao Ming® Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Yao Ming® Family Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and NAPA CREST, a Napa Valley Red Wine Blend. Yao Family Wines sources grapes from prestigious Napa Valleyvineyards with a reputation for excellent fruit and selects individual blocks to blend for flavor and texture, with the goal of creating world-class wines for people to share with family and friends.

Yao Ming recently commented, “We are extremely proud to receive such generous feedback from world-renowned wine critic,Robert Parker. These wines are made with great passion and dedication and it is exciting to be recognized for our efforts.”

Robert Parker had this to say about Yao Family Wines, “The influx of well-known internationals to Napa Valley to produce wine is symbolic in Yao Ming’s efforts. The world-famous Chinese basketball player is making Napa Cabernet Sauvignon, and reading his back label message there is a humility and candor that I found refreshing for such a bigger than life personality. I tasted three Yao Family Wines cuvees.

“The least expensive offering is the 2010 Proprietary Red Napa Crest. Made from three Bordeaux varietals (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot), it is a tasty, medium-bodied, richly fruity effort with a healthy dark ruby color, good spice, lots of black currant and incense notes, an attractive roundness, and a sensual, seductive personality. Drink it over the next five to six years.

“The opaque ruby/purple-colored 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon exhibits attractive aromas of blueberry and blackberry liqueur, licorice and graphite. Seamlessly put together with ripe tannin, nicely integrated wood, acidity and alcohol, a rich, medium to full-bodied mouthfeel, no hard edges and a long finish, this is an impressive wine that should drink well for 10-15+ years.

“The 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve possesses an opaque blue/purple color as well as a gorgeous bouquet of spring flowers, red and black fruits and subtle toasty oak. Full-bodied and impeccably made with beautiful texture, length and richness, it can be drunk now, but will stand the test of time for 15 or more years.

“I am aware of all the arguments that major celebrities lending their names to wines is generally a formula for mediocrity, but that is not the case with Yao Ming. These are high class wines. The two Cabernets are actually brilliant, and the Reserve bottling ranks alongside just about anything made in Napa.”

The 2010 vintages from Yao Family Wines are now available on the Yao Family Wines website www.yaofamilywines.com and will be in select wine shops and restaurants across the U.S. early next year.

Customer Traffic, Basket Size Up at Sprouts

Sprouts Farmers Market, Inc.  today provided preliminary information on certain aspects of its 2013 financial performance through November 17, 2013. For the seven weeks ended November 17, 2013, the company has recorded comparable store sales growth of 13.7 percent, or 22.8 percent on a two-year stacked basis pro forma for the 2012 acquisition of Sunflower Farmers Market. Comparable store sales growth has been driven by continued momentum in customer traffic and basket size.

The results for this seven-week period are not for an entire fiscal period, and there can be no assurance that final results for the 13-week period ended December 29, 2013 will not differ from these results.

Change Up Your Thanksgiving with Blueberries

If orange is the new black, blue is the new red this holiday season. Swap out the cranberries for the all-American Wyman’s wild blueberries on your holiday table. Wyman’s of Maine is one of the largest wild blueberry growers in the US and harvests all the antioxidant-packed, sweet and tart berries on their lush 10,000 acres of land, transporting them from farm to freezer to table. Actually, wild blueberries are one of the few fruits native to the U.S., so why do cranberries get all the cred on Thanksgiving? These smaller and sweeter berries work well in any dish that calls for cranberries.

Another reason to snack on wild blueberries during the holidays is that they keep you heart healthy! New research from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows wild blueberries have the potential to improve heart health. Researchers from Germany’s University of Dusseldorf and the United Kingdom’s University of Reading and University of Northumbria concluded that wild blueberries may help blood vessels function better and remain healthier, thus relieving pressure on the heart. And did you know that out of 40 different fruits and vegetables tested, wild blueberries took the blue ribbon for the most antioxidants? Cooking with wild blueberries this holiday season will keep your heart pumping and give you the boost you need to plow through the season.

Here are some recipes from Wyman’s of Maine  to get you started.

Wyman’s Wild Blueberry Sauce

 

BlueberrySauceMakes 2 1/2 cups

 

3 cups Wyman’s wild blueberries
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
Juice and zest of 1 orange
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp cornstarch (for thickening if necessary)

 

1.    In a large saucepan, heat the wild blueberries, sugar, 1 cup water, orange juice and spices on high. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer 15 minutes. *If the sauce is too thin, you may add a cornstarch slurry (1 tablespoon cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water) to thicken.

2.    Add orange zest to the mixture and cool.

By Wyman’s of Maine

 

Wyman’s Wild Blueberry, Butternut Squash and Quinoa Salad

 

Serves 4 to 6

 

QuinoaSalad

1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed, 3.5 lbs

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 cup quinoa

2 cups arugula

2 medium shallots, sliced thin

1 cup Wyman’s Wild Blueberries, thawed

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Salt and pepper

 

Vinaigrette:

Juice of 1 lemon

1/3 cup olive oil

1 Tbsp honey

1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

 

1.    Set the oven to 350 degrees. On a large baking sheet, spread the squash evenly, toss with 1 Tbsp olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast 30 minutes or until tender.

2.    Meanwhile, in a medium-sized pot, cook the quinoa according to package instructions or bring two cups of water to a boil, add quinoa, cover and simmer 10 minutes. When the quinoa is translucent, it is finished.

3.    In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Dress and season to taste.

 

By Wyman’s of Maine

Torie & Howard Signs on with KeHE

Torie & Howard organic hard candy has gained national distribution through KeHE Food Distributors of Romeoville, Ill.

KeHE Food now will distribute all four flavors of Torie & Howard candy in 2-ounce recyclable steel tins along with a 6-ounce handbag-shaped gift package, said Torie Burke, company co-founder. All of the candy is USDA organic and kosher certified and contains no GMOs, preservatives, artificial dyes, casein, soy or gluten, Burke said.

Torie &Howard Shipper CRPDThe candy is available in sleeves of eight units and a new shipper, which also will be carried by UNFI and ready for shipment in January. The shipper holds 64 tins for an eye-catching off-shelf promotional display and currently is available for pre-order, Burke said.

Torie & Howard flavors offer sophisticated flavor combinations, including Pink Grapefruit & Tupelo Honey, a sofi™ Award Finalist, Italian Tarocco Blood Orange & Wildflower Honey, California Pomegranate & Sweet Freestone Nectarine, and D’Anjou Pear & Ceylon Cinnamon. The handbag gift package of assorted flavors, which also was named a sofi Award Finalist, is colorful with artwork depicting the luscious fruit flavors of the candies and is topped with a striped grosgrain ribbon for a handle, Burke said.

The 2-ounce recyclable steel tins have a suggested retail price of $3.99-$4.99. The handbag gift package has a suggested retail price of $7.99-$8.99, and the candy also is sold in bulk. More information is available by calling 1-888-826-9554 or online at www.TorieAndHoward.com.

WOATS Oat Snacks Introduced in Texas

WOATS are a  blend of gently baked whole grain oats, honey, and other premium ingredients that are configured into bite-size morsels. WOATS are made to improve the way folks snack, and are on a mission to teach kids that achieving their dreams is attainable and–in some cases–delectable.

Their motto of “humble oats with ambition” stands for more than their creative flavor combinations, but also represents founder Justin Anderson’s desire to help other kids and young adults dream big. Anderson set his sights on entrepreneurship at the age of 16, founding his first successful venture into the food market with Anderson Trail Premium Soft Granola. Driven by his learning experiences and the adversity he faced with breaking into the industry at such a young age, Anderson has implemented his own motivational system for inspiring kids today to find and succeed at their passions.

WOATSLineup_zps75d3cd2eWOATS’ three flavors were launched in Texas and are currently available at HEB Central Market, Stater Bros., and The Fresh Market with more locations coming soon!

Call for Submissions

Now is the time to let us know about the new product launches you’re planning for the Winter Fancy Food Show. If you want us to keep the information under wraps until later, mark your announcements, “EMBARGOED UNTIL [DATE].”

But if you don’t mind folks knowing about your products right away, we’d love to publicize as many of them as we can before the show, so that retailers can start getting excited about seeing you in San Francisco. Email your notices to editor@oser.com and attach a product image if you have one.

PRESSELS Pretzel Chips Launch in U.S.

Available in three flavors, Original, Everything and Sesame, PRESSELS is the first all-natural, non-GMO certified, pressed pretzel to hit the U.S. snack market. PRESSELS make for a unique guilt-free treat anytime of the day with 80 percent less fat than regular potato chips. Buyers will also be happy to know that PRESSELS has no food coloring or artificial flavors, no cholesterol, no preservatives and zero trans fat.

The three thin and crispy PRESSELS flavors are available in 7.1 oz. sizes and retail from $2.99 – $3.99. PRESSELS can currently be found in all Schnucks stores in Missouri and will be available in new stores and markets in the coming months.

Saffron Road Introduces New Dessert Mini Tarts for Easy Holiday Entertaining

SAFFRON ROAD LOGOSaffron Road(TM), the packaged food brand of American Halal Co., is delighted to announce the launch of their new line of Dessert Mini Tarts at Whole Foods Market nationally this month. These bite-size delicacies are inspired by the irresistible flavors of India, South America and France. Saffron Road’s new Mini Tarts make entertaining guests quick and easy as they require no baking and practically no preparation – simply take the Tarts out of the freezer to defrost and then serve. Given their mini size, each guest can decide how much they’d like to eat and not feel guilty about eating too much or leaving a large amount of their dessert on the plate.

Saffron Road’s epicurean dessert line, which is in premium packaging adorned with gold embossed lettering, includes:

—Kashmiri Lemon Ginger – Made with creamy Shrikand, a delicious hand-crafted yogurt cheese formed from strained Dahi, swirled with tangy lemons and fresh pureed ginger.

—Chocolate Coconut Cheesecake with Fair Trade Chocolate – Made with wondrous Fair Trade chocolate and coconut shavings to create a cheesecake beyond compare.

—Salted Caramel Cheesecake – Rich, creamy cheesecake featuring the delightful dance of sweet caramel with the counterpoint of natural French sea salt.

“We’re very excited to introduce these sophisticated delicacies inspired by the world’s best ingredients and traditions,” says Adnan Durrani, CEO of Saffron Road. “Featuring Shrikand, a strained Yogurt cheese from India, Fair Trade chocolate from South America, and French sea salt, we ventured from exotic tastes across three continents to bring Saffron Road’s customers these unique World Cuisine epicurean treats. These elegant Mini Tarts will bring cheer and adventure into American homes for the Holidays.”

“Saffron Road’s decadent new Mini Tarts are perfect for social gatherings and for holiday parties, especially since they are so easy to just thaw and serve. All of Saffron Road’s innovation, product development, consumer and community outreach, and stellar success is a direct result of our win-win partnership with the Whole Foods Market Global Team and we look forward to our further mutual success with this new line at Whole Foods Market,” commented Executive Vice President of Saffron Road, Jack Acree.

“From the day we first started carrying Saffron Road’s products, they’ve delivered fresh ideas and new flavors that our shoppers really love and can’t find anywhere else,” said Dwight Richmond, Global Grocery Purchasing Coordinator for Whole Foods Market. “These new Mini Tarts will be a great addition to any holiday table.”

Consumers can find the new Mini Tarts at Whole Foods Market stores’ frozen aisles for the suggested retail price of $8.99 each.