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OCA Joins New Organic & Natural Health Trade Association

The Organic Consumers Association is joining forces with the Organic & Natural Health Association, a new trade group committed to bringing together “a broad coalition to work towards preserving and advancing the health and well-being of people, animals and plants, and the planet as a whole.”

“The Organic & Natural Health Association fills a void in today’s market for a trade group that is dedicated to serving the needs of suppliers, retailers and consumers who seek truthful, unbiased and credible information, based on the latest health- and nutrition-based science and research, about organic and natural products,” said Ronnie Cummins, OCA’s International Director. “America’s 100 million organic consumers and 100 million natural health consumers, working together, can be a mighty force for positive change, moving society toward a future which is organic and regenerative, while fighting off the increasing attacks against organic foods and natural health from Big Ag, Big Pharma, and their indentured scientists, propagandists, and political officials.”

The Organic & Natural Health recently held its first annual conference, where Karen Howard, CEO and Executive Director, announced that group’s board has decided against advocating for development of a certification or seal for the word “natural” on product labels, in favor of instead strengthening the current definition of “organic.” The U.S. Food & Drug Administration recently extended the public comment period on whether or not the agency should define “natural.”

Howard said, “Our research clearly shows that the majority of consumers do not differentiate between ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ and expect products labeled natural to also be organic. So, after careful consideration, we determined that introducing a new ‘natural’ certification seal would not be in the best interest of consumers and could contribute to further confusion. At this juncture, encouraging people to go organic is more important, so we will focus on the existing organic certification seal and do whatever we can to strengthen that program.”

According to a recent Consumer Reports survey, a majority of consumers falsely assume that products labeled “natural” are produced without the use of pesticides, and are free of genetically engineered and artificial ingredients.

“Confusion around product labeling and false marketing claims makes it difficult for consumers to know which companies and brands are trustworthy. OCA supports the Organic & Natural Health’s mission to eliminate confusion and to hold brands to the highest of standards relating to product integrity,” Cummins said.

In addition to educating consumers about the false assumptions around the “natural” label, the Organic & Natural Health will collaborate with IFOAM International, OCA and other organizations to promote Organic 3.0, a more inclusive definition of organic, which takes into account the role agriculture plays in the global issues of hunger, inequity, energy consumption, pollution, climate change, loss of biodiversity and depletion of natural resources.

“We can no longer talk about food out of context,” Cummins said. “Food and agriculture are inextricably linked to a host of environmental and social issues, all of which are intertwined. The OCA fully supports Organic & Natural Health’s commitment to raising the bar for organics, and to holding all of those involved in the food supply chain accountable for the role they play in society as a whole. Our interaction with consumers leads us to believe that they understand these issues, support higher standards, and will support those brands that adhere to Organic 3.0 standards and Organic & Natural Health’s values.”



Award-Winning Parmesan Cheeses from Arthur Schuman Earn Plaudits at WFFS

Arthur Schuman, Inc. has hits with its 2015 award-winning Cello Riserva Copper Kettle Parmesan and Cello Riserva Artisan Parmesan. These award-winning cheeses are rated #1 and #2 Parmesan cheese in the United States by the American Cheese Society, and the company offered both of them in its booth during the Specialty Food Association’s Winter Fancy Food Show.

“We had an overwhelmingly positive response from both retailers and foodservice operators seeking to find exceptional cheese options for their customers,” said lIana Fischer, Vice President of Innovation & Strategy at Arthur Schuman, Inc. “Show attendees marveled at the exceptional taste and crunchy textures of our award-winning Parmesan cheeses.”

Arthur Schuman, Inc., a fourth-generation family company located in Fairfield, New Jersey is recognized as a leader within the specialty cheese industry as both an importer and a producer of hard domestic cheeses for foodservice operators, retailers and distributors.

Fischer was thrilled to see how many show attendees stopped by their booth to  experience for themselves the delicious taste of their award-winning cheeses that included:

Cello Riserva Copper Kettle Parmesan – This Parmesan cheese has a unique rich and nutty flavor that earned a first-place award at the 2015 American Cheese Society Competition. Made with strict traditional methods, this award-winning cheese is produced in Arthur Schuman’s Lake Country Dairy facility using the highest quality milk. The cheese’s robust flavor and distinct color comes from our commitment to using a copper kettle in the cheese making process and natural sea salt in the brining process. Each wheel is hand selected by a team of expert cheese graders as soon as its flavor has reached the peak of perfection.

Cello Riserva Artisan Parmesan – Produced by expert cheesemakers, Cello Riserva Artisan Parmesan is made with the freshest milk from local Wisconsin farms and carefully crafted using traditional techniques. Each wheel is naturally aged for over 12 months, developing a deep, nutty, sweet flavor.  The complex composition of Cello Riserva Artisan Parmesan earned the second-place award at the 2015 American Cheese Society Competition.

Show attendees were also able to taste America’s tastiest new healthy snack, Cello Whisps. Cello Whisps have gained a strong national following among health conscious consumers who look for healthier snack options. Even the cheese experts love Cello Whisps; their delicious flavor earned the second-place award at the 2015 U.S. Championship Cheese Contest.

Cello Whisps Parmesan Cheese Crisps – Cello Whisps Parmesan Cheese Crisps are an innovative snack made entirely of one delicious ingredient — 100 percent pure Parmesan cheese. Made with the  award-winning Cello Copper Kettle Parmesan Cheese aged 14 months, Cello Whisps provide health conscious consumers of all ages with a healthy snack alternative that also taste great. Cello Whisps are all-natural wholesome crisps baked into flavorful, airy, crispy bites. They are an excellent source of protein and calcium, are gluten-free, and one serving is just 100 calories.

“We’re very excited about the success we achieved at the show and can’t wait to participate in the Summer Fancy Food Show in June. We will be showcasing our new Yellow Door Creamery Hand-Rubbed Fontina and Yellow Door Creamery Brilliant Blue cheeses at the summer show,” added Fischer. “We pride ourselves in offering new and innovative cheese products into the specialty market.”


PANOS Brands Sold to Hammond, Kennedy, Whitney & Company


Investment bank Harris Williams & Co. has announced the sale of PANOS brands, LLC (PANOS) to Hammond, Kennedy, Whitney & Company, Inc. (HKW). PANOS is a leading provider of branded consumer foods in a wide variety of growing categories. Known for its unique portfolio of brands, the company has consistently expanded its footprint over the last few years with a focus on providing consumers with high quality, great tasting and better for you products in the specialty, natural, organic and mass grocery channels. Harris Williams & Co. served as the exclusive advisor to PANOS, a portfolio company of High Road Capital Partners (High Road).

“PANOS’ management has executed numerous brand development initiatives to establish PANOS as a leading, differentiated portfolio of trusted consumer brands,” said Glenn Gurtcheff, a Managing Director at Harris Williams & Co. “The company’s on-trend product offerings, new product development capabilities, and diversified customer base garnered significant interest in the market. We believe management has a terrific partner in HKW, and we are looking forward to the company’s continued success.”

PANOS’ unique portfolio of natural and specialty food brands include Andrew & Everett, KA-ME, MI-DEL, Sesmark, Amore and Chatfield’s. PANOS was founded in 2007 and is headquartered in Rochelle Park, New Jersey.

High Road is a private equity firm focused on lower-middle market transactions. High Road was formed in 2007. The company focuses on niche-leading companies with revenues of $10 million to $100 million and EBITDA of $3 million to $10 million. Once acquired, High Road works in partnership with management to take the companies to the next level through a combination of organic growth initiatives and add-on acquisitions.

HKW is a private equity firm founded in 1903 with offices in Indianapolis and New York. Since 1982, HKW has sponsored 51 platform transactions of lower-middle market companies throughout North America, as well as 56 add-on acquisitions.

Investment banking services are provided by Harris Williams LLC, a registered broker-dealer and member of FINRA and SIPC, and Harris Williams & Co. Ltd, which is authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Harris Williams & Co. is a trade name under which Harris Williams LLC and Harris Williams & Co. Ltd conduct business.



12th Annual Oregon Cheese Festival

Oregon-inspired culinary events, including a farmer’s market-style artisan food, beer and wine festival, will kick off with the “Meet the Cheesemakers and Winemakers Dinner” at the Oregon Cheese Festival during the third weekend in March. For tickets go to

To commence the festival, a sumptuous meal introducing guests to participating guild cheesemakers will be held Friday night at the Inn at the Commons in Medford, Oregon on March 18 from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. The dinner is held for the benefit of the non-profit 501 (c) (6) Oregon Cheesemakers Guild. Each course will spotlight a cheese made by one of the festival’s artisans, paired with a local wine or beer. The special guest and Master of Ceremonies for the dinner will be Gordon Edgar, author of both “Cheesemonger: a Life on the Wedge” and “Cheddar.” Edgar is the Head Cheesemonger for the San Francisco Rainbow Grocery Cooperative and has been a leader within the specialty cheese industry for more than 20 years. He is widely celebrated for his friendly, down-to-earth approach to the art and science of cheese.

Saturday, March 19 – Festival

Oregon Cheese FestivalAt the festival on Saturday March 19 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., thousands of visitors will sample cow, goat and sheep cheese from Oregon creameries, including Pholia Farm, Ancient Heritage Dairy, Oregon State University, Ochoa Creamery, Tillamook County Creamery, Willamette Valley Cheese Co., Fern’s Edge Goat Dairy, Oak Leaf Creamery, Rivers Edge Chevre, Briar Rose Creamery, Face Rock Creamery, Portland Creamery, Rogue Creamery, and many others.

The Oregon Cheese Festival will be open to the public Saturday, March 19 from 10:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Rogue Creamery, 311 North Front St. (Hwy. 99), Central Point, Oregon. Held under two large tents, 15,000 square feet of space, at Rogue Creamery’s Central Point facility, the twelfth annual festival will invite guests to shake hands with cheesemakers and other artisans. There will also be baby cows on site to showcase the beginnings of great milk producers!  Activities will also be provided for children including games, activity sheets, coloring, face painting and more. “The farmer’s market format will present an interactive experience between makers and visitors, giving everyone an opportunity to talk about the product, the process and learn each individual cheesemaker’s story,” says David Gremmels, President of Rogue Creamery. “It’s a way to truly be connected with the source of the cheese being presented.”

Southern Oregon and other local culinary artisans and beverage providers who are expected to participate include Lillie Belle Farms, Gary West Meats, Applegate Valley Artisan Breads, Ledger David Cellars, South Stage Cellars, Serra Vineyards, Caprice Vineyards, Willamette Valley Vineyards, David Hill Winery, La Brasseur Vineyard, 30 Brix Winery, Wandering Aengus Ciders, Hot Lips Soda, Clear Creek Distillery, Bend Distillery, Wild River Brewing, Sierra Nevada Brewing and Rogue Ales. Samples and /or sales will be offered at each booth.

A $15 entry fee includes tastings and demonstrations; tickets purchased at the door will be $20. Entry tickets can be purchased in advance at .  In addition, a $10 wine, beer and spirit tasting fee is available and includes a commemorative glass with the Oregon Cheese Guild logo. For more information, visit the Oregon Cheese Guild website at, call Rogue Creamery at 866.396.4704, or visit The festival would not be possible without the generous support of the city of Central Point, Travel Medford, and the Dairy Farmers of Oregon, Oregon Department of Agriculture, the Oregon Economic & Community Development Department, USA Pear Bureau, Rogue Ales, Wandering Aengus Ciderworks, Culture magazine, Cheese Connoisseur magazine, and the members of the Oregon Cheese Guild.

Novipax Unveils Pad-Loc Fresh CO2-Generating Absorbent Pad

Pad-Loc® Fresh™ from Novipax is an absorbent pad that generates carbon dioxide (CO2) inside food packages to help create an environment that is unfavorable for microbial growth on fresh and processed meats, poultry, seafood and other food products. Used as a tool in an effective modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) strategy, Pad-Loc Fresh enables fresh and minimally processed packaged food products to maintain visual, textural and nutritional appeal while also helping to extend the shelf life of fresh food products without the need to add chemical preservatives or stabilizers.

We are extremely excited to be launching Pad-Loc Fresh,” said Novipax CEO Bob Larson. “Pad-Loc Fresh is not only the latest product innovation from Novipax, but it also promises to take food presentation and safety to a whole new level.”

Pad-Loc Fresh incorporates the same construction and features as the company’s flagship Pad-Loc pad, but goes a step further by integrating a granular agent that releases CO2 when moisture is absorbed into the pad. This material also provides a much more consistent release of CO2 than powders used in other pads.

Pad-Loc Fresh is an FDA-approved product, which allows for sale of the product in both the USA and Canada.

For more information on Pad-Loc Fresh, and all other Novipax pads and trays, visit

FreshOne Celebrates Tenth Anniversary

This January FreshOne welcomed the new year by celebrating its tenth anniversary. FreshOne was founded in 2006 with the commitment to provide consistently fresh, delicious, high-quality foods to retailers nationwide. The company work with its partner suppliers to provide custom, fresh food solutions as both a product producer and direct store distributor.

FreshOne’s unique logistics capabilities include a new fleet of temperature-controlled trucks and the latest logistics technology to ensure the most streamlined and fresh processes possible for every client on every delivery. Customers are able to manage each step of the process through FreshOne’s proprietary web based order management system, which makes the process of providing fresh food to customers and maximizing profits easy for retailers. FreshOne continues to implement the most rigorous safety and freshness standards to generate strong sales results based on turnkey solutions for all of its customers.

“We truly value our customers and thank them for their continued confidence and trust in our solutions. These past 10 years have been rewarding as we fulfill our purpose while adhering to our core values. Our recent entry into the grocery and higher education channels leads us to believe the next 10 years will be even more exciting,” said FreshOne President Don Janacek.

During 2015 FreshOne experienced a record year for sales and profits. Matt Yost, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, attributes this growth to FreshOne’s ability to maintain an innovative line of fresh, prepackaged grab-and-go and home meal replacement products, data-driven solutions that increase the customer’s bottom line and a custom distribution network that gets products to retailers quickly, efficiently and cost effectively. The research and development team is constantly working on new and innovative products to introduce to the market, including health-oriented items as well as seasonal items that are on trend with consumer demands and regional preferences. “Whether the goal is to attract premium customers, discount shoppers or someone in between, FreshOne builds programs that are the right fit for the retailer who wants to do fresh grab-and-go in a world-class manner,” Yost said.

FreshOne products are now available in major convenience chains, supermarkets and college campuses across the country. This year FreshOne will be commissioning a new fleet of trucks with a brand-new look in addition to hiring new sales personnel.

Alimentaria Trains Its Eyes on American Market

By Lorrie Baumann


Alimentaria demoThe Alimentaria Hub, part of the next edition of Alimentaria, which takes place on April 25-28, 2016 at Fira de Barcelona, will be one of the most strategic spaces for fostering innovation, business collaboration, competitiveness and the dissemination of knowledge in the food sector. The activities at the show will be based around six core themes: distribution and retail, CSR, internationalization, R&D&I and branding, nutrition, and marketing and communication. There will be new product launches as well as conferences, presentations and consumer trend analyses. The show will also include a center for business meetings and export opportunities and networking sessions to foster entrepreneurship.

Alimentaria expects to attract more than 5,000 North American trade professionals to Barcelona this April. For 2016, Alimentaria will be structured into five shows, encompassing the main food and drinks markets: Intervin (wines and spirits), Intercarn (meat and meat products), Restaurama (foodservice products), Interlact (milk and dairy products) and Multiple Foods (all kinds of confectionery, preserves, oils and premium products).

While most of the show’s exhibitors are Spanish companies, the United States is a strategic market for them. In response, the show – one of the largest European food shows – is going all out to attract more representation from North America, including hosting 800 international buyers, which includes those from the U.S. Part or all of the travel expenses will be paid for those hosted buyers, who must agree in return to have 10 to 12 business meetings with exhibitors, and the show’s management will organize those appointments, said Meritxell Puig, Director of International Expansion for Alimentaria Exhibitions.

The show attracts about 140,000 attendees to see the wares of about 4,800 exhibitors, of which 70 percent are from Spain. The thousand or so exhibitors from outside Spain represent 63 countries. Puig noted that the show’s managers are particularly looking for American importers, distributors and brokers to attend as well as representatives from large chain specialty retailers. Puig expects that the products to be seen at this year’s show will include a great variety of functional foods, products that correspond to gastronomic trends, healthier options and authentic traditional foods.

The show will also feature the Alimentaria Hub, a 4,500 square meter space at the center of the show that’s devoted to innovative products as well as a business meeting space and the conference sessions. Many of the sessions will be conducted in English, according to Puig. “If you want to export, you have to speak English,” she said.

The educational activities will include an entire seminar on reaching the halal market, which is growing rapidly in Europe, with more countries sourcing food from abroad to bring in for Muslim customers. Meanwhile, Spanish producers are racing to get halal certification for their compliant products so they can sell into that market in countries that include Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines, all of which have significant Muslim populations, Puig said.

The Alimentaria Hub will play a key role in encouraging companies to internationalize their business thanks to the opening of the Export Service Counter, a service for exhibitors who want to venture into foreign markets for the first time. This new program involves experts in all the formalities necessary to take these first steps in reaching foreign markets, from insurance companies and consultancy firms to chambers of commerce and financial institutions.



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La Quercia’s Speck Americano Wins a 2016 Good Food Award

La Quercia founders Herb  & Kathy Eckhouse added a fourth Good Food Award to their shelf this month, this time for Speck Americano, prosciutto that is lightly cold smoked over apple wood. On January 15, more than 800 people gathered to pay tribute to 176 Good Food Award Winners of 2016. By the majestic Golden Gate Bridge on the San Francisco Bay numerous farmers, chefs, journalists, and activists united to celebrate exceptional food crafters including luminaries Alice Waters, Nell Newman and Slow Food Founder, Carlo Petrini.

La Quercia calls its  award winning Speck Americano “a charcuterie board crowd pleaser.” La Quercia prosciutto is aged for nine to 12 months then cold-smoked over apple wood, adding the evocative aroma of the open fire to the deep sweetness of the meat. The producer recommends pairing La Quercia Speck with hard cider, a wide range of beer and wine, and almost any cheese, as well as wrapping it around fruit, grilled vegetables, or grissini for an easy happy hour bite. Made with pork that is raised humanely on family farms in Iowa and central Missouri without the use of antibiotics. Ingredients are pork and sea salt — no nitrates or nitrites added. Sold at specialty markets across the nation and available via mail order:

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