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Kroger Announces Creation of Two Supermarket Divisions in Texas

The Kroger Co. has announced the establishment of two new supermarket divisions, a Dallas division and a Houston division. Previously, both markets were served as part of Kroger’s Southwest division.

Kroger also announced that Dana Zurcher has been promoted to serve as President of the company’s new Dallas division. Bill Breetz, who has been serving as President of the Southwest division since 2002, will continue to oversee operations in Texas and Louisiana for the remainder of the year, and serve as President of the new Houston division.

“Kroger is committed to growing and serving our customers in the great state of Texas, and in our important Louisiana markets,” said Rodney McMullen, Kroger’s Chairman and CEO.

The company has previously outlined capital investment plans of approximately $700 million in Dallas-Fort Worth and $500 million in Houston over the next three years.

“We see opportunities for growth in both Dallas and Houston thanks in large part to Bill’s leadership the past 13 years,” McMullen added. “This move will bring resources closer to our store teams, customers and communities.”

Kroger’s new Dallas division includes 105 stores in the Dallas and Fort Worth markets and in the Shreveport and Alexandria, Louisiana area. The new Houston division includes 109 stores in the greater Houston region, as well as stores in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

Dana Zurcher Named President of New Dallas Division

Dana Zurcher, currently Vice President of Operations for the Southwest division, has been promoted to President of Kroger’s Dallas division, effective October 1.

“Dana’s experience spans several retail divisions, and she understands nearly every aspect of our business,” said McMullen. “She is an exceptional leader who is known for helping associates discover their full potential. We are excited to have Dana lead our team inDallas.”

 Zurcher brings 30 years of leadership experience to her new role. She began her Kroger career in Indianapolis store management in 1985. She served in a number of leadership roles in the Central division, including store manager and district coordinator. In 2002, she was named a district manager in the company’s Fry’s division in Phoenix. In 2008, she was promoted to director of operations for the Ralphs division in Los Angeles, where she served until she was promoted to vice president of operations for Kroger’s Mid-South division in 2011. She has served in her current role since 2013.

Kroger, one of the world’s largest retailers, employs nearly 400,000 associates who serve customers in 2,626 supermarkets and multi-department stores in 34 states and the District of Columbia under two dozen local banner names including Kroger, City Market, Dillons, Food 4 Less, Fred Meyer, Fry’s, Harris Teeter, Jay C, King Soopers, QFC, Ralphs and Smith’s.  The company also operates 780 convenience stores, 327 fine jewelry stores, 1,342 supermarket fuel centers and 37 food processing plants in the U.S.  Recognized by Forbes as the most generous company in America, Kroger supports hunger relief, breast cancer awareness, the military and their families, and more than 30,000 schools and community organizations. Kroger contributes food and funds equal to 200 million meals a year through more than 100 Feeding America food bank partners. A leader in supplier diversity, Kroger is a proud member of the Billion Dollar Roundtable and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber’s Million Dollar Club.

Sir Kensington’s Announces $8.5 Million in New Funding

Condiment company Sir Kensington’s has announced the completion of a $8.5 million Series A equity financing round. In five years, Sir Kensington’s has become the fastest growing condiment brand in Whole Foods and is the ketchup of choice for hundreds of restaurants and hotels nationwide, including the Ritz Carlton, Bareburger, PJ Clarke’s, and The Spotted Pig.

All of Sir Kensington’s ketchup, mayonnaise, and mustard products are Non-GMO Project Verified and are made with simple, whole ingredients. Funds will be used to accelerate distribution growth in the North American natural grocery and foodservice channels, expand product offerings and make key hires.

Led by Verlinvest, the investment demonstrates the continued commitment of Verlinvest to early stage growth capital investments in emerging consumer businesses. Verlinvest’s previous investments in the U.S. include innovative consumer product brands, including category pioneers vitaminwater, Vita Coco, popchips, Hint, and Sambazon.

“We’re excited to support Sir Kensington’s growth ambitions in the US and internationally,” said Verlinvest’s Chairman, Frederic de Mevius. “We look forward to furthering this brand’s reach as the leading premium condiment company.”

Alongside Verlinvest, private investors in the round include individuals with entrepreneurial experience in consumer products, restaurant hospitality and consumer marketing. These investors include Mike Kirban, Founder of Vita CocoDavid Barber, Co-owner of Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns; the Co-founders of Sweetgreen through SWTLF Ventures; Andrew Essex, Founder of Droga5; and Chris Burggraeve, former Global CMO of AB InBev. Burggraeve will also join the company’s board to provide strategic marketing guidance to the growing brand.

“With Verlinvest’s investment, we’re looking forward to continue bringing choice to the condiment market.” said Mark Ramadan and Scott Norton, Co-Founders of Sir Kensington’s. “Through this partnership, we’ll be able to take what we’ve done at a small scale and bring it to more people than ever.”

America’s Pig Farmer of the Year Competition to Award Humane Treatment

Building on its commitment to grow consumer trust in all aspects of U.S. pork production, the National Pork Board announced an expert judging panel that brings a new, broad-based and transparent approach to selecting its first-ever America’s Pig Farmer of the Year.

Members of the five-member panel include Dr. Robin Ganzert, President and CEO of American Humane Association; Carlos Saviani, Vice President of the World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) U.S. food team; Mitzi Dulan, a registered dietitian and nationally recognized nutrition and wellness expert to the Kansas City Royals; Chris Soules, a Farmer from Arlington, Iowa, and television star from “The Bachelor” and “Dancing with the Stars;” and Dr. Jodi Sterle, an Associate Professor of Animal Xcience at Iowa State University and nationally known youth advisor in livestock exhibition.

“We are very pleased to have such a diverse and impressive group of experts to judge the finalists in the very first America’s Pig Farmer of the Year Award,” said Derrick Sleezer, National Pork Board President and Pig Farmer from Cherokee, Iowa. “It was important to our farmer leaders that we create a unique judging panel that was not only objective, but brought a whole new level of diversity of views to the table. And with this group, we think we accomplished that goal.”

Looking forward to the finalist judging slated for September 1, Ganzert said, “As an animal lover and the leader of the country’s first national humane organization, I am honored to have been asked to serve as a judge for America’s Pig Farmer of the Year. American Humane Association celebrates all those, including our nation’s farmers, who care for animals and work hard to ensure they are treated humanely. Today, more than ever it is important not only to point out where progress is needed, but to recognize when we get it right. I look forward to learning about these farmers who are working to give America’s families food that is safe, affordable, abundant and in line with their values.”

Joining Ganzert on the judging panel will be WWF’s Saviani, who said, “I’m really excited for the opportunity to participate in this new award and to learn more about how the pork industry and pig farmers are concerned, dealing with and addressing sustainability.”

The entire expert panel of judges will gather in Chicago to fulfill their duties. They will judge an on-farm video produced at each of the four finalists’ farms and then conduct an in-person interview with each one. The public can view each finalist’s video and cast its vote for its favorite farmer from Sept. 1 through 10 by going to www.americaspigfarmer.com. The final winner will be announced October 7.

McCrea’s Candies: Sophisticated Flavors from Simple Ingredients

By Lorrie Baumann

McCrea’s Candies is a small New England candy maker with a product line exclusively composed of high-quality caramels elegantly packaged for gift-giving. Founded almost five years ago by husband-and-wife team Jason and Kate McCrea, McCrea’s Candies are made without corn syrup or artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.

“Our flavors are done just like you’d do it in your own kitchen,” Jason says. “For ginger, we juice the root and add the juice to our candy. For our Single-malt Scotch flavor, we use real single-malt Scotch and pour that right into the batch.”

The McCreas were research biologists before they decided to start their candy company, and they use that scientific bent as they develop new flavors of their caramels today. “Understanding food chemistry helps enhance the flavors, and I use chemistry to understand how flavors come together and how to make nice balances. That’s really what we do,” says Jason. The McCreas currently offer 14 flavors, including Irish Coffee, Cafe Noir, Dark Roasted Mocha, Ginger Fusion, Rosemary Truffle Sea Salt, Highland Scotch and Tapped Maple.

McCrea’s Candies are now elegantly packaged for the gift trade after the McCreas learned from their customers that they loved the candies so much that they wanted to share them with their friends, so they were buying them as housewarming and hostess gifts, to send to children away at college or to present to dads on Fathers Day. “We do a lot of farmer’s markets around here, and customers would tell us,” Jason says. “They’d say, ‘I bought three sleeves and we ate them all, but I’d meant to give them to my son when he comes home from school, so now I need more.’ There’s no substitute for being out and talking to customers and listening to them telling you what they want. They’ll tell you the truth; ‘I like this; I don’t like that.’”

“We thought that was very interesting,” he continues. “We never had been going to gift shows – we had been going to food shows, but we decided to listen to our consumers and what they want to have and how we can accommodate them.”

As a result of those conversations the McCrea’s recently redesigned their packaging to focus less on the candy’s all-natural simplicity and more on its sophisticated flavors and high quality – without changing the recipes for the candy inside the packages. The product line’s packaging now includes two sizes of cylindrical sleeves plus a new-to-the line pillow box and a large party box that’s popular with customers who take them to dinner parties instead of a bottle of wine or present them as corporate gifts.

The Mill Fudge Factory Offers Mouth-Watering Gifts for 2015 Holiday Season

In time for the 2015 holiday season, the family-owned and operated Mill Fudge Factory & Ice Cream Café is now offering its delectable line of hand-crafted fudge nationally through its online shop at the millfudgefactory.com. The Bristol, New Hampshire-based small business, founded by the Munro family in 2006, uses the family’s secret Scottish recipe and 100 percent natural ingredients to create authentic fudge unlike any that can be found on this side of the Atlantic.

The Mill Fudge Factory fudge is available in an assortment of classic and inventive flavors, including Belgian Chocolate, Chocolate Walnut, Natural Peanut Butter, Scottish Whiskey, Pure New Hampshire Maple, Bailey’s Irish Cream, Pumpkin Pie and much more. The Factory also offers an assortment of decadent truffles and toffee. All confections are available in gift baskets and elegant sampler boxes.

“We take pride in creating fudge true to the recipe of my grandfather in Scotland and we do it right here in New England,” said Mill Fudge Factory Co-Owner and General Manager Noah Munro. “People tell us they can taste the care we put into our fudge. We’re so happy that we can now share it with folks across the U.S. Our fudge makes for a unique Halloween treat, a great addition to the Thanksgiving table and a fabulous Christmas or Hanukkah gift.”

Report: Non-GMO Products Growing in the Marketplace

In a global food and beverage market with retail value in U.S. dollars of more than $5 trillion, non-GMO products accounted for $550 billion of that total in 2014, according to market research publisher Packaged Facts. With sales of $200 billion for non-GMO foods and beverages, the United States accounts for 36 percent of the overall global non-GMO total.

In the U.S., there is a steady, ongoing increase in the number of products identified as non-GMO, notes David Sprinkle, Research Director for Packaged Facts. New non-GMO product launches in the U.S. have been estimated to be about 2,000 per year, up from just a few hundred a decade ago. This is taking place in both the retail market and in foodservice. Driving the market is an expanding consumer desire to have healthier foods with fewer added ingredients or an aspects that are not “natural,” even though that term has not been officially defined by either the Food and Drug Administration or by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Organic and natural foods accounted for the lion’s share of domestic non-GMO sales at 60 percent of the U.S. market last year. Packaged Facts projects that this share will increase to about three-fourths of overall non-GMO retail sales by 2019. The increase of organic/natural as a part of non-GMO reflects:

  • 1) the increasing popularity of organic food specifically and natural foods more generally with American consumers;
  • 2) the linkage between organic and non-GMO in consumer understanding;
  • 3) and the probability that there will be no resolution on a national level regarding mandatory GMO labeling on food and beverage products.

Looking ahead on a larger scale, Packaged Facts forecasts the total global market for non-GMO foods and beverages will almost double by 2019 due to a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15 percent between 2014-2019, outpacing the CAGR for U.S. non-GMO sales. Nevertheless, the U.S. share of the global non-GMO market will hold at about one third.

Marie’s Dreams Seedless Cloudberry Preserve

 

marie'sAs A1 Tradehouse Corp., a Finnish Quality Product Company, launches its Marie’s Dreams brand made for the U.S. market, it wants to take us “back to the ’50s in a positive way.”

“The core of Marie’s Dreams brand is quality and enjoyment, but our vision is also to offer people something their parents and grandparents got in the 1950′s,” says Pekka Rantajarvi, CEO at A1 Tradehouse Corp.

“When people buy a Marie’s Dreams product, they know they get the real thing,” tells Rantajarvi. “Like in the ’50s, when the things were what they were supposed to be. Those days a scooter was made to last more than three months, and you didn’t need to read the small print to make sure you were not fooled. Today’s consumers face a much harder reality. We want to turn back the clock in a positive way!”

The first product out is Marie’s Dreams Seedless Cloudberry Preserve with 45percent wild cloudberries from the clean Arctic nature of northern Finland. “It’s delicious with ice cream, cheese, whipped cream, waffles!” says Rantajarvi.

“I know somebody can launch a product with much less berries for a better profit, but that’s not what Marie’s Dreams is about. We want to give people the real stuff when they buy a Marie’s Dreams product,” says Rantajarvi. “Marie is a young American woman who wants to enjoy real things. She also wants to share her love for quality with all Americans who want to have real stuff. I encourage everybody to visit www.mariesdreams.com to learn more about Marie and her dreams.”

Marie’s Dreams Seedless Cloudberry Preserve is available at selected specialty stores and quality food groceries starting in October.

 

Celestial Seasonings Unveils Refreshed Tea Packaging

Celestial Seasonings new logo Celestial Seasonings®, a brand of The Hain Celestial Group, Inc., has unveiled its fresh new brand look and feel–including refreshed tea packaging that highlights the brand’s heritage and a new, contemporary logo.

“We’re excited to introduce our refreshed packaging to consumers since we think the new boxes are an even better reflection of the Celestial Seasonings® goodness inside,” said Tom Arcuri, vice president of sales and marketing at Celestial Seasonings, Inc. “We kept the elements that our consumers loved from our previous boxes and built upon them to appeal to an even wider audience.”

The refreshed packaging blends many of the heritage elements for which the brand is known–including commissioned tea box art featuring iconic characters like Sleepytime® Bear–with a contemporary design. Consumers will find the same high-quality teas inside–the brand has not changed any of its recipes and continues to source its ingredients and blend its teas according to its strict “Blended With Care: From Seed to Sip” standard for purity and quality.

Celestial Seasonings maintains its strong belief in social responsibility, so its refreshed packaging will continue to feature an earth-friendly design. The brand’s cartons are still biodegradable and recyclable, and its signature tea bag omits strings, staples and individual wrappers–saving 3.5 million pounds of material from landfills every year.

The first Celestial Seasonings teas in refreshed packaging are available on store shelves now, with the full new shelf set expected to be in place by the fall. All items will also available at the Celestial Seasonings Online Store.

Snack Food Makers Turn to Clean Ingredients, Adventurous Flavors

 

By Lorrie Baumann

The global market for snack foods is now worth about $36 billion according to market research firm IBISWorld, which also reports that the industry is benefiting from the introduction of more healthy snacks and favorable product pricing. Over the next five years, the snack food industry is predicted to continue growing as the economy strengthens and people have more disposable income to spend, leading them to trade in their junk food for premium snack foods that meet their criteria for the flavorful foods with simpler ingredients labels that they’re seeking out for their meals.

There’s a lot of talk about a cleaner label. We’ve been seeing a lot more requests, and customers are coming up with their own lists of what they don’t want to see,” says AnnMarie Kraszewski, a food scientist at Wixon, which makes foods and flavorings used as ingredients by a wide range of product manufacturers. The companies with which Wixon works are asking for recipes that avoid anything artificial, anything that sounds more like it came from a chemistry laboratory rather than a pantry, she said. “It makes formulating a little more difficult, but in terms of the end product, it comes out rather nice, and the consumer likes to see the label, and so they feel better about the product…. Usually the customer tells us a profile they’re looking for. You try and make something that tastes fresh, whether that’s with herbs, unique chile peppers, things that make it a little more interesting. The bulk of the profiles that come in are savory, but there’s a lot of interest in sweet-heat or sweet-savory – a combination like maple and thyme, for instance.”

Dangerously Delicious Black Licorice Chocolate Toffee

Laurie & Sons is a start-up company that’s making its Dangerously Delicious Black Licorice Chocolate Toffee in La Marqueta, an East Harlem commercial kitchen incubator sponsored by New York City. The product received the 2015 sofi Award for Outstanding Chocolate, and it’s the first chocolate-enrobed crisp licorice toffee confection using real licorice root, according to Founder and Owner Laurie Pauker. The product is on the sweet side of the snack food continuum, and Pauker intends to keep her company’s product line of toffees and brittles firmly targeted at that category rather than among the gourmet gifts because Pauker and her three sons, who are the company’s chief product testers, believe that the era of calorie-dense, nutrition deficient snacks has passed. “It might be sweet snacks or might be savory snacks, but it’s all things made with good ingredients. The predecessors are no longer acceptable,” she said. “I think we’re moving more in that direction anyhow. People are snacking more than ever, and those foods need to be made better. They need to meet higher standards.”

The product line includes a couple of flavors of brittles that are baked rather than kettled: Toasted Almond Brittle and Mayan Spice Brittle. “It lets us make the product in a way that incorporates brown rice flour instead of some of the sugar. It’s incredibly light. It’s lower calories, but you feel like you’ve had something tasty and satisfying,” she said. “Portion control is easy because the pieces are sized to let you know what you’re eating, and they’re packaged in resealable pouches so you can take them with you.”

The candy that excited the sofi Award judges was inspired by a candy that Pauker’s grandfather used to give her when she was a little girl. “It was fantastic and it was chewy,” Pauker says today. “One of the things we’ve focused on is putting flavor in toffee. It’s a great vehicle for flavor and spice.” The Dangerously Delicious Black Licorice Chocolate Toffee is gluten free and flavored with bold black licorice underlined with freshly ground star anise and a little bit of pernod, a combination that lends depth to the flavor of the toffee. It’s made without corn syrup, preservatives or food coloring. The chocolate coating amplifies the licorice flavor, and each piece is topped with black Hawaiian lava salt to add crunch as well as flavor. “That took several months of experimenting to balance the right ratio of black licorice to star anise, but I think we found the right balance,” Pauker says. “As for the ‘dangerous’ part of the name, it’s dangerous because it’s so good and also because black licorice should not be eaten in great quantities. It’s like absinthe in that way. It has a little bit of a dangerous side to it.”

fusion JERKY

On the savory side of snacking, KaiYen Mai set out last year to make meat jerky that had the soft texture of the products made in her family’s company for the past 50 years but with modern flavors and ingredient labels that were cleaner than those of many of the jerky products already on the market. Her family had been making jerky in the United States for 35 years and in Taiwan before that, and when it came time for her to take over the family business, she decided to venture out with a new brand as well as keeping the family’s existing product lines on the market. Thus, fusion JERKY, which offers all natural, minimally processed beef, pork, turkey and chicken jerky in bold flavor profiles and with a soft texture that appeals to women and children as well as men, came to be. Basil Citrus Artisan Beef Jerky, Chipotle Lime Artisan Beef Jerky, Garlic Jalapeno Artisan Pork Jerky, Island Teriyaki Artisan Pork Jerky, Chili Basil Artisan Turkey Jerky, Rosemary Citrus Artisan Turkey Jerky, Lemon Pepper Artisan Chicken Jerky and Basil Citrus Artisan Chicken Jerky are offered in 3-ounce bags that sell for $6 to $7. They are made without preservatives or MSG and are gluten free. “It’s a clean label, so when you read the ingredients, you can actually read and understand it,” Mai said. There is currently not an organic product in the line because using all organic ingredients would make the product price-prohibitive in its market, she added. “We’re one of the first ones to do a natural chicken jerky. A lot of people are surprised by chicken jerky. A lot of people who don’t want to eat red meat turn to white meat, so this is another choice for them,” she said. “We’re also trying to make it affordable, which is why we’re not making an organic product at this time. I’d have to reduce the size and sell them for a much higher price. I just don’t think that’s affordable and reasonable for the average consumer.”

The Better Chip

The makers of The Better Chip are among those consciously defining their product line as lifestyle-focused alternative snacks for consumers who are looking for cleaner labels as well as exciting flavors. Ingredients for The Better Chip products, including whole grains and vegetables, are sourced straight from farms. All ingredients are gluten free and non-GMO, and they contain no trans fats. The company adds no topical flavor enhancers, so the flavors are inside the chips rather than coming off on fingers, says Andrea Brule, Vice President/General Manager. “We take a hard line on that. They’re not flavored like something, they just are.”

The Better Chip was designed to be merchandised in the deli department rather than on the chip aisle, so that they share that space with the items with which they’re usually served as part of a meal or at a party. The company very definitely had in mind that they wanted to make a chip that consumers would feel good about photographing and sharing on their social media. “When we developed the chip, we decided to source fresh ingredients and use that as a basis for a snack line that would meet those criteria for clean ingredients and healthy foods while at the same time using engaging flavors that are bragworthy, shareworthy. So when consumers put them on the table with hummus and yogurt dip and cured meats, our chips, in the variety of flavors they come in, are the canvas for how they want to express themselves,” Brule says. “They’re developed for today’s consumers with simple ingredients sourced straight from farms, ideal for entertaining and experimenting with…. My happiest days are when I see people engaging with the product in creative ways. The flavors and the colors really lend themselves to people looking for what they can create with it.”

This story was originally published in the August 2015 issue of Gourmet News, a publication of Oser Communications Group.

 

New Fancy Food Show Products Delight with Taste, Innovation

By Richard Thompson

This year’s Summer Fancy Food Show introduced new and growing brands that aimed to update how we look at foods, from breakfast to all-natural desserts. Many of these news products stood out with their focus on reinvention, health and taste.

If there was one new brand that will be hard to forget, it would be the sweetened waffles from The Belgian Kitchen. Made using brioche dough infused with raw sugar, this frozen dough is an all-natural, butter-based dough that breaks out of traditional waffling by being marketed as a dough rather than a batter mix.

The Belgian Kitchen waffles are already enjoyed at five ski resorts in the Northeast and more than 60 foodservice businesses – including multiple frozen yogurt chains, and President Sean Lee has plans for expansion that will see this product targeted at the family market and being sold as frozen dough balls in retail chains. It’s simple and delicious, says Lee: “It’s a very simple product. It’s like the WD40 of doughs.”

Southern Culture Artisan Foods Founder Erica Barrett presented her own take on waffles with her ShortStacks Pancake and Waffle mix. Sixteen different pancake and waffle mixes offer flavors from Bourbon Salted Pecan and Oatmeal Raisin Cookie to Sweet Potato and Peach Cobbler. These non-GMO, vegan friendly and dairy free batter mixes are meant to be enjoyed by everyone, says Barrett.

Alongside the company’s ShortStack batter mixes were Southern Culture Artisan Foods Cajun Bacon Rubs in three different flavors, adding a zing to a breakfast meat favorite. Available in Original, Bourbon Pecan Praline and Sweet & Spicy, these rubs enhance not only bacon, but any meat.

The company’s 2015 sofi-nominated Garlic and Herb Stone Ground Grits captivated attendees with its flavoring that could complement everything from shrimp to bacon and eggs. “I started the company for one reason: to reinvent breakfast and for retailers to reinvent it too,” Barrett said.

Another up-and-coming company is reinventing the frozen pop with its line of healthy summer treats. Paleo Passion Pops, sweetened with all-natural fructose, doesn’t quibble about being a really healthy and delicious dessert for those who have an active lifestyle or those just looking for a dessert they can feel good about.

Kayla Cord, Administration and Marketing Manager of Paleo Passion Pops, said that the company’s founder invented these pops out of concern about the amount of added sugars in the American food supply. This led to a dessert line whose flavors include Orange Mango, Pineapple Ginger, Blueberry Pomegranate, Apple Crisp, Green Passion, Chocolate Passion and Strawberry Passion.

Each of these options can be considered super food as they are made with flax seeds, ginger, kale and green tea. They are allergy safe and made in a nut-free facility. While these are popular with fitness groups, says Cord, “We’re looking for everyone!”

Java To Go is a brand that offers exceptional coffee that tells the story of the lives of travelers, according to President and Founder Shaheed Momin. “We want to see where coffee is coming from and where coffee is going,” he says. “We want to reinvent the coffee experience.” The company is focusing on the fast paced lifestyle of Millenials and their social networking habits.

Along with traditional flavors like Original and Colombian, Java To Go also has Salted Caramel and Southern Pecan and seasonal offerings like Cookie Doodle and Pumpkin Spice. Each is an organic blend that follows fair trade standards and is high quality, according to Momin.

This brand of gourmet coffee is offered in various packages for different drinking habits. Coffee cans that come in 11 ounces and 32 ounces, single serve K-cups, and traditional stand-up bags with both whole and ground beans are available. Momin is most excited about his single serving coffee sticks that promote a lifestyle of adventure. “This coffee represents a love of travel,” he said.

Backyard Safari Company is breaking from tradition with its seasoning products. This four year-old company’s uniquely packaged “Dinner Tonight!” seasonings are aimed at making dinners an easy one-step process without sacrificing taste. Seasoning options include Burger Seasoning, Southwestern Chipotle & Lime Fajitas Seasoning, Salmon with Angle Hair Pasta Seasoning and the sofi-nominated White Bean Chili Seasoning. Each package has a suggested retail price of $3.95, serves between four to eight people and makes a complete meal in under 30 minutes.

Matchbox Backyard Grilling Spices come in matchbox-inspired containers that hold 2.6 ounces of seasoning. Made for backyard grilling without the fuss, each flavor is meant to “Start a Fire in the Backyard.” The line includes a Lemon Zest & Garlic Chicken Rub, Sweet & Savory Rib Rub, Seafood Grilling Herbs Rub, Peppered Garlic Steak & Burger Rub, and for a spicy vegetable kick, the Sweet Chipotle Grilled Corn Rub.

Kids can learn about fresh seasonings and how to grow them with Sunny Side-Up Garden Kits, also offered by Matchbox Backyard Grilling Spices. In six different varieties, each egg carton package contains soil, seeds and instructions. Kids will be able to grow green beans, summer squash and sweet baby carrots in the Little Fresh Veggie Garden, while the Little Goodnight Garden introduces kids to Evening Primrose, White Purity Cosmos and Evening Scented Stock. Each carton has a suggested retail price of $11.95.

Simply Gum uses a chicle base with no artificial sweeteners and is the only brand in the United States that uses 100 percent natural ingredients. Caron Proschan, Simply Gum CEO, says that the American consumer palate is more sophisticated than is normally granted and that the subtle flavor in each piece will be appreciated. Simply Gum flavors include Ginger, Maple, Fennel Licorice, Mint, Cinnamon and Coffee. Simply Gum products are available in five Whole Foods Stores in the New York area and Sprouts nationwide.

Ft. Greene Farms produces small batch relishes and hot sauces that have already been nominated in the Martha Stewart “Made in America” Jar Goods Category for the company’s whole line. The company’s flagship relish is made with champagne vinegar, yellow mustard seeds, sugar and water for a relaxed mustard flavor. Red Pepper Relish adds a little extra kick to that mustard seed base with red bell peppers, Scotch bonnet peppers, light brown sugar and red onions.

In the hot sauce category, Ft. Green Farms’ Charred Sriracha Hot Sauce is made with Fresno chili, lime juice, shallots, rice wine vinegar, garlic and sea salt. This hot sauce brings a fiery little kick that isn’t too hot for those who enjoy spicy foods.

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