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Face Rock Creamery Releases Clothbound Cheddar

Face RockFace Rock Creamery announces the first allocation of its premium clothbound cheddar. The 14-month aged cheddar is available from the Face Rock website and through select retail locations including New Seasons and Market of Choice in Oregon and Washington.

“Clothbound cheddar is a rare tradition for American cheesemakers, especially in the West,” shares Face Rock Head Cheesemaker Brad Sinko. “It’s a process that requires equal parts quality ingredients, patience and no small amount of alchemy. Aging cheese reveals the quality of the milk we use, and the terroir of Oregon’s southern coast comes through in a rich, slightly grassy and nutty flavor.”

Sinko’s toolkit is simple – milk, salt and cultures. While most clothbound cheddars are formed into blocks, Face Rock forms its cheese into a wheel.  And rather than coat the cloth binding with traditional lard or olive oil to promote the development of a porous rind that releases moisture, Sinko uses butter that he makes in house with the same milk that goes into Face Rock cheese.

Aging cheddar dramatically intensifies flavor and transforms the cheese into a creamy, slightly crumbly texture with small pockets of crunchy cheese crystals. After 14 months in a carefully controlled cave environment, Face Rock’s clothbound cheddar presents as a rich and exquisitely flaky cheese that delivers complex flavor. The deep creamy yellow hue of the cheese is the visual indicator of decadent high-quality butterfat content.

Butterfat quality is at the heart of any cheese’s flavor, and is linked directly to a dairy cow’s feed. Face Rock sources its milk from a single herd of Holstein, Brown Swiss and Jersey cows that graze year-round on nutrient-dense pastures located on Oregon’s rugged south coast, where nature simply has to work harder.

Anchor Packaging Wins Sustainability Award

Anchor Packaging won the 2016 Sustainability Award Certificate of Merit from the World Packaging Organization (WPO). This sustainability award for the Embraceable™ platter and dome follows the prestigious 2016 World Star Packaging Award for this product announced last month. The Embraceable package also won the 2015 AmeriStar Design Excellence Award and the Best New Product in Foodservice by Convenience Store News.

WPO judges awarded Anchor a high sustainability score for responsible raw material sourcing and reduction, energy optimization, and recovery that includes reusability, recyclability, and ease of disposal.

WorldStar Sustainability Cert_Embraceable2The Embraceable black platter is an 11” x 8” oval designed and patented with a locator ring in the bottom to hold a standard 8-ounce squat paper food container. This popular serving size for chili, soups, oatmeal, grits, mac & cheese, and many other items often accompanies a main dish, sandwich, or salad. The clear, anti-fog, vented PP lid contains an integral sealing flange that forms a lid over the paper container at the same time that it forms a leak-resistant seal on the platter. This seal eliminates the lid for the paper container, which saves expense and reduces the amount of packaging consumed, thereby reducing carbon footprint. It also improves consumer convenience, as the meal travels in one container, rather than two.

Both base and dome work well for hot foods held under heat lamps, chilled ready-to-heat meals in the microwave, and for assorted hot and cold food applications, thus reducing SKUs. The strong and durable, cut-resistant black PP base withstands temperatures up to 230°F. Bases are made with natural mineral additives reducing the use of petroleum-based resin by 40%. Elimination of the extra lid for the paper container also demonstrates your environmental commitment to reduce waste.

Anchor Packaging’s products include affordable, upscale, to-go packaging to merchandise prepared ready-to-heat meals in supermarkets, and takeout meals offered by restaurants and other foodservice operations. Anchor’s unique product line includes stock and custom rigid packaging, as well as a broad line of cling film wraps.

Rogue Creamery Cheeses Win Two Good Food Awards

Rogue Creamery wins twice at the 2016 Good Food Awards for its Flora Nelle and Rogue River Blue cheeses. Over 800 people attended the celebration including Slow Food Founder Carlo Petrini and Alice Waters. The Good Food Awards honors companies who have a reputation for making tasty, authentic and socially responsible products. The competition featured 1,937 entries and showcased regional flavors from across the USA. Rogue Creamery distinguished itself, receiving top scores from the 215 judges and passing a rigorous vetting to confirm that it met the Good Food Awards Standards; these standards include environmentally sound agricultural practices, good animal husbandry, transparency, and responsible supply chain relationships. “I am honored to be among this group of cheese makers recognized for their fine cheeses and their holistic, organic, biodynamic and sustainable make processes. Today, Cheese is being recognized along with the practices connected to creating it, and Rogue Creamery is proud that we make our cheese sustainably and organically in the GMO free Rogue Valley. Thank you to those cheesemakers who are a part of this change and Good Foods for putting it into their judging criteria which I now refer to as their manifesto,” said David Gremmels, President and Cheesemaker during his speech at the Good Food Awards.

Rogue Creamery is joined by two other Oregon Cheese Guild cheesemakers: Ancient Heritage Dairy and Goldin Artisan Goat Cheese, who were also winners and are helping Oregon lead the way toward creating a vibrant, delicious and sustainable food system.

Flora Nelle: This organic, natural- rinded, blue is set with calf rennet, has a crumbly, yet creamy texture, and combines savory, tropical, and sweet cream flavors. The result is a robust and piquant blue with subtle hints of blueberry and a rind that enhances the spicy-nutty and intensely blue flavors that truly capture the Rogue Valley Terroir.

Rogue River: Made annually, starting on the autumnal equinox, it is produced at the turn of the season and is made with richer, late-season milk. This blue, finished with pear-brandy soaked grape leaves, has a decidedly complex flavor that reflects the unique seasonal influences of the Rogue River Valley.

ARCTIC ZERO Launches Seven New Fit Frozen Desserts at Winter Fancy Food Show 2016

ARCTIC ZERO®, the pioneer of Fit Frozen Desserts™ without all the fat and calories, has unveiled seven craveable new additions to its family of creamy, sweet indulgences with zero compromise: Brownie Blast, Snickerdoodle Dandy and Banana Pudding Chunky Pints; Cake Batter and Poppin’ Pomegranate Creamy Pints; and Mint and Salted Caramel Chocolate-Dipped Bars. Crafted with premium ingredients to satisfy every sweet tooth, the new flavors celebrate crowd-pleasing flavor profiles reimagined with an ARCTIC ZERO twist to delight classic dessert lovers and health-conscious foodies alike. The new options, which won’t be publically available until March 2016, are debuting at the Winter Fancy Food Show 2016, where show attendees are invited to experience the new offerings in-person and learn more about the latest Fit Frozen Dessert innovations.

“From the beginning, our mission was to bring frozen dessert favorites to consumers in fresh and exciting ways that they could actually feel good about,” said ARCTIC ZERO founder, Greg Holtman. “We were inspired by the recent throwback to traditional desserts as well as culinary trends like salted caramel we witnessed in the marketplace and in direct feedback from our fans. This led us to reimagine time-honored favorites like brownies, banana pudding, and cake batter in our own unique “fit frozen” way that only ARCTIC ZERO can. The result is a fresh batch of clean, low calorie, yet indulgent desserts that hit on the satisfying flavor profiles consumers crave, but in ways they haven’t experienced before.”

Each new ARCTIC ZERO variety celebrates the delightful flavors of childhood classics reimagined in grown-up form. Like all other ARCTIC ZERO products, the new flavors are made with premium, GMO-free ingredients, including hormone-free whey protein, and antioxidant-rich monk fruit with zero artificial flavors, sweeteners or colors. New product details include:

ARCTIC ZERO Chunky Pints – packed with chunks of delicious treats for the perfect guiltless pleasure without all the fat and calories. 12 grams of protein, 12 grams of  fiber  and only 300 calories per pint (or 75 calories per serving).

o   Brownie Blast:A chip off the ol’ brownie block. This triple chocolate threat is sure to hit the spot.

o   Snickerdoodle Dandy: Snickerdoodle eat it up. Snickerdoodle Dandy. Find the cookies in the pint, and with the spoons be handy!

o   Banana Pudding:We’re bananas for bananas. Our banana pudding is ripe with flavor and loaded with vanilla wafer crumble.

ARCTIC ZERO Creamy Pints – blended with premium ingredients for a tantalizing treat with zero compromise. 12 grams of protein, 8 grams of fiber, and only 150 calories per pint (or 35 calories per serving).

o   Cake Batter: Crazy for cake? Our cake batter will remind you of lickin’ the spoon from your mama’s kitchen.

o   Poppin’ Pomegranate:A little sweet, a little tart, our super fruit Poppin’ Pomegranate packs quite a punch.

ARCTIC ZERO Chocolate-Dipped Bars – The ARCTIC ZERO creamy base enrobed in a delicate layer of rich dark chocolate liqueur.  These perfectly portioned, individually wrapped bars will become grab-and-go favorites! 3 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber, and only 80 calories each.

o   Mint:It’s hard to make chocolate blush, but this mint knows just how to compliment it.

o   Salted Caramel: A foodie favorite. Smooth, sweet and salty. Enjoy the decadence of salted caramel in dark chocolate. 

ARCTIC ZERO Fit Frozen Desserts are low in calories, low glycemic, lactose free, and gluten free for an ideal treat or post-workout snack that helps those watching their weight or following special diets taste the sweet life with zero guilt. Recent consumer research conducted by a third-party research firm in partnership with ARCTIC ZERO revealed that 65 percent of the brand’s social media followers report weight management as a constant effort and integral part of their daily lives. In addition, seven out of 10 who had eaten a frozen dessert in the last two to three months reported eating frozen desserts weekly, making the new flavors from ARCTIC ZERO a perfect better-for-you swap for traditional ice cream that supports spring and summer fitness plans.

ARCTIC ZERO is available for a suggested price of $4 to $5 at natural and traditional grocers nationwide, including Albertsons/Safeway, Kroger, Publix, Safeway, Sprouts Farmers Market, Walmart and Whole Foods Market, as well as online at and

Jeff Burt Named President of Fred Meyer Stores

The Kroger Co. has announced the retirement of Fred Meyer President Lynn Gust, and the promotion of Jeff Burt to succeed him. Burt currently serves as President of Kroger’s Central division.

Fred Meyer Stores, based in Portland, Oregon, offers one-stop shopping at 132 multi-department stores in AlaskaIdahoOregon and Washington.

Lynn Gust to Retire After 45 Years of Service

Lynn Gust will retire from the company after 45 years of service, effective January 31.

“Throughout his distinguished career, Lynn as always led by empowering, encouraging and supporting others,” said Rodney McMullen, Kroger’s Chairman and CEO. “Lynn is widely respected throughout our company and industry for his passion for people, the food business, and the communities we serve. The entire Kroger family wishes Lynn and his family all the best in retirement.”

Gust started his career with Kroger in 1970 as a parcel clerk at Fred Meyer’s Fourth Plain store in Vancouver, Washington. In 1972, he entered Fred Meyer’s food management program and advanced to serve in a variety of leadership roles in the division, including food department manager, training coordinator, grocery buyer and director of grocery sales & merchandising. He also attended the Cornell Food Executive Program in 1994. After serving as group vice president for the food group, he was named senior vice president of the store operations group in 2003. Gust was named executive vice president of corporate merchandising and advertising in 2006, followed by vice president of operations in 2011. He was promoted to president of Fred Meyer in 2012.

Under his leadership, Fred Meyer reached $10 billion in annual sales for the first time. Also under his leadership, Fred Meyer was recognized twice as one of Oregon’s “Best Places to Work” by the Portland Business Journal, and twice as one of Oregon’s “Healthiest Places to Work” by The Oregonian.

Following his retirement, Gust and his wife, Julie, will continue to be active in many community organizations in Portland and beyond, including serving on the Board of Trustees for Randall Children’s Hospital.

Jeff Burt Promoted to President of Fred Meyer Stores

Kroger promoted Jeff Burt to serve as President of the company’s Fred Meyer division.

Burt is currently president of Kroger’s central division, which operates food stores primarily in Indiana and Illinois. His successor will be named at a later date.

“Jeff is a strong, dynamic leader who brings out the best in our associates,” said McMullen. “His enthusiasm for serving our customers combined with both broad and deep experience in our business – including in the Pacific Northwest – will serve our Fred Meyer team well. We are grateful he agreed to take on this important role.”

Burt began his career with Kroger in 1986 as a management trainee. He has held a variety of leadership positions with the company in CincinnatiFloridaIndianapolis and Seattle, including store manager, produce merchandiser and vice president of merchandising and operations. In 2004, he was named corporate vice president of deli/bakery merchandising and procurement, before being promoted to group vice president of perishables merchandising and procurement in 2010. He has served as president of Kroger’s Central division since 2013.

Cheesemonger Invitational Returns to San Francisco

New York City’s annual Cheesemonger Invitational (CMI), returns to San Francisco for its biggest year ever, on Sunday, January 17, 2016. Dubbed “the Wrestlemania of Cheese,” “the biggest party in the Milky Whey” and “a competition like ‘Iron Chef,’ ‘Jeopardy,’ and ‘Survivor’ all rolled into one,” CMI brings together the country’s best cheesemongers and cheesemakers with their cheese-adoring public.

On Sunday, January 17, private competition preliminaries pit cheesemongers (the folks who sling cheese for a living) from across the nation against each other in timed challenges including a blind cheese tasting, grueling written exam, sales-under-pressure and the perfect cheese cut and wrap.

Joining the country’s best mongers are the world’s best cheesemakers, including American artisan pioneers Cellars at Jasper Hill, Cowgirl Creamery, and Vermont Creamery and international luminaries Columbia Cheese, Essex Cheese, and Neal’s Yard Dairy. Six finalists will be chosen from the 35 entrants to compete for the title of Master Cheesemonger, one of a number of cheese-centric adventures, and various cash prizes.

$60 tickets are available for the public party and event finals. Doors open at 5 p.m. with “Perfect Bite” servings of cheese composed by every competing monger (a cheese-lover’s Nirvana). Custom grilled cheese sandwiches, fondue, and raclette will be on offer as well as this year’s signature Ploughman’s Supper. All that, and the chance to meet more than 20 makers and taste hundreds of pounds of cheese. A cash bar is also available.

Finalists will be announced at 6 p.m. and begin a heated two hours of competition including new challenges to test their monger prowess. The winner will be announced at 8:30 p.m. In addition to all-the-cheese-you-can-eat, attendees will receive libation giveaways all night.

For every ticket sold, $5 will be donated to the Daphne Zepos Teaching Award to further cheesemonger education.  Must be 21 years of age to enter, with ID.

Tickets are available at and the event will be held at Public Works, 161 Erie St, San Francisco 94103

WARNING:  this event is not for the lactose intolerant.

For more information, contact


Deli Department Innovation with The Better Chip


By Lorrie Baumann


The Better Chip is bringing new energy to the deli department with a gluten-free snack chip that comes in flavors that complement the premium cheeses, cured meats and the dips already in the deli cases. The product fits in well with the transforming role of the grocery’s perimeter, which has become a destination within the store for grab and go meal and snack shoppers who want quick sustenance but who don’t intend to sacrifice their nutritional goals by resorting to fast food as well as those who regard the deli department as their resource for food to serve when they entertain.

The Better ChipNow The Better Chip has extended its line of five flavors of better-for-you vegetable chips: Sweet Corn and Sea Salt, Jalapenos and Sea Salt, Spinach & Kale and Sea Salt, Beets and Sea Salt and Chipotles and Sea Salt with a smaller package size, a 1.5-ounce bag that’s easy to drop into a lunch kit or a sandwich clamshell for an offering that enhances the value of the grab and go offering. “Everyone wants to offer something a little different. We feel like that’s something different they can offer that you don’t get at sandwich places,” says Andrea Brule, Vice President/General Manager of The Better Chip. “We found that accounts were interested in a smaller bag they could use in their lunchtime program. Because our chips are doing so well in their big bags, they thought that, in a smaller bag, they might be able to use it in their lunch program.”

Of the five flavors, which continue to be offered in 6-ounce family-size bags, the Spinach & Kale is far and away the company’s best seller, Brule said. The Jalapenos and Beets Chips are tied for second place. The Better Chip will announce two new flavors early in 2016.

The chips appeal to consumers who are looking for a better-for-you snack that’s a gluten-free alternative to the crackers and bagel chips that are often chosen in the deli to accompany dips and hummus. In addition to being gluten free, The Better Chip snacks are non-GMO, gluten free, vegan, whole grain and made with fresh vegetables.

They appeal to deli manager because they’re an innovation that can add new energy to the category. “They get the ring on the sandwich, but when they [shoppers] come back to buy more, they get that ring in the deli. That’s as opposed to, with other chips, that ring goes to grocery.” Brule said.

The 1.5-ounce bags retail as a separate a la carte offering for $.99 to $1.19.



Guggisberg Sugarcreek Team Emmental Wheel Wins U.S. Cheese Championship


By Lorrie Baumann


IMG950609Cecylia Szewczyk is popping her buttons after the Emmental cheese made by her Sugarcreek team at Guggisberg Cheese was named the winner of the United States Championship Cheese Contest. The 200-pound wheel was chosen from among 1,894 entries in the contest, and it’s a cheese destined to lead Guggisberg Cheese’s product line in a direction that appeals to changing American tastes.

Of course, winning awards is nothing new for Guggisberg, which makes highly esteemed American Swiss-style cheeses that win championships almost routinely, but this award recognizes Guggisberg’s ability to turn its expertise toward traditional Swiss cheese styles with their robust flavors that were once considered too strong for American tastes. But as Americans have become more adventurous eaters, they’re demanding bolder flavors, and Emmental is back in favor. “In Switzerland, they are using different culture combinations that are able to break down the fat in cheese as it ages, and this produces the strongest notes that appreciated there. Here in the U.S. there is a tendency to use milder culture combinations that do not break down the fat , but more and more, Americans prefer pronounced flavors, and we would like to go in this direction,” Szewczyk explains.

Szewczyk led the team that developed the new cheese. Like the championship Emmental, she’s new to Guggisberg, although she’s been making cheese since 2006, when she was received her master’s degree in food biotechnology from the Polish university where she’d studied the food technology and food biotechnology. During the graduation ceremony in which she received her degree, she was approached by a Dutch company that was producing cultures for cheeses and offered a job immediately. She spent the next six years working in Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany and the Netherlands. Then the company sent her to Wisconsin to introduce its ingredients to the U.S. market. Two years later, the company’s management decided to change direction and scale back its efforts in the U.S. market.

By that time, though, Szewczyk had developed a friendly relationship with Guggisberg, which was one of her customers. “There was a mutual feeling,” she says. She approached Guggisberg with her thoughts about developing new cheeses, and the company took her on for a project that required testing a new pilot line that was an exact copy of the new production line Guggisberg Cheese was planning to install. “I came here, and we started playing with recipes,” she says. The 200-pound championship wheel was one of the first off that pilot line.

342-MMS-1426812044-attachment1-PART951426811913581The winning Emmental was aged for just three months with a special cheese coating that allowed the cheese to breathe and release gases and moisture that naturally form within the cheese as it ages instead of the plastic wrapping that’s commonly used in the U.S. “There is a tremendous difference if you let cheese age the natural way, if there are no plastic bags to create a barrier,” Szewczyk says.

“The flavor that we managed to develop there was really outstanding. We were so happy,” she says. “We thought we wouldn’t stand a chance against other Emmentals because of the short aging. In only three months, we were able to develop the flavor. Considering the fact that this was one of the first trials, I’ll say we were very lucky.”




Gourmet Guru Celebrates 20 Years

Gourmet Guru, the first all natural and organic food retail distribution company in New York City, celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. Launched as a sole-proprietor, one-truck operation in 1996, Gourmet Guru distributed mostly local items and imported cheese exclusively to independent accounts in the New York City market at that time. The organization has steadily grown to be an award-winning vertically integrated sales, marketing and logistics company now covering territory from Washington, D.C. to Maine.

Since its inception, Guru has focused on bringing only the most innovative and high-quality natural and organic products to market with a proud track record of having launched several emerging (and now major) categories such as: USDA organic, Greek yogurt, natural/organic deli and meats and functional beverages for companies that have become the leading CPG brands in those categories.

As Guru embarks on the upcoming year, the company will be launching a number of events that demonstrate its holistic approach to business and the world around us. The themes will highlight Guru’s passion for innovation and mutualism as well as an appreciation for customers and producer partners. These will include 20 new lines or line extensions in natural, organic categories, customer and producer appreciation awards for those maintaining 20 years of loyal partnership and 20 community give-back events as well as a 20th anniversary food show.

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