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Pasta Chips Now Non-GMO Project Verified

Vintage Italia Pasta Chips will debut new packaging with the Non-GMO (non genetically modified organisms) Project Verified Seal of Approval at the Fancy Food Show in San Francisco held Jan. 11-13, 2015. The bold and bright new packaging designs will be a shelf-standout in five flavors. Additionally, Pasta Chips are now lower in sodium by 40 percent.

“2014 was a banner year for Pasta Chips. We expanded our distribution, product line and gathered a lot of market research from our customer base,” said Vintage Italia Pasta Chips’ Founder and CEO Jerry Bello. “We felt it was important to respond to our consumers desire for a non-GMO product and lower sodium. We’re pleased with the strides we have made and look forward to a very prosperous 2015.”

The Non-GMO Project offers North America’s only independent verification for products made according to rigorous best practices for GMO avoidance. “Our Verified products are produced in compliance with the Non-GMO Project Standard, including ongoing testing of risk ingredients,” said Bello.

Vintage Italia is the very first company to recreate the traditional baked pasta appetizer from Italy into a snack food. Its signature product, Pasta Chips, is made with the same semolina flour, ancient grains, and Italian herbs that have been celebrated for hundreds of years. The Tuscan-inspired chips are married with different seasonings based on regional Italian favorites and are available in five delectable flavors including Marinara, Alfredo, Spicy Tomato Basil, Garlic Olive Oil, and Mediterranean Sea Salt.

Pasta Chips are certified kosher, have 3g of protein, are cholesterol-free, and contain 60 percent less fat than potato chips and 20 percent less fat than pita chips. Pasta Chips are available in a 20-ounce club size bag, 5-ounce size or a single serving 2-ounce size. The 20-ounce and 5-ounce packages are resealable and can be hung or displayed on a shelf.

This incredibly popular snack was launched in late 2014 and has had incredible success with major grocery chains and retailers across the United States. 2015 holds new Italian-inspired flavor combinations, new pasta shapes and varying package sizing.

Pasta Chips are available at retailers nationwide including: Walmart, ShopRite, Safeway and online at

The Spice Lab Introduces Olive Oil Dipping Herbs & Himalayan Salt Shooters

Showcasing its extensive line of sea salts, peppercorns, spices, seasonings, and gourmet gifts, The Spice Lab is introducing Himalayan Salt Shooters with patent pending inserts and a line of Olive Oil Dipping Herbs at the Winter Fancy Food Show. The company’s free standing Himalayan Salt and Bacon Rub displays also will be featured in booth #220.
Tequila Salt Shooters

Colorful new packaging and the addition of a patent pending insert into each glass transforms The Spice Lab’s 100% Himalayan Salt Shot Glasses into Tequila Salt Shooters, targeting young adults and retail liquor stores as well as the hospitality industry.

“The addition of the insert keeps the tequila from getting too salty,” says Brett Cramer, co-founder of The Spice Lab. “Now bars and restaurants can use our unique glasses which still naturally add the perfect touch of salt without overpowering the tequila.”

Spice Lab tequila shootersCarved from the finest quality, food grade Himalayan pink salt, each three inch shot glass holds 1.5 ounces. They are packaged in two- and four-glass sets in clear boxes with suggested retail price ranging from $14.95 to $29.95. A four-pack in traditional packaging also is available. Sold in bulk, glasses can be customized with UV-coated full color imprint.

Olive Oil Dipping Herbs

This selection of six premium spice blends was created for seasoning olive oil to use as dipping oil with artisan breads. From Mediterranean Citrus Herb to Italian Parmesan Romano, each herb mix imparts added flavor and extra taste. 

Spice Lab dipping herbsOther choices include Rosemary Garlic Blend, Italian Spicy Sun Dried Tomato, Spicy Roasted Garlic and Sun Dried Tomato Parmesan. These herb blends can be used to season meats and vegetables or mixed with oil and vinegar to make a vinaigrette salad dressing or marinade. Each two-ounce stand-up pouch has a suggested retail price of $3.95.

Ticket Chocolate to Debut at 2015 Winter Fancy Food Show

Ticket Chocolate LoveMugGiftKitConfectionery tasting experiences from Ticket Chocolate are just as convenient as they are indulgent. Ticket Sticks offer one and all a mess-free way to unwind after a long day. A block of fine chocolate sits atop the ideal stirring stick just waiting to swoop, swizzle, and melt into the perfect cup of hot chocolate. Currently Ticket Chocolate offers a selection of decadent flavors including Salted Caramel, Belgian Milk Chocolate, French Dark Truffle, and 3-Chili.

The classic chocolate bar is one sweet treat that will never go out of style, especially with Ticket Chocolate’s Beloved Bars. Each one of these gorgeously packaged bars is crafted by hand, in small batches, with the finest chocolate, fresh inclusions, natural flavoring. Connoisseurs of the chocolate world won’t be disappointed when they sink their teeth into the many eclectic flavors, such as Grasshopper Pie, Waffle Pecan, and Hazelnut Cherry.

TC_SmoresKit-8853_zps10f37404For a soul-warming trip down memory lane, all one has to do is turn up the fire and try Ticket Chocolate’s Artisan S’mores Kit. All the ingredients have been assembled for that classic campfire or fireplace treat, including crispy honey graham crackers, vanilla bean mallows, and a rich chocolate bar.


The Fresh Market “Design Our Bag” Challenge in Support of No Kid Hungry

Specialty grocer The Fresh Market is on a nationwide search for a fresh and fun design for its 2015 reusable bag, which will benefit Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry® campaign. The annual “Design Our Bag Challenge” raised over $86,000 for No Kid Hungry, which works to end childhood hunger in America. Returning again this year, The Fresh Market will showcase more children’s artwork on its limited edition reusable shopping bags.  The Fresh Market will donate 50 percent of the retail price of each bag sold to No Kid Hungry, with a minimum donation of $150,000 in 2015.

Children ages 15 and under who have a love for both food and art can submit a drawing that answers the question, “What is the best thing about The Fresh Market?” Local communities are invited to take part in the fun, and The Fresh Market welcomes schools, children’s museums and art groups to participate.  The top two artists, voted on by The Fresh Market employees, will have their designs printed on reusable shopping bag, which will be sold in The Fresh Market stores nationwide in 2015.

In addition to having their drawings featured on the company’s reusable shopping bag, the winners of the Design Our Bag Challenge will each receive a $200 gift card for The Fresh Market, a kid-friendly goodie bag filled with an artist kit and other edible treats and accolades via The Fresh Market’s social media channels. In addition, each of The Fresh Market’s stores nationwide will award their stores’ top two finalists a $50 gift card.

Forensics Firm Warns of Counterfeit Food Products Sold Online

Kessler International, announced today the need for consumers to be cautious when buying food products from online retailers. An eight-month investigation by Kessler of counterfeit food products disclosed that some online retailers, including Amazon, were selling counterfeit food products. These products included dairy and fish products, condiments, alcoholic spirits, and spices.

The investigation is noteworthy not just because these counterfeit products are sold in the US, but additional investigation by Kessler disclosed the packaging facilities of these counterfeit products were contaminated and filthy. Additionally, independent lab testing disclosed that in many cases the counterfeit products did not contain the ingredients disclosed on the label, subjecting individuals to adverse health reactions.

“While most consumers are aware that the $5000.00 luxury brand watch they buy for $25.00 is probably counterfeit, most would never expect the brand food item they buy not to contain the ingredients on the label,” said Susan Peterson, COO of Kessler International.

Counterfeit product is not subject to the manufacturer standards and regulations mandated upon a genuine product, leaving the consumer vulnerable to adulterated food products and health issues. See Kessler’s website for additional information on how Al Qaeda or ISIS has used counterfeit product in the past according to Interpol and other law enforcement offices.

Nature’s Best’s Texas Distribution Center Rebrands as KeHE

Nature’s Best’s Flower Mound, Texas, facility will undergo a rebranding within the next several weeks. Nature’s Best was acquired by KeHE Distributors, LLC, in August 2014. The KeHE Distributors logo will replace the Nature’s Best logo at this facility, as well as on trucks, uniforms and corporate letterhead that operate out of this facility.

“While the decision to replace the Nature’s Best logo with KeHE’s was driven in part by requirements from the Department of Transportation, rebranding [at the Flower Mound Distribution Center] aligns with our long term vision and strategy for this region. KeHE has a very strong reputation and brand recognition east of the Rocky Mountains,” said Gene Carter, Chief Operations Officer, KeHE.

“This is an exciting time in our organization. We believe a unified brand strategy in this region is the best way to communicate to our customers that we are a seamless organization with unmatched product offerings and reach,” said Mike Leone, Chief Commercial Office, KeHE. “By marketing under one powerful brand with a long history of success in this region, we will have even greater marketplace impact and become a much stronger company.”

With respect to other facilities formerly owned by Nature’s Best, KeHE will maintain the Nature’s Best name west of the Rocky Mountains and add “Powered by KeHE” as a tagline beneath the logo.

“The rebranding process is about more than just the KeHE logo itself…  The KeHE brand is a promise to our customers that flows from our values and our culture,” continued Leone.

Marsatta Chocolate Raises Funds to Reopen Retail Store

Marsatta Chocolate is in the closing hours of a Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds to reopen its retail store in a new location after being evicted from its previous premises because the company was hosting pick-up youth hockey games in its parking lot, according to founder and chocolatier Jeffray D. Gardner. The company’s troubles have been complicated by the early birth of a son to Gardner and his wife Naomi.

This project will only be funded if at least $40,000 is pledged by Tuesday, December 23, 2014 at 9:09 p.m. MST. If the needed funds are raised in time, Marsatta plans to develop online sales of the premium chocolates, buy larger chocolate conching machinery and hire staff to keep a retail operation open throughout the day.

The project has the support of the Los Angeles Kings professional hockey team, which has posted an appeal on the team’s website.


Albertsons-Safeway Divestiture Plans Announced

AB Acquisition LLC (Albertsons) and Safeway Inc. have entered into agreements, subject to approval by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), to sell 168 stores across eight states to four buyers:

  • Associated Food Stores (AFS) will purchase eight stores in Montana and Wyoming;
  • Associated Wholesale Grocers (AWG) / Minyards  will purchase 12 stores in Texas;
  • SUPERVALU will purchase two stores in Washington; and
  • Haggen will purchase 146 stores across Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.

Divestiture of these stores is being undertaken in order to secure FTC clearance of the companies’ proposed merger, which was announced in March and is expected to close inJanuary 2015. The purchase agreements with the four buyers are all subject to approval by the FTC.

Under the terms of the purchase agreements, the buyers will acquire the stores, equipment and inventory, and they intend to hire most, if not all, of the store employees upon the closing of the purchase of the stores. For a complete list of stores to be divested, visit:

“We’re pleased to have found strong buyers for these stores and to have completed this important step toward combining Albertsons and Safeway,” said Safeway President and Chief Executive Officer Robert Edwards, who will serve as the combined company’s President and CEO. “We look forward now to the transaction’s close, so we can begin working together to enhance the loyalty of grocery shoppers by delivering high quality products, great service and lower prices to become the favorite local supermarket in every neighborhood we serve.”

About Safeway Inc.
Safeway Inc., which operates Safeway, Vons, Pavilions, Randalls, Tom Thumb and Carrs stores, is a Fortune 100 company and one of the largest food and drug retailers in the United States with sales of $35.1 billion in 2013. The company operates 1,326 stores in 20 states and the District of Columbia, 13 distribution centers and 19 manufacturing plants, and employs approximately 138,000 employees. The company’s common stock is currently traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the symbol SWY. The company will be delisted from the NYSE upon closing of the merger. For more information, visit



Nicole’s Naturals Introduces a Gluten-Free Waffle and Pancake Mix

Nicole's NaturalsThe days of two different breakfasts for gluten-free households are over with the launch of Nicole’s Naturals Gluten-Free Waffle & Pancake Mix. Nicole’s Naturals is made with the highest quality, all-natural ingredients and spices usually only found in homemade mixes, making the waffles and pancakes taste like a family recipe.

Called “delicious” and a “waffle you want to eat” by the Los Angeles Times, Nicole’s Naturals Mix is made without artificial ingredients, preservatives or refined grains. Nicole’s Naturals’ products have been independently tested at less than five parts per million, far below the FDA regulation of 20 parts per million for products labeled gluten-free.

Raised in North Carolina, Nicole’s Naturals’ Founder Nicole Washington grew up in the kitchen and was responsible for cooking dinner for her family by the age of 10. Homemade breakfasts were a favorite dish of her Southern family, and while she ultimately became an industrial engineer, cooking and entertaining continued to be a source of love and enjoyment in Nicole’s life. But it was her engineering mindset that drove her to find a culinary solution once she was diagnosed with gluten intolerance in 2003. After much trial and error, she developed a gluten-free recipe to replace her family’s beloved waffles and they didn’t even notice when she swapped the new gluten-free recipe for her tried-and-true dish. After revealing her secret, Nicole’s husband encouraged her to package her product, and Nicole’s Naturals was born.

Nicole’s Naturals Waffles & Pancakes take just minutes to prepare, and caregivers can rest easy knowing their children are starting the day with a healthy meal. Nicole’s Naturals have significantly less added sugar and more fiber than many other waffles while tasting even more delicious. The prepared waffles can even be frozen allowing kids to help out by popping one in the toaster themselves for breakfast or an easy snack.

“In gluten-free families those with allergies are often singled-out with a separate meal and not able to eat what the rest of the family is enjoying,” said Nicole’s Naturals Founder Nicole Washington. “Our mix is a real solution for waffle- and pancake-loving families as the cook only has to make one breakfast.”

Roughly 40 million consumers purchase gluten-free products, four million of whom suffer from celiac disease, which requires that they avoid eating gluten. Gluten-free sales are expected to reach more than $15 billion by 2016, according to Mintel.

INGREDIENTS: Brown Rice Flour, Corn Meal, Turbinado Sugar, Gluten-Free Oatmeal, Potato Starch, Tapioca Flour, Aluminum-Free Baking Powder, Cinnamon, Gluten-Free Vanilla Flavoring, Gluten Free Xanthan Gum and Salt.

Nicole’s Naturals Gluten-Free Waffle & Pancake Mix is available at, and The Hood Market in Costa Mesa, California.

MSRP: $8.99  for a 22-ounce container

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