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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

Torie & Howard Introducing New Stand-Alone Shipper for Organic Halloween Candy

ToriesAndHowardHalloweenShipperTorie & Howard is introducing a new stand-alone shipper for its 10-ounce Halloween packages of USDA Organic, kosher and Non-GMO hard candy. The new shipper will debut at the Winter Fancy Food Show on January 11, Booth 1651.

The shipper holds 20 packages and provides a seasonally spooky off-shelf display for the candy, which offers a Halloween option for parents who increasingly are purchasing organic foods for their children and for themselves, said Torie Burke, company co-founder. It contains four flavors of the candy and stands 4 feet high with a footprint of just 15 ½ by 15 ¼ inches, Burke said. Orders are being taken now for shipment in 2015, she said.

The package includes an assortment of individually wrapped flavors and features a colorful header with a headstone and a scary spider keeping company with Torie & Howard’s familiar nature-themed packaging motifs of bees, hummingbirds and dragonflies. The candy assortment is packaged in a 10-ounce lie-flat bag with a suggested retail price of $6.99.

Flavors of the organic hard candy include: California Pomegranate and Sweet Freestone Nectarine, Italian Tarocco Blood Orange & Wildflower Honey, D’Anjou Pear & Ceylon Cinnamon, and Pink Grapefruit & Tupelo Honey, which was named a sofi™ Award Finalist.

The candy is USDA organic and kosher certified and contains no GMOs, preservatives, artificial dyes, casein, soy or gluten, Burke said. It also is available in 2-ounce recyclable steel tins with a suggested retail price of $3.99-$4.99. A 6-ounce handbag gift package is available with a suggested retail price of $7.99-$8.99, and the candy is sold in 5-pound bulk bags. More information is available by calling 888.826.9554 or online at

Barbara’s Makes Granola Better with New Granola Line

Barbara'sBarbara’s, known for making cereals and snacks from simple, wholesome ingredients, has expanded its portfolio of Non-GMO Project Verified foods with the addition of Barbara’s Better Granola. The new line of protein-packed granola comes in two yummy flavors – Oats & Honey and Dark Chocolate Cranberry – both featuring a unique proprietary recipe containing less fat and sugar and more protein than other leading granolas.

“Everyone loves granola, but too often what they think is a healthier option is actually full of excess sugar and high in fat. We had been snacking on granola in the office and looking at the product labels. We were astounded to see how much sugar there was in the tiny quarter-cup serving sizes. We knew that we could make a better product, so we set out to make a healthier granola,” said Katrina Yolen, U.S. Director of Marketing at Barbara’s. “Barbara’s Better Granola is packed with protein, lower in sugar and fat, and still delivers the delicious granola flavor we all love. Not only is our new line of Barbara’s Better Granola a good source of protein that comes from oats, almonds, and wheat, but it also delivers other added benefits consumers are looking for, such as ancient grains and seeds, whole grains, ALA omega 3’s and fiber.”

With a larger serving size than most other granolas, Barbara’s Better Granola is a satisfying blend of toasted oat clusters and cereal puffs, almonds, and ancient grains and seeds such as quinoa and flax seeds, and boasts 9-10 grams of soy-free protein and 6 grams of fiber per serving. Barbara’s Better Granola is Non-GMO Project Verified and is packed with 28-30 grams of whole grains and more than 200 milligrams of ALA omega 3’s in every full 2/3-cup serving. It is great eaten alone as a snack, with milk or as a topping on yogurt.

Barbara’s offers a full line of delicious cereals and snacks, including popular crowd favorites like Puffins cereals, Snackimals cereals and cookies, Morning Oat Crunch, Cheese Puffs and more. Barbara’s Better Granola is currently available at Sprouts and Shop Rite stores as well as, and will be available in stores nationwide starting early 2015. Barbara’s products are available nationally at major retail grocery stores and natural food stores. For more information on Barbara’s Better Granola and other Barbara’s products, please visit the Barbara’s website at

Read About More Non-GMO Foods Here

Reliant Beverage Adds Industry Expert to Team

Germano (2)Reliant Beverage Company, maker of Reliant Recovery Water, has hired Bill Germano as president.

“We are thrilled to have Bill join the Reliant team,” said Eric Russell, CEO of Reliant Beverage Company. “He brings with him a wealth of knowledge in the beverage industry and knows how to grow small companies into flourishing national brands. We are confident he will help take Reliant to the next level.”

During his more than 20 years of experience as an executive in the food and beverage industry, Germano has significantly influenced the growth of widely recognized brands in the United States and abroad. Prior to joining Reliant, Germano was the vice president of global development for Kettle Foods where he led the snack brand through a period of increased earnings and innovation in the United Stated and Europe. He has also served as the president and CEO of Thomas Kemper Soda and most recently was the president and CEO of Dr. Lucy’s LLC, where he led a successful launch of a specialized healthy baked snack line to an industry leading brand.

“Reliant Recover Water is an opportunity to truly make a difference,” said Germano. “This is such a uniquely innovative product and I look forward to growing the brand to a national product leader.”

As the new president of Reliant Beverage Company, Germano will lead the efforts to launch the company’s flagship beverage Reliant Recovery Water into the commercial market. Germano joins CEO Eric Russell and an advisory board that includes leaders from some of the Pacific Northwest’s top consumer brands as well as top researchers, physicians and physiologists from across the globe.

Reliant Recovery Water is the first and only electrokinetically modified water that delivers consumers faster recovery to joints and muscles and better performance. For more information about Reliant Recover Water visit

Reliant Beverage Co. is based in Tacoma, Wash., with every bottle of Reliant Recovery Water processed on-site. The company is led by the Russell Family and backed by an advisory board from the Pacific Northwest’s top consumer brands as well as top researchers, physicians, and physiologists from across the globe. Reliant Beverage Co. was founded in 2009 with extensive research and investments to better understand electrokinetically modify water (EMW) and how they interact with the human body. Reliant Recovery Water underwent eight years of extensive research, development and testing prior to launch. Researchers from the University of Florida and Seattle Sports Medicine validated Reliant’s benefits, concluding that the drink improves functional recovery after activity and exercise with less resulting pain and fatigue.

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