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TWINOAKS Announces Taste Station Launch

 

Shopper marketing agency TWINOAKS has just announced the launch and test of Treasury Wine Estates’ taste stations in 1,000 Kroger stores across 20 states this spring. It allows shoppers to sample three varietals of Beringer commercial wines via single serve “flavor strips”.tastestrip

TWINOAKS led the concept development and design of this innovation which not only benefits the shopper but also addresses the legal complexities within the wine category as the strips deliver the full flavor of the wines while being nonalcoholic.  “We are proud to have partnered with Treasury Wine Estates and are tremendously excited by the marketing advances this technology delivers.  It uniquely addresses the needs of both the shopper and our client.  Further, it provides retailers with a new form of shopper engagement and ability to convert shoppers within the category,” commented Steve Devore, Managing Director, TWINOAKS.

The launch of the taste stations is the result of a year-long campaign based on research findings that state 94 percent of women running households say sampling gives them a better idea of a product than advertising, and 83 percent of shoppers say that an item they’ve sampled has become a repeat purchase.Other key contributors to the launch included Acorn Design and Manufacturing, Acupac Packaging, Inc., and News America Marketing.

“We are thrilled with the thought-leadership and resolve demonstrated by our agency partner, TWINOAKS, throughout this process. This is an innovation the category has never seen and they were instrumental in bringing it to fruition,” said Tammy Ackerman, Senior Brand Manager for Beringer.

Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker Program Announces 2015 Graduates

The Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker® program, the nation’s only advanced training program of its kind for veteran cheesemakers, has graduated two new and four returning Master Cheesemakers. Wisconsin now has 55 active Masters working in 33 companies across the state.

The newest Master Cheesemakers, who were formally certified at a ceremony during the Wisconsin Cheese Industry Conference in Madison this week, are Adam Buholzer, of Klondike Cheese Company in Monroe, and Chris Roelli, of Roelli Cheese Haus in Shullsburg.

Buholzer is a fourth-generation cheesemaker and one of four Wisconsin Master Cheesemakers in the Buholzer family, including his father, Steve, and uncles, Ron and Dave Buholzer. Adam is now certified as a Master for feta and havarti.

Roelli is certified as a Master in cheddar, the variety on which his family’s original plant was founded. Since re-opening the business in 2006, he has emerged as an award-winning producer of artisanal Wisconsin originals, including Dunbarton Blue, Little Mountain and Red Rock. Like Buholzer, Roelli is a fourth-generation Wisconsin cheesemaker.

Joining the new Masters in the 2015 graduating class are veteran Masters who completed the program again to earn certification for additional cheese varieties. They are:

  • Ken Heiman, Nasonville Dairy, Marshfield, Wisconsin, now certified for cheddar and asiago, as well as feta and Monterey Jack.
  • Mike Matucheski, Sartori Company, Antigo, Wisconsin, now certified for fontina and romano, as well as parmesan and asiago.
  • Duane Petersen, Arla Foods USA Inc., Kaukauna, Wisconsin, now certified for havarti, as well as gouda and edam.
  • Steve Stettler, Decatur Dairy Inc., Brodhead, Wisconsin, now certified for cheddar, as well as brick, farmer’s cheese, havarti, muenster and specialty Swiss.

“It’s exciting to see the ranks of Wisconsin Master Cheesemakers continue to grow and for this unique program to have such a sustained, positive impact on cheesemaking in Wisconsin,” says James Robson, CEO of the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board (WMMB). “Each year’s class takes the advanced training, expertise and insights they gain back to their plants and to the teams that they work with and mentor every day. The bar on product quality and innovation within those companies, large and small, just keeps rising.”

Established in 1994 through a joint partnership of the Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research, University of Wisconsin-Extension and Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board (WMMB), the Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker program is the most formalized, advanced training program in the nation. Patterned after European programs, it is administered by the Center for Dairy Research and funded by Wisconsin dairy producers, through WMMB. Applicants must be active, licensed Wisconsin cheesemakers with at least 10 years of experience in a Quality Assured Plant. Cheesemakers can earn certification in up to two cheese varieties each time they enroll in the three-year program and must have been making those varieties as a licensed cheesemaker for a minimum of five years prior to entering the program. Once certified, they’re entitled to use the distinctive Master’s Mark® on their product labels and in other marketing materials.

New Hope Natural Media Event to Address Food Supply Chain

Esca Bona, an event dedicated to accelerating innovation within the good food movement, will take place in Austin, Texas from October 26, 2015 to October 28, 2015 at the Sheraton Austin Hotel. Esca Bona will connect trend-setting entrepreneurs, game-changing technologists and visionary business leaders from across the supply chain with the end goal of magnifying the positive innovation happening in food. The event is produced by New Hope Natural Media.

This highly-curated gathering will spotlight many of the most transformative ideas shaping our food future. Credible, influential voices from all aspects of the food supply chain will partner through actionable formats such as a Rapid Prototype Workshop, a Global Town Hall and an “Entrepreneur’s Kitchen and Garage” to create new solutions to the challenges of accessibility, scalability and transparency facing our current food system.

“Change is happening at a faster rate than ever before” said Carlotta Mast, Executive Content Director and Event Ambassador for Esca Bona. “We believe the next-generation innovators, mission-based disruptors and revolutionary change-agents need a place to come together to accelerate their ability to create a better food world.”

The five macro concepts currently shaping the content of the event include:

  • Trust Through Transparency: From soil to stomach, the modern consumer’s quest for good food assurance is driving radical changes across the food ecosystem. The conference will address how suppliers, technologists, retailers and brands are collaborating for supreme transparency.
  • Massive Access and Affordability: Can great food really reach the masses? How do we get from where we are to the world we want? Esca Bona will explore how by bringing big food, smart food and good food closer together, the industry can overcome the many barriers preventing great food from getting to those who need it most.
  • Authenticity Rock Stardom: Doing well has not always meant doing good. While those tables may have turned, the rise of the authentic brand is still not an easy one. The conference will explore whether authentic, mission-based brands can continue to climb the ranks of the food dynasties or become destined to lose their way.
  • Saving Food’s Renegades: We need to fortify our future good food leaders, but supporting the break-through technologies of tomorrow will require more than capital. Esca Bona will dig into the “what” of how to best ensure the success of tomorrow’s food leaders.
  • Nourishtech: The future is already closer than we think—and it’s disrupting everything. Chicken-less eggs and cow-less hamburgers aren’t just in labs, they’re hitting consumers’ plates. What can food technology do for us, how can we make it sustainable, nourishing and more importantly—in arm’s reach of the average consumer?

Participants will convene inspired by the people they will meet, learn from, work with and mentor during their time in Austin—and they will leave supported by the new relationships, friendships and partners they will need to fast track their ideas, missions and businesses.

Grand Champion of Canadian Cheese Grand Prix Announced

 

Fromagerie du Presbytère’s Laliberté is the new Grand Champion at the Canadian Cheese Grand Prix Gala of Champions. The cream-enriched soft cheese with a bloomy rind was determined best of all cheeses in 27 categories.

Sponsored and hosted every two years by Dairy Farmers of Canada, the Canadian Cheese Grand Prix celebrates the high quality, versatility and great taste of Canadian cheese made from Canadian milk. “From all the excellent cheeses the jury tasted, we found Laliberté to be the stand-out. This cheese truly distinguished itself in texture, taste and overall appearance. Its exquisite aromatic triple cream with its tender bloomy rind encases an unctuous well balanced flavour with hints of mushroom, pastures and root vegetables,” said Phil Bélanger, Canadian Cheese Grand Prix jury chairman. laliberte

Named after Alfred Laliberté, the famous sculptor born in St. Elizabeth de Warwick, QC, the farmstead cheese took a year and a half to develop and is made from 100 percent Canadian cow’s milk.The cheesemaker is no stranger to the Grand Prix, as their Louis d’Or was notably named Grand Champion of the contest in 2011.

The Grand Champion and 27 category winners were selected from a record-setting 268 cheese entries submitted by cheese makers from Prince Edward Island to British Columbia. The submissions were then narrowed down to 81 finalists by the jury in February.

With the expansion of entries, the Canadian Cheese Grand Prix has added nine new categories to the competition. Gouda was judged in three different age categories, as well as a category exclusively for smoked cheeses. Cheeses were judged on appearance, flavor, color, texture and body, and salt content.

Free From Products to be Shown at Free From Food/Ingredients 2015

The countdown is now on to Free From Food/Ingredients 2015 – which will showcase the very latest in “free from” products from across Europe and beyond on June 4 and 5 in Barcelona. The doors will open on the third edition of the two-day exhibition with hundreds of exciting food and drink products – from gluten free to nut free, going on display. Exhibitors include Warburtons, Mrs Crimble’s, and Nature’s Path from the UK, Fishmasters from Netherlands, Wellaby’s from Greece, Mulino Marello from Italy and Oskri from the USA.

Mrs Crimble’s will use Free From Food/Ingredients 2015 to herald a new sub brand: Gluten Free….and Good For Me. Launching in May, the first products to hit the shelves will be three varieties of Italian pasta with sauce and three new cereal bars. Pasta with sauce is the first combination product available from Mrs. Crimble’s within “free from,” with corn pasta and dried sauce.

Nature’s Path will be exhibiting its range of gluten free breakfast cereals. Wellaby’s from Greece will be showcasing an innovative “free from” baked snacks including its award-winning Lentil Chips. Italy-based Mulino Marello will be exhibiting stone ground gluten free flours while Slendier, from Australia, will be highlighting its Calorie Clever range – “free from” pasta, noodle and rice alternatives. Meanwhile Britain’s biggest baker, Warburtons, will be showcasing products from its award-winning Newburn Bakehouse range – gluten-, wheat- and dairy-free wraps and gluten free cracker thins.

“There will be a stunning, innovative and diverse range of products on show at Free From Food/Ingredients 2015 – which really does make it an exhibition not to be missed. It just goes to show that the Free From market is growing at an incredible pace – with more exciting products now available than ever before – right across the ‘free from’ spectrum. The presence of exhibitors such as Warburtons at Free From Food/Ingredients 2015, highlights how hugely important the Free From category is,” said Ronald Holman, Exhibition Director.

 

 

Gelato-Filled Fruit from Divino USA

Divino USA, Inc. has entered the U.S. frozen dessert market with its distinctive line of Italian handcrafted gelato-filled fruit. The company is poised
to continue on the current trajectory of rapid growth in this country, having already secured national distribution available through KeHE, Haddon House, Nature’s Best and UNFI. Unlike any other gelato on the market, Divino is made from fresh Southern Italian fruit that is hand-picked near the Divino factory on the Amalfi Coast. The fresh fruit pulp is blended with volcanic waters from neighboring Mount Vesuvius, sweetened with natural sugar and lemon juice, and then filled into the halved fruit shell and frozen to a delicious single serving.
Divino varieties include Amalfi Lemon, Roman Kiwi, Ciaculli Tangerine, Apulian Peach and Black Diamond Plum. Each single serve item contains about 100 calories, and all are gluten-free certified, fat free and Non-GMO Project Verified. Each unit is individually packaged in a colorful box and includes a serving tray and spoon, allowing for easy display and grab-and-go. The fruit shell containing the gelato is also completely edible. The product has a shelf life of approximately 12 months. Divino calls its frozen treats ‘gelato’ because in Italy, both ice cream and sorbet fall under the gelato category.

Divino is available in natural foods stores, as well as select grocery and specialty stores across the country, with rapidly growing national distribution, and retails for approximately $3.99-$4.49 per single serving. For more information, visit www.lovedivino.com.

Spaghetti Without the Gluten from Explore-Asian

By Richard Thompson

For those who have to avoid their favorite pasta meals comes Edamame Spaghetti from Explore-Asian, a new spin on pasta that’s not only good, but healthier too. Gluten free, organic, vegan, kosher, non-GMO and approved by the American Heart Association, it’s not just ridiculously delicious but it’s sure to appeal to a wide range of health-conscious shoppers.

Retailing from 3.99 to 4.79, Edamame Spaghetti is made simply from organic beans and water. One serving has 24 grams of protein and 11 grams of fiber, packaged and ready to eat in just a few minutes. Add a little pesto for a delectable treat, but any sauce is the perfect complement. This is pasta reinvented.

For further information visit them at www.explore-asian.com.

Stonewall Kitchen’s New Bloody Mary Mixers Will Satisfy All Taste Buds

By Richard Thompson

Summer is right around the corner and Stonewall Kitchen™ is geared up to cool off and refresh summer goers with two new choices added to their selection of Bloody Mary Mixers. The Peppadew® Sriracha Bloody Mary Mixer combines a zesty combination of spicy Sriracha, lime juice and other spices to make a brisk addition to anyone relaxing poolside or looking for a beverage that can bring a chill of delight during the warm weather. With a suggested retail price of $8.95 for a 24 ounce bottle, those looking for a Bloody Mary mix with a kick will keep coming back for more. Simply served over ice adding a vodka favorite and garnish can make a delicious, savory and unique mix that will keep people out of the pool and waiting to refill their glass.

Where the Peppadew Mixer is for those looking for a little spice in their drink, the Cucumber Dill Bloody Mary Mixer is for beverage connoisseurs who desire a little garden fresh escape from the heat. The just-picked cucumber sensation on taste buds followed by a dash of horseradish, tomato and spices brings a bouquet of balance for any day of the week. This robust beverage will bring a crisp freshness to any patio and if a fresh cut cucumber is added, the refill requests will never end.

These delicious additions bring a new vest to the well-established original Bloody Mary Mixer that has maintained the right level of seasonings with its perfect amount of lemon flavor that makes no brunch complete without one. Stonewall Kitchen’s original Bloody Mary Mixer can be purchased at the retail price of $6.95, making the Bloody Mary Mixer, the Peppadew Sriracha Bloody Mary Mixer and the Cucumber Dill Bloody Mary Mixer the only beverage choices for summer.

For more information, visit www.stonewallkitchen.com or call 888.326.5678.

Study: FDA Testing Finds Small Incidence of Antibiotic Residues in Dairy Milk

By Richard Thompson

 

An encouraging report by the FDA showed little evidence of antibiotic residuals in milk, with a system of dairy regulation that continues to provide safe and healthy milk to the market. Following up on concerns of elevated levels of antibiotics in dairy products, the study was done in part with farms that had a previous violation with antibiotic residue.

The report concluded that while the small number of positive drug residuals was encouraging, the FDA will continue to collaborate closely with state regulatory partners and the dairy industry to strengthen the residue testing program for Grade “A” milk. The FDA will also continue to educate dairy producers on best practices to avoid drug residue in both tissues and milk, keeping consumers safe and distributors compliant.

These results are a continuation of an ongoing trend for the past 20 years in reducing antibiotic residue in dairy products, noted Dr. Robert Collier, Professor of the School of Animal and Comparative Sciences at the University of Arizona, “The dairy industry is continually improving. Milk is tested at least five times before it gets to the store.” Collier, who was not part of the study, continued, “The dairy industry has a tried and true method to keep quality product that is safe and good for you.”

Targeting specific dairy farms with previous drug residue violations, the FDA wanted to study whether those farms with previous violations continued to have antibiotic residuals in their product. The FDA looked for evidence of drug residuals from 31 different antibiotics, and what they found was that over 99 percent from almost 2000 samples taken were free of any antibiotic residuals – it’s that tiny percentage remaining that raises concerns.

Using antibiotics in cattle is not unusual for the animal’s health and preventative care, but those medications are supposed to be metabolized before the animal can be considered a “lactating cow” that produces milk for sale. Recent studies have linked growing bacterial resistance to antibiotics with the infiltration of antibiotics into the human food chain.

Some consumers have responded to their concerns about what’s in their food by choosing organic alternatives. Don Grace, Dairy Buyer for Bashas’ family of stores, has seen the health and safety trend gaining momentum for some time, “Organic milk in dairy seems to have an increased interest with the customer. Sales are on an increase. Unfortunately suppliers can’t meet demand, and many times the product is on allocation,” he said. While fluid milk is the biggest seller in the category, especially due to its price, changing tastes are finding solutions in the growing selection of natural products. “Today’s customers know the benefits of milk, but are constantly being shown healthy alternates of organics like nut milk and soy milk,” Grace continued, “Milk is not the standard product anymore. People are finding they are lactose intolerant and allergic to certain items contained in fresh milk.”

But as Collier explained, just switching to organic might not be enough. “Even organic foods are not immune to pathogen questions. It’s a question of how it is handled and the safety preparations that are taken,” he said.

Milk is one of the most easily tested and regulated products, with safety tests conducted at every step of the distribution process from the bulk tanks at the dairy farms all the way to where it’s bottled, with random samples being tested before shipment. If any antibiotic residuals are found, the process allows for identification for possible residues along with the farms that they came from. Said Collier, “The bottom line is there are no antibiotic residuals in milk marketed.”

Despite the small number of dairy farms that may attempt to subvert the system in place, the vast majority of dairy cooperatives and distribution centers still adhere to the Grade “A” system of regulated production, following the federal, state and individual cooperative standards that are implemented from farms where the milk begins to the store or company where it will be bought or used.

The United Dairymen of Arizona, for instance, represent 85 percent of the dairy farms in Arizona, distributing 13 million pounds of milk a day, adhering to dairy standards that may exceed regulatory standards depending on the cooperative’s safety preferences. “Arizona has very progressive dairymen with animal wellness interests, following the new standard of FARM: ‘Farmers Assuring Responsible Management,’” said Mike Billotte, Vice President of Government Relations, United Dairymen of Arizona, “We follow the basic tenet of inspections of dairy, routine testing, residue testing and sediment testing. These routine testing agencies are enforced in every state.”

 

Bloomy Rinds and Sophisticated Aging Feature in Bohemian Creamery

By Micah Cheek

Bohemian Creamery, based in Sebasopol, California, is turning heads with unique goat, sheep, and cow cheeses crafted by the proud hands of Lisa Gottreich. Gottreich began selling her cheeses commercially six years ago, but she was honing her skills in cheesemaking for years before that in her home kitchen. The transition was natural for Gottreich, who said, “Really, the principles are very much the same, but the equipment is different.” The cheeses she produces are held in high regard, even served in Alice Waters’ restaurant, Chez Panisse. When asked how she managed to sell to such a prestigious pantry, Gottreich simply said “I marketed to them.” That confidence is well earned. Her depth of knowledge at every stage of the cheesemaking process commands respect and assures the buyer of a carefully crafted and unique eating experience.BohemianCreameryCheese_26c

Cheese lovers will notice some unusual offerings in Bohemian’s selection. One cheese, called Cowabunga, hides cajeta, or goat’s milk caramel, in its center. Surf and Turf has a fine vein of local seaweed running through the middle. In cold and wet months, the conditions are perfect to make The Bomb, a goat and sheep milk cheese conditioned to render the gooeyness and funk vaguely reminiscent of an Epoisse.

For a newcomer to artisan cheeses, Gottreich suggests one of her soft goat cheeses, called BoDacious. “It’s got a candidum rind, it’s very mild. People are used to the chevre style, and know that as goat cheese,” she said. For a different goat cheese experience, try the more firmly textured and nutty Capriago, which is brined and aged for up to 10 weeks. Her current favorite is the Romeo, aged a year and a half for complexity and crystallization.

While some cheesemakers gloss over the microbes required for cheese production, Gottreich makes sure the cultures she uses get their time in the spotlight. “Cheeses are defined by their rinds, of which there are basically three: bloom, washed and natural or traditional. But you couldn’t really talk about them without talking about mold.” Her water buffalo milk Agua Bufazola, for instance, is made with a milder strain than is normally used for blue cheeses. The Italian gorgonzola blue mold eases the punch of the six-week-old cheese without compromising flavor. With the milking season’s first offerings, Gottreich has made a batch of Boho Belle, a creamy semi soft cheese that requires six to eight weeks of aging. The end result will show off a delicate bloomy rind of geotrichum candidum.

Bohemian Creamery stresses the importance of not only picking the right cheese, but the right time to eat it. Her quality cheeses can, with proper care, give you a variety of flavor experiences over time. “People say, ‘This isn’t the same cheese I had before.’ Well maybe that cheese was a month old, and this one is a month and a half old,” she says. “Just like I’m not the same person I was when I was 10, many of my qualities have changed. Cheese is living and dying, just like we are. You can pick which qualities you like at a certain age.”

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