Get Adobe Flash player

Bissinger’s Opens New Corporate Headquarters

 

Bissinger’s and The Caramel Room unveiled a new facility in a special chocolate ribbon-cutting ceremony and grand opening party on October 15, 2014. Over 300 guests looked on as Bissinger’s President and CEO Tim Fogerty and St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay cut a specially-created chocolate ribbon to inaugurate Bissinger’s new corporate headquarters and showcase its 14,000 square-foot event space, The Caramel Room.

“We are so honored to be here carrying on Bissinger’s legacy. Originating in 17th century Paris, the company opened its St. Louis doors in 1925,” said Fogerty. “The increased capacity will allow us to keep up with demand and bring new jobs to St. Louis. The addition of private chocolate tours and special event space for parties, corporate meetings and receptions will make this a destination and major attraction for both local and out-of-town visitors.”

The ceremony was the culmination of a year of intense effort, and the renovation process took more than 250 people to complete. The project consolidated two facilities, bringing jobs from Bissinger’s Iowa City plant to St. Louis. Bissinger’s now employs approximately 100 people.

Constructed circa 1910, the historic property was once home to the Missouri Kansas Texas Railroad Depot. A $15 million renovation was undertaken to upgrade to industry standards while preserving much of its original architectural detail. The four-story building contains 220,000 square feet of office and manufacturing space and will now accommodate private chocolate tours. The top floor has a new 14,000 square-foot event space which can seat up to 350 people for dinner and features a 4,200 square-foot deck offering expansive views

Fogerty presented the Mayor with a special limited-release chocolate bar commemorating the 250th anniversary of St. Louis. The hand-painted art features famous pioneers and landmarks that have been instrumental in the fabric of St. Louis’ iconic past, present and future. Available in both 60% Dark Chocolate and White Mint, the 8-ounce bars can be purchased for a limited time online and in stores.

 

 

Green Valley Organics Offering Lactose-Free Dairy Cream Cheese

Green Valley Organics® is expanding its award-winning line with the introduction of the first real dairy, lactose-free cream cheese available in the U.S. market. Starting in November 2014, Green Valley Organics Cream Cheese will be available nationwide at a suggested retail price of $3.49 at Whole Foods Markets, with a wider availability in other natural food stores in early 2015.

Green Valley Organics Lactose Free Cream Cheese is made in a solar-powered creamery using a simple, carefully crafted recipe that delivers a superb flavor. With the perfect balance of sweet and tart, and a rich, creamy texture, the cream cheese is perfect for everyday use, as well as an ideal ingredient in cooking and baking. Like all Green Valley Organics products, the cream cheese is minimally-processed and made with milk from a local family farm, which is Certified Organic and Certified Humane®. All Green Valley Organics products are also certified kosher and gluten-free.

“Our customers have been asking for cream cheese since we first introduced Green Valley Organics in 2010,” says CEO & President Jennifer Bice, “When it comes to dairy, people want the ‘real deal,’ which is exactly what we make – it just also happens to be lactose free. We are delighted to serve the community of an estimated 30-50 million Americans who are lactose intolerant and to say ‘Yes, we now have an organic cream cheese that you and your family can enjoy.’”

Green Valley Organics Cream Cheese is made with only four ingredients – pure organic cream, sea salt, lactase enzyme and live, active cultures; it contains no additives and is free of milk powder, fillers, gum thickeners or other unnecessary ingredients. Flourish®, the company’s proprietary blend of 10 different probiotics, provides the live and active cultures in this delicious new cream cheese.

The quality and outstanding taste of all of Green Valley Organics products start with the milk, which comes from a certified organic family farm in the heart of Sonoma County, located north of San Francisco along the California coast.    The Sonoma County climate, so similar to the Mediterranean with its warm summers and mild winters, offers lush, green winter pastures that are among the most diverse grasslands in the country. These pastures provide perfect nourishment for humanely raised dairy cows.

Limited-Edition Holiday Coffee from Counter Culture Coffee Now Available

Counter Culture Coffee has announced its annual, limited-edition Holiday Coffee featuring harvests from Peru and Ethiopia with a smooth, approachable flavor profile of brown sugar, bittersweet chocolate, and pecan. The coffee is 85 percent Cenfrocafe from Jaén, Peru and 15 percent Idido Washed from Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia. Priced at $14.25/12-ounce box and available as of November 1 on Counter Culture’s website and at all retailers, the coffee is packaged in a sleek recycled paper box printed with linseed oil-based inks conceptualized by Counter Culture’s in-house design team.

This holiday season, Counter Culture will collect a nickel per pound of all coffees sold—including the 2014 Holiday Coffee—to fund forthcoming coffee-growing community betterment initiatives through its SEEDS program (Sustaining Environmental and Educational Development at Source). This holiday allocation reflects a significant increase from the penny per pound Counter Culture donates throughout the year to support improvement projects in coffee-producing communities around the world, including agricultural training and research programs, through SEEDS.

Counter Culture’s SEEDS program was created to structure and define the company’s monetary contributions to projects benefitting its coffee-producing partners and families, who may not be directly related with the coffee itself. Since 2011, SEEDS has supported 12 projects in eight countries and contributed more than $65,000 (not including sales from Holiday Coffee) to coffee-growing communities.

Counter Culture’s strong relationships with the farmers and communities who create their coffees epitomize its commitment to environmental, social, and fiscal sustainability. Under Coffee Buyer & Sustainability Manger Kim Elena Ionescu’s leadership, Counter Culture encourages all coffee growers to practice organic agriculture on their farms. The company supports farms and co-ops willing to pursue organic certification, which requires effort, money, and a full three years of transition time before the coffee can be labeled organic. Eighty-five percent of the coffee that Counter Culture purchases is certified organic, and the company is constantly working to increase that percentage.

Last year, a portion of Counter Culture’s Holiday Coffee proceeds helped to jumpstart the process required for organic certification for coffee producers from Burundi whose coffee the roaster has purchased for a number of years. Two years ago, the proceeds funded a two-day organic composting workshop in Ethiopia that was attended by 30 farmers from Haru, Idido, and Biloya villages.

Goya Foods Opens New Facility In California

Goya Foods, the largest Hispanic-owned food company in the United States, expands its West Coast headquarters with a new facility and distribution center in southern California in response to the increased consumer demand of Goya’s healthy and nutritious products.

GoyaAs the only Hispanic food company to offer consumers an entire line of low sodium, organic, diet and sugar free products, the 250,000 square foot facility will boost Goya’s distribution capabilities of healthy and authentic Latin food and strengthen the company’s position and growth in the West. “Based on our current sales and the influence of Latin culture on the food industry, it’s an opportune time to expand in California, a marketable region that represents high-growth for Goya,” says Robert A. Unanue, who spearheaded the expansion of Goya California and whose great grandfather Don Prudencio founded Goya Foods in 1936.  “The new California facility will allow us to accelerate our reach and secure our position in one of the top regions of the United States while simultaneously allowing us to focus on the expansion of our healthy product lines.”

The new facility will act as Goya’s west coast hub and service the surrounding states including ArizonaNevadaOregonWashington and Utah. The new center features a new warehouse management system, increased capacity for packing, freezing, and railroad transportation that strategically runs through the west coast and links to Goya’s new facility in Houston, Texas.

As part of Goya’s 2011 collaboration with First Lady Michelle Obama’s MyPlate / MiPlato campaign, Goya has focused on expanding its healthy product lines that feature a variety of over 40 low sodium and organic beans, organic rice, brown rice, quinoa, beans, vegetables, frozen vegetables and fruits, coconut water, diet beverages, as well as household staples like olive oil and low sodium condiments.  “Goya’s new California facility is part of the company’s $300 million global expansion of four new state of the art manufacturing, production and distribution facilities in TexasGeorgia, and New Jersey, and will play a significant role in supporting our efforts to provide healthy products,” says Bob Unanue, President of Goya Foods.  “Since our collaboration with First Lady Michelle Obama, we’ve printed over 336 million cans marked with the MyPlate logo.  We’ve not only provided consumers with healthy options that have ‘good taste, are good for you and of good value,’ key elements that resonate with our popular tagline ‘If It’s Goya, It Has To Be Good,’ but we’ve provided the educational materials and aligned our overall communications in order to really make a difference in the well-being of our consumers.”  Each of Goya’s new facilities will help reach new consumers and strengthen the Goya brand throughout the United States and internationally.

KeHE Summer Selling Show Sells Out

KeHE Distributors, a leading distributor of natural, specialty, and fresh products, will host its annual Summer Selling & Product Innovation Show in Orlando Feb 2-3, 2015.  This rapidly growing show is completely sold out – four weeks prior to the posted deadline.

The show has a unique focus on the summer selling season, and a track record of attracting a large and growing number of retailers of all sizes.  KeHE’s Summer Selling Show is the only food industry show to win a Top 50 award from the Trade Show News Network.

“It’s not a surprise our supplier and retailer partners are signing up to participate in record breaking time.  The Connect:Show iPad ordering technology makes show floor transactions easy and fast for both retailers and suppliers.  Accordingly,  both groups have a fare more productive show experience than ever before,” says Mike Leone, Chief Commercial Officer, KeHE.

“Our retailer and suppler partners rely on our guidance regarding products that will perform well, during the upcoming summer selling season,” stated Brandon Barnholt, President and CEO of KeHE Distributors.  “We believe it is critical that we make on-trend easy for them,” he continued.

The KeHE Summer Selling Show is a private, by invitation-only, industry event.

Fenugreen Organic Packaging Product Extends Life of Produce

Fenugreen, a simple piece of paper infused with a mixture of organic spices and botanicals that inhibit bacterial and fungal growth and extend the life of quickly perishable produce, is featured in the week’s segment of “The Lempert Report Innovation Series,” a weekly video series featuring innovation in the food world that examines cutting-edge products that can help.

Sponsored by Tetra Pak® in the U.S., the videos are found online at “The Lempert Report’s” YouTube Channel and on Tetra Pak’s U.S. consumer Web site BeCartonSmart.com.

“This is brilliant,” says Phil Lempert, CEO and editor of “The Lempert Report.” “Fenugreen can revolutionize the food economy helping to keep produce fresh from the farm-to-the-retailer, and then into consumer’s homes. In addition, it can cut back on transportation, inventory and energy costs.”

According to a report by the National Resources Defense Council, Americans throw away nearly half of their food annually and 25 percent of the world’s harvest is lost to spoilage. However, Fenugreen FreshPaper is now used by farmers and families across the globe, and the company is establishing initiatives to benefit local food banks in the U.S. and small-scale farmers in the developing world.

FreshPaper sheets are recyclable, biodegradable, compostable, and made in the USA.

B’More Organic Expands Distribution of B’more Organic Skyr Smoothies

B’more Organic skyr smoothies are now widely available through its new strategic expansion into the Mid-Atlantic. Now offered in more than 100 new outlets in the region, including Whole Food Markets, Safeway supermarkets, and independent stores, B’more Organic smoothies are available in Banana, Mango Banana, Strawberry Banana, Vanilla and Caffe Latte flavors. The brand is now available in over 250 locations.

B’more Organic new store expansion includes:
• 34 additional Mid-Atlantic Whole Foods Markets in Northern Virginia, District of Columbia., Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Cincinnati and parts of Kentucky.
• 50 Safeway supermarkets in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia
• 25 independent markets in Northern Virginia, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware and New York

Skyr is an Icelandic-style strained yogurt, similar to Greek yogurt, brought originally to North America by way of Nordic settlers with experience in food preservation. B’more Organic skyr smoothies are made from fat-free skim milk naturally loaded with protein and probiotics. B’More Organic is providing a protein-packed, gluten-free and fat-free creamy beverage, now available to the Mid-Atlantic region.

Associated Buyers Recognized by Whole Foods

Associated Buyers was recognized at the Whole Foods North Atlantic Supplier Appreciation Luncheon that was held at the Crane Estate in Ipswich, Massachusetts, on October 16 and was presented with three notable awards: Whole Foods North Atlantic Supplier of the Year for 2014, The North Atlantic Grocery Supplier of the Year for 2014, and the North Atlantic Whole Body Supplier of the Year for 2014. Associated Buyers has been a dedicated supplier to Whole Foods North Atlantic Region for nearly 20 years.

“Thank you for everything over the years. Your patience, honesty, compassion, and loyalty make you a shining example of what a great partner should be. Whole Foods Market is a much better place because of our relationship with you.” – The Whole Foods North Atlantic Regional Team

Associated Buyers is a distributor of natural, organic, specialty and ethnic foods serving the Northeast. The company has provided quality products to a diverse and growing customer base for over 25 years. Associated Buyers is known for providing caring customer service and partnering with many local New England manufacturers for distribution.

Strong Bloody Mary Market Garnished by Spicy Heat and Unexpected Flavors

By David Bernard

Last month, as the St. Regis New York Hotel was busy celebrating the 80th anniversary of the U.S. debut of the bloody mary in the hotels King Cole Bar, a bartender at Todd English P.U.B. in Las Vegas was busy adding a skewer of corn dog pup and crispy chicken wing to a $35 bloody mary already stacked with a slider, chilled shrimp and pickled asparagus, among other garnishes. Still popular decades after its creation and continuously reinterpreted, bartender Fernand Petiot would no doubt be pleased with the legacy of the perennial cocktail classic he first mixed in Paris in 1921 before serving it at the St. Regis in 1934.

Capitalizing on consumer hunger, a thirst for spice and the growing desire for healthy ingredients, retailers of all things bloody mary, including mixes, seasoning blends and rimmers, are finding a wealth of products to choose from and a strong market to which to sell.Some retailers and producers describe two distinct markets for bloody marys. Jerry Ciesielski, Fine Foods Buyer for Premier Gourmet in Buffalo, New York, noted that a lot of the stores older customers stick with what they know, buying mixes that are more representative of the classic bloody mary recipe. For the younger customers coming in, its all about spicy hot,” he said.

Of the 16 brands of mixes sold in Ciesielski’s store, Tabasco Extra Spicy has become the second best-seller – up from fourth place. Tabasco Extra Spicy is followed by another spicy offering, the horseradish-flavored Mr & Mrs T Premium Blend. The top-seller at the store, as well as one of the leaders nationwide, is the medium-hot Zing Zang.Ciesielski said that customer requests, along with the trend toward spicy across many food categories, spurred the stores move toward spicier offerings. “Im looking for more and varied spicy mixes,” he said.

The good news for retailers like Ciesielski is that there is certainly no shortage of spicy bloody mary mixes on the market today from which to choose. The Murphs Famous Bloody Mary Mix, based in Long Island, New York, already had a successful, more traditional mix sold in 26 states when it decided to add a spicy version a year ago. The response has been amazing, said Stephen Murphy, CEO of The Murphs Famous Bloody Mary Mix. The new mix includes cayenne, horseradish and black pepper. When we did production runs initially, we thought it out and made 70 percent of the original mix and 30 percent hot and spicy. Within six months, it was 50-50. And now were 60-40 hot and spicy.”

Murphy got the idea for The Murphs Hot & Spicy Bloody Mary Mix, which recently won a Chile Pepper Magazine award for Best Bloody Mary Mix, after attending a number of hot sauce trade shows. As a sponsor himself of the New York City Hot Sauce Expo, which doubled its attendance to more than 10,000 this year, Murphy has observed firsthand the trend toward spicy. I have really seen, particularly among 21-35 year olds, that its all about hot sauce and different flavors of hot foods and sauces,” he said.

One of the countrys top bloody mary seasoning producers, Demitris of Seattle, Washington, happened upon its spiciest flavor, chipotle-habanero, quite by accident. According to founder Demitri Pallis, the company, which has won 25 Scovie Awards since 2012, created the extra-hot variety as a marketing stunt for the 2010 Nightclub & Bar Show Convention in Las Vegas. We kind of told the joke on ourselves,” said Pallis. “The response came back so well that, while we didnt intend to actually put a label on it, we decided to go ahead and add it to our lineup. While the chipotle-habanero blend is too hot for most bars to stock as their house mix, it does very well on the retail shelf, just as has done another of Demitris spicy offerings, Chilies and Peppers, which has increased in popularity in recent years.

While some retailers stick to a two-fold offering of more traditional mixes in addition to hot and peppery options, producers today are stepping up with unique flavors as well. Jason Poole, Brine Boss at Preservation & co. in Sacramento, California, recently turned a Dijon mustard-caper-balsamic-pickling-brine recipe he perfected as a bartender into a successful product sold in 150 California locations. (Expansion to surrounding states is in the works.) Developed for entry into the national Absolut Vodka Bloody Mary Search contest, in which it took second place, the viscous mix also contains sriracha.

The thing that would really frustrate me about bloody marys as a bartender was that people would drink about three-fourths of their drink and wouldnt finish it, because, by the end, it would be too diluted and it wouldnt have the flavor it began with, said Poole. Our goal was to create a drink where they could actually enjoy the whole thing. By making the mix thick and adding heat with sriracha, Poole created a buffer against the dilution that comes from adding ice and vodka, ultimately preserving the mixs briny/tangy and sweet tones.

Preservation & co., which produces a variety of pickled and other vegetable products and seasonings, also offers a sriracha salt bloody mary rimmer. Spicy rimmers like this one have risen in popularity alongside spicy mixes. Bacon-flavored rimmers are also trending.

Just a year old, Austin, Texas-based Bloody Revolution, has taken variety to a new level, recently expanding its reach to over 600 locations, including gourmet shops and major retailers, like one of the largest grocers in the state, HEB. The company offers five mixes, with the unique twist that none of the four variation flavors are based on the company’s original recipe. The company’s four co-founders started Bloody Revolution to fill what it saw as a gap in the marketplace, crafting unique flavors like wasabi ginger, ribeye, pickle zing and smoked habanero.

We had the idea to do something totally different from what wed ever seen, said Chantz Hoover, Managing Partner of Bloody Revolution. We decided to mix things up. While the company’s more unique flavors have proven a hit among adventurous cocktail enthusiasts, Bloody Revolution’s standby original and smoked habanero offerings serve as a point of entry for bloody mary beginners. Customers will try the original or the smoked habanero first, Hoover said. “Retailers are telling us that they come back and say, Hey, that was awesome, Im ready to try one of these other flavors now.’”

Bloody Revolution’s offerings fit perfectly with another bloody mary trend: the bloody mary bar within a bar” concept. Restaurants and bars across the country are setting up a bloody mary carts or mini-bars where customers can choose their own garnishes, extra spices and rimmers. While establishments typically offer only one or two mixes at the front of the cart, Bloody Revolution clients have found success when they choose to offer all five of the companys mixes. The renowned Austin hotel, The Driskill, whose popular Saturday Bloody Mary bar had featured two housemade original mixes for 30 to 40 years, recently added three Bloody Revolution mixes, with impressive results.

Their beverage director said, This is going to take our bloody mary bar to another level,’” said Hoover. And now, six months later, its gone really well for them. Theyve given us great feedback.The companys mixes have performed similarly well at other clients bloody mary bars.

The growing preference among consumers for natural and healthy products is also driving today’s bloody mary market. While the drink uses vodka or another type of alcohol, it also contains a healthy dose of tomato juice and often cayenne and other beneficial spices.

I find that a lot of our customers are vegetarians, said Mel Gonzalez, COO of Backyard Mary, a Huntington Beach, California company whose medium heat mix is sold in four western states. They look at it as a liquid salad, basically as a meal in a drink. Backyard Mary Bloody Mary Mixer, which carries just enough heat derived from horseradish, Worcestershire sauce and peppers, gives the drinker a light kick, yet it is still bright and flavorful. The mixer was a Platinum Best of Class winner at the Spirit International Prestige Awards.

Of course, some bloody marys are not so healthy, and consumers can thank the blogosphere in part for that. Spurred on in a “can-you-top-this fashion, some restaurants, bloody mary bloggers and individual consumers are carving out a spot at the bar (or on the internet) by posting outrageous pictures of lavishly garnished bloody marys. A bacon cheeseburger, King Crab claw, and chicken and waffles are just a few of the indulgent garnishes that demonstrate how the bloody mary can serve as a meal in a glass.

While possibly alarming some fans of the classic recipe, elaborate versions of this classic cocktail may be contributing to an overall boost in the category. Id say the Bloody Mary is getting more popular, said Shelley Buchanan, author of The Drunken Tomato: A Definitive Guide to the Best Bloody Marys in Los Angeles and Orange County. Especially with everyone sharing all these pictures of the crazy garnishes, bloody marys are really coming out in social media a lot more, and theyre getting more attention that way.

Read more about bloody marys here, about hot sauces here and about Bolder Beans here.

This story was originally published in the November 2014 issue of Gourmet News, a publication of Oser Communications Group.

 

Bolder Beans Add Crunch to a Bloody Mary

Bolder Beans produces crunchy, pickled green beans and other pickled vegetables that are a healthy snack, a perfect addition to a Bloody Mary, or even a great gift. Bolder Beans are sugarfree, fat-free and even gluten-free. There are less than 100 calories in the entire jar and each serving has
only 1 carb. In addition, there is nothing artificial added and all ingredients can be pronounced.
Bolder Beans Jars 2014Bolder Beans started as a wonderful addition to a Bloody Mary. Just add a couple pickled green beans instead of a piece of celery and your Bloody Mary is transformed. “I first tried a pickled green bean in a Bloody Mary in New Orleans. When we returned home to Colorado, we couldn’t find anything we liked, so I decided to make my own!” said Rogue Edwards, Owner of Bolder Beans.
A single jar is perfect for a hostess gift, a teacher appreciation item, a pot luck dinner, or just a simple thank you. Purchase a jar online at www.bolderbeans.com or custom order a gift box that will really stand out. Prices range from $8 a jar to $30 a gift box depending upon the
items selected.
For the Bloody Mary lover, a Bolder Beans Bloody Mary gift set is really unique. This special gift box includes a jar of Bolder Beans, Bloody Mary concentrate mix, rim salt, a bean fork and even a pack of beef straws! Just add the vodka for a complete set that will make any Bloody Mary lover smile.
Bolder Beans come if three tasty flavors: mild, medium and hot. The mild beans have a big, bold, dill pickle taste that are crunchy and zesty without the added heat. For the medium flavor, a jalapeño is added to the jar to give it a big, bold kick with a peppery jalapeño taste. A habanero is added to the hot and gives the bean a sweet heat. Whether they are chopped up in a salad, added to a Bloody Mary, or eaten right out of the jar as a good snack or an easy appetizer, Bolder Beans are sure to please any pickle person.

Gourmet News

Follow me on Twitter