Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will deliver remarks at a National Press Club Newsmakers news conference on Tuesday, September 8 outlining the Obama Administration’s strategy to improve national nutrition and address persistent poverty – and calling on Congress to reauthorize a strong suite of child nutrition programs, including the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, a key component of that strategy that has helped to improve nutrition for millions of children. Joining Secretary Vilsack will be American Academy of Pediatrics President Dr. Sandra Hassink, MD, FAAP, and Jessica Donze Black, Director of Child Nutrition at the Pew Charitable Trusts, who will also provide brief remarks.
For the past three years, kids have eaten healthier breakfasts, lunches and snacks at school thanks to the bipartisan Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which made the first meaningful improvements in 30 years to the national nutrition standards for foods and beverages served in cafeterias and sold in vending machines. A recent poll by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation shows that more than 80 percent of Americans believe the healthier school meals should stay the same or be strengthened.
As Congress turns its attention to reauthorizing the Act, our children are battling a national obesity epidemic that costs $190.2 billionper year to treat and, according to retired U.S. generals, threatens our national security by making almost one in three young adults unfit to serve in our nation’s military. If we don’t continue to invest in our children’s health, this generation will be the first to live shorter lives than their parents.
Fresh Express has updated its line of salad kits to meet continued growing demand for delicious healthier eating options. The brand’s newest products include two new Chopped Kits and two new Gourmet Café Kits:
New Chopped Kits
- Bacon and Bleu with Greek Yogurt Dressing
- Sweet Kale
New Gourmet Café Kits
- Santa Fe Greek with Greek Yogurt Jalapeño Ranch Dressing
- Mediterranean Greek with Greek Yogurt Kalamata Feta Dressing
“Today’s consumers demand great tasting and nutritious meals, often ones that can be made quickly on a busy weeknight. Capitalizing on the trend in which one in three people are eating Greek yogurt, three of the new Fresh Express products have dressings made with Greek yogurt. By pairing a great-tasting lettuce base with Greek yogurt salad dressings, Fresh Express is able to provide consumers what they want – delicious and healthy eating options,” said Robert Stallman, Vice President, Marketing & Innovation at Fresh Express.
Chopped Kits and Gourmet Café bowls are great for a quick and smart lunch or dinner: Choose from the new Sweet Kale or Southwest Chopped with Greek Yogurt Kits paired with baked chicken for an effortless weeknight meal. Everything you need for a flavorful and crunchy salad is in the bag. Just add your favorite lean protein for a well-rounded dish. Or, choose the new Mediterranean or Santa Fe Gourmet Café single serving kits with the all essentials for a workday lunch.
Kooky Sues has introduced the first cup-for-cup gluten-free replacement flour using a proprietary non-fat powdered milk blend for superior taste and consistent baking performance for gluten-free cookies, brownies, cakes and pie crusts.
Kooky Sues Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour improves gluten-free baking in several key performance areas. It increases aeration of batters to improve the elasticity of the protein network and more leavening gases for superior lift. Controlled water binding enhances dough handling, increases the rate of dough development and improves mixing tolerance. And, its unique blend of rice flours, powdered milk and starches improves browning and provides an aftertaste-free, rich dairy flavor and aroma.
“The changes we’ve made in our gluten-free flour deliver results that are much closer to traditional wheat flour,” says Kooky Sues Founder Adam Latham. “With this one product on your shelf, the gluten-free baker no longer needs to search the Internet and experiment with unproven recipes or go on what we call ‘scavenger-hunt shopping adventures.’ This is where you go from store-to-store looking for exotic and expensive ingredients just to make a simple cookie. Now, you can use the same chocolate chip cookie recipe you’ve used your entire life and just use Kooky Sues instead of traditional flour. It’s really that simple.”
Kooky Sues is all natural and uses only non-GMO ingredients. It supplies important nutrients from dairy ingredients including high-quality protein and calcium. The natural dairy calcium in its powdered milk ingredient promotes bone growth. Its high Protein Efficiency Ratio (PER) and digestibility can significantly improve the nutritional value of flour-based baked goods.
Kooky Sues, based in Melbourne, Florida, was founded in 2012 and began selling baked goods and gluten-free treats at local farmer’s markets. The gluten-free flour can be purchased online or at a growing network of independent grocers and health food stores. Go to www.kookysues.com for more information about where to find Kooky Sues, recipe library and gluten-free resources.
For the third year in a row, Hain Celestial Group has been named to “Fortune’s” 100 Fastest-Growing Companies in America list for 2015. “Fortune” cited Hain Celestial as a “Packaged-food company—brands include Almond Dream, Terra, and Celestial Seasonings—keeps riding the trend toward products with a ‘natural’ aura.” In conjunction with this year’s list, Irwin D. Simon, Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer, was recently interviewed by Leigh Gallagher, Assistant Managing Editor and Host of Fortune Live, available at Fortune.com.
“Fortune’s” methodology includes companies that have posted an annualized growth in revenue and earnings per share of at least 15 percent annually over the three years ended on or before April 30, 2015. Companies that meet these criteria are ranked by revenue growth rate; EPS growth rate; and three-year annualized total return for the period ended June 30, 2015. Hain Celestial’s three-year annual growth rate for EPS was 23 percent and revenue was 26 percent, with a total return of 34 percent.
“Once again Hain Celestial’s growth has merited ranking as one of “Fortune’s” 100 Fastest Growing Companies, now for the third year in a row. This is a tremendous accomplishment for the Company and well-deserved recognition as a “Fortune” 1000 company,” said Irwin D. Simon, Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Hain Celestial. “I am grateful to have the opportunity to share this with our supportive employees and shareholders.”
Natural Grocers will open its first store in Minnesota on Tuesday, September 15. The store, which opens at 8 a.m., is located at 1507 Greenview Drive SW, in Rochester. Natural Grocers will provide the Rochester community with fresh produce that is exclusively USDA Certified Organic, as well as other healthy, affordable, organic and natural products. The store will feature a mix of national brands and locally-grown, raised and manufactured products from Minnesota in a small, neighborhood market environment. The Rochester store will also feature a Nutritional Health Coach and offer free nutrition education classes to the public. Natural Grocers Rochester will be open seven days a week.
Lifeway Foods, Inc. has announced the beginning of kefir production at the former Golden Guernsey dairy plant in Waukesha, Wisconsin, that it acquired in May 2013 to increase its manufacturing capacity. Lifeway has been processing raw milk and producing its own bottles at the plant for more than a year, following major renovations as well as food safety certification of the upgraded facility.
With the global market for probiotics expected to reach $52.34 billion by 2020, the company plans to capitalize with its 170,000-square-foot plant that will more than quintuple the combined manufacturing capacity of Lifeway’s three existing facilities to support ongoing growth in the company’s kefir business. The company plans to produce its top-selling products in Waukesha, taking advantage of both the large space and new high-speed manufacturing equipment to meet the demand for nutritious products from consumers throughout the country.
The Waukesha plant currently employs moire than 40 people, of whom more than 25 percent are former Golden Guernsey employees who lost their jobs after a bankruptcy filing closed the 58-year-old business. Lifeway purchased the shuttered plant for $7.4 million.
“We acquired the Golden Guernsey plant because we urgently needed more production capacity,” said Julie Smolyanksy, President and CEO of Lifeway Foods. “Renovating the building to meet our specific manufacturing and packaging needs has been a top priority, and the start of kefir production in Waukesha is an important milestone that will help drive the next chapter in the company’s growth.”
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One hundred eighty-seven (187) individuals passed the American Cheese Society’s fourth Certified Cheese Professional® Exam, which was held on July 29, 2015 in Providence, Rhode Island. This class of ACS Certified Cheese Professionals® (ACS CCPs®) includes individuals from 51 different companies in the United States and Canada. They join an elite group that now totals 595 individuals who have earned the prestigious ACS CCP credential. A complete directory of ACS CCPs is available at http://tinyurl.com/acs-ccps.
Each ACS CCP receives an official lapel pin, embroidered patch, and a certificate, along with the right to call themselves an ACS Certified Cheese Professional® or ACS CCP®. ACS CCPs are required to demonstrate continued active participation and professional development within the cheese industry to maintain their credentials, and they must recertify every three years. “We are not only proud of these distinguished individuals and their professional achievement, but also of the industry’s adoption of the ACS CCP designation as the standard for cheese professionals”, says Nora Weiser, Executive Director of the American Cheese Society. “The entire cheese industry – from cheesemaker to consumer – benefits from the understanding, education, and professionalism of ACS CCPs. They are a testament to the growth, quality, and passion of today’s American cheese scene.”
The Certified Cheese Professional Exam encourages high standards of comprehensive cheese knowledge and service for professionals working in all areas of the industry. The exam is based on the knowledge and skills required to successfully perform cheese-related tasks in a range of different jobs. Testing encompasses a broad range of topics including raw ingredients, the cheesemaking process, storing and handling cheese, selecting distributors, marketing and communicating about cheese, nutrition, and regulations and sanitation.
Due to tremendous interest in the exam, ACS will offer two seatings in 2016: a small seating will be offered on January 16 in San Francisco, California, and a larger seating will take place on July 27 at the 33rd Annual ACS Conference & Competition in Des Moines, Iowa. Cheese professionals who meet the eligibility requirements outlined on the ACS website are encouraged to apply early. Applications will be accepted for the San Francisco exam between September 30 and November 30, 2015. Applications will be accepted for the Des Moines exam between January 1 and March 31, 2016. Space is limited. To learn more about the ACS Certified Cheese Professional Exam, visit www.cheesesociety.org.
Smithfield Foods’ Cudahy, Wisconsin, facility, which produces the company’s Patrick Cudahy brand as well as additional Smithfield branded products, has broken ground to expand its existing facility by 12,500 square feet, adding four new smokehouses and two dry rooms. The new space will increase production capacity by 3 million pounds annually and allow for four additional dry rooms when future sales demand more volume. The expansion is scheduled to be complete in March, 2016. Smithfield will continue making various salami and pepperoni products at the dry sausage facility.
This marks the second major expansion to the facility this year, as the facility also broke ground in April on a new $12 million bacon slicing plant. The 17,000-square-foot plant includes four slicing lines that will increase Smithfield’s bacon capacity by approximately 10 million pounds annually. The plant is expected to be fully operational by October.