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Mars Chocolate North America Introduces Sweet Treats for the Holidays

This holiday season, whip up a colorful chocolate wonderland with a sleighful of new seasonal treats, plus a host of returning favorites, from Mars Chocolate North America.  Whether you’re decking the halls, prepping for parties, delighting with desserts or gifting with goodies, Mars Chocolate has the holiday season all wrapped up.

“Chocolate is a quintessential part of so many family celebrations, and Mars Chocolate brands have been integral to holiday traditions for generations,” said Roy Benin, Chief Consumer Officer, Mars Chocolate North America. “Each year, we develop a wide winter holiday assortment based on valuable input from consumers. This year, we’re introducing some exciting new products and, of course, we’re bringing back our perennial classics.”

Returning favorites include candy dish essentials like festive red and green M&M’S® Brand Candies and DOVE® Brand PROMISES® Milk and Dark Chocolate Snowflakes – which are each individually wrapped in silver and blue or red and silver foil with a snowflake design embedded on top.

Here’s a sample of some new items topping the Mars holiday list for 2013:

TwixThe classic Santa Claus shape and TWIX® Brand join forces to create new TWIX® Brand Santas — available as singles and in six-packs.  These clever confections add Christmas magic as stocking stuffers or tasty on-the-go treats.

Give the bakers on your list a keepsake they’ll use every holiday season: the M&M’S® Brand Recipe Box Tin, the newest collectible from M&M’S® Brand.  With its gingerbread house theme, this tin looks good enough to eat! Inside, red and green M&M’S® Brand Candies, recipes and a cookie cutter make holiday baking a joy.

Surprise family and friends with the new M&M’S® Brand Milk Chocolate Candies for the Holidays Cane.  This year, the transparent candy cane offers a colorful view of the red and green chocolate candies inside, making it a winner for decorating, hanging on stockings, snacking and gifting.

Save time with no wrapping required!  You’ll love the new gift boxes and FUN SIZE® bags for M&M’S® Brand Candies. All decked out with the iconic M&M’S® Characters, these goodie bags and boxes feature “To/From” labels, making them instantly givable—and instantly appreciated.

Friends and family will flip their lids for the M&M’S® Brand MINIS Milk Chocolate Candies Tube.  The tubes are mighty little treats, so tuck them in stockings, share them as party favors, or enjoy them as an on-the-go treat.

Nothing says the holidays like the mouth-watering aroma of freshly baked cookies.  And nothing makes cookies merrier and brighter than the new M&M’S® Brand MINIS Milk Chocolate Candies in red and green. Recipes on the back of the bag make for easy and delicious holiday treats.

Deck the halls with bountiful bowls of chocolate, thanks to the MINIS MIXTM Chocolates for the Holidays variety bags. Showcasing cheerful illustrations of Christmas tree ornaments, each bag is filled with an assortment of family favorites -– SNICKERS®, TWIX®, 3 MUSKETEERS® and MILKY WAY® Brands. Variety bags are the definite “go-to” for holiday snacking and decorating.

‘Tis the season to make magical memories for the chocolate lovers in your life. With the sensational collection of chocolate treats from Mars, Holiday 2013 just got a whole lot brighter.

Chobani Names Dipak Golechha as Chief Financial Officer, Builds on Strong Leadership Appointments

Chobani, Inc. has named Dipak Golechha Chief Financial Officer. Golechha joins Chobani after 18 years at Procter & Gamble, where he held a variety of finance, operational and management positions, including CFO of the Global Snacks Division.

He will report directly to Hamdi Ulukaya, Chobani’s Founder and CEO, and will oversee Chobani’s financial, accounting and IT functions. He replaces James McConeghy, who stepped down from his role in November.

“Dipak’s vast leadership and management experience, combined with our shared vision for Chobani, will support our continued growth and our future plans for expansion,” said Hamdi Ulukaya. “Dipak joins a strong leadership team and will play a critical role in ensuring Chobani maintains the financial strength and flexibility it needs to build on our momentum as we prepare for an even stronger year ahead.”

Golechha added: “Chobani is a fast growing, important and highly relevant brand in the world today. I’m very excited to join a world-class team to help take the business to the next level.”

Golechha is the latest of several executive appointments in recent months and joins David Denholm, Chief Operating Officer, and Peter McGuinness, Chief Marketing and Brand Officer, on the leadership team. Chobani also recently announced some additional key appointments in core areas – Andreas Sokollek, who brings more than 24 years of operations excellence and project management experience, as Senior Vice President of Supply Chain and Operations. In October, it named Dr. Alejandro Mazzotta as Vice President of Global Quality, Food Safety, and Regulatory Affairs, bringing to the team more than two decades of leadership at global packaged goods companies.

Hickory Farms Offers New Artisanal Gifts for 2013 Holiday Season

Hickory Farms, the specialty food and holiday gift retailer recently announced the official grand opening of more than 700 Holiday Market storefronts and kiosks for the 2013 holiday season.

This year, the company introduces Hickory Farms Reserve, a new collection that will delight even the most discerning foodies. These new gifts feature artisanal Dry Salami and eight all-natural cheeses handcrafted in Wisconsin by an award-winning master cheese maker. The cheeses include Apple Smoked Cheddar with Paprika, Smoked Garlic Cheddar, Smoked Pepper Jack, Smoked Blue Cheese, Triple Creme Cheese, Classic Cheddar, 1 Year Aged Cheddar and 3 Year Aged Cheddar.

In addition, Hickory Farms has expanded its offering of wine gift baskets at hickoryfarms.com through a new partnership with Wine.com. One of these new gifts, Winter Wonderland Basket, features the perfect balance of classic, savory favorites like Hickory Farms’ gold medal-winning Signature Summer Sausage and Smoked Gouda, complemented by some of their irresistible sweets, all paired perfectly with the lively character of Parducci Small Lot Chardonnay and the full, rich flavor of Parducci Small Lot Pinot Noir.

Shoppers at Hickory Farms’ Holiday Markets will be hard-pressed to resist new dessert and snack offerings that are sure to make the season even sweeter. Selections include mouthwatering Peanut Brittle Popcorn with Chocolaty Drizzle, Lemon Shortbread cookies, and Snowflake Pretzels.

“Hickory Farms has been a family favorite for over 60 years, and we’re excited to bring an even broader array of delicious options to market this year,” said Mark S. Rodriguez, the company’s CEO.

Customers can find Hickory Farms’ award-winning sausage, cheese and other specialty items at their holiday stores in the U.S. and Canada, online at www.hickoryfarms.com, in catalogs, and at leading retailers throughout the season.

Safeway Announces Sale of 11 Dominick’s Stores

Safeway Inc. has announced that it has reached a definitive agreement to sell 11 of its Dominick’s stores in the Chicago metropolitan area in a cash and lease assumption transaction to Roundy’s, Inc.  Roundy’s will take possession of the stores during a transition period that will take place over the next two months.

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions. The eleven stores are:

  • Park Ridge: 1900 S. Cumberland Ave.
  • Western Springs: No. 14 Garden Market St.
  • Chicago: 3145 S. Ashland Ave.
  • Chicago: 2021 W. Chicago Ave.
  • Northfield: 1822 Willow Rd.
  • Westchester: 3020 S. Wolf Rd.
  • Buffalo Grove: 450 Half Day Rd.
  • Chicago: 5201 N. Sheridan Rd.
  • Gurnee: 6655 Grand Ave.
  • Aurora: 3025 E. New York St.
  • Shorewood: 950 Brook Forest Ave.

Earlier this year, Safeway announced its decision to exit the Chicago market and focus its efforts in other operating areas where its business is stronger. The company continues to be actively engaged in a process to identify purchasers for its remaining stores in the Chicago market, and make announcements as and when pending deals are finalized.  Safeway previously announced the sale of four stores in the greater Chicago area to New Albertsons, Inc., which operates Jewel-Osco grocery stores.

Teatulia’s Newest Fine Cut Jasmine Green Tea Given Honor at North American Tea Championship

 Teatulia Organic Teas has earned third place at the North American Tea Championship in the 2013 Packaged Single-Service Tea Class for its fine cut Jasmine Green Tea. This win marks Teatulia’s fourth recognition as North American Tea Champions.

The Championship is the only independent competition, judged by tea professionals, to distinguish the highest quality and best tasting teas commercially available in the North American marketplace. The Packaged Single-Service Tea Class is evaluated once a year, and every submission is cupped blind and rated by flavor, body, color, clarity and balance. An overall numerical value on a 100‐point scale is calculated to get the winning teas. The results allow producers to understand how their tea compares to others through impartial judging by industry professionals, something that aids tremendously in marketing, operations and product development.

“We are excited to have received such an honor for our brand new Jasmine Green Tea,” says Co-founder and CEO of Teatulia,Linda Lipsius. “Our colleagues in the tea industry have once again recognized Teatulia’s dedication to producing superior tasting, ethically grown teas.”

The Jasmine Green Tea is blend of organic green tea and organic jasmine. It is a mild and refreshing tea, and the delicate floral notes give it a smooth, sweet finish.

Teatulia’s exclusive line of fine cut teas was created so, high-quality, organic tea could be affordable to every household. Along with the award winning Jasmine Green Tea, the fine cut line also includes Earl Grey, Teatulia Black, Teatulia Green, and Lemongrass Herbal Infusion. Currently sold at Target Stores.

Finest Kind Tea a Finalist in Crowd Funding Contest

Maine-based Finest Kind Tea is a finalist in Fresh Direct’s Next BIG Food Thing contest, a crowd funding contest created to “find the next food idea, product or innovation that could change the food world.”

Through the contest, which closes on December 17, 2013, Finest Kind Tea will have the opportunity to crowd source support for its new all organic tea concentrate using RocketHub.com, an online crowdfunding platform.

Finest Kind Tea founder, Jay Lombard, is committed to using only sustainable, natural ingredients, and he pledges never to use high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) or artificial ingredients in any of his products. He is proud of the low carbon footprint of his teas—each bottle is filled with16 fluid ounces of concentrate that, when mixed with water, makes a gallon of tea or the equivalent of eight bottles of ready-to-drink tea. If Finest Kind Tea wins the Next BIG Food Thing contest, Lombard will use the proceeds to develop a tea made with organic, non-GMO, ethically-sourced ingredients.

Lombard started brewing his tea in small 80-gallon batches. This winter, he will increase production at a new facility on the coast of Maine to support expanded distribution throughout greater New England, greater New York, and eventually, nationwide.

The Next BIG Food Thing contest winner will be chosen based on a range of criteria including- amount of funds raised, funder engagement, and overall quality of the idea. The business with the winning idea will receive $10,000 and the chance to partner with FreshDirect, a food supplier in metropolitan New York and Philadelphia. Two runners-up will receive $2,500 each to fund their businesses. The judges include David McInerney, the co-founder of FreshDirect; Geoff Bartakovics, the CEO of Tasting Table; Natasha Case, the CEO of Coolhaus; Sarah Copeland, the food director of Real Simple; and John Craven, the founder of BevNet. Learn more at: www.rockethub.com/projects/partner/nextbigfoodthing

Over 1,000 Cheese Lovers Expected at Crucolo Cheese Parade Thursday in Concord, Mass.

No one can call the residents of Concord, Mass. blasé. Each year, on the first Thursday in December at 3:30 PM, residents of all ages assemble on Walden Street for the arrival of the largest wheel of Italian cheese in North America. This year, the date is this upcoming Thursday, December 5.

The annual Crucolo Cheese Parade attracts over 1,000 adults and children. The event includes a number of spectacles and special attractions.

The highlight of the Crucolo Cheese Parade is the arrival down the town’s main commercial street, by horse-drawn cart, of a 400 lb. wheel of Crucolo cheese. The wheel is equal in diameter to a 3-year-old child. The Crucolo is accompanied by a member of the Purin family, makers of Crucolo for the past 250 years. Its trip began in Scurelle, a town in the mountains of Trentino, Italy, where the cheese is made especially for this event.

The Crucolo Dancers, a troupe of exuberant Concord Academy teenagers, prance down the street in advance of the cheese. Simultaneously, the cheese is loudly serenaded by an Italian chorale group, while 1,000 excited onlookers brandish Italian flags.

A proclamation announcing Crucolo Day in Concord will be read in both English and Italian. Then, the Crucolo will be rolled from the horse cart to a stage to be cut, sliced and distributed to the hungry crowd.

On the sidewalk, parade attendees will have the opportunity to pose with the giant cheese. Meanwhile, inside The Concord Cheese Shop, cheese-lovers clamor to purchase Crucolo, which retails for about $20 per pound. The entire 400-lb. wheel will be sold before Christmas.

The Crucolo parade is free and open to the public.  The 4th Annual Crucolo Cheese Parade is being sponsored by The Concord Cheese Shop, as well as Savello USA (exclusive U.S. importer of Crucolo) and Accardi Foods (Boston-area distributor).

Chex Finer Foods Named 2013 Whole Foods North Atlantic Regional Supplier Partner of the Year

Chex Finer Foods was the inaugural recipient of the 2013 Regional Supplier Partner of the Year across all Whole Foods departments on November 15 and the first annual Supplier Appreciation Luncheon held by Whole Foods North Atlantic Region. Chex was also recognized as the 2013 Grocery Supplier of the Year. The two awards come as a result of dedication and a strong partnership with the Whole Foods North Atlantic region that spans almost 15 years.

“I am humbled to receive these awards and recognition from Whole Foods Market. I am proud of all the hard work and results that we have achieved together with our partner Whole Foods Market,” said Chex President Jeremy Isenberg. The Whole Foods award recognizes Chex for excellence in service, adapting to the changing needs in the marketplace, business insights, and for being Whole Foods’ “go to” distributor across multiple departments.

Founded in 1965, Chex Finer Foods is a 3rd generation family business. In December 2011, the company was inducted into the Food Industry Hall of Fame. In January, 2012, Chex Finer Foods moved its headquarters to Mansfield, Mass. where it doubled its warehouse and office space. Chex has been recognized by Inc. magazine as one of the top 5000 fastest growing companies for 2011, 2012 and 2013.

Inventure Foods to Present at Wedbush California Dreamin’ Consumer Management Access Conference

 Inventure Foods, Inc. has announced that Terry McDaniel, President and CEO, and Steve Weinberger, CFO, will present at the Wedbush California Dreamin’ Consumer Management Access Conference on Tuesday, Dec. 10 at 9:45 a.m. EST.  The conference will be held at the Le Parker Meridien Hotel in New York City.

The presentation and related materials will be available to all interested parties through a live audio webcast accessible in the investor relations section of Inventure Foods’ website at www.inventurefoods.com, where it will be archived for 90 days following the presentation.

About Inventure Foods, Inc.
With manufacturing facilities in Arizona, Indiana, Washington, Oregon and Georgia, Inventure Foods, Inc. is a marketer and manufacturer of specialty food brands in better-for-you and indulgent categories under a variety of company-owned and licensed brand names, including Boulder Canyon Natural Foods®, Jamba®, Seattle’s Best Coffee®, Rader Farms®, T.G.I. Friday’s®, Nathan’s Famous®, Vidalia Brands®, Poore Brothers®, Tato Skins®, Willamette Valley Fruit Company, Fresh Frozen and Bob’s Texas Style®.

Holiday Pasta Recipe from Cat Cora

Residence Inn sent us over this recipe by Residence Inn by Marriott’s Resident Mom of the Year, Cat Cora.

With four hungry boys to feed over the holidays, Celebrity Chef and lifestyle entrepreneur Cat Cora knows a thing or two about sizzling up festive dishes that are sure to please! Please see below for the unique holiday dish she created exclusively for Residence Inn that incorporates seasonal ingredients such as pumpkin, sage and cinnamon. This recipe is easily prepared at home or on the road for family holiday travel, while staying at a Residence Inn! All rooms feature fully-stocked kitchens, and the brand offers complimentary grocery delivery service so you can have all of the ingredients delivered right to your room.

IMG_9494Very Merry Holiday Pasta

Serves 4-6

3 tablespoons olive oil
8 ounces turkey or chicken sausage, diced
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
1 pound orecchiette
1 cup of white wine
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Salt and pepper, to taste
½ cup parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon fresh sage, thin sliced

Boil water for pasta in a pasta pot, fitted with a strainer. Add the fresh orecchiette pasta to boiling water, cook until al dente, about 5 minutes.  Set aside.

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add turkey or chicken sausage and saute for 3-4 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.

Add garlic into the pan, and sauté for 2 minutes, stirring continuously.  Add white wine and reduce heat by half.  Add in chicken stock, canned pumpkin, heavy cream and cinnamon. Stir until well mixed.  Add the turkey or chicken sausage to the sauce and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the cooked orecchiette pasta and toss. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Transfer to a warm platter or bowls, top with parmesan cheese and fresh sage.