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Good News for Grocers is Bad News for Restaurateurs

By Lorrie Baumann

There’s no sign that Americans are going to drop the habits they learned during the Recession and start eating more of their meals in restaurants, a panel of industry experts told an audience at the National Restaurant Association’s annual trade show yesterday.

Americans today are busier and more time-stressed than ever, and they’re saving time as well as money by stopping in and picking up grab-and-go offerings at grocery and convenience stores. Those stores have responded by improving the quality and variety of their in-store offerings, and Americans aren’t likely to be willing to give up the convenience and cost savings that grocers have taught them to appreciate, the panelists said.

“Convenience stores have changed. Grocery stores understand that they can take market share away from you,” said  They’re not just rotisserie chickens anymore – they’re grab and go,” said Bill Cross, Vice President for Restaurant Brand Licensing at Broad Street Licensing Group. He pointed out that 80 percent of the time, Americans don’t know at 4 p.m. what they’re going to have for dinner. Their answer to that question is that they’re going to stop off at a grocery or convenience store on their way home from work and pick up something from the freezer case or fresh food departments and take it home to eat. Grocers have stepped up by providing more and better offerings for them to do that. He didn’t mention that the current trend among grocers is to build smaller stores, that will be even more convenient for customers to dash in and out of when they’re making that stop, but he did point out to the restaurateurs in his audience that there’s no sign that the outlook for their businesses is going to get any better. Americans are busier than ever; grocers have found ways to help them out with that problem, and restaurateurs are no longer competing just with each other — they’re now competing with everybody in the food business, the panelists said.




New Products from Good Groceries Co. Coming to Summer Fancy Food Show

Good Groceries Co. Owner Martin Sokoloff is excited about several new products that he’ll be bringing to the Summer Fancy Food Show this year. Those include Chocoliva, a chocolate spread made with 55 percent olives that has less fat and calories than Nutella. The Original Chocoliva spread is made from olives, cocoa and hazelnuts sweetened with apple juice. Sokoloff will be bringing that along with a Sour Cherry variety and Orange Chocoliva to this summer’s show.

Good Groceries will also be exhibiting sprouted grain cookies, crackers and pasta as well as Vegzels, which are veggie sticks shaped like pretzels. Good Groceries will be in booth #4058 during the Summer Fancy Food Show.

Here at the National Restaurant Association Show, Sokoloff is talking to attendees about Suzie’s Carrot Fries and Parsnip Fries, which launched three months ago as the company’s first frozen food product. The Carrot Fries and Parsnip Fries are made with sliced vegetables, coated with a wheat batter that helps them come out of either fryer or oven crispy. The product contains no potatoes and is made from strips cut from the whole vegetables rather than processed and puréed veggies. “These are truly what they say — parsnips and carrots,” Sokoloff said. See Good Groceries in booth #3684 at the NRA Show.

Holiday Treats from Lucy’s Coming to Summer Fancy Food Show

We can expect to see holiday items in the Lucy’s line of all-natural, gluten free cookies at the Summer Fancy Food Show, says Elisa Krafchin, National Sales Manager for the Foodservice and Convenience Channel. Those items include Pumpkin, Holiday Sugar and Chocolate Merry Mint cookies, she said.

The entire Lucy’s line is gluten free, peanut-free, tree nut free, and allergy-friendly, Krafchin said. The products are made in a dedicated allergy-friendly facility under the direction of the company founder, whose son has food allergies, she added.

PARTNERS to Unveil Double Chocolate Brownie Thin at Sweets & Snacks Expo

PARTNERS will be unveiling its newest product, Double Chocolate Brownie Thin at the Sweets & Snacks Expo next week. The product, which is gluten-free, is competing for a new product innovation award at the show. Attendees at the Summer Fancy Foods Show will also be able to see and taste it this summer in New York, when PARTNERS will be in booth #4112. Here at the National Restaurant Association’s NRAShow, PARTNERS is exhibiting in booth #4112.

Salumi from Creminelli Fine Meats #NRAShow

It’s not hard to find the specialty food products at the National Restaurant Association Show #NRAShow when they bring along their collection of sofi Awards and set them out on the shelf in their display. That alone says something about the respect in which the sofi Award is held by all those foodies who know how to find the sure sign of the very best. Around the company’s sofi statuettes, Creminelli Fine Meats is displaying its line of artisan salami, all made in Salt Lake City, Utah, where the climate is ideal for curing meats, says Andy Dallas, the company’s Regional Sales Manager for the central U.S. The company was started in Salt Lake City by Christian Creminelli, who is originally from Biella, Italy. He’ll be bringing the entire line to the Summer Fancy Food Show, where you’ll be able to see them in booth # 668. Here at the National Restaurant Association Show, find Creminelli in booth #3679 in the South Hall.

Alaska Salmon Season Opens

This morning at 7 a.m. commercial fishermen of the Copper River let their nets into the water to officially kick off the 2014 Alaska salmon season. Each year, salmon lovers worldwide anticipate the first harvest of Copper River kings and sockeyes and the first tastes of fresh wild Alaska salmon.

“The small boat harbor in Cordova is absolutely bustling with activity,” said Kim Ryals, the Executive Director for the Copper River/Prince William Sound Marketing Association. “There’s no place more exciting on the Alaska coast than Cordova at the start of salmon season. Our tiny town doubles in size in less than a month and all attention turns to the work of bringing in the fish.”

Today’s 12-hour fishing period will send the first of Copper River salmon to celebrations in Seattle and points beyond. Salmon connoisseurs from Anchorage to New York eagerly await the flavorful legendary fish, and restaurants and seafood counters prepare for the first wave of Alaska salmon to hit the market. “Salmon fans across the nation are wild about fish from our region, and for good reason,” added Ryals. “The fish are known for their deep red hue, high Omega-3 content, incredible quality and the fleet of family fishermen who bring in the harvest.”

The Copper River and Prince William Sound region is home to generations of fishing families who are proud to make the local harvest their passion and their way of life. Handling each individual fish with care, these artisan fishermen are dedicated to delivering the highest quality product to America’s seafood markets.

This year, in addition to events at high-end restaurants and seafood markets, the commercial fishing fleet of the Copper River is also providing for its fellow Alaskans. “A ‘First Fish’ lunch at Clare House in Anchorage will take place on Saturday, May 17,” said Jeff Olsen, one of the fishermen departing the Cordova harbor. “Members of the fleet and a few of our wives will assist Chef Gerber of the Crow’s Nest Restaurant in preparing a special meal for residents. Our fishermen are honored and proud to share the first of our bounty with our neighbors.” Clare House provides temporary, emergency 24-hour shelter for women with children and expectant mothers over 18.

After today’s inaugural opener, the Alaska Department of Fish & Game will make announcements about future openings, which typically take place on Monday and Thursday mornings.

popchips Launches Line of Popped Veggie Chips

 veggie chipspopchips inc., the innovative popped snack company, has launched the newest member to the award winning snack brand, popped veggie chips. the new great-tasting popchips veggie chips are popping up at retailers nationwide available in a 3-ounce bag.

After bringing the magic of popping to potato, tortilla, and corn, popchips has now popped a new crop of veggie chips. Veggie popchips blend nine popular vegetables – kale, spinach, tomato, pumpkin, potato, beet, bell pepper, navy bean, and chickpea – and tops them with zesty seasonings for three flavors:

  • sea salt: fresh from the garden flavor with a touch of sea salt
  • hint of olive oil: delicately delightful olive oil finished with a touch of sea salt
  • tuscan herb: mediterranean-inspired for a zesty veggie blend

“No snack time is complete without veggies,” said popchips CEO, Paul Davis. “We are thrilled to be expanding our portfolio to provide snackers with the next generation of our popchips family. Inspired by some of today’s most popular vegetables, we are really excited about our tasty veggie chips and showing our continued commitment to bringing  innovation to the snack aisle.”

popchips veggie chips are popped the same way as potato, tortilla, and corn popchips – using heat, pressure, and no oil in the popping process. like other popchips, the new veggie chips have nothing artificial, no trans-fat, no dairy, are gluten-free, kosher, vegan, have less than half the fat of fried chips and still taste great.

New popchips veggie chips will be debuted next week at the Sweets & Snacks Expo in Chicago, May 20-22.

Olive Oil Tasting Course

 Extra virgin olive oil is truly a food for the ages; for thousands of years it has been used not only as a food, but for medicine, beauty and religious rites. Today, health professionals tout its incredible medical qualities, chefs have menus celebrating fresh, high-quality extra virgin olive oil and it is the backbone of the one of the world’s healthiest lifestyles, the Mediterranean Diet. Yet, it is still one of the most misunderstood foods consumed today, especially by Americans.

Premium extra virgin olive oil producer Lucini Italia has partnered with the Extra Virgin Alliance, a non-profit dedicated to restoring trust of extra virgin olive oil in the American marketplace, to host an intensive, two-day olive oil tasting seminar in New York City in June. The course will provide a hands-on introduction to the world of olive oil, including fundamentals of olive oil tasting, recognizing defects and appreciating positive attributes. It is ideal for anyone passionate about extra virgin olive oil and eager to learn the truths and fraud behind this very special food.

A recent study revealed that while a majority of American consumers are using extra virgin olive oil for health and flavor, they do not know what a high-quality oil should taste like. In fact, when asked to describe the taste profile of the oil they are using, a vast majority described a rancid, stale oil.

“It’s unacceptable,” said David Neuman, president of Lucini Italia. “Americans think they are doing something good for their bodies and making their food taste better, when chances are they are not. A great extra virgin olive oil is life changing; once you have experienced one, you really cannot go back to using sub-par oil. You will feel better and your food will taste immensely better. We want all Americans to be able to know what to look for so they too can have this incredible experience.”

Over 10 internationally renowned olive oil experts will teach proper tasting techniques, how to identify fraud and what to look for when purchasing a bottle of extra virgin olive oil. Brown University’s Mary Flynn and The Culinary Institute of America’s Bill Briwawill share how to understand olive oil health and nutrition, using olive oil in the kitchen and food pairing.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil Intensive Tasting Course
June 27 – 28, 2014
8:30 AM – 5 PM
$850 (breakfast and lunch are provided)
Visit to register.

Lucini is not benefitting financially from the course and is simply facilitating it. “Superb quality is our mantra and the more people understand and respect high-quality extra virgin olive oil, the better and stronger the industry will be as a whole,” Neuman said.

For more information and to register visit For more information on Lucini and Extra Virgin Alliance, and

WOATS Oatsnack to Launch in Super Target Stores Nationwide

WOATS Oatsnack is the first brand in a long time to shake up the day-to-day snacking routines of kids, students, adults, and trailblazers. Its innovative use of the humble oat paired with wholesome ingredients has rocketed it onto store shelves and parents’ pantries, answering their call for something that is both healthy and satisfying. Back in January, it was given one of the coveted end-cap positions in a number of select Target stores, and after its initial success WOATS is being expanded to Super Targets across the country.

Its claim to fame is all in the design. Each easily accessible and transportable bag is chock full of tasty morsels that can be noshed on by the handful while running between classes or hiking the Appalachian Trail. It currently is available in three irresistible flavors. In the Nuts About Berries you’ll find perfectly roasted praline pecans and tangy cranberries along with gently baked oats and honey. Cookies ‘n’ Dreams boasts mouth-watering chunks of chocolate vanilla cream sandwich cookies, while the Peanut Butter Graham Slam plays host to crisp honey graham crackers and creamy natural peanut butter.

Founded in December 2003, Anderson Trail is a values-driven food company with the motto of “Humble Oats With Ambition.” This not only stands for their creative flavor combinations, but also represents founder Justin Anderson’s desire to help other kids and young adults dream big. Anderson set his sights on entrepreneurship at the age of 16, founding his first successful venture into the food market with Anderson Trail Premium Soft Granola. Driven by his learning experiences and the adversity he faced with breaking into the industry at such a young age, Anderson is giving back by inspiring kids today to find and succeed at their passions.

Gourmet Chocolates and Delicious Confections from KRM Chocolates

KRM Chocolates of Salem, N.H. is quickly becoming the choice for gourmet chocolates and truly delicious confections. In the 1980s Kevin Miller began making his chocolates and cookies from his home north of Boston. It started as a hobby to give to his friends and co-workers. After suffering a debilitating stroke Miller continued to make chocolates and fine-tune his recipes, all the while hearing from everyone how much better his chocolates tasted than any available at trendy chocolate shoppes.

Soon his interest turned to making chocolate with his new invention, a solid filling made from fruit wines complete with real fruit in the candy. The accolades grew louder and louder. “You should sell these chocolates. They are too good not to share with the world,” people said. Today Miller continues to make his chocolates and cookies the old-fashioned way, by hand, making America’s finest gourmet chocolates and cookies for everyone to enjoy.

KRM Chocolates offers its exclusive Fruit and Wine Chocolates in three different, tantalizing flavors. Peach Wine and peaches in Milk Chocolate is a chocolate delicacy with a solid center of delightful fruity, real peach wine combined with chocolate and a piece of peach. Cranberry Wine and Cranberries in White Chocolate has real cranberry wine and chocolate in a solid center, featuring sweet dried cranberries as a finishing touch. Strawberry Wine and Strawberries in Dark Chocolate brings dark chocolate and strawberries as an aphrodisiac to a new level. Each piece delivers a decadent filling of real chocolate with real strawberry fruit in a strawberry wine and chocolate solid center.

Other truly delicious confections include out of this world White Chocolate Raspberry Wine Truffles, Chocolate Crème de Menthe Liqeur Truffles, Peach, Cranberry and Strawberry Truffles, and Peppermint Bark in white, milk or dark chocolate. KRM’s Gourmet Chocolate Bark is the most scrumptious, handmade chocolate bark you’ve ever tasted and is made using premium milk, dark and white chocolate. The bark is loaded with raisins or sweet dried cranberries and a choice of pecans, walnuts, almonds or peanuts. Kevin’s Crunchy Peanut Butter Chocolate Bark is a mouth-watering combination of fine chocolates, decadent peanut butter and crunchy bits of real peanuts. KRM’s Sandwich Cookies smothered in chocolate take America’s favorite vanilla cream center cookie and smother it in the finest white or dark chocolate. The result is an absolutely yummy dessert.

KRM chocolates and confections are available in individual flavor packages or a large selection of variety packages. They can be purchased at gourmet and specialty retailers, food and gift catalogs, gift and gift basket retailers, up-scale department stores and gourmet food retailers or online at Email  or call 617.945.3263.

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