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Vestar Capital Partners Acquires Majority Interest in Roland Foods

Vestar Capital Partners VI, L.P. has signed a definitive agreement to acquire a majority interest in the Roland Foods family of companies, including Bruno Scheidt, Inc., American Roland Food Corp., Pro Warehouse Corp. and Costamar Corp.

Roland Foods is a recognized leader in the imported specialty foods business in the United States and around the globe. “My parents started Roland Foods in the U.S. nearly 75 years ago, and the company has grown consistently over the years with the help of our valued customers, suppliers, and staff,” said Charles E. Scheidt, CEO of Roland Foods. “Vestar appreciates and shares our values, as well as our company’s single-minded focus on our brands, quality products and exceptional and reliable customer service. This evolution enables Roland Foods to build on its excellent foundation.”

“Roland Foods is a great company with a unique niche and superb reputation in the industry, and an exceptional initial investment for our new Vestar VI fund,” said Dan O’Connell, founder and CEO of Vestar. “Roland Foods is not only performing extremely well but also has impressive potential. Coupled with the bright growth outlook we see in the specialty foods sector, we believe Vestar’s resources and experience in the food and branded products arena can help Roland Foods grow substantially.”

Roland Foods’ current management team and staff will remain in place. Charlie Scheidt will continue as CEO and Chairman of the Board and will retain a meaningful investment in the company. The company anticipates that a new CEO will be named in the coming year. Roland Foods expects a seamless transition for the suppliers, vendors and customers, with continuity, stability and growth being top priorities.

Based in New York City, Roland Foods specializes in importing high-quality specialty food products from more than 40 countries. Founded in Paris in 1934 and established in the United States in 1939, Roland Foods has provided customers with exceptional specialty foods under the Roland brand as well as several other affiliated brands. The company has a national presence in the foodservice, retail, and industrial channels as well as international sales in the Caribbean, Central and South America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Roland Foods’ dedication to providing quality and consistency has made it a leader among food importers and suppliers. For more information, visit

Massachusetts Cheesemakers Form Guild

Twenty one artisanal and farmstead cheesemakers who collectively make more than 100 types of cheese have banded together to form the nonprofit Massachusetts Cheese Guild, which will launch officially with a gala cheese tasting on October 29.

“The time has come for cheesemakers in Massachusetts, who have toiled independently for years, to coalesce for their greater good and to wave a proud flag for all the awards and accolades they’ve accrued for their products,” said Peter Lovis of The Cheese Shop of Concord, who is both a charter sponsor and on the guild’s board of advisors.

The goals of the Massachusetts Cheese Guild are to educate each other as well as consumers, retailers and distributors about the exceptional cheeses that are made in Massachusetts, to encourage and support the production of farmstead and artisanal cheeses made from Massachusetts milk and to help cheese artisans to promote their products and their achievements. The organization also intends to draw the attention of the public to the wealth of cheese varieties that are available throughout the state. Those represent almost every type of cheese, from alpine to blue, from Nubian goat to Ayrshire cow, from fresh and soft to the cave-aged and hard varieties.

Barbara Hanley is the guild’s inaugural president. There is also a 10-person board of directors. Sponsors underwriting the formation of the organization are The Cheese Shop of Concord, Shubie’s Market and Seacrest Foods International. The Massachusetts Cheese Guild is funded by its members and supported by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources and the Massachusetts Dairy Promotion Board. Its artisan members range in location from Topsfield to the north to Martha’s Vineyard on the south and from Somerville to the east and Williamstown to the west.

The organization’s website is live and offers information about the guild, its artisans, sourcing information for Massachusetts cheeses and directions for how to cook with Massachusetts cheeses. It also describes the factors that can affect cheesemaking and anoints the Jersey as the smartest cow on the planet.

Dessert and Baking Mixes Go Gourmet for Holiday Gifting

By Lucas Witman

When entrepreneurs came up with Bisquick and Jiffy Mix in the 1930s, they could never have imagined that these relatively simple mixes of flours and leavening agents would be the precursors of a massive 21st century market for baking and dessert mixes. These two originary brands are still going strong, but they have been joined by hundreds if not thousands of specialty food companies marketing mixes that help home cooks prepare gourmet delicacies. Today, there are mixes available to make anything from blueberry lemon lavender pancakes to shoofly pie to gluten-free Italian herb foccacia.

With the mixes market burgeoning into a truly gourmet enterprise, pre-packaged baking and dessert mixes have gone from basic blends to luxurious updates on classic kitchen staples. Gone are the days when home cooks pulled out a boxed biscuit mix in order to just get breakfast on the table. Today, consumers are more likely to pull out an organic southern buttermilk biscuit mix in order to treat family and friends to a special breakfast treat.

As the mixes market has gone gourmet, featuring high-end recipes, fine ingredients and appealing packaging, these products have become increasingly popular as gifts. The modern foodie is likely to find pre-packaged mixes in her or his Christmas stocking right alongside imported olive oils and stainless steel truffle shavers.

SONY DSCOne company at the forefront of the mixes-as-gifts movement is Ohio-based The Invisible Chef. The Invisible Chef markets a wide line of attractively packaged mixes for coffee and tea cakes, breads, muffins, cupcakes, cookies, brownies and more. The company’s products are made with premium all-natural ingredients and feature recipes like those one might find at a high-end bakery. Consumers can prepare Almond Crème Coffee Cake, Chocolate Chipotle Brownies and Chai Latte Cupcakes with the help of The Invisible Chef’s mixes.

We pretty much cover all the bases in terms of baking mixes,” said Jill McCauley, co-owner of The Invisible Chef. According to McCauley, it is the convenience of her company’s products combined with their gourmet flavors that truly set The Invisible Chef apart. “You can have something mixed up and in the pan before the oven is even preheated,” she said.

When it comes to giving mixes as gifts, The Invisible Chef has consumers covered. “We have some different or intriguing flavor profiles,” McCauley said. ‘If you’re going to buy something as a gift, maybe you want something a little different.”

For retailers, The Invisible Chef’s appealing packaging makes it ideal for holiday merchandising displays. Simply place the company’s Cheddar Chipotle Beer Bread Mix alongside a festive glass loaf plan, and customers have a ready-made gift right in front of them.

Finally, since they are a relatively inexpensive gourmet product, The Invisible Chef’s mixes can be given as gifts for virtually any occasion. “If you just go in and buy a mix, most are under $10 retail, so it’s a really affordable luxury,” McCauley said. “All-natural, great ingredients, nice flavor profile—and you don’t have to spend a lot of money.”

Another company that offers a line of unique mixes that are beautifully packaged and perfect as gifts, is Virginia-based Purely American. Purely American offers more than 80 dessert, bread, soup, chili, seafood and pasta mixes.

In particular, Purely American’s signature Storytelling line of mixes make great gifts by themselves, or they can be a terrific addition to a themed gift basket. Each mix in the Storytelling line,which has been crafted since 1984, tells its own story. Mixes for tasty treats like Amish Country Snickerdoodles, Shenandoah Valley Apple & Spice Cake and Santa Fe Cornbread each tells their own regional tales about specific American locales.

Our original line—the storytelling mixes—each has a story on the package that celebrates a famous American food, experience, place or tradition,” said Ray Leard, founder of Purely American. Each of the Purely American lines is all-natural, no MSG, low fat and high fiber.

This holiday season, Purely American is offering consumers a number of mixes for holiday-themed goodies, as well. These mixes are ideal as hostess gifts. “Our Christmas at Grandma’s Cranberry Bean Soup is an excellent gift idea,” Leard said.

For specialty food retailers trying to capture extra sales this holiday season, a carefully curated selection of gourmet mixes from high end companies like The Invisible Chef and Purely American is a great way to attract customers looking for the perfect gift for the hard-to-buy-for foodie in their life. With so many expertly crafted mixes available today, however, the hard part is deciding which ones your customers will want most.

Baking for the Holidays with Robert Rothschild Farm Mixes

RobertRothschild-MSRobert Rothschild Farm offers a complete line of baking mixes. New muffin, scone, dessert and bread mixes were introduced in 2013 and have been very popular. All of the company’s baking mixes appeal to consumers who love to bake high quality, delicious treats but do not have the time to make them from scratch.

Two of the most recent additions to Robert Rothschild Farm’s line of baking mixes, Classic Shortbread Cookie Mix and Double Chocolate Fudge Brownie Mix, are simply delicious on their own, or they pair perfectly with many of the company’s other gourmet products. The Classic Shortbread Cookies can be topped with any of the company’s preserves, Pumpkin Curd or Buttery Cookie Caramel Sauce. The Double Chocolate Fudge Brownies are sensational topped with Dark Chocolate Peppermint Sauce or Peppermint Candy Cane Dip for a delightful holiday dessert.

Robert Rothschild Farm’s gourmet bread mixes make great side dishes or appetizers when paired with the company’s open and serve dips. The Pub Style Pretzel Bread can be served with new savory cheese dips. Customers can also dip the Italian Herb Focaccia Bread in the Italian Herb Dipping Oil to elevate any meal from ordinary to extraordinary.

For more information about the Robert Rothschild Farm’s gourmet baking mixes, call 800.356.8933, email or visit the company online at


Arizona Sunset Enchilada Soup from Frontier Soups is Homemade in Minutes

FrontierSoups-MSArizona Sunset Enchilada Soup, the newest addition to Frontier Soups™ line of 34 all-natural, gourmet soup mixes, is a healthier and easier way for consumers to enjoy a weeknight Mexican fiesta. With much less preparation time than tacos, the new soup satisfies consumers’ taste for culinary adventure. The product is also certified gluten-free.

Arizona Sunset Enchilada Soup features warm chili seasonings and epazote, a spice used in many traditional Mexican dishes. These spices create an authentic Mexican flavor profile. The soup’s colorful golden yellow corn and red peppers are reminiscent of the bold colors of an Arizona sunset, creating point-of-purchase appeal when showcased in 5.75-ounce clear packaging.

A clock icon on the product’s packaging informs busy consumers the soup can be prepared on the stovetop in just 30 minutes. All Frontier Soups soup mixes have no added salt, MSG or preservatives. In addition, the company’s 28 gluten-free varieties have met the requirements of the Celiac Sprue Association® Recognition Seal Program. The SRP for the product is $5.95.

For more information on Frontier Soups, contact the company by phone at 800.300.SOUP (7687), or visit the company online at

Stonewall Kitchen Pairs Peppermint with Wintertime Enjoyment

Specialty food creator Stonewall Kitchen is thinking peppermint—delicious peppermint baking mixes that are perfect for the holidays and wintertime enjoyment. The Chocolate Peppermint Cupcake Mix gives cupcake fans of all ages a wonderful combination of a rich, dark chocolate cupcake covered in sweet peppermint frosting that’s loaded with bits of peppermint candy. And the Chocolate Peppermint Crinkle Cookie Mix makes out-of-this-world, chewy, deep chocolate cookies with the chill of peppermint flavor.

In addition to chocolate peppermint baking mixes, Stonewall Kitchen also carries three additional chocolate peppermint treats, including Peppermint Hot Chocolate. Ideal after shoveling the driveway or building a snowman, this creamy and rich cocoa delivers a luscious combination of hot chocolate with a cool whisper of peppermint. For an ultimate chocolate peppermint dessert, look no further than Stonewall Kitchen’s Chocolate Peppermint Sauce. Served warm and spooned over ice cream, this smooth, rich sauce takes desserts to a whole new decadent level. Finally, for adults, there is the Chocolate Peppermint Martini mixer that can add a fun and delicious element to holiday get-togethers. Simply add your favorite libation, shake and serve.

With so many tasty chocolate peppermint options, Stonewall Kitchen is making it easy to start new holiday traditions. For more information, visit or call 888.326.5678.

Wind & Willow Makes Entertaining Easy

W&W-MSWind & Willow is known for its legendary Cheeseball Appetizer & Dessert mixes. However, did you know each mix has an alternate recipe printed on the box that gives the consumer a different recipe to impress their guests?

For a savory appetizer that is perfect for entertaining, use Wind & Willow Old Santa Fe Cheeseball & Appetizer mix to make stuffed jalapeños. These delectable mouthfuls will spice up any gathering of family and friends. Create the easiest and tastiest stuffed mushrooms using one of Wind & Willow’s best sellers: Bacon Stuffed Mushroom. Simply mix the seasoning with cream cheese, stuff medium sized mushrooms, sprinkle the topping on the mushrooms, and bake in the oven. Other great quick and easy appetizer ideas include vegetable pizza, bruschetta and spinach artichoke dip. The recipes are endless, and the best thing is they are so delicious and easy to make.

For these and other great recipes, visit the company’s website at To order, please contact your local sales representative, or call directly at 888.427.3235. Wind & Willow products are truly the perfect addition to any entertaining menu!

Frontier Soups Updates Packaging

Frontier Soups added to the packaging of its all-natural gourmet soup mixes in an effort to help retailers gain incremental sales with cross-merchandising opportunities from the center aisles to the perimeter.The packaging now displays a sticker telling consumers when added chicken or beef are needed, reminding them not only to pick up the meat, but also to shop for the broth, canned tomatoes and fresh produce that transform the easy mix recipes into a family meal. This is according to Trisha Anderson, founder of Frontier Soups.

Even though at holiday time retailers focus primarily on capturing consumer spending on the all-important feasts, providing über-busy home cooks with easy meal solutions to answer the daily “What’s for dinner?” question can prove just as beneficial.

Based on the consumer feedback we receive, this is even more important at holiday time when consumers are juggling added food preparation and gift shopping along with school vacations and house guests,” Anderson said. “Soup is the perfect between-the-feasts meal, because it’s a great way to use up leftovers, can easily be made ahead and frozen or refrigerated, and it reheats beautifully so it is ready whenever hungry people show up at the table.”

Frontier Soups also now offers a variety of displays to make it easy for retailers to promote and cross merchandise the company’s soup mixes. These include sturdy, free-standing shippers for its Hearty Meal™ and Homemade-In-Minutes™ lines, as well as a black metal clip strip or stand alone spinner display, which can spur added sales in the broth, meat or produce sections.

As hard as we’ve worked to make our packaging eye-catching, passing consumers’ scrutiny of the nutrition panel is as important,” Anderson said. “That’s why our mixes are all natural with no added salt, preservatives or MSG.”

More information is available at or by calling 800.300.SOUP. 

Cooke Tavern Soup Mixes Are Giada De Laurentiis Approved

Introducing the perfect soup for fall: Autumn Harvest Pumpkin Lentil. Simply add chicken broth and fresh or canned pumpkin to make a fabulous healthy meal for a family of four.

Together with the bestselling Candlelight Corn Chowder, this is one of two Cooke Tavern Soups that Giada De Laurentiis singled out from more than 200 vendors as her favorites from Washington D.C.’s Metropolitan Cooking and Entertaining Show.

Cooke Tavern soup mixes have been thrilling consumers for over ten years as a healthy, nutritious, easy alternative to canned soup. All of the company’s mixes contain only natural spices, herbs and vegetables, in the exact quantities to make a fresh two-quart pot of soup in 40 minutes or less. The mixes contain absolutely no salt, MSG, preservatives or fillers. By using freeze-dried vegetables instead of less expensive air-dried ones, the soups exceed customer expectations every time and create a loyal customer following.

For more information, call 866.422.7687 toll-free, or visit

Rabbit Creek Garlic Knots Brighten Up Holiday Tables

RabbitCreek-MSRabbit Creek Products’ new Garlic Knot Artisanal Bread is a perfect accompaniment for the holiday season’s feasts that are nearly upon us. This handmade yeast bread, bite-sized buttery bundles of garlic goodness that only takes an hour and a half to prepare from start to finish, is sure to win everyone over. Packaged in Rabbit Creek’s gabled craft boxes with hand-tied ribbons, Garlic Knot Artisanal Bread sits handsomely on the shelf, its gorgeous label attracting all eyes to the bounty waiting to be brought forth.

Rabbit Creek offers free private labeling, allowing customers to personalize their orders. The team at Rabbit Creek Products can be reached by phone at 913.837.2757 or by email at Interested parties can also peruse Rabbit Creek’s product line at