Get Adobe Flash player

Better-for-You Product Launches Abound at Expo West


By Lorrie Baumann

This year’s Natural Products Expo West offered a host of introductions for products that will appeal to the nutrition-conscious consumer. Among those are the bottled teas offered by Blu-Dot Beverage Company. This Canadian company offers five flavors of protein teas that contain 12 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber per 473ml bottle and are targeted at the active, nutrition-conscious woman in her 30s to 50s. With protein content derived from 100 percent New Zealand whey, the teas contain no GMOs or artificial ingredients, are gluten free and made with organic green tea. The five flavors are Cranberry Pomegranate Green Tea, Honey Lemon Green Tea, Orange Pineapple Green Tea, Blueberry Acai Green Tea and Apple Pear White Tea. Three of them are sweetened with stevia and have no added sugars, while the other two are sweetened with organic cane sugar. With suggested retail prices of $2.99 to $3.49, the Blu-Dot teas are launching nationally with KeHE in April. For further information, visit

New Zealand whey also provides the protein for a line of shake mixes targeted at children and their nutrition-conscious parents. KidzShake is a mix that blends with water, nut milks, or dairy milk to make a beverage that offers no-compromise nutrition for children, including a full supplement of vitamins, probiotics, digestive enzymes and Omega-3s. It comes in four flavors: Vanilla Cream, Orange Cream, Chocolate Cream and Strawberry Cream. It’s sugar free, non-GMO, lactose free, gluten free and casein free, and it’s so tasty that a clever mom can hide a cup of kale in the chocolate flavor. It’s sold in 22.75-ounce containers that will make up to 60 servings (Serving size varies according to the age of the child.) and retails for $44, and a 12.13-ounce size that will make up to 32 servings and retails for $24.90. The product is currently offered online through Amazon and on the company’s website at

Biosanare is a Spanish company that’s offering a variety of products from Spain and the Mediterranean region. The company is introducing Olive Tea in silk tea bags. The tea is made from olive leaves. It tastes like green tea, but it helps regulate blood sugar and blood pressure and offers anti-aging and cardiovascular benefits, according to the company. This is an organic product made from olive leaves that come from trees that have been grown in the Cordoba region of Spain for centuries. The tea bags are packaged in a tin of 20 and are also available in bulk for private labeling. The tin of 20 has a suggested retail price of $7.99. For further information, visit

Martha Stewart is a partner in ULIVjava, which is launching two flavors of bottled iced coffees – vanilla and mocha – with three flavors of almond drinks debuting soon. With just 80 calories per bottle, these are focused on being a healthier alternative to other bottled iced coffees, and at a suggested retail price of just $2.49 per bottle, they may appeal to the cost-conscious as well. The almond drink products are expected to appeal to millennial consumers. They’re currently distributed in Whole Foods stores on the East Coast, and the company is seeking a West Coast distributor. They’re also being served in the Martha Stewart Cafe in New York. For further information, visit

TuMe is a line of turmeric-infused water in three flavors: Citrus, Mango and Berry. They’re sweetened with stevia and 1g of sugar to produce a drink with just five calories per serving. They offer antioxidants and anti-aging properties, and a 16.9 fluid ounce bottle retails for a suggested $3.00 price. The beverage is bottled in Watsonville, California and is targeted at athletes and other health-conscious consumers who want the benefits of turmeric. This is the company’s first year in production, and the drink is currently being carried in 25 northern California stores; and TuMe is partnering with LA Fitness to offer the drink in its fitness centers. For more information, visit

Bliss Nut-Butters has been in business for 3.5 years in the northwestern U.S. with a range of nut butters made with honey and sea salt that appeal to athletes that need to balance their carbohydrates and proteins. The nut butters are made with a fresh-ground process that preserves the integrity of the ingredients. The peanut butters retail for $6.99 to $8.99 and the hazelnut butters retail for $9.99 to $12.99. Almond butter is coming out this year. The products are currently sold in the Pacific Northwest and just launched on Amazon. “We’re ready to grow,” says President and Founder Daniell Bliss. For further information, visit

World Soups offers natural, authentic recipes in three flavors: Chicken Pho, Beef Pho and Chinese Style Egg Noodle Soup in convenient microwaveable bowls that are sold from the grocer’s refrigerated case. They contain no artificial ingredients, no MSG and no preservatives. The pho soups have no gluten. They have a 30-day shelf life and they’re currently distributed only in northern California, which is where they’re made. The suggested retail prices are $5.99 for the egg noodle soup and $7.99 for the pho varieties. For further information, visit

Zippy’s has figured out how to make a shelf-stable salad with Zippy’s Salad Bites, which come in two flavors: Lemon Kale and Spinach Cranberry. In 3.2 ounce single-serving snack pouches, they contain fiber and protein but no GMOs, no trans fats and no cholesterol. They retail for $3.99, and the taste is as zippy as you’d expect. For more information, email


This story originally ran in the April issue of Gourmet News, which is a publication of the Oser Communications Group.


Honeydrop Beverages to Introduce New Cold-Pressed Juice Drink Flavors

Honeydrop Beverages, a producer of supercharged cold-pressed juices fortified with raw honey, is launching four new ‘Honeyade’ flavors: Matcha Lemon, Strawberry Lemon, Turmeric Lemon and Kale Cucumber, to an expanding portfolio of cold-pressed juices. The new flavors will be available to consumers beginning in April 2015.  Each 10-ounce bottle of the new flavors contains a tablespoon of raw local honey or Manuka honey, providing purifying and nourishing juices that are gluten free, GMO free, and contain active enzymes, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

“Our new cold-pressed juices demonstrate the versatile flavor and benefits of raw honey,” says David Luks, founder of Honeydrop Beverages. “By expanding our line, we’re excited for our consumers to try our bold new flavors in a beverage that tastes great, is low in calories and avoids refined sugars, artificial preservatives and artificial sweeteners.”

honeyadesIn addition to its current slate of cold-pressed juices – the Lemon Cayenne Cleanse and Ginger Apple – Honeydrop’s new Matcha Lemon and Kale Cucumber Honeyades are packed with raw Manuka Honey sourced from New Zealand, while the Strawberry Lemon and Turmeric Lemon Honeyades are made with raw honey sourced from local beekeepers throughout regions of the United States, depending on where they are sold.

Honeydrop’s new collection of cold-pressed juices contain specific ingredients with health benefits including:

  • Matcha Lemon Manuka Honeyade: This blend of Matcha green tea and Manuka honey combines the stone ground tea leaves in Matcha powder, which contain powerful antioxidants, with the natural antibiotic properties of Manuka honey.
  • Kale Cucumber Manuka Honeyade: The freshness of kale and cucumber mix with the tartness of lemon and cold-pressed apples. Essential nutrients from dark, leafy kale leaves are blended with rich potassium from fresh-pressed cucumber, which are combined with the rich, mellow taste of Manuka honey for a refreshing remedy.
  • Strawberry Lemon Honeyade: This nutritionally enhanced updated version of the time-honored classic adds pressed strawberries and raw local honey for a vigorous pick-me-up.  Vitamin C from the strawberries, paired with traces of local pollen in the honey, help aid in the defense against seasonal allergies.
  • Turmeric Lemon Honeyade: Turmeric, a noted cure-all plant in ancient Eastern culture, contains powerful anti-inflammatories that help regulate insulin response and curb joint pain.

Beginning in April 2015, Honeydrop Beverages’ new flavors will be available at Whole Foods, Fairway, Fresh Direct and other natural and gourmet stores throughout New YorkNew JerseyConnecticut and Massachusetts. Product can also be ordered nationwide at

Outstanding Cookbooks Honored

On Sunday, the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) unveiled the winners of its highly-coveted awards, including the IACP Cookbook Awards, Bert Greene Awards, Digital Media Awards, First Book: Julia Child Award, and the IACP Special Recognition Awards at its 37th annual conference centered on the theme “Culinary Communications.” IACP award recipients are chosen through an intense judging process, with winners being acknowledged as trailblazers in the global culinary community.

This year’s winners include cookbook authors Christopher Kostow (Cookbook of the Year, presented by Cuisinart) and Sean Brock(First Book: Julia Child Award, presented by KitchenAid) and popular print publications and websites such as Food & Wine Magazine, Fine Cooking Magazine, EatingWell, Bon Appétit, and Food52. For a complete listing of all award winners, click here. The awards were hosted by chef, restaurateur, New York Times bestselling cookbook author, and television personality Curtis Stone.

“We’re excited to honor and celebrate our 2015 award winners – they represent the food and culinary community’s best in class,” said Meredith Deeds, Chief Executive Officer of IACP. “This year’s conference has been an overwhelming success with inspiring speakers, top-notch sessions, and a constant flow of festive events and activities including multiple toasts for Jacques Pépin’s 80th birthday with an ’80 Cakes’ party. Additionally, acclaimed chef and culinary innovator José Andrés provided a motivating keynote presentation on embracing good causes and making strides to improve food quality.”

A highlight for this year’s conference has been celebrating Jacques Pépin’s 80th birthday. A culinary pioneer and original founder of IACP, Jacques Pépin was honored by IACP with the event, “80 Cakes for Jacques Pépin,” which featured 80 birthday cakes contributed by some of the world’s leading chefs, tastemakers, and organizations. Cakes were auctioned to support IACP’s philanthropic arm, The Culinary Trust. More than $8,000 was raised for the trust, including a generous donation by Chef Andrés. Pastry Chef Jacques Torres prepared and served chef Pépin’s favorite “Jacques Torres Oreo Cake” for attendees, and numerous celebrity chefs and culinary luminaries shared toast after toast. Additional details, along with a full list of cake contributors, can be found here.

The 2015 conference assembled culinary thought leaders to the eclectic food scene of Washington, D.C. Food media, cookbook authors, chefs, dietitians, food photographers, food marketers, food stylists, bloggers, culinary tourism experts, educators, and farmers gathered to connect, learn, and share their career and personal journeys in their collective love for food. This unique meeting of the food minds convenes annually providing unmatched educational sessions, culinary tours, cooking classes, and networking opportunities. The 2016 IACP conference is planned for Los Angeles from April 1-3, and a call for educational session proposals will be issued in the coming months.

ALDI Completes Purchase of Delhaize Group’s Bottom Dollar Food Real Estate Sites

ALDI has completed its purchase of 66 real estate assets from the Delhaize Group. The transaction includes the land, buildings and leasehold improvements associated with Delhaize’s recently retired Bottom Dollar Food operation.

“ALDI has been offering fresh, affordable groceries in Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey communities for 20 years. With the completion of this real estate transaction, we are able to ramp up our expansion plans in the region to meet the growing demand for the ALDI difference: high-quality groceries at everyday low prices in an easy-to-shop store,” said Jason Hart, CEO, ALDI. “While we are excited to pursue opening ALDI stores at 30 of these locations, we will continue working with those communities where we will not be using the sites to ensure a smooth transition.”

In December 2013, ALDI embarked on an accelerated growth plan to open 650 new stores by the end of 2018, with the goal of operating nearly 2,000 stores across the country. ALDI also is planning to invest more than $3 billion to pay for land, facilities and equipment. When the expansion is complete, ALDI will have stores coast-to-coast and anticipates serving more than 45 million customers per month. The expansion is expected to create more than 10,000 new jobs at ALDI stores, warehouses and division offices.

“At ALDI, we are committed to being an employer of choice as we know the significant contributions that our people add to the business by providing excellent service day after day,” said Hart. “To attract and retain the best talent, we are proud to offer our employees generous compensation that is higher than those of other grocery retailers in the market. In addition, associates working at least 25 hours per week receive full health benefits, and all ALDI employees are invited to participate in our 401(k) program.”

Growth is accelerating at ALDI due to the appeal of its unique business model that lets smart shoppers save up to 50 percent on more than 1,300 of the most commonly purchased grocery items, including more than 70 varieties of fresh fruits and vegetables, including organic produce. In fact, ALDI has been recognized as the nation’s low-price grocery leader for four consecutive years, as well as one of the top three favorite grocery store chains in America, according to consumer surveys.

“Not only are we growing our geographic footprint, but we’re expanding our product offerings as well. We continue to increase our healthy food and on-trend options, including fresh produce, USDA choice meats, dairy products and baked goods, along with our new SimplyNature line that includes several organic items, and our liveGfree line of gluten-free products,” added Hart. “With everything ALDI has to offer, it’s no surprise to us that more and more people are discovering that they don’t have to sacrifice quality and taste to save money by shopping at ALDI.”

ALDI generates savings for its customers through a low-overhead approach that focuses on offering high quality, premium products and includes cost-saving measures such as:

  • Volume purchasing: By concentrating its full buying power on 1,300 of the most commonly purchased grocery items in the most common size, ALDI secures sizable discounts.
  • Exclusive brand products: More than 90 percent of products at ALDI are its own exclusive brands rather than national brands.
    • In the ALDI Test Kitchen, ALDI ensures that its products meet or exceed the quality and taste of national name brands.
    • All ALDI food products are backed by the Double Guarantee. If for any reason a customer is not 100 percent satisfied with any ALDI food product, ALDI will gladly replace the product AND refund the purchase price.
  • Special Buys: Each week, ALDI offers 20-30 food and non-food products at a great value that include everything from small kitchen appliances and seasonal items to outdoor furniture and gardening tools.
  • No hidden costs: ALDI has a streamlined approach that avoids non-essential services such as banking, pharmacies, check cashing and bagging clerks. Those savings result in lower prices for consumers.

New Cabo Chip Flavors, Churro & Mango Chili Lime, Mirror Forecasted 2015 Flavor Trends

Cabo_ShipperAccording to a recent study, the biggest flavor trends of 2015 are expected to include unconventional flavor pairings, regional flavors, sustainable ingredients and savory updates on traditionally sweet items. Cabo Chips, a cantina style chip inspired by the beaches of Mexico, is right on trend with the launch of two new unique flavors that are both mouthwateringly delicious and surprisingly healthy – Churro and Mango Chili Lime. Cut from real tortillas, each chip is cooked in antioxidant-rich rice bran oil and made from 100 percent whole grains. They are also gluten-free, non-GMO verified, vegan, and kosher

“It’s astonishing how many ingredients you’ll find on food labels; many of which are tough to pronounce,”said Christian Bunte, Founder and CEO of Cabo Chips. “Cabo Chips are real chips made from real ingredients. Meaning our chips are cut from real tortillas, have pronounceable ingredients you can count on both hands, and they are packed full of flavor. It’s hard to believe, but our Original flavor has only five ingredients!”

The new Churro and Mango Chili Lime Cabo Chips were born from regional flavors of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, and were inspired by popular Mexican street-style treats. They are the first authentic, Mexican-style tortilla chips to combine these unusual flavors in a healthy, portable snack. Unlike other sweetened tortilla chips, the Cabo Chips Churro flavor is salt-free. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the new Mango Chili Lime flavor caters to those looking for something in the sweet and savory category while also incorporating ancient grains like teff and chia.

mango-chiliMango Chili Lime: 100 percent whole grain tortilla infused with mango, a splash of lime juice and a pinch of mild chili and sea salt

  • A play on the popular Mexican street and beach snack of mango on a stick
  • A blend of two ancient grains, teff and chia; providing 60 mg of omegas, fiber and a full spectrum of other nutrients
  • The only tortilla chips made using real mango, chili, and lime juice
  • Cooked in antioxidant rich rice bran oil – high in gamma oryzanol
  • Gluten free, non-GMO, 100 percent whole grain, vegan and kosher
  • No trans fat, no preservatives, dairy free, nut free, no artificial flavor

ChurroChurro: 100 percent whole grain vanilla tortilla chips with a dash of sugar and organic cinnamon

  • A healthy and portable twist on the popular Mexican desert
  • Cooked with organic cinnamon and vanilla which have been shown to balance blood sugar, reduce inflammation and aid in relaxation
  • The only batch-cooked cinnamon and sugar chip –giving these chips the advantage of a true cantina crunch.
  • Cooked in antioxidant rich rice bran oil – high in gamma oryzanol
  • Gluten free, non-GMO, 100 percent whole grain, vegan and kosher
  • No trans fat, no preservatives, dairy free, nut free, no artificial flavor

The new flavors join Cabo Chips Original, an unconventional pairing of real soy sauce with lime juice, and Blue Corn, which is seasoned with a dash of sea salt and lime juice. Cabo Chips are made using a small-batch cooking method that results in a cantina-style crunch and texture, transporting the mind and taste buds to an authentic Mexican beachside cantina. The company uses only simple real ingredients for true flavors. This means no “flavorings,” yeasts, or maltodextrin. Cabo Chips Original and Blue Corn flavors have only five ingredients – all easy to pronounce. Cabo Chips have a suggested retail price of $3.49.

Yumbutter Now Available in Mariano’s Markets

Yumbutter  now joins the Mariano’s Markets family of offerings with its line of superfood-infused peanut, almond, and sunflower seed butters.

Yumbutter’s recipes are unlike those of other organic nut butters. Co-owners Adrien Reif and Matt D’Amour ensure that each organic spread is made in small batches, reminiscent of the homemade batches that inspired the company. Infused with a worldly blend of powerful superfoods including Goji berries, chia, and hemp seeds, Yumbutter’s combination of home-grown goodness and exotic superfoods make for a delicious, nutrient-rich product. In addition to nutty nutrition, Yumbutter offers uniquely convenient packaging that is one-of-a-kind in the nut butter category. Yumbutter’s GO-Anywhere multi-serving, resealable pouches provide a fun, no-mess delivery system for quick and easy snacking whether at work, on the road, at the gym, hiking, or shuttling the kids to their favorite activities. Retailers have said more than once that Yumbutter is a no-brainer addition to their nut butter offering.

“We want to communicate a message of care for our customers and for the world,” says Adrien Reif, Co-founder of Yumbutter. “Offering a brand with integrity is the purpose of what we do. We are motivated by our social mission and the opportunity to provide pure, wholesome nutrition in our community and around the world. “

Mariano’s Markets carefully select their products to meet customers’ standards of ingredient quality, superior taste, and responsible business practices. As consumers are increasingly likely to switch to socially responsible brands, Yumbutter’s BuyOne:FeedOne™ program continues to gain momentum. By partnering with Primeros Pasos, Yumbutter is able to donate proceeds from each sale to provide nutrition and education to malnourished women and children in Guatemala. As a Certified B Corporation with a neutral carbon footprint, Yumbutter provides a product that’s good for the body and good for the world through an organization that focuses equally on people, planet, and profit.

CideRoad’s Organic Switchel Available at Mid Atlantic Region Whole Foods Stores

CideroadCideRoad Organic Switchel, America’s Original Thirst Quencher, is now available at The Whole Foods Market Mid-Atlantic Region (Maryland, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington DC, Marlton and Princeton, New Jersey).  Traditional Switchel dates back to the American Revolution. Rumor has it the Founders drank this mix of cool water, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar and ginger to keep hydrated as they drafted the United States Constitution.

CideRoad has resurrected this unique American beverage and added its own new, unique twists. Switchel is available in three flavors: Original, a spicy Cherry, and a snappy Blueberry, each made with an apple cider vinegar, maple syrup and ginger base.

CideRoad Organic Switchel is the perfect refreshment for any time of day, whether that be working in your garden, after a run, chilling on your porch or even working off a mean hangover. Plus, with under 70 calories per serving and lending the perfect balance of sweet, tangy, sour and tart, you can enjoy it guilt-free as a flavor packed cocktail mixer!

Guggisberg’s Swiss Wheel Named Champion Cheese

GuggisbergTeam Guggisberg Sugarcreek, of Guggisberg Cheese, Millersburg, Ohio, took top honors out of 1,892 entries from 28 states at the 2015 U.S. Championship Cheese Contest for their Swiss wheel. Out of a possible 100 points, the Swiss wheel scored 98.496 in the final round of judging, during which judges re-evaluated the top 16 cheeses at an evening charity gala to determine the overall champion.

First runner-up in the contest, with a score of 98.389, is a brick cheese made by John (Randy) Pitman of Mill Creek Cheese in Arena, Wisconsin. Second runner-up is a medium cheddar, made by the Kiel Production Team, in Land O Lakes, Kiel, Wisconsin which scored 98.337.

“Every medalist should be extremely proud of being recognized as the best of the best in the largest national dairy competition ever held,” said John Umhoefer, executive director of the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association, which hosts the biennial competition.

Wisconsin took home the most gold medals, with 56 of the total 90 categories judged. New York came in second among the states, with seven golds. California had six gold medals, Vermont had five, Idaho had four, and Oregon had three. Wisconsin, New York and California captured the most medals in the debut yogurt classes, each winning two medals.

The United States Championship Cheese Contest is the largest technical evaluation of cheese, butter and yogurt in the country and is rooted in more than 120 years of history, beginning when the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association held its first cheese contest in 1891. In recent years, the event has flourished, more than doubling in size since 2001. This year, more than 33,000 pounds of dairy products were entered into the contest.

For more information on the contest, as well as complete results for all 90 entry classes and contest photos, visit

Wisconsin Cheesemakers Win Big at U.S. Championship Cheese Contest

—Wisconsin dominated the 2015 U.S. Championship Cheese Contest in Milwaukee, sweeping more than a third of the categories judged.

Wisconsin cheesemakers claimed two of the three overall awards. John (Randy) Pitman, a Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker at Mill Creek Cheese Factory in Arena, Wisconsin, took First Runner-Up for his brick cheese. Founded in 1891, Mill Creek Cheese Factory is the oldest operating cheese plant in southwest Wisconsin’’s Iowa County. Second Runner-Up went to Land O ’Lakes, Inc. in Kiel, Wisconsin, for its medium cheddar.

This year’’s contest drew a record-breaking 1,892 entries from 28 states. Wisconsin captured 59 percent of awards: 160 of the total 270 given, far more than any other state. New York ranked second in total awards with 20, followed by Vermont with 18 and California with 16.

Fifty-six Wisconsin companies took one or more awards with 11 garnering five or more. They are: Agropur inc.; BelGioioso Cheese, Inc.; Carr Valley Cheese Co., Inc.; Edelweiss Creamery; Hidden Springs Creamery; Holland’s Family Cheese, LLC; Klondike Cheese Co.; Lactalis Deli, Inc.; Mill Creek Cheese Factory; Montchevré-Betin Inc.; and Sartori Company.

For a complete rundown on Wisconsin’’s awards, visit For more information about Wisconsin cheese, visit

Jean Hansen Named Logistics Manager for Wixon

Wixon, a manufacturer of seasonings, flavors and technologies for the food and beverage industry, has named Jean Hansen as Logistics Manager.

Hansen will be responsible for oversight of the logistics staff who handles inbound receipts and outbound shipping from the company’s headquarters and off-site distribution center. She will manage all transportation functions, devise strategic plans, and develop process improvements that maximize efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Hansen has nearly 20 years of progressive experience within the distribution industry and most recently was employed as the Warehouse/Logistics Manager for Baptista’s Bakery, now a part of Snyder’s-Lance, in Franklin. She holds a bachelor of arts degree in business and management and a master of business administration, both from Alverno College in Milwaukee. Hansen also earned a transportation management and policy (TMP) certificate from the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

She currently resides in West Allis. In her spare time, Hansen reupholsters furniture and serves as the chairwoman of her church’s finance council.

Gourmet News

Follow me on Twitter