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Gabriel Perez-Krieb named Chosen Foods Chairman

Gabriel Perez-Krieb has been named the new Chairman of the Board for Chosen Foods. Based in San Diego, Chosen Foods is a consumer packaged goods company focused on non-GMO and organic superfoods. Chosen Foods is the #1 global market leader in the avocado oil category and is a trusted supplier of nutritious grains and healthy plant-based snacks. Chosen Foods is one of the fastest growing brands in the U.S., recently achieving #47 on the INC 500 list of fastest growing private companies in America, and #5 in the food and beverage category.

Gabriel Perez-Krieb succeeds Chosen Foods founder and previous Chairman, Carsten Hagen. Hagen will remain active on the board, especially as an inspiration to the product development team and in the area of clean ingredient sourcing from around the world.

“Gabriel is a well-rounded leader and has brought a winning culture and exponential growth wherever he has been,” said Steve Gallo, CEO of Chosen Foods. “He is the perfect facilitator for our board at this time, he is a true visionary and an expert at gaining consensus with diverse groups. We are focused on increased investment in the Chosen Foods brand and commercial expansion and his close working relationships with every member of the board and leadership team at Chosen Foods will be a tremendous asset,” said Gallo.

Perez-Krieb most recently served as a Chief Revenue Officer of Sesajal, and CEO of PIA Ingredients, a subsidiary of Sesajal. His previous experience includes serving as a board member and president of Sesajal, chairman of Kuantum Brands, trade commissioner of Mexico for the U.S., CEO of Intelogik and CEO of Image Technology Company. Perez-Krieb earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the Monterrey Institute of Technology and his master’s in business administration from IPADE Business School.

“I have been working closely with Chosen Foods for the past several years as a member of the board, and I am extremely honored to be the new chairman,” said Perez-Krieb. I’m excited to help guide their record-breaking growth, while maintaining focus on our mission to be one of the most trusted brands in the world offering innovative and healthy products to our consumers.”

Lotus Foods Seeks to Preserve Traditional Dehraduni Basmati Rice

Lotus Foods is extending its line of exceptional heirloom, organic and specialty rices with an authentic Indian basmati – Dehraduni basmati. Dehraduni’s famed flavor, fragrance and elongation are what elevated basmati rice to one of the world’s most recognized and best-loved rices. Dehraduni basmati is a long slender, aromatic grain that almost doubles in length when cooked. The word “basmati” comes from the Sanskrit word for fragrant.

Dehraduni basmati is recognized as the “mother of all basmati.” It is a landrace, which means it is a locally adapted variety with a distinct identity of historical origin and lacks any formal crop improvement. Landraces are often genetically diverse and associated with traditional farming systems. They are closely associated with traditional uses, knowledge, habits, dialects and celebrations of the people who developed and continue to grow them.

Dehraduni basmati gets its name from the city of Dehradun, capital of the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand, in the foothills of the Himalayas, where it has been grown for centuries on small family farms. However, in recent years, farmers have been abandoning the rice to get higher yields from hybrid rices. To counteract this trend, Lotus Foods is sourcing Dehraduni basmati from farmers who have adopted More Crop Per Drop™ (System of Rice Intensification) methods. With this method of organic rice intensification farmers can increase their yields 40-50 percent with 30-40 percent less water. And because they need 80-90 percent less seed than with conventional practices their actual yield is even higher and their production costs significantly lower. “Providing these innovative farmers with a market and organic premiums will make Dehraduni basmati production profitable,” says Ken Lee, Lotus Foods Co-Founder/Co-CEO. “We hope that consumers will join us in helping to preserve this traditional basmati and at the same time scale adoption and spread of More Crop Per Drop practices, which reduce women’s toil, conserve water and cut methane emissions.”

The company’s introduction of the Dehraduni basmati coincides with the launch of its “Do the Rice Thing” campaign, which will draw attention to the benefits of More Crop Per Drop growing methods for water and women. It will be available in bulk initially, and in both polished white and whole grain brown rice options.

Since 1995, Lotus Foods has been partnering in fair trade with small family farmers around the world who are growing rice more sustainably and preserving heirloom and specialty rices. Lotus Foods’ product line is unique in delivering consumers healthier, versatile rice and rice-based foods that respect their multiple concerns for the highest standards of taste together with social and environmental ethics.

Top Note Tonics Revive European Flavor Profile

What originally began as a homebrew quest to develop an herbal beer instead led to the birth of Top Note Tonics. Mary Pellettieri, a chemist, botanist and craft beer veteran who spent a number of years in product development at Goose Island Brewery, was experimenting with botanicals when she produced an herbal concentrate that intrigued her. It was a flavor profile that paired bitter, sour and sweet and was reminiscent of the curative tonics used in Europe in the early 1800s.

Over the course of several years, Pellettieri and her partner, Noah Swanson, refined her original recipe and in 2014 debuted Top Note Tonics – a classic line of complex herbal concentrates that create an amaro soft beverage or sophisticated hard drink when mixed with seltzer water and spirits.

“There’s a certain elegance to assembling a cocktail that’s purposely built with refreshing flavors and not overpowered by sweet. Top Note Tonics are simple to use and provide flavor complexity without extra steps,” says Pellettieri.

The tonics are available in five concentrates – Bitter Orange, Bitter Lemon, Gentian Lime, Indian Tonic and Ginger Beer. Each is made from carefully sourced whole roots, barks, fruits, herbs, spices and real cane sugar. No artificial colors or preservatives are used and all varieties are gluten free, made with non-GMO ingredients and contain half the sugar of standard mixers.

Top Note Tonics are available in 10- and 25-ounce bottles. They retail for approximately $10 and $22 and can be purchased online and Amazon or at select grocery and spirit stores.

Bellucci Extra Virgin Italian Olive Oil Fights Fraud

As consumers seek ways to determine authentic extra virgin olive oil from the fake, Bellucci, headquartered in Grosseto, Italy, is offering a multi-pronged solution: traceability and sophisticated tasting skills. The company offers precise, detailed information to empower customers in choosing true EVOO products, while ensuring the authenticity of Bellucci EVOO at all levels of production.

Bellucci keeps digital track of each olive grower’s contribution throughout the cooperative milling and bottling process, so any bottle of Bellucci EVOO can be traced to its origin in rural Italy. In addition to its traceability function, the Bellucci App teaches users how to evaluate for freshness and taste for flavors unique to EVOO. Advanced instruction in discerning flavor nuances based on harvests, regions and olive cultivars offers an experience of EVOO as an expression of terroir.

The value of the Bellucci App in communicating with consumers was recognized at the 2015 Anuga International Food Show. Bellucci has also received several awards for its line of EVOO. The Los Angeles International Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition awarded silver medals to both the 2016 Toscano PGI Organic and the 2015 100% Italian Organic, and the 2016 harvest of 100% Italian won a gold medal at this year’s New York International Olive Oil Competition. A brand less than three years old, Bellucci is already being widely recognized for its flavor and contribution to the industry.

CEO Gerard Jara said, “Our trace-to-source technology allows us to fulfill consumer demand for authentic, fresh, healthy, and honest EVOO at a time when integrity is what matters. The app enables us to connect our customers to the source of their EVOO in small family groves in rural Italy and gives users the skill they need to taste for freshness and flavors distinct to genuine EVOO. They’ll learn how to authenticate EVOO.”

September Issue Now Available

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Proper Meats + Provisions Embraces Local Meats

By Robert Boumis

Proper Meats + Provisions has burst on to food scene in Flagstaff, Arizona as a whole animal butcher shop and deli. The new butcher shop is distinguishing itself with a philosophy of sustainability and a connection to local farms.

propermeats%2bprovisionslow-3640402413-oAccording to Owner Paul Moir, Proper Meats + Provisions embraces the concept of a whole animal butcher shop. “It means we literally buy animals direct from the ranchers, bring them into the shop whole and push nose-to-tail utilization. We sell stock and broth, we sell bones, we sell tallow. We even make dog food out of the parts that aren’t necessarily not fit for human consumption, but people aren’t willing to buy, which has become quite popular–particularly with my dog,” jokes Moir.

In addition to using every bit of the cow that they can, Proper also works around locally-sourced meats. In fact, the idea of promoting the local meat industry was a big part of the impetus behind the founding of Proper Meats + Provisions. Before opening Proper, Moir’s company already owned several Arizona restaurants built around the local food movement. While Moir found plenty of locally-sourced vegetables, he had a hard time finding local meat, despite a thriving beef industry in the state that produces hundreds of thousands of heads of beef a year. “Arizona creates an amazing amount of meat, exports it out of the state, and then imports meat back in, which doesn’t make a lot of sense,” explained Moir. To remedy this, Moir created Proper in order to try and promote local use of Arizona meats.

Proper’s nose-to-tail philosophy extends to products like pork. “We know the ranchers, the owners of the ranches, the farmers,” Findach said. We know where we’re getting everything from and we have a personal relationship with the farmers and ranchers.”

KeHE to Open Distribution Center in Colorado

KeHE is opening its newest distribution center in Aurora, Colorado, a Denver suburb, on August 31. The 270,000 square-foot LEED Gold-certified facility employs energy-efficient practices, including its HVAC system, lighting and 80,000-square-foot freezer and cooler space.

Following the ribbon-cutting and tours of the facility, guests will have an opportunity to participate in a “pick & pack” activity to help local families in need. One thousand boxes of food, including soup packets provided by Women’s Bean Project, will be distributed to Children’s Hunger Fund agencies and Food Bank of the Rockies.


Foster Farms Names ConAgra Foods Alum as its New President and CEO

Foster Farms’ board of directors has appointed Laura Flanagan President and Chief Executive Officer effective August 29, 2016.

Laura FlanaganFlanagan, 48, most recently served as president of the ConAgra Foods Snacks Division, one of North America’s leading suppliers of packaged foods. She will succeed Ron Foster, grandson of company founders Max and Verda Foster, as Foster Farms’ president and CEO. Foster previously announced his plans to step down. He will remain a Foster Farms Owner and Member of the board of directors.

“The board unanimously selected Laura Flanagan as the ideal executive to guide Foster Farms during a time of significant growth,” said Foster. “She has an impressive record of transforming and growing household consumer brands across an ever-shifting landscape. We are confident that her strategic approach will lead Foster Farms to new heights within the U.S. meat and poultry industry.”

Before taking leadership of the Snacks Division, Flanagan served as president of ConAgra’s Convenient Meals Division from 2008 to 2011, revitalizing and expanding key brands. She also led initiatives to promote diversity, develop internal talent, and build skills and capabilities throughout ConAgra.

“Foster Farms is a strong competitor in the national poultry landscape in large part because of its family-owned roots and its steadfast commitment to truly locally grown, fresh poultry,” said Flanagan. “I intend to honor the Foster family’s legacy for excellence while growing the business, guiding our dedicated employees and maintaining the trust of a new generation of consumers who care deeply about the food they feed their families, especially organic and antibiotic-free poultry choices.”

Before joining ConAgra, Flanagan served as vice president and chief marketing officer of Tropicana Shelf Stable Juices at PepsiCo and, from 1996 to 2005, held brand-management positions at General Mills and PepsiCo. Earlier, she was a manufacturing engineer at Saturn Corporation. She earned an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business in 1996.

Flanagan currently serves on the board of directors at Core-Mark International, one of North America’s largest marketers of fresh and broad-line supply solutions to the convenience retail industry.

Under Ron Foster’s leadership, the company grew by 70 percent and became the nation’s first major poultry producer to be certified by the American Humane Association. In June, Foster Farms was selected as the 2016 Processor of the Year by The National Provisioner for industry-leading achievements in food safety, water conservation and product diversity. While Ron Foster led the company, it raised the National Thanksgiving Turkey for the White House on two occasions, became the No. 1 brand of frozen cooked chicken in the western U.S., and became the largest producer of organic and antibiotic-free fresh chicken on the West Coast.

Good Health Launches Downright Dippable Organic Black Bean & Rice Tortilla Chips

Good Health®is launching Organic Black Bean & Rice Tortillas, the first tortilla chips to join the brand’s portfolio of savory snacks. USDA-certified organic and gluten-free, Good Health Organic Black Bean & Rice Tortillas pack a distinctly crisp texture and south of the border flavors for a seriously dippable chip. The new product is available at leading natural and grocery retailers nationwide.

“Combining exceptional taste and high-quality ingredients is our biggest priority to give Good Health fans snacks without guilt,” said Mary Schulman, Vice President of Strategy at Good Health. “Made with Extra Goodness!™, which is our unique blend of vitamins and the same nutrients found in veggies, our new USDA-organic Black Bean & Rice Tortillas are downright delicious chips. They have just the right amount of flavor allowing for munching right from the bag or dipping in everything from salsa, guacamole, hummus – the list is endless. From back-to-school snacks to game day parties, these tortillas give everyone the goodness of a better-for-you chip with the satisfaction of an enjoyable snack.”

Organic Black Bean & Rice Tortillas deliver powerful nutrition in each serving, including: 2.5 cups broccoli (25 percent vitamin A); 3.5 beets (25 percent vitamin C); five tomatoes (15 percent vitamin E); seven cups spinach (20 percent vitamin B6); two carrots (20 percent vitamin K). Each whole grain chip is crafted with trendy ingredients like brown rice flour and black beans, and topped with Himalayan salt for a full-bodied flavor that pairs with sweet to subtle and spicy to savory dips for every occasion. Free of hydrogenated oils, preservatives, trans fat and artificial colors, each serving contains 130 calories and two grams of fiber and protein. Organic Black Bean & Rice Tortillas will retail for $3.49/5-ounce bag.

Good Health also offers a robust portfolio of veggie, potato and sweet potato kettle style chips, Veggie Stix® and straws, popcorn, pretzels and apple chips.

All Good Health products are available nationwide in natural and grocery stores including Safeway and Kroger, as well as national retailers such as Target, Walmart and CVS Pharmacy.

Organic Trade Association to Honor Pioneers of Movement

A Canadian entrepreneur and hemp foods pioneer will be honored as a “Rising Star” in the organic sector at the 2016 Organic Leadership Awards dinner in September hosted by the Organic Trade Association (OTA).

Selected to receive the Organic Rising Star Award, Mike Fata of Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods first became involved in the organic industry in his twenties shortly after he helped legalize industrial hemp in Canada and started Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods. Partnering directly with Canadian farmers, he has advocated for more organic acres for over a decade. As CEO of Manitoba Harvest, he has insisted on organic options and helped bring organic to mainstream markets in North America and around the world.

“Advocating for organic is advocating for a larger change in our world. It is a change that involves a movement of enlightened people. Being recognized as a rising star within the movement is a tremendous honor,” said Mike Fata, CEO and Co-Founder of Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods. “I’m proud to share this honor with my entire team at Manitoba Harvest who aspire to continue growing the organics industry.”

Fata is committed to continue learning, educating and working with farmers to encourage transitioning land to become certified organic, and stressing the importance of organic certification at retail and consumer trainings. A long-time member of the Organic Trade Association, he currently sits on the board of directors of the Canada Organic Trade Association. Fata also sits on the Canadian Health Food Association Board, where he helps advocate for organic options across the entire industry.

“Mike takes a hands-on approach, actively involved in the day-to-day promotion of the organic industry. Whether dealing with suppliers, customers or consumers, he ensures organic is part of the conversation,” says Marci Zaroff, Founder of Under the Canopy and a member of the Board of Directors of the Organic Trade Association.

Just in Canada, research shows that 98 percent of consumers expect to increase their purchases of organic food next year. Demand for certified organic food exceeds current supply. This year, Mike and Manitoba Harvest’s Farm Services team increased their contracted organic hemp acreage by 60 percent. The plan is to continue increasing organic hemp acres and educating on organic farming practices overall.

OTA has also announced that the farmers of the Texas Organic Cotton Marketing Cooperative will receive the prestigious Organic Farmer of the Year award. All honorees will be recognized at the Organic Trade Association’s Annual Awards Celebration Wednesday, September 21, in ceremonies at the Columbus Center Baltimore, Maryland, as the kick-off event for Natural Products Expo East. Celebrate with your colleagues and honor these organic collaborators who lead.

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