Get Adobe Flash player

Nut-Free Snack Brand Raises Awareness with Pinterest Contest

Skeeter contestSkeeter Snacks,which offers high-quality, indulgent snacks that are 100 percent safe for those with tree nut and peanut allergies (TPA), is launching its inaugural No Nuts About It. Pin It To Win It contest on Pinterest. This nationwide contest will take place from October 7 through December 16, and asks participants to vote for their favorite Skeeter Snacks tips and products on Pinterest for a weekly chance of winning Skeeter Snacks prize packs. Skeeter Snacks is hosting this contest to raise awareness about living with nut allergies, as well as healthy eating habits, creative snack ideas and reward consumers with and without nut allergies.

To participate in the contest, consumers are urged to follow Skeeter Snacks’ No Nuts About It board on Pinterest and interact regularly. The board will be updated daily with product images, healthy snacking tips and nut-free kids activities. All pins will reflect Skeeter Snacks and health tips for celebrating the holidays safely with a nut allergy.

Participants are asked to share the board with their followers daily during the three-month campaign. Points will be awarded for following, re-pinning, liking and commenting on Skeeter Snacks’ pins within the No Nuts About It board. To earn an additional five points, participants can tweet @SkeeterSnacks, tag @SkeeterSnacks on Instagram and post on Skeeter Snacks’ Facebook using an @ mention to say at what retailers they found their Skeeter Snacks, along with hashtag #NoNutsAboutIt.

This Pin It To Win It campaign is a great opportunity for us to interact with our consumers across the country,” says Laurie Witt, Director of Marketing of Skeeter Snacks. “We love sharing our love for Skeeter and helping draw attention to the rising issue of food allergies, especially tree nut and peanut allergies. Our snacks are a delicious treat for everyone with nut allergies, but also for people without nut allergies.”

Skeeter Snacks was founded by two fathers of children with TPAs as a solution to the lack of suitable snack options on store shelves. As the number of kids directly affected has more than tripled over the past 15 years, Skeeter Snacks’ product line of Chocolate Chip Minis, Cinnamon Grahams, Chocolate Chunk cookies, Chocolate Cubed cookies, Golden Oatmeal cookies and Skeeter Doodle cookies offer a treat for both TPA and allergy-free kids to enjoy. Skeeter Snacks targets consumers as well as schools and institutions that recognize the importance of creating nut-free zones. A brand that strives to be a steadfast resource for TPA families, Skeeter Snacks can be found in Toys “R” Us, Wal-Mart and CVS Pharmacies.

Keith McDaniel Named CEO of Wythe Will Tzetzo, LLC

Wythe Will Tzetzo, LLC, a packager and distributor of confections and specialty food, has announced that its board of directors has named Keith McDaniel to succeed Gordon Angles, who is retiring from his role as CEO at the end of 2013.

McDaniel has 22 years of experience in the confectionery industry serving in various capacities, most recently as President of Wythe Will Tzetzo. McDaniel joined Tzetzo Bros, a predecessor company, in 1991 as Vice President of Purchasing.

Gordon Angles said “Keith’s wealth of experience and industry knowledge, along with his passion and commitment to the business, make him the ideal person to lead Wythe Will Tzetzo going forward. Keith is dedicated to our customers in providing the best possible service and quality of products. His leadership and knowledge of the industry will be vitally important in guiding Wythe Will Tzetzo’s success into the future.”

Keith McDaniel commented “To succeed an industry statesman such as Gordon Angles in the role of CEO of Wythe Will Tzetzo is an honor. We have a lot of great projects on the table at Wythe Will Tzetzo that we feel will offer tremendous value to our customers, and I am very excited to lead the company through its next phase of growth.”

Wythe Will Tzetzo, LLC is a portfolio company of Slate Capital Group.

About Wythe Will Tzetzo, LLC
Wythe Will Tzetzo (WWT) is a leading provider of national branded, unbranded, and private label confectionery products and specialty foods sold to retailers throughout the United States. The company provides value added packaging as well as bulk distribution of chocolate, nonchocolate
confectionary, fruit & nut mixes and specialty products. With a history dating back to 1927, the company has grown steadily through both organic expansion and acquisitions to be one of the largest and most reputable players in specialty food and candy packaging and distribution, with expertise in worldwide sourcing, warehousing, and transportation logistics.

The company’s facilities are located in Buffalo, N.Y., Toano, Va. (near Williamsburg), Los Angeles, Calif., and Lebanon, Tenn. WWT maintains deep relationships with large national grocers, alternative retailers, convenience chains, as well as a large number of independent retailers. As a leading value-added single source, Wythe Will Tzetzo provides its products to these customers at multiple price points in a variety of formats and configurations. With products sold under the company’s trade names and private label, the company has breadth of product offering of more than 7,500 SKUs from over 450 domestic and international specialty food and confection companies.

About Slate Capital Group
Slate Capital Group is a leading private equity investment group based in Baltimore, Md. that partners with lower-middle market companies. With a focus on companies in the Mid-Atlantic region, Slate Capital provides liquidity to business owners as well as growth capital to businesses for further expansion. The principals of Slate Capital have significant experience in both running small-to-mid-sized companies and investing in venture capital and leveraged buyout transactions. Slate Capital’s primary areas of focus include business services, distribution, light manufacturing, direct marketing, food & beverage, for-profit education, consumer and retail investments. Additional information can be found at

National Chocolate & Dessert Show Returns to Chicago this Weekend

The Chicago Fine Chocolate & Dessert Show (consumer show) and National Chocolate & Dessert Show (trade show) will return to Navy Pier this Friday, October 18 through Sunday, October 20 and Sunday, October 20 through Tuesday, October 22, respectively. With over 10,000 consumer guests and 2,700 trade attendees at last year’s shows, the dual concept consumer and trade shows celebrate all things chocolate and dessert. Highlights from both shows include:


Chocolate show 3Chicago Fine Chocolate & Dessert Show (consumer): October 18-20

·         Exhibitors: Experience the finest hand-painted artisan bars, uniquely-flavored truffles, decadent cakes, tarts, mousses, and more. Exhibitors include: Betty Jane Candies, Dove Chocolate Discoveries, flying noir, Four Brothers Chocolates, Madison Chocolatiers West, Mayana Chocolate, Oak Mill Bakery, Sweet Secrets Artisan Chocolate, T’s Toffee, and more.

·         1,000 Pound Chocolate Sculpture of a Chicago Blues Player by Chef Alain Roby of the All Chocolate Kitchen: The three-time Guinness World Record holder is at it again creating a replica of the iconic Chicago Blues Brother with saxophone in tow. See the renowned pastry artist at work here.

·         French Pastry School’s Demonstration Stage and Chocolate Art Gallery: The world class pastry chefs and master chocolatiers will showcase classic techniques of chocolate making from truffles to marshmallows on the Demonstration Stage. See here for the full line-up. The chefs will also create chocolate art pieces from start-to-finish like the rooster from last year’s show.  

·         Cake & Pastry Art Gallery Presented by Icing Smiles: Six nationally-recognized cake artists from shows such as TLC’s Ultimate Cake Off and the recent Food Network Halloween Wars will showcase elaborate Halloween-inspired cakes. Attendees can place a monetary vote on their favorite and all proceeds will benefit the show’s charity partner, Icing Smiles, a nonprofit organization that provides custom celebration cakes and other treats to families impacted by the critical illness of a child. Cake artists include: Bob Brougham of The Cakery, Inc.; Mark Lie of A Piece of Cake – Custom Cakes by Mark; Michelle Boyd of Good Gracious Cakes; Deborah Ryan of The Sugar Garden; Karen Scobbie of Karen Scobbie Cake Design; and Vinny and Michelle Garcia formerly of Bleeding Heart Bakery.

·         Sugar Art Gallery Presented by Edible Artists Network: Talented chefs will also showcase their artistic talents sugar, marshmallows, and more at the Sugar Art Gallery. Artists include: Peggy Tucker of School of Cakeology; Alejandra Morin of The Marshmallow Studio; Diane Simmons of Cake Connection; Rebecca Wortman of Imagine Something Sweet; Nicole Lang of Sugar Mommas Custom Cakes; Certified Master Sugar Artist (CMSA) Lorena Hernendez; Mark Lie of A Piece of Cake – Custom Cakes by Mark; and Michelle Boyd of Good Gracious Cakes.

·         Interactive Seminars: Inquisitive dessert fans can learn the tips and tricks to solve their baking blunders with educational, interactive seminars from the industry’s esteemed pastry chefs like Top Chef: Just Desserts contestant and owner of By M Desserts, Malika Ameen; winner of CBS’s The American Baking Competition, Brian Emmett; and more. See the full line-up of free seminars here.

·         Pastry Chicago’s Haunted Cupcake Challenge (Friday, October 18 from 5-7 p.m.): Amateur bakers will showcase their pastry prowess as Pastry Chicago hosts its 7th Annual Haunted Cupcake Competition and Costume Party. See here for more details.

·         Celebrated Pastry Chefs Council (Saturday, October 19 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.): Chicago’s pastry chef elite have assembled for the first-ever Celebrated Pastry Chefs Council. The group comprised of Thomas Raquel of Acadia, Elissa Narow of Perennial Virant and Vie, Meg Galus of NoMI Kitchen, Patrick Fahy of Sixteen at Trump International Hotel & Tower® Chicago, Kym DeLost of Storefront Company, and Courtney Joseph of Takashi and Slurping Turtle will serve their signature treats for guests to sample during this limited time.

National Chocolate & Dessert Show (trade): October 20-22

·         Exhibitors: Foodservice, wholesaler and retailer buyer, and chef attendees will find the ingredients, equipment, packaging and more to build out their chocolate and dessert programs. Exhibitors include: Barry-Callebaut, Cary’s of Oregon, Fabbri North America, Foodlinks, Inc., Innovative Energy, Inc., KeHE Distributors, Micelli Chocolate Mold Company, Mod-Pac Corporation, Savage Bros. Co., Valrhona, and more.

·         The Material Handling Conference 1.0: The Indispensable Pastry Chef: World-class pastry chefs and industry leaders will offer expert insights and actionable tips to elevate chocolate and dessert programs. Each conference sessions is $29 per conference and includes admission into the trade show. See the full schedule here and highlights include:

o   Gelato Technique with Patrick Fahy of Sixteen at Trump International Hotel & Tower® Chicago and Jimmy MacMillan of JMPurePastry; Sunday, October 20, 10 a.m. in Classroom 1; Register here

o   Preserves In and Out of Season with Chef Meg Galus of NoMI Kitchen and Jimmy MacMillan of JMPurePastry; Monday, October 21, 10 a.m. in Classroom 1; Register here

o   Ganaches–Spirits, Juices & Puree with Thomas Raquel of Acadia and Jimmy MacMillan of JMPurePastry; Tuesday, October 22, 9 a.m. in Classroom 1; Register here

o   Everyone Loves Chocolate Truffles: Join legendary Pastry Chef Stanton Ho for a seminar on chocolate truffle making using a variety of chocolates from Casa Luker and Truffly Made’s labor-saving, high-tech silicone molds; Sunday, October 20, 10 a.m. in Classroom 2; Register here

o   Winning Secrets of a Chocolate Champion: Tips and Techniques of Dessert Competition from Andy Chlebana: Pastry chefs interested in pursuing competition careers will learn how to read the rule book to win, what judges look for, and other top tips from veteran dessert competitor Andy Chlebana (Pastry Team USA, Food Network Challenge winner, Dessert Professional magazine Top 10 Pastry Chef); Sunday, October 20, 12 p.m. in Classroom 1; Register here

o   Be a Part of ChocoHistory!: Join world-renowned explorers Daniel and Linda Rice Lorenzetti ( at their first-ever interactive chocolate presentation as they share about their mission to save and document the world’s cacao. Be a part of the launch of their Interactive Chocolate App by sharing your professional knowledge after their presentation; FREE; Sunday, October 20, 12 p.m. in Classroom 2; Register for free here

o   Chocolate: Unique and Savory Applications Presented by Cacao Barry

Top Ten Chocolatier Frederic Loraschi will show you how to take menus in a new but familiar direction. Join him for an inspirational seminar where chocolate has no limits. Learn how to make chocolate work for you while you taste Frederic’s unique and savory chocolate applications; Monday, October 21, 10 a.m. in Classroom 2; Register here

·         First Annual Chocolate and Dessert Innovation (CADI) Awards: The expert panel of CADI judges including Franco Pacini (director, The French Pastry School), Matthew Stevens (publisher, Dessert Professional), Liz Grossman (managing editor, Plate Magazine), and John Reed (American Culinary Federation/owner, Customized Culinary Solutions) will evaluate finalists in three categories of best new product, best flavor profile, and best sustainable product to determine the winners from the country’s top pasty artisans to be on display at Chicago’s Navy Pier on Sunday, October 20. Highlights of the finalists include: a pretzel chocolate pizza; hyper local chocolates utilizing local black walnuts and spicebush berries from Ohio; chocolates with a chili sea salt; roasted chipotle chocolate salsa; a journal made out of bark from the cocoa tree; herb crystals; and more. See the full list of CADI finalists here.

This year’s consumer show, the Chicago Fine Chocolate & Dessert Show, will take place on Friday, October 18 (3 p.m.-8 p.m.), Saturday, October 19 (10 a.m.- 9 p.m.), and Sunday, October 20 (10 a.m.-6 p.m.). The trade show of the National Chocolate & Dessert Show will intersect with the consumer show on Sunday, October 20 and run through Tuesday, October 22. The show floor hours of the trade show will be Sunday, October 20 and Monday, October 21 from 2 p.m.- 6 p.m. and Tuesday, October 22 from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. Guests can purchase tickets to the consumer show for $25 here. Attendees may register for the trade show or conference for $29, visit here.

Mom’s Pasta Sauce Earns Non-GMO Food Seal


Fischer & Wieser Specialty Foods, Inc. President and CEO Case D. Fischer and Chief Operating Officer Jenny Wieser, Ph.D., hold the first two of their Mom’s Pasta Sauces to receive verification for containing no genetically modified ingredients by the Non-GMO Project.

Fischer & Wieser Specialty Foods, Inc. President and CEO Case D. Fischer and Chief Operating Officer Jenny Wieser, Ph.D., hold the first two of their Mom’s Pasta Sauces to receive verification for containing no genetically modified ingredients by the Non-GMO Project.

The Non-GMO Project recently verified that Mom’s Organic Traditional Tomato & Basil Spaghetti Sauce and Mom’s Organic Roasted Pepper Spaghetti Sauce, made by Fischer & Wieser Specialty Foods, Inc. in Fredericksburg, are produced to avoid genetically modified organisms (GMO).

Fischer & Wieser’s CEO and President Case D. Fischer said the Non-GMO Project verification seal reflects the company’s dedication to creating natural products. “We produce all-natural products because we believe they are healthier, and we have always believed natural fruits, vegetables and seasonings taste better,” he said.

The Non-GMO Project third-party verification program was launched in 2008 as an initiative to provide consumers with more information regarding the risk of GMO products, and products that are verified are awarded the Non-GMO Project orange, blue and green seal.

Meeting Non-GMO standards requires food companies to go the extra mile for sourcing Non-GMO ingredients and verifying their authenticity each step of the way.” said Fischer & Wieser Chief Operating Officer Jenny Wieser, PhD. “We do it because it’s important to us, and it’s important to consumers.”

Dr. Wieser said Fischer & Wieser is also on track to verify other Mom’s products as Non-GMO. “We started the Non-GMO verification process with these two products, which have always been certified organic, and next we’ll present several of our other Mom’s Pasta Sauces for Non-GMO verification.”

A non-profit organization, the Non-GMO Verification Project lists criteria for Non-GMO verification on its website:

  • Ongoing testing of all at-risk ingredients—any ingredient being grown commercially in GMO form must be tested prior to use in a verified product.
  • Absence of all GMOs is the target for all Non-GMO Project Standard compliant products. Continuous improvement practices toward achieving this goal must be part of the Participant’s quality management systems.
  • After the test, rigorous traceability and segregation practices are required to be followed in order to ensure ingredient integrity through to the finished product.
  • Verification is maintained through an annual audit, along with onsite inspections for high-risk products.

For more details on the Non-GMO Project Verified seal, visit: For more information about Mom’s and Fischer & Wieser, visit:

Safeway Announces Sale of Four Chicagoland Dominick’s Stores

Safeway Inc. announced today, as part of its plan to exit the Chicago market, it has sold four of its Dominick’s stores in the greater Chicago area to New Albertsons, Inc., which operates Jewel-Osco grocery stores. The four stores are:

  • 1340 S. Canal Street, Chicago, Ill.
  • 2550 N. Clybourn Avenue, Chicago, Ill.
  • 14200 S. Bell Road (at 143rd), Homer Glen, Ill.
  • 1340 Patriot Boulevard, Glenview, Ill.

During a short transition period, the stores will continue to operate under the Dominick’s banner until Jewel-Osco can complete their conversion to Jewel-Osco stores. Dominick’s will be working with Jewel-Osco and the unions to ease the transition for store employees, and to facilitate continued employment for as many of them as possible.

Safeway has decided to exit the Chicago market and focus its efforts in other operating areas where its business is stronger.

Robert Rothschild Farm Takes Home Blue Ribbon

Hot Pepper Peach PreservesThe “Best of Atlanta Awards” has honored Robert Rothschild Farm a blue ribbon for its Hot Pepper Peach Preserves in the Best Jam/Preserves category. The Hot Pepper Peach Preserves is the perfect combination of sweet peaches, the zest of oranges and a subtle heat from crushed red peppers to create their sweet and spicy preserves. It is perfect to top oven-baked brie or cream cheese and serve with crackers.

“We are pleased to accept the ‘Best of Atlanta’ award for our Hot Pepper Peach Preserves,” said Jim Gordon, President of Robert Rothschild Farm. “Winning this award for our gourmet product is confirmation that we develop delicious products that our consumers enjoy. Taste matters to our consumer, so we strive to exceed their                                                              expectations.”

This is an annual competition with submissions from the exhibitors at The Atlanta Gourmet Market®. The “Best of Atlanta Awards” recognizes superior achievements in taste, originality and packaging of products.

Chilean Fruit Damaged by Frosts

Chile’s fresh fruit industry is currently assessing the impact of an unusual succession of frosts that has occurred in Chile, as well as other Southern Hemisphere countries since mid-September. Growers and technicians are urgently undertaking preliminary evaluations to assess the complete impact of the adverse climatic affects.

While occasional frosts are not uncommon, such a prolonged period of frost during such a concentrated time period is unprecedented in recent memory. Many fruit plantations, especially the early varieties, were in different early phonological stages, including the development of buds, flowers and new stems. It is expected that another 10-12 days of analysis will be required in order to arrive at an accurate assessment of the damage and reliable forecasts.

Chile’s fresh fruit growers and exporters are committed to providing the international fruit community with a clear and accurate perspective on the way the current fresh fruit season will progress. At this point, it is premature to offer an assessment of potential losses incurred by the industry, but it appears that the most affected crops are kiwifruit, plums, peaches, nectarines, almonds, nuts and cherries.

The Chilean Fruit Exporters Association (ASOEX) has presented to the Chilean Ministry of Agriculture and the Agricultural Commission of the Senate a series of proposals for immediate actions to address this issue. The document proposes a series of concrete actions designed to alleviate the impact on the growing sector as much as possible.

As always, the industry is committed to protecting the interests of our growers and exporters, and to ensuring that Chile’s loyal customers around the world continue to receive the highest quality fresh fruit in the volumes they require.

De Cecco to Commemorate World’s Fair Gold Medal

One hundred and twenty years after winning its first gold medal in the New World at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, De Cecco will commemorate that singular honor with a special event at the Chicago Field Museum’s new exhibition:  “Opening the Vaults: Wonders of the 1893 World Fair,” which opens October 25.  Also known as the World’s Columbian Exposition, the retrospective exhibition takes a look at the fair that was a glittering showcase of architecture, culture, technology, and food, and attracted people from around the world.

Read more.

Setton Farms Shares Recipe for Pistachio Chewy Bites

Setton Farms Pistachio Chewy Bites just partnered with L.A.-area, sister chefs, Jenny Engel and Heather Goldberg of SporkFoods, who have created a delicious and healthy vegan dessert recipe incorporating Pistachio Chewy Bites.  These healthy treats are the perfect sweet treat for a dinner gathering, afternoon snack or holiday party dessert.
See the video here:, and get the recipe for Chocolate Covered     Pistachio Chewy Bites here.


With three main ingredients, Pistachio Chewy Bites provide healthy snack lovers the amazing benefits of pistachios, cranberries and agave nectar in a delicious and nutritious bite-size bar.  Pistachio Chewy Bites are heart-healthy, 100% all natural, gluten and dairy free, low in sodium, GMO free, vegan and a great on-the-go protein snack.  They also have no cholesterol, zero trans-fat and are a good source of dietary fiber.

Brownie Brittle Named a “Florida Fast 100″

Sheila G’s ™ Original Brownie Brittle ™ snacks creator Sheila G. Mains has experienced a vivid summer of winning! Mains was recognized by the South Florida Business Journal as one of the most influential women in business in the state. Additionally, the Florida Business Journals as a collective named Brownie Brittle, LLC, (formerly Sheila G Brands, LLC) as the second-fastest growing company in the state of Florida at their “Florida Fast 100” Awards ceremony held September 26.

“I am truly blessed and humbled by the awards I have been honored with this summer. I know hard work pays off and it is deeply moving to be recognized for everything I have sacrificed to make this company a success,” said Mains.

The Business Journal’s selection process for both awards included the submission and verification of financial data and a look at the community and charitable works Mains and Brownie Brittle snacks have undertaken in the past year.

“I would be nothing without the very strong team of loyal staff and fans we have gained in the past three years. I am grateful each and every day,” said Mains.

With a distribution to over 10,000 retail stores nationwide and growing, Brownie Brittle is making a rich and chocolate-y impression on the snack food industry.