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Obi Packs Powerful Probiotics into Low-Calorie Organic Soda

New Obi Probiotic Soda™ is on a mission to make healthy choices affordable and fun. Made from live, probiotic water kefir, organic juices and organic stevia, each 12-oz. bottle of Obi contains billions of beneficial probiotics and less than 20 calories with two to five grams of natural sugar, but tastes just like a delicious soda.

“Obi fills a gap that is missing in the beverage category between expensive health products that cater to a small niche and cheap processed products that have mass appeal,” said David Lester, CEO. “We don’t think consumers should have to choose between something that tastes good and something that’s good for them. It’s taken us five years to develop, but we’re excited to be able to offer a probiotic, organic soda that’s accessibly priced, delicious and extremely healthy.”

Obi is packed full of powerful probiotics: a water kefir ferment with 20 different strains of probiotic cultures. This unique blend delivers the added benefits of a “symbiotic ferment” – cultures that work extra hard as a united group to produce beneficial compounds like organic acids, vitamins and enzymes that can help to support digestive and immune health. Obi is certified USDA organic, certified non-GMO, gluten-free, vegan and paleo, and contains 20 to 40 percent of the recommended daily allowance for Vitamin C.

Obi Bottle Line Up TightEach of the four Obi flavors – Organic Root Beer; Tart Cherry Vanilla Bean; Valencia Orange & Grapefruit; and Meyer Lemon & Lime — is stevia and fruit-sweetened. Obi Founder and Product Developer Ben Goodwin and his team of organic chemists, microbiologists and flavor experts spent two years developing their own proprietary organic stevia blend with no bitter aftertaste, no GMOs and no corn products (erythritol).

Obi has partnered with beverage incubator LA Libations to launch the product on both coasts, with new stores being added each month. Obi is currently available in the refrigerated cold case at Ralphs, Mother’s Market & Kitchen and Jimbo’s Natural Foods Grocer throughout Southern California; at New Leaf Community Markets, Focaccia Market & Bakery and Berkeley Bowl Marketplace in Northern California; at Fred Meyer and New Seasons Markets in the Pacific Northwest; and at independent and small chain grocery stores in the Northeast, including Mrs. Green’s Natural Market, DeCicco Family Markets, Union Market, Balducci’s Food Lover’s Market, Wild by Nature Market and Dean’s Natural Food Market. The price for one 12-ounce bottle is about $2-$3.

Bridor Brings European Pastries for American Tastes

By Lorrie Baumann

Bridor USA has just finished an expansion of its plant in Vineland, New Jersey and is expanding its penetration in the American market. Bridor makes a range of pastries that includes signature croissants, brioches, chocolatines and lattice pastries.

The company started producing its products in the U.S. in 2002 after testing the waters by exporting pastries into the country from France. “We decided to get closer to the market,” says Bridor USA Senior Vice President of Sales Olivier Morel. “It’s very important for us to produce in the U.S…. Our vision is to bring the best European products to the U.S. and Canada.”The technology inside the American plant was imported from Europe, and products are made according to French traditions, including baking with butter, although the butter, like the other ingredients for the pastries, is sourced in the United States. The result is a product that adheres to traditional French standards for quality while delivering the tastes that are familiar to Americans. “The butter, even if it’s a very good quality butter, the taste is slightly different. We make sure to source and to use natural ingredients,” Morel says. “Our people are master bakers. We try to combine tradition with healthy, natural ingredients with innovation.”

That interest in innovation and appeal to American’s tastes comes through in the product line that Bridor makes in the American plant. “In the U.S. there is a high demand for danishes. Here in the U.S. you have danishes containing different fillings,” Morel says. “We’re about to launch a pumpkin danish. It’s a big flavor during the fall in the U.S. That flavor would not be successful in Europe.”

Europeans are simply not as fond of pumpkin flavor as Americans are, he explains. Nor do Europeans generally share Americans’ fondness for cinnamon. Bridor, however, plans to cater to that American taste with a new Cinnamon Brioche. “It’s an amazing product, but cinnamon is not a favorite flavor in Europe,” Morel says. “We wanted to get closer to American consumers, so we had to adapt our products.”

Bridor even has a plan to cater to Americans’ fetish for freshness: Most of its products are sold pre-proofed, egg-washed and ready to bake off in about 15 minutes, so retail bakery departments can respond quickly as their shelf stock is depleted and have a new batch of fresh pastries out of the oven and into the bakery case in a matter of minutes. “By bringing that technology, we bring a new experience to American consumers. Customers can come in and find fresh pastry on the shelf all day,”Morel says. “Our vision is to elevate the quality of the products on the shelf. Our vision is that our products would be fresh all day long.”

Bridor products are designed to be sold at prices that are competitive with other premium products. “Our products are affordable – it’s not a luxury product. It’s a product that can be bought on a daily basis,” Morel says.


Canadian Cheese Takes Best of Show at ACS

By Lorrie Baumann

Celtic BlueFor the first time in 30 years of competition, the American Cheese Society’s Best of Show winner was a Canadian. Celtic Blue Reserve from Glengarry Fine Cheese in Ontario, Canada, took home the purple ribbon in a ceremony held on Friday, July 31 in Providence, Rhode Island. The winning cheese is the result of 20 years of work on the recipe, said Margaret Peters-Morris, who began making cheese from the milk from her family’s dairy farm in the early 1990s.

In the years since, she has been an important mentor for many American cheesemakers, who were delighted to see her skills recognized with the Best of Show award, said Mateo Kehler, Cheesemaker for Cellars at Jasper Hill, who took home the third place Best of Show ribbon for Harbison, a soft-ripened cow milk cheese bound with cambium from spruce trees harvested seasonally from the farm, as well as five other awards – six first-place ribbons and two second-place ribbons. “When we started making cheese, we called Margaret,” he said. “I’m so happy to see her win because she’s been a part of lots of people’s worlds for a long time.”

Harbison was a happy accident that occurred in 2008 when a batch of brie-style Moses Sleeper cheese was found to contain too much moisture, and Kehler rescued it by strapping a spruce band around it. It’s named after Anne Harbison, an honorary granny for all of Greensboro, Vermont, where Jasper Hill Farm is located. She’s 95 years old this year and has been a cheerleader for the Kehler families from the beginning. “We wanted to honor a living legend among us,” Mateo Kehler said. The cheese, formed in a 10-ounce round, is made from pasteurized milk. It peaks at about 70 days of aging, when it’s soft enough to eat with a spoon. “It is possible to eat a whole one by yourself,” Kehler said.

Second place in the Best of Show category was taken by a pair of cheeses in a tie between Standard Market Cave Aged Chandoka from LaClare Farms Specialties, LLC and Cheesemaker Katie Hedrich Fuhrmann and Roth’s Private Reserve from Emmi Roth USA in Wisconsin. Chandoka is a mixed-milk cheese made with goat’s milk from the cheesemaker’s family farm and locally sourced cow milk. At three days of age, it’s Cryovaced and shipped in refrigerated containers to Standard Market for affinage. It’s larded and bandaged there and aged for six months before sale. It’s a good gateway cheese for consumers who aren’t familiar with goat milk cheeses and aren’t sure they’ll like them, but who are curious and willing to try something new, Fuhrmann said.

The 2015 ACS Judging & Competition saw 1,779 entries of cheeses and cultured dairy products from 267 producers. Entering companies represented 31 U.S. states, and three Canadian provinces. Three hundred fifty-five ribbons were awarded: 95 first place ribbons, 127 second place ribbons, and 133 third place ribbons. The cheeses were judged over a 15 hour period in which 20 teams of judges ranked 50 to 60 cheese per day. Each cheese receives a score for both technical merit and aesthetic qualities, and the two scores are combined for an overall score. Ties are permitted only for second and third places in each category, so that for each category, the winning cheese stands alone. Along with their ribbons, the cheesemakers receive both technical notes and aesthetic comments from the judges. “The competition is the ribbons; the judging is the evaluation and the feedback,” said Tom Kooiman, who chaired the judging committee.

All in the Family at Tony’s Market

By Lorrie Baumann

Avie Rosacci, Chief Operations Officer of family-owned Tony’s Market, with four stores in Denver, knows exactly how her father started the business: that happened when her little brother pointed out an abandoned 7-11 store to their father one day in 1978. Her father could not have imagined at that time what the little butcher shop he’d always dreamed of would turn into, she says. “It’s beyond our wildest dreams,” she says. “We opened as a little butcher shop, and we thought that was going to be it.”

Tony Rosacci started working at the age of 9 in a small Italian corner market in Detroit. He earned $3 a week. Except for a stint in the Army, he was in the grocery business all his life. By the late 1960s, he was in California working for Ralph’s and moved the family from California to Littleton, Colorado in 1970 to work for King Soopers, now part of The Kroger Company before moving on to a smaller butcher shop, Ed’s Meats. “As we were growing up, he always talked about how someday he’d have a little butcher shop of his own,” Avie says.

The family talked about it so much that the idea was the foundation of some of the family games: Tony would tell the kids stories of his own butcher shop, and Avie would be behind the cash register while little brother Danny and brother Mick would help Dad. Then in 1978, Tony and Danny drove past the abandoned 7-11 on their way home from church one Sunday, and Danny suggested that the building could make that little butcher shop.

“They went to the bank for a loan, didn’t get the loan, so they sold the house and took the proceeds to open the store,” Avie remembers. “He left Ed’s, and we did open, literally, a small butcher shop.” That store had white powder-coated meat cases, and Tony wasn’t a grocer; he was a butcher. “No produce, no deli. It was a butcher shop,” Avie says. “I don’t think we even had seafood. We might have had some frozen crab legs. I remember painting the special on the front window when I was much younger.”

Customers came from the neighborhood, and the store was staffed by one employee plus Avie’s mother and father and the three Rosacci kids. Over the years, the store grew out of its space and gradually into the spaces that had been occupied by the other businesses in the small shopping center. Tony’s Market added a deli department, a bakery and a center store. The meat orders during holiday seasons started to generate so much business that customers lined up around the building, and Tony had to bring in a police officer to keep the crowds of customers within the fire marshal’s regulations. “Our little building couldn’t handle it, so we opened our second store,” Avie says. “Then we added the other two over the next 10 or 12 years.”

“It was kind of Dad’s dream that came to fruition, but Dad never dreamed of what it is today,” she continues. “It grew over time. It took us close to 20 years to open that second store.” Tony’s Market now comprises four Denver metro area stores ranging from 2,500 to 8,000 square feet, plus Tony’s Burgers, a casual restaurant inside its downtown Denver store, and Tony Rosacci’s Fine Catering, a full service catering division that entered the picture in 2004 and serves weddings and galas as well as supporting the company’s headquarters, warehousing,floral department and commissary operations.

For 11 years, until the team built a new facility with its own kitchen, the catering division fed the Denver Broncos, and today, Tony Rosacci’s Fine Catering is in its second season of feeding the Colorado Avalanche hockey team and its coaches. “That’s been fun, feeding the team and the staff,” Avie says. “With the Broncos, we started at 4 a.m. and would end most nights around 9 p.m. feeding them up to four meals a day and snacks, and that would go on until the season ended.”

Each of the four stores is unique to its neighborhood, with the product assortment at the downtown location favoring organic and local produce as well as prepared foods featuring whole grains and low fats for the urban professional clientele there, and stores in the neighborhoods populated by families and seniors offering products that lean more toward comfort foods like twice-baked potatoes, fried chicken and pasta dishes as well as the local and organic favorites. Each store still does its own meat-cutting in-house, with butchers at each location. All the beef is premium choice, and it’s all aged. Beef is ground several times a day, and all the meat is sold fresh. Anything that stays in the store too long to be sold fresh is frozen and then donated to charity. “Tony’s is still really known for the beef and the meats. People still call us by our own name of Tony’s Meats, which is what we opened as,” Avie says.

Today, Tony has retired to the golf course, Daniel Rosacci is now CEO of Tony’s Market and Mick is the company’s head chef. As chief operations officer, Avie is in charge of employee training and compliance with government regulations and is also attending school to learn nutrition therapy, an area of study that she became interested in while she was feeding the Broncos. “I like to see people take better care of themselves, whether that’s 10 percent better or 60 percent better,” she says.

A wide range of customers shop at the stores, but what they tend to have in common is that they have busy lives and they want high-quality products and they want to get into the store, find what they need, and get out fast, which is why it’s so very important to Avie that the 280 to 300 employees in the stores are well-trained and that customer service is excellent. “Our customer service is above and beyond. We tell our employees to hug them with your words because they have many choices,” Avie says. “We understand the pace of how America lives today. We’re really aware of getting them in and out. When they come in, we want to take care of them as quickly and efficiently as possible and get them out to their soccer practice or wherever they need to be.”

Celiac Disease Diagnoses Spur Innovation

By Richard Thompson

Lynsay Barnes of Edison Grainery says that the company’s interest in gluten-free products came out of necessity. Her mother, Amy, was diagnosed with celiac disease three years ago and after her father saw the high prices on specialty gluten-free products, he decided to started creating gluten-free pastas that the whole family could enjoy and afford.

“We were already supported the organic movement, but we needed to find foods that could be eaten by everyone,” says Barnes. In 2013, Edison Grainery won the Food and Beverage Innovation (FABI) Award for its Organic Quinoa Pasta that provided a product that satisfied dietary needs and keeping pace with culinary trends while maintaining quality and taste.

Edison Grainery carries lines of Organic Quinoa Pasta Spaghetti, Fusilli, Penne and Elbows that are all certified gluten-free, free of the Big-8 in known allergens and imported from Bolivia. Each product is a great source of protein and contains no corn, so the noodles hold up well in water and even gives consumers a little lee-way when it comes to preparation. Paired nicely with any pomodoro, red sauce or white sauce, any traditional dish – or non-traditional dish – can be prepared without sacrificing taste. “What’s really great is that people can’t tell them from traditional pastas,” says Barnes.

John De Puma, whose wife was diagnosed with celiac’s disease 12 years ago, saw a lack of flavorful gluten-free pastas and used his background as a chef to create his own. “There were a limited amount of pastas that were up to par compared to traditional pastas, so I decided to solve that issue,” says De Puma. His company, De Puma’s, is celebrating its eighth anniversary this year.

De Puma’s Three Cheese Tortellini is classically made with ricotta, Parmesan and Romano cheese and cooks just like traditional ravioli, needing only a scoop of water in a slow boil. De Puma’s raviolis come in choices such as Wild Mushroom, Lobster and De Puma’s personal favorite, Spinach and Ricotta.
“We’re a smaller company, so we can make different options that main lines don’t try, like our Sun Dried Tomato and Goat Cheese Raviolis,” says De Puma.

Kings Food Markets Unveils Gourmet Private Label Line

Kings Food Markets has unveiled its own line of gourmet foods and everyday favorites at an outstanding value. Kings Own brand is unique in its range to include both everyday essentials and specialty items that focus on quality and innovation. Kings has procured a selection of domestic, local and international items with uncompromised quality, which shoppers have come to expect.

“At Kings, our passion for food drives us to bring shoppers the highest quality, the freshest and the very best ingredients, and now, through our own assortment of products, we’re able to bring our customers the perfect balance of quality and value, tailored for each product, making great food approachable,” said Judy Spires, President and CEO of Kings Food Markets. “That’s why our shelves are filled with amazing choices that turn everyday experiences into memorable events—and now we’re making it even better.”

Kings Own brand will continue to roll out a range of items across the store, providing customers with new options in every department. From household essentials like orange juice, syrup and eggs to organic and specialty products such as signature sauces and olive oils, imported gelato and chef-prepared foods, Kings is continuing to raise the bar by seeking out the most unique and rare finds. Kings is focusing heavily on organic offerings, as its shoppers are continuing to look for them more and more. Kings Own offers a range of organic pastas, herbs and tomatoes, chips and beans, as well as a selection of honey flavors – to name a few. As the line continues to expand, the focus will shift to more specialty items to round out our offerings.

Each product has been carefully selected to meet the Kings’ standard. For example, Kings Own Marinades and Sauces are crafted in small batches using all-natural, hand-selected ingredients and are available in a wide range of gourmet flavors, including Pineapple Jalapeno, Carne Asada, Sweet Bourbon and Carolina Gold BBQ.

To celebrate this announcement, Kings will launch its “Buy Two, Give One” campaign on September 11, across all stores. Customers will be given a special savings to “Buy Two” of the Kings Own products and then “Give One” to a local food pantry to help fight hunger and will be donating a portion of these goods to the food pantry. The food pantries the chain will be donating to extend across its geographic footprint, including the Food Bank of Somerset, Center for Food Action, Interfaith Food Pantry & Homeless Solutions, Hoboken Shelter, Flemington Food Pantry, Neighbor to Neighbor and Interfaith Nutrition Network.

Listeria Found in Picnic Gourmet Spreads

The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) is warning consumers not to eat products made by Picnic Gourmet Spreads because these products might be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.The potentially contaminated products include Red Pepper Feta Cheese Spread, Moroccan Cilantro Cheese Spread, Tandoori Garlic Cheese Spread, Herbed Goat Cheese, Parmesan Cheese Spread, and Chipotle Sage Cheese Spread. These products were distributed to retail stores in Maryland and other states including Kentucky, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.

The contamination was discovered after routine retail sampling by the DHMH Office of Food Protection, and subsequent analysis by the DHMH Laboratories Administration revealed the presence of Listeria monocytogenes in the product.

The company has ceased production and distribution of these products, and DHMH continues its investigation into the source of the problem. There have been no complaints about these products to DHMH, and DHMH is not aware of any illnesses associated with the products to date. The department urges consumers who might have Picnic Gourmet Spreads products to dispose of them.

Listeria bacteria can cause a serious infection called listeriosis. Listeriosis is caused by eating food contaminated with Listeria bacteria and typically occurs within three days to 10 weeks of consumption (usually within three weeks). Symptoms of listeriosis include fever, muscle aches, headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, and convulsions, which can be preceded by nausea or diarrhea. Listeria infection can be treated with antibiotics.

Persons at higher risk for disease include pregnant women, newborns, elderly persons, and individuals with a weakened immune system (for example, persons with AIDS, cancer, diabetes, or kidney disease). Listeriosis in pregnant women may cause fever and other flu-like symptoms, which can be mild. However, because Listeriainfection can cause premature labor, premature delivery, miscarriage, stillbirth or severe infection of newborns, it is especially important that pregnant women avoid these products.

If a person has any of the above symptoms and has consumed products from Picnic Gourmet Spreads, they should consult their healthcare provider, DHMH stated.

Thomas Harding of Lehigh Valley Organic Growers to be honored by OTA

A long-time organic champion who has played a key role in creating today’s organic sector has been chosen by the Organic Trade Association (OTA) to receive its 2015 Growing the Organic Industry Award.

Thomas Harding, President of Lehigh Valley Organic Growers, is being recognized by OTA for his outstanding work in advancing organic agriculture and the organic industry. The 2015 Organic Leadership Awards will be presented at OTA’s annual awards dinner on September 16 at the Port Discovery Children’s Museum in Baltimore as a kick-off event to Natural Products Expo East.

Harding has been involved with the organic industry for over 35 years, working directly with or as a consultant in business development, farm management, farming, and food distribution. He helped found the Organic Foods Production Association of North America (OTA’s precursor) and went on to become the founding president of the OTA Board.

Harding’s advocacy of organic has had a profound influence on the organic sector and on many organic farmers, including U.S. Senator Jon Tester, who farms an 1,800-acre certified organic farm in Montana and had this to say about Harding: “Switching to organic in the early 1980s allowed me to keep my farm when so many of my neighbors were selling off, and Tom’s advocacy for the industry has helped producers like me stay in agriculture.”

A tireless worker for the organic industry, Harding continues to be active in furthering organic’s role in the nation’s capital, with advocacy efforts on the Hill and development of OTA’s Organic Political Action Committee (PAC). He has been a constant monitoring force concerning standards and related regulations for organic, including the work of the National Organic Standards Board, U.S. Department of Agriculture, the National Organic Program, and Congress. He also has also been a leader at OCIA International, and the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM).

Harding’s vision of success over the years has played a critical part in the maturation of organic as an industry. “For over 40 years, Tom Harding has been a constant force growing the organic movement globally,” said George Siemon, CEO and a founding farmer of Organic Valley. “His contributions in developing organic standards, forming our organic associations, building businesses, and working with various governments to birth organic production worldwide are unmatched in the organic community. His contributions are many and deep in every aspect of organic. I’ve admired and valued his mentorship.”

OTA is honoring three individuals this year for their contributions to organic. In addition to Harding, the other organic award winners are Michael Berger, Managing Partner of Elevation Burger, winner of the Rising Star Award and Benny McLean, Production Manager of Uncle Matt’s Organic, winner of the Farmer of the Year Award.

Natural Products Expo East Preview

The editors of Gourmet News have already found dozens of exhibitors who will be launching new products at Natural Products Expo East to help retailers gain a growing share of this expanding market. Take a look now for a preview of these all-natural food and health, beauty and wellness products. Just click the image below.


Tea Board of India to Showcase Best of Indian Teas at World Tea & Coffee Expo

The Tea Board of India will showcase the best of Indian teas at an exclusive pavilion at India’s only international trade show dedicated to the tea and coffee sectors, the World Tea & Coffee Expo, which will be held from October 1-3 at Bombay Exhibition Centre, Goregaon, Mumbai, India.

Exhibitors in the  Tea Board of India Pavilion will include Golden Tips Tea Co Ltd, VarieTea, Makaibari Tea, Simla Tea Co Ltd, to name a few.

The World Tea & Coffee Expo ( is a global expo. In addition to the exhibits, WTCE will include a two-day conference and workshops on tea and coffee topics.

The organizer of the show is Sentinel Exhibitions Asia P Ltd [SEA], a part of the Sentinel media group. For further information, log onto or call +91 22 28625131 or email to

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