Archive for August, 2010

Yellow corn/white rice mixture captures the flavor and texture of the traditional product

KANSAS CITY, Mo.  (Food-News.net)  When gluten-free dieters have wanted a plate of spaghetti and meatballs, they’ve had to dial back their taste expectations and settle for bland, sticky pasta – if they could find gluten-free pasta on grocery shelves at all. But no longer. A new product from Heartland Pasta offers gluten-free dieters a delicious alternative with no flavor trade-offs.

Heartland’s gluten-free pasta matches the color, texture and flavor of traditional pasta – an industry first. The product, which comes in spaghetti, penne and fusilli shapes, owes its traditional pasta taste to a unique yellow corn/white rice blend.

“Great-tasting pasta has been little more than a fond wish for those who follow gluten-free diets,” said Pat Regan, senior vice president at American Italian Pasta Company, Heartland’s manufacturer and North America’s No. 1 dry pasta producer. “With Heartland’s pasta, gluten-free dieters can enjoy pasta dishes without having to make any flavor compromises.”

Heartland Gluten Free now is available at Wal-Mart.

Heartland’s product makes its debut at a time of burgeoning demand for gluten-free products, including gluten-free pasta, which has seen 35 percent sales growth over the last year, according to Nielsen’s 52-week data ending July 3, 2010. Most consumers who require gluten-free diets suffer from celiac disease, which, according to a recent Mayo Clinic study, is four times more prevalent today than it was 50 years ago. A gluten-free diet often is recommended, as well, for individuals with autism or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, two other growing conditions in the United States.

Because gluten-free foods typically cost about 79 percent greater than their normal counterparts, a gluten-free diet is more costly to maintain than a non-specialized diet is. With a suggested retail price of $1.99 to $2.69, however, Heartland allows consumers to serve great-tasting family meals that also are economic.

Heartland’s gluten-free pasta also is egg-free and dairy-free. The new product is an extension of the Heartland brand, which includes whole wheat and traditional pasta.

Visit www.heartlandpasta.com for more information.

Founded in 1988 and based in Kansas City, Mo., American Italian Pasta Company is the largest producer of dry pasta in North America. The company has four plants that are located in Excelsior Springs, Mo.; Columbia, S.C.; Tolleson, Ariz., and Verolanuova, Italy. The company has approximately 675 employees located in the United States and Italy. For more information, visit www.aipc.com.



Costco, Safeway, Walmart and Target Among Leading Retailers Adding New At-Home Smoothies This Month

PHOENIX  (Food-News.net)  Interest in the new Jamba® All Natural Smoothies from Inventure Foods, Inc. (Nasdaq: SNAK) continues to climb, as several of the nation’s top grocery, club store and mass merchandise retailers, including Costco, Safeway, Walmart and Target Supercenters, add the “better for you” product to store shelves this month.

With these additions, the Jamba smoothie line is now available in more than 6,000 stores nationwide.

Jamba All Natural Smoothies are a result of a licensing agreement with Jamba Juice Company® announced in late 2009.  The product is available in three of the leading smoothie retailer’s most popular flavors, including Razzmatazz®, Mango-a-go-go® and Strawberries Wild®.  The at-home line of smoothies contain real fruit, non-fat yogurt and the Company’s signature antioxidant boost, which delivers 100% daily value of vitamin C. 

Jamba All Natural Smoothies are simple to make; just add juice, blend and in less than a minute you have your favorite Jamba smoothie.  Each 8-ounce package blends together with 8 ounces of apple juice to produce two, 8-ounce smoothies that are less than 120 calories each.  Suggested retail pricing is $2.99 per package.

“We’re seeing great interest in the licensed smoothie line, due in part to the legendary Jamba brand and its status in the smoothie market,” said Terry McDaniel, president & CEO of Inventure Foods, Inc.  “However, retail buyers have been equally interested in the product profile; priorities include all-natural ingredients, an affordable price point, ready-to-blend convenience, lower calorie count and ultimately, great taste.  The reception thus far has been remarkable.”

About Inventure Foods, Inc.

With manufacturing facilities in Arizona, Indiana and Washington, Inventure Foods is a marketer and manufacturer of specialty brands in better-for-you and indulgent categories under a variety of Company owned and licensed brand names, including Boulder Canyon Natural Foods (TM), Rader Farms(R), T.G.I. Friday’s(R), BURGER KING(TM), Jamba(TM), Poore Brothers(R), Tato Skins(R) and Bob’s Texas Style(R). For further information about Inventure Foods visit www.inventurefoods.com.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release (including information incorporated or deemed incorporated by reference herein) contains “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.  Forward-looking statements are those involving future events and future results that are based on current expectations, estimates, forecasts, and projections as well as the current beliefs and assumptions of our management. Words such as “outlook”, “believes”, “expects”, “appears”, “may”, “will”, “should”, “anticipates”, or the negative thereof or comparable terminology, are intended to identify such forward looking statements. Any statement that is not a historical fact, including estimates, projections, future trends and the outcome of events that have not yet occurred, is a forward-looking statement.  Forward-looking statements are only predictions and are subject to risks, uncertainties and assumptions that are difficult to predict. Therefore actual results may differ materially and adversely from those expressed in any forward-looking statements.  Factors that might cause or contribute to such differences include, but are not limited to, those discussed under the section entitled “Risk Factors” in our reports filed with the SEC.  Many of such factors relate to events and circumstances that are beyond our control.  You should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. The Company does not assume any obligation to update the information contained in this press release.

Students Can Win $5,000 for Their School’s Art Program With uDip Sweepstakes Package Design Contest

COLUMBUS, Ohio  (Food-News.net)  Whether their creative outlet lies in the kitchen, on the drawing board or behind the camera lens, Marzetti® Caramel Dip is encouraging Americans to dip into their imagination with the uDip sweepstakes at www.uDipSweepstakes.com. Creative minds can enter the Marzetti Caramel Dip package design, photo and recipe contests for a chance to win a variety of artistic prizes, including $5,000 for their local school’s art program and Canon digital cameras. Online gaming fans can also play the Dizzy Dessert online game or enter the instant win sweepstakes for additional chances to win prizes every day.

“The delicious, creamy versatility of Marzetti Caramel Dip has helped families get more creative with their snacking, and our uDip Sweepstakes celebrates this in a fun, engaging way,” said Bev Sandberg, Vice President of Marketing at the T. Marzetti Company. “We want America to show off its caramel creativity – whether it’s an artistic design, new way to dip or a unique new caramel-based recipe.”

This fall, inspired individuals across the country can visit www.uDipSweepstakes.com to show off their caramel creativity through the following contests and sweepstakes:

  • Package Design Contest – Young artists can enter their own creative Marzetti Caramel Dip package design for a chance to see their creation come to life on the package the next time they walk down the grocery aisle. One lucky student will have his or her design printed on the Fall 2011 Marzetti Old Fashioned Caramel Apple Dip Singles packaging and win an iMac® computer and a Canon digital camera, plus $5,000 for their school’s Art Department.
  • Caramel Dip Recipe Contest – Caramel Dip isn’t just for apples. In fact, there are many ways to use creamy caramel in everything from French toast to toffee. Creative cooks can submit their favorite, unique recipes featuring Marzetti Caramel Dip for a chance to win a $300 Williams Sonoma Gift Card.
  • Marzetti Caramel Dip Photo Contest – From fancy dance moves to behind-the-back dipping with fruit, budding photographers can capture their creative Caramel Dip snacking and submit their photos online for a chance to win a new Canon digital camera.
  • Instant Win and Dizzy Dessert Game – Play the Dizzy Dessert game for a chance to win Apple iPads, iPods, iTunes gift cards and Marzetti product coupons. Check online every day for additional instant win opportunities.

The contest is open to U.S. residents and ends November 30, 2010. For official rules, entry forms and lists of prizes visit www.uDipSweepstakes.com.

About T. Marzetti Company

The T. Marzetti Company, the specialty food subsidiary of Lancaster Colony Corporation (Nasdaq: LANC), markets a wide variety of foods for both the retail and foodservice markets. Brands include Marzetti®, New York Brand® and Sister Schubert’s®. More information about the company is available at www.marzetti.com

CHICAGO  (Food-News.net)  According to exclusive Mintel research, energy drinks/shots manufacturers are having difficulties attracting new customers, despite a 136% increase in sales from 2005-2009. In fact, 74% of those surveyed say they don’t consume energy drinks/shots and 69% of those non-users are not interested in trying them.

Mintel’s Global Market Navigator (GMN) found that Americans consume 3.05L of energy drinks per capita each year, but energy drink market penetration remained flat at 15% of all adults aged 18+ during 2007-2009. Energy drinks/shots non-users cite high prices (48%), too much caffeine (43%) and a general feeling that energy drinks/shots just aren’t good for you (43%) as reasons why they have not consumed any in the past three months.

“Sales of energy drinks and shots have remained relatively strong for the last few years, but the same core group of customers continues to buy them,” says Garima Goel Lal, senior analyst at Mintel. “The category added only one million new energy drinks users aged 18+ during 2007-2009, compared to 9.3 million new users during 2005-2007, so manufacturers are eager to grow that number again.”

Sixteen percent of energy drink non-users and 14% of energy shots non-users would be encouraged to try an energy drink or shot if free samples were offered at a store where they usually shop. Meanwhile, 14% of non-users would be more likely to try energy drinks (11% for energy shots) if they had natural ingredients.

“The fact that seven out of 10 people are not interested in the energy drink category suggests the need for manufacturers to develop products aimed at a wider audience,” adds Garima Goel Lal. “Providing consumers with more flavors, less sugar and reduced caffeine content are all ways for companies to attract more customers.”

Seventy-one percent of energy drink users (80% of energy shot users) consume them for an energy boost, 57% of energy drink users employ them to stay awake and 60% of energy shot users say they drink them for mental alertness. Energy drink/shot consumers are more likely to use energy shots (30%) than energy drinks (23%) to enhance sports performance.

About Mintel

Mintel is a leading global supplier of consumer, product and media intelligence. For more than 38 years, Mintel has provided insight into key worldwide trends, offering exclusive data and analysis that directly impacts client success. With offices in Chicago, New York, London, Sydney, Shanghai and Tokyo, Mintel has forged a unique reputation as a world-renowned business brand. For more information on Mintel, please visit www.mintel.com. Follow Mintel on Twitter: http://twitter.com/mintelnews

SALINAS, Calif.  (Food-News.net)  Fresh Express is voluntarily recalling 2,825 cases of Veggie Lovers Salad with a Product Code of I208  and Use-by Date of August 10, 2010 out of an abundance of caution due to a possible health risk from Listeria monocytogenes.  No other Fresh Express salads are included in the recall.  No illnesses have been reported in association with the recall.

Only the Veggie Lovers salad products with a Product Code of I208 and a Use-by Date of August 10 are included in the recall. Retailers and Consumers who have any remaining product should not consume it, but rather discard it.  Retailers and Consumers with questions may call the Fresh Express Consumer Response Center at (800) 242-5472, Monday – Friday, 5 a.m. – 8 p.m., Pacific Time. Consumers can find the Product Code and Use-by Date in the upper right-hand corner of the package.

This precautionary recall is being conducted to reach retailers as well as consumers.  Consumers should check their refrigerators for Fresh Express Veggie Lovers salad with a Product Code of I208 and a Use-by Date of August 10, 2010. If they have the product, they should immediately discard it. Retailers should check their inventories and store shelves to confirm that none of the product is mistakenly present or available for purchase by consumers or in warehouse inventories. Fresh Express customer service representatives are already contacting retailers and are in the process of confirming that the recalled product is not in the stream of commerce. Although limited in number, the cases were distributed by Fresh Express to 13 states with the potential for redistribution by customers to an additional 14 states (see listing).  

Listeria monocytogenes is a bacterium that can cause foodborne illness in a person who eats a food item contaminated with it. Symptoms of infection may include fever, muscle aches, gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea or diarrhea.  If it spreads to the nervous system symptoms may include headache, stiff neck or confusion.  The illness primarily impacts pregnant women and adults with weakened immune systems.  Most healthy adults and children rarely become seriously ill.

The precautionary recall notification is being issued due to an isolated instance in which one package of Fresh Express Veggie Lovers Salad yielded a positive result for Listeria monocytogenes in a random sample test collected and conducted by the Ohio Department of Agriculture.  

Fresh Express is coordinating closely with regulatory officials.  Immediately upon learning about the positive test result, Fresh Express conducted a traceability assessment and a full review of its food safety documentation, all of which were found to be in compliance and were negative for the presence of any bacteria.    

States Distributed
MO, MI, OH,  IL, WI, IN, MD, MA, NY, KS, KY, PA, NJ

Possible Redistribution States
AR, TN, WV, IA, MN, DC, VA, VT, NH, NE, RI, PA, CT, MS, ME

Natural and Organic Grocer Now Offers 20+ Budget-Conscious Choices Including Industry’s First Store Brand Refrigerated Organic Almond Milk

AUSTIN, Texas  (Food-News.net)  Whole Foods Market (Nasdaq: WFMI), today announced the expansion of its all organic and domestically sourced non-dairy beverage line as it launches the company’s first almond milk line –including the industry’s first-ever private label refrigerated organic almond milk– and light soymilk in Original and Vanilla varieties under its value-priced 365 Organic Everyday Value brand– available now in Whole Foods Market stores nationwide.  

“When choosing our nutritious non-dairy beverage options, shoppers can feel confident that they’re not only getting the freshest, most flavorful options available, but also the peace of mind that the products are all organic and sourced from American farms, at a great value price 365 days a year,” said Chris Slick, Senior Global Coordinator for Exclusive and Store Brands for Whole Foods Market. “We’re thrilled to continue offering shoppers the highest quality, responsibly sourced choices in the category with our organic store brand line.”

The company will continue to offer shoppers its popular high quality 365 Organic Everyday Value Soy and Rice Milk in Original, Vanilla, Chocolate and Unsweetened varieties, with new graphics to streamline the package design across the category. Soy and almond milk options will be sold in both refrigerated and shelf-stable varieties.

A smart choice for cereal, smoothies, baking or simply by the glass, all 365 Organic Everyday Value non-dairy beverage options are lactose, cholesterol, gluten and dairy-free, and are enriched with calcium and vitamins. The line meets Whole Foods Market’s strict quality standards which means that these non-dairy beverages do not contain artificial flavors, sweeteners, preservatives or colors or hydrogenated fats.  In addition, these products do not contain high fructose corn syrup and are certified to the USDA organic standards which prohibit the use of genetically engineered ingredients.

“And for those seeking organic quality at everyday low prices, we are introducing value twin packs to pass on even more savings to our shoppers,” said Slick.

Food sold as “organic” must be grown and processed according to USDA-regulated farming standards that protect land and water supplies, prohibit the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and prohibit the use of genetically modified organisms and irradiation.

To taste the new non-dairy beverages, visit any Whole Foods Market store across the U.S.  In-store sampling demonstrations will be held throughout August.

Top fall titles to include second book from Paula Deen’s first-cousin Johnnie Gabriel

NASHVILLE, Tenn.  (Food-News.net)  Food Network personalities like Paula Deen and shows such as Bravo’s “Top Chef” have headlined an explosion in the popularity of cooking shows on television in recent years – and are a big part of the reason that mainstream audiences across the country have come to find out what hip foodies and southerners themselves have known for years – that the culture and food below the Mason Dixon Line leaves most folks, well … just plumb tickled to death.

As a direct result, the popularity of southern cookbooks continues to soar.

“The South has traditionally been one of America’s most underappreciated regions—particularly for food. Whether it’s aloofness or some sort of assumed superiority, people outside the South have ignored its culture and cuisine for a long time,” says Joel Miller, Vice President of Acquisitions and Publisher at Thomas Nelson. “But, that’s turning. Southern eats are finally getting the attention they deserve.”

Among the titles expected to be top sellers in the genre this fall? Second Helpings from Paula Deen’s first cousin, Johnnie Gabriel; Bless Your Heart – Saving the World, One Covered Dish at a Time by Patsy Caldwell; and My Southern Food – A Celebration of the Flavors of the South, from songwriter and country music morning show producer Devon O’Day.

Second Helpings:       Johnnie Gabriel, serves up another generous helping of classic Southern recipes from her seven-time Best of Atlanta Award-winning restaurant and bakery in this follow up to her phenomenally successful debut, Cooking in the South.
         
Bless Your Heart:       A celebration of the uniquely loving way that southerners show they care – with food. Includes more than 200 recipes served throughout the south at family reunions, wakes, church potlucks, tailgate parties and more.
         
My Southern Food:       Country music songwriter Devon O’Day takes readers on a mouthwatering journey with photographs, stories and over 200 recipes. Chapters include: Sunday Dinner and Other Family Gatherings, Breakfast in the South, Cooking for Company and Summer Celebrations.
         
Simply Suppers:       Memphis’ Jennifer Chandler cooks up recipes for every occasion, from casual weeknight dinners to elegant gatherings, and all the potluck suppers in between. Comfort foods, done simply.

The Best, Freshest of the Harvest is Still Here for a Few Short Weeks!

YAKIMA, Wash.  (Food-News.net)  If you haven’t grabbed a bag full of fresh, sweet Northwest Cherries, there’s still time! Now through the third week of August, fresh-from-the-orchard shipments are still hitting supermarkets, whether you love the sweet, pampered Rainiers or the deep red varieties. The longer a cherry spends on the tree, the more sugar it develops, and these later-season Northwest cherries are tempting now in your local produce departments.

The exceptional sweetness of a Northwest cherry comes from its rare microclimate and rich volcanic soil, with harvesting that doesn’t happen until its discerning growers determine the cherries have reached their peak sweetness. Here, growers have perfected techniques to give the cherries optimum sweetness, size and color.

With all this gorgeous summer weather, grill a few pitted cherries on the barbecue by spiking them with soaked bamboo skewers for a flash-fired treat. Enjoy some refrigerated fresh cherries on their own, or pitted and frozen in cocktails as sassy ice cube substitutes. Chop fresh cherries and toss in cooked quinoa for a whole grain, warm summer side dish, or take part in a true American tradition by baking your own home made cherry pie.

Cherries are so good and so very good for you! This low fat, low carbohydrate, sodium free, high fiber super food, provides an important source of potassium, Vitamin C, antioxidants and micronutrients. Cherries are one of few plant food sources of melatonin, a hormone the body produces to help with sleep and to reduce jet lag. Even better, one cup of sweet cherries is only 90 calories.

The Northwest cherry production accounts for more than two thirds of the nation’s crop, is shipped to 62 countries and brings roughly $600 million into the Northwest annually. Northwest Cherries is comprised of Washington, Idaho, Utah, Oregon, and Montana. Varieties include the Bing, Rainier, Lapin, Skeena, Sweetheart, Chelan and Tieton.

To learn more about Northwest Cherries, visit www.nwcherries.com. Photography, recipes, handling, and further information are available through sarahw@tamarawilson.com.

PLYMOUTH, Wis.  (Food-News.net)  Mike Matucheski, Sartori artisan cheesemaker, was presented the “Grand Champion” award for the Rosemary and Olive Oil Asiago cheese at the prestigious Wisconsin State Fair Cheese and Butter Contest. This award was the culmination of a very successful competition as Sartori was presented seven additional medals in this year’s contest. In 2009, Matucheski and Sartori won the Grand Champion for Sartori Reserve® Pastorale Blend®.

This is the first time in the fair’s storied history that a cheesemaker has won in back-to-back years. “We are proud to have Mike and the entire Antigo cheesemaking team leading the way in making some of the finest cheese not only in Wisconsin, but in the world. Sartori has won nearly 70 cheese awards in the past 3 years around the globe as Wisconsin cheesemakers and Sartori have gained international respect,” stated Sartori president Jeff Schwager.

Grand Champion Mike Matucheski has been making cheese in Antigo for 16 years and is no stranger to winning major awards. The Rosemary & Olive Oil Asiago creation is a part of the Sartori Reserve line – which along with the BellaVitano products, has been a driver for the company’s significant growth over the past few years. “Mike is a very creative guy with a great eye and palette to match,” says 3rd generation owner and CEO Jim Sartori. “Mike has a way of bringing out the best in our cheese, finding unique complementary flavors that make people sit back and say ‘wow’ when they taste the cheese.”

When asked how he comes up with the concepts, Matucheski says, “It is really a combination of art and hard work. I try to bring out the true flavors inherent in the cheese. Too often when people ‘flavor’ cheese, the flavoring often dominates and overwhelms the cheese. I believe the enhancements to the cheese are just that – a subtle manner in which to highlight the wonderful taste that is already present. It takes a long time to find the perfect elements – the right imported olive oil, or fresh rosemary. I love what I do.”

Sartori was awarded 7 additional medals at this year’s competition including Gold Medals for the ultimate Grand Champion Rosemary & Olive Oil Asiago, Natural Rind Parmesan and the new Caprimenthe™ goat milk cheese. Silver Medals were awarded for the Basil & Olive Oil Asiago, and the Dolcina® Gorgonzola, with Bronze Medals for the mixed cow and sheep milk based Pastorale Blend® and for the Reserve Extra Aged Asiago.

Sartori’s Rosemary & Olive Oil cheese as well as the entire Sartori Reserve line is available at most fine cheese shops and better grocery stores in Wisconsin and around the country.

About Sartori Foods

Sartori Foods has been producing artisan and premium cheese for over seven decades. Based in Plymouth, Wisconsin, Sartori Foods has an impressive array of internationally acclaimed award winning cheese noted for innovative approaches and consistent top quality across their entire line. For more information, please visit www.sartorireserve.com or call us directly at 800-558-5888.

Leading Natural Food and Lifestyle Company Introduces Indulgent Cookie Made from Premium, Honest Ingredients

LA JOLLA, Calif.  (Food-News.net)  Bear Naked, the natural food company for the everyday adventurer, today announced the addition of Bear Naked™ 100% Pure & Natural Soft-Baked Granola Cookies to its lineup of natural granolas, cereals, trail mix and Grain-ola™ bars.  Baked with whole grains and simple ingredients, each cookie supplies natural energy to fuel the everyday lives of active people.

“Our new cookies are delicious enough to satisfy your craving for an oven baked snack, but are made with all-natural ingredients so you can feel good about what you’re eating,” says Ryan Therriault, senior manager, brand marketing and innovation.  “At Bear Naked, our philosophy is rooted in giving your body the natural energy it needs by blending a short list of pure ingredients to create a snack that’s high in taste and quality.”

The new Bear Naked 100% Pure & Natural Soft-Baked Granola Cookies are available in Double Chocolate and Fruit & Nut flavors.  

  • Double Chocolate combines 10g of whole grains with chocolate chips and cocoa for a double dose of decadence.  
  • Fruit & Nut blends 10g of whole grains with plump raisins, cranberries, walnuts and flavorful almonds to give you a delicious source of energy in every bite.

Like all Bear Naked products, the Bear Naked 100% Pure & Natural Soft-Baked Granola Cookies are minimally processed and crafted without any preservatives, artificial flavors, trans fats, cholesterol, hydrogenated oils or high fructose corn syrup.

Bear Naked 100% Pure & Natural Soft-Baked Granola Cookies are now hitting stores nationwide at $3.19 SRP for an 8-count box.  For more information, visit www.bearnaked.com.

About Bear Naked

Bear Naked is today’s leading adventure food and lifestyle company that offers a full line of all natural granolas, ready to eat cereals, granola bars, trail mixes and cookies.  Launched in 2002, the company is passionate about creating great-tasting, natural foods to fit today’s active, on-the-go lifestyle and is best known for its homemade granola made from real whole grains and 100% Pure and Natural ingredients.  Today, Bear Naked has evolved into a nationally recognized consumer brand that is available in more than 10,000 retail stores across the U.S.  For more information, visit www.bearnaked.com, www.facebook.com/LiveBN, www.twitter.com/LiveBearNaked.

A Cross Section of California’s Specialty Crops Generate $15.9 Billion in Annual Economic Impact, Creating Substantial Revenue, Taxes and Job Growth for the Golden State

SACRAMENTO, Calif.  (Food-News.net)  California’s specialty crop industries have a significant impact on the state’s economy yielding nearly $15.9 billion annually, or $43.5 million each day of the year, in “ripple effect” business activity as a result of collective industry spending, according to new research commissioned by the Buy California Marketing Agreement (BCMA), administrators of the “California Grown” program.

“The research clearly indicates that California’s specialty crops touch every aspect of California life and positively impact the economic vitality of our state,” said Maile Shanahan Geis, BCMA Executive Director. “Despite the challenges facing California agriculture – from intense global competition to the growing water crisis – the state’s specialty crops prove that the industry continues to be a world leader in agriculture production, which is a title Californians should be proud to protect.”

The “California Grown” campaign is an initiative to educate Californians about the importance of choosing California-grown products whenever they shop. The study examined the financial impact of fifteen California specialty crops including the dairy and wine sectors, as well as asparagus, avocados, cherries, cut flowers, figs, kiwifruit, nectarines, olives, peaches, pears, plums, raisins and table grapes.

The study, conducted by Dennis H. Tootelian, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Small Business at California State University, Sacramento, indicates the expenditures by the state’s specialty crop growers create a ripple effect spurring the growth of more than 137,435 jobs. When it comes to labor income, more than $5.2 billion is generated as a result of industry spending, which is more than $14.3 million each day of the year. These dollars go to wages and salaries for new employment, as well as increasing incomes for those already in the labor force – a portion of which is reinvested throughout California’s economy to pay for an array of goods and services.

Additionally, nearly $567.7 million in indirect business taxes, such as property taxes, excise taxes, fees, licenses and sales taxes, not including income taxes, are generated by these specialty crop industries. The research extrapolates that, depending on how these funds are used, this funding pays for many state and local programs that further benefit California’s communities where specialty crop growers live and work. For example, the business tax dollars they create could be used to help pay for the entire budget of the California Department of Fish and Game’s 2008-2009 fiscal budget – nearly two times over.

“The goal of the study was to demonstrate the overall impact of the specialty crop industry under the ‘Californian Grown’ umbrella and its ability to generate business activity, employment, personal income and taxes for other industries and the state overall,” said Tootelian. “Even though we took a conservative approach to measuring the data, the results showed a very sizeable impact to the financial health of California.”

The report demonstrates the impact these specialty crops have on the state’s economy annually, based on averages during a three year time span from 2005-2007. Because agricultural revenues and expenditures can fluctuate significantly from year-to-year depending on climate, pest, market and other conditions, an “average year” was created based on historical and industry operating statistics.

The study was implemented by using industry statistics, facilitating grower surveys and interviews and analyzing the data through the IMPLAN model, which examines economic relationships between businesses and between businesses and consumers. This impact analysis then measures changes in economic variables on an entire economy.

Data provided through IMPLAN mainly comes from federal government sources. These include the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the U.S. Bureau of the Census. Cash income by commodity groups for 2005-2007 was obtained from the Agriculture Statistical Review, published in the California Agricultural Resource Directory 2008-2009.

The full economic impact report and related fact sheets can be found at www.californiagrown.org.

About the Buy California Marketing Agreement and the “California Grown” Program

The Buy California Marketing Agreement (BCMA) is a joint effort of agricultural industry groups representing the products of California’s farms and ranches. Working as an advisory board to the California Department of Food and Agriculture, BCMA brings together industry and government resources to increase the awareness, consumption and value of California agricultural products, helping the state’s consumers enjoy the best of the California lifestyle.

The following California agricultural organizations took part in the study:

  • California Asparagus Commission
  • California Avocado Commission
  • California Cherry Advisory Board
  • California Cut Flower Commission
  • California Fig Advisory Board
  • California Kiwifruit Commission
  • California Milk Advisory Board
  • California Nectarine Administrative Committee
  • California Olive Committee
  • California Peach Commodity Committee
  • California Pear Advisory Board
  • California Plum Marketing Board
  • California Raisin Marketing Board
  • California Table Grape Commission
  • The Wine Institute

COLLINSVILLE, Conn.  (Food-News.net)  Mexican, Asian, Indian; what’s the next food trend on the horizon? Passage Foods thinks it could be Moroccan. As Americans rekindle their love for great food and purchasing begins to expand out of the value foods segment, American consumers are spending more on healthy foods and on ethnic foods. Additionally, they continue to still cook at home, a pattern driven both by the economy and by a strong interest in network and cable cooking programs. While spending on meals away from home is showing slow recovery, food segments that provide adventure and an exotic experience in eating are showing strong growth, albeit from a small initial market base, according to Passage Foods’ Larry Johnson.

“Young adults are driving the interest in ethnic foods in the USA and their adventurous eating is introducing foods from around the world to their family and friends,” noted Johnson. “In 2009, ethnic foods set a record at $2.2 billion in sales, even in a down economy. We expect to see interest in the international food category expand into South American and African cuisine while Indian and Asian foods continue their rapid growth. Moroccan cuisine is characterized by the same rich spiced sauces that are winning consumers’ palates in Indian and Thai foods and we foresee Moroccan foods as one of the next exotic culinary experiences.”

As more consumers identify themselves as “cooking enthusiasts” and look to experiment with new flavors, they are fueling the demand for what were once exotic foods. Today’s ethnic consumer is more mainstream, more affluent and younger, according to Mintel International. While young adults are the most adventurous in trying global cuisines, they are also very demanding of products that offer all-natural and healthy ingredients.  

About Passage Foods

Passage Foods is an affiliate of Flavour Makers Pty. Ltd., the second largest seasoning manufacturer in Australia. Passage Foods produces a range of ethnic cooking sauces including Passage to India and Passage to Thailand that are sold in major retailers in the USA, Australia and the UK. All Passage Foods Simmer Sauces are manufactured in the company’s Australia-based facilities. For additional product and consumer market information, call 1-800-860-1045, extension 204 or visit Passage Foods online at http://www.passagefoods.com.

Expansion expected to continue for the next five years

NORWALK, Conn.  (Food-News.net)  A difficult economy may be forcing Americans to do without some things, but wine isn’t one of them. Consumers are buying more each year. According to the Beverage Information Group’s recently released 2010 Wine Handbook, the wine industry continued to post positive results in 2009, marking its 16th consecutive year of case gains. Overall wine consumption rose 0.8% to 297.0 million 9-liter cases. Off-premise consumption continues to grow to 14.6 billion, helped by a competitive marketplace exploding with new brands and competitive pricing.  

Consumers have become more discretionary in their disposable income since the economic downturn. They have embraced “trading down” as well as searching for better bargains online. This is especially true of the Millennial generation’s 70-80 million members (21-33 year olds) who are willing to experiment and are bargain savvy, using electronic media to find the best deals.

According to the 2010 Wine Handbook, domestics continue to outpace imports. Domestic wines rose 1.8% to 222.7 million cases while imports dropped 2.2%, landing at 74.3 million cases. Growth is still being seen among smaller countries such as Chile, New Zealand and Portugal.

“As the country recovers from the recessionary environment, the wine industry continues to look positive,” says Eric Schmidt, Manager of Information Services for the Beverage Information Group based in Norwalk, Conn. “We expect to see wine consumption increase to 310.7 million cases by 2014.”

The 2010 Wine Handbook is the leading source for U.S. wine sales and consumption trends. It includes wine consumption analysis; the top 50 metro markets; supplier performance; advertising expenditures; consumer drinking preferences; and economic/demographic data.

The cost of the 2010 Wine Handbook is $815; handbook with CD is $985. Shipping and handling is $10 for U.S. residents, $20 for all international orders. The handbook and CD can be purchased at www.beveragehandbooks.com or by calling Cynthia Porter at (630) 762-8709.

About the Beverage Information Group

The Beverage Information Group, a division of M2MEDIA360, serves all segments of the beverage alcohol industry through Cheers, Beverage Dynamics and StateWays magazines, statistical Handbooks, Beverage Research and www.bevinfogroup.com.

Sara Lee North American Retail brands, Jimmy Dean and Hillshire Farm to Host Largest Booth at Pre-Eminent Conference for Female Bloggers; On-Site Activation to Include New Product Introductions and Appearances by Emmy nominated host of “Top Chef,” Padma Lakshmi and The Sun from Jimmy Dean Commercials

DOWNERS GROVE, Ill.  (Food-News.net)  Sara Lee North American Retail announced today that two of the company’s iconic brands, Jimmy Dean and Hillshire Farm, will together serve as Diamond Sponsors at BlogHer ’10, the pre-eminent annual conference for female bloggers. Currently in its sixth year, BlogHer ’10 marks the first time that the conference is being held in New York with a record attendance of more than 2,400 anticipated to be at the sold-out event at the Hilton Hotel from August 6-7.

Jimmy Dean and Hillshire Farm will together host the largest space on the BlogHer trade show floor, an 80 foot by 20 foot kitchen-themed booth that will bring to life each of their unique brand personas. BlogHer will serve as a platform for Jimmy Dean and Hillshire Farm to interact directly with the 2,400 bloggers in attendance and unveil a number of exciting announcements from both brands including new product introductions and celebrity guest appearances. Among the activities, Hillshire Farm will team with Emmy nominated host of “Top Chef,” Padma Lakshmi, to host a sandwich-making contest featuring the fresh taste of Hillshire Farm lunchmeat. Additionally, Jimmy Dean will provide bloggers with a chance to fuel their bodies with hearty and satisfying breakfast foods and an opportunity to meet The Jimmy Dean Sun.

“BlogHer is the leading conference for online female influencers and serves as a unique opportunity to engage face-to-face with virtually all of the top female bloggers, the voices that are driving the conversation and shaping the social media landscape. This event is the perfect platform to fuel brand awareness and further a dialogue among these critical audiences as well as gather valuable insights directly from the bloggers themselves. Additionally, we look forward to unveiling a number of exciting announcements from Jimmy Dean and Hillshire Farm,” said Laston Charriez, vice president consumer and shopper activation at Sara Lee North American Retail.

About Jimmy Dean

Jimmy Dean is America’s number one breakfast sausage. Since 1969, the brand has ensured quality in every plate of Jimmy Dean goodness that families can sit down to enjoy. The Jimmy Dean portfolio’s full line of breakfast sausage, bacon and sandwiches gives families that delicious, home-cooked flavor. Jimmy Dean Fresh Roll Breakfast Sausage, Fresh Links & Patties, Fresh Bacon, Fully Cooked Sausage Links & Patties, Omelets, Skillets, Sandwiches, Breakfast Bowls, D-lights®, Heat ‘N Serve Sausage Links & Patties and Pancakes & Sausage on a Stick boast full flavors and top quality ingredients guaranteed to make any meal the best. Visit www.jimmydean.com for additional information.

About Hillshire Farm

Hillshire Farm has been providing quality meat products since 1934. Our products are versatile, easy to use and are available in convenient stay-fresh packaging in a variety of cuts, sizes and flavors. The Hillshire Farm portfolio of quality meats includes: Hillshire Farm Deli Select lunchmeats. Visit www.gomeat.com for additional information.

About Sara Lee Corporation

Each and every day, Sara Lee (NYSE: SLE) delights millions of consumers and customers around the world. The company has one of the world’s best-loved and leading portfolios with its innovative and trusted food, beverage, household and body care brands, including Ball Park, Douwe Egberts, Hillshire Farm, Jimmy Dean, Kiwi, Sanex, Sara Lee and Senseo. Collectively, these brands generate almost $13 billion in annual net sales covering approximately 180 countries. The Sara Lee community consists of approximately 41,000 employees worldwide. Please visit http://www.saralee.com for the latest news and in-depth information about Sara Lee and its brands.

Markets Offer Fresh, Affordable Foods; Travel Destinations  

HARRISBURG, Pa.  (Food-News.net)  Consumers can find Pennsylvania’s freshest foods at their local farmers market, Agriculture Secretary Russell C. Redding said today as the department marked National Farmers Market Week, which runs through Aug. 7.

“Pennsylvania’s agricultural bounty is at the fingertips of consumers thanks to the more than 1,200 farmers markets across the state,” said Redding. “The markets also help consumers build a direct connection with the farmers that produce their food.”  

Pennsylvania agriculture products contribute $6.1 billion to the state’s economy and the state ranks third nationally in direct farm-to-consumer sales, the majority of which occur at farmers markets throughout the state.

Last year, farmers and farmers markets accepted more than $4.5 million in Women, Infant and Children, or WIC, and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program, or FMNP, vouchers, making fresh food available to thousands of low-income residents and families.

To celebrate Farmers Market Week, Agriculture Department officials will visit markets in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.

Today, Agriculture Deputy Secretary Doug Kilgore visited Philadelphia’s West Oak Lane Farmers Market to highlight the importance of farmers markets in urban areas. Open on Tuesdays, the outdoor market, located at Ogontz and 72nd avenues, began in 2003 and honors the FMNP vouchers.

“Farmers markets are a great way to showcase agriculture across the state, especially in the cities, while ensuring all citizens have access to fresh, local food,” said Kilgore.

New this year, the market expanded to include produce for sale from Foundations Inc.’s “Seeds for Learning” initiative, an afterschool urban farm and entrepreneurship program based at the nearby Martin Luther King High School.

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Mike Pechart will tour the Farmers Market Cooperative of East Liberty in Pittsburgh at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 7. Owned by four agricultural businesses from Western Pennsylvania, the co-op is led by president James Kennedy of Butler County whose grandfather started going to the market in the 1920’s and helped form the co-op in 1941. Kennedy’s son, John, and daughter-in-law, Valerie, are the family’s fourth generation to operate the market.

The three other owner farms are Greenawalt Farm from Westmoreland County, Kistaco Farm of Armstrong County, and Zang’s Greenhouse in Butler County.

One city block long, the former horse stable turned market is open year-round on Saturdays from 5 a.m. to noon, honoring the FMNP vouchers. The Kennedys operate a meat case providing locally-grown and processed beef, pork, lamb and poultry. In addition to the four owners, at least five other vendors offer fresh fruits and vegetables, eggs, dairy products, baked goods, teas and nursery plants. Market clients include restaurant chefs and local urban residents.

Consumers can find local farm markets using the Pennsylvania Farm Market Guide, which lists markets by county and provides the name, location, dates and hours of operation, types of food sold, and contact information for each entry. The guide also notes farm markets participating in the FMNP.  

To find a local farmers market, visit www.agriculture.state.pa.us and search “Farm Markets.”   For more information on farmers markets or to request a guide, contact Kathy Cutman at 717-783-9948 or kcutman@state.pa.us.

ORRVILLE, Ohio  (Food-News.net)  The J. M. Smucker Company (NYSE: SJM) announced that it will increase the list price for the majority of its Folgers®, Dunkin’ Donuts®, Millstone®, and Folgers® Gourmet Selections® coffee products sold in its U.S. retail coffee market effective today.  Prices will increase an average of nine percent on impacted items.

The increase in price is driven by sustained increases in green coffee costs.  The Company is currently in its quarter-end quiet period and, therefore, will answer investor related follow up questions during its August 20, 2010, first quarter earnings conference call.  

About The J. M. Smucker Company

For more than 110 years, The J. M. Smucker Company has been committed to offering consumers quality products that help families create memorable mealtime moments.  Today, Smucker is a leading marketer and manufacturer of fruit spreads, retail packaged coffee, peanut butter, shortening and oils, ice cream toppings, sweetened condensed milk, and health and natural foods beverages in North America. Its family of brands includes Smucker’s®, Folgers®, Dunkin’ Donuts®, Jif®, Crisco®, Pillsbury®, Eagle Brand®, R.W. Knudsen Family®, Hungry Jack®, White Lily® and Martha White® in the United States, along with Robin Hood®, Five Roses®, Carnation®, Europe’s Best® and Bick’s® in Canada. The Company remains rooted in the Basic Beliefs of Quality, People, Ethics, Growth and Independence established by its founder and namesake more than a century ago. The Company has appeared on FORTUNE Magazine’s list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in the United States 12 times, ranking number one in 2004. For more information about the Company, visit www.smuckers.com.

The J. M. Smucker Company is the owner of all trademarks, except Pillsbury is a trademark of The Pillsbury Company, LLC, used under license; Carnation is a trademark of Societe des Produits Nestle S.A., used under license; and Dunkin’ Donuts is a registered trademark of DD IP Holder LLC, used under license.

Cooperative Cites Need to Defend Itself

LAKEVILLE-MIDDLEBORO, Mass.  (Food-News.net)  Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc. today has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts for violations of federal and state law by defendants Decas Cranberry Sales, Inc. and related companies, as well as several unnamed cranberry growers and handlers.  The suit alleges that the defendants orchestrated a deceitful campaign falsely accusing Ocean Spray of violating the law and harming the cranberry industry.

“We took this action to defend the Cooperative and our growers from an unscrupulous group of competitors who made false statements and accusations about our Cooperative in efforts to protect their own market share and profits,” said Richard Stamm, Vice President and General Counsel. “Decas has colluded with a group of growers and handlers to engage in a calculated and unlawful propaganda campaign to damage Ocean Spray’s reputation and relationships with our growers, customers and consumers.  The ‘John Doe’ defendants will be named as we confirm their identities and involvement with this conspiracy through the discovery process.  This is a common practice in conspiracy-type cases.”

The legal complaint states that the defendants joined together in promoting a smear campaign against Ocean Spray that included:

  • Soliciting cranberry growers (including Ocean Spray’s grower-owners) not to work with Ocean Spray
  • Soliciting cranberry growers (including Ocean Spray’s grower-owners) to join an intended lawsuit against Ocean Spray by falsely claiming that Ocean Spray is violating federal law, including the federal antitrust laws.  

The Complaint also alleges that Decas Cranberry, Ocean Spray’s direct competitor, has used a variety of additional deceptive tactics and media for Decas’ disinformation campaign, including widely distributed letters and emails to growers, internet blogs and websites, Facebook accounts, YouTube videos and Twitter postings that Decas fraudulently led consumers to believe emanated from an independent non-profit consumer advocacy group, rather than from Decas Cranberry itself.  

The suit cites the defendants on eight counts of violations of the Agricultural Fair Practices Act, 7 U.S.C. section 2301; Section 43(a) of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. section 1125(a); and the Massachusetts Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 93A, sections 2, 11.

About Ocean Spray

Ocean Spray is an agricultural cooperative owned by 650 cranberry growers in Massachusetts, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, and other parts of Canada as well as approximately 50 Florida grapefruit growers. Ocean Spray was formed 80 years ago by three cranberry growers from Massachusetts and New Jersey. Florida grapefruit growers joined the Cooperative in 1976. Ocean Spray is North America’s leading producer of shelf-stable juice drinks, and has been the best-selling brand name in that category since 1981. Ocean Spray posted record results across the board in fiscal 2009, including gross sales of $2 billion and net proceeds of $346 million.