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Top Stories for 1/1/13
This year’s bounty of new openings in the Bay Area is focused on three hopping areas: the Mission District, Hayes Valley and Oakland. In the Mission, new locations from two renowned chefs and a chocolatier add to the mix of restaurants, cafes and bars in this destination corridor. Hayes Valley, already well stocked with such food spots as Fatted Calf Charcuterie, Smitten and Chantal Guillon, is becoming even more of a gourmet haven with three new additions. And Oakland, a hotbed of dining, now boasts more distinctive provisions. Here is a look at some notable new openings.
by Laiko Bahrs
Craftsman and Wolves
French- and Asian-inspired edible art in a reworked industrial space
Visionary pastry chef William Werner has garnered a deeply dedicated local following, and is now serving some of the chicest, most inventive pastries in San Francisco at a stylish garage-turned–bakery and cafe in the Mission. A recent addition to the already restaurant-crammed Valencia Street corridor, Craftsman and Wolves lays out its beautifully crafted, French-inspired, often Asian-influenced fare like edible art on matte black counters. Already offering breakfast pastries (passion-sesame croissant is a surprising best seller), lunchtime sandwiches and an array of sweets, the shop recently ... Continue Reading
Price ranges are based on main courses
$10 and under: $
More than $25: $$$$
This past year has seen a record number of restaurant openings in San Francisco. Along with offerings from a high-profile celebrity chef, an acclaimed wine expert and two husband-and-wife teams, the city’s ever-colorful culinary scene continues to deliver. With such offerings as dim sum–style small plates, an upscale spin on Southern cooking and Korean American street food, San Francisco restaurants offer some of the most innovative, exciting food in the country. Map out your culinary adventure with this guide of some of the highlights.
by Tanya Henry
New and Notable
Burritt Room & Tavern
Acclaimed chef Charlie Palmer has expanded his empire to San Francisco with his newest concept at the Mystic Hotel. Exposed brick walls and plenty of white give the room an updated modern sensibility. The Cal-American menu comprises such well-prepared dishes as grilled, smoked pork chop with braised kale and fig mustard, plenty of seafood and interesting sides, with all ingredients sourced locally. Cocktails are the high point at the adjoining noir-inspired Burritt Room, named after Burritt Alley of Maltese Falcon fame. 417 Stockton St. (at Sutter, in Mystic ... Continue Reading
A motivation to give back has long been a part of the specialty food culture, and in the November/December issue of Specialty Food Magazine you can read three examples of companies who give their time and money to charitable efforts.
Rishi Tea was in the forefront of establishing Fair Trade associations in China and,among other community projects, the company’s support has helped a village—for the first time ever—send a local child to college. Savannah Bee created a branded honey to raise awareness of its work with charities such as Heifer International, which provides livestock and beehives to communities in need. And Renfro Foods launched an ongoing campaign of special pink-labeled products to support October’s Breast Cancer Awareness month.
In addition to these inspiring stories, we continually receive new announcements of philanthropic initiatives from our industry. Here’s a sample of recent programs, both large and small in scope, where specialty food companies are reaching out to their local and global communities.
Immaculate Baking Company (immaculatebaking.com) has begun a partnership with Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, a nonprofit organization committed to raising awareness and funding for pediatric cancer research. Since September (Pediatric Cancer Awareness month ... Continue Reading
Candy promotions can extend beyond the Big Four holidays as you'll read on in the January/February 2013 Specialty Food Magazine feature "Candy Counter: 12 Months of Candy Promotions" . We want to see how you're promoting candy for less well-known occasions and events.
Send us photos of your most innovative and creative displays using the form below
Holiday/Occasion for Promo: Celebrate!
Submitted by La Espanola Meats
STORE LOCATION: 25020 Doble Ave. Harbor City, CA 90710-3155 (MAP IT)
Holiday/Occasion for Promo: Shark Week!
Submitted by Candy Crate
STORE LOCATION: 17229 Lemon St A1, Hesperia, CA
The Specialty Food industry drives flavor trends and food innovation throughout the world. As a specialty food industry member, we want to hear what trends you think will be coming down the road in 2013. Write your thoughts in the comments area below.
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Popcorn, grown-up kids’ menus and Asian comfort food are among the next big trends in the food industry, at least according to the 2013 Top Ten Food Trends list released by Sterling-Rice Group. The brand strategy firm’s culinary council—a team of more than 100 renowned chefs, restaurateurs and foodies—predicts the trends-to-be each year. Here’s what you can expect to see on restaurant menus and grocery shelves across the U.S. in 2013.
- Sour flavors. It’s the year of the lemon. Food palates will move beyond sweet, salty and fatty to tart, acidic and bitter.
- Better-for-the-waistline food. Chefs will replace butter and bacon with broth and beets for more healthful, but still tasty, food.
- Small plates for one. For optimal customization, small plates for sharing will be replaced with smaller, singular servings of meat, veggies or starches for one.
- Asian comfort food. The spicy and fresh flavors of Korea, Thailand and Vietnam will enter the beloved comfort-food realm.
- Veggie power. Vegetables will be so much more than sides; they’ll take the spotlight as the main dish.
- Sophisticated kids’ menus. Macaroni-and-cheese and chicken nuggets will take a backseat to kid-friendly versions of adult dining options.
- Savory ... Continue Reading
Many traditions are born in the White House. One that President Barack Obama has cultivated is brewing beer at home, a time-honored tradition in America. Pulling on the expertise of the White House historians, President Obama learned that George Washington brewed beer at Mt. Vernon but no other president had ever done so at the White House. So he purchased the equipment himself and asked the resident chefs to donate their time to develop White House Honey Ale, Honey Porter and Honey Blonde in the basement. They obliged and even added honey harvested on the Great Lawn, giving it local flair. Word traveled fast and the public demanded a look at the recipes. The White House finally released them and Brooklyn Brewery made an early attempt at re-creating the presidential beer; it got the Brooklyn, N.Y., brewery’s vote as an excellent brew. Maybe the president will find a second calling in the specialty food industry.
Monk fruit may be the next big sweetener. In North America, 30 products sweetened with monk fruit were introduced through the end of September 2012, compared with four in 2011, according to market researcher Datamonitor. A small green melon cultivated in Asia, it is a natural, calorie-free source that is 150 to 200 times sweeter than sugar. New Zealand’s BioVittoria’s monk-fruit extract Nectresse (sold in the U.S. through McNeil Nutritionals) currently produces more than 90 percent of the world’s supply of monk-fruit extract and juice products.
In the social media world, Pinterest has become the favorite stop of food lovers. According to Compete’s Online Shopper Intelligence Survey, 57 percent of consumers interacted with food-related content on Pinterest. These users buy, too: 69 percent of online consumers who visit Pinterest found an item they’ve purchased or want to purchase, compared to just 40 percent who visit Facebook and found the same, according to a study in the Bizrate Insights Image Sharing and Shopping Series. The study discovered that while Facebook may have a dramatically larger audience, Pinterest provides a better shopping experience for discovery, purchase consideration and deeper engagement with the content. That said, each outlet has its strengths: Facebook outpaces Pinterest in promotions (30 percent participate on Facebook v. 9 percent on Pinterest), while Pinterest is stronger in sharing (55 percent “pin” an item on Pinterest v. 37 percent who post an item on Facebook).
California’s Proposition 37, the Mandatory Labeling of Genetically Engineered Food Initiative, was the first legislation ever proposed that would mandate food-label transparency, helping consumers identify foods made with genetically modified ingredients. And while its defeat was a blow to advocates, the fight continues.
“The Yes on 37 campaign unfortunately was outspent by huge agri-business conglomerates and corporations,” says Ryan Black, founder and CEO of Sambazon, a pioneer in organic Amazon superfoods. However, Black adds, “it was inspiring to see so many industry leaders unite to stir grassroots support for food-label transparency.”
To help, Sambazon has created a Facebook campaign called Knowledge Is Bliss, which includes a “Shop Smart” checklist of the top four ways consumers can support non-GMO ingredients. Visitors are encouraged to “vote” for food-label transparency with their wallets by downloading the Non-GMO Coupon Booklet.
Can using business strategies help you create a more complete life outside of work? Ari Weinzweig thinks so.
by Ari Weinzweig
The National Association for the Specialty Food Trade recently created a vision of what it wants to achieve in the next 10 years. (See Editor’s Letter on page 1.) This is something I’m always recommending. Zingerman’s has long used visioning as a key part of our business management and, if you are a frequent reader of this column, you know I’m a huge believer. But I think there is a benefit for doing this for life outside of business too. It hasn’t always been obvious to me, but it only makes sense that the visioning work that would lead to sound, sustainable and successful organizational development would do much the same for us as individuals in building a richer and more rewarding life.
What Is Visioning?
A vision is a picture of the success of a project at a particular time in the future. A vision is not a mission statement. We see those as being akin to the North Star, a never-ending piece of work that we commit to going after for life ... Continue Reading
Product seals, certifications and terms inform shoppers about ingredient content, animal welfare, geographic designation, allergen considerations and a gamut of other information. Use this primer to learn the details of the industry’s most prevalent food labels.
by Denise Shoukas
R Regulated/audited by a certifying agency or independent organization
G Unregulated; term is intended as a guideline
P Partial regulation; some affiliation with a verifying/standards body
When looking for guidance to help make a purchase or support a cause, clear labeling can be the difference between consumers saying yes to a product or returning it to the shelf. But with the realm of product labels so saturated and convoluted, being familiar and conversant in the meaning behind each one can only benefit your customers and your sales.
Here, we’ve compiled a resource of the 36 most prevalent food labels, seals, logos and certifications—as well as commonly seen, and sometimes vague, terms found on products—to explain the details of each. Each item is coded to indicate if it is regulated or audited by an independent organization or certifying agency or if the term is unregulated and meant as more of a guideline. Websites to visit ... Continue Reading
Passing a food business on to the children is not always a sure thing—for both the parents and the kids. We speak with three specialty food companies to learn how they’ve navigated the often difficult world of family business dynamics.
by Robyn Pforr Ryan
Families watch each other’s backs, but they also push each other’s buttons—which makes working together complicated, let alone giving control of a business to the next generation. We speak with family businesses to learn how the transition came to be, what’s changed and how the younger generation is handling their new responsibilities (hint: well).
Larkin International, Columbia Cheese and EuroLarkin
Growing up in south central New Jersey, Adam Moskowitz had no interest in the international specialty food and cheese transport and warehouse services company his father, Joe Moskowitz, founded in 1978.
As an adult, Moskowitz moved to New York and made a fortune working in sales and business on the internet. But when the dot-com bubble burst, he lost that fortune. In 2006, he was preparing to move to Los Angeles to focus on a new career—the music business—when his father called and asked him to come home ... Continue Reading
Enormous potential—and serious pitfalls—can be had in working with another company to create a new co-branded product. The companies behind four successful partnerships share their experiences in a new kind of teamwork.
by Nicole Potenza Denis
Fresh ideas are the lifeblood of nearly any business. As an industry, specialty food is known for creative thinkers who are willing to take serious risks in the name of great food and customer satisfaction. Some businesses are doing just that by working with other like-minded brands to create new products that showcase the best of both companies.
The numerous benefits of these collaborations include boosting both brands’ recognition factor, but the risk can be just as high: the possibility of diminishing your own brand with a project in which you don’t have complete control. So how do you know when a collaboration will be a good fit? We speak with industry experts and well-known suppliers to find out the secret to a successful product partnership.
A Common Goal
The overarching ambition should be to create something that has real value on store shelves—not just a marketing gimmick. “Companies have to make sure that they are bringing something truly unique ... Continue Reading
While the Big Four holidays get all the press, with just a bit more effort you can come up with reasons to highlight confections every month and boost sales during seasonal lulls. Here are ideas to help you devise a year full of candy showcases.
by Eva Meszaros
Candy and chocolate are as much a part of major holidays as turkey is to Thanksgiving and Champagne is to New Year’s Eve. In fact, four major holidays account for as much as 54 percent of total annual candy and gum purchasing volume, says Jenn Ellek, director of trade marketing and communications for the National Confectioners Association.
Those Big Four holidays come as no surprise: Christmas, Easter, Halloween and Valentine’s Day. “And if you add in the promotional times that happen before and even the week after those holidays, that accounts for more than half of the weeks in the year,” Ellek adds. Getting the most out of these holidays can make a confectionery retailer’s year, but that doesn’t mean the other half of the calendar should fall by the wayside. Read on to learn tips from industry experts on strategies for healthy confectionery sales year-round.
Harnessing the ... Continue Reading
In just four years, these artisanal pickled-fruit products have gone from a restaurant recipe to selling at Zingerman’s and Murray’s Cheese to becoming a sofi Silver Finalist in 2012. It’s been anything but an overnight success, though. Here’s how a snack served at a Seattle restaurant became an award-winning national product line.
by Deborah Moss
In 1999, when Renee Erickson first tasted pickled preserves while traveling in France in her mid-20s, it was a revelation. “It wasn’t a traditional American pickle. It was a conserve that was served with pâté in a jar in the south of France—something I’d never had. More savory than sweet,” explains the chef, restaurateur and owner of Boat Street Pickles in Seattle. “There was a pickled plum that I loved.”
That discovery inspired the pickled condiments that became a regular accompaniment to the dishes Erickson made at Boat Street Cafe, the restaurant where she worked her way through college and which she purchased in 1998.
“The drive was to make condiments to accent savory things: charcuterie, roast meats,” she says. “I loved the ways tart, sour things went with rich dishes. The flavors complemented savory foods and made ... Continue Reading
Making the best purchasing and pricing decisions for your business, your customers and your suppliers can be tricky. Four cheesemongers from around the country share their insights and tactics for pricing strategies and challenges.
by Janet Fletcher
What is the appropriate pricing strategy for artisanal cheese in a specialty store? Is conventional keystone pricing (doubling the wholesale cost) always wise, or can discounts drive sales and boost profits? To learn more about how specialty food retailers price cheese, as well as what works and what doesn’t, we spoke with four successful merchants from around the country. Their replies, presented in roundtable format, have been edited for brevity and clarity.
Do you apply the same markup to all of your cheeses?
Jeff Diamond: I do, but everything in life is fungible. If I’m bringing in a cheese that’s very expensive but fragile, like Vacherin Mont d’Or, it won’t move at $40 a pound, but it will move at $30. Having Vacherin Mont d’Or is one of those things that sets us apart, so I’ll accept a lower margin. But for a more stable cheese, with a longer life, I’ll take full markup.
Peter ... Continue Reading
A culinary expedition to the North African country brings a deeper appreciation for amazing tagine, salt-preserved lemons, flaky honey desserts and other dishes that, while exotic, have an easy appeal for Americans looking for something different.
by Joanna Pruess
A trip to Morocco last April included a stop in Meknès, one of the four imperial cities; a motorbike ride across Djemaa el-Fna, Marrakech’s bustling main square, to cook a tangia (stew) in the embers of a hammam; and a camel ride into the Sahara where I ate and slept under the stars in a Berber camp. Along with countless memories, this adventure left me craving Moroccan food.
Crisscrossing the country for ten days allowed me to sample regional dishes in outdoor stalls, homes and modest and lofty restaurants from Fès to Merzouga, Ouarzazate to Marrakech, as well as a grillstop cafe along a winding road through the High Atlas Mountains. Admittedly, at around 11,000 feet, after numerous hairpin turns in cold rain, it took several cups of steaming mint tea and bites of flatbread to reignite my enthusiasm for the juicy charcoal-scented lamb chops. Undeniably, this eclectic cuisine—with its unique African, Andalusian, Arab, Berber, Muslim and Saharan ... Continue Reading
Seafood fraud is hard to catch. Recent studies have found that seafood may be mislabeled as often as 25 to 70 percent of the time. So more than 500 restaurant owners and culinary industry leaders—including prominent chefs like Mario Batali, Rick Bayless, Daniel Boulud, Thomas Keller and Jacques Pepin—have joined Oceana, an international advocacy group working to protect the oceans. They are signing a letter urging the U.S. government to pass legislation that requires seafood be traced to prevent fraud and keep illegal fish out of the U.S.
“Part of the reason we drafted this petition is because chefs add a different perspective to this important issue and, we believe, are a natural ally to our efforts,” says Oceana’s ocean advocate Beckie Zisser. The letter has made an impact: It’s now being used to support the Safety and Fraud Enforcement for Seafood (SAFE Seafood) Act (H.R. 6200), new legislation introduced in July 2012 that would help stop seafood fraud by requiring full traceability for all seafood sold in the U.S. “The legislation will need to be reintroduced in the new Congress in January, but we will work hard to pass it in ... Continue Reading
Inspired by San Francisco’s Ferry Building Marketplace, this market is playing a key part in revitalizing downtown Napa while serving as a showcase for local producers.
by Denise Purcell
California’s Napa Valley may be celebrated, but downtown Napa itself used to be a place that tourists drove past on their way north to the wineries, resorts and scenery of more popular destinations such as St. Helena and Calistoga. But all of that is changing with a resurgence of a food, dining and hospitality scene. Key to the new downtown is Oxbow Public Market, a five-year-old retail space that houses specialty purveyors of meat, seafood, spices, oils, wine, cheese, tea, coffee and sweets, as well as seven eateries. The market’s path to success hasn’t been drama-free, but the developers have had one thing going for them: proximity to the area’s outstanding food and beverage producers.
Drawn to the Local Food Community
The success of San Francisco’s Ferry Building Marketplace inspired its developers to attempt to create similar retail experiences in other destinations. Napa surfaced as a location with possibilities. “There was a need for this. It was a platform missing from the community,” says St ... Continue Reading
After living with his family in Italy in the early 1990s, Greg Hinson and his wife, Marta, came home inspired to introduce the U.S. market to citrus-crushed olive oil. Their first product, O Meyer Lemon Olive Oil, created an entirely new olive oil category in 1995. In the years since, O Olive Oil has received numerous awards and today offers 36 oils and vinegars.
by Denise Shoukas
Did you encounter challenges by creating an entirely new category in the olive oil market?
I did not anticipate the outright resistance I would find both from the olive oil community as well as from the more conventional, tradition-bound markets, like New York, where we were dismissed with a knowing sneer. In our own state, California, in the early years, we were barred by other producers from competing in olive oil categories, as we were not “real” olive oil. Ultimately, we are the most recognized olive oil company at the NASFT, having won 16 sofi trophies in various categories. And The New York Times featured us after our very first Fancy Food Show. The rest is history. Now many of those who barred us from competitions have developed their own crushed citrus ... Continue Reading
Showcase one of this North African country’s definitive dishes with recipes that combine poultry, meat and vegetables with vibrant spice mixtures.
by joanna pruess
Tagines are among the definitive dishes of Morocco’s cuisine. The term refers both to the two-piece conical terra-cotta pot in which the dish is prepared and served and to the lush, exotic dish itself. Recipes are known to incorporate fish, poultry, lamb and goat (but not pork) as well as vegetarian mixtures.
Morocco has two kinds of terra-cotta tagines: those with a simple glaze (sometimes with a colorful design on the lid) and those that are flamboyantly decorated and meant only as servingware. Though impractical for most gourmet retailers, as a display, one would certainly draw attention.
These earthenware pots help to intensify flavors and retain moisture. In the absence of a proper tagine, Paula Wolfert, the author of this year’s James Beard Award-winning book, The Food of Morocco, suggests laying a piece of parchment over the ingredients in a pot and tightly covering.
While each tagine recipe is unique, what they have in common is a heady mixture of herbs and spices. In that spirit, use the recipes below as a guideline ... Continue Reading
One of the classic combinations of Moroccan cooking is green olives and preserved lemons. In this subtly spiced tagine, the juicy chicken thighs are drizzled with toasted slivered almonds before serving. Wolfert suggests that canned green olives closely approximate the texture of those found in Morocco. Serve the chicken over couscous.
See other related recipes in A Trio of Moroccan Tagines.
Yield: 6 large chicken thighs with sauce (8 to 9 ounces)
Cooking time: 50 minutes, plus marinating time
Shelf life: 3 days
6 (7½-ounce) chicken thighs with bones, skin on, excess fat trimmed
salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup, plus 2 tablespoons fragrant olive oil, divided
1½ teaspoons ground coriander
1½ teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon sweet smoked or Hungarian paprika
generous pinch cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon ground ginger
1 large onion, peeled and finely diced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1½ cups chicken stock
pinch saffron threads crumbled and dissolved in a little warm water
½ cup pitted green picholine or Greek olives
1 large or 2 small preserved lemons
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, minced
2 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste cooked couscous, for serving ... Continue Reading
This sweet and spicy recipe, drawn from two different lamb tagines by Paula Wolfert, recalls a dish served at Al Fassia in Marrakech, a celebrated restaurant uniquely run solely by women. It is easily made ahead and reheated. Ras el hanout, or “head of the shop,” refers to the best blend of spices a shopkeeper makes. You can omit the final addition of butter and broiling the squash, if desired. Reheat in a moderate oven.
See other related recipes in A Trio of Moroccan Tagines.
Yield: 6 (10-ounce) portions
Preparation time: 3½ hours, mostly unattended
Shelf life: Several days
3 pounds bone-in lamb shoulder stew meat, fat trimmed and cut into 1½-inch cubes
1 small onion, peeled and grated (about ¹⁄3 cup)
1 teaspoon ground ginger, plus additional for seasoning
½ to 1 teaspoon ras el hanout, depending on strength of mixture
1 stick cinnamon
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
generous pinch dissolved saffron threads in 4 cups warm water
2½ pounds peeled Spanish onions, quartered and sliced lengthwise
1½ pounds peeled and seeded butternut squash or pumpkin, cut into large cubes
1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch lengths
7 ... Continue Reading
Vegetarian dishes can sometimes suffer from bland flavors. Not so this vibrant melange where chermoula, a piquant flavorful sauce used throughout North Africa, packs a delicious punch. This recipe was inspired by a tagine served at Zitoune, Alain Bennouna’s Moroccan restaurant in Mamaroneck, N.Y.
See other related recipes in A Trio of Moroccan Tagines.
Yield: 6 (10-ounce) portions
Preparation time: 1 to 1½ hours (depending on the size of the vegetables)
Shelf life: at least 4 days
For the tagine:
¹⁄3 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and grated (about ½ cup)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground ginger
generous pinch saffron threads
6 ounces baby carrots, peeled
6 ounces young parsnips, peeled and quartered
6 ounces small rutabagas, peeled and quartered (if large, cut into 1¼-inch cubes)
6 ounces small turnips, peeled and quartered (if large, cut into 1¼-inch cubes)
8 fingerling or small Yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed
12 small boiling onions, peeled
10 ounces small zucchini, cut in 1-inch lengths
salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the chermoula:
¾ cup packed cilantro leaves
¼ cup packed flat-leaf ... Continue Reading
Goat’s milk has made huge strides in consumer acceptance in recent years, and now it’s the star ingredient in a medley of products, from value-added dairy to desserts. Here are a host of new items that get their creamy texture and kiss of sweetness from goat’s milk, while touting its healthful benefits: easier digestion; high levels of calcium, protein and tryptophan; and enhanced iron absorption.
by Kara Mayer Robinson
Askinosie Chocolates Davao Dark Milk Chocolate + Black Licorice collaBARation Bar.
One would think that 62 percent dark milk chocolate (made with cacao beans from the Philippines), organic cane juice, goat’s milk powder and a touch of fleur de sel would be enough to yield the perfect concoction. But Askinosie, a small-batch, bean-to-bar chocolate manufacturer in Springfield, Mo., didn’t stop there. It teamed with a Swedish licorice factory to add bits of organic, gluten-free salted black licorice, and then topped the bar with anise seed to enhance that distinct licorice flavor. The result? An aromatic, flavorful chocolate bar that scored a silver medal in the 2012 World Finals at the International Chocolate Awards in London. askinosie.com
Belle Chevre Homemade Cookies.
Goat’s milk is making its ... Continue Reading
The latest batch of hot sauces doesn’t fool around. Inside, each bottle contains an intense combination of ingredients delivering more heat—and flavor—than ever before. Outside, labels are loaded with hardcore imagery: snakes, poison symbols, warning labels and images evoking the Wild West. Increasingly, musicians (especially rockers) are introducing hot sauces but, then again, so did a pair of orthopedic surgeons. In the realm of hot sauces, it’s anyone’s game, and customers have boundless options. Here are some recent introductions to consider.
by Dina Cheney
Ashley Foods Boomslang Ghost Pepper Sauce.
David Ashley, the man behind Ashley Foods, describes his new Boomslang Ghost Pepper Hot Sauce as akin to a snakebite—and not from just any snake, but specifically the super-lethal African boomslang. The hot sauce’s label says it all, depicting a snake emerging from a burning ghost pepper (also known as bhut jolokia, one of the hottest peppers in the world). The sauce also contains vinegar, tomatoes, garlic, peri peri peppers, jalapeño peppers, onion, molasses, herbs and pepper extract. ashleyfoodcompany.com
Bone Doctors BBQ Fire & Brimstone Hot Sauce.
Bone Doctors BBQ fans asked for a sauce with even more heat—and the orthopedic surgeons ... Continue Reading
Thanks to an array of specialty products, your customers can create impressive homemade pizza with neither a family recipe nor a huge time commitment. To appeal to perennial desires for novelty and convenience, companies are rolling out plain and flavored crusts in different formats (mixes, ready-to-heat), and even pizza-inspired meals—all ready in minutes. And with special dietary considerations a growing consumer need, gluten-free, low-sodium and vegan options abound. Here are 10 recent products to consider.
by Dina Cheney
Crepini Pizza Americana Crepini.
With its crepe-pizza fusion, Crepini has invented a new way to enjoy pizza and, some might say, an entirely new dish. To make the crowd-pleasing Pizza Americana Crepini, part of Crepini’s deli line, plain Crepini crepes are rolled with mozzarella and cheddar, marinara sauce, diced tomatoes and fresh basil. Stored in the fridge or freezer, these pizza crepes can be heated in the oven or on the grill and served in just minutes. crepini.com
GalloLea Super Low Sodium Pizza Kit.
Pizza lovers watching their sodium intake need yearn no longer. GalloLea has added a Super Low Sodium version to its line of organic pizza kits (which also includes gluten-free and whole-wheat options). Each serving of ... Continue Reading
Consumers turned to condiments during the recent recession as a low-cost way to add interest to the rising number of meals they were preparing at home. But what happens now that purse strings have loosened and dining out is once again popular?
by Denise Shoukas
An affordable way to add flavor to food, condiments are a top choice for consumers when cooking at home. During the worst of the recession, when shoppers snapped their wallets shut to higher-priced foods, they willingly opened them for condiments. Sales grew by 15 percent from 2007 to 2012 (4 percent when adjusted for inflation), to reach $9.7 billion; the highest growth coincided with the start of the recession. Future sales growth will hinge on inspiring home cooks to increase the number of products they use and the frequency, as well as offering better-for-you options and more ethnic and spicy flavor varieties.
The condiment segment is vast. Mintel defines the category to encompass pickles, olives and relishes; mayonnaise; ethnic sauces, including Mexican and Asian sauces; sauces for meat, including barbecue, steak and Worcestershire sauces; and mustard, ketchup and other sauces, including hot, cocktail, dairy, horseradish and seafood sauces.
- The condiment ... Continue Reading
Regular readers of Specialty Food Magazine know that contributor Ari Weinzweig from Zingerman’s Community of Businesses is a big proponent of writing a vision for your company. He has devoted many of his “Educated Retailers’ Guide” columns to the benefits to be gained from the visioning process, including his latest in this issue beginning on p. 66.
As Weinzweig espouses, a vision should be an aspiration, while also being strategically sound. This is not the time to be timid: The point of the exercise is to paint a picture of what you want to be. A vision must also be documented and communicated if it is to be taken seriously. While the process can be grueling, Weinzweig has written, it ultimately raises the motivation and energy of an organization as it comes together to create a future.
The National Association for the Specialty Food Trade has been involved in exactly such a process that brings to life all that Weinzweig has championed. The NASFT recently introduced a vision that aims to cultivate and expand over the next decade an even more thriving specialty food trade than the one that exists today. As the Association representing nearly 3,000 producers ... Continue Reading
The digital tracks you leave is the subject of a loud and emotional debate between consumer advocacy groups and marketers. How much retailers and marketers know about your habits—and how they use that information—is an important discussion.
I’ve always been fascinated by the ways smart marketers focus their messages for specific audiences. By age 18 I had received countless direct mail pieces and seen lots of appealing advertising. But Volkswagen was the first company whose marketing efforts impressed me. It was as if they knew me. They advertised their zippiness in the magazines I read as a teenager, sponsored bike-racing teams when I raced bikes and, as I started a family, their message seemed to have adjusted again to fit that stage of my life. I had owned five VWs by the time I was 30. I admire Volkswagen’s—and its ad agency’s—ability to recognize people like me as a group with aspirations that were distinct from, say, someone buying a Toyota or Honda. They didn’t know me as an individual but they knew enough about people like me that they could speak my language and target me as a consumer.
With ... Continue Reading