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Top Stories for 7/31/14

More Americans Are Trying to Improve Diet

A new Gallup poll shows more Americans are trying to maintain a healthier diet. Nearly two in three American consumers (63 percent) currently avoid drinking soda, compared with only 41 percent in 2002. Almost half of respondents said they try to include organic food in their diets, while more than 90 percent try to include fruits and vegetables.

While consumers are increasingly working to add the good stuff, they're also trying to cut back on the bad. Some 52 percent of Americans avoid sugar and fat; in 2002, only 43 percent of consumers said they avoided sugar. Chicken and other poultry is still the most included protein in American diets, at 84 percent, followed by seafood at 75 percent and beef at 62 percent, both coming in over 90 percent.

Grass-Fed Milk Finds Niche Despite Cost, Lack of Regulation

Consumers' dairy preferences are shifting to grass-fed milk as many perceive it as healthier. Some research shows that grass-fed milk has more omega 3s than milk from cows fed corn or soy. Organic Valley whole milk from grass-fed cows is the company's best-selling product in Whole Foods Market stores nationwide, according to CEO George Siemon. Regular organic milk, however, is Organic Valley's top seller in every store it's available in nationwide, since mainstream stores do not carry grass-fed milk. The market for the specialty milk is still small due to the price—typically $6 for a half-gallon—and there is no federal regulation for the term "grass-fed."

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's standard for organic milk requires the cows to graze on pasture at least 120 days each year and get a minimum 30 percent of their diet from pasture. Organic Valley's grass-fed cows eat grasses, clover, or alfalfa and graze when the weather allows it. In the winter, the cows eat hay and sometimes molasses, but are never given corn, soy, or other grains, reports The Wall Street JournalFull Story (Subscription Required)

Scientists Face Challenges in Learning to Farm Bluefin Tuna

Prized as a sushi ingredient, bluefin tuna is the latest species scientists around the world are attempting to raise in captivity. The Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology made the first successful attempt at raising Atlantic bluefin tuna in North America, with the larvae surviving for 10 days. Overfishing has led to declining wild populations of bluefin tuna, prompting attempts at farming techniques. Successful aquaculture of the tuna could take pressure off of wild bluefins, but tuna require about 15 pounds of fish for their own consumption for every pound of tuna that can ultimately be sold. To face the feeding challenge, scientists are looking into feed that relies less heavily on fish as an ingredient, reports NPR. Full Story

Callie’s Charleston Biscuits Opens Restaurant in Charleston, SC

Callie’s Charleston Biscuits Opens Restaurant in Charleston, SC

Biscuits are just the beginning for this Southern-influenced eatery.

By Anneliese Klainbaum

Callie’s Charleston Biscuits now has a brick-and-mortar presence on King Street in downtown Charleston, S.C. The 629-square-foot destination, named Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit, opens today, complete with counter service, stool seating, and a variety of grab-and-go options that build on the nationally recognized mail-order biscuit brand.

Owner Carrie Morey says that while the main draw is the hot biscuits, the company’s first foodservice venture offers much more. “It also has a little specialty food store element to it,” she says.

Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit will serve a variety of freshly baked biscuits, inspired by the company’s signature product, as well as pimento cheese sandwiches (“as is” or grilled) and slow-cooked grits served with a range of accoutrements, such as roasted tomatoes and sliced avocado. Daily specials include fried chicken and tomato pies made from biscuit bowls. House-made dips, sauces, and sweet and savory butters will be for sale alongside the full range of frozen and refrigerated Callie’s Biscuits products. A new biscuit flavor, blackberry, is currently exclusive to the shop.

“People will be surprised to come in and see that it ... Continue Reading

IL Town Approves Plastic Bag Ban

Evanston, Ill.'s City Council approved an ordinance that bans the use of plastic shopping bags. The new regulation goes into effect Aug. 1, 2015 and affects 27 stores in the town that are larger than 10,000 square feet. The ban excludes the use of paper bags and plastic bags that are used to package fresh produce and meats. Evanston's sustainable programs coordinator, Catherine Hurley, says the main goal is to eliminate plastic waste that ends up near the lake, in sewers, and throughout neighborhoods. Hurley believes the ban will bring people back to old habits like using baskets and reusable canvas totes, reports Chicago TribuneFull Story

Australian Cafes Grow Footprint in NYC

Australian cafes are opening in New York City's trendy neighborhoods. The city is known for being a host to immigrant businesses, like the French bistro and English pub, and now welcomes a new way to drink coffee. An Australian cafe looks like an American coffee shop but functions like a restaurant. The cafes provide table service for coffee and simple dishes, like eggs and salads. “It’s really two businesses in the same place,” says Jordan Michelman, founder of coffee news website Sprudge. “There’s this whole robust coffee culture, and there’s this whole robust kitchen culture, and it’s all under the same roof.”

A slew of cafes have opened, many influenced by the vibrant coffee culture in Melbourne; in fact, many of the businesses are named after Melbourne streets and icons. One operation, Brunswick, plans to have 12 locations in New York City by 2016, reports The New York TimesFull Story

For Booming DC Food Truck Scene, Struggles Continue

In 2009, 10 pioneering food trucks roamed the streets of Washington, D.C.; today, that fleet has grown to more than 150 mobile restaurants. Those with dreams of starting a restaurant found that operating out of a food truck was a cheaper alternative. The success of these trucks is thanks to restaurant-quality food with the convenience and cost of takeout.

Competition has forced some businesses to get proactive. For trucks like TaKorean, tweeting where it will be parked for lunch no longer guarantees a line of customers. Several public spaces have been transformed into open food courts that host some 10 to 12 trucks daily. The increased competition and city regulations require trucks to win spots at coveted locations, such as Farragut Square, through a lottery system. For some, success has meant growth: 21 trucks have opened or are planning to open brick-and-mortar locations, reports The Washington Post. Full Story

Restaurant App Tracks Patrons' Habits to Improve Customer Service

The owner of five high-end restaurants in Frankfurt, Germany is using Apple's iBeacon technology for an app to personalize customer experience. Restaurateur Christian Mook, who owns Mook Group, is testing an application that uses iBeacon to track customers in the restaurant and time how much guests spend in the restaurant. The app then uses a ranking system to reward them for loyalty. Mook plans to develop indoor tracking as well as features like tracking orders and amount paid.

Apple's iBeacon uses low-energy Bluetooth technology to pinpoint the indoor location of the user. “It will be even more interesting when we get to the next step and we know guest’s names, what people drink and eat, how often and when the client comes in—whether for private reasons or business reasons, all as a way to improve service,” says Feres Ladjimi, Mook Group's executive manager. Users can opt out of certain features, like access to information, reports The Wall Street JournalFull Story (Subscription Required)

DC Coffee Shop Creates Iced Coffee Alternative

Iced coffee has become a year-round favorite for java fans, but a new offering may give drinkers some added variety. Mockingbird Hill, in northwest Washington, D.C., offers customers what it calls a coffee tonic. The beverage is a combination of concentrated coffee and tonic water. The concoction is a mixture of 3.5 ounces of tonic with 2 ounces of concentrated coffee of the customer's choosing. Creator Cory Andreen says the bitterness from quinic acids found in coffee and tonic water is the main reason why the beverage works. This isn't the shop's only creative coffee cocktail; Mockingbird Hill also offers Kenia Cola, a blend of Kieni coffee, sugar bitters, and soda, reports WTOP. Full Story

Couple Stumbles into Maple Syrup Business

After searching for a vacation home, two Oak Park, Ill., residents, Christine and Mark Fisher, purchased a property located in a farming community and immediately began renovations. While clearing trees away with the help of a neighbor, they discovered almost 1,000 maple trees located on the property. Unsure of what to do with all of it, the couple began collecting and boiling down the syrup. They started a business in 2013 called Three Queens Maple Syrup, offering three varieties of maple syrup—amber, dark, and very dark—all sold online. The company also bottles and sells its product at the Oak Park Farmers Market during the summer months.

Fifteen percent of the all-natural, organic syrup's profits support local causes. "Our goal is to produce sustainable, local, artisan-style syrup that we can bring back to our community for purchase and in turn give back to arts-based organizations," says Fisher, reports Oak Park LeavesFull Story

Reinhart Launches Food and Beverage Service Group

Law firm Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren s.c. (Reinhart) has launched a Food and Beverage service group. This multi-discipline legal team, led by litigation attorney Jennifer L. Naeger, includes attorneys from the firm's Litigation, Business Law, Intellectual Property, and Advertising and Media practice areas. The team also draws support from Reinhart's Labor and Employment, Real Estate and Environmental attorneys. Although the firm's Food and Beverage service group was formally established in June 2014, Reinhart has been representing food and beverage clients for decades.

Reinhart's clients include food developers, manufacturers, retailers, wholesalers, agricultural businesses, restaurants, wineries, breweries, importers, franchisors, and entrepreneurs in the food and beverage industry. The Food and Beverage team assists clients with issues from food labeling and packaging compliance to food recalls and product development. With a focus on the ever-changing food and beverage landscape, Reinhart's team also publishes frequent client alerts and articles on regulatory developments, food safety, and other related topics.

New Limited Edition Coffee India Pale Ale Debuts

Counter Culture Coffee andAll About Beer Magazine have collaborated with Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. to create No Middle Ground, a limited-edition IPA made with cold-brewed coffee. The beer features Counter Culture’s single-origin washed Haru coffee from Ethiopia and an experimental hop known as “291,” giving the beer a bright, fruit-forward flavor profile. Counter Culture Coffee president Brett Smith, head roaster Jeff McArthur, and coffee buyer and quality manager Tim Hill worked alongside Sierra Nevada’s pilot brewer Abe Kabakoff at the brewery's "Beer Camp" to create the light, amber-colored IPA.

No Middle Ground will be available for a limited time only, on tap during special tasting events at Counter Culture’s eight regional training centers, in New York, Chicago, Boston, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Atlanta, Asheville, N.C., and Durham, N.C. The inaugural event will take place at the Chicago training center on August 15 at 6 p.m. The event will be free with ticket reservation required through All About Beer Magazine’s website.

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