Oser Communications Group

Gourmet News February 2019

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BY LORRIE BAUMANN Consumers are seeking more an- swers about what's in the food they're buying and, sometimes more importantly, what's not in the food, and they're looking for clarity about the value of what they're getting in terms of their environmental and social values as well as product quality. Retail- ers, in turn, are demanding prod- ucts that supply consumers with all that information at a glance, which means that food producers are racing to comply. "It's a tough balance between not cluttering the label and mak- ing sure that elements of differ- entiations and disqualifiers stand out," said Norm Petersen, Direc- tor of Natural Foods for BY GREG GONZALES Imagine you're a professional snowboarder, fresh off an X Games medal win, crowd screaming for you, the famous rapper Nas adorning you with a medal, and a week later, you have a broom in your hand at the local coffee bar ― by choice. This is how former professional snow- boarder Nick Visconti shredded his way to the Good Food Awards finalists list after just one year in business as Drink Coffee Do Stuff. Visconti got an idea when he saw a missing piece of outdoor brands: high-quality coffee. Drink Coffee Do Stuff: From Pro Snowboarding to Pro Coffee Continued on PAGE 7 Continued on PAGE 9 Continued on PAGE 12 "There are so many examples of successful outdoor lifestyle brands and consumer packaged goods. Fuel, gear, beer," he said. "Nuun electrolyte tablets, Clif Bars, breweries like Basecamp in Portland, or 10 Barrel, what have you ― we were aiming to com- plete this outdoor lifestyle with a specialty coffee product, making us half outdoor brand and half coffee roasting." However, Visconti didn't start off with any experience in spe- cialty coffee. Before he could reach the peaks, he had to climb the foothills with a barista job at a little cafe called Anchor Chip, and learn to maintain machines. "That was kind of the begin- ning, just working my way up, getting exposure and experience in all parts of the industry," Vis- conti said. "Coming from a snow- boarding career, I knew that in order to become an expert, I would have to come to fully un- derstand the A-to-Z index of what the coffee industry was like." He was drawn to the technical as- pects of coffee like he was to the technical details of snowboarding. "I'm a firm believer of thinking outside the box, but in order to think outside the box you first have to know what's in the box." From there, he apprenticed with a roaster. After about five years of experience roasting cof- fee, Visconti got started on his own roaster in Truckee, Califor- nia, a small town in the Sierra Ne- vada Mountains near the north shore of Lake Tahoe. One of the biggest obstacles, he said, was finding a location ― it's not easy finding a landlord to lease from without a resume or collateral ― but his other chal- lenge was more interpersonal. "Everyone and their mom was asking me, 'Why ... are you quit- Seasonal Sweets from Sunflower Bakery Product Labels Promote Clarity for Consumers Stonewall Kitchen. Today's con- sumers are a lot more savvy about their food than their parents were, and many of them are more conscious of disqualifiers for the food they'll bring home to feed their chil- dren or them- selves. "Either it's that they have dietary re- strictions or that they won't feed their kids geneti- cally modified food," Petersen said, adding that Stonewall Kitchen, for instance, has taken preservatives out of most of its products to eliminate that dis- qualifier for those items at the be- hest of retailers who'd begun ask- ing that question. "It's consumer-driven, but it's also retailer-driven," Petersen said. Across the exhibit hall at this year's Winter Fancy Food Show, buy- ers were greeted with tens of thousands of products, both the new and the familiar, and many, many of them were sporting distinc- tive new garb to show off their at- tributes for today's more discerning consumers. "All of our disclosure is smack on the front BY LORRIE BAUMANN Cathy Brand-Beere puts a lifetime of experience in confectionery, cakes and chocolates as well as retail sales into each of the Chocolate Art Boxes for which DeBrand Fine Chocolates, the company she founded in 1987, is well known. The company makes a wide variety of products from Hot Chocolate on a Spoon through chocolate truffles in avant-garde flavors, but the handmade Chocolate Art Boxes Continued on PAGE 11 For Love of Chocolate: DeBrand Fine Chocolates stand out as a unique touch of luxury and indulgence. DeBrand's Draped in Gold Art Box, with its 24-karat gold leaf atop the 8-inch diameter round box is at the top of the line, the Polka Dot Art Box is decorated with a chocolate rib- bon around the edible chocolate box, and the Black Rose Art Box is the chocolate box topped with the chocolate flower. Each has a hand-molded chocolate bowl, and they're available either empty or filled with individual choco- lates. But while the items in the Art Box collection are DeBrand's top of the line items, the company of- fers a wide range of artisanal chocolates at price points that are accessible to most consumers, even though Brand-Beere insists BY LORRIE BAUMANN People with intellectual disabili- ties are more than twice as likely as those in the general population to be unemployed. The jobs they do find are likely to be part-time and for less then the minimum wage. This is according to a 2014 survey commissioned by Special Olympics and conducted by the Center for Social Development and Education at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Social worker Sara Portman Milner saw that as she was work- ing on inclusion programs for people with disabilities at a very large community center in the Washington, D.C. area. She also had a friend, Laurie Wexler, who had experience at nonprofit start- ups, and the two of them decided to do something about the em- ployment problem for members of the community with learning differences. Wexler knew about the Sugar Plum Bakery in Virginia Beach, Virginia, which has provided training and employment for peo- ple with intellectual disabilities since 1987, and Milner had al- ways loved to bake, so the two of them decided they'd do some- thing similar to the Sugar Plum VOLUME 84, NUMBER 2 FEBRUARY 2019 n $7.00 NEWS & NOTES n Bono in the Pantry at the Beard House PAGE 6 RETAILER NEWS n Wegmans Begins Hiring and Training Full-Time Employees for First North Carolina Store PAGE 8 SUPPLIER NEWS n Toby's Family Foods Releases New Salad Dressing Packaging PAGE 10 NATURALLY HEALTHY n Crunchy Granola Goodness in a Portable Snack PAGE 14 SUPPLEMENT n Convenience Foods PAGE 17 News ..............................................6 Ad Index .......................................23 Calendar.......................................23 www.gourmetnews.com G OURMET N EWS T H E B U S I N E S S N E W S P A P E R F O R T H E G O U R M E T I N D U S T R Y ® HOT PRODUCTS: Torie & Howard SEE PAGE 21 SUPPLEMENT: Convenience Foods SEE PAGE 17 NATURALLY HEALTHY: Crazy Monkey Baking SEE PAGE 14

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