Oser Communications Group

Gourmet News October 2014

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BY LUCAS WITMAN In an announcement that shocked many in the American specialty cheese community, Andy Hatch, co-owner and head cheesemaker at Wisconsin's Up- lands Cheese Co., recently sent an email to cheesemongers and distributors stating that his com- pany would not be producing its celebrated Rush Creek Reserve for at least the duration of the year. Rush Creek Reserve is a soft-ripened raw cow's milk cheese inspired by the French cheese Vacherin Mont d'Or. The company's decision not to move forward with production of the cheese comes amid the FDA's on- BY LUCAS WITMAN Located 2,000 miles from the olive groves of Northern California, St. Louis, Missouri seems an unlikely destination for those looking for high-quality, in-demand olive oils. However, this presumption would be incorrect, thanks in large part to St. Louis' own olive oil doyenne Marianne Prey and her retail shop An Olive Ovation, a local destina- tion-store for aficionados of the chartreuse elixir. An Olive Ovation opened in 2007, after Prey decided to leave her 24-year career as a patholo- gist to pursue a second career as a retailer. Inspired by the small Customers Give a Standing "O" to EVOO at St. Louis' An Olive Ovation Continued on PAGE 7 UPDATE: Cooking Sauces SEE PAGE 13 UPDATE: Seasonings & Spices SEE PAGE 17 SPECIAL FEATURE: Desserts SEE PAGE 23 Continued on PAGE 7 Continued on PAGE 6 Continued on PAGE 10 olive oil shops she liked to visit when traveling to major metro- politan areas elsewhere in the country, Prey wanted to bring this type of experience to a city that had not yet been bitten by the olive oil bug. "An Olive Ovation was the first olive oil market in St. Louis. The whole concept of olive oil tasting hadn't even hit this area. It was really before the huge influx of olive oil stores across the country," said Prey. "I got my in- spiration from a little tiny olive oil shop in Chicago that specialized in Turkish oils … I was just kind of fascinated with the whole idea of olive oil tasting, so I tucked that idea away." It took Prey two years to plan out and build the store, but once An Olive Ovation finally opened, the store grew quickly. Last year, she actually moved the store from its original 1,200-square-foot home to a new, larger 1,600-square-foot retail space in Ladue, just outside St. Louis, to accommodate its ex- panding product selection. The centerpiece of An Olive Ovation is the tasting bar. At the bar, customers can sample at least 100 different products, in- cluding extra-virgin olive oils, flavored olive oils, balsamics, wine vinegars, fruit vinegars and more. The tasting bar is a good place to begin one's shopping experience at the store, before one sets out to browse through 50+ vinegars, 30-35 extra-virgin olive oils and an extensive selec- tion of specialty foods, includ- ing cheeses, olives, tapenades, crackers, breads and wines. The store also offers products for the home and kitchen, such as olive wood kitchen utensils and serv- ing pieces, Mediterranean- themed cookbooks, French table linens and more. When it comes to the store's Specialty Food Helps Build Consumer Loyalty As Government Regulators Have Their Say, Food Industry Looks to Influence Public Policy going vacillation over the safety of raw milk cheeses. Although Rush Creek Reserve's 60-day aging period fits within current federal guidelines for the safe production of raw milk cheeses, the FDA has made it clear that it is considering revising this rule and requiring a longer aging pe- riod. In exiting the market before this potential rule change goes into effect, Rush Creek Reserve has become what could be the first of many casualties in an emerging battle over American- produced raw milk cheeses. "Is there a way that we can be more focused and maybe get a lobbyist group to help really push the sort of cheese agenda in Washington and really make changes," asked Steve Gellert, World's Best Cheeses' Vice Presi- dent of Business Development, at the recent American Cheese So- ciety Conference. "I think a lot of people … want to see the changes happen, they just don't know what to do about it other than bumper stickers." As spe- cialty cheese companies like Up- lands Cheese Co. face the negative implications of govern- ment policies that they openly disagree with, affected parties are asking if there is more that they BY DAVE BERNARD New labels that have begun ap- pearing on packaged meats stating where the animal was born, raised and slaughtered, the result of 2013 federal legislation involving "country of origin labeling," took one step closer to permanency when a federal appeals court re- cently upheld the new rules. In a blow to some of the na- tion's largest meat packers, which had asserted the new labels New Meat Labels Begin Appearing as Country of Origin Rules Upheld by Federal Appeals Court would yield minimal benefit to consumers while forcing costly changes in production practices, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia determined that consumers' right to know the country of origin of their foods, and the government's interest in protecting public health out- weighed the "minimal" intrusion on meatpacker practices. The American Meat Institute, which represents the country's largest packers and was joined in the ap- peal by other meat industry groups, has not yet decided whether it will appeal to the Supreme Court. The new law, which fits with a growing desire for awareness on the part of consumers over what they eat, could favor producers and retailers of 100 percent Amer- ican-born, raised and slaughtered BY LUCAS WITMAN Not so long ago, shoppers look- ing for premium or specialty foods were compelled to visit a dedicated gourmet store to pick up these items, while they made the bulk of their grocery pur- chases at a larger supermarket. Today, a number of mainstream grocers, from Whole Foods to Trader Joe's to Central Market to Wegmans, are working to change this and integrate more specialty products into the everyday grocery space. Accord- ing to a recent study from the Specialty Food Association, however, grocery retailers are not yet taking full advantage of the benefits of offering their customers gourmet products, and, as a result, they are miss- ing out on the business of a valuable consumer segment. According to consumer re- search firm Mintel, overall sales of specialty foods in this coun- try jumped 18.4 percent be- tween 2011 and 2013, and the number of consumers shopping for these goods rose 25 percent. Although Mintel research shows that mainstream retail currently represents 66.9 percent of all specialty food sales, this VOLUME 79, NUMBER 10 OCTOBER 2014 n $7.00 TRADE SHOW BUZZ n American Farmland Trust to Hold First National Farmland, Food and Livable Communities Conference PAGE 6 SUPPLIER BUSINESS n Easthampton Gourmet Foods Sets a Crisp, Award-Winning Example PAGE 9 RETAILER NEWS n Chicago's Art Potash Named America's Retail Champion of the Year during Retail Advocates Summit PAGE 10 SPECIALTY DISTRIBUTORS & BROKERS n California-based Golden State Foods Acquires New Zealand-based Snap Fresh Foods PAGE 11 HOT PRODUCTS n Wicked Jack's Tavern Gluten-Free True Jamaican Rum Cakes PAGE 12 News ..............................................4 Ad Index .......................................31 Smorgasbord ................................31 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 ®

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