Oser Communications Group

Gourmet News January 2015

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BY LUCAS WITMAN It may be a bit premature to start hoarding Hershey's Bars and stockpiling bags of semi-sweet chocolate chips in the freezer, but experts are predicting a cocoa shortage is on its way. Ex- perts fear that recent drought conditions in West Africa (the top cacao-producing region in the world), combined with plant diseases, could severely impact cocoa production going forward. In Mexico, the historic birth- place of chocolate, commercial cacao farmers have been almost completely eliminated as the re- sult of diseases like Frosty Pod Rot, a blight which attacks the BY LUCAS WITMAN A specialty food shop can be a place to go to when one simply wants to stock his or her pantry or pick up a quick gift. It can be a space to browse and shop and nibble. And many of the most successful gourmet stores in the country fall under this descrip- tion. However, some specialty food shops seek to break out of this mold, becoming integral parts of the communities in which they exist. These retail spaces serve simultaneously as stores, meeting places, schools, hubs for community develop- ment and catalysts for economic Texas Dairy Has a Friend in Austin's Antonelli's Cheese Shop Continued on PAGE 8 BUYERS GUIDE: American Cheese SEE PAGE 24 HOT PRODUCTS: Brownie Crunch SEE PAGE 9 UPDATE: WFF Preview SEE PAGE 15 Continued on PAGE 6 Continued on PAGE 12 growth. When John and Kendall Antonelli first envisioned what would become the Austin, Texas cheese sanctuary Antonelli's Cheese Shop, this was the kind of institution they wanted to create. "We wanted to extend the experi- ence of our shop outside the four walls of our space," said John. Today, Antonelli's Cheese Shop is the go-to place in Austin for craft cheese and other specialty goods, but husband-and-wife business owners John and Kendall have created a concept that extends far beyond this. The shop is a local gathering place for chefs and foodies seeking out the latest artisan cheeses of the day. It is an educational vehicle, operat- ing programs to directly teach members of the community about Texas cheese. And it is an engine of growth in Austin, helping to further the cheese industry itself, building an awareness of Texas dairy that extends beyond the state's borders and promoting eco- nomic and job growth at home. Antonelli's Cheese Shop was born out of a passion for cheese. After John left his first career as a CPA, he and Kendall spent two years educating themselves about artisan cheese. Then, in February of 2010, the couple's dreams fi- nally came to fruition with the opening of their eponymous shop. "I am a firm believer that if you are passionate about what you do, it's easy," said John. "It has its highs and lows, but I went search- ing for my passion, and cheese ul- timately found me. I spent two years traveling and working and eating and interning. It ultimately led me to what I consider my strengths in life which are eating and talking and being with Kendall." Today, the centerpiece of An- Food Scores Database Fails to Hit Mark for Many Cocoa Producers Confront Drought, Blight and Ebola as Prices Rising, Supplies Limited fruit of the cacao tree. Making matters worse, global demand for chocolate has never been higher, with emerging markets such as India and China gobbling down boatloads of the confection. As a result, cocoa producers are un- sure if they will be able to ade- quately meet global demand going forward. With cacao demand on the rise, and supplies limited, chocolate prices are creeping upwards as well. Last summer, Hershey's, made waves when it announced that it was raising prices on its chocolate confections by about 8 percent – the company's first price increase in three years. Mars quickly followed suit, indicating that it would raise the price of its chocolate products by about 7 percent. Higher prices in the candy aisle are a direct result of higher commodity prices in global futures exchanges. Accord- ing to the Wall Street Journal, in 2014 alone, the price of cacao skyrocketed 18 percent. Now, an emerging threat to global cocoa production is on the horizon, with the potential to se- riously cripple cacao bean farm- ing in West Africa: the spread of the Ebola virus. Today, the top cacao-producing countries in the BY LUCAS WITMAN At last year's American Cheese Society Competition, judges were inundated with a surge of new products in the American Origi- nals category. Chair of the Judg- ing and Competition Committee Tom Kooiman praised the en- trants in this category for their quality and creativity. "We have cheesemakers in the Americas who are trying to seek out and find their own unique recipe," he said. "They really want to sort of Continued on PAGE 24 More Cheesemakers Dropping European Names, Recipes; Opting to Craft American Originals break away from some of the more classic templates and start to create their own cheese types and styles based on the types of cultures or the way that they're finished and so-on-and-so-forth." Whereas many of the most popular cheeses on grocery store shelves, including many of those crafted here in the United States, are versions of age-old European dairy staples, such as Cheddar, Gruyere and Gorgonzola, an in- creasing number of highly sought after specialty cheeses on U.S. re- tail shelves are wholly original, uniquely American products that seek to stand on their own in the absence of an immediately recog- nizable European moniker. From Bleating Heart Cheese's Fat Bot- tom Girl to Cypress Grove Chevre's Humboldt Fog to Cow- girl Creamery's Red Hawk, U.S. consumers are falling in love with American originals. BY DAVID BERNARD A new food scoring system and mobile phone app that claims to help shoppers quickly compare the healthfulness of different brands as they stroll through gro- cery store aisles is comprehensive in scope but has some in the in- dustry doubting its accuracy. Crit- ics are concerned that the Food Scores system from consumer ad- vocacy organization, Environ- mental Working Group, is deceptive. Food Scores grades more than 80,000 products, 5,000 ingredi- ents and 1,500 brands, giving each item a composite rating based on nutrition, safety of in- gredients and amount of process- ing. The database purports to bring clarity to a market where the average grocery store carries more than 38,000 items, with cat- egories like granola bars and olive oil presenting shoppers with 10 or more choices for a single item purchase. The program scores products on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being most healthy. As an example, Sage Valley granola bars score an im- pressive 2 for their high protein and fiber content, while on the other end of the spectrum, VOLUME 80, NUMBER 1 JANUARY 2015 n $7.00 SUPPLIER BUSINESS n Poco Dolce: The "Not Too Sweet" Confectioner with Quite Sweet Results PAGE 11 RETAILER NEWS n American Retail Brand Dean & DeLuca Acquired by Thai Property Developer PACE PAGE 12 SPECIALTY DISTRIBUTORS & BROKERS n The Chefs' Warehouse Acquires Maryland Based Euro Gourmet Inc. PAGE 13 NATURALLY HEALTHY n Consumers Grapple with Label Confusion in Seeking Out Humanely Sourced Animal Products PAGE 14 SMALL ELECTRICS n Ring in the New Year with a New Juicer for a Healthier Lifestyle PAGE 26 News ..............................................4 Ad Index .......................................27 Smorgasbord ................................27 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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