Oser Communications Group

Gourmet News March 2015

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BY LUCAS WITMAN The U.S. agriculture sector has a significant economic interest in potential future exports of U.S.- produced commodities to Cuba. Even during the embargo, U.S. farmers provide 36 percent of the food that is exported globally to the Caribbean island. Business leaders hope that as trade restric- tions are eased, the U.S. can once again become Cuba's top agricul- tural exporter, as it was prior to 1959. "Throughout history, agricul- ture has served as a bridge to fos- ter cooperation, understanding and the exchange of ideas among people. I have no doubt that agri- BY LORRIE BAUMANN Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cot- tage opened its 92nd store in Tuc- son, Arizona, in January. Another new store opened in Wichita, Kansas, on February 24. Alto- gether, 18 Natural Grocers stores are planned to open in fiscal year 2015. The current crop of openings reflects a combination of a grow- ing food and nutrition movement in the United States and an ambi- tious goal of growing the store base at a 20 percent compound rate over each of the five years, after taking the company public in July 2012, said Kemper Isely, Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage: Wading into the Mainstream Continued on PAGE 8 BUYERS GUIDE: Preserves SEE PAGE 40 HOT PRODUCTS: Honey Ridge Farms SEE PAGE 9 UPDATE: WFF Wrap-Up SEE PAGE 15 Continued on PAGE 8 Continued on PAGE 12 Natural Grocers' Co-President. Twenty-one stores are sched- uled to open in the 2016 fiscal year, with 24 slated for the follow- ing year. "We planned on expand- ing our geographic footprint west of the Mississippi. Any state west of the Mississippi would be a pos- sible target," Isely said. The founding principles es- tablished by Margaret and Philip Isely when they estab- lished Vitamin Cottage, the pre- cursor of Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage, in Colorado in 1955, are that the stores are committed to providing nutri- tion education, to quality, to everyday affordable pricing, to their communities and to their employees. This is according to Patty Moore, one of the chain's Regional Nutrition Coaches. Vi- tamin Cottage eventually evolved into Natural Grocers, the name by which consumers generally know the brand. Though the company is now publicly owned, the Isely family is still involved in its day-to-day management and maintains a controlling interest in its own- ership. Natural Grocers' basic mission to change lives by offering free nutrition education and healthful products that support good nutri- tion has not changed. What has changed over time is a growing mainstream acceptance of what used to be called "health food" and recent growing concern about American childhood obe- sity rates as well as an epidemic of diabetes and other nutrition-re- lated illnesses. In keeping with its principles, all produce sold in the chain is 100 percent USDA Certified Or- ganic, and the company prefers to buy local products when possible. "We have a commitment to that, Good Bacteria Make for Good Probiotic Food Diplomatic Thaw in U.S.-Cuba Relations Opens New Market for American Food Products culture will continue to play that powerful role as we expand our relationship with the Cuban peo- ple in the coming years," said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vil- sack. "Cuba is going to purchase $2 billion in food goods from the world in 2015. I suspect that we can get back to the levels where we were before the embargo, where we were exporting 65 to 70 percent of Cuba's food needs," said Paul Johnson, Vice Chair of the U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba. "Plus, as Cuba's economy grows, they are going to be purchasing even more food products." A relatively new organization, the USACC has been promoting a renewed U.S.-Cuba trade rela- tionship for the past year. The or- ganization has worked closely with U.S. lawmakers to craft meaningful legislation that sup- ports these two nations' shared goals. According to Johnson, after December's announcement of a diplomatic thaw between U.S. and Cuba, and with many anticipating the inevitable end to the trade embargo, the USACC has experienced unprecedented interest from prospective new members, and membership in BY DAVID BERNARD Think you might shy away from stocking a grape-size candy that retails at $36 for a baker's dozen? Before deciding, you might want to hear – and see – out Liz von Hasseln and The Sugar Lab's Neon Ombre Sours, an eye-popping confection delivered courtesy of the world's Continued on PAGE 6 First 3D Printed Food Products Add New Dimension to Gourmet Landscape first commercial 3D food printer. The Creative Director of Food Products at 3D Systems, von Has- seln and her team can print a variety of confections, such as sculptural cake decorations, sugar pieces for melting into cof- fee and other drinks, after-din- ner mints and sweet and tart can- dies – all with the point and click of a mouse. 3D Systems' test kitchen, The Sugar Lab, has rolled out its Neon Ombre Sours sugar confections in two flavors: peppermint and tart blackberry. Although the candies are produced in small batches and are currently available only in Los Angeles, the company demon- strates that when it comes to the confections market, the potential for this revolutionary technology BY DAVID BERNARD Interest in fermented foods has picked up recently, as scientific research documents the impor- tance of probiotics, or "good" bacteria, in promoting digestion, immune system function and other health aspects. As food companies today respond to the consumer desire for healthful, probiotic foods, they are applying some delicious twists to the cate- gory. Not limiting themselves to traditional yogurt and sauerkraut, food companies are now making it possible for consumers to tear open a delectable fortified choco- late bar or a bag of probiotics-en- hanced trail mix. Today, there is a burgeoning field of unique probi- otics-rich food and beverage op- tions available for consumers who want to pursue a healthy lifestyle, but who do not want to give up on taste. Scientifically speaking, probi- otics are live bacteria and yeasts that provide health benefits to the consumer. The relatively new field of probiotic science has demonstrated that these benefits include improved digestion and enhanced immune system func- tion. These friendly microorgan- isms also help keep harmful VOLUME 80, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2015 n $7.00 SUPPLIER BUSINESS n Boat Street Pickles Perfects Sweet and Sour Flavor Pairings with Unique Pickled Fruit Line PAGE 11 RETAILER NEWS n Albertsons and Safeway Receive U.S. FTC Clearance for Proposed Merger PAGE 12 SPECIALTY DISTRIBUTORS & BROKERS n Sysco Launches New Website Directed at Fast-Growing Hispanic Consumer Segment PAGE 13 NATURALLY HEALTHY n Chia Offers Promise as Next Big Ancient Grain PAGE 14 SMALL ELECTRICS n Smart Appliances Offer Convenience, Problem Solving and a Glimpse of the Future PAGE 41 News ..............................................4 Ad Index .......................................43 Smorgasbord ................................43 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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