Monthly Archives: September 2013

Ohio’s First Lucky’s Market to Open in Columbus

Ohio is getting a new source of natural foods. Colorado-based Lucky’s Market opens its first store in the Buckeye State on Wednesday, Oct. 23, at 2770 N. High St., just north of Arcadia Avenue in the Clintonville area.

Columbus shoppers will find a wide selection of organic, specialty and gluten-free selections, as well as house-made deli items, in-house cured and smoked bacon, local produce, fresh meats and seafood, and a decadent bakery.

The Sharons cropThe Ohio store is the third for Lucky’s, a Boulder favorite that recently added another store in Longmont, Colo. Founders Bo and Trish Sharon met in culinary school, and founded the independent grocery in 2003 to provide a new “foodie” shopping experience.

“Just as we invite guests into our home, we invite our customers into our stores with the goal of creating a memorable experience,” said Trish Sharon. “As food lovers ourselves, we would want to shop at a store built on quality products sold at affordable prices with genuine personal service.”

“We are excited to bring affordable natural foods to Columbus,” said Bo Sharon. “As trained culinary professionals, and downright foodies, we imagine our stores as an oasis of health, kindness and support. We strive to be active in the community, and look forward to providing our friends in Ohio a new taste and experience to bring home to their kitchens.”

The Lucky’s team is passionate about family, friends and community. Bo and Trish Sharon believe that everyone is driven to share experiences through food, and that food-driven moments with family, friends and community are the most rewarding part of the day. The Lucky’s family is made up of four mutually supporting components that couldn’t exist on their own: team members, guests, suppliers, and the environment.

“We seek out local, organic, sustainable and traditionally made foods produced with passion, values and community,” Bo Sharon said. “We hold these three core values close to our hearts.”

The Sharons avoid using such words as “natural” and “organic” to describe the foods Lucky’s sells, because those words often imply expense or exclusivity. Instead, they say they offer “traditional” items to better serve the community in these departments:

  • Produce: The produce department emphasizes three components––local, organic and value. Lucky’s supports local farmers and organic foods, and is committed to selling produce that represents the best value in town.
  • Meat: Lucky’s prides itself on selling “Never-Ever” meats, the USDA’s classification for meat from an animal that was never treated with growth hormones or antibiotics or fed animal byproducts.
  • Grocery: Lucky’s shelves have launched many new companies. Lucky’s works with local vendors to help them build sustainable, successful businesses. The grocery department offers everything from 100 percent raw and vegan goodies to iconic, much beloved breakfast cereals.
  • Deli: Because Lucky’s was founded by two chefs, its prepared foods taste far better than what’s sold in most grocery stores. The deli will also promote local Ohio products, offering meats smoked and roasted in-house as well as freshly prepared foods––vegan and otherwise. It also changes with the seasons, keeping customers curious as to what treats will be offered next.
  • Cheese: Lucky’s offers more than 350 kinds of cheeses, gathered from local cheese makers as well as artisanal producers in the caves of Switzerland. The main objective is to offer a wide variety of cheeses that are affordable and delight customers’ palates.
  • Natural Living: Customers will find skin care, vitamins and supplements, cosmetics and children’s products as well as traditional remedies. Team members at the natural living department are very knowledgeable and are true advocates in sharing knowledge with customers to help them make healthy choices.

Steve McKinney Named to Succeed Jon Flora at Fry’s

Kroger has named Steve McKinney as President of the Fry’s Food Stores division. Fry’s operates 119 food stores in Arizona.

McKinney, 57, has been vice president of operations at the company’s Ralphs division since 2007. He succeeds Jon Flora, who passed away unexpectedly two weeks ago.

“In his 31 years with the company, Steve has demonstrated a deep knowledge of our industry, excellence in operations, and a passion for serving our customers and our associates,” said Rodney McMullen, Kroger’s President and Chief Operating Officer. “Steve has the expertise and energy to lead Fry’s in the years ahead. I know that he and our outstanding associates will continue to honor and sustain Fry’s great legacy of associate engagement, service to our customers, and communities.”

McKinney began his Kroger career in 1981 as a clerk with Florida Choice Supermarkets, a former Kroger banner, before advancing to roles as a store manager, buyer and field representative. In 1988, he joined Fry’s Food Stores in Phoenix, where he served in various leadership positions, including store manager, deli director, and executive director of operations. In 1998, McKinney was named vice president of operations at Fry’s. In 2006, he was named vice president of operations for Kroger’s Southwest division before moving to his current role at Ralphs in 2007.

Fry’s Food Stores employs nearly 18,000 Arizona residents and operates 119 food stores and pharmacies and 70 fuel centers in Arizona.

United Natural Foods Signs Definitive Agreement to Acquire Trudeau Foods, LLC

United Natural Foods, Inc., UNFI, today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire all of the equity interests of Trudeau Foods, LLC from Trudeau Holdings, LLC, a portfolio company of Arbor Investments II, LP. Trudeau Foods is the largest Minnesota-based distributor of natural, organic and specialty food products. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close by September 30, 2013. Upon closing, Trudeau Foods will be operated as a wholly-owned subsidiary of UNFI.

“We are excited to welcome Trudeau Foods to our organization. Both companies have a tremendous history of commitment to servicing their customers, and we are enthusiastic about the growth prospects for this market.” — UNFI President and CEO Steve Spinner

“This acquisition is the latest step in our strategy to grow our market share and deliver a complete basket of specialty, natural and organic products to our customers,” commented Steve Spinner, UNFI’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “We are excited to welcome Trudeau Foods to our organization. Both companies have a tremendous history of commitment to servicing their customers, and we are enthusiastic about the growth prospects for this market.”

Trudeau Foods serves more than 600 customer locations, including chain and independent grocers, wholesalers and meat markets in Minnesota, North Dakota, Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Trudeau Foods carries a full range of fine-quality and specialty gourmet meats, frozen foods, dairy, bakery, deli, seafood and dry grocery items under a wide breadth of national, regional and private label brands.

PARTNERS Launches Gluten-Free Line

PARTNERS, A Tasteful Choice Company, maker of all natural, wholesome, and delicious crackers, cookies and granola, is launching its first gluten-free line, Free for All Kitchen. Since 1992, founder Marian Harris has taken great care to create and perfect every one of her recipes and the new gluten-free additions are no exception.

Three years ago, Marian and the PARTNERS family recognized the importance of producing a gluten-free line and have been diligently working ever since. Why so long? It takes time to develop a delicious gluten-free alternative that doesn’t compromise on taste, nutrition, or quality.

While many companies push out products that are heavily processed or rely on empty calorie rice fillers to create gluten-free alternatives, Marian focused on finding high quality, all natural ingredients to create her crackers. Three years in the baking, Marian’s new gluten-free crackers are made from a five ancient grain blend of amaranth, quinoa, millet, sorghum, and teff.

These ancient grain crackers are available in three of PARTNERS most popular flavors: Roasted Garlic & Rosemary, Olive Oil & Sea Salt, and Olive Oil & Herb. The family recognized the need for a great entertaining style cracker in the gluten-free category and decided to release their new recipes in a hors d’oeuvre style cut. With Free for All Kitchen crackers, retailers now have an elegant, delicious, worry free option to showcase their favorite cheeses and consumers have an elegant, delicious, worry free option to serve to all of their guests.

Look for Free for All Kitchen Gluten Free Crackers in 5-ounce cartons and cellophane wrapped deli trays. The PARTNERS team applied the same care and attention to creating elegant, attractive packaging that showcases the high quality taste and ingredients that everyone can enjoy.

Harvest Snaps Launches New Snapea Crisp Flavors

Snackers across America are rejoicing as a new healthier snacking option is hitting store shelves, Harvest Snaps. Formerly known as Snapea Crisps, it is now part of the Harvest Snaps family. The brand has launched new flavors under the Snapea and Lentil varieties that will appeal to all snack fans!

Snapea Crisps-3.3oz-styled-CMYK-caesarFull of flavor, Harvest Snaps’ Snapea Crisps are made from naturally dried peas, which make up 70 percent of the product. Lentil Snaps are made from 65 percent lentils and contain 5 g of protein and 13 percent of your daily fiber. Harvest Snaps are a delicious, guiltless snacking option with lower fat and sodium that are baked, not fried. Snapea Crisps are now available in four different varieties: Lightly Salted, Caesar, Black Pepper and Wasabi Ranch. Lentil Snaps are available in Tomato Basil and Onion Thyme.

From the signature crunch to big flavor and snacking fun, Harvest Snaps offers a healthier snacking option without sacrificing taste. It’s also ideal for school lunch boxes and after school snacks.

Snapea Crisps-3.3oz-styled-CMYK-onion“Snacks should have a great taste without feeling guilty. That is why we are so obsessed with the primary ingredient – which is 70 percent peas. We have fun taking a gift from nature – peas and lentils – and creating a snack that combines both flavorful joy and better nutrition. This is the perfect snack for all ages,” said Steve Kneepkens, Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Calbee North America. “Moms love our brand to fill the kids’ lunch box or to put in their purse or backpack. This is a great way to get vegetables into your kids’ snack.  We believe strongly in harvesting the power of nature. We think that we have done that – but you be the judge.”

To learn more about the new brand portfolio and flavors, and to find a retailer near you that carries Harvest Snaps, visit: www.harvestsnaps.com.

Holiday-Themed Candy Dispensers from Radz

Looking for a novel tree ornament or stocking stuffer that’s big on bravos without taking a bite out of the budget? Plan to pick up Jingles the Reindeer and Pep the Polar Bear, the cutest and newest Radz candy dispensers which each come with a code unlocking a virtual experience. Radz plans to celebrate the seasons with the launch of winter-inspired characters to be followed by Valentine’s Day and Easter-themed candy-filled toys.

RadzRadz goes a step further for the holidays and sets the price at $4.99 plus gives Jingles and Pep an extra hole in their hat so kids can slip in an ornament hook and hang them on the Christmas tree. At this price, grownups might consider clipping Pep on the outside of a wrapped present or tucking Jingles inside the kids’ lunchbox as they countdown to Santa’s arrival. Better yet, stuff one in every stocking.

Like all Radz dispensers, these playmates have a bonus digital element that keeps the fun going online or with Radz’s apps. Fans of Radz already know that each candy dispenser comes packaged with a Radz Plus Code inside the box. Kids and grownups enter the code and unlock exclusive games and videos. Without the code, kids can still enjoy zany Radz TV clips, shop for candy refills at www.RadzWorld.com, and download Radz apps from the Apple App Store (search: Radz).

As the calendar heads toward the end of the year, look for these two new “kids” on the block:

Jingles the Reindeer • $4.99 • All ages

Sorry Rudolph, but this little guy has the cutest red nose and a red winter cap. Jingles sports two brown antlers that make him a standout from all the other Radz characters. Start the season with him and be guaranteed a sweet holiday.

Pep the Polar Bear • $4.99 • All ages

Brighten up the coldest winter days with this white bear properly dressed with a neck scarf and red hat. His black nose and merry eyes make him an adorable addition to the season.

In 2014, the seasonal collection continues with the debut of Valentine’s Day personalities followed by Easter-inspired characters. To find specialty stores that stock the award-winning Radz collectibles, go to www.RadzWorld.com. Click on the “Shop” tab and then click on “Find A Radz Retailer Near You.” Consumers can also go online to purchase some of the featured characters, candy refills and accessories like Mystery Glasses.

Rush Bowls Teams Up with Udi’s for Gluten Free Granola-Fruit Meals

Rush Bowls®, which makes quick and healthy frozen meals, has teamed up with Udi’s® Gluten Free, a subsidiary of Boulder Brands, Inc. All of the Rush Bowls signature fruit blends will now exclusively feature Udi’s Gluten Free granola. Rush Bowls are low calorie, nutrient filled fruit blends that are perfect as a wholesome meal or snack. The incorporation of Udi’s Gluten Free granola will add another great layer of flavor and allow the entire Rush Bowls product line to be gluten free.

“Udi’s Gluten Free granola is the ideal complement to our fruit blends,” says Rush Bowls Founder and President, Andrew Pudalov. “Boulder Brands is a leader in the natural foods market, and joining forces supports our mission to provide healthy, great tasting products that cater to nearly every dietary need.”

Rush Bowls Exploding Snack PackFor the past several years, Rush Bowls has produced its original Meal-in-a-Bowl product line, which is sold in retailers throughout the country. In addition, Rush has recently launched a brand new extension – the Snack Pack. This new line offers the signature recipe in a smaller package, perfect for those craving a healthy snack. Both the Snack Pack and the Original Meal will be cobranded with Udi’s and sold at natural, conventional, and institutional retailers throughout the country.

Products Especially for Kids at #ExpoEast

LIVE_EE

BioKinetics baby cereal is additive-free and organic. Quinoa and Brown Rice varieties are gluten-free, and the Wheat variety is made from sprouted whole grain. Suggested retail price for a 7-ounce package is around $5. The cereals will be available in retail packages around the end of the year or in January. For more information, visit www.allsprouts.com.

babo Botanicals makes a line of skin care products for children of all ages. For dry skin or eczema, babo Botanicals’ oatmeal and calendula shampoo, diaper cream, moisturizing lotion and body wash are the solution. For calming the fussy baby, Lavender Meadowsweet bubblebath and shampoo is great. Berry Primrose shampoo and detangler spray are the solution for tangled locks. Products have SRPs of $14 to $14.95. For more information, visit www.babobotanicals.com.

Eco Vessel offers an extensive line of sporty drink bottles designed to appeal to kids, specializing in insulated products with TriMax technology that keep beverages cold for 36 hours or hot for eight. The complete line-up includes kids products, filtration products, double-walled glass bottles and Tritan bottles. The SmashBox line of collapsible food containers is microwave-safe, freezer-safe and dishwasher-safe. They collapse to about an inch thick after use or for storage, so that after lunch is gone, they can be stowed away in backpack and come home under the laptop and the text book without damage. Retail prices range from $9.95 to $19.95. For further information, visit www.ecovessel.com.

Sprout Organic Foods has a brand new line of kids products called Smash. The fruit and vegetable smoothies contain 50 percent vegetables, so they’re not as sugar-laden as many of the other fruit and vegetable smoothies on the market. Varieties include Butternut Squash & Grape, Carrot & Orange and Pumpkin & Strawberry. They’re great for afterschool snacks or for before and after soccer practice, says Kyle Baker, a sales manager for the company.

There are also three different Greek yogurt-based smoothies in the Smash line. Flavors for these include Blueberry & Blackcurrant, Acai & Berry and Strawberry & Cherry. Coconut milk smoothies are all 15 percent coconut milk by weight, and the flavors include Peach & Banana, Berry & Banana, and Cherry & Apple. The smoothies are sold individually and ship in cardboard trays of five pouches. Retail prices on the individual units range from $1.69 to $1.89.

For toddlers, Sprout offers Fruit & Veggie Crispy Chews and Fruity Yogurt Bites. The bite-size pieces of the Crispy Chews combine fruits and vegetables with a brown rice base to give a little crunch along with the sweet taste of the fruit. The Yogurt Bites are freeze-dried fruits and vegetables that crunch as they’re chewed and then melt away as the veggies reconstitute in the mouth. The five-count box retails for $3.99. For more information, visit www.sproutorganicfoods.com.

Little Duck Organics has introduced a brand new line of ancient grain first foods for babies that comes in 100 percent compostable packaging. A three-pack of Mighty Oats also contains a seed packet to grow vegetables along with the compostable packaging. Flavoring comes from freeze-dried fruits, so the product is all-natural, organic and non-GMO. “We never add any sugar or preservatives to our products,” says Camille Gardella, the company’s community relations manager. There are three flavors, Blueberry Cinnamon, Strawberry Vanilla, and Coconut Banana.

Little Duck Organics’ other product, Tiny Fruits, has been out for four years. They’re a freeze-dried fruit snack for toddlers (1 year and up) with organic fruit cut into bite-size pieces. Like the Mighty Oats, they’re all organic and non-GMO. They’re also kosher and gluten-free. Retail price for the Mighty Oats three-packs is $5.99 and for the Tiny Fruits, it’s $3.99. For more information, visit www.littleduckorganics.com.

Honey StingerHoney Stinger‘s new Kids’ Organic Waffles are now available across the country at grocers and specialty retailers.

“We often hear from our customers that it’s nearly impossible to keep a stock of Honey Stinger Waffles in the pantry because their kids are always eating them,” states Rich Hager, Chief Operating Officer at Honey Stinger. “With these parents in mind, we decided it was time to introduce our popular Organic Waffles in a smaller serving size that is ideal for everything from school lunches to snacks on a family hike.”

Honey Stinger Kids’ Organic Waffles will initially be available in Honey and Chocolate flavors and will be sold in boxes of six individually wrapped waffles. Each waffle is 80 calories and contains no artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, high fructose corn syrup or trans fats. A box of six waffles will have an MSRP of $4.99 and retailers have the option to sell waffles packaged for individual sale for an MSRP of $0.89.

Housewares Products for the Eco-Conscious at #ExpoEast

LIVE_EEThe vendors at Natural Products Expo East introduced several products of interest to Kitchenware News & Housewares Review readers during the three-day show at the Baltimore Convention Center on September 26-28. The 22,000 attendees expected at the show kept the show floor lively, and vendors reported high levels of interest from retailers looking for products to stock their shelves during the winter holiday sales season.

Read more at Kitchenware News & Housewares Review.