Category Archives: Grains & Flours

Lotus Foods Introduces Gluten-Free Ramen

Ramen, one of the best-loved Asian foods and a shelf staple in millions of American kitchens, dorm rooms and offices, is about to become even more popular. Traditionally, ramen noodles are made from wheat, and thus off-bounds to ­­legions of consumers who are gluten intolerant.

Lotus Foods, who changed how Americans think about rice, is shaking up the ramen world, introducing traditional Japanese-style ramen noodles made from rice.

Millet_Small“We are thrilled to bring this wonderfully quick, versatile and satisfying food to people who can’t eat wheat-based ramen,” says Lotus Foods Co-owner Caryl Levine. “And ramen fans will be delighted because our noodle cakes are made with our popular heirloom and organic specialty rice, so the tastes and colors are entirely new and exciting.”

Lotus Foods ‘ready-in-four-minutes’ Ramen are available in three flavors: Forbidden Rice® Ramen; Jade Pearl Rice™ Ramen; and Millet & Brown Rice Ramen. Consumers will have a choice of buying individual ramen cakes with savory reduced-sodium miso soup flavor packets to make an instant bowl of nourishing noodle soup, or four ramen noodle cakes packaged together without any flavor packets. Lotus Foods Ramen are perfect as a snack or the start of a complete meal by adding vegetables or a protein of choice. They will add drama to your favorite stir-fry or transform your classic cold noodle salad with a simple soy sauce and sesame dressing.

Forbidden Rice® Ramen are a natural source of antioxidants and high in protein, fiber and minerals. Jade Pearl Rice™ Ramen is infused with chlorophyll-rich, wild-crafted bamboo extract for enhanced taste and nutrition. Millet & Brown Rice Ramen have a delicious nutty taste and are a good source of fiber and protein.

As well as being gluten free, low fat and vegan, Lotus Foods Rice Ramen are made with organic rice and all non-GMO ingredients. The miso soup packets have 25 to 33 percent less sodium than regular ramen soups.

This is the second new product launch by Lotus Foods this year. In the spring, the company launched convenient microwaveable Heat & Eat Rice Bowls. Ready in just 90 seconds, they deliver nutritional benefits with three great-tasting heirloom rices. All three rices are produced through Lotus Foods’ partnership with family rice farmers in Cambodia and Indonesia, who are using water-conserving More Crop Per Dropgrowing methods. All of the products are gluten free, non-GMO verified and with no added salt or fat. Like the new Lotus Foods Rice Ramen, the bowls can be the easy, instant start to a complete meal or a quick, healthy snack.

“We want to make our healthy whole grain rice more accessible to people,” says Levine. “With so many people coping with gluten intolerance, diabetes, or simply too busy to cook, we feel it is important to give them more options to consume delicious and nutritious rice.”

Since 1995, Lotus Foods has been sourcing fair-trade ingredients from small family farmers around the world who are growing rice sustainably and preserving heirloom and specialty rices. The company’s objective is not only to help rice farmers earn a living wage but to bring healthier rice choices to consumers.


De Cecco to Commemorate World’s Fair Gold Medal

One hundred and twenty years after winning its first gold medal in the New World at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, De Cecco will commemorate that singular honor with a special event at the Chicago Field Museum’s new exhibition:  “Opening the Vaults: Wonders of the 1893 World Fair,” which opens October 25.  Also known as the World’s Columbian Exposition, the retrospective exhibition takes a look at the fair that was a glittering showcase of architecture, culture, technology, and food, and attracted people from around the world.

The fair brought visitors closer than ever before to unique wonders like exotic animals, international cultures, as well as strange new products and technological innovations from around the world. It was the birthplace of Juicy Fruit chewing gum, the Ferris Wheel and the Field Museum as well. “De Cecco pasta was introduced to the world at this fair as well, and was awarded the Gold Medal for superior manufacture, color and firmness after cooking,” says Marco de Ceglie, CEO of De Cecco USA.

The Chicago World’s Fair was held in 1893 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the New World in 1492. The exposition covered more than 600 acres featuring nearly 200 buildings, canals, lagoons and representation from 46 countries. More than 27 million people attended the exposition during its six month run. Its scale and grandeur became a symbol of American exceptionalism, and served to show the world that Chicago had risen from the ashes of the Great Chicago Fire. It had a profound effect on architecture, sanitation, the arts and American industrial optimism.

Many innovations, companies, structures and products first introduced at the  1893 fair still exist today. They include the Field Museum, Cracker Jack, Cream of Wheat, Quaker Oats, spray paint, automatic dishwashers, the locomotive, Westinghouse, and General Electric, among many, many others.

To commemorate the gold medal and the innovations of the Victorian Era, De Cecco will sponsor a special luncheon featuring a menu of its award winning pasta, served up at the Museum’s prestigious Founder’s Room, followed by a docent tour of the exhibition on October 25 (also known as World Pasta Day).

De Cecco is a premium pasta from Italy. Carefully crafted in the mountains of central Italy, De Cecco uses a proprietary process to make its 160 pasta varieties. Production starts with full control of the milling process and using only the heart of durum wheat to produce premium semolina, then mixing it with cool natural waters from De Cecco’s own mountain spring, drawing the semolina dough through bronze dies and drying the pasta very slowly at low temperature.

Over the years De Cecco has been the recipient of numerous awards and accolades, and was recently inducted to the Italian Trade Commission’s Hall of Fame. Founded in 1886 by the De Cecco brothers in the Abruzzo region of central Italy, today De Cecco exports to more than 87 countries and is the world’s third largest manufacturer of pasta. Their product line includes premium pasta, sauces, and its own brand of olive oil, among other related fine foods.

“Opening the Vaults: Wonders of the 1893 World’s Fair” will be on view at the Field Museum October 25, 2013 – September 7, 2014.

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.

New Products Take a Bow Before the Curtain Rises at #ExpoEast

Live from Natural Products Expo EastAmong the new products making their debut at this year’s Natural Products Expo East are Quinoa & Brown Rice from Hodgson Mill in pre-seasoned packets for three or four servings. Cooks add water, heat and serve for a dish that’s ready in 15 minutes. Varieties include Lemon Pepper, Italian, Spicy and Garlic and Herb.

Domino Foods’ Florida Crystals brand introduced Tate Lyle Organic Pure Cane Sugar and Organic Turbinado Raw Cane Sugar. Both products carry Fair Trade certification and are packaged in 24-ounce packages for the supermarket shelf.

Several companies are offering new snack chips to the market. Those include Corn Pretzels from The Real Deal All-Natural Snacks, Super Food grain chips from Rhythm Superfoods in four flavors, Beanitos Restaurant-Style White Bean with Sea Salt Chips and Cassava Tortilla Chips from NoTatoes. Brad’s Raw Foods has added a Pina Kale-Ada flavor to its line of Brad’s Raw Leafy Kale snacks, and Ocean’s Halo is debuting The Seaweed Chip here.

Farmer Gene’s Tiny but Mighty Popcorn is packaged to be popped at home. This ancient heirloom popcorn is a native plant that grows into a bush that produces multiple small ears of popping corn whose kernels have thin hulls that virtually disintegrate when the corn is popped, so they don’t get stuck in teeth when the popcorn is eaten, the company says.

Specialty Foods Producers Wow Restaurateurs

by Lorrie Baumann

Specialty food producers showed up en masse at this year’s Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo to introduce southern California restaurateurs to great gourmet products that can help their foodservice operations create the kind of flavor experience that their upscale clientele demands. Many of these folks will be familiar names to specialty foods retailers too.

Sparrow Lane artisanal varietal vinegars was at the show to talk about why these California-produced products are better. “A lot of balsamics on the market start with red wine or white wine and then add caramel colors. We have our own plant where we produce our own vinegars from the natural grape must, so you don’t get the extra sugars and the other things that don’t belong in there, and then they’re aged in oak barrels from 12 to 15 months and then bottled,” says Jesse Layman, the company’s “head chef and marketing guy.” He’s been a chef for 25 years, and he says vinegars have a wide variety of uses, allowing you to eliminate salt while enhancing the flavors of the food. Blackberry balsamic is wonderful with pork and chicken dishes and served en croute. And of course, they are still good on salads. Use Sparrow Lane varietals on salads as a nice finishing vinegar.

Fresh Origins offered fresh microgreens packaged for foodservice use. Although microgreens have been getting a lot of buzz in white tablecloth restaurants over the past year or two, the company is just now looking for a toehold on the retail market. Contact

Daiya brought its line of dairy-free, soy-free, gluten-free, Kosher, vegan cheese alternatives. Daiya recently came out with some cream cheeses that come packed in 8-ounce containers (12 per case) in flavors including strawberry-style, made from real strawberries, original flavor that’s like a traditional plain cream cheese and an onion and chive-style product. The company also makes cheese-alternative slices for retail sale in Swiss-style, cheddar style and a provolone style.  The slices come in cases of 12 7.8-ounce packages. Mozzarella, cheddar, and pepper-jack style cheese alternatives are also available for retail in shreds. Contact Trevis Umble He’s the retail sales manager for the western U.S., but if he’s not the appropriate contact for you, he’ll refer you to the right person.

Pure Indulgent Foods is offering “flats” as a companion for cheeses and spreads. These savory crackers come in flavors including Rosemary Cranberry, Cashew Date, Chili Mango and Fig Olive. At the show, the Rosemary Cranberry and Chili Mango flavor crackers were drawing attention as an all-natural way to add a crisp touch to a salad. Call 403.243.5699 for more information.

SooFoo demonstrated that “Mighty Grains with a Strange Name” can be delicious with samples of their blend of nine organic, GMO-free grains and lentils grown in the U.S. “We have the original blend here that we’ve cooked in water in a rice cooker and we’re sampling with some olive oil and a little salt,” says Felice Charlton, Director of New Business for the company. The product also makes a Lemon Kale Salad for which Charlton developed the recipe. Add the cooked grain to some kale and crumbled feta and toss with an olive oil-lemon juice dressing. Add some pine nuts and dried cranberries for nutty crunch and sweetness. Visit

Blaze’s Beans in Vancouver teamed up with Orange County Produce about 10 years ago to produce a line of spicy pickled beans that are great for Bloody Marys. “Almost everything we market has been going to Canada for the last 10 or 15 years, but we’ve been marketing in the U.S. for only the last five or six years,” says Matt Kawamura, a Partner in Blaze’s Beans. Visit


Bob’s Red Mill Celebrates Long-Awaited FDA Ruling that Regulates Gluten Free Labeling

Gluten free pioneer helped to define standards by testifying on the matter in 2005.

Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods, a pioneering manufacturer of delicious and safe gluten free products, commends the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which on Friday issued a history-making ruling that made life safer and simpler for those with Celiac disease and gluten sensitivities.

“We applaud the FDA for implementing its new gluten free labeling guidelines,” said Bob Moore, founder, president and CEO of employee-owned Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods. “It’s encouraging to see these important standards put into place, and we’re celebrating with Celiac sufferers and those with gluten sensitivities everywhere on this monumental milestone.”

The FDA’s new ruling defines what a gluten free label on a food package means. The regulation states products labeled “gluten free” must contain less than 20 parts per million of gluten. For more than ten years Bob’s Red Mill solidified its leadership role in the gluten free arena by adhering on its own accord to a strict standard of less than 20 parts per million for all of its gluten free products.

In 2005 Bob’s Red Mill was invited to testify before the FDA about its gluten free manufacturing and product labeling practices. The company also was the first to provide pure gluten free oats to stores nationwide in unlimited quantities.

“Bob’s Red Mill has been a vocal advocate for safe gluten free standards and we’re honored to have been a part of this process that began nearly a decade ago,” said Dennis Gilliam, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Bob’s Red Mill.

Offering more than 80 gluten free flours, cereals, baking mixes and grains, all of the company’s gluten free products are made in a dedicated 100 percent gluten free facility. Its gluten free products are batch tested in its quality control laboratory with an R5 ELISA Gluten Assay test to ensure the absence of gluten. Testing is performed again after packaging.


Average Joe Artisan Bread Kit Chosen By Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch as “One of Five Foods You’ll Soon Be Eating!”

Fresh on the heels of a very successful experience at the 59th annual Summer Fancy Food Show held June 30-July 2 in New York City, Average Joe Artisan Bread Kits were selected by the Wall Street Journal’s popular online “Market Watch” team as one of five foods (out of over 80,000 at the show) that gourmet food consumers should consider purchasing.

“MarketWatch combed the show floor — all four city blocks of it — to find a few products that speak to today’s gourmet-crazed palate and that might have a shot at standing the test of time,” said official show Trendspotter Charles Passy in his article about the show trends.

Average Joe Artisan Bread founder and CEO Joe Bellavance was honored with the selection by Passy and his team at Market Watch. “It feels great to be selected from such a large amount of quality gourmet food items,” said Bellavance.

Average Joe Artisan Bread Kits contain everything needed to create the crusty, chewy, moist, meaty European bread we all dream about. It’s highly addictive and so simple, any “Average Joe” can make it.

Here’s a quick overview of the items from the Average Joe Artisan Bread Kit product line.
  • The Gift Edition ($79-99) includes everything needed to bake artisan bread right out of the box: a clearly-written and amply-illustrated cookbook (and cheat sheet), baker’s tools (dough scraper, baker’s blade), enough ingredients for three loaves (flour, sea salts, yeast, bread dust), and kitchenwares (bread pot, measuring cups, measuring spoons, stainless steel mixing bowl, wooden spoon, sprayer, steel sponge).
  • The Cook’s Edition ($25-39) is Average Joe’s bestseller. It includes a clearly-written and amply-illustrated cookbook (and cheat sheet), baker’s tools (dough scraper, baker’s blade), and enough ingredients for three loaves (flour, sea salts, yeast, bread dust).
  • The Refill Edition ($12-15) includes enough ingredients for three more loaves of love (flour, sea salts, yeast, bread dust).
  • The Bread Pot ($19-29) is the perfect-yet-inexpensive vessel for baking bread with an incredible crust and chewy center. It’s frequently bundled with the Cook’s Edition.

Summer Fancy Food Show Vendors Offer Healthy Choices

By Lorrie Baumann

The Summer Fancy Food Show vendors offer a world of choices for buyers who want to make healthy choices while they’re indulging their appetites for quality foods. Whether they’re looking for sweet confections, savory appetizers or hearty foods that they can feel good about serving at the family dinner table, you’ll find what they need this week at Jacob Javits Convention Center.
Hillside Candy in booth #347 has sugar-free, organic and sugar-based candies. GoLightly sugar-free candies are sweetened with Splenda. Thirteen different varieties are a safe choice for diabetics. The Go Organic line includes nine SKUs that are organic and non-GMO-certified. New at this show are the Ginger Xtreme hard candies and Ginger Chews organic chewy candies. All products are kosher, gluten-free and made in the USA. Visit at
The Silver Palate in booth #536 has a new Grain Berry brand of cereals and baking mixes made with natural berries of grain and antioxidants to support heart health.
Enjoy Life in booth # 654 is offering allergy-friendly, gluten-free baking chocolate, cookies, chewy bars and lentil chips. They’re all convenience-oriented products.
In 868 Eastland Food Corporation, based in Maryland, is talking about rice bran oil as a healthy choice. Rice Bran Oil is high in oryzanol and Vitamin E, natural antioxidants, and has a high smoke point, so it can be used for frying as well as in baking and in salad dressings. It’s made from non-GMO rice bran.
Melt organic is offering spreads that take the place of butter. They’re made with virgin coconut oil and can be used for sautéing, baking and spreading, like butter but with half the saturated fat and calories. A chocolate flavor is new on the market, while rich and creamy and honey spreads have been out for about 18 months and are meeting great acceptance. “That’s the only butter improvement that actually tastes like butter,” says Meg Carlson, President and CEO of Prosperity Organic Foods, the maker of melt Organic. Booth #1445 and
Suzie’s brand of crackers is made by the Good Groceries Company. Suzie’s Baby Biscuits are gluten-free, rice-free and sweetened with fruit juice. Suzie’s Saltines are made with ancient grains, including quinoa, amaranth, Kamut, spelt, buckwheat and oats. Find them in booth 3920 and at
Snapz is a brand of freeze-dried apple snacks. These low-calorie, fat-free crispy treats are made without added salt, sugar or fat. There’s a serving of fruit in each .7-ounce bag, and they’re a source of Vitamin C. Visit in booth #4175 and at
And lastly, the folks from Bob’s Red Mill are here at the show to take care of the folks who want to make their healthy choices from scratch. The Nine Grains-of-Discovery line is new to the market. This line includes nine products, of which five are gluten-free. Your favorite ancient grains are represented in the collection, including quinoa, teff, spelt, Kamut, farro, amaranth, millet, sorghum and chia. Find them in booth #4155 or at

Sarabeth’s Debuts Gourmet Mixes

Award-winning jam maker, acclaimed pastry chef and restaurateur Sarabeth Levine announces the launch of her exclusive Perfect Pancake & Waffle Mix and Perfect Buttermilk Biscuit Mix, making their debut at New York City’s 59th Summer Fancy Food Show.
Stop by Sarabeth’s booth #2437 on Sunday, June 30 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday, July 1st from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Tuesday, July 2 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. to sample her renowned baked goods, award-winning Legendary Spreadable Fruit and newest gourmet launches which include the two mixes and her Blueberry Mango Jam. These newest delicacies will be displayed in the “What’s New, What’s Hot” showcase, featured at 9:30 a.m. each show day.
Sarabeth'sNutritious and delicious, the all-natural Perfect Pancake & Waffle Mix is made from whole grain wheat and is lightly sweetened with pure maple sugar. These fluffy, easy-to-make pancakes are sure to please, as they are just like those served at her famous restaurants and bakery. The Perfect Buttermilk Biscuit Mix is also easily transformed into the biscuits served at Sarabeth’s restaurants in New York. These tender, flaky all-natural biscuits are great for any time of day. Serve them at breakfast, lunch, dinner, afternoon tea – and topped with fresh fruits and a spoonful of whipped cream, as a quick and easy dessert. As part of the brand’s international expansion, these new products will also be available overseas.
Sarabeth Levine still remains the driving force behind the success and outstanding reputation of the Sarabeth brand. In 1981, Sarabeth began making Orange-Apricot Marmalade from her home kitchen from an old family recipe and selling it to local food shops. From that beginning, Sarabeth with her husband and business partner, Bill Levine, now own and operate a jam factory, a wholesale-retail bakery café and 11 restaurants.