A show of fresh ideas

Consumers continue to demand higher quality foods from in-store bakeries and delis. Manufacturers at the IDDBA’s Dairy Deli Bake Expo showed retailers that they are up for the challenge.

By Elizabeth Louise Hatt

For retailers who attended the International Dairy Deli Bakery Association’s (IDDBA) 2011 Seminar & Expo there were a few lessons to be learned from the throngs of exhibitors on the floor. For one, bold and spicy flavors are taking over the deli counter; two, cheese blends with Middle Eastern spices and other herbs are in demand; and three, consumers are still looking for a sweet after-dinner indulgence. And don’t forget innovations in packaging which promise to not only keep foods hot and fresh but also promote sustainability.

Expert advice was not sparse at the June show, held in Anaheim, Calif., either. Sessions featured speakers such as Dr. Condoleezza Rice discussing global affairs, Food Network’s Guy Fieri sharing his passion for food and Carol Christison, IDDBA’S executive director, divulging her strategies for success.

Now that retailers are back in their stores, here are some of the new products ready to hit their shelves.


BelGioioso Cheese
BelGioioso Cheese addresses convenience with its new eight-ounce Provolino, a mild Provolone cheese that comes in cracker-size slices. Aged for 60 days, officials said the cheese is crafted from an award-winning recipe rich in tradition. “We’ve gotten a very good response at the show,” said Jamie Wichlacz, marketing manager. “Everyone really seems to like it.”
The company’s award-winning Ricotta Salata is now available in pre-crumbled five-ounce retail cups, in addition to a wheel and wedge. Called “The Italian Feta” by BelGioioso officials, the cow’s milk, semi-soft cheese won a silver medal at the 2011 U.S. Championship Cheese Contest. Retailers can also check out Green Bay, Wis.-based BelGioioso’s new hand-wrapped wedge of Asiago, Parmesan and Romano cheese with 120-day shelf life. www.belgioioso.com.

Ranchero bulk sour creams are the latest deli counter product from Cacique, the Hispanic cheese company based in Industry, Calif. Available in Crema Natural, plain cultured sour cream, and Crema Con Sal, a salted version, the line is made from a new formulation of cultured pasteurized Grade A sour cream with no artificial flavoring. Also new to the dairy shelves are five new flavors of Yonique, a line of drinkable yogurts, and Rikitos a part-skim Mozzarella String Cheese.

Adding to its meat offerings, Soy Chorizo joins the company’s pork and beef Chorizo, catering to the growing demands for authentic foods and meat alternatives, said officials. www.caciqueusa.com.

Crystal Farms
Previously sold under the company’s Signature Selections Line, Crystal Farms introduced 3 Pepper Cheese, a shredded blend that combines Monterey Jack with Chipotle, Habanero and Jalapeño peppers and two eight-ounce chunk varieties, Chipotle Cheddar and Dill Jack.

Available in both an eight-ounce chunk and eight-ounce slices, Crystal Farms also introduced a Smoked Cheddar and Premium American Cheese in both white and yellow varieties. The products give retailers the opportunity to pair the Smoked Cheddar Shingle and Chunk with one of the new American Single or Chunks to offer a complete line of premium processed cheese, said a spokesperson. Havarti Shingled Slices and a Provolone Chunk also joined the Lake Mills, Wis.-based company’s line. www.crystalfarmscheese.com.


The new Lacey Swiss loaf took the spotlight at Finlandia’s booth. The all-natural, lactose-free cheese featuring 25% less fat than regular Swiss is a big hit with consumers, said officials. The company was also showing two new combination packages—Monterey Jack/Colby Jack and Jalapeno Muenster/Chipotle Jack. “The combo packs help consumers make a decision,” said Frank Belfiore, marketing director for the Parsippany, N.J.-based company. www.finlandiacheese.com.

Grafton Village Cheese Co. 
Named for The Old Tavern at Grafton Inn, the Grafton Tavern Select line is handmade from raw milk comprised of two-, three- and four-year naturally aged cheddars and a maple-smoked cheddar. “Calling our two-year, three-year, four-year and maple smoked cheddar Tavern Select helps people understand the partnership between The Old Tavern and Grafton Village Cheese,” said CEO David Rachlin. “As we continue to develop more fine cheeses, we will be organizing them under a three-tiered brand structure, of which Grafton Tavern Select is one, in order to help our customers clearly understand the range of Grafton offerings.”

Additionally, the Grafton, Vt.-based company introduced three cave-aged varieties at IDDBA that include a blend of cow and sheep milk. www.graftonvillagecheese.com.

Nicasio Valley Cheese Co.
About a year-and-a-half old, the Nicasio Valley Cheese Co. showed its range of cheeses, including two award-winning varieties at IDDBA. The Nicasio, Calif.-based company won a gold award at the state fair for its Loma Alta variety—a semi-soft cheese aged three- to six-weeks—and its Nicasio Reserve—aged for 30 days. “All our cheeses are based on recipes that our grandfather brought with him from Switzerland,” said Rick Lafranchi, the company’s director of sales and marketing. www.nicasiocheese.com.

Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board
Cheesemakers from Wisconsin have been busy. The organization featured new flavors and varieties such as a line of Gouda cheese infused with spices to create Cumin, Tandoori and Sajji BBQ flavors made by White Jasmine, a Mt. Horeb, Wis.-based company specializing in Pakistani spices and teas, in partnership with Muscoda, Wis.-based Meister Cheese Co. www.whitejasmine.com/GoudaCheese.

Carr Valley Cheese Co., based in La Valle, Wis., designed a seasonally influenced line that focuses on the flavors that naturally emerge at different times of the year. The cheddar offerings include Irish Valley (Spring), Field of Flowers (Summer), Autumn Harvest and Winter Solstice. www.carrvalleycheese.com

Straight out of the oven is Pasture Pride Cheese’s Oven Baked Cheese—layers of the company’s Juusto cheese filled with either five-year cellar-aged cheddar, aged parmesan or cellar-aged goat cheese. The Cashton, Wis.-based company makes all its cheese, including cheddars, muenster, colby, pepper jack and artisan cheese, with milk from local Amish dairies. www.pasturepridecheese.com.

Kerrygold is offering consumers a healthier butter option. Its Reduced Fat Irish Butter has 25% less fat and 50% less sodium than traditional butter and contains no additives. According to officials, research shows that consumers want healthful, indulgent premium food products and this meets the conflicting demand without using additives such as vegetable oil blends or butter flavoring.

A second addition to the company’s product line is Naturally Softer Pure Irish Butter, a spreadable premium Irish butter. Unlike most spreads, the softer texture is a result of natural processes, not the use of less expensive vegetable oil or other additives, said officials. The U.S. headquarters for the Irish Dairy Board, Inc./Kerrygold is based in Evanston, Ill. www.kerrygold.com/usa

The shelves at the Tillamook booth were packed with award-winning varieties. Its Monterey Jack, which was reformulated at the beginning of the year, and its popular Colby Jack, a blend of Colby and Monterey Jack, were voted America’s Best Monterey Jack Cheese and Best in Class, respectively, at the U.S. Championship Cheese Contest. The Monterey Jack is available with a redesigned package in 12-ounce slices, an 8-ounce, 1-pound and 2.5-pound chunk and a 2-pound baby loaf.

Tillamook, based in Tillamook, Ore., was also showing its Medium Cheddar Mini Slices, made from its 2010 award-winning medium cheddar, available in 12-ounce packs of 48 slices, and its creamery collection of six gourmet flavors of pre-sliced deli case cheeses. www.tillamook.com.


Bake’n Joy
Red Velvet is the trend at North Andover, Mass.-based Bake’n Joy, appearing in a number of the company’s product lines. Both the pre-deposited cupcakes (also available in yellow and chocolate) and the Frozen Scoop & Bake Cake Batters, which also includes yellow, chocolate and double chocolate pudding cake, feature the flavor. It is also available as a dry mix to be used to create a range of products. www.bakenjoy.com.

Boston Coffee Cake 
Boston Coffee Cake, a division of Bake’n Joy, launched a line of all-natural fully baked specialty coffee cakes. They come in five varieties, Cinnamon Walnut, Apple Cinnamon Walnut, Blueberry, Marble Madness and a reformulated sugar-free version of the Cinnamon Walnut. Also new is a line of fully baked pound cakes—Butter Pound Cake, Marble Pound Cake and Sugar Free Pound Cake—available ready to sell. www.bostoncoffeecake.com.

Dawn Food Products

Dawn Food Products caught the eyes of passersby with display cases packed with professionally decorated cakes giving retailers a peek at concepts from the company’s upcoming decorating program. The guide will provide design ideas and instructions on creating cakes using components from Dawn. There are both buttercream and whipped topping options. “The manual is a big piece of what we are working on. It will help retailers develop a signature look for their bakery and differentiate themselves,” said Hugh Brooks, senior product manager, commercial cakes and batters.

Shipped ready to sell, Bakery Comforts is Dawn’s new line of comfort cakes. There are double-layer cakes in S’more, Chocolate Marshmallow and Thin Mint flavors and single-layer Brownie Sundae cakes in Caramel Nut and Chocolate flavors. “The comfort food trend continues to gain popularity,” said Julie Chamot, cakes business manager for the Jackson, Mich.-based company. “We are seeing more and more restaurants responding by offering unusual twists on common, everyday foods like your grandmother made. We are excited to bring this to the in-store bakery.”

In addition, the company introduced a line of seasonal cookie varieties. Carrot Cake and Lemon Walnut for the Spring and Cherry White Chip and Oatmeal Cranberry White Chunk for Summer. Pumpkin White Chip, Red Velvet White Chip and Chocolate Crinkle are scheduled for Autumn. Dawn will also be launching new muffin varieties, such as breakfast flavors for early morning risers and dessert-inspired flavors that are more appealing later in the day. www.dawnfoods.com.

DecoPac, based in Anoka, Minn., introduced Online Cake Ordering, available to bakeries on www.Cakes.com. The website allows in-store bakeries to create their own e-commerce site without the cost or time required to internally build and maintain an online presence. Complete with built-in order reporting systems that assist in managing inventory and production schedules, officials said it is customizable, allowing bakeries to set pricing, cake options and order lead times. www.DecoPac.com.

General Mills 
General Mills is helping shoppers start their day off right with two hot on-the-go breakfast options. Nature Valley Soft Baked Bars are freezer-to-oven granola bars made with natural ingredients containing 25 grams of whole grain and three grams of fiber per-serving. Available in Blueberry Cranberry and Apple Cinnamon, they have a four-hour hold time under a heat lamp. “Research shows that consumers love granola bars and love that they are healthy, they would just love to get something warm,” said Christine Biondi, marketing director, bakery and restaurant solutions.

Pillsbury Crescent Scrambles offer another hot breakfast option—a flaky pastry stuffed with egg, cheddar cheese and sausage or egg, Asiago cheese and spinach. According to officials from the Minneapolis-based company, away from home breakfast sales continue to rise, up to 56.5% since 2001. “Twenty-six percent of breakfasts have egg in them; they are satisfying the protein need,” said Biondi. www.generalmills.com.

Lawrence Foods 
Lawrence Foods is making it easier for retailers to create a masterpiece. The Elk Grove Village, Ill.-based company reformulated a range of buttercrème icings in a variety of more than 20 on-trend flavors, including Tangerine, Strawberry and Key Lime Buttercrème. Available in two-gallon and new two-pack 4.5-pounds tubs, the icing stays smooth, said officials, and can be used for cakes, cookies, donuts, cupcakes and brownies. “You have to have continuity at the in-store bakery level,” said Dale Biles, vice president of new business development for Lawrence Foods (NBSF Group). “The program is designed to offer consistency throughout all stores.”

The company also introduced a rolled fondant program that offers pre-rolled sheets of fondant for easy application on cake layers. “We introduced the concept to help with the labor crunch, for bakeries with limited help,” said Biles. www.lawrencefoods.com.

J. Skinner
J. Skinner Modern Artisan Baking offered 17 SKUs of sweet rolls, Danish rings, strip Danish and gourmet rolls under its own brand name. Officials for the Omaha, Neb.-based company, known for its private label offering in the bakery category, said that the national brand will help build sales and profits at retail chains.

“This is going to give retailers a real opportunity to be distinctive at the store level in the bakery section,” said Gary Kyle, vice president of marketing. “This is an easy product to carry because it ships frozen, is thawed and put out for sale. It is a very good product that will catch the consumer’s eye with appealing packaging.”

Kyle emphasized the ease of merchandising these products as well as the advertising and promotional support being placed behind the items to gain consumer recognition. The company’s products feature a 30% filling to dough ratio, contain zero trans fat and feature a number of different varieties. J. Skinner also offers special displays, including front door displays, to
help create incremental sales, added Kyle. www.skinnerbaking.com

Specialty Bakers
Specialty Bakers introduced its shelf-stable Full Sugar and Sugar Free Meringue Pies. The line includes varieties such as Lemon Meringue, Chocolate Meringue, Coconut Meringue and Key Lime Meringue. All of the Marysville, Pa.-based company’s Meringue pies are made from scratch using unsalted butter and are enhanced by the light flaky crust, topped with real egg whipped meringue topping and toasted to a golden brown, said officials. Suggested retail is $4.99 for Full Sugar Meringue Pies and $5.99 for Sugar Free Meringue Pies. www.specialtybakers.com.


Old Wisconsin
Carl Buddig & Co.’s Old Wisconsin Bold product line is getting hotter with its new flavor, Sweet Heat. According to officials, the initial flavor is sweet, such as molasses and brown sugar, followed by a tangy flavor. The flavor is available in sausage bites, snack sticks or combos. The Homewood, Ill.-based company also introduced a 16-ounce bulk package of Old Wisconsin Snack Bites in beef and turkey varieties in a stand-up resealable bag. www.oldwisconsin.com.

Butterball added Naturally Roasted Gold Turkey Breast to its line of turkey products, the  second-largest deli turkey flavor, said officials. “People are pushing for more unique flavors with the biggest being Gold and Cajun,” said Brandon Barr, associate brand manager for deli. The turkey has a sodium level of 420mg, part of the Garner, N.C.-based company’s initiative to reduce the sodium in its deli turkey products, keeping in line with the National Salt Reduction Campaign. www.butterball.com.

DosTicos corn chips began as a “personal pet project,” said company president Michael Evan Blum, who discovered the product on a trip to Costa Rica where they are manufactured. Available in two flavors, Touch of Lime and Salt Corn Chips and Touch of Salsa Corn Sticks, DosTicos are hand cooked in Costa Rica with 100% GMO-free corn from the U.S. They work great as a salad topper or as an accompaniment to the deli counter, said Blum. They are available in an 18-bag shipper for in-store display. www.dosticos.com.

Fresherized Foods
Eating guacamole on the go has gotten easier. Wholly Guacamole now comes in portion-controlled, 100-calorie Snack Packs in Classic and Spicy varieties. “Our Classic Snack Packs are up more than 60% so we know consumers are enjoying a great product with automatic portion control,” said Tracey Altman, vice president of marketing for the Saginaw, Texas-based company. “We are seeing the health trend continue so consumers are still looking for a healthy, yummy snack. We are also seeing an uptick in spicy flavors.” www.eatwholly.com.

Kettle Cuisine 
Kettle Cuisine is spicing up its line of soups with two new flavors. Tomato & Feta is a Mediterranean inspired tomato soup made with crushed California tomatoes, feta cheese, sautéed garlic and onions with chopped parsley, white pepper, oregano and light cream, said Brian McGinnis, director of marketing.

The Yankee Bean & Bacon Soup is comprised of slow-cooked white beans, uncured bacon, tender potatoes and sautéed onions with simmered tomatoes and handcrafted beef stock. The Chelsea, Mass.-based company offers more than 50 varieties of soups, chilis, chowders and stews. www.kettlecuisine.com.

Pilgrim’s has teamed up with the “Captain” to create its new Captain Morgan Glazed Chicken chunks (one-ounce) and strips (two-ounce). Bold flavors are also showing up in Pilgrim’s new Tempura battered chicken chunks with Orange Glaze or General Tso’s Glaze with Chili Pepper. “Our thinking is all about great flavors,” said Andrew Seymour, senior vice president of prepared foods marketing. “We’ve received an incredible response; it’s the best show we ever had.” Both products are made from 100% chicken breast meat and packaged frozen, ready to heat and serve.

Other new products include Honey-Dipt Boneless Wings and Tenderloins, which are part of the Greeley, Colo.-based company’s line of Deli “To Go” Appetizers. www.pilgrimsdeli.com.

Pretzel Crisps
Following the success of the Buffalo Wing variety, Pretzel Crisps is expanding its Bold and Spicy line with Jalapeno Jack and Chipotle Cheddar flavors. “With the re-launch of our Deli Style line in 2010, we knew it was time to expand the brand offerings with stronger, bolder, spicier product extensions,” said Perry Abbenante, vice president of marketing. “After exploring the many flavor combinations in the bold and spicy category, these two concepts tested the strongest.”

The Princeton, N.J.-based company is also adding Dark Chocolate & Peppermint Pretzel Crisps. With only 120 calories and 5 grams of fat per serving, they will be available in late summer. www.pretzelcrisps.com.

Reser’s Fine Foods
Reser’s Fine Foods latest side dishes are coming straight out of the oven. Using a patent-pending technology, the Top Bake dishes, sold under the company’s Sensational Sides brand, aim to deliver a home-baked taste in a microwave product. The four varieties include Baked Scalloped Potatoes, Baked Mac & Cheese, Baked Twice Baked Potato and Baked Hash Brown Casserole, available in a 14-ounce microwave-safe tray. “Our proprietary baking process and Top Bake crust yields great flavor and crunch—in only five minutes,” said Mark Reser, president/CEO. The line will launch on August 1.

Eight new chef-inspired bulk salad kits have joined the Beaverton, Ore.-based company’s salad offerings. The kits come in on-trend flavors, such as Buffalo Chicken and Tandoori Chicken and Curry, said officials. “Upscale flavors and healthy salads may have started in gourmet grocery stores, but they now play a major role behind the glass at mainstream retailers nationwide,” said Teresa Carter, category manager for Reser’s deli salads. www.resers.com.

Sandridge Food Corp.
To meet consumer demand for more better-for-you options, Sandridge Food Corp. launched Fresh & Delicious, a line of salads with no trans fat or preservatives. The six varieties include Chili Lime Corn Salad, Four Bean and Barley Salad, Mediterranean Couscous, Curried Chickpea & Israeli Couscous Salad, Ginger & Fruit Barley Salad and Pacific Coast Slaw. “We are hearing that consumers want healthier products but do not want to sacrifice taste,” said Mark D. Sandridge, CEO of the Medina, Ohio-based company. www.sandridge.com.

Sara Lee 
Fresh Ideas Herbed & Seasoned is Sara Lee’s most recent line of sandwich meat available for deli service. Consumers desire bolder and more differentiated flavors from the deli counter, said officials for the Downers Grove Ill.-based company, adding that the line uses high-quality whole muscle meats, hand rubbed with savory herbs and spices that are then oven roasted. Available at the end of September, Fresh Ideas will include Rosemary & Sage Turkey Breast, Basil Pesto Chicken Breast and Peppercorn Premium Roast Beef. www.saralee.com.


Anchor Packaging
The Nature’s Best Roaster utilizes advanced engineering tech­niques that reduce its petroleum-based resin content by 40%, said officials for St. Louis-based Anchor Packaging. Manufactured of polypropylene, the container is dishwasher- and microwave-safe, able to withstand temperatures up to 240°F. Officials said it is perfect for a roasted chicken program with large unobstructed viewing panels in the lid and anti-fogging technology and venting. www.anchorpac.com.


At the BagcraftPapercon booth, it was all about sustainability. The Chicago-based company featured its EcoCraft line of fresh food to-go packaging. Made with unbleached, chlorine-free paper, the packaging is coated with a proprietary material that allows hot meat products to breath while maintaining a hot temperature. “It started off being about sustainability, but the more testing we did we learned people are using it for food quality,” said Barak Bright, director of marketing. According to company officials, the line of eco-friendly packaging is cheaper than its traditional counterpart. “You can not call something sustainable if its not affordable,” said Bright. www.bagcraft.com.

Cryovac debuted its latest model of recloseable packaging designed for shredded cheese. Instead of a zipper top, the Multi-Seal FoldLOK package has a peel-off perforated strip. After initial use it folds over and reseals with adhesive.

“Convenience can be a key differentiator and selling point for consumers purchasing shredded cheese products, which have quickly become a kitchen staple,” said Scott Bossong, director of dairy marketing for Sealed Air’s Cryovac Food Packaging, based in Elmwood Park, N.J. The product is available for shredded cheese from six ounces to two pounds. www.cryovac.com.

Clear Lam Packaging
After receiving the USDA Certified Biobased Product Label for its Renewable Thermoformed Produce Container, Clear Lam Packaging is expanding its offerings of certified products. The additions include Thermoformed PLA Produce/Deli Trays, Containers and Lids, Flexible Film EC240HB PLA Packaging Material and Forming Film RENU920 Extruded Modified PLA Sheet.

“We’re proud to achieve this important distinction under USDA’s BioPreferred program as it will bring greater clarity to the marketplace and spur more leading product manufacturers and consumers to embrace materials that reduce adverse environmental impacts,” said James Sanfilippo, president and CEO, adding that the label helps differentiate them from petroleum-based products that look the same.

The Elk Grove Village, Ill.-based company also won a 2011 AmeriStar Package Award from the Institute of Packaging Professionals (IoPP) for its plant-based form-fill-seal yogurt cup for Stonyfield Farms’ YoBaby products. www.clearlam.com.

Inline Plastics 
Inline Plastics featured its line of tamper-resistant Safe-T-Fresh plastic containers including the latest edition, the sandwich wedge. All Safe-T-Fresh containers are leak resistant and incorporate a tamper-resistant locking mechanism with a unique patented tear-strip hinge that allows it to be reused afterwards. “Through research we learned that leakage was the biggest concern for retailers, with shrinkage coming in second,” said Herb Knutson, director of marketing for the Shelton, Conn.-based company. www.inlineplastics.com.

Robbie offers its Fresh N Tasty bakery pouches, which company officials said are designed to help build sales of bakery products and also protect the environment. According to Drew Lericos, director of marketing for the Lenexa, Kan.-based company, the packaging offers a resealable zipper that will help baked goods stay fresher for a longer period of time.

Lericos said the stand-up pouch features a large clear window and an easy-to-carry handle. It also features “attention-grabbing graphics” with custom branding options, he said, adding that the eco-friendly design uses 75% less fossil fuels in manufacturing, takes up less storage space and reduces landfill waste by 65%. www.robbieflexibles.com.

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