Mile high on ideas and innovation

The 2014 IDDBA convention in Denver showcased the latest in dairy, deli and bakery product and merchandising ideas.

By Richard Turcsik and Seth Mendelson

Thousands of retail buyers and other industry professionals packed the show floor of the Colorado Convention Center in early June mining the International Dairy Deli Bakery Association’s (IDDBA) Dairy-Deli-Bake 2014 convention. The search was on for outstanding new products, supplies and merchandising ideas to help them strike it rich with increased sales and customer satisfaction in their bakery, dairy and deli departments.

Among the hottest trends at this year’s show were gluten-free, organic, better-for-you and—of course—anything rich and decadent.

Alouette Cheese USA
How about a bagel with a Greek yogurt schmear? That is now possible thanks to the Smithfield Cream Cheese and Greek Yogurt being introduced by Alouette Cheese USA. “We incorporated Greek yogurt into our cream cheese, resulting in a healthier alternative to straight cream cheese,” said Bob Trently, regional sales manager in the Urbandale, Iowa office of New Holland, Pa.-based Alouette. “It is lower in fat, cholesterol and sodium, gluten-free and has 33% more protein. It is a bit lighter and results in a fluffier cheesecake.”

It is available in a variety of sizes including 3-pound bricks and 8-ounce retail bars. “We are looking to do a 30-pounder towards the end of the year because we are having a lot of manufacturers look at the Smithfield Cream Cheese and Greek Yogurt.”

Alpine Valley Breads
Shoppers will say “Aloha” to an organic version of the popular Hawaiian dinner rolls being introduced by Alpine Valley Breads. “Our organic Hawaiian rolls are shipped frozen and can be slacked out in the deli section or sold frozen in the freezer case as well,” said Ron Carter, regional sales manager at Mesa, Ariz.-based Alpine Valley Breads. “The shelf life on the breads when slacked out is eight days and if you leave it in the freezer you get a 30-day shelf life.”

Bake’n Joy Foods
Lots of people were loafing around the Bake’n Joy booth filling up on the samples of the company’s new Lemon Blueberry loaf breads. “We haven’t had a line extension on the loaf breads for quite a while; we made this for a customer and it proved so popular that we added it to our list,” said Tara O’Donovan, marketing manager, at Bake’n Joy Foods, based in North Andover, Mass.

On the muffin side, Bake’n Joy was touting its two new 100% whole grain muffins—Super Fruit & Nut and Hearty Oat Apple Raisin Nut. The muffins are pan free so the bakery associate simply places the wrapper right on the sheet pan and bakes them off. Stickers are also provided for retailer convenience, O’Donovan said.

bestBest Provisions Co.
Roast beef is a big seller for Best Provision Co., which markets it under its Best label, as well as private label for Wegmans, Ahold, Brookshire, Weis Markets, Delhaize and other retailers.

“The consumers find it has a little bit different taste than a traditional deli roast beef,” said Joseph O’Connell, director of sales at Best Provision Co., based in Newark, N.J. “It has been selling very well and has been placed in a lot of new customers that we service.”
Best’s famous franks are sold throughout New Jersey, New York and eastern Pennsylvania where they are often the market leader, added officials.

Blount Fine Foods
Soups are hot—especially organic—which is why Blount Fine Foods showcased its newest organic offerings. “A lot of grocery stores are looking to emulate players like Wegmans with hot bars, and on their hot bars they not only want unique flavors, but they want to have some organic items to capture that customer,” said F. Nelson “Todd” Blount, president, Blount Fine Foods, based in Fall River, Mass.

“We’re promoting it as a hot-to-go program, so it is for foodservice, but we also have the ability to offer them in refrigerated packages,” Blount said.

The organic offerings include Moroccan Chickpea and Lentil and Vegetarian Chili. “We are using a lot of kale in our soups, but we also created a creamed spinach and kale soup,” he added. “We are sneaking kale into more things because people hear about it but they are not sure how to use it.”

corbionCorbion Caravan
People are watching what they eat, so that is why bakery ingredient supplier Corbion is focusing on “clean label” from both consumer and customer technology perspectives.
“Clean label is more of an umbrella term, and under that can be things like gluten-free, sugar-free, no sugar added, all-natural, organic, non-GMO, the whole gamut,” said Marge O’Brien, senior manager, global consumer insights, at Lenexa, Kan.-based Corbion.

On the technology side, Corbion was informing retailers about Verdad, its natural mold inhibitor. “Consumers want their product to be fresh, know what is in it, but they also want their product to last longer because of the economy they want to maximize things,” O’Brien said. “We try to understand what the consumer trends are that are going on and then we work backwards to fulfill that need.”

Dawn Foods
Fun with fondant! That is just one of the many things bakery managers stopping by the Dawn Foods pavilion learned. “We are the first in the industry to have a mass produced, top-quality fondant cake that is really indicative of Cake Boss Buddy Valastro’s style,” said Chip Potter, vice president, marketing, US Bakery Products at Dawn Food Products, based in Jackson, Mich.

The cakes can be merchandised in the new red awning Cake Boss shelf-stable shipper display that retailers can place in their bakery departments to draw attention to the line, Potter said. “On the wings of the display we have a whole collection of tools and ingredients for the home baker,” he added. “We have partnered with Meyer Corp. on the tools, as well as our own ingredients for consumers to make their own Cake Boss cake.”
At special decorating booth, retailers learned about Dawn’s new line of vibrant colored frostings that are not only delicious, but also have zero grams trans fat and are PHO-free (partially hydrogenated oils).

Vortex cakes also launched at the show, available in flavors that include Red Devil, Tuxedo, Pumpkin Patch and Polar Vortex. “These cakes are very indulgent, decadent, and when you cut them open, the Red Devil, for example, has a brownie layer and a cake layer,” Potter said. “The Polar Vortex has a chocolate chip cookie layer and a cake layer. We are partaking of this hybrid mania that is going on where people like different tastes and textures combined together.”

Gordo’s is adding yellow Queso dip to its line of cheese dips to satisfy consumers across the country. Allen Lydick, director of sales for the Atlanta-based company, said that consumers in the Northeast and on the West Coast seem to prefer yellow cheese to white cheese, hence the decision to add the new product.

Gordo’s now offers six SKUs in its dip assortment: Original, Mild Jalapeño, Hot Jalapeño, Cheese ‘n Chipotle, Cheese ‘n Salsa and the new Queso dip. “We have experienced tremendous growth with our dip line,” said Lydick. “It comes in an unique microwaveable, reusable package and is the number one brand in the Mexican cheese dip category. The new product will help because kids like yellow cheese products and this will get them to try it.”

J. Skinner Baking Co.
At the J. Skinner Baking Co., it all comes down to offering a better experience for the consumer. The Omaha, Neb.-based company is now offering the Triple Flavor-fest Ring, which company officials said marries three signature fillings—Heavenly Cheese, Remarkable Raspberry and Harvest Apple. The 15-ounce product has a suggested retail price range of $3.50 to $3.98.

“The industry has been trying to get us to make this for years, but we wanted to make sure we had it right before moving ahead,” said David Skinner, marketing manager. “This is simply a superior product and a premier Danish for in-store bakeries. We suggest retailers swap out other products and upgrade their departments.”

Koch Foods
Every supermarket deli can be like a Chick-fil-A thanks to the 4-ounce breaded chicken breast fillets from Koch Foods.

“We sell them to the supermarkets frozen, they deep-fry them and put them on a roll with a dill pickle on it and put them in a bag and then a warming tray,” said Brad Dunn, director of retail deli at Koch Foods, based in Stony Point, N.Y. “We supply the warming tray, bags and the product. We have a Southern style breading and a spicy breading. It has been a big hit and very successful for us and the retailers that sell them for about $2.00 a sandwich.”

unibakeLantmännen Unibake
Decadent melt-in-your mouth croissants and trendy pretzel rolls were the stars at Lantmännen Unibake. Five new varieties of croissant, including Multigrain and four Double Delights with two fillings—White Chocolate/Dark Chocolate, Strawberry/Vanilla, Raspberry/White Chocolate and Dark Chocolate/Cherry—are hitting in-store bakery cases.

“They are unique in that they have two flavors, and we have seen trends in white chocolate and dark chocolate in confections,” said Scott Rosenberg, director of marketing and customer service at Lantmännen Unibake, based in Lisle, Ill. The croissants are all imported from Belgium and are freezer to oven. They are thawed by the retailer from 30 to 60 minutes and then baked for 20 minutes.

Pretzel rolls are also a key item at Lantmännen Unibake, and they are being tied together with the pretzel croissant. “We are offering them in the traditional croissant shape and we are debuting a triangle-shaped one that would be ideal as a sandwich carrier,” Rosenberg said.

All of Lantmännen Unibake’s pretzel items are imported from Germany, including pretzel sticks with a ribbon of butter in the center. They are shipped frozen and merchandised in the refrigerated case.

Lindar Corp.
Lindar Corp. has introduced its Simply Secure tamper evident packaging. The line includes pie and cake two-piece containers as well as a three-hinged container, four-count mini cupcake/muffin, larger cupcake/muffin and a small grab-and-go container.

“The closure to our containers are very similar to the currently used closures in the marketplace, and they will assist retailers because store associates will be easily able to see if the package has been compromised,” said Dave Fosse, director of marketing at Baxter, Minn.-based Lindar Corp.

Litehouse Foods
Consumers do not have to buy cheese by the pound—they can now buy by the pouch. Litehouse Foods has introduced its Simply Artisan Reserve Blue Cheese and Gorgonzola Cheese Crumbles that are packaged in convenient, stand-up, resealable 6- and 8-ounce pouches. Both are made with handcrafted cheese that is aged 100 days and are gluten- and rBST-free.
“These pouches take less room in the dairy case and home refrigerator and the waste is a lot less,” said Margi Gunter, brand manager for the Sandpoint, Idaho-based company. “We are also working on a Feta version.”

Old World Provisions
This little piggy ate Certified Angus Beef Prime Grade Roast Beef—courtesy of Old World Provisions. “It is cooked to 131 degrees rare, with no water added, just salt and pepper rubbed on it,” said Ross Shuket, vice president of the Albany, N.Y.-based company. “It is a very high-end product with a 45-day shelf life. This product has nothing to further the shelf life in it. It is 100% beef.”

Old World Provisions has national distribution and in addition to its name brand roast beef, corned beef, pastrami and other deli meats, it also does private label for Roche Bros., Price Chopper and A&P’s upscale Woodson & James line.

Reser’s Fine Foods
Reser’s Fine Foods has added to its flagship Original potato salad. New products include Loaded Potato salad and Smokehouse Barbecued Beans, available in 1- and 3-pound containers, and bulk for the service deli.

“People asked for these flavors to take to picnics, barbecues and tailgating parties, so we answered them,” said Brenda Killingsworth, trade marketing manager – retail, for the Beaverton, Ore.-based company. “We will also have a sweepstakes running through Labor Day where we will give away a Toyota Tundra pick-up truck.”

Under its Stonemill Kitchens premium label, Reser’s has introduced a line of artisan sourdough bread bowls. Shipped frozen in spinach & artichoke parmesan, Buffalo style and jalapeno, the bread bowls have a 10-day slacked shelf life. The consumer reheats the bread for a few minutes in an oven and puts the dip cup in the microwave for 30 seconds and pours it into the bowl.

Several bulk salads are being introduced for the service deli, including smoked salmon pasta, cranberry cashew tuna salad, low-fat Greek yogurt potato salad and Low Fat Agave Chicken Salad. “It is hard to find a low-fat chicken salad,” Killingsworth said. “People love chicken salad but the cringe when they look at the caloric intake. We’re one of the few salad companies that can say we make a low-fat chicken salad.”

richsRich Products Corp.
Thin is in. That is why Rich Product’s Corp. has introduced smaller portion items in its bar cakes in Red Velvet, Triple Chocolate and Carrot, as well as Truffle Brownie, Blondies with Sea Salt and Caramel and Boston Cream. “Retailers have the ability to use our label that is in the shipper or use their own label,” said Lauren Lopez, senior marketing manager, desserts, in-store bakery for the Buffalo, N.Y.-based company.

Rich’s is also offering up more seasonal varieties of layer cakes to create excitement in the in-store bakery department, Lopez said. Red Velvet and Hershey-branded chocolate frosted cookies have been introduced. “We’ve done studies on different chocolate brands and Hershey is a well-loved American brand,” Lopez said. “An important aspect is that they are peanut- and tree nut-free to assist the 3 million people affected with nut allergies. We even went a step further than a dedicated line and built a dedicated plant in Texas.”

Keeping with the thin line, Rich’s debuted packaged sandwich flats marketed under the Our Specialty brand. “We have some unique formulations, like we turned a flatbread into a sub style,” said Nick Stambula, vice president, marketing, in-store bakery. “They are hinged in the middle, so you put your ingredients in, fold it over and it is more like a hoagie.”

Stambula said Our Specialty can be sold either in the in-store bakery or commercial bread aisle. “We’re looking at this as an opportunity for our in-store bakery merchants because most of this type of product is tending to go into either the commercial or deli areas. What is challenging to the in-store bakery is that consumers want something more than just a sub roll or Kaiser roll. These are translating well with younger demographics, but even other demographics it is doing well.”

The Run-A-Ton Group
The sculpted cake line was a showstopper for The Run-A-Ton Group. “Our Winter Wonderland cakes look like a stand of Christmas trees sprinkled with special powdered sugar so it looks like snow on them, and our Ginger Bread House tend to gain the most interest at these shows because it is an attractive way to bring a feeling of the holidays into the store and really increase impulse sales,” said Doon Wintz, president of the Chester, N.J.-based company.

The cakes are shipped frozen and have a three week thawed shelf-life in-store with another week afterwards, Wintz said. “We don’t use preservatives, but there is so much moisture in the cake and sugar is a great mold inhibitor, and the sugar on the outside helps protect it,” he added.

sandridgeSandridge Food Corp.
Sandridge Food Corp. went with the grain, showcasing its new line of grain salads made with quinoa, cous cous, wheat berries and faro. “They come in kits; just add sauce to it and mix it together,” said Mark R. Monaco, sales associate, at the Medina, Ohio-based company. “The stores are encouraged to add other ingredients. These can be served as-is as sides, or as a whole meal. Proteins can be added, diced apples, something to give it a crunch, like pecans. They can also be used as a topping on other salads, like on top of kale salad, or as a component in salad bars.”

TH Foods
With more and more consumers looking for gluten-free alternatives, officials at TH Foods think their Harvest Stone line offers a great alternative. The line, consisting of three flavors (original, bold and cheese) is gluten-, wheat- and cholesterol-free and offers 40% less fat than regular potato chips.

Jim Garsow, director of sales and marketing for the Loves Park, Ill.-based company, said that sales in the gluten-free snack segment exceeded $362 million last year and are growing at 36% clip. Harvest Stone, he said, is the first certified gluten-free snack mix on the market. TH Foods is supporting the product with a 12-pack display case and demo coupons.

“About 30% of consumers are looking for gluten-free snacks,” Garsow added. “Up until now there were no options for these consumers in the snack food category. We have the solution and they taste great.”

Three Bridges
Along with a new name, Three Bridges launched a bunch of new products. Diana Wang, vice president of marketing for the Benicia, Calif.-based company said the company is focusing on chef-crafted meals that are designed for the higher end of the market and emphasize quality and ethnic flavors.

Wang said that Three Bridges, which changed its name from Pasta Prima, is adding six SKUs to its line. The new products are chicken paella, chicken enchilada, arroz con pollo, butternut squash, sausage & jalapeño and sausage & basil lasagna. The 20- to 22-ounce packages are good for two servings and are priced between $6.49 and $8.99 each.

“No one is doing prepared meals at this quality,” she said. “The emphasis on quality is designed to bring a different type of consumer into this market and help retailers create a premium sub-category.”

Tortuga Rum Cake Co.
Everyone was having a ball at the Tortuga Rum Cake Co. booth because the new Tortuga rum balls were being sampled. “Supermarkets can sell these in the candy aisle,” said Tanya Lazarus, sales and marketing manager, Caribbean and Latin America, at Miami-based Tortuga.

“One of the great things about Tortuga is there are 20 million people every year that go on Caribbean cruises and that is where they have become familiar with our brand over the last 30 years,” said Robert Ward, national sales manager. “We are the number-one item sold in cruise ship gift shops, and we are real big around holidays, so we do a lot of shippers around Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and other holidays.”

Venice Bakery
“Gluten-free” was the secret password at Venice Bakery, with the El Segundo, Calif.-based company displaying its line of gluten-free bread crumbs, pizza crust, calzones and pastas.

“We have a branded program and a private label program,” said Joe Tedeschi, president. “We make our gluten-free products with our own flour blends consisting of rice flour, potato flour and tapioca flour that are blended in-house.”

wi2Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board (
The Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board celebrated the 20th anniversary of its Master Cheesemaker program and What’s New From Wisconsin newsletter by showcasing dozens of new cheeses from several of its artisan members. Among the products featured were omega-3 cheeses, produced from milk from cows fed a special omega-3 rich diet, Weird Sisters from Cedar Grover cheese made with cow and buffalo milk and Golden Age Nut Brown Ale Caerphilly cheese marbled with nut brown ale. Originally from Wales, Caerphilly is light and flaky with flavor notes akin to feta, parmesan and cheddar.

“Our packaging is so beautiful that people will buy this at Christmas for gifts,” said Beth Bye, a spokesperson for Harmony Specialty Dairy Foods, based in Stratford, Wis. “It is great on its own, sliced on a burger or shredded on a brat.”

Burnett Dairy Cooperative, based in Grantsburg, Wis. showcased its Burnett Dairy Dairy Case Brand Cheese in string, shred and block forms. “It is all about everyday artisan and bringing unique flavors to the dairy case,” said Nicki Peterson, general manager.

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