Evol Foods Announces Retail Partnership With Target
Evol Foods, Boulder, Colo.-based maker of made-from-scratch natural and organic frozen meals and snacks, will have a number of its burritos and entrees available at Target stores nationwide. By expanding distribution to a wider audience, Evol is continuing to share its mission to provide convenient, great-tasting, nutritious frozen food options that focus on using organic, all-natural ingredients, the company says.
To kick off Evol’s product distribution at Target, the company says it will be offering limited-time price deals.
Through June 15, customers will be able to purchase two of the frozen entree bowls for $7 and two of the frozen burritos for $4.
“Our partnership with Target marks an exciting time for Evol Foods as we expand and grow,” says Phil Anson, COO and founder. “We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to share our love of food with the Target community and provide shoppers with real food that is not only all-natural and healthy, but convenient and perhaps most important, delicious.”
Evol Foods started with burritos and has recently expanded its burrito product line to include a number of healthy options. Earlier this year, the company expanded its Classic line of burritos, including its best selling Bean & Cheddar and Cilantro Lime Chicken flavors, to include two new lines—”Plus” Burritos with Guacamole and Gluten Free Burritos.
Evol’s products have no artificial flavors, colors, additives, preservatives or fillers.
Shop And Save Market Opens In Downers Grove, Ill.
A new 45,000-s.f. Shop and Save Market opened earlier this month in Downers Grover, Ill., outside Chicago. The store is located at 7241 Lemont Rd. in the Downers Park Plaza.
“This is a very special store, for all of us,” said Ed Dubek, store director. “We are putting a lot of thought in tailoring our offering in a way which will resonate with the community. Exceeding expectation is our goal and we are ready to take it on with this store.”
The store features a European-style deli, offering a variety of deli cuts, many of them home-smoked and uniquely European. In addition, the store boasts many natural, soy, gluten- and nitrate-free deli choices as well as a variety of global items. The store’s bakery offers homemade cakes and cookies and more than than 20 kinds of breads and rolls baked fresh in store each day. The department also includes pastry chefs.
A full-service meat counter offers a selection of ready-to-cook items and unique cuts of meat, including fresh lamb and seafood.
The store’s “fresh to go” area features a variety of homemade Mediterranean delicacies like cured olives, hummus, tabbule, baba ganoush as well as sandwiches and salads, Greek yogurt and fruit cups. The soup counter offers more than 25 soup choices. In addition, Shop and Save Market in Downers Grove includes a number of “heat and serve” homemade dinners and sides.
“This new store is the working mother’s dream come true,” said Eva Jakubowski, president of Shop and Save Market. “Thanks to us, getting a nutritious, home-cooked meal on a table takes just a few minutes—our kitchen does all the work.”
Bellisio Foods To Buy Overhill Farms For $81M
The Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal reports that Overhill shareholders still must approve the deal. That is expected this summer.
Terms of the deal were not announced.
Overhill’s other customers include Panda Restaurant Group, Jenny Craig, Safeway, Pinnacle Foods Group and American Airlines. The California-based company had $194.4 million in sales for fiscal 2012.
“The addition of Overhill Farms’ manufacturing capabilities and its customer and brand portfolios align perfectly with Bellisio’s growth strategies,” Bellisio CEO Joel Conner said in a news release. “We believe that Overhill’s brand portfolio and West Coast manufacturing presence enables us to unlock meaningful synergies and better serve existing and new customers through expanded capabilities and a broader offering.”
Bellisio, which is based in Duluth, Minn., and is the third-largest producer of frozen entrees in the U.S., produces more than 200 frozen entrees and snacks under the Michelina’s name, among other brands.
Bellisio was owned by Jeno Paulucci and was sold to New York private-equity firm Centre Partners in December 2011.
Rouses Partners With Royal Family Farms To Offer Fresh Miss. Goat, Lamb
The selection in the meat case at Rouses Markets just got bigger and even more local, thanks to a new and exclusive partnership between family-owned Rouses and family-owned Royal Family Farms of Crystal Springs, Miss., to retail goat and lamb.
“I love the idea of two local family companies working together,” says Donny Rouse, Rouses’ managing partner. “But more than that, I love the way this goat and lamb tastes. It’s the very highest restaurant quality.”
The partnership with Royal Family Farms allows Rouses to have fresh goat and lamb in their meat cases within two days of processing. The meat currently is available at more than half of Rouses locations, but expansion plans are already in the works.
“I don’t know who is more excited about this, our butchers or the chefs who shop in our stores every day,” says Rouse.
Rouses Markets and Royal Family Farms both have their roots in produce. Donny Rouse’s great-grandfather, J.P. Rouse, founded the City Produce Co. in 1923. City Produce supplied fruits and vegetables from Louisiana’s independent farms to the rest of the state and eventually stores around the country. Lanier Wilcher started his vegetable farm in Mississippi’s Southern Hinds County in 1897. His great-grandchildren, Charles and Dwayne Pickett, began raising cattle on the property in 1982. The Picketts started with 500 cattle but, with high demand, they quickly expanded, adding 1,900 acres to the original vegetable farm’s acreage. In 2012, they bought their first goats and lambs. Their meat is retailed exclusively at Rouses.
Donny Rouse says he pushes for new, local ingredients and products every day—helping ranchers, farmers, fishermen and manufacturers get to market.
“You’re either local or you’re not,” says Rouse. “If it’s grown, caught, raised or made here, you’ll find it at Rouses. And I’m not talking just one flat of local tomatoes or a few six packs of one local beer like you can find at a chain; you’ll find everything local on our shelves and in our cases every day.”
In addition to Royal Family Farms’ duck and goat, Rouses sells grass-fed beef from Acadiana’s Gonsoulin Farms, and pork and duck from Chappapeella Farms, a 40-acre, operation in Husser, La. Their prized pigs and Pekin ducks are reserved exclusively for Rouses and high-end restaurants owned by chefs and restaurateurs like John Besh, Emeril Lagasse and Dickie Brennan.
Rouses Markets is based in Thibodaux, La., and has 38 locations in Louisiana and Mississippi. The company employs more than 5,400 team members.
Beyond Meat Launches Chicken-Free Strips
Beyond Meat, the makers of plant-based protein foods that take the animal out of meat, is rolling out Chicken-Free Strips—offering consumers a plant protein that the company says is being touted as the most realistic chicken substitute to hit the market.
Beyond Meat provides consumers with clean, plant-based proteins that replicate the taste, texture and nutritional benefits of meat. Backed by Twitter co-founders Biz Stone and Evan Williams’ Obvious Corp. investment firm and San Francisco-based Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers, Beyond Meat’s first introduction—Chicken-Free Strips—has been in the works for a decade.
Passionate about improving health, reducing ecological footprint and improving animal welfare, Beyond Meat founder and CEO Ethan Brown believes Americans are ready for more choices when it comes to protein—specifically clean, plant-based proteins. By launching a chicken substitute that doesn’t sacrifice on taste, chew or satisfaction, he believes anyone looking to reduce meat consumption will be able to do so easily.
“We believe the future of protein is animal-free. We want Beyond Meat to be sold as a meat alternative in places where you would ordinarily find meat. Whether that is in the meat case at your local grocery store or at your local fast food restaurant chain,” Brown said. “This is very different from how meat alternatives are positioned today where you have to hunt them down in a separate refrigerated section far from areas where you would find meat.”
Beyond Meat launched its Chicken-Free Strips nationally in Whole Foods Market in April. Tropical Smoothie will be the first national restaurant chain to offer Beyond Meat as a substitute for chicken in salads and sandwiches in 338 locations across 36 states beginning Tuesday.
Beyond Meat Chicken-Free Strips are made with a blend of pea and soy protein offering consumers 20g of protein per 3-oz. serving and 120 calories. The strips have no saturated or trans fat and are cholesterol free, gluten free, dairy free, meat free, egg free, GMO free, hormone free and antibiotic free. They are available in three flavors: Southwest, Lightly Seasoned and Grilled.
Dairy Farmers Want Grocery Shoppers To Get To Know Them
by Terrie Ellerbee/associate editor
What would dairy farmers like to say to grocery retailers?
Don’t overcharge for milk, but don’t devalue it by undercharging for it either, and please stop putting our product in the farthest back corner of the store.
But the more important request from dairy farmers is a simple one: Introduce us to your shoppers.
The Shelby Report visited two dairy farms in the north Georgia town of Clermont to see the operations and hear from the people whose cows produce milk sold in grocery stores.
Dairy farmers would like to see grocery retailers move more toward informing their shoppers about store offerings—whether products are local, who makes them and how they are produced.
What real dairy farmers look like
Dixie Truelove (pictured above) was born into the dairy business, and got her first calf when she was 6, maybe 7 years old. She remembers being a little older when her first one, named “Sweetie Pie,” died.
Few people consider the little girl Dixie Truelove was when they think of dairy farmers. In fact, few people think of a woman like her. It’s an image problem, and she’s tired of it.
“I want people to see what farmers really look like, because I think they have that idea in their head that they’re not intelligent, for one thing, that they’re all really old and in overalls,” she says. “As the years keep going by, it bugs me even more that there’s an idea of what a farmer should look like, and yet these people work hard, are intelligent, will try new things, new ways of doing things to try to stay in business.
“They really care about what they’re producing, which should be important for the consumer to know, because we are taking care of your food for you, so you don’t have to worry about it,” Truelove says.
Aimee Jones, industry relations communication account manager for the non-profit Southeast United Dairy Industry Association (SUDIA), shared that many dairy farmers have high-level college degrees.
She quotes another dairy farmer who says that in the course of their day, many have to be a horticulturist, veterinarian, nutritionist and scientist—and still milk the cows.
“I don’t think people always appreciate that,” Jones said.
The solution Truelove suggests is one that has been catching on in supermarkets, though not necessarily in the dairy department.
“I think the Krogers and all of the local stores here should really have the photos of your local dairy farmers in their stores promoting the fact that it is still a family business and the fact that we really do care about the product in the store, because we’re also a consumer and we’re shopping right there with them,” Truelove says. “I’ve always thought they should tap into the fact that they have farmers in their area. Sometimes some of the stores may have had a photo with the fruit and vegetables, but even that wasn’t a true local farmer. I just think they could always find local people and have their photo in the store.”
Jones says SUDIA is working on that, but with dairy farm families from Alabama to Virginia to serve, it is no small job.
“We’ve got some point-of-sale retail pieces that are going into Kroger and Publix in Georgia and North Carolina,” Jones says. “But for every retail market, to do that is difficult—but we’re trying.”
The association has taken the approach of going where consumers are: online.
SUDIA’s “Dedicated to Dairy” website features farm families as well as nutritional information, recipes and events—including June Dairy Month—and also highlights the organization’s work with schools and other organizations.
This year marks the 75th anniversary of June Dairy Month. It began as a way to stabilize demand during periods of peak production. Originally named “National Milk Month,” it actually was started by chain stores.
Truelove has another idea for grocery retailers, one that may be easier to implement. It’s something a local Kroger store already does.
“The consumer isn’t forced—if all they need is that gallon of milk, there it is right there on the shelves near the checkout,” she says. “You have your milk right there to grab and go, which I think is important from a consumer’s standpoint.”
They can come back and buy the rest of the groceries another time, she says, but when shoppers need just that one staple, it would be nice if it were available in a more convenient spot in the grocery store.
Truelove Dairy began in 1954, when Dixie Truelove’s father and an uncle started it. Their milk is currently picked up by the Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association every other day. While the ultimate destination may vary, recently Truelove Dairy’s milk has been packaged in Publix, Kroger and Ingles private label jugs.
The Glover family keeps cows comfortable
It’s not clear yet whether 10-year-old Eliza Jane Glover will be the next generation to run the family dairy farm. Her father Scott represents the fourth generation in the business. He and his wife Jennifer own and operate Glo-Crest Dairy.
Marrying into the dairy business was an eye opener for Jennifer Glover, a teacher. The constancy of it caught her a bit off-guard.
“Anything can tear up, break or happen on the farm, and no matter where you bought a plane ticket to or what you planned to do, that doesn’t matter,” she says. “That was a big adjustment for me as far as being so dedicated to something. I guess that’s something that I’ve learned to live with because there are so many other positive aspects of farming—the rewards that we see and the passion that Scott has for it.”
Cows are milked at least twice a day, every day, usually at 4:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. The co-op the Glovers belong to, Southeast Milk, sends a truck to pick up the milk every third day or so (sometimes more often as needed). From there the milk goes to be processed and then on to retail stores.
The journey from cow to the refrigerated case may not be terribly complicated, but the pricing structure certainly is, and that’s something dairy farmers have no control over. What they do control isn’t valued enough, they say. Hard work, sacrifice and caring go into the production of what often is a loss leader in the grocery store.
At Glo-Crest Dairy, each of the 60 or so cows is a registered Holstein and has a name. Their comfort is paramount. During Georgia’s hot summers, the dairy uses fans and misters to help keep the cows cool. They have sand and sawdust bedding to lie on and can roam from the freestyle barn out into the pasture on nice days.
Great care is taken to ensure their feed is just the right mix. Each cow eats 100 pounds of feed and drinks 50 to 60 gallons of water a day. They can weigh up to 1,600 pounds.
“I think one of the things that is a misconception is that farmers just use their cows, but what they don’t realize is if that cow’s not healthy and well taken care of, she’s not going to be profitable. Therefore, the dairyman is not going to be profitable,” Scott Glover says.
The nutritive and economic value of milk cannot be overstated, and while it should be priced low enough so that it is affordable, the price also should reflect the work that goes into it, he says.
“I think grocers use milk as a way of getting people into their stores,” Scott Glover says. But then when grocers sell milk for prices that he likens to “giving it away…it really almost makes milk look like, ‘It’s not important to us,’” he says. “But for what it takes to produce milk and get it to the grocery store, milk ought to be priced a lot higher than what it’s selling for.”
The Glovers have become retailers themselves. They opened Mountain Fresh Creamery in 2011 about six miles from their dairy farm. There they bottle and sell their all natural, non-homogenized whole milk, lowfat milk and buttermilk, as well as heavy cream, butter, about a dozen or so flavors of ice cream and ground beef from cows raised on the farm. The milk from Glo-Crest Dairy that eventually will be in grocery stores is what’s left over after the retail products are made.
The Glovers also invite other local producers to sell their honey, sausage, jams and jellies in the creamery’s retail store.
MorningStar Farms Debuts Mediterranean Chickpea Veggie Burger
MorningStar Farms is introducing its Mediterranean Chickpea Veggie Burger, packed with chickpeas and vegetables.
“The Mediterranean Chickpea Veggie Burger is a bold addition to the MorningStar Farms’ lineup of meatless burgers,” says Michael Allen, president of Kellogg Frozen Food. “And with hearty, delicious chickpea recipes gaining popularity, we are excited to be bringing the brand’s first chickpea burgers to market, especially as summer grilling kicks off.”
The MorningStar Farms Mediterranean Chickpea Veggie Burgers come four to a pack and can be found in the frozen food section at retailers across the country.
Oscar Mayer’s New Products Include The Bacon Dog
Oscar Mayer said earlier this week that it will soon begin rolling out its five new hot dog products—including the Bacon Dog.
Beginning in June, consumers will be able to purchase the Bacon Dog—the first bacon hot dog on the market, according to Oscar Mayer. It is made with hardwood-smoked, authentic Oscar Mayer bacon.
“No one knows bacon like Oscar Mayer,” said Jared Baker, director of Oscar Mayer hot dogs. “We know Americans love bacon, and we know they love hot dogs, so it seemed like the perfect time for us to introduce our first hot dog made with bacon.”
Additionally, and also available beginning next month, Oscar Mayer is bringing back its Smokies product. The new Oscar Mayer Smokies Smoked Sausages will be sold in 14-oz., eight-count packages. Smokies are made with coarse ground pork and beef, and smoked with hardwood.
Oscar Mayer also is adding to its line of Selects hot dogs. The new Chicken Breast Hot Dog will continue with the Selects tradition of using no artificial preservatives, flavors or colors. Additionally, the hot dog is made with quality chicken breast, contains no added hormones and is gluten free.
Oscar Mayer has re-branded its 98% Fat Free Wieners and Light Beef Franks as Extra Lean Franks and Lean Beef Franks, respectively. The new Lean and Extra Lean Franks are full bun length including lean cuts of quality meat.
The complete line of Oscar Mayer dogs and franks can be found in the refrigerated meat case in most grocery stores nationwide.