Tag Archives: Food/Beverages

Gold for ALB-GOLD

By Jessenia Angulo

Pasta is the signature of Italian cuisine and ALB- GOLD the symbol of flavour and taste that comes from sustainable quality. ALB –GOLD has been recognized as “Best Organic Brand in 2012” in a competition among top brands conducted by LEBENSMITTEL PRAXIS and the bioexperten Consulting Group in Germany.

Combining only the best ingredients available and showcasing nutritious ancient grains while supporting organic and local GMO free agriculture, ALB-GOLD has become a landmark and reference for the organic movement in the region and at national and international level. Over 350,000 visitors gather each year at ALB-GOLD to trace back the high quality of its products, learn about nutrition, cooking, herbs and spices and the importance of the soil when talking about flavour and taste. A visit to the impressive premises at ALB-GOLD, the second pasta manufacturer in Germany, is enough evidence that pasta is not like pasta. Besides taste and product quality the award was given to this firm for its commitment to sustainable development, education and community service, product packaging and merchandising.

“This award reflects our commitment and dedication for a sustainable food production confirmed,” said André Freidler, Assistant to the Executive Board at ALB-GOLD.

Certifications and dedicated facility bolster Sindan Organic

By Amanda Doughty

Last year, Bolivian entrepreneur Teodosio Huayllani Marca embarked in a new venture, Sindan Organic, with the purpose of offering a diversified portfolio of superfoods of the highest quality such as quinoa, amaranth, sesame, cañahua and chia, to please the most discerning customers. Based on his 25 years of experience in a family business as leading producer, processor and trader of organic quinoa, Huayllani was aware of the growing demand for better quality control and safety standards required by food processors in the international market.

He sought a new challenge: In December 2011, Sindan was the first Bolivian firm to obtain the British Retail Consortium Certification (BRC v.5 Norm) for the processing and marketing of organic quinoa. This certification now allows Sindan direct access to strategic markets like baby food and gluten-free food processors, which are extremely demanding in terms of quality and safety. Sindan also obtained two additional certifications at the end of last year. ISO 22000:2005 confirms the company fulfills the requirements for a food safety management system, from reception and dried or wet cleaning and desaponization, to metal detection, and packaging and shipping of organic certified quinoa. ISO 9001:2008 certifies a proven efficient quality management system in the processing, marketing and exports of quinoa, amaranth and sesame. Huayllani and his team have commissioned the Association of Organic Producers Capura, a cooperative of organic and Fair Trade-certified Royal Quinoa farmers, to supply Sindan. The company also meets the requirements under the Norm NA NB 0038 for distribution and safe consumption of its products in the Bolivian market.

“It has been an amazing year and we feel satisfied with our accomplishments,” said Huayllani on the company’s first anniversary. “We have a competitive advantage and will continue to implement the latest methods and technology as market demands change.” Sindan’s strategy diversifying its product offering, adding other seeds like sesame and chia, and working with farmers in different regions of Bolivia will guarantee more business and development opportunities in the community. Currently, the company works with over 500 people including direct and indirect employees, and the families that produce organic and FAIRTRADE certified crops. As Sindan continues to expand their offerings, their strict standards for hygiene, safety and quality will apply to all new products. Sindan expects to reach in the next few months a processing capacity of 3,000 tonnes annually. At the moment, products are exported to the U.S., France, the Netherlands and Israel. Plans for 2012 include expanding into the domestic Bolivian market as well, launching retail packages of quinoa grain, flakes and flour, as well as grain and derivatives of cañahua, under their own label. Ensuring food security, sovereignty of their country, and Bolivian development remain a priority for Sindan. By making significant investments in their own country, Sindan has not only made outstanding returns but has also enhanced local sustainability and social responsibility. As the organic market evolves and the link from farmer to consumer grows shorter, companies such as Sindan will continue to thrive by offering specialized products of the utmost standards in product quality and sustainable company practices.

Winter Fancy Food Show illustrates continued Growth in Organic Sector

by Chelsea Kerrington

From Comfy House Foods quinoa blueberry pudding to Uncle Tong sun-ripened banana syrup, Victoria’s Kitchen almond water to Bison Brewing organic beer, the 2012 Winter Fancy Food Show, January 15-18th featured something for everyone scoping out the latest in organic and natural products. The National Association for the Specialty Food Trade, Inc. (NASFT) hosted the 37th show at San Francisco’s Moscone Center over the course of three bustling days.

Attendees were treated to seminars, workshops, cooking demonstrations, and product samples from over 1,300 exhibitors from 35 countries. Nearly a quarter of the exhibitors were exclusively organic and natural companies. Celebrating its 60th anniversary the NASFT touted 18,000-plus attendees at this winter show––the highest turnout yet.

Louise Kramer, Communications Director for NASFT, said that the California-based WFFS often features a greater percentage of organic and natural companies than the summer show on the east coast, which tends to highlight more international products. She explained that this year, for the first time, the show decided to combine the organic/natural exhibitor space with that of other companies. “It’s almost essential for specialty food companies to feature organic or natural options,” she said. “It was becoming increasingly difficult to draw a distinction since so many companies now have at least one product that falls into that category.” The winter show has seen at least a 6 percent increase in self-described organic/natural exhibitors since last year’s event, with nearly one-third of U.S. exhibitors fitting that category.

A proud consumer of natural products herself, Kramer said, “I brim with pride whenever I’m out shopping and see our members’ products.” In line with a philosophy of wellness and sustainability, in the past few years, Kramer has noticed a significant increase in the interest of the history behind the food people are purchasing. “Consumers really care about the people behind the products that they’re eating. [The FFS] is about sharing the passion behind the food.”

Throughout the aisles, a panel of trendspotters identified top five trends expected for 2012: pickling; drinks made from nuts; seeds and grains; coconut and ancient grains. Other trends as reported by NASFT included savory sweets; mindful snacks such as bean chips and seaweed; cocktail mix makeovers and new takes on both chai and fig. In most of these categories, a natural or organic version was available, with a particularly strong organic presence found in the groups of grains and coconut.

In their 2011 State of the Specialty Food Industry report, culled from three years of data across 51 specialty food segments, NASFT found that natural food stores in the United States are the fastest growing retail channel, with a sales jump of 14.7 percent between 2008 and 2010. In fact, nearly nine in 10 NASFT manufacturer members process or market an all-natural product, NASFT reported. While “all natural” was the key product characteristic of 89 percent of specialty food manufacturers in 2010, product features and claims such as “sustainable,” “organic” and “local” followed closely. Retailers, on the other hand, said that local products interest 75 percent of consumers today, with just over half of them most interested in organic products. Two-thirds of distributors said that sustainability would be the fastest growing claim within the next three years.

With a reported 55 percent of consumers purchasing organic foods, it is easy to see how these interests comingle. Natural products made from organic and fair trade ingredients, produced and packaged sustainably, had a considerable presence at this year’s show. Throughout the exhibitor halls, companies that did not offer all-natural options last year were now seen featuring a natural line, while some all-natural products from 2010 were now USDA-certified organic.

Recycled and biodegradable packaging was frequently seen, from new 100 percent compostable tea sachets at Two Leaves and a Bud, to paper beverage containers by C+ Swiss Hemp Ice Tea. Companies like Comfy House Foods, who currently offer organic guacamole and hummus, are looking to expand their certification to other products, sourcing ingredients such as quinoa and chia seed organically as well. Several companies were also already offering organic products, but had yet to complete the certification process.

Another heartening theme throughout the show was the step toward organic options taken by some of the bigger, more established companies. The Republic of Tea was the first company to display the Certified USDA-Organic seal on their tea, and continues to expand their organic offerings with a growing line of exclusively organic tea, as well as a new organic kids’ tea line. “With over 300 varieties of tea, most lines feature at least one organic option,” said Eva Wong, Director of PR. The company plans to launch additional organic products at shows throughout 2012.

As international distributers, manufacturers, brokers, retailers and “foodies” came together for the 2012 Winter Fancy Food Show, the overall message was clear among the sea of exhibitors. Globally, there is continued growth toward organic products and sustainable practices. The encouraging interest in organic and fair trade seen in 2011 is expected to continue to increase through 2012, with both new and classic products changing to uphold healthful and environmentally conscious standards.