Fancy Food Show: GMO Labeling Panel Talks Transparency, Consumer Education

Throughout the session that extended past its hour-long scheduled time, panelists emphasized a focus on product transparency, building consumer awareness and transforming the supply chain to increasing production of non-GMO ingredients. Errol Schweizer of Whole Foods Market, the national specialty food retailer that announced earlier this year a plan to mandate GMO labeling for all its more than 300,000 SKUs by 2018, noted that the national retailer’s non-GMO products are selling at two to three times the rate of overall store growth. Read more …

Judging the Cheesemonger Invitational

Cheesemonger Invitational

Organized chaos was the theme of the fourth annual Cheesemonger Invitational, held June 29 at Larkin Cold Storage in industrial Long Island City in Queens, N.Y. From the moment the judges arrived just shy of 5 p.m. until the 2013 champion was announced—an hour and a half past schedule—at 10:30 p.m., the event seemed to run on pure adrenaline. Read more …

Born in Brooklyn

Foragers, NYC

Even with all the preparation and cash flow that gave the business the boost needed to expand, the surprise impact of Hurricane Sandy last fall hit Foragers twofold, resulting in week-long closures of both stores. For a business founded on fresh products, the market lost nearly all its inventory, Castellani says. “We’ve just been very lucky that we had vendors who have been patient with us,” she notes. In the end, she sees even unlikely natural disasters as part of the territory. “You don’t go into this business unless you’ve got a bit of a risk-taking personality.” Read more …

The DIY Kit Boom

“I think we’re in a unique time right now,” Arora says. He describes the connection to food as a pendulum: past generations that made everything from scratch were followed by the rise of supermarkets and super-convenience enjoyed by increasingly busier baby boomers. As for millennials, Arora’s own group, he says: “I think our generation realized, ‘You know what, we went to one extreme from the other extreme, and there’s a cool middle ground here.” Read more …

12 Months of Candy Promotions

In the world of specialty chocolates, sampling isn’t always feasible, Sugar Sugar’s Joni Wheeler of Minneapolis’ Sugar Sugar Candy concedes. “I have some chocolate bars that are $15 each; I can’t afford to break one open to let the customers try,” she says. In those cases, she employs her own familiarity with the product. “If you have tasted the bar yourself, can express why it is special and convey your enthusiasm, it will sell.” Read more …

Profile: Beecher’s New York

The presence of an open-vat creamery, encased within sunlit glass walls, is a fitting introduction to this ambitious business. “Everything that we do tries to get people to think about the provenance of their food,” says Kurt Beecher Dammeier, founder of the market and café. Read more …

Profile: Arrowine & Cheese

Rosen speaks in superlatives of the products he sells, but the assertions hold weight because not one item for sale has gone untasted. “If it’s not the best, we’re not interested,” he says. Read more …

Profile: Milk & Honey Market

Milk & Honey Market, Baltimore, MD

Dana Valery built the store’s selection with a Venn diagram of her customer base in mind. “I look for the locavore customer, I look for the gourmet customer, I look for the convenience customer,” she says. “A product that fits into all those categories is great, but not everything is going to.” With these criteria, Valery has established a strong emphasis on organic and local products; nearly three-quarters of the stock bears one or both of these qualities. But labels aren’t everything: Valery often looks to the source to gauge a productRead more …