Specialty Food Magazine

MAY-JUN 2013

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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form. Fusion without confusion, in a sense. "These hybrid products also can do a good job of differentiating a company's offerings," Dornblaser says. "It can make them stand out and create something unique." Such is the case with Barbara's Hand-Made Cookie Pies, changing up two tried-and-true treats. For 50 years Barbara Schechter had whipped up butter cookies from a surefire recipe passed down from her grandmother. The cookies were a hobby, not a profession, but with all the praise she got from friends and colleagues, she still recognized they were something special. Schechter's longtime career in marketing came to an abrupt halt when her company downsized in 2010. At 58, she was without a job and realized finding a new one at her old salary was unlikely. After some disheartening searches, she decided to go into business for herself. "I didn't want to retire and I was nervous because of my age," she says, "but I'm tenacious." "I thought, what is it I do really well?" Schechter recalls. "I bake a good butter cookie. I've always believed in this cookie, but from my time in marketing I knew it wasn't different enough. There are a lot of good butter cookies out there. You have to know your competition. You need to be on trend, have a unique factor." Schechter looked at the trends happening around her and saw hybrid cars and hybrid beverages, such as energy-boosting drinks and vitamin-enhanced waters. "I thought maybe now was the time for a hybrid dessert," she says. It was her husband, Steve Schechter, now vice president of research and development, who suggested MORE HYBRIDS AMONG COOKIES AND TEAS A t the 2013 Winter Fancy Food Show, "botanical beverages" was one of the top five food trends recognized by the Specialty Food Association trendspotting panel, made up of food journalists and cookbook authors. This trend includes Numi Organic Tea's Carrot Curry, Beet Cabbage and Broccoli Cilantro teas, part of a line of savory teas introduced at the Show. Made with organic vegetables and wild herbs, they are heartier than tea but lighter than soup. Meanwhile, Teavana, which has more than 200 tea bars and emporiums throughout the U.S. and Canada, is among companies pushing the dessert-tea envelope. The company, which was acquired by Starbucks in late 2012, recently introduced sweet, dessertinspired teas with flavors that include Slimful Chocolate Decadence Oolong and CocoCaramel Sea Salt Herbal Tea. Similarly, The Republic of Tea offers its Cuppa Chocolate line of caffeine-free rooibos tea leaves combined with natural cocoa. The line is available in five dessert-friendly flavors: strawberry, Red Velvet, peppermint, coconut and banana. And DavidsTea, Montreal, has created snack- and dessert-inspired teas, with flavors like Birthday Cake, Cookie Dough and Movie Night. Each variety contains only 5 calories and 1 gram of sugar. The Movie Night variety features green tea mixed with pieces of apple and popped popcorn, while Cookie Dough blends white tea with cocoa nibs, almonds, walnuts, caramel pieces, cocoa brittle and chocolate chips. Savory cookies are another strong trend, most recently seen in Cookies for Grown-Ups, a savory cookie cookbook by Kelly Cooper (Red Rock Press). "I spent quite a bit of time in Europe and Southeast Asia, and desserts there aren't as sweet as they are in the U.S.," she says. "I started fooling around with recipes when I got back and saw how much people loved them when I served them with a glass of wine or a cold beer or cocktail, instead of putting out chips or carrot sticks." One of her biggest hits is the Refrescante, baked with cornmeal, parmesan, cream cheese and jalapeƱo. Alice B. Tookus Baking Company, Wellington, Fla., started selling savory cookies online in January 2012. "I liked the idea of something cookie-like to have with a glass of wine or cocktail," says co-owner Sandy Axelrod. Flavors include parmesan shortbread with fennel seed and fleur de sel, and bacon oatmeal raisin. Shortbread, too, is an increasingly ideal vehicle for showing off savory flavors. The Biscottea line from Bear Foods International, LLC, Seattle, offers a spinach and nutmeg flavor in its line, and Botanical Bakery in Fairfield, Calif., mixes spices and herbs for its shortbread recipe, available in flavors such as fennel pollen and cinnamon basil. Numi tea and Bear Foods International's Biscottea in Mint Tea Shortbread MAY/JUNE 2013 73

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