Specialty Food Magazine

FALL 2019

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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Winter Fancy Food Show Booth #6918 Authentic Vietnamese Chicken Pho Broth www.mamalaskitchen.com 844-284-5444 Instagrammable." "In the food and beverage industry there's high turnover of staff," Lee adds, "and our product is very easy to use. All the craft and skill has been done in Australia." And now there's more craft and skill going into the Etheringtons' business in Australia where they're developing b'Lure for the cocktail industry. The blue-hued, concentrated liquid extract made from but- terf ly pea f lowers changes to pink and purple when lemon or lime juice is added. Last year they also launched Gingle Bells Gin Baubles, brightly colored little liquor bottles to decorate Christmas trees. Lee is behind building a distillery to make the gin in-house. "It's the perfect gift," Lee says of the gin baubles. "Or a little treat for yourself on those nights when you're up late, try- ing to get through the drudgery parts of Christmas." Once again, it's a playful holi- day idea no one seems to have thought of before. Maybe it will catch on instantly or maybe it will take a while. Lee seems ready for either outcome, explaining simply: "I like a challenge." category has seen some improvement as cocktail mixers have strengthened in select retail shops as well as mass retail outlets. At the same time, Wild Hibiscus smartly pursued food and beverage service opportunities to build the brand. It paid off and currently comprises 30 to 40 percent of sales. In fact, Wild Hibiscus Flowers in Syrup won the Front Burner Foodservice Pitch Competition at the Summer Fancy Food Show, judged by a panel of specialty food buyers. Chris Muir, with the company since 2006 and the director of operations in North America, gave the victorious pre- sentation. The wow factor proved to be when he served hibiscus f lowers in f lutes of Champagne, basically the same party trick performed in 1998. "A good bartender or chef in a busy location will educate thousands of con- sumers in a week," Muir says of the ready- made, candied red f lower, "and it's so ing hibiscus using our system within three months. If they put in fruit trees or oil palm trees they had no income for five years, and that's when families break down." The hibiscus products are not certified organic but no pesticide sprays are used. The only insect that scars the f lowers is the tiny white thrip. When that happens, the imperfect petals are used for tea, in extracts, jams, and cocktail syrups. Today, Wild Hibiscus Flower Company works with 150 farming fami- lies in Malaysia, Thailand, and Australia, delivering the blossoms to custom-built fac- tories where they're blast-frozen and sent to Sydney where the final products are made. The company's first exports were to the United Kingdom in the early 2000s, where they were a hit, then to continental Europe where they also did well. They entered the U.S. market in 2008 and struggled to find a niche in retail sales. In recent years, that 42 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE specialtyfood.com producer profile Julie Besonen writes for The New York Times and is a restaurant columnist for nycgo.com.

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