Specialty Food Magazine


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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Page 68 of 139

ular, tend toward a DIY approach, desiring authenticity in their meals but still seeking to save time and convenience through so- called fast-scratch meal kits. "We are definitely observing a change in the demographic and are cultivating millen- nials as customers, as well as more men," says Frontier Soup's Anderson, whose company sells dried mixes of beans, grains, and veg- etables for at-home, fast-scratch preparation. Seeing a need for a versatile kit with organic ingredients to appeal to health- conscious consumers, Purely American recently introduced its Farmstead Soup line. "This line offers stove-top, slow-cook- er, and vegetarian recipes all on one box," says owner Ray Leard. Best sellers include 9 Bean Soup, Summer BBQ, and a lentil variety. Observing a steady movement for lower-sodium products, Purely American will be adding new additions to its Salt-Free Slow Cooker line in 2015. Major Packaging Changes It's not just flavors and ingredients that are evolving. Another sign of the changing times is a move beyond the can. Pouches, jars, sus- tainable packaging, and portable features are giving soups a new image. Known for its BPA-free TetraPak packaging, Pacific Foods sees its cartons as an important component to the success of its soups. "The most important [attribute] is taste," says Hummel. "Aseptically processed soups taste fresher and closer to homemade than if they were in cans." category spotlight CATEGORY VISIONARIES These innovators are finding ways to bring soups to a new market. Fishpeople Seafood: Premium Sustainable Products Duncan Barry and his team at Fishpeople, in Portland, Ore., are on a mission to convince consumers that premium, sustainable seafood can be convenient. Fishpeople makes shelf-stable soups in microwaveable pouches that can be heated and ready to serve in minutes. "We offer a premium sustainable product that is completely traceable back to its source," says Barry, Fishpeople's co-founder and CEO. Keeping a close connection with its Pacific Northwest roots, the company purchases local ingredients whenever possible. Fishpeople lets shoppers look up the full story of its ingredients by scanning a QR code on the package or entering their purchase's lot number on the company's website. "The more transparent you are, the more people trust you," Barry says. The products are packaged in a flexible BPA-free retort pouch, which gently cooks the contents with steam heat, giving it an 18-month shelf life. "Retort pouch technology is a dominant force in Europe and Asia," Barry notes. Its use extends beyond soups, into baby foods, produce, and more, he explains. "[American] consumers don't completely understand it yet, but it is going to be a major category." Fishpeople's products appeal to the time starved or those averse to cooking seafood. Tapping into culinary and ethnic trends, bisques and chowders borrow flavor influences from Thailand, Vietnam, and other Pacific Rim countries, with such offerings as Chili Blanco (with tuna, sea clams, and Pacific pink shrimp), Coconut Red Curry Seafood Bisque, and Alder Smoked Wild Salmon Chowder. Frontier Soups: Dry Mixes for Creativity The thought of a business selling dried bean-based soup mixes never entered caterer Trisha Anderson's mind until a friend asked, as a favor, for her to provide food at a seasonal holiday boutique. Her recipe, an 11-bean soup mix called Minnesota Heartland, received an overwhelming response from shoppers. "Next thing I knew I found myself experimenting with dried soups," Anderson recalls. "I was focused on how to create a top-quality soup meal in a dried base, as opposed to just a bag of beans." She would come to use such ingredients as bouquet garni, dried and freeze-dried vegetables like shiitake mushrooms or corn, and rice, lentils, and other grains in her creations, which evolved into a line of 34 soup mixes, each with a regional tie reflected in its name. "It authenticated the "We are defnitely observing a change in the demographic and are cultivating millennials as customers, as well as more men." 66 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE specialtyfood.com

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