Posts tagged with "gluten-free"

Mochi ice cream goes mainstream

December 10, 2019

Walk into any supermarket today and you’ll find what used to be exotic edibles: They are called mochi—and they are small, frozen, bite-size balls of ice cream encased in rice dough.

In just the past three years, this finger food confection has evolved from an exotic niche dessert to a mainstream product, popping up nearly everywhere, including malls, street fairs, and major supermarket chains, CNN reports.

Mochi was invented in the United States nearly three decades ago, and was originally made using ice cream flavors with an Asian flair.

“It’s been around since the 1990s, but mochi ice cream was mostly available in specialty Asian food stores or on menus of Japanese restaurants in flavors like green tea, red bean and mango,” said Russell Barnett, a food industry veteran and chief marketing officer of Los Angeles-based My/Mo Mochi.

To help bring it to the masses, My/Mo created a flavor list most consumers felt instant familiarity with, such as chocolate sundae, S’mores, cookies & cream, strawberry, double chocolate and mint chocolate chip.

“I grew up eating vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream. Green tea and red bean weren’t a common part of the flavor profile in most households,” he told CNN.

Barnett recognized the inherent appeal of mochi ice cream to Millennials, a group he calls “a snacking generation.” Mochi is a portion-control snack of about 110 calories per ball, easy to hold and eat on the go. “We just retooled and adjusted it for today’s consumers,” he said.

My/Mo Mochi ice cream (which is gluten-free with some dairy free varieties) is produced at a manufacturing facility in Los Angeles and sold in packages of six, CNN reports. They’re also sold individually in portable freezers that Barnett calls self-serve “ice cream bars.”

Currently, My/Mo Mochi is now available in 20,000 stores nationwide. “We are in Target, Kroger, Walmart and everything in-between,” said Barnett. “We are reaching the masses where they shop.”

Competing mochi ice cream brands include Bubbies, Maeda-En and Mr. Mochi, but the My/Mo Mochi brand has captured close to 90% of market share, according to data from Nielsen. The brand’s sales were $175 million in annual revenue in 2019, according to Barnett.

Research contact: @CNN

Special-needs food delivery: Epicured is for people on restricted diets

October 30, 2019

Even people who are on the most restrictive diets can indulge in gourmet cuisine from Michelin-starred chefs thanks to Epicured, a new subscription meal-delivery service that intends to serve people who suffer from a range of health conditions—including Crohn’s and celiac diseases, CBS News reports.

The startup, which currently is delivering boxes of fresh food on the East Coast, between Boston and Washington, DC, offers low meals that are low in FODMAP carbohydrates (lactose, fructose, fructans, sugar alcohols, and galactans) for those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and are gluten-free for those with celiac disease. The food is non-GMO and contains no hormones, preservatives, or antibiotics.

The company’s co-founders, Richard Bennett and Renee Cherkezian, say they are committed to better integrating nutrition and healthcare, so that good-tasting food can be a part of patients’ lives.

“The idea of using nutrition in the healthcare system is something we want to promote not just for what people call chronic disease management but for prevention,” Bennett told CBS News.

Cherkezian said she was inspired by caring for a friend who was undergoing cancer treatment. “I saw the impact nutrition and a healthy diet had on recovery, so I wanted to hone in on my culinary skills,” she said.

She told the network news outlet that she had balanced two gigs—her full-time job as a nurse and an internship with chef David Burke—to gain practical experience before launching Epicured.

The duo, who met as freshman at Georgetown University, say their paths crossed 20 years later after independent careers in finance (Bennett) and nursing (Cherkezian). Their long-term history is part of what makes them good business partners, Bennett said.

“If you don’t have a deep relationship before you get into business together, it’s a yellow flag for me,” he said.

Research contact: @CBSNews

94% of caterers worldwide expect success in 2018|

February 5, 2018

Fully 94% of caterers worldwide polled by the International Caterers Association (ICA) in January believe that business will be up within the next year.

For many ICA members, 2017 was a good year, too, according to 72% of respondents to findings of the annual poll.

Asked about new dining requests, members mentioned that American cuisine (which has been the favorite in years past) was even more popular this year, with 44% of caterers saying it was their most requested.

Also growing in popularity were international and farm-to-table catering, at 23% and 18%, respectively. International cuisine is certainly on the rise, as only 6% of caterers said it was most requested in 2015.

As many caterers know, dietary accommodations are more common and more expected each year, and the results reflect this change. More than 90% of members who participated in the poll cater to vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free diets, and over 80% cater to peanut allergies, too. Another common dietary accommodation? Over 30% of caterers now cater to Kosher diets.

Within the past 12 months, the largest area of growth has been corporate catering, 54% of respondents said. Weddings took second, with 30% of members contacted saying they were their largest area of growth in 2017.

The biggest challenges? Staffing (54%) and sales (11%) were the biggest business struggles in 2017.

Research contact: 1-410-931-8100