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Retailer Profiles.

Byline: Jan Fialkow

High Tech, High Touch

A team of retail dieticians combined with a website with a robust library of nutrition information and social media outreach helps Hannford Bros. connect with allergen-free shoppers

Customers can connect directly with registered dieticians Hannaford has on staff.

The company's website offers a wealth of information about the company's efforts to assist customers with a variety of health concerns.

Hannaford Bros. offers free nutrition demos and classes at its supermarkets in New York and New England. The Scarborough, Maine-based chain, a division of Delhaize America, is among the growing number of chains that have registered dieticians on staff.

In store and online, customers can connect with the chain's team of registered dieticians. All nutrition classes and demos are taught by a registered or certified dieticians and are free. Recently, the dieticians conducted in-store demos on Eating Allergy Free, Allergy Free Party Planning, and Eating for Digestive Wellness.

Topics covered are not exclusive to food allergies; the in-store events include topics such as Digestive Wellness, Eating for Healthy Blood Sugars, Food Package Claims, Reading Labels and Prenatal Nutrition.

From the comfort of their homes or work desks, shoppers can connect with the store's online registered dietician, Kris Lindsey. Each Wednesday at noon, Lindsey is on Facebook answering questions on a variety of diet and nutrition topics, including: eating tips for a healthy lifestyle, special dietary needs, understanding food labels and more. Customers with a specific question can also email Lindsey or another Hannaford dietician directly.

On its website, the company prominently features its Health + Nutrition section that includes information on food allergies, how to read labels for various free-from diets, shopping tips for gluten-free and low-sodium and low-sugar diets, and more.

Special Order

Niskayuna Co-op has shifted its focus to specialty foods, including gluten-free

Since its founding in 1943, Niskayuna Co-op has changed with the times.

What used to be the sole purveyor of groceries in Niskayuna, N.Y., has evolved into a specialty food store.

The co-op now offers an increased number of all natural and gluten-free items as well as a dedicated gluten-free freezer case. Tree of Life's Marty Stein, pictured, has helped the store with their product selection for more than 40 years.

In the past four or five years, the co-op has shifted its product mix, in light of increased completion from conventional supermarkets, mass retailers and drug stores - all which are selling food. "We used to call it a supermarket. Now we call it a food market," Don Bisgrove, general manager, said in the June 2013 issue of The Gourmet Retailer. "We're really into fresh foods, local foods, gluten-free and natural. We've reinvented ourselves."

In addition to serving as an incubator for local start-up food companies - the store has a robust selection more than 130 local products - the co-op has shifted away from most conventional items and has beefed up its selection of natural and organic products. These items are increasingly popular with the members of the co-op. To help members and other shoppers identify the items, the store uses shelf tags to highlight organic, all natural and gluten-free items. And the store has expanded its selection of gluten-free foods and added a dedicated freezer case to gluten-free foods.

Many of those products were introduced to the co-op by Marty Stein, account manager for Tree of Life, a KehE Company, who has worked with Niskayuna Co-op for 40 years.

What makes Niskayuna Co-op stand out, Stein says, is that it is "receptive to its customers' needs. They act fast. There's no chain of command. If a customer wants a product, we can get it for them the next day." Through Tree of Life, specialty foods and other items that are not in stock can be ordered. Customers can request an item in store or use the co-op's website to make a request.


Sticky Fingers Bakeries

Spokane, Wash.


Sticky Fingers Bakeries Introduces Gluten-free Scone Mixes

Consumers who are avoiding gluten can still enjoy scones, thanks to Sticky Fingers Bakeries' new gluten-free scone mixes.

"Gluten-free shouldn't mean taste-free, especially when it comes to baked goods," says Tom Owens, who co-founded Sticky Fingers Bakeries with Ted Vogelman in 1987.

The company that started as a retail bakery in San Diego now offers one the largest selections of all-natural English scones mixes, as well as muffin mixes, Irish Soda Bread mix, brownie mixes, and premium fruit spreads, butters and curds.

Given increasing customer demand, going gluten-free was a natural next step for Sticky Fingers. The new line of scones is available in Original, Apple Oat, Meyer Lemon and Blueberry. Whether it's tart bits of real Meyer Lemon or a sweet bite of spiced apple, the high-quality ingredients complement the light, crumbly texture of these make-at-home treats.

The mixes are certified by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO) and produced in dedicated gluten-free facilities according to GFCO standards. They're also preservative-free, and contain no artificial colors, flavors, trans fats or saturated fats.

Whole Foods Market

When it comes to guiding customers on special diets, Whole Foods Market is leading the charge

Customers can find a wealth of information on the Austin, Texas-based retailer's website. From its home page, customers can easily find information on special diets under Healthy Eating. "Eating outside the standard American diet doesn't have to mean deprivation. It's true: Navigating a specific way of eating can be challenging, but it doesn't have to be. We'll help you transform those limits into possibilities," the website reads. The Special Diets section is easy to read and organized by diet - Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Sugar Conscious, Vegetarian, Vegan, Wheat-free, Low-fat and Low-sodium. Plus, there are links to respected third-party resources - the Mayo Clinic, WebMD, National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse and Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network, to name a few.

Catering to customers with specific food needs/wants is a hallmark of Whole Foods.

Also from the website, customers can find a list of appropriate products that are available in their local Whole Foods Market and recipes. Before they go shopping, they can educate themselves on the foods and ingredients to avoid - right from the website. And there are recipes and resources.

The Whole Foods website offers information on ingredients in products as well as recipes for customers on special diets.

In the Portland, Maine, store visited by The Gourmet Retailer, there's a 30-foot section of gluten-free and free-from products. Snacks, baking mixes, cookies, granolas and cereals are a few of the product categories represented. Some free-from items are also shelved in-line with their conventional counterparts.

Stores oftentimes offer in-store events, and special diets is a popular topic. Many of the locations have a community room that can be used to host local support groups.


TH Foods Inc.

Loves Park, Ill.


Crunchmaster Popped Edamame Chips

TH Foods creates and markets products that provide solutions for consumers interested in living lifestyles of health and sustainability. The company strives to bring innovative, better-for-you, rice-based crackers and snacks to the U.S. and Canada. TH Foods is the exclusive manufacturer of Japanese-style rice crackers in North America and is known for producing high quality, certified gluten-free Crunchmaster Multi-Seed and Multi-Grain crackers. The company is in the process of obtaining Non-GMO Project Verified status for all applicable products.

One of its recent introductions is Crunchmaster Popped Edamame Chips which are made with simple ingredients and air-popped to a light, crispy perfection. In addition to being certified gluten-free by the Gluten Free Certification Organization and Non-GMO Project Verified, they are saturated fat-free, cholesterol-free, and have 3 grams of protein per 18-chip serving (30 grams). Their unique scoop shape makes them a great dipping chip. Available in two flavors: Sea Salt and Wasabi Soy. Minimum order is four pallets, 72 cases per pallet. SRP: $2.99.

Comeback Kid

Winn-Dixie makes catering to customers with dietary needs a priority

Since emerging from bankruptcy and being bought by Bi-Lo, Jacksonville, Fla.-based Winn-Dixie has undergone a remarkable transformation. The renovated stores are now bright, cheerful and consumer friendly.

At Winn-Dixie, shelves are identified as containing gluten-free products. And products on those shelves are included in the weekly mix of sale items.

Part of the welcoming vibe is the chain's recognition that a distinct segment of its consumers want food to be part of their health regimen. The website has a Healthy Living section that promotes eating as integral to a healthy lifestyle. Among the section's options is a Special Dietary Needs page. It includes information on living with diabetes plus lactose-free, heart-healthy, vegetarian & vegan, kosher and gluten-free living. The gluten-free page, for example, lets consumers know that gluten can show up in a product's additives - not just in the main ingredients - and stresses the necessity to read labels. There's a link to a 10-page list of all the Winn-Dixie private-label products that are gluten-free plus a link to all the Winn-Dixie stores that have gluten-free sections.

In all stores, consumers will find gluten-free, allergen-free and lactose-free foods mixed in on the shelves or in the refrigerated cases with their traditional counterparts. In the designated stores, an aisle dedicated to gluten-free, allergen-free and organic foods sets up a destination for interested shoppers. Store personnel are eager to help and answer questions about what's available and where to find it. In select South Florida store, shoppers can even find gluten-free products in the large, well-stocked kosher departments.


San-J International Inc.

Richmond, Va.

800-446-5500; 804-226-8333

San-J's Gluten Free Tamari Soy Sauce makes it possible for gluten-free customers to enjoy soy sauce and Asian sauces once again.

Established in 1804 in Japan, San-J is a brewer of premium Tamari Soy Sauce that is naturally brewed for up to six months with 100 percent soybeans and no wheat. This high concentration of soy protein gives San-J Tamari a richer and smoother taste. San-J is dedicated to providing high quality, all-natural products that their customers can feel good about.

San-J Tamari is certified gluten-free by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization and is certified kosher, vegan, and Non-GMO Project Verified.

San-J's other gluten-free products include: Asian Cooking Sauces, Salad Dressings and Brown Rice Crackers. New additions include Organic Gluten Free Tamari Travel pack that was created in response to consumer requests for easy gluten-free on-the-go. San-J has also reformulated its popular all-natural instant soups to be certified gluten-free. Flavors include White Miso and Wakame.

"We are very excited that we are adding more gluten-free products to give gluten-free consumers more choices. We exhibit at many consumer gluten-free shows throughout the year, and we really enjoy connecting with people there and learning about their needs and wants," says Takashi Sato, president of San-J and an eighth generation member of San-J's founding family.


Maple Hill Creamery

Stuyvesant, N.Y.


Tim and Laura Joseph founded Maple Hill Creamery in 2009 with the simple desire to make the healthiest yogurt they could for their kids, using certified organic milk from their own 100% grass-fed family cows.

They soon found that 100% grass-fed dairy was better for everyone from the cows to the consumers. 100% grass-fed organic dairy farms produce the highest quality milk, support farmers' prosperity, and ensure that dairy cows live longer and healthier lives - all while improving the health and fertility of grazing land.

They make their European-style whole milk yogurt differently. They rely on a very local supply of milk from 100% grass-fed certified organic small farms near Stuyvesant, N.Y. They don't homogenize, strain, or skim the milk and use only scant amounts of authentic extracts, fruit puree, organic sugar, and real maple syrup to sweeten and flavor their yogurt. They favor a slower, gentler 12-hour culturing process, and don't add any thickeners, colors, or preservatives. Ever.

The result? A traditionally tart, full-fat, barely-sweet cup of smooth European-style yogurt with a luxurious "creamline" layer to savor.
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Author:Fialkow, Jan
Publication:Gourmet Retailer
Geographic Code:1U2NY
Date:Jun 15, 2014
Previous Article:Take One, They're Free. (Or at least Free From).
Next Article:Consumer events of interest to the allergen-free consumer.

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