“Hot” New Habanero Varietal Is Heatless

shishito-pepper

The shishito — another mild pepper varietal popularized by Noah Robbins.

Just as you’ve never heard anyone say they drink sweet tea just for the sugar, it’s highly unlikely you’ve every heard someone say they eat Habanero peppers just for their wonderful taste. That’s about to change.

A guy who clearly got bit by a ‘crazy-as-a-fox’ bug has found a way to consistently breed the heat out of the Habanero, leaving a “tangy, sweet, melon-like flavor,” Ark Foods CEO Noah Robbins told Munchies.vice. Robbins’ company, which has farms in New York, North Carolina and Florida, specializes in what he calls “interesting” vegetables, such as that mild, tasty Habanero and the shishito pepper, a sweet Asian variety.

Robbins first encountered the heat-free Habanero at a farmers’ market in New York City. The seller didn’t have many available, but Noah was so impressed with the different eating sensation – “you keep expecting heat, but it doesn’t come,” he told Munchies – so he picked up a few to generate enough seeds for some experimenting. It took about three years to come up with the one he now marketing, in a limited way across the country.

He notes on his company’s website that “the newest (and cutest) member” of the Ark Foods family is the cucamelon.

They’re strikingly similar looking to tiny watermelons, with the tangy, fresh taste of a cucumber. Delicious, refreshing, and tart,” the web site says.

Never let it be said that there’s nothing new under the sun!

 

How To Encourage Shoppers to Return, and Be Glad They Did

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The recent duel trade show for the Independent Grocers Association (IGA) and the National Grocers Association (NGA) produced an idea that smart grocers across the country should be picking up on soon: Instore contests for shoppers to take the most imaginative “selfies” they can, with prizes awarded to winners – ideally selected by an independent party. (A local photo studio would probably be pleased to play that role, getting themselves some good PR in the process!)

Michael Sansolo, formerly editor of Progressivee Grocer, Senior VP at the FMI (Food Marketing Institute and presently a consultant and columnist for Morning News Beat, an industry blog, reported that shortly before a break in a program at that convention, a social media marketing company introduced the selfies idea. In the break room, “people went nuts,” Sansolo reported, when they found small props such as glittery sunglasses, false mustaches “and the ubiquitous selfie stick.”

So many photos were taken, “and some were so creative, [the marketing company] on the fly had to add two more prizes to reward people’s efforts”.

This is a program that could so easily be introduced at the store level companies would be foolish to not give it a try. Do it a store or region at a time. Offer actual prizes – displays of which would encourage participation – or reasonable level store coupons. However you try it, do so. You WILL win. You will create a sense of excitement, a challenge, something fun, parallel to the shopping experience.

A store coupon redeemable on your next visit is a great thing – a tool to get the shopper back in your store. In today’s retailing environment, you need to employ every tool you can.

Whole Foods Bans False “Healthy” Claims Based on Presence of a Probiotic

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Whole Foods has told a number of its product producers to ‘cut it out’ – to quit advertising and promoting assorted junk foods as healthy simply because their makers have built a probiotic of one kind or another into them.

This is a brilliant more.

Too many producers are trying to climb on the “we’re healthy” band wagon – failing to realize the public is getting too smart for such ruses.

Adding a probiotic to something doesn’t, in and of itself, make the product “healthier”.

Probiotics are supposed to help clean “bad stuff” out of your colon and, in the process, have a positive impact on your health. But when an item otherwise falls into the “junk food” category – loaded with”added sugar” and extra calories – a probiotic is not, in the short or long term, going to defeat that.

First of all, probiotics are said to work over a long period of time, when consistently taken daily. The excess sugar and other unhealthy ingredients in health foods act on your system with hours, or days, at worst. Even if you ate the sweet thing, or whatever it is, daily, the probiotic’s effects would be overcome by the negative effects of the negative stuff.

A significant share of the public realizes that. Those who don’t, well, they can’t see that those producers are effectively lying to them.

And that’s wrong.

Ingredient-watching is a worthwhile activity. Practice it.

Beer Edges Out Wine as Bevvie of Choice

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A survey taken at the end of last month by The Harris Poll revealed beer to be a near favorite over wine among adult imbibers.

While many consumers will increasingly drink across all three major adult beverage categories (beer, wine and liquor/spirits), they still have their preferred type,” Danny Brager, SVP of Neilsen’s beverage alcohol practice, told Beverage Daily.com.

Nearly four in ten (38%) of U.S. adults who drink several times a year or more told the pollsters they choose beer as their go-to bevvie, and 31% named wine as their sippy selection. Those favoring as their first choice the liquor/spirits amounted to 28% of the 2,148 surveyed.

These numbers, by category have pretty much flipped in the last decade, with liquor/spirits losing ground, particularly, to wine.

Hardly surprisingly, wine is favored over any other kind of alcoholic beverage by women.