FI New Product News

Advertise With Us (6)
Copy of Copy of Ad Banners (2)

Foodie Newsletter

Deck the Halls with International Delight and Elf

International Delight is partnering with the classic holiday movie Elf to transform fifty lucky fans’ homes into their own winter wonderlands inspired by Buddy the Elf.

International Delight is delivering decorating kits inspired by Buddy. The at-home experience comes with magical décor including items such as twinkling lights, sparkling garlands, paper snowflakes and a “World’s Best Cup of Coffee” sign. Winners can also find International Delight’s take on the four main food groups for elves: candy, candy canes, coffee and creamer. Full Story


Automated Healthy Snacks

NatureBox launched an automated corporate snacking service for sending healthy snacks to remote teams ahead of any virtual Zoom meeting.

To get the snacks, the meeting host adds zoomsnacks@naturebox.com to any meeting. ZoomSnacks sends an automated opt-in message for attendees and arranges a Snack Pass for guests to choose from over 60 healthy amazing snacks at NatureBox.com. Snack boxes then arrive ahead of the meeting. ZoomSnacks recipients also enjoy a free annual membership to NatureBox. Full Story


Chick-fil-A Brings Back Seasonal Favorites

Chick-fil-A brought back the festive Peppermint Chip Milkshake and Chicken Tortilla Soup for a limited time.

First added to the menu in 2008, the Peppermint Chip Milkshake has become an annual tradition. The shake combines Chick-fil-A Icedream dessert with chips of peppermint bark topped with whipped cream and a cherry. The Chicken Tortilla Soup, which debuted in 2012, features shredded chicken with navy and black beans in a white creamy base with a blend of vegetables and spices.  Full Story


Give the Gift of Virtual Coffee Tasting Parties

Driftaway Coffee is offering Virtual Coffee Tasting Parties as a new gift offering for the holiday season.

Hosted by James McCarthy, 2013 World Coffee Brewer’s Champion and Driftaway Coffee Educator, the Virtual Tasting can host up to 5 screens / 10 participants at one time, over Zoom. Driftaway sends coffee tasting kits to all participants just in time for their Virtual Tasting. In addition to the Virtual Tasting Parties, Driftaway will also host weekly tastings on Instagram Live for anyone to join. Virtual Tasting Parties are available now on the Driftaway Coffee website. Full Story


Bite-Sized Thanksgiving Turkey

With Thanksgiving already looking a little different this year, Perdue is trying something new.

ThanksNuggets are a limited-time offering that packs the flavors of the holiday into two nuggets: Breaded Breast Meat Turkey Nuggets and Breaded Dark Meat Turkey and Cranberry Nuggets. The drumstick-shaped dark meat nugget is inspired by traditional sides like cranberry sauce and stuffing, while the turkey-shaped white meat nugget is inspired by everyone’s favorite Thanksgiving vegetable: sweet potato. Full Story


Red Lobster Gets Festive for the Holidays

Red Lobster is kicking off the 2020 holiday season with the release of limited-edition, festive gift boxes filled with Cheddar Bay Biscuits.

Starting Nov. 16, customers can order a half-dozen Cheddar Bay Biscuits To Go from RedLobster.com, which can be picked up in restaurant or conveniently sent to the recipient’s door, via touchless delivery, where available. For $1 more, guests can select Half Dozen Cheddar Bay Biscuits in the limited-edition, festive gift box from the Biscuits & Extras section of the online ordering page of the website, while supplies last. Full Story


Pringles Turns Up the Heat 

For the first time, the Kellogg Co. is introducing a full collection of spicy Pringles.

The new Pringles Scorchin’ lineup adds fiery heat to three Pringles originals: Cheddar, BBQ, and Chili & Lime. The chips are deigned to deliver a bold flavor followed by a heat that builds over time. For an even bolder experience, fans are encouraged to add Scorchin’ crisps on their favorite Pringles stack to create the perfect spicy combination. The flavors will be available through a limited release in retailers nationwide beginning in December with a full release, including Grab & Go size, in 2021. Full Story


Cook All Things MTN DEW

PepsiCo’s MTN DEW is launching its first-ever cookbook in time for the brand’s 80th birthday.

The cookbook, titled the Big Bold Book of MTN DEW, is a compilation of fan-made, fan-inspired, and fan-favorited creations that includes nearly 40 dishes. Recipes range from quick and easy items, like two-ingredient cupcakes, to more advanced ones such as the Code Red Brisket. The cookbook will be available for a limited time for $30 on the DEW Store website the week of Nov. 16. Full Story


Dare to Pour on World’s Hottest Canned Chili?

Hormel is now selling a limited-edition Ghost Reaper World’s Hottest Chili with Beans.

Hormel took its signature chili with beans and added two of the world’s hottest peppers: ghost and Carolina reaper. The combined peppers total more than 3 million Scoville Heat Units, so this chili packs a punch. It’s sold as a two-pack alongside a can of Hormel Chili Hot with Beans—a spicier blend of America’s No. 1 chili. Starting at 7 a.m. on Oct. 25, the hot offering will be available while supplies last on Target.com. Full Story

Featured Product / Company

Sponsored Content

Making Veggies Accessible for Everyone

During the week of March 8, The Food Institute was scheduled to head to Natural Products Expo West for on-the-ground reporting on the companies, products, and major trends impacting the food industry. However, the illustrious conference was postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak. Despite the inconvenient setback, we decided to do our own local reporting and connect with Ark Foods of Brooklyn, NY, which was scheduled to be an Expo West exhibitor. Ark Foods represents a new breed of young companies impacting the food industry through plant-based products.

In this interview, we spoke with founder and CEO Noah Robbins on the company’s humble beginnings, its mission, its products, and what the company is doing to change the way people eat vegetables.

Q: Please share a little bit about your background and how you created Ark Foods.

A: I grew up around commercial agriculture. My father was a citrus farmer, providing companies like Tropicana with some of its supplies. When I graduated, I saw that the average age of a farmer was about 58-years-old, and I thought about what opportunities there would be for someone like me in the agricultural industry. I observed farmers markets and found that the vegetables sold at these markets were not commercially accessible. I decided to take these farmers market vegetables and apply commercial growing techniques to them.

The first popular vegetable product of ours was a vegetable called the shishito pepper.

We started growing the pepper on 3 acres of farmland and expanded that program by using chefs to be “brand ambassadors.” Distributors carried the shishito and chefs put them on their menu. We had a consistent supply and good food safety practices—two of the factors typical of commercial farms. From there, I used the restaurant menu data to get into retailers, pointing out younger consumers want these vegetables to be accessible—that they are looking for new experiences and not just the normal varieties. No other company was innovating this space, so in comes our brand and it’s been explosive growth ever since. Our growing operations are completely vertically integrated. We have red Fresno peppers and honeynut squash, which is sweeter than a butternut squash but is the size of a Coke can. The skin is also edible. Our focus is on vegetables that people already know and providing them at accessible price points.When the meal kit industry started to take off, we wanted to make our own version of the meal kit or “heat-and-eat” experience, so about year ago we opened our own fresh cut facility, which is how our veggie bowl line came into fruition.

We realized our bowls needed to have “clean” ingredients, so we made our own sauces. The veggie bowl line is basically a meal where a core vegetable, like cauliflower or rutabaga, is paired with our own clean ingredient sauce. As an aside, the rutabaga was popular in the 1970s, and we consider it to be the underdog vegetable of today. It’s also, in my opinion, the best veggie to make veggie spaghetti. The meal kit also comes in a microwavable bowl that’s industrially compostable. Throw it in the microwave for 3 min., mix in the sauce, and you’re done. Since we are vertically integrated, we strive to make these products more accessible. Depending on the retailer right now, the clean ingredient veggie bowl line is retailing anywhere from $4.99 to $5.99 per kit, and we aim to bring that down even more through scale. We’ve managed to stay true to our mantra of making vegetables as accessible as humanly possible and getting people to eat more vegetables in different formats.

Q: Looking at the products and the company website, it seems the product line caters to Millennials and Gen Z. Is that the target market? How has the consumer adoption been?

A: We have a lot of different SKUs. The shishito pepper is geared more towards the foodie who wants a new experience. We always try to check as many boxes as possible to make our products as accessible to as wide an audience as possible so that can drive sales. For example, our veggie bowl lines have clean ingredients, industrially compostable packaging, it’s a vegetable people are familiar with, and it’s a healthy variation of a dish that people know. We originally thought the target market for the veggie bowls would the young person looking for convenience in the grab-and-go section, but the customer base has been much broader than expected. The older generations are familiar with what a heat-and-eat dinner is, so they buy our meal kits as an alternative. Sometimes older generations will purchase our veggie bowls and add a protein to it. Also, celebrities like Beyoncé are eating plant-based now, and parents are buying it for their kids to take to school because the schools have microwaves. We create products that are flexible with peoples’ daily lives.

Q: Where can people buy these products? Is it primarily in the Northeast or can people on the West Coast get your items?

A: Because it’s a fresh cut item, we’re focusing on geographies east of Texas as our facilities are in New Jersey. We are in retailers like Whole Foods and Giant. Since the shishito has been around longer, it’s available in Wal-Mart, Costco, and Whole Foods. We hope to build a facility on the West Coast and eventually be a national brand. Because we don’t have large capital infusion, we are focused on customer experience and growing the right way.

Q: I wasn’t expecting a startup company like yours to have 28 employees. Tell me about the evolution of your staff and where you envision Ark Foods will be in three years.

A: When I started the company, it was just me. And then Ed Mestre, my brother-in-law, joined as our COO. Everyone who joined the team is super passionate about making these vegetables accessible in different formats. Our team is based in New York because we want employees who view agriculture in non-traditional ways. We want many different types of minds who are interested in agriculture. We view the dirt as a blank canvas. We throw anything at it, and that mantra enabled us to attract a lot of creative people in the industry. In three years, our company will still be viewing the vegetable as the North Star. We intend to create this dynamic web of different SKUs and various eating formats through the vegetable.What I really love about the vegetable is it’s the start of the process. You can create a million different dishes out of it. We have our clean ingredient sauces that are plant-based. We also have veggie bowls, honeynut squash, Jimmy Nardello peppers, and purple bell peppers. We are always exploring ways to expand the way people eat vegetables, and it’s only the beginning.