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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Smith Rolls Out Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream


Smith Dairy of Orrville, Ohio, clearly has the right idea about fall and ice cream. Smith has just introduced its seasonal ice cream flavor for fall, Ruggles Pumpkin Pie ice cream.

Ruggles Pumpkin Pie features premium pumpkin
pie ice cream and pieces of pie crust.

Ruggles Pumpkin Pie features premium pumpkin pie flavored ice cream and pie crust pieces.

“We always look forward to the autumn appearance of our Ruggles Pumpkin Pie ice cream as the kickoff of our holiday season,” says Penny Baker, director of marketing, Smith Dairy. “Our customers enjoy our Pumpkin Pie flavor throughout the fall season, and shortly after that, our winter holiday flavors are available.”

Smith doesn’t just stop with rolling out a pumpkin pin flavored ice cream, it also puts out a recipe, in this case, Ruggles Pumpkin Pie Iced Mocha Milkshake, which is a lighter, less-sweet milkshake that makes great use of that extra coffee that just gets poured down the drain. Here is the recipe which serves two:

1 cup cold strong coffee—frozen into about 10 cubes
2 cups Ruggles Pumpkin Pie ice cream
¼ cup whole milk
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
Freeze leftover coffee in ice cube tray to use in your milkshakes. One cup liquid equals about 10 cubes.
Crush the coffee ice cubes in a blender. Add the remaining ingredients with enough milk for desired consistency. 2% reduced fat, 1% low fat or fat-free skim milk may be substituted.

Pumpkin Pie ice cream is available during October while supplies last in the market area served by Smith Dairy, which is Ohio and parts of Michigan, Indiana and Pennsylvania. Suggested retail price for a 1.75-quart is $5.29 to $5.99.

TFFG SAYS: Too bad more ice cream companies don’t issue seasonal flavors. The best we seem to get is a baseball-themed ice cream, which usually means they just gussy up the packaging and call it the “ice cream of the New York Yankees” or something along those lines. Big deal. Show me an authentic Yankee blue pinstripes and premium ice cream and we’ll talk.

Smith and its Ruggles brand are spot-on with their terrific line of seasonal ice creams and this is just a run-up to all the great ice creams and dairy products (eggnog among them) that they roll out for the Christmas holidays.

A neat twist on this milkshake recipe might be a shot of brandy or rum, which then makes it a Super Duper Rum Pumpkin Pleaser! What better way to stave off the first frost of the year while basking under a bright, full “harvest moon.” It could be just the thing that a harried hostess needs after a long, hard Thanksgiving day of turkey roasting, mashed potato making, pie baking, dish washing——and a houseful of (gasp) in-laws!!

Friday, October 8, 2010 Launches Grocery Server

OFFERS DEALS, INGREDIENTS FOR HEALTHY RECIPES, the website of Prevention magazine, has launched a Grocery Server tool to help shoppers search for money-saving deals at grocery stores within their area.

Located in’s Healthy Recipe Finder section, the tool lets users plug in their zip code, as well as search by store, product and product category to receive deals. They can also use the tool to see if local stores carry the ingredients suggested by recipes in the site’s Healthy Recipe Finder.

Prevention’s Grocery Server is offered by Grocery Server, a joint venture between Qponix and

TFFG Says: This is a pretty nifty component to The announcement from Rodale, publisher of Prevention and, makes note of the “Healthy Recipe Finder” section the website, but the actual button the on the site’s navigation bar is under “Recipes” and there are two different links marked “Recipe Finder” that take you to the recipe finder page, and this being Prevention magazine, all the recipes are pretty much healthy.

The grocery shopper tool is neat. Just click on the “Find Grocery Deals” link which is just above “Recipe Finder” link on the left side of the page. Shoppers can search through various food categories and find the prices on each item in the individual food stores in a particular area. For example, in New York (TFFG’s area), it offers the option of searching “all stores” or breaking it down to one of 18 stores listed, including D’Agostino, Food Emporium, Wegmans, Whole Foods and others. It then lists what’s available under types of products and the cost of each.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

6-Pack: Trends Influencing Grocery Shoppers


The August Dairy-Deli-Bake Digest newsletter from the International Dairy, Deli, Bakery Association (IDDBA) includes information from California Grocer magazine that identifies six trends this year that are changing the grocery shopping environment:

1. Value is King: Private label will gain market share at branded products expense. Consumer will continue to increase their shopping occasions with discounters. Promotions and hot deals will drive traffic to those stores (via the discounter’s low pricing format).

2. Ad Spending Improves and Goes Digital: Brands will be forced to increase their ad and consumer promotion spending to drive sales volume and add value. Consumer advertising budgets will be up 15-25% on average with increased emphasis on internet and social media spending.

3. Health Drives the Consumer: Consumers are buying more healthful products (increased fibers, reduced sugar/salt, improved nutrition). Consumers will renew their love affair with natural and organic products.

4. Pricing Remains Stable: Commodity prices should not be a problem. Pricing will be stable and somewhat boring compared to previous price swings.

5. Mergers and Competition Intensify: Look for increased consolidation and acquisitions. There will be heavy activity for smaller private food manufacturers with strong sales in branded or private label manufacturing.

6. Home Cooking But Not Really: Consumers will continue with focus on home over restaurants for family food consumption. Consumers want to eat at home but they really don’t want to cook, just have it look like it. Restaurant activity will pick up but only if the economy improves to include job creation. Should be a good environment for branded and private label food manufacturers. Food retailers will have it a little tougher with a greater amount of pressure on margins.

TFFG Says: Some really good stuff here. Although “health drives the consumer” and “not cooking at home” are pretty much at odds with each other. It’s more a case of “lots of emphasis on words on the packaging like ‘healthy’ and ‘health benefits’ will attract shoppers.” I’m not sure shoppers with one hand pushing a grocery cart and another reaching for the products on the shelves are really going to have the time or inclination to deal with a hand-held device. It’s challenging enough for most shoppers just to deal with a paper grocery list (making, keeping, finding as in not losing it before getting to the store) which can be pretty much kept in hand while pushing the cart and holding and handling the products.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Editors Swoon Over Naan Pizza


Accolades are pouring in for the new Naan pizza line launched by Tandoor Chef. Real Simple magazine included the Roasted Eggplant flavor of Tandoor Chef’s Original Naan Pizza as one of 10 frozen pizzas that it “road tested” in its September issue.

As the subdeck in the article asked, “pizza guy can’t come soon enough?” and answering itself, “then try one of these store-bought shortcuts. Real Simple baked up 79 pies* and found 10 that delivered.” The asterisk is explained on the page, “that all pizzas tested were free of partially hydrogenated oils and trans fats.”

The 10 pizzas each fall under a category with Tandoor Chef listed under “Best Eggplant.”

The editors at Cooking Light magazine are also ga-ga over Tandoor Chef’s Naan, as they named the Margherita flavor as Grand Prize Winner in the Pizza Category in its first Taste Test Awards.
Cooking Light conducted a blind test of 200 products in 32 categories to find the best tasting products on grocery store shelves.  The winners were included in the October issue of Cooking Light which hit the newsstands on Sept. 17.

Tandoor Chef, produced by Deep Foods, Union, N.J., is a maker of all-natural frozen Indian foods. The all-natural, vegetarian Naan pizza is hand-stretched and then fired in a clay Tandoor oven at 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

In addition to Roasted Eggplant and Margherita, the other flavors in the four-flavor line are Cilantro Pesto, and Spinach & Paneer Cheese.

TFFG Says: Those headline writers at Real Simple are pretty clever with their word play (pizza guy coming and 10 “that delivered”). I like that.

This Naan pizza is very tasty, as I sampled a few bites at the Fancy Food Show in New York a few months ago while having a nice chat Mike Ryan, vice president of advertising, for Tandoor Chef and Deep Foods. Looks like some of these New York magazine editors might have also been sampling at the Tandoor Chef booth!