Natural Foods Merchandiser

Grocery & Produce Bites

Troops get gourmet perk

Soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan will soon receive a gourmet pick-me-up thanks to Denver-based Maui Wowi Hawaiian Coffee and Smoothies, which is donating more than 100 pounds of 100 percent Kona Coffee and other Hawaiian food products to troops overseas. Jill Summerhays, the company's founder, hopes to give the troops a little taste of home via coffee, cookies and popcorn, and to assure America's finest that they are in the thoughts of their ohana—the Hawaiian word for "family"—back home.

Hain Celestial's profits take a little dipper

Hain Celestial Group, the parent company of a slew of natural foods brands including Celestial Seasonings and Earth's Best, saw net profits dip 13 percent in the 2008 fiscal year, even though the company's net sales rose 17 percent during that time. Rising operating costs led to the drop in profits, one industry analyst said. The company pointed to strong performances from subsidiaries Arrowhead Mills and Spectrum (the maker of dairy-free products such as Rice Dream and Soy Dream) as the driving forces behind increased sales. The company recently raised prices in the U.S. and expects to see bottom-line results by the second quarter of 2009.

More on the coffee buzz

The next time a U.S. college student gears up for a late-night cram session at the campus coffee shop, he or she might be able to energize organically. A number of different companies across the nation are importing organic coffee and supplying it to college campuses, according to the Organic Trade Association. The North American market for organic coffee, which reached $1 billion in 2007, continues to percolate: the U.S. and Canada imported 40,500 tons in 2007, 29 percent more than in 2006, according to the recent North American Organic Coffee Industry Survey. "Many college students have grown up with organic foods," said David Gagnon, OTA interim executive director. "Students are the key drivers changing campus food toward organic products and more sustainable choices."

—David Accomazzo

Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVIII/number 10/p. 72

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