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THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
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NEWS: Icelandic Glacial Named Best Water

Icelandic Glacial has been named the “Best Water of 2007” by BevNET, a trade magazine for the beverage industry which recently released its “Best Of” list. Icelandic Glacial was singled out not only for its purity, but also for its recent carbon neutral certification and commitment to continually reduce its overall carbon imprint on the environment—a growing issue in the bottled water industry, which is increasingly subject to criticism related to its overall impact on the environment. This includes the carbon emission caused by creating bottles and transporting them over long distances, plus the litter, landfill and recycling costs of the plastic. Icelandic Glacial has been recognized for its leadership position within the industry to reduce its overall carbon footprint. Read our review of Icelandic Glacial in the December 2006 issue of THE NIBBLE online magazine.   Icelandic Glacial Water
The first bottled water to be certified carbon-neutral.
Bombilla & Gourd Maté Tea was named Best Non-Carbonated Beverage for its fruit-flavored bottled yerba mateé drinks. Read our review of these teas, published in the October 2007 issue of THE NIBBLE online magazne.

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FOOD TIP OF THE DAY: Celebratory Pasta

SoupDelight the family with a theme pasta of the month—above, snowflakes and snowmen.
  Use specialty shaped pastas to have a monthly celebration dinner: snowmen in January, hearts in February, stars for Independence Day, pumpkins in October, turkeys in November, Santas in December and so forth. With this new monthly dinner tradition, select a family member to research interesting facts about the holiday or season to share at the table. Read our review of Pasta Shoppe novelty-shape pastas, a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week. Visit the Pasta Section of THE NIBBLE online magazine for a world of great pasta articles and reviews.
 

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GOURMET GIVEAWAY: Win Starbucks Coffee

Like coffee? Enter this week’s Gourmet Giveaway on THE NIBBLE.com. Answer four fun trivia questions about coffee. Whether you answer right or wrong, you’ll be entered into the prize drawing. The lucky winner will receive this Starbucks Coffee Sampler (photo at right), chock full of goodies:
– 5 different Starbucks ground coffees,
– 2 boxes of Starbucks hot cocoa
– 2 packages of Starbucks graham crackers
– 2 packages of Starbucks biscotti
– 1 box of Marich’s delicious English Toffee CaramelsYou can keep them all for yourself or have an excuse to invite friends for coffee.
  Starbucks Coffee Gift

Win me! Drink me! Eat me! This Starbucks Gift Sampler prize is available at DelightfulDeliveries.com.
 

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NEWS: Bad Crops Lead To Higher Cacao Prices

Cacao BeansCacao beans: victims of El Niño.   According to the International Cocoa Organisation (ICCO), the world’s current cocoa shortfall is now 55% larger than previously thought, due to adverse weather conditions that caused crop reductions over the 2006/2007 season. The global production deficit is now estimated at 242,000 tonnes. Severe dry and windy conditions affected Africa at the end of 2006, and output declined 10% (Africa supplies 70% of the world’s cacao). Over the same period, El Niño temperature fluctuations led to crop declines of 8% in the Asia and Oceania region, and 6% in the Americas.
However, the ICCO states that demand has not decreased and remains at a record high. World cacao consumption has grown on average 3.8% each year over the last five years, and 2.5% over the 2006/07 season. This demand, combined with moves by some manufacturers to stocking up on cacao, has led to average price increases of 12%. Expect to see prices reflected in everything from bars to cocoa powder to baked goods.

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TRENDS: The World Of Cookies

Are you a standard cookie eater or a trendsetter? Although the overall $5.9 billion U.S. cookie market sales increased 14% in value from 2002 to 2007, standard cookies are losing ground and niche cookies are trending up. According to a new report by research firm Mintel, standard cookies still represent 57.5% of sales. But this figure has been declining over the five year period covered by the report, suggesting that more specialized cookies are gaining in popularity. What are “specialized” cookies?
Health orientated cookies. These include cookies that consumers consider to be healthy, made with natural or organic ingredients, and/or in smaller portion sizes.
Cookie bars. This category has grown a whopping 57% over the five years of the report. Future category growth could be driven by cookie bars, and new manufacturers may enter the category offering hybrid product lines such as energy and meal replacement cookie bars. What’s slowing?
  Organic Cookies - Liz Lovely
Liz Lovely cookies are riding the trends of organic and supersized. Read our review.
Sales of premium and luxury cookies, the “indulgent” products. It’s not that consumers are moving away from indulgent cookies, the researchers say, but the premium genre will move towards producing cookie bar and health-orientated cookies (all natural and organic), causing a blurring of segment lines. Two surprise demographic findings:
– Baby boomers in the 55 to 64 age group will experience the strongest consumption growth up to 2012, preferring treats that contain heart-healthy dark chocolate, antioxidant-rich fruits, and nuts and whole grains.- Men apparently eat cookies more often than women. This indicates opportunities for more “manly snacks,” such as oversize cookies with large chunks or chocolates or nuts. Apparently, the U.S. will be in supersize mode for some time to come.

If you’re now hungry for a cookie, click on over to the Cookies, Brownies & Bars Section of THE NIBBLE online magazine to see some of our favorites.

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