getting fresh: 'More porridge, sir?'
No, I’m not trying to get on Oprah Winfrey’s good side by citing a Charles Dickens novel (Winfrey recently recommend a Dickens combo blockbuster, “Great Expectations” and “Tale of Two Cities” for her book of the month selection.).
Rather, I’m trying to come to terms with the recently passed child nutrition bill, the one that boosts spending by $4.5 billion over 10 years and authorizes establishment of nutritional standards for all food and beverages sold on school grounds during the day.
First, I’m treading lightly here because I'm placing the new child nutrition bill waiting for President Obama’s signature against a backdrop of Oliver Twist asking for a bit more gruel. Recognizing that hungry kids typically aren’t the best learners, I fully support the federal government providing aid to schools in the form of breakfasts, lunches and now, even dinners.
My wife, who’s a school administrator at an elementary school in Chicago that has 90% of its students coming from below poverty level households, has often related to me that most students in her school eat school-sponsored breakfast and lunch.
The great debate during the past few years about school nutritional programs hasn’t been about the benefits of serving food to kids. It’s been over the type of foods served and whether they’re contributing to the obesity rate.
The 2011 version of Oliver Twist conjures up a different vignette, that of a plump boy asking for more pizza, with the headmasters gladly “uber-sizing” the portion. Dickens, how times have changed.
So, why am I grabbling with the new child nutrition bill that promises to have our kids eating healthier meals in school?
How does the headline, “Child nutrition bill could limit bake sales,” grab you? The language of the bill authorizes the government to mandate the sale of foods that only meet federal nutritional requirements.
Thus, fund-raising efforts involving home-baked items wouldn’t - in all likelihood - meet those standards. And you can forget about confections being sold anywhere on the school grounds. Even fundraising efforts - many which have successfully used chocolates, candies and salted snacks - are at risk.
My concern is that this school nutrition bill doesn’t become a bludgeon for overeager nutritionists to beat candy and snacks over the head. We’ve have several examples of states taxing or trying to tax “bad food” such as snacks and candy.
In that case, maybe we should have “weigh-ins” for kids when they come to school. If we going to control obesity, let’s control it, by God.
Hello, anybody hear about physical exercise and something called “recess?” When I went to school, we had recess in the morning and in the afternoon. And while I may not look like a swift and sleek individual today, I was the fastest kid on the block back then. I collected pop bottles and brought them to our local candy store for a 2¢ return on deposit and purchased licorice and comic books. Simpler times back then.
So, here’s my dilemma: Do I support this bill or become an unwilling bedfellow - figuratively speaking, of course - of Sarah Palin (She decried the child nutrition bill as yet another unnecessary intrusion by the federal government)? I’m going to say that the greater good this bill delivers requires my support.
But a warning to those harpy food nannies out there looking to ban candies and snacks from our world. I’m watching that this doesn’t get out of hand.
Children deserve treats, as do adults. Let’s just use common sense on how we deal with child obesity and school nutrition. Just ask the kids who are smuggling in candy and selling it for a profit at schools.
Just Born Celebrates Retail Shop Anniversary with Mega-PEEPS Tree
Bethlehem, Pa.-based Just Born, Inc., kicked off the one-year anniversary celebration of its retail store, PEEPS & Company in National Harbor, Md., by unveiling the largest PEEPS tree ever created at ICE!, an indoor winter wonderland extravaganza presented by the Gaylord National Resort.
Open now through Jan. 9, ICE! is a 15,000-sq.-ft. interactive indoor wonderland that’s been created using two million lbs. of ice. The attraction features holiday scenes from the classic “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” this year. Forty Chinese artisans from Harbin, known for its famous Ice Lantern Festival, sculpted the figures as well as two-story tall ice slides.
PEEPS & Company, with the help of ZenGenius, of Columbus, Ohio, created the PEEPS tree, which will be on display inside the ICE! tent. Standing at more than 20 ft., the tree took more than two weeks to build and was created with undulating rows of green PEEPS marshmallow trees and trimmed with a variety of PEEPS candies that act as ornaments and garland. Beneath the tree are presents wrapped in PEEPS Chicks and Bunnies. Topping the tree is a spectacular yellow star comprised of PEEPS Chicks.
Visitors to ICE! can pick up an entry form inside of the ICE! tent and guess how many PEEPS were used to build this special holiday tree. The completed entry form can be dropped off at the PEEPS & Company retail store in National Harbor.
“We are honored to be part of the ICE! event as we mark our store’s 1-year anniversary,” says Karen Simonet, general manager of the PEEPS & Company store in National Harbor. “Our first year at PEEPS & Company has been very successful, with visitor excitement and traffic, along with strong sales boding well for the future.”
Foreign Candy Co. Files Trademark Suit Against R.L. Albert & Son
Citing unfair trade practices, injury to reputation and infringement of registered and common law trademarks, Hull, Iowa-based The Foreign Candy Co., Inc. filed a lawsuit earlier this week against Stamford, Conn.-based R.L. Albert & Son, Inc.
The lawsuit involves R.L. Albert & Son’s new product RIP-ITZ! and The Foreign Candy Co.’s trademarked products RIPS and RIP ROLLS, which have existed in the marketplace since 2003. The product lines include various shapes and sizes of sweet and sour sugar-coated licorice candies.
“By releasing the ‘RIP-ITZ’ brand, R.L. Albert & Son has willfully, unfairly and unlawfully participated in conduct that results in market dilution and damages the reputation of The Foreign Candy Co., which has invested in the RIPS and RIP ROLLS brands for the past seven years,” charges attorney Tom Wettach, who represents The Foreign Candy Co. in the lawsuit.
The lawsuit seeks preliminary and permanent injunctive relief, as well as other equitable relief and compensatory and punitive damages. The Foreign Candy Co. is asking the court to provide for the seizure and destruction of all goods marketed under the RIP-ITZ! brand, including those in all company and customer warehouses, retail stores, and in transit.
Robert Katz, ceo of R.L. Albert & Son, refused to comment on the lawsuit, saying the matter is in the hands of attorneys.
For more information, visit www.foreigncandy.com.
Whetsone Industries, Imperial Design Technologies Forge New Chocolate Equipment Partnership
Hank Whetstone, president of Whetstone Industries USA, and Rex Baker, president of Imperial Design Technologies (IDT), recently announced a partnership to design and manufacture a new range of chocolate enrobing and chocolate moulding machinery. In addition, specialized robotic packing systems will also be offered.
“It has been long overdue to supply a quality, domestic-manufactured line of chocolate enrobing equipment for the bakery and confectionery industries,” the two chief executives assert.
IDT, located in Grand Rapids, Mich., has long been a provider for confectionery extruders, chain-driven chocolate molding equipment, and other related machines to the industry. The new line of St. Augstine, Fla.-based Whetstone Industries’ designs for chocolate enrobing equipment and loose mould, chocolate moulding plants will now provide a natural addition to the IDT existing lines, the executives add.
The Whetstone family has a long history in the chocolate confectionery industry relating to both equipment manufacturing and the actual production of chocolate items for the private label business. These experiences helped in the new designs for sanitary, accessible, and operator-friendly equipment.
The sales force will be provided by a newly formed relationship between Bainbridge Associates and E. Klein Associates. Both Bainbridge and Klein are veterans in providing equipment for the bakery & confectionery industries.
“Rex and I could not ask for a better way to help promote our new lines of Grand Rapids, Michigan-manufactured equipment to the industry,” adds Whetstone.
For more information, please visit www.bainbridge-assoc.com, www.whetstone.cc or www.imperialdesign.com.
AAK USA's Ed Wilson to Retire
Newark, N.J.-based AAK USA has announced that Ed Wilson, v.p. of sales & marketing at the company, will retire on December 31, 2010. Wilson joined the AAK family (originally know as Aarhus Inc.) in September 1992 as a technical service representative, becoming one of the leading experts in the specialty fats and oils industry.
He came to AAK after working in the chocolate industry for fifteen years and helped establish AAK as a leading supplier to the confectionery industry. Wilson also assisted in the development of AAK as a leader in the food ingredient industry and was the recipient of the American Association of Candy Technologists’ Stroud Jordan award in 2007.
With Ed’s retirement, AAK will promote Dennis Tagarelli to the role of vice president of sales. Tagarelli has a long and established career in oil processing for the food ingredient and confectionery industries with organizations such as Durkee Foods, Capital City Products, ACH Foods and Clasen Quality Coatings.
He joined AAK in 2008 as director of sales, reporting to Ed Wilson, and has worked tirelessly to transform AAK to a valued added ingredient and service provider for the food industry.
Sweet of the Week: Jelly Belly Jelly Bean Chocolate Dips
Fairfield, Calif.-based Jelly Belly Candy Co. introduced five flavors of its Jelly Belly beans covered in dark chocolate. The newly launched Jelly Belly Jelly Bean Chocolate Dips come in Very Cherry, Raspberry, Strawberry, Coconut and Orange flavors, which each Dip containing just less than four calories.
The Jelly Belly Jelly Bean Chocolate Dips are gluten-free, gelatin-free and certified OU Dairy Kosher. The S.R.P. for a 2.8-oz. bag is $2.25.
For more information, visit www.jellybelly.com.