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Organic foods, flowers can show Valentine’s Day love to environment

BY DSN STAFF

BOSTON As the United States has become more eco-conscious, suppliers of flowers, chocolate and wines are helping consumers show their love for the environment this Valentine’s Day.

Such programs as Florverde in Colombia and VeriFlora Certified Sustainably Grown in the United States help ensure participating floral farms, handlers and distributors abide by environmental and social best-practice standards. European flowers, too, have their own certification standards in place.

Eco-conscious blooms also are available at several online floral with a range of eco-conscious labels such as USDA Organic, VeriFlora Certified and Fair Trade.

The search for “green” flowers requires a little work, however. Boxed flowers may arrive at a florist with certification seals, but once unpacked and sorted, one rose looks like any other. Some stores specifically order VeriFlora-certified flowers and other proprieters watch for the certified seals and keeps tabs on the originating farms. Even grocery chains may carry VeriFlora or Organic flowers without knowing. The best way to find out is to ask the florist.

Like flowers, organic and biodynamic wines are available for the asking. Many of these wines come from France, Italy and Spain, where makers craft wines using long-held family traditions. A few to look for are: Lopez de Heredia Rioja, Domaine Terlato & Chapoutier Shiraz-Viognier, Buondonno Chianti Classico and Domaine Des-Fouques Cotes de Provence. On this side of the Atlantic, California’s Coturri Winery is dedicated to producing wines that are 100 percent organic and sulfite-free.

Organic chocolate is easier to find, especially at chain retailers such as Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. Look for the USDA Organic and Fair Trade logos on chocolate from makers Dagoba, Lake Champlain, Art Bar and Green & Black’s. Endangered Species Chocolates puts an eco-twist on chocolate by donating 10 percent of its net profits to environmental organizations.

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A favorite U.S. chocolate bar gets more expensive

BY Diana Alickaj

NEW YORK What has always been one of America’s favorite chocolates has now gotten more expensive. The Hershey Co. has recently announced a price increase in wholesale prices for its domestic confectionery line.

According to Hershey, the increase in price was due to the need to control and level the increase in input costs, which include raw materials, fuel utilities and transportation. The increase in its retail products would be a helpful solution in offsetting the company’s price increases. Hershey estimated that there was a 13 percent increase on the company’s standard bar, king-size bar, 6-pack and vending lines. Hershey has also estimated that there will be approximately a 3 percent increase over Hershey’s entire domestic product line.

The price increase is said to take effect immediately, but for existing customers, Hershey has decided that during the four-week period that ends on Feb. 24, 2008, customers may order and take delivery of about eight weeks at the current prices.

As a message to its investors, the company made sure to mention that it already had established its 2008 full-year net sales and earnings per share outlook on Jan. 24, 2008. Any details or explanations regarding GAAP and non-GAAP items can be found at www.Hersheys.com.

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4-H inspires new ice cream from Blue Bell

BY DSN STAFF

BRENHAM, Texas Blue Bell Creameries is introducing Centennial Cupcake Ice Cream in honor of the Texas 4-H organization’s 100th birthday and, to sweeten the deal, is donating a portion of the sales to promote 4-H educational programs.

The cake batter ice Cream features pieces of yellow cake, a chocolate-icing swirl and four-leaf clover sprinkles.

“We just finished celebrating our 100th birthday so we understand just how special this is,” said Paul Kruse, Blue Bell chief executive officer and president. “Centennial Cupcake has all the ingredients for a celebration, cake and ice cream.”

4-H is a national organization that prides itself on teaching young people across America leadership, citizenship and life skills. There are more than 7 million members from eight to 18 years of age involved in 4-H.

Centennial Cupcake Ice Cream will be sold in Texas and across the company’s 17-state distribution area beginning this month.

Blue Bell has created a unique carton for this new flavor that features four children in 4-H T-shirts and the organization’s widely recognized four-leaf emblem. “I think the smiling faces capture the spirit of this organization just perfectly,” Kruse said. 

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