From fast food to home kitchens, hot peppers are the flavor of summer

Frieda's Specialty Produce - Hot Peppers

LOS ALAMITOS, CA (May 2016) – From ghost pepper hot sauce at fast food restaurants to the increasing demand for fresh specialty peppers in the produce aisles, America is turning up the heat this summer with the continuing rise of spicy foods.

According to the trend-tracker NPD Group, hot sauce sales increased 150 percent from 2000 to 2013 alone, and more than half of the nation’s households have hot sauce in their pantries. Fast food chain Wendy’s is offering its super spicy menu again for a second year in a row, topping their chicken sandwich and fries with ultra-hot ghost pepper sauce.

Millennials are driving the spicy food trends as they seek out adventurous foods and authentic, ethnic flavors, which many times include spicy dishes and the use of hot peppers such as jalapeño, habanero, and Thai peppers. However, the trend does not stop with Millennials.

Heat seekers are also looking for fresh peppers to spike their dishes or make their own “nuclear” hot sauces. They are wild about fresh ultra-hot selections such as ghost and Trinidad Scorpion peppers, as well as dried hot peppers.

To best display fresh peppers, group them all together, next to bell peppers. Secondary displays with other ingredients will also inspire authentic dishes. For example, pair habanero peppers with tomatillos, tomatoes, and onions for Latin dishes, or Thai peppers with lemongrass, ginger, and turmeric for Asian dishes. Don’t forget to include signage with recipe suggestions. “Caution” signage for the ultra-hot peppers is also recommended.

Interested retailers, wholesalers, and foodservice distributors can contact Frieda’s account managers to explore its extensive selection of fresh and dried peppers.

About Frieda’s Inc.

Frieda’s Specialty Produce celebrates a 54-year legacy of inspiring new food experiences for friends, family, and food lovers everywhere. Credited with introducing more than 200 specialty fruits and vegetables to U.S. supermarkets, Frieda’s has helped launch unique items like kiwi fruits, Stokes Purple® sweet potatoes, habanero peppers, Sunchokes®, and organic finger limes. Founded in 1962 by produce industry icon Dr. Frieda Rapoport Caplan, subject of the 2015 documentary “Fear No Fruit,” the family company is now owned and operated by Frieda’s daughters, Karen Caplan and Jackie Caplan Wiggins, in Orange County, California. Find Frieda’s on Facebook, @FriedasProduce, and Friedas.com. Inspire. Taste. Love.

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Shoppers are looking for functional foods and authentic flavors

Frieda's Specialty Produce - Turmeric and Bibimbap - Google Food Trends 2016

LOS ALAMITOS, CA (May 2016) – Turmeric and authentic ethnic dishes are on top of the trending searches in the U.S., according to the recent “Think with Google: Food Trends 2016” report. Other produce on the list of trending items are jackfruit, bitter melon, daikon radishes, and cauliflower.

The report pulled top search information from January 2014 to February 2016 to pinpoint rising and falling trends in food.

In the “Food with Function” category, people are searching for information on food with nutritional benefits such as being a pre- or probiotic, an anti-inflammatory, or an immunity booster.  Turmeric reigns the category as Americans are learning more about this “it” spice from its health benefits to how to consume it.

Also listed in this category are jackfruit, bitter melon, daikon radishes, and cauliflower “rice”—chopped up cauliflower used as a low-carb substitute for rice.

“Traveling Through Taste” is a search for the authentic flavors of ethnic dishes, many of which are produce-centric. Pho—Vietnamese noodle soup with garnish of bean sprouts, jalapeno or other chile peppers, Thai basil, white onion, cilantro, and lime—come out on top of other searches including Bibimbap (Korean rice bowls topped with assorted vegetables) and Elote (Mexican corn on the cob).

Cauliflower makes an appearance again in “Bite-sized Snacks” as Buffalo Cauliflower Bites.

Interested retailers, wholesalers, and foodservice distributors can contact Frieda’s account managers to explore its new branding and discover trending products and to access its extended resources library which include a cauliflower rice bibimbap recipe and how to open a jackfruit video.

About Frieda’s Inc.

Frieda’s Specialty Produce celebrates a 54-year legacy of inspiring new food experiences for friends, family, and food lovers everywhere. Credited with introducing more than 200 specialty fruits and vegetables to U.S. supermarkets, Frieda’s has helped launch unique items like kiwi fruits, Stokes Purple® sweet potatoes, habanero peppers, Sunchokes®, and organic finger limes. Founded in 1962 by produce industry icon Dr. Frieda Rapoport Caplan, subject of the 2015 documentary “Fear No Fruit,” the family company is now owned and operated by Frieda’s daughters, Karen Caplan and Jackie Caplan Wiggins, in Orange County, California. Find Frieda’s on Facebook, @FriedasProduce, and Friedas.com. Inspire. Taste. Love.

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Fresh turmeric root is a fantastic ingredient, however it stains just about everything—skin, clothing, cutting boards, and even your plastic containers and food processor bowl!

Of the many ways to remove stains, some are more successful than others. We’ve listed a few that we have tried from the wonder powder that is baking soda to the stain removal nuclear weapon that is bleach.

Frieda's Specialty Produce - Turmeric Root

Surfaces

Baking soda: Make a paste with baking soda and a few drops of water, apply generously around stained area. Let sit 15 minutes before scrubbing, then rinse thoroughly.

Distilled vinegar or bleach solution: Combine 1/2 tablespoon bleach or distilled vinegar with 1 cup water. Soak container in solution 30 minutes, then rinse thoroughly.

Clothing

Five helpful—and hopeful—steps to save your turmeric-tinted garments:

  1. Gently dab or scoop off spill. Do not rub out stain with water! It will just spread the stain more.
  2. Pour on baking soda to absorb additional stain. Let sit for 15 minutes, then shake off.
  3. Soak area in vinegar solution—1 tablespoon vinegar to 1 cup water—then dab dry.
  4. Wash immediately. If bleach-safe, use bleach.
  5. Hang to dry in sun to break down more of the pigment.

Skin

Mix a few tablespoons of granulated sugar with a few drops of olive oil to make a scrub. Scrub away stain, then rinse.

Good luck!

About 30 years ago I attended a conference in downtown Los Angeles called “The Future of California.” It was not a large gathering—maybe 100 attendees—but the speakers were impressive. I remember Kathleen Brown, then State Treasurer (and sister of current California Governor Jerry Brown), talking about her daily investments of the state’s money. My favorite speaker, though, was Alvin Toffler, author of “Future Shock.”

I read “Future Shock” when I was in high school, so it was a treat to hear the original “futurist” speak in person.

book-future-shock-Frieda's Specialty Produce - Karen Caplan's blog

Toffler spoke about the future of transportation in Los Angeles. He predicted it would evolve into a hub-and-spoke system. People would ride a plane, then get on a train, then a bus, then bike or walk. It would not be point-to-point transportation, like in individual cars. It was hard to fathom at that time that there would be a light rail system here in Southern California. But as our freeways and traffic get more congested, the popularity of carpooling, riding the Metro, and telecommuting continue to increase. Alvin was right.

At that conference, I also met an incredible woman. Her name is Joline Godfrey and for a living, she developed games for kids. You know, board games similar to Monopoly to teach kids about being responsible with their money, like saving, investing, and philanthropy. Joline introduced herself to me, and we have been friends ever since. Joline has become a well-known author, having written five books, the most recent of which is “Raising Financially Fit Kids.”

Well, last weekend, I happened to be in Santa Barbara where Joline now lives, so she and I were able to have breakfast together in Carpinteria. (If you are ever in the Santa Barbara area, I recommend the sleepy beach town of Carpinteria. Esau’s Restaurant is a great place for breakfast.)

Karen and Jolene - Frieda's Specialty Produce - Karen Caplan's Blog
Jolene and me

And of course, we started to reminisce about when we met at that Future of California conference. I think Joline is a think-tank junkie because she had just attended the Milken Global Conference the week before.

The Milken Institute is an independent economic think tank based in Santa Monica. It hosts conferences and publishes research about financial innovations and social issues. The speakers at this year’s conference included former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair, basketball great Kobe Bryant, governors from several states, plus dozens of others.

Joline said one of the most interesting subjects discussed at the conference was driverless cars. Of course we’ve all heard about the technology that Tesla and Google have developed.

So we started sharing ideas about how driverless technology would be a game changer. The obvious shift would be in freeway traffic. If most commuters had driverless cars, it would alleviate traffic congestion and there would be fewer accidents.

And then I remembered an article I recently read on driverless 40-foot semi-tractor trailers. Several manufacturers, like Daimler, are developing self-driving big rigs in Europe and the United States.

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNAWJ_vBr-k]

The fresh produce industry relies on semi-trucks to haul our fresh fruits and vegetables from the fields to supermarket warehouses and distribution centers across the country. With driverless technology, trucks could be routed to operate at optimal non-peak hours. And there would be no time limitations (called “hours of service”), like we have now, due to the drivers needing to rest or sleep after so many hours of driving. And of course, the roads would be safer and our produce could be delivered in a more timely and efficient way. Driverless technology could really benefit the logistics of the U.S. food supply.

Also just last week, Hyperloop One successfully tested out its transportation technology in Las Vegas. Hyperloop is—or will become—a high-speed train that can go as fast as 750 miles per hour using magnetic levitation (mag-lev) technology. For example, Los Angeles and San Francisco could be just 35 minutes away from each other using Hyperloop. Can you imagine fresh produce from California zipping into New York City within hours of picking?

It’s an exciting time for us in the produce industry where technology is improving everything from our supply chain to how we sell to consumers.

I’m so glad I was able to reconnect with Joline in person after many years of email-only communication. Her intelligence and creativity really inspired me and got me thinking. Is there an old friend that you should reconnect with? You never know where inspiration will come from!

Karen

I did an informal survey of some of my co-workers, family, and friends to find out what moms really want for Mother’s Day. Interestingly, it was not universally, “Go out to brunch or dinner.”

My moms with young children want their hubbies to take the kids away for the day, so they can chill out—by themselves.

For my working moms, a pampering day at the spa is high on the priority list.

My older moms love being treated with dinner out and some quality time with their kids or grandkids.

For me, I had to think long and hard about what I wanted to do for Mother’s Day. Both my daughters, Alex and Sophia, have been asking me, “What do you want for Mother’s Day?”

I knew that I didn’t want them to buy me anything, especially after I decluttered my house last year. Ultimately, I decided that quality time with just the girls and me would be the perfect gift.

My daughters Alex and Sophia
My daughters Alex and Sophia

I’ve always wanted to hike and never can find the time or an available friend to go with me. So we will start the day at 7:30 a.m. with a hike at Laguna Canyon.

Crystal Cove State Park

Then we are going to our local nursery to buy some bright, colorful flowers. Now that we are deep into spring and the weather has warmed up, it’s time to do a little gardening. So we are going to plant flowers in my front yard.

For me, part of being a mother is thanking my girls for being so awesome. So, after all their hard work, I am treating them both to a massage in the afternoon.

Then the three of us will be making a healthy dinner together at home. And, of course, we are picking up my mom, Frieda, and bringing her over, so she can enjoy hanging out with us while we cook.

Frieda's Specialty Produce - What's on Karen's Plate? - Frieda and Karen
My mother Frieda and me

I’m very excited that the perfect day for me is now planned for this year.

If you have a special mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, or significant other, instead of trying to figure out what to do for her on Mother’s Day, try asking! And be open to her request, as it may be unexpected or super simple and not costly.

As they say, it’s the thought that counts!

Happy Mother’s Day to all the awesome mothers out there!

Karen

Understanding generational traits is key to staying relevant, improving shoppers’ experience, and boosting sales

Frieda's Specialty Produce - What's On Karen's Plate - Karen Caplan's Blog

LOS ALAMITOS, CA (May 2016) – Produce and floral professionals received a first-hand account of how to market to millennials at the Fresh Produce and Floral Council (FPFC) April luncheon in Cerritos, California, from an actual Millennial, Alex Jackson, Senior Account Manager of Frieda’s Specialty Produce.

“Different generations shop differently and think differently,” said Jackson. “You need to understand your shoppers’ core beliefs to stay relevant.”

Traditionalists were born before 1946. “The Silent Generation” spends the least amount of money during shopping trips, but takes the most time going through the store.

Baby Boomers, currently the largest generation, were born between 1946 and 1964. They like sales and bargains, but at the same time don’t mind spending on the brands they are loyal to. While they are getting more tech savvy, personal touches like helpful produce managers and cheery cashiers keep them loyal to stores.

Born between 1965 and 1980, Generation X is a highly independent generation, but still holds buying power. Gen Xers are willing to go with a new brand if they are won over by superior quality and exemplary customer service.

Millennials are the next wave of influential shoppers. Born between 1981 and 2000, they will be 50 percent of the workforce by the year 2020 and will spend more than $200 billion annually, starting in 2017. Millennials are loyal to brands that treat them well, offer new experiences, and are aligned with their beliefs.

“Companies in all industries are making changes to their branding to appeal to my generation, the Millennials,” said Jackson. “But to make your stores relevant to us, it takes more than just changing the look—you have to be a company we can believe in.”

Using this generational marketing angle, companies like Frieda’s have redesigned their packaging to appeal to Millennial shoppers without alienating other generations. By focusing on inspiring new food experiences for friends, families, and food lovers everywhere, Frieda’s brand not only offers culinary adventures to Millennials, but to all the generations before them.

Frieda's Specialty Produce - Citrus bags

Interested retailers, wholesalers, and foodservice distributors can contact Frieda’s account managers to explore its new branding and discover trending products.

About Frieda’s Inc.

Frieda’s Specialty Produce celebrates a 54-year legacy of inspiring new food experiences for friends, family, and food lovers everywhere. Credited with introducing more than 200 specialty fruits and vegetables to U.S. supermarkets, Frieda’s has helped launch unique items like kiwi fruits, Stokes Purple® sweet potatoes, habanero peppers, Sunchokes®, and organic finger limes. Founded in 1962 by produce industry icon Dr. Frieda Rapoport Caplan, subject of the 2015 documentary “Fear No Fruit,” the family company is now owned and operated by Frieda’s daughters, Karen Caplan and Jackie Caplan Wiggins, in Orange County, California. Find Frieda’s on Facebook, @FriedasProduce, and Friedas.com. Inspire. Taste. Love.

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