Founded in New Orleans in 2014 by husband and wife team Austin Sherman and Alexis Korman, Big Easy creates plant-powered drinks for everyday wellness. Now the company is making waves with its first-to-market Big Easy Tepache, a line of all-natural, sparkling prebiotic- and probiotic-rich drinks.
Launching in more than 2,000 major retailers, this fizzy fruit-sweetened drink has long been popular in Mexico but until now, has not been bottled and sold in the U.S. Big Easy Tepache combines gut health benefits with the approachability of soda, with each 11.5-oz. bottle containing one-third less sugar than regular soda and just 70 calories. Compared to kombucha, which usually contains only probiotics, Tepache also delivers prebiotics from organic blue agave inulin, with each bottle containing 3g of fiber. The refrigerated beverage comes in mango, pineapple and prickly pear flavors.
“Our new Tepache drinks transport you somewhere tropical from the very first sip,” says Sherman. “Tepache is a beloved fermented fruit drink in Mexico and is now a staple mixer at many craft cocktail bars. Consumers who have tried our Tepache have consistently said it’s so delicious they forget they’re drinking something healthy.”
Protein Bites with Benefits
Healthy Lifestyle Brands, Denise Austin and H & F Bread Co. have joined forces to launch Denise Austin’s Ever Better Protein Bites. The 3.1-oz. bags of bites come in four varieties--Brownie Bliss, Chocolate PB Passion, Double Chocolate Delight and Pumpkin Spice Joy—and are sold in packs of four bags for $24.95. One bag contains about two servings, with one serving being about seven bites. A serving delivers 190 calories, 15g fat, 6g protein and 6g sugar (4g are added sugars).
They are described as keto friendly, low in sugar, low carb and diabetic friendly. Sugar content is kept low through the use of allulose, a natural sugar that is not metabolized by the body, making it nearly calorie-free and non-glycemic, which means there is no impact on blood glucose or insulin levels. Its chemical structure is that of a typical carbohydrate, so it functions like sugar in the product.
“Life is all about family, love and positivity,” says fitness instructor Denise Austin and her daughter Katie Austin, who co-developed the product. “We created Ever Better Protein Bites so women could have a healthy, delicious snack that is beneficial to women’s health.”
Venezuelan Flat Bread
When sisters Mafe and Coco moved to the U.S. from Venezuela, they were missing arepas, a gluten-free cornmeal toast alternative. Thicker than a tortilla, traditional arepas are made from a pre-cooked cornmeal flour called masarepa. They’re lightly fried on a griddle until crispy on the outside yet still soft on the inside and then filled or topped for serving.
New Toast-It is the Americanized version. Toast-It is made with only a few simple ingredients. In addition to white corn meal flour, the original recipe includes Himalayan pink salt and extra virgin olive oil. There’s also a seeded version that contains chia and flax seeds. Toast-It is a slightly crunchier version of arepas that is easily prepared in a toaster oven or conventional oven in 5-10 minutes from the freezer. One piece contains 120-130 calories, 1.5-2.5g of fat, 2-3g of fiber and 3g of protein. They are sold in packs of eight for $7.99. Currently the product in sold online, with free delivery in the greater Miami area, where the company is based.
A New Take on Holiday Gift Baskets
Hormel Foods, the makers of Columbus Craft Meats, is offering three new items designed as premium charcuterie gift options. The Charcuterie 101 Collection ($109.99) has sweet and bold pairings that complement its slow aged, artisan salami flavor. A cherry wood charcuterie and cheese knife complete the starter kit.
The Entertaining Collection ($159.99) contains an array of artisan salamis, cheeses, crackers and more. The Felino Gold ($89.99) is the “King of Salami.” Crafted from pork, fresh garlic and sherry wine, this artisan 2.5-lb. salami is slow-aged for a minimum of 30 days in a natural casing to develop its traditional, rustic flavor. The boxes have limited availability due to the select nature of craft salumi and are not available in stores.
“Columbus’s charcuterie boxes make the ideal holiday gift because they’re a fresh take on the classic food basket,” says Evan Inada, charcuterie/partnerships director at Columbus Craft Meats. “There is a consistent desire for gift baskets every year and this one has a distinct ‘wow’ factor upon arrival and unboxing. Especially now, due to COVID-19 and social distancing, gatherings during the holiday season may look different. This is a perfect answer.”
Baked Lentil Snack Rings
Calbee North America is elevating the snacking experience with new Harvest Snaps Crunchions, a plant-based, ring-shaped snack featuring nutrition-packed red lentils as the first ingredient. The baked crisps offer a better-for-you alternative to conventional, corn-based snacks and pack maximum flavor in every bite. Kick’n BBQ is bursting with smoky flavor and Southern-style barbecue seasonings, such as brown sugar, garlic, aged red peppers and chiles. Sour Cream & Onion is the classic pairing of zesty sour cream with robust, savory onion. Tangy Sweet Chili is where heat meets sweet. These balanced ring bites combine spicy cayenne pepper sauce with a touch of sugar.
Powered by plant-based protein and free of starchy fillers like corn and potatoes, Harvest Snaps Crunchions contain less sodium than other ring-shaped snacks on the market, according to the company. The lineup is also certified gluten-free, vegetarian friendly and free of artificial flavors and colors, cholesterol, palm oil, plus the common allergens of soy, nuts, peanuts, wheat and eggs. Sold in 2.5-oz. bags, these snacks merchandise primarily in the produce section of the supermarket alongside other crunchy snacks. The suggested retail price is $2.29-2.49.
Animal-free Protein Ice Cream
Graeter’s Ice Cream, America’s oldest family-owned craft ice cream maker, has teamed up with food technology company Perfect Day to launch Perfect Indulgence. The technology allows Graeter’s to make a product that is virtually indistinguishable from traditional ice cream by using animal-free protein from microflora rather than cows, which makes for a kinder, greener and more sustainable future, according to the company. The debut comes in six of Graeter’s traditional flavors: Black Cherry Chocolate Chip, Chocolate, Chocolate Chip, Cookies & Cream, Mint Chocolate Chip and Oregon Strawberry.
“The taste of Perfect Indulgence is exactly what our customers have come to expect after 150 years of bringing them irresistibly indulgent ice cream,” says Richard Graeter, fourth-generation family member and president/CEO. “We are excited to finally be able to serve authentic Graeter’s indulgence to guests who choose to eat vegan or cannot enjoy our regular ice cream due to a lactose intolerance. Until now, we couldn’t put our name on a vegan product because it simply did not live up to our standards. But now, with Perfect Day, we can.”