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Pumpkin Cheesecake on a Mission

Our friends and loyal customers know that our decadent specialty certified gluten free desserts have been available around the country in smaller chains and independent health and grocery stores for several years, as well as in some of the larger, more well known chains including Whole Foods, Fresh Thyme, Safeway and Natural Grocers.

Our Mission is to build the Gem City brand as the premiere provider of delicious gluten-free desserts in the country. As we wade through an extremely competitive industry that is in constant flux, we strive every single day to find new, innovative ways to get what we know are the best gluten free desserts on that market, to more celiac, gluten intolerant and gluten free sweets lovers and their friends and families.

So, we are thrilled to announce a two-week trial run with 16 Costco stores in the Northwest region of the country, including all 10 stores in Utah, as well as stores in Boise, ID, and Seattle, Issaquah, Redmond, Kirkwood and Woodinville, WA. Gluten free dessert lovers in these areas can grab a few of these cheesecakes (which a young fan described as, “As if a pumpkin pie and a cheesecake got married and had a baby!”) from now through Halloween for just $7.49 each, a very affordable price!

We also have the ability to direct ship to stores in the Northeast that have been missing ordering desserts from a major distributor, so celiac and gluten free diners and their families and friends should keep an eye on our Where to Find us page on the website, or give us a call at 385.225.0441 (Rachel) or 385.228.4135 (Lisa) to inquire about stores in their area that may be selling our desserts again!

We maintain our commitment to the celiac and gluten free customer, especially through the holiday season, where sweets are such an important part of celebrations.

costco pumpkin

Hurricanes and Hunger

Our hearts go out to all the people affected by Hurricane Harvey, and we are keeping a close watch on Irma, justy this morning named a Category 2 hurricane.

Of course we all want to help those in need. Agencies, organizations, businesses and private citizens are working together to provide food, clothing and other necessary items and support to those who are displaced.

Feeding America has recognized September as Hunger Action Month for the ninth year in a row, to raise awareness of the 48 million Americans (15 million of them children) who face food insecurity daily, in addition to those victims of the hurricane. The Specialty Food Association has issued again its Embrace Hunger Relief initiative, a competition between members east versus west to volunteer food, time or money to the cause.

And September 13 is designated National Celiac Awareness Day in the US. Consider providing certified gluten free foods in your hunger relief efforts, so those who suffer from celiac disease and gluten intolerance can be fed alongside their peers.

There is a National Gluten-Free Food Bank Movement in Denver, CO, and for our friends in New England, the Celiac Disease Foundation provides a list of gluten free food banks in Massachusetts: https://www.nationalceliac.org/gluten-free-food-bank-participating-pantries/

The University of Chicago reports that about 3 million people in the US, 97% of them as yet undiagnosed, have celiac disease. Regardless of whether a food bank specific to gluten free needs is available in your area, you can rest assured that if you bring certified gluten free foods to your local pantry, they will be appreciated by someone who is hungry and has dietary requirements restricting or prohibiting gluten. And since people who can eat gluten-containing foods can also eat those that are gluten free, everyone wins.

gf pantry

Summertime

Forget those “Back to School” ads you’re already seeing on TV. This is the height of summertime fun- family vacation, summer camp (including celiac and gluten free camps!), playing outside, swimming, travel.

Recently at the Celiac Disease Foundation Expo in Pasadena, CA, we had a lively discussion with a small group of celiac and gluten free friends who surrounded our table, hearing we were proposing a GF dessert option to a large airline catering company serving international customers. “That would be so great!” “It’s almost impossible to eat while flying when you are gluten free!” “I would fly far more often if it were easier to eat while traveling that way.”

If you think about it, no matter where you’re going anymore, to fly there sucks up a day, right? Well, what about when you’re driving the kids to summer camp, or heading out on a big family road trip to celebrate summer vacation? While we at Gem City Fine Foods are already thinking about how we can support our gluten free and celiac customers when school starts again, we hope you are at worst worrying about how you’ll eat on the road, or at best, have figured it out already.

If you are in the first category, then here are some ideas, below. And if you are in the second, please share with us your own successes, in response to this post, or on Facebook, to help others navigate their diagnoses. But most of all, enjoy the rest of your summer! (And be sure to check out our Expos and Events page while traveling, to see if there is an event you can pop into for samples, coupons and goodies.)

– A couple good print resources are the August issue of Gluten-Free Living magazine (“Your Summer Survival Guide”) and the July-August issue of Simply Gluten Free Magazine (“The International Issue”). You’ll find tips for healthy traveling, sending the kids off to camp and day activities, and more in these publications.

– Speaking of summer camp, did you know there are camps for kids who are celiac and gluten free? There are camps around the country: east coast, west coast and in between that may have openings still. Check out the Celiac Disease Foundation, Beyond Celiac, or the Gluten Intolerance Group sites for more information. If you strike out this year, now you are ready to look early next year.

– When playing outside, remember to drink plenty of water, which is gluten free- hooray! And make sure you have healthy gluten free snacks on hand that will refuel you regularly. Some possibilities are nuts, fruits and raw veggies cut up, home-popped popcorn, and yogurt or cheese (“real” vs. processed cheese is safe. Check the label on American or other processed cheeses.) While gluten free foods continue to get a bad rap for the stigma attached to the limited and often yucky tasting options of old, the possibilities are improving. Look for certified gluten free pretzels, crackers or cookies.

And we would be remiss to forget to say if you want a cool sweet treat in the heat of the summertime, look for Gem City Fine Foods certified gluten free cheesecakes, Vegan Chocolate and Carrot Cakes, and signature Flourless Chocolate Torte at your local store, or online at Amazon. Don’t forget to download and print or scan our Summer Coupon, now available on our Specials page, for savings.

 

Just Desserts

Let’s be honest: Dessert is not a necessity. Uhuh… really, it’s not. So, let’s all go without for a while.

Even though I joke about potato chips being my preferred dessert, who doesn’t like a sweet treat once in a while? In fact, I dreamed up this blog post as I sat in my hotel room after the second day of the Celiac Disease Conference and Expo a week and a half ago, munching on a warm chocolate chip cookie. The cookie was not gluten free. I am fortunate to be able to make a wide variety of food choices for myself, whether dessert or otherwise, including those containing wheat and other gluten-containing grains.

So, uh, WTH? The Sales and Marketing Manager for a gluten free- certified bakery neither has a sweet tooth nor is gluten free?

That’s right. But let me explain. I firmly believe that just as I can eat sweet non-gluten free-certified desserts, and do on occasion, those diagnosed with Celiacs Disease or gluten sensitivity should have ample choices for dessert.

This is what excites me about my job with Gem City Fine Foods, especially attending events like the CDF Expo, talking with people, watching their faces as they ENJOY dessert for the first time in… how long? For some of the little ones, EVER. My challenge is to make sure that those who have been diagnosed celiac or gluten sensitive, or who have made gluten free their lifestyle for other health reasons, have easy access to delicious gluten free options for dining. That includes dessert. Because even if it’s not necessary, shouldn’t we all be on an even playing field when it comes to access to a treat?

Gem City Fine Foods is working on increasing distribution across the country through specialty and natural foods distributors and in chain supermarkets as well as independent grocers and health food stores. If you can’t find us in your store, let me know. I’ll look into getting us there. In the meantime, know you can purchase our 6-inch and 10-inch cakes, cheesecakes and chocolate torte on Amazon, and that we are working on increasing our online access for those who prefer that method of purchase.

We are always interested in hearing from you, whether in person at demos, shows and expos, on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, by email, or through your comments here in our blog. What would you like to see in our dessert line up? What questions do you have for us? We look forward to talking with you.
Hope to see you around!
Lisa

#bglutenfree #CDFEXPO

Bottom Line: Relieve Hunger

As we gear up for the National Restaurant Show later this week in Chicago, current trends in the restaurant and food service industries leap to mind: sustainable, local, decreasing waste, authentic ethnic, feeding the hungry. It’s no secret that traditional means of purveying food, through supermarkets, restaurants, cafeterias and the like, face increasing competition from online options. More people feel they have less money to spend on dining out, and less time to spend on getting food into their own houses.

At the same time food businesses are looking to save their own bottom lines, they continue to look out for those who must struggle in the regular course of the day to feed themselves and their families, whether locally, nationally or globally.

As a member of the Specialty Food Association, we just received the results of this particular organization’s most recent Embrace Hunger Relief initiative. In April, member companies were challenged, East versus West in a “Hunger Relief Challenge” to work to eliminate hunger around the country. SFA reports a 25% increase in participation since the last Embrace Hunger Relief month, and more than $2300, almost 225 hours, and over 18,000 pounds of food donated in the effort. The next Embrace Hunger Relief month will be in September. Check back to see what we cook up to do our part to help provide food for those in need.

Meanwhile, congrats to the West region for winning the challenge again this time around, and thanks to all those organizations, companies and foundations out there working to eliminate hunger right here in the United States, and around the world!

How we get from UT to YOU

Spring and fall are big trade show and expo seasons for Gem City Fine Foods. Recently we were in Orem, UT, for the My Gluten Free World Expo, and soon will travel to Chicago for the National Restaurant Association Show, and then Pasadena, CA, for the Celiac Disease Foundation Conference and Expo.

It’s interesting to talk with people from different perspectives about our specialty certified gluten free desserts. Celiac and gluten free expo attendees get really excited to taste “real” desserts again when they sample our torte, cakes and cheesecakes, and just want access. On the other hand, helping those who deliver desserts to the customer (distributors, retail stores) can be a real challenge if those making the decisions aren’t celiac or gluten free themselves. Read: There is a disconnect that makes us scratch our heads. We get both sides… we think.

Just how do we get our desserts from our dedicated gluten free bakery in Utah to YOU?

First, yes, of course Amazon is an option. Can’t you buy just about everything but love on Amazon these days, or through similar sites like Jet.com? We ship directly from the bakery to your home or workplace, so when you order on Amazon, you know we truly are behind the cake. Once you place an order, we receive that via email, package your goodies with ice packs, print out a shipping label and send the box away in your direction. Without a doubt, this is the pricier way to get your desserts. But in some instances, it’s the only way.

The primary way you get access to Gem City desserts is by walking into a local store and purchasing. But not every store in the country carries them. Why is that? Unfortunately, it’s not always as easy as calling a manager, sending samples, and “getting in.” (Although this can work sometimes.)

There is a “middle man” in the form of a distribution company, which brings the desserts from the bakery to a warehouse, and then on to the retail store. We use two large distributors to move most of our products, and space considerations and competition are very real, especially in frozen shipping and storage. A distributor or retail buyer may fall in love with our product, but not have room in the freezer – or in the fridge once at the store.

Brands and products do come and go. Distributors and retailers discontinue underperforming products on a regular basis, freeing up space for a new product. So, if the timing is right, and the buyer likes Gem City desserts, we may get a phone call that our desserts have been accepted. Major distributors require a minimum weekly amount of product to move through their warehouses, and stores like to know that there is product available in the warehouses from which they order. This presents a bit of a Catch-22. We work with both retail and distribution decision makers to find ways to get our desserts into warehouses and then on to stores and ultimately into your mouth.

In the meantime, if you want to see Gem City Fine Foods in a store near you, please reach out to both the store manager and to our Sales and Marketing Manager Lisa. You can reach her at sales@gemcityfinefoods.com. This is an easy enough email address to remember to share with your store manager. And if you reach out to us with contact information for your store, we will respond. And don’t give up; we haven’t. Celiac and gluten intolerance are diagnosed more easily and frequently than in the past. You need options, and you drive that market. The future is yours.

There. That is how we get from UT to YOU.

Newly diagnosed? Talk with us!

Last Saturday we participated in the My Gluten Free World Expo in Orem, UT. We love GF and Allergy-Friendly expos; they give us a chance to talk directly with the end customers of our delish desserts. Last Saturday was especially pleasant, as the crowds were small enough to allow us ample time to have good conversations as we shared samples, information and coupons with the celiac and gluten free public. (And we had a blast, as usual, with kids- and grown up kids- playing our pirate ship beanbag game for GF prizes!)

The medical profession is learning more about celiac disease and gluten intolerance, and more and more people are being diagnosed. It never fails that we meet people who were recently diagnosed and are confused about what’s out there that they can eat, curious about possibilities, and thrilled to be able to eat a dessert that doesn’t taste gluten free. While it can be discouraging, initially, for the celiac or gluten intolerant diner to get accustomed to a new lifestyle, over time the results are worth the effort, as the symptoms dissipate.

We’re glad to talk with people who have been diagnosed recently. We’ve been a certified, dedicated GF bakery for several years, and can help with flour mixes that work, techniques for better gluten free baking, and share our own challenges and successes. We don’t just bake in a commercial facility; we continually experiment at home with new ideas to make our products better, and in that process, acquire new tips to share. So, check our Events page for the next time we’ll be at an event near you, and come find us to try our flourless chocolate torte, carrot or vegan chocolate cake, or one of several cheesecakes, ask questions, or just share your feelings, hurdles, triumphs. We look forward to talking with you- over dessert!

And if you can’t make it to an expo, feel free to message us on Facebook, call, or email. We’ll get back to you!

gf baking

Trending- Enthusiasm!

Last week Keelie and Lisa attended the Specialty Food Association Business Summit in Chicago. Keelie participated in the Operations and Food Safety track, while Lisa went to the E-Commerce and Digital Marketing sessions. The Gem City Fine Foods managers listened to presentations and panel discussions on timely topics, enjoyed good food and drinks, and met others in the business. Here are some of the trends we learned about:

– “Millenials,” whether older generations want to admit (or even say the word) are the generation with the numbers to make a huge impact in both workplace and marketplace. And they know digital.

– This generation is looking for a personalized experience, whether at work (think company culture) or while shopping (think getting to know your customer.)

– “Brick and mortar” stores and restaurants face increasing competition, whether from popular giant services like Amazon, e-commerce on store or manufacturer websites, or meal kit delivery.

– Consumer causes, including clean ingredients, gluten free and other health-related demands, and local sourcing, provide increasing opportunities for specialty foods to fill a niche.

– The business owners and employees we found at the Summit showed an enthusiasm for the industry that reflects the promise of possibilities presenting for specialty foods, given the trends discussed during the meetings, dinners, and casual break and cocktail lounge conversations.

We returned to Gem City Fine Foods with new knowledge, ideas and contacts, invigorated and refreshed by the experience, and pleased to be part of the Specialty Food Association. Keep in touch to see what’s next!

SFA logo

 

My Gluten Free World Expo Coming to Town

Hello, all you fans of sweet treats, whether celiac, gluten free or any other dessert lover!

That’s just a reminder that our frozen specialty desserts: flourless chocolate torte; Lemon Zest, Pomegranate, Mocha, Triple Berry Streusel and Pumpkin cheesecakes, carrot and vegan chocolate cakes are a hit with pretty much anyone who tries them, so go ahead and give ours a try. Right now we’re having a sale on our Pumpkin Cheesecake on Amazon: $28.95 with shipping included, direct to your home, ready to eat. Only while supplies last.

And speaking of this flavor, usually only available in fall through holiday season in your local stores, we’ll have both individual 3 inch and party 6 inch sizes available for retail sale at the My Gluten Free Expo in Orem, UT, on Saturday, April 15, at sale prices, too. We’re all inundated with pumpkin and spice during holidays, but you should be able to enjoy pumpkin in spring sometimes too!

The My Gluten Free World Expo will take place from 9am to 4pm at the UCCU at Utah Valley University on Saturday, April 15. We’ll be there as a co-sponsor in the Children’s Area, so bring your kids over to play our pirate beanbag game for prizes, like GF brownies and mini cakes. Try samples and pick up a coupon. Talk with Rick, our owner, and Lisa, our Sales and Marketing Manager, about the company- hear our story, line up and plans for the future. Let us know what you’d like to see for new flavors. Buy a Pumpkin Cheesecake or two to take home.

Tickets are $5.00 each and are available at http://myglutenfreeworldexpo.com/. Use the promo code MYGLUTENFREEWORLD for a $1.00 discount. That’s 20% off.

We look forward to seeing our local Salt Lake City friends at the Expo on April 15. Ahoy!

 

 

 

spring pumpkin

 

 

Keeping it Local

While Gem City Fine Foods certified gluten free desserts can be found around the country, we are reaching out to our local customers and partners this year as we recognize a sincere interest in local, sustainable, quality foods and experiences that resonate for their community feel and also their softer impact on our earth.

So, we are excited to announce a new partnership with Flavor Fanatics to provide demos in stores around the Salt Lake City area. We met Gregory of Flavor Fanatics through the Specialty Food Association (SFA), of which Gem City and Flavor Fanatics are members. As can be done best among a strong, cooperative community spirit as promoted through SFA, we struck a rapport, and Gregory reached out to a former brand ambassador who now lives in the Salt Lake City area, Sheri Allen, who represents specialty food clients in stores in the area, including Whole Foods, Smiths and Harmons Grocers. Sheri took us on, and so far we are delighted with both her services, and those of Flavor Fanatics, and look forward to a long and successful partnership providing samples, coupons and information at demos around the area. Look for Gem City Fine Foods demos in Whole Foods, Natural Grocers and Good Earth stores beginning this month. You can find the schedule by clicking on the Events page on our website. Whilethere, check out the cool other events we’ll be participating in over the next few months.

And look for the Utah’s Own sticker on our products. We are a proud member of this excellent program through the Utah Department of Agriculture, promoting local artisanal foods!

gem demo