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High Quality Organics Now Offers Certified Halal

Halal Certification SealHigh Quality Organics (HQO) is now able to provide its customers with certified halal organic herbs and spices, botanicals and more. This spring, HQO underwent the Halal certification process due to the growing market for halal certified products. We wanted to be ahead of the curve on this emerging market opportunity for our customers. Currently, several of our top-selling culinary blends are certified Halal. If you are looking for a specific organic ingredient that is also Halal certified, contact us. Most of High Quality Organics’ ingredients qualify for Halal certification within five to seven business days.

According to the U.S. Halal Association, about 25% of the world (1.6 billion people) are Muslim and certified Halal products represent a global market value of approximately $643 billion.

The Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America outlines what is required to be certified halal. Companies must be in good standing and ensure their products are:

  • Free from pork and any of its by-products
  • Animals are properly slaughtered by
  • Free from alcohol or intoxicants
  • Carnivorous animals or birds of prey
  • Blood or blood by-products

If you are interested in purchasing Halal Certified organic ingredients, please contact us today.

Trends from Natural Products Expo West 2016

Natural Products Expo West LogoNatural Products Expo West is the mecca for all things organic and natural food related.  High Quality Organics has been involved with the show for several years and every year, the show gets bigger and better.  This year was no exception.  Not only was the entire Anaheim Convention Center and outdoor plaza taken up by the show, even the adjacent Hilton hotel had booths in it! It truly is great to be part of this industry during such an exciting time of growth.

In addition to having a booth at the show, HQO had several team members on hand to meet with customers, walk the show and take in the trends.  Below are some of the top trends we saw. You can catch more information on products that fit these trends in our Top Three Trends from 2016 Expo West Trends Video.

Bite-Sized Snacks – While we’ve seen it before, this year bite-sized snacks seemed to be EVERYWHERE! Vegetables are having a big moment and enjoying some sexy attention in the snacked isle; beets especially. A plethora of popcorn was seen as were dried chickpeas, hummus snack packs and more.  But what we thought was really apparent this year was bite-sized snacks. Clusters, nuggets or bites were marketed down almost every isle.

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Epic not only has meat-based bars, they have jerky, salad bits, snack bites, meat-based trail mixes, bone broth and animal fats for cooking.

Meat Snacks/Jerky – Another item that’s not necessarily new but seemed to be extra prevalent this year was jerky or meat snacks. Protein has been a trend for awhile and it makes perfect sense that convenient items like jerky and meat-base bars or bites are an attractive option to time-strapped consumers.  We’re big fans of Epic bars and loved the innovative flavors we were seeing with many jerky companies, especially Chef’s Cut.

Plant-Based Proteins – While meat is having a moment in the snacking category, plant-based proteins are propelling into greater popularity as consumers recognize their health benefits and reduced environmental footprint.  Approximately 36% of Americans are looking for meat substitutes and plant-based proteins are a logical solution. Pulses (primarily beans), hemp seeds, quinoa, peas and nuts are just a few of the plant-based proteins we saw in a wide variety of products throughout the show.  Some of our favorite companies in this segment are Beyond Meat and Quorn. Learn more about Quorn’s amazingly innovative source of protein in our 2016 Expo West Trends video.

beetnik foods provides organic pasta sauces in the freezer section.

beetnik foods provides organic pasta sauces in the freezer section.

Convenient Gourmet – Millennials are driving a lot of trends these days and the this one is no exception.  While the young professionals that make up the millennial generation have palates that have been exposed to a wide variety of flavors and cuisines, they still want the convenience of a meal you can make in minutes. Millennials want fresh, bold flavors that are natural and organic and the food industry is beginning to deliver. High-end frozen sauces that simply need to be thawed and heated were one of the favorite new items we saw in this category at Expo West. Stay tuned; I think we are going to see a lot more exciting things to come in the frozen foods section as everything from breakfast foods to vegetables gets a makeover to address the demands of this care-free generation.

ZenMonkeyBreakfast Bowls – The breakfast is one of the fastest growing categories in grocery. While consumers strive to eat and live healthier, breakfast can sometimes be a challenge as it is often the most time-strapped period of the day. Breakfast bowls are an excellent solution to hurried, health-conscious consumer that needs a grab and go option. We’ve seen oatmeal cups on the market for a few years now but Zen Monkey’s breakfast bowl is an entirely new take on the concept. The oats are soaked, not cooked, and mixed with yogurt and fresh fruit. For those that want something warm, Good Food Made Simple has four egg white breakfast bowls in various flavor combinations.

Demeter Certified Biodynamic – While still an emerging trend, Demeter Certified is definitely something on our radar. It was a notable attraction at BioFach in Germany earlier in the year and definitely had a strong presence at Expo West. Learn more about what this certification means and some of the companies marketing Demeter Certified product in our video, What is Biodynamic and Demeter Certified.

 

Trends from BioFach 2016

HQO BV Team

High Quality Organic’s European Team: Ryan Powers and Stephan Companger

As a leader in organic ingredients, High Quality Organics makes a point to attend BioFach in Nuremberg, Germany every year.  BioFach is the largest organic tradeshow in the world, with over 48,000 attendees from 130 different countries and 2,325 exhibitors. This year, our European team showcased some of our top-selling superfoods maca root, kale powder, turmeric, quinoa and yerba mate while members of our North American team walked the show, met with suppliers and took in the trends that are taking shape in the European market.  Below are the top trends our team saw at the show.

Superfoods – This area of the food industry appears to be constantly evolving. This year our team saw a lot of maca, kale, turmeric (known as curcumen in Europe) and baobab in everything from smoothies to energy bars.

How are these superfoods being used? You can learn all about organic maca root in our product highlight sheet here. Organic kale powder is a versatile superfood being used in smoothies, baked goods and snack foods while turmeric is expanding its reach into teas, rice dishes, smoothies and juices. If you’re interested in purchasing bulk supplies of organic maca, kale and turmeric powder, you can contact a HQO sales representative at 775-971-8550 or email us.

Coconut  – Coconut water took North America by storm a few years ago, growing 50% between 2013-2015, and while the growth of coconut water has slowed, it’s still showing double digit increases year over year.  At the same time, other coconut-based products (oil, flakes, sugar) are making a stronger presence in the marketplace.  During the show, our team saw several uses of coconut products in a wide variety of food products.

Biodynamic & Demeter Certified – This was the number one trend our CEO, Raju Boligala, noted at BioFach.  All of us at HQO were stumped. We knew about biodynamic but had never heard of Demeter. Low and behold it’s the oldest ecological certification in the world! You can learn more about biodynamic agriculture and Demeter certified product in our latest video here.

Plant-Based Proteins – While only 6% of Americans claim to be vegan and 7% claim to be vegetarian, over 36% of Americans prefer to use plant-based alternatives when it comes to animal products. Additional research shows anywhere from 26%-41% of people are consuming less animal products than they did a year ago.  So, what does that mean for the food industry? Consumers are seeking out more plant-based food solutions, especially when it comes to protein.  At BioFach, our team noticed a significant amount of hemp seeds, quinoa and chia seeds in a variety of foods, especially baked goods.

HQO sampled organic smoothies with kale powder and organic yerba mate (a naturally energizing tea) during BioFach 2016.

HQO sampled organic smoothies with kale powder and organic yerba mate (a naturally energizing tea) during BioFach 2016.

Digestion-Focused Foods – More and more people are learning that the health of our body is largely related to the health of our gut. Probiotics, yogurt and kefir have, as a result, seen significant growth in recent years. (Probiotic supplements grew 30% year over year in 2013 according to Eric Pierce of New Hope Media.) Other products that encourage digestion or are anti-inflammatory have also been growing. Two very popular items noted at BioFach were ginger-based a turmeric-based drinks. Ginger, long known to aid in digestion, has been available in tea form for some time.  However, we’re seeing it pop up in more beverages like fresh-pressed juice and smoothie mixes. As noted above, turmeric-based juices and smoothies were also seen in abundance.

Ready-To-Eat Organic Shelf-Stable Meals – More and more consumers are demanding convenient foods that are equally nutritious. Millennials are driving this need and food companies in Europe are answering with shelf-stable meals that are certified organic. Our team saw several new products throughout BioFach.

Organic Cotton Clothes – While it still remains a small segment of the organic industry, organic textiles growing. In fact, the Organic Trade Association’s 2016 Industry Survey notes that organic fiber (mainly cotton) is the fastest growing portion of the non-food segment and its expected to grow even faster in 2016, at roughly 16%. During BioFach, Our team witnessed many organic cotton clothing products and noted they definitely had more of a presence than years past.

Were you or members or your company in attendance at BioFach this year? If so, what trends did you see?

 

Chipotle 101

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Rose Bubbly

Cover photo 2What better way to celebrate the day of love than a bubbly cocktail made with real organic rose petals. We’ve all had some sort of pink champagne, but this cocktail with DIY rose syrup will knock your lover’s socks off. As an added bonus for your troubles, making the rose syrup will fill your home with fresh rose fragrance. blog photo 3

Ingredients:

Two cups water

Two cups organic sugar

One cup dried organic rose petals

Champagne

Raspberries to garnish

Instructions:

To begin, make rose petal ice cubes. Fill an ice tray with organic dried rose petals, and fill halfway with water. Put in the freezer for 30 minutes, and then fill to the top and freeze again. The roes petals float so you have to do the ice in two layers for really beautiful ice cubes that will decorate your cocktail. Syrup blog photo

Next you’ll need to make rose syrup. This is the fun part, it smells amazing! In a saucepan, mix one cup organic dried rose petals, two cups water and two cups sugar. Let the sugar dissolve, and then simmer on low for ten minutes. Remove from heat and strain rose petals. Let cool completely and then pour in an airtight container.

*Please make sure that if you use fresh rose petals they are organic, or picked from somewhere near your home. Store bought roses aren’t meant for consuming and are covered in pesticides and chemicals. Blogphoto

Okay, now the fun part- your cocktail! Add just two tablespoons of the rose syrup to the bottom of your glass, and add ice cubes. Top with your favorite champagne, and garnish with some fresh berries.

We hope you enjoy this wildly romantic floral cocktail. Tell us about your rose cocktail on our Facebook page, or comment below.

DIY Organic Chamomile Bath Tea

2014_12_16_Chamomile Bath Tea Cover CThis herbal bath tea is so easy to make. Just a few ingredients – which you probably already have – and some simple muslin sachets and you are all set to destress and have one silent night. Add a few sachets to a beautiful glass jar and you have an elegant gift that was easy on the watch and wallet.

DIY Organic Chamomile Bath Tea

2014_12_16_Bath Tea Sachet Over Faucet

2 cups Epsom salts
6 heaping tablespoons organic chamomile tea
1 cup oatmeal, ground
1 cup powdered milk

Combine ingredients in a bowl and stir. Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup in each sachet. Tie sachets close and hang over the bathtub faucet. Can be enjoyed for a few days. Then, simply discard “tea” into compost and launder the sachet.

BIG Batch Java Vegnog Cocktail

Vegnog coverEggnog is absolutely a staple at every holiday party; and what a perfect time to discover a new twist to a seasonal favorite. Because veganism is on the rise, we taught you how to make your own homemade vegan eggnog, ‘veg nog’. Here is a way to spice it up even more with a little organic spice and some liqueur for extra kick!

Eggnog is traditionally made adult friendly with rum or brandy, but here I decided to go for a coffee spin. Note that this recipe calls for coffee ice cubes; I usually use these for iced coffee so it doesn’t get watered down by ice. They are easy to make, just add any extra coffee from your morning brew to an ice cube tray. By the next day you are all set for an iced cup of joe!

Ingredients

Veg Nog (Don’t know how to make it? Learn how to make your own veg nog here!)

Coffee ice cubes

Kahlua coffee liqueur

Ground cinnamon

Ground nutmeg

Ground cloves

Sugar in the raw to rim (optional)

 

Directions

In a small bowl, mix equal parts cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Set aside.

In a blender, fill with coffee ice cubes, and add enough veg nog so the top ice cubes are almost covered. I do about 10 oz. drinks with a 1 ½ oz. pour of Kahlua. So depending on how many people you are hosting, your measurements will vary. Just make sure you’re adding a 1 ½ oz. coffee liqueur for every 10 oz. of drink mixture.  Add a tbsp. of your spice mixture; blend well.

If you are going to do a sugar rim (visually appealing if you want to impress your guests!) simply pour your sugar in the raw on a flat surface. Use a slice of fruit to rim the glass enough to stick to the sugar. Then dip your glass face down on top of the sugar, and your glasses are ready.

Pour your drinks in the glasses and sprinkle some remaining spice mixture on top for added pizzaz. Serve quickly before the ice melts, and don’t forget to make one for yourself to enjoy.

Like this recipe? We love to hear about your experiences. Tell us what you think on our Facebook post.

All About Chai Tea

frappy Hour 2Most Americans probably first learned about chai from a well-known coffee shop known for serving it up every fall in a hot, frothy latte. Many adore the distinctive warm flavor a chai latte provides. But, what exactly is chai?

The word chai is a derivative from the Chinese word “cha,” meaning tea. And masala is Indian for spice blend.  Although almost every recipe is just a little different from the next, there are a few staples that are almost always involved in any masala chai: cinnamon, star anise, cardamom, cloves, fennel, ginger and peppercorn. Traditionally, these ingredients are simmered with black tea leaves and enriched with sweetener and milk. You can also use a variation of these ingredients with dried milk and sugars to add to food or drinks.

History

Although it is a universal belief that chai originated in India over 5,000 years ago, stories vary on how it actually came to be. One of the most popular beliefs is the story of a king who boiled tea leaves with some herbs in water. That recipe was passed down until every kingdom, town, neighborhood and even household had its own version. This is why seemingly every recipe for the flavorful sweet blend is different.

Although this recipe is an ancient treasure, it didn’t enter American mainstream until the early 1990s. Chai reportedly came to America in the sixties when some counterculture travelers brought back the tradition. Now it’s a staple offering in most coffeehouses.  Even Oprah has her own line of chai tea that helps raise funds for the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy Foundation.

Culinary Uses

The centuries-old spice blend can create so much more than just tea. From lattes to baking goods, chai is undoubtedly becoming a versatile flavor across the globe. According to the Tea Association USA, tea has gone from less than a $2 billion industry nationally just 14 years ago to well over a $10 billion industry today, and Chai is keeping up with the trend.

At High Quality Organics, masala chai is our best selling tea. This trend is consistent with America’s growing demand for ‘specialty teas’; people now want a bolder cup of tea with way more flavor. This trend is here to stay, and we’ve got the supply to meet their demand. High quality organics sells bulk organic chai tea in orders of 50 pounds or more. As always, our products are certified organic, non-gmo and come with the option to customize to your specific business. 

frappy hour water markIf you haven’t made homemade masala chai before, we are here to help. Here is a video on how you can make your own chai, and don’t forget to make a little extra spice mix to save for later! As always when experimenting with your homemade recipes, you should try a few variations. A Chai Latte is a great start. And for your weekend variation, try our Chai Frappy Hour recipe. 

 

Easter Bunny Soup

Easter Bunny Soup Cover Pic

Shhh, don’t tell your kids this delicious soup is made with carrots and a bunch of delicious and healthy spices like ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, and garlic.  With the addition of just a few more ingredients – olive oil, two chopped onions and some vegetable broth – this simple soup is transformed into a healthy, vegan delight any Easter Bunny is sure to enjoy. 😉 It’s perfectly balanced yet very flavorful. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

From all of us at HQO, we wish you a very Happy Easter, Happy Passover and Happy Spring!

Easter Bunny Soup

(AKA – Carrot Soup with Ginger, Turmeric, Cinnamon & Garlic)

2014_4_17_Easter Bunny Soup Ingredients3 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds chopped carrots (no need to peel them, just cut off the ends)
2 yellow onions finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh garlic (about 2-3 cloves)
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups vegetable broth
2 cups water

Step 1: Heat olive oil in medium to large stock pot over medium high heat.

Step 2: Add the carrots, onions and all the spices and stir, cooking until onions are translucent, about 8-12 minutes.

Step 3: Add vegetable broth and water. Bring to boil then reduce to a simmer and cook until carrots are soft (a fork easily goes through them). About 15-20 minutes.

Step 4: If time allows, let soup cool before pureeing in a blender.  Otherwise, carefully puree hot soup in blender making sure to work in small batches (don’t fill blender more than half full).

2014_4_18_Easter Bunny Soup Sour Cream

Step 5: If the mood strikes you, fill a small plastic bag with some sour cream, cut just the tip of a corner off the bag and create a bunny face onto of the soup. (Or a smiley face, or another artistic design to impress your dinner guests.)

Posted by Angela Keyser, High Quality Organics Vice President of Marketing and Communications, mother and self-professed very good eater.

Recipe adapted from Spiced Carrot Soup, Roasted Carrot Soup, and Creamy Turmeric Carrot Soup.

3 Ways with Roasted Cauliflower

Vegetables: they’re a big trend these days. Everyone is looking to eat healthier and whittle their waste down at least a little.  There’s no better way to get excited about vegetables then to add some fun herb or spice combination to them. Here are three absolutely delicious recipes featuring the often understated winter staple: cauliflower.

Moroccan Spiced Cauliflower

photo 23-4 cups cauliflower florets
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
Salt and pepper

Step 1: Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Step 2: Combine butter, lemon juice and spices (minus salt and pepper) in a small bowl.
Step 3:  In a large bowl or on a baking sheet, toss cauliflower with spice mixture, coating liberally.
Step 4: Spread cauliflower on baking pan and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.
Step 5: Bake for 15 minutes.

Recipe adapted from www.SnailsView.com.

Southwestern Cauliflower

photo 43-4 cups cauliflower florets
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt

Step 1: Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Step 2: In a medium bowl or on a baking sheet coat cauliflower with olive oil.
Step 3: Combine spices in a small bowl and sprinkle over cauliflower liberally, mixing to coat well.
Step 4: Spread cauliflower on a baking sheet.
Step 5: Bake for 15 minutes.

Recipe adapted from www.CookingCanuck.com.

Cauliflower with Garlic and Parmesan

photo 33-4 cups cauliflower florets
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2-1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (optional)

Step 1: Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Step 2: In a large bowl or on a baking sheet, toss cauliflower with olive oil and mix to coat well.
Step 3: Combine spices in a small bowl and sprinkle over cauliflower.
Step 4: Lay cauliflower out on baking sheet and sprinkle parmesan cheese over top.
Step 5: Bake for 15 minutes.