Newman’s Own Organics Information

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NEWMAN’S OWN® ORGANICS GOES BEYOND SNACK FOODS

When Nell Newman and business partner Peter Meehan started Newman’s Own®

Organics: The Second Generation® in 1993, they were sure there was a market for organic snack foods, but they couldn’t have anticipated just how fast the demand for their products would grow. What started with pretzels and grew to include other snack foods has now expanded to many other organic items: coffee, tea, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, organic dried fruit, and pet food. The partners anticipate adding a number of new items each year in all these areas.

Nell approached her father in 1992 about the possibility of an organic division. He offered to cover one year’s expenses for Nell and Peter to determine the feasibility of an organic product line under the Newman name. The one stipulation was that, once established, they would return the seed money, so that it could be added to his charity money. They not only managed to do this within a short period of time, but also became an independent company in late 2000. This had been the goal from the beginning. They were, though, committed to following the philanthropic role of Paul Newman and bringing out products that he was proud to have his name associated with.

Great tasting products that happen to be organic is our slogan,” says Nell. “It really says a lot about us. We’ve seen in recent years that people want to know more about the food they eat, not just how many calories a product contains. It’s becoming more important to them how ingredients are grown and processed on the way to their grocers’ shelf. Once people see how much organic foods have improved since the early days of packaged `health’ foods, we feel they’ll seek them out.”

When it comes to choosing what products are produced, personal preference comes into play. Through the year of research, Nell and Peter discovered that national pretzel sales were booming, but there were few organic pretzels available. It was “Pa” Newman’s love for pretzels that made them a perfect first choice when they launched the pretzels in fall, 1993. The pretzel line has expanded to thirteen varieties. “We focus on the kinds of products we loved as kids, but take them one step further by using the highest quality of available organic ingredients,” says Meehan. “Our pretzels fast became the top sellers in the natural food industry.”

Nell’s love of chocolate was a deciding factor in choosing organic chocolate bars, as the next product. The company was a pioneer in the natural food industry when it offered its first line of organic chocolate bars in 1995. In 2009 the company took their commitment to a better chocolate bar to the

next level with its Signature Chocolate line, which carries the USDA Organic and RainForest Alliance Certified ™ seals.

It wasn’t long before other chocolate items joined the bars: Champion Chip Cookies in several varieties; Newman-O’s, a crème filled chocolate cookie in six varieties; Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups, Chocolate Mint Cups and Chocolate Carmel Cups. “What’s great about the chocolate line is that since the first bars, the cacao was and is grown in the ancient way so that no rain forests need be destroyed. We want to encourage this method by supporting the farmers economically,” says Nell.

The popular Fig Newman’s came into being, thanks to “Pa” approaching the president of Nabisco (now Kraft) and the corporation’s cooperation. The name is being used under license from them. This was the first fig bar with organic figs, organic sugar, organic flour, and without hydrogenated oils. The line includes fat-free and low-fat versions, and, responding to consumers’ requests, a wheat-free, dairy free bar. Other pleasers in the cookie line are Alphabet Cookies in three varieties, Ginger-O’s, a ginger crème filled cookie, and Hermits, an old-fashioned spicy, chewy cookie in three flavors.

The cookie line uses palm shortening. “People initially confused this ingredient with palm kernel oil,” say Nell. “Palm kernel oil is extracted from a nut and is generally solvent extracted and must be refined before use. Palm oil is extracted only from the fruit, like olive and avocado oil, and is not refined, only filtered and deodorized. Unlike butter, palm shortening is plant derived, so it has no cholesterol and is lower in saturated fat than butter. Although palm shortening has more saturated fat than partially hydrogenated shortening, it contains no trans-fatty acids. It makes an excellent tasting product and replaces a non-organic ingredient, conventional butter, while maintaining reasonable retail cost. We use palm oil that comes from large co-ops in Colombia. Our supplier, who is certified according to the standards of ProForest, is also participating in Alliance for Peace, funded by the U.S. Government to help small farmers who are supported by larger partners who supply them with seed, technical assistance and a market for their products.”

We couldn’t resist bringing out organic popcorn in dad’s honor,” says Nell. Pop’s Corn comes in three varieties. “We feel our popcorn is terrific on its own, but it’s fun to add favorite ingredients. We enjoy doing this in our family.”

A line of organic mints was added recently to the candy line. They are available both in tins with colorful animal covers illustrating the flavors and four rolls in a bag with the familiar logo. Both lines come in Wintergreen, Cinnamon, Ginger, and Peppermint flavors.

Soy Crisps, one the company’s newest items, come in four flavors and are a nice change from chips. Besides a tasty snack, they can be used in various recipes to add some crunch.

In late 2002 Green Mountain Coffee, Inc., a leader in the specialty coffee industry, and Newman’s Own Organics signed an agreement for the coffee company to be the exclusive roaster, seller, and distributor of Newman’s Own Organics Fair Trade Certified™ coffees. Six original coffees have been created and are available in supermarkets, through the company’s catalog, and their e-store, www.GreenMountainCoffee.com. Through an alliance with 650 McDonald’s restaurants in the Northeast many new customers have had their first taste of the company’s fair trade coffee.

Organic balsamic vinegar and organic olive oil joined the product line in 2003. “We know how many people enjoy making their own salad dressing once in awhile ­– and use Pop’s the rest of the time,” comments Nell. “There are also many other uses for both the vinegar and oil in cooking and we wanted to offer an organic choice.”

In 2004 a line of 100% organic dried fruits starring Raisins, Cranberries, Pitted Prunes, Apples, Apricots, and Berry Mix was added. Dried fruits are being used for multiple purposes from snack food to adding a special flavor to today’s ethnic recipes and family favorites, as well as a staple for bakers.

Late in 2007 Nell and “Pa” Newman turned in their American Gothic garb for regal robes and scepter for their new distinctive packages for Newman’s Own Organics’ Royal Tea line. “We wanted to add tea to our product line for quite some time, but needed to find a company who has the experience to source and blend the high quality of organic tea we desired for our customers,” says Nell. “We’re delighted to have found the Harris Tea Company. A family run company for the past 67 years, the Harris Tea Company has over 200 years of tea procuring and blending experience. They know the tea plantations that our tea is sourced from, so we are able to offer quality organic tea to our consumers at reasonable costs.” There are three current organic offering in double chamber tea bags: Black Tea, Green Tea, and Family Size Black Tea Bags, perfect for preparing pitchers of iced tea.

Nell and Peter have turned their attention to cats and dogs with the addition of their line of premium pet foods. “Pets have always been a part of our family life,” says Nell, who grew up with dogs, cats, birds, and an occasional snake. She currently has three pampered chickens, who follow her around. “We recognize that like the food we choose for ourselves, the food we chose for our pets will have a strong impact on their health. We are using the same quality of ingredients and careful manufacturing process that is used in our human food line,” she continues. The charity money generated by the sale of the pet food will help organizations that support animals’ well-being.

The company’s growth process hasn’t been without its problems. An organic product is more expensive to produce. “We are constantly dealing with trying to keep our products competitive in the market, says Meehan. “We do, though, want to give consumers a viable alternative in the marketplace and are always searching for organic ingredients that can be cost-effective.”

Packaging is another area that had to be addressed. The products are easily identified with the distinctive, eye-catching photo of an American Gothic “Pa” Newman and daughter Nell. Because the products are organic, consumers also expect them to be in completely recyclable packages. “We are regularly looking for materials that will keep our products fresh, allow for shipping, since so many are perishable, and meet consumer expectations,” states Meehan. “It can be a frustrating process as this can raise the price of products and then people won’t buy them.”

Newman’s Own® Organics’ products meet all the requirements of the USDA’s National Organic Program. Ingredients have been grown on farms that have not used artificial fertilizers or pesticides for three years or more. The farms and processors have also met the USDA’s organic standards. The products are sold nationwide in a number of mainstream supermarkets and in a large number of stores featuring natural and health foods. The pet foods are sold in specialty pet stores as well as many of the other outlets.

The Newman’s Own® Organics Guide to the Good Life: Simple Measures that Benefit You and the Place You Live (Villard) written by Nell with Joseph D’Agnese was published in spring, 2003. It is filled with practical advice for improving the quality of one’s life and the environment without drastically altering one’s life. Packed with facts, anecdotes, humor, and a heavy dose of sanity, it is organized around the way people actually live, allowing readers to easily identify what areas of change are viable for them.

The sale of Newman’s Own Organics products generates money for the Newman’s Own Foundation to give away. Since 1982 Paul Newman and the Newman’s Own Foundation have donated more than $265 million dollars to educational and charitable organizations worldwide.

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This was sent to me from Sally Shepard, Shepard Public Relations and you have to love how they got started and that they give back through charity. It is nice to see that a big company takes so much pride into the quality of their products and also gives back to others.


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