Zest Brands - Specialty Foods - Zest In The News - Boulder, CO
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Z E S T  I N  T H E  N E W S 

Dateline: May 10, 2017 Boulder Colorado

Almond Board of California (ABC) travels to Boulder to meet with ZEST leadership.

Accompanied by an entourage of top journalists from major food and restaurant industry publications flown in from around the country ABC executives and the Board's public relations firm were presented with a sampling of ZEST’s super premium gourmet cakes and cookies made with 80% California almonds. 

In attendance were media representatives from national periodicals and online magazines including Nation's Restaurant News, Flavor & The Menu, PLATE, Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery, Food Technology, Natural Products Insider, Prepared Food and Restaurant Business.

The Almond Board of California engages in production, nutrition and market research, advertising and promotion in domestic and international markets, quality control and statistical analysis and dissemination. As a Federal Marketing Order, it is important to note that the Board is not involved with, and is expressly prohibited from, setting field or market prices.

The consortium's executive Board is composed of 10 members. Each year, the more than 6,000 almond growers and 104 almond handlers elect the five growers and five handlers in an annual election process held throughout the state. The Board is responsible for establishing policy, recommending budgets and programs to the Secretary of Agriculture for approval, and reviewing program results and effectiveness. The Almond Board is funded by an annual assessment on the marketable kernel weight of almonds. This year’s budget is reported to hover around $60,000,000.

Dateline: February 1, 2015 Austin Texas
Ask Your Doctor About Zest

Top Functional Medicine Dr. Amy Myers has a New Book!!!
Amy is the Author of The New York Times Bestselling book published February 2015
The Autoimmune Solution: Prevent and Reverse the Full Spectrum of Inflammatory Systems and Diseases

In a letter to Zest Brands president Sylvia Wyant she wrote: “I work with people across the country with multiple food sensitivities. When I discovered Zests' foods I felt like I had hit the jackpot. Whether you follow a gluten free, dairy free, Paleo or vegan diet, Zest foods are the perfect food. They are nutritious, absolutely delicious, and I recommend them to my patients. In fact, I hand-carried 2 cakes home from Denver to Austin Texas for our office party.” 
—  Amy Myers, MD / Founder & Medical Director / Austin UltraHealth

Dateline: Boulder Colorado
Zest Awarded Whole Foods Local Producer Loan

Zest is a recent recipient of an LPLP loan (Local Producer Loan Program) offered by Whole Foods Markets nationwide — further strengthening the bakery’s partnership and rapport with this global leader in the natural foods grocery space. Zest has been a preferred wholesale manufacturer with Whole Foods for over 45 months! almost four years now.
Thanks Whole Foods!

Dateline: November 11, 2013 Boulder Colorado
Should there be a Paleo certification label?


Last weekend I discovered the merits of Paleo eating. To be honest, it was only a matter of time before I drank the saber-toothed Kool-Aid. Paleo is rapidly becoming the lifestyle of choice for many who seek improved energy, fitness and health, as evidenced by the new crop of Paleo-angled media, such as Paleo Magazine and a podcast titled “Latest in Paleo.”

Perhaps my decision was spurred by a weekend camping in the Rockies, or that my bellwether of a friend preached Paleo values for the duration of a daylong hike (his winning persuasion: “Join your Paleolithic brethren, Jenna.”), but I finally internalized the eating plan that lauds ultra-unprocessed foods: no to sugar, grains and dairy; yes to vegetables, nuts and seeds and fruits. And obviously, yes to meat. My housemates are on board too, which explains the sudden appearance of bison steaks and knobby Paleo muffins in my kitchen.

By no means do I plan to follow Paleo strictly. If my proclivity for cheese strikes, I’ll certainly indulge. Plus, I’m vegetarian, which immediately banishes me from the Stone Age set who install meat freezers in their apartments. But “Paleo lites” are growing privy to the benefits of the lifestyle.

Natural products companies are jumping on the bandwagon too, as they’re starting to market products specifically to primal shoppers. For example, Boulder-based Zest Brands, makers of almond flour cookies and cakes, boldly proclaims their products fit the Paleo lifestyle with a woolly mammoth logo reading “Paleo Perfect.” Likewise, Paleo Bread by Julian Bakery, made predominantly with coconut flour, psyllium seed powder, and apple cider vinegar, would send a true caveman scampering out of his, um, cave.

New companies are also cropping up at tradeshows—many of which showcase Paleo-friendly ingredients such as Epic Bar, The New Primal, Caveman Cookies, and a recent favorite, Primal Pit Paste (a.k.a. natural deodorant). 

Can you certify a caveman?

As expected in a world of special-diet neologisms (flexitarian, pescatarian), certification labels have emerged to bolster (capitalize on?) the Paleo trend. For instance, Paleo Friendly: Developed by The Paleo Foundation, the label aims to assure Paleo followers that a product adheres to diet specifications (“Grain-free, legume-free, dairy-free, artificial coloring, artificial preservatives, artificial sweeteners and artificial flavor enhancers-free,” according their website). It’s certainly a tool to bridge the gap between a 10,000-year-old hunter-gatherer and a time-strapped modern cubicle jockey.

But those who follow a clean-eating diet may take offense from Paleo labels on packaged foods. “By eating foods mass-manufactured and wrapped in plastic, I can't help but feel that I’m deviating from the essence of the lifestyle—to eat whole, simple foods that our ancient ancestors would have eaten,” explains my Paleo-enthused housemate. “It’s hard to ignore the obvious marketing attempts with such products and start wondering if these are really healthy choices for our bodies, or just for someone else's wallet.”

Indeed, on one level, certification labels don’t address shopper intelligence. If I really wanted to follow a strict Paleo diet, I could buy only unpackaged foods: lettuce, eggs, red peppers, beef, etc; or scrutinize ingredient labels—admittedly an exhaustive task, given the grain- and dairy-saturated grocery aisles.

But there are some great Paleo products on the market that are truly healthy, delicious, and difficult or time-consuming to make in a home kitchen. Plus, as with gluten-free contamination issues, wouldn’t it be great to instantly know if a product was Paleo approved?

Dateline: November 4, 2013 Boulder Colorado
Zest to use loan to develop cracker line

BOULDER - Dessert maker Zest Brands LLC soon may start making almond-flour crackers to be sold exclusively at Whole Foods stores, said co-founder Ken Hess.
Boulder-based Zest in October received a low-interest Local Food Producer loan of up to $100,000 from Whole Foods Market Inc. (Nasdaq: WFM) based in Austin, Texas. Hess declined to give the specific amount of the loan Whole Foods made to privately held Zest. A Whole Foods spokeswoman referred loan questions to Hess.
Zest plans to start making and selling four flavors of almond-flour crackers, including Herbes de Provence, caraway, cinnamon sugar and lemon zest, Hess said. Zest's almond-flour cakes and cookies are sold at 60 stores in 15 states, including several Whole Foods and Vitamin Cottage stores, and similar natural grocers such as Boulder-based Lucky's and Alfalfa's markets, Hess said.
"Everything is happening at once," Hess said. "It's like we're racing to the holidays now."
The company's best seller is a seven-inch lemon almond cake, Hess said, which sells for $29.99 on the company website, www.zestbrands.com. Zest cookies sell for $2.99 on the website.
Sylvia Wyant is the company's other co-founder.
Past Whole Foods loan recipients include Justin's in Boulder, a nut butter and candy-bar maker that recently merged with a private equity firm based in California in a $47 million transaction. The loans must be paid back. Whole Foods representatives loan up to $10 million per year to businesses around the nation through the program, according to the company website.
Zest desserts are gluten-free, according to the company website. Gluten-free food sales continue to grow as health-conscious customers look for alternatives to wheat-based products.

Copyright © 2013 Boulder County Business Report by Biz West Media.

Dateline: October 23, 2013 Boulder Colorado
Navigating the 'sugar holidays' that run now through New Year's: Surviving the season of sweet!


It might be blasphemy to say so in Boulder, but we're not against a little sugar now and then.

The problem comes when the sugar rush lasts for months, as it can if temptations are gorgeously abundant and willpower is a pitiful, wispy fancy that dissolves into the thin Colorado air when a plate of chocolate truffles beckons. Here are some strategies for bringing that sugar high down to earth.

Protein, protein, protein

One thing about eating too much sugar — it's easy to get into a cycle of wanting more. Eat sugar, and your body releases insulin quickly to stabilize you. The spike in insulin drops your blood sugar level quickly, making you want — you guessed it — more sugar. (If you doubt the power of the sweet stuff, Google the recent study that found that rats were as attracted to Oreo cookies as they were morphine and cocaine.)

The best way to keep your brain from lighting up like a Christmas tree when you eat sugar is to eat protein and healthy fat. That leads to more stable blood sugar and takes longer to digest, says Esther Cohen, a nutritionist and founder of the Seven Bowls School of Nutrition in Longmont. She adds that when you have overindulged in sugar and unrefined carbs, it's crucial to immediately return to nourishing food. “Your breakfast after Thanksgiving — it's great to have eggs or believe it or not some kind of chicken sausage. Don't have toast. Don't have muffins. Have a nice frittata with sauteed vegetables,” she says. “There's no deprivation happening.”

That idea of healthy food, including treats, with no sense of deprivation is the idea behind Zest cakes and cookies. The Boulder company makes the rich treats with buttery almond flour as the base with a very small amount of agave to sweeten them, along with the natural sweetness of the almonds. Each cookie, for example, has only 4 grams of sugar (the equivalent of a teaspoon) or less and 8 grams of protein with its roughly 300 calories, along with 5 grams of fiber.

Company co-founder Ken Hess points out that the sugar, protein and fiber makes the cookies more nutritious than most energy bars. Likewise with the company's cakes. “Diabetics buy our 9-inch cakes every week and have a slice for breakfast every day,” he says. “Crossfit (enthusiasts) call our cake the paleo cake.”

The company got its official start in 2011, but its core idea came a couple of years earlier when Sylvia Wyant, a former professor of psychology at Regis University, discovered she could not eat gluten. When she quit eating gluten, she found that many gluten-free flours were not particularly healthful. “I couldn't take the sugar load ... 99 percent were so packed with sugar or starches that turned to sugar,” she says. “So I started baking with almond flour.”

As she was starting to take her products around to coffee shops, she teamed up with Hess, who had a specialty in marketing and brand management. Today, Zest products, which are manufactured in a facility on North Broadway, are in 50 Whole Foods stores in 12 states.

Zest currently makes 7- and 9-inch cakes in chocolate-coconut and lemon flavors. The cakes have eggs, but the cookies, which include lemon coconut, shortbread sandies, almond cherry and chocolate ginger, are vegan.

Not on the shelves yet, but in development are savory crackers, also made with almond flour, one flavored with Herbes de Provence and one with caraway.

This month, the company received a low-interest loan from Whole Foods under its Local Producer Loan Program. Catherine Trujillo, regional bakery coordinator for Whole Foods' Rocky Mountain region, says the purpose of the loans is to help local artisans and farmers flourish. Trujillo says Whole Foods offers both indulgent sweets and what she calls alternative sweets, which is the category Zest fits in based on the fact that it's gluten free, sugar free and dairy free. Trujillo says Mintel data show that gluten-free foods have increased sales by 44 percent from 2011 to 2013. However, she says Zest and some other alternative sweets are appropriate for a place on the holiday table. “They taste just as delicious as if you were adding other ingredients,” she says, adding that portion control is a feature that many people appreciate.

Zest offers both 7-inch and 9-inch cakes, but also, at the suggestion of Whole Foods, sells its cakes in individually packaged slices.

That can allow the indulger to splurge one day and come back to earth and sugar stability by having a Zest treat the next. For those who eschew sugar altogether, the products allow them to eat and serve what you might call unsweet sweets.

“The best thing to wean yourself off of sugar is by eating healthy protein,” Zest Co-founder Wyant says. “If you really cut back, you won't have the ups and downs.”

See what the New York Times, Harvard University, Purdue University,The New England Journal of Medicine and NBC Nightly News have to say about Almonds in your daily diet.