Innovation on display at NRA (part 2)

| by Cherryh Cansler
Innovation on display at NRA (part 2)

Terminex hosted a chef at its booth to demonstrate how to cook with bugs. He made maxworm qussadillas, for example.

Editor's note: This is part 2 in a two-part series on NRA product launches. Click here to read part 1.

More than 45,000 buyers in the restaurant industry hit Chicago this week to check out the thousands of products and services on display at the National Restaurant Association show. Many companies use the show as a platform to launch new products. See below for a few of this year's highlights.

Purveyor of traceable grass-fed beef launches at NRA show

Nurture Ranch, purveyors of traceable, grass-fed beef, made its debut at the NRA Show, displaying products for restaurants, retailers and meal kit providers which serve better-quality products, according to company press release, according to a company press release.

"We are very proud to share our traceable, grass-fed beef with the world at a time when consumer demand and interest is higher than ever," said Rodney Mason, CEO of Nurture Ranch, in a news release. "Grass-fed beef is becoming the gold standard of beef for consumers who have higher education and income, who are hungry for superior taste and greater nutritional value."  

Nurture Ranch has a proprietary nurturing process raising Black Angus cattle on nutrient-rich grasses that naturally yield the highest caloric intake without upsetting cows' stomachs. Nurture Ranch's East-Texas dells are warmer year-round than most other places in the U.S. and receives the correct amount of rainfall to create superior grazing land, Mason said. Nurture Ranch cattle eat at their own pace and are constantly moving to new  pastures.

All the resulting beef products are traceable from birth to harvest,, antibiotic- and hormone-free and rich in vitamins, minerals and omega-3, according to the release.

Toast launches food calculator

Toast Restaurant Operating System has launched its food cost calculator, a free online tool that takes the guesswork out of pricing menus for restaurateurs, according to a company press release.

The tool pulls data from other restaurants — based on user location — and suggests how to price each item and then processes the food cost online. Diners can also use the tool to understand average menu pricing at restaurants in their areas. Toast also donates $5 to No Kid Hungry for every new email put into the calculators, with every donation allowing the organization to feed a child 50 healthy breakfasts at school.

Sipp Eco Beverage releases Ruby Rose 

Sipp Eco Beverage Co. introduced this week its newest flavor, Ruby Rose, a combination of organic grapefruit, honey and rosemary extracts, according to company press release.

"We're really excited about adding our sixth flavor to the Sipp lineup," said President/Founder Beth Wilson-Parentice, in a news release. "As with our other flavors, Ruby Rose's ingredients are culinary-inspired, perfect for enjoying with a meal or mixing in a cocktail. I loved Fresca growing up, so this is my updated and healthier spin on an old favorite. I love adding gin to Ruby Rose. It's the perfect flavor combination for summer."

Rose All Sipp Sparkling Organics flavors are USDA-certified organic and lightly sweetened with agave.

Schulstad features 3 croissant flavors

Schulstad debuted its line of Good Morning Croissants baked with high-quality ingredients, according to a company press release.

The new Good Morning line features three new croissant varieties.

  • The Multigrain Croissant is made with a combination of energizing grains and seeds with a multi-layer flavor profile.
  • The Oat & Honey Croissant features hearty oats naturally sweetened with a hint of hillside-hive honey.
  • The Pain Au Chocolat Croissant is made with butter combined with Belgian chocolate and is available in large and mini sizes.

"Lantmännen Unibake has a long heritage of artisan bakery methods," said Scott Rosenberg, director of marketing for Lantmännen Unibake USA, in a news release. "For many years, we've crafted good mornings with time-honored European baking techniques. We take great pride in this new line that takes a classic croissant and adds a generous sprinkling of nutritious, flavor-filled delectability that will delight croissant lovers."

Oregon Fruit Products launches two Fruit In Hand flavors

Oregon Fruit Products showed two new Fruit In Hand flavors for the food service industry: Mango Velvet and Pink Guava Velvet. Fruit in Hand is pour-able diced or smooth fruit base designed to add the sweetness, aroma,and texture of real fruit to beverages, cocktails, smoothies, desserts, sauces, savories, toppings, and breakfast applications, according to a company press release.

Mango Velvet has a rich, sweet flavor that has become more widely popular, said Becky Westby, director of foodservice and ingredients sales for Oregon Fruit Products in a news release. She said Pink Guava, a lesser-known fruit in the U.S., is reminiscent of similarly sweet and medium-acid fruits such as papaya, melon and pear, with a very aromatic, rich bouquet.

"We're seeing a big demand for tropical fruit as restaurants continue to explore global favors and look for unique ways to compliment heat- and spice-driven menus," she said.  

Actus Data, Posera launch advanced reporting solution

Actus Data, a provider of artificial intelligence and advanced data analytics for the restaurant industry, along with Posera Ltd., a provider of hospitality point-of-sale software solutions, have partnered to create the Posera Advanced Reporting Solution.

Built on the cloud-based Actus Data Smart Restaurant Solution platform, it includes interactive dashboards and reports as well as access to advanced AI and analytics capabilities that are rich enough to serve customers as their needs and sophistication grow, according to a company press release.

"With Posera Advanced Reporting, customers get a powerful, flexible, and affordable analytics solution designed from the ground up to tackle Big Data challenges today and for years to come," said Paul Konkel, CEO of Actus Data in a news release. "To thrive in today's data-rich restaurant environment, it is necessary to move beyond static queries, downloads and spreadsheets that have defined restaurant reporting for decades."

SandenVendo America debuts refrigeration system with Non-Thermal Electric Field Energy technology

SandenVendo America, a producer and distributor of chilled beverage machines, introduced its refrigeration technology system, KuraBan. It's designed to maintain freshness, quality and flavor three to 10 times longer than conventional refrigeration, according to a company press release.

KuraBan is a patented refrigeration system that uses non-thermal electric field energy technology (NTEFE), developed through more than 15 years of extensive research and development in Japan. NTEFE technology, which works in a temperature range between 28 and 37°F and can be retrofitted in existing refrigerators as well, creates an ideal environment for preserving fresh foods without the need for potentially harmful chemicals or radiation, while controlling and inhibiting the oxidation process.

Eight key features of the KuraBan refrigeration, according to the company, include:

  • Extends Food Preservation:  All types of fresh food can be safely stored at least three to 10 times longer with KuraBan.
  • Boosts Amino Acids: "Umami" compounds that enhance flavor in food products increase just by storing foods in a KuraBan refrigerator.
  • Accelerates and enhances aging:  Offers wet and dry aging.
  • Boosts sugar levels:  Fruits and vegetables become sweeter while stored in a KuraBan refrigerator.
  • Anti-bacterial effect:  KuraBan's ability to inhibit bacterial growth was verified through third-party laboratory tests. (Test results available upon request.)
  • Energy efficient:  KuraBan's NTEFE technology uses very little electricity.
  • Improves Thawing:  KuraBan minimizes dripping during thawing for all types of frozen food, thus maintaining higher food quality.
  • Speeds marination and flavor infusion.

SandenVendo also showcased the Lumilinna machine that delivers super-chilled, icy beverages to consumers, according to the release. The Lumilinna maintains a temperature just below the freezing point. 

Industry Juice debuts cold-pressed juice line

Industry Juice has created an alternative to the mess, hassle and expense of squeezing juice with its cold-pressed lime, lemon, pineapple, orange and grapefruit flavors, according to a company press release.

"We created Industry Juice to alleviate the pain points around fresh-squeezed juice while maintaining the qualities that are needed to serve consistent, great-tasting cocktails," said Scott Holstein, founder of Industry Juice. "Our cold-pressed process offers bars and restaurants the freshness, quality and taste of fresh-squeezed juice without all the hassle that comes with squeezing on a daily basis."

Bottled on-site at facilities in Michigan and California, Industry Juice places the bottles and juice under high pressure simulating 60 kilometers below sea level to preserve the enzymes that make juices taste so fresh. Industry Juice provides the additional benefit of a 30- to 45-day shelf life without the use of preservatives or damaging heat pasteurization, according to the release.

Lavazza showcases KAFA coffee

Lavazza returned to the National Restaurant Association show to showcase an array of single origin and blended coffees specifically crafted for restaurant and hotel trade partners, according to a company press release.

It served KAFA, 100 percent Arabica coffee from Ethiopia that grows in uncontaminated and naturally fertile soils. Thanks to the perfect combination of an innate rich terrain and an ideal climate, it is only in the heart of the Ethiopian forest that this coffee spontaneously grows, according to the release. The limited-quantity of coffee cherries are picked by hand, one by one, and the beans keep their maximum aromatic fragrance of intense floral notes and an aftertaste of honey and dates with ripe cherry.

"KAFA is recognized as one of the most valuable coffees on earth. Enjoying a cup of this exclusive and limited product is considered a luxurious sensory experience," shared Davide Riboni, CEO and EVP of North America, in a news release.  

HotSchedules launches products to streamline time-card management

HotSchedules, a provider of mobile technology for the restaurant and hospitality industries, has created a Time and Attendance Module and enhanced its Configurable Labor Rules designed to simplify how managers handle employee time-tracking and assist with hourly worker labor laws including minors, meals and breaks, according to a company press release.

The HotSchedules Time and Attendance Module streamlines the often chaotic and time-consuming process of reviewing and editing employee time cards with an easy-to-use workflow that is integrated with HotSchedules' labor management solutions, said Sean Fitzpatrick, COO and head of product at HotSchedules. Triggers in the web app alert managers to time-punch exceptions that need immediate attention before payroll data is exported, reducing the time it takes to sift through and edit employees' punch records.

"Compliance and payroll administration are complex and costly issues facing restaurants today," Fitzpatrick said. "Our customers continually look to HotSchedules to solve these challenges as they want one solution to manage all of their workforce issues. We built intelligent labor regulation and employee time-tracking tools so that managers can handle those decisions in a centralized workflow that incorporates their labor data. Owners, operators and their payroll teams will now spend less time correcting innocent errors or dealing with payroll penalties."

The HotSchedules Time and Attendance Module captures actual employee hours worked using clock-in and clock-out data from a POS or from the HotSchedules Webclock, a mobile- and web-based time clock that enforces clock-in/out restrictions. Managers receive automatic, Real-Time Compliance Alerts when employees haven't clocked-in or out of their shifts or for a meal or break.

New Enhancements to Configurable Labor Rules give regional and corporate leadership control over how to best configure HotSchedules to adhere to hourly labor laws in the states, counties and cities where their restaurants operate, Fitzpatrick said in the release.

LiveShopper app to 'changes how restaurants collect data'

LiveShopper, an app-based tool that helps restaurants and food service operations collect consumer insights, made its debut to the restaurant industry at the show. The program, which can be used by multiple departments in a company to replace outdated market research programs like mystery shopping and receipt surveys, allows companies to collect operational insights, customer service data, track marketing campaigns, monitor training initiatives and more, according to a company press release.

Consumers download the LiveShopper app on their phone, and through geo-targeting are notified of an available task while visiting a restaurant or if they are within an established distance, thus driving customers to a restaurant location.

Customers are invited to answer questions and perform short tasks that restaurants have created in exchange for instant offers or discounts like a free appetizer, dollars off a menu item or a discount on their next visit. As customers upload their responses through the app, the data aggregates real-time via an online dashboard and is delivered to stakeholders, allowing for timely action. Managers can choose to receive text alerts when a task is in progress, according to the release.

Unlike other dining and rewards apps, offers through LiveShopper are delivered immediately to the customer upon completion of a task. This instant gratification encourages upsells and repeat visits.

LiveShopper is in a regional Beta test and will launch nationwide on July 1, 2017, according to the release.

FoodLogiQ displays real-time recall management solution

FoodLogiq, a provider of traceability, food safety and supply chain transparency solutions, launched a first real-time, SaaS solution for recall and stock withdrawal management. Recall + Response, which serves as a centralized technology platform for executing stock withdrawals, recalls and mock recalls, empowers food companies both large and small to execute faster, more targeted recall management across their supply chain, according to a company press release.

The system launches automated communications including phone, email, and text notifications that are developed using pre-built templates in the platform. By preparing and documenting the recall plan in advance within Recall + Response. Companies can ensure speed of delivery and consistency of notifications to their supply chain partners when a recall happens, said Dean Wiltse, CEO of FoodLogiQ, in a news release.

"The food industry finally has a solution that can provide the speed, accuracy and single source of truth that are mission-critical during a recall, he said.

"With our traceability and recall technology, food companies can confidently make decisions, protect their brands while documenting and recording every step of the process to demonstrate to regulators and their boards their precise and timely handling of the issue."


Topics: Customer Service / Experience, Digital Signage, Display Technology, Equipment & Supplies

Companies: National Restaurant Association, Posera, HotSchedules, Toast, Inc.

Cherryh Cansler

Before joining Networld Media Group as director of Editorial, where she oversees Networld Media Group's nine B2B publications, Cherryh Cansler served as Content Specialist at Barkley ad agency in Kansas City. Throughout her 17-year career as a journalist, she's written about a variety of topics, ranging from the restaurant industry and technology to health and fitness. Her byline has appeared in a number of newspapers, magazines and websites, including Forbes, The Kansas City Star and American Fitness magazine. She also serves as the managing editor for

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