Category Archives: Trends

Game Day Hot Wings!

With the Super Bowl right around the corner, these hot n’ spicy wings are a sure fire way to have a great party!

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You’ll need: 2 cups of all purpose flour, 3 tbsp of organic paprika, 3 tbsp of organic adobo, 3 tbsp pf organic chili powder, 1 tsp of kosher salt, 2 lbs of organic chicken wings, canola oil, 1/2 cup of unsalted butter, 1/4 cup hot sauce and blue cheese dressing


Step 1: Add 2 inches of oil to a pan and place over medium high heat. Then add all your spices to your flour and mix well.

Step 2: Dredge your chicken in your seasoned flour and gently place in hot oil. Avoid over-crowding by working in batches.

Fry each batch for 10 minutes until golden brown.

Step 3: Remove crispy wings and allow to drip dry on a cooling rack


Step 4: Make your wing sauce by melting the butter in a sauce pan and adding in your hot wing sauce.

Step 5: Coat your wings in the hot wing sauce and serve with blue cheese dressing and an ice cold beer. Enjoy!


Paleo-Friendly Easy Mashed Cauliflower

By Chef Kyle Boesen

Mashed cauliflower is a great addition or substitute to your classic mashed potato side dish.

Mashed cauliflower is a great addition or substitute to your classic mashed potato side dish.

As the Paleo diet – a diet that encourages one to eat like our ancestors and limit processed foods, dairy, many grains and sugar – becomes more popular, we’re seeing a lot more people searching for recipes that meet the diet’s criteria.  (In fact, even Whole Foods is opening a new store in San Francisco with a Paleo Bar! Read about it here.)

In leu of this food trend, we thought it would be helpful to provide you with a great-tasting recipe that could easily be swapped for mashed potatoes at your Thanksgiving meal.

NOTE: If your party isn’t on the Paleo diet and you’d still like to try this, I’d encourage using 50% cauliflower and 50% mashed potatoes (non-Paleo ingredients and directions are below the Paleo version).  For some people, the taste of cauliflower can be quite strong so this softens the cauliflower flavor a bit and makes the dish all the more nutritious…and an excellent way to get children to eat cauliflower!

Mashed Cauliflower

Mashed Cauliflower is essentially like making mashed potatoes - just swap the cauliflower for potatoes.

Mashed Cauliflower is essentially like making mashed potatoes – just swap the cauliflower for potatoes.

Ingredients – Paleo Diet Version
1 head of cauliflower
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon of any of the following: ground sage, rosemary or thyme
1 tablespoon chopped chives, reserving half for garnish on top)
Salt and pepper to taste
Step 1: Wash and chop cauliflower. Place in a microwavable bowl with 1-2 tablespoons water, cover with plastic wrap and cook on high for 5-8 minutes or until cauliflower is tender (you can easily put a fork through the spears).
Step 2: Drain the cauliflower
Step 3: Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend. 
Ingredients – Non-Paleo Version
4 cups chopped cauliflower
4 cups peeled and cubed potatoes (keep the skins on for added fiber and nutrition)
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup 2% milk
4 tablespoons sour cream
1 tablespoon chopped chives, reserving half for garnish
Step 1: Wash and chop cauliflower and potatoes.  Add the cauliflower to a microwave safe bowl, add 1-2 tablespoons water and cover with plastic wrap. Cook on high for 5-8 minutes or until they are tender and you can easily stick a fork through them.  Then, do the same with the potatoes. (Don’t combine them as the potatoes have more starch and will take longer to cook.) NOTE: You can also steam these on the stove.  Just put a cup of water at the bottom of a very large pot, place a heat-proof colander over and place the vegetables in the colander. Cover bring the water to a boil. Stir the vegetables on occasion to ensure they’re cooked evenly. 
Step 2: Combine butter and milk in a microwavable bowl and heat on high for 30 seconds or until butter is melted.
Step 3: Drain the vegetables and place in a large bowl. Mash by hand or use a hand mixer while slowly adding the melted milk and butter mixture and sour cream, little amounts at a time until the consistency you desire is reached. 
Step 4: Season with chives, salt and pepper and serve.

 Do you have a healthy spin on mashed potatoes? If so, we’d love to hear it. Or, if you have a “secret ingredient” for yours, please share.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

By: Angela Keyser, HQO Marketing Director

2013_11_Pumpkin CupcakesThis time of year, I can’t consume enough pumpkin! Pumpkin has indeed become more popular over the years. While apple used to be the flavor of fall, pumpkin has taken over with a vengeance.  In fact, according to Technomic’s MenuMonitor, a report that tracts new menu introductions in major restaurants across the country, there were 105 pumpkin-themed, limited-time food offerings introduced in 2012 and only 45 apple-themed.* So, if you’re on the pumpkin bandwagon like I am, these cupcakes may be just the trick for your weekly fix. The cream cheese frosting looks extra decadent after it’s piped onto the cupcakes with a large piping tip specifically meant for cupcake decorating. Despite there being a lot of ingredients, the recipe is really easy to make. A simple addition to any Thanksgiving Day celebration.  Enjoy!

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Cupcake IngredientsCupcake Ingredients
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, sift before measuring
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 heaping teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin
3/4 cup whole milk
3/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Frosting Ingredients
4 tablespoons butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 cups confectioners’ (powdered) sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Step 2: Combine all dry ingredients in a medium bowl. (Flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and walnuts, if using.) Set aside.

Step 3: Cream butter and sugar.

Step 4: Slowly eggs, one at a time, to the butter and sugar mixture.

Step 5: Add pumpkin puree to the butter mixture.

Step 6: Add the flour mixture and whole milk, a little bit of each at a time, alternating between the two, as you gently mix the batter.

Step 7: Line a mini cupcake tin with cupcake liners.

Step 8: Fill each cupcake mold about 2/3-3/4 of the way full.

Step 9: Bake for 8 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cupcake comes out clean.

Step 10: To make the frosting, simply blend the cream cheese, butter and vanilla. Then, add the confectioners’ (powdered) sugar. Frost and enjoy.

Recipe adapted from

*Source: Wong, Vanessa. “Pumpkin Officially Trumps Apple as Fall’s Signature Flavor.” Bloomberg Businessweek. September 17, 2013. Web. November 7, 2013.

Angela Keyser, Director of Marketing for High Quality Organics, puts her 11 years of food and agriculture marketing and public relations experience to work leading HQO’s marketing efforts. Raised on a dairy farm in Wisconsin and obtaining at degree in animal science and international agribusiness from Cornell University, Angela is thrilled to be able to put her passions and expertise to work in her career.  When she’s not working, you can find her on the ski slopes, hiking trails, running, biking, cooking or traveling with her three-year-old son and husband.

Top Trends from the 2013 Summer Fancy Food Show

Specialty Food Assn LogoThe Summer Fancy Food Show in NYC is the largest specialty food show in North America.  With over 180,000 products and nearly 2,400 exhibitors from 80 countries, New York’s Fancy is the place to spot emerging food trends.

William Madden, Vice President of New Business Development, and East Coast Sales Manager Michael Klass were on hand to roam the isles, meet with customers and spot the top trends.  Below is their top ten list from the 2013 Summer Fancy Food Show.

1. Quinoa and Ancient Grains – Ancient grains, especially quinoa, have seen a huge surge in demand in a very short period of time.  We see this trend continuing as more people look for gluten-free options and pure, natural ingredients.
2. Salsa – This one doesn’t surprise us. The fastest growing demographic in the U.S. is Hispanics (click here to read our white paper on Hispanics) and salsa sales far outpace ketchup. It makes perfect sense that this beloved condiment is booming in popularity.
3. Brines – This speaks to the trend we’re seeing in fermenting and the resurgence of homemakers growing their own food and preserving it via canning. What once was a tradition we only vaguely recall our grandmothers doing is now all the rage with the hippest foodies. Modernizing the preserving process with ready-made brines in a wide variety of flavors makes perfect sense.
4. Sauces –  As consumers look to cook with more fresh and healthful ingredients, they’re still demanding big flavor in a variety of ways. Baby boomers want more flavor in healthful ways and millennials want convenient ethnic flavors. Sauces bring these solutions and more to the convenience-driven consumer.
Whole Grain Council_SproutedGrain5. Sprouted – Health and wellness are driving a lot of food trends these days and sprouted seeds and grains is a great example of a food trend becoming popular based on its health benefits.  Sprouted grains and seeds claim to be easier for the body to digest and the nutrients (especially B vitamins and vitamin C) more bioavailable. Several research projects are underway to quantify sprouted grains health benefits. (Click on the image at the right to read more about sprouted grains.)
6. Superfoods – These have been a trend for sometime and we continue to see new products emerging claiming a superfood ingredient. Maca, baobab and chia are just of the few latest and greatest superfoods gaining popularity.
7. Fair Trade – More and more consumers demand transparency from the products they consume. Not only do they want a pure, safe and natural product but they want to make sure the people growing that product were paid fairly. Fair Trade speaks to the growing trend on corporate social responsibility and transparency. While the certification has been around for some time, we are seeing a growing use and demand for the seal.
8. Gluten-Free – This trend is most-likely what sparked the ancient grains trend. Gluten-free is another trend that’s been around for awhile and appears to continue to grow. Allergen-free is definitely the way of the future for many product lines.

Read more about the trends spotted at the 2013 Fancy Food Show in these great articles:

5 trends spotted at the 2013 Summer Fancy Food Show by Kelsey Blackwall of

5 top trends we saw at the Summer Fancy Food Show 2013 by Hannah Crowley of America’s Test Kitchen

Specialty Foods Association reveals top 5 trends from the Fancy Food Show

Chickpeas and kale and goat, oh my! Trends from the Fancy Food Show by Beth Snyder Bulik of

Top 10 Trends from the World Tea Expo 2013

By Allison Wall 

The World Tea Expo is the only trade event completely dedicated to the tea category. Hosted each June in Last Vegas, the World Tea Expo brings together over 200 exhibitors, dozens of experts and thousands of attendees. I joined two of our HQO Sales Managers on the show floor to track the trends, meet with customers and share the latest from our organic tea suppliers. Below are the top trends I saw during the three-day show:

New HQO Sales Manager Eric Granata enjoys an iced tea pop at the Word Tea Expo. They were delicious!

New HQO Sales Manager Eric Granata enjoys an iced tea pop at the Word Tea Expo. They were delicious!

1. DeeBee’s Organic Tea Pops – Hands down the most popular booth at the show. The concept is so simple yet absolutely brilliant. Given the success we’ve seen of other frozen treats, we expect these to be in almost every grocery store very soon. Flavors included mint, coconut, mango and iced tea.

2. New Varieties – Honeybush has been used in teas before but this year we saw it marketed on its own. We also saw some increased chatter around Yerba Mate.

3. Fruit – In response to consumer demand, tea companies are finding alternative ways to sweeten tea without the use of sugar or artificial ingredients.  We saw blackberries, grapes and fruit blends being used this year.

4. Ready-to-Drink with a Twist – This category of tea has been going gang busters for several years and continues to be a dominant trend in 2013. This year the ready-to-drink products included new teas like rooibos, being marketed simply as ‘red tea,’ and lightly carbonated teas.

5. More Organic Options on the Horizon – While there are a lot of organic teas on the market, they certainly don’t command the majority of market share. We’re sensing the tide is beginning to shift as there was definitely more discussion and interest in sourcing organic tea.

6. Herbal Teas & Blends – Herbal teas have been on grocery store shelves for decades but we’re seeing some exciting innovations given increased consumer demand for healthier beverages. Blends addressing a health or wellness concern continue to grow in popularity.

Tiesta Tea Tins

Tiesta Tea Tins won best new product at the 2013 Word Tea Expo.

7. Reusable Tea Tins – Packaging innovations continue across all food categories and tea companies continue to push the envelope in many areas of package design.  The most notable trend at World Tea Expo was the number of beautiful reusable tea tins. There were tons of shapes, sizes and designs – many worthy of prominent display in your kitchen. A savvy marketing approach for any brand.

8. Social Responsibility – While sustainability is still an important part of a tea brand’s story, social responsibility messaging was definitely more prominent at this year’s show.  Most notably, Wild Mountain Tea. They did a beautiful job sharing how their tea is grown and harvested ethically in Africa.

9. Green Tea – Green tea is on the fast track for growth given its well-known health benefits.  In fact, its market share is growing the fastest (when compared to black, oolong or white). We saw tons of new blends using green tea: mango green tea, mint green tea and more.

10. Tea is Growing – It was clear from our time at the show that the tea industry is thriving. With the rapid growth of the ready-to-drink beverage segment and specialty tea expected to grow 50% by 2016, it certainly is an exciting time to be in tea! Read more about the opportunities in tea from our newest white paper, HQO Market Insights: Time for Tea.

Allison Trail Running copyAbout the Author – Allison joined the HQO sales team in September 2010 and has become an integral part of our tea team. Born and raised in California, Allison has been involved with the food industry her entire life. In fact, her running debut occurred at the very first Gilroy Garlic Festival 10K! She continues to love running and working in the food industry while she raises her three children in Reno, NV.  When she’s not cheering on her children at one of numerous sporting events, she’s running on the trails and enjoying the beautiful scenery of Reno-Tahoe.

HQO Market Insight: Time for Tea


The U.S. tea industry is on the fast track for growth.  Learn the latest on this centuries old beverage in our latest white paper. Not only will you get a glimpse of the different types of tea and tea history, you’ll also learn the latest market data and top trends in tea today.

Click here or on the image to read the full document.

Top 5 Trends from the National Restaurant Association (NRA) Show


The National Restaurant Association (NRA) Show is the largest foodservice show in America.  Held every year in May at McCormick Place in Chicago, IL, the NRA Show brings together over 1,800 exhibitors and tens of thousands of visitors from all over the world.

This year, HQO’s Vice President of New Business, Willam Madden, who is based in Chicago, took a quick tour of the show and noticed these top trends:

Aloe Vera Water by Novamex

Aloe Vera Water by Novamex

1. Gluten Free

2. Aloe Water

3. Hummus

4. Snacks – Especially Popcorn

5. Lollipops & Other Individual Dessert Offerings

For more insight on the trends seen at the NRA Show, check out these great articles and videos:

Top 10 culinary trends at 2013 NRA Show by Bret Thorn of Nation’s Restaurant News.

Top 3 trends from the show floor at NRA Show 2013 by Tricia Smith of SmartBlog on Food & Beverage.

Trends in beverages and foodservice from the National Restaurant Association Show 2013 by Jonas Feliciano, Beverages Industry Analyst and Elizabeth Friend, Foodservice Industry Analyst of EuroMonitor International.