Mediterranean Brands Receives Foodservice Innovation Award

Glenview, IL, October 17, 2014.

Mediterranean Brands received one of the 2014 Spirit of Innovation Awards at the Prepared Foods – New Products Conference on September 15, 2014. Falafel Scoop and Go was awarded third place finish in the foodservice category. The Non-GMO Project Verified, bulk falafel is a unique and delicious mix made with chickpeas, fava beans and a variety of fresh vegetables, spices and herbs. The versatility of this product is one of the many award winning attributes. Customers can customize the mix to create their own signature falafel, a seasonal falafel or any ingredients needed to keep up with today’s foodservice trends.

Richard Hicks, Founder and President of Mediterranean Brands, was on hand to receive this award and attend the conference. “This is a great honor for me and my team to have been recognized for our innovation within the industry” said Richard. “Our goal has always been to remain loyal to the rich food and ingredients that stem from the Mediterranean region, while constantly generating new ideas and keeping up with the latest demands of the American consumer.

Bob Garrison, Editor-in-Chief of Prepared Foods Magazine, says “Product developers know the formula for success involves two different dimensions. In part, it’s literally the right combination of ingredients. Secondly, it’s the right combination of marketing, timing and distribution as well portion size, packaging, pricing and on-trend positioning. Then again, Prepared Foods also views product development success from a third perspective. As a title dedicated to the broader product development process, Prepared Foods also includes teamwork—the coordination and cooperation of research chefs, product developers, nutritionists and others–among criteria for the magazine’s annual Spirit of Innovation (SOI) awards.” Garrison continues, “Our panelists agree that Mediterranean Brands’ Falafel Scoop and Go is sophisticated but deceptively simple. For starters, it is designed for easy use by foodservice operators across any channel (restaurants to in-store delis). Moreover, it’s incredibly versatile in appetizer, side or entrée. Besides its ethnic appeal, Scoop and Go also has nutritional protein, fiber and clean label (non-GMO) benefits.

The New Products Conference was held at the Ritz-Carlton on Amelia Island, Florida, September 13-17, 2014. The Spirit of Innovation Award Ceremony was co-sponsored by Prepared Foods Magazine and Ventura Foods.

Falafel Crisps and Falafel Scoop and Go receive Non-GMO Project Verification

Mediterranean Brands is proud to announce that two of their flagship products, Falafel Crisps and Falafel Scoop and Go, have gained Non-GMO Project Verification. With only a handful of other non-GMO Mediterranean products currently on the market, Mediterranean Brands continues to prove themselves as leader in the ever-evolving food industry.

The Non-GMO Project Verified Seal showcases that our team’s dedication to providing consumers with superior food products is stronger than ever,” said Richard Hicks, President and Founder of Mediterranean Brands. “We will continue our commitment to producing All-Natural Mediterranean food with excellent nutritional value, a clean label and unbeatable taste.

Falafel Crisps and Falafel Scoop and Go are both All-Natural falafel products made from chickpeas, fava beans and a variety of fresh vegetables, spices and herbs. Falafel Scoop and Go is a bulk mix, allowing customers to determine their own portion size and shape, and is often used as a base when customers want to add their own signature ingredients to the mix. Falafel Crisps are the pre-formed version of the bulk mix, conveniently portioned into one ounce servings. They are used as a center of the plate item, appetizer or side dish and are commonly found in the salad bar, hot bar, grab and go section or behind a deli case at Whole Foods Market.

With GMOs now present in more than 80% of conventional processed food, choosing Non-GMO Project Verified food is the most reliable way to avoid GMOs. Mediterranean Brands believe that people have a right to know what is in their food. Additionally, more than 60 countries around the world, including all of the countries in the European Union, have restrictions or outright bans on the production and sale of GMOs.

Mediterranean Brands is Chicagoland based food manufacturer that specializes in producing All-Natural falafel, soups, sauces and side dishes. The dedication from the excellent team of R&D Chefs ensures only the highest quality, best tasting food products are made for consumers to enjoy. Now that the first two products are Non-GMO Project Verified the Mediterranean Brands team is working toward the future and looks forward to having more items from their line receive this prestigious verification.

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Click Here to read this interesting article about the ups and downs of innovation.

I Dream of Falafel honored in Fast Casual’s Top 100

Our friends at I Dream of Falafel have been selected as #50 on Fast Casual’s Top 100 List of 2012.

Since opening its first location in Chicago’s Loop in 2009, I Dream of Falafel has carved a niche by focusing on fresh ingredients, including bread baked on site and meats that are never frozen and are free of preservatives, hormones and additives. With the increasing popularity of Mediterranean food and vegetarian options, brothers Imran and Munaf Kasbati and their partners Shoib Aziz and Henry Nuguid are poised to tap into a growing market. The brand recently announced plans to begin exploring franchising options at a conservative pace, with about 15 locations projected for the Illinois market and others in Midwestern college towns.

To view full article click here.

Chicago’s Best Falafel Sandwich

Time Out Chicago recently had rave reviews about a few of our customer’s falafel. The article details the progression of Chicago’s flourishing falafel market. To read the full article click here.


Fast-casual falafels take over downtown

By: Alison Neumer Lara
November 16, 2009

After eating falafel every day (and usually twice a day) for a week, I can share a couple of relevant observations about this little chickpea fritter.

For one, the city’s downtown lunch crowd is all about it. Every fast-casual counter place I tried — and there are a bunch now — had a line. Next, where there’s good falafel, there’s shawarma, marinated layers of spit-roasted meat. And finally, only a select group of quick-serve eateries do it all well. Here are my three best bets for a Middle Eastern lunch on the go.

212 W. Van Buren St.
(312) 408-2365

Newcomer Benjyehuda, which opened this fall, is named after its owner, Benji Rosen, and Ben Yehuda Street, a busy shopping boulevard in Jerusalem. But it seems to take its business cues from Chipotle: minimalist menu laid out grid-style (I swear it’s the same font), industrial steel and concrete finishes, and quick assembly-line service.

The upshot: It works. Main offerings — falafel and chicken or beef shawarma — are well-seasoned, flavorful and served hot in pita, flatbread or on salad greens or rice ($5-$8). Falafels are crispy and golden outside, loosely packed and flecked with parsley inside. Turmeric-yellow chicken shawarma manages a tasty balance between juicy meat and crispy bits. A pile of excellent garnishes and salads finishes off the dishes, including of note tomato-cucumber salad, tangy red cabbage slaw and a killer fresh hot sauce.

Thick-cut, skin-on fries ($2) are tasty and golden but need more salt. Churros ($2) — yes, churros — are the only dessert, but were crisp and greaseless.

I Dream of Falafel
331 S. Franklin St.
(312) 913-9660

Around the corner, the already popular I Dream of Falafel goes in a different direction with its namesake dish: This falafel is finely ground and dense, with enough parsley to turn the inside green, and all encased in a thick, dark-brown crust that stands up to generous douses of tahini and yogurt sauce.

Chicken and beef shawarma are tasty, too, but I’d especially come back for the juicy ground lamb kabob wrapped in a Lebanese flatbread ($5), or the great vegetarian plate: piles of hummus, baba ghanoush, falafel and dolmas ($7). All meats and falafel are available over rice or salad, too ($7), but the rice — totally bland — is a waste of $2. Go for a base of hummus instead ($6). Lunch
extras are traditional, such as tabbouleh ($3), lentil soup ($2) and baklava ($3).

Area professionals also line up for I Dream of Falafel’s take on breakfast — falafel-filled omelet, or “falafelette” ($4), and shawarma omelets ($4) — in the restaurant’s simple and inviting space.

El Souk
808 N. State St.
(312) 751-8600

In the Gold Coast, El Souk is quietly turning out well-spiced, carefully prepared Mediterranean food with quality ingredients. Unlike the two spots above, you won’t see any stylish light fixtures or flat-screen TVs inside. It’s part of a dingy stretch of State Street, so you’re likely to walk right by, but don’t — not if you want a light and crispy falafel sandwich ($4) or a bowl of thick red lentil soup ($3). Lebanese spinach pies ($5) and thin, herbed flatbread called mankouchi ($3) also stand out.

And shawarma? Of course. Chicken or beef are served as a sandwich in fresh, soft pita ($6) or a larger portion over basmati rice ($9). Take it to go with the other traditional shawarma side — a pile of fries ($2).