Quick & Easy

Sundae best

Sundae best: add quick toppings to ice cream for deliciously easy desserts - Food: Summer EntertainingIce cream means instant dessert. It waits in the freezer, always on call, ready to appear au naturel or dressed up for a celebration.

Date food

Date food: trick her into thinking you're a gourmet cook with this quick and easy mealBeef, like this filet mignon, is a great source of CLA--CONJUGATED LINOLEIC ACID--a type of good fat that has been shown in studies to help increase muscle mass and decrease levels of body fat.

Quick, healthy dishes

Quick, healthy dishes - recipesChicken and Vegetables With Penne makes a hearty one-dish meal. Note: To save time, prep foods-slice, dice and so on-as other items cook.

Go fish

Go fish: start with seafood for a quick, tasty dinner - WeeknightPutting a balanced meal on the table every night is a challenge when work and family compete for your attention. But eating well might be easier than you think--if you think fish. It cooks quickly and is a lean source of protein and iron.

Salad days

Salad days: rice chills out for an easy weeknight meal - Food: Quick CookThis salad is a simplified, lightened version of Richard Wong's original. Make your own seasoning sauce as directed here or, for a shortcut, use a purchased sauce such as his Chinablue Sesame Soy Sauce.

Chew on this: cater to customers with food allergies, and you'll be sure to get a good reaction

Chew on this: cater to customers with food allergies, and you'll be sure to get a good reactionFor the 11 million-plus Americans who suffer from food allergies, finding great-tasting food products that meet their needs is a challenge. Still, as the demand for allergen-free foods rises among consumers, so does the opportunity for health-minded entrepreneurs. In fact, sales of food allergy and intolerance products jumped 17 percent in 2004 and are projected to reach $3.9 billion by 2008, according to Packaged Facts, a division of, which publishes reports on a range of consumer industries. Though children are more likely to have food allergies, entire families often adopt the allergen-free diet, in turn growing the market, says David Lummis, a project manager for

The founders of Enjoy Life Natural Brands, Bert Cohen, 33, and Scott Mandell, 34, have watched the market grow since they launched their food manufacturing and marketing company in 2002. Selling only foods free of the most common allergens (eggs, fish, milk, peanuts, shellfish, soy, tree nuts and wheat are responsible for 90 percent of all allergic reactions in the United States), these Chicago entrepreneurs say their most popular products are granola cereals and cookies. But their bagels and snack bars do well in their online store and the specialty and health-food markets they distribute to, which are located throughout most of the country as well as Canada. Getting distribution for their specialty products is a challenge, says Cohen, but they're steadily growing with annual sales in the low seven figures.

And because their customers' lives are on the line--food allergies account for about 30,000 emergency room visits as well as 150 to 200 deaths each year, according to the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN)--Cohen and Mandell are meticulous about testing and monitoring cross-contamination in their facilities. "From a business perspective, there are three critical things," says Terry Furlong, COO of FAAN, based in Fairfax, Virginia. "An absolute knowledge of ingredients used, prevention of cross-contact in manufacturing and, perhaps most importantly, accurate labeling." The tiniest nut particle, for example, can cause severe allergic reactions, he says, so adhering to the strictest health, safety and contamination guidelines is vital. In fact, since the 2004 passing of the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act, all food manufacturers are required to indicate on the label the presence of any of the eight most common allergens.

Though it takes more diligence and probably more startup capital to launch an allergen-free food business compared with a regular food business, say experts, the rewards are tremendous. Just ask Kelly Koeller, whose Buffalo Grove, Illinois, store, the Gluten-Free Market, sells more than 670 gluten-free products to people who have celiac disease (a disorder where the body can't digest gluten, a protein found in grains such as wheat).

Founded in 2002 after his young son was diagnosed with celiac disease, Koeller's brick-and-mortar store attracts consumers from all over the nation. Though he also sells online, Koeller, 46, notes that most of his company's $400,000 in annual revenue comes from the store. "People walk in and have a story to tell," says Koeller. "People say, 'I don't have to read labels for the first time in my life.'" For those with food allergies, it's music to their ears.



* A gluten-free resource page and directory

* Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (www. An informational resource with statistics and information about all types of food allergy issues

* Institute of Food Technologists ( An international scientific society for food technology issues

* National Association for the Specialty Food Trade Inc. ( A trade association for the specialty food industry; also publishes Specialty Food Magazine

* National Food Processors Association (www. An organization dealing with food safety, nutrition, food security and other regulatory issues

* United States Department of Agriculture (www. Government site detailing regulatory and food safety issues