Vegetarian Journal's Foodservice Update

Vegetarian Journal's Foodservice Update
Healthy Tips and Recipes for Institutions
Volume XI, Number 1                Winter 2003

Exciting News: Sysco Foods (USA’s Largest Food Service Distributor) is Premiering a New Vegetarian Line Called MoonRose™

By Nancy Berkoff, EdD, RD, CCE

Can’t find a reliable source for tempeh? Cooking staff at a loss for new vegetarian entrée ideas? Customers tired of the same old baked tofu with the same old sauce? The answer is almost here! Sysco Foods, the country’s largest food service distributor, is premiering a new product line, MoonRose™. This line is dedicated to vegetarian food service products, both ready-to-use items and individual ingredients. Products will be produced by vegetarian companies and packaged for Sysco. This change comes in response to the increasing demand for healthy, vegetarian food service products. Many hours, meetings, and planning sessions went into the development of the MoonRose™ line; the following interviews give you an overview of Sysco’s tremendous undertaking.

Bill Stewart from Real Foodservices, Inc.

Ask anyone about the new MoonRose™ line from Sysco and the response is “talk to Bill Stewart,” who has been instrumental in seeing the MoonRose™ idea come to fruition. Over the years, Stewart has developed a relationship with the CEO of Sysco, a member of the Slow Foods movement dedicated to preserving the tradition of finely crafted cuisine using wholesome and natural foods. Stewart is an experienced veteran of the food service industry, involved in both the production and marketing of natural and vegetarian foods. A partnership was inevitable.

Since Sysco had found that its vegetarian products had good sales numbers despite little marketing, Sysco execs saw the demand for more vegetarian products. Bill Stewart saw the need for more natural items to be available to the food service industry. “Twenty-five per cent of the population asks for vegetarian fare when dining out,” he says. “The healthy dining segment is increasing and we need to meet their needs.”

Stewart continued, “MoonRose™ products are natural foods for the food service trade. The product line is mostly vegan. Real Foodservices will work with Sysco at every level to ensure these products are available with training, when necessary.” Real Foodservices will be working with Sysco’s national accounts, such as Sodhexo and Aramark, and local broker representatives to ensure a smooth rollout of the new line. Samples and information will be available through vendor fairs, workshops, and sales staff.

It’s taken nine years of hard work for Stewart to see the national premiere of the MoonRose™ line. You can contact Bill Stewart at: Real Foodservices, Inc., 1705 14th St. #228, Boulder, CO 80302. Call him at (303) 938-2011 or (303) 440-8921, or email him at

Seth Tibbott from Turtle Island Foods

“The MoonRose™ line is an exciting breakthrough for vegetarian foods,” says Tibbott. “Sysco is the first large food service company to offer a meatless, vegetarian, and vegan product line under its own name. It is exciting to see this level of commitment for a private label line.”

Turtle Island Foods will be working with Sysco on several MoonRose™ products. In addition, Sysco will be carrying several Turtle Island products, to be sold under the Turtle Island name. These include:

  1. Stuffed Tofurky Roast Chub: This 2-foot long log (or chub) of Tofurky will be packed with a wild rice stuffing. Each slice will contain both Tofurky and stuffing. This product is chef-friendly. It can be marinated prior to heating; Seth suggests soy sauce and orange juice. After heating, this product can be sliced and served, or held on a steam table.

  2. Bulk Superburgers: Each package will contain thirty-six 3-ounce, 4-inch tempeh patties. These can be marinated and grilled or baked and are ready to be served on a bun or as an entrée.

  3. Bulk Organic Soy Tempeh: Each package will contain eight 3-pound blocks of soy tempeh. Tempeh can be used instead of burgers, chops, and roasts, as well as in stir-frys, sautés, and sandwiches. Turtle Island offers a tempeh cookbook available to food service professionals at no charge.

“It is very exciting that all these products will be available through the USA’s largest food service company,” Tibbott remarks. “Prior to this effort, vegetarian food service has pretty much meant one thing: BURGERS. With this offering, the many chefs that have requested tempeh and Tofurky and have not been able to order on a regular basis from a large distributor with an impressive track record, will now be able to do so. This should greatly expand the offerings and choices available to vegetarians via healthcare facilities, schools, universities, hotels, businesses, and restaurants.” Contact Seth Tibbott by emailing him at

Ron Pickarski from Eco Cuisine

Chef Ron, or “Brother Ron” as he’s known to in the industry, is a seven-time Culinary Olympics medalist. Chef Ron is unique as a competitor in the Culinary Olympics, as he designs all his entries as vegan cuisine. After twenty years of vegan competition, Chef Ron was delighted to compete in the 1996 Culinary Olympics in the first-ever vegetarian category.

Chef Ron recognized the need for vegan foods in the culinary arena. To that end, he has created many vegan products for the food service industry, such as soy puddings, baking mixes, and broths. These products were easily used by chefs with or without vegetarian knowledge.

Chef Ron’s involvement with MoonRose™ was a natural extension of his pioneering efforts with the Culinary Olympics. He has coordinated activities with all participating companies and has helped to develop many of the products; he has also worked to ensure that all the products are formulated to professional chefs’ standards. When the product line is launched, Chef Ron will be heading up the education available for chefs and food service professionals who want to get maximum satisfaction from the new products.

“My approach is to cook classical vegan cuisine with a modern twist. This excites both chefs and customers. Each MoonRose™ product has been selected to make vegetarian cuisine approachable and enjoyable,” said Chef Ron, commenting on the types of available products. According to Chef Ron, products were selected to “fill the void in vegetarian food service offerings.” Product categories include center-of-the-plate or entrée selections, soymilk, tofu, tempeh and soy products, and vegan desserts and bakery products.

Chef Ron’s enthusiasm is evident in his thoughts on the Sysco MoonRose™ Vegetarian Brand line. “My personal vision is that these products will empower the food service industry to get on board the vegetarian movement, because there is a demand for it. Vegetarians and part-time vegetarian diners will not sacrifice taste for nutrition. Taste sells. People eat away from home to enjoy a delicious meal, and, when possible, to espouse their ethical values. MoonRose™ is giving them their opportunity.” You can contact Chef Ron Pickarski at Eco Cuisine, PO Box 17878, Boulder, CO 80308-0878.

Mark Machlis from Ivy Foods

Mark Machlis has gained many years of experience in the natural foods industry from owning/managing vegetarian restaurants in Salt Lake City, Utah, to developing terrific products including Meat of the Wheat, an alternative chicken product made from gluten. Mark is excited about the the new Sysco MoonRose™ line. His company will be contributing powdered soymilk, as well as a delicous vegan soy cream cheese. Mark Machlis can be reached at (801) 944-5504.

A preview of some of the items that will be offered under the Sysco MoonRose™ Vegetarian Product Line

Dry products:

a) 25-pound Vegan Basic Muffin Mix consisting of unbleached white flour, soy powder, leavening agents, flavoring agents, and oil. Can be used to prepare Cranberry Orange, Bran, Blueberry, Banana, Chocolate Chip Pecan, Lemon Poppy Seed, or Carrot Raisin Muffins; Quick Bread variations of the muffins; and a Jelly Roll.

b) 25-pound Vegan Basic Pancake Mix consisting of whole wheat and unbleached white flours, soy protein, leavening agents, enzymes, and sugar. Can be used as a base to prepare Blueberry, Banana Walnut, Cranberry Orange, Chocolate Chip and Pecan Pancakes, as well as Waffles, Biscuits, Corn Fritters, and Sweet Potato Pancakes.

c) 25-pound Vegan Breakfast “Sausage” Quick Mix flavored protein dry mix consisting of textured soy protein, gluten flour, natural flavors, and gelling agents. Can be sautéed or steamed to prepare Breakfast Wraps with Scrambled Tofu, Mushroom “Meat” Loaf, Patties, and Shepherd’s Pie, or served with Peppers and Onions.

d) 25-pound Vegan Seitan Quick Mix that can be used to prepare Swiss Steaks, Burgers, Stews, Cutlets, Stroganoff, Sandwiches, and Salads.


a) Six 64-ounce jars of Nayonnaise (vegan mayonnaise) that can be used whenever a recipe calls for mayonnaise such as Salad a la Russe.

b) Six 64-ounce jars of Vegi Thousand Island Salad Dressing made with a soy base and the perfect mix of deep rich, tomato flavor and the subtle sweet taste of specially blended relish. Can be used to make Tempeh Rueben Sandwiches, Salads, and Sandwich Spreads.

Frozen items:

a) 20 pounds Edamame, a special variety of soybeans harvested to capture the full sweet flavor of the bean. Great taste, ease of preparation, and nutritional value makes it a popular snack food with people of all ages.

b) Eight 1.5-pound packages of Organic Soy Tempeh. Can be used to prepare Lyonnaise Tempeh, Sweet and Sour Tempeh, Ragout, and Club Sandwiches.

c) Four 2.5-pound packages of Tofurky Deli Slices with natural hickory smoke flavor. Can be used when preparing Sandwiches, Hoagies, or Appetizer Rolls stuffed with vegan cheese.

d) Forty-eight 3.5 ounce SuperBurgers (Marinated Tempeh Patties) made with organic soybeans and wild and brown rice that is marinated in lemon juice, garlic, and soy sauce. Can be used to prepare Rueben Sandwiches, Club Sandwiches, Burgers and Steaks, Stir-frys, Casseroles, Stews, and Chili.

Refrigerated items:

a) Six 5-pound packages of Vegan Cheese Sauce that can be used to prepare Pasta Primavera, Open Face Sandwiches, and Macaroni and Cheese. Blends well with any accompanying flavors such as salsas and marinara sauces.

b) Two 4-pound packages of Chocolate or Vanilla Soy Pudding that can be used to make Boston Cream Pie, Cheese Cakes, Cream Anglaise, Parfaits, French Fruit Tarts, Pastry Fillings, and Pudding Cups.


a) 5-pound Vegan Vegetable Broth mix is a combination of vegetable powders, savory spices, yeast, salt, and sugar. Can be used in Soups, Stocks, and Sauces, and to flavor Pilafs.

b) Four 3-pound Powdered Soymilk that can replace higher-priced ingredients. Can be used in Baking Mixes, Dessert Sauces, Icings, Smoothies, and Cream Soups.

c) 35-pound Soybean Oil for Frying that is made with identity preserved, expeller pressed, and non-GMO soybeans. The oil is mechanically processed with no chemicals. Excellent fry life and color.

Note from the editors: We are excited about this upcoming MoonRose™ line from Sysco. Recently when The Vegetarian Resource Group exhibited at the American Dietetic Association Annual Exhibition, we told several food service customers about this development. They were also very enthusiastic and said it would help meet the needs of their customers. However, these food service professionals have not yet heard directly from Sysco, and Sysco has not given us a date for the introduction of MoonRose™. If you order from Sysco, perhaps you can let your rep know you look forward to seeing the MoonRose™ line. And when the official introduction happens, ordering their products will, of course, help make sure these items continued to be offered. Please let us know about your experience.

Excerpts from the Winter 2003 Issue:
Exciting News: Sysco Foods (USA’s Largest Food Service Distributor) is Premiering a New Vegetarian Line Called MoonRose™
Food Service Hotline
Vegan Food Products
Vegetarian Quantity Recipes
- Vegetable-Udon Noodle Bowl
- Kick Up the Heat Seitan

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Last Updated
Aug. 30, 2004

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