Tropical News

Grand Prize Winner Chosen in 2015 Tropical Foods Recipe Challenge


Tropical Foods is proud to announce the winner of the Tropical Foods Recipe Challenge – Carnival Fare. The Art Institute of Charlotte freshman Aaron Ailes took top honors and $500 at the first annual culinary competition held March 21st at the school’s Charlotte campus. The student chef, a native of Canton, Ohio, impressed a local panel of culinary experts and tasting audience with his flavorful recipe, Firecracker Mahi Tacos, which featured Tropical’s Firecracker Hot & Spicy® snack mix.

Art Institute of Charlotte students were challenged to submit original recipes using provided Tropical Foods ingredients which included Firecracker Hot & Spicy® snack mix, Wild About Wasabi® snack mix, Peanut Butter Melts, ReCharge® Super Charged Cranberry Blend, and Praline Pecans. With a Carnival Fare theme, submissions were creative and colorful, with ultimately 10 submissions making it through to the final round.

“We were very impressed by the creativity the students showed in their recipe submissions,” said Chad Hartman, Director of Marketing at Tropical Foods. “The winning recipe had the bold flavor that is synonymous with Tropical Foods and we couldn’t have been happier with the judges’ decisions.”

In addition to the grand prize, the following prizes were awarded:
2nd Place:
Crystal Robinson, senior, Columbia, S.C., Wasabi Wontons

3rd Place:
Daniel Johnson, senior, Mount Pleasant, N.C., Fair Bananas

Audience Choice:
Aaron Ailes, freshman, Canton, OH, Firecracker Mahi Tacos

Facebook Fan Favorite:
Nivit Tipvaree, junior, Nakhon Sawan, Thailand, Cranberry Peanut Butter Ball

The Tropical Foods Recipe Challenge judging panel consisted of Carolyn Bennett, an owner of Tropical Foods and Healthy Home Market; Heidi Billotto, Charlotte culinary expert, chef, and food writer; Amy Fortes, chef/owner of Flipside Cafe; Jon Fortes, chef/owner of Flipside Cafe and two-time winner of the Fire in the City culinary competition; and Jenny Brulé , chef, food writer, and tv personality. 102.9 The Lake’s Nathan Richie emceed the event.

“I really enjoyed tasting the delicious, creative recipes from the culinary students,” judge Carolyn Bennett said. “The chefs have given me some great ideas for future snack mix flavor profiles.”

For all of the event photos, please visit


Throw Back Easter Thursday!

1988 easter hunt frontEaster is only a two weeks away! While sorting through our old flyers, we bunny hopped across this flyer from 1988, and since Easter is so close, we decided to look up a few fun facts about the holiday. Make sure you have plenty of candy from Tropical Foods to fill your Easter eggs for your Easter egg hunt this year. And here are a fun interesting facts that we found about this egg filled holiday!

  1. Americans spend $1.9 billion on Easter candy. That’s the second biggest candy holiday after Halloween.
  2. 70% of Easter candy purchased is chocolate.
  3. The first story of a rabbit (later named the “Easter Bunny”) hiding eggs in a garden was published in 1680.
  4. “The White House Easter Egg Roll” event has been celebrated by the President of the United States and their families since 1878.
  5. The UK’s first chocolate egg was produced in 1873 by Fry’s of Bristol.
  6. The tallest chocolate Easter egg ever was made in Italy in 2011. At 10.39 meters in height and 7,200 kg in weight, it was taller than a giraffe and heavier than an elephant!
  7. Good Friday is an official holiday in 12 US states; Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.
  8. Nearly 120 million cards with be sent, exchanged, and given this Easter, which means it holds the fourth spot of the largest card-sending celebration in the U.S.
  9. Every child in the UK receives an average of 8.8 Easter eggs every year – double their recommended calorie intake for a whole week
  10. The largest ever Easter egg hunt was in Florida, where 9,753 children searched for 501,000 eggs.

Happy Easter Egg Hunting from Tropical Foods!


St. Patrick’s Day Snacks

On March 17th, the Irish and the Irish-at-heart celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. What began as a religious feast day for the patron saint of Ireland has become an international festival celebrating Irish culture with parades, dancing, special foods and a whole lot of green. Whether you’re Irish or not, St. Paddy’s Day is a fun way to include green items in your diet. When St. Patrick’s Day falls on a weekday, you might not have time for a green beer or full course corned beef and cabbage dinner. To still feel festive, enjoy this list of some of our favorite green Tropical treats:

  • Sunburst Snack Mix
    The classic mix of Green Chocolate Gems, Roasted and Salted Peanuts, Almonds and Raisins.  And the best part? Try the raisins after they catch a little bit of salt from the peanuts.
  • Wild About Wasabi Mix
    This mix is part of our Artisan Creations™ line and is made of Wasabi Soy Sauce Cashews, Wasabi Green Peas and Almonds.
  • Dried Fruit Medley
    Includes diced apricot, apples, peaches, pears and golden raisins. Put it in a muffin, toss it in a cookie or bake it in a cake.
  • Roasted and Salted Pistachios
    Nature’s heart healthy nut with a beautiful green hue. Pistachios provide three grams of fiber per serving, more than many types of whole fruit.
  • Garden Chips – Green Beans or Okra
    Garden Chips are a crunchy, delicious snack chip made from real vegetables. They are vacuum fried, lightly seasoned with sea salt and all natural. A perfect alternative to a traditional chip snack. Enjoy the bright green color of our green beans or our personal fave, okra.
  • Jordan Almonds
    Look forward to Easter with these sweet, candy coated almonds. Enjoy the bright, minty green snack for dessert today.

Visit our Products page to see all of our green snacks and more!


St. Patrick’s Day TBT Flyer

march st pattys day flyer

With St. Patrick’s Day being less than a week away, this week’s “Throw Back Thursday,” post is in honor of this historical Irish Holiday! Check out this flyer from 1991 with the old specials that we had at Tropical foods “Back in the Day”! And to go with our flyer throw back, here are some fun facts about this interesting holiday and remember to enjoy St. Patrick’s Day responsibly! #TBT #FightingIrish #StPatricksDay #TropicalFoods


  1. For most of the 20th century, Saint Patrick’s Day was considered a strictly religious holiday in Ireland, which meant that the nation’s pubs were closed for business on March 17. In 1970, the day was converted to a national holiday, and the stout resumed flowing.
  2. According to Irish legend, the saint used the three-leafed plant as a metaphor for the Holy Trinity when he was first introducing Christianity to Ireland.
  3. Don’t be fooled by any holiday decorations showing lady leprechauns. In traditional Irish folk tales, there are no female leprechauns, only nattily attired little guys.
  4. It is a huge faux pax to call the holiday St. Patty’s Day. The correct names are St. Patrick’s Day and St. Paddy’s Day.
  5. More than 100 St Patrick’s Day parades are held every year in the United States. The biggest celebrations are in New York City and Boston.
  6. The world’s shortest St. Patrick’s Day parade is in Dripsey, Cork. The parade lasts just 100 yards and travels between the village’s two pubs.
  7. Patrick’s Day has been celebrated in space – twice.
  8. Patrick was not Irish. His parents were Roman citizens living in England.
  9. The shamrock is not the symbol of Ireland. It is a popular symbol, but not ‘the’ symbol. The official symbol is the harp.
  10. In Seattle, there is a ceremony where a green stripe is painted down the roads.
  11. Patrick did not actually drive snakes out of Ireland; the snakes represent the pagans that he converted to Christianity.
  12. The very first St. Patrick’s Day parade was not in Ireland. It was in Boston in 1737.
  13. The shamrock, pot-of-gold and leprechauns are also associated with St. Patrick’s Day. The shamrock was worn as a badge on the lapel. Three is Ireland’s magic number and the three petals that make up the shamrock are supposed to bring good luck. The three leaves also represent the Trinity in the Christian religion.
  14. The leprechaun is a small Irish fairy.
  15. There are approximately 10,000 three-leaf clovers for every “lucky” four-leaf clover.

Meet the Tropical Team – Jackie




















In our monthly feature, Meet the Tropical Team, we’ll introduce you to some of the people who make Tropical such a wonderful company. This month meet Jackie Herring, Tropical’s Receiving Clerk at the Charlotte headquarters.

Jackie Herring

Clover, SC

20 Years

Managing incoming drivers, receiving products, managing driver appointments, stocking incoming freight, checking production

The team in Receiving

Buffalo Nuts

Cheese crackers, Buffalo Nuts, honey roasted sesame sticks, and peanuts

Spend time with my family and attend church

Interested in joining the Tropical team? Contact us at our Careers page.