We're trying something new this week and sharing the stories we've been reading with you all. There's so much happening in the food industry right now it seems a good idea to share a wider ranger of stories with you.
When is Rice Rice, Meat Meat and So On?
There have been several articles lately about the “battle” on labeling. Can soy milk really be called milk? Are plant-based meat patties really meat? It seems there are lots of discussions going on in various state legislature on the topic.
In Arkansas, the governor recently signed a bill prohibiting products labeled “rice” unless they come from the grain itself. Bill supporters claim this protects consumers from being misled by labels such as “cauliflower rice.”
Prior to this bill, there were ongoing discussions with the Food and Drug Administration about milk needing to be only that product that comes from animals. That discussion continues, and one wonders when and where it will end.
Finally, Montana, Mississippi and South Dakota states joined a growing list of states stating in laws that only products from a slaughtered animal can be labeled meat. Similar bills are being considered in at least 10 more states.
What we know for certain is that this labeling discussion is not likely to end any day soon and the agriculture industry is at the center of most discussions.
Leftovers Keep Kids From Going Hungry
An Indiana school district is yet another example of individuals showing compassion and finding ways to improve their community. Leftover food was going to waste in the Elkhart Community Schools while staff also knew students were going hungry on the weekends. Now, they pack up the lunch leftovers and send them home with the students in need. Think what we can do when we focus on solutions!
Bananas are Number One!
According to an article in The Packer, banana, apples and potatoes are the most frequently purchased produce items. That isn’t particularly surprising, but what is surprising is that older and the youngest adult consumers purchase the most bananas with those in the middle lagging considerably.
AI Coming to A Drive-Thru Near You
AI has made it to McDonald’s drive thru and you may not even know it. According to an article in Engadget, the retailer is going to be rolling out a system that changes the drive thru menu as you’re pulling up or ordering to entice you to order more. “The system will look at factors such as the weather, time, local events, traffic levels at the restaurant and on nearby roads, historical sales data, currently popular items and even what you're ordering to optimize menu displays at drive-thru windows. It might, for instance, promote the McFlurry or iced coffees on hot days, or suggest simpler items that are faster for employees to prepare if there's a long line.”
Take Me Out to the Ballpark
Baseball season is in full swing but it’s never too late to talk about the new food items being featured at ballparks. It’s not that long ago, it was challenging to get more than a hotdog and peanuts. My how things have changed, as outlined in this article from Food Business News.
Tailoring Grocery Stores to Neighborhoods
From super stores to bodegas grocers are tailoring new store opportunities to the markets, and even the neighborhoods. Whole Foods has recently opened a bodega in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood and a four-story shopping experience in Atlanta complete with a food hall.
We’re not afraid to admit we’re Shark Tank fans in this house and really enjoyed a recent segment with the owners of Press Waffle Company. Restaurant Business has written a story about their dreams and thoughts on the TV show.
A Cookbook Author's Cookbook
While book sales are plummeting, it’s really interesting to note that cookbook sales are going up along with an increasing popularity of cooking in general. The Daily Beast recently asked cookbook authors which cookbooks they use regularly. Turns out there were some common threads, many of which I do and don’t use myself. How ‘bout you? The resounding winner is Master Recipes: A New Approach to the Fundamentals of Good Cooking. There are some excellent choices in the list.
Is "Local" Really Local?
The New Food Economy has a really interesting blog post about “local” food where they examine what local means. It’s a really interesting read and we think it would be interesting to our readers as well.
According to the USDA, “local” is food that’s consumed 400 miles from where it was grown. Think for a moment about what that means local is to where you are eating. Local in Seattle includes Boise, ID; almost to Calgary, ALB; Medford, OR and all places in between. These certainly aren’t places we’d consider to be local to Seattle. It’s certainly something to think about. Use this cool tool to put a 400-mile circle around where you are to see what’s “local” to where you are based on the definition from USDA.