It’s been said and blogged before that many, if not all, of the cage-free purchase pledges made by restaurant companies are a little vague, if not confusing. When a company says it will source “100 percent cage-free eggs” they don’t typically define what cage-free means. They also often don’t specify exactly what products to be sold and served will contain cage-free eggs. A recent press release issued by Taco Bell, a Yum! Brands subsidiary, illustrates the latter. Taco Bell on January 3 announced that it was “expanding its commitment to serve 100 percent cage-free egg ingredients.”The restaurant chain already met its commitment to serve only cage-free eggs by the end of 2016, so what do they mean by that? According to the company’s latest statement, all of the eggs served as part of the chain’s breakfast menu are from cage-free operations, but the goal that was met did not include the eggs used as ingredients in its avacodo ranch sauce, creamy jalapeno sauce, habanero sauce and creamy chipotle sauce. Looking back at the November 2015 press release in which Taco Bell announced its goal to source only cage-free eggs by the end of 2016, it did not address that the goal would only include eggs as part of its breakfast menu.
Consider the best cheese in the world. It's safe to assume you're thinking of something creamy and tough to pronounce from France. A slab hailing from Wisconsin would probably be a lot further down the list. But that is exactly where the Roth Grand Cru Surchoix, recently named one of the world’s best cheeses, is from. At the 2016 World Cheese Championships, the Alpine-style cheese was named Best in Show. This marked the first time a cheese from the US had won the prize since 1988. The judges scored it 98.8 out of 100, and described the Gruyere-like offering as “perfect”. Other highly-ranked cheese included the Sennerie Spluegen from Switzerland, and Whitestone Cheese Co from New Zealand. This might be a shock to those who instantly picture neon-yellow slices for burgers when they think of American cheese, but less so to the people if Wisconsin. After all, the Midwestern state creates more than three billion pounds of cheese each year across 600 varieties.Roth has been perfecting its Grand Cru Surchoix for more than 25 years, but tweaked it in 2013. Still, all that goes into the award-winning cheese is pasteurised cultured milk and salt, enzymes.
A Saudi entrepreneur who runs a California-based raw milk network that stretches across the United States is on notice from the FDA to stop making illegal claims about the therapeutic benefits of unpasteurized milk, including raw camel milk. In a warning letter dated Sept. 15, 2016, and recently made public, the Food and Drug Administration threatened to seize products and/or seek an injunction against Walid Abdul-Wahab and his Santa Monica-based Desert Farms company. Among the claims identified as illegal by the FDA are references to raw camel milk helping people with tuberculosis, diabetes and autism. The Desert Farms website and Facebook page also claimed unpasteurized camel milk could cure allergies and Crohn’s disease. “Your products are not generally recognized as safe and effective for the above referenced uses,” states the warning letter.
Concerns over animal antibiotics potentially getting into consumers' food prompted the federal government to pass a new law. "The government created what we call a VFD or veterinarian food directive, and what that means is any livestock animal that is going to be fed an antibiotic in their feed or in the water as a water soluble will now have to have a veterinarian directive on how that goes into the feed," said Tom Pastor, Swine Industry employee. The Food and Drug Administration says the law aims to prevent overuse of antibiotics. It feels overuse may have lead to disease-causing bacteria developing resistance to the widespread medical treatment. "In most cases it is not that way to begin with. Producers do not want to have to use antibiotics if they don't have to. If their animals are healthy they are not going to use antibiotics. If we do have sick animals, there is a need to have antibiotics in the feed and that vet helps us determine that," added Pastor.
The escalation of alternative eggs in Mexico, whether they are organic, free-range or cage-free, seems unstoppable. Just a year ago, there were a few brands. Today, there is a great variety. From the marketing point of view, it has opened the range of supply, consumers can use their judgment and they have a variety to choose from, and companies are given the opportunity to differentiate themselves and have other brands. Not to mention that there are more profit margins as well. Here is where I want to talk about one little detail: the price of these eggs and the margins. What is surprising is that organic, cage-free and free-range eggs exactly cost three times more! While a dozen conventional eggs (packaged and branded) is around MXN21 (US$1) in the supermarket, the others cost a little over MXN60 (US$3).
The U.S. potato industry has taken umbrage with a popular dietary fad, which is based on the premise that humans ate healthier during the Stone Age than following the advent of agriculture. The Paleolithic diet — coined by Colorado State University emeritus professor Loren Cordain — promotes foods that would have been available to hunter-gatherers more than 10,000 years ago — such as grass-fed meat, wild game, nuts, fruits and non-starchy vegetables. In addition to processed foods and salt, the popular diet frowns upon some of the major commodities produced in the Northwest, including potatoes, cereals, dairy, sugar and legumes. Cordain reasons the foods weren’t present during the Paleolithic Period, and humans, therefore, haven’t adapted to eating them. The potato industry — still seeking to improve consumer perceptions affected by the low-carbohydrate Atkins diet craze — recently launched a campaign highlighting the importance of the spud’s protein, vitamin C, potassium and carbohydrates to athletic performance. “I think a lot of people are really getting tired of all of these really restrictive diets and are more interested in learning how to eat properly in a way they can work into their lifestyle, based on the basic ideas of moderation and good diversity,” said John Toaspern, chief marketing officer with Potatoes USA.
Every generation influences society, and in recent years, it has been the millennials' turn. About a year ago, for instance, the millennials, generally thought of as adults from ages 19 to 35, became the age group to make up the biggest chunk of the American workforce. So it should be no surprise that when businesses want to attract the masses, they make sure what they're doing makes their millennial customers happy.
And good, healthy food makes millennials happy. The push to eat healthier, more eco-friendly foods like cage-free eggs and the rise of the meal preparation companies that send customers nutritious, fresh ingredients that they can quickly make into a cooked meal – that's all been attributed to the influence of the millennials.
Pennsylvania officials are warning consumers who have purchased certain raw milk cheeses from Stone Meadow Farm to discard them immediately because samples from the dairy have tested positive for the bacteria Staphylococcus Aureus.
Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam has launched an educational video series titled “The Science of Cooking” to engage 5th to 8th grade students in the science in daily activities, such as cooking.
Whole Foods Market’s global buyers and experts announced the trends to watch in 2017. Among them, a trend toward “flexitarians” who embrace individualized forms of healthy eating. “In 2017, consumers will embrace a new, personalized version of healthy eating that’s less rigid than typical vegan, paleo, gluten-free and other special diets that have gone mainstream,” the Whole Foods team explained in a news release. For example, some flexitarians may be eating vegan before 6 p.m., or eating paleo five days a week, or gluten-free whenever possible. Instead of a strict identity aligned with one diet, these shoppers embrace the “flexitarian” approach to making conscious choices about what, when and how much to eat.