by Amy Reiter in News, Restaurants, August 24th, 2015
by Amy Reiter in News, August 23rd, 2015
We love to break bread together — relish the idea of sitting down to a hot meal with family and friends — but increasingly, Americans are dining solo.
Just shy of half of all adults’ meals and snacks — about 46 percent of them — are eaten alone, according to information compiled by market researchers at the Hartman Group, released in a recent Food Marketing Institute trend report and cited by NPR’s The Salt.
Hartman Group CEO Laurie Demeritt suggests we’re in the midst of a “true cultural change” in which it is becoming “more socially acceptable to eat alone.” Not only has the percentage of single-person households been on the rise in the United States — increasing from 17 percent in 1970 to 27 percent in 2012, according to Census Bureau data cited by NPR — but we’re also a nation of people on the go, grabbing food at our desks, in the car and on the street.
by Amy Reiter in News, August 21st, 2015
Pop quiz: Living near which of these grocery meccas is better for your property value? Whole Foods, with its vast, glistening rainbow of organic produce and prettily prepared foods with price points to match, or Trader Joe’s, with its deliciously affordable array of fresh fruits and vegetables, gourmet specialties and staples, not to mention its inexpensive signature wine?
The answer? Ye Olde House of Two-Buck Chuck.
Homes near Trader Joe’s tend to appreciate considerably more, on average, than those near Whole Foods, according to an analysis conducted by real estate data site RealtyTrac. People who own homes near Trader Joe’s have seen their home values increase an average of 40 percent since they purchased them. Those with homes that share a ZIP code with Whole Foods, meanwhile, have enjoyed only a 34 percent appreciation, which is the average appreciation for homes in all U.S. ZIP codes.
by Amy Reiter in News, August 20th, 2015
The rage for bacon in or on everything — from doughnuts and funnel cakes to peanut brittle, ice cream bars and marmalade to Tater Tots and shrimp tempura — is not without consequences.
Because demand is up and supply is down, wholesale prices for pork bellies, the cut of meat from which bacon slices are made, are surging: They’re up 174 percent over the five-year low they hit in April, reaching a one-year high of almost $1.70 per pound last week, Bloomberg reports, citing information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
by Amy Reiter in News, August 19th, 2015
Will wine bottles, as we know them, soon be a thing of the past? If a Boston-based startup named Kuvée has its way, the answer to that question will be yes. The firm, founded by a successful software entrepreneur, a robotics engineer and a recent MIT grad, is gearing up to launch a high-tech wine bottle that, as Boston Globe columnist Scott Kirsner sees it, aims to be “the last [one] you’ll ever need,” promising to do for wine pouring and storing what Keurig and Sodastream have done for coffee making and carbonation.
In fall 2015, Kuvée plans to launch a WiFi-connected wine bottle into which the user will place a canister of the wine of his or her choice and pour a glass here or there, as needed. The canister (a funding blurb calls it a “proprietary Kuvée wine bottle”) is designed to protect the remainder of the wine from exposure to the air in order to prevent it from oxidizing and going bad. The outside of the bottle will feature a touchscreen “smart label,” with information about the wine you’re drinking and “social recommendations for Kuvée wines from drinkers with like taste profiles,” according to the blurb. You can reorder canisters with the tap of a button.
by Amy Reiter in News, August 18th, 2015
Ah, the trials and tribulations of the modern remote worker. Among them? Gathering together all your gear (smartphone, laptop and whatever other stuff you need to turn in that project on deadline) and heading to your friendly local Wi-Fi-equipped coffee shop only to find out that — ugh, really? — the place is packed and there’s no place for you to perch.
The good news, Wired reports, is that a Portland, Ore.-based company is working to combat this very problem. Workfrom, a startup dedicated to helping “nomadic” workers “discover reliable places to get work done outside of the home or office,” in cities all over the world, has now promised to help you find out — before you leave your home or office — just how likely you are to score a seat in a coffee shop, using sensors to suss out the scene and relay the intel back to you in real time.
by Amy Reiter in News, August 15th, 2015
If the school year is starting, as it has for some and soon will for others, can Pumpkin Spice Lattes be far behind? The answer, of course, is no. The season for Starbucks’ autumnal drink is close at hand, and for those who had felt compelled to say “no” to the fall favorite after discovering, last year, that it contained no actual pumpkin but did contain the potentially unsafe additive Class IV Caramel Color, the last gasp of summer has brought good news: Starbucks has changed its PSL recipe.
“After hearing from customers and partners about ingredients, we took another look at this beverage and why we created it so many years ago,” Peter Dukes, Starbucks’ director of espresso and brewed coffee, and a PSL co-creator, wrote this week in a blog post on the company’s website, announcing that, when the PSL returns to stores this fall, “it will be made with real pumpkin and without caramel coloring.”
by Amy Reiter in News, August 13th, 2015
Cold brew coffee is hot, hot, hot. Local coffee shops and big chains like Peet’s Coffee & Tea and Starbucks are increasingly switching to it from traditional iced coffee. It may also be heating up demand for coffee beans.
Cold brew, said to be smoother and less bitter than regular iced coffee (brewed hot, then cooled), calls for fresh ground coffee beans to steep in cold water for anywhere from 12 to a full 24 hours. But because the cooler temps and relative stillness in the process prevent as much flavor from being extracted from the coffee as regular hot brew, roasters use more (sometimes double) beans per cup.
by Guest Blogger in News, August 11th, 2015
If a whiskey is aged in space, will it be mellower? It sounds a bit like a Zen koan (“the sound of one hand clapping” and all that), but in fact it is a question that may soon have an answer.
On August 16, the spirits maker Suntory will rocket six samples — five kinds of distilled spirits of different ages as well as a liquid that is 40 percent ethanol — into space in order to explore, the company says in a news release, the “development of mellowness in alcoholic beverage through the use of a microgravity environment.”
by Amy Reiter in News, August 10th, 2015
By Lauren Haslett
Freeze-dried ice cream may be a fun novelty for those of us stuck on Earth, but we’re pretty sure astronauts are tired of it.
Luckily for them, fresh, farm-to-table produce is becoming a real possibility. Those farms just happen to be in space.
Sure, you got your fruit pies and crumbles, your ice cream and frozen pops, but there’s a solid argument to be made that no other dessert captures the taste of summer quite like s’mores. With the milk chocolate made melty by the toasted-to-taste marshmallow and smooshed between two graham crackers, s’mores evoke the snap of the campfire, the nighttime cool after a hot summer day, songs under the stars, and the comfort of family and good friends.
Yeah, we all love s’mores, but some states apparently love them — or at least love to tweet about them — more than others.
In honor of National S’mores Day, which happens to be today, Twitter’s Data Analytics team has compiled a list of the top s’mores-lovin’ states of the summer, based on which of them tweeted about s’mores the most from May 1 to July 31, 2015. (Check out the cool companion heat map above.)