by Sara Reistad-Long in Food News, March 13, 2014
by Sara Reistad-Long in Food News, March 7, 2014
In this week’s news: time-warping with sprouted grains and hemp brownies; tracking down the four-leaf clover of kale; and betting the farm on farm-to-table real estate.
Sprouted Grains Hit the Big Time
Boomers might cop an eye roll when they hear of restaurant chain Panera Bread’s new launch. Come May, the Saint Louis-based company plans to roll out a line of sprouted-grain bagels made with rye, spelt and oat groats. Sprouts, all too familiar to those who lived through the 1970s, are grain seeds that have been soaked in water until they germinate. This results in a more nutrient-dense, higher protein food. Thanks to trendy grains like quinoa, sprouted versions have been making a comeback as protein-rich power foods (Au Bon Pain recently featured a sprouted grain roll on its menu), which is exactly how Panera plans to market it. The effort hasn’t been without its hiccups: An early version of the flax bagel made from whole seeds had to be reworked with a ground variety as consumers complained it tasted fishy.
by Toby Amidor in Food News, February 27, 2014
In this week’s news: The World Health Organization doesn’t sugarcoat its advice; fruits and vegetables feel the love (even in school cafeterias); and food labels get ready for their makeover.
No More Sweet Talk
Studies have associated sugar with everything from headaches to heart disease, and yet most of us still get 18% of our total caloric intake from the stuff. That’s about 22 teaspoons each day. Here in the United States, nutritionists have long lobbied to coax us down to about 10%. But the international community is taking an even harder line. This week, the World Health Organization (WHO) brought its recommendation down to 5%, or about 100 calories per day. The recommendation is yet another strong case for transparent food labels, but until the new ones come out, here’s a crib sheet for some of the most sugar-stuffed packaged foods: Ketchup, salad dressing, soup, crackers, flavored yogurt, spaghetti sauce, bread, frozen dinners, granola, protein bars, shakes and (yep!) sushi.
by Sara Reistad-Long in Food News, February 27, 2014
The nutrition label currently on packaged food (above left) has been in place since the early 1990s. But earlier this year, the FDA announced that the Nutrition Facts label would be undergoing a makeover. This morning, the agency released details of the proposed label (above right).
One of the major changes is the emphasis on calories and serving sizes. The calories will appear in a larger, bold font, while the serving sizes will be a more accurate reflection of how most people eat today. For example, the serving size for ice cream has always been ½ cup. Now, the serving size will be a more realistic 1 cup. The 20-fluid ounce soda bottle that typically has 2.5 servings per container will now be labeled as one serving — so consumers will no longer need to calculate the total amounts on their own. Among other proposed changes:
by Sara Reistad-Long in Food News, February 20, 2014
In this week’s news: Michelle Obama stumps for kale and more, while the dairy industry shelves its Got Milk campaign; obesity rates for young kids nosedive; and researchers show why Tetris might be good for your waistline.
Kale in the Green Room
Kale — the nation’s perpetually trendy produce item — took its vegetal celebrity to a whole new level last week, getting the late-night spotlight on the new Tonight Show. If First Lady Michelle Obama doing her best ‘tween impression and offering kale chips to a wigs-wearing Jimmy Fallon and Will Ferrell sounds like fun (and it kinda is), then this is for you.
by Dana Angelo White in Food News, February 13, 2014
In this week’s news: California takes a hard stance on soft drinks; marketers realize there’s more bread to be made in the gluten-free aisle; and an amino acid in spinach gets the spotlight.
California to Bust Soda’s Bubble?
Along with several medical experts, a California state senator proposed adding a warning label to the packaging of sodas not unlike what now appears on cigarette packaging. The wording — developed by a panel of national healthcare leaders — would read, “STATE OF CALIFORNIA SAFETY WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay.” According to data cited, one soda a day raises an adult’s chances of being overweight by 27 percent and a child’s by 55 percent.
by Toby Amidor in Food News, February 5, 2014
In this week’s news: vending machines that dispense fresh salads; another pro to probiotics; and yes, there’s something called the werewolf diet (howwwl!).
Farm to Fork, By Way of the Vending Machine
A Chicago businessman is attempting to reinvent vending machine food through a business called Farmer’s Fridge. Offerings include jars filled with the likes of Lemon Pepper Chicken, North Napa Salad (with avocado, grapes and pistachios) and Greek Yogurt with Berries, combining upmarket tastes with grab-n-go convenience (salads start at $8). The fresh goodies are delivered to machines daily.
by Dana Angelo White in Food News, January 29, 2014
In this week’s nutrition news: There’s no sugar-coating a new study on heart disease; scientists back every mom who has ever nagged about breakfast; and — who cares? — most people don’t believe a word of dietary advice, anyway.
Heartbreak for Sugar Lovers
A new study released this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine found that sugar fiends may be in for more heart trouble than they realize. The study observed an association between higher sugar consumption and risk of death from heart disease. But added sugar isn’t found only in sweet foods like soda, cakes and ice cream. Researchers cautioned that savory foods like salad dressing also contain added sugars.
by Silvana Nardone in Trends, January 28, 2014
In this week’s news: Yogurt discovers its savory side; scientists look into the problems of piling on the protein; and caramel coloring gets a red flag.
Takers for Tomato Yogurt?
Blue Hill Farm, annex of New York’s famed Blue Hill eateries, is making its mark on the yogurt scene. Instead of offering the conventional fruit-filled varieties, the high-end farm-to-fork establishment is spooning out concoctions that are 30 percent vegetable puree. The yogurts — made with dairy from grass-fed cows and selling in a small number of Whole Foods markets — are available in six flavors: tomato, carrot, beet, butternut squash, sweet potato and parsnip.
by Dana Angelo White in Food News, January 24, 2014
Gluten-free dreams really do come true. The Girl Scouts have added a new cookie to their lineup — bite-size, certified gluten-free Chocolate Chip Shortbread cookies. The good news for many parents of gluten-intolerant kids is that their Girl-Scout-badge-carrying daughters can now actually eat the cookies they sell as part of the Girl Scout Cookie Program, which generates $700 million annually based on 200 million boxes sold.
Made with a basic gluten-free flour blend of rice flour, tapioca flour, cornstarch, potato starch, xanthan gum and guar gum, the new cookies contain no artificial flavors or colors, high-fructose corn syrup or hydrogenated oils — unlike most of the Girl Scout cookies. However, the cookies do contain other common food allergens, like dairy, egg and corn, as well as GMOs.
Nutrition Facts Panels (aka “food labels”) are getting a much-deserved makeover. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), efforts will be made to upgrade the 20-year-old format found on current food packaging.