Friday Food News

Via ABC News

Forget sweet or sour, researchers say people may have a “sixth” taste for fatty foods. Researchers out of Purdue University said that the taste of fat dubbed “oleogustus” can be added to the list of distinctive tastes that include sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami.


Via Adweek

Look out, coconut water.  Maple water could be the next big thing.  It’s tapped from trees, but is that a selling point or liability? Drink Maple from Vermont touts:  One ingredient straight from the tree.

Via ABC News

The spicy, fermented flavors that define Korean food are growing increasingly popular with American consumers. Chefs trained in the cuisine have brought it into the mainstream,
and casual chains including TGI Friday’s have put Korean-inspired burgers and tacos on the menu.

Via Berkeley News (University of California at Berkeley)

Engineers have developed a 3D-printed smart cap that uses sensors to detect food spoilage. “This 3D-printing technology could eventually make electronic circuits cheap enough to be added to packaging to provide food safety alerts for consumers,” said Liwei Lin, a professor of mechanical engineering and co-director of the Berkeley Sensor & Actuator Center, which collaborated on the project with a team from Taiwan’s National Chiao Tung University. “You could imagine a scenario where you can use your cellphone to check the freshness of food while it’s still on the store shelves,” Lin said.


Dorothée Goffin’s lab in Belgium is outfitted with 3-D printers and digital milling machines. It’s also a kitchen. Goffin is the director of the Smart Gastronomy Lab, supported by the University of Liège and a grant from Creative Wallonia. She and her colleagues aren’t just playing with their food — they also want to figure out how to make 3-D printed foods more palatable to people. The goal, eventually, is to create foods with enhanced nutritional profiles that people actually want to eat. Next year, the Smart Gastronomy Lab will open a “Living Lab,” a space meant to mix innovators and consumers and quickly breed new prototypes. One floor will be a professional kitchen blended with a laboratory. The other will be a self-sustaining restaurant. It’ll double as a consumer testing observatory to see how people respond to certain test recipes that have been 3-D printed in various forms and textures.

Via The Washington Post

Barcelona-based company Natural Machines is launching a 3D food printer called Foodini that will allow chefs and home cooks to manipulate food in new ways, such as creating pasta in virtually any shape or managing portions precisely. “Eventually, you’ll be able to get a custom meal that looks exactly as you want it, that meets the most ridiculous and precise requirements,” said Alex Lightman, who serves on the advisory board for Natural Machines.  Here’s a video that demonstrates how to make a pizza with the Foodini 3D printer.

Via NBC News and FDA

Food labels should contain more detail about how much sugar is in a product, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Friday. It’s proposed a rule to require that food labels not only say how much sugar is in a product, but what percentage the sugar adds to the daily recommended intake. Packages already tell people about the percentage of sodium, fat, cholesterol and fiber. But they just give sugar content in grams, not in terms of daily recommended intake.


Food companies would not have to disclose whether their products include genetically modified ingredients under legislation passed by the House Thursday. The House bill is backed by the food industry, which has fought mandatory labeling efforts in several states around the country. The legislation, which passed 275-150, would prevent states from requiring package labels to indicate the presence of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. The country’s largest food companies say genetically modified foods are safe and that labels would be misleading. They say a patchwork of laws around the country would be expensive for companies and confusing for consumers. Advocates for the labels say people have a right to know what is in their food and criticize the legislation for trying to take away states’ ability to require the labels.

Via Food Business News

Move over, millennials. The most disruptive group of future food consumers, according to bestselling author and self-described futurist Mike Walsh, was born in 2007. Not only was 2007 the year of the global financial crisis; it was also the year Apple introduced the iPhone. Mr. Walsh, while speaking during a presentation at the Institute of Food Technologists’ annual meeting and food exposition in Chicago, implored the audience to consider the dramatic changes in everyday life as a result of this technology. The food industry is tasked with engaging the first fully digital generation of today’s 8-year-olds as they become adults, while producing enough food for an estimated population of 9 billion by 2050.


Video of USA TODAY Travel visiting the JetBlue test kitchen at JFK where chef Brad Farmerie from New York City restaurant Saxon + Parole develops the in-flight menu for the airline’s Mint experience. Mint is JetBlue’s new take on premium flight experiences.

Via New York Times

Modern Farmer is back, sort of. From its inception in 2013, the magazine and its website drew a small but devoted following who appreciated its quirky attempt to marry agricultural journalism and practical farming advice with fashion and lush, ironic farm-animal photography. Last December, the experiment began to unravel and by January, the last of the paid editorial staff had walked out. But now under the direction of Sarah Gray Miller, the former editor in chief of Country Living, a new team is in place with a fresh take on the brand. Features include articles about the dangers of too much phosphorus, how to save tomato seeds and a shout-out to sorghum, which the magazine calls the new “it” grain. Modern Farmer distributes 100,000 copies per issue, with 80 percent going to subscribers and newsstands and the remaining 20 percent to public spaces and other venues. The magazine says it has a digital audience of 650,000, including social media followers and website visits.


The concept of new app Tender is simple: it’s Tinder, but for food. The app provides users not just with an endless scroll of the Internet’s food porn, but also their corresponding recipes. If users are interested in the pictured dish, drink, or dessert, they swipe right and save the recipe to their “Cookbook” where they can access the recipe and its original link. If they aren’t interested, they can swipe left to discard the recipe and scroll on to the next one. The app includes filter options for drinks, dessert, chicken, pork, beef, seafood, vegan and vegetarian.


Images:  fried chicken by Arisha Singh on flickr, Drink Maple by manufacturer

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10 New Food Trends for 2015, Part 2

I’m back again with 10 new food trends, this time reporting on insights from Suzy Badaracco of Culinary Tides who calls these food industry trends that were missed by forecasters for 2015.  It’s a great list, but I’m not sure these were totally missed.  I’ve certainly had my eye on these trends for a while. Freekeh?  Hey, I wrote about that in 2010. Savory yogurts, jerky and other meat snacks, tea. Yeah, duly noted.  Many of these trends were spotted at the summer Fancy Food Show, which were featured in the July issue of Datassential’s FoodBytes.

Here’s Suzy’s list that was a two-parter on FoodableTV, along with some commentary from me.

supereats chips

Chip Nouveau

The next generation of chips are are no longer made with simply potatoes or corn. Modern-day alternative chips are expanding into new boundaries including beans, hummus, sweet potato, quinoa, kale, carrot, black sesame, chia seeds, cassava and more.

Duke's JerkyWhat a Jerk

“The dried meat cult has gone public and no protein is off limits. There is prosciutto wound around into a rope, turkey, spare ribs, bacon, salmon, white fish, buffalo, rabbit, and duck to name a few. And the flavor combos are just as exhilarating with Caribbean Jerk, Sriracha, Pale Ale, and ginger sprinkling the mix.”  I certainly saw a lot of jerkyat the recent National Restaurant Association and Sweets & Snacks shows.  Duke’s Small Batch Smoked Meats, pictured above, had an impressive showing and I sampled several varieties.


3-D Dairy

“Cheese, yogurt, milk, and dairy-based smoothies are more complex than they used to be, more 3-Dimensional. Cheese is now peppered with herbs, fennel, truffles, chili, garlic and other delicious add-ins. Yogurt is moving more savory with cucumber, basil, and olives. And smoothies are a grain’s best friend right now as they have been seen mixing it up with chia, oats, and quinoa.”  I love the trend of savory yogurt, and there’s been a lot of interesting new players, including Sohha Savory Yogurt.  The trend has been getting lots of coverage, like this recent segment on NPR.


 Alcohol Spills Out of the Bar

“Spirits have moved out of the bar and into the kitchen. There has long been rum in cakes and brandy in chocolate sauce, but now they are joined by Jack Daniels mustard, beer peanut brittle, merlot cherry ice cream, maple syrup made in bourbon barrels, and IPA pickles.”  It’s amazing how Jack Daniels has built an entire business on the culinary applications — beyond mustard, you can find Jack Daniels steak sauces, barbecue sauces, marinades and baked goods.

gazpachoDrinkable Soups

“Gazpacho seems to be the poster child, but the secret is out… drink your soup for health, satiety, and deliciousness!” Tio makes a line of gazpacho soups that can be sipped on the go — no bowl required.

Clockless Eating

The blurring of day-parts is helping to fuel the all-day breakfast, late night snacking, and small plate trends. Clockless eating manifests itself in various ways. Younger generations are among the no-rules clockless crowd, where meals and snacks are not tied to any particular foods or times.
Hacker Chic and DIY Upgrades
“It’s the Wikipedia way for devices. Consumers want to tweak, personalize and upgrade devices so they better fit their lives and needs.”
Tea Cocktails
Tea has sidled up to the bar, getting cozy with whiskey, wine and rum. It’s also crossed over into the seasoning arena as well.  Dataessential reported on many companies at the Fancy Food Show that were infusing tea and tea flavors into a range of products for the health halo and sophistication factor associated with tea — from tea-infused ice creams and popsicles to goat milk chai caramels.
freekeh bobsAlternative Grains
“Freekeh, grits, farro, oh my! These have ties to consumers’ experimental mood and regional and global cuisine interests. Freekeh is coming in through middle Eastern and North African influences, grits from the Deep South, and farro from Italy.”  As mentioned earlier, I love cooking with freekeh.  I’m also a big fan of farro, and one of my favorite whole-grain salads is this creation from Charlie Bird.  The rise of ancient grains has been on virtually on trend lists, and grits are getting new love due to the growing popularity of Southern cuisine.
5662591982_18b6b41275_zCuban and “Floribbean” foods
Now with the opening of travel restrictions, the race to discover Cuba’s food secrets is on. Floribbean is closely tied to Cuban food and finds it influences from visitors and immigrants from Cuba, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica and others. Florida is acting as the gateway for both cuisines.



Images: from manufacturers + tea cocktail by Monica Muller on flickr, breakfast all day by Marcello on flickr, cuban sandwich by Rusty Gillespie on flickr




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More Food Trends for 2015

Most of the food trend predictions for 2015 were released near the end of 2014 and I’ve previously written compilations of those trends.  Now I’m back summarizing a few more trends identified by Innova Market Insights during the Institute of Food Technologists’ annual meeting and food expo held here in Chicago.  The trends were featured in a slideshow Top 10 food trends unveiled at IFT 2015 in Food Business News.

1. From clean to clear label

Clean label is no longer a trend — it’s the rule. Companies now need to increase transparency about their ingredients and educate consumers on websites and packaging with understandable ingredient labels. Nine out of 10 consumers believe foods and beverages with recognizable ingredients are healthier.

tai pai chicken2. Convenience for foodies

A continued interest in home cooking has inspired new products with fresh, premium solutions for meal preparation.  Expect to see growth in ethnic dishes available in meal kit formats and specialized ingredients in the baking aisle.

3. Marketing to millennials

To reach this demographic (ages 15-35), companies must establish an identity or positive reputation, offer value-added packaging or novel formulations and flavors, and appeal to millennials’ desire for individuality and personalization.

erin-bakers-breakfast-cookies-fruit--nut-3ounce-individually-wrapped-cookies-pack-of-12-3704. Snacks rise to the occasion

Snack companies have a large, untapped opportunity to develop healthy, portable and easy-to-eat smaller meals as the line between snacks and meals continues to blur.  Consumers crave energy in the morning, indulgence in the evening and convenience throughout the day.

5. Good fats, good carbs

Let’s hope we’re moving away from low fat and low carb.  Now “made with real butter” is a rising claim on new product labels, as more consumers gravitate toward fats and oils perceived as healthy in favor of artificial margarines that may be high in trans fats. Similarly, carbs have made a comeback, with an emphasis on ancient grains, sweet potatoes and other complex carbs pushing refined carbs and sugars to the back of the shelf.

6.More in store for protein

From insects to microalgae, alternative sources of protein are getting more attention.  While dairy proteins are still going strong, pea protein and other plant-based sources are expected to surge.

7. New routes for fruit

One-third of Americans choose fruit as an afternoon snack, and dried fruits and fruit-based snacks are gaining popularity.  Vegetables are sneaking into fruit bars and fruit pouches, adding nutritional appeal and flavor novelty.

buffalo cauliflower8. A fresh look at frozen

Innovative products, new technology and positioning are refreshing the frozen category.  Frozen foods are also touting the less-waste message, with advantages of portion-size and resealable packages.

9. Private label powers on

The quality and consumer perception of store brands has improved significantly, especially among discounted retailers, such as ALDI, who have introduced more specialty and premium private labels.

10. Rich, chewy and crunchy

Texture claims have grown 136% in global product launches as consumers seek more sensory experiences. Brands are describing yogurt as “creamy,” chocolate bars as “bubbly” and candies as “soft and chewy.” Descriptors on the rise in new products include “extra chewy” or  ”extra crunchy,” “tender,” “silky,” “succulent,” “fluffy” and “extra thin.”

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Friday Food News

1464436338_12ebbbfc9f_zIs bacon-flavored seaweed the new kale?
Via U.S. News & World Report/The Associated Press and Time

This story seemed to be everywhere, and dulse seaweed isn’t even a new thing.  This “parsley of the sea” is eaten in other parts of the world and you can buy it here in the U.S. in dried form.  But the news this week was about the efforts of scientists at Oregon State University who have patented a new strain of dulse seaweed that they say tastes like bacon, is twice as nutritious as kale, and can be farmed and eaten fresh.  I guess if you say something tastes like bacon, people are going to sit up and take notice.

Souring on sweet: concerns about sugar spur sour flavors
Via Food Navigator

Health concerns about sugar are driving people away from sweet-tasting foods and toward more sour flavors, from kimchi to kombucha and other sour beverages like drinking vinegars, known as shrubs, according to Mintel. Many people also are turning to Greek yogurt, which analyst Stephanie Mattucci said is higher in protein than other yogurts and has a sour flavor that gives the perception of being less sweet.  Sour fruits are also gaining popularity, including Chinese sour plum and German sour apple. marshmallow soup Marshmallows move from campfire to fine dining
Via Fortune 

The under-celebrated white puffball is finding its way into some upscale restaurants’ menus. And they’re not just being used as ingredients for desserts — they’re in vegetables, main dishes and cocktails, and more.

White House featured young chefs’ dishes at Kids State Dinner
Via New York Times

First lady Michelle Obama host the Kids State Dinner to showcase some of the kid-created dishes that won this year’s Healthy Lunchtime Challenge. Fifty-four children from all 50 states and four territories that took part in the challenge attended (including RD colleague Mitzi Dulan and her daughter representing Kansas), and the menu will include eight winning dishes ranging from Oodles of Zoodles with Avocado Pistachio Pesto to Vegan Superhero Soup.

Denver food hall to incubate new eateries
Via The Denver Post

Avanti Food & Beverage, set to open in a trendy Denver neighborhood on Monday, is a food hall-incubator hybrid that aims to help new restaurant concepts get their start. “It’s pretty much perfect for an up-and-coming chef who wants to take that next step and see if they can open up a restaurant,” said John DePierro, who with Michael Nevarez is starting noodle concept MiJo.

New restaurant concepts put experiences on the menu
Via SmartBrief/SmartBlog on Food & Beverage

Hangout concepts like Nashville’s Pinewood Social and food halls such as the Chicago French Market illustrate a growing trend toward mixing dining with experiences, writes Datassential’s Maeve Webster. “As the industry evolves and competition increases, it’s no longer just about serving great food — but also about having a great social atmosphere and creating a complete experience that sets one operator apart from another.”

Pizza is increasingly a Chipotle-like experience
Via Business Insider

Brands such as Pieology, Blaze Pizza and Chipotle’s Pizzeria Locale are challenging longtime chains such as Pizza Hut with high-quality ingredients and custom-made pizza. “Millennials … are more knowledgeable [about food] and boomers are looking for healthier options, trying to live a healthier lifestyle so they can live longer,” said Synergy Restaurant Consultants CEO Dean Small.

pipcornPopcorn, meat snacks showcased at Summer Fancy Food Show

Several popcorn innovators were showcased at the Summer Fancy Food Show this year, reflecting the 60% boost in ready-to-eat popcorn sales since 2012, according to Rabobank. Among the leading brands were kettle-flavored Pipcorn by Pipsnacks, Tiny but Mighty popcorn with smaller kernels by Tiny but Mighty Foods, and Halfpops semi-popped corn. Meat snacks, which grew 13% in dollar sales last year according to I.R.I., were also highly represented, including Wild Zora Foods, which combines meat with organic vegetables and fruits, Three Jerks Jerky gourmet jerky and New Zealand Jerky.

Chefs reflect after swapping kitchens for a night
Via Bon Appétit online and New York magazine

Thirty-seven top chefs walked a night in each other’s’ shoes after swapping restaurants and lives for the Grand Gelinaz! Shuffle. Danny Bowien of Mission Chinese Food flew to Copenhagen to run the kitchen at Noma, while Noma’s Rene Redzepi presented a menu at Nahm in Bangkok. Italian chef Massimo Bottura put his own spin on some of the signature dishes at Momofuku Ko, such as a shaved foie gras dish with cherries.

James Beard Foundation will bring food tour to 10 U.S. cities
Via American City Business Journals/Phoenix and San Francisco Chronicle

The James Beard Foundation will host culinary events featuring local chefs in 10 U.S. cities this fall as part of its national food tour Taste America: Local Flavor from Coast To Coast. Events include an Italian dinner in San Francisco and a night of cocktails and hors d’oeuvres in Phoenix.

twinkies sushiTwinkies celebrates 85 years with cookbook, launches Minions Twinkies
Via Los Angeles Times and CSP

Hostess has republished its “The Twinkies Cookbook” in honor of the confection’s 85th anniversary, which includes such recipes as Twinkie sushi, Twinkie corndogs and a Twinkie burger that uses the cakes as buns for a hamburger, bacon, brie cheese and sriracha. The brand also recently launched Minions Twinkies, featuring edible stickers to decorate the cakes, which are shaped like the animated characters.


Images: Dulse from Holy Island, Northumberland by Akuppa John Wigham ; Butternut Squash Soup with Ginger Marshmallows by degustingdiary ; Pipcorn by The Experimental Gourmand ; Twinkie Sushi by Dawn Casey on flickr

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Friday Food News

7842721042_2589a9547e_zTest kitchens becoming scarce among recipe creators 
Although recipes are plentiful online and in cookbooks, it is often up to home cooks to test their reliability due to the recent closing of test kitchens nationwide. “Cookbook publishers trust their authors to do the recipe testing, but with cookbook advances declining to next to nothing, few writers can afford to hire independent testers to make sure the recipes really work,” writes Russ Parsons.
An ATM-style, robotic grocery store could be coming 
Des Moines, Iowa, might be the first market to test a standalone grocery store that is a cross between “an ATM and a very large vending machine,” using a robotic system called Oasis24Seven, reports Ashlee Kieler of Consumerist. Grocery stores are increasing using technology to monitor shopping as well as tackle in-store theft.
Reinventing classic cocktails hasn’t gone out of style 
Bars across the U.S. are reinventing such classic cocktails as the French 75, Sidecar, Old Fashioned, daiquiri and martini by experimenting with different ratios and ingredients. “As people have been demanding more authenticity in their food, wine, beer, coffee, tea, etc., it was only a matter of time before we saw an increased interest in classic cocktails,” bartender and author of “The Bar Book” Jeffrey Morgenthaler said.
Millennials drive flavor innovation in the dairy aisle 
Millennials are driving flavor innovations in yogurt and other dairy products, and producers are increasingly incorporating savory flavors such as tomato, sweet potato, parsnip, ginger, curry and green tea. Seasonal flavors and others inspired by Hispanic and Asian cuisines are becoming more popular “as consumers’ palates demand more complex and intense flavors,” Sensient Flavors’ Marketing Manager Azeem Mateen said.
New Starbucks menu items aim for the lunch, dinner crowds 
Starbucks is beefing up its lunch and dinner options in its push to expand beyond breakfast and compete for dining dollars in other dayparts. New summer items include the BBQ Beef Brisket on Sourdough and the Chicken Santa Fe Sandwich.
Food entrepreneurs featured in new campaign for Triscuit 
Via Adweek
I love this new “Makers of More” campaign for Triscuit created by McGarryBowen Chicago that shows how five food entrepreneurs use the simple cracker as a base for some no-frills, delicious recipes. “We have a fantastic product and wanted to unlock a new way for people to use it by repositioning Triscuit as a canvas that inspires food makers every day,” said McGarryBowen’s Michael Straznickas. See one of the videos below:

Top chefs prepare to swap restaurants for a night 
Via Forbes
Thirty-seven of the world’s top chefs will swap restaurants on July 9 as part of the Grand Gelinaz! Shuffle. In addition to running a dinner shift in a new restaurant, chefs will go through the motions of their contemporaries’ lives, staying in their homes and spending time with their families. “Once you dare to do something different, you open yourself up to learn something new,” said Rene Redzepi of Denmark’s Noma restaurant.
Frito-Lay launches first mobile-only promotion 
Frito-Lay is partnering with social media celebrities for its first mobile-only campaign promoting its limited-edition Doritos Jacked 3D Bacon Cheddar Ranch snacks. The campaign focuses on the three-dimensional shape of the chips and allows users to access videos by luminaries such as YouTube’s Freddy Wong and BMX’s Tim Knoll by scanning bags of the new variety or the Jalapeno Pepper Jack flavor.
images courtesy of Tim Sackton (cookbooks) and Jax House (sidecar cocktails) on flickr


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