WHY ‘NATURAL’ DOESN’T MEAN ANYTHING ANYMORE
Via New York Times
It isn’t every day that the definition of a common English word that is ubiquitous in common parlance is challenged in federal court, but that is precisely what has happened with the word “natural.” During the past few years, some 200 class-action suits have been filed against food manufacturers, charging them with misuse of the adjective in marketing. The plaintiffs argue that many of these products contain ingredients — high-fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors and colorings, chemical preservatives and genetically modified organisms — that the typical consumer wouldn’t think of as “natural.” Judges hearing these cases — many of them in the Northern District of California — have sought a standard definition of the adjective that they could cite to adjudicate these claims, only to discover that no such thing exists.
DROP-IN CHEFS HELP SENIORS STAY IN THEIR OWN HOMES
A healthy diet is good for everyone. But as people get older, cooking nutritious food can become difficult and sometimes physically impossible. A pot of soup can be too heavy to lift. And there’s all that time standing on your feet. It’s one of the reasons that people move into assisted living facilities. But a company called Chefs for Seniors has an alternative: They send professional cooks into seniors’ homes. In a couple of hours they can whip up meals for the week.
SALT SET TO BE NEXT ‘BAD BOY’ INGREDIENT IN CHILDREN’S FOOD
Via Food Navigator
Euromonitor analyst says manufacturers should act now to reduce salt content in foods intended for children – or risk criticism in the near future. Contributing analyst Simone Baroke argues that while ‘low salt’ may deter adult consumers from buying certain products, the opposite is likely to be the case for parents of young children. And it is only a matter of time before the media lose interest in sugar and its suggested role in obesity she claims.
TEA-DRINKING TIPS FOR A LONGER LIFE
A project called Blue Zones is documenting and disseminating the lifestyle secrets of the communities with the highest concentrations of centenarians in the world. As we were parsing through the dietary secrets of the Blue Zones, as described in author Dan Buettner’s latest book, The Blues Zones Solution, we were struck by how essential tea drinking is in these regions. In fact, Buettner’s Blue Zones Beverage Rule — a kind of guideline distilled from his 15 or so years of studying these places — is: “Drink coffee for breakfast, tea in the afternoon, wine at 5 p.m.”
GIVING NORTHERN CUISINE ITS DUE
Via New York Times
Both at sea and far inland, chefs from some of the chillier regions of North America are making an effort to dive deeper into their habitat. From New England up through the Maritime Provinces of Canada and west to Montreal and Toronto, they are doing culinary work that poses questions without simple answers: What exactly is Northern cooking? And how do you make that identity clear and compelling to diners?
CHIPOTLE ELIMINATES ALL GMO INGREDIENTS
In a first for the fast food and chain restaurant industry, Chipotle Mexican Grill announced it was halting the use of foods that have been genetically modified. Chipotle’s stance against GMO ingredients was first reported by the New York Times. A release confirms that as of this week, nothing served at the chain’s nearly 2,000 locations contains genetically altered foods. According to the AP, Chipotle’s menu was already almost completely non-GMO except for one tortilla. Some though are skeptical that this stance is instead marketing hype as NPR’s The Salt explains.
BUD LIGHT WITHDRAWS SLOGAN AFTER IT DRAWS IRE ONLINE
Via New York Times
A new label on some bottles of Bud Light, one of the brands owned by the beer giant Anheuser-Busch InBev, is falling flat among women, a demographic group the industry has been desperately courting. In a continuation of its “Up for Whatever” campaign, a wide blue band low on the label says, “The perfect beer for removing ‘no’ from your vocabulary for the night.” Protests quickly erupted in social media, criticizing what was perceived as perhaps not the best marketing language in the midst of public outcry over date rape on college campuses. The company would not disclose what percentage of Bud Light bottles in the market sported the controversial message. But a spokesman said it would not go on any more labels, effective immediately.
TYSON FOODS TO STOP GIVING CHICKENS ANTIBIOTICS USED BY HUMANS
Tyson Foods, the country’s biggest poultry producer, is promising to stop feeding its chickens any antibiotics that are used in human medicine. It’s the most dramatic sign so far of a major shift by the poultry industry. The speed with which chicken producers have turned away from antibiotics, in fact, has surprised some of the industry’s longtime critics.
UBER EXPANDS ITS FOOD DELIVERY SERVICE UBEREATS TO NEW YORK AND CHICAGO
Driver app Uber is getting serious about its meal delivery service and is expanding its UberEats program. The company has been testing the service — which allows users to order delivery from a pre-set menu of one or two options directly from the Uber app — in Los Angeles (under the name UberFresh) and in Barcelona. Now, according to Uber’s blog, the company is expanding the service to New York City and Chicago. UberEats promises to bring users “curated” meals from popular local restaurants. Purchasing a meal through UberEats is a very similar process to ordering an Uber car, but instead of meeting your ride at the curb, you meet your lunch.
TWITTER LAUNCHED AN ACCOUNT DEDICATED SOLELY TO FOOD
Via Grub Street
Twitter has launched a stand-alone account dedicated purely to food-related tweets, the idea being that it will tap into food culture the way @TwitterSports has been a magnet for sports fans. Twitter’s official blog describes @TwitterFood as a dedicated feed for sharing “delicious Tweets” and “the best conversations from top foodies on Twitter.”
image: food labels by tiffany terry on flickr