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This week in food choices – Feb 27 2011 – Sustainability; packaging; raw, vegan, halal, insects trends

A number of companies are responding to consumers’ concerns about sustainability and healthfulness of food packaging. Insects as food got some press – would it be possible for Western culture to find insect eating acceptable? Sodexo, a food service giant, has committed to sustainable seafood.

How food is packaged: Sustainable packaging; avoiding PET

Frito-Lay SunChips in quieter compostable green bag 2/25/11 LA Times Daily Dish

After the previous design was pulled from the market because of complaints about it being too noisy, Frito-Lay have started to introduce quieter “green” bags.

Heinz to use Coca-Cola’s PlantBottle packaging 2/23/11 FoodBizDaily

The PET plastic bottles are made partially from plants and have a lower reliance on non-​renewable resources compared with traditional PET plastic bottles.

 

Canberra students to ban the sale of bottled water 2/24/11 FoodBev.com

Organisers say the ban will stop 140,000 PET plastic bottles from being sold annually. Instead, in campus cafes and shops, students will have access to water vending machines that refill a 600ml drinking bottle with chilled water or sparkling water.

Food choice trends: Raw food; Vegan; Halal; Perhaps even insects?

Raw food – could it be a growing trend? 2/23/11 The Hartman Group

This analysis says that the overarching trend stemming from raw is an increase in fruit and vegetable consumption, particularly from local, seasonal, heirloom and organic origins.

Vegan diets move mainstream 2/24/11 Prepared Foods Network

In a 2009 survey, advocates at the nonprofit Vegetarian Resource Group reported about 1% of Americans are vegan, roughly a third of the people who reported being vegetarians. The vegan Skinny Bitch and The Kind Diet books are best-sellers; vegan staples like tempeh and tofu can be purchased at just about any supermarket, and some chain restaurants eagerly promote their plant-only menu items.

Halal foods in the USA 2/23/11 Natural Foods Merchandiser

Estimates of the number of Muslim Americans vary widely, but experts estimate between 6 million and 8 million. Two-thirds of U.S. Muslims are under age 40, have at least a bachelor’s degree and make $50,000 a year or more. The demand for halal products may be so great that retailers and manufacturers who carry it stand to benefit greatly; however, a certain group of people will always shun anything labeled halal for Islamophobic reasons.

Insects – The meat of the future? 2/19/11 Wall Street Journal

Will Westerners ever take to insects as food? Raising insects for food would avoid many of the problems associated with livestock – they don’t carry diseases that are shared with humans, they need less food and water per pound of protein and produce less waste, and problems of inhumane conditions for food animals could be avoided. The average person in the USA consumes about a pound of insects per year, mostly mixed into other foods. See also the blog Girl Meets Bug.

Allergies: Finding allergy-free restaurants; Allergen recalls in Canada

Find allergy-free restaurants 2/22/11 RestaurantNews.com

AllergyEats!, a free website, lists well over 600,000 restaurants nationwide, which food allergic diners can rate. The site also offers information on restaurants’ menus (including gluten-free menus), allergen lists, nutrition information, certifications, web links, directions. It’s celebrating its first anniversary.

Canadian allergen recalls 2/25/11 Prepared Foods Network

All Class I, II and III allergen recalls will now be emailed to subscribers, in addition to the existing practice of being posted on the CFIA website.

Food services: Reduced-calorie meals; sustainable seafood

600-Calorie Meals Program Introduced at Duke University 2/22/11 Food Management

The 600-calorie choices will be offered from the vegetarian/vegan stations at the two dining venues. To compensate for the loss of the exclusively meatless stations, vegetarian Simple 600 items will be offered and the school is planning to have at least one meatless option at all stations in both dining venues in the near future.

Sustainable seafood in foodservice 2/25/11 FoodBizDaily

Foodservice giant Sodexo commits to have 100% of its contracted fresh and frozen seafood certified as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) or Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) by 2015.

Other:

UK government to advise eating less red meat 2/21/11 Boots WebMD reported in Digestive Health SmartBrief

Britons will be told they should cut back on their consumption of red meat to a maximum of 70g (2.5oz) a day, equivalent to about three rashers of bacon, because of the reported link between red meat and bowel cancer.

7 tips for avoiding artificial colors 2/22/11 New Hope 360

These guidelines claim to help you avoid synthetic dyes and possibly get them out of our food supply altogether.

Restaurant customers want to know more about what’s in their food 2/22/11 QSR Magazine

Seventy percent of U.S. diners say they want more information about the sourcing and nutritional value of their meals when dining out. Although an overwhelming majority of U.S. respondents said they want greater transparency about ingredient sourcing and production, preparation details, and nutritional content, 83 percent said that information is not currently offered when dining out.

Grapefruit cleared as a breast cancer risk factor – March 2011 Nutrition Action Health Letter (CSPI)

Two follow-up studies in the British Journal of Cancer and Cancer Causes Control failed to confirm a 2007 study reporting that grapefruit eaters have a higher risk of breast cancer.

Diet advising at least 70-80% alkaline foods 2/24/11 EveryDiet

pH Miracle DietFoods to be avoided include sugar, refined carbohydrates, dairy products, salt, butter, margarine, meat, eggs, wheat, corn, yeast, mushrooms, vinegar, soy sauce, alcohol and caffeine. Fruits should be minimalized except lemon, lime, and grapefruit.

Stores selling organic and gluten-free food see growth 2/24/11 Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, reported in FMI dailyLead

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