There are more ways to celebrate tying the knot than shoving a slice of white cake into your new spouse's piehole. From postnuptial nibbles promising fertility, longevity and wealth to food rituals woven into the ceremony itself, every culture has its own set of elaborate culinary traditions to mark the matrimonial milestone.Read More
Sugar substitutes may not be so helpful when it comes to losing weight.Read More
We are much pleased to introduce OLDWAYS as a new strategic partner. Based on the same ideal and splendid clean-eating concept and insist to the traditional process of cooking, our two will make every effort to bring you to the delicious journey by diligent cookery promoting, and ensure you’re eating safely.
OLDWAYS began challenging conventional wisdom from the start, introducing the Traditional Mediterranean Diet Pyramid in 1993 (in partnership with the Harvard School of Public Health) as a healthier, tradition-based alternative to the USDA’s ﬁrst food pyramid.
Throughout the ’90s OLDWAYS educated the public, health professionals, and the media about “healthy fats” at a time when low fat diets were the standard prescription; our work culminated in Scientiﬁc Consensus Statements on Moderate Fat Diets in 1998 and 2000.
At OLDWAYS, nutrition, culture and sustainability are built into our main mission of preserving and promoting traditional foods in ways that are good for people and good for the planet. To this end, they’ve organized a range of conferences – from scientiﬁc ones focusing on the commonsense truth around traditional diets to overseas symposia to introduce chefs, journalists and everyday food lovers to the classic dishes of Morocco, Spain, Tunisia, Italy, Greece, France and Turkey. OLDWAYS develop resources to help consumers and health professionals embrace traditional diets and use healthy ingredients. They also founded the Chefs’ Collaborative to support local and sustainable foods in America’s restaurants.
The yearly churn of new foods and their marketing campaigns often come with promises of great taste and immense health benefits.Read More
We all like to think we're eating as much natural food as possible, but as it turns out, there are a lot of gross things in nature. In fact, many of these disgusting things can end up in your food - on purpose.Read More
Overuse of food additives and microbial contamination were the primary food safety problems facing China last year, according to the top food authority.Read More
22 February, Sydney Australia: The Anti-Additive Association hosted its 2016 award ceremony in Australia, honouring businesses that promote and produce wholesome additive-free food in the Asia Pacific region.Read More
For the past year, the food world has been awash in scandals. Investigations from the likes of 60 Minutes, Inside Edition, 20/20, Bloomberg and the Tampa Bay Times have exposed fraud with extra virgin olive oil, sushi, parmesan cheese, Kobe beef, a huge swath of so-called “farm to table" restaurants, all sorts of seafood, and much more. We’ve seen lamb and lobster dishes sold without containing their namesake ingredients, shrimp laden with banned antibiotics, and dozens of factories in China devoted to producing counterfeits of popular name brand condiments (see a list of recent scandals in the media here).
But the latest hot button food deception issue isn’t something you eat, it’s something you drink.
In the past few days, several news outlets have reported on a class action lawsuit filed against the world’s largest retailer, Walmart, claiming it duped consumers into buying “craft beer” that was far from artisan. The product in question is four styles of beer under the Trouble Brewing label, sold in cans with a distinctly craft beer look that describe the products as brewed by Trouble Brewing in upstate New York. Just as many bottles of olive oil read “bottled in Italy,” which is literally true even when their contents are not from Italy, “brewed by” seems to be very different from “brewed at,” since there is no Trouble Brewing brewery. The brand is contract produced for Walmart at the large industrial Genessee plant.
The lawsuit basically suggests that there is nothing “craft” about the beer and that consumers were duped into overpaying for what they thought was a better product. Food and beverage website Thrillist.com reprinted a section of the actual suit (read the entire Thrillist piece here) that read, “Through a fraudulent, unlawful, deceptive, and unfair course of conduct, [Walmart] manufactured, marketed, and/or sold its 'Cat's Away IPA,' 'After Party Pale Ale,' 'Round Midnight Belgian White,' and 'Red Flag Amber' Craft Beers to the residents of Ohio and 44 other states with the false representation that the Craft Beer is, in fact, a 'craft beer' when, in actuality, nothing about [Walmart] is 'small, traditional and independent' to qualify it as an American craft brewer per the Brewer's Association.”
And therein may lie the rub in this particular case. The most widely repeated definition of “craft beer” is not a legal definition by regulators but rather one created by the trade association for small breweries, which common sense suggests has a vested interest in shaping the definition to benefit its stakeholders. For example, one determining factor is that the producer be independently owned, a requirement which does not, at least to me, logically limit the potential “craftiness” or quality of the product produced.
But food and beverage deceptions do not have to violate state or federal regulations to deceive consumers. In my recent New York Times bestseller, Real Food Fake Food: Why You Don’t Know What You’re Eating & What You Can Do About It, I explore the broad range of food substitutions, imitations and deceptions plaguing American consumers in stores and restaurants in all sorts of categories, from sushi to wine to staples like coffee and juice. I also elaborate on many of the most widespread restaurant scams, including the myth of Kobe beef. Real Kobe beef comes from a very rare and particular breed of cattle raised under specific rules in Kobe, Japan, but its producers were unable to obtain trademark protection in this country, so virtually any beef product can legally be called Kobe beef here, and especially on restaurant menus, this is often the case. There are only ten eateries in the entire country that import and serve the real thing from Japan, yet the term appears on hundreds, maybe thousands, of menus nationwide, from fictionalized Kobe sliders, burgers and even hot dogs to steaks with three-figure price tags at high-end eateries. But while it may be legal to call something Kobe beef that is not, it becomes another problem when restaurants deceive the consumer into believing that the Kobe they claim to serve is the actual delicacy from Japan, and lawyers have had success using class action suits to obtain settlements from larger restaurant groups marketing what I call FauxBe beef to customers.
Likewise, in my book I cover several adult beverage topics, including the most egregious one from my perspective, champagne, the world’s most famous wine. Whenever I speak at a book signing or on the radio and inform my audience that it is perfectly legal to make wine in this country and label it champagne, folks in the audience tell me surely I must be wrong, real champagne can only come from France, I must mean something that reads sparkling wine or methode champenoise. I don’t, I mean “champagne,” a term which is largely unprotected in this country and thus legally produced from California to upstate New York. These products are widely sold to a group of consumers who seem absolutely convinced that the word champagne guarantees quality (in this case it does not) and French origin (ditto). Like all wine, the label must list the country of origin, but consumers’ absolute conviction that champagne is synonymous with made in France may stop many from taking this precautionary step. After all, you don’t need to flip over the Rolex you are buying at a legit jewelry store to see if it says “Made in Switzerland,” as all real Rolexes are.
Last year I wrote an article for an airline magazine on the world’s best bottomless champagne brunches, and despite the fact that each Sunday hundreds of restaurants across this country advertise these, I struggled to locate three in the entire nation that actually served champagne.
Despite France being our oldest ally, and champagne the first geographically indicated product to be protected at the widespread international level, the United States is one of just six nations on earth that have repeatedly refused to recognize France’s exclusivity in making a wine it invented and is named for the French region in which it was created. It is illegal to produce or sell “champagne” not from Champagne in the entire world save these half dozen nations, and we are in in very special company: Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Argentina. It is not just a matter of where it is made but also how, and the extremely elaborate quality driven rules governing every step of champagne production, from soil to planting and trimming of vines to ageing ensure that it has arguably the highest quality control of any foodstuff on earth, and as a result, while some are better than others, there is literally no such thing as bad (real) champagne.
Champagne is not the only geographically based wine that has specific legal and quality meaning in the rest of the world yet dupes consumers here at home. American wineries produce versions of Burgundy, Chianti, Port, Sherry and several other wines made under strict quality control rules in their almost exclusive place of origin, often with little or no resemblance to the real versions. Buy real red Burgundy and you always get a wine made from 100% pinot noir grapes from vineyards of certified high quality. Buy domestic “Burgundy” and you have literally no idea what you are getting - the included grapes, often a mix of several less desirable varieties, don’t have to be listed, nor does where they came from. The many topnotch producers of excellent pinot noir in this country don’t call their wines Burgundy, a name that when used on non-French wines is generally reserved for cheap oversized jugs and boxes.
The issue is not limited to beer and wine. We also have an entire category of alcoholic “mocktails,” drinks named and packaged to closely resemble leading brands of vodka and other hard liquors, but which do not actually contain hard liquor - they are flavored malt beverages, essentially clear and colored variations of beer masquerading as mixed drinks. Many consumers I know think they are actually buying something like an individual pre-mixed vodka tonic. They are not.
In its story on the Walmart lawsuit, the Washington Post noted that several lawsuits against Tito’s Handmade Vodka, complaining the product was not handmade as advertised, were dismissed in 2015. The Post added that similar lawsuits brought against Maker’s Mark were also dismissed. The Post did find one class action suit that successfully forced a substantial settlement (refunds of $3-$6 a bottle over a 9-year period). The suit claimed that Templeton Rye Whiskey was deceptively marketed as a small batch spirit made in Iowa using a Prohibition-era recipe when it was made at a large commercial distillery in Indiana from a recipe that included flavorings agents.
It’s often hard in this day and age to buy or order real versions of the foods and drinks we want and to avoid the fakes, but it’s worth the effort, as the real thing almost inevitably tastes better and is often better for you. Buy Japanese Kobe beef, French champagne or Italian parmesan cheese and you will be thrilled, not disappointed, while most imitations will leave you unimpressed. Some fake foods go further than leaving a bad taste in your mouth and can actually make you sick. That’s why I wrote my book, filled with specific tips and knowledge for safer shopping and safer eating out.
Restaurants and supermarkets that adopt “clean-label” programs are removing most, but not all, of the riskiest food additives like aspartame and synthetic food dyes.Read More
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America’s sweet tooth is huge, and it’s satisfied by both sugar and, increasingly, low-calorie sweeteners, according to research out this month.
A large body of evidence links sugar-sweetened beverages, one of the main sources of the sweet stuff in Americans’ diet, to tooth decay, weight gain and type 2 diabetes. (Added sugars include high-fructose corn syrup as well as sucrose, or table sugar.)Read More
German discounter Lidl has pledged to donate up to two million meals to charities all across the United Kingdom to “make a real, positive contribution”.Read More
A British agency has taken longstanding warnings about the health risks of overdone toast and potatoes to a new level, launching a public-awareness campaign on how to curb consumption of a possible carcinogen in the foods.Read More
PARIS (AFP) - France ordered an inquiry on Friday after scientists reported that a food additive widely used in Europe to whiten toothpaste and chewing gum could cause precancerous lesions in rats.Read More
The key feature of Bellamy’s – its organic status which makes it so attractive but more expensive to infant formula buyers in China – may be behind its current sales problems.
Analysts believe that Bellamy’s infant formula is being pushed into the background in a wave of discounting in China brought about by regulatory changes.
The key question is: How long will this discounting, sparked by a change in regulations requiring formula makers to be registered, last?
The Tasmania-based makers of the organic infant formula seen as clean and safe in China first raised sales concerns less than three weeks ago.
Since then its share price has halved to $6.68, the company went into a trading halt while it worked out a more detailed report to the market, and then went into a voluntary suspension which was due to end this week but has been extended into January.
The key reason for the latest extension was so the company can continue “negotiations with key supplier/ manufacturers”.
The problem with stellar growth is being able to meet demand. In 2016, revenue from China/Hong Kong grew 331% to $62 million.
To help meet that demand the company this year signed a five year strategic manufacturing arrangement with Fonterra, the world’s biggest dairy exporter.
Fonterra’s Australian manufacturing plant at Darnum in Victoria was contracted to make a range of baby powders.
Bega Cheese, a key supplier to Bellamy’s, says it’s in discussion on supply arrangements and volume forecasts with Bellamy’s. However, Bega says its own profit guidance is unchanged.
When Bellamy’s issued the sales warning on December 2, the company said: “Bellamy’s will continue to experience temporary volume dislocation (our emphasis) until regulatory registrations are completed in China.”
Bellamy’s says other brands are liquidating their stocks at discounted prices as they go through the process of gaining registration.
This wave of cheaper brands is driving consumers away from Bellamy’s and other imported brands.
The company now expects first half revenue to be about $120 million but the second six months could be flat if this sales blockage isn’t cleared.
This would put full year revenue at $240 million, well below analyst expectations of about $330 million.
“Bellamy’s has experienced restructuring of the sales channels into China since the regulatory announcements,” the company said earlier this month.
“Management has worked closely with the various e-commerce networks to build stronger, more efficient routes-to-market that are expected to support increased demand following the regulatory change over.”
The company insists its premium organic offering is well positioned for long term opportunities in the China market.
However, Goldman Sachs analysts note that prices in China have been under pressure from regulatory-related disruption, tax increases and increased competition from other brands.
“We believe the majority of the downgrade is due to BAL losing share to other brands in China,” Goldman Sachs says in a note to clients.
Bellamy’s is at the top end of the infant formula market in China because of the higher costs of being an organic brand.
“We believe its ability to compete effectively in a falling price environment has been negatively impacted,” says Goldman Sachs.
“We also believe that its brand proposition has eroded given the popularity of other imported organic brands and the rise of other alternatives with more unique selling propositions (such as another Australian brand, a2 Milk).”
Other Australian dairy businesses aren’t feeling the same pain as Bellamy’s.
a2 Milk’s infant formula was a top three brand online at the Chinese site Tmall Global in November.
And, after seeing its shares sold down because of the Bellamy’s warning, a2 issued an announcement, confirming its product is still selling well in China, sending its shares 6% higher yesterday to $2.07.
“The company wishes to confirm that, consistent with the trends communicated at the annual meeting, the business continues to trade very strongly reflecting, in particular, significant year-on-year growth in its infant formula business.”
The Bellamy’s share price performance this month:
Source: Business Insider Australia
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Jukka Peltola worked in the gaming industry before launching a food brand. He was busy developing games at Rovio, the powerhouse that created Angry Birds. He had no experience in food nor a co-founder who was steeped in the food business. But he decided to switch gears, leaving behind his gaming days for a chocolate factory. Why such a dramatic career shift?
More companies need to focus on trust and quality ingredients that are good for consumers, not just bottom line economics, he says. Health, not disease is the premise of Goodio, which produces health-conscious snacks and treats, namely raw chocolate bars.
“I was looking at food labels and had a question: “What if there was a food brand you could trust?” he recalls in an phone interview from his Helsinki offices. “It felt a bit crazy, at least for the people around me, since I don’t have an entrepreneurship background in the food business. But personally I didn’t care, I just had a passion and I thought it might be my advantage to see things outside the box to make the change I felt was so important.”
In 2011, he began tinkering with chocolate. “I rarely ate chocolate because I was interested in sports and keeping fit. I thought it wasn’t good for you. Turns out it can be.”
As a health food enthusiast, Peltola researched the benefits of cacao -- an ingredient that is often overlooked as being gluttonous, not nutritious. Though chocolate sales fetched $98 billion in 2015, they were primarily for the sugary candy type.
Yet raw cacao itself has been regarded as an Amazonian superfood, high in antioxidants (even more so than berries). Some researchers claim that it can reduce blood pressure and encourage blood flow as well as provide iron. The plant is still grown primarily near the equator: originating in the Amazon, and then domesticated by the Mayans and Aztecs before being hauled across the Atlantic to Africa by European travelers. It’s not only a health food but a serious cash crop for nearly 6 million farmers. The Ivory Coast, for instance, produces 40 percent of the world’s cocoa and cacao farming is a primary source of income for farmers in the country.
Peltola, a Finn residing in Helsinki, had little expertise on agriculture in the tropics. But he was convinced that an ethically-sourced raw chocolate brand could work: working directly with cacao farmers, formulating bars that kept sugar content low, and relying solely on raw cacao, not the processed variety commonly found in supermarkets. It took nearly a year to find the right ingredients, the necessary machinery, and the space to produce chocolate. In 2013, he began production in Helsinki.
Peltola is not shy about his ambitions: “We’re trying to make the best chocolate in the world.” But his definition of best, he says, is what distinguishes him from the big brands, selling sugar-laden, processed bars.
“The way I see the best is a combination of optimizing the health, transparency, righteousness and ecology along with mind-blowing taste and mesmerizing look.”
With a €15,000 subsidy and a €35,000 loan from the Finnish government, Peltola launched the company. From there on, it was all bootstrapped, tapping into his personal savings. "During the more challenging times, we ate some chocolate. Luckily, the chocolate we ate was the best you can get," he jokes.
Three years in, now with two additional business partners, he’s crossed €1 million in sales. Much of that profit has been pumped back into the business. Goodio is expanding rapidly, making itself available beyond Scandinavia. Last year, they launched sales in the US, UK, and in Hong Kong.
Consequently, the team has grown to 10 full time employees and 10 part-time. But even in the growth, there is a continued focus on transparency and giving back. The staff consist of individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds with limited job opportunities. “We have hired people that have had hard times to find work elsewhere. In our business, we are all equal,” he says.
Peltola and his team are looking at redefining every aspect of the traditional business model: the ingredients of the product with an emphasis on health; the staff with an emphasis on inclusivity; the supply chain with an emphasis on fair-trade and direct sourcing; and the packaging with an emphasis on recycled materials and low waste. In March, he'll be visiting Peru to meet cacao farmers in Maranon Canyon, and then subsequently to Haiti, Nicaragua and the DRC to meet with their other suppliers in this bean-to-bar movement.
Back in Helsinki, Peltola is on the hunt for a new production facility. He isn’t looking for a cookie cutter warehouse. Rather, he wants to transform the production facility into a yoga studio and gym, which can generate energy for the manufacturing unit, making it more sustainable while promoting fitness.
We want a "fundamental transformation in food business and consumption that in the near future, our food will promote health, not disease," Peltola iterates. "More companies should really think about the well-being of their customers when making a profit." he says.
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