This Saturday March 8th is International Women’s Day—and, all over the world, there are innovative women inspiring us at Food Tank. They are business women, mothers, teachers, thinkers, and entrepreneurs, changing the food system through creating better working conditions, securing land rights, becoming leaders in their community, and more.
“In many developing countries, women are the backbone of the economy. Yet women farmers do not have equal access to resources and this significantly limits their potential in enhancing productivity,” said Melanne Verveer, Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues, U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
And in many countries, while women are responsible for the majority of food production, they are also more likely to suffer from hunger in food shortages. According to Oxfam International, women perform 66 percent of the world’s work, but only earn 10 percent of the income. ( Continue… )
Chipotle says it uses 97,000 pounds of avocado per day (which translates to about 18,000 tons per year), and nearly 70 pounds in a single batch of guacamole. What could stop this guac train from chugging full speed ahead?
Global warming, according to the company’s annual report.
"Increasing weather volatility or other long-term changes in global weather patterns, including any changes associated with global climate change, could have a significant impact on the price or availability of some of our ingredients," Chipotle said in its annual SEC filing last month, which was recently highlighted by liberal blog ThinkProgress.
In other words: Climate change could mean menu changes. The company says increasingly unpredictable weather due to climate change could affect the price of nearly every ingredient, including chicken, beef, cheese, avocados, beans, rice, tomatoes, and pork. That in turn could affect prices, or even cause the company to suspend making certain menu items, such as guacamole or one or more of its salsas. ( Continue… )
The European Council of Young Farmers (CEJA) has launched a campaign Future…Food…Farmers aiming at raising public and political awareness as well as enhancing the role of young farmers in shaping the future of Europe’s agricultural system. Recent figures from the European Union Eurostat show that farmers over 55 years old account for more than 50 percent of farm holders in all 27 European Union countries; the number of young farmers aged under 35 make up less than seven percent of agricultural producers. Young farmers, however, often perform better than older farmers, demonstrating “40 percent more economic potential, 37 percent more hectares of utilized agricultural area and 26 percent more annual working units,” according to the Rural Development in the European Union report. ( Continue… )
Burger King will make its new, lower-cal Satisfries the standard fries in Burger King Kid’s Meals.
Introduced last September, Satisfries have 40% less fat and 30% fewer calories than rival McDonald’s fries. Both chains have been promoting apple slices as an option moms can choose instead of fries with kids meals. But Burger King is acknowledging what every mother knows: Kids would rather have fries.
“Kids don’t want to give up their favorite snacks,” Eric Hirschhorn says in a release announcing the switch. “By adding our lower fat, fewer calorie french fry to the Kid’s Meal as the standard fry, we are providing an option parents can feel better about giving to their kids, without children having to compromise on taste.” ( Continue… )
McDonald’s Corp. executives used to speak with pride of its “robust new-product pipeline” that constantly produces menu innovations. Last week they changed the tune. Chief Operating Officer Tim Fenton told analysts that the chain had “overcomplicated” its menu in 2013 by adding “too many new products, too fast.” The pace was so robust that “We didn’t give the restaurants a chance to breathe,” Fenton said, and I give him credit for owning an uncomfortable truth. McDonald’s certainly isn’t broken but the menu needs reevaluation and the chain accepts that now.
RECOMMENDED: Top 10 secret menu fast foods
Its menu problems didn’t start in 2013. Pushed by nutritionists’ call for more healthful foods, pulled by consumers’ insatiable appetite for new flavors and tripped up by an unexpected post-recession need for budget-priced items, the McDonald’s menu increased in size 75% between 2004 and 2014. The current menu has 121 permanent items; barely a decade ago there were just 69 items for crew to assemble.
And that’s 121 permanent items on the item. The total doesn’t include Fish McBites, Steak & Egg Burrito, White Chocolate Mocha, Pralines & Crème McFlurry, Quarter Pounder BLT and all the other limited-time items of the past year or so.
As shown in the accompanying chart, the biggest increases have come in the burger/sandwich category and through the addition of McCafé beverages (lattes in 2009; smoothies and frappes joined in 2010),Snack Wraps (2006) and Premium McWraps (2013).
The Big N’ Tasty arrived with the New Tastes Menu in 2001, then departed in 2011. ( Continue… )
The burger boom rolls on. The number of independent burger restaurants continues to increase at a rate faster than those for chain burger units, all quick-service or the total restaurant industry.
RECOMMENDED: Top 10 secret menu fast foods
According to The NPD Group’s just-released Recount survey, a census of restaurants open as of Sept. 30, 2013, the total number of U.S. restaurants of all types increased by just 0.7% to 633,043 in the past year. That matches the 0.7% growth for the previous year.Chain restaurants, which account for 44.5% of all foodservice units, increased in number by 1% while the number of independents was essentially flat compared with 2012 at 351,430. ( Continue… )
Packaged foods sold in the United States would display calorie counts more prominently and include the amount of added sugar under a proposal to significantly update nutritional labels for the first time in 20 years as health officials seek to reduce obesity and combat related diseases such as diabetes.
The Food and Drug Administration said on Thursday that its proposal would also ensure that the amount of calories listed per serving reflects the portions that people typically eat. That change may result in per-serving calorie counts doubling for some foods such as ice cream.
First lady Michelle Obama, who has used her White House position to launch the "Let's Move" campaign to fight childhood obesity, announced the proposal for the FDA.
The principle behind the updates are "very simple," Obama said in a statement. "You as a parent and a consumer should be able to walk into your local grocery store, pick up an item off the shelf, and be able to tell whether it's good for your family."
While the FDA already requires companies to list the amount of sugar in a product, under the proposal they would also be required to list the amount of added sugar. Natural sugar is contained in fruits. Added sugar includes corn syrup and concentrated juice as well as white and brown sugar.
In addition, the labeling on vitamin content would change, with companies required to list the amount of potassium and vitamin D. Currently, companies are required to list the amounts of vitamin A and vitamin C, but the FDA said deficiencies in vitamin D and potassium are more likely. ( Continue… )
Hot dogs are the fastest-growing item on English menus, growing in popularity and sophistication in much the same way that burgers have done in the U.S. over the past decade.
Last summer hot dogs cracked the list of the Top 20 foods in Britain across all categories (pub, restaurant and hotel) on British researcher Horizons’ Menurama survey. The just-released winter survey finds hot dogs not only holding on to that Top 20 slot but also continuing to grow in menu appearances. Since summer, hot dogs have increased their presence by 14%. Over the past year hot dogs have increased the number of menus on which they appear by a remarkable 191%.
At restaurants, hot dogs are the No. 14 food (in menu presence) putting them ahead of traditional British favorite fish & chips. ( Continue… )
The Waffle Taco is making its national debut: After over two years of market testing and limited launches, Taco Bell will start selling its new breakfast menu in 6,000 locations across the country on March 27, the company announced Monday. The menu, as you might expect from Taco Bell at this point, is not made up of the usual breakfast fare, but the chain does have a very traditional competitor in its crosshairs as it fights to take a chunk out of the breakfast pie (er, quesadilla): McDonald's, the company that has dominated the fast food breakfast market for years.
"Hey America. Wake Up. Live Mas," Taco Bell's press announcement of the breakfast rollout reads. "Taco Bell is launching the brand's largest, most extensive menu since it first opened its doors more than 50 years ago. Taco Bell Breakfast is classic breakfast tastes (eggs, sausage, bacon and hash browns) with a Taco Bell twist – products uniquely wrapped up and portable for consumers' 'on-the-go' lifestyle."
Items featured on the new menu include the Waffle Taco (eggs, bacon or sausage, and cheese wrapped in a waffle and drizzled with maple syrup), A.M. Crunchwrap (eggs, hash browns, cheese, and bacon or sausage wrapped in a flour tortilla) and Cinnabon Delights (Bite-sized cinnamon buns). Breakfast will be available until 11 a.m., a full half hour later than McDonald's. ( Continue… )
The “official restaurant” of the Olympics is officially feeling the pressure: According to We Are Social, less than one percent of tweets mentioning McDonald’s in relation to Sochi were positive. The overwhelming critique, raised by 35 percent of these McDonald’s-focused social media comments? The brand that drives the epidemic of obesity has no place in the world’s most elite athletic event.
We couldn’t agree more. That’s why on Wednesday Corporate Accountability International launched this open letter calling on Olympic medalists to publicly renounce McDonald’s sponsorship. What does it mean for the world’s largest purveyor of burgers and fries to be the official restaurant of the world’s most high-profile sporting event?
It means that if you were in Sochi right now, you’d see two 24-hour McDonald’s within the Olympic Village, along with a new McDonald’s playground “dedicated to the children of Sochi.” It means that if you turned on your TV to NBC right now, in moments you’d see an ad telling you that “the greatest victories are celebrated with a bite” of a chicken McNugget. It means that if you were a high-visibility athlete talented enough to win a gold medal, you’d likely get a call from McDonald’s mere seconds after finishing your race.
Most importantly, it means if you were a child watching your favorite Olympic athlete scarf a Big Mac, you’d probably want a Big Mac too. ( Continue… )