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In The Time Of Coronavirus, Daily Harvest Is Reinventing Mealtime For A Generation That Hates To Cook

The pandemic is causing people all over the world to look at their freezers with newfound appreciation. Government mandated coronavirus lockdowns have millions of households stocking up for extended home stays – and a large supply of non-perishable but nutritious food suddenly feels as essential as abundant heating oil in the dead of winter.

That rush to hoard has been a jolt for Rachel Drori’s Daily Harvest, a subscription-based healthy food startup which sells frozen smoothies and veggie bowls. When the crisis started in the U.S. three weeks ago, the 37-year-old CEO began doubling up on inventory and has since appealed to her network of 400 farming suppliers to keep produce flowing to Daily Harvest kitchens. Sure enough, as more and more states began mandating residents stay home to avoid spreading the virus, sales have surged.

Source: In The Time Of Coronavirus, Daily Harvest Is Reinventing Mealtime For A Generation That Hates To Cook

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Rachel Drori, Founder of Daily Harvest, talks to us about how she built a direct to consumer company on a mission to take care of food so that the food can take care of you! Check out how she is using technology to iterate on different tastes, nutrients based on input from the community! She is building a company to help nurture those of us always on the go.

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Up Your Food Sustainability Smarts And Try These Tips To Fuel The Cause

Young Woman Harvesting Home Grown Lettuce

As we enter a new decade, many communities and consumers are rethinking the way we produce and use resources. We may see increasing focus on how factors like land degradation, overfishing and declining soil fertility are impacting the environment’s ability to meet our current needs. The United Nations reports that if the global population reaches 9.6 billion by 2050, we’ll require almost three planets’ worth of resources to live the way we do today.

No wonder the sustainability movement is building momentum. And as it does, education among consumers is crucial. What qualifies as sustainable food? What changes can we make as individuals to improve environmental stability and help protect our planet for generations to come?

The Three Pillars Of Environmental Sustainability

“Sustainable food is produced in a way that will allow you to keep producing it over time,” says Jaydee Hanson, policy director for the Center for Food Safety, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment. “That means it will not deplete the soil, pollute the air or destroy the waters around it.”

What exactly is the definition of sustainability? According to the advocacy group Sustain: The Alliance for Better Food and Farming, sustainable food typically describes food that is produced, processed, distributed and disposed of in ways that:

  • Contribute to the economy
  • Protect biodiversity of plants and animals
  • Ensure environmental health by maintaining healthy soil; managing water wisely; and minimizing air, water and climate pollution
  • Provide social benefits and educational opportunities
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Together, these environmental, economic and social pillars provide a robust foundation for producing and consuming food in eco-friendly ways that are safe for the land and its billions of inhabitants.

Why Should We Care?

As the UN describes it, the global impact of nonsustainable practices is alarming. Its website reports that less than 3% of the world’s water is drinkable; humans are polluting water in rivers and lakes faster than nature can purify; and the food sector accounts for about 30% of global energy consumption, and 22% of greenhouse gas emissions.

(Farming) Practice Makes Perfect

The good news is that sustainable farming practices can offset some of the damage being done to the planet. One example is crop rotation—or planting a variety of crops. According to Hanson, many “agricultural programs really encourage the growing of corn all the time, anywhere it can be grown.” That’s a mistake, he says, as crop rotation is critical to improving pest control, preventing the spread of disease and protecting soil fertility for future food production.

Another farm sustainability practice entails reducing or eliminating tillage. The Union of Concerned Scientists suggests that by reducing reliance on traditional plowing (tillage) techniques, which often lead to significant soil loss, and inserting seeds directly into the soil, farmers can minimize erosion and enhance soil fertility.

A growing body of research shows that animal welfare also plays a key role in more sustainable agricultural development. For example, many farmers are adopting innovative grazing management strategies, such as alternating periods of grazing, matching animal numbers to predicted forage supply and ensuring plant diversity, reports the Beef Cattle Research Council. These practices not only prevent overgrazing, but also ensure productive pastures and greater animal health and productivity.

You Have The Power To Make Change

Farmers aren’t the only ones responsible for supporting the sustainability movement. Those outside of the agriculture industry also have the power to embrace social responsibility and work toward creating a more sustainable future.

“One of the things people can do is support their local farmers market,” says Hanson. That’s getting easier to do. According to the Farmers Market Coalition, there are now more than 8,600 farmers markets—up from nearly 2,000 in 1994.

What food you buy is just as important as where you buy it—which means it’s time to support organic farming. Hanson recommends buying organic produce when possible. And when it comes to fish, consider opting out of farm-raised options: “If you have a choice between a farm salmon or a wild salmon, take the wild one. It costs more, but it’s worth it.” Other strategies include cutting back on processed foods and heavily packaged products.

And finally, buy only as much as you’ll consume. According to the UN, we produce 1.3 billion tons of food waste each year. However, by spreading awareness around environmental issues and educating consumers about food production, we can improve social responsibility and create an environmentally sustainable future.

Amway helps people live healthier, more confident lives through innovative nutrition, beauty, personal care and home products. Find ways Amway can help you live your best life at www.amway.com/en_US/amway-insider/amway-voice

Source: Amway BrandVoice: Up Your Food Sustainability Smarts And Try These Tips To Fuel The Cause

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This Just Might Be The Best Pizza In The World

World Champion Pizza Maker Tony Gemignani with his Pizza Romana.

As former New Yorkers, my husband and I are very snobby about pizza.

So, although we hate to admit it, we may have found the best pizza in the world in … San Francisco?

The pies at Tony’s Pizza Napoletana, which just celebrated its 10th anniversary, are so good, they’re worth a trip from anywhere in the world. And you’d have to stay for a couple of days so you can really taste them all.

Owner Tony Gemignani has won many prestigious awards, including Best Pizza Margherita at the World Pizza Cup in Naples, Italy, and Best Pizza Romana at the World Championship of Pizza Makers in 2011. He was the first and only Triple Crown winner for baking at the International Pizza Championships in Leece, Italy, and was the first American and non-Neapolitan to win the coveted title of World Champion Pizza Maker at the World Pizza Cup in Naples in 2007. He was also a pioneer in bringing several different styles of pizzas and other Italian dishes to the Bay Area.

Since discovering Tony’s, my husband and I have come up with creative excuses for visiting San Francisco on a regular basis because we literally dream about his pizzas and can only go so long without one.

Today In: Lifestyle

Here’s what Gemignani himself had to say when I asked him about all things pizza. Warning: Do not continue reading if you’re hungry. 

How did you get started making pizza? 

I’ve been involved in the pizza industry since 1991. I started making pizza at my brother’s acclaimed Pyzano’s Pizzeria in Castro Valley. Eventually I began working with different independent pizza shops and later went to Italy and traveled a ton. After winning multiple world pizza competitions, I made my way back to the U.S. and started to learn regional styles (think New York, Chicago, St. Louis, New Haven, and more).

Leading with my mission statement, “Respect the Craft,” I’ve devoted myself to learning everything there is to know about pizza, and I’ve aimed to showcase my knowledge and passion with each person that comes in to experience our menu of thirteen regional styles of pizza. This craft has taken me on a great journey that I’m excited to continue.

Did you know right away you wanted pizza to become your life’s work? 

I always loved cooking. Even in high school I took Home Economics courses. Back then I didn’t think anything of it. Then, quickly after high school I started working at my brother’s pizzeria and fell in love with it right away.

I ended up getting my pizza certification in Italy and am an official U.S. Ambassador of Neapolitan Pizza by the city of Naples – a prestigious title only given to three people in the entire world. I am also the first Master Instructor in the United States from the Scuola Italiana Pizzaioli and am the proprietor of the International School of Pizza where I certify chefs from around the world—all through Tony’s Pizza Napoletana.

I’ve had the pleasure of teaching so many great pizza makers, who have gone on to open up their own great pizzerias and make incredible pie. In a sense, they carry on the work for me and it’s a very special process to be a part of.

What is about pizza that makes it so beloved to people?  

Growing up, pizza is every kid’s favorite food. It’s communal, fun, and easy—you can make it your own, whether that’s creating something simple or complex. You can make round, square, thick, or thin.

I think that sense of nostalgia stays with you as you become an adult. Pizza brings people back to when life was a bit simpler. And let’s face it, pizza is delicious no matter how old you are.  

One of the things that makes your restaurant so unique is the variety of ovens. Can you give readers a quick education, please?

Our menu offers a wide variety of Italian and American pizza styles, all cooked in one of seven different ovens. We have the true Neopolitan pizza made in a burning wood up to 900 degrees, to a blistering 1000 degree coal oven, along with an assortment of gas and electric ovens, each perfectly suited to the particular style of pizza cooked in it.   

What are the most popular pizzas at Tony’s? 

That’s a tough question. We have multiple award-winning pies on the menu, including our popular Margherita Napoletana (we only make 73 of them each day), Pizza Porto, Cal Italia, La Regina, Burratina di Margherita, and New Yorker which is coal-fired in our 1000 degree oven.

Which pie is your personal favorite?  

That’s like asking a father who his favorite son is. You know I have one, but I’ll never admit it. And, honestly, I love everything. That’s why I like to explore so many different styles of pizza.

Let’s talk about some other dishes like those incredible squash blossoms. How did you come up with those?

Being in California, we are very lucky to have access to some of the best seasonal produce. The California-style pizzas on our menu are a nod to these seasonal ingredients, and we have fun getting creative with surprising pairings. Last year, we launched the squash blossom & burrata pie inspired by the spring season featuring ricotta stuffed squash blossoms, burrata, prosciutto di parma, crushed red pepper, mozzarella, and shaved parmigiano reggiano.

Other than pizza, what are some of the restaurant’s most popular dishes? 

We make our own pasta and case sausages in-house, and offer a wide selection of pastas, antipasti, salads, and desserts. A few stand out crowd-favorites are the Coccoli (delicious rounds of sea-salted fried dough that can be filled with your favorite ingredients), Meatballs Gigante, Peroni Battered Fried Artichokes, and Housemade Bucatini Pasta.  

We should mention your wine awards, as well. What are they and what do they mean to you?

We recently received Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence for the 5th year in a row, which is such an honor. Wine Director Jules Gregg ensures that our wine list is as thoughtful and expansive as our food menu. We offer 65 different varietals and 185 wines, highlighting intentional selections from Italy and California.

Mixologist Elmer Mejicanos also provides a full bar program featuring hand-crafted artisan cocktails and an extensive tequila and beer collection.  

Tell us about the process of coming up with recipes. How do you experiment?

To make the perfect pizza, it’s all about the ingredients. I start with flour as the foundation; it’s  the heart and soul of pizza. Balance is important, but it’s really about your dough, sauce, and cheese. I always want to make sure that my dough balances with the other pizza flavors, while taking you through a journey with each bite.  

Describe those award-winning pizzas so we can drool a little.  

·     One of our most popular pies is the Margherita Napoletana (we only make 73 per day), a World Pizza Cup winner in Naples, Italy. It features dough finished by hand using Caputo Blue flour then proofed in Napolitana wood boxes, San Marzano tomatoes, D.O.P., sea salt, mozzarella for di latte, fresh basil and extra virgin olive oil.

·     Pizza Porto, my most recent award-winning pie, won the 2018 All-Stars Pizza Championship in Porto, Portugal. It features Portuguese chorizo, nduja, micro greens, mozzarella, top Sao Jorge cheese, port reduction, crema di port, and smoked sea salt.

·     Cal Italia, a gold medal winner of Food Network’s Pizza Champions Challenge, features asiago, mozzarella, Italian gorgonzola, Croatian sweet fig preserves, prosciutto di parma, parmigiano, balsamic reduction, and no sauce.

·     La Regina, a gold cup winner at the International Pizza Championships Parma, Italy, features soppressata picante, prosciutto di parma, mozzarella, parmigiano, provolone, and arugula.

·     Burratina di Margherita, a gold cup winner at the International Pizza Championships Lecce, Italy, features burrata, cherry tomatoes tossed with fresh basil, extra virgin olive oil, and balsamic reduction.

·     New Yorker, a gold medal winner Las Vegas, features mozzarella, hand crushed tomato sauce, natural casing pepperoni, sliced Italian fennel sausage, calabrese sausage, ricotta, chopped garlic, and oregano.  

How does it feel to have your pizzas named best in the world? How do you top that?! 

It is truly an honor and a blessing. It’s also a bit surreal—especially to have won internationally. It’s one of the best feelings ever, but I’m always trying to make it better. After I win a championship, I look at that pizza and think to myself—how can I make it better?  

What’s next for you?  

I hope pizza lovers will come visit us at our Bay Area and Las Vegas locations in exciting new venues. We also have Tony’s locations in San Francisco’s Levi’s Stadium and Tony G’s within the new Chase Center, and there are more to come soon.  

Do you ever get sick of pizza?

Never.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.

I believe the world would be a better place if we all traveled more, and I write about everything from luxury spas, cruises and hotels to quirky museums and street food in order to encourage people to get out and explore. When I’m not traveling around the globe—and even when I am— I blog at Midlife at the Oasis, my award-winning website. Over the past 20 years, I’ve written for dozens of magazines and was a Contributing Writer to Entertainment Weekly for more than a decade. In 2010, I was one of the Ultimate Viewers selected by Oprah Winfrey to accompany her to Australia. Since then, I’ve won three BlogHer Voices of the Year awards and become a Travel Expert at USA Today 10Best and a regular contributor to AAA Midwest Traveler and Southern Traveler. I’m a member of Society of American Travel Writers and North American Travel Journalists Association. Join me on my journeys on Instagram and Twitter @loisaltermark.

Source: This Just Might Be The Best Pizza In The World

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McDonald’s Expands Its Canadian Plant-Based Burger Test, And Cuts The Price

CANADA-FOOD-MCDONALD'S

Last fall, McDonald’s gingerly joined its competition in the plant-based burger race, rolling out the P.L.T. in a small region in Canada.

Now, McDonald’s is nearly doubling the number of outlets where the faux meat burger is available. And, it is cutting the price, perhaps heeding complaints that the sandwich was a tad too expensive.

McDonald’s Canada said Wednesday that the P.L.T. — short for plant-based, lettuce and tomato — now will be available in 52 locations in Southwestern Ontario, up from an original 28.

The locations still skirt Toronto, Canada’s biggest city, and Windsor, across from Detroit, two major locations where the P.L.T. would get significant media scrutiny and, presumably, draw more buyers than McDonald’s could easily serve.

But the expansion shows the company is willing to keep trying with a plant-based product, especially given its popularity at other fast food outlets.

“The initial test of the P.L.T. allowed us to learn more about guest demand and how to integrate this new menu item into restaurant kitchen operations, while delivering the P.L.T. to our guests with the level of quality and craveability they know and love from McDonald’s,” Jeff Anderson, the chef of McDonald’s Canada, said in a statement.

Image result for mcdonald big size gif advertisements“As a test and learn company, the McDonald’s expansion of the P.L.T. into more restaurants in the Southwestern Ontario region will help us learn more about our guests’ tastes while continuing to provide variety within our menu.”

The P.L.T. test began September 30, and marked McDonald’s effort to enter a market where Burger King, White Castle and Del Taco had already gone, along with numerous independent restaurants.

But, where Burger King offers a plant-based patty on its existing Whopper, and White Castle is offering plant-based sliders, McDonald’s decided to create an entirely new sandwich.

The P.L.T. is constructed with a faux-meat patty, made by Beyond Meat, plus lettuce and tomato, a slice of cheese, onions, pickles, catsup, mustard and mayo. Diners can opt to add bacon.

Photos of the P.L.T. displayed in the St. Thomas, Ontario McDonald’s that I visited last fall made the sandwich look as large as a quarter-pounder.

But I found the patty was only the size of a conventional McDonald’s cheeseburger, and nowhere near the girth of one of its premium sandwiches, and wondered if McDonald’s hadn’t set the price too high.

Originally, the P.L.T. on its own cost $6.49 Canadian ($4.90 in U.S. dollars), or in a combo with fries and a drink for $9.89 Canadian ($7.46 USD).

Others must have spoken up, because on Monday, McDonald’s said the P.L.T. will now cost $5.99 Canadian as of January 14, or $4.60 USD. It said prices could vary by outlet.

“We gathered a lot of feedback in the initial test about what people like about the P.L.T.,” Michaela Charette, head of consumer insights at McDonald’s Canada, said in the news release.

“As we expand the test, we’re continuing to listen to our guests across Southwestern Ontario and assess the appetite for a plant-based alternative within the McDonald’s menu.”

By testing the P.L.T. in Canada, McDonald’s has escaped the spotlight that might have shone on the company had it chosen an American city.

It has gotten to see how its supply lines handle deliveries of the ingredients for the burger, and the time it takes McDonald’s outlets there to prepare and serve one.

Image result for amazon big size gif advertisementsAlso on Monday, Impossible Foods told Reuters that is no longer trying to land a contract to supply McDonald’s with plant-based patties, saying it can’t provide a big enough supply.

Impossible Foods CEO Pat Brown told Reuters in an interview that “it would be stupid for us to be vying for them right now … Having more big customers right now doesn’t do us any good until we scale up production.”

So, if McDonald’s decides to blanket Canada with P.L.T.s, or bring the sandwich to the States, it’s likely to partner with Beyond Meat, or find another company to produce its patties.

Follow me on Twitter. Check out my website.

I’m an alumni of the New York Times and NPR. I learned to cook from my mom, and studied with Patricia Wells and at Le Cordon Bleu. E: mamayn@aol.com T: @mickimaynard I: @michelinemaynard Sorry, I don’t honor embargoes.

Source: McDonald’s Expands Its Canadian Plant-Based Burger Test, And Cuts The Price

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A Lot of Companies Want to Save the World. Impossible Foods Just Might Do It with Its Plant-Based Meats

On January 7, 2019, at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Impossible Foods announced its masterpiece: Impossible Burger 2.0, a soy-based protein batter that, when clumped into a patty and thrown onto a griddle, sears and sizzles like a real cow burger. To showcase the edible tech–the first ever presented at the gadget expo–the team had booked the patio and bar of the Border Grill in the Mandalay Bay hotel and prepared Impossible sliders, tacos, empanadas, and even steak tartare. To explain the underlying science and the environmental benefits and the culinary possibilities, they rounded up a panel featuring the restaurant’s chef, Mary Sue Milliken, Impossible’s chief scientist, David Lipman, and the company’s founder and chief executive, Patrick O. Brown.

“The Impossible Burger 2.0 is demonstrably better in flavor, in texture, in juiciness” than the 1.0, Brown told the throng of 350 as more folks pushed their way inside. “And unlike the cow, we are going to be getting better every single day from now until forever.” As he spoke, he looked a little nervous. He swayed in his seat; some in the crowd noticed that he’d absentmindedly left his iPhone’s flashlight on–it was glowing as he fidgeted with it. “We’re not just a technology company,” he said. “We are, right now, the most important technology company on earth.”

Brown, like the cattle he competes so hard against, is generally happiest back home among his herd (other research scientists). But no matter where he roams, the lanky 65-year-old dresses like a tech bro put out to pasture: faded hoodie, scuffed Adidas, dreamy gaze. Just don’t mistake his calm affect and soft monotone for bovine docility.

Halfway through the press conference, a reporter raised her hand and inquired about the burger’s safety. Wasn’t Impossible meat’s key ingredient, heme, made using genetically modified ingredients? Brown’s eyes went hard. He then treated her to a three-minute lecture on heme’s origin and biology. “The fact that heme is produced by genetic engineering is a complete non-issue from a consumer safety standpoint,” he said, sharpening his voice, word by word. “It’s a way safer way to produce it than isolating it from soybean roots, and a vastly safer way to produce it than covering the entire frigging planet with cows, which is the way we’re doing it now.”

Rachel Konrad, Impossible’s chief communication officer, brought her thumb and index finger to her forehead and stared down at the floor. To Brown, you see, Impossible Burger 2.0 is not simply a tasty, albeit processed, veggie option. Impossible meat is humanity’s best chance to save the earth. Forgive him if he gets a little wiggy about it.

Every December, Inc. recognizes a startup that, in the past year, has done more than succeed in the marketplace, but, in some way, has changed the world, shifting how we think or how we live our lives. Impossible Foods has given a radical twist to what used to be a straightforward question: What’s beef?

Well, beef is food, and an ever more popular one–the fatty protein generated a record $310 billion in global sales last year. But beef is also an environmental catastrophe. And the reason beef is so destructive is simple: It comes from cows. Cattle collectively occupy 27 percent of U.S. land, devastating biodiversity. Every year, a typical American cow eats five tons of feed, consumes 3,000 gallons of water, and subsequently belches and farts the equivalent of 15 kilograms of greenhouse gases for every 100 grams of protein it provides, making cattle one of the planet’s biggest contributors to climate change.

But what if juicy, delicious beef didn’t come from cows?

In 2009, Brown, an accomplished biochemist and pediatrician, took a sabbatical from Stanford University and decided to make a head-on charge at animal agriculture. He’d grappled with mind-bendingly ambitious projects before. In the 1980s, he helped map the human genome as a postdoctoral student in the lab of Nobel Prize winners J. Michael Bishop and Harold Varmus; in the 1990s, Brown invented the DNA microarray, also known as a biochip, which scientists still use to study gene expression, earning him membership in the National Academy of Sciences. But get the world to give up cows? Nothing came close.

Impossible Foods CEO Pat Brown has made plant-based meat the most important oxymoron in the food business. Kelsey McClellan

Ten years and hundreds of millions of dollars in venture funding later, Brown and his team brought forth Impossible Burger 2.0, a veggie burger that tastes so uncannily like cow that a lot of people–vegetarians, carnivores, gourmands, fast-food executives–can’t believe their taste buds. Until very recently, the product would have sounded like an oxymoron: plant-based meat. Yet, in 2019, Burger King added the Impossible Whopper to its menu throughout the U.S., and José Cil, CEO of parent company Restaurant Brands International, credited the sandwich with a chainwide boost in foot traffic as the company posted its best same-store revenue growth in four years.

Practically every fast-food chain in America is now testing Impossible Burger or one of its competitors. There are Impossible sliders at White Castle and Impossible fajita burritos at Qdoba, not to mention patties made by Beyond Meat–Impossible’s more widely distributed, if not as meaty-tasting, competitor–at Carl’s Jr., McDonald’s, and Dunkin’. Food industry giants have raced to bring out their own beef substitutes, too.

Much like Tesla’s Model S electric car, the Impossible Burger is a fancy and costly invention, concocted by an outsider genius, that has proved that consumers will make an environmentally friendly choice if you give them an attractive product. In the process, it has done something even more remarkable: It made veggie burgers sexy. Its name is now synonymous with plant-based meat; people call almost everything an Impossible Burger whether it’s produced by Impossible or somebody else, making Impossible the faux-meat company to watch. And, unlike Beyond Meat, Impossible remains resolutely a privately held company.

Also like Tesla, Impossible Foods is unprofitable– despite revenue expected to surpass $90 million in 2019–and its future is uncertain. The success of its product has threatened to overwhelm the company, with staffers fighting, sometimes heroically, to meet demand and managers adjusting standard business processes on the fly. More than anything, Impossible Foods provides a lesson in the craziness that can ensue if what you do becomes a really big deal.

On a clear, crisp morning in late September, Brown parked his Chevy Bolt in the lot of Impossible Foods headquarters in Redwood City, California, and trotted into a conference room, a mug of coffee and a vegan chocolate chip cookie in his hand. He’s been a vegetarian since the 1970s, and cut dairy from his diet 20 years ago. The past week had been a whirlwind: Impossible Foods had introduced 12-ounce packs of Impossible beef in three supermarket chains, its first foray into the grocery business, and he’d traveled to Los Angeles and New York City for launch events.

Shortly after noon, he joined the weekly marketing department meeting. Thirty or so employees poked at salads in compostable bowls. (Impossible Foods provides a buffet of raw veggies, fruit, and other snacks in the break room every day, but not Impossible meat, which is still too costly and in demand to give away.) Joe Lam, a director of consumer insights, went over the first few days of grocery sales, highlighting the promising results–that weekend, the company had outsold ground beef by a considerable amount at Gelson’s, a chain in L.A.–and glossing over others–at Wegmans, Impossible had the No. 1 unit sales in “meatless proteins,” but he didn’t say much more.

Impossible Foods’ researchers had zero qualms about employing cutting-edge science that farmers’ market types find freaky.

Brown peppered the team with questions about the data. “But does it come at the expense of ground beef?” he asked about the Gelson’s results. “Were ground beef sales up, down, or steady? What else happened? Did they run out of hamburger buns?”

Since founding the company, Brown’s natural tendency has been to run it like a science lab–just like the ones he had at Stanford and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Chevy Chase, Maryland. Born in the D.C. suburbs, Brown saw a lot of the world as a child–his father was in the CIA–and then settled in at the University of Chicago, where he majored in chemistry and later earned an MD and a PhD in biochemistry. He had his first brush with the business world only in 2010, as co-founder of Kite Hill, which sought to make plant-based dairy products and quickly commercialized yogurt, cream cheese, and ricotta.

At Impossible, he and his R&D staff began their study of beef development at the molecular level, mapping the 4,000 proteins, fats, and other biological compounds that add up to a cow. Next, they put together a catalog of all commercially available plant-based ingredients, such as protein isolates from soy, peas, hemp, and potatoes. From there, Brown’s group created their simulacrum, matching plant compounds to the bovine ones, testing their concoctions for flavor, smell, and texture–occasionally by nibbling on them, but usually via sophisticated gear that could gnash meat samples and spit out chewiness data in charts.

Impossible’s competitors approached the problem differently. More than 30 companies were attempting (fairly unsuccessfully) to grow actual animal protein in petri dishes, while startups like Beyond Meat were formulating plant-based patties from all-natural and gluten-free ingredients. Only Impossible Foods researchers sought to reverse-engineer beef from plants–and had zero qualms about employing cutting-edge science in the name of beefiness, including methods that some farmers’ market types find freaky.

This is how, using genetic engineering techniques, they got yeast to bleed mass quantities of soy leghemoglobin, which is typically found in soybean roots but is chemically similar to the myoglobin found in our own mammalian veins. Both contain heme–and heme is what makes Impossible possible. It looks like blood and tastes like blood, and when you add it to textured soy protein and a few other ingredients, it makes an extremely convincing burger.

Brown’s development process was painstaking and expensive. Impossible raised more money each year than the year before–$3 million in 2011, $6.2 million in 2012, $27 million in 2013, $40 million in 2014, $108 million in 2015–and poured it almost entirely into R&D. “The staff was 95 percent scientists” as late as the fall of 2015, says Dana Worth, a graduate of Stanford’s business school who joined Impossible that year, when it started hiring actual business people.

Scientists at Impossible Foods, many of them former biochemistry colleagues of CEO Pat Brown’s, worked for five years on their plant-based beef recipe before the company sold a single burger. Here, in the test kitchen at headquarters in Redwood City, California, Impossible Foods is developing everything from breakfast sausage to fried chicken to steak. Much of the hundreds of millions of dollars raised by the company–which includes $300 million in 2019–has gone toward R&D.Kelsey McClellan

As Brown went about adding a company to his science lab, he approached entrepreneurship as he had beef–as though he were building the business from first principles. Some early decisions left the MBAs scratching their heads. Brown banned Gantt charts, the step-by-step product-management tool taught in business school, because they failed to account for the unpredictability of new projects. On the day I visited him, he launched into a lengthy complaint about using spreadsheets in Excel for sales modeling.

“Excel is–and no offense to Bill Gates, who is one of our investors, and a good guy–a shitty tool for modeling. OK?” said Brown, swiveling his chair over to the dry-erase board, marker in hand. He then excitedly began sketching out a Monte Carlo simulation, which can generate thousands of possible outcomes–a method he prefers.

Yet Impossible has struggled with issues that other companies handle matter-of-factly. When I asked Worth, who is now head of U.S. food service sales, and CFO David Lee about how budgeting worked there, they looked at each other and laughed. “We’re figuring that out,” said Lee, who tries to synthesize Brown’s many-world analytical approach with investors’ more conventional expectations.

Nor has Impossible’s publicity always been glowing. On September 5, 2018, a bar fight broke out at a company party when a man tried to stop a male Impossible employee from harassing one of their female co-workers, according to a legal complaint. “What you read in the newspaper is not necessarily an accurate representation of what happened” is all that Brown will say about it. “By and large, I don’t think our employees are any worse behaved” than his researchers at Stanford were.

The Impossible Burger 2.0 launch in early 2019 quickly showed what happens when a company isn’t ready for its wildest dreams to come true. Impossible’s existing distributors, which already sold Impossible beef to some 5,000 restaurants, vastly increased their orders–by mid-summer, Impossible meat would be on the menu at another 5,000 locations.

Yet, as demand swelled, the sole manufacturing facility still operated just one assembly line with staff sufficient for only a single eight-hour shift. Inventory ranging from vital ingredients like heme to basic supplies like liquid nitrogen, which helps keep the assembly lines cold, quickly dwindled. The company had achieved Brown’s first great ambition: It created a plant-based protein, and it was a hit. Only now, the company was speeding toward crisis.

Impossible Foods’ investors, who have owned a controlling stake in the company since the early funding rounds, say they knew about the company’s vulnerabilities from the outset but decided the risk was worth it. “There was no due diligence, no spreadsheets, no rates of return calculation,” says Vinod Khosla, founder of Khosla Ventures. But, he felt, the issue of animal agriculture “is too large and too important not to address, and this is a world-class guy to address it.” For his part, Brown concedes he’s no moneyman. “My wife manages our family finances,” he says. “I find the whole area just so tedious.”

The company would have to play catchup. Impossible’s board had finally joined the search for an operations-focused president to assist Brown in September 2018, eventually wooing Dennis Woodside, a veteran Google executive and Ironman triathlete who had most recently been chief operating officer at Dropbox. But by the time Woodside was ready to begin, it was mid-March, and he was blindsided by what he found.

“When I started having conversations about the role, everybody said it was initially going to be largely about sales,” he says now. “Then, two weeks in, Pat said, ‘You’ve got to go up to Oakland. You’ve got to figure out how to scale supply.’ “Frustrated employees, writing reviews on Glassdoor that month, described a company with its wheels coming off. “The organization is eating itself alive. The arrogance is overwhelming,” wrote one. “It’s a great mission with some of the worst management in the bay area,” wrote another. “The CEO has good intentions (and is a true scientific genius), but is a terrible business leader,” posted still another.

Brown believes that staffers were feeling more stressed than they needed to be, and were doing a good job. “It’s not really in my phenotype to freak out or assign blame,” he says. “People were kind of demoralized because they felt like, oh, we fucked up. But, frankly, I never felt that way. I felt like the problem was we had planned naively, and we could learn from it.”

His takeaway was that the supply crunch arose not from mismanagement but from a misunderstanding of “the kinetics of the food sales process,” as he puts it, notably the delays as orders filter up from restaurants and distributors stock the products. That lag disguised demand at the end of 2018, so the company failed to ramp up production quickly enough. “It wasn’t so much that our sales fell below projections,” Brown says, “but that they were a couple of months behind.” Welcome to Restaurant Biz 101.

“It’s not really in my phenotype to freak out or assign blame. I felt the problem was we planned naively, and we could learn from it.”

Regardless of what the data said, the company now had to scramble. Starting in April, it shifted salespeople from prospecting for business to addressing concerns of existing customers. It then hurried to make a deal with OSI, a Chicago-based food processor that makes beef patties and the like for McDonald’s and other chains, to duplicate the output of Impossible’s Oakland plant.

Meanwhile, the good news kept getting worse. That very month, overjoyed Burger King executives flew to Impossible’s headquarters to tell them that their small test of an Impossible Whopper at 59 of their locations in St. Louis had been a roaring success. They wanted to roll the product out to all 7,200 U.S. Burger Kings as soon as possible.

On April 22, Brown sent a companywide email, explaining that surging demand, along with the new Burger King rollout, was putting the company in existential peril: “We will need to increase production at least sixfold over the next several months and 10-fold by the end of 2020. (Yes, you read that correctly),” he wrote. He asked for volunteers to come to Oakland to staff a second assembly line.

The work would be hard, he added, “but an epic opportunity for heroism, with huge stakes.” Forty employees (who got overtime pay) headed up to the refrigerated facility. There, a motley crew of scientists, salespeople, and IT staff took turns working 12-hour shifts, stacking patties and operating machinery. Person by person, the R&D lab was transformed into a manufacturer.

In 2019, Impossible beef popped up everywhere from steakhouses like Le Marais in Manhattan, where an Impossible burger with Sriracha mayo and a side of fries sells for $21, to fast-food joints like White Castle, which sells an Impossible slider with a slice of smoked cheddar for $1.99. “It works well in any place you’d use ground beef. You can crumble it, fry it, form it into patties,” says J. Kenji López-Alt, who sells an Impossible meatball sub at his restaurant, Wursthall, in San Mateo, California.
After rolling out the Impossible Whopper ($5.59) nationwide, Burger King saw its highest same-store sales growth in four years. Also pictured: an Impossible banh mi sandwich at Peaches in Brooklyn ($15) and an Applebee’s Handcrafted Impossible Burger ($20.99) at its Times Square location in New York City.Cole Wilson

Unified by the stress and the cold, the staff put together a plan they called Back to Redwood City, with the aim of getting scientists home to R&D. By August, the partnership with OSI was up and running, just in time to supply all of those Burger King outlets for the fastest launch in the chain’s history.

On a recent morning at Impossible’s Oakland plant, production was brisk. In a specially sanitized fabrication area, staff in full bodysuits operated huge paddle mixers as dry ice vapor wafted through the air and five-pound bricks of bright pink Impossible beef ­chunked along a frozen conveyor belt toward the packaging station. Still, Oakland employees appeared to be under enormous pressure.

Earlier that morning, I’d watched a distraught quality assurance technician rush up to the plant manager and ask if production staff could be tasked to help her meet an urgent sampling deadline. “I’m going to cry,” she said, fighting back tears and rushing off before getting an answer.

But Impossible is making progress in smoothing out processes. At the Oakland facility, the company added a noon standup meeting to check production against targets, and implemented a scheduling system for the trucks that deliver the 20-kilogram sacks of textured soy protein, the vats of sunflower and coconut oil, and the 55-gallon drums of heme. Improvements like these, along with cost savings from economies of scale, have brought down the cost of goods by 50 percent this year alone, Woodside says.

The challenges remain formidable. Impossible is taking a measured approach to retail, for now selling only in small chains. But the slow rollout leaves it vulnerable: Beyond Meat is already in 28,000 U.S. groceries, and Nestlé, Tyson, and Don Lee Farms have all recently introduced simulated-meat products.

The beef industry is fighting back, too, with lobbying under way in 24 states to ban the phrase “plant-based meat.” Impossible Foods won’t have the newest tech forever, either, with upstarts working on gadgets like 3-D printers that make steak. And Impossible is burning cash as it builds production and develops new items, from breakfast sausage to fried chicken.

Impossible Foods did the unthinkable and got everyone hooked on its plant-based burgers. Kelsey McClellan

The company must also fight off negative perceptions that its product is “processed crap that comes in a box,” as South Park recently described plant-based meat in an episode titled “Let Them Eat Goo.” Impossible Foods doesn’t like to talk about the provenance of heme, its magic ingredient, perhaps because it’s produced by a contractor in a microbial fermentation plant that has turned out antibiotics, biopharmaceuticals, and enzymes used in biofuels and fracking. And the Center for Food Safety, an environmental group, has petitioned the FDA to keep Impossible meat out of groceries, contending that testing of heme has not been sufficiently rigorous.

Brown argues that nothing about heme should trouble consumers–it has been approved for use by the FDA–and that the term processed is an almost meaningless buzzword. “Virtually every food that you love is processed to a similar degree as the Impossible Burger in the sense that a bunch of ingredients are carefully chosen and fermented, cooked, or blended to make something that’s delicious,” he says. “It’s useless–like food racism or something–to just slap some stupid, broad label that mischaracterizes our products in this way.”

He is equally dismissive of nutritional cavils like the fact that Impossible meat has four-and-a-half times the sodium of beef. “You’d have to eat six Impossible Burgers to hit your sodium limit,” Brown says (though at Burger King, two Impossible Whoppers would nearly do the job.) “It’s kind of like saying passion fruit has more sodium than a peach, but who gives a shit?” As for lab-grown meat, says Brown, “Good luck harvesting embryos of calves, feeding them intravenously, and, since they’re immuno­deficient, making sure not a single virus or bacteria gets in there.”

Brown would rather focus on what he does best: rallying the troops toward his planet-saving vision and running his highly pedigreed R&D lab. He says he expects to double production every year, which would help him with his goal of achieving cost parity with traditional beef by 2022. That’s no mean feat, given that the price per pound of textured soy protein–Impossible’s primary ingredient but not its most expensive one–is about the same as the wholesale price of ground beef. “All the economics of everything we’re doing get progressively better with scale,” he says.

And size matters. Though he generally avoids speaking ill of his plant-based competitors–they’re all working to tip Big Cow on its ear–sometimes he can’t help himself. He scoffs at Beyond Meat’s research budget, which was a mere $9.6 million in 2018–not even the same order of magnitude as his company’s. “The goal here is we have to completely replace animals as a technology in the food system,” Brown says. “That is a huge task.”

To anyone who hasn’t been sipping heme recently, the phrase “replace animals as a technology” sounds insanely ambitious, or just plain insane. But consider who’s saying it, and what he’s achieved so far, and, perhaps, this simple fact: A few years ago, what would most people have said about the idea of making meat from plants? Impossible.

Additional reporting by Guadalupe González.

 No Cows Allowed: A Millennium of Plant-Based Meat

Getty Images

Ca. 900 CE: Let There Be Soy
Chinese writer Tao Gu describes tofu as “small mutton”–the first recorded reference to tofu as a meat substitute.

Wikipedia

1877: Spam for Vegans
John Harvey Kellogg introduces Protose, faux meat in a can made from peanuts, wheat gluten, and soy, to feed patients at a vegetarian sanitarium.

1985: Fun With Fungi
In the United Kingdom, a company called Quorn makes fake meat out of a microfungus. In the U.S., Gardenburger brings out a patty made from mushrooms, onions, brown rice, rolled oats, cheese, garlic, and herbs. It tastes remarkably like cardboard. The company files for bankruptcy in 2005.

2013: Petri-Burger
Dutch scientists make the world’s first lab-grown burger from cow muscle cells, fetal calf blood, and antibiotics for the bargain price of $325,000, while in the U.S., Beyond Meat introduces its faux chicken made from pea and soy protein at Whole Foods.

Kelsey McClellan

2019: Head of the Class
Impossible Foods unveils Impossible Burger 2.0, which contains heme, derived from soy leghemoglobin, giving the patties their beefy, bloody flavor. Burger King fashions it into the Impossible Whopper.

By Burt Helm Editor-at-large @burthelm

Source: A Lot of Companies Want to Save the World. Impossible Foods Just Might Do It with Its Plant-Based Meats

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Plant-based meat is gaining traction among carnivores and vegans alike. Here’s what the Beyond Meat hype is all about. Introducing The Upstarts, a new series about the companies you love that came out of nowhere and are now everywhere. » Subscribe to CNBC Make It.: http://cnb.cx/2kxl2rf About CNBC Make It.: CNBC Make It. is a new section of CNBC dedicated to making you smarter about managing your business, career, and money. Connect with CNBC Make It. Online Get the latest updates: http://www.cnbc.com/make-it Find CNBC Make It. on Facebook: http://cnb.cx/LikeCNBCMakeIt Find CNBC Make It. on Twitter: http://cnb.cx/FollowCNBCMakeIt Find CNBC Make It. on Instagram: http://bit.ly/InstagramCNBCMakeIt #CNBCMakeIt #BeyondBurger #PlantBased How The Beyond Meat Burger Is Taking Over The Multibillion-Dollar Beef Industry — The Upstarts | CNBC Make It.

Pizza Hut Goes Green With ‘Incogmeato’ Sausage, Eco-Friendly Box

Pizza Hut is teaming up with Kellogg’s MorningStar Farms brand to test pizza lovers’ reaction to the brand’s new, plant-based Italian-style “sausage” called Incogmeato.

Starting Wednesday, October 23, the fast-food chain will sell the Incogmeato on its Garden Specialty Pizza for a limited time—at a single store location in Phoenix, Arizona.

“Incogmeato is a new-to-the-world brand created to challenge convention on delicious plant based food,” said Kellogg Away from Home President Wendy Davidson in a statement, as reported by Yahoo Finance. “Pizza Hut is the innovation leader in its category and we are excited to partner with them to develop a tasty, first-ever plant-based pizza to satisfy what flexitarians are seeking today.”

Pizza Hut is also cutting back on waste by using a smaller, rounder pizza box. The innovation came out of a partnership with Zume, a pizza delivery company that aims to implement sustainable practices in the food industry. The box is also compostable, according to Market Watch.

In addition to going green, the new design promises a better dining experience, Yahoo Finance noted.

“This revolutionary round box—the result of a two-year journey—is the most innovative packaging we’ve rolled out to date,” Pizza Hut Chief Customer and Operations Officer Nicolas Burquier said in a statement. “The round box was engineered to make our products taste even better—by delivering hotter, crispier pizzas. This box is a win, win—it will improve the pizza-eating experience for our customers and simplify the operating experience for our team members.”

According to The Verge, pizza boxes’ traditional square shape is due to lower production costs (they can be made from a single sheet of folded cardboard). Inventors have previously attempted to win the public over to round boxes—such as John Harvey’s 2004 creation, the “Presseal” and a design patented by Apple—without much success so far.

Pizza Hut now joins the growing list of other fast-food giants looking to go green. As CNN Business reported, Dunkin’ will be unveiling its Beyond Meat breakfast sandwich across the country in November after a successful product test in New York City. Burger King announced that it would make its Impossible Whopper available nationally after just one month of testing. The outlet also reported that plant-based food sales in the U.S. have increased 11 percent in the last year, according to a study by the Plant Based Foods Association and the Good Food Institute.

That study further concluded that plant-based food sales grew 31 percent between April 2017 and July 2019 while total food sales remained flat, leading Plant Based Foods Association senior director Julie Emmett to call them “a growth engine.” According to the association, the market for plant-based foods now tops $4.5 billion in the United States.

The limited-edition garden pizza with Incogmeato topping and round box will sell for $10. All proceeds will go to Arizona Forward, a Phoenix-based sustainability nonprofit organization

By: 

Source: Pizza Hut Goes Green With ‘Incogmeato’ Sausage, Eco-Friendly Box

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Reported today on The Verge For the full article visit: http://bit.ly/2P9YkFf Global Tech News was built by the boffins at Boyd Digital – For creative traffic and sales generation give the Boyd Digital team a shout +44 141 332 0063 or visit us at https://www.boyddigital.co.uk Reported today in The Verge. Pizza Hut is testing plant-based ‘Incogmeato’ sausage toppings and round boxes Pizza Hut is cautiously testing out the plant-based meat trend, starting with a new Garden Specialty Pizza that’s topped with MorningStar Farm’s “Incogmeato” Italian sausage, which will only available for a day in one Phoenix location. The pizza will also be served in a round pizza box, which is industrially compostable and interlocks with other boxes for stability. After the event, the company says it’ll look for more ways to roll out the box more widely in the future. The round box was developed in partnership with Zume, an automated pizza delivery startup with a focus in sustainable practices. Compared to a normal, square pizza box, the round box uses less overall packaging. “This revolutionary round box—the result of a two-year journey—is the most innovative packaging we’ve rolled out to date,” said Pizza Hut chief customer and operations officer Nicolas Burquier. “The round box was engineered to make our products taste even better—by delivering hotter, crispier pizzas.” Pizza boxes have always been square since it’s cheaper to produce, as they can be made from a single sheet of cardboard. But that hasn’t stopped people from trying to innovate. In 2004, an inventor named John Harvey created a round pizza box called the Presseal, which never quite caught on. And in 2010, Apple patented a round pizza box, which has been used in its employee cafeteria since. Fast food companies like Burger King and KFC have been working with startups like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods to roll out fake meat versions of popular menu items, like the Beyond Fried Chicken and Impossible Whopper. Pizza Hut’s Garden Specialty Pizza uses MorningStar Farms’ Incogmeato Italian sausage, which parent company Kellogg launched just last month. Made from non-GMO soy, it too, bleeds like real meat like its competitors’ products. If you’re interested in trying out the limited-edition Incogmeato pizza, you can head over to the Phoenix Pizza Hut at 3602 E. Thomas Rd. on October 23rd at 11AM MT. The Garden Specialty Pizza and round pizza box will cost $10, and all proceeds will go to Arizona Forward, a Phoenix-based sustainability nonprofit.

2 Pounds of Truffles Sold for $85,000 Here’s The Real Reason They’re So Expensive

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How much would you pay for a fungus? Last year, a set of white Alba truffles weighing just under two pounds sold for over 75,000 euros, or over $85,000. (The starting price of a 2018 Mercedes Benz S-Class sedan is $89,900.)

Truffles were in short supply that year, but even during a more season some can cost $4,000 a pound. Yeah, [truffles] are expensive, but we are talking about the diamonds of gastronomy,” Francesca Sparvoli, co-owner of truffle distribution company Done4NY tells CNBC Make It

Truffles — which grow underground near the roots of certain trees, particularly oak, throughout central Europe — are highly sought after for their distinct earthy, musky flavor and scent. They are often served shaved over dishes like pasta or risotto (about 8 to 10 grams per individual serving).

There are four main varieties of truffles used in cuisine. Though prices vary depending on the strength of the growing season and the rarity of the type, Sparvoli says prices are, on average: $250 per pound for summer black truffles; $350 per pound for Burgundy, which grow from September through February; $800 per pound for winter black, which grow from November through March; and $2,000 to $4,000 for Alba (a town in Italy) or white truffles, which grow from early October through December.

CNBC make it truffles 4 
“Yeah, [truffles] are expensive, but we are talking about the diamonds of gastronomy,” Francesca Sparvoli, co-owner of truffle distribution company Done4NY tells CNBC Make It.
Nate Skid/CNBC Make It

“The white truffle is the most valuable because its very much affected by the weather and the climate in a given season,” says Marco Bassi, co-owner of Done4NY. That’s because white truffles lack an outer shell, leaving them exposed to the elements.

Truffles are rare, in part, because they are nearly impossible to cultivate (recreating the necessary growing conditions is both difficult and costly and it can take years to yield truffles and decades to turn a profit).

They are also hard to find.

Vittorio Giordano, vice president of New York-based Urbani Truffle USA, Inc., which supplies and distributes truffles around the world, says the company has an army of over 18,000 truffle hunters and brokers globally to keep up with demand.

CNBC make it truffles 1  1
The hunters use specially trained dogs to help them in their effort.
Done4NY

The hunters use specially trained dogs to help them in their effort. “A very good dog to a hunter is the most precious thing in the world,” Sparvoli says. “The truffle hunters protect their dog more than their wives.”

And for all that effort, there’s a preciously small return. “Truffle Hunters are not going to find pounds and pounds,” says Giordano. “Each one can find just a few ounces.”

In addition to their rarity, truffles lose about 5 percent of their weight everyday, Girodano says, so they have to be harvested, processed and shipped as quickly as possible.

“In less than 36 hours, we go from under ground to on a restaurant table,” he says.

CNBC make it truffles 3
Urbani Truffle USA has 18,000 truffle hunters and brokers throughout the world.
Beatriz Bajuelos/CNBC Make It

Giordano’s sixth-generation company supplies truffles to 68 countries and thousands of restaurants. In the U.S. they cater to 1,200 restaurants.

During white truffle season in fall and early winter, Urbani supplies about 400 pounds of white truffles to United States each week, with 10 percent sold at retail and 90 percent to restaurants. (He declined to share how many total pounds Urbani ships around the world.) In 2015, an exceptionally good year for white truffles, Giordano says the company sold about 3,000 kilos or 6,614 pounds of white truffles in the U.S. alone.

Done4NY has 200 truffle hunters in Italy and France to help supply its 500 restaurant clients around New York City. This summer, the company imported about 100 pounds of the black summer truffles per week on average. Bassi and Sparvoli say they pick up a new batch of truffles from John F Kennedy International Airport every other day, all year round.

“Purchasing in Italy and France is very tough because we need steady connections. The world of selling is tough because of the competition,” Bassi says.

And it’s not the money-maker you might imagine at these prices, according to Sparvoli: “You would be surprised by how low the margins are for us because they are expensive for everybody” (though she declines to disclose what those margins are).

The good news, Sparvoli says, is that the rainy spring (in Europe) bodes well for this year’s black and white winter truffle season.

“Now we are experiencing high quality and low price, about 35 percent less than last year,” she says. “We don’t have limits on how much we can import this year. The problem is if we can find the clients to buy them.”

Don’t miss: This $76,000 Thanksgiving dinner is the most expensive in America—here’s what you get

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2018/11/26/why-truffles-are-so-expensive.html

Business Insider

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Luxury cousins to the mushroom, truffles are an indulgent food enjoyed across the world. But these fragrant fungi will cost you. For more, visit: https://www.englishtruffles.co.uk/ —————————————————— #Truffles #SoExpensive #BusinessInsider Business Insider tells you all you need to know about business, finance, tech, retail, and more. Visit us at: https://www.businessinsider.com Subscribe: https://www.youtube.com/user/business… BI on Facebook: https://read.bi/2xOcEcj BI on Instagram: https://read.bi/2Q2D29T BI on Twitter: https://read.bi/2xCnzGF BI on Amazon Prime: http://read.bi/PrimeVideo Why Real Truffles Are So Expensive | So Expensive

Salad Vending Machines Are Restaurants, Health Department Decrees

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A Chicago-based food startup called Farmer’s Fridge — which stocks wood-paneled vending machines with fresh salads and the like — must treat its machines as restaurants in miniature, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has determined. Farmer’s Fridge recently shut down all 55 of its machines in New York, which occupy hospitals and office lobbies with a goal to provide fresh food where it might otherwise be hard to come by.

But prepared food and salad greens come with a higher risk of food-borne illness, the department emphasizes. “The Health Department worked with Farmer’s Fridge to be sure their equipment would hold food at safe temperatures, and that foods were properly labeled and from approved sources,” the department told the Times. Farmer’s Fridge says it already takes careful temperature readings and uses software that won’t dispense expired goods. But they cooperated with the regulation effort, and now the company will pay the standard restaurant price of $280 per inspection to receive a letter grade on each machine — though regulators will suspend some conventions, like requirements for a bathroom.

In other news

— A new cafe from actor Waris Ahluwalia, called House of Waris Botanicals, is open for drinks like kombucha, matcha, and coffee, plus unusual teas and drinks like saffron rose golden milk.

— A group of art students has “rescued” a turkey as an “art project,” and now it’s recuperating on the UWS.

— With each passing year, the informal “Friendsgiving” becomes as fraught and time-consuming a ritual as the real, family one, writes Times critic — and no friend to Friendsgiving — Pete Wells.

— Comedian Amy Schumer and chef husband Chris Fischer made Page Six headlines with a big tip “more than double” their bill at Upper West Side restaurant Good Enough to Eat — but assuming they were heavily comped, it doesn’t sound out of the ordinary.

— Jersey City’s Ani Ramen House is getting a location of tucked-away omakase sushi counter chain Sushi by Bou, run by problematic sushi chef David Bouhadana. It opens in December.

Source: http://www.msn.com/en-us/foodanddrink/foodnews/salad-vending-machines-are-restaurants-health-department-decrees/

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Farmer’s Fridge has 120 locations across Chicago and Milwaukee and their fridges are stocked with fresh food every morning. We stopped by a machine in a popular Chicago mall to see what all the hype is about. “You Have To See This” is Fast Company’s latest YouTube series with new episodes every Monday at 11 a.m. Do you have anything in your town that we should check out? Tell us in the comments below. Fast Company is the world’s leading progressive business media brand, with a unique editorial focus on innovation in technology, leadership, and design. Follow us on: https://www.facebook.com/FastCompany/ https://twitter.com/FastCompany https://www.instagram.com/fastcompany/ https://www.linkedin.com/company/fast…

 

 

Javaher Polo Recipe Persian Jeweled Rice 

Morasa Polo or Javaher Polo is one of the most delicious, beautiful, and formal dishes that you can serve in ceremonies. You do not need a lot of time to prepare this dish but you have to use a wide variety of ingredient.

Javaher Polo Recipe with Chicken

Ingredients (for 6 to 7 people):

  • Rice: 5 Cups
  • Chicken Fillet: 500 g
  •  Butter: 150 g
  •  Orange Peel Slices (sweetened): 2 Cups
  •  Pistachio Slices: 1 Cup
  •  Almond Slices: 1 Cup
  •  Barberry: ½ Cup
  •  Brewed Saffron: 2 Tsp.
  •  Onion: 1
  •  Citric Acid: As needed
  •  Oil: As needed
  •  Sugar: 1 Tsp.
  •  Salt and Pepper: As needed

Instructions:

First prepare the rice like a regular Chelo and place it on the stove so it steams.

Meanwhile, in a suitable pan, add some butter and fry the onions in it, stir-fry the chicken fillets and spices and let the chicken cook with some water. Wash the barberries with cold water, and mix them with sugar.

Add a tablespoon of butter in another pan, add the barberry and sauté for a minute. Add the brewed saffron to the barberry as well.

To sweeten the orange peel, boil the slices four times each time for five minutes, pour them in a strainer and place in cold water for one hour. Next, for each cup of orange peel slices, add one cup of sugar and two cups of water.

You need to mix the water and sugar and place them on the heat. When the mix was boiling, add the slices and let them cook for 30 minutes on a gentle heat. Finally add the lime essence and remove it after a few seconds.

When the rice is completely ready and steamed, serve it in a suitable dish with the chicken decorate it with the nut slices, orange peel, and barberries.

Tip: You can soak the pistachio and almond slices in water and sugar so they have a better taste. Also, in the last 10 minute of steaming the rice, you can wrap the nut slices with some butter (separately) in a piece of aluminum foil and place it on the rice so they soften.

javaher polo

Javaher Polo Recipe with Ground Meat

Ingredients (for 4 to 5 people):

  • Rice: 4 Cups
  •  Ground Meat: 250 g
  •  Small Onions: 3
  •  Almond Slices: 4 Tbsp.
  •  Pistachio Slices: 4 Tbsp.
  •  Sour Orange Peel: 2 Tbsp. (sliced)
  •  Barberry: 3 Tbsp.
  •  Raisins: 2 Tbsp.
  •  Brewed Saffron: ½ Cup
  •  Salt, Black Pepper, and Turmeric: As needed
  •  Lime Juice: 1 Tbsp.
  •  Rose Water: 1 Tsp.

Instructions:

First, rinse the rice with water and soak. Then knead the ground meat with the two of the onions (grated) and spices. Form the mix into small meatballs and fry them in a pan with some oil. Then stir them with the remaining onion (diced) until they are golden.

After cooking and draining the rice, add the meatballs and fried onions between layers of rice and let it steam. If you want to have a more formal rice, you need to drain the rice sooner than the usual.

In the meantime, slice the sour orange peel and pour it in water and let them cook for a while. Remember to change the water several times to remove any bitterness completely.

Finally, after changing the water for 3 to 4 times, stir the slices with the lime juice and rose water. If you prefer sweet tastes, we can add a tablespoon of sugar too.

Next, wash the almonds and sauté with the barberry. Stir pistachios with raisins as well.

Finally, serve the rice in the dish and decorate it with a variety of slices and saffron rice. Remember that decorating this dish is very important. Nooshe Jan!

Source: Javaher Polo Recipe – Persian Jeweled Rice | Epersian Food

Related Links: https://www.northjersey.com/videos/entertainment/dining/2019/10/29/jeweled-rice-persian-holiday-dish/2501621001/

 

Why Chicken Wing Consumption Is Taking Flight

Few commodities are as tricky to navigate as chicken wings. After all, there are only two wings available per chicken, so supply is limited.

Our football-induced obsession with wings doesn’t help the supply/demand volatility. Though pricing instability is for restaurant operators to figure out, figure out they must since we consumers hanker for wings year after year after year. That’s especially true this year, with wings servings up 5% from the prior period, according to the NPD Group.

As we transition into November, and into the throes of football season, chicken wings are yet again taking flight. Just take a look at Wingstop as an example. Earlier this week, the company reported a 12.3% increase in same-store sales for Q3, the highest comps in the industry thus far (and by far).

David Portalatin, NPD’s vice president, food industry adviser, said Americans have consumed nearly 1 billion servings of wings this year (942.5 million servings).

There are a few reasons for this growth. The wing category is changing and blurring and innovating in a way that it’s never quite done before. Namely, there are more wing concepts—Wing Zone, Wingstop and Buffalo Wild Wings among them. These players are relatively new compared to some of the legacy brands in the restaurant space, conceived in 1993, 1994 and 1982 respectively (for context, McDonald’s has been around since 1955).

There are also smaller, yet growing, wing concepts, like East Coast-heavy Atomic Wings, Nashville-based The Wing Basket, emerging Epic Wings, college campus staple Wings Over and more. This doesn’t even count the pizza joints, including Domino’s, Pizza Hut and Papa John’s, that have leaned heavily into wings, and KFC, which just added wings to its permanent menu, a rarity in the QSR category. (Notably, McDonald’s Mighty Wings launch in 2013 was an abject failure).

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A growing category combined with innovation (both flavors and cuts) and more accessibility and you’ve got a perfect storm for increased consumption.

“I’ve always believed that there are big, established behaviors in American eating patterns and one of those is that we love wings,” Portalatin said. “When companies in the marketplace do things that are new, innovative, exciting, or there are companies that are building new stores and growing, the consumer responds favorably to that.”

Consumers clearly responded favorably to Wingstop this past quarter. The chain’s same-store sales growth came despite wing prices being up nearly 23% this year. To navigate the commodity headwind, Wingstop launched a national test on whole wings.

“This test is key to our strategy of mitigating the volatility that we see in markets due to the price of bone-in chicken,” CEO Charlie Morrison said during the earnings call. “Overall, we were pleased with what we learned from the test and we’ll use our learnings to continue to find ways that we can leverage purchasing whole birds as a way to mitigate the volatility of wing prices.”

Wing Zone took a similar approach, introducing thigh wings in all of its domestic locations in early August. CEO Matt Friedman said the launch has been successful so far.

We had high expectations on guest feedback and we are seeing 70%-plus success with two key questions: ‘Would you order thigh wings again?’ and ‘Would you recommend thigh wings to someone you know?’ Each week, we are seeing more and more orders, showcasing continued success of the launch,” he said.

Beyond that customer feedback, Friedman said the company is better able to control costs with the new product.

“We started to explore additional chicken items that were unique and lower cost. Traditional wings continue to be in great demand and prices have been higher this year. Wing Zone locked in a fixed price on traditional wings, so that has had a great impact on reducing food cost,” he said. “Chicken thighs, consisting of dark meat, are approximately 50% less than wings. We have been able to reduce our food cost by 2.5% through innovation and increased buying power.”

Friedman adds that Wing Zone’s research shows it is the only wing-themed restaurant to offer a thigh wing.

“I believe this is the most innovative menu item we have launched in our 26-year history. I cannot recall a menu item being in research and development for this period of time,” he said.

Portalatin does question use of the word “innovation” when it comes to these types of approaches, but admits the newness of products like thigh wings will turn on plenty of customers nonetheless.

“It’s the same with boneless wings. Are they truly under the banner of innovation? Maybe it’s not the right word, but the American consumer loves to try new things especially if we’re already familiar with it,” he said. “We love wings. We always have. If you give us new flavors, forms and shapes, we’ll try it.”

He adds that restaurant operators are forced to think beyond the traditional wing because of the supply chain squeeze.

Still, wing innovation extends beyond cost cutting/supply chain opportunities. Chicken is certainly a versatile protein, and wing purveyors have not been shy in experimenting with new, bold flavors accordingly—something more consumers are demanding. Wing Zone currently has 17 flavors, rolling out one or two new flavors each year. The chain plans to launch its newest flavor, Nashville Hot BBQ, in March 2020 to coincide with the NCAA Basketball Tournament.

KFC already has a Nashville Hot offering for its wings, alongside Buffalo and Honey BBQ. Wingstop recently launched limited-time Ancho Honey Glaze and Harissa Lemon Pepper flavors to add to its 11 original flavors.

These aren’t flavors you’d find from a time machine trip back to 1993.

Wings’ popularity can also be attributed to accessibility. Wingstop has generated a significant amount of investor confidence because of its digital prowess. For Q3, digital sales represented 36% of domestic systemwide sales, pushing toward the chain’s goal of “digitizing every transaction.” Most of Wingstop’s transactions (75%) are takeout orders, and the chain continues to ramp up its delivery capability, with 90% of the system expected to offer the channel by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, 80% of Wing Zone’s thigh wing orders are coming from its online channel, Friedman said.

Speaking of accessibility, KFC now delivers its wings and offers a subscription service for its most fervent fans. That subscription service sold out in about two hours, by the way, underscoring the demand for this product. Further, at just over 4,000 domestic units, KFC’s footprint is significantly deeper than any other wing concept (Wingstop has about 1,110), which means this permanent menu addition and the chain’s quick-service model could very well be a game changer for the wing category and its supply.

“Wings have become popular across all restaurant formats, so it doesn’t surprise me that someone in QSR wants to make a play in this space,” Portalatin said. “The competition is already intense and is getting more intense. But it’s a big enough market for a lot of people to play in.”

Of course, such intensity means there could be supply chain challenges down the road. Perhaps that’s why these new cuts and flavors and channels are, indeed, innovative.

“When there are two wings on the bird, the demand for wings outstrips the ability of the supply chain to keep up. Restaurants are forced to innovate in a way that is outside of a straight commodity wing. We’re seeing that diversity now,” Portalatin said. “It will be important for this innovation to continue for the growth to continue.”

I have covered the restaurant industry since 2010 when I was named editor of QSRweb. I later added fast casual and pizza beats to my portfolio as editorial director of foodservice media. This coverage spanned the gamut of topics that make up the foodservice space, from marketing and customer service, to the supply chain and display technology. My work has been featured in publications around the world, including NPR, Bloomberg, The Seattle Times, Crain’s Chicago, Good Morning America and Franchise Asia Magazine. I continue to serve as a contributor for many publications, including QSRweb, Food Dive, Innovation Leader and the Digital Signage Federation.

Source: Why Chicken Wing Consumption Is Taking Flight

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