Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Food Waste in America



Blink:
I recently went on a Mid-Atlantic road trip.  As a result, I ate three morning meals (what I described back in February as Fastbreak), one at a conference, two at hotels.  I was appalled by how much food waste I witnessed.  Folks, we have to stop wasting our food!                                                                                                               
Read On:
It truly amazes me how much food we waste in the morning, especially when breakfast is served buffet style.  I would like to share one key statistic about food waste in America:

Approximately 40 percent of all food, worth an estimated $165 billion is wasted. 
(Source:  National Defense Council – 2012)

There are a multitude of reasons food waste is a major issue we need to address:

1.    Lost resources, annually 25% of all freshwater and 300 million barrels of oil that is utilized to produce food wasted.

2.     Food waste is a major component of landfills responsible for 135 million tons of greenhouse gases (methane) annually.

The one statistic that troubles me the most that we tend to overlook is that approximately 14.5 percent (17.6 million) of U.S. Households experience food insecurity – households that are uncertain or have difficulty acquiring enough food to meet the needs of all their members because they have insufficient money or other resources for food.  One solution: Let’s start the conversation about food waste among family, friends, work peers, etc.  For example, on my trip I observed a teenager eating breakfast with his mother.  She was busy reading her newspaper; he was busy on his iPhone.  When they left, I estimated that more than 50% of what he ordered was left on his plate.  New Yorker writer Adam Kopnik once said it best: “Parents teach, institutions instruct.”  Let’s start the conversation at home.

Folks, stop wasting your food!


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Frankenfood



Blink:
Last week I wrote about hybrid marketing.  Today, given I am in the food business, I thought it would be a good time to post a new trend, hybrid food, also referred to as Frankenfood
                                                                                                                    
Read On:
I found the word Frankenfood in Urban Dictionary, an online dictionary that was originally established back in 1999 that primarily defines cultural slang (words or phrases) not typically found in standard dictionaries.  Urban Dictionary defines Frankenfood as “revolutionary culinary creations that mash up original and unexpected food combinations and ingredients, resulting in delicious dishes or awful misses.”  Some Frankenfood that have made headlines this past year you might be familiar with are Cronuts, ramen burgers, Mac & cheese burgers and dessert pizzas.  Back in April, Oreo launched a marketing movement called Snack Hacks challenging celebrity chefs/food innovators to develop new ways for consumers to enjoy their product.  Consequently the term “food hacking” was born.

Is hybrid food a passing fad or future trend?  Based on what I have read and observed, especially with the increased popularity of food trucks in America, hybrid food (a.k.a. Frankenfood) and food hacking is part of our overall new food culture.  Recently I read an article on The Salt, NPR’s online food news feed about artisanal ramen noodles.  Instant ramen has become a college staple for either quick fuel or a snack/budget meal (approximately 30 cents per package).  Now students are getting creative and hacking culinary creations like ramen noodle grilled cheese sandwiches, ramen frittatas filled with bacon, cheese and tomatoes, ramen used in lieu of a bowl for ice cream smothered in chocolate syrup, etc.

Have you experienced a Frankenfood surprise creation yet?