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Fast Food What's New

Carl’s Jr. Adds Breakfast-Heavy PRIME RIB Menu To Their Lineup

Photo courtesy of Carl’s Jr.

Prime rib normally isn’t a meat option you would consider at a fast food chain. The only major chains that have had it on the menu in their past are Arby’s, Quiznos, and Boston Market.

Carl’s Jr. has decided to join that list with their own take on the roast meat. That spin involves a heavy blending of prime rib and breakfast foods.

This includes the above Prime Rib Breakfast Burrito, which takes slow cooked prime rib and wraps it up with eggs, salsa, and cheese. At Hardee’s, the sister chain to Carl’s Jr., salsa is not included in the burrito.

Photo courtesy of Carl’s Jr.

The other breakfast offering Carl’s Jr. is putting prime rib on is a breakfast biscuit, which gets Swiss cheese and a fried egg loaded on top. Hardee’s has an identical version on their menu as well.

Photo courtesy of Carl’s Jr.

Outside of the breakfast offerings, Carl’s and Hardee’s are also putting a Prime Rib Thickburger on their menu. Prime rib and a beef patty are joined by caramelized onions and cheddar sauce in this loaded hybrid.

All of the prime rib is cooked sous vide, a method you normally wouldn’t associate with fast food. However, it does ensure a tender and even cooking to an entire cut of beef, and should translate into what Carl’s and Hardee’s are offering.

The entire prime rib menu, including the breakfast options, are available for a limited time.

Categories
Food Policy Packaged Food

Uncle Ben’s Is No More: Brand Name Will Be ‘Ben’s Original’ Starting In 2021

Photo courtesy of Mars, Inc. Background by David Tonelson // Shutterstock

In the past few months, products like Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben’s, whose branding is based on racial stereotypes, have pledged to change their imagery and logos. Mars, the parent company to Uncle Ben’s, is now giving us a preview of what that will look like for the rice brand.

The products will now go under the name “Ben’s Original,” and will be used to attempt to “create a more inclusive future,” according to a press release. While the orange and blue colors will stay the same, the imagery on the packages, as well as the name, are officially retired.

“We understand the inequities that were associated with the name and face of the previous brand, and as we announced in June, we have committed to change,” said Fiona Dawson, Global President of Mars Food, Multisales and Global Customers, said in the press release.

Mars isn’t just changing its packaging in response to the current global Black Lives Matter protests. The company has also partnered its new brand with the National Urban League to create a scholarship fund for aspiring black chefs. They will also work together to support other underserved communities globally.

One of those communities is in the hometown of Ben’s Original, Greenville, Mississippi. Mars is pledging to invest in the local community by increasing food accessibility and security while enhancing educational opportunities for students in the area.

As for the rice products themselves, they will have the new packaging and brand name starting in 2021 as Uncle Ben’s branding is phased off of shelves.

Categories
Food Policy Grocery Health Packaged Food Science Sweets

Berkeley Passes ‘Healthy Checkout’ Bill, Clearing Junk Food From Checkout Aisles

Photo: David Tonelson // Shutterstock

The checkout aisle of grocery stores isn’t home to just a cash register; there’s also a variety of candies, chips, and sweets you can pick up. This front of store promotion is often where kids of all ages can get their sugar cravings satisfied, but also helps push and market junk food products.

If you could change the products available in the checkout aisle to be less caloric and sugar-laden, it might have an effect in helping combat obesity. The city of Berkeley is willing to give that a shot, as they became the first city to pass a “healthy checkout” bill.

The new law, as reported by the San Jose Mercury News, applies to grocery stores larger than 2,500 square feet. It restricts products available at the checkout stands to those with no more than 5 grams of added sugar or less than 250 milligrams of sodium per serving.

Junk food itself isn’t banned in these stores, and could be found in the regular candy, chips, or snacks sections. This law just takes that prime product placement section and has stores give better-for-you options a shot in that area.

Policymakers hope that the new ordinance helps redefine what “treating yourself” means when picking up convenient snacks on the way out of the store. Replacing candy bars and the like with better-for-you snack bars, fruits, nuts, and more could help encourage healthier snacking habits.

Berkeley is known for establishing precedent for laws involving nutrition and sustainability that get passed elsewhere. Their 2014 soda tax, for example, has led to similar actions in other parts of the United States.

How this law will change snacking habits, and whether it catches on nationwide, will be seen when it goes into effect in March 2021. Enforcement via health inspections will begin in 2022.

Categories
Food Festivals Restaurants

New ‘Resy Drive Thru’ Experience Shows How Food Festivals Could Operate In COVID

Photo courtesy of Resy

Food festivals haven’t exactly been a thing since the COVID pandemic hit, as having a ton of people in an area clamoring for food has been a tough challenge. A new collab event between Resy and American Express, however, could provide blueprints on how to run them during a pandemic.

The “Resy Drive Thru” experience, happening in Los Angeles on October 15th and 16th, will have guests go through a driving tour of some of Los Angeles’s best restaurants. At each stop, they will be served a course inside of their car and then guided to the next one by a socially distanced waiter.

Restaurants featured in the experience include L.A. favorites Chi Spacca, Night + Market, Jon & Vinny’s, LASA, and Trap Kitchen. Other restaurant stars in the mix include Konbi, Gwen, Alta Adams, and a dish from chef Nyesha Arrington. Majordomo and Kismet will also provide special items.

The event is going to a good cause, as Resy and American Express will team up afterwards to make a donation to World Central Kitchen. However, it will also serve as a strong example of how one could get multiple restaurants to come together and serve food in a festival-like setting during a pandemic.

Tickets for the Resy Drive Thru go on sale for the general public on September 30th (American Express card holders can buy them 2 days earlier). They can be bought individually or as a group, although group ticket holders must all arrive and travel in the same vehicle throughout the event.

Categories
Grocery Packaged Food Sweets

Reese’s Is Stuffing Their Peanut Butter Cups With PRETZELS

Photo courtesy of Reese’s

Earlier in September, news articles began to pop up letting people know that a Reese’s Potato Chip cup was coming soon.

This appears to have been part of a strategic “leak” by Reese’s, who let people know the wrong cup was coming. They are mixing sweet and salty together, but instead of chips, its pretzels.

Photo courtesy of Reese’s

The new variety adds pieces of crunchy, salty pretzels to the peanut butter, creating sweet with a blend of saltiness and nuttiness added to its flavor.

Reese’s with pretzels inside are joining the permanent lineup of flavors for the iconic snack. They’ll be available in a regular and King size variety starting in November 2020 at retailers nationwide.

After the regular cups launch in November, Reese’s will eventually release a pack of miniature pretzel-stuffed cups in January 2021.

For those bummed out that potato chips weren’t the actual flavor being announced, Reese’s is actually going to make that available too. They won’t be launched, however, until March 2021, and it will be a limited-time offering.

Categories
Alcohol Beer Restaurants

Cracker Barrel Is Adding Alcohol To Its Menus Nationwide

Photo courtesy of Cracker Barrel

Cracker Barrel is known as a country family restaurant chain, with old school American dishes gracing the menu. As a pretty conservative establishment, it hasn’t had alcohol on the menu in its 51 years in service.

Starting this year, however, the chain has decided to give booze a shot, and is adding beer, wine, and mimosas to roughly 600 of its restaurants nationwide.

Photo courtesy of Cracker Barrel

Cracker Barrel has been testing the alcoholic options at 100 locations recently, following feedback from its customers that they would love to have adult drinks on the menu. So far, the program has had convincing results, influencing Cracker Barrel to expand the program to most of its 660 locations.

These options include to-go mimosa kits, according to CNN, as well as a selection of beer and wine. Mimosas have also been popular with breakfast and lunch guests, so they’ll be available in the restaurant as well.

Cracker Barrel plans to have alcohol available in 600 locations by July 2021, and also looks to expand their current options to include other boozy choices. We’ll have to see what that exactly includes as time goes.

Categories
Packaged Food Sweets

New Kit Kat ‘Flavor Club’ Lets Members Try Upcoming Flavors Early

Last year, Kit Kat USA announced that it was going to be introducing a variety of new flavors in the near future. Now, it’s giving people who want that exclusive first taste a chance to get it as part of a new “flavor club.”

Photo courtesy of Kit Kat

The club is limited to only 200 people, but entry gets you firsthand looks at some of the new flavors hitting shelves over the next few months. This includes the mocha and chocolate Kit Kat Duos the company previously announced, and are set to arrive in stores this November.

As part of the club, you’ll receive packages in October 2020, early 2021, and late spring of 2021, each featuring a flavor in development and some Kit Kat swag. They’ll arrive on your doorstep, making it easy to obtain during the COVID pandemic.

Kit Kat’s benefit from this marketing tactic is the chance to get free feedback on upcoming concepts. It also generates early hype for to-be-announced flavors, as folks who get the packages are sure to let people know on social media what’s coming.

Because there’s so few spots available in this “flavor club,” Kit Kat is giving away the spots for free as part of a sweepstakes. Entries are now open at this link, and will close at 11:59 PM Eastern on September 29th.

Categories
Fast Food What's New

Einstein Bros. Just Created Bagels Made Entirely Of Eggs

Photo courtesy of Einstein Bros., background from Dana DeVolk // Unsplash

While sous vide egg bites have taken the breakfast world by storm in recent years, bagel chain Einstein Bros. has taken the concept a step further and made entire bagels out of the eggs.

Their new “Eggels” are marketed as a gluten-free alternative to bagels, and are prepared the same way as a sous vide egg bite you might find in a grocery store or Starbucks. The big difference is obviously the size and shape of the fluffy eggs.

Einstein Bros. is releasing their Eggels in two different flavors: a Three Meat and Cheese Eggel with bacon, turkey sausage and ham, and a Veggie Egg White variety loaded with bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, portobello mushrooms, and spinach.

It’ll be intriguing to see how well the egg bagels hold together, considering how light sous vide eggs can be when cooked. I’m also tempted to split one in half and schmear it in cream cheese, just like a regular bagel, to see how that turns out.

You can now find these Eggels at Einstein Bros. locations nationwide, excluding those in airports, universities, and hotels.