Categories
Packaged Food Sweets

An Entire Box Of Cheez-Its Is Crammed Into The Brand’s Official 100-Year Cake

Photo courtesy of Cheez-It

Cheez-It is celebrating their 100th birthday this year, and went both big and bold when it came to how they’re sharing the festivities with everyone.

They teamed up with celebrity chef Stephanie Izard to create a birthday cake that has an entire box of Cheez-Its crammed inside. The crackers are ground into the flour used to make the cake batter, crumbled into a shortbread that goes in between each cake layer, and dipped in chocolate for a sweet and salty topping.

The actual flavor of the cake draws some inspiration from Garret popcorn mix, with swirls of caramel imbued throughout to balance the strength of the cheesy crackers’ aroma.

Anyone interested in the cake has some limited opportunities to score one, as they’ll be sold on Goldbelly from May 17th – May 20th. Each day, a limited number of Cheez-It Cakes will go on sale at 12 pm EDT, and are available on a first come, first serve basis.

Categories
Grocery Packaged Food

Lay’s Newest Summer Chips Include A Chile Mango Flavor

Photo courtesy of Lay’s

Lay’s is introducing a trio of new potato chip flavors to kick off the 2021 summer season, and they’re continuing the pattern of chile mango flavors we’re seeing from big brands this year.

Following the launch of a Mangonada at Baskin Robbins, Lay’s is doing their own spicy, fruity variety with a bag of Chile Mango chips. There’s not much other detail on the spice blend, but while Tajin was at the core of Baskin Robbins’ collab, they appear to be sitting this one out.

The other flavors that Lay’s is bringing to the table this summer include Wavy Jerk Chicken and a Summer BLT. The Jerk Chicken version promises “spicy, sweet, and smoky jerk flavor,” while the Summer BLT chip has lettuce, tomato, and bacon seasoning on it.

All three flavors are limited-edition batches for the summer, and are launching this week across grocery stores nationwide.

While the Chile Mango calls our name the loudest, and shows evidence of a budding flavor in the big food game, the other flavors are equally enticing.

Categories
Restaurants Video

The Pasta Lab Cranking Out Creative Classics Like UBE Mac & Cheese

Fresh made pasta is one of the world’s tastiest comforts, especially when put into a creamy, cheesy sauce that gets the serotonin spiking.

There’s many variations on mac and cheese and similar pasta dishes out in the wild. What makes the Ube Mac and Cheese from Orange County’s Pvsta Lab stand out, however, is their fresh made ube pasta with a striking violet hue.

It’s not something you expect to see every day when it comes to fresh pasta, but Pvsta Lab has this on rotation daily as part of its more unique offerings. With hints of ube coming through in the flavor as well, this is a bowl of comfort with a difference both in taste and on visuals.

Pvsta Lab also creates different unique dishes like a blend of chicken katsu and chicken Parmesan, plus other twists that might be on the menu depending on the day. What else they might be adding to pasta in the future is anyone’s guess.

You can check out the full story on Pvsta Lab and their one-of-a-kind Ube Mac in the Foodbeast video located at the top of this story.

Categories
Health Science

Study Finds That US Schools Have The Most Nutritious Food Amongst Places We Buy From

Photo: Africa Studio // Shutterstock

We get our food from a whole lot of different places, whether it be grocery stores, ordering from restaurants, or at work.

Turns out that where we get our food from has some correlation to the nutritional quality of those meals, and the ones with the highest quality actually come from schools.

A recently published study from Tufts University that looked at nutrition data patterns found that from 2003-2018, school meal quality rose to the point that they were our most nutritious food source (2018 is the most recent year that national data for this is available).

Just under a fourth (24%) of the meals consumed at schools were of poor nutritional quality by 2018. In order from lowest to highest percentage of badly balanced meals, the next best food sources were grocery stores (45%), entertainment venues/food trucks (52%), and restaurants (80%).

It should be noted that the above numbers were in terms of meals served to kids. For adults, meals consumed at schools were not evaluated, but the most nutritious food source was grocery stores (33%), followed by food trucks/entertainment (45%), work sites (51%), and restaurants (65%).

A press release from Tufts University attributed the high quality of school meals to the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, which created new standards for school and early child care nutrition. The policy contributed to a 33% drop in proportion of poor quality meals served at schools over the last 13 years.

The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act also resulted in highly equitable changes across the board, with the nutritional improvements coming from school meals being on par across ethnicity, education, and household income.

In contrast, other food sources had “significant disparities” when it came to improvements in quality across these different demographics.

While it’s great that we know where the most nutritious food can come from, it should be noted that just nine percent of all calories consumed by children in that time period came from schools. With the COVID-19 pandemic raging on, it’s likely that number has even been lower in more recent years.

The study overall found that across the United States, all major food sources could improve on the nutritional quality of their meals, and special attention needs to be given to the equity of how the food is bettered.

Categories
Fast Food Plant-Based Sustainability

Taco Bell Tests New ‘Cravetarian’ Plant-Based Protein Option

While Taco Bell has some upcoming plans with Beyond Meat, that hasn’t stopped them from trying to make their own plant-based proteins.

Through April 29th, the chain is testing a “Cravetarian” ground beef substitute that’s made from a blend of pea and chickpea protein. It’s served up just like a classic Taco Supreme, with sour cream, lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese.

According to a release from Taco Bell, this taco contains 10 less calories than a standard Taco Supreme (180 vs 190), but no other nutritional or sustainability benefits are noted. Since this is just a test, were this to go nationwide, we would be likely to get more specific info.

Taco Bell has dabbled in proprietary plant-based substitutes in the past, including an “Oatrageous Taco” in parts of Europe. However, this represents part of a broader initiative where the chain is going all in on having more sustainable options.

Foodbeast was able to try the Cravetarian Taco ahead of its test launch, and found it difficult to differentiate from a standard Supreme Taco. Flavor and texture wise, things are there, and the spices do a decent job of masking any potential taste that the pea or chickpea might provide. Overall, it’s a solid option for vegetarians and non-vegetarians that’s meant as more of an environmental statement than a health food.

Taco Bell’s Cravetarian Taco will be available through April 29th at a single location (14042 Red Hill Avenue, Tustin, California) in Orange County. The individual taco costs $2.19, but you can also swap it into other items for no extra cost.

Categories
Fast Food Sustainability

Taco Bell Is Launching Program To Recycle Their Sauce Packets This Year

Photo courtesy of Taco Bell

In one of its biggest efforts to date to be more climate-friendly, Taco Bell has found a way to make all of its sauce packets recyclable. This could potentially take billions of pieces of plastic out of landfills annually.

For context, Taco Bell claims that 8.2 billion sauce packets are used in the United States each year. All of these pieces of plastic are currently not recyclable, and the taco titan doesn’t plan on switching materials.

However, a new partnership with recycling company TerraCycle will help convert the sauce packets. TerraCycle, which runs the Loop recycling service many global brands subscribe to, specializes in taking materials that normally aren’t recyclable and converting them into hard plastic.

Taco Bell and TerraCycle will launch the pilot program for their sauce packets later this year, and consumers will be able to participate in a yet-to-be announced method that will include free shipping. The hope is that this will help convert all of the chain’s sauce packet plastic waste by 2025, a long-term goal for Taco Bell.

Categories
Celebrity Grub Fast Food

McDonald’s New BTS Meal Collab Launches Two New Dipping Sauces In The US

Photos courtesy of McDonald’s

McDonald’s is going for some of music’s biggest names when it comes to celebrity meal collabs. After teaming up with Travis Scott and J Balvin, the golden arched fast food empire is now getting the pop group BTS to join in the custom meal fun.

The K-Pop ensemble’s order, which will roll out globally, consists of a 10-piece Chicken McNuggets, a medium fries, medium Coke, and two types of dipping sauces: Sweet Chili and Cajun.

In the United States, sweet chili and Cajun flavors have never been available at McDonald’s locations before. Though they’re sure to be welcome additions to the chain’s lineup of spicy nuggets and sauces, especially with the longstanding popularity of spicy fried chicken.

Photo courtesy of McDonald’s

The BTS Meal will be available in 50 different global markets, with rollout beginning on May 26th in the United States (and several other countries) and finishing in Indonesia on June 25th.

McDonald’s has also teased other aspects to this collab, hinting that more will be revealed on social media soon.

Categories
Health Science

USA Set To Add Sesame As 9th Major Allergen Requiring Labeling

Photo: Shawn Hempel // Shutterstock

The United States currently requires foods that contain eight different major allergens to be labeled with a warning for those who may react to them. These include tree nuts, peanuts, soy, wheat, milk/dairy, fish, shellfish, and eggs.

Soon, the country will also be adding sesame, the ninth most allergenic food source in the United States, as the ninth major allergen to require those warnings.

Sesame’s updated status comes with passage of the Food Allergy Safety, Treatment, Education, and Research (FASTER) Act in the U.S. House of Representatives on April 14th. The Senate already passed the bill back in March, meaning it now heads to President Biden’s desk. According to Allergic Living, the President is expected to sign the legislation into law.

The USA is not the first country to add sesame as an allergen, as the EU, Australia/New Zealand, and several other countries already do so. However, this represents a major step forward in getting more awareness around these lesser known food allergens and making sure consumers are aware if a product contains something they could react to.

As part of the FASTER Act legislation, the FDA will also begin developing and implementing a risk-based model for establishing other food allergens that may also be labeled in the future. Some of the other common food sources this might pertain to in the future would be celery, mustard, or sulfites.

The Secretary of Health and Human Service has 18 months to work on this, as well as reporting on potential therapeutics that could treat allergens and ways to help prevent their onset.

Congress’s passing of the FASTER Act marks some of the biggest food safety legislation enacted since 2011, when President Barack Obama signed the Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA) into law.