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Health Packaged Food Science What's New

Hormel’s Newest Meat Products Are Designed For Those With Swallowing Disorders

For those with a form of dysphagia, or swallowing disorder, it can be very difficult to eat various forms of foods, especially meat. Hormel’s Health Labs has come up with a solution specifically for meat, developing a line of ready-to-go meats that are designed for those with forms of dysphagia.

Photo courtesy of Hormel Health Labs

To prepare meat for those with dysphagia, it has to be ground to a certain size and consistency for safety and comfort reasons. The meat products that Hormel Health Labs just developed were made in accordance with the International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative (IDDSI). These meat products are suitable for IDDSI level 5 (“Minced and Moist,” about 4mm in size, the standard size of chewed food particles) and level 6 (“Soft and Bite-Sized,” about 15 mm in size, small enough to prevent asphyxiation should food accidentally get in someone’s airway).

Hormel’s products fit within these standards, but are also meant to be a quick and easy way to prepare tasty meals for those with swallowing disorders. Considering that most meals for those with dysphagia tend to be poor in “quality of life” standards, these could signify a marked improvement in enjoying food when it comes to meals.

You can purchase these in turkey, chicken, pork, and beef varieties. They are available in resealable packaging, and can be portioned out to cook in the microwave or on a stovetop. Buying these requires getting in contact with a sales rep for Hormel Health Labs, which can be done at the above link.

Categories
Drinks Fast Food What's New

Dunkin’ Is Testing Boba In Iced Tea And Coffee Forms

Boba and milk tea have become wildly popular across the entire United States. Chains featuring the drink and tapioca balls have popped up at locations just about everywhere, and there’s even creative versions like creme brûlée topped boba that have captivated the country.

In a sign that big brands are really starting to look at the popular beverage topping, Dunkin’ has begun testing a couple of drinks that contain boba on the East Coast.

Dunkin’ boba images courtesy of Dunkin’. Background image taken by Joan Oger // Unsplash

Available now through mid-August, according to Mass Live, two variations are being served: Bubble Iced Coffee, and Bubble Iced Tea. Dunkin’ confirmed to Foodbeast that these are made with brown sugar-flavored syrup, and the boba are brown sugar-flavored as well.

Dunkin’s description of the drinks are as follows: “Dunkin’s signature beverages are sweetened with brown sugar syrup and new brown sugar-flavored bubbles for delicious sweetness you both can sip and chew. Both tasty new beverages are served with a special, extra-wide Bubble paper straw.”

The drinks are part of a larger batch of different beverages being tested across the Northeast. Dunkin’s take on boba is offered at five locations in New York, as well as five locations in Massachusetts. Those locations can be found below:

4 Harding Ave.LudlowMA, 01056
112 N. Genesee St.UticaNY, 13502
1701 Black River Blvd. NRomeNY, 13440
751 Meadow St.ChicopeeMA, 01013
55 Maple St.East LongmeadowMA, 01028
694 Page Blvd.SpringfieldMA, 01104
1155 Erie Blvd., WRomeNY, 13440
81 Oriskany Blvd.WhitesboroNY, 13492
9221 River Rd.MarcyNY, 13403
568 Belmont Ave.SpringfieldMA, 01108

Dunkin’ is not the first major American chain to have sold boba in the US, as Panda Express has had it at their Tea Bar locations for a while now. However, this is the first time a major fast food chain is offering the drinks out of one of their regular locations.

Categories
Fast Food

Taco Bell’s Grilled Cheese Burrito Officially Launches Nationwide

In late 2019, Taco Bell tested a Grilled Cheese Burrito, which consisted of a burrito wrapped in a shell of crispy, melted cheese. That test appears to have done well, as the burrito has now made its way onto menus nationwide.

Photo courtesy of Taco Bell

The cheese-crusted burrito is filled with rice, red crispy strips, a three cheese blend, reduced fat sour cream, chipotle sauce, and a choice of seasoned beef or beans.

Photo courtesy of Taco Bell

Taco Bell’s newest item may be inspired by the cheese-crusted breakfast burritos of Los Angeles, where spots like Burrito Bomba and Low Key Burritos have taken over social media for their own cheese-crusted renditions.

Photo courtesy of Taco Bell

Grilled Cheese Burritos will be available for a limited time. They’ll be sold on their own for $2.99 each or as part of a $5 box that includes Cinnamon Twists, a crunchy taco, and a medium soda drink.

Categories
Drinks Fast Food What's New

Del Taco Is First Major Fast Food Chain To Add Popping Boba To Their Menu

Popping boba, encapsulated pearls that burst when you bite into them, have yet to make it onto the menus of major fast food chains in America. While they’ve become popular at froyo shops — the concept of boba and its popularity have been a thing for a while now — it has yet to penetrate the biggest chains in food.

Photo courtesy of Del Taco

That all changed with Del Taco’s most recent introduction, Sprite Poppers. Made with popping boba topped over Sprite and ice, the new drinks mark the first time a major fast food chain has added the unique topping to their menu.

Del Taco’s offer consists of two flavors, mango or cherry popping boba, that are piled on top of the iced beverage. The drinks cost $1.29 each, roughly the same price as a small soft drink.

For those curious, popping boba is typically made by encapsulating a liquid, such as juice or flavored syrup, within a “shell” made from a calcium solution and sodium alginate, which is a gelling protein found in seaweed. It’s the reaction between the calcium and alginate protein that leads to the gel-like capsules to form.

They’re typically difficult to make at scale, making Del Taco’s addition of these drinks noteworthy. Whether it leads to more popping boba drinks coming to fast food, or even the addition of real boba itself, remains to be seen.

Del Taco’s Sprite Poppers will be available for a limited time.

Categories
Kitchen Gadgets What's New

MAC ON TAP: Stouffer’s Unveils Mac & Cheese Tap Pour Prototype

At bars and convenience stores alike, you can find some interesting things on tap beyond beer and wine. Kombucha, nacho cheese, and chili are just some of the dispensers out there today.

Stouffer’s has made an addition to that lineup of out-there food dispensing gadgets with a tap that pours mac & cheese on anything you can imagine.

The gadget appears to be in its final phases of testing and perfecting, but Stouffer’s has built one out that they’re ready to share with the masses. How they manage to get the pressure to dispense creamy, rich mac and cheese, I don’t know, but to be able to pour out something that viscous from a dispenser is quite impressive.

Stouffer’s has yet to announce where they will be rolling this device out at, instead calling on folks to let them know on social media where they should set one of these mac and cheese “taps” up at.

This is still a prototype that hasn’t been fully unveiled, so we don’t know exactly how viable it is yet. However, if it lives up to the hype, hopefully there’s an eventual at-home purchase option too. I could see myself smothering many a food item with some custom mac if possible.

Categories
Restaurants

Chuck E. Cheese Files For Bankruptcy In Hopes To Survive The Pandemic

After early reports from the Wall Street Journal that Chuck E. Cheese was looking to file for bankruptcy, the entertainment and restaurant chain has officially done so.

Photo: Mike Mozart on Flickr

A press release from CEC Entertainment, Inc., the parent company to the beloved chain, announced the entry into Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. It hopes that in doing so, the company can restructure itself to survive the economic hit that the pandemic has levied.

Chuck E. Cheese had been doing okay before the pandemic, as AP reports that store sales went up 3% during 2019. However, the strain of staying closed during the pandemic was a tough pill to swallow for both Chuck E. Cheese and the restaurant industry in general.

Chuck E. Cheese had begun to reopen locations that were closed due to coronavirus, with 266 currently open and more to follow in the coming weeks. It’s hoped that these locations, plus the others Chuck E. Cheese plans to reopen, will stay that way throughout the bankruptcy process.

Franchised locations of Chuck E. Cheese aren’t affected by the bankruptcy filing.

Chapter 11 bankruptcy allows Chuck E. Cheese to keep running operations while restructuring its organization and financial model to get back on its feet. However, part of the bankruptcy plan, which is approved by a court, may include liquidating some of the company’s assets. This may mean that stores will close in the future, but it’s possible that won’t be the case.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Chuck E. Cheese was looking for up to $200 million in loans to stay afloat earlier in the month, which may be enough to restructure and prevent store closures. We won’t know if that’s the case for sure, however, until the bankruptcy court approves a final plan that allows Chuck E. Cheese to emerge from bankruptcy.

The hope is, though, that Chuck E. Cheese won’t have to go the way of Souplantation, who closed all of their locations and began liquidating all of their assets earlier this year.

Categories
Alcohol Drinks What's New

Jack Daniel’s Canned Cocktails Are Here To Make Summer Refreshing

Jack Daniel’s is kicking off summer by launching a new line of canned cocktails in markets across the entire country.

Image courtesy of Jack Daniel’s

Earlier this month, Jack Daniel’s announced the release of these new cocktails, but has since updated their announcement to say the new mixed beverages are now available in stores.

There are three varieties of the new Canned Cocktails lineup, each with about the same alcoholic strength as a light beer (5-7% ABV). The drinks cater to classic flavors like Whiskey & Cola, Whiskey & Seltzer, and Whisky, Honey, & Lemonade. Super bummed there’s not an Old Fashioned variety, but these sound refreshing too.

For those looking for a low-carb option for canned drinks, the Whiskey & Seltzer variety has 0 grams of carbohydrates and checks in at 97 calories per can.

Jack Daniel’s just announced that the cans have hit select stores in many markets in the US, including California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin.

Those looking for an easy option for pre-made cocktails that include whisky should find these easy to cool and then whip out any time they want to kick back.

Other markets and stores will continue to receive the mixed drinks as they roll out across the country throughout the summer. As they do, you best believe that a six-pack of that lemonade variety is going to end up in my fridge.

Categories
Celebrity Grub Restaurants

The Story Behind Ja Rule’s Comically Bad Greek Restaurant Commercial

Ja Rule image adapted from WebSummit on Flickr.

Recently, a video featuring rapper Ja Rule advertising for a Greek restaurant has made its way around the internet. The video, which has garnered over 3 million views on Twitter to date, shows Ja Rule going off for one of his favorite local restaurants, Papa Cristo’s.

For those unaware, Papa Cristo’s is a marketplace and a restaurant that’s been at the heart of the Greek community in Los Angeles for over 70 years. The owner, Chrys Chrys, is a local legend that fires up lamb chops, grilled octopus, and many other Greek specialties hard to find at most other restaurants.

While the viral video itself is mostly getting ripped by Twitter users for the editing (Ja Rule dancing in front of a green screen and slapping the owner’s head on some stock footage), the story behind it is actually pretty intriguing. Foodbeast reached out to Papa Cristo’s to learn more about the video and found that it was part of both a TV show and just general support Ja Rule wanted to give.

According to Papa Cristo’s, Ja Rule created the segment for something called “Pitch Perfect,” a show he created as part of TBS’s “Celebrity Showoff” series. Ja Rule and Chrys chat for a while before coming up with the ad, which the rapper hopes to use to bring light to Papa Cristo’s as well as supporting local restaurants in general.

The full clip will air on June 23rd on TBS, but you can view part of the show in the video above. Papa Cristo’s also mentioned that Ja Rule is helping to raise money for No Kid Hungry alongside supporting family-run local spots.