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Fast Food News Restaurants What's New

Shake Shack Reveals Some Tasty New Plans for 2017

Shake Shack has a whole host of changes set for us in 2017.

According to Eater, the restaurant chain is adding on a host of new limited-time offers, two of which are themed around BBQ. The “Barbecue Shackmeister” Burger will be served with barbecue sauce and beer-marinated shallots, adding a sweet, tangy, and punched-up flavor to the Shake Shack staple.

There will also be a Barbecue Chick’n Shack Sandwich, consisting of barbecue sauce on top of fried chicken on a bun. After the success of their Chick’n Shack, this is just one of several chicken sandwiches that Shake Shack plans to add on the menu in the future.

Both of these sandwiches will be available in the first quarter of next year, and come with price tags of $6.89 each.

On top of these barbecuey creations, Shake Shack will also be looking to expand its breakfast program, grow mobile ordering, and add new varieties of limited-edition shakes to the menu.

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Photo: The Kitchen

With all of these new changes, we can’t wait to see all of the new chicken sandwiches, shakes, and other options coming to Shake Shack in the near future.

 

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Health Hit-Or-Miss News Opinion

How Donald Trump’s Presidency Will Affect Your Food

With the dust mostly settled following one of the most divisive Presidential elections in American history, we have our new president-elect: Republican nominee Donald Trump.

Reactions have already sprung up all across the world over what this means for America. Some of these reactions have considered the potential future for the food industry. We’ve taken a look at articles from the Wall Street Journal, Eater, and others to figure out what president-elect Trump’s plans outline for the future of your food.

 

The Cost of Food Will Likely Increase

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Photo: Publish Your Articles

Under Donald Trump, America is likely to see a continual increase in food prices – and not one that just results from inflation.

Trump’s policy to close the Mexican border would definitely increase food cost. Eater reported a study on economic effects of closing the border that would lead to massive drops in production of produce and meat.

Closing the border would also lead to an increase in wages that would see revenues for farmers drop as low as 40 percent, pushing the cost of food up 5 or 6 percent while decreasing the supply of fresh produce in markets.

Donald Trump’s additional plans to reduce SNAP funding, as reported by Food Revolution, would also increase the cost of food for Americans currently on SNAP and render fresh produce basically unaffordable for SNAP users.

Considering that many areas in America already lack access to fresh produce and are trapped in “food deserts,” this could present a major problem for nutritional and health quality in many lower-income areas of the United States.

 

Food May Become Less Safe and More Susceptible to Fraud.

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A tax plan released a couple of months ago by the Trump Campaign included a plan to slash the power of the “FDA Food Police”, as the campaign called it. Guidelines by the FDA on the planting, hygiene, production, and processing of food would be harshly limited.

These guidelines are intended to ensure the safety of food – fresh or processed – being sold to consumers. Without these guidelines, food-borne illness is more likely to develop as the ability to measure food safety would diminish with funding decreases.

Decreasing the FDA’s power would not only make food less safe – it would also make it more susceptible to fraud. With Trump’s policies imposing limits on facility inspections (where only 5-6% of facilities are currently inspected annually), food facilities would find it easier to adulterate foods with cheaper substitutes for lower cost.

 

GMO Labeling Efforts Will Likely Fail 

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Donald Trump has confirmed via Twitter that he supports GMO food and preventing the labeling of GMOs. While efforts like the Non-GMO Project aren’t governmental and consumers will continue to demand non-GMO, government efforts to require GMO labeling would likely backpedal under a Trump presidency.

 

Our Food Supply May Become Less Sustainable

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The sustainability of our food supply, and ability to adequately feed the world healthy and nutritious food in the future, are at risk under President Trump. His policy on climate change is that it is a hoax, and he aims to backpedal efforts to increase environmental protections – and maybe even scrap the EPA altogether.

Apart from this increasing the amount of pesticides that would be used on our foods, this would also mean that our soil quality would be impacted by severe weather conditions resulting from climate change. Droughts in California and Texas have already brought this issue to light, with the cost of beef jumping 34 percent in a four-year span as feed production decreased and cost increased.

These weather systems make more land unusable for food production, meaning that we have less land to feed an increasing population – and a higher price of food as a result.

 

There’s A Likelihood That Children’s School Lunches Become More Unhealthy

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Many of Donald Trump’s top food advisers are advocates of unhealthier food and don’t consider sustainability concerns. These advisers include Texas Ag Commissioners like Sid Miller, who ensured that Texan school children could eat all of the desserts and fried food that they wanted, and Todd Staples, who resigned over the implementation of “Meatless Monday” programs and called limitations on meat consumption “treasonous.” They clearly do not have children’s health in mind – which could lead to further increases on childhood obesity rates in America as healthy lunch programs would likely be slashed.

 

Donald Trump’s stances on food policy spell out a grim outlook on the future of food, with prices rising and sustainability and accessibility falling. One can only hope that the efforts of those fighting for a more sustainable and accessible future of food can prevent this future from taking hold.

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Health Opinion Products What's New

The USDA Tried to Make Milk Chocolate Healthy, May Trigger Your Peanut Allergies Instead

As a food scientist myself, it’s clear that food needs to be redeveloped around what consumers want and what is necessary for the future of food. So when research is done to help make foods healthier and utilizes something like food waste to put food back into our system, it’s a double-plus. Sometimes, that research leads to amazing results, like when carrot pulp was discovered as a healthy way to make puffy chips/Cheetos.

Sometimes, however, that research goes a little too far.

That clearly is the case with what happened on this joint study between the USDA and North Carolina State University. As reported by Quartz, the research was an effort to make milk chocolate perceived by consumers as healthier.

Researchers decided to make their chocolate healthier by putting antioxidants into milk chocolate and had consumers taste it to see if they could tell the difference. Sounds tame enough on its own, but wait until you hear where it’s coming from.

They’re extracting these compounds out of the skins of peanuts, encapsulating them with maltodextrin (which is basically converted cornstarch) to hide their flavor, and then adding that to the milk chocolate.

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Photo: Phys

Don’t get caught up on the maltodextrin part, it’s the peanut concern that we’re bringing up here. Immediate concerns come from the fact that peanuts are being used as the source of antioxidants. Let’s not forget how serious peanut allergies are, like the USDA did when they performed this study. None of the tasters had peanut allergies.

Basically, the research was conducted on this new antioxidant source without even taking a look at allergenic concerns. From a food safety standpoint, allergies need to be one of the first things looked at when considering a new source for a food ingredient. What if that skin extract contains the compounds that trigger peanut allergies? That has to be considered as a first step.

Additionally, while the new milk chocolate has more antioxidants than dark chocolate does, that raises the question of how the antioxidants are lost from the milk chocolate. Milk chocolate does have a lot more milk and sugar than dark chocolate, so the antioxidant content is much lower by default. Milk chocolate is also unhealthier in that regard, since it contains a higher sugar and fat content thanks to the milk and sugar added into it.

So does adding these antioxidants suddenly make the milk chocolate healthier? The USDA was banking on that for this research, since antioxidant-rich foods are currently trending. But adding these simple compounds doesn’t change any of the caloric content, fat, or sugar in the food. We also don’t know how much this peanut skin extraction process costs, or if the antioxidant-added chocolate will be allergenic.

In simpler words, if this does become a product, dark chocolate is a healthier, natural alternative with no potential peanut allergies and much less sugar and milk. Eat that instead.

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Hit-Or-Miss Packaged Food Products What's New

2016’s Best New Holiday-Themed, Limited-Edition Food Products

With Halloween done, food companies are getting ready to launch a bucketload of holiday-themed products onto consumers as the holiday season comes around. From gingerbread to peppermint, common holiday flavors will be popping up in grocery stores and restaurants everywhere. With Food Business News releasing a slideshow featuring some of the newest food products that are set to entice holiday shoppers, we got to thinking: which holiday-themed food products are truly a step above the rest this year? Here’s a list of our favorites and which companies are selling them:

 

Starbucks – Spiced Sweet Cream Nariño 70 Cold Brew

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Photo: Delish

Starbucks has definitely gone away from their traditional style of new holiday drinks. Usually, spiced warm drinks splash onto the menu as new introductions this time of year. This time, they went for a cold beverage with holiday flair. For those of us that live in warmer areas during the winter, we’re definitely open to it. Even if we don’t get to drink out of the new green holiday cups.

 

Ethel M (Mars) – Dark Chocolate Crème de Menthe

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Photo: PR Newswire

The premium chocolate brand of Mars has dropped the mic on the holidays with a slew of new products. While these are mainly new holiday-themed tins, one of the two new chocolates stick out. This boozy creme-filled dark chocolate takes peppermint chocolates to a whole new level.

 

Our Little Rebellion – Fudge and Snickerdoodle Popcorners Mini’s

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Photo: Food Business News

Our Little Rebellion has a great line of popped corn chip snacks, and these two new holiday flavors are perfect additions. Chocolatey fudge and aromatic snickerdoodle put a holiday twist on these non-GMO, gluten-free snacks that are perfect to serve to any guest.

 

Dunkin’ Donuts – Boston Kreme Croissant Donut

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Photo: Delish

We previewed the new Dunkin’ Donuts holiday menu for you all recently, but this has to be one of the best new additions by the beloved donut slingers. Boston Creme Pie is a classic American dessert, and this croissant donut is the perfect way to spread it across the nation. With rich Bavarian cream and a chocolate icing, this truly is the definition of holiday indulgence.

 

Arby’s – Venison Sandwich

 

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Photo: ABC7 Chicago

While not released specifically for the holidays, the timing of Arby’s release of this new sandwich matches perfectly with them. Venison is a more common meat in higher-end restaurants around this time of season, and isn’t as available to consumers as it should be. While Arby’s is selling this in more hunting-centric locations, we’re excited to see this hopefully spread across the U.S. in the future. We’re just hoping that it’s not Rudolph being served in one of those sandwiches.

 

Hershey’s – Sea Salt Caramel Baking Chips

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Photo: Food Business News

Who doesn’t love salted caramel? This awesome trend has made it into baking chips, and it’s ready to take holiday baking to a salty-sweet level of bliss. We’re hoping to see a lot more salted caramel chip cookies being baked during this holiday season.

 

Your Pie – Chicken and Waffle Pizza

 

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Photo: 365 Things to Do In Houston

This pizza chain is going all-out on its new addition. The line between sweet and savory is totally blurred here with fried chicken pieces, waffle, syrup, ricotta, Parmesean, and basil. A scoop of apple pie gelato really gets this pizza in the holiday mood as well.

 

Krispy Kreme – Pumpkin Spice Coffee Thins

 

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Photo: Food Business News

There had to be at least one new pumpkin spice product on this list, and Krispy Kreme is rocking it with this new product. They teamed up with Tierra Nueva to create a coffee treat that tastes like a pumpkin spice latte. Three of these have the same caffeine as a cup of coffee, so make sure to grab a pack for caffeine on the go!

 

General Mills – Cinnamon Star Crunch

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Photo: Food Business News

This isn’t really much of a flavor change, but look at how adorable those star shapes are! Add this to the list of reasons why kids love Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

 

Pringles – Salted Caramel Potato Chips

 

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Out of the three new Pringles chips flavors released for the holidays, this one is hands down the best. The salty chips get accentuated by the sweet caramel flavors going on for a perfectly balanced holiday snack. Hats off to you, Pringles, this flavor combo is brilliant for the holiday season.

 

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Health Hit-Or-Miss

9 Reasons You Really Should Be Using More Turmeric

Turmeric has been used in tons of health foods as of late. While traditionally used in curries, stews, and several marinades, an increasing usage of turmeric has been seen in teas, juices, and other health foods. This is because turmeric is known to have numerous amounts of health benefits and has been used as medicine for thousands of years. Here’s a compilation of some of the greatest health benefits that turmeric is known to provide, and how to use it in food to boost your health:

 

Curcumin is Responsible For Turmeric’s Key Health Benefits

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Photo: New Jersey Health Federation

While most news about the health benefits of turmeric talk about the root itself, the key compound inside of turmeric that provides most of the health benefits is curcumin. Curcumin belong in the polyphenol category of compounds. Many polyphenols have been linked to health benefits (like those in Extra Virgin Olive Oil). Curcumin is no exception, and is where the majority of research focused on turmeric’s health benefits and antioxidant properties is focused on.

 

Turmeric Keeps Carcinogens From Producing When You Cook Meat

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Photo: Tiger Lim

A recent study applied turmeric as a marinade to beef satay to see if it would reduce cancer-causing compounds – carcinogens – from producing when it was grilled. Grilling foods produces carcinogens known as heterocyclic amines, and this study found that turmeric reduced the production of those compounds by the grilled meat. Make sure to rub some on your meat next time you grill!

 

Turmeric Helps You Retain Other Antioxidants Better 

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Photo: Siska DM

Several other vegetables are great sources of antioxidants, such as pumpkins and carrots, which both contain high amounts of beta-carotene. This antioxidant has numerous health benefits and is responsible for the orange color seen in both vegetables. A study showed that turmeric actually helps make this beta-carotene more available, meaning that mixing it with these common fall vegetables gives you increased health benefits.

 

It’s a Great Source of Vitamins and Minerals 

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Photo: The World’s Healthiest Foods

Apart from curcumin, turmeric is packed with a ton of other health-providing compounds. Two teaspoons of turmeric alone provides 17% of the manganese and 10% of the iron you need daily – enough to get an “excellent” source rating from the World’s Healthiest Foods. That’s without including all of the other micronutrients turmeric is a good source of, as seen in the chart above.

 

Turmeric is Best Known For It’s Anti-Inflammatory Properties 

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Photo: Manuela Schmidt

Traditional Chinese medicine (along with several other cultures) has been using turmeric for generations as a way to treat several anti-inflammatory conditions. While these typically have been arthritis, colitis, and hepatitis (liver inflammation), turmeric also has the potential to treat many other anti-inflammatory conditions, including Alzheimer’s, Crohn’s disease, coronary heart disease, diabetes, and many more!

 

It Can Also Treat Skin Disease Very Well 

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Photo: Sush Singh

Several early studies have looked at the effects of turmeric as a topical skin treatment. They have linked it to helping cure acne, alopecia (an autoimmune disease leading to hair loss), skin aging, and several other skin conditions. There’s still plenty of room for research in this field, but the early signs are promising.

 

Turmeric Fights Multiple Types of Cancer

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Photo: Garden to Cup

Curcumin’s anti-inflammatory properties also help out in treating cancer. It’s been researched and found to not only help destroy cancerous cells, but also inhibit the growth of already present tumors. This is extremely promising for turmeric to be a great supplement or natural medicine to help fight cancer.

 

It’s Effective in Treating Alcohol Poisoning 

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Photo: Daishi Naruse

Who would’ve thought? Turmeric has been used to help combat alcohol intoxication before. While it doesn’t keep you from being drunk, it has been linked to preventing any liver or brain damage that alcohol poisoning could potentially cause. Having some turmeric tea or turmeric-marinated foods on-hand during a long night out may be helpful.

 

Pepper Boosts Turmeric’s Health Benefits

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Photo: Juliana

While turmeric and the curcumin inside of it have enormous health potential, we don’t absorb them into our blood stream very well. As a fat-soluble compound, using oils in turmeric marinades can help with this absorption. There may be another answer to this in the form of pepper. Black pepper contains a compound inside of it called piperine – something we normally associate with the flavor of pepper. However, it’s also been shown to boost the absorption of turmeric into our bloodstream by a whopping 2000 percent! That would definitely help boost the health benefits we gain from turmeric.

 

Turmeric is a great health-promoting food and should be an essential in your spice cabinet as well as your health food pantry. While it’s not approved by the FDA yet for use in medicine, there’s no denying how powerful this root is in providing great health benefits. From pepper-infused curries to turmeric-spiced pumpkins, make sure to incorporate some into your meals!

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News Packaged Food Products What's New

The FDA Wants to Know Your Nutella Eating Habits, Here’s Why

How much Nutella do you eat at once? Are you eating it as a sandwich, on top of ice cream, or some other way?

These are just some of the questions that the FDA wants you to answer as it has opened up public commenting on how this beloved chocolate hazelnut spread should be categorized.

Quartz reported that Ferrero Rocher, the company responsible for Nutella, recently petitioned the FDA to change Nutella’s classification as a “dessert topping,” which is where it and other nut cocoa-based spreads currently fall in the FDA’s new guidelines for serving sizes and nutrition facts labels. The company would rather see Nutella in a new category specific for flavored nut butter spreads, or even moved to “honeys, jams, and jellies” as a spread similar to them.

Under the category of “dessert topping”, the serving size of Nutella is greater and would require Ferrero Rocher to report 2 tablespoons as its serving size on nutrition labels. This classification was made 25 years ago based on data that consumers primarily used Nutella as an ice-cream topping.

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Photo: Cooking Shooking

Ferrero Rocher claims it doesn’t belong in that category because Nutella isn’t primarily used as a dessert topping anymore, but is now used a spread and should be classified as such. In this FDA category of “honeys, jams, and jellies”, Ferrero Rocher could cut their reported serving size in half – which would be great for them because half the serving size means half the added sugars that they would have to display based on new labeling guidelines.

To prove their point, Ferrero Rocher surveyed over 700 women and found that three-fourths of them use Nutella as a spread for toast and sandwiches.The FDA agreed with this data and is now considering creating a new category of “flavored nut butter spreads” to established serving size recommendations.

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Photo: Renato Brandi

Ferrero Rocher has requested that the serving size in this new category be a tablespoon, but the FDA wants to know more on how much Nutella we are using to make that decision. To help determine the serving size for this new category, the FDA has opened up public commenting on the issue to see how many consumers are eating Nutella as a spread, and how much Nutella they are putting on their bread.

Commenting closes on January 3rd, 2017, so if you want to have an input on this, click here and leave your stat-backed opinion on how the FDA should regulate Nutella!

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Hit-Or-Miss News Packaged Food What's New

Pepsi’s CEO: Everyone Will Snack on Bugs in the Future

Photo: Fortune

Pepsico’s CEO Indra Nooyi has given her take on the future of snacking – and it involves bugs.

CNBC reported that Nooyi spoke at the New York Stock Exchange’s Net/Net event on the subject, saying that “the hottest thing is eating crickets” and that “bug-related stuff is big.”

Pepsico encompasses several food, snack, and beverage businesses, including Pepsi. They perform consumer research to help predict changes in trends annually. As consumers look for more affordable protein sources, crickets have become increasingly popular. Add that in with a shift to regular snacking, and cricket snacks seem to make sense for the future of food.

While the idea of consuming bugs may seem a little gross to some, Cricket snacks are readily available, and one company – Bitty Foods – has even started producing cookies made with cricket flour! (You can buy the flour to make your own as well).

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Photo: Huffington Post

Nooyi’s company has been looking at future trends to determine that bugs would be big in the next decade. “We have different people looking at different horizons, because if you believe in the ten year horizons and what we are seeing, some of the weirdest food and beverage habits are showing up,” she said at the Net/Net Summit.

Consuming bugs in the US has typically been reserved for TV entertainment. But bugs – and especially crickets – have been considered as alternative and sustainable sources of protein by those looking towards the future of food. If Indra Nooyi’s predictions hold true, we could be seeing a lot of insect-based snacks in stores in the future.

Considering she correctly predicted consumers’ aversion to junk food a decade ago, we should be paying attention to what she’s saying about bugs.