Food Policy Grocery Health Packaged Food Sweets

Mexico’s New Junk Food Labels Face Fierce Opposition From U.S., Other World Powers

In October 2020, Mexico is poised to take a monumental step forward to combat junk food and obesity issues the country faces. Already, black octagon labels are showing up on the front packaging of food products that warn of foods with excessive calories, sugar, salt, and saturated or trans fat.

Photo: Erick Schmal // MexicanElite on Instagram

These labels are designed to meet requirements the Mexican government will enforce starting in October: requirements that, apparently, the US and other world powers oppose.

Photo: Erick Schmal // MexicanElite on Instagram

According to Reuters, a meeting minutes document from the World Trade Organization shows the US, Canada, the European Union, and Switzerland trying to persuade Mexico to delay their labeling enforcement for anywhere from 1-2 years.

The United States, for example, expressed support to combat obesity, but thinks the regulations are “more trade restrictive than necessary to meet Mexico’s legitimate health objectives,” arguing that “Mexico has chosen more stringent nutrient thresholds than the thresholds set by other countries.”

Photo: Erick Schmal // MexicanElite on Instagram

All of the countries supported a delay, with reasoning behind it being the impact of COVID-19 on the food and beverage industry. A Mexican government official told Reuters that they objected to delaying the rules.

Laws that combat obesity and reveal high-calorie and junk foods are gaining more traction globally. Chile was one of the first to introduce such laws in 2016, and saw a reduction in the consumption of sugary drinks by 23%. Some American cities, including Berkeley, have also implemented sugar taxes in recent years that showed similar results. The World Health Organization (WHO) has also found that regulations such as these are instrumental in reducing obesity globally.

The United States itself has food labeling regulations that require added sugars to be marked in the Nutrition Facts, but the Trump Administration’s FDA has indefinitely delayed enforcement of the labels.

Photo: Erick Schmal // MexicanElite on Instagram

Lobbyist groups from both the United States and Canada have also put pressure on Mexico for these laws in the past. Mexico first passed the legislation in October of 2019, giving the industry a year to make the labeling changes.

Initial rules in the now-ratified US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) would have prevented any front-of-packaging labeling of the sort to be issued. While this did not make it into the final agreement following media attention to the rules, the finalized version still has a clause that “technical regulations concerning labels… do not create unnecessary obstacles to trade.”

The United States is a known bully when it comes to food packaging labeling, having challenged multiple countries over their laws in the past, claiming them to be a threat to US trade and business interests. According to the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, USA officials criticized multiple countries for such regulations in their most recent National Trade Estimate report.

Canada, who has its own front-of-packaging law, is already facing such challenges from US and Canadian lobbyist groups over its rules.

Photo: Erick Schmal // MexicanElite on Instagram

Combatting junk food through labeling has already proven to have a significant effect in reducing obesity. Mexico is taking a stronger approach than most countries, including local trading partners like the US, with its new regulations, leading to such political pressure.

We’ll have to see if any more challenges come to Mexico’s legislation as the October enforcement of the labeling draws nearer.

Alcohol Drinks

Azulana Is The First Sparkling Tequila On The Market

Canned cocktails have been quietly making a splash on the spirits scene in recent years. They have more flavor than hard seltzer without all the work of making a craft cocktail at home. Pure Azul Beverage Company recently launched its entry into the market with Azulana, a ready-to-drink sparkling tequila beverage.

It is said to be the first sparkling ready-to-drink beverage crafted using 100% blue agave tequila on the market. “Our goal was to take a spirit so rich in heritage and offer it in a way that ultimately speaks to today’s modern tequila enthusiast,” says Henry Morita, CEO and Co-Founder of Azulana. “We are incredibly proud to introduce this contemporary, craft cocktail to consumers.”

Tequila sales in the U.S. continue to grow, In 2017, the US saw an 8.5% increase in tequila liter sales over the previous year, according to the Distilled Spirits Council. Likewise, the demand for ready-to-drink alcoholic beverages continues to rise rapidly. Canned wine alone now represents a near $50 million business.

Produced in Guadalajara, Mexico, the decision to produce Azulana in the region (known as the “birthplace of tequila”) was crucial to the brand, as they aimed to authentically integrate the region’s rich heritage and history, while also contributing to the local economy through its production, manufacturing and distribution.

In support of the farmers that make the product possible, the brand has developed a program that will include donating 5% of all profits to initiatives within Former Mexican President Vincente Fox’s Foundations, including CentroFox and Crisma, which offers pediatric rehabilitation, mechanotherapy, hydrotherapy, and speech therapy for adults and children.

Available in original, lime and pineapple rosemary, each 12-oz. can of Azulana is 4.3% ABV and contains 145 calories.

#foodbeast Deals Plant-Based Products SPONSORED

Here Is How To Win An Avocado Grove in Mexico For Free

Do you put avocado on everything like I do? Have you ever thought about owning an avocado grove? I know you’ve at least said yes to one of these questions. If you’ve said yes to both, then tomorrow being National Avocado Day must be marked on your calendar.

In celebration of this amazing fruit, Chosen Foods, the world’s largest supplier of avocado oil, is giving one lucky fan the chance to win their very own avocado grove in Jalisco, Mexico or $5,000 in cash.

This is an avo-maniac’s dream come true. Avocados are native to Mexico, originating more than 10,000 years ago. The ideal conditions of Mexico make for the amazing avocados we enjoy here in the states. If you’re an avocado enthusiast and/or wanna try your luck at scoring $5000, visit The winner will be announced tomorrow on Chosen Foods’ social media channels, and on its website.

Quick thing to note, as I’ve read the fine print of the contest: basically, if you choose the land as the prize, they have 120 days to get it to you, but they choose the land — and you have to pay for all expenses, which includes all taxes, maintenance, regulations and licenses, etc. They literally just provide the land. Which is dope if that’s all  you need. They don’t say you have to plant avocados on the land either so that’s also good depending on the land that’s chosen.

#foodbeast Adventures Culture Features FOODBEAST Restaurants Sweets Video

Desserts Are Stunning Works of Art At This Mexican Sweets Shop

Imagine digging into a sweet treat that looks like it was a patch of forest transplanted right onto your plate. Peculiar on paper, I’m sure, but extend your thoughts further and envision the delicious tastes of pine honey, matcha, forest fruits, and clouds of sugar hitting your palate as you look at what seems to be growing mushrooms and forest moss. Though this was hard to conceptualize at first, I soon enough realized the sweet sorcery being wielded by Chef Fernanda Covarubbias and her team at La Postreria in Guadalajara, Mexico, with each whimsical bite of their desserts.

In this episode of Taste the Details, I experience the philosophy behind La Postreria, which is a reverence for desserts while also challenging the very notion of how we think they should be made or presented. Results come in the form of ethereal assemblages of confections, chic pillars of sweets, and enticing presentations that stimulate our eyes as much as our palates. Here, clever innovation is met with equal parts tried and true technique.

Though La Postreria is a veritable hatchery for off the wall modernism and deviation, these very concepts are nurtured by an approach rooted in respect for premium, unadulterated ingredients and the utmost care given to even the most minute details in temperature and texture. All of these tasty details were a good reminder that life is in fact, as sweet as we make it.

#foodbeast Adventures Culture Features FOODBEAST Hit-Or-Miss Opinion Packaged Food Products

Having Never Had Cholula Before, I Went Straight To Mexico To Taste the Source


I’ll admit it: I am not much of a hot sauce fanatic, and I can not handle the spice. My Korean ancestors are probably shaking their heads at me unfortunately, but it is what it is. With ketchup as my main condiment of choice for over 25 years, I have only recently decided to let my tastebuds venture to more flavors that fall under the same red color, but with scorching differences. From Sriracha to Tapatio to Tabasco, these new hot sauces were such interesting experiences in my mouth. However, when it was time to try Cholula, my friends enthusiastically and passionately gushed about how it was the best hot sauce. They would pull out mini bottles from their purses, and coworkers would reveal full-sized ones from out of their desk drawers. Clearly this wasn’t just a hot sauce — this was a lifestyle. Thus, you can imagine that when the opportunity came to go straight to the source for a Cholula-filled weekend, I absolutely jumped on that Cholula train straight to Mexico for my first official taste.

Two plane rides and three in-flight movies later, I checked into my hotel in Guadalajara, freshened up, and headed to cocktails and (most importantly) appetizers. Warm empanadas, seasoned chips, and fresh ceviche were spread across the bar beautifully, with the edges lined with Cholula bottles. I picked one up, only to realize that there were different flavors of Cholula, a concept I hadn’t even thought of before this moment! I took this as my opportunity to get the perfect first taste, when I bumped into a vivacious woman with a raspy voice. Araceli, who I later found out is the Director of Public Relations for Jose Cuervo as well as our generous hostess for the evening, exuded her genuine love for Cholula, her work, and her heritage as a whole.

“If you ever want to be the life of the party, always carry a bottle of Cholula with you in your bag. Take it out during a meal and you will for sure be the center of attention – I carry mini bottles in all of my purses!”

After I expressed that I had yet to actually try Cholula, she warmly encouraged me to taste it, handing over a bottle of the original flavor. I decided to drizzle it lightly onto a plain tortilla chip, and with my first bite, I was in Cholulove. There was a certain kick to the sauce that I had yet to experience with any other hot sauces, and the flavor didn’t overpower; it added dimension. It was spicy and complementary, and I knew this would be the first of many bottles I’d consume over the weekend.

Bright and early the next morning, we made our way down to Chapala to visit the Cholula factory, where we were given a quick history lesson, as well as a tour. We put on our gloves, hairnets, and facemasks, and were warned that the first room is extremely hot and that the spices might be a bit much for our senses. As we walked into the room with the highest quality arbol and piquin peppers, I choked back tears and held my breath (because I ain’t no baby). The peppers had already been sun-dried under constant supervision for about three days, and I watched as two workers drained a huge vat of the sun-dried and soaked peppers, conveying them over to another worker who had a hose in one hand and a brush in the other. He carefully washed and separated each pile of peppers in a way that retained quality and flavor, and then sent them off to the facility’s mill where they’d be meticulously ground into a paste.

Moving downstairs, we saw huge metal chambers where the peppers were being mixed for consistency, and blended to achieve that signature flavor. Once the blending is complete, the sauce undergoes a rigorous quality control process. Once its fully met the brand’s highest standards, the Cholula is sent to the bottling area.

If you could imagine Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory but with Cholula, that was basically what I walked into. I was absolutely mesmerized by the huge contraptions lining up bottles, evenly distributing sauce, slapping on labels to perfection, and capping each bottle with Cholula’s distinctive wooden cap. Each bottle was separated by hand on the conveyor belt before moving on to final packaging, and it was hypnotizing to see it go from the peppers straight to our tables for a fresh tasting.

Using jicama, popcorn, chips, and cucumbers as neutral tasting foods, we tried each of the six hot sauce flavors on the patio of the factory: Original, Green Pepper, Chipotle, Chili Lime, Chili Garlic, and Sweet Habanero. The crowd favorite was Green Pepper, which I understood in a larger scope of things, as it tasted like salsa verde with a little kick, but my favorite had to be the Chili Lime. With a perfect blend of heat and tang, the Chili Lime took the win, and the Chili Garlic came in close second. After tasting five out of the six, we had the Sweet Habanero left, and I was not ready for it, as I took a hefty dip into it with my jicama. My taste buds felt betrayed, as the sweet chili flavor hit my lips innocently, only to have the habanero heat come at me without any warning; it basically took over my lips, mouth, tongue, and throat, and it was a wild ride that I did not sign up for.

Nevertheless though, it was pretty lit (get it).

From our evening cocktails to our American-style brunch at the Cholula La Fonda restaurant in Tequila, Cholula was a part of any and every dish you could possibly imagine. The flavour was never overbearing, but rather complementary (even in the cucumber-habanero sorbet we had at the Cholula restaurant – yes, you read that right). Having never tasted Cholula before, I was absolutely spoiled with my flavorful adventures in Mexico, but I am confident in being a self-proclaimed Cholula connoisseur for life!

Culture Drinks Opinion

Exploring Mexico’s Wine Country Through The Scope Of The Parent Trap

Hallie Parker and Annie James, the beloved red-headed twins of cult classic, The Parent Trap, exude a twinship attained through CGIs and a body double. Such a twinship, destined by a predictable plot, was stalled for 12 years as each part of Lindsay Lohan grew up in different regions, with a different parent. The once innocent actress gone awry convinced everyone and their mothers that she actually had a twin (well, I mean, I was pretty convinced), and displayed the common phenomenon: identical twins with opposing personalities.

Hallie and Annie’s personalities slightly run parallel, and retain qualities in a wine-world twinship between Napa Valley, California and Guadalupe Valley, Mexico AKA the Valle De Guadalupe.

Photo: Jim G on Flickr, CC 2.0

Hallie’s hometown, Napa Valley, California, has upheld a status in wine culture — it’s an oasis of fine wine bred from the finest grapes. For those unfamiliar, Napa is Northern California’s wine-country located about one and a half hours away from San Francisco. This world-renowned wine region offers what one would expect: endless ranges of vineyards and tourist attractions. With the reputation that Napa withholds today, the thought of it ever being unpopular feels foreign. Yet, up until the 1976 Judgment of Paris — a  blind tasting of French and California chardonnays, cabernets, etc. — wines from California were overshadowed by France’s age-old wineries.

Breaking into the wine world through a prestigious wine competition, expectedly propelled the commercialization of Napa’s wine, shaping the high-class culture grown out of its wealth.  The uppity and proper aura people tend to associate with Napa Valley, because of all that capital, aligns it with Annie’s persona, not Hallie’s.

Photo: Jim G on Flickr, CC 2.0

Before “coincidentally” meeting at summer camp, their opposite worlds were panned through. Annie grew up in London, England with the proper, British mother. Lohan’s subpar British accent combined with Annie’s style, emulating Princess Diana’s lady-like couture, made this twin borderline-stereotypical. Yet her fire, her sass, all springing from her wit (basically, logical clap-backs), made up for it. Hallie, the other half, went with the hunky dad (Dennis Quaid) to his grand winery in Napa Valley, California — thus growing up on smashing grapes and riding horses — you know, just tomboy things. Her daring, spunky demeanor kickstarted the mayhem in the first place, bringing the Parent Trap into existence, really.

So if Hallie isn’t Napa Valley, what’s her other wine-world half? Apart from Napa Valley, Hallie is rough around the edges, casual, and although the camera didn’t zoom in on this shot, she probably has some dirt under her fingernails and some grape stains on her fingertips. All the dirt and grit along with her warmth and spunk make her more relatable to Guadalupe Valley in Mexico more so than Napa Valley.

Separating two twins does not impair the similarities inevitably bound to biologically-identical beings, yet their individuality is molded by their environment alone. Their pivoting personalities, influenced by the region they grew up in, differentiates the twins and integrates the vibrancy of their red hair — the fire within it — relative to their mannerisms. No, their hair is not quite literally on fire, but the striking feature matches their different-but-all-at-once-same fierce attitudes.

Like Hallie and Annie, Valle de Guadalupe and Napa are separated by regions, and principally-based, they are different and the same all at once. The traits Napa Valley and Guadalupe Valley retain are often compared — weather conditions, the successful wineries and restaurants — and this twinship was destined to form once the media put Valle in the spotlight (like destiny bringing Hallie and Annie together at summer camp).

© Tomas Castelazo, / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

Valle de Guadalupe is Mexico’s wine region about two hours south of San Diego, California and is often deemed as “under the radar” or the “Napa Valley of Mexico.” According to a qualitative study of the region done by Jorge Covarrubias and Liz Thach of Sonoma State University, “Mexico has a long history in winemaking and is considered to be the oldest wine growing region in North America…[and] the Valle de Guadalupe accounts for 80–95% of all of Mexican wine production.” Despite a storied and long tenured presence of winemaking in Mexico, the Valle’s media presence is fairly scarce and recent — and the media is definitely excited, feeling as if they discovered Napa’s long-lost twin, the Hallie to its Annie, if you will.

Okay, so the whole point of Parent Trap was to reunite Hallie and Annie’s parents. These starry-eyed, 12-year-olds longed for their parents to reignite their love and be together, so they can be a complete family (yes, very cute). But, the dad fell in love with a young lady, the evil stepmother of the plot, Meredith Blake. Meredith was the catalyst for even more conflict, barring old loves from rekindling past bonds.

This may be a stretch, but hear me out (read this out?): tourists who visit Valle de Guadalupe can only drink those wines when they are there. People have tried to import the Valle’s wine, however, it is still fairly limited [source info] due to California import laws. So, winery owners result to a tactic called Direct to Consumer (DTC) sale. This tactic is more so a requirement, rather than a strategy.

Covarrubias and Thach  explained that California only allows: “1 L max [of imported wine] at the [California-Mexico] border.” Because of this limiting legislation, all of the Valle visitors who fell in love with the wine are unable to bring it home. And the love left behind in Mexico is hard to rekindle. Essentially, Valle’s evil stepmother is this said law blocking wine lovers from the Valle de Guadalupe’s wine. And all the Valle wine lovers, are basically all the Parent Trap fans who, like Hallie and Annie, long for a reunited love.

Photo: Cbojorquez75 on Wikimedia Commons, CC 4.0

Like Napa Valley, Valle de Guadalupe is magnetic, pulling in tourists to taste fine wine grown in optimal conditions: a lot of sun and just the right balance of dryness and moisture. These biological similarities create this twinship, but based on Valle’s environment alone a rough-around-the-edges vibe is molded. The open landscape of dirt, cacti and other desert plants is remnant of California’s wild West past, and even, Napa’s early beginnings. Therefore, it’s valid to mark Valle de Guadalupe as the “Napa Valley of Mexico,” being that Mexico’s wine-country is not as well-known at this point, like Napa pre-Judgment of Paris. Twins can share similarities like this, but that does not imply that one-half wants to be identical, or compared to the other. And, the winery and restaurant owners are definitely not the biggest fans of the label of the “Napa Valley of Mexico.”

Chef Javier Plascencia, the owner of Finca Altozano, a restaurant within Valle De Guadalupe,  interviewed with The Independent and stated: “If you talk to the winemakers, they hate it when they compare it to Napa. They’re doing their own thing.”

Although there is an imbalance of popularity in this twinship, forming this connection parallels the quality of Mexico’s wine to California’s but recognizes the diverging ambiance each region emanates.

As Mexico continues to develop their wine industry, the popularity of Valle de Guadalupe will rise, and with the help of its twinship with Napa (despite the unfavorable comparison), their products will potentially be as widespread. However, for now, the Valle remains under the radar with its Meredith standing in the way. But hopefully, the tourists who directly consumed Valle de Guadalupe’s wines will reunite with the chardonnays and cabernets they fell in love with, and the imbalance in Napa Valley and Valle’s twinship will neutralize in the future.

#foodbeast Adventures Alcohol Culture Drinks FOODBEAST Hit-Or-Miss SPONSORED Video

This Train Is A One-Way Ticket Deep Into The World Of Tequila

Knowing the ins and outs of a food makes you appreciate it even more. If you’re a huge tequila aficionado and want to have that level of knowledge, you need to check out Jalisco.

This western Mexican state is where most of the tequila you sip on comes from, and the agave farmers here take pride in turning their sweet plants into the popular spirit. If you find yourself in Guadalajara, Jalisco’s capital, you have a unique opportunity to dive deep into the world of tequila by visiting these farms and distilleries in person.

What you want to look for is the ‘Jose Cuervo Express,’ a tequila train that runs between Guadalajara and Tequila, the birthplace of the agave-based liquor. No matter what package you purchase prior to boarding, there’s a variety of tasting opportunities on the two-hour ride.

Hosts guide you on how to identify the different notes of tequila in a special tasting. Guests sample different tequilas based on their point in the aging process, from light tequila to the “rested” reposado and the vintage anejo.

If you want to get more creative with your drinks, head to the open bar. They use tequila to create a variety of beverages, from classic drinks like margaritas to customized drinks per your request.

To go with your spirits is a round platter of traditional Mexican antojitos, or appetizers. Beans, guacamole, carnitas, and cheese are just some of the items available.

Once you arrive in Tequila, you can visit the vast Jose Cuervo agave fields to see the plants in person. You can also see a live demonstration of how the agave is cut to properly make tequila.

The train schedule allows for time to visit the city of Tequila itself, as well as the Jose Cuervo distillery. A tour takes you through the step-by-step process of making the spirit, and you can sample more of it as well as the oven-cooked agave to differentiate between the two.

The experience is the ultimate day trip for tequila lovers, as it’s a full immersion into the process of the beverage from start to finish.

Created in partnership with Visit Guadalajara 

Alcohol Celebrity Grub Drinks News Toasty

Mister Cartoon Crafts Limited Edition Tequila CAZADORES Bottle

Booze and tattoos probably go together way more often than they should. However, when the booze is Tequila CAZADORES and the tattoos are courtesy of legendary artist Mister Cartoon, then it sounds like a perfect combination. The iconic tattoo artist has reimagined a bottle of Tequila CAZADORES for a new limited-edition run in honor of Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead).

Tequila CAZADORES recently debuted the new limited-edition blanco bottle whose bottle design was hand-rendered and features Mister Cartoon’s signature fine point style, nodding symbolically to the Día de los Muertos traditions he values most. The bottle is adorned in symbolic black, white and gray artwork, with illustrations of a skull to honor the memories of lost loved ones, a rose to welcome new beginnings and a woman to represent love and the importance of celebrating the good times. The Tequila CAZADORES iconic stag is part of the design as a reminder to be bold and fearless in the pursuit of dreams.

“Mister Cartoon is an artist who, like Tequila CAZADORES, boldly carries his heritage with him, allowing his passion for who he is and where he came from to shine through his work,” says Manny Hinojosa, Brand Ambassador for Tequila CAZADORES. “We are honored to collaborate with him on a special Día de los Muertos bottle design, celebrating one of the most traditional holidays in the Mexican culture.”

“It was an honor for me to create a design for Tequila CAZADORES. a brand that shares my passion for preserving heritage and guiding the future from the past,” adds Mister Cartoon.

Available nationwide, the Mister Cartoon x Tequila CAZADORES Día de los Muertos bottle hit shelves earlier this month.  Mister Cartoon has also created a set of skull bandanas – inspired by illustrations from the limited-edition bottle – that will be available through his website with 100% of proceeds from sales going towards disaster relief in Mexico.