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Packaged Food Plant-Based

Prego Reveals Their First-Ever Vegan ‘Meat Sauce’

Photo Courtesy of Campbell’s

Italian Pasta Sauce brand Prego is hitting a major meatless milestone this summer with the debut of their newest vegan sauce.

The Prego Plus Plant Protein line is now offering a Meatless Meat Sauce that boasts a meaty taste and texture entirely without animal products.

Instead, consumers will find soy crumbles within the tomato-based pasta sauce.

The jars are currently being shipped to retailers nationwide this summer, reports VegNews. Expect to see them in the pasta sauce aisle of your favorite grocery stores.

For anyone practicing a vegan diet but want to enjoy the consistency of a meat sauce, this is something to check out.

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#foodbeast Culture Food Trends Health News Plant-Based Products What's New

Smithfield Foods Enters the Plant-Based Race

Plant-based meat alternatives are on the rise with a new contender entering the ring almost daily. It’s been a pleasure trying out these new alternatives and experiencing the similarities and differences. The latest contender is Smithfield Foods and they’re wasting no time in making their intentions known by announcing a “plant-based portfolio” called Pure Farmland. This portfolio features an array of plant-based options suitable for every meal throughout the day. Alternatives include burger patties, meatballs, breakfast patties, and protein starters. They are soy-based, made with natural flavors, gluten/soy-free, and entirely crafted in the United States. 

Pure Farmland is catered to the “flexitarian” diet which is becoming more common as people are learning about plant-based alternatives. They chose soy protein over pea protein, which many brands use, because studies show that 59% of consumers prefer soy to pea protein’s 41%. John Pauley, Chief Commercial Officer for Smithfield Foods had this to say:

“We’ve been exploring the alternative protein space, and have taken our time to get it right. With this launch, we are bringing together our expertise in creating market-leading food products, our organizational commitment to sustainability, and our deep understanding of ‘flexitarian’ consumers, to deliver a broad variety of flavorful plant-based protein choices that consumers want and can afford at a great value.”

To further cement their mission towards offering quality protein products in an environmentally responsible way, Pure Farmland’s packaging is made of 50% recyclable material. They are also proud partners of The Farmland Trust, a national conservation organization dedicated to protecting farmland. You can find Pure Farmland’s products located in refrigerated sections of your local grocery store beginning mid-September.

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Culture Video

Watch These Kids Try Vegan Food For The First Time

Unless they’ve grown up in a vegan household, many children will not know what veganism actually is until they are introduced to it later in life.

The group of tots from HiHo Kids introduce their tastebuds to vegan foods in this new Kids Try video. Vegan dishes include Chikn Nuggets, Loaded Vegan Nachos, Vegan Bacon Cheeseburgers, and Soy Ice Cream Sandwiches.

The kids weren’t told that this would be a vegan tasting until halfway through their first entree. Needless to say they weren’t too happy with the surprise, and even less enthused after learning what it means to be a vegan. Children truly have no filter.

Check out the video and see how these adorable tykes react to different kinds of plant-based dishes masquerading as their meaty counterparts. Not going to lie, some of these vegan items look pretty darn tasty.

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Fast Food News Now Trending Restaurants

Subway Canada’s Chicken Is Only 50 Percent Chicken Based on DNA

A post shared by Official Subway (@subway) on

Looks like Subway’s chicken isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

An investigative study by Trent University and CBC News analyzed the DNA content of various chicken patties and chicken items at fast-food restaurants across Canada to see how much of their chicken products actually contained chicken. To their surprise, they discovered that Subway’s Oven Roasted Chicken and the chicken strips used in the Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki are only about 50% chicken each.

Typically, you’re not going to see 100% results for the DNA testing of these products, as marinades, seasonings, batters, and additives will typically cause the DNA count to drop somewhere in the mid to high 80% range. That was the case for all of the other fast food products tested, as they each contained at least 85% chicken DNA per sample.

The Subway chicken did not meet those standards, and was in fact tested a SECOND time to ensure that their DNA analysis was accurate. The Oven-Roasted chicken contained 53.6% chicken DNA on average, and the chicken strips contained around 42.8% chicken DNA — meaning that they are both roughly only 50% chicken.

All of the chicken products from all of the fast food chains, by the way, were shown to contain 25% less protein and 7-10 times MORE salt than a typical chicken breast — a result of the fast food industry adding more flavor and salt to make their chicken tastier, but having to dilute the actual chicken inside as a result to increase shelf life and “add value” to the product.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that the products tested were solely those produced and sold in Canada. Since formulations of a particular fast food item can vary from country to country based on different factors, the same chicken items here in the United States may vary in protein content compared to those tested. Similarly, the chicken from Subway could have a higher DNA percentage here in the United States as well and may match the other companies’ chicken products more closely. Someone would obviously have to do testing on Subway’s US chicken to confirm that, but there’s no guarantee that the chicken you’re eating here is formulated the same way as the chicken is formulated in Canada.

CBC News reached out to all of the companies tested in the study, and Subway Canada did release a statement regarding the test results:

“SUBWAY Canada cannot confirm the veracity of the results of the lab testing you had conducted. However, we are concerned by the alleged findings you cite with respect to the proportion of soy content. Our chicken strips and oven roasted chicken contain 1% or less of soy protein. We use this ingredient in these products as a means to help stabilize the texture and moisture. All of our chicken items are made from 100% white meat chicken which is marinated, oven roasted and grilled. We tested our chicken products recently for nutritional and quality attributes and found it met our food quality standards. We will look into this again with our supplier to ensure that the chicken is meeting the high standard we set for all of our menu items and ingredients.”

Clearly, something is going on, otherwise the chicken content wouldn’t be so low. Here’s hoping that Subway gets the issue with their chicken products figured out soon so that we can quickly get back to eating chicken that we know to be 100% the real deal.

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Health News Products What's New

Research Suggests That Soy Might Give Your Kid Heart Disease

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Photo: Medical News Today

Kawasaki disease is a pretty terrible autoimmune condition to acquire. This inflammatory disease commonly affects children and causes inflammation and swelling of eyes, lips, hands, and some arteries. It’s the leading cause of child heart disease in the United States.

Now, research is suggesting that soy consumption may lead to a higher incidence of this dangerous disease.

This research comes from the Portman Research Group at Seattle Children’s Hospital, who found that childhood intake of soy led to a higher proportion of Kawasaki disease occurrences — especially in Asian American populations. While the study falls short of saying soy is the cause of Kawasaki disease, it does suggest that it may be a factor.

The compounds in soy that the research claims lead to this risk are called isoflavones. Soy happens to be the richest food source of these compounds, which are a type of phytoestrogen — essentially, plant hormones. They do mimic estrogen in our bodies, and have been one of the reasons why soy has been accused of being a causer of several types of cancer, particularly in women.

While the cause of Kawasaki disease is still unknown, this research suggests that the isoflavones in soy may play some sort of role. It certainly was the case for Ewan Hart, who developed Kawasaki disease after consuming soy over a period of time and has done better now that his parents have eliminated soy from the household.

Soy is already one of the major eight allergens in the United States and is beginning to get more of a negative image from the plant-based community, since it tends to be genetically modified and is in almost everything in the form of soy lecithin. This research is definitely not going to help out with that image, and may continue the trend of decreasing soy consumption in the United States.

However, soy is such a staple crop and widely used that it would be practically impossible to eliminate from the U.S. food supply to ensure diseases like Kawasaki disease don’t occur. Although, one can surmise that with less consumers of soy, perhaps its production and usage will decrease as well. Should that occur, kids like Ewan won’t have to worry as much about Kawasaki disease rearing its ugly head.

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Hit-Or-Miss Products

Morbidly Serve Soy Sauce In This Skull Soy Dish Set

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E-commerce website Foodiggity is selling this Skull Soy Dish set!

It comes with a set of bamboo chopsticks. Not into soy sauce? It works for oil and vinegar too! Hell, I bet it works for pretty much any liquid. No — ALL LIQUIDS! The sky’s the limit!!!

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Written by Brittany High, Incredible Things | Foodiggity

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Features

This Master Knows His Way Around Tofu

Tofumaster-Profile

The tofu master looks upon his final products. || Photos: Peter Pham

Seuk Ho Hong is a tofu master.

You may not give those pieces of soybean a second thought outside ordering them at your local Asian or vegan restaurant, but much care and dedication are devoted to creating a single block. That is what’s required of a master.

Sure it’s not one of the flashier food professions like a teppanyaki chef or a flavor guru, but the life of a humble tofu master is definitely one that keeps you busy. At least, that’s what Mr. Hong’s translator tells me.

Though we’re still not quite sure what the point is of a flavor guru when it comes to tofu.

The job of a tofu master is to ensure that tofu is up to the highest quality. Mr. Hong oversees all manufacturing processes and adjusts controls to maintain optimal manufacturing conditions.

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A completed batch of tofu.

As with most factories, the goal is zero customer complaints, and zero injuries and accidents, in the plant. The tofu master is largely responsible for keeping things this way.

To become a tofu master, one must apprentice for a minimum of five years. Experience in several areas of production is required. A major chunk of your life must be dedicated to the plant-based protein. There’s no such thing as a part-time tofu master, after all.

Mr. Hong began his career in maintenance back in Korea and eventually moved to tofu manufacturing. The tofu master studied at the Pulmuone tofu plant in Korea before arriving at the one in Fullerton, CA.

Today he has more than 20 years of experience in tofu. This includes five years working with the protein in Korea and another 15 since moving to the United States.

Every afternoon Mr. Hong arrives at the plant to take over from the day shift tofu master. The two masters discuss the tofu conditions during the shift. This includes any noteworthy events, processes and any important changes to the product.

Mr. Hong works from 3pm through midnight. He checks on the soybean conditions, a highly important part of the job, up to six times during his shift. The soaking time depends on the quality of the soybean.

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Soybeans ready to go through the grinder. 

It’s sort of an art form if you think about it, finding the balance between temperature and hours in water. The soybeans could soak an hour on one day and up to 16 hours on another. It depends on the weather and temperature conditions, which vary day by day. Because the final quality of the tofu is essential, these conditions are strictly monitored by the tofu master.

After soaking, the soybeans are put through a grinder and mixed with water. The ground soy mixture is then heated. Similar to the cheese-making process, the soy milk is separated and solidified with a natural coagulant.

Mr. Hong works with an apprentice (one with years of experience in tofu), as well as a novice (one with little experience).

We wonder what makes one decide to take an apprenticeship in tofu? Does one choose such a life, or are they simply born into it?

The Pulmuone plant, under the Wildwood brand, is one of the largest tofu manufacturers in the world. The plant produces many different types of tofu and tofu products, all of which are overseen by Mr. Hong and the other tofu masters.

A perfect piece of tofu is based on three requirements: appearance, texture and flavor.

The tofu must have a clean surface, with a smooth look to it. The texture must be even. Though it’s made from soybeans, a prime piece of tofu should have as little bean flavor as possible. At least that’s what’s preferred in the US.

Tofu also comes in a variety of densities. The three most commonly sold are firm, soft and silken. Each is used for different dishes, depending on what is called for.

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Uncut batch of tofu measured for overall consistency. 

Because his job is so demanding, the tofu master does not have much time for leisure. His life is dedicated to his family and job.

Though we hear he occasionally enjoys golf.

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Hit-Or-Miss

More Than 1 Million Pounds of Pretzel Dogs Recalled, Said Nothing About Containing Soy

Pretzel-Dog-Recall

Those with soy allergies and an inherent love for pretzel dogs, brace yourselves. The US Department of Agriculture just announced a recall of nearly 1.2 million pounds of pretzel dogs for not listing soy as one of their ingredients.

The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service discovered during a routine labeling review that while the frozen snack contained the common allergen soy lecithin, it was nowhere to be found on the box labels. Because of this, approximately 1,196,669 pounds of pretzel dogs will be recalled because of misbranding and undeclared allergens.

Consumers should note the production dates between February 14, 2014 and November 14, 2014. The pretzel dogs were sold under a variety of different names and packaging listed below and have the establishment number “EST. or P-34073” inside the USDA mark.

• Auntie Anne’s All Beef Classic Pretzel Dogs
• Auntie Anne’s Fundraising Pretzel Dogs
• West Creek Black Angus Beef Pretzel Dogs
• Kunzler Pretzel Dogs
• Kunzler Turkey Pretzel Dogs
• Berks All Beef Pretzel Franks
• Nathan’s Famous Pretzel Dogs
• City Line Foods Pretzel Dogs

Auntie Anne’s mall and airport pretzels are said to be unaffected by this recall. There have yet to be any reports of illness or reactions to the recalled products.

H/T Consumerist