Nestle Narrowing Its Ingredient List to Those Consumers Are Familiar With

Great article via Food Business News – “Why Nestle changed its lasagna recipe.” Nestle is narrowing its ingredient list across the board, eventually changing all 140 dishes in its Stouffers line.

The new “kitchen Cupboard” commitment involves changing their recipes to include what consumers already have in their kitchen cupboards and pantries – notably they are ditching things like autolyzed yeast extract and carrageenan. They are beginning with their lasagna dishes.

Since many of the hard-to-pronounce ingredients produce an Unami flavor profile to the palette, they are testing with adding soy flavoring. Soy sauce is a soy flavoring inside most home pantries that gives an Unami flavor to dishes.

Great move by Stouffers.

Full article here.

Women and Cocoa: Chocolate Farming and Gender Inequality

Chocolate Farming and Gender Inequality

I just posted an interesting link on the Pastry Sampler blog on gender inequality and the chocolate front. What I found from an article on Confectionery News was that while women can be trained with all the technical knowledge of cocoa farming, in certain parts of the world they may not be able to own land, or real property. Without being an actual land owner, some suppliers will not engage in business, creating an unfortunate circle that many women cannot break from.

The World Cocoa Foundation published a presentation Innovations in Sustainability PPP – Women and Cocoa Farming: “Bridging The Gap.” In it was a chart that had the gender breakdown of land ownership and labor in West-Africa cocoa farming households. While women took up 85% of the food crop labor, they only owned 25% of the cocoa farms. This is what they called a “circle of exclusion.”

And in some cases, women must hire laborers to do work they are able to do themselves, which eats away at profits they might otherwise realize if they did the work.

From Oxfam International, an organization fighting worldwide poverty, and Gender inequality in cocoa farming in Ivory Coast:

Some of the challenges facing women in the Ivory Coast are cultural. Even though women are regularly involved in 12 of the 19 key stages in cocoa production, and play a lead role in tending the young cocoa trees and performing post-harvest activities, cocoa farming is considered by some to be “man’s work” off limits to women. The result is that at times women must rely on male laborers which can eat away at their income.

“Women don’t really do the cocoa work,” says Etchi Avla a 43 year-old mother of five who owns and manages her own cocoa farm in Botendé, a small village on a dirt road about 90 minutes from the nearest paved road. “From the very beginning it has always been men ever since the field has been there and when I needed to take care of it then I would call the men. My biggest problem is to prepare the field and encourage the men and thank them.” Because many tasks are considered by some to be men’s work, Alva relies on a male laborer, with whom she shares her crop at harvest time—she keeps two-thirds, and the laborer gets one-third.

Women are not only constrained or limited by their ability to own the land in some countries, but also the right to work the cocoa farm land.


World Cocoa Foundation, ed. “Women and Cocoa Farming: Bridging the Gap.” Innovations in Sustainability PPP. World Cocoa Foundation, n.d. Web.

“Gender Inequality in Cocoa Farming in Ivory Coast.” Ed. Grow. Food. Justice. Planet. Oxfam. Oxfam International, n.d. Web.


The Closing of Food Arts Is Sad News Indeed

food arts magazine

The unfortunate closing of Food Arts magazine. Image of some of my old Food Arts issues – Renee Shelton.

It is sad to see an old friend go, and Food Arts has been around as long as I have been in the industry. From new trends in restaurants and hotels and new openings, to in-depth ingredient articles and the latest in food business culture, not to mention the newest person to receive their Silver Spoon award, it was an all around informative read for everyone in the industry, for both back of the house and front of the house. It billed itself as “The Magazine for Professionals.”

Hugh Merwin writes a fitting Food Arts eulogy, from Grub Street.


Significance of The Work Ethic in Restaurants

chef-cooks-USER-mrshrubyOne of the best quotes I’ve read in a long time came from the culinary cues blog from Harvest America Ventures. It was from the article “The Significance of Work Ethic in Restaurants,” written by Paul Sorgule. It detailed how the concept of a work ethic is so vital in the hospitality industry. And, that it is in essence ‘a behavior not a condition.’

For those interested in pursuing a career in the culinary arts, F&B, or hotelierling, this article is an important read. From the article:

Here is the reality check: if a person wants to pursue a career in food operations he or she must understand that the commitment is unique. Yes, other careers do require a strong work ethic, but foodservice is unusual in that the requirement for work typically exceed what one would normally expect. It is what it is and will not likely change. Here is why: we work so that other people can play. This is our charge, this is what is required and is the nature of hospitality. Holidays are busy days in restaurants – there is no getting around it. Dinner happens after 5 p.m. when others are done for the day – this is the time when we gear up for a long night. Weekends are not for foodservice staff – in fact our weekends are typically Monday and Tuesday, if at all. Accept it – this is what we are about. Food positions are not for the weak at heart.

We work so that other people can play. The Back of the House: we are in the service industry. Understand and accept (and embrace) this part of the industry going into it.

Read the full article here:

The Significance of Work Ethic in Restaurants by Paul Sorgule.

Image from MorgueFile, user: mrshruby.