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.

Reducing Food Waste

Reducing Food Waste |

Reducing Food Waste |

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and the EPA Administration announced a first-ever national food waste reduction goal – a 50% reduction by 2030 – joining with private industries and charitable organizations. This is after the joint USDA and EPA U.S. Food Waste Challenge initiative from 2013 which attracted over 4,000 participants a year after it started, surpassing its original goal of 1,000 participants by the year 2020.

From a USDA press statement:

Food loss and waste is single largest component of disposed U.S. municipal solid waste, and accounts for a significant portion of U.S. methane emissions. Landfills are the third largest source of methane in the United States. Furthermore, experts have projected that reducing food losses by just 15 percent would provide enough food for more than 25 million Americans every year, helping to sharply reduce incidences of food insecurity for millions.

This announcement comes a week before a UN General Assembly which will address sustainable food production and consumption by world leaders.

If the concept sounds too big to process, it isn’t. Ending food waste begins in homes as well as with businesses that prepare food. Here are some tips from for planning, purchasing, preparing, and storing food prepared at home, and as well as what to do with product you need to throw out.

  1. Planning Meals: Prepare a shopping list and develop a game plan when grocery shopping after creating a meal plan or menu. When making menus, look at the inventory you currently have in the cupboard as far as canned goods and staples go, and the refrigerator and freezer for items to use up first. Grocery lists can prevent over purchasing and can help reduce impulse buying for things you really don’t need.
  2. Food Safety: Knowing the basics of food safety will prevent food from being tossed simply from improper handling, preparing, and storing. The downloadable Kitchen Companion: Your Food Safe Handbook is a great resource to have in the kitchen. And when planning the weekly menus, it’s a great opportunity to clean out the refrigerator and freezer at the same time preventing food borne illness and keeping the refrigerator organized. Remember to keep perishables at the back of the refrigerator and separate raw meats, poultry, and seafood from other foods.
  3. Composting: Instead of throwing out organic material – which goes straight to the landfill – try composting. Things that can be composted: fruits and vegetables, eggshells, coffee grounds, teabags, and nutshells. Food products that cannot be composted include dairy products, fats, and meat and fish scraps or leftovers, which all contribute to rodents and flies.

If you are a business or an organization that prepare or handle food (grocers, hotels, universities, restaurants, caterers, entertainment venues, theme parks, etc.), consider joining the FRC (Food Recovery Challenge) as either a participant or an endorser. Participants donate leftover food and endorsers promote sustainable food management.

According to Vilsack, 1,500$ of food is left uneaten per year, per family of four in the U.S. By challenging ourselves, we can all reduce that amount in our own homes.

The FDA’s Trans Fats Ban: Public Good vs. Easy Formulations vs. Making Profits

The FDA has given us three years to come up with something other than Trans Fats in food, having taken the GRAS label (‘generally recognized as safe’) from it. This has been a long time coming as partially hydrogenated oils, which make up a significant amount of Trans Fats in foods, has been shown to majorly contribute to the nation’s poor heart health.

Right now, labels can be misleading. Foods can be labeled as zero Trans if they do not exceed a certain amount per serving. This is from the FDA’s press release:

Currently, foods are allowed to be labeled as having “0” grams trans fat if they contain less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving, including PHOs, the primary dietary source of artificial trans fat in processed foods.

It is confusing as ‘0’ should mean actually ‘zero’.

But it will be difficult to simply remove Trans Fats entirely at first since many emulsifiers in use today are derived from partially hydrogenated oils (which contains Trans Fats). Also, reformulations by food manufacturers and commercial bakers will take time and money. The object is to create a product that has the same shelf life and flavor as the current product with the Trans Fats, which is not always easy since there are no clear substitutions at times.

I just posted on the pastry blog how this will affect bakers and food manufacturers, and how a Rabbi puts to rest any notions of placing profits over public health. Link is below.

FDA’s New Trans Fat Ban, the Revocation of GRAS Status, and How It All Affects Bakers – Sometimes Morally.

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.