Traditionally, fruits and vegetables that do not meet strict size and shape requirements are left on the field to rot. In an innovative initiative between Compass Group and Bon Appetite Management Company, the two are launching Imperfectly Delicious, Food Management reports. The concept was piloted last year and was well received. "When I visited a large farm during harvest, I couldn't believe how much produce was being left in the fields," says Bon Appetit CEO Fedele Bauccio. "I asked our team to fix that. Too much energy and work goes into growing food to waste it." Growers are delighted by the news. Compass Group is also excited about the new initiative, which it plans to roll out nationwide.
When Craft Brewers And Chefs Collaborate, Sales Jump
Last year, craft beer sales increased some 22%, SmartBlog.com reports. A big part of that increase is based on the growing collaboration between craft brewers and chefs who explore new ways on how beers and food complement one another. You know beer is becoming serious business when the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, recently announced that it will be opening a craft brewery run by students this year, SmartBlog.com says. Craft beer now claims 11% of the total beer market and earns more than $19.6 billion a year.
Kansas Restaurants Taking Smoking To A New Level
Kansas City is famous for its smoked ribs. Thanks to Chef Martin Heuser of Affäre, now the smoky appeal of barbecued dishes is expanding to salads, drinks, and other dishes, due to what else, the Smoking Gun, a handheld device that fans smoke from coarse wood chips over dishes and refreshments under glass. When servers present the dishes, the covers are removed and the presentation of wafting grey-blue smoke rising from you dinner or drink never fails to inspire diners. Once the smoke clears, diners are left with a light, smoky flavor to their foods and drinks and an experience not soon forgotten.
Dunkin Donuts Moves To Cage-free Eggs
Dunkin Donuts announced last week that it plans to shift to eggs from cage-free chickens and pork raised without gestation crates over the next few years. The decision came as part of the company’s updated humane policies.
Lower Gas Prices Fuel Dining Budgets
Consumers spent 9% less on gas in the fourth quarter of 2014, freeing up an estimated $33 billion on an annualized basis, The Food Institute reports. Eating out over the same period, meanwhile, rose 7.4%, or roughly $39 billion on an annualized basis. That means a good share of the gas savings are fueling restaurant spending and that is good news.
New Year Resolves Hurting Business?
Based on recent survey results, 18% of respondents say they are ordering low-carb foods while another 16% are following high-protein diets. According to Nation’s Restaurant News, the trends are bolstering sales at steakhouses, while Italian and noodle restaurants are suffering.
Yelp Will Publish Official Restaurant Health Grades
Yelp, the online travel and restaurant review site, will now carry official health inspection scores in selected cities, including New York and San Francisco, The Omaha World Herald reports. “For consumers, posting inspection information on Yelp is a good thing, because they’re able to make better-informed decisions about where to eat,” said Michael Luca, an assistant professor at Harvard Business School who specializes in the economics of online businesses. “It also holds restaurants more accountable about cleanliness.”
Private Equity Deals May Be Drying Up
With interest rates increasing and profitable takeover targets decreasing, private equity deals may be shrinking, The Wall Street Journal reports. The Food Institute reported a record-high 78 food industry acquisitions by investment firms and banks in 2014, up from just 47 in 2013.
Grilled Desserts Are On The Rise
Baked, smoked and grilled treats are increasingly gracing the menus of fine dining establishments from coast to coast, Nation’s Restaurant News reports. In Washington, D.C. diners can enjoy grilled carrot cake and lemon cheesecake, while in Denver, guests can sample smoked cherry toppings. In Better Half in Atlanta, chefs are big on grilled desserts. “We like to incorporate smokiness as much as we can into our desserts,” chef Meloy said. “It adds a touch of surprise to the experience.”
More Protein, Please
Yes, the price of beef is through the roof. It also explains why beef consumption has dropped some 2 billion pounds between 2008 and 2013, the USDA reports. In response to the changing tastes and smaller wallets of diners, restaurants have responded with leaner protein dishes, from fish and pork to turkey and chicken to replace beef. Why not raise prices? Fresh-to-order, a 15-location casual chain, actually did increase prices recently, QSRWeb reports. However, the chain’s CEO says "You can never truly raise enough; guests can never absorb all the true increases. You will price yourself out of business."
Stadium Food Draws A Crowd
Baseball season is now upon us and that means crowds will be cheering… for the food? That is the hope of Oreo, which is teaming up with the Texas Rangers to offer S’mOreos, marshmallows encrusted in graham crackers smashed between Oreo-filled cookies. Okay, so we are talking Texas, but the trend is not just for the Lone Star State. Ballparks around the country are munching on deep-fried Twinkies, hot dog topped with salami, and even a Bloody Mary topped with a slice of pizza, Bloomberg Business reports. Sent back to the minors are high-end meals that many stadiums featured, but few patrons bought. Now high-calorie treats that have been featured on TV food shows headline stadium menus, Carl Mittleman, sports and entertainment president of food service company Aramark, says.
Commodities Close Mixed On April 2
Farm Futures Daily.com reported commodities trading week closed out last week with mixed results in most areas. Here is an overview of the market as of April 3, courtesy of Farm Futures Daily: