Specialty Food Magazine

APR 2012

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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This month we look at vending machines of the future, 2012's top foods, and how pandas are helping to produce a new high-end tea. Portrait of the Queen of Sustainability T he Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery tells the history of America through the individuals who have shaped its culture. Now, food activ- ist Alice Waters graces its walls. The Gallery recently unveiled a photo- graphic portrait of Waters, founder of Chez Panisse Restaurant and Café and the Edible Schoolyard and champion of the Slow Food movement; it was cre- ated by Dave Woody, the first-place winner of the museum's 2009 Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition. The restaurateur and nutrition advocate is being recognized by the gallery for changing the way the nation thinks about how people are connected to food and the environment. The portrait depicts Waters standing beneath the branches of a mulberry tree in the Edible Schoolyard. At the opening reception, guests tasted food by chefs whose restau- rants serve locally grown, organ- ic food, including José Andrés of ThinkFoodGroup and Mike Isabella of Graffiato. Next time you're in Washington, D.C., stop by to see this tribute to a woman who has changed the way Americans approach food. T food trends BY DENISE SHOUKAS Real butter is "in." What's In and What's Out for 2012 rends come and go quickly. To help food industry professionals keep up, the Hartman Group, a principal provider of global research on consumer culture, behaviors, trends and demand, has predicted which popular foods and ingredients are on their way out and which are the new "in" items. Foods and ingredients that are in for 2012 include: real butter and healthy fats; grass-fed meat; sea salt; stevia; dark-meat chicken; local/ seasonal superfruits; cage-free whole eggs; farmstead cheese; fresh produce; portion control; craft beer; kettle potato chips; dark, leafy greens; coconut oil; palm sugar; faro; cheaper, tasty butcher cuts and kefir. Those headed out: processed soy protein; low-sodium; fat-free; artificial sweeteners; from-afar superfruits; egg whites; baked potato chips; wheatgrass shots; canola oil; agave; brown rice and probiotic-enhanced yogurt. Pandas Grow This Tea A nyone who's grown anything knows that manure is a rich, nutritious fertilizer. This fact is what led An Yashi to quit his job as a college lecturer at Sinchuan University to grow what has since become the most expensive green tea in the world. His secret ingredient: panda dung, which he sources from a panda-breeding center in southern China. Yashi's idea came from the knowledge that pandas' weak digestive system absorbs only about 30 percent of the nutrients they eat, leaving the rest in their excrement. And since the black-and-white beasts love to eat bamboo, which contains cancer-fighting proper- ties, Yashi believes his tea leaves contain even more of those benefits. Early estimates show the tea bringing in excess of a whopping $36,000 per pound for the first batch—considered the best, much like first-pressed olive oil. Successive batches will sell for a lower price. Time will tell whether pandas truly have the best fertil- izer to offer. Less Is More in Packaging W hen dressing your products, stick with less packaging and use greener options, such as plant-based materials, if you want to attract the three-quarters of Americans who believe many products are overpackaged, says a survey conducted by the Natural Marketing Institute. The three most important elements identified were minimal packaging, recyclable packaging and use of environmentally friendly packaging materi- als, in that order. When you do adopt the greener materials, be sure to talk about it in your marketing, because consumers want to know. All that said, the researchers caution that manufacturers shouldn't make changes that will increase the expense of the product or change the consumer's experience using the item. MORE TRENDS: LEADING CLAIMS FOR PRODUCT INTRODUCTIONS, P. 4A 12 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE ❘ specialtyfood.com PHOTO: DAVE WOODY; COURTESY OF NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY, SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION.

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