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GAC’s “Brookie” Merges Two Chocolate Favorites

Mall-based retail bakery chain Great American Cookies has introduced a hybrid baked treat that blends a chocolate brownie with a chocolate chip cookie. The “Brookie” is available at GAC stores on a buy three, get one free basis. “Brownie and cookie,” the company says. “In our book, they are the sweetest royal couple." Great American Cookies, known for its signature Cookie Cakes, operates in shopping malls in the United States, Bahrain, Chile, Guam, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.   [ Image credit: © GAC ]

"Great American Cookies® Premieres "The Brookie"-- A Bakery Love Story for the Ages", News release, GAC, January 08, 2018

Desire For Skillfully-Cooked Veggies Transcends Vegetarianism

Diners looking for restaurants that serve good vegetarian or vegan cuisine can now thank WalletHub for its list of the best cities for veggie-based cuisine. (Top of the list: New York City, but there are many others.) Chefs in New York once thought of vegetarianism as a fad, but now acknowledge it is “becoming a concrete cultural shift," as Sean McPaul of New York’s High Street on Hudson put it. But the shift encompasses much more than veganism and vegetarianism. An increasing number of diners simply want to eat more vegetables that are cooked well. The shift includes other concepts as well, including the farm-to-table movement, which supports local farmers. The end result: chefs are getting very skilled at cooking fresh vegetables well.   ...  More

"There's Something Big Shifting in American High Cuisine", AlterNet, January 07, 2018

“Naked Cakes” Skip The Frosting, But Not The Decadence

A minimalist trend is overtaking the cake-baking community: “naked cakes” shun frosting or fondant, but still manage to hold onto a certain sugar-rich decadence. The basic idea is to highlight the texture of the cakes themselves and the fillings between layers. They are embellished with fresh blooms, gum paste-molded flowers, edible pearls and gems, chocolate chips, crumbs, cookie dough, candy sprinkles, and fresh berries. The basic idea is to highlight the texture of the cakes and the fillings between layers. Christina Tosi, owner of the award-winning U.S. and Canadian bakery Momofuku Milk Bar, is said to have come up with the idea. But many other pastry chefs and bakers are featuring the desserts, including Martha Stewart and wedding ...  More

"Frosting-Free Cakes the Latest Trend", Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, January 06, 2018

Survey: Eating Healthful Foods Goes Hand In Hand With Clean Labels

A survey of 1,023 Americans by a product transparency advocacy group has found that two-thirds have made buying healthful or socially-conscious foods a priority in 2018, along with labels that are transparent regarding ingredient identification. The main emphasis will be on cutting down sugar consumption, with almost half saying they will eat less sugar or buy more “no sugar added” foods and beverages. According to Label Insight, the survey found that Americans want better-defined and more transparent food labels, especially ones that provide information they can better understand in 2018 (25 percent). Greater transparency into ingredients (14 percent) is another desire, along with and easier-to-identify “clean” or minimally processed ...  More

"Americans are planning to Avoid Sugar and Eat More Sustainably in 2018, Says Survey from Label Insight", News release, Label Insight, January 04, 2018

Croissant-Sushi Hybrid Gets Decidedly Mixed Reviews

Some fans call it the “California croissant,” but its creators have named the croissant-sushi hybrid the “crossushi.” A product of Mr. Holmes Bakehouse, located in Los Angeles and Seoul, the crossushi is a French-style croissant topped with sesame seeds and stuffed with smoked salmon, nori seaweed, pickled ginger, and wasabi. The bakery’s owners say the crossushi is "actually pretty amazing and sells out super fast," but an online consensus is building that is far from favorable. In fact, some say the creation is "revolting," while others plead "Stop Crossushi 2k18.".  [ Image credit: ©  ]

"Crossushi, A Cross Between Croissants & Sushi, Is The 2018 Food Trend You Never Saw Coming", Bustle, January 03, 2018

Ancient Grains Find A Modern Audience In U.S.

Today’s health-conscious consumers have taken foods considered staples in ancient civilizations – grains like quinoa, amaranth, farro, and spelt – and made them new again. Industry data show that case shipments to U.S. foodservices rose by double-digit rates compared to processed wheat grains. Shipments of highly popular quinoa rose 18.5 percent in the 12 months that ended in October 2017 compared to a year ago. Shipments of spelt and farro also increased by double digits. Consumers are turning to ancient grains because they are richer in protein, fiber, and vitamins than modern grains. But the increasing popularity among foodservice operators is also due to the fact that chefs appreciate their unique flavors.  [ Image credit: © Bob's Red ...  More

"Everything Ancient is New Again: Case Shipments of Ancient Grains to Foodservice Outlets Increased by Double-Digits", The NPD Group, January 03, 2018

Pork Suppliers Say They Have Greatly Reduced Reliance On Antibiotics

The National Pork Board, which represents the 60,000 pig farmers in the U.S., says its constituents have made great strides in reducing the use of antibiotics while continuing to protect the health and welfare of pigs. Data from the USDA support the progress, says NPB President Terry O'Neel, a Nebraska pig farmer, though figures for antibiotic use are not species-specific. Nevertheless, USDA numbers show that America's pig farmers produced over five million more market hogs in 2016 than in 2009, as market weights increased by 16 pounds. The figures suggest that pig farmers are using far less total antibiotics per pound of pork produced, and are using them in close cooperation with veterinarians to ensure that they are FDA-approved.  [Image ...  More

"Antibiotic Use in Farm Animals Drops", AgriNews, December 19, 2017

Mass. Cage-Free Eggs Law Is Targeted By 13 States In Supreme Court Suit

Led by Indiana, thirteen states have sued Massachusetts in the U.S. Supreme Court to prevent enforcement of a state law that bans the sale of eggs produced by caged chickens, and meats from caged pigs or calves. A similar action is being pursued by states against California and its cage-free law. The plaintiffs claim that Massachusetts is attempting to impose its own regulatory standards on farmers in other states, in violation of the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution. The Massachusetts law defines an overly restrictive cage as one that would prevent an egg-laying hen, breeding pig or calf raised for veal from standing up, turning around or fully extending its limbs.  [ Image credit: © Eggland's Best  ]

"13 States Sue to Stop Cage Free Eggs Law in Massachusetts", Daily News, December 18, 2017

When It Comes To Diet Sodas, Moderate Imbibing Is Fine

A pediatric physician/researcher says consumers needn’t worry too much about drinking a Diet Coke once in a while. Aaron Carroll M.D. writes in “The Bad Food Bible” that if someone has a yen for a soft drink, a diet version is a better health choice, because the danger is “incredibly small.” It’s better to skip the sugar, which has been strongly linked to diabetes and obesity. Artificial sweeteners just haven’t been scientifically proven to be harmful to humans. However, a researcher who specializes in the health effect of artificial sweeteners says studies have  shown that regular ingestion has been linked to Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, strokes, dementia and obesity. But she agrees that a Diet Coke once in a while is okay..  [ ...  More

"Diet Coke Might Not Be So Bad For Your Health After All", New York Post, December 12, 2017

Companies, Organizations  

British Beverage Firm Debuts Functional Collagen-Infused Water

U.K. beverage company Protein Water’s new line of protein-rich collagen water is designed to meet growing consumer demand for collagen and its purported benefits for hair, nail, and skin health. The company says the new line dovetails neatly with the "athleisure beauty and glowing skin" trend of 2018. Each $3.20 50 cl bottle in the skin maintenance range, available in Apple & Strawberry and Purple Grape flavors, contains 10 grams of collagen blended with water but no added sugar. The makers of a collagen-infused gin (Collagin) were warned last year by an alcoholic beverage trade organization last year about its claims that their product had therapeutic qualities or could help with a consumer's appearance. 

"Protein Water Co Aims to Harness "Athleisure" Trend with Skin Maintenance Collagen Water", Just-Drinks, January 12, 2018

Products & Brands  

Unable To Make A Dent, Danone Abandons The Indian Dairy Market

France’s Danone is discontinuing dairy brands in India that have been underperforming, including ultra-high temperature processing (UHT) brands and fresh dairy products, which have accounted for only ten percent of the company’s revenue in the country. Danone’s dairy portfolio comprised flavored yogurt, lassi and misti doi, and milk. India’s estimated $14 billion dairy market is dominated by cooperatives like the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd that owns the Amul brand. The decision means Danone’s factory at Rai, Sonipat, will stop production. The company said it will re-emphasizse the marketing of its portfolio of nutrition brands in the country.

"Danone to Shut Down its Dairy Business in India", LiveMint, January 12, 2018

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