Monday, February 1, 2016

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly in food biz of late

I can't think of any more important industry in the world today, than the food industry. And it's true, everyone else will disagree with that statement, the defense guys will say that weapons manufacturing for our defense are the most important. The religion industry with their 250 billion dollar income will tell us that theirs is most important as they are saving our souls as payment for all that lucre. The banking and Wall Street people will tell us that the artificial creation and inflation of money is the most important industry. And, well, you get the picture, everyone thinks what they do is more important than anyone else. And they proclaim it with vehemence and then rush over to their favorite steakhouse and celebrate their perceived victory of idealism. And they don't even think about the food there. Hey, it's always there, they can rely on it. And it will always be wholesome, safe and mighty tasty. 

Well, some of us think about food. A lot. Even the food industry giants think about food, although at times they don't appear to really give a rat's ass about the quality and long term effects of the toxins they add to our food supply. I mean there are just so so so many chemicals, and so many of them are Class II carcinogens or worse. But, then again, they do seem to be changing their direction and focus of late. Now I don't know this for certain, but I believe that public opinion has had some effect on the direction with which the food industry is taking. Organic food manufacturers, organic produce, safer green home cleaning and home health care products, and stores that cater specifically to these newer categories are growing at unprecedented rates that the food industry hasn't seen since the 50's and the introduction of TV dinners and the birth of convenience foods. Which, realistically, was pretty much frightening at how processed foods overtook the available food supply in America. And how accepted it was into the lifestyle of the vast vast majority of the consumers. And now, public opinion is such that some, only some, consumers are actually starting to read the labels on all that processed food and are getting scared at what some of those chemicals might actually be and what the long term effects are. So the big giant food manufacturers have begun to take notice of the growth in real food. And they buy up the little organic companies. That's the American way.

But then they have started to work on some of the old tried and true products we grew up with and in attempt to look good and tap into that Green Revolution money (which quite frankly going organic generally means consumers with higher income and more disposable income) the big guys are reformulating food products to have fewer chemicals, use of natural dyes and some even to be organic.

Jelly Belly Jelly Beans - Yep, USDA Certified Organic ingredients for the new line 10 assorted flavors and 5 sour flavors to start. This one scares me. Gelatin comes from boiling bones and waste scrap from cows. Were the cows certified organic or is it just plain old crappy toxic gelatin. Their website doesn't say. (Jelly Beans)

Hunt's Tomato - This one is pretty cool actually, Hunt's has introduced three new organic tomato products. And then they pack them into BPA free cans. Wow, someone is paying attention. (Hunt's New) 

If you think about it, there are some restaurant chains out there that are doing a pretty disgusting job acquiring food like substances and then presenting them to consumers as real food. The Gilded Boobs for one, although they are working hard to win back all their lost market share by adding table service, less disgusting menu items and the great two for two concept. (still have the TBHQ on their fries though, known carcinogen) But there are a lot of chains, and they make a lot of money. So there are some smart people out there and they found a niche industry. Technomic Inc. is one such niche. They are a corporation that does nothing more than find out what consumers think about businesses. And then they sell that info to businesses. Pretty cool hunh?
They also make cool lists and tell us what trends are occurring in industries. And this one is about the trends in Restaurant Choices of Consumers.  Nice to see that Chipotle is at the top, and I think that scares the bejeezus out of a whole lot of the other guys. (Technomic list)  

Snickers new Crispers -  This really isn't a good thing, but I had to add it here. Snickers is using that research I wrote about a while ago about how texture affects differing groups of individuals, and so they wanted to create a new candy bar that has fewer calories and will cater to those wanting a crisper texture crisper mouthfeel and crisper candy bar experience. Pretty simple to do really, you just replace a portion of the crap with puffed rice. Crispy puffed rice. There again, devoid of any nutritive value but with the firm belief that lower calories, and higher mouthfeel texture it will be a hit with savvy consumers. Probably not, but like pretty much all candy, it will sell. (Snickers) 

Sheesh, probably enough for now, I have to go make salsa for my own business. There just seems to be a lot of info in the news lately about food, this just was the most hilarious I could glean in an hour this morning. 


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