All Posts By

Eloise Porter

Your Local Market Shifts Shape: Grocery Shopping Adapts to New Realities

Meal kit delivery services are blowing home cooking out of the water. Looking to compete, the number of prepared foods at Whole Foods and prepared foods at Costco has steadily ticked up. Supermarkets are losing customers as more and more avoid the long lines in favor of foods they don’t have to shop for or cook. Call the trend lazy, but after a long day at work, picking up the kids from soccer practice, and responding to those eternal emails, it seems that no one wants to spend time over a stove, hot or otherwise. While home cooking is your best bet for a healthy and affordable dinner, grocery stores and outlets that sell groceries are creating pre-made meals that are are focused on local produce, fresh proteins, and nutritious ingredients.

Time Savers

Meal kit companies like Blue Apron and Chef’s Menu have quickly developed a cooking replacement industry of easy, delivered-to-your-door ingredients that are perfectly portioned and ready to cook. These meal kits make cooking a breeze and with pre-portioned ingredients, yit’s easier to avoid food waste. Although the price is higher per serving than shopping for ingredients yourself, people are willing to shell out a little extra cash for the convenience factor. Supermarket chains like Whole Foods, as well as big box stores like Costco jumping on the meal kit bandwagon in an attempt to keep customers. (For more about meal kits and meal delivery srvices, look here for our recommendations.)

Kroger Co. is jumping right into the industry with their own meal kit, Prep + Pared, which you can find at four stores across the country (more are anticipated to start carrying the product soon). Dishes include Moroccan Inspired Spring Vegetables, Creamy Chicken + Bacon Alfredo, Japanese Inspired Beef Bowl, and Chimichurri Steak and clock in at around $14 (serves two). The meals take about 20 minutes to prepare with no chopping required.

Prepared Foods at Whole Foods

While Whole Foods doesn’t sell their own branded meal kits (yet), you can find Purple Carrot, a plant-based meal kit service, selling their pre-packaged dinners at Whole Foods stores around the country. Meal offerings include Mongolian Seitan Stir Fry, Pan-Seared Tofu and Black Rice Noodles, and Cashew Korma with Cauliflower Rice, to name a few.

Prepared Foods Sell. A lot.

Started in 2012, the meal kit market is seeing a huge spike in sales. Since its inception, the industry has generated about $1.5 billion in U.S. sales in 2016, according to Packaged Facts, and is expected to double to $3 billion in the next few years. Grocery store revenue, on the other hand, is in decline, so these markets are doing all they can to stay relevant. Only 49% of customers see a supermarket as the primary outlet for groceries and the average number of weekly trips to a grocery store is declining. These companies hope that meal kits will help bolster sales, and maybe even help families eat easily and healthily for affordable prices.

From Forest to Table: New Packaging from Innovative Companies

They say one man’s trash is another man’s treasure — but innovative companies are turning one man’s trash into another man’s … food packaging

With the dangers of global warming threatening to jeopardize our very existence, more and more consumers are becoming environmentally aware. We recycle, we compost, and we pay attention to the packaging on our purchases (this means no more Styrofoam take-out containers and avoiding plastic straws at your local bar). Some innovative companies recognize this demand for new ways to approach packaging and are working on turning food waste into new forms of food packaging.

Innovative Companies say Buh-bye to Plastic Packaging

Forget plastics. Non-recyclable, non-biodegradable products not only pollute our environment, they also potentially contaminate foods with harmful chemicals and even fail to keep your food adequately fresh. The newest solution? Food packaging made from natural materials like mushrooms, milk proteins, wood, kelp, and tomato peels. Not only are these products biodegradable, waste eliminators, and better for the environment, but they’re oftentimes edible. Really! Here are a few not quite market-ready concepts we have our eye on.

Wood-Based Bottles

In an attempt to reduce waste, Nestlé Waters and Danone have launched a joint product in alliance with a California startup, Origin Materials, to develop 100% bio-based bottles. Made from sustainable and renewable resources, these bottles will take biomass feed stocks (like recycled cardboard and sawdust) to create an entirely new product. These wood-based bottles are scheduled to hit store shelves in 2020.

Milk-Protein Packaging

Did your mother always tell you to drink your milk? Well now you can package your food with it, too, with edible milk-based packaging that reduces food spoilage and waste. This biodegradable, sustainable, and super-thin packaging will make the regular thin plastic film that wraps your cheese and meats obsolete. The US Department of Agriculture, whose team of researchers pioneered the technology, discovered that casein, also known as the protein in dairy milk, can be used to create edible packaging that actually protects your food better than plastic. The proteins work to form a tight network around the food, sealing it 500 times better than plastic.

Mushroom Material

Your favorite fungi are being turned into eco-friendly containers for wine bottles and furniture as well as products like coolers. Ecovative Design developed Mushroom Packaging to reduce waste and replace polystyrene in packaging materials. This product could theoretically replace Styrofoam across the globe. Ikea has already planned to replace their usual polystyrene packaging with Ecovative’s biodegradable mushroom roots. They’ve also licensed their packaging technology to Sealed Air, a $7.6 billion packaging company that makes Bubble Wrap.

Tomato Tin Cans

When you crack open a can of olives or dig into your favorite canned soup on a rainy day, you’ll usually find the packaging coated with chemicals like BPA (Bisphenol-A). While the levels found inside your cans are low enough to purportedly pose no threat to your health, more customers are looking for chemical-free, and thus BPA-free, packaging. The solution? To replace the chemical lacquer with natural ingredients, like processed tomatoes. BIOCOPAC is taking the skins from tomatoes and using them to treat metal food cans. So, the next time you pop open a can of tomatoes for your evening pasta sauce, you might be consuming more tomatoes than you think.

Seaweed Saran

Unlike other recyclable materials like glass and metal, plastic wrap cannot be recycled. So it’s more important than ever to cut down on our use of harmful plastic when packaging our foods. Japanese design company, AMAM, has developed Agar Plasticity to replace our usual Saran wrap. Made from agar, a material found in red marine algae, Agar Plasticity could soon replace the environmentally harmful but very thin and flexible plastics we’re currently using to wrap food. Even if the Agar Plasticity ends up in the ocean after you’ve finished your sandwich, it’ll just be heading right back home. Now that’s a product life cycle we can get behind!

Paper Water Bottle

Paper Water Bottle is purported to be the 1st of its kind in the world. the technology behind the Paper Water Bottle Technology is based on 16 global patents. Production began in December 2017.

·       An eco-friendly, direct replacement for plastic water/beverage bottles on the market today

·       Shell made of 100% compostable pulp

·       Barrier made with 100% recycled resin

·       Twist-off cap secures content with its Pulp Gripper™ technology

·       Can be customized to fit a brand’s needs through design and graphic communications

·       500ml Natural stock bottle

The Smoothie: Protein in its Simplest Form

With the increase of weight-training phenomenons like Crossfit and powerlifting, protein and protein powders are getting a huge surge in the world of nutrition. From nuts to pea protein, plant-based protein powders are crowding the shelves of local health food stores and making their way into smoothies across the globe. But what are all these new protein ingredients and where on earth do they come from? Is one protein source better than another? Let’s take a look at the best plant-based protein powder – and some animal protein powder sources – to learn each powder works.

Working with Whey

After milk has been curdled and strained, a thick liquid remains created as a byproduct of cheese production. Whey, as this liquid is commonly called, is then separated from the fat and processed for consumption. Whey protein is arguably one of the best sources of protein available because it contains a large range of essential amino acids, which are absorbed quickly. Whey protein is proven to help you increase strength, gain muscle, and lose fat. The only problem? Vegans and those allergic to milk need to look elsewhere for their protein supplements.

Boosted with Bone Broth

True, it’s not a plant-based protein, but these days, it seems like bone broth is the magic cure-all. Whether you think it’s ridiculous to shell out upwards of $15 on glorified chicken broth or you’ve hopped on the bone broth bandwagon, the fact is that companies and consumers worldwide are gobbling the stuff up. Take Ancient Nutrition’s Bone Broth Protein. This protein supplement delivers the benefits of homemade bone broth and supports joints, skin, muscles, and digestion. Plus, it’s dairy-free, gluten-free, and Paleo-friendly, so it’s suitable for all non-vegan gym buffs. The company eschews chemicals and new-fangled supplements in favor of traditions and nutritional principles that have been tried and tested throughout history.

Pick Pea

Pea protein is the perfect option. Plant-based eaters can add this veggie protein powder to their diets without the unwanted side effects that usually come along with protein powders like bloating and allergies. Pea protein is a “complete protein,” made by drying and grinding peas and legumes into a fine flour and removing the fiber and starch. This leaves you with mostly protein with vitamins and minerals. For a taste of plant-based protein, try Purely Inspired organic protein shake that boasts a whopping 20 grams of pea-tastic protein.

Go Nuts for Nuts

Another plant-based protein that’s lining the shelves is nut-based protein powders. Nut enthusiasts (and the non-allergic) will go nuts for peanut and Brazil nut-based powders. Nuts and nut-butters typically contain a large amount of fat and calories, but turning them into powders removes some of the bad-for-you elements. Take Raw Power’s Brazil Nut Protein Powder that boasts raw, organic, and vegan protein. It delivers the nutrients of Brazil Nuts without the fat calories. PB fit’s peanut butter powder is also a great way to add protein to your smoothies with 90% less fat and ⅓ of the calories of a scoop of peanut butter.

Whatever you decide is best for your body and your diet, these natural protein powders are a great way to bolster your diet and consume some post-workout recovery fuel. Bump your smoothies up to the next level with one of these good-for-your-body protein powders.

And the Best Plant Based Protein Powder Is…

For it’s appeal to the broadest swath of humans and mostly non-allergenic qualities, we choose pea protein as the best plant-based protein powder.

From Forest to Table: New Packaging from Innovative Companies

They say one man’s trash is another man’s treasure — but innovative companies are turning one man’s trash into another man’s … food packaging?

With the dangers of global warming threatening to jeopardize our very existence, more and more consumers are becoming environmentally aware. We recycle, we compost, and we pay attention to the packaging on our purchases (this means no more Styrofoam take-out containers and avoiding plastic straws at your local bar). Some innovative companies recognize this demand for new ways to approach packaging and are working on turning food waste into new forms of food packaging.

Innovative Companies say Buh-bye to Plastic Packaging

Forget plastics. Non-recyclable, non-biodegradable products not only pollute our environment, they also potentially contaminate foods with harmful chemicals and even fail to keep your food adequately fresh. The newest solution? Food packaging made from natural materials like mushrooms, milk proteins, wood, kelp, and tomato peels. Not only are these products biodegradable, waste eliminators, and better for the environment, but they’re oftentimes edible. Really! Here are a few not quite market-ready concepts we have our eye on.

Wood-Based Bottles

In an attempt to reduce waste, Nestlé Waters and Danone have launched a joint product in alliance with a California startup, Origin Materials, to develop 100% bio-based bottles. Made from sustainable and renewable resources, these bottles will take biomass feed stocks (like recycled cardboard and sawdust) to create an entirely new product. These wood-based bottles are scheduled to hit store shelves in 2020.

Milk-Protein Packaging

Did your mother always tell you to drink your milk? Well now you can package your food with it, too, with edible milk-based packaging that reduces food spoilage and waste. This biodegradable, sustainable, and super-thin packaging will make the regular thin plastic film that wraps your cheese and meats obsolete. The US Department of Agriculture, whose team of researchers pioneered the technology, discovered that casein, also known as the protein in dairy milk, can be used to create edible packaging that actually protects your food better than plastic. The proteins work to form a tight network around the food, sealing it 500 times better than plastic.

Mushroom Material

Your favorite fungi are being turned into eco-friendly containers for wine bottles and furniture as well as products like coolers. Ecovative Design developed Mushroom Packaging to reduce waste and replace polystyrene in packaging materials. This product could theoretically replace Styrofoam across the globe. Ikea has already planned to replace their usual polystyrene packaging with Ecovative’s biodegradable mushroom roots. They’ve also licensed their packaging technology to Sealed Air, a $7.6 billion packaging company that makes Bubble Wrap.

Tomato Tin Cans

When you crack open a can of olives or dig into your favorite canned soup on a rainy day, you’ll usually find the packaging coated with chemicals like BPA (Bisphenol-A). While the levels found inside your cans are low enough to purportedly pose no threat to your health, more customers are looking for chemical-free, and thus BPA-free, packaging. The solution? To replace the chemical lacquer with natural ingredients, like processed tomatoes. BIOCOPAC is taking the skins from tomatoes and using them to treat metal food cans. So, the next time you pop open a can of tomatoes for your evening pasta sauce, you might be consuming more tomatoes than you think.

Seaweed Saran

Unlike other recyclable materials like glass and metal, plastic wrap cannot be recycled. So it’s more important than ever to cut down on our use of harmful plastic when packaging our foods. Japanese design company, AMAM, has developed Agar Plasticity to replace our usual Saran wrap. Made from agar, a material found in red marine algae, Agar Plasticity could soon replace the environmentally harmful but very thin and flexible plastics we’re currently using to wrap food. Even if the Agar Plasticity ends up in the ocean after you’ve finished your sandwich, it’ll just be heading right back home. Now that’s a product life cycle we can get behind!

 

Snack Bags Get a Punch of Protein

When you think about chips, the last thing that comes to mind is probably “healthy snacks” or “foods with protein” — but some health food manufacturers are transforming your favorite guilty pleasure into a new source of foods with protein. Punch up your snack game with these high protein, health conscious chips in a range of crave-worthy flavors. These various protein chips have revolutionized snack food, offering a preferable alternative to nutritionally void, processed munchies.

Skip Chips with Fat and Carbs

Your standard serving of chips — take Lay’s potato chips — packs in 160 calories, 10 grams of fat, 15 grams of carbs, and a mere 2 grams of protein. They’re an indulgence that should be reserved for rare occasions. Now take Quest Protein Chips — a snack that boasts 20 grams of protein instead of empty carbs. With flavors like sour cream and onion, cheddar and sour cream, sea salt, salt and vinegar, and BBQ, you can enjoy your favorite snack without all the guilt. With 130 calories per bag and just 4 grams of fat and 3 grams of net carbs, these macronutrient ratios can be a part of any diet. So how do they construct a chip with such remarkable stats? The first ingredient in Quest chips is a protein blend of milk protein isolate and whey protein isolate — the very same blend found in their signature bars. After that, all you’ll find is sunflower oil, dried potatoes, corn starch, psyllium husk, and natural flavors.

Protein in Unlikely Places

And other companies are getting in on the protein chip game. Plocky’s has been satisfying consumers since 1988 with savory snacks made from the finest ingredients with no preservatives. Their PrOTATO Crisps in original flavor with Himalayan pink salt, spicy honey BBQ, and peppercorn ranch are made from simple (and pronounceable) ingredients. You’ll find dehydrated potato, rice protein, modified corn starch, sunflower oil, sugar, soy lecithin, and leavening in these healthful snacks. One serving contains 120 calories, 2 grams of fat, and 7 grams of protein — less protein than Quest chips, but equally sin-free.

SimplyProtein offers crunchy, low carb snacks that’ll keep you fueled and feeling light. SimplyProtein Chips are made with real ingredients and packed with 15 grams of pea protein. The modest ingredient list includes pea protein isolate, dehydrated potato flakes, potato starch, salt, calcium carbonate, organic canola oil, and natural seasonings. In one bag, you’ll find just 140 calories, 4 grams of fat, and 30% of your daily iron intake. These plant based, gluten-free chips are non-GMO and the perfect guilt-free snack.

And clocking in at the lowest calories per serving, Our Little Rebellion’s Protein Crisps are only 90 calories per serving. Flavors like BBQ, buffalo, and wasabi ginger add spice to the potato chip game. You’ll be receiving a mere 2.5 grams of fat and 10 grams of plant-based proteins without the GMOs, preservatives, and gluten that you’ll find in many chips.

Foods with Protein

So what’s the drawback? While these chips offer a much preferable alternative to your standard snack bag, they’re still processed food. No, you can’t nibble on these chips post-workout and expect a nutritional powerhouse. You’re still much better off with a couple of hard boiled eggs, some cottage cheese or Greek yogurt, or a banana with nut butter. But even though you won’t want to add these chips into your everyday diet, they’re still a much better alternative to your typical greasy snack food.

 

Why Eating Your Coffee is Smart

For coffee drinkers, that morning Cup of Joe is a ritual that won’t soon be abandoned, but what happens if you eat your morning cup instead of drink it? For centuries, people have been brewing beans for consumption (with popularity booming since the Boston Tea Party in 1773, when America switched from tea to coffee in nearly one fell swoop) and now it’s practically a faux pas not to drink the stuff. But even before we were meeting for coffee dates and swigging Starbuck’s before a big meeting, the bean was considered somewhat of a magic fruit.

The History: Eating Whole Coffee Beans

Let’s take a little trip back in time. Coffee can trace its roots back to the ancient coffee forests on the Ethiopian plateau. Legend has it that the goat herder Kaldi first discovered the effects of coffee when he noticed that his goats became energetic after eating the berries off a certain tree. Kaldi shared this information with the abbot of the local monastery who began turning these berries into a drink that kept him alert during evening prayers. Slowly, word moved to the Arabian Peninsula, where coffee cultivation and trade began.

The Bean: What Happens if You Eat Coffee Grounds

What exactly is the coffee bean? It’s the seed of the coffee fruit (also called a cherry). During processing, the cherry, the red exterior coating, is removed and the seed inside is dried into raw green coffee beans. These green beans are then roasted at various levels and become the mocha colored beans we know and love. When you grind these beans and combine them with hot water, you’re diluting the effects of the bean. So eating the bean has an amplified effect — you’re getting all of the caffeine and antioxidants, not just what drips through the filter. The active ingredients in coffee beans are also absorbed more quickly through the mucus membranes in the mouth when you chew them whole rather than when you sip their diluted counterparts.

The Benefits of Coffee

Not only does coffee give us a much needed pep in our step that allows to tackle the day, it also reduces the risk of liver disease, skin cancer, Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and lessens the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Coffee is also the number one source of antioxidants for Americans, which remove free radicals from your bloodstream, and help to prevent cancer, cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment, and immune dysfunction. Eating whole coffee beans helps you absorb not only the caffeine but also the ever important antioxidants faster. Plus, caffeine is credited with boosting memory consolidation, relieving post workout muscle pain, and increasing levels of dopamine. It’s, quite simply, a magic berry! And chewing coffee beans deliver your caffeine and antioxidants more rapidly than sipping your morning cup.(We don’t however, recommend eating coffee grounds.)

Where to Get Your Fix

As the benefits of caffeine continue to be touted, more companies are putting it into more places. Sure, you could grab a handful of beans and munch away, but that might be just a bit too hard core for some. Personally, a chocolate covered coffee bean goes a long way, but energy bars are your best bet for getting portable coffee on-the-go alongside proteins and fats that help you digest the caffeine slower and steadier. Eat Your Coffee, an organic, vegan, and gluten-free bar is infused with an entire cup of real coffee. Munch on it in Mocha Latte, Coconut Mocha, and Caramel Macchiato flavors that include good-for-you ingredients like cashews, oats, coconut, chia seeds, dates, coffee, quinoa, and cacao nibs. Coffee Thins, similarly, are a sweet treat that convert 100% of the whole coffee bean into an edible ingredient that delivers on taste and caffeine.

You may not be ready to give up your morning cup of coffee just yet, but these edible options are a great way to get an extra caffeine boost on the go.

Snack Bags Get Hot

Human beings are suckers for personalization, especially when said personalization is related to snack customization. From cupcake decorating parties to Lunchables where you make your own mini pizzas or cracker, cheese, and ham combos, we love the ability to tailor-make our snacks to meet our own desires. Didn’t you ever get home from school as a kid, make a beeline toward the freezer, nuke a frozen burrito, and doctor it with added cheese, hot sauce, and salsa? Sure, you can rip open a plain ol’ bag of Doritos and dig in, but wouldn’t it be so much more fun to add your own seasonings? Companies around the world are punching up the flavor of your favorite bag of chips with a sachet of added seasoning. From salt to sauces, there’s a flavor addition for every palate.

Mexico has been doing it for years — take a bag of Fritos and douse them in chile and lime, and you’ve got a snack that’s customized to the region. Before Fritos came in a prepackaged chile and lime flavor, hungry consumers were doing it themselves. Now you’ll find even crazier concoctions lining the streets of Mexico. Take Dorilocos (or Crazy Doritos). Walking down the streets of Mexico City, you’ll see street vendors slinging these gluttonous concoctions. A bag of Nacho Cheese Doritos are sliced open lengthwise, then topped with grated carrots, jicama, cucumber, pickled pork rinds, peanuts, jellied candies, lime juice, two kinds of chili powder, and several kinds of fruity syrup and hot sauce. Over the top? Yes. But you can’t deny the appeal of a customized bag of chips.

One of the United Kingdom’s oldest brand of potato crisps, Salt ‘n’ Shake, began serving potato chips with included sachets in the 1920s. The chips were created by Frank Smith and sold in pubs in Cricklewood, London. Drunken pubgoers were stealing the salt cellars he provided alongside his chips, so Smith began selling the chips with a small blue sachet of salt. Now, you can purchase the chips with the same blue sachet containing 0.6g of salt, allowing the consumer to salt their crisps to suit their own taste.

All around the world, you’ll find similar products. In India, Lay’s (owned by Pepsico India) created the Chip-n-Sauce pack. Launched in 2008 to offer cricket lovers a snack to enjoy while watching the sporting event, the Lay’s Chip-n-Sauce pack comes in Chilli Chinese flavor with a Schezwan Sauce sachet and Chatpata Indian with a Tamarind Sauce sachet inside the package. In South America, Lay’s is also cornering the market on chip customization. As if their unique flavors like Ham, Olive Oil, and Parmesan and Beef Carpaccio with Parmeggiano aren’t off-the-wall enough, in Peru, you can enjoy the Lay’s Dips brand which includes a Peruvian Criollo Chili sauce sachet.

And the beauty of customized chip flavorings is that you can do it at home. Sure, there are a few brands that offer included flavor sachets, but get creative and do it yourself! Japanese furikake seasoning (a mixture of dried fish, sesame seeds, chopped seaweed, sugar, and salt) makes a great topping for plain chips or popcorn. Try kale powder over your Lay’s or Tajin, Mexican chili, lime, and salt seasoning on your Fritos. Your chip bag is your oyster!

 

Eat Your Botox

Collagen, the protein found in the connective tissues between animal muscles, is seeping its way into the fitness and beauty industries as one of the healthy sources of protein for athletes and as supplements to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Companies are developing and marketing pills, powders, foods, and beverages claiming to improve your skin’s appearance and help refuel muscles after a workout. More and more women over thirty, athletes and body-builders are consuming collagen products in an attempt to change their appearance. But do these products really work?

Collagen for Skin

It makes sense on first look that ingesting collagen would make a difference in your skin’s appearance. As we get older, the collagen in our skin starts to break down, causing thinner skin, fine lines, and wrinkles. Companies like BioSil and Vital Proteins are manufacturing supplements to help create younger-looking skin and minimize the signs of aging. You can even find collagen in foods like fish, meat, red, dark green and orange vegetables, berries, soy, and citrus fruits. And many skincare companies are developing collagen-rich moisturizers.

There are several studies touting the benefits of collagen for skin health. This study published in Skin Pharmacology and Physiology showed that the collagen supplement, Verisol, improved skin elasticity and reduced eye wrinkles by 20 percent after eight weeks. The thought is that, when consumed, active collagen fragments are absorbed into your body and circulate through your bloodstream to your skin. But other studies and specialists argue that collagen is a protein, so when you ingest it, your digestive system breaks it up before it gets a chance to reach your skin — much like eating a steak.

The final verdict? It’s difficult to tell how much of the collagen you eat or ingest through a supplement will actually be absorbed through your body and reach your skin. But it can’t hurt to up our natural collagen intake through diet. And applying collagen topically to the skin can (temporarily, at least) reduce the appearance of those pesky lines. Using a moisturizer with sunblock every day and eating clean may still be the best ways to help skin look younger.

A Healthy Source of Protein

It’s no secret that good health and fitness rely on the body’s building block: protein. After a tough workout, your muscles need healthy sources of protein, plus other nutrients, for recovery and rebuilding. It makes sense, then, that supplementing with collagen, a type of protein, would be beneficial to a fitness buff and could aid in enhancing physical performance.

Collagen is a vital building block for bones, joints, and connective tissues (taking collagen can also help to improve bone and joint health). When we’re building muscle, we can’t overlook the importance of connective tissue in ensuring a strong and youthful body.

Adding Collagen to your Diet

Modern food processing focuses on lean, skinless, boneless meat — the parts of the animal which does not contain much collagen — so we’re actually not consuming collagen from most of our usual sources of protein when we choose these cuts. Found in bones and connective tissue, most of us can easily consume collagen in the form of natural, unskimmed bone broth. Consuming collagen can help reduce inflammation caused by running and lifting weights, promote joint health, reduce injury (especially to the ligaments and tendons), maintain nitrogen balance, and reduce body fat. Some say it also can benefit your gut’s biome, Turns out there is logic in drinking chicken broth when you are not feeling your best – it is likely high in collagen.

While there are many powders and pills that you can find at your local health food stores to help add collagen to your regiment, Ti Tonics are an easy way to sip your collagen. Adding this hip new beverage to your diet provides a non-dairy source of protein and collagen with a little hit from white tea and no added sugars. Or reap the benefits from a daily dose of bone broth!

Vegetables’ Collapsing Supply Chain

The farm-to-table movement has taken the country by storm — and it’s even more accessible than a six-course feast at a Michelin starred restaurant. Supporting local farms has become mainstream, encouraging consumers to shop at farmers markets and buy locally. New agriculture companies are even bringing farms closer to the population, so you can find family farms in your backyard. Innovative companies are engineering and building farms closer to population centers, so you can have super fresh produce that’s just a short drive from your supermarket. That means that you can buy affordable, organic, non-GMO, heritage veggies that remind us what our planet is really meant for – supporting life.

Better for the Environment

The local food movement is growing, and that’s in part because buying local produce is better for the environment. More and more Americans want to know where their food comes from. They shop at local farmers markets and subscribe to Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs. Locavores are taking over and the local food movement shows no signs of slowing down.

Buying organic from your local farmers market is an easy way to reduce your carbon footprint. Transporting food requires the use of trucks, boats, and planes. These transportation vehicles burn fossil fuels and emit CO2, contributing to global warming. Local, organic farms don’t rely on synthetic or petroleum-based pesticides or fertilizers, use less water and contribute significantly less soil contamination from runoff.Local farms also help collapse the supply chain by shipping their products shorter distances, often 100 miles or less.

Fresh Vegetables Near Me

Farmers markets make shopping locally easier than ever. At these communal spaces, local farmers gather to sell their farm products directly to consumer. This cuts overhead costs and creates a community around agriculture. To get local produce straight to your home, consider signing up for Community Supported Agriculture programs. At these direct-to-consumer programs, a customer buys a share of a local farm’s harvest. You’ll then either pick up your CSA box filled with local produce at a communal location or it will be delivered straight to your door. Other direct to consumer programs make eating locally simple, like pick-your-own farms, on-site farm stands, and gleaning programs, where consumers harvest crops that are left in fields after harvest.

Family Farms Near Me? Not Exactly …

Even in areas where farmland is hard to come by, we’re finding new models for farming that make it possible to grow produce in densely populated cities.If you live in a densely populated city, it might be harder to find local farms. But new companies are changing the way we farm, making it easier to enjoy fresh produce without the mileage. How are they bringing farms to cities? By utilizing indoor farming techniques. Plenty, a San Francisco startup, has built an indoor, urban farm in a warehouse using 20-foot towers filled with fresh kale, herbs, and veggies. Aerofarms is doing the same thing across the country in Newark, New Jersey. A 70,000-square-foot former steel factory is the setting for their urban farm. They produce about two-million pounds of baby greens annually without sunlight, soil, or pesticides. These vertical farms grow crops in cities with all the benefits of local farming without the negative consequences.  

Bugging Out – Will You Eat Insects?

What if we told you that manufacturers are processing crickets, meal worms, and locusts into flours to boost a product’s protein levels? Unsurprisingly, most people in the western world are reluctant to add a scoop of cricket protein powder to their morning shake or pop a couple chocolate covered ants as an after dinner treat. But insects are actually nutritious, sustainable, protein dense, and high in easy to absorb vitamins and minerals.Interested yet?

How about this: a massive 2013 report published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations encouraged consumption of edible insects as a global food source because of their many health benefits. It’s time to jump on the creepy crawly bandwagon and embrace entomophagy, the practice of eating insects.

Crunch on Crickets

Companies like CRIK Nutrition, Entomo Farms, Exo Protein, and Chapul are revolutionizing the cricket industry with products like cricket protein powder, protein bars, and flour. You can even munch on cricket cookies from Bitty Foods and chocolate or candy coated worms from Hotlix. Plus, more and more Oaxacan restaurants are popularizing the Mexican snack chapulines — fried grasshoppers that are usually coated in lime and spices. Now will you eat bugs?

Well, for one: we already are. Bugs are practically impossible to keep out of your foods, and you’re already consuming far more than you’d imagine. For instance: one cup of rice contains up to three whole insects; the ground coffee used to make one cup of coffee contains up to 60 bug parts; and the tomato sauce used in one regular pizza contains up to 30 fly eggs or two whole maggots. Many coatings used in the manufacture of candy are made from bug parts, too. But instead of being grossed out by this, we should embrace it.

Nutritionally Dense Cricket Protein Powder

For over two billion people in the world, insects make up their main source of protein. They are one of the most nutritionally dense foods on the planet, with over twice as much protein as beef, more calcium than milk, more iron than spinach, and more omegas and B12 vitamins than wild salmon. Plus, they boast high levels of zinc, magnesium, and B6, and are loaded with amino acids.It’s practically the perfect food for humans and planet! Are those two billion people paleo? Likely they just know an affordable protein source when they see one.

Easy to Grow & Sustainable

Growing crickets requires less resources than traditional livestock. Cattle farms are notoriously horrendous for the environment, but cricket farms require 2,000 times less land and water, grow 13 times faster, produce 100 times less greenhouse gasses, and consume 12 times less feed.Sweet!

More Ethical

We won’t get into the nitty-gritty details of cattle farming and let’s not get started on the waste and by-products cattle and other animals produce, but let’s just say it ain’t pretty. Crickets, however, naturally cluster on their own, so you don’t have to force them into tight quarters. And none of the insects are going to waste. Traditionally, we only consume about 40 percent of the cows we raise for livestock, but the entire cricket is dried and ground up, so you’re not squandering any of the product.

So What’s the Hold Up?

Most people are, quite frankly, irked by the thought of eating insects and associate it with disease and filth. But insects can be a part of a healthy and happy diet. Lobster and shrimp, for example, were once shunned as dirty, but are now considered delicacies. And high-end restaurants are already starting to serve insects on their menus. It’s only a matter of time until westerners realize that bugs are the latest superfood and here to stay.

 

Burgers: A Revolution in Plant-based Protein

plant based burgers

There are few things more satisfying than biting into a juicy, bloody burger — but what if said burger was made from plant-based protein instead of ground beef? A new revolution in vegan protein has begun, and it’s all about the burger. These plant-based proteins “bleed” and resemble actual beef more than any vegan products before. But why are we calling them “meat?” And why would someone who has eschewed eating meat want a product that so closely resembles the thing they’re trying to avoid?

Why Choose Plant based Protein?

Some health-conscious consumers have removed meat from their daily intake for purely dietary reasons. For them, these imitator products are welcomed with a fervor. Products like Impossible Foods’ Impossible Burger and Beyond Meat’s Beyond Burger so closely approximate a beef patty that herbivores can indulge in the very things they’ve had to give up. High cholesterol? Sink your teeth into a juicy Impossible Burger and you’ll barely know the difference. Suffering from an illness that benefits from a plant-based diet? Grill up a Beyond Burger when a meat craving strikes and feel satiated without the side effects.

But should those who have chosen the vegan lifestyle and do so for political reasons be seeking a product that acts like meat? Vegan protein in the form of beans is great — but a burger that “bleeds” seems like it’s copying a product that animal activist’s should be steering clear of. These burgers mimic the very thing that some vegans are adamantly opposed to — so is it better to stick to quinoa bowls and cauliflower cutlets than to attempt to consume a product that resembles all that they are opposed to?

Vegan Protein is the Food Revolution

Health issues aside, the Impossible Burger and Beyond Burger are revolutionizing the way we eat. It’s no secret that the meat industry is bad for the environment. Raising livestock for consumption requires a staggering amount of land, food, energy, and water and produces a significant amount of our greenhouse-gas emissions. And red meat is even worse. Beef and lamb are responsible for 10 to 40 times as many greenhouse gas emissions as most vegetables and grains, according to Scientific American.

So a burger that approximates meat without the detrimental side effects should be welcome on any restaurant’s menu and on the shelves of every grocery store. Take the Impossible Burger. Scientists, farmers, and chefs collaborated for five years to recreate the perfect beef burger without harming a single cow. By shunning cows in favor of all-natural ingredients like wheat, coconut oil, and potatoes, the Impossible Burger uses a fraction of the Earth’s natural resources. “Compared to cows, the Impossible Burger uses 95% less land, 74% less water, and creates 87% less greenhouse gas emissions. And it’s 100% free of hormones, antibiotics, and artificial ingredients,” according to Impossible Foods’ website. And the secret ingredient that makes the Impossible Burger stand out from its plant-based peers is a little things called heme. Heme, an iron-containing compound, makes meat smell, sizzle, bleed, and is the “magic ingredient” that makes this burger stand up to its carnivorous competition.

Impossible Burgers can be found at several restaurants around the country, but if you’re hankering for a home-cooked patty, look no further than the Beyond Burger. This revolutionary burger was the first plant-based product that looks, cooks, and satisfies like beef without the harmful repercussions, and at a fraction of the price of the Impossible Burger. This patty is made primarily from pea protein, with a “bleeding” element from beet juice.

So how do you feel about lab-made, realistic vegetarian burgers? Would you go veg for them or not?

Rebranding Helps Tahoe Trail Bar Increase Visibility

A recent story published on packagingstrategies.com focused on our branded packaging design work with Tahoe Trail Bars. We are thrilled to share their success!

 

Tahoe Trail Bars rebranded in time for summer outings

When current owner & CEO Wes King bought the recipe for the single flavor and rights to make the product in 2010, the nutrition, health & wellness category was growing exponentially. He realized it was time to get Tahoe Trail Bar introduced to a wider audience.

King reached out to Perspective: Branding (perspectivebranding.com) for the rebrand. “We were struggling to be seen in the set (because of muted colors), and finding it difficult to convert sales because the features of the bar were not clear and our brand identity didn’t have the weight and punch of a separate mark. We decided to take the plunge into new flavors (which our customers were requesting), and take the brand as a whole ‘down to the studs’ and really capture who we are and what we are about,” he says. Continue reading here: http://www.packagingstrategies.com/articles/89760-tahoe-trail-bars-rebranded-in-time-for-summer-outings.

Originally published on packagingstrategies.com on July 5, 2017.