Archive for food

Bistro Kids: Bringing healthy, local food to school lunches

Posted in Bistro Kids with tags , , , , , , , , on May 13, 2014 by bistrokids

An interview with Bistro Kids founder Kiersten Firquain

2014-05-13

Bistro kidsWhen she saw the “convenient junk food” her son, Kiersten Firquain did more than start packing a bag for him. She launched a whole farm-to-school program called Bistro Kids to revamp how students eat, including menus that focus on fresh, local foods; visits from farmers; cooking lessons and school gardens. It serves 5,000 meals a day in Kansas City and St. Louis area schools and 6,000 snacks a day in YMCA after-school programs.

“I remember when the lunch ladies made everything from scratch, and my goal is to get that back,” she said in a recent interview with The Hartman Group.

She’s not alone. Choicelunch, Revolution Foods and a host of other programs are working to improve school lunches and, in the process, people’s health and lives.

They are working to undo the repercussions of a generation of children brought up during a revolution in food culture. Children today are raised both at home and in public schools to be mindful of the ingredients in foods, differences between food types (e.g., organic vs. conventional, fresh and local) and the benefits of diet and exercise.

Bistro Kids has been so successful that some children from the program, which started in 2006, have gone on to culinary school and come back to work as chefs for the program. In 2011, Bistro Kids was bought by Treat America, an acquisition that means additional resources and talent.
READ MORE:http://hartbeat.hartman-group.com/article/526/Bistro-Kids-Bringing-healthy-local-food-to-school-lunches?utm_campaign=Bringing+Healthy%2c+Local+Food+to+School+Lunches&utm_content=Chefk@bistrokids.com&utm_source=tailoredmail&utm_term=Read+full+article%c2%bb&tm_campaign=Bringing+Healthy+Local+Food+to+School+Lunches&tm_keyword=UkKd53gsYWr3sq3h7HUH

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As organic goes mainstream, consumers can expect price breaks

Posted in News links with tags , , , , , , , on May 12, 2014 by bistrokids

or many consumers, the obstacle to buying organic food has always been the price.

“I would buy a lot more organic if it were cheaper,” said Eden Prairie resident Brandi Erlendsson. “Now I buy organic fruits and vegetables just for my kids.”

But as mainstream grocers and food companies push more aggressively into organics, Erlendsson and other consumers who buy only a select number of organic products may soon get what they want — organic products at or near the price of conventional products.

Wal-Mart and Target are leading the charge to more affordable products. Both announced last month an expansion of more than 100 organic and natural products.

Ninety-one percent of Wal-Mart’s shoppers would choose organic over nonorganic products if they were priced closer to conventional, according to the company. Later this year it will introduce the organic Wild Oats line as its exclusive private label at prices comparable to ­conventional foods. Customers will save 25 percent against comparable organic products, according to Wal-Mart.

Even Whole Foods, which opened four additional locations in the Twin Cities recently, realized that it can no longer lead the market with its high prices and profits. “Competition is more intense right now than we’ve ever possibly experienced before,” said Whole Foods co-CEO John Mackey on a conference call with investors. The company has had to lower prices, although it has done so quietly to avoid any perceived decline in quality.
READ MORE: http://www.startribune.com/business/258720931.html

Boulder Valley looking to serve up high school lunches via food truck

Posted in News links with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 3, 2014 by bistrokids

The Boulder Valley School District is poised to jump on the food truck trend, thanks to a $75,000 donation from Whole Foods.

The donation, which needs the approval of the school board at its meeting on Tuesday night, will pay for a pre-owned food truck that the district plans to rotate around its five large high schools — Boulder, Fairview, Monarch, Centaurus and Broomfield — potentially adding in smaller high schools as the schedule allows.

“It really fits in with our healthy eating program,” said Ann Cooper, Boulder Valley’s food services director. “Instead of leaving campus, (students) can come to the truck and get really great hamburgers or whatever it is we’re going to serve.

“I’m really, really excited about it. It showcases what we do and will promote the school lunch program to the community.”

The goal is to up the appeal of school lunches, boosting the district’s high school numbers. Now, less than 20 percent of the district’s high school students buy hot lunches at school.

“High school students are our biggest challenge,” Cooper said.

A few districts around the country have added food trucks of their own, while others are fighting to keep outside food trucks away from their schools.

In Colorado, the Jefferson County School District uses a food truck in its summer food program. But, so far, no other districts in the state appear to have tried a mobile lunch option during the school year, said Brehan Riley, nutrition program supervisor at the Colorado Department of Education.

“With the high schoolers especially, it’s a great idea,” Riley said. “Food trucks are very popular. It’s something different.”

The donation was a good fit for Whole Foods, a longtime partner in Boulder Valley’s efforts to make its school lunches healthier, said Ben Friedland, an executive marketing coordinator for the grocer.

“A food truck is going to help them continue to serve healthy lunches to kids throughout our community,” he said.
READ MORE: http://www.dailycamera.com/boulder-county-schools/ci_25220182/boulder-valley-looking-serve-up-high-school-lunches

Is Kosher the Next Big Food Trend?

Posted in News links with tags , , , , , , on December 4, 2013 by bistrokids

A few years after I moved to New York City, I attended a luncheon where we were asked to select from a variety of meal options that included vegetarian, kosher, and low-sodium. Now, I grew up in a community where diversity meant different shades of blonde. I had heard of kosher – after all, who doesn’t know the statement, is this deal kosher? – but I didn’t really know what kosher meant other than the fact that it was somehow affiliated with Judaism.

Still I selected the kosher option based on my believing that it meant the food was better than the non-kosher option. And this common view that kosher is somehow better, purer, and healthier than non-kosher foods is an opportunity for the kosher food industry.

Read More: http://www.forbes.com/sites/larissafaw/2013/12/02/is-kosher-the-next-big-food-trend/

GenZ Kids Have Their Say in the Beverage Aisles, and it’s Often ‘NO’

Posted in News links with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 14, 2013 by bistrokids

We’ve all seen children asking their parents to buy them something in a grocery store – some politely and others more persistently – or rejecting healthy options mom may like with a resounding “no.” But how much effect does their behavior really have on what goes into the cart? In the portion-pack beverage category, the answer is “quite a lot” according to research conducted by Tetra Pak.

Whether it’s a grade-schooler tugging on mom’s skirt or a toddler stretching and pointing from their perch in the grocery cart, kids tend to get what they want when it comes to beverages they’ll be expected to drink, says the research. And the numbers are impressive: interviews with nearly 500 shoppers show that almost 80 percent of all purchases are influenced by kid requests, and a full 55 percent of planned purchases are specifically made by such requests. And when children are along on the shopping trip – as they are about 60 percent of the time – they are more likely to not only express an opinion, but get their way. Only 20 percent of shoppers say their buying decisions have nothing to do with what their children want.

And kids today may be even more opinionated and persistent than their predecessors, market researchers say. Today’s American toddlers-to-teens are known as Gen Z, a demographic that includes 61.2 million youth 14-and-under, according to U.S. Census figures. While kids at the older end of this spectrum often buy their own beverages, parents make the choice for those at the other end. And as a whole, this is a “purposefully rebellious” generation of digital natives, whose sedentary pastimes have also marked them as the most unhealthy and overweight generation, according to The Intelligence Group’s “Cassandra Report: Gen Z.”

But savvy brand marketing can persuade moms – who decide what goes in the cart – while still appealing to kids by keeping these points in mind.

Read More: http://www.progressivegrocer.com/top-stories/headlines/cpgs-trading-partners/id40152/genz-kids-have-their-say-in-the-beverage-aisles-and-its-often-no-/

Obesity declining among low-income preschoolers in some states

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on August 9, 2013 by bistrokids

The fight against childhood obesity is beginning to show results, say government researchers.

After rising for decades and then stabilizing somewhat in the mid-2000s, the obesity rate among low-income preschoolers declined by small but statistically significant amounts in 19 states and U.S. territories between 2008 and 2011, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Tuesday.

“We are excited because we have seen so much work going on in the past several years at the local, state, and national level, and we believe these changes are beginning to make a difference,” co-author Heidi Michels Blanck told NBC News.

Initiatives include First Lady Michele Obama’s Let’s Move campaign to reduce childhood obesity; improvements in the nutritional content of the food provided by the federal government’s Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC); and growth in the number of U.S. hospitals enrolled in the World Health Organization’s Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative, which encourages new moms to breastfeed.

Read More: http://www.nbcnews.com/health/obesity-declining-among-low-income-preschoolers-some-states-6C10855688

New Tech Landing on Your Plates? Could be!

Posted in News links with tags , , , , , , , on May 2, 2013 by bistrokids

What if the next big thing in tech does not arrive on your smartphone or in the cloud? What if it lands on your plate?

That idea is enticing a wide group of venture capitalists in Silicon Valley into making big bets on food.

In some cases, the goal is to connect restaurants with food purveyors, or to create on-demand delivery services from local farms, or ready-to-cook dinner kits. In others, the goal is to invent new foods, like creating cheese, meat and egg substitutes from plants. Since this is Silicon Valley money, though, the ultimate goal is often nothing short of grand: transforming the food industry.

“Part of the reason you’re seeing all these V.C.’s get interested in this is the food industry is not only is it massive, but like the energy industry, it is terribly broken in terms of its impact on the environment, health, animals,” said Josh Tetrick, founder and chief executive of Hampton Creek Foods, a start-up making egg alternatives.

Some investors say food-related start-ups fit into their sustainability portfolios, alongside solar energy or electric cars, because they aim to reduce the toll on the environment of producing animal products. For others, they fit alongside health investments like fitness devices and heart rate monitoring apps. Still others are eager to tackle a real-world problem, instead of building virtual farming games or figuring out ways to get people to click on ads.

“There are pretty significant environmental consequences and health issues associated with sodium or high-fructose corn syrup or eating too much red meat,” said Samir Kaul, a partner at Khosla Ventures, which has invested in a half-dozen food start-ups. “I wouldn’t bet my money that Cargill or ConAgra are going to innovate here. I think it’s going to take start-ups to do that.”

In the last year, venture capital firms in the valley have funneled about $350 million into food projects, and investment deals in the sector were 37 percent higher than the previous year, according to a recent report by CB Insights, a venture capital database. In 2008, that figure was less than $50 million.

That money is just a slice of the $30 billion that venture capitalists invest annually, but it is enough to help finance an array of food start-ups.

The venture capital firms helping to finance these businesses are some of the valley’s most prominent names, in addition to Khosla: SV Angel, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, True Ventures and the Obvious Collection. Celebrities from Hollywood (Matt Damon), pro football (Tom Brady) and the tech world more broadly (Bill Gates) have also joined in.

“Consumers are interested in sophisticated experiences that are beautifully delivered, which we’ve seen happen on the Web and with products like the iPhone,” said Tony Conrad, a partner at True Ventures, which was an early investor in the coffee companyBlue Bottle. “Now, we’re seeing that happen with food and beverage.”

Still, some tech analysts and venture capitalists are skeptical that these companies, with their factories and perishable products, can reach the scale and market valuations of big Internet companies.

READ MORE: https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?shva=1#inbox/13e5bc85f9c212ae