Fasten Your Seatbelts, Eaters…The Speed of Change in Food is Accelerating

There’s never been a more exciting time to work in the food world. Once relegated to recipes featured in the Wednesday newspaper food pages and women’s magazines, the discussion about food has deepened and broadened exponentially in the last decade. What hit me smack between the eyes this month is the feeling that the pace of this change is now in hyper-drive. Two recent events stand out: Ketchum’s January 12th publication of its newest Food 2020 consumer research and a visit to the San Francisco Fancy Food Show six days later.

Koda Farms Logo

Koda Farms Logo

 

18 Rabbits Logo

18 Rabbits Logo

Ketchum’s fourth global Food 2020 study found that an influential group of what we call Food eVangelists may be emerging as the new core food consumer. Food eVangelists are a small but globally powerful group who want to impact the way food is raised, packaged and sold. This cohort engages in conversation and share their opinions about food online or in person multiple times each week. First identified by Ketchum Food 2020 in 2013, this group has grown 10 percent in just two years and now accounts for 24 percent of the general population. That’s a tremendous rate of change and because of their influence, Food eVangelists are now in charge and food producers are rapidly responding.

Jelly Belly Logo

Jelly Belly Logo

 

Purely Elizabeth

Purely Elizabeth

This massive change in priorities of consumers is resulting in an explosion of small- to mid-sized businesses who have engulfed the specialty food industry with organic, local, non-GMO and sustainable foods. Big food is also heeding the call and opting in to the movement by cleaning labels of favorite foods and purchasing purpose-driven brands when they are ready for mass distribution. I’m thrilled by all of these developments because they show that consumers really can affect change. It feels darn right democratic!

Georgia Grinders Logo

Georgia Grinders Logo

If you don’t believe me, you should have walked the halls of San Francisco’s Moscone Convention Center last week for the 41st Winter Fancy Food Show. You would have been flooded by a mixture of USDA Organic, Non-GMO Project Verified, Certified B Corporation, 1% for the Planet labels on everything from oatmeal and granola to nut butters, tuna fish and rice. Even Jelly Belly jellybeans  are in on the game.  The word ‘sustainable’ was ubiquitous and ‘heirloom’ is coming on strong. Cricket flour  created far more buzz than cupcake sprinkles in this venue. Gone are the days when the Fancy Food Show specialized mostly in gorgeous chocolates and phenomenal cheeses, although thankfully you’ll still find plenty of these to enjoy!

 

Safe Catch Logo

Safe Catch Logo

If you’re reading this @ppetite post, it’s highly like that you are a Food eVangelist yourself or that you know one, or that you have attended either the Winter Fancy Food Show in SF or the Summer version in New York City. I’m so glad you are here and look forward to hearing your thoughts. Do you see this acceleration of change? If so, how and where?

Bitty Foods Logo

Bitty Foods Logo

Swelter No More: Sans-Oven Recipes

Extremely steamy temps—like those blanketing much of the U.S. right now—deflate my desire for everyday activities: exercising, anything involving the outdoors and especially cooking. Like many New Yorkers, I live in a “cozy” (aka shoebox-sized) abode, so using the oven at all during summer basically transforms the entire place into a sauna. With the mercury predicted to climb even higher in the coming days, I’ve turned to my online arsenal of food blogs for summery, sans-oven recipes. The goal? Create healthy and tasty home-cooked meals without cooking myself in the process. Here, two recent successes. Enjoy and stay cool, my fellow foodies!

This Chopped Chickpea Greek Salad, courtesy of Ambitious Kitchen, is light, refreshing and just plain pretty. I pulled it together as a post-work meal in less than ten minutes. It’s also surprisingly filling, thanks to the fibrous chickpeas and water-laden veggies (i.e. cucumbers, tomatoes and bell peppers). Although the recipe didn’t call for it, I added a few leaves of fresh basil for additional flavor.

Mccoy photo

I’m a longtime lover of lettuce wraps (they’re healthy yet hearty; crispy and customizable), and this meatless Mexican quinoa version via Minimalist Baker is especially light and flavorful. Instead of roasting the sweet potato in the oven, I simply pricked it with a fork, microwaved it on high for eight minutes and then chopped and sprinkled it with olive oil, cinnamon, cumin and sea salt. Another inside tip: the recipe yields leftover cilantro lime dressing, which tastes just as delightfully creamy on salad the next day.

Courtesy of Minimalist Baker

Courtesy of Minimalist Baker

Recipes
Chopped Chickpea Greek Salad (courtesy of Ambitious Kitchen)

Ingredients:

  • 1 (15 oz) can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 15 grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives
  • 1 cucumber, sliced and quartered
  • 4 oz feta cheese, crumbled or cut into 1/2 inch cubes

For the dressing:

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • freshly ground salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions:

  1. Place all salad ingredients into a large bowl and toss to combine.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and oregano. Pour onto salad and toss again to well combine. Taste and add salt and pepper as you’d like.
  3. Place in refrigerator for 1 hour to marinate, or serve immediately. Salad is best enjoyed within 2-3 days after making. Serves 4 for a meal, or 6 as a side salad.

Mexican Quinoa Salad Cups with Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing (via Minimalist Baker)
Ingredients:

  • 2 heads small, artisan lettuce (any variety that will form cups/wraps nicely – or sub corn tortillas)
  • 1 15-ounce can unsalted black beans (Note: If your beans are salted, omit additional sea salt)
  • 1 large sweet potato, scrubbed, rinsed and cubed
  • ~1/2 tsp each cumin, cinnamon and sea salt, divided
  • 3/4 cup dry white or red quinoa, rinsed in a fine mesh strainer
  • Olive oil

For the dressing:

  • 1/2 small ripe avocado
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  • 3-4 small limes, juiced
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive or grape seed oil
  • 1/4 tsp each sea salt and cumin
  • 1 Tbsp sweetener of choice (such as cane sugar or honey if not vegan)
  • Water to thin

For full instructions, check out the original recipe via Minimalist Baker.

Quick and Creative: Why Quinoa Makes the Perfectly Packed Lunch

Like most collegiates, I love my university. I can speak at length about classes, clubs and extracurricular activities. But, I never thought I’d be so excited to talk about my school’s food. I attend Boston University and I’m proud to say that among its many accolades, another area where BU truly excels is in its cuisine. Instead of having to choose between bad options like when my parents went to school, my biggest dilemma in the dining hall is limiting myself to only one dinner entrée.

I’ve been lucky enough to dine in an amazing space for the past two and a half years, but when I studied abroad in London this past spring, the dining hall unfortunately did not travel across the pond with  me.

One of my favorite London drinks!

One of my favorite London drinks!

On the weekends, my peers and I enjoyed traditional English pub food – freshly battered fish and chips finished with a crisp cider, which was a delicious option, but not always the healthiest. After a month of pasta and peanut butter sandwiches, I started to research a better lunch option to pack for the work week. Quinoa was the perfect solution.

Source: un.org

Source: un.org

I was originally attracted to quinoa after reading that the UN deemed 2013 the International Year of Quinoa due to its incredible nutritional value. Although quinoa, pronounced “keen-wa” has only recently become a popular item in nearby grocery stores, it’s been a major food crop in other countries for centuries.  It was a staple in the pre-Columbian culture in Latin America and is still a dominant crop for the Quechua and Aymara peoples of the rural Andes region of South America, where in the Quechua language quinoa affectionately translates to “mother grain.”

Source: realfoodforlife.com

Source: realfoodforlife.com

Prepared either creamy or crunchy, quinoa is a great dish for anyone with an active lifestyle. It is incredibly easy to make as it can be boiled – or easily reheated in the microwave with water – for simply ten minutes. For anyone preparing their own lunch, it holds incredibly well. Quinoa is packed with many health benefits (which you can read more about here), but what I love is that it keeps me full for the entire afternoon.

Sarah 4

Source: cookinglight.com

Quinoa’s best asset is that it allows for creativity – even if you’re new to the cooking scene like me! I  enjoy a kale and quinoa salad sprinkled with sliced almonds and feta cheese, but often I would chop up various vegetables the night before, add some olive oil before lunch and enjoy an entirely new creation! There is nothing worse than having the same boring lunch that you had the day before, but with quinoa one package can provide a base for a week’s worth of lunches while also giving you the option to change spices and additions from day to day.

Here is a delicious recipe from the National Honey Board (client) to get you started on your quinoa quest. What is your favorite combination? Please feel free to comment with new favorite recipes!

Fruit and Mint Quinoa Salad with Honey-Lime Dressing

Source: honey.com

Source: honey.com

Hope Springs Eternal: Celebrating the End of Winter with a Renewed Dedication to Healthy Eating

Despite the fact that the ground is still snow-covered where I live about 30 miles north of New York City, the calendar continues to assure me that spring does indeed start today. And after a miserable winter that pretty much compelled me to live on comfort food for the past several months (simply refer to my last post for evidence of that!), I think many of us are looking to the warmer weather as the impetus to shed a few extra pounds and reintroduce more healthy foods back into our diet. Combine that with the fact that it’s National Nutrition Month and we have too many good reasons to ignore.

My focus for this post is two of my favorite salads. In fact, few things make me happier than the day in mid-May that I plant my annual herb garden of basil, chives, rosemary, parsley and cilantro. It compels me to get creative with different ways that I can use them.

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The Spotlight on Sugar: Proposed Initiatives Call to Reduce Sugar Intake, Imply Not All Sugars Created Equal

As Jaime Schwartz addressed in her recent post, new nutrition labeling changes could have big implications for marketing and communications professionals. This summary takes a deeper dive into labeling concerns looking at the implications of added sugar labeling in light of the guidance WHO proposed last week.

Not All Sugars Are Created Equal

Source: ligfebridgeblogs.org

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Four Tips for Healthy Holiday Eating

With two young girls, a hard-working husband and full-time job, I’m one busy mom. I’m also a registered dietitian so eating healthy is important to me and definitely for my family.

With the holidays coming up I like to add the unique flavors of the season to my repertoire but not go crazy with cookies, desserts and all the other holiday favorites.

Here are my go-to healthy holiday meals, tips and tricks that’ll get you feeling good, keep your energy up, and assure you are ready to celebrate.

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