Whole Foods Announces a Whole New Concept

Popular sustainable grocer Whole Foods announced today that they are currently working on a sister concept that will provide budget friendly option for Millennials. The new concept will offer the same core values of Whole Foods, providing organic, sustainable options but with out the premium price tag. Whole Food’s co- CEO, Walter Robb states that their goal is to create a “uniquely branded store concept unlike anything that currently exists in the marketplace.”

Whole Food’s has often faced criticism for their high prices and have even been teased with the nickname “Whole Paycheck” as many cannot afford to shop there. Additional details about the chain will be released to the public before Labor Day and sources say that the new chain has the potential to be just as big as the original Whole Foods concept.

Trends in the industry show that healthy is what consumers want and companies are willing to do whatever it takes to get customers in the door. As we previously posted earlier in the week Panera Bread joined the vast list of food companies vowing to clean up their menus. Operations are removing artificial ingredients from their menus, sourcing food that is free of GMO’s and introducing healthier options.

To read more about Whole Food’s new concept, click here

Dine – In Traffic on the Rise

In recent years, diners have been choosing to take out meals or eat at home, but a recent study from The NPD Group shows the tides are changing. Consumers are enjoying more meals at restaurants as sit down traffic has grown 2 percent in 2014, in addition to 1-percent growth in 2013. Dine-in visits currently account for 39 percent of industry traffic and generate more than $233 billion dollars a year. For years there has been growth in the take out segment, which offers lower profit potential to restaurants as NPD analyst Bonnie Riggs told Nation’s Restaurant News “When you dine in the restaurant sales are much higher, you order more items”

One reason for dine-in growth is that restaurants are taking into account customer’s wants and taking the time to understand their target demographic. One industry spotlight of this is the national fondue chain, The Melting Pot. The chain began hosting focus groups with current and past consumers who gave much insight to the wants of their target market. Through these groups they found out that the restaurant was being used mostly for specialty occasions and consumers wanted a more approachable venue that they could frequent more often. By using the consumer feedback the Melting Pot made radical changes to their menu and operations that resulted in increased sales in 2014.

To read more from Nation’s Restaurant News, click here

New York Shines at James Beard Awards

Although this year’s James Beard Awards were held in Chicago, New York was the big winner of the night. The city that never sleeps brought home five awards showing that you can take show out of New York, but the winners are here to stay.  The James Beard Awards, deemed the Oscars of the culinary industry, celebrated its 25th Anniversary this year. Alton Brown hosted this year’s show, which was live streamed for viewers to enjoy at home. Congratulations to all of our New York friends!

  • Best New Restaurant
    • Bâtard, NYCScreen Shot 2015-05-07 at 9.16.23 AM
  • Outstanding Baker 
    •  Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery, NYC
  •  Outstanding Chef 
    • Michael Anthony, Gramercy Tavern, NYC
  •  Outstanding Pastry Chef 
    • Christina Tosi, Momofuku, NYC
  • Outstanding Restaurant
    • Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Pocantico Hills, NY

To read the full list of winners, click here

Tea Makes a Stir in New York City

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Christopher Day at EMP

In the past tea has not always been though of as a trendy drink but now the industry is noticing an increase in demand. Loose leaf teas from around the world, tea preparation classes and artisan teaware are now available from a myriad of online purveyors and tea salons. Chain stores are also popping up nationwide as Starbucks purchased Teavana in 2012 and now has expanded to 301 stores across the country. According to the Tea Association of the USA in 2014, Americans consumed over 80 billion servings of tea, or more than 3.60 billion gallons.

These days, tea is also making a stir in New York Restaurants.  New York’s elite are now offering extensive tea lists and some even offer matching tasting notes. Tea programs are now offered at Eleven Madison Park, Atera, Blanca and Betony providing diners a chance to experience some of the world’s best teas. Eleven Madison Park’s tea program currently offers a seasonal menu of 32 types of teas served by the pot. Christopher Day, the man behind Eleven Madison Park’s tea program told Eater “”tea represents more than a beverage meant to be drunk at the end of a meal…We regard it as with wine, spirits, and coffee — as something to be selected and prepared with the same attention to detail and concern for excellence as any aspect of the menu.”

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Iced Matcha Teas at MatchaBar

Fast causal concepts are also appearing across the city offering different variations of the beverage. Flushing’s Fang Gourmet Tea offers 70 teas at $5 to $10. In Williamsburg New Yorkers can enjoy the city’s first speciality matcha cafe at MatchaBar where they offer everything from classic matcha to specialty  seasonal drinks such as Iced Mint Matcha Lemonade.

To read more from the New York Times click here

Food Companies Come Clean

Over the last six months multiple food companies have announced plans to be more transparent with their ingredients and Panera Bread is the latest to jump on the bandwagon. The bakery-café chain Panera_Logo_announced that by the end of 2016 they plan to remove over 150 ingredients from their inventory which can be found on the “No No List” published on their website today.

Other companies that have made similar commitments include Nestle, Hersey, Pepsi and General Mills promising to eliminate a variety of artificial preservatives, flavors and colors, different kinds of sweeteners and meat from animals raised with antibiotics. Chipotle Mexican Grill also announced this week that all of their restaurants are GMO-Free meaning that none of their ingredients have been genetically modified. Chipotle co–CEO told CNN Money that “Chipotle is really showing that there’s a better way to dUnknowno fast food.”

In the past years, GMO’s have become a hot button issue, as there is concern regarding the safety of these genetically modified crops. According to the USDA GMO’s are in about 80% of conventional processed food in the United States. With little research confirming the negative effects of GMO’s many wonder if companies putting forth such effort to go natural is necessary. Additionally, most of the companies have been very careful with their placement stating that such changes are to meet consumer demands rather than taking a stance on the issue.

How do you feel about GMO’s? Do you think it’s necessary for these food giants to change their recipe for success? Leave us a comment and let us know!

To read more from the New York Times, click here

Mother’s Day Dining Trends

Mother’s Day is the most popular holiday of the year to dine out and new research from the National Restaurant Association shows that nearly half of Americans will choose to eat out for this holiday. American’s might see this day as a chance to give mom a break from cooking but it appears that the rest of the family does not plan on picking up the slack in the kitchen.

The survey done by the National Restaurant Association shows that 38% of consumers plan to dine out while 7% plan to get take out or delivery. Families with children increase that statistic revealing that 45% of these families will dine out and 10% will bring in food. Additionally, the survey shows that there is a correlation to the age of a child as the older the children, the more likely the family will dine out. Some individuals even announced plans to dine or order out multiple times this upcoming Sunday.

The National Restaurant Association has also found that of the Americans that will be spending their Mother’s Day in a restaurant 83% made their plans to do so less than one month ago.

To read more from the National Restaurant Association, click here

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Instgrammers Restore Israeli Winery

Carmel Winery, one of the oldest wineries in Israel, has made a splash into the 21st century. Noticing a disconnect between Millennials, the winery decided to try a new approach to their wine dinners.  The Winery teamed up renowned Chef Meir Adoni and ceramic designer Adi Nissani to produce FOODOGRAPHY, a series of events and workshops that present a culinary experiance that is picture perfect for Instagram.

foodography_Limbo-964x644Chef Meir Adoni of Tel Aviv’s Catit restaurant, created a visually stunning 5 course menu inspired by the color of red wine and composed of hard-to-source ingredients. The menu was then paired with one of a kind ceramics that create flawless backdrops to capture still photography as well as live videography. Adi Nissani created two pieces for the series, the first is the “360”, which includes a revolving platform and a stand to hold one’s smart phone. The second design is called the “Limbo” which also features a stand for one’s phone as well as a high backdrop to cut out background and interference. The final piece of the equation was having one of the country’s best food photographers on hand to host a smartphone food photography workshop during the dinner.

foodography_360-964x644The success of the series was extremely positive as the hash tag became trending on Instagram and the Winery was featured on the nightly news. In attendance were Michelin Star chefs, food bloggers, wine critics and food lover’s alike that all wanted to experience this interactive dining phenomenon. They series reached 20% of the countries population and increased the wineries sales by 13%.

The jury is out on Instagram’s place in the restaurant; many Chefs are flattered while others feel that it distracts the diner. Instagram can be a fantastic tool offering unlimited marketing and promotional potential when used correctly and in this case it appears that Carmel Winery has successfully found a way into the glasses of Instagramers.

To read more, click here

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