McDonald’s Is Selling Cheesy Bacon Fries In Certain States

“McDonald’s traditional hot and crispy fries are getting jazzed up with two classic add-ons: Smoked bacon bits, and a gooey drizzle of real cheddar cheese sauce. It’s not quite the gravy-and-cheese-curd-topped poutine of our Canadian neighbors, but if you like your fries with a little something extra, this is your side dish.”

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The Top 10 Food Trends For 2019, According To Whole Foods

“Twenty-six subject experts from Whole Foods have been convening for four years to predict what’s coming next to their own shelves and to the food world as a whole. These experts range from a master sommelier and global beverage buyer to a senior R&D culinologist to the president of the Whole Kids Foundation to a produce field inspector to a board-certified, internal medicine physician to a global meat buyer; some actually started out working at the store level.

Before I share their predictions with you, what is unsaid is that the chain, now owned by Amazon, has produced the biggest trend in grocery in decades: They have awaken a previously staid industry and revitalized it as chains both large and small are changing the way they look at grocery. Amazon/Whole Foods has also attracted new talent, some from Ivy League schools who might never have thought about a career in grocery, and led other grocers on the same path. For me one of the biggest trends for 2019 will be to watch where Amazon/Whole Foods leads us next.

Now on to Whole Foods’ top 10 food trends:

Pacific Rim flavors is the top trend, with Whole Foods announcing that its Market and 365 Everyday Value brands will launch a new line of products inspired by Pacific Rim fruits like a guava tropical vinaigrette, pineapple passionfruit sparkling mineral water, mango pudding mix and passionfruit coconut frozen fruit bars. It also expect to see ingredients like longganisa (a Filipino pork sausage), dried shrimp, cuttlefish and shrimp paste to appear on restaurant and home menus in dishes from breakfast to dinner. (…)”

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Rice, bean bowls have become fan favorites

“Bowl builds are a powerhouse on menus today, fueled by a number of significant drivers. First, consumers love them so the demand is high. Thanks to a halo of wholesomeness, a promise of satiety and a bowlful of intriguing flavor combinations, that demand doesn’t look like it’s subsiding any time soon.

Second, bowls play well in a number of dayparts, from breakfast and lunch to that all-important snacking segment. “Bowls are easy to eat, they tend to look very pretty and for some reason, they open the door for people to be more adventurous with their menu choices,” says Jorge Cespedes, culinary creative director with Marlin Network, based in Springfield, Mo.”

“From an operator perspective, bowls have a place on every menu and in every daypart, playing into so many different trending flavor combinations.” They also are an ideal delivery system for the plant-forward trend, offering a perfect format for greens, grains, beans and legumes.”

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The Continued Evolution of Coca-Cola’s Portfolio

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“(…) The products, which debuted at the 2018 NACS Show in Las Vegas, tap into trending categories and insights, said JC Harvey, director of retail channel strategy and commercialization at Atlanta-based Coca-Cola.”

“Far Coast is the company’s foray into the explosive cold-brew coffee segment. Slated to launch in January, the products are packaged in resealable aluminum bottles and feature single-origin coffee beans. Varieties include Single Source Ethiopian, Signature Blend Latin American and Café con Leche, which includes milk.

In the premium water category, Coca-Cola’s smartwater brand is expanding with two varieties: smartwater alkaline and smartwater antioxidant. Like the original product, both are vapor-distilled with added electrolytes for taste. The antioxidant water is infused with selenium. Alkaline water is ionized and has a higher pH level than regular drinking water.”

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C-Stores Evolve With Guests

What’s old is new again.  Conveniences store, the oft-forgotten stepchild of the grocery, restaurant, foodservice continuum are stepping into a new age.  Over the past few years, we’ve seen the restaurant industry eclipse grocery sales in America, which was a huge first.  Now, restaurant revenues have finally started to slow–not slip!–and some spending to return to other formats.

And C-stores want a piece of the action.  At Choice Market in Denver, guests can get artisan sandwiches and staples like quinoa or kombucha on tap.  Housed in 2,700 square feet–about the size of an average Chipotle, places like Choice Market and Green Zebra, in Portland, are finding a new niche between QSR’s and grocery stores, but well above the traditional Doritos-and-candy convenience store.

Traditional players, like Wawa, have long known the value of the their real estate and already provide an up-scaled convenient experience.  And now Amazon is getting in on the action with Amazon Go–a cashless, cashier-less store that tracks you and bills your Amazon account.

We’re seeing a confluence of trends merge on similar themes again and again: grocery stores relying on prepared foods for sales, restaurants capitalizing on the fast casual trend, and automation in point of sale.

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Salvage Supperclub is a Pop-Up in a Dumpster

29-salvages-supper-club.w710.h473.2x.jpgSalvage Supperclub is the latest outcome of an increased public awareness about food waste: a traveling pop-up dinner made entirely from wasted food and served (appropriately) in a converted dumpster. The chef behind the club, Pesha Perlsweig, believes that they can change diners’ outlooks with each meal. “It makes me happy to hear that a former guest made carrot top pesto or was inspired by a dish of mine,” she says.

Salvage Supperclub has already hosted dinners in Berkeley, San Francisco and their native New York. And while the list of ingredients at one dinner (including bruised plums, vegetable pulp, garbanzo bean water, sweet potato skins and overripe, peel-on bananas) might force some guests to stifle a gag, the NPR reviewer present described almost everything as “finger-licking good.”

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Brexit’s Impact on the Specialty Food Market

ba5403b65e43df0297aeba68d6c0ca1fc082559f.jpegThis weekend’s news was understandably dominated by Brexit, and the far-reaching implications of the vote. One unexpected result of Britain’s decision to leave the European Union falls on the English specialty food market, which has so far benefited from the EU’s Protected Designation of Origin status on many of it’s products.

This status, applied throughout the EU to products ranging from wines to olive oils to cheese and meat, allows specific regions to claim sole use of specific brand designations. Most famously, “champagne” is not champagne unless it is produced in the eponymous French province, using the méthode champenoise. Gorgonzola can only be gorgonzola if it comes from Italy. And in England, products like Cumberland sausage and Yorkshire-forced rhubarb are all protected by designated status.

England actually has more than 60 foods and beverages with protected designations. After the vote late last week to leave the EU, this status will disappear, and producers around the world can begin making products like Rutland bitter beer, Stilton cheese and pork from Gloucestershire Old Spot Pigs. While none of these have quite the cache of champagne, they still represent the food culture of the country – and the loss of PDO status could have a real impact on the farmers, brewers and craftsmen who make them.

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