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What’s your burger’s carbon FOODprint?


A popular food chain in Sweden – Max Burgers, which is second-largest to McDonald’s in its area, is taking food labeling to that next level.

Richard Bergfors, CEO of Max Burgers says

adding the carbon footprint to the chain’s menuboard was a way for the company to be honest about its affect on the environment.

According to an article in Scientific American Magazine, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report found that with regards to beef production,

…current production levels of meat contribute between 14 and 22 percent of the 36 billion tons of “CO2-equivalent” greenhouse gases the world produces every year.

In layman’s terms:

…producing half a pound of hamburger for someone’s lunch a patty of meat the size of two decks of cards releases as much greenhouse gas into the atmosphere as driving a 3,000-pound car nearly 10 miles.

[A Jeep Cherokee weighs nearly 3,000 lbs… just for visual reference.]

Trying to show its customers that there are yummy alternatives to beef burgers

Max Burgers has rolled out several alternative, climate-friendly burger options, including vegetarian, falafel, and salmon burgers. Since putting carbon dioxide emission counts on the menuboard—an act that made it the first restaurant chain in the world to do so—sales of these types of menu items have gone up 20 percent.

In addition, Max Burger offsets its carbon emissions by planting trees in Africa, uses recycled packaging, and gets its electricity from wind and solar power.

Like it or not, climate change is definitely a big issue that needs to be dealt with.  I’m hoping that other countries follow Sweden’s lead.

Bra jobbat Sverige! (Good job Sweden! …thank you Google Translate).

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Filed under: Business, Green, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Either the marketing is really working, or Americans are becoming more health conscious.


For the first time EVER…wheat bread sales have surpassed white bread.

The best-performing breads are promoting credentials like “whole grain” and “natural,” sometimes asking consumers to pay more for those loaves. And it seems to be working. Breads with “natural” in the name, or grains visible through the packaging, are among the best performing at grocery stores.
Interesting that even in this economy, people are willing to shell out more for healthier bread.

Filed under: Business, Marketing, , , , , ,

NYC Restaurant Week…did they make the grade?


I’m sure you’ve already heard the news

The NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has recently debuted their new cleanliness rating system.  Each of the 24,000 restaurants in NYC and surrounding boroughs have been inspected and given a grade – either an A, B, or C.  It’s not like the grade is staying a secret between the restaurant and the Department of Health, no…we are ALL going to know the score.

As we speak, placards are being printed at the department’s print shop, and it is the restaurant’s responsibility to display their rating card prominently…otherwise they will be fined $1K (and additional penalties – I guess because it’s a new thing, they are trying to think of good ways to punish them).

The blue A card will correspond to 0 to 13 points under the old system, which imposed numerical penalties for each violation. A green B will designate a less sanitary 13 to 27 points, and an orange C will represent 28 points or more. A black-and-white “grade pending” sign will be posted in restaurants that are appealing their scores.

Coincidentally, NYC Restaurant Week which was supposed to last July 12-25, has been extended thru Labor Day. Yay!

So I decided to do a little test.  This is, by no means a reflection of all of the restaurants participating in NYC Restaurant Week.  Consider this a random (small) sample.

I filtered the list of steak restaurants participating in restaurant week.  Of the 18 steak restaurants:

9 restaurants are not listed on the NYC Dept of Health site

3 restaurants rated A (one restaurant received ZERO violation points!)

4 restaurants rated a B (between 15-26 violation points)

1 restaurant rated a C (35 violation points!)

But on the bright side,

Nicholas J. Monello, director of printing operations, said he had fulfilled orders for 9,375 A’s — more than the number of B’s and C’s combined.

Filed under: Business, , , , , , , , , , ,

Aww shucks…ketchup without high fructose corn syrup?


Yes, you heard it here folks.  Hunt’s Ketchup is doing away with its high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) ingredient, and opting for real sugar.

Did the sugar lobbyists yell louder than the corn lobbyists?   Or maybe top-level execs at ConAgra looked around at the American people and realized the consequence of HFCS.  What is this consequence you ask?  Fat people.

Well done ConAgra!  We hope you continue this ban of HFCS within your remaining 50 or so brands.

http://www.flex-news-food.com/console/PageViewer.aspx?page=30135&source=alerts&contactid=37915

Filed under: Business, , ,

Non-profit restaurant…a sign of the times?


Panera Bread’s former CEO is attempting to operate his experiment cafes like a museum, with its “pay what you can” service.   If you can’t pay, then in exchange for food, you may choose to volunteer to work at the cafe. Of course, you may also just choose to eat for free.  Not sure if the people who will donate will make up for those who don’t…the business model seems fuzzy to me.

It’s an ambitious, cup half full concept.  Don’t think it will last…but..we wish them luck.

http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/food/2010-05-18-panerabread18_ST_N.htm

Filed under: Business, ,

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