Red Meat Continues to Reign Supreme

Whether you are stopping by your favorite fast food joint to grab a delicious cheeseburger on the way home, enjoying a juicy steak with your significant other at a fancy restaurant on your anniversary or coming home for the holidays to grandma’s famous meatloaf, beef remains a dinnertime favorite. With high protein diets trending, such as the paleo and keto diet, red meat sales are on the rise.

In the 1970s, the beef industry decided to implement some changes that would improve the quality of the meat and wholesomeness of how the cattle would be raised. The cattle we see today are some of the healthiest ever. The changes that were made led to cattle that would gain weight more quickly, eat less feed and have better genetics. These changes would allow the meat to taste better to consumers. Quality was not as important 40+ years ago as it is today and beef sales declined. Once the industry started improving their processes, they quickly saw an increase in sales. According to the Senior executive director of brand marketing and communications of National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Season Solorio, “Consumers today want it all — they want food that tastes great, that is raised responsibly and that is good for them.”

Wagyu is one of four specific Japenese beef cattle breeds. The tender meat from these select cattle is of the highest quality and very popular in America right now. Wagyu is prepared in high-end restaurants by experienced chefs. Consumers of this delicious delicacy absolutely love the marbling of these steaks and will pay top dollar for the high-quality taste, texture and flavor! According to an article from the American Wagyu Association, “Health experts have discovered the mono-unsaturated to saturated fat ratio is higher in Wagyu than in other beef and, the saturated fat contained in Wagyu is different. Forty percent is in a version called stearic acid, which is regarded as having a minimal impact in raising cholesterol levels. The profile of marbled Wagyu beef is more beneficial and healthier to human health.”

Other specialty beef products, like craft hamburgers and grass-fed beef, are now being sold in stores and gaining traction with consumers, but the primary growth of sales comes from non-specialty items and exports. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average consumer will eat 222.2 pounds of red meat and poultry this year alone! That equals out to almost ten ounces of protein consumed a day, almost double the recommended five to six ounces. In 2017, the U.S. exported 2.8 billion pounds of beef. That’s Learn More

Take a Trip Around the World by Visiting the Yogurt Section

With so many yogurts on the shelf at the local grocery store, it can be overwhelming to know what to buy or what the difference is between Greek yogurt, French-style yogurt and Icelandic skyr.

The yogurt craze began about a decade ago, with the rise in popularity of Greek yogurt. Once only being sold in specialty stores, you now cannot walk down the yogurt aisle without seeing at least three different Greek options from brands like Oikos, Chobani or Fage. The success of Greek yogurt has opened up the minds of Americans to new dairy flavors and thus, allowed the rest of the world to showcase their delicious options on the shelves of your favorite stores.

Greek yogurt is tangy, as yogurt should be, but boasts a thick, creamy texture. This is due to a straining process where some of the whey is drained off and thrown away. The straining process eliminates some of the lactose (naturally occurring sugar) and concentrates the amount of protein. In doing so, the yogurt does end up losing some of the vital nutrients, like calcium. Greek yogurt can be used as a healthy replacement to mayonnaise or sour cream in things like salad dressings and dips.

French-style yogurt is more of a unique type of yogurt. Instead of being made in a large batch and divided into smaller containers, French-style yogurt is cultured and sold in small glass containers. The yogurt itself is not dense, but very smooth and creamy because it is made with whole milk. Oui by Yoplait comes in little glass tubs and has recently made French-style yogurt available to most local grocers.

Skyr is a yogurt-like delicacy from Iceland. It is very creamy and tart, but low in sugars. Icelandic skyr is thick and glossy, and almost reminiscent of a cheese-like product. It is very high in protein because it is strained even more than Greek yogurt. Skyr is usually made with skim or low-fat milk. Siggi’s is a very popular American brand of Icelandic skyr and was the No. 1 selling yogurt at Whole Foods in 2017. With different flavored versions available and easily accessible, Icelandic skyr has skyrocketed in popularity.

With all of these delicious options readily available, where will you let these dairy delights take you?

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The Impact of Walmart Mandating Blockchain Technology

Walmart/ Sam’s Club leads the pack again when it comes to food safety and innovation. From requiring vendors to be GFSI compliant over ten years ago, to the innovative use of Retail Link enable its vendors to manage mammoth and fast-moving inventory levels, Walmart has always been a frontrunner in implementing the use of the latest technologies.

Back in May, we wrote a blog on how blockchain technology would revolutionize the food industry. That time has come… The big dog is wagging its tail once again.

Last Monday, Walmart announced that they are going to require suppliers who provide leafy green vegetables to submit and upload data to the blockchain through their IBM Food Trust Network by January 31, 2019. Other suppliers will have to join the blockchain by September of 2019.

Blockchain technology would provide complete end-to-end traceability, as well as allow for transparent, tamper-proof data. With this year’s E. coli outbreak in romaine lettuce that made over 200 people fall ill — and five people lost their lives — Walmart’s proactive thinking is good thinking whose time has come.

This new technology is the future of the supply chain and will have an impact across the entire food industry. Before blockchain, it would typically take about seven days to trace the source of an infected food supply. With blockchain, it takes a mere 2.2 seconds. This will substantially reduce the likelihood that an infected food will ever reach a consumer, and if it does, allow a much faster and more accurate recall when issues arise.

The conversion to blockchain would offer more than food safety advantages, experts say. Blockchain would speed up payment of contractors, help companies learn what products have the best shelf life and give consumers a glimpse into how a crop was grown and harvested during a time when they are demanding to know more about their food.

Blockchain technology is definitely the way of the future, but with Walmart/ Sam’s Club’s blockchain move, adoption definitely got moved to the Fast Lane.

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How the Desire for Clean-Label, High-Protein and Low-Sugar Products is Changing the Dairy Industry

The desire for products featuring clean ingredients has completely taken over every sector of the food industry, including the dairy industry. Although cow’s milk has seen a decrease in sales over the past few years, cheese, ice cream and yogurt sales have seen a steady increase. With the popularity of low carb, high-fat diets on the rise, it doesn’t appear that this trend will be changing any time soon.

Having a clean-label means more than just simplifying the list of ingredients in a product. Consumers want to purchase from companies that have transparent business practices, and they have no problem paying for it. Sustainability, ethical production and food safety are just a few of the things consumers look for when they are going to purchase a product. Companies are having to figure out ways to simplify formulations of their products that include ingredients that consumers know and trust, but also provide the shelf life and functionality needed for packaged products.

Dairy products are chock-full of protein and calcium. This makes dairy nutrient dense and popular among the health-conscious consumer. Although plant-based products are popular alternatives, they cannot compete with the nutrients that are packed into dairy products. Whole-fat milk and yogurts are increasing in popularity again and almost all of the cheese (92 percent) that was sold last year was regular fat. Greek yogurts are full probiotics. People know these healthy bacteria can aid in helping digestion while regulating the number of bacteria in the gut. Because of the rise in probiotic popularity, companies like Kemps are even adding probiotics to their milk.

Ice creams and other frozen treats may be an indulgence, but all levels of consumers continue to purchase these delicious treats. Low-sugar, high-protein options, like Halo Top, have completely taken over the market through their use of social media marketing and low-calorie count. Brands like Archer Farms by Target are making similar products to compete with Halo Top. By making the entire pint of ice cream less than 300 calories, and throwing that information on the front label, it is easy to see why Halo Top, and other similar companies, have seen rapid growth.

Cheese is a staple in almost every American home. You can find everything from exclusive artisan goat cheese with blueberry and vanilla to string cheese for your child’s lunch right at your local grocer. Because of diets like The Ketogenic Diet, whole-fat cheese has seen an increase in popularity. Protein snacking kits, like the Oscar Mayer P3 Learn More

5 Delectable Cheeses Made Right Here in America

Cheesemakers from all over the United States are making quite a name for themselves. American cheese is no longer thought of as the yellow piece of processed cheese individually wrapped in plastic, but finely crafted cheeses are being created in almost every state of the country. With fewer regulations on cheese than that of those from the Appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC) in Europe, this allows American cheesemakers to create new recipes and invent all-new, unique cheeses. Here are five cheeses made right here in the U.S.A that will absolutely make your mouth water!

 

Fresh Mozzarella – BelGioioso, Wisconsin (FRESH)

This cheese is crafted in Wisconsin from fresh, local milk made only a few short hours after milking. This allows the cheese to be very fresh, flavorful, soft and delicate. Although this company produces large batches of their prize-winning Mozzarella, BelGioioso still has a “down home” feel and the family-business tradition is still there. BelGioioso Mozzarella is perfect sliced up in a Caprese salad or layered into your favorite pasta dish.

 

Bluebird – The Grey Barn & Farm at Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts (Aged for at least 60 days)

Made on a Martha’s Vineyard farm in Massachusetts with a small herd of 37 cows, Bluebird has the essence of the land it was made on: it’s creamy and fudgy, with a rustic, yet barny flavor and a slight touch of sea breeze. Many blue flavors are extremely sharp, but this one hosts a mellower vibe. Another difference, this blue cheese has a natural rind and comes in a block shape. According to their website, “Bluebird pairs well alongside a nice malty beer or melted atop a beautifully grilled steak.”

 

Pleasant Ridge Reserve – Uplands Cheese Company, Wisconsin (Aged 12 to 18 Months)

Pleasant Ridge Reserve is a cheese made only in the summer months, while the cows are grazing on fresh pasture. This Wisconsin native cheese is made in the tradition of Alpine cheeses, like a Gruyere or Beaufort. The summer milk is leaner and has more water content which provides a sweetness to the cheese and a natural, washed rine. According to Uplands’ website, “this resulting complexity – very rich and salty, with a long, fruity finish – makes Pleasant Ridge one of the most distinctive a Learn More

Proteins of all Kinds are being Packed into Every Day Foods

Proteins are sought after more than ever by all demographics. Whether you are on the Ketogenic diet (a high-protein, fat based diet ), or a vegetarian/ vegan looking to sustain yourself with a variety of plant-proteins, proteins are being packed into everything from meals to drinks to bite-sized snacks.

 

Living in a fast-paced society, it may feel like you are always on the move. Having the opportunity to sit down and eat a proper meal may simply not be an option. Protein bars and shakes from brands such as Quest and Pure Protein have been popular with athletes for years. Those brands pack a ton of protein into their products, but they are can have a high caloric intake for the average adult, and are not vegetarian/vegan-friendly. Newer brands, such as Kind, have products packed with real food, wholesome ingredients and fewer calories than other similar brands. This makes them perfect to fuel adults who don’t have time for lunch or just need an extra mid-day boost. Their products are also vegetarian-friendly. Sorry vegans, but they do use honey as a sweetener.

 

Beef jerky has one of the highest protein counts, topping that charts at a mighty 30-40 grams per 100 grams. Talk about a lot of protein. As previously mentioned in our blog about meats, companies are constantly coming out with new flavors and variety packs filled with things besides jerky to satisfy protein cravings. Because beef jerky is shelf-stable and easily accessible by being available everywhere from gas stations to organic grocers, it is still one of the top ways to get your protein in on the go.

 

As for plant-based options, chickpeas are high in protein and very versatile. Many recipes are available online to make things like hummus, curries or stew our of chickpeas, but they can also be eaten plain, hot or cold. With about seven grams of protein per one-half cup, chickpeas are a great alternative for meat in sandwiches or wraps for vegetarians and vegans alike.

 

Quinoa is a particularly important food to consume, especially if you do not eat meat. Most plant-based products do not contain all essential amino acids, but quinoa does and is considered a complete protein. Complete proteins are made up of the nine essential amino acids that we cannot produce on our own. Protein makes up your tissues, muscles and organs, whil Learn More