Food News 06-01-10
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Editor, The Konformist
When Is a Craft Brewery Just a Brewery?
May 25 2010
Clay Risen is a New York City-based editor and writer. He is the author of A Nation on Fire: America in the Wake of the King Assassination.
Beer isn't exactly a subject prone to philosophical musings, but here's a deep thought that's been haunting the brewhead bulletin boards of late: what makes a craft brewery a craft brewery? According to the Beer Association, an industry group representing small brewers, a craft outfit makes less than 2 million barrels of suds annually, and 25 percent or less of it is owned or controlled by a non-craft breweri.e., MillerCoors or InBev.
Problem number one: any month now, the Boston Beer Company, the company that makes Sam Adams, will top 2 million barrels in annual production. Technically that will disqualify it as a craft brewery, even though Jim Koch, the founder of Boston Beer Co., is a godfather of the craft beer movement and a board member of the Beer Association.
Problem number two: in 2007 a brewery in Golden, Colorado called AC Golden started operations. AC Golden brews beer in small batches with local ingredientsincluding Colorado Native Lager, which you can only get in-state. Its beers have received respectable ratings on beeradvocate.com. It's got everything a promising craft brewer could want. But AC Golden is careful not to call itself a craft brewer, because, at least according to the Beer Association, it's not: it's controlled by MillerCoors, the second largest brewer in the country.
If the Boston Beer Company kicks it up to 2.5 million barrels, is it no longer a craft brewer? Can a macro brewer ever mimic a craft brewer closely enough to call its product a craft beer? Is size the only determinant of quality?
The craft community is split. On the one hand, since when is size a bad thing? "The size of a brewery has nothing to do with the quality of the beer being produced inside of it," wrote one commenter on beeradvocate.com. "Good beer can be produced on a large scale." Added another: "Not only can it be done, but I'm sure it can be done a lot easier." By many reports, AC Golden is run by just a handful of brewers, largely cut off from the MillerCoors mothership. So it's all good, right?
Not everyone agrees. There's no question about why MillerCoors wants a cut of the craft beer marketalthough overall beer sales were down 2.2 percent in 2009, its worst performance in years, the craft market was up 10 percent. But there's a deeper question involved. "Craft beer being produced inside a macro brewery is the equivalent to health food being produced at McDonald's," wrote one poster. It's almost spiritual criticism: Even if the beer is good now, the corporate values (or lack thereof) inherent in MillerCoors's control will destroy the soul, if not the quality, of the beer.
Craft brewers themselves are likewise divided. Over the last year I've chatted with dozens about the craft-ification of Big Beer. Some say it's a matter of rising tides: if MillerCoors uses its economic power to convince Joe Sixpack to buy better beer, then some of those Joes will venture farther afield. Others celebrate the fact that they have had enough of an impact on the market to force the big brewers to step up their game.
Craft brewers aren't stupidthe best, at least, are at least at good at selling their wares as making them. But with 10 percent annual growth and the overhang of a "movement" identity still shaping the sector's ethos, there's still a naiveté about what kind of heat the likes of MillerCoors can bring. According to AC Golden, Colorado Native Lager was in 600 stores just six weeks after its release, placed alongside Avery, Great Divide, and other Colorado microbrews. Nothing on the label identifies it as a MillerCoors product. As long as 10 percent growth is the rule, there might be room for corporate pretenders. But that growth will top off at some point, and craft brewers will suddenly find themselves struggling for shelf space, even in their own niche market, with the mega-brewers. True small-timers may have a superior product, but are they ready for this fight?
"I Love Peter Cetera"
New Campaign From Heineken Light Encourages Consumers to 'See the Light'
First Campaign for Heineken Light With Euro RSCG; Ads Directed by Matt Aselton
Mon., May 24, 2010
WHITE PLAINS, NY - Heineken USA premiered a new episodic-style advertising campaign this week for its Heineken Light brand that showcases a series of clever ways consumers can experience the 'stepped-up' life. The lighthearted campaign urges consumers to move beyond their old ways of thinking to "See the Light" -- the new tagline for the brand -- and take their lifestyle and their light beer choice to the next level.
The campaign centers on two young guys who relocate to Florida, and then get schooled by three old pros on how to live the good life. The series kicks-off with a movie-style trailer that sets up the premise followed by a roll-out with four back-to-back TV spots supported with innovative digital activations throughout the summer. Each "episode" delivers a clever life lesson, from slowing down your golf swing to why it's cool to like Peter Cetera.
"The new Heineken Light campaign is centered on the concept of living a more 'stepped-up' life," said Christian McMahan, Chief Marketing Officer of Heineken USA. "Every day our target consumers have a choice to give up on their old ways of doing things, and embrace what's next. Better relationships, more interesting friends, new styles of clothes. Heineken Light is the beer for those who know how to enjoy their better selves."
The integrated campaign, created by Euro RSCG, features a mix of television, print, cinema, out-of-home and digital story lines. The broadcast creative, helmed by award-winning director Matt Aselton, kicks-off on May 24 with two 30-second spots, titled "Poolside" and "Peter Cetera." These will be followed by two additional 30-second spots, titled "Dog Track" and "Golf," later in the summer. The 60-second trailer will debut online on May 24, and in movie theatres nationwide before select R-Rated films on May 28.
The TV campaign takes the two lucky guys, Jamie and Gavin, to poolside at a premium beach club, a plush golf course and luxury seats at the dog track. It is poised to amuse consumers with memorable lines, especially from seasoned ladies man, Maurice. When questioned why he has a Peter Cetera album, Maurice replies, "The ladies love Cetera and if you love the ladies, by default, you love Cetera."
In the print space, the brand is launching with three creative executions in national and targeted local publications that feature Heineken Light during stylish, outdoor and sun-drenched beer drinking occasions. Headlines encourage consumers to evolve from their domestic light beers into the stepped up world of Heineken Light with lines such as: "The Good Life Requires a Bottle Opener" and "Not Available in Red Plastic Cup." Similarly, new horizontal out-of-home executions focus on establishing the new tagline, "See the Light," within the stepped up Heineken Light world.
Heineken Light will also be running a series of integrated digital campaigns in high-profile online outlets including ESPN.com, Gawker.com, hulu.com, Thrillist.com and UrbanDaddy.com offering readers opportunities to step up their summer with premium upgrades and experiences.
Adult consumers can visit the Heineken Light Facebook page at www.heinekenlight.com, or the brand's YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/heinekenusa to view exclusive behind-the-scenes footage and all four new TV ads.
About Heineken USA
Heineken USA Inc., the nation's premier beer importer, is a subsidiary of Heineken International BV, which is the world's most international brewer. Brands imported into the U.S. include: Heineken Lager, the world's most international beer brand; Heineken Light; Amstel Light, a leading imported light beer brand; Newcastle Brown Ale, the leading imported ale in the United States; and Buckler non-alcoholic brew. Heineken USA is also the exclusive USA importer for the Tecate, Tecate Light, Dos Equis, Sol, Carta Blanca and Bohemia brands from FEMSA Cerveza of Mexico. For a safe ride home, download the Heineken USA-sponsored Taxi Magic application from your smartphone. Please visit:
Vending machine food of the future
Christopher Borrelli, Tribune Newspapers
May 27, 2010
The tiny hot dog rotated on the slowly turning grill, its rounded metal slants glowing a deep caramel bronze. Jeff Kaufman plucked the hot dog from the grill and placed it in a tiny matching bun. A woman beside him in a green apron smiled. I took a small bite of the small dog. They waited. This was at the National Vending Show, the annual convention of the National Automatic Merchandising Association in Chicago. The assignment was: Eat, sample the finest the vending industry has to offer, return with a glimpse of the future of vended cuisine the ultimate in casual dining.
Hence, the Slider Dog, which was surprisingly rich and garlicky, even juicy. It's coming soon to a vending machine near you. But will it taste like this if I have to microwave it? I asked Kaufman. He's executive vice president of Military Marketing Services, which places food in military vending machines, and here represented Nathan's Famous, which has decided that Slider Dogs will represent the next evolution of the slider. "It should, yes," he said.
The woman in the green apron looked at him: "Do you think three is too many, though?" Each package holds three dogs.
"Well, the price point matters. You get three for $2.50, which isn't bad," he said.
"Yeah, but I couldn't eat three," she said.
"I think the thinking here is that if you get two Slider Dogs you think you're only eating one hot dog's worth, but three Slider Dogs feels like a bit more," he said.
This, I learned, is what innovation looks like in the vending industry: small, seemingly obvious steps toward genius.
Likewise, among the innovations found at the booth for Wow! Foods, a new company out of Hickory, N.C., offering a raft of dishes endorsed by Dale Earnhardt Jr., was a microwavable 8.6-ounce Dale Jr. Cheeseburger that (and here's the innovation) comes with the pickle already on it.
I also learned, within minutes of arriving in the vast brightly lit hall, that the vending industry takes in $30 billion annually; and 100 million people, according to NAMA, find sustenance every day from 7 million vending machines. It is an industry never far from reach, steadfastly burrowed into our lives, and yet so intrinsic we rarely notice it or consider that the food inside vending machines has been made by humans, and that those people believe that vending machine food can taste good.
The shock of this realization was soon met with the news that, in some cases, they're not wrong. Consider Pierre, a vending-machine food corporation with a name that suggests afternoon spritzers but actually makes a hamburger called the Big Az, which, indeed, is both its big seller and a subtle mockery of the body shape you will adopt if you regularly hit a vending machine in search of a Big Az. Pierre is at the high end of the quality scale, in terms of sandwiches that come in crinkly plastic wrappers and look disgusting. Pierre's sandwiches are not disgusting. Particularly its latest minis, sliderlike pulled pork sandwiches and breakfast biscuits.
Further down the taste scale was Wow!'s new Dale Jr. Glazed Honey Bun. In its package, it resembled something found on a shelf in a county fair freak show. Or, to be generous, coiled and coated in a light, milky viscous-looking substance, it resembled a lower intestine. It's made by a large industrial baking company, Cloverhill, which, coincidentally, is almost the same number of letters as "Cloverfield." (Days later, when I removed it from its protective packaging, the Dale Jr. Glazed Honey Bun surprisingly was not sticky but felt oddly wet.)
Dale Jr. Glazed Honey Bun in hand, I wandered past booths with completely vague corporate names both vague and specific, like Don Miguel ("Authentic foods since 1908"), and vague and familiar, if you've ever stared longingly into a vending machine about 4 p.m., like Bridgford. I saw grown men selling tuna fish-making kits and a battalion of middle-management types playing cards with a man dressed as Sasquatch (for unexplained reasons).
The unemployment rate, I heard, has been a worry to the industry more people out of work means fewer people in a harried office held captive by the convenience of a vending machine.
Schools, I heard, are another concern, but also a potential bonanza. The vending industry supports education, one vendor told me. But what will the school vending machines of the future look like, and what will these machines serve, and how healthy will the new school health parameters become?
Consider Inko's White Iced Tea, a new gentle-looking, gentle-tasting flavored tea in a can. Cecile Schamisso, wife of Andy Schamisso, the founder, told me, as did a number of companies, that they're eager to get out in front of the new school district nutrition guidelines, but "it's hard to convince a high school kid to drink strawberry tea." As if being mocked by fate, Inko's booth was beside the booth for Ricos, which bills itself as the "originators of concession nachos." They have Nachos in a Bag coming to vending machines this summer. Yes, yes, I said, but how do I know you guys invented stadium nachos? Because, I was told, the company was founded by Frank Liberto, who, in 1976, "developed a sort of cheese sauce" to replace the unevenly melted cheese found on stadium nachos around Texas at the time.
The sauce in the new vending packet is this same sauce, the man said proudly.
I was thinking healthier.
I found Froobee, a clever alternative to can-based vending. The first machines go into production this fall: Choose your drink (acai pomegranate, etc.), then a pouch in the machine is filled with water, then mixed with concentrate, then dispensed. You sip from a rubbery pouch. That's innovation, I thought, briefly elated.
Until I found myself between dueling cotton candy vending machine-makers, their booths a few yards apart. The first machine played music until the voice of a Vietnamese woman announced your treat was ready. "Not sticky!" the owner pointed out. Right, not sticky, said the owner of the rival cotton candy vender. Then he added, whispering, leaning in, what they're not telling you is that their cotton candy will fall off its stick if you turn it upside down.
I nodded solemnly.
"Vending is not an exciting business," he said. "We have to make the most of it."
X-Balance superfood makes a delicious, nutritious chocolate milk drink for adults and kids
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
(NaturalNews) Remember the taste of chocolate milk? That wonderfully sugary, chocolaty fatty taste is one you'll probably never forget. And I bet you wouldn't think you could recreate that taste with something that's actually good for you... but now you can!
One of my favorite all-time superfood powders is called X-Balance. It's positioned as "the ultimate kids superfood," but I must still be a kid at heart because I find myself drinking this all the time. I've been recommending this superfood product for years, in fact, and now we've started carrying it in the NaturalNews Store at a generous discount for NaturalNews readers! (See below...)
X-Balance is simply the most delicious chocolate superfood powder you'll probably ever find. Just as advertised, kids absolutely love it, but even the adults around your house will be amazed at the taste -- especially after they read the ingredients and see how nutritious this is!
Delicious and nutritious at the same time
You see, it's easy to make something that tastes great if you're not concerned with nutrition. What's tricky is making something that tastes great while delivering high-potency superfood nutrition at the same time. And that's where X-Balance really shines.
This chocolate superfood powder contains chlorella, organic barley grass, spirulina, moringa leaf powder, blackberry juice powder, blueberry juicer powder, freeze-dried aloe vera, ginger, curcumin, dulse seaweed, cinnamon, parsley juice powder and a long list of other remarkable superfoods (see below). But the really amazing thing is that X-Balance doesn't taste like a nutrient-rich superfood. It tastes like chocolate milk!
Of course, it really tastes amazing when you blend it with actual milk. And by "milk" I mean either coconut milk, almond milk or some other nut milk. (Or raw cow's milk if you do raw dairy.)
But even in water it's pretty good. I actually take it traveling so that I can chase my travel meals with some superfoods. For example, I'm traveling today in Ecuador, and the place I'm staying gave me the dinner choice of beef with rice, pork with rice, chicken with rice, or fish with rice. (Or just plain rice, but that just doesn't cut it for me.) So I chose the fish with rice, then I chased it with two spoonfuls of X-Balance superfood mixed with water, giving me a nutrition boost following the meal.
My top superfood recommendations
I've tasted a lot of superfood powders in the industry, and it is rare to find a product that's so nutritious while tasting so good at the same time. In fact, I would say that my top two choices for best-tasting superfood powders are X-Balance and Living Fuel (www.LivingFuel.com) Delicious Greens is also really, really good, and we'll be covering that product in a future announcement.
Another important product to mention here is Boku Superfood (www.BokuSuperfood.com), which actually goes really, really well with X-Balance. In fact, I often mix the two: One tablespoon of X-Balance plus one tablespoon of Boku Superfood in a glass of raw almond milk, with a bit of stevia or Organic Palm Sugar to sweeten in a little more. I swear this combination tastes almost like the chocolate milk we all remember drinking as kids.
And yet, there's absolutely no sugar in X-Balance. No artificial chemical sweeteners, either. There's no soy protein, no dairy and no artificial anything. The formula, by the way, was created by Jan Lovejoy, the creator of Emerald Balance and the founder of SGN Nutrition. I've known Jan for several years and have come to really respect not just her nutritional wisdom but also her remarkable product formulation abilities.
Get X-Balance at up to a 36% discount
You'll be extremely happy with X-Balance. My friends just go crazy over it. I have to keep bringing more of it to Ecuador because I give it away so fast. Everybody loves X-Balance!
Now you can get X-Balance at a generous discount! We've just started carrying it in the NaturalNews Store, and we've got it at a great price:
A 30-day supply of X-Balance (270 grams) normally sells at a retail price of $38.95. Right now at the NaturalNews Store, you can purchase it for just $29.95 (a 23% discount).
When you purchase 3 canisters of X-Balance (a 90-day supply for one person, or a 30-day supply for three), the price per canister drops to just $24.98 per canister. That's an amazing 36% discount off the normal retail price.
Click here to take advantage of these NaturalNews Store discounts.
This is a superfood you'll really enjoy drinking. It's like chocolate milk -- but without the sugar and WITH amazing superfood nutrition!
Here's what's in it:
Nutrient Dense Superfood 1464 mg - Moringa Leaf Powder, Carrot Juice Powder, Organic Barley Grass Juice Powder, Organic Beet Juice Powder, Spirulina Powder, Chlorella - Cracked Cell
Antioxidant Blend: (ORAC value = 5566) 5210 mg - Decaffeinated Cocoa Powder, Chocolate Powder, Vitamin C - Natural Rose Hips, Strawberry Juice Powder, Acerola Berry Juice Powder, Blackberry Juice Power, Fig Powder, Pineapple Juice Powder, Orange Juice Powder, Bioflavonoids (Citrus), Papaya Powder, Blueberry Powder, Red Raspberry Powder, Turmeric Powder, Ginger Powder (Freeze Dried), Aloe Vera -Freeze Dried, Green Tea Catechins - 40%, Rosemary
Pow R Fiber 639 mg - Apple Fiber, Apple Pectin, Rice Bran Powder, Organic Flax Seed Meal
Balancing Support 919 mg - Soy Lecithin Powder - 99% oil free, Parsley Juice Powder, Agar-Agar, Cinnamon, Burdock, Stevia, Dandelion, Silymarin (Milk Thistle 80% extract), Nova Scotia Dulse
Non-Dairy Probiotic Culture - 2.23 Billion 223 mg
Proprietary blend 399 mg - Nettle Leaves, , Chicory, Astragalus Membranaceous, Quercitin, Plant Enzymes: Lipase, Protease, Amylase & Cellulase
Natural French Vanilla - 150mg
Here are some of my own favorite recipes using X-Balance:
X-Balance with water - Just mix with water, blend and drink. It's simple and easy when traveling.
X-Balance chocolate milk - Blend X-Balance with raw almond milk and Agave Nectar or Organic Palm Sugar (or honey!). It's amazing!
X-Balance with Boku - Combine X-Balance with Boku Superfood for a super healthy, high-density chocolate superfood combination. Mix with either water or your favorite milk.
X-Balance Avocado Smoothie - Blend an avocado with X-Balance, your favorite milk and your favorite sweetener. It makes a rich, chocolaty superfood blend with the added healthy fats of an avocado! (Really, it's quite delicious.)
Get some X-Balance for yourself today. You'll really be glad you did. And don't forget: Kids love this, too!
Kraft's Mayo Makeover
Can celebs add flavor to taste message?
May 27, 2010
Elaine Wong, Brandweek
Kraft is looking to spice up lunchtime sandwich fare with a new celebrity-backed campaign for its flavored mayonnaise lineup.
The effort for the Sandwich Shop brand, which kicked off with a 60-second spot during last night's American Idol finale, stars HGTV Design Star judges Candice Olson, Genevieve Gorder and Vern Yip. TV spots, dubbed "Tastemakers," are set up in a makeover reality-show format.
One 15-second teaser, for instance, opens with Yip approaching a couple that's unbelievably "beige." He then brings some color into the household by introducing Kraft Sandwich Shop Mayo in Chipotle. "Don't be afraid to break out of your comfort zone," he tells them.
This is the first big ad push for the new line of mayonnaise, which started hitting shelves in March. They're priced at $2.99 and come in four flavors: reduced fat Chipotle, Garlic & Herb and Horseradish-Dijon, and regular Hot & Spicy.
"Squeeze [our mayonnaises] onto your boring ham and cheese and you'll have a delicious, new sandwich that's restaurant-inspired," said Kraft brand manager Amy Monroe.
Indeed, "Make today delicious" is the corporate tagline.
Women 35-64 are the target audience. These individuals are "looking for new ideas" and constantly open to change, and so, they are tuning into HGTV and ABC's Extreme Makeover to find inspiration, Monroe said.
For that reason, Kraft has expanded its print outreach beyond traditional lifestyle and food titles like Real Simple and Bon Appetit to include InStyle and House Beautiful. A two-page spread shows Yip sitting in a bold red chair opposite his sandwich creation that uses Sandwich Shop Chipotle Mayo. Copy reads: "Go bold by stepping outside the flavor norm."