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A Rye Renaissance

Rye flour is beginning to show up in a lot of American baked goods, including breads, doughnuts, pie crusts, cookies, and croissants. Rye is a flavorful and hearty grain, prized by farmers in New England, for example, where it has been used as a cover crop, and wheat is tougher to cultivate in the humid summers. It is a traditional bread grain in Europe, where each region is known for its individual breads. But rye dough is not conducive to industrial scale bread making, mainly because the dough is so sticky. Nevertheless, rye is gaining popularity, as evidenced by the number of cookbooks and bakeries that devote so much time to it. [ Image credit: ©  USDA/ARS ]

"Rye Is Rising: The Age-Old Grain Spices Up Baked Goodies", Thomson Reuters, January 11, 2017

Jennie-O Sausage Is Now Leaner, Cleaner

Sausage-maker Jennie-O has changed the formulation of its turkey product to contain less fat (six grams) and less sodium. The company now claims the product is “all natural” with a “simple, clean ingredients” that include turkey, salt, sugar, spices and rosemary extract. In addition, the 110 calorie sausage is “minimally processed” and is free of BHT, BHA and other common preservatives. [ Image credit: ©  Jennie-O ]

"Jennie-O Introduces All Natural Turkey Sausage With Simple, Familiar Ingredients, No Preservatives", News release, Jennie-O, January 09, 2017

Even Guys Are Getting Into Veganism

Food and restaurant industry observers have noticed an upsurge in the number of men eating vegan. For example, the lunch crowd at a Philadelphia eatery that offers vegan alternatives to fast-foods like burgers and chicken sandwiches is mostly guys in suits. Male food bloggers, cookbook authors, and food personalities praise nutritional yeast and beet pepperoni, signaling some kind of culture shift. Lastly, the journal Appetite in 2015 published a study whose participants said they did not associate veganism with low levels of masculinity. Veganism is, in short, becoming a mainstream diet option for all. [ Raw vegan sushi; image credit: © Kari Sullivan ]

"Vegan eating: More men are going animal-free", The Inquirer (Philadelphia), January 04, 2017

Look For A Revival Of French Cooking In 2017

Culinary textbook author Priscilla Martel predicts that French cuisine will gain in popularity in 2017. Calling it the “new golden age of French food,” Martel sees especially a resurgence of French bread and classic French pastries. Look for American versions of patisserie, including well-crafted viennoiserie, the formal name for croissants, Danish and other pastries made with buttery flaky dough. [ Ham and cheese croissant, image credit: ©  Charles Haynes ]

"Stephen Fries: Predicting food trends for 2017, plus a recipe for congee", New Haven (Conn.) Register, January 03, 2017

Taco Bell Commits To Cleaner Ingredients In Menu Items

Taco Bell announced that early this year it will remove all antibiotics used in human medicine from its chicken served in U.S. restaurants. By 2018 it expects to remove all preservatives and other additives from its food, and will serve only eggs from cage-free chickens, by 2018. The company reduced sodium content in its food by 15 percent in 2008, and now promises to reduce sodium by another 10 percent by 2025. [ Image credit: ©  Taco Bell  ]

"Taco Bell Rings In 2017 With New Year’s Commitments", News release, Taco Bell, January 03, 2017

This Year Will See More Foods Made From Sorghum, Sprouts

Among the top food trends for 2017 gleaned from experts and exhibitors at a recent nutrition expo are products made from fiber- and protein-rich sorghum and sprouted seeds, nuts, beans and grains. Sorghum is a U.S. whole grain that is not only gluten-free, it’s a good source of magnesium, phosphorous, iron and B vitamins. Look for sorghum in ready-to-eat breakfast cereals and baked chips, popcorn alternatives, protein bars, crackers, bread, and even alcoholic beverages. Health-conscious foodies, meanwhile, are attracted to sprouted foods because of their superior nutrition profile. Sprouting increases fiber and protein content while decreasing “anti-nutrients” like phytic acid, rendering protein and minerals easier to absorb. Look for ...  More

"2017 Food trends Look for new convenience in plant proteins", The Houston Chronicle, January 02, 2017

Burger King’s Parent Company Promises To Get Rid Of Antibiotics In Chicken

Restaurant Brands International, parent company of Burger King and donut chain Tim Hortons, has announced plans to reduce antibiotic use in its chickens. The company, which has been under pressure for months from public health advocates, has now updated the “responsibility” page of its website to explain the new commitment to curbing the use of antibiotics “deemed by the World Health Organization as ‘critically important’ to human medicine." The changes will be implemented in the U.S. this year and in Canada next year. [ Image credit: ©  Burger King Canada ]

"Burger King, Tim Hortons to curb antibiotics used in chicken", Reuters, December 29, 2016

Among This Year’s Culinary Trends: Frybread

The chefs, food journalists and critics that report to the New York-based James Beard Foundation have selected several culinary trends American diners can expect in 2017. Among these are a revival of the “grande cuisine” of France, the appearance of mini-cabbages called kalettes (a cross between kale and Brussels sprouts), cauliflower (instead of kale), and frybread. Inspired by Native American and Eastern European cuisine – and often served at state fairs in the U.S. – frybread will show up often on restaurant menus this year. Though a simple concept – dough that is deep fried – watch for chefs to embellish their versions of frybread with an assortment of toppings and garnishes. [ Frybread taco, Image credit: ©  John Pozniak, Wikimedia ]

"What diners will be eating in 2017", Malay Mail Online, December 28, 2016

Cargill Adds New Emulsifier To Product Line With Unique Benefits

Deoiled canola lecithin is an emulsifier with some unique advantages for food manufacturers seeking to meet consumer ingredient demands. According to  Cargill, which just added deoiled canola lecithin to its product line, the ingredient is a versatile emulsifier and dispersing agent that can be used in chocolate and confectionery, bakery and convenience foods. Dispersibility, functionality, taste and color are comparable to soy and sunflower lecithin. Added advantages include the fact it is non-GMO option, may be used in organic products, and need not be declared as a major food allergen. [ Deoiled lecithin, image credit: © Cargill ]

"Cargill introduces canola lecithin for label-conscious consumers", News release, Cargill, December 20, 2016

With Cheese Sales Off The Charts, Manufacturers Tackle Clean Label Concerns

Cheese is big business in the U.S., perhaps a reflection of the opinion that any food is better if topped with cheese. A dairy industry trade group says cheese sales in the U.S. reached $23 billion in 2015, and could hit $28 billion by 2020 – a hefty 24 percent growth rate over five years. So why do Americans consume an average of 34 pounds of cheese each year? High protein content, for one reason, and an increasingly positive attitude toward dairy fat. Cheese also tends to have high quality ingredients, is rich in calcium, comes in a wide variety of formats, is convenient as a snack, and is relatively affordable. Manufacturers are also paying closer attention to consumer demands for transparency in ingredient labeling – non-GMO and ...  More

"Cheese strives for more transparency, clean label ingredients", Snack and Bakery, December 15, 2016

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