EXO Cricket Flour Protein Bars

All the talk of insects reminded me of a brand of protein bars from a company called Exo.  Created by two students at Brown, they use cricket flour as a source of protein and they’re soy, grain, dairy, and gluten free.  I tried a couple of them last year, and while I think that the concept is intriguing, the execution leaves a lot to be desired. The bars have a strange texture and despite names like Blueberry Vanilla and Banana Bread, I was unable to discern any difference in taste between the flavors. While I was disappointed in the product itself, I think that crickets and other insects could play an integral part in solving some of the food supply and environmental issues we’re facing.  More than 80% of the world’s population already eat insects regularly, and when looking at the environmental impact and the efficiency of crickets compared to our typical protein sources, I feel that this is not a solution we can brush aside because some consider it “gross”.

Screen Shot 2017-04-20 at 12.58.15 PM.png




Grasshoppers Sell-Out at Mariners Game

This is actually a pretty crazy article taken the fact that baseball is usually associated with the terms “Americas pastime” and “tradition” The Seattle Mariners have introduced a whole new dish to the stadium concession world. The Mariners this year decided to partner with a local restaurant called Poquitos and started selling their toasted grasshoppers in chill-lime salt. Surprisingly enough, they have SOLD-OUT! They ended up selling out their first 3 homes games of the season and even had to make an emergency run for more during their weekend series against the Texas Rangers. It would be interesting to see if more Major League clubs decide to hop on this train and begin to introduce new alternative foods to expand the pallet past the basic hotdogs and burgers.



A Day in the Life of a Food Vendor

This article shows how hard being a food vendor can be. It takes a toll on health and their personal life. They struggle with city codes and regulations on street vending, exorbitant fines for small violations and occasional rage of brick and mortar businesses or residents. They also have to deal with weather, the whims of transit and foot traffic, and the stress of standing long hours, alone with no real shelter.

General Mills spending more on food safety

by Monica Watrous

General Mills detailed its food safety plans in its 2017 Global Responsibility Report.

MINNEAPOLIS — General Mills, Inc. increased its spending on food safety to $16 million in 2016, up from $13 million in 2015. The company in its 2017 Global Responsibility Report issued April 11 said 8% of its essential capital investment in 2016 went toward projects related to food safety.

“Safety is a priority focus area for our company leadership and part of our culture,” General Mills noted in the report. “Leading with safety — both the safety of our employees in the workplace and the food they make — is one of the key operating principles that guides our work.”

General Mills has a legacy of food safety leadership, dating back to the 1950s when the company established a raw material vendor management program. In the 1970s the company developed food safety programs for quality engineers at production facilities, and in 1996 it pioneered allergen labeling on all products.

In 2016, General Mills increased training to support compliance with the U.S. Food Safety Modernization Act’s (FSMA) Preventive Controls Rule.

“General Mills played a key role in providing industry perspective during development of the FSMA — the most sweeping change to U.S. food safety regulations in 100 years,” the company said. “To prepare for the FSMA requirement that each food safety plan be reviewed by a Preventive Controls Qualified Individual (PCQI), 125 of our employees participated in PCQI training, four employees were trained as lead instructors and one person was certified to train the trainers, helping us to scale this knowledge across the organization.

“We continually refine our training approach through our global centers of excellence focused on key food safety requirements, such as sanitation, quality engineering and auditing. We provide comprehensive, consistent instruction through our global online training academy with materials in English, French, Mandarin Chinese, Portuguese and Spanish.”

In fiscal 2016, General Mills said it conducted Auditor Academy training sessions attended by 194 participants from 14 countries. The sessions helped improve the company’s ability to identify and fix issues, as well as prevent food safety problems from occurring, General Mills said.

One of the food safety goals General Mills has set is to achieve Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) certification for all General Mills-owned facilities by 2020. Providing an update on the company’s progress toward that goal, General Mills said 80% of its company-owned facilities are GFSI certified. Additionally, 80% of co-production sites and 55% of ingredient supplier sites also are GFSI certified.

General Mills conducted 10 voluntary recalls in fiscal 2016, including some for the company’s Gluten-Free Cheerios, flour and cake mix products.

To help ensure the safety of the raw materials the company uses in its products, General Mills has expanded the number of supplier and co-producer audits it conducts globally. The company conducted more than 800 supplier audits and more than 40 co-producer audits in 2016 and trained more than 50 suppliers through supplier schools and webinars during the year.

Bugs, especially caterpillars, might be the only animal protein we can sustainably eat

Caterpillar farms: Growing the food of the future?

In all my research for my final creative project, I have concluded that eating meat, especially beef, is pretty much the worst thing we can do for the environment. As we heard in class, lowering meat consumption can have a hugely positive impact on the environment, and can improve world hunger. However, meat eating is so deeply rooted in our culture, routine, and understanding of health, that people have happily ignored the messages about its toll on the environment and continue to enjoy huge portions of animal protein.

This article explains how caterpillar farming might be a sustainable and cheap way to fight malnutrition in West Africa. The article cites the protein and micronutrients, like zinc and iron, as evidence of caterpillars’ usefulness as a sustainable alternative to other animal proteins. Insects take up less space to breed and grow than other animal proteins, and they emit far less waste. Once processed, caterpillars remain edible for up to 18 months. Clearly, this is a great alternative to the environmental degradation caused by animal protein, and the malnutrition caused by an overall lack of nutrients in parts of the world.

Although insects are eaten regularly in much of the world, westerners generally have a hard time getting over the “yuck factor” with bugs. Although there is objectively nothing less appealing about caterpillars than a juicy, bloody steak, we haven’t grown up with bugs around as food. Unfortunately, we are, as a nation and as part of the western world, not a very adventurous group. If we cannot even convince people to try quinoa instead of chicken, it might be a long time before we can normalize bugs as a healthy source of animal protein. However, if our meat consumption continues in the manner it has thus far, this will likely be our only option due to a lack of arable land.