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Posts Tagged ‘Stephanie Strom’

In Ethiopia, you can eat the plate, in the UK the coffee cup.

Stephanie Strom writes at the NY Times, “Diners at KFC restaurants throughout Britain soon will be able to have their coffee — and eat the cup, too.

“KFC, one of the chains operated by Yum Brands, is going to test an edible cup made from a wafer coated in sugar paper and lined with a heat-resistant white chocolate. …

“The new cup addresses several of the trends bedeviling the food business today, including consumer concerns about the environmental impact of packaging, as well as their desire for simplicity.

“ ‘This type of edible packaging is definitely aligned with the global consumer mind-set in terms of sustainability and simplifying their life,’ said Shilpa Rosenberry, senior director of global consumer strategy at Daymon Worldwide, a consulting firm that works with many food companies. ….

“Ms. Rosenberry said she had even seen examples of retail packaging that could be turned into furniture, and boxes that could be repurposed for practical uses. …

“The new Scoff-ee Cup to be used at KFC, first reported by USA Today, was made in partnership with the Robin Collective, which calls itself a ‘purveyor of curious events and experimental food.’

“The chocolate lining will melt and soften the crisp wafer in the same way that a biscotti softens when dipped in coffee.” For those of us who drink our coffee fast, while it is still hot, that should work. The cup will soften but not too much. Family members who leave a half-filled cup around all morning would end up with a puddle, I suppose. It’s almost worth a trip to England to test it out.

More here.

Photo: KFC
KFC is introducing edible coffee cups at outlets in Britain, and will start serving Seattle’s Best.

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Babson College in Wellesley, Mass., is well known as a hub for entrepreneurship. So the school was the logical place to help start-ups offering farmers distribution services, marketing, and the like learn how to grow their business. A training was held at Babson at the end of December, and the New York Times covered it.

Stephanie Strom writes, “In spite of the surging demand for locally and regionally grown foods over the last few years, there is a chasm separating small and midsize farmers from their local markets.

“But a growing number of small businesses are springing up to provide local farmers and their customers with marketing, transportation, logistics and other services, like the Fresh Connection, a trucking business providing services to help farms around New York City make deliveries. …

“The Fair Food Network, a nonprofit organized to improve access to better food, recently held a second ‘business boot camp’ in Wellesley, Mass., for tiny companies working to increase ties between communities and local farmers, which culminated in a contest to win some $10,000. …

“For farmers selling products to a number of customers, there are so-called food hubs like Red Tomato, which connects its network of farms to existing wholesale distribution systems to make deliveries of locally grown fruits and vegetables to groceries, produce distributors, restaurants and schools in the Northeast. …

“Not all ways of improving consumer access to local and regional farm production involve distribution, however. Blue Ox Malthouse, for instance, is making malt from barley grown in Maine as a cover crop. Normally, farmers plow barley under or sell it cheaply for animal feed.  Blue Ox has given them a new and more lucrative market, though, buying up barley and turning it into malt in hopes of selling it to Maine’s thriving craft beer businesses. …

“It’s good for the farmers, who get a better price for a product they often just plowed under, and it’s good for the craft beer business, where brewers are always looking for points of distinction,” [founder Joel] Alex said.”

Read about some other great services for small farms here.

Photo: Michael Appleton for The New York Times
Mark Jaffe of the Fresh Connection picks up fresh eggs from a farmer’s stand in Union Square, Manhattan. He will make deliveries to restaurants and groceries.

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This post’s for my daughter-in-law, who not only loves to cook but is also pretty savvy about healthful eating. I should know. I had a yummy something with orzo and mushrooms for Tofu Tuesday at my son’s house last night.

Today’s story from the NY Times is on the expanded distribution goals of a company with inventive food options currently popular with celebrities.

And, as Stephanie Strom writes, the offerings are not just for vegans.

“Organic Avenue, the tiny purveyor of high-end juices, fresh salads and specialty foods like cashew scallion cream cheese and Thai collard wraps, has hired a new chief executive with the goal of turning its new owner’s dreams of a national chain into reality.

“Martin Bates … will take charge of Organic Avenue in June. …

“ ‘I drink green juices and have done for the last year or so, but living the life of a vegan is not for me. I think there are lots of other people like me out there.’ …

“We want to grow this business around helping people who want food that’s better for them,” [investor Jonathan] Grayer said. ‘That doesn’t mean they have to be vegan. They certainly don’t have to favor raw. They don’t even have to be organic; they just have to want to be healthier.’ ”

Bates, who turned around the Pret a Manger chain, said that he is up for the challenge.

“Perhaps tellingly, he said his favorite Organic Avenue product was Dragon’s Breath, a juice that incorporates ginger, lemon and cayenne pepper. ‘Caution,’ the company’s Web site warns. ‘This shot is not for the faint at heart!’ ” More.

We are into dragons around here. I’ll have to see if I am brave enough to drink Dragon’s Breath.

Photo: Michael Falco for The New York Times
Organic Avenue, which caters to a celebrity-studded clientele, hopes to appeal to a range of healthy eaters

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From a NY Times article by Stephanie Strom June 12:

“A few companies have taken some small steps to bring lost manufacturing jobs back to American soil, driven sometimes by declining labor costs in the United States, other times by dissatisfaction with the quality of goods made abroad.

“General Electric, for example, has created almost 800 jobs by building plants in Schenectady, N.Y., and Louisville, Ky., to make sophisticated batteries, some of which were previously made in China. NCR is making automated teller machines in Georgia that had also been made overseas. Last month, Starbucks announced it would build a factory in Augusta, Ga., that would employ 140 people and make the company’s Via instant coffee and the ingredients for its popular Frappuccino drinks. About half of Starbucks’s new employment overall will come in the United States, the rest internationally. …

“The effort is not all altruistic. Chinese labor has become more expensive, and Starbucks and other companies are looking at their supply chains more holistically. American Mug can deliver to Starbucks in four days, while Chinese suppliers may take three months.

“A Chinese supplier is also likely to require an order in the hundreds of thousands, increasing the risk that Starbucks will get stuck with inventory. And then there is the difference in shipping costs. ‘No doubt the cost of doing what we’re doing in East Liverpool [Ohio] at least in the initial stage will be more expensive for Starbucks, but the investment we’re making in this is about the conscience of our company and recognition that success has to be shared,’ [Starbucks CEO Howard] Schultz said.” Read more here.

We will probably never have the massive manufacturing we once had, but do send me what you hear about manufacturing picking up, even a little. For example, I recently heard about a new company in Massachusetts, 1366 Technologies, which makes silicon wafers for solar applications and has a manufacturing pilot going in Bedford. I mentioned this to a colleague who added that he knew of a new gin distillery in South Boston, which wasn’t really what I meant by manufacturing, but whatever floats your boat.

Photograph: http://www.1366tech.com/

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