Thank you and goodbye!

We’ve certainly learned a great deal about the food and beverage industry during our time contributing to this blog. Each of our group members approached the subject matter with a distinct perspective that added to the blog in a unique way. Although we have enjoyed our experience with the blog, we have chosen to end our journey here. We will not continue to make blog posts in the future, though we do appreciate all of your support over the past few months. Thank you for everything, we have certainly enjoyed ourselves and learned from this project.

Spencer Donnelly

ReciPower.com offers new approach to healthy eating

Currently in the alpha stage of development, ReciPower is an easier way to keep children eating healthy during the critical stages of their development. Specifically, the website is a tool that facilitates meal choices that focus on not only nutritious food choices, but also convenience. By entering basic information in a set number of fields, the system provides users with a healthy meal plan with certain food selections, as well as the approximate total cost.

The system is also flexible, as it also gives the user the ability to mix and match different meal choices. If the current meal selection is not to your liking, you can easily replace it with a brand new meal choice, with the grocery list changing automatically. The website essentially cuts out the organizational aspect of healthy eating that plagues so many attempting to change their eating habits. Counting calories, making lengthy lists, and planning nutritious choices ahead of time is inconvenient and tiresome.

I was given the privilege of having  test run of the alpha version and I was nothing short of impressed.  I input certain key information such as how much money I had to spend on a given day, the number of people I was planning to feed, and if I had any sort of special food considerations such as wanting gluten free products. I won’t reveal all of the questions asked in order to make the personalized meal plan, but upon the completion of this information, I was instantly given an array of diverse choices.

I was given the choice of a protein based meal such as garlic-basil halibut, a complex carbohydrate such as pasta with garden vegetables, and a more unique dish with quick quesadilla pockets. The pictures presented for each item are attractive, yet this is overshadowed by the convenience of the other features. With five meals recommended to me, I was given the option to swap them out for others, or keep them on my list.

This customization ability not only makes the system cater to certain tastes, but also a budget.If I’m committed to a budget on a certain week, I can choose to include cheaper options in my plan such as slow cooker wild rice soup. On the other hand, perhaps if it has been a lucrative week in your professional life, you can choose to add more expensive options such as the salmon potato scramble. When a particular choice is selected, it even displays the exact ingredients needed for preparation, and cooking instructions.

ReciPower is a convenient tool for selecting healthy meals at your convenience. By taking account of the money you have to spend, the time you have to prepare, and how frequently you shop, it’s a system that nearly anyone can get used to. And with the obesity and diabetes rates rising at the current rate in the United States, it’s tools like this that may be the future of healthy, yet convenient, eating.

Spencer Donnelly

Check out the site HERE

Follow us on Twitter HERE

Pediatricians evaluate organic foods

Organic food may not be as beneficial as it may sound. It is a constant concern for parents to be providing their children with healthy and pesticide free fruits and vegetables for their growing bodies. However, according to the nation’s leading pediatrics group, organic fruits and vegetables may not necessarily be safer or higher in nutrients compared to conventional foods.

“Theoretically there could be negative effects, especially in young children with growing brains,” said Dr. Janet Silverstein, a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of Florida in Gainesville. She continued with: “We just can’t say for certain that organics is better without long-term controlled studies.” These findings in Florida resemble those from a Stanford University study in September. The result of the study can be summarized in saying while eating organic fruits and vegetable have the ability to reduce exposure to dangerous pesticides, the amount of pesticides in conventional fruits and vegetables are within safety limits.

This causes a problem for many parents when it comes to purchasing organic versus conventional fruits and vegetables. Organic fruits found at retailers such as Whole Foods and other organic stores usually charge significantly higher prices for their fresh produce. This can cause a variety of problems for several different segments of consumers. Not only could studies like this decrease the frequency of organic produce purchases due to a lack of incentive over conventional fruits, but it could also have farther reaching effects. Higher prices on organic fruits and vegetables in our modern economy could lead to Americans in general buying less fruits and vegetables. Overall, this would have a negative national impact due to the contribution to the already rising rates of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

The report continued to state that the most proven methods for avoiding such health problems include frequent consumption of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, dairy products that are low in fat, and regular exercise. This however ignores many economic factors for many families in the United States. Often times it is not a matter of choosing the rights food choices for meals throughout the day, a consumers choices are dictated by what he or she can afford. With so much of our food today produced in an assembly line fashion, the cost of certain foods has become the lowest in our history. The negative side to this production efficiency, is that the cheapest food is often unhealthy and lacking in natural nutrients needed for healthy bodies.

Spencer Donnelly

Read more about the issue HERE

Follow us on twitter HERE

Weekly Recap: April 15th – 19th

Boulder Food Rescue seeks to correct waste

This post by Spencer investigates how a local Boulder firm is making a positive use of previously wasted perishable produce. Boulder Food Rescue is not only benefiting the underprivileged, it is also doing so in an environmentally friendly way.

The Natural-Products Space

Samuel analyzes the distribution of local natural products companies in terms of revenue and employment activity. The layout of annual revenue is surprising, even to Boulder residents.

Sushi Zanmai’s Keys to Success and Why You Should Eat There

David conducted an interview with a manager from the local sushi restaurant Sushi Zanmai. He extracted keys to success for the establishment’s survival and what makes them different from most conventional Japanese venues.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter!

Spencer Donnelly

Boulder Food Rescue seeks to correct waste

Boulder Food Rescue is a local non-profit  that is focused on correcting the tragedy of food waste. According to a recent report entitled Global Food: Waste Not, Want Not, approximately 30-50% of all food produced is never consumed.

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This organization is aimed at correcting this deficiency by rescuing and redistributing perishable food items discarded by local organizations, in order to provide for homeless and at-risk individuals. As they state on their website: “Our goal is to help solve the problems of hunger, malnutrition, and food waste in our community.” By the numbers, Boulder Food Rescue boasts the following statistics about their operations within the city:

Boulder Food Rescue:

-16 current food donors

-42 charity recipients

-Average 10 pick-ups per day

-100 volunteers

-Rescued 180,000 lbs. of food

-90% of pick-ups and deliveries powered by bike volunteers

Boulder Food Rescue plays the important role of being a “just in time” organization. They fill a certain gap left behind by local food banks due to their limitations on man power and the type of food that they can accept. Specifically, local food banks do not have the logistical means to take perishable foods and soon-to-expire produce into their warehouses. The non-profit has strategically located bins in certain local retailers or donors, ordinarily between the produce section and the garbage. By utilizing this strategy, it is less work for the organization and the employee to simply donate the items rather than disposing of them. Once per day a volunteer messenger loads these bins onto a bike trailer and transports the produce and perishables to the charity organization scheduled to receive it. The food is then typically served within a time frame of 24-48 hours. These food operations are focused on the organizations dedicated to feeding the homeless, hungry, low income, elderly, at-risk population, and school food programs.

The most intriguing component of this entire organization is that it not only increases efficiency of food allocation in Boulder, it has also proved to be sustainable. By operating between 80-90% on bike power, the organization is environmentally friendly in more ways than one. Current local donors include Whole Foods, Alfalfa’s, Breadworks, Lucky’s, and CU Boulder’s C4C Cafeteria. If you are eager to volunteer with Boulder Food Rescue, your help can be utilized in many different ways. The next new volunteer orientation meeting is Tuesday, April 16th, from 5-6pm at Rad-ish Collective at 710 31st St. Additional information can be obtained through info@boulderfoodrescue.org.

Spencer Donnelly

Boulder Food Rescue can be found HERE

Information about global food waste can be found HERE

Be sure to follow us on Twitter HERE

Local Boulder firm spurring fresh approach to food and money

Slow Money is a local Boulder organization that is dedicated to changing the way that Americans as well as the rest of the world thinks about food and finance. Although they have a series of seven major principles that drive their vision, their basic message emphasizes that “we must bring money back down to earth.” This is encompassed by the core of their movement that argues that in the food industry, money is “too fast.” The central point being made is that companies are too large, and the finance of these companies is too complex to be efficient for everyday consumers. The belief that as a society, we must invest in food, farms, and fertility is central to Slow Money’s theme of rebuilding our economy, starting with creating new relationships and critical sources of capital in small food enterprises. Slow Money’s principles and main message can be found HERE.

I agree with this approach to food and nurturing local economic outlets before throwing your money at large corporations. It does not take more than one viewing of the documentary Food, Inc. to grasp that our modern food system is essentially an assembly line controlled by giant businesses. In 1970, thousands of slaughterhouses existed in the United States that produced the majority of beef nationwide. Only thirteen exist today, all controlled by major corporations with billions in annual revenue. I am not against efficiency in the market place, I am however against the side effects of this type of production.  Although the current system provides the best price for the consumer, it ignores dangers of the assembly line system. The food that has been made extremely cheap to buy and produce is very unhealthy when compared to alternatives. This availability and low price is also contributing to the rise in obesity and diabetes in the United States. 1 in 3 Americans born after the year 2000 will contract early onset diabetes, while minorities will have an even higher rate, at 1 in 2 suffering from early onset. This is only a brief summary of my distaste for the current food system in the United States, though I do see the economic appeal due to the business efficiency that it provides.

Slow Money is a movement that I am much more supportive of. Their main goal of making 1 million people invest 1 percent of their money into local food systems is a wonderful idea. I take this point of view not only because I would like to see a healthier and happier country, but because I think it contributes positively to local economies. By supporting local food organizations that care about the consumers that they provide their products to, this would make a positive impact to the health of local citizens. Whether it’s organic, locally grown, or just plain health oriented, contributing to the Slow Money movement seems like a much more viable alternative than continuing to buy into the large food corporations that ignore health and ethical issues with their behavior in sight of their fat bottom lines. I wish to blog more about this in the future, as I have much more to say on the issue.

Spencer Donnelly

Read more about Slow Money HERE.

Food, INC facts are HERE.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter HERE.

Trader Joe’s to enter competitive Boulder market

According to a local source, Trader Joe’s is headed to Boulder as a part of their new expansion plans.  In early January, the grocery chain completed paperwork with Colorado’s Secretary of State office in order to start conducting business within the next 3 months. This has been met by mixed reactions of Boulder residents.  On one hand, Trader Joe’s offers competitive prices on essential products vital to Boulder consumers. Although they may not have the most diverse product lines on their shelves, the chain targets price conscious buyers to boost their bottom line. On the other hand, many Boulder residents are reacting negatively to the news of a new grocery store chain coming to Boulder. Not only does the city already have large grocery chains like Safeway and King Soopers, the grocery market itself seems already saturated to many residents. With the organic chains of Whole Foods, Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage, Sunflower Farmers Market, Sprouts Farmers Market, Alfalfa’s Market, and Lucky’s, the city is already an extremely competitive market place to enter into.

Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage’s co-president Kemper Isely emphasized this by stating: “Boulder’s the most competitive natural foods market in the country.” Others have also reinforced the difficulty that Trader Joe’s may have in entering the city. “It’s definitely a bold move for any new food retailer to move into the Boulder market, given how many retailers we have here,” said Carlotta Mast, a local editor of the Natural Food Merchandiser. She went on to mention that “…if there were one retailer who could make a successful go of it, it would be Trader Joe’s.”

Trader Joe’s has since voiced their intentions in Boulder with the bold statement of a location in the Twenty Ninth Street Mall. By stating what makes them unique, and what differentiates themselves from their competition here in the city. This could potentially clear up the citizens uneasy feelings about their arrival. Throughout this informational piece, Trader Joe’s focuses on what positive impacts they can bring to the local community. This could also be a sigh of relief for other Boulder food business that are worried about losing market share. The casual tone of Trader Joe’s seems to appeal to a wide range of consumers that include “the culinary adventurer and microwave aficionado.” Whether their arrival in the city will be a huge success or a disastrous failure remains to be seen, though our questions will be answered in the coming months.

Spencer Donnelly

Trader Joe’s Statement

Daily Camera Article