Mixing these proteins with plant-based lipids and sugar is what produces the cheese. In addition to tasting as good as regular dairy cheese, Gibson says that his startup’s produce will be cholesterol and lactose-free. The company’s first cheese will be fresh mozzarella, although others will hopefully follow in the future.

“We are still very early in development,” Gibson continued. “After we close our seed round later this year we will build a pilot process to begin making our cheese. Due to the nature of the technology we are working with, it will take longer to get to market than a fully plant-based food product. We hope to have a product for consumers to buy within 18 months.”

In the meantime, salivating potential customers can sign up on New Culture’s websiteto register their interest in a taste when it becomes available.

Lab-grown food startup wants to make dairy mozzarella, no animals required [Digital Trends]


As different plant-based milk alternatives continue to grow tremendously in popularity, dairy farmers are seeing a significant decrease in sales of traditional cow milk.

According to the Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), the sales of milk dropped about $1.1 billion last year; 2018 closed with net sales totaling $13.6 billion, compared to 2017’s $14.7 billion.

DFA’s President and CEO, Rick Smith, called 2018 a “challenging” year for dairy farmers, per Fast Company, which added that the cooperative of farmers blamed not only the popularity of vegan milk alternatives, but also low milk prices for the 7 percent drop in sales.

And it makes sense why the farmers may be quick to blame the growing trend of dairy alternatives: In 2017, the market size of dairy alternatives was estimated to be around $11.9 billion, with experts predicting that the number could swell to more than $34 billion by 2024 (and, honestly, if you saw how the world — or at least NYC — handled Oatly’s oat milk shortage, well… you’d understand why these numbers aren’t exactly hard to believe).

Of course, the change to non-dairy alternatives is a healthy choice, for not only consumers but also our planet. According to a study out of the University of Oxford, the greenhouse gas emissions associated with producing a glass of dairy milk is about three times more than any of the examined dairy alternatives (for the study, researchers included rice milk, soy milk, oat milk, and almond milk). Similarly, when they looked into how much land use and water use is involved, dairy milk required the most land and water as well.

The same study found that food production is responsible for nearly one-fourth of all human-produced greenhouse gas emissions, with meat and animal products responsible for the largest portion of the food-related emissions.

As Dr. Adrian Camilleri — a consumer psychologist at the University of Technology Sydney, who is also an affiliate member of Columbia University’s Center for Research on Environmental Decisions —explained to the BBC, people are generally aware of the environmental impact that dairy has, a belief that, considering last year’s dairy sales, may be changing.

“The greenhouse gas emissions from milk are about 30 times higher than what people estimate,” Dr. Camilleri said.

“I suspect that most consumers underestimate the greenhouse gas emissions saved by switching from dairy milk to plant-based milk such as soy milk.”

Milk Sales Drop by More Than $1 Billion as Plant-Based Alternatives Take Off [Green Matters]

The major change to the fast-food giant’s drive-thru experience is coming later this year and is the result of the company’s recent acquisition of Israel-based machine-learning startup Dynamic Yield for a reported $300 million.

Dynamic Yield’s so-called “decision technology” will be built into new electronic menu boards located at McDonald’s drive-thrus to provide a more personalized customer experience. This means the items on the menu could change even as you order. So, as a simple example, if you order a burger, the menu could automatically respond by pushing fries front and center on the menu board, or other side items, which may persuade some customers to select extra snacks when they hadn’t planned to.

The technology powering the menu boards will also take into account factors such as current weather conditions — so it might offer up cold drinks on a hot day — and also how busy the restaurant is, meaning if there’s a long line and the kitchen is under pressure, it might push items that are quicker to prepare.

If you hadn’t already noticed, McDonald’s high-tech menu board is similar in many ways to how Amazon’s online shopping site constantly offers similar or complementary items as it tracks your search activity click by click.

McDonald’s has been testing the technology at a number of its restaurants over the past year and is now preparing to roll it out at more than 1,000 locations within the next three months, according to Wired. The long-term plan is to install the smart menu boards at all 14,000 of its U.S. restaurants, as well as at its international locations. It’s likely the technology will eventually find its way into McDonald’s self-order kiosks and mobile app, too.

McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook even suggested it could one day include license recognition technology so the menu board could adjust its items based on a customer’s recent purchases. In that case, customer data could be shared across the entire chain of restaurants rather than be confined to a single outlet, further enhancing the power of the technology and its ability to drive sales.

The move by McDonald’s to embrace artificial intelligence in a bid to boost profits mirrors similar efforts by a growing number of customer-facing businesses in recent years. Combining the decision technology with customer data gathered via loyalty programs and apps enables these companies to offer a more personalized shopping experience — one designed to tempt you into making extra purchases almost without realizing it.

McDonald’s to use A.I. to tempt you into extra purchases at the drive-thru [Digital Trends]

Wheat bran isn’t just for breakfast anymore. Poland-based company Biotrem is using the fibrous grain to make biodegradable, single-use, wheat bran-based plates, bowls, and cutlery. Biotrem has been around for a few years, but as Inhabitat reported, the company’s products — which are actually edible— made a splash at the Green Living Show in Toronto over the weekend.

As explained on Biotrem’s website, the only ingredients in the company’s plates and bowls are wheat bran and water, which are fused together using high temperatures and by applying high pressure. No chemicals are used to make the plates and bowls. Biotrem makes standard round plates in three sizes, as well as a round bowl and an oval bowl. The company also offers custom orders of different-sized products and shapes with the option of custom branding. The plates and bowls are meant to be used once and then composted, because the longer you have food on them, the greater the chance that your food may start to smell a little like bran. Not the worst thing in the world, but perhaps enough of an incentive for your kids to eat their veggies.

The plates and bowls are microwave safe, and can be used with either warm or cold food. However, Biotrem warns customers not to use the products to serve hot liquids like tea, coffee, or soup, as well as fizzy drinks. (Hey, if you prefer LaCroix out of a bowl, there’s no judgment here.) Biotrem says its plates and bowls will break down in 30 days if composted, and according to its Instagram, that includes backyard composting.

Additionally, Biotrem makes matching forks and knives — though their wheat bran content is much lower than their plate and bowl counterparts. The utensils are made from only 10 percent wheat bran, and 90 percent polylactide, which is a biodegradable thermoplastic polyester, typically made from corn, as per ScienceDirect. Biotrem’s website does not indicate the best way to compost the forks and knives, but it seems likely that they will require industrial composting. Biotrem did not immediately respond to Green Matters’ request for comment.

As Inhabitat explained, Biotrem’s founder and longtime wheat miller Jerzy Wysocki came up with the idea for the wheat bran-based tablewares when he realized the process of milling wheat left him with a surplus of wheat bran. He played around with the leftover wheat bran and was eventually able to shape it into tableware. It’s unclear if Wysocki still exclusively uses leftover wheat bran from the wheat-milling process, but if he does, that would make Biotrem’s bowls and plates a closed loop model. As the website notes, 1 ton of wheat bran allows Biotrem to make up to 10,000 bowls or plates.

One thing to keep in mind is that these products all contain wheat, and should not be used by people with wheat or gluten allergies. Unfortunately, for Biotrem, gluten allergies and sensitivities are increasingly common in the U.S. According to a 2015 study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, and as reported by U.S. News & World Report, about 1 percent of U.S. residents have celiac disease, and another 7 percent of the population has a gluten sensitivity.

Furthermore, it’s important to note that when it comes to dining, reusable tableware is always a more sustainable option than disposables, even if they are made from a natural and biodegradable material. That said, many businesses and schools do not have the infrastructure or space to use reusable plates, bowls, and cutlery, and in those instances, products like Biotrem’s are a great option.

Biodegradable Plates and Cutlery Made from Wheat Bran May Not Be Gluten-Free, But They Are Pretty Cool [Green Matters]

Opening a new restaurant isn’t cheap. You’ll need tens of thousands of dollars worth of equipment in both the front and the back of the house. From refrigerators and walk-in freezers to ranges, ovens, small appliances, bar equipment, uniforms and more, here’s what you need to start a new restaurant.

1) Food Storage Appliances

Industrial-grade refrigerators and freezers are a must for any new restaurant, and chances are you’re going to need more of them than you think. In addition to freezers and refrigerators for the kitchen, you’ll also need refrigeration for the service kitchen and for the bar area. There are all kinds of freezers and coolers available, in a range of sizes, from small reach-ins to huge walk-ins. But no matter how big or small your establishment, you’ll need to preserve your food.

2) Food Prep Appliances

There are so many different kinds of appliances you might need in the kitchen or service kitchen, but most of them fall into one of three categories: slicers, mixers, or food processors. You’ll need a slicer, a mixer, a meat grinder, a blender, a cheese melter, a fryer, a broiler, a non-pressure steamer, a food processor, baker’s tables and bins, a portion scale, and more. Outfitting your production kitchen with equipment will cost $30,000 to $65,000.

3) Service Kitchen Equipment

The service kitchen is where wait staff will put the finishing touches on dishes right before they go out to the customer. You’ll need prep and steam tables, a toaster, a microwave, a sandwich table, a roll warmer, and heat lamps.

4) Small Production Items

You can expect to spend anywhere from $1,200 to $2,700 on small production items like pans, pots, potholders, tongs, spoons, can openers, ladles, spatulas, and other equipment.

5) Tables, Chairs, and Barstools

You’ll need tables, chairs, and barstools for the front of house, as well as for any break room facilities and the waiting area. A restaurant furniture supply store is the best place to get sturdy restaurant furniture at bulk prices.

6) Bar Equipment

If your restaurant will have a bar, you’re going to need to buy the bar itself, the cash register, several hundred glasses of all different kinds, and all of the accoutrements needed to mix and garnish cocktails. You’ll need additional refrigerators where bartenders can store cocktail ingredients, beers, and bottled drinks. Your bar will also need its own dishwasher.

7) Uniforms

Uniforms give your staff a professional, polished appearance, and providing your staff with uniforms gives them one less thing to worry about and spend their hard-earned tips on. The same restaurant supply outlet that provided your equipment and furniture can also offer a selection of uniforms for every member of staff, from the hostess to the chef.

8) Miscellaneous Tableware

While it’s trendy these days for hip restaurants to serve their meals on shovels or bricks, most patrons want to eat off good, old-fashioned plates and bowls. You’re going to need a lot of tableware – bowls, plates, mugs, glasses, cutlery, and everything else. Buy extra – it breaks easily.

9) A Three-Stage Dishwashing Station

Most local food safety ordinances will require your restaurant kitchen to use three sinks and an industrial-grade dishwasher to clean and sanitize your dishes. A triple sink allows your dishwashing staff to use the three-stage method, which is what food safety regulations usually require. At least one industrial-grade dishwasher may be necessary, whether it’s an under-counter dishwasher to help your bartender maintain a supply of clean glasses, or a conveyor dishwasher that can handle the whole lunch rush at once.

10) A Kitchen Display System

These days, conveying order information from the front to the back of house has gotten a lot more sophisticated than just yelling out the name of the menu item really loudly. Tablets and mobile devices allow servers to instantly send orders to the kitchen, where they’ll appear on a digital display. A modern kitchen display system can help your restaurant turn out order much more quickly and efficiently.

Starting a new restaurant is a lot of work, but the payoff is massive. As a small business owner, you can be your own boss and reap the rewards of your labor directly. But first, you need the right supplies, so you can offer customers a dining experience they’ll return for again and again.

Meal prepping for the week ahead can be a great way to reduce food waste, save money, save time, and more. But if you don’t plan everything out, meal prepping also presents the risk of just the opposite: wasted food, wasted money, and wasted time. So to help everyone from meal prep novices to meal prep pros with reducing food waste, the Save the Food campaign has rolled out a new, free online program called Meal Prep Mate.

In 2016, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Ad Council partnered to launch Save the Food, a public service campaign encouraging consumers to reduce their food waste, MultiVureported at the time. You may recognize Save the Food ads from your local bus stop, which feature close-up images of food labeled with the phrase “best if used,” along with statistics about food waste. Now, the two nonprofit organizations have taken Save the Food a step further with Meal Prep Mate.

Meal Prep Mate gives people all the tools they need to successfully plan, shop (both in your kitchen and at the grocery store), cook, and portion up to five days’ worth of meals at a time. The website walks you through step-by-step guides of “what to know,” “what to have,” and “what to buy,” and it allows you to choose pre-designed plans or build your own plan. With both routes, you select how many days a week (three, four, or five) you want to prep for, and how many meals you want each day (breakfast, lunch, or dinner).

If you want to follow a pre-designed plan, Meal Prep Mate currently has four available on the website, featuring meat-based, vegetarian, and vegan dishes. After choosing a plan and how many meals you want during the week, you will be presented with detailed recipes, a shopping list with measurements, the nutritional information for each dish, and more.

If you build your own plan, after selecting how many meals you’d like a week, you pick which proteins, veggies, and bases you’d like to use in each meal. Meal Prep Mate then provides you with a shopping list, and tells you how much of each ingredient you should ideally prep at the beginning of the week. It also gives you tips on how to store each ingredient, and ideas for what to do with scraps and leftovers from each ingredient. Meal Prep Mate also suggests a few super simple recipes that can be made with the ingredients.

Meal Prep Mate does seem pretty convenient for planning a week’s worth of meals. That said, it’s important to remember that everybody is different, and that the portion sizes Meal Prep Mate suggests could be too small or too large for some people. So the first time you try the tool, make note of how the portion sizes work for you, and adjust accordingly next time.

According to the NRDC, 40 percent of food is wasted in the U.S., which amounts to about 400 pounds of food per person each year. On top of the money that Americans are basically throwing into the trash, it’s important to note the environmental impact of food waste. It takes energy to produce food — and even more to produce animal products like meat, eggs, and dairy. Plus, when wasted food is sent to a landfill, it releases methane, a potent greenhouse gas, as explained by Scientific American.

So whether you’re a diehard meal prepper or just dipping your toes into the meal prep waters, Meal Prep Mate can help make sure that at the end of the week, you’re faced with empty containers, an empty fridge, an empty trash can — and a full stomach.

“Meal Prep Mate” Will Help You Reduce Food Waste and Meal Prep Like a Champ [Green Matters]


Long gone are the days of knowing exactly what you’re going to eat at every weddingyou attend. Everyone from trend forecasters to planners to caterers agree the formulaic-ness of cocktail hours, dinners, and other wedding eats are behind us. Instead, 2019 will show us interactive drink stations, hyper-personalized favors, and late night food so good and greasy you’ll feel like you’re a freshman in college again. But, you know, one who dresses way better now.

“We’re actually seeing a lot of what we call ‘gifting suites.’ Instead of leaving your guests something to welcome them to their room, you invite them to a hotel room and have a whole swag suite set up there, kind of like you’d expect if you’re a celebrity going to an awards show. You have everything laid out, they can choose what to stuff their bag with, and you get to have this mini-meet-and-greet.” –Alyssa Longobucco, Style & Trends Editor, The Knot

“Another popular choice this year is to give guests gift certificates to local spots with a welcome letter. Here in New Orleans, [gift cards to] beignet trucks are always a top pick! Guests often forget their gift bags or leave them at the reception, so this ensures that they’re putting their favors to good use while they’re visiting.” –Emily Sullivan, Owner, Planner, Emily Sullivan Events

“[We’ve been doing] a lot of brownies with personalized stickers.” –Cynthia Jordan, Executive Pastry Chef, Baked NYC

Couples are now working with the culinary team to essentially tell a story with their selections. If their first date was sushi, then perhaps their favorite rolls are being passed out. Some selections may be a nod to favorite destinations they’ve visited or pay homage to the region where they decided to marry.” –Kylie Carlson, Owner, International Academy of Wedding & Event Planning

There’s a move to more activity-centered, Instagrammable [cocktail hour] stations. We recently created an ‘action’ station with one of our chefs hand-carving Iberico ham to serve with crostini.” –Heather Jones, Catering Sales Director, Wente Vineyards

Grazing tables [remain] a popular choice, especially among couples who opt for a more relaxed, casual vibe. Smaller snacks combined with choice cocktails or mocktails allow for more mingling between guests.” –Trip Wheeler, President, SB Value

“This year will see a lot of CBD-infused cocktails, which is quirky and obviously for a certain subset of the population.” –Alyssa Longobucco

“Interaction is big this year. Instead of simply being handed a crafted cocktail, guests will get in on the fun. Expect to see stations equipped with flavored syrups, fruits, edible flowers, and herbs for guests to add to the base of the cocktail themselves.” –Kylie Carlson

Signature cocktails will forever be popular at this point, and they’re almost expected as an easy way to personalize your day. You can do it as simple as giving it a name that speaks to you, or you can get a little crazier. I worked on a wedding where the couple met on Bumble, so they named their drink The Bumble. It had honey in it, and they had these wood stirrers that had bees on them.” –Alyssa Longobucco

“As a venue and caterer we’re always looking for ways to stay eco-friendly, [and wedding drinks are a good place to start with] more straw-less or alternative options such as paper straws and bamboo stir sticks instead of plastic.” –Heather Jones

Rectangular market tables are popular, but they’re being combined with round tables to create different textures, shapes, and dimensions. Wooden market tables look great as a juxtaposition to textured linens or velvet for the round tables! We’ve also noticed a trend in long head tables for the wedding party and parents.” –Heather Jones

Picnic-style seating with the bride and groom is particularly on-trend, and we’ve seen it go a step further with a passed-plate serving style. This removes any isolation of the couple and eliminates the need for a sweetheart table altogether.” –Trip Wheeler

“There is an uptick in couples wanting food to serve the dual purposes of being both decor and edible. Consider a champagne tree greeting guests as they enter cocktail hour or placing food on walls or tall bookshelves for your guests to admire andeat.” –Kylie Carlson

With intimate weddings on the rise, couples are developing tasting menus for their guests featuring 6-7 smaller courses. This is an especially great and popular choice right now for food-loving couples who may not have a big dancing crowd.” -Kylie Carlson

Dinner is the biggest place where we’ve seen the loosening of the ties. It used to be very formal and very regimented. [Now, we’ve been seeing things like] a roaming dinner, which is essentially an extended cocktail hour. It’s having no sit down dinner at all. Instead, you have little lounge areas set up with some high-top tables people can put their plates at, but it’s really all about tons of passed appetizers that get heavier as the night goes on.” –Alyssa Longobucco

Guests want to know the exact food origin and backstory. This year, we’ll see unique food stations with a more personalized sourcing story, like pasta with mushrooms that were foraged locally by the chef himself, [for example].” –Trip Wheeler

We’re seeing a sudden spike in requests for [ombre cakes], cakes with a lot of colors speckled onto a classic white cake. I’ve especially gotten a lot of requests for different shades of blues lately. What we’re not seeing is orders for fondant bands on the base of the tiers of cake, [which was very popular at the beginning of last year]. I’ve not seen one yet this year. The fondant stuff is fading out.” –Betty Wu, Head Decorator, Baked NYC Tribeca

“We will see fewer ‘naked’ cakes with a move toward a more sophisticated style of smooth buttercream and fondant. If we do see a ‘naked’ cake, it’ll be much more polished-looking with touches of metallics or strategically placed blooms.” -Kylie Carlson

“A Belgian waffle stack, or a pancake stack is [a fun cake alternative right now]. We’re seeing a lot of cinnamon bun cakes and a lot of donut cakes—I don’t think the wedding donut wall or donut cakes are going anywhere anytime soon.” –Alyssa Longobucco

Healthier options for the wedding day menu are still big, so this will inevitably trickle down to late-night snacks. Expect to see acai bowl stations, vegetarian stir fry in miniature takeout containers, and large grazing tables pairing cheeses with fresh fruit.” –Trip Wheeler

Coffee bars are also a rising trend if the party will go on into the night. Think about this—are you sending people home or getting them ready for round two? If the party is going late, think in terms of more substantial snacks!” –Emily Sullivan

All The Wedding Food Trends You’ll Be Seeing Everywhere In 2019 [Delish]

The world has a food waste problem and technologists are coming up with all kinds of ways to solve it. A pair of entrepreneurs from the Netherlands, Elzelinde van Doleweerd and Vita Broeken, have an approach that’s more unusual than most: They want to give old food a new lease of life (or, at least, a new shelf life) by turning into a material which can be used for 3D printing new food.

“With Upprinting Food, we are creating an attractive food experience from food which otherwise would have been thrown away,” the co-founders told Digital Trends in an email. “We use, for example, old bread, in combination with fruits and vegetables. We create a printable puree from those residual food flows and print it in nice shapes to make it look attractive again. After printing, we bake it and dehydrate it to create a crunchy structure [with a] long shelf life. The food can be implemented very nicely in dishes, and people can eat it again.”

The 3D-printed material is made from upward of 75 percent residual food flows, in addition to select additional ingredients and herbs and spices for flavoring. Using this approach, they have created a variety of both sweet and savory food samples.

The idea for the startup came from research carried out by van Doleweerd for her bachelor’s degree at the Eindhoven University of Technology. This was an attempt to combine her study of sustainable food with new technology — in this case, 3D printing. After graduating, van Doleweerd was invited to show off the project at several exhibitions. She then teamed up with friend and business partner Broeken to launch the idea as its own startup.

“Currently we are focusing on high-end restaurants,” the pair continued, explaining their future plans. “This is a niche market, but a quite interesting start for us because the production of the food can take place in restaurants with their own residual food flows. Our first step is to upscale the printer, to make it less time consuming for restaurants to create enough 3D printed samples for their quests. In the future, we also want to focus on the retail and wholesalers, to make a larger impact and reduce more food waste.”

3D printing snacks from food waste? Sounds gross, but it’s actually brilliant [Digital Trends] 



The FoodMarble Aire is a small, square device that contains the sensors and a battery, which you breathe into at one end. It links to the app on your phone using Bluetooth, and the battery lasts a few days before it needs a recharge, depending on use. It doesn’t require a forceful breath like a Police breathalyzer. You breathe in for three seconds, then breathe into the Aire for five seconds. That’s it — you can assess what your stomach is up to, and the results are instant. A nice touch is being able to remove and wash the mouthpiece on the main unit too.

For more detailed results, the FoodMarble comes with special sachets of powder, which when mixed with water — and drank — imitate how the body deals with the major intolerance groups such as lactose, inulin, sorbitol, and fructose. These give a much clearer picture of where you digestion problems come from. Anyone with an intolerance already will likely have a good idea of what causes an issue, but nailing it down — as it may be more than one group — makes dietary selection in the future far easier.

Beyond this, the FoodMarble Aire can be used to establish which foods cause problems when you’re eating out. For example, a dish from one establishment may be fine, but the same at another may not. Using the Aire will help find out which ingredient used in the second dish is the problem. Having a food intolerance and not really understanding the root cause means making uniformed choices, or simply running the risk and living with the consequences. The FoodMarble Aire can help remove this uncertainty.

Additionally, intolerances change over time, and what was once fine, suddenly becomes a problem. Having a device on hand that can track those changes takes away that sinking feeling that accompanies such times. The app we saw looked clean and well-designed, and also has sections for including sleep and stress data, which also affects digestion. It’s a mixture of lifestyle tracker and stomach activity tracker.


The FoodMarble Aire started out as a crowdfunded device, and the first units have started to ship now. Everyone else can go to FoodMarble’s website now to buy the device for $160, and it comes with a charging cable and a neat little carry case. You pay $30 for the four sachets to test individual food groups, which we think are an essential, at least for your first use.

At the time of our test we had no stomach issues, surprising for CES time, but we’re sure to return to “normal” soon. We will be testing the FoodMarble Aire out over the coming weeks to see if it can change the way we live. That’s not hyperbole either. The team told us the story of one user, who had spent 10 years having tests and consultations to find out she had a lactose intolerance, which never really cleared up her problems. Three weeks in with the Aire, and she identified another intolerance, which combined with the lactose dietary adjustments, improved her quality of life considerably.

Three weeks, compared to 10 years? No, we weren’t exaggerating the impact this device could have on someone who suffers from any kind of food intolerance.

It’s no secret that most coffee shops fail. Some people mistakenly believe a coffee shop is an easy source of income. It can be when you’re passionate about the coffee industry. Unfortunately, without passion, you’re doomed to fail from the start.

Passion is vital, but it’s not enough. You need to be meticulous with the way you run your business. If your coffee shop is treading water, here’s what to do:

  1. Start with a reality check

You can’t rescue a failing business if you don’t know why it’s failing. Your first order of business is to pinpoint exactly why your coffee shop is failing. Using analytics tools to capture and analyze data (sales, inventory, labor, etc.) will help you see what’s really going on.

At first glance, lost sales and a dwindling customer base are easy to attribute to “the economy,” competitors, or a bad location. Those are possibilities, but plenty of coffee shops thrive despite a down economy, Starbucks moving in next door, or being in a challenging location. When you look deeper into the matter, you’ll probably find something else at the root.

Consider how you’re running your business. Are you slow enough that you only schedule one barista from afternoon until evening? It’s possible that afternoons and evenings are slow because you only staff one person.

One person is never enough to run a coffee shop, no matter how skilled they are. One person means you’re providing poor service to a handful of customers every day. While your morning customers get top-notch service, your afternoon and evening customers will be subjected to subpar service. Over time, those customers will drop away, and you’ll be permanently left with slow afternoons and desolate evenings.

It costs money to keep two people on staff at all times, but it’s a necessary component for success and customer satisfaction. Using HR analytics tools will give you the data necessary to justify those extra workforce expenses.

  1. Ask customers for feedback – and listen

Customers will tell you exactly what they like and don’t like – if you ask them. Give customers an incentive to provide their feedback. Offer free or half-priced drinks for filling out a comment form. If something has changed, your regulars will let you know.

There will be some things you can’t change (like prices) but sift through the feedback with an open mind. Put your investigator hat on. Why is your business failing? You will find clues in customer feedback.

  1. Start a secret shopper program to uncover hidden issues

The benefit of using a secret shopper program is being able to check on the execution of your company’s standards. You’ll prep your secret shoppers with a checklist noting all of the standards you want them to measure. For example, you might measure speed of service, drink quality and accuracy, food freshness, and whether or not they suggested an upsell.  

Make sure to measure all promises your company makes to customers. For example, say you guarantee customers a 60-second visit. Hire various secret shoppers to visit your store throughout the week and time your transactions for about fifteen minutes. If your transactions are all in the five-minute range, and you used to deliver on that 60-second guarantee, you know where to start cleaning house.

  1. Bring in an expert

When all else fails, bring in an expert to evaluate your business. Be cautious of hiring any expert, however. Coffee is a specialty industry. While a general expert in business can help you with accounting and management tasks, they won’t notice what you’re doing wrong inside your shop. You need an expert with a background in coffee.

If you’ve watched Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, you know you’ll be in for an impactful reality check, but that’s what you need if you want to revive your business.

  1. Don’t listen to other failed business owners

Failed coffee shops produce bitter business owners. Take their stories with a grain of salt. For instance, one failed coffee shop owner says “pastries are a monetary black hole unless you bake them yourself.” Their belief is based on the fact that they threw away 50% of their croissants.

Pastries aren’t a monetary black hole. The key to selling pastries is figuring out what your customers want, and avoid providing “acceptable” alternatives to popular items. For instance, don’t sell a butter croissant and an almond croissant unless there’s equal demand for both. When you sell out of almond croissants and people settle for butter, you’ll think there’s a demand for butter.

Be willing to change

To be successful, you need to be willing to change. If you need to turnover your staff, cut down your menu selections, or get better equipment, do it. Change is a small investment in your future success.

Tomatoes are certainly hardy plants – this is partly due to a compound which they emit, known as hexenyl butyrate (HB). Spanish scientists have now found that a spray of synthetic HB helps various crop plants to withstand both drought and bacterial infections.

In a natural process called transpiration, water within a plant evaporates through tiny pores known as stomata, which periodically open on the surface of its leaves. At the same time, carbon dioxide from the surrounding air is drawn into the plant, also through those stomata.

Among other things, this exchange is necessary for regulating the process of photosynthesis. That said, a recent study suggested that due to the increased atmospheric carbon dioxide of modern times, plants may no longer need to have their stomata open for as long an amount of time, in order to get all the CO2 they need (a tomato stomata is pictured below).

That’s where the HB comes in. The natural form of the compound causes tomato stomata to close, thus keeping water from leaving the plant, andkeeping bacteria from entering through the pores.

Scientists from Spain’s Institute for Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology created a synthetic form of HB, and then sprayed it onto tomato, corn, alfalfa, citrus and tobacco plants. It was found that the treated plants were able to survive on considerably less water than a control group, plus they were much more resistant to infection by harmful Pseudomonas syringaebacteria.

The compound is reportedly easy and inexpensive to synthesize, it’s non-toxic, and it’s highly effective, meaning that relatively low doses are needed. And while too much of it could keep plants from maturing – they enter a sort of dormancy if their stomata remain closed for too long – that factor could also be used to farmers’ advantage, as they could purposely delay the ripening of crops to coincide with the needs of the market.

“The application of this compound in fields will allow the industry to have a new natural strategy for improving crop yields: treatments will protect crops from biotic and abiotic stress easily, efficiently and at a low cost,” says Purificación Lisón, who is part of the research team.

A paper on the study was recently published in the journal Frontiers in Plant Science. The Institute for Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology is a joint center of the Universitat Politècnica de València and the Spanish National Research Council.

Tomato “perfume” could protect crops from drought and bacteria [New Atlas]

The World Tourism Organisation and Basque Culinary Center (BCC), have launched a pioneering initiative for the gastronomic tourism sector, with a global call for startups or companies, mature or emerging, technological and non-technological, with innovative ideas capable of revolutionising and integrating gastronomy in tourism and inspiring tourists with new ways and reasons to travel

The gastronomic tourism sector is moving towards innovation and the diversification of its offerings. UNWTO, in collaboration with its affiliated member, Basque Culinary Center (BCC), has launched the first UNWTO Gastronomy Tourism Startup Competition, the first and largest initiative in the world dedicated to identifying new companies that will lead the transformation of the gastronomic tourism sector.

Intangible cultural heritage has become the decisive factor that attracts and captivates tourists. Gastronomy tourism, as a component and vehicle of culture and tradition, is an indispensable resource that adds value and provides solutions for destinations that seek to stand out through unique product offerings.

Innovation and tourism investment

The competition will make it possible to identify the best solutions and projects that contribute the most to the sector through pioneering proposals in the implementation of emerging and disruptive technologies, as well as emerging companies or startups. It aims to identify challenges and projects and to catalyse innovations that can transform the gastronomy tourism sector in the near future.

“Innovation and tourism investments are not ends in themselves, but are means to promote better tourism products, improve tourism governance and harness its proven capability to foster sustainability, create jobs and generate opportunities,” said Zurab Pololikashvili, UNWTO Secretary-General, Zurab Pololikashvili.

“Education and innovation are essential for the development of sustainable gastronomic tourism. At Basque Culinary Center, we support entrepreneurship and the development of new business projects to ensure the future of the sector. In this regard, we are proud to once again team up with our partners at UNWTO in order to continue fostering entrepreneurship and innovation linked to gastronomy tourism through this initiative,” said Joxe Mari Aizega, General Manager of Basque Culinary Center.

UNWTO and Basque Culinary Center have entrusted the process of finding startups to BCC Innovation through its Culinary Action! programme, which has accelerated nearly 50 startups by providing innovative, sustainable and high added value solutions to the gastronomy value chain.

Sustainability and technology Startups are invited to pitch business models that are related to sustainability, respect the value chain, offer an authentic and coherent narrative, and add value to cultural and local heritage.

The winners of this competition will have the opportunity to present their projects at the 5th World Forum on Gastronomy Tourism, which takes place from 2-3 May 2019 in San Sebastián, Spain, with the possibility of receiving personalized consulting and mentoring from the BCC experts of project accelerator Culinary Action!

First global gastronomy tourism startup competition launched  [Bizcommunity]

Behold the trendiest foods of 2019! Sure, we’re less than a month into the new year, but that doesn’t mean we can’t start looking ahead to the food items you can expect to see more of at the farmers market, on restaurant menus, and on supermarket shelves in the coming months.

To find some of the trendiest eats of the year (we’re looking at you, celtuce!) AskMen analyzed data from Pinterest, Facebook, and more. Make some room in the refrigerator and scroll down to see which foods made the cut!

Mighty Mushrooms

Nutrient-packed mushrooms are bursting with flavor and make the perfect main, side dish, or appetizer for any dinner. That’s probably why they are springing up everywhere from coffee drinks to chocolate bars. According to Pinterest’s list of the top food trends for 2019, searches for fungi-focused recipes were up 64 percent year over year.

Worldly Breakfasts

According to the National Restaurant Association’s annual What’s Hot survey  — a barometer of food and beverage trends in restaurants around the country — worldly breakfast dishes are expected to be exceptionally popular in 2019. The yearly poll examined the responses of approximately 650 professional chefs (all members of the American Culinary Federation) and found that more than 69 percent of respondents said globally inspired breakfast items would be the year’s top food trend. Shakshouka — a Tunisian/Israeli dish made of poached eggs, tomato sauce, onions, chili peppers and spices — is one such meal

Various Infusions

In addition to earning a spot on Pinterest’s list of top food trends, infusions (think items such as ginger water and CBD) also caught the attention of Supermarket News and Kind Snacks, which predicted maple water (an infusion in its own right) will have a moment this year.

Sea Vegetables

Sea vegetables — aka seaweed — have been a sushi staple for years, but Nation’s Restaurant News predicts 2019 will be the year the Asian snack becomes a star in its own right. According to James Griffin, an associate professor at Johnson & Wales University, seaweed consumption is growing 7 percent annually in the United States, and The New York Times predicts it will gain popularity because it is healthful, environmentally sound, and full of umami. Consider us on board!

Oat Milk

Move over almond milk; there’s a new dairy alternative making waves in the food world. Per Pinterest, oat milk, which is tasty and environmentally friendly, saw an impressive 186 percent search increase over last year. In fact, it’s proven so popular that PepsiCo reportedly has plans to launch an oat beverage under the Quaker brand at some point this month. Uber Eats also predicted the vegan drink would be one to watch this year, along with pea milk — yet another trendy beverage that’s void of dairy.

Food Trends to Look Out for in 2019 [Askmen]

To be clear, I’m not talking about the original Impossible Burger — a plant-based “hamburger” that debuted a couple years ago and is currently available at burger joints all over the globe. You’ve probably heard about it, and there’s a good chance you’ve actually tasted it, too.

What I am currently gushing about is the Impossible Burger 2.0 — the new-and-improved version of the company’s original plant-based hamburger. Impossible unleashed it at CES this year, and after tasting the new formulation at a press conference last night, I’m here to tell you that version 2.0 puts version 1.0 to shame. It’s a massive improvement.

Now don’t get me wrong — the original Impossible Burger wasn’t bad. The first time I tried it, I remember being impressed by how meat-like it was — but something wasn’t quite right. It had a weird aftertaste (like overcooked corn) that lingered in the mouth, tipping you off to the fact that what you were eating wasn’t actually meat, and reminding you with every chew that your mouth was full of fraud.

This new version doesn’t suffer the same drawbacks. Everything is dialed in — the smell, the color, the texture, the flavor — it’s all so similar to the profile of real hamburger that unless you’re really scrutinizing it, you’ll be hard-pressed to tell the difference. I’m sure it won’t fool hardcore carnophiles, but I’m honestly not sure that most people would be able to tell a well-cooked Impossible 2.0 apart from regular hamburger in a blind taste test. It’s that close.

The fact that Impossible was able to achieve such an astonishingly meat-like burger (one that’s also more nutritious than real hamburger) using nothing but plants is simply incredible. Keep in mind that this isn’t a lab-grown burger made from animal cells — it’s a bunch of plants and plant-derived compounds that, through a mixture of science and culinary wizardry, come together to create a substance that looks, feels, tastes, and behaves like animal tissue. It bleeds for fuck’s sake! How insane is that!?

So why does it matter? Why am I raving about what’s ultimately just a high-tech veggie patty? Here’s why: Because by shrinking the flavor gap between real meat and fake meat, Impossible is making it easier for everyone to make more environmentally conscious food choices — and that’s a big deal. A huge deal, actually. Animal agriculture is the number one cause of environmental destruction in the world, so reducing humanity’s consumption and cultivation of meat is arguably one of the most effective ways that we can combat climate change.

Thing is, meat alternatives have been around for ages, but they haven’t really gained widespread popularity among anybody but vegetarians and vegans because, to most people, veggie patties simply don’t taste as good as real meat. That’s why the new Impossible Burger is so game-changing. Now, more than ever before, picking the eco-friendly option doesn’t mean compromising flavor — and that’s something that could legitimately save the world.

Taste test: The new Impossible Burger is a triumph of food engineering  [Digital Trends]

When was the last time you considered a citrus peel for more than a second? It’s the skin around either the orange or lemon or whichever fruit it houses, you peel it off, and throw it out. But once you start researching common zero waste practices and how you can more efficiently lead a lower-impact life, you come to realize just how much potential is in a single citrus peel.

Truth is, there’s a lot you can do with a citrus peel. Firstly, instead of throwing it out, citrus peels can almost always be added to the household compost. Lime peels, orange peels, lemon peels, grapefruit peels—each of these types of citrus peels have been somewhat controversial in composting. Some people think that citrus peels ward off good worms that help the compost work faster; others argue citrus peels deter bugs from also working on the compost pile. But these myths have no truth to them; in fact, citrus peels are crucial to the compost pile.

How to add citrus peels to a compost

It’s true that citrus peels raise the acidity of a compost pile. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Citrus peels gives off a strong scent, one that keeps pests like rodents and raccoons away from your compost pile. In order to combat the high acidity levels citrus peels add to a compost pile, all you have to do is add more grass clippings to the pile. Citrus peels are great sources of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium for a compost pile.

Using citrus peels for DIY scrubs

Peels make for excellent exfoliant qualities because of their natural coarseness. Ground your surplus peels using a blender or food processor (this often works best if the peels are previously dried). Then, add the peels to homemade body scrubs made of sugar or salt. Both salt and sugar are great exfoliants, but the citrus peels add more exfoliating power to the scrub

Using citrus peels for at-home cleaners

Did you know citrus peels make awesome made-at-home cleaners? Citrus peels can be used for all kinds of cleaners. For an effective scouring sink cleaner, mix borax and baking soda on top of a grapefruit. Using the grapefruit as a sponge, scrub the grapefruit around the sink, and watch all the stains disappear. For better results, grind the grapefruit rinds up in a coffee grinder or a food processor. Once it’s a finely-ground powder, add the grapefruit powder to 5 tablespoons of baking soda and 3 tablespoons of borax. Combine everything in a shaker, shake the mixture into the sink, then clean the sink with a wet sponge.

Put a few orange peels in a jar with some vinegar. Let it infuse for a few weeks; now you have a vinegar-based, all-purpose cleaner. Both the citrus and vinegar have anti-bacterial and -microbial properties that make this at-home recipe an efficient cleaner.

If you’re not into the smell of vinegar, you can make a similar version of the all-purpose cleaner with lemon juice, peels, and vodka. Use 4 parts vodka, 8 parts vinegar, and 4 ounces of lemon juice. Infuse with the lemon rinds, add two or three drops of castile soap in a spray bottle, and you’re good to go.

What to Do With Old Citrus Peels [Green Matters]

Many of us start our day with Kelloggs — and in the  United Kingdom, some people will be able to end their day with Kelloggs too!

In an effort to minimize their impact and reuse food waste, the breakfast food company has teamed up with Seven Bro7hers Brewery — a local brewery in Manchester — to create beer made from “rejected” cornflakes (in other words, pieces that are too big, too small, or overcooked). The brewery has introduced “Throw Away IPA,” The Telegraph reports, which gets about 30 percent of the grain content from the “rejected” flakes.

In addition to reusing the rejected food that would otherwise be wasted, for every can sold, the brewery is also donating 10 pence to FareShare — a charity that not only reduces food waste in the U.K., but also helps feed the hungry using the food that would otherwise be thrown out.

Food waste is a problem globally, and in the U.K., FareShare estimates 1.9 million tonnes (which is about 4 billion pounds) is wasted in the food industry every year — a number that Kelloggs is hoping to reduce with initiatives like this.

“Kelloggs is always exploring different and sustainable ways to reduce food waste in its factories. So it is great to be involved in such a dun initiative with a local supplier,” Kate Prince, corporate social responsibility manager for Kelloggs U.K., told The Telegraph. “Kelloggs is working hard to eliminate food waste in our manufacturing processes and give our consumers the wholesome products they love with minimum impact on the planet. Our approach has delivered a 12.5 percent reduction on food waste in our U.K. sites this year.”

As far as their partnership goes, Kelloggs and Seven Bro7hers have big plans in the future.

“Seven Bro7hers Brewery is delighted to be working with Kelloggs on a project which uses edible but not sellable cereal. Kelloggs recognizes that it has an important role to play in reducing food waste, and that includes finding uses for edible food that doesn’t make it into the cereal box,” Seven Bro7her’s Alison Watson explained to The Telegraph. “We plan to create three beers including a hoppy IPA, which will be launched this month.”

Kelloggs Cuts Back on Food Waste by Using Rejected Cornflakes to Make Beer  [Green Matters]

Every year, millions of tonnes of perfectly good food are wasted around the world because people aren’t sure it’s still fresh. To cut down on this, researchers at Fraunhofer are developing an infrared pocket scanner that will let consumers, supermarkets and other food handlers determine if a food item has gone bad and even its degree of ripeness.

According to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Association, one third of all the food produced in the world is lost or wasted. That’s about 1.3 billion tonnes annually. In the developed world, which has the highest percentage of waste, that works out to US$680 billion dollars down the garbage disposal each year.

There are a number of reasons for this wastage, but a large factor is that consumers tend to have trouble determining if a food item is still edible. Often meat and produce will be judged on aesthetic grounds, or the “sell-by date” will be confused with a “use-by date.”

To combat this, the Bavarian Ministry of Food’s “We Rescue Food” alliance, has launched 17 initiatives, one of which is the Fraunhofer pocket scanner. The device is designed to be an inexpensive solution for determining the edibility and shelf life of foods from farm to table.

The scanner is based on a high-precision near-infrared (NIR) sensor. An infrared beam is shined on the food and the reflected light is measured across the IR spectrum. By comparing the absorption spectrum from the food with that of a known sample, the device can determine not only if the food is still edible, but also its ripeness and even if it’s a counterfeit, such as trout being passed off as salmon.

It’s a technique already used in laboratories, but the tricky bit is reducing the size and cost of the device without sacrificing function. This is managed by using new, small, inexpensive sensors.

According to Fraunhofer, the scanner is still in the demonstrator stage. Currently, it can only handle homogeneous foods, so it can analyze a potato, but not a pizza with its many toppings. The hope is that hyper-spectral imaging and fusion-based approaches using color images, spectral sensors and other high-spatial-resolution technologies may overcome this in the future.

Another aspect under development is a machine-learning algorithm that will allow for better pattern recognition. So far, the team has worked with tomatoes and ground beef using statistical techniques to match the NIR spectra with the rate of microbial spoilage and other chemical parameters, allowing them to measure the germ count and the shelf life of the meat.

This is done by sending the scan data over Bluetooth to a cloud database for evaluation. The results are then sent to a mobile device app to show if the item is still good, how much shelf life is left, and tips on how to use the food if its sell-by date has expired.

The research team says that supermarket tests are slated for later this year to see what consumers think of the scanner. The technology can not only be used for foods, but also for wider applications, such as sorting plastics, wool, textiles, and minerals.

Pocket scanner blasts food with infrared light to determine its freshness [New Atlas]

While it’s important to keep food of any type fresh, it’s particularly crucial with seafood, as it can become tainted with toxic bacteria. That’s why an international group of scientists is developing a transparent antibacterial film that gets eaten along with the seafood it’s covering.

The research is being conducted by scientists from Pennsylvania State University, along with colleagues from Thailand’s Prince of Songkla University, Kasetsart University, and the Thailand Institute of Scientific and Technology.

Their film starts out as a clear gelatine made up of cassava-derived starch and a biodegradable polymer known as polybutylene adipate-co-terephthalate (PBAT). Added to this mixture are the antibacterial agents Nisin Z and lauric arginate (LAE).

The idea is that pieces of seafood get dipped into this gel – which subsequently dries into a form-fitting flexible film – after which they’re vacuum-packed and then chilled or frozen. As they sit in storage, the antibacterials gradually proceed to kill any harmful microbes that may be present.

In lab tests, slices of big-eye snapper and tiger prawns were intentionally inoculated with E. coli and two types of Salmonella bacteria, then coated with the film, and then vacuum-packed. They were subsequently either left chilled at 4 ºC (39 ºF) for up to one month, or stored frozen for 90 days. When they were analyzed after this period, the bacterial populations were found to be greatly reduced.

The scientists are now exploring methods of commercializing the technology.

Lead scientist at Penn State, Prof. Catherine Cutter, has previously developed another edible antibacterial coating containing essential oils and nanoparticles. The US Department of Agriculture is also developing a milk-based film, while the National University of Singapore is making one from a compound found in crustacean shells.

Edible film kills bacteria in seafood [New Atlas]