School lunch gets an upgrade
March 29th, 2010
01:41 PM ET
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Advocates for improved school nutrition hope the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, a bill cleared for a final vote by the Senate this past Wednesday, might pave the way for lunch programs across the country to replicate the success of a deliciously successful pilot project in Berkeley, California.

The School Lunch Initiative provides "delicious, healthy, freshly prepared meals using seasonal ingredients from sustainable farms to all of Berkeley's public school students." It grew from Uber-celebrity chef Alice Waters' proposal to build a football field-sized garden at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School. Waters is an authority on the locavore movement, which encourages the consumption of food that's produced within a 100-mile radius.

"It's an incredible program," said Mark Coplan, spokesman for the Berkeley Unified School District. "We don't use any frozen stuff at all. Even when you're looking at pizza, you're looking at really good stuff."

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Filed under: Bite • Ingredients • Products • Trends

March 26th, 2010
01:45 PM ET
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"You are now free to advertise about the cabin."

It started with elevator commercials and "Interactive Urinal Communicators." Now the battle for brandable spaces is reaching new heights - 35,000 feet to be exact.

Brand in the Hand, a California-based company, offers third-party advertisers the opportunity to repurpose snack bags, beverage cups, cocktail napkins and other on board consumables into promotional vehicles.

The benefits of a captive audience have not escaped the company's clients. "The in-flight consumer has always been very receptive to advertising," said Darrin Sarto, Director of Brand in the Hand.

With roughly 600 million travelers flying in the United States in 2009, Sarto said, the concept was such an obvious publicity medium - "a hand-delivered billboard every time."

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Filed under: Bite • Sip • Travel

Latest high-fructose corn syrup study generates buzz, debate
March 25th, 2010
01:37 PM ET
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Acolytes of "Food Rules" guru Michael Pollan and other well-meaning foodies who've made corn a scapegoat for the nation's health crises have welcomed a new study from Princeton University that suggests high-fructose corn syrup causes more significant weight gain than table sugar.

But the findings have been criticized by food science experts and industry veterans, who say the study unfairly demonizes corn syrup and implicitly absolves cane sugar of responsibility for making Americans fat.

"The debate about which one is better for you is a false debate, because neither of them is good for you," says Elizabeth Abbott, author of the forthcoming "Sugar: A Bittersweet History."

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Filed under: Bite • Health News • News • Products

Cupcake passion more than a trend
March 23rd, 2010
01:32 PM ET
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Can we please stop calling the nation's love affair with cupcakes a trend?

Last week, Detroit, Michigan, was the latest city to declare "the nostalgic cupcake craze is prepared for a long stay," echoing a Houston, Texas, Chronicle story from February that heralded "the nostalgic mini treats are a food trend that's here to stay."

These cities are the latest to forget that the cupcake craze took fire more than a decade ago when "Sex and the City" popularized New York's Magnolia Bakery and its sugary treats.

"I don't know how long it takes for a trend to end and become mainstream, but apparently we've established an industry," Magnolia founder Jennifer Appel told The Associated Press last year.

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Filed under: Bite • Trends

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