Episode 08 - Do It Yourself Foods - December 15th, 2010

In today's pre-recorded edition, we discuss why supporting Feeding America is so important, DIY takes on foodstuffs and what's next for "humane" - for today Wednesday, December 15th, 2010.

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>Good MorningToday's episode is prerecorded, and instead of a live chat,feel free to email me directly, Phil@SG.com.Food News Today is sponsored by ConAgra Foods, who shares with me the desire to provide the most current, interesting and unbiased food news.
Today's first story is about hunger, and what we can and should be doing to eradicate it. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently release new data suggesting that approximately 15 percent of all American families have trouble securing enough food. According to the report, Household Food Security in the United States, 50.1 million Americans - including more than 17 million children - lack the means to get enough nutritious food on a regular basis.  On top of that, the number of people receiving food stamps in September of this year 42.9 million- was up by 6 million compared to a year ago, and compared to 2008 the 2010 numbers are up 50%! Last year, Americans were joining the food stamp program at an average rate of 20,000 a day; in 2010 the rate accelerated to 22,000 a day.Luckily, we have Kori Reed here, who works closely with Feeding America, the nation's leading domestic hunger-relief charity, whose mission is to feed America's hungry through a nationwide network of member food banks and engage the country in the fight to end hunger.  Each year, the Feeding America network provides food to more than 37 million low-income people facing hunger in the US, including 14 million children and nearly 3 million seniors.  
What are some of Feeding America’s most impactful programs?
The holiday time is unfortunately one of the only times when people really focus on giving to those in need, what does Feeding America do year round?
Sometimes consumers are hesitant to get involved as they are constantly bombarded with charities asking for donations, especially during the holidays- what are some ways to get involved and know that you are making an impact?
How do you think the “new and improved” Child Nutrition Bill will affect SNAP users and others who have yet to apply for food stamps/benefits?
Thank you Kori. During the holidays, as we are all thinking about ways to give back to our communities, consider:  Children who face hunger are more susceptible to obesity and its harmful health consequences as children and as adults. Undernourished children under the age of 3 cannot learn as much, as fast or as well. Lack of enough nutritious food impairs a child’s ability to concentrate and perform well in school, have more behavioral and emotional problems and tend to be more aggressive and anxious. Teens who regularly do not get enough to eat are more likely to be suspended from school and have difficulty getting along with other kids. 
Attention all shoppers, attention. Music and in-store messaging are powerful marketing tools, music specifically spans generations and can even segment would-be-buyers with just a few notes of a particular tune. However, this all depends on the degree to which a shopper likes the music, because its emotionality can evoke the strongest reaction and strengthen (or not) the relationship between brand and shopper.  According to Complete Audio GmbH, a Hamburg, Germany based music-consultancy firm, music stimulates a shopper’s readiness to absorb information as well as creating the necessary preconditions for a successful advertisement.  Their studies show that music played in minor key gives rise to a sense of melancholy, sadness, or mystery. Major keys and fast tempos provoke positive and uplifting emotions.  We recently polled the SupermarketGuru consumer panel to find out if they even noticed the music playing in the grocery store and if they thought in-store messaging was helpful.  Just 20% said they didn’t notice the music or messaging in their grocery store... Listen up retailers! Of the 80% who did notice the music or messaging, only 20% found in-store messaging to be useful. And a whopping 84% say supermarket loud speaker messages have never influenced purchasing decisions. 
What does Home Depot have in common with a butcher? It is all about Do it yourself these days.I'm a big proponent of getting to know your food, whether it’s getting back in the kitchen, or gardening, or just reading labels to understand where the food was produced, these kinds of efforts help us truly appreciate food and our meals- and may very well be one of the keys in getting America’s weight problem under control.  Some of the coolest DIY classes that seriously help us get to know our foods include, roasting your own coffee beans at home from ‘green' unroasted coffee beans, to butchering your own piece of meat!Portland, New York and San Francisco seem to be ahead of the game yet again in all things food – While in Portland you can visit Mr. Green Bean or Portland Roasting to learn how to roast your own beans- apparently once you’ve enjoyed freshly roasted beans its hard going back (PERSONAL COFFEE ANICDOTE?) For those who really want some hands on action, DIY butcher classes are for you.  Last year we predicted the return of the butcher and, that people would start visiting their local butchers again – well, here’s the next evolution- from start to finish and yes everything in between, students in a DYI butchering class are exposed to everything.  Certainly not a class for the weak stomach, but hey after you’ve butchered your first product, you can go to a sausage making class!Urban Kitchen in (of course) San Francisco hosts affordable, single-purpose classes and workshops themed around the DIY Slow Food concept. Classes incorporate hands-on learning with instruction by area experts. Topics include food preservation, brewing Kombucha, making tofu, cheese, jam, pesto, pickles and more!Matt Prescott The Humane Society of the United StatesHumane- Trend for 2011  Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences, full text Humane Society Consumer Friendly Definitions  (See American Humane Society’s powerpoint, etc… American Humane Certified)
From butchering to humane… We’ve discussed the importance of transparency in food production as it relates to food safety, traceability, sustainability and more. Most recently we predicted that “humane” will replace other consumer desires when shopping for animal products, adding yet another level to a transparent food system. The term humane refers to animal welfare standards that generally allow animals’ ready access to fresh water and a diet that maintains health and vigor, an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area, prevention or rapid treatment of disease or injury and freedom to express normal behavior. Humane certifiers cover dairy to buffalo to chicken and farms are audited by independent third party certifiers.What food retailers and suppliers need to employ are standard rating systems across the board to ensure humane products are not only easily identifiable but the ratings themselves are easily understood by consumers.  There is a rating system currently for egg laying hens, where cage-free is the standard, “happy medium.”  The rating system is based on a Wageningen University study conducted in 2006, which study evaluated the welfare of poultry production systems for laying hens, and reviewed twenty-two production systems that ranged from cage systems to barn, aviary, and organic systems.   But what about rating systems for other species including beef and sow as well as broiler chickens? We've invited Matt Prescott from the Humane Society of the United States here to help us understand the issues….Why don't these other species humane rating systems exist Matt? 
Why do consumers care- now and not, say 10 years ago…? Is it because people are more interested in where there foods are coming from now?
How do you handle those who believe groups similar to the Humane Society who’s intention is to increase animal welfare standards- are ultimately trying to turn everyone vegetarian or vegan?
Thank you Matt - a lot for retailers, consumers and those who communicate issues to consider.According to a Technomic study, well over half of consumers cited animal welfare as one of the most important social issues we face today. Context marketing reports that 69 percent will “pay more” for ethically produced products. Clearly an issue consumers care deeply about and are willing to pay more for, humane should be top of mind for food retailers.Retailers including Whole Foods, SUPERVALU and Safeway have pledged to increase their standards for animal welfare when choosing suppliers.   For Food News Today, I’m Phil Lempert . Next week’s story list will be emailed to you next Tuesday morning. If you have a collegue who would like to also receive our advance email - please send them to foodnewstoday.com to sign up. Thanks for joining us