Thursday, November 29, 2012

Small Business Saturday Exceeds Expectations

Small businesses across the country got their holiday season off to a strong start as millions of U.S. consumers “shopped small” on Small Business Saturday and made a big impact on local communities.

According to the second installment of the Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey, released today by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and American Express, consumer awareness of Small Business Saturday jumped to 67 percent from 34 percent just two weeks ago. Of those aware, nearly half (47%) shopped on Small Business Saturday.

The increased awareness translated into higher spending. Those U.S. consumers who were aware of Small Business Saturday spent on a total of $5.5 billion with independent merchants. Pre-holiday surveys estimated that U.S. consumers would spend $5.3 billion.

“In an uncertain economy, America’s small businesses have remained a beacon—creating good jobs and supporting the families they employ and the communities around them,” said NFIB CEO Dan Danner. “We are very pleased that so many Americans sought to give back by shopping small this Small Business Saturday. We hope that support of small firms, retailers, restaurants and other independent businesses continues throughout the holiday season and all year round. Continued support of this vital sector is one important way to ensure our economy fully recovers and a healthy private sector is restored.”

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

WHO Stresses Importance of Salt, Trans Fat Reductions

In an effort to achieve a 25% reduction in mortality from non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer and diabetes, the World Health Organization (WHO) presented a new global monitoring draft framework outlining the importance of reducing salt and trans fats in the diet.

Presenting at an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
meeting in Paris, WHO Nutrition Director Francesco Branca reducing saturated fat (SAFA) intake, increasing fruit and vegetable consumption and preventing a further rise in obesity and overweight were important measures. The nutrient targets set by the WHO remain as before—salt intake should be limited to no more than 5 g per day; industrially produced trans fats should be replaced by polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA); and the intake of saturated fats should be reduced to less than 10% of caloric intake. To halt the rise in obesity and overweight, WHO has mentioned reducing the marketing of foods high in saturated fats, trans fats, free sugars or salt to children. The WHO draft framework will be submitted for adoption by the World Health Assembly in 2013.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Coffee Helps Drinkers See the Bright Side

commonly guzzle a cup of joe to perk up, it turns out caffeine can do more than simply wake people. Researchers found that caffeine helps the brain process positive words faster.

Caffeine indirectly boosts dopamine transmission—a neurotransmitter that aids in reward-based learning—and Lars Kuchinke, a junior professor at Germany's Ruhr University, suspected this might lead to better acumen with word recognition by enhancing activity in the brain’s left hemisphere, which controls language. Researchers already know that people who consume normal levels of caffeine perform better at basic cognitive tasks.

To discern whether a link existed between dopamine and word recognition, Kuchinke asked 66 people to participate in a word test. Thirty minutes prior to the study, half of the participants took a pill, containing about 200 milligrams of caffeine, which equals two or three cups of coffee. The other half ingested a placebo. Then the participants watched a string of letters pop up on a computer screen and quickly had to decide whether each was an actual word or not. Researchers have long known that most people have a natural tendency to recognize positive words faster than neutral or negative words.

“Either positive words are better interconnected in the brain and it is, therefore, easier to recognize them or [the brain] receive[s] some kind of 'positive' or rewarding feedback during this process,” says Kuchinke. He also theorizes that negative words might cause the brain to pause, balking at the negative association, meaning a person would not identify it as quickly.

The caffeinated subjects correctly selected more positive words than the people in the control group. Kuchinke theorizes that when caffeine is added to the body it regulates the dopamine transmission in the regions that control decision-making and word comprehension.

“Caffeine may either strengthen connections to regions where positive information and positive feedback are processed so this information is more easily available during the process of word recognition,” he explains. “Or caffeine may simply facilitate the decision process.”

He believes that caffeine specifically impacts the striatum in the basal ganglia, which helps us process positive words and make decisions. But his findings also indicate that dopamine aids in language comprehension.


Monday, November 26, 2012

Vitamin D Protects Women Against MS

Pregnant women and women in general who have high levels of vitamin D in their blood have a 61% lower risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS), compared to those who have low levels of vitamin D in their blood, according to a new study published in the journal Neurology.

Researchers at Umeå University reviewed information about 291,500 blood samples from 164,000 people collected since 1975 in the northern half of Sweden. Of those, 192 people developed MS an average of nine years after their blood sample was drawn, and there were 37 blood samples drawn during pregnancy from mothers whose children went on to develop MS later in life.

They found women who had high levels of vitamin D in their blood had a 61% lower risk of developing MS, compared to those who had low levels of vitamin D in their blood. Overall, few people had high levels of vitamin D. Only seven of the 192 people who developed MS, or 4%, had high vitamin D levels, compared to 30 of 384 controls without the disease, or 8%. No association was found between the mother’s vitamin D level and whether her child would later develop MS.

“In our study, pregnant women and women in general had a lower risk for MS with higher levels of the vitamin, as expected. However, a mother’s levels of vitamin D during early pregnancy did not have an effect on MS risk for her baby," the researchers said. “Since we found no protective effect on the baby for women with higher levels of vitamin D in early pregnancy, our study suggests the protective effect may start in later pregnancy and beyond."

The researchers also said the vitamin D levels became gradually lower with time from 1975 and onward. It is possible that this decline in vitamin D status is linked to the increasing numbers of MS cases seen worldwide.

An earlier study conducted at the University of California, San Francisco found low vitamin D blood levels were associated with a significantly higher risk of relapse attacks in patients with MS who develop the disease during childhood.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Glucose balance crucial for diabetes sufferers

Should everyone diagnosed with diabetes strive to have the lowest possible blood sugar? Not in every case.

New research suggests that in some individuals, the medications and treatments required to lower blood sugar to "optimal" levels may actually do more harm than good.

Approximately 26 million Americans have diabetes. Another 79 million are pre-diabetic — meaning they have abnormal glucose intolerance. Those with pre-diabetes are at serious risk of developing type 2 diabetes — the most common form of the disease.

Diabetes involves an elevation in blood sugar (glucose).

One reliable way to follow the overall "average" blood glucose is with a hemoglobin A1C level, which in normal healthy individuals is between 4.5 and 6 percent.

People with diabetes are at a higher risk of other health problems including blindness, kidney disease, heart disease, nerve damage and amputations.

Since high blood glucose is the cause of these health issues, it would seem logical that everyone with diabetes should strive to have blood sugar in a normal range, right?

The truth is that while some individuals with diabetes should strive for blood glucose values that are as close to normal as possible, for others "perfect" blood glucose may be difficult to achieve without causing additional health complications.

A study called Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes looked at the effect that aggressively lowering a patient's A1C could have on their health. The study used over 10,000 individuals with diabetes in their research.

When medications and insulin were used aggressively to get A1C down to less than 6, the risk of death went up, not down.

This phenomenon can perhaps be explained by the fact that aggressively lowering glucose may make patients hypoglycemic, leading to risks of blackout or adrenaline rushes that may be stressful to the heart.

Children with diabetes are particularly vulnerable to medication-induced hypoglycemia.

Children are more likely to have Type 1 ("Juvenile") diabetes, although the rate of Type 2 diabetes among children is presently rising.

People with Type 1 diabetes generally have to take insulin for life. It is very important to educate the child and the family, facilitate good communication between the patient, their family and health care providers, carefully monitor blood glucose and use all available tools to adjust the insulin dose to regulate glucose while avoiding hypoglycemia.

It is crucial that individuals with diabetes work closely with their health care providers to achieve balance in their glucose and overall health.

Even if glucose remains higher in the person with diabetes than it would be in a non-diabetic person, each case should be evaluated on an individual basis to determine exactly how low glucose can be pushed via medication and treatment, without triggering dangerous hypoglycemic reactions

Saturday, November 24, 2012

101 Best Food Trucks in America 2012

The Daily Meal picks the 101 best food trucks in America in 2012. According to Smart Money, food trucks accounted for 37 percent of the $1.4 billion in street-vending revenue nationwide last year—a 15 percent increase over the past five years. The Daily Meal came up with a comprehensive pool of candidates by canvassing more than 30 cities, seeking out some 300 street vendors. Added to those were staff favorites and any trucks not already included that have been singled out for praise by organizations and national and local publications, both in print and online. The trucks were judged on four criteria: popularity, critical review, social score and originality. The top three are: Kogi BBQ, Los Angeles, Fojol Brothers, Washington, D.C., and Big Gay Ice Cream Truck, New York. Full Story

Friday, November 23, 2012

FDA: Sunland Knowingly Shipped Tainted Peanut Butter

The latest report from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) inspection of Sunland, Inc., reveals inspectors found the presence of Salmonella in 28 environmental samples—three of which showed the presence of the outbreak strain of Salmonella Bredeney. The report also suggests the company knowingly shipped Salmonella-tainted products after its own testing program identified the presence of Salmonella.

Portales, N.M.-based Sunland, Inc., is at the center of a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Bredeney that has sickened 38 people in 20 states. The outbreak began in September 2012 and was traced back to peanut butter, nut butters and peanut butter products manufactured in its facility. An initial recall of food products was triggered Sept. 22, but has been expanded nearly 10 times to now include more than 100 brands and nearly 250 products.

During the inspection, conducted between Sept. 17 and Oct. 16, 2012, investigators found that conditions in the company’s facility, the company’s manufacturing processes, and the company’s testing program for Salmonella may have allowed peanut butter that contained Salmonella to be distributed by the company.

FDA inspectors found that between June 2009 and August 2012, Sunland had distributed, or cleared for distribution, portions of 11 lots, or daily production runs, of peanut or almond butter after its own testing program identified the presence of at least one of nine different Salmonella types—Arapahoe, Bredeney, Cerro, Dallgow, Kubacha, Mbandaka, Meleagridis, Newport, and Teddington—in those lots. Two of the lots showed the presence of the outbreak strain of Salmonella Bredeney.

Five product samples collected and analyzed by FDA from Sunland showed the presence of Salmonella, but had not been identified as containing Salmonella by Sunland’s internal testing. Among those products were peanut butter and shelled raw peanuts. Two of these samples showed the presence of the outbreak strain of Salmonella Bredeney. FDA also found the presence of Salmonella in 28 environmental samples—three of these samples showed the presence of the outbreak strain of Salmonella Bredeney.

Upon identifying the contaminated peanut butter, FDA investigators informed the company and called for corrective action. On Oct. 4, 2012, Sunland expanded its ongoing recall to include all products made in its nut butter production facility between March 1, 2010, and Sept. 24, 2012.

Upon identifying the contaminated shelled raw peanuts, FDA investigators informed the company and again called for corrective action. On Oct. 12, 2012, Sunland expanded its ongoing recall to include raw and roasted shelled and in-shell peanuts sold in quantities from 2 ounces to 50 pounds which are within their current shelf life or have no stated expiration date.

Investigators also found employees improperly handled equipment, containers, and utensils used to hold and store food. Employees handling peanut products wiped gloved hands on street clothes and other times failed to wash their hands or change gloves. There were no hand washing sinks in the peanut processing building production or packaging areas and employees had bare-handed contact with ready-to-package peanuts.

There were no records documenting the cleaning of production equipment. The super-sized bags used by the firm to store peanuts were not cleaned despite being used for both raw and roasted peanuts. There was a leaking sink in a washroom which resulted in water accumulating on the floor, and the plant is not built to allow floors, walls and ceilings to be adequately cleaned.

Investigators also found raw materials were exposed to potential contamination. Raw, in-shell peanuts were found outside the plant in uncovered trailers. Birds were observed landing in the trailers and the peanuts were exposed to rain, which provides a growth environment for Salmonella and other bacteria. Inside the warehouse, facility doors were open to the outside, which could allow pests to enter.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Simply Affordable: Transform turkey leftovers with curry

Let's face it, after you've spent hours of quality time fussing over that behemoth of a turkey you bought, eaten second or thirds, and then had a cold turkey sandwich, those turkey leftovers could use a makeover.

 In recent years I've taken a page from the British cookery playbook and introduced my turkey leftovers to curry. Since I'm never in the mood after the busy holidays to fuss with making my own curry paste, I use a premade paste. I'm especially partial to Thai and True's Massamun Curry Paste, a fragrant seasoning that's made locally in small batches in Lake Oswego by former Thai restaurateur Susie Kasem. A jar will cost you about $5, but you only need a tablespoon or two for intense flavor, so it's a bargain. You can find it at Whole Foods and New Seasons Market.

I make a simple base curry using this paste and pantry staples -- onions, carrots, potatoes and apple, plus a bit of broth and a can of coconut milk. I have even been known to slip in a few leftover pieces of roasted squash or sweet potatoes.

Once the vegetables are tender, I fold in the cooked turkey meat. Since dark meat can be rather rich and the breast meat tends to be drier, I use a mix of both, chopped into bite-size pieces. Just a quick simmer to heat the meat through and leftover turkey is made new again.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Following Hostess and Wonder Closing, Local Bakeries See Boom in Bread Demand

While Hostess and Wonder Bread products have been quickly flying off the shelves, some local businesses are seeing a rising window of opportunity.
The Harper Baking Company is just one example of a locally owned bakery who has seen a demand in bread since the Hostess liquidation. In fact, Harper spokespeople said the company saw a 20 percent increase in the demand for bread overnight.

Bakers for the company are saying the Hostess closing can be a good thing for the wholesale bakery and hopes this leads to putting more money back into the local economy.

"With the closure of Wonder and Hostess, yeah we've had a lot of increase, a lot of demand," Harper baker Thomas Beirijer said. "We're seeing the numbers increase day by day."

Harper spokesperson Jeff Harper mentioned this sort of spike in demand is something a business owner "can only dream about." However, with the unexpected boom in sales, the number of Harper employees had to quickly churn out more bread than ever before.

Hostess and Wonder Bread products used to occupy between 30 to 40 percent of shelf space in supermarkets. Harper says bread is a staple commodity and it is now up to his company to keep the bread coming and the customers happy.

However, not all local bakeries have been seeing a change in their numbers quite yet, and will not expect to see a change anytime soon. But, that does not mean they have not been under the Hostess spotlight either.

Along with union protests, some people speculate another significant reason the company was forced to liquidate is due to a shift in consumer habits. While some people opt for the classic, manufactured treat, others are choosing to indulge by healthier means.

The Great Harvest Bread Company is another locally owned and operated bakery that sells healthier versions of the snack food. Bakery owners say they make their desserts with natural products using only "names you can pronounce."

"As residents in our community I think we're just seeing the need to be more healthful and add more healthful products to our diet on a daily basis," Great Harvest manager Chris Foulkrod said. "That's not to say I don't enjoy an occasional Twinkie, myself."

Great Harvest managers said there is no correlation between the healthy foods they bake and the decline of consumer demand for Hostess products since the clientele is different.

"We don't feel like we're going to have a huge difference in our sales based on Hostess going out of business but we sure welcome them to come enjoy our sweets," Foulkrod said.

Harper said his wholesale bakery increased output by 30 percent today alone, and with the holiday season also rolling around, their employees will be working extra quickly to keep the bread aisles stocked. With bakers such as Beirijer producing between 10,000 and 15,000 loaves of bread each day, this will be one busy, lest fruitful, time for local bakeries.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Go into Thanksgiving with an eating plan

Thanksgiving arrives this week. The long-awaited feast is in sight!

For many, this holiday brings much food-related anxiety. With all the turkey, stuffing, rolls, potatoes, casseroles and pies, Thanksgiving can certainly be overwhelming to anyone struggling with weight issues, food issues, body image concerns, family concerns or even just general anxiety.

The key to this holiday, which is historically one of the most food-centered of all holidays, is to have a plan. In order to ensure your plan is a healthy one, key concepts should be kept front and center.

First, do not go into the Thanksgiving meal famished. Too often, individuals "save up" for Thanksgiving dinner. Skipping breakfast or lunch per-feast or even restricting calories beforehand can wreak havoc on the best made Thanksgiving goals.

When you go into a meal with extreme hunger, there is a high likelihood you will overeat and come out of the meal on the opposite end of the spectrum — extreme fullness. Extreme exercise to burn off all those extra calories is not the right approach, either. To prevent extremes, eat healthy meals prior to the holiday, enabling your normal hunger and satiety cues to help guide you when to eat and when to stop, and practice healthy movement throughout the week (and year).

Second, remember, you can always eat Thanksgiving foods on non-Thanksgiving days. There is nothing that says you must eat as much as possible of Thanksgiving dinner on Thanksgiving and no other day. Yet, our mindset is often of overabundance on this day, with stuffed bellies from the feast. Why not plan a meal after Thanksgiving of the foods you might like to eat on the holiday but can't simply "fit them in." For instance, if cornbread stuffing is on your menu for Thursday, make sweet potatoes on Saturday. Or, save the macaroni and cheese for another night, knowing you will have plenty of bread and potatoes on Thanksgiving day.

Next, slow down! Eating too quickly can cause overeating and upset tummies. If you slow down by chewing food well and setting your fork down in between bites, you give yourself the chance to listen to your internal hunger and satiety signals better and more often recognize when it is time to stop eating. Don't forget, it takes about 20 minutes after eating for our bodies recognize that we are truly full. So, if you really want to have second helpings, give yourself a little extra time after finishing the first plate to be sure you need that second helping. Same goes for the time between the main meal and dessert.

As for dessert, have a plan. Thanksgiving is a great time to enjoy dessert — with the key word being "enjoy." It is perfectly fine and balanced to allow yourself treats from time to time. However, for some of us, dessert means guilt. How unfortunate! Dessert is just another way we can nourish our bodies and enjoy the sweetness of it. Have a plan as to whether you will include dessert on your Thanksgiving plate ahead of time. Also, decide how much is the most you will put on your plate. Putting three pieces of pie on your plate is probably overdoing it. Instead, share a plate of dessert with a loved one or just choose one piece of pie today and another the next day.

As with any meal or snack, the goal is to fuel our bodies and feel good. Guilt is not helpful and it hurts our efforts to be healthy. If you struggle with guilt as it relates to food, look at Thanksgiving as a challenge for which goals can be set. Remind yourself to practice positive self-talk and balanced eating to minimize guilt. Avoid compensatory measures in order to "save room" for Thanksgiving. A balanced plate, positive self-talk and appropriate feel-good physical activity will allow you to make tremendous strides toward this holiday becoming less challenging.


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Hostess Brands Shutters Ops, Blames Union Strike

Hostess Brands—the maker of such American snack and bakery staples as Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Wonder Bread—today filed a motion in U.S. Bankruptcy Court to shutter its operations and liquid its assets as a result of a weeklong strike by members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM) International Union. Bakery operations have been suspended at all plants, and delivery of products will continue, and Hostess Brands retail stores will remain open for several days in order to sell already-baked products.

The Board of Directors authorized the wind down of Hostess Brands to preserve and maximize the value of the estate after one of the company’s largest unions, BCTGM, initiated a nationwide strike. The closure of the iconic bakery and snack maker will result in the loss of approximately 18,500 jobs and the closing of 33 bakeries, 565 distribution centers, approximately 5,500 delivery routes and 570 outlet stores nationwide.

In addition to dozens of baking and distribution facilities around the country, Hostess Brands will sell its popular brands, including Hostess®, Drakes® and Dolly Madison®, which make iconic cake products such as Twinkies®, CupCakes, Ding Dongs®, Ho Ho’s®, Sno Balls® and Donettes®. Bread brands to be sold include Wonder®, Nature’s Pride ®, Merita®, Home Pride®, Butternut® and Beefsteak®, among others.

On Nov. 12, Hostess Brands permanently closed three plants as a result of the work stoppage. On Nov. 14, the company announced it would be forced to liquidate if sufficient employees did not return to work to restore normal operations by end of business on Nov. 15. When the deadline passed, the company determined that an insufficient number of employees had returned to work to enable the restoration of normal operations.

BCTGM in September rejected a last, best and final offer from Hostess Brands designed to lower costs so the company could attract new financing and emerge from Chapter 11. Hostess Brands then received court authority on Oct. 3 to unilaterally impose changes to the BCTGM’s collective bargaining agreements.

The company released a statement that said it is unprofitable under its current cost structure, much of which is determined by union wages and pension costs. The offer to the BCTGM included wage, benefit and work rule concessions, but also gave Hostess Brands’ 12 other unions a 25% ownership stake in the company, representation on its Board of Directors and $100 million in reorganized Hostess Brands’ debt.

“We deeply regret the necessity of today’s decision, but we do not have the financial resources to weather an extended nationwide strike," said Hostess Brands CEO Gregory F. Rayburn. “Hostess Brands will move promptly to lay off most of its 18,500-member workforce and focus on selling its assets to the highest bidders."

BCTGM maintains that according to Hostess’ 1113 filing with the bankruptcy court earlier this year and its last/best/final and non-negotiable proposal to its BCTGM-represented workers, the company was planning to close at least nine bakeries as part of its reorganization plan, although the company refused to disclose which bakeries it intended to close. The closings were in addition to the three bakeries that were to be closed as a result of the company's planned sale of its Merita division.

BCTGM also maintains the strike is not the reason for the eventual downfall of the snack company.

BCTGM International Union President Frank Hurt stated: “The crisis facing Hostess Brands is the result of nearly a decade of financial and operational mismanagement that resulted in two bankruptcies, mountains of debt, declining sales and lost market share. The Wall Street investors who took over the company after the last bankruptcy attempted to resolve the mess by attacking the company's most valuable asset—its workers.

"They sought to force the workers, who had already taken significant wage and benefit cuts, to absorb even greater cuts including the loss of their pension contributions. I have said consistently throughout this process that the BCTGM is a highly democratic organization and that our Hostess members themselves would determine their future. By an overwhelming majority, 92%, these workers rejected the company's outrageous proposal, fully aware of the potential consequences.

Hurt’s statement went on to lay blame on the company’s lack of executive leadership. “... For the past eight years management of the company has been in the hands of Wall Street investors, 'restructuring experts,' third-tier managers from other non-baking food companies and currently a 'liquidation specialist.' Six CEOs in eight years, none of whom with any bread and cake baking industry experience, was the prescription for failure.
Privately held Hostess filed for Chapter 11 protection in January 2012—the second such filing in less than 10 years. The company said its debtor-in-possession lenders have agreed to allow the it to continue to have access to the $75 million financing facility put in place at the start of the bankruptcy cases to fund the sale and wind down process, subject to U.S. Bankruptcy Court approval.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Gourmet Gifts For Every Foodie

Everybody loves paella, nobody makes it—why? You can buy everything you need in one handy paella kit, including rice, a pan, saffron and a cookbook. And once you get comfortable making it in the oven, try making it on the grill. Gwyenth Paltrow gave a shout out to the La Tienda Deluxe Paella Kit Wiwith Paella Cookbook ($158) on her PBS show, "Spain...On the Road Again," though you can find one to suit all price ranges.

Too many people are wrestling with spatulas made with a lousy angle or a too-thick blade. A proper fish spatula is perfect for, well, fish, as well as just about anything else. Williams-Sonoma makes a good one for just $15.

 Want to make bacon, eggs and home fries in one pan? Fire up four grilled cheese sandwiches at once? A cast iron reversible grill/griddle sits atop two stove burners and gives you a gloriously wide open cooking surface that's easy to clean. Lodge makes some of the best affordable cast iron cookware, with griddles in three sizes.

 Deb Perelman started out as a humble blogger at, chronicling her culinary exploits from the confines of her Manhattan apartment, eventually being named Saveur's “Best Cooking Blog of 2011” award. Now comes The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, featuring 105 recipes and more than 300 photos by Perelman herself.

 For years turkey fryers have been firebombs waiting to happen, but the relentless march of technology has made turkey frying so safe you can now do it indoors. Boiling just about anything in fat makes it better, an insanely moist turkey can be just an hour away. The Masterbuilt Butterball Professional Series Indoor Electric Turkey Fryer was featured in Consumer Reports as one of the best prodcuts of 2010, and comes in two sizes starting at about $100.

 If the gourmand in your life dismisses the turkey fryer as too pedestrian, there's a lot of great things that can be done with a sous vide machine. They're a little expensive, starting at around $300, and take up quite bit of room, but they've become an essential piece of equipment in cutting-edge restaurants around the world.

 And there are few sources for sous vide guidance better than "Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking," a passion project from Nathan Myhrvold, a physicist and former CTO at Microsoft. Weighing in at 52 pounds, the book has 2,438 pages detailing 1,522 recipes and featuring some of the most stunning food photography ever. A lot of people were put off by the price when it came out last year, but you can now pick up a used copy for about $500.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Starbucks Buys Teavana for $620 Million


 Starbucks agreed to acquire Teavana Holdings for $620 million in cash. Powered by its existing infrastructure, Starbucks plans to continue to grow and extend Teavana’s 300 mall-based stores as well as add a high-profile neighborhood store concept.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Consumers Increasingly Demand Simpler Food

The average number of items sold at a supermarket ballooned to more than 38,000 this year from 10,425 in 1977, according to the Food Marketing Institute. At the same time, however, an increasing number of consumers are demanding simplicity, prompting brands to trim ingredient lists or promote products as "natural," gluten-free or both. In this new era, large consumer-packaged-goods companies have lost some of the upper hand to retailers, which are armed with more consumer data thanks to loyalty cards, stated the director of innovation and insight for Mintel, reports Advertising Age.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Snacks Lose Their Bad Reputation

Snacking -- once viewed as a vice -- has evolved into a virtue, as consumers seek a burst of energy throughout the day with protein-packed bars, tubs of yogurt or other convenient items.

Snacking had a "bad rap as the thing you do in the whim of the moment," said Amy Martin, a strategic planner with Saatchi & Saatchi. But now it is more "purposeful," she said, as parents realize that "snacks are accounting for more of the nutritional intake of their families and their kids."

Snacks account for a third of the calories consumed daily by adults, according to a Rabobank Group report. The typical U.S. consumer snacks two to three times a day, and "many have gone a step further" with snacking becoming the "default way of eating" rather than the standard three meals a day, finds the report, called "Never Eat More Than You Can Lift."

The clear winners are snack bars, whose market size has more than doubled in the past 10 years to $6 billion, outpacing chips and pretzels, which grew 3.5% to $34 billion. The report cites Clif Bar & Co. as a growth leader thanks to its "socially conscious credentials" and "hip image." Meanwhile, General Mills U.S. snacks division -- which includes Nature Valley and Fiber One bars -- grew 15% in sales in fiscal 2012 and accounts for 9% of company sales, leaving it only a couple percentage points shy of its Pillsbury unit, according to a report by Bernstein Research


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Pine Bark Improves Asthma Symptoms

A new study published in Panminerva Medica found the natural supplement Pycnogenol®—an antioxidant plant extract from the bark of the French maritime pine tree—improved control of allergic asthma, while also reducing night awakening caused by asthma by nearly 50%. Patients who used Pycnogenol also experienced a reduced dependence on inhalation devices and required less visits to a doctor due to asthma.

The study was conducted at the Department of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Pescara, Italy and examined 76 patients aged 25 to 45 years. Participants had mild to moderate allergic asthma to dust mites. The study split participants in two groups, and one group was given 100 mg of Pycnogenol per day in addition to their inhalation corticosteroid (ICS) treatments. The other group continued their use of ICS without additional supplementation.

Some of the key findings of the study were that Pycnogenol supplementation reduced 55% of study participants dependence on ICS treatment, as well as decreased the number of night awakenings due to asthma by half of the previous frequency. The supplement also lowered the amount of days with a more than one asthma score, which is used to measure a patient's level of respiratory distress.

Monday, November 12, 2012

80% of UK Consumers Focused on Healthy Diets

A new report from Leatherhead Food Research reveals more than 80% of U.K. consumers in 2012 reported taking a proactive approach to healthy living by following a healthy diet, up 10% since 2004.

According to “Diet, Health and Obesity in the UK: State of the Nation 2012," compared to research conducted in 2004, there is a broader level of understanding towards what constitutes a 'healthy' diet, which now includes a greater emphasis upon factors, such as eating fresh fruit and vegetables (95% see this as important in 2012), having a balanced diet (87% in 2012) and drinking enough fluid (74% in 2012); these are increases since 2004 of 20%, 24% and 26% respectively. A higher intake of oily fish and a diet low in salt/sugar are factors that also have increased in importance since the previous research in 2004.

Laura Kempster, Senior Analyst in Leatherhead's Sensory, Consumer and Market Research, said: “Broadly speaking, this research indicates a greater engagement with our health and the food we consume. According to Leatherhead’s findings, a greater proportion of consumers now, compared to 2004, find time to cook from scratch, exercise and are generally more informed and engaged with food. This presents numerous opportunities for the food and beverage industry to create products which meet these needs; and our new report will help them to identify and exploit these opportunities."

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Labeling Caffeine Quantities

As the Monster Energy drink story continues to make the rounds, Consumer Reports issued a story on the results of its testing of the caffeine levels of various energy drinks and "shots." Caffeine levels ranged from 6 mg in the 5-Hour Energy Decaf shot (an oxymoron?) to 242 mg in the 5-Hour Energy Extra Strength shot. The highest levels in beverages were in the NOS High Performance Energy Drink (224 mg in a 16-oz. can) and Monster's X-presso (221 mg in a 6.8-ounce container).

In addition to noting the broad range of caffeine levels in these energizing liquids, Consumer Reports called out the fact that on the 16 products that did label the amount of caffeine, five had more than 20 percent more caffeine than label claim. Eleven of the 27 products tested did not label caffeine levels, whether due to "proprietary" ingredient mixtures or a lack of federal regs insisting that caffeine levels be called out on labels.

Given the concerns that have been expressed at a federal level by regulators and legislators (yes, Sen. Durbin, that means you), as well as the growing media attention around the safety of these products, not to mention the trend of consumers reading labels and asking for more information--not less--about the ingredients in their products, should companies be providing info on caffeine levels? Would it make a difference in the purchasing decision or consumption patterns?

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Thanksgiving Dinner Costs: 2012

The retail cost of menu items for a classic Thanksgiving dinner increased less than 1 percent this year, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation. The survey found that the average cost of this year's feast for 10 is $49.48, a 28-cent price increase from last year's average of $49.20. Items that showed a price decrease from last year include: one half-pint of whipping cream, $1.83, down 13 cents; one 14-ounce package of cubed bread stuffing, $2.77, down 11 cents; three pounds of sweet potatoes, $3.15, down 11 cents; one gallon of whole milk, $3.59, down 7 cents; fresh cranberries, $2.45, down 3 cents; one pound of green peas, $1.66, down 2 cents; one 30-ounce can of pumpkin-pie mix and two nine-inch pie shells, $5.53, down 2 cents.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Food-Safety Alert: NESQUIK Chocolate Recalled Over Salmonella Fears

Nestlé USA is voluntarily recalling limited quantities of Nestlé NESQUIK® Chocolate Powders distributed nationwide because the products may be contaminated with Salmonella. The company issued the recall after it was notified that its ingredient supplier Omya, Inc., had issued a recall of certain lots of calcium carbonate due to possible presence of Salmonella.

The recall involves 10.9-ounce NESQUIK® Chocolate Powder (19 servings) UPC code 0 28000 67990 3; 21.8-ounce NESQUIK® Chocolate Powder (38 servings) UPC code 0 28000 68090 9; and 40.7-ounce NESQUIK® Chocolate Powder (72 servings) UPC code 0 28000 68230 9. The products were produced October 2012 and distributed nationally. The affected products have an expiration date or best before date of October 2014. No other varieties of NESQUIK powder or any sizes or flavors of NESQUIK ready-to-drink

Thursday, November 08, 2012

What Does an $18 Chocolate Bar Taste Like?

Christopher Curtin, the West Chester chocolatier, was about to offer a taste of the finest chocolate bar to ever grace the planet, as he put it - a claim that, for what it lacked in modesty, was sounding less improbable by the minute.

It was created, he said, presiding in his Éclat Chocolate shop, from wild-growing cacao called Pure Nacional, the rarest of fine-flavored beans rediscovered in the high jungle of Peru after having been thought, for almost a century, to be extinct.

And not from just any harvest. No, he took two flights, and a two-day SUV trek, unfortunately involving a collision with a local dog, to see it for himself, with New York celebrity chef Eric Ripert in tow: It was the first-blush April crop above the rushing headwaters of the Amazon, the premier cru, as they call it in vineyard country.

And rustic: Some growers still hauled out pails of beans on their burros.

It was hand-sorted ("Six times!" Curtin watched at the farmstead and counted) to weed out any beans with the barest nick or imperfection that might foretell bitter notes, then meticulously roasted and conched, its flavor teased out with 135-year-old antique Lindt stone rollers in Switzerland, "petted," it's called in the trade; rocked ceaselessly back and forth like a baby in a cradle. For 60 hours.

And that was before Curtin and his crew got hold of it - this pride of Marañón Chocolate's co-op of small farms near Ecuador. In his shop on High Street, it was aged for three months at 65 degrees, then melted at a notch below body temperature, a precise flick of nibs - grindings of roasted beans - folded in to give it an occasional kick of crunch.

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It was indisputably dark chocolate, untouched by milk.

But it was unusually, and somewhat mysteriously, light.

Curtin was giving his account by the cooling tunnel in the kitchens of his bonbon of a shop in the heart of the Chester County seat, just down from the courthouse.

It was early October, more than a month before Thursday's New York launch of the bar, on the eve of the city's Salon du Chocolat, de rigueur for any chocolate debutante looking for notice.

The chocolate on Curtin's stainless steel table had been molded into a 2.6-ounce bar - a chocolatier's version of a rare-vintage wine, or say, a superb one-off Belgian beer, or maybe that pampered Panamanian coffee that, not long ago, was fetching upward of $100 a pound.

It was 72 percent cacao.

But that wasn't the only thing giving it buzz.

The bar would be called Good & Evil: The Pure Nacional pods contain an uncommon combination of white and dark-purple beans. So that could be the reason for the name. (And it is, in fact, the reason for the light color of this particular dark chocolate.)

But that's not it. The "good and evil" refers to Curtin's high-profile partners in the gambit - the celebrity chefs Ripert of New York's four-star Le Bernardin, and (evil?) Anthony Bourdain, his globe-trotting bad-boy counterpart on a live road show they host called, well - what a coincidence! - "Good vs. Evil."

The bar would retail, and will now that the wait is over, for $18 - steep, perhaps, for lunchers used to landing a $1.70 dog at Wally's Wiener World, the cart up the block from Éclat.

But if you think of it not so much as candy as a trophy, an exemplar, a brief, shining moment of chocolate ephemera - a shooting star, so to speak, in a murky milky way - well, that is exactly how Chris Curtin would like you to think of it.

It was made for love, he said, not money.

In total, he procured 1,200 pounds of beans, roughly a half ton.

You might get 50 candy-rack bars from one pound of low-grade beans. But a gourmet, 72 percent cacao bar like this? Paid for in cash in the field at 7 percent above fair-trade price? Harvested by family farmers - not the forced child labor (Ripert went along to specifically check this out) that has embarrassed African growers?

That same 1,200 pounds might yield fewer than 5,000 bars, about five or so per pound, less than a tenth of what Big Candy can squeeze out selling cheap, 72 percent sugar bars.

These days industrial cocoa beans are loaded on freighters in Africa bound for Philadelphia, where more than 75 percent of America's raw cocoa is landed, most of it at Pier 84 on the Delaware, most destined for major grinders - Barry-Callebaut, Hershey, and Blommer.

But often the beans have been stored for a year or more by farmers waiting for prices to climb. And they're routinely sprayed with fumigants and pesticides, the better to ward off mildew, mold, and fungus.

What if they were handled another way?

"We wondered," Curtin said. "What would it be like to make chocolate perfectly . . . no corners cut, no cost spared, to shoot for the moon?"

If a single bean fell to the ground in Peru, it was out.

Fermentation temperatures were watched like a hawk.

Pods were split on rocks, not with machetes, to better protect the beans.

Curtin and Ripert make for an odd couple - Curtin pink-fleshed, trained in the finer chocolate houses of Europe, given on occasion to a straw hipster hat; Ripert eternally tanned, silver-haired, pouting lips, a French-looped scarf routinely draped around his neck. (The reputation of his Le Bernardin is beyond reproach. But he has a branch cafe of lesser distinction in Philadelphia's Ritz-Carlton, which is where Monica Glass, then the pastry chef, introduced him to Curtin.)

In photos of their journey last April, there is Curtin in a nursery of Pure Nacional seedlings, and Ripert balanced in a river canoe. They feasted on ceviche in Lima, on soulful chicken soup cooked over open fires in the villages beyond Chiclayo in Peru's northeastern reaches, the same region explored in the 1930s - at lower elevations - by the intrepid British geneticist F.J. Pound searching for wild cacao resistant to a disease called witch's broom that was threatening the world's cocoa supply.

Curtin said a far more recent expedition - American fruit merchants on the hunt for exotic flavors of bananas - stumbled on the Pure Nacional, which for decades had disappeared from nearby Ecuador and was thought extinct.

Scientists from the U.S. Department of Agriculture went on to confirm the finding, then joined with Peruvian farm agents to help protect and expand plantings on the farmers' small holdings in the remote Marañón Canyon.

So the chocolate bar beckoned, its foil wrap unpeeled on the table at Éclat.

It is best to let a bite linger on the tongue.

And if you do, the subtle fruitiness emerges, and perhaps a woodsy hit of forest nuts, but very definitely - and differently from the beans just a year before - a bright, enchanting note of dark cherry.

It was lush, almost creamy, without a trace of bitterness, or the tart, brittle waxiness that can make high-cacao bars more a chore than an easy pleasure.

Yes, it was astonishing good chocolate.

The finest in the world?

I regret to say I haven't tried all the others.


Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Global Food-Safety Testing Sector Will Hit $19 Billion by 2018

Driven by the continuous rise in product recalls due to contamination by bacteria and other microorganisms, increased awareness and the implementation of new regulatory specifications, the global market for food-safety testing is projected to reach $19.7 billion by 2018, according to a new report from Global Industry Analysts (GIA).

According to the “Food Safety Testing—A Global Strategic Business Report," the United States represents the largest regional market worldwide. Expansion and diversification of the U.S. food testing market can be attributed to extensive media reports covering product recalls and illness and death resulting from contaminated foods. In order to address the risks posed by global food supply, food processors demand comprehensive testing procedures to improve and develop newer and sophisticated processing, preservation and packaging techniques to make food safer and less perishable.

Federal regulations are also forcing food processors to test food products for hazardous material or microorganisms. Asia-Pacific represents the fastest-growing market for food-safety testing in the world. The region suffers due to lack of adequate regulations for ensuring food safety, and the lax implementation of such regulations, particularly in highly populous countries of India and China.

Pathogen testing segment garners a lion’s share of the food-safety testing market. GMO testing represents the fastest-growing segment in the global food-safety testing market. In terms of end-use segments, processed foods industry represents the largest end use market for food-safety testing products. The United States represents the largest regional market for food-safety testing products in processed foods industry. Fastest growth is expected from the meat industry, which has witnessed growing demand for testing products with innovative biochip and microchip technologies, owing to their ability to detect the presence of new pathogen varieties in food particles.

Major players profiled in the report include 3M Company, BioControl Systems, Inc., bioMérieux SA, Biolog, Inc., Celsis International Ltd., Charm Sciences, Inc., DuPont Qualicon, Inc., FOSS A/S, Eurofins GeneScan Europe AG, Genetic ID NA, Inc., Neogen Corp., R-Biopharm AG, SDIX, and Thermo Fisher Scientific, Inc.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Coffee futures trade near 5-month low, sugar dips


U.S. soft futures were mostly lower during U.S. morning hours on Monday, with coffee prices trading close to last week’s five-month low amid ongoing concerns over ample global supplies.

Farm commodities came under further pressure from a broadly stronger U.S. dollar, after Friday’s stronger-than-expected U.S. jobs report prompted investors to trim back expectations for another round of quantitative easing by the Federal Reserve.

The dollar index, which tracks the performance of the U.S. dollar against a basket of six other major currencies, was up 0.3% to trade at 80.88, the highest level since September 7.

A stronger dollar reduces the appeal of U.S. crops to overseas buyers and makes commodities less attractive as an alternative investment.

On the ICE Futures U.S. Exchange, Arabica coffee for December delivery traded at USD1.5422 a pound, shedding 0.2%. The December contract fell by as much as 0.45% earlier in the day to hit a session low of USD1.5382 a pound.

Front-month prices touched USD1.5285 a pound on November 1, the weakest level since June 21.

Coffee futures have been under heavy selling pressure since touching a ten-week high of USD1.8542 a pound on October 3, losing nearly 17% as concerns over the pace of the Brazilian coffee harvest eased.

Brazil is the world’s largest producer and exporter of Arabica coffee. Arabica is grown mainly in Latin America and brewed by specialty companies.

Market players said that an anticipated rebound in Colombia's crop further weighed and added to view that global supplies of the bean are more than ample.

Meanwhile, sugar futures for March delivery traded at USD0.1939 a pound, easing down 0.1%. The March contract held in a tight trading range of USD0.1948 a pound, the daily high and a session low of USD0.1939 a pound.

Front-month prices slumped to USD0.1919 on October 31, the cheapest level since September 21.

Sentiment on the sweetener has turned negative since hitting a two-month high of USD0.2176 a pound on October 4, dropping almost 11% amid receding concerns over the pace of the harvest in Brazil’s Center South-region.

The country’s leading sugar industry group Unica said last week sugar output in Brazil’s Center South-region jumped 57% in the first half of October.

Output in the region rose to 2.79 million metric tons between October 1 and October 15 from 1.78 million a year earlier

Brazil’s Center South-region produces nearly 90% of the nation’s sugar. The South American country is the world’s largest sugar producer and exporter, with the USDA estimating the nation accounts for nearly 20% of global production and 39% of global sugar exports.

Elsewhere, cotton futures for December delivery traded at USD0.7025 a pound, dipping 0.15%. The December contract was stuck in a range between USD0.7044 a pound, the daily high and a session low of USD0.7003 a pound.

The December contract fell to USD0.6967 a pound on Friday, the lowest since July 26, after prices were unable to hold above their 100-day moving average, triggering sell orders amid

Monday, November 05, 2012


A trade group representing Florida citrus growers has accused Brazilian orange juice processors of avoiding a federal tariff on imports.

U.S. Customs officials are investigating a complaint that alleges the companies are shipping juice to Canada for re-importation to the U.S., reported The Ledger, a newspaper in Lakeland, Fla.

Matt McGrath, a lawyer that represents Florida Citrus Mutual, told the paper that Customs officials indicated their investigation could take six to 12 months.

CitrusBR, the Brazilian processors' trade group, has denied the allegations.

"Brazilian orange juice exporters do not use its exportations to Canada as a way to avoid paying US federal tariff," Christian Lohbauer, CEO of the group, told The Ledger. "Some of those Canadian clients do export orange juice to the U.S.A., but already packed, as a final product. It is not something over the control or intended by the Brazilian industries."

Most Canadian and Mexican goods come into this country duty-free under the North American Free Trade Agreement, but other countries can't use that exception to avoid tariffs, the report said, citing Florida Citrus Mutual CEO Mike Sparks.


Sunday, November 04, 2012

Eating Meat May Raise Breast Cancer Risk in Whites

Investigators have found preliminary evidence that eating red meat and poultry seems to boost the risk of breast cancer in white women -- but not black women.

"Most breast cancer studies have been conducted in [white] women," senior study author Dr. Elisa Bandera, an epidemiologist at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, said in an institute news release.

So while previous research into the association between meat consumption and breast cancer has only looked at white women, Bandera noted, "our study provides new information on the role consumption of animal foods play on breast cancer development in women of European and African ancestry."

In their study, the researchers took a wider look with the help of questionnaires that were answered by 976 black women and 873 white women with breast cancer, and 1,165 black women and 865 white women without cancer.

Among white women, those who ate the most unprocessed red meat and poultry seemed to have a higher breast cancer risk than those who ate the least, especially among those who hadn't reached menopause, the investigators found. Each increase in weekly consumption of about 18 ounces or more of red meat and 7 ounces or more of poultry appeared to raise the risk in white women.

No association was found among black women other than a suggestion that red meat consumption might reduce the risk of one kind of tumor.

"This research supports encouraging [white] women to limit their intake of both red meat and poultry in order to reduce their risk of breast cancer, which is in line with the American Institute for Cancer Research's recommendation of limiting red meat intake to less than 500 grams per week," study lead author and research teaching specialist Urmila Chandran, said in the news release.

"Being that this study may be one of the first to examine this association in [black] women, results from this group are not conclusive, and more investigation is needed to replicate these findings," Chandran added.
Although the study found an association between meat consumption and breast cancer risk in certain women, it did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.

The findings were scheduled for presentation Thursday at the American Institute for Cancer Research meeting in Washington, D.C. The data and conclusions of research presented at medical meetings should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Skipping Breakfast Leads to Overeating

People who don’t eat breakfast tend to overeat and make poor dietary choices throughout the day, according to new research presented at Neuroscience 2012, the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience.

Scientists at Imperial College obtained multiple magnetic resonance images (MRIs) of 21 volunteers who had not eaten anything before arriving for the tests. On one visit they were first given a 750-calorie breakfast before the scans began; on another visit they received no breakfast. Lunch was always served after the scans.

In the MRIs of those who had not eaten breakfast, the scientists discovered a variation in the pattern of activity in the orbitofrontal cortex—the area right above the eyes that can affect decisions regarding the pleasantness and reward value of food. The scientists reported that when fasting participants were shown pictures of high-calorie food, this brain area was “activated," a reaction less strong when they had eaten breakfast.

They also noted their ability to use brain MRIs to predict which individuals appear primed to respond strongly to high-calorie foods. This suggests the orbitofrontal cortex may play a vital role in determining how people make dietary choices. They said the study also adds to previous research that indicates fasting may be a poor way to lose weight as it seems to create a “bias" in the brain toward seeking a high-calorie food reward.

“Through both the participants’ MRI results and observations of how much they ate at lunch, we found ample evidence that fasting made people hungrier, and increased the appeal of high-calorie foods and the amount people ate," said Tony Goldstone, MD, PhD, from the MRC Clinical Science Centre at London’s Imperial College.

Friday, November 02, 2012


The common food preservative nisin may stop or slow squamous cell head and neck cancers, according to a new study published in the journal Cancer Medicine. The findings may accelerate new cancer therapies since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) approved nisin as safe for human consumption decades ago.

Oral cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide, and oral squamous cell carcinoma accounts for more than 90% of oral cancers. However, survival rates for oral cancer haven't improved in decades, according to the study.

Yvonne Kapila, the study's principal investigator and professor at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry, said antibacterial agents like nisin alter cell properties in bacteria to render it harmless. However, it's only recently that scientists began looking to antibacterial agents like nisin to see if they altered properties in other types of cells, such as cancer cells or cells in tumors.

"The poor 5-year survival rates for oral cancer underscore the need to find new therapies for oral cancer," she said. "The use of small antibacterial agents, like nisin, to treat cancer is a new approach that holds great promise. Nisin is a perfect example of this potential because it has been used safely in humans for many years, and now the laboratory studies support its anti-tumor potential."

The study, which looked at the use of antimicrobials to fight cancerous tumors, suggests nisin, in part, slows cell proliferation or causes cell death through the activation of a protein called CHAC1 in cancer cells, a protein known to influence cell death. The study is the first to show CHAC1's new role in promoting cancer cell death under nisin treatment. The findings also suggest that nisin may work by creating pores in the cancer cell membranes that allow an influx of calcium. It's unclear what role calcium plays in nisin-triggered cell death, but it's well known that calcium is a key regulator in cell death and survival.

The researchers concluded nisin slows or stops tumor growth by interrupting the cell cycle in "bad" cells but not the good cells; thus nisin stops cancer cell proliferation but doesn't hurt good cells.


Thursday, November 01, 2012

Grocery Stores Potential Beneficiaries of Sandy

Grocery stores and eateries could find themselves slammed with foot traffic from weary Northeasterners in the days ahead as the nation seeks to recover from a superstorm that has left millions without electricity and been linked to nearly 40 deaths.

The monstrous storm named Sandy is expected to be one of the costliest in the nation's history, eating into government coffers, businesses and wreaking a tidal wave of emotional damage.

Outside the United States, Sandy wreaked havoc on crops in one of the world's poorest countries. "Most of the agricultural crops that were left from Hurricane Isaac were destroyed during Sandy so food security will be an issue," Haitian Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe told Reuters.

The atrocious weather also caused many food and beverage establishments in the Northeast to close operations. Starbucks, alone, shut down 1,000 stores Oct. 29 from Virginia to Maine, a spokesperson told The New York Post.

As of Oct. 30, the damage from Sandy was colossal: 48 people dead and an estimated 8.2 million people without power, according to Fox News. "This was a devastating storm," New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, "maybe the worst that we have ever experienced."

In spite of Sandy's devastating impacts, some businesses could profit economically including restaurants catering to those without a crucial commodity: power. As night fell Tuesday, millions of Americans still were without electricity.

"We will be feeding a lot of the community who will be without power," Dan Lowe, a director of Washington, D.C. for Firehouse Subs, said Monday in an article published in

Planalytics, a business weather intelligence firm, anticipates that bottled water, canned foods and packed ice are among the items that will remain in strong demand in the days ahead.

As Sandy, previously classified as a hurricane made its way toward New Jersey, U.S. businesses geared up to protect their customers and employees. Josephine Capozzi, vice president of Franchise Relations for Jersey Mike's Subs, told that the chain issued "Hurricane Best Practices" last week when the storm began forming on the radar.

"These best practices cover everything from how to serve the inside/outside of (a) facility to food safety to what to expect upon reopening," Capozzi said.

U.S. demand for certain food and other consumer items was insatiable in anticipation of a superstorm that stretched hundreds of miles, pummeling subways and other public infrastructure.

"Leading up to the storm, home centers, mass merchants, and grocery stores experienced a surge in traffic as consumers were purchasing 'must have' items," said Planalytics. "Additionally, quick service restaurants, gas stations and ATM's experienced strong traffic, particularly in and around communities where evacuations occurred."