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food industry



The Science of Mouthfeel and How it Feeds the Food Industry

I recently discussed how food companies carefully formulate their products for mass consumption. One of the more important elements to making a food desirable is the so-called mouthfeel, the texture and the perception of that texture, good or bad.

I am aware of this phenomenon firsthand, because even though I am knowledgeable about what is and how it is not healthy to put in my body, I sometimes find myself at the mercy of a food. Certain types of chips can make me lose control, but I happen to also be a bit of a crackhead when it comes to anything gummy.

junkfood mouthfeel

Gummies are a really great example of how mouthfeel is used in food manufacturing. There’s something about the tangy taste coupled with the chewy texture that could really set me off on a binge if I wasn’t careful.

In many cases, “mouthfeel” has no sinister connotation at all. It’s used in wine and beer tasting as just one of several descriptive factors when reviewing products. But it also describes how certain foods and drinks are a perfect match, because one is an astringent that makes you “pucker up” and the other is fatty or oily which resolves the dry feel now in your mouth and throat with its lubricating properties. Think red wine with steak or coffee and ice cream.
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The Conspiracy to Make Us All Junk Food Junkies: Breaking Down New York Times’ Addictive Junk Food Story

Have you ever sat down with a bag of chips that you not only couldn’t put away, but found yourself nearly possessed, ravaging the bag of Doritos like the Tasmanian Devil? It’s not an accident, but a carefully-formulated strategy to maximize consumption and the bottom line of the companies that manufacture processed foods.

New York Times investigative reporter Michael Moss spent four years investigating the food industry and has gone public with a bold statement: there was a “conscious effort taking place in labs and marketing meetings and grocery store aisles to get people hooked on foods that are convenient and inexpensive.” junk food industry

The accusation is not a revelation to most health advocates, but is a much-needed wake-up call for the general public, many of whom don’t fully realize how the science and engineering behind packaged foods is making us obese and sick with obesity-related chronic diseases. As you’ll see, it’s not just the Doritos, Cheetos and sodas, but pasta sauces and soups.

Moss, the author of the much discussed New York Times article, The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food, and soon-to-be published book Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us, compiled a list of small case studies that together make a compelling argument that the processed food industry is not much different from Big Tobacco as a public health menace.
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Vegetarian Diet May be Necessary to Prevent Global Water and Food Shortage

If you’ve ever considered being vegetarian but just couldn’t cut it, you’re not alone. I myself have struggled with going completely meat-free. However, a new report is sending a strong warning that may force us all in that direction.

Findings from water scientists at the Stockholm International Water Institute (SWIW) suggest that if the world’s population neglects to adopt a vegetarian diet over the next 40 years, we may face a global food and water shortage crisis.

Although U.S. meat consumption has reportedly seen declines – estimated to down more than 12 percent by the end of this year since 2007 – that amount still equates to about 165.5 pounds per person per year; or around one half pound per day.

As reported by the Huffington Post, the SIWI suggests that around 20 percent of the protein in our diets comes from animal-based sources. Additionally, unless that drops 5 percent by 2050, there may not be enough food to feed the additional 2 billion people estimated to be alive by that time.

The surprising solution to this global issue? Water supply. All of these warnings stem from the world’s water supply, which is rapidly declining. At the annual world water conference in Stockholm, Sweden, the UN predicted that “we must increase food production by 70 percent by mid-century” to feed the world’s growing population, which will place additional stress on our already-low water supply.
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Listeria Contamination Forces Recall of 325,000 Pounds of Frozen Meat

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced over the weekend a recall of nearly 325,000 pounds of frozen, ready-to-eat meat products manufactured by Buona Vita Inc. because of a possible listeria contamination. Listeria bacteria can cause listeriosis, a potentially fatal bacterial infection.

Buona Vita Inc., based out of New Jersey, makes precooked, frozen Italian food products. Products affected include meatballs, dinner loafs, salisbury patties, breakfast patties, and burger patties made with chicken, pork, beef, and turkey.

Brand names included in the recall are:

  • Buona Vita Inc.
  • Cupino
  • Mama Isabella
  • Vincent Giordano
  • Dirusso
  • Silver Lake
  • Argenta Pride
  • Whitsons Food Service
  • M&R Frosted Food Co.
  • Orefresco
  • Bullpen
  • Napoli
  • Whorle’s
  • Buonamici
  • Monabella
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Frozen Vegetable Recall Due to Glass Fragments Affects Kroger and Wal-Mart Store Brands

In more food recall news, this time frozen vegetables are being pulled from shelves and consumers are warned to review the items in their homes to return for refund. The voluntary recall by Pictsweet Co., reports CNN.com, was not prompted by any injury reports, only a preventative step. These frozen vegetables may have glass fragments in the packages.

Important Recall Details:

  • Store-brand frozen vegetables: Kroger brand and Great Value brand
  • Frozen vegetables sold in Kroger and Wal-Mart stores nationwide
  • May contain glass fragments
  • Return recalled packages to retailer for full refund

Recalled Products:

  • Kroger 12-ounce Green Peas (UPC 11110 89736). Production Codes of 1440BU, 1440BV, 1440BW, and 1600BD.
  • Kroger 12-ounce Peas and Carrots (UPC 11110 89741). Production Codes of 1960BD and 1960BE.
  • Great Value 12-ounce Steamable Sweet Peas (UPC 78742 08369). Best by dates of July 20, 2012; July 21, 2012.
  • Great Value 12-ounce Steamable Mixed Vegetables (UPC 78742 08026). Best by date of July 15, 2012.
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