The top honors at the Good Food Awards, the Netflix of food, and a few other thoughts and links for the week:
Good Food Awards
It's the eight year for The Good Food Awards, the annual event that sifts through artisan producers and singles out the best. I walked around the Good Food Mercantile at Fort Mason in San Francisco a couple of weekends ago to see--and taste--the products up close. I already have this sriracha in my refrigerator, and now I can put a face to the farmers in Massachusetts who make it. I sampled date syrup, which is an alternative to honey and maple syrup. I loved this chocolate hazelnut spread. But one item was unlike anything I've tried before: whole cacao beans, seasoned for snacking from a Seattle-based company called Good King. Crumbly cacao nibs are okay for baking, but I never reach for them as a snack--and, honestly, have yet to fall in love with them in baking. This company figured out how to extract the beans and keep them whole, and they're a strange bitter/sweet/kind of chocolaty flavor combination that I want to eat again. Snacking cacao. Who knew? Here are this year's Good Food winners.
When an egg isn't an egg
The collection showcased at the Good Food Mercantile clearly demonstrate that good food is real food. In the broader food industry, though, things can get murky. Panera is trying to clear some things up, petitioning the FDA to define what an egg actually is. Meaning that an egg shouldn't be something that has five non-egg ingredients in it. This move coincides with the rollout of Panera's "100% real eggs" breakfast sandwiches campaign. I'm no regular at Panera, but I think it's a good thing when a chain with an incredible amount of buying powder affects positive change in food supplies. Although it's kind of sad that we have to say "real eggs" to mean, you know, eggs.
The Nexflix of food?
Forget Shazam for food. Sun Basket, an San Francisco-based meal kit company, says they want to become the Netflix of food. Can they do it? And what does that even mean? Investors think it's all possible.
There's an app for that
I've always wondered how grocery stores juggle inventory, especially fresh produce. Their hot bars can only use up so much product that may be just short of reaching the compost bin. In Japan, they're trying to combat food waste by engaging consumers with an app. Launched with a mobile phone company and a grocery store, the app rewards customers who buy food that's coming to the end of its shelf life. The app even provides recipes supplying ideas on how to use the item up.
It's not Netflix for food, but it could be something more than that.