‘No Snack Is Safe.’ People Are Losing Their Crackers About the Ritz and Goldfish Recalls

It’s been a rough week out there for crackers and snackers since Monday when a number of Ritz Crackers and Goldfish products were recalled over potential risk of salmonella.

The combination of the two go-to staples of paper bag lunches everywhere getting recalled: a snack emergency for internet users.

Both Pepperidge Farm and Mondaelz stated that they were taking the precautionary measures due to what appears to be the same reason: potential contamination of the whey powder used to season the snacks. Straight out of that Little Miss Muffet rhyme, whey powder is used to season many snacks.

Proving your whole cupboard can darken in a day, Pepperidge Farm announced a recall of four different Goldfish flavors: Flavor Blasted Xtra Cheddar, Goldfish Mix Xtra Cheddar + Pretzel, Flavor Blasted Sour Cream and Onion, and Goldfish Baked with Whole Grain Xtra Cheese, all sold in the U.S. Pepperidge Farm said it announced the recall “out of an abundance of caution.”

Both snack makers said there were no illnesses yet reported as a result of eating their snacks, but they recommend you toss your personal stash nonetheless. Neither company has said if these recalls are connected, but for now, it may be time to pivot to another summer snack.

You’ll need to complete a reimbursement form online to get your Goldfish refund.

Which Ritz crackers have been recalled?

According to the company’s statement, Mondalez’s recall list includes Ritz bits, Ritz cheese cracker sandwiches, Ritz bacon cracker sandwiches with cheese, Ritz whole wheat cracker sandwiches with white cheddar cheese, Ritz everything cracker sandwiches, and two multipack Mixed cookie cracker variety assortments.

Salmonella infection is a bacterial disease that can cause abdominal cramps, fever and headache, according to the Mayo Clinic, some of which run their course in a few days, though life-threatening complications are possible.

This is by no means the first recall of the year. Swiss rolls, Melons and eggs were recalled over salmonella fears this year. Meanwhile, ice cream bars and Panera cream cheese were also recalled due to listeria concerns.

The internet has taken note of these dual cracker recalls, expressing strong feelings on Twitter, with one user dubbing it a “cracker cancellation.”

‘IHOb’ Is Already Back to Calling Itself IHOP Again

On June 11, the International House of Pancakes made a big announcement: they were changing their name to “IHOb,” at least temporarily, standing for “International House of Burgers,” and unveiling a new product on the menu. (A burger, naturally — or, in IHOb parlance, an “Ultimate Steakburger.”)

While the change got plenty of hype online, and resulted in brick-and-mortar locations swapping out their signage in favor of the new brand name for the ubiquitous diner chain, it was not meant to last long. And on Monday, IHOb reverted once more to its original name of IHOP.

“We really abbreciate the burgerin’ loyalty, but we’re back @IHOP again,” the IHOb Twitter account announced. (The gimmick of the alternate brand had been replacing “P’s” with “B’s” in all of their language, which explains the unusual spelling.)

When one Twitter user joked that their change of heart (and name) must not have gone well, IHOP itself had a response: “The blan was to get beople talking about our new burgers. And it worked. Look at us, two silly pancakes talkin’ about burgers,” they explained of their nearly-one-month marketing stunt.

The plan does seem to have gotten people talking — after all, now we all know that IHOP serves both their traditional pancakes and, yes, a burger. Hopefully no one got too attached to the alternative “IHOb” name in the process. But if you already checked out the burger, and are a fan of that particular dish, the good news is it seems that menu item is at least sticking around.

Food delivery’s untapped opportunity

Investors may have already placed their orders in the consumer food delivery space, but there’s still a missing recipe for solving the more than $250 billion business-to-business foodservice distribution problem that’s begging for venture firms to put more cooks in the kitchen. 

Stock prices for Sysco and US Foods, the two largest food distributors, are up by more than 20 percent since last summer, when Amazon bought Whole Foods. But, these companies haven’t made any material changes to their business model to counteract the threat of Amazon. I know a thing or two about the food services industry and the need for a B2B marketplace in an industry ripe with all of our favorite buzz words: fragmentation, last-mile logistics and a lack of pricing transparency.

The business-to-business food problem

Consumers have it good. Services such as Amazon and Instacart are pushing for our business and attention and thus making it great for the end users. By comparison, food and ingredient delivery for businesses is vastly underserved. The business of foodservice distribution hasn’t gotten nearly as much attention — or capital — as consumer delivery, and the industry is further behind when it comes to serving customers. Food-preparation facilities often face a number of difficulties getting the ingredients to cook the food we all enjoy.

Who are these food-preparation facilities? They range from your local restaurants, hotels, school and business cafeterias, catering companies, and many other facilities that supply to grocery markets, food trucks and so on. This market is gigantic. Ignoring all other facilities, just U.S. restaurants alone earn about $800 billion in annual sales. That’s based on research by the National Restaurant Association (the “other NRA”). Specific to foodservice distribution in the U.S., the estimated 2016 annual sales were a sizable $280 billion.

How it works today

Every one of these food-preparation facilities relies on a number of relationships with distributors (and sometimes, but rarely, directly from farms) to get their necessary ingredients. Some major national players, including Sysco and US Foods, mainly supply “dry goods.” For fresh meats, seafood and produce, plus other artisanal goods, these facilities rely on a large number of local wholesale distributors. A few examples of wholesalers and distributors near where I live in the San Francisco Bay Area are ABS Seafood, Golden Gate Meat Company, Green Leaf, Hodo Soy and VegiWorks.

Keep in mind that the vast majority of these food-prep businesses don’t shop for ingredients the way you and I may shop for ingredients from our local supermarkets or farmer markets. There’s too little margin in food and doing so would be too costly, as well as highly inefficient (e.g. having to pay to send staff out “grocery shopping”). A few small operators do buy ingredients from wholesale chains such as Costco or Restaurant Depot. But in general, it’s way more efficient to place an order with a distributor and get the goods delivered directly to your food-prep facility.

But that’s where the problems lie. These distributors are completely fragmented, and the quality of fresh ingredients varies meaningfully from one distributor to the next. Prices fluctuate constantly, typically on a weekly basis. What’s worse is delivery timeliness, or rather the lack thereof. These distributors each employs their own delivery staff and refrigerated trucks. There is a limited number of 6 am deliveries they can make for a given delivery fleet.

As a food business operator, you may be ordering quality ingredients at the right price, but if the delivery doesn’t show up on time, you’re outta luck. You won’t be able to prepare the food in time, all the while paying for staff who are sitting around waiting for ingredients to arrive.

As a result, you keep getting seemingly random offline pitches with promotions and price breaks from these distributors. But there’s no way to ensure timely delivery. Everybody makes verbal promises and it’s all based on who you know. Things may work for a week or two until you get “deprioritized” by one of the distributors and you have to start the process of finding the next one.

You intentionally rotate among the different distributors, just to keep them “on their toes.”

The opportunity for a food distribution platform

What’s missing is a platform that hosts a catalog of products from these distributors, with updatable availability, pricing and inventory. On it, food businesses could browse for products and place orders. Fulfillment can be done by the distributors at the beginning, but ultimately that operation may need to be done by the platform to maintain consistent quality of service. Reliable fulfillment may end up being the biggest differentiator for such a platform.

I’m aware of startups that have tried to become the dominant B2B platform for food service distribution. But it takes meaningful resources to get to critical mass, and these startups tend to flame out before reaching that point. It’s not necessarily their fault for not being effective.

This industry has low margins, is slow to adopt new technologies and has many incumbent players. But the opportunity to design and execute on this platform is significant, with clear ROI as a reward and a built-in moat once it reaches critical mass.

Food-prep businesses are hungry for a better solution. And as any food entrepreneur knows, hungry customers are the best kind.

Tyson Foods investment arm backs another lab-grown meat manufacturer

The venture investment arm of massive meat manufacturer Tyson Foods is continuing its push into potential alternative methods of poultry production with a new investment in the Israeli startup Future Meat Technologies.

The backer of companies like the plant-based protein-maker Beyond Meat, and cultured-meat company Memphis Meats, Tyson Ventures’ latest investment is also tackling technology development to create mass produced meat in a lab — instead of on the farm.

Future Meat Technologies is working to commercialize a manufacturing technology for fat and muscle cells that was first developed in the laboratories of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

“It is difficult to imagine cultured meat becoming a reality with a current production price of about $10,000 per
kilogram,” said Yaakov Nahmias, the company’s founder and Chief Scientist, in a statement. “We redesigned the
manufacturing process until we brought it down to $800 per kilogram today, with a clear roadmap to $5-10 per kg by 2020.”

The deal marks Tyson’s first investment in an Israeli startup and gives the company another potential horse in the race to develop substitutes for the factory slaughterhouses that provide most of America’s meat.

“This is definitely in the Memphis Meats… in the lab-based meat world,” says Justin Whitmore, executive vice president of corporate strategy and chief sustainability officer of Tyson Foods.

Whitmore takes pains to emphasize that Tyson is continuing to invest in its traditional business lines, but acknowledges that the company believes “in exploring additional opportunities for growth that give consumers more choices,” according to a statement.

While startups like Impossible Foods are focused on developing plant-based alternatives to the proteins that give meat its flavor, Future Meat Technologies and Memphis Meats are trying to use animal cells themselves to grow meat, rather than basically harvesting it from dead animals.

Chef Uri Navon mixing ingredients with FMT’s cultured meat

According to Nahmias, animal fat produces the flavors and aromas that stimulate taste buds, and he says that his company can produce the fat without harvesting animals and without genetic modification.

For Whitmore, what separates Future Meat Technologies and Memphis Meats is the scale of the bioreactors that the companies are using to make their meat. Both companies — indeed all companies on the hunt for a meat replacement — are looking for a way around relying on fetal bovine serum, which is now a crucial component for any lab-cultured meats.

“I want my children to eat meat that is delicious, sustainable and safe,” said Nahmias, in a statement, “this is our commitment to future generations”.

The breadth of backgrounds among the investors that have come together to finance the $2.2 million seed round for Future Meat Technologies speak to the market opportunity that exists for getting a meat manufacturing replacement right.

“Global demand for protein and meat is growing at a rapid pace, with an estimated worldwide market of more than a trillion dollars, including explosive growth in China. We believe that making a healthy, non-GMO product that can meet this demand is an essential part of our mission,” said Rom Kshuk, the chief executive of Future Meat Technologies, in a statement.

One of the company’s first pilot products is a lab-grown chicken meat that chefs have already used in some recipes. 

FMT’s first cultured chicken kebab on grilled eggplant and tahini sauce

In addition to Tyson Ventures, investors in the Future Meat Technologies seed round included the Neto Group, an Israeli food conglomerate; Seed2Growth Ventures, a Chicago-based fund backed by Walmart wealth; BitsXBites, a Chinese food technology fund; and Agrinnovation, an Israeli investment fund founded by Yissum, the Technology Transfer Company of The Hebrew University,

“Hebrew University, home to Israel’s only Faculty of Agriculture, specializes in incubating applied research in such fields as animal free meat sources. Future Meat Technologies’ innovations are revolutionizing the sector and leading the way in creating sustainable alternative protein sources,” said Dr. Yaron Daniely, President and CEO of Yissum.

 

There’s something called Bacoin now

To paraphrase a saying popularized by countless dorm room stoners: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you use the hype around decentralized crypto economies to sell bacon.” The latest example of this age-old adage comes to us from Oscar Meyer and involves their exciting new cryp-faux-currency, Bacoin.

The currency can be redeemed for bacon and you “mine” it by sharing the good news of bacoin with your friends. Instead of taking up massive amounts of electricity, the production of the final store of value – pig parts – requires only a massive agricultural system dedicated to the wholesale destruction of mammals that are as smart as dogs and, in the right context, quite cute. The end product, bacon, is considered by many to be far more interesting than anything Vitalik created. In short, it’s a win-win.

How does it work? It’s basically a sweepstakes. From the rules and regulations:

The value of the Bacoin is tied to overall sharing meaning that the more people who share via the Website (as outlined above), the higher the value of the Bacoin. If overall sharing is slow, the value of the Bacoin will decrease. If sharing is slow and the value of the Bacoin is low, Sponsor may increase value of Bacoin in its sole discretion. The current value of the Bacoin will be displayed on the Website. Once the Bacoin is at a value you want, follow the instructions to “cash out” and you will receive a coupon with the corresponding value (all possible values of the Bacoin coupon are outlined in Section 4 below).

The current value of a single mined bacoin is about 28 slices of bacon and the more you share the more you mine. Given that it is in no way a decentralized cryptocurrency and has nothing to do with anything technical at all I’m hard pressed to find a reason to post this here except to admire the sheer chutzpah of a company who knows exactly what breed of Reddit-loving bacon eater will jump at a chance to Tweet about pork products. To paraphrase another saying by my friend Nicholas Deleon: I hope the asteroid they promised comes for us all soon.

Bacoin. Yeah.

Impossible Foods goes to White Castle

Impossible Foods is taking another bite out of the meat supply chain, with the announcement that it’s meatless burger substitute is coming to America’s first fast food burger chain — White Castle.

That’s right, now stoned vegan hippies can join stoned slackers in their quest for cheap, delicious burger-y goodness.

The “Impossible Slider” which is made from Impossible Foods’ vegetable-based ground beef substitute, will now be available for $1.99, or as part for a combo meal.

It’s hard to understate the importance of this as Impossible Foods now makes the jump from higher-end, fast-casual restaurants to a truly mass consumer, fast food chain.

If the company’s mission to be a viable competitor to ground beef — and ultimately replace it — Impossible Foods was going to have to make the jump from Umami Burger to “Impossible Slider” at some point.

As we wrote last month, the company has been beefing up its balance sheet to make just such a move — raising nearly $300 million in funding to take its burgers to Asia, and across America.

As part of the deal, the Impossible Slider will be available at 140 locations in the New York-New Jersey corridor and around Chicago and its suburbs.

“White Castle’s model has been often imitated but never duplicated — an impressive feat in the
hyper-competitive fast-food sector,” said Impossible Foods’ founder and chief executive Patrick Brown in a statement. “We look forward to working closely with White Castle, and together learning how to popularize plant-based meat with mainstream burger lovers.”

Now You Can Combine Your Love of Doughnuts and Exercise With Dunkin’ Donuts Sneakers

Dunkin’ Donuts has rolled out a pair of branded sneakers just in time for the Boston Marathon so coffee fans can literally run on Dunkin.

The beloved coffee and donut chain is the inspiration behind Massachusetts-based shoe brand Saucony’s annual limited edition design for the Boston Marathon. The running shoes feature Dunkin’s famous color scheme of pink and orange, as well as sprinkles and a pink frosted donut design on the heels. Inside the shoe, the soles have images of both a hot and an iced coffee and the tongues of each pair prominently feature Dunkin’s DD logo. And lest anyone be confused about what these shoes pay homage to, Saucony has included text that reads “Boston” on the side of the shoe and a reflective strip on the back of the shoe that adroitly reminds wearers and observers alike, that “America runs on Dunkin.”

The shoes, which are available for pre-order on Saucony’s website, retail for $110. See the shoe below.

‘Sweet Jesus’ Ice Cream Won’t Change Its Name Even Though People Are Mad About It

There are few ways to please everyone quite like ice cream does, but the ice cream chain Sweet Jesus has really upset a bunch of people.

The Canadian ice cream company, which is expanding into the U.S., has sparked controversy among thousands of Christianity believers who think Christ is one sweet treat that just doesn’t belong on a cone.

Sweet Jesus makes gigantic, brightly-colored swirl cones with plenty of mix-ins. Counted among the menu are soft serve flavors like “Hella Nutella,” which gets topped with the hazelnut spread, corn flakes and crumbled wafer cookies, and “Red Rapture,” which comes coated in red velvet cake, raspberry sauce and meringue crumble.

But the picturesque appeal is lost on the store’s critics who take issue with not only the name but the packaging. The upside-down cross on the company’s cups has raised more than a little hell.

More than 1,100 people signed a petition started by Ian O’Sullivan demanding that Sweet Jesus change its name “immediately” and remove the “antichrist imagery” from the cups as of Tuesday morning.

“If this Ice Cream chain is permitted to keep the mocking and blasphemous name of Sweet Jesus, what is next?” the petition states.

Nearly 10,000 signed a similar petition on CitizenGo.

None of this has been enough to thaw Sweet Jesus’s resolve.

The company made it clear the name’s not going anywhere and “was created from the popular phrase that people use as an expression of enjoyment, surprise or disbelief. Our aim is not to offer commentary on anyone’s religion or belief systems. Our own organization is made up of amazing people that represent a wide range of cultural and religious beliefs.”

The Perfect Hot Chocolate Doesn't Exi- 🤭😲 😍

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