The Cost of Poor Food Safety Practices ($$$!)

We've all heard it once, and we'll hear it again. Whether it's made top news headlines or heard from a friend or family member, food safety is critical in a business's success. 

On May 8th, 2017, Marion Nestle, from Food Politics, launched an article sharing Dole's costs associated with poor food safety practices. In just two years, Dole, a private company, who will now be going public, had spent $36 million between 2015 - 2016 in managing recalls. 2015 included about $10.8 million in costs covering bagged salads which contained Salmonella. In just the next consecutive year, 2016 included about $25.5 million in costs associated with Listeria. 

Read the direct article from Food Politics here: http://www.foodpolitics.com/2017/05/the-cost-of-poor-food-safety-practices-36-million-in-two-years/

Still think you don't need a food safety employee in your organization? Think again! Contact Food Happy Consulting to chat about consulting opportunities today.

The Rise of Coffee Alternatives

The smell of freshly ground and brewed locally sourced coffee in the morning is enough to encourage the majority of us to get out of bed, especially on weekdays. Even as we spend our weekends off of work and outdoors with friends and family, coffee, as we know it, is our modern day centerpiece.

Let's face it - coffee isn't going anywhere, and as a satisfied consumer, it's not what I'm seeking whatsoever. After all, it is what is currently fueling me to write this article. What I would like to shed some light on, however, is some of the innovative coffee-alternatives that have found themselves on market shelves that range from your local co-ops to convenience stores. 

First things first - let's give a shout out to yerba mate, the ancient South American stimulant sourced from a tree in the rain forest. This unique tasting beverage was first really commercialized by Guayaki, a U.S. based company who wanted to share it's benefits with the world. You can view their website here http://guayaki.com/mate/130/Yerba-Mate.html to read more extensively about the beverage and it's associated health benefits.

Next we have Runa, which was the first company to really bring guayasa to the market. Sourced from the Amazonian regions, guayasa was something that tribes would consume as a natural source of caffeine while the people of the tribes used this time to slow down and connect with one another. It's leaves are gathered from the small trees in the rainforest and then dried and steeped with water to make the hot or cold beverage. Guayasa contains less caffeine per cup than coffee but more caffeine per cup than green tea or yerba mate. You can find Runa's wonderful products here http://runa.org/products/#products  

Another ancient beverage known for it's caffeine content is matcha. Recognized for it's high antioxidant levels, it's roots stem from Japan and China. Historically, matcha was a rare type of tea processing that was used in tea ceremonies. There is still to date, a traditional form of matcha on the marked that is named ceremonial grade. Matcha has become so mainstream that Starbucks even began using a matcha in some of their beverages a few years ago. Ito En, one of the long time providers of matcha and other tea products, recently launched a new line of matcha powders called "matcha love". I love them for their price range, freshness and offering of organic matcha. You can find out more about Matcha Love here http://www.itoen.com/matcha_love 

Last but not least, maca, an antioxidant native to Peru, has been used for centuries for its stimulating and therapeutic effects. Re-immersed into North America during the superfood movement, (which I believe is very much so still taking place) maca was one of the many ancient superfoods that began to become commercialized and more readily available. Today, food companies like SOL Natural Foods, have brought innovative maca-containing products to the market called Macaccino. SOL's new line of roasted maca has the perfect proportion of the inclusion of other ingredients for a delectable mouth feel and tasting note. It is wonderful consumed alone or with a splash of milk and sugar. You can read more about Macaccino here https://solnaturalfoods.com/?gclid=CjwKEAjw9Zu5BRCS_OuVibujhQ0SJAD7t4Kr4OMkSU7F4dJnQOkgZPBccKyx_MzK42a33hRWbvt2RBoCYHfw_wcB 

The Rise of Artisan Food Makers Across the Nation

Whether you're in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Brooklyn, Portland or any of the top rated foodie cities, there's no doubt you've been feeling the upswing of the artisan food movement. I like to think of this of more of an off shoot of the grassroots food movement. People are feeling more inspired, educated and empowered to take matters into their own hands. It may begin as simple as changing the way you eat, shopping at a new grocery store or getting to the point of realizing there's nothing on the market that holds a candle to your grandmother's BBQ sauce recipe. Whatever motivates you foodies out there, keep the new products coming! 

Let's face it, we all need inspiration. Whether it's Pinterest, Kickstarter or Instagram, us millennials are always hungry for more, no pun intended. In this blog post, I wanted to share some of my favorite sources of inspiration within the artisan food movement. These shows can be focused around merely browsing for inspiration, or, if you are prepared to launch your new food products, they are wonderful platforms to do so. Since Food Happy is based in LA, these are mainly Los Angeles based; however, I encourage you to reach out to these organizations to see if they have events in your area. If enough demand is there, the event organizers may consider expanding for the coming years! 

I wish you all a wonderful weekend filled with smiles, sunshine and lots of foodie feasting! Until next time, stay food happy! 

Artisan Inspired Shows to Check Out:

Artisanal LA: http://artisanalla.com/

Artists & Fleas (LA, Venice, Chelsea Market & Williamsburg): http://www.artistsandfleas.com/losangeles/

Unique Markets (LA, Toronto, New Orleans & Vancouver): http://www.uniquemarkets.com/

Good Food Festival: http://www.goodfoodfestivals.com/

Natural Products Expo (West & East): http://www.expowest.com/ew16/public/enter.aspx

 

Contact us today to see how we can help launch your innovative food products!  natalie@foodhappyconsulting.com

Expo West Natural Foods Show Re-cap 2016

This year's Expo West natural food convention  at the Anaheim Convention Center was buzzing and busier than ever! With two halls dedicated to hot & new products, it was difficult to have enough time to gaze through all of the trending new companies and their featured products. Between connecting with old colleagues and making new connections, it is fair to desire a brief recap of what some of the most talked about items were. 

To help with the summary of what was who's companies and products were most recognized for their innovation, New Hope has written about their "NEXTY" award winning products which you can find here:

http://www.expowest.com/ew16/public/Content.aspx?ID=1063075

If you feel like you still may have missed some of the buzz, try visiting some food blogger's sites like the Chalkboard Mag, to read an article written by Alexa Gray from Super Food Super Life, to see what they've deemed most innovative from the 2016 show which you can find here:

http://thechalkboardmag.com/10-big-natural-trends-from-inside-last-weeks-expo-west

Other direct blogger sites like My Vegan Journal, are constantly posting information about natural food companies who are launching new products, like the blog written about new Hampton Creek products, here:

http://myveganjournal.com/hampton-creek-announces-43-new-products/

From everything from non foods to foods and supplements, Expo West provides the entire natural food industry a place to showcase, network and talk about natural food industry initiatives so we can opt to communicate, educate and collaborate on the natural foods industry together.

Cheers to continued good eats until we meet again at the next natural foods convention! Stay food happy! 

 

November's Food Makers News : Chipotle's Ecoli Outbreak and Making Quality a Priority

With the holidays amidst us and employees requesting their vacation time, it is easy for us to overlook quality and slip up during this hectic time of season. I am here to help emphasize that regardless of the time of year, quality should be top of mind for food makers across the globe. 

Not only does your brand reputation and consumer loyalty lie in your consistent approach to quality, but many food borne illness become a very real possibility within the manufacturing food world. If you haven't yet read up on it, the large Mexican quick service restaurant, Chipotle, had to close down 43 stores due to a food borne illness outbreak of Ecoli. You can read more about in through the Food Business News website here: http://www.foodbusinessnews.net/articles/news_home/Food_Safety_News/2015/11/Chipotle_to_reopen_restaurants.aspx?ID={0C122D4C-BE51-42A2-BDF1-D5691C80D745}&cck=1

Ecoli is one of the most deadly food born illnesses and has been prevalent for many years now. The harshest strain of E Coli with the most severe health effects is Ecoli O157:H7, which can cause bloody diarrhea, kidney failure and even death. Ecoli is most commonly found in uncooked beef, raw milk and unpasteurized juice products.  For those food makers who are producing foods that fall into this criteria, be sure to properly educate yourself and your employees on food borne illnesses that have a higher risk for your specific products. Governmental websites like CDC, FDA and the USDA are a great place to start. Food Safety.gov shares with us some more information about this food borne pathogen:  http://www.foodsafety.gov/poisoning/causes/bacteriaviruses/ecoli/ 

I wish you all a beautiful rest of your November! Remember to take some time for family gatherings and your own self-care but make sure enough hands are on deck to ensure quality is a priority in your food business endeavors. If you do need any help at all, please do not hesitate to contact me at: natalie@foodhappyconsulting.com

Happy Foodie Feasting! 

 

2016: Setting the tone for a new year of food making

Can you believe 2016 is nearly here? I hope this message finds you in a place where you have given yourself and your employees permission to relax and reflect on the growth and successes of the year. Regardless of what sort of hiccups you and your food business may have encountered in 2015, I'm sure there have been successes. 

Think about where your business and team was in January of 2015. How many of there were you? Who was involved? What did your manufacturing process look like? How was your inner-company culture? It is important for us to really spend some time on not only our accomplishments for the year but also our learnings. What did you or someone else do that may have not worked so well? What were the learnings? How will you better manage the concern in the new year? As food makers, our goals are simple - to have continuous improvement and make great food. This involves the food we make, the people we hire and the processes we utilize. We are one team on one mission - to make incredibly delicious, wholesome, quality and safe food for the human population to savor! Below are some tips to cultivate a positively foodie culture for the new year.

1. Create a positive work culture.

Everybody who is happier works more efficiently. Not only do they enjoy what they do but they actually desire to be at work! The more positive upper management can be, the more of  a ripple effect it will have on the rest of the company. Regardless of what product you may be manufacturing, the truth is - we are the people behind the scenes in making food for others. That in itself is a pretty amazing fact if you really think about it. 

Allow this positive energy to breed within your food company starting with you. Each one of us hold a certain level of responsibility at our workplace and this begins with how we start each day. Sure - some of us may have woken up deprived of sleep, exhausting from working on a project all night and taking care of the kids, but our responsibility of being a positive foodie is to recognize that our responsibility begins before we step into the office.  How will we show up today? How do we breed positivity for the rest of our team and  most importantly - the food we are creating! 

2. Empower employees to speak up. 

The more comfortable our workforce feels to speak up and feel that their opinion and voice matters, the more honest of a workforce we will breed. Whether the topic is food safety, operations or HR related, our foodie workforce needs to know that we care and are listening. Be sure to incorporate trainings and one-on-one meetings to show your employees you are supporting them along the way. Think about how you are recognizing and rewarding good behavior as each step of the process and every person matters. At Food Happy, we believe that each person inputs their energy into the food we make; therefore, making it integral to make sure the food makers themselves are staying happy! 

3. Stay passionate about the future of food! 

We are the leaders of our food revolution as we know it! People are becoming more and more aware of what is in their food and how its being made which makes us the brains behind the operations. Staying excited about the future of food is key in mantaining our positive business culture. It is important to never forget that our type of business holds a bit more significance than other industries, as without food - nobody would be able to survive for very long. Our food business is essential, which makes it incredibly exciting! 

Think about how you are keeping your workforce excited about the future of not only your business but the food industry as a whole. Perhaps you plan quarterly foodie group outings to experience new restaurants or farmers markets. Maybe you hold weekly meetings every Friday to talk about new products or other foodie news going on in the world. Whatever it may be, have a way to keep everyone on board and excited about the future of food!

 

Wishing everyone a positive and food happy 2016! Please feel free to contact me at natalie@foodhappyconsulting.com with any questions! 

FDA's Food Safety Modernization Act & What It Means for You

The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was signed by Obama in 2011 and poses new requirements for food manufacturers across the nation. If you haven't already heard of it, read the statent from the FDA below.  

Directly quoted by the FDA, "The Food Safety Modernization Act, the most sweeping reform of our food safety laws in more than 70 years, was signed into law by President Obama on January 4, 2011. It aims to ensure the U.S. food supply is safe by shifting the focus from responding to contamination to preventing it." http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/

Stay up-to-date:

What's important to keep in mind, as a food maker, is to stay abreast on all evolving regulatory standards. To keep updated with all FDA updates, subscribe to their FSMA updates page. https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/USFDA/subscriber/new?topic_id=USFDA_206 

Additionally, subscribing to organizations focused around food safety like Food Safety News  http://www.foodsafetynews.com/ can help in making sure you stay updated with current events in the industry. 

Know your training options:

A handful of certification bodies have expanded their training offerings to include FSMA updates. SCS Global is providing a workshop https://www.scsglobalservices.com/fsma-preventive-controls-for-human-food-pchf-workshop as well as Eurofins, to name a few. http://www.eurofinsus.com/food-safety/training/fsma-preventive-controls/  

 

Contact Food Happy Consulting today to see how we can support you and your food business in getting prepared for FSMA regulations!