This is the web version of a list we publish twice-weekly in our newsletter. It comprises the most noteworthy food stories of the moment, selected by our editors. Get it first here.
Peeved. There is no such thing as a Lady Dorito. And judging by the backlash, there never will be.
Truth. Turmeric will not make you thin, pretty, or happy.
Blended. In an interview on Fox Business, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt said he wants to “reform” a system that requires oil companies to blend renewables like ethanol into their transportation fuel supplies. That approach might win the support of oil and gas companies, but could further alienate Trump supporters in corn-growing states like Iowa, where the federal ethanol mandate has been an economic windfall.
Steamed. Tyson Foods, the nation’s largest meatpacker, is on an investment tear. In the past two months, it purchased stakes in many prominent alternative protein startups: plant-based protein company Beyond Meat in December, and cultured lab meat company Memphis Meats in January.
Now, with the announcement of a new venture today, Tyson has officially entered the meal-kit market. TechCrunch reports that the company has bought an undisclosed stake in Tovala, the so-called “Keurig for Food” that made headlines in 2017. Calling Tovala a “meal-kit” company may actually be a stretch. Centered around a $399 steam oven that heats prepackaged meals, the company has explicitly pitched itself as food delivery for people too lazy to cook Blue Apron. Its CEO, David Rabie, seems to feel the product is also somehow like Netflix. Last year we wrote about how Tovala and Blue Apron highlight the dissonance between two types of wealthy American eaters: Those who see food as a process, and those who view it simply as a product.
Animals are people. Earlier this year, Illinois became the second state in the country to recognize household pets as something more like children, considering their well-being before allocating sole or joint custody in divorce proceedings. In a report on this development, The New Republic looks to an even more radical proposition on the horizon: that animals have the right not to be unlawfully detained under habeas corpus. “We kill millions of animals a day for food,” a law professor tells TNR. “If they have the right to bodily liberty, it’s basically a holocaust.”
Men are dogs. The last we heard from Wayne Pacelle, the chief executive of the Humane Society of the United States, he was blasting the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for abolishing animal welfare requirements that would “prove crippling” to a group of organic farmers who make a point of treating their animals well. That is, until last week, when he resigned after the Washington Post reported that three women had accused Pacelle of sexual harrassment. Already, producers and retailers that hawk animal products are rejoicing. On Super Bowl Sunday, a nonprofit that lobbies on behalf of fast-food companies urged viewers to spurn the organization and donate to animal shelters instead. All told? The unwanted attention on the Humane Society is “good news for those of us who know the organization’s true intentions to abolish animal agriculture, and promote a vegan lifestyle,” writes a columnist in BEEF Daily.
SOLD. Google recently dropped over $2 billion to acquire a former New York City Nabisco cookie factory now known as Chelsea Market, Bloomberg reports. If you have yet to indulge in the uniquely New York experience that is Chelsea Market, it’s one of the newer places in the city that offers handmade jewelry, luxury candles, and oh so many “natural,” “healthy,” “fresh,” “seasonal” dining options all in one place! However, it’s currently unclear what Google’s plan is for the newly acquired 1.2 million-square-feet property conveniently located on the same block as its New York headquarters. So, maybe you should visit sooner than later?
Leased. Last week, we reported on an online ordering platform with its eye on starting an “out of the box” pizza delivery service. We thought it sounded a lot like a traditional restaurant. Now comes news that other delivery services are “verticalizing” their businesses. Postmates has rented a kitchen outside downtown Los Angeles specifically to prepare more delivery-only orders for a particularly desirable ramen restaurant, according to the Los Angeles Times. In exchange, the company, for the capital outlay, Postmates takes a higher cut of the revenue generated by the new orders.
Sticker shock. Bumble Bee Foods has reached an $85,000 settlement with a Chula Vista, California resident who claims he was deceived by the packaging on canned smoked salmon fillets. Evidently, it’s an issue of marketing. Bumble Bee uses an image depicting an Alaska-sourced, wild-caught fish on a few other canned salmon products, but made the mistake of using the same image on this one—which is actually made with farmed Chilean coho. The plaintiff also alleged the company added “smoke flavor” to the fish. Undercurrent News has the story.