Protein Farmers Changing the Landscape of our Food System

Poultry farmers in the United States face an ever-evolving host of issues today: the use of antibiotics, animal welfare concerns, sustainability, proper waste management—and all while trying to make a profit.

Chicken has a relatively small carbon footprint when compared to other meats, and the concept is not showing any signs of slowing in terms of customer popularity. According to Foodable Labs, chicken has seen consumer demand for chicken inclusion on menus rise by 19.8 percent, and chefs have added chicken to menus by a rate of 23.9 percent.

Protein Consumer Sentiment Ranking

Chicken is second only to plant-based meat—an exploding industry—in terms of consumer sentiment. But consumers are becoming increasingly concerned about the quality of the food that they are eating, and the methods in which food is grown or raised. For all of the benefits of chicken, those benefits can be lost or lessened if the chicken is mishandled or mistreated.

Tyson Foods is working to make poultry farming efficient and affordable while still adhering to best animal well-being practices and its high standards for food quality. The corporation currently contracts over 4,000 independent poultry farmers, and pays over $800 million each year for their services. Jacque, a current poultry farmer in contract with Tyson, has loved her and her husband’s years of working with Tyson.

“Some of the best blessings we have is from farming,” says Jacque. “We think Tyson represents quality, it represents hard work. It represents animal welfare and everyone working together to advocate for a healthy happy animal.”

“There’s nothing factory farm about our farm,” adds Jacque. “This is a family farm. It’s how we make a living, and it’s how we teach important values to our children. There’s nothing factory about it.”

On average, contracted Tyson Foods poultry farmers have worked with the corporation for over fifteen years. Contracts are generally negotiated to last at least three to seven years.

Contract farming at Tyson Foods gives farmers peace of mind: their compensation is not at the behest of the rise and fall of corn, soybean, and other chicken feeding ingredients. Tyson exclusively provides all of the feed farmers need. Poultry farmer compensation is instead determined based on how the chickens are cared for and overall bird weight gain.

Most major poultry processing companies use a similar performance-based pay program. And according to a 2014 study conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, contract poultry farmers have a higher median income when compared to other farm households.

Poultry farmer contracts are highly regulated at the federal level to ensure farmers’ rights are protected. All contracted poultry farmers have the right to:

  • end a contract with 90 days notice

  • a 90 day notice of contract termination from the processor

  • join an association of farmers

  • seek the advice and counsel of outside parties regarding their contract.

Tyson Foods also offers a program for struggling farmers to help improve their performance and avoid the need for contract termination.

Poultry farmers contracted by Tyson Foods must also—pre-contract—fulfill a list of modern housing specifications to ensure proper ventilation and a comfortable bird living environment. Maintenance concerns and necessary repairs must also be completed in a timely manner. Any technical or animal management problems are handled by Tyson Foods service technicians and animal welfare specialists.

This post is brought to you by Tyson Foods. To see more content like this, visit The Modern Chef Network.

How Global Trends Are Influencing Our Food Habits

Current market assessments strongly suggest that seafood consumption will rise year over year. According to Foodable Labs, food influencers have increased their references to seafood by 24.7 percent—a surge larger than any other protein.  Consumers under the age of 40 now constitute almost 40 percent of the United States, and they are searching for new types of protein that are nutritious, responsibly sourced, and carefully prepared.

At the last Foodable.io event in Seattle, Paul Barron hosted a panel discussing the latest seafood trends with three rising chefs in the industry: Keith Brunell, corporate chef at retail and food and beverage giant Nordstrom, Derek Simcik, the executive chef at rooftop bar Scout and The Nest (part of the boutique hotel Thompson Seattle), and Lionel Uddipa, the chef de cuisine for new American restaurant Salt in Juneau, Alaska.

Sustainability is no longer a trend: for many restaurants, it is becoming a necessity and an integral part of day-to-day operations. More and more customers want to know where products come from and how they are sourced and handled—and they want to keep the flavor compositions simple and truly taste the fish itself. Customization and accommodation options also popular to ensure that every consumer receives a dish that meets the needs of their preferred diet.

“As far as the cooking technique, we don’t do a lot. We try to serve the dish in its most purest form,” says Uddipa. “We’ve learned that if you have a story associated with the dish, the customer tends to pinpoint that. They understand and are amazed by the vision and the creation that went into the dish.”

To learn more about the latest trends and educating both consumers and cooks regarding seafood preparation, listen to the full episode of the podcast above.

Musselman’s is Taking Apple Butter to the Next Level with its New Fusions Line

Consumer tastes are constantly evolving. Today, guests are craving flavors that are exciting yet approachable. But they are also more discerning in their expectations that their dishes be made with clean ingredients.

With that in mind, at Foodable Network, we are consistently surveying products that cater to the consumer demand for both delicious and clean label foods.  

Apple butter remains a consumer favorite and Musselman’s Apple Butter is a leader in the category.

But Musselman’s isn't complacent in its success, choosing to take its apple butter to the next level. The company is shaking up the marketplace with the launch of a foodservice line of Fusions featuring on-trend flavors that have been blended with apple butter by chefs for years.  

Musselman’s Apple Butter Fusions Line |   Foodable Network

Musselman’s Apple Butter Fusions Line | Foodable Network

Musselman’s is Turning Simple to Signature 

“We wanted to make sure we were pairing apple butter with not only things that work well with it, but also with flavors that are on an upswing,” said Bob Fisher, vice president of marketing, Knouse Foods, the parent company of Musselman’s. “These items have a tremendous amount of flexibility and a wide range of uses. Far more than I think we anticipated when we first developed the idea for the product line.” 

Musselman’s launched the line to offer a solution for operators who are looking to pique the palate of millennial diners in the QSR/fast casual and family dining sectors. 

“What we love about the Fusions brand is it brings apple butter to the masses. It's making apple butter a younger, more vibrant, more exciting, and unique category than before. It’s our way of expanding apple butter into a segment that is far more engaging,” said Allie Canterbury, marketing manager of food service, Knouse Foods.

Not to mention, the Fusions’ squeezable bottles make them easy to use and cook with.

Like Fisher said Musselman’s selected its six Fusion flavors because they are flavors that consumer can’t seem to get enough of. 

In the video above, Foodable Host Layla Harrison is joined by Culinarian Andy Tilis where they discuss Musselman’s iconic Apple Butter and two of the new Fusion flavors.

One of Musselman’s new Fusions flavor they taste test is the Mango Habanero.

Musselman's Apple Butter Dijon Mustard and Mango Habanero Fusions |   Foodable Network

Musselman's Apple Butter Dijon Mustard and Mango Habanero Fusions | Foodable Network

In a recent Foodable Labs report on flavor trends, habanero ascended jalapeño as the most used pepper by chefs over the last year. As far as mango is concerned, it is one of the top two fruit infusions on chef’s menus today, according to recent Foodable Labs data.  

The Mango Habanero is vegan, gluten-free, and fat-free. It’s a triple threat of flavor with the tastes of apple, mango, and habanero all in one. It’s sweet yet spicy profile makes it perfect to pair with fish, especially salmon or cod. 

In the video above, Andi uses the Mango Habanero to glaze a cod to give the fish an extra burst of flavor. But she also demonstrates how the Fusion can be used as a dipping sauce for sides like sweet potatoes.   

It’s also popular as a savory sauce added to wings, sliders, chicken strips, nuggets and much more. See what other proteins and sides this Fusion pairs well with in the video above.

The other flavor highlighted above in the tasting video is the Musselman’s Dijon Mustard Apple Butter Fusion. This flavor, which is also vegan and gluten-free, offers a sweet base saturated with the spicy and tangy taste of Dijon mustard. 

“It takes an ordinary sandwich and makes it so much more,” said Fisher.

This Fusion isn’t only a great spread for sandwiches, but can also create an elevated taste experience for classics such as burgers, paninis, sliders, and of course, on soft pretzels. 

Stay tuned for our part-two video coming soon that showcases other new exciting Musselman’s Apple Butter Fusion Flavors that turn the ordinary to “oh wow.”

Editor’s Note: This is a sponsored post.

Video Produced by:

Vanessa Rodriguez

Vanessa Rodriguez

Writer & Producer


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The Top 20 Plant-Based Chefs and Foodies

The consumer demand for plant-based menu items is at an all-time high. 

According to recent Foodable Labs data, there was a 129 percent spike in whole vegetable dishes on chef menus year over year.

The plant-based movement only continues to gain more momentum and this is thanks to chefs and foodie cooks presenting veggie-centric dishes that aren't only appealing to vegans and vegetarians. 

Not to mention, more and more meat-eaters have become flexitarians, where their diet is primarily plant-based but they occasionally eat meat.

Smoothie bowl with raw foods  |  Shutterstock

Smoothie bowl with raw foods | Shutterstock

So what chefs and foodies are getting the most social attention for their plant-based dishes? 

We pulled from Foodable Labs data to curate a list of the Top 20 Plant-based Chefs and Foodies based on their combined social Sentiment and Engagement score. 

Let's take a closer look at the top five vegan chefs and foodies dazzling taste buds with their plant-based dishes. 

No. 1 Matthew Kenney

This east coast celebrity chef and author has been a trailblazer in the industry with his vegan cuisine and opened his 15th vegan restaurant this last summer. 

After attending the French Culinary Institute (which is now known as the International Culinary Center,) he worked at multiple upscale restaurants in New York City where he rose through the ranks. 

He opened his first restaurant Matthew's in 1993 and it quickly received multiple accolades. Then in 2004, he opened his first vegan concept Pure Food and Wine. He later founded the PlantLab, (formerly known as The Matthew Kenney Academy) a raw vegan and plant-based focused culinary school.

Today Kenney continues to build his culinary empire. He now has 15 restaurants around the world with nine more in the works.

Kanu, his newest restaurant in Canada, serves plant-based dishes all day including the Butternut Squash Nachos with guacamole, salsa verde, lime crema, radish over blue corn chips and Heirloom Tomato & Zucchini Lasagna with sun-dried tomato marinara, macadamia ricotta, and pistachio pesto. 

No. 2 Angela Liddon

This blogger turned award-winning writer has built a plant-based recipe empire. 

She started her blog Oh She Glows back in 2008 when she was recovering from an eating disorder and wanted to share her journey of finding a healthy lifestyle.  

The blog and its unique recipes quickly garnered millions of online readers and this home chef has built the Oh She Glows blog into a vegan lifestyle brand. 

In 2014, Liddon published her first book "The Oh She Glows Cookbook," which was a "New York Times" Bestseller. 

Fast forward to today and the blog now has 1 million unique readers a month and features over 550 healthy plant-based recipes like the Instant Pt Cauliflower and Butternut Thai Curry and vegan 3-Ingredient Chia and Quinoa Flatbread.

No. 3 Chloe Coscarelli

This vegan chef started her own vegan lifestyle in 2004. This is when she realized that the options for vegan eaters were scarce, so she started on a mission to bring more plant-based dishes to the masses. 

She studied at the Natural Gourmet Institute in New York City and went on to focus on plant-based nutrition with a certification from Cornell University's online program. 

But it was eight years ago when Coscarelli's culinary career blew up. This is when she appeared on the wildly popular baking competition TV show "Cupcake Wars" and was the first vegan to win a competition on television. 

After that, she published her first cookbook "Chloe's Kitchen" in 2012, then another cookbook "Chloe's Vegan Desserts in 2013" and "Chloe's Vegan Italian Kitchen" in 2014. 

She went on to open the fast-casual chain By Chloe, which there are five stores of now and she is no longer affiliated. In March of this year, she published another plant-based cookbook "Chloe Flavor: Saucy, Crispy, Spicy, Vegan" which features recipes like the No-Huevos Rancheros, and Banaba Doughnuts with Maple Glaze. 

Want to see what other chefs and foodies made this list? Check out the video above and the full top 20 list below. 

  1. Matthew Kenney | Instagram | 192.15

  2. Angela Liddon | Instagram | 192.08

  3. Chloe Coscarelli | Instagram | 190.85

  4. Timothy Pakron | Instagram | 191.27

  5. David Lee | Instagram | 189.67

  6. Dana Shultz | Instagram | 189.37

  7. Ayindé Howell | Instagram | 189.02

  8. Horacio Rivadero | Instagram | 188.27

  9. Josef Centeno | Instagram | 186.08

  10. Chef Babette | Instagram | 186.07

  11. Todd Erickson | Website | 186.06

  12. Laura Oates | Instagram | 185.34

  13. Eddie Garza | Instagram | 185.27

  14. Gaz Oakley | Instagram | 185.02

  15. Maya Sozer | Instagram | 184.99

  16. Charlie Grippo| Instagram | 183.08

  17. Isa Chandra Moskowitz | Instagram | 181.49

  18. Doug McNish | Instagram | 180.91

  19. Tal Ronnen | Instagram | 180.55

  20. Richa Hingle | Instagram | 180.18

Restaurant Traffic is Down by Almost 30 Percent

2018 has not been kind to the restaurant industry.

You may have noticed multiple headlines announcing the closure of stores of restaurant brands you thought were doing well in today's market.

We recently reported that even honeygrow is closing three stores in Chicago and then Taco Bueno filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Both these announcements were somewhat of a surprise considering both chains have grown wildly popular.

These restaurants aren't alone.

According to Foodable labs data, the number of restaurant closures is a record high. Social Restaurant Visits (SRVs) are down significantly, meaning restaurant traffic is slow.

With fewer customers visiting restaurants, fewer restaurant reservations are being made. The space is becoming even more competitive for not only restaurants but also for third-party services like restaurant reservation apps.

Resy is making a major play to compete with OpenTable.

The restaurant reservation service announced last week that it is acquiring another reservation company Reserve. OpenTable is being used by 50,000 restaurants currently. While Resy will soon be serving 14,000 restaurants after the acquisition. Resy has aggressive growth plans in the works too.

But will the recent restaurant slump take a bite out of Resy's business?

Customers aren't only visiting restaurants less but they are ordering pizza-less.

According to Foodable labs data, Pizza delivery is down by 18.5 percent year over year.

This is partly because the quality of the pizza being delivered most of the time isn't up to customers' standard.

However, there is a company that has come up with a solution to this problem– Zume Pizza.

Zume has transformed how pizza is being delivered. Zume is store-less and has a team of six different robots that assist in making the pizzas. The concept's delivery vehicles are also equipped with pizza ovens, so pizzas are ready for fast delivery. The company's innovative technology ensures that the pizza is always warm and fresh.

Last week, the automated pizza delivery company announced that it has raised an additional $375 million from SoftBank. It looks like the tech-focused pizza brand is about to take off with this massive investment.

Watch out UberEats, Zume could change the food delivery space forever.

Listen to The Barron Report above to learn more.