Health Mix: Reimagining Plant-Based Foods and the Rise of Kombucha

Thanks to ever-increasing consumer demand, foods with healthy, cleaner, and less processed ingredients are becoming more and more accessible throughout the industry. Hosted by brand consultant Yareli Quintana, the Health Mix podcast is committed to exploring all things “healthy” and unpacking what the term truly means in relation to emerging brands, foods, and lifestyles.

In the podcast’s opening two episodes, Quintana chats with Tyler Lorenzen, the CEO and president of plant-based food producer Puris, and Melanie Wade, the founder of kombucha and fermentation company Cultured South.

First founded in the 1980s by Lorenzen’s father, Puris supplies other brands that sell plant-based products in stores with nourishing, high quality pea protein. The company also helps participating brands with crafting product recipes.

Lorenzen describes Puris as part of the “intel” behind the plant-based movement.

“At the heart, we’re a seed company,” says Lorenzen. For him, the concept of the company has always been “that if we’d design better seeds, people will grow more organic and non-GMO crops. And if they could grow them, we’ll buy what they grow back and then make them into great tasting food. And that great tasting food will feed people the nutrition they need.”

The ultimate goal for Puris is to rework the system from feeding plants to animals and feeding animals to humans to simply having people eat healthy and delicious plants that fully meet the nutritional needs of humans.

As a former athlete, Lorenzen is particularly excited by the growing movement in athletics and sports nutrition toward plant-based products. “Athletes are choosing plant-based for performance reasons,” says Lorenzen, adding, “Can you sustain human life and have a highly nutritious life by plant based proteins? The answer is unequivocally yes.”

Listen to the podcast above to learn more about the history of Puris, the company’s current goals, and the future of the plant-based industry.

Cultured South is the offshoot creation of Wade’s original kombucha company—Golda Kombucha, the first and only kombucha company in Atlanta. The concept was inspired by Wade’s Grandma Golda, an avid kombucha maker and drinker. Golda Kombucha products are currently featured in over 100 Kroger and Whole Foods markets.

Cultured South is essentially a marketplace for local healthy southern food. The marketplace is also adjacent to a 1,200 square foot tap room that offers twelve different types of kombucha on tap, a vegan cheese tray, local crackers, pickles, and jam, and local vegan and dairy gelato.

“I wanted to create a space where people in Atlanta could come together over a love of kombucha and fermented things,” says Wade. The goal was “to experience and educate and not necessarily have to have alcohol in play to coordinate and connect with one another.”

Kombucha enthusiasts highlight the drink’s benefits for your gut and gastrointestinal tract. The drink is nutrient-dense and filled with probiotics. For Wade, the drink is the perfect alternative to the sugary and syrupy sodas currently available in today’s market.

Sustainability is a key element of the company’s mission. Cultured South recently switched from glass to cans, as Atlanta does not recycle glass.

“It’s really changed our business for the better,” notes Wade. “We can produce a lot more. It’s the most sustainable way that we’ve ever made kombucha because our product is 100 percent recyclable.”

Check out the podcast above to learn more about the benefits of drinking kombucha, the numerous flavors Golda Kombucha and Cultured South offers, and about water kefir—the probiotic beverage Wade terms the “mellow cousin” to kombucha.

Produced by:

Darisha Beresford

Darisha Beresford

Production Manager / Sr. Producer

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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.

B Corporations Are Gaining Popularity Globally

Businesses and consumers alike are increasingly seeking the same thing: businesses that are an active force for good. Consumers in the 25-44 age bracket are the most engaged in supporting B Corporations, and the overall rate of consumer sentiment toward B Corporations has consistently risen over the past decade, according to Foodable Labs. In the last 12 months alone, certified B Corporations have increased globally from about 2,600 to over 2,900 — suggesting that companies recognize the value of the label.

Founded in 1981, Signature Breads is one of the few B certified companies in the foodservice industry. In 2006, it became independent and employee-owned with an average employee tenure of over 14 years. Signature Breads constantly searches for new ways to improve its practices and provide opportunities for its employees. For example, the company employs “a diverse workforce of over 250 employees from over 19 countries, and hire up to 10 language translators for company-wide meetings to ensure all employees are fully aware of company news and announcements by hearing them in their native languages,” according to the B Corporation website.

Greyston Bakery and New Belgium Brewing are two other exceptional B certified companies in the foodservice industry.

As the main brownie supplier for Ben & Jerry’s, Greyston Bakery has an open hiring policy that prioritizes hiring people who have experienced homelessness, substance abuse, incarceration, and other hardships. All of its profits are directed toward the Greyston Foundation, which helps fund affordable housing and numerous support services for low-income families.

New Belgium Brewing is 100 percent employee-owned. Established in 1991, the brewery is also committed to supporting local social and environmental activists and works toward making its own practices sustainable and accountable.

Like all certified B Corporations, Signature Breads, Greyston Bakery, and New Belgium Brewing believe it has a social and environmental responsibility to do good and benefit as many people as possible.

Watch the clip above to learn more about Signature Breads and its mission to bring people together to change the world through the power of bread!

Vanessa Rodriguez

Vanessa Rodriguez

Writer & Producer


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Foodable Network Launches Chef AF a New Podcast

Today, Foodable is launching a new podcast — Chef AF, It’s All Food!— with Chef Jim Berman.

You may have already found out about the newest podcast addition to our show library, through The Barron Report’s latest piece where listeners had the chance to learn more about the chef and host.

Chef Berman has not only been a longtime Foodable expert contributor, but he’s also been a food writer for multiple publications while simultaneously working in and out of kitchens across the U.S.

Now, as the host of Chef AF, Chef Berman will have the chance to get his peers to “talk shop,” as he likes to say, in order to help other chefs and restaurant industry professionals navigate the wonderful yet complex kitchen life.

Chef AF, It’s All Food! is officially launching on Foodable Network today and it will soon be available in iTunes, Google Play and Spotify and other podcast listening platforms.

Listen to the first episode above to meet Berman and learn what you can expect to get from this new podcast!

Westward's Chef Will Gordon Shares His Matbucha Braised Wild Alaska Pollock Recipe

On this episode of On Foodable, we are featuring Chef Will Gordon, former Executive Chef of Westward, a Seattle restaurant located directly on the north shores of Lake Union. Chef Gordon will be working with wild Alaska pollock, provided by Trident Seafoods, to make a delicious Matbucha Braised Wild Alaska Pollock dish. This is the last episode out of our four-part series of chef demos that were filmed at our Foodable.io Seattle event, sponsored by the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute.

About the Dish

Wild Alaska Pollock Braised in Matbucha with Preserved Lemon Cream, Charred Shishito Peppers and Herbs

Wild Alaska Pollock is an underutilized, sustainable fish species.

Wild Alaska Pollock is an underutilized, sustainable fish species.


Ingredients:

  • 6 ea. / skinned, Wild Alaska Pollock Fillets

  • 1 recipe Matbucha

  • Lemon juice

  • Extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 pt preserved lemon crema

  • 24 ea. medium-sized shishito peppers washed

  • 3 pts mixed pickled herbs: parsley, mint, and dill

  • Finishing salt


Method of Cooking:

This recipe serves 6 people. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Heat up matbucha in two saute pans its oven proof handles (thin with a little bit of vegetable stock, water or tomato juice to the consistency of tomato sauce). When it is at a nice simmer, nestle in three portions of fish per pan, leaving space between each piece. Move to oven and bake for about 5 minutes, or until the fish is just done and flaky.  While the fish is in the oven, blister the shishito peppers in a hot, dry pan until black spots occur, and they are just cooked. Remove to a plate on the side.

After you remove the pans of fish from the oven, gently remove all of your fish to a plate off to the side. Put the matbucha back on the stove and reduce down if it needs it. Add a little olive oil, salt or lemon as necessary to make it taste as you like.  


Plating:

  • To serve, spoon some matbucha on each plate, nestle a few shishitos in the matbucha as well as your fish. Garnish with dollops of the preserved lemon cream and herbs that have been lightly dressed in extra virgin olive oil and salt.

Westward

“Westward is a restaurant with a real sense of place,” says Chef Gordon. “You can sit on the deck there, on the patio and look out and see all of Seattle… and eat oysters or eat a nice piece of fish out of our wood-fired oven and it’s like no where else in the world.”

To hear Will Gordon’s thoughts about what the role of a chef is today and to replicate his delicious sustainable fish dish, follow along by watching the episode above!