Let’s Talk Food: Recent food trends

Lab-grown tuna

The Wall Street Journal reports that “Finless Foods produces its lab-made bluefin tuna at scale. It expects to be in line with costs for conventional bluefin. It costs Finless slightly less than $4,000 to make a pound of tuna. Prices for conventional tuna vary.” This cost is expected to decrease through time.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Services and the Food and Drug Administration will jointly oversee the production of lab-grown meat products. “According to the agencies, the shared regulatory approach will ensure that cell-cultured products derived from the cell lines of livestock and poultry are produced safely and are accurately labeled.”

Under this agreement, the FDA will oversee cell collection, cell banks and cell growth and differentiation, while the Food and Safety and Inspection Services will oversee the production and labeling of human consumed food from the cells of livestock and poultry.

Ikea to test plant-based meatballs

Ikea, famous for its Swedish meatballs, is now offering veggie meatballs and chicken options, and will test plant-based meatballs in early 2020. The classic Kottbullar is served with lingonberry jam and is made with ground beef and pork. Added to that are onions, bread crumbs, eggs, water, salt and pepper.

The new veggie hot dog will be launched in August and is made with kale, red lentils, carrots, and ginger. Ikea claims this hot dog has about seven times less carbon dioxide emissions per kilogram than its standard version.

According to Michael La Cour, managing director at Ikea Food Services AB, Ikea wants to be more sustainable and “with the global reach that we have … we believe that we have a responsibility and a great opportunity to serve food that is good for the planet.”

Plant-based meat, egg and dairy industry

The Good Food Institute revealed that in 2017 and 2018 investments in plant-based meat, egg and dairy industries hit $16 billion dollars.

Since 2009, there were 19 acquisitions of plant-based companies, and 10 of these occurred in the past two years. One of the largest took place in 2017 when plant-based milk producer WhiteWave Foods was acquired by Danone for $12.5 billion.

According to Good Foods Institute Executive Director Bruce Friedrich: “Shifting consumer values have created a favorable market of alternatives to animal-based foods, and we have already seen fast-paced growth in this space across retail and food service markets.”

“With global demand for meat set to double by 2050, capturing even a fraction of this burgeoning market would represent a massive opportunity for both plant-based and cell-based meat companies.” said Good Food Institute Director of Innovation Brad Barbera.

Are vegans healthier?

In a recent Eating Well magazine, it stated Americans spent more than $3.1 billion on plant-based foods last year, which is an 8% increase from 2017. But on the downside, vegans could have side effects from the lack of iron, omega 3 fatty acids and vitamins D and B12.

Vitamin B12 is completely absent from plant-based foods, and a recent study showed that up to 60% of vegans are vitamin B12 deficient. In severe cases, vegans experience numbness, poor balance, depression, paranoia, memory loss, incontinence and other serious illnesses. However, these symptoms might not show up until being a vegan for many years. For lifelong vegans, taking a B12 supplement might be the answer.

Eggs under attack again!

Eggs have gone through a lot! It is true that eggs are an affordable source of protein, with nine essential amino acids we need.

In March, a new study published by the Journal of American Medical Association weighed in on the cholesterol in eggs. After analyzing 30,000 Americans from six separate studies, researchers concluded that eating an extra half-egg a day increased the risk of cardiovascular disease by 6% and premature death by 8% throughout the study period.

One large egg contains 186 mg of cholesterol, and the study showed an additional 300 mg of dietary cholesterol per day increased the risk of heart disease by 17% and premature death by 1%.

Frank Hu, chairman of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard Chan School of Public Health, who was not part of the study, says: “For those who are generally healthy, low to moderate intake of eggs can be included as part of a healthy eating pattern, but are not essential. For example, there is a range of other foods one can choose for a variety of healthful breakfasts, such as whole grain toast with nut butter, fresh fruits and plain yogurt.”

Foodie bites


Congratulations to Legacy Hilo Rehabilitation and Nursing Center for winning the People’s Choice Award at the 2019 Hilo Huli. Its dish was sweet and sour pork belly with kale quinoa and cream puffs.

Email Audrey Wilson at audreywilson808@gmail.com.

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