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#21 TILTBITS FOOD ISSUES – Snackpart

October 31st, 2011

Happy Halloween! Today is the day of ghouls and goblins,  a notorious treat-filled holiday. Kids come out for a night to seek sweets and sugary snacks and the house with the best and most tasty ones wins the ‘coolest’ award. It is excepted, supported and honored throughout the American past-time. This holiday represents the pinnacle of what we have come to know as Generation Snack and things are starting to a get a little tricky…

At an average of 540 additional calories we receive in snack food a day and about 24lbs worth of candy a year, we are an overfed and over sugared bunch. It is not just Halloween which ‘takes the cake’ in terms of calories, and we need to change the way we live. To us, eliminating the need for snacks is not the solution, since we now can’t live any other way with our busy lives, but there might be other solutions. What about increasing the need and actually consuming healthier snacks all day instead? We need to look forward to the future and think about what is up next.

We are already eating on the go… what if we just eliminated the need for eating a full meal and moved our area of interest to consuming lots of snacks throughout the day? If we played our cards right, we might be less hungry all around, have a more consistent blood sugar level, and absolutely 100% be able to maintain a conscious amount of required daily nutrients. There would be a lot of opportunity to be creative with meal times and to spend less time over all sitting and consuming.

This might not be the answer, but it is an idea to create change. Being open  to new ideas is what we should be focused on.

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HAVE FUN WITH HEALTHY SNACKS THIS HALLOWEEN

Using healthy, plant-based foods, you can spice up any Halloween party or snack. Check out the Almond and Apple Teeth or the Olive Eye and Guacamole Deviled Eggs or a Carrot and Almond White Mashed Potato Dip. Just be creative and think beyond the typical snack pack or candy bar.

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WHAT IS TILT DOING?

Tomorrow we are hosting a Webinar on the Snackpart. Our mission is to create change in the world using healthy, fresh and affordable food. We believe fully in altering and adjusting our mindset around snacks instead of just going back in time to the meal. Here is our future-style of eating. Small meals,every day, all day.

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October 31st, 2011

Posted by Rache

Food day is a success!

October 25th, 2011


Food Day was a success yesterday in Times Square in NYC. Mario Batali and friends had a massive table in the heart of the city with friends, family and industry members… all sharing in the magic of food.
©2011 PHILIP GREENBERG

Click here to go to foodday.org!

For media contact talk to Jeff Cronin

October 25th, 2011

Posted by Rache

Working with Waste

October 12th, 2011

The past few weeks have been busy for us here at TILT in London. We have been visiting various trade shows looking at new ideas as well meeting new and current clients. It’s been a time of learning, researching and engaging which has been both inspiring and uplifting.

At the Packaging Innovations  London 2011 Trade Show, I attended a seminar by Chris Baker, General Manager of TerraCycle entitled “Eliminating the Idea of Packaging Waste.” We are currently in the process of designing our own TILT packaged food range and I wanted to know what other companies are doing to tackle the issue of food packaging waste.

Chris started off by stating, “There is no waste in nature,” everything is reused or has a natural second life and it was with this focus that TerraCycle was created. How could this be recreated in our commercialized consumer world?

TerraCycle was founded in 2001 by a student who produced his own organic fertilizer. But the difference was he packaged it in used soda bottles. Recycling not only the output from the worms he used to create the fertilizer but also reusing packaging for a delivery system. Today TerraCycle works to create a different option for used materials diverting them from landfills and incinerators. The company works mainly with new waste streams i.e working to recycle or upcycle waste that was previously seen as non recyclable.  In this way they exist in harmony with local councils and governments existing recycling schemes rather than in competition with.

TerraCycle’s products range from new products created from recycling plastics and turning them into waste bins (Waste to waste!!) to products such as baby bibs made from old packaging from baby wipes.  Major companies collaborate with the company promoting the benefits of recycling and sending in their own waste streams. Upscaled products were also sold for a limited time in Walmart.

Communities can engage with TerraCycle by collecting waste and sending it in. This also raises money for charities and spreads the reusing waste message. The company website states that over £77,000 has been raised for charity already and has collected 7,205,133 units of waste in the UK alone. In the States this figure is a whopping $2,993,998 for charity and 2,113,708,673 units of waste.

I must admit I had previously thought that TerraCycle merely created recycled packaging but I can see they do so much more. They really get involved in the local and global communities and provide one answer to the issue of eliminating waste. Food and packaging waste is a global concern and one all companies and consumers must work together to face.  TerraCycle is a company offering a viable alternative to landfills and incinerators definitely worth checking out.

October 12th, 2011

Posted by rtottingham

How Convenience will have to change in response to Michelle Obamas Youth Health Requirements

August 15th, 2011

Like many of you, Michelle Obama recognizes the important role which food plays in our day to day lives. Obama is by no means the first to draw links between issues of child hunger and child obesity, but she goes further than most to state that these issues threaten the very essence of American life as they “rob our children of the energy, the strength and the stamina they need to succeed in school and in life. And that in turn robs our country of so much of their promise.” She continues this theme saying that not only does obesity-related disease cost the USA $147bn a year but “This epidemic also impacts the nation’s security, as obesity is now one of the most common disqualifiers for military service.”

Mrs Obama rightly points out that “Our kids didn’t do this to themselves” highlighting how the decisions which can impact much of their lives lie often in the hands of government and corporate giants and that therefore the Government and corporations must act to avert the ensuing epidemic. This is where the First Lady’s ‘Youth Health Requirements’ come in, with a substantial 400 million USD to tackle the following four issues:

  1. Healthy Choices: essentially making manufacturers display better nutrition labelling, designing a new food pyramid and giving regular monitoring of children’s BMI
  2. Healthier Schools: involves reauthorizing the Child Nutrition Act for improved school lunches and introducing the Healthier Schools Challenge
  3. Physical Activity: increase the participation in the Presidents Physical Fitness Challenge and use professional athletes to encourage children to engage in 60mins of physical activity every day.
  4. Access to affordable and healthy food: address the food deserts and make affordable and nutritious food more available to the 23.5 million Americans who live further than 1mile away from a major supermarket.

Already key retail and convenience chains including major household names have responded to Obamas call for action. McDonalds has expanded on its already greening agenda ‘road to sustainability’ to include fruit in its happy meals which Obama notes is a “positive step to solving childhood obesity” in addition McDonalds has pledged to reduce sugars, saturated fats, sodium and calories in its menu by 2020 due to consumer demand. However as one commentator noted whether the children will have space for their healthy food after they have finished their burgers and fries remains to be seen.

Another American favorite which already supplies over 25% of American groceries has shown its hand. Walmart is set to open 1500 new stores over the next five years in areas with little access to fresh produce, these will reach over 9.5million people and provide healthier, more affordable, and more identifiable healthy foods to the American public. Michelle Obama states that “it’s a victory for parents. It’s a victory for families, but most importantly of all, it’s a victory for our children.” However this is not a view shared by all, Stacy Mitchell writes that “not allowing Walmart to expand further would be one of the best things we could do for the future of food” under the new plans announced by James Gavin (President of the Partnership for a Healthier America) Walmarts stake in the US grocery market would reach a staggering and unsustainable 50%, which when only 15cents of every dollar spent in Walmart stays in the local community, is a very scary figure.  Furthermore as Joseph Hansen notes “when a Walmart opens in a community, it regularly displaces existing jobs with poverty-level jobs”. And so here is where the role of the convenience store comes in.

Independent grocery stores – of which 1400 opened in the USA since 2002 – create and drive a local economic ecosystem which returns wealth into their surrounding areas and in turn create a multiplier effect at 3 times the rate of their corporate giants. It is undoubtedly these smaller and independent grocers which will be key in driving home the messages of Obamas campaign long after the corporate giants have been and gone, but what will convenience look like in these areas under the changes wrought about by Obama?

  1. Firstly Convenience will have to become more locally orientated and respond more quickly to consumer demands – see the M&S local store concept in the UK
  2. Secondly Convenience will have to respond to the pressures of a globalised society and find a way of returning greater profit to their localities.
  3. They will have to provide affordable, healthy food to as many people as possible and provide clearer labelling of healthy products.
  4. Finally independent grocers need to start leading the necessary changes and use their size to their advantage, instantly reaping the benefits of ingenuity and creativity. 

August 15th, 2011

Posted by Jack Middleton

A CARROT IS A CARROT: OR IS IT?

August 15th, 2011

The carrot played an important role in western history and during WWII it was falsely claimed that the carrot was the reason for the Allies new found ability to shoot down enemy aircraft at night, the disinformation was so persuasive that the English public took to eating carrots to help them find their way during the blackouts and despite the myth since being proved false the British love of carrots has continued. More recently the carrots appearance alongside Bugs Bunny has defined a  generation of perfectly shaped, orange carrots, modified from a single original design which has now conquered the ‘carrot world’. Hence what we know about our food is essentially what has been selectively bred over the last few centuries and genetically modified over the last few decades. There are now many young adults reaching their early 30’s, who are so far removed from food production that they may not have ever seen what a real carrot is supposed to look like.

This modified carrot is still healthy for you, but it doesn’t have the same levels of beta carotene that it did back in the day. The carrots you see in the store are often already stripped and processed, leaving little of the nutrients you used to get. Is this what is happening to all our food? Are we losing the benefits of enjoying a healthy vegetable? Our packaging still reflects that perfect carrot from the past, the one from the ground, telling us that it is a healthy product to eat, but what is the reality?

Of the 33.582 millions of tonnes of carrots and turnips (FAO 2009) produced worldwide in 2009 just under half were exported from China, which means that many of the benefits of fresh produce are lost and exchanged instead for thousands of food miles, an increased environmental foot print and a lower quality produce. The question however is can these differences be tasted? In order to test this TILT Studio Inc. conducted a small survey on 20 individuals aged 18-30. The carrot testers were asked to sample each carrot in a blind taste test and name their favourite carrot, the results of which are shown below.

So there is clear evidence that organic tastes better, however it is still tainted by the selective breeding of carrots over the last 300 years, to the extent that it is indistinguishable from its non-organic/non-natural counterparts. Indeed some leading academics in the fields of nature and horticulture are now claiming there is no longer such thing as ‘true’ or ‘wild’ nature as everything has felt the touch of humanity at some point. The carrot in all its orange splendour is an apt representation of this concept as rarely – if ever, are breeds other than the orange carrot seen on our supermarket, and convenience store shelves, and what was once a vegetable of diverse colourings, sizing’s and varied flavours is now bland and indistinct from its other supermarket variations.

August 15th, 2011

Posted by Jack Middleton

Ten Mile Meal

August 15th, 2011

A trend which established itself within the UK and US markets through the 1990s and is continuing to conquer new markets today is the concept of ‘local’; this has been seen most prevalently in the food industry, where place attachment to food has become a regular feature in commercials and marketing campaigns.

This development is somewhat problematic, as it is missing a true definition of local, in the UK this is just 40 miles but in the USA it can be up to 250 miles. So how should we classify local? Perhaps a good starting point would be an exercise in establishing what can be produced within 10 miles of your home. Even as a purely theoretical exercise this can reveal the limited biodiversity and show the result of years of mono-cropping and intensive agriculture. Frighteningly future constraints on energy may not allow us the luxury of having our food travel 40 miles, let alone 250 miles across the country. So something must be done now in order to more localize our food system.

TILT’s initiative ‘Ten Mile Meal’ aims to address this imbalance in our food system through encouraging food retailers, restaurants and institutions to feature ’10 Mile Meal’ products, recipe’s and meals which come from within 10 miles of the place of consumption. This raises awareness for the issues facing our food systems and also starts a multiplier effect in which allows local food networks to thrive whilst simultaneously building the strong community links which will prove invaluable in creating a sustainable future.

August 15th, 2011

Posted by Jack Middleton

Simply Good Launches

August 14th, 2011


All across the US, schools are gaining momentum around food. In the Midwest we are starting to see a tremendous shift towards going back to local and incorporating more regional menus into the school program. Nationwide, schools are starting to recognize the importance on health, obesity issues and incorporating diets into the total school menu. We are fortunate to see tremendous interest and growth changing as the time progresses.

With Michelle Obama’s collaboration with Nations Restaurant News’ LiveWell campaign, we are about to see tremendous change immediately and see the lifeline of our future change for the better. Through healthy eating, understanding of diversity in foods and the introduction of smaller sized meals, we will graduate towards a better system for school dining.

Simply Good pushes the boundaries of a typical American diet and starts to define the next role for a new generation. We worked with Chartwells K-12 Schools on developing this new platform to spread the seed of local, sustainable and traditional food. Below are some of the designs we used to launch this campaign. The concept was stream line and keep things simple.

Each of our schools have a kit pack with On Demand printing and a manual for how to have a successful program. We developed this with the operator in mind and the end result is going to be a unified front towards Simply Good Food.

Check out the site here: www.simplygoodfood.org

August 14th, 2011

Posted by Rache

School Dinners

July 21st, 2011

School Dinners! What do you remember? My memories of my school dinners were abysmal at best – the food on my plate was either undercooked or overcooked but never just cooked! I was fortunate enough to be in school at the time of the change to the school dinners which was brought about by the now famous Jamie’s School Dinners. However the immediate changes were minimal, unhealthy fast food was still available and the so called healthy alternatives looked questionable.

The benefits of having good School Dinners are outlined by the Soil Association. They state that good food can improve academic achievement by improving children’s behaviour and ability to learn; promote pupils health and life chances and enable families to take control of their own diet. Furthermore they state that food can help bring communities together, through developing good food culture and understanding of where food comes from, creating stronger links between farmers and communities and encouraging good manners. Finally the Soil Association explain how school dinners have the ability to provide vulnerable children with access to good food and in the process support British farmers, local jobs and the local economy.

So school dinners can provide the stimulus for positive change in society, but as yet this change has not materialised. Why? I believe it is due to a lack of involvement and engagement by the pupils and their parents.

It seems odd that schools need to sub contract out the skills which can be found in most schools, be it cooking, paying wages or simply doing the washing up. If we are serious in equipping children with the tools they will need to deal with the problems that they are likely to face in the future then why not give children the training, skills and equipment to provide their own school dinners and in doing so give them an insight into catering, accounting and an entire host of other important life skills, therefore making them more employable and leading to a better society in the future. Link this in with ideas of design and sustainability and you greatly improve tomorrow’s work force, whilst potentially saving money today!

So how do we get improve parents and pupils involvement in school food and reap the benefits outlined by the Soil Association? Well if we assume it is a problem of engagement then perhaps it could be solved by changing the ownership focus away from notions of ‘Jamie’s School Dinners’ and towards an idea of ‘My/Our school dinners’ in which ownership is given to the end consumers – the pupils.

July 21st, 2011

Posted by Jack Middleton

Canned vs. Fresh

July 14th, 2011


My husband and I often find ourselves having conversations about food. What food was not written on the grocery list and therefore forgotten at the grocery store. How much food to buy for a birthday party. How much of the food from my son’s plate was eaten by my son…or my husband. Why there is food on the floor? But the most important conversations typically revolve around the nutritional content of the food we are feeding our kids. I have always been a conscious eater but I would assume that even people who never thought twice about what they put on their plates, once parents, pay more attention to the health benefits of the fuel they feed their children.

I have always felt that canned vegetables and fruits could not possibly compare in nutritional value to fresh fruits and veggies. They’re mushy. Darker in color. They can sit on your pantry shelf for years. That just doesn’t seem right. So when we run short on time and my husband reaches for a can of peaches, I usually scold him and remind him that fruit in a can doesn’t count. Canned fruits are on the shelf for the-end-of-the-world-is-here-and-all-the-grocery-stores-have-been-taken-over-by-zombies-and-all-we-have-to-live-on-is-what-we-put-in-the-bunker-below-the-house-situations.

So this last time said peaches were brought into question, my husband points to the can and says that “it’s the same nutritional value as fresh.” Feeling like I’m in an advertisement for Del Monte, I take the can from him and sure enough, right there on the label, it claims that the canned peaches have the equivalent nutritional value of fresh peaches. So the research begins.

Unfortunately there don’t seem to have been any recent studies on the topic. General consensus would appear that the nutritional value of purely canned vegetables is quite high, and in some cases apparently higher than their fresh supermarket alternatives. It is, however, difficult to find products which contain no salt, sugar or preservatives which diminish the nutritional values of the vegetable or fruit. The heating during the canning process only slightly lowers the vitamins and nutrients which are very high due to that process typically occurring at the same time the produce is picked which is at its peak ripeness.

It seems that nutritionally, the best would be to grow your own and pick it the same day you want to eat it, then go to canned or frozen veggies and THEN fresh produce after a week from being picked. As a busy mother who works full time with a busy husband who works full time we can’t be going to buy produce every other day. Ours can last two weeks, and usually needs to. To find out that it would be better to turn to canned fruits and veggies after a week blows my mind and I feel like a lot of people, once aware, are in total denial of this apparent truth. They argue that while that may be the case, it is better to buy super fresh. Well of course it is! I’m not suggesting we turn to canned as the norm because it is most convenient and won’t kill us. Buying canned vegetables and fruit does not help support our local community and is not a sustainable way to be maintaining a nutritionally dense diet. BUT, as a very busy adult, I have to admit it is good to know that for those moments when we don’t have time to run out to the local farmer’s market, the canned green beans on my son’s plate aren’t just a filler…they are actually benefiting his health.

Now someone please go do a new study on the topic!

July 14th, 2011

Posted by Amber

No to GMO

July 11th, 2011

“Even as traditional environmentalism struggles, another movement is rising in its place, aligning consumers, producers, the media and even politicians. It’s the food movement.” Writes Bryan Walsh in a recent Time magazine article, but this is hardly surprising considering that in a recent survey conducted by US scientists, shifts in climate over the past three decades were linked to a 5.5% decline in global wheat production and there is currently an increasing recognition that “if we are to feed the nine billion people that will share this planet by 2050, we will need to produce as much food in the next 40 years as we have in the last 10,000” (Monsanto). The food movement has risen in response to these startling figures which outline the dire situation in which humanity finds itself.

So what are the possible solutions? One advocated by the giant corporations is Genetically Modified Food, which is heralded by the big biotech companies as improving pest resistance, herbicide tolerance, disease resistance, cold tolerance, drought tolerance, salinity tolerance and nutrition. However these solutions come at a huge cost, and an expense that few would choose to pay. Indeed this has been highlighted most recently in the emerging food crises in Kenya. Kenya is currently facing an acute maize shortage is due to receive shipments of Genetically Modified maize to overcome the shortages faced by the country, however Kenya’s environmental and food security activists have demanded the government to look elsewhere and support organic agriculture which is currently practiced by the majority of Kenya’s small scale farmers. Anne Maina from the African Biodiversity Network (ABN) requests that the “Government recognise organic agriculture and other agro-ecological farming practices in Kenya’s agriculture policies and practices.” It is clear that despite the food crises other solutions are being sort, but why?

David Schubert – a respected cell biologist answers the science part of this question, stating that “I believe that insufficient attention has been paid to three important issues: first, introduction of the same gene into two different types of cells can produce two very distinct protein molecules; second, the introduction of any gene, whether from a different or the same species, usually significantly changes overall gene expression and therefore the phenotype of the recipient cell; and third, enzymatic pathways introduced to synthesize small molecules, such as vitamins, could interact with endogenous pathways to produce novel molecules. The potential consequence of all these perturbations could be the biosynthesis of molecules that are toxic, allergenic, or carcinogenic. And there is no a priori way of predicting the outcome. In what follows i outline these concerns and argue GM food is not a safe option, given our current lack of understanding of the consequences of recombinant technology.” This is in line with the risk theorist, Wynne (1996) who states that “science controls only to the extent that it manages to achieve the exclusion of all the factors it does not control, including those of which it is ignorant”.

However there are reasons beyond the science why GMOs are so controversial. In late 2000 a GMO product called Star Link, was found in a maize crop, despite not being approved for human consumption. Due to the globalised nature of today’s food system, by the time that the contaminated crop had been identified, the contamination had spread across the USA and there were several reports of suspected allergic reactions, and over 300 brands of taco shells, crisps and other maize products had to be withdrawn and recalled. In order to contain the crisis the US Government was forced to buy up billions of dollars of stocks – a costly, necessary but potentially avertable solution.

Another reason to avoid GM food, which I feel is far more compelling than any of those previously discussed, is the issue of control. Because as companies such as Monsanto and DowAgro control more and more our food, the consumer loses power, which can have massive ramifications for not just local communities but entire nations.

So if we can’t rely on GMO crops to feed the future then what? Essentially the world’s food crises can be reduced to a simple supply and demand model and so the first solution is simply to ask what can be done to reduce the demand? As my recent blog on waste food identified we currently live in the throw-away society in which waste is heavily ingrained in the system. If we could cut out this waste then we would relieve pressure on our precious natural resources and give ourselves more options, and more power to oppose GM. In terms of increasing the supply side in order to deal with the world’s ever-increasing population, existing techniques combined with modern technologies has the potential to feed the world whilst providing a carbon sink and therefore helping to combat climate change (Graham Harvey).

July 11th, 2011

Posted by Jack Middleton