According to Eat This, Not That, Wagyu beef is already on the menu in four test markets located in select Arby's in Orlando and Daytona, FL; Lafayette, IN; and Flint, MI, and could be coming to even more locations across the U.S.
Arby's has yet to release an official statement about the new menu item, but customers in the test markets have already taken to Reddit to share the exciting news. A closeup of the menu, shared by Reddit user Nauzfx, features a Wagyu Blend Burger costing only $5.99 for a sandwich and $8.49 to make it a meal with a side of small fries and a drink. In fine print it says, "Limited time offer at participating locations while supplies last." Considering Wagyu is known for being as expensive as it is delicious, $5.99 for a patty might seem like a steal. But as Eat This, Not That explains, Arby's isn't giving customers a special discount. The affordability of the Arby's burger is due to the fact that it's not 100% Wagyu, but rather a blend of 52% American Wagyu and 48% sirloin. A burger with half Wagyu is still better than a burger with none at all, and in the fast food business a Wagyu burger of any kind is basically unheard of. That's mainly because of the price, but also because authentic Wagyu from Japan is too tender to be formed into a patty and remain intact while cooking (via Business Insider).
Wagyu actually refers to a particular breed of cattle, and they all happen to be located in Japan. Naturally, a country that has near-complete control over a resource is going to demand a high price when other countries come knocking, and this exactly the case with Japan's Wagyu cows. According to Reader's Digest, Japanese Black, Japanese Brown, and Japanese Shorthorn make up the three main categories of Wagyu — although there can be hundreds of offshoot varieties. The first Wagyu cattle came to the United States in the 1970s, and even today, there are only about 5,000 full-blooded Wagyu in the U.S. That's merely a fraction of a percentage of the 94.8 million cattle on American ranches.
Most of the Wagyu in the United States are of the Japanese Black variety, and Japan isn't even going to think about exporting their best Wagyu bloodlines. In fact, they've banned the export of Wagyu to the United States altogether — making it even pricier than it was already (via Library of Congress).
Poke around a few U.S. livestock websites and you'll learn that you can buy a young black Angus cow for around $1,250. According to Business Insider, that's a serious bargain compared to the cost of a Wagyu cow which can be as much as $30,000 — on the low end. At an auction, Wagyu calves go for around 40 times the price of U.S. cattle and the prices for some varieties can be downright ridiculous. Take the prized Matsusaka Wagyu from Mie Prefecture, part of Japan's Kansai region. The slaughtered cows are all virgins, which some claim makes the meat more tender, but regardless of whether or not that's true, the cows have sold for as much as $400,000.
Krispy Kreme Introduces Carnival-Themed Donuts for a Limited Time
Krispy Kreme is marking summer in a truly perfect way! The beloved doughnut chain, renowned for its glazed doughnuts, is bringing the fun and flavors summertime carnivals to a doughnut near you! This week, Krispy Kreme handed an admission ticket to three new carnival-inspired doughnuts: Caramel Apple Doughnut, Cotton Candy Doughnut, and Caramel Popcorn Doughnut.
First on the menu, the Caramel Apple Doughnut takes inspiration from the beloved treat by taking a shell doughnut and filling it with caramel apple-flavored Kreme. The doughnut is then dipped in green apple icing, drizzled with caramel and finished with rainbow sprinkles, and a pretzel stick, allowing customers to eat the treat in true candied apple fashion. The Cotton Candy Doughnut brings the flavors of perhaps one of the most iconic carnival treats. Starting with an iconic Original Glazed Doughnut, the treat is dipped in cotton candy-flavored icing, covered in cotton candy sugar, and topped with buttercream and rainbow sprinkles. Last but certainly not least, the Caramel Popcorn Doughnut offers something both sweet and salty with a glazed shell doughnut filled with caramel popcorn Kreme, topped with a caramel drizzle and caramel popcorn pieces.
In announcing the limited-time snacks, Dave Skena, Chief Marketing Officer for Krispy Kreme, said, "carnivals are a summertime tradition and whether yours has returned or not after a year off, you can get a taste of your favorite fair flavors with these delicious new doughnuts." Already available at Krispy Kreme shops in the United States and Canada, the three delightful doughnut versions of favorite carnival treats are only available for a limited time. According to the chain, the doughnuts will be on the menu through Sunday, Aug. 8.
After a year of hybrid or remote learning, schools are facing a new challenge: lunchtime shortages. Food distributors and school officials expect shortages on everything from canned fruit to lunch trays, and some districts are struggling to fill positions inside the actual lunchroom. "We haven't had a 100% head count school season in 15 months. It's going to blow the doors open," said Merchants Foodservice CEO Andy Mercier, reported The Wall Street Journal.
Kids with longer seated lunch times eat more fruit and vegetables
When kids sit down to eat lunch at school, fruits and vegetables may not be their first choice. But with more time at the lunch table, they are more likely to pick up those healthy foods. If we want to improve children's nutrition and health, ensuring longer school lunch breaks can help achieve those goals, according to research from the University of Illinois. Prescott and study co-authors Xanna Burg, Jessica Metcalfe, and Brenna Ellison compared fruit and vegetable consumption during 10 and 20 minutes of seated lunch time, and the results were clear.
"During shorter lunch periods, children ate significantly less of the fruit and vegetable parts of their meal, while there was no significant difference in the amount of beverages or entrees they consumed. It makes sense that you might eat the part of the meal you look forward to first, and if there's enough time left you might go towards the other parts. But if there's not enough time those items suffer, and they tend to be fruits and vegetables," Prescott explains.
Sales of Vegan Bacon Are On the Rise as More Brands Hit the Market
There’s no denying the appeal of bacon. The pork product represents a heart-stopping 99% of the total bacon market. In 2020, sales of the breakfast staple totaled $6 billion through November, up 20% from the same time period a year earlier.
But plant-based bacon is carving out space in the frying pan. Sales are up 25%—almost double that of meat-based bacon for the 52-week period ending April 18, according to data from Spins, which reports retailer data for natural and organic products. Nielsen, which aggregates data from conventional grocers, reported that the entire category of bacon alternatives almost doubled in 2020, to $267 million, compared to 2019.
The next generation of producers is employing innovative ingredients, processes, or both. The San Francisco startup Hooray Foods knits together coconut oil, rice flour, and tapioca starch through a patent-pending manufacturing process that encapsulates the fat droplets and lets the product cook more like the real thing. Prime Roots, which started in 2017 and came out of UC Berkeley’s Alternative Meat Lab, makes bacon out of koji that’s grown in large fermentation tanks. The koji, a fungus, is formed into slabs and smoked, then wrapped in colorful packaging. Trophic, another Berkeley-based alternative protein startup, is rapidly prototyping a bacon made from protein extracted from red seaweed. The highest-profile addition is MyEats bacon from Albany, N.Y.-based Atlast Food Co., which is made from mycelium, the underground root structure of mushrooms. Grown indoors in 100-foot-long raised beds, the mycelium is cut into blocks that are then seasoned with liquid smoke and cut into strips.
The San Francisco Bar Owner Alliance will require patrons to show proof of vaccination or a negative coronavirus test before being allowed to drink inside. The group, which represents more than 500 bars in the city, said "breakthrough" cases of the delta variant spurred the decision, with vaccinated workers catching the disease, reported The Washington Post.
Eighty-four percent of consumers globally order chicken from a restaurant or dining establishment at least once a month, according to Technomic, with 39% preferring their chicken grilled, over preparations such as fried or roasted.
Excess coffee use shown to decrease brain volume, increase dementia risk
It's a favorite first-order for the day, but while a quick coffee may perk us up, new research from the University of South Australia shows that too much could be dragging us down, especially when it comes to brain health.
In the largest study of its kind, researchers have found that high coffee consumption is associated with smaller total brain volumes and an increased risk of dementia.
Conducted at UniSA's Australian Centre for Precision Health at SAHMRI and a team of international researchers, the study assessed the effects of coffee on the brain among 17,702 UK Biobank participants (aged 37-73), finding that those who drank more than six cups of coffee a day had a 53 per cent increased risk of dementia.
Lead researcher and UniSA Ph.D. candidate, Kitty Pham, says the research delivers important insights for public health.
"Coffee is among the most popular drinks in the world. Yet with global consumption being more than nine billion kilograms a year, it's critical that we understand any potential health implications," Pham says.
"This is the most extensive investigation into the connections between coffee, brain volume measurements, the risks of dementia, and the risks of stroke—it's also the largest study to consider volumetric brain imaging data and a wide range of confounding factors.
"Accounting for all possible permutations, we consistently found that higher coffee consumption was significantly associated with reduced brain volume—essentially, drinking more than six cups of coffee a day may be putting you at risk of brain diseases such as dementia and stroke."
Customer traffic at casual dining chains is almost back to pre-pandemic levels. According to a new study by research firm Placer.ai, traffic at casual-dining restaurants pulled within 3.8% of 2019 levels in June and will likely shoot past pre-pandemic benchmarks by the end of summer, reported Restaurant Business.