Food News Today Transcripts for the week of August 1st, 2011

August 05, 2011

Food costs continue to rise…but just how much do we spend as compared to others? BBQ hits the health & beauty section and now it’s all about extreme eating. For August 3rd, 2011. This is Food News Today.

Good Morning, Today’s broadcast is prerecorded, so there is no chat today – please send me your comments or  Food News Today is sponsored by ConAgra Foods, who shares with me the desire to provide the most current, interesting and unbiased food news.

>In economy & spending we take a look at just how much Americans spend on their foods – as a percent of personal income. It’s no surprise that food prices are rising – and will most likely continue to do so – we’ve seen extreme couponing, changing buying habits and even people cutting portions – but do you know how we compare to others around the globe?

The United Nations has stated that food prices will soar by as much as 30% over the next 10 years due to an increase in global demand, economic depression, the cost of fuel, floods,  droughts and other weather conditions.

In 1933, Americans spent 21.9% of their income on their (at home) food.  Today, according to the USDA, we spend just 5.7% on food eaten at home. Compare that to the rest of the world,
United Kingdom 8.6%
Canada 9.2%
Australia 10.7%
Germany 11.4%
Hong Kong 12.2%
France 13.5%
Japan 14.2%
Israel 17.7%
South Africa 19.8%
Chile 23.3%
Mexico 24.0%
Brazil 24.7%
Russia 28.0%
China 32.9%
India 35.4%
Philippines 36.7%
Egypt 38.1%
Morocco 40.4%
Indonesia 43.0%
Kenya 44.9%
Pakistan 45.5%
Azerbaijan 46.9%
Of course the incomes are lower in most countries with a higher percentage spent on food  - but it is important to remind ourselves just how fortunate we are.

>In consumer trends its all about the fragrances. The perfume business is worth around $30 billion a year, and celebs including  Elizabeth Taylor, Brittany Spears and even Justin Bieber have all made fortunes hawing their signature scents. And now it seems that one food company wants a piece of that action. A new cologne named “Que” has hit the market. Pork Barrel BBQ’s new cologne is "an intoxicating bouquet of spices, smoke, meat, and sweet summer sweat" Co-owner Heath Hall explains that he and his business partner wanted to add something unique and interesting to their local sauce empire. He explains the premise. "When you go to a barbecue you always hear someone say, 'Ooh, that smells really good.' The wood and the meat and everything." Right now, Que is only available online for a limited time.


>We report much here on Food News Today about how we eat, and what we can do to eat better. In our health and wellness segment today we take a look at the Center for Science in the Public Interest’s 2011 Xtreme Eating Awards – which is a bellweather on just how bad some of the foods that are being offered at restaurants really are.

The folks at CSPI suggest that “With two out of three adults—and one out of three children—overweight or obese, you’d think that restaurants would have some interest in keeping their patrons alive and dining out longer.  With mandatory calorie labeling on the horizon for chain restaurants, you’d think that restaurants would be dropping high-calorie items from their menus. With close to 30 percent of young Americans too heavy to join the military, you’d think that restaurants would at least stop introducing new heavyweight items.”

So who are some of the winners of these awards?

Five Guys Bacon Cheeseburger (with no toppings) makes a Big Mac (540 calories) or a Quarter Pounder (410 calories) look like kids food according to CSPI.  A Five Guys Bacon Cheeseburger has 920 calories and almost 30 grams of saturated fat (1½ days’ worth) without toppings. 

The Cheesecake Factory Chocolate Tower Truffle Cake weighs in at three quarters of a pound - 1,670 calories and 2½ days’ worth of saturated fat (48 grams).

California Pizza Kitchen Tostada Pizza with Steak has 1,680 calories, 32 grams of sat fat, and 3,300 mg of sodium. 

P.F. Chang’s Double Pan-Fried Noodles Combo is 1,820 calories and delivers an off-the-charts 7,690 milligrams of sodium that is a five-day supply. 

Chevys Crab & Shrimp Quesadilla is a white-flour tortilla stuffed with cheese and cream sauce and topped with guacamole and sour cream. The platter packs 1,790 calories and 63 grams of saturated fat plus 3,440 mg of sodium.  

And people wonder why we need on menu nutritional information listings? For the complete list just visit

For Food News Today, I’m Phil Lempert, thanks for joining us. If you have a colleague in retailing, the media or a blogger who would like to also receive our advance email - please send them to to sign up. Next weeks stories will be in your Tuesday email