Food News Today Transcripts for the week of December 12th, 2011

December 16, 2011

What consumers think of front-of-package labeling, a "pop up" greenhouse project and the psychology of food aversions, for December 14th 2011, this is Food News Today.

Good Morning, if you have any thoughts or comments on today's show,e-mail me,  tweet me -@phillempert- or send me a note on Facebook.  Food News Today is sponsored by ConAgra Foods, who shares with me the desire to provide the most current, interesting and unbiased food news.


Now for today's useless food history fun facts! Today is National Bouillabaisse Day…fascinating!  And today in 1503 Nostradamus was born –we all know he was an astrologer, but did you know he was also a cookbook author?  My favorite recipe is the famous plague remedy!  Nothing like adding an ounce of sawdust to sweeten up a dish!  Mmmmm… tasty.  Do you know any fun food facts you'd like to share? Let me know. If I use your fact I'll send you a SG Canvas Tote.


>Front of Package (FOP) labeling is a hot topic these days, as independent companies, supermarkets and the government all want a piece of the action – but unfortunately this is bringing about a lot of consumer confusion.  In an attempt to understand what consumers prefer – the Lempert Report surveyed the SupermarketGuru consumer panel on front of package labeling.


When asked which of the following labeling approaches they find most valuable and easy to understand, 35 percent say they like to read labels and ingredients and figure out if the product is right for them, versus using labeling schemes. The same amount also said they prefer GMA and FMI’s Facts up Front, while 15 percent say they prefer the Institute of Medicines labeling scheme.  28 percent say they do use front of package information on food products to determine if they will purchase a product, while just one percentage point less, 27% say they do not use labeling schemes.


Not surprisingly 73 percent of consumers would like to see one standard front of package labeling scheme.  What are consumers most interested in seeing on the label? Calories, Total sugars, Fiber, Total fat, Saturated fat, Trans fat, Added sugars and Allergens.


 >Well, here’s a place where front of package labeling doesn’t apply – the Greenhouse Project.  Farmers' markets, organic groceries, csa’s-  they're a great way for many of us to buy groceries, but sometimes the farm-to-table foods aren't cheap or convenient, preventing many families from eating healthy.  The Greenhouse Project in Brooklyn is trying to change that by creating a “pop-up farm” in Cypress Hills which is a low-income neighborhood with extremely high obesity rates and little access to nutritious food. A group of architects, engineers, and designers estimates that it could farm 8,000 pounds of produce every 12 weeks!


The Greenhouse Project isn't just about growing fresh produce; the plan is also to turn the place into an educational hub for school field trips, and for residents who want to learn about urban agriculture.  The greenhouse is temporarily located on a plot of land owned by the city, and when the city decides they want to use the site, the greenhouse will be disassembled and moved to another site.  Wow talk about the next evolution of the pop-up store!


>Is there a food you just don’t like, and you have no idea why? Or perhaps a food that made you sick once, and now you wont go near it with a 10ft pole? Well, it could be the result of a centuries old survival mechanism, according to David Solot a Ph.D. student researching organizational psychology at Walden University. 


The survival mechanism is technically called a taste aversion, and it’s one of the strongest conditioned reactions in humans.  So here’s how it works: you eat something and another outside factor makes you sick to your stomach, so the next time you go to eat that same food, the smell of it makes you feel sick…. This feeling is your brain protecting you from being poisoned. Thousands of years ago, we weren’t sure what was safe to eat so we tested things out.  If something made you sick and you survived the experience, your brain had to make sure that you never ever ate that same thing again. So, your brain conditioned you to feel sick anytime you saw, smelled or even thought about that food.


The people who were good at developing taste aversions lived and reproduced. The ones who were bad at it - well - they, they... died. Over centuries, our ability to form taste aversions strengthened.  Luckily, today we are mostly able to overcome taste aversions. The key is to recognize what is happening and to think about the reason for the reaction.  Consciously reminding yourself that the food is not poisonous can help you interrupt the survival mechanism – and convince the mind body connection that the food is safe.


Let me know if you have any food aversions and what food makes you sick.  E-mail me, tweet me @phillempert or post your comments on our SupermarketGuru Facebook page and let me know what's on your food mind.  That's our show. Thanks for watching!   Have a safe and healthy food week.