Food News Today transcripts for the week of January 16th, 2012

January 20, 2012

Are consumers satisfied with supermarkets during disasters? A record breaking bluefin tuna sale and some better digestions tips, for January 18th, 2012, this is Food News Today.

Good morning, Food News Today is sponsored by ConAgra Foods, who shares with me the desire to provide the most current, interesting, and unbiased food news.

Today is National Peking Duck day! And today in 1778, Captain Cook discovered the Hawaiian Islands. He named them the Sandwich Islands, after Lord Sandwich, who was then first Lord of the Admiralty… HUMM … not sure what that has to do with food… but anyway…

What’s the most you think a half-ton tuna could bring in at auction? Go ahead, guess.  Nope, not even close.  Try about three quarters of a million dollars! A nearly 600 pound bluefin tuna caught off northeastern Japan fetched a record 56.49 million yen, or about $736,000, in the first auction of the year at Tokyo's Tsukiji fish market.  Now that translates to about $1,240 per pound.

The winning bidder was, Kiyoshi Kimura, president of a sushi restaurant chain. Media reports quote him saying that he wants to "liven up Japan" and help it recover from last year's devastating tsunami and economic stagnation.  Trevor Corson, author and the only Sushi Concierge in the United States, says that “bluefin tuna can fetch such a large sum of money because the bidder is either celebrating recent profits, or it’s a bid for publicity to boost a restaurant or distributor's profile. It's money spent on advertising, not on fish.”

By the way, bluefin tuna is on the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch list as a fish to avoid due to over fishing.  The Environmental Defense Fund has even issued a health advisory for bluefin tuna due to elevated levels of mercury and PCBs.

>How's YOUR belly? I mean the inside. In theory, we should be able to digest just about any type of food we put in our mouths. In fact, our stomach acid can even dissolve a razor blade – however I don't recommend testing that theory. So, why are sales of antacids and prescription medications on the rise? Maybe it's time to think about what we are eating.

Both high-fat and fried foods can overwhelm our stomach, resulting in acid reflux and heartburn and leave the pancreas and gall bladder overworked - these foods are best avoided during stressful times.

Hot peppers can be another digestion disruptor – relaxing the muscle at the bottom of the esophagus, allowing stomach acid to spill back up into the esophagus... the result? Painful acid reflux and heartburn.

But  don't worry there are things you can do to improve digestion.  First off, be a mindful eater and chew slowly.

Our brain has a direct connection to our gut; digestion involves a complex series of hormonal signals between the gut and the nervous system. Researchers also believe that eating while distracted (by activities like driving or typing) may slow or even stop digestion- similar to the bodies fight or flight response. Poor digestion reduces our body’s ability to extract nutrients from our food leading to malnutrition. So pay attention as you chew.

Probiotic rich foods, like yogurt and fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi are great for gut health as are whole grains and fiber full veggies and legumes. 

>2011 was a years full of hurricanes, earthquakes and many natural disasters. Supermarkets are our primary food resources and community hubs, and consumers look to them for stellar behavior when disasters strike. What do people specifically want food stores to do at these times, and how do they reward the ones that come through in the clutch?

In an exclusive Quick Poll only 10% of consumers felt their primary supermarket behaved “above and beyond expectations” during these disasters; an identical 10% were “disappointed” in the store’s performance.  42% “didn’t know or didn’t notice a difference,” and 28% felt the store performed “as expected.”

So we asked, what if their supermarket excelled as a community resource during a disaster, how would you respond? Three out of four (76%) would tell friends and family about it; more than half (61%) would give the store a greater share of their business; and one-third (33%) would use social media to tell people about it. Maybe its time for supermarkets to do more than just fight over prices? For the full survey results visit the Lempert 

That's it for Food News Today - have a great week and Thanks for watching!