Food’s Biggest Moments

March 06, 2012

So much has changed in the past year in food, and The Lempert Report wanted to highlight a few of the game changing events or movements from the past year.

So much has changed in the past year in food, and The Lempert Report wanted to highlight a few of the game changing events or movements from the past year.

Healthy and seasonal eating has been a movement in the works for several years now, but with the help of the White House and the First Lady, healthy eating, gardening and exercising are on top of mind for all Americans. Traveling across the country and spreading the word about healthy eating and moving more, Michelle Obama’s impact is contagious – in a good way! We are proud that our own Phil Lempert has been appointed to the leadership committee for the Chefs Move to Schools program, and we look forward to helping the first Lady and the coalition expand even further in the coming years.

Farmers Markets are the norm for many Americans, and the number of markets has increased 17 percent in the last year. That’s nearly 1,000 more markets than in 2010. Consumers are closer to their foods, asking more questions, and eating super fresh fruits and vegetables – that’s a win – win – win. On top of that, the USDA, recently awarded $40.2 million in grants to farmers, ranchers and farmer-controlled rural business ventures aimed at spurring locally produced food supplies and renewable energy ventures.

We can't forget that the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the new and improved MyPlate, were just released this past year, turning the focus towards vegetables rather than protein as the main part of the meal – because of both health and costs – has many Americans eating healthier, and becoming more comfortable with alternative protein sources like legumes, as well as nuts and seeds.

Getting back to a whole foods diet and moving away from highly processed ingredients and foods,  this trend (one The Lempert Report would like to see become the norm!) has gained some real legs, and consumers are looking more at ingredients and leaning towards products with ingredients they can pronounce and recognize as foods. Consumers' desires hold a lot of weight, case and point: the current debate over high fructose corn syrup – it may not be any different than other sugars, but consumers have formed a negative connotation with the ingredient and prefer other sweeteners in their foods.

McDonald's announces that it will be discontinuing the use of the controversial meat product known as boneless lean beef trimmings in its burgers – Jamie Oliver recently referred to this product as “pink slime.” Burger King and Taco Bell have also discontinued the use of these products as well.

McDonald's also recently announced they would be enforcing a gestation crate-free supply chain, a major step in the nation’s movement towards transparency in knowing where our food comes from and for the humane treatment of animals. The Lempert Report expects the humane treatment of animals to continue to be an important issue for all involved in the food community for many years to come. Read more on that here.

There have been many more exciting moments in food, and changes and innovations in the past year – yesterday Occupy protesters gathered for Occupy the Food Supply – lets see what this year brings!