Tag Archives: Inc.

Mars Inc. says goodbye to king size chocolate bars

5 Mar

4598574846_dba5e21519Mars Inc. announced that by 2014 they will no longer make king sized candy bars, or any “snack” that is over 250 calories per portion.  Mars Inc., who carries brands like Snickers, M&M’s, Dove, Uncle Ben’s and Seeds for Change have also committed to reducing sodium levels in their products 25% by 2015.

You might be wondering how this change came about?  Similar to why Wal-Mart has placed a “great for you” seal on food products containing lower levels of fat, sugar and artificial additives, First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Campaign, and the Partnership for a Healthier America have helped spark this change.

No matter how many calories a candy bar has, they usually consist of empty calories, thanks to refined sugars.  What companies can do to help consumers and producers is to source their ingredients responsibly.  In fact, Mars Inc. has committed to “certify its entire cocoa supply as being produced in a sustainable manner, by 2020.”  By Mars Inc. demanding that the cocoa they buy comes from farms that are well-managed, where farmers and their families are taken care of, and where the environment is being protected, they are setting a great example for others.  We hope to see more companies move in this direction, as every little change makes a big difference.

What other positive food related changes are you seeing from the private sector?

Photo courtesy of IITA Image Library

after school bread and butter

16 Nov

Bread and butter is such a common snack that it is easy to overlook how each food item is made. Last week many of the cooking class students said they eat bread and butter on a weekly basis. They even claimed that they make bread and butter themselves. However, cooking class would demonstrate that a lot more steps go into actually making bread and butter than simply toasting bread and spreading butter.

It was fun to introduce yeast to the students as an ingredient that is alive. We watched the yeast become active when we added it to hot water and witnessed it spread and foam across the top layer of water. Talking about yeast was incredibly tangible for the students. They now know why bread has so many holes in it!

Making butter continued to teach them about food products they frequently use. I asked the students what ingredients are used to make butter and many thought eggs and yogurt were in butter. While they were on the right track with dairy, the only ingredient we used to make butter was heavy whipping cream. I added the cream to student’s jar and instructed them to shake their jars for 10 minutes. My directions were met with faces of disbelief. The students knew that churning cream made butter, but were surprised to learn that shaking got the same job done. The shaking provided us with the perfect opportunity for a freeze dance party while we turned butter into cream! After several minutes the students noticed small clumps in their jars. After a few more minutes it was difficult to shake their jars since there was no liquid left to shake. The students were somewhat stunned when they learned that there were no more steps.

Many of the comments about the bread and butter were about how fresh everything tasted. Kids are used to hard butter rather than the much fluffier version we made. They also commented that the bread was much denser and flavorful than “normal” bread. Much to my delight, the students left class with a deeper appreciation for an everyday food as well as an appreciation for the distinctive flavors that accompany food when it is homemade.

post contributed by Julia, a Butter Beans after school cooking class teacher