Tag Archives: Wal Mart

future of food in 2050

5 Nov

Last week the nation celebrated Food Day, a movement for healthy, affordable and sustainable food. The marquee for the event was a conference entitled Future of Food 2050.

Our advisor Dr. David Katz was a guest panelist at the event, speaking alongside Eric Meade, Vice President and Senior Futurist, Institute for Alternative Futures and Andrea Thomas, SVP for sustainability at Walmart.

We had the opportunity to connect with Dr. Katz prior to the event, asking him some of our questions regarding the future of food. Here are some highlights:

Butter Beans: What will the role of the lunch server be? Will there be an educational component to school cafeterias?

Dr. Katz: The only food options will be wholesome, mostly direct from nature, mostly plants. Education about food will be culture-wide, and by 2050 there won’t be much need for it in cafeterias anymore.

Butter Beans: Will nutrition education be incorporated into state and national education standards?

Dr. Katz: Yes. Food literacy will be as important and universal as any other kinds of literacy. There will be gaps, as there are with literacy, but not for want of embracing it as a priority.

Butter Beans: What will Myplate look like in 2050? What will the ratio of meat:vegetables be?

Dr. Katz: Meat will be optional/discretionary. MyPlate will no longer exist because the government will have acknowledged its conflicts of interest, and outsourced dietary guidelines to an independent organization such as IOM.

Butter Beans: How do you see the role of nutrition and food education evolving in schools and government policy?

Dr. Katz: The primary driver of dietary change will be culture change, and that in turn will change the food environment. Good choices will be easy choices, and often the only choices – reducing the burden on the educational system. But education about food choice, food important, food effects, food selection, and food preparation will be universal because these will be considered basic, modern survival skills.

Dr. Katz also noted that, “In the case of food, much depends on whether we make decisions while we still have options, or have decisions imposed on us because our options have run out. 2050 will look one way if we choose to update our culture, and quite another if we wait for demographic, economic, health and ecological calamities to make our choices for us.”

What will the state of our food system look like in 2050? Dr. Katz reflected that if our culture deemed that our health mattered as much as our wealth, you would see investments in our health increase.

Dr. Katz believes that we have to find ways to get our culture to think of health as a form of wealth, and not address health issues after they have manifested themselves, rather address them beforehand. He promotes prevention as a solution to health problems down the road, and in his vision of 2050 we are all much better off than we are now, as long as our culture collectively decides, and acts on creating a better food future for all.

Photo courtesy of trendhunter.com and usda.gov

Shopping matters

16 May

slide01For those 501c3’s looking to help educate the public on how to eat healthy on a budget, you should take a look at these available grants. Grant applications end on June 13, 2012, and if you have any questions feel free to reach out to cookingmattersgrants@strength.org

In order to cook at home it’s important to shop well, and wisely. Here are some tips for eating healthy on a budget from Cooking Matters:

  • Compare unit pricing: This is an important step in deciding what goes in your cart and why. By choosing the more affordable option, you can save a lot of money! For example, if you have the option between a 32oz bag of brown rice for 4.3 cents per ounce, or a 16oz bag of brown rice for 7.3 cents per ounce, what would you do? To save money you would chose the first option, as you would get more rice for your buck.
  • Practice reading food labels: Comparing nutritional information can help you make healthier choices. Here is some general information that may help guide you when looking at the nutritional value of foods, and here is some more specific information that will help you learn the percentages of these nutrients that your body needs.
  • Identify whole grains: Whole grains provides us with fiber, iron and B vitamins. Make sure to read food labels, and try to buy products with the least amount of ingredients. Also, when buying breads take a look to make sure that whole wheat is the first on the ingredient list, which means the bread is made up of mostly that ingredient.
  • How to buy fruits & vegetables on a budget: Chose frozen fruits and vegetables with no sugar, salt or fat added. The ingredient list should list the vegetable or fruit only. Look for canned fruit that is only packed in it’s own juices, and make sure to rinse them before eating. Rinse canned beans or vegetables to remove some of the sodium that is added for preserving the food. When buying local, try heading to the farmers market or stand at the end of the day for reduced price items. Even better, if you have access to a garden plot, back or front yard, patio, or even windowsill, try planting your own vegetables and herbs!

For our readers out there, feel free to share your money saving tips for healthy eating all year round.

Photo courtesy of cooking matters

Wal-Mart’s new “great for you” seal. What does it mean?

24 Feb

Walmart-Great-For-You-logoWal-Mart is debuting its new green and white seal placed on foods that are “great for you.”  Wal-Mart has placed these seals on packaged fruit and vegetables, along with their in-house products that contain “lower levels of fat, sugar and artificial additives.”  Their motivation behind implementing this new seal is to help consumers easily see healthier choices that are available to them.

Why is Wal-Mart taking on this initiative?  A direct result of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Campaign.  This past January, the First Lady met with Wal-Mart executives to help launch their “Nutrition Charter” which seeks to help families access affordable and healthy foods.  The Nutrition Charter is based on the following three pillars:

  • Reformulate products to improve nutrition by 2015.
  • Make healthy food more affordable.
  • Empower consumers to make informed choices by implementing a healthy seal.

We think that Wal-Mart has the right idea by directing consumers to foods that are less processed, helping lead them to make better decisions.  On the other hand, Dr. David Katz, Director of the Yale Prevention Research Center, and Founder of NuVal – a food labeling system developed in 2008, raises concerns that the “great for you” seal generalizes food too simply into two categories: good or bad.  For example, the system may reward the seal to products like walnuts and iceberg lettuce, but does not reward the seal on lightly sweetened green tea or butter.  If consumers only follow the seal, they miss out on incorporating key nutrients into their diets, and would have a more narrow view on what foods are good or bad for you. Then there is the question and issue of objective labeling..

Our quick tip for the next time you go grocery shopping anywhere, is to read the ingredient list.  It is generally best to stick with foods with ingredients that you can both recognize and source easily in your mind, and that you can pronounce.

Want to know what products are being rewarded the Wal-Mart seal? click here.

Interested in learning about the history of food labeling?  Check out this blog.

Photo courtesy of planetforward.ca