Specialty Food Magazine

FALL 2019

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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FALL 2019 79 M any think of food waste as a problem to be tackled at the consumer level, but food makers are reducing waste further up the supply chain by upcycling ingredients that are typically tossed. Homa Dashtaki, founder of The White Mustache, uses old- world techniques from her home country of Iran to hand-strain and hand-pack yogurt like generations of Iranian people had before her. But instead of disposing of the whey that is strained during the process she's created a whole new product line of probiotic tonics, which are elixirs of pure yogurt whey, and probiotic whey pops infused with fresh fruit. "I think it's obvious that I have two products: one is yogurt, and one is yogurt whey. And I don't think of one as waste, I think of them as complementary to the other, like yin and yang," said Dashtaki during a panel discussion at the 2019 NYC Food Waste Fair, earlier this year. The NYC Food Waste Fair, hosted by the Foundation for New York 's Strongest, the official nonprofit organization of the New York City Department of Sanitation, brought together more than 1,000 passionate New Yorkers who are taking action to prevent, reduce, and recycle food waste both at home and at their businesses. Another panelist, Dan Honig, cofounder of Happy Valley Meat Co., is likewise reframing the idea of waste by minimizing the disconnect between farmers and chefs around meat production and consumption. As Honig pointed out, one beef cow weighs about 800 pounds, most of which can be butchered and eaten. However, chefs tend to focus only on certain cuts from the animal, like hangar or ribeye steaks, which only account for a fraction of the total meat provided by the animal. "One hangar steak will feed four people. Two hundred and fifty pounds of ground beef can feed a thousand," said Honig, "When you're looking at scale … it creates this massive system that needs to be fueled." Happy Valley Meat, a Certified B Corp., works with local farms to purchase whole animals, butchers them, and provides chefs with custom cuts of meat that aren't industry standard. In addition, Happy Valley Meat has begun adding vegetables like mushrooms to ground beef, stretching the amount of consumable food without taxing the environment or killing additional animals. "We now have one-third less animals that have to be killed for the same volume of ground beef," Honig said. "Beef is also more taxing on the environment. It takes approximately 1,800 gallons of water to make one pound of ground beef. It takes one gallon of water to make one pound of mushrooms." According to Happy Valley Meat, if everyone in America replaced one-third of their burger consumption with mushrooms, the greenhouse gas reduction would be equal to taking 1.4 million cars off the road. Rachael Mamane, founder of Brooklyn Bouillon, recognized a similar disconnect in the meat supply chain. "In 2010, I moved to New York and noticed that there was a gap in the market where farmers were selling prime cuts of meat but not necessarily using the whole animal," she said, "even though in culinary kitchens, chefs were talking about nose-to-tail eating." Mamane began working with local New York farms and learned the importance of animal welfare, and healthy land manage- ment practices like rotational farming, which improves the health of the land and optimizes crop yields, and organic harvesting. Although Brooklyn Bouillon's focus is on culinary stocks, Mamane realizes that bones can also be used to make an array of products from cured delicacies to compostable bone char. Soon after Brooklyn Bouillon was founded, the bone broth trend hit the food industry, both a blessing and a curse to Mamane, she said. Though it brought Brooklyn Bouillon's products to the mainstream, it became more expensive for her to run the business. Ultimately, Mamane suspended operations to work on the infrastructure of the company and rethink the business. During this time, she wrote "Mastering Stocks and Broths," which was a 2018 James Beard Foundation Book Award finalist and named one of Booklist's top ten cookbooks of 2017. This led to the creation of a global food system consulting agency, Atlas Alimenta, which works to minimize waste, educate around food safety, and improve outdated protocols. Recently, Mamane's consulting agency worked within the dried bouillon market in Ghana, which had been mostly synthetic. Mamane described her work there as "reverse engineering f lavor," noting that many consumers didn't know the real taste of bouillon. "If the first taste of a strawberry was strawberry candy, and then four years later someone gave you a fresh strawberry, you'd say, 'That isn't what a strawberry is,'" she explained. Mamane is developing a dehydrated powder that features koji, seaweed, mushrooms, and other umami-filled ingredients. Though food waste can seem like an insurmountable problem, sometimes shifting your mindset can make a big difference, speakers said. "We do things very simply," said Dashtaki, "the innovation comes from communities like this, from thinking of it not as waste but as food." "It takes approximately 1,800 gallons of water to make one pound of ground beef. It takes one gallon of water to make one pound of mushrooms." Arielle Feger is content associate for Specialty Food Magazine. article bug 79 FALL 2019

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