Chipotle Mexican Grill’s “No Junk” campaign encouraged Americans to forward their junk e-mails to firstname.lastname@example.org. The campaign’s original donation was $50,000, because of the campaign’s success Chipotle has increased the possible donation to $100,000 if its new goal was reached by August.
The “No Junk” campaign was set up so that each forwarded piece of junk e-mail will help provide nutritious cafeteria meals for school children around the country through the partnership with The Lunch Box. For every 100,000 junk e-mails Chipotle receives, the company donates $10,000 to The Lunch Box. This will help provide approximately 32 million school children at 100,000 schools nationwide access to 100 school-tested, junk-free recipes created by Chef Ann Cooper, The Renegade Lunch Lady.
This campaign was launched on June 25 and its goal of 1,000,000 junk emails has been reached, which raised its maximum contribution to The Lunch Box of $100,000.
Congratulations to Chipotle and The Lunch Box on reaching your goal and donating healthy meals to children across the country.
Childhood obesity is becoming a very serious issue and health risk. 1/3 of American children are considered overweight or obese. There is speculation as to why this is happening and theories on how to fix it. Communities are coming together to create healthier eating environments, to teach children about healthy foods and to create healthier food options at schools. Baldwin Park, California is one example. A national group called Healthy Kids Healthy Communities has expanded to this town. They have been able to make salad bars a stable in local schools, 100 minutes of physical education every week a requirement and place labels at groceries to show healthy food choices. After doing this in 5 years over 135 children are no longer overweight.
Experts believe it is becoming a luxury to eat healthy foods. They are more expensive. We all know examples within our local grocery stores buy one example of this in the fast food industry is McDonald’s. It costs less to buy a large value meal including a drink than it does to buy a salad and bottle of water. Many people believe increasing taxes by 1 penny per ounce on sugary foods and drinks would cut the consumption by 10% and raise billions of dollars to fight obesity.
Experts have many opinions on what should be done to fight obesity, but not all are in agreement. The basics are as they always have been, modernized of course.
Expand the idea of exercise. Take up rollerblading, golfing, swimming, or karate. If you would prefer to stay inside invest in a Wii fit or other game that will raise your heartbeat.
Make it easy: Plan ahead. Children should exercise approximately 1 hour a day. If they aren’t in after school activities be ready to do some sort of exercise in the evening.
Make exercise a family affair. Parents are role models. Go outside and play with your kids, turn on your Wii fit and work out, go rollerblading. Do things together.
Watch the following video for more information on childhood obesity.
Using rats, researchers found that high-calorie foods can trigger addiction-like responses in the brain, turning rats into compulsive eaters. These overweight rats had decreased levels of a specific dopamine reception, as has been reported in humans addicted to drugs.
Although researchers have been able to find these statements to be true about rats, they are unable to directly relate them to human behavior and activity at this time. However, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be concerned. Take a look at these startling statistics:
How can we protect ourselves? Just monitor your habits; moderation is key. According to one researcher from the junk food study first mentioned, Paul Kenny of The Scripps Research Institute in Florida, eating one or two foods with high calorie counts is not the problem. “What we’re seeing in our animals is very similar to what you’d see in humans who overindulge,” he said. “It seemed that it was okay, from what we could tell, to enjoy snack foods, but if you repeatedly overindulge, that’s where the problem comes in.”
The world is changing. People are going green, health care is being reformed, and people all over the world are looking to get healthier. This can be seen in First Lady Obama’s Let’s Move initiative, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, and Action for Healthy Kids among others. All of these initiatives focus on one thing, getting children healthier. The reason? This generation of children may face a shorter expected lifespan than their parents because of health issues caused by obesity. School nutrition is where these initiatives are starting.
Children eat at least one meal, sometimes two, a day at school. Do you know how the food is prepared or where it is coming from? Are your children getting all the nutrition they need from school lunches? How can you make sure they do? These are all very good questions. These initiatives give you an insight into school nutrition, what it is, what it’s lacking and more.
Check out Game On! the Ultimate Wellness Challenge to find out how to start on the road to healthier children. Register to begin the challenge with your children to a healthier lifestyle. Students Taking Charge gives students the opportunity to create a healthier environment in their schools.
There are many ways to get involved in your child’s nutrition at home and at school. Get more information about your child’s health here and begin making the changes for healthier lifestyles.
The Indiana House Bill on menu-labeling passed with a vote of 51-46 this week. The bill will be assigned to a Senate committee before likely moving on to the Senate for a final vote.
HB 1207 would require chain restaurants with more than 20 units in Indiana to place calorie and carbohydrate data on menus or menu boards by July. These restaurants would also be required to make available to customers data on fat content, trans fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, fiber, protein and sugar.
While research does show that this information helps diners make healthier choices about what they eat, it does not take into consideration the significant costs these restaurant would incur in order to comply with the law.
If you assume an average menu board costs $300, an Indiana restaurant with only 20 units could be forced to spend as much as $6000; for a chain such as Taco Bell, which has hundreds of units across the state, that cost could soar into the tens of thousands.
In this already difficult time for restaurants, the National Restaurant Association is lobbying for a single, consistent, national nutrition labeling standard offering restaurants both the flexibility to provide nutritional data in a way that makes sense to its customers; and that also protects these restaurants from frivolous lawsuits.
According to the NRA, the Labeling Education and Nutrition (LEAN) Act would expand current packaged food labeling law to require a uniform national nutrition labeling standard for chain foodservice establishments, while providing a reasonable range of flexibility for the restaurant. While the LEAN Act would require a uniform national nutrition standard, the law also would provide for a single set of guidelines in how nutrition information is calculated and will provide legal protection for those restaurants that abide by the law.
Find out what your state is doing with nutrition labeling legislation; and write your local representatives and tell them how you feel.
In 2009, the (lousy) economy will be the driving force behind trends we saw emerging in 2008, including energy conservation and sustainability, health and nutrition, and new technologies like online ordering, mobile applications and social networking.
Tough times inspire change
According to a poll conducted by the National Restaurant Association, the issue that had the greatest effect on companies in 2008 was –surprise!- the economy, followed closely by rising food costs, food safety, and nutrition and calorie legislation. So, although these are not new concepts, I think they’ll be back with a vengeance in 2009.
Not just about saving the planet anymore
Foodservice operators are scrambling to improve efficiency and productivity in light of the economic downturn (can we finally just call it a recession?), so I think sustainability and energy conservation will continue to be at the forefront of foodservice trends in 2009; now, not only because it’s the right thing to do, but because our livelihood may depend on it.
According to the Associated Press, restaurants, colleges and other institutions are coming up with new, innovative ways to cut waste. We’re beginning to realize that these practices are good for more than just saving the planet—they’ve also helped improve the reputation and bottom line of many dining establishments.
I think it’s kind of a shame that it took some –but not all!- of us an economic crisis to become interested in “green” business and conservation. But, regardless of the reason, it can only help keep the industry afloat during these tough times.
Healthy eating trend sparks conversation and controversy
In the same way that we’re learning about the importance of conserving energy, we’re realizing that promoting health and nutrition will be crucial to staying prosperous in the foodservice business.
The controversy surrounding menu labeling, and the efforts of restaurants to introduce more healthful menu items, are just two examples of America’s new interest in healthy eating. And a 2008 investigation that found some restaurants had published inaccurate nutrition information, shows just how seriously consumers and federal regulators are taking it.
Niche Web communities maturing
It also shows just how much the Internet, and the developing trend of social networking has affected the industry. Whereas once, an obscure report in a trade journal would be overlooked by just about everyone, most consumers now have the tools to research and share just about any piece of information that’s out there.
And whereas, in 2008, we dabbled in social media, and restaurants began publishing menus online and a few even created the capability for online ordering, in 2009, this is a trend that the lagging economy will force everyone to embrace.
Not only will businesses have a web address, but they will become more conscious of their online presence; they will be more saavy when it comes to search engine optimization and PPC marketing. They will use the Internet to promote special events, catering, promotions and merchandise. They will offer applications for customers to download to their mobile phones. They won’t do it because it’s trendy; they’ll do it because they have to.
According to Food-Management.com, “Web community is important to more than just the ‘geeks’ among us. It also matters in personal and professional group life, and the food service industry — where networking is such a critical activity — is no exception.”
In closing, I think there are tough times ahead, but I think we as an industry are innovative –and perhaps, desperate!- enough to continue to develop new ways to prosper.
The economy is forcing us to save money by eliminating waste and conserving energy; the obesity epidemic is helping us realize that we can serve healthy food and that our customers will appreciate it; and the Internet is allowing us to do it together, using our growing network of online customers, colleagues and friends.
I think 2009 is going to be a great year for foodservice.