Kincade Fire update, ghost kitchens, food trend predictions, and plant-based food dishes.
This Hero Helped the Kincade Fire
Source: San Francisco Chronicle
76,825 acres have been burned by the Kincade Fire and it has destroyed 206 structures. Even with 60% of the fire contained, many still lost their homes and other degrees of damage were done, but evacuees are starting to head back home.
Firefighters helped put out these fires, but they also had some unexpected assistance. Not from who but from what. The grapevines. Grapevines are natural fire breaks. Now they might not be able to stop the fire right in there tracks, they can help save structures and lines. A California Fire Deputy Chief said "if the vines are well kept and if they're not letting grass grow underneath the vines -- have been helping us as fire breaks."
So what is it about the vines that helps to fight the fires? They are full of water, and hold so much water in their tissue they become a watering hole in a hot environment. You might be wondering if vines can help fight fires what about other plants like trees? The difference is that vineyards are well manicured and watered regularly, and forests have a lot of underbrush which can fuel a fire. Vineyards are also extremely organized in close formation and it is hard for fires to break through those formations especially when they are heavily watered, unlike forests that are dispersed randomly and not watered.
So how did the fires start? Well it still has not been confirmed by a formal investigation but a report from Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) noted that one of its transmission lines failed moments before the fire broke out. PG&E also admitted that its workers had discovered a power pole that was down with a broken wire near two fires that broke out. PG&E began to shut off power attempting to prevent additional fires, but this left about 3 million people without power. They claim they have restored "essentially all" of the homes where power was cut.
Ghosts in the Kitchen and Halloween Is Over
Boo! Halloween might be over but ghost kitchens are here to stay. What is a ghost kitchen? It is a kitchen that is set up for the sole purpose of delivery-only meals. There is no area for guests to wait other than the Uber Eats and the Grubhub guy as they wait for the meal to be ready for delivery.
60% of restaurant meals are consumed off-premise, which means restaurants don't need a big dining in space like they once did and need to expand their kitchens to maximize space and provide excellent customer service to grow their customer base.
Ghost kitchens are great for restaurants because it means lower overhead when it comes to real estate. This also allows operators to cut back on their front of house staff and really focus on hiring the best chefs all while keeping their delivery guests happy. This gives chefs and operators a unique opportunity to try out new ideas and enter into new geographic areas with less overhead and little risk.
Ghost kitchens are popping up more and more to keep up with consumer demands that has shifted towards eating in the home or ordering take out.
11 Food Trend Predictions
Source: FSR Magazine
With artificial intelligence, experts can now predict what food trends will be before instagram sees them! This is great for restaurants and foodservice companies to get ahead on their limited time offers and menu changes so they can be ready before their competitors. Spoonshot, the AI food innovation intelligence platform, came up with 11 culinary trend predictions:
- Sugar reduction technologies
- Garbanzo beans
- Olive oil as the favored fat
- Carob as a superfood
- Sweet and savory flavor mashups
- Climatarian diets
- Moderation in choices
- 50/50 method of half meat for plant protein
- Lower ABV options
- Instagrammable vs functional foods
You can take these predictions however you want, but this was analyzed across billions of data points and come from scientific journals, niche food communities, and social commerce platforms. We just don't want to have to say "told you so!"
Plant-Based Dishes Can Help Reduce Meat Consumption
We've all seen them, either in stores, in restaurants or in headlines, well here is another one. Plant based burgers are everywhere. One reason these burgers are so popular is because not only are they pleasing to vegetarians and vegans, but also to meat eaters. The number of people that consider themselves to be strict vegetarians hasn't changed much since 1999, but what has changed is the way people are showing interest in eating less meat.
16% of adults who consider themselves meat eaters would like to change how often they consume meat and are doing so by cutting back on how much meat they eat or substituting fish and seafood.
One way to reduce the amount of meat being eaten is to use animal protein as a finishing element, another is combining meat and other ingredients for a blended burger or another dish. Chefs are taking this to the next level with the Blended Burger Project by combining meats and other ingredients to make custom blends and different profile flavors for different concepts, which wasn't always possible with pre-made meat alternatives.
Many times when people go out to eat it is a chance for them to indulge and typically restaurants will have one or two meatless dishes. This is an opportunity for restaurants to create more plant-forward meals since consumers are interested in plant-based dishes as they try to lessen their intake of meat without going cold turkey. How bout that pun? Plant-based foods can be more cost-effective for restaurant operators, healthier for consumers, and more sustainable for the planet.
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