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  1. Right-o. You don't think today's financial wizards are going to let a little thing like supply and demand stop them? Sure, there's been instability in the middle east--triggered in part by rising food costs.
  2. a) Yes, b) no. But corn growers like it because it's a ready market, and it's subsidized. Not too surpisingly, demand for corn for ethanol has spiked in the last few years with high oil prices. It's more efficient to use sugar cane or beets, but those don't grow as well in Iowa. Yes, energy costs and weather play a role (food costs are highly volatile for a reason), as do global demand and even financial speculation. The guys who play in the global futures trading market don't really give a hoot if you or I can afford to eat. The US sells an enormous (and growing) quantity of feed grain to China. China grows its own wheat and rice (or at least did until the recent droughts), but they import most of the feed for their chickens and pigs.
  3. It's not your imagination. It's pretty clear that food processors are passing along cost increases, as much as they can. Particularly in the last few months. See The BLS numbers. Note that dairy is getting especially hard hit. This report says 1.7 percent increase in dairy for April. For one month in the seasonally-adjusted aggregate figures, that indicates a real change. for myself, I'm just glad that the CSA that supplies a lot of my produce didn't raise rates very much this year--only two percent more than last year.
  4. Moopheus

    The Melt

    Didn't we learn this back in the paleo-internet days when we had "internet cafes" with terminals for ordering? There's a local food truck that actually uses an iphone-based ordering system (they have two cooks stations in the truck) and that's just what happens--parts of your order are done at different times, so you're standing around with your falafel waiting for your fries. The Melt thing sounds like a bad idea right out of the box. He's probably thinking, "they can't make a phone do this!" but just wait. Soon we'll see a droid with a radiant heating element in the back. I mean, it's a microwave transmitter anyway, right? Just crank up the wattage.
  5. Technically, I suppose, crustaceans and insects are both arthropods but different subphylum. They're closely related but not the same. But, yeah, even knowing that, and knowing that I will eat crustaceans, I would resist eating insects, even though I also know it is normal in some cultures and a part of human history. I mean, humans have only two basic rules about food choice: a) can I make this fit in my mouth, and b) will it kill me.
  6. That happened with the Peace Pops too. Those were pretty good, as I recall. But Ben & Jerry don't run the place any more.
  7. At his center for integrated quackery?
  8. Was it ever? I personally can't remember a time when commercial novelty items like Hood ice cream sandwiches, Klondike bars, chocolate eclairs, etc. etc., were ever made with anything except the cheapest possible stuff they could get away with.
  9. Was that statement a slag, or one that is supposed to denote cameraderie? Hmmm, I'm not sure whether to be offended or to laugh. My father's family was Jewish, and my mother's Italian-Catholic, so I'd have to say that the social dynamic described, did exist. At least until the dispersal to the 'burbs. Where the "Chinese" food was often Polynesian. I didn't know what the difference was until I was in high school and had a friend who lived in Chinatown.
  10. Actually I disagree. Consumers do not actually need to understand the regulations. The information on the labeling is supposed to be comprehensible as it is. You don't need to know the regulations about nutritional labeling to read the labels, do you? I agree that the labeling is far from perfect. Food processors expend a great deal of lobbying effort to make sure they have some weasel room (for example "zero fat" really means "less than half a percent"). The FDA is often too compliant to industry concerns. Do you think there should be content standards? The FDA says ice cream needs to be 10 percent milkfat to be called ice cream. Not a particularly high standard, but the industry fought it for decades. The producers wanted a lower standard. In the early years of the 20th century, when advances in refrigeration increased ice cream sales, commercial ice cream was often atrociously bad--stuff that wouldn't be legal for sale today. Hell, if they could get away with it, they'd market ice cream as a health food (which was actually done in the 1950s). I mean, really--would you prefer to go into a store and have no idea at all what was really in the package?
  11. This is the regulator's fault?
  12. It sounds like what you are making is roughly equivalent to what is sold here as granola bars. Do you find that when they are done they are sticky or does the flour keep them from being too hard to handle?
  13. Right--the milkfat content of the base is probably as close to the legal limit for calling it ice cream as they can make it. So, as dave says, if you add bulky stuff, that lowers the percentage for the entire product, even though the base itself may be the same. So they can't call it ice cream. It seems weird because the base still qualifies, but if the FDA let it pass, then producers would clearly be motivated to load up their products with any bulky item that was cheaper than the dairy ingredient. Which they do anyway, but at least they have to call it something different.
  14. Then is it deceptive packaging? I mean, if they are not claiming it is ice cream, then you can't really complain about the labeling. I mean, it may be a crappy product, but that is a different problem. Also, the fact that different countries have different established standards doesn't make the packaging intrinsically deceptive.
  15. In what way are they deceptive? In the US, labeling of ice cream is defined by milkfat content. It's not a very high standard--ten percent is the minimum. Obviously, the usual sources of milkfat are cream and milk, but others are allowed. Breyer's regular ice cream, which Ms. Poutine poo-poos, qualifies. They list the ingredients of the natural vanilla as "Milk, Cream, Sugar, Natural Tara Gum, Natural Vanilla Flavor." (Note the tara gum was added by Unilever). Admittedly, they make a variety of dessert items and "low-fat" products that do not qualify, and are labeled appropriately--they are not allowed to be called ice cream.
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