Kroger’s New Mobile Market A Joint Effort with Food Bank

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Kroger’s 44-foot long mobile market   (The Courier-Journal)

Not content to offer plenty to attract shoppers into its stores, Kroger has launched a mobile store – to take food and more to where their neighbors live. Called the Zero Hunger Mobile Market format, the single-aisle store-on-wheels was introduced by the Louisville Division to serve neighborhoods with limited or no access to fresh foods and vegetables, And Know U Know reported August 15.

“There Are Other Ways”

Quoting Erin Grant, Corporate Affairs Manaager and Media Spokesperson for the division, ANUK said Krroger believes “It does not have to be a brick-and-mortar store for us to provide access to healthy food for people. That might not always be the solution. There really are other ways.”

This way, serving up 20+ meat items and close to 60 produce selections curbside around the city, is an envelope-stretcher. In reaching out to actual or near ‘food deserts’ – areas supermarkets shy away from – is an anything-but-inexpensive way for the nation’s Number 2 (after Walmart) food retailer to grow its customer base.

And while that’s certainly an objective, Kroger officials are, in expanding their coverage in this way, acting on a long-time company objective: To serve, in the best and most effective ways possible, the communities it serves. Thus this partnership with the “Dare To Care”13.4 foodbank.

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Inside Kroger’s 44-foot long mobile market   (The Courier-Journal)

Due to visit 29 locations this month (August), the colorfully-outfitted, 44-foot long (13.4 m) trailer offers close to 200 different items. It’s been a huge hit with shoppers, The Louisville Courier-Journal reported on Aug 15.

Two Fridge Cases Onboard

The paper noted that the mobile market’s product range includes two refrigerated cases holding meat, milk, eggs and cheese, among other items; A row of shelves contains baking ingredients, pasta, cereal and other pantry staples. A wall displays fruits and vegetables, from mustard greens to clementines. The market does not sell chips, soda or alcohol,” the article added.

And why should it? Those (chips, soda, alcohol, etc.) are what local ‘markets’ in food deserts specialize in.

Good job, Kroger!

Hey, That Coffee Cup’s a Has-Been Coffee Bean (and friends)

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Here’s a fact that’s hard to swallow: The world produces, and discards, no less than 16 billion plastic and Styrofoam coffee cups annually. All told, some 500 billion plastic cups are used once and discarded. Gulp!

Here’s worse news: making sufficient coffee to satisfy those cup users with regular coffee, expresso, lattes and an untold of other varieties results in an unimaginable volume of coffee grounds. (The volume truly is ‘unimaginable’ because different preparations require varying amounts of ground beans – translating to an unmeasurable volume of grounds.

For the most part, this huge waste issue largely ignored, or lost in the mind-boggling tonnage of plastic and other type items humans throw away annually.

‘Away’ Doesn’t Exist

(I saw a sign many years ago with an absolute truism more people should keep in mind: There’s no such place as ‘away’!)

In Australia, though, efforts are underway to salvage and recycle coffee grounds… into biodegradable plastic coffee cups. The concept was founded and brought to fruition by Dominik Kopp, at the time a senior at Macquarie University, Sydney. It involves turning the grounds into lactic acid, which then is used to produce disposable cups.

BeverageDaily.com reported that Kopp and other students rescued the grinds, before they were put into the trash stream, from a coffee shop on their university’s campus. Back in the lab, “We assembled a synthetic pathway to convert the most abundant sugar in the coffee grounds, mannose, into lactic acid,” he told the website. Lactic acid, he explained, “can be used in the production of biodegradable plastics, offering a more sustainable and environmentally friendly alternative to fossil-fuel derived plastics. Kopp had figured that 50% of coffee grounds are sugars, and anticipated – rightly – that a sizable share of that mineral compound would have the potential to be converted into a usable material: A form of plastic.

Aim Was Environment-Saving

“We were looking for new ways to convert biowaste – whether that be agricultural, garden, paper, or commercial food waste – into valuable raw materials that could be used to produce high-value compounds in more environmentally-friendly ways,” said Anwar Sunna, an associate professor of biomedical science and Kopp’s supervisor at the time,” BeverageDaily reported.

“The simple idea that we are converting waste into a valuable and sustainable product is extremely exciting,” Sunna told the trade journal.

View farm with coffee plantation in Brazil

A coffee plantation (stock photo)

BeverageDaily.com went on to report that engineers at Australia’s Swinburne University of Technology have been turning used coffee grinds into building materials for roads. The publication also noted that, in 2015, two entrepreneurial health workers left their jobs in Western Australia to form a company that uses formerly-wasted coffee grounds from coffee shops to cultivate mushrooms.

It’s only a matter of time before someone devises a way to use coffee grounds as a form of fertilizer for coffee bean plants – completing the circle.

I’ll sip to that!

DNA Can Be Used To Track Products’ Origins

Ripped from the Headlines:

Watch CBSN Live

USDA Issues Listeria Warning

BY CBSNEWS.COM STAFF CBSNEWS.COM STAFF

MAY 25, 1999 / 6:23 PM / CBS

There are several practical reasons for being able to determine, precisely, food products origins: Finding the source of product responsible for a listeria outbreak, for one; Providing verification for products ‘guaranteeing’ to be from a specific area is another.

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A commercial product described and explained in a recent in-depth FoodDive report has both those issues in mind. It seems to be living up to its promises, too.

FoodDive noted that a 2011 listeria outbreak involving cantaloupe killed 33 people and sickened 137 others. Had SafeTraces’ tools been available and in place then, the results could have been quite different, because authorities would have been able to quickly pull candidate cantaloupes from stores where problem ones were purchased, and track them back to the fields they were grown in – thus finding, or at least being way closer to finding, the source of the offending bacteria.

Alas, that listeria outbreak was, ultimately the source of the solution to the ‘source identification’ issue.

Anthony Zografos, who as chief operating officer of CPAC, (company Compact Particle Acceleration Corporation), previously helped develop a cancer therapy system, saw in that listeria situation a need to understand how to pinpoint the source of product contamination – particularly the type that causes listeriosis. He wanted to solve that problem.

He told FoodDive that while most traceability applications on the market do a good job of keeping track of food packaging, he wanted to find a way to trace further back in the system, to where the product – cantaloupe, in this case – originated. With that aim (and some sound ideas how to proceed), in mind, he founded SafeTraces, a company dedicated to enabling DNA-level tracking of food products.

In short, this now-a-few-years-old company, under its mechanical engineering PhD leader (Zografos), developed a sort-of bar code – comprised of a seaweed extract – that is applied to foods as they are processed (washed and sorted, in the case of cantaloupes). The embedded code can tell anyone who needs to know anything and everything about its provenance – where it came from – and more.

Last week, the company announced a deal with safety science giant UL to enhance palm oil traceability. This partnership gives businesses dealing with palm oil — a common food ingredient that has a reputation for being farmed using substandard sustainability and human rights practices — a potentially easy solution to guarantee the ingredient’s source.

Last month, SafeTraces announced a partnership with JBT FoodTech, a leading producer of food processing and packaging equipment. This partnership has not yet been fully defined, SafeTraces Vice President of Business Development Ulrike Hodges told Food Dive, but the companies are looking for a way to pursue food processing while integrating SafeTraces technology.

Links in the article will lead you to more details, if you’re interested.