Greetings from New York City, where we’re recovering from the whirlwind of Customize, our first-ever food personalization summit. We’ll have videos of our sessions — including a case study with Kroger Health and a deep-dive into microbiome-based nutrition — coming your way over the next few days.
But until then, we’ve rounded up a few cool food tech bits for your perusing pleasure. This week we’ve got stories on Taco Bell’s plant-based plans, a new device to detect deadly mushroom toxins, and a GIF-based campaign from J.M. Smucker. Enjoy!
Peanut butter pronunciation: Jif vs. GIF
J.M. Smucker has teamed up with GIF search engine GIPHY to create a co-promotion around, of all things, peanut butter. According to the computer scientist who devoped it, the GIF is pronounced with a soft G, like the popular peanut butter brand. However, to assert its name independence and stir up some media publicity, this week J.M. Smucker sold 2,000 peanut butter jars with a label that reads “GIF,” with an implied hard “g” sound (h/t Wall Street Journal). To no one’s surprise, peanut butter-y gifs (jifs?) ensueD.
Taco Bell will add plant-based meat by 2020
Looks like Taco Bell will soon live mas plant-based. This week, the QSRs CEO Mark King told Nation’s Restaurant News that the fast-food chain would “definitely do something with plant-based protein and probably by the end of the year.” Which brand will grace its tacos and chalupas? TBD — King said that the company has met with both Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods but hasn’t declared a partner yet.
New device can detect deadly mushroom toxins
Scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) have developed a test strip that can determine whether or not a wild mushroom is poisonous, according to The Counter. Within 10 minutes of exposure to the mushroom (or urine of someone who has consumed the fungi), the strip can detect if dangerous amatoxins are present. Scientists hope that this strip can help foragers (and their dogs) avoid poisoning from deadly species like so-called “death caps” and “destroying angels.”