A new survey from MenuMine tracked the new items added to menus in the first eight months of 2011, and sandwiches were the leading item. The report, which tracked almost 3,700 new items added by 640 leading restaurant chains from all regions of the country, found that sandwiches accounted for 15 percent of new menu items, followed by desserts (13 percent), center of the plate entrees (12 percent), beverages (9 percent) and breakfast items (9 percent).

The survey also reported that the average chain has added five to seven new items this year. The 224 casual chains in the MenuMine Database have added 1408 new items so far this year, which equals an average of 6.3 items per chain. Fast casual chains, with 80 chains represented in MenuMine, are the most aggressive, adding an average of 7.1 new items. QSR chains added an average of 4.5 new items per chain and Midscale chains added an average of 6.0 new items.

Breads and proteins were the most commonly added ingredient in new items, both appearing in 48 percent of new items.

Source: MenuMine from Foodservice Research Institute

More turkey deli meat entering the marketplace

Cooked white turkey meat, or deli meat, distribution in the marketplace grew 6 percent in 2009 to more than 467 million pounds, according to National Turkey Federation’s (NTF) 2009 Marketplace Survey, with nearly half (43%) being distributed to foodservice operations.

AgriStats Inc., a statistical research and analysis firm, conducts the survey for NTF every two years revealing turkey product distribution information. The 2009 survey represents more than 6 billion live pounds of product.

“The growth of cooked white turkey meat in the marketplace is a reflection of its versatility and excellent nutritional profile,” said Sherrie Rosenblatt, NTF’s vice president of marketing and communications. “Not only is it delicious in between two slices of bread, but it’s also a great addition to soups and salads and can be extended into breakfast, lunch and dinner.”

The survey reveals that the top three turkey products produced are whole birds (more than 1 billion pounds), cooked white meat (more than 467 million pounds) and ground turkey (more than 415 million pounds). 
About a fourth (41%) of the turkey volume sold goes to the retail sector. Whole birds make up 51 percent of the volume distributed to supermarkets, followed by ground turkey (19.5%) and bone-in breast (7.9%).

The foodservice sector receives about 18 percent of the turkey volume. The top three products distributed in the foodservice industry are cooked white meat (30.5%), sliced deli meat (21.7%) and other raw turkey meat, such as breast cutlets and mignons (14.6%).

To further the industry’s knowledge of how turkey products are distributed, both in terms of distribution and types of products sold, the 2009 Marketplace Survey enables the industry to determine what type of products are sold and which channels offer processors the most growth potential.

Source: NTF

Russia halts beef exports from JBS plant

Russia has put a halt to beef exports coming from the JBS Swift plant in Grand Island, Neb. No reason was given for the stoppage, reports Reuters.

JBS spokesman Chandler Keys confirmed the halt and said that the company received a letter from Russia, written in Russian, so he wasn’t certain of the content as of yet.

"We're still researching it (reason for import halt)," he said.

One trader speculated to Reuters that the reason for the export halt could be related to the fact that Russia is nearing its 20,000-ton import quota for U.S. beef. USDA data shows that the country has purchased 19,700 tons of U.S. beef as of August 19, and 17,900 tons of that already has been shipped to Russia.

Source: Reuters

High-tech imaging can quickly distinguish Campylobacter, study finds

A type of high-tech imaging can be used to distinguish the foodborne pathogenCampylobacterfrom other microorganisms as quickly as 24 hours after a sample is placed on solid media in a Petri dish, according to a study published by United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists.

The researchers, with USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS), used technology called hyperspectral imaging, which combines digital imaging with spectroscopy, to provide hundreds of individual wavelength measurements for each image pixel.

Microorganisms grown on solid media carry unique spectral fingerprints in the specific portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. A hyperspectral imager identifies these fingerprints by measuring light waves that bounce off or through these objects.

This “sensing” technology, which was nearly 100 percent accurate with pure cultures of the microorganisms, could be used for early detection of presumptive Campylobacter colonies in mixed cultures. The researchers are working toward developing a presumptive screening technique to detect Salmonella and Campylobacter in food samples.

Findings from this study were published in the journal Sensing and Instrumentation for Food Quality and Safety.

Source: American Meat Institute

Locally made Philly cheesesteaks include grass-fed beef

The Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation (GPTMC) dished out 1,000 samples of Philly cheesesteaks made entirely from ingredients grown and produced within the area's 100-mile foodshed. The event was part of GPTMC's Philly Homegrown campaign, a consumer education and tourism marketing program launched this summer to introduce the people, places and flavors of the area's foodshed -- from Amish Country to the Atlantic Ocean and from the region's rivers to the rich farmlands in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland.

Frog Commissary founder, chef and author Steve Poses prepared a farm-fresh take on the iconic Philly cheesesteak with ingredients from local farms and purveyors, showcasing the ease in which food lovers can create local meals at home. Along with locally produced peppers, cheese, bread and onions, the cheesesteak includes chipped grass-fed beef from Landisdale Farm, a certified organic farm located in Lebanon County.

The featured cheesesteak, which will be sold for a limited time (August 26-29) at Ben's Bistro in The Franklin Institute Science Museum, includes Poses' own mix of sweet and hot roasted peppers. The restaurant is open to the public daily and does not require museum admission. Poses' Frog Commissary operates all dining institutions at the museum.

Source: GPTMC